Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops

I was down in Melbourne for the weekend so I'm just getting to catch up on things now, but on Friday afternoon Jeff Van Groningen was on Inside The Game TV with Kevin Brooks & Brett Maher.

I've been meaning to check out this show for a while now, so when JVG was the special guest and the hot topic was the Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops, I made sure I didn't miss it. If you didn't catch it, check out the show here. Congratulations to Kevin & Brett, I really enjoyed the show and look forward to catching another episode again soon.

I also came across Mookie at A Stern Warning's analysis of how High Stakes Hoops will effect the NBL. As always, nice work from Mookie.

Andrew Bogut - new career high

Fittingly on Australia Day in the US, Andrew Bogut recorded a new career high 32 points (and 9 boards) in today's game against the Dallas Mavericks.

The game was shown on One HD so I got to watch the end of it during lunch. Bogut was a perfect 9 of 9 from the field in the second half and finished the game a red-hot 13 of 14 from the field. He proved unstoppable against defenders Dampier and Gooden, giving them jumpers and his whole arsenal of hook shots inside.

Happy Australia Day Andrew Bogut, way to represent!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops

After the big announcement yesterday the Australian basketball world has been a buzz! Twitter conversations were all about it yesterday, people were talking about it on message boards and everyone was wondering what was going on and how it effects the NBL and its players.

If you missed the actual announcement, here's a clip from Sports Tonight:

A lot of people jumped to conclusions one way or the other despite only limited information being released about the event. Here are the main conversations about it:

Hoops SA

The press conference and the announcement were covered in most papers this morning and here are some of them:

Brisbane Times
Adelaide Now

And the first comment from an NBL player:
Townsville Bulletin
Its a pity they continue to spell Corey's nickname wrong (check the title).

I've just found that Jeff Van Groningen will be on Inside The Game TV with Kevin Brooks and Team Owner Brett Maher. The show is on from 6 - 7pm (I assume SA time) and they will no doubt be discussing the event, answering some of the questions that have been raised and dispelling some of the myths that are already out there.

Keep checking in here for more announcement regarding The Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops.

Kirk Penney, Kirk Penney, Kirk Penney

Its been a tough season for one of our NBL favourites, Kirk Penney. Coming off an MVP season in 2008/2009 his team was tipped as the favourites for the NBL title and he is their team leader (along with CJ) and number 1 scoring option. A few months later and Kirk has been injured for much of the season and the New Zealand Breakers find themselves outside the top 4 and looking like they will miss out on the post-season.

Last night against the 36'ers, with the Breakers' season on the line, Kirk delivered like only he can: 49 points, 16 of 23 from the field, 9 of 15 from downtown and 8 of 11 from the line ... all in just 34 minutes of playing time. Along with 4 boards, 4 assists, 2 steals and ZERO turnovers.

This performance left him just one point short of the club's record for individual points in a game held by star import Carlos Powell. Carlos of course had 48 minutes to set this record unlike Penney who of course was playing in a 40 minute game.

Kirk is definitely one of our favourite shooters in the NBL and last night he showed just why we love him. Season on the line, his team's confidence in tatters, Captain Kirk delivers!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

High Stakes Hoops

Elite Classic Basketball (ECB) today announces an exciting addition to the Australian sporting calendar.

“Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops”

The 'Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops' will see eight teams playing for a total prize pool of $250,000 in a short, sharp and lucrative event.

Network Ten and ECB have created a partnership which results in ONE broadcasting the 'Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops' in its entirety - over 37 hours of live basketball on free-to-air commercial television.

"We are delighted to partner with ECB to broadcast this exciting event. The 'Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops' event fills a gap in the current Australian television landscape", Network Ten Head of Sport, David White, said today.

The Adelaide Dome has been selected as the venue for the event due to its basketball-specific facilities and capacity, combined with a strong and knowledgeable basketball fan base in the city.

The innovative format is designed to appeal to fans at the games and the wider national television audience alike, and sees eight teams owned by ‘Team Rights Owners’ who pay a fee to secure the rights to a team. While the winner takes home a majority of the prize pool, six out of the eight Team Rights Owners secure a monetary prize of at least their buy-in fee.

ECB Managing Director Jeff Van Groningen believes the business model is unique. “With six out of the eight Team Rights Owners able to re-coup their initial fee and a significant prize up for grabs this is a chance for players and Team Rights Owners alike to compete in a ‘high stakes’ environment over a short period of time”.

