21/02/2024

Aussies in the NBA Week 17. Photo: @okc, @BrooklynNets/Twitter.

It was an action-packed week for our Aussies in the NBA with Ben Simmons and Joe Ingles being traded while Patty Mills and Josh Giddey were named as participants in events at All-Star Weekend.

Our Aussie had another solid week in the NBA, with Patty Mills being named as a participant in the All-Star weekend Three-Point contest, while Josh Giddey will compete in the Skills Challenge.

The biggest news of the week came on Friday morning in Australia with former number one pick and three-time NBA All-Star, Ben Simmons finally getting his wish and being traded away from the 76ers to join Mills at the Brooklyn Nets. Joe Ingles was also dealt in a separate deal to the Portland Trailblazers after eight seasons with the Utah Jazz.

Patty Mills

3 Games, 0 Wins, 7.0pts, 2.7reb, 3.3ast

Patty Mills will be travelling to Cleveland as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend after it was announced that he would compete in the 2022 NBA All-Star Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest following a career year from behind the arc. Mills has made 177 threes this season, the fourth-most in the league where he is shooting at 42%.

Mills becomes the first Australian to take part in the three-point contest and will be competing against the likes of Trae Young, CJ McCollum, and Zach Lavine.

The Three-Point Contest will take place on Sunday the 20th of February in Australia.

While personally Mills is being recognised for his great play this season, the same cannot be said for the Brooklyn Nets who for the third week straight lost all their games.

The Nets first met Atlantic division rivals the Boston Celtics, where they were without Kyrie Irving. The game was virtually over in the first quarter with the Celtics taking a 28 to 2 lead to begin the game. Despite starting, Mills only played 22 minutes with Brooklyn’s bench unit getting most of the playing time with the team being down by so much early.

Mills finished with just five points on 25% shooting along with two rebounds and three assists.

Irving returned for the Nets following game against the Washington Wizards where they just lost, 113 to 112. Mills did a bit of everything putting up seven points, four rebounds, and five assists.

To close out the week the Nets travelled to Miami to face the Eastern Conference leading Miami Heat, where again they just fell short, extending their losing streak to 11 games. Mills had a difficult shooting night going at just 27.2% to finish with nine points and a pair of rebounds and assists.

The Nets will be hoping to turn things around quickly as they currently sit eighth in the Eastern Conference just holding on to a spot in the playoffs. During their 11 game losing streak, they have lost by an average margin of 12 points and have only won six of their 22 games since the start of the new year.

Josh Giddey

4 Games, 0 Wins, 12.3pts, 9.8reb, 7.0ast

Aussies NBA fans are going to see plenty of Josh Giddey throughout All-Star Weekend with the Thunder rookie being named as part of the All-Star Skills Challenge, where he will be on team Rooks along with Scottie Barnes and Cade Cunningham.

The Skills Challenge has a different format this season, with three teams of three players participating in a four-round competition, that tests shooting, passing, and dribbling ability.

Each team will participate in the first three rounds with the two teams with the most points at the end going head to head in the fourth and final round which will be a half-court contest. Teams will earn points by winning each of the first three rounds.

The young Thunder squad had a rough run of games this week, playing all teams currently at the top of their respective conferences, unable to walk away with any wins.

The Thunder’s first game came against the Golden State Warriors, where they fell by 12 points. Giddey had a strong performance, getting another double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He also made sure to get his teammates involved with 7 assists as well as a steal.

Next, the Thunder hosted the Toronto Raptors where they were blown out 117 to 98. Giddey again filled the stat sheet putting up 13 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and one steal.

It was then on the road for Oklahoma City first travelling to Philadelphia to meet Matisse Thybulle and the 76ers before flying up north to play the Chicago Bulls. Giddey had his least productive game of the week against the 76ers, scoring nine points on 28.6% shooting and grabbing seven rebounds along with five assists.

While the Thunder would go on to lose to the Bulls in their next game, Josh Giddey continued to set records, becoming the second-youngest player to score a triple-double. Giddey already held the record for being the youngest when he scored his first against the Dallas Mavericks earlier this season. To secure his second career triple-double, Giddey had 11 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Matisse Thybulle

3 Games, 2 Wins, 8.0pts, 2.0reb, 1.3ast, 3.3stl, 1.0blk

The Philadelphia 76ers kept rolling this week as they look to continue their ascent up the Eastern Conference standings. Aussie Matisse Thybulle was at his defensive best, having to guard some of the league’s best players this week with many tough matchups.

