Aussies in the NBA: Bairstow's historic night as Bulls starter

The week draws to a close once more, and it's time to look at our Aussies in the NBA. Bogut has deserved top praise for staying in top form, but Cameron Bairstow gets the headline this week.

Some major milestones:

  • It's Cam's first ever start in the NBA.

  • He's also the third Australian to start for the Bulls, the other two being Luc Longley and Chris Anstey.

  • He could also possibly be the eighth Australian to start in the NBA, but this is undergoing verification. Will link reference once confirmed.

Let's start off the wrap with our Top 3 highlights for the week!

As always, highlights are produced by our talented video co-ordinator Alistar Sullivan.

Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)

Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 26 Nov 2014 @ORL 24 6 3/7 0 0/2 12 (3 off) 7 2 2 1 3 26 25 Nov 2014 @MIA 32 8 4/5 0 0 10 5 1 2 2 2 1 23 Nov 2014 @OKC 8 2 1/3 0 0 1 1 1 2 1 0 10 21 Nov 2014 UTA 20 12 6/8 0 0 4 (1 off) 2 0 1 0 3 23

Andrew Bogut had a nasty incident against the Thunder earlier last weekend, when he received a hard elbow from Kendrick Perkins. Thankfully, the orbital contusion did not seem too serious, and he was able to play in subsequent games against the Heat and Magic. His presence helped fuel the team to a 12-2 record, and a solid 7-game win streak.

Bogut's impact cannot be overstated. He has brought defensive tenacity (he's ranked #8 in defensive impact) to the Warriors. In addition, his passing smarts has only served to further polish what was already an elite offense last season.

All that remains now, is to hope for the Warriors core - especially Bogut - to stay healthy. There's no reason for the team to not make the conference finals at least, should they continue to annihilate the opposition at their current pace.

Bonus: Read about Bogut's artistry on the dribble hand-off, and the impact the "modern-day Arvydas Sabonis" brings.

Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs)

Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 26 Nov 2014 IND 15 9 4/4 0 1/2 3 (1 off) 1 0 0 1 5 -10 22 Nov 2014 BKN 21 10 4/8 0 2/2 8 (2 off) 1 1 0 1 2 5 21 Nov 2014 @MIN 21 12 6/9 0 0/1 9 (4 off) 2 1 1 3 4 9

Aron is slowly but surely gaining momentum this season. He's averaging 16.4 minutes this season, up from 9.3 minutes in 2013-14. The Big Banger's just about doubled his scoring (3.0 to 6.6) and rebounding (2.7 to 4.7) so far, and has consistently proven himself to be a dependable anchor in Tiago Splitter's absence. He is playing alongside the starters seamlessly, moving smart and finishing catches very, very well.

It will be interesting to see how Baynes' minutes will be affected when Splitter returns from his injury. Will Pop trust Aron enough to rest Splitter at strategic points in the season?

Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls)

Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 25 Nov 2014 @DEN 19 2 1/4 0 0 2 (2 off) 1 0 1 2 4 -13 21 Nov 2014 @POR 2 1 0 0 1/2 1 (1 off) 0 0 0 0 1 0

A fantastic week for Cam on two counts. He got his first NBA start against the Denver Nuggets, and also scored his first field goal in the league - well done!

Unfortunately, the Bulls lost that road game in Denver 114-109. The loss continued an unlucky streak of non-wins for the Bulls in Denver since 8 Feb 2006.

Most of Cam's field goals in the Nuggets game were long jumpers. There was however, a deft Hinrich pocket pass out of a trap that got Bairstow the ball deep in the paint for a nice bucket, had he not been fouled.

Cameron should continue to make the most of these situations and roll hard after the initial screen. Expect defenses to scramble, and options to present themselves elsewhere on the court for another Bull to score.

Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)

Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 26 Nov 2014 @OKC 17 3 1/4 0/2 1/2 1 0 0 0 1 2 -8 24 Nov 2014 CHI 11 0 0/1 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 -6 22 Nov 2014 NOP 19 2 1/5 0/1 0 1 1 1 0 0 4 -3 21 Nov 2014 @GSW 22 2 1/5 0/2 0 4 5 1 0 2 2 15

With a blossoming core this season, the Jazz are slowly but surely on the rise. How does Exum fit into the picture - should he be thrown into the fire as a starter, or is development against bench players better?

Despite a tough week where Exum failed to find his shooting rhythm against tough defenses like Golden State, New Orleans and Chicago, coach Snyder is still confident in his rookie guard's ability to adapt and prosper.

"I think he's such a high-character guy and he's so competitive that, really, from the Summer League when people got their first glimpse of him, I think he was fatigued. As he's gotten his legs back and he's gotten comfortable, I've been impressed with how relaxed (he is). There's no fear in him. That would be something, that you'd think there would be a little more hesitancy.

I think he's embraced certain things that we've asked him to do. His minutes have been consistent and there's been games when he's played really well and there's been some games when he's looked really young, but clearly he's tracking in the right direction."

