While the Property Brokers Manawatu Jets enjoyed a taste of playing for a Championship at the Sal's NBL Showdown last season, the question is can they get back to the last game this season and go one better?
With top draft picks Tom Vodanovich and Hyrum Harris no longer in green, Coach Tim McTamney has brought together a mix of youth, a dash of noted experience, along with arguably the best import duo in the competition - namely Daishon Knight and DeAndre Daniels.
Will it be enough? Let's take a took at how the Jets are shaping up.
PROPERTY BROKERS JETS ROSTER
Coach: Tim McTamney
Jayden Bezzant (pictured)
DeAndre Daniels is a bona-fide star and looms as one of the most exciting players in the competition this season. Athletic and quick, Daniels has a great ability to get to the basket and is a rebounding machine. Look for the Jets to run plenty of its inside-outside offence through Daniels who, with Knight, Bezzant, McCullough and McQueen, is surrounded by excellent shooters. If Daniels has a big season then the Jets are definitely capable of some equally big things.
Jayden Bezzant was a revelation at the 2020 Showdown and if he can form a strong back-court relationship with Daishon Knight, he has the ability to once again be a force for the Jets. Bezzant can mix things up too, delivering loads of class when it comes to shooting from range, and also changing up his tempo and getting to the rack. Don’t sleep on Bezzant, he’ll play big minutes, will be given the green light to shoot, and has some very talented players around him that could help lift him to the next level. He’s one of the best x-factors across the entire competition this season.
The experience of Daishon Knight, both as a player and also via his past experience in the competition, help make him the perfect veteran to lead the Jets. Knight is expected to be in the thick of the action as the team’s primary distributor, and possibly scorer (highly likely). Knight has a solid squad around him and an excellent starting group, so as a leader this could present him with the perfect opportunity to shine.
For the Jets, their risk could also be their biggest reward. Daishon Knight and Jayden Bezzant are both more than capable of running the show, but can they play alongside each other? It’s a calculated move by Coach McTamney to join these two together and if it works they could form one of the League’s very best guard duos. Yes, it could be a masterstroke.
We’ve touched on the reward that will come with Knight and Bezzant working well together, so let’s move to the two classy outside shooters in Ashton McQueen and Nikau McCullough. If these two can be patient, space the floor and capitalise on the opportunities that will surely flow their way then we are looking at plenty of rewards for the Jets. Patience, spacing and timing is the key here.
THREE THINGS THAT MUST GO RIGHT
MEMBERSHIPS & TICKETS
The Jets have a tough opening to the season and would love to chalk-up some wins from four road games to start with, but with four of their next five after that at home they have a real opportunity to set themselves up for success. Back-to-back games against the Nuggets is an interesting quirk, while a mid-season round featuring games on the road against the Sharks and Saints could be telling. How good would it be if a final round clash with the Giants is for a spot in the finals? It could happen.
Friday April 30 | 7:30pm | @ Huskies
Saturday May 1 | 7:30pm | @ Bulls
Friday May 7 | 7:30pm | @ Rams
Saturday May 8 | 7:30pm | @ Nuggets
Saturday May 15 | 7:30pm | vs Nuggets
Sunday May 23 | 3:00pm | vs Airs
Sunday May 30 | 5:00pm | vs Sharks
Thursday June 3 | 7:30pm | @ Giants
Sunday June 6 | 5:00pm | vs Bulls
Friday June 11 | 7:30pm | @ Sharks
Sunday June 13 | 5:00pm | @ Saints
Sunday June 20 | 3:00pm | vs Hawks
Friday June 25 | 7:30pm | @ Airs
Saturday June 26 | 7:30pm | vs Rams
Sunday July 4 | 3:00pm | vs Huskies
Saturday July 10 | 7:30pm | vs Saints
Thursday July 15 | 7:30pm | @ Hawks
Sunday July 18 | 5:00pm | vs Giants