Lovebroker
Earlier this year

Closeness of the League this year.

Cairns excluded, has there been a season as close and competitive as this one in recent times?

At this late stage of the season :

- No one has clinched a playoff berth.

- 1 to 7 can make the playoffs or drop out of the play offs.

- There is no clear ladder leader since the Wildcats slump brought them back to the pack, then it was musical chairs between Sydney and Melbourne.

- Every team has had it's peaks and slumps at various times of the season illustrating no one is immune to a bad patch of play. Eg. Perth was hot at season’s start then had a 2-8 patch, but seems to have recovered. Sydney conversely had a poor start then worked it all out within the middle third of the season, but are experiencing some unexpected home losses.

Adelaide were on a 7-1 tear and were considered the hottest team recently but recently suffered some poor performances. Brisbane seem to be up and down but generally an upward trend with Patterson.

- Illawarra Hawks who many considered to be last or second last, are only one game from the top four.

- Furthermore, home ground advantage seems to be less effective this season, any home team taking a travelling team likely do so at their peril. Eg Cairns @ Perth. Hawks @ United.

If Parity was an 'issue’ in the NBL, can we consider that parity exists in a league where 7 out of 8 teams are still in it for a playoff spot at this late juncture of the season?

This season has not been kind for punters like me and it’s because of the topsy turvy season which I think makes for a great outcome for the league.

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PeterJohn  
Earlier this year

2016-17 would be the only one. Top team finished 17-11, 2nd-4th were all on 15-13, 5th was 14-14, 6th and 7th were 13-15 and 8th was 10-18.

Several games in the last round affected final positions. If Sydney had won its last 2 that season, then Perth's playoff streak would have ended that year. Instead, Sydney fell from 3rd to 7th while Perth rose from 5th to 3rd over the last 2 rounds of the season.

Coming into the last round of the season, Melbourne were 3rd, Perth 4th and Cairns 5th. In that last round, Melbourne dropped both games - one to Perth - while Cairns beat teh top team (Adelaide). As a result, Perth finished 3rd, Cairns 4th and Melbourne ended up 6th.

At this point of the 2016-17 season (20 games left to play), top team had 17 wins and was guaranteed finals. After that, one team had 12 wins, four had 11 wins, one had 10 and one had 9.

The thing about 2016-17 was that head-to-head results determined finishing positions among tied teams. Now points for percentage is used, which makes it a little harder for some teams to finish higher than others. e.g., Perth has a 2.1% better points for percentage than the next best, Melbourne. That equates to about 40 points. Melbourne is about 45 points ahead of Sydney and 50 ahead of Brisbane. They're both about 35 points ahead of NZ and 40 points ahead of Adelaide. NZ and Adelaide are both about 110 points ahead of Illawarra.

Those differentials, together with respective teams' win-loss records mean Melbourne and Perth are all but certain to play finals and are now playing for home court advantage. On the other hand, Illawarra are almost certain to miss playoffs as they'd likely lose out in any ties with other teams.

In contrast, the 2016-17 season was a little more open at this stage, due to the various head-to-head scenarios that could radically change teams' positions by virtue of a single game's outcome.

So I'd rate 2016-17 ahead of this season, but not by much.

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Anonymous  
Earlier this year

Its only closeness because of the Sydney kings signing David Wear and not signing a backup big or a good backup rebounder, Not letting Randle have the ball

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UseTaHoop  
Earlier this year

It's only close because Melbourne persisted with Boone for 1 season too long, and didn’t get a gun shooter/ penetrator import to work with Cotton.

It’s only close because Brisbane didn’t get a gun import pg to distribute the ball to Patterson and shooters, and dish to their bigs.

It’s only close because NZ chose 2 ill-suited imports.

It’s only close because Cairns patched together a team on a budget and hired a rookie coach with little time to build a roster.

It’s only close because Wright hasn’t been able to channel all his team’s aggression into winning games consistently.

It’s only close because Illawarra went with budget imports and took a chance on an import whom the league has passed by.

It’s only close because Perth put all their eggs in 1 Import basket (and 2 local baskets) and didn’t want to sign a third import.

I’m sure there’s plenty more "It’s only close becauses".

All teams have made mistakes. The team that can best work around their mistakes in the finals will win. I’m just happy that it’s still a wide open competition.

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Isaac  
Earlier this year

UTH, beat me to it. Only close because a team operating within spending constraints (if not salary cap, owners') who’d already signed Lisch, Randle, Newley and Bogut, went a bit budget with another signing.

Can’t play that game without playing it for every other team and every other season. Otherwise, it’s a ridiculous consideration.

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Flop Warning  
Earlier this year

Tbh. If Perth had of signed a 3rd import like homicide suggested. Every other team would have just given up.

But if the cats had of gone a further 3-600k over cap. Syd would have gone for the 7th import option. So those imports may have just cancelled each other out

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LV  
Earlier this year

NBL as a competition is much more interesting than NBA, where everybody knows the Warriors will get it done this year (again!) as long as they stay healthy.

Can't complain really.

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Lovebroker  
Earlier this year

Coming into the last round of the season, Melbourne were 3rd, Perth 4th and Cairns 5th. In that last round, Melbourne dropped both games - one to Perth - while Cairns beat teh top team (Adelaide). As a result, Perth finished 3rd, Cairns 4th and Melbourne ended up 6th.


Adelaide were the hottest team into the playoffs but decided to 'not try to win' against the last 2 games against Cairns.

I think Cairns finished 2nd and Illawarra 4th in the end.

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LV  
Earlier this year

The NBL as a competition is much more interesting than the NBA, where everybody knows the Warriors will win (again!) if they stay healthy.

Can't complain really.

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UseTaHoop  
Earlier this year

Isaac

Yeah, we can't really extrapolate one "if only" without consideration of all the others. It is what it is, and that’s a pretty darn good comp considering the limits of budgets, and the tyranny of distance (someone could write a book called that).

I’m really enjoying what I see this season, and glad I don’t bet on the results cause it’s been so unpredictable. All I want now is for the final four to not be set until the last game, and good contest in all the finals.

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