Home › Forums › The Player Rating Points at the end of the Pakistan tour › NZ Breakers
September 23, 2006 at 10:04 pm #9556
The Mighty Harvey Norman NZ Breakers are wrestling with a host of strategic decisions as the club attempts to find the key to success in the Philips Championship.
Head coach Andrej Lemanis says the Breakers are desperately keen to become a competitive force in the ANBL and the next three months are vital for finetuning the team’s playing style and strengthening the roster.
“We had some great nights this last season and beat quality teams, including both grand finalists,” Lemanis said. “But we need to be more consistent and that starts with the groundwork we lay now.
“The first task is to nail the playing style that will increase our competitiveness and allow us to match up against quality teams week-in and week-out.
“One of the interesting aspects of the league this season was the pace of the game and how the front-runners used a quality bench to maintain a ferocious intensity for the full forty-eight minutes.
“The top-ranking Brisbane Bullets only had one genuine big man and other play-off teams, like the Sydney Kings and the South Dragons, didn’t suffer from a lack of truly tall timber because they used speed to unlock defences and create intense pressure when the opposition had the ball.
“We will be looking to change our style of play a little bit and go slightly smaller, but a whole heap quicker.”
The shift in focus will necessitate a shake-up of the team’s elite 10-man roster, which Lemanis admits is the toughest part of his job.
“It’s an unenviable task telling players you respect that they’re not quite right for the roster you’re looking to build,” he said.
The Breakers have already re-signed shooting guard Aaron Olson and forwards Mika Vukona and Oscar Forman, and are in the process of finalising contracts with back up guard Brent Charleton and centre Tim Behrendorff.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have room for two seven-footers, so we have given Ben Pepper permission to talk to other clubs,” Lemanis said. “He’s been of great value to the Breakers and it’s sad to see him go, but he’s a true professional and with his talents I’m sure there will be plenty of options open to him.”
With Carlos Powell certain to be plying his trade in the NBA or Europe, the hunt will be on for a quality replacement and Lemanis says the selection of the two imports will be determined by the make-up of the eight “locals” in the squad.
“The point guard position, for example, is vital because he has the ball in his hands the most and makes the important decisions in driving the team around the court.
“Adam Darragh won’t be with us again next season as the back-up point guard, but we’re talking to Paul Henare about his future. His role at the club is one of the most crucial in determining the balance of the roster.”
Lemanis will be scouting for American talent when he makes a pilgrimage to the home of the game later this month.
He will also be focused on maintaining the club’s relationship with young New Zealanders at college in the United States – Craig Bradshaw at Winthrop University and Thomas Abercrombie and Gisborne-born North Queenslander Aron Baynes at Washington State.
The planning for the next ANBL season will also include finding an assistant coach to replace John Dorge, now the head coach of the Harbour Heat in the New Zealand NBL, and working closely with Breakers general manager Richard Clarke to further hone strategies to minimise the negative effects of major road trips.
“When you are in a league that encompasses the likes of Singapore, Perth, Cairns, Townsville and Adelaide, you have to be prepared to be knocked around by the constant travel.
“I’m just pleased the new team entering the Philips Championship next season is from the Gold Coast and isn’t from Darwin, Tokyo or Beijing!”
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.