2021/22 NBL: Team of the Week – Round 9
IN this series each week, we take a look at the strongest performing players at each position to create the National Basketball League (NBL)’s Team of the Week.
Round 9 of the 2021/22 NBL season saw some cracking contests and surprising results across a number of courts. It appeared to be the week of the underdog, as some of the league’s lower ranked sides were able to produce their best against worthy opponents. This also resulted in some surprise appearances in our Team of the Week, with some new faces putting their name forward. However, there were also some familiar appearances this week too, as the competition’s most consistent performers continue to live up to this title.
Point Guard – Jaylen Adams (Sydney Kings)
Adams had been in some good form heading into Round 9, having found his mojo over recent outings, but he produced his best performance over this past weekend. Against one of the title contenders in the Perth Wildcats, Adams was simply unstoppable for much of the match, giving his side a remarkable boost on both ends of the court. Defensively, he was as solid as he has been all year, recording two steals and two blocks, while pulling down eight defensive boards. Up the other end, he was ruthless with ball in hand on his way to 30 points and nine assists in one of the most well-rounded performances we have seen this year. To top it all off, he was able to guide his side to their best win of the season.
Shooting Guard – Dusty Hannahs (Adelaide 36ers)
The explosive scorer was at his best in the ninth round of the season, proving a serious problem for opposition defenders throughout Adelaide’s two matches. In the first clash, which was against the Tasmania JackJumpers, Hannahs was terrific at finding the bottom of the net, pouring in 22 points and was a big reason for his side almost claiming the victory. He backed this up with a seriously clutch outing against the reigning champions, where he sent the match to overtime with a big three-pointer and then drilled a number of crucial baskets in the extra period on his way to another 19 points.
Small Forward – Mitch Creek (SEM Phoenix)
It sounds like a broken record at this point, but once again Creek was the main man for the Phoenix in their win on the weekend. This spot was a two horse race between Creek and someone else who we will mention later, but ultimately, it was Creek’s influence on the final result that got him over the line. Against the Brisbane Bullets, the professional scorer was unstoppable in the first half, dropping 20 points in just 17 minutes of action and giving his team a big lead at the main break. He was only able to add two more points in the second half, with the defence spending much more time on him, but he was still able to act as a decoy and prove a valuable contributor in the triumph.
Power Forward – Victor Law (Perth Wildcats)
Perth’s prized recruit was at his best throughout the ninth round of the season, where his side finished with one win and one loss from their two games. Despite the shaky form as a team, Law was performed well in both outings, passing 20 points on both occasions to provide a reliable avenue to scoring. In the win over the Illawarra Hawks, the forward produced an impressive 24 points (on some efficient shooting too) and eight rebounds to finish as one of Perth’s best players. He backed this up with 20 points and nine boards against the Kings, and although his side was bested, Law was still a strong performer.
Center – Jo Lual Acuil (Melbourne United)
Despite his one outing coming in a loss, United’s star big man did everything he could to try secure a win for his team. In the shock defeat to the 36ers on Sunday, Lual-Acuil was a shining light for United, producing one of his strongest offensive performances of the year and battled extremely hard to keep his team in the contest. He was clearly the best big man on the court, and was outstanding with both ball in hand, and when fighting for the next possession. He finished with 23 points (making nine of his 12 field goal attempts) and 12 rebounds in a valiant outing.
The first bench spot goes to usual suspect Bryce Cotton of the Perth Wildcats, who was once again hitting the scoreboard in a big way. Despite the mixed results as a club, the reigning league-MVP was firing on all cylinders, recording 28 points against the Hawks, before backing it up with another 20-point outing in the loss to the Kings in yet another strong round for him.
The second backup guard spot goes to Illawarra Hawks import Antonius Cleveland, who produced two eye-catching performances. The highlight machine started his round with 22 points against the Wildcats as he tried to get his side to an unlikely win, before backing this up with 15 points in the win over the Taipans. If he can keep this up, then the Hawks will prove even tougher opponents given their dynamic avenues to scoring.
The bench small forward spot goes to Lamar Patterson of the Brisbane Bullets, who was nearly a one-man show in the loss to the South East Melbourne Phoenix. Against one of the best sides in the competition, Patterson nearly dragged his side back into the contest as they fought to claim an unlikely upset. In the end, his stat-line read a game-high 26 points and five assists in yet another solid showing for the veteran.
The second backup forward spot for Round 9 belongs to Sydney Kings big man Jarell Martin, who proved a strong contributor in Sydney’s sole match of the round. Against the Wildcats, Martin was terrific for all four quarters, and was a major factor in the Kings securing the boilover win. He produced 22 points and seven boards in the win, as he continues a good run of form.
The final bench spot goes to Adelaide 36ers big Cameron Bairstow, who has turned his season around of late. In his two outings for the round, Bairstow was simply dominant on both ends of the court. In the loss to the JackJumpers, he recorded a whopping double-double of 11 points and 18 rebounds, before backing this up with 16 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the overtime win against Melbourne United to round out a strong weekend for the ever-improving big man.