Boomers in disarray as NBA contingent fall flat
Australia was expected to send a formidable squad to Tokyo but question marks hang over Ben Simmons, Aron Baynes and other key Boomers players.
Philadelphia star Simmons has a potentially season-ending back injury and Phoenix Suns man Aron Baynes is also banged up.
Dante Exum has another ankle injury, Matthew Dellavedova's court time has been sparse and Ryan Broekhoff and Jonah Bolden are unemployed.
Watch the 2019/20 NBA Season with ESPN on KAYO. Up to up to 7 LIVE games every week! New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Australia's NBA contingent, months out from joining forces to pursue an historic first medal at the Tokyo Olympics, are enduring a rough season.
Simmons, Australia's only All-Star and the Boomers' spearhead in Tokyo, has been diagnosed with a nerve impingement and it remains unclear when he will return to the court.
"I don't know," 76ers and Boomers coach Brett Brown said.
"It really is kind of like, 'How long is a piece of string?'"
Simmons will undergo rehab and be re-evaluated in two weeks, but ESPN reported there was "little expectation" he would be ready to return to the court in a fortnight.
Brown's future at the 76ers is also shaky and could impact the Boomers' preparations for Tokyo.
There were calls for Brown to be axed last year when the 76ers crashed out of the play-offs and it will only grow louder if Philadelphia, with or without a healthy Simmons, do not make the NBA Finals this year.
The 76ers are a disappointing fifth place in the Eastern Conference and have an abysmal away record losing 20 of their 29 away games.
Baynes and his Phoenix Suns had a sensational start to the season but reality hit with the big Queenslander missing a large chunk of the season with hip and calf injuries and the Suns returning to being one of the NBA's worst teams.
Exum, shipped from the Utah Jazz to the Cavaliers after multiple serious injuries, continues to be fragile.
He rolled his ankle against the Miami Heat earlier this week and has been ruled out of Thursday's (EDT) game with the 76ers.
Cleveland and Boomers teammate Dellavedova is averaging just 2.4 points and 11.9 minutes a game - the lowest of his NBA career.
Broekhoff, the sharpshooter axed by the Dallas Mavericks, may be forced to return to Europe with NBA teams yet to snap him up.
EuroLeague team CSKA Moscow had reportedly shown interest.
Bolden, waived by the 76ers and picked up on a 10-day contract by the Suns, is back on the market after the Suns chose not to sign him to a second 10-day deal.
On the positive side Baynes, Exum and other Boomers with niggles will have time to heal, particularly if their teams do not make the play-offs. The play-offs begin April 18 and the Olympics July 24.