Australia and Nigeria start the Group B Olympics while most of the United States will be asleep. Both teams defeated the top-class USA team at exhibition games in Las Vegas.
These teams met in Las Vegas on July 14th and the Australian team completely destroyed the Nigerian team 108-69. Despite this defeat, the players made Nigeria an underdog with 8.5 points.
Let’s take a look at this first ever showdown between two nations trying to land at the top of Group B.
The great strength of the Australian team is continuity. Although they’ll miss Ben Simmons for the Olympics, they have a list full of household names.
Joe Ingles and Patty Mills have played together for over 13 years, and Chris Goulding has played with these two too. Goulding has played internationally, averaging 16 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists per game for the past three seasons. This kind of team chemistry is invaluable. For your reference, I’ve compiled a list of all NBA players for each Olympic team for Action Network that you can find here.
Australia is an excellent shooting team. You have Joe Ingles who wore 65.7% elite eFG% last NBA season, including 46% from the 3-point range; Patty Mills finished a season with 54.4% eFG%, shooting 38% out of 3 and 44% out of the middle class. Even Chris Goulding is a long range sniper and just a few weeks ago he sold out 7 out of 7 out of 3 point range.
If Australia can repeat their shooting performance from a few weeks ago they will be hard to beat. Okay, that should be next to impossible. The Australians shot a staggering 63.2%, including 18 of 29 (62.1%) from 3-point range in their win over Nigeria. This type of shot is unsustainable even with a 3-point line that is a little closer than the NBA.