NBL | Stats Central – Round 18

THERE is not much time left in the National Basketball League (NBL) season for the 2023/24 fixture, and Round 18 showcased just how important the remaining games are.

Despite some big names of the competition missing through injury, there were still some cracking performances as each player fights to keep their side in contention for the ultimate prize in the coming months.

Although there were just six games that took place from Thursday to Sunday, the action was aplenty as the standings were given another shake thanks to some surprising results.

With that in mind, Rookie Me Central‘s weekly stat series continues, taking a look at the leading contributors in some of the key statistical categories that impact the game most.

Points per game

1. Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) – 23.2
2. Mitch Creek (SEM Phoenix) – 21.1
3. Nathan Sobey (Brisbane Bullets) – 19.6
4. Anthony Lamb (New Zealand Breakers)/Jaylen Adams (Sydney Kings) – 19.4
5. Parker Jackson-Cartwright (New Zealand Breakers)/Dejan Vasiljevic (Adelaide 36ers) – 19.1

It was a difficult night for Most Valuable Player (MVP) fancy Bryce Cotton and his Perth Wildcats in Round 18, after copping some unwanted attention. The New Zealand Breakers were extremely physical with the star guard, and Cotton was shaken as a result. It also saw the Breakers claim an impressive win, although the result was soured by the injury to another of the league’s leading scorers in Anthony Lamb, who suffered a suspected Achilles tear in worrying news.

Rebounds per game

1. Alan Williams (SEM Phoenix) – 10.9
2. Jo Lual-Acuil (Melbourne United) – 8.2
3. Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks) – 7.8
4. Luke Travers (Melbourne United) – 7.6
5. Gary Clark (Illawarra Hawks) – 7.4

It was an underwhelming weekend on the rebounding front, largely due to the impressive accuracy of a number of teams. Melbourne United big man Jo Lual-Acuil was restricted with his minutes given his side was in complete control in the win over the SEM Phoenix, and pulled down just four boards, while the story was similar for Luke Travers. Star Illawarra Hawks import Gary Clark has moved into the top five after pulling down 10 rebounds in the win over the Brisbane Bullets on Saturday night, continuing his tremendous form.

Assists per game

1. Matthew Dellavedova (Melbourne United) – 6.2
2. Patrick Miller (Cairns Taipans)/Parker Jackson-Cartwright (New Zealand Breakers) – 5.8
3. Tahjere McCall (Cairns Taipans) – 5.2
4. Jaylen Adams (Sydney Kings) – 5.1
5. Milton Doyle (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 5.1

NBA Champion Matthew Dellavedova remains at the top of the assists count after another strong playmaking performance in the win over the Phoenix. The point guard racked up eight assists to go with seven points and three rebounds in just 15 minutes of court time, continuing his run as the league’s premier passer. Tasmania JackJumpers import Milton Doyle racked up 17 assists in two games to lead his side to a 2-0 record throughout Round 18. With many of his teammates stepping up on the scoring front, there is less pressure on Doyle to find the bottom of the net, so he has thrived in finding the open man on a consistent basis.

Steals per game

1. Parker Jackson-Cartwright (New Zealand Breakers)/Tahjere McCall (Cairns Taipans)/Shannon Scott (Brisbane Bullets)- 1.9
2. Keanu Pinder (Perth Wildcats) – 1.7
3. Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) – 1.5
4. Jordan Crawford (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 1.4
5. Jaylin Galloway (Sydney Kings)/Patrick Miller (Cairns Taipans)/Shea Ili (Melbourne United) – 1.3

It is tight at the top of the steals count, with three players tied for first place on this front. Parker Jackson-Cartwright did not record any in the win over the Wildcats, but still played a crucial role, while Tahjere McCall (0) and Shannon Scott (1) also struggled to impact with their steals. Keanu Pinder had a pair in the loss to the Breakers, while Shea Ili had two steals of his own in Melbourne’s win, showcasing the defensive prowess he possesses.

Blocks per game

1. Jo Lual-Acuil (Melbourne United)/Will Magnay (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 1.6
2. DJ Hogg (Sydney Kings) -1.5
3. Tyrell Harrison (Brisbane Bullets)/Isaac Humphries (Adelaide (36ers)/Ariel Hukporti (Melbourne United) – 1.4
4. Alexandre Sarr (Perth Wildcats) – 1.3
5. Luke Travers (Melbourne United) – 1.1

Forward DJ Hogg moved up the rankings for blocks per game after recording three in the Sydney Kings‘ seven-point loss to the Adelaide 36ers on the weekend. Although his team did not get the desired result, Hogg was immense as the Kings led across the first three quarters, and showed how strong his two-way game can be. Also delivering an impressive performance in Round 18 was Isaac Humphries, who one-upped the man we just mentioned with four blocks of his own. Humphries has emerged as the best big man in the NBL over the past month, and got the job done once again.

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