How are the Breakers looking?

Shawn Long. Photo: Getty Images
Shawn Long. Photo: Getty Images
The New Zealand Breakers begin their NBL campaign tonight against the Brisbane Bullets. Jeff Cheshire looks at how the team is shaping up for the season.

Gains

Corey Webster, Jarrad Weeks, Tai Wesley, Majok Majok, Armani Moore, Patrick Richard, Shawn Long.

Losses

Mika Vukona, Alex Pledger, Rob Loe, Kirk Penney, DJ Newbill, Edgar Sosa, Rakeem Christmas.

Returning

Shea Ili, Tom Abercrombie, Finn Delany, Jordan Ngatai.

Corey Webster. Photo: Getty Images
Corey Webster. Photo: Getty Images
Key players

Corey Webster

An elite scorer whose quick shot release and ability to create separation from his defender makes him tough to stop. If he keeps his off-court life in check, he will be very valuable.

Shawn Long

A dynamic and well-rounded big man who brings NBA experience to the side.

Southern connections

Weeks, Delany and development player Tom Vodanovich all turned out for the Southland Sharks this year.

Max de Geest, another development player, is originally from Oamaru and attended Waitaki Boys' High School before moving to Christchurch.

Strengths

There is plenty of depth and versatility on this roster. Kiwis Webster and Ili team with Weeks, Moore and Richard to form a dynamic backcourt which can push the pace. It would not be a surprise to see three of that group on court together often.

A new-look front court looks far more dynamic than last year, although a lot smaller. That should lend itself to a fast-paced game, so expect a lot of small ball.

Weaknesses

Size is the big one, although the franchise have given that up to play a faster game.

There are still plenty of capable rebounders in this side, while Long and Wesley are both offensive post threats. Post defence will be the biggest area in which this team could end up being exposed.

Outlook

This team is capable of doing well and should make the playoffs, although it will have to go through strong Sydney and Melbourne teams to win the whole thing.


 

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