Archive for the ‘N.B.A’ Category

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The shots just keep coming.

After losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton was arrested and charged with felony gun possession. This is just the latest hit in an overall tumultuous season for the Knicks. At 21-36 this season, New York is likely to miss the playoffs.

With all the clear problems the Knicks have, there seems to be only one solution for the men of MSG. That solution is to blow up the team.

The amount of problems that New York has right now are countless. Firstly, the Knicks need to dump anyone they can. Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., and whoever else a team will offer a draft pick for should be sent packing. With only one draft pick in the next three years, this is unfortunately necessary. James Dolan has dug such a deep hole for this team to climb out of, it will require a truly horrendous year to get out of.

The next step in this rebuild will be to not spend a penny in this offseason. Luol Deng, Pau Gasol, or Lance Stephenson aren’t enticing enough to bury yourself further in salary cap troubles. Waiting another year will do wonders for this team. The thought of playing in New York will attract free agents automatically. Being patient can end up paying huge rewards for this team.

Lastly, as painful as this sounds, New York may need to let Carmelo Anthony walk. Despite his incredible scoring ability, Melo is not the type of player who can make a team great on his own. Burying money in a contract for Anthony will end up placing the Knicks into the same problem they’ve always been in. Now if Melo is honest by saying hell take significantly less money to stay with the team, that may be another story. However, until that is proven, New York needs to let Melo move on.

At the end of the day, the Knicks need to give up. Between their salary cap troubles, lack of draft picks, and overall lack of talent, New York needs to blow it up. Trade away everyone, let the rest of the contracts play out, and prepare for 2016. 

Gary recaps Sunday nights game against the Lakers and looks ahead at what JAson Collins could or could not bring

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We’re almost halfway through the 2013-2014 NBA season, so it’s time to take a look at break-out players around the league who have taken big steps this season in their overall game.

John Wall-For the 2nd year in a row, Wall is hovering right around 20 points 8 assist and 4 rebounds, but he’s improved in multiple facets of his game, including defense. He’s the 5th in the league in steals and 2nd among point guards in blocks. Wall is also shooting much more efficiently, with a career high 33% 3-point FG% after coming out of college with virtually no outside game. He’s also shooting a career high 84% from the free throw line, up 80% from last year. And to top it all off, Wall has led the Wizards to a record above .500 for the first time since 2009. No matter how trivial that sounds, Wall has had a phenomenal year and taken a big step in his overall development.

Goran Dragic-The Phoenix Suns are one of the best feel-good stories in sports the year, after completely overhauling their roster and management, Jeff Hornacek is leading a team projected to be a bottom feeder this year to a 29-18 record and 2nd place in the Pacific Division, but the breakout of Goran Dragic, the former Steve Nash backup, has played just as big a role. He’s up to a career high 20 points a game to go along with 6 assists and 3 rebounds and a career high 39% 3-point FG%. Dragic is one of only 3 players in the league to average 19 points, 6 assists, and 49% from the field. The other 2? LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

Anthony Davis-In just his 2nd year, Anthony Davis has already asserted himself as one of the elite big men in the entire league. Davis has jumped from 13 points a game to over 20 per game, while still averaging over 10 boards after averaging just over 8 last year. Defensively, Davis is leading the league in blocks at an astounding 3.4 per game, 1 more than anyone else in the league. He may be just a sophomore, but Davis is quickly showing why he deserved to be the #1 pick in the drat just a year ago.

Lance Stephenson-Over his 4 years in the league, Lance has emerged from rotational bench player to one of the best young all-around players in the league on one of the best teams in the NBA. Stephenson’s averaging over 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, all career highs. All the while, Stephenson leads the league in triple-doubles with 4. The Pacers are arguable the best young team in the NBA, and Stephenson is slowly showing us why.

