Tuesday, 12 May 2015

NBL - Mid season

Its around the half way point of the NBL season so I thought id have look at what has gone one so far.

The Nelson Giants and Wellington Saints have separated themselves as the two best teams over the first half of the season and barring injury id expect they will be the top two seeds heading to the playoffs, who finishes where is up for debate but based on form over the first half one would expect them to be the top two.

With all due respect to the Manawatu Jets and Taranaki Mountain Airs its looking like they will be the bottom two...The Jets have been playing well over the last few games but a bad start and a 2-7 record its probably a bit late, to have a shot they would pretty much have to win all their remaining games. At 0-8 the Mountain Airs will most likely wind up with the spoon!

The battle for the last two playoff spots is shaping up to be a tight one! The Rangers, Rams, Sharks and Hawks are all in with a shot...The Rangers are currently in 3rd place (5-4) followed by the Rams (5-5) then the Sharks (4-3) and in 6th are the Hawks (3-3) ...The Rangers and Rams have a small advantage in the win column, but the Sharks and Hawks have played a few less games. Based on current form id expect the Sharks to get in, after a 1-3 start they have been in good form over the past few rounds and its hard to bet against a team with that much talent, but that last spot is anyones guess! The Rangers have had some nice wins, like their big win in Wellington on april 24th, but have had some surprising loses mixed in there, like a home loss to the 7th place Jets this past round. Like the Rangers, consistency has also been the achilles heel of the Rams. They have played the most games in the league so far (10), if new recruit Jermaine Taylor can get hot and spark them to a little win streak to close out the season they will have a good shot to hang on to the playoff spot they are clinging to at the moment...The Hawks have played the least games so far (6) and have won 3 of their last four after a 0-2 start, with 10 games remaining they have a little more wriggle room than all of the teams above them. Should be a exciting second half seeing these four teams fight it out for those last two spots.

Since I've only seen one game in person its pretty hard to accurately pick who has been the 'MVP' up to this point. But I have a top three based on team record and season stats (in no particular order)

Torrey Craig

The Saints forward is averaging 24 points and shooting the ball at a very good clip (55/36/57) 10.6 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks. Top 5 in scoring, rebounding (1st in O Boardss) and blocks, good shooting from the field and three and being on a top two team making Craig an easy choice.

Lindsay Tait

If the last 10 years of the NBL have proven one thing its that if Lindsay is on your team you have a pretty good shot a winning a championship. This season is no different, he's putting up 16.2 points on 57/32/57 shooting, 10 assists and 2.2 steals...I may be wrong but if he can keep his assist average over 10 I'm pretty sure that would be a new record, all the years I've followed and played in the NBL I can't remember anyone averaging double figure assists. Just like Craig the combination of numbers and his teams position on the ladder Lindsay will be in the conversation at seasons end.

McKenzie Moore

As I've mentioned a million times (ok about 10) when I write about the NBL I've only actually seen one game! But McKenzie Moore happened to be playing in that game. Though his team won the game against the Rangers I think its fair to say his NBL career got off to an average start from an individual standpoint! 8 points (2-11 shooting) 4 boards, 3 assists and 4 TOs...However he has been a model of consistency since then and is putting up 21.8 (44/23/73) 6.4 boards, 4.5 assists and a league leading two blocks per game. He might not be quite as efficient shooting the ball as Craig and Tait but his all round game combined with the Giants sitting pretty on top of the ladder definitely deserves mentioning at the halfway point.

Its shaping up the be an exciting second half of the year and am excited to see how it plays out!

AP

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