As of 25/8/12, the 36ers roster looks like this
Bench- Crosswell, Petrie, Creek
Boti Nagy has written this week that there's a good chance SEABL import CJ Massingale and journeyman Pero Vasiljevic will fill the last 2 spots. I haven't seen Massingale play but he's certainly piled up some good numbers in the second league, scoring over 20ppg each year and collecting a stack of awards. The word on him is he's as comfortable taking it to the hole as he shooting it from range. He's also allegedly a good on-ball defender with a tremendous work ethic. Having played 7 years of SEABL, he'll likely just be grateful for a chance in the "big league" and should be a good weapon off the bench if he is indeed signed. Oh and he'll be cheap.
Pero I'm a little more familiar with, having watched him play many times in juniors and then in various stints around the NBL. He'll be the 10th man and should be a good fit playing spot minutes at the 5. He's offensively an upgrade on Helliwell but probably lacks the tricks of Big Wade on D. In any case it will be good to see him finish his career back at home and be the sole local boy on the team.
Are you excited about this team?
Let's break it down by position.............
POINT GUARD (Cadee, Crosswell, Gibson, Massingale)
I'm assuming Cadee will start and am very happy with this. Jason has the pedigree and needs to be thrown the ball to show all he can do. He impressed at the Stankjovic Cup and is well placed for a career year. Going with Cadee also guarantees we don't have another failed import experiment. Crosswell showed he's a very capable backup last year and assuming he's fully fit will be a luxury off the bench. Last year he turned out to be our best option as the starting point but wore down in several games. Gibson will also play some minutes at the point and has shown he's very comfortable in that position. Massingale is more a combo guard than a swingman but should see few minutes at the 1. Against bigger teams, Gibbo and Creek will used to form a nice defensive backcourt.
SHOOTING GUARD (Gibson, Massingale, Creek)
Probably the most loaded position but a lot of pressure will be on Clarke to get the balance right. Gibson probably needs to play 25-30 mins a night at the 2 yet Massingale and Creek will both be hoping for 20 minutes a game. That doesn't quite add up. Creek ideally will play about 12-15 minutes a game at the 3 and 5-10 at the 2. Massingale is 6"3 and is advertised as a combo guard but should predominately play the 2. I'm assuming he'll eat into Creek's minutes if he works out and that might not be great for team harmony overall.
SMALL FORWARD (Weigh, Creek)
I figure Weigh will get similar "opportunities" to last year (ie only get spelled if he suffers a serious injury). I don't like Creek and Weigh on the floor at the same time so I'm hopeful Weigh will play around 25 minutes at the 3 and Creek will get the rest of the small forward minutes.Somewhere someone is saying "tell him he's dreaming".
POWER FORWARD (Johnson, Petrie)
Johnson should continue to blossom and should be happier getting the bulk of his minutes at the 4. When Schenscher sits (or misses with injury), DJ should slide over to the 5. We all know what he can do on offense but he must greatly improve his defensive game for the Sixers to go anywhere this year. Not many opposition frontcourts will be fearful of the Weigh/DJ/Schenscher lineup and DJ must work his butt off on both ends of the floor, stop whining to the refs and Marty and become a league leader in blocks, steals and rebounds. Petrie figures to mainly feature as the backup at the 4 and is a big upgrade over what we had for most of last year.
CENTRE (Schenscher, Johnson, Vasiljevic)
I really hope the Schenscher move works....but I've got my doubts. In the right lineup I like him but the 36ers have taken some risks by making him one of the highest paid pickups and by pairing him in a frontcourt with Johnson and Weigh. I hope it works because if it does I'll be seeing lots of wins, if it doesn't though the season could go very pear-shaped. There's also the injury concerns. If Schensch (or DJ) goes down for any decent stretch it means Petrie joins the starters, leaving only Pero coming off the bench (like last year with Big Wade). Ouch.
Clarke will draw some praise for pretty much fielding an all-Aussie lineup but I do think there's also been consideration given to the lack of success his era has had with imports. Going down the "local guys plus a SEABL import" route is a little safer. If he can get Gibson, Petrie and Schenscher to produce near their best NBL form, continue to develop Johnson, Creek and Weigh, unearth the potential within Jason Cadee, get the last drops out of Pero and Crossy and have some success with CJ this will be a Top 4 team and Clarke will earn another contract.
Let's pray it all works out ...and remember to give thanks that Gold Coast folded.