SIGN UP for our newsletter ✉️ :

Get the latest stories delivered straight to you

Goorjian defends rebuilding Boomers' World Cup campaign


A "wound up, fired up" Brian Goorjian has defended Australia's short lived Basketball World Cup campaign after a consolation 16-point defeat of Georgia.

A 100-84 win in Okinawa on Sunday improved the Boomers' tournament record to 3-2, after losses to Germany and Slovenia knocked them out of quarter-finals contention.

The world No.3 and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists, boasting a record nine NBA players, had designs on bettering a fourth place at the last World Cup.

Comfortable defeats of Finland, hosts Japan and Georgia showed fresh elements to a new-look Boomers outfit helmed by 20-year-old point guard Josh Giddey.

But they fell short in true tests against Germany and Slovenia, with Australia's attack breaking down and their defensive lapses hurting them.

Goorjian didn't select veteran Boomers Matthew Dellavedova or Aron Baynes, then didn't replace key centre Jock Landale (ankle) when he was injured on tournament eve.

The arrival of Giddey, Xavier Cooks, Jack White and Dyson Daniels - Josh Green and Duop Reath played limited role in the last Olympics - meant the side underwent major strategic renovations.

He barely used Daniels - a three-point shooting, defensively-minded NBA rookie - or veteran shooter Chris Goulding.

But Goorjian said after the loss there were "holes" in a squad that needed "another big and another couple of shooters".

"I've read a lot, respect everyone's opinion," Goorjian said.

"I said to the group inside, 'I'm not embarrassed'.

"This isn't a continuation of rose gold (the Olympic bronze medal team) and I knew when I re-signed to come back to this that I'd have to do some nasty stuff and we'd be in a position of change.

"It's not just five new guys; it's major pieces."

Goorjian confirmed he would "definitely" lead the Boomers at the Paris Olympics next year, and said the shock recent expulsion of his Bay Area Dragons from their Chinese competition would give him more time to scout.

"(There's) a huge bright side for our next Olympic campaign," Goorjian said.

"I'm a little wound up, as you can tell. I'm fired up for the next challenge."

Dante Exum (18 points, four assists) was again confident off the bench, while Reath (16 points, three-of-three triples) shot smoothly as Australia fended off a Georgian rally early in the final term.

The Boomers turned the ball over 11 times in a sloppy first half but Patty Mills (19 points, five assists, six turnovers) found his groove with 16 points before the main break.

Georgia fought back to within 12 points at three quarter time but Australia forced turnovers then Exum hit a three-pointer on his return to the game to push the margin out to 20.

Australia were 25 points better than Georgia with point guard Giddey on the court, with his 15 points making him the youngest leading scorer for any country in World Cup history.

Again Goorjian kept veteran sharp-shooter Goulding on the bench until late in the fourth quarter, when exciting 20-year-old guard Daniels was also introduced.

Goorjian said of that decision that he didn't want to "play games" and empty his bench until the game was won.