NBL 3x3: What was the biggest surprise in Week 1? Who disappointed?

Welcome to the first edition of 3x3 for NBL22!

Each Wednesday, Kane Pitman, Josh Garlepp and Peter Hooley are going to be following a very simple formula: Three opinions from the weekend and three big questions.

Of course, week one is hardly the time for overreactions and optimism is still abound throughout the league, though you can expect the pressure cooker to ramp up the longer the season rolls on.

Let's get into it!

Watch: Week one NBL highlights


Three opinions

Melbourne could be playing catch up

Credit to United for giving the Kings a big scare down the stretch, but overall, the performance confirmed the defending champs are going to need some time to get rolling.

Incredibly, Mason Peatling was the only starter in round one that also started in the Grand Final series. A 30-point first half confirmed the Melbourne unit is a work in progress. Of course, the return of Chris Goulding will be huge, but don't underestimate the absence of Dave Barlow in Sydney, with the veteran sharpshooter consistently a calming presence in recent seasons.

With opportunities to pinch the game against the Kings, it didn't appear clear who United could lean on as a go to scorer. Goulding is without question that guy, but who is going to emerge as the second option as the season warms up?

With South East Melbourne and Sydney on tap, I can't wait to see how Dean Vickerman gets the offence clicking.

- Kane Pitman

Duop Reath ends the season the best big man in the NBL

We didn't see much of Reath at the Olympics (17 minutes) but Goorjian saw enough to bring the 211cm big man home with him. Reath's NBL journey started with a team-high 18-points and nine rebounds and a +/- of 26 in the side's ten-point win over Adelaide. Defensively he had the size and mobility to deny Adelaide's twin towers, showed off his improved range from around the floor and moved in transition like a small forward.

After three years playing in Serbia, Aussie basketball fans finally get a chance to see the Perth product in person and while there are plenty of extremely talented bigs across the comp, by the end of NBL22 Reath may be the pick of the bunch.

- Josh Garlepp

Development players shine across the league

It was only Round 1 of the season and we already saw multiple development players make their NBL debut. To add to that, we actually saw a few make a huge impact in the game.

Perhaps none more so than Wildcats guard, Kyle Zunic, who became the first development player in NBL history to start on debut. A tough defending guard, Zunic showed why coach Scott Morrison made the right call across both Wildcats games, finishing with 13 points in the win over Cairns. His fellow DP Oliver Hayes-Brown was also impressive in his debut, notching up six points and eight rebounds in 13 minutes.

In what was one of the games of the round, it was the Sydney Kings who looked very strong to open the season. However, in a game where they looked like winning by 20-plus, it was Melbourne United's young guns who changed the course of the game with their insertion. Zac Triplett knocked down a three as United began their run, but it was David Okwera who stole the show. Okwera put up 10 points, becoming the youngest Aussie to score double figures in his debut, since Joe Ingles in September 2006.

With injuries and some potential COVID-19 impacts this season, development players across the league are bound to get their chance to start their young and exciting futures. And don't they look bright!

- Peter Hooley

Three questions

Biggest surprise from week one?

SEM reliving postseason heartbreak

I'm always curious to see how different coaches choose to motivate players ahead of the marathon regular season tips off. South East Melbourne haven't been shy about expressing the lingering pain from falling one game short of a remarkable Grand Final run in NBL 21, though it was revealed that the Game 3 loss to United was viewed prior to Round 1.

I guess it seemed to work, with a blistering performance against an admittedly underprepared New Zealand team who had suffered through the preparation from hell. With a Throwdown set for Sunday, you get the sense there won't be any added motivation required to get up for that game.

By the way, 27 points while wearing gold shoes on debut for Xavier Munford was spectacular. When you include the fact he was physically ill during the outburst... legendary stuff.

- Kane Pitman

Perth Wildcats' development players

Perth was without starters Mitch Norton, Todd Blanchfield, Matt Hodgson and third import Michael Frazier II while adapting to a new system under Scott Morrison, but still managed to pull off a perfect start to the season. Yes, their one-two punch in Vic Law and Bryce Cotton took turns playing the superstar role, but the side's development players Kyle Zunic and Oliver Hayes-Brown both provided a much-needed impact.

- Josh Garlepp

Majok Majok impresses in long awaited return

Athletes coming off Achilles injuries usually always take a while to settle back in, and understandably so. Yes, the physical rehab takes a while, but so does being mentally prepared to step back on the court.

