2022/23 NBL Player Stats Watch – Round 3

THE NATIONAL Basketball League (NBL) resumed hostilities over the weekend, with another batch of games seeing some entertaining action. It was a slightly different look than the opening week of play, with the big men taking over across eight games.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at the key individual stats on a weekly basis, to see which players are excelling in the most crucial of areas over the course of the season.

Points per game

Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats)/Craig Randall II (Adelaide 36ers) – 23
Mitch Creek (SEM Phoenix) – 20.5
Xavier Cooks (Sydney Kings) – 18.6
Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Melbourne United) – 18.5
Barry Brown Jr. (New Zealand Breakers) – 18

Wildcats superstar Cotton returned to top spot after a dominant performance against United on Friday night. The guard has led the league in scoring for much of his decorated NBL career, and that trend does not look like slowing down any time soon. He had 22 points in the first half against Melbourne, finding plenty of success scoring the ball inside, and looks to be a handful on the defensive end for the opposition.

Randall started his tenure in the NBL in style, bouncing back from a quiet performance on Thursday night to deliver 28 points against the Hawks on Saturday, including 17 in the final term alone. Like Cotton, he is a tough matchup and should be a serious weapon for the 36ers. Creek’s consistency remains sound, while Rathan-Mayes paired his solid scoring with some strong performances in other areas of his game.

Craig Randall has been a weapon on the offensive end for the 36ers. Photo: Daryl Webb/AP Photo

Rebounds per game

Keanu Pinder (Cairns Taipans) – 10
Ryan Broekhoff (SEM Phoenix) – 8
Rashard Kelly (Tasmania JackJumpers)/Xavier Cooks (Sydney Kings)/William McDowell-White (New Zealand Breakers)/Dererk Pardon (New Zealand Breakers – 7.8
Xavier Rathan-Mayes (Melbourne United) – 7.5
Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks) – 7.5

Another double-digit rebounding effort from Pinder takes his season average to 10, which is two more than the next best. There has been no player more damaging in the air, as he combines his strength and positioning to outwork the opposition to the loose ball. He had 11 against the Kings on Friday night, and proves to be an invaluable part of Cairns’ success. Broekhoff kicked off his 2022/23 campaign in style, combining his scoring capability with his willingness to chase down wayward shots from the opposition. Kelly, McDowell-White and Rathan-Mayes all boosting their averages with strong efforts over the weekend.

Keanu Pinder has been controlling the skies for Cairns. Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images

Assists per game

Justin Robinson (Illawarra Hawks) – 8
Derrick Walton Jr. (Sydney Kings) – 6.8
Shannon Scott (Cairns Taipans) – 6.5
Tahjere McCall (Cairns Taipans) – 6
Luke Travers (Perth Wildcats) – 5.2

No one has been able to catch Robinson after his hot start to the year was interrupted by injury. The best bet to do so is Walton Jr., who has turned his focus to playmaking after plenty of scoring in the opening week. He opens up the court so much with his ability to drive and dish to a wide-open teammate, lifting his fellow Kings in the process. Scott stepped up in the absence of McCall on the weekend and became the team’s primary facilitator, while Travers’ eight assists against United perfectly emphasises his growth as a playmaker.

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