It's Majok! (36ers vs Wildcats 4/1/18)

Image result for majok deng 


Going into the 3rd quarter, Adelaide trailed 67-65 after Perth got their act together and smashed Adelaide with a 27-14 quarter.

Then Majok Deng happened. 

Deng started the 4th and scored 16 points in 6:07. Not bad.  Until that point Adelaide's bench had hardly fired a shot. Moore had an off night. Hodgson- I hope you're sitting down- had foul trouble. Deng and Teys had barely played.

Childress, DJ, Mitch and Shorter had all been solid. Sobey....not so much.

Adelaide defense was very good and offensively they were getting plenty of open shots. Unfortunately some of the shot selection wasn't great but Perth didn't exactly make them pay.

Childress (13 boards) and Mitch (11/13 FT) hustled hard and did plenty of the little things with some great highlights thrown in. DJ battled hard and finished with 19 & 9 on 6/8 shooting. Shorter was generally good with a 13/8/7 line.

For Perth, Bryce Cotton (26pts) and JP Tokoto (20pts) did most of the heavy lifting, with some help from Angus Brandt (8 & 7). D-Mart, Waxy and Cooke Jnr didn't give enough help when it mattered most (for example, Walker fouled out in 16 minutes).

Adelaide looks to have found the right starting unit and when Drmic returns and if Deng can contribute more regularly, the 36ers might just be contenders.

For now though, January 4, 2018 will always be "Deng" night. Plus the night I won a free burger.


Short Changed: Review: 36ers vs United 5/10/17

Season openers regularly throw up some inconsistent games and Adelaide 17/18 debut was a classic example.

The Sixers........
-Shot the ball better (48% to 44%)
-Smashed United at the line (23/30 vs an horrendous 11/23)
-Had 13 steals/blocks to United's 6
-Led by 9 at quarter time

Yet still lost the game.

The difference was on the boards, where Melbourne out rebounded Adelaide 52-42, leading to 27 second chance points.

Adelaide opened with a DJ/Hodgson combo but regularly had to play Mitch or Drmic at the 4. Despite having the strength to play the 4, Creek regularly saw the opposition out reach or out jump him for offensive boards. On one occasion, he even tipped one in for them. He battled hard but this wasn't the team for him to be playing extended minutes at the 4 against.

Mitch was put in this position due to the game day announcement Ronald Roberts would be taking his talents elsewhere (ie a knee specialist). He denied Adelaide's social media report that he was injured at all. More to come on this but it doesn't ease the doubts that were out there over the state of his knees.

This late change no doubt hurt Adelaide and forced some late rotation changes. For large stretches of the game the rotations looked fine, at least on offense. Adelaide ran all game and regularly attacked the basket. The team did only take 16 threes though, a very low number in the modern era. Drmic and Sobey combined for 6/9 and both looked great. The rest of the team went 0/7.

It will be an interesting season for the team as is undergoes another transformation. To me it now appears to be Sobey's team. He shot 8 of 12 and grabbed 9 rebounds and was excellent at both ends. He played 35 minutes, picking up Casper Ware for the majority of the game full court and then hitting the boards manfully. He,Moore and Drmic look to be our go-to options late in games. DJ figures to see less of the ball this year going off what we saw last night. A terrible DJ push shot and an ill-advised Creek three were not what we needed down the stretch.

Here's some thoughts on each player.

JOHNSON (13pts, 5 reb)
Never really got going and saw far less minutes than he's used to to. Will be an adjustment year for him as he becomes 3rd/4th option regularly on offense. Must turn his attention to defensive work.

CREEK (15pts, 3 reb)
Only recall him taking one shot (that three). The rest of the time he attacked the basket. Battled hard but struggled on defensive boards. Fouled out.

SOBEY (21pts, 9 reb)
21 points on 12 shots. Looked really good early but a little too restrained in the second half. Very solid defensive contribution too. The team now his.

HODGSON (5pts, 6 reb)
Only played 19 minutes and did his part. Must watch fouls and go harder early.

SHORTER (14pts, 5 ast)
Was solid but not spectacular. Main offensive move appears to be a fallback jumper. Works hard on D but regularly hits the floor. Nice having a bigger body on D but a big drop off from JR on offense.

TEYS (1 ast)
9 minutes and did little. Team -11 when he was on the court.

DENG (2pts, 2 reb)
Somehow looks skinnier than last year. Was a bit all over the place but had one nice end to end play that fired up the crowd. Joey clearly didn't trust him against Melbourne's vet bigs.

DRMIC (17pts, 5 reb)
Started the season like he finished the last. Looked good on offense, hit the boards, moved well. Could be a big year for him if he can be aggressive from outside.

