AFTER weeks of waiting, star youngster Luke Travers has finally announced where he will be taking his services for the upcoming NBL season.
Travers will join Melbourne United, who have retooled their list and look set for another crack at rising up the rankings and making a deep run into the finals.
The 21-year-old entered the off-season as a free agent after spending the past four years as a member of the Perth Wildcats, and emerging as a key figure in the team’s structure. However, he announced his desire to leave the team and continue his journey to the NBA with a change of scenery.
United were always among the favourites to attain his signature, and had plenty of list spots and cap space to facilitate such a move.
Travers will join the team for the 2023/24 season, and is coming off his strongest campaign to date with the Wildcats. He averaged 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, and was a finalist in the NBL’s Next Generation Award, which recognises the competition’s best young player.
He took a number of steps forward in his own individual games, which resulted in some big scoring performances across the fixture. Perhaps his most important improvement was surrounding his three-point shot, which was widely known as his biggest weakness. In previous years, teams could leave Travers open behind the arc with confidence that he was less likely to sink the shots than some of his Perth teammates.
However, he shot an eye-catching 39 per cent from three-point territory last season, a drastic improvement on previous years, having worked with Perth’s assistant coaches to improve this area. This ensures he joins United as a much more rounded player, given his strengths in a number of other areas in the game.
United recently announced the signing of star big man Jo Lual Acuil, and the combination of the two should give Melbourne fans plenty to be excited about. One of Travers’ biggest strengths is his ability to work in the pick and roll, controlling the tempo with his crafty work as the ball handler.
Although he is not as quick in the pick and roll as other players around the league, his pinpoint passing and ability to finish with a nice floater make him a constant threat. He has never played with a big man as skilled as Lual Acuil, so the two should be able to generate plenty of offence this way.
Travers will also be eager to take on a bigger role as the primary ball handler at United, given he spent his entire time with the Wildcats playing second-fiddle to star guard Bryce Cotton in this regard. His passing and finishing in transition have hurt the opposition at times, a role that has been made famous by the likes of Xavier Cooks recently.
Although listed as a guard, Travers will likely come in at the four for United, and fill the forward role that was vacated by Jack White prior to last season and has been unsuccessfully filled by the team since.
The move catapults United back into contention, with the likes of Chris Goulding, Shea Ili and Ariel Hukporti also signed for the upcoming season. Travers will head over to join the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the team in the Summer League, before heading back down under to join Melbourne.