Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Stephen Curry

Coming in to the draft, I'd heard about Stephen Curry. He was described as the "best shooter" in the draft and that's probably when I started to take a bit more interest in him. I've mentioned it before but a good basketball shooting tip is to watch great shooters in action, success leaves clues.

As I don't get to watch college basketball (although with One HD now I will be able to next season) and I tend to follow the NBA from a fantasy basketball perspective, I don't usually take too much interest in rookies until they have proved themselves in the big show. I didn't even realise until last week that Stephen is the son of former NBA great Dell Curry.

As mentioned last week, I was able to watch the NBA draft for the first time and heard the angry NY crowd go nuts as Curry was drafted by the Warriors, who got to pick before the hometown Knicks. I heard Dickey Vitale numerous times throughout the coverage shower praise on Stephen and say that the team's who didn't draft him were crazy and that he would definitely win Rookie of the Year.

So today, with the phone not ringing in the office, I decided to do some more research in to Stephen Curry.

Firstly, here's an excerpt from a great article by the crew at Dime (click on the title to read the full story):

Stephen Curry: Lethal Weapon | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

“Nothing about my success here over the last three years has changed me at all, because I live in the moment,” says Curry. “I’m not worried about what’s going to come next. I’m not worried at all. I do everything one step at a time, and I try to be as confident doing so as possible.”

For Stephen to achieve everything he sets his mind to, he needs to believe it completely. And right now, he believes that he can do anything. That mantra is inscribed on the forefront of his sneaker, penned as “I Can do all things…” (Editor’s note: The full quote is “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13) Tomorrow won’t come across his radar until tomorrow. But when it rolls around, know that he’ll have the same confidence and faith that he has today.

And here's some video footage of him in action:

Monday, June 29, 2009

New free-throw shooting record

After my post last week about free-throw shooting, I came across this story on the Bounce Magazine website about a new record for most free-throws in two minutes.

Click on the story below to read the full story.

Justin Kittredge Breaks World Basketball Record | Streetball, Sneakers, Bobbito, Nike Air Force, Jordans

Justin Kittredge of South Boston is the new world record holder for “The Most Unassisted Free Throws Made in Two Minutes” after hitting 64 FTs in 120 seconds at Reebok International Headquarters in Canton, Massachusetts on May 14, 2009.

NBA draft mistakes

I'm still shaking my head that Patty Mills slipped to 55th in this year's draft. 55th?? CJ Bruton got drafted 53rd by the Vancouver Grizzles back in '97 and NO one was talking about him in the lead up to that draft. Mills meanwhile had made some of the top guards looks silly (and slow) in Beijing.

Anyway ... I have to move on and I'm hoping Mills turns his pain in to motivation, makes Portland's roster and then seeks revenge on the team's that passed him over (read: every other team in the league).

Speaking of draft mistakes, thanks to the crew at Dime and NBA Mate, I came across the following articles about the worst picks in NBA draft history. First is this from NY Daily News and then The Sport Count picked their 10 worst draft picks of the last 10 years.

Its funny looking through those lists and remembering watching some of the busts in action. An interesting thing you notice tho ... how many of those busts are guards?? Ummm, I don't think any, they were all power forwards and centres. The old addage goes, "you can't teach height" and maybe this is why NBA execs are so keen to believe the next "big thing" is in fact a bigman ... but obviously, quite often it isn't.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

NBA Draft '09

Yesterday was a mix of emotions ...

The good, was getting to watch the NBA draft "live" as it happened on channelsurfing.net. This is the first time I've ever been able to actually watch the draft and it was great! It would've been even better if I knew more of the players but now that I have One HD I'll get the chance to watch more college basketball from now on.

The bad, was waiting and waiting and waiting as team after team failed to pick Aussie Patrick Mills. I was e-mailing friends updates and we were all shocked and amazed at how far Patty fell. By the time we got to the second round of the draft, I was literally shaking my head as I watched team's pick players not named Mills, random euro-players that have done nothing on the world stage, players that would be "shelved" for a couple of years until they were more ready for the NBA. Meanwhile, Patty Mills who has proven himself on the world's biggest stage at the Olympics against the USA and the rest of the world's best, had to wait until pick # 55 when his name was called by the Portland Trailblazers.

