Boomers coach Brian Goorjian has a big decision to make with the likelihood that he will only be able to include one of Matisse Thybulle or Bryce Cotton in the 12-man squad for the Tokyo Olympics.
Thybulle, a guard for Philadelphia, has been named in the extended squad in what has been dubbed as the Boomers' best chance at winning a medal ever.
The NBA player has dual-citizenship and is therefore eligible to represent Australia, but FIBA is reportedly set to list him as a naturalised player.
This wouldn’t be an issue for the Boomers in most years, but two-time NBL MVP Bryce Cotton has crossed the most important hurdle in his eligibility, receiving a Distinguished Talent Visa, allowing him to lodge his citizenship paperwork.
The Perth Wildcats shooting guard has dominated the NBL for four years now and would give the Boomers another prominent scoring guard next to Patty Mills.
FIBA’s expected ruling, as reported by ESPN’s Olgun Uluc, means Goorjian can only bring one of Thybulle or Cotton to Tokyo as you can only have one naturalised player.
Both two-guards, it now turns into a philosophical debate as to whether the Boomers bring the offensive dynamo and face of the NBL or the young defensive stopper with growing NBA experience and a teammate of Ben Simmons.
A poll run by SEN’s Bob and Andy was split nearly 50-50 from nearly 2000 votes, with Thybulle ending up with 50.9 per cent.
The argument for the 76ers depth player is that he would add a defensive presence to the Boomers to help quell some of the European stars of the tournament. Bringing Thybulle also sets up the next generation of Boomers basketball next to Simmons and Josh Green.
Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams however believes the choice is simple and that the Boomers should bring Cotton if he gets the final tick of approval.
“We’re saying that he’s a lockdown defender, Matisse Thybulle and he probably is,” Williams told SEN on Saturday.
“But if he’s a lockdown defender and as good as everyone says he is, why is he only playing 10 minutes a game in the NBA?
“Offensively, he’s averaging a basket, a rebound and not even an assist per game.
“That versus the gentleman who is the face of the NBL. His first four seasons, three championships two MVPS of the league and one finals MVP.
“How is there a debate? This is the best league, if not the second best league in the world outside of the NBA.
“If he is the face of that league, how can he not make this Boomers team?”
Williams also dismissed the notion that Thybulle should be picked because of his relationship with Simmons or with an eye to 2024.
“That has nothing to do with anything. It’s not about keeping nobody happy,” Homicide said.
“Are you guaranteed to be at the next Olympics? Is (Thybulle) going on this team to play heavy minutes?
“What’s on the wing? Joe Ingles and Ryan Broekhoff … so he’s coming in to play more minutes than them? He’s coming in to split time with them? If not, what is he doing on the team?
“He can be at camp, but he’s not making that final roster. You’ve got two legitimate NBA players at the small forward position.
“If he’s a two guard, you’ve got Patty Mills, Chris Goulding, the other face of the (NBL) who’s been there already.”
Williams also doesn’t believe the Boomers necessarily need the additional defensive presence.
“That’s the other thing – is Australia known for being a weak defensive team? No. So why is everyone like ‘he plays defence’ as if the Boomers don’t?” he said.
“How much better is he going to make this team, is my question. He’s a liability (on offence). What does he add on that end?”
Homicide named who he would pick in his 12-man squad, with the likes of Dante Exum, Josh Green and Matthew Dellavedova missing out.
@chomicide 's 12 Man Boomer Squad for Tokyo :— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) February 27, 2021
Thoughts? 💭 #NBL21 #NBLCup
“The only reason (Exum) isn’t in the 12-man squad is because he’s been injured pretty much the majority of his career,” Williams explained.
“I don’t believe his team, because you have to get the nod and they have to grant you the release to play, your NBA team has to say ‘we’re okay with you going to play in the Olympics’.
“I don’t believe that his team would do that based off his track record of being injured so much.”