Could Ryan Broekhoff be joining the ranks of our other Aussies in the NBA next season?
According to Angus Crawford of NBA Australia, multiple NBA teams have taken note of the swingman's stellar play with Lokomotiv Kuban this season. Crawford's sources have mentioned that Broekhoff is being regarded as "the next Australian to join the league".
The Australian forward has shown himself to be the kind of player NBA teams crave; namely, a two-way swingman that can defend, rebound and also score from deep. Whilst this news isn't surprising, the heightened interest levels certainly bode well for Rowdy's NBA career prospects.
Quoted from NBA Australia: “I definitely think he’s got NBA upside, and I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t be on a roster next year,” said a representative of one NBA team. “I think Ryan could do exactly what [Joe Ingles] is doing, and I think he’s shown that with the Australian national team.”
Broekhoff has made a habit of hitting big shots in his career. Remember his buzzer beater with Valparaiso against Green Bay, 2013? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LF--du85ebo If you missed Aaron's latest recap for our Aussie men in Europe, Broekhoff's latest clutch three against Anadolu Efes Istanbul pulled Lokomotiv Kuban ahead in the final seconds, allowing for a 78-77 victory.
“It was a broken play,” Broekhoff elaborated on the possession leading to his big shot. “I just tried to give an option to (Dontaye) Draper, with the ball as he was well guarded and I was able to lose my defender for a second. I’m happy that it helped us win the game and we were able to get that final stop. It was really important (the win) and now gets us off to a great start in the Top 16.”
Prior to Broekhoff's season in Europe, he had joined the Denver Nuggets in this year's NBA Summer League, and had an excellent game against the Washington Wizards in his final SL appearance.
The forward averaged 15 minutes in five appearances during the Las Vegas Summer League, scoring 4.4 points on 44.4% accuracy, and grabbing 1.6 rebounds.
“Coming from Europe and playing against NBA-caliber athletes, there was a little bit of a difference; you have to adjust to their quickness and athleticism," Broekhoff recalled back then. "That’s probably the big thing that I took from it, but it’s something I can learn and practice defending guys of this level.”
On Broekhoff's play in Europe: he previously averaged 10.9 points on 54.1% shooting, along with 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals during his last season with Besiktas Integral Forex in 2014.
This season, he has taken on lesser minutes with Lokomotiv Kuban (25.8 mins per game, previously 29.8 mins), and averages 9.2 points (50.7% field goal accuracy), and 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals over 11 games played so far.
Stay tuned as Broekhoff's Euroleague season develops. It will be interesting to see how the NBA situation unfolds, given that Broekhoff will be under intense scrutiny with a likely appearance as a Boomers in the impending Rio tourney.
"One of the things (SVG) mentioned to me was that they didn't necessarily get me based on what they seen me do in San Antonio," Baynes said. "They saw what I can do when I'm playing with my national team. I had a lot more freedom when I was playing with my national team, and that's kind of what Stan does -- he gives his big guys room." - Aron Baynes lured to Pistons, Stan Van Gundy by offensive freedom
Similar to how Aron Baynes impressed Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy during his Boomers play, Ryan Broekhoff's performance in the green and gold this year might very well do the trick, and get him into an NBA jersey soon.