I wasn't alone in my shock at the fall that Patty took, he was believe to be going mid to late in the first round. Check out the live draft coverage from Dime yesterday and all the comments about Mills ... sure, they were all probably Aussies, but that's not the point. LOL

Here are some highlights from the early picks in the 2009 NBA Draft:

Free-throw shooting - Sasha Vujacic

Thanks to Robbo for posting this on FaceBook this morning.

Here's a great video about how to shoot free-throws starring "The Machine", LA Laker's player Sasha Vujacic. Since Sasha got very little court-time in the Championship Series there hasn't been any new Machine videos so this will have to keep his fans happy for now.

Despite the comedy, the video does give some good tips about free-throw shooting. Concentration, repetition and muscle memory. Tho, I'm not really sure it answers the age-old question of why Shaq is so bad at the line ...

R.I.P the other MJ

"I read the news today oh boy ... "

Growing up in the late 80's early 90's, there were two "MJ's". If you were a basketball fan, the initials corresponded to Michael Jordan, if you weren't ... it was Michael Jackson.

Since the tragic news yesterday about the passing of Michael Jackson, rightfully so there have been tributes everywhere.

In basketball terms, Michael Jackson was the Jordan of the music world. (Side note: this would probably mean that Elvis was Wilt Chamberlain and the 60's Celtics were The Beatles.)

In '91 at the height of both their powers, the two MJ's combined in the video "Jam". It's still one of my favourite Michael Jackson songs and watching the video for the first time in ages gives me goosebumps.

Since the extended "official" video is un-embeddable, click here to see the full version and watch Jordan at his most awkward (in the last 2 minutes).

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NBL & NBA news

After saying yesterday what a quiet week it had been in the basketball world, the last 24 hours have been BIG!!

With the NBA draft taking place tomorrow, several pre-draft trades have gone down. It started with:
  • Toronto trading Jason Kapono for Philly's Reggie Evans
  • Then big one was the Bucks sending Richard Jefferson to the Spurs for Kurt Thomas, Fabricio Oberto and Bruce Bowen
  • Oberto didn't last long in Milwaukee as they then traded him to Detroit for Amir Johnson
  • The Timberwolves and Washington on Wednesday struck a deal that gives Minnesota the No. 5 overall pick, its fourth first-round draft choice, along with Wizards forwards Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov. The Wizards receive guards Randy Foye and Mike Miller
Today, news has:

  • Warriors guard Jamal Crawford going to Atlanta for Speedy Claxton and Acie Law
  • And finally, a deal has apparently been done that sends Shaq from Phoenix to Cleveland for Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic

Obviously the final deal sending Shaq to Cleveland is the BIGGEST news, but we'll talk more about that when its confirmed.

In NBL news, as things slowly move forward to the new league/season, the NBL office has officially released its new logo ... hearby ending all hummer jokes.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NBA Draft '09

Its been a week since I last posted ... can you tell its pretty quiet in the basketball world right now??

In the (new) NBL, teams are signing players and getting themselves organised for the upcoming season. There are still plenty of announcements yet to happen and plenty of quality talent waiting to get picked up (John Rillie anyone?).

In the NBA, since the Lakers took care of business in the NBA Championship Series a little early, all the talk at the moment is about the upcoming draft. From an Aussie perspective, there's plenty of interest around Patrick Mills and if he will go in the first round. Then, once his name has been called, the interest surrounds Joe Ingles and where/when he'll be drafted.

Hopefully Patty will be picked up a team that can give him some minutes straight away. Ideally a team with a good point guard that he can learn from. As for Ingles, the question is whether he'll be signed to a contract by his team or if he'll be the next Brad Newley/CJ Bruton (drafted but yet to play in the NBA).

