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By the numbers: Top 5 Aussie Hoops stories of 2019
2019 was a massive year for Australian basketball, but for the Boomers and the NBL in particular. The Pick and Roll team covered all the ups and downs. Some stories stood out, and we wrap up the Top 5 ranking topics or themes as determined by our audience, ranked by the number of clicks on our site throughout 2019.
5 | Cornerstone content | 45,000+
The Pick and Roll has become the go-to source to keep everyone up to date across all the Aussie players in the NBA, top-line European leagues and NCAA Division I college basketball just to mention a few.
Our college listings for both the Aussie men and women continue to lead the way with links to player profiles, teams and conferences. Whether it is catching up on freshman star Josh Green at Arizona through to Jaz Shelley at Oregon, we provide you with the tools to stay up to date.
Bec Allen is lightning it up for Polish side Arka Gdynia in EuroLeague Women while Jock Landale's rising star with Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania, Our European listing also provides links to player profiles, teams and leagues to enable fans to stay connected with what's happening in Europe.
And who doesn't love an Aussie in the NBA? We list them all too, along with the regular season record holders. Plus together with the support from Basketball New Zealand's NBL, we live streamed the 2019 season exclusively to an Australian audience via The Pick and Roll.
4 | How to watch basketball in Australia | 70,000+
In 2019, we also helped keep you and the rest of the Australian basketball community abreast of how to watch basketball live in Australia across the year.
Watching the Boomers in their warm up games and their 2019 FIBA World Cup campaign, through to the watching the NBLxNBA games and the 2019/20 NBL season via groundbreaking new deals with ESPN and SBS - not to mention the NBA on SBS - we had your back!
It's never been easier to watch basketball in Australia!
3 | NBL player movements and speculation | 95,000+
The 2019/20 NBL season has created a buzz like never before.
A new team in the South East Melbourne Phoenix, an influx of new imports, returning college players, and of course LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton as NBL Next Stars, ensured everyone focused on the NBL. We explored team depth charts, Will Weaver's addition as Kings head coach, potential new recruits and imports such as Tyreke Evans and Tacko Fall, with the focus firmly placed on the the the increased exposure and league success.
Even during the first half of the season, we have seen the addition of Xavier Cooks to an already loaded Sydney Kings, while Glen Rice Jr's short stint with the Breakers was marred in controversy and Corey Webster had his troubles too in a difficult season for the New Zealand team.
We recently took a rational look at the Aussie and Kiwi stars based overseas who should consider a return down under to play in the NBL, and while we broke down the salary cap system, we still could not get access to the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
With a Tasmanian team on the horizon, there are likely to be more opportunities in 2021 and beyond, and it all bodes well for the long-term success of the NBL and the sport in Australia.
2 | Boomers vs Team USA | 120,000+
A ticket to the Boomers vs Team USA series at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium was the hottest in town.
Played in front of record 50,000+ crowds in consecutive games at Marvel Stadium ahead of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Australia scored a ground-breaking victory over Team USA in game 2 behind a clutch performance from Patty Mills down the stretch. The Boomers not only made history at the box office, but also in taking down the USA for the first time in their history.
While the historic victory against the US made headlines, so did the the ticketing and seating arrangements. With a host of the biggest NBA stars withdrawing from their respective national teams, including Australia's own Ben Simmons, many fans who had forked out hundreds, if not thousands to watch their NBA heroes take to the the court were left disappointed. Adding salt to the wounds was the fact that some of the seating arrangements at the venue did not provide a view of the court and players in action that was expected for premium pricing paid. We explored whether expectations could have been better better in the lead up to the record-breaking event.
Calls for ticket refunds from disgruntled fans also led to the ACCC being involved in investigating alleged misleading advertising. Coupled with the Boomers' intriguing team selection and challenges which included an injury to Xavier Cooks and Jonah Bolden walking out, what should have been a celebration of Australian basketball was turned into a media fiasco and a public relations disaster.
1 | Boomers 2019 FIBA World Cup campaign | 305,000+
From whether Ben Simmons would play or not, Boomers team selection, ticketing controversy and a historic win against Team USA, all this was a precursor to the 2019 FIBA World Cup. In China, Australia once again stamped itself as one of the best four nations on the planet and moved up to number three in the FIBA World Rankings - it's highest ever status but still in search of an elusive medal.
The Boomers followed up their fourth place finish in Rio with another fourth in China, going down to Spain in the semi-finals in a heart-breaking double overtime finish before succumbing to France for bronze.
It was a case of being so close to that first ever men's senior World Cup medal, yet so far. It was a build up and event that once again captured the imagination of fans back home in Australia and is sure to do the same as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games emerge on the horizon.