The Australian Boomers’ concerns about Basketball Australia (BA) appear to be bubbling and rising to the surface.
According to a report from Fox Sports Australia’s Olgun Uluc, Patty Mills spoke out about BA’s need to step up and meet players’ needs, especially the NBA contingent.
Philadelphia 76er guard Ben Simmons, who has not made a firm commitment to the Boomers’ upcoming campaign, recently confirmed his desire to don the green and gold.
“Of course. I always want to represent Australia.”
He did not elaborate on when it would be, however.
The Boomers boast a talented squad that could potentially win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Simmons’ addition would only strengthen an experienced roster that’s being refreshed by youthful talent in Thon Maker, Jonah Bolden among others.
As a veteran Boomer heading into his fourth tournament, Mills pointed out the challenges involved, especially for Simmons.
“Speaking on Ben’s availability on this year,” The San Antonio Spurs guard said. “I think, first off, it goes without saying that there’s quite a significant gap between the NBA and Basketball Australia… in terms of catering to players’ needs, so that we can perform at a high level night in and night out.
“It’s got nothing to do with money — we don’t play for Australia to get paid; we play for the pride of our country, and the opportunity to create history by being the best team in the world — but, in all honestly, there are some concerns that Basketball Australia either don’t want to or can’t cater to these basic needs.
“They’re legitimate concerns that [Ben] has, and rightfully so. They’re concerns that we all have had for some time, and have actually had to deal with these concerns mid-tournament before.”
Mills did not elaborate on those needs, but made clear the need for BA to step up and ensure things would be done right, to get Simmons on board.
“Ben has mentioned that he wants to play for Australia and be a part of the team.
“My personal stance to Basketball Australia is: this dude is an NBA All-Star right now. We need to do everything in our power to cater to these needs and make sure he’s a part of our team… He’s probably gonna be the best Australian player of all time.
“We have a very clear goal, and we see him playing a major role in achieving that goal, so we can’t in any way jeopardise that. Speaking amongst the boys, everyone’s on that same page.”
Read the full report at Fox Sports Australia.