Tag: 2020 nznbl

NZNBL returns with 18in18 women’s schedule announced

SIX teams, 18 games, 18 days. That is what confronts the competitors in the 2020 Sal’s Women’s New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL) next month. Much like the men’s competition that was held across June and July, the women’s competition is condensed to ensure it happened in this strangest of calendar years.

Much like the men’s competition, every game will be held in one city at the same venue, with 18 days straight of basketball action. Six teams from across New Zealand will battle it out for ultimate glory, playing each of the other sides five times – for 15 regular season games – followed by two semis and one final.

The season tip-off is on Thursday, November 17 and will run until the December 6 Grand Final. Every match will begin at 7.30pm for 17 consecutive nights until the grand final where the two best teams from the season will face off from 5pm. Every game will be broadcast live on Sky Sport.

The six Sal’s NBL women’s teams are:

  • Auckland Dream
  • Canterbury Wildcats
  • Capital Swish
  • Harbour Breeze
  • Otago Gold Rush
  • Waikato Wizards

NZNBL General Manager Justin Nelson said he was looking forward to another epic competition just like the men’s.

“It’s going to be a fun few weeks, all six teams have been training for some time now and they’re keen to get back out there and battle for a national championship,” he said on the NZNBL website. “It feels like we have been held up from starting the season a couple of times now, so it’s exciting we can finally get going. We are very appreciative of our partners, Sal’s and their supportive team, our friends at Sky Sport, and of course a big thank you to Sport NZ for their assistance.”

Sal’s NBL 18IN18 Schedule:

Day 1 – Thursday November 19

Auckland Dream vs Waikato Wizards @ 7:30pm

Day 2 – Friday November 20

Canterbury Wildcats vs Auckland Dream @ 7:30pm

Day 3 – Saturday November 21

Capital Swish vs Canterbury Wildcats @ 7:30pm

Day 4 – Sunday November 22

Harbour Breeze vs Capital Swish @ 7:30pm

Day 5 – Monday November 23

Otago Gold Rush vs Harbour Breeze @ 7:30pm

Day 6 – Tuesday November 24

Waikato Wizards vs Otago Gold Rush @ 7:30pm

Day 7 – Wednesday November 25

Canterbury Wildcats vs Waikato Wizards @ 7:30pm

Day 8 – Thursday November 26

Harbour Breeze vs Canterbury Wildcats @ 7:30pm

Day 9 – Friday November 27

Capital Swish vs Auckland Dream @ 7:30pm

Day 10 – Saturday November 28

Otago Gold Rush vs Capital Swish @ 7:30pm

Day 11 – Sunday November 29 

Auckland Dream vs Otago Gold Rush @ 7:30pm

Day 12 – Monday November 30

Harbour Breeze vs Waikato Wizards @ 7:30pm

Day 13 – Tuesday December 1

Auckland Dream vs Harbour Breeze @ 7:30pm

Day 14 – Wednesday December 2

Waikato Wizards vs Capital Swish @ 7:30pm

Day 15 – Thursday December 3

Otago Gold Rush vs Canterbury Wildcats @ 7:30pm

Day 16 – Friday December 4

Semi-Final (1v4) @ 7:30pm

Day 17 – Saturday December 5

Semi-Final (2v3) @ 7:30pm

Day 18 – Sunday December 6

Grand Final @ 5:00pm

Draft Central’s Top 20 Players of the 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown: Complete List

HERE is our complete list of the Top 20 Player of the 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown. Click on any of the links below to view the corresponding article:

#1 Tom Vodanovich (Jets)

#2 Derone Raukawa (Airs)

#3 Jordan Ngatai (Nuggets)

#4 Marcel Jones (Airs)

#5 Hyrum Harris (Jets)

#6 Izayah Mauriohooho Le’afa (Huskies)

#7 Taylor Britt (Rams)

#8 Jordan Hunt (Nuggets)

#9 Dom Kelman-Poto (Bulls)

#10 Jarrod Kenny (Nuggets)

#11 Leon Henry (Huskies)

#12 Taane Samuel (Jets)

#13 Tohi Smith-Milner (Huskies)

#14 Jayden Bezzant (Jets)

#15 Sam Timmins (Bulls)

#16 Isaac Davidson (Bulls)

#17 Mike Karena (Giants)

#18 Shane Temara (Airs)

#19 Kane Keil (Nuggets)

#20 Taine Murray (Huskies)

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #1 – Tom Vodanovich (Manawatu Jets)

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.

