Kings forward Xavier Cooks won't get hopes up for MVP award

Past experience is reminding Sydney Kings forward Xavier Cooks not to get his hopes up after being shortlisted for the NBL's MVP award.

Cooks was in contention for All-NBL First Team honours last season as the Kings made a charge into the play-offs but lost out to Perth Wildcats forward Vic Law and instead featured in the All-NBL Second Team.

In his follow-up campaign, Cooks is in even better form and was revealed as one of three MVP finalists on Monday, alongside South East Melbourne Phoenix forward Mitch Creek and Wildcats guard Bryce Cotton.

He may be the most important player on the league's most consistent team but Cooks says memories from last season are keeping him grounded ahead of the awards night on February 7.

"Last year I thought I was going to get (All-NBL First Team) so much, and I didn't get it," he told AAP.

"I felt let down.

"This year I'm going in with the approach that whatever happens, happens. Individual awards don't define a season in my opinion, anyway."

In his second year in charge of the Sydney Kings, Chase Buford is up for the coach-of-the-year award.

Buford was shortlisted in his first season but lost to Scott Roth, who guided the Tasmania JackJumpers to the play-offs in their inaugural campaign.

This time around New Zealand Breakers coach Mody Maor and Adam Forde of the Cairns Taipans have been nominated.

While Maor and Forde have led their sides up the ladder, Cooks has been impressed by Buford's ability to keep the Kings' title defence on track despite significant roster changes.

"We lost our three imports and Wani (Swaka Lo Buluk), our starting two man and a bunch of other guys and he just fills those roles with other guys," he said.

"He's a special talent.

"He has a great basketball IQ.

"He knows how to communicate with his players and get the best out of them."