Knicks V. Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are already starting to talk trash about the Knicks, despite their abysmal record last year. The Knicks still embody New York, you guys will forever be intruders and impostors as New Yorkers. Still, this should be an exciting rivalry for years to come. Here are each team’s current ten man rotation.


-PG: Deron Williams, CJ Watson, Tyshawn Taylor

-SG: Joe Johnson, Keith Bogans

-SF: Gerald Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse

-PF: Kris Humphries, Mirza Telovic

-C: Brook Lopez, Reggie Evans

The Knicks and Nets will finally make a compelling rivalry this season.


-PG: Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Pablo Prigioni

-SG: JR Smith, Iman Shumpert

-SF: Carmelo Anthony, Steve Novak, James White

-PF: Amar’e Stoudemire, Kurt Thomas, Chris Copeland

-C: Tyson Chandler, Marcus Camby


The Nets clearly have us beat in the backcourt. Raymond’s great, but he’s no Deron. Joe Johnson has a bit of an edge over JR Smith, I think you could say. Still, once Shumpert is back, he’s way better than Keith Bogans. While the Nets have a better backcourt, though, the Knicks’ front court is far superior (on paper). Gerald Wallace is a great player, but no match for ‘Melo. Kris Humphries is a good utility guy, but Amar’e will tear him up if STAT returns to form as I expect him to. Lastly, Brook Lopez and Tyson Chandler: a toss-up. Lopez is undoubtedly the more talented offensive player, while Tyson gets the nod on the defensive end (by a mile). In the end, I take Tyson because I think Lopez is clunky, unathletic, and injury prone (plus, who knows what his role will be in this new offense).

The Nets barely have enough guys to field a team. Therefore, while the starting lineup can definitely stand up to New York’s, the Knicks have so much more depth that I don’t think the Nets will be able to handle us for a full 48 minutes. It should be interesting, but I’m optimistic about our chances against the cheese-balls in black and white.

Free Agency Review

It has truly been a whirlwind of an off-season, and a bunch of teams have put themselves in positions to contend next year. Below are recaps of teams that have done well in the last two months, and of those who have not.


Lakers: The Lakers have to be pleased with themselves. They replaced a mediocre Ramon Sessions with a still highly-efffective Steve Nash, and managed to add another quality veteran in Antawn Jamison. Jamison is one of those guys who was always a class act, willing to do whatever was needed of him, and has skill “out the wazoo.” They also just resigned Jordan Hill, who I still hope to be a fantastic player. I don’t know how LA is affording all of this. To boot, they are in the hunt for Dwight Howard, who would be a welcome replacement for the overrated, scrubby Andrew Bynum. Even if they don’t land D12, a starting lineup of Nash, Kobe, Jamison, Pau Gasol, and Bynum is scary to say the least.

Mavericks: As many have pointed out, the Mavs swung and missed badly in drawing in Deron Williams. However, additions of Darren Collison, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand, and OJ Mayo are very under the rader, solid moves. Darren Collison has never been given a chance since New Orleans, but it’s time for him to be a full-time starter because he can definitely succeed. Elton Brand is still a good guy to have if given an appropriate amount of money, which he is. Kaman may or may not be able to recapture his success on the Clippers, but with a one year contract, he’s worth the risk. OJ Mayo, like Collison, deserves starters’ minutes because the guy can play.

Phoenix Suns: I applaud the re-signing of Goran Dragic, who is a star in the making. Michael Beasley is a great risk to take – I loved him out of K-State and despite his issues could still be a dominant player. Great job picking up Luis Scola and resigning Shannon Brown, too.


Houston Rockets: Daryl Morey has crossed the line between experimentation and self-implosion. He has traded away exciting Kyle Lowry, let Goran Dragic walk, waived Luis Scola, and sign-and-traded both Courtney Lee and Chase Budinger. Dude, that’s the heart of your team right there. All of these moves made because he believes that Dwight Howard will agree to sign with Houston next summer. Not a chance. Besides jeremy Lin, there isn’t a player in the league who would relish the opportunity to play in the isolated, hick-ville of Houston. I repeat, Morey has no chance at D12. As if all of these wasteful roster moves weren’t enough, Morey just signed Jeremy Lin to the most ridiculous contract in league history (well, besides Orlando’s contract with Rashard Lewis). Lin is a future sixth man, at best a serviceable starting point guard. I was amused how Morey, Lin and others associated with the Rockets have taken to tweeting “#RedNation,” as if Houston is a chic, cool place that every wants to be. Good luck with rebuilding, Morey, because your roster is an absolute mess.

