Rebuilding the Bullets - Downtown

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Rebuilding the Bullets

Alex Lyle January 13, 2016

The Brisbane Bullets have about nine months to fill an empty roster before they play an NBL regular season game for the first time in eight-and-a-half years.

The League announced in September that the three-time championship winning club that folded in 2008 would return for the 2016-17 season. While that meant the NBL would get one of its foundation clubs back, it also meant a team suited to reviving the league’s presence in Brisbane had to be built from scratch.

Andrej Lemanis, the current Boomers coach who was announced as Bullets coach in October, hasn’t faced this scenario before, but he did help the New Zealand Breakers to three straight titles earlier this decade. He’s got an understanding of how to make the Bullets’ return work.

“My experience through all of this is if you put together a team that plays the right way, plays for one another, conducts themselves well in the community and ends up being a group of men that people are proud to associate themselves with, then that’s how you attract the fans,” Lemanis told Downtown.

Having people with those traits leads a club to be successful, which in turn results in winning, according to Lemanis.

The Bullets are backed by the League until an owner or owners are found, and the team’s CEO Mitchell Murphy said he currently expects Brisbane to be able to spend to the salary cap. Using that money to secure a star player could theoretically attract ambivalent Brisbanites to games, but finding such a player is not a necessary part of Lemanis’ strategy.

“I know media always get caught up in so-called stars of the game,” Lemanis said.

“I think, for me, the most important thing is to put together a team of players that are going to play well together, complement one another, play for the right reasons, all those things that ultimately lead to success.”

Only once during the peak of Lemanis’ success with the Breakers did one of his players average more than 17 points — Kirk Penney put up 20 per game in 2010-11. In 2012-13, the last of the three-peat seasons, Cedric Jackson led New Zealand with a scoring average of 14.6 points per game.

Lemanis said that during his time with the Breakers, they didn’t rely on one player to regularly carry the load.

“I think that’s a great reflection of being able to put together a group of guys who understand the value of team and playing for the team and are happy to see their teammates succeed because then they know ultimately that’s good for them,” he said.

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