Knicks Fanatics

The Ultimate In Knicks Fandom and Fellowship

Playoff Update — It Shoulda Been The Knicks

nba-kobebron-bracket-update2

Two playoff series remain undecided and headed towards a game 7.  The most compelling of those series is undeniably the Celtics-Bulls contest which offered us a thrilling triple overtime victory for the Bulls to knot-up the series.   Tonight the decisive game will take place in Boston, where the shamrocked homecrowd and the Champs’ experience should help them advance despite stellar performances by the Bulls.

This 2-7 match-up reminds us why it is important for building teams to make the playoffs in order to develop a winning culture, attitude and program.   Each year near the end of the season when teams are battling for the bottom playoff seeds, fans debate whether it is better for the team to play (or tank) for better lottery odds or to play for a playoff spot.   Arguably the benefits of having a building team enter the playoffs outweigh the impact of  relatively “low” lottery position with little chance of obtaining a franchise changer.

In the Knicks case, entering the Playoffs would have been a franchise changer.  Many fans argue against entering the playoffs as a low seed with the likelihood of a quick exit having little impact on the fortunes of the franchise.  Well, the performance of the Bulls in the playoffs (as the Knicks performance as an 8th seed in 1999) shows that anything can happen in the second season.   The Bulls were not that much better during the regular season than the Knicks and before the Celts lost both Powe and Garnett, a 2-7 match-up was seen as organizational suicide.  Prior to the playoffs, NBA fans were wondering how the mediocre, underperforming Bulls were going to retool during the off-season.  Now the Bulls have gotten a taste of the intense playoffs.  The team looks totally different than it did during the regular season.  Derrick Rose has grown leaps and bounds in the span of eight games.  Similarly, Brandon Roy of Portland, despite being ousted by Houston handily, makes clear that his growth in the short playoff series was significant and that he now understands what he must do in preparation for next year.  Next year, the Bulls should be better just because they have a new confidence and Derrick Rose, Yakim Noah, Tyrus Thomas and Ben Grodon have learned what they can do as a team under intense pressure.

At the end of the 1998-99 regular season, the Knicks figured to be headed toward vacation and the lottery before they won six of their last eight games to capture the Eastern Conference 8th seed.  As you know, despite losing Ewing in the Easten Conference Finals, the Knicks went on to the NBA Championship.  Certainly some fans were pissed that the Knicks came out winners and lost a chance at a chance at Elton Brand, Steve Francis, Baron Davis and Lamar Odom, the 1999 1-4 draft selections in order.  Instead the Knicks, ignored Ron Artest and James Posey, then took Frederick Weis and chased him home because Van Gundy didn’t like him.   Would making the lottery have made the Knicks better the following season? Or would did winning the Eastern Conference Championship improve the team for next season when the Knicks went 50-32.  Would the Knicks have been even better if they had selected Ron Artest?  (Hell, yeah!!).

In order to increase the Knicks chances of being a championship contender somewhere around 2010, they need to enter the playoffs at some point.   This year would have been a good time to have made the playoffs for that reason alone.   Additionally, player value is increased in a playoff series.  To have Nate Robinson, David Lee, Wilson Chandler and Chris Duhon in the playoffs this year would have been good for the organization.  If handled properly, it could have been the Knicks beating up on the beaten up Celtics.  Plus, there are other ways than losing in the regular season to take advantage of a draft’s possibilities unless you are certain to get the grand prize through the lottery.  I am one who believes that the Knicks would have been much better off putting a real effort into making the team better and making the playoffs as Walsh claimed he would as opposed to throwing away talent to save money and pretend that they were going to take out another mortgage on MSG for LeBron.

A Lottery Pick? Expensive.  Playoff Experience? Priceless.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

KNotes. . . .

Our polls reveal that our in-house experts believe that Rondo is the Most Improved Player  and LeBron James is the Most Valuable Player this year.  Voting Fanatics also believe that David Lee is the most likely to be on another team next year, despite Lee’s insistence that he intends to be with the Knicks next year. . .  The NBA All-Rookie Team has been selected.  The first team includes Rookie of the Year Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls , Memphis guard O.J. Mayo, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, New Jersey center Brook Lopez and Miami forward Michael Beasley.  The second team was headed by Los Angeles Clippers guard Eric Gordon, who was joined by Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Miami’s Mario Chalmers, Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies, Portland’s Rudy Fernandez and Charlotte point guard D.J. Augustin.  Would Danilo have been on one of these teams if he was healthy? Maybe?  So what? The real question is,  “would he help our team more than Brooke Lopez, Russell Westbrook, Eric Grodon or even D.J. Augustin?”

