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2015 NBL Players Poll

The NBL Championship is headed back to Auckland and Josh Childress will be the 2016 NBL MVP, according to a poll taken by the NBL players at last week’s pre-season Blitz. In the poll, the New Zealand Breakers were nominated by 29.5 per cent of players to repeat as the NBL Champions in the upcoming season. If they were to go back-to-back, the Auckland-based franchise would claim an unprecedented fifth NBL title in the past six seasons. Players were asked to vote for their Top Four ranked teams in order of finish, but were not allowed to vote for their own club. As a testament to how competitive the 2015/16 NBL season is set to be, seven of the eight teams were predicted to finish first. Melbourne United (19.6 per cent) were voted as the most likely side to challenge the Breakers for the title, with the Sydney Kings (18 per cent) and Perth Wildcats (16.7 per cent) also receiving strong consideration. Surprisingly, last season’s runners-up the Cairns Taipans were ranked fifth in premiership consideration (6.6 per cent) by players, who also collectively agreed that they thought it was most unlikely for Illawarra to make the giant leap from last year's wooden spoon to the 2016 NBL Champions, with only a handful of players entertaining this possibility. By analysing the voting even further, it is evident that the players are most puzzled by the potential of Sydney’s roster. Despite being ranked as the third most likely team to win the title, the Kings were also the highest ranked team to miss the Finals entirely, suggesting a greater imbalance in the players’ views than any other line-up.
Most Likely Teams to make the NBL Finals 78% - New Zealand Breakers 75% - Melbourne United 68% - Perth Wildcats 60% - Cairns Taipans 53% - Sydney Kings 48% - Illawarra Hawks
Whilst New Zealand featured in the players potential Top Four more then any other, the flip side is that 22 per cent of votes allocated suggested that they would miss the play-offs entirely. In another indication of how tight the players think the competition will be, only 16 per cent of ballots listed the Top Four teams – none of those exactly – and only three players in the whole League nominated the exacta of Breakers first and United second. The one category the players did agree on was the subject of the potential MVP. Of the 13 players that received a vote, Sydney Kings forward Josh Childress collected more ticks than the other 12 players combined, with 2013 NBL MVP and Breakers point guard Cedric Jackson the next most favoured to win.
Most Likely Player to be NBL MVP 55% - Josh Childress (Sydney) 10% - Cedric Jackson (New Zealand) 5% - Chris Goulding (Melbourne) 5% - Brian Conklin (Townsville)
Of all the new imports that have arrived to the NBL this year, Melbourne’s Hakim Warrick has made an immediate impression by being voted as the most exciting addition, just ahead of Sydney’s Marcus Thornton. Each of the eight new imports received votes on a 1-2 basis with Warrick and Thornton combining for just over half the preferences. Melbourne are the only club with two new imports this season with Warrick joining Ray Borner Medalist Stephen Holt, while Illawarra are the only team with no new faces.
Most Exciting New NBL Import 52% - Hakim Warrick (Melbourne) 51% - Marcus Thornton (Sydney) 29% - Casey Prather (Perth) 27% - Stephen Holt (Melbourne) 16% - Jordair Jett (Townsville) 11% - Kenyon McNeail (Adelaide)
As well as adding two of the most electrifying new imports to their roster, the return of Chris Goulding to Melbourne has also been rated highly by his peers. The poll asked for the best two returning players, and more than half of the ballots listed “Bubbles” as the most anticipated player to come back to the NBL.
Best Returning NBL Player 55% - Chris Goulding (Melbourne) 34% - Julian Khazzouh (Sydney) 29% - Kevin Lisch (Illawarra) 26% - Kirk Penney (Illawarra) 19% - Nathan Jawai (Perth)
The 2015/16 NBL season begins NEXT WEEK on Wednesday 7 October – live on Fox Sports! Click HERE for fixtures.
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