Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Diamonds no longer shine in the Garden

In wake of the Knicks trade talks with Toronto coming to a halt,  I strongly believe the Knicks need to get back to operating totally in house.  What I mean is keep the pipeline to Europe, D-league and  summer league open and fix our situation internally. Signing guys like Earl Baron, Bill Walker and Shawne Willians. The Jeremy Lin  signing. The Copeland and Prigioni signing. Even guys like James White. We need to keep finding these guys and keep our team alive and relevant.  No team is going to save us the way Minnesota did the Celtics with the  Garnett trade.  No team is going to trade us Pau Gasol for our scraps the way Memphis did the Lakers.  We need to take control of our own situation. The only way to do it is to do what we have been silently doing the past couple of years and throughout knicks history.  Sift through the dirt to find Diamonds in the rough.

That 94 Knicks team was built behind players that literally were bagging groceries before they became Knicks. That famous story was told by John Starks.  He went on to become the city's beloved son and all he needed was a chance.  Anthony Mason played all over the world and could be seen every summer hanging out at West 4th. He was just a regular young basketball player,  rough and skilled looking for his break. My point is this is not something new to this franchise.  Back then teams didn't give up draft picks and the future just to get marginal talent.  They didn't beg teams to help them.  They didn't forfeit years to get under the salary cap and beg stars to save them. Why are the knicks so  soft? Management is to blame,  but all they have to do is take a breath and trust the  basketball minds they have out there scouting talent.

What is the knicks biggest  need right now? The knicks had their diamond  in the rough in their hands and his name was Bobby Brown.  Somebody called him in to workout with the Knicks THREE TIMES!!! Instead another birdy put it into someone's head to wait on Beno Urich to decide if he would come to the Knicks for a paycut. Anybody could see that Felton and Beno were basically the same player. Neither can defend and both had talent comparable to  most back ups in the nba. The knicks needed an explosive point guard with the ability to get to the rim and score.  They needed one that could stick that open 3 pointer.  Bobby Brown was that dude.  For several years he's been eating up nba talent during the summer.  Just last summer he teamed up  with Kevin Durant in the famous Drew League scoring almost point for point with his teammate. Bobby Brown is a California legend and he is better than a lot of guys in the Nba at his position. Another guy we had that actually played for us in pre season was Ike Diogu. Once he got started he was rather dominant inside.  He got all the boards in his area and he got deep in the post anytime he wanted.  If these guys were so good how come no other team is interested? Same could be said for Starks and Mason before the knicks gave them a shot.  It's not like the knicks picked up better players instead.  We signed Chris Smith and Cole Alrich who both played terribly in pre season.  At the present moment, Bobby and Ike are playing overseas when they both would be starting for us right now with injuries to Kmart and Felton/Prigioni. 

Jeremy Tyler by the way is still in the D-league balling out of his mind.  He's coming off two games where he had a combined rebounding total of over 30. He's scoring the ball well too. Toure Murry  actually made the big team only to be buried on the bench.  You can't tell me this kid is not destroying Felton, Prigioni and Beno in practice.  Yet through our struggles we call up Chris Smith from the dleague. Lord, please help the Knicks!    If you believe in the basketball gods then you know they have been trying their best to smite all our bad eggs and provide us with diamonds but we just won't acknowledge them. 

I'm just a fed up fan right now.  I hear my fellow fans talking about Rondo and LeBron still.  It's like our fanbase has been castrated. The tired line being used if a trade rumor doesn't include a star, "the knicks still not going to win nothing if they get that guy". People forget lateral moves like Bill Cartwright for Charles Oakley and then Oakey for Camby years later can change the course of your destiny. Remember Larry Johnson for Anthony Mason? That 4 point play doesn't happen if they didn't give Anthony Mason a shot way back when.  Wake up Knick fans and find your balls. Don't hand them over to this current group of.... sigh....I bid you farewell,  because as you all know,  when you start getting angry,  it can get ugly really fast. 

