NBL tips off fitter than ever

NBL tips off fitter than ever

Hovering between the comatose side of "grim" and with Death's scythe poised just six months ago, the NBL instead launches tonight fitter than ever, writes Boti Nagy for The Adelaide Advertiser.

Sure, labouring the negatives of an off-season of controversy can stay the domain of the agitated laryngitis-struck naysayers.

But the fact is paring 10 teams back to eight means a better talent spread across the board.

Too bad if it happened because a couple of clubs died.

You need to cut the weak from the pack to get running again and if ownerships and clubs cannot commit - for whatever reason - then they can watch from the stands. Everyone is better off.

An off-season which produced Wollongong as its champion has turned tipping into a nightmare - or a fantasy if you want to jump aboard the league's "dream team" game on the official NBL website.

Returning a semi-finalist which includes the reigning league MVP (Kirk Penney) and an NBA-experienced import (Awvee Storey) for an axed veteran (Phill Jones), New Zealand has every right to start favourite.

Before Chris Anstey (hip) went down, Melbourne would probably have been paired alongside the Breakers as the teams most likely to be playing on the 2009-10 season's final weekend.

But now it's arguably the start of a season of the great unknown, the spread of the (talent) wealth and the sobriety of club managements ensuring seven teams are in the hunt to join the Breakers at the final soiree.

"You look at the teams and it's hard to separate so many of them," Sixers coach Scott Ninnis said. "Sure, you hear it every year how you'll have to bring your A-game every night because anyone can beat you on any given occasion.

"But I honestly don't think those words have ever rung as true as they do this season."

Fox Sports' television coverage will bring that season into the lounge-rooms of pay-TV subscribers with an expanded coverage. Award-winning AFL commentators Brian Taylor and Dwayne Russell, who share a life-long involvement in basketball, will deliver the play-by-play, with colour commentary supplied by NBL and Olympic great Andrew Gaze . . . and Shane Heal.

Read the rest of Boti’s article at The Adelaide Advertiser.