As of now, we are experiencing somewhat of a golden period for Australians in Basketball. As it stands, the NBA features a host of great Aussies including Joe Ingles, Patty Mills and the favourite to win the 2018 Rookie of the Year, Ben Simmons. In addition to the current crop of players, Australia has been able to boast other players such as Luc Longley, starting centre for the second Chicago Bulls three-peat in the 90s, and Andrew Bogut, who at his best was one of the best centres in the NBA. With all of that being said, let’s look at the best individual performances by Aussies in the NBA.
Patty Mills vs. Golden State Warriors (34 points, 12 assists):
A mere month after Patty Mills signed his contract to join the San Antonio Spurs in 2012 as a back up Point Guard to Tony Parker, he set the record for most points scored by an Australian in an NBA game, with 34 points. In addition to his high scoring, he also dished out 12 assists in a stellar performance. This helped him become a key component for the Spurs over the last several seasons and it’s one of the reasons he is trusted by Gregg Popovich to carry the load off the bench.
Andrew Bogut vs. Indiana Pacers (31 points, 18 rebounds):
While this wasn’t Bogut’s career high in points, that would be 32 points a year later against Dallas, this performance highlights how versatile he was during his peak. Hitting 14/19 shots, in addition to pulling down 18 rebounds and 3 assists, the game showed how well he could control the paint, and even displayed his underrated ability as a passer. If he hadn’t spent a lot of his career injured, who knows how good he could’ve been.
Joe Ingles vs. Portland Trailblazers (24 points):
Joe Ingles has quietly turned himself into one of the most consistent players in the league with the Utah Jazz, having been among the league’s best shooters since he joined in 2014. He’s having a career year in 2017-2018, having reached a career high in points with 23 against the Hornets, before beating that with 24 points against Portland. While it isn’t an explosive game, it shows how key Ingles has been to the Jazz, particularly this season where they are making a strong playoff push despite losing Gordon Hayward in free agency.
Ben Simmons vs. Detroit Pistons (21 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists):
In only his fourth game in the NBA, Ben Simmons joined a handful of players to have recorded a triple-double as a rookie. Throughout the season he has been setting records for rookies, but this game was something special, as he did it in only his fourth game. The significance showed that Australia was planting itself in the NBA and basketball world, as another nation that can produce talent, in the same way countries such as Spain and Croatia have done. Everything that the above players have helped build has led to this for Simmons, as he will be the driving force behind Aussie basketball for years to come.
Ben Simmons vs. Chicago Bulls (19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists):
In all honesty this entire list can be comprised of Ben Simmons’ many triple-doubles as a rookie so far, but this performance was outrageous. There’s a reason he’s been compared to LeBron James, as this performances showcases his versatility, the fact that he can score, rebound and make plays for his teammates. There’s no other way to describe his importance to Australian Basketball, in fact he probably is already our greatest player ever.