David Andersen: In his second season with ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne in the French ProA league, Andersen recently played in the All-Star Game over New Year’s Eve. His form has not wavered, averaging 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and three assists while collecting two double-doubles and top-scoring twice in ASVEL’s past six games. His club sits fourth in the ProA standings but just one loss behind top spot while owning a 6-2 record in the FIBA Europe Cup.
Cameron Bairstow: Bairstow has been recalled from the D-League and has hit the court four times in the past month for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA. As stated in a recent interview with Roy Ward of The Age, he has no illusions about the tough task of cracking the main rotation but is willing to put in the work while also aiming for a spot in the Rio team.
Aron Baynes: Averaging four points and four rebounds a game off the bench for the Detroit Pistons, Baynes has had two of his most productive games in the past week. He scored ten points against Indiana on January 2 before shooting 3-3 for seven points, ten rebounds and two blocks on January 4 against Orlando. The Pistons currently own seventh spot in the Eastern Conference as they aim to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.
Ryan Broekhoff: Known as a three-point specialist, Broekhoff has been white hot from all over the floor at the offensive end for Lokomotiv-Kuban in the Euroleague, shooting a ridiculous 61% from the field and 37% from long range. He is collecting 8.8 points a game while recently improving his assist numbers to 2.5 (second for the club) with the Russian side sitting sixth with an 8-5 record.
Andrew Bogut: Helping the Golden State Warriors to be a top-five defensive team, Bogut’s team is on track to equal or beat Chicago’s all-time win record for a season. Without Bogut’s rim protection, the Warriors would not be leading the league with a 33-2 record as he is sitting in the top ten for blocks (1.8 per game) and second for field goal percentage (64.3%).
Matthew Dellavedova: Recently announcing an Australia Day themed game, the Cleveland Cavaliers love of Delly continues to grow after his heroics in the 2015/16 NBA playoffs. His care of the basketball is still his best trait this year, averaging 5.3 assists with the second best assist-to-turnover ratio in the competition. Alongside that, he has improved his three-point shooting by 4% for the eighth best conversion rate (44%) in the league.
Dante Exum: As covered by Roy Ward in The Age, Exum is using his time in rehabilitation to build his upper body, according to Utah Jazz and Boomers team mate, Joe Ingles: http://www.smh.com.au/sport/basketball/utah-jazz-australian-guard-dante-exum-getting-stronger-says-joe-ingles-20151224-gluplg.html
Adam Gibson: Getting down to the business end of the NBL season, Gibson and the Adelaide 36ers sit fifth on the ladder with a 9-9 record, two games outside the top four. Keeping up his career average of nine points a game, the point guard has improved his three-point shooting to 37% while sitting third in the league for assists with 4.9.
Chris Goulding: After a whirlwind start to the season for both himself and Melbourne United, both he and the team have dropped off slightly as the NBL enters the business end of the year. However, United still sit atop the ladder and Goulding’s 18.3 points per game places him seventh on the scoring list.
Cameron Gliddon: In such a close NBL season, Gliddon and his Cairns Taipans are not outside of the playoff race despite sitting sixth but their margin of error is narrowing. The captain is deadly from beyond the arc and will be desperate to carry his side to back-to-back Grand Finals.
Joe Ingles: Clocking up eight consecutive games in which he has scored with three points against San Antonio yesterday, the Utah Jazz forward is making the most of limited time on the court this season. Against the Lakers on Boxing Day, he stepped outside to hit 4-8 from downtown for 14 points.
Nathan Jawai: Providing an imposing presence in the Perth Wildcats’ front court, Jawai is looking like helping the club to an incredible 30th playoff appearance as they currently sit second on the ladder. Playing against his old NBL team on December 17, the centre finished with a flurry on the offensive end to beat Cairns and finish with 13 points, six rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
Aleks Maric: Maric was one of just six players to compete in every game for Budućnost VOLI Podgorica as they finished their Eurocup season with a 6-4 record. He shot 50% from the field for nine points and five rebounds a game but unfortunately his team’s record was not good enough to advance into the Last 32.
