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The Knicks Are a Hot-Ass Mess

ny-knicks-logoThings are quite interesting in New York.

Players are arguing.  Carmelo Anthony wants to fight Tim Hardaway, Jr.  Hardaway wants to fight Anthony.  Everyone wants to fight Anthony.  No one (seemingly) respects head coach Derek Fisher.

The players want to abandon the triangle offense that new team president Phil Jackson and Fisher have have spent significant time attempting to install.  Never mind the fact that Jackson won a total of 11 titles as coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers running the triangle — an offensive system which is based on post play, passing (got that ‘Melo?), and off-ball movement.

Welcome to the 2014-2015 New York Knicks.

My Knicks have evolved into such a fucking joke.  I mean, ‘Melo and the gang is trying to go away from an offensive system that has become famous because it was the system that helped players like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant win six and five championships, respectively.

Why do players on a team that had missed the playoffs last season want to dismiss a proven offensive philosophy?  It’s the same reason why such friction has led to a 4-19 record, the worst start in Knicks history.

Again, because the Knicks are a fucking joke.

Looks like the only way to fix this mess is to do two things.  Either someone needs to goad Jackson into coaching this wretched team, or get rid of everyone – including ‘Melo.

In re-signing with the Knicks (and filming that “look-at-me” documentary where he basically admitted he should have signed with the Chicago Bulls) ‘Melo proved what many had opined for a long time: he is not a winner – not even close.  And as long as my Knicks make his ass the centerpiece of the team, the long it will take for them to return to the promised land.

That said, as the saying goes “in every cloud there is a silver lining” – or is it the other way around?  Anyway, most of those terrible-ass contracts will be come off the books.  No Amare Stoudamire, and hopefully no JR Smith.  Even though Smith has an option to exercise at the end of the season (he knows he won’t get his high salary anywhere else, so he may exercise it), the Knicks’ brass should eat the contract and get rid of him.

Bring in superstars who are proven winners next season such as Marc Gasol and maybe Kevin Durant, and we may be onto something.  ‘Melo needs to play with such stars to show him what it means to be a winner.  And I really think that would be the likely scenario.

Until then, me and other Knicks fans will have to suffer through the misery that is the 2014-2015 season.  Damn.

It’s Time to Question Derrick Rose’s Focus

chicago-bulls-logo2Let me start this rant by saying I like Derrick Rose – a lot.

Rose could sometimes be the most candid athlete in professional sports.  In a sports world where most athletes tend to dish out played-out cliche after played-out cliche (think “at the end of the day…”, “give credit to…”, and my all-time favorite “both teams played hard my man…”), Rose’s candor is usually well-welcomed by media and fans alike.

Except on this particular occasion.

When asked about his long-term future after practice yesterday, Rose said the following:

“I’m good, man.  I felt like I’ve been managing myself pretty good.  I know a lot of people get mad when they see me sit out or whatever, but I think a lot of people don’t understand that … when I sit out it’s not because of this year.

“I’m thinking about long term. I’m thinking about after I’m done with basketball.  Having graduations to go to, having meetings to go to, I don’t want to be in my meetings all sore or be at my son’s graduation all sore just because of something I did in the past.  [I’m] just learning and being smart.”

That’s not good man, not at all.

Color me disappointed in what Rose said.  This to me will open him up to question just where his heart is.  Is he all about the team and playing basketball, or is he just content in collecting a paycheck?

And before y’all go off on me for chastising a man who cares about his health, let me enlighten y’all on a few things.

First of all, this ain’t football, boxing or MMA.  All three of those sports are high-collision sports where your life could end on one play or one hit.  Of course dudes in those sports are concerned for their long-term health and well-being, and rightfully so.

However, this is the game of basketball.  It’s not a high-collision sport.  Dudes do not have to worry about their lives ending on one play or from one hit.  And more importantly, NBA contracts are guaranteed.

Let me repeat that again.  The NBA has GUARANTEED contracts.

Rose signed a five-year contract extension with the Bulls for $94.8 million.  He is also making several million dollars in endorsements (mostly from Adidas).  This dude’s ass is already set for life!  Why in the hell is he worrying about saving himself after basketball?

Let me tell y’all something: this shit is not going to play in Chicago.

People already have questioned why Rose decided to sit out the entire 2012-2013 season.  Now people will assume that Rose did not have his heart in coming back to play for the Bulls during the team’s playoff run.  Does he really want it?

The only way Rose makes this go away is to play as hard and help the Bulls win big.  Otherwise, he will be known as that dude who took the money and ran.

Between Rose’ quotes and the Bears’ poor performance this season (especially the Sunday night debacle vs. the Packers), I really feel sorry for Chicago sports fans.



2014-2015 NBA Season Preview: Who Will Win it All?

254px-NBA_Logo.svg_The 2014-2015 NBA regular season is going to start in less than four hours.  I.  Cannot.  Wait.

