Discover more from The Pick and Roll
Booking a Boomers ticket to Rio: The Aussies in North America
After the 26-player squad was announced for the Olympics, the debate has moved on to just who will be on the Qantas A380 that touches down in Rio.
Twelve spots are available, and we here at The Pick and Roll are going to review each player's chances of earning a (green and) gold ticket to Rio. We will go through the 26 based on where they play, and our first continent is North America.
One player has been selected to the squad from the NCAA, while all 7 of the Aussies in the NBA have made the preliminary cut. We take a look at each player and their chances.
Cameron BAIRSTOW | Chicago Bulls
The 'Bear' has had a quiet year in the Windy City, however he is likely to play an important role in the Boomer's Olympic campaign. Despite playing sporadic minutes at the 2014 FIBA World Cup, he still managed to average 7 points and 3 rebounds per game.
Bairstow has had a strange season in the NBA. He has only featured in 18 games, however has managed to start in 2 of those appearances. With some Chicago players coming back from injury the signs aren't great for the Aussie, hopefully a lack of game time does not affect his play in the Olympics.
Bairstow may find himself being a part of the second unit come Rio, as Aron Baynes and Andrew Bogut are at this stage ahead of him. If he can overcome his recent back-related ailment, then Andrej Lemanis is likely to look to the Chicago Bull to provide a potential punch off the bench.
Prediction: Cleared customs, already booking cab to hotel.
Aron BAYNES | Detroit Pistons
The go-to-man of the 2014 FIBA World Cup (16.8 points and 7 rebounds per game), Aron Baynes is a lock for Rio. The Detroit Piston has had a solid season so far with his new club, but will be looking to explode come August.
Coming off the bench for Stan Van Gundy, Baynes recently had a career game. He poured in 21 points in just 19 minutes of game time, making it clearly one of the best games of his NBA career.
Baynes' effect goes further than the stat sheet. The 'Big Banger' has shown just how difficult it is to get around one of his screens, something in which the likes of Mills, Dellavedova, and Broekhoff will enjoy.
Prediction: Bags checked, passport stamped, awaiting takeoff.
Andrew BOGUT | Golden State Warriors
Come Rio, Bogut will most likely be counting down the days till he receives another NBA Championship ring. However his attention must quickly turn to the Boomers' quest for gold.
Once again a pivotal part of the Warriors offence, the 'Bogey Man' is averaging 5.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Who knows we may even see him step outside the paint and show the world his new found range.
Bogut will definitely make the 12-man final roster, and his defensive presence will be crucial to Australia's chances. His passing and offensive awareness will also have importance with a number of shooters likely to be lining the perimeter around him.
Prediction: Tweeting fans casually in the Qantas Lounge, waiting for boarding call.
Matthew DELLAVEDOVA | Cleveland Cavaliers
In recent years 'Delly' has been a regular feature for the Boomers, and nothing is likely to change when it comes to Rio. He impressed in London 2012 and should be even better this time around.
The Cavalier has produced well this season, with his rugged defence still being an important feature of his game. Cleveland is likely to be a big part of the NBA post-season, and there is even a strong case for Dellavedova to receive some personal acclaim.
If all goes well 'Delly' will not only be guarding Steph Curry in June, but also will be locked in on him towards the end of August in a gold medal game in Brazil.
Prediction: Watching game tape in first class on route to Rio de Janeiro.
Dante EXUM | Utah Jazz
Much has been spoken about the health of the Utah Jazz young gun. At the moment it is still up in the air whether Dante will be ready to go when the 12-man roster has to be announced.
If he is, the next question is whether the Jazz will allow him to go. However considering that Dante will have missed the whole 2015-16 NBA season, and that the injury occurred whilst playing for the Boomers, it is hard to see Utah encouraging him to go.
Prediction: Forced to stay home and read, despite being offered a ticket.
Joe INGLES | Utah Jazz
'Jingles' decided not to take part in the 2015 FIBA Oceania Championships, however he will most likely be one of the first through the gate in 2016. He was fantastic through most of the World Cup and will be hoping to have a similar effect in Rio.
Despite playing very inconsistent minutes, and having to overcome some injury problems, Ingles has had an impressive year for the Utah Jazz. Recently he has produced some impressive performances, including notching up 38 minutes against Lebron James and the Cavs, and exploding in the 4th quarter to help knock off Milwaukee.
One potential problem for 'Slow Mo Joe' could be the fact that his partner, netball star Renae Ingles, is due to give birth to their twins in August. The Olympics run for the majority of the month, and thus Ingles may end up having to take a quick trip back home.
Prediction: Patiently waiting in the birthing suite, taxi in the car park ready for the trip to the airport.
Patty MILLS | San Antonio Spurs
The heart and soul of the Boomers was absent from the 2014 FIBA World Cup due to injury. There is little to no chance that the San Antonio Spur will miss the Olympics.
Patty has been an important spark off the bench for Coach Gregg Popovich this season. He has recorded twelve 15+ point games, and is averaging over 20 minutes a game and has been on fire throughout 2016.
After being rushed into the roster for the Oceania Championships following Exum's injury, Mills showed just how crucial he is to Australia's game. The fan favourite will be looking to replicate his great play from London 2012.
Prediction: On the plane, planning his first trip to Copacabana Beach.
Ben SIMMONS | Louisiana State University
Everyone's eyes are set firmly on LSU's young gun and what his decision regarding the Olympics will be. Simmons has had a huge freshmen year in college and reports say he has nominated for the NBA draft.
Despite his team's struggles the Australian swingman averaged 19.2 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. Much has been said about Simmon's academic performance, but it is still unlikely that he will be drafted any lower than pick two.
There is no doubt that Andrej Lemanis would love to have the newly crowned Wayman Tisdale Award winner in Rio. However at the moment it seems doubtful. If he is to make it to Rio, Simmons will likely provide an exciting spark off the bench.
Prediction: Has a ticket, but might miss the flight.
Next week we travel to Europe to see who else may be at the front of the queue lining up for Rio.