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Takeaways from the Kings' closed-door scrimmage with New Zealand

04 Sep
5 mins read
Takeaways from the Sydney Kings' closed-door scrimmage against the New Zealand Breakers at Hoops Capital East on Friday, September 1.

Friday night’s closed-door scrimmage gave the coaches of the Sydney Kings and New Zealand Breakers their first chance to look at their revamped rosters heading into NBL24.  

Courtney Ward’s takeaways from the scrimmage, between NBL23’s two grand finalists which had no official score kept, at Hoops Capital East are:  

First period  

  • The Breakers sprung out of the blocks thanks to the intensity and the shot-making of guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright and the athleticism of Zylan Cheatham.
  • NBA veteran Denzel Valentine and NBL Next Star Alex Toohey fuelled the Kings' response with their aggressive attack on the ring.  
  • A feature of the opening term was the active defence by the physically stronger Jaylin Galloway, who appears set to make a jump in NBL24.  
  • Coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah experimented with a centre-less line-up of Shaun Bruce, Makuach Maluach, Galloway, Toohey and DJ Hogg, which allowed the Hoops Capital side to spread out the court on offence (which led to strong lay-ups by Maluach and Galloway) and switch everything on defence.  

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Second period

  • Valentine continued to cause headaches for the Breakers on defence, getting to the rack at will as well as finding open teammates with crafty passes.  
  • As a small-ball five Hogg is going to be an amazing weapon for Abdelfattah to have at his disposal, with his ability to hit not only the trail three but also pops following an on-ball screen.  
  • The Kings’ offence started to click the longer the match went on, sparked by their aggressive first step and fast play – forcing the Breakers to scramble on defence and leading to numerous finishes in the key.  
  • Big man Jordi Hunter looked great in the pick and roll once again, with his exceptional ability to dive and put pressure on the hoop leading to back-to-back and-ones.  

Third period

    • Galloway proved impossible to stay in front of for the Breakers defenders, thanks to his improved ball-handling and quick first-step.  
    • Jonah Bolden’s first taste of NBL action was promising, with the former NBA big man hustling hard on the glass and connecting well with Valentine in the two-man game on numerous occasions – leading to easy shots for one another.  
    • Speaking of Valentine, his shooting range was on full display in this scrimmage, nailing deep triples from NBA range.  
    • Shaun Bruce’s leadership to this young squad will prove invaluable in NBL24, highlighted by the several heads-up plays he made at pivotal moments in this scrimmage.  
 
 
 
 
 
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Fourth period  

  • Valentine and Jackson-Cartwright enjoyed a tough, back-and-forth battle for periods of the final period – with both proving disruptive on defence for one another.  
  • As much as he impressed with his ability to drive, Toohey was lethal from either corner three – which will no doubt be a huge asset for the purple and gold in NBL24.  
  • Similar to the Kings, the Breakers' small-ball line-up with Cheatham at the five proved powerful, especially when pressing up the court on defence – allowing the defenders to fly around the court.    

The Kings' next chance to tune up for the 2023-24 season comes at the NBL Blitz where Mahmoud Abedelfattah’s men will face South East Melbourne (September 18), Melbourne (September 20) and Brisbane (September 22) - with Kings fans able to purchase tickets to watch the team here. 

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