NBL Season Preview: Cairns Taipans
As we count down to the NBL season tip-off we’re taking a closer look at each roster and how far they can go this season. Today, we have our eyes on the Cairns Taipans.
2012/13 Record: 11-17 (6th)
Demetri McCamey (Fort Wayne Mad Ants, NBA D-League)
Stephen Weigh (Adelaide 36ers)
Matt Burston (Melbourne Tigers)
Mitchell Young (St Mary’s, College US)
You Won’t See:
Brad Hill (Sydney Kings)
Kerry Williams (Retired)
Aaron Grabau (Retired)
Aaron Fearne (Coach)
Aaron Fearne (Head Coach)
Mick Downer (Assistant Coach)
PG - Jamar Wilson
SG - Demetri McCamey
SF - Stephen Weigh
PF - Alex Loughton
C - Cameron Tragardh
2013/14 Championship Odds: $13.00
The Taipans never really got going in 2012/13 and although they showed some strong form in patches, never really maintained enough consistency to make a serious push for the playoffs after falling behind the eight-ball early.
Cameron Tragardh started the season on fire but fell away late, while Jamar Wilson picked it up towards the back end in a case of too little, too late.
One of the brightest sparks of the failed campaign, however, was the form of rookie Cameron Gliddon, who came in and looked the goods with serviceable averages of 7.1ppg, 4.0rpg and 2.8apg while playing every one of them, including a season high 26 against juggernaut Perth.
Looking ahead and Cairns have recruited well while retaining important pieces of the puzzle in their quest for a return to the playoffs in season 2013/14.
Import Shane Edwards has been released after a below-par season which garnered averages of just 9.5ppg and 5.4rpg, with the Taipans opting to go small with their second import spot this season in the signing of Demetri McCamey out of the NBA D-League.
McCamey comes to our shores on the back of an impressive college career at the University of Illinois, posting averages of 14.6 points and 6.1 assists per game. His import pairing with two time reigning club MVP Jamar Wilson, who averaged 16.2ppg last season, will be one to watch over the course of the year.
The signing of McCamey to join Wilson will give Cairns genuine flexibility at the point, with both players able to run the team or play the role of scorer. Sharp shooters Gliddon and fellow sophomore Clint Steindl only adds to the depth of small men.
One potential barrier to success for the Snakes is the shortage of genuine big men, with Tragardh and Alex Loughton undersized at the centre and power forward position. While both can contribute offensively (Tragardh with 11.1ppg and Loughton posting 10.5ppg), their ability to guard the genuine big men of the competition remains suspect.
The loss of Brad Hill won’t hurt as much given the signing of Stephen Weigh, which is almost a like-for-like swap. Both can play at numerous positions, and Weigh’s greater threat at the perimeter may well cause headaches for the opposition given they already have five other genuine threats from deep in McCamey, Wilson, Steindl, Gliddon and Loughton.
Cairns’ season massively hinges on their start. In a tough and even competition, it will be difficult to claw back into playoff contention after a slow start, as they found out the hard way in 2012/13. The addition of McCamey should put them in playoff contention given the talent of the roster he has around him. However, the lack of a genuine big man may see the Snakes live and die by their shooters. If they can stay relatively hot, they will make a return to playoff action.