June 15, 2024
Home » Every NBL Team’s 24/25 Off-Season Grades So Far

Every NBL Team’s 24/25 Off-Season Grades So Far

Photo: Sydney Kings

We are pretty much halfway through the NBL free agency period, so I thought it would be best to grade every NBL team’s off-season so far. Coaching moves and re-signings have also been a factor in these grades.

To check out our 24/25 NBL Roster Tracker, click the link here: https://nblnewsaus.com/depth-charts/

*Note: Only main roster additions and losses have been mentioned

ADELAIDE – C

ADDITIONS: Lat Mayen, Ben Griscti

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Jacob Wiley, Trey Kell, Trentyn Flowers, Mitch McCarron, Kyrin Galloway, Tohis Smith-Milner

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 2 + NS

The Adelaide 36ers have once again started their free agency period on a lackluster note.

The major positives were the re-signings of star locals Dejan Vasiljevic and Isaac Humphries on multi-year deals. Yet, signing these two on major money deals, means the 36ers can only sign two imports once again.

The decision to go after local South Australian talent including, Lat Mayen, Jacob Rigoni, and Ben Gristci, is certainly interesting, but I see no harm in adding up-and-coming players familiar with the team and the state.

It wouldn’t be a 36ers off-season, without upsetting one of their star players, which occurred with import forward Jacob Wiley. I highly doubt new imports will steer clear from the 36ers, due to the consistent poor treatment of former imports, but I would still do my heavy due diligence if I were a new import thinking about signing with Adelaide.

Surprisingly, they did bring back veterans Sunday Dech, Jason Cadee, and Alex Starling, which I’m intrigued by how much of an impact they’ll make in the court time Scott Ninnis gives them.

I’m not counting out the 36ers yet, but if they can add two high-quality imports, specifically a point guard and a wing, plus find a Next Star big man, there’s still hope this team can be a competitive finals contender.

BRISBANE – D

ADDITIONS: Keandre Cook, Deng Adel, Tohi Smith-Milner,

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Nathan Sobey, Chris Smith, Aron Baynes, DJ Mitchell, Gabe Hadley

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 1

Arguably, the worst off-season so far out of any team, it’s hard to find many, if any positives so far for the Brisbane Bullets.

With the rebuild they went through last season, adding an array of young talent across the country and hiring a rising head coach, I thought this was the off-season they would capitalise on becoming a true contender once again, but the Bullets have failed to meet my expectations.

They firstly lose their two marquee locals Aron Baynes and Nathan Sobey, without replacing them with at least another star local player in the league. I’m a big fan of Josh Bannan and his game, but I don’t see how a second-year player like him can be the best player on this roster at the moment.

The most puzzling decision was keeping an injury-prone Casey Prather instead of Chris Smith, who looked nothing like his past self in the limited time he was given last season. Signing Deng Adel as a backup Power Forward, didn’t make any sense either. Only two seasons ago, Adel was averaging 5 points per game in Bulgaria…

Deandre Cook is a decent signing, to say the least, but is not the MVP caliber import they need at that position to replace Sobey. Realistically, it is just a small upgrade on Chris Smith if anything.

My only hope now for this team is to replace Shannon Scott with a Parker Jackson-Cartwright quality player to run the show.

CAIRNS – C+

ADDITIONS: Rob Edwards, Tanner Groves, Jackson Makoi, Kyrin Galloway

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Sam Mennenga, Lachlan Anderson, Bobi Klintman, Bul Kuol, Lat Mayen, Patrick Miller, Tahjere McCall, Josh Roberts

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 3 + NS

The Cairns Taipans are always a hard team to judge in the off-season, due to the hidden import talent they are able to find year in and year out.

Similar to Brisbane, I have worries in second-year player Taran Armstrong being the best local on this roster, and an even bigger worry if he gets an NBA deal after the draft.

Rob Edwards and Tanner Groves didn’t put up crazy numbers in their respective leagues last season, but Adam Forde has an eye for import talent, and I have full belief these guys can make a serious impact for the Taipans.

Kyrin Galloway is a major enhancement to the team this off-season, but their biggest problem last season that they have yet to address is the lack of veteran presence on the roster. I have no idea who is going to lead this group, where I would have liked the addition of a Mitch McCarron type player to help benefit the Taipans.

