19/04/2024

Aussies in the NBA December. (Photos: @nbaaustralia/Instagram)

Our Aussies continued to apply their trade over December as they ushed in the New Year with multiple captivating performances. We saw our young Aussies continue to develop and showcase their skills while our veterans wound back the clock with some vintage performances.

The month was capped off by Joe Ingles who returned to the court for the first time in over 11 months after working his way back from an ACL tear last season.

Ben Simmons

9 Games, 9 Wins, 7.6pts, 6.6reb, 5.9ast, 1.4stl

Following a left knee injury suffered late last month, Ben Simmons missed the Brooklyn Nets’ first three games of December as he worked his way back to full fitness.

Simmons made his return against the Atlanta Hawks where the Nets got a four-point victory. Simmons struggled with turnovers recording four, however, made his impact felt on both ends of the floor scoring six points to go along with six rebounds, seven assists, and four steals.

Due to recently returning from injury, the Aussie sat out the Nets’ next game which was a back-to-back before returning to play the Washington Wizards where he scored 10 points, while also recording eight rebounds and five assists.

The 26-year-old continued to impact the game in multiple ways over the next seven games helping the Nets end the month on an 11-game win streak. The Nets did not lose any game Simmons played throughout December.

Throughout these seven games, Simmons started every game however his minutes played differed from game to game depending on the match-up and if he got into foul trouble.

Despite the fluctuation in minutes, Simmons continued to impact the game with his passing and defence. This was highlighted by eight assists in four straight games despite playing just 32 minutes in one and just 19 minutes a game later.

The forward’s strongest game of the month came against the Milwaukee Bucks where he played a big defensive role on Giannis Antetokounmpo. While holding the Greek Freak to 26 points, Simmons put a stat line of 12 points, 11 rebounds (five offensive), eight assists, and three steals.

The Nets have turned around their fortunes this season after a slow start to find themselves by the end of the month as the second seed in the Eastern Conference with a 24-12 record.

Josh Giddey

12 Games, 4 Wins, 15.8pts, 9.3reb, 5.3ast, 1.0stl

Josh Giddey continued to show why is one of the most highly rated young players in the NBA throughout December with multiple strong performances for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Giddey kicked off the month scoring 21 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out seven assists, while also recording two steals and two blocks in a seven-point win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In the game against the Timberwolves, Giddey became just the third player in the Thunder’s history to record a stat line of 20 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks with the other players to do so being Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.

While Giddey was unable to make any more history in the Thunder’s following game, the 20-year-old had another solid outing, recording 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists to go along with a steal and a block.

While the Thunder struggled over their next run of games going on a five-game losing streak, Giddey continued to perform well, showcasing his strong rebounding skills, recording four double-doubles over the five-game stretch.

Oklahoma would finally be able to put an end to its losing streak when it met the Memphis Grizzlies however Giddey did not play in the game, sidelined with illness.

The point guard would go on to miss one more game before returning against the Portland Trailblazers where he scored 13 points on 75 per cent shooting to go along with six rebounds and six assists in a three-point win.

Giddey backed this up with another double-double against the New Orleans Pelicans where he scored 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The Thunder next played the San Antonio Spurs where they were able to comfortably win by 16 points however the game marked the first time in 22 games that Giddey did not score in double figures, recording just seven points. He did however impact the game in other ways grabbing seven boards and dishing off eight assists.

Giddey closed out the month with two strong performances, the first his 14th double-double of the season when he dropped 21 points and 10 rebounds on the Charlotte Hornets and a 20-point, nine-rebound game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

December was the most efficient month of Giddey’s career as he shot 49.1 per cent from the field, 43.2 per cent from three, and 90 per cent from the free throw line.

Giddey currently ranks third amongst guards in rebounds per game so far this season, averaging 8.2, behind only Luka Doncic and Josh Hart.

Patty Mills

4 Games, 4 Wins, 12.3pts, 1.8reb, 2.3ast

Aussie veteran guard Patty Mills had a huge offensive impact in the games he played throughout December due to his efficient scoring.

Mills played just four games due to falling out of the Nets rotation, having to compete for minutes with Kyrie Irving, Seth Curry, Edmond Sumner, and Cam Thomas.

The games where Mills did get minutes were due to one or multiple of these players sitting out either with injuries or being rested. Despite this when Mills’ number was called he made sure to deliver.

This was the case when he was inserted into the starting line-up for his first game of the month against the Indiana Pacers. Having played any minutes in the first four games of the month Mills put his case forward as to why he should receive more minutes with a season-high 24 points, six rebounds, and six assists performance.

Despite the great performance Irving and Curry returned to the line-up the following game meant Mills would not play again in the Nets’ three games.

With the Nets blowing out the Golden State Warriors and with no Irving, Mills was given 13 minutes of playtime where he put on a scoring masterclass, not missing a shot for the entire game. Mills finished with 13 points, three assists, and made three shots from behind the arc to cap off another strong performance.

The Aussie would receive minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers, playing six but was unable to record any stats.

The 34-year-old’s final game of the month was against the Atlanta Hawks where he made an impact in the 12 minutes he played to help the Nets get a one-point win. Mills had his second perfect scoring game of the month going three of three from behind the arc and free throw line to score 12 points in the quarter.

Mills would go on to miss the Nets’ final game of the month against the Charlotte Hornets, despite multiple strong and efficient performances when he was called upon to produce.

Dyson Daniels

14 Games, 9 Wins, 3.8pts, 2.9reb, 2.0ast

Australian rookie guard Dyson Daniels earnt more opportunities throughout December enabling him to show off his diverse skillset as the Pelicans established themselves as one of the best teams in the Western Conference.

Daniels earned his first career start in the NBA to open the month against the San Antonio Spurs where he recorded four points, five rebounds, and three assists.

Daniels went on to start the next four games for the Pelicans and was mainly used as a defensive stopper, allowing the likes of CJ McCollum to focus on offence. The Pelicans won all five games when Daniels was a starter, with the highlight being the two games he played against the Phoenix Suns.

When the Pelicans first played the Suns on December 10, Daniels was given the defensive assignment on Devin Booker and he put the clamps on the star guard. Booker made only one of the seven shots he took when Daniels was his primary defender and in the process helped keep Booker to 14 points, his lowest point total of the season to that point.

Daniels backed up his strong form in the following game when they met the Suns again on December 12, scoring 11 points to go along with eight assists, one steal and zero turnovers in 35 minutes. Following this win, the Pelicans became the top seed in the Western Conference.

Daniels didn’t start another game for the rest of the month, however, continued to still earn good minutes off the bench.

Following the early success in the month the Pelicans lost four straight games. Daniels’ strongest game over this period was his performance against the Utah Jazz, recording a stat line of seven points, five rebounds, and three assists.

The Pelicans got back to winning ways when they played the San Antonio Spurs however Daniels’ impact on the game was small, scoring just two points to go along with three rebounds.

The 19-year-old struggled to score the ball efficiently throughout the remainder of the month, making just one of the eight field goals he attempted over the final four games of December.

In this period Daniels had three games where he scored zero points, however, continued to showcase his defensive skills and impact on the glass. In the final four games, Daniels averaged 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 16 minutes per game.

After three months of NBA action, Daniels ranks in the top 10 amongst rookies in assists and steals per game. He also leads all rookies in assist-to-turnover ratio having 2.5 assists for every turnover, showing his strong passing talent and ability to protect the ball.

Joe Ingles

6 Games, 2 Wins, 5.5pts, 2.0reb, 2.8ast

Having been out of action for over 11 months after suffering a torn ACL in late January 2021, Joe Ingles finally made his long-awaited return to the court this month with his new team, the Milwaukee Bucks.