MOORE (10pts, 3 reb).
Very versatile at both ends and looked good. Figures to be a key cog.

Editor's Note: Do not try the bbq chicken pizza. It was by far the worst pizza I've ever had, including frozen pizza. It tasted like a mass of soggy dough, cheap cheese and spam. If you take away nothing else from this blog, remember this!


Adelaide Are Good (Review: 36ers vs Kings 21/1/17)

Back in the day (around the time Mitch Creek looked like this), I used to write a report on EVERY 36ers game. I had season tix and watched away games on the old NBL.TV (like today's NBL.TV, except the games were generally pretty pixelated and you normally couldn't work out which players were and weren't on your team).

Then life got busy with 4 kids and other commitments and I had to surrender the season tix and found less time to even watch games live or on replay. I didn't want to blog without having a good handle on the team (although many would argue I never had a good handle and that never stopped me).

Tonight was I think the third game I've seen in person this year and was the second time I got to see the Kings. I won some tix on 5AA this week and was glad to see the Kings again who offer much, including...

-getting to see one of my favourite ever 36ers, Jason Cadee
-watching Gaze/Copeland/Vickerman go berserk for 33 minutes
-seeing a former NBA champion mail it in and sulk for 20 minutes

The Kings started ominously, throwing out a different look to the last visit, withe Garlepp starting and having much of the offense go through him. In theory, they should have run Cadee/Garlepp pick and rolls all night when Sobey and DJ were their opponents. After running up a 15-4 lead in under 3 minutes, Adelaide got it's stuff together and outscored the Kings 21-13 the rest of the way thanks largely to some nice outside shooting from JR and Drmic and the hustle of Creek and Jacobsen.

The game was turned on it's head in the second quarter when the Sixers held Sydney to just 9 points while scoring 20 of their own. The Kings started getting frustrated and made some bad errors on both ends. Plus they have a bench with no proven NBL players, just former NBA player Josh Powell who does compete at times but generally gets sucked into silly fouls and personal "priorities".

The game looked all but over at the half but the Kings hung around in the third before collapsing again in the fourth, unable to score with any consistency and defensively not having answers for Adelaide's revolving door of contributors.

Whittington had a bad night but is a worthy import, Cadee and Lisch had moments but were well down and only Garlepp would have gone home feeling he'd had a solid game. The Newley injury obviously kills them but their depth is a major issue. They'd trade any of their bench for any of ours I'd dare say (and yes, that includes JP).

As I've not reviewed many of the players for a while, here's some quick thoughts.

Made some bad errors on D when switching but was solid overall, again racking up big minutes (35:28)

Started well but again racked up quick fouls and again was rarely sighted after. Guessing he may be injured or being kept in cotton wool for the playoffs. Or just taking one for the team early to get EJ more minutes.

Played just 10 minutes and was -12  for them. Already an elite defender, just not getting enough looks on offense and hasn't shown much when putting the ball on the floor.

Still can't get over how much better his shot looks. Makes some bad mistakes on defense and still gambles too much but enjoy him while he's here, could be NBA bound anytime.

Great numbers (19pts, 11 assists) and yet didn't think he was "great". Fell in love with the dribble a little too much and I'd like to see him more consistent over 40 minutes as he seems to waste some stretches out there while dominating at others.

Playing his role to perfection and he clearly loves it. Comes off the bench, plays hard and attacks at both ends. Provides great leadership and balance as needed. Huge.

Played a great game, scoring 12, grabbing 6 boards and getting two blocks in 23 minutes.  Could be starting but coming off the bench ensures he doesn't get hampered by early foul trouble.

Strangely doesn't seem at the level of 2 years ago, especially offensively, but gives Joey another guard to get at it.

11 and 5 in 17 minutes with a whopping +26 when on the court. Liked what he did on the press, hit some triples and starting to look more comfortable.

The team is playing great, clearly loves playing together and players are getting used to their roles. Plenty of teams are still coming together thanks to import changes and injuries but Adelaide is white hot and will be tough to beat in any series.


First Impressions (36ers vs United 14/10/2016)

Got my first live look at the 16/17 Sixers last night. The game was pretty average except for a late 36ers tease but there's plenty to be excited about. Here's my thoughts.

Has all the fundamentals you'd expect from someone who played four years of college ball at a respected college. Has shown a few different skills on offense but Adelaide most needs his defence because of...well you know who. Is a disciplined defender and has lots more to show on the press, looking especially dangerous when thrown out there with Deng and Ferguson. Figures to have a nice pro career.

Probably got a little caught up in the excitement of the late run at times but oozes talent, especially on defence. Wing span is incredible and expect to see more of him as Joey looks to tweak the full court press. Has range and plenty of athleticism. Lots to like. Had the best +/- last night (+11).

