NBL Dream Team – round 8
The first round without any teams doubling up since round two made for some low scores but a host of close league matches. Perth get to go around twice this week, so load up on Cats. Wild ones.
Studs and Duds
Clearly, Ben Madgen doesn’t have Seth Scott in his NBL Dream Team. When the tenacious Sydney guard’s badgering of the big Melbourne import drew a retaliatory shunt and subsequent ejection in the closing game of round seven, it left Scott stranded on just 26 Dream Team points – the first time the sweet-shooting forward has dipped under 30 points this season.
The decision to send Scott for an early shower turned more than a few league matches on their head as the absence of any two-game players helped produce a closely contested round of Dream Team action.
Madgen himself was again one of the stars of the show, amassing 44 Dream Team points to rank alongside the likes of New Zealand Breakers pair Cedric Jackson (46) and Alex Pledger (42), and Wollongong pace-setters Oscar Forman (46) and Adris Deleon (42).
The only two players to better those scores were Adelaide centre Daniel Johnson and his Sydney counterpart Ian Crosswhite, with the former grabbing 52 points in the first match at Perth Arena and the latter rewarded with 48 points for his double-double in the Kings’ fiery Capital City Clash.
While Johnson’s dominant 21-point, 15-rebound performance landed him back-to-back half-centuries, Sydney forward Darnell Lazare recorded just 10 points for the second consecutive week, as a series of missed shots in the first quarter curbed the Kings import’s scoring.
Equally ineffective in round seven were Cairns duo Cam Tragardh and Jamar Wilson, who couldn’t muster more than 8 and -2 respectively in the Taipans’ second-half surrender to Wollongong on Saturday night.
Looking Forward (Round 8 Preview)
Pick Me, Pick Me!
While not plunging to the same depths as Tragardh or Wilson, much-hyped Melbourne import Jonny Flynn again failed to live up to the huge expectations placed on the former NBA guard, scoring 18 Dream Team points to go with his 24 on debut.
Despite his relatively paltry returns so far, Flynn remains a sensible selection, with his points-sapping field-goal percentage and high turnover count certain to improve over the coming weeks.
They may have dropped their past three games but Perth players loom as critical additions to your team this week as the Wildcats front up for a pair of games in round eight. The first of those – the hosting of ladder leaders and reigning champions New Zealand – falls on Thursday night, so make sure you’ve got your trades sorted before the earlier-than-normal lockout.
An ill-timed bye for the streaking Adelaide 36ers might tempt you to cut some of Marty Clarke’s men from your squad, but keep in mind that they have a glut of potentially profitable games – eight in five rounds, to be exact – immediately after their break.
The recent form of Breakers ball-handler Cedric Jackson makes him hard to ignore, but the fact that his second-lowest score this season (34) came against Perth – this week’s opponent – combined with the extra game for the Wildcats gives forward/centre Matty Knight the edge in captaincy calculations.
While Knight managed just 24 points in the Wildcats’ loss to Adelaide last round, he enjoyed a 46 before that and produced a season-high 48 in the opening-round win against New Zealand.