Aussies in NBA: Quick hits from media day

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons said he felt locked into this upcoming NBA season like no other. He said that during this summer he was able to put aside the opinions of other people and focus on improving his jump shot.

When asked about standing in the corner, rather than the dunker's spot, he said, "If it's open, I'll take it. It just changes the dynamic of the game and the way guys have to guard you."

Simmons said he considered himself one of the leaders of the Eastern conference favourites, with his multi-year extension confirming for him an elite status, while also providing him long term security.

"I think I am an elite player. I think I'm elite at what I do and what I did last season.

"I'm happy to be here for another five years, I don't really want to be anywhere else."

After the disappointment of watching the playoffs continue after a tough 7–game series loss to the Raptors, Simmons said all 76ers players were committed to one goal, especially Joel Embiid and himself.

"We just want to win."

"We love being in Philadelphia and we love playing together."

Jonah Bolden

Bolden said he understood that, coming into his second year, expectations were higher for him to know what to do. He said he'd taken the time to focus on what he needed to do to support winning.

"Season two for me, is less room for error."

"I know that, for me personally, expectations are always high for myself."

Bolden said he felt confident he could continue to build on the advice of new mentors like Tobias Harris. He said he understood that for a team with lofty expectations this year, the key to making a difference in the playoffs was to stay locked in.

"My biggest takeaway from last season was attention to detail."

Matthew Dellavedova

Dellavedova said this summer came at a perfect time for him to rework his shot. He said that his shot was creeping a bit behind his head and, with no Boomers commitments in the middle of summer, he decided to focus on quickening the action.

"[I] put a lot of time into it, just tried to get it out easier, quicker, with less effort."

"It had been something I'd been thinking about for a while."

Alongside his new jump shot, Dellavedova said he felt excited about playing in coach John Beilein's ball movement system. But he reiterated that as a veteran leader, his role this season was to bring consistency and keep the team focused on what they had to do to improve.

"I don't think it's going to change too much. Bring energy defensively and keep us organised offensively, make sure everybody is involved."

Dellavedova said that a benefit of World Cup play during the offseason was the preparation it gave him leading into the season.

“Having a different role with the Aussie team translates to coming back here and being more aggressive. Playing in those type of games where it is like a finals intensity every game and coming back into training camp and preseason––I'll be ready to go.”

Dante Exum

Exum spent the summer getting himself right after his partially torn patellor tendon. While it still not clear when he will return to the court––and if he'll play against the 36ers on October 5––Exum said his versatility would fit in nicely with the new Jazz roster.

“I am able to switch between positions and guard 1, 2 and 3.”

“I have a lot of confidence in myself and my ability to play those positions at a high level.”

Exum said his return would be determined by the medical team. While he wasn't able to return from injury in time to play with the Boomers, he said he paid close attention to their efforts in China.

“Man I wasn't waking up, I was staying up. The Spain game hurt a lot. I was up to 4:30am.”

In a side note, while Exum wore Nikes during his interview, it is believed his deal with Adidas has ended.

Joe Ingles

When pressed on a nickname for Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, who sat beside Ingles on media day, got a laugh from him by suggesting 'Bo-Jo'. Ingles, whose Jazz enter the new season with possible Finals expectations, saw a benefit in opposition defences overlooking him with the Jazz's offseason additions, saying,

"That's fantastic, right."

Ingles will still merit attention, after finishing last NBA season with increases in his points per game and assist averages; Ingles also managed 39.1% on 3 pointers at 5.9 per game. With an expected long campaign ahead of him, Ingles denied the potential of fatigue after a 4th place finish with the Boomers.

"What better preparation to play games than to play games?"

Ingles put the Boomers World Cup performance into context, focusing on the positives.

"Obviously as a team we didn't achieve what we wanted to achieve, but we finished the highest place for an Australian team at a World Cup and just more to improve next year at the Olympics."

Aron Baynes

Baynes came to Phoenix knowning he'd been through a rebuild before. He said his experience with Boston reinforced to him how important it was to play team basketball throughout a season. Speaking on the role his three point shooting could play, he said,

“It's been one of those things over the last few years that I've really locked in on."

Baynes shot 11 of 21 from behind the arc at the World Cup, which equates to a 52.4%. The Suns have averaged just over 21 wins per season over the last three years, but Baynes said he felt his wide range of experience put him in a position to help his younger teammates take that next step.

*Media day interviews from other Australians including Patty Mills, Thon Maker and Ryan Broekhoff could not be found. Broekhoff had a recent guest appearance on NBA Straya, that discusses his last season among other topics.