Friday, 14 August 2015

Oceania series - A few keys to the series

Corey Webster 
I’ve known Corey since I was about 17 and he’s always been a guy that never had trouble putting the ball in the basket. He’s an exceptional one-on-one player but the area that he has really improved in the last couple of years is his ability to score within the flow of an offence rather than being a 1 on 1 guy. 
He has much greater understanding of moving without the ball, using screens and reading defence to get to his spots. All this combined with his improved playmaking and passing ability he is definitely a world class offensive player. 
Over the last couple of years Corey’s confidence has grown and while he perhaps isn’t quite at the level Kirk Penney was at during his prime, he is definitely getting close to it. 
Andrej Lemanis obviously knows his game pretty well from his days with the Breakers and I’m assuming one of Matthew Dellavedova, Adam Gibson or Damien Martin (all excellent defensive players) will be assigned to him at all times. 
Corey’s ability to put up points while under constant defensive pressure while also getting his teammates involved because of the attention he will attract will be key if the Tall Blacks are to walk away with the series win 
Matching up with Andrew Bogut 
Bogut is suiting for the Boomers for the first time in quite a long time and for pretty much the entire team outside of Mika Vukona and maybe Lindsay Tait, it will be the first time they have played an Aussie team with him in it. 
Bogut is multi-faceted on the offensive end, he may not have a huge role within the Golden State Warriors offence in terms of shot attempts and scoring, but he does have a very good back to the basket game and the Tall Blacks being pretty small his size alone will make it difficult.

What sets him apart from a lot of big men though is his excellent passing ability. He will be the biggest guy on court when he is out there and will be able to see over double teams (should the Tall Blacks do that) and hit the open man. 
While he doesn’t look to shoot the outside shot very much, his ability to facilitate and make plays from the high post and in dribble hand off action will also be tough to contend with. 
It’s the defensive end is where he will make the biggest impact! He is one of the best post defenders and rim protectors in the NBA. Rob Loe and Isaac Fotu, who are both playing centre for the Tall Blacks, are both good offensive players but I don’t think Andrej Lemanis will have many concerns with Bogut guarding them in 1 on 1 situations down low. 
However they both shoot the three pretty well and Isaac Fotu in particular has good face up ability off the dribble. Both of them have the ability to drag him out of his comfort zone and open up the floor a little bit. How productive they can be against him will be a big factor in the outcome of the series. 
Patty Mills 
Obviously the circumstances surrounding the late addition of Mills aren’t the greatest. You never want to see players go down with an injury as serious as a torn ACL, especially a 19 year old like Dante Exum. But adding a player of Mills’ ability is obviously going to make the Boomers a lot more dangerous.
He has been their most consistent performer over the last 5-7 years and in fact has been one of the best performers on the international stage across all nations. Mills is a player who commands touches and shots and integrating a player like that so late in the piece won’t be easy. 
The players that were on the team during their recent tour of Europe will have to adjust the roles they have gotten used to without Mills and that isn’t easy to do with so little time. 
Those are just a few of the keys that will have a massive impact on the outcome of the series! New Zealand vs Australia in any sport is always extremely competitive and this will be no different. It should prove to be a very fiery and entertaining series and I can’t wait to see it. 

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