The Brisbane Bullets’ Torrey Craig, who led the NBL in defensive rebounds and finished top-ten in blocks, has been named 2016-17 NBL Best Defensive Player, announced at the NBL MVP Awards Night at Peninsula in Docklands, Melbourne.
Craig becomes the fourth Bullets player to win the award, joining Leroy Loggins (1987 & 1990), Ben Castle (2004) and Sam Mackinnon (2007).
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.
Craig received a total of 41 votes to win the Award.
The 198cm Craig, who played the last two seasons with Cairns before signing with Brisbane, averaged a career high 1.14 steals per game this season and led the NBL in defensive rebounding, averaging 6.0 per game.
Craig’s length, quickness and versatility allowed him to guard multiple positions and provided Brisbane coach Andrej Lemanis with a handy weapon at the defensive end of the floor.
The 26-year-old produced arguably his best defensive performance in Round 7, when his stifling defence on Adelaide 36ers point guard Jerome Randle – as well as his 34 points and 11 rebounds – led the Bullets to an 18-point victory over the 36ers.
All-Time NBL Best Defensive Player Award
1980 – Ray Wood, West Adelaide Bearcats
1981 – Ray Wood, West Adelaide Bearcats
1982 – Phil Smyth, St. Kilda Saints
1983 – Phil Smyth, St. Kilda Saints
1984 – Not awarded
1985 – Not awarded
1986 – Not awarded
1987 – Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets
1988 – Phil Smyth, Canberra Cannons
1989 – Phil Smyth, Canberra Cannons
1990 – Leroy Loggins, Brisbane Bullets
1991 – Terry Dozier, Geelong Supercats
1992 – Terry Dozier, Newcastle Falcons
1993 – Terry Dozier, Newcastle Falcons
1994 – Darren Lucas, South East Melbourne Magic
1995 – Darren Lucas, South East Melbourne Magic
1996 – Isaac Burton, Sydney Kings
1997 – Mike Kelly, South East Melbourne Magic
1998 – Mike Kelly, South East Melbourne Magic
1999 – Darnell Mee, Adelaide 36ers
2000 – Darnell Mee, Adelaide 36ers
2001 – Darnell Mee, Adelaide 36ers
2002 – Simon Dwight, West Sydney Razorbacks
2003 – Glen Saville, Wollongong Hawks
2004 – Ben Castle, Brisbane Bullets
2005 – Darnell Mee, Wollongong Hawks
2006 – Darnell Mee, Cairns Taipans
2007 – Sam Mackinnon, Brisbane Bullets
2008 – Chris Anstey, Melbourne Tigers
2009 – Adam Gibson, South Dragons
2010 – Dillon Boucher, New Zealand Breakers
2011 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats
2012 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats
2013 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats
2014 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats
2015 – Damian Martin, Perth Wildcats
2016 – Kevin Lisch, Illawarra Hawks
2017 – Torrey Craig, Brisbane Bullets