Gaze: ‘It’s just reality’ that NBA stars will come in for Boomers’ World Cup games
Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze says Australia’s NBA players being injected into the national team for the 2019 FIBA World Cup is harsh, but fair.
It comes after the Boomers secured qualification for the World Cup in China with a couple of victories in the fifth Qualification window.
Australia continued their undefeated record by defeating Iran by 29 points on Friday and followed it up with a huge 51 point win over Qatar on Monday in Melbourne.
The country’s finest NBL stars haven’t looked back with the likes of Jason Cadee, Cameron Gliddon and Nathan Sobey starring on a consistent basis for the national team.
However, it is unlikely the majority of the Boomers qualifying squad will feature in the World Cup as a number of Australian representatives from the NBA will don the green and gold come August next year.
But Gaze says it’s the reality of having so many talented players in Australian basketball.
“It’s disappointing for those who have done the hard yards and heavy lifting,” Gaze said.
“But the reality of it is that those NBA stars – most of them are not available throughout the qualifying period.
“The NBA doesn’t close down for the FIBA window, the overwhelming, vast majority of leagues around the world that play under FIBA would take a spell to allow their players to play in these FIBA windows.
“This is the first time in the history of the World Cup that we’ve had this Qualification period, so it’s a work in process.”
It could be the Boomers best chance of winning gold at the event with the likes of Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Dante Exum set to feature and add Sydney’s Andrew Bogut to that squad and minimal spots for other NBL players will remain available.
However, there are reports Philadelphia 76ers’ guard Ben Simmons may not take part in the event as he weighs up his NBA commitments and preparations with the world event.
It would be a big blow for the Aussies with Simmons already setting the NBA on fire early on in his career including winning the Rookie of the Year last season.
“The thing I like about it is – Andrej Lemanis the coach of the Boomers – he’s actually been very upfront with all the players that are going through this phase,” Gaze said.
“The overwhelming majority of players they don’t care.
“Any chance to represent your country and pull on a green and gold jersey and get out there and help the team qualify – they’re all for it.
“They do still have a chance – one of the things about having this group together is there might be these other players, but some of them they would still have a chance to make the team and may override an NBA player because of the fit, because of the role.
“It’s the same with the American team, it’s the same thing with a lot of teams in Europe.”
The Boomers final Qualification window will be in February with games away from home against Kazakhstan and Iran.
Listen to the full interview below: