A full round ahead of us with seven games in R6 of the Sal's NBL - let's look at the biggest questions in this week's Fast Five.
Fast Five - Question 1
Q: Can Shark Jarrad Weeks get a perfect 20 votes from two games again this week?
A: Agent 97 delivered two sublime performances last round and exited with a perfect 20 votes from the coaches after steering the Sharks to wins against the Giants and Huskies. His team is on the double again this round with a trip to Canterbury to play the Rams followed by a home clash with the Saints. If the dashing guard can grab another 10 votes in each game you can be assured he'll race to the top of the TAB MVP leaderboard and there is every chance the Sharks will also rack up another two victories.
Fast Five - Question 2
Q: Now at full strength, are the Hawke's Bay Hawks are genuine title contender?
A: In short, yes they are. The Hawks dismantled the Mountainairs last week and really could have turned what was a big win into an ugly thumping had they continued to run their starters. In a scary proposition, with Daniel Kickert and Brandon Bowman slotting in perfectly last round, you would think they will only get better as they spend more time on court together. The Hawks have some terrific depth and are playing a very high calibre and attacking brand of basketball. If they grab another couple of wins this round (vs Giants and Jets) you can be assured plenty of people will be talking them up.
Fast Five - Question 3
Q: Are the Final 4 aspirations of the Southern Huskies on the line when they host the Nelson Giants on Saturday night?
A: It's more than reasonable to tag this clash as a make-or-break showdown for the Huskies. After two straight losses at home to the Saints and Sharks, which to be fair could (maybe even should) have been wins for the Huskies, the Tasmanians now find themselves at 2-4 and starting to slip from the top half. A loss to the Giants in R6 would be a massive dagger against another finals aspirant. The pressure is firmly on the Huskies to respond after two disappointing home losses.
Fast Five - Question 4
Q: After a rare 24pt blowout in R3, will we see a closer game when the Saints travel to Invercargill to meet the Sharks on Sunday?
A: The Saints continue to lead the league as the only unbeaten team after five rounds, but most players and coaches in the Sal's NBL will tell you the hardest place to get a win at is the ILT Stadium in Invercargill. The chances of seeing another blowout is extremely unlikely, especially if new import Roberto Nelson finally steps on court for the Sharks. It must be said that the Saints haven't been playing totally convincing basketball of late, though good teams win the close ones and the lads from Wellington have kept their unblemished run going. Expect this contest between the league's two juggernauts to be far closer than the last time they met.
Fast Five - Question 5
Q: Is the trio of Iverson-Knight-Ellerson the best import group in the Sal's NBL this season?
A: Based on what we've seen over the last two rounds against the Sharks and Saints, two of the competition's very best teams, you won't find too many people arguing the quality of Manawatu's 'Big Three'. The numbers stack up the argument as well with Kuran Iverson, Daishon Knight and Wally Ellerson all delivering big stats, which helped lead the Jets to an upset win over the Sharks and a narrow 2pt loss to the Saints. In season 2019 the Sal's NBL is loaded with talented imports, but the trio of stars at the Jets are very much in the mix as the best collective trio at any one club. Enjoy the debate.