Now is the time to appreciate the NBL

For many years the NBL has been viewed, rightly or wrongly, with little respect by Australians. The majority believed the league was second-rate and hardly worth watching. Not anymore.

Never before has basketball been so popular in Australia - with the NBA reaching new levels of popularity - and our very own NBL producing the goods.

Not only is the league as close as ever (that ladder is ridiculous!), the personalities are intriguing for fans and the level of play is at an all-time high.

THE KINGS ARE LIT 🔥🔥🔥🔥 #Repost @josh21powell with @repostapp ・・・ A lil Australian turn up after a good win. Let's keep it goin fellas. #grindcontinues #YesWeSaidWhoopThereItIs 😩😩😂😂😂 #AussieShawdy #HadToCatchThisMoment #sydneykings

A video posted by The Pick and Roll (@pickandrollau) on Oct 16, 2016 at 2:57am PDT

There is no such thing as an upset in this league. Just think about that. What other league, not just in this country, but the world, can you say that about? I'll wait.

Every single team has a player (or multiple players for that matter) that can single-handedly turn a game around and win it for his ball club.

One thing that makes those star players; such as Casey Prather, Jerome Randle, Chris Goulding, Kevin Lisch and Torrey Craig, so special and great for the league is the way they go about their basketball. They are all very different players, and all appeal to different crowds. Some are hated by sections of the country and equally loved by others.

The imports this season are not just here for a holiday, enjoying the Aussie summer. They are all putting in major work.

Casey Prather, Torrey Craig, Casper Ware, Greg Whittington, Jerome Randle, Travis Trice, Akil Mitchell and Marvelle Harris have all provided their respective teams with a valuable lift.

Yep, Casper Ware has been pretty good for Melbourne.

Casper Ware was having none of that overtime business last night... 🔥

A video posted by The Pick and Roll (@pickandrollau) on Nov 26, 2016 at 11:20am PST

Then there's the Aussies that are dominating the league, with many returning to the homeland after stints overseas. This is happening because of the quality of the league and the fact that it is now worthwhile money-wise to do so.

Five Boomers on NBL rosters speaks volumes of how far this league has come. The amount of players that have had some sort of NBA experience; be it Summer League, preseason or fully fledged NBA careers, is just another sign of the respect that this league now has on the world stage.

There is no doubt that Andrew Gaze's return to the NBL, as coach of the Sydney Kings, has added another fascinating storyline to the season. His passion and raw enthusiasm is a joy to watch.

Andrew Gaze loved a little bit of Monday Fight Night! 💪🏽👊🏽

A video posted by The Pick and Roll (@pickandrollau) on Nov 7, 2016 at 1:21pm PST

Some of the highlights we've seen this season are incredible. Many thanks to Terrance Ferguson for this one!

Air Ferguson, ladies and gentlemen!

A video posted by The Pick and Roll (@pickandrollau) on Nov 24, 2016 at 5:55pm PST

The fans are definitely coming back to the NBL and even more importantly, the amount of new fans enjoying high quality basketball is sky-rocketing.

If you're still doubting the validity of the NBL, and what it means to the Australian sporting landscape, it's time to stop that nonsense and enjoy the buzzer-beaters, the dunks and competition that we have here in Australia.