News Article

Ili’s game-winning defence praised

29 Nov
2 mins read

Written By

Melbourne United Media

Shea Ili has firmly placed himself in the conversation for the Defensive Player of the Year award

Shea Ili’s defensive skill has long been discussed throughout the NBL.

The Kiwi guard has terrorised opposing players for the past five seasons with Melbourne United, a fact that continues to ring true in NBL24.

Ili ranked equal first in the league in Defensive Win Shares and boasts the best defensive rating of any player to have logged as many minutes as him, per Spacialjam.

With NBL Award conversations starting to take shape, the two-time championship winner’s play has him well placed in any Defensive Player of the Year conversations.

This was made abundantly clear on the latest episode of NBL Overtime, with Pete Hooley, Lanard Copeland and Cam Luke all signing Ili’s praises.

“Shea does this year in and year out,” Hooley explained. 

“It’s phenomenal to just see a guy have this impact on a game. He could win you a game and score zero points.”

“He’s getting better too,” Copeland elaborated. “As good as he is on defence, he’s getting better… he takes control of the game and finds guys where they need to be, he’s a defensive stopper.”

Luke ended the conversation, stating “He’s the best defensive player in the league for mine because he can actually win you a game defensively, which I don’t think anyone else can do.”

Ili will hit the court this Sunday as part of United’s Member Appreciated Round against the Cairns Taipans from 2pm at John Cain Arena.

There’s still time to lock in your seat to Melbourne’s first three home games of December for a fraction of the price of walk up tickets, or become a part-season member to pick and choose which games you want to see across the remainder of the NBL24 season.


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