[dropcap]P[/dropcap]atty Mills and Aron Baynes earned a championship last year alongside veteran superstar Tim Duncan after falling short in game 7 back in 2013. This year, Australia will boast two Australians in the NBA Finals for the third straight year as the Cleveland Cavaliers take on the Golden State Warriors.
One Australian Boomer is playing with the great LeBron James, the other is starting alongside current MVP Steph Curry. Both Aussies are the glue for their respective teams, doing whatever it takes for their teams to win. While only one of those players will hold aloft the Larry O'Brien trophy, both Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut are sure to make their country proud.
Dellavedova relishing the big stage
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]atthew Dellavedova has played an influential role in helping guide the Cleveland Cavaliers to a series win over Chicago followed by a 4-0 sweep of the Eastern Conference's number 1 seed Atlanta Hawks. To put it simply, he has been outstanding. While LeBron James has clearly been the key player, the Cav's success has been heavily influenced by the crafty play of 'Delly', even more evident as a result of Irving being plagued by niggling leg injuries. Relishing the chance to play on the big stage, Delly has elevated his game to a new level and in turn, developed a cult following with the Cavs' fans.
Matthew Dellavedova has taken his fair share of criticism. LeBron made sure to stand by his teammate. pic.twitter.com/sWdydVGSWC
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 25, 2015
Much has been written about Matthew Dellavedova over the past few weeks. As always, he has played with courage, determination and utmost commitment, displaying a willingness to do whatever it takes for his team to win. His relentless to achieve success has however polarised the US basketball community; some finally giving him the long overdue credit and recognition he deserves, while others unfairly labelling him as playing 'dirty'. One thing is for sure; Delly will be playing a key role on a team with a chance to win the 2015 NBA title. Don't expect him to shy away from the challenge ahead that is the Golden State Warriors.
Bogut's importance never greater
[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen Andrew Bogut arrived at the Warriors, he was maligned as being injury prone and the local fans struggled to adjust to losing Monta Ellis. Fast forward a couple of years and Bogut is now widely viewed as being one of the most important pieces of the championship puzzle for Golden State. While the Warriors boast Steph Curry and a host of perimeter threats, their success almost hinges on Bogut's presence in the paint. He played his role to near-perfection in the series win against the Memphis Grizzlies, and was key in negating Dwight Howard's influence as the Warriors earned the Western Conference title against the Rockets.
— Golden St. Warriors (@warriors) May 24, 2015
Bogut is the perfect complement to Curry and Klay Thompson. Offensively, his passing helps create space for the shooters. When it comes to defense, he is seen as being one of the best rim-protectors in the NBA. The former number 1 draft pick has accepted his role with the Warriors in his quest for ultimate success, and it resulted in him being named to the All-NBA Defensive second team this season. While all eyes will be on the brilliance of Curry and Thompson, rest assured Bogut will be doing all the hard work inside that often goes unacknowledged.
Three years straight
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o be able to boast not just one, but two representatives in the NBA finals, for three consecutive years, it is a truly remarkable achievement for a country with a population yet to reach 24 million. With a record seven Australians in the NBA this season, and two of them reaching the finals, the land from down under is punching well above its weight in the sport of basketball - and that's just the way we like it.
Whether you want Delly or Bogut to win, either way an Aussie will win the 2015 NBA championship.