NBA 2018/19 Ben Simmons is ROTY. MEGA THREAD!


#4935

That was the most Essington thing I’ve ever seen in the NBA in over 30 years

Ben Simmons with game winning steal, then just loses the ball under no pressure dribbling up the court.

GAME IN BALANCE 30 seconds later

Lavine is Chicago’s best scorer, he’s inbounding, why the ■■■■ would you let him inbound then run free unopposed on his dominant side all the way to the basket to win the game

Just like Essendon, it’s hard to fathom how professional athletes just give up the stupidest easiest goals to the opposition

That was utterly pathetic, how did nobody stay with him, Philly have the same low iq problem we have at essendon, just turn into complete ■■■■■■■ morons when the game is on the line


#4936

As a bulls supporter, I enjoyed this immensely.


#4937

Hayward with the winning bucket


#4938

Go Celtics! :shamrock:


#4939

I wasn’t sure where to post this but seeing it’s about a future NBA player I though that it belongs in here.

A story on Josh Green:

https://www.foxsports.com.au/basketball/a-weekend-with-josh-green-australias-next-sporting-superstar/news-story/6b2edff6900af7f17dab4c28420e02b8

Bradenton, FL — IMG Academy is big. Too big. The person-to-land ratio is absurd and the security guards are basically inexplicable. In the middle of February, there’s not much activity on the giant grounds, but the guards are aplenty, and they seem to take the job way too seriously.

I stayed at the hotel on campus — there’s a big hotel on campus; just, right on there — and, on this Saturday evening, it was time to embark on a journey to see perhaps the one thing in the small town of Bradenton, Florida that was bigger than the Academy: the varsity basketball team.

The gym is on the complete opposite end of the property — one that houses a school, a heap of residences, surrounded by some of the best athletic facilities in the country — so it’s a good 10-minute drive before you’re in the parking lot. I get there, and the gym is humble. Warmups are what you’d expect from a team with multiple McDonald’s All-Americans, and, when the game begins, Josh Green really does catch your eye right away.

The guard out of Sydney is 6’6, but his imposing presence goes beyond his size. He has a sway when he plays, that athletic glide you see in exciting perimeter players, only amplified by his short shorts; he says he doesn’t like when they go down to his knees. This gym had a usual mixture of fans coming out to watch — IMG had a feisty Central Pointe team on the agenda — and then, naturally, a flurry of AirPod-wearing, Yeezy-flaunting students just there to flex.

IMG had control of this game, but wasn’t able to run away with it, as they usually have the potential of doing. The team plays freely, which makes sense, considering the talent on the roster. There’s a lot of running. So much running. And even more alley-oop attempts, all enough to make the Overtime camera guy in the corner blush. The highlights notwithstanding, midway through the third quarter of a game that was closer than it should’ve been, Sean McAloon had enough. IMG’s head coach decided to bench his best player, to the surprise of everyone, but mostly the Australian teenager at the time.

“Josh left the shooter we’ve been saying can’t get a shot; let him knock one down, then let him get another one off,” McAloon told foxsports.com.au . “I just said okay, that’s enough. You’ve gotta be able to hold your leaders accountable. He’s a McDonald’s All-American. If I can’t hold him accountable, how can I hold the guy at the end of the bench accountable?”

“If I can’t hold him accountable, how can I hold the guy at the end of the bench accountable?”Source: Getty Images

Green would return to the game and finish with an admirable stat-line, in a win, but didn’t forget that moment. In the minutes after the buzzer sounded, he was hot, but, after a moment of some self-reflection, he acknowledged the teaching moment.

“I completely understand what he was doing, and I respect him for doing that,” Green told foxsports.com.au . “Once I get to college, that’s what’s gonna happen every single day. Sean Miller (Arizona head coach) doesn’t really mess around. I made a mistake, which I just need to be held accountable to.”

From the outside looking in, it may seem simple enough to understand the logic behind the basic idea of accountability in sports; hell, in life. But, there’s a bubble-like quality to life at IMG, so the potential for that realisation is more removed from Green’s surroundings than you might hope.

Students at IMG live in an area that looks like a resort. The living quarters are tall. Walk outside, and you’ll see a fancy courtyard; look a bit further and you’ll see the pool, flanked with lounge chairs. There are newly-built outdoor basketball courts on one end of the living area, then, on the opposite side, a pretty large golf course.

On the weekends, it’s not out of the ordinary to do the hour-ish drive to Tampa, where either the beach or mall is the go-to spot. On this rainy day, it was the mall, and that bubble we spoke about earlier: it sure did grow.

“Is that Josh Green?” A small group of maybe-15 year-olds muttered amongst each other, as they pulled out their phones to do a quick Google search.