Already a great perimeter defender and shooter, just clearly needs to work on body, ball handling and interior D. By 2017 should be starting and playing plenty.

Was solid and did all he could to get the team going. United tried to expose him lots on defence and Ced Jax was smarter this time around, creating more out of the post than launching jumpers.

Solid on D but hampered us offensively. Was -15 for the night, hitting just 1/5 shots.

Injured early and never a factor.

Scored early but hurt us late. Poor night on D, still not showing much growth in his basketball IQ. -22 for the night.

Battled but missed some easy baskets and never had an influence.

Combined with Sobey pretty well on offense but defensively the height is an issue.

-13 in 13 minutes talks of the impact he had. Still to find his role but should be a contributor as season goes on.

Easily our best with Randle. Thrived playing in the "nothing to lose" last quarter and hit big baskets, nailed a huge dunk and ran amok on the pressure D. 15 points in 15 minutes.


Dare We Dream?

The Boomers have been mighty impressive in the Olympics, beating a star-studded French team and a well-drilled Serbian unit. What does it mean though going into Thursday morning's game (Australian Time- 7:30am for Naptown) against the might of the USA?

Despite never beating the USA, Australia has fared reasonably since Athens.

In 2012, Australia trailed by 14 at the half and held that deficit going into the fourth quarter before Kobe and Lebron blew Australia away in the 4th, beating us 119-86.

In 2008, Australia hung with the US for the first quarter, down just 25-24 before getting taken out in the third and fourth quarters, going down 116-85.

In 2004, Australia led 67-65 going into the last quarter but went down to 89-79 thanks to a rescue job by Tim Duncan and Shawn Marion.

The Aussies come into this game after two tough contests against elite teams. The US comes in after two blowouts against the worst teams in the group. It will be a big step up for the US....but a bigger step up for Australia.

There's a few reasons to be hopeful we'll be super competitive though.

1/ Delly. Averaging 10.5 assists over the two games, doing a great job of creating easy baskets for team mates and giving it all on D. The only Boomer who could hit from outside in the first three quarters before Joe and Patty joined the party.

2/ Bogut and Baynes. The US are unlikely to play their two biggest guys (Cousins and Jordan) at the same time but if they do, Australia will make them work. Expect them to try to take Bogut outside by playing more of Cousins, although he stunk Rio out with his game versus Venezuela. If Australia starts Bogut and Baynes at the 4 and 5 and the US starts Cousins and Durant at the 4 & 5, Baynes will be in trouble matching up on Durant but would aim to beat him up on the other end. I'd expect Ingles to get the start on Durant and we might see some Brock Motum early, who is one of our better options against Durant or Melo.

3/ Delly and Mills should be able to hold their own against Kyrie and Klay defensively. Thompson is 1/11 so far and Delly will have some ideas on what to throw at Kyrie.

4/ Probably the most pleasing thing about the two games was how Australia got the job done in the fourth quarter and how guys who'd been down did something to seal the game. This isn't a Boomers team relying on one or two guys and six guys have all had key contributions.

Some tinkering I'd like/expect to see versus the USA.....

-Some Brock Motum
-Lemanis to ensure Andersen always plays at the 4 and spreads the minutes right for Bogut/Baynes

If Australia can get something more from Ingles, Broekhoff and Andersen in particular and Baynes and Bogut can remain composed and out of foul trouble, we should witness a great game. A loss is a lot more likely than a win but the boys are playing well, aren't scared and know this is the best credentialed squad they've ever put up against the US.

Thursday can't come quick enough.


A medal? Not so fast......

It seems a lot of the Australian basketball public is expecting the most heavily credentialed Boomers team ever assembled to finally get a medal at this year's Rio Olympics. Maybe even gold. But have they fallen for the oldest sports trick in the book? Are we so caught up in the "stars" on our own team that we've forgotten about the cred of some of the other teams? Consider the talent on these teams alone who were the last to qualify for this years Olympics.

Croatia- Dario Saric, Mario Hezonja and Bojan Bogdanovic

France- Tony Parker, Nic Batum, Boris Diaw and Joffrey Lauvergne

That's the teams who just scraped in. Forget the star power across the US, Spain, Argentina  and the rest.

Here's some things that must be considered (plus some stuff I just wanted to say).

Bogut- Is he that important?
Yes. There's some man mountains on those Euro teams in particular and Bogut's defence and passing ability will be super important. Baynes was great at the World Champs in 2014 but isn't at Bogut's level as a rim protector or passer. Does have a nicer touch and is more athletic though.

Did we pick the right team?
Pretty much. Let me break it down.

