The 2013-14 NBA Season was arguably the most productive for our Aussies In The NBA yet, which leads into an exciting 2014 NBA Finals campaign.This season the NBA were treated to the very best of what Australian basketball has to offer. Andrew Bogut for the Golden State Warriors, the dynamic duo Patty Mills and Aron Baynes for the San Antonio Spurs plus Matthew Dellavedova for the Cleveland Cavaliers all played significant minutes for their clubs. All Aussies played at least 53 games which is a monumental improvement from last year when Bogut battled serious injuries and others spots on the bench. Not only did these Aussies solidify their position on the bench, they all started at least two NBA games. NBA history was broken on December 20 last year when three Australians, Andrew Bogut Patty Mills and Aron Baynes, started for the Warriors and the Spurs respectively in the same game. With Dante Exum projected as a lottery pick as we approach the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft, there looks to be at least one other Aussie joining the NBA next season which will continue to put Australia on the map.
Patty MillsGames Played: 81 Games Started: 2 2013-14 NBA Season Average: 10.2 ppg, 46.4 FG%, 42.5 3PT%, 89.0 FT%, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.8 spg Season High: 32 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals in 25 minutes @ Charlotte Bobcats Patty Mills averaged a career high in minutes at almost 19 per game as he took over the back up point guard position in San Antonio from Corey Joseph. With nobody averaging over 30 minutes per game on the Spurs roster, the intentionally limited minutes for Tony Parker allowed Mills to shine and contribute often towards the regular season success of the Spurs. In the historic Warriors v Spurs meeting where three Australians started the game, Patty Mills played 34 minutes and scored 20 points with five rebounds, three steals and two assists. One of the only point guards in the NBA to average more rebounds than assists, it is clear Mills has a unique score the ball roll as what Jamal Crawford has with the Los Angeles Clippers. Mills played 14 minutes in the first game of the Spurs first round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks. With two points going 0-3 from deep Mills has had better days, but the entire Spurs was against solid Mavericks defence as the team shot 3-17 from three point land. Never before in his postseason career has Mills played more than 31 minutes for an entire playoff run, so with more 14 minute games Mills will easily eclipse this.
Andrew BogutGames Played: 67 Games Started: 67 2013-14 NBA Season Average: 7.3 ppg, 62.7 FG%, 34.4 FT%, 10.0 rpg, 1.7 apg, 0.7 spg, 1.8 bpg Season High: 14 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 steal in 28 minutes vs Los Angeles Clippers Andrew Bogut played an extra 35 games for the Golden State Warriors this season than last as he was healthy from tip off in October. For the majority of the season Bogut was unrestricted in his play, being the lethal beast on the boards and on the defensive end we all know him to be. He missed the last two games of the regular season specifically for a fractured rib which has placed Bogut as indefinite to return this season. While it may be possible for Bogut to play through the pain it presents a greater risk of injury, a punctured lung, if the fractured rib were to worsen. It is unfortunate for Andrew Bogut, he has always been horribly unlucky with injuries and their timeliness. It has cleared impeded his ability to reach the top of his game which was considered very high when drafted as the first pick back in 2005. The Warriors first round playoff match up happens to be against the Los Angeles Clippers which was an opponent which Bogut dominated this season. When the Warriors played the Spurs in the three Aussie match up, Bogut also played big with 18 rebounds, eight points, three blocks and two steals.
Aron BaynesGames Played: 53 Games Started: 2 2013-14 NBA Season Average: 3 points, 43.6 FG%, 90.5 FT%, 2.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists Season High: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 1 rebound in 21 minutes @ Toronto Raptors Aron Baynes had a quiet season but was given more opportunity to be productive with the San Antonio Spurs than he was last season. The majority of 2012-13 for Baynes, his rookie season, was spent with San Antonios D-League affiliate the Austin Toros. With more knowledge of the Spurs system he received more minutes for the Spurs and in limited minutes provided an outstanding showing against the Toronto Raptors earlier this season in a barnstorming performance. In case you didn't know Aron Baynes can dunk. He can really get off the floor and is extremely athletic for a big man. He needs to cut down on his fouls but his game is similar to Andrew Bogut's, minus the shot blocking. A lot of time was spent travelling with the Spurs instead of with the Austin Toros so Baynes has again picked up valuable learning experiences by constantly travelling with the team and is poised to improve next season just like he has done this season.
Matthew DellavedovaGames Played: 72 Games Started: 4 2013-14 NBA Season Average: 4.7 points, 41.2 FG%, 36.8 3PT%, 79.2 FT%, 2.6 assists, 1.7 rebounds, 0.45 assists Season High: 14 points, 12 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 three's and 1 steal in 31 minutes vs Detroit Pistons Matthew Dellavedova played just one minute of action in his first five games in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers. By the end of the season was frequently playing around 25 minutes and averaged just over 17 minutes per game on the season. Being un-drafted and scrapping for a spot on the Cleveland roster was an achievement in itself. Dellavedova didn't stop there and his continuous effort and hustle made Cavaliers coach Mike Brown allocate Dellavedova consistent playing time. This Summer League Australian gave the Cavs some grunt it was sorely missing. He helped revive the Cavaliers playoff hopes even though they just fell short at the end of the season. It did not stop Dellavedova from balling. In the final games Dellavedova showed continued improvement and efficiency. A home game against the Detroit Pistons allowed him to play 31 minutes and show how he can run an offense with his passing and acceptable outside shooting. Off season moves by the Cleveland Cavaliers will determine where Dellavedova sits come the start of next season, but he has shown his value in just his rookie season. Plenty of teams would be lucky to have him come next season.
Good Luck to all the Aussies that are in the Playoffs this season. There may be a couple of Aussies with NBA Championship rings come July.