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Knicks Links 10/12/09

 

For a little mainstream media insight on the Knicks, you may want to read the LBE discussion with Mike Kurylo (KnickerBlogger.Net/True Hoop Network) and Chis Sheridan of ESPN. There was nothing earth shattering stated in the discussion, but I had to laugh at the opening by Chris Sheridan:

Good afternoon, Knicks fans, and it is a good afternoon because y’all are one day closer to the end of this miserable decade.

Perhaps the most interesting thing Sheridan said was that the Knicks were going after LeBron and Bosh and that they were competing against Miami for the assets.

I see them trying to get LeBron and Bosh, one through a sign-and-trade and the other in a straight up signing. That would be the expanded Plan A. I think Miami has sights on making a play for both those [g]uys too, maybe Boozer instead of Bosh if he stays in Toronto, and   [p]utting both of them alongside Beasley, Wade and Chalmers. a pipe dream, maybe, cuz they’d have to accept less than the max, but the Heat think they have a puncher’s shot at pulling it off.

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According to Marc Berman, “Darko Milicic would not return Mike D’Antoni‘s calls all summer. Milicic and D’Antoni did not speak until the 7-foot-2 center arrived in New York two days before the start of training camp.” 

Despite the belief that Milicic has strengthened the Knicks defensively, what he has done thus far is not very impressive.  He lacks consistency in terms of defensive effort.  D’Antoni thinks that Milici is simply not ready to play at his speed yet. "He’ll get his shot down when he gets comfortable," D’Antoni said. "He’s only been playing this style for two weeks. He knows how to play. That’s a key. We’ve sped the game for him. Everything’s going 100 miles an hour for him."

In Berman’s Milicic story, he also noted that D’Antoni said the Knicks did not miss Quentin Richardson’s leadership.

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The Knicks are selling Duhon and Lee as the Pick and Roll Dynamic Duo. In addition, check out their twitter on the second sidebar:

You’re Invited – Knicks Open Practice! This Saturday, Oct. 17 @ The Rose Hill Gym @ Fordham Univ. Admission is free. Doors open @ 11:15. 2 hours ago

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Jared Jeffries is going to be in the starting line-up instead of Danilo Galinari.  Chris Duhon, Wilson Chandler, Al Harrington and David Lee will also be in the starting unit. D’Antoni thinks Gallo is just in a minor funk.

Barbara Barker, of Newsday which is owned by Cablevision which owns the Knicks, stated that “Last year’s Knicks team was fun to watch, except when they were attempting to play defense.” 

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October 12, 2009 Posted by | Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, Darko Milicic, David Lee, Jared Jeffries | , , , , | 3 Comments

Knicks Win First Pre-Season Game Over Nets 115-107

BOXSCORE

image Usually the preseason games don’t tell you much about how a team will fare in the regular season.  That is still true, except the Knicks preseason debut offered a bit more hope than last years managerial disaster when Stephen Marbury was still inexplicably in the picture and everyone was claiming it had no impact on the team. 

Yesterday, as the Knicks beat the New Jersey Nets in the first  game of the preseason, the major concerns were on the court and not the sidelines.  Thankfully, basketball is back and we did learn a few things that make us a bit more hopeful about how prepared the Knicks will be starting October 28.

— The Knicks will play more defense this year.  The defensive activity was a welcome sight after D’Antoni insisted that his team was playing defense by playing better offense last year.  The Knicks had five blocks by half-time and Harrington was among the players taking charges.  The Knicks still tended to roll out the red carpet for anyone driving through the lane from the top of the key.

Danilo Galinari seems healthy, but not well conditioned and not prepared to assume the mantle as a star (6 pts and 5 assts in 26 minutes).  He will need the season to learn the NBA game and how he fits into it. His strength is that he can shoot when he gets set and he still can pass well when he is out of control.  Late in the game, he missed the entire basket badly with two barely contested shots after he set his feet.  At least they haven’t said his back was the reason and the plus for him is that Newsday, which is owned by the Dolan’s, has already made his “intelligence” a headline when his play did not even earn a by line.  (Call me when Toney Douglas or Wilson Chandler get a headline for smart basketball play. LOL).

