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The great purge

March 9th, 2006

The Brisbane Bullets have sacked their captain Derek Rucker, having already axed Daniel Egan and Lanard Copeland. It seems pretty clear that Bobby Brannen will go as well. While Copeland has probably reached the end of his stellar career, the others still have plenty to contribute. They seem to have paid the price for the fact that an all-star team didn’t live up to expectations. Given that all of them turned in some superb performances at times, I would have thought the blame for the team not coming together lay most obviously with the coach or management.

I grew up following suburban club football in Adelaide. In those days, there were occasional changes but, broadly speaking, you took on a club for life, either as a player or a follower, and vice versa. I know times have changed, but I can’t say I warm to the wholesale shifts that characterise Australian basketball in particular. Not only do players move all the time but clubs come and go at a great rate, mainly for financial rather than sporting reasons.

Having moved to Brisbane just after the demise of the Canberra Cannons, and just when Derek Rucker (whom I’d previously followed in Townsville) returned, I thought I was in for a bit of stability. Instead reform and structural adjustment are the order of the day. I’ll find it hard to muster much enthusiasm for the Bullets next season.

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  1. March 9th, 2006 at 23:57 | #1

    I love b’ball but the Oz comps have been woefully managed and marketed for yonks. Rucker and Copeland are among my all time favourite players, only second to Gaze and D-Mac in Sydney’s early glory days.

    Even when it was all the rage a few years back, it never quite lived up to its potential: no decent tv coverage and shows, nowhere near enough money for local players and to bring (and keep!) more quality imports, sponsorship problems, never got the support from, nor helped to invest in the local junior leagues/school comps, etc.

    John, just join the bandwagon and stick to the beautiful game & the A-League! ;) Even Peter FitzSimons had to eventually…
    Seriously, nothing like the good example and greed it’s generating in every other code… I think it should be a good influence on all professional sports.

    And it’s about to get HUGE: SBS will break all the $$$ and tv records with the World Cup!
    Who was the brilliant tv exec that passed on their chance to grab it for the major tv channels? I think it was the same ones that went for the recent winter Olympics and the CommwGames instead.

  2. Al
    March 10th, 2006 at 14:30 | #2

    Old adage rings true – a champion team will beat a team of champions!

    JQ – you talk of the virtues of stability and how this seems to be lost on the Bullets and many other organisations.

    Whilst not pre-empting the moves of Bullets management, I would have thought the recent purge is aimed with stability in mind. Derek still has incredible value in the league, but having said that a 42 (age ?) year old point guard is not a long term option. Factor in also the likes of Adam Gibson, the promising young PG the Bullets also have stashed on their bench, and I think the move has been made (hopefully?) with the future in mind.

    On another note – I think the NBL needs to also look at the ‘points’ system they use as a means of allocating talent. A player is given a rating each year (e.g I think Chris Anstey is a 10, Adam Gibson is a 5) and a cap is placed on the amount of collective points each team can have. This is the reason Ben Castle left the Bullets a couple of years back, as his Boomers selection increased his points value too high to justify retaining him.

    Combine this with the lack of financial opportunities in the NBL relative to overseas, and it becomes a little easier to understand why there is so much chopping and changing going on. I guess that is also the key to the success of AFL, cricket, league etc – in that the only real option for players is to stay in Australia. Perhaps if the situation was similar in basketball, a team may establish some consistency in their roster.

    Any suggestions by anyone as to how to fix this problem???

  3. jquiggin
    March 11th, 2006 at 11:32 | #3

    It’s a good point about Adam Gibson, but Lanard’s retirement ought to have put him in the position of coming off the bench in rotation with Derek and Stephen Black. Admittedly I’ve never really understood the difference between point guard and shooting guard, and maybe this is a constraint.

  4. Hansingle
    October 7th, 2006 at 23:41 | #4

    Fixing the “problem”. One reason the league has been diluted of talent in recent years is the fact that many players can go to Europe and command ten times the salary, particularly if they have a Euro passport and not be counted as an import, where the market is so much bigger. Case in point – David Anderson.
    Maybe we should think of moving the league to a position where it is not competing whith Europe, and the guys can play both. After all, they are professional athletes.
    By the way, THREE CHEERS for Eddie “Everywhere”, Channel Nine will be playing NBL Sundays 11:30am starting 15/10/06………..FREE TO AIR.
    AND ABOUT TIME TOOO!!!!

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