Big-name duo left out of Boomers squad but door left open for NBA star before World Cup team finalised
Ben Simmons has not been included in the Boomers’ extended World Cup squad, while veteran centre Aron Baynes is another key omission from Brian Goorjian’s 18-man list.
Three-time NBA All-Star Simmons missed the late stages of the NBA season with Brooklyn with a back issue, however the likelihood of him featuring at the August-September showpiece surged after the coach’s public endorsement last week.
Goorjian has left the divisive talent out of the 18-man list announced on Monday, but can still include him in the final 12-man line-up for the August 25 opener in Japan if Simmons is declared fit and able.
Former NBA champion Baynes has been a key piece alongside Patty Mills and Joe Ingles in the world No.3 side’s set-up.
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But there was no room for the centre, who was badly injured during the Boomers’ Tokyo Olympics campaign and spent last season in the NBL with Brisbane.
There are still 10 NBA players in the squad, including Oklahoma City star Josh Giddey and veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova.
Giddey was cut from the Tokyo team that won bronze but has put up historic numbers for the Thunder in two NBA seasons since, while Dyson Daniels also impressed in his maiden NBA season to demand inclusion.
Ingles, Mills and Tokyo standouts Jock Landale and Matisse Thybulle have been selected along with Dallas Mavericks swingman Josh Green and Europe-based Dante Exum.
NBL standouts Keanu Pinder, Sam Froling and William McDowell-White have been included and will provide competition for spots in the front court with Thon Maker, Nick Kay, Jack White and Duop Reath.
“The coaches and I have had many discussions about getting the mix right, but I’m really pleased with where we’ve landed with the guys we’ve selected, there’s a good balance across the court,” Goorjian said.
“The fact it’s been so tough goes to show the depth of talent we have in Australian basketball right now.”
Australia will face Finland, Germany and co-hosts Japan in Okinawa, with the champion to be crowned in the Philippines on September 10.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Boomers and representing Australia, so to get this opportunity is really special and I’m looking forward to competing at the World Cup,” Giddey said.
“There’s a lot of talent in this squad and I think we’ve got a good chance of matching it with every team – I’m excited for the challenge and to see what we can produce as a group on the world stage.”
Boomers extended squad