Phoenix power up with Walton Jr.

THE list resurgence of the SEM Phoenix has continued throughout the National Basketball League (NBL) off-season, with the team acquiring the services of star guard Derrick Walton Jr earlier today.

Following a disappointing season in the 2023/24 fixture, change was always going to come for the Phoenix, and they have now added two proven superstars over the past month.

Walton Jr. follows Nathan Sobey in joining South East Melbourne for next season, creating a seriously formidable big three with Mitch Creek and instantly launching the team into championship contention through sheer star power alone.

Walton Jr. most recently suited up for the Sydney Kings in the 2022/23 season, and was one of the best performing players in the NBL during his one-season tenure.

Throughout that time, the point guard posted averages of 16.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game, and was named to the All-NBL First Team in an outstanding campaign from the 45-game NBA veteran.

The Phoenix will still have strong memories of the performance he posted against them in an overtime classic in Gippsland, where he and Creek dueled and both posted 45 points in a fantastic scoring display.

Walton Jr. also led the Kings to the promised land and delivered a second consecutive title, being named the Grand Final MVP in the process after torching the opposition with tremendous work on both ends of the floor.

He left the NBL to play in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), the same league in which Creek would suit up, and it seems the two organised a return to Australia for the star guard.

Now South East Melbourne have one of the most star-studded rosters in the NBL, and look a strong chance to return to the postseason action.

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