Here's hoping all of you folks had a wonderful Christmas! Aussies in the NBA was a little delayed over this festive occasion while I took a few days off to recharge. Hopefully this break will keep me going until Australia day at least!
We have a lot of new season (and even career) records set this week, courtesy of the Big Banger and Ingles! Bogut and Patty could back on the court very soon, and that's always good news.
Don't forget to check out our Top 3 highlights this week, courtesy of Alistar Sullivan.
Read on, and do feel free to tweet me at @kein - would love to hear your thoughts on this feature.
Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)
Estimated return: No timetable set, possibly Jan if "all goes well" (source as of 19 Dec 2014)
ESPN writer Ethan Sherwood Strauss had an AMA (Ask Me Anything) at reddit on 23 Dec 2014. He mentioned that Bogut was back at practice, no date mentioned. He also commented that he didn't think the injury was serious.
According to Rusty Simmons of the SF Chronicle, coach Kerr expects Bogut to be up and running in the next couple of days. Stay tuned!
Steve Kerr said he expects Andrew Bogut (right knee) on the court -- running and moving -- in the next couple of days.
— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) December 26, 2014
Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 26 Dec 2014 @NOP 14 7 2/4 0 3/3 3 (1 off) 0 0 0 0 2 -5 25 Dec 2014 OKC 11 6 3/5 0 0 4 (1 off) 1 0 0 1 1 14 22 Dec 2014 LAC 9 0 0/1 0 0 1 1 0 0 2 2 -1 20 Dec 2014 DAL 31 16 6/11 0 4/4 10 (2 off) 2 1 1 4 4 -8 19 Dec 2014 POR 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Stat milestones: Baynes has been making huge strides this season, and he tore through the records once more this week with three new season highs against the Dallas Mavericks. He had 16 points scored (career high), 6 field goals made, and a steal recorded (tie for career high.)
Although, I wouldn't exactly call it a steal.
The Spurs lost this game on the road 99-93, an unsurprising result as most of the Spurs core (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili, Leonard, Green, Splitter) were out resting or injured. The Spurs bench however gave a spirited effort, as seen in the close scoreline and bad shooting nights from scorers Parsons (6/15), Nowitzki (4/14), Rondo (3/11) Harris (5/12.)
According to Angus Crawford of NBA Australia, Baynes also recorded his second double-double and sixth start for this season.
Baynes' minutes and production over the remaining games shrank accordingly, as San Antonio played a deep 12-man rotation against the Clippers, Thunder and Pelicans.
Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 25 Dec 2014 LAL 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 -2
Cam saw limited action this week. He played in the final minute of the Christmas victory over the Kobe-less Lakers, and clinched a defensive rebound over a missed Jordan Hill jumper.
Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 22 Dec 2014 @MEM 22 6 2/3 2/3 0 2 3 0 0 0 1 -2 20 Dec 2014 @CHA 23 6 2/7 2/6 0 1 (1 off) 2 0 0 3 2 -3 19 Dec 2014 @ORL 15 2 1/2 0 0 2 0 2 0 3 3 -1
Stat milestone: Dante tied his career high of 2 steals against Orlando this week.
Exum has been a facilitator when holding the ball this week. Is it because of a lack of aggressiveness on his side?
"It’s a bit of not trying to step on people’s toes, but trying to find my shot and the right shot," Exum said. "It’s a team game and that's what I've done most of my career, and that’s what got me here."
“I think for the most part, he is doing his job making the simple basketball play. He’s not trying to do too much, and that is usually what gets younger guys, they try to do too much and play a little bit out of what they can do," Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward said.
Instead of getting the assist straight off however, he's been looking to get the ball to a teammate, who then sets the actual scorer up for the bucket.
Coach Snyder however, wants him to attack and is happy to live with the consequences.
"I want him to attack," Snyder said. "He’s got the freedom to make mistakes. We can live with the mistakes as long as they’re made when he’s attacking."
"He’s got a gear where you see him attacking and I think that is who he is and who he needs to be," Snyder said. "He’s been much better on the ball defensively than maybe I thought he would be from seeing tape of him last year (from his Australian playing days). There's some things that he can do, but they're not habits yet. He's just got to really work on them."
Off the ball, he's been making cuts (not hard ones though) and waiting out on the wings for an open shot. On defense, he seems a little tentative on reading his attacker's body language. This spells trouble when he gets caught flat-footed by speedy, aggressive guards like Elfrid Payton or Kemba Walker, as he's unable to contain the drive and has to rely on help defense.
