Tasmania JackJumpers: Was year two better than year one?
Reviewing the JackJumpers' year and exploring Scott Roth’s suggestion that it was better than their first season, despite an earlier exit.
Credit: May Bailey Photography
On the back of his team being eliminated in the semi-final series, Scott Roth reflected postgame about what had been achieved in year two, and how it might compare to the fairy tale run of their debut season.
“For me, it’s been maybe a better year than last year. We didn’t get to the Grand Finals, but our guys were just fantastic all season. To finish fourth again in this type of league is quite tough. To win a [play-in] game to get in and be where we’re at, I’m super proud of our group, our effort, and our organisation. We’ve had a lot of good milestones this year. Our brand continues to be built. We continue to defend the island.”
Roth’s comments piqued my interest, but they were also quickly met with agreement. The JackJumpers were an upgraded and more well-rounded team, and they faced stiffer competition in the semi-finals this time around.
Both the 2023 New Zealand Breakers and the 2022 Melbourne United squads were elite on defence, but the differentiating factor was the self-created shot-making of Barry Brown. The forward-thinking question on United all last season was their lack of a true half court bucket-getter to go to in a slower playoff setting — they finished the season 7th in half court efficiency. Brown was the bail out option that Melbourne never had and, in the end, the difference in this year’s series (32-points in the closeout game).
With such little roster turnover this past offseason, we can compare the JackJumpers’ seasons far more easily than other teams. The criticism of the inaugural roster decisions centred around locking in all of their locals on multi-year deals, despite many being fringe role players. The worry was that year two wouldn’t have enough flexibility to improve the rotation after a difficult first season.
Year one clearly eliminated most of these concerns. The team outperformed expectations on the floor due to the player’s character, chemistry, and buy-in, together with the work of the coaching staff, but questions still lingered for year two.