By Avi Soep

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With the new trend of super teams making its way through the NBA, it is rare to see a team built from scratch. Despite the trend, Indiana Pacers President and Boston Celtics Legend Larry Bird decided to build his team the old fashion way. Now he is reaping the benefits of those rewards. Bird has built the best team in the league by creating a unit filled with balance, chemistry, and leadership

Lets start with balance.  This team has everything a team could dream of in their starting five; two bruisers, a facilitator, a playmaker, and an all around superstar. Roy Hibbert and David West make opposing players terrified to drive into the lane. George Hill has been great at the point, spreading the ball and averaging a healthy 13 points a game. Lance Stephenson has been a borderline All-Star this year. The 4th year player out of Cincinnati is averaging 14 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists a night. Night in and night out, Stephenson delivers consistent and strong play on both ends of the floor.

Then there’s Paul George. After last years coming out party in the playoffs, the 6’9 Small Forward hasn’t taken his foot off the pedal. So far this season, George is averaging 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists, a game. He does all of this with a mere 2.5 turnovers a game. On the defensive end, the former Fresno State Bulldog has been unreal. On ball, George is averaging 2 steals a game. However, off the ball is where he really shines. George will allow shooters to have a little room, and then uses his wingspan to force the shooter into an uncomfortable shot. It is no wonder why shooters are only shooting 30% against him from the field.

As good as the starting five has been, the team wouldn’t be nearly as good without its bench. Luckily, Indiana has the deepest bench in the league. Danny Granger, Luis Scola, C.J. Watson, and Ian Mahimini all know their role and play them to perfection. Special credit is due to Granger. As the former face of the franchise, Granger has accepted his off the bench role as is making the most of it. Coming off knee surgery, Granger is averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes a night.

All of these pieces accumulate into a comprehensive unit on the court and in the locker room. Notably, Indiana has been incredibly effective at moving the ball. All five position players seamlessly move the ball in an attempt to create the best shot opportunity. It is truly a joy to watch teams with such selflessness.

The final step in the Hall of Famers creation was bringing in a disciplinarian on the court. It is one thing to have a respectable coach (if that’s not the case you have bigger problems), but to have a respected player, who controls the locker room, is priceless.

This is where David West returns to the conversation. Bird wanted to bring in a player to control and mentor the young core that Indiana possessed. West signed a 2-year deal in 2011 and instantly the culture changed. Speaking on West, Pacers Head Coach Frank Vogel said, “He does a lot of one-on-one mentoring, and does it every day. Just his presence – guys are going to think twice before they handle themselves the wrong way. Big brother is there. He’s a good observer; he knows what the right chemistry feels like. He knows when guys need hugs, when guys need a kick in the butt.”

Of all that mentoring, the biggest beneficiary of West’s help has been Center Roy Hibbert. Before West joined the team, the 7’2 Georgetown product was averaging a mere 10 points and 5 rebounds a game. He had been struggling on defense and had just been highly inconsistent overall. Since 2010, Hibbert has averaged 13 points, 9 rebounds, and over 2 blocks per game. With West keeping players like Hibbert and Lance Stephenson focused, the sky is the limit.

When you look at what Larry Bird has done, it is truly an incredible feat. This year will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Malice at the Palace. Going from clowns like Ron Artest and Stephen Jackson, to consummate professionals like Paul George and David West is no easy task. While the idea of a super teams like the Miami Heat have a shelf life, the Indiana Pacers will be around for a long time.

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Per tradition, the New York Knicks are set to have their Martin Luther King day matinee against their cross-town rival, the Brooklyn Nets. With the renewal of their rivalry hours away, lets take a look at some of the greatest moments in the long-lived rivalry.

Kidds Four Point Play- After spending years in New Jersey, Jason Kidd spent his final year as a player wearing Orange and Blue for the New York Knicks. In his first game at the Barclays Center, Kidd had a time machine game, putting up 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Of those points, none were bigger than his three with 24 seconds left to give the Knicks the lead. He was fouled during the shot, sending him to the line where he failed to complete the four-point play. The Knicks took the win 100-97 in one of Kidd’s last great games.