Ingles’ season debut took place on December 19 against the New Orleans Pelicans where the 35-year-old played 15 minutes. Coming back from such a serious injury, Ingles was a little slow to get going, unable to hit any of his four shots, finishing the game with one rebound, two assists and a steal.

The following game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ingles scored his first basket since his return and in typical fashion, it was a corner three-pointer that swished through the net.

The small forward’s shooting woes continued against the Nets, again unable to make a single shot, recording just two assists for the game.

In his fourth game, Ingles’ shot began to fall, putting up 11 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics where he made two three-pointers.

As he continued to work on getting some consistency in his shooting the following game against the Chicago Bulls, Ingles managed five points on 33 per cent shooting. Despite still working his way back, Ingles’ playmaking and passing ability were on full display, dishing off three assists in the contest.

This was a precursor for what was to come in the Bucks’ final game of the month where Ingles had a massive night. The 35-year-old showcased all his skills finishing with 14 points which included four three-pointers, five rebounds (three offensive), and 10 assists to record his first double-digit assist game and double-double since April 2021.

Matisse Thybulle

13 Games, 9 Wins, 3.5pts, 1.1reb, 0.3ast

Defensive stopper Matisse Thybulle continued his underwhelming start to the 2022/23 NBA season, struggling to have the same impact he’s had in previous seasons. Although there were some bright spots over the month, where Thybulle showed flashes of the two-time all-defensive player he has proven himself to be.

It was a slow start to the month with Thybulle unable to score in the 76ers first two games of the month. In a loss to Memphis, he had just one rebound and a steal while when Philadelphia met the Houston Rockets he recorded a rebound in seven minutes of play.

Thybulle was able to turn things around when the 76ers hosted the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring a then-season-high nine points in the 13 minutes of action. He was also impactful on the defensive end, recording three steals.

Thybulle was unable to have any impact in the following game against the Charlotte Hornets, only recording two rebounds in 13 minutes of action.

Thybulle’s up-and-down season continued, backing up an eventful performance with his best offensive game of the season in a 20-point win over the Sacramento Kings recording a new season-high 15 points.

The 25-year-old was introduced into the starting line-up, playing 22 minutes and made three of five shots from behind the arc, the first time since October that he has scored multiple three-pointers in a game.

Thybulle would also start the following game against the Golden State Warriors and finished with three points, two rebounds, a steal and a block in 21 minutes.

Relegated back to the bench for the following game, Thybulle saw his court time drop playing just seven minutes in the win over the Toronto Raptors on December 20. While he earned more in the following game against the Detroit Pistons, playing 13 minutes and scoring six points along with two steals, Thybulle then fell out of favour in the rotation.

Over the next four games, Thybulle received minimal minutes, playing under five in three of the four games and did not score a single point nor take a shot over the four-game stretch.

In the final game of the month, Thybulle was again given a big role following PJ Tucker missing the game with a left knee injury. Needing the defensive support along with Tyrese Maxey and James Harden also missing, Thybulle started the game playing 22 minutes in total.

Thybulle had a solid first quarter, scoring two three-pointers and finished the game with nine points after going a perfect three of three from behind the arc. The 76ers ultimately won the game 115 to 96 with Thybulle hoping a strong performance like that might see earn him more consistent playing time going forward.

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Josh Green

5 Games, 3 Wins, 7.8pts, 2.6reb, 2.4ast, 1.0stl

Having put together a strong start to the season, third-year guard Josh Green continued to be impactful for the Dallas Mavericks over the early part of December before an elbow injury sidelined him for the rest of the month.

Green opened December playing 15 minutes in a six-point loss to the Detroit Pistons where he dropped six points, two rebounds, an assist, and a steal.

The Mavericks next travelled to New York to play the Knicks where they triumphed by 21 points. Green played 27 minutes, in that time he recorded a stat of seven points, three rebounds, five assists, and a steal.

