Mike D'antoni


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Last Thursday night in Miami the Knicks played a complete game from start to finish, without star and 27.5 PPG contributor Carmelo Anthony, and blew out defending Champion Miami Heat at United Airlines Arena 112-92, in what may have been their best regular season performance in the new millennium.  Since then, the Knickerbockers went toe to toe with the Bulls in Chicago and lost, and posted wins over Denver and NJ…um, “Brooklyn” that is, 2 games that have been labeled by some as a Carmelo revival tour of sorts.  Tuesday’s victory over New Jersey, as must a win as there can be in mid December, was made possible by Anthony’s 45 pts, and was delivered by a 3 pointer by new team leader Jason Kidd (shown above) in the final minute which was also the game’s final tally.

Prior to the South Beach business trip, the Knicks played a mostly lackluster game in Charlotte, looking ahead to the Heat, in all likelihood.  While Anthony put up 20 in the 1st half, he had zero field goals in the 2nd.  But his low output did not hinder his effort.  With only a few minutes to play, Anthony followed a loose ball into the Knicks’ bench, lacerating his finger, and causing him to miss the next two games.

Without Anthony on the floor for the final minutes in Charlotte, the Knicks capped the impressive comeback (8 down with 6 minutes to play) win with a 5 man unit consisting of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd.  Felton and Smith teamed for a huge steal in the final minute and swarming team D led to a 5 second violation for another key turnover, in part aided by a mental error by city product and NCAA champ Kemba Walker.  The pride of UConn failed to present himself on the inbounds pass, as he was the likely option on the throw in.  Felton scored with approximately a minute to go on a sweet drive, which gave the Knicks a 98-98 tie, and then JR Smith, after failing to go hard to the rim for a layup that would’ve won the ball game, instead called a TO and then promptly won it with a fall away from behind the elbow as time expired.

The Knicks performance last week, marked by strong defense and execution, have been hallmarks of the team this year–especially 2nd half defense–traits notably absent during Mike D’Antoni’s failed tenure, but traits once again associated with the Knicks under Mike Woodson, now 35-12 as HC of the NYK.  Another refreshing quality the Knicks now have in spades, which was noticeably absent during the D’Antoni era is effort, which, to a man, has improved under coach Woodson.

It couldn’t have hurt to have added so many serious veterans with winning predigees, like Rasheed Wallace and “rookie” Pablo Prigioni, who, in 13 minutes against the Heat, recorded 7 pts and 6 boards.  Prigioni has a serious nose for the ball via the steal and the long rebound, a perfect reserve on a club that shoots so many 3s (last night the Knicks made 14-28 3PFGAS).  Kidd has also shown a knack for loose balls and long rebounds, but to be honest, what hasn’t he shown a knack for since coming to NY’s real team?

Walt “Clyde” Frazier, who truly puts the color in color commentary, recently discussed Kidd’s impact on the Knicks this year.  In doing so, Clyde recalled Kidd led NJ teams that went to the finals, along with players like Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin, who ‘have been practically nothing without him.’  It’s easy to understand why Kidd’s departure so enraged Dallas owner Mark Cuban.  In fact, we were even apoplectic that Kidd was out for the 1st game the Knicks played against the Nets in Brooklyn.  Something tells us the Knicks finish that business off with Kidd on the floor to steady and martial the troops.  We’re pretty certain that Knicks point guard Ray Felton would be the first guy to cite Kidd’s impact, as Felton is enjoying a career season with Kidd as his 2.

In that game against Miami, Felton made 6 3s, led the team with 27 points, and turned it over only 3 times, and only once through 3 quarters.  Felton’s play against Miami prompted one local beat man (props to Steve Popper) to Tweet, “Feltonsanity.”  Too bad Jeremy Lin didn’t stick around, as he would have greatly benefitted from Kidd’s tutelage, as opposed to Houston, where he shares the ball handling duties with, wait for it…Toney Douglass.  Oh, the hand of fate!

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/jeremy-lin-duplicitous-twerp-scumbag-liar/

Even if Kidd is not showing up on the score sheet, his contributions are great. In Miami, Kidd was a staggering +31 in his minutes.  Kidd has taken charge of most huddles and is perfectly suited to, for what player on the Knicks or in the league anywhere, for that matter, would not defer to Kidd’s wisdom in a crunch situation?  When JR Smith failed to go in for that layup to beat the Bobcats, Kidd was visibly irate with Smith, but then appeared to instruct Smith to shake off the play.  So Smith went out and made the buzzer beater, all net, no rim, splash.

