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Six NBA Stars in Australia's Men's Rio Olympics Basketball Team

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11/07/2016 12:59 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:57 PM AEST
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Delly on your telly, August 10.

Mark the 10th of August in your diary. Put a big red circle around it (or whatever you do in the age of cyber-diaries) because that's the day Australia achieves the impossible and beats the mighty USA "dream team" in Olympic men's basketball.

We hope.

But there are hopeless hopes and realistic hopes in life, and the prospect of Australia beating the U.S. is somewhere in between. Perhaps a little more on the hopeless side but hey, no one ever died from dreaming.

Put it this way. Australia's Olympic basketballers are not treating the game like the one they inevitably lose in the pool phase of the Olympic tournament before things get serious in the knockout rounds.

"There's no point looking at it as a game we can't win," Australian player Joe Ingles told The Huffington Post Australia on Monday as he was officially named as part of Australia's 12-man Rio squad.

"If we were going to pack our bags take a loss straight away, we might as well not bother going to Rio. We've got the team and the squad to do it."

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With this BIG BOARDING PASS, Joe, you can get on a REALLY BIG PLANE, which is good becasue you're a SOMEWHAT SIZEABLE HUMAN.

Australia's men have never won a medal in Olympic basketball. Our women have claimed medals at each of the last five Olympics -- silver three times and bronze twice. But the best the men have managed is fourth.

With six NBA players in the most star-studded Australian Boomers team in memory, expectations are high we can do better this time.

Regular HuffPost Australia readers will know that all year long, we've been asking Rio-bound Olympians who would win a fight between a kangaroo and an emu. Why? 'cause we just have. Anyway, we put that question to Joe Ingles and his answer impressed us.

"I'm going to say an emu. He's just a bit more agile, I reckon. I've never actually seen a kangaroo and an emu near each other but I feel like agility-wise, the emu would be able to peck the kangaroo or eat it or do whatever an emu does."

Uh-huh.

Here's what Australia's San Antonio Spurs star (and NBA Championship winner) Patty Mills said of the Boomers' chances:

"We're going to the Olympics not to just participate, but to try to win a gold medal. We all believe in it. I think it's been more felt this time around than any other program I've been involved in."

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That's Patty and Delly in the centre of the front row.

Here's what Matthew 'Della' Dellavedova said, fresh off winning an NBA ring with the Cleveland Cavaliers:

"I think our camaraderie -- the things that make Australians Australian -- is our big advantage. We have a lot of guys going well all over the world but when we come back [as a squad], there's only one goal, and that's to win.

"We've got the most guys we've ever had playing in the NBA, we've got guys playing at a really high level in Europe, the NBL is going as well as it has for a long time. We're not going to be intimidated by anybody."

And coach Andrej Lemanis is actually on the record as saying the Boomers can win gold, which is a refreshing change from your typical "yeah, nah, we'll take it one game at a time" kind of coach statement.

Here's Lemanis on the aforementioned duo Delly and Patty:

"Either guy can start the offence, both guys can shoot the ball, both bring different assets at the offensive end and the way they facilitate with teammates and can be disruptive defensively, we can apply full-court defensive pressure over the course of 40 minutes.

"They are fantastic. I have had the benefit of seeing them play together a bit, certainly at the London Olympics which was Delly's first tournament experience, and the chemistry was great."

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Big Joe gets to play in the Green 'n' Gold for his NBA team too.

As mentioned, Joe Ingles is feeling upbeat too. Like the Aussie coach, the 203cm forward for the Utah Jazz bases his optimism on the team's chemistry.

"From the the day we put our group together, this has been a four-year campaign.

"The camp has been really physical with plenty of the guys playing for spots in the team. "It was intense and just what we needed, it got us going in the right direction. Now that the 12 know who they are, it gives us the opportunity to really focus on what we are going to do in Rio.

"We believe we've got the team and the squad to win a medal. I don't think we would've mentioned it or spoken about it if we didn't believe."

AUSTRALIA'S RIO OLYMPICS MEN'S BASKETBALL SQUAD:
(NOTE: Andrew Bogut has been named despite knee injury concerns and will be given until the last minute to prove his fitness.)

David Andersen, Cameron Bairstow, Aron Baynes, Andrew Bogut, Ryan Broekhoff, Matthew Dellavedova, Chris Goulding, Joe Ingles, Kevin Lisch, Damian Martin, Patty Mills, Brock Motum.

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