The Taipans will host the Sydney Kings at the Cairns Convention Centre in their first NBL game of the season.
Aside from the newly formed South East Melbourne Phoenix, the Cairns Taipans are the only franchise yet to win a title. They have reached the Grand Final twice, but have come up short each time. In 2011 they lost the series 2-1 to the New Zealand Breakers. In 2015, they finished first in the regular season but lost in the showpiece event to the Breakers again. Since then, they have failed to mount a credible challenge for the title.
Last season the Taipans were the worst team in the regular season. They finished eighth, winning just six out of the 28 games they played. The season before that, they finished in sixth place. Melo Trimble was their outstanding player last season, and he earned a spot in the All-NBL second team due to that. However, he has changed allegiances this season as he will play for Melbourne United. His absence will be a big blow to the Taipans.
Mike Kelly will be their coach as he enters his second season the coach of the Taipans. They have a young squad this time, with promising players like Cameron Olver and Kouat Noi. The Taipans also have some experienced members like Jarrod Kenny and Scott Machado. Finishing in the top four will be an excellent achievement for the Taipans this season considering their state last season.
The Sydney Kings will have higher ambitions, as they finished third in the regular season last time. In the semi-finals, they came up against Melbourne United. The Kings failed to put up a fight and lost the series 2-0 to United. The average margin of defeat in those two games was 18, as Melbourne were outright winners. Last season was the first time they qualified for the post-season since 2013.
From 2015 to 2018, Sydney failed to finish above seventh place. Last season saw a revival as they won 18 out of 28 games in the regular season. This was the same as the Perth Wildcats and Melbourne United, who finished above the Kings due to their superior points difference. Sydney have been crowned champions three times in their history. All of those titles came in a successful period from 2003-2005.
Aside from the three times they have won it, the Kings have reached the Final twice. Both the times they lost to the Melbourne Tigers. The Kings have played three preseason games so far, winning two of them. Andrew Bogut will be their lead player once again, and the veteran was crowned as the club MVP last season.
Cairns Taipans vs Sydney Kings Betting Tips
The Kings will be the favorites to beat the Taipans and get their season off to the winning start. There is still a gulf in the quality between the two teams, which Sydney should exploit. The point differential of the win should be over 10 points, and it should be a comfortable win.