Aussies in the NBA: Winning Formula

Get ready, Australia.

Today, Basketball Australia named the 17-man squad to take part in the selection camp for the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the line-up proves that Aussie talent has never been stronger.

While the NBL competition strengthens with each season, Australian ballers are making their mark around the world - and even have starring roles in the NBA.

Statistics reveal that NBA clubs with Aussie players on their rosters in the last two years have a collective winning percentage of a staggering 65.1 per cent.

NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy said their imprint has not gone unnoticed.   

“The League has seen a surge of Australian talent in recent years, and we look forward to supporting the next generation by giving them a platform to showcase their skills alongside their peers from throughout the region,” he said. 

It is not surprising that the achievements and potential of the re-branded NBL has reached NBA headquarters, with the recent changes to contracts and marquee rulings giving players further incentive to return home.

 It is very clear and obvious that Australian players are individually not the only reason that clubs are enjoying major successes, but it remains a common thread when looking at the results of those franchises. 

Adelaide’s own Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles has indicated a strong desire to end his career in the NBL, and rumours persist that clubs are currently chasing Chicago Bulls young gun Cameron Bairstow and ex-NBA centre David Andersen.

While the NBL is continually proving to be an elite League that players will aspire to be part of, the NBA is where Australians continue to shine. 

Last year in the NBA Finals, fans down under were captivated by two Australians going head-to-head in the Championship decider, with Andrew Bogut’s Warriors defeating Matthew Dellevadova’s Cavaliers 4-2.

Bogut picked up his first NBA ring with Golden State’s first title in 40 years.

As the current conference finals are underway, there is another chance that history will repeat itself, with statistics indicating that teams with Aussie players on their roster have broken records at an impressive rate. 

When Andrew Bogut was traded from Milwaukee to Golden State in 2012, the Warriors had recorded victories just 23 times.

 With Bogut on the roster, their wins improved from 47, to 51, to 67 in his first three seasons. 

This year marked their most successful regular season of all time, also celebrating a new all-time NBA record of 73 wins.

The Warriors new tally replaced the Chicago Bulls’ 72 wins record set twenty years earlier, which also featured an Australian centre in a comparable role in Luc Longley. In a similar vein, when Matthew Dellevadova began his career at Cleveland, they were coming off a 24-win season. Three years later, they had increased that to 57 wins and have just logged the best record in the Eastern Conference for the first time since 2010. While it’s no secret that the Aussies are not the sole reason why these clubs are enjoying major success, it remains a common thread when looking at the results of those franchises.  Canberra’s Patty Mills has completed his fifth season with the San Antonio Spurs and enjoyed a 67-win regular season, which was a new record for the 49-year old franchise. Their record run was set up by the best ever home start by any team in NBA history, with 39 consecutive wins at the AT & T Centre. Aron Baynes joined the Detroit Pistons this year and their improvement was obvious – making the playoffs for the first time in seven years, and a 12-win gain from last season.

Baynes played a career-best 85 games this year and continued his run of being in the playoffs in each of his four years in the NBA. 

While Ingles narrowly missed a playoff spot with the Utah Jazz, their record improved from 25 wins to 38 with the addition of Ingles and Dante Exum. This season they boasted 40 victories.

Cameron Bairstow was the only Australian who’s team lost more games this year than last year; but his Bulls were still the only NBA team who missed the playoffs with a winning record. 

Bairstow’s teams have had a winning record of 56.1 per cent in his two seasons in Chicago.

With Melbourne’s Ben Simmons likely to headline the upcoming NBA Draft – and a host of talented youngsters hot on his tail – Australians basketballers have never been more influential in the world’s greatest league.


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