NBA star Ben Simmons

NBA finals preview: The Aussies in action

The NBA playoffs are here, and once again it appears almost certain that the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will do battle for the title.

But there are 14 other teams looking to play spoiler, and plenty of Australians hoping to crash the party. Here are the pick of the Aussies and their chances of progressing deep into the post-season.

NBA Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons

At the beginning of the season, few would have rated the Philadelphia 76ers any chance of even making the post-season - let along pressing for a place in the NBA Finals.

In the pre-season you could have collected offs of 20-1 on the 76ers making it this far, yet here they are - sitting at 21-1 to win the whole thing. And that is largely off the back of the brilliance of Australian revelation Simmons who is almost certain to collect the Rookie of the Year gong.

The 76ers start their campaign against the Miami Heat, which should be a good battle given the honours have been split between these two clubs in the regular season.

Aron Baynes

Moving to Boston has been the perfect tonic for Baynes, who has had a career best season.

His Celtics may be 71-1 outsiders, but Baynes could single-handedly deal out plenty of damage with the Boomers inside presence a constant headache for oppositions.

Overcoming injuries - and the form side Toronto - will be Baynes' Celtics biggest obstacles in claiming the East division.

Joe Ingles

Another Aussie who has found champagne form this season, with career high statistics across the board.

His Utah Jazz face Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and their Oklahoma City Thunder, so it is going to be a tough assignment to advance past the first round. 

But with Joe splashing triples like he was born to do it, could an upset be looming?

Patty Mills

The San Antonio Spurs made a late charge to seal a spot in the playoffs but are rated 101-1 long shots of lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

Injuries led to a mid-season slump which meant Mills had to start plenty of matches, which actually paved the way for the run that brought them here.

His averages this season are higher than his career numbers, so the Boomers point guard has found form. Will it be enough?

Dante Exum

One of the next big things in Australian basketball has had an injury-punctuated beginning to his career.

Indeed he missed most of this season with a shoulder complaint, but returned to average 8.3 points and 3.1 assists playing alongside Ingles at the Jazz.

He will come off the bench and could provide some welcome x-factor, as his form and confidence are both slowly building.

The others in the NBA playoffs frame

Matthew Dellavedova may have won a ring with Cleveland, but he is unlikely to feature for his current club Milwaukee in the playoffs. He has only just returned from injury and appears certain to be overlooked for the sake of stability.

So too his teammate Thon Maker is at long odds to get any minutes. He has been out of favour for the back half of the season and that is unlikely to change here.

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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