May 16, 2024
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NBL Mid-Season Award Predictions

Photo: Perth Wildcats (Twitter/X)

Written by Jackson MacDonald (@JMacDonald91 on Twitter/X) & Evan Baltutis (@NBL_News)

As the not-so-FIBA window comes to a close, I take a look at each award to see who is leading the race.

MVP

The Leader: Pick one out of a hat

The MVP is arguably the most difficult award to predict at this time of the season. There are up to five guys who all have a case to present at this stage in the season. But when it comes to not sitting on the fence, this is who I have.

Jackson: Bryce Cotton

20.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.7 steals in 38 minutes per game

The three-time MVP started his season slowly, but ever since Perth has been on their five-game winning streak, he has been extraordinary.

In his last five games, he has averaged 28 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.2 steals on great shooting numbers for the attempts he takes.

Cotton is the gold standard of the league, the bar of the competition, and if somebody is going to win MVP, they are going to have to go past him to get there.

Evan: Jaylen Adams

The 2021-22 NBL MVP, has come back to the league in similar form he was in a couple seasons ago with the Kings.

Averaging 17.8 points, 5.0 assists and 1.3 steals, the Kings early success has been on the back of that man and under new coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah.

If Adams can stay consistent like he has already, and lead the Kings to another final four appearance, he is certainly a huge chance in taking home the award once again.

Honourable Mentions: Chris Goulding

Defensive Player of the Year

Jackson: Bul Kuol

Bul Kuol has gone yet another step further this season on both sides of the ball. Playing the second most minutes per game in the league only behind Bryce Cotton, Kuol has been able to provide elite physical defence without getting into foul trouble while having multiple 40-minute games this season so far.

Evan: Shea Ili

Averaging 1.3 steals and 3.2 rebounds per game, the 6-foot guard has displayed the ability to dive on any loose ball or rebound, throwing his body around any player in the league, which demonstrates his capability as being an elite defender.

Despite only playing 14-games, Ili still managed to be a finalist in last season’s award, which illustrates that there is no doubt that if he accomplishes a full season under his belt, he will be a worthy winner of this award.

Honourable Mentions: Sam McDaniel

Next Generation

The Leader: Alex Toohey

10.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks, 37 3P% in 22 minutes per game

The Next Gen award is a bit controversial in some aspects. Replacing the Rookie of the Year for an award that somebody who’s played over 5 seasons in the league can still win is a bit weird. Regardless, I believe Alex Toohey has been the best young player in the league.

Toohey has been a sensation ever since stepping onto the NBL floor for the first time. Starting every single game for the second-placed Kings at both forward positions, Toohey has showcased what he can bring to an NBA organisation while also contributing to Sydney’s championship asperations.

Honourable Mentions: Alex Sarr & Luke Travers

Sixth Man of the Year

Jackson: Jonah Bolden

8.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.6 blocks in 17 minutes per game

Jonah Bolden has been one of the best rebounders in the league since coming out of his hiatus from the sport.

The former Philadelphia 76er is currently fifth in the league for rebounding, fourth in offensive rebounding, and second in per 36-minute rebounding while coming off the bench for 2x NBL Champion Jordan Hunter.

Take this prediction with a grain of salt, because with this award who knows who is going to be eligible by the end of the season.

Evan: Kouat Noi

One of the best players coming off the bench not only last season, but this season also, Noi has presented his ability to start on any team in the competition.

Averaging 10.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, the Kings are one of the favourites to take the title yet again, due to key depth pieces off the bench like Kouat Noi, who always provides a consistent impact when he comes into the game.

Honourable Mentions: Ben Ayre

Most Improved Player

Jackson: Jaylin Galloway

11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals in 25 minutes per game

Up until his shoulder injury, Jaylin Galloway has this award on lock. Ever since his exceptional NBL Blitz on the Gold Coast, he has improved at a rapid rate and this isn’t only because of his new role in the Kings as a starter.

Galloway is second in the league in steals per game and has slotted in nicely at the starting small forward position. Now we wait and see if he will provide the same impact on the court when he returns from his injury.

Evan: Lat Mayen

As we saw last season with Keanu Pinder, Adam Forde yet again has proved his ability to develop players playing for the Taipans, producing another candidate for the Most Improved award in Lat Mayen.

Mayen’s numbers have skyrocketed compared to his rookie year last season, as he has already started 6 out of the Taipans first 10 games of the NBL regular season. Last season, Mayen was averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per games, this season Mayen is averaging 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds.

With such a massive surge in performance, Mayen looks primed to be a finalist come the end of the season for this award.

Honourable Mentions: Tyrell Harrison

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