We all know Australian basketball has been on the rise in recent years, and there’s no better evidence for it, than the number of Australians flying the flag in the NBA.
The NBA offseason has been an exciting one for Australia so far. The Utah Jazz confirmed a three-year extension with guard Danté Exum. Meanwhile, Ryan Broekhoff recently signed a two-year deal with the Dallas Mavericks. Jonah Bolden, after being drafted last year, followed through on an official four-year rookie contract with the Philadelphia 76ers.
With two new commitments in Broekhoff and Bolden, the number of active Australians in the NBA has risen to a historical ten. This includes Mangok Mathiang, who signed a two-way contract with the Charlotte Hornets last season, and played mostly for the G-League Greensboro Swarm. Mathiang played for the Hornets during the recent Vegas Summer League, and has another year in his contract with Charlotte.
Update: former Adelaide 36ers swingman Mitch Creek has signed a deal with the Brooklyn Nets, that could make him the 11th Australian in the NBA this season.
How high does Australia rank in international NBA players?
The NBA isn’t releasing current numbers for international players in the league, due to offseason roster flux. This article will be updated again when official numbers are published. It’s very likely however, that Australia maintains a top 3 spot. According to last season’s opening night numbers from the NBA, Canada had 11, and France 10. Canada has increased its numbers, especially with recent 2018 draftees Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11th) and Justin Jackson (43rd). Meanwhile, France’s Elie Okobo was drafted at 31st this year.
There’s never been a better time to follow the NBA, as more Australian talent rises through the pipeline and gets identified by NBA scouts. We’re looking forward to the day when Australia becomes the biggest pipeline of NBA international talent – hopefully that gives us some clout in getting an NBA game in Australia some day.
Australians in the NBA for 2017/18 season
- Aron Baynes (Boston Celtics)
- Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
- Danté Exum (Utah Jazz)
- Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
- Jonah Bolden (Philadelphia 76ers)
- Mangok Mathiang (Charlotte Hornets)
- Matthew Dellavedova (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
- Ryan Broekhoff (Dallas Mavericks)
- Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks)