It all starts next Tuesday June 23, the Sal's NBL is back and the opening week is set to deliver 10 huge games at Trusts Arena in West Auckland.
Tickets are now on sale - 2 games every night for the price of 1 - click HERE to book your seats.
Children (U12) $5
So what should we look for in week 1? In no particular order, here's our Fast Five …..
1) Auckland Huskies - Tuesday June 23
Opening night will see one of the League's newest identities hit the floor and it's fair to say the Huskies have already built up a bit of excitement. While the franchise was with us in 2019, an off-season relocation to Auckland has seen the Huskies take on a new city, a highly-respected coach in Kevin Braswell and a rising GM in Matt Lacey. There's a lot to like about what the Huskies have done over the opening month, but come Tuesday night it's all about what they deliver on court.
2) Otago Nuggets and Franklin Bulls - Wednesday June 24
If opening night gives a look at one new team, the second night of competition gives us a double dose of freshness as the Fluid Recruitment Otago Nuggets (first time back since 2014) and the EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls (first ever game) step on court. The Nuggets of course will be showcasing the Ngatai-Kenny partnership that many predict will ensure the Nuggets are a team to watch, while the Bulls will roll out a mix of young guns that have plenty of fans are waiting in anticipation to see.
3) 84 Players
Given the robust nature of this year's competition, we are expecting to see all teams using their roster to capacity, which is great news for the second units of each team. Some of the highlights we'll be talking about by the end of the opening week will centre on players taking their first strides in the NBL, grasping an opportunity and running with it. Look out for lots of good news stories and many rising stars making headlines.
4) Size, Strength and Experience
The Property Brokers, See Me Media Manawatu Jets are set to be a team to watch with Tom Vodanovich and Hyrum Harris standing out as a force to be reckoned with. Astute drafting over the opening two rounds landed the Jets some size, strength and experience. If Vodanovich and Harris deliver the goods, the Jets will be a contender for sure. And keep an eye on Jayden Bezzant, the scoring playmaker was a player widely talked about by most teams heading into the draft with a number of them keen to draft him.
5) The First Huskies-Bulls Derby
Sunday June 28 @ 5:30pm - mark it down! A new rivalry will begin when the Huskies and Bulls draw a line in the sand and compete for bragging rights across the Supercity. Both have slick marketing and branding in place, both have been dialing up the promotion of memberships, colours and branding, along with player and coach recruitment. There have already been a few testing times between the teams off the court and come Sunday evening we'll get to see the first installment of a rivalry everyone hopes will last for years to come. Will this become known as the battle for the No Love Lost Cup?
Tuesday June 23 / Airs vs Giants @ 5:30pm / Rams vs Huskies @ 7:30pm
Wednesday June 24 / Jets vs Nuggets @ 5:30pm / Bulls vs Airs @ 7:30pm
Thursday June 25 / Nuggets vs Giants @ 5:30pm / Bulls vs Rams @ 7:30pm
Saturday June 27 / Huskies vs Jets @ 5:30pm / Rams vs Airs @ 7:30pm
Sunday June 28 / Bulls vs Huskies @ 5:30pm / Giants vs Jets @ 7:30pm