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Luc Longley backs Aussie Boomers to shine without Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut

Warm welcome: Patty Mills and Aron Baynes were overwhelmed by the reception they received from the locals at Mills' ancestral home in the Torres Straight Islands.

Warm welcome: Patty Mills and Aron Baynes were overwhelmed by the reception they received from the locals at Mills' ancestral home in the Torres Straight Islands. Photo: NBA

Australian basketball great Luc Longley has backed Andrew Bogut's decision to bypass the World Cup, adamant he will be motivated by a desire to get healthy and finish his NBA career on a strong note. 

Four NBA players headline a star-studded squad to converge on Canberra for the final training camp starting on Wednesday, including Cameron Bairstow fresh from signing a three-year deal with Chicago Bulls. 

Australia's two biggest stars Bogut and Patrick Mills are out through injury, and Longley said Bogut has made the right choice to focus on getting back to full fitness. 

Larry Down Under: Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, and the San Antonio Spurs' Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, were popular with the locals when they visited the Torres Straight on Monday.

Larry Down Under: Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, and the San Antonio Spurs' Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, were popular with the locals when they visited the Torres Straight on Monday. Photo: NBA

The centre missed Golden State's playoff run with a painful rib injury which still hasn't healed fully.

Mills, who wrapped up his NBA trophy tour with San Antonio teammate Aron Baynes at Thursday Island on Tuesday, is out for seven months after shoulder surgery. 

Longley can relate to Bogut's situation, having battled a number of niggles late in his career at Chicago, where he won three NBA titles alongside Michael Jordan. 

Back home: Patty Mills is welcomed upon arrival.

Back home: Patty Mills is welcomed upon arrival. Photo: NBA

"I missed the [1996] Atlanta Olympics because I needed to get healthy, for that reason I understand where Boges is at,'' Boomers assistant coach Longley said. 

"With Boges I don't think it's about the money, it's about finishing his NBA career in a positive way. 

"Drawing from my experience when you have a litany of injuries, what you care about at the end of your career is your contribution to the game, the team and how that goes down. 

"I'd say he's really serious about finishing his NBA career in a way he's proud of.''

The loss of Mills and Bogut for next month's tournament in Spain is a huge blow for the Boomers, but Longley insisted they have the depth to be a threat. 

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova, Baynes, Utah draft pick Dante Exum, Baynes and recent Jazz training camp invitee Brock Motum are part of the 17-man camp in Canberra. 

The final 12-man squad will be announced at the end of the week-long camp, and Bogut and Mill's absence has thrown spots wide open. 

"It's very difficult to replace that level of talent. We don't have another Patty, but someone like Dante's going to have to take that opportunity,'' Longley said. 

"I'm not sure where the bigs will come from but someone will get a chance and hopefully play well. 

"It's very hard to know how good we'll be, but I know we'll compete hard and be fun to watch.

"What's exciting about not having them there is looking forward to Rio, getting guys like Delly [Dellavedova], Baynes and Bairstow real solid international experience, it can only be good for us.''

Bairstow, who played a year of SEABL with the AIS in 2010, is likely to be given bigger court time after officially signing with Chicago on Tuesday.

Longley said his all-round game would be handy in Spain late next month.

"I think 'Bear' is one of those players who coaches and teammates fall in love with, because he plays so hard,'' Longley said.

"He can move his feet really well for a big guy, in a screen and roll situation or on the perimeter he can get things done. 

"His face up game at medium range is really hard for bigs to match up on and he's finishing at the basket strongly. 

"He's one of those guys we'll use.''

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said he has a number of selection headaches to solve before he settles on his final dozen. 

"With Patty being out, it's really opened this up to be a true selection camp,'' he said. 

"Generally we come in reasonably comfortable with where we're at, now it's very open and everyone has a legitimate chance of making the team. 

"Obviously you'd prefer to go with those two guys in the team, let's not hide behind that. 

"This is when depth becomes important, we play as a team and it holds you in good stead in this situation. 

"It's not like we've said 'here you go Patty, score 30 for us and win the game'. 

"Everyone adds their piece to the puzzle and that will help.''

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