Knicks Preview 2013-2014

After a fantastic 2012-13 contest where the Knicks won 54 games, they look to improve on that number next season and make an even deeper run into the playoffs. The lineup as it stands looks impressive on paper and the 2013-2014 New York Knicks season is going to be a flagrantly fun one (bad MWP and JR Smith joke) to say the least. The Knicks have had some crucial additions / losses from the ‘12-’13 season so let’s have a quick break down to get everyone up to speed.

Key Losses:

  • Chris Copeland aka The Galloping Lesbian aka Brittany Griner – Sweet dreadlocks, but a defensive liability. Seemingly scored at will and put up high points when he was on the court, but the Knicks couldn’t afford him. He was one of the most underrated players of last season left as an UFA to the Pacers. 
  • Steve Novak aka Novakaine – Three point specialist (and fan favorite) who towards the end of the season lost some playing time / lost his only valuable asset, his shot from beyond the arc, left in trade with Toronto.tumblr_m5ld2ohUeA1rtnwmvo1_500

  • Jason Kidd aka Crash Bandicoot – Retired and is now the head coach of the Brooklyn Nets

    Too soon?!?!

  • Marcus Camby aka Marcus Camby- One of my favorite Knicks of all time. Not utilized properly, was involved in trade to Toronto which he’s PISSED about.

  • James ‘Flight’ White- Dude sucked a bag of dicks. Was supposed to be an auto-win in the dunk contest…..NOPE

  • Quentin Richardson – oh the title of this is KEY losses….this guy is a bum

Key Signings/Trades:

  • JR Smith– The reigning 6th man of the year was resigned to a 3yr/17mil. deal which he’s currently using to drive around $450k armored vehicle around NYC. Streaky shooter, but a solid player and when he’s hot….is the hottest player on the planet. Last season he seemed to have a new vision on the court; less chucking and a more balanced and intelligent selection of shots. If he can keep this up when he returns from knee surgery, the Knicks SG situation is going to be nasty. 

  • Pablo Prigioni  aka Pablo Pepperoni aka Priggie Smalls- Smart BBall IQ, able to space the floor. Needs to grow a pair and shoot the open 3 pointer. New York’s best lineups last season included Prigioni at the point and Felton playing off the ball. He is like a ghost on the court, tipping passes, ruining plays and stealing the ball out of nowhere. This guy is awesome. 

  • Kenyon Martin – One of my favorite players ever. Big man, Big blocks, Big dunks, rebounds and can fill in quite nicely when Chandler is off the court. Signing for the vet minimum is a HUGE steal for the Knicks.

  • Metta World Peace aka Ron Artest aka ??? – Fierce perimeter defense, extremely tough, makes problems for shooters on the floor. Minus the possibility of him kicking some fans asses, he’s a fantastic pick up and will prove as a TREMENDOUS bargain for $1.6 Mil. Teaming him up with local nutcase JR Smith should be a fun ride for NBA fans of all ages. QUEENSBRIDGE STAND UPimages

  • Andrea Bargnani- This is what they call in the biz as a high risk/high reward situation. The Knicks traded Novak, QRich, Camby and a few picks (‘14 2nd round, ‘16 1st round, and ‘17 2nd round) for this Italian Stallion. Known as a ‘soft’ center/PF. This is by far the most confusing move the Knicks made this year because the seven footer isn’t much of a rebounder or a defender (what the Knicks really lacked last season) he’s a stretch-4 that can help Carmelo. He needed a change of scenery, and hopefully MSG is the place to do it.

  • Beno Udrih– Tremendous STEAL for the Vet minimum. Doesn’t seem like a huge acquisition, but the dude can ball. Averaged 8.2ppg with ~5 assists in 22 mins. With an aging Prigioni/Felton, Beno is going to get some quality minutes.

    I think it’s just better to put a picture of Beno’s wife instead of him…thank me later

Other Notables

  • Tim Hardaway Jr. – Dad ISN’T Penny Hardaway. Hardaway is coming into a team with a solid shooting guard situation. He may see some minutes if there’s an injury this season, but its pretty much going to be the Shump/Smith show.

