Posts tagged “Breakers

ASK THE EXPERTS – 10 PRE-SEASON QUESTIONS

Posted on September 26, 2013

High-res version

Before the NBL season tips off next month, I thought it worthwhile to check in with a panel of basketball experts to get their take on the upcoming 2013-14 National Basketball League season.

So, I rounded up five of the brightest NBL minds on the planet, and put to them ten pressing questions that I deemed too important to begin the season without having a crack at. Of course the answers are only each expert’s (and my) opinion, based on nothing more than a patchy pre-season and years of basketball fandom.

10 Questions

|  PHPaul Henderson of Hoop Diary and And The Foul  |  PFPaul Force of 36 Reasons  |

|  NANiall Anderson of NZHoops  |  NSNat Sullivan of And The Foul  |

|  KPKing Podge of the internet  |  APAndrew Price of lobpasstoabercrombie  |

THINK YOU KNOW BETTER?
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Breakers Sign Kerron Johnson

Posted on August 12, 2013

Kerron+Johnson+NCAA+Basketball+Tournament+6gCcrltum24xYou heard it here first! The deal has not been formally announced by the team yet, but lobpasstoabercrombie.com understands The New Zealand Breakers are set to sign former Belmont University star Kerron Johnson as their new import point guard.

Kerron Johnson is perhaps most famous for his game winning shot over the Murray State Racers which helped the Bruins clinch a berth (a program-best 11th seed in the West) in this year’s NCAA March Madness tournament. Interestingly Johnson had turned down an offer from Murray State four years prior to play for Belmont. The Bruins were knocked out in the first round of the NCAA tournament this year by Arizona, despite Johnson’s 22 point haul in the round 1 game. During his time with Belmont, Johnson led the Bruins to 102 wins, four regular season championships and three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

The 22 year old senior will play his first professional basketball in Auckland, New Zealand for the Breakers replacing reining MVP and all round national hero, Cedric Jackson. These will be big boots to fill for the 6″1 point guard, and not just because Jackson was a full 3 inches taller than him.

In many ways Johnson’s game appear similar to that of Jackson, he’s a drive-and-dish style point guard, who can both score the ball (averaging 14.3ppg in his senior year) and find his team mates (4.8 assists per game in 2013). Johnson’s game utilises his speed and quickness (yes, they are 2 different things) to beat his defenders and get to the rim or the free throw line. He also averaged 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals in his final year in College which saw the Bruins finish with a conference-best 26-6 record. Johnson is not known for his three point shooting, but this isn’t a skill the Breakers are desperate for, as he will be surrounded by shooters at the Breakers. Like Jackson, Johnson will serve as a distributor and ball handler, however he may find some defensive match ups with the larger point guards in the league a good challenge as he steps into his professional career.

Kerron Johnson’s team-mate and back court partner at Belmont, Ian Clark (also a senior) was picked up by the Utah Jazz after an impressive Summer League outing for the NBA team, in which he won the 2013 NBA Summer League MVP (Las Vegas). Both he and Johnson went undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft. Clark was only rated 2 spots higher than Johnson in the 2013 DraftExpress Top NCAA Seniors rankings, which is a promising sign.

Johnson was named to this year’s Ohio Valley Conference all-tournament team as well as being named the conference’s MVP – both honours he also received the previous year when the Belmont Bruins were part of the Atlantic Sun conference. In fact he was named in the all-conference team every year he was in college.

NERD WARNING:

Kerron Johnson along with Ian Clark led the Bruins in the Win Share column, which long-time readers of this blog will know that I love. Johnson is more renown for his offensive skills than his defence, and this is reflected by the fact that about 63% of his total win share is contributed from OWS. Perhaps the most important stat that stands out to me though is his assist rate of 29.2%. This means that around 1/3 of every possession he had ended him finding his team mate for a scoring opportunity – a highly valued skill for a point guard.

Johnson’s turnover rate wasn’t great at about 20%, which is something that may need to work on as he finds his way through the NBL season.

Kerron’s greatest strength however appears to be his ability to take contact and get to the free throw line. He averaged almost 7 free throws per game his season and knocked down about 78% of them. He got to the line 210 times last season giving him the 21st best free throw rate in the entire country (73.57). He said in an interview with ASAP Sports earlier this year “my role is to take the hits and control the tempo” and he seems to have that down to a fine art.

All in all a solid signing from the New Zealand Breakers coaching team, and one that will no doubt keep Breakers fans entertained. Many of you will have read about the Wildcats new signing yesterday of James Ennis, with many Cats fans already proclaiming him to be the MVP of the NBL for this coming season. I’m always cautious of laying these kinds of expectations on players straight out of the college system, as playing against hardened professionals, such as those they’ll come up against in the NBL is a lot different to playing against teenagers. There will be a number of players fresh out of the US college system in the NBL this season, and it will be exciting to see how these players develop their professional careers.

 

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Kerron Johnson Junior Year Highlights

DENOUEMENT

Posted on April 13, 2013

By Jono Hutchison What a game last night. What a fitting way to complete the swept finals series, the proverbial three-peat and the cinematic story of the New Zealand Breakers. So much has happened since the formation of the Kiwi club in 2003; for both the team and basketball in New Zealand. But, in many ways this drama began when Andrej Lemanis took over as coach for the 2005-2006 season. Lemanis has been the stoic Sherpa Tenzing along the Breakers’ journey to conquer their own Everest. He has stood firm against the public storms of wintry discontent and kept playing a long game despite meeting frequent skepticism — including my own at times, it must be said. There have been so many engaging sub-plots…

NBL FINALS – GAME ONE BY THE NUMBERS – THE FOUR FACTORS

Posted on April 8, 2013

fourfactors

In his 2004 book Basketball on Paper (which you should all read), Dean Oliver writes about the ‘Four Factors’ of basketball success. He identifies these four key  indicators as to how a basketball team wins game. Oliver states that shooting is the most important of the factors, followed by turnovers, offensive rebounds and free throws, in that order.

Above are the boxscore derived metrics from game one of the 2o12/13 NBL Grand Finals showing the Four Factors