Looking Back (Round 15 Review)
Studs and Duds
Wollongong guard Adris Deleon stopped the rot in emphatic fashion and fellow import Gary Ervin continued his hot streak to make round 15 a points bonanza for their NBL Dream Team coaches.
Deleon entered the round with his price slashed to less than $65,000 following a long stretch of sub-par performances, but a career-best game against reigning premiers New Zealand coupled with a strong showing against Townsville saw him finish the weekend as Dream Team’s top points earner.
Thrust into the starting line-up in the absence of injured teammates Rhys Martin and Lance Hurdle, Deleon dropped 34 points on the Breakers on Thursday before following up with a near-triple double in the Saturday night loss to the Crocs to tally 90 Dream Team points – a welcome turnaround from the previous six weeks where his best effort had been 14 points.
Despite Deleon’s heroics, Ervin was the shining light in Saturday night’s showdown, hitting 26 points at a sharp 57 per cent from the field and collecting four steals. That translated into 66 Dream Team points for the former MVP, helping him overtake Cedric Jackson as the game’s most expensive player.
Only Sydney centre Ian Crosswhite could lay claim to a better single-game score than Ervin in round 15, his 27-point, 13-rebound solo effort against Melbourne yielding a mammoth 84 points.
Jackson proved a worthy captaincy pick for the masses, pulling in 76 points from the Breakers’ two games, although teammates Tom Abercrombie and Mika Vukona – each valued at half Jackson’s hefty price tag – came close with 62 points apiece.
Perth forward Shawn Redhage underlined his essential status ahead of the Wildcats’ busy set of fixtures with 54 points in the big home win over Cairns, while Oscar Forman was the next best Wollongong scorer after Deleon with 48 points from the Hawks’ double.
Dream Team duds were pleasingly difficult to detect in round 15, although Sydney shooter Ben Madgen’s meagre return of just two points deserves a mention. Given the Kings have exhausted all of their two-game rounds this season, it seems Madgen’s days as a fantasy must-have are over.
Don’t be as quick to ditch Melbourne forward Seth Scott, but his 12-point effort against Sydney hardly inspired confidence ahead of the Tigers’ double-up in round 16.
Looking Forward (Round 16 Preview)
Pick Me, Pick Me!
While Scott may have scared off some suitors, teammate Jonny Flynn highlighted his appeal as potentially huge points scorer this weekend with a healthy 42-point haul against the Kings.
The Tigers face their first two-game round of the season this weekend, which is sure to make Flynn one of the week’s most popular pick ups ahead of games against Cairns and Adelaide.
Another source of some serious points could be Tigers shooting guard Chris Goulding. Or he could be the round’s greatest flop. Dream Team coaches have jumped on and off the Goulding rollercoaster all season, with those still on board hoping the All-Star MVP proves a valuable differential against two of the league’s leakiest defences.
New Zealand is the other team to tackle two teams in round 16, making it four games in a fortnight for the Breakers. While it’s an increased workload for Cedric Jackson and co, the former NBA guard once again shapes as the most reliable supplier of big-time points with games against Sydney and Wollongong.