A little update on coverage
First off, a quick heads up on Aussies in the NBA. We're expanding the team, and improving coverage beyond the weekly recap!
What does this mean?
Writeups on news as they happen, which means quicker, timely coverage on our favourite Aussies. You might have seen our earlier writeups on Delly making the Rising Stars World Team, a Ingles appearance on The Zone Sports Network where he talks about his recent back injury (hint: funny story on Hayward's hair inside), and also Patty Mills interviews.
Video highlights produced by Leif, who also happens to own the excellent Aussies in the NBA channel
In addition, the existing Aussies in the NBA weekly recap will be a joint effort between:
Alistar Sullivan (GIFs, top 3 video highlights and Delly)
Hayley Wildes (Ingles), and
myself (GIFs, Bogut/Bairstow/Baynes/Exum/Mills)
That's pretty much it! Do continue to share our work if you like what we're doing here.
Onwards then, to our goodies this week.
Aussie NBA sites represent!
First off, a shout out to our fellow Australian NBA sites: Kamal from NBA Nation Australia and Benyam from Believe The Hype podcast caught up with Patty and Danté for some great interviews. Be sure to check the videos out!
BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Australia time
Also, headlining this week would be Matthew Dellavedova's selection to the Rising Stars World Team. It's a great honour, and we're more than pleased that two of our Aussies are going to NYC for the weekend representing Down Under!
Aussies in the NBA Top 3 highlights this week!
The Bogut throwdown. And, ANOTHER Bogut smash (we never get tired of these), this time over Lou Amundson. And finally Aron Baynes with a solid poster moment over Kyle Singler. Enjoy this week's highlights!
Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)
[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ogey played heavy minutes in his last two games against the Timberwolves (32 min) and Sixers (30 min), contributing to consecutive victories and extending the Warriors' win streak to 3.
Bogut is averaging 6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 blocks since his return. He still leads the league among big men in +/- impact (8.3) over the season, but is only averaging 6.5 in +/- since his return. Bogut's impact on the team has obviously dropped. It could be a gauge of his effectiveness on the court, and his physical health as well.
Regardless, Bogut's defense on the court remains stellar and very tangible. Have a look at this sequence, where he helps seal off the drive from Dennis Schröder, and then stifle the dunk from Al Horford.
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Off the court
Following a bevy of comments about Bogut looking unconscious in an Instagram video from teammate Mo Speights on the team plane, the man himself decided to clear the air, and have a bit of fun.
People really thought I was passed out...... #dumbdumbs
— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) February 11, 2015
Bogut also held an #AskBogey Q&A on Twitter, and here's some of the good ones:
Confirmed that he will be enjoying the All-Star break in San Francisco
Showed support for Suzy Batkovic from the WNBL's Townsville Fire
Commented rim protectors were as overrated as caterpillars
Morning Glory being his favourite show on SEN
Pointed out Leandro Barbosa as the most hyped bench player for the Dubs
— Andrew Bogut (@andrewbogut) February 12, 2015
Bogut, winning Twitter the right way.
Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs)
Tied season high for field goals made (6 FGM, 11 Feb 2015 v DET)
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Big Banger had a solid scoring game against the Pistons on 11 Feb, getting 12 points on 6/8 shooting. He got the start over Tiago Splitter that night and showed off his mid-range game, and displayed some excellent moves in the post as well, despite playing against a hulking frontcourt lineup in Detroit.
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This is a fine example of Spurs basketball, so smooth to watch. Baynes come up and sets a high screen for Tony Parker, who drives but is faced with a potential trap. He passes it to Tim Duncan at the high post, and Baynes simultaneously seals Andre Drummond off for a potential feed. Recognising the opportunity, Duncan pretends to shoot a jumper and dishes it down to Baynes, who jumps, catches and finishes the basket in a single motion. It's moments like these that truly highlight the strides Aron Baynes has made this season.
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Cameron Bairstow (Chicago Bulls)
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]am finally returned to the court this week, seeing action in the waning minutes of imminent victories against the Pelicans and Kings. Check out this sequence for some solid Bairstow-style defense in the Pelicans game.
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You have to wonder though, if putting him into the D-League would improve his exposure to the game at this level, especially when the trio of Gibson/Gasol/Noah are getting heavy minutes.
Danté Exum (Utah Jazz)
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t's all about Danté's appearance at the Rising Stars Challenge this week, but let's not forget about how the games went. The deep shooting continues to be a work in progress, with a combined 3 of 14 over the last three games.
Here's how the shot chart looks, based on the last ten games. Dante Exum shot chart 24 Jan to 11 Feb
He's only taken nine shots at the rim, out of 56. In contrast, Exum's taken 38 shots (67%) at the three-point line. To be honest, I'm not a fan of the way he's focusing so much of his game around the three-point shot. The team does seem to be looking actively for Exum for the open kick out shot, but not much else. Like how it was with Ingles, I'd like to see some fakes and drives to mix the game up a little.
For example, more of these little tear drop attempts, awkward as they look. [gfycat data_id="WhirlwindShadyHadrosaurus" data_expand=true] He's also trying hard on transition defense. See this sequence, where he managed to slap the ball out of Ramon Sessions' hands, despite having to backpedal to avoid a blocking foul.
