Raymond Felton


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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!

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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)

In the wake of the new CBA in the NBA, fear not, big market fans. The war between have and ‘have not’ owners has passed, and there can be no better indicator that the big markets made out smashingly well than the Knicks’ acquisition of C Tyson Chandler, the prize of this free agent class. The amnesty provision that the Knicks employed to gain the maneuverability to sign Chandler to a 58M contract when they were totally tapped out by walking away from the 14M contract of Chauncey Billups, provided they were willing to write him a check for that amount, is surely a clause that deep pocketed teams will be way more willing to use to their benefit than the smaller market teams who took such a hard line during the lockout that they forced.

Begs the question: why such histrionics in the first place? Well, as astute observers of labor disputes in sport, we did kind of agree with Billy Hunter’s assertion that the league was trying to break the players, behind a core of small market owners like Michael Jordan, lead hypocrite, who wanted the lockout to stretch on to the point where the players were feeling the impact of missed paychecks. So why abandon course in favor of a compromise that more favored the Knicks than the Kings, Celtics than Cavs?

Because Stern’s public stance that 15 or so clubs were losing money was so obviously no more than just a posture. If the Charlotte Bobcats aren’t willing to pay Ray Felton 7.5M per for 2 years, the 27/28 truly healthy teams around the league can not pay the price for it. If Lebron and Bosh won’t re-up or up with Cleveland, then Stern in his infinite wisdom can not negotiate a CBA that alters Cleveland’s geography and ethnic demography.

Look at the Memphis Grizzlies. They heaped money on Rudy Gay and Mike Conley, absorbed the huge deal of Zach Randolph, and are poised to now lavish 70M or more on Marc Gasol. They aren’t exactly hurting.

The new CBA did as much for small markets as it could have. By making top tier free agent movement essentially prohibitive financially to the player by limiting salary and term, the deal ensures that most sensible players will be traded for prime assets rather than seeing them flee in FA, getting way more in return than they would in an after thought sign and trade. That’s as far as they can go. The league does not have the ability to restrict player movement beyond that.

They put franchises in places like Minnesota in the first place, and were happy to carve up the franchise initiation fees, but they can’t make players want to be there. As for the Knicks, you have to respect the Chandler move, which brings to the club the elements they lack: size, toughness, shot blocking, rebounding and post defense. You’d have to respect the move for both the creativity and the cost, when compared to say, Nene, at 70M for 4 years. And for their ability to recognize that Paul wasn’t getting done and for seamlessly and successfully changing gears and getting this done.

The Knicks do have a passable player in Toney Douglass at the point, and with Billups out a good bit, TD has plenty of experience in the lead. He should see a lot of open looks, and with he and Chandler starting, they look like a better defensive club. Iman Shumpert, drafted on the strength of his defense, may now see some time at point guard as well, which we’d prefer to Bibby getting significant minutes.

Weak at two guard, the Knicks are in talks to bring back Jamal Crawford, who would be a great addition. Should that trade go down, expect Landry Fields to go the other way. Knicks GM Glen Grunwald just told Mike Francesa that the team will soon announce the signing of Jerome Jordan, and that they are still hoping to bring back Shawne Williams, who resuscitated his career with the Knicks. Grunwald also boasted that NY will have a 5M and a 2M exception available next season, and a 2.5M exception available right now.

As for the Nets, if they did speak to Dwight Howard on Thursday without permission, the Magic should file tampering charges. Can’t the Nets simply text D12’s entourage, like every other team?

Crack (https://crackbillionair.wordpress.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.

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

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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)

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Rising Knicks’ star Wilson Chandler (above).

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We are not ashamed to say that we had the Knicks projected at 10-24 at this point, and that we had major problems with the construction of the roster.  The David Lee trade?  Awful.  To get back perpetual dog house resident Anthony Randolph as the centerpiece of a deal in which you trade a 20/10 guy, and to also recieve Kelenna Azabuike–yet to play and who may not recover from a serious knee injury in time to ever play for the team–is akin to letting Lee walk for nothing.  Well, at least we got back scary looking Ronny Turiaf, who has had a positive effect in his minutes, and who becomes a downright essential cog for the thin Knicks in the absence of Gallinari.

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/thin-knicks-to-host-spurs-tonight-without-gallinari-spurs-ny-730-pm-est/

What about our good friends Roger Mason and Timofey Mozgov, 2 players the Knicks alotted cap space to, who, well, suck it hard?  Between Randolph, Azabuike, Mozgov, and Mason, the Knicks have tied up 1/3 of their roster with totally unusable players.  Not to mention Eddy Curry.

