Broadcaster Jo Healy outlines a title case for each of the 10 competing NBL teams and lists her top four contenders.
The NBL is notoriously competitive and it certainly won’t be any different this upcoming season.
With a wealth of talent set to compete, including an all star cast of imports, no-one can afford a slow start or slip up; no team is guaranteed to be there at the business end of the season.
So who will contest for the championship in NBL24?
Let’s flesh out the case for not only the main contenders, but also every team.
NBL24 top contenders
1. Sydney Kings
It’s hard to go back to back, let alone complete a three-peat, but if the Kings have proven anything over the past few years it’s that they know how to recruit stars, and they’ve done exactly that yet again.
Imports Denzel Valentine, DJ Hogg, and former NBL MVP Jaylen Adams lead the charge, while the signing of former NBA forward Jonah Bolden and Next Star Alex Toohey add to their depth, which will see them challenging for the Championship yet again.
2. New Zealand Breakers
The Breakers have also recruited well in the off-season. Imports Parker Jackson-Cartwright and Zylan Cheatham have already built up a good connection, while the return of homegrown star Finn Delaney will be another boost, after spending a season in the German Bundesliga.
Not to mention the fire in their bellies after going down in the Grand Final Series last season, the Breakers will be contenders again in NBL24.
3. Melbourne United
Melbourne United have a great mix of experience and youth this season, including two NBA Champions in Ian Clark and Matthew Dellavedova.
Luke Travers has looked stronger and more aggressive since joining from the Wildcats, while their bigs, Next Star Ariel Hukporti and Jo Lual-Acuil (when he returns from injury) will be key for a championship run.
4. Perth Wildcats
One thing is for certain when it comes to the Perth Wildcats, you can never write them off. Led by three-time MVP Bryce Cotton, and with the addition of Keanu Pinder, import Jordan Usher, and French NBA draft prospect Alexander Sarr, the Wildcats have the pieces to return to the finals.
The title case for every NBL team
Obviously the four teams listed above are firmly in the title race. But here’s the justification for why each of the other franchises can not only compete, but go all the way.
The JackJumpers play a style of basketball that is relentless and disruptive to anyone they come across. With the likes of Milton Doyle and Jack McVeigh returning to the team, at the very least they’ll make the play-in places.
South East Melbourne Phoenix
South East Melbourne have some quality pieces again this season with the return of Mitch Creek and imports Gary Brown and Alan Williams. But with a number of other squad changes the question remains over their depth and whether they have enough to push for the championship.
The Hawks have added some spark with NBA draft prospects AJ Johnson and Lachlan Olbrich joining imports Justin Robinson, Gary Clark and Tyler Harvey. With a quality backcourt, the pressure will be on their bigs if they’re to challenge this season.
Brisbane have had a big makeover after a 2022/23 season that they’d rather forget. With Aaron Baynes,
Ty Harrison, and Next Star Rocco Zikarsky, the Bullets will be strong in the frontcourt which they’ll look to maximise against the competition.
Cairns are set to be an exciting team to watch in NBL24 with the addition of young guns Taran Armstrong and Bobi Kilntman. Their depth could be an issue, but they’ll push teams all the way through their grit and hustle.
The 36ers are already facing an uphill battle after reportedly releasing their new import Jamaal Franklin during the pre-season. They’ll be hoping to bring in a quality replacement to help them build, alongside the likes of Mitch McCarron and Isaac Humphries.