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Round 7 NBL Preview

By Chris Pike
22 November 2013 02:40PM EST

THE Sydney Kings and Melbourne Tigers will both unveil their new imports during Round 7 of the NBL while the Adelaide 36ers and Perth Wildcats battle over top spot.

The Kings and Tigers might both currently be occupying spots in the NBL's top four, but both have made the decision to upgrade one of their import spots to try to go from just being a finals contender for the 2013/14 season, to a genuine championship contender.

Right now, the Perth Wildcats are unbeaten on 8-0 on top of the NBL with the Adelaide 36ers not far behind at 6-2, and those two clash at Adelaide Arena on Friday night, but the moves that Sydney and Melbourne have now made might just shake up the league.

With the Wildcats' two imports James Ennis and Jermaine Beal leading the way for Perth and then Adelaide possessing the best point guard in the league Gary Ervin and some of the best Australian players in the country led by Adam Gibson, Daniel Johnson and Anthony Petrie, they do have the two standout squads in the NBL.

Sydney was getting good production out of its two imports Charles Carmouche and Jesse Sanders, but coach Shane Heal and the Kings hierarchy felt they needed to upgrade and while that was unfortunate for point guard Sanders, it was good news for Sydney and the NBL.

Sam Young has arrived as Sydney's second import to team up with Carmouche, who already has a 33-point game to his credit this season, to give the Kings an incredible scoring duo at the two and three spots.

Sanders was having a solid season averaging 9.0 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists, but Young could potentially take the NBL by storm as he becomes one of the strongest credentialed players to ever play in the league.

Following a strong four-year college career at Pittsburgh, Young was taken at pick No. 36 in the 2009 NBA draft and spent three seasons at the Memphis Grizzlies , including a playoff appearance in 2011 where he started in 11 of the 13 matches averaging 7.5 points and 2.3 rebounds.

Young then spent the 2011/12 season with the Philadelphia 76ers and then last season with the Indiana Pacers, but he couldn’t quite find his way onto his roster for 2013/14.

The 28-year-old has all the tools to dominate the NBL both as a shooter and someone who can get to the basket, and finish, and he will get to show off what he's capable of in his first appearance in Perth on Sunday up against Ennis and the Wildcats.

The Kings have still not beaten the Wildcats since re-entering the NBL in 2010/11 but they never have had someone the talent of Young either. Combine him with Carmouche, AJ Ogilvy, Ben Madgen, Brad Hill and Tom Garlett, and Sydney will enter the Perth Arena full of confidence come Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have also made a move with import Ayinde Ubaka replaced by Mustapha Farrakhan.

Ubaka did come in as a late replacement for Melbourne when Stephen Dennis got injured on the eve of the season, and he didn’t quite come off averaging just 5.3 points and 1.7 assists a game.

It's not as if the Tigers have been struggling either having won four of their last five games to improve to a 4-3 record on the season.

Chris Goulding has been on fire averaging 27.3 points a game with Mark Worthington, Nate Tomlinson, Scott Morrison and Adam Ballinger also playing well.

Farrakhan now arrives and will make his debut on Sunday at The Cage against the Townsville Crocodiles.

He arrives in Melbourne coming off a four-year college career at the University of Virginia before spending the last two years in the NBA D-League with several teams.

He arrives with a reputation as an athlete and all-round guard so will run some of the point for the Tigers to help out Tomlinson, and also combine with Goulding to give the Tigers the best two man combination in the NBL.

While the debuts of Young and Farrakhan will garner much of the attention in NBL Round 7 action, all matches have plenty riding on it.

As well as Adelaide hosting Perth on Friday night, the three-time defending champion New Zealand Breakers are hosting the Townsville Crocodiles in Auckland with both teams desperate for a win to remain in contention for a top-four berth.

There is then just one match on Saturday night with the Cairns Taipans hosting the Wollongong Hawks with both also needing a win badly.

Then on Sunday, both Young and Farrakhan will be in action as Melbourne hosts Townsville and Perth hosts Sydney.

FRIDAY
New Zealand Breakers v Townsville Crocodiles at North Shore Events Centre
Adelaide 36ers v Perth Wildcats at Adelaide Arena

SATURDAY
Cairns Taipans v Wollongong Hawks at Cairns Convention Centre

SUNDAY
Melbourne Tigers v Townsville Crocodiles at The Cage
Perth Wildcats v Sydney Kings at Perth Arena

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