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May 2, 2009 - Posted by | 1999 Eastern Conference Championship, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Derrick Rose, Donnie Walsh, NBA Draft, NBA Lottery, Patrick Ewing | ,

11 Comments »

  1. Congrats to Atlanta,

    Let’s not forget Randolph Morris on the list of Ex-Knicks in the postseason.

    Comment by DLTKnicks | May 3, 2009 | Reply

  2. Like I said in the prior thread, had it been D’antoni coaching the bulls, or the Knicks for that matter, in a matchup against a half court oriented and experienced playoff team like the Celtics or Cavs,… the Knicks would not have won more than one game TOPS.

    That said, having the Run and Gun version of the Knicks exposed in the Playoff’s would have done alot to change the Koolaid perception of the current coach at the helm.

    With regards to playoff experiences, like the type the Bulls acquired versus the Celtics, having an impact on a team’s impact in the following season. I tend to agree with you but also heard a valid point made by Stan Van Gundy that the front office moves in the off season also matter. From his perspective,… which free agents are or aren’t resigned and which are let go can effect the chemistry and chances of a team to sustain or improve their record the following season where progress in playoff seeding could be achieved.

    Case in point, Atlanta, loses a player overseas to Greece sign in his place,… Flip Murray a better shooter and spot scorer than the guy he replaced. The Hawks sustained the team make up and addressed scoring from the bench.

    The bulls this year will have to decide whether or not to resign Ben Gordon, and who to cut in the event Gordon is resigned and who may be traded as a result. How this effects a team that sured up its roster via the draft and trade deadline acquisitions will be seen next season.

    Comment by orangeandblue1 | May 4, 2009 | Reply

  3. OBTW

    The thought I had about how the Knicks might attempt to improve upon next season absent an impact acquisition in the draft, would be that their be a directed focus towards short term attainable goals.

    Example, and I know I’m just shooting the breathe here, why not focus not on a distant goal relative to the regular season, i.e., the playoffs, but rather focus on shorter more digestable goals. For example why not focus on 1) avoiding losing streaks longer than three games; 2) sustaining a monthly winning percentage at or above 500%; 3) Defending home court with greater regularity; Playing above the level of your competition against “weaker” adversaries and meeting the intensity of higher calibur competition.

    The playoffs in the context of a long 82 game season often becomes a goal out of site when one considers the obstacles that appear during the course of the regular seasons but perhaps parcing that long season into a series of short goals could be a starting point for a team that has missed the post season mark far to regularly in this current decade.

    Comment by orangeandblue1 | May 4, 2009 | Reply

  4. Your attainable short term goals would certainly make the fans happier during the course of the season. The roller coaster highs and lows with a lot more valleys than peaks is very tiring during the season. However, in order to accomplish those goals, the Knicks need to accomplish some managerial and player personnel goals after developing a winning vision.

    We may start to sound like scratched LP’s but you can’t get around the reality that defense is critical in order to win basketball playoffs in the NBA. Statesman made an interesting, though not totally correct point, about the dominance of highly skilled guards and forwards running offenses. Teams will score. But the team that scores the most will be the one that stops the other team from scoring more.

    What type of coaching will D’Antoni do next year and what pieces will he and Walsh put in place? We asked about defense from the very beginning of D’Antoni’s arrival and he hasn’t given us a inoffensive answer yet.

    We cannot expect consistency next year. We cannot expect Gallo to be anything but a rookie next year. Thrill Will looked great, but he is at least half a season, a defensive philosophy and a playoff series away from being a bonafide stud. Without a defensive vision and philosphy we can simply expect more excuses and more requests for patience.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | May 5, 2009 | Reply

  5. DLT, did you want help changing that avatar? Let me know what you need.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | May 5, 2009 | Reply

  6. Welcome to our friends following us on Twitter. Knicksfanblog just added us to his blogroll.

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | May 5, 2009 | Reply

  7. Interesting read fellows. Biggest insight for me. The loan collateral is the media contract(TV), NOT THE THE INDIVIDUAL TEAMS FINANCE. Can I get a BAILOUT?

    NBA gets loan pool renewal
    Print This Story By DANIEL KAPLAN and JOHN LOMBARDO
    Staff writers

    Published May 04, 2009 : Page 01
    In the first sign of a thaw in the eight-month-old credit freeze in sports, the NBA this week is set to renew its $1.96 billion leaguewide loan pool, from which 17 of its teams borrow.

    Last fall, the NFL and MLB “termed out” of similar loan pools after their lenders would not renew the financings on terms acceptable to the leagues. By terming out, the leagues were then confronted with accelerated principal payments.

    The NBA, whose old loan pool expires today, now has no such worry.