The ‘Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops’ falls in a clear calendar window, away from regular, top-tier professional commitments for most players.

“This event recognises the global trend in which people are time-poor yet demand unique, dynamic and palatable sporting events. Combining game innovations, celebrity involvement, a prize pool and a terrific live broadcast partner in ONE, the 'Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops' is the basketball event that responds to this demand”, Van Groningen said.

Foot Locker leads the corporate support for the event and provides its peerless brand strength through a Naming Rights deal for the event. Nike have partnered with Foot Locker and will reveal spectacular uniforms for each of the teams closer to the event.

Triple M has partnered with the 'Foot Locker Elite Classic - High Stakes Hoops' to become the Official Radio Partner of the event.

Iconic sports brand Spalding will be the Official Ball of the ECB. With significant game-ball experience garnered in partnership with the NBA, Spalding will soon unveil a unique ball for the event which is sure to create an impact.

Four Team Rights Owners have been announced today. All are prominent sporting personalities who share an interest in the great game of basketball.

Hawthorn AFL star Lance “Buddy” Franklin has secured the PYTHONS, Melbourne Vixen & Australian Diamond Julie Corletto takes charge of the COASTERS, former NBL great Lanard Copeland in partnership with retired 14-year NBA player Sedale Threatt (Lakers, 76rs, Sonics) direct the RUSH, and local Adelaide legend Brett Maher (18 years Adelaide 36rs and triple Olympian) will steer the FLEET.

“I’m a big basketball fan and always have been. I’m looking forward to putting a squad together to try and win this event. I like the format, it’s so unique”, Lance Franklin said today.

Four Team Rights slots are available - RAYS, REEF, CYCLONES and MONARCHS - with announcements to follow.

Several innovative rule changes will see enhanced interest in the event.

On two occasions during each game, one in each half, the coach or on-court captain of each team may opt to use a “game breaker” phase. Over the next 3 minutes of clock time every three-point shot scored will count as four points. The backboard at the team’s attacking end will be brightly lit in green LED lighting, denoting the “game breaker” phase is in effect. Strategy will develop quickly around this unique phase of play.

A further innovation will see each individual quarter scored separately from the final game score. While the winning team will always get the ‘W’ in the column, the team winning each quarter receives bonus ‘elite points’ that accumulate during the competition and are assessed when distributing prize money for those teams not making the Foot Locker Elite Classic Final Four.

Coaching legend Brian Goorjian has thrown his support behind the event. “This event is innovative and ground-breaking and has the potential to really engage fans. It’s a showcase for the sport on free-to-air television”, Goorjian said. The winner of an unprecedented 6 NBL Championships added, “I like the ingredients. Former players and coaches are involved, and new coaching strategies will be employed to maximize the benefits of the rule changes. The whole thing is dynamic. Team Rights Owners are coming into this from other sports because they believe in it and I have no doubt it will attract top players. They’ll want to be part of this”.

ONE broadcast schedule:

Tuesday 6 April & Wednesday 7 April:
12.30pm – 8.30pm AEST & Bris / 10.30am – 6.30pm Per / 12noon – 8pm Ade

Thursday 8 April:
11.30am – 7.30pm AEST & Bris / 9.30am – 5.30pm Per / 11am – 7pm Ade

Friday 9 April:
4.30pm – 8.30pm AEST & Bris / 2.30pm – 6.30pm Per / 4pm – 8pm Ade

Sunday 11 April:
FINAL: 5pm – 7.30pm AEST & Bris / 3pm – 5.30pm Per / 4.30pm – 7pm Ade

For more information, check out the High Stakes Hoops website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brisbane Bullets update

This news just in from the Twitter world regarding the return of the Brisbane Bullets to the NBL (start at the bottom and read up):

  1. DanielEade @DJ_Rod I just got off the phone, Sydney's bid is more advanced but both will be excepted.
    (Roger's edit: I assume Daniel actually means "accepted" not excepted)

  2. DJ Rod DJ_Rod @DanielEade you are THE WORST at jumping to conclusions!!!
  3. Daniel Eade DanielEade Sydney Kings and Brisbane Bullets are set to re-enter the NBL next season.
There was also this from Basketball Australia CEO Larry Sengstock earlier in the week:

Meanwhile Sengstock confirmed there is a 'realistic' chance both Brisbane and Sydney will be included in next season's competition.

