Coming up Roses – Part 2

Another week goes by and still no basketball. I would listen to Marv Albert doing play-by-play while Reggie Miller and Chris Webber talk over each other as color commentators if it meant seeing a ball go in a hoop again. That’s how much I miss life not having some semblance of normalcy.

Since we’re still in a holding pattern, I’ll use this opportunity to continue breaking down the Knicks’ salary cap options. This week’s exercise: What happens if the Knicks used their cap space to sign multiple players to long term contracts?

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Wood You Do It?

So I began writing Part 2 of my series on possible off-season avenues for the Knicks and I realized something: I have a take. It’s not exactly blistering but it’s something I want to present before I continue the series and talk about this team adding multiple long term contracts.

The main goal of my series is to present opportunities with pros and cons. Sure, my own recommendations appear to guide each plan, but ideally it’s all open to interpretation. I want you, the reader, to evaluate players and plans on your own, while using my own machinations as a basis.

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Coming up Roses – Part 1

With no basketball being played and a new salary cap figure incoming, there’s nothing we can discuss about the present and we have trouble accurately gauging what the near future looks like. And seeing as how Leon Rose hasn’t said anything to give us an indication of what New York will do next, we’re left speculating.

Last week I provided the blueprint for what I hope to explore over the course of this series. The goal is to evaluate multiple short term and long term scenarios involving the Knicks, albeit with fluctuating finances due to that pesky salary cap.

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Breaking Down the Knicks’ Salary Cap (and a Mailbag!)

In a different universe, today is the last day of the regular season for the Knicks. They’re about to conduct a search for a general manager and a head coach. The team is evaluating draft prospects. Life goes on as usual. Nothing is usual these days.

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about various scenarios and how they affect the unpredictable salary cap moving forward, but first I wanted to set the tone, provide a Knicks payroll 101, and answer some questions. Thanks to some intuition of my own and the heavy lifting thanks to Early Bird Rights, here’s New York’s payroll through the next two seasons.

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How might COVID-19 affect the Knicks?

I had the opportunity to speak with longtime NBA trainer and former professional basketball player, Shawn Farmer. Shawn weighed in on how the NBA’s indefinite suspension from COVID-19 could affect player development, what it means for the 2020 Draft, and how the Knicks’ young players might be impacted.

How would you say the current stoppage of play compares to the lockouts in the 1998-99 and 2011-12 seasons?

I would say it is very, very similar but the only difference is that there are guys who think that this is a much needed rest. They’re looking forward to the season resuming but are eager to rest up. Whereas with the lockout years, there was so much uncertainty [that the season would even start].

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Tank Talk – March 10th

As I sit on my firm, blue couch from Bob’s Discount Furniture, watching the Hawks blow it and lose to the Hornets in overtime, I’m reminded of just how stupid it is that tanking even exists. The Knicks need the Hawks to win and I’m really not feeling a Charlotte win. I don’t want to see the Hawks make the tank more difficult and I’d rather not see the Hornets second round pick get any lower than it currently is (one game from being 39th).

And suddenly – chaos. The score is 131 apiece. It’s Charlotte ball. The Hornets inbound the rock and get it to Terry Rozier, who is fouled with under a second left to play. But hang on, there’s a foul called. We have to check to see if Rozier was fouled by Treveon Graham before the clock expired. Ok, he was indeed fouled. But then, Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce challenges the call, saying Rozier hooked the defender. After further review, yes, Rozier hooked Graham. Offensive foul. Hawks have the ball now. They inbound it to Trae Young whooooooooo misses the floater. It took maybe five minutes for less than a second to run off the clock.

Double overtime.

The Hawks take the lead thanks to a deep Trae Young three and later extend their lead thanks to a nifty pass by Young, who found a cutting Cam Reddish for the dunk as the shot clock was about to expire. And on the next play, Rozier ties it by sinking a three with Reddish right in his grill.

The Hawks bring the ball up with 24.7 seconds to go. Kevin Huerter is pushing the pace before passing to an open De’andre Hunter in the corner. Hunter shoots – NO! – and his shot is blocked but there is a foul. Hunter goes to the charity stripe and sinks the first. He connects on the second. OH, BUT THEN HE… hits the third.

We have 13.3 seconds left. Rozier misses the three, Hawks get the rebound, sprint up the court, and draw the foul. The Hornets are over the limit. Reddish goes to the line, ices it, and ball game. Never a doubt, not a single one.

One day I’ll probably vent here about how ridiculous the system of tanking is but today is not that day. Today we bask in the glory that is the race to the bottom.

Recapping Last Night

Hawks won ✅

Hornets lost ✅

Nuggets won ✅

Jazz won ❌

Great night for the tank. GREAT night. And sure, the Jazz may have lost, but the Raptors winning means they’re now 2.5 games ahead of the Clippers in the standings. I give this night a 9/10.

Tank Standings

I can’t emphasize enough how important that Hawks win was. Making up two games would be possible, but now only having to make up one game, with New York playing the second night of a back-to-back in Atlanta on Wednesday? Life gets just a little easier.

Also, I’m going to do something new and take a screenshot of the end of the first round too. This way, you can follow how the Clippers pick is doing.

One game separates the Clippers, Nuggets, and Celtics from finishing with the 25th overall pick. Additionally, 2.5 games separate the Clippers from being tied for 28th and being tied for 23rd. Buckle up, buckaroo (NSFW).

Sim of the Day

Knicks drop a spot. I cursed it, ladies and gentlemen. I said yesterday that the Knicks haven’t moved up or down by less than two. Well, now they have. On the bright side, New York could have fallen by two, or three, or four.