John Rillie found a couple of interviews with Patty and Joe, click here to check them out.

The team at Dime have had plenty of stories about the draft so check out their site and stay up to date with everything that's happening.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

All hail the champs!

Yesterday the LA Lakers won the NBA title defeating the Orlando Magic 99 - 86.

Full credit to the Lakers for doing what needed to be done to win the Championship Series. Orlando had their chances losing two overtime games but they just weren't good enough.

Some of the numbers from game 5:


Kobe Bryant 30 points, 6 boards, 5 assists, 4 blocks, 8 of 8 from the free-throw line
Lamar Odom 17 points, 10 boards, 3 of 3 from downtown (off the bench)
Pau Gasol 14 points, 15 boards, 4 blocks


Rashard Lewis 18 points, 10 boards, 4 assists (just 6 of 19 from the field)
Dwight Howard 11 points, 10 boards, 3 blocks

I'm heading home shortly in time to catch the second half on OneHD. I'll give a more complete wrap of my thought on the Lakers' title win tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you haven't seen the highlights yet:

Basketball shooting tips - Improving your shooting range

Here's an article I wrote the other day with some basketball shooting tips and how to improve your shooting range.

Improving your shooting range

One of the most common questions I get asked is: “How do I improve my shooting range?” or “how do I improve my three-point shot?”

The principles of hitting a three-pointer or shooting from deep are the same as any other shot. Your form/shooting technique doesn’t change. Aim at the same point on the ring, get your trajectory right and don't forget to get your legs in to the shot. Your legs are where the power comes from not your arms or upper body.

To improve your range, don't immediately head straight out to the three-point arc and start jacking up shots, work in close to the basket first to make sure your technique is right, you’re warmed up and your eye is in. As your confidence increases and you find your rhythm, begin to gradually work your way out. Do this by making 10 shots from in close, step back a metre make another 10 and so on. It’s important to count your makes NOT just how many shots you take.

There are plenty of drills that you can run to improve your range and confidence from downtown. Get creative, have fun and remember to practise at game speed.

Practice and repetition will give you confidence and remember to practise shots you’ll get in game situations (practise shooting off the dribble, practise coming off a screen, practise fading away, etc).

As I mentioned earlier, the power in your shot comes from your legs (not your arms) so you can improve your range when you’re not on the court by doing weights and exercises to strengthen your legs. Squats and lunges are usually the simplest. Keep in mind that you’re not trying to become a running back in the NFL so you don’t need to use massive weights, high reps are better for basketball.

Great three-point shooters aren't just born ... you can of course work on it and become one. Watch great shooters and see what they do and learn from them. Success leaves clues.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kobe vs LeBron parodies

With the success of the Kobe & LeBron Nike commercials come the parodies.

The first one is highly inappropriate but I had to share it. I was literally in tears laughing the first few times I watched it. PISS funny! Oh ... and explicit language warning.

Favourite lines:

"Why'd you snitch on Shaq? Where' I'm from snitches get stitches"
"Damn, y'all got a pool with no chicks?"
"Did you guys ever shower with John Amaechi?"
"Kobe, why were you messing with Ron Artest? You knooow he would've f*cked you up!"

And another one about Dwight Howard after the Magic knocked out the Cavs:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Free throws ... the importance of

Other than being just about basketball, the focus of this blog leans towards the shooting aspect of the game. Whether its free-throw shooting, three-point shooting, clutch shooting, we've got it covered.

I've talked many times about the importance of free-throw shooting and why its vital that you spend hours at the line working on it. I've highlighted the truly great free-throw shooters (Ray Allen, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and many more) and how you should watch and learn from them.

Well last night's game 4 of the NBA Championship Series has again got everyone talking about free-throws as Orlando hit just 22 of 37 (59.5%) from the line and went on to lose the game in overtime. Most people are pointing to Dwight Howard's two missed free-throws in the final minute of regulation which would've given them the win ... but Hedo Turkoglu was just 8 of 13 (61.5%) from the line. Hedo is an 80% free-throw shooter over his career so was it the pressure of the situation that got to him? If either of them just make one more free-throw, they win this game and level the series at 2 - 2, instead they're down 3 - 1 and it looks like they're done.