Green pretended not to notice the whispery commotion bubbling up five metres away from him. He knew what was coming.

“That’s Josh Green!”

They asked for a photo and the humble Australian naturally obliged. It happened again in a Foot Locker, and then again in a Champs. Green has yet to step foot in his college stadium, let alone an NBA arena, and he already gets treated like a superstar. It’s where playing at IMG can help tame that celebrity aspect of someone in his position, because you’re one of many. In callous terms: you’re not special.

"Is that Josh Green."Source: FOX SPORTS

“I think it’s prepared me a lot,” Green said of his time in the program. “Once you get to college, you play with a lot of good players. So, me being able to play with five other top-20 kids in the starting lineup; it’s a good experience. I’m getting adjusted, learning how to play a certain kind of way, and I think I’ll be one step ahead of other guys going into college next year.”

That’s the reality when you go to a big school. For a player of Green’s calibre, fighting for minutes generally isn’t a massive issue, but realising you’re no longer the only one of your kind can be.

At IMG, Green’s been able to have his usual 40-pieces — he dropped 42 points in his final regular season game — but sometimes has had to settle for those 10-point games. It’s been a learning curve for Green, who would be the star of any other high school team in the world. But what better way to ease your way into playing for Miller, than to be amongst a host of other players just like you.

No-one knows that better than Philadelphia 76ers guard, T.J. McConnell, who was drafted after two seasons at Arizona.

“Miller’s gonna coach him,” the former Wildcat told foxsports.com.au. “He doesn’t treat anybody differently. He coaches everyone the same, which is why I think everyone that’s played for him loved him so much.”

Green will never forget his first offer. It was from a school you’ve probably never heard of. Still, when the University of Tennessee Martin called and offered a scholarship, it brought the then-14-year-old Green to tears.

“It was probably the most surreal moment of my life,” Green said. “I was really emotional about it. It was crazy to me. It took me days to get over it. It’s just crazy how fast everything went on from there.”

For Green, the offer was proof. It was proof that he and his family’s journey to the United States had paid off.

At the time, Green was attending Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Arizona; a far-cry from whence he came, and what his trajectory once looked like.

Green and his family lived in Castle Hill, in the Sydney’s north west, with the two older boys — Josh and Jay — attending The King’s School, one of the elite private institutions in the state.

Green lived in Castle Hill, before his family moved to the US.Source: Getty Images

Back then, when any visiting school did the trek to Parramatta to watch Kings play, everyone knew who Josh Green was as soon as they laid eyes on him.

There was always an, “oh, that’s the son of Delmas.”

Delmas Green didn’t play in the NBL — unlike the more prominent basketball fathers in the country — but was an American living in Sydney who landed the job as head coach of Kings’ firsts team. When Josh started impressing in some of the younger age group squads, there was always a sense that this ‘coach’s son’ would be good, but the trajectory was never this high. In fact, there was a chance the pathway to the top of a sport didn’t even involve basketball.

“Australian rules football was a big deal to me,” Green said.

And no, this isn’t a ‘let’s write about how [insert potential NBA player from Australia] played footy as a kid so we can endear him to Melbourne-based AFL fans’. This one is legitimate. Green was a part of the Sydney Swans Academy, before settling in the Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy; the new teenager ultimately having to give it all up when his family moved to the US.

“I loved playing Australian football, honestly,” Green said. “I really, really enjoyed it. Growing up, I was really fit, so I loved playing the sport. The team aspect, too. I love team games. It was just fun to play.”

Basketball was Green’s main sport, naturally, but Australian rules football emerged as an interest for him after he tried his hand at some new things. He attempted ‘soccer’ — he meant football — but that wasn’t for him. Neither was rugby.

So, he eventually picked up a Sherrin and started playing. He knew it translated well from basketball, and, perhaps more importantly, there was a future that appeared within an arm’s reach.

Green played footy as a kid.Source: Supplied

“There’s a lot more opportunity in football than basketball in Australia,” Green said.

“My biggest thing was, opportunity-wise, I felt like football might be the best thing for me, especially if I’m doing well at it.

“Everyone’s goal is to be in the AFL. One of my friends just got drafted. I feel like I could’ve gone pretty far in Australian football, honestly.

“I don’t wanna predict where I would’ve been, but I would’ve worked hard to be able to put my name into the draft this past year.”

In hindsight, there’s a real possibility that the decision the Green family made changed the direction of the Australian sporting landscape. Instead of looking ahead to the 2020 NBA Draft, where he’s a projected top-10 pick, Green could well have been preparing for the AFL Draft in November.