Go Knicks

Monday, December 23, 2013

Disconnection

As a fan of basketball and the New York Knicks, I have never been this disconnected to the team in all my years following the team.  I been a fan as far back as I can remember.  My first memories go back to Bernard King. He was like a superhero with his ferocious intensity and video game like scoring ability. The rest of the team were like his helpers that sometimes played bigger then their talents allowed. Those teams lost a lot but you believed in them because they played hard and gave us some great memories against our rival opponents.  Don't get me wrong we have had some horrible years.  The last time we won a championship was 40 years ago.  The Ewing era was a good run. There was alot if great moments to look back on.  15 years to be exact.

The Dark years was a combination of the Scott Layden era and the Isiah Thomas era.  A lot of people talk horribly about Isiah,  but one thing is for certain is he tried his best.  He picked up the best talent and best coaches he could get his hands on.  He even coached himself.  He just wasn't able to find the right mix.  The off the court stuff is what really embarrassed us. No need to relive that,  but there was an excitement still.  There was a buzz.  We sucked but sometimes we didn't and we all had players we liked and we had fun watching games as fans.

I mention Scott Layden last because he is the one that brought us to where we are now.  He ruined the Ewing era by trading him for run down, past their prime, troubled players. He fixed that by over paying mediocre talent. We were capped out  for years  with no ability to get better because of it. Even though they were terrible and we couldn't make moves,  they played hard.  The group lost but over achieved often to get the little wins they did get. 

After painting that picture,  I have no doubt in my heart that this is the absolute worst time in Knicks franchise history.  We won 54 games last season.  We basically lost 2-3 years to get here.  All the fans were on board because we knew what the goal was. We got our two stars and picked up some nice reserves to fill in the blanks.  Even with one of the stars hurt and borderline eligible for medical retirement,  the fans still backed this team to the fullest.  This 2013/14 season has been a complete smack in the face.  They fired Glen Grunwald for an Isiah Thomas era retread. They signed Jr Smiths talentless brother when there was a clear need in the front court.

The writing was on the wall for a bad start but no fan expected the season we  are having now.  First of all Felton showed up out of shape again.  Granted it was probably due to injury but as a professional that is no excuse.  Iman Shumpert didn't get better.  He had a phantom surgery,  but that is still no excuse as a professional.  Jr Smith also had a surgery after he signed a multi year deal.  His behavior since then has been cancerous with his behavior towards fans on Twitter and Instagram, to his selfishness on the court. He's having a season that's reminiscent of his younger days in Denver minus the athletic ability.  Amare has been in minute restrictions that also consist of him taking days off even if the team needs him.  Overall the team failure is being nursed and coddled by a coach with too much experience to be making the decisions he has on and off the court. The team is routinely un prepared and there is no sense of identity.  The coach is still trying to find the answers he should have down since the success of last two seasons.

The only player that hasn't given up on the team is Carmelo Anthony.  For him to still be playing hard is a testament to what he is about at this stage of his career.  The only other player that seems to care is Tim Hardaway Jr, a rookie.  The front office is even worse because they have done nothing as far as trades.  They aren't even pressing internal buttons to try and fix things.  The knicks are routinely embarrassed buy opposing  teams point guards, yet refuse to play 25 year old upstart Toure Murry. They get mercifully out rebounded every night yet refuse to play another young player in Cole Aldrich. They have a young power forward in the pipe line also in Jeremy Tyler, but chose to call up Jr Smiths brother who was said to be the worst  summer league player ever  by some coaches in attendance.  The group of guys are disorganized and they don't play hard.

The absolute last straw for me was hearing Raymond Felton tell the fans to "ride with us", referring to our booing and how we need to be patient.  This infuriated me beyond belief. No player before no matter how bad they were, and we have had some horrible years,  have ever came out and said that. At least when we were bad,  we all knew we were bad.  This team isn't supposed to be remotely close to being this bad.  It's pure nonsense on every level.
                                                     
So at this time I feel the most disconnected I have ever felt as a Knick fan.  With the time, effort and money  I invest in my hobby following the knicks, I literally feel shitted on. The fans take the losses harder than the players.  On days where Amare is taking a game off to rest he's posting that he got a new limited edition nike fuel band.  On a day after a horrible loss,  Shumpert is on instagram posting pics of the new xbox one he got along with a free game he got from Ubisoft. JR Smith on the other had mocks us fans daily  on Twitter and instagram. It's the worst time to be a fan. 

