American recruit John Mooney says the Perth Wildcats will play with a chip on their shoulder this year after being widely written off as NBL finals contenders.
The Wildcats will be aiming to snare their third NBL title on the trot and qualify for a record 35th straight finals appearance, but the departures of Nick Kay and Miles Plumlee combined with the retirement of Damian Martin have left massive holes.
Todd Blanchfield, Kevin White, and Mooney are among the new arrivals, but the experts and bookmakers are predicting the Wildcats will miss the top four.
"Obviously with Instagram and Twitter we see it," Mooney said of the predictions.
"I think it gives us a little motivation and a little chip on our shoulder to prove these people wrong. But at the end of the day what do these people know? What do these quote/unquote experts know?
"We're not going to talk about it too much. We understand we have a challenge in front of us. This whole season is going to be a challenge, especially with a new group of guys coming together and building the chemistry and teamwork that we need.
"We are going to attack each day with that mindset to continue to bring success to the Perth Wildcats. That's our goal."
The club announced on Thursday that three-time Championship winner Tom Jervis had come out of retirement to sign for the Wildcats this season.
Mooney played as a power forward in college, but the 206cm American will be forced to play predominantly at centre for the Wildcats.
But it might not be for the full season, with Perth still hopeful of Bryce Cotton's citizenship being processed, which would allow the club to bring back former NBA big man Plumlee.
Mooney says he's excited to finally play alongside Cotton after watching the star guard carve it up in the United States.
"He was a great player at (college side) Providence," Mooney said.
"I remember watching him play, I was in high school or middle school at the time watching him play a tournament and absolutely killing the guys.
"The way he handles the ball is very impressive. He has it on a string."
Mooney and his teammates are currently completing two weeks of quarantine after arriving back from Queensland.
Their quarantine ends on January 24 - the day they begin their season with a match against South East Melbourne Phoenix at RAC Arena.
Australian Associated Press