Gaze hails Kings as strongest NBL squad ever
SYDNEY coach Andrew Gaze has hailed the current Kings roster arguably the best in NBL history.
Gaze, who guided a formidable Melbourne Tigers side to two championships in the mid-1990s, says this season's Kings line-up is not only the best side he has worked with, but one of the finest the domestic game has ever seen.
The signing of former NBA champion and No.1 draft pick Andrew Bogut, combined with a roster featuring three Boomers and two NBL MVPs, has rocketed Sydney to championship favouritism.
"I think it is arguably one of the strongest squads in the history of the game here," Gaze told The Daily Telegraph.
"It is an incredible line up we've been able to assemble."
The Kings may possess a potent blend of youth, experience and foreign talent but Gaze is refusing to get carried away.
After finishing seventh last season with a strong side, he knows you can't rely on ability alone.
"Recruiting great talent is not a full-proof method of success," he said.
"In fact, it doesn't guarantee anything.
"There are a lot more variables that go into it. Form also plays a factor.
"But you can't dispute the level of talent we have at our disposal, it is going to be very strong."
Gaze admits there is also a level of uncertainty around the Kings' roster.
While he knows players like Bogut and Daniel Kickert from previous experience, Gaze is yet to work with imports like David Wear and Brian Bowen.
It's why Gaze believes Sydney's 11 pre-season games, starting with Friday night's game against Japan, will be crucial to building team bonds.
"The main challenge when you have this level of talent is getting everyone on the same page and having them buy into the team's concepts," he said.
"You also need to have the team-first mentality at the forefront.
"That can be the intent of the players, but it is not easy. But when you have a team where there is so much talent, you have to sacrifice.
"That also comes down to our systems that will allow the guys to flourish combined with the team goals."
The star-studded Kings are $3.60 equal favourites to win this season's NBL title alongside reigning champions Melbourne.
Some experts have suggested there is a significant gap between Sydney and the rest, but Gaze doesn't agree.
"I also look at Perth, Melbourne, New Zealand," he said. "Yeah, we've got some great tools but so do they.
"Some of their players don't have the same reputation and hype but that doesn't mean they don't have the same skill.
"It is a fun challenge we face, but I'd much rather go into a challenge with this type of talent than the alternative."
Sydney Kings roster 2018/2019
PG: Jerome Randle, Kyle Adnam.
SG: Kevin Lisch, Tom Wilson.
SF: Brad Newley, Brian Bowen, Deng Deng.
PF: David Wear, Daniel Kickert.
C: Andrew Bogut, Dane Pineau.
The best teams in NBL history (All won an NBL title)
1982: The West Adelaide Bearcats, the first NBL "superteam", featured MVPs Al Green and Leroy Loggins.
1986: The Adelaide 36ers went 24-2 in the regular season - the best winning percentage in NBL history. Powered by Hall of Famers Al Green and Mark Davis.
1991: The Perth Wildcats went 22-4 in the regular season. Ricky Grace, Andrew Vlahov, James Crawford and Tiny Pinder were an incredible group
1992: South East Melbourne Magic had a 20-4 regular-season record. Bruce Bolden and Robert Rose were dominant imports and Brian Goorjian was head coach
1993: Melbourne Tigers went 22-11 in the regular season for Andrew Gaze's first title. Gaze and Copeland formed the best backcourt in NBL history and they had Dave Simmons and Mark Bradtke up front.
2002/03: Sydney Kings claimed their first title after going 22-8 in the regular season. Shane Heal, Matt Nielsen, Chris Williams and Kavossy Franklin were the the keys.
2003/04: The Sydney Kings won 10 straight games to start the season before finishing with a 26-7 regular-season record. Matt Nielsen, CJ Bruton, Ebi Ere were all dominant.
2005/06: Specifically built to block a Kings "threepeat", the Melbourne Tigers went 25-7 in the regular season. Chris Anstey, Dave Thomas and Darryl McDonald were all superstars
2006/07: The Brisbane Bullets won an NBL record 21 consecutive games before going 28-5 in the regular season. Man for man arguably the deepest team in NBL history with Sam Mackinnon, CJ Bruton, Mark Bradtke, Dusty Rychart and Ebi Ere.
2008/09: South Dragons went 22-8 in the regular season. Joe Ingles, Mark Worthington, Adam Gibson, Donta Smith plus Brian Goorjian winning title No.6.
2012/13: New Zealand Breakers went 24-4 in the regular season. Talent-laden. Cedric Jackson, Mika Vukona, Tom Abercrombie, CJ Bruton, Corey Webster, Alex Pledger.