NZ Breakers fine with All Stars bench snub

MARC HINTON
Last updated 19:05 13/12/2012
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SPORTING NICE GUY: Tom Abercrombie of the New Zealand Breakers.

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OPINION: The Breakers will not be unduly ruffled by an apparent snub that sees just two of their players required for duty in the All-Star game in Adelaide on December 22.

Point guard Cedric Jackson and small forward Tom Abercrombie were named as starters for the South All-Stars based on public voting, but none of their team-mates were included among the bench players revealed by the league office today.

The South bench is made up of Melbourne Tigers Jonny Flynn and Chris Goulding, Adelaide 36ers Adam Gibson and Anthony Petrie and Shawn Redhage of the Perth Wildcats.

The Tigers and 36ers have three players each in the South team, which be coached by the Breakers’ Andrej Lemanis, while the Wildcats and Breakers, who share the league’s best record at 8-3, have two each.

But it’s understood the Breakers were keen to have as many of their players as possible miss the mid-season hit-and-giggle, especially with the team set to embark on a tough run of four straight road games following Christmas.

So, with the inclusion of Jackson and Abercrombie mandatory after the public vote, and Lemanis handed the coaching reins based on the league standings at the cutoff point, the apparent snub almost certainly comes with the club’s approval.

Mika Vukona and Alex Pledger could both have laid claim to bench spots, though Lemanis will be much more interested in them coming out hard when the team hits the road after Christmas.

After tonight’s home game against the Cairns Taipans at Vector, the Breakers are away to Adelaide (Dec 28), Cairns (Dec 31), Wollongong (Jan 5) and Townsville (Jan 11) in a crucial period that could define their chances of a third straight minor premiership.

Meanwhile, Jackson’s name has surfaced in speculation about a possible NBA callup, though suggestions he might be headed to the Los Angeles Lakers appear over-stated, to say the least.

Jackson has made no secret of the fact that he has ambitions to return to the big league, though a summer stint with the San Antonio Spurs met a dead-end.

His agent is in constant contact with NBA teams, scouts are well aware of Jackson’s capabilities and the Breakers have always said they will not stop their players pursuing their NBA dreams.

An American basketball reporter today raised Jackson’s name in connection with a possible vacancy at the slumping Lakers as they work through long-term injuries to their top two point guards, Steve Nash and Steve Blake.

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Ken Berger, who covers the NBA for CBSSports.com, has tweeted that the Lakers would be wise to take a look at Jackson should they decide to make a change at point guard. The Lakers are 9-13 after a Wednesday defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers and have already sacked their coach following just five games.

“If Lakers look overseas, former Cleveland State PG Cedric Jackson has drawn interest from several NBA teams in the Australian League.

“Playing for New Zealand, Jackson dominated Jonny Flynn (Melbourne) head-to-head with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists,” he tweeted.

The reality is the Lakers already have four point guards among their fully contracted squad (Chris Duhon and Darius Morris are the others) and with Nash and Blake both due back sooner rather than later, it’s unlikely they would make a move for a player as far away as New Zealand, of all places.

Still, that didn’t stop some media outlets letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

- Stuff

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