Nuggets: Just because they completely overpaid JaVale McGee.

Overall, I think a lot of teams made solid moves this offseason, and next season will be an exciting one.


The Jeremy Lin Controversy

There are two sides of the conversation regarding the Knicks’ choice not to resign Jeremy Lin. The first side is that of the New York fan base, a superficial,  shallow group to say the least.

From a nonchalant fan’s perspective, this decision is a disaster. Jeremy made MSG a cool destination to be again, a place where celebrities flock and excitement abounds. To this group, Jeremy Lin is a future All-Star who was the Knicks’ only hope to a bright future, and therefore is worth however much money it takes to get him.

The other side of the argument belongs to the diehard NBA fans, as opposed to the aloof Knicks fans. This group of fans knows that while Jeremy Lin is a solid player, he wasn’t worth the money by any stretch of the imagination. I belong in this group. Don’t get me wrong – I love Jeremy Lin and think he has a bright future in the NBA… as a potent bench player or serviceable starter. JLin7 will never achieve the same level of play that he enjoyed during his 25 game stretch. First of all, people are already forgetting that by the end of his run, his play was already beginning to stagnate. Teams previous lacked any semblance of a scouting report on him, but by the time the Knicks got around to playing the Miami Heat, his moves had already become stale, predictable, and largely stoppable. He went out with a whimper, regardless of his unimportant knee injury.

Now that I’ve established that Jeremy Lin will never be an All-Star, let’s focus on that ridiculous contract. The Rockets, at this point, appear to be the most desperate team in the NBA. After their ill-advised decisions to let Goran Dragic and Kyle Lowry walk (those two being guy with genuinely bright futures in the league), they wanted someone who could put fans in the seats. Jeremy Lin is obviously that guy. I’m not going to avoid the elephant in the room here, either. We’re all a little pissed at Jeremy Lin, and we have every right to be. I understand that he didn’t structure his contract and that he wanted to be and New York and that he has every right to seek as much money as possible, but there’s no doubt that he could still be a Knick is he really wanted to be. He is not required to sign an offer sheet with any other team, and had he any loyalty to New York he easily could’ve opted to take a little less money to play in New York. We were certainly willing to pay the man big time amounts of cash, just not as much as the Rockets were. At the end of the day, Lin kinda-sorta betrayed us New Yorkers who resurrected his career. Not only would the contract have been demoralizing from a financial standpoint, but it would’ve also been psychologically damaging in the locker room. Carmelo called the contract “ridiculous” and the always level-headed JR Smith stated that it would stir up feelings of resentment and jealousy from poorer veterans. Bottom line: the contract was un-matchable.

Jeremy Lin was not an essential pick-up for NYK (though I do love how he looks like he just woke up in this picture).

Finally, Raymond Felton is a great fit. He seems to be a player that thrives in big situations: a New York guy through and through. As long as he is in shape, he will thrive as the Knicks starting play maker and be just effective as Lin would’ve been except at a much lower price. Great to have him back.

For God’s sake, it is time to move on from Lin. He was not worth the money, was not as good of a fit as Raymond Felton, and should therefore be treated as such. Goodbye JLin7, hello future.


J-Kidd Off to a Bad Start

The basketball world has always known that Jason Kidd is a man of questionable character. The public perception of him as a wife-beating low life was reinforced today as news broke of a DWI last night.

Jason Kidd's latest mishap is a foreboding start to his Knicks' career.

By no means do I condone young players that make awful decisions and are subsequently busted for DUIs and such. These kids have money thrown at them for the first time in their lives, and are given a bunch of off-nights to go out and spend it on drugs and alcohol. They’re stupid and immature, but also products of their environments. I thus am relatively quick to forgive a kid who has never been taught to comport himself in public when he screws up. Jason Kidd, though, is a man of nearly 40 years of age, with bat wings reminiscent of most grandmothers’. For him, that period of forgiveness has long run its course, and it’s time for him to act like the grown man that he is. For a guy who came to New York to serve as a role model, this is egregious decision making. To make things worse, the kid he came to NY to “mentor” is no longer going to be in New York, as Jeremy Lin jumps ship to Houston (not that Kidd is proving to be a great role model). Perhaps he is taking for granted the support of New Yorkers. Wrong…let’s see some humility and good behavior from Kidd, then maybe we’ll accept him as a New York Knick come October.