While the previous NBA rants were detailed conference previews, this rant is just a summation for who I think will make the playoffs and win it all.  With LeBron James going back to Cleveland and Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose looking to stay healthy to lead their teams, the East may be as wide-open as it has ever been.

As for the West, it will be fascinating to see if the San Antonio Spurs could hold off the Los Angeles Clippers.

So, without further ado…

Eastern Conference

Playoff Standings:

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Toronto Raptors
  4. Charlotte Hornets
  5. Miami Heat
  6. Indiana Pacers
  7. Washington Wizards
  8. New York Knicks

Division Winners

Atlantic:  Raptors

Central:  Cavaliers

Southeast:  Hornets

Eastern Conference winner:  Cleveland Cavaliers

Western Conference

Playoff Standings:

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
  2. San Antonio Spurs
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder
  4. Golden State Warriors
  5. Houston Rockets
  6. Dallas Mavericks
  7. Portland Trailblazers
  8. Memphis Grizzlies

Division Winners

Southwest:  Spurs

Northwest:  Thunder

Pacific:  Clippers

Western Conference winner:  Los Angeles Clippers

2014-2015 NBA Champion:  Los Angeles Clippers


2014-2015 NBA Season Preview: Western Conference

254px-NBA_Logo.svg_This is Part II of my 2014-2015 NBA Preview.

I previewed the Eastern Conference yesterday.  Today I will preview the better, more competitive Western Conference.  Will the San Antonio continue its dominance in the West?  Will the Clippers and Thunder get over the hump?  Only time will tell.

In the meantime, shall we go?

Southwest Division

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Houston Rockets
  3. Dallas Mavericks
  4. Memphis Grizzlies
  5. New Orleans Pelicans

Analysis:  The Spurs are a model of consistency.  They are the defending champs – in historical curb-stomping fashion I might – and I do not see those guys slowing down.  I mean sure Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker are older stars, but as long as Gregg Popovich is still coaching those guys these Spurs will not go the way of the dodo.  The Rockets and Grizzlies are next in line to assume the division throne, but still have to get over that proverbial hump.  Though both are immensely talented and well-coached, Houston can’t defend worth a damn, and the Grizz can’t even score on their own wives.  The Mavs are coached by one of the best in the business in Rick Carlisle.  Dirk Nowitzki is still a star in this league.  And I think Tyson Chandler will be playing with a chip on his shoulder, mainly to dispel reports that he didn’t quit on the Knicks last season.  However, the team old and is playing in the toughest division in the NBA.  If Dallas played in the Atlantic Division, it could easily win it.  New Orleans may be a last-place team in this division, but that doesn’t mean they suck.  The Pelicans are much-improved from last season and may knock on the door of a playoff spot thanks to Anthony Davis leading the way from the paint.

Northwest Division

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder
  2. Portland Trailblazers
  3. Denver Nuggets
  4. Utah Jazz
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves

Analysis:  I think the Thunder should run away with this division, even though they will be without the services of Kevin Durant due to injury for the first portion of the season.  PG Russell Westbrook is more than capable of carrying the mantle for OKC.  As a matter of fact, the rest of the division is frankly not good enough to challenge OKC – even when it is less than 100%.  Portland is still green – good, but green.  Denver, while scrappy and tough, is not nearly as talented as OKC.  Meanwhile, Utah and Minnesota flat out suck.  While both teams have good young players, I will pray for the head coaches for both teams (especially the Wolves’ Flip Saunders).

Pacific Division

  1. Los Angeles Clippers
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Phoenix Suns
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Sacramento Kings

Analysis:  This should be an entertaining division to watch, particularly between the Clippers and Warriors.  Both teams hate each other, and their playoff series last season was beyond epic.  I think the Clippers have a shot to unseat the Spurs if Blake Griffin develops a jump shot.  I also believe the Warriors need to be a bit tougher down in the post to become more of a threat in the West.  Like Portland, the Suns are good – but green.  The sad part was that even though the Suns won 48 games, it did not make the playoffs.  Phoenix would have been at least a third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs last season.  The Lakers are a shell of their former selves, and that does not sit well with Kobe Bryant.  As for the Kings, nothing much to say here.  They are still young, still employ DeMarcus Cousins, and still suck.

2014-2015 NBA Season Preview: Eastern Conference

254px-NBA_Logo.svg_The 2014-2015 NBA season is almost here!

Lots of storylines are abound this season.  Will LeBron James’ return to Cleveland be a successful homecoming?  Will Derrick Rose stay healthy this season?  Ditto for Dwyane Wade?  Will the Oklahoma City Thunder remain in the thick of things while Kevin Durant rehabs his injured foot?  Will Kobe Bryant be the Black Mamba of old (no pun intended)?

