The seven Sal's NBL coaches have cast their thoughts on who they think will win the big awards at this year's Showdown, which tips off on Tuesday June 23.
Tickets to the Sal's NBL Showdown are now on sale - click HERE.
Doug Courtney (Steelformers Taranaki Mountainairs), Brent Matehaere (Fluid Recruitment Otago Nuggets), Mike Fitchett (Mike Pero Nelson Giants), Mick Downer (Wheeler Motor Company Canterbury Rams), Tim McTamney (Property Brokers, See Me Media Manawatu Jets), Liam Simmons (EnviroNZ Franklin Bulls) and Kevin Braswell (Auckland Huskies) were asked a range of questions ahead of the Sal's NBL Showdown on who they thought will scoop the big player awards.
Here are the results.
Who will win the SkyCity MVP?
The overwhelming favourite amongst the coaches is Jordan Ngatai (Nuggets) with six coaches placing the No.1 pick in last Thursday's draft amongst the predicted top three finishers for the award. Other players to figure strongly in the coaches thoughts are Marcel Jones (Airs), Izayah Le'afa (Huskies) and Hyrum Harris (Jets).
Which two teams will make the Grand Final?
Supporting the League's endeavour to spread the playing talent via last Thursday's draft, six teams featured in the coaches thoughts when it came to predicting the Grand Final combatants, with all but one coach honing in on the Canterbury Rams as the team most likely to make it through to the August 1st decider. The only other team to score multiple votes was the Auckland Huskies.
Who will be the leading scorer of the Sal's NBL Showdown?
The runaway leader for the scoring title according to coaches is Marcel Jones (Airs) with five coaches tipping the prolific scorer as the man most likely to top the scoring averages.
Who will be the leading rebounder of the Sal's NBL Showdown?
Five different players were listed by the coaches with Jack Salt (Rams) the only player to receive multiple nominations. The Rams big man is set to be one of the competitions biggest drawcards and according to the coaches he is also likely to be a massive factor on the boards.
Who will be the leading player for assists in the Sal's NBL Showdown?
Mark down two names when it comes to assists - Jarrod Kenny (Nuggets) and Izayah Le'afa (Huskies). The two point guards are sure to figure prominently across the competition. Kenny, who was arguably the steal of the draft, looks primed to showcase his years of experience and help lead a young Nuggets outfit with aplomb, while Le'afa has returned from college and has everyone talking about what he promises to bring to the competition.
Who will be the best defensive player in the Sal's NBL Showdown?
Two longtime stars featured amongst the coaches thoughts, along with two rising stars. According to the seven coaches the winner of this award is going to come from the quartet of Jarrod Kenny (Nuggets), Mika Vukona (Giants), Sam Timmins (Bulls) and Izayah Le'afa (Huskies).
Who will be the best young player (21yrs & under) in the Sal's NBL Showdown?
Always a prized award for young players in the Sal's NBL, the standout choice of the coaches is Taine Murray (Huskies). The young star, who already has Tall Blacks experience, is the most prized amateur in the League and looks set for a big six weeks of competition.
Who will make the Sal's NBL Showdown All-Star Five?
No less than 15 names were highlighted by the coaches, and only two of the seven coaches came up with the same All-Star Five. Players to be listed teh most included Jordan Ngatai (Nuggets), Jarrod Kenny (Nuggets), Marcel Jones (Airs), Izayah Le'afa (Huskies), Tohi Smith-Milner (Huskies), Mika Vukona (Giants), Tom Vodanovich (Jets), Hyrum Harris (Jets) and Mike Karena (Giants).