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Jul 18

Australians in the NBA: can they help the Boomers perform well at the Olympics?

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Without a doubt, basketball is growing in Australia and it is only a matter of time before it blossoms into one of the country’s most popular sports. In fact, there are now a number of Aussies who feature in the NBA – a statistic that confirms just how big it’s becoming Down Under.

The Boomers announced their preliminary 26-man squad for this summer’s Olympic Games and seven are currently plying their trade in the world’s primary basketball league.

At the time of writing, 32Red Australia are offering 200/1 on Andrej Lemanis’ men to go and secure a shock victory in Rio de Janeiro this summer. Whilst it is very difficult to imagine that the Boomers could topple the might of the United States, you never know – especially with such a talented and dangerous roster.

Basketball Australia have now trimmed the squad down to 12 and six of those are NBA stars. If nothing else, the Boomers will have an experienced, talented roster and they should be taken seriously this summer.

Australia your 2016 Men’s Basketball Team for Rio! #OneTeam pic.twitter.com/C9rAk0wUKo

— AUS Olympic Team (@AUSOlympicTeam) July 11, 2016

Australian supporters will be sweating on Andrew Bogut’s fitness ahead of this summer’s competition. Lemanis has claimed that he will give the 31-year-old every chance to make the event and his inclusion could be make or break for the Boomers.

While he was traded away to the Dallas Mavericks at the end of the season, Bogut played a key role for the Golden State Warriors in their record-breaking regular campaign but wasn’t able to help them secure back-to-back NBA Championships as they fell short against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bogut is a key member of this Australia squad and Lemanis will be desperately hoping that the 7-foot tall center is passed fit to travel to Rio at the very least. On his day, he remains a top talent and Australia will need both his height and his skillset as they look to reach the latter stages of the tournament.

But the Aussies aren’t a one-man team; in fact they are far from it. They have plenty of upcoming talent and an abundance of potential – if they perform at their best, the sky is the limit for this group of youngsters – just check out the video below of the Boomers strutting their stuff in the NBA…

As previously mentioned, a number of players on Team Australia hold NBA contracts and many will be looking to send out a statement of intent for the national side ahead of the upcoming campaign. Young Ryan Broekhoff is expected to be the next Australian to feature in the NBA and he could inspire his nation to the latter stages of this summer’s competition if he is on top form.

He played for the Denver Nuggets in the 2015 Summer League but didn’t do enough to warrant a spot on the parent roster. However, he was formidable for Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar last season, shooting an immense 47.2 percent of shots from beyond the three-point line. His efforts from beyond the circle could help Australia, priced at 100/1 to win the group with 32Red and 188Bet, to topple the United States and shock the basketball world…

Team Australia are much more about the collective than individual talent though – and Lemanis knows it. Basketball is a team game and whilst some players will make a much greater impact than others, the Boomers coach will be keen to keep his men focused on winning for the country before looking to impress for their own personal careers at domestic level.

After all, the Olympics is a rare event and it would be a huge shame to see the nation slip up at the expense of chasing individual glory. Australia fans will be hoping for plenty of excitement and drama – and they could even earn a few last-gasp victories, just as they did at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

On their day, the Boomers are capable of great things and they should try to remain calm and collected ahead of the tournament. Ultimately, nobody is expecting Australia to go and win the tournament but they may surprise a few. The pressure is off and the players should just enjoy the Olympics. They might even surprise themselves…

 Wolfgang Jung 

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