It seems that after my harsh words aimed at the Melbourne Tigers last week, I may need to eat some of them and admit defeat! The Tigers head coach Trevor Gleeson has copped a huge spray from fans and media alike over the past week, myself one of them, for his roster decisions and the apparent ‘sacking’ of Warrick Giddey from the coaches bench. Among the roster decisions were the issues surrounding not re-signing Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams and young up-and-comer Lucas Walker. The issue with not re-signing Homicide was that there were then no excellent Australian point guards (Gleesons first choice) available for the Tigers to choose from and everyone thought that was that. The issue with Walker was that he was a bright spot in a down season for the Tigers last year that showed plenty in the minutes given to him by then coach Darryl McDonald.
Now there is no issue with the Melbourne Tigers! They have got an excellent replacement for Homicide in Ayinde Ubaka, an excellent wingman and second import in Ron Dorsey and they have inked Lucas Walker to a new contract! All great signings by the Tigers and signings that are forcing many people, including myself to stop in my tracks and backtrack a little.
With the signing of Ubaka the Tigers gain a point guard that is able to do it all, he can drive to the lane, pull up for the jumper and dish a mean ball to teammates. Comparing him to Homicide, Ubaka is a downgrade in regards to his ability to bulldoze his way through the lane, relying more on picking the gaps in the opposition defense. He is an upgrade however, in his ability to shoot the ball. Opposition teams would leave Homicide open to take a jump shot and bank on him to miss it more than he makes it, this will not be the case with Ubaka. If the opponents defense is lagging back off of him expect him to rise up and hit nothing but net, something not expected with Homicide.
The signing of Dorsey provides a good, athletic starting swingman that is sure to entertain fans in the Cage. He is a step up from any second import the Tigers have had over the last couple of seasons, leagues ahead of TJ Campbell from last season. Teaming Dorsey and Walker on either wing and slashing through the lane to the basket should get all fans at the Cage and at home up in their seats in anticipation. It is going to be epic, no doubt about that! Everything I’ve had to say about Walker I said in my article that bashed the Tigers, so may as well leave it in there. If you wish to have a read to see what I said that article is found here – http://penandpaperblog.org/2011/05/18/tigers-going-backwards/
So with the signings of those three players, the Tigers have already finalised their roster for next season which is an excellent position to be in. The expected starting lineup would be –
PG – Ayinde Ubaka
SG – Ron Dorsey
SF – Liam Rush
PF – Cameron Tragardh
C – Matt Burston
With Darryl Corletto, Bennie Lewis, Daniel Dillon (another pickup from Cairns, plays predominently SG and showed excellent play in Cairns last season, after some good showings for the South Dragons before that), Lucas Walker and Tommy Greer.
This team is an exact opposite of last seasons team where they went for height over speed and athleticism. Once Burston goes off for his mandatory rest that means that Tragardh or Greer will have to slot in to the big man’s shoes. It will be interesting from that standpoint how the Tigers go about rebounding and limiting second-chance points. However that will be a side issue, with Ubaka, Dorsey, Walker and Lewis – showtime has hit the Cage!
As the last point of business, I will now eat my words from the last article hammering the Tigers about their off-season moves. At least the words about Walker and Homicide, not Giddey though!