The Sydney Kings made light work of the Adelaide 36ers, defeating them 102-80 at Qudos Bank Arena. The Kings put a beatdown on the 36ers in the first quarter and the hapless 36ers never recovered. It was a game billed as the showdown between the returning Jerome Randle and his Sydney replacement Casper Ware, but in reality, it was a game that showcased the almost bottomless depths of the Kings’ talent, and the nagging defensive issues of the 36ers.
Kings’ depth frightening
It’s almost unfair how much talent the Kings have on their roster. They were able to cruise past Adelaide with ease, and did so without a big contribution from Andrew Bogut, who only played a fraction under thirteen minutes.
The Kings got important contributions from everyone who stepped on the floor. Ten players impacted the scoreboard, with five scoring in double digits. Every cog in the machine had a role to play, whether it was scoring, rebounding, passing or doing the one per-centers. Every name stepped up when their number was called to do their job. It was remarkable to watch.
Sydney’s stars had solid games but it was their second and third-tier players that made the big difference. The ever-dangerous Daniel Kickert had 16 points and torched the 36ers from three, hitting four long-bombs. Journeyman Shawn Bruce only had 3 points but finished with a game-high 7 assists, on and on down the list the contributions came.
A lot of the credit for Sydney’s performance must go to head coach Will Weaver. Having talent at your disposal is one thing, but having the talent play for each other in a fluid and selfless manner is another matter entirely. The players clearly have faith in Weavers’ vision of ball movement and sharing, and tonight the Kings thrived in his system.
It’s early days, but Weaver could be the Kings’ x-factor going forward. His player rotations are slick and he clearly knows how to maximise the advantages his team has over the competition.
On top of all that, Sydney got the win without Didi Louzada, who was sidelined after failing a fitness test before the game. When he returns from injury the Kings will be even more potent.
Adelaide’s Defence sluggish
It’s a new season and once again Adelaide’s defence, or lack thereof, is an issue. Their defence let them down early and the Kings were essentially able to win the game in the first quarter, pouring on 30 points like it was nothing.
Adelaide’s defensive rotations were not existent in the opening ten minutes of play. The Kings were able to fire at will from behind the three-point line, with Adelaide’s defenders a day late and buck short. By half-time they had allowed 19 Sydney three-point attempts, most of them open or poorly contested. By the end of the game, the Kings had jacked up 40 long-range attempts and made 10. A staggering number compared to Adelaide’s 16 attempts.
A lack of effort on the glass was another glaring issue for Adelaide. The 36ers conceded 16 offensive rebounds. One, in particular, stood out as particularly ugly. During the second quarter, Casper Ware, one of the smallest players on the court, was allowed to retrieve his own shot in the midst of three Adelaide players.
Joey Wright and the 36ers can take solace that they were eventually able to find some traces of their defensive intensity during patches of the third and fourth quarters. However, their slow defensive starts will kill their season quickly if unresolved. It’s early days, so it’s not all doom and gloom. Yet.
Tate the King’s utility man
Jae’sean Tate was incredibly impressive in his NBL home debut. Logging 16 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, the 23-year-old American did a little bit of everything and is shaping up to be Sydney’s all-round utility player.
He played with infectious energy and appears to be someone who revels in the physical nature of the NBL.
Tate gives Sydney some tantalising option on offence with his ability to run the floor and scary flexibility on defence. His undersized stature (193 cm) at the four-spot didn’t seem to be a big issue against Adelaide, who is one of the biggest teams in the competition. The import is shaping up to be one of the players to watch in #NBL20 and could become one of the Kings’ most important players as the season progresses.