What We Learned From Round 15

Photo credit: Masanori Udagawa/Photo Wellington

Tuatara Book A Home Semi

A tough road win at the Airs has ensured the Auckland Tuatara will play a home semi-final, but to add to the good news is the impending return of Tom Vodanovich, Corey Webster and Reuben Te Rangi this week. With Charlie Dalton and Braydon Iuli stepping up in recent weeks, this Tuatara team looks primed and ready to reverse the results of the last two seasons, and boy do they look incredibly deep when you also add Rob Loe and Cam Gliddon, not to mention the important roles Nick Barrow and Tukaha Cooper play.

Most Improved Player Tough To Pick

One of the sought-after individual awards each season is the Most Improved Player, and this year’s battle looks like a doozy. Just like all the other player awards, a voting panel of all head coaches and a handful of independents will make the selection. Players in the mix must surely be Taylor Britt (Rams), Carlin Davison (Airs) and Kaia Isaac (Rams), and let’s not forget Tohi Smith-Milner (Saints) is having a season filled with career highs - have fun separating those four.

Giants Box On Despite Home Court Woes

The Nelson Giants will most likely finish sixth this season and if they are to win the championship they will need to win three straight games on the road, which must be music to their ears. While every team would like nothing more than to play a home final in front of their fans, for the Giants playing away from home can only be a good thing based on their season 2024 results at the Trafalgar Centre. With just two wins from their 10 home games, the TC court has not been friendly, but the road has been much kinder. Road Warriors it is!

Bulls Rely Heavily On Luther

Is there a player more important to the fortunes of a team this season more than Luther Muhammad is to the Bulls? Let’s break down the stats. Muhammad leads the competition with an average of 26.4 points per game but dig a bit deeper and you reveal the size of the role he plays offensively for his team. Muhammad is currently taking 28 per cent of all field goal attempts for the Bulls, and he accounts for 28.4 per cent of all points scored by the Bulls. By comparison, the League’s second top scorer (and possibly the second most relied upon) is Isaiah Moore (25.2 points per game) at the Hawks, who takes 25.1 per cent of his team’s field goal attempts and contributes to 26 per cent of his team’s score.    

Exposure Now Key For Davison

The growth of Carlin Davison (Airs) this season has unquestionably made him one of the most exciting talents in the Sal’s NBL and New Zealand basketball. The 20-year-old is a walking highlight reel and this season he looks to have added a real thirst for the contest, very Hyrum Harris like. His next step must be greater exposure and an opportunity in the Aussie NBL, and that could/should come with his Breakers developmental role this season. It’s time to unleash this guy and let him do his thing. 

Shout Out To Matt Lacey

A special shout out to Whai coach Matt Lacey this week, who has battled a season filled with import and injury woes, while both he and his organisation have been learning the ropes in the Sal’s NBL. The performance of his undersized team cannot be brushed under the carpet simply because they won’t make the Final 6, to do so would be unfair. Yes, the Whai will end their inaugural season this week, but the culture and resilience Lacey has instilled in this team is surely the sign of a long coaching career.

Monster Game By Josh Roberts

Wow – what a game by Josh Roberts (Hawks) against the Jets – 26 points and 28 rebounds (a stat correction apparently on one rebound, so downgraded to 28 from initial reports). This is reportedly an equal League record for rebounds with Miles Pearce. A board-banging performance by Roberts that deserves due recognition.

Speaking Of Records

And what about those high-scoring Rams in the Sky Broadband Rapid League. The young Rams have done it again, this time putting 60 points past the Sharks to set another new record (breaking their own previous best of 52 points, also against the Sharks). And just for those new to Rapid League … that’s 60 points in 16 minutes!


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