What's happening with our Aussies in the Association this week? For starters, The Big Banger's on a roll. The Spurs are giving him solid minutes, and he's returning the confidence in buckets (literally.) Exum and Ingles combine for a pretty cool buzzer beater, and guess what: we have a new Aussie in the NBA!
Read on, and don't forget to recommend this or give this a tweet if you love what we're doing here. Let's start off with the week's highlights, brought to you by Alistar Sullivan!
Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 4 Dec 2014 NOP 29 8 4/9 0 0 11 (4 off) 1 0 4 1 2 +22 2 Dec 2014 ORL 32 7 3/7 0 1/2 12 (4 off) 3 2 5 2 3 1 30 Nov 2014 @DET 29 6 3/7 0 0 9 (3 off) 2 0 5 2 4 -1 28 Nov 2014 @CHA 24 6 2/4 0 2/2 5 (2 off) 5 0 3 2 3 -2
The numbers game: Bogut's currently 16th in league rebounding ranks, with 9.3 boards per game. He's also 4th in blocks per game, averaging 2.2 a night. Among centers, Bogut is second when it comes to opponent FG% in the paint (less than 5 feet), keeping them to an awful 47%. He's definitely done his part on anchoring the Warriors' defense.
That being said, he's certainly outdone himself this week with some mad haka defense against the Magic:
On offense: the Curry-Bogut combo continues to thrive! You know Curry is ready to fire at any point of time, but he's also constantly looking out for the pass. Bogut, who tends to hang around the high post, knows to catch napping defenders with a dead run at the rim, and that's when things like these happen.
Off the court: Meet our newest Aussie in the NBA! Melbournian Trent Frost was signed to a one-day Warriors contract as part of the Warriors Wish Week.
Frost, who has a life threatening medical condition (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) had his wish of meeting Bogut realised at long last. He attended morning shootaround with the team, and received numerous surprises readied by Bogut, which included autographed Warriors gear and a tour of their practice facility.
Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 3 Dec 2014 @BKN 17 4 2/5 0 0 4 (2 off) 1 1 0 0 2 6 1 Dec 2014 @PHI 29 15 6/9 0 3/4 9 (3 off) 0 1 0 2 5 3 30 Nov 2014 @BOS 19 13 5/8 1/1 2/2 5 0 0 0 1 3 5 28 Nov 2014 SAC 14 10 5/6 0 0 2 (1 off) 1 0 0 1 3 -1
Baynes notched a new career scoring high with 15 points (6 of 9) against the Sixers on 1 December. He got his points through various ways, but the most impressive part had to be the fact that half of his made buckets came from jump shots, something that hasn't been a huge part of his game. Evidence: this season, he's taken 84 shots in the restricted area, and only 12 from anything further away.
The Big Banger's doing really well for himself while Tiago Splitter continues to nurse his calf injury, adding further depth to the Spurs' big man rotation. Baynes is never going to be a big offensive option on the Spurs. However, he's proving himself to be an able third or fourth option that can stretch the floor just a little bit more, and that makes the team so much better.
Another career milestone this week for Baynes, was the timely swish of his first ever three pointer, sadly against my Celtics. A buzzer beating three at that!
Evan Turner certainly wasn't expecting big Baynes to fire that shot. If you asked me, Baynes is definitely kicking his deep shooting career off the right way.
Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls)
Cam did not dress up for for games this week.
On his sporadic minutes so far:
"Obviously, as an athlete you want to go out and do what you do. But in a situation where you're behind a lot of great bigs, so you just got to make the most of the opportunities you do get. And while saying that, just try to take away what they're doing, and learn from them, because they're probably the best front court in the NBA."
Watch the Nick's full interview with Cameron here.
Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 3 Dec 2014 TOR 14 2 1/3 0/2 0/1 2 1 0 1 1 0 -8 1 Dec 2014 DEN 13 2 0/2 0 2/2 0 0 0 0 1 0 -4 29 Nov 2014 LAC 19 5 2/7 1/4 0 1 1 0 0 2 2 4
Exum has had a quiet week off the bench. We need to take into account that most of the shots are going to the starters (Hayward, Kanter, Burks, Burke, Favors), and Dante is still very much on training wheels while he makes adjustments to fit in the NBA game.
One area Dante needs to improve on, is handling defense when making layups. What do you do after facing a double team? More importantly, how do you fight through contact at the rim and complete the bucket? It's a positive sign that he's trying to do so, and making the basket.
Off the court: We've seen Tony Parker kick a soccer ball through the hoop, but how about punting an Aussie football? Exum was at a North Melbourne training session in Salt Lake City recently. Watch how he casually kicked a footy from beyond half-court and swished it, just like that.
Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
Date Team Mins Points Shots 3P FT Rebounds Assists Steals Blocks TO PF +/- 3 Dec 2014 TOR 25 12 5/10 1/5 1/1 0 1 2 0 1 2 -13 1 Dec 2014 DEN 11 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 8 29 Nov 2014 LAC 18 0 0/1 0/1 0 3 3 1 0 2 3 -13
After a quiet showing against Denver and the Clippers, Ingles stepped up to the challenge this week and scored 12 points against the Raptors, which is encouraging. He's being used mostly as a weak side shooter, and it has to be noted that most of his shot attempts are either open or lightly defended. Again, expect his scoring to go up when he gets into a comfortable rhythm.
I like what Ingles has brought to the Jazz, namely court awareness and passing vision. In this sequence, he made the steal and pushed for a fast break. He slowed things down and handed it off to Exum instead of forcing a layup. When Joe got the ball back, he saw a Clippers defense that wasn't committing to an open Gobert in the paint.
Quick pass, easy dunk.
Lastly: the Aussie tag team strikes again! Here's an absolutely brilliant assist from Ingles, driving into the paint and dishing a perfect pass to Exum for the buzzer beating three pointer. Great vision from Ingles. (Let's try to ignore the scoreline in that game.)
Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Injury: Sprained MCL in left knee on 4 Nov 2014 against Portland Trail Blazers
Estimated return: Possibly next week against the Brooklyn Nets: 9 Dec 2014, Tue 1130hrs AEDT
Delly has been participating in contact 3-on-3 after practice, and will be reassessed after Sunday practice, Monday in Australia time. Coach Blatt has also mentioned that Delly's return is not guaranteed, but "a possibility".
Dellavedova's focus on returning to the floor:
"Hopefully I can take a bit of pressure off of Kyrie (Irving), he' s been having to play a lot of minutes at a high level," Dellavedova said. "(Otherwise) just keep the ball moving, bring defensive energy and try to push the pace."
Don't forget to visit Delly's brand new website as well!
Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
Injury: Surgery to repair torn right rotator cuff
Estimated return: 15 Jan 2015 (source as of 23 Nov 2014)
No updates on Patty's progress this week, but Patty and Manu had some fun on Twitter.
— Patrick Mills (@Patty_Mills) November 28, 2014
Looks like Manu is going to be our source for Patty's version of #TheReturn.
Game schedule for the week featuring Aussies in the NBA
We are switching to 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.