Familiar faces among MVP contenders

THE 2023 National Basketball League (NBL) season is just a couple of days away from beginning, with one of the most anticipated campaigns in recent memory set to kick off on Thursday night.

The SEM Phoenix and Melbourne United will start proceedings in another instalment of the Throwdown series, officially marking the commencement of an intriguing fixture for the opening round.

With plenty of big recruits joining the NBL and the recent development of some seriously talented youngsters within the competition, the league looks as even as ever coming into the 2023/24 season, with an open field to take home the ultimate prize.

One of the most fascinating factors of the season when it comes to predictions is the race for the ultimate individual accolade in the Most Valuable Player Award.

The reigning recipient of the award in Xavier Cooks has snagged himself a spot on an NBA roster with the Washington Wizards, ruling out any chance of the star forward going back to back. Although this means there will not be a consecutive winner, there is still a strong chance of the award taken out by someone who has done so in the past.

Fitting into this category are Bryce Cotton and Jaylen Adams, the only two past winners set to suit up this season.

Cotton is already a three-time winner, and will be around the mark once again, as he typically is. A nuclear scorer, the guard has the ability to completely take over a game on the offensive end, and requires the tightest of attention on the defensive end.

One factor that may work either for or against Cotton is the recruitment of players such as Keanu Pinder and Jesse Usher. Pinder is a star big man that will create damaging pick and roll plays with Cotton, while Usher should take the offensive load off his shoulders a bit, and although it may affect the guard’s numbers, the team should benefit as a whole.

Adams returns to the NBL after spending a season overseas, looking to pick up where he left off with the Sydney Kings. During his one and only season in the Harbour City, the star guard took home the MVP award, averaging 20.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 6.1 assists.

There is no doubt that Adams will be at the forefront of Sydney’s campaign to claim a third consecutive title, showing the ability to lead the team in the past. He was the best player in the competition just a couple of years ago, displaying athleticism, defence and elite passing, and should be in the conversation again.

There could also be a first time winner, with the likes of Matthew Dellavedova, Tyler Cook and Milton Doyle all impressing over the preseason, but taking down a past winner may be too tough of a task.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments