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NBL Awards: Could have been worse

Last night was the Basketball Australia MVP Awards – the ceremony that recognises the top players in the NBL and WNBL. Personally, I started watching the live stream, but the quality was pretty bad, so I gave up on it.

Before we go anywhere, you can view the NBL’s official commentary on the awards here. Presumably, they are much more unbiased than me. Presumably.

I’m not a huge fan of the voting system that use for the NBL awards. I seriously think they need a panel of people – former players/coaches for example. It just seems weird to me that you get votes throughout the season from players who have just beaten you or lost against you.

There is another weird thing that I will get to later, but first, the winners (and near winners) on the night.


I actually agree with a post on lobpasstoabercrombie.com* (which sadly is closing after this season…) saying that the MVP should be the person who helps their team the most in getting to the playoffs. If a team doesn’t get to the playoffs, their players shouldn’t be eligible for the award.

Thankfully, in 2012, we don’t have that issue. The award went to Kevin Lisch of the Perth Wildcats. As much as I really, really hate the Perth Wildcats, I can’t say he doesn’t deserve the award. However, what I am surprised about is second place. Jamar Wilson of the Cairns Taipans. Seriously, I would have put the third (Julian Khazzouh, Sydney Kings) and fourth (Cedric Jackson, NZ Breakers) place getters above Wilson. But hey, that’s the system we’re living with.

Coach of the Year

I have to admit, as much as I love the Breakers and hugely respect Andrej Lemanis for what he’s done for the Breakers, I do not think he should have won Coach of the Year. He did, but I would question is this is a way to apologise for not giving it to him last year, when he definitely did deserve it. Seriously, just by looking at the changes in the final ladder this year, I would have given it to Joey Wright from the Gold Coast Blaze.

Rookie of the Year

This went to Anatoly Bose from the Sydney Kings and really, I can’t disagree. He has played amazingly for the Kings, and I would say definitely helped the team rise two ladder places from last year. What I thought was unfortunate was not to see Josh Bloxham from the Breakers in the mix here. The main problem is he hasn’t seen enough game time, but when he has played, he has played really quite well. Hopefully he gets a bit more game time in 2012/13 and he manages to get this award next year.

Most Improved Player

Daniel Johnson of the Adelaide 36ers took this one out, and there’s not too much to say. He definitely deserved this – he’s had a great season. Alex “The Chief” Pledger (NZ Breakers) was tied for fourth in this one – I would certainly have given him a higher rating here.

Best Defensive Player

This one went toward Perth, with Damian Martin taking it out. I seriously do not think he was the one who should have received this. Once again, Mika Vukona (NZ Breakers) was stripped of a title that probably should have been his. The person I was surprised not to see in here was Gary Wilkinson (NZ Breakers).

Best Sixth Man

Jesse Wagstaff of (you guessed it) the Perth Wildcats took this one out. I can’t say he doesn’t deserve it, and the votes really were quite decisive on this one – 67 votes, compared with Alex Pledger (NZ Breakers) in second with 20. Not much more to say

All NBL First/Second/Third Teams

I’m not going to look at the merits of each individual player and say they do or don’t deserve to be there. This one is the strange thing I mentioned earlier.

You would think the Best Defensive Player in the league would definitely be in the All NBL First Team, right? Nope, wrong. Damian Martin is in the third team. Best Sixth Man should probably be in the second team, right? Wrong again – Wagstaff is also in the third team. In fact, with the exception of the MVP, none of the remaining four in the All NBL First Team received awards. This seems a little weird to me.

*Note, with this post, if it doesn’t work, try http://lobpasstoabercrombie.wordpress.com/2012/03/17/the-mvp-debate/ – if the lobpasstoabercrombie.com domain is not renewed as part of the site closing, this still should work.


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