2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown Week 1 preview: Basketball’s back

IT has been a long time coming but fans can finally see some on court action today when the first of 56 games take place at The Trusts Arena in Auckland. With not much to go off other than the fixturing, Draft Central takes a look at how the first week shapes up. Each week we will look at key stats and facts that each team has heading into the next round of matches. For game-by-game previews, check in each day as we preview each night’s action ahead of gameplay, whilst reporting on the previous night’s action.

Auckland Huskies:

  • Play on opening night against last year’s third placed Canterbury Rams, the only side from the 2019 finals series in the competition this year
  • Have to negotiate a four-day break before playing back-to-back games in 24 hours
  • An early Auckland Derby up against Franklin Bulls in their inaugural season
  • Leon Henry takes on the side he was recruited to captain in 2020 (Franklin Bulls) prior to the COVID-19 lockdown

vs. Canterbury Rams – Tuesday, 7.30pm
vs. Manawatu Jets – Saturday, 5.30pm
vs. Franklin Bulls – Sunday, 5.30pm

Canterbury Rams:

  • A two-day break between each of their three games giving them identical preparation and recovery times between games
  • Open the season against Auckland on opening night
  • Advantage of playing a couple of sides who will still be looking to gel having not played a lot together with Auckland second season in and Franklin brand new
  • Will need to overcome the loss of injured duo, Jack Salt and Joe Cook-Green

vs. Auckland Huskies – Tuesday, 7.30pm
vs. Franklin Bulls – Thursday, 7.30pm
vs. Taranaki Mountainairs – Saturday, 7.30pm

Franklin Bulls:

  • They have to wait the longest of anyone to play their first game on Wednesday night at 7.30pm
  • Taking on an Airs side who will be coming off a match the night before will see the age-old argument of fresh legs vs match-hardened bodies – also being the only team to play a side that has already played
  • They have a two-day break on their Sunday evening opponents the Huskies which should give them an advantage
  • Take on one of their 2020 initial recruits, Henry when they face the Huskies

vs. Taranaki Mountainairs – Wednesday, 7.30pm
vs. Canterbury Rams – Thursday, 7.30pm
vs. Auckland Huskies – Sunday, 5.30pm

Manawatu Jets

  • Have a three-day break between games one and two, before backing up with a one-day turnaround for game three
  • Play three of the genuine title contenders in the opening week, will get a sense for where they stand
  • Get to play the Nuggets in Otago’s first game in six years

vs. Otago Nuggets – Wednesday, 5.30pm
vs. Auckland Huskies – Saturday, 5.30pm
vs. Nelson Giants – Sunday, 7.30pm

Nelson Giants

  • Open the season with a massive clash against the Airs which will undoubtedly draw a massive audience online and in the stands
  • Have nice breaks between each game with two and three-day gaps to help with recovery
  • In a really good position to start the season 3-0 given the gaps and the relative inexperience of their opponents in terms of gelling

vs. Taranaki Mountainairs – Tuesday, 5.30pm
vs. Otago Nuggets – Thursday, 5.30pm
vs. Manawatu Jets – Sunday, 7.30pm

Otago Nuggets

  • Only team with just two games
  • Have to negotiate both games in 24 hours
  • Will have plenty of time to analyse opposition for the last three days of the week ahead of Week 2

vs. Manawatu Jets – Wednesday, 5.30pm
vs. Nelson Giants – Thursday, 5.30pm

Taranaki Mountainairs

  • The only side to play on both of the first two nights
  • Opening the season with a huge clash against the Nelson Giants
  • Playing a fresh Franklin Bulls outfit on the second night which will test the recovery but could also be an advantage
  • Have a longer three-day break before game three against Canterbury

vs. Nelson Giants – Tuesday, 5.30pm
vs. Franklin Bulls – Wednesday, 7.30pm
vs. Canterbury Rams – Saturday, 7.30pm

WEEK 1 FIXTURES:

Tuesday June 23

Airs vs Giants – 5:30pm
Rams vs Huskies – 7:30pm

Wednesday June 24

Jets vs Nuggets – 5:30pm
Bulls vs Airs – 7:30pm

Thursday June 25

Nuggets vs Giants – 5:30pm
Bulls vs Rams – 7:30pm

Saturday June 27

Huskies vs Jets – 5:30pm
Rams vs Airs – 7:30pm

Sunday June 28

Bulls vs Huskies – 5:30pm
Giants vs Jets – 7:30pm

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