The 2019 NBA draft is in the books, with New Orleans selecting high school and college phenom Zion Williamson with the first overall selection.
The focus here, will be on our Australians in the NBA and how they could be impacted in the coming 2019/20 NBA season by draft day.
BEN SIMMONS & JONAH BOLDEN (Philadelphia 76ers)
Philly’s first selection in the draft was pick No. 20, Matisse Thybulle, who grew up in Sydney and lived in Australia for seven years.
He is an excellent defender who should be able to impact a 76ers side who at times struggles on that end of the floor. It’ll surprise no one that this won’t really impact Simmons, just providing him with some help. It will also likely help Simmons when he goes head-to-head with the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year every day at practice.
Philly picking Thybulle up might bring some more competition for Jonah Bolden depending on how the 76ers look to take the floor this season, however the majority of Bolden’s minutes were at the four or five this season and Thybulle, at 6’5”, will not be playing in those spots.
The 76ers only made one other selection, taking Marial Shayok out of Iowa State with the 54th selection. The Canadian is a great scorer off the ball but will need to impress if he is going to get minutes on a stacked Philly team.
JOE INGLES & DANTE EXUM (Utah Jazz)
One of the big moves prior to the draft was the Mike Conley trade between Utah and Memphis. This will impact both the Aussies playing for Utah, but in different ways.
Danté Exum finds himself in an awkward spot now as Conley will be running the point, while Ricky Rubio will likely be the backup. Utah also drafted a point guard (Justin Wright-Foreman) with the 53rd selection.
Where that puts the young Aussie is unclear, and his future at the Jazz will be something to keep an eye on.
Ingles, on the other hand, might have a slight change in his role with Conley stepping in. He may be forced to play off the ball more as Conley will take plenty of the ball-handling duties. Don’t expect that to bother Ingles too much as his versatility allows him to adapt and play different roles.
The Jazz had two other selections in the draft, taking Jarrell Brantley with the 50th pick overall and Miye Oni with pick No. 58. Brantley is a 6’7″ forward with a giant 7’2″ wingspan that can do a bit of everything on the floor. Oni, who is the first player drafted out of Yale for over 30 years, was named Ivy League Player of the Year and is a wingman who has solid playmaking skills.
MATTHEW DELLAVEDOVA (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Delly’s future in Cleveland remains unclear, especially after they drafted three guards in the first round of the draft. The Cavs had pick No. 5 and took the top rated point guard in the class – Darius Garland.
With their two later selections in the first round (26 & 30), Cleveland took a pair of off guards in the shape of Dylan Windler and Kevin Porter Jr. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Cleveland moved Delly, however they may want to keep him around as a good veteran presence for the youngsters.
RYAN BROEKHOFF (Dallas Mavericks)
Dallas only had the one selection in this year’s NBA draft, taking Nebraska’s Isaiah Roby with the 45th pick.
Roby comes in at 6’8” but plays bigger than that, and has the ability to defend all five positions. He is a different player to the 6’7 Broekhoff, who’s primarily a swingman and a deadly outside threat, and shouldn’t stand in the way of the Aussie hopefully adding to his playing time in 2019/20.
Last season, Broekhoff featured in 42 games for Mavericks averaging four points in just 10.8 minutes per game. He shot the ball at a tick over 40% from deep and proved himself a solid ‘3 & D’ option when he got the opportunity.
THON MAKER (Detroit Pistons)
Detroit drafted highly-touted Frenchman Sekou Doumbouya with the 15th selection of the draft, however it’s a move that shouldn’t impact Thon Maker and his playing time too much. Doumbouya is an athletic wing player at 6’9” and although he will probably play minutes at the four position, you won’t see him lining up as a centre.
The Pistons’ other picks were 6’8” small forward Deividas Sirvydis and point guard Jordan Bone, selections that likely won’t get in the way of Maker taking a big step forward, not just in Detroit but in his overall NBA career.
PATTY MILLS (San Antonio Spurs)
The Spurs were clearly happy with their point guard stocks as they had three draft picks and didn’t pick one up.
With the 19th selection, they took big man Luka Samanic. Their final two selections were off guards Keldon Johnson (29th) and Quinndary Weatherspoon (49th).
It seems unlikely that Patty Mills’ role will change too much, as he will still get his minutes coming off the bench for Dejounte Murray and Derrick White.
His veteran presence should remain a key cog of the Spurs backcourt.
ARON BAYNES (Phoenix Suns)
The big news out of draft night from an Australian point of view was the trade involving Aron Baynes. The Celtics moved the big man to Phoenix along with pick No. 24 in exchange for a 2020 first-round pick via the Milwaukee Bucks.
It is understood that Boston made the move to free up further cap space, in a bid to hopefully land a big fish in the free agency.
If the Suns keep Baynes he will likely play as a backup to DeAndre Ayton and add some much-needed experience to the Phoenix frontcourt. No doubt Ayton’s toughness will improve going head-to-head with Baynes at practice all season if the Aussie remains in Arizona
The Suns selected Cameron Johnson (SF) and Ty Jerome (SG) in the draft which shouldn’t impact Baynes if he does play for Phoenix, and according to Arizona radio host John Gambadoro, he will. However some still believe he will be bought out, thus allowing him to sign elsewhere.
MITCH CREEK (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Mitch Creek has spent the offseason putting in workouts with the likes of Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, whilst also featuring heavily on the Timberwolves social media channels. However, his role next year and whether he will be part of the team remains unclear.
The worrying thing for Creek is the fact that Minnesota drafted two shooting guards, one being Jarrett Culver with pick No. 7 and the other being Jaylen Nowell out of Washington with the 43rd pick.
Culver does a lot of work off the dribble and is able to create for himself and others, while Nowell is an aggressive scorer who could have a tough time cracking onto the roster. The positive for Creek, is that the Aussie does the bulk of his work off-ball. Unlike Culver, the Boomers forward seldom plays in isolation and does not break down his opposition off the dribble, which makes him an easier fit along Culver.
It will be interesting to see where Creek ends up by the time the 2019/20 NBA season rolls around.