Not unlike other seasons, NBL24 will feature a stack of big-name game-breakers. Here’s five of them that need to be on every fan’s radar.
NBL imports come into the league with a weight of expectation on their shoulders; teams that set their sights on the championship look to their stars to raise the bar.
This season’s crop is a mixed bag of new faces, returning stars, and even some new allegiances, adding even more intensity to rivalries across the league.
We’ve already run through some of the NBL’s rules and regulations around the league’s imports, so now it’s time to cut to the chase.
Here are a select few who we’ll be keeping an eye out for throughout NBL24.
The 5 most intriguing NBL24 imports
Here are five of the most intriguing international talents playing in the NBL in 2023-24.
1. Jaylen Adams, Sydney Kings
The 2021-22 NBL MVP returns to the Sydney Kings after a season away from the league. Adams was a major factor in the Kings’ drought-breaking Championship that season, proving himself as a big time shot maker, as they swept the Tasmania JackJumpers. Adams averaged 20.8pts and 5.8 assists, shooting 44% from the field.
Short stints in Serbia and China last season weren’t quite as successful for the 27-year-old, who was released from Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade after just three games. The Kings will expect him to increase those numbers for a push at the three-peat and he’s undoubtedly hoping to rediscover his form that led them to the chip.
With last season’s MVP, Xavier Cooks, now with the Washington Wizards in the NBA, it’s Adams’ duty to help fill those giant shoes — albeit playing a different role.
2. Ian Clark, Melbourne United
A 2017 NBA Champion with the Golden State Warriors, Ian Clark first entered the NBL when he was recruited by the Sydney Kings towards the end of the 2021-22 season. Clark was a monumental boost for the Kings, losing just one of the 16 games he played as they stormed home to the Championship.
Clark signed with the Adelaide 36ers towards the end of the 2022-23 campaign, but missed the finals in a disappointing season for the club. But the 32-year-old has signed with Melbourne United for the upcoming season, adding yet more fuel to the fire in what is already an intense rivalry between them and the Kings.
Clark has arguably the best resume in the NBL and brings a wealth of experience and quality to United, who missed out on finals last season.
3. Gary Clark, Illawarra Hawks
With the same surname as the aforementioned Ian, Gary is also expected to have a major impact on the league.
The North Carolina native is a welcome addition to the Illawarra Hawks for NBL24, after their 3-25 record last season saw them well and truly at the bottom of the ladder. The 6”6 power forward has 177 NBA games under his belt, having played with Houston, Orlando, Denver, Philadelphia and New Orleans. Clark has also had stints with the Mexico City Captains and Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the G-League, winning the championship with the latter in 2018.
Clark brings experience that will benefit the young Hawks side, and with the ability to put up big numbers will look to slot in as an offensive threat alongside fellow import Tyler Harvey.
4. Parker Jackson-Cartwright, New Zealand Breakers
At 5”11, Parker Jackson-Cartwright may be one of the smallest guards in the league, but he comes in with big expectations. That is exactly what the Breakers want, after going down to the Kings in last season’s Grand Final Series, they’re out for blood in NBL24.
Jackson-Cartwright joins the NZ side off the back of a stint with Besiktas in Turkey, averaging 17.9pts and 7.7 assists. The 28-year-old also won the Bundesliga MVP with Baskets Bonn in 2022, where he was the second highest scorer in the league.
The Breakers have added Jackson-Cartwright, Zylan Cheatham and Justinian Jessup as their new imports for NBL24; serious fire power.
5. Tyler Cook, South East Melbourne Phoenix
With a pre-season injury to South East Melbourne big man Alan Williams, another key import is his injury replacement. 25-year-old Tyler Cook has flirted with the NBA throughout his career, including stints with Cleveland, Denver, Brooklyn, Detroit, and most recently the Chicago Bulls.
At 6”8, Cook brings size and plenty of agility to the Phoenix line-up. After a 1-4 start to their campaign last season, SEM will be looking to Cook to help get them off to a lightning start in NBL24, while Williams continues to rehab his injured knee.