#NBLrank The Greatest Players of all Time – Shooting Guard

#NBLrank The Greatest Players of all Time – Shooting Guard

With less than a month until the launch of the NBL season, the Aussie Hoopla staff has put together a list of the best NBL players of all time.

 

All-Time #NBLrank continues with this article ranking the best shooting guards in NBL history.

Click here to see our top five point guards in NBL history.

 

To create all-time #NBLrank, the Aussie Hoopla writing team have all voted on the greatest players to play at each position as well as a few select other criteria.

 

logo3Each Aussie Hoopla writer has made their decisions, but now we want to hear from YOU!

 

We will be unveiling the results of each position week by week but be sure to vote for whom you think should be #1 at each position below or tweet us your thoughts by using hashtag #NBLrank.

 

5. KEVIN LISCH

Listen to Aussie Hoopla’s podcast with Kevin Lisch

 

Played for:

  • Perth Wildcats 2009-2013
  • Illawarra Hawks 2015-2016
  • Sydney Kings 2016-present

 

Kevin Lisch has accomplished more in five seasons than most NBL players have done in their whole career.  He is a part of two extremely selective groups that alone make him worthy of making this list:

1. There are only four players in the 046314-kevin-lischhistory of the NBL who have won the Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season – Leroy Loggins (1987), Sam Mackinnon (2006-07), Chris Anstey (2007-08) and Kevin Lisch (2015-16).

2. There have only been six multiple MVP winners since the league started – Andrew Gaze (7), Leroy Loggins (3), Chris Anstey (2), Rob Rose (2), Scott Fisher (2) and Kevin Lisch (2).

 

To accomplish all of this, including an NBL championship and three All-NBL First Team selections, in only five seasons is astounding.

 

A crafty, lights out shooter that arrived in Australia directly from Saint Louis University where he was a highly decorated player, Lisch started slowly in his NBL career for the Perth Wildcats.  At the end of the season, he had an NBL championship and a Larry Sengstock Trophy for MVP of the Grand Finals series.

 

His career expanded from there, being named a co-winner of Perth’s MVP in 2010-11 while going one better the next year, winning the league’s MVP.  The 2011-12 season was his first of three consecutive selections to the All-NBL First team and after only four seasons Lisch was named to Perth’s 30th Anniversary team in 2012-13.

 

After all of that, his 2015-16 season for the Illawarra Hawks would be his greatest season to date.  In arguably the best, most competitive and talented NBL season to date, Lisch was the best of the best.  The campaign yielded an MVP award, Defensive Player of the Year Award and an All-NBL First Team trophy.  He also had the league season record with points, scoring forty against New Zealand in a double overtime classic.

 

Moving to Sydney for the new season, Lisch has the chance to create NBL history by being the first player to win three NBL MVP awards for three different teams.  Lisch and Rob Rose are the only two players to win multiple MVP awards with multiple teams and after last season there is a good chance of Lisch making history.

 

Career Statistics (per game averages in brackets)

Points – 2,417 (15.4)

Assists – 446 (2.8)

Rebounds – 497 (3.2)

Steals – 185 (1.2)

Blocks – 25 (0.2)

Shooting Percentages – 43% FG, 38% 3PT, 81% FT

 

Awards:

  • 1x NBL Champion (2010)
  • 2x NBL MVP (2012, 2016)
  • 3x All-NBL First Team (2012, 2013, 2016)
  • 1x NBL Grand Final MVP (2010)
  • 1x NBL Defensive Player of the Year (2016)
  • Member of Australian Boomers Olympic Team (2016)

 

4. BRETT MAHER

Listen to Aussie Hoopla’s podcast with Brett Maher

 

Played for:

  • Adelaide 36ers 1992-2009

 

There aren’t many people that encapsulate a city as much as Brett Maher does for Adelaide.  He was born in the South Australian capital, played his junior basketball there, played for the 36ers for eighteen seasons, captained them for thirteen of those and is the owner of eight Adelaide 36ers club records.  In his last season, the 36ers renamed their home court “The Brett Maher Court” in 2009.

