Should they be in the NBL? A look at local talent playing abroad
Assessing Australian and New Zealand talent playing internationally, and their chances of returning to the NBL this off-season.
Here’s a look at our Aussie and Kiwi talent abroad that could return to the NBL’s shores this offseason.
If Thon’s constant quotes voicing his advocacy of the league, and tweets supporting his relatives playing for the Sydney Kings wasn’t enough smoke, multiple reports linking Maker to NBL teams have surfaced via the media over the past week. I floated his name as somewhat of a pipe dream for the NBL in March 2021, his situation has played out in a way that makes the likelihood of him joining the league more realistic.
Initially focused on proving himself in Europe —like Dante Exum in Barcelona— Maker has struggled mightily, averaging 14.8 minutes per game and shooting 23.8% from the field and 14.3% (1-7) from three, before leaving the Israeli team. It was clear the slender, stretch big was not suited to the role of big men in the Euro-style game.
Since then, Maker had a partially redeeming stint with the Long Island Nets of the NBA G League. Connecting with Australian coach Adam Caporn, Maker’s overall number still weren’t eye catching, but Maker improved as the season went on, including a stretch of play towards the end of the season which included performances of 16 points and 9 rebounds (7-8 FG), 21 points and 11 rebounds (9-10 FG), 20 points and 6 rebounds (6-11 FG, 4-5 3PT) & 15 points and 14 rebounds (6-12 FG, 3-6 3PT). It’s those flashes that demonstrate Maker’s upside, and the NBL is the perfect opportunity for Maker to receive a consistent role and reestablish his career.
One of Australia’s best European exports, Brock Motum, has been plying his trade in Europe his entire professional career, with the exception of his season long stint with the Adelaide 36ers during the 2014-15 NBL season.
Coming off a sensational 2020-2021 campaign playing with both Galatasaray and Nanterre 92, scoring 14.5 points per game, shooting 54.8% from the field, 47.6% from three, and 90.7% from the free throw line, it appeared Motum was destined to stay in Europe for the foreseeable future, but sources tell The Pick and Roll that Motum nearly returned to the NBL by way of the Adelaide 36ers, with the team ultimately unable to meet his salary requirements.
With a clear willingness to return to Australia given the right offer, it would make even more sense for the now 31 year old veteran to explore his NBL options, after logging a quieter 9.2 minutes per game across 30 Euroleague appearances and 19.2 minutes per game across 20 Jeep Elite League games this season for AS Monaca Basket.
Motum clearly remains a sensational player who continues to shoot the ball at a prolific rate. Despite his stint with the Adelaide 36ers now firmly distant in the past, his ability to translate to a starring role at the NBL level was clear. It will inevitably cost a premium, but the value of marquee local players is obvious.
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