Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Barry Boys

Rare photo of one half of the Barry siblings from 1999. Happy Birthday Brent.

Monday, 30 December 2013

The King's Birthday

Happy Birthday LeBron. 

Thank you for a decade of basketball excellence.

Where it all started: Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh's heroics against the Blazers resulted in not only a massive road win for the LeBron-less Heat, but the wide circulation of some impressive statistics relating to Bosh's clutch history.

"He's now 7-10 on game-tying or winning 3-point attempts in the final 10 seconds of the 4th quarter/OT."

The thing is, maybe we shouldn't be that surprised.

Chris Bosh's FIRST EVER NBA career three pointer was a clutch corner jumper against the Rockets to tie the game with seven seconds remaining in regulation. Furthermore, he took the feed from the man who sits atop the list shown above.
The Raptors would go on to win that game in double OT, with Bosh finishing with 25 and 9 off the bench.

We see you Clyde.

Sunday, 29 December 2013


Following their bruising seven game encounter the previous year, the Bulls and Knicks met again in the 1993 playoffs, this time to determine the Eastern Conference champion. With the series knotted at 2-2, Game 5 was a decisive encounter for control of the series. The game would be played at the Garden, where the top seeded Knicks had won 27 straight games.

With the chance to take the lead in the dying moments, the Knicks were denied on multiple occasions thanks primarily to the smothering defensive effort of Scottie Pippen on Charles Smith.

Which brings us to the the subject of this entry, the moments immediately preceding the final buzzer. In the wake of the frenetic finish, what is often and rightfully overlooked is MJ's post game celebration at center court:

Like The Shot in '89, Jordan launches into his traditional limb flailing celebration, inadvertently fly kicking the NBC cameraman with his left Air Jordan VIII.

Of course, this wouldn't be the last time a visiting Bull kicked a courtside cameraman...

Saturday, 28 December 2013

SLAM Scan: No. 106

Illustration by Mike Thompson for SLAM No. 106

Who Dunked It Better? Ronnie Price vs Will Bynum

Ronnie Price made his way into last night's Daily Top 10 with a breakaway leaner against the Pistons. Ronnie used the very same dunk to great effect seven years ago when he went over the top of Carlos Boozer for one of the dunks of the season.

To compare, we go back to November of 2009 and take a look at another explosive little man, Will Bynum. The dunk shown below is one of the two thunderous finishes he had in the same game against the visiting Bobcats.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry Christmas

We'll let Mutombo take it from here.

Who Dunked It Better? LeBron James vs Sean Elliott

Against the hot shooting Hawks, LeBron James punctuated a game-changing two minute flurry at the end of the fourth with a monstrous dunk over Paul Milsap.

In an excuse to dig up a twenty year old gem, we compare LeBron's effort against that of Sean Elliott, who caught a boost from Vlade Divac on his way to this impressive finish:

Given that LeBron (1) did this with 15 seconds to go in a tight game; (2) steamrolled the dude who was having a career night from beyond the arc; and (3) isn't an overly biased Spurs commentator, he gets our nod.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Who Dunked It Better? Stephon Marbury vs Andre Drummond

We'd like to see Drummond in this year's Slam Dunk Contest, and today's windmill hinted at what he is capable of if given the opportunity.

In contrast, we take you back to 1995, where a Coney Island native by the name of Stephon Marbury was tearing up the New York high school circuit.


We've been suspended from Twitter again. At this rate, we'll be incarcerated by Christmas.

Card of the Week: Hollywood Robinson

James 'Hollywood" Robinson was a high flying 6'2 guard out of Alabama who spent his first three years in the league making the odd highlight in Portland.

Robinson's 95-96 Upper Deck card features him posterizing the only player to ever play for every NBA team, Mr Tony Massenburg.

Friday, 20 December 2013

GIF of the Week: I Got Skillz

GIF of the Week features Tim Hardaway Jr's dad, Tim "I Got Skillz" Hardaway, launching a courtside monitor in the direction of centre court.

Tim Hardaway vs TD Waterhouse Centre
(March 15, 2002)
Good health and prosperity to you if you know which opponent retrieved the discarded monitor and returned it to its place of origin.

BONUS: Reverse angle showing Hardaway trash talking the monitor on his way off the floor.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Jersey of the Week: Ron Artest 'Malice in the Palace' Edition

In light of the Baseline Leaner Twitter account being suspended, it is only fitting that Jersey of the Week is this Ron Ron 2004-05 number aka the "ARTEST IS IN THE STANDS!" jersey.

This Youth S example sold for $13. That's about 0.0002% of the total sum of Artest's fine.

As for the brawl itself, Bill Walton's words at the time are all that need to be repeated.

In an aside, Artest started that season strongly, averaging 25 a game through the first seven games. Not only was he playing well, he was playing well on a talented roster that featured Jermaine at his peak and Captain Jack fresh off a breakout year in Atlanta.

There are countless stories from that November night, but we wanna know how many games this kid has been to since.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Not Top 10? Nicholas Batum

The Blazers filled it up today against the Sixers, continuing their scorching form with a resounding 34 point victory on the road.

