By Liam Melrose and Ollie Nash
Mitch McCarron put in a captain's performance in round five with 17 points and seven rebounds. Photo: Melbourne United
Mitch McCarron leading from the front
Mitch McCarron is known as one of the league’s best combo guards, can shoot the ball but can also pass the ball extremely well and isn’t afraid to crash the glass either. As the stand-in captain for the injured Chris Goulding in round five, McCarron took his game to another level finishing with 17 points, seven assists and three rebounds. He plays like a leader and this really showed on Wednesday night. If he can continue this form through the NBL Cup, Melbourne United already have one hand on the silver wear.
Nathan Sobey has got the grit
Last season I implored Nathan Sobey to take the leap and become an MVP front-runner and lead Brisbane to the finals. I got it in small glimpses. 2021? I’m getting it in spades and I love it. Sobey isn’t taking any sh**, and is carrying the load of the team on his back. He’s leading the league in scoring with 24.3 points a game and managing nearly four rebounds and four assists a game. While also tossing up 48/34.5/86 shooting splits. If he can manage to lift his three-point shooting to around the 38 percent mark he’ll be really taking his game to another level. Teamwise the Bullets sit sixth with a 3-4 record, but they’ve shown promising signs and Sobey is leading them the right way.
South East Melbourne and Perth played twice in round five with both teams winning one game each by large margins. Photo: South East Melbourne
The round five Yo-Yo
If you look at round five of the NBL season it could best be described as a Yo-Yo round. On Thursday night, the Perth Wildcats defeated the South-East Melbourne Phoenix by 31 points, however on Sunday afternoon it was the complete opposite, with the Phoenix getting the job done by 25 points. Both games were played on the same court. Another example was the two games we saw between the Adelaide 36ers and the Brisbane Bullets. On Saturday, the 36ers defeat the Bullets by 15 points in Brisbane, however on Monday night the Bullets toppled the 36ers in Adelaide by 19 points. If round five is anything to go by, the NBL Cup is going to be extremely hard to predict.
Sam Froling has the tools
He’s shoulders are a little hunched over and he kind of runs funny but I’m a big Sam Froling fan. He can do most things pretty well. Had some great defensive moments against Jock Landale during the Hawks match-up with United in round five, and hurt them on the other end at stages. He’s not setting the world on fire by any stretch with 11.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and a block per game. However, he has nice footwork offensively, can find his way to the rim and finish and he can defend. Oh, and he’s only just turned 21. He has a very bright future if he can develop a three-point game, and can get to the free-throw line more consistently.
New Zealand's Lamar Patterson is struggling to find his 2019/20 season form. Photo: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images
Lamar Patterson … ouch
I don’t want to jump too hard on the big fella, who knows what else is going on in his life. However, it’s grim reading at the moment. 10.4 points on 33/20/56 shooting splits. A tad over four rebounds and just over two assists per game. To top it all off, the wildly pre-season fancied New Zealand Breakers are bottom of the table at 1-4. Lamar playing terribly, not in shape and the team performing badly, not an ideal to start a new year.
Hopson stands up to propel United past the Hawks
Prior to round five, star Melbourne United import Scotty Hopson had experienced a shaky start with his new club. However, he turned it on against the Illawarra Hawks to propel his team to victory. Finishing with 21 points, nine rebounds and three assists he looked somewhat back to his old self, the Scotty Hopson we’re used to seeing. With no Chris Goulding for a few more weeks expect Hopson to continue to feature in the scoring column.
Cover Photo: South East Melbourne Phoenix