Expert panel nominates NBL season award candidates

The NBL announced its list of nominated contenders for season awards, that was submitted by a panel of experts. The panel of experts for the awards included Cam Tragardh, Liam Santamaria, Casey Frank, Lachy Reid, John Casey, Roy Ward, Matt Logue, Olgun Uluc and Greg Davis. All head coaches are eligible for the Lindsay Gaze Trophy for Coach of the Year.

The nominations list includes a broad list of candidates, with 15 nominees for MVP, seven names for Most Improved Player, 10 for Best Sixth Man, and eight for Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY).

Sydney's Andrew Bogut --who won both MVP and DPOY awards last season-- returns as a nominee in both those categories. Mitch McCarron, whose defensive capabilities were recently highlighted in an ESPN feature by Warren Yiu, made the nomination for DPOY award.

Taipans big man Cam Oliver, who was featured by The Pick and Roll's Brad Winter in November last year as a potential superstar, has anchored a high-octane Cairns team on both ends this season, helping lead an unexpected charge to the postseason. Adelaide guard Jerome Randle, who was interviewed by The Pick and Roll's Kristian Amenta on leadership and winning back in December, was also nominated for MVP.

Coaches and captains from each of the nine teams will now vote on the nominations, with no coach or captain allowed to vote for a player from their own team.

The Pick and Roll's Jacob Doole, who has been covering the NBL awards race since season start, highlighted his own picks for the various awards. In his latest edition last round, Bryce Cotton led the MVP race, followed by honourable mentions in Lamar Patterson, Scott Machado, DJ Newbill and Casper Ware. The league's release highlighted a list of eligible rookies in their release, but LaMelo Ball remained Doole's top contender for Rookie of the Year, and fellow rookies Kouat Noi, RJ Hampton as runners up. Hampton was confirmed to be returning to the United States earlier on Tuesday. Will Magnay led the chase for Most Improved Player in the update, with honourable mentions going to Dane Pineau, DJ Newbill and Sunday Dech. Eric Griffin was Jacob's pick for Best Sixth Man, with Brisbane guard Jason Cadee the runner up.

The 2020 NBL Andrew Gaze MVP Awards, held in Melbourne, will be broadcast live on ESPN, SBS On Demand and NBL TV from 8.30pm AEDT on 16 February.

NBL nomination candidate list

Andrew Gaze MVP

Andrew Bogut (Sydney)

Bryce Cotton (Perth)

Cam Oliver (Cairns)

Casper Ware (Sydney)

Daniel Johnson (Adelaide)

DJ Newbill (Cairns)

Jerome Randle (Adelaide)

John Roberson (South East Melbourne)

Jae'Sean Tate (Sydney)

Lamar Patterson (Brisbane)

Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne)

Nick Kay (Perth)

Scotty Hopson (New Zealand)

Shawn Long (Melbourne)

Scott Machado (Cairns)

Most Improved Player

Anthony Drmic (Adelaide)

Dane Pineau (South East Melbourne)

Majok Deng (Cairns)

Mirko Djeric (Cairns)

Shaun Bruce (Sydney)

Sunday Dech (Illawarra)

Will Magnay (Brisbane)

Best Sixth Man

Brandon Ashley (New Zealand)

Clint Steindl (Perth)

Daniel Kickert (Sydney)

Eric Griffin (Adelaide)

Jason Cadee (Brisbane)

Kyle Adnam (South East Melbourne)

Mirko Djeric (Cairns)*

Nate Jawai (Cairns)

Shaun Bruce (Sydney)

Will Magnay (Brisbane)

*Eligibility contingent on whether he qualifies by the cut-off date of February 10

Defensive Player of the Year

Andrew Bogut (Sydney)

Cam Oliver (Cairns)

Casper Ware (Sydney)

Dane Pineau (South East Melbourne)

DJ Newbill (Cairns)

Mitch McCarron (Melbourne)

Sunday Dech (Illawarra)

Will Magnay (Brisbane)

Eligible for Rookie of the Year

Anthony Fisher (Cairns)

Angus Glover (Illawarra)

Ethan Rusbatch (New Zealand)

George Blagojevic (Cairns)

Jordan Hunter (Sydney)

Kouat Noi (Cairns)

LaMelo Ball (Illawarra)

RJ Hampton (New Zealand)

Sam Froling (Illawarra)

Sam McDaniel (Melbourne)

Terry Armstrong (South East Melbourne)

Wani Swaka Lo Buluk (Perth)