Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics Hub

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are underway! Stay up-to-date with us at Baseline Times!

Official – Full Schedule from NBC (for the United States)

Baseline Times Olympic Leaderboard

The Baseline Times has developed its own rubric for scoring each country’s performance at the Olympic Games by weighing each medal based criteria like competitiveness, number of athletes, medal value, etc. Follow along all throughout the Games to see who is truly winning the Olympics! See here for the rules and logic behind this medal tracker.

CountryGoldSilverBronzeBT Points
USA141711224
China18911192
ROC (Russia)101410175
Japan1746165
Top performing countries will be filled in as medals are awarded

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Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics – Men’s Basketball Preview

The summer of basketball? While the 2021 NBA Finals end, the very next weekend will bring on a new basketball tournament. The delayed 2020 Tokyo games will open on July 23, 2021, and this summer will feature 12 teams in the basketball tournament. Need a guide for the basketball tournament? Here we are! The Tokyo 2020 – Men’s Basketball Preview.

Group A

Czech Republic

Following up its 2019 FIBA World Cup sixth-place finish the Czech Republic qualifies for the Olympics for the first time (well first time under the Czech Republic instead of former Czechoslovakia).

Current NBA talent: Chicago Bulls guard, Tomáš Satoranský

Projection: This team has limited talent from the NBA. The reality is in a group with a more superior France and the United States, it is hard to see them advancing to the bracket stage. However, the expectation for them to succeed in the qualifying was low as well and they ended up beating Canada as an underdog.

Iran

Iran is a country that is making repetitive appearances in major basketball tournaments. They are qualifiers of the FIBA World Cup tournament three times in a row now. They are also the lone Asian team in the tournament. This is a bit strange to say as China usually is a favorable team coming out of Asia. Iran has not qualified for the Olympics since 2008.

Current NBA talent: None at this time

Projection: Without any globally known talent, it is hard to see Iran coming out of this group. Their 2019 FIBA World Cup finish was at 23rd. A sneaky team in the group? Not even. Hard to say where Iran will fall in line but definitely not into the bracket stage.

France

The Frenchmen are a top team in the tournament. They’ve qualified for their third straight Olympics and finished third in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. This team shouldn’t be underestimated especially with the NBA’s three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. They can build a starting five of NBA players and not many teams in the 12-team tournament can say that.

Current NBA talent: LA Clippers forward Nicolas Batum, Boston Celtics guard Evan Fournier, New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina and Brooklyn Nets guard Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot.

Projection: France has talent and they surely can give any contender a run for their money at the Gold Medal. The best part is that the United States appears to be a bit vulnerable in some early-preliminary games. Even with the world’s best basketball players, the USA team lost to Nigeria and Australia. It could be a moot point by the time the tournament tips off, however. France has the USA first on the list and could be beneficial to get an early win and hope the beast isn’t awakened by the bracket time if they have to face the USA to stave off elimination. For now, the third-best team in the world sounds good

United States

Pretty much the roster is sort of set? With Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton are still playing in the NBA Finals as Team USA takes on exhibition games this team is still star-studded. Kevin Love, Bradley Beal, and quite possibly Zach LaVine are out of the tournament due to various injuries or health and safety protocol.

Current NBA talent: The ENTIRE roster

Projection: World champs? They are the number one ranked team in the world and rightfully so. However, a few losses in exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia had everyone in the hysteria that the USA lost its touch. We shouldn’t be surprised if this team faces a little adversity in the Tokyo games. Other countries are on the rise with their own NBA talent. Globally the game of basketball isn’t just tied down to the USA having the best talent either.

Group B

Australia

Early smoking of Team USA in an exhibition game means not to take the Aussies lightly in the 2020 Olympic games. Ben Simmons decides not to play for his native team however, no worries they’ve got Patty Mills.

Current NBA talent: Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs) and Ingles (Utah Jazz) Aron Baynes (Toronto Raptors), Matthew Dellavedova, Dante Exum (Houston Rockets), Josh Green (Dallas Mavericks), and Matisse Thybulle (Philadelphia 76ers)

Projection: Should we fear this team being dangerous enough to win the Gold medal? Probably so. They are the third-ranked team according to FIBA rankings for the Men’s side. Now let’s talk about Group B because there is a little more competition with Germany and Nigeria despite them being ranked outside of the top 10 in the FIBA rankings. They should be favored as the Group B winner.

Germany

Every since Dirk Nowitzki retired the Germans has had a tough road rebuilding their basketball team to competing among the top teams. They haven’t been to the Olympics since 2008 and the best NBA talent they have to offer is Moritz Wagner (and Isaac Bonga) so a much inferior team likewise the Czech Republic.

Current NBA Talent: Mortiz Wagner (Orlando Magic) and Isaac Bonga (Washington Wizards)

Projection: They will be busy trying to chase Nigeria and Australia in this group. Don’t expect the Germans to make it past the group stage

Italy

This team enters its first Olympics since the 2004 Summer games and they actually won the Silver medal! This time around Italy qualifies for the tournament with three players currently on NBA rosters.

Current NBA Talent: Nico Mannion (Golden State Warriors), Danilo Gallinari (Atlanta Hawks), and Nicolò Melli (Dallas Mavericks)

Projection: Again, another team flirting with the idea that getting past the group stage is something possible. Can they steal one against Nigeria or Germany to shake things up in the group? That would be the only overachieving direction for this inferior team.

Nigeria

The excitement about this team is that it features seven players technically on an NBA roster. They also have beaten Team USA’s current roster in the first game of exhibition play in Las Vegas earlier this month. While they are currently ranked 22nd on FIBA terms, they clearly have a roster that can compete with the elite of the United States NBA stars.

Current NBA talent: Precious Achiuwa (Heat), Chimezie Metu (Kings), Jordan Nwora (Bucks), Jahlil Okafor (Pistons), Josh Okogie (Timberwolves), KZ Okpala (Heat), Miye Oni (Jazz), Gabe Vincent (Heat).

Projection: This team probably shouldn’t be taken lightly as in the group they have to compete with another team beat Team the USA. With that said, Nigeria should have no problem finishing in 2nd place in this group at the worse. They also should qualify for the bracket round. From there depending on matchups I wouldn’t favor this team over Spain, Australia, Argentina, or the United States. However, consider Mike Brown as the head coach and a little NBA flavor with the international rules can keep this team competing.

Group C

Argentina

The last star player in the NBA that also played for Argentina was Manu Ginobili. In 2004 Argentina captured Gold but after that was the wrath of the redemption of Team USA who has captured the Gold medal in everyone tournament since then. The history of Argentina basketball also includes a 2008 bronze medal.

Current NBA talent: Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Gabriel Deck and guard Luca Vildoza New York Knicks

Projection: Argentina isn’t just ranked fourth overall for any reason. They can be considered a contender for the Gold medal game easily. A familiar name is Luis Scola who at age 40 is still playing for this roster. If anything, Scola can teach the young bucks a thing or two, and perhaps which is why they are still a strong team in the world.

Japan

As the host country gets their free entry to the contest Japan features some NBA familiar names and also brings an opportunity that Japan has not seen since 1976. That’s right the last time they qualified for this event.

Current NBA talent: Toronto Raptors forward Yuta Watanabe and Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura

Projection: With Spain and Argentina in this group it is hard to imagine Japan securing a top-two spot here. Things don’t get better against Slovenia who features Luka Doncic.

Slovenia

Here is a team that has NEVER seen the basketball tournament in Olympics history. The unique 2020 games in 2021 right? Led by none other than Luka Doncic, he leads his country to their first-ever Olympic Games after knocking off Lithuania.

Current NBA talent: Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)

Projection: Spain and Argentina make a fair case that this group is theirs respectfully 1A and 1B. However, adding Doncic to the mix here and a Slovenia team with the international experience already can set up for a nice winning combination. Doncic comes back to playing in the international waters where he spent as a young pre-NBA All-Star. I say expect Slovenia in the bracket tournament.

Spain

Where do we begin? The team that was always trailing Team USA and always on their heels at the finish line in Gold medal games. Spain finished with the bronze in 2016, and silver medals both in 2012 and 2008. The team will feature Pau Gasol who is currently playing for Barcelona and out of the NBA.

Current NBA talent: Marc Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Willy Hernangomez (New Orleans Pelicans) and Juancho Hernangomez (Minnesota Timberwolves), and Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves)

Projection: Favorites to win the Gold medal? Absolutely! I give the nod to Spain winning Group C and perhaps along the way potentially seeing an upset by Slovenia or Australia if I had to put money on it.


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Which Country is Really Winning the Olympics?

The Olympic Games are the pinnacle of sports on earth.  The world’s best athletes at dozens of different sports spend their entire lives to prepare to compete in hundreds of events every four years for your viewing pleasure. If an athlete has the right skill, fortitude, and genetics they might just win gold with a bit of luck.

These world-class athletes will soon know if all of their years of hard work and sacrifice have paid off. If they win gold they’ll know that they are the best in the world at their sport.  However, I have always felt that the country vs country Olympic coverage is lacking.

The Problem With The Olympics

Simply put, I don’t think we do a good job measuring which country wins each Olympics and by how much. You’ve probably seen tables like the below before. Some of these also weigh medals at 3 for gold, 2 for silver, and 1 for bronze. That’s a little better, but no matter how it’s done comparing raw medal counts doesn’t seem to adequately measure the Olympic Games.

There are also websites that weigh each country’s medal output per capita or by GDP.  Those are well and good, but they typically skew to smaller countries that happen to have one single Gold medal performer.  They also are not what I’m trying to prove here. I am trying to see who is the best country in the world across all events regardless of wealth and population factors.

I just don’t think that all events should be created equal.  Speed walking is not on the same level as basketball in terms of competitiveness, prestige, and a number of other factors.  Team sport medals shouldn’t count the same as medals for individual athletes.

Sports like swimming, gymnastics, and track and field each have dozens of different events with hundreds of total medals awarded across them to soccer’s 6 total medals (gold, silver, and bronze for the men’s and women’s events).  I love Michael Phelps, his record 8 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics may never be broken. But is this really the fairest way to judge which country is best at the Olympics? Team USA swimming took home 31 medals in 2008, which is more than all but 9 other countries across all sports and events that year.  There is a reason that the list of athletes who’ve won multiple gold medals at a single games is chalk full of swimmers, runners, and gymnasts (with a few shooters from the early 1900’s mixed in).

By way of example, swimming has 37 events at the Tokyo Olympics. By the above logic, are we saying that swimming is six times more worthy as an Olympic sport than basketball? And twelve times more than soccer? We could easily have more basketball events in addition to 5×5 and 3×3 (new to the Olympics this year) like: 1×1, 2×2, 4×4, dunk contest, 3 point shooting, heck even H.O.R.S.E. (and I would shamelessly watch all of these events). And I’m sure we could do the same for soccer and many other sports. You see the dilemma.

The Solution

There must be a way to better judge a country’s total output. I couldn’t find any rubric that I liked so I decided to create one myself.  See below:

  • Points for medaling – We’re keeping the weighted medal count the same here:
    • Gold – 3 points
    • Silver – 2 points
    • Bronze – 1 point
  • We’ll break the events into 2 categories of “competitiveness” (see the competitiveness criteria below).
    • x 2 points – maximum competitive (soccer, swimming, running sports, etc.)
    • x 1 points – ultra competitive (equestrian, sailing, judo, etc.)
  • Multiply the point total by the number of players per team on the field/court/track/etc. at a time.  After all, a sport that requires multiple players on the field all working together should get points for each player.
  • So a gold medal would be worth:
    • Basketball: 3 points (gold) x 2 points (max competitive) x 5 points (# of players on court) = 30 points. 
    • Soccer: 3 (gold) x 2 (max competitive) x 11 (# of players on field) = 66 points
    • Weightlifting: 3 (gold) x 2 (max) x 1 (solo event) = 6 points
    • Equestrian: 3 (gold) x 1 (ultra competitive) 3 x 1 (solo event) = 3 points
  • The Phelps/Team USA Swimming Rule – For each sport that has 10 or more events, a country may only count half of the medals as the number of events to their point total. For example, Sailing has 10 events so any one country can only claim 5 medals for their point total. Swimming has 37 events so any one country (*cough* Team USA *cough*) can only count19 medals towards their point total. They may claim the 19 highest point value medals, of course. This is to equalize sports that have higher numbers of events and the same athletes competing in similar events.