Dime had a good piece about the situation on their website, I've included an excerpt from it below. Click on the title to read the full story. PS. Great to see them giving up the love to my boy Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf!

Coaches don’t miss free throws | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

NBA big men are traditionally below-average free throw shooters, and while you can chalk that up to hand size, range of motion in the shoulders or whatever, I think it’s really just because nobody expects them to be that good. From the time they’re in high school, they don’t practice free throws as much as a guard would practice. If you’re getting tough buckets in the paint, winning your team extra possessions by battling for rebounds, and blocking a couple shots on top of that, it may seem like a lot to ask to also turn into Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf from 15 feet away. But because every big man can point to Wilt Chamberlain and say, “He only shot 51 percent from the line,” it’s acceptable to perform at a lower standard than other players.

And here’s the problem, particularly for somebody like Dwight: He takes A LOT of free throws. Because of his size and skill, teams have to foul him close to the basket. Throughout this series it’s been clear the Lakers made it their game plan to not let Dwight get those soul-crushing dunks on them, especially in Orlando, where he can whip the crowd into a frenzy. Kobe and everyone else in purple would rather bear-hug Dwight and tackle him before letting him get a dunk. And a lot of teams would do the same. During the regular season, Dwight led the League with 10.8 free throws per game (59% FT). In the playoffs, he’s been taking 10.2 free throws per, second behind LeBron James (14.2 FT per game). And, true, up until last night, he’s been pretty good in the Finals from the stripe.

But Howard, and every coach that he’s ever played for and will ever play for, knows damn well he’s gonna be put on the line often. He’s going to have to hit some free throws in crunch time. So why should he be held to a lower level of expectation than the Nick Andersons, Darius Washingtons and Derrick Roses of the game? If any perimeter player bricked those FT’s in Game 4 — and Lord help us all if it were LeBron or Kobe — nobody could “live with” those misses.

If you missed it, here are the highlights from the game

Friday, June 12, 2009

Steve Nash on Letterman

Its a tough life when you're one of the top ball players in the world. Sure, Steve Nash would've been bitterly disappointed that his team didn't make the playoffs but his off-season has been pretty cool all the same.

First there was his guest cameo on Entourage and now he's the official NBA correspondent for the David Letterman Show. Although I don't mention him quite as often as Ray Allen or John Rillie, Nash is my favourite current player and he's not just a great point guard and genuine nice guy, he's also extremely funny. Check out his first performance on Letterman:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Orlando Magic ... home cooking

There's nothing like playing at home!

After stinking up game 1, narrowly losing in overtime in game 2, the Orlando Magic had to be looking forward to playing at home in game 3. Sleeping in your own bed, not having to travel, playing on your own court, in front of your own fans, on your own rings ... hopefully it would all add up to a much needed win.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, if the Magic are to win, they need their shooters to fire ... and FIRE they did in game 3. The inconsistent Rafer Alston found his range hitting 8 of 12 from the field, Hedo Turkoglu was 7 of 12, Rashard Lewis was 8 of 14 (including 3 triples) and Mickael Pietrus came off the bench shooting 7 of 11 from the field.

Dwight Howard continued to spend more time at the free-throw line than anywhere else as the Lakers again played their version of Hack-a-Shaq with him. He was 5 of 6 from the field and 11 of 16 from the line.

The Magic shot a ridiculously good overall clip of 62.5% for the game ... but still only won by 4 points.

The Lakers shot 51% but managed to hang with the red-hot Magic behind 31 points, 8 boards from Kobe Bryant (although he made just 5 of 10 from the line) and 23 points on 9 of 11 shooting from Pau Gasol.

Lamar Odom, who had been massive in the first 2 games was held to just 11 points, 2 boards due to foul trouble.