#1 TOM VODANOVICH

Top spot on our Top 20 Sal’s NBL countdown of the best players of season 2020 had to go to the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Vodanovich was a deserving winner of the award, and while the likes of Derone Raukawa and Jordan Ngatai both had deserving claims, the Jets power forward was absolutely enormous throughout the year as he often had to stand up with teammates such as Hyrum Harris out injured. When push came to shove, Vodanovich was not afraid to make his presence felt, and he was a hard man to stop up either end, a key reason why the Jets went all the way to the grand final.

The knock on Vodanovich not winning the award was often because of his low assist and steal numbers compared to some of the other top players in the competition. But that means little in the scheme of things when you factor in his influence on games. He was third overall for points (22.4) and fourth for rebounds (10.2), one of only four players to average a double-double in season 2020 alongside Marcel Jones, Harris and Leon Henry. But it was not only his sheer volume of numbers on the offensive end – where he also picked up the fourth most offensive rebounds (2.2) and the only player in the top 10 for that stat who averaged more than 18 points per game.

One cannot speak about Vodanovich’s impact without reciting his ridiculous accuracy from the field. Of the top 20 point-scorers, Vodanovich was the most deadly from outside the arc (44.9 per cent), and the second most deadly from inside it (63.7 per cent), for a total field goal accuracy of 52.1 per cent (fourth of those shooters). While statistics can lie, and players who rarely put up shots pick up high percentages, this was not the case with Vodanovich. The Jets forward had the most three-point marks in the league with 4.1 per game. To put that in comparison, that is more than one per game higher than his nearest competitor, and only 11 players averaged two or more per game – he doubled that feat. He actually put up more three-pointers than two-pointers which is rarely thought of considering the high percentage plays.

In season 2020, Vodanovich only dipped below double-digit points twice, and below five rebounds twice. One of these happened in the same game against Auckland Huskies where Vodanovich was managed leading into finals with second spot locked on the ladder and played just 15:45 minutes. Of his best games? It is hard to go past his competition-record 43 points, as well as 11 rebounds, three assists and one steal, dropping 10 triples on the Bulls in a devastating night. The Huskies could sympathise with the Bulls because he did it in the second game of the season against Auckland, recording 10 of 16 from three-point range on his way to 38 points and three rebounds as well.

Vodanovich had nine games of 20-plus points making him clearly one of the most dominant shooters, and when factoring in him being the most accurate of the lot, the Jets big man was a well deserving winner of the MVP Award and top spot in our Top 20 Sal’s NBL countdown.

STATS:

Points: 22.4
Rebounds: 10.2
Assists: 2.1
Steals: 1.1
FG%: 52.1
2P%: 63.7
3P%: 44.9
FT%: 71.4
Minutes: 32.6

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #2 – Derone Raukawa (Taranaki Mountainairs)

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.

#2 DERONE RAUKAWA

When the Taranaki Mountainairs drafted Raukawa prior to the season, coaches believed him to be the best point guard in the draft. By season’s end, there were few who could disagree, after the Airs talent pieced together a remarkable year. He was unlucky not to win the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award, and could very easily be number one on our list had it not been for the MVP winner, but he was just as deserving of the feat.

There was little doubt at the conclusion of the season that Raukawa was a big game player. He stepped up when his team needed him, from his opening game double-double to his performance in crunch finals, as well as his work in the Airs’ overtime thriller, Raukawa was always busting a gut out on court doing all he could to drag his team across the line. Combining with Marcel Jones, the pair created a formidable duo, and Raukawa ended the season as the top point-scoring machine as well as number one playmaker with 7.4 assists per game, while Jones completed 2020 as the premier rebounder in the competition.

