NBL 2014/15 Round 1 Preview: Opening night sees Sixers battle Snakes

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Adelaide 36ers vs Cairns Taipans

Friday 10th October, 2014 - 7:30pm (local time)

Adelaide Arena

Tickets: Click Here

Both of these sides have seen many changes to their playing roster since last season, which makes for an interesting contest. Jamar Wilson made the switch from orange to blue and will face his former club first off, while Peter Crawford is the only other player on both sides to change NBL clubs. Daequon Montreal, Scottie Wilbekin, Torrey Craig and Corey Maynard all don an NBL jersey for the first time.

Imports will play a big part in the season opener with the Snakes potentially finding a gem in Scottie Wilbekin, with his display in the pre-season NBL Blitz a preview of what's to come.

Many analysts have predicted both of these teams to be towards the lower end of the NBL ladder which puts further emphasis on gaining an early edge on your opponent. While Adelaide have home court advantage, will it be enough to get them over the line?

Key Player

Brendan Teys #483222961 / gettyimages.com Teys was arguably the success story of the entire season last year in the NBL. Coming out of nowhere, Teys jumped into starting contention for the Sixers and ended up as an integral part of the team making the Grand Final.

It’s now time to continue his form into a season where there will be weighted expectations on the 24 year old.

With Head Coach Joey Wright’s backing, Teys will slot into the starting SF role for the Sixers and will play a full season where responsibility will be at both ends of the floor. If he is able to play his part of the offensive end with around 10ppg while stopping one of the opposition's first two options down the other end, Teys will become one of the most valuable players on his team.

Coming up against a shooter like Stephen Weigh in this contest will mean Teys has a crucial role to play, with Weigh very much a confidence player.

What To Watch For

Early foul trouble

Both sides possess squads with attacking firepower, meaning it will be a battle of who can get to the rim and finish more often. The NBL's new refereeing direction, which allows offensive players to get to the rim with much more protection, will make for an open contest and play into the hands of the more aggressive side.

The big guys inside such as Montreal, Petrie and Schenscher for the Sixers and Loughton, Tragardh and Craig for the Snakes can all get to the rim and score, but it will also mean some of these guys will be sitting early throughout the opening half with foul trouble.

If one team is to gain the upper hand early they are going to need to keep their stars on the floor. The loss of Daniel Johnson to Europe will make the job much easier for the Snakes' frontcourt.

Final Word

One of these teams will score an important win to get themselves off the mark in the new season while the other will start on a losing note. Wins may potentially be hard to come by for both sides throughout the season and therefore this is an important contest, particularly if both sides find themselves around the same mark later on.

With new rosters, squads will take time to gel and gain valuable court time experience together. Whichever side can come together better will win this contest. While the Sixers are reigning grand finalists, they have lost plenty in Johnson over the off-season, leaving the door open for Cairns to grab an invaluable away victory.

Cairns by 4