Having 2 point guards on the floor, one being Kidd, has manifested itself in another winning attribute: TO ratio.  This year the Knicks have a +5.5 TO margin, which, at the moment is not only tops in the league but is also on pace for an NBA team record.

Back to the +/- stat for a moment, a stat which is also distinguishing the Knicks as an elite regular season team.  The Knicks 5 man unit of Chandler, Novak, Smith, Felton, and Kidd is the top +/- group in the NBA. The 4 man unit of Chandler, Felton, Novak, Kidd is the top foursome in the league, and the 3 man unit of Novak, Felton, and Kidd is the top 3 man unit, at a staggering +19 avg.

Novak has been worth every penny of his 20+M/4 yr deal so far.  Even last night, when he recorded zero points, he was a +12 in his minutes, which indicates that he plays sound ball regardless of his stroke and scoring numbers.

As presently constituted, the Knicks sit atop the Atlantic at 16-5.  They should be wired on Thursday when they play the Lakers, a struggling team, now coached by Knicks’ castoff Mike D’Antoni, a questionable hire, especially considering that Phil Jackson was set to return to LA when D’Antoni agreed to take his woe is me act to SoCal.  Only time will tell as to D’Antoni’s success in LA, though not only aren’t we counting on it, but we’re actively rooting against it.  The Knicks would be wise to jump all over LA at MSG, where Kobe usually puts up immense numbers.

The Knicks should be further buoyed by the imminent return of Amar’e Stoudemire, who looks to be in great shape right now, and who is expected back around Christmas.  And when Iman Shumpert returns, hopefully in January, the Knicks will have the defensive presence to throw at quick guards like Rondo and Deron Williams, which should further boost the play of Raymond Felton, an absolute bargain at 3M per, and taken with Kidd’s approximate 3M salary, the winning pair come in at the same approximate salary as former Knicks’ savior Jeremy Lin.

KNICKERBOCKERS!!!!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

Carmelo Anthony (above), who gave the Knicks the lead twice in the final minute of regulation yesterday in Boston, only to see it wasted by inscrutable coaching decisions.

Just because a guy has a system, it doesn’t make him a good coach.  Just because a guy emerges as a superstar point guard, basically out of nowhere, it doesn’t mean that coach had much, if anything to do with it.  And while we know that James Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, doesn’t love Mike D’antoni, denying him a contract extension that made the coach a lame duck this year, a rarity in sports, we hope that yesterday’s final 18 seconds of regulation did nothing if not reinforce such a decision.  Because as we’ve been saying from the get go,  the Knicks are in need of more than just a system.  The Knicks need a coach, and have needed one ever since Jeff Van Gundy left town 11 years ago.  Finding Jeremy Lin has done nothing to diminish this fact of life.

Jeremy Lin is not responsible for the Knicks loss in Boston yesterday, their 10th consecutive loss in Boston without a win since D’antoni has taken the helm.  Not even with Rajon Rondo handing out 17 assists and grabbing 18 boards.  Rondo had 17 assists because the guys he was passing to were open, and he had 18 rebounds because the Knicks, even with Tyson Chandler, stand around and let teams play volleyball under the rim.  Perhaps Amar’e Stoudemire, D’antoni’s guy, should grab a rebound once in a while.  That would be nice.  Or even finish off a play around the rim, where he has missed what seems like hundreds of simple finishes this year, accounting for his nearly 10 point per game drop off in scoring average.  Stoudemire’s best move of the season in fact came off the basketball court, showing immense class by buying all Garden employees breakfast on Christmas morning.  Now if he could only keep a guy nine inches shorter than him off the boards here and there, or make a layup.
Jeremy Lin, in what was not his best game by any means, did still score 6 big points in the final moments of regulation, including a huge 3 down the stretch in regulation, and had a tenacious steal, that had the Knicks in position to win, until D’antoni took over. Actually, Carmelo took over first, scoring two huge buckets to give the Knicks a slim lead with 39 and again with 18 seconds left.

After the Knicks got a stop and a rebound though, D’antoni took a head scratcher time out.  While he obviously made the move to get Novak, an impressive foul shooter in the game, and while Novak was fouled and made 2, there was no guarantee that he’d have even touch the ball.  With the ball and the lead and with Boston out of TO’s, the move, as any novice knows, is to keep the clock moving.  Instead, Boston had time to scheme, and after Novak made his free throws, Paul Pierce came down and made a giant 3 to tie the game.

