Tag Archives: New York Knicks

Good Riddance To Allen Iverson!

25 Nov

So “The Answer” is retiring and I have yet to figure out what the question was. 

Maybe it was “what self-serving player is going out exactly as he deserves, unwanted?”  Or “What supremely talented player never won anything in the NBA?”

Then there’s “what knucklehead couldn’t be bothered to see that actually practicing helps the whole team included himself?”.   Maybe it’s “who’s blowing a chance to redefine his career by refusing to accept that he might win a title by accepting a lesser role now that he’s 107 years old?”

But ultimately, if I had to put big money on it, I think the question is “who is too much of a pain in the ass to be worth it anymore?”

Ahhh. Yes.  That easily could be Allen Iverson.

Iverson is not exactly Stephon Marbury, but he’s learning a similar tough lesson.  In life or at least in NBA life, people will put up with you if you’re a difficult personality so long as you’ve got the talent that makes it worth dealing with your baggage.

When the lowly Grizzlies and desperate Knicks decide that Allen Iverson is no longer worth it, that’s the answer  that only A.I. can answer for.

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Grant Hill Loses His Damn Mind!

8 Jul

Grant Hill has always seemed a class act to me.  While injuries stopped him from fulfilling his promise as one of the first “next Jordan’s”, Hill has to be admired for the way he’s battled back.

He actually played a ton of games last year for Phoenix and was an effective member of the Suns’ squad.  At an advanced age and having made a bunch of money in his career, you’d think the last motivation left for Grant Hill would be a championship.

And you’d be wrong.

Rumors are swirling that Hill is going to sign with the New York Knicks.

Why???

Even if everything breaks the Knicks’ way, LeBron won’t even be in Manhattan for another year.  By then the brittle Hill will be one year closer to 40.  How much will he have left?

And has he looked at the Knicks’ roster recently?  That team is more than a LeBron James and old version of Grant Hill away from a title.

Apparently, the Celtics are in the Hill chase too.   Here’s hoping Grant Hill regains his sanity long enough to sign on with Garnett and the gang.

Playing in Boston would give him a much better chance to go out a champion.  And not even Michael Jordan did that….

Don’t Kidd Yourself Or Nash Your Teeth! These Guys Aren’t Worth The Money!

3 Jul

For the life of me I don’t understand why NBA teams are so interested in Jason Kidd and Steve Nash.  It’s 2009.   If it was 1999 or even 2004, I would get it.

Kidd is a free agent and Nash is one year away from free agency (I think) and still the piece around which Phoenix intends to rebuild.  Why?

Kidd (I think ) is 36.  Nash is right there with him.  If I wasn’t so lazy with the research, this post would be even more impressive. 

But lazy or not, my point is that point guards don’t last much beyond their mid-thirties.  I’d even venture to say that many of the greatest point guards were done being truly great by their early 30s.

John Stockton, off the top of my head, probably stayed as effective as anyone deep into his 30s.  Stockton, though, is the exception.

My advice for NBA teams would be to think of both Nash and Kidd as one year investments.  At their advanced ages for basketball, they’re both running out of time.   Kidd, in particular, has played a lot of basketball when you factor in his coming out school so early.

Jason Kidd and Steve Nash belong in the Hall of Fame some day.  Where they don’t belong right now is in a smart NBA team’s future plans beyond the next year.

Mark my words.  I’m not wishing either of them bad things, but it seems inevitable that you’ll see even sharper declines in each of them sooner than later.

Why Stephon Marbury Is Right!

29 Nov

In many ways I’m sure that Stephon Marbury is the poster boy for the modern spoiled athlete.  One need only look at his paltry record of achievement in the NBA to realize that Marbury is at best over-rated or at worst a me first talent who has parlayed his immense skills into very little actual winning in the NBA.

Sure, there was the whole $15 sneaker campaign.  And for that, Marbury is to be complemented.  If you’re the Knicks, Marbury’s charitable impulse is probably counter-balanced however by things like his damaging testimony in the Isiah Thomas sexual harassment trial and the public revelation of Marbury hooking up with Knicks’ cheerleaders in parked cars not to mention those pesky lack of wins since Starbury has come home to New York.

So, all in all, I can completely see why the Knicks would want to get rid of him.  In fact, I (as a Knicks’ fan) never wanted him here in the first place.  I was not alone in this sentiment.  I felt Steph was a loser and many agreed.

Where I’m more alone, is with my current opinion on the latest Knick-Marbury tussle.  The Knicks have suspended Marbury for refusing to suit up recently.  If that’s all there was to the story, I’d surely be on the Knicks’s side as most fans are.

