Monthly Archives: February 2017

You Cannot Be Serious!

ESPN has a new story titled, “Should the Knicks blow it up or pursue the playoffs?” I am not making that up. It includes this amazing quote”

That time is here for Knicks management. Jackson needs to decide whether he wants to continue to push for the playoffs or pull the plug on what feels like another lost season in New York.

“continue to push for the playoffs”!? The Knicks are 11-games under .500 and 3-7 in their last 10. That’s a playoff push? Sure, the Eastern Conference is once again top-heavy, but they are four-games back with three teams in front of them. And if they made the playoffs then they would probably be a sacrifice to King James in the first round.

Instead here is a “crazy” idea. Lose games as often as possible. If ever there was a season to tank, this is it, because the draft looks really deep and the Knicks finally have paid off all of Isiah and Jimmy’s terrible draft pick trades. If possible, trade Carmelo for another first round pick and then do the smart thing- rebuild. A lottery pick added to Porzingas with another first rounder thown in is a good start. Stink again in 2018 and you have another lottery pick. Suddenly, you might have a pretty good core of players.

Whatever you do, don’t try to add anything to this team that would sacrifice the future. That would be amazingly stupid.

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We Need More!

Unless you are a big college hoops fan, it probably escaped your notice that the NCAA revealed the top-16 seeds for the tournament on Saturday. Of course, with a month left in the regular season, those seeds are just temporary, but it gave us a glimpse of how March Madness might set up.   The idea comes from football where they start releasing CFP rankings in late October, and it is a great way to get some buzz going for the tournament. I am hopeful that they will add two tweaks to it to really get this going.

1- Announce it weekly. They do this in college football like I said and it generates a lot of buzz. A weekly announcement would do the same thing and keep the information more current. As of right now, these 16 seeds could change significantly over the next month.

2- Include a list of teams on the bubble or, even better, the last four in and the last four out. Now this would be harder because of the need to look at the entire field every week, but can you imagine the buzz that would generate?

Anyway, its a good start that could be really improved down the line.

This Will End Badly

The story in Blecher Report was a harsh, but fair critique of Carmelo Anthony. Basically, he doesn’t have the killer instinct of Jordan or Bryant and Phil Jackson has screwed up by expecting him to develop it. The story would have faded away pretty quickly if Phil Jackson hadn’t decided to tweet about it, after not tweeting anything since the end of December. Here’s what Jackson had to say:

“Bleacher’s Ding almost rings the bell, but I learned you don’t change the spot on a leopard with Michael Graham in my CBA daze.”

Now, if you want to take the best possible spin on that, Jackson is saying that he knew what Anthony was and still thought he was a max-contract player. (Let’s not debate if he is or not, just stick with me.) So, it’s a somewhat awkward defense of Anthony involving a player from 25-years ago that almost nobody remembers.

The problem is, you have to be really willing to jump through hoops to get there, and Phil knows the NYC media well enough to know this would be the equivalent of throwing meat to hungry dogs. And so you have this. Or this one. And this one. And plenty more. It’s an easy narrative to fill because the logic is Phil wants to trade Carmelo, but needs Carmelo to waive his no-trade clause, so he needs to make Carmelo want to leave at all costs.

But that ignores, the reality of what GM does this? The Yankees treated A-Rod better than this when he was suspended for a year for cheating and the reason is, you never ever want to malign your own players because it lowers their value. Other GM’s aren’t stupid and they will read stories like this and tell Phil if you want him gone that badly, here’s our lowball offer.

So then you have the other possible explanation suggested in one of those links- Phil wants to get fired and head back to his beach house with a fat contract for two more years. Definitely plausible again, but while Phil’s reputation is going to survive, flaming out so badly in NYC isn’t the ending I can believe he wants and will resurrect the narrative that Pat Riley is a better coach/executive than him.

If it had been reason #1, a backhanded compliment. Jackson could have defused the whole thing with a follow-up tweet like this: “I love Carmleo and he is a vital part of the franchise. I would never want him to change his playing style.” Problem solved and crisis averted. And yes, we know he is lying, but he is putting the story to bed.

So that leaves us with the other two explanations and both point to the same conclusion. Jackson is trying to force Dolan to make a decision. It will be his franchise or Carmleo’s and one of them is leaving town. Either Carmelo in a fire sale or Jackson with $24-million still owed to him. Scorched earth either way and just another terrible chapter in a franchise with way too many of them this century.

Hail Brady

I often dream of an alternative NFL history. In it Bill Parcells resigns from the Giants in time for their defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick, to take over and the Giants, fresh off a great Super Bowl victory, go on to dominate the NFL for years.

There are two problems with my dream scenario.  First, Belichick went to Cleveland off of that Super Bowl victory and failed- 36-44 in his time there. And second, Tom Brady wasn’t the Giants QB.

I think it is time to recognize that as accomplished as Belichick is, he is nothing without Brady. Brady is the greatest draft pick ever. Every NFL team missed on him, at least FOUR times. That is their shame and evidence that Belichick isn’t quite the genius people make him out to be. He’s very good, but he hit the lottery with Brady.

Take Brady away from the Patriots and do they win any of their Super Bowls?  I don’t think so.  Belichick has done s lot of great moves, but Brady is the guy who makes it all work.

As for the game.  Atlanta blew it with some terrible play calls and Brady was magnificent when it mattered.

Ahead 28-20 with the ball and just under six minutes, there are two clear goals  1- score to make the game a two-score difference 2- run the clock.  Three plays later, Atlanta is on the New England 22-yard line with 4:47 left in the game.  At this point, goal #1 is within reach a and goal #2 can be achieved if you run the ball.  They ran on first down, lost a yard, and then went to the pass.  A sack, inexcusable at this point, backed them up 12 yards.  That’s not great, but a potential field goal would still be 51-yards at this point, if they didn’t gain another yard.  Instead, they call pass agajn and while they competed it, a penalty negated the play and backed them up another 10 yards- out of field goal range. On 3rd and 33, they tried to pass again, when a run could have got them a possible field goal and forced New England to spend another time out.

And you know against almost any other QB, they still might have gotten away with their stupidity, but Brady, with the help of an amazing catch, made them pay.  My only quibble is with the NFL’s stupid overtime rule.  Both teams should get the ball once to have a championship decided off of a coin toss is ridiculous.

Finally, think about the sports run we are on.  You had the Super Bowl and the college National Championship game decided on the last play. You had extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series.  You had the NBA finals go seven games with a 3-1 comeback by the winning team. And yes, while it broke my heart, you had March Madness decided by a three at the buzzer.

I have been racking my brain to find a comparable run and I can’t.  I think the 2016-17 sports championship cycle is the greatest we have ever seen.

 

 

 

 

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