After a 28-match 2019-20 NBL season, these are my player rankings for second-placed Perth Wildcats.
Bryce Cotton: 10/10
The NBL MVP put up another MVP-worthy season, which of course resulted in yet another NBL championship for the Perth Wildcats. This was arguably his best season yet and a performance that really could not be faulted. He was everything in big games and big moments. Many times he put the team on his back, especially with the fall in form and injury to Terrico White, which makes his NBL 2019-20 performance even more significant.
Cotton put up career-high personal numbers in almost every statistical category and led the entire league in steals per game. When it comes to the end of his NBL career with the Perth Wildcats, I guarantee he will be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever play in this league.
Terrico White: 7.5/10
A disappointing season for Terrico White saw a dip in form and suffer multiple injuries. Statistically he put up almost identical numbers to last season – 15 points per game average – but even though they aren’t the worst numbers, we did expect better. He was never able to recapture his amazing play-off form of last season and he lacked confidence when returning from injury. To make matters worse he got worse as the season went on, having a terrible play-off run this time around.
Our expectations and how highly we think of him as a player are the main reasons he is rated so low. It feels Terrico White and the Perth Wildcats are set to mutually part ways.
Nicholas Kay: 9/10
Nick Kay had a slow start to the season for his standards. However, he did come into form in the latter part of the year, which saw him achieve first All-NBL Team honours at season’s end. On average Kay had a marginally worse season than his previous performance, but all in all it was still a great campaign. He was very reliable and made little to no mistakes in every game. A great team-first guy who is in for a big 2020-21 season too.
Clint Steindl: 6/10
Clint Steindl had an improvement season that saw a slight increase in game time and also points. He was still a very reliable shooter and was in the running for NBL sixth man of the year honours. When the Wildcats had no answers Steindl was able to step up to fill the role Terrico White couldn’t when he was out with injury. He needs more confidence in his game to really step up and be more than just a role player.
Miles Plumlee: 6/10
The former NBA big man was a very late replacement for Dario Hunt and I’m not sure if he gave out what the Perth Wildcats really wanted. He did have some good games and provided some rim protection, which is what they were lacking from Dario Hunt. At times he was seen as a liability and was benched a lot. He played only the seven games, so we didn’t see enough of him to rate him any higher. I’m unsure whether he’ll return to the NBL next year, but given he has an Australian girlfriend there’s every chance he’ll be back.
Dario Hunt: 6/10
I was shocked when I heard the news that Dario Hunt was let go by the Perth Wildcats. He wasn’t poorly managed and was often benched before he could get some momentum in his game. He showed a lot of athletic ability. I was also surprised that South East Melbourne Phoenix didn’t use his services when they were in the hunt for another import. He did have a bad shooting action and also poorly protected the rim, which was eventually his downfall. I’m not sure if we’ll see him in the NBL again.
Mitch Norton: 6/10
Another unexciting year for a player who was expected to step up. I’m unsure whether his role at the Wildcats is limiting his production or whether he has reached his ceiling and can’t improve to another level. He’s recorded almost identical numbers in each of his seasons at the three NBL clubs he’s played for. He’s a solid and smart player and can be a great asset defensively.
Jesse Wagstaff: 5.5/10
The now six-time NBL champion had an unexpectedly reasonable year for his age and experience. He was expected to fall off a cliff, but he managed to make a pretty big impact for this team. It’s lucky for him that even though his body has deteriorated his skills and smarts haven’t diminished, which is why he has the career longevity we’re seeing. He spaces the floor well and can provide a shooting punch where necessary. I’m not sure if his career will continue, but I do think he still has to capacity to if he wanted to.
Damien Martin: 5.5/10
Another six-time NBL champion who we were unsure had any left in the tank to make an impact in this league. Although he did drop in form and his body really never looked right, he was still as important as ever in the Wildcats championship campaign. He still had the hunger and determination to compete in every possession. I’m unsure if he can continue with his style of play, as he’s never been a high-volume shooter, but he has had a great career nevertheless.
Majok Majok: 4/10
He was given a lifeline for a backup centre role by Perth Wildcats coach Trevor Gleeson. This saw an increase in minutes and greater importance in his role than in his previous season with the New Zealand Breakers. I’m not quite sure if it was enough to ensure he gets another contract with Perth. We may see him in the NBL again, but it will take a lot of convincing.