Thankfully, Knicks Fail to get Nash

Many critics are leaping on the Knicks for failing to complete a sign-and-trade for Steve Nash. However, Nash would’ve been an epic mistake.

Nash can still play at a high level and would’ve undoubtedly made the Knicks better, but think about what we were going to give up to get him. Reports stated that Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas were both going to be involved in the deal. What?! Iman Shumpert is a future All-Star. Once he’s back from injury, which I fully expect to have zero long term consequences, he is going to continue his growth and be one of our most important pieces. I really, really have faith in Shump, and losing him would’ve been nothing short of tragic. Also, while Toney Douglas has an abysmal year, let’s not forget what a great spark he was for us off the bench two years ago. With a real off-season to hit the gym, I expect a rebound year for “TD” (as theknicksblog calls him, as if Douglas deserves a nickname and the TKBers are qualified to give one to him).

Getting Nash would’ve been no different from the past trades for Steve Francis (in which we gave up valuable swingman Trevor Ariza) and Tracy McGrady (in which we gave up rising talent in Jordan Hill). We like to trade for declining veterans who will put superficial, uninformed New Yorkers in MSG seats, and then who will be gone in two or three years. This trade would’ve been even worse than the Francis and McGrady deals though, because we wouldn’t clear any cap space.

Failing to get Nash is a blessing in disguise for the Knicks. He looks pretty good in a Lakers jersey, anyway.

Aside from Lin, we’re going to get a shoot first point guard this offseason. There are only about three pass first point guards left in the league anyway, and who says we can’t win without a true orchestrator? Lin is a playmaker and showed a strong ability to set up his teammates, so as long as we retain him (which I completely expect us to do), we’ll be fine. I like Raymond Felton a lot, especially because he thrived in New York and is constantly criticized. I also have my eyes on DJ Augustin (verry underrated), Aaron Brooks and Ramon Sessions. I would’ve especially like Goran Dragic or Jameer Nelson, but both have already signed elsewhere and we probably could’nt have affored them anyway.

Anyway, the Knicks are going to be fine. I promise. I just would like to see them make a splash sooner than later, because signing James White is not exactly riveting.

The Center Position

If you haven’t taken a look at an NBA All-Star Ballot in recent years, I highly recommend that you do. It’s absolutely hilarious.

Roy Hibbert, standing at 7-2, is one of the last true centers in the NBA, and as a result he receive a hefty contract this summer.

As you flip through the little paper ballot (with the fun holes you get to poke out) or vote online, take a look at the candidates for the center position. In each conference, there is literally one deserving candidate within the category, and the rest are absolute scrubs. In the West, Tim Duncan is the obvious pick, with the next best pick being Nazr Mohammed… not even joking. This is what the center position has deteriorated to.

The depreciation in value of the true center is not something to cry about, though, old timers. Centers are on the way out because, simply put, the majority of centers are not that good. First of all, when you get to be above 7 feet tall, you simply lose all ability to move with any sense of grace or agility. It’s not your fault that you lumber around as increasingly athletic swingmen dance and prance around you; that’s just the way it is. For example, I love Roy Hibbert – he’s one of the true professionals left in the league and has a plethora of skills. But have you seen him run the court? He’s pigeon-toed and can only be compared to a Mack truck in his inability to stop and change directions. He has to put on the brakes about 40 feet in advance. As Nate Robinsons and Rajon Rondos sneak up from behind him and swipe the ball right out of his hands, I just wish I could get the poor some rear view mirrors for his massive blind spots. Centers’ ability to move through space safely and effectively is not their only inadequacy as of late, though. Second is the fact that most centers just don’t give a damn. They were forced to play ball starting in middle school because their peers were at eye level with their waists, and ever since they’ve been forced to traveled down Basketball Road, benevolently yet indifferently. I hate Andrew Bynum with a passion, mostly because he lacks passion. You think Greg Oden lives for basketball? Questionable. I’ll tell you right now, Fab Melo will do less than nothing in the NBA. He is just another kid who was peer-pressured into playing. He has no skill, or desire, to play basketball. I could keep listing aloof centers of Christmas-past if I wanted to – Eddy Curry, Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic – but I’ll spare myself the time and disappointment of remembering all the potential that has gone untapped.

