Southland Sharks coach Judd Flavell is grateful for a number of familiarities, ahead of their National Basketball League season opener against the Nelson Giants.

Flavell has spent time working with four of his most experienced players - Alex Pledger, Derone Raukawa, Reuben Te Rangi and Duane Bailey - through his role as assistant coach of the NZ Breakers.

Flavell says he's relied on his past relationships with the players to help fast track their preparations for the season.

He says it's a huge part of the season, as they don't have long to get things right, but any existing relationships certainly help.

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Tip off from Invercargill is at 7pm.

Don't forget, NZ Herald website is live streaming tonight's Southland Sharks v Nelson Giants. Check out our NBL Live Streaming channel tonight.