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ANALYSIS

Free Agency Analysis: Scotty Hopson to Melbourne

NBL Media’s Liam Santamaria continues his look at each and every signing, breaking down what it all means ahead of #NBL21. 

Signed by: Melbourne United

The deal: One year

Age: 31

2019-20 team: New Zealand Breakers

2019-20 stats (per game): 19.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 47.3 FG%, 40.2 3P%, 67.9 FT%

Projected role: Starting small forward.

Quote: “We’re really excited to have Scotty join our group. It’s a big signing for us and we believe he’s got the exact attributes we needed at that position.” – Dean Vickerman (Melbourne United head coach)

My take: This is a game-changer.

With United rolling out an all-Aussie starting backcourt in NBL21, Dean Vickerman’s squad needed an elite, playmaking import at small forward. The skillset they needed was clear: an athletic guy who can operate off the bounce, is a high-level scorer and has an ability to find teammates for open looks.

The guy they needed was Scotty Hopson… and they’ve got him.

The scary thing for the rest of the NBL is that this is the signing every other club has been dreading. Ever since the Breakers flipped the script and signed Lamar Patterson, everyone across the league – the players, coaches, GMs and fans – has known that Hopson would be the perfect signing for MU. The question was: would they be able to get it done? Now we have our answer.

Here’s the bottom line: signing Hopson, an MVP-calibre operator, vaults Melbourne straight back into championship contention, even with one more addition to their roster to make. He’s that good.

The 31-year-old received All-NBL Second Team honours last season, his first in the league, despite missing a quarter of the season through injury. He stuffed the stat-sheet, came up big in crunch time and had the Breakers firing on all cylinders throughout the second half of the year.

By the end of the regular season he’d finished top ten in scoring, three-point percentage and steals and top five in assists. He’d also, it must be said, finished top two in turnovers and, let’s be honest, was nobody’s nomination for Defensive Player of the Year. In fact, Hopson’s defensive lapses were stark at times last season – an area that has plagued him throughout his career. Vickerman will need to keep him accountable at that end of the floor.

Let’s not dwell on his flaws though, as Hopson will again be one of the best players in the league in NBL21. Signing him as their import SF is an absolute home run for Melbourne.

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