13/04/2024

Chicago Bulls champion, Scottie Pippen attended the NBL24 finals launch at John Cain Arena. (Photo: Blair Burns)

The NBL24 regular season has concluded and now only six teams are left to battle it out in the finals for the ultimate glory, the championship.

Six-time NBA champion Scottie Pippen was a guest at the NBL24 finals launch, speaking about the competition and how he expected it to play out.

Pippen said finals was a special time for all players involved and emphasised the importance of working well as a team to go deep into the playoffs.

“You want to be playing some of your best basketball, but it’s the time where you want to be playing great as a team,” he said.

“Players get a little more regenerated, they can see the prize … they get a little hungry and the games become a bit more exciting.”

Melbourne United cruised through the season with a 20-8 record to claim top spot on the ladder, while Perth Wildcats led by season MVP, Bryce Cotton clinched second position on the table.

Tasmania Jack Jumpers remained consistent throughout the year led by Scott Roth and will back themselves to knock off Illawarra Hawks.

However, the Hawks have the belief and momentum following a huge in-season turnaround.

The Hawks began NBL24 with a 2-8 record before Justin Tatum took over as head coach and led the side to go 12-6 for the remainder of the year and find itself finishing fourth and playing in the seeding qualifier.

Sydney Kings have won the last two titles and will be looking to do it the hard way this year after the team grabbed fifth spot on the ladder.

They will battle it out against a wounded but ever-resilient New Zealand Breakers side in the play-in qualifier. Two of the best guards in the competition, Jaylen Adams and Parker Jackson-Cartwright will go head-to-head in an exciting match up.

Pippen said after watching Sydney Kings destroy South East Melbourne Phoenix and secure fifth spot, he felt the team was ready to defend its title the hard way.

“I think they’ve shown the other night that they’re ready, they want to be a part of this playoff run, they want the opportunity to defend their title,” he said.

“They faded a lot during the regular season … but they somehow got the wake-up call, got a second chance and let’s see if they can take advantage of it.”

The Chicago Bulls champion said while it was a good bonus to finish at the top of the table, if a side doesn’t play their best, they will get beaten.

“Every team in the playoffs is capable of beating whoever they’re playing against … all the little things you work on all season become very important one night,” he said.

Seeding Qualifier: Wednesday, February 28

Tasmania JackJumpers v Illawarra Hawks, MyState Bank Arena, 5:30pm AEDT

ESPN via Kayo and Foxtel

Play-In Qualifier: Wednesday, February 28

Sydney Kings v New Zealand Breakers, Qudos Bank Arena, 7:30pm AEDT

ESPN via Kayo and Foxtel

Play-In Game: Monday, March 4

Teams TBC, Venue TBC, 7:30pm AEDT

ESPN via Kayo and Foxtel

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