Illawarra landing LaMelo, on top of what is likely to be 3 imports, seems to disprove the whole 'big market' bias.
I'm not 100% sure why Didi was chosen to go to Sydney, but there's certainly time for him there, and I'd imagine being a draft pick, his team would've had the bottom line about where they wanted him to go - (maybe playing under Will Weaver/with Ware and/or Bogut appealed to them, just hypothesizing).
Every other team is generally 2 deep at SG.. Brisbane technically have Sobey at the PG spot but he'd slide over and play SG minutes, no doubt.
The only team that's a blank slate at SG is Cairns.. who knows why that wasn't his destination. Maybe Cairns weren't interested (doubtful, but you never know), maybe they've got an import 2 lined up or as a priority which means Didi would be relegated to backup mins.
At least in Sydney, Didi clearly wins out the backup minutes at SG, and hopefully with Gazey no longer coaching, Lisch slides over and runs some minutes at the point (I don't think anyone will be too up in arms if Bruce's minutes are minimized), meaning more minutes for Didi.
I saw Dean Vickerman concur with the Perth Bandits account in insinuating that Sydney are essentially getting a freebie import unfairly. It's a tough one. My first thought is United shouldn't be the first team crying poor, they've got big money imports and a generally stacked team, and they're as welcome to a Next Star as anyone else.
Is it completely fair? Perhaps not.. but a lot of things aren't. The fact that Cairns don't have the budget a Sydney or Melbourne do, or that Brisbane finally landed a top tier import (Patterson) and decided it wasn't financially viable to retain him isn't 'fair', but they have to make do. Swings and roundabouts.
Now obviously every team is entitled to a Next Star. In that sense it is fair. Obviously every Next Star isn't going to be of the same caliber, but that's never something you're going to be able to fix. Even ignoring the fact that Didi is an actual draftee and not a fresh out of HS kid, the other N.S's are not equal.. is it unfair that NZ get a top 5 pick talent through the initiative whilst SEM get a guy ranked 40? Unfortunately, the reality of Next Stars is there's a degree of luck in terms of positional opportunity and what caliber of prospect could be elected to fit your roster. But hey, teams, knowing this avenue exists, have the choice not to lock in signings early and instead build around a Next Star if that's how they want to play it - as NZ did in building around Hampton.
It's not perfect, but it can't be. Look at the massive amounts of exposure the league has gained through this program, and the talent that it has brought in to the league. I'm infinitely more excited to watch the NBL this season due to these acquisitions.
And plus, as soon as the draft eligibility rules change, it'll be an even playing field again in the sense that every possible N.S. will be an NBA draft+stash.
For now, at least there is a 1 player cap per team and the teams without a Next Star still have the opportunity to pick one up. So long as there's enough viable prospects out there, it would be great to see one per team (an unrealistic hope in my estimation but I think there could still be 1 or 2 to follow).