22/05/2024

The Tasmania JackJumpers were one of the big winners in Round 2. (Image: @JackJumpers/Twitter)

The Inner Sanctum’s NBL Power Rankings have dropped for Round 2, with the JackJumpers climbing up the ranks after two huge wins while the depleted Phoenix spiral down.

These NBL Power Rankings are predicated on current form and short-term expectations for the squads. 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 Inner Sanctum’s NBL Power Rankings ahead of Round 3 of the 2023/24 season.

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1. Melbourne United

Record: 2-1, Previous Ranking: 1st

Melbourne United remain on top of the NBL ladder and our power rankings, but Dean Vickerman will not want to re-watch the last quarter against the JackJumpers after his side blew a 13-point lead.

Ian Clark played 27 minutes in his first game in United colours and will be better for the run.

One thing to keep an eye on in the future will be how United closes games, especially with the level of talent they can have on the floor.

With Clark back healthy, it likely means one of Matthew Dellavedova or Shea Ili will have to sit in crunch time

Games this week: At Perth, vs Brisbane

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2. Sydney Kings

Record: 2-1, Previous Ranking: 2nd

It was a grind for the Kings offensively against the JackJumpers as everyone except Jaylen Adams, Jaylin Galloway, and Alex Toohey found it difficult to score.

Head coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah would have loved to see how his team responded, bursting out of the gates against Adelaide.

Jonah Bolden’s performances across the weekend are encouraging as he continues to build up his fitness upon his return to the game.

Games this week: At Brisbane, vs Perth

3. Tasmania JackJumpers

Record: 2-1, Previous Ranking: 5th

The JackJumpers was one of the big winners from the weekend, claiming big wins against the defending champions Sydney Kings and the ladder-leading Melbourne United.

After uncharacteristically conceding 101 points last week against Perth, Tasmania was back to its defensive best, restricting Sydney and Melbourne to 72 and 75 points respectively.

Despite its defensive intensity a major behind its success on the weekend, another reason was the clutch shot-making of superstar Milton Doyle.

Doyle single-handily dragged the JackJumpers over the line with back-to-back spectacular fourth-quarter performances.

The two scalps have seen Tasmania rise as one of the early contenders, but all that Scott Roth will be focusing on will be this weekend’s encounters against Illawarra and South East Melbourne.

Games this week: Vs Illawarra, at South East Melbourne

4. New Zealand Breakers

Record: 1-1, Previous Ranking: 3rd

Mody Maor would have been disappointed about his side’s loss to the Brisbane Bullets but in particular, the production from his bench. The Breakers bench could only produce 11 points compared to the Bullets’ 32 points.

Breakers fans saw the return of star point guard Will McDowell-White (19 points, four assists, and two steals) alongside his hyphenated counterpart Parker Jackson-Cartwright (20 points and five assists) – who continued his good start to the season.

The Breakers don’t play any games until Round Five as they are currently in the US, so they could find themselves down the rankings across the next few weeks.

Games this week: None

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5. Perth Wildcats

Record: 2-1, Previous Ranking: 4th

After their abysmal performance against the Phoenix last round, the Wildcats were raring to go in the first quarter against the 36ers. However, coach John Rillie would have been disappointed that they allowed Adelaide back into the game.

If not for back-to-back clutch threes from Alex Sarr, Perth could have been staring down at a  disappointing loss at home.

With games against United and the Kings upcoming, we will get to see how the Wildcats match up against two of the best teams in the league

Games this week: Vs Melbourne, at Sydney

6. Cairns Taipans

Record: 2-1, Previous Ranking: 3rd

The Taipans are one of the big risers from the weekend after knocking off the South East Melbourne Phoenix and extending their winning streak over the Brisbane Bullets.

Swedish Next Star Bobi Klintman has looked to have found his feet in the league after breakout performances across the Taipans’ two games.

The 20-year-old illustrated his versatility on both ends of the court, hitting several big shots and being a presence defensively.

Klintman averaged 17 points and 8.5 rebounds across Cairns’ two wins, if he continues at this rate the 208cm forward will continue to rocket up NBA draft boards.

The Taipans are currently in the US, set to take on the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors. Like the New Zealand, Cairns could find itself down the rankings depending on results over the weekend.

Games this week: None

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7. Brisbane Bullets

Record: 2-1, Previous Ranking: 7th

The Brisbane Bullets had a very up-and-down round after they first defeated the Breakers but that performance was firmly in the rear-view mirror on Saturday night in the Sunshine Stoush as Aron Baynes lost his cool against the Taipans.

Justin Schueller’s defensive identity for this Brisbane side was on full display against New Zealand, holding the Breakers to 17 points in the fourth quarter to guide the Bullets to an unexpected victory.

Nathan Sobey was back to being the Nathan Sobey from a couple of years ago, finishing with 24 and 31 points across the weekend.

It could have been an even better weekend if he was able to get the Bullets across the line against the Taipans after Baynes’ ejection, but there were moments in the dying minutes the 33-year-old would like back.

The Bullets have two mouth-watering clashes this weekend against the Kings at home before travelling to Melbourne to face United.

Games this week: Vs Sydney, at Melbourne

8. Illawarra Hawks

Record: 1-1, Previous Ranking: 8th

Despite winning their first game of NBL24 against the Phoenix, the Hawks are a little stiff to not move up the rankings.

Although you could argue Illawarra caught South East Melbourne at the right time after the Phoenix were undermanned.

With the Phoenix without a true centre, the Hawks got anything they wanted inside the three-point arc, shooting an efficient 65 per cent as Justin Robinson (26 points), Tyler Harvey (20 points), and Sam Froling (17 points) made their presence felt.

Games this week: At Tasmania, at Adelaide

9. South East Melbourne Phoenix

Record: 1-3, Previous Ranking: 6th

Round Two couldn’t have gotten any worse for the Phoenix.

Not only did they lose both of their games, but Tyler Cook suffered an eye abrasion in their encounter with the Taipans that also saw him miss the game against the Hawks days later.

South East Melbourne is already depleted in the big man department, as Alan Williams (knee) and Gorjok Gak (ankle) continue to recover from their respective injuries. Coach Mike Kelly will be praying that those guys can get back on the court as soon as possible.

The underman Phoenix will have their hands full this weekend as they host one of the form teams of the competition, the Tasmania JackJumpers.

Games this week: Vs Tasmania

10. Adelaide 36ers

Record: 0-4, Previous Ranking: 10th

It’s a case of where to from here for Adelaide, as it remains the only team in the league yet to record a win through the first two rounds.

The 36ers have shown small glimpses of brilliance in all four of their games but fall away in crucial moments. Adelaide was within touching distance against both Perth and Sydney but collapsed at the final hurdle with lapses on the defensive end.

Jacob Wiley and Isaac Humphries were huge again this past round, but the front-court pairing can’t do it by themselves and need others to come along for the ride. 36ers fans will be hoping that Trey Kell’s 28-point explosion against the Kings can kickstart his season after a slow start.

Games this week: Vs Illawarra

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