2023/24 NBL Team Wrap – Sydney Kings

THE 2023/24 National Basketball League (NBL) season was one of the most entertaining in recent memory, with all teams performing at a high level and making a genuine run at some postseason action along the way.

All 10 teams were in the hunt for a spot in the finals and play-in until the penultimate round, demonstrating the impressive quality of the competition.

Given the season has concluded, Rookie Me Central will be dissecting each team’s campaign, and the key pieces that shaped it.

Today we will be taking a look at one of the most surprising campaigns of the season, with the Sydney Kings on the agenda today.

Sydney Kings

2023/24 record: 13 wins, 15 losses
Ladder position: 5th
Postseason result: Eliminated in first play-in match

How it happened

The Kings looked primed for another tilt at the championship at various times throughout the season, but the wins just simply were not there enough to make an impact. It never felt like the two most recent seasons, given Sydney was not the intimidating matchup that other teams had come to expect. Having lost their coach and some key figures in their back to back championship run, the reigning champions lost too much over the off-season to maintain the high level of play they delivered in previous seasons.

MVP – Jaylen Adams

Although he did not reach the lofty heights of his league MVP season, Adams was still the best performer for the Kings. He has proven himself to be a tough defensive assignment, given his ability to score at all three levels. Adams averaged 19.5 points per game, only 1.3 less than his dominant campaign two seasons ago, showcasing that he still has the offensive punch to hurt the opposition. The import guard was the sixth-best scorer in the league throughout the season, but was also a handy playmaker with 5.3 assists per game. Adams proved he can still execute an offence to perfection and was the standout for Sydney.

The coach – Mahmoud Abdelfattah

It was a disappointing maiden campaign from Abdelfattah in the NBL, who was unable to translate his G-League success Down Under, and will not be coaching the team moving forward. After fending off swirling rumours surrounding his future all season long, Abdelfattah was dismissed following the team’s loss in the first game of the play-in. Although the circumstances of this remain clouded, there was less effort from the players as the season went on, so a potential gap between players and coach may have attributed to this.

Where to?

The Kings have already began making some franchise-altering moves, and they already look a much more enticing club as a result. Following the dismissal of Abdelfattah, Sydney announced the appointment of Brian Goorjian as head coach. Goorjian brings an unmatched resume to the role, and is arguably the greatest coach Australia has ever seen, so that is the biggest possible positive for the Kings, but they were not done yet. The reigning champions announced former MVP Xavier Cooks will be returning to the team following a stint in the NBA. Cooks has joined the team on a two-year deal, which is rumoured to be the biggest in NBL history, bringing winning experience with the team along for the ride. If the team can continue to add quality pieces over the off-season, they will be right back in contention.

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