The NBA is one of the most watched sporting leagues in the world. The United States has dominated the sport of basketball for decades. The Dream team as they’ve become renown on the International stage, has toyed with competition left and right.
For Years us Aussies have been a scarce rarity in the American dominated league of the NBA. However, in recent years, things have well and truly changed. Last Tuesday, the Australians in the NBA posted 63 points the highest single day output by Aussies in the league since its inception. Lets take a look at how our Green and Gold representatives are fairing in the league so far this year.
Patty Mills is the one player that Americans often sit back and forget he’s not a homegrown talent. Mills has found his role in the star-studded line up of the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs currently sit at 10-3 atop the Southwest division and Mills has played a key role in that. Averaging 24 minutes a night with over 10 points per game, 3.7 assists and 2 boards per contest, Mills has become a highly effective player.
Mills is in line to take over the reigns from wily veteran Tony Parker. Parker’s age is becoming a factor and Mills has earned some love from Coach Pop. We could see Mills steering the Spurs around as early as next season.
Former number 1 pick Andrew Bogut’s career as a Dallas Maverick hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts. The Mavericks are currently languishing at the bottom of the Southwest division with a 2-10 record.
Bogut has never been the high motor, high scoring type. Bogut’s role has always felt off the stat sheet, by changing looks and forcing ill-advised shots from the opposition.
Bogut’s averaging 25 minutes per game and has cemented himself as the only truly capable starting center for the Mavericks. The Aussie’s average of 10 rebounds per game leads his team, which is what you expect from a big man.
Dallas has a fair bit to improve on if they want to become relevant again. The new faces in this line-up need time to gel but in the meantime they’re on the fast track to a lottery pick.
Little Delly as he’s known around the league has been a strong performer thus far with his new club the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are currently last in in the Central division. To their defence, they have one of the harder divisions in basketball boasting the likes of the reigning champion Cavaliers, the Surging Bulls, the Upstart Pistons and the ever-competitive Pacers. Matthew Dellavedova is leading the team with 6.2 assists per game. Bringing 7.7 points per game as a part of his skillset, Dellavedova has become the starting point guard for the Bucks.
Dellavedova is a no nonsense unselfish point guard who loves to facilitate his teammates. He really embodies that true blue Aussie work ethic with his team.
Delly wont be winning any popularity contests amongst the rest of the league as he was voted the dirtiest player among fellow NBA players. Either Delly is a dirty bugger, which is hard to believe given how innocent he looks, or those Americans are just too sensitive. I think it’s the latter.
Ingles and Exum
Dante Exum and Joe Ingles are plying their trade with the Utah Jazz. The boys are averaging 21 and 17 minutes per game respectively, showing that they are valuable parts of this Utah team currently in contention for the playoffs in the West.
Exum is coming off the torn ACL from last season. He’s slowly showing that he is a viable NBA player and needs to put in those hard yards to officially get the reigns of the Utah Jazz from George Hill.
Honourable mentions go to Aaron Baynes, who was born in New Zealand but is still strutting his stuff on behalf of the Green and Gold. Until he fixes up that situation with his horrendous haircuts I can’t in good conscience put him on the list.
Ben Simmons was signed up as one of the brightest young talents of the generation. Injury struck him down and he’s currently working with the 76’ers training staff to get back to full health before they unleash him on the league.
All of a sudden the future’s looking bright for the Australian representation in the NBA. Now, if they could only stop getting injured that would be great for their chances to carve out solid longstanding careers.
Written by Nik Hatzi