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Aussie talent showcased as NBA tips off

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Australia’s position as an emerging world basketball power will be on show when a record eight players headed by Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova and Patty Mills suit up for NBA teams this season.

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The NBA announced a record 113 international players from 41 countries and territories are on rosters for Tuesday’s (Wednesday ACDT) 2016-17 regular season tip-off, with Australia one of the biggest contributors.

Canada has the most of any non-US country for the third straight year with 11 NBA players, while France comes second with 10, Brazil third with nine and Australia’s eight placing it fourth.

Croatia was next with five.

New Zealand has one player, Oklahoma City Thunder centre Steven Adams.

The NBA includes Melbourne-born Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving in Australia’s eight, but leaves off South Sudan-born, Australian-raised Milwaukee Bucks rookie centre Thon Maker.

Irving was born in Australia while his US father Drederick played for the Bulleen Boomers in the early 1990s, but he returned to the US as a baby, had little contact with Australia and represents the US at the Olympics and other international tournaments.

Maker represents Australia internationally.

Australia’s contingent is: Bogut (Dallas Mavericks), Dellavedova and Maker (Milwaukee Bucks), Mills (San Antonio Spurs), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Aron Baynes (Detroit Pistons), Joe Ingles and Dante Exum (Utah Jazz).

Ingles and Exum helped the Jazz to lead the league with seven international players, while the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors each feature six.

-AAP

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