NBL 2013/14: December Power Rankings
|Steve Chalmers||Jan 2, 2014|
December rolled through with a bundle of games, with a strange break at the end because of Christmas and the unplanned All-Star Weekend, however some teams took advantage of the light schedule while others struggled. Let's take a look at the NBL Power Rankings for the month.
*Ranking (Last Month), Team, Record
1. (1) Perth Wildcats (12-2)
Top of the rankings stay the same once again as the Perth Wildcats continue to show their dominance in the competition. In a condensed month due to the Christmas break, the ‘Cats only played three games and only failed once in a rare loss to the Cairns Taipans which included big performances from James Ennis.
Make your case for how Perth can fail to win the championship, because right now there are not many excuses fans can make that see other clubs knocking them off lifting the trophy.
2. (4) Melbourne Tigers (8-6)
The Tigers were the team of the month (if you can call it that after every month is Perth, Perth, Perth). Anstey must have sat his men down and made it clear that this is the time Melbourne are pushing for a top spot in the post-season.
A string of five games in the month saw the Tigers leave with four wins on the back of Chris Goulding, Mustapha Farrakhan and Scott Morrison all in patches.
3. (2) Adelaide 36ers (10-4)
Adelaide slide down a spot from November after a below par month which included losses to Townsville and Cairns in the space of 24 hours.
Gary Ervin had a month he’d probably like to forget as he looks to find his stellar form he started the season with, which put him in potential MVP discussion. On the flip side, Adam Gibson, Daniel Johnson and Anthony Petrie continue their great year which must be a thankful sight for head coach Joey Wright.
4. (3) Sydney Kings (5-7)
Sam Young installed his presence in the NBL with an emphatic 27 point performance over the Tigers on the first day of December. From there he managed to continue the hype with 16 and 28 point games against the Hawks.
Photo Credit: TVNZ
The bad thing for coach Heal is that the team failed to win games. Those games being critical one’s against Wollongong two weeks running. In what looked as easy beats prior to the two contests, Sydney would have been sitting very nicely at 7-4 had they have knocked off the Hawks. Now they are staring down a thick road trying to keep touch with the top two or three.
5. (7) Wollongong Hawks (4-9)
Wollongong faced an uphill battle going into any game during this patch, however none of that put any of the players down. Heading into a tough double header against their rivals in the Kings, Rotnei Clarke and the boys put their head down and jumped at the task at hand.
Coming away with two unlikely victories, morale is high in Wollongong and so it should be. The boys are back on the wagon and they now need to find a way to continue this purple patch. However, it didn’t last long as they dropped both games to the Tigers in their double header, which hopefully doesn’t drain all the confidence that was inside the locker room.
6. (8) Cairns Taipans (5-8)
When the writing was on the wall for the Cairns Taipans this season, the team responded. A 20 point win over second placed Adelaide was what the club needed to show the comp that they still have the firepower needed to compete at the top level.
This followed by another convincing win over state rivals Townsville, which produced a massive boost in confidence for guys like Jamar Wilson, Alex Loughton and Cam Tragardh.
Off the back of big plays from the guys above, the Taipans are looking up for the New Year, and will look to upset big names on the hope they have a shot at the Top 4.
7. (6) Townsville Crocodiles (4-8)
Though a disappointing month for the Crocs, they started off on the right foot with a victory over the Sixers, which gave their fans hope that things had turned a corner and that a playoff berth was possible.
Steven Markovic had a stellar month, however the team didn’t follow. A home loss to the Melbourne Tigers who were struggling to find form at the time, followed by a double digit loss in the Reptile Rumble had fans back on negative terms asking whether this team is strong enough to compete for 40 minutes night in, night out.
8. (5) New Zealand Breakers (5-9)
A disappointing couple of weeks have seen the defending champs hit rock bottom again. Although we may feel they have been harsh done by, as the Breakers nearly knocked off Perth twice in consecutive weeks, the fact of the matter is they failed to do so and it resulted in losses.
This meant that NZ had a losing record for the month from their four games yet it had potential to be a massive December. Vickerman and his boys will need to find a solution fast to dropping close games if they are any chance to defend their title in the top four.