Happy New Year from Joe Ingles and Renae Hallinan!
A photo posted by @joeingles7 on Dec 12, 2014 at 10:43pm PST
It's been a fantastic post-Christmas week, and here's theÂ good news Aussie NBA fans have been waiting for: Patty Mills is finally back! Could we be in for a #BogeyReturn this month too?
Enjoy this week's Top 3 Aussies in the NBA highlights, and find out more about how our Aussies in the NBA fared this week.
Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)
Estimated return: No timetable as yet, on rehab and could be back "soon" (source as of 29 Dec 2014)
#Warriors coach Steve Kerr says no timetable yet for Bogut but he was on treadmill today.
â Monte Poole (@MontePooleCSN) December 29, 2014
Bogey has missed ten games right now. The Bogut-less Warriors have dropped three games in the same period. All losses have come on the road. Two were against tough contenders (Grizzlies and Clippers), and a 115-105 loss came against the 9-19 Lakers on a second leg of a back-to-back. How bad is the situation right now? The team is 25-5, sitting pretty at #1 in the West, with Portland a close second. It remains to be seen if the new year will provide reason for concern, and Bogut concurs.
Itâs a long season and although weâve dropped a couple of games recently, itâs definitely not time to hit the panic button... Itâs just one of those stretches, I wouldnât say that itâs a bad thing, we need to look at it as a wake up call, weâre not where we need to be yet.
The January hurdle
This month is going to be a challenge for the Dubs. Observe.
Golden State Warriors game schedule for Jan 2015. Source
Golden State has 15 games in Jan 2015 (including PHX@GSW on 1 Feb AU time), 11 of which are home games. Not a bad thing, when you've been 12-1 at home so far.
It faces 5 homeÂ games against top-tier contenders like Toronto, Chicago, OKC, Houston and Cleveland (?) (circled in red.)
It also features a snippy back-to-back road trip with the Thunder and Houston (circled black.)
It's not exactly a walk in the park, but neither is January a death sentence. With Bogut out, the Warriors have leaned on makeshift front court lineupsÂ featuring Ezeli/Green and Green/SpeightsÂ through December. Both lineups had +/- mediocre differentials of 0.1 and 0.3.
Swap Ezeli or SpeightsÂ for Bogut? You get the Warriors' "winningest" (and likely coach Kerr's favourite)Â lineup of Barnes/Bogut/Green/Curry/Thompson that had differentials ofÂ of 8.0 in Dec, 7.5 in Nov.
Needless to say, Bogut's imminent return will be a welcome sight.
Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs)
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Stat trivia: Baynes is finishing his buckets at an impressive 59.1% this season. If we look at players who have played at least 25 games this season, Baynes is good for 8th in the league at FG%. Expand it to a minimum of 10 games played, and he's 17th - still pretty good!
A tough week for Baynes, as he only saw a combined 16 minutes of court time on two games. The Spurs big man however, made the most of his opportunities yet again. He received handoffs from fellow teammates who were double-teamed, and did his best to score.
One particularly noteworthy play had Baynes on the high screen. He was not open upon the initial roll, but got a zip pass from Diaw over two Rocket players had him in position for a putback, which he managed with ease.
Last but not least, it seems like the Big Banger's definitely pleased to have his mate back on the court.
When you get ya mate back @balapat #GoSpursGo A photo posted by Aron Baynes (@houseobayne) on Dec 12, 2014 at 7:58pm PST
Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls)
Cam did not see any minutes for games this week.
Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)
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Dante shot a combined 23.5% from the field across three games this week. He worked as an off-ball guard once more, and played the role of a deep-shooting threat when defenses collapsed. The challenge right now, is making those threes. In the recent T-Wolves game, he took and missed multiple open, makeable three pointers, ditto for the other games this week. Interestingly enough, there seems to be a shortage of lift on his shots - heavy legs?
Against the Clippers, he had a couple of timely cuts that resulted in good attempts near the rim. In the Sixers game however, an Ingles dish to Exum resulted in this outrageous KJ McDaniels block on Exum's layup.
Elevation people, just pure elevation.
The silver lining here? Exum's developing nicely across all areas. He's unselfish at moving the ball, and is ready to give it up and move off as needed. Take for example, this sequence where he was given a chance for a baseline drive. Working within the system, he kicked it back out to Hayward for the better quality shot - an open three.
Let's not forget the fact that he's only averaging 1.7 personal fouls a game, and 1.2 TOs on 18.2 minutes a game, a mark of care and self-control on both ends.
In other news, fellow Jazz guard Alec Burks has been ruled out for the remainder of this season due to shoulder surgery, and this in turn gives Exum an opportunity at increased minutes, and opportunities to hone his shooting confidence.
Exum postgame interview: Courtesy of Darrel Wilson, check out this postgame Q&A with Dante Exum after the recent Clippers game, where he talked about playing against CP3, dealing with new situations and more.
Bonus read: Jonathan Tjarks has a rather insightful piece on Exum's development so far, and his potential as well.