Damian Martin: Alongside Jawai, Martin has put aside early season injuries to help Perth become one of the best defensive teams in the league once again. His 1.8 steals leads the NBL and while he is not posing much of a threat at the offensive end, his 48% shooting rate is proof he can turn it on if necessary.
Patty Mills: Although the Warriors are dominating the headlines in the NBA, Mills’ San Antonio Spurs are quietly going about their business with the second best record and the best defensive rating in the past 30 years. An injury to Tony Parker has seen him start the past two games, adding eight points while hitting 44% from the field and his 2.5 assists for every turnover is the best ratio of his career.
Brock Motum: Advancing to the Top 16 in the Euroleague with a 5-5 record, Žalgiris Kaunas are off to a rocky start with a 21-point loss in their first clash. Motum was scoreless in that match but is averaging 7.6 points while adding over an offensive rebound per contest.
Brad Newley: Finishing at the top of Group B in the EuroCup, Gran Canaria have been helped by 8.2 points per game from Newley. They have not found as much success in the Spanish ACB, sitting fifth on the ladder with an 8-6 record but Newley has been even more impressive, collecting nine points and two assists in the same amount of minutes.
Ben Simmons: Simmons continues to draw the admiration of the basketball world, with Magic Johnson the latest to publicly state just how good he thinks Simmons can be. Although LSU are not assured a spot in the “Sweet 16”, their 9-5 record was helped along by a win over Kentucky earlier in the week. Simmons is averaging team highs in points (20.1), rebounds (12.9), assists (5.2), steals (2.1), blocks (1.4) and field goal percentage (59%).
Rebecca Allen: Coming off the bench for the SEQ Stars in the WNBL, Allen is beginning to find form after a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds last round. With injuries plaguing the team and playoffs slipping away, she may find herself with increased minutes as the Stars look for a way to penetrate the top four.
Suzy Batkovic: Batkovic started the season in MVP form and she has not wavered, continuing to lead the league in points with 22 a game, over three points more than any other player, while the Townsville Fire sit equal first on the ladder after Round 12. She has earned two Player of the Week awards and has been named in the Team of the Week on six occasions.
Abby Bishop: Following a standout season in the WNBL last year, Bishop has been unable to recreate the heroics of 2014/15 as her University of Canberra Capitals sit winless on the bottom of the ladder. She still sits inside the top 25 for scoring but recording 0 points last weekend was a sign of the toll this season may have taken on last year’s MVP.
Sara Blicavs: Blicavs has been rewarded with a superb WNBL season with the Dandenong Rangers, being named in the Opals test event squad for Rio. The Rangers currently sit fourth in the league and the forward leads the club in rebounds (7.6) and assists (2.7) while 23 steals on the season places her fifth for the competition.
Natalie Burton: With the equal-best defence in the WNBL, the Perth Lynx have a lot to thank Burton for as her rim protection helps keep oppositions shooting 43% from two-point range, 2% lower than the season average. She has the best field goal percentage for the team as well, hitting 52% of her own shots.
Elizabeth Cambage: As Shanghai Dahua have advanced into the third stage of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association, Cambage is averaging a double-double of 28.2 points and 10.7 rebounds, doubling any of her team mates in both categories. Defensively, she also leads the club in blocks while adding a steal per game.
Katie-Rae Ebzery: After an exceptional start to the year for the Sydney Uni Flames in the WNBL, Ebzery’s numbers have dropped slightly but her side remains on top of the ladder courtesy of a victory over Perth last night. She has made the Team of the Week four times and was Player of the Month in November, improving her case as the league’s best point guard.
Maddie Garrick: Injuries have interrupted the Melbourne Boomers season in the WNBL but Garrick has remained a constant, averaging 12.4 points while shooting 41% from the field and 35% from distance. On December 12, she recorded 22 points and four steals against Bendigo before pulling down 10 rebounds to go with 16 points against the Capitals a day later.
