2022 NZNBL preview: Nelson Giants

RETURNING for 2022 looking to bounce back from a seventh placed finish in 2021, the Nelson Giants have some consistent talent on their list, ready to make an impact. With Mike Fitchett at the helm, the Giants will be hoping to find the consistency that they did not quite managed to do in the 2021 season, when their year kicks off on Thursday night in the season opener at home against Otago Nuggets.


FRESH FACES: Jordan Schwalger, Nicolas Davidson, Ernest Kerr, Jarred Burnett, Garth Jepsen
KEY DEPARTURES: Hunter Hale, Donte Ingram

Nelson Giants have lost a couple of big name players in Hunter Hale and Donte Ingram for the 2022 season, but have brought in a number of fresh faces to try and add depth and consistency to the list. Hale earned All Star Five selection last season and averaged a ridiculous 26.9 points, whilst ranking in the top three for rebounds, alongside Ingram who was second in both measures, and the pair were top two in assists.

Of the exciting inclusions, the Giants are keen to see how young New Zealand shooter Jordan Schwalger turns out, with the raw talent coming from the Southern District Spartans where he played alongside former Giant bigman Mika Vukona. Playing out of the five spot, Schwalger is athletic and able to get up high at both ends, but is more than capable of knocking down shots from any range.


Sam Dempster
Tom Ingham
Nic Trathen
Jordan Schwalger
Riley Bensemann
Alex McNaught
Tyler Marsh
Jay Marsh
Nicolas Davidson
Ernest Kerr
Jarred Burnett
Garth Jepsen


For the Giants, it is all about overcoming the losses of Hale and Ingram who were so vital for them last season. They have retained the majority of the next core, with Sam Dempster, Tom Ingham and Nic Trathen all crucial players. Ingham averaged 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season, but as the highest scorer remaining on he list, he will be key to standing up. Dempster lead the rebounds in 2021, with 7.8 per game, a similar number to his points average (7.3) and with the losses of the two key players, he will rely on Schwalger even more to aid in that way. Trathen was a valuable scorer with 1.7 three-pointers per game, and averaging 9.3 total points, as well as 2.9 rebounds.

Along with Schwalger, a key could be Alexander McNaught who is an outstanding defensive player, and one that will need to hold firm on that end of the court. Whilst the loss of scorers may prompt him to add more strings to his bow in 2022, McNaught, along with Schwalger could provide the defensive cover needed this season, with the form able to add more minutes to his court time. Overall, the Giants have some great young talent, though lack the experience of other sides, so it will be a great test to see just how much they can develop in 2022.


R1 vs. Nuggets
R2 vs. Tuatara
R3 @ Bulls
R4 vs. Rams
R5 vs. Hawks
R6 @ Sharks | @ Nuggets
R7 vs. Bulls
R8 vs. Saints
R9 @ Tuatara | @ Hawks
R10 vs. Airs
R11 vs. Sharks | vs. Jets
R12 @ Jets
R13 @ Rams
R14 @ Saints
R15 @ Airs

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