“It’s crazy what’s happened in just four years,” Green said. “It’s crazy what the next four years are gonna be like in my life, and how they’re gonna really change me and my family’s life.”

It was around the beginning of October, back in 2017, when Ben Simmons’s camp first reached out to Green and his family.

Until that point, the pair had never met, but it was the start of a mentor-mentee relationship that seemed so obvious, yet still evokes a sense of national pride when you think about it. Here, we have Simmons — the son of an African-American father and Australian mother, who ended up being the No. 1 overall pick — having a desire to be a role model for someone whose life effectively mirrors his.

“Ben and his family really didn’t have to do what they did,” Green said. “What they did is something I’m really grateful for. It just shows how much pride they have in Australia, and upcoming Australians, so I really respected him reaching out to me.”

The pair speak from time to time, talking about whatever comes to mind. Green has embraced, yet is still stunned by the fact that he’s become this person in the life of one of the NBA’s budding superstars, and perhaps even he hasn’t comprehended how mutually beneficial the relationship is.

That’s because there really is a sense that Simmons gets just as much out of it as the kid he gives advice to.

“That’s my guy,” Simmons told foxsports.com.au , before I even finished my question about Green.

The reigning Rookie of the Year continued, talking about being a part of Green’s life: “It’s an honour; a responsibility. I’m glad he’s able to come to me for anything, and, you know, looks up to me for advice and things like that. For me, it’s a humbling experience to be able to teach him things, and be that role model for him.”

Simmons sees a lot of himself in Green, from a personal perspective, but, once you see the 18-year-old play, there are those little similarities on the court, too.

Green’s game is unique, and he does a lot of things Simmons doesn’t — shooting the three-ball above 45 percent as a high school senior is a start — but the similarities are glaring. Simmons’s passing ability was superior at the same age, but the way in which Green passes the ball, from a stylistic perspective, is eerily similar to his mentor.

Both guys are lightning in transition, and can throw down highlight dunks for days; just thinking about future Boomers teams should arouse any Australian’s excitement about the national program’s future.

Simmons has taken Green under his wing.Source: AFP

Whether that comes in the 2019 FIBA World Cup is still a question — Green says he has a desire to feature in that tournament and the exhibition games which precede it, while Simmons is unlikely to commit to playing — but, if all goes to plan, we may see Simmons-to-Green fast breaks in the 2020 Olympics, probably promptly followed by a Green-to-Simmons connection.

So, it all makes sense. If you’re one of the best high school players in the country, projected to be a lottery pick after a season in college, who better to have as a friend and mentor than a former No. 1 overall pick?

Right?

How about two?

The relationship between Green and Deandre Ayton goes back to their time at Hillcrest Academy. The two were teammates on a high school team that aimed to transform into one of the more prominent prep schools in the U.S.

Fast forward to the beginning of 2019, and Ayton has remained intrastate — the No. 1 overall pick starts for the Phoenix Suns — while Green is preparing to head back to play for the centre’s alma mater, the University of Arizona, and will likely be there for the same amount of time.

“Me and Deandre have a really good relationship,” Green said. “I talked to him the other day. Most of the time, it’s not basketball stuff.

Green and Ayton played together at Hillcrest Prep.Source: AFP

“We just talked about how fast the process goes, and just how every game matters, especially when you get to college. That’s the biggest thing he says to me. It’s cool just having a relationship with him, not only as a teammate, but also as a really good friend.”

The pair talk often, basically on the daily, even Facetiming every now and then. The connection began on the court, but stuck because of their familiar circumstances. Ayton knows what it’s like to be that international player trying to make a mark in a new environment.

“Josh is just a kid from Australia that really wants to prove everybody wrong,” Ayton told foxsports.com.au .

“He feels like he’s underrated, so he’s just trying to show the world what he’s got. He’s a great dude off the court, a soft-spoken kid, and a killer on the court.”

There was a common trend with the overarching message both No. 1 picks have given, and will continue to give Green. It’s the idea of making the most of the ride.

Ayton talks about the process, and making sure to embrace every step of it, while Simmons speaks to him about “enjoying the journey.”

“It goes by quickly,” Simmons said of the next year of Green’s life. “I was with him in Miami not long ago, and time flies. I know he’s gonna enjoy it and do his thing in college, so I’m looking forward to watching that.”

There’s a whole lot of pressure on Green. He’s about to enter his freshman year at Arizona as a projected lottery pick in the next draft, amid a recruiting class that’s widely regarded as the best in the nation.

More and more eyes are beginning to lay on him, within the basketball community and beyond. Even Tim Cahill has been getting around Green lately, reaching out to the budding star across his social media channels. Green was a kid who “did Timmy Cahill’s celebration in the park, man,” and is now someone the recently-retired Socceroo is keeping tabs on.

