Studs and Duds
It hasn’t taken long for NBL Dream Team to reveal just how brutal a beast it can be, with a handful of high flyers from the first fortnight plummeting to the bottom of the pack in round three, while a couple of slow starters hit top gear.
Two games in the round helped Cairns and Townsville players fill the upper rungs of the high score list, with Taipans point guard Jamar Wilson and full-throttle forward Brad Hill sharing top spot with 72 Dream Team points apiece.
It was a monumental turnaround for Wilson, one of Dream Team’s elite last year, after the Snakes playmaker found himself in negative territory in round two.
Rising Crocs star Todd Blanchfield nailed 40 DTs in Townsville’s loss to Adelaide to bump his weekend tally up to 66, while his new teammate, speedy guard Gary Ervin, impressed against New Zealand to finish with 60.
Amazingly, bruising Breakers forward Mika Vukona needed just one game to force his way into the top five scorers for the round, with his 15-point, 15-rebound performance against Townsville worth 64 Dream Team points to his owners.
An unrelenting effort on the boards also helped Adelaide centre Luke Schenscher (50) and Melbourne forward Seth Scott (46) pocket some big points, with the Tigers import in particular proving to be one of the picks of the season so far.
Sydney import Corin Henry is no stranger to the stud list, finishing round two as its highest-scoring player, but the Kings guard with the killer crossover couldn’t conjure a similar score in round three, plunging to -2 in the loss to Cairns.
Missed shots and turnovers also consigned teammate Darnell Lazare to a negative total, meaning the Kings imports who combined for more than 100 points last week followed up with a joint score of -4.
Another to back-up a big score with a round-three failure was New Zealand guard Cedric Jackson, who managed just four Dream Team points in Friday night’s win over Townsville. For those that don’t own the uber-expensive Jackson, such a hiccup might just make him affordable enough to snap up before the Breakers’ double-game week rolls around in round six.
A place on the dud list might seem severe for Cam Tragardh after the Cairns recruit nabbed 44 points in round three, but it’s fair to assume his owners expected more from his two-game weekend after the former Melbourne forward chalked up 50 or more points in each of his opening two outings.
Looking Forward (Round 4 Preview)
Pick Me, Pick Me!
It’s Sydney’s turn to double up in round four, making Shane Heal’s men must-haves ahead of games against both North Queensland outfits this weekend. If you’ve already got Henry and Lazare on board, then consider sharp-shooting guard Ben Madgen, the Kings’ top scorer against Cairns with 38 Dream Team points, or budget forward Tom Garlepp, who’s averaged 25 points over his past couple of games.
Perth has the bye this week so, if you’re not prepared to sell the likes of Kevin Lisch and Shawn Redhage, at least remember to remove them from your starting five.
You have to back the Sydney duo of Corin Henry and Darnell Lazare to bounce back from their anonymous showings in round three and slap the responsibility of leading your Dream Team into battle on one of them this week. Henry has the daunting task of facing up to fellow import guards Jamar Wilson and Gary Ervin but, to date, has shown he owns a higher ceiling than Lazare.
If you don’t boast a Kings import in your armoury, or you fancy a flutter, then New Zealand guard Cedric Jackson is a strong bet to rebound from his poor showing in round three when the Breakers visit the Melbourne Tigers this weekend.