For years, NBA coaches played centers simply because they were tall. But in recent years, the NBA front offices have received something of a wake up call. They’ve thought to themselves, “Why are we wasting an entire two or even three roster spots on clumsy, uninterested guys, when we could just opt for a smaller lineup and be about ten times more athletic that any other roster?” And so, we have Nazr Mohammend and Chris Kaman as legitimate All-Star candidates.

As a result of this death of the center, excuse me for having doubts about any team that picks a center in the NBA Draft. My theory is, let other teams take a risk on him, and if he turns out to be effective we’ll take a shot at him through free agency or a trade. Because when the Blazers reached for Meyers Leonard and the Bucks for John Henson at 11th and 14th in the draft, respectively, all I could think about was Eddy Curry’s rolls of fat that developed after my beloved Knicks handed him a massive contract in confidence that he would work hard. The NBA doesn’t need clumsy centers taking up valuable court space, just as I don’t need these tears of pity trickling down my face as I imagine where the Wizards could be right now had they selected Pau Gasol (or even Tyson Chandler) instead of Kwame Brown in 2001.


NBA Draft Lottery – Thoughts

The 2012 NBA Draft reaffirmed my love for the draft as one of the most exciting days on the NBA calander. It was a pretty surprising draft. The Bobcats were surprising at number two, as were the Cavs at number four and the Blazers at eleven. Wanna talk about a winner? The Thunder got Perry Jones III, formerly considered a high lottery pick if not for a damaged knee (that could prove trivial) and a low motor (which could be erased by a could reprimanding by hyper-competitive Russell Westbrook. Talk about the rich getting richer. More to come on the draft, but overall another great night for the NBA. Below is my pick-by-pick analysis of the first fourteen picks of the draft, considered the “lottery” for those of you casual basketball fans.

1. Anthony Davis (Hornets) – Davis will surely be a good player. He has no “bust” potential like Greg Odom because he’s athletic and already highly skilled. I hate when teams draft purely based on potential, and this is clearly not the case for Mr. Unibrow (shave it, please… it’s not as endearing as you think AD). However, I can’t see him being a superstar on the level of LeBron James or Kevin Durant. I can’t put my finger on it, I just not as excited about him as much as most NBA scouts are.

2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Bobcats) – I’ll be honest, I don’t know a ton about this kid. He seems very level-headed and balanced as a player and person. I’ve seen firsthand that he has the ball-handling skills of a guard in the body of a swingman a la Wilson Chandler. I think he could be a 20 ppg, 5 assist per game scorer and an All-NBA Defensive player. This is mostly based on hearsay, though.

3. Bradley Beal (Wizards) – Beal is a talented player as far as I can tell. An multi-faceted scorer and talented defender. Can’t say much more than that. The Wizards still are going nowhere, though. Jordan Crawford is its DC’s starting SG, not a winning formula.

4. Dion Waiters (Cavaliers) – Waiters was picked much, much earlier than expected. As a talent, this guy is the real deal. He can score is so many ways, and I was truly impressed by his performance back in March. Word on the street is that he’s a knucklehead, though. The Cavs are still very far away from being a championship contender, and I think Waiters might be a guy who takes a few years to develop.

5. Thomas Robinson (Kings) – T-Rob is my favorite guy in this draft. Simply put, he’s an absolute beast; his arms and shoulders are incredible and as with Iman Shumpert, his jersey seems to be bursting at the seams. That strength will count for a lot in a league that places such high value on size and athleticism, and increasingly less importance on fundamentals and skill. Still, Robinson is a very talented player. A beast on the boards, he can also post guys up and apparently take them off the dribble. I remember once seeing him take the ball at the top of the key and get to to hoop with a single dribble and quick first step… I was blown away because it was a small forward’s move but with a PF’s size. With his work ethic and character, I think Thomas Robinson is destined for a fantastic NBA career in Sacramento. He was also picked three picks too late, so hopefully he’ll have an added chip on his shoulder (considering the fact that he believed himself deserving of the top pick).

