Tag Archives: Kings

Daily Rounds 1/6/2011

Its playoff friday and there’s plenty to get into.  Hank Gola of the Daily News breaks down the match ups and gives his prediction.  Ebenezer Samuel says that the Giants will rely on the running tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to help win them the game.  Filip Bondy says no matter how upbeat coach Coughlin is in his squad, the question remains about which Giant team shows up Sunday at home in the first ever home playoff game at MetLife Stadium.  Paul Schwartz of the Post says that Osi Umeniyora is cherishing this opportunity as it may be his final year in a big blue uniform.  Mike Vaccaro says that the Giants are resilient along the lines of their head coach Tom Coughlin.  George Willis writes the same old silly article about Eli Manning becoming his own Mann.  Get it?  Dave Blezow says that because of the adversity that the Giants have faced all season long, he’s betting on them to win the Wild Card game Sunday.  Sam Borden of the New York Times writes a rather intriguing column about a question I’ve long knew the answer to: what are the receivers looking upwards at when they are going for a long run?  Themselves of course; oh and whether they have people chasing behind them.  Tom Rock of Newsday writes point for point what everything means when it happens.  You’ll understand what I mean when you read it.  He also talks about the Giants confidence heading into their first playoff game.  These Giants think they are just as Super as the 07 team.  

In my heart of hearts, I don’t think the Atlanta Falcons are that much better than the New York Giants.  They have flaws and the Giants can beat them.  But it depends on which Giant team shows up Sunday. Will it be the team that played with so much emotion these last two weeks?  The team that showed up against the Packers and played with the best?  Or is it the team that barely got off the plane in New Orleans and got blown out?  That’s the perplexing thing about this Giants team.  There seems to be have been a turnaround but as a Giant fan, yes I’m overthinking this and reading too much into the entire season but we have to be realistic as Giants fans and ask ourselves what happens if the Giants come out flat?  What happens if its ONLY Victor Cruz, Eli Manning and JPP giving a damn?  What happens then?  What happens to the Giants if they get absolutely destroyed by the running game early on?  Do they have the moxie to recover?  Do they have the short memories equipped to shrug that off and keep plugging away?  Because the Falcons will give the Giants chances.  They don’t play a complicated scheme.  The Giants have the QB to make the plays to get them to where they need to go.  Its about execution and the Giants HAVE to be ready to execute.

This game will come down to two match ups.  The Giants defensive line and how many seconds it affords Matt Ryan to sit in the pocket.  If he’s not shuffling his feet constantly, the Giants are in trouble.  On the opposite end, it comes down to how well the Giants run the ball and their offensive line.  The Falcons don’t really have a pass rush because their line backers are athletic and can keep up with tight ends and their cornerbacks play decent.  How will the Giants run the football?  Can Brandon Jacobs be the bruising back he was in 07?  Its asking alot of a guy who’s taken a pounding these last four years to conjure up those images.  Jacobs had a memorable full-head-of-steam collision in each game of the playoffs and that can set the tone for the rest of the game.  If THAT Jacobs shows up, it will do wonders for Ahmad Bradshaw both running and catching it out of the backfield.  Forget that guy who salsas.  The Giants need to run the football Sunday.  That’s going to be key.  If they can’t, the Giants will be hard pressed to win Sunday and it doesn’t have to be a dominating performance by the running game.  It just has to set up the play action well.  IF it does, the Falcons are in for a long day.

My prediction?  No prediction- YOU CRAZY?

The Mets hired CRG Partners as reported in a press release.  This may not mean much to you from the offset but according to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, they are bankruptcy experts.   The Mets have not explained why their services are being retained.  Then there’s this heartwarming tale of Mr Met written by Richard Sandomir that should warm any person’s heart.  

Look, I don’t want to get any Met fans hopes up but this is encouraging news for any Met fan who has long dreamed of the day that Fred and Jeff Wilpon and their dear uncle Saul Katz would have to finally forfeit the privelege of holding our beloved Mets hostage.  Yes, you don’t want to read into anything immediately.  But the signs are pointing to the Mets preparing the necessary papers to file for bankruptcy which would insinuate that they have to sell the team.