Olympic Competitiveness

The competitiveness criteria is a combination of the accessibility of the sport (i.e. number of people in the world able to play) and how developed the sport is worldwide.  Sports that are very developed have professional leagues, lower feeder leagues (NCAA, AAA, relegation soccer leagues, etc.), world class coaching, top athletes participating, money, resources, etc. Sports that are less developed lack one or more of these things.

A few quick examples: Running sports are maxed out in terms of accessibility even though they may not be as developed, depending on the distance, but they none-the-less are max competitive.  Speed walking is something that everyone has access to but has not been nearly as developed so it is considered ultra competitive. Sports that require expensive equipment like sailing, surfing, fencing, etc. are not accessible on a global scale. The would not be considered max competitive unless they have been developed to scale like baseball or weightlifting.

This is the Olympics and these are all incredibly talented athletes so there are only two categories: max competitive and ultra competitive. All of these athletes are clearly way better at their chosen sports than I could ever hope to be in anything in my life so I am not trying to take anything away from them. Also, disclaimer that this is a work in progress and coming from a very American athletic point of view. Contact me at the Baseline Times to make your case why any of the ultra competitive sports should be considered max competitive if you disagree with the list.

Max Competitive

  • Athletics/Track & Field – Running (26)
    • 100 metres
    • 200 metres
    • 400 metres
    • 800 metres
    • 1500 metres
    • 5000 metres
    • 10,000 metres
    • 110 metres hurdles
    • 400 metres hurdles
    • 3000 metres steeplechase
    • 4 × 100 metres relay
    • 4 × 400 metres relay
    • Marathon
  • Baseball (1)
  • Softball (1)
  • Basketball (2)
  • Field hockey (2)
  • Football / Soccer (2)
  • Golf (2)
  • Volleyball
    • Volleyball (2)
    • Beach volleyball (2)
  • Handball (2)
  • Table tennis (5)
  • Tennis (5)
  • Rugby sevens (2)
  • Swimming (37)
  • Boxing (13)
  • Gymnastics
    • Artistic (14)
    • Rhythmic (2)
    • Trampoline (2)
  • Weightlifting (14)
  • Wrestling
    • Freestyle (12)
    • Greco-Roman (6)
  • Road cycling (4)

Ultra Competitive

  • 3×3 basketball (2)
  • Artistic swimming (2)
  • Diving (8)
  • Water polo (2)
  • Archery (5)
  • Badminton (5)
  • Canoeing
    • Canoeing Slalom (4)
    • Canoeing Sprint (12)
  • Cycling
    • BMX freestyle (2)
    • BMX racing (2)
    • Mountain biking (2)
    • Track cycling (12)
  • Equestrian
    • Dressage (2)
    • Eventing (2)
    • Jumping (2)
  • Fencing (12)
  • Judo (15)
  • Karate
    • Kata (2)
    • Kumite (6)
  • Modern pentathlon (2)
  • Rowing (14)
  • Sailing (10)
  • Shooting (15)
  • Skateboarding (4)
  • Sport climbing (2)
  • Surfing (2)
  • Taekwondo (8)
  • Triathlon (3)
  • Athletics/ Track & Field – Non-running (22)
    • 20 kilometres walk
    • 50 kilometres walk
    • High jump
    • Pole vault
    • Long jump
    • Triple jump
    • Shot put
    • Discus throw
    • Hammer throw
    • Javelin throw
    • Decathlon

The Baseline Times Olympic Leaderboard

Follow along all throughout the Games to see who is winning the Olympics!

CountryGoldSilverBronzeBT Points
USA141711224
China18911192
ROC (Russia)101410175
Japan1746165
Top performing countries will be filled in as medals are awarded

China

Gold:

  1. Shooting – Women’s 10m Air Rifle – 3 points
  2. Weightlifting – Women’s 49kg – 6
  3. Fencing – Women’s Individual Epee – 3
  4. Weightlifting – Men’s 61kg – 6
  5. Diving – Women’s 3m Springboard Synchro – 6
  6. Weightlifting – Men’s 67kg – 6
  7. Shooting – Mixed 10m Air Pistol – Team – 6
  8. Shooting – Mixed 10m Air Rifle – Team – 6
  9. Diving – Women’s 10m Platform Synchro – 6
  10. Rowing – Women’s Quadruple Sculls – 12
  11. Weightlifting – Men’s 73kg – 6
  12. Diving – Men’s 3m Springboard Synchro – 6
  13. Swimming – Women’s 200m Butterfly – 24
  14. Swimming – Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – 6
  15. Swimming – Men’s 200m Individual Medley – 6
  16. Badminton – Mixed’s Doubles -6
  17. Gymnastics – Trampoline – Women’s Individual Trampoline – 6
  18. Table Tennis – Men’s Singles – 6

Silver:

  1. Shooting – Men’s 10m Air Rifle – 2 points
  2. Diving – Men’s Synchronized 10 M Platform – 4
  3. Swimming – Women’s 100m – 4
  4. Weightlifting – Women’s 55kg – 4
  5. Table Tennis – Mixed’s Doubles – 8
  6. Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Individual All-Around – 4
  7. Badminton – Mixed’s Doubles – 4
  8. Gymnastics – Trampoline – Women’s Individual Trampoline – 4
  9. Table Tennis – Men’s Singles – 4

Bronze:

  1. Shooting – Men’s 10m Air Pistol – 1 point
  2. Shooting – Women’s 10m Air Pistol – 1
  3. Shooting – Men’s 10m Air Rifle – 1
  4. Taekwondo – Men’s Featherweight 58-68kg – 1
  5. Shooting – Women’s Skeet – 1
  6. Swimming – Women’s 400m Freestyle – 2
  7. Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Team – 8
  8. Basketball – Women’s Basketball 3×3 – 6
  9. Rowing – Men’s Double Sculls – 2
  10. Rowing – Women’s Eight – 8
  11. Shooting – Women’s 25m Pistol – 1

Total: 192 points

USA

Gold:

  1. Swimming – Men’s 400m Individual Medley – 6 points
  2. Shooting – Men’s 10m Air Rifle – 3
  3. Taekwondo – Women’s Featherweight – 3
  4. Swimming – Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay – 12
  5. Shooting – Men’s Skeet – 3
  6. Shooting – Women’s Skeet – 3
  7. Fencing – Women’s foil individual – 3
  8. Swimming – Women’s 100-m breastroke – 6
  9. Women’s 3×3 Basketball – 18
  10. Swimming – Men’s 100m Freestyle – 6
  11. Swimming – Women’s 1500m Freestyle – 6
  12. Swimming – Men’s 800m Freestyle – 6
  13. Gymnastics – Artistic – Women’s Individual All-Around – 6
  14. Surfing – Women’s Shortboard – 3

Silver:

  1. Swimming – Men’s 400m Individual – 4 points
  2. Swimming – Women’s 400m Individual Medley – 4 points
  3. Swimming – Women’s 400m Freestyle – 4
  4. Shooting, Mixed team air rifle – 4
  5. Diving – Women’s synchro platform – 4
  6. Gymnastics – Women’s Team, Gymnastics – 16
  7. Dressage – Women’s Team – 6
  8. Softball – 40
  9. Swimming, Women’s 200-m Individual medley – 2
  10. Swimming, Women’s 1,500-m freestyle – 2
  11. Swimming – Women’s 200m Individual – 4
  12. Shooting – Women’s Trap – 2
  13. Swimming – Women’s 200m Butterfly – 2
  14. Swimming – Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay – 16
  15. Swimming – Women’s 200m Breaststroke – 4
  16. Swimming – Men’s 200m Backstroke – 4
  17. Triathlon – Mixed Team Relay – 8

Bronze:

  1. Swimming – Men’s 400m Freestyle – 2 points
  2. Swimming – Women’s 400m Individual Medley – 2
  3. Skateboarding – Men’s Street – 1
  4. Swimming – Women’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay – 8
  5. Swimming – Women’s 100-m backstroke – 2
  6. Swimming – Men’s 100-m backstroke – 2
  7. Swimming -Women’s 100-m breastroke – 2
  8. Triathlon, Women’s individual – 1
  9. Swimming – Women’s 200 Individual medley – 2
  10. Swimming – Women’s 200m Butterfly – 2
  11. Swimming – Women’s 200m Breaststroke – 2

Total: 224 points

Japan

Gold:

  1. Judo – Men’s 60kg – 3 points
  2. Swimming – Women’s 400m Individual Medley – 6 points
  3. Skateboarding – Men’s Street – 3
  4. Judo – Women’s 52kg – 3
  5. Judo – Men’s 66kg – 3
  6. Judo – Men’s 73kg – 3
  7. Table Tennis – Mixed’s Doubles – 12
  8. Skateboarding – Women’s Street – 3
  9. Judo – Men’s 81kg – 3
  10. Softball – 60
  11. Swimming – Women’s 200m Individual Medley – 6
  12. Judo – Women’s 70kg – 3
  13. Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Individual All-Around – 6
  14. Judo – Women’s 78kg – 3
  15. Judo – Men’s 100kg – 3
  16. Judo – Women’s +78kg – 3
  17. Fencing – Men’s Team Epee – 6

Silver:

  1. Judo – Women’s 48kg – 2 points
  2. Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Team – 16
  3. Surfing – Men’s Shortboard – 4
  4. Swimming – Men’s 200m Butterfly – 4

Bronze:

  1. Archery – Men’s Recurve Team – 3 points
  2. Judo – Women’s 57kg – 1
  3. Skateboarding – Women’s Street – 1
  4. Weightlifting – Women’s 59kg – 2
  5. Surfing – Women’s Shortboard – 1
  6. Badminton – Mixed’s Doubles – 2

Total: 165 points

ROC (Russia)

Gold:

  1. Shooting – Women’s 10m Air Pistol – 3 points
  2. Fencing – Women’s Individual Sabre – 3
  3. Gymnastics – Artistic – Men’s Team – 24
  4. Taekwondo – Men’s Welterweight 68-80kg – 3
  5. Swimming – Men’s 100-m backstroke – 6
  6. Taekwondo – Men +80kg – 3
  7. Gymnastics – Artistic Women’s Team – 24
  8. Fencing – Women’s Team Foil – 9
  9. Swimming – Men’s 200m Backstroke – 6
  10. Shooting – Women’s 25m Pistol – 3

Silver:

  1. Shooting – Women’s 10m Air Rifle – 2 points
  2. Archery – Women’s Recurve Team – 6
  3. Fencing – Women’s Individual Foil – 2
  4. Taekwondo – Women’s Featherweight 49-57kg – 2
  5. Fencing – Women’s Individual Sabre – 2
  6. Shooting – Mixed team air pistol – 4
  7. Swimming – Men’s 100-m backstroke – 4
  8. Swimming – Men’s 4×200 freestyle relay – 16
  9. Women’s 3×3 basketball – 12
  10. Men’s 3×3 basketball – 12
  11. Rowing – Women’s Pair – 4
  12. Rowing – Women’s Single Sculls – 2
  13. Fencing – Men’s Team Epee – 6
  14. Archery – Women’s Individual – 2

Bronze:

