Posted by Ashley Proud on January 13, 2009
So in all honesty, things are not looking to good for the Cairns Taipans. There doesn’t seem to be another ‘White Knight’ on the scene and things are not looking to good for the Taipans. It doesn’t seem as if they will be a part of the new league and the look out for the Taipans is pretty bleak.
So where to for the Taipans players and staff? Will any NBL teams want to pick up the players or will they be left doing a ‘Neil Mottram’ and find themselves good enough to play in the league but not have a job.
Here is my opinion on if each player should get another gig in the ‘New NBL’ and a possible home for them:
Stephen Black: obviously the guy is a class player but has a huge history of having the worst back in the NBL and is very injury prone. From all reports, the guy is extremely professional and works his arse off to keep himself on the court (his ice baths are things of legend!) There has been some news that he is exploring Europe as a possible destination for his futre. Should he have a gig on a NBL roster? Hell yes! I think that a team like Sydney (in its current form) and Wollongong (if they are in the league) would be a perfect home for him. I would also mention the Gold Coast, but I honestly don’t think that Brendan Joyce would recruit him as he would take away time from Daniel!.
Aaron Grabu: this is an interesting one. The guy is a rock! He is a foundation player for the Taipans and is very solid at the defensive end. Aaron’s career has improved in the past couple of seasons and he is in career best form. But he isn’t a super scorer and he is not the greatest outside shooter. Should he have a gig on a NBL roster? I am going to say no. I think that he is on the wrong side of 29 and doesn’t offer NBL programs more than what they already have.
Darnell Mee: another one that is interesting. He (along with Cattalini) spent a great deal of the last season on the injured list. He is long, a veteran and a pretty clutch player. Should he have a gig on a NBL roster? I am going to say yes. He would fit in on veteran roster such as the Blaze or even an in between roster like the Wildcats. He is versatile and can defend. It is a huge punt but if you offered the guy a one year deal, I think that it is well worth the risk.
Scott Cook: is one of the few true PG’s in the league. He has been extremely solid throughout this season and his game seems to be on the improve. Cook has started some games thoughout this season and played some decent basketball. Should he have a place in the new NBL? I say yes. I think that he would help the NZ Breakers as a solid back up to CJ Bruton and an upgrade on what they have there already.
Martin Cattalini: as I previously discussed in my blog entry, Martin has expressed interest in finishing his career in Perth. He seems to be playing some solid basketball after an extremely injury prone season last year. Should he have a place in the new NBL? I say that if the Wildcats want to roll the dice and give him a shot, it would be awesome but it would be at the expense of a young guy.
Ian Crosswhite: my mate Grandmaster Funk from the TO fame (which we will be reviving very very soon! Watch out for that!) absolutely pasted this guy earlier in the year. Since his pasting, it seems as if he has pulled his finger out and found some form and even won player of the week award. Should he have a gig on a new NBL roster? I am going to say yes but with conditions. He would need to play for a coach who could drive him (e.g Brian Gorijian) and get the best out of him. He would fit in well at the Dragons and the Hawks (but I don’t think that Cooks would be a good match for him)
Garry Boodinkoff: is an outstanding player on the offensive end but apparently can’t defend at all. He came into the league with much fanfare and had an extremely solid rookie season. But in my opinion, it has been downhill ever since then. Should he have a place in the new NBL? Yes he should in a backup capacity. He would fit in well at the Gold Coast and be able to add support to their program.
Matt Smith: in one word – no. I don’t see Matt Smith hooking onto any NBL program.
Dwayne Vale: is another one word answer – no. He had a solid season last year but this year has not produced the good at all. He is not overly young and doesn’t bring things to the table that other guys on other rosters don’t.
Kerry Williams – is a local hero in Cairns. He got a bit of notoriety earlier in the season and Andrew Gaze was mentioning him in the same breath as Patrick Mills. Williams can not shoot the ball from the perimeter but is quick and slippery. Should he have a place on a NBL roster? I say no but that is just my personal opinion.
In regards to imports Larry Abney and Dave Thomas: Obviously Thomas has returned to the Tigers and will problary stick there. I cant believe that more teams did not pull the trigger on Abney. I would have hoped that if the Blaze were still in the playoff hunt, they would have cut Whitehad quickly and picked up this superstar. I personally feel that he is better than Ellis and would fit in well at the Crocs. He would also be a nice addition for the Hawks (when Rychardt is an Aussie) and would have been a nice pick up for the Spirit but they have no money!
So there you go. I think that the new NBL is going to leave a lot of guys without gigs especially if the whole points thing is kept. Guys like Boodinkoff and Crosswhite could find themselves ‘out pointed’ if the new league keeps the points in tact. I am still hoping that there is hope for the Taipans roster to stay in Cairns but if I was a betting man, I would bet most of my life savings (and Larry Abney’s non salary cap money!) on there not being a team in Cairns next year.