Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze believes star recruit Andrew Bogut is building a compelling case to be crowned MVP in his debut NBL season despite his influence not always manifesting on the statistics sheet.
The NBA championship winner unleased a season-best return of 23 points and 16 rebounds in the Kings' 71-70 away win over the New Zealand Breakers on Sunday.
"Absolutely," Gaze said when asked whether Bogut was in the frame for the honour.
"The league's got plenty of outstanding players and he's definitely one of them.
"He's dominating on the boards and what we saw offensively where he was finishing plays the other night is something that we will hopefully see a lot more of."
Nearing the halfway mark of the season, Bogut ranks 23rd for scorers with 12 points per game – well behind Perth's Bryce Cotton (23.9), Cairns' Melo Trimble (22) and teammate Jerome Randle (19.6).
But what the former Golden State Warriors defensive anchor lacks in buckets he makes up for in less-glamorous departments.
Bogut leads the league in rebounds (11.8), blocks (3.1) and field goal percentage (59 per cent) while sitting seventh for average assists (four).
His coach expects big-scoring performances akin to his imposing display in Auckland to be a rarity but that doesn't take the gloss off the skilled 213cm centre's game.
"I don't think he's going to be a consistent 25-point scorer," Gaze said.
"But he contributes with his passing (and) the way in which he creates opportunities for others on the offensive end.
"He's scoring and providing in a variety of different ways even though some games you look at the stats sheet and he might only have 10 to 16 points."
Not that Gaze is complaining about Bogut's scoring flurry, with the Boomers great identifying they'll need more production on offence across their two-game road trip this weekend.
The third-placed Kings (7-4) next travel west to attempt to repeat their 77-72 win over Perth (11-2) for a second time in eight days on Friday before jetting back to face improving Illawarra (6-7) on Sunday.
Another victory over the league-leading Wildcats would frank their recent form and prove last season's upset – the Kings' first win in Perth in 10 years – was no fluke.
"There's a little asterisk next to our win at home because they never had Bryce Cotton," Gaze said.
"That's going to be a challenge for us, the way in which we can try and contain him."
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