NBL Free Agency – Build your team
The NBL Free agency period has begun and teams are looking to fill their ten roster spots with contracted players. As teams are announcing their latest signings, Mookie and I began to think; how would we build our team if it were up to us? The NBL is expecting new teams to begin arriving the season after next. If that time was now, who would we sign?
So with the points cap in mind and our ficitious cheque books open. These are the teams that we would build.
PG Seth Curry (10) Iliadis, Trian (3)
SG Daniel Dillon (6) Drake U’u (4)
SF Peter Crawford (6) Bennie Lewis (4)
PF Ike Diogu (10) Majok Majok (3)
C Larry Davidson (7) Adam Ballinger (7)
Obviously this line-up sweats on being able to sign an Aussie centre in Davidson, Diogu capable to play centre in the NBL signed as an import as collateral rather than sign a more athletic import such as Devin Ebanks to cover the middle should Davidson immediately sign with the Hawks. Whether Luke Nevill wants to play in Oz might mean he could be another option. Adam Ballinger filling in inside minutes from off the bench. Diogu adds explosiveness and strength inside with long arms and a bit of shooting from out of the key.
Ater Majok’s cousin an interesting addition coming off the bench.
Peter Crawford competently covers the wing with a succession plan of nabbing someone like Igor Hadziomerovic the season after next. With a bit of luck, Bennie Lewis has learnt a little more about basketball in his time abroad and can be a productive role player from off the bench.
Daniel Dillon brings some energy to the floor. Dillon was the ability to change the context of the game in a few short minutes and Drake U’u coming off the bench proficient of playing either guard position and Trian Iliadis, a talented and quick guard making his NBL debut after tearing up WA’s SBL
Team Haggard is looking to fill the starting point guard slot and finish the team off with an exciting point guard. In this case enticing a fringe NBA player or dominant NBA-D leaguer with a few extra dollars in Seth Curry. Curry is a savy prospect that can excite and shoot the lights out.
PG Rhys Martin (8) Everard Bartlett (3)
SG Leandro Barbosa (10) Peter Crawford (6)
SF Bennie Lewis (4) Brad Hill (5)
PF Gary Wilkinson (10) Adam Ballinger (7)
C Auryn MacMillan (4) Greg Vanderjagt (5)
Whilst putting together a team from scratch to enter the NBL right now is certainly a challenge, this squad could certainly be a winner if marketed as the team of Sydney’s Northern Beaches. With the central promise of excitement and passionate play, the Northern Beaches Blur will market themselves to both the long-term Northern Beaches locals, as well as the transplanted Brazilian community which has made the area their home.
The first key marquee signing would be that of NBA veteran Leandro Barbosa. The “Brazilian Blur” would embody the spirit of this new team and provide the razzle dazzle that the fans expect. Despite a lengthy NBA career, the speedy guard proved during this past NBA season that he still has it, scoring in double figures on five occasions, with a high of 21 points in a support role for the Phoenix Suns. As a free agent, a move downunder to an adoring Brazilian and Aussie fanbase would make for a nice final few years of Leandrinho’s career.
Partnering with Barbosa in the starting lineup in the excitement stakes will be both Gary Wilkinson and Bennie Lewis. The duo, who both show dynamic offensive play, could be lured back to Australia with the salary cap room, and relaxed beach lifestyle that the new club could offer. Rhys Martin is the perfect set-the-table point guard to get these offensive players the ball.
The centre position will be manned by two of the most potential-filled Aussie free agent big men on the market, in Auryn MacMillan and Greg Vanderjagt. Both have shown their glimpses of promise, and as a duo, they’d find a good game between them on a weekly basis. Backing up both frontcourt positions is Adam Ballinger. “Balls” has the experience to provide offence off the bench and to also teach the younger bigs some new tricks. He is the perfect player to spell Wilkinson.
Peter Crawford still has plenty in the tank, and a dynamic bench role as the scoring punch injection could prolong his career. Brad Hill and Everard Bartlett — both underused by their previous teams — have proven in recent years that if given decent minutes, they can be impactful contributors in this league. They are both the type of players that add to the fast-paced razzamatazz that is the Northern Beaches Blur
This task wasn’t as easy as we first thought. There isn’t a lot of talent with proven NBL experience available. We are taking our chances on players who are yet to cut their teeth in the league
So, this is how we would sign our own NBL teams. What spots did we get right? What did we get wrong? How and who would you sign your team? Who isn’t looking forward to the NBL season?