Patience! Dante will get there, and we are all in for the ride.
Bonus: A rather interesting tidbit from the recent NBA draft revealed that the Bucks actually selected Jabari Parker over Dante Exum after analysis, a part of which included this process known as "facial coding".
“Nothing against Exum, but emotional resiliency, stability and an immediate, assured presence were all key considerations in support of selecting Parker,” Hill (facial coding expert) said.
Lesson learnt: never wear your emotions on your sleeve!
Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 22 Dec 2014 @MEM 5 2 1/1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -3 20 Dec 2014 @CHA 16 13 5/8 3/6 0/1 4 1 0 1 0 0 -2 19 Dec 2014 @ORL 3 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 -2
Stat milestones: Jingles broke out the record books against the Charlotte Hornets this week with number of career highs. He scored a career high 13 points on 5 shots (career high FGM), 3 treys from deep (career high 3P made) and tied on career rebounds (4) and blocks (1).
The Jazz ultimately lost to the Hornets 86-104, but it's encouraging to see Ingles not merely settle for the three ball, but also penetrate.
It's also hard at times, to quantify his leadership on the stat sheet.
Look at this possession in the Orlando game for example, where Ingles held on to the ball until three seconds was left on the clock. His high pick and roll play with Gobert got the buzzer beating dunk happening, something that takes nerve and experience.
Ingles' presence as a veteran bench leader is still needed, and all that needs to be seen in 2015 is continued consistency along these lines.
Off the court: Ingles sounded really glad their latest win against the Memphis Grizzlies rounded off the gruelling 6-game pre-Christmas road trip. 6 games, 3 wins. The team is currently 5-11 on the road overall, but staying .500 on the latest road ain't too shabby, just saying!
A photo posted by @joeingles7 on Dec 12, 2014 at 8:44pm PST
Here's hoping the team gets another win right after the break!
Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 26 Dec 2014 @ORL 36 8 2/7 2/7 2/2 1 3 1 0 3 3 10 25 Dec 2014 @MIA 15 0 0/2 0/1 0 3 (2 off) 0 1 0 1 2 -3 23 Dec 2014 MIN 13 3 1/5 1/3 0 1 (1 off) 3 1 0 1 3 7 21 Dec 2014 MEM 14 2 1/2 0/1 0 2 (1 off) 2 0 0 0 1 -10 19 Dec 2014 BKN 13 2 1/1 0 0 1 3 1 0 1 1 9
A quick glance at the stats makes us all notice Delly's shooting slump. He did however, contribute in his usual ways. Let no one say he played without effort! His usual energy and hustle was present throughout, refer to evidence.
Fournier obviously got the better of Delly in the second sequence. You can see how hard he defended though, despite being banged up and served for the and one. No surrender!
Delly received major minutes against the Orlando Magic, when Kyrie Irving was rested due to a left knee contusion suffered on the Christmas Heat game. He played the role off off-ball guard, but was unable to make the most of his shot attempts however, hitting only 2 of 7 open three attempts. Definitely needs to up his shooting and improve spacing on the team, if this is to be a secondary role for him.
Off the court: How many of you would grab a Delly Christmas jersey if it was available?
A photo posted by matthewdelly (@matthewdelly) on Dec 12, 2014 at 12:42pm PST
Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
Injury: Surgery to repair torn right rotator cuff
Estimated return: Officially mid-Jan 2015 (source as of 18 Dec 2014)
There has been a rumour that Patty might see the court before the official deadline hits, but it has not happened yet.
“I always err on the conservative side,” Popovich said. “I’ll just feel better if he takes more time and gets knocked around on the court a little bit more in our sessions. (I need) just a comfort level because I know if he screws up the shoulder now we’re going to lose him for the rest of the year.
“He’s way too important. He affects our offense significantly.”
Off the court: Patty was out at the Children's Hospital of San Antonio with teammate Jeff Ayres, spreading some Christmas cheer to the kids.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 18, 2014
Ater Majok (Los Angeles Lakers/D-Fenders)
Ater Majok has been reassigned to the Lakers' D-League affiliate, the D-Fenders. He has played in four games so far, notching two double-doubles and scoring 8 points and added 2 rebounds in a victory against the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
It remains to be seen if Ater will get called up to the Lakers, but let's keep our eyes peeled.
Game schedule for the week featuring Aussies in the NBA
We are using an embedded Google Calendar format, which would hopefully make it much easier for all of you to keep track on when our favourite Aussies in the NBA are hitting the court!
Game schedules courtesy of NBA on ESPN.