Boomers take stock after loss seals early Cup exit


Boomers coach Brian Goorjian has hinted at more roster upheaval ahead of the Paris Olympics.

The Australian mentor says he "likes what's in front of him" but a failed basketball World Cup campaign proved the squad was now a step behind the leading nations.

The world No.3 lost 91-80 to Slovenia on Friday in Japan in what was a must-win, second-round fixture.

They'll play Georgia on Sunday but won't progress to the quarter-finals in a bitter blow for a side that entered with golden ambitions and a record nine NBA players on the roster.

Point guard Josh Giddey had a game-high 25 points to go with eight rebounds and four assists.

Australia managed to plunge superstar Luka Doncic into early foul trouble and restrict him to just 20 points.

But some shaky offence and an inability to guard Doncic's lesser-known teammates bit the Tokyo bronze medallists, who got within two points before a 15-2 final-quarter run killed them off.

Giddey impressed in his major tournament debut as did Josh Green, while fellow 20-year-old Dyson Daniels sat on the end of the bench in a new-look Boomers outfit.

Goorjian didn't pick veteran centre Aron Baynes in his extended squad, then cut inspirational playmaker Matthew Dellavedova ahead of the tournament in what he acknowledged was a changing of the guard.

Patty Mills (17 points, eight rebounds) and Joe Ingles, both 35, remained at the core of operations.

Ingles took just three shots in a scoreless night against Slovenia while Goorjian also leant heavily on Nick Kay and used Jack White sparingly.

Veteran shooter Chris Goulding barely left the bench all tournament, despite the side's lack of scoring punch hurting them.

Dante Exum, Duop Reath and Xavier Cooks were handed more responsibility and had their moments, while Matisse Thybulle wasn't able to replicate his brilliant Tokyo campaign.

Jock Landale (ankle) was a last-minute casualty but the established NBA centre will be pivotal in Paris next year.

And fit-again NBA All-Star Ben Simmons has again teased of his interest in rejoining the national program.

"The youth of this thing is for real," Goorjian said.

"We're changing styles of play.

"We've made some moves coming into this; the Delly, the Baynes (non-selections).

"I really like Daniels; that's another piece, then Jock to add to this.

"Some big decisions are ahead but I like what's in front of me."

Australia stormed into the semi-finals at the previous World Cup before giving up big leads in two consecutive games to miss the medals.

They clinched Olympic bronze in Tokyo in 2021 and at least secured 2024 Games qualification by finishing ahead of New Zealand in a World Cup silver lining.

"Under pressure, who you are comes out and we're a step off it right now," Goorjian said.

"It starts now, our preparation for the Olympics.

"We're all disappointed, but I'm excited about where this thing can go and have a clearer picture after this tournament."