27/02/2024

Photos: @NBL; @CairnsTaipans; @JackJumpers - Twitter

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 10, with the JackJumpers closing in on the top four as the Hawks poor form sees them lose ground.

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 10, with the JackJumpers closing in on the top four as the Hawks poor form sees them lose ground

These NBL Power Rankings are predicated on current form and short-term expectations for the squad. They aren’t a prediction of where teams will finish the season on the ladder, but rather an expectation on how they will perform in their upcoming games with consideration given to injuries and form.

This is the Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings ahead of Round 10 of the 2021/22 season.

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1. Perth Wildcats

Record: 8-3, Previous Ranking: 2nd

The Wildcats were able to overcome another sluggish first quarter to defeat the South East Melbourne Phoenix.

Perth was 15 points down midway through the second quarter before going on a 29-4 run, and finishing the first half with a 10 point lead.

Young sensation Luke Travers (24 points and seven rebounds) led the charge, knocking down his shots from beyond the arc, an area he has struggled with this season.

His ability to drive to the basket proved an effective way to reduce Zhou Qi’s impact on the game.

The Wildcats now have their eyes set on the grand final rematch against reigning champions Melbourne United.

2. Melbourne United

Record: 8-4, Previous Ranking: 1st

United’s second consecutive loss sees them drop to second in the power rankings.

Melbourne’s defence in recent weeks has been down from what we expect from them, and that was evident on the weekend, giving up 36 points in the first quarter against the Tasmania JackJumpers.

Jo Lual-Acuil (26 points, 21 rebounds, and two blocks) continued to show why some consider him one of the best centres in the league. He also became the first Melbourne United to record a 20/20 game.

United needs import Caleb Agada to stand up, on both ends of the court after fouling out in the club’s last two matches. In his last two games, Agada is averaging eight points, on 30 percent shooting.

The reigning champions will look to turn their fortunes around this weekend, as they host the Perth Wildcats in what will be a Grand Final rematch.

3. South East Melbourne Phoenix

Record: 7-3, Previous Ranking: 4th

It was a rough week for the Phoenix, who were without their head coach Simon Mitchell and four key players (Kyle Adnam, Cam Gliddon, Reuben Te Rangi, and Dane Pineau) due to COVID health and safety protocols.

South East Melbourne will be disappointed with its loss against the Perth Wildcats. They were up 15 points midway through the second quarter before the Wildcats were able to wrestle back the momentum.

But this team travelled to Illawarra, with a point to prove and found a way to get over the line in a tight contest.

The Phoenix has now won four of their past five games and with a couple of big home games on the schedule this week against the Sydney Kings and Tasmania JackJumpers.

4. Illawarra Hawks

Record: 6-6, Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Hawks have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NBL in 2022. With an incredibly leaky defence, the lack of offence has made it hard for them to get it going most nights and has shown in their poor results as of late.

With a team that is as offensively gifted as the Hawks, to see them slump to a mere 67 points and allow the struggling Breakers to 90 points is head-scratching, to say the least.

Brain Goorijan has a lot of work to do to get his side back up to par alongside the elite of the NBL if they’re any chance of fighting for a title.

5. Tasmania JackJumpers

Record: 6-6, Previous Ranking: 8th

What a week from the men down south! Two wins on the week, four consecutive W’s, and a surge up the power rankings and (less importantly) the NBL ladder.

To say the Jackjumpers’ offence this year has been suspect is an understatement, but over this run coach, Scott Roth has found something it sorely lacked earlier in the year: consistency.

On the back of Josh Magette shooting the ball the way he had threatened to all season, the JJs find themselves in fourth spot.

Nosebleed safely treated, they will be tested against a tough South East Melbourne Phoenix away from home this week.

6. Sydney Kings

Record: 6-7, Previous Ranking: 5th

Along with their state rivals the Hawks, the Kings have been incredibly hard to judge. With a terrible start to the new year behind them, Chase Buford’s men seemed to get it all clicking recently.

That was until they met the JackJumpers, where they were met with a tough defensive-minded team who were able to shut down their strong three-point shooting. 

Although they got a much-needed win over the Breakers, the Kings still look off the pace but have shown massive signs of improvement, with star Jaylen Adams leading the way.

7. Cairns Taipans

Record: 3-4, Previous Ranking: 7th

A big win against rivals Brisbane keeps Cairns ticking along. In fairness the three-win total looks measly, however, it has come from just seven games.

It still feels too early to make a pronunciation about the Taipans season, however, they have almost already won as many games as I predicted them to win for the whole year.

All five starters played 28 minutes on the weekend, with McCall playing just over 38 in a very shortened rotation due to availability. Coach Adam Forde has done a great job and this away win will boost confidence in the locker room.

Cairns will play a tough road game against an inconsistent Illawarra before hosting the Breakers at home. This could be a huge week.

8. Brisbane Bullets

Record: 4-7, Previous Ranking: 6th

A disappointing result on the weekend for a Brisbane Bullets team that continues its rollercoaster season.

The Nathan Sobey-less Bullets matched up against the Cairns Taipans side who were without four key players and were unable to get the result.

Robert Franks tried his best, finishing the game with 22 points, six rebounds, and four steals but the Bullets couldn’t get the ball in his hands enough in the second half, as he only took four shots after halftime.

Import guard Isaiah Moss (11 points) looks to have found his feet at the Bullets after overcoming hamstring injuries and recovering from COVID-19.

Brisbane will look to turn its season around, as they match up against the Adelaide 36ers and Sydney Kings in Round 11

9. Adelaide 36ers

Record: 4-6, Previous Ranking: 9th 

It’s pay-up time for Adelaide heading into a crunch week. I feel like we are consistently complaining about Adelaide’s consistency.

I was high on the 36ers chances for fourth heading this season and even after a very average start to the year, they are still only two wins away from that spot.

As predicted McCarron has been very good, but some inconsistent play from imports and some unfortunate outs from injuries at the start of the season has formed a spluttering start.

I am hopeful that if CJ Bruton can squeeze out even a small amount of consistency from this team this season they can still make a run at fourth, particularly while many teams keep flailing around that spot.

It is a huge week for Adelaide as it takes on an equally inconsistent Brisbane.

10. New Zealand Breakers

Record: 3-9, Previous Ranking: 10th

It was a tale of two games for the Breakers in Round 10, after pulling off the upset of the season, New Zealand fell back down to the bottom of the NBL after being comfortably dispatched by the Kings.

Dan Shamir’s side may have caught the Hawks on a bad night, however, it was a performance that shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

The emergence of ‘Next Stars’ Hugo Besson and more recently Ousmane Dieng have been massive on both sides of the floor as they continue to raise their draft stock. It’ll be a telling week for New Zealand, without Jeremiah Martin going forward, they’ll hope Chasson Randle can fill those shoes and help them off the bottom of the ladder.

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