Australian Focus

Published on June 23rd, 2017 | by Tristan "Air T" Prentice


NBA Prospects from the NBL

NBL Players Dunking into the NBA

Here at BNTH with the NBL season now ended and the NBA Summer League and NBA Draft upon us, we asked guest writer and NBL expert Tristan Prentice to run the rule over which NBL players may be being looked at or potentially could be looked at in the future for the number one league in the world…

Terrance Ferguson (Adelaide 36ers)

Why the NBA: He has already been touted as a top ten draft pick for this year’s draft and gained an experience few would’ve had by playing with the Sixers against men older him.

Why not the NBA: Looks like he’s only got an outside game and open court game from what we’ve seen so far but perhaps that was under orders from his management.

Who’s watching: The Bucks and the Jazz would be a good fit for him with his outside shooting and support of “insert Bucks small forward” or Hayward plus a few Aussies to keep him motivated.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 9 Dellys out of 10, a huge chance to be drafted in the First Round.


Jerome Randle (Adelaide 36ers)

Why the NBA: He’s one of the best pull up jump shooters the league has ever seen and his ability to take contact and finish in clutch situations should give him a look especially with other Sixers in the spotlight.

Why not the NBA: Perhaps his time has passed with his age and his opportunity was earlier in his career. A slight knock on him might be his ability to cover an aggressive taller point guard and his speed might not keep up with even the bench guards in the NBA.

Who’s watching: Any team looking for an energetic point guard who feeds off crowd emotion

BITH Score of Recruitment: 7 Dellys out of 10, still a chance but perhaps time has caught up with Randle to get that last shot but you never know.


Nathan Sobey (Adelaide 36ers)

Why the NBA: Sobey has all the attributes of an NBA player, fast quick athletic and explosive and a shot blocker on defensive end at 6’4. He was one of the most unstoppable players in the NBL when he gets going with daylight between him and the next for most improved player.

Why not the NBA: One swallow doesn’t make a season so perhaps Sobey hasn’t done enough to convince the recruiters and his finals campaign was very consistent but perhaps if not this year then if he performs at the same level next year, look out!!!

Who’s watching: Any team with an open court end to end run on the rim game will love having Sobey coming off the bench for an explosive ten minutes, perfect rocket fuel for an NBA team. At the time of this article Sobey has signed with the Utah Jazz Summer League team.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 6 Dellys out of 10, if he produces another NBL cracking season then he’s up around the 8 to 9 mark for 2018.


Mitch Creek (Adelaide 36ers)

Why the NBA: Creek has steadily been improving all the elements of his game and barring injury will be showcasing his skills in the D League. At 6’5 and with an improved jump shot, Creek will very much be in the running for a shot at the big time.

Why not the NBA: Injury history may turn some teams off him and perhaps needing some more work on his offensive game however he has hugely improved in his ability to score at the rim against taller opposition.

Who’s watching: Creek is a defensive general and would suit an NBA team that needs some rim protection, smarts on the glass and energy on the wings. Like Sobey, Creek has also signed with the Utah Jazz Summer League team.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 7 Dellys out of 10, Creek is in the peak of his career and that makes him a fantastic prospect especially if he manages to score minutes in the D League (now G League!).


Torrey Craig (Brisbane Bullets)

Why the NBA: Like Sobey has athletic ability and won the NBL defensive player of the year for his run down from behind shot blocking on a weekly basis. He is super quick and able to bust open zone defences with his dribble penetration.

Why not the NBA: Plenty of similar players like him in the NBA already and also may have not been spotted on radar much due to his club struggling through the NBL season but he was clearly the most impressive in the Bullets uniform.

Who’s watching: Any team needing rim protection and energy on the wings and off a full-court running game. Craig is about to fly out and join the Denver Nuggets for the Summer League.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 5 Dellys out of 10, a 50/50 chance at best and certainly has the tools to become a solid NBA defender.


