Champions Melbourne are happy to pile the pressure on the much-hyped Sydney Kings as the NBL big guns square off in two pre-season games this week.
Kings coach Andrew Gaze recently labelled his roster as arguably the best in NBL history, with the addition of former NBA champion and No.1 draft pick Andrew Bogut to a squad which includes three other Boomers and two NBL MVPs.
Bogut has been trying to hose down title favouritism, saying his team needed to "get the runs on the board".
But Melbourne coach Dean Vickerman turned the screws on the Kings, who finished second bottom last season.
"When they've come out and said we might have the most talent ever, without playing a game, I don't need to comment on that," he said.
"We understand that they've spent heavily and they've put a lot of talent on their roster ... we expect them to be a high-level team.
"They've done everything right in bringing their imports in early and getting as organised as they possibly can.
"When you miss the playoffs the last two years that's what you expect a team to do."
The clubs play each other in two games in Victoria, starting with a clash at the new Bendigo Stadium on Thursday night before a State Basketball Centre showdown in outer Melbourne on Saturday night.
Vickerman said the games would give his team a good chance to see Bogut close up and work out a plan to diffuse him.
"He's always been known as a very high-level defender and our job is to see, can we get him away from the rim a little bit," Vickerman said.
"We're going to use different line-ups against him to try and get him away from the rim so that's something we will experiment with."
One of United's imports, ex-NBA centre/power forward Josh Boone, arrived in Melbourne on Monday and Vickerman will wait until later in the week until making a call on playing him in the pre-season games.
Point guard Caspar Ware will arrive early next month and Vickerman said United were close to filling the third import vacancy.
"We're pretty deep in discussions. There's just a couple of administration things to be taken care of to get him across the line," he said.
Australian Associated Press