2021/22 NBL Season Schedule Announced
THE National Basketball Association (NBL)’s upcoming season is moving closer by the day. Despite the uncertainty around the future of Australia (Victoria in particular), the league has announced the starting day, and released the fixture for the 2021/22 season.
The season will kick off slightly later than first anticipated, but given the restrictions still in place around the country, a change was to be expected. The campaign will tip off for the season on December 3, which should provide enough time for fully vaccinated fans to be back in the stadium to generate the electric atmosphere that has been missing for the last 18 months.
The league’s newest team, the Tasmanian JackJumpers, will waste no time writing the opening chapter in their club’s history, as they were given the honor of opening the season. They will take on the Adelaide 36ers at their new MyState Bank Arena in Hobart, which has received world-class renovations. Also on opening night, grand finalists Perth Wildcats will be facing off against the Brisbane Bullets in what should be an exciting clash, given the Bullets’ offseason signings.
With so many exciting clashes in store for fans throughout the season, here are a few highlights from the released schedule.
New Zealand Breakers vs. Cairns Taipans – December 4, 8pm
The Breakers and the Taipans will kick off their NBL campaigns for the 2021/22 season in a primetime Saturday night slot. The biggest factor for this match is the likely debut of NBL1 Next Star Ousmane Dieng. Dieng is a projected first round pick in next year’s NBA Draft, and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of former NBL young guns Lamelo Ball, RJ Hampton and Joshua Giddey.
Sydney Kings vs. Melbourne United – December 5, 3pm
Another blockbuster opening round matchup, the reigning champions will take on one of the league’s biggest clubs in the final match of round one. This clash draws headlines based on United’s reigning premier status alone, but the most exciting factor comes in the form of their offseason acquisition of one of Australia’s biggest basketball stars. In this game, Matthew Dellavedova is expected to make his debut for Melbourne, and will likely draw a major crowd and boost television viewership.
Melbourne United vs. South East Melbourne Phoenix – December 12, 1pm
The two cross-town rivals will face off once again, in a matchup that always delivers tense clashes that provide essential viewing. The battle of two teams from the same town is one of sport’s best storylines, with the stakes raised courtesy of bragging rights being on the line. This rivalry got even more exciting last season, when the Phoenix improved to announce themselves as one of the strongest teams in the league, and they were finally able to match United’s strong play. Adding to the intrigue of this match is the fact that this will also provide a rematch of last season’s semi-final series, where United were able to emerge victorious. The Phoenix will be seeking revenge when the two sides face off in round two of this season.
Melbourne United vs. Perth Wildcats – February 18, 9:30pm
Fans will have to wait a while for the grand final rematch, but it should deliver in spades. United emerged victorious in the best of three series, and were able to claim the 2020/21 NBL championship. The pain of falling agonizingly short will have likely lit the fire in the belly of the Wildcats, who will be desperate to gain the upper hand in the upcoming season. The two teams are expected to be at the top of the competition once again, so this should provide great viewing for any basketball fan.
The New Zealand Breakers will relocate to Australia temporarily, but are expected to return home later in the season, similar to their situation last season.
The regular season is expected to conclude on April 24, with the playoffs set to begin shortly after this.
Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images