Thybulle first had to go head to head with the Phoenix Suns Allstar duo of Devin Booker and Chris Paul, where the Sixers were unsuccessful going down 114 to 109. The Sun’s role players proved the difference scoring efficiently to get Phoenix over the line.

Thybulle finished the game with eight points, making two three-pointers as well as grabbing a steal and two blocks.

Next, the Sixers hosted Josh Giddey and the Oklahoma City Thunder, where they were able to return to winning ways in a 13 point victory. Thybulle stepped it up on the defensive end to grab three steals for the game as well as hitting double digits in points for the first time in 10 games, finishing with 10 points.

To close out the week Thybulle had a career night against the surging Cleveland Cavaliers, setting a new career-high in steals with six. Thybulle did not stop there also getting a block to go along with six points, two rebounds, and three assists.

Thybulle is currently averaging 1.9 steals and 1.1 blocks a game, making him one of the league’s best defenders as he continues to make his case as a dark horse for Defensive Player of the Year.

The Sixers defensive ace is currently ranked fourth in steals a game and 29th in blocks, leading all guards.

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Jock Landale

3 Games, 2 Wins, 4.0pts, 0.7reb, 0.3ast

It was an uneventful week for Jock Landale who struggled to earn much playtime over the early part of the week, before making the most of his minutes to close out Week 17 of the NBA.

In San Antonio’s first game of the week against the Cavaliers, backup big man Zach Collins returned from injury which spelt trouble for Landale, with Collins taking the majority of his minutes. Landale got 90 seconds of game time and in that time was unable to put up any stats.

In the Spurs’ next game against the Hawks, Landale again saw his minutes significantly reduced, only getting four minutes on the court. Landale this time was only able to score one bucket in the short amount of playing time he got in San Antonio’s 136 to 121 victory.

In San Antonio and Landale’s final game of the week against the New Orleans Pelicans, the big man saw his minutes return to normal with Collins not playing. Landale made the most of being given more playing time to finish with 10 points, two rebounds, and one assist. The game marked the sixth time this season that Landale had scored in double digits.

Josh Green

3 Games, 2 Wins, 2.7pts, 3.0reb, 0.7ast, 2.0stl

The Dallas Mavericks had another strong week behind the sensational play of Luka Doncic who helped the team to two wins from their three games. Aussie Josh Green continued to play his bench role for the Mavs, offering plenty of energy and hustle.

The Mavs opened the week by blowing out the Detroit Pistons by 30 points, with Green providing excellent defence. In the 21 minutes Green played, he was able to grab three steals and three rebounds while making one basket.

In the Mavericks’ next game against the LA Clippers, Green was unable to have the same impact on the defensive end however put up four points on perfect shooting and chipped in with three rebounds and two assists.

The LA Clippers got their revenge two days later with the two teams going head to head again. While Green was unable to make much of an impact on the offensive end scoring just two points on 14% shooting, he was back to disrupting the Clippers on the defensive end finishing with three steals for the second time this week.

The two games this week where Green got three steals mark season highs in the stat for the Mavericks guard.

Ben Simmons

The biggest move of the NBA Tradeline came in the final hours with Ben Simmons getting a fresh start being traded to the Brooklyn Nets from the Philadelphia 76ers to join Patty Mills.

The deal was centred around Simmons and James Harden swapping teams with both players unhappy with their current situations. Along with Simmons the Nets also received sharpshooter Seth Curry, big man Andre Drummond and two first-round draft picks, while giving up Harden and Paul Millsap.

Brooklyn now welcomes one of the best passers and on-ball defenders in the NBA to a squad already filled with superstar talents such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Simmons has the opportunity to thrive in Brooklyn’s environment surrounded by shooters which complements his game well.

Simmons will also have fellow Boomer Patty Mills in the locker room to serve as a mentor to the 25-year-old, with Mills stating he will have Simmons back.

Joe Ingles

After rupturing his ACL two weeks ago against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Utah Jazz made the decision to trade away Ingles to the Portland Trailblazers as part of a three-team deal, getting Nickeil Alexander-Walker back in the process.

Ingles had 45 games for the Jazz this season and started in 15 of them where he was averaging 7.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 3.5 assists a game.

After eight seasons in Utah, Ingles leaves having made a lasting impression on the organisation, holding the franchise record for three-pointers made, ranking among the top five for total assists for the Jazz, and among the top 10 in steals.

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