All-Time Top Ten NBA Performances by an Aussie

With Brock Motum edging towards sticking with the Utah Jazz, there could be a record eight Australians in the NBA for the 2015/16 season. That level of talent recognition would not have been possible if not for the numerous Australians who paved the way, both with 10-day contracts and long-term careers.

With that in mind, we take a look at the Top 10 all-time single game NBA performances by Australian players.


Honourable Mentions

Andrew Gaze (Washington Bullets): March 15, 1994 vs Golden State Warriors

Drewy had his first NBA go-round with the Bullets on a 10-day contract in March ‘94 and his best moment from that stint came in this effort. In his 3rd game he knocked down a couple of trademark triples on his way to 6 points (2-4 3FGs), 2 assists and 1 rebound in 17 minutes off the bench.

. The great man turns 50 today.

A photo posted by Downtown (@downtownball) on

Gaze would go on to win a championship ring with the Spurs in 1999, but the image of him knocking down some threes with the Bullets is one that will stick with us forever.


Mark Bradtke (Philadelphia 76ers): March 15, 1997 vs Charlotte Hornets

The bruising Olympian spent the 97-98 season in the City of Brotherly Love, playing sparingly off the bench, but had some nice moments like in this clip from mid-January versus Golden State.

However his best contribution came exactly two months later in March where he banged his way to 8 points (4-7 FGs) and 10 rebounds (4 o-rebs) in 23 minutes off the bench.


Nathan Jawai (Minnesota Timberwolves): November 8, 2009 vs Portland Trail Blazers

In Nate Jawai’s second NBA season the Boomer had a few meaningful contributions as he built his basketball resumé to forge a pro career that would ultimately take him to Europe.

On this night, Jawai showcased his ability with 16 points (7-11 FG, 2-3 FT) and 6 rebounds (3 o-reb) in 22 minutes off the bench. Three games later, he earned his first career start and while that role was short-lived, Nate at least got to live out his NBA dream for a little while.


David Andersen (Houston Rockets): February 16, 2010 vs Utah Jazz

Just a few months after Jawai’s performance, his Boomers’ teammate, David Andersen, had an impressive outing of his own as an NBA rookie for Houston.

Against a tough Utah Jazz front court that included Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer, the big stretch-five put his range on display as he went 3 for 3 from downtown and 7-11 overall on his way to 18 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 24 minutes off the bench.

It wasn’t enough to earn the win that night, but it was Andersen’s best all-around game in a 2-year NBA career.


10. Aron Baynes (San Antonio Spurs): April 28, 2013 vs Los Angeles Lakers

In a coaching move that surprised many, Baynes, then a rookie with the Spurs, started Game 4 of the first round versus the LA Lakers back in 2013. He then proceeded to have a bigger impact than expected by frustrating Dwight Howard who thought he’d have his way with the inexperienced Aussie.

Howard was T’d up not once, but twice, getting himself ejected after arguing a non-call from Baynes’ tough denial defense.

The result was beyond doubt after that and the Spurs went on to sweep the Lakers on their way to the NBA Finals.

Baynes would not play again that entire post-season but he made his mark, even if he only contributed 6 points and 2 boards in his 16 minutes on court. He’s sure to have many more moments in a larger role in Detroit going forward.


9. Dante Exum and Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz): January 24, 2015 vs Brooklyn Nets

The Aussie duo didn’t have many huge moments in their rookie season together, but they did share the spotlight on this one evening in late January. The Boomers roommates combined for 29 points, 9 assists and 7 triples as the Jazz blew out the Brooklyn Nets in Salt Lake.

Dante had one of his best all-around games of the season with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3-5 from long range, while Jingles added what was then a career-high 16 points, 5 dimes, a steal, while hitting 4-7 from downtown and 4-4 from the line.

Needless to say, every fan at Energy Solutions Arena that night learned what Australian basketball was about and also got a free Four n Twenty pie on their way out … ok I made that last part up.


8. Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks): November 1, 2005 vs Philadelphia 76ers

By no means one of the Bogey man’s best games, but it is memorable given it was his first ever NBA game and the first ever by an Australian drafted #1 overall. In that regard, he still stands alone; although Ben Simmons may change that next year.

Bogut shrugged off the pressure of being the first pick and announced himself to the NBA in fine fashion. On the road in Philadelphia, he started and in 37 minutes had 13 points (6-9 FG), 9 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 blocks, 1 assist and he even went 1-1 at the charity stripe.

Yes, the Bogey man was once upon a time a 100% career FT shooter.


7. Shane Heal (Minnesota Timberwolves): November 27, 1996 vs Seattle Supersonics

The Hammer dropped in Minneapolis in late 1996 as he said hello to the NBA in just his third and fourth games of real action with a barrage of threes; 8 from 14 in two games to be exact.

That second game saw him connect on 5-9 3FGs, for 15 points (all in the 4th quarter), leaving Sonics’ coach George Karl shaking his head in disbelief. Heal chipped in a rebound and a block in 13 minutes off the bench, but it was his long-range bombing that had people gasping, despite the Timberwolves coming up short that night.


6. Chris Anstey (Dallas Mavericks): March 17, 1998 vs Boston Celtics

For someone who grew up playing tennis, Chris Anstey’s rise to be a first round NBA draft pick in 1997, just five years after taking up hoops seriously, is an incredible story. I recall seeing then Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Don Nelson walking into the Glasshouse in Melbourne in August 1997 to watch Chris play for Australia in the U22 FIBA World Championships and thinking ‘this guy is going to have an impact’.

A mere seven months later, Anstey did just that. As a rookie in just his fourth career start, he dropped 26 points on 11-15 FGs and 4-6 FTs, pulled down 8 rebounds, while adding 1 assist, 2 steals and a block for good measure. All in 38 minutes of action in front of his home crowd in a win over Boston.

