1. Mitch Creek is a flat out beast
You probably don’t need us telling you this, but if you weren’t sold after Phoenix’s opener against Melbourne United, you know now that Mitch Creek is a flat out beast.
John Roberson shot the lights out but Creek was also sensational. He finished with 25 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds in a complete performance against the Bullets.
He is all hustle and heart on defence and then is relentless getting to the rack on offence. Throw in the fact his shooting from deep has clearly shown signs of improvement and Creek is one of the guys who has to be in the MVP debate this season.
Ben Madgen is getting his minutes but needs to see more of the ball if South East Melbourne want to continue to be successful in the long run.
We saw in the second quarter if he gets involved he can score points in a hurry. He finished the game with 13 points and eight rebounds but if his teammates get him more of the rock he could explode.
3. Defence, Defence, Defence
With Mitch Creek getting to the basket and shooters galore spreading the floor, the offence doesn’t seem to be too much of a problem. Instead, it’s the defence that leaves the most to be desired for South East Melbourne.
The Bullets had far too many open looks early on offence, taking advantage of numerous breakdowns and mismatches.
Lamar Patterson in the 2nd quarter did whatever he wanted, and they did eventually tighten the screws across the board which allowed them to get away. However, it seems that in the future their defence will be their key barometer.
4. Music Overload
This is a gripe across the whole league - just ease it back a little on the music, please. It seems like every single play is punctuated by music, and let’s be honest - we probably don’t need it.
It’s great to hear the players talk and the crowd “ooo”, “ahh”, and chant, but sadly we don't always get to hear it.
Big props to the band in the crowd though, love the college basketball vibes!
5. Triple Threat
The Phoenix can flat out shoot the ball. Against the Bullets, they went 18/35 from deep, led by John Roberson who nailed 9/11 from behind the arc.
They have shooters galore on their roster, with Roberson, Ben Madgen, and Kendall Stephens all at an elite level. Meanwhile, Kyle Adnam, Mitch Creek, Adam Gibson, and Tai Wesley when he returns, are all more than capable.
Keep your eye out, this team could break some records if they turn it on.
6. Lamar is just fine
There were questions about Lamar Patterson’s fitness levels coming into this NBL season, but those worries have been put to bed after just two rounds.
Playing the second game of a double-header weekend, the import had 30 points, four rebounds and three assists in just under 27 minutes. That performance came after also playing 27 minutes on Friday.
7. Don't sleep on the Phoenix
Prior to the season, plenty of experts had the Phoenix performing well, however just missing the playoffs. We’re only two rounds in but they may have been a serious underestimation based on what we’ve seen from South East Melbourne.
They have recruited really well and looked to have nailed their import selections. Obviously it’s early, but don’t sleep on the Phoenix because they could wreak some havoc in this league.
And just quietly, their pregame presentation was super impressive.