The Tim Thomas Tirade- In game two of the 2004 playoffs, with tensions already high, Nets Center Jason Collins committed a flagrant foul against Knicks Forward Tim Thomas. Thomas was injured on the play and would not return to the game. In his postgame interview, Thomas would proceed to rip everyone from Collins to his own teammates. His most memorable comments came against Nets Forward Kenyon Martin, where he proceeded to call Martin “Fugazi”. Martin and the Nets responded by beating down the Knicks at MSG to sweep the series.

The Blueprint 2010- With the day rapidly approaching, Mikhail Prokhorov,  Jay-Z, and the rest of the Brooklyn Nets front office decided to make a statement about their impending move. They did so by placing a 22-foot billboard outside of Madison Square Garden with the Tagline “Blueprint For Greatness”. Tensions would continue to rise between the two owners until commissioner David Stern finally stepped in and squashed the situation. Despite being forced to take the Billboard down, the point was definitely made.

The Birth Of Linsanity- Febuary 4th 2012 will forever go down in sports history as the birth of Linsanity. With Iman Shumpert & Baron Davis out, Lin was finally given a chance to play by coach Mike D’Antoni. Against the New Jersey Nets, Lin went off, scoring 25 points, while adding 5 rebounds and 7 assists. From there the rest is history. Lin would go on to average 15 points, and 6 assists for the rest of the year, before going to the Houston Rockets in free agency.

At Long Last- The building was shaking. In front of a sellout crowd, the Nets and Knicks played their first game at the Barclays Center and they did not disappoint. Despite being delayed by Hurricane Sandy, the game felt like it was opening night. In an overtime thriller, Brooklyn prevailed with a 96-89 final score. With both teams putting up a good fight, this signified the beginning of the fight for New York.

There are plenty more classic moments that have taken place over this 40-year rivalry. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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At long last, Greg Oden made his season debut on Wednesday night against the Washington Wizards. When the former number one overall pick took less money to sign with the Miami Heat this offseason, it was clear Oden wanted one thing, a ring. Since being drafted in 2007, the former Ohio State big man has been disappointing to say the least. Before Wednesday, Oden hadn’t played in an NBA game since December 5th 2009. He had suffered through a career of anguish and struggle both on and off the court. Between his best friends passing in 2006 and his embarrassing photo leak in 2010, it is impressive that Oden showed the will to return all together. Based off the small sample size, that determination seems to have paid dividends. In an impressive eight minutes, Oden scored six points (including two dunks) and grabbed two rebounds.

Physically, Oden looks better than ever. He seems to have lost weight, while putting on muscle in his upper body. That combination is always a step in the right direction for big men. Mentally, he looked even better. To score his first points since 2009, Oden grabbed an offensive rebound off a Dwayne Wade miss, and put back and emphatic two hand dunk. After seeing a play like that, fans and coaches alike have to be encouraged by his performance and attitude.

Looking on the larger scale, this is exactly what the Miami Heat need. While their current three game losing streak is bad, it could just be a January slump. However, looking at the big picture, the Miami Heat will not make the Finals with this current roster. They aren’t as big or deep as the Indiana Pacers. With his natural size, Roy Hibbert is going to easily beat Chris Bosh and Chris Anderson in the paint. This then creates matchup problems all over the floor and allows Indiana to stretch the floor for their surplus of shooters. What Oden could do, on a smaller scale, is be Miami’s Roy Hibbert. At 7’0 280 lbs, Oden has the potential to be able to play Hibbert perfectly on both sides of the ball.

Bigger then anything he could do in his minutes on the court, is what having Oden means the Heat will not do. That big discontinue would be Miami’s reported interest in free agent big man Andrew Bynum. Bynum is the NBA’s second biggest cancer, losing the honor to J.R. Smith. From his lack of effort on court to his erratic  off the court behavior, Bynum needs to be avoided at all costs. The Heat don’t have enough player chemistry and Erik Spolestra is not respected enough to be able withstand the walking hurricane that is Andrew Bynum.

