Adelaide 36ers coach Conner Henry has defended import pair Donald Sloan and Tony Crocker, who endured forgettable NBL debuts in their 89-65 belting by Melbourne United.
Sloan, a 218-game NBA stalwart who’d been hoping to mark his 33rd birthday in style on Friday, and Crocker, who turns 34 on Sunday, combined for eight points at 19 percent and eight turnovers in the Sixers’ heavy loss.
“I’m not going to make a whole lot of excuses,” Henry said. “They’ve been here two weeks.
“They didn’t look good in the system (today) but looked really good in bits and pieces in the pre-season and in practice.
“When we all touch it and all share the ball and find good shots, Tony and Don are going to play better.”
Henry also defended his decision to start teenage sensation Josh Giddey on the bench.
Giddey had seven points, seven rebounds and five assists in a promising NBL debut after entering the fray midway through the first term.
He’d been protected by Henry from tackling seasoned United import Scott Hopson, who was restricted to four points.
“I didn’t feel like starting Josh Giddey on Hopson straight away,” Henry said.
“We did a good job of guarding Hopson, so I thought it was the right decision to bring in Josh when we did.”
Melbourne didn’t need much out of Hopson, instead receiving an even better contribution from several parties, led by Jo Lual-Acuil (16 points, 13 rebounds in 16 minutes).
But it was Japanese speedster Yudai Baba who caught Vickerman’s eye.
“He is the fastest guy on our team and that in itself is going to create some trouble and some advantages for us,”Vickerman said.
“He’s been exceptional. He’s going to be the best Asian player that’s ever come to this league.”