• Mitch Creek may just be up himself without a paddle, as even though he leads the NBL with a per game scoring average of 21.78.

    Creek might be guilty of the crime of being harsh to himself, as he plays for a NBL expansion club, the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Sports history typically reveals that with few exceptions, expansion teams struggle, sometimes for years.

    The Phoenix offense runs through Creek. His task is to rebound missed shots and fuel the Phoenix transition offense with outlet passes, find open Phoenix perimeter shooters, or himself score from the low post.

    SEM recently lost by four points to the Sydney Kings and they deserve credit for being competitive in their first season, even if they have been on a skid of late.

    Creek was playing against his old coach from the NBA’s junior G League last season, working for the Long Island Nets. That would be Will Weaver, who has since come back down under to coach the Kings after helping with the Boomers for the 2019 FIBA World Cup basketball tournament.

    The loss to Sydney was a case of Weaver knowing how to keep the reins on Creek.

    Creek has improved his passing skills to an extent that SEM leads the league in assist percentage, which equates to good passing leading to a high level of made shots.

    A ruthless perfectionist, Creek shouldered the blame for the loss when he drove to the basket, but turned the ball over when he attempted to get it to Dane Pineau late in the game.

    Creek accepts that he will miss some shots and make some. He scored 20 points on 50 percent shooting, but he had trouble dealing with his throwing the ball out of bounds to give it back to Sydney.

    SEM never got the ball back.

    “You miss it, you miss it. And if you make it, you make it; but you throw it out of bounds you don’t give yourself a chance to win so I take the blame for that one,” Creek said.

    SEM are currently fourth in the NBL through 10 games with a .500 percentage, 10 points behind the Kings.