NBL Round 1 Preview: Galaxy Of Stars Ready For Opening Round Tip-Off


Adelaide v Melbourne United | Thursday, October 5, 7.30pm (AEDT), Titanium Security Arena 

Last season’s minor premiers Adelaide field a new starting five after losing star guard Jerome Randle to Turkish club Bahcesehir while adding new imports Shannon Short and big man Ronald Roberts.

Joey Wright’s 36ers host Melbourne United who are looking to improve on their sixth placing last season.

United are bolstered by former Wildcats Championship star Casey Prather (pictured below), who returns to the NBL on a mission after missing out on an NBA contract in the off season.

The NBL import impressed in the NBA Summer League but just missed out on securing a contract as a two-way player. 

The Verdict

It’ll be an unusual feeling not seeing Randle handle the ball for the 36ers as he’s been such a big part of their recent success. 

Prather, on the other hand, is accustomed to the NBL and he’ll guide United to a tough road win.

Unibet Odds: Adelaide 2.30 Melbourne United 1.61

Tip: Melbourne United 

Line tip: Adelaide +3.5 

Cairns v Illawarra | Friday, October 6, 7.30pm (AEDT), Cairns Convention Centre 

Cairns Taipans are looking to get off to flying start with new guard and former Dayton Flyers star Scoochie Smith.

The 22-year-old, who played with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Summer League, is a big signing for the Snakes.

The Taipans however, will be missing Venezuelan import Michael Carrera, who will miss the start of the season after undergoing knee surgery.

On the other side odf the ledger, the Hawks return a familiar backcourt pairing of Mitch Norton (pictured above) and Rhys Martin but have two new faces in their front court in Demitrious Conger and Delvin Johnson.

The Verdict

Cairns might be down in troops and have some key players coming back from injury but they always rise to the occasion at the Snakepit.

Unibet Odds: Cairns 1.80 Illawarra 2.00

Tip: Cairns 

Line tip: Illawarra +1.5

Sydney v Adelaide | Saturday, October 7, 5.30pm (AEDT), Qudos Bank Arena

Kings players will hopefully be over their jetlag by tip-off after warming up for their season opener in Utah on Tuesday (AEDT).

The Kings participated in the first of three NBL v NBA games in the US, going down to Joe Ingles and Dante Exum’s Utah Jazz 108-84. 

After a lacklustre start, the Kings adjusted to the pace of the game nicely in the second term, outscoring the Jazz 32-23 and will take plenty of positives from that quarter to the Kingdome.

New import and former Kansas Jayhawks big man Perry Ellis (pictured above) proved his worth top-scoring with 19 points, 5 boards and 3 steals.

The Verdict 

They might be slightly jetlagged after their NBA excursion into Utah, but Andrew Gaze’s men will be full of confidence knowing they can compete with an NBA roster. 

Unibet Odds: Sydney 1.55 Adelaide 2.45

Tip: Sydney 

Line tip: Sydney -3.5 

Perth v Brisbane | Saturday, October 7, 8.30pm (AEDT), Perth Arena

Despite powering their way to another NBL title last season on the back of a perfect post-season of five straight wins, the Perth Wildcats maintain they’re not eyeing off an historic three-peat.

The reigning two-times NBL champions are on the brink of winning three straight for the first time in their storied history.

Having NBL MVP Bryce Cotton (pictured above) in the line-up is a major boost after the 25-year-old, who averaged 23 PPG last season, turned down more lucrative offers abroad to stay in the jungle.

The Wildcats have added some US College star power in their roster with the signing of former North Carolina Tar Heels star Jean Pierre Tokoto.

Brisbane have been the victim of their own success with star import and NBL defensive player of the year Torrey Craig impressing so much in the NBA Summer League, he was signed by the Denver Nuggets. 

The Verdict 

Huge blow for the Bullets to lose Craig and in the toughest environment in the NBL, this one is going the way of the Wildcats in the jungle.

Unibet Odds: Perth 1.40 Brisbane 2.95

Tip: Perth 

Line tip: Brisbane +5.5

NZ Breakers v Cairns | Sunday, October 8, 3pm (AEDT), Spark Arena

There’ll be some familiar faces in the Breakers’ line-up including Kirk Penney (pictured above), Mika Vukona, Alex Pledger and Tom Abercrombie but there’ll also be some new faces against the Taipans.

After the loss of Corey Webster, who has headed to greener pastures in Europe, the Breakers have added imports DJ Newbill and Edgar Sosa to their roster.

Newbill, 25, is a former Penn State guard who the Breakers hope can fill the void left by Webster. 

The Verdict 

The Breakers and Taipans have played out some classic battles over the years and this one at Spark Arena should produce more fireworks. 

Give the edge to the Breakers who will be keen to take care of home court. 

Unibet Odds: New Zealand Breakers 1.65 Cairns 2.25

Tip: NZ Breakers 

Line tip: Cairns +2.5

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