Jared Jeffries just won’t go away.  Jared is one of D’Antoni’s favorites although the fans don’t care much for him and his contract.  But as they say on Thomas the Engine, Jared is a useful engine.  He works as hard as anyone every year to improve. This year he added a three point shot which seemed as accurate as Galinari’s against the Nets as he hit three in a row (3 for 4 from tre arc).  It is clearly a matter of confidence, but if he can hit that shot with some regularity, he just stepped into Bruce Bowen territory.  Still, he has had such hard luck in training camps and pre-seasons that he should probably sit until October 28th at this point.

Toney Douglas (8 pts, 3 assts and 5 boards in 23 minutes) is relentless defensively although his man did get a step on him every once in a while.  He seemed to wear down later in the game and not to be as certain about his decisions. Two for nine shooting.

Chris Duhon (5 points and 4 assists in 25 minutes) was consistently the same as he was last year.  Not spectacular and a little reckless with the pass when caught off his feet..

Wilson Chandler (21 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals) has clearly been advised to be more aggressive to the hoop and with his shot.  You can see how the Knicks can easily resort to one-on-one play with Galinari, Harrington, Robinson and Chandler on the floor and each one pressing to make something happen.  Wilson was also aggressive on defense. 

— It is hard to believe that Al Harrington (23pts, 5 boards) may be the Knicks emotional leader. image Certainly he will be the scoring leader.  His shot is sweet and when he is hot, there is no one on the team better at shooting and creating his own shot – not even Gallo.

— We learned that Nate Robinson is getting $4 million this year.  Nate gets $4 mil and DLee gets $7 mil.  There is a little something wrong with that financial picture, but that is on Nate and his agent.

David Lee (20 pts, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals).–

— The Nets looked very young but they have some interesting talent in Chris Douglas-Roberts, Devin Harris, Brooke Lopez and Terrance Williams.  Let’s see if this coach can get them to adopt some winning ways.

Check Out The Game Time LBE for more insight.

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Danilo Gallinari, Jared Jeffries, Mike D'Antoni, New York Knicks | , , , | 26 Comments

Training Camp Round-Up

Good morning folks. This afternoon is the last training camp session and tomorrow is the beginning of pre-season with the Knicks’ first game against the Wanna Be Brooklyn Nets in Albany. (Talk about your geographic confusion). There have been plenty of eyes, some behind amateur but useful video-camera shots, in Saratoga watching the Knicks try to come together as a T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More) to borrow a oft used acronym from Mr. Cooleyhigh.  Perhaps the best way to sum it all up is “the Knicks are a work in process.”

Of course the process is the “How Do We Get To 2010 Without Looking Like Absolute Fools Process”  and that is a difficult assignment which Donnie Walsh has handed off to Mike D’Antoni this preseason.  D’Antoni has taken the task with the same positive energy he usually brings to the job, but we perceive that Mike has changed a little bit – he is no longer verbally rigid about sticking to his “offense is defense” philosophy which he (and Newsday) kept trying to sell us last season.  Now he has embraced bringing a defensive set to the minds of the players; the next step is to bring the players a defensive mind-set, but this is a process.

This year D’Antoni has made defensive pressure a part of the training camp drills, although it is hard to see the impact of those drills in the available film footage (Check out Alan Hahn’s valiant camera phone effort).  The defensive pressure is also not one of the elements noted much by the blogging eyes in Saratoga.

One of the things most Fanatics understand is that you can’t tell much about the upcoming season from training camp, but you are given some tidbits to help your analysis. It is particularly hard to determine how good players or different combinations of players are because they are all training against players who formed one of the worst teams in the NBA last year.  At this time last year we were concerned whether Jamal Crawford would find his shot which seemed to vanish until the end of pre-season and whether Zach Randolph would be able to adapt to the D’Antoni philosophy of ball movement from player to player not from Zach to Black Hole. (At the beginning of the season both Randolph and Crawford were able to adapt as the Knicks got off to a strong start before the leading scorers were caught in a salary dump, to the dump, to the dump.)

The Eyes Have It

Knicks Fans have a number of eyes at Training Camp this year including Tommy Dee of  The Knicks Blog, Alan Hahn of Newsday, Mark Berman of The Post, Seth at Posting and Toasting, and Frank Isola of the Daily News (he really offered very little observation and insight in the on-line version of the Daily News). 

