With only a week left of scheduled games, the NBA playoffs are fast approaching. 30 teams will be culled to 16, and a best-of-seven series is where legends are made, and dynasties are established.
In 2019, there have been three new Australians making their debuts – Deng Adel (Cleveland), Mitch Creek (Brooklyn) and Isaac Humphries (Atlanta). NBA scouts are regularly looking at the Australian competition to find a required role player, a positive for the Australian basketball scene.
There are already players who have made names for themselves however, with the possibility of up to eight Australian players set to feature this post-season.
Below will outline which players are primed to make an impact these playoffs and give their team the best chance of entering NBA folklore to help guide their team to an NBA championship.
While Golden State is the hot favourite to win the title in the basketball betting sweepstakes, the following Aussies could make all the difference for their respective teams. And one of them could help push the Dubs over the line.
Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)
The 2017/18 Rookie of the Year missed just one regular season game in his debut year, helping the young Sixers reach the second round after defeating Miami four-games-to-one. Although they were knocked out at the hands of Kyrie Irving and the Celtics, Simmons is much better off for gaining playoff experience, and will look to use that this post-season.
Simmons improved in most categories statistically this season, and currently averaging 17.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.8 assists. What’s most important is he’s given Philadelphia a 49 – 29 winning record and a shot at the third seed out East.
Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
The small forward has plenty of playoff basketball behind him, with the Jazz making the second round the past two seasons in a talented Western Conference. It was the 2018 series where Ingles broke out averaging 14.5 from 11 matches whilst shooting at 47% from beyond the arc.
Along with Derrick Favours, Ingles is now the veteran of this Jazz team who surprised the Thunder last playoffs. The Jazz have won ten of their last eleven matches, the perfect preparation for what should be a fascinating playoff.
Aaron Baynes (Boston Celtics)
The 32-year-old has been restricted to just 48 games this season due to injury, but valuable minutes of the bench has given Boston coach Brad Stevens an added boost when veteran centre Al Horford needs a rest.
Boston currently hold the fourth seed in the East, but are in a tug-of-war with the Pacers in the run home. If the Celtics are to go deep this playoff, Baynes, who has one past championship with the Spurs, will be an important contributor as the backup five.
Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)
An MVP season in the NBL lead Bogut back to the Golden State Warriors, who signed the former No. 1 pick to play a role off the bench. Warriors coach Steve Kerr basically wants Bogut to be the ‘glue guy’ this post-season – considering he was there when the dynasty began
As star big Demarcus Cousins continues to find his feet, expect Bogut to receive important minutes to help Golden State secure a three-peat, and what will be their fourth championship in the space of five seasons.