  • CJ Leslie– MVP of NC State the last couple of years. I really like his game and was PUMPED when the Knicks signed him.He’s incredibly athletic and a great scorer. Scouts say he lacks motor and sometimes gives up on plays, but Woody will whoop him into shape real quick. Similar to Hardaway he comes into a log-jammed PF situation with STAT and Bargnani so his minutes will be limited in the early going.

    The HAMMAAAAAAA

    The HAMMAAAAAAA

  • Jeremy Tyler– This guy turned so many heads in the Summer League that he got offered a contract with the Knicks. He’ll be the third center option behind Chandler and Bargnani/Kenyon. Kid’s 6’11” so he can match up with many other centers in the league. All its going to take is some quality outings to gain more minutes.

    BOOM SHAKALAKA

My Starting 5

PG- Raymond Felton

SG- Iman Shumpert

SF- Carmelo Anthony

PF- Andrea Bargnani

C- Tyson Chandler

Second Team

PG- Pablo Prigioni

SG- JR Smith

SF- Metta World Peace

PF- Amar’e Stoudemire

C- Kenyon Martin

The ’12-’13 Knicks are deep at a few positions. The PG crew of Felton, Prigioni and Udrih is pleasantly deep and each brings something different to the table. Felton has the ability to score, Prigioni is a playmaker and Udrih is a veteran who can be creative and can make a play off the dribble. The Knickerbockers are also deep at the Shooting guard position with Shump, JR and recently drafted Hardaway Jr. The forward position is swamped with talent including: Melo, Stat, MWP, Bargnani, Kenyon, Jeremy Tyler and CJ Leslie. The only position the Knicks are truly lacking is a backup big man. They have players that could potentially fill in (Bargs, Kenyon, Tyler) but none are as ‘true’ a center as Chandler. The Knicks have one more spot open on their roster so look for them to find a backup big with potential like Hamed Haddadi (who they worked out last week), Earl Barron or maybe even Cole Aldrich. The Knicks are going to make some waves this season, and still (and forever will) run NY. This may be the season Knicks fans have been waiting for since ’73.

Is that Louis CK in the background ??!?!?!?!

Lemme know what you guys think.

-DiRoma

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NBA All-Star Weekend Wrap-Up: Blame LeBron Edition

The NBA’s 61st installment of it’s annual all-star game has now come and gone. The weekend in the Orlando was full of its fair share of highlights for each evening. Friday night, Kevin Hart dominated the celebrity game taking home MVP honors. One of the evenings’ highlights came when Hart threw up an alley-opp to rapper J. Cole. Hart also managed to become the first ever player to be ejected from the game. See the video after the jump.

Saturday night is supposed to be the night of nights for the NBA. In a really good all-star weekend, Saturday’s festivities become defining moments that overshadow what occurs during the game Sunday. This year did not feature many Monday morning discussions of “Did you see (insert spectacular play from Saturday night).” In fact, the water cooler probably dispensed a better product than the NBA did. There is nothing wrong, nor fixable about the undercard portions of All-Star Saturday Night.

The Three-Point Shootout brought excitement with it’s tie-breakers, and with the added bonus that the competition came down to the last rack of basketballs (Hats off to Kevin Love for winning). The Skills Challenge saw Deron Williams hand Tony Parker the crown missing four 15-foot jump shots in the final round. The Shooting Stars competition saw New York’s finest in Landry Fields, Cappie Pondexter, and Allan Houston bring back the first piece of hardware that Madison Square Garden has seen since the Knicks made it to the Finals in the ’99 Lockout Season.

In the much unanticipated dunk competition, there were some pleasant surprises. Chase Budinger channelling his inner Woody Harrelson definitely kicked off a night of originality. Eventual champion, Utah’s last minute entry, Jeremy Evans was cleared for takeoff when he skied over teammate Gordon Hayward, while managing to jam home two basketballs in one swift motion. It is up for debate, but one can argue that Indiana’s Paul George had the dunk of the evening when he was able to successfully execute a 360-degree windmill dunk…in the dark!