According to most of these gentlemen, Friday night, the 4th night of training camp, was the most impressive as the players came out and played with considerable intensity. “The energy was awesome and regardless of what people think about this being a lost season I’m here to say that these guys are ready to compete and ready to win,” wrote Tommy Dee.  Dee’s enthusiasm is always nice, but not everyone there associated the evenings effort with the Knicks’ state of readiness for the NBA season.

Earlier, we provided you some video from T&P.  The Knicks Blog also has been providing nice multi-media coverage through the SNY-TV network. The following is their Training Camp Day 4 Video.

 

 

Regarding the intense Day 4 scrimmage according to Dee, “The best five, offensively, in terms of flow was Darko, Lee, Will, Hughes and C-Du. I’m very interested to see if that continues. They have obvious synergy, but it could be just tonight.”  Alan Hahn was more impressed with a different combination. He wrote, “The best lineup for the blues included a huge group of Gallinari, Jeffries, Lee and Milicic. That group moved the ball beautifully and seemed to have great chemistry at both ends of the floor. Milicic ran the floor well and, along with Lee, dominated the boards.” Seth at T&P added that Duhon came to life after Robinson’s squad of youngsters, including Toney Douglas, experienced some success in both trash talking and b-balling.

It’s a process.

Playa, Playa, Play On

Jared Jeffries – Jeffries remains one of the most consistent players on the Knicks.  He is a hard worker and a valuable tool. Unfortunately, Jeffries is often the poster child for offensive disabilities and his contract is one of those in the way of cap space security for fans afraid we won’t be financially prepared for the free agent shopping spree this upcoming summer.

According to Hahn, on the third night of training camp most of the players looked like their legs were dead and their shots were flat, but the “most fittest players such as Nate Robinson, David Lee and Jared Jeffries didn’t show it as much, but everyone else was clearly feeling it.”  I know, I know: Jeffries shot didn’t look as bad because it is almost always flat or a knuckleball, but I like Jeffries because he is a hard working T.E.A.M  player. By Friday night Hahn wrote, “Jeffries has looked very good in camp. He is even finding some consistency and confidence in his previously wayward shot. Not to say he’s a legit scorer, but Jeffries is trying hard to show he won’t be a liability on offense.”

Toasting and Posting wrote, “Brace yourself. Jared Jeffries has been one of the best players on the floor throughout camp. I’m serious. It was cute at first, but Jared made it clear tonight that he’s determined to be a factor. His outside shots continued to fall, and he put the ball on the floor for difficult finishes with either hand. On the other end, Jeffries hounded guards in the backcourt, then raced back to legitimately swat a few people under the basket. My friend (a Celtics fan, I’m afraid, but he appreciates the Knicks) said, without a hint of sarcasm, "he looks like Kevin Garnett out there". It was a sight to be seen.”

It’s too bad that almost every year Jeffries starts the pre-season like a gangbuster and gets injured or so it seems.  Let’s see if he makes it into the rotation on October 28th against the Heat.

Darko Milicic –Milicic, 24, is already in his seventh season. My question is not “How did he become a bust?” It’s “how many rookies has coach Larry Brown destroyed or misused in his career?”    By Friday night, Milicic dominated the boards and ran the floor well, according to Hahn, although he seemed to get hurt a couple of times, once when Toney Douglas landed on his head. Milicic understands that he can help the Knicks improve by rebounding and blocking shots.  "There’s a lot of scorers on this team, scoring is not a problem here," he said. "So I will try to help in other ways; try to rebound, try to block shots. All of this stuff is going to make this team better and get a couple of more wins, maybe for a playoff spot.”

Eddie Curry – Maybe he really is hurt.  Sometimes I regress to my conspiracy theorist days in college and I feel like Eddie Curry is not really hurt, but his conditioning is so bad that the coach does not want the rest of the world to see him practice publicly before he puts a big for sale sign on his Knick-neck.  But, he did practice the first day and he was wearing a boot while working out in the pool by the third day.  This brother is just a mess right now.  Put him on your prayer list please.