My advice to all that read my blog? Stop watching games and stop going to games until this era is over.  Management doesn't care about us and neither do 90% of the players.  Still be a fan of the team but do not tolerate the visual vomit they are putting it there on the court until somebody takes a stand and does something. The end.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Where we went wrong and how to get it back

The format to any successful franchise is to have a sound plan on how you want to build your team and how you want it to be coached.  The Spurs are the ultimate example of how you stick to your plan and reload with lateral moves to remain strong and consistent  year in and year out. The Tony Parker, Manu and Duncan era of the spurs have been so successful because every single year they refresh the team with young talent that compliment that core 3. The Spurs know they want Duncan at power forward.  Any other team would instantly make him their center.  They understand how they want to use his strengths so they always had a grunt at center that was busy enough to do everything they need inside without stepping on Duncan's toes.  They know they want Parker attacking the rim at all times, so they always put an above average shooter right next  to him. They could have easily put Manu at that starting shooting guard spot. They want Manu to bring his offense and creativity off the bench.  His talent could be used according to how the game was going.  Keeping his minutes down off the bench Allowed Manu to go 100 miles a minute and still be relatively fresh game to game. Their small forward always was a glue guy that could shoot, defend and finish within the flow of the offense. 

Enough stating the obvious.  Check out the Knicks next opponent, The New Orleans Pelicans. People immediately talk about the Draft because they have former #1 pick Anthony Davis in the squad.  They ignore the fact that every other player on the team was picked up via trade or free agent signing.  The foundation sits directly on Anthony Davis Shoulders,  but the first piece to the puzzle was acquiring Eric Gordon from the clippers. They eventually acquired Ryan Anderson from Orlando as well.  This off season they traded their #1 pick for Jrue Holiday and also signed Tyreke Evans via free agency.  Put that all together and all of a sudden you have a playoff caliber team within just a few seasons.  Mix in several grunt style role players and a brilliant hard nosed young coach in Monty Williams and you are staring longevity in the face.

Why can't the Knicks paint that picture for success?  The Knicks did everything right under Donnie Walsh to get the team under the cap and signed Amare Stoudamire. They piled enough talent to pull the trigger on  a Carmelo Anthony trade.  Where they went wrong was using  Chancey Billups contract and acquiring Tyson Chandler from Dallas. Stopping right there.....They went and got Amare, Melo and Chandler and never went out to get a point guard.  They were so lucky to have Lin and Baron Davis fall into our laps. So much for luck.  Baron completely blew out his knee in the playoffs then the Knicks totally blew that Jeremy Lin contract situation in the off season.  We then picked up Felton from the scrap heap.  That essentially is the whole problem.  Take Amare or Tyson out of the equation and stick a true point guard with some legs left in them and we have a very good basketball team.  Nobody had the mind to think that you can't have a selfish scorer,  a one dimensional dunker, and a offensively challenged center and not have an above average point guard.  It's like we though we could stick anyone there and win.  It doesn't help that Woodson wants to isolate everyone instead of running an offense. So now after the Indiana playoff series last season,  they do what seemed to all be the right things.  They brought in another proven  scorer to help Melo in Bargnani. They added a veteran point guard coming off a decent showing in  Orlando in Beno Urich. You had to think Amare, Kmart and Shumpert were all going to improve coming until the season.  Felton said he lost 20 pounds.  We picked up Metta World Peace and an outstanding rookie in Tim Hardaway Jr. What went wrong? Basically everything, but that everything goes back to when the knicks made the decision to trade for Melo.  The Knicks immediately needed a top notch point guard.  We didn't have to wait for Chris Paul but the knicks had options at the time to improve.  Poor Tony Douglas. I already mentioned Lin and Baron.

So now we are 3-12. What's the plan?

  If we want to build around Melo, first and foremost we need to get the ball out of his hands and in the hands of an above average ball handler.  Melo is the go to guy for sure but the coach wants the ball to start and end with him isolating on every play.  He expects the rest of the guys to play off that.  That in turn means the coach and his entire staff need to go.  The knicks also have Amare under plastic wrap where the guy plays every other game and at only 20 minutes a pop.  That is detrimental to team chemistry and it needs to be eradicated.  3 simple moves.  Can it be done? Yes.  The question is when will the knicks get off their asses and take control. 

