After each round of the NBL season, I’ll be taking a look at three ‘winners’ and three ‘losers’ from the events of the preceding week. Anyone, or anything, is eligible…
The 4 x 5 Club
A.J. Ogilvy stuffed the stat sheet like a Christmas turkey on Friday night as the Hawks avoided a 4-0 series sweep to the Kings. With 16 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals, A.J. qualified for the prestigious 4 x 5 club by posting at least five stats across four categories.
We were closing in on two years since an NBL player had joined the 4 x 5 Club before A.J.’s night out in Sydney. This is a list of club members since the 2011-12 season (Cedric Jackson has platinum status):
|23 December 2016||A.J. Ogilvy||Illawarra Hawks||16||7||5||5 (steals)|
|27 February 2015||Damian Martin||Perth Wildcats||7||8||5||6 (steals)|
|8 January 2015||Cedric Jackson||New Zealand Breakers||18||7||9||6 (steals)|
|27 December 2014||Cam Gliddon||Cairns Taipans||11||6||5||5 (steals)|
|19 December 2014||Rhys Martin||Wollongong Hawks||9||5||5||5 (steals)|
|9 November 2014||Josh Childress||Sydney Kings||36||19||7||5 (blocks)|
|2 November 2014||Adam Gibson||Adelaide 36ers||34||6||9||6 (steals)|
|7 March 2014||Damian Martin||Perth Wildcats||18||8||8||5 (steals)|
|7 March 2013||Cedric Jackson||New Zealand Breakers||17||9||7||6 (steals)|
|1 February 2013||Cedric Jackson||New Zealand Breakers||22||5||8||5 (steals)|
|28 October 2011||Cedric Jackson||New Zealand Breakers||7||5||6||6 (steals)|
The Most Improved Player at both ends of the floor
Another week, another reason to sing the praises of Nathan Sobey. It’s high time that the runaway winner of this season’s NBL Most Improved Player award received some props for his efforts at the defensive end of the floor.
Charged with the responsibility of guarding Perth’s offensive fulcrum, Casey Prather, on Thursday night, the 36ers guard proved himself well and truly up to the task. Consecutive plays in the third quarter of Adelaide’s win encapsulated Sobey’s rising defensive IQ.
Watch here as he backtracks on a Prather fast break, picks his Euro-step and avoids fouling while putting just enough pressure on to worry Prather out of the finish.
Next trip down the floor, and he’s in the right place at the right time to snuff out a Prather-McKay pick and roll and wrestle away the ball for a steal.
It’s hard to find a better story in the NBL this season than Sobey’s meteoric rise.
Oscar Forman and Nate Tomlinson both earned a mention in the winners list this week, but I had to find a way to merge them into one, so here we are. I think I pulled it off.
After three straight games in which he failed to trouble the scorers, Oscar lit the Kings up for six triples for the second time this season. His 24 points were a season best, and his highest output since October 2015, when he also scored a season-high 24 against – you guessed it – the Kings.
Tomlinson only nailed four long-range bombs in Melbourne’s demolition job on the Bullets on Boxing Day, but they were daggers. Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis noted the significant timing of Tomlinson’s work.
“There’s moments in games as well, of course. So I think towards the end of that third quarter we got it back to eight [it was actually nine], and Nate Tomlinson stuck two threes on us. You know, good on him.”
The JJ situation
There’s not much to say here that hasn’t already been said. As I wrote earlier this week, the Wildcats will not be proud of the way they’ve treated Jaron Johnson.
Prior to Perth’s last two losses, Wildcat legend Andrew Vlahov called for action to keep their playoff streak alive. “For us to sit and do nothing would be, I think, difficult to stomach.”
It’s difficult to stomach either way. For the Wildcats’ sake, let’s hope this latest move sparks a reversal of fortune.
Brisbane’s Boxing Day massacre
Sure, there were extenuating circumstances for the Bullets. They’ve just loss Cam Bairstow for the season, and their imports both appeared hobbled after missing training during the week through injury.
Unfortunately, there isn’t an excuse in the book to justify a 38-point shellacking. The Bullets became the second team this season, behind Perth, to fail to reach the 60-point mark in a game. Without Bairstow, they just don’t appear to have the offensive firepower to keep up at the moment. Surely they’ll follow the lead of a couple of other teams currently outside the top four, and call for reinforcements.
It lived up to its reputation to a tee, closing the roof on the Hisense Arena Boxing Day party. Classic Melbourne.