SYDNEY (Reuters) – American point guard Jaylen Adams has been named Most Valuable Player in Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL) after helping the Sydney Kings to the playoffs in his first season.
The 25-year-old averaged 20.1 points, 6.1 assists and 5.1 rebounds over the 2021-22 regular season as the Kings finished third in the standings to earn a semi-final series against the Illawarra Hawks.
Adams, who played 44 NBA games for the Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks and Portland Trailblazers before taking his talents Down Under, said it was an honour to be awarded the Andrew Gaze Trophy as the 10-team league’s best player.
“I want to thank my team mates, without them this was definitely not possible,” he said in a video message on the league website (nbl.com.au/).
“We’ve got a special group of guys, my brothers, wouldn’t want to go war with anyone else. Let’s finish this thing out strong.”
Adams polled 105 votes to win the award ahead of fellow American and MVP for the last two seasons Bryce Cotton, who plays for the Perth Wildcats.
Coach of the Year honours went to American Scott Roth after he guided the Tasmania JackJumpers to the playoffs in their rookie season, leaving the Wildcats without post-season play for the first time in 35 years.
The JackJumpers will take on reigning champions Melbourne United in their best-of-three games semi-final series, which starts later on Thursday.
The Kings take on the Hawks in the opening match of their playoff series in Wollongong on Friday.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Editing by Peter Rutherford)