Nuggets right in middle of even competition

Here is what we know so far.

The inaugural National Basketball League draft works.

It has delivered a much more even tournament than we have seen in many a year.

And the Otago Nuggets are right in the middle.

They won their first two games but received a reality check in the heavy loss to Taranaki and came undone against the Franklin Bulls.

Centre Sam Timmins, who grew up in Dunedin, had a terrific game for the Bulls.

He piled on 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

It was great to see the young man playing so well.

It just hurt to see him do it in a different-coloured singlet.

He also helped highlight an area in which the Nuggets will need to lift their game.

Somehow, the side has to find a way to keep its opponents off the offensive boards. Taranaki pair Marcel Jones and Shane Temara collected 29 rebounds between them and nine of them were offensive rebounds.

The Nuggets have a small line-up and will struggle to win the rebounding battle.

But the side could be boxing out better and will need to show more tenacity in that area.

They play the Canterbury Rams tonight and that would be a good time to start.

The Nuggets also look a little too reliant on No1 draft pick Jordan Ngatai when the pressure comes on.

The Nuggets have looked their best when they are moving the ball into space and the bench has offered tremendous value.

They can take confidence from that and perhaps share the load more during the key moments in games.

Nuggets big man Jordan Hunt is undersized for the role he has been asked to play but, alongside side veteran point guard Jarrod Kenny, has arguably been one of the better performers.

The Nuggets need more out of Kane Keil and could do with a back-up big for Hunt.

But the Nuggets are in the mix.

After a six-year absence from the league, that is a wonderful result.


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