AUSTRALIAN TALENT IN THE NBA
Patty Mills – Brooklyn Nets
Mills has been heroic for the Boomers in Tokyo, and the transition from veteran to championship favorites Brooklyn has shaken the tongues. The 33-year-old is expected to get plenty of open shots as his rivals focus their attention on stopping superstars James Harden and Kevin Durant. Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get the shot means Mills would have to play an even bigger role than previously thought.
Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers
Talk about a nasty fallout. Simmons was Public Enemy No.1 in Philadelphia after his fake spit with the NBA franchise. The 25-year-old has faced widespread abuse on social media, and his fallout with fellow All-Star Joel Embiid means his future is bleak for the 76ers. Philadelphia wants to trade it in – but only after its value is higher. Simmons’ woes in last year’s final series no doubt made potential suitors cautious.
Josh Giddey – Thunder of Oklahoma City
The No.6 pick in this year’s draft has set the pitch on fire this preseason, averaging 13.5 points, seven rebounds and five assists in four games. At only 19, the sky is the limit for Giddey. And with Oklahoma expected to finish near the bottom of the ladder, Giddey can expect to receive block minutes on a team in rebuild mode.
Josh Green – Dallas Mavericks
The 20-year-old averaged just 2.6 points per game in a slow first season in the NBA. With Jason Kidd replacing Rick Carlisle as coach, Green is hoping to be given more minutes to show off his skills. Recorded a dismal 16 percent at long distance last season, and will be desperate to prove he’s better than that.
Joe Ingles – Utah Jazz
The 34-year-old was instrumental in the Baby Boomers’ Olympic bronze medal campaign, and he once again emerges as a key figure in Utah’s bid for the championship. Ingles shot an elite 45 percent from long distance last season and averaged 12.1 points per game. Utah should be in the heat of the championship race again.
Jock Landale – San Antonio Spurs
Won his crack with the Spurs after an exceptional season in the NBL with champions Melbourne United which included the MVP award of the grand final. The 211cm center has a cool head and can also shoot the three bullets. Its mobility for its size is also a crucial weapon.
Matisse Thybulle – Philadelphia 76ers
The 24-year-old has built a reputation as one of the NBA’s top perimeter defenders, but he has shown at the Olympics that he can be counted on to score as well. Thybulle has averaged 7.8 points per game in his six appearances for Tokyo, shooting 62.3 percent from the field. His stocks are now higher than ever and a great NBA season is looming.
Dante Exum – * Cut by the Houston Rockets *
The No.5 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft is now 26 and desperate to establish himself after years of injury. But his hopes of playing for Houston this season were extinguished over the weekend when they pulled him from the roster. He is now looking for a new NBA home. Exum produced a series of strong performances at the Olympics, finishing with 12 points in the bronze medal game against Slovenia and 14 points in the semi-final loss to the United States.