All of that is just superficial, though; an added layer on top of the expectation that already comes with being a Wildcat.

“They expect a win at Arizona,” McConnell said. “Josh is gonna get a great coach who holds him accountable.”

So then, it only makes sense that Green has been doing everything in his power to make sure he’s ready. Since arriving at IMG, he’s jumped from 180 lbs to 205 lbs, while his jump-shot has improved beyond measure.

Inside Aussie’s college ride

3:39

“It’s definitely added more dimensions to my game,” Green said of the new-found consistency in his jumper.

“It’s given defenders a second thought on whether they should have a hand up on me. I feel like I’ll continue to work on it because, well, my goal is to get to the NBA. The biggest thing in the NBA is: everyone can shoot now.”

His goal is to get to the NBA. So, at the risk of repeating myself, who better to work out with in the off-season than a former No. 1 pick?

That’s obviously rhetorical, and Green will learn that first-hand, with the teenager planning to work out with Ben Simmons in the off-season, before heading to Arizona.

Until then, Green has a few more opportunities to show what he can do. First is the McDonald’s All-American Game, where he became the first Australian since Simmons to be named to play in the glorified high school pick-up affair.

“At a young age, I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do that, so it’s really cool,” Green said of playing in the March 27 event. “And, to be the second Australian to ever do it, that’s definitely pretty cool for me.”

After that, Green and his superstar IMG lineup will play in the Geico Nationals tournament, while another appearance at the Nike Hoop Summit is also likely on the cards.

All of that is part of the journey toward the NBA — that journey those No. 1 picks spoke so fondly of — and the next big step is playing in the McKale Memorial Center, as a Wildcat. When he enters his first, and likely only season at Arizona, Green would largely be considered a projected top-10 pick. If he plays as expected, and even a smidgen above that — which could happen, given he’s playing alongside his long-time AAU buddy, Nico Mannion — then there’s no telling how much his stock could grow.

“I have 100 percent trust in what they do, and in Sean Miller,” Green said.

“They were one of the first schools to recruit me and offer me. With the professionals they’ve produced, I just have faith in them. Just the way they play; I feel like I can shine there.

“It was just everything I was looking for. I’m close to family. My parents can come out and watch. My family can come out and watch. Overall, it was the perfect school for me to fit in and play right away.”

Josh Green with his younger sister, Maya.Source: Supplied

It’s fun to have a Josh Green.

Sure, there’s something warm and fuzzy about being able to nurture a player through four years of college, and wait with bated breath to see whether he’d make the league, but having an Australian be one of those guys — the ones whose names are already on the green room list — almost feels like a guilty pleasure.

It’s because he’s just a kid from Sydney, whose best friend is his younger sister, Maya, and who orders the same thing every time he goes to The Cheesecake Factory. He really likes the jambalaya. He’s that kid, but is also, you know, likely to be a lottery pick, has more than 70,000 Instagram followers, and just wait until you hear some of his ideas about potential off-court ventures.

Still, Green admits he has “a lot more to do” if he wants to achieve his dream; and understands how important it is to recognise the context of where he came from, compared to where he could’ve been.

“It’s a crazy feeling,” Green said of his success. “It takes a little bit just to think of where I was four years ago, dreaming of playing in the NBA. Now, it’s close to a reality. It’s ridiculous.

“It’s more motivation for me now. It makes me wanna work harder to make sure I don’t let anyone down, and to make sure I represent Australia well.”


#4940

76ers showing as much intensity as Essington


#4941

How many top 5 picks Australia?


#4942

Sixers need Embiid back. They just lack size and Redick is cold af.


#4943

Perhaps they should have traded JJ instead of Shamet.


#4944

JJ will be fine, he had a massive game the other day.
I don’t think you want to be playing a rookie in the playoffs compared with Redick’s experience.


#4945

I will go mental if Lemons doesn’t add green to the WC squad in favour of some random NBL dude. He really ■■■■■■ up by not adding Simmons last one.


#4946

Lakers shut down Lonzo for the rest of the season. With Lebron on limited minutes, the white flag has been flown.


#4947

Ingram done with a bloodclot in arm too.


#4948

This franchise is an utter pisstake :joy:


#4949

“… cocked that joint back and banged on 'em”


#4950

When Suns click, we look awesome. Scoring 40 in a quarter against the Warriors is a pretty good effort!!


#4951

Hands up if you’ve beaten the Bucks twice, the Celtics and the Warriors!!!

Booker :heart_eyes:


#4952

Something building there Fog.

Sixers an entirely different unit with Embiid. Their second half was scary good at both ends


#4953

#4954

Yes. Yes he did.