[gfycat data_id="HiddenWillingGelada" data_expand=true] With that being said, the top three rookies who played at least 10 minutes a game, and have the lowest opponent fast break points are Joe Harris (2.4), Cleanthony Early (2.5) and Travis Wear (2.8). Exum straddles the pack at 4.6.
Obviously, the task gets harder with more minutes played. Expand the range to 20 minutes, and Exum immediately leads the rookies in this column, with Jingles second (5.0) and Celtics point guard Marcus Smart at third (5.3). This isn't much to go on, but Exum's transition defense is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
Technique, or repetition?
Benyam from Believe The Hype had a few quick questions for Danté at media day.
Our favourite Jazz rookie shared his responses with a smile, with responses on the Rising Stars Challenge, having Delly in the team, and also something that's been of interest: his three-point shot. Does he think it's a technique or a practice issue?
I think it's just [getting] more shots in the gym, nothing is wrong with my technique. I say that a lot, and I've been proving it, trying to shoot the ball a bit more, and get a bit [more] confident from that line. - Dante Exum chats to #BTHype ahead of Rising Stars Challenge
Good shooters always have confidence in swishing the next one, so it's great to see confidence expressed in his shot - half the battle won!
Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
Injury: Back injury against Phoenix Suns on 6 Feb 2015 Estimated return: No timetable set. Ingles quoted: "if we had to play tomorrow I could probably play" (source)
[dropcap]B[/dropcap]ig Joe was down with a back injury earlier in the week against the Suns, and struggles to return to the court. He has missed three consecutive games so far, with more likely to come.
He also recently appeared on SLC's 1280 The Zone Sports Network, and talked about his injury, current status and caps it all off with an amazing anecdote about Gordon Hayward's hair routine - not to be missed! Don't forget to read about it here.
Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers)
by Alistar Sullivan
[dropcap]D[/dropcap]ellavedova's performance this week has not helped his stat line or his confidence. This week, Matthew shot 3/11 from the field, averaging 2.2 assists per game along with shooting a poor 14% from deep only hitting 1/7. Matthew has been getting open shots, although unlike earlier in the season those shots aren't in rhythm and usually taken late in the shot clock, which hasn't helped.
The Cavs lately have been a run and gun team, but Delly needs to slow his possessions down on the offensive side of the ball.
One thing that has been consistent regardless of the struggling offensive play is his minutes. Blatt has given Dellavedova 16 minutes of court time per game over the last 4 nights, it shows how much Blatt believes in Matty's defensive pressure and hustle.
Here's a highlight worthy of the All-Star theme! Dellavedova looks like he has been watching some Steve Nash clips, with a flashy behind the back pass to Matrix for the hard finish.
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The Rising Star experience
With our boy Delly heading to NYC and a whole new world ahead, it sounds like he might need a helping hand... and getting exactly what's needed. Or not.
Benyam: So JR, you’re going to be in New York for the All-Star festivities? JR: Yeah.
Benyam: You got any tips for Delly in New York? JR: ... I do but I just gotta tell him. I gotta keep it one-on-one, I can’t tell everybody them secrets.
Benyam: So you’re gonna look after him in New York then? JR: Yeah for sure, I got him. - Believe The Hype interview with JR Smith
Does Delly know his teammates?
Delly helps students learn in American Heart Month
The Cavaliers collaborated with the Cleveland Clinic to teach fifth graders about healthy habits, and Matty was there to help with the lesson on heart health.
Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
It's all about defense!
[dropcap]P[/dropcap]atty showed off some grit and tough-minded defense this week! First off, taking a charge on the break against Lou Williams - no easy feat there. He had to quickly gauge how far he was from the rim, and make his stand before he was in the restricted zone. He could have let it go, but risking the body and taking that charge was a gutsy play.
[gfycat data_id="AccurateUglyCaiman" data_expand=true] Next up, some smart defense while trailing Jodie Meeks. Instead of following behind, he saw the next play, raced up and cut the passing lane off, which led to a steal.
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Patty video interviews
ICYMI: Video with transcript: Patty talks Spurs season, playing alongside Baynes & bringing Lazza home (source h/t Kamal from NBA Nation Australia)
[Over] here, we’re almost at the All-Star break. Battling the first half of the season, battling a lot of injuries, people being out… and a hard schedule. It’s been challenging. A different challenge to our team that we’ve had in the past, but I think we’ve learnt a lot of stuff. We’ve learnt a lot about ourselves, and the way we play.
Patty talks about the Spurs' season so far, and the trials to date. (Read more)
ICYMI: Video with transcript: Patty talks Spurs, Under Armour, White House and more (source h/t Benyam from Believe The Hype)
So when I heard that was an opportunity I took it and I spoke on the night, said some words that I truly believe in. I felt like I wasn’t only speaking to the crowd that was there that night, but to everyone around the world. I thought that was very powerful.
Never one to forget his roots, Patty took the opportunity on his Martin Luther King day address to pay tribute to Torres Strait Islander Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo, who was instrumental in validating indigenous Australians as the owners of Australian land, before the first wave of white settlers arrived. He also recognised the night as an opportunity to share his thoughts with not only the home crowd, but also to everyone around the world. (Read more)
This is from two weeks back, but I found it rather touching. Patty congratulates Timmy on the All-Star selection, and includes a montage of hugs and head rubs with Duncan.
A photo posted by Patty Mills (@balapat) on Jan 30, 2015 at 9:29pm PST
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.