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.
#4 MARCEL JONES
The Sal’s NBL ‘Mr Double-Double’ in Jones had a remarkable season which not only saw him rack up big numbers week-in, week-out, but also spent ridiculous amounts of time on court showing off his endurance. His forte is his point-scoring and rebounding capabilities, where he finished top two in both statistics. When it came to scoring, Jones was second overall with 22.8 points per game, but he topped the charts off the boards with a massive 13.1 per game. Adding to the fact he was equal fifth in sharing the rock made him an all-round damaging big man.
One aspect some might not know about Jones’ season in 2020 is that he averaged the most time on court of any player. Throughout the year, he averaged 36.8 minutes on court, and played the most individual minutes in a game this season when he ran out for 43 minutes and 20 seconds against Auckland Huskies, surpassing his own previous record by eight seconds a week earlier against Nelson Giants. He did it on the big stage as well, playing all 40 minutes during the Airs’ semi-final loss to Manawatu Jets, playing an important role for the losing side.
In that semi-final, Jones racked up 25 points, 12 rebounds – 11 defensive – and six assists, backing up from his 31 points, 10 rebounds, six assists and two blocks the day before in the elimination final. His lowest score all season was 13 points in the opening game, and after only hitting 20-plus points once in his first six games – 29 points against Franklin Bulls in game two – he only dipped below 20 points once – a 17-point effort against the Franklin Bulls on July 23.
Jones also had the most double doubles of any playing, picking up 12 for the season, and what made the feat more remarkable was the achievement that he did not slip below eight rebounds all year. That means if he picked up two more rebounds in his other four games, Jones would have gone the entire season with double doubles in every match. In terms of his top performances, he came close to a triple-double against Otago Nuggets early in the season, picking up 15 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists, then repeated the dose against the Nuggets the next time thanks to 26 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three steals in what was arguably his best overall outing. His elimination final haul of 31 points, 10 rebounds and six assists was pretty special too, and he is a clear standout when talking about top five players in the season and why he comes in at number four.
Points: 22.8 (2nd)
Rebounds: 13.1 (1st)
Assists: 4.6 (eq. 5th)
Minutes: 36.8 (1st)