Green’s strong performance saw him earn even more playing time in the Mavericks’ following game against the Phoenix Suns, playing a season-high 31 minutes.

Green was very efficient scoring the ball going six of seven from the field to finish with 16 points which were spurred on by a 10-point first quarter. He also finished the game with five assists and two steals to cap off his best game of the month.

Unable to back it up in the following game, Green scored just two points against the Denver Nuggets before bouncing back to finish the month with a solid performance of eight points and two rebounds in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Following the game against the Bucks, Green was sidelined with an elbow injury and missed Dallas’ remaining 12 games of the month.

Jock Landale

13 Games, 5 Wins, 6.6pts, 4.3reb, 0.8ast

Big man Jock Landale continued to make his impact felt when he could throughout the month of December. Despite the Suns struggling to emulate the form they had shown over the first two months of the season, Landale was very impactful in the wins the team did have.

Having had his minutes reduced leading into December this trend continued in the Suns’ opening game of the month. Landale played just seven minutes in the team’s one-point loss to the Houston Rockets where he recorded three rebounds and one block.

The 27-year-old made the most of his opportunities in Phoenix’s following game against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 12 points along with four rebounds in 14 minutes. This was just the third time this season that Landale had scored in double digits.

The Suns went on a five-game losing streak during this period but Landale had some good performances highlighted by his outing against the New Orleans Pelicans. Against the Pelicans, Landale recorded nine points on December 10 clash and eight points and seven rebounds on December 12.

The Suns returned to the winner’s column when they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers by 16 points. Landale had one of his best games of the season recording a double-double, dropping 15 points, 10 rebounds along with two assists and two blocks.

Landale would go on to play one more game for the Suns, again against the Pelicans before missing the team’s next two games with a concussion.

In his return, Landale had a rough scoring night not making any of his shots from the field instead scoring four points all from free throws. He did however give the Suns plenty of energy in the 11 minutes he played being active on the offensive glass to grab four offensive rebounds.

Landale didn’t play in the Suns following game before being put into the starting line-up just one game later against the Memphis Grizzlies where he had his third double-digit scoring game of the month. In 24 minutes, Landale dropped 16 points on good efficiency and had three rebounds.

Landale remained in the starting line-up when the Suns played the Washington Wizards, scoring five points along with recording a pair of rebounds and assists.

To close out the month Landale returned to his normal bench role however still had a big impact despite the Suns going down to the Toronto Raptors by nine points. He finished with six points, 11 rebounds – three of which were offensive boards and an assist.

Matthew Dellavedova

6 Games, 4 Wins, 1.3pts, 0.3reb, 1.7ast

Much like his fellow Aussies, Matthew Dellavedova continued to make the most of the opportunities he got with the Sacramento Kings, playing in six games throughout the month.

In the Kings’ opening game of December, Delly played seven minutes and scored three points while also recording a single rebound and assist.

The next time he suited up for the Kings was two games later on December 8 when he played just a minute at the end of regulation against the Milwaukee Bucks.

He followed this up with one of his best games of the 11 he had played up until this point in the season in a win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Dellavedova scored three points and had four assists but it was his defence that was on the show, pestering the opposition in typical Delly fashion to grab a season-high three steals in 16 minutes of action.

The 32-year-old backed his performance against the Cavs by recording two points, four assists, and one steal in 13 minutes against the New York Knicks.

Delly would go on to receive minimal playing time in two more games throughout the month against the Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Lakers.

Jack White

1 Game, 0 Wins, 2.0pts, 1.0reb, 0.0ast

Jack White played in just one game for the Denver Nuggets through the month of December, spending the majority of his time playing for their G-League affiliate team, the Grand Rapids Gold.

The sole game in which White received court time was in a five-point loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. White played just two minutes and scored two points along with grabbing one rebound.

While White has not had massive opportunities in the NBA yet, he has impressed in the G-League where he is averaging 17.2 points on 60 per cent shooting and 9.1 rebounds through 12 games.

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