The Sydney Kings are a solid brand in the world of sport, supported by a loyal following and buoyed by a rich 30-year history. They probably also play more entertaining hoops than the team of the same name across the Pacific, if we’re honest.
The Kings experience, in fact, isn’t far off watching an NBA game, albeit with fewer three-pointers, spinning dunks and chest beats. Scoff if you will, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Despite what we’ve been told the past few years, good basketball is a mix of pace, athleticism and accuracy, and not always helped by long shots. At least to my eyes, the Kings offer each of those elements and yet don’t seem dependent on three-point strategies the way, say, the Golden State Warriors or Houston Rockets are.
If you like watching three-pointers, you might want to think about loading up the horseshoe channel. Or apple picking on the foodie shows; they, too, can lob the pill from distance.
No, threes don’t really float my boat. Sure, it’s great when Kings captain Kevin Lisch drains one from afar, a habit he established at Saint Louis University in Missouri, but I’d much rather see him run the break and toss a nifty bounce to a charging teammate for a lay-up.
Many will argue this because three-pointers are worth more. These people care more about the destination than the journey. They don’t savour the beer but crushing the can. You know the type.
So, yes, National Basketball League has a good brand of ball, mostly because it doesn’t need to be the NBA. It can’t be anyway – not without that type of pogo-stick personnel.
No matter. The NBL has a nice balance of inside – outside play that the NBA can lack at times, especially when data-centric squads take the court with their three-point obsession.
This is why Andrew Bogut fits in so well with the Kings too, because he understands the local game. Though he once played in Golden State, he doesn’t bow to the altar of the three-pointer, instead making sure his teammates can find lanes to the hoop via the picks he sets, or neat passes he makes, because a good shot is an open one.
And good basketball isn’t always predicated on statistics.