Problems in Knick World

If anybody thought the Knicks were going to instantly be a better team, they were wrong. They lost a big lead to Boston and only won because of lucky shots made by Melo. Tonight’s game against Golden State is atrocious. Winning by 8 points in the first half, then losing by 15 in the second. It’s all due to the lack of defense for 48 minutes. A common story in Knick world. Then there is their awful offense. I can’t believe I’d be saying this about a Mike D’antoni team but they can’t do a thing on the offensive end. When Amar’e and Melo aren’t scoring, like tonight, the Knicks have absolutely nothing. They have no flow, they have no playmakers with the ball. They have no passers and they look stagnant. They aren’t going to achieve any of the high expectations or goals set for themselves if they continue to play like this. Their offense cannot revolve solely around two players. They will get you 20 or so but then what? You’re stuck with Bibby shooting an old jump shot, and Bill Walker and Toney Douglas throwing up poor threes.

I realize these two games are just two out of a 66 game season. However, this game really shows the Knicks’ true colors. When their stars aren’t producing then this team is nothing. In a compressed season, they can’t count on two players to score for the whole team, or one player to defend for the whole team. They desperately need Iman Shumpert back, they need Baron Davis to distribute and they need an overall change of attitude. And culture. Ring a bell?

 

Does New York Have a Contender?

With the unofficial addition of Baron Davis, we begin to wonder if the expectation of a title could be realistic. The Knicks have the best front-court in the NBA with Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler. The rookie Iman Shumpert showed tons of potential in New York’s preseason game in New Jersey. The gap in their roster was in the backcourt and on the bench. Now that they’ve added an experienced veteran in Baron Davis, the backcourt is more experienced and the roster is deeper. If D’antoni decides to start Baron when he is fully healthy, there is an option of Shumpert, Douglas or Bibby coming off the bench. That’s a lot of options, especially when Douglas can play the 2.

How does this team stack up against the elite teams in the NBA? This offseason, they really made a jump from an average team, to an elite team. However, the expectations of winning a championship put a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Let’s analyze their game and see if they have what it takes.

Offense:

We all know the Knicks can score. With Carmelo and Amar’e combining for around 50 points a game, offense is never a concern. Especially when your coach is the infamous offensive minded man that is Mike D’antoni. Surrounding their two offensive stars, Tony Douglas, Landry Fields, Mike Bibby, Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert have all shown they have offensive talent. And the three ball. A deadly weapon. Their backcourt was only concern. They have four options to pick from for point guard. Now that Baron Davis is here, he and Mike Bibby can mentor the younger guards and bring experience. Let’s not forget how dangerous Baron Davis is when healthy. 

Defense:

This is the really big question for the new look knicks this season. Defense has been their weakness every season. The addition of Tyson Chandler filled a hole in the front court, and provided a defensive presence in the paint. He brought wear and tear, and toughness to a “soft” Dallas team last year, and is trying to do the same with the Knicks. Don’t underestimate the perimeter defense either. Landry Fields and Toney Douglas have proven themselves as capable perimeter defenders. Iman Shumpert also showed his defensive aptitude in the preaseason game against the Nets. Iman End to End The team defense, however is the concern. Communication isn’t a problem on this team. They have leaders, and talking to one another won’t be an issue. The issue will be working together as a team and playing defense for 48 minutes. Something Amar’e and Melo aren’t known for. No matter how good Tyson is in the paint, he can’t play defense for a whole team.

Bench:

Depth was a huge problem for the Knicks last season. After giving up practically all of their young talent in the “Melo Drama”, they were left with few assets. They’re depth in the backcourt won’t be a problem. They have four options at the point guard position. The frontcourt depth is a bit of a problem though. Renaldo Balkman won’t put up 20 points every night like he did on Saturday. Jerome Jordan, and Josh Harrelson are young players with little experience. They will have to really step up to help out when the Knicks’ dangerous starting front court takes a break. That might not be enough to win a championship. Depth is everything. It was the difference in the finals last year. The Heat were extremely limited and the Mavericks had J.J Barea and Jason Terry putting up double digits every game.

With all the new assets the Knicks are certainly a contender and a legitimate team for the first time in recent memory. However, the bar may be a bit too high for the Knicks at this point. They will hold their own against the elite but still have to prove themselves as a team. Only time will tell.

50/50

Congratulations, to the players and the owners for their 100th day anniversary of getting absolutely nowhere. Let’s all hope that this unhappy couple work out their problems soon, because there is nothing more aggravating than watching two partners argue over custody of… money.

Talks are in a stale mate situation since the players refused to meet with the owners unless the topic under discussion was a 50/50 deal. I guess for now it’ll be which side breaks first. The 50/50 deal was first thrown into the open as an idea, a simple idea that nobody had even mentioned. Equal distribution of the money had never even passed through either sides minds, so it was put off to the side. Obviously, the owners got thinking and realised that the 50/50 deal would benefit both sides the most.

That got me thinking as well, I looked at the 50/50 proposal from both vantage points and came to the conclusion that a 50/50 deal makes the most sense for both sides.

What the players and owners both don’t seem to understand is that they need each other for the other to have a job in the first place. They need each other like T-Pain needs auto-tune, like Harold needs Maude, like Shrek needs Donkey. There are no owners without the players and in turn there are no players without the owners.

The owners need the players for their organisation succeed, they need the players to bring them the fans and to bring them the championship. The players need the owners for a team to play on, for them to get paid and for them to have a career. For either side to get more money, it just seems like one partner is cheating on the other. And in this marriage there is no such thing as disloyalty.

