Shaun is the newest writer to hit the pine for NBAMate. He talks about basketball (on 97.9FM, check it out) and writes about it because he’s 5’10 and can’t jump. He supports the Washington Wizards (not a typo) thanks to NBA live 97 and 98, and he also enjoys long walks on the beach.

After what felt like a long wait the NBA is back and in full flight like never before, with Andrew Bogut finally making his long awaited return (well, kind of).

After a relatively successful Olympic campaign for the Boomers, with Patty Mills leading the tournament for points averaged per game, there is plenty to be excited about if you’re an Aussie basketball fan as we enter the NBA season.

Andrew Bogut had a promising start in the first week in the Warriors 87 – 85 win over the Suns, with the big fella posting eight points, six rebounds and an assist in 18 minutes of play – not bad after missing most of last season with a busted ankle, and the whole of the preseason as he worked his way back.

“If we had lost I would have been more pissed but we won so I feel a little better”, Andrew said as he reacted to his minutes being kept to fewer than 20 per game.

After averaging six points, three rebounds and two assists for the fortnight, and showing signs of the kind of impact he could have on this Warriors team, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I feared the worse hearing the news that Bogut would be sidelined for 7-10 days.

However, Warriors’ GM Bob Myers has since come out and clarified the situation, saying that there is no flare up and he’s just back in the lab working to strengthen it. Myers went on to say that Andrew wasn’t happy with his limitations on the floor so he wanted to take a step back and focus on the rehab. So let’s hope the big Bogey Man comes back better than ever after the layoff.

San Antonio Spurs’ point guard Patty Mills started the season with limited court time, only getting six minutes of action in their 99 – 95 opening win over New Orleans, and registering a stat line of just one point, one assist and two turnovers.

But as the fortnight progressed Mills worked his way into the lineup, and in a recent win against the Kings he had a superb 18 points on 8-9 shooting, three assists and two rebounds in 21 minutes. And last night he started at the point in their 112 – 109 win over Portland (Tony Parker was out with the flu) and registered 7 points and 4 assists. He finished the week averaging 5.2 points and an assist in just 11 minutes of floor time.

With these performances Patty is making the case that he can handle more responsibility and be a big contributor, and with several teams trotting out D-League level players at the starting point guard position (cough Wizards/Magic) you have to wonder how he would perform in these situations given more minutes.

As I conclude my first fortnightly ‘Aussie Roundup’, I leave the readers of NBAMate with two questions:

Could Patty Mills hold his own as a starting point guard for some of these struggling teams in the NBA? And perhaps more importantly, will Andrew Bogut make it back from his latest setback, or is his promising but injury plagued career on the downward spiral?

Until next week, keep on balling Aussie style.

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