  1. Taekwondo – Men’s Flyweight -58kg – 1 point
  2. Fencing – Women’s Individual Foil – 1
  3. Diving – Men’s 10m Platform Synchro – 2
  4. Shooting – Mixed team air rifle – 2
  5. Judo, Women’s -70kg – 1
  6. Gymnastics, Men’s individual all around – 2
  7. Swimming – Men’s 100m Freestyle – 2
  8. Judo – Men’s 100kg – 1
  9. Gymnastics – Artistic – Women’s Individual All-Around – 2
  10. Judo – Men’s +100kg – 1

Total: 175 points


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2021 NBA Finals: (2) Phoenix Suns vs (3) Milwaukee Bucks

2021 NBA Finals: (2) Phoenix Suns vs (3) Milwaukee Bucks

Baseline Times 2021 Summer Intern – Adam Kinberg previews this year’s NBA Finals at BaselineTimes.com

(2) Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns are coming off a very strong postseason run in which they beat some of the best teams in the western conference. Their playoff run began with a meeting with the heavily favored and defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. Both of the Lakers’ stars were banged up with injury but nobody was willing to bet against the tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers ended up beating the Suns in Phoenix in game two and in LA in game four. It looked like the Suns were done, with their arena packed with “let’s go Lakers” chants and the team being smothered by the greatness of LeBron James. The Suns then showed their championship pedigree by winning three straight games to take down the scrappy and resilient Lakers in six games. The Suns then moved on to the Denver Nuggets.

The Suns made a very solid Nuggets team even without Jamal Murray look like a JV squad. The Nuggets were one of the best teams in the regular season and were thought to make a deep playoff run with their MVP in Nikola Jokic. Phoenix had other plans. “Suns in 4.” The Suns then went back to Staples Center to play the Los Angeles Clippers. Even without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, the Clippers were still a very resilient and fierce team coming back from an 0-2 deficit in each of their last two series. The Clippers were known for making comebacks but Phoenix would have none of it. The Suns took care of homecourt in games one and two with the help of some Deandre Ayton heroics then took game four in LA. The Clippers were in the position that they loved to be in, counted out.

The Suns then dropped the possible series clincher at home but cliched the series in LA with a masterpiece of a game from Chris Paul in the arena and city he once called home. The Suns are going to the finals for the first time since 1993. Phoenix is now set to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA finals. The Bucks have not won an NBA championship since 1971 while the Suns have not won a championship in their team’s history. Phoenix and Milwaukee are both very well constructed teams with strong foundations. This series will come down to execution, defense, and veteran leadership. This series will be very entertaining and it will come down to a game six or seven. In the end, the Suns will be the 2021 NBA champions. The offensive tandem of Chris Paul and Devin Booker will overwhelm the Bucks. Chris Paul will be the factor that tips the needle in Phoenix’s favor. The veteran savvy that Paul provides will lift the Suns to their first championship.

(3) Milwakuee Bucks

The Milwaukee Buck is coming off a very successful playoff run in which they defeated the best teams in the east. They made the previous eastern conference champion in the Miami Heat look like child’s play sweeping them in four games. They then moved onto the Brooklyn Nets in which they came out victorious in a hard-fought seven games series that saw Milwaukee climb out of an 0-2 hole and a 3-2 deficit. They then moved onto the red hot Atlanta Hawks that featured an up and coming star in Trae Young. They took care of the Hawks in six games which saw many key injuries including the Bucks own Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Hawks’ Trae Young.

Khris Middleton was superb in this series showing that he is a worthy co-star for Giannis. He dropped a whopping 38 points in a must-win game three in Atlanta and 32 in the series-clinching game six in Atlanta. Both were very high stakes games and Middleton rose to the occasion. He also did not have the help of Giannis in game six as he was out with injury. The Bucks are now set to face one of the hottest and most well-balanced teams in the league in the Phoenix Suns. This matchup is one of the most intriguing in years as it does not feature a super team. Both the Suns and Bucks are teams that have built through the draft with smart free-agent signings.

The teams that usually win the championship are those that go all out on big names and stack their team as much as possible. Neither the Suns nor Bucks have done this. The Bucks duo of Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo Are set to face Chris Paul and Devin Booker. Both teams are very balanced and talented. It remains to be seen if Giannis will play but nonetheless, this will be a very entertaining series.

Top players to watch

Devin Booker – 2021 Playoffs

  • 27.0 PPG
  • 6.4 RPG
  • 4.8 APG

Giannis Antetokounmpo – 2021 Playoffs

  • 28.2 PPG
  • 12.7 RPG
  • 5.2 APG

Where should the money go?

SUNS IN 6!

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
PHX leads series 1-0

7/06

9:00 PM ET

ABC

Bucks - 105 
Suns - 118

Game 2:
PHX leads series 2-0

7/08

9:00 PM ET

ABC

Bucks - 108 
Suns - 118

Game 3:
PHX leads series 2-1

7/11

8:00 PM ET

ABC

Suns - 100
Bucks - 120

Game 4:
series tied 2-2

7/14

9:00 PM ET

ABC

Suns - 103
Bucks - 109

Game 5:
MIL leads series 3-2

7/17

9:00 PM ET

ABC

Bucks - 123 
Suns - 119

Game 6:
MIL wins series 4-2

7/20

9:00 PM ET

ABC

Suns - 98
Bucks - 105

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The July of Drafts – MLB, NBA, and NHL 2021 Draft day breakdown

Professional sports drafts consist of teams choosing athletes that they think are the best fit for their team. All drafts look different based upon the sports that are hosting them. The National Football League, the National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball conduct their drafts differently than others.

National Football League

The National Football league held its draft on April 29th and ended on May 1st, 2021. The selection of players is conducted by college athletes, players from other teams previously in the NFL, and free agents. The draft itself consists of seven rounds, the rounds are split between three days. The first day is only for the first-round draft picks, Friday is selected for second and third rounds and Saturday is for rounds four through seven.

 Each round has 32 picks and each round has a time limit for each team selecting players. On the first day, teams get ten minutes to pick their players, seven minutes in the second round, five minutes through rounds three through six, and four minutes for round seven. The order in which teams select players is based on the team’s success in the previous season. Whichever team did the worst in the season gets the first pick in every round and the Superbowl champions picks last. Slots 1-20 are assigned to teams how didn’t make the playoffs and the Superbowl champions have slot 32 and the last pick in each round.

