21/04/2024

Photo: @CairnsTaipans; @SydneyKings; @JackJumpers - Twitter

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 12, with the Kings sitting in second place with their state rivals the Hawks slumping to sixth

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 12, with the Kings sitting in second place with their state rivals the Hawks slumping to sixth

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 12 of the 2021/22 season.

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1. Melbourne United

Record: 11-4, Previous Ranking: 1st

Nothing to see here this week, as Melbourne remains on the top of the power rankings.

United are now on a three-game winning streak, a streak including wins against the Wildcats, Phoenix and the demolition of the Breakers.

With its efficient performance against New Zealand on Sunday, other teams should be worried when matching up against Melbourne.

In Round 13, United will travel to far North Queensland to face the struggling Cairns Taipans. If the Taipans play how they did in Round 12, this game could get ugly.

2. Sydney Kings

Record: 9-7, Previous Ranking: 4th

The Kings are back and proving why they’re considered amongst the elite of the NBL.

The trio of Jaylen Adams, Jarell Martin and Xavier Cooks carried the Kings to a surprising victory over the Wildcats in their lone game of Round 12.

In a wild back and forth encounter, both sides struggled to contain their opposition’s comebacks in the second and third quarter, leaving the fans with an incredible game going down to the wire.

For the Kings, their fourth-quarter struggles of the past looked to be slowly fading away, although they were outscored by four points. They managed to get efficient baskets in the clutch to secure the win.

NBA Champion Ian Clark impressed in his NBL debut with 13 points, as he is sure to be a crucial member of the Kings offence heading into the later parts of the season

3. Perth Wildcats

Record: 8-5, Previous Ranking: 2nd

The Wildcats fall to third spot in the rankings this week after dropping three of their past four games, with each of those losses coming from Melbourne and Sydney.

Perth has been on the road since December and has only six games remaining on the road before it goes home and finishes the season off with nine consecutive games at home, so it’s important the Wildcats finish this period strongly.

Perth will look to bounce back from its loss against Sydney, as they face the Phoenix and the JackJumpers in Round 13.

4. South East Melbourne Phoenix

Record: 9-5, Previous Ranking: 3rd

We allowed South East Melbourne to show why they deserved to be in the top three of the power rankings, but they were unable to capture the win in Throwdown XIV going down to Melbourne United.

So far this season the Phoenix have beaten the teams they should beat, but are 1-4 against the other teams in the top four.

However, to be fair, South East Melbourne has been heavily impacted by COVID, with guys going in and out of protocols at different times.

With its roster close to full health and several games ahead against teams close to them on the ladder, it’s an important period for the Phoenix as they look to give themselves the best shot of securing a top-two spot.

The Phoenix face the Perth Wildcats this week and will hope they don’t encounter the same fate they did when these teams last met a couple of weeks ago.

5. Tasmania JackJumpers

Record: 7-7, Previous Ranking: 6th

A huge week for the JackJumpers concludes with an impressive 7-7 record. An immense performance against a strong but inconsistent Hawks side sees the JJs perched on the edge of an inaugural finals berth.

The JJ’s caught fire from downtown behind 22 three-pointers made at 52 per cent. Perhaps more impressive is the undersized Tasmanian’s outrebounding the Hawks without an obvious five man with big man Will Magnay still on the sidelines.

If there is any time to show any consistency it’s now. Wins now give the JackJumpers a legitimate shot at fourth place at the end of the year – a sentence we definitely didn’t think we would be saying at all this season.

The JackJumpers have a real chance to stake their claim as a legitimate force this week, taking on both the Bullets and Wildcats away from home.

6. Illawarra Hawks

Record: 8-7, Previous Ranking: 5th

The Hawks ended Round 12 evenly, with a win against the Taipans followed by a shock defeat to the high-flying JackJumpers.

Walking away with a 25-point victory over Cairns seemed to put a lot of the defensive worries to bed, however, come Sunday afternoon the Hawks conceded 96 points to Tasmania.

The JackJumpers shot an impressive 55 per cent from three as the Hawks struggled, making just 4/22 for a woeful 18 per cent.

It seems the problems on the defensive end have translated to a lack of offence for coach Goorijan and the Hawks.

We’ve been saying this for a few weeks, but the Hawks have to clean up their defence and now offence if they want to return to the top four and remain competitive for the title.

7. Brisbane Bullets

Record: 5-9, Previous Ranking: 8th

It’s a big week for Brisbane after another tough loss, going down to the Phoenix.

The Bullets shot a whopping 54 per cent from the field, 40 per cent from beyond the arc and 93 per cent from the charity stripe but were unable to overcome the Phoenix.

Brisbane had trouble taking care of the ball, turning it over 12 times compared to the Phoenix (six). South East Melbourne made the Bullets pay for turning the ball over, scoring 21 points from turnovers.

The Bullets aren’t playing terribly, they’re actually playing some good basketball but they can’t seem to get over the line in the dying minutes of games.

Brisbane have lost several games due to its inability in the big moments, there was its clash against United on Australia Day and a couple of weeks ago against the Kings. If the Bullets want to make a charge towards finals they will need to improve how they play in clutch time.

The Bullets will be looking to turn their fortunes around when they come up against the Cairns Taipans and Tasmania JackJumpers in Round 13.

8. Adelaide 36ers

Record: 5-7, Previous Ranking: 10th

Adelaide got the job done against Cairns in a scrappy affair. Sometimes you have to win ugly and that’s exactly what CJ Bruton’s men did against the Snakes, causing a massive 22 turnovers. 

Mitch McCarron was outstanding with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 6 steals.

With an import reportedly on the way, amazingly the 36ers aren’t that far away from the top half of the table. Granted they are four wins away behind fourth-place Sydney, but they also have four games in hand.

One thing is for certain; Mitch McCarron is going to have to play at an MVP level for them to get there, regardless of who they bring in.

It certainly doesn’t get easier for the boys from Adelaide, facing Illawarra away and Sydney at home.

9. New Zealand Breakers

Record: 4-10, Previous Ranking: 9th

The Breakers have somehow managed to get off the bottom of the table, after losing by 35 points to the red-hot Melbourne United.

Luckily for the Breakers, they have a side in arguably worse form than them in the Taipans who continue to slide on both the power rankings and NBL ladder.

The main issue seems to be that the Breakers can’t find consistent scoring from all five starters and almost take it in turns game by game in order to get their points.

On a slight positive, Chasson Randle showed flashes of immersing himself in the Breakers’ offence and gave the New Zealand fans a reason to hope going forward.

New Zealand has a massive chance to get a huge win come Sunday afternoon when it battles the out-of-form Illawarra Hawks in Tasmania.

10. Cairns Taipans

Record: 3-9, Previous Ranking: 7th

It doesn’t feel like that long ago we were discussing how Cairns’ season had been a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, two weeks is an eternity in the NBL. The Snakes sit in last place, having won one of their last five and three of their eleven games overall. 

There is little doubt in our mind this team is better than last year, and they do have games in hand to prove that theory correct, however, after a promising start against a struggling Adelaide, the Taipans just dropped off offensively, outscored 73-48 the rest of the game. 

Adam Forde has many challenges in the remainder of this season, we believe however that the Snakes are on the right path for improvement. That theory will be tested this week as they host Brisbane and Melbourne.

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