The Adelaide 36ers’ Nathan Sobey, who set career highs in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocks this season, has won the 2016-17 NBL Most Improved Player Award, announced tonight at the NBL MVP Awards Night held at Peninsula, Docklands, in Melbourne.
Sobey becomes the fifth 36ers player to win the award, joining Mark Bradtke (1989) Scott Ninnis (1993), Chris Blakemore (1994), and Daniel Johnson (2012).
The Most Improved Player Award is designed to honour an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.
Each club nominated one player for the Award with the Head Coach, one Assistant Coach and the Team Captain then voting in a 3-2-1 format (3 votes being indicative of the most deserving). Voters were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.
Sobey received a total of 49 votes to win the Award.
Rounding out the top three in the voting were the Sydney Kings’ Jason Cadee (19 votes) and Brisbane Bullets’ Torrey Craig (17 votes).
Last season, his first with the 36ers, Sobey averaged just 4.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 0.1 steals per game.
This year the 193cm guard took a massive leap, averaging 15.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.0 steals in 27.4 minutes per game for an Adelaide team that went 17-11 on the season.
Among players who played 10 games or more, Sobey ranked top 10 in both scoring and assists.
The 26-year-old also drastically improved his efficiency this season, improving his field goal shooting from 36.8 to 44.1 percent and his three-point shooting from 30.4 to 40.4 percent.
Sobey is set to play an important role in the upcoming Swisse NBL Finals. Game one of the best-of-three semi-final series between the Adelaide 36ers and Illawarra Hawks tips off at 7:30pm (AEDT) on Thursday February 16 at Titanium Security Arena in Adelaide.
All-Time NBL Most Improved Player Award
1988 – Darren Lucas, Eastside Melbourne Spectres
1989 – Mark Bradtke, Adelaide 36ers
1990 – Shane Heal, Geelong Supercats
1991 – Andrew Parkinson, Southern Melbourne Saints
1992 – Andrew Svaldenis, Hobart Tassie Devils
1993 – Scott Ninnis, Adelaide 36ers
1994 – Chris Blakemore, Adelaide 36ers
1995 – Tonny Jensen, Newcastle Falcons
1996 – Chris Anstey, South East Melbourne Magic
1997 – Ben Pepper, Newcastle Falcons
1998 – Ben Melmeth, Newcastle Falcons
1999 – C.J. Bruton, Wollongong Hawks
2000 – Andrew Goodwin, Townsville Crocodiles
2001 – James Harvey, Perth Wildcats
2002 – Wade Helliwell, Brisbane Bullets
2003 –Matt Burston, Perth Wildcats
2004 – Geordie Cullen, Hunter Pirates
2005 – Peter Crawford, Perth Wildcats
2006 – Gary Boodnikoff, Cairns Taipans
2007 – Liam Rush, West Sydney Razorbacks
2008 – Cameron Tragardh, Wollongong Hawks
2009 – Matthew Knight, Sydney Spirit
2010 – Anthony Petrie, Gold Coast Blaze
2011 – Oscar Forman, Wollongong Hawks
2012 – Daniel Johnson, Adelaide 36ers
2013 – Ben Madgen, Sydney Kings
2014 – Nate Tomlinson, Melbourne Tigers
2015 – Todd Blanchfield, Townsville Crocodiles
2016 – Clint Steindl, Townsville Crocodiles
2017 – Nathan Sobey, Adelaide 36ers