Due to One HD showing replays the day after, I haven't watched game 3 yet but will do so tonight. From a basketball shooting perspective, it should be great checking out the Magic shooters on fire and LA still managing to keep it close.

Here are the highlights of the game (I am avoiding watching them):

Kobe, LeBron & Lil Dez

Other than the numerous overtime games and the competitiveness of each of the series, one of the highlights of the NBA playoffs has definitely been the Nike puppet commercials.

My favourite line from the first one is: "LeBron, you've got over twenty triple-doubles. Can I have one??" FUNNY

Here are the latest commercials in the series:

And once LeBron got knocked out of the playoffs:

Draft ‘09 Stock Watch: Patrick Mills

Nice to see Patty Mills getting some love on Dime today. With all the hype in the draft going to Ricky Rubio, Austin sticks up for Mills who has seemingly been forgotten about heading in to the NBA draft.

Patty started slowly in the draft camps but dropped 30 points at the Reebok Eurocamp that should see his stock rise again.

Click on the title below to read the full article. Good to see some Aussies in the comments representing Mills.

NBA Draft ‘09 Stock Watch: Patrick Mills | Dime Magazine (www.dimemag.com) : Daily NBA News, NBA Trades, NBA Rumors, Basketball Videos, Sneakers

By Austin Burton

Here’s what I don’t get: While you can’t make it five minutes into a Ricky Rubio argument without somebody supporting his case with the concept that he “held his own” against grown men overseas and against Team USA in the Olympics, Patrick Mills gets zero credit for not just holding his own, but putting in serious work against the Redeem Team and other international juggernauts.

In almost every major test he’s faced, Mills has proven himself. As the focal point of each NCAA defense that went against his Saint Mary’s squad this year, the sophomore Mills averaged 18.4 points on 40% from the field and 85% at the line, plus 2.2 steals per game. Mills got the better of Stephen Curry in their NIT matchup, putting up 23 points and 10 dimes in a blowout win. Before that he dropped 27 points in an NIT win over Washington State, and despite missing nine games during the season due to injury, still clocked 10 games of 20-plus points.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scarface ... and the NBA

"In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women." (Tony Montana: Scarface)

One of my friends (Tux) has a theory when it comes to contracts in the NBA and in particular how it relates to fantasy basketball. His theory is that when drafting players you want to pick players who are in contract years. Therefore the reverse also applies ... don't draft players who have just received the big contract.

Tux believes that most players when they reach the NBA are motivated mainly by the money and in landing the big contracts. In contract years they step up their game and play flat-out every night. Once they land the money they aren't as hungry, don't put in the same level of effort and production falls the next year.

Normally, a number of my friends and I laugh off many of Tux's theories but this one is spot-on. So why am I bringing this up now? Well, in this NBA Championship Series there is an example of both sides of the ledger.

Exhibit 1: Lamar Odom
Contract status: About to become a free-agent
He struggled through much of the early part of the season adjusting to his new role of coming off the bench. When Andrew Bynum went down injured, Odom stepped back in to the starting line-up and stepped up his play. Fast forward to the Championship Series and Odom is playing out of his skin.

Exhibit 2: Andrew Bynum
Contract status: Just received a 3 year, $42 million contract extension
Bynum has struggled with injuries but when he was healthy last season he was putting up fantastic numbers. Great clips and averaging a double double. Fast forward to his return from injury this season and throughout these playoffs Bynum is averaging 6 points and just over 3 boards per game. Foul trouble, whinging about court-time and arguing with the coach.

I remember seeing a story about Bynum from the crew at Dime earlier in the year. When I saw this video I just shook my head:

Think I'm making this up? Here's an article from ESPN questioning Lamar's motivation. And here's one about some of the worst contracts in the NBA.

Kids, despite what you see in rap videos ... its not all about the money, the ring is the thing!

