NBL21: The Gazey’s Predictions

Right. This was meant to come out a long time ago. but due to many factors it hasn’t. But here it is. Just view this I guess as who I thought should have won instead of Actual Predictions. Enjoy!

Guys, the Season FINALLY Ended! It only took us 20 Years which included more Outbreaks of a Virus than Flops in Chris Goulding’s entire career. It was like the Big Bash League, but much shorter. 

After a season of Cups, Hubs, Injuries, and more Injuries, NBL21 has finally concluded and with the Gazey’s on tonight. 

Here are my Predictions for every award…………. Except the ones that I have no clue who will win like Referee of the Year and Executive of the Year. I can’t even name one Ref besides #VideoVaughen. 

MVP: Bryce Cotton

My Pre-Season prediction of Tyler Harvey wasn’t so bad in the end. However, “The GOAT Import of the NBL” should take home the MVP for a 3rd Time. The Perth Wildcats star has Dominated the league yet again, carrying his team to a 35th Consecutive Finals Appearance. Even though his form slump mid-season and season ending injury has put others onto the Harvey Train (I’m looking at you Homicide). But Cotton has only gone up this year, while going up against tougher opposition. Averaging a Career High in Points (23.5) and Assists (5.7) with 1.5 Steals and 2.9 Rebounds out of 32 Games Played. He has monstered the Box score compared to everyone else, and most importantly, the Wins column. He is going to be one of the Greatest Australian Players of All-Time, and this award is only going to continue the road to overtaking Gaze.

Coach of the Year: Trevor Gleeson

This HAS to be the year where Gleeson finally Wins Coach of the Year. While yes Goorjian had to start from literally nothing and Vickerman had the best Record and Forde in his first year as head coach finished 5th with injuries galore, you can’t go past Gleeson. Before the season, NBL analysts had the Cats nowhere near the Finals with a lack of talent to support their star man in Cotton. But they and Gleeson has proved everyone wrong. Starting a Developmental Player (Travers) and/or a Small, Power Forward that nobody was going to sign and never played Pro-ball in his life (J. Bairstow), Gleeson signed and played guys that would bring them success regardless of what the media thought. His coaching shined throughout the season as well. Drawing up match saving and/or winning plays within seconds and using nothing but his hands to portray to his players in silence what he wanted from them. Gleeson is an NBA Level Coach, and he may finally get the recognition he deserves. 

Edit: NBA Level coach huh…

Rookie of the Year: Josh Giddey

2021 has been the best rookie class in the NBL for a long time. This year we have seen former College Stars, Next Stars and Developmental players shine when in seasons previous, we haven’t had a proper rookie class. However, this year most rookies caught the injury bug and Mid-Season candidates and front runners, Dejan Vasiljevic and Jack White, come down with season, and potentially next season, ending achilleas injuries. And while they fell, Josh Giddey rose to the top. Having 3 Triple Doubles, being the first Australian to have Back-to-Back Triple Doubles, while being only 18! By the end of the season, he averaged 11 Points, 7.5 Assists (League Leader) and 7.3 Rebounds. Putting himself into a Projected Lottery Pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Giddey landed on the Next Stars platform and built a skyscraper on it. 

Defensive Player of the Year: Mitch Norton

The defensive heavyweight battle between Justin Simon and Mitch Norton has been something that people haven’t expected all year. Norton, who this season has taken over the Point Guard Reigns for Perth with 6x Defensive Player of the Year Damian Martin retiring, has stepped up and done everything to continue what Martin started at the Wildcats. Every game Norton played against an Import and/or All-NBL level Point Guard, he has locked them down without fail. Continuously stopping the opposition teams best offensive power at the Guard position. Simon, on the other hand, has been a Defensive stats Machine. Averaging the most steals in the league (1.9) and averaging 0.7 Blocks a game, Simon has single handily carried the Hawks on the defensive end for most of their season. However, I do predict that Norton is going to win. Not by a lot, and only because he was able to continuously shutdown the oppositions best guard while Simon has lacked in the department.

Sixth Man of the Year: Jo Lual-Acuil (Should be Ben Moore)

Sixth Man of the year has been the toughest to Predict. Mainly because my pick for Sixth Man, Ben Moore, didn’t make the cut of 3 for some reason. So let us go through the 3 shall we. Hopson only got in because of his late season performances off the bench. Kyle Adnam only got into this because he showed that he was a great Point guard… While he was starting because Sykes was out injured. So that leaves JLA. And the only reason why he wasn’t starting this year was because United got a Powerhouse in Landale. In short, my Winner is Ben Moore, but because he wasn’t in the final 3, it’s JLA.

Most Improved Player: Sam Froling and Jordan Hunter

MIP has been one of the hardest to choose. So, I’ve decided for a draw between Sam Froling and Jordan Hunter. Both deserve to win for different reasons. Froling, who is an NBA prospect, became Illawarra’s 3rd option on Offense and a Blocking Machine, becoming one of Australia’s “Next Big Things”. While there was a base of stats for Froling to build upon, and he has improved massively, Hunter started from basically nothing this season and has become Sydney’s Starting Centre since the retirement of Andrew Bogut. Hunter, who previously was Bogut’s ‘back up’, has grown enormously under the wings of Head Coach Adam Forde and Boomers Great Luc Longley. So, prediction: it will probably go to Froling, for that NBA push that the League wants to give out (Hi Lamelo Ball). But both men deserve it equally. 

ALL-NBL First Team

Outside: Bryce Cotton

Outside: Tyler Harvey

Outside: Nathan Sobey

Inside: John Mooney

Inside: Jock Landale

ALL-NBL Second Team

Outside: Mitch McCarron

Outside: Casper Ware

Outside: Mitch Creek

Inside: Finn Delany

Inside: Daniel Johnson

Edit: Daniel Johnson was robbed. How Goulding can get in and Johnson can’t is ridiculous. I guess being “the face of the league” helps in the long run. This not to knock off Goulding or anything but I think Johnson had a better Year. That’s just my opinion.

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