Kings, Taipans lead MVP nominations

Matt Encarnacion
Perth's Bryce Cotton is a strong contender for the NBL MVP award

Three players each from ladder leaders Sydney Kings and surprise packets Cairns head a list of 15 basketballers nominated as the NBL's most valuable player this season.

Kings veteran and reigning MVP Andrew Bogut, star guard Casper Ware, and rookie Jae'Sean Tate were among those considered for the Andrew Gaze Trophy.

Taipans trio Scott Machado, DJ Newbill and Cameron Oliver are also in contention, having led Cairns from last to a likely finals spot this summer.

Perth duo Bryce Cotton and Nick Kay are also on the list, with Cotton tipped as the favourite after averaging a league-high 22.4 points per game.

It would be the second time for the American point guard if he wins the award, having led the Wildcats to the championship two years ago.

Perth, currently second heading into the final two rounds of the regular season, are vying for their fourth title in five campaigns.

Brisbane forward Lamar Patterson is a chance, as are South-East Melbourne pair Mitch Creek and John Roberson.

Patterson and Roberson are currently second and third in scoring respectively, with Roberson's 5.5 assists per game second in the league.

Melbourne United centre Shawn Long, who leads the competition in rebounds, is also among the 15 players selected by a panel of nine experts.

Bogut claimed the award in his first season back in Australia last summer, when he averaged 11.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks in 29.7 minutes a game.

This season, the former NBA star is down in each category, averaging 8.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.21 blocks in 21.7 minutes a game.

NBA draft prospects LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton missed out, however are among 12 players listed for the Rookie of the Year honour.

"This has been one of the biggest and best seasons ever in the NBL and the nominees reflect the huge depth of talent in the league," NBL boss Jeremy Loeliger said.

"Naturally there will be a number of players unlucky to miss out in what has been one of the closest and most competitive seasons in recent history.

"We've enjoyed record attendances, seen some incredible basketball and look forward to what should be an enthralling finals series."

All captains and coaches from each of the league's nine sides vote at the awards night in Melbourne on February 16.

MVP NOMINEES FOR THE 2019-20 NBL SEASON

Kings: Andrew Bogut, Casper Ware, Jae'Sean Tate

Wildcats: Bryce Cotton, Nick Kay

Taipans: Cameron Oliver, Scott Machado, DJ Newbill

Bullets: Lamar Patterson

Breakers: Scott Hopson

Melbourne United: Shawn Long

36ers: Daniel Johnson, Jerome Randle

Phoenix: Mitch Creek, John Roberson.