Players coming out of high school are required to have completed three years and have used their college eligibility before the beginning of the upcoming college football season. Recent college graduates are eligible for the draft within the year of their last collegiate game.

For more information about the NFL Draft, click the link below to stay up to date with all news and schedules following the 2021 draft.

https://www.nfl.com/draft/

Major League Baseball

The Major League Baseball draft will be held on July 11th-13th 2021 in Denver, Colorado. This year’s draft will last 20 rounds as compared to the 2020 draft that was shortened due to COVID with five rounds. Recent high school graduates and or high school graduates who have completed one year of junior college are eligible for the draft. Athletes attending four-year colleges are eligible by their junior year or when they turn 21 years old.

The draft rounds are structured similarly to the NFL’s draft that being in reverse order by each team’s prior season standing. This year’s order will start with the Pittsburgh Pirates and will end with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the previous World Series Champions from the 2020 season. The Houston Astros were denied their first and second-round picks in 2020 and now in 2021 as punishment for sign stealing. The league also assigns value to each pick in the first ten rounds. The overall total of the salaries can’t go over the total amount for the slot values in the first 10 rounds.

Less than a week until the MLB 2021 draft and the top 100 prospects are being showcased.

The National Basketball Association

The NBA Draft 2021 takes place on July 29, 2021, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. There are two total rounds in the draft and within the 30 teams in the NBA each team gets a pick in each round, therefore 60 players get drafted each year. The NBA conducts the draft by having a Draft lottery, the purpose is so that the team that wins the lottery gets the first pick in the draft instead of the worst team choosing first. This means the first 14 picks are structured by the lottery and the remaining teams are picked similar to other professional sports leagues, by previous team standings in reverse order.

Teams can also trade draft picks before and during the draft process. Eligibility for the draft includes athletes being at least 19 years old and has been graduated from high school for at least one year. Player Eligibility is also guaranteed if the athlete has completed four years at a college/university. Teams have five minutes to choose their desired athlete in each round of the draft.

The top 14 picks for from the NBA draft lottery.

The National Hockey League

The National Hockey League’s 2021 draft begins July 23 and ends on July 24th and is set to be in Secaucus, New Jersey but the players will enter the draft through zoom. Since the draft will be held virtually, day one of the draft will only consist of round one, the following day will hold rounds two through seven. The NHL’s draft process is similar to other professional sports drafts by having draft picks based upon the lottery, previous season standings, and playoff results. Athletes entering the draft are considered if they are 18-20 years old when the draft begins.

The draft consists of 7 rounds and 31 picks are allowed throughout each round. In total players are coming from three different types of organizations to be considered for the draft which includes junior hockey leagues in the US and Canada, European junior and senior hockey leagues, and NCAA teams. Although the age requirements are between 18-20 years old, if players are over 20 years old they can join a team they choose as free agents. This year the draft will start with the Buffalo Sabres with the first pick and the second pick will go to the Seattle Kraken.

A quick guide that includes the top 2021 NHL Draft Prospects along with scouting reports and information about the upcoming draft.

2021 NBA Playoffs Podcaster Bracket Challenge

Welcome to the second year of the NBA Playoffs Podcaster Bracket Challenge! We’ve partnered up with a few other NBA podcasts to share series predictions throughout the 2021 NBA Playoffs. Let’s see who knows the most about the sport they podcast about! The returning Champions George and Sami Jarjour from Pod That: Two Brother’s Talkin’ Sports Podcast return to defend their title!

This year’s tournament will feature the Shoot or Pass Podcast, The Close Up Magic, The Dime with Josh Rodriguez, and new contestant Ben Berry from Sixers Talk!

Each podcast has collectively chosen series winners and series lengths for each round up until the Finals, where they have predicted their 2021 NBA Champions. Some of the points are also earned for picking the CORRECT Play-in Tournament winners as well.

Follow along as each podcast team makes their picks, brings you some crossover content (and tons of trash talk) on upcoming episodes of the podcasts below!

*Each podcast with multiple hosts has agreed to collectively submit their picks as a team

Leaderboard

Current as of 7/06/2021

PodcastScore
The Close Up Magic2200
Shoot or Pass Podcast2050
Pod That2050
Sixers Talk2000
The Dime1850

The Contestants – Listen and follow!


Scoring System

Game RoundPoints
Play-In Tournament200 points for correct winner of each Play-in Tournament game
1 (First Round)100 points for each correct Series prediction (800 total points possible)
2 (Conference Semi-Finals Round)200 points for each correct Series prediction (800 total points possible)
3 (Conference Finals Round)400 points for each correct Series prediction (800 total points possible)
4 (Finals Round)800 points for a correct Series prediction (800 total points possible)
Series Length Prediction100 points for a correct Series Length prediction (1,500 total points possible)


Podcasters Brackets

Play-in Tournament Picks

Podcast

Pod That: Two Brother’s Talkin’ Sports

Shoot or Pass Podcast

Sixers Talk

The Close Up Magic

The Dime

Game 1 Winner

Game 2 Winner

Game 3 Winner

Game 4 Winner

Game 5 Winner

Game 6 Winner

Check out the 2021 NBA Playoffs Hub

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2021 NBA Playoffs Hub

Welcome to the Baseline Times 2021 NBA Playoffs Hub! Your go-to for all of the 2021 NBA Playoffs schedule, scores, and more from our dedicated NBA team here at Baseline Times.

The 2021 NBA Playoffs tip-off on May 22, 2021. The Play-in Tournament will run from May 18th – May 21st, 2021.

2021 NBA Finals – schedule, scores, and more

2021 NBA Playoffs – Conference Semifinals Series schedule, scores, and more

Conference Finals

Conference Semifinals Series

First Round Series

Conference Finals

Conference Semifinals Series

First Round Series

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Podcasts

A Proposal to Fix Team USA 3×3 Men’s Basketball

Two things that you may have heard:

  1. Three on three basketball will be played at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.
  2. The USA Men’s Team failed to qualify.

