2014-15 NBL Season Preview – Sydney Kings
Who did the Kings add this season?
Josh Childress: import small forward with NBA credentials
Kendrick Perry: super-fast import point guard, straight out of college and time with the Orlando Magic Summer League team – a serious talent
Angus Brandt: Aussie big man returning from Oregon State University to his hometown
Josh Duinker: another Sydney big returning home, after time in Europe, using his duel-nationality with a Dutch passport
Jason Cadee: the speedy point guard is yet another Sydney-sider returning home after playing with the Adelaide 36ers and Gold Coast Blaze
Coach Damian Cotter: stepping up from his assistant role is the experienced state and national women’s coach
Who did the Kings lose this season?
AJ Ogilvy: the talented big man is off to Europe
Sam Young: the NBA gun for hire was never long for these shores
Jesse Sanders: the consummate team point guard
Charles Carmouche: import shooting guard
Brad Hill: swingman joins Wollongong Hawks
James Harvey: veteran shooting guard and co-captain has not resurfaced with another NBL roster
Who will be the keys to success?
Much is expected of big-name import Childress. His NBA pedigree and recognisable ‘fro will be the drawcard that pulls the fans in and gives his team that “can-win” feeling, going into battle against the NBL’s heavyweights.
However, the play of Perry may be even more important. The 6’0″ point guard with the 6’6″ wingspan and the 42″ vertical can really get to the bucket and put the pressure on defensively. Whilst being young, he has an air of maturity about him as a leader, one who will likely put in some impressive performances for the Kings this season against some formidable point guard opponents. He reminds me of a young Cedric Jackson.
In the paint, the combo of Brandt, Duinker and incumbents Tom Garlepp and Cody Ellis will rotate to provide coach Cotter with a multi-talented four-headed monster. Their ability to find at least two good performances between the four of them every time the Kings hit the floor, will be integral to success. Garlepp is clearly one of this team’s leaders – by example.
Who will be the X-Factor that could elevate the Kings if they step up?
As odd as it may sound, captain Ben Madgen could indeed be the Kings’ X-Factor this season. Lost in the hoopla of the arrival of the flashy imports, the return of the hometown crew and the departure of Ogilvy, Young and coach Shane Heal, is the fact that Madgen is still the guy who made the 2013 All-NBL First Team and recently was part of the Australian Boomers program.
Madge can fill it up from any area on the court and remains the heart and soul of this club. His grittiness, which extends to a commitment to on the defensive end of the floor, will win games for the Kings this season, whilst the focus of the crowd (and the opponents) is on the alley-oops his teammates are throwing down. Don’t sleep on him.
Meanwhile, Cadee is the other player who will change the face of games this season. His pace and ability to nail big threes will come to the fore off the bench. There will be games where he pushes 20 points this season, pushing the Kings to victory.
Where will the Kings finish on the ladder?
This season’s NBL competition will be incredibly tight. The spread of talent is incredible. That said, we’re not here to sit on fences — it’s time to make a call.
Behind a strong second half push, as the new team gels, the Kings will scrape into the playoff race in 4th place on the ladder.
What reason does an average fan have to watch the Kings this season?
1. High-flying excitement: in a pre-season game last month I counted no less than four alley-oops with Childress and Perry throwing down on the end of them. This team is built to entertain.
2. Josh Childress: the man is a genuine NBA talent; one who the average NBA fan knows.
3. Hard work: the likes of Madgen, Garlepp, Kevin White and Daniel Joyce put in workmanlike performances whenever they hit the floor for the Kings. If you’re a purist who appreciates players going the hard yards, these guys will not disappoint.
Next: our Season Preview of the reigning champion Perth Wildcats.