ONE: Roundup of the Aussies in pre-season competition. Bogut had a solid outing against the Bulls with 12 points (on 6-9 shooting), 5 rebounds and 2 assists in just 18 minutes. In the first five minutes the big man had 6 points, 2 rebounds and a block – a start that raised the spirits of plenty of Bucks fans and Aussies watching on. From all reports AB didn’t show any signs of discomfort or pain, which is great, but the true test will be when those minutes hit the 30-35 range. Still, an encouraging sign.

Unfortunately signs weren’t as good for Nathan Jawai who again missed out on minutes in the Mavs high-scoring win against Washington. I’m not really sure why Jawai can’t get a game at the moment. The Mavs seem to be running as deep as they can go during these pre-season games, so my only guess is that he’s not 100% fit. How is a seasoned veteran like Jake Voskuhl getting four minutes of court time when a young player with untapped potential can’t get off the bench? It is perplexing to say the least.

TWO: Celtics Blog is asking why KG and Rasheed Wallace don’t play in the paint more?  This is a question Detroit fans have been asking of Sheed ever since he first stepped into the team – how nice it is to see another team having to deal with his questionable tendencies. But in the interest of being constructive, my honest answer to this question is simply this: Rasheed Wallace has a better three-point shot than most guards/forwards in the NBA. His range is unlimited. His release undefendable. Yes, he takes too many threes, but as I’ve written countless times before, it’s those games when he starts draining threes that cause massive momentum shifts which can bury a team. As a Detroit fan, I could live with Sheed taking 4-5 threes if he also took 7-8 shots from the post. But more often than not, his threes would be a sizable portion of his shot attempts (last season it was about half). The only thing working in Boston’s favor is that Sheed is surrounded by a cast who shoot a much higher volume of threes (Allen, Pierce, House, Scalabrine) than his Detroit’s team mates did. If Sheed keeps attempting threes at the same rate he did last season, he won’t just incur the wrath of Coach Rivers, he’ll completely screw the Celtics offense. Even Sheed is smart enough to realise that.

THREE: On the topic of Sheed, he’s lucky enough to get a mention in the Detroit Bad Boys’s “NBA All Overrated Team“, which is sure to raise a few eyebrows. I know, because I just read it and both my eyebrows were raised at various times throughout the piece. In fact, I hardly agree with any of it. Which is exactly why you should read it.

FOUR: Chris Bosh comes in at No. 13 on Slam Online’s list of the NBA’s Best 50 Players. That sounded a little high when I first saw it, then I listed out my top 15 players and I had Bosh at 12th, so me and Slam are in pretty close agreement on that one. If you did this poll 1-2 years ago I may have said Top 10 – there’s no doubt that Bosh’s stock has dropped since the Raptors fell out of the playoff picture last season. Getting drummed 4-1 in the first round against Dwight in 2008 didn’t help the cause either. But many people agree that the Raptors are building steam and that with the addition of Hedo they’ll be back in the playoff hunt. I don’t disagree – the lower seeded playoff teams out East are almost impossible to pick year after year. The Raptors could finish anywhere from 6th-12th. Exactly where they do finish depends a lot on what Mr Bosh does this season, in what could very well be his last in a Raptors jersey.

FIVE: Loved this quote from Bogut in a piece I read yesterday about the Bucks players warming to the Green Bay Packers and pro football.

Not all the Bucks players are as avid about pro football. Bell’s teammate Andrew Bogut said he doesn’t pay much attention to the NFL, although the Melbourne native is a fan of Australian Rules Football.

“After watching our football, I can’t go back to American football,” Bogut said. “There are no pads, no helmets (in Australia); it’s full contact.”

Damn right AB! I was recently working with some guys from Houston, and we were talking about the NFL when I half-jokingly quipped “Soft sport, they all wear padding… go watch Aussie Rules for a real contact sport”. One of the guys eyes lit up and he tried remonstrating with me, “If they didn’t wear padding they’d kill themselves!”. Yes, precisely my point.

SIX: The Atlanta Hawks are a team I don’t write much about, partly because unless you listen really hard you won’t hear anything about them, and partly because in Australia there are only three people that actually support the Atlanta Hawks. I even know one of them, so I’m in privileged company. But I wanted to recognise the excellent work of Peachtree Hoops (one of the finer Hawks blogs out there) who have ventured on a quest to list “72 reasons to get excited about the Atlanta Hawks”. I know what you’re thinking, “that’s impossible… there are like 4 reasons max”. But that’s where you’re wrong. Head over to Peachtree Hoops as the countdown continues to #1. After going through the reasons so far, I have to admit, I now have low-moderate levels of excitement towards this team.

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