Things We Learned from Round 6

Photo Credit: Roshysportfolio

Sharks Find Some Bite

No team likes to see a 0-8 record on a competition ladder, but we saw a bit of a spark from the Sharks against the Giants in R6, some fight and tenacity. Small wins. While the Giants got the 89-79 win, the Sharks will be better for the run, and much better for the improved showing. Brayden Inger will benefit from a full week of training, and it was great to see Zo Burton moving with more freedom. The second half in particular showed the upside of Cal McRae playing closer to the basket as well. Though a tough road trip awaits against the Bulls and Airs, look ahead of that and some blue skies are on the horizon.

Nuggets Hit Back

A three-game losing streak for the Nuggets (including two successive losses to the Rams) was snapped in a fast-paced contest with the Giants on Sunday, elevating the 2022 champs back into the frame for what is going top be a tight Final 6 battle. The Nuggets do however have an injury concern in the form of Tai Webster (leg), but the good news is Dontae Russo-Nance confirmed he is likely to return this week. If Webster gets the all-clear and Russo-Nance steps on court, it will be the first time this season we’ve seen the Nuggets at full strength.

A Golden 50

Sticking with the Nuggets, Sunday’s win over the Giants was the 50th victory for the team since re-entering the League in 2020 at the Sal’s NBL Showdown. Milestones and achievements are important in sport, so well done Nuggets on toasting the success, which has included two championships. That’s some sort of a ride for an entity that seemed lost to basketball not that long ago.

Rasmussen Raises His Hand For TBs

The Tall Blacks have some big challenges ahead, namely the Olympic Qualifiers in June, and one young gun who is worthy of a call up to camp must be Hawks 21-year-old Kiwi star Keanu Rasmussen. The sharp-shooting guard continues to show his class for the Hawks, often confronting some of the best defenders in the competition. Despite a a tough outing against the Tuatara there is little doubt Pero Cameron will be impressed with what he’s seen out of the Adelaide-based Kiwi so far, but the question is will that form lead to a call up?

Lack Of Size for Whai Is Evident

The Whai continue to be belted around inside the paint and not long after a thumping in Hawke’s Bay to open R6 rumours started swirling that import Vance Jackson Jnr wanted to return home. Days later the news was confirmed, reducing the size and inside presence of the Whai even further. The Whai will now need to target the trade window for a forward, but with limited options available, it makes the next steps for the competition’s newest team likely to be tough. Perhaps an incoming import big will be the more likely option at this point.

Airs Expose A Few Cracks In The Bulls

The Bulls have lost two of their last three games and both losses have one glaring stat that is a worry for the Pukekohe-based team. Against the Tuatara in R5 the Bulls went to the Chemist Warehouse stripe 9 times compared to a staggering 41 visits by the Tuatara. In R6 against the Airs something similar occurred, the Bulls making 13 trips compared to the Airs at 30. Across both games, this resulted in a 41-point differential against the Bulls, which is important when you consider they lost the games by 18 and 14 respectively, a combined total of 32 points. It is rising to the surface as a major concern for Sebastian Gleim that needs some closer analysis. Whether or not the Bulls do or don’t agree with the foul count in each game matters little, the fact is the Bulls are seemingly committing too many fouls and it’s hurting them on the scoreboard and in the win column.  

Too Few On The Road For The Giants

Did the Giants take one too few players on the southern swing? Was a 12th player available or did the Giants decide only 11 players were required for the trip? While the Giants got a gritty win against the Sharks on Friday night, when push came to shove down the stretch against the Nuggets on Sunday, the Giants looked tired and lost their legs. Noted it didn’t help that Dan Grida and Kobe Langley were fouled out, but the 107-94 win to the Nuggets was largely thanks to a 17-4 run by a fresher looking team over the last 6 minutes.

In Lachie The Rams Do Trust

It seems Lachie Olbrich is the tonic the Rams need in season 2024. The two games the Rams have lost were without Olbrich, while the five wins have had the big Aussie in the thick of the action. It seems Olbrich is the key, along with his 20.6 points, 12.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Tuatara’s Hopes Rest On Fab Five

It’s been noted a few times already this season, but if anyone thinks the Tuatara can finally win a title without one of their star-studded fab five then the numbers are starting to clearly reveal otherwise. In a great contest against the Hawks in R6, the Tuatara’s starting five poured in 115 of the team’s 120 points. This group must stay healthy and stay on court together. Do that and it is highly likely the Aucklanders will be there on the last day of the season.


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