Again, I don’t want anyone to have to go through any financial hardship during tough economic times like these no matter how much I despise them.  Wishing that upon someone would be terrible.  However, I’m not about to pray for that the Coupon family suddenly find a boatload of cash underneath a sofa cushion to save them from their own idiotic mess they themselves created.  I don’t feel sorry for them and I don’t empathize the situation they are in.  I dont know them personally but personally I could care less.  The Mets have been run INTO the ground and then a few holes were dug and they have been placed their thanks to improper financial care taking and now the Mets are the laughing stock of the NL East destined for the cellar for YET another year.

The Mets are in a word lost.  They are unsure about ownership.  They are unsure about who’s here.  Who will be left once this season is gone.  Where this team is going.  What the future holds.  All of that is in limbo and that’s because the owners want it that way.  They want you to believe this unbelievable farce that the Mets are somehow financially solvent and that they are fine when actual records speak for themselves both in the Record Book and the financial records book.  The fact is they don’t have the kind of leeway necessary to battle this storm.  This fall has been slow but steady with enough loud bumps to make these last few years less painful:  Almost what did you expect to happen-like if you ask me.  The Mets have zero direction and it comes with ownership.  THE ONLY group that seems to have its head on straight are the GM’s and the coach.  I love the passion the coach has and if EVER given an honest to God chance of having a nice roster and a decent rotation, I think Terry Collins could do a good job. Then there’s the General Manager Sandy Alderson who’s mission objective is now crystal clear if it wasn’t before: clean house and try and make this the cheapest team money can barely buy.

Because the Mets don’t have any!  And yet they expect the fan base to support them and it.  I wonder what Fred and Jeff will think when Opening Day comes and there’s a sellout.  Why?  Because Met fans won’t automatically just shut them out.  I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.  But what happens when they look at attendance figures for game 2-162.  I wonder if the Mets owners won’t finally see the writing on the wall.  Atleast they have hired a firm that will tell them the truth that no one else has.  Or perhaps this move is to indicate that they themselves came to the reality: they are broke and there’s no fixing it in the near future.  The Mets won’t have 4 million fans walking into Citi Field barring a miracle season this year.  But even this group can’t hope for something like that.  They used up all the good will and karma defending their actions with Bernie Madoff.

One good turn deserves another.  Unfortunately everyone has turned their back on the Coupons.  Its now time for them to turn the page on the Mets.  For their sake and for the fans.  Oh and Mr. Met.

Good news Knick fans, you  may get your wish.  In a sign that Mike D’Antoni will try ANYTHING to change the lack of good play Iman Shumpert may start for the Knicks starting tonight against Washington.  Who he’ll replace is unknown as of this moment but Knick fans don’t care who it is between Landry Fields or Toney Douglas says Frank Isola.  Despite Carmelo Anthony’s plea that it can’t get any worse following that horrific loss to Charlotte, Marc Berman of the Post warns oh yes it can: enter the 0-6 Wizards and then the Central Division bottom feeding Detroit Pacers in a two game road swing.  Howard Beck of the New York Times looks at the obvious culprit of these last few horrific losses: the defensive.  

I can’t tell you how absolutely sick to my stomach it was watching the Knicks Wednesday night.  They played with zero energy and zero heart.  Two teams they should’ve absolutely crushed came into Madison Square Garden and destroyed them and part of it has to do with the offensive scheme which is absolutely terrible and part of it has to do with the defense which is crummy. There are holes everywhere and yes the Knicks are working through injury and part of the blame can be placed there.  But not much else can be.

The Knicks are a mediocre team right now; AT BEST.  The only comforting part is that this is early on in the midst of a truncuated schedule that has everyone playing up and down and perhaps you can say that the Knicks caught the Bobcats and namely four hundred pound Boris Diaw on a great shooting night but the look of a deflated team is what I and most Knick fans saw.  The Knicks were playing without any kind of heart and it was not the case last year when Amar’e and co. showed the kind of effort that basketball fans in NY want to see.

