What a week it has been for Australians in the NBA, with one player traded, one waived, one making the final cut and two getting the job done on court. Let’s start with them…
Andrew Bogut – Milwaukee Bucks
With double doubles in his last two games (10 pts, 13 rebs, 3 blocks in a 101-87 win over Minnesota on Sunday and 14 pts, 10 rebs, 2 blocks in a 94-87 loss to Charlotte on Wednesday) the former number 1 draft pick looks fit and ready for the start of Milwaukee’s regular season.
He has averaged 9.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2 blocks per game across six pre-season games, playing about 18 minutes a game as he eases into heavy action after missing a large chunk of last season with a stress fracture in his back.
Milwaukee’s top scorer in the pre-season has been former Memphis forward Hakim Warrick (14.4 ppg), even though he went scoreless in five minutes of play against the Bobcats on Wednesday, while rookie guard Brandon Jennings (the first American player to skip college and head straight to the pro leagues of Europe) has contributed 11.6 points and 6.3 assists per game as the Bucks have mustered 3 wins and 4 losses.
Check out the big fella throwing down a nice dunk after a dish from Jennings (scroll down).
Bogues has also been spending some time to create a home court advantage at the Bradley Center this season. So much so, that he's bought 100 Lower Level tickets for every game to give out to the most energetic, fanatical and rowdy Bucks fans he can find. Click here to find out more.
Check out Andrew’s player page HERE
David Andersen – Houston Rockets
Four players are battling it out for the final roster spot in Houston and Frankston’s favourite son David Andersen is not one of them. He has played well across six pre-season games and is averaging 10.7 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, shooting the ball at 43 per cent from the field, 33 per cent from beyond the arc and 77 per cent from the free throw line, and is locked in for a roster spot with the Rockets.
Dave’s best game came against Bogut’s Bucks on October 12 when he shot 5-of-9 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free throw line to tally a game high 17 points with 4 rebounds.
Without injured All-Stars Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady and having lost Ron Artest to the Lakers in the off-season, Houston seems weaker on paper than last year but with 4 wins and three losses in the pre-season the scene is set for a successful season.
The world has known that Dave has “got game” for some time now, but what about his dancing skills? Has Dave “got rhythm”? Decide for yourself in the video below. Sorry Dave! Really, REALLY sorry...
Check out Dave’s player page HERE
Nathan Jawai – Minnesota Timberwolves
Australian Boomers forward Nathan Jawai was traded from the Dallas Mavericks to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, less than a week before the start of the regular season. The Mavericks received a conditional second round draft pick in 2012 and cash as part of the deal.
Jawai will get more opportunities for court time with the Timberwolves than he would have had at Dallas and is not worried about the frigid temperatures common in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”. “I’m used to the cold weather after playing in Toronto,” Jawai told Basketball Australia.
Injuries to Kevin Love (broken hand) and Al Jefferson (recovering from torn ACL) have decimated the Timberwolves' front line and opened the door for Jawai's move north, however Minnesota's President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said the the Timberwolves were considering the Jawai trade before Love broke his hand.
Australia’s history with the Timberwolves extended back to 1991 when future Basketball Australia and Sport Australia Hall of Famer Luc Longley drafted to the franchise with the seventh pick in Draft.
Longley was traded to the famed Chicago Bulls after two seasons with the Timberwolves and subsequently won three NBA Championships from 1996 to 1998 as a team mate of Michael Jordan. Boomers assistant coach Shane Heal also played 43 games for the Timberwolves in the 1996/7 NBA season.
Watch Nate tearing up the NBL All-Star game when he was a rookie (Scroll down).
Check out Nate’s player page HERE
Patty Mills – Portland Trailblazers
Mills beat out two NBA veterans to secure the fifteenth and final spot on the Portland Trailblazers roster for the 2009/10 NBA season and was signed to a two-year guaranteed contract and while the terms of the contract were not disclosed it is estimated that he will earn just under $US1 million by June 2011.
''This is amazing, it's such a good feeling,'' Patty said. ''It feels like I finally got the gorilla off my back.
Mills still has a lot of work to do before he makes his debut in the world’s premier basketball league. He will most likely spend time in the D-League with Portland’s feeder club Idaho Stampede to get back to match fitness.
If all goes well and he joins the Blazers in the regular season as expected there are three highly rated point guards on the roster that will demand court time ahead of the untested rookie. But if Mills’ performances in big games are anything to go by, he will shine when the spotlight focuses on him.
The Blazers haven’t been terrific in the pre-season but they are a team on the up and are a certainly one to watch.
Watch Patty's draft prospect video below or,
check out Patty’s player page HERE
Western Australia’s Luke Nevill was waived by Cleveland on Tuesday.
The 7-foot-2 centre and Boomers squad member averaged 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds in 8.8 minutes over four games with the Cavaliers and received invaluable experience banging bodies at training with the legendary Shaquille O’Neal.
Have fun with the videos!