Three in the Key's NBL Power Rankings for Round 13. (Photos: Illawarra Hawks/Twitter; South East Melbourne Phoenix/Twitter)

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 13, with the Wildcats looming dangerously in fourth and the Hawks making up places as they return to fifth.

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 13, with the Wildcats looming dangerously in fourth and the Hawks making up places as they return to fifth.

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 14 of the 2021/22 season.

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1. Melbourne United

Record: 12-4, Previous Ranking: 1st

Not much to see here for the ladder leaders Melbourne United this week.

Melbourne was without potential MVP candidate Jo Lual-Acuil on the weekend against Cairns, but still dealt with the Snakes reasonably comfortably.

United have won four out of their last five, and look primed to secure a top-two spot.

Melbourne will look to continue its dominance in Round 14 as it hosts the Bullets on Saturday night.

2. Sydney Kings

Record: 10-7, Previous Ranking: 2nd

Jaylen Adams once again bailed the Kings out, adding another clutch time performance to an already growing list of winning plays.

The Kings are now on a roll, with their early-season issues seemingly at bay. They’ve won five on the spin and seven out of their last eight games, and are set to lock down a top four position.

They may consider themselves lucky to scrape past a struggling side like the 36ers, however, given the struggles they showed in fourth quarters at the start of the season, the Kings are rapidly improving.

The Kings have a relatively easy run to finish NBL22. In their last 11 games, Sydney will only face two teams currently in the top four, meaning it has a real shot of finishing on top of the NBL ladder.

Despite the look of an easy fixture, the Kings will be wanting to take it one week at a time. This week, they’ll look to continue their win streak, playing host to Cairns on Sunday.

3. South East Melbourne Phoenix

It was a big week for South East Melbourne as it made a statement, beating another potential title contender in the Perth Wildcats.

The victory improved the Phoenix’s overall record to 10-5, strengthening their hold in second.

With their roster starting to get back into motion, South East Melbourne will look to continue its momentum against Adelaide and Illawarra this week.

4. Perth Wildcats

Record: 9-6, Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Wildcats were able to split their double this week, firstly going down to South East Melbourne before snapping their losing streak against the JackJumpers.

Perth was able to finally return home, and the team would have loved reconnecting with their families after being on the road for 64 days.

With only a couple of games left on the road before its nine-game stretch at home, the team will begin to be the dominant force we come to expect.

The Wildcats will travel to Adelaide this weekend to face the 36ers.

5. Illawarra Hawks

Record: 9-7, Previous Ranking: 6th

Is it possible to still be worried about a side that convincingly won two games in a round in the NBL? The short answer is yes.

The Hawks’ defensive issues are seemingly getting worse, and as much as we all trust coach Brian Goorjian to sort something out, the focus on offence is hiding the foundations of a broken defence.

Illawarra deserves credit for its two wins, putting on an offensive demonstration in the process.

Duop Reath has regained his early-season form and looks set for a massive run heading into crunch time of NBL22.

6. Tasmania JackJumpers

Record: 7-9, Previous Ranking: 5th

It’s a tough drop this week from the JackJumpers. A spirited effort against Perth wasn’t enough for the men of the south, dropping 89-78 to Scott Morrison’s rising side. The loss of Will Magnay to injury continues to hit this undersized side, losing the rebounding battle to Perth 49-30.

There was plenty of talk about their rebounding early in the season, and there is no doubt that there has definitely been some improvement in that area from Scott Roth’s team. However, the continued absence of Magnay and a lack of a true centre being able to play significant minutes is causing quite a few headaches.

The JackJumpers have a soft fixture this week, facing New Zealand in Launceston’s Silverdome. A victory in this must-win clash should see the JJs at least hold ground for next week.

7. Brisbane Bullets

Record: 6-10, Previous Ranking: 7th

It was another frustrating round for head coach James Duncan, as the Bullets went down to the struggling Taipans. He would have been much happier, however, with Brisbane’s performance against Tasmania.

Brisbane has won just two out of its last eight. As mentioned on many occasions, this team has shown flashes that it can be a top four team, but its inability to perform consistently holds its back.

The Bullets will travel down to Melbourne to face Dean Vickerman’s ladder leading United squad on Saturday night, before playing against the Breakers in Hobart on Monday.

8. Adelaide 36ers

Record: 5-9, Previous Ranking: 8th

The 36ers hold ground this week after losing narrowly to a hot Kings side. Dusty Hannahs has left us again shaking our heads, crying out for some consistency. He was excellent in the 90-93 loss with 24 points in 21 minutes off the bench.

Mitch McCarron was again solid for CJ Bruton’s side, almost playing the entire game, finishing with 37:26 minutes.

Adelaide’s bigs – Cam Bairstow and Daniel Johnson – have been super impressive since the injury to Isaac Humphries, winning the rebound battle comfortably against the small ball Kings, However, rotation defence is becoming a problem for Bruton.

Those hoping for a limelight cameo from Kai Sotto in the remainder of the season have so far been disappointed. In 11 minutes he had two points (1-4 FG), no rebounds, no assists, two turnovers, three personal fouls and an almost impressive -15.

Sotto and Adelaide will have a chance to redeem some pride against South East Melbourne and Perth this week. This league doesn’t get any easier.

9. New Zealand Breakers

Record: 4-10, Previous Ranking: 9th

The league’s favourite team came up short in a fighting effort against the Hawks to round out the week’s action.

The Breakers slipped back down to the bottom of the ladder, with their defence letting them down as they let the Hawks score 102 points in the defeat. This was the second time in consecutive weeks that Dan Shamir’s men conceded more than 100 points.

One of the positives to come from this game was the new back-court pairing of Hugo Besson and Chasson Randle. The duo has shown signs of being an offensive juggernaut, and with Yanni Wetzell’s impending return, the Breakers could be in for a nice stretch of games.

Shamir’s side continues to struggle with offensive production without their starters on the floor, and they will need to stagger their stars in order to reach their full potential on both sides of the court.

With the Bullets and JackJumpers up next, the Breakers will have to walk away with at least one win in order to get off the bottom of the ladder.

10. Cairns Taipans

Record: 3-9, Previous Ranking: 10th

Cairns was well and truly clamped by Melbourne United, and its poor run of form continues.

Having said that, we have been Taipans optimists this season, and we again saw some positive signs from Adam Forde’s side.

Unfortunately, it was poor shooting from downtown that saw the Snakes struggle to keep pace with league leaders Melbourne, shooting just 6/29 from three-point range.

Scott Machado’s return has hardly been the boost that Forde would have been banking on, shooting just 18 per cent against a tough Melbourne United perimeter unit.

The Taipans will be banking on a healthier return for the 31-year-old over the coming weeks if they are to end this slump (two wins in their last eight). Machado can be such a barometer for this team, and his best should lift the Taipans out of the bottom two at least.

Cairns will face a tough task this week, travelling to Sydney to face the Kings.

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