Cayla George: Leading the WNBL in rebounds, George is one of only two players to be averaging a double-double as she stars in the Townsville Fire front court alongside Batkovic. Although her shot has disappeared in a few games, she influences every contest with her work at both ends of the floor. Her hard work is evident as she regularly plays over 30 minutes a game, having backed up this season following a year in the WNBA.
Laura Hodges: Hodges is about to return to the court for Bourges Basket following the Christmas break and her team will be keen to continue the four-game winning streak they started in December. They sit second on the ladder in France after starting the year 1-4 with Hodges providing a punch off the bench (8.4 points at 59%).
Lauren Jackson: Disappointing news for WNBL fans has seen Jackson’s contract with the University of Canberra Capitals officially finish, ending any chance she had of hitting the court this season. This will give the star all the time she needs to prepare for one last Olympics though, with the country’s collective fingers crossed to see Jackson in Rio in August.
Rachel Jarry: As co-captain of the SEQ Stars in the WNBL, Jarry has had to deal with injuries to several key players while trying to keep her team in the hunt for the playoffs. Her on-court leadership will be even more critical in the final month of the regular season with SEQ currently sitting sixth with an 8-8 record.
Alice Kunek: Ahead of her 150th WNBL game this weekend, Kunek will be looking to combine with fellow Opals to help Melbourne Boomers close the gap on the top four. She will be carrying great form into her milestone match, having top-scored for her club with 24 points on 7-14 shooting last week in a close loss to Sydney Uni.
Tessa Lavey: Still just 22 years of age, Lavey surpassed the 100 game milestone in the WNBL last night as Perth fell to the Flames. She collected 10 points and four steals in that clash, a little below her season average which places her third in scoring for the Lynx as well as seventh overall for the competition in assists. She is also one of just three players shooting over 92% from the free throw line.
Tess Madgen: An Achilles injury has disrupted Madgen’s WNBL season and although she has returned to the court for the Melbourne Boomers, it unfortunately has seen her miss the Rio test event. Brittany Smart has been impressive taking over point guard duties but the experience of Madgen will be critical in the run home to the playoffs.
Leilani Mitchell: A 2-7 record to start the year is a distant memory for the Adelaide Lightning in the WNBL as they have gone 3-3 in their past six games. In a December 6 clash with Dandenong, Mitchell was the heroine as she nailed a buzzer-beating lay-up to win the game. That helped her to earn a third Team of the Week nomination and she now leads the Lightning with 16.5 points a game.
Elyse Penaluna: She hit a brilliant turnaround jumper and finished with seven points, four rebounds and three assists last round for the Melbourne Boomers but Penaluna was playing on “one knee” and will miss this weekend’s game. Thankfully, it is unrelated to her previous ACL injuries so hopefully the WNBL will see her back on court soon.
Erin Phillips: As she continues rehabilitation at the Centre of Excellence for her knee injury, Phillips has not been ruled out of a chance at making the team for Rio, which would be her second Olympic campaign.
Belinda Snell: Surpassing 250 games in the WNBL at age 34, Snell has lost none of her shooting touch for the Bendigo Spirit, hitting an amazing 94% of her free throws. She sits tenth in the league for scoring at 15 points a game while hitting the second most amount of three’s at 39% shooting.
Penny Taylor: As starting shooting guard for the Shanxi Flame, Taylor averaged an incredible 23.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists but the arrival of WNBA player Maya Moore has seen her time with the Chinese club come to an end.
Mariana Tolo: Recent interviews with Tolo have shown the forward is still racing the clock to be fit for Rio as she recovers from a torn ACL.
Kelly Wilson: Wilson played her 300th WNBL game last month and has celebrated that milestone by moving into first place for assists in the league at 5.4 while she records two assists for every turnover. The Bendigo Spirit point guard has also proven her ferocity on the court by collecting more than an offensive rebound per game.