There was ONE GUY who showed that kind of play and that was Iman Shumpert.  Now, whether that ONE GAME of effort deserves a starting spot I dont know.  It says more about the pathetic state of the Knick franchise that they would automatically give up on their starting five after just six games where the entire team wasn’t available for the entirety of the game.  Again, the Knicks are playing without Baron Davis.  I know people will get upset at this next guy but he does play some meaningful minutes at center, Mr. Jared Jeffries.  You need guys who can play intelligently EVEN if it is on only ONE side of the court.  The Knicks don’t have the depth and yes I won’t beat this beat too much longer but the Knicks destroyed their depth with that Carmelo Anthony trade which from the day it was made, I said was a bad deal.  To recap: Melo says he will ONLY be traded to the Knicks.  That means the Knicks have the leverage.  Knicks have a decent team and play with heart and have a pretty good 6 players on the court.  Knicks then deal the entire team save for a few faces FOR Melo who could’ve been had for nothing.  They get Chauncey Billups who is a bona fide leader and could’ve been a positive influence heading into this season.  Billups gets amnestied, vows to go postal on the Knicks on sight and the Knicks now have zero leadership and a center, Tyson Chandler, who’s energy has not caught on in the defensive end.

But hey, what do I know?  Everyone wanted Melo.  I’m not crying about the Knicks getting Melo I’m just saying they could’ve had him in free agency.  Imagine the Knicks having Ray Felton as their point guard.  Then you have Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert, Mozgov, Gallinari, AND Wilson Chandler off the bench?  Would the Knicks have been able to afford Tyson Chandler?  Probably not, but let’s forget that for a second and focus on what could have been a reality.  Let’s throw out Chandler and throw in Mozgov in that center spot.  Let’s say the kid was starting.  Now, just imagine all those guys coming off the bench and the Knicks had a decent point guard.  How much better would the Knicks be?  Yeah.

Hindsight is 20/20 but the Knicks now must focus on being more active defensively.  Unfortunately you can’t diagram a play to pick up the effort.  That’s innate.  Something born from within and yes I see that at times from Tyson Chandler, Carmelo and Amar’e.  Let’s be frank: that’s what make good players great.  That second effort.  But this offense needs better shooters than the Knicks have.  This offense really needs better slashers and the one guy that can do it with any effectiveness apart from Melo is Iman Shumpert.  Landry Fields needs to re-work his confidence back which is a finger point in his direction which bears no further explanation.  Alot of this is Wizard of Oz type stuff that can’t be taught in a class room or through a 90 minute film session.  That has to be found within.  The home crowd is there to cheer you on if you show some kind of effort.  But getting boxed out on rebounds and standing there and watching guys jump over for slam dunk finishes is unacceptable and you might as well have James Dolan come down onto the court and charge the players for courtside seats if all they wanna do is watch while a game is going on.

Its embarassing.  I’m not saying that the Knicks should fire D’Antoni because like I said, by February 15th, you will be able to make a fair assessment about the Knicks.  I’m only going on what I see.  What I see is a mess of a team not playing with any rhythm and not showing any fire.  THAT can’t be coached and if what the Knick fans are saying is: wait for Baron to return then that’s fine.  But it won’t matter if that kind of effort shows up on the Garden floor.  The boos will remain and the losses will pile up.

In National Basketball News, Eric Gordon said the Clippers lied to him about the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Clippers and Gordon and the 2012 unprotected pick to the Hornets says Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.  Zack Lowe of SI’s Point Forward Blog says that the Paul Westphal firing had more to do with organization failings than his much discussed dust up with DeMarcus Cousins.    Marc Spears writes that the futures of Keith Smart and DeMarcus Cousins are intricately linked now that the two have been paired up together.  

The elephant in the room needs to be discussed.  This WAS about DeMarcus Cousins.  But this was also that Paul Westphal left the Kings no choice.  The Kings were terrible.  They made the Knicks offense look great and the defense seem firm.  I mean COME ON.  But this was a result of the coach’s short comings as a coach and as a leader.  Westphal had the league’s youngest roster which means that he could have his way molding a team together but I can’t remember a Paul Westphal coached team do anything noteworthy since that 1993-94 Suns team that was built to compete with a moderately fit Charles Barkley and Kevin Johnson (now the mayor of Sacramento ironically enough).  Westphal failed to relate with Cousins who was the star big man and the coach always falls on the ax first before the player does so this was not newsworthy and no one should get on the Kings and Geoff Petrie for taking the player’s side in this instance because 99.9% of the GM’s in this league would’ve reacted the same way.

