Basketball: Bullets firing out of the gate

Adam Gibson of the Bullets passes the ball. Photo / Getty Images
Adam Gibson of the Bullets passes the ball. Photo / Getty Images

Veteran guard Adam Gibson says he's not surprised by how quickly the Brisbane Bullets have clicked as they prepare to take on the rest of the NBL plus two Chinese teams in the Australian Basketball Challenge.

The Bullets will attempt to back up a 3-0 sweep of the New Zealand Breakers last week with another strong showing in the four-day pre-season tournament, which begins on Friday in Brisbane.

They have been drawn to play against China's Zhejiang Golden Bulls, the new-look Sydney Kings and state rivals the Cairns Taipans.

Making their NBL return after an eight-season absence, the Bullets have barely put a foot wrong, with their only other pre-season result a narrow but encouraging three-point loss to American college side UCLA.

Coach Andrej Lemanis has put together a roster packed with tried and tested NBL talent, which is why Gibson isn't shocked they're doing so well already.

"We'll say throughout the whole year - don't get too high on wins or low on losses," Gibson told reporters.

"We recruited this team, the guys we brought in specifically because we knew what we'd be getting.

"I'm not surprised we've gelled this quick.

"It's only three wins against New Zealand and they had some guys sit out. We're not getting too excited but, definitely, it's a great start for sure."

The Australian Basketball Challenge should also be a good test of the Bullets' off-field impact.

It'll be their first chance to play in Brisbane since the franchise's collapse in 2008, with the game against UCLA played in front of a sold-out crowd in nearby Logan.

"We'll put on our product and work on being the best team we can be.

Hopefully, the Brisbane public will get behind it," Lemanis said.

"At the moment, it's still been this sort of notion of the Bullets (are back) ... The fact we're here playing this weekend, if people pop their head in, it'll continue to make it real."

Lemanis, meanwhile, all but ruled star signing Cameron Bairstow out of playing in the NBL season opener at home on October 6 against to the Perth Wildcats.

Bairstow dislocated his shoulder at the Rio Olympics and, while he was making a good recovery, Lemanis said he was still a while off playing.

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