As I stated in a previous blog,  Isaiah Thomas is a young dynamic talent dangling in the wind right now on Sacramento's bench. He's not Chris Paul but he's on par with any young point guard you can think of.  He's not dangling because he sucks. You can't average 17pts per game and suck. The Kings just took a stand and decided to build around Grievas and Ben Mclemore in their back court.  Right off the bat the knicks could trade Felton and Shumpert for Thompson and Isaiah Thomas. It's a clear fit for both teams with what they are trying to do.  Next you eliminate Amare from the equation with the best trade available that helps our franchise,  or you simply send him home.  Next you trade Beno and Metta for second round picks to contenders out of respect to them.  You clean up your mess and set the ship in the right course. We can accelerate the 2015 plan for 2014 where Melo is going to be a free agent. We take a stand now and show everyone we are dead serious about winning.  As of right now we are headed back to being the laughing stock of the league.  Thankfully the Brooklyn nets suck too because They would have been front runners in kicking us while we're down. 

Go knicks!

                                                

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Enough is too much: Do something!!!

Everything that we built up until this point has failed us.  Firing Grunwald and Chris Smith making the team was the straw that broke the camels back.  It didn't help that Felton,  Melo,  Shump, Metta and whoever had a mic in their face all seemed to think they were going to start the season and just win because they did that last season. The sheer arrogance of these guys was led by a coach that to this day is saying he is still trying to figure out this roster.  Who is to blame? The only answer to this question is EVERYBODY!!!

Only 4 players showed up in shape and ready to play on day one. The first I'll mention is Tim Hardaway Jr. The kid broke his shooting hand in summer league and still showed  up to training camp ready to steal someone's job.  Aside from typical rookie mistakes,  the kid has been fantastic. Another guy that I have bashed hardcore in previous blogs,  Tyson Chandler, showed up in phenomenal shape.  He admitted  Roy Hibbert embarrassed him and it drove him to improve his body physically.  To my surprise the dude brought a nice looking jumpshot and hook in the lane! That's all I asked of the guy and he finally brought that to the table.  For that he has my respect.  He had a freak leg injury this year so that's unfortunate.  If he can come back and build upon his early success that would be great. The other two players are Carmelo Anthony and Pablo Prigioni.  Priggy was picking guys up full court during preseason so he was ready.  Sad he's too damn old now and just refuses to look at the rim sometimes.  Melo is currently leading the league in minutes and is killing himself trying to do everything.  Call him selfish if you want to be cool, but he is playing extremely hard right now. So the problem lies between the eyes of every other player that had put on a knicks uniform this year. What is the problem? That right now simply does not matter.  What does matter is what management is prepared to do about it. 

First of all, Woodson and his entire coaching staff needs to be fired. There is no excuse to be unprepared like this.  The team doesn't run any plays and they are putting everything on Melo.  We aren't the best team but we should not be 3-12 right now.  That is bullshit my friends.  The blame is not all on coaching. The knicks need  a point guard. Nothing to debate. Felton needs to go.  He's not a champion so I don't understand the respect he's getting from this coaching staff.  Beno needs to be let go as well.  It's a shame the knicks tricked him into taking a pay cut only not to play him. If we can get a second round pick for Beno, trade him to a contender.  I would target Isaiah Thomas immediately.  He's averaging 18pts per game off the bench. Sacramento made a major move for their future by starting Ben Mclemore and trading for Derrick Williams.  They made a commitment to Grievas at point guard. Isaiah Thomas is available to be had right now! We simply can't wait to get a kid that young and talented.  The kid can get in the paint at will and score.  He can shoot the lights out as well.  He's had his best game's this season playing against Chris Paul. Youtube it if you don't believe me.

Amare Stoudamire wants to dunk the ball and go to the hall of fame.  That's all he cares about.  The knicks need to Marbury this guy once and for all and look to trade him for the best deal that benefits our team.  That's it.  Be done with it.  We are playing ourselves babying this man.  He doesn't rebound or play defense. Be done with this guy. Move on and get the ball rolling with Jeremy Tyler. If someone is going to make rookie mistakes let it be a rookie. The word is Jeremy is healthy and playing unrestricted right now.  Get him in uniform asap!

