NBL | Stats Central – Round 20

THE National Basketball League (NBL) wrapped up the action for the 2023/24 season over the weekend, with the top six locked in, while the remaining teams were forced to settle with an earlier finish.

After some massive matchups in the final weekend of the season, the big guns delivered both with impact and statistics as the fixture came to a close.

The top two consists of Melbourne United and the Perth Wildcats, both of whom had their spot locked in prior to the round starting.

The Tasmania JackJumpers and the Illawarra Hawks will now face off in the higher-seeded play-in match, while its do-or-die for the New Zealand Breakers and the Sydney Kings in the second play-in game.

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) – 23.1
2. Mitch Creek (SEM Phoenix) – 20.8
3. Parker Jackson-Cartwright (New Zealand Breakers) – 20.2
4. Nathan Sobey (Brisbane Bullets) – 20.1
5. Dejan Vasiljevic (Adelaide 36ers) – 19.7

The top five scorers in the competition remained the same in the final week of the season, although the order changed slightly. Bryce Cotton remained the league’s best scorer by a considerable margin despite a quiet weekend, with the eventual MVP missing the final game of Perth’s season through rest as he gears up to be the most important player in the upcoming finals series. Parker Jackson-Cartwright passed Nathan Sobey to move up to the third best scorer in the competition after delivering a pair of impressive performances with 27 points and eight assists against the Bullets and 24 points against Adelaide.

Rebounds per game

1. Alan Williams (SEM Phoenix) – 10.9
2. Jo Lual-Acuil (Melbourne United)/Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks) – 7.9
3. Luke Travers (Melbourne United) – 7.6
4. Gary Clark (Illawarra Hawks) – 7.4
5. Will Magnay (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 7.3

‘The Big Sauce’ took out the rebounding count as expected, despite missing half the season with a knee injury. The future of the import big man remains uncertain, but his work on the glass throughout the 2023/24 season cannot be understated, although the Phoenix would have liked more of it. JackJumpers big man Will Magnay moved into the top five after Tassie’s big win over Perth, pulling down eight boards in a powerful display in the skies, showcasing his arial dominance.

Assists per game

1. Matthew Dellavedova (Melbourne United) – 6.0
2. Patrick Miller (Cairns Taipans)/Parker Jackson-Cartwright (New Zealand Breakers) – 5.7
3. Tahjere McCall (Cairns Taipans)/Jaylen Adams (Sydney Kings) – 5.3
4. Milton Doyle (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 4.8
5. Gary Browne (SEM Phoenix) – 4.5

Former NBA champion Matthew Dellavedova led United’s offence to the top of the ladder and is a deserving assists leader at the end of the season. With so much scoring power on Melbourne’s roster, ‘Delly’ was masterful in making the right plays and getting his star teammates into scoring positions on a consistent basis. Both Tahjere McCall and Patrick Miller looked much more energised in Cairns’ final game of the season, with the Taipans left to wonder what could have been had this sort of effort been produced on a more consistent basis.

Steals per game

1. Parker Jackson-Cartwright (New Zealand Breakers)/Tahjere McCall (Cairns Taipans)- 1.9
2. Keanu Pinder (Perth Wildcats)/Shannon Scott (Brisbane Bullets) – 1.7
3. Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats) – 1.6
4. Jordan Crawford (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 1.3
5. Patrick Miller (Cairns Taipans)/Jaylin Galloway (Sydney Kings)/Milton Doyle (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 1.2

McCall delivered in the final game of the season for his side to equal Jackson-Cartwright atop the steals count. In the Taipans’ impressive win over United on Friday night, the Cairns captain was injected back into the starting lineup and delivered in spades for the home side on both ends of the floor. He posted three steals to go with 23 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists in his best showing of the season. McCall’s future in the NBL has been the cause of plenty of speculation in recent weeks, and if this was his last game, it was an excellent way to go out.

Blocks per game

1. Will Magnay (Tasmania JackJumpers) – 1.7
2. Ariel Hukporti (Melbourne United) – 1.5
3. Tyrell Harrison (Brisbane Bullets)/Jo Lual-Acuil (Melbourne United) – 1.4
4. Alexandre Sarr (Perth Wildcats)/DJ Hogg (Sydney Kings)/Isaac Humphres (Adelaide 36ers) – 1.3
5. Mangok Mathiang (New Zealand Breakers) – 1.1

Magnay delivered one of the performances of the round in the win over Perth on Saturday night, establishing himself as a massive wildcard in the upcoming finals series. He produced a monster five blocks in that match, in a showing that was the culmination of an impressive build-up of form in the past couple of months. If he continues to produce performances of that calibre, it will make the JackJumpers all the more dangerous heading into the postseason.

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