But THIS move was a wake up call to DeMarcus Cousins because if I WERE THE KINGS as soon as I had a chat with Westphal, I would’ve pulled Cousins and sat him down and explained to him the consequences of his actions.  It partially got a man fired.  And it may result on his own pink slip and once you become a diva and a head case it will take a LOT to earn back the kind of money you may have earned had you played your butt off and still lost.  See, Cousins had this reputation even in his days at Kentucky and its now coming back to haunt him because that stigma remains.  He’s a fantastically skilled player when he keeps his head on straight.  BUT he can be a nuisance AND he can be childish.  There are coaches who will take a chance on that kind of talent but attitude doesn’t necessarily disappear because a coach with some gravitas pulls the kid aside.  If he doesn’t listen he doesn’t listen and so now he and Keith Smart had better find a middle ground.  News that they held a players only meeting is all good but the failings of a team to win fall on the coach and now the glare will be on the player.  The coach is gone and with a new coach, more defense oriented, if the results continue to linger one can only assume that it is the wrong mix of players.  Now, whether the Maloofs decide that Geoff Petrie hasn’t had a single decent personnel move for a few years now and deserves to get the ax or whether he empowers Petrie to make a personnel decision is for another time but the fact is that the Kings are now on the clock.  Everyone will be watching the Kings and the first sign of trouble, SOME TEAM crafty enough will come with a trade offer.  THEN, it will be on the team to decide whether its worth keeping either Cousins OR Tyreke Evans.  Talented yet troubled players who have a problem with authority and constantly question it.  The troubling aspect is that the ability to get fleeced is a very high probability in this case and it can set the organization back several years so the challenge will be to make a solid business decision.  How well do the Kings know Cousins?  How well do they know Evans.

THAT is going to be the most interesting thing to watch.  Wait for a few losses and then the wolves will be outside waiting to tear this team apart.  We’ll see who makes the decisions and what decisions are made.

 

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Daily Rounds 1/1/2012

The Knicks ended 2011 on a very positive note blowing out the Sacramento Kings 114-92 in the former Arco Arena.  It completed a 3 game West coast swing (the only one for the Knicks this season) that saw the Knicks go 1-2.  Mark Herrmann of Newsday said that Josh Harrellson’s presence in place of an injured Amar’e Stoudemire was huge.  Frank Isola of the Daily News also gave props to Landry Fields and Toney Douglas along with the neophyte, Harrellson.  Howard Beck of the New York Times said that the surprising thing about last night’s convincing win was this:  the Knicks clutch scorer was Tyson Chandler (22 pts, 7 Reb, 3 blocks).  Meanwhile in related Knick news, Time Warner subscribers will be Knick and Ranger-less in the New Year after the cable provider could not reach a deal with MSG Networks on a new deal according to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times.  Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee  said that the youngest team in the NBA looked tired and listless and many were growing frustrated with Paul Westphal’s offense.  Not good.  

Great win by the Knicks.  Given the state of the Knicks and how they played in their last two games it was nice to see another team give up late in the game.  The Knicks went on a 19-2 run in the first quarter and really NEVER looked back and held a double digit lead throughout the game.  Here’s what I liked about the Knicks last night:

– Interior passing-  How many times did Landry Fields cut and wind up right underneath the basket for an easy lay in?  It seemed almost throughout the first quarter and the fourth he was having his way offensively.  Landry was flying throughout the court and it was interesting to see how much more confidence he showed without Amar’e on the court.  Landry was flying for offensive boards and he recorded 5 rebounds (2 offensive) to go with his 21 points most of which was done thanks to his constant cutting and great ball movement by the Knicks.  The Knicks made a concerted effort to go to the hoop once their shots stopped falling.  The Knicks were intent on getting to the line and making the Kings have to guard close to the basket and finally the Knicks took advantage of their size and got inside the paint and scored.  I loved how the Knicks constantly had flow to the offense finding guys open for shots that were falling and that was the difference.

– Great shooting night.  Again, a team this talented will have nights where their shots aren’t falling and collectively having that is detrimental.  However, tonight when their shots became non-effective and began to make questionable decisions the Knicks went back in to the paint area and found easy points right under the basket.  This was because of constant movement by the guards, and not as much standing around and looking and waiting for one of their superstars to make plays.  It was rather interesting to see how good this team can be when they make plays without having the shot fall in.