Travis Trice (Cairns Taipans)

Why the NBA: The short stature of Trice is not overwhelmed by the larger crowds as he came up with clutch plays for the Taipans in huge venues like Perth and Adelaide when it counted. He also has a good reputation from his college days and creates so effectively with the ball.

Why not the NBA: Unlike Randle, Trice is not strong in the upper body so he’ll need to substitute that with his speed but he may be not as quick as the small athletic guards of the NBA anyway.

Who’s watching: Fantastic option for a team looking for a creative point guard who can light it up off his bigs working in the post for him. Currently in the US and after working out for multiple NBA teams is ready to play Summer League.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 7 Dellys out of 10, we reckon Trice is a great chance of being selected by an NBA team with only his lack of exposure and North Queensland being the downfall, but he’s got a great reputation from his college years and won’t be too far from recruiters’ minds.


Cameron Gliddon (Cairns Taipans)

Why the NBA: Gliddon who nearly made the Olympic team in 2016 is a shooting machine and rarely misses an open jump shot, we don’t think that would change much if he went to the NBA if anything it’d improve with the number of repetitions he’d put up each week.

Why not the NBA: Gliddon of this year once again faded in the NBL finals when it counted so would the pressure over awe him again or would he step it up?

Who’s watching: Any team looking for an instant offence spot shooter off screens that works plenty off the ball to get open.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: Depends which Gliddon, at the moment 3 Dellys out of 10 but that could change with a bumper year.


Rotnei Clarke (Illawarra Hawks)

Why the NBA: Game three of the NBL Finals series for Rotnei Clarke was huge and showed he could generate scoring in any way, basketball IQ plus that would fit into any NBA team and would be an asset to any team off the court with his attitude and demeanour. His college record is hugely impressive too.

Why not the NBA: The knock-on Clarke is that he’s gone missing at times as the top NBL’s Sixth man in crucial games. However his recent finals games have kept the Hawks in it and took them to the NBL Grand Final this season.

Who’s watching: Any team looking for an instant offence spot shooter off screens that works plenty off the ball to get open. Recently attended Dallas Mavericks mini-camp.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 6 out of 10 Dellys, Clarke’s college record and his ability to execute his skill that he is elite at, scoring the basketball.


AJ Ogilvy (Illawarra Hawks)

Why the NBA: Big, strong, narrowly missed Olympic selection and in the prime of his career, named best centre in the NBL for 2016/17.

Why not the NBA: Very injury prone and poor decision making have resulted in technical fouls when he’s having a rotten night. When he has a stinker, you know every facet of his game is a stinker.

Who’s watching: Any team looking for a back-up or third-string Centre with some grunt and rim presence.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 4 out of 10 Dellys, rated much higher last year but injuries and some on-court behaviour has lowered his prospects significantly.


Caspar Ware Jnr (Melbourne United)

Why the NBA: Big time player, had NBA and D league exposure, explosive off the dribble and catch and drill perimeter shooter.

Why not the NBA: His small height and the fact he thrives off an offensively minded team will limit his prospects in terms of teams.

Who’s watching: Another classic back-up scoring point guard that can find plenty of open shots, he’s a known quantity so will have some scouters watching.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 8 Dellys out of 10, We actually think he’s a really strong prospect of getting another NBA shot given he’s a known quantity and already been on an NBA list.


Chris Goulding (Melbourne United)

Why the NBA: In terms of offense, if it all clicked for Goulding at the right moment then NBA teams would recruit him straight-away as he has as good range as anyone when he is hot.

Why not the NBA: Bigger defensive liability than James Harden, while he’s improved he’s not anywhere near an NBA standard defender.

Who’s watching: A team looking for an x-factor that can change the game in the course of a few minutes, a throw in substitution that if it comes off can reap huge rewards for the risk.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 5 Dellys out of 10, been to Summer League before, perhaps not as good as shooter as previous years, it depends if he can be consistent but might well step up to the level if he was selected.