Raukawa was also the number one free-throw shooter of the top 20 shooters, and also ranked fifth for his long-range bombs with an accurate 38.6 per cent of those players. Still a more than handy 53 per cent accuracy from inside the arc, Raukawa had plenty of time to hone his craft on court as he recorded the second most minutes behind his teammate Jones. In 36.5 minutes per match in the season, Raukawa did not dip below 15 points, and only had sub-20 points on four occasions.

Raukawa’s best games included his first of four double-doubles against Nelson Giants with 28 points and 10 rebounds as well as five rebounds. He continued that effort against Auckland Huskies, Franklin Bulls and the Giants again, with 11 rebounds in each of those encounters to couple with 16, 21 and 15-point efforts. Raukawa arguably saved his best for last though, battling away in the semi-final against the Manawatu Jets. He put up a season-high 32 points as well as five rebounds, five assists and two steals, backing up from his elimination final effort opposed to Franklin Bulls (28 points, eight rebounds eight assists and two steals). If one thing is for sure, it is that Raukawa was a big game player.

STATS:

Points: 23.7
Rebounds: 3.6
Assists: 7.4
Steals: 1.4
FG%: 49.0
2P%: 53.0
3P%: 38.6
FT%: 90.3
Minutes: 36.5

Picture: NewsHub

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #3 – Jordan Ngatai (Otago Nuggets)

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.

#3 JORDAN NGATAI

When it comes to consistent impact on games, Otago Nuggets’ Jordan Ngatai could do it all. A Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidate throughout the season, he lived up to his number one draft selection billing to help be a key reason for the Nuggets’ premiership success in 2020. While some others at the pointy end of the list stick out in terms of their numbers in comparison to the rest of the league, Ngatai makes it in off the back of consistent output and value for minutes. He was accurate from inside the arc, and could not only sink important baskets, but have his fair share of assists and rebounding numbers too, off being only on court the seventh most of any player.

In season 2020, Ngatai averaged the 18.2 points and 4.5 assists, ranking him seventh and equal sixth respectively in those categories. Coupled with the fact he also finished top 15 in rebounds – 4.5 per game – and amassed 1.5 steals per match, Ngatai was the whole package. In fact his numbers would have been even larger had it not been for managing him through the last week of the season. In three of the four games leading up to the finals, Ngatai averaged around 22 minutes on court. In those three games he put up just 20 points – at an average of 6.6 per game, which impacted his ultimate average.

The one game he spent 36 minutes on court? Ngatai slammed home 37 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks in far and away his best effort leading his side to a victory against Manawatu Jets. It was also his most time spent on court, when he registered 36:46. Ngatai also only had the one double-double – 19 points and 10 rebounds in the opening game of the season, but continually contributed on offence, and had to be guarded by opposition defences, often allowing teammates to be open in better spaces once he was double-teamed.

His two-point range shooting average of 53.8 per cent was very good, and he was reliable at the free throw line for 76.1 per cent success rate. He only dipped below 15 points in those three managed games as well as the grand final, though he still had the 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks in the big match. Overall, Ngatai was a hard man to stop on offence, and when teams did, he often opened the door for teammates to have an impact.

STATS:

Points: 18.2
Rebounds: 5.7
Assists: 4.5
Steals: 1.5
FG%: 42.7
2P%: 53.8
3P%: 28.7
FT%: 76.1
Minutes: 30.9

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #4 – Marcel Jones (Taranaki Mountainairs)

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.

STATS:

Points: 22.8 (2nd)
Rebounds: 13.1 (1st)
Assists: 4.6 (eq. 5th)
Steals: 1.2
FG%: 45.2
2P%: 54.1
3P%: 32.6
FT%: 77.4
Minutes: 36.8 (1st)

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #5 – Hyrum Harris (Manawatu Jets)

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.

#5 HYRUM HARRIS

When looking at players lighting up the court and the stats sheet across the board, it is hard to look past Manawatu Jets’ Harris. The talented big man missed a few games due to injury, but would have been right up in conversation for All-Star Five selection, and was among the very best defensive players in the competition. Whilst he might not have shared in the Defensive Player of the Year award with Jarrod Kenny and Izayah Mauriohooho Lea’afa, some of the numbers Harris put up week-in, week-out was ridiculous.

