Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Happy Birthday LeBron James

The NBA has kindly put together a 30 best plays of LeBron James compilation to commemorate his 30th birthday.

However, if you want a more comprehensive highlight package of his Cleveland day, we recommend checking out this 10 minute highlight reel from The Score.

R.I.P. Court Cuts.

From Chris Jent and the Leaner, happy birthday LeBron.

LeBron James featuring Chris Jent
(December 30, 2009)

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Card of the Week: We Talkin' About Christmas

There are a number of basketball cards out there that are Christmas themed, the most popular being the Fat Shawn Kemp holiday special.

Our gift to you this year is a young Allen Iverson sporting a Santa hat, part of SkyBox's ridiculous Mod Squad series.
We encourage you to check out other cards in the series if you're interested in seeing Stephon Marbury playing ping pong with a name tag on.

Allen Iverson Mod Squad
(SkyBox 1998-99)

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Card of the Week: Personal Space

Brooks Thompson lasted two seasons in Orlando.

Horace Grant and Brooks Thompson
(Upper Deck 1995-96 #332)

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

GIF: Ronald Reagan ballin' outta control

How far The Administration has come in 30 years.

Conrad McRae in Europe

In 2013, the late Conrad McRae was named in the Top 25 Greatest Streetball Players by Complex.
Here is some footage of him dunking (mainly in reverse) all over various Europeans.


Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The time Charles Barkley wrote ass on his shoes

To the best of our knowledge, this is how it all went down:

November 6, 2014: Charles Barkley states he won't eat another meal until the Lakers win:
November 10, 2014: The Lakers beat the Hornets.

November 10, 2014: Ed Davis does a Tweet:
November 11, 2014: Charles writes a$$ on his shoes:

Jersey of the Week: Andre Drummund

A Jersey of the Week No Brainer, the Andre Drummond "Drummund" jersey wins by default.

 Andre "Drummund" Drummond vs Chicago Bulls
(November 10, 2014)

 Get yours today at the NBA Store.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Card of the Week: Doug West on A.C. Green

Card below, footage here. The Timberwolves need to release an official highlight package for this dude to tie in with the whole Wiggins & LaVine thing.

Doug West #134 
(NBA Hoops 1993-94 )

Zan Tabak vs Hakeem Olajuwon

The Raptors franchise has come a long way. #KeepTheFaith

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Jersey of the Week: Tony Delk Rookie Jersey

Currently going on eBay is an extremely rare Tony "50 Point Club" Delk rookie jersey.

It also doubles as a very effective Robert Parish psyche out jersey.

NB: Our fondness for Delk is the only thing we share in common with Ashley Judd.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Monday, 6 October 2014

Baseline Leaner Sword of Omens: Most Improved Player 2014-15

The Sword of Omens gave Lion-O the power to see into the future. We are calling on it to help us predict season 2014-15.

The NBA’s Most Improved Player is, along with the Rookie of the Year, probably the hardest to predict. Logically, past performance gives us an excellent base when selecting our MVP, Sixth Man and Biggest Waste of Cap Space. In the case of rookie players, we’re obviously working with a blank canvas, making things difficult to call. We’d argue that the MIP goes even one step further as poor or mediocre performance in previous seasons is usually a requirement for winning. Not often will a player win for elevating his play from great to outstanding – it can be better to go from Gerald Green to GERALD GREEN. That said, 2014 MIP Paul George is a recent example of a B or B+ player rewarded for becoming an A or A+ one. Goran Dragic went from a C+ to an A last season, too, and took home the trophy. 

We’ve aimed to identify contenders from both camps, aided as always by our Sword which predicts the future - namely who Panthro should nunchuck first and where this year’s NBA hardware is headed. 

The Outsiders

The players making up our long shot group could likely walk unidentified into the homes of most casual fans and disinterested beat writers of Any Team But Their Team. In the tradition of previous winners such as Isaac Austin and Darrrel Armstrong, obscurity may give them an edge - upping the wow factor if and when they put numbers on the boards.