Now, I don’t think I have to explain to you how unacceptable this is. The USA is the birthplace and mecca of basketball not to mention the home of most of the top players in the world. The current 3×3 squad is not bad, they were ranked second in the world and won the last World Cup in 2019. But “not bad” isn’t going to cut it. We’re Team USA, we should dominate. There should be no shot that we ever don’t win gold, let alone fail to qualify for the Olympics.

The 3×3 Proposal

My proposal is simple: a youth and NBA talent infusion for Team USA Men’s 3×3. The current 3×3 roster is comprised of guys who were ex college players who maybe had a cup of coffee in the NBA. Instead, we are going to take young, hungry NBA players on bad teams. The young part is intuitive, we need guys who are willing to play 3×3 and are also fresh and healthy. We are going to set the cut off for this criteria at 25 years of age. No one older than 25 will be in consideration. But why bad teams? Well, let’s explain below.

A team needs to win the Olympic qualifying tournament to, well, qualify for the Olympics. This year’s tournament took place between May 26-30, which would be right in the middle of the NBA playoffs during a normal year. So, we are going to take young players on teams that are not in the playoffs in order to let them qualify. There might also be some other qualification requirements (not sure as information on this is kinda spotty). So, even if these players have to miss a game or two for additional qualifying events, their team wasn’t contenting anyway.

Additionally, we’ll want them practice together starting in April as they’ll need time to get used to 3×3 ball and their new teammates. In return these players get to grown their brand in international competition and have a chance to win something important. The teams get to give their young guys high-profile international experience and to keep their young stars happy. It would also give a bit of a boost in profile and media attention to these teams currently at the bottom of the barrel. Everybody wins!

The Player Pool

Of course, the 5×5 Team USA squad would still be more prestigious so no one who is on the 5×5 team will be in consideration for the 3×3 team. (Not too many players intersect here anyway as most of the guys on the 5×5 team are older and on good teams).

This year, the following teams were well out of playoff contention. Their year end rosters will comprise our player pool.

  • Timberwolves
  • Thunder
  • Rockets
  • Cavaliers
  • Pistons
  • Magic

Hypothetically, that would make our talent pool this year something like:

  • G Colin Sexton, Cavs
  • G Dangelo Russell, Twolves
  • G Malik Beasley, Twolves
  • G Darius Garland, Cavs
  • G/F Anthony Edwards, Twolves
  • G/F Josh Jackson, Pistons
  • G/F Kevin Porter Jr., Rockets
  • F Jae’Sean Tate, Rockets
  • F Saddiq Bey, Pistons
  • F/C Isiah Stewart, Pistons
  • C Jarrett Allen, Cavs
  • C Christian Wood, Rockets
  • C Naz Reid, Twolves
  • C Wendall Carter Jr, Magic

So, the 3×3 game has just a four man roster (three starters and one sub). Of the guys above, I would probably choose:

  • G Colin Sexton, Cavs
  • G/F Anthony Edwards, Twolves
  • C Jarrett Allen, Cavs
  • C Christian Wood, Rockets

We will probably get a few opt outs and injuries in this group but if I had my druthers this is who I would roll with. Sexton is playing the PG role, Edwards can knock em down against this competition, Wood can stretch the floor and also rim protect, and Allen is more of the pure center. No current 3×3 team in the world is coming anywhere close to this team skill-wise, athletically, or in any facet of the game. All of these guys will get a ton of exposure, get to rep Team USA, and will be kings of the court. What’s not to love?

Single Team 3×3 Champs

The other option (a very intriguing one I might add) would be to select one NBA team to designate as the 3×3 representative every Olympics. Once again, we would have to go with a team that is squarely out of the playoffs. I think the advantage here is that a given NBA team would be much more likely to go for this if they could get their young core to gel together and bring a ton of fan attention to their team. Think about it, a single NBA team would literally get to play as Team USA. They would basically print money in special jerseys and other merchandise sales. This would easily be worth it for for them even if their guys had to miss a few games for the aforementioned qualification reasons as they have no shot at NBA title contention anyway.

Cavs 3×3

Looking at the above player pool, I would probably pick the Cavaliers as this year’s designee. G/F Isaac Okoro would easily slot in with the rest of the above player pool, so their roster would be:

  • G Colin Sexton
  • G Darius Garland
  • G/F Isaac Okoro
  • C Jarrett Allen

Or… or… or we could even pit each of these squads against each other in a mini-tournament to see who earns the right to go to the Olympics and win gold. Let’s make it a simple four team tournament so no one has an advantage with a bye. That would make the remaining teams for this year hypothetically something like:

Timberwolves 3×3

  • G Deangelo Russell
  • G Malik Beasley
  • G/F Anthony Edwards
  • C Naz Reid

Rockets 3×3

  • G Armoni Brooks
  • G/F Kevin Porter Jr.
  • F Jae’Sean Tate
  • C Christian Wood

Pistons 3×3

  • G Hamidou Diallo
  • G/F Josh Jackson
  • F Saddiq Bey
  • F/C Isiah Stewart

The NBA could televise this and make a ridiculous amount of money. There is no way that this tournament wouldn’t get better ratings than most of the early round playoff matchups with an Olympic berth on the line. What hoop junkie wouldn’t be excited to see how these young NBA stars translate to the 3×3 game?

Maybe some of their skills would translate well and some wouldn’t. Perhaps an overlooked NBA player would be a 3×3 star. I would have to think that more traditional centers might find a niche here that is rapidly fading from them in the NBA. I also think some of these tweener G/F or F/C guys might find their calling in a much more wide open 3×3 game. Finally, this would be just plain fun. Sadly, way too much fun to ever be a serious possibility. Though, just like the 5×5 team of almost a generation ago, Team USA 3×3 already needs a Redeem Team.


Chris Paul – the career of bad faith but its time for a broken curse

Baseline Times Summer 2021 – Summer Intern Adam Kinberg shares his thoughts on Chris Paul’s best championship run this year.

