Credit: Instagram @bensimmons

Ah, the NBA Playoffs are once again upon us and taking to the court over the coming weekend the top eight teams from the east and west will go head to head in explosive qualifiers. Vying for a position in the annual finals, while the US are keen to see regulars including Steph Curry, Kevin Durrant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Australian fans will keep a close watch on some of its own this season.

After 82 games, the regular season closed this Wednesday but not before seven Australian athletes slipped into the playoffs – a record number. Led by our own Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, the chase for the NBA Championships is near but to keep track of exactly who you should be watching, check out the stats of Australia-born players below.

ben simmons, philadelphia 76ers
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’8″, 104KG
AGE: 22
DRAFT: 2016 RND 1 PICK 1

Probably our best known Australian player, all eyes will be on the 22-year-old as he becomes a real contender for the Eastern Conference title, with the Philadelphia 76ers remaining a strong potential for the NBA finals. Making a name for himself, Ben Simmons stepped in the place of an absent All-Star Joel Embiid, with his stats sky rocketing during the Philadelphia 16-game winning streak.

The 76ers will face off against Brooklyn Nets for the first round, but it isn’t expected to be smooth sailing for the team who just three years ago sat at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

The round one game will begin from 4:30 am, Sunday April 14 AEST.

joe ingles, utah jazz
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’8″, 102KG
AGE: 31
DRAFT: UNDRAFTED

Matching up against a very confident Houston Rockets, Joe Ingles will go into the playoffs with Utah Jazz as one of its key players. Meaning, he will have to be at the top of his game, but with his past season – surely a career highlight – that shouldn’t be too hard.

In recent months, the forward has been crowned one of the best trash-talkers of the tournament so even if you know nothing of the game, sit back and watch the 31-year-old stir the pot. We can expect a tight first round.

The round one game will begin from 11:30am, Monday April 15 AEST. 

danté EXUM, UTAH JAZZ
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’4″, 101KG
AGE: 23
DRAFT: 2014 RND 1 PICK 5

Joining Joe Ingles into round one with Utah Jazz, Danté Exum unfortunately sat most of the season out with a shoulder injury. But from what has been seen from the 23-year-old, his rising stats serve as a reminder of what the young meat is made of – and what we will hopefully see in the upcoming game.

Graduating from high school in 2013, he was considered one of the best prospects for the 2014 NBA draft and five years later, he has made a name for himself.

The round one game will begin from 11:30am, Monday April 15 AEST.

ARON BAYNES, BOSTON CELTICS
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’10”, 117KG
AGE: 32
DRAFT: UNDRAFTED

He had begun the season as a bench player for the Detroit Pistons and not before long he made his way to a genuine contributor, starter, and defensive anchor for the No. 2 seed Boston Celtics. Another Aussie to end the regular season in fine form, the 2018/2019 tournament saw another slew of career highlights for Aron Baynes.

Heading into the playoffs with the Celtics, the Boston team will come face-to-face with the Pacers on Monday, with the team relying on the player to protect the rim.

The round one game will begin from 3:00am, Monday April 15 AEST.

MATTHEW DELLAVEDOVA, Milwukee Bucks
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’4″, 90KG
AGE: 28
DRAFT: UNDRAFTED

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Matthew Dellavedova the last two months. Out with injuries, going into the playoffs against the Pistons, it is still murky waters as to his role for the remainder of the season. With a rusty last game against the 76ers, if he does make the court for game one, only time will tell if he can rally for victory.

Thus far, the Milwaukee Bucks are the top seed in the NBA, finishing the regular season with 60 wins and 22 losses.

The round one game will begin from 9:00am, Monday April 15 AEST.

THON MAKER, Detroit Pistons
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 7’1″, 100KG
AGE: 22
DRAFT: 2016 RND 1 PICK 10

Another Aussie with the Milwuakee Bucks, while young athlete Thon Maker came off a strong rookie year in the NBA, his sophomore year hasn’t be quite so strong. Perhaps this was due to a coach change early in the season, which saw Maker take a step back. Now after trading in the 22-year-old has joined the Detroit Pistons. Looking for a fresh start, the Australian star will take the court against his old team come this Monday.

The round one game will begin from 9:00am, Monday April 15 AEST.

PATTY MILLS, San Antonio Spurs
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6’0″, 81KG
AGE: 30
DRAFT: 2016 RND 1 PICK 10

The San Antonio Spurs have seen a multitude of injuries this season which resulted in a relatively late playoffs push. Nevertheless, hailing from Canberra Patty Mills will play an important role against first round contenders the Denver Nuggets, bringing his quick and enigmatic energy to the game. His shooting hasn’t been up to scratch but with playoff experience he will prove important for the younger players.

The round one game will begin from 12:30pm, Sunday April 14 AEST.

thoughts?