The New Zealand Breakers are ready to have a better season compared to recent years. (Image: New Zealand Breakers - Twitter; Design: Will Cuckson)

The New Zealand Breakers are looking to have a much improved season in the upcoming 2022/23 calendar after a long-struggling NBL22.

Last Season

Ladder position: 10th (Five wins, 23 losses)

The New Zealand Breakers finished last in the 2021/22 season, developing talent for the future and continuing its rebuilding process.

After being away from again for the second consecutive year, the Breakers played all their home games on away courts in Tasmania.

From players missing out at the start of the season due to injury and filling in roster spots as the season progressed, the Breakers could never get properly settled.

Biggest in

Cameron Gliddon is a huge signing for the New Zealand Breakers.

Entering his 11th year in the NBL with a fourth team, Gliddon has the ability to heat up and put points on the board quickly and at any given time.

In the 2021/22 season, Gliddon averaged 4.7 points on 40 per cent shooting in 16.8 minutes per game.

Although he had his injury and health concerns last season, Gliddon is at his best when fully healthy and has shown the services he can offer in this league.

Gliddon can move off the ball and score in three dribbles or less. The 33-year-old can also catch and shoot threes, even when he is contested.

In pick-and-roll situations and when he is left open on the perimeter as a defender is rushing to cover him, Gliddon can make high basketball IQ decisions.

Defensively, he can bring intensity and effort as well as play in the passing lane to get a steal, something the Breakers will love after having troubles defensively last season.

Biggest out

Finn Delany is a huge loss for the Breakers this season.

Being with the Breakers since 2015, Delany has been one of if not the most reliable players for the New Zealand side and has just been able to keep improving different aspects of his game.

Although Delany had a down season compared to his breakout season in 2020/21. This season, he averaged 10 points on 39 per cent shooting from the field, 5.5 rebounds, and two assists, in 32 minutes per game.

Delany’s ability to move off the ball, drive to the rim and finish through tough contact, as well as shoot threes is going to be missed by the Breakers.

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Player to watch

Jarrell Brantley is a name for Breakers fans to keep an eye on this season.

With his height and length, the 26-year-old will be able to provide a threat on the perimeter and hustle on defence.

A player with limited but some NBA experience, the Breakers will have a solid player to contribute on both sides of the floor with his rim running and defensive ability.

Brantley is coming off a season where he played for Leones de Ponce in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (first-tier Puerto Rican basketball league) before playing in the NBA Summer League for the Los Angeles Clippers. In 15 games for Leones de Ponce, Brantley averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Starting five 

The Inner Sanctum’s predicted starting five for the New Zealand Breakers. (Design: Will Cuckson)

Full squad 

Alex McNaught, Barry Brown, Cam Gliddon, Dan Fotu, Dererk Pardon, Izayah Le’afa, Jamaal Brantley, Jarrell Brantley, Rayan Rupert, Robert Loe, Sam Timmins, Tom Abercrombie, Tom Vodanovich, Will McDowell-White

Ins: Alex McNaught, Barry Brown, Cameron Gliddon, Dan Fotu, Dererk Pardon, Izayah Le’afa, Jamaal Brantley, Jarrell Brantley, Rayan Rupert, Tom Vodanovich

Outs: Chasson Randle, Finn Delany (Telekom Baskets Bonn, German Basketball Bundesliga), Geremy Mckay, Hugo Besson (Metropolitans 92, LNB Pro A), Isaac Davidson, Kyrin Galloway (Adelaide 36ers), Ousmane Dieng (NBA, Oklahoma City Thunder), Peyton Siva, Rasmus Bach (Brisbane Bullets), Sam Short, Yanni Wetzell (Alba Berlin)

Fixture highlights

The draw for the Breakers looks to be a tough start with some exciting moments that fans will love.

New Zealand’s first game of the season will be against the Tasmania Jack Jumpers at home. This will be exciting and should be a packed house as the Breakers have not played in New Zealand in front of their fans for over a season.

New Zealand will be tested against Melbourne, South East Melbourne, Perth, and Tasmania, as it didn’t win a single game against these teams last season.

What to expect 

The Breakers are at their best when running the pick and roll with a scoring or crafty guard and a rolling big who can embrace contact when being contested at the rim.

Last season the Breakers were poor defensively. It was often that a lot of buckets down the stretch of games would result from leaving space for the opposition to shoot and get into the paint with ease.

Their one-on-one defence is an area the Breakers will need to improve on this upcoming season.

The Breakers are at their best offensively when there is a lot of ball movement, and they’re able to share the ball and find a player open for a quality shot. With Will McDowell-White running the point and given the keys to New Zealand’s offence, expect to see its players run in transition and score some easy baskets.

The last word

After finishing at the bottom of the competition last season and losing quality talent in the off-season, it is going to be difficult for the Breakers as the season goes along to really be able to compete with the best of the best.

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