All in all, this should be one memorable season in the National Basketball Association (and it’s good to have the Hornets back in Charlotte).

Today I will preview the Eastern Conference, tomorrow the much more competitive Western Conference.  So without further ado…

Atlantic Division

  1. Toronto Raptors
  2. New York Knicks
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Boston Celtics
  5. Philadelphia 76ers

Analysis:  Toronto is by far the class of this division.  Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, and Amir Johnson and Co. are back after leading their Raptors to a 48-win season.  After having a taste of the postseason in last year’s playoffs, I expect the Raptors to be improved – and hungrier.  My Knicks will be much-improved under the tuteledge of first-time coach Derek Fisher, a protege of Head of Basketball Ops Phil Jackson.  The Triangle Offense worked for Michael Jordan and later Kobe Bryant.  I expect it to do wonders for Carmelo Anthony.  The rest of the division are trending down a bit.  Brooklyn is a mess, from the top down.  Shaky front office + overrated, overpriced roster = bad news.  Boston and Philly are still young, and both these once-proud franchises will be getting their ass kicked again.

Central Division

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Indiana Pacers
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Detroit Pistons

Analysis:  This should be one fun division race to watch. A lot of people think that the Cavs and Bulls will rule this division, but I think that the Pacers will have a say on how this division will be settled – with or without Paul George.  Indiana is a well-coached team that was unfortunately doomed by poor chemistry.  I think Lance Stephenson got a bad rap, as he and David West by far were the heart and soul of the team.  The Pacers need better point guard play, and George Hill is not a damn point guard.  As for the Cavs and Bulls, we are looking at the two best teams in the East.  The new “Big Three” in James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving makes the Cavs the team to beat in the Central and the East.  However, if Rose could stay healthy the majority of the season, Chicago will have a lot to say about that.  As for the Bucks and Pistons, why bother showing up?  Both sucked last year, and both will stink up the joint again this season.

Southeast Division

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Miami Heat
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Orlando Magic

Analysis: In what may be a surprising – and frankly, head-scratching – pick, I think the Hornets are going to win the Southeast division. Hear me out on this. I liked the acquisition of Stephenson – A LOT. As I mentioned earlier, I thought he was one of two players who showed the most heart for the Pacers last season. His feistiness on both ends of the floor will be infectious on an up-and-coming team in Charlotte. The Hornets already have studs in Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, and have a good coach in Steve Clifford. And one more thing about the Hornets, it feels good for me to see the nickname back in Charlotte. The vibe and energy has picked up around the Queen City, something I have not seen since growing up in the state. One could make the case for the Heat and Wizards for winning this division. If both teams are relatively healthy, they could win over 50 games. However, Wizards sharpshooter Bradley Beal will not play the first few games of the season. And I do not trust Wade’s health. The Hawks are a playoff contender with a healthy Al Horford. They already have studs in Jeff Teague (go Demon Deacons!) and Paul Milsap. As the case with Miami and Washington, it’s just a matter of Atlanta staying healthy. As for Orlando, not only does that team sucks – it SWALLOWS.  Nothing more needs to be said…

Levenson’s Email Was about Business – Not Racist

254px-NBA_Logo.svg_By now y’all know what soon-to-be Atlanta Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson said in an ill-fated email concerning the financial state of his team.

When I first heard about this, I had a wide range of emotions.  At first blush I was angry, upset that another rich white dude insulted black folks yet again a la former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Then I heard some commentary from some black members of the sports media, including Bomani Jones and Stephen A. Smith.  I also read commentary from the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

So I quickly re-read – and re-read again – Levenson’s email.  I have come to the following conclusion: while what Levenson said was ignorant and frankly stupid, I do not think he was being racist.  In fact, I would go a step further and say it was more about increasing the bottom line for the Hawks.

In other words, it was more about business.

Let’s take a closer look at the email itself.  I will point out where Levenson was trying to look at the business side of things while tripping over himself with ignorant and ill-founded comments.  Then y’all will realize that he did not have the same racist garbage as Sterling.

So without further ado…

“Regarding game ops, i need to start with some background. for the first couple of years we owned the team, i didn’t much focus on game ops. then one day a light bulb went off. when digging into why our season ticket base is so small, i was told it is because we can’t get 35-55 white males and corporations to buy season tixs and they are the primary demo for season tickets around the league.  when i pushed further, folks generally shrugged their shoulders. then i start looking around our arena during games and notice the following:

– it’s 70 pct black

– the cheerleaders are black

– the music is hip hop

– at the bars it’s 90 pct black

– there are few fathers and sons at the games

– we are doing after game concerts to attract more fans and the concerts are either hip hop or gospel.

Then i start looking around at other arenas. It is completely different. Even DC with its affluent black community never has more than 15 pct black audience.”

