NBA superstar Ben Simmons has copped the full wrath of Australia's tall poppy syndrome, and Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis doesn't like it.
Simmons had already been heavily criticised for pulling out of Australia's World Cup campaign and the warm-up games against Canada and the US.
But the negative attention has gone into overdrive since Simmons touched down in Australia recently.
From outrage about the cost of attending some of his clinics to criticism about him wearing different AFL jumpers - Simmons has been on the receiving end of a barrage of negative press and social media postings.
His run-in with security guards at Melbourne's Crown casino also polarised public opinion.
Lemanis felt "frustrated" at the way Simmons has been targeted, and said he supported the star's decision to pull out of Boomers duties.
"That sort of stuff bothers me," Lemanis said of the criticism directed at Simmons.
"Ben's at the high end of that (criticism) because of the superstar status that he carries.
"But I saw when Bogut was coming through and people used to get on him. These guys are passionate about playing for their country, and they want to play.
"There are a lot of other forces pulling at them. They are men who are managing careers and have decisions to make, and we support them in all of that.
"They know what's going on and what's best for them in managing their careers, and we 100 per cent support them, and 100 per cent support him (Simmons) in doing what is right for him at any particular point in time."
Simmons, Thon Maker, Dante Exum (knee) and Ryan Broekhoff are the other big absentees in Australia's World Cup squad.
Maker was forced to pull out at the request of his NBA club the Detroit Pistons, while Broekhoff will sit out to support his wife during the final stages of her pregnancy.
But the team still boasts plenty of NBA experience, led by Bogut, Joe Ingles, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes, and Matthew Dellavedova.
Australia take on Canada in warm-up games in Perth on Friday and Saturday night, before facing off against the US in Melbourne on August 22 and 24.
The Boomers are up against Canada in their World Cup opener on September 1, and Lemanis said he wouldn't be giving many secrets away in this week's warm-up games.
"You don't have to be Einstein to figure out that if there's an in-the-game situation, maybe if there's a low clock situation ... it probably won't be what you see on September 1," Lemanis said.
Canada's coach Nick Nurse, who led the Toronto Raptors to last season's NBA title, said he would also restrict the number of tactical plays he uses.
"I think any coach would hold a number of things back," Nurse said.
Australian Associated Press