6. Damien Lillard (Trail Blazers) – Damien Lillard is a fantastic pick. I’ve watched YouTube highlights, and the kid can flat-out score. Confident and dynamic, he’ll be an All-Star if he gets the minutes. Lillard, along with Robinson, is one of my favorite draftees.

7. Harrison Barnes (Warriors) – I view Barnes with a lot of doubt. He no doubt under-acheived at UNC, and I think he could be headed down the path of Marvin Williams. In other words, he won’t bomb, but he’ll always be a border-line starter and a subject of constant trade rumors as an expendable asset for his team. Mark Jackson is no doubt a great coach for young players, though, so perhaps Barnes will find some moxy and motor under Jackson’s tutelage.

8. Terrence Ross (Raptors) – Ross seems to be a quiet yet prolific scorer who enjoyed inflated statistics on a bad team. Nonetheless, he looks like he’s got all the tools to be one of the NBA’s premier offensive threats. I worry that he doesn’t have the NBA mentality, though. He’s quiet and a little to modest for me – perhaps he lacks a killer’s instinct? He reminds me of Danny Granger, through both his scoring capabilities and under-stated persona.

9. Andre Drummond (Pistons) – Honestly, I’m really tentative about Andre Drummond. He’s being drafted on pure upside alone, a scenario that I always hate. He didn’t produce at all UConn, and he seems apathetic and arrogant. He was picked later than projected, so the Pistons may have still landed a high-value pick.

10. Austin Rivers (New Orleans) – The rich got richer in this year’s draft as the Hornets made another fantastic choice. Rivers can flat out score at will. He’s a more precocious version of Stephen Curry, and with a father as rugged as Doc, Rivers undoubtedly has the will to win and improve. I may not like the kid as a person persay, but I suspect a bright future for the young Rivers.

11. Meyers Leonard (Blazers) – Considering the Trail Blazer’s history of choosing busts for centers in the draft (Bowie, Oden), you would think they’ve learned their lesson and would let other teams make the mistake of drafting projects. If they’re going to draft a center, Henson and Zeller both would’ve been more surefire choices. Leonard is a quiet, seemingly fragile kid who may not have an NBA mentality, either. Not a horrible pick, but a little curious considering the Blazers already have centers in Aldridge and Pryzbilla.

12. Jeremy Lamb (Rockets) – Great pick, bottom line. Lamb is a shot maker who will prove to be a clutch scorer who can put the ball in the basket in many ways. Athletic, pedigreed, and skilled, Lamb is a future star. The Rockets have impressed me with their wheeling and dealing. Getting rid of washed up Samuel Dalembert was a great choice, and shipping out an talented but unnecessary asset in Budinger will prove to be a good move as well.

13. Kendall Marshall (Suns) – I’m not a believer in Marshall at all. He has play-making ability as a passer, but not much else. Sure, guys like Andre Miller have excelled with similar skill sets, but Marshall is an un-enticing lottery pick who I would’ve let someone take a risk on later in the draft.

14. John Henson (Bucks) – Like Drummond, I’m worried about Henson. First of all, he’s exceedingly immature, both physically and mentally. He had a smirk on his face all night as if he was the sole possessor of some inside joke, and he looks like he’s about 15 years old. He’ll take a while to develop, and right now he looks highly uncoordinated, robotic, and emaciated. Henson is a boom or bust.

Thomas Robinson (along with Damien Lillard, Austin Rivers, and Jeremy Lamb) was my favorite pick of the NBA lottery.

NBA Finals Update

The NBA Finals have already proven to be controversial and exhilarating… I’ll be honest, my days are spent counting down the minutes until tip-off. Here are my notes from the first two games.

– I’m willing to accept the fact that LeBron fouled Kevin Durant in the final seconds on his runner. However, it was not such a bad foul as to really affect KD’s ability to hit the shot. Calls are as much a part of the game as the actual plays that are made, so just move on. As many of pointed out, KD could’ve fouled out three minutes earlier with a questionable defensive foul called on Shane Battier. He was lucky to have even been in the game.

