The Brisbane Bullets are embracing their inner “crazy” under new coach James Duncan, who has issued an ultimatum to their power-packed squad that he hopes can turn them into an NBL title threat.
The well-travelled Canadian comes to Brisbane after two seasons as a Sydney Kings assistant, admitting his sides would turn up at Nissan Arena “thinking Brisbane will let us back in the game at some point”.
Sixth last season under former coach Andrej Lemanis, the Bullets leaked the most points of any side in a competition where the best defensive teams routinely occupy the top four spots.
“I’m not taking anything away from Andrej – it’s a great foundation here – but my stamp is, ‘we’re going to play D’,” Duncan said.
“And if you’re not, you can come and take a seat beside me.
“There needs to be an edge about us when teams walk in here … you can resist me, but then we’re not making finals, looking at the evidence in front of us.”
Nathan Sobey exploded offensively last season to win his way onto the Boomers’ bronze medal-winning Olympic squad.
Highly competitive and seeking a finals return for the Bullets, he has been asked to lift his defensive intensity and lead the push that others like emerging guard Tanner Krebs will follow.
“I’m a bit crazy. Intense, super competitive and we have a few guys in the team like that,” Hobart native Krebs said.
“At college (Californian basketball nursery Saint Mary’s) they try and tone it down … some of the language probably wasn’t accepted, especially when all the nuns and sisters were around.
“But he (Duncan) allows us to be ourselves, pushing each other.
“(Anthony) Drmic by far (is the most intense) it’s not even close, he’s an absolute psycho.
“You need that fire and we’ve got about eight guys like that, so hopefully that helps.”
Krebs will enjoy a homecoming in Sunday’s pre-season NBL Blitz, the Bullets travelling south to face new outfit Tasmania JackJumpers on their home court.
The sides will meet again in the rescheduled season opener on December 3 in Hobart.