Team USA faces Australia early Thursday morning (12:15 AM EDT) and as you probably know, the Aussies have been a thorn in the US’s side lately, winning an exhibition game in Australia in 2019 and then upsetting the US again in another exhibition game before the Olympics, a loss which followed the angst of losing to Nigeria prior to that.
Well the Boomers have a weird development.
Aron Baynes, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, had a neck injury during a game against Italy. He left the court and then, following what is being characterized as a “complicated series of events,” further injured his neck in the bathroom.
That’s something that not even the spectacularly injury-prone Bill Walton managed, and he injured his foot on a bicycle.
A stationary bicycle.
Baynes was playing well against Italy before whatever happened, but we don’t know how much difference his absence will make. He only played four minutes against the US in the recent exhibition and it looks like new Spur Jock Landale, who played collegiately for St. Mary’s, may be able to carry his burden for the Boomers.
Like a lot of International teams, a good bit of the Boomers is getting up there. Baynes is 34, Joe Ingles 33, Patty Mills 32, Chris Goulding 32, Nathan Sobey 31 and Matthew Dellavedova, no longer in the NBA, now 30.
Unlike a lot of other International teams though, some great players are coming up too. Dante Exum is 26, Landale 25, Matisse Thybulle 24 and Josh Green just 20.
And arguably their best player, Ben Simmons, is just 25 but sitting these games out.
Whatever happens this summer, the Boomers should be an international power for a good while and a US victory Thursday is certainly not guaranteed.