Our Aussies Mills, Bogut and Baynes are all healthy and receiving playing time leading into the playoffs for both the Spurs and the Warriors.[caption id="attachment_15315" align="aligncenter" width="535"] Photo Credit: Associated Press/May 2 2012[/caption] It's been a while since there's been good news to report about Andrew Bogut. Lets hope it stays that way and that he's on the court for the Golden State Warriors.
Andrew BogutWith the playoffs approaching aussie fans will be hoping to see the full potential of an injury free Andrew Bogut and so will the Golden State Warriors, as they seek to get some sort of value out of trading for our big man. He's in the best position possible to go on a long and mighty playoff run. In 17 games he has played since the all star break the stats tell a few different tales. Since the all star break he's averaged 5.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1 steal in 27 minutes. After glancing at that line you'd like to see Bogut put some more points up and average a double-double each night like an Omer Asik or J.J. Hickson. Although his rebounding rate and blocked shots are at high levels, characteristic of what he can do when healthy. Bogut's offensive arsenal combined with the Warriors fast paced jump shooting doesn't translate to many scoring opportunities for Bogut. His points mainly come from offensive rebounds as he and David Lee are sent in to crash the glass. Don't be fooled Bogut's presence as a member of the starting 5 is yielding positive results. His plus/minus before the all star break totalled -32 in 10 games. Now it reads +57 in 17 games since. As long as Bogut remains healthy he will be in the starting 5 as it's his defence the Warriors are relying on. All the best to Bogut for a long and successful playoff run.
Patty MillsAfter all his recent towel waving and infectious personality rubbing off with the fans in San Antonio, Mills has finally seen some more playing time. Thursday marked the first day Mills received playing time since March 12th in a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. This included a stretch were Tony Parker was sidelined so Nando De Colo, Corey Joseph, Manu Ginobili and Gary Neal all received time at the point. It can be a bit unclear as to why an Olympian like Mills is overlooked to run the point over Neal (A shooting guard), De Colo and Joseph. Although how many people knows what's running through coach Gregg Popovich's mind? The San Antonio Spurs played Thursday at home against the Orlando Magic with no Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, DeJaun Blair and Tim Duncan (in the second half). It was being short handed that got Mills and Baynes a run. They were the ones however that won the game, something the sidelined Spurs couldn't do in their previous 2 games against the Miami Heat and the Memphis Grizzlies. Mills is surely going to be called off the bench more this April, as Tony Parker won't play a minute more than he has to in these final 7 odd games, especially being banged up.
Aron BaynesBaynes hasn't been riding with the San Antonio Spurs like Patty Mills has, he's been down in the D-League for the Austin Toro's playing lots and putting up big performances. Featuring in 6 games for Austin, he's put up 11.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1 block and 50 FG% per game. It's far from flashy too but he's not able to be one of the focal points for that team when he's constantly switching between the NBA and the Development League. This is all promising for Baynes and the most important thing he will take away from these games will be learning how to play San Antonio's system. Sitting with a multi-year contract from the Spurs there is no pressure just yet for Baynes to come around and play 30 minutes a night for the Spurs. Not until at least Tim Duncan retires, if ever.
That's how the cookie is crumbling for the Australian's in the NBA at the moment. With these 3 in the NBA and with more possibly coming through the 2013 NBA Draft is Australian Basketball in it's best position at the moment?