Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson isn't fussed by the dire predictions being levelled at his team, saying it happens every NBL season.
The Wildcats will be aiming to reach a remarkable 35th consecutive finals series then snare a third straight title in 2021.
But with Nick Kay, Terrico White, and Damian Martin among the big-name departures, the bookies and experts are writing off the Wildcats' finals hopes.
Perth have been rated as low as seventh for the title in some betting markets, with the lack of out-and-out starpower aside from Bryce Cotton touted as the biggest concern.
But Gleeson is backing his team-first culture to prove the doubters wrong yet again.
"You're probably getting a good price," Gleeson replied with a smile when asked what he thought of the bookies writing off his team.
"It's nothing unusual. This time of the year they always write Perth off. Halfway through the year they write Perth off. And getting to the finals they write Perth off.
"It's not unusual they pick the star-studded teams like the Sydney Kings, the Melbournes. We just carry on and do the best we can."
The Wildcats' season gets underway on Sunday when they host the South East Melbourne Phoenix at Perth's RAC Arena.
American John Mooney will be relied upon to carry a big load for the Wildcats this season playing at centre and power forward, while fellow recruit Todd Blanchfield looms as another key part of the puzzle.
"I'm really happy with Todd Blanchfield," Gleeson said.
"The connection and synergy with Bryce (Cotton) has been great to watch and grow. We've got that one-two prong.
"And we've got Mooney inside. I'd be very surprised if Mooney doesn't get a double-double most nights. We think we've got enough scoring power out there."
Gleeson is also excited to see the development of highly-touted Wildcats guard Luke Travers, who stands at 200cm.
"He's certainly talented enough (to make it to the NBA one day)," Gleeson said.
"Any time you're six-foot nine and have ball skills and a good IQ, you're pretty much on the radar."
The Phoenix enter the match with a 1-1 record after posting a 89-83 win over the Adelaide 36ers on Wednesday night.
American guard Keifer Sykes was the star of the show, notching 24 points, seven assists, and two steals.
Australian Associated Press