Danilo Galinari – Since he was drafted, I have been comparing his game to Jamal Crawford’s which is what I saw in the Euro-tapes.  I was not at all surprised that D’Antoni tried Gallo at the 2 spot which is a slightly better place for him, but according to Berman, “[e]ven D’Antoni admits – for all of Danilo Gallinari’s shooting grace – he still can’t create his own shot.”  That takes a chunk out of my Crawford comparison because Jamal can create his own shot with ease although the shots are not always easy to look at.

Seth at T&P was not impressed with Galinari’s speed on defense. “I think I buy the idea of Danilo Gallinari acting as a shooting guard on offense, but I’m not so down with his matching up that way on D. Gallo matched up with Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry (the latter of which isn’t nearly as ridiculous, but still) at times, and had trouble keeping up when he got screened or lost on the break. At one point, a frustrated Gallo objected to some physical positioning by Landry, and simply shoved him out of bounds with two hands. The guy’s got fire, but I wonder if throwing him out there against guards maximizes his talents.”

Toney Douglas – One of the most significant developments is that D’Antoni has already penciled Douglas in as Duhon’s back up. (Berman). This is not a surprise.  What was a surprise is that D’Antoni had practically written the rookie off as unprepared for the NBA after the Summer League.  "He didn’t have a good summer league, and it was a quick judgment and maybe made a mistake on," D’Antoni said. "He’s a lot better than I thought. He might have ran out of steam at the end of the week, and I judged him on that not being ready. Give him credit though. I showed him things he had to work on and he did."

Toasting and Posting noted, “Toney Douglas continues to impress me on defense. As an athlete, he’s unspectacular, but he’s determined to bust his ass to stay with his assignment. It’s especially refreshing to see someone get over a screen now and then.”

As I mentioned earlier, you are likely to see Douglas and Robinson on the floor together often, especially to improve the tempo of the game.  I would also not be surprised to see Douglas, Robinson and Duhon on the floor at the same time with perhaps Gallo, Jeffries or Chandler.  This combination puts Duhon in the best position offensively as he can pop the tre and play for the drive instead of concentrating on being the distributor.  It’s a small group, but until Milicic is ready, the Knicks’ best units will be smallish.

Al Harrington – Harrington is reportedly looking pretty active and aggressive, particularly on offense where he is also passing the ball around and driving to the rim which is when he is most effective.  Seth wrote, “Al Harrington, who continued to abuse every defender in his path (and a ref or two as well). I believe the word that Al’s added muscle over the summer, because he’s willing and able to bully his way to the basket and finish strong. The outside shots are falling, too.”  Solid play from Harrington will make it tough for D’Antoni to settle on a definite 8-10 player rotation.

We will get a better understanding of what all of this means when the pre-season starts tomorrow. I understand that O&B is going to try to pull together an LBE for tomorrow afternoon.  Stay tuned.

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DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY O&B’s INSIGHTFUL AND LONG LAP ON KNICK REVIVALISM

ALSO, DON’T FORGET TO ROCK THE VOTE FOR THE DANCE-SPIRIT TEAM

October 3, 2009 Posted by | Al Harrington, Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, Darko Milicic, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Jamal Crawford, Jared Jeffries, New York Knicks, Toney Douglas, Zach Randolph | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Knicks Revivalism (Part I the 2010 Plan Holy Trinity)

[In keeping with Knicks’ spirit week resident blogger Orange and Blue offers his take on the divine nature of fandom and offers a positive take on the first year’s work of the new regime. Stay tuned for Part Two in which O&B questions the trajectory and moves, or lack thereof, of the new regimes. So join in and get ready to receive and  in Part 2 question the Spirit,… the Holy Spirit and Sacred Trinity of Knicks Sports Fandom!]

Fandom as Religion and Knicks Fans Messianic Dreams

Fandom is a quasi religious phenomena because of what it often entails- e.g., adoration, faith and loyalty, and zealous commitment throughout the team’s rising and waning fortunes. Examples of the quasi religious nature of fandom in general can be found in the shrines that adorn many a fanatics home, the idolization (and demonization) of players and personalities linked/associated with the team’s fortunes, and the shared and general belief amongst fans that their team, (despite their objective plight), will defy odds in any particular game, season or undertaking to carry the fanbase to the miraculous and euphoric. In the electronic age the religious experience of fandom has blossomed into different denominations as a result of the proliferation of team oriented weblogs-both corporate or private, sponsored or independent.

