Guards galore: Previewing the Boomers' future back court logjam
The guard position is well-represented among Australia's NBA contingent, now and into the future. How could Australia's guard rotation look like in the coming years?
The Australian Boomers survived a nervous encounter with Lebanon to secure the 2022 FIBA Asia Cup, cementing their status as the kings of the Asia-Pacific region. They now build towards the 2023 FIBA World Cup with a new standard set, following a historic bronze medal win at the Tokyo Olympics.
This landmark achievement came off continuity and steady improvement, with a core that had collectively experienced multiple tournaments, including fourth place heartache at the 2016 Olympics and 2019 World Cup. National team stalwarts like Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova spearheaded Australia’s medal charge in Tokyo, and we’re going to see them join forces with the next generation.
Among Australia’s top basketball exports yet to appear at a major tournament, Ben Simmons and Josh Giddey are at the top of the list. Simmons previously expressed interest in appearing at the 2019 World Cup, but ultimately prioritised professional development and NBA commitments, before facing a similar dilemma ahead of the 2021 Olympics. Giddey very nearly made the Boomers’ 12-man Tokyo squad, with coach Brian Goorjian admitting it came down to a tussle with fellow newcomer Josh Green.
“It came down to him and Josh Green, and we had three days of practice… it was pretty close, they played a scrimmage against five or six guys… NBL players… and the Josh Green kid just played better,” Goorjian told SEN in January 2022.
At that time, Giddey was an NBA draft prospect, and his immediate priority was to perform in various workouts for NBA teams. That’s not to say he wasn’t hopeful or deserving of a Boomers selection. After being drafted sixth overall, Giddey turned heads in his rookie NBA season, recording three triple-doubles and emerging as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s franchise point guard. Assuming he enjoys good health ahead of the 2023 FIBA World Cup, the question isn’t “will Giddey be on the team?” anymore, but rather, if he could possibly become the Boomers’ starting point guard?
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