Nicholas Batum had 17-5-9 in 27 minutes, including this hanging alley-oop reverse layup:

Despite Batum's acrobatic efforts, he did not feature in NBA.com's Daily Top 10. The editing staff at league HQ seem to think that pedestrian throw downs from geriatrics like Marion and Jefferson are more impressive.

Court Cuts where art thou?

Either way, the Blazers are rolling.

Card of the Week: Drazen Petrovic and Reggie Lewis


Friday, 13 December 2013

GIF of the Week: Keith Van Horn

There have been some famous free throw putbacks over the years (Mike, Iverson) and some not so famous ones (Keith Bogans, Von Wafer, Corey Benjamin, Ricky Davis). To our knowledge though, Keith Van Horn, aka the dude who stole Walt Williams' socks, is the only player in league history to tip dunk his own missed free throw.

This week's GIF of the Week isn't particularly exciting, but it does remind us all that we need to put a body on the shooter.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Let the Brett build

PJ Carlesimo speaks with Brett Brown (back to camera) as Greg Poppovich looks on

PJ Carlesimo's tenure as Seattle coach does not read well in the record books - but was it poor performance or poor timing that saw him exit with a .244 winning percentage?

Carlesimo was appointed to coach the Supersonics prior to the beginning of the 2007-2008 season. That same off-season on draft night, Seattle traded it's best player, Ray Allen, for Boston's 5th pick. They also let Rashard Lewis, coming off a 22ppg campaign, leave for Orlando as a free agent. The roster was effectively gutted, giving Carlesimo a clear brief: rebuild from scratch. The Sonics used their own 2nd overall pick on Kevin Durant and the 5th on Jeff Green. The two were brought in to play heavy minutes on a team that would likely struggle to compete. While it's not on record that Carlesimo was ordered by Seattle management to lose games, he was clearly put in a position where he couldn't do much else. Amid the backdrop of their mooted relocation to Oklahoma, he was expected to provide minutes for the Sonics' youth and land another high draft pick.

And that's exactly what he did, "leading" the team to a 20-62 record. Carlesimo took a developmental approach, as evidenced by him starting the 6-10 Durant at shooting guard and asking him to defend point guards to improve his all round game. Wins were not his or the organisation's priority and for their non-winning "efforts," they were rewarded with the 4th pick of the 2008 Draft. The soon-to-be Thunder used it to select UCLA shooting guard Russell Westbrook - a raw athlete who started for the Bruins alongside star pointman Darren Collison. In another "short term pain, long term gain" move, the team decided to move Westbrook to point guard, arguably the toughest position to learn in basketball. Later in that same draft, they chose another unpolished athlete from the Spanish ACB, via the Congo, in Serge Ibaka.

Kevin Durant, before he discovered the joys of eating, with his first NBA coach PJ Carlesimo

The foundations were set for another year of teaching and patience, with expectations arguably even lower given the introduction of a rookie starting point guard who was learning on the fly. Low expectations didn't save Carlesimo from getting the axe just 13 games into 2008-2009, after the Thunder started 1-12. His replacement, assistant Scott Brooks, guided the Thunder to a 22-47 record for the rest of the season - numbers not dissimilar to the win total Carlesimo had posted a year earlier. The Thunder were again blessed with a top pick, using the 3rd selection in the 2009 Draft to select James Harden (pictured wearing a suit Craig Sager would regard as "too ridiculous.")

The tipping point arrived for Oklahoma in 2009-10. Brooks took the team to a 50-32 record and the Thunder became the darlings of the NBA. To completely discredit Brooks' contribution to their huge improvement would be unfair, but just how much of the Thunder's meteoric rise can be attributed to their young roster of top prospects simply growing up and maturing? Last season Carlesimo took the struggling 14-14 Nets to a 35-19 record after being promoted to replace Avery Johnson (and we'd suggest he'd be welcomed back with open arms at the moment). He also had several winning seasons in Portland during the mid-90's. It's apparent that he can coach, providing he's put in a position to win - something he was not afforded at Seattle and then Oklahoma. Effectively, he babysat that franchise while it stockpiled high draft picks, then handed the keys over to someone else just as those players began to fulfill their potential.

PJ, pictured with Deron Williams, during his successful stint with Brooklyn last season

Carlesimo is one example of a coach who was hired to oversee a rebuild - hired to lose games, to put it bluntly - then moved on before he could reap the benefits of his sacrifices. The "investments" he made to secure talent via the draft and develop youth were not realized by him, but by Scott Brooks. Again, it's too glib to suggest Brooks' did nothing but sit back and wait while the Thunder inevitably improved, because not all young players reach their potential. It is, however, fair to ask if Carlesimo was treated poorly in being expected to put aside personal gain - winning games - to lay the groundwork for a new roster, then not getting to stick around until it prospered.