Exumâs rookie numbers wonât jump off the page at you, but thatâs because the Utah Jazz are bringing him along slowly, playing him only 18 minutes a game. As you would expect for a teenager who was playing on the high school level in Australia last season, Exum has had a huge adjustment process both on and off the court, as he deals with the increased level of competition, the rigors of the NBA schedule and life in the United States. For a guys like Exum, the rookie season is mostly about survival.
Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
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In a recent pregame interview conducted by The Pick and Roll's Darrel Wilson, Ingles confessed to being a "pass-first guy", and that he was not going to change the way he played.
I've always been a pass-first guy, which is probably good and bad at times... it's gotten me this far and I'm not going to change the way I play. I'm going to take open shots, I'm not going to take bad shots and forced shots. So when they're open I'll shoot 'em, and when they're not I'll give it up.
- Joe Ingles pregame interview @LAC 29 Dec 2014, Darrel Wilson and Josh Martin
Given the fact that defenses are closing in on Ingles rather swiftly these days, it does seem like coach Snyder might need to make some adjustments for Jingles and his shots.
Ingles thankfully, still holds value by virtue of his all-around game, which also includes defense. Look at this sneaky steal and run, where Ingles managed to finish a transition jam with Jamal Crawford in tow.
Trivia: If you have listened to the pregame interview linked above, there are some interesting tidbits revealed. Ingles shares his thoughts on playing alongside Exum on the Boomers and the Jazz, and on Exum's development since the early Boomer days.
Now for the real trivia. Ingles doesn't forget his Vegemite for the long road trips, and he's rooting for the Adelaide 36ers to win the NBL trophy - what do you think? Personally I'm still nostalgic at the South Dragons, when Ingles was a part of that championship team. Bring the Dragons back!
Off the court: Somewhat off-topic, but Steve Novak's 2015 resolution is apparently... to work on an Australian accent and get some respect from his Aussie mates.
— Renae Hallinan (@RenaeHallinan) December 28, 2014
Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers)
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This week, Delly continued to start at the point guard in the absence of Kyrie Irving. He might not be shooting the best from the field with a combined 31.5% across three games.
His three point shot however, tells a different story. He has shot an impressive 6 for 12 (50%) from the three point line in the last three games, and made 3 of 5 in his most recent game against Milwaukee.
Matthew Dellavedova shot chart 27-31 Dec 2014.
One surprising takeaway however, has been Delly's trademark defense. Over here, he seeems to have trouble keeping pace with Brandon Jennings, who drives and gets free for an easy baseline jumper.
Fluke, or not?
Let's take a look at DefRtg or DRtg (Defensive Rating), which is the amount of points a a team/player allows per 100 possessions. Higher is bad, lower is good.
Since his return from injury, Delly's Defensive Rating is standing at 105.1. In last 3 games however, it's rocketed to 112.1. This is surprising, considering the quality of opponents (Milwaukee, Atlanta and Detroit), only one of which is shaping up to be a postseason threat.
How does Delly compare to the rest of the league though? For benchmarking purposes, I looked at the DefRtg for guards who have played at least 17 games (Delly's current tally.)
Ray McCallum topped the bad list at 117.5 (Kobe's second at 114.2.)
On the other hand, CJ McCollum boasts a 92.7, with the Golden State backcourt right behind (Curry 93.5, Thompson 94.0, Iguodala 94.4.)
On the whole, Delly's 105.1 rates an average. 112.1 however, is bad. Really bad.
Is it cause for concern yet? Three games is still a microscopic sample, let's see how things go.
Off the court: Watch out! Delly shows you the secrets behind the best burger ever - the Delly burger.
Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
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We've finally reached the best part of this week's recap: Patty's long-awaited return!
The Spurs confirmed Patty's appearance in the Rockets game, and followed it up with a pregame sighting.
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) December 28, 2014
Soon enough, we had the real deal on the floor! (Patty's return on video)
Patty looked a little rusty on his shooting early on and missed all of his three attempts. He caught fire in the second half however, scoring 8 points and contributing to a memorable victory over the Houston Rockets. Check out this defensive stop that resulted in a final breakaway Patty basket - sweet!
After his debut game, Patty sounded like he was in fine shape.
âShoulder felt great,â Mills said. âItâs fully repaired now and has been for a little bit. It was just good to get out there. Lungs are great. Legs felt great. Itâs just getting a rhythm and getting used to being back out on the court. Other than that, everything felt great. I was quite surprised.â
Patty has since continued playing to excellent form. There's absolutely no doubt that he's moving well within the offense.
And you knew it was going to fall, sooner or later. His first three finally arrived in the Pelicans game, thanks to a mad Tiago swipe that sent the ball hurtling towards the baseline.
What better way to say, welcome back? It's really good to have Mills back on the floor. His shooting is still a little rusty at this point, but expect the shots to start finding that sweet swish soon enough. Bring on 2015!
Game schedule for the week featuring Aussies in the NBA
We are switching to an embedded Google Calendar format,Â which would hopefully make it much easier for all of you to keep track on whenÂ our favourite Aussies in the NBA are hitting the court!
Game schedules courtesy of NBA on ESPN.