If you were judging the Adelaide 36ers solely on wins and losses you'd have to say they didn't have a great 2015/16 season. But the unearthing of superstar guard, Jerome Randle, meant their season was far from a wasted one.
WHAT WENT WELL
The signing of Jerome Randle early in the season couldn't have gone any better for the Adelaide 36ers. He brought a whole new level of excitement and competitiveness to the team and in doing so rallied those around him.
Randle played 23 games for the 36ers, and in the 5 games he didn't play in the team only managed to win 1 game (their season-opener against New Zealand). This speaks volumes of just how important the import was for Adelaide.
Undoubtedly, Randle quickly proved to be one of the most exciting players in the league. His unique skill set, coupled with his uncanny knack to score the ball by utilising his tiny frame to his advantage, made him an instant fan favourite.
His 41 points against the Sydney Kings in January was something else. Check out the highlights below.
WHAT WENT WRONG
A lack of consistency really hurt the 36ers chances of making the Finals. They were able to win games against the teams below them (going 3-1 against each of Sydney, Townsville and Cairns), but struggled to gain the upper hand against the best teams in the league.
They just couldn't keep up with Perth. Finishing 0-4 against the Wildcats, with a combined losing margin of 53 points, showcases the gap between the 36ers and the Champions. Against the rest of the top four (New Zealand, Illawarra and Melbourne), Adelaide went 2-2 in each season series.
Adam Gibson, by his standards, had an average season. His play was uninspiring at times and that fatal turnover against the Crocs will go down in Townsville folklore.
The addition of Randle meant that Gibson was handling the ball a lot less and wasn't the go-to guy on offence. This obviously would lead to a decrease in offensive output, but it doesn't explain the fact that his 9.1 points per game were the lowest of his career since the 2006/07 NBL season.
The team MVP is an obvious choice; Jerome Randle. The 'Ant Man' took out the fans NBL MVP award, which proves just how much of an impact he had, not just in Adelaide, but throughout Australia.
I've talked enough about Jerome Randle though, and want to give props to Daniel Johnson. He didn't produce highlight reel play after highlight reel play like Randle, but he was an important piece of the Adelaide puzzle.
Johnson led the league in rebounds per game with 9.3, and finished twelfth in points per game with 15.5. Whilst his defence isn't the best going around, his ability to grab defensive boards and not the allow opposition repeat possessions was key for the 36ers.
Let's not forget, the man can dunk.
A video posted by Adelaide 36ers (@adelaide36ers) on Dec 10, 2015 at 4:02pm PST
Although it was ultimately a disappointing end to the season as they missed out on making the Finals, Adelaide can certainly build on their 2015/16 season.
The signing of Randle was a masterstroke by the franchise and brought new fans to game. He will be back next season for the 36ers and this not only means more excitement in Adelaide, but brings consistency the team.
A 14-14 record is somewhat underwhelming, and considering the roster assembled they should've won more games. I give Adelaide a C for their 2015/16 NBL campaign.