For the legions of Knick fans, fandom has not been an easy endeavor. With the Franchise’s last championship occurring over 35 years ago and the last championship run occurring during the 1998-99 season, the term “long suffering” has become an ever more apropos term for a fanbase whose arid plight can be likened to the Israelites march through the desert.  In the doldrums of a long championship drought, Knick fans, (and the organization as well), have searched for and sought out a Savior to lead the franchise to a championship resurrection. From the mid 1980s through the end of the century the drafting of center Patrick Ewing was supposed to usher in a return to glory but the teams at Ewing’s disposal at best came within a game of that much hoped upon return. The turn of the century then saw the Franchise pin it’s hopes, (and extend or acquire disproportionate contract offers), on the deteriorating Knees of Shooting Guard Allan Houston, and later upon the questionable character of Point Guard Stephon Marbury. Also, throughout the 1980’s into and through the turn of the century the Names of Knick adversaries such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant also figured prominently in conversations about a potential Knick messiah.

“The Knicks Holy Trinity” and Revivalist Mythology for Popular Consumption

Lebron-Hahn-Walsh1

I. A Franchise’s Downward Spiral

As 1973 slips into the distant memory, the sole decade of championship contention during the 1990s appears ever more like an oasis in a vast wasteland of organizational ineptitude. But for many Knicks’ fans the recent decade at the turn of the century came to represent the worst era of franchise futility- or at least the most dubiously publicized period. For instance, personnel decisions made during the first decade of the turn of the century, (a veritable what not to do for the potential Arm Chair GM), mired the organization in bad contracts and coaching and managerial instability, which at best ended in buyouts and settlement agreements but at worst tarnished the organizations public image under the glaring ravenous lens of the local sports media hawks.

II. A Revival

But just as the Franchise approached an apparent nadir, and Knick fandom was on the verge of losing its religion, a new vision of redemption emerged onto the spotlight of Broadway for the popular consumption and sedation of legions of fans. The new vision of the franchise’s championship resurrection easily became monumental orthodoxy cast in the form of an unassailable holy trinity. That holy trinity has come to encompass the persons, personalities and essences of Donnie Walsh, Lebron James and Newsday’s sports blog coverage of the Knicks.  This holy trinity captures the spirit of the times and marks a turning of the tide against the organizational failings and imbalances since the turn of the century.

In the Knicks holy trininty, “[ ]”onnie Walsh represents the Father Figure.  Cast as a wise and timeless figure, sort of like the creator gods of many religions, it is “[ ]” onnie Walsh who is assigned the task of recreating the Knicks into a Championship contender.  According to popular belief, “[ ]”onnie Walsh’s mythic creational/transformational powers come from a vast well of experience that imbues his managerial decisions with an other worldly patience necessary to carry out a master plan for the franchises resurrection.

Walsh Ressurection

If “[ ]”onnie Walsh is the Father of the Trinity, then Lebron James is the incarnate personification of the long desired franchise savior. As basketball’s king on earth, King James, is considered the chosen one, the one who will carry Knicks fandom to the promised land of an NBA Championship that has alluded the Franchise for over 35 years.  King James has to date certainly matched and or exceeded the hype that surrounded his entrance into the NBA, by displaying the legendary greatness attributed to him, during dramatic playoff performances against the Pistons and Magic, and by carrying an average Cavaliers’ team to the top seeding in the 2008-09 NBA Playoffs.

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But what would the Knicks resurrection and the return of its rumored savior be if the Zeitgeist of the ever-drawing moment did not find itself in the hearts and minds of Knicks fans. To that end a trinity is nothing without it’s Holy Spirit, which is inblognated in the Cablevision bought and owned, Newsday Sports Coverage of the New York Knicks.  Newsday’s coverage of the unfolding “resurrection” is spearheaded by the highly popular reporter/blogger Alan Hahn.   Hahn’s abilities as a prolific blogger, coupled with his careful consideration to his fan base of bloggers and overall affable personality has helped Newsday’s blog the Knicks Fix become one of the more important sources for disseminating the message, spirit and belief in the inevitable return of a Knicks’ Messiah and coming of a 2010 Championship resurrection.