Troy Daniels enjoyed a moment in the sun during last year’s playoffs after spending the regular season raining 3’s and breaking D-League records. He is a chance to play more as the Rockets look to fill the gap left by the reliable Chandler Parsons. Free-agent signing Trevor Ariza is likely to get most of his shots and minutes but has a history of going in the tank after balling in his contract years, leaving the door slightly ajar for Daniels.

BL favourite Rudy Gobert is an enormous human capable of dominating a box score with his size and intensity - see this excellent piece from Zach Love for more. Unfortunately for Rudy's MIP candidacy, he will struggle to get minutes with former top 3 picks Favors and Kanter ahead of him in the rotation.

Another big guy with international roots, Gorgui Dieng, has shown plenty of promise in Minnesota. Unbeknowns to Kevin Martin, Kevin Love is no longer on the team, freeing up time in the front court. However, with Minnesota’s roster in a state of flux, it’s hard to predict who will start, let alone who will be featured.

Maurice Harkless warrants a mention as he aims to establish himself as Jacque Vaughan’s 3 and D guy of choice. The Magic are flush with options on the wings - Harris, Oladipo, Gordon – but Harkless may have the best combo of skills to suit today’s league. Minutes are still far from guaranteed and it's hard to see him playing consistently enough to make a huge impact on the voters.

Other MIP dark horses, in brief:

Alex Len –  2013's #5 pick with an opportunity to play move in Season 2
Shelvin Mack – underrated combo guard who may step into Louis Williams’ vacated role
Kendall Marshall – may start for Milwaukee and has put up strong numbers when given minutes thus far in his career
Fournier – promising player now on the Magic and their only wing with a proven 3 point shot
CJ Miles – on a Pacers team with a huge scoring hole to fill in the absences of Paul George and Lance Stephenson. Known to shoot it everytime he goes near it and make them in bunches
Mason Plumlee –spent all summer with Team USA, which usually bodes well for an improved NBA year
Shumpert – his skillset should fit nicely in Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher’s NYK triangle
Ray McCallum – should start with Isaiah Thomas gone and can hoop a bit

The Contenders

Even though our Sword flagged almost half the league as an MIP dark horse, it was still able to identify a few legitimate contenders. The most obvious is reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who fits the Paul George-mould as a borderline All-Star who may become an All-NBAer. If Kawhi were to continue his Finals form - especially his form from the last 3 games - and sustain it for all 82 this year, it’s fair to say he’d be a runaway winner. However, in San Antonio, where the ball moves without agenda, minutes are restricted and winning comes before individual accolades, Kawhi’s true value will likely continue to exceed his per-game averages.

A similar multi-faceted talent with similar ginormous limbs, Giannis Antekoutompo, is another player expected to figure in end of year MIP discussion. Compared to Pippen and Magic, among others, Jason Kidd’s experiment of playing him at point-forward during the Vegas Summer League has people wondering if he can be a regular triple-double threat from as early as this season.

Your 2014-15 Sword of Omens Most Improved Player(s): Gordon Hayward and Andre Drummond

The Sword almost melted when trying to arrive at a verdict and eventually settled on a tie, before being placed in a freezer to cool down. Both Hayward and Drummond were involved with Team USA in the off-season, and as noted above, participation in these camps has been known to kick start a career or two.  Moreover, both players have shown potential to be franchise-cornerstones. Hayward was one of only 5 players last season to average 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists and Drummond’s per 36 minute numbers - 15.1ppg, 14.7rpg, 1.8bpg and 1.4spg - are pretty impressive.

Hayward had an off-year shooting wise in 2013-14 which is likely an anomaly, given his solid numbers earlier in his career. He also looks to have added some serious muscle to his frame which may lead to more points in the paint and even some minutes as a stretch four, where he’ll be a very tough cover. It’s his do-it-all ability that remains his calling card and that’s why season averages of 20-5-5 are not beyond him in 2015. The Sword says it will be.