There are still a few roster spots to fill, but if they can add a local leader and a quality import wing, who knows the potential this team can reach?

ILLAWARRA – B+

ADDITIONS: –

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Justin Robinson, Gary Clark, AJ Johnson

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 2 + NS

The Illawarra Hawks are the only team that has yet to sign any new players so far, but when you look at their success last season under Justin Tatum, I see no reason why to make major changes to their local core.

Re-signing Tyler Harvey is huge for the organisation, especially when he is soon to be counted as a local player next year. The tough choice to let go of Justin Robinson looks to be a smart option, with there still being a mass of high-quality import point guards available on the free-agent market.

The Hawks will no doubt be bigger and better with players such as Will Hickey, Hyunjung Lee, and Lachlan Olbrich back as role players, but their biggest hope now is that Gary Clark miraculously re-signs with the Hawks.

MELBOURNE – B+

ADDITIONS: Jack White

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Jo Lual-Acuil, Zac Triplett, Ariel Hukporti, Brad Newley, Ian Clark

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 2 + NS

Melbourne is in a slightly difficult dilemma, after being a shot away from being NBL Champions last season. Yet, despite some major losses already, they have been able to fill those gaps quite well.

It may be a shock to say, but Jo Lual-Acuil is no immense loss for Melbourne United. With the money Melbourne is willing to spend on their players, there is no doubt that there are import bigs out there that can fill the void of JLA. On the other hand, bringing Rob Loe out of retirement again is a massive coup to replace Next Star Ariel Hukporti.

It was inevitable that Jack White would return to Melbourne, with the potential of Luke Travers heading to the NBA next season, but there might be slight panic if both are on NBA rosters come September.

At the moment, it is a wait-and-see for Melbourne United, but undoubtedly, they’ll be a championship contender for the 24/25 season.

NEW ZEALAND – B-

ADDITIONS: Jonah Bolden, Mitch McCarron, Mojave King, Grant Anticevich, Sam Mennenga

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Mody Maor (Coach), Will McDowell-White, Mantas Rubstavicius, Tom Abercrombie, Izayah Le’Afa, Cam Gliddon, Dan Fotu, Mangok Mathiang, Anthony Lamb, Zylan Cheatham

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 3 + NS

It has been a bit of an odd free agency period for the Breakers so far, with a lot of unusual and unexpected changes to their organisation.

Firstly, no one really saw Mody Maor accepting a coaching deal in Japan, so late in the off-season, especially when most of the guys he had signed this off-season, were looking forward to playing under him.

There has been quite a lot of changes within the playing group, the biggest loss of them all being Will McDowell-White to Europe. Thankfully, their star import from last season Parker Jackson-Cartwright, re-signed with the Breakers for the 24/25 season, where he fills the void of that starting point guard role WMW had. Personally, WMW and PJC didn’t tend to work too well together, so giving PJC more of the ball handling duties may lead to greater things for the Breakers.

The additions of Mitch McCarron, Mojave King, and Jonah Bolden, are certainly interesting recruits, considering they individually didn’t have their best year career-wise last season.

What has made the Breakers a truly successful franchise in the past, is the strong New Zealand contingent they have had on their roster. Right now, they only have two local Kiwis contracted in Sam Mennenga and Finn Delany, with Delany likely to exit the club soon. Hopefully, their coach can sign some much-needed New Zealand veterans that are still on the market such as Reuben Te Rangi or even Corey Webster.

My intrigue now is who will coach this team, with a roster almost set. If they can pair PJC with some imports that were on a similar level to Cheatham and Lamb last season, I can see this team making some noise next season.

PERTH – C+

ADDITIONS: Elijah Pepper

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Corey Webster, Alex Sarr, Kyle Zunic, Jordan Usher

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 1 + NS

Despite Perth finishing second on the ladder last season, I however feel that there are many holes unfilled within this roster.

With only one import and a Next Star spot left, the Wildcats are still missing a true backup point guard that is notable for its defensive and playmaking skills. Despite the re-signing of Kristian Doolittle, they are also in need of another big, that can be a major rim protector, who can additionally crash the glass.

