NBL Team of the Week – Round 11
THE NBL has just wrapped the 11th round of action for the 2022/23 season, and before the next chunk of games kick off, it is time to take a look at the best performances of the week.
A number of dominant individual outings in the same match headlined the weekend’s action, with the season-high points total set on three seperate occasions. The MVP candidates stood up across a number of games, and the race for the competition’s highest individual honour is as close as ever after 11 rounds.
As revealed on the Got Next Podcast, which chats all things NBL and WNBL, Rookie Me Central names a Team of the Week, and the 11th round of the fixture had plenty of stars making an appearance.
Point Guard – Derrick Walton Jr (Sydney Kings)
One of the easiest selections of the season, Walton Jr. went head-to-head with another member of our starting lineup in one of the best games in recent memory, as the Kings fell to the Phoenix in overtime. Although Sydney could not get over the line, the import guard produced an astounding performance, trading buckets with the opposition down the stretch and playing to his strengths when scoring and setting up his teammates. With a whopping final statline of 45 points, four rebounds and 10 assists on 52 per cent shooting, Walton Jr. was a man on a mission in the all-time classic encounter.
Shooting Guard – Rayjon Tucker (Melbourne United)
Tucker has been putting it together over the last few months, overcoming a quiet start to the season to become the main man for United over the past few games. Coming into the league with an impressive highlight reel to his name, there were plenty of expectations on the shoulders of the import, and he is finally living up to them. With the ability to take over a game on his own, Tucker was dominant in the Throwdown against the Phoenix, recording 33 points on 11/15 FG, the most ever in a clash between the two Melbourne sides.
Small Forward – Michael Frazier (Illawarra Hawks)
Frazier is making a strong case as one of the pickups of the year, with the Hawks benefiting from the import’s return to the NBL. Although he had a quiet start to the round and Illawarra fell in both of its outings, Frazier’s performance against United was still one of offensive excellence. The guard/forward was again able to fire with ball in hand and deliver yet another game-high points total. His 27 against Melbourne kept the Hawks in the game as the 28-year-old again showed the ability to create his own shot.
Power Forward – Mitch Creek (SEM Phoenix)
Creek recorded the most points in a single game thus far for the 2022/23 season, exploding in the same game as Walton Jr. with the match going to double-overtime. Creek and our point guard traded blows over the course of the match and it was the former that managed to drag his side to victory with a 46-point performance. Shooting 15/27 from the field and 12/13 from the charity stripe, Creek delivered blow after blow to Sydney, and truly stepped up in Gippsland when his side needed someone to shoulder the load after losing players to injury and foul trouble. It was also a career-high for the star forward, who has likely surged forward in MVP rankings after Sunday’s showing.
Center – Keanu Pinder (Cairns Taipans)
Prior to Sunday’s scorefest in Gippsland, Pinder set the season-high in points when the Taipans closed out strong to defeat the JackJumpers in Tasmania on Saturday. Pinder did as he pleased inside the paint, racking up 34 points and seven rebounds in 34 minutes of action. It was a close affair at the final change, but a Pinder-led charge in the last quarter was enough to drag the visitors over the line. He shot 11/17 from the field and even chimed in for a couple of buckets behind the three-point line in his best offensive performance of the season.
Point Guard – Tahjere McCall (Cairns Taipans)
Cairns’ best performer of last season was back at his best on the weekend, finding his rhythm on the offensive end and producing one of his best scoring performances of the season with 23 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Shooting Guard – Chris Goulding (Melbourne United)
United went 2-0 on the weekend and along with Tucker, this man had a lot to do with that result with Goulding recording a solid 16 points against the Phoenix before backing it up with 25 to lead his side to a win over the Hawks in a classy weekend for the veteran sharpshooter.
Small Forward – Antonius Cleveland (Adelaide 36ers)
Cleveland delivered a pair of excellent two-way performances in Round 11, including a match-winning showing against the JackJumpers where he posted numbers of 20 points and 10 rebounds, while also shutting down the always-dangerous Milton Doyle.
Power Forward – Bul Kuol (Cairns Taipans)
After winning the NBL Rookie of the Year award last season, Kuol produced a season-best performance against the Bullets to kick off the action for the round, notching 23 points on 70 per cent shooting from the field and 80 per cent from three-point territory.
Center – TaShawn Thomas (Perth Wildcats)
The Wildcats were only able to make one appearance on the weekend, but Thomas made sure not to waste the opportunity. On Tuesday night, he recorded 22 points, 12 rebounds and six assists as the Wildcats blew out the Taipans.