By the time Tyson comes back,  the knicks should  have Tyler in the mix,  Isaiah Thomas as the starting point,  Jr Smith starting with Toure "Baby Clyde" Murry and Hardaway Jr off the bench.  Bargnani is not as soft as we thought.  He should be the starting 4 with Melo and Tyson. Lets get this going immediately.  I understand it takes two to tango so teams have to want to trade with us.  That's not my problem. Management needs to get their shit together.  Excuse my language kids but this is where we are. Hire Lionel Hollins as coach and lets get it popping right now.  This team is not dead yet,  but the bleeding can't stop until they pull out the blade. Go Knicks!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Internal medicine

The rumors surrounding Shumpert have been embarrassing to say the least.  Nobody wants our players,  but they don't mind trading garbage to us because they know we are desperate.  Firing Woodson and trading Shumpert are easy outs for our team and don't guarantee anything but media scrutiny. If you sit back and allow your pain medication to kick in,  you realize the root of all our problems this season is this medical restrictions on KMart and Amar'e.  Think about it.   Tyson went down,  so by default you have to play Bargnani at the center spot. If you start KMart with Amar'e off the bench and have them split 48 mins at the power forward the Knicks wouldn't have the problems they have. 

The Knicks simply can't compete with Melo playing the enforcer role of the power foward.  It's not enough that he can dominate that position offensively.  It's not enough that he can guard power forwards.  He should not be asked to play that role when we have guys that are born to bully their peers in the paint.  We can't defend or rebound properly as a team without that mix.

Poor Shumpert.  Kid has to be asked to rebound and defend bigger guys also,  when his claim to fame was originally being a point guard and defending the perimeter. We got that kid guarding 6'9" guys and power forwards on the switch.  We got him spot up shooting.  Shump needs to be bringing the ball up with Felton.  He needs to be guarding guys like Teague, not Milsap. Who will he guard in Detroit? Their starting small forward is Josh Smith! They also have Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond starting in their front court.  Will we even get a rebound or a layup tonight?  

The pain is in plain language for our Knicks.  Maybe Woodson sucks as a coach this year because his hands are tied by the front office.  Maybe our problems are being deflected by these medical restrictions on our bigs.  Felton sucks.  Jr Smith is too erratic.
Maybe Woodson should in fact slide Shumpert back in a facilitating position and free Toure Murry to help on defense and bring some consistency attacking the paint. You start KMart,  Melo,  Bargs, Shump and Murry. What can you lose at this point?  Our season is in jeopardy.  We can't fall into a deep sink hole this early in the season.  We need better perimeter defense and help inside.  We have the depth.  We need to start using it. What the problem is?  Time to take this bubble wrap off.  Ain't nobody got time for that!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Call of Duty: Knicks are bleeding out

Sometimes you wonder as a fan,  what did we do to deserve this? All we want to do is enjoy a good team. For all the changes going on in the city,  the true fans of NY love a good basketball game.  The more things change the more they stay the same for our Knicks.  I thought we were on the right path.  We seemed to be taking the necessary steps to move forward in a positive way.  After all the seemingly decent upgrades we made, the first blow to our positive energy was the demotion of Glen Grunwald.  Karma is a bitch.          

So now things are unraveling. Coach Woodson is still talking about he's trying  figure out his roster after a full training camp.  Somehow Chris Smith, Jr Smith's little brother, made the team. He couldn't make a West 4th St streetball  team. That's the running joke with Chris.  Its a little harsh but not far from the truth. Brandon Jennings took to Twitter to express his disgust over it.  He mentioned California legends Pooh Jeter, and Bobby Brown.  Both players could start on the Knicks right now.  In fact did everyone forget the fact that our Knicks worked Bobby Brown out 3 times in the summer,  yet chose to sign Beno Urich. Has anyone seen Beno   lately? Right now Felton is playing the worst basketball of his career. The man has the senority to maintain the starting spot but at what point do you say he just doesn't have it anymore?   When do you hold Woodson accountable? What should management do about it?

There's Alot of talk about Shumpert on the trade front. It's a shame but he's our only real trade chip. At the same time Shump hasn't been playing his best basketball.  Fans are questioning now if he will ever forfill his potential.  Woodson can be charged with misuse,  but at the same time you have to show improvement and Iman appears to have peaked.

