Australian basketball greats Shane Heal and Andrew Gaze have backed Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis's "brave" World Cup selection calls that saw NBL talent preferred above some with NBA experience
NBA regulars Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Patty Mills, Jonah Bolden and Matthew Dellavedova, as well as former No.1 draft pick and title winner Andrew Bogut, will lead a side to China next month chasing its first major international medal.
Cameron Gliddon and Nathan Sobey, who both play under Lemanis with the Brisbane Bullets, join Chris Goulding as back-up guards and provide a combination of shooting, speed and defence off the bench.
Perth big man Nicholas Kay and much-improved front court pair Xavier Cooks and Jock Landale all made the cut but Mitchell Creek and Deng Adel, who both logged NBA minutes last season, were overlooked alongside Turkey-based 2016 Olympian Brock Motum.
Lemanis admitted leaving swingman Creek out was "heartbreaking", but that his skills didn't match the Boomers' requirements in his position, while he said Gliddon's shooting performance in the final training camp could not be ignored.
Adel's inexperience both internationally and at club level counted against him, while Kay's defensive exploits were deemed better suited than Motum's offensive prowess.
"So often the communication to players who have missed is, 'I don't have a lot for you, I just had to make a decision'," an emotional Lemanis said.
"'You're a really good player, but we have lots of good players'.
"The reality is, it's not an All-Star team, it's a group of skill sets that we're trying to fit together."
Former Boomers sharpshooter Heal admitted Lemanis had invited criticism with his selections, but that it was to be admired.
"You could say it's brave, but it doesn't matter if you play in the NBA, NBL, Europe, whatever - it's about team balance and fitting the system," he told AAP.
"It opens him up for people to have a crack, but he's under pressure to get results and he's picked a team he thinks will do that.
"Every country is improving, but there is an expectation and he's got to get the job done or he might not get another opportunity to coach this Boomers team."
Baynes, Bogut, Dellavedova, Goulding, Ingles and Mills were part of the Boomers' Rio Olympic tilt that ended with a heartbreaking one-point loss in the bronze medal play-off.
Gaze was surprised at Creek and Motum's omissions but said that Lemanis's coaching performance in Brazil three years ago meant he should be trusted.
"In reality you're using nine guys and the others are insurance, or there for a very specific role, and I can understand why he's gone that way," he told AAP.
"Andrej has made some predictions of what he might need and hopefully he's made the right ones."
The World Cup begins on August 31, with the Boomers' campaign beginning the following day against Canada.
But first Australia will play double headers against both Canada and the United States in Perth and Melbourne respectively.
Boomers World Cup squad: Aron Baynes, Andrew Bogut, Jonah Bolden, Xavier Cooks, Matthew Dellavedova, Cameron Gliddon, Chris Goulding, Joe Ingles, Nicholas Kay, Jock Landale, Patty Mills, Nathan Sobey.
Australian Associated Press