The Cairns Taipans found it tough going in the 2015/16 NBL season. The team battled for consistency and struggled to string wins together.
WHAT WENT WELL
Torrey Craig, in his second season with Cairns, had another solid season in the NBL. He increased his offensive output, and although his shooting percentage took a dip, it was clear he had worked on some new moves over the off-season.
And of course, who could forget that half-court shot from Craig, which made headlines around the world.
— NBL (@NBL) January 28, 2016
Unfortunately, like many of his teammates, Craig struggled for consistency. He scored 7 points or less in 12 games, and on the flip-side he scored 15 points or more in 13 games. This was the story of Cairn's season; the difference between their best and worst was far too large.
WHAT WENT WRONG
After making it to the Grand Final last season, expectations were still high heading into this season. Unlike last season, the Taipans just couldn't get into a rhythm. Momentum is key in basketball, and unfortunately for Cairns, they couldn't capture it for long periods of time.
To have a longest winning-streak of just 2 games for the season speaks volumes of just how difficult it was for Cairns to keep momentum going from game to game. Winning their season-opener against Illawarra was impressive, but then to be blown out by 24 points at the hands of Sydney in their next outing was a sign of things to come.
The loss of Scottie Wilbekin can't be underestimated and it was obvious that they missed his offensive game. The Taipans were unable to find a player to step up and take over his role.
The big off-season signing of ex-Melbourne United skipper Mark Worthington didn't live up to the hype. Worthington took a step back from his 2014/15 form and could only manage 4.8 rebounds per game, his lowest since his rookie season with the Kings in 2005/06.
Cam Gliddon was a real bright spot for the Taipans. Gliddon, in his second year as captain, led the team in points per game (13.5) and proved to be a real outside threat. He connected on a very healthy 38.9% shots from three-point land and plays like this one made him a headache for opposing defences.
Averaging 33.6 minutes per outing, and not missing a single game, Gliddon played the most minutes of any player in the league. The huge minutes he was playing night in, night out, showcased just how important he was for Cairns.
Finishing the season with a record of 12-16, well below .500, was a disappointing result for the Taipans. It will be an interesting off-season ahead, with changes obviously needing to be made. They will need to add a consistent scoring threat if they want to be able to match it with the best.
For their efforts in the 2015/16 season, the Cairns Taipans receive a D+.