The New Zealand Breakers begin their Australian National Basketball League season in Sydney on
Saturday night without one of last season's stars and without the pressure of being widely tipped as favourites as they were a year ago.
Shooting guard Kirk Penney's return remains uncertain as he's still in the United States after being cut from the Sam Antonio Spurs veterans' camp and the Perth Wildcats are this year's favourites.
The Breakers' roster includes forward Mika Vukona, who returns to the club after two seasons away, the new forward Gary Wilkinson and another American, point guard Kevin Braswell, who's back.
With the timing of Penney's return still uncertain, Leon Henry from the Wellington Saints is providing cover for the opening game.
Henry's also available if Penney doesn't return in time for next Wednesday night's first home game against Perth Wildcats.