Brisbane Bullets 18/19 Preview

Originally posted by Mark Vallance to The Big Leagues Daily.

The Brisbane Bullets made a few changes to their roster during this off-season, bringing in some tough veterans and possibly the biggest name (in terms of NBA resume) import to the league.

Season 18/19 Roster:

Adam Gibson (G), Alonzo Gee (G/F), Cameron Gliddon (G), Jason Cadee (G), Matt Hodgson (C), Cameron Bairstow (F/C), Stephen Holt (G), Will Magnay (F), Makoto Hiejima (G), Tyrell Harrison (C), Reuben Te Rangi (G/F), Nnanna Egwu (C), Mika Vukona (F)

Possible Starting Five:

Cameron Bairstow, Mika Vukona, Alonzo Gee, Cameron Gliddon, Adam Gibson

The Bullets have a surprisingly deep roster this season but a whole lot of their plans still depend on luck with injuries, in particular Cameron Bairstow. However, with all their players available it makes their starting five that little harder to predict. There are probably three or four players not included in the above-mentioned possible five that could slot in just as easily and they may need to.

Cam Bairstow has been the marquee signing for the Bullets and unfortunately for him, the Bullets organisation and the NBL fans he has suffered season long injuries in both of the seasons he has been signed. He is the most important part of the team lineup – giving them an inside and outside presence and a toughness that they have missed dearly.

The signing of Mika Vukona addresses the toughness issue and it’s hard to find a player who will fight with the energy and passion that he does when he is on the court. Vukona has one main achilles heel to his game, he is extremely foul prone but he will also get you plenty of boards and second chance opportunities simply from his intensity.

Alonzo Gee has played 417 games in the NBA for six teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers. A highly athletic, slashing player he will provide plenty of highlights in the open court for the Bullets this season. He’s also a very good defender and opposing teams in the NBL will have some difficulty in nullifying him at the end of the court. Offensively, outside of his athleticism he is limited by his shooting ability and teams may be able to take advantage of that.

One of the co-MVP’s from the Cairns Taipans last season has made his way to Brisbane (the other also left the club and went to Melbourne), Cam Gliddon has signed with the club for the next three seasons. A sharpshooter in every basketball related sense of the word, he led the league in free throw shooting last season (only missing one for the whole season) and is one of the best three point shooters in the league. Also very solid when it comes to rebounding and creating for his teammates, a good all-round player for the Bullets to pick up.

Adam Gibson is a true veteran of the NBL and still one of the best defenders in the league. He is the type of player that seems to be moving in slow motion compared to everyone else, he is extremely methodical in his gameplay. On the offensive end he can create for teammates or pull the trigger from deep, still hitting them at a consistent clip.

The Depth:

Jason Cadee, Matt Hodgson (now injured), Nnanna Egwu (injury replacement) and Stephen Holt are all players that could step into the starting lineup of the Bullets.

Hodgson and Egwu are big men who rebound well and block shots while Cadee and Holt are both extremely talented offensive players. Holt was used differently by the Bullets compared to his time at Melbourne United and this caused his stats to drop off significantly and people to assume he had a down season. He was used more defensively and unlike his time with United, he wasn’t considered the first or second option on the offensive end.

Cadee comes up north after having played his last couple of seasons with the Sydney Kings. Each season he’ll have games where it looks like all he does is score but then he’ll throw in a few games where he plays the point guard, table-setting role extremely well that opposing teams have to be careful with their scout. Defensively he has improved but is still a far more rounded player on offense than he is on defense.

The Gameplan:

The Bullets have, depending on their lineup, a rare opportunity that not many other teams have in this league – being able to play “stretch” at all positions even while playing legitimate four and five men.

Look for the Bullets to space the floor with their shooters and try to get the ball inside to Bairstow. If they can’t get it inside to him, they will kick it around the perimeter and the inside man will move to the opposite block to create space for one wing to go to work on their player. Once the defense collapses on any penetration there will be a kick out available to any one of the four other players on the court – defenses will need stay focused on every player the Bullets have on the court at any one time.

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