Alan Hahn

III. The Trilogy and “The Plan” in 2010 as a Turning of the Tide

Collectively the trinity represents a shifting of the tide for the Franchise against mistakes of prior Knick regimes at the turn of the century. For instance the hiring of “[ ]”onnie Walsh, as the Head of Basketball Operations, signaled the end of a free wheeling era that reached it’s Zenith under Isiah Thomas.  That era can be said to be marked by numerous gambles in terms of acquiring talented yet highly priced players, either: 1) who were high risk due to character issues; 2) whose statistical production did not significantly improve the organization’s opportunities to engage in and succeed in post season play; 3) whose presence resulted in roster redundancies that negated the player’s value and cut into the development of younger players. Moreover the acquisitions of several of the highly priced yet non-impact talent on the Knicks rosters came at the high cost of lost future draft picks, that were traded away in the hopes that the talent acquired would flourish under Zeke’s management and influence, where they previously had faltered or exhausted their welcomes with their prior teams. To Walsh’s credit the greater part of his first full year as Head of Basketball Operations witnessed the jettisoning of high salary, yet low value per production players such as Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford. Walsh’s first year also witnessed the jettisoning of Knicks’ team Mascot Jerome James and the eventual dismissal of Brooklyn legend turned pariah, Stephon Marbury.

The shifting of the tide away from talented yet risky players and generally low value per production players, to an objective of targeting proven Star free agents suggested the organization had quite possibly learned certain lessons prominent in the management war rooms of the teams that had dumped their undesirables onto the Knicks roster.   To that extent the fascination with acquiring a player of Lebron James’ caliber in 2010, a/k/a “The Plan”, signals not merely a fan boy fantasy but also a partial revelation of what it might take to resurrect a moribund NBA Franchise. Thus for the Knicks Franchise a proverbial veritable lightbulb is finally turned on to illuminate the organization’s trajectory to a vision of acquiring a talent/saviour that many expect will lead the Knicks to a light at the end of the tunnel.

The Plan

Additionally, Walsh’s acquisition of Head Coach Mike “[ ]” Antoni, infused an upbeat atmosphere into the downtrodden lockeroom, while providing the players discipline and direction (on at least one side of the coaching equation). “[ ]”Antoni’s presence also signaled to the team that playing time, (with the exception of Stephon Marbury’s quarantine),  was not a given but would be earned by performance on the court and in practice. The Wally Pip Rule alluded to by Isiah Thomas, the formerly conflicted head coach and president of basketball operations, became a reality with the franchise under a separate head coach and Management. Notably, the Knicks in “[ ]”Antoni’s, first year at the helm had better balance on the line up between offensive and defensive players and youthful and veteran players on the court- e.g., the willing to utilize defensive reserve Jared Jefferies more frequently and to utilize him on opposing team’s point guards, the insertion of talented sophomore Wilson Chandler into the team’s regular rotation, the insertion of fan favorite David Lee into the starting line up.

As the franchise was steered towards an improved trajectory, Franchise ownership also directed their efforts to better controlling/combating the negative coverage of the Franchise by the local sports media outlets.  The Change in the Franchises media policy, from an iron curtain preventing reporter access to a more open approach signaling a détente with sports reporting entities was one step taken to change the Franchises image in the eyes of the local sports journals. The greater move however, involved the purchase of Newsday by Cablevision, which also owns the Knicks- and according to some even Alan Hahn. In a war for the hearts and minds of Knicks’ fans the purchase of Newsday represented the acquisition of a veritable Tokyo Rose/Axis Sally megaphone casting pro Knicks spin via Alan Hahn’s sports coverage of the Knicks as both reporter and blogger. The change in the Knicks media policy when coupled with the partisan voice cast in the Franchise’s favor by Newsday has quickly influenced other corporate Knicks’ fan blogs, which similarly disseminate the inevitability and certainty of the Knick’s Messiah’s return in 2010- see SNY’s Knicks Blog.

