Well let’s be honest. The gap is big. It’s big in comparison to every league in the world but the league is getting better.
More quality imports are now coming into the league rather than playing in the D League. What does that tell you? Australian Basketball is on the rise!
Three Boomers in this years Olympic team come from the NBL. In my eyes Australia’s greatest ever defender (Damian Martin), one of Australia’s most prolific scorer’s in Chris Goulding who can get going quick smart (a treat to watch when he’s in the zone), and league MVP Kevin Lisch who’s been acquired by the Sydney Kings for this season is a huge coup.
I get it…we will never be at the level of the NBA but let’s be real, what other league comes close? The Spanish league would be the easiest choice for 2nd best but even they play a completely different style of play to the NBA, focusing more on team play and defense, rather than the show down 1 on 1 style of play that is the NBA.
Personally, the NBL is really trying to brand itself and speed up the play, making it a lot more exciting for viewers, especially the younger crowd (who love watching the NBA), bringing in high flying athletes (Casey Prather with the Wildcats), and someone with the smoothest handles the league has seen (Jerome “Handles” Randle) in a very long time. If you don’t know him take a look back at his brilliance in this come back effort vs the Kings.
We as a league here in the NBL, can’t go down the path of most European leagues who play extremely slow with scorelines sometimes in the 120 range. It’s how you lose a lot of interest from the younger crowd, and at the end of the day you want to make basketball appealing for these kids to continue to come to games and watch.
So yes the gap is big, but the import quality is improving, bringing about greater opportunity to play alongside great players, former NBA players at that with the likes of J Chill (Josh Childress) and Hakim Warrick, you know the league is heading in the right direction.
A lot of NBA teams are now using NBL clubs to draft and stash players rather than sending them to Europe or the D League, so that they can develop at a much better rate under great coaching down here and playing in the open court, whilst developing a good team game rather than playing 1 on 1 in the D League, or a far more structured slower game in Europe.
These great imports (former NBA Players), along with current draft picks, aren’t going to come down here to play if our league is no good. It’s fast on the rise with the re addition of Brisbane, returning the NBL to it’s hopeful glory days, playing in front of packed houses night in night out.