2014/15 NBL All Star Teams - North vs South
|Tom Harrison||Dec 17, 2014|
Round 10 marked the mid way point of the 2014/15 NBL season, which brings about the perfect time to show off the league's increasing talent pool with an NBL All Star game.
The league brought back the long-awaited All Star game in 2012/13 and was the first All Star game in five years, back when the NBL was still incorporating an Aussies vs. World format. The most recent All Star game, held in Adelaide on the 22nd of December 2012, saw the two teams competing as North vs. South with the South All-Stars winning 134 points to 114.
Players from the Cairns Taipans, Wollongong Hawks, Townsville Crocodiles and Sydney Kings were eligible to be selected for the North team, while selections for the South team could be from the Adelaide 36ers, New Zealand Breakers, Perth Wildcats and Melbourne Tigers (now Melbourne United). Broadcast live on television, the event was a huge success with fans and players alike.
The level and depth of talent, currently on display in the NBL, is amongst the finest in recent memory. Fans from across the country (and New Zealand!) want to see their favourite players, including a number of NBA draftees and veterans, in action against the best in the league.
Making the game an annual event that both players and fans can look forward to, and strive to be part of, would be a great initiative by the league. Changing the location each year would give each city a chance to host the event and grow basketball in that area.
Start the ball rolling in Perth, where the fan base is proven and use that as a springboard for the year after.
The fans want to see an All Star game, so if one was held this season, who would be playing?
Point Guard: Scottie Wilbekin (15.1ppg & 4.2apg) View image | gettyimages.com Wilbekin had an exceptional start to the season with some big games early. He now has led his Cairns Taipans to a record of 10-4. Wilbekin has often had high scoring patches when his team needed someone to step up.
Shooting Guard: Ben Madgen (14.3ppg & 4.1rpg)
Madgen is a star of the competition, but his output has been slowed slightly by the arrival and dominance of Josh Childress. He still is showing us great performances with great stat lines. Madgen is also one of the NBL's most deadly three-point shooters.
Small Forward: Josh Childress (22.5ppg, 10.9 rpg, 4.3apg & 2.3bpg)
Would be the first player picked by a long margin, currently leading the league in points, rebounds and blocks. He is also in the top five for assists. Childress is the current favourite for MVP and has not had a bad game. Every time that he has stepped on the floor he has been incredibly damaging.
Power Forward: Brian Conklin (17.9ppg & 5.9rpg)
Conklin has been dominant all season and currently sits in the top three for average points across the league. Each week Conklin leads from the front for his team and is a headache for opposition teams. When Townsville win, you can expect Conklin has hit the scoreboard pretty hard.
Centre: Mickell Gladness (8.8ppg, 7.9rpg & 1.6bpg)
Gladness is a defensive monster, currently second in the league for both rebounds and blocks only behind Josh Childress. Opposition teams find it hard to penetrate the paint when Gladness is on the court because of the amount of shots he can get to and either block or change. Townsville's has a very dangerous front court with both Gladness and Conklin.
Kendrick Perry, Cameron Gliddon, Todd Blanchfield, Cameron Tragardh, Luke Nevill
Unlucky To Miss
Clint Steindl, Tim Coenraad, Tom Garlepp, Alex Loughton
Point Guard: Cedric Jackson (15.3ppg, 5.1rpg, 5.7apg & 1.8spg) View image | gettyimages.com The former league MVP is having another great season for the New Zealand Breakers, carrying them to the top of the ladder after round 10. Jackson leads the league in assists and is second in steals but can also impact the scoreboard with his speed and athleticism.
Shooting Guard: Jordan McRae (21.6ppg & 4.2rpg)
For a good part of the season so far, McRae was the scoring leader. He now sits second but still as dangerous as ever, his ability to drive to the ring or shoot the outside shot makes him a very tough matchup. One of his biggest strengths is his ability to create his own shot when his team are desperate for a score.
Small Forward: DeAndre Daniels (14.6ppg & 7.6rpg)
After a slow start to the year, Daniels has really come into his own as of late. Daniels is now scoring a quality amount each game to go along with his rebounding, where he sits third in the league. Daniels has provided highlights for fans throughout the year with high-flying dunks and massive blocks.
Power Forward: Mark Worthington (13.5ppg, 7.5rpg & 1.7spg)
Worthington has turned back the clock and is having stellar season, as Melbourne United's captain he is leading from the front by willing himself to do anything he can to help his team win. Worthington is currently in the top five for both rebounds and steals, showing off his hustling ability.
Centre: Ekene Ibekwe (11.6ppg, 6.1rpg & 1.5bpg)
Coming off the bench for New Zealand, Ibekwe is a force on both ends of the floor. His wingspan and athletic ability make him hard to stop in the post and tough to shoot over. This is clear as he is in the top three shot blockers in the league. Having arguably the best centre in the league come off the bench is a luxury for New Zealand.
Jamar Wilson, Jermaine Beal, Anthony Petrie, Brock Motum, Daniel Kickert
Unlucky To Miss
Adam Gibson, Damian Martin, Corey Webster, Shawn Redhage
What a matchup this would be, providing excitement for fans and a chance for the league to reach new customers. Let's hope we see an NBL All Star game in the near future.