IN our newest countdown series wrapping up the 2020 Sal’s National Basketball League (NBL) Showdown, we look at our top 20 players that took to the court this year. While it was an incredibly difficult list to create, we have had a mix of pure domination, defensive efforts and eye-catchers to form this list.
#10 JARROD KENNY
The equal New Zealand NBL Defensive Player of the Year kicks off our Top 10 countdown in what was a unique kind of season for the man with basketball’s most famous (former) mullet. Kenny blasted out of the blocks early with a 28-point opening game to hand the returning Otago Nuggets a win in their first game of the season. From then on, it was less about Kenny being a high-volume scorer, and more about bringing teammates into the game. He finished the year as the fourth most prolific playmaker in the competition, averaging an impressive 5.2 assists per game.
While managing the 11.2 points, 1.4 steals and 3.9 rebounds as well, it was Kenny’s offensive smarts and basketball IQ that set him aside from a lot of other players. His ability to find that pinpoint pass to teammates or open up scoring lanes with the split second reflex or change in direction that caught opponents off guard. It was hard to believe that Kenny still only averaged the 27.2 minutes on court, though that was weighed by the two-way player being managed through a number of games in the condensed season.
Not only was he able to hit the near-impossible pass to his teammates inside the arc, but he was able to make the most of his scoring chances, finishing the season as one of the most deadly accurate shooters. He might not have been a high-volume shooter, but he was a high-value one. A remarkable 67.8 per cent from inside the arc and 39.7 per cent from outside it, as well as 78.4 per cent when taking a trip to the free throw line, Kenny could do it all.
His season was so impressive it earned him another contract with Cairns Taipans in the Australian NBL for the 2020/21 season which tips off in December, and by then the fans will be able to see his mullet growing back and all of his exciting highlights. If he can continue to build the form he showed in the NZNBL into the ANBL, then he has a huge opportunity to build his game even further and cement his place as a cult hero in Australian and New Zealand basketball.