NBL Standouts – Round 15
ROUND 15 of the National Basketball League (NBL) season is almost over, and there have been some agoniSingly close contests across the span of five days so far.
With plenty of tense finishes over the weekend, there were a number of heroes that stood up for their respective sides and delivered some big performances on the big stage. While the round is not yet over with one more game on the cards, there is still a lot to unpack from the games that have taken place.
As is the case every week, Rookie Me Central will be highlighting the three strongest individual outings, with plenty making quite the impact in their respective outings.
Dererk Pardon – New Zealand Breakers
The recruitment of Pardon has been a key pillar in the rise of the Breakers this season, with the big man playing a key role in each game. In the post, he can be as impactful as anyone in the frontcourt, making a difference on both ends of the court. Although the Breakers could not quite get it done against the Wildcats on the road, the import was huge in keeping New Zealand in the match, and was the standout player on the court. Going head to head with TaShawn Thomas (23 points, 10 rebounds), Pardon took the chocolates with a 28-point, 12-rebound performance. A key indicator of a good performance from the big man is his accuracy, and it was on song against Perth. Pardon made 13 of his 15 attempts from the field, doing the bulk of his work in the low block, using hooks and fadeaways to create space. Six of his 12 boards came on the offensive end, creating second chance opportunities and often taking those himself with plenty of success.
Rayjon Tucker – Melbourne United
Tucker has come into his own in the past couple of months, stepping up as United’s number one option and putting the team on his back at times. The explosive guard was at his best against the Bullets on Saturday evening, producing a game-high 30 points to lead Melbourne to a 10-point victory. The import has found his knack as a downhill scorer, relying less on his perimeter shooting and instead playing to his strengths. Shooting 67 per cent from the field (8/12 FG), Tucker was outstanding offensively and is improving as a defender.
William McDowell-White – New Zealand Breakers
McDowell-White missed a fair chunk of the season through injury but rejoined the team in the past week, and produced his best game of the season. Delivering a career-high 29 points, he took on more of a load offensively. He shot 9/14 from the field, chiming in for seven threes on 70 per cent shooting from behind the arc. Controlling the tempo in the absence of Barry Brown Jr., he still produced five rebounds and five assists, showcasing his importance for the team as the Breakers fell again by two points, despite McDowell-White’s heroics.