THE year is flying by, which means the upcoming National Basketball League (NBL) season is approaching faster than ever. Each team will be ramping up their preparations, with plenty of improvements to be made for every side. With the clubs looking to amend the areas that hurt them in the most recent season. With this in mind, we take a look at the teams that led key statistical categories throughout the 2020/21 season, and how it affected their performance, as an indicator for the season ahead.
Points per game:
Brisbane Bullets – 89
South East Melbourne Phoenix – 88.7
Melbourne United – 87.7
Surprisingly, the two leaders of this category did not even manage to make the grand final, but were still the two most dominant offensive sides all season. The Bullets led one of the most explosive offensive systems the league saw throughout the season, and were led by Nathan Sobey (21.06 points per game) and Victor Law (18.81 points per game), but unfortunately were not able to convert this into a championship campaign. It was their defensive work that managed to outweigh their work on the offensive end of the court, conceding the most points in the league.
The Phoenix had the offensive firepower, but lacked the ability to deliver this on a consistent basis. This resulted in an earlier exit from the postseason than they would have liked, while United were able to combine their strong scoring with some excellent defensive work to claim the championship.
Field goal percentage:
Melbourne United – 46.4
South East Melbourne Phoenix – 46.3
Brisbane Bullets – 45.1
As expected, the eventual champions led this category, as they made the most of their chances on the offensive end of the court. Making 32.6 of their 70.1 attempts per game, United were able to push the ball around each possession in order to find the best look for a member of the team.
The Phoenix were hot on their tail, trailing by just 0.1%, albeit in three less games. In third place, the Bullets make an unsurprising appearance given their high points tally per game, but are still a decent margin off the top two, which shows the efficiency of the two sides from Melbourne. The Bullets’ appearance on this list is largely thanks to their work from inside the arc, given they were dead last in three-point percentage.
Rebounds per game:
Brisbane Bullets – 38.5
Melbourne United – 37.7
Sydney Kings – 37.3
The Bullets once again top a crucial category, but were unable to convert this into a postseason berth, largely due to their leaky defense. The Bullets grabbed a whopping 38.5 boards per game, and while they didn’t lead the league in either offensive or defensive rebounds, they found a good balance between the two categories. Their prominence all three key categories shows that they are not far off competing for an NBL championship.
Melbourne United’s appearance in yet another area is an indication of their all-around effort this season, while they Sydney Kings were able to take full advantage of the talented big men at their disposal.
Overall, the statistical successes of these teams showed mixed results, with Melbourne United able to convert their success in most areas into the sought-after championship. However, the Brisbane Bullets showed that succeeding in these areas may not convert to wins, with a complete performance on both ends required to convert this dominance into consistent victories.
Photo: Bradley Kanaris