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NBL MVP Race: November
The NBL’s MVP race heated up in November, with a number of stars staking their claim for top honours as we approach the midway point of season 2013/14.
*Ranking (Last Month’s Rank)
1. (1) James Ennis
It was business as usual for Ennis throughout November, with Perth dropping just one game – their first for the season – and their star import playing a typically huge role in his team’s success. Ennis shot at 50% from the field through six games in November, whilst posting averages of 20.6ppg and 7.5rpg, including a stellar 33-point effort against Cairns to pull his team over the line the overtime. With season averages of 22.2ppg and 7.2rpg, along with a highlight reel that would be double the length than that of any other player in the league, there can be little dispute that the Wildcats star is leading the race to be crowned MVP right now.
2. (7) Chris Goulding
Goulding was the form player of the competition in November and deserves elite status despite Melbourne’s mediocre return of a 3-3 record for the month. Goulding was explosive, averaging a whopping 27.5ppg and shooting at 49% from the field. His season averages of 25.8ppg, 3.7rpg and 3.3apg classify him as the elite shooting guard of the competition and if Melbourne’s fortunes turn around over the course of the next month or two then there is little doubt over his credentials to seriously challenge Ennis for the title of league MVP.
3. (4) Gary Ervin
Ervin’s 36ers enjoyed a big month in November, going undefeated and closing the gap on Perth at the top with a victory over the Wildcats. Their star point guard led the way with some huge performances, with his five games garnering averages of 20.8ppg and 5.6apg. His shooting percentage, however, was just 43% and is once more something that is slowing him down somewhat. Despite that, his season numbers of 19ppg, 3.9rpg and 5.4apg are outstanding for a point guard, and with Adelaide’s success he is right in the mix for top individual honours at season’s end.
4. (2) AJ Ogilvy
Ogilvy started off November in blistering form, with the Kings big man dropping 19.2ppg and grabbing 11.2rpg, including a monster 22-point, 13-rebound performance against Adelaide. However, Ogilvy’s numbers hit a snag with the arrival of Sam Young in Sydney, and in his last two matches for the month he managed just 8ppg and 7.5rpg, including a massive blowout loss to Perth which garnered season lows of just six points and three rebounds in 20 minutes. Ogilvy is still averaging a very impressive 15.8ppg and 10rpg whilst shooting at 53% from the field and can push for the MVP award given the Kings good form, however Young’s inclusion into the line-up puts a serious question mark over his numbers from here on in.
5. (3) Shawn Redhage
Redhage started off November slowly, but a huge performance in Adelaide despite suffering defeat was the catalyst for a return to form late. His November averages of 16.3ppg and 6rpb come with an asterix given they include an 8-point effort in just ten minutes of game time against Cairns that garnered just one rebound as well, however his 3.5 turnovers per contest is a number which needs to drop in December if he wants to climb the rankings. However season numbers of 16.9ppg and 5.7rpg, as well as just under 50% shooting from the field and 92% at the line are hard to argue with.
6. (8) Daniel Johnson
Johnson played a huge part in Adelaide’s November success, averaging 19.8ppg and 8rpg in five contests while shooting at a very impressive 55%. Consistency has always been the question mark over his game, however the star big man scored between 16 and 24 points in every one of his matches in November as his side went undefeated. His season numbers of 18.1ppg and 6.9rpg could be on their way up even further if ‘DJ’ can continue his strong form, with more team success undoubtedly on the cards as well.
7. (5) Alex Loughton
Loughton was another player who started off the month slowly, however hot shooting and some impressive stat lines followed despite Cairns going 0-6 on the month and plummeting to the bottom of the ladder. His returns for the month are modest at first glance, with 14ppg and 4.8rpg hardly eye-catching. However the Taipans big man shot the ball at 50% and managed to fill the stat sheet with impressive lines, topped by his 18-point, 10-rebound effort against Wollongong which included five dimes. After failing to register a single steal in his first five games, Loughton also managed to collect nine over the last four matches in November. He will struggle to climb back up the rankings, however, if his team continues to fail.
8. (-) Josh Pace
Pace has somewhat flown under the radar so far this season, with the likes of Ennis, Goulding and Ervin grabbing all the headlines of late. However Townsville are on the brink of the top four and their star import has had a lot to do with that, with an extremely serviceable 17ppg and 6.4rpg across five games coming with a 52% clip from the floor. The Crocs are moving up the table and Pace’s stocks are continually on the rise, with his season numbers of 16.8ppg and 5.8rpg good for seventh-best in the league right now.
9. (9) Rotnei Clarke
Clarke had an inconsistent shooting month but still managed to 21ppg and lead his side to a much-needed victory and some much-improved performances. Take away a 40-point drubbing at the hands of Perth, which saw Clarke managed just 7 points on 3-13 FG and 4 turnovers, and his numbers for November were as good as anybody else’s in the league. His season-high 36-point effort in a close loss to New Zealand followed his season-low and highlighted his inconsistent tendencies, with is shooting percentage for the season at 45%. If Wollongong can win a few more games in December there is no doubt Clarke will be in the thick of it and we will see him rise in the rankings.
10. (-) Damian Martin
While it is unlikely Martin will win MVP behind Ennis and Redhage, he makes the list for November as a way of recognising his hard work and brilliant efforts and would definitely be deserving of the award. The Wildcats guard continually does it all on a weekly basis. His November averages of 10ppg, 5rpg and 4.3apg don’t tell the whole story, with his shooting at 55% from both the field and from long distance and, perhaps most impressively, he managed 3 steals per contest over the month yet turned the ball over just 2.1 times per game. Martin is the epitome of efficiency and hard work, and is a massive reason why the Wildcats are flying right now.
*Dropped out: Kerron Johnson, Mark Worthington
On the Fringe:
Keep an eye on these guys in the next month:
Sam Young, Mika Vukona, Mark Worthington, Kerron Johnson, Cameron Tragardh