He finished the 2020 Sal’s NBL season ranked first in the league for steals (2.7) and second for both rebounds (11.6) and assists (6.4), whilst averaging the sixth most minutes in the competition, with 31.5. While he was not as prolific scorer as some others, he still managed to finish equal 15th in the league with almost 15 points per game, making it a double-double average. Not only did he carry that average throughout the season, but he put up some of the biggest stat lines that the competition saw all season, picking up a rare triple double, but twice looking at the unheard of quadruple-double with at least seven assists and steals twice when picking up double-digit points and rebounds.

When discussing his best games, his sole triple-double effort against Taranaki Mountainairs with 24 points – 67 per cent from the field – 10 rebounds and 10 assists has to come into the picture. Though it would also be remiss not to mention what could well be his best effort in the semi-finals against the Airs again, putting up an unbelievable 17 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, seven steals and only three turnovers. His other game close to a quadruple-double was against Auckland Huskies with 16 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and eight steals, though with six turnovers.

With stats like that, it is hard to find too many faults, though his shooting from range and the charity stripe remain as areas of improvement. Other than that, Harris had an incredible season, and factoring in his limited minutes showing in the qualifying final – where he scored three points from 18 minutes – he could have averaged even more. In the grand final, Harris finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals in a prominent shooting display including 80 per cent from two-point range. Overall it was a remarkable year and he kicks off our top five players.

STATS:

Points: 14.9
Rebounds: 11.6
Assists: 6.4
Steals: 2.7
FG%: 54.2
2P%: 60.6
3P%: 21.1
FT%: 51.6
Minutes: 31.5

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #6 – Izayah Mauriohooho Le’afa (Auckland Huskies)

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.

#6 IZAYAH MAURIOHOOHO LE’AFA

When you start to hit the award winners, you know you are in the real pointy end of the countdown. Mauriohooho Le’afa is the top ranked Auckland Huskies talent of four players to make our Top 20 countdown. He shared in the Defensive Player of the Year with Jarrod Kenny, and was named in the All-Star Five at season’s end. While he ended up missing a few games due to injury, it was clear that when he got on the court, the Huskies were a supremely better outfit and Mauriohooho Le’afa was a key reason why the Huskies started to get on a roll leading into the 2020 Sal’s NBL finals series.

In the 2020 season, Mauriohooho Le’afa was ranked second in steals with 2.5 per game behind only Hyrum Harris. His offensive output on the other hand was higher, ranking inside the top five for points with 20.7 per game and as he showed at the pointy end of the season, was capable of putting up big numbers. He was absolutely sensational in the elimination final and almost single-handedly dragged his team across the line and into a semi-final. His shooting accuracy throughout the season was an area of improvement with just 39.4 per cent accuracy from the field, but a lot of that came from his prevalence of shooting the outside ball where he ranked equal second in three-pointers made with three per game.

Throughout the regular season, his best game came against Nelson Giants on July 5 when he put up 32 points at 50 per cent from the field, draining a whopping eight of 14 from outside the arc. He also collected four rebounds, two assists and two steals on the night. His best defensive effort came a few days later when he racked up a season-high nine steals, pickpocketing the Canterbury Rams on his way to 21 points, three rebounds and three assists. But his best game would be saved for last.

Mauriohooho Le’afa stepped up on the big stage in the do-or-die elimination final, sinking 39 points, six rebounds, five assists and one steal in a remarkable 38-minute effort to never die wondering. It was one of the performances of the season and while the Huskies ultimately fell short in that game, Mauriohooho Le’afa went the full four quarters.

STATS:

Points: 20.7
Rebounds: 4.5
Assists: 5.4
Steals: 2.5
FG%: 39.4
2P%: 41.9
3P%: 36.4
FT%: 81.5
Minutes: 32.5

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #7 – Taylor Britt (Canterbury Rams)

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.

