This edition of Fast Five is looking at the five things that have caught our eye so far in the Sal's NBL Showdown.
In no particular order here's what we've got ….
1) A COMPETITIVE LEAGUE
Unlike in past seasons the re remains little doubt that 2020 is different and the player draft is delivering what it was intended to do - parity and evenness. Nine nights in to the season and the ladder currently has every team with at least one win, and every team with at least two losses. Literally, on any given night, it is difficult to predict the winners, and that's great for the fans and the competition overall.
2) THE OPPORTUNITY TAKERS
In past seasons we may not have seen as much of our homegrown Kiwi players as we are seeing right now, especially when you factor in nearly all teams have been going with three imports the last couple of years. However, as we soon head into week three of the Sal's NBL there are a swag of players taking their opportunity to shine. Nic Trathen (Giants), Sam Smith (Rams), Taane Samuel (Jets), Tom Ingham (Giants), Tom Webley (Rams) and Nate Wilson (Huskies) to name just a few. Then of course you have returning players from college, and they are seriously turning some heads - Jayden Bezzant (Jets), Izayah Le'afa (Huskies), Jordan Hunt (Nuggets), Sam Timmins (Bulls) and Isaac Davidson (Bulls), to name a few.
3) THE SPEED
You would think teams would be starting to slow down a couple of weeks in, but that just isn't the case. The action has been fast and furious, and at times very physical. With so many young players we are being treated to one speed - absolutely flat out!
4) THE BATTLES
Every night there are a number of match-ups to keep an eye on, and in particular the battles amongst a growing Kiwi contingent of point guards has been enthralling. You only need to look at the leading SkyCity MVP vote-getter and a number of stat category leaders to see the influence our dynamic playmakers are having. Bezzant, Britt, Raukawa, Kenny, Le'afa, Stubbins, Aiolupotea, just to name a few, are putting on a show every night and it is making for some very competitive duels.
5) THE COVERAGE
Two games per night, five nights each week. Never before have we seen so much Sal's NBL on our screens and the viewers are enjoying every second of it. The access to players and coaches has been fantastic, listening into time-outs, coaches wearing microphones, and players joining in on commentary at time, the opening two weeks has brought viewers closer to the Kiwi competition than ever before. Keep it coming!
Photo Credit: PhotosportNZ