Now why was Pierce even allowed to take that shot?  Since putting him on the line would have all but guaranteed that the Knicks, if they could have been counted on to grab one defensive board, would have had the game locked up.  The win was all but academic at that point, save for D’antoni having his club more ill prepared for a final sequence than we have ever seen any ball club.

Knick fans should not delude themselves into thinking that D’antoni had anything to do with the emergence of Jeremy Lin, the coach’s savior.  Lin was all but cut, and began to get a little run only when Carmelo Anthony, worn from running the point which is not his job, went to D’antoni and suggested Lin play.  In D’antoni’s banana republic where the assistants had already asked for the same thing but were ignored, D’antoni takes his lineup cues from Carmelo.

And what of the dark days before Lin’s emergence when the club ran it’s mark to 8-15, and reeked of a lack of compete?  When asked for answers, the coach kept saying “let’s wait for Baron Davis to come back.”

So that’s the solution?  Wait for a guy to come back who hadn’t even yet played for the team, ever?  It’s really no wonder that they find new ways to lose all the time, and that they haven’t produced one win up in Boston in more than 5 years.

Despite so many cries to the contrary, when Donnie Walsh’s contract expired, James Dolan saw fit not to give him a new one, and exactly no harm was done to the club which is stronger today because of some excellent moves made by the front office sans Walsh.  We sincerely hope Dolan considers that bit of history when this season is over.  The next great move the Knicks make should be not retaining D’antoni, and there will be quality coaches salivating to get their hooks into this roster, which is now better than most in the league, though not without a few saddlebags still.

Especially since a 7th or 8th seeded Knicks team is unlikely to win 1 playoff game, let alone upset the Bulls or Heat. And with 2 playoff misses and 2 playoff failures on the resume in his 4 year tenure, D’antoni should be taking that resume elsewhere to find a job for next season.  If he’s still here, we predict more of the same.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com)

College is college, and you can never trust a draft eligible player’s listed height, and we’ve all heard how Kenneth Faried (above) of Morehead St. can’t shoot a jumpshot, and never even attempts any.  For a four, he’s a midget, right?  At 6’8, 225 lbs.  While we’re at it, should we throw those college stats out the window, even though this young man has averaged 13, 13, and 14.5 rebounds a game since sophomore year?  Thankfully team president Donnie Wheelchair has been watching closely, and hopefully, he is in love with Faried as many outlets are reporting.

We’ll tell you what.  We’ve seen the Knicks blow it in this spot a million times.  The too short four.  Michael Sweetney?  Ouch.  But Sweetney was fat.  How about the too short free agent four?  We’ve seen that a million times too.  Clarence Weatherspoon?  We shudder to recall.

This kid has been the best rebounder in the nation for 3 years, was the best rebounder at the Portsmouth Invitational, and if you put him on the Knicks right now, he’d be their best rebounder by a mile and would rebound Amar’e Stoudemire under the table.  Did anyone notice how little energy Stoudemire played with and how poor his rebounding numbers were since Carmelo arrived?  He’s not the best rebounder to begin with, but 6 a game?  This particular draft seems to be the ideal situation for the Knickks, who can draft for need and pick up the best player in 2 years at that need, if it’s true Faried isn’t expected to go until late in the first round or later.

The Knicks got killed in the paint, especially on the boards, and if they draft this kid from Moorehead St., it’s no longer an issue.   Let the scorers score and let this rebounder from Newark, who’d love love love to be here, rebound.  Not a comparison in any way, and we couldn’t care if this kid doesn’t shoot 5 times a game, but he isn’t that differently sized than Blake Griffin.  For what the Knicks need and will be asking of their four, Faried is going to give it to them: hustle, energy, defense.  And of course, rebounds.  The Knicks will be playing small ball a good deal for D’antoni, which means Faried would be working between Stoudemire and Anthony, and when D’antoni’s gone, the intense Mark Jackson (we hope it’s him so much) will love having Faried on the team.

The Knicks need to forget about Europe and little men.  Especially since they only have 1 pick.  If they can buy themselves another, sure, we’d still rather a big, but we’d understand the logic behind taking a point guard.  But not at the expense of Faried.  And yes, we were the ones who were giddy about Kemba Walker and the Knicks during the Big East Tournament, but that’s understandable.  If that type of lottery talent and home town product is available at 17, jackpot.  But where the Knicks are picking, it is highly unlikely they are going to have a shot at a small man talent great enough to make them pass on their greatest need.

FARIED!!!!!

