Take a look at us now: Manchester Giants still in play-off hunt despite slump

After losing 11 of their last 14 matches some Manchester Giants fans might be wondering how on earth their team still lie inside the BBL playoff spots.

Having slumped to a disappointing 80-69 loss to the Leicester Riders on Sunday, they now face a pressure-filled trip to play-off rivals Glasgow Rocks on February 1.

That though is a touch unfair. Sporting by far the smallest budget in the league, the Giants’ strong start to the season was a double-edged sword.

For Giants insiders this day has long been on the horizon but the backlash from their inevitable dip in performance has been hard to take for some within the organisation.

“We had a good start to the season – at one point we were up near third or fourth place,” said Giants coach Jeff Jones.

“Maybe some got a bit ahead of themselves but with the way we run our club we’re more likely to be around seventh or eighth, which is where we are.

“We always said we’d be somewhere around there at the end of the season.”

The Giants have been such a big name in British basketball for so long that it is easy to forget that today’s incarnation are essentially a semi-pro outfit in a league of full professionals.

This restriction limits the ambition of Coach Jones’ men to fighting for the last few playoff spots, and, should they manage that, a deep playoff run is unlikely.

For a true competitor like Jones it is not something he is accustomed to, and he assured MM the club is taking steps towards becoming fully professional, finances permitting.

“The players have done well but we need to take the next step after this,” he added.

“It’s hard because some of the guys have other careers at present and we don’t want to interrupt that, but we want to go pro.”

On the plus side the Giants are historically strong finishers and went on an unbelievable run this time last year to squeak into the post-season.

And Jones is thought to be close to bringing in a new centre to help the play-off push and provide long needed back up to veteran big man Mike Bernard.

Current form suggests they will struggle against Glasgow on Sunday, but a win could reignite their season.

Image couresy of Jack Hinds, with thanks.

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