The 2017/18 NBL season has come and gone it what seems like an instant, so it’s again time to unveil the best of the best: The Aussie Hoopla NBL Awards. Over the coming days, Aussie Hoopla will reveal the best Rookie, Sixth Man, Defensive Player, Coach, Most Improved and Most Valuable Player. Check back every day to see who won each award.
2017/18 NBL Rookie of the Year
The freshman batch wasn’t as good as previous year’s crops, but there is still a lot to like from these young guys. Seventeen first-year players entered at least one game this season*, but only two of them played serious minutes. Those two were the only ones to average at least ten minutes per game, which makes this decision very straightforward.
Dane Pineau – Sydney Kings
After playing four good seasons at St Mary’s, Pineau started his professional career slowly. However, with the Kings struggling to win games, his minutes and production improved. His highest score for the season was eleven points on 5/5 shooting in Sydney’s win against Perth and was one of only five Sydney players to grab double-digit rebounds in a single game with ten. Pineau also blocked multiple shots in a game three times. His future is bright in the NBL now that he has a season under his belt.
Isaac Humphries – Sydney Kings
At only 19 years old, Humphries has shown that he has potential to be a star big man in the league for years to come. After two middling seasons with the mighty University of Kentucky, Humphries decided to forgo his last two college years to go professional. That seems to have been a good decision because Humphries winning the Rookie of the Year award is as close to a lock as possible.
Although there were rookie mistakes, he showed enough to illuminate an otherwise dreary Sydney season. His best game came in a loss to the Sixers, with 17 points, ten rebounds and two steals in 25 minutes on 8/10 field goals. He topped double-figure points five other times. He also led the team with four steals in a game and blocked multiple shots six times, also a team high.
If Humphries can continue his progression, there’s a high chance that the Kings have their anchor for many years to come. This league has moved towards a guard-heavy game, but guys like Josh Boone, Daniel Johnson and AJ Ogilvy have shown that there will always be a place for big men in this competition.
*Isaac Humphries (SYD), Dane Pineau (SYD), James Hunter (NZB), Will Magnay (BRI), Lochlan Cummings (PER), Caleb Davis (ADE), Adam Thoseby (SYD), Mitchell Newton (NZB), Sam Daly (SYD), Felix Von Hofe (MEL), Nic Pozoglou (ILL), Kuany Kuany (CNS), Christian Jurlina (SYD), Samuel Short (MEL), Darcy Malone (SYD), Tyrell Harrison (BRI), Deng Acouth (SYD)