Let’s get this taken care of.  We need at least 8 guys who are ready and able to roll.  Faried makes a solid 3rd of the 8.  The Knicks can address the point after Billups is gone.  They must get a rebounder at 17.  And if Dolan wants to buy us a few extra picks, then we can talk about the lanky kid from Florida or the young one from Michigan.

And please please please no Jimmer Freddette. 

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

On a buzzer beater by Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks salvaged a win last night in Memphis after blowing another ten point lead, this time with 3:37 to play.  Melo, after popping the jumper, had some interesting interplay with the Grizzlies’ bench.  Defensive “stopper” Tony Allen, did little to contain Anthony overall, who put together another great stat line (31 pts, 5 reb., 6 assts).  Anthony, who an excited Memphis bench regaled with sentiments his game winning shot was off when it left his hands, went back at the Memphis sideline and said simply, “I do this” when the shot fell.

Exciting times for the Knicks indeed.  Don’t mistake our silence on the Carmelo saga and on the beginning of this era as a lack of excitement for what’s going on.  We stated here months ago that Gallinari, probably Chandler, and a pick swung from Minny for Anthony Randolph was going to Denver.  We wrote–months ago–that Melo was engineering a trade to NY and that privately he had shot down the Nets.  Even publicly, he couldn’t even fake being lukewarm toward the proposition of NJ.  He could’ve had a deal to the Nets at any point since June.  Instead, when Denver obviously begged their disgruntled star to thow them a bone in the form of some leverage, Anthony spoke not of New Jersey but of perhaps signing the extension with Denver.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/01/20/espn-nets-melo-drama-a-farce/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/carmelo-anthony-no-to-nets/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/09/28/carmelo-anthony-to-nets-pipedream-crushed/

We’ve had a big picture view on the Knicks dating back about 6 years now.  The Anthony acquisition is a major step, but part of a much larger long term process.  First, we rooted for Thomas to do enough damage to get himself fired, which finally happened with an assist from Stephon Marbury who testified about pressuring a young female Garden employee into giving him a blowjob.  Then, Thomas had to be replaced with a quality hire.  Sure, we’ve made fun of Donnie Wheelchair, and we hate his draft acumen, but he is a pro.  He had a plan and stuck to it, giving the Knicks the chance to slot in stars the magnitude and calibre of the ones now on board.

These exciting times and last second wins?  Great to be excited, but putting teams away when up 10 or 12 in the 4th quarter is a lot more gratifying in our minds.  Still, it’s a long view.  You know our feeling on Mike D’antoni.  We’d never hire him.  Ever.  Not for the Knicks, not for a Division III school, not for an AAU gig, not even to mop up court sweat.  We’ve never seen any facsimile of speedball win big on any level.  Showtime out in LA and all fast break basketball is predicated on stops, rebounds, and turnovers that lead to easy scores.  Remember the Riley credo: “No rebounds, no rings.”

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/before-they-can-worry-about-free-agents-knicks-need-a-coach/

The next step in the Knicks progression is probably going to be growth from within.  Fields and Douglass have upside and are improving.  We expect 7 or 8 guys from this squad to return next year and that they’ll improve as a group.  Seven foot pivot Jerome Jordan, a 2nd round pick last year, will probably be imported from Europe.  He’s a big who showed polish and promise in college, and who is currently showing a knack for scoring down low overseas.  The Knicks must draft wisely in round 1 this year (BTW, did anyone hear Kemba Walker lobbying this week to come to NY?), and may be served to buy another pick, ala the Toney D. selection, which they acquired for cash from the Lakers.

But Mike D.?  If we could only sell him off.  Short practices, disinterested walkthroughs and shoot arounds.  Mishandled player relations (Nate Robinson, Jordan Hill, etc.)  We guess Walsh can live with it so far.  But all the late blown leads and not running plays late in the games?  Our media is already tiring of this act.  The Post this week had a snappy headline in which they referred to him as “Done-toni.”

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/after_season_mike_may_be_done_toni_EoEp0beiA3opwRMF02MkyJ

If Garden management is so slow to take care of Walsh, who always represents the team in a respectful fashion, why would they be in a rush to extend the coach?  Especially one whose rationale for not calling a timeout to set up a play at the end of games is along the lines of ‘we basically know what to do.’  Really?  Did they know what to do in Phily weeks back when they blew another double digit lead in the 4th, went down 10, and cut it to 2 in the closing seconds?  D’antoni didn’t call for a timeout, the Knicks had no play, ran something we’d describe as chaos, and watched Shawne Williams, fresh off the scrap heap, force a drive when the Stoudemires, Chandlers, Gallos, and Feltons of the world watched.

