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The NBL's Xmas wish-list - The wants and needs of each team this festive season
Entering the festive segment of the NBL season, we take a look at what each team needs/wants from Santa as the big day looms. With over half the season in the bag, the ladder is looking decisively different from last year's. Is there any wiggle room for change?
With over half the league in some sort of desperate need of adjustment in the next round or two, what can we expect to see on their wishlists?
Starting from the bottom, 0 to 100, we begin from 8th on the ladder. The Hawks (3-13) have actually improved in the last couple of rounds, squeezing out a win against Sydney and a close overtime loss to Melbourne. With Gary Ervin finally healthy they no longer look to be easy beats. Without a lot of substantial goals to play for, Wollongong have the potential to upset some play-off teams down the stretch and prove they belong.
Want - Wins, wins, wins. Or more realistically - some close games to keep fans interested.
Need - Cotton wool for Ervin to keep him healthy.
Townsville (5-10) started the season winning two of their first four games, however since then, have lost eight of the 11 games they've played. In that span they have scored over 90 points just three times, as their scoring has been a glaring problem all season. Outside of Brian Conklin, only two players average double figures - not enough to challenge the top teams.
Want - Physically remove the bench (make them stand); are these guys just resting the starters? more shots for Steven Markovic.
Need - Chill pills so Conklin can keep his head in the game and be more patient with his post ups; 46% fg shooting is too low for a guy who lives around the basket.
This video really sums up the 36ers season. Finalists last year, Adelaide (5-10) cannot have envisioned sitting second last on the ladder after round 11. Predicted to finish at or near the top four, the 36ers have been more 76ers. Their last five games read like a who's-who of the top four, so it is not all doom and gloom, however this ship must get turned around STAT!
Want - A new ankle for Mitch Creek, who is slowly rounding back into early season form.
Need - A heart for tin-man Brock Motum.
The Kings (7-7) have the NBL MVP on their roster in Josh Childress and will find themselves being competitive in any contest. If they make the playoffs, nobody will want to play them/him. The Kings, much like the Crocodiles, struggle to score; Even with Childress tearing up opposition defensive units, his teammates are not getting it done.
Want - Some testosterone boosters for Kendrick Perry, who needs to play more aggressive.
Need - Josh Childress to use his Atlanta connections to bring Josh Smith over.
United (9-7) currently sit fourth on the ladder and are rounding into form at the right time. They have a game over Sydney which will be crucial come Round 20, where they play the Kings twice (likely to decide a playoff spot). Import Jordan McRae (A league high 22 points per game) has been fantastic and veterans Mark Worthington and Daniel Kickert are starting to jell. The season dark horse?
Want - Some footage of Rhys Carter to show Daryl Corletto how to play.
Need - To read Grantland's 'How Rebounds Work'.
Perth (10-5) are statistically the best defensive team in the NBL, holding opposition teams to 77 points per game. For that reason alone they are serious threats to win the title this year. The defending champs have gone under the radar to start the season and although guard DeAndre Daniels is no James Ennis, he (14.2 ppg) and fellow import Jermaine Beal (16.3 ppg) make Perth a formidable opponent. Having cracked only 90 points twice themselves this season, will scoring be their Achilles heel?
Want - Glasses for DeAndre; he shot 42% from 3 in his last year of college compared to 26% this year.
Need - Socks for Damian Martin - nobody is good enough to pull-off ankle socks!
Cairns (11-5) are one game behind the Breakers for first place, yet after playing each other three times, they hold a + 25 points differential with one game to play. If both teams end up on equal points, Cairns will hold all the cards come play-off seeding. Seven of their last twelve games are against bottom four teams, which bodes well for their minor-premiership chances.
Want - Somebody to touch wood; with no significant injuries this year, Cairns has been extremely lucky with the health of their squad
Need - Scissors; Scottie Wilbekin's Eminem yellow, has to go
New Zealand Breakers
An absolute train-wreck last year, the Breakers (12-5) are rightfully at the top of the ladder. A Round 11 walloping by Cairns aside, the Kiwis (and their imports) have proven to be a multifaceted team that can beat you in range of ways. Imports Ekene Ibekwe and Cedric Jackson have led the charge, with the emergence of Corey Webster being on of the stories of the season. Like Cairns, seven of their last 11 games come against bottom four teams and with their play-off spot essentially secure, a minor-premiership is on the horizon.
Want - A shooting sleeve for Cedric; He is shooting 13% from beyond the arc in his last five games.
Need - Someone to monitor Tai Wesley's consumption on Christmas day; Dude cannot afford to lose any more athleticism.
Well there you have it, a 'tongue n cheek' look at the needs and wants of each team this Xmas. Did I miss anything? What do you want for your team? Let us know in the comments section. Have a safe break!