THE REGULAR season fixture of the NBL wrapped over the weekend, with the race for the finals concluding in dramatic fashion in the final match of the weekend.
Season 2022/23 had plenty of excitement, from close finishes and clutch performances, to big wins and dominant individual outings. Whether it was local or imported talent, there was no shortage of players producing eye-catching showings and excelling in a number of facets of the game.
With that in mind and the season wrapped, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at the leaders across a number of crucial statistical categories from an individual standpoint. With some new and fresh faces topping some of the biggest areas of the game, the lists reflect the excitement of the campaign.
Points per game
Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) – 23.5
Mitch Creek (SEM Phoenix) – 23.4
Barry Brown Jr. (New Zealand Breakers) – 19.5
Tyler Harvey (Illawarra Hawks) – 18.9
Rayjon Tucker (Melbourne United) – 18.1
The race for the NBL’s scoring lead could not have been any closer, with Cotton just holding on in the final round. Despite shooting 1/19 from the field in the final game of the season for just seven points, the three-time MVP and Andrew Gaze Award finalist remained in front of Creek at the end of the 2022/23 campaign. Creek and the Phoenix did not play in Round 18, so his average of 23.4 points remained untouched in the final week. Both players scored 40 points or more over the course of the season, and are far and away the two most professional scorers the NBL has. Craig Randall II was initially next in line with 20.3 points, but had a smaller sample size of just six games. Brown Jr.’s scoring work off the bench was enough to get him over the line for the NBL’s Best Sixth man, while Harvey and Tucker both came home strong in the back half of the season.
Rebounds per game
Alan Williams (SEM Phoenix) – 9.6
Keanu Pinder (Cairns Taipans) – 9.3
Dererk Pardon (NZ Breakers)/Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks) – 8
Xavier Cooks (Sydney Kings)/Aron Baynes (Brisbane Bullets) – 7.8
Marcus Lee (Melbourne United) – 7.5
Williams was the king of the boards in the 2022/23 NBL season, making an immediate impact in his first season in Australia. He was just 0.4 rebounds per game away from averaging a double-double, and brought his NBA experience to the shores down under. The Phoenix had quite a strong stretch mid-season and his combination with Creek was the defining factor in getting the side rolling. Pinder continued his path to stardom with another strong season on the boards, culminating in a second consecutive NBL Most Improved Player Award. Pardon emerged as one of the competition’s most impactful big men, while Froling has announced himself as one of the premier talls in the league.
Assists per game
Gary Browne (SEM Phoenix) – 6.5
Derrick Walton Jr (Sydney Kings)/Peyton Siva (Illawarra Hawks) – 6.3
William McDowell-White (NZ Breakers) – 6.2
Shannon Scott (Cairns Taipans) – 5.4
Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) – 4.8
Browne was the NBL’s best facilitator across the course of the season, having meshed well with the likes of Creek, Williams and Ryan Broekhoff to create consistent buckets for his side. His ability to break down the defender and then dish either into the paint or out to the perimeter was a constant source of offence for the Phoenix. The Kings’ addition of Walton Jr. proved to be a massive success, with the elite point guard recently named to the All-NBL First Team for his strong mix of scoring and passing. Siva had strong patches of the season, but delivered a smaller sample size with just 11 appearances, while McDowell-White led the offence of the Breakers with his all-around game.