2023/24 NBL Team Preview – Perth Wildcats

THE 2023/24 National Basketball League (NBL) is right around the corner, with the fixture set to kick off on Thursday, September 28.

The season is shaping up like no other, with an unprecedented amount of young and international talent complimenting the homegrown players set to suit up in the nation’s premier basketball competition.

The landscape of the league looks as even as ever, with the title up for grabs after a period of dominance from the Sydney Kings. As the New Zealand Breakers and Cairns Taipans proved last season, any side could climb the rankings and the player movement has ensured there is no clear favourite.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at each side and how they are shaping up ahead of the season’s commencement, with some intriguing outfits around the NBL.

Keeping things rolling in this series, today we will be taking a look at the Perth Wildcats, a team that is looking to leave unfamiliar territory after missing the finals again last time around.

Perth Wildcats

2022/23 record – 15 wins, 13 losses

The Wildcats did not qualify for the top four for the second year in a row, but thanks to the recruitment of star big man Keanu Pinder, should be about the mark again. Pinder will be a genuine second star next to Bryce Cotton, and should catapult the Wildcats back into the championship conversation.


Alexandre Sarr, Ben Henshall, Bryce Cotton, Corey Webster, David Okwera, Dontae Russo-Nance, Hyrum Harris, Jack Andrew, Jesse Wagstaff, Jordan Usher, Keanu Pinder, Kyle Zunic, Michael Harris

Key question – How will the new recruits make Bryce Cotton’s life easier?

It has been one of the biggest questions for Perth for a number of years, with the team eager to pair their star guard with ideal complimentary pieces. The Wildcats lost some players from last year, but added some pieces to take the load off Cotton’s shoulders, which appears to be the key to unlocking more success for the team.

Firstly, they secured the services of Pinder, who will be a dominant force with Cotton in pick and roll scenarios, either creating better looks for the guard or providing a scoring option in the post. The team also added Usher, who has proven himself as a genuine scorer in the team’s preseason hitouts. Between the two, Cotton should have to shoulder less of the offensive load, which makes Perth a bigger threat.

One to watch – Alexandre Sarr

The team’s first ever Next Star appears destined to play a big role for the team in the upcoming season, having truly impressed during the team’s preseason games. Sarr stormed onto the season with a pair of exceptional performances against the G-League Ignite, taking it up to some of the best young players on the planet and showcasing his ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor.

With exceptional athleticism, the ability to stretch the floor to score at all three levels and protect the rim down the other end, Sarr appears an enticing prospect. He will get some minutes alongside Pinder in the frontcourt, and should be an exciting player to keep an eye on as he develops his game ahead of the NBA Draft.

The Wildcats will be looking to get the most out of their recruits in a bid to return to contention, and with a team that has produced so much success in the modern era, it is hard to see them staying out of the finals for too long.

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