As for Drummond, he has had an off-decade when it comes to shooting free throws, but when you can dominate a game at both ends, people don’t tend to care. Whether by chance or by choice, Detroit have turned their entire basketball operation over to Stan Van Gundy, former coach of Shaq and Dwight Howard (before everyone hated Dwight Howard.) If anyone can get the most out of a physical specimen like Drummond, you’d think it would be Stan. Detroit’s bizarre roster composition meant that Drummond was often on the floor with Greg Monroe and Josh Smith last season, allowing him little room to operate. If Stan’s past is anything to go by, he’ll put a bullet in that lineup early, surrounding Drummond with the Pistons grip of shooters –  Kyle Singler, Jodie Meeks, stretch 4 Josh Harrelson and DJ Augustin, to name a few. This is the man who paid $110 million for Rashard Lewis before "stretch 4s" were cool. We’re predicting that we'll see many of the same sets that Stan and Dwight’s Magic ran during their time as an Eastern Conference powerhouse, with Drummond playing the roll of leading man. Pacing the league in rebounds is well within Drummond's reach this season, after narrowly missing out last year, and averaging 16-20 points a night should be in sights. The Sword says he does both and shares what we fondly refer to as The Borris Diaw Award with Hayward.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The Male Model from Mudgee vs Josh Childress

Some amazing work from Kenny. Just incredible.

Ken Sutcliffe and Josh Childress
(October 5, 2014)

GIF of the Week: Tony Allen to Tony Allen

An under appreciated effort by Tony Allen as a rookie during his first visit to Denver. It is not unforeseeable that Ricky Davis put him up to this.

Tony Allen windmill vs Denver Nuggets
(February 25, 2005)

Card of the Week: Skybox Super Hugo

To mark the return of the Charlotte Hornets, the Super Hugo promotional card by Skybox:

Monday, 29 September 2014

Dada CDubbz

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal react to seeing Chris Webber's now infamous Dada Supreme CDubbz:

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal
(February 10, 2002)

All chrome everything.

Chris Webber
(02 'til infinity)

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Baseline Leaner Sword of Omens: Rookie of the Year 2014-15

The Sword of Omens gave Lion-O the power to see into the future. We are calling on it to help us predict season 2014-15.

It was almost impossible to avoid the hype surrounding 2014's "super" draft. Even those not interested or well versed in college basketball were caught in the vortex, since it launched a tank-race featuring roughly a quarter of the league's teams.

Logically, it stands to reason that the forthcoming Rookie of the Year race should be of high quality. The class who effectively caused a season-long reverse auction for their services will play 2014-15 under heavy expectations.

The Contenders
When the dust (finally) settled on the Kevin Love Treaty in August, 5-star prospects Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker had both found homes on moribund Midwestern franchises. For them, opportunities for minutes and shots abound.

Conversely, athlete-extraordinaire Aaron Gordon and crafty playmaker Elfrid Payton join a Magic team who have may have had enough of "rebuilding." 2014-15 will mark the 3rd season since they lost Dwight Howard and there have been few signs of progress to date. Simply by trying to win, the Magic may find themselves pushing for one of the East's final playoff spots - a potential vote-winner for their 2 RoY candidates.

Julius Randle may be in a similar boat as he joins a Laker team looking to bounce back from one of the worst seasons in franchise history. A marked improvement in the win total may help his cause, but he may find it hard to break into a veteran starting lineup.

The Outsiders
Marcus Smart, Dante Exum and Nick Stauskas are all projected to have long and productive careers, but aren't in ideal situations to take the trophy. Smart will presumably be asked to take a back seat as Rajon Rondo runs the show in Boston, while Exum is likely to be brought along slowly as he physically develops. Stauskas, Baseline Leaner's outsider of choice, should be a contributor from day one - however, a large role is unlikely with Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore ahead of him in the rotation.

The Sword of Omens 2014-15 Rookie of the Year
We enjoy irony almost as much as we enjoy NBA basketball, and when the two have the rare chance to come together, we must actively support and endorse it. The above draft class - the one that convinced the 76ers to spend less than the NBA mandated minimum on their team and Boston to nuke Ubuntu, among other things - may not produce this season's Rookie of the Year.

