Our fifth year was a massive one for the team at The Pick and Roll as #AussieHoops continued its upward trajectory across the globe.
2018 saw Australian basketball shine at home and abroad in many different ways. From the ever-growing presence in North America through the NBA, WNBA, NCAA, and in the top leagues of Europe, those from the land down under have found a way to rise to the top. The Opals won a World Cup silver and the Sapphires bronze, while the Boomers earned a ticket to the 2019 FIBA World Cup for men after dominating Asia.
The standard of the sport back home in Australia has lifted to another level, with the NBL regaining lost ground and the WNBL returning to free-to-air television. Needless to say that the health of the game in Australia has never been better, and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on the horizon, Australian basketball is primed to soar to new levels.
The Pick and Roll has been at the forefront in not only shining a spotlight on the Aussie talent on the court, but we have been providing a platform from which the next-generation of basketball journalists can launch their careers off it.
With 2018 now behind us, it is only fitting that we showcase the Top 10 #AussieHoops stories as determined by our loyal supporters based on viewership across the past 12 months.
Born in Melbourne but raised in the US, Australian fans were keenly interested to learn that Kyrie Irving's Uncle Drew film was bypassing a cinema release. Perhaps it was a missed opportunity? Nonetheless, Amazon is clearly the winner here.
Ben Mallis took a deep dive into analysing Joe Ingles' elevation to become one of the best shooters in the Association, and it gained global interest. It may well be a combination of talent meets the right opportunity in the right system, but there is no doubting the result. A must-read to delve into why Ingles is just so effective.
There were plenty of Australian NBA hopefuls available for selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, and Kein took a look at them all. After a stellar collegiate career with Saint Mary's, Jock Landale may well have been the unluckiest to miss out hearing his name called, now currently starring in the EuroCup with Partizan Belgrade.
Dante Exum returned to the court in March, and across his first month back in action with the Jazz, was showing he belonged in the NBA. Ben Mallis took a detailed look at his progress and his importance to Utah's playoff aspirations.
Andrew Bogut being injured was nothing new, however never before had there been such a frenzy where the 7 foot centre may next land as an unrestricted free agent. Would he land with an NBA Championship contender? Could his NBA career be over? Would he head to Europe, or was a return home to play in the NBL on the cards? We now know he became a King, but Kein took a look at his most likely options at the time.
The NCAA Division I class of 2013 saw three players suit up at the Rio Olympics, with Matthew Dellavedova and Ryan Broekhoff both currently on NBA rosters. We performed an analysis comparing that group to the class of 2018, of which seven have since gone onto play at NBL level or higher which includes Jock Landale and Xavier Cooks who are currently starring in Europe. With talent like this coming through US College ranks, the future is bright for the Boomers.
Arguably the biggest once-off event in Australia in 2019 is when Team USA travel to Australia to take on the Boomers at Marvel Stadium. It's understandable then that when tickets went on sale, this news piece was so popular with Australian sports fans.
It is rare in this day and age to witness a brawl in an International basketball game, so when it happens in the backyard of one of the most basketball-crazy countries on the planet with two current NBA players involved that this reaction piece would rate its socks off.
Ben Simmons was the next big thing. Josh Green is now the next big thing! Ben Mallis caught up with the rising star of world basketball at the Basketball Without Borders event at NBA All Star weekend in Los Angeles for this feature interview. Needless to say that fans back home are also getting excited with the potential to link Green with Simmons in a future Boomers back court!
The last time Team USA played down under was in 2000, and they were the biggest ticket in town at the Sydney Olympics as they rolled to gold. With the NBL unsuccessfully trying to secure an NBA game in Australia, when news broke that two NBA-laden national team rosters would compete in Melbourne, this piece went viral, with more than 33,000 page views! Make no mistake, the best available players for both the Boomers and Team USA will step out onto Marvel Stadium (formerly known as Etihad Stadium) in August 2019 for what will be the biggest basketball event in Australia.