Agent Orange: engine room is there to win games
Like Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, last Sunday didn’t go to plan. The Taipans gorged on the sweet nectar of victory from the previous weekend, then stumbled into an ambush by an Illawarra Hawks squad with nothing to lose and everything to prove.
On a mission after Perth stole their lunch money and dignity in round one, the Hawks impressively bullied their way over the top in a dominant second half. But before you throw in your Hungry Jacks sweatbands and join the 13½ people watching the A-League, growing pains are to be expected.
New coach, new squad, new fried chicken options from the concessions stand; it’s going to take time before the all-new Orangemen get in total sync.
As good as we were against the Bullets, and as quick as some (this guy) were to give the Taipans’ the trophy after round one, growing pains are inevitable and there was plenty of potential on display.
There were moments where you saw exactly what coach Mike Kelly wants to achieve, and there were moments where you saw that the Kelly Gang was a work-in-progress.
There was a lot to like in the repeat performances of Melo and DJ Newbill, scoring 50 points between them and showing how disrespectful their $17 MVP odds are. If the team can tighten their D and cut the turnovers, the engine room is there to win games.
This weekend is the Taipans’ first double header of the season, first the Adelaide 36ers at home Friday, followed by a trip to Sydney on Sunday.
The 36ers are a dangerous run and gun squad filled with shooters and errant elbows. Blink against the likes of Sobey and Johnson, and they’ll drop a piano on your head.
With the artillery that both squads bring to the party, we could be in for a serious shootout; bring a bulletproof vest and have your affairs in order.
Sydney, on the other hand, have splutters like a poorly maintained Suzuki Mightyboy. With the best on-paper roster in the league, the only thing that matches the weight of expectation on their shoulders is the weight of their payroll.
They just haven’t been able to gel, despite the herculean efforts of Jerome Randle and Andrew Bogut still being a genuine superstar. Some have suggested that the problem lays with their coach, Andrew Gaze, who they say is playing chess with Uno cards, but Agent Orange would never suggest such a thing out loud…
We’ve got another barnstorming weekend of NBL action, get to the game or get to your TV to watch it.
This is the highest quality of basketball you’ll see outside of the NBA, and it’s just going to keep getting better.
Catch Agent Orange's new column for TropicNow every Wednesday.