Now with all this being said, lets not go and put Greg Oden next to Wilt and Russel. In reality, he will only be a 10-15 minute player come April & May, but those 10-15 minutes can be the difference between a championship and not even making the finals. With his size and strength, Oden possess the ability to be that enforcer down low, who can also spread the floor for Lebron, Wade, Chalmers, and the rest of the Miami Heat.

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Despite the fact he was still rehabbing a tear in his Achilles tendon, Kobe Bryant was awarded a two-year contract extension on November 18th. The terms of the contract are two years for approximately $48.5 million.

Bryant and the Lakers have faced a lot of backlash since the move, with fans and analysts calling Bryant selfish for taking so much money from a team that has plenty of other issues. Bryant took to his twitter page the next night to defend the extension. Bryant tweeted “The cap rules players have to be “selfless” on To “help” BILLIONAIRE owners R the same cap rules the owners LOCKED US out to put in #think.” He also tweeted “Don’t just learn ur sport .. Learn the sports industry #futureathletes.”

There is no denying the impact that Kobe has had in the NBA and that he has earned this money. However, Bryant may need to take some of his own advice and learn the sports industry. If nothing else is true about this industry, the one fact of the industry is loyalty means nothing. With these tweets and the situation in general, a bigger question can be raised. Should teams have to pay homage to there former stars?

To start this off lets look at some of the contracts of the biggest stars in major sports. Derek Jeter, at the age of 39, just signed a one-year contract for $12 million. This comes after he signed a three-year contract for $45 million at the age of 36. Playing in a total of 17 games last year, Jeter hit .190 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. He then injured his ankle and was done for the season.

Bryant’s and Jeter’s situations are even more similar when you look at the situations of their teams. Both the Yankees and the Lakers are in a free fall. Both teams have money tied up in bad contracts and have a general lack of talent on their respective teams. Yet, Jeter and Bryant had no issue taking these large contracts that deter their teams from fixing their issues.

The argument for Jeter and Bryant making their salaries is that they need to be paid not only for what they will do, but what they have done. It is undeniable that these two are among the best of all time in their respective games. Jeter led the Yankees to 5 World Series rings & may go down as the greatest shortstop of all time. Similarly, Kobe has 5 rings and arguments (granted to a lesser extent) have been made that he is the greatest basketball player of all time.

The question ultimately comes down to this. Do teams have pay their long tenured players more because of their past actions. The answer to this question varies. Look at Jim Irsay. He only had to pay Peyton Manning what his contract already was. Instead he released Manning and selected Andrew Luck with the #1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. This move was praised by some and criticized by other. However, there was one universal agreement, there is no loyalty in sports.

This example can go even further. When Danny Ainge traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, he was bombarded with criticism for having a lack of loyalty to his players. Yet, the deal was better for the team, as a whole, in the long term as they brought in expiring contracts and future draft picks to build their team with.

The one option not many people mention is why don’t these players just take less money. That’s the situation of future Hall of Fame PF Dirk Nowitzki. Reports have surfaced that Nowitzki will want to slash his salary by more than half next season so that his team, the Dallas Mavericks, can continue to rebuild. This is an admirable situation, which, unfortunately, does not happen as often as it should in the professional sports.

So is it wrong to trade Pierce or release Manning? At the end of the day, an owner, general manager, and coach need to decide whom they have to be loyal to. Do you have to be loyal to a specific player or an entire team? Last time I checked, there are 52 players on an NFL team and 24 on and MLB team. So why must you be loyal to the minority? Yes this is a utilitarian type of thinking, but it isn’t as far fetched, as it may seem. Must there be more loyalty to Kobe Bryant then an entire team and that teams fan base? That is the ultimate question.