Teams have now played somewhere between a third and half of their regular season games so it’s time to check out the MVP contenders based on early season form. MVP Contenders Team GP PTS FG% 3P% REB AST STL BLK TOV Damian Johnson BEN 11 15.5 49.3 37.5 9.2 4.0 1.5 2.5 2.5 Isaih Tueta BRI 9 18.0 49.1 46.7 5.2 4.9 0.7 0.2 2.2 Jarrad Weeks HOB 10 21.5 46.2 33.8 3.6 4.5 1.6 0.2 3.2 Jeremy Kendle BEN 11 25.5 47.8 32.6 6.6 3.2 1.2 0.4 3.2 Garrett Jackson NWT 10 25.0 52.1 43.6 8.2 3.0 1.3 0.3 3.6 Roy Booker BAL 8 27.2 47.8 47.8 3.8 5.1 0.8 0.1 3.4 Daequon Montreal DAN 9 25.2 48.8 29.9 6.9 2.0 1.1 0.3 2.0 Brad Hill MTG 10 17.1 46.8 40.7 6.9 2.6 0.9 0.4 2.2 Nathan Herbert GEE 10 20.4 49.1 43.1 4.3 2.0 0.7 0.3 2.0 Shane Southwell HOB 10 18.8 39.1 38.7 7.4 2.3 1.2 0.7 1.7 Damian Johnson (Bendigo) – Although he is coming off a rare quiet game, DJ’s impact on both ends of the floor has been unrivalled with his play propelling the Braves to the number one rank on both ends of the floor (per 100 possessions). Johnson protects the rim, gets his hands in passing lanes, and can switch and defend one through five. Offensively, he’s an imposing figure, with his strength to finish through contact or elevate for a dunk, whilst he’s also a terrific passer for his position and regularly finds cutters or teammates spotting up on the opposite wing. He’s not a strong jump shooter but he’s hit enough to be respected.
Isaih Tueta (Brisbane) – The Spartans are the hottest team in the league right now (riding a six game win streak) and have posted an 8-1 record with Izzy in the line-up. The team has thrived with just one legitimate big on the floor surrounded by talented guards and athletes that can interchange among themselves. Izzy’s a competitor and a good rebounder on defense, whilst he’s a smart decision maker, ball mover and efficient offensive player. He’s mastered both the floater and the short jumper in the paint and is also hitting 46.7% from deep. As a creator, he looks after the ball, penetrates, and also pushes it in transition to find guys for easy layups, dunks or threes.
Jarrad Weeks (Hobart) – The Chargers have been the story of the season and it’s been Weeks’ boundless energy game after game that’s drove them up the standings into contention. He’s shared the ball-handling with Tom Wright and Tiri Masunda but has still played on ball enough to dominate opponents by slicing his way to the rim, attacking in transition, drawing fouls or nailing a jump shot out of the pick and roll. His energy creeps over to the other end of the floor where he has shown he can be a pesky on ball defender with quick hands and a constant threat to turn defense into a quick transition bucket.
Jeremy Kendle (Bendigo) – Kendle is the firepower behind the number one offense in the league and is equally a threat on or off the ball. He went through a bit of a shooting slump from deep early in the season but his range is unquestionable and he can light you up for double figures in a few minutes with ease. He’s super aggressive off the dribble, either getting to the rim (where he has finished very efficiently so far) or pulling up for his jumper, and he has shown some nice chemistry with Damian Johnson with both guys regularly finding each other on cuts or in space.
Garrett Jackson (NW Tasmania) – Jackson is almost the prototypical power forward that you would be after in this league. He’s quick enough to switch and guard most of the wings whilst he’s also strong enough to rebound and defend the post against most (although he’s not much of a rim protector). He’s a fluid athlete and can handle the ball which means he can create driving lanes to the hoop, play in transition, set up his teammates, or even show off a euro-step finish. Whilst he’s not a high volume guy from deep, he can stretch the floor efficiently from three or mid-range but his strength is certainly in going to the rim.
Roy Booker (Ballarat) – The league's leading scorer (per game). Booker’s ability to hit a high amount of off the dribble and contested threes is probably unrivalled (maybe only Deba George when he is up and going) in this league and it’s no fluke given the awesome shot making he has shown over multiple seasons. The Miners are 5-3 in games that he has played this season and they have an multiple options in an up tempo offense that can rival anyone. Booker shares the ball carrying duties, and whilst he’s most certainly a score first guard, he does flash some good vision off his own penetration to find open three point shooters or bigs for easy layups when he wants to. Defensively, Ballarat have work to do (15th in points allowed per 100 possessions) and Booker can be slow to fight through screens or inconsistent with his effort.
Daequon Montreal (Dandenong) – The Rangers are 5-4 with DQ in the line-up and they’ve regularly been killed as a team with player availability. Montreal is the reigning MVP and fresh off a 34 point performance (and win) against the number one defense in the league. He’s been a handful in the paint attacking off the dribble, getting deep catches, using nifty spins and scoop finishes, and he will hurt you in transition if you don’t have the right matchup for him. His jumper has been a little inconsistent so far but he certainly has that in the arsenal. If Dandenong can get more consistent availability from their roster then they can still make a move towards conference title contention (a similar type of story for Albury-Wodonga).
Brad Hill (Mt Gambier) – The Pioneers group of Hill, Tom Daly, Erik Burdon, Luke Jamieson, Tyrone Lee and Desmond Simmons are all very even with their production and make for a six man combination that cannot be matched around the league (title favourites again). Hill gets the nod here thanks to his do-it-all game at this level with his versatility on both ends of the floor. He’s got a bouncy kind of dribble game that is above average for his position, he loves to create, he can rebound, and his jump shot has been on so far.
Nathan Herbert (Geelong) – The defense has been solid all season with Eric Gaff in the middle (3rd in defensive rating) but Herbert has helped keep the offense ticking over with some scorching shooting numbers with Nick Owusu on the sidelines. Spatialjam.com has him hitting over half of his mid-range attempts to go along with 43.1% three point shooting. He’s nailed jumpers from all over the floor, whether that’s off a one or two dribble pull up, running off a screen, hitting via a hand off or spotting up with his teammate penetrating.
Shane Southwell (Hobart) –The Chargers have played with a three guard line-up, as well as Southwell at PF (he’s more of a natural SF build), but despite these factors, they’ve managed to post the second best defensive rating in the league. Southwell has the defensive versatility to work in a system like this with his long arms getting in passing lanes, he has enough strength to handle most bigs, and also the quickness to switch onto wings. Offensively, he’s reliant on his jump shot (where he has shot an above average percentage from deep) whilst he can handle the ball a bit and has shown some decent passing to cutters.
Next group: Gary Johnson, Shane McDonald, Donte Nicholas, Mathiang Muo, Ollie Bailey, Earnest Ross, Tom Wright, Deba George, Eric Gaff, Luke Jamieson, Tom Daly, Greg Mays, Ari Stewart, Desmond Simmons, Tim Coenraad, Ben Allen, Andrew Harms, Demarcus Gatlin, Simon Conn, Joel Naburgs, Lucas Walker, Kyle Adnam, Tim Lang, Tyrone Lee, William McDowell-White.