MELBOURNE United fell agonisingly short of grand final glory going down to the Perth Wildcats in the playoffs. United lost some key players over the off-season with Casper Ware, Josh Boone, DJ Kennedy and Craig Moller all departing the club leaving some gaping holes in the line-up but it is not all doom and gloom for the side, picking up Cairns’ Melo Trimble and New Zealand’s Shea Ili.
United once again flexed their muscles showing why they are one of the best in the business, notching up convincing wins with their commanding style of play. They showed plenty of heart and commitment able to fight their way back into the contest. Although they did not get the silverware United showed flair and plenty of defensive pressure to deflect the ball and stream back down the court time and time again. Their ability to spot someone up the other end of the court and deliver the ball was second to none, while also showing patience to not blaze away but instead lower the eyes and hit up an option inside the key. Ware topped the score sheet averaging 18.82 points per game highlighting his class and ability to trouble the scoreboard on a regular basis. Ware was closely followed by teammate Chris Goulding who averaged 14.24 points per game with Goulding working tirelessly up and down the court to influence the play. Boone was influential throughout the 2018/2019 season picking up a team-high average of 8.43 rebounds per game highlighting his strength, ability to read the play and aerial skill to reel in missed shots and propel the ball back down the court. Kennedy was another instrumental player for United averaging 13.04 points per game, 7.32 rebounds per game and 3.32 assists per game with the 198cm tall basketballer wreaking havoc across the court.
Projected shining light:
With Ware and Boone both gone Melbourne United will be looking to replicate their work both offensively and defensively. Boone was renowned for his presence off the boards meaning the likes of fellow center Alex Pledger will have to try and fill the void. Meanwhile the addition of Trimble could be beneficial for Melbourne given his explosiveness. Trimble plays a similar game style to Ware, allowing him to slot seamlessly into the side and cause havoc with his speed, shooting range and attacking mentality. If Melbourne United can get into a solid rhythm early and cover the losses of the off-season it will put them in good stead for the upcoming year given their experience, basketball know how and strong connection of core players.