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Breakers vs Steven Adams: Kiwi team to face NBA opponents

Christopher Reive, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thursday, 4 July 2019, 9:26AM
Amongst the teams the Breakers will face will be the Oklahoma City Thunders. (Photo / Getty)
Amongst the teams the Breakers will face will be the Oklahoma City Thunders. (Photo / Getty)

After an historic clash against the Phoenix Suns last year, the New Zealand Breakers will head back to the United States to take on some of the NBA's top talent.

The Australian National Basketball League has confirmed the Breakers will again take part in the pre-season event, with a clash against the Memphis Grizzlies on October 9 (NZ time) in Tennessee, before a meeting with Steven Adams and the Oklahoma City Thunder on October 11 in Oklahoma.

Last year, the Breakers showed they were up to the task of tackling teams in the NBA and came away with a slim loss against the Suns.

"That this series is now heading into a third consecutive year is a reflection of the strength of partnership between the NBL and the NBA and the incredible growth and success of basketball in Australia and New Zealand," ANBL chief executive Jeremy Loeliger said.

"The NBL is now one of the premier basketball leagues in the world outside the NBA and we can't wait for October."

NBA Asia vice president of global partnerships Francesco Suarez added: "There's never been a better time to be a basketball fan in Australia and New Zealand. Excitement around the game is an all-time high, and for the third consecutive year, fans can look forward to a competitive series of games featuring some of the best players in the NBL and NBA."

While the regular season schedule for the ANBL is yet to be announced, the season is expected to start on the first weekend of October, meaning the Breakers would not feature in the first week of the competition as they will be Stateside.

The matches will be the first chance for Breakers fans to see top American recruit RJ Hampton in action, with the young guard a projected lottery pick in the 2020 NBA draft.

The confirmation of games by the league comes more than a month after Hampton's agent George Langberg told the Full 48 podcast they would be going ahead.

The Breakers were not included in the inaugural series of games between the two leagues in 2017, when the Thunder narrowly avoided defeat at the hands of Melbourne United, while the Thunder were not involved in 2018.

The NBA has a growing presence of New Zealand and Australian talent. In the 2018-19 season, 15 players from the two countries took to the court at the NBA level, while a number of others work around the league in coaching, front office and player welfare roles.

New Zealand and Australian players to feature in the NBA in the 2018-19 season
- Steven Adams (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Deng Adel (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Aron Baynes (Boston Celtics)
- Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors)
- Jonah Bolden (Philadelphia 76ers) 
- Ryan Broekhoff (Dallas Mavericks)
- Mitch Creek (Minnesota Timberwolves)
- Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Dante Exum (Utah Jazz)
- Isaac Humphries (Atlanta Hawks)
- Joe Ingles (Utah Jazz)
- Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics)
- Thon Maker (Detroit Pistons)
- Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs)
- Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)


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