 

Maher’s career started slowly in 1992, shooting 36% from the field a371141-brett-mahernd 13% from three in his first year.  In nine of the subsequent ten seasons, his scoring average increased, plateauing at 22 points a game in 2002.   During that time, he had won three NBL championships, two Larry Sengstock medals, two All-Star appearances and an All-NBL First Team selection.  His career was worthy of the term superstar.

 

With the departure of Darnell Mee for Cairns in 2002 and his 30th birthday around the corner, Maher had to change his game.  The additions of Martin Catallini and Dusty Rychart in 2003 created that change, with Maher becoming more of a passer and distributor.

 

His scoring numbers were still elite, but his assists and overall control of the game grew exponentially, going from 2.9 assists per game in 2000 to 7.0 assists per game in 2005.  His new found sharing skills earned him two more All-Star appearances, two more All-NBL First Team selections, and his only All-NBL Second Team selection.

 

More than statistics, what makes Brett Maher one of the all-time great NBL players is his leadership.  For thirteen years Maher led his 36ers from the front, always leading by example and doing everything for his team, the fans and the city of Adelaide.

 

Leadership in sport cannot be understated, and Maher was one of the best.  He corralled massive names such as Mark Davis, Darnell Mee, Martin Catallini, Dusty Rychart, Willie Farley, Kevin Brooks and Paul Rogers and found success.

 

A spectacular shooter that didn’t stop moving, Maher was as pure a player as anyone.  His ability to adapt his game to the needs of the team was admirable and his ability to lead a team without compromising his own game makes him a top five shooting guard in the history of the NBL.

 

Career Statistics (per game averages in brackets)

Points – 8,931 (17.0)

Assists – 2,267 (4.3)

Rebounds – 2,313 (4.4)

Steals – 703 (1.3)

Blocks – 64 (0.1)

Shooting Percentages – 44% FG, 41% 3PT, 85% FT

 

Awards:

  • 4x NBL All-Star (1996, 1997, 2005, 2006)
  • 3x NBL Champion (1998, 1999, 2002)
  • 2x NBL Grand Final MVP (1999, 2002)
  • 3x All-NBL First Team (2000, 2003, 2006)
  • 1x All-NBL Second Team (2005)
  • 1x All-NBL Third Team (2002)
  • 1x Gaze Medal Winner (2001)
  • 7th All-Time in Games Played
  • 7th All-Time in Assists
  • 11th All-Time in Points
  • 11th All-Time in Steals
  • Number retired at Adelaide
  • Adelaide 36ers home court named “Brett Maher Court.”

 

3. LANARD COPELAND

Listen to Aussie Hoopla’s podcast with Lanard Copeland

 

Played for:

  • Melbourne Tigers 1992-2005
  • Brisbane Bullets 2005-2006
  • Adelaide 36ers 2006-2008

 

There have been some iconic duos in the NBL over its 37 years.  Grace and Crawford, Brooks and Mee, Loggins and Heal, Vlahov and Fisher, Penney and Bruton.  However, one pair stands out above all others:

 

Gaze and Copeland.2015-10-action

 

Those two coupled with one of the best big men ever in Mark Bradtke led a resurgence in basketball in Melbourne in the 1990s and the call “Gaze to Copeland for the alley oop” was frequently heard at Melbourne Park.  Their high flying and high scoring brand of basketball wowed fans and cemented Copeland as a superstar of the game.

 

A scorer that was adept at not only driving to the basket with his quickness and strength but also devastated teams with range to past the three-point line, his skill and longevity placed him fourth all-time on the total points list with 10735 points from 532 games.

 

His scoring ability wasn’t the only thing “Copes” was known for as he was a renowned trash talker.  His quick wit and cheeky smile endeared himself to all basketball fans, much to the chagrin of his opponents who had to endure his constant chattering all game long.

