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Adams apple of Sydney's eye

PLAYMAKING import Jaylen Adams tonight became Sydney's fifth winner of the NBL's Most Valuable Player award and the club's third import to claim the honour, relegating the league's most consistent game-influencer, Perth's Bryce Cotton, to second place, Melbourne's Jo Lual-Acuil third.

Adams followed in the footsteps of Aussies Andrew Bogut (2018-19) and Matt Nielsen (2003-04), and Sydney imports Chris Williams (2002-03) and Owen Wells (1983).

Wells won the award before Sydney SuperSonics merged with West Sydney Westars to create the Kings and Adams has proven to be a similar big-game performer.

In claiming the Andrew Gaze Trophy as the Most Valuable Player, Adams also joined Cotton, Lual-Acuil, Perth's Vic Law and Illawarra's Antonius Cleveland in the All Star Five First Team.

Adams, 25, averaged 20.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds, threw down one of the season's most vicious dunks and led the Kings from the doldrums to the playoffs after recovering from injury.

Scott Roth's performance in leading Tasmania JackJumpers to a 17-11 win-loss record and into the playoffs in the club's debut season rightly was rewarded with Coach of the Year honours.

What he has done with the rookie team was beyond anyone's wildest expectations and becomes even greater as an achievement when factoring in the injury-forced absence of "franchise player" Will Magnay since mid-season.

In becoming the first debutante to reach the semi finals in their inaugural season since Geelong in 1982, the JackJumpers beat every team at least once this season, a feat never previously achieved by a club in its rookie season.

The All-NBL Second Team featured Melbourne Olympians Chris Goulding and Matthew Dellavedova, Tasmania’s Josh Adams, Sydney’s Xavier Cooks and South East Melbourne’s Mitch Creek.

The Cairns Taipans also took home some silverware, Keanu Pinder the Most Improved Player award-winner and Bul Kuol taking Rookie of the Year honours.

Melbourne United's talented defender and jack-of-all-trades, Shea Ili collected the Best Sixth Man award but dipped out on the Damian Martin Trophy for Defensive Player of the Year.

That one stayed in the 'Gong, Antonius Cleveland becoming the second Hawk to win it in as many years, following Justin Simon.

All the Award-Winners:

Andrew Gaze Trophy – Most Valuable Player –
 Jaylen Adams (Sydney) 

Lindsay Gaze Trophy - Coach of the Year - Scott Roth (Tasmania) –

All-NBL First Team
Jo Lual-Acuil Jr (Melbourne)
Vic Law (Perth)
Jaylen Adams (Sydney) 
Bryce Cotton (Perth) 
Antonius Cleveland (Illawarra)

All-NBL Second Team
Xavier Cooks (Sydney)
Mitch Creek (South East Melbourne)
Josh Adams (Tasmania) 
Chris Goulding (Melbourne) 
Matthew Dellavedova (Melbourne) 

Rookie of the Year – Bul Kuol (Cairns) 

Best Sixth Man – Shea Ili (Melbourne) 

Most Improved Player - Keanu Pinder (Cairns) 

Damian Martin Trophy for the Best Defensive Player - Antonius Cleveland (Illawarra) 

Executive of the Year - Simon Edwards (New Zealand)

Fans’ MVP – Kai Sotto (Adelaide)

Gametime by Kmart Award - Jack McVeigh (Tasmania)

Referee of the Year – Vaughan Mayberry

IN other news, Nathan Sobey has signed to stay in Brisbane, and Melbourne's Ariel Hukporti will be back for a sophomore season with the reigning NBL champion.

Apr 27

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