– Killer Instinct-  The Knicks came in knowing they were the better team and they played like it.  No Amar’e.  No problem.  Yes the Kings are inexperienced but think about this, the Knicks got that huge lead with NOTHING from Carmelo Anthony for the first 18 minutes of playing time.  His first points of the night were at the 6:08 mark of the 2nd quarter.  The Knicks stepped on the Kings and kept stepping showing the kind of grit that great teams must have.  I loved the two hard fouls by both Bibby (Which got called a flagrant when it shouldn’t have) and the one by Melo to deny easy shots by the Kings.  The Kings were terrible at the charity stripe and part of a smart foul is also knowing that the person you are fouling is TERRIBLE at the free throw line.  The Kings shot a collective 63.4% from the line (26 for 41).  They had 14 more attempts than the Knicks but the Knicks were smarter and also hit 88.9% of their free throws (24 for 27).  The Kings had some runs where they almost got it to single digits but the Knicks were fervent and persistent in the paint and got timely buckets.  In the second half they shot from the three only when they were leading by 20 or more showing that they were playing the game the right way.  Get the easy buckets when you can get them.  The Knicks constantly went into the post area where they knew the Kings had a lack of size (a majority of the time Tyson Chandler was being guarded by 6-6 Chucky Hayes).

– Josh Harrelson, Landry Fields and Toney Douglas-  For the Knicks to be successful these guys MUST be active in the offense and active defensively and all three were both.  Harrellson was probably the most effective in one particular light:  he showed range from3.  IF he can do that then that second unit becomes that much more effective.  Hear me out: once Iman Shumpert returns (he and Jared Jeffries are being re-evaluated Monday after working out yesterday prior to the game) Shumpert’s ability to drive to the hoop will make it that much more dangerous if Harrellson all 6-10 are hitting those shots from long range because that draws the big men away from the basket which again gives the Knicks big man the ability to leap over the guards and forwards who will be left trying to get the rebound.  Especially when you have 6-7 Carmelo and 6-7 Fields looking for the offensive boards and that’s where the Knicks must improve.  Harrellson and that three point shot, if he’s hitting it with regularity, will be so key for the Knicks moving forward.  Landry was a revelation tonight.  He played with such confidence.  Cutting under the basket at will and actively looking to make plays that it was like watching first half 2010-2011 Landry rather than the timid guy who finished the year after the Carmelo trade.  He was playing with the kind of confidence that makes you believe that once he understands and gets his role down on this Knick team, and it will be interesting to see how he plays once Amar’e comes back, if he can continue how much more dangerous he becomes.

But all of that won’t matter if Toney Douglas can’t hit a man cutting to the basket on time.  Peter Vecsey was all lady gaga over the passing prowess of the Spanish Pistol Ricky Rubio that he was daydreaming about Rubio in a Knick jersey running the D’Antoni offense and if you saw that game (which i didn’t by the way) against the Heat 12 points, 12 assists, 6 rebounds, one can only wish that the Timberwolve coaching staff didn’t ultimately grab every point guard with a pulse in that draft.  Rubio even told the Timberwolves that if they drafted him he would not report to the team and held out for two years before finally coming back and signing to a two year deal.  But I digress, the Knicks point guard situation is probably the most tenable and the one causing the most panic for Knick fans.  What can possibly make Douglas better?  Other than playing time and more time breaking down footage of himself with trainers and coaches?  Lord only knows but one thing is for certain- the Knick point guard played a helluva lot better.  Creating for teammates and also handling the pick and roll pretty well on four separate occasions.  He found Tyson Chandler twice on easy alley oops that if you squinted your eyes you may have seen an actual point guard playing for the Knickerbockers.  Was that Baron Davis?  No.  Douglas’ growth will be one for Knick fans (minus you unlucky Time Warner folk) to ponder and point at and constantly berate over Twitter.  One thing for certain is that it will take time.  Douglas can not be blamed in my estimation for his lack of flow as a point guard since the last two years in this system he’s been used sparingly at the point.   This year expecting Toney to understand the nuances of the point guard position when he hasn’t really played it his entire career is unfounded criticism and I admit I’ve been guilty of this as well.  Douglas’ time spent on the court creating for teammates and guiding his fellow mates into proper positions on the court is an on the fly stewardship which will see ups and downs but count last night as an open book exam in which he was able to use the Kings as practice for his eventual major exam against a worthy foe.

