KILSYTH Cobras men's coach Grant Wallace looked at his team at the end of last season and decided he had to fix several shortcomings.
The first was to find a "pass-first" point guard with court speed and defensive skills, the second was a back-up big man for star post players Auryn Macmillan and Tim Lang, and finally the Cobras needed an import who could give them a boost on both offence and defence.
Wallace believes he has solved all three problems, signing Tiri Matsunda from Hobart to fill the point guard position while signing veteran centre Brad Bridgewater, and import guard EJ Krusnyer to replace Garfield Blair.
He compared Krusnyer to former SEABL grand final most valuable player Mike Kelly, who went on to win the NBL championship with South-East Melbourne Magic.
"EJ is going to be great in that role, he hustles hard and plays a very similar role to a Mike Kelly type player," Wallace said.
"He is a better shooter but not as big although he has the same competitiveness and will surprise a lot of people this year."
Bridgewater has turned up in peak condition after having knee and wrist surgery in October.
"He will play two to three minutes each quarter to rest our big guys," Wallace said.
"He is an athlete and can play above the rim. We will look for him to play quality minutes rather than big minutes."
Matsunda struggled to play extended minutes in Tasmania but will get the chance to start and be a major player with the Cobras.
"He was probably underutilised in Hobart," Wallace said.
"They had a lot of good guards but when he came off the court we were always relieved because we couldn't stay in front of him.
"He is arguably the quickest player in the competition and will relish the opportunity to start. I think he too will surprise a lot of people."
Macmillan will rejoin the side when he finishes the NBL season with Wollongong Hawks.
Wallace said Macmillan could return as early as round 3 but could miss six to seven games if the Hawks go deeper into the post-season.
Emerging Cobras players Cam Johnson, Matt Cromarty and Kristian Williams have also made good improvement while Dan Briglia, Matt Maden and David Moore have left the side along with import Zach Malvik.
The Cobras men start their season against Nunawading Spectres at Nunawading Stadium on Sunday at 2.30pm.