1. Hawks - Coaching and depth. Trice would have made them just about a lock for #1, but I still think they get there.
2. Kings - great depth (especially once DJ is back), imports look good. Some ??? on frontcourt rotation and how much some of the new guys will be able to contribute.
3. Wildcats - on paper they are a step back from last season (minus Mooney), but good enough to make the top 4 still assuming the new regime carry over the toughness that has been a trademark of this team since forever.
4. Breakers - I think any of the next 3-4 teams could make the top 4. If the French duo are both solid and NZ gets their home games, I think they will make up for last year's disappointment and sneak in, but I think this spot will come down to the final game of the season.
5. Phoenix - Could easily finish as high as 2nd based on talent. We haven't really seen a player like Zhou Qi in our league with the way the game is played and called, he either dominates and the Phoenix are dangerous, or struggles to stay on the court in which case a lot depends on Broekhoff bouncing back, Munford being quality, and Creek keeping his name out of the press. Gliddon knocking down some shots would be good too.
6. United - You can't afford to take your foot off the gas and be cheap following a title and expect to make top 4. I love Delly, but United will be hoping he shows more than he did in Tokyo, because United appear to be a weapon or two short this season. I expect a year to recoop and not bleed cash on overpriced imports, before they go out and snag whichever imports have the biggest season for other teams in the NBL for 22/23.
7. Sixers - Added some bits and could be better than this - on paper they are probably better than United, but I expect the usual Adelaide shenanigans at some point and expect they underachieve.
8. Bullets - New coach and decent amount of talent, but unless the new coach is able to work out some of the kinks that have plagued the Bullets since re-entering the league, I think it's another disappointing season and time to look to rebuild.
9. Taipans - I think they'll be competitive and I respect Forde quite a lot after last year. Just hard to see them finishing above the other teams ranked higher on this list unless Forde is able to get more from Noi/Majok/Pinder. I think the imports are solid, but its going to come down to how well the locals can perform also with how deep the league continues to be.
10. JJs - I think they will be fun to watch, but they're going to have role players needing to take on probably bigger roles than you'd like (Weeks, Steindl, McVeigh, McDaniel). Goal should be to establish themselves and put bums in seats, and I think with the imports they've got that will be the case, I just don't think it will lead to too many wins year #1.