28/02/2024
Boomers vs. Nigeria

The Boomers recorded a huge win over Nigeria. Photo: NBA Australia

The Boomers dominated an undefeated Nigeria side to the tune of 39 points on Wednesday, moving to 3-0 in Las Vegas before Tokyo 2020.

The Boomers dominated an undefeated Nigeria side to the tune of 39 points on Wednesday, moving to 3-0 in Las Vegas before Tokyo 2020.

A Nigerian side boasting NBA talent and Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown was no match, as Australia ran out 108-69 winners, with the game well and truly over by half-time.

It was Australia’s most impressive outing to date. Four starters were ruled out prior to tip-off with Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Aron Baynes not suiting up. It gave others an opportunity to take their claims, and everyone who stepped on the court delivered.

These are the five key takeaways from the Boomers win over Nigeria as we near Tokyo 2020.

1. The kids are special

The ‘Golden Generation’ may be nearing its twilight, but the precedent has been set and the kids are ready to build on it. In this particular game, Josh Giddey and Josh Green were simply awesome against NBA-level talent.

Giddey is an injury replacement for the Boomers in Tokyo. The potential NBA lottery pick gave every scout in the League an insight into what he is capable of.

Coming off the bench but playing the most minutes of any Boomer, Giddey delivered 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.

He kept his head on a swivel bringing the ball up and found rolling bigs and mismatches every second possession. If not for a few missed looks, he would have had more dimes on the stat sheet.

His shot looks improved from his NBL campaign, and he’s releasing it with a lot more confidence, hitting two of his five attempts from deep which in turn had his defender respecting his range.

Defensively was where Goorjian will be most impressed as he took up defensive assignments on a combination of guards and wings and handled them well. His length as a help defender gives him an advantage, and his rebounding ability came to the fore in contested situations.

There are obviously still a few deficiencies he’s working through at 18 years old. He forced a few passes that he shouldn’t have, and took a little too long on occasion to get into the offensive set, especially when the ball is recycled with a dwindling shot-clock.

There are still some issues off-ball as well, with Giddey not really aiding the motion in the offence when he does give up the ball.

But that’s all nitpicking; he will be a very special player for the next 15 years. His experiences with the Boomers will be incredible for his development, and he’s done his lottery draft chances no harm with this performance.

Josh Green has been discussed previously, but his upside as a combo guard is sky-high. He’s an athlete with a developing jump shot, and his defensive buy-in was on full display with three steals that led to transition buckets.

He finished with 11 points on 83 per cent shooting. The 20-year-old is a really special player and could prove ultra-valuable in Tokyo.

2. The Boomers will stretch the floor

The best of Chris Goulding was on full display in this one. He finished a perfect 7/7 from three-point range, but it wasn’t just him that proved the Boomers would be wheeling out a potent shooting lineup no matter who’s on the floor.

The two big men Jock Landale and Duop Reath hit 2/3 from long range. They both have confident, fluid shots and the pick-and-pop was available every single possession with slightly more traditional bigs Jahlil Okafor and Precious Achiuwa guarding them.

This shooting is a gift for the Boomers that can negate the influence of dominant centres at the Olympics.

Nathan Sobey (2/3) also found his range and was sensational all night after two disappointing hit-outs prior. All 10 Boomers that suited up attempted a shot from beyond the arc.

18/29 from three as a team isn’t a sustainable clip to go at, but the promise lies in every player being given the green light. It’s a modern-day basketball revolution that the Boomers are all aboard.

3. Squad stays unscathed

This was probably the most important aspect of this game, that was more of a throwaway than the others considering the two sides will face each other in under two weeks’ time.

Apart from Aron Baynes’ knee-on-knee collision (which will reportedly be fine for the Olympics), there are no injuries to report for the Boomers. It’s a fantastic outcome in warm-ups to date. There are guys like Dante Exum, Duop Reath and Xavier Cooks who have all struggled with injury in past years.

There’s another exhibition game to come, but it’s a huge positive that the Boomers are currently heading into Tokyo 2020 with a fit squad.

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4. Nigeria will be much better than this

Australia will face Nigeria first-up in Tokyo as part of Group B – so it made sense to rest some players and not give away too much.

The Boomers came away with a monstrous 39-point win, but Nigerian coach Mike Brown won’t be unhappy with a belting before the Olympics and will maximise his side’s potential.

Nigeria has majorly outperformed expectations with wins against first and fourth-ranked sides in the world the United States and Argentina. A loss to Australia isn’t the end of the world – it may even be a good thing.

The roster consists of NBA players including experienced guards like Miami’s Gabe Vincent and high-ceiling big men such as the Kings’ Chimezie Metu, who are representing their country with pride.

It just so happened that they couldn’t buy a three, and struggled to get into their offence with a pestering Australia defence.

You could hear Brown throughout the broadcast shouting instructions at both ends of the floor, keeping energy levels high and maintaining expectations of his squad.

The Boomers can’t underestimate Nigeria despite the result. The 2009 NBA Coach of the Year will get the absolute best out of his roster, and Nigeria will take it right up to every team they come up against in Japan.

This tune-up against the Boomers will just prepare them for the real deal.

5. The Boomers are all-in on Gold

This squad isn’t just trying to win its first medal. This is a squad aiming for Gold, and everyone has brought in. It’s what is repeatedly said when anyone in the team is interviewed, and their play on the court reflects it.

Brian Goorjian has the whole roster playing beautiful, selfless basketball. Their defence can quite literally scramble and rotate for a full 24-second shot clock and not give up an uncontested shot.

It doesn’t matter who’s open, the ball finds them on offence. The confidence instilled in every player has raised their level of play above expectations.

The standard of excellence for the starting unit has been set with this performance; no player deserves a diminished role in the future, so it’s on the veterans to perform because their backups have proved worthy of minutes.

It’s a problem Australia has never fully had in the past. Its depth could prove the catalyst for a tilt at the Gold medal – not just any medal – at Tokyo 2020.

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