We will suggest right here that D’antoni is also mishandling Chauncey Billups and his injury situation.  Billups hurt his quad 6 games ago.  D’antoni has termed him day to day the whole while.  How is a guy not named John Abraham day to day for 2 full weeks?  Not only do we not think D’antoni is being honest, we also don’t feel he and Billups are on the same page.  Billups said of a Sunday return, “not looking good.”  D’antoni said Billups is “coming back Sunday.”  We think D’antoni is afraid to tell the media the truth about Billups, in part.  The guy is a self preservationist, and he must know that a 3rd free pass in a row, at $6M per, is unlikely, even from the imminently wasteful Madison Square Garden Co. 

And here’s what a good coach says: ‘So and so’s not playing.  Injuries are part of the game.  Out of sight, out of mind.  We’re gonna play without him and we’ll be ready.’  A good coach doesn’t clutch at excuses.  A good coach wouldn’t be afraid to go up to the 5 seed and face Orlando.  He wouldn’t be making excuses about how hard it is to lose Billups, or how unrealistic it is to think the Knicks are more on a level with Atlanta than Charlotte.  The Knicks took it to the Magic for a chunk of their last meeting in Orlando, in what was another second half debacle.  A very quick Jameer Nelson killed them off the dribble and with the shot.  How about at least pretending you have a shred of confidence in Toney Douglass as another option against Nelson? 

Another local beat guy, Alan Hahn of Newsday, has been maligning the Knicks execution, an obvious shot at D’antoni.  Hahn’s a guy you should pay particular attention to.  Why?  Because the Garden owns Newsday, and MSG Network has been giving Hahn lots of air time of late, featuring him on Knicks broadcasts in a prominent role.   

BTW, be sure to tune in tonight when the Knicks face the Mavs wearing their “Nueva York” jerseys for some NBA Spanish night nonsense.  The Knicks have the worst winning percentage of any club over the last 9 seasons.  But something about these Nueva York jerseys might bother us even more than that.

Are we critical much?  Crack do this!

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

Legitimate prime time player, Amar’e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks (above).

Amare Stoudemire  #1  PF
2010-11 STATS
PPG RPG BPG
26.5 9.4 2.1

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/players/profile?playerId=1727

In the summer, we called Amar’e Stoudemire the “consolation prize” of the NBA dream team free agent class.  And when the new Knick centerpiece tweeted in August that he was in Israel of all places because he just learned of his Hebrew ancestry, well, if that’s the prerogative of a $100M man, so be it, but our reaction to that was that not only was he a consolation prize, but that he also might be a clown.  Our initial reaction was that the Knicks got themselves a “me” player with creaky knees who got rich, figuratively and literally off the exquisite, ball on a string, play making mastery of Steve Nash.  Our reaction upon seeing the Israel tweet was more along the lines of “Oh Jesus.”

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https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/03/knicks-sign-consolation-prize-amare-stoudemire/

When the Knicks got out 3-8, not only was it expected by us, but we were giddy at all the D’antoni job security articles, and readying the bubbly for our own little D’antoni firing party.  We had even marked the team through the first 34 games of their schedule, figuring they’d give D’antoni and his stupid offense at least 30 games with the new roster before Dolan gave the order to Donnie Wheelchair to pull the plug on the Italian with the affinity for matador defense.  But then something very out of the ordinary began to happen.  The Knicks started winning.  In fact, they reeled off 13 out of 14 wins, elevating the team’s record to a wholly respectable 16-9.  And we said, “Who kidnapped our awful Knicks?”

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/before-they-can-worry-about-free-agents-knicks-need-a-coach/

Stoudemire did–the consolation prize.  He’s taken the other Knicks which include a 6’11 Italian 3 point specialist, a talented but unconventional g/f stuck out of position, a rookie 2nd round pick expected to guard an elite scorer every night, and a talented but inconsistent point guard, had them hop on his back while the man carried them all, posting clutch fourth quarter after clutch fourth quarter like Bernard King did once upon a time, before he injured his knee.  Stoudemire has actually flourished in the marquis role and has Raymond Felton looking a lot more like Nash than um, Raymond Felton, along side Gerald Wallace in Charlotte.  And so delighted have Knicks fans been with Felton that there is way more talk about extending Felton than there is of packing him off for Chris Paul.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/10/knicks-sign-point-guard-raymond-felton/

Likely, Donnie Wheelchair makes some moves to solidify the…pause…most improved team in the league and gets some more reinforcements in here for Stoudemire, before the guy drops from over-use, as he gives 44+ minutes a night to the team.  Then there’s Stoudemire’s sidelight as the Knicks’ assistant coach/heavy, which can not be understated.  Stoudemire has been the most vocal guy in the organization–the only guy–to preach defense this year, and he has chided the team about the importance of striving for constant improvement, staying level, and always trying to get the “next one.”

