Photos: @SydneyKings; @Adelaide36ers; @JackJumpers/Twitter

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 9, with both the Kings and JackJumpers making up places whilst the Breakers sit at the bottom.

The Three in the Key Podcast’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 9, with both the Kings and JackJumpers making up places whilst the Breakers sit at the bottom.

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. Melbourne United

Record: 8-3, Previous Ranking: 1st

The reigning champions had their eight-game winning streak snapped this week against Adelaide thanks to some Dusty Hannahs magic in the fourth quarter and unfortunately for them, they couldn’t hit a shot.

Despite a historically bad shooting night for captain Chris Goulding (0-14), the power ranking leaders took the game into overtime. 

Although United lost, there were still plenty of positives. Jo Lual-Acuil (23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks) continued his stellar season and Jack White (18 points, 11 rebounds and two steals) played his best game for the team and looks more athletic than he did before his injury.

Dean Vickerman won’t be too stressed, it’s hard to win every game in this league so expect them to bounce back next week when they face the JackJumpers back at home at John Cain Arena.

2. Perth Wildcats

Record: 7-3 , Previous Ranking: 2nd

It was a mixed round for the Wildcats as they defeated Illawarra but were blown out by the hot running Sydney Kings after another slow first quarter.

Despite the good win against the Hawks, Perth’s performance against the Kings was not what we’d come to expect from this well-oiled team. 

The Wildcats were unable to contain the Kings defensively, regularly in the first quarter falling into drop coverage allowing Sydney to get cooking.

Head coach Scott Morrison is still searching for answers defensively and under the basket, and his side must find their groove with these aspects ahead of its two clashes against South East Melbourne.

3. Illawarra Hawks

Record: 6-4 , Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Hawks were on both sides of a 94-point performance in Round 9. Starting off the round with a tough 14-point loss, the Hawks turned their fortunes around with a massive 19-point win over the Taipans.

Defensively it was a terrible showing for the Hawks and something that Brian Goorjian is sure to crack down on as they prepare for round 10. 

The Hawks kept themselves in the top four, but now have a hungry pack of teams within two games of their spot in the finals. 

Round 10 should give the Hawks their best opportunity to prove they belong near the top as they test their championship credentials in a double-header against South East Melbourne 

4. South East Melbourne Phoenix

Record: 6-2 , Previous Ranking: 4th

South East Melbourne returned to Nissan Arena hoping to erase the memory of their last visit.

Mitch Creek led his team straight from tip-off shooting perfect from the field in the first quarter, he would go on to finish the first half with 22 points.

The Bullets were able to put some pressure on the Phoenix at the start of the third quarter, reducing the margin to four points. However, the Phoenix was able to hold the Bullets to six points in the last quarter.

Head Coach Simon Mitchell was happy with his side’s defensive presence and they’ve now risen to third in the defensive rankings.

South East Melbourne has beaten the teams they should beat so far this season and, with their next four games against the Wildcats and Illawarra, we should get a better read of what this team’s capabilities are and how far they potentially could go in the post-season.

5. Sydney Kings

Record: 5-6 , Previous Ranking: 6th

The Kings made a statement with their 15-point win over the Wildcats in their lone game of Round 9, It was the Jaylen Adams show as he put on his best display in the NBL yet.

With a near 30 point triple-double, the import guard came out on top in the battle against Bryce Cotton and showcased his talents against the elite of the NBL.

Not only was the offence free-flowing, the Kings defence silenced the dangerous Wildcats offence and helped them to limit the damage from the dynamic duo of Cotton and Vic Law.

Even two shoves in the face from Matt Hodgson wasn’t enough to keep the Kings down as they now mount a chase for a desired top-four place on the ladder and in the power rankings.

6. Brisbane Bullets

Record: 4-6, Previous Ranking: 5th

The Brisbane Bullets are now on a three-game losing streak, after the smashing by the Kings, the close encounter against United and now it’s lost to the Phoenix.

On Saturday night, Lamar Patterson fired, scoring 26 points but no one else could go with him. Nathan Sobey only scored nine points and only took nine shots (had one attempt to halftime). Robert Franks played his worst game for the team, unable to get himself going on both ends of the floor, the 25-year-old only had two points and two rebounds.

The Bullets have shown they have the talent to capture that fourth spot, but the team’s inconsistencies haven’t allowed them definitively to take it.

Brisbane will look to snap their losing streak when they match up against Queensland rivals the Cairns Taipans.

7. Cairns Taipans

Record: 2-4 , Previous Ranking: 7th

Cairns played for the first time after a long lay-off, and it doesn’t get much harder than the Hawks. Predictably, the Hawks proved too much for Adam Forde’s men accounting for them easily by 19 points. One ongoing issue to watch is the struggle of Zimmerman, who was played just 14 minutes against the Hawks. It is evident that Forde is running out of patience with the big import, pulling him out of the games multiple times with less than 4 minutes in a stretch.

Both Zimmerman and the Taipans will be hoping for a better showing against Brisbane this week.

8. Tasmania JackJumpers

Record: 4-6 , Previous Ranking: 10th

Two wins in a weekend for the JackJumpers who (technically) recorded their first road win against the Breakers. There still seems to be some offensive stagnation and difficulties, but all is quickly forgotten when shots are hit and wins are had.

The JJs will be tested against the Kings (home) and Melbourne United (away) this week.

9. Adelaide 36ers

Record: 4-6, Previous Ranking: 8th

Coach CJ Bruton will be on the lookout for some consistency from his team this week as once again Adelaide was inconsistent. After a shock loss against Tasmania, his team broke the 8 game winning streak of Melbourne United. It doesn’t make sense to us either.

Admittedly, Mitch McCarron was absent against the JJs, his continued health will be instrumental if the 36ers are to make any impression this season.

10. New Zealand Breakers

Record: 2-8 , Previous Ranking: 9th

The Breakers finally returned to NBL action in round 9, only to post the 11th lowest score in league history – against the side that was below them in the ladder, the JackJumpers.

In what can only be described as an embarrassing loss, the Breakers have to seriously re-evaluate and quickly put the loss behind them. 

They showed flashes of a fighting team that wasn’t letting the tough circumstances surrounding the franchise affect their performance, however against the JackJumpers they were horrible and deserve to be bottom given the lack of performance.

The Breakers are much better than this and will have to improve rapidly if they are a chance to get past either the Kings or Hawks in Round 10.

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