Season 2020 in the Sal's NBL will be full of firsts, especially with an expanded broadcast deal that will see all 112 games across the men's and women's competitions being available to views across the country. In today's Fast Five we stop and wonder... Will We Or Won't We?
1. Wellington Saints
Will we or won't we see the mighty Wellington Saints go back-to-back by snaring another championship? If they do beat everyone to the top of the mountain, again, it will be their 12th national league title. However, the pressure is already on with the SIT Zero Fees Southland Sharks recruiting strongly, the Franklin Bulls have also been big movers thus far, while the Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams look to be assembling a championship-contending squad. When you throw into the mix an Olympic Qualifying tournament for the Tall Blacks during June, which could see a number of players miss a few rounds of Sal's NBL action, it does potentially throw the championship race wide open.
2. Sunday Dech
Will we or won't we see Sunday Dech become one of this season's very best performers? After a season in the Sal's NBL in 2019 where he was rated one of the competition's elite defenders, won a championship with the Wellington Saints and was arguably the Sixth Man of the Year, Dech has just delivered a break-out season in the ANBL and now takes his talents south to join the Sharks, where he looks set to slot in beside Jarrad Weeks. Keep a close eye on him.
3. Imports Dominating
Will we or won't we see imports dominating the Sal's NBL men's competition in 2020? Last season's All Star 5 featured four imports (Singler, Bowman, Kay and Gliddon), with New Zealand star Shea Ili the lone soldier flying the Kiwi flag. All eyes will be on the likes of Jack Salt, Taylor Britt, Tom Vodanovich, Hyrum Harris, Jordan Ngatai, Reuben Te Rangi and Ethan Rusbatch, amongst many other locals, as they look to deliver the goods and put together a big season. Let's revisit this in late July when the All Star 5 is revealed!
4. Penina Davidson
Will we or won't we see Penina Davidson dominate the Sal's NBL women's competition? The star Tall Ferns forward will return to the Harbour Breeze fresh off a strong season with the Melbourne Boomers in Australia's WNBL. Davidson has now put together two years as a pro and looks set to take big dominant steps forward, with a couple of months back home this season looks to be the right platform for her to take her game to a whole new level.
5. Overtime Thrillers
Will we or won't we see any overtime thrillers? Surprisingly not many games went into OT in 2019, though possibly the most memorable was the thrilling Championship clash between the Etco Auckland Dream and Harbour Breeze in the women's competition. In a huge battle live on Sky Sport, sisters Kalani Purcell and Natalie Taylor powered the Dream to a win in a cliffhanger that had everyone in the stadium, and at home, on the edge of their seat. Season 2020 features all 112 games across both league's being broadcast, so a few more overtime thrillers would be great to see.