And when I heard that Stoudemire had dogged his own teammate in the wake of Saturday’s horrific OT loss in Cleveland to the D-league’s new franchise called the Cavaliers–in a menacing way no less–I removed my own consolation prize tag and put in my vote, all but meaningless, for Stoudemire as league MVP.

“Yo Ray!”  Stoudemire called to Felton in the locker room after the Cleveland debacle on Saturday.  “How does a one play 23 minutes and get no dimes (assists)?  No dimes, Ray?!”  Stoudemire asked loudly about backup lead guard Toney Douglass, who dressed a few feet away.  Hold on a sec…you mean to tell me that Stoudemire reads the stat sheet right after games and doesn’t just look for his own name?  And that he is actually upset after a loss?

This guy was a bargain at $100M.  After about 800 meaningless Knicks’ games, to watch a few that matter again has been priceless.  Don’t be fooled.  Pretty much, it’s Amar’e and only Amar’e we have to thank for it.  We’re happy to be wrong about this guy.  Couldn’t be happier.  And from here forward, we give the Knicks’ captain permission to travel anywhere he wants in the off season.  Clearly, he knows what he’s doing.  He’ll even make an unselfish player yet out of Toney D., something D’antoni wasn’t able to do with one of our favorites, Nate Robinson, now a Celtic due to that failure.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)    

Pacers guard Brandon Rush (above), who attributes a torn ACL to an improper workout conducted by the New York Knicks, prior to his draft selection by Indiana.

Mike D’antoni doesn’t play bad rookies.  Remember that one?  Jordan Hill, whom the Knicks drafted 8th overall in the 2009 draft, and later packaged, begrudgingly, with their 2010 first round pick for Tracy McGrady and cap room which all the top tier free agents turned down, was apparently a bad rookie.  One might glean such from D’antoni’s reaction to Hill’s statement after he had played his first game as a Rocket, after Hill was a monster on the boards and had just contributed to a Houston victory over New York.  The reporters wanted to know why he thought he didn’t receive much of an opportunity on a terrible Knicks team.  Hill said he didn’t think D’antoni liked playing rookies.  D’antoni replied that he played rookies, “just not bad ones.”

Excuse us, but we were under the impression that Mike D’antoni had a say in that draft selection, much as he had a say the year before when the Knicks drafted D’antoni’s Italian boy toy, the object of his raampant lust, Danillo Galinari.  Even if D’antoni was absent from the conversation with regard to the drafting of Hill, highly unlikely, the coach was still throwing his boss, Donnie Walsh, under the bus.  Not a very nice thing to do considering that Walsh brought in D’antoni for a very generous $26.5M, topping his next best offer, from the very talented Chicago Bulls, by almost $10M.

Walsh candidly discussed his reluctance to part with Hill and the team’s most recent first round pick in summer interviews, where he went so far as to say that he had probably made a mistake.  And Walsh discussed his hip replacement surgery (a bus ran him over, remember), and described how he had spent much of the preceeding months wheelchair bound.  That must have gone over superbly with Lebron James and Dwayne Wade, when Walsh wheeled into the conference room to make the Knicks’ pitch of pitches. 

So the 8th pick isn’t good enough, but apparently, the 38th pick is–as well as a nobody on nobody’s radar–rookie free agent big man Timofey Mozgov.  D’antoni announced today that 2nd round pick Landry Fields (38th overall) had supplanted 6’9 Wilson Chandler, who is generally good for 15 ppg.  At the same time, D’antoni also let us know that Mozgov would be the starting center.  Who can recall for me a good team in the modern era who started s 2nd round draft pick, let alone, a 2nd round pick and undrafted rookie free agent?

