By: Rob Scott / @robscott33
The Boomers are not in the habit of missing the Olympics, but then again they only have to beat New Zealand to qualify. That doesn’t mean they don’t belong, and despite Andrew Bogut’s absence with injury they have a legitimate chance of upsetting most opponents. So far in the warmup period they have pushed Spain hard, going down 81-75 and 75-69, suffered an 87-71 reverse against Brazil and finished up with a 69-67 win over France in Strasbourg. They also beat China three times in June, with a squad of reserves, and put an 87-60 hiding on a shadow Greek squad shortly after.
G – Matthew Dellavedova (St Mary’s College)
G – Patrick Mills (San Antonio)
G – Adam Gibson (Gold Coast Blaze)
G – Peter Crawford (Townsville Crocodiles)
G/F – Brad Newley (Valencia)
G/F – Joe Ingles (FC Barcelona)
F – Matthew Nielsen (BC Khimki)
F – David Barlow (UCAM Murcia)
F – Mark Worthington (Gold Coast)
F/C – David Andersen (Montepaschi Siena)
C – Aleks Maric (Panathinaikos)
C – Aron Baynes (Ikaros)
Head Coach: Brett Brown (San Antonio Spurs, Assistant Coach)
Patty Mills may be the most recognisable name to NBA fans, but there aren’t many European fans who don’t know Joe Ingles, David Andersen, Matt Neilsen and Brad Newley. One player who could make a name for himself is St Mary’s College junior guard Matt Dellavedova who should back up both guard spots. The Aussies are likely to look for Mills’ penetration to open up pick and pop opportunities for Andersen with Newley bombing from deep. A lot rides on Andersen’s ability to stretch the floor from the five spot, as Aleks Maric and Aron Baynes must be one of the slowest pairs of centres in the tournament.
Joe Ingles has made a name for himself in Europe as a scrappy player who will rile opponents and that larrikin spirit is set free as Ingles gets into it with pretty much anyone. However, neither he nor Newley have elite slashing ability, preferring to stay on the perimeter. This could be a problem against teams with superior length and power on the wings like Russia, but both of those players have experience against half the Spanish team from their ACB careers.
The Boomers are rounded out by solid if unspectacular guys from the domestic NBL, in the form of backup guards Adam Gibson and Peter Crawford and forward Mark Worthington. These guys are veterans with World Championship experience who will consider failure to beat out China and Great Britain for a quarter final spot a catastrophe on par with losing the Ashes. Finishing ahead of Russia, Spain or Brazil looks tricky, so a one-time chance to shock the world beckons unless something goes drastically wrong in the American group.
The Swing Man
Europe has been waiting for Aleks Maric to return to being the guy who teamed up with Bo McCalebb on that Partizan Belgrade Final Four team. This group is full of teams with massive front lines, and Maric is going to have to rediscover some of that old form if he’s going to have an impact on Mozgov, Splitter or the Gasols.
I already predicted a Great Britain quarter final spot so logically that would mean the Boomers miss out. But that was then and this is now, and it would be a major surprise if this team finishes outside the top four in Group B. The chance to feature on the back of a USA in London 2012 t-shirt is as much as they’ll get from the knockout phase.
Best English Accent
All of them, according to any American talking to an English person in the USA.