Patty Mills during Boomers training in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
They resembled a comedy duo in a joint press conference, but get Patty Mills and Joe Ingles in green and gold singlets and they're the leadership combo who can drive the Australian Boomers towards a historic Olympic Games medal.
While new coach Andrej Lemanis has decided against naming a captain to replace retired skipper Matt Nielsen, it's clear Mills and Ingles will shoulder extra responsibility as the long road to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro begins.
The first step is next week's Oceania world championship qualifying series with New Zealand, kicking off in Auckland on August 14 before finishing up at the AIS Arena in Canberra on August 18.
Joe Ingles. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
''We've got to, me and Joey have to step up with the guys who have stepped down,'' Mills said at the Boomers camp at the AIS on Thursday.
''(Nielsen) has had some good words with us over the years, and I think the both of us are ready to step up and be leaders.
''We've both taken that challenge and look forward to it.''
The pair have taken vastly different paths since knocking around at the AIS as 15-year-olds.
Mills enjoyed a successful US college career with St Mary's and is on the verge of his fifth NBA season after stints with Portland and now San Antonio, while Ingles cut his teeth in the NBL before moving to Europe.
After three seasons with Spanish giant Barcelona, the 25-year-old turned down lucrative deals in the NBA in favour of more game time with Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv.
''I had some offers to go over to (the NBA) and hang out with (Mills) for a little bit, but I wanted to go somewhere where I was going to play,'' Ingles said. ''Everyone wants to go (to the NBA), but if I don't I won't lose any sleep over it.''
The only notable absentee from the Boomers squad is veteran centre Andrew Bogut, who has returned to the US for pre-season with the Golden State Warriors.
Lemanis didn't rule out Bogut making himself available for next year's world titles.
''He's had an unfortunate run of injuries over the last few years, so he needs to be in the mental state where he's confident that his body can handle it,'' Lemanis said.