Question is now after all this,  along with the minutes restriction nonsense going on with Kmart and Amare, where do we go from here? The holes on this team are too big to blame it solely on early season rust.  You can blame it on Woodson for not having a hold on his roster,  but you could also say he was given poor pieces to work with.  One thing that you can't blame is the fire from the fans.  The boo's and the blogs like this one are running rampant.  It's not that we are impatient fans, it's the fact that our team sucks and they really shouldn't at this stage of the game.

Should we blow it up,  meaning trade Melo, Tyson, etc and plan for 2015? Do we look to make a lateral trade to clean things up and set us up to make a run when Tyson gets back?  The only other option is to be patient and let Woodson figure out. Problem with that is Woodson has no offensive foresight. As soon as he starts benching guys that are currently in the rotation for our 10-12 man this whole thing might crash and burn right in our faces. 

In my opinion,  I think you need to fire Woodson.  It's unexceptable that he has no feel for his team after his success with the club. He's a highly experienced coach and had these guys in a full training camp.  There is no reason to be this disorganized. At the same time you still have to address the flaws on the roster via trade.  Darryl Walker or Herb Williams would need to interm and get a more traditional set going.

This season is far from over,  but the drama can't be left to burn freely. If we nip things in the bud and take responsibility now maybe we can refocus and get back on the right course. If Woodson remains head coach,  he needs a roster move asap. Nothing drastic but we may need to move a fan favorite to get us over the Hump.  As a fan you just want your team to succeed so whatever they do I hope it works.  Right now the team and the fanbase is broken.  Winning cures everything.  Here's to hope.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yoots Maneuver

Yoots maneuver 

The Knicks are no doubt in hot pursuit of a championship as long as Carmelo Anthony is on the team.  Say what you want about Melo, but he's a top nba talent and is worthy of being centerpiece on a team.  He gets Alot of flap but he can't win alone.  He definately should not be asked to play  out of position. The investment in him is too great to wear him down. Lebron can play any position on the court.  He's bigger than any of his power forwards. He averages the most rebounds per game on his team. He's also the teams best ball handler and passer. Miami knows enough to play Lebron at his natural position and allow him to do his thing. In turn, you put position players around him playing their roles so their star player can continue to dominate without having to do everything. The Knicks are forcing Melo to do everything and he's taking heavy criticism because of it.  Melo should not be asked to bang with  Tim Duncan and Kevin Love.  The fact that Melo can compete with them is beside the point . Melo needs to go back to dominating small fowards and leave the role playing  to someone qualified to do so. 
                                                                  
That being said,  why is Shumpert  our starting small forward? Why is Felton playing shooting guard next to Priggy? Last season the Knicks had no choice due to injuries.  This year the Knicks have the healthy bodies to match up better than this on paper.  The coach after training camp still doesn't believe it.  That means there is a conflict between the coach and management.  Something should be done and it doesn't have to involve firing Mike Woodson.

In order to do that there has to be a lateral trade forcing Woodson to slide players back into their natural positions. In my humble opinion,  this has to involve Iman Shumpert.  Fans like to talk about his potential,  but what about Tim Hardaway Jr and Torre Murry? I believe both players have just as much if not more upside than Shumpert. Are we grooming talent as a lottery team or are we trying to win right now? The Knicks need to come to grips with this issue and make a move before the season gets ugly.  Melo needs to be playing small forward.  The Knicks have a glaring hole at power foward and center.  We can't afford to harbor 3 point guards and 4 shooting guards. Something had got to give.  The decision to invest in Jr Smith should make him the starting shooting guard   by default.  That is not too shabby especially if you factor in Tim Hardaway off the bench. Woodson seems to like Priggy as the starting point guard.  That's fine because he's been effective running the team.  So your backcourt is Priggy and Jr Smith with Beno,  Hardaway and Toure Murry off the bench.  That's a solid unit.  If you are listening,  our odd men out should be Felton and Shump. This was supposed to be our starting backcourt. Priggy and JR Smith is equal if not better, that's not even a question.  What can we get for Felton and Shump? The Knicks need a solid rotation big man.... in a nutshell,  you have to pursue that and not look back.  This is not a reality show.  The Knicks are trying to win and win big this season.  Time is now to settle this ship and get back on course.  Make that move. Knicks should probably look to Denver, Sacramento or the Bucks for answers.