Perth Wildcats coach Rob Beveridge will write a regular column for thewest.com.au during the NBL season.
Another week goes by and once again another “unsung hero” of a team is overlooked for “Player of the Week” because of offensive statistics rather than overall play.
It happens all over the world in every league and it is always suggested that any player who is the top scorer or top rebounder is the best player!
There were some incredible individual performances over the past round and I don’t want to take the glory away from the Madgens, the Redhages, the Deleons and Jacksons as they continue to put in incredible performances that deserve recognition.
Shawn Redhage played two great games on the weekend when he top scored twice and offensively his performances were great – he played with poise and control and made open shots which is something that he, and we as a club have worked so hard at over the last month in particular and was very pleased for him to win this week’s award.
However, nobody in my team plays the game for individual accolades and awards, but I do find it disappointing when some of the unsung heroes of our game go unheralded because what they do for their team isn’t entirely reflected in the points column in the box score.
I look around the league and many teams have these ‘blue collar worker’ type players that are extremely influential in their teams. For example, the Breakers have guys such as Mika Vukona and Dillon Boucher who are often overlooked. New Zealand would not be successful without those players. They do so many things behind the scenes, they keep their man off the ball, they block out, they dive on loose balls and they win possession.
Townsville’s Jacob Holmes doesn’t get a lot of recognition for his rebounding and defensive efforts; Melbourne’s Tommy Greer and Wollongong’s David Gruber and Larry Davidson are the same. I think when looking at best players you need to take a step back and start to reward guys who deserve acknowledgement rather than the guy with the most points or rebounds.
Damian Martin put on one of the most masterful displays of defense that this country will ever see against Melbourne’s Jonny Flynn on Thursday night. He ended up with 11 points, six rebounds and got four steals plus statistics that aren’t kept – like he had nine deflections in that game, and kept their main play maker and a superstar of the game, in Flynn, from making an influence.
On Sunday he backed up that performance by almost getting himself a double-double with 13 points and nine assists while completely shutting down the play makers of Sydney. He also made six out of seven shots.
It’s these kinds of performances that win games and in my opinion he was our most influential player this weekend.
Damo is such a team player that he couldn’t care less about missing out on the award, but it makes me think, is someone going to recognize what these players do?
You can continue to look at the stats and you think, okay, the top-scorer was the best player on the court, but I think when picking best players you need to ask who was the influence? Who was the most valuable player in the team? And this week in my mind, it was definitely Damian Martin.
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