Simmons: ‘Olympic medal my priority’
NBA superstar Ben Simmons has reaffirmed his commitment to Australia's Olympic goal, declaring the Boomers can shock the world at Tokyo 2020.
The current NBA Rookie of the Year believes Australia have the talent to go deep at next year's Tokyo Games.
"Every time I play Utah I always see Joe (Ingles) and Dante (Exum), then you have Patty (Mills), Bogut's still a tremendous player ... we have a lot of guys who can play at a high level," Simmons said on The Today Show.
"I'm very confident in the team that we can build and for me to represent Australia, I want to win a medal and that's the priority when I go to the Olympics.
Boomers legend and current Sydney Kings coach Andrew Gaze echoed Simmons' confidence.
"If you throw in a Ben Simmons, a (Milwaukee Buck) Thon Maker that seems like he's making real progress, (Sixers draftee) Jonah Bolden's another one, Dante (Exum), we can better than our fourth in Rio," Gaze told News Corp.
"With those two or three, combined with what we already have - which has clearly shown we can play at the highest level - not only should we be thinking of being competitive and winning a medal, but, dare we say it, based on our performance against the USA team in Rio, you don't have to stretch your imagination that far to say well, you know, it's not inconceivable that we could actually win a gold medal."
However, Simmons' Olympic pledge is likely to end any hope of the 76ers guard suiting up for Australia at the 2019 World Cup.
Simmons will also be in deep discussions about his future in July 2019, with a potential five-year contract extension worth up to a whopping $223 million on the cards.
"Ben wants to play for the Boomers but in terms of the World Cup he has a pretty important off-season coming up in the NBA," Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis told News Corp.
"I would suggest the World Cup is less likely but that is a question for Ben.
"But he has indicated he is really positive about the national team and we've got the door open for when he is ready to walk through it.
"We'd welcome Ben with open arms."