NBL Ones to Watch – Round 4

THE National Basketball League (NBL) boasts some of the world’s premier talents, with a number of players catching the eye on a weekly basis.

Each round holds unique and engaging storylines, not only from a team perspective, but an individual one too.

In this new series, Rookie Me Central will highlight a few players to keep an eye on ahead of the weekend’s upcoming action.

With the first three rounds in the book, it is as evident as ever that the competition is set for an even season, with a new batch of guns emerging during the start of the fixture. There are plenty to watch on a weekly basis as the NBL continues to grow.

Luke TraversPerth Wildcats

It was one of Travers’ best performances in a Wildcats uniform last weekend, despite his side being unable to get the job done against United. He stepped up as a playmaker, and allowed Bryce Cotton to be at his damaging best by scoring the ball at a high clip. In the pick and roll, Travers found Cotton on the back door cut on a number of occasions, and was able to make the right play as his passes resulted in a lot of inside scoring for the Wildcats. If he can continue this sort of progression as a playmaker, it will be massive for his prospects on the Cleveland Cavaliers, but also Perth’s prospects of claiming another title.

Rayan Rupert – New Zealand Breakers

Rupert produced the best round of his short career last weekend, producing 10 and 11 points in two outings as he was placed into the starting lineup. Playing alongside a number of talented imports, Rupert compliments the Breakers lineup well with his ability to shoot over opponents thanks to his extended wingspan. He can drive inside and finish at the rack or pull up from two-point territory and release the ball over the top of his opponent, who is often undersized. While his perimeter game still has a ways to go, Rupert should continue to develop with the increase in minutes.

Rayan Rupert puts up a shot against the Hawks. Photo: Graham Denholm/Getty Images

Rashard Kelly – Tasmania JackJumpers

Like Rupert, Kelly also had his most damaging weekend in the NBL to date in Round 3, with a pair of impactful performances. Against the 36ers, he had 19 points and six rebounds and played a big role in Tassie getting off to a hot start, before backing it up a couple of days later with a big double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. Coming in to replace MiKyle McIntosh, Kelly has made a serious impact during his short time with the JackJumpers. His biggest weapon is his ability to back down the opposition with his strength, before using deft touch across the paint to nail a turnaround jumper. If he can continue to produce such strong performances, he will be well and truly in the conversation for the NBL’s Best Sixth Man as Tasmania looks to return to the Grand Final.

Rashard Kelly puts up a shot. Photo: Simon Sturzaker/Getty Images

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