Think Tank – Round 13

Photo credit: GameFaceNZ


If you THINK the Tuatara will be skating on thin ice while Webster, Vodanovich and Te Rangi are off wearing the black singlet THEN you better sit down while we introduce you to Charlie Dalton, Braydon Iuli and Tukaha Cooper. The young trio ripped the Nuggets to shreds in R13 with blistering pace, creativity, confidence … and scoring. The increased roles for the three youngsters while the big dogs are away will no doubt help the Tuatara in a major way when we hit the Final 6.


If you THINK the Bulls are still on cloud nine after beating the Saints in Wellington in R12 THEN you might have missed the ‘thud’ when they crashed back to earth on Sunday night after losing at home to an Airs team missing three gun starters (Froling. McCarron and F. Cameron). A week is a long time in the Sal’s NBL. Next up for the Bulls … an 09 showdown with the Tuatara that will determine if the Bulls have a shot to finish in the top two. 


If you THINK a loss to the Sharks was going to end the Whai’s Final 6 aspirations in their inaugural season THEN say hello to the spluttering Nuggets, who the Whai ran over the top of on Sunday to stay in touch with the chasing pack. Jayden Bezzant and Phil Carr powered the Whai home in a dour 66-59 win in Dunedin, a thriller down the stretch, but a game where both team’s shot poorly. Still, a win is a win and the Whai roll on with a glimmer of hope for at least another week as they try to make their post-season aspirations a reality.


If you THINK the loss of Sam Froling, Mitch McCarron and Flynn Cameron to international duty is a blow the Airs won’t be able to overcome THEN think again. A trip to the Stockyard to play the Bulls is always a daunting proposition, but the Airs showed their depth and class makes them a genuine title contender this season when they led by as much as 13 points on their way to a 100-96 victory. Elijah Minnie starred with 30 points and 6 blocks, while Tobias Cameron and Carlin Davison were unstoppable. Next up the Rams where a win would put them in the thick of the chase for a top two spot.


If you THINK the Hawks can still make the Final 6 THEN coach Sam Gruggen and his team will have to hurry up and find some form to prove you right. The Hawks propelled themselves into the top 6 chase but have since lost four of their last five games. That stretch featuring only 1 win, which came against the lowly Sharks (100-99) while a R13 26-point loss to the Saints wasn’t pretty. The Hawks have a horror run home with games against the Airs, Bulls, Jets and Tuatara – the upside is three of those games are at home. Over to you Hawks, let’s see what you’re made of.


If you THINK Jets fans might not stick true with their team as they suffer loss after loss THEN you need only turn up to Fly Palmy Arena dressed in your best green gear to see the Green Army is in for the long haul. By any measure season 2024 for the Jets (on the court) has been a complete bust with just one win from 16 games, but it hasn’t deterred the faithful fans turning up and getting behind their team. The off-season can’t come soon enough for the Jets when a rebuild of the current rebuild will be priority number one.  


If you THINK Saints fans shouldn’t be worried about another smackdown at the hands of the Rams THEN they should be. For the second time this season the Saints came off second-best against the Rams, this time by 25 points, and again it was a clinical performance by the current champs. If the Saints hope to claim a 13th championship this season then coach Zico Coronel needs to find a way to deal with the Rams because right now they look completely stuck in first gear when facing Judd Flavell and his crew. Make no mistake, this was a belting.


If you THINK it’s still too early to plan for a Giants showing in the Final 6 THEN you need to have a little more confidence in the Nelsonians. Those battling for sixth spot with the Giants are falling like flies. Plus, courtesy of their top-of-the-ladder Sky Broadband Rapid League team, the Giants seemingly have the Hawks, Nuggets and Whai covered in the race for sixth spot. Fact is from here only the Giants can tip the Giants out of the Final 6 and that would take a near catastrophic loss of form. 


If you THINK the Rams are easing themselves into this year’s Final 6 THEN somebody forgot to tell Judd Flavell. The Rams showed no mercy down the stretch on Saturday after Saints coach Zico Coronel waved the white flag and benched his starters for the last quarter. Every basket counts in 2024 and the Rams aren’t about to hand out any favours, especially to the Saints. Whack!


If the THINK the Nuggets will be unlucky if they miss the playoffs this season THEN think again. After winning their first three games of the season, the Nuggets have since won just three more games amongst 11 losses. Though they remain an outside chance to make the Final 6, whichever way you look at it, the Nuggets simply do not deserve to be amongst the post-season action given that poor run of form. They have the privilege of playing 3 more games this season, but that privilege is more than unlikely to offer a chance for Otago to enjoy finals basketball. 


If you THINK the Sharks would love to start the season now and wipe out the last few months THEN a commanding performance against the Whai in R13 showed you that coach Guy Molloy finally has the squad he would have liked to start the season with. Import guard Cooper Robb has been a breath of fresh air, Caleb Asberry has found his groove, Zo Burton looks fit and healthy, while big Cal McRae is just a flat-out competitor. If only the Sharks could go back to R1 and start all over again!


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