NBA Championship Series - Lakers vs Magic Game 2

We've just had the Queen's birthday long weekend here in Australia so its been a few days since I last blogged. The upside of the long weekend tho, was that I got to watch game 2 of the NBA Championship Series between the Orlando Magic and the LA Lakers.

I got a call from some friends and we had an afternoon feast of sport. First there was the AFL game between Melbourne and Collingwood, then it was the NBA and the night wrapped up with Titans against the Dragons in the NRL.

After the disaster that was game 1 for the Orlando Magic, I was hoping they would bounce back in game 2. The game was again in LA so the Lakers were certainly the favourites and their confidence was riding high.

The first quarter was a dour, low-scoring affair with the scores tied at 15 at the first break. The Lakers pushed ahead in the second quarter before Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu found their shooting rhythms and the Magic came back.

The last quarter was back and forth and Orlando looked like they could steal it but two costly misses from Magic rookie Courtney Lee in the final minute meant we were headed to OT.

Orlando continued to turn the ball over in the extra period and LA hit their free-throws down the stretch and secured the win.

For the Magic, the good news was the form of their big 3, Shard, Hedo and Dwight. The bad news was the rest of their team shot just 8 of 30 from the field and had 20 turnovers to just 12 for LA. The Magic need better production from the likes of Alston, Lee and Pietrus.

For the Lakers, Kobe was good (29 points, 8 assists but 7 turnovers) without completely dominating like he did in game 1. The Lakers have to be delighted with what they're getting from Lamar Odom (19 points, 8 of 9 from the field, 8 boards off the bench) and Pau Gasol (24 points, 10 boards).

Here are the highlights from Game 2:

Friday, June 5, 2009

NBL schedule released

First we had NBL teams signing up players and now the league has announced its game schedule. Things are finally starting to get back on track!

Looking at the schedule I'll likely be at the Blaze first home game of the season against the Crocs. It'll be disappointing and strange not to see JR playing for Townsville and it'll be even more strange to be cheering for the Blaze!

I've had a few messages with Coach Joey Wright over the last few weeks so my ties to the Bullets will have me jumping on his new team's bandwagon.

Click on the title below to read more about the upcoming season and to check out the full schedule.

NBL > News

The schedule for the 2009/10 National Basketball League season has been released, with the eight-team competition set to tip-off on Thursday September 24.

The opening game of the season will see title hopefuls the New Zealand Breakers host the resurgent Cairns Taipans at the North Shore Events Centre.

Wollongong fans won’t have to wait long to celebrate their emotional return to the court after what was thought to have been their last match ever last season. They host the Perth Wildcats on Friday 25 September.

Other opening round match-ups see a Queensland local derby at the Gold Coast Convention Centre between Gold Coast and Townsville on Friday 25 September and Cairns hosting Adelaide on Saturday 26 September.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Patrick Mills keeping name in NBA draft

The wait for the NBA Championship Series means this is a looong week in the life of a basketball fan. Up to this point we've been spoiled having a finals game virtually every day, but now there is almost a week between game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals and game 1 of the Championship Series. It seems like forever!

In the meantime tho, one of my friends sent me an update on Patrick Mills in the lead up to the NBA draft. Until now, Patty has been sitting on the fence regarding his future in the NBA, choosing not to sign with an agent which meant that he could return to college if he didn't get drafted high enough to get a guaranteed contract. From the article below Mills has decided he's ready for the NBA and he's not looking back.

Due to a broken hand suffered midway through the college season, the hype around Mills has died down considerably from where it was after the Olympics. Its great to read that the hand is fully recovered and hopefully his workouts with NBA teams go really well and he gets in to the first round of the draft.

Click on the title below to read the full story.

Mills keeping name in NBA draft - NBA - Yahoo! Sports

By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP)—Patty Mills is prepared to test his talent in the NBA.

The Australian Olympic star and point guard from Saint Mary’s College said Monday he will forgo his final two years of college eligibility and keep his name in the NBA draft.

“In my head, I’m 100 percent in,” Mills said. “There’s a great opportunity for me to play in the NBA this year and I’m trying to make the most of the opportunity.”

