Luke Travers hits back at NBA Draft Doubters with Career Night

Luke Travers turned into an offensive powerhouse two nights ago as the Wildcats beat the Phoenix 79-101. Perth’s NBA Draft prospect put on a show in John Cain Arena. With a career high of 24 points to go with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and a block in only 22 minutes off the bench.

Travers also led the game in plus/minus with 32, showing his impact with just being on the court.

But more importantly, he hit four out of five three pointers. Which has been a thorn in his side going into the game. Previously this season, he had only made one out of 17 three pointers. Shooting at six per cent from the ‘land of plenty’, but that changed after last night.

It’s not like LT couldn’t shoot the three-ball though. It has just seemed like he lacked confidence in his shooting ability at the professional level. In recent games he has turned down wide open shots mainly because of his shooting woes.

His performance last night hit back at many draft analysts who have not included him in their mock drafts due to his shooting ability. Even though he has had a much better season than the likes of Ousmane Dieng and Ariel Hukporti. He has been placed lower than them in top 100 rankings.

This can be mainly drawn to his age. Being older than the forementioned ‘Next Stars’, but you can also argue that this is because he hasn’t been marketed as much to international audiences in comparison.

When asked in the post-game press conference about his recent omission on Johnathan Givony’s/ Draft Express’s mock draft, Travers responded;

“I try not to think about it, it’s something I can’t control so I’m just trying to help this team win. I think the results will take care of itself. So, I’m just taking it day-by-day right now.”

Wildcats Head Coach Scott Morrison was asked about Travers game, he was really pleased with his performance.

“LT has been having a really good year. We kind of challenged him to take it to a new level and I thought he put in a lot of extra work this week and I hope he continues to do that. It was good to see it payoff in the short term because hopefully it will encourage him to keep pushing himself,” Morrison said.

“He did get back cut once during the first half but other than that he was solid. He’s been one of our best rim protectors. So, for a guard to be able to do that is a big advantage defensively.”

Travers has one of the best defensive ratings in the league with 94.6 (via and has quickly become one of the best help defenders not only in the league, but in the 2022 draft class.

What was quite an interesting part of the game was the stretch in which Phoenix star Zhou Qi or import Brandon Ashley was guarding Luke Travers. This allowed Travers to be more wide open on three point attempts and when they came to guard him closer, it created enough space for Travers to drive and have an open path to the rim.

This was all because of the Wildcats playing small ball with Jesse Wagstaff playing as the centre and the Phoenix did not give Travers’ enough respect when it came to his shooting ability.

Morrison was asked about playing small against the Phoenix’s big men, whether or not it was part of the team’s scout. Morrison responded;

“That was something we talked about. Even if we played our biggest, we would be pretty small compared to them. So, we thought that if we got into a rut maybe we could go small and try to use our speed and make their big guys have to guard people they’re not use to guarding.”

“I’m not sure if that’s what helped turn things around for us, but I know that group played pretty well when they were out there,” Morrison stated.

“And ‘Jok’ gave us some good minutes too. It was good to see him hit another three. It’s something he’s been working really hard on and it’s another weapon we can have if we can space him.”

The Wildcats now go onto face Melbourne United back at John Cain Arena next Saturday, even though they were originally meant to face the Phoenix back-to-back.

Morrison responded to a question about the fixture changes stating;

“It’s just one of those things I can’t control. At least we have Tasmania on the schedule. I’m not sure if we are going to be in Tasmania by the time, we play them. That’s one thing we’ve been kind of wondering about.”

“Why we couldn’t just play the team next door to us. I’ll look at the schedule when I see it. We got Melbourne United next and that’s who we’re going to be focussing on for this week and when that game’s done, we’ll switch our attention to whoever is next.”

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