A healthy dilemma for Southland Sharks coach Judd Flavell has got a touch more intense following their opening 2017 National Basketball League win over the Nelson Giants in Invercargill.
The Sharks went into the 2017 season with arguably the most depth out of any of the Invercargill-based team's eight seasons in the league.
That depth was put up in lights for all to see in the crushing 96-58 win over Nelson as the foot remained firmly planted throughout the entire 40 minutes at ILT Stadium Southland.
After leading 27-9 after the first quarter Southland never let up, something which drew praise from coach Flavell.
He said it has created a welcomed headache.
"It is a nice problem to have, trying to get everyone in there," Flavell said.
"We had Nick [Kay] who picked up some early fouls and only played six minutes in that first half I think.
"But someone like James [Hunter] comes in and played those minutes and had a great game.
"It shows we don't lose anything when we rotate guys and we can rotate guys and keep playing like we want to play."
Hunter, a former Manawatu Jets player who stands at 2.08m, made an impression in his first outing for the Sharks.
While Reuben Te Rangi, in his return to the Sharks after playing the past two seasons with the Super City Rangers, highlighted he is another welcomed addition in the push for the 2017 NBL title.
Flavell is predicting the 22-year-old to be a key figure for the Sharks throughout the season.
"He's been great, he's been down [in Invercargill] a week and a half now and since day one he's been so good.
"He's a leader and you forget sometimes how young he is because he has been around for so long.
"But he's showed maturity and he is focused. I think he is going have a big season because of that."
While the Sharks were superb against Nelson, Nelson themselves struggled. Going by game one the Giants could be in for a tough 2017 season.
Southland is likely to be provided a much tougher test and a far better gauge as to just where they are at when they take on the Wellington Saints in Invercargill on Friday.
Many have tipped the 2016 champions, the Saints, to go back-to-back in 2017.
"Obviously a lot of the talk has been with them before the season and they deserve that tag because they are the defending champions. We are going to give it a good crack, that is for sure," Flavell said.
Story and image courtesy of The Southland Times