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Shawne Williams?  We like him fine and think the former first rounder and journeyman deftly rescued himself from the scrap heap by shooting the lights out in limited action, and continued to shock us in a rousing win versus the Spurs by making plays with his back to the basket.  Very nice.  But let’s be real.  He wasn’t brought here to or expected to contribute. 

Are we upset that first Shannon Brown and then the absolutely awful Roger Mason were pretty much guaranteed starters’ minutes by D’antoni at the virtual expense of Wilson Chandler, who just kept his head down and played hard?  Yes.  In looking at this woeful roster, we clearly identified Chandler as 1 of the 4 guys with actual basketball talent on this team (along with Stoudemire, Felton, and Douglass).  Since then, we’ve upgraded our assessment.  This team has 5 players with basketball talent (all credit goes to the surprisingly gifted hard work guy from Stanford, Landry Fields, currently leading all guards in rebounding).  Chandler, the 2nd or 3rd best, has thoroughly impressed us and we’re not surprised at all.  Tuesday night, W.C. had 31 pts. on 13/19 from the field, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists, and was too much for Richard Jefferson to handle.  The fact is, on most nights and even against some very good teams, a few players can carry the multitude of bad ones.  The Knicks also channeled that Garden energy left up in the rafters from the previous night’s incredible St. John’s victory.

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https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/12/21/stoudemire-head-knick-in-charge/

The NBA is a star driven league, and Amar’e is playing like an MVP calibre, 1st team All NBA guy.  Raymond Felton is playing the best ball of his career (17 pts, 7 assts per), and out-played Spurs star Tony Parker most recently (28/7 vs. 26/6) in the Knicks’ banner win at MSG.  Chandler, who proved early on he could not be driven from the lineup, has been so good that Donnie Wheelchair has now vowed to re-sign him, even with the player in line for perhaps a $ 60M contract.

http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/knicks/donnie_wilson_fan_PQcGtNh4lCpbTVfAIEIQ9J

The Knicks big 3 of Stoudemire, Chandler, and Felton is proving so good that they can carry the team, even against some top squads.  Even in the absence of Gallinari, who we think sucks anyway.  Face it.  How many teams have a triumvirate that it out producing the Knicks’ big 3?  As we see it, it’s something only elite teams can say.

We also see a silver lining with Gallinari’s injury.  While we are totally unimpressed with Italy’s finest, and while we especially pan his supposed strength–his perimeter game–he does seem to be developing a better repertoire as a guy who can put it on the floor and get to the rim.  For all his faults, he’s a young guy, at 6’10, playing major minutes on a winning team.  Denver, who seems intent on getting back 1-2 players and picks for Carmelo, might be willing to take Landry Fields, as well as the young talent and picks that a Gallinari and an Anthony Randolph could bring back, since we’re hearing the Nuggets aren’t big on either.  For now, we’ll kindly hold off on the bust tag for these guys.

As for the immediate future, Amar’e returns to Phoenix Friday night.  We look for our captain to be extra motivated against his old squad.

GO NY GO NY GO!

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

Knicks’ surprisingly good F Shawne Williams (above).

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Not that we think the guy is even a remotely good player, but in poring over his stats we did find something about the 15 pt/4 rb a night 6’10 Italian virtual shooting guard who can’t shoot straight–the Knicks have a more than plus 8 margin when Danilo Gallinari is on the court.  And he’s on the court a lot for our Knickerbockers.  The Italian, who the Knicks clearly grabbed way too soon at #6 overall in 2008, over standouts like Eric Gordon and Brook Lopez, and who we figure they must trade in order to pull off a mega deal such as the one being discussed for Carmelo Anthony, has played better of late, putting the ball on the court way more than usual, and aggressively making his way to the rim.

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

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With a paired down rotation that already sees the Knicks sitting much discussed Russian center Timofey Mozgov, Anthony Randolph (the centerpiece of the David Lee signing trade), and Roger Mason (beaten out for minutes by rookie 2nd round pick out of Stanford Landry Fields who leads all guards in rebounds with 7.5 per game), the Knicks will look to Shawne Williams, a former 1st round pick of Donnie Wheelchair’s in Indiana whose slick shooting has resurrected his career in NY, and heart and guts but no talent big man Ronny Turiaf (who currently sports the league’s worst facial hair and who is quite possibly basketball’s ugliest man) to fill in the gap.

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

https://crackbillionair.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/knicks-mull-lee-sign-and-trades-as-fallback-options-to-lebron-and-wade/

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

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

No doubt, this bare bones squad will miss Gallinari for the next few weeks, as they are currently constituted.  The Knicks supposdely have an interest in former Knicks’ 7 footer, a guy we liked, Earl Barron, and may have no choice but to go small and give explosive but erratic Bill Walker some minutes, who is probably better than Roger Mason.

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)    

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