Mitch McCarron is the man for the job at the Adelaide 36ers. Photo: Adelaide 36ers.

OPINION: We're now coming up to 20 years without a championship in the City of Churches, but the 36ers may have finally found the man to lead them all the way.

Not only has there been a drought of titles for Adelaide, but a culture of winning has been sorely missing also. The 36ers haven’t made a finals series since 2017-18 where they were beaten in the Grand Final Series by Melbourne United.

Since that grand final birth, Adelaide has been reasonably average – finishing 5th, 7th and 7th over the last three seasons.

Enter Mitch McCarron.

His ability to run the 36ers’ offence has (so far on limited sample size at least) been proven to be at the least very effective. Let’s not forget that Adelaide went undefeated in the pre-season although with teams resting players, that needs to be taken with a grain of salt. What is undeniable though is the effectiveness of McCarron’s play – even with missing pieces for the 36ers themselves.

Perhaps the most outstanding example of this was the Blitz final game against the Brisbane Bullets in Hobart. McCarron led the team to the win with a stat line of nine points, eight assists, eight rebounds and five steals.

McCarron Signing Announcement. Photo: Adelaide 36ers

Personally however – I feel his value best sits off the box score.

It’s the barking instructions, orchestrating offence, speaking with new head coach CJ Bruton at free throws and breaks in play. It’s relaying those messages to his teammates. It is also the hard-nosed defence, ability to switch on the screen and nose for the ball that McCarron brings to a 36ers team that definitely lacked an edge on that end of the floor last year (3rd worst defence in NBL21).

Please don’t get the impression that I don’t think his stats are valuable either. Every team in the league could use 10 points, five assists, five rebounds and 1.5 steals a game while shooting 44 per cent from the field and 85 per cent from the line. I just believe his value lies in much of the intangibles that don’t always show up on the stat sheet.

Ultimately, McCarron is a leader and a utility piece that brings out the best in other players. The 36ers have built nicely this year with DJ. Humphries, Dech and Dufelmeier joined by imports Dusty Hannahs, Todd Withers, promising Next Star Mojave King and wildcard in Kai Sotto.

It would be fair to say that bringing all those parts together will be difficult for rookie coach Bruton, but he has just the glue-guy to make it all happen.

It has been a long time between drinks Adelaide fans, but It’s time to get excited.

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