In what is another massive blow to the Illawarra Hawks, Kirk Penney will not be returning to the club next season. He will instead be suiting up for the New Zealand Breakers in season 2016/17.
Less than two weeks after the announcement that reigning NBL MVP Kevin Lisch would be leaving the Hawks for Sydney, the loss of Penney is a kick in the guts for Illawarra fans.
On the other hand, New Zealand fans are rejoicing. The Auckland native, having already played for the Breakers from 2007-2011, will immediately strengthen the title contenders.
The Breakers, having already re-signed big-man Alex Pledger to a three year deal are making moves that they hope can take them one step further in season 2016/17. With Paul Henare taking over the coaching reigns next season, the Breakers are giving him many assets to work with.
Penney had a tremendous 2015/16 season, forming a formidable trio with Lisch and AJ Ogilvy. He was a monster on the offensive end, averaging 20.4 points (third best in the league) and 3.1 assists per game.
His ability to shoot from beyond the arc ensured he was a nightmare for opposition defences. He shot 44.8% from three-point land, averaging over 3 makes per game. New Zealand will be hoping he can carry this form over as he heads back across the ditch.
Penney's versatility and floor spacing will be vital for the Breakers who, at times last season, struggled to get into a rhythm on offence. When Penney, Corey Webster and Tom Abercrombie are on the floor at the same time, the offence should open up and options will be aplenty. Good luck defending that!
The Breakers are looking like a force to reckoned with in season 2016/17. Having already locked in Mika Vukona, Abercrombie, Webster, Pledger and now adding Penney into the mix, New Zealand mean business.