"There's certainly a realistic chance, I can't say they are over the line, but we're very happy with them, they are two committed groups."

"To move forward we haven't shied away from the fact that we have to have those two major markets."

The return of NBA Jam

I've been meaning to post about this for the last week or two since the rumour was confirmed. EA Sports are bringing back one of the greatest basketball games of all time, NBA Jam.

I for one cannot wait as I was a massive fan of the game ... and one of the best players! I used to go to college next to a TimeZone and when the full-size arcade game appeared it almost blew my mind. Sure, it was expensive to play but it was the NBA and I couldn't get enough. My team was the Atlanta Hawks with Dominique Wilkins and Stacey Augmon and R O G became well known as the king of NBA Jam.

Soon after, it was released for Nintendo my friends and I used to play tournaments for cash and there were some great battles over the years. You have to remember that this was before we were old enough to go out or to drink so nights of pizza, mates and NBA Jam were awesome.

I'm looking forward to seeing what the new game is like and who the players representing each team will be. EA Sports are giving you the chance to have your say voting in players for some of the weaker NBA teams. Click on the title below to go to the website and have your say.

It would be great if they had "legends teams" or the "best of" teams. The Boston Celtics with Bird, McHale & Parish (legends) or the Lakers with Magic, Kobe & Shaq (best of) would be awesome!

- : NBA Jam Blog : Exclusive News & Updates : EA SPORTS

Electronic Arts Inc. announced today that EA SPORTS™ is developing one of the most popular and culturally influential arcade basketball games ever made -- NBA JAM -- for the Nintendo Wii™. EA SPORTS NBA JAM™ revives the classic franchise with vintage NBA JAM gameplay, and all-new features that deliver a fresh new take on the game. Featuring the sights and sounds that fans of the franchise will instantly recognize, EA SPORTS NBA JAM mixes the old school with the new, to deliver a one-of-a-kind sports presentation on the Wii.

'NBA JAM is one of the most recognizable franchises in videogame history,' said Peter Moore, President, EA SPORTS. 'Diehard fans of the original game have been asking for a remake for more than a decade. We’re very excited to give them their wish this year with the return of this iconic franchise.'

Featuring gameplay that is true to the original, NBA JAM will have players spinning with ankle breaking moves to the basket and on the way to high-flying, backboard-smashing dunks. In addition to the classic experience, EA SPORTS NBA JAM will also introduce new game modes, characters and gameplay depth.

NBA JAM brought an all-new visual style to the sports videogame genre when it debuted in 1993. Now, the new EA SPORTS NBA JAM re-defines the visuals for a sports game yet again by bringing true-to-life body types, updated physics and visible player emotion to the over- the - top experience.

EA SPORTS NBA JAM is currently in development at EA Canada in Vancouver, BC and will be available for the Nintendo Wii videogame system in 2010. The game has not yet been rated by the ESRB or PEGI.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another big shot for the win

After Sundiata Gaines' winning shot last week, it was quickly followed by another the next day.

This time it was Jamal Crawford from the Atlanta Hawks. Like Gaines in Utah, this wasn't the Hawks star (Joe Johnson) taking the final shot. Crawford comes off the bench for Atlanta and has to be favourite for Sixth Man of the Year award. Down by 2 at home with 3 seconds to go against the Suns, here's how it went down:

It was great to see for a number of reasons. Firstly, many basketball websites tend to focus on spectacular dunks, but here ... we're all about basketball shooting and the highlight play is the game winning shot. Secondly, other than the Boston Celtics, growing up the Atlanta Hawks were my team ... to be different from all the Lakers & Celtics fans of the 80's. When I was in the US the last time (10 years ago), the Hawks weren't a great team and they struggled to get a crowd and atmosphere. Now the team is performing well on-court coming 3rd in the Eastern Conference and its great to see the crowd go nuts in the clip above.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Utah Jazz vs LeBron and the Cavaliers

The double-header on One today was Boston vs Chicago and then Utah vs Cleveland. Its a quiet time at work so I got to watch a fair bit of the second game and I'm glad I did.

My first question was what's up with those Utah Jazz uniforms? Green and yellow, just looked strange for the Jazz.