– Defense, defense, defense-  Again, the energy on the defensive end has been the only constant for this Knick group and its exciting to watch guys with their hands up denying cutters the ball.  The Knicks were great on help.  Great on rotating.  Great on d’ing up and great on not leaving their feet when they didn’t have to or falling for the ol pump fake.  I remember an NBA TV show where Chris Webber talked about the first time he realized he had lost his original sin (i mean Skill), was when he double pumped with nobody around him.  The double pump should only be employed when you have a man draped around you.  NOT to fake a guy who’s only eventually rotating to you.  You’re basically inviting the contested shot.  The Knicks were excellent in the low post denying guys the opportunity for put backs which the Kings had plenty since the Knicks were once again paid customers as the rebounds went to the opponents.  Love the energy and love the way that the stars, especially Carmelo is playing with.  He’s obviously out there to destroy the myth that he can’t play defense.  Again, its going to take work and effort and a lot of practice time and added attention to that area but once he has it, Melo will be listed as one of the top 5 players in the game.  Right now his defensive inability makes him fall out while his offensive game gets all the due and praise it should.

Melo-  Looked like he was headed towards a slow night where his shot was off again.  That’s when he committed to go head on to the hoop and got the line using his superstar status and his ability to put on moves.  The Knicks were led by their subs today but then you look up at the final box score and you see Melo’s line and you just shake your head.  He ALWAYS puts up numbers even when it looks like he doesn’t.  Great players always do.   Headed to a 28-7-7 this season.  If the Knicks go deep and win one of the top seeds he’s in the MVP discussion.

What I didn’t like:

– Rebounding- 51-43 edge overall but ESPECIALLY on the offensive glass where the Kings outrebounded the Knicks 22-17, though some of that blame can be given to the fact that the Kings were missing a lot more shots than the Knicks and alot of loose bounds were carroming right into surprised arms of the Kings.  I’m not making excuses here but they just were.  However I did see some extra effort on plays especially by Josh Harrellson who recorded his first double double of his young NBA career with a 14 point 12 rebound night.  His second chances and ability to create new possessions for the Knicks were pretty awesome to see.  The Knicks rebounding continues to be because of poor technique.  The Knicks jump a second late almost everytime and seem to not have any clue about boxing out.  The Knicks look flat when they don’t come away with the rebound and they are left just watching and star gazing.  THATs where the Knicks need to improve and we saw effort last night that we hadn’t seen in the first four games combined.

– Jerome Jordan and Jeremy Lin-  Not the way you wanna play if you want to get into the rotation.  A few nights ago I, like many Knick fans were calling for Lin to come in JUST to see the young guy play.  He played just under 4 minutes and got four fouls.  Jordan came to spell Tyson Chandler after he picked up three quick fouls but was largely ineffective and drew some very stupid fouls.  Need to see more aggressiveness out of that group especially if the Knicks need them to step up like they did with Jerome Jordan.  I’ve always said: one thing you can’t teach is size.  Jordan’s size is a valuable addition and yes, at 25, he’s virtually a rookie.

Now come the links:

ESPN’s Marc Stein runs down the year in numbers with the simple NIKE theme:  Basketball Never stops.  

Jeff Passan of Yahoo sports wonders aloud exactly what constitutes a Performance Enhancing Drug?  

I found this article really interesting in one sense.  Everytime there seems to be an answer to a problem it seems the crooks get smarter and find another loophole. And thus, the loophole.  Look, I dont know if its good, if it works or if its legal but we do know one thing: players will ALWAYS look for that edge and if this doesn’t prove that- what does?  It also shows that the best athletes in the sport, ones who will do anything to remain competitive, will do what it takes to stay relevant.  Also doesn’t it make sense that Kobe and A-Rod are friends?

Clipper Darrell, the ultimate Clipper fan reveals to the world: Why the Clippers?

SB Nation’s Bomani Jones writes why Cam Newton SHOULD NOT have given racists a free pass.  

