Championship favourites slam MVP snub

Melbourne United have dominated the NBL season as minor premiers but the championship favourites have questioned why they couldn’t get a player nominated as a finalist for this year’s MVP award.

United finished three games clear of the chasing pack on top of the ladder, with a 28-8 record, and there were shocked reactions after stars Jock Landale, Chris Goulding and Mitch McCarron were all overlooked.

Boomers big man Landale has been particularly impressive in his maiden NBL season and missed out on a nomination for MVP as well as for defensive player of the year.

United quickly aired its frustrations via social media to raise a valid question as to why one of its players didn’t feature in the MVP finalists.

“The NBL MVP Top 3 doesn‘t look quite right to us. What do you think MU fans?,” a tweet said, accompanied with a picture of Landale.

The #NBL21 MVP Top 3 doesn't look quite right to us.
What do you think MU fans? 😏

Instead, Perth star Bryce Cotton, import Illawarra guard Tyler Harvey and Brisbane sensation Nathan Sobey were the three finalists for MVP.

Perth Wildcats superstar Cotton will be looking to win his second straight MVP and third in the past four seasons, but hasn’t played since having surgery on May 23, and won’t play again this season.

United’s efforts were rewarded with coach Dean Vickerman nominated for coach of the year along with Brian Goorjian who guided the Illawarra Hawks from last to the finals in his first season in charge.

Melbourne’s Jo Lual-Acuil and Scotty Hopson were also nominated for sixth man of the year, but they were the only United players represented in any of the player awards.

NBA draft-bound Adelaide guard Josh Giddey is the favoured to win Rookie of the Year in a field that also features Dejan Vasiljevic (Sydney Kings) and Justinian Jessup (Illawarra Hawks).

Not even a top three finish for Jock Landale in MVP (or DPOY)…

A panel of experts including Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze selected nominees for the MVP, Rookie of the Year, Best Sixth Man, Best Defensive Player and Most Improved Player.

Coaches and captains from each of the nine teams then voted on the nominations with no coach or captain allowed to vote for a player from their own team.

NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger praised the award finalists following a challenging season amid a global pandemic.

“In what has been a season like no other and one with numerous challenges, something that hasn’t changed is the world class quality of basketball on display in the NBL,” Loeliger said.

“Bryce Cotton, Tyler Harvey and Nathan Sobey have all had sensational seasons and are well deserved finalists for the MVP.

“The amount of superstars that are finalists for all other awards, along with those unlucky to miss out, reflects the depth of talent in the NBL.”

The winner of The Andrew Gaze MVP, along with all other NBL awards for the 2020/21 season, will be announced next Wednesday June 16.


Andrew Gaze MVP

Bryce Cotton (Perth Wildcats)

Tyler Harvey (Illawarra Hawks)

Nathan Sobey (Brisbane Bullets)

Lindsay Gaze Coach of the Year

Brian Goorjian (Illawarra Hawks)

Dean Vickerman (Melbourne United)

Trevor Gleeson (Perth Wildcats)

Most Improved Player

Finn Delany (Sky Sport New Zealand Breakers)

Jordan Hunter (Sydney Kings)

Sam Froling (Illawarra Hawks)

Best Sixth Man

Jo Lual-Acuil (Melbourne United)

Kyle Adnam (South East Melbourne Phoenix)

Scotty Hopson (Melbourne United)

Damian Martin Trophy for the Best Defensive Player

Justin Simon (Illawarra Hawks)

Mitch Norton (Perth Wildcats)

Tom Abercrombie (Sky Sport New Zealand Breakers)

Rookie of the Year

Dejan Vasiljevic (Sydney Kings)

Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers)

Justinian Jessup (Illawarra Hawks)

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