#7 TAYLOR BRITT

He was the shining light throughout the 2020 New Zealand NBL season for the Canterbury Rams. Britt was one source of reliable scoring and all-round security that coach Mick Downer could rely on from first tip-off to final buzzer. Many of his teammates went down with injuries, and the Perth Wildcats development player had to lift his younger teammates up and helped keep them strong through a tough 10-game losing streak. It helped them come good in the finals series, where the Rams were able to share the load and Britt was still able to contribute without the weight of knowing he had to do the bulk of it like earlier in the season.

Britt was simply sensational and unlucky not to make the All-Star Five. He worked hard throughout the season and ranked sixth overall for points for with 19.5 per game. He spent 27.7 minutes on the court which was the second least of the top 10 scorers, but he still averaged the 6.1 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game which gave him a terrific balance both offensively and defensively. Pair that with 1.3 steals per game and Britt genuinely had the whole package. His most deadly attribute was his free throw shooting where he made 4.0 of his 4.4 attempts per game at an elite 90.1 per cent efficiency. That ranked him second overall of those with more than one make per game, behind only Derone Raukawa. His two-point accuracy was just over 50 per cent, and while he was not as fluent from long-range, his tendency to be fouled allowed him to pick up points at the line.

One of the few to never drop into single-digit scoring, at one stage Britt had a 20-plus point streak going over three games on two separate occasions. He hit the 30-point mark twice, both of which came against the Taranaki Mountainairs. The first outing he shot at 60 per cent from the field on his way to a massive almost triple-double of 30 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, before a slightly quieter – but still dominant offensive effort – of 31 points, four rebounds and one assist, but also had three steals. While he did not pick up more than 20 more points in his last six games he was able to still influence his teammates with much higher numbers of assists, and bring others into the game.

STATS:

Points: 19.5
Rebounds: 6.1
Assists: 4.6
Steals: 1.3
FG%: 48.0
2P%: 51.7
3P%: 29.3
FT%: 90.1
Minutes: 27.7

2020 Sal’s NBL Top 20 Players: #8 – Jordan Hunt (Otago Nuggets)

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.

#8 JORDAN HUNT

The third Otago Nuggets player in our top 20 list, Hunt was one of the big performers all year round and ended up as a dominant shooter within the team. Averaging 19.6 points, he actually pipped Jordan Ngatai for overall points per game average at the Nuggets, spending just the 27.4 minutes on the court. In terms of his league standings, Hunt was fifth overall for points, and an equal 10th in the rebounds but it was his shooting which really stood out.

His accuracy from anywhere was superb, finishing the season with a remarkable 66.9 per cent from inside the arc, 38.9 per cent from outside it, and an elite 81.6 per cent from the charity stripe. Of the top 30 shooters, Hunt ranked number one for field goal accuracy, and fifth from three-point range thanks to his 1.8 makes per game from there. Making four out of five attempts from the free throw line, Hunt could not afford to be fouled, nor left unguarded which is why he was such an underrated shooter.

On statistics alone, Hunt could have a case for being a top five player on the season 2020 form, and he was one that was instrumental in the Nuggets holding the 2020 Sal’s NBL Showdown trophy aloft at season’s end. The reason he fitted so well into the Nuggets group was because his strengths – shooting and rebounding – were helped by his teammates. While Ngatai took the attention on the floor, Hunt could have a little extra time and space to nail the shot. If they needed a playmaking pass, that was not Hunt’s go, but it was also not needed with Jarrod Kenny there to use his smarts to set up his teammates. Basically, Hunt’s strengths and weaknesses both worked within the system, which is credit to the Nuggets’ drafting abilities.

There were plenty of memorable games for Hunt, who hit the 30-point mark three times and only dipped into single-digit scores twice. His massive effort against Canterbury Rams in the semi-final where he dropped 33 points, 11 rebounds – five offensive and six defensive – two steals and a block, was one to savour for the season. Likewise his back-to-back 31-point games against the Franklin Bulls and Auckland Huskies, where he also averaged the 4.5 rebounds and two assists in those games, sinking nine triples from 18 attempts.

STATS:

Points: 19.6
Rebounds: 6.1
Assists: 0.9
Steals: 1.0
FG%: 57.5
2P%: 66.9
3P%: 38.9
FT%: 81.6
Minutes: 27.4