Usually, it takes time, yet Majok Majok showed no signs of rust or concern across the weekend's games. He was huge for the Wildcats across their two games, and it was great to see! Crashing the glass hard at both ends and being the solid defender he always has. Wildcats fans should be ecstatic to have Majok back!

- Peter Hooley

Biggest disappointment from week one?

Machado and the Taipans struggle in the Jungle

Firstly, let's get it out of the way. There is absolutely no shame losing to Perth on the road. Plenty of teams are going to find themselves in that situation.

From an offensive perspective it was tough sledding in Adam Forde's Cairns coaching debut. The Taipans finished the night 36 percent from the field and 32 percent from three, managing just 26 points combined across the second and fourth quarters.

The Machado line stands out, with the star scorer's shot distribution sticking out like a sore thumb on the box score. 10 of Machado's 12 shot attempts came from beyond the arc, in which he connected on just one of those. For reference, it's only the third time in his 64 appearances with the Taipans that he has topped 10 three-point attempts.

It's one game, but Machado is far too talented to settle for almost exclusively outside shots.

- Kane Pitman

Adelaide going 0-2 over the opening weekend

After going 5-0 in the preseason and claiming the Loggins-Bruton Cup, Adelaide went 0-2 to start NBL22 with a tough opening round against the Wildcats and Illawarra. Isaac Humphries returned after missing the Blitz but will clearly take time to get back to MVP contender level.

The biggest letdown was import Dusty Hannahs. Much had been made about Hannahs' ability from beyond the arc, with talk he is one of the best shooters outside the NBA, but the guard struggled. The weekend provided a small sample size, 0/6, but Hannahs' height also created issues on the defensive end. Fortunately for 36ers fans, the import showed in the Blitz he can heat up quick with 13-straight fourth-quarter points in a win against Perth.

- Josh Garlepp

Bullets off to a slow start

It was the opening game of the NBL22 season, and no doubt all eyes were on newest franchise, the Tasmania JackJumpers. However, it was the Brisbane Bullets who were disappointing, after showing some promising signs in the Blitz. Led by stars Nathan Sobey and Lamar Patterson, the Bullets just never got into any rhythm, with their offense looking stagnant and unorganized. Thankfully, they have plenty of opportunity to fix it and make a good run at the top four this season. But if there is one positive to come out of their opening loss, it's that Robert Franks is legit!

- Peter Hooley

Biggest question heading into week two?

Can the JackJumpers follow the blueprint?

In many ways, it felt like the perfect storm of emotion and adrenaline for the league's newest franchise and the players were without doubt thriving off the atmosphere.

The JackJumpers are one of the smallest teams in the league and the numbers against the Bullets could become a trend. Brisbane led the rebounding count 57-46, including an 18-8 drubbing on the offensive boards. To counter the lack of size, Tasmania caused havoc in the passing lanes, recording 10 steals and then attempting to push the tempo where they led the fast break points count 18-8.

A fast paced, frenetic offensive style is brilliant for the viewers at home, but it's also incredibly taxing on the players. I'm curious to observe any adjustments in style, particularly against an Adelaide unit on Thursday night that will likely look to take advantage with the twin towers of Isaac Humphries and Daniel Johnson.

- Kane Pitman

Is one week long enough for the Breakers to regroup?

New Zealand struggled without Tom Abercrombie and Yanni Wetzell in their first game of the season but with their captain still weeks away and a tough run ahead - things could get ugly for the Kiwis with SEM, Adelaide, Illawarra and Melbourne United (all away).

The Breakers have some exciting pieces but will need to rely on consistency from their extremely young bench, Kyrin Galloway, Ousmane Dieng and Hugo Besson, who received all of their backup minutes against the Phoenix.

Star big-man Wetzell should return in Friday's rematch against SEM, but their continued odyssey of Australia can only be hurting the much-hyped roster's chances of bouncing back for NBL22.

- Josh Garlepp

All eyes on a Friday night rematch between SEM and the Breakers

It's tough to even have to ask the question about the NZ Breakers, because they had to deal with the COVID disruption for their important preparation week. But for someone who has been high on their roster and the glimpses we saw during the Blitz, can they bounce back?

Dan Shamir will be back on the sideline, along with Yani Wetzell, but the Breakers need their imports Peyton Siva and Jeremiah Martin to kick this season into gear! So, we shall see.

- Peter Hooley