Not bad for a tennis player, right?


5. Luc Longley (Chicago Bulls) January 2, 1998 vs Milwaukee Bucks

Big Luuuuuuuuc played for 10 seasons and had several big games, but none bigger than this one in January 1998 vs Milwaukee.

Longley’s final line was 24 points on 9-12 FGs and 6-8 FTs, along with 9 rebounds, 8 dimes and a block in 44 minutes. It was the closest Luc (or any Aussie for that matter) ever got to a triple double and the 9 rebounds are even more impressive when you consider that his teammate, Dennis Rodman, pulled down a staggering 21 that night.

The dimes came a little easier as some guy wearing #23 dropped 44 points on 15-22 shooting against a young Ray Allen.

Longley had plenty of other memorable games, including earlier that season when he pulled down 17 rebounds to go along with 22 points in a 2OT win at the Clippers, even out-rebounding Rodman who had a ho-hum 14 boards that night.

He also announced his arrival into the league with a 20 point, 8 rebound effort in 25 minutes off the bench as a rookie for the T-Wolves back in 1992.


4. Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors): May 2, 2013

In his first ever post-season run, the Bogey man came up big. In Game 6 of Golden State’s first round series against Denver, he delivered 14 points (7-10 FGs), 21 rebounds (7 offensive), 4 blocks and 3 dimes in 39 minutes.

The Dubs advanced and then gave the Spurs all they could handle in the next round but I’m not sure they advance past Denver without Bogut’s monster Game 6 line.


3. Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks): December 21, 2009 vs Indiana Pacers

In his fifth season with the Bucks, Bogut was having a career year and that was evident by his performance on this night. As his Bucks were making their first playoff push since his arrival, the Bogey man strolled into Indiana to face Roy Hibbert and put the team on his back.

He had a career-high 31 points on 14-19 shooting from the field (3-7 FTs), hauled in a whopping 18 rebounds, dished 3 assists, blocked 3 shots and even swiped a steal for good measure. Yes, the Bogey man was at the top of his game that season. He was considered the #1 snub from the All-Star team and would seemingly dominate for years to come, somewhat quieting the previous talk of why he should never have been drafted ahead of Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

Unfortunately, just a few months later, he suffered that horrific fall against Phoenix and his basketball career trajectory was altered forever. But for most of that season, Andrew Bogut was one of the best big men in the league and this night was a shining example of that.


2. Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers): June 9, 2015 vs Golden State Warriors

The kid from Maryborough put himself on the International Map with this fairy tale performance in Game 3 of this year’s NBA Finals.

Starting for the injured Kyrie Irving, Delly not only slowed the MVP, but he had a career night for himself as he worked his way to an unexpected 20 points (7-17 FG, 2-6 3FG, 4-5 FT), 5 rebounds and 4 assists in 38 minutes.

No bucket was bigger than this unlikely shot, which helped seal a huge victory for the Cavs, putting them up 2-1 in the series.

Delly, dubbed “an improbable playoff hero”, enjoyed his shining moment and is now a household name thanks to that performance.


1. Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs): June 15, 2014 vs Miami Heat

Speaking of big Finals performances, who could ever forget Patty Mills releasing a barrage of long-range bombs to put Game 5 of the 2014 NBA Finals on ice?

In the finest performance ever by an Aussie on an NBA floor, Patty helped himself to 17 points in 17 minutes for an impressive plus/minus of +15. He hit 5-8 from downtown, 6-10 overall, grabbed 1 board, dished 2 assists for good measure and collected 1 championship ring.

Article written by

When you’re introduced to the NBA as a 6 year old in 1984, staying up late to watch Bird, Magic and Dr. J, it’s pretty hard not to fall in love with the game. I became consumed with the Association, and as my own game was developing, I tried to emulate as much as I could at an early age and learn how to play “the right way”. I have memories as a teenager of being glued to Saturday Basketball on TV and spending every spare cent I had on basketball cards and replica jerseys and so began my obsession with NBA knowledge and stats. I played my first season of Fantasy Hoops in 2002, as my serious playing days were slowing down. I now play in 5 or 6 leagues every year. To say I’m obsessed with Fantasy Hoops would be an understatement. To say I love nothing more than sharing my opinion on a player’s value would be entirely accurate, and I guess, the reason why I’m here. Follow me on twitter: @tomhersz @downtownball

3 Responses

  1. Matthew at |

    Thanks for the great list and insights.

    I saw Mark Bradtke play for the 76ers live a few times. It was a crazy season as the team was pretty similar to now - a few not-quite-good-enough vets and some exciting young talent. My observation about his play was that he became very timid playing there. Perhaps not getting much regular game time in a disfunctional club made it difficult to perform. Still it was very exciting to see another Aussie playing in the big leagues. He certainly should have played more and I think could have had a long career with a better club.

  2. Bruce williams at |

    Great read! I’m a massive gaze fan, so reckon he could have squeezed in - but who do you take out!!?? Loved watching heal also… Played in a high school tour game in the U.S. With him in 1984 and he was brilliant… 2 yrs younger than anyone else on team but still top scored every game!!

  3. Scott Copeland at |

    Good article and an interesting read, but you left out what must be the best NBA game, statistically speaking, by a ‘born and bred’ Aussie which was Kyrie Irvings 57 point, 3 Rebound, 5 assist, 4 steal, 7 three’s game in the March 2015 128-125 OT win versus the Spurs. Sure Kyrie now plays for Team USA, but that has never stopped Australia claiming anyone that was born on our shores.

Please comment with your real name using good manners.

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