 

For someone as talented as Copeland, he didn’t get the accolades that he probably deserved, with only two All-NBL First Team selections and a Larry Sengstock trophy in seventeen years.  The lack of silverware may be due to his higher profiled teammates who stole focus from him.  It shows his exceptional character, as a more selfish player would have complained or let his output slide.

 

Lanard Copeland is one of the biggest hypotheticals in all Australian basketball.  He played with two of the best NBL players of all time in Andrew Gaze and Mark Bradtke in his fourteen-year career at the Melbourne Tigers.  In eleven of those years, he averaged over 20 points a game and was a major contributor in their two NBL championships.

 

The question is, how good would he have been if he was a number one option on a team instead of sharing it spotlight?

 

Career Statistics (per game averages in brackets)

Points – 10,735 (20.2)

Assists – 1,577 (3.0)

Rebounds – 1,955 (3.7)

Steals – 641 (1.2)

Blocks – 251 (0.5)

Shooting Percentages – 44% FG, 35% 3PT, 80% FT

 

Awards:

  • 2x NBL Champion (1993, 1997)
  • 1x NBL Grand Final MVP (1997)
  • 2x All-NBL First Team (1999, 2002)
  • 4th All-Time in Points
  • Number retired at Melbourne

 

2. ROBERT ROSE

Listen to Aussie Hoopla’s podcast with Robert Rose

 

Played for:

  • South East Melbourne Magic 1992-1993
  • Adelaide 36ers 1994-1995
  • Canberra Cannons 1996-1998
  • Townsville Crocodiles 1999-2006
  • Cairns Taipans 2007

 

For players who have competed in at least 150 games, there are only three to a20051210-9969_e-sverage five rebounds and five assists per game for their career: Andrew Gaze, Darnell Mee and Robert Rose.  Add two MVP awards, five All-NBL First Team selections, and an NBL championship and it’s obvious that Rose is an all-time great.

 

Starting with the South East Melbourne Magic in 1992, Rose made an immediate impact.  Leading a stacked team that included Bruce Bolden, John Dorge, Tony Ronaldson and Andrew Parkinson to his only NBL championship, he averaged 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals.  The next season was even better for him, averaging 19 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and three steals on his way to his first NBL MVP award.

 

Strangely enough, Rose decided to move to Adelaide for two seasons where his offensive game became more scoring orientated, leading the team in points both seasons.  The 36ers had a potent core of Rose, Mark Davis, and Brett Maher but were unfortunately denied the 1994 championship, losing to North Melbourne.

 

It was Canberra’s turn to fill its garden with a Rose and even though the Cannons had no postseason success, Rose was as good as ever.  He was named to two All-NBL First Teams and averaged a career high 27.2 points per game in 1996.

 

It wasn’t until he moved to Townsville in 1999 that the Rob Rose that most people remember came to light.  His passing rates weren’t this high since his second season at the Magic, and he received the captaincy in 1999 where he led the Crocodiles to post season success.  In 2001 Rose led his team to the Grand Final series against Wollongong and was awarded his second MVP award.  At the time he was only the fourth player to win multiple MVP awards.

 

He stayed at Townsville for eight years and had finally found a home after travelling around the country playing for different teams.  However, in 2006 and at the age of forty-two the Crocs didn’t renew his contract, so Rose moved on.  Only up the road to Cairns where he played sixteen games for the Taipans.  It was his final season, averaging career lows in all statistical categories.

 

One of the most underrated players in the history of the league, Rose was a bonafide superstar.  His all-around game was as good as anyone and it’s slightly disheartening that his name doesn’t get brought up more often.

