3/15/12

Player Spotlight: Wade Helliwell

2.3pts
1.4reb
0.2blk

Interested?

Not flattering numbers (and I didn't even mention the 38% FG) but the numbers don't tell the full story.

As a rookie, Wade Helliwell looked to have a bright basketball future. He tallied 8.6pts and 5.9pts for the Bullets and saw his numbers gradually rise, then drop back, before departing for a successful career in Europe in Italy and Greece. He returned home last year to the Melbourne Tigers and had limited opportunities in a ridiculously crowded frontcourt. He appeared to be a shell of his former self, lacking the polish and moves around the basket many remembered (I'm guessing he was turned into a screen-setting, defensive focused Euro-drone). Adelaide added him to the roster for the 2011-2012 season, needing a big body to use against the other man mountains in the league (see "Nevill, Luke", "Khazzouh, Julian" etc).

So how has he fared?

He tallied 8pts and 4reb in the season opener against Perth and was far from our worst in a big home loss. Strangely the 8pts have been a season high and the 4 rebounds his second best effort on the boards. In 7 of the next 8 games he played less than 10 minutes, largely due to the battle for minutes as DJ, Simpson, Balls and Wade all prefer the 4 or 5.

In December, Ballinger went down with a season-ending ankle injury and suddenly Wade was our only guy over 6"6 on the bench (except for Jan Warbout). Helliwell soon become an important part of the team and was called upon to spell DJ and Diamon and go to war with bigs too much for the others too handle.  He's had his moments (the Sydney game when Ballinger went down, against Schenscher in Adelaide) and has looked equally useful and equally,......, limited, over the season.

THE GOOD
Excellent screen setter
Team man
Can frustrate and restrict the 6"10+ guys
Can score inside with his left hand often troubling some defenders

THE BAD
Doesn't pull enough rebounds for a 6"11 guy
Not a shot blocker
38% FG.

Unless Adelaide brings in a big import centre, I'd keep him around for another year. He's valuable against opposition bigs who are 6"10+ and/or of solid build. He appears to be well liked by team mates, is willing do do the team things and seems content to play a role.

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