Tattoo

Aint “THE PLAN” Lovely?…

September 25, 2009 Posted by | 1973 Championship, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Isiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, James Dolan, Jared Jeffries, Lebron James., Michael Jordan, Mike D'Antoni, NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, New York Knicks, Newsday, Patrick Ewing, Scott Layden, Stephon Marbury, Trevor Ariza, Uncategorized, Zach Randolph | , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

JARED JEFFRIES EXPECTING A GOOD YEAR WITH KNICKS

 

Even Jared Has Highlights Folks

 

One of the hardest working Knicks, Jared Jeffries, is still with the team to much chagrin outside of MSG, but Jeffries expects to have a better year this upcoming season.  While at his charity event at Twin Lakes Recreational Center in Indiana, Jeffries told a Hoosier Scoop reporter that after being plagued by a broken fibula he suffered last season, he expected this year to be better.

Last year I was hurt,” Jeffries said. “I had to deal with my injury for the whole year. I think this year’s going to be good. It’s going to be a really good opportunity for me.

Jeffries, by all accounts a nice guy, is in a very precarious position this upcoming season and he may face significant fan animosity if he and his contract are not traded prior to the February trade deadline.  Although Mike D’Antoni has praised Jeffries for his work ethic and the defensive flexibility he adds to the roster, many fans see the former Hoosier as the worst offensive player on the team and a major impediment to the Cap Space Cometh 2010 Plan. 

Unfortunately, the long but thin Jeffries has never been an offensive threat and is injury prone.  Last year he was inconsistent and often appeared to have two left feet when trying to score beneath the basket. He averaged 5.3 points in 23.4 minutes per game and played in only 56 games.  One could compile quite a blooper reel of his missed shots next to the rim.  But on a team with many scorers, Jeffries offered the best defensive presence in the paint and his length and speed allowed him to guard the 1-3 positions relatively effectively. 

Still, in this year before the Season of LeHope, Jeffries’ contract takes up $6.9 million of salary cap space next year.  With the salary cap expected to be around $50-53 million, the Knicks will need that roster spot and salary slot to be emptied or replaced with an expiring contract. The additional dollars, almost $7 million, if added to the Knicks’ salary cap space would give the Knicks a greater opportunity to get a franchise player AND an adequate support group.  While moving Eddie Curry’s contract ($11.3 million in 2010) would be more favorable to the 2010 Plan, at this point in Curry’s tumultuous career, it seems more likely that Jeffries could be moved faster.

It’s hard not to wish the best for Jeffries, who would probably be a nice piece for a good team, but a lightning rod for fan discontent for a team like the Knicks, which seems destined for another poor season while leaning on the hopes of improvement next year. 

               $$$CAP$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$PACE$$$$$$$$$$$

Hoopsworld has a little piece that purports to determine what would make the season a bust for each of the NBA teams.  For the Knicks it states: 

The New York Knicks season would be a bust if…  The Knicks squander the cap space the team has created for the summer of 2010.  New York has several talented, young players on this squad as the organization looks to the future, including first round draft pick Jordan Hill, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, David Lee and Nate Robinson.  A playoff appearance this season is almost entirely out of the question but the future is bright in the Big Apple with a young core and a proven commodity in Mike D’Antoni coaching the squad.  While 2009 is likely a wash, patience in the key for Knicks fans with cap space a plenty and a tremendous free agent class coming available next summer.

Unoriginal?  I know.  If you’re interested, the full story is here.

          $$$CAP$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$PACE$$$$$$

There is No Way Knicks Can Be Worse Than Last Year according to Liam Martin at NESN.com.  Before breaking down why Darko and Curryo will make the Knicks better, Martin opines:

At first glance, not much has changed: The core remains Chris Duhon and Al Harrington, with David Lee and Nate Robinson still negotiating new contracts or exits. Mike D’Antoni remains at the reins, meaning the club will continue to shoot first, ask questions (or play defense) later.

And the culture, by all signs (i.e., Robinson being arrested for driving with a suspended license, then tweeting about it as the arrest was ongoing), hasn’t changed much, either.

But there are pros to the cons — pros, perhaps, that suggest only the Knickerboxers will win more than 32 games, but pros nonetheless.

August 30, 2009 Posted by | Donnie Walsh, Jared Jeffries, Mike D'Antoni | , , , , | 30 Comments

RIP Van Donnie Tourtoise’s 2010 Tunnel Vision Conundrum!

