NBL Power Rankings Round 7: What is happening to the Kings?

Who rose and who fell in our Round 7 NBL Power Rankings? (Photos: NBL)

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 7, with the Kings falling into the bottom two and United taking out top spot for the first time this season.

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 8 of the 2021/22 season.

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1. Melbourne United

Record: 6-2, Previous Ranking: 7th

Melbourne United have surged up the power rankings this week, finishing Round 7 on a six-game win streak defeating the New Zealand Breakers and Illawarra Hawks.

Their two wins this round were helped by big performances by Jo Lual-Acuil, Chris Goulding and Matthew Dellavedova.

The reigning champions looked to have things rolling and will want to continue their good form into their upcoming clash against Adelaide and Brisbane.

2. Illawarra Hawks

Record 4-2, Previous Ranking: 1st

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in the NBL, the Hawks were the team to beat. With a league-best 3-1 record, Illawarra’s offensive strength was on full display and were firming into favouritism to win it all.

However, with massive disruption and a lot of cases, the Hawks fell short in their game against United, after taking care of the Kings a few days prior. It’s tough to determine whether the loss can be blamed on the lack of games or just a side struggling to recover from COVID-19.

The Hawks still looked dangerous, and proved it in their game with the Kings. The question remains if they can recapture their early season form and take it to the elite of the NBL

3. Perth Wildcats

Record: 5-2, Previous Ranking: 3rd

Despite the Wildcats’ loss on the weekend, we’re not reading too much into it as it was Perth’s first game since New Year’s Eve.

However, first quarters have been a problem in their last couple of starts, and it’s leaving them too much to do.

Head coach Scott Morrison will want to see a better full four-quarter performance, but it won’t get any easier when they match-up next against the Illawarra Hawks.

4. Brisbane Bullets

Record: 3-3, Previous Ranking: 4th

The Bullets took full advantage of a COVID disrupted South East Melbourne Phoenix, but a win is a win, and this team continues to show why they could end up with a top-four spot.

Despite dropping games to the current bottom two teams, they’ve collected wins against three of the league’s current top-four teams.

Round 8 will be an interesting and possibly defining round for the Bullets as they come up against the ladder leaders Melbourne United. Depending on the result of that game, they could see themselves continuing their rise up the power rankings.

5. South East Melbourne Phoenix

Record: 3-2, Previous Ranking: 2nd

Similar to Perth, we can’t read too much into the Phoenix’s performance on the weekend against the Bullets, as it was their first game in 28 days.

You could tell South East Melbourne was rusty, shooting 38 per cent from the field, and we don’t see that happening again anytime soon.

With their first game back now out of the way, the Phoenix now set their eyes on clashes against the JackJumpers and Cairns Taipans as they look towards pushing themselves back up the rankings.

6. Cairns Taipans

Record: 2-2, Previous Ranking: 10th

Cairns are a tough read given it has only played four games this season, the last being December 31’s tight loss to number two ranked Perth.

What isn’t a tough read however is how much the Taipans have improved under coach Adam Forde. Many, including us at Three in the Key predicted them to be last. They will look to maintain their position against the Breakers at home.

7. Adelaide 36ers

Record: 3-3, Previous Ranking: 6th

Adelaide has started to make its case as the team many of us thought it would be. After a slow start, Coach CJ Bruton has the 36ers’ offence rolling.

Mitch McCarron is finding his feet at his new club with a near triple-double in the latest win against the Perth Wildcats. Combined with the return of Sunday Dech, suddenly the 3-3 6ers look a chance to sneak into fourth. 

It’s important to note that Perth struggled to get players on the court from COVID recovery despite the victory, and most of the players were definitely not fully fit. Adelaide will be tested this week against Illawarra.

8. New Zealand Breakers

Record: 2-7, Previous Ranking: 8th

After losing a tough one with United on Friday, the Breakers turned it around massively with a fourth-quarter barrage against the Kings on Sunday – getting their second win in three games.

With the trio of Yanni Weztell, Jeremiah Martin and Peyton Siva leading the way offensively, the Breakers may have found their form. However, with a tough schedule ahead and the likelihood of the remainder of the season being on the road, New Zealand will need to dig deep and continue to put its offence together in order to win more games.

In a trip to Cairns this weekend, the Breakers will look to test themselves against a team of similar quality and prove to the rest of the league just how good they can be.

9. Sydney Kings

Record: 3-5, Previous Ranking: 5th

The Sydney Kings’ season looks to be in serious turmoil, after losing to rivals Illawarra and losing a seemingly un-loseable game against the Breakers.

With the announcement of RJ Hunter’s season-ending injury, the Kings are now down on some serious shooting – an area of major concern lately. After going on the wrong side of a 16-1 run to end the Breakers game, coach Chase Buford may have to re-evaluate his system and personnel in order to salvage the season.

10. Tasmania JackJumpers

Record: 2-5, Previous Ranking: 9th

Again, in a COVID disrupted season, it’s hard to get a recent look at Tasmania’s team. With last Friday’s game and Wednesday’s game both being postponed by the league, it’s safe to say we will not really have a read on them for a while.

The reality remains however that the record sits at 2-5 with South East Melbourne to come next. Despite some great defence and hustle, the daunting cloud of the repeatedly poor fourth quarter offence hangs heavy.

Hopefully, this is something coach Scott Roth has addressed over the extended break. If not, it’s hard to see the JackJumpers moving from this spot for the rest of the season.

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