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/knicks-to-acquire-2011-first-round-pick/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/knicks-sign-guard-roger-mason-discuss-trading-curry/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/knicks-lavish-10-m-on-unknown-russian-center/

Sure the Knicks suck.  I mean, that is completely obvious.  Even if they fielded the best possible team they could, which would probably see neither Fields nor Mozgov in their normal rotation, let alone, alotting them starters’ minutes.  And by the way, we have been saying Chandler’s job was in trouble for some time, though we don’t understand why.  When Walsh was whispering to backup free agent two guards like Shannon Brown and Roger Mason, whom the Knicks signed, permed hair and all, that Chandler’s job could be had, we understood quite clearly that the Depaul product’s days in New York were numbered.  Though we have also heard this week that the Knicks have opened contract extension talks with Chandler.  Devalue and then extend?  That’s a rather contradictory management approach, but I guess they feel they have a better chance of signing Chandler than they did of getting Lebron James to come to the phone on a warm July night last summer.

Still, Hill and Chandler might come back and hurt the Knicks very badly, as the team’s latest scandal unfolds. 

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports broke news earlier today of former New York Knicks Director of East Coast scouting Rodney Heard conducting illegal pre-draft workouts in gymnasiums in Atlanta.These workout sessions allegedly took place before the 2007, 2009, and 2010 NBA drafts.

NBA rules allow teams only two workouts with players spaced three days apart. Teams are also not allowed to work out any players before the annual NBA pre-draft camp.

Prior to the 2007 draft, Heard supposedly used his relationship with Wilson Chandler‘s agent, Chris Luchey, to work work out with Chandler for weeks.

This certainly gave the Knicks an unfair advantage over other teams, as they had more exposure and direct access to Chandler to further evaluate his talent and potential at the NBA level. Chandler was generally regarded as a second-round pick coming into the draft and has since been one of the great picks of the 2007 class.

Wilson declined an invite to the NBA pre-draft camp in Orlando and canceled workouts with multiple teams prior to the draft. He scheduled seven workouts in the nine days leading up to the draft, and there were questions at the time as to whether or not he already had an understanding with a team as a guaranteed selection in the first round.

Now that this story has come to light, it’s all but certain that he had an agreement with the Knicks to forgo workouts with other teams with the assurance that he would be their pick at No. 23.

The man leading the front office—the man most likely responsible for those assurances—was none other than Isiah Thomas. Surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be.

This also helps to debunk the absurd notion that Thomas is an amazing evaluator of talent, as it appears that he has had an unfair advantage.

The man currently in charge, Donnie Walsh, has denied any knowledge or involvement in the illegal draft workout sessions supervised by Heard. Until a formal investigation uncovers the truth, we can only take him at his word.

The more intriguing story is that of Indiana Pacers guard Brandon Rush.

Rush—an All-American from Kansas who was projected as a high lottery pick in the 2007 draft—suffered a devastating ACL tear in his right knee during one of the workouts led by Heard. This injury and the six months of rehabilitation that followed forced him to pull out of the 2007 draft.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/502639-breaking-news-rodney-heard-brandon-rush-and-new-york-knicks-scouting-scandal

Confronted with these allegations, team president Donnie Walsh said this evening that he had no idea that any of this took place.  Of course he didn’t.  He’s too busy working his wheelchair.

I’m taking the Raptors tomorrow night, and saying a prayer that the Knicks will only be penalized cash and not draft picks for their latest transgression.

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

The Knicks’ latest addition, shooting guard Roger Mason Jr. (above).

Career Season Averages
Year Team G GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% OFF DEF RPG APG SPG BPG TO PF PPG
02-03 CHI 17 0 6.7 0.355 0.333 1.000 0.1 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.2 0.0 0.29 1.18 1.8
03-04 TOR 23 3 12.3 0.356 0.364 0.864 0.0 1.2 1.2 1.0 0.4 0.3 0.78 1.35 4.0
03-04 CHI 3 0 14.3 0.091 0.167 0.000 0.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.3 0.0 0.67 1.67 1.0
06-07 WAS 62 0 7.9 0.330 0.324 0.875 0.1 0.6 0.7 0.6 0.2 0.1 0.31 1.06 2.7
07-08 WAS 80 9 21.4 0.443 0.398 0.873 0.2 1.4 1.6 1.7 0.5 0.2 0.86 1.75 9.1
08-09 SAS 82 71 30.4 0.425 0.421 0.890 0.2 2.9 3.1 2.1 0.5 0.2 1.22 1.95 11.8
09-10 SAS 48 2 19.3 0.429 0.380 0.727 0.2 2.0 2.2 1.8 0.4 0.2 0.85 1.23 7.2
Career 315 85 19.3 0.417 0.393 0.869 0.2 1.7 1.8 1.5 0.4 0.2 0.81 1.53 7.4

