Adelaide Arena on November 3. Adelaide was returning home from New Zealand to play it's second game within 72 hours against a fresh Sydney Kings unit. It was the road-wearly Sixers though who came away with a 97-84 win. This time around, Adelaide is super fresh and comes up against a Kings team playing it's first game of the weekend. They certainly look tired though.
Adelaide spanked the Breakers last weekend and in doing so got plenty of rest for it's stars. Gary Ervin sat out and comes back this week for his first game of 2014. Sydney suffered a demoralising loss to Cairns last round as it continues to struggle since it "upgraded" from Jesse Sanders to Sam Young. Sanders wasn't setting the world on fire but wasn't a "bust" either. His team was 4-3 when he was cut loose, with those 3 losses being against Perth (twice) and Adelaide. So they were 4-0 against everyone else.
When the Kings got the chance to bring in a true NBA talent in Young, they felt they had to make a move. Earlier in the season Charles Carmouche would have likely been cut but after a few high-scoring games the Kings decided to let their point guard go. The thinking was that the Kings could get by with a point guard-by committee set-up. How wrong they were.
The Kings are struggling with ball movement and getting into any offensive flow. Madgen, Carmouche and Young all need touches but have no-one to get them the ball in their spots. Each guy would be best suited to taking 15-20 shots a game and being paired with a pass-first guard. Often the Kings offense has resorted to Young or Madgen trying to create something from nothing. Madgen had some success doing that last year but this year is still working back from injury and a is playing in a very different lineup.
Young on the other hand is trying to be something he's not. His reputation is as a defensive stopper but he's certainly not building that reputation here. In college he shot 49.7 from the field and 35.6% from three point land. In the NBA he shot 44.2% from the field and just 28% on threes. In the NBL he's shooting 44.8% from the field and 30% on triples. Despite those numbers, Young is third in the league in PPG at 21.3. He's showing people back home that he can score the ball. The problem? His team has gone 1-5 since he's been here.
So what's gone wrong? Is Young a bust?
While Young has had some offensive moments that make Kevin Tiggs look like Kevin Durant basketball-IQ wise, his numbers are ok. His "potential growth area" would be less three attempts (currently 5 a game) and more posting up and drives. He's too often resorted for early shot clock jumpers or trying to take on 4 players.
Young's issue is the same as the team's- they've got the wrong mix of players.
If the stars had aligned we could have been treated to a Sanders/ Madgen/ Young/ Ellis/ Ogilvy lineup with Harvey as 6th man. That's a very good lineup. Madgen and Ogilvy would have been the prime offensive options with Young and Ellis stepping up depending on matchups etc. The Kings clearly cut the wrong guy and didn't show enough patience in waiting for Harvey and Ellis to be available.
But all of that helps Adelaide.
If the teams lineup tomorrow as expected we'll see.....
Ervin/ Gibson/ Frye/ Petrie/ Johnson
Carmouche/ Madgen/ Young/ Garlepp/ Ogilvy
Sydney certainly has some size that could bother Adelaide but expect, like last time, for Luke Schenscher to be given some good minutes in this one. Schensch has been in good form of late and had a day out last time against the Kings. "Big Red" anchored a 2-3 zone that gave Sydney lots of problems. Expect more of the same.
Adelaide's advantage will be it's ability to trap on D and I'd expect them to be merciless in trying to exploit Sydney's lack of ball-handlers.
Ervin will be keen to remind Adelaide of what it's been missing and that's he's still the "top dog" point guard. Jason Cadee will be keen to show he's deserving of more minutes. They'll both push the ball. Frye and Peach will both get minutes guarding Young and both will cause him different problems. DJ struggled against Ogilvy last time on D and should be keen to inflict some more pain on his friend who's struggled the most since Sanders departed the league.
Sydney will be keen to win and to gain some instant credit with a victory over the Sixers. It won't happen though. Adelaide is too good at home, has too many weapons and will be fired up by what should be it's biggest crowd since the early 2000's.
My Tip: Adelaide by 17