Five talking points from the 2023 NBL Blitz
MVP, most improved candidates, Next Stars, lineup questions and more.
1. Tyler Cook immediately playing like a star
The MVP of this year’s NBL Blitz being awarded to an injury replacement that had only been in the country for ten days, was not something I had on my radar. Not only did Cook quickly fit in and prove an adequate cover for Alan Williams, but he showed himself to be a superior player.
The strength and athleticism, mixed in with some ball-handling chops had him looking like NBL Giannis. Defensively, he could mix it up inside, as well as switch out onto the most dangerous perimeter players without you feeling like it was a problem.
What happens once Williams is healthy has been a constant discussion, with the consensus among reporting being that he’s only here for a short stint before chasing the NBA or bigger money overseas. Will another NBL team fork out big money to keep him around once their season doesn’t start the way they thought?
Even if the South East Melbourne Phoenix wanted to keep him, it’s not going to be at the expense of Williams, who is in the first of a two-year deal. Moving on from one of their guard imports to commit to a Williams, Cook, and Creek front court trio would also fail to maximise any of those three players, as they all want to occupy similar space.
What might happen is that Williams is given an extra week or two to be back at 110%, rather than rejoining at 90%. Even that option is only if Cook can resist and put off any future overseas deal that long though — his play might be too good.
2. Most improved contenders emerge
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