Overall, while this year’s dunk contest did bring theatrics and originality, it lacked star power. And in a case like this, there is only person to blame…LeBron James! Reggie Miller said it best at the end of Saturday’s dunk contested when he stated, “All the greats at one time in their career participated in the dunk contest.” Fans have been asking for LeBron to participate in the dunk contest ever since 2009 when he said that he would do it the following All-Star Weekend in Dallas, Texas. Expectedly, he backed out of his unofficial agreement.

In case it’s not already known to the casual NBA fan, superstars only do these competitions when there is significant monetary incentive. So let’s just gather a large purse for this event then. Surely, the NBA can arrange to put up the necessary amount to make the dunk contest a truly star-studded event as it was in the early 2000’s. The perfect foursome for next year’s contest in Houston should be Andre Igoudala, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Jeremy Evans. It’s only fair to give the previous years’ champion the ability to defend his crown. If you pay them, they will participate. That’s the motto. LeBron needs to finally deliver and give the people what they want.

Fast forward to the waning minutes of Sunday night’s All-Star Game, and LeBron can be blamed for the East losing. At least that is what the realm of social media would lead a person to believe. LeBron made an ill-advised pass down the stretch but he is one of the two reasons that the East made a late rally to begin with; Deron WIlliams was the other East member responsible. But LeBron did what he does best, and that is carry a team back into a game single-handedly. Had his great pass to Dywane Wade not been dropped, he would not have been labeled as the scapegoat for this game.

All in all, it was a great weekend for the NBA to showcase its best and brightest superstars. Thankfully, the weekend was not overshadowed entirely by the latest rumors of the Dwightmare.

Jimmy Lips

Dwight Night at the Rock

Similar to Monday night’s game against the Knicks, it’s safe to assume Deron Williams and company have had tonight’s game circled on their calendar all season. Soon to be free agent center Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic are coming to the Prudential Center tonight. It is sure to be a very unusually festive and welcoming environment for the visiting Howard. Superman may very well get the vibe that it’s an extra home game for him.

Brook Lopez will also be making his second start of the season since returning from his foot injury that kept him out one game short of half the season. Lopez said over the weekend that facing Howard would be a good test for him to measure where he is at in terms of returning to his normal play. The underlining story here is that in a little over three weeks, this matchup of the leagues top center’s will take place with the possibility of Howard and Lopez wearing opposite jerseys.

It is no secret that the Nets want Howard, and according to his representatives, the potential partnership has mutual feelings. On December 9th, Josh Robbins, of the Orlando Sentinel, broke the news of Howard requesting a trade to the New Jersey Nets.

Since then, Nets fans have been ecstatic with the sheer thought of being able to have both Deron Williams and Dwight Howard on the same team headed for Brooklyn.

Nets brass has used subtle hints to suggest their strong interest in adding Howard to their franchise. Back in January, the team placed billboards throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn which read, “Believe The Hype” and “Welcome to Brooklyn ’12.”

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As tonight's game drew closer, the Nets even reduced the cost of tickets for their Loud and Proud section to $12.

These aren't coincidences. They are subtle hints to show the basketball world that the Nets are serious in their pursuit of the Magic center. Sources say the Nets feel very optimistic, if not borderline confident they will get their man whether through a trade before the March 15th deadline, or in July when free agency starts. And they have every right to be.

They will be moving into a brand new state-of-the-art arena in downtown Brooklyn next season, cap space to sign both Dwight and Deron to max contracts, and the richest owner in sports. Howard and Williams would have New York City in the palm of their hands creating a much anticipated rivalry with Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

But they wouldn't be the New Jersey Nets if there wasn't a potential obstacle or two standing in the way. This comes in the form of the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Over the last few weeks, the Lakers have begun to fall out of the conversation for Howard due to a lack of cohesion in the front office. Reports from HoopsWorld writer Alex Kennedy have stated that during a conversation between Kobe Bryant and Howard, Kobe told him he would not be the first or second scoring option on the Lakers.

