The new NBA campaign is officially underway and, once again, there will be a strong cast of Aussies battling for championship glory during the 2021-22 season.
Source:
SBS Sport
20 Oct 2021 - 3:06 PM  UPDATED 20 Oct 2021 - 1:47 PM

Watch select games of the NBA 2021-22 regular season LIVE on SBS VICELAND and SBS On Demand.

Six Australian players are on NBA rosters to start this season, ranging from experienced veterans such as Patty Mills and Joe Ingles, rookies like Josh Giddey looking for a breakout season, and one superstar hoping to change the narrative in Ben Simmons.

Here, SBS Sport takes a look at what to expect from each Australian in the NBA this season.

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Ben Simmons - Philadelphia 76ers

Plenty has been written and said about Ben Simmons' tumultuous offseason and his desperate attempts to leave the Philadelphia 76ers for greener pastures.

The all-star guard will need to win back the trust of his teammates after a preseason holdout in which he sat out the majority of the 76ers' training camp.

Simmons remains an athletic beast with an incredible ability to get to the rim, as well as being one of the leagues best defenders. However, the Australian guard will be desperate to shake the baggage of this offseason and prove he is someone who can do it all on the court.

Until then, his wishes for a trade and new home might not come to fruition.

Matisse Thybulle - Philadelphia 76ers

This could be the season Matisse Thybulle comes of age in the NBA.

Thybulle was named in the NBA All-Defensive second team last season and was a breakout player for the Boomers as they secured the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

He has shown great athleticism and anticipation, as well as incredible ability as both an interior and perimeter defender, but Thybulle is yet to demonstrate he can get it done at the other end of the court.

If Thybulle can find a way to develop his three-point shot, don’t be surprised to see him go from bench-player to starter this season with the 76ers as they continue their push for an NBA title.

Patty Mills - Brooklyn Nets

Australia’s inspirational captain, Patty Mills, has a new home this season in the NBA after joining the superstar line-up of the Brooklyn Nets after nearly a decade at the San Antonio Spurs.

It is a move which could put him on the path to his second NBA title as he helps superstars Kevin Durant and James Harden to championship glory.

Mills will play a much bigger role this season than he would’ve expected, especially early in the campaign, with Kyrie Irving out of the line-up due to his reluctance to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Mills will be a savvy addition to the Nets; who knows his role and adds important scoring to take the pressure of Harden and Durant. He’ll be the glue who keeps this Nets team together when the going gets tough.

On the back of an inspired performance at the Tokyo Olympics, could this be the season for Patty Mills?

Joe Ingles – Utah Jazz

Veteran Australian sharpshooter Joe Ingles suits up for his eighth NBA season in 2021 and will be looking to help the Utah Jazz to a long-awaited maiden championship title.

Ingles has become a vital part of the Jazz line-up in recent season with incredible contribution from behind the three point line with his shooting.

The 34-year-old is in the last year of his deal with the Jazz and another blockbuster year could set him up for an impressive final pay-day to round out his career in the NBA.

Ingles was runner-up in the NBA's 'Sixth Man of the Year' voting last season and will again play a key role off the bench this campaign.

Utah have loaded up this season for a run at the title and Ingles will once again be a big part of the puzzle for the Jazz’s championship aspirations.

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Josh Giddey – Oklahoma City Thunder

After making his name with an incredible debut season in the NBL, rookie point guard Josh Giddey has made the move to the big leagues and is out to prove himself in the NBA.

Giddey, the sixth pick in this year’s NBA draft, has shocked pundits in the United States with his impressive performance during the preseason and will be given plenty of opportunities to star for the rebuilding Thunder during the regular season.

At only 19 years of age, Giddey will be the second-youngest player in the NBA this season and most of this campaign will be about adapting to life in America and playing against the world’s best night in and night out.

While the Thunder will likely have one of the worst records in the league at the end of the season, expect to see flashes of Giddey’s impressive skill-set and plenty of development as the year progresses.

Josh Green – Dallas Mavericks

It could be a year of opportunity for Josh Green as he sets out to make the most of his second year in the NBA.

Selected with the 18th pick in the first round of the NBA draft last season, Green has plenty of potential but has to date not had the opportunity to impress.

With a new coach in Jason Kidd at the Mavs this year, Green may be able to push for greater minutes but will be up against veterans such as Tim Hardaway Jr and Dorian Finney-Smith for court time.

If he can impress in training and demonstrate the athleticism and scoring which helped him throughout his college career at Arizona, then the opportunities to play will be just around the corner.

Jock Landale – San Antonio Spurs

After dominating in the NBL last season, Aussie big man Jock Landale has finally earned his ticket to the NBA after being picked up by the San Antonio Spurs.

While this is not the same Spurs that have been a playoff regular for more than a decade, legendary coach Gregg Popovich is still in charge and will help Landale take his game to the next level.

Landale is a hard-working centre who can rebound and defend the interior. He has also shown the ability to knock down a three which could help him gain minutes in the Spurs rotation this season.

While it will be a year of learning and development for Landale, expect him to work himself to the bone and possibly get time as a starter in what will be a rebuilding year in San Antonio.