In NBL21, things did not go to plan for the Brisbane Bullets, as they missed the finals for the second straight year.
Coming into NBL22, the Bullets have made numerous changes to the roster and have also introduced a new head coach James Duncan, the former Sydney Kings lead assistant coach.
Final ladder position: Sixth (18 wins, 18 losses)
Last season, the Bullets were average and their record reflected that, finishing the season with 18 wins and 18 losses.
Despite not making the playoffs, there were positives to come out of the season. Nathan Sobey emerged from stardom to superstardom, becoming an MVP calibre player.
However, there were almost as many negatives, some self-inflicted and others were just bad luck.
The Bullets struggled at home, boasting the second-worst home record of any team last season, only winning nine games at Nissan Arena. They also had issues on the defensive end, conceding the most points against for the season.
Thy released import Orlando Johnson after 15 games due to his underwhelming start to the season, averaging 6.8 PPG, 1.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds. They would bring back Lamar Patterson after he was released by the New Zealand Breakers.
To make matters worse, Vic Law would then go down with an ankle injury at the end of March, which required surgery that would rule him out of the remainder of the season.
After Law went down, the Bullets produced results full of inconsistency, struggling to score and defend. Before the end of the season head coach Andrej Lemanis called time on his five-year tenure in Brisbane.
The Brisbane Bullets have secured the services of American guard Isaiah Moss for NBL22. This season will be his first season playing in Australia.
Last year, Moss played for the Otago Nuggets in the NZNBL. In his first year as a professional, Moss was one of the best scorers in the competition, finishing eighth in the league in scoring, averaging 21.5 points per game. He scored 30 points on two occasions against line-ups featuring current and former NBL talent.
Moss brings the ability to create his own shot, an area the Bullets struggled in outside of Sobey. Moss’ greatest asset is his ability to shoot the ball efficiently. Last season with the Nuggets, Moss shot 44 per cent from the field, 37 per cent from beyond the three-point line and 85 per cent at the free-throw line.
The 25-year-old will fit in with the high scoring duo of Sobey and Patterson, and will cause headaches for opposition defences.
The Bullets biggest loss this season is Vic Law, who moved to the Perth Wildcats in free agency. Law was the second-best player on the Bullets’ roster behind Sobey, together proving a dangerous combination for opposing defences.
Before he was struck down by injury, in 16 games, Law averaged 18.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Standing at 6’7″, Law was often used as a small-ball centre and was able to hold his own defensively.
Before signing with the Wildcats, Law spent time with the Los Angeles Lakers at NBA Summer League. Law provided plenty of highlights, averaging 10 points and four rebounds, including a game-winning performance against the Los Angeles Clippers where he came up with the clutch triple to seal the win.
Player to watch:
Lamar Patterson is coming off a disappointing season, where he got injured and was released by the New Zealand Breakers before returning to finish the season with the Bullets. Last season, Patterson averaged 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and one steal per game.
In his last three seasons in the NBL, Patterson has arrived out of shape, before playing himself into prime game condition.
This shouldn’t be an issue this upcoming season as after re-signing with the Bullets, Patterson showed his commitment by staying in Brisbane and playing in the NBL1 North competition with Southern Districts Spartans. In seven games, he averaged 20.7 points, 5.9 assists, 6.9 rebounds.
PG: Nathan Sobey
SG: Anthony Drmic
SF: Isaiah Moss
PF: Lamar Patterson
C: Tyrell Harrison
Jason Cadee (Captain), Chuanxing Liu (development player), Deng Deng, Tom Digbeu (Next Star), Anthony Drmic, Robert Franks (import), Tyrell Harrison, Tanner Krebs, Max Mackinnon (development player), Isaiah Moss (import), Lamar Patterson (import), Jack Salt, Taane Samuel (development player), Nathan Sobey, Tamuri Wigness
In: Jack Salt, Deng Deng, Isaiah Moss, Taane Samuel, Robert Franks, Tom Digbeu, Chuanxing Liu, Max Mackinnon
Out: Harry Froling (Illawarra Hawks), Callum Dalton (Melbourne United), Vic Law (Perth Wildcats), Matt Hodgson (Perth Wildcats), BJ Johnston (Orlando Magic)
More NBL Season Previews
The Brisbane Bullets will open their first three games of their NBL22 campaign on the road, coming up against the NBL’s newest franchise first, facing the Tasmania JackJumpers at MyState Bank Arena in Round 1. They’ll then travel over to Perth to face the Wildcats twice at the Jungle – RAC Arena – in Rounds 2 and 3.
The Bullets play their first home game in the Armoury, matching up with Brian Goorjian’s Illawarra Hawks at Nissan Arena in their second game of Round 3.
The first ‘Sunshine Stoush’ between the Brisbane Bullets and Cairns Taipans is scheduled for Round 4 – on Boxing Day – at Nissan Arena in Brisbane. In the four meetings last season, the Bullets won them all.
What to expect:
With a new coach in James Duncan, the Bullets will need to familiarise themselves with a potential new game plan and strategies. Duncan has said the Bullets will be putting a greater emphasis on defence this season, so Bullets fans can expect to see some improvement in that area.
Duncan’s coaching philosophy focuses on player engagement and development so fans can expect to see the former Sydney Kings assistant coach help develop their young players.
The last word:
The Bullets and new head coach James Duncan’s goal this season would be to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2018-19 season.
Their season will depend on how well they perform defensively as they should continue to have no issues offensively with the firepower of Nathan Sobey, Isaiah Moss and Lamar Patterson.
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