 

Career Statistics (per game averages in brackets)

Points – 9,080 (19.0)

Assists – 2,454 (5.1)

Rebounds – 3,170 (6.6)

Steals – 817 (1.7)

Blocks – 271 (0.6)

Shooting Percentages – 43% FG, 34% 3PT, 83% FT

 

Awards:

  • 2x NBL MVP (1993, 2001)
  • 1x NBL Champion (1992)
  • 5x All-NBL First Team (1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001)
  • 1x All-NBL Second Team (2002)
  • 1x All-NBL Third Team (2003)
  • 1x NBL All-Star Game MVP (1995)
  • Member of NBL’s 25th Anniversary Team
  • 6th All-Time in Assists
  • 6th All-Time in Steals
  • 9th All-Time in Points
  • 14th All-Time in Rebounds
  • Number retired at Townsville

     

1. ANDREW GAZE

Listen to Aussie Hoopla’s podcast with Andrew Gaze

 

Played for:

  • Melbourne Tigers 1984-2005

 

It seems silly and a waste of time to explain1458982239953 why Andrew Gaze is the best shooting guard ever to play in the NBL.  The sun will rise in the morning; tall people will be called “Big Fella” and Andrew Gaze is the best player ever to play NBL.  All undeniable facts.

 

At the age of nineteen, Gaze played his first season for the Melbourne Tigers.  He averaged a lazy 29 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.  For the next fifteen years, he would average 30 points or more per game, showcased by a gaudy season in 1987.  His numbers were off the chart good with 44.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.5 steals.  Unfortunately, the Tigers went 3-23 in the season, so the MVP was awarded to Leroy Loggins and Mark Davis.

 

It wouldn’t be too long until Gaze was awarded the league’s highest honour, winning his first MVP award in 1991, his first of seven such awards.  He would also be named to the All-NBL First Team a staggering fifteen straight seasons from 1986 to 2000.

 

All the individual accolades would mean nothing if he didn’t lead Melbourne to a title.  With the help of Lanard Copeland and Mark Bradtke, he won both the 1993 and 1997 championships, and he cemented himself as the league’s best player.

 

He played until 2005 where he still averaged 20 points a game at the age of forty.  He’s first all-time in points and assists, second in games played and third in steals.  He’s played in five Olympic Games and was the flag bearer for the 2000 Sydney Games.

 

For a shooting guard, he has more rebounds than Andrew Vlahov, Chris Anstey, John Dorge and Pat Reidy.  There is a 5802-point gap between Gaze and second placed Leroy Loggins on the all-time list which is more than Shawn Redhage, Larry Sengstock, and Peter Crawford scored in their entire careers.

 

It’s easy to spout statistics to prove why Andrew Gaze is the Greatest of all Time because he is easily the greatest.  Even in 2016, his name is still mentioned when people talk about Australian basketball even though there are people 30 years old out there younger than his rookie season.

 

Without Andrew Gaze, Australian basketball wouldn’t be the same.

 

Career Statistics (per game averages in brackets)

Points – 18,908 (30.9)

Assists – 3,531 (5.8)

Rebounds – 3,096 (5.1)

Steals – 1,075 (1.8)

Blocks – 221 (0.4)

Shooting Percentages – 52% FG, 36% 3PT, 86% FT

 

Awards:

  • 2x NBL Champion (1993, 1997)
  • 7x NBL MVP (1991, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998)
  • 15x All-NBL First Team (1986-2000)
  • 1x All-NBL Second Team (2001)
  • 1x NBL Rookie of the Year (1984)
  • 6x Gaze Medal Winner (1990, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000)
  • Australian Basketball Hall of Fame (2004)
  • Sport Australia Hall of Fame (2005)
  • FIBA Hall of Fame (2013)
  • Order of Australia (2002)
  • Member of NBL’s 25th Anniversary Team
  • Named one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players (1991)
  • 5x Olympian (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000)
  • 1st All-Time in Points
  • 1st All-Time in Assists
  • 2nd All-Time in Games Played
  • 3rd All-Time in Steals
  • Highest Scoring Average for NBL Season (44.1 in 1987)
  • Number retired at Melbourne

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Author: Kyle Abbott (57 Posts)

Kyle has barracked for the North Melbourne Giants, Victoria Titans, Victoria Giants and the South Dragons. He's hoping the Melbourne United don't fold like the rest of them