On to the actual game and Cleveland led most of the way but thanks to the Jazz reserves they made a charge in the 4th and took the lead. Then King James took over and put Cleveland back in front and it looked like they would get the win. Thanks to a few missed free-throws down the stretch, Utah found themselves with possession and down by 2 with just seconds remaining. The play that was drawn up broke down and the ball got kicked out to Sundiata Gaines on the wing who knocked down a triple over Anthony Parker to give his side the win on the buzzer.

The great story here is that Gaines has just been brought up from the D League and was on the second 10 day contract. Like Aussie Patty Mills, he had been playing for the Idaho Stampede and normally wouldn't have seen court-time but injuries to stars Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko meant that Jerry Sloan had to go deep in to his bench.

Gaines helped spark the Utah rally in the 4th quarter and found himself the unlikely hero when the final play broke down. It was great to see how happy and excited his new team-mates were for him. Sure, they were happy to win the game but you could see the joy they had for the young kid.

This was just his 5th game for the Jazz and he had his first team practice the day before. It just goes to show you that you need to be ready to step up when called upon.

The game winning shot

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Countdown to the NBL playoffs

On the back of the most obvious press release ever from the NBL about how close the season is, and with just one month until the regular season finishes, its time to start thinking about the playoffs.

The New Zealand Breakers have just announced Kevin Braswell as a second import for the remainder of the season. The Breakers are yet to find form and haven't been able to close out games in the final quarter. If Braswell can come in and give the team a much needed spark, the Breakers still have time to make the finals.

The Melbourne Tigers are at the bottom of the ladder but are just 4 games out of the top 4. They too are tipped to be looking to add another import for the last month of the season. The Tigers have won 3 of their last 4 games, if they can stay healthy and find the right addition to their squad, their not out of contention yet.

The Woolongong Hawks started the season as the Cinderella story, tipped to finish last they won the pre-season tournament and led the league over the opening months. Trouble struck the team last week when it was announced they have lost star import Tywain McKee for the season. They currently sit in 4th position on the ladder but have lost 3 of their last 5 games and look like they will slip out of the playoff picture.

The Townsville Crocs have been the surprise of the season for me. Croc Nation have jumped on the back of Corey "Homicide" Williams and he's led from the front and they find themselves just one win out of the top spot.

The Gold Coast Blaze started the season slowly but they've hit their strides and are tied with the Crocs in second place. They further strengthened their roster adding former Bullets Craig Bradshaw in to the mix. Despite their good form, the best news for the Blaze is that they still have plenty of upside and they're not playing to their full potential yet. If the injury to Adam Gibson turns out not to be too serious, look for them to make some noise in the playoffs.

The Perth Wildcats began the season much like the Blaze, slowly. They have now won 4 of their last 5 games and have a strong 9 - 2 record at home. Luke Schenscher took a little while to fit in to Perth but the team have found the right balance of late and have surged to the top of the table.

The top 3 of the 4 playoff teams seem set with the Wildcats, Blaze and Crocs. The story of the final month of the season will be which team will round out the four. Can the Hawks hang on to the final spot or who can make a late charge in to contention?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Top 10 NBA 3 Point Shooters of All Time

A strange source of NBA and basketball shooting information, I came across this list thanks to a Twitter post from business guru Guy Kawasaki.

Click on the title below to read the full story.

Top 10 NBA 3 Point Shooters of All Time | Top 10 Lists |

The NBA has changed many times over, but the biggest change was made in the addition of the 3 point shot in the 1979-80 season. The 3 point shot started as a tool to catch teams up and only a handful of players where considered marksman. However, in today’s game the 3 point shot is used more than ever and accounts for over 35% of all shots take in the average NBA game. The list below will demonstrate not just who has hit the most, been the most accurate, or hit them when they counted the most, but a combination of all three.Essentially, the top ten are:

10. Chuck Person
9. Dell Curry
8. Dan Majerle
7. Peja Stojakovic
6. Steve Nash
5. Glen Rice
4. Dale Ellis
3. Larry Bird
2. Ray Allen
1. Reggie Miller

The notable omission for mine is Mark Price. I also think its somewhat harsh to have Larry at #3 but I guess he wasn't "just" a three-pointer shooter and despite his heroics from downtown, there have been better, more consistent shooters from deep. Over-rated for mine, Dale Ellis at 4? Maybe the author is from Seattle.

