2023/24 NBL Team Wrap – Melbourne United

THE 2023/24 National Basketball League (NBL) season was one of the most entertaining in recent memory, with all teams performing at a high level and making a genuine run at some postseason action along the way.

All 10 teams were in the hunt for a spot in the finals and play-in until the penultimate round, demonstrating the impressive quality of the competition.

Given the season has concluded, Rookie Me Central will be dissecting each team’s campaign, and the key pieces that shaped it.

The penultimate team in the series are Melbourne United, who fell short in one of the great Championship Series.

Melbourne United

2023/24 record – 20-8
Ladder positioning – 1st
Postseason result – Lost Championship Series in five games


After loading up with some seriously star-studded talent over the off-season, United were the best team for the majority of the 2023/24 NBL season. Storming to the top of the ladder in the opening week and never conceding top spot. Despite being the dominant side of the regular season, Melbourne encountered fresh challenges in the postseason, with the play-in break proving costly as it was forced to three games against the Illawarra Hawks, but still managed to book a spot in the big dance. Facing the Tasmania JackJumpers, the series went back and forth, going to five games, where United conceded a double-digit lead at home and could not snag the title.

MVP Chris Goulding

Melbourne’s star sharpshooter and leader was at his brilliant best throughout the fixture, and was one of the team’s most consistent performers in the playoffs, clearly playing through injury. Despite being at 35 years of age, Goulding was delivering some vintage performances, and his ability to knock down the toughest of shots certainly added some wins to United’s column. He was one of the competition’s best scorers, with averages of 16.9 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists, and was named to the All-NBL First Team for the sixth time.

THE COACH Dean Vickerman

One of the NBL’s best and most experienced coaches showed his class once again, leading his team to the minor championship and within two points of a title. Vickerman brought his trademark activity on the sidelines, being vocal and instructing his team on both offence and defence. Although he was outcoached in some games, he often made adjustments as the match rolled on, and did well to get minutes into each player on the eve of the postseason.


There are plenty of questions around the future of Melbourne’s roster, given the number of stars on the list. Jo Lual-Acuil has already announced he will be departing the team, while Ariel Hukporti and Luke Travers could be NBA-bound. Relative to other teams, United have been quiet to start free agency, announcing just one signing, with veteran big man Robert Loe joining next season. However, Melbourne is one of the biggest teams and always make big plays in the off-season, so stay tuned.

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