Fast forward to 2013-14 and we find Baseline Leaner favourite Brett Brown in a similar position to where PJ was prior to 2007-8. The 6ers, in an attempt to acquire as many Lottery balls as possible, have done everything but trade the entire roster for that of the 1994 North Melbourne Giants. The decision to jettison Andrew Bynum, it's star recruit only 12 months earlier, set the tone. That move was followed by another which sent All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to New Orleans for the rights to 6th overall pick Nerlens Noel and a 1st round pick in the upcoming draft. As if trading their best player for a 19 year old project wasn't enough, the team promptly shut down Noel and his surgically repaired knee for the entire season. The 76ers care so little about winning this season that they are actually spending less on their roster than the NBA mandated minimum.

Brett Brown helps Nerlens Noel with his form

Despite starting 7-16, a pace that would blow away the 16.5 wins Vegas projected, all of the above points to Brown finishing the year with a win total of 20-25 (the 6ers are currently on a 4 game losing streak). Philadelphia management, like the Sonics management who oversaw their late 00's rebuild, haven't publicly admitted to wanting to lose this season. However, it doesn't take a lot of reading between the lines to gather that they expect Brown to do just that: lose a lot. At the end of season 2013-14, the 6ers should be well placed to land a high pick due to their own poor record, as well as another Lottery pick due to the Pelicans - who are without Anthony Davis for 6 weeks - missing the playoffs. Additionally, they project to have around $12.5 million in cap space to spend on free agents. All of this bodes well for the 6ers future but unless that cap space is used to sign a veteran superstar or there is some sort of blockbuster trade, both of which are unlikely, Brown will oversee another roster of young prospects in 2014-15. He will be asked to teach and develop again (read: not win), just as he was this season.

Upon hiring Brown, 6ers GM Sam Hinkie noted: "We went through an exhaustive search to find the right head coach for our organization—one who had a passion for developing talent, a strong work-ethic to help create the kind of culture we hope for, and a desire to continually improve." Brown has already started to show a knack for fostering potential. Michael Carter-Williams, regarded by many as a hit-or-miss NBA prospect, and Tony Wroten, given away by Memphis, are blossoming under his stewardship. He's also made individual skill development a priority, taking it upon himself to rework Nerlens Noel's shot.

On paper, Brown's first 2 seasons will probably net him very little - 50 or so wins. In practice, they will put the Sixers in a position to compete at a high level in 2016 and beyond. Here's hoping that Brown's willingness to buy into the Sixers long term strategy pays off, but unlike PJ and the Thunder, he's still there to enjoy it when it does.

White Chocolate

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Jersey of the Week: Ed O'Bannon

Ed O'Bannon enjoyed a stellar college career and the opposite-of-stellar NBA career.

A member of the '95 Bruins team that captured the NCAA title, we best remember him for contributing to the Dunks on Shawn Bradley Anthology.

If you are looking to freshen up your wardrobe, please navigate elsewhere as we proudly present this mint Ed O'Bannon rookie jersey for this edition of Jersey of the Week.

For the younger generation, you might know Ed O'Bannon as the subject of a Weezy diss off this Cannon freestyle.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Eddie Jones

One of the most underrated one-footed leapers of all time.

Card of the Week: Charles Barkley from Michael Jordan's Flight Team

The original Upper Deck Flight Team set had all the big name dunkers of the era plus some of the lesser known high flyers whose antics still remain close to our heart.

This set was released immediately following Charles Barkley's best season. Both Charles (MVP) and the Suns (Western Conference Champions) were very impressive that year and the outcome in the Finals may have been a little different had Cedric Ceballos stayed healthy.

Click through for higher resolution.

Friday, 6 December 2013


GIF of the Week: Guess Who?

This week's GIF of the Week comes in the form of a question:

Who is responsible for this courtside carnage?

First person to respond correctly will have a player of their choice GIF'ed.

Jersey of the Week: Rasheed Wallace Hawks (Home)

Rasheed Wallace played one game for the Hawks back in February of '04. It was an away game against the Nets.

Today's Jersey of the Week is the jersey that never was. A Sheed Atlanta Home Jersey.

It is currently on sale here from Basketball Jersey World.

Honestly, if it was being offered at a reasonable price, we'd encourage you to consider it. But at 100 clams, we suggest you simply acknowledge the novelty and look elsewhere. John Wallace anyone?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Who Dunked It Better? Old Men Edition

Gerald Wallace spent his prime years putting on a show for a small market. Stuff like this happened every night:

What differentiated Wallace from other high flyers around the league at the time was that no one showed as little regard for their own well being as he did. His Wiki page provides adequate insight into the beating he has taken.

We can understand why Gerald isn't particularly pleased being on a rebuilding Celtics roster at this stage of his career. We are grateful however that he busted out this nasty dunk last night.

And then there is Kobe.
At yesterday's training session, Bryant was caught "elevating and detonating" like a 35 year old with one functioning Achilles. In all seriousness, it is great for the Lakers and the league to see this level of progress.

Knowing Nique successfully recovered for a torn Achilles at a similar age (he averaged close to 30ppg in his first season back), we have reason to be optimistic that Kobe will be competitive on his eventual return.