- Jazz coach Quin Snyder, Exum's transition to NBA ahead of schedule

From a numbers perspective, Exum looked like he was in very poor form this week. Visually, he didn't seem rattled or off balance on his shots. The shots were makeable ones that somehow didn't go in. I'm blaming it on the basketball gods this week, it's all good Dante.

Not forgetting the fact that he had this splendid alley oop to tag team partner Rudy Gobert, which certainly spoke well of Exum's vision and passing.

Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)

Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 26 Nov 2014 @OKC 25 0 0/2 0/2 0 3 0 0 0 1 1 -14 24 Nov 2014 CHI 27 11 5/9 1/3 0 1 (1 off) 2 0 0 0 3 3 22 Nov 2014 NOP 21 3 1/2 1/1 0 0 1 0 0 2 2 -10 21 Nov 2014 @GSW 24 3 1/5 0/4 1/2 2 5 1 0 0 0 -5

Joe achieved an NBA career high this week with 11 points against the Bulls on 24 Nov 2014, hitting 5 of his 9 shots.

Matt Pacenza of Salt City Hoops did a a rather interesting feature on Jingles recently. First off, Ingles got a new Spanish moniker - meet our mate José English. More importantly, a rather thorough examination into Ingles' season numbers was done, taking into reference league averages and his impact on the Jazz.

... even if his defense and passing are for real, it’s hard to imagine Ingles remaining a viable bench player unless he starts to shoot and score more. He’s no Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman, and even if he is a savvy on-ball defender and an unusually good passer, that simply may not be enough to justify 15-20 minutes a game in today’s spread-the-floor NBA.

- Joe Ingles: Historically Unusual?

The eyeball evidence concurs. Ingles has been a great passer for the team. Could Joe's limited shot attempts be an effect of his designated role (again, eyeball evidence) as the point forward? He has however, shown greater aggressiveness in the Bulls game, and shown a willingness to take it to the hoop. It's too early to set things in stone. Should he continue to find the open shot, anything is possible.

What do you think?

Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Injury: Sprained MCL in left knee on 4 Nov 2014 against Portland Trail Blazers

Estimated return: Anywhere from one week to three weeks away (source as of 24 Nov 2014)

Delly has been positive on his recovery so far.

“I’m getting better each day and going exactly on how it feels,” Dellavedova said. “I’m trying to do the best that I can. If it gets sore, back off a little bit. It’s been pretty good so far.”

- Cleveland Cavaliers: Matthew Dellavedova working back from injury

Delly also represented the Cavs in the #FitasaPro program with teammate Tristan Thompson and various coaching staff, where kids had a look into the lives of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The students experienced aspects of the basketball pro routine, from training to film watching to learning nutritional tips.

A photo posted by matthewdelly (@matthewdelly) on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:53pm PST

Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)

Injury: Surgery to repair torn right rotator cuff

Estimated return: 15 Jan 2015 (source as of 23 Nov 2014)

Patty has progressed to light shooting (no 3s!) and dribbling so far. It seems like the process isn't fun in the slightest, but Mills is focused on the end goal.

“It hurts, and it’s a grind, but it’s part of the process. There are times afterwards that I’m miserable and don’t want to talk to a lot of people and just go home and bury myself. But I understand the process.

It’s hard, and having it pay off in the long run is what keeps me going.”

- Mills trying to be patient with rehab

Having a conditioning clause with a potential $333,000 payout certainly helps too! Check out Patty's trim physique as of two weeks ago.

A photo posted by Patty Mills (@balapat) on Nov 11, 2014 at 2:56pm PST

If you haven't watched Patty going Greek in the latest H-E-B commercial yet, don't forget to suss it out at the San Antonio Spurs website - Tim Duncan is hilarious!

A photo posted by Patty Mills (@balapat) on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:36pm PST

Vote for your favourite Spurs ad and watch the entire series at the H-E-B website.

Game schedule for the week potentially featuring Aussies in the NBA

All times are indicated in AEST.

Sat, 29th Nov

  • CHI @ BOS 5:00AM

  • GSW @ CHA 11:00AM

  • SAC @ SAS 12:30PM

Sun, 30th Nov

  • LAC @ UTA 1:00PM

Mon, 1st Dec

  • SAS @ BOS 5:00AM

  • CHI@ BKN 7:00AM

  • GSW @ DET 7:30AM

Tue, 2nd Dec

  • SAS @ PHI 11:00AM

  • DEN @ UTA 1:00PM

Wed, 3rd Dec

  • DAL @ CHI 12:00PM

  • ORL @ GSW 2:30PM

Thu, 4th Dec

  • CHI@ CHA 11:00AM

  • SAS @ BKN 11:30AM

  • TOR @ UTA 1:00PM

Schedule timings extracted from Sportal - NBA Australia, compiled by Michael Tozer.