Chris Paul is one of the greatest point guards of all time. His spectacular point guard skills and unmatched basketball IQ elevate every team he has ever played for. With his Phoenix Suns team making the Western Conference Finals, this is all the more apparent. He has been counted out time and time again. Fans and media members alike said that he was “too old” and “didn’t have it anymore. He is proving all the doubters wrong.

The Phoenix influence

Paul, at the age of 36 has elevated his team like no other player in the league. He has raised the Suns from a perennial bottom-dweller in the west to a bonafide contender. Out of the final four teams currently left in the playoffs, Paul stands as the best point guard remaining in the playoffs. His dazzling performance against the Lakers and Nuggets showed the NBA that the Suns are not just a young and up incoming team just happy to be in the playoffs. Paul showed that he can uplift a team no matter what the circumstance may be.

The guiding factor of winning

Not only has Paul done this with the Thunder and Suns, but with the Rockets and Clippers as well. The Clippers were a team marred by organization dysfunction and an ownership scandal. The Rockets were one win away from the NBA finals until Paul was injured. Both of those teams were uplifted by the presence of Paul. The failure to win a championship in both of those situations came down to factors that were out of Paul’s control. Take his performance in the 2019-20 season with the Oklahoma City Thunder as evidence. That Thunder team was projected to be one of the worst in the league. Despite this, Paul turned them into a playoff team. The leadership and skill that Paul provided boosted his teammates and turned that team into something special.

Paul now has the opportunity to win his first NBA championship. A career scared by missed opportunities now has the chance to become a feel-good comeback story. Paul is not washed nor is he too old to make major contributions on a championship-level team. He is an elite point guard in a league that values three-point shooting and athleticism over basketball IQ and fundamentals. Paul has found the perfect opportunity with a co-star in Devin Booker. It is time for Paul to prove everyone wrong. It is time for the Suns to win their first NBA title.

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2021 NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals – (3) Milwaukee Bucks vs (5) Atlanta Hawks

2021 NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Finals – (3) Milwaukee Bucks vs (5) Atlanta Hawks

(3) Milwaukee Bucks

All credit where it’s due and with a little fate the Bucks are in the Conference Finals for the first time since 2019. Thankfully, Kawhi Leonard isn’t on the other side (2019 – Toronto Raptors). The Greek Freak is growing up and proving that it’s not about the individual player awards this year, it’s about winning a championship. The Bucks survived Kevin Durant potentially eliminating them from the playoffs and while Kyrie Irving wasn’t available for the later part of the series you have to give credit where it’s due.

Moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals this year, the Bucks should be regarded as the superior team in the series, and rightfully so. They swept the first-round series against the Heat with no issues. After a close OT win in Game 1 against the Heat it was nothing but the Bucks winning by double digits from Game 2 to Game 4. The stepping stone point for the Bucks here is that they didn’t lay down to the “superior” super team Brooklyn Nets.

Defensively, Milwaukee has been one of the top teams in the regular season and the playoffs. The biggest x-factor here is Jrue Holiday who will have his attention on slowing down Trae Young. Now, Holiday isn’t Ben Simmons so how can we discuss this? Certainly, Holiday has NO PROBLEM shooting the ball or being an offensive threat for Milwaukee. Advantage Milwaukee if he can do a lot better than Ben Simmons.

(5) Atlanta Hawks

Listen, if you don’t know why the Hawks are here or the fact that this year’s roster has NO All-Star? Read the breakdown! Technically, Trae Young was snubbed from the All-Star roster this season but still not considered an All-Star this season! However, he’s not just an All-Star but a franchise-changing player coming up in big moments. He silenced Madison Square Garden and took a bow. What’s next? The Eastern Conference Finals!

Atlanta is definitely proving the naysayers wrong all season long. Giving them a hard time because Nate McMillan‘s previous playoff history included him going 0-7 in the first-round series prior to this season. However, he’s turned the team around and they are winning! My advice to anyone curious enough to check on the General Manager for the Hawks and tell me that a Golden State Warriors replica isn’t in the works.

Kevin Huerter joins the starting lineup for the Hawks in the last four games against the 76ers. With that move, it kind of proved McMillan’s adjustment right? Right? Huerter is the prime example of the next-man-up mentality. In a CLOSEOUT game where Trae Young obviously was feeling the defensive pressure, Huerter drops 27 points to lead the Hawks. The biggest deal for the Hawks in this series is getting some consistent bench scoring. You’ll need a combination of Trae Young plus the bench giving some support on nights that the Bucks may be clamping down defensively on the starting unit.

Top players to watch

Giannis Antetokounmpo – 2021 Playoffs through Conference Semifinals

  • 28.8 PPG
  • 13.6 RPG
  • 5.1 APG

Trae Young – 2021 Playoffs through Conference Semifinals

  • 29.1 PPG
  • 2.7 RPG
  • 10.4 APG

Where should the money go?

BUCKS IN 5

I know ATL is going to come for my head should they win. However, I trust the defense that defended Kevin Durant for 7 straight games better than I do of the 76ers and Knicks. A much different animal Atlanta is going up against in the Greek Freak. The Milwaukee Bucks will roll into the Finals!

Schedule and Results

Game

Away

Home

Date

Time

TV

Results

Game 1:
ATL leads series 1-0

6/23/21

8:30 PM ET

TNT

Hawks - 116
Bucks - 113

Game 2:
Series tied 1-1

6/25/21

8:30 PM ET

TNT

Hawks - 91
Bucks - 125

Game 3
MIL leads series 2-1

6/27/21

8:30 PM ET

TNT

Bucks - 113

Hawks - 102

Game 4:
Series tied 2-2

6/29/21

8:30 PM ET

TNT

Bucks - 88

Hawks - 110

Game 5:
MIL leads series 3-2

7/01/21

8:30 PM ET

TNT

Hawks - 112
Bucks - 123

Game 6

7/03/21

8:30 PM ET

TNT

Game 7:

If Necessary

7/05/21

8:30 PM ET

TNT

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