I get that racism is a hot button issue and always will remain for my lifetime anyway.  I think racism defers everytime people read into a sheet filled with an African American’s skill set.  It always reads athletic, powerful and everything else that relates to his physical prowess however when it comes time to measure intangibles and his ability to read coverage and make complex reads it seems they indict the player on his intelligence and suddenly the race card comes up which brings us to Cam Newton.  I wrote in my season preview that I thought Cam would have more rush yards than Vick this year.  Now, people were confused as to why that was.  I loved Newton’s offensive line.  His running game.  And his receivers in general.  The Eagles had a terrible offensive line filled with inexperience.  Did I see Newton passing for more than 4000 yards?  No.  I felt that Cam would rely on his legs more than his arm and that’s not an indictment on his ability to read coverages, its just that the pro game is quicker and many times rookies lean on their natural ability and nobody would’ve blamed Cam for that.  But he stood in there and understood what it took to be great in this league and it seems that he has every single tool necessary to become a super star.  He hates losing.  He makes plays and he has an insatiable hunger to learn.  Those are things that can not be taught.  They have to come from within.  Whatever made other black QB’s not successful don’t apply to Cam because there are more first round white QB’s who failed than one of color.

What’s Cam’s upside?  He can be the greatest QB ever.  That should be the discussion.  I hope its not some dubious category like greatest black QB or greatest mobile QB.  Either way, race should not be brought up or similar racial lines should not be the ones that we use to compare.  Hopefully society has progressed since then.

 

Oh and there’s some game on tonight for all the marbles.  For your information I predict the Jets win today but don’t wind up in the playoffs.  

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Winners, Losers and the Unknown of the Trade Deadline

Hope doesn’t just spring eternal in Florida and Arizona this time of year, its a geyser in MSG as the Knicks wiggled enough cap room to sign two max free agents.  That much we know.  What we don’t know is how everything will play out.  Like many, I was refreshing ESPN.com, SI.com, and Yahoosports.com constantly to see if any updates came through.  As Mark Cuban tweeted it was probably a better idea to “follow NBA Trade Deadline on twitter,” but I’m stuck on archaic methods.

Regardless, the trade deadline has come and gone and we have winners and we have losers of this trade deadline and much to process on both ends:

WINNERS:

KNICKS: Of course I begin with the hometown team and the fact that they were able to move the Jared Jeffries salary, and they were able to move Nate Robinson and move a few guys to get the cap space needed to go after two max free agents.  They mortgaged the next few years on the hope that LeBron makes MSG his home for the next 7 years and calls another one of his super friends to come and help out.  Of course being a Knick and Met fan I’m doomed to be pessimistic about it, but in theory this deal makes them the big winners.

ROCKETS:  Yes, they did make out.  Sure they took on another salary for next year but you always get the sneaking suspicion that Darryl Morey the stat guru MIT grad GM of the Rockets knows just a little bit more than the rest of us.  He swapped first rounders with the Knicks in 2011 and got their 2012 pick (from everything I’ve been reading on it, only the first pick of the draft would be protected in 2011 and top 5 protected in 2012 (thanks to NBA.com)) and managed to set himself up nice with a proven scorer in Kevin Martin a guy that the Kings had been telling everyone was unavailable.  Morey is banking on LeBron not going to the Knicks next summer and the Knicks being bad for the next few years and God help us if he’s right.

KINGS: I think it worked out on all ends here.  The Kings acquired cap space for this offseason where they will attract absolutely nobody but hey, its a nice thing to put on the resume.  They were able to snag two really tough physical players in Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey to play the post and be the mashers and grinders and they are staring down the barrel of a lottery pick this summer again which should help them if they pick as well as they picked last year.  Also throw in Jason Thompson and they have a developing nucleus of young guys and bigs that could make the Kings a minor contender sooner rather than later.  Only, they need another coach, sorry Reggie Theus, he wasn’t even a good coach on their TV show.  Think about that.

BOBCATS:  They got Tyrus Thomas and Theo Ratliff at the trade deadline and managed to keep DJ Augustin a guy they loved.  Larry Brown’s team will be a tough out in the Eastern Conference whomever they face in the first round.  Ten out of their 14 guys are 6’8′ or taller which gives them such an inside presence that it will be tough for teams to score on them in the low post.  They just might sneak up on a few teams in the first round.  Too bad the first round isn’t 5 games anymore, it might have been fun for this team to play a high seed under that format.