Todd Blanchfield (Melbourne United)

Why the NBA: Potential and talent in bucket loads, could have a complete game and if given the opportunity could step up to the level.

Why not the NBA: Under United’s system has struggled to reproduce that talent and sort of leveled out instead of showed steady improvement, needs more big point scoring games to be recognised as a viable NBA option.

Who’s watching: Any team looking for an all-round type player to balance out their bench.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 4 Dellys out of 10, need to see some large improvement under a coach’s better system and an injury free season.


Josh Boone (Melbourne United)

Why the NBA: Been in the NBA system, strong and when in the right system produces exactly what is needed in an all-round 4-5 man.

Why not the NBA: Already been tried and a known quantity, no different to many other like players and going to United won’t have advanced his prospects, most likely will be back again in the NBL next year.

Who’s watching: Teams looking for a defensive rebounder that can work off the pick and roll in offense for 10 or so minutes a game and change the tone physically.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 6 Dellys out of 10 as simply because he’s been recruited before, it can happen again if a team is looking for a specific type of player to complement their roster.


Finn Delaney (New Zealand Breakers)

Why the NBA: Rapidly improving as a wingman, perfect size and has the tools to make the NBA and it’s the right time in his career to be moulded into the player any team wants him to be.

Why not the NBA: Not a huge amount of international experience and needs work on elements of his offensive game. Not as many big game performances as someone like Joe Ingles at the South Dragons in his first pro season.

Who’s watching: Any clubs looking for a 2/3 man with an athletic presence and his outside perimeter shot is developing nicely, should see significant minutes in the NBL next season.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 4 out of 10 Dellys probably one year from being a serious consideration but as said above has the tools and the size to be a solid future NBA player following after Penney and Adams in the league.


Kevin Dillard (New Zealand Breakers)

Why the NBA: He like many other import guards have gotten very close to a spot with NBA interest after college. Showed he’s an ice man with his late season performance including some clutch plays against Adelaide in their home building.

Why not the NBA: A case of too many similar to the type of player he is, consistency will need to be developed to go to the next level.

Who’s watching: Team looking for a potential “Patty Mills” type spark off the bench as a 1-2 guard.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 3 out of 10 Dellys, will need more consistency to be considered but one solid season with an NBL team will have some clubs at least taking a peak.


Tom Abercrombie (New Zealand Breakers)

Why the NBA: Experienced as a wingman, perfect size and has the tools to make the NBA. The knock is that the right time may have passed in his career.

Why not the NBA: Noting the last point above, a couple of seasons ago was his shot and that may now have passed him by.

Who’s watching: The Thunder may be watching a few of Steve Adam’s teammates as can be the case across all levels of competition. Even at NBA level, players work better with other players from their home country/National Team.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 5 out of 10 Dellys, bit of a 50/50 one here as is a known quantity by NBA clubs so if some Aussie veterans can be picked up by clubs, then Abercrombie still remains in the conversation.


Casey Prather (Perth Wildcats)

Why the NBA: He’s arguably better than James Ennis (III) which means that some teams will be having a good look at Prather as a known quantity. Wildcats program is certainly producing some ready-made candidates for the NBA.

Why not the NBA: Injury prone which would sound alarm bells for many teams.

Who’s watching: No NBA news at present for Prather, but teams like New Orleans and Grizzlies who have seen a guy like Ennis come out of the Wildcats program would have another look for sure at the guard/forward.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 6 out of 10 Dellys, a strong chance to go and would shore up any NBA teams depth after another lightning finals series.


Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats)

Why the NBA: A guy that proved he had the goods in the previous shot at the NBA only marginally missing out, adding to this when you score 45 points in a big Grand Final game you are going to get noticed by the big leagues.

Why not the NBA: He’s a known quantity and if he missed out last time then probably the same reasons maybe why he’ll miss again.