In addition to this, it is said Bryant went over how it would not be Dwight's team if he came to Los Angeles. Howard was reportedly turned off by those notions. The emergence of a healthy first-time All-Star in Andrew Bynum certainly makes the Lakers organization reluctant to part ways with him in favor of Howard.

This leaves the Dallas Mavericks as the only true threat to the Nets superstar foundation. Mavs owner Mark Cuban has gone out of his way to slowly position his franchise to sign both Deron Williams and Dwight Howard this offseason. The Mavs let 3 of their championship pieces in Tyson Chandler, Jose Juan Barea, and DeShawn Stevenson go to other teams during the abbreviated free agency period to clear cap space for next season.

The next moves get tricky. Dallas must amnesty Brendan Haywood, waive both Vince Carter and Lamar Odom, allow Jason Kidd and Jason Terry to leave the team as free agents, and then after all of that is done trade Shawn Marion in exchange of another small, expiring contract. If there is anyone in the NBA that can pull this off, it’s certainly Mark Cuban.

Even then, the Mavs would not be able to offer both Williams and Howard max contracts since Dirk Nowitzki's current contract pays him $20 million dollars per season. But whose to say they wouldn't take a pay cut to play with one of the best power forwards ever? That alone is a significant threat the Nets have to worry about should they not be able to trade for Howard before the deadline.

Jimmy Lips

(picture courtesy of http://www.brooklynfans.com)

Another Jeremy Lin Story

Where does one begin to describe the overnight success story that is Jeremy Lin? He’s Lincredile, all he does is Lin (8 out of 9 games), and even Grammy winner Adele says that Jeremy has Knicks fans RolLINg in the Deep right now.

His story is amazing and no one can deny that. He graduated Harvard University, went undrafted, then went on to be cut by two NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

The Warriors organization, including point guard Steph Curry have said they don’t regret the move. In an ESPN interview which aired during the recent Warriors/Blazers game, Curry went so far as to state that Lin would have never seen time on the court with Golden State. Who is Curry kidding? Even if Lin stopped playing at this high level today, chances are slim that the back-up guards in Golden State are going to go on a Lin-esque run and contribute this immensely anytime soon. Also, Lin contributes more to the Knicks than Nate Robinson presently does for the Warriors. In fact, most intellectual basketball minds would probably choose Lin over Robinson.

Head coach Mark Jackson said he did not have any regrets cutting the 6’3″ point guard. In Coach Jackson’s eyes, they are set at the point guard position for years with a backcourt presence starring Steph Curry and Monta Ellis, both of whom can run an offense. Jackson is not the general manager so he cannot lament over not having a particular player on his roster. This is where the Warriors management comes into the picture.

Lin was cut to make room for the potential signing of restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan. The Warriors successfully accomplished two things this off-season: They drove up the price for the Los Angeles Clippers to re-sign him and managed to give away February’s likely choice as the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for nothing.

The Rockets organization did not hide their feelings towards releasing Lin. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was upset over the decision. On Twitter, Morey told the world how he felt when he tweeted, “We should have kept [Jeremy Lin]. Did not know he was this good.” Should he have anything to regret?

The Rockets are very deep at the point guard position with Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Johnny Flynn, and Terrence Williams who showed glimpses of being able to run the point during his tenure with the Nets. With those guys, Lin wasn’t going to see much, if any time at all, and the Rockets need for a big by the name of Samuel Dalembert superseded any reason to keep Lin on the roster.

Even the Knickerbockers should be counting their blessings. Jeremy Lin was on the verge of being cut by the Knicks too. The Knicks came into the game versus New Jersey on the culmination of a back-to-back-to-back. Their starters were tired and showing signs of fatigue. D’Antoni was left with no choice but to give Lin playing time. And the rest, is LINstory.

Jimmy Lips