The New Zealand Breakers are preparing to fly out tomorrow to play the Phoenix Suns with the players believing they can foot it with the NBA side
Speaking at the team's final session before heading to Arizona, coach Kevin Braswell said his team were confident, though he said they'd take time to adjust to the sheer speed of top American sides.
"Most of these guys believe they can be out there," he said of his Breakers team. "They believe they should be there. So they need to go out and show it against the Suns."
The Breakers, who join Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Sydney in playing an NBA pre-season match, play in Arizona next Wednesday, October 3.
The Breakers have embraced the match as a good preparation for the 2018/19 NBL season. The Breakers' first game is against the Adelaide Bullets on Thursday, October 11, at Spark Arena.
The Phoenix Suns are a well-established NBA franchise and have produced some outstanding basketball players over the years.
The Suns had first overall pick at the 2018 NBA draft in June, securing centre Deandre Ayton. Ayton has been compared to David Robinson and Anthony Davis.
Braswell said he hoped his players simply got some fun out of the experience.
"They'll be out there, on a level playing field, against some of the best players, I would say, in the world, taking on a side with the number one pick and the number 10."
But he believed his team needed to sharpen up defensively and said the Suns would test them at that end of the court.
"They are a young side, so they, too, will be learning things and testing things out."
The team will have new signing 6'9 Shawn Long, the final position on their import slot.
He has returned suddenly to the United States to deal with a family matter, but the 25-year-old Louisiana native will take the floor against the Suns, said Braswell.
"He will be there in Phoenix.
"He trained with the full group yesterday. But he has had something back with his family he had to go back for. We are all supporting him, but I don't want to comment further."
Braswell has focused on defence as his priority for the next few weeks.
"We've watched a lot of video and there's problems of defence we're trying to solve. We were working on them yesterday.
"We trained yesterday as a full squad and that was really good. We just can't wait to have the full squad together for a couple of days."