After two consecutive seasons on the throne, Bryce Cotton surrendered his MVP crown to Jaylen Adams, in one of the closest voting counts in years.
In the end, Adams’ league-leading assists tally and his growing reputation for clutch play, were enough to squeak past Cotton by 105 votes to 94. Jo Lual-Acuil finished third in the race with 62 votes.
Adams said this “tremendous honour” had been a “quiet goal” he’d set for himself prior to his debut season in Australia.
“I’m thankful for my coach, the front office and the ownership for bringing me here, the fans for their love all season and my teammates,” said Adams.
“It’s a special accomplishment.”
But now that he’s captured the coveted Andrew Gaze trophy, the Sydney Kings star has set his sights on Game 1 of the playoffs against the Illawarra Hawks.
Adams missed the final two games of the regular season with an illness, but he confirmed that he will be ready for the Kings’ quest for championship glory.
“I’m feeling good,” he said.
“I know how important this game is, I’m going to be prepared for it.
“It’s an opportunity for our team to come out and show what we’ve worked so hard for all year, show what we’re capable of doing.”
Who were the other winners?
Vic Law (Perth Wildcats) and Antonius Cleveland (Illawarra Hawks) joined Adams (Sydney Kings), Cotton (Perth Wildcats) and Lual-Acuil (Melbourne United) on the All-NBL First team, while Kai Sotto (Adeliade 36ers) clinched the Fans MVP award. Cleveland also won Defensive Player of the Year.
Rising star Bul Kuol (Cairns Taipans) won Rookie of the Year, while Keanu Pinder (Cairns Taipans) was deemed the league’s Most Improved Player.
Scott Roth was unsurprisingly named Coach of the Year after spearheading the Tasmanian JackJumpers’ incredible first season. The New Zealand Breakers’ Simon Edwards, won Executive of the Year.
Finally, Matthew Dellavedova leads the All-NBL Second team, which also features Josh Adams (Tasmania JackJumpers), Chris Goulding (Melbourne United), Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne Phoenix) and Xavier Cooks (Sydney Kings).
Congratulations to all of the winners.