The reality, however, is that the Knicks and their new coach Mike D’Antoni mishandled Steph from square one.  When D’Antoni was hired most people figured it was the beginning of the end for Marbury in NY.  D’Antoni had gotten Marbury traded out of Phoenix after all, so it seemed a no brainer that if D’Antoni didn’t wanted to coach Marbury as a Sun that he sure wouldn’t want to coach him as a Knickerbocker.

Then, something surprising happened.  D’Antoni started out his Knick tenure saying Marbury would have a chance to be part of the team.  From all accounts, Marbury tried hard during the pre-season to fit into D’Antoni’s schemes.  At one point, when new starting point guard Chris Duhon was struggling, there was even talk around town that Steph might re-claim his starting job.  See! New York can be a naive place sometimes too.

About three games into the season, Marbury hadn’t seen a minute of playing time when Coach D’Antoni announced that Steph would no longer be a part of the team.  Donnie Walsh who is D’Antoni’s boss seemed caught off guard by his coach’s proclamation.  And so started the most recent Marbury controversy.

Whether Walsh was on board or not, Stephon Marbury was told he isn’t part of the team either now or in its future.  Yes!  He was able to keep his huge salary and for that he should certainly be (yet I’m sure he’s not) appreciative.  So, Stephon became an outcast.  That lasted until the Knicks got short handed and then they allegedly asked him to dress for a game.  According to the Knicks, Marbury refused and what with him still drawing a paycheck from the organization and all, the Knicks saw fit to suspend him.

Stephon Marbury might be spoiled.  He might be a jerk.  But, he’s not wrong in this situation.

It’s the Knicks who set up a really bad situation for Marbury and their team.  Now, they’re stuck with it.  They’ve offended Mr. Marbury and now when they need him he won’t play for them.

I know it looks bad for Stephon, but what would you do if you made tens of millions of dollars a year, knew that others would be happy/foolish enough to pay you similar amounts of money and had the ego to go with it?  Would you have put on a Knicks’ jersey?  Or would you have felt mistreated and told your bosses to take a hike.

As fans, we always want pro athletes to be sainted figures only in pursuit of wins and championships.  The reality is they are real people like you and me only more spoiled in most cases.  If I was Stephon Marbury and had been lied to about my chances in the D’Antoni regime, I too would be in little hurry to run back to the Knicks when they got desperate enough to ask me back temporarily.

If I were Stephon Marbury I would feel like the Knicks played me like a fool.  I would feel cheated out of a chance to compete for my spot on the team.  And, yes, I too would have told them I wasn’t up to playing 30 minutes after being banished all season for no longer fitting in.

If I were Stephon Marbury I would not understand how the Knicks wouldn’t have tried to increase my trade value by actually playing me until someone pointed out that all I was really worth to the Knicks was the massive cap room my expiring contract would soon give them.  Basically, I would realize the Knicks from the beginning were ready to flush away a year of my professional career so that they could get maximum cap relief.

Once that realization sunk in, I’d realize that I had some leverage.  And I’d refuse to play too.

My guess is that if many of you were treated similarly by your places of work and had the ability to hit back at your organization without jeopardizing your massive check that you’d go for it.  After all, you’re only human.

Just like athletes.

Finally, Someone Who Makes Me Like Kobe!

24 Jun

Listen, I’m on the record.  I’m no Kobe fan.  Sure, he’s a great player.  It’s just that in my opinion he’s a selfish one.  His immaturity forced the Lakers to deal Shaq prematurely to make Kobe happy.  Only that didn’t make Kobe happy as for years afterward the Lakers couldn’t win.

Now, the Lakers are back.  They are winners again, but couldn’t get over the hump this year and win it all without Shaq.  As someone who has always hoped that the last thought Kobe Bryant would have (many, many years from now) as he passed on from this realm to the next would be “dang, I never did win anything without Shaq…”, I should be happy. 

And I was.  Until I woke up this morning.

What am I confronted with that ruined my appreciation of Kobe’s failure to capture the NBA title this year?  Rapping Shaq!

A secondary question is why does Shaq keep rapping?  Does no one have the guts to tell him he’s no Jay-Z or Eminem?

But, the primary question is why the particular rap he chose?  Shaq says he has no ill will for Kobe and was just freestyling, but it’s interesting that his rap slammed not only Kobe but Patrick Ewing.  Shaq’s lyrics pointed out that Kobe couldn’t win this year without him, which given their long standing feud, you can understand even if it’s not a particularly classy move. 

Why Shaq felt the need to rap Ewing is beyond me.  Sure, Patrick has no rings & Shaq has a boat load.  But, to be fare, I think it’s safe to say that Ewing never played with players as great as Kobe Bryant or Dwayne Wade. 

Do I think Patrick Ewing is the ultimate clutch player?  No.  I’ve live through too many Ewing guarantees that fell short to make that statement.  That said, the point must be made that championships come down to timing and teammates.  Does Patrick win some titles if Jordan doesn’t exist?  Or if he was paired with Kobe or Wade in his prime?  Most likely.

