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With the Sydney Kings’ recent signing of past NBA champion Andrew Bogut there are now only eight Aussies left in the NBA, and all but one are still playing on in the always exciting NBA playoff series.
What is even more exciting is all are contributing their own unique style for their respective teams. That’s right – there are no benchwarmers here.
The list below includes the respected player stats at the end of the 2017-18 season in points/assists/rebounds order.
Ben Simmons – 15.8/8.2/8.1
Best game – 27/13/15 win against the Cavaliers
The rookie has taken over the league and was well worth the wait. He is a heavy favourite for rookie of the year and is being hailed as the next Magic Johnson, otherwise argued as the greatest point guard of all time. Enough said.
Patty Mills – 10.0/2.8/1.9
Best game – 25/4/2 win against the Jazz
The Spurs win games. It’s just what they do. This year was their biggest scare, but eight-year veteran Patty stepped up improving across the board. The $50 million contract over four years may have been a bit of an intensive, but the man has become such an important offensive star off the bench.
Joe Ingles – 11.5/4.8/4.2
Best game – 22/10/4 win against the Lakers
The Jazz blew everybody away this year as one of the bigger surprise competitors in the extremely talented western conference. Joe may have been a little overshadowed by sharpshooting rookie Donovan Mitchell, but Ingles is finally getting the recognition he deserves as one of the league’s most Lethal three-point shooters. The fact that he missed out on competing in the three-point contest in February is still an outrage.
Aron Baynes – 6.0/5.4 (Rebounds) /0.6 (Blocks)
Best game – 26/2/14 win against the Nets
A centre that can step out to the three is becoming the new trend in the league. Boston boast an almost complete line-up with three-point marksmen, and Baynes is no exception. He comes off the bench for all-star Al Horford but can more than hold his own inside and out for the always relevant Celtics.
Thon Maker – 4.8/3.0 (Rebounds) /0.7 (Blocks)
Best game – 16/8/3 win against the Suns
The big man is still finding his constant place on the Bucks team, but it has been only two years and he’s only 21 years of age. It is still a waiting game for him, but the Bucks have found a defensive anchor for the next few years regardless fo whether he starts or not. Let the likes of Middleton and the Greek Freak do their thing and Maker will send the shots back.
Matthew Dellavedova – 4.3/3.8/1.7
Best game – 6/10/5 loss against the Raptors
A frustrating season saw Delly miss more games this season alone than he has in his entire career. This was due to an ankle injury that saw him miss more time than planned and forced him to become a voice from the bench. Fortunately he is back for the playoffs where he first shined for the Cavaliers only a few years ago. His leadership will be a necessity for the Bucks playoff push.
Dante Exum – 8.1/3.1/1.9
Best game – 21/3/3 win against the Grizzlies
Finally, Exum began the 2017-18 season with a horrific shoulder injury. Dante returned in mid-March and has shown signs of promise when he is healthy. Coming off the bench is a good fit for him with the Jazz as a back up to Spanish star Ricky Rubio. The man will have his breakout season and may even step up for Utah in the finals.
Who Missed Out?
The only Aussie man to miss out was Hornets centre Mangok Mathaing. He did play a part in the Hornets’ incredible 51-point win against Memphis back in February with eight points and four rebounds, but he struggled to find more consistent time with Charlotte.
Andrew Bogut also technically played a season for the Lakers but is now starting a new chapter in Australia for the upcoming season starting later this year, in which the Kings hope to bounce back to former glories.
Australian basketball fanatics should be proud regardless of who you support. Our Aussie boys are doing great things for their franchises and the future looks incredibly bright.
One final food for thought is a hypothetical starting line-up.
PG: Ben Simmons
SG: Patty Mills
SF: Joe Ingles
PF: Aron Baynes
C: Thon Maker
Bench: Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum, Mangok Mathing and Andrew Bogut.
We may lack depth compared to the other juggernaut teams in the league, but our starting five’s offensive firepower is incredibly lethal, especially from deep.
Bring on the Tokyo Olympics!