CAVALIERS: As much as the Knicks moves were geared towards getting LeBron James, the Cavs decision to trade for Antawn Jamison was to keep LeBron and they did a hell of a job in doing so.  They managed to get the better deal in getting Antawn, that coveted stretch four they were seeking, than Amare- a deal in which they would’ve had to give up J.J. Hickson, something they were not willing to do.  Amare while being more of a physical presence is only that on the offensive end, on the defensive end they are very similiar.  Where Antawn has the advantage is that he can pull a 20/10 night consistently and in more ways than Amare can and that’s what you have to love.  This move was facilitated towards keeping their young guys and also making LeBron happy.

ARN TELLEM:  Why an agent?  Easy.  Tellem had as much to do with the Knicks getting T-Mac as Donnie Walsh.  Let me explain.  When most of us woke up this morning the reports coming out of the Houston Chronicle were that T-Mac had been traded- to the Kings.  I had to stop everything I was doing to make sure I read right.  Of course the following paragraph made me breathe easier when it said they were working on getting the Knicks involved in making sure T-Mac, and more importantly the expiring contract, went to the Knicks.  But the Kings with all their leverage decided to ask for everything the Rockets were asking for, but not Jordan Hill and not the 2012 first rounder, but David Lee.  That put a speed bump in there.  Arn Tellem being the high powered broker he is, and this is just purely guessing on my part, may have called Geoff Petrie’s office in Sacramento and warned him of the dangers of stalling this trade with the Knicks.  He is after all the agent for Tyreke Evans, the guy most responsible for Kevin Martin no longer being a King.  The Kings GM being the wise man he is, decided against making the agent for his franchise player mad and decided to play nice and made sure the trade went down as it went down sending Sergio Rodriguez also.  What’s lost in this is also Tellem being the agent for Danilo Gallinari, one of the players that will be here if and when the Lebron era begins in New York and judging on how he makes every player on his team better it stands to reason that Danilo might be staring down the barrel of a nice little jump in his salary with Lebron’s arrival.  Winners all around.

LOSERS:

CELTICS: I know this may seem a bit biased but Eddie House fit the culture of Boston and the locker room Ubuntu they had going in 2008 when the Celtics won it all.  Now, they bring in Nate Robinson who among other things brings a certain flair for the dramatic and I’m not talking about game winning shots.  The goal for the C’s were to get Kirk Hinrich and send Ray Allen’s expiring contract with it but I’ve always been under the impression that you keep your best guys if you have a legitemate chance to make the playoffs.  I’m basing this rating on the fact that I’m not a huge Nate Robinson fan like every other Knick fan.  Just because he was the best player on the team for the last few years doesn’t make me automatically a fan of his, and the fact that he was should absolutely disgust Knick fans to no degree.  The Celtics just seem to be getting older and not better.  Its time to seriously think about breaking that team up and build around Rondo and Pierce.

HEAT:  In my opinion this trade deadline had to be about convincing Dwayne Wade that the Heat were going somewhere and they didn’t do that.  Now the Heat will have to sign a player a semi star first to properly convince D-Wade that Miami is a place that will be able to compete for a championship if he signs long term.  I’m not too sure they will be able to sign that guy especially when his hometown team the Bulls will have enough cap space to sign him and already have Derrick Rose in place.  Its a tempting offer and as much as South Beach offers I’m sure Wade is tired of giving up his body for a team that seems to be staying in place while everyone else seems to be getting better.  Also its never a good idea when your GM is offering up quotes on how sure he is that a player will stay when nothing has been decided.

UNKNOWN:

DONNIE WALSH:  We will see if he’s either a genius or an idiot come July 1st.  That’s when basically his fate will be decided.  Now its not fair to say that Donnie is a total idiot for giving up picks and much more to secure enough space to make those moves because let’s face it, he had to make sure he had the room to pull this off so doing that was absolutely essential but now it becomes a waiting game for Donnie and for Knick fans.  Also the free agent class of 2011 isn’t too shabby either and with Eddy Curry’s 13 million off the cap it will give them even more space but I don’t think Knick fans can wait another year for another superstar to be available if we strike out on LeBron this summer.

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