I’ve heard it time and time again, people saying that the Australian NBL is crap. I continually hear this from people; not just fans but basketball players as well. I can’t put a finger on it. Why do so many people think the NBL is crap?
What has prompted me to write this article is on the back of a conversation I had with a friend of mine (who played in the Turkish second division) whilst shooting some shots. I don’t mean the alcoholic kind of shots. Shooting baskets 🙂
He recently told me about the schooling he gave a guy that was averaging 30 points per game in the ABA. He then started to say how crap Australian basketball is and the NBL was a terrible league. Heated discussion ensued.
My personal opinion on the NBL
Having trained with the Melbourne Tigers for several years I learnt to appreciate how good NBL players are. These guys can really play. Look, I admit that the NBL isn’t as athletic as the NBA or College basketball for that matter. But fundamentally the NBL players are very good.
Even at my peak I struggled to make any impact during NBL trainings. Yes, I did have some good training sessions but for the most part I really struggled.
The NBL players were much taller and stronger than me. Even the guards were around 6’3” with a lethal outside shot. One Tigers training sessions I was guarding Marcus Timmons who was a 6’9” forward. He got me in the post and all I could do was try to front him and get help.
Whilst I was trying to front him the camera locked on to me (the media was in the building as we had an important game against the Adelaide 36ers) and this vision was beamed all around Melbourne. All my friends laughed at me claiming I looked like a midget that was trying to bite his knees.
More recently I got to play 1on1 against Emanuel Golongo; a former Melbourne United bench player. The guy was tough to guard! 6’5” and can put the ball on the ground and shoot with a lot of strength around the basket. He is also averaging just under 20 a game in the Big V championship league.
From my personal experience NBL players all can play, even the benchwarmers. I’ve always had the most profound respect for them as athletes because I’ve had to guard them.
What the Facebook community said
Whilst I was writing this article I wanted to hear what everyone had to say on this topic. Most comments were made with no reasoning at all, just personal opinion. One person however brought up some valid points.
“Teams folding ie Townsville, South Dragons, etc”
Yes the NBL has had it’s fair share of teams folding and changing the Melbourne Tigers to Melbourne United didn’t help. The NBL is struggling to get hardcore followers which sees clubs struggle. It’s hard in Australia, I get it but that doesn’t mean the league is crap.
“Matches where you have 20 points in a quarter and then 8 the next”
This is standard for FIBA games, it happens even in Europe. The NBA is a TV sport and the rules of the game are shaped for maximum excitement. The NBL like other FIBA leagues allows the game to be played by the proper laws of the game. No three step dunks in this league!
NBL ranking in the top 10 leagues in the world according to ESPN
A Facebook friend and a fellow basketball fan brought to my attention an article written by ESPN. It places the Australian NBL at number 10 on the best leagues in the world list. Not too bad for a country whose main sport isn’t basketball and a league running on limited funds.
Let’s get this into perspective
In 1997 the Arizona Wildcats won the NCAA tournament. This same team toured Melbourne and played the Tigers in an exhibition game. The Tigers won! Now before you say “they are a college team, it’s not really fair”. Well, this Arizona team had Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, AJ Bramlett, Michael Dickerson and Miles Simon. All NBA players! An NBL team beating a NCAA champion with 5 NBA players. That should count for something right?
People are entitled to their opinion and there will be always players and fan of basketball that will claim the NBL is crap. But at the end of the day these are uninformed people. There’s a reason why there’s so many players in the NBL with NBA experience. The Australian NBL is a good league! To all those that think the NBL is crap, let me ask you a question. Have you guarded an NBL player? If the answer is NO, then your argument is flawed.