They have somewhat added more scoring power around Bryce Cotton, in elevating Michael Harris and securing local college sharpshooter Elijah Pepper. Yet, they are missing that do-it-all import wing in a Terrico White/Casey Prather type player next to Cotton, that Usher couldn’t fulfill last season.

I’m concerned about how Tai Webster and Bryce Cotton can co-exist together in the backcourt again, but they showed flashes of where they can work as a tough offensive duo. With only two spots left, and realistically three positions they need to fill, I’m unsure how they’ll go next season.

SEM – A-

ADDITIONS: Derrick Walton Jr, Nathan Sobey, Angus Glover, Jordan Hunter

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Rhys Vague, Alan Williams, Gorjok Gak, Gary Browne, Craig Moller, Reuben Te Rangi, Abdel Nader

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 3 + NS

The South East Melbourne Phoenix, perhaps has been the most active team in free agency so far. After a year they would like to forget, they have already made three major changes to their starting five, finally rewarding Mitch Creek with some help.

The new backcourt in Derrick Walton Jr. and Nathan Sobey, looks primed to be one of the better backcourt duos throughout the competition. Add, Jordan Hunter at the five, Angus Glover off the bench, and a defensive import wing, there is no doubt in my mind, that this team can compete for a championship.

The additions they have made already, have addressed issues they failed to meet last year, specifically another couple of scoring options next to Creek, and a true rim protector at the five.

If anything, South East Melbourne, most certainly needs to utilise every roster spot they can, due to the harrowing injury curse that occurs every season. Hopefully, this is the season they can add a high-level Next Star that can give them quality minutes.

The Phoenix still need high-caliber bigs off the bench, but at the end of the day, no matter what happens with Jordan Hunter and Mitch Creek’s Asia opt-outs, it will all be on Mike Kelly to determine the true success of this team.

SYDNEY – A-

ADDITIONS: Brian Goorjian (Coach), Bul Kuol, Xavier Cooks, Izayah Le’Afa, Tyler Robertson, Keli Leaupepe

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Mahmoud Abdelfattah (Coach), Jaylin Galloway, Angus Glover, Jackson Makoi, DJ Hogg, Jordan Hunter, Jonah Bolden, Sam Timmins, Jaylen Adams, Denzel Valentine

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: 3

The Sydney Kings have gone complete rebuild this off-season, after a disregarded previous season. The inclusion of the G.O.A.T. Brian Goorjian, automatically makes this team a championship contender, yet the Kings have been able to secure some quality players too.

Adding Bul Kuol and Xavier Cooks to the starting lineup are massive boost. Although, if they plan to start Toohey as well, the lack of scoring power, might be a slight worry in this starting group. You can tell Goorjian is going after a defensive squad though, signing one of the better perimeter defenders in the league in Izayah Le’Afa.

When the Australian Boomers head coach is the head coach of an NBL club, there is no doubt it entices young players to play under him, which is the case for college stars Keli Leaupepe and Tyler Robertson, who are massive recruits for the Kings.

With three spots left, that are all likely to be imports, the Kings are shaping up to be one of the best teams on paper heading into the 24/25 season. The lack of scoring power, and a true backup five off the bench, are my only slight concerns for them.

TASMANIA – A

ADDITIONS: Craig Sword, Gorjok Gak

OUT OF CONTRACT/DEPARTING: Marcus Lee, Tom Vodanovich, Jarred Bairstow

MAIN ROSTER SPOTS LEFT: NS

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. As cliché as it is, there is always no need to make major adjustments to a team that has just won a championship.

Even with that being the case, the JackJumpers have certainly improved upon their roster of last season. The addition of one of the best defending import guards in the G-League, Craig Sword, fits in seemingly with the rest of the roster, which it complements the rest of its scoring roster in Jordon Crawford, Milton Doyle, and Jack McVeigh.

I was a bit unsure about the re-signing of 33-year-old import Jordon Crawford, as he did look inconsistent at times, but with ‘Chicken Sword’ on board, I have fewer worries in the backcourt for them now.

Tassie replacing Marcus Lee with a local big in Gorjok Gak, shows they have full faith in Will Magnay staying healthy in the 24/25 season, and playing a key part in their attempt to retain the championship trophy.

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