In what was always going to be a tough situation to deal with, the New Zealand Breakers have opted to cut Duane Bailey with the return of Corey Webster from his NBA try out. Everard Bartlett, who was originally signed on a short term deal, has played his way into a full time contract after quickly establishing himself as one of the best shooters in the league.
The common view of many was that it was point guard Shane McDonald who was under the most pressure to see out his contract as his play through the first four games had been largely ineffective. Pairing that with Bartlett’s ability to handle the ball, as well as point guard Shea Ili being eligible for some court time as a development player, and you could understand why McDonald had reason to be concerned.
The first thing you will have noticed about Bartlett’s play is his confidence as he’s relished the starter’s minutes that have been vacant with Webster’s absence. His three point shot has been almost 20% above the league average with the left hand side of the floor netting some scorching results. Paint Mid Range Left Side 3 Right Side 3 FGM FGA FGM FGA 3PM 3PA 3PM 3PA 3 10 2 3 11 16 5 13 In his two stand out performances (a combined 10-15 on 3PA against Perth and New Zealand) he worked off the ball perfectly where he made two spot ups threes in transition, four via dribble penetration or post up and kick out, three that used a hand off or a screen, whilst he even hit a nice step back three off the dribble.
Having a shot creator like Cedric Jackson certainly helps:
The minute distribution with Webster back in the fold will be interesting but the extra playmaking and creativity on the roster is certainly needed and should ensure that Bartlett continues to get good looks from deep (although we have to expect a dip in that sizzling 3P%).
Duane Bailey hasn’t had the minutes on court to show that he’s an NBL quality player (he’s only logged around 150 total minutes over his career) but at his size, with his ability to shoot the ball, and some New Zealand National Team experience, he could soon find himself as a stretch power forward in this league again.