A SEM Phoenix veteran has taken the lead in the scoring title race for the NBL in season 2022/23 after Round 8 took place over the weekend with some big individual performances. Some different faces caught the eye as a number of stars found themselves restricted with some suffocating team defence.
With that in mind, Rookie Me Central will be taking a look at the key individual stats, to see which players are excelling in the most crucial of areas over the course of the season.
POINTS PER GAME
A 27-point performance in game 300 and a big win over the Hawks saw Creek head to the top of the list, further emphasising his consistency at shooting the rock. A dark horse for MVP, the veteran is a professional scorer, and often flies under the radar given there are flashier players in the competition. Cotton was held to just 17 points by Antonius Cleveland, and slid back to an average of 22 points, while Brown Jr. slipped a bit too. The final match of the round saw Pinder (30 points) and Cooks (25) display the dominance of the big man this season, in what was an enthralling individual matchup between two of the competition’s best post scorers.
REBOUNDS PER GAME
Keanu Pinder (Cairns Taipans) – 10.1
Alan Williams (SEM Phoenix) – 8.9
Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks)/Aron Baynes (Brisbane Bullets) – 8.7
Xavier Cooks (Sydney Kings) – 8.3
Dererk Pardon (New Zealand Breakers) – 8.2
We touched on how well Pinder scored against the Kings on Monday night, but his rebounding also saw his numbers go up here. He pulled down a game-high 13, including some big boards in crunch time. The opposition continued to attempt to box him out, but the big man manages to wrestle his way to possession time and time again. Williams has truly come into his own as a rebounding machine in the NBL, and his improvement in this area has reflected that of the team, thriving with first use of the ball. Baynes missed and his average remained unaffected, while Cooks and Pardon both rose in the rankings with some big numbers over the weekend.
ASSISTS PER GAME
Interestingly, all of the top five dropped last week, as isolation plays came back into vogue in Round 8. Browne was able to take top spot and remain the only player to be averaging over eight dimes per game. Creek’s success in the points category has been heavily influenced by his teammate’s efforts, with Browne making the right pass when Creek cuts, which is frequently a winning method to scoring. Siva and the Hawks had a disappointing weekend offensively, although the guard found his teammates with zippy passes despite the field goals proving wayward. Scott has combined well with Tahjere McCall as the pair share ball-handling responsibilities, while McDowell-White leads the Breakers to top spot in the standings from 13 rounds.