February 12, 2014

Article at SportsNewsFirst

Adelaide eyes title after import sacking

THE Adelaide 36ers are not content with just being back in the NBL finals again evidenced by the dumping of import Jarrid Frye for Australian point guard Rhys Carter on Tuesday.

Despite having won four NBL championships and made the finals 21 times in 32 years in the league, the Sixers have been terrible in recent years taking out the last two wooden spoons with a record of 35-77 over the last four seasons since last making the playoffs in 2009.

Adelaide, though, has not won a playoff of any type since winning the 2001/02 NBL championship.

However, the 2013/14 Adelaide 36ers team is locked in to play finals and is in the middle of a battle with the Perth Wildcats that heats up this Friday night at the Perth Arena when the two teams meet for the third time this season.

The 36ers missed a golden chance to be on top of the NBL by this Sunday with a heavy loss in Wollongong to the Hawks last Sunday, but management and coach Joey Wright have been underwhelmed with the output of the club's second import Frye for some time.

Frye is averaging just 8.2 points a game this season while only managing to shot a woeful nine per cent from three-point territory and a disastrous 12-of-41 from the free-throw line at 29 per cent

The Sixers did not need Frye to be a superstar import scoring 20-plus points with the likes of Gary Ervin, Adam Gibson and Daniel Johnson dominating the scoring load, but they did him to occupy the three spot efficiently by contributing good rebounding and defence, and shooting at a decent percentage.

However, the 28-year-old American hasn’t shown that he could do that and with Adelaide trying to win the championship this season, a move had to be made and Frye was told that his services were no longer required on Monday.

That is ahead of this weekend which will be the biggest for Adelaide ahead of the finals beginning with the clash against Perth on Friday and then against the third-placed Melbourne Tigers on Sunday at Hisense Arena.

The replacement for Frye is Rhys Carter who returns for his stint in Adelaide and adds yet another guard to the 36ers' roster.

Already with former league MVP Ervin running the point and captain Gibson and young gun Jason Cadee also better suited to being point guard but capable of playing the two spot, Carter now joins that queue.

The 29-year-old most recently played in the NBL last season with the Wildcats as part of the team that made the grand final series before losing in two games to the New Zealand Breakers.

Carter, like Gibson and Cadee, is best suited to playing the one spot but will have to fit into more of the shooting guard role for the rest of the season with Adelaide and he did show last season, and throughout his NBL career and in Sweden, that he is a capable outside shooter.

While Carter's signing means that the 36ers have a logjam in the guard position, losing Frye does mean they are shallow in the free spot with the Sixers to now call upon rising star Mitch Creek to step up even further while Gibson, Carter and Cadee might have to spend some time as small forward.

Either way, the arrival of Carter does seem to be an upgrade for Adelaide over what Frye was delivering, and could be a pivotal move in the finish in bringing the 36ers their fifth NBL championship come April.