NBL Season Preview – Perth Wildcats 2021
The 2021 NBL Season kicks off, and there are numerous changes to a number of the lineups. The Perth Wildcats will be looking to play in the finals for the 35th consecutive season, but they will be up against it this season after losing many key contributors on the defensive end.
The 2020 NBL Champions go into their 2021 NBL Campaign without four significant contributing factors, and it may look as though a finals appearance may be their best result.
MVP Bryce Cotton is back though and will be dangerous if he continually hits shots like he did last season.
The loss of Nick Kay is enormous and the retirement of the greatest ever NBL Defender, Damian Martin will make things even more challenging. Throw in the clutch and defence of Terrico White and the inside presence of Miles Plumlee, and it is easy to see why critics don’t have the Wildcats pencilled in for the finals this season.
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Losses – Nick Kay, Damian Martin, Miles Plumlee, Terrico White, Rhys Vague, Nic Pozoglou,
Gains – John Mooney, Todd Blanchfield, Kevin White, Andrew Ferguson, Corey Shervill, Jarred Bairstow, Tom Jervis
Likely Starting 5 – Mitch Norton, Bryce Cotton, Todd Blanchfield, Luke Travers, John Mooney
With the Wildcats losing so much defensively, they will need Cotton and Steindl to have big seasons on the offensive end. Watching a couple of pre-season games, it looks as though John Mooney is very similar to Nick Kay, but probably lacks the shooting capabilities. Todd Blanchfield can occasionally get hot from the 3 point line, but it will be tough for him to match the defensive capabilities of Terrico White. Unfortunately, Damian Martin is just a significant loss defensively, and Mitch Norton and Kevin White will need to step it up.
The appointment of new Captain Jesse Wagstaff will be a welcome sight to Wildcats fans, and he will be going for a record seventh NBL Championship.
The Wildcats are a powerful franchise, and if Bryce Cotton can get his Aussie citizenship soon enough, they may be able to add more talent to the lineup. It is hard to see where the buckets will come from if Cotton and Stiendl have off nights, and this may cost them games. Throw in that they may not have a home-court consistently this season which has always been an advantage.
At the end of the day, they always seem to find a way, and if Cotton gets hot and the others do their jobs on the defensive end, they should be a finals threat. The fact they may have to rely on only a few reliable sources for points is concerning, but Cotton is a world-class player, and Clint Steindl has proven he can get hot from the land of plenty.
Our Pick – Fourth Place finish Click for Odds
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