    “The glacier is melting a little bit,” said a banker familiar with the deal. “The market is beginning to open up again. Clearly, prices are going up, but still, this is a very good sign.”

    The NBA, which launched the league-backed loan pool in 2003, declined to comment.

    Meanwhile, the NHL has been in the market since March trying to expand its line of credit from $135 million to $227 million. Whether the league will have the NBA’s success is unclear.

    The league is in the first year of an eight-year,
    $7.5 billion deal with ESPN/ABC and Turner.The NBA’s deal is underpinned by the league’s media contracts, which serve as the principal collateral for the loan pool and therein represent a luxury the NHL does not enjoy. The NBA is in the first year of an eight-year, $7.5 billion deal with its national television partners, ESPN/ABC and Turner.

    Only the 17 teams that now borrow from the NBA pool can tap the new one-year deal, which does carry a higher rate than the old one. The previous facility charged teams 75 points over the London Interbank Offered Rate, a floating-rate index. The new rate will be about 100 points (or, 1 percent) higher, a source said.

    Credit once flowed cheap and easy in sports, just as it did through much of corporate America. The credit crisis that began in September has spared no sector. When the NFL, the sports institution deemed the most credit-worthy, could not renew its credit facility last October, insiders saw that as an ominous sign. Six weeks later, MLB found itself in a similar state.

    The NBA’s success, while notable, certainly does not mean good times are back in full. The bank leading the NBA’s deal, JP-Morgan Chase, is on better financial footing than Bank of America, the company that leads the MLB and NFL loans. In addition, because the NBA loans are largely backed by national media money, as was the case for the MLB and NFL loans, the basketball deal is a reflection of the credit-worthiness of the league’s media partners.

    “League-wide facility participants and noteholders are also somewhat insulated [from the effects of the poor economy] given the pledge of national television contracts to service debt prior to distributions to teams for operations,” said Fitch Ratings in grading the NBA debt BBB+.

    Still problematic in sports is acquisition financing and the dearth of lenders specializing in the area.

    Nonetheless, the NBA secured a huge win, with all 15 of the lenders that participated in the expiring facility returning for the new deal. Terming out would have meant that by 2011, teams would have had to start paying back some of the loans. The new one-year deal is an interest-only transaction, and should the league fail to extend the facility next year, teams would not have to begin making principal payments until 2013.

    The extension covers $1.1 billion of the credit facility that is structured to come up for renewal every 364 days. The remaining $860 million is longer-term, fixed-rate debt.

    Comment by Statesman2 | May 5, 2009 | Reply

    • Looks like the gods love the NBA too as the market looks like it will be near a complete rebound by the DRAFT and the start of Free Agency. Still, I predict that we will see less guys opting out leaving money on the table. Can we say Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry?

      KFL

      Comment by Steady | May 8, 2009 | Reply

  8. Is this the NBA-Playoffs? We’re talkin Playoffs!!

    Ron-Ron,
    You retaliate during the game, under the boards, not during a stop in play. Don’t let Kobe mentally take you out of your game. Remember the NBA needs the LA-Media market in the finals. The MEDIA-contract was used as collateral for the NBA’s recent loan. You can bet the NBA OWES their Business-Partners a major market.

    Majic-Rafer Alston,

    You can’t allow Rondo to go down the lane untouched. Put him on his azz. Rafer same as Ron-Ron, retaliate under the boards, or in the middle of the court.

    Ron-Ron & Rafer. New York City ballers need to be a little discreet.

    Peace & Blessings

    Comment by Statesman2 | May 7, 2009 | Reply

    • I totally understand Artest’s testiness. Kobe, like other greats before him, is an undercover thug. Certainly, there are other ways to put Kobe on notice, but the ejection was wrong.

      Rafer just got caught being emotional. Eddie House jabbed him physically, verbally and emotionally with 31 points worth of pimp slapping.

      Is this a trait of NYC Native Ballers whereever they play?

      Comment by livesinnewjersey | May 7, 2009 | Reply

  9. I agree with all of the league’s decisions today. Kobe was correctly T’d up. But no real effect since it’s a decision made the day after.

    Yeah Artest got booted but he shouldn’t have been. He rightly responded to Kobe’s dirty tactics by putting the dude on notice but Kobe like all “Superstars” get the special treatment so the ref’s over reacted to Artest’s reaction and booted him.

    Alston and Fisher’s suspensions were correct in my opinion but what happened when Rondo slapped Miller in the back of the head? ok ok Rondo was attempting to play the ball but that lightning swift miller moved the ball too far ahean and got slapped in that skull.

    Comment by orangeandblue1 | May 7, 2009 | Reply


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