THE 2022/23 National Basketball League season is less than two weeks from getting underway, and it is shaping up as one of the most anticipated seasons in recent memory.
Last year saw the Tassie fairytale, some new stars step to the forefront and Sydney dominance in the big dance. With some big names joining the competition over the past few months, there is a lot to like about how the fixture is looking, as the league continues its rise on the world stage.
With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at how each side is shaping up ahead of the season tip-off, with some new look squads eager to take the next step.
The next side on the list are the Adelaide 36ers, who were the other big winners from the free agency period, signing a pair of established talents to help bring their side rise up the rankings in their upcoming campaign.
2021/22 record – 10-18
It was a season of inconsistency from the 36ers, who looked a chance to knock off just about any side over the course of the season, but could not piece it together. However, they made some big moves in the offseason and grabbed two bonafide stars of the competition and gave their list a massive boost.
Fresh off his marvellous debut season where he claimed the NBL’s Best Defensive Player award, Antonius Cleveland signed on for season 2021/22. He has looked extremely dangerous in a 36ers jersey in the Blitz preseason competition, and looks set to take his offensive game to another level in Adelaide. There are no question marks surrounding his work defending the ball carrier, but if he can become a 20+ point player, he will be right in the conversation for MVP.
The 36ers also acquired the signature of former Bullets forward Robert Franks, who was excellent last season and will be looking to repeat that output for his new side. Combining Franks and Cleveland with the already established talents of Daniel Johnson and Mitch McCarron instantly lifts Adelaide into the contender category ahead of the season.
The team will be disappointed to lose the services of Dusty Hannahs, who signed a contract with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA today, but have more than enough foot soldiers to help fill that void.
The 36ers look destined to improve on a mediocre season last time, and have added the star power to potentially bring home their fifth championship. It is all a matter of building chemistry and gelling on the court ahead of tip-off next weekend.
Sunday Dech, Anthony Drmic, Kyrin Galloway, Hyrum Harris, Daniel Johnson, Mitch McCarron, Kai Sotto, Nick Marshall, Antonius Cleveland, Robert Franks, Craig Randall II, Deng Acuoth, Cameron Thew, Fiston Ipassou