27/05/2024

Photos: NBL; NBL/Twitter; Melbourne United/Twitter

The Inner Sanctum takes a look at what Vic Law has done at the Wildcats, United's strong return in their title defence, and the Breakers' road woes ahead of Round 4.

Through game cancellations coming into the next week of NBL games, Round 3 of the competition saw some teams soar, while others crashed to earth.

The Inner Sanctum has made five observations that are flying under the radar around the NBL this week.

The JackJumpers need more from Will Magnay

The Tasmania JackJumpers are currently ranked eighth in offensive rating according to SpatialJam.

In their five games this season the JackJumpers are averaging 75.8 points per game. Their highest score so far this season is 83, which they’ve recorded twice.

While they’re getting the most out of their imports Josh Magette and Josh Adams, scoring 15.8 and 13.6 points per game, they’re struggling to get the best out of local star Will Magnay.

Magnay is currently averaging 5.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He should be considered as one of the first scoring options but he is only averaging 4.4 field goal attempts, with four players taking more shots.

The 23-year-old is coming off an injury-riddled season, but it has been said he’s now over the issues that were hampering him. The JackJumpers may be building him up slowly but if they want to win games, coach Scott Roth needs to get the ball in Magnay’s hands more and get him involved on the offensive end more often.

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Jordan Janssen

Law and Order

Do we really need to talk about ‘that’ flop? Well, yes. But I think we’ve laughed enough about it already.

The other man in the scuffle had a great round, if you take away his $1000 fine.

Vic Law dominated the JackJumpers in Round 3, putting up 32 points and 12 rebounds against the Apple Isle side in a convincing 101-83 victory for the Cats.

There is a certain group of players in this league that don’t belong here. They are too good for this league and Vic Law is one of them. He put up a performance, on his 26th birthday, that the record Perth crowd of 13,615 will remember forever. 

Perth’s constant success comes for a reason, as it is the best recruiting side in the league. Think back to 2018 when the Wildcats recruited Mitch Norton and Nick Kay, to last season when they got the steal of the season in John Mooney, and this year they created ‘Vice’ with Vic Law and Bryce Cotton.

Perth may be heading on the road for the next month, but it will still be a championship contender, even if “the Perry Lakes under 12’s was out on the court”, according to Andrew Gaze.

Jackson MacDonald

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Caleb Agada: A man on a mission

Is the old United back?

Round 3 was massive for Melbourne United, which saw the return of captain Chris Goulding from a hamstring injury in its 42-point demolition of the Sydney Kings.

The match was also Caleb Agada’s first game in the starting five, and he showed why United signed him as their only import, scoring 21 points. In their second game of the round, matched up against the New Zealand Breaker, Agada backed up his performance against the Kings, recording another 20-point performance.

One of the big stories coming into the match was Jack White, returning for his first game since going down with an Achilles injury in April.

He finished with a plus-minus of +25 in 18 minutes off the bench, finishing with six points, eight rebounds, one steal and two blocks, illustrating his importance to United’s roster.

The reigning champions looked to have gotten back to the defensive presence that they’re known for, restricting the Kings and Breakers to 47 and 60 points respectively.

Jordan Janssen

What’s going on over in Adelaide?

Many were excited about what the Adelaide 36ers could do in NBL22 with new head coach CJ Bruton, especially with their existing roster including Isaac Humphries, Daniel Johnson, and Sunday Dech.

They also added the best signing of the off-season in star guard Mitch McCarron, while also acquiring Mojave King, Cam Bairstow, Dusty Hannahs and Todd Withers as their imports.

But in their first five games, the 36ers have looked very hot and cold, particularly on the defensive side of the ball which could be put down to them being without defensive stopper Sunday Dech.

Adelaide currently sit ninth for defensive rating, highlighting how much they are struggling on that end of the court

On the weekend against the Cairns Taipans, the lack of defensive presence was on full display. They were out hustled, as the Taipans dived for loose balls and were allowed to push the ball in transition.

With two games against the Perth Wildcats, a game against United and South East Melbourne Phoenix in their next stretch of matches, Bruton will hope his team can perform consistently, win or lose.

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Jordan Janssen

New Zealand can’t catch a Break

Once again New Zealand is facing life on the road for the foreseeable future, but its strong culture won’t let the extended stint away from home break it.

Changes to border arrangements given the increase in COVID cases due to the Omicron variant will mean one of the youngest teams in the league once again have the toughest schedule in the league. 

Some of their young guns have blown expectations out of the water. French Next Stars Hugo Besson and Ousmane Dieng have had contrasting starts to their professional basketball careers.

Besson has established himself as one of the best shot makers and creators in the league, while the lottery-pick touted Dieng has struggled to make an impact off the bench, but continues to find his feet and will be an incredible talent in due time. 

Out of all of them, Australian Indigenous star William McDowell-White has impressed the most, imposing his will and rocketing into NBA Draft calculations. 

The Breakers have shown incredible resilience over the last two years; expect this young, fun NBL22 squad to be no different.

Jasper Chellappah

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