Clarke made the statement in reference to Cedric Jackson, who again ended Sixers hopes of a win against his Breakers with a dominant start to the second half. A couple of baskets and assists had the Breakers well and truly in control after a strong finish by Adelaide to close the first half.
Those comments will come as a slap in the face to Adam Gibson and Daniel Johnson....but he's right. Gibson has had some big runs and even big quarters but he's never really finished a team off. Clarke's comments about locating and affording are true but he made the call to sign Schenscher and Gibson and effectively end any chances the team had of affording a top-notch import.
This off-season will be fascinating. If Gibson stays, the club will be hamstrung financially in finding a decent import, even if Weigh is not resigned. If he goes the club has some flexibility. If Gibson walks and Christopherson and Weigh are let go, they could probably afford an upper end salary and mid-range salary. The "locating" now becomes the key. Let's consider how every other club fared with it's imports this season.
NEW ZEALAND- Cedric Jackson, Will Hudson
The club lost star import Gary Wilkinson this year but replaced him with Hudson. Wilkinson has been missed but Hudson has certainly had his moments and gives them better size inside. Jackson is again an MVP candidate and should be the runaway winner.
PERTH- Kevin Lisch and Michael Dunigan
The team has largely played with just one import, reigning MVP Kevin Lisch. It also had Michael Dunigan for a month while Matt Knight was injured, giving Adelaide a lesson in how to find a quick fix. Dunigan is still developing but could dominate in a league such as the NBL.
MELBOURNE- Seth Scott and Jonny Flynn
Scott and Kevin Braswell were it's original imports but Braswell was let go early and replaced by the highest NBA draft pick to ever hit our shores. Scott has been impressive and consistent without truly stamping his impact on many games. Flynn has immense talent but has struggled with focus at times.
WOLLONGONG- Adris Delon, Malcolm Grant
Grant came in late to replace the injured Lance Hurdle and , you guessed it, he's been good. Deleon has struggled with inconsistency at times but has been excellent down the stretch.
TOWNSVILLE: Gary Ervin
It's two original imports (Withers & Forte) were let go before the season proper began, making them a laughing stock. That changed when they managed to grab Gary Ervin and Larry Abney (well maybe the Abney signing had a few giggling). Abney didn't work out but Ervin eventually returned to his best and helped lead his team on an unimaginable playoff run when he was paired with Luke Nevill.
SYDNEY: Darnell Lazare, Corin Henry
These two have surprised a lot. Both made the All-Star game and have both had dominant moments. Lazare has been a little more inconsistent while Henry has been very good. The team's playoff ambitions took a dive when Henry went down with a season-ending injury, showing how much he meant to his team.
CAIRNS: Wilson, Edwards
Wilson has dropped down a level this year while still having some big games, Edwards has improved as the season has progressed but has not been in the same class as many of the league's imports. No surprise that this pairing has probably been the least ineffective and they have been outside the playoff bracket for most of the year.
A disaster on many levels. When the team let CJ Massingale go many were outraged despite his less than stellar numbers. It then took Adelaide weeks to get replacement Scott Christopherson in uniform, largely due to the fact he was signed right around Christmas. Billed as a "lights-out" three point shooter who worked hard and played smart defense, Christopherson hasn't worked out. In fact many are calling him the worst import ever. I can't say I've seen enough of the league over 30 years but his numbers make the argument hard to dispute.
So all-in-all four imports have been let go this year and in every case you'd say those teams managed to find a better solution and make a surprising playoff run. Except Adelaide. Three teams have had to find injury replacements and have also done it well. Whatever changes Adelaide's makes this year, it must ensure it gets it 's import(s) right for 2013-2014. With much of our best local talent now forced to earn a decent living overseas, a lot relies on having an elite import.