Basketball: NZ Breakers stars recognised among league's best at Australian NBL awards

After nine years of being overlooked, NZ Breakers have earned recognition among the Australian NBL's elite, with two players named in the competition's First Team at Monday's awards in Melbourne.

American imports Anthony Lamb and Parker Jackson-Cartwright were both included in the competition's team of the year, which is split between three frontcourt players and two backcourt players.

Their selection marks the first time the Breakers have had any players feature in the side since 2015, when Corey Webster and Kirk Penney were named.

Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright. Photo credit: Getty Images

Illawarra Hawks' Gary Clark, Perth Wildcats' Bryce Cotton and Melbourne United's Chris Goulding round out the side.

Former Golden State Warrior Lamb joined the team as an injury replacement for compatriot Justinian Jessup and quickly established himself as one of the competition's best, posting per-game averages of 19.4 points and six rebounds.

His season was cruelly cut short by injury, suffering an Achilles tendon tear against the Wildcats earlier this month.

Los Angeles native Jackson-Cartwright was one of the Breakers' most consistent performers, finishing the regular season ranked third in points (20.2 per game), second in assists (5.7 per game), as well as a league-leading 1.9 steals per game.   

Jackson-Cartwright was also nominated for the league's top individual prize - the Andrew Gaze MVP trophy - but missed out to Cotton, who won the award for a fourth time.

Tall Blacks guard Shea Ili of Melbourne United was given the Damian Martin Award as the league's best defensive player.

Retiring Breakers great Tom Abercrombie was also acknowledged for his 16-year service to the league with a heartfelt tribute video.