The Perth Wildcats have started their title defence well, winning three of their six games despite playing five of those on the road, but there are two key areas of his team’s game that coach Rob Beveridge wants to improve.
One is their inconsistent defence, which has been both at its stingy, relentless best and sloppy worst at times this season.
The other is their poor shooting. The Wildcats connected on just 36 per cent of their field goal attempts against Cairns and missed 72 per cent of their three-point shots.
Stephen Weigh finished equal top-scorer for the Cats with 15 points, level with co-captain Shawn Redhage’s output. But Weigh nailed just 5-of-15 attempts from the field.
Several of his teammates – Kevin Lisch (2-of-8), Jesse Wagstaff (3-of-9) and Cameron Tovey (2-of-9) – produced similarly disappointing shooting displays.
Weigh denied the extended three-point line had been a factor and backed his teammates to come good in the near future.
“Shooting in basketball is one of those things – you come out and for three games you might shoot up around 70 per cent and the next three might be completely different,” Weigh said.
“We’re doing the work and we’ve just got to continue doing the work during practice and that will definitely transfer over to the court when it comes to game time.”
Despite the Wildcats’ shooting woes, Beveridge is not concerned. He knows it is only a matter of time before his team turns it all around.
Nevertheless, shooting has been a major focus at the team’s recent training sessions at the WA Basketball Centre.
Beveridge described the Wildcats’ loss to Cairns on Saturday as one of the ugliest games he had ever seen and blamed that on several aspects of the contest.
“There’s was just so much holding, grabbing, fouling and it was gutter-ball,” he said.
“We shot the ball poorly again, which was disappointing.
“I was happy with the shot selection, we’re getting plenty of open looks, but we’re just not making shots at the moment.
“From that perspective I’m excited that we don’t have to throw our offense out the window or anything like that.
“We’ve just got to have a lot more emphasis on how we’re going to put the ball in the hole.”
The Wildcats should welcome back big man Matt Knight when they host New Zealand on Sunday. Knight missed last week’s double-header in Queensland but trained well this morning.
Every dog has its day ... and today belonged to Luke Beveridge and his snapping, snarling, wonderful scrappers.