That honour, according to vision delivered exclusively to our Sword, will belong to Nerlens Noel. Originally picked 6th in 2013, Nerlens sat out the year with a torn ACL, and is thereby eligible this year under the same rule that saw Blake Griffin win in 2011. (And a ripped-off Sabonis fall short in 1996).

It's worth noting that Nerlen's candidacy is not only manufactured to fit our strange narrative. The Sixers are bereft of quality in the front court, with neither of their 2014 picks - Joel Embiid, Dario Saric - likely to suit up this season. With that in mind, Nerlens will plausibly play 30-35 minutes a night from Game 1 and should the Sixers continue to scream the ball up the floor (see "Pace"), he'll have a ton of chances to fill the stat sheet. His box scores should outshine those of his competitors - a similar advantage shared by his teammate Michael Carter-Williams last season.

With few legitimate big men to compete with, Nerlens is a strong chance to blow all rookies away in rebounds and blocks. Moreover, he has flashed an Anthony Davis-like ability to snag steals from the 4/5 spot and should also rank highly in that category. Overall, defensively, he looks to be an above-average NBA big man already - with huge potential to become an elite one. Of course, only contributing off the ball usually doesn't equal RoY success, but Philly's go-go system means Nerlens may crack double-figures in points on dunks and put backs alone.

A double-double with a couple of blocks and a steal every night will make a strong case and we're calling it now: Nerlens - your 2014-15 Rookie of the Year. A victory for ironing.

Jersey of the Week: The Jerry Stackhouse Fight Club Jersey

Mark Bradtke saving Harvey Grant
(November 22, 1996)

The 1996-97 season would be the last year that the 76ers wore the clean white-home, red-away jerseys that are synonymous with a young Allen Iverson tearing up the league.

AI's rookie year also marked the beginning of the end for Jerry Stackhat Stackhouse in Phili, as it became apparent that these two young stars weren't going to work out:

"...Stackhouse had openly stated on several occasions that the shoot-first mentality of Iverson had hindered his development. And though Brown would never say so publicly, he was convinced that Stackhouse or Iverson had to go."

Stackhat Stackhouse is our man, and he is a proud man.  During his playing days, it was that pride that meant he never took a backward step, from anyone.

Prior to being dealt to Detroit, the former No.3 pick managed to get into some significant scuffles whilst wearing these sharp little numbers:
Exhibit A: Harvey Grant ("can he be trusted?") above.

Exhibit B: Jeff Hornacek (article here)

For his "fightin' around the league" efforts as a young fella, we dedicate Jersey of the Week to Stackhat Stackhouse's road strip from '95 - '97.
Jerry Stackhouse Road Jersey
(1995 - 1997)

We had the privilege of watching Stack in Brooklyn during his final season in the league. We happened to be sitting next to a cranky old Nets fan who was very displeased when the final play of the half resulted in Stack being forced into a tough jumper. He had some things to say about Jerry that were unkind. We sat in silence and did nothing.
As it has weighed heavily on our collective consciences for the past two years, we would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Stackhouse for not punching this man.

GIF of the Week: About

Saturday, 27 September 2014

We see you Bec Allen

Taking hits, hitting the offensive glass and pretty turnarounds in the lane. That's how you debut.

Rebecca Allen vs Cuba
(September 27, 2014)

Melbourne's own Rebecca Allen dropped 9 points (16 minutes) in her first World Championship game for the Opals. She's the Aussie to watch not named Penny Taylor.

NB: FIBA featured the much loved Air Jordan VIII "Aqua" in their promotional material for the Women's Championship.

Baseline Leaner on Vine

We are on Vine. More of the same.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Who Dunked It Better? Steve Francis vs Jahii Carson

Steve Francis 


Jahii Carson 

While the commentators were likening him to former NBL import Calvin Talford, Jahii Carson's winning dunk at the NBL Blitz Slam Dunk Contest took us back to Stevie's "any other night" tomahawk in 2000.

If you haven't Youtube'd Talford, we highly recommend it.

UPDATE: Full contest footage here. The comparison here.