Mills and Delly were musts. Lisch is a huge bonus as a naturalised Aussie and gives us a point man who can score and play excellent defence. Martin is an elite defender who should never be allowed to shoot. Goulding is an excellent "break in case of emergency" option as he can score in bunches and is great when you're up or down by 15.

Ingles and Broekhoff were never going to miss. Then it got interesting.

Andersen is proven on the world stage and, while in the twilight of his career, was needed for his experience and ability to stretch the floor.

Motum is one of the more flexible players in the squad and his physicality, shooting range and ability to play multiple positions on an extended pressure defence would have appealed to the coaches.

Bairstow for me was the lucky one. He's in the NBA  by the skin of his teeth and for me is a little one dimensional. Think he got the nod purely on the basis he's one of the better rebounders and may see more minutes if Bogut doesn't play.

Newley was unlucky to miss but the team clearly feels he would have received limited minutes and his inclusion would have robbed the team of stronger inside players.

Bogut and Baynes were always going to be the first two bigs picked and Maric is the likely emergency is Bogut doesn't win his race against time. Haven't seen enough of him to say whether Jawai would have been a better option but he's built an impressive resume overseas.

Gibson- Why did Martin leapfrog him?
Gibbo hasn't set the world on fire for the last 18 months and has lacked aggression at international level. Martin is a better fullcourt defender and deserves his shot.

Who is our go to player?
Probably Patty. He's coming off an ok season but one he was expected to bloom in. He's our most likely to take over a game but will need to play in career-best form for Australia to be a chance at getting a medal. Australia has some great screen-setters and he'll be relying on them to give him plenty of daylight.

My Starting 5?
Mills, Delly, Broekhoff, Andersen and Bogut. You'll likely see Bairstow or Ingles in one of those spots though.

Can we medal?
Yes..... but it will be very tough. On paper you expect USA, Australia, Serbia and France to progress from their group. Australia could finish anywhere from second to fourth. I'd tip Spain, Argentina, Lithuania and Croatia to emerge from the other group. Each team poses different challenges and once you're at the elimination stage anything can happen.

My prediction?
I'm hopeful but think we're still one Olympics away from getting a medal. A few of the Euro teams aren't as strong as 2012 which is a big help but they're still damn good.  There's a few guys on this team who'll be playing their last Olympics and a few who still have time but know this is the best squad they've been on. They're hungry and confident.

Can't wait for the games to begin.


Roll On 16/17

As reported by Boti Nagy in today's "The Advertiser" , Adelaide goes into the 2016/2017 with 7 players signed, leaving just 3 roster spots to fill. That also doesn't leave the team much room to mix things up.

The biggest likely change will be saying goodbye to captain and one of our best in recent years, Adam Gibson. For both parties, it's probably time for a change. Gibson hasn't been at his best for the last two seasons but has still been a huge contributor. It seems crazy to let a Boomer walk but if Adelaide retains Randle and has Teys and Sobey stitched up, it makes sense that Gibbo heads north east.

Ebi Ere, despite being one of our best over the last month, is also likely to be let go. He found some form recently but his age is working against him. As he's utilising one of the import spots, albeit at a cheap price, it makes sense to go in another direction. Thanks to JR, there is likely some more money in the coffers that Adelaide doesn't again have to go for a "Rite Price" import.

Lucas Walker is also out of contract. He battled hard and had some important games but also should be allowed to look for other opportunities.

That leaves Adelaide with....

GUARDS- Randle, Teys, Sobey
BIGS- Johnson, Petrie, Hodgson

My thinking is Adelaide needs a true big, a solid three point shooting guard who is an excellent defender and an athletic three. It's pretty hard to get a list of NBL free agents but I'd love to see Adelaide snare a legit "5" who can compete with the Jawai's, Khazzouh's and Ogilvy's and allow DJ to play more at the 4 (and not be exposed as a rim protector). Expect an import to fill this spot.

If Adelaide keeps Randle, he'll need to be paired with a big guard at the 2 who can take the opposition's best guard and can hit the three. Gibbo should have been able to play that role but prefers the ball in his hands and doesn't love being a volume shooter. Creek ticks all the boxes except for the "shooting threes" bit. A free agent needs to be found. With any luck Teys can get back to his best and Sobey can continue to develop, giving Adelaide a very strong backcourt.

Creek deserves a crack as the starting "3" but needs a complimentary backup who can shoot the ball well and run the floor. We all love Mitch but his shot is still too shaky to warrant playing 30-32 minutes a night. A Torrey Craig type would be ideal but the "5" spot must be our first priority for the import role.

Adelaide doesn't need much to go right to return to the playoffs next year. The coach and the core is there (assuming they can keep Randle). Two fit imports for Round 1 is critical and if Sobey and Hodgson continue to develop and Teys returns to 13/14 form, Adelaide will contend again.