One more week to the All-Star break! Cleveland is rising, and our very own Matthew Dellavedova is one of the big reasons for their success. Meanwhile, Dante Exum continues to his journey for improvement in the NBA, especially when it comes to shooting. This week's wrap is a little longer than usual due to the extra GIF breakdowns, so read on and find out how our Aussies are doing this week.
Something interesting: Bogut, Exum and Mills all made Fox Sport's list of Australia's 7 most wealthiest athletes, with Bogey topping the chart. ShamSports has Bogut's 2014/15 season salary at nearly USD$13 million.
Dont miss out on this week's Aussies in the NBA top 3 highlights, courtesy of Alistar!
Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)
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[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ogut did not fare as well in last weekend's Aussie showdown against the Jazz (video highlights). His energy level was not the best, and it showed in his numbers: 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 23 minutes. It could have been worse, and Bogut was definitely not pleased with his form that night.
Andrew Bogut: "“This was the worst game I’ve played all year. I didn’t have energy, didn’t feel good rhythm and just couldn’t get it going."
— Rusty Simmons (@Rusty_SFChron) January 31, 2015
The week got better, and Bogut's been really efficient on offense. He's moving well off the ball and making his presence felt in a variety of ways on offense, all without taking bad shots. From cleaning the glass to easy putbacks, he's getting the job done without dominating the ball.
And yes, he does get points from the lob too, courtesy of this other guy named Curry. I hear he's a pretty good passer.
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Check out the big smiles on Bogut and Curry after that jam though! Keeping it real, love the camaraderie.
Rounding it off: this spectacular block against Rudy Gay. Gotta love the unhurried way Bogut paces Gay, then rises up and stifles that dunk.
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Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs)
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[dropcap]B[/dropcap]aynes had a great rebounding night against the Magic. Despite his limited minutes, the Big Banger managed to nab 9 rebounds, with 3 coming off the offensive glass. I have to admit, a significant chunk of the defensive boards were of the gimme, uncontested variety. Credit to Baynes for consistently being in position for offensive rebounds though.
Check out this possession that begun with a Manu/Baynes screen and roll. Baynes' roll action drew the defense in, and led to an open corner 3 on the weak side for Patty. The resulting miss however, was corralled by Baynes, who passed back it out to Patty. The possession was reset, Manu managed to drive and bait three Magic defenders along the way. No prizes for guessing who was waiting for the easy dunk! The non-stop ball movement is a thing of beauty, and Baynes did his part in being the screen and roller, offensive rebounder and finisher. All in one hulking Aussie package.
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Excluding JaMychal Green (who's played only two games for the Spurs), Baynes is actually leading the Spurs in field goal accuracy. He scores 55.8% of the time while averaging 4.4 attempts this season.
Baynes' solid, subtle progression
Jesus Gomez from Pounding The Rock has a good take on Baynes' development over his career with the Spurs, and why he deserves the playing minutes he gets now. A lot of it with his understanding of the pick and roll that happens on offense and defense, plus his much improved off-ball movement.
Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls)
Bairstow was a DNP again this week. Meanwhile.
Bogut shows faith in Cam
Staying positive! Despite the lack of playing time, Bogut remains confident that Bairstow's tutelage under Chicago's leading big men will pay off in the long term.
"... it feels like Bairstow is the only guy who hasn’t been seeing as many minutes. But he’s a rookie on a very good team and is learning off the likes of Noah and Gasol, which will be invaluable for him."
Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)
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[dropcap]E[/dropcap]xum's performance has not helped the argument for his starting spot. This week, he shot 1 of 13 from the field, averaging 1 point, 2.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 23 minutes nightly. Was it all on Exum though? Not really. In Utah's latest game against Memphis, Mike Conley was constantly on Exum, exerting steady defensive pressure.
The Conley factor
This was a combination of bad play and watertight defense. Exum should have never gotten the ball in that spot. Note however, how closely Conley watches the play unfold, and makes sure to stifle Exum.
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This play illustrates the kind of pressure Exum faces when playing against top tier point guards, where a miss can be costly. As soon as Exum misses the shot, Conley is already streaking down the court, sprinting for a layup.
