MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: Donovan Mitchell shoots the ball during the 2019 USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp at Melbourne Sports Centres on August 19, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Bragging rights on the line when Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles face off this week in Australia

by Aaron Falk

They’re only exhibition games. But for Donovan Mitchell, there is a lot on the line in Team USA’s final tune-up games against the Aussie Boomers before the World Cup. The winner will have bragging rights next season—and Mitchell knows how much Joe Ingles loves to talk.

“I don’t think he’ll want to see me,” Mitchell said of visiting Ingles in his teammate’s country this week. “… Or he’ll probably want to talk trash the entire time.”

The two Utah Jazz players met up at a welcome reception for the two national teams on Tuesday in Melbourne.

“I’m excited to ... play against Joe and see his country,” Mitchell said. “I’ve heard so much about it from him."

Later this week, they’ll get a chance to meet up on the court, as the Boomers host Team USA for a pair of exhibition games.

  • Aug. 22: Team USA vs. Australia, 3:30 a.m. MT (NBA TV) 

  • Aug. 23: Team USA vs. Australia, 10 p.m. MT (NBA TV) 

  • Aug. 26: Team USA vs. Canada, 3:30 a.m. MT (NBA TV) 

“I haven’t played against Joe much in practice, Mitchell said. “In pickup games my first year, I played against him. He was tough. Always grabbing your shorts and stuff. He’s a fierce competitor.” 

Mitchell’s and Ingles’ primary focus, of course, is preparing for World Cup play, which begins Aug. 31 in China.

“We can’t treat any game like it’s just an exhibition,” Mitchell said. “We have to come ready to play, ready to compete. These teams have been playing together for many years. This is my first time playing with a lot of these guys [on Team USA]. For us, we have to be able to come together in a short period of time.

“You look at Australia and you’ve got Joe Ingles and Patty Mills who have played together for I can’t tell you how long. Their chemistry is going to be really good. We have to be able to match that.”

But that’s not the only reason the two Jazzmen will want to win.

“Their friendship will continue no matter what happens, but on the court, they’ll be devilishly relentless to beat each other, because they are competitors,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “Afterwards, they will be fine.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” Mitchell said, “and being able to have bragging rights throughout the entire season.”

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