New Zealand Breakers 18/19 Preview

Originally posted by Mark Vallance on The Big Leagues Daily.

The Breakers are essentially a brand new team right from the very top, with a new management group in charge of the team and a change in head coach.

2018/2019 Season Roster:

Thomas Abercrombie (G/F), Finn Delany (F), Shea Ili (G), Shawn Long (F), Majok Majok (F/C), Armani Moore (F), Jordan Ngatai (F), Patrick Richard (G/F), Corey Webster (G), Jarrad Weeks (G), Tai Wesley (F)

Possible Starting Five:

Shawn Long, Tai Wesley, Thomas Abercrombie, Patrick Richard, Corey Webster

With Alex Pledger and Rob Loe being moved on to other teams during the off-season, the Breakers have had to re-imagine their big man rotation. Enter former NBA player Shawn Long and a returning Tai Wesley.

Long only played 18 games with the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA but had plenty of highlight dunks and blocks during that short period of time. The Breakers will be relying on him to be their main intimidating factor on defense this upcoming season.

Tai Wesley has spent the last couple of season with Melbourne United but returns to the NZ Breakers and should slot straight into the starting lineup. He improved his game during his tenure with United and will be a focal point for the Breakers to run their offense through him. He can pass, shoot, rebound and play passable defense on all positions of the court.

Thomas Abercrombie is a stalwart of this Breakers team and during the off-season has re-signed with the team for a further three years. A player that has never seemed to fulfill his huge potential by going further with his career overseas, he continues to be a big part of this Breakers lineup and a consistent threat in this league.

Patrick Richard has played in Australia before so shouldn’t be a complete unknown to some people, he previously played with the Sandringham Sabres in the SEABL competition where he played great basketball across his 24 games. A solid scoring guard that hits the boards well and can still create for his teammates as well as himself.

Also returning to the Breakers is Corey Webster who is one of the best scorers in the NBL and when it comes to representing New Zealand in international games. When he is on the court there is one thing on his mind and one thing only, put the ball in the basket – you won’t see him getting too many other stats outside of the points and shooting statistics.

The Depth:

The Breakers have some fantastic depth with just about every player being able to enter the court and contribute in one way or another.

Jarrad Weeks, Finn Delany, Shea Ili and Majok Majok are all known quantities in the NBL and, depending on circumstances and team lineups, could be starting for any of the other teams in the league.

The only real unknown is one of their new imports Armani Moore – he is a player that prides himself on defense and can also defend every position on the court. He will also bring the energy that has been left by Mika Vukona leaving for Brisbane but he may be able to shoot better if the reports from the team during the off-season are to be believed.

The Gameplan:

The Breakers should be playing an up-tempo style of game with Shawn Long running rim-to-rim, Corey Webster finding the corner, Tai Wesley the opposite corner with Patrick Richard and Thomas Abercrombie slashing through from the top.

With Pledger and Loe no longer in this team, they have lost the inside post presence and height to use against opponents. Long is a different type of player who will use his athleticism rather than try to use any technical post moves against his match-up. While there won’t be many that can match him but there are plenty of solid big man defenders in the league this season that can nullify his athleticism.

For the Breakers to utilise the players they have the best they will need to look for quick transition baskets and quick kick outs from defensive rebounds. If they get into a half court game they will be relying heavily on Webster and Abercrombie to create for themselves.

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