Australia is the reigning basketball capital of the world at the moment. Those Aussies might not be able to flush their toilets in the proper, clockwise fashion, but they have no difficulty flushing home basketballs into ball baskets. Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova are the true stars of the 2015 NBA Finals, and if you disagree Delly will sneak up behind you and dive at your knees!
So how can the New York Knicks go about importing some of that Down Under gumption? Are there any Aussie draft prospects generating the kind of buzz we saw last year from Dante Exum?
Well you're in luck, folks. The P&T draft team has a worldwide reach. Just last week I scouted an intriguing prospect out of Brisbane, Queensland.
Height: more than 2 meters
Weight: 95 kilograms
(I don't do that metric stuff, so I'm gonna ballpark it and say he's over 8 feet tall and weighs 350 pounds.
1. Freakish athlete
What more is there to say, really -- the footage speaks for itself. This is a generational kangaroo athlete. Rarely do you see this combination of size, speed and strength in one package. Great rebounders and shot-blockers are often known for their second-leap ability -- recovering from that first jump and getting back in the air as quickly as possible. Well this guy has third-fourth-fifth-leap ability...all he does is jump!
2. Hard worker
The Chinese word for kangaroo (袋鼠, dai-shu) literally translates as "pouch rat." Well this kid should be called 健身房鼠, jian-shen-fang-shu) because he is a total gym rat. You don't get pecs like these without hitting the weights.
I don't know where it is kangaroos work out (Planet Fitness???) but clearly this kid is in love with "the process."
3. A born intimidator
What words do local residents use to describe this bad boy? Imposing. Intimidating. This isn't some fake-ass tough guy, like Kevin Garnett; this is somebody you don't want to cross, whether in the Outback or in the paint.
1. Attitude problems
Look, I don't want to stereotype here, but everyone knows that Australia was founded as a colony for criminal marsupials, banished from the rest of the world by mammals and the opossum. Kangaroos are hotheaded brawlers, know to drop paws at a moment's notice, even on the street:
2. Not very coachable
Doesn't understand human language. Generally not as intelligent as placental mammals.
3. Upper body problems
This could be a real hindrance, in my opinion. As far as wingspan goes, his arms don't appear to be any shorter than Blake Griffin's. The concern here is that he lacks the shoulder joints capable of raising his arms above his head. This could really impact his ability to shoot jumpers and free throws, not to mention grabbing rebounds -- think "DeAndre Jordan's free throw percentage combined with Andrea Bargnani's rebound rate."
4. Lack of opposable thumbs
Definitely a red flag. When you really think about it, however, how many Knicks have played without opposable thumbs over the years? Chris Duhon didn't have thumbs, and he holds the franchise's single-game assist record! Mardy Collins didn't even have hands -- just a stump with a fork taped to the end.
This could go either way, really. On one hand, this guy is virtually impossible to move once he establishes his spot in the low post; on the other hand, he can't really catch or throw the ball. He still represents an upgrade over last year's frontcourt rotation.
Look, the Knicks aren't going to draft a kangaroo with the No. 4 overall pick. That would be crazy -- not "Trey Lyles crazy", mind you, but still pretty damn ridiculous.
That said, I could definitely see the front office taking a flier on this bad boy in the second round. He may have the prototypical ass Phil Jackson looks for in bigs, but he makes up for it with powerful hindquarters and a large tail he can use for balance.