What to expect from the 2014/15 NBL Blitz
Photo Credit: NBL
The 2014/15 NBL Blitz will see each NBL side play two games each in the space of three days as they compete for the Loggins-Bruton Cup.
Seven points are on offer in each contest, with the winner of each quarter claiming a point as well as three points being awarded to the winner of the match.
Here's what you can expect to see in this year's pre-season hit-out:
Things you WILL see:
Emergence of strong title challengers to Perth
A number of teams have built a roster capable of going deep into the playoffs over the off-season, with Melbourne United widely tipped as the team most likely to challenge Perth for league supremacy. Throw in the likes of the Sydney Kings and New Zealand Breakers and suddenly the title race is wide open. The Wildcats have lost nothing over the off-season, but the chasing pack has gained plenty and we will see some of the exciting final products during the Blitz tournament.
Hype around the new crop of imports going through the roof
Before a single practice game had been played, the hype surrounding the NBLs new import breed had been off the charts, with many believing this to be the most talented and exciting crop in the history of the league. The signatures of NBA draftees DeAndre Daniels and Jordan McRae, former NBA stars Josh Childress and Mickell Gladness, exciting prospects Kendrick Perry, Scotty Wilbekin and Jahii Carson, and the return of league superstar Cedric Jackson, makes for impressive reading and an exciting season ahead. The Blitz will provide fans with an opportunity to see the new stars in competitive action for their respective teams, and the hype is only set to heighten further once the international talent hits the floor on the big stage.
Plenty of support for the return of a Queensland-based NBL side
Talk of a Queensland-based NBL side making a long-awaited return to the league has been well-supported by the fans and the league itself in recent times. The 2014/15 Blitz will be held in Auchenflower, west of Brisbane, seeing professional basketball return to Queensland for the first time since the Brisbane Bullets were withdrawn from the NBL in 2008.
The NBL has made no secret of the fact we want to be back in Brisbane. This is a big step in bringing the League back to a city with a rich basketball history.We have heard the pleas from NBL fans to bring back a team in Brisbane, so this is a great opportunity for the locals to show their support. I encourage the Brisbane public to get behind the Blitz and experience the NBL for themselves. - NBL Chief Executive Frasier Neill
All the action live across the country
Live streaming will be available online for every game of the 2014/15 Blitz, meaning that NBL fans from all over the country will have the opportunity to watch and experience the action for themselves. More details will follow as the tournament nears tip-off.
Things you MAY see:
A surprise winner of the Loggins-Bruton Cup
Last years tournament went down to the wire and, despite eventual NBL champions Perth taking out the pre-season spoils, any number of teams had the opportunity to claim the Loggins-Bruton Cup as five teams finished with a 2-1 win-loss record from their three games. A wealth of talent has found its way onto many NBL rosters this season, making for an even 2014/15 regular season, and with just two games per team during the Blitz, competition is set to be even tighter, leaving a very real possibility of all eight teams finishing with a win apiece.
The emergence of the next crop of local young talent
The 2013/14 season saw a number of young local stars begin to make a name for themselves in the league, with the new crop ready to continue their rise up the ranks in season 2014/15. The likes of Mitch Young, Clint Steindl and Ruben Te Rangi all impressed in their last campaigns, while Cody Ellis and Owen Odigie will be looking to build by cementing their places in the rotation for their respective clubs. Newcomers Angus Brandt and Corey Maynard will also be looking to provide their clubs with strong minutes off the bench after successful stints at college in the US.
Things you WON'T see:
Slow, low-scoring contests
The introduction of a new refereeing direction in 2013/14, designed to increase scoring and open the game up for athletic highlight-reel plays, saw the end to low-scoring slogs and made for much better viewing for the fans. This is set to continue in 2014/15, with plenty of new faces suited to this new style of play which is sure to show off the prodigious talents of the leagues stars. With many of the stronger sides sure to hold some things back during the pre-season, the Blitz may prove to be much more offensive than defensive, meaning plenty of excitement and entertainment awaits.
Teams giving too much away
While full squads will be stepping out on the floor, barring injury, over the course of the Blitz, many clubs will be keeping plenty of tactics and strategies in-house prior to the start of the season proper. The Loggins-Bruton Cup may be used by many clubs to iron out some kinks prior to the regular season beginning, keeping plenty in the tank in the meantime. This may simply mean more open and free-flowing contests, which is sure to make for an entertaining weekend.
2014/15 NBL BLITZ Tournament Details:
Friday 19th Sunday 21st September, 2014
NAB Stadium, 16 Dixon Street, Auchenflower, Queensland
Session Tickets: Adults $25, Child (16 and under) $15 Tournament Pass: Adult $60, Child (16 and under) $30 Courtside/Baseline Seats: $220 per session VIP (8 Seat Box): from $1,760 per session
For more information and to book your seat at the 2014/15 Blitz, click here.