Does Shaquille O’Neal, who I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for, need to work on his lyrics a bit more before opening his mouth?  Very likely.

PS – my favorite Shaq quote of all time happened when he was still in the early years of his NBA career.  Back then, people used to ask him if he was as good as he was hyped up to be since he hadn’t yet won an NBA Championship himself.

 Shaq’s reply to one question along those lines was that he’d always won every where he’d been.  I loved his reply given that he didn’t win an NCAA Championship at LSU and hadn’t yet won in the pros.  Was he referring to winning a high school title??  I’ll never know, but it was great comedy.

Thanks, Shaq!

Quick Hits on NBA Coaching Hires

10 May

Mike D’Antonini to the Knicks – If you’ve been reading this space, then you know how I feel about this one.  Cheesy mustache aside, you’ve got to be impressed by his record in Phoenix.  The regular season.  Never has figured out that defense wins come crunch time.  Worth mentioning too that his teams were stocked in Phoenix.  Welcome to New York, Mr. D’Antonini.  I think you’ll find the cupboard is a bit more bare in the big apple.  Good luck with Marbury, Curry and the rest of the Knicks group of professional losers.  Figure D’Antonini won’t last through the end of his contract & I don’t even know how long that is!  Knicks coaches never do and he’s NOT the the right fit for this job.

Rick Carlisle to the Mavericks – Was pretty impressed with Carlisle in Detroit and thought he was done wrong when they dumped him for NBA vagabond Larry Brown.  Less impressed with his tenure in Indiana on the whole.  I’m no longer sure this guy is a really good coach.  Guess Mavericks gig will seal the verdict on him.  I’m guessing he’ll be found guilty of not being a great one.  Think this is another bad coaching hire.

 As the merry go round continues to spin, guess the question now is who’ll get the Chicago & Phoenix gigs.  Whoever they are, they got to be better matches than the Knicks and Mavericks have found.

Or I could be completely wrong…

D’Antoni Vs. Johnson… Who’s The Right Re-Tread Coach For Your NBA Team?

6 May

In most sports leagues, heck in most corporations, the head jobs are usually tough to crack.  Most sports teams out to hire a head coach go with someone who has done the job before.  The NBA is no exception.  It’s all about cutting down the risks when making a big hire. 

Whenever a vacancy is announced, it’s never long before the management looking to fill that opening is calling up guys who’ve done the job before.  You know, re-treads.  Never mind that often times the re-treads fail miserably on their second or third or fourth chances.  Sort of like most hollywood stars and marriage.

So, it’s always exciting when a new coaching re-tread becomes available to the NBA’s general managers.  For that reason, Phoenix Coach Mike D’Antoni is getting a lot of attention now that his boss GM Steve Kerr (remember his deadly 3 point shot?  He’s been a lot less accurate as a GM so far) is letting him talk to other teams.  Word is the Bulls and Knicks are interested.

My question is why?

First off, and I know it’s a surface thing, but there’s the bad mustache.  Memo to Mike D’Antoni.  1974’s come and gone.  Let go of the ‘stache.

Cheap shot?  Maybe, but do you think today’s young athletes are respecting someone with  ’70s porn facial hair? 

Whatever. 

Let’s move on.  The more important factor is what D’Antoni’s managed to do in Phoenix.  There’s no arguing with the regular season record. It’s pretty impressive.  Speaking of pretty, the style of play he advocates is fun to watch and play. Players and fans alike dig it.  (PS – I’m using 70s slang as a subtle tribute to the D’Antoni mustache)

Yup, you know the problem.  The nice regular season stats and the powerhouse offense has meant nothing come playoff time.  A team that has featured the now departed Sean Marion, Amare Stoudemire, Steve Nash (and his bad hair), Shaq and Grant Hill among others has never made the finals.  Not once.  And if memory serves, they’ve never even made it to a game seven of a conference finals.

As his core ages, the post season woes have gotten worse.  Now, the Suns are making first round exits.

The trouble with D’Antoni is his teams don’t play defense pure and simple.

For my money, if I was a GM looking for rookie re-treads, I’d go with Avery Johnson.  Johnson’s regular season record holds up nicely to D’Antoni’s.  Johnson has coached a team to a finals appearance, even if Dirk and Co. did choke it away. 

Most, impressively, Johnson changed the culture in Big D.  Suddenly, they were focused on D.  Taking the reins from Don Nelson and getting a team to buy into defense is one big accomplishment.  For that, re-tread Johnson deserves a second shot way before Mike D’Antoni.

Pretty basketball be damned.  And besides Avery doesn’t have as cheesy a mustache…