I'm sure John Rillie will agree with Miller at #1, but who do you think is missing off this list? Who do you think should be #1?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Patrick Mills - NBA game 1

Much like Nathan Jawai's NBA debut, nothing too exciting about Patrick Mills' first time on-court. But with so many Portland injuries the prospects of more game time in the near future are looking good. And frankly ... after the last 6 months and what he's been through, it was just great to finally see him get in the game.

Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
B. Roy G 40:25 3-12 0-3 0-0 -10 0 4 6 3 0 1 1 2 6
A. Miller G 40:06 9-20 0-2 4-7 -10 2 3 16 2 3 0 0 1 22
J. Howard C 35:37 8-11 0-0 0-0 -13 0 4 0 2 1 0 0 5 16
M. Webster F 39:49 9-15 5-9 2-3 -7 1 6 0 1 1 0 0 0 25
J. Pendergraph F 29:42 4-4 0-0 0-0 +2 3 7 0 1 0 1 0 3 8


Min FG 3Pt FT +/- Off Reb Ast TO Stl BS BA PF Pts
D. Cunningham
23:50 3-5 0-0 1-2 -9 2 3 0 1 3 0 1 3 7
J. Bayless
22:52 2-6 1-2 2-2 -14 0 1 2 3 0 0 1 1 7
P. Mills
4:55 0-3 0-0 0-0 +5 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0
S. Randolph
2:44 1-1 0-0 2-2 +6 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 4
L. Aldridge
DNP - Coach's Decision
N. Batum
DNP - Coach's Decision
S. Blake
DNP - Coach's Decision
R. Fernandez
DNP - Coach's Decision
G. Oden
DNP - Coach's Decision
T. Outlaw
DNP - Coach's Decision
J. Przybilla
DNP - Coach's Decision


39-77 6-16 11-16
8 29 27 14 8 2 3 16 95
.506 .375 .688
Team Rebounds: 5

Monday, January 4, 2010

Patrick Mills gets the call up

Its been a big week for Patrick Mills since my update about him last week. He played just two games in the D League but did enough to get the call-up to join the Portland Trailblazers in the NBA.

Game 1 for Mills playing with the Idaho Stampede so the young Aussie come off the bench. He exploded for 38 points including 7 triples, 12 assists, 3 boards and 3 steals.

Game 2 saw Mills again come off the bench for 22 points (8 of 12 from the field) including 4 triples, 3 assist and 2 boards. The real highlight of the game was the Stampedes come from behind win including a winning put-back from Patty himself.

For more in depth analysis of his time in the D League, check out A Stern Warning and NBA Mate.

Patrick should be ready/available to play for the Blazers tomorrow against the Clippers. Not sure if he will see any court-time in this game but it will be great to see him "suited up" rather than just sitting behind the bench like he was to start the season.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Basketball shooting - NBA leaders

Heading in to the new year and now two months in to the NBA season, I thought it was time to check out who the individual basketball shooting leaders are.

Three-point shooting percentage:
  1. Jared Dudley (Suns) 50.5%
  2. Daniel Gibson (Cavs)48.8%
  3. Paul Pierce (Celtics) 47.3%
  4. Anthony Parker (Cavs) 46.1%
  5. Chris Paul (Hornets) 45.8%
Three-point makes per game:
  1. Danny Granger (Pacers) 3.1
  2. Danilo Gallinari (Knicks) 2.8
  3. Rashard Lewis (Magic) 2.8
  4. Channing Frye (Suns) 2.6
  5. Peja Stojakovic (Hornets) 2.4
Free-throw percentage:
  1. Steve Nash (Suns) 94.2%
  2. Ray Allen (Celtics) 91%
  3. Chauncey Billups (Nuggets) 90.3%
  4. Mo Williams (Cavs) 89.4%
  5. Manu Ginobili (Spurs) 89.3%
I was going to include leaders in field goal percentage, but they're not actually shooting it, the list is made up of big men who are mostly dunking or making put-backs.

I will include the glamour category tho ...

Points per game:
  1. Kobe Bryant (Lakers) 30.6
  2. Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets) 30.0
  3. LeBron James (Cavs) 28.9
  4. Kevin Durant (Thunder) 28.5
  5. Dwayne Wade (Heat) 26.3