The 6-foot, 175-pound Mills was among 12 players to work out in two separate sessions Monday for 21 NBA teams at the Golden State Warriors’ practice facility. He even campaigned for the Warriors to select him on draft day June 25 so he can stay in the Bay Area.

“It’s home away from home for me at the moment,” Mills said, wearing navy blue Warriors practice gear and sporting a Golden State towel around his neck.

He said the only way he would return to school would be if enough teams told him before the draft that he should play another college season.

“I haven’t heard that as of yet,” Mills said.

What number pick do you think Mills will be drafted?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gold Coast Blaze signings

Its been a busy week for the Gold Coast Blaze. Yesterday was the big one, it had been rumoured for the last few months, but Adam Gibson had officially signed. Today some of the bench signings fell in to place with Tyson Demos, Greg Vanderjagt and Chris Goulding all putting pen to paper.

Its great to see Vanderjagt get another shot after he put up good numbers in limited minutes last season. He's an imposing force in the lower levels of the game so this could be a breakout season for him.

I joked on one of the NBL forums earlier that they should rename the Blaze the Spartans with all four of the players mentioned having played for the Brisbane/Southern Districts Spartans (in the SEABL) at one time or another.

Gibbo and Goulding were both part of the Brisbane Bullets so the band is definitely getting back together under coach Joey Wright. Joey is currently in the US on a scouting mission.

Here are the official announcements:

NBL > News

The Gold Coast Blaze have announced the first player to ‘agree to terms’ to play for the 2009/10 season. Australian Boomers and former Brisbane Bullets and South Dragons player Adam Gibson will head to the Coast in about three weeks after a superb 2008/09 season that saw him help his team to the NBL championship and be named the league’s Best Defensive Player. The 188cm, 93kg Tasmanian-born point guard launched his NBL career in Brisbane in 2005, snaring the 2007 championship before heading to the Dragons in 2008.

NBL > News

The Gold Coast Blaze basketball team has announced three more key players for season 2009/10. Blaze young gun Tyson Demos and towering centre Greg Vanderjagt will line up for their second seasons on the Gold Coast alongside former Brisbane Bullet and Perth Wildcats guard Chris Goulding. Vanderjagt and Goulding were recently named in the 2009 Australian Boomers squad.

Adam Gibson and Joey Wright in their days with the Brisbane Bullets

Monday, June 1, 2009


Thanks to my new best friend One HD, I've been able to see every game of the Orlando Cleveland Eastern Conference Finals in the NBA.

It was a great series and from my own perspective it was fantastic to see the basketball shooting display put on by the Magic. Sure, Dwight was a beast inside and carried his team's scoring in the paint, but one player doesn't not make a team (as was shown by LeBron and the Cavs) and it was the Orlando three-point shooting that made the difference. When Hedo, Shard, Pietrus or Alston were firing from downtown, the Magic looked good and if more than one of them was "on", Orlando were unstoppable.

On to the title of this post tho. Getting to watch all the games of the series and not having watched too many games in recent times due to no Foxtel, I noticed how one-dimensional Delonte West (pictured right) from Cleveland is. Delonte essentially has one move, the step back jumper. It doesn't matter whether he's beyond the arc or drives in to the middle of the key, you know he's going to that shot.

Now that's not quite fair because his other move is turning the corner on his defender and driving to the basket, so technically he has two moves.

When I was watching on Sunday, I almost burst out laughing when West actually turn down a wide-open three to dribble in to a defender and then step back to take the three. That's right, he turned down the open spot-up three, just so he could go to his signature move, draw the defender and shoot the step-back triple.

Don't get me wrong, I like Delonte and have kept an eye on him since he was drafted to the Boston Celtics back in 2004 and was then traded to the Sonics. It just goes to show that you don't have to be a superstar to make it in the NBA. If you know your game, know what your team needs from you and you have a go-to move that you can rely on to get points, you can make it to the top level of the game.