Every Friday we grab a topic and shake it out in Fast Five. Agree or disagree, that’s up to you, but Fast Five will always give you something to talk about.
This week we grab the crystal ball and look at potentially the five best import duos for the 2021 Sal’s NBL season.
A note – the Sky Tower Auckland Huskies (Armoni Brooks) and Steelformers Taranaki Mountainairs (Nelson Kirksey) weren’t considered as they have signed just one import so far.
Here’s the five import duos we think will take some stopping.
DeShon Taylor and EJ Singler
The Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams duo looks like a winning formula from the outset. Both players are creative, up tempo and stat sheet fillers, yet strong team-orientated players as well. Taylor comes with notable ANBL experience, while Singler has ANBL kudos along with a successful 2019 stint in the Sal’s NBL with the Taylor Hawke’s Bay Hawks, which included an All Star 5 gong for the season. Taylor finished his college career with Fresno State where he posted averages of 17.9pts, 3.7rbs and 5ast per game, before joining the Sydney Kings in 2019. Singler is a much-travelled pro and is a proven commodity, extremely adaptable and a winner. The Rams look well placed to capitalise on the Taylor-Singler partnership, it could well end up being the best combination we see this season.
Devondrick Walker and Jordan Hunter
The Taylor Hawke’s Bay Hawks have put together a strong import duo with experienced small forward Devondrick Walker being joined by emerging ANBL star with the Sydney Kings, Jordan Hunter. Though Walker is already here in NZ and will be available from opening tip-off, the Hawks will have to wait for Hunter to complete his ANBL season, and then must hope he is on court from Round 9 (June 24), which is the cut-off for finals qualification. If the Hawks can get their imports on court and flying high in time for the playoffs they will present an extremely tough match-up for all opponents. Look out for Hunter to be a rebounding beast.
Kerwin Roach and Romaro Gill
The Wellington Saints have literally recruited bookend imports which has the potential to deliver big dividends. Kerwin Roach (Texas Longhorns) comes from a proven basketball programme and is a flat-out athletic guard who is sure to excite, while Romaro Gill will attract just as much attention given he has been touted as the tallest man to ever play in the Sal’s NBL. It’s an import mix that could set the Saints up nicely, especially with Zico Coronel pulling the strings. While other import guards have been widely spoken about (Brooks at the Huskies for example), Roach looks primed to be one of the very best if he settles in quickly.
Josh Selby and Zane Waterman
This will be a duo to watch! The EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls have arguably recruited the most experienced import in Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies) and will be looking for him to be a true team leader, while Waterman is an athletic big who has some hops and is just at home on the arc as he is throwing down dunks at the ring. It’s a solid combo and shows some smart recruiting. Selby alone has the ability and talent to be the best player in the competition, so when you add Waterman you know you have a combo that is very capable of lighting up plenty of opposition teams. If this duo finds their rhythm it could be the catalyst for a Bulls trip to the Final 4.
DeAndre Daniels and Daishon Knight
The Property Brokers Manawatu Jets could turn out to be the surprise packet when it comes to its import duo. Daishon Knight is already a proven performer for the Jets in the Sal’s NBL, having led all scorers in season 2018 when he averaged 28.9pts per game. If he delivers anywhere near that this season it will go a long way toward propelling the Jets skywards. And then along comes DeAndre Daniels, another proven performer with strong ties back to the NBA and ANBL, the latter being where he won a League rebounding award with the Perth Wildcats. If the Jets get the best out of their import duo they could very quickly become a genuine finals contender this season. From the outside it looks a match made in heaven.
The Sal’s NBL tips off on April 24. Find the schedule here