Now if Levenson would have left it there and perhaps tried to offer an intelligent dialog as to how to attract more of that particular demographic, which is factual by the way, then it would have been seen as a legit way to improve business.  A bit uncomfortable mind you, but we all know that business is cold and cutthroat.  You do what you gotta do to increase that bottom line.

Unfortunately, Levenson decided to go further…

“My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but i think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority.”

So basically Levenson believes that all southern white are scared to death of black folks.  I’m not going to speak for all southern whites, but many of the white dudes I grew up with in Winston-Salem, NC would vehemently disagree with that.

At any rate, here’s more…

“I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don’t care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that’s our season tixs demo.”

That would have been okay (I guess), however it was followed by…

“i have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some time out contest is black. I have even bitched that the kiss cam is too black.”

The kiss cam is “too black”?  Really???

There’s more…

“And many of our black fans don’t have the spendable income which explains why our f&b and merchandise sales are so low. At all white thrasher games sales were nearly triple what they are at hawks games (the extra intermission explains some of that but not all).”

Atlanta is a city with one of the most affluent black populations in the country.  And the reason why I think Atlanta Thrasher merchandise, who are ironically now the Winnipeg Jets, may have done better than the Hawks is because Atlanta is a transient city.  There are more fans of the Knicks, Lakers, Heat, and now Cavaliers in Atlanta than Hawks fans.  And again, the Thrashers are now chilling (pun intended) in Winnipeg.

And the money shot…

“We manufacture a lot of noise but because of the late arriving crowd and the fact that a lot of blacks dont seem to go as crazy cheering (another one of my theories) as whites, it is not great.”

I love how he has his “theories” on how racial groups behave and interact.  Hell I know a lot of white folks who are late to EVERYTHING.

Like I said earlier, Levenson’s words were very ignorant and stupid, but they were not racist at all.

Let us remember what the term “racist” means.  Webster defines it as “a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another”.  Levenson was not going the racist route in this email.  Case in point…

“On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, i don’t know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.”

Doesn’t sound racist to me.  In fact, he was attempting to call out such hateful statements on those infamous message boards/chat rooms.

I will say this – if Sterling didn’t show his ass earlier this year, there wouldn’t have been a huge stink over this.  If anything, there would have been a press conference called where Levenson would have apologized as he did today, and life would have gone on.

Not now, not in this climate.  After Sterling’s comments the NBA is in “ultimate sensitive” mode right now, and Levenson has paid the price.

The ironic thing is Levenson was one of the strongest critics among owners of Sterling.  Go figure right?

Kevin Love Makes the Cavs the Favorites in the East

254px-NBA_Logo.svg_It’s a wrap.

Hell I might as well say so now since Kevin Love is now officially a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers by way of a 3-team trade that saw the top overall pick Andrew Wiggins dealt to the Minnesota Timberwolves and a few scrubs sent to the Philadelphia 76ers. 

To me, there is nothing NOT to love about the trade – at least from the Cavs’ point of view.  Cleveland receives one of the most talented young big men in the game that produces 20+ points, 10+ rebounds night in and night out.  In Love, LeBron James finally gets a productive big man who could bang down low and score on the perimeter.  This also gives Cleveland a new and improved “Big Three” that includes James, Love and point guard Kyrie Irving.

Now the Cavs’ projected starting lineup includes Irving, Dion Waiters, James, Love and Anderson Varejao.  That group should win AT LEAST 57 games this season. 

I mean, look at the rest of the East. 

The Miami Heat, led by Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade, want to try and prove James wrong for leaving them, but I do not trust Wade’s knees.  The Charlotte Hornets and Washington Bullets – ERRRR I mean “Wizards” – are good up-and-coming teams, but are too green to make some noise in the playoffs.  The Indiana Pacers will be without Paul George for most of next season thanks that horrific injury during a Team USA scrimmage.  And my New York Knicks are a one-man band with Carmelo Anthony leading the way.

The Chicago Bulls figure to be the Cavs main rivals to win the East, but Derrick Rose’s knees may betray him once again.

In other words, the Eastern Conference is the Cavs’ to lose.

Now I know what some of you all may be thinking: what about Wiggins?  Look, I know Wiggins is going to be a stud in this league.  He is tenacious on the defensive end.  His upside is off the charts.  He may be the next superstar in the NBA.

However, Wiggins is not the best ball-handler at this point of his career.  His jump shot is not consistent, and he frankly needs a bit more meat on his bones.  In short, Wiggins may take a while – by that I mean at least 2-3 seasons – to develop into a bonafide star in this league.  Something tells me that James does not want to wait a while for Wiggins to help him win a third NBA title.

Enter the need to acquire Love.

The Eastern Conference is going to be hella fun to watch this season.  It’s as wide open as it’s been in years.  In getting Love, the Cavs are going to take advantage of that wide-open landscape.

I’d be beyond shocked if Cleveland does not represent the East in the 2015 NBA Finals.



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