Aussie draftee Bolden is NBA-ready: Gaze
Aussie draftee Bolden is NBA-ready: Gaze

Philadelphia shouldn't send Jonah Bolden back to Europe after he proved during the Summer League he's NBA-ready, Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze says.

Bolden has impressed in the 76ers' pre-season campaign after being taken with pick 36 last month - the only Australian in the 2017 draft.

From six Summer League games, the 21-year-old has averaged 10 points mostly as a bench forward.

The 76ers drafted the athletic Bolden with a year to run on his contract with Serbia's Red Star Belgrade, where he played last season, and would have to buy him out to include him on their 2017-18 roster.

"He looks very much like a candidate to play in the NBA right now," Gaze told AAP.

"He looks like someone who is ready to play, albeit maybe not in a high-profile role.

"But you'd think they'd want to get him into the program as early as they can to continue to develop him and teach him about the NBA game.

"It is a lot different to Europe. But he looks physically and emotionally very much ready to take that next step."

The 2.08m Bolden made the most of this first 76ers start this week when he scored 13 points and made eight rebounds against Boston in 26 minutes, following a 16-point outing against Utah last week.

The 76ers have struggled in recent years, having not featured in the playoffs since 2012.

But as the build a roster which include bright prospects Ben Simmons of Australia, fellow No.1 draft pick Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, Jahil Okafor, Dario Saric, they may not have a spot for him.

There are rumours coach Brett Brown wants Bolden to play another season in Europe.

But that would be a mistake, said Boomers great Gaze, who played in the NBA with San Antonio.

"He's only a young man. He's got a lot of learning to do. But he's one that when surrounded by that group, throw in a couple veteran guys, it'll be a good environment for him to get started and get involved," said Gaze, who coaches the Sydney Kings NBL side.

"You see the ways he's playing, he looks composed. He doesn't look overawed by the circumstances and he looks like he's ready to make that leap."

AAP

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