– If the Thunder had successfully come back to win Game 2, the Heat would’ve been done. They would’ve felt so demoralized, heading back to Miami without anything to show for two well played games. The Thunder would’ve won in five.

– The Thunder are still going to win this series. The Heat played at the top of its game in Game 2 and just barely won. Miami cannot rely on Shane Battier to continue giving them 17 points a game – it’ll win two at home, but the Thunder will win in six.

– Enough talking about LeBron’s clutch gene (or lack thereof). He has proven that a) he doesn’t have the clutch instinct of a MJ, KD, or Wade and that b) he is not completely devoid of an ability to close games. When time is running out, LeBron is simply average, so let’s stop exagerrating about how brutal he is with time waning.

– Russell Westbrook does shoot terrible shots early in the shot clock, but he is as much responsible for the Thunder’s dominance as he is for their losses. In the end, the proof is in the pudding – the Thunder is on its way to an NBA championship (how damaging could Westbrook possibly be?). Let’s not forget about the dozens of electrifying plays he makes in every game – the dunks, the lighting-fast slashing, and his underrated passing ability.

I look forward to another great game today.

KD and LBJ

Size in Point Guards: Overvalued

It’s a shame that NBA scouts and executives often pass up on quality point guards because of their lack of size. I just don’t agree that size is a vital quality in a point guard; they’re not going to be posting up or dunking on opposing teams anyway. Sure, size in point guards is nice – Magic Johnson and to a lesser extent Russell Westbrook clearly benefit(ed) from being able to overpower their shorter counterparts. But I’m sick of seeing talented guards overlooked because of their diminutive statures. Four perfect examples in the past few years are Sherron Collins (of KU), Daniel Ewing (of Duke), Dee Brown (of Illinois) and Tyrese Rice (of BC). To me, all four are very talented and deserve to be in the NBA.  For God’s sake, Dee Brown was the star at Illinois, not Deron Williams! If Dee hadn’t broken his foot he’d have been a first round pick easily! Now, I’m not sitting in on mini-camps, so there may be more defects in these aforementioned guards than size, but there’s no doubt all of these players were written of as undersized.

Earl Boykins exemplifies the irrational distaste for short point guards in the NBA.


How many times have we initially labelled guys as undersized, who have later proved to be solid contributors in the NBA? Jameer Nelson is a classic case. He’s got that fire-hydrant build, like Sherron Collins, yet has averaged as high as 14 points a game and was at one point a focal point of the Orlando Magic offense. Earl Boykins has been electric for some teams during his NBA career. In Denver, especially, he was a joy to watch. Last is DJ Augustin. Not many people are as high on Augustin as I am, but I’ve seen him play a fair amount – the man can play and deserved more minutes.

I understand that you can’t use cases like Steve Nash and Rajon Rondo as more proof of undersized guards succeeding; they’re extraordinary, unparalleled passers, thus making up for their small size. Still, a quick look at Earl Boykins, Jameer Nelson, and DJ Augustin, among many others, will prove that NBA scouts need to drop size as a pre-requisite for point guards, and focus instead on pure talent.

Yankees Sweep, A-Rod Does Not

What a great run the Yankees are having. After a great sweep of their cross-town rivals, they’ve got to be feeling good. But, as always, I’ve got to focus on a negative. Alex Rodriguez is proving why he’s one of the most overrated players of all time. While people focus on LeBron James’s lack of a “clutch gene” (a new term popularized by Skip Bayless, I believe), A-Rod is the real one without a shred of clutch in him. I groan every time he comes up to bat with runners in scoring position, which is inevitably all the time. His solid .275 – .280 batting average suggests that he’s as good a guy as any to come up to the plate in such a situation. Wrong. I have watched time and time again in the last week or so as A-Rod hits into a double play to end a promising inning that I thought for sure would end instead in a run or two added to the board.

A-Rod is a world-class bum.

He simply lacks a shred of confidence up there during big plate appearances, and I can see it in his eyes. Just today, in fact, he grounded out into a double play, and the next got extremely lucky as a blooper fell through to keep a rally alive. Honestly, I’d rather have sweet-swinging Eric Chavez in at 3rd instead of this “first ballot hall of famer.” But at least we’re dominating right now.