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Australians in the NBA

Australians in the NBA: Hoopers From Down Under

Basketball has grown massively over the last few decades, and one country that has embraced the game is Australia. As a result, there are a number of Australians playing in the NBA right now, not to mention those Aussies who cracked into the league previously but no longer play in the Association.

Let’s take a look at the current NBA players who come from Down Under, including a couple of hoopers who you might not have known have a connection to the country.

Australians in the NBA, 2021-22

Josh Giddey

Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria

Prep/University: Adelaide 36ers of the National Basketball League (NBL)

Drafted: 2021 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6th overall

Current Team: Oklahoma City Thunder

In his rookie campaign, the No. 6 overall pick is getting a lot of minutes (30+ on average) and is producing meaningfully, averaging 10 points and seven rebounds. Early indications are that the former NBL Rookie of the Year and current Australian National Team member is primed to have a strong NBA career.

Josh Green

Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales

Prep/University: Arizona 

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Drafted: 2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18th overall

Current Team: Dallas Mavericks

In his sophomore season, the former Arizona Wildcat is struggling to get meaningful minutes, averaging fewer than five per game. It’s a concerning trend as he averaged nearly 10 minutes per game in his rookie season. The talented guard will need to make the most of his waning minutes if he wants to stay in the league.

Joe Ingles

Hometown: Adelaide, South Australia

Prep/University: Australian Institute of Sport

Drafted: 2009 / Undrafted

Current Team: Utah Jazz

Joe Ingles is a guy you can’t help but root for. He spent the first eight years of his career playing overseas for the South Dragons, CB Granada, FC Barcelona, and Maccabi Tel Aviv. In 2014, he got his first NBA shot playing preseason games with the Clippers before impressing the Utah Jazz and earning an NBA contract. He hasn’t looked back since and has established himself as an iron man, rarely missing games, and an incredible three-point threat.

Kyrie Irving

Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria (dual U.S. citizen, born in Australia)

University: Duke

Drafted: 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall

Current Team: Brooklyn Nets

I know, not who you expected to see on this list, but Kyrie was born in Australia and carries dual Australian-American citizenship. While he obviously represents the U.S. in international competition, it’s important to include him on the list.

Jock Landale

Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria

University: Saint Mary’s

Drafted: 2018 / Undrafted

Current Team: San Antonio Spurs

Like so many international players, Landale had to earn his way to the NBA through a non-traditional path. After graduating from Saint Mary’s, he played professionally in Serbia, Lithuania, and Australia while participating in multiple NBA Summer Leagues. In 2021 ,he dominated Australia’s National Basketball League, leading his team to the championship as he was named the NBL Grand Final MVP. He signed his first NBA contract with the Spurs this year and has yet to log meaningful minutes, having missed many games due to COVID-19 protocol.

Patty Mills

Hometown: Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

University: Saint Mary’s

Drafted: 2009 / Round: 2 / Pick: 55th overall

Current Team: Brooklyn Nets

Who knew one of the originators of the “three goggles” is an Australian? Mills and his teammate Rudy Fernandez are credited with starting the trend back in 2010. He got his start in the NBA on a two-way contract for the Trail Blazers, bouncing up and down with the Idaho Stampeders. Thanks to the NBA lockout, he spent some time playing in Australia and China before returning to Portland. Currently, he is dominating in his first season with the Brooklyn Nets.

Ben Simmons

Hometown: Melbourne, Victoria 

University: LSU

Drafted: 2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall

Current Team: Philadelphia 76ers

Easily the most famous Australian in the NBA, Simmons has been dominant. The three-time NBA All-Star has represented the national team on and off since the age of 15, but due to his professional career, he rarely plays with the team in order to better focus on the NBA.

Matisse Thybulle

Hometown: Sydney, New South Wales (dual U.S. citizen, spent lots of his childhood in Australia)

University: Washington

Drafted: 2019 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20th overall

Current Team: Philadelphia 76ers

When he was 2, Thybulle’s family moved from Arizona to Sydney and lived there for about seven years before coming back to America. He played for the Australian National Team at Tokyo 2020, and he’s carved himself out a role with the 76ers, locking it down defensively as a key member of the team’s rotation.

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