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Dante finally got free here, thanks to a double-team on Kanter, but unfortunately missed what was quite a makeable shot.
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Head coach Quin Snyder however, continues to show faith in his chosen point guard.
"It’s just a process for him," the coach said. "But as far as losing confidence, I don’t lose confidence in him. I really believe in him, his ability to improve and become whatever it is. I don’t think we can define Dante’s game yet. I think we’ve got to kind of keep asking him to work on certain things and see where it takes him."
Despite the poor shooting, Exum was still determined to make a difference. Look at this transition defense, where Exum's hustle and quick hands took the ball out of bounds, and out of Lillard's hands.
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Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
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[dropcap]I[/dropcap]ngles' role as point forward has been cemented. He often plays alongside (or replaces) Hayward as the designated playmaker. With the ball in his hands, Ingles' game has undergone adjustments. Faced with a live dribble, he no longer has the luxury of the pump fake or set shot. His shots come from the dribble and pullup, off-ball cuts don't happen as much, and he's looking to facilitate all the time, even on his drives. It's not a bad thing, but I would say the balance between scoring and passing has to be there.
Bogut sums up Jingles' game in a nutshell.
"Joey isn’t going to go out there and be flashy, he’s the type of teammate who will make the right decisions, make the right passes and takes the right shots. He’s very unselfish and it's great to see him getting the recognition in Utah after going undrafted."
I love it when Ingles takes the ball to the hoop, and successfully finishes through contact. It just shows off another facet of his game, something that proves he's not just some lanky outside shooter. [gfycat data_id="ClutteredMiserableAmericanavocet" data_expand=true]
Ingles has the tools to make it in the NBA as an all-rounder, it might all boil down to a matter of being aggressive and taking the shot when he sees the opportunity.
Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers)
By Alistar Sullivan
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[dropcap]M[/dropcap]atthew Dellavedova stepped up big this week, with two great games against the Wolves (fourth quarter daggers) and Sixers (three triples to nail that coffin shut.) His shooting has been excellent since his return to the bench. In the last two games, he averaged 58.3% from the field and 71.4% from deep.
His marksmanship from the three point line has been nothing short of impressive. Right now, he leads the team in three point accuracy at 42.4%, an amazing turnaround when you consider the fact that he shot only 36.2% from deep in December.
[pullquote-left]"Delly’s primary thing is to come in, play as hard as he can, defend at a high level, get us into our offense and make the right plays. Everything else that we get from him is extra. If you’re on the floor with me and you’re open, I’m going to find you and I have the most confidence that you can make a shot " - LeBron James[/pullquote-left]
It's welcome news for Matthew Dellavedova, who has been struggling the past fortnight due to his extended playing minutes because of multiple injuries and roster changes.
Delly isn't the kind of player who can play extended minutes night in and night out, and yet deliver the same returns he has delivered from the bench as an impact energy guy.
It denies him from playing his game. Namely, as someone who brings so much energy, grit and determination with the spark he brings off the bench.
"He’s just great: mental toughness, defensive capability, hustle, makes open shots at big moments, but first and foremost he plays for the team." - head coach David Blatt (source)
Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
By Alistar Sullivan
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[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter a strong shooting display from Patty last week, it seems like his numbers have dropped as the Spurs try to find their groove offensively. Patty is shooting the ball well when he's balanced and his feet are planted, what I'm noticing is a tendency similar to when he returned from injury. He's rushing a handful of shots from beyond the arc and shooting too many fast break 3's.
In the last 5 games, over 80% of his points have come from 3's. Rarely are we seeing Patty make some space or come off a screen to shoot a mid-range jumper.
Spurs analyst Sean Elliott dubbed Patty the "Tasmanian Devil", doubtlessly in tribute to his energetic, aggressive play on the court. Patty is one of the fastest and most athletic players in the game, and he's a great cutter and very fast off screens. The Spurs need more of that offense from him.
It's only his 18th game back from injury and he's slotted right back into the Spurs' rotation playing consistently off the bench. I'd like to see more from his game whilst improving his shooting percentage by taking smarter shots and slowing down the pace. No complaints about his defense though!
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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.