Basketball: Breakers want to build a dynasty

The Breakers celebrate winning the ANBL title on Tuesday night. Photo / Getty Images.
The Breakers celebrate winning the ANBL title on Tuesday night. Photo / Getty Images.

Just when it becomes one is a point of contention but the Breakers want to establish a basketball dynasty and believe they have the tools in place to dominate the ANBL for years to come.

The North Shore-based club won back-to-back titles with their 79-73 defeat of Perth on Tuesday night but, with most of their squad returning next season, don't want to stop there. Two titles isn't yet a dynasty but they are on their way.

"We are building something pretty special here," forward Dillon Boucher said. "There's no doubt about it. This is not just a one-off thing. We are back-to-back already but we have started talking about a three-peat already. We want to go, we want to build a legacy here."

Boucher, the no-nonsense 36-year-old who played a leading hand in the playoffs, will soon sign a new one-year deal to help achieve that. He will join Tom Abercrombie, Mika Vukona, CJ Bruton, Daryl Corletto, Alex Pledger and BJ Anthony on next season's roster and Leon Henry is likely to join that number.

The club want imports Cedric Jackson and Gary Wilkinson to return but Jackson is intent on getting back to the NBA and Wilkinson will have to accept a reduced role that is likely to see him usurped by Pledger on the starting five. Imports and development players are routinely the last to be locked in but the Breakers' success will make it easier to complete their roster.

That might have seemed like a distant dream when they wrote their mission statement six years ago as they languished near the bottom of the table. One of their goals was to be like Perth, the team they beat to win their second championship. In many respects, the tables have turned.

"Our vision is to be a basketball dynasty," Breakers general manager Richard Clarke said. "That's written in our strategic plan. It was pretty ambitious when we wrote that six years ago but part of that is the fact a dynasty is sustainable and created over a long time.

"While winning championships is part of that, so is the academy structure and influence in the community. It's about being something enduring. When we wrote that we looked at Perth, who went 26 consecutive years in the playoffs, and also the Brisbane Broncos, who went 15 consecutive years until they missed the [NRL] playoffs. The test for us is that we want to put ourselves in the position to win the championship every year and the minimum benchmark is the playoffs."

The New Zealandness of the Breakers is undoubtedly a strength. They are a team young Kiwi basketballers want to play for and, as well as a strong academy system, retain good links with promising youngsters like Rob Lowe and Isaac Fotu who earn scholarships to American universities.

They hope players of that calibre choose to join the Breakers when the finish college in the same way Abercrombie, Pledger and Corey Webster did.

The club have a three-year model around their top squad and also have what they call a "depth chart" which tracks the best five-eight players in the country in each position. Australian clubs are free to recruit New Zealand talent but the Breakers hope the best make their way to the North Shore.

There's a chance they could lose players overseas if they continue excel, and Abercrombie will try out with NBA clubs over the winter, but they have long trumpeted their depth. Whether it's enough to be a dynasty will be played out over the coming years.

Locked in

Three years: Tom Abercrombie, Mika Vukona

Two years: CJ Bruton, Daryl Corletto

One year: BJ Anthony, Alex Pledger (Pledger has agreed a new two-year deal once his present one expires)

Likely to return: Dillon Boucher, Leon Henry

- APNZ

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