Who’s watching: Anyone looking for a combo one or two guard with consistent shot making. Cotton is suiting up for the Atlanta Hawks this Summer League.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 9 out of 10 Dellys is the best possible rated player in the NBL this year to get a crack at the NBA.


Damian Martin (Perth Wildcats)

Why the NBA: Because he’s similar in effort, energy and performing when it counts to Matthew Dellavedova. His hustle and one-percenters are golden and would be a handy addition to a team looking to run defensive sets.

Why not the NBA: Injury over long career and perhaps he would not be as known in the NBA circles as much as Europe and Asia but he didn’t not make the Olympics team for no reason.

Who’s watching: The Cavs, Bucks and any other club that had Dellavedova on the roster, they know the value of one-percent energy effort men.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 3 out of 10 Dellys as not a consistent enough shot maker but neither was Delly when he first started, could be a surprise package if given the opportunity, if he did go it’d rip the heart and soul out of the Wildcats and sadly would be irreplaceable in the short term.


Kevin Lisch (Sydney Kings)

Why the NBA: The American-born Aussie can do it at both ends and impressed on the international stage on more than one occasion. Plenty of scouts and NBA observers would have taken note.

Why not the NBA: For his specialty position, perhaps height and weight would be an issue for Lisch against bigger bodied opponents.

Who’s watching: Australia certainly knows his worth as he’s currently in the 20-man Boomers squad vying for a position in the Boomers FIBA Asia Cup team.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 4 out of 10 Dellys as has some of the useful attributes but lacks the size to lock down his position.


Brad Newley (Sydney Kings)

Why the NBA: He is technically an LA Laker, who acquired him via a trade with the Houston Rockets (who drafted him in 2007).

Why not the NBA: Has never played an NBA game and is at the tail-end of his career.

Who’s watching: The LA Lakers would certainly be aware of his movements. Right now though, Newley’s focus would be on making the Boomers FIBA Asia Cup team.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 5 out of 10, Newley had a strong NBA season and motivation to perform on the international stage would be high after missing out on Olympic selection in 2016.


Jason Cadee (Sydney Kings)

Why the NBA: A big call but he reminds you of a young Shane Heal entering the peak of his career, his range when lighting it up is NBA territory and has a quick burst of speed off the pick and roll.

Why not the NBA: Greece is currently not the word for Cadee and that may damage his NBA prospects

Who’s watching: No current NBA interest, but another Aussie vying for a FIBA Asia Cup Boomers selection.

BNTH Score of Recruitment: 5 out of 10 Dellys, due to his upside.


Terrance Ferguson (Adelaide 36ers)                      9/10

Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats)                                9/10

Caspar Ware Jnr (Melbourne United)                   8/10

Jerome Randle (Adelaide 36ers)                            7/10

Mitch Creek (Adelaide 36ers)                                 7/10

Travis Trice (Cairns Taipans)                                   7/10

Nathan Sobey (Adelaide 36ers)                              6/10

Rotnei Clarke (Illawarra Hawks)                           6/10

Josh Boone (Melbourne United)                            6/10

Casey Prather (Perth Wildcats)                               6/10

Brad Newley (Sydney Kings)                                    5/10

Jason Cadee (Sydney Kings)                                    5/10

Torrey Craig (Brisbane Bullets)                               5/10

Chris Goulding (Melbourne United)                      5/10

Tom Abercrombie (New Zealand Breakers)         5/10

Finn Delaney (New Zealand Breakers)                  4/10

Kevin Lisch (Sydney Kings)                                       4/10

AJ Ogilvy (Illawarra Hawks)                                     4/10

Todd Blanchfield (Melbourne United)                  4/10

Cameron Gliddon (Cairns Taipans)                        3/10

Kevin Dillard (New Zealand Breakers)                  3/10

Damian Martin (Perth Wildcats)                            3/10


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Guest Writer for Boydz N The Hood. Writer for the Adelaide 36ers and Fiasco Sports, AFL, NBL, SA (South Australia) Basketball and Cricket Enthusiast.

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