Thu, Aug 23, 9:39am by Staff Writer
Reigning NBL champions Melbourne United are joint favourites to take out the 2018-19 NBL title, despite uncertainty around the make up of their roster.
Two of last season’s best players for United, Casper Ware and Casey Prather are both unlikely to return to United, with four other players from their championship team joining other clubs in the off-season.
United have signed Alex Pledger, Mitch McCarron and Dan Trist to bolster their stocks, after the departures of Tai Wesley, David Andersen, Kyle Adnam and Majok Majok.
The Sydney Kings have been the biggest movers in the off-season and are priced at $3.60 at Sportsbet to win the title.
The Kings had a horror 2017-18 season as they failed to consistently win games and their imports were underwhelming, particularly in the first part of the season.
They have signed former NBA number one draft pick Andrew Bogut to a two-year deal in a massive coup for the team.
Daniel Kickert and Kyle Adnam are also arriving from other NBL teams and bring a wealth of experience to the squad. Jerome Randle also returns to the Kings and the former-MVP should be even more impressive with a pre-season under his belt.
Last year’s beaten finalists the Adelaide 36ers have played some of the most attractive basketball in the competition during the past two seasons.
They are $9 to win the NBL championship this season, but will find it tough given they have lost one of last seasons best players Mitch Creek to the NBA. Creek has signed a training camp deal with the Brooklyn Nets.
Shannon Shorter and Josh Childress are both free agents and likely to seek contracts elsewhere, as they looked to have reached their potential in the NBL.
The 36ers should still be competitive this season, but lose a lot of scoring punch with the players that have departed.
The Perth Wildcats are always tremendously tough to beat at home and despite a lean couple of season’s by their lofty standards, are a $6 shot at winning this season’s title.
The bulk of the side’s Australian contingent return this season, but imports JP Tokoto and Derek Cooke Jr are unlikely to feature again in Perth. Bryce Cotton re-signed on a three-year deal recently and offers them stability t the point guard.
Since returning to the NBL, the Brisbane Bullets have failed to play finals, but patience surely wearing thin in the sunshine state.
The Bullets are $8 to win this season’s NBL title and welcome a number of new players to their roster.
Former Cairns guard Cam Gliddon joins to bolster scoring, while New Zealand’s Mika Vukona will add aggression and physicality to the team. Jason Cadee, Matt Hodgson and Will Magnay are some of the Bullets’ other signings and are to be joined by imports.
The New Zealand Breakers are $10 to win the NBL championship this season, but have lost both their big men in Rob Loe and Alex Pledger, as well as point guard DJ Newbill to Cairns.
The Breakers are always under rated before the season starts but have a knack of proving their critics wrong. New coach Kevin Braswell may look to implement new structures into the side and they are certainly a team worth watching.
Under Rob Beveridge, the Illawarra Hawks play one of the most up-tempo offences in the league. Their defence has been a concern and they haven’t recruited strongly in the off-season, leaving them a $10 title shot.
The Cairns Taipans are in a similar situation, with former Melbourne United coach Mike Kelly signing a two-year deal to replace Aaron Fearne. The Snakes have lost the core of their roster with Cam Gliddon, Mitch McCarron and Jarrad Weeks all leaving in the off-season.
NBL Championship Odds – Sportsbet
Melbourne United $3.60
Sydney Kings $3.60
Perth Wildcats $6
Brisbane Bullets $8
Adelaide 36ers $9
New Zealand Breakers $10
Illawarra Hawks $10
Cairns Taipans $23
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