(This offering was originally posted as comment #26 in the “David Lee Is Not Happy With The Knicks” tread.  Let’s give a Fanatic welcome to O&B’s first non-LBE penthouse offering in the new diggs. (About time!))

RIP VAN DONNIE

RIP VAN DONNIE

The Knicks under Isiah turned over a terrible roster inherited from the layden years. Thomas then used the draft and trades to bring in other young talent with upside and WARTS!

The WARTS on the players acquired to be the teams leader on the court, Starbury, and franchise big man, Eddy “The Giant Midget” Curry where acquisitions of experienced players to help steady a team built primarily through the draft. Add to that group s one dimensional player overvalued at the MLE, Jared Jefferies, and overpaid one way palyers, Z-Bo and Crawford, in an era before the importance of money ball and a tightening cap started to become a GMs reality and reasoning and the Knicks young core were set up for a let down of a mismatched roster with a disjointed leadership and structure.

I think Walsh this time around intended well by acquiring either Jason Kidd or Grant Hill, he perhaps concluded that the young nucleus inherited by Zeke and recently acquired during his tenure required players whose pedigree and approach to the game would provide the necessary leadership required for a currently wayward roster to build forward towards the future. Giving Walsh credit, that was a way better idea than acquiring malcontents, percieved or real, whose impact on the team failed to pull them from a decades long morass of underachievement, despite those very malcontented players very promising upside.

That said, acquiring players near the tail end of the career, while solid in spirit, is a short term move whose long term application may not be present when the Knicks really need those players talents and efforts to take the next necessary steps in what many a Knicks fan hopes will be a playoff run of some signifigance. Walsh perhaps was hoping that the signing of either Hill or Kidd would help construct the bridge of professionalism and pedigree that would bridge a complete overhaul in culture leading into the oft mentioned Shangrila summer of 2010.

But again the question would be at what price?… Fading vets who might not have anything left in the tank when the Alpha Dog Free agent needs his teamates to step up? Sure many of the younger players may have the professionalism and work ethic and habit of a HIll or Kidd rub off on them,.. but the playoff wars requires “all hands on deck” and fading players are like a glass jaw on a prize fighter,… ones to be exploited by capable teams with good coaching who are capable of exploiting matchups.

In the meantime,… players like Sessions who are cost effective considering their age and production, assuming acceptance of a reasonable price tag along an MLE offer, are given the importance of a tick on the Knicks radar list. What’s worse the one of the most professional and hardest working of the teams own products, David Lee, is an afterthought to veterans soon to be entering the nadir of their careers.

The question begs to be answered do Dolan and Donnie not trust their current sideline care takers to incrementally increase the needed professionalism, dedication and work ethic needed to steer the team in an appealing and more competitive direction for the oncoming of the 2010 bonanza? Would not retaining David Lee and acquiring Sessions to head the team and provide it leadership while they would still be very much in their primes when paired with a 2010 free agent, Nilo and Chandler not be as plausible a route as having their overpriced vets fade in the intensity of the playoffs?

No doubt, the economic situation has put a damper on 2010, and their appears now more than ever a desperation to pinch every penny and attempt to expedite every albatross. But while expediting every albatross contract, Curry, Jefferies (b/c their price per production is not favorable to the Knicks), is the right way to go, jettisoning home grown talent or failing to acquire young talent on the come for fear of not being able to afford a robin to Free Agent A’s batman is gamble that insist that A and B can and will certainly be signed come 2010. Does anyone have that kind of certified foresight? I think not?

Then again why not get one piece of the puzzle in 2010, sure up the base this year, (Lee and Sessions), and then see if their are any players in 2011 who can be the Robin or the Batman to compliment the player acquired in 2010? That way other teams can’t lord over the organizations desperation to expedite Jefferies’ or Curry’s contracts. Better said that however, Curry’s or Jefferies contracts expire it will be handled in a manner that the organization does not cut off it’s nose to spite it’s face to present an overbitten smile for one mere fateful date but rather has flexibility in it’s plans for the future.

July 30, 2009 Posted by | David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Isiah Thomas, Jamal Crawford, Jared Jeffries, New York Knicks, Stephon Marbury | 61 Comments