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/roger_mason/career_stats.html

While the Knicks’ pursuit of Lakers guard Shannon Brown, whom New York envisioned a big role for, and who some in Knicks’ circles were excited about the possibility that Brown would win significant playing time from incumbent Wilson Chandler, ended with Brown taking a multi-year deal to stay in Los Angeles–a no brainer for the player–the Knicks perhaps found a better fit for their roster when they signed veteran journeyman and former Spur, Roger Mason Jr.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/brown-to-neg-knicks-as-they-plan-for-melo/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/knick-caught-with-weed-in-queens/

Mason Jr. signed a one year deal for $ 1.4 M, which was a little more than half of what the Knicks offered Brown.  At the time of Brown’s decision to resign with LA, we thought it a blessing because that $ 2.7 M to be alotted to Brown occupies the rest of the Knicks remaining cap room, and we thought that the Knicks might be better served by spending that $ 2.7 M on two players, considering the Knicks still thin roster.

Though we aren’t sure if the Knicks will use the rest of their cap space on a veteran center, or at all, we have learned of some interesting trade rumors involving troubled Knicks’ center Eddy Curry.  Curry was rumored to Denver in a phantastical trade proposal in which Curry would be the centerpiece in a trade to Denver for Carmelo Anthony, currently the talk of the town.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/carmelo_could_force_trade_to_knicks_KuuvyH2kRDMAZWxccFM8PN

The Daily News reported earlier this month that the Knicks had also discussed sending Curry to the Rockets for former Knick, Jared Jeffries.

Yahoo!Sports is reporting that the Knicks are talking to the Rockets about a possible deal for Jared Jeffries that would include Eddy Curry heading to Houston. Jeffries enjoyed two solid seasons under Mike D’Antoni and according to sources would even entertain a buy-out in order to return to New York.

http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/knicks/2010/08/knicks-expected-to-sign-roger.html

We’re not really sure how such a deal would work.  Because Curry is $ a 12 M salary slot going into next year’s free agent derby for Carmelo Anthony, he is a hot commodity, if not for his on the court presence or considerable baggage.  Jeffries would come back to the Knicks, and could probably replace David Lee in some of the grunt work areas where Lee was so good, but would come back, be bought out of his contract, and then would sign for the league veteran minimum.  What other assets could Houston offer for us to move a prime salary chip?

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/lebron-knicks-center-eddy-curry-to-work-out-together/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/04/17/david-lee-thanks-for-the-memories/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/with-various-reports-linking-lebron-to-miami-knicks-rumored-to-have-agreed-to-trade-david-lee-to-golden-state/

If a move of this nature came off, the Knicks would need to get back expiring contracts, as welll as perhaps a draft pick and maybe a young player.  we’d hope that guy would be former Knick first round pick Jordan Hill, who we were loathe to part with in the Tracy McGrady trade last year. 

As for Anthony, the Knicks’ best chance to acquire the Nuggets’ star is through free agency, as it would be very foolish for the Nuggets to trade him before the season starts, and if they do trade him, they likely will not trade him to New York because common sense dictates that several teams will put together better trade packages than NY.  Isiah Thomas has once again made headlines this week, by telling sources that Anthony told him he intends to be a Knick next year.

http://www.sbnation.com/2010/8/18/1629995/carmelo-anthony-new-york-knicks-isiah-thomas-sign-trade

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/nba-isiah-officially-out-in-ny/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/nba-to-nix-isiah-consultantship/

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/08/09/knicks-isiah-hiring-endangers-franchise/

Anthony’s best chance to end up in New York will be to announce he is signing with the Knicks when free agency begins next summer for a max 5 yr deal.  At that point, Denver will have no choice, if they wish to see some kind of return on Anthony, they will have to send him here in a sign and trade, giving Anthony the 6th year at $ 30 M, following the blueprint established this offseason by Chris Bosh and Lebron James.

As for Mason Jr. fitting in with the Knicks this year, he seems like an ideal role player who should play very hard since he is on a 1 year contract, and will be auditioning for employment and job security.  The move seems like the quality edition of a role player for the Knicks.  Unfortunately, the Knicks seem unable to make a move for Rudy Fernandez, who we see as an ideal point guard behind Raymond Felton.  Fernandez seems poised, for now, to sit out, rather than return to Portland.

http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindblazersbeat/2010/08/disgruntled_rudy_fernandez_pre.html

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/knicks-to-land-rudy-fernandez/

–Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com, www.crackbillionair.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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