To be completely honest, I think one of the main reasons a 50/50 deal makes the most sense is because no side will take less then the other. The players and owners could discuss ways to resolve the conflicts for ages and we still wouldn’t have an NBA season because no side seems willing to take any less then the other. We might as well call it even instead of missing a whole season. Besides that obvious reason, I think that the 50/50 deal makes the most sense due to what each side needs from the other.

The NBA is a very organised system. Owners invest in teams, they sign players, the players get paid by the owners and then us (the fans) go to watch the players play. If we broke it down you’d see that no side has the upper hand in this deal.

Without the owners the NBA is just a bunch of extremely talented basketball players either dominating European or Chinese basketball, or playing semi-telivised charity games all year in stadiums that can’t accommodate all the fans who love basketball. Without the owners the players have no money, at all. They are just normal people. The owners fuel the players careers, there are no players without the owners.

Without the players there is no excitement, there is no basketball, there is no NBA. Owners have no careers if there are no players. The players are the ones who risk their bodies, every day. They are the ones giving 100% of their energy every night to put on a show for the millions who love the NBA. We (the fans) love the NBA because of the excitement, the suspense, the talent, and the atmosphere. All those things come down to the players putting on a show.

Although, the players are the ones we love the NBA for, behind closed doors the owners are the ones responsible for most of it. Nobody has any leverage, each argument either side makes for more money can be matched by the other.

When there is no winner, there is either a tie or two losers. It just depends on how they look at it. Hopefully the verdict will be announced soon so we can get back to what really matters. Basketball.

Where They Go Nobody Knows.

Big decisions come up a lot within an NBA team. Who takes the last shot? Should we trade him? For the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, they are going to be making a decision that could potentially turn their franchise upside down. The #1 pick in the NBA draft will definitely change the future of one of these franchises. The Cavaliers played without Lebron this year. The team went from 61 wins and 21 losses to be the #1 seed in 2009-2010. To 19 wins and 63 losses with the #15 seed in the Eastern Conference and the #29 seed overall. The Timberwolves haven’t had a successful season in forever. The only thing they can celebrate this year was the development of their all-star; Kevin Love. These teams should think of these players not by what people have rated them but which player fits more in their team.

Kyrie Irving:

  6’3. 191 pounds. He’s quite average athletically, and height and weight wise for his position. Nothing like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook. More of a similar player to Deron Williams. He averaged 17.5 points a game, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game in his 1 year with Duke. He has tons of potential and at Duke proved to not only be a scorer but a great playmaker. He is fast and is great on the break. Which team needs him more though? The Cavaliers have Ramon Sessions quietly developing into a great point guard. He is a dangerous penetrator, and skilled passer. He is still young and still improving but he has tons of potential to offer the Cavaliers in the future. Then we have Baron Davis. He’s a 6’0, 32 year old point guard. He is cocky and may play with enough flash to make it on the Harlem Globetrotters. He throws lazy passes and dribbles carelessly. His career is slowly coming to an end even though he is a pure scorer still at his age. The Cavaliers would have a great tandem at the point guard position. Kyrie Irving starting with Ramon Sessions coming off the bench. Kyrie would be a great pick and roll partner with Anderson Varejao when he gets back from injury. They would certainly have the youngest point guards in the league. That can be a plus if you think they have more stamina and are quicker and more energetic. Although they won’t have any veterans and experienced players at the floor general, which is a must. It’s an interesting choice for the Cavaliers. Baron has really embraced playing for a poor team and bringing them back to the playoffs. Do they keep the veteran Davis and the youngster in Sessions coming off the bench? Or trade Davis and have Kyrie and Sessions at the point guard position. We’ll have to wait for June 23rd.

For the Timberwolves it’s a different story. They’re biggest flaw is at the point guard position. They switch off between Jonny Flynn, Sebastian Telfair and Luke Ridnour. They all are young and still learning but they haven’t showed much potential or talent that can carry a team. Kyrie Irving would be a perfect fit for this team, they would fill the gaping hole at the point guard position and add some scoring. They could also get some good pieces for Sebastian Telfair and Jonny Flynn.

Derrick Williams:

 6’8. 248 pounds. This guy is a big guy. He plays the power forward and may be a bit undersized at that position but is a big guy at the 3. He averaged 18 points and 8 rebounds in 2 years at Arizona. He’s made statements so far that have made the press and some coaches doubt his maturity. Stuff like, ” I could replace Lebron.” Or, ” I’ll win rookie of the year.” This isn’t a confident rookie, it’s called a cocky one. He definitely comes off as a hot head. We’ll have to see how he handles the heat, excitement and trash talk of the NBA. Who needs him more? The Cavaliers don’t have any consistent players at the small forward position except for Antawn Jamison who is injured right now and Samardo Samuels who has just started his path in the NBA but has proved some potential as a dirty work kind of player. Derrick Williams could be a great fit, he could fill the hole at small forward. Imagine this lineup. Anderson Varejao, JJ Hickson, Derrick Williams, Anthony Parker, Baron Davis. That’s a lineup that could win some games, especially  if Derrick Williams is inserted into the starting lineup, they’ll have Antawn Jamison coming off the bench as a 6th man. The Minnesota Timberwolves really have no need for Derrick Williams. They are developing Wesley Johnson, they have a pure scorer in Michael Beasley. They won’t need him at all really. What they need in the draft is a center. A big young center to play alongside Kevin Love.

I’m sure all pure NBA fans are eager to see which team picks which player. Let’s wait till the draft and see.