NBL Season Preview: Adelaide 36ers

Credit Wikipedia

With just over a week remaining until the NBL season kicks off for another year, we’ll take a closer look at how each team is shaping up for season ‘13/14. First up, we inspect the Adelaide 36ers and their prospects for the year ahead.

2012/13 Record: 8-20 (8th)

Who’s New:

  1. Gary Ervin (Townsville Crocodiles)

  2. Jarrid Frye (Stjarnan, Iceland)

  3. Brendan Teys (Townsville Crocodiles)

  4. BJ Anthony (NZNBL)

  5. Joey Wright (Coach)

You Won’t See:

  1. Stephen Weigh (Cairns Taipans)

  2. Nathan Crosswell (Retired)

  3. Tom Daly

  4. Scott Christopherson

  5. Pero Vasilijevic

  6. Marty Clarke (Coach)

Back Again:

  1. Daniel Johnson

  2. Luke Schenscher

  3. Adam Gibson

  4. Anthony Petrie

  5. Jason Cadee

  6. Mitch Creek

Coaching Staff:

  1. Joey Wright (Head Coach)

  2. Kevin Brooks (Assistant Coach)

Projected Starters:

  1. PG - Adam Gibson

  2. SG - Gary Ervin

  3. SF - Jarrid Frye

  4. PF - Daniel Johnson

  5. C - Luke Schenscher

2013/14 Championship Odds: $8.00

The 36ers endured a forgettable season in 2012/13 to say the least. A pre-season full of optimism quickly faded, as a combination of injuries and poor form led to a dismal return of just eight wins from 28 starts and the club’s second straight wooden spoon.

SEABL import CJ Massingale, whose NBL call-up was seen as well overdue by many, failed to deliver on his stellar form at state level and was ultimately released mid-season by the club after averaging just 4.1ppg, 0.9rpg and 0.2apg over 10 games.

His mid-season replacement, mind you, didn’t fare much better. Scott Christopherson averaged just 2.9ppg, 1.9rpg and 0.4apg while shooting just 27% from the field in 14 games.

The poor form of both import selections set the side back massively, particularly given the import talent the rest of the league was bringing to the floor. The season-ending injury to Mitch Creek only compounded their problems and sealed their fate.

Needless to say change was needed, and the Sixers spent the off-season turning their roster of potential into a team that could seriously threaten. Coach Marty Clarke was dumped in favour of former NBL championship winning coach Joey Wright, while American swingman Jarrid Frye was signed to give the line-up some extra flexibility.

However the biggest addition to the roster was the signature of 2011 league MVP Gary Ervin to the second import spot, giving the club three potential starters at the point guard in Ervin, Boomer Adam Gibson and electrifying youngster Jason Cadee.

Couple the depth and skill level at the guard positions with what is arguably the best frontcourt in the league, and we could see Adelaide ruffle some serious feathers over the course of this campaign.

Daniel Johnson will look to continue where he left off at the end of a stellar 2012/13 where he averaged 16.2ppg and 8.1rpg. Add in an injury free 7-footer in Luke Schenscher and the ever improving Anthony Petrie and it’s hard to see find another frontcourt who can match them at both ends of the floor.

One weakness may be the lack of a strong perimeter threat outside of Cadee and Gibson. The only notable absentee from this year’s roster in Stephen Weigh, who has jetted off to Cairns for the new season, will be sorely missed for that reason and may well come back to haunt the Sixers at the end of the season if they fall short of the playoffs. Weigh enjoyed a breakout season in ‘12/13, averaging 10.6ppg and 5.9rpg while shooting an impressive 39% from beyond the arc.

Frye, who only attempted 58 three point attempts over 24 games last season with Icelandic side Stjarnan, will hold the key here and will need to increase on that return. The good news for the 36ers is that he made 19 of his attempts for an average of 32%.

Last Word:

The 36ers will be keen to put a horrible season behind them, especially given the talent at their disposal. The additions of Ervin and Frye give the Sixers a starting five that has genuine star power and scoring punch at every spot, with Cadee and Petrie to provide plenty more off the bench. A finals berth is well and truly within reach, and if all goes to plan it may well be more.

Predicted Finish: 3rd