Average pick: 4.3

Average jump/fall: 0.6

Games Tonight

Cavaliers vs. Bulls

Cleveland is on a two-game winning streak! Look at that! The Bulls, meanwhile, have lost five of their last six games.

Who we want to win: Doesn’t matter

Our first “Doesn’t matter” of the year! I love these games because the Knicks need both of these teams to lose. If New York loses to the Wizards and Cleveland beats Chicago, the Knicks and Cavs are tied with the Bulls a game back. If the Knicks lose and the Bulls beat the Cavs, there’s some breathing room between the Knicks and the Bulls.

Really, when you consider that one of these teams has to lose, it’s truly in New York’s best interests to lose to the Wizards. But that’s none of my business.

Timberwolves vs. Rockets

It would appear that the Knicks have ruined the Rockets, as Houston is on a four-game losing streak that started at MSG. The Wolves are, well, the Wolves.

Who we want to win: Timberwolves

Knowing New York’s luck, the Rockets will snap their losing streak against Minnesota because the Knicks need the Wolves to win. Knicks fans need the Wolves to win more than they need the Rockets to try and catch the Clippers.

Clippers vs. Warriors

I mean…

Who we want to win: Clippers Warriors

Hehe. Go Warriors for obvious reasons.

Tank Talk – March 9th

This should be obvious but wins like last night’s against the Pistons remind me how starved this fanbase is of good basketball. I’m talking about a now 20-win team beating another 20-win team, on a Sunday night, thanks to growth by the team’s young players. The level of engagement is palpable, and even if it’s fleeting, we take what we can get.

If you’re only following games like last night thanks to the box scores, you’re missing the full story. Seven points and a couple blocks isn’t much for Kevin Knox but how about that sequence to end the first quarter, with Knox hitting a three and then recording a block as the buzzer sounds? And 3-of-10 is just another pedestrian shooting night for Frank Ntilikina, except for the fact that he charged the rim like a bull on several occasions. That one assist was thanks to pushing the pace, finding an open Wayne Ellington in the corner, and boom. These are the games in a season the casual fan will have written off where the young players find their footing.

What happens if each young player takes another step, if the Knicks were to add a player like (emphasis on “like”) Chris Paul, and if the team starts gelling faster than we anticipated? The entire narrative changes. Those perceived as floundering are still on track.

It’s unlikely for a team to go from the bottom-five to the playoffs organically, or in other words, without adding a bonafide, established star. This year’s Memphis Grizzlies stand out as the only one in recent memory (should they hang on) thanks to rookie Ja Morant, as even the 2018-19 Dallas Mavericks needed a year to go 33-49 with Luka Doncic after finishing 24-58. The 2017-18 Philadelphia 76ers did it by holding out Ben Simmons for the season and by playing Joel Embiid for 31 games after missing two seasons. It can happen but it probably won’t for the Knicks next year.

Now what does that mean for the Knicks? Jon outlined where he believes the Knicks are in terms of ranking the best young duos in the NBA, and middle of the pack is probably a fair assessment. The Knicks need star power, and barring a trade for a major young star or snagging someone like Brandon Ingram in free agency, the draft is the team’s best option.

And that’s why living and dying by the young players is so crucial. If it leads to wins, that’s fantastic. The truth is that playing them more likely won’t lead to win, at least not the majority of the time. And that raises your floor in terms of draft aspirations. I don’t enjoy seeing a lineup of Payton-Ellington-Bullock-Randle-Gibson with five minutes left and you probably don’t either.

To tie it all together, last night had fun elements without a doubt. I look forward to the days where a win over a team with a less talented roster is celebrated quite as much, simply because of New York’s ability to beat good teams consistently too.

Anyways, let’s recap this past weekend:

Friday

Hawks won ❌

Bulls won ❌

Timberwolves won ❌

Saturday

Hornets won ✅

Pistons won ❌

Cavs won ✅

Hawks won ❌

Warriors won ✅

Sunday

Bulls won ❌

Timberwolves won ❌

Lakers won ✅

Clippers lost ❌

Cavaliers won ✅

Pistons won ❌

Knicks lost ❌

Okay, so going 5-10 isn’t great for the Knicks, and the win definitely doesn’t help things from a tanking perspective. The good news here is the Cavs won twice, the Hornets are keeping their distance, and the Warriors are making things at least a little interesting 1.

Tank Standings

The Knicks gained a full game on the Cavs but lost a game to the Pistons, Wolves, and Bulls. How stressful are things for Team Tank? The Knicks are 1.5 games away from being tied for second but also 1.5 games away from being in seventh.

Well let’s run the simulation…

Sim of the Day

Average pick: 3.8

Average jump/fall: 0.8

The Knicks have been flying up far more than I would have expected: they’ve moved up four of the six days, and by at least two spots each time. I’ll never not be concerned about dropping as far as possible, and history will back me up on this because the Knicks haven’t risen a single time in draft lottery history.

Games Tonight

Hornets vs. Hawks

Two division rivals in the top 10 of the tank season, facing off against one another? Oh my!

Who we want to win: Hawks

Despite their win against the Pistons, the Knicks are only 1.5 games out of being tied for the second-worst record in the NBA. And sure, a Hornets loss would mean they’re only two games back of the Knicks, but a Hawks win would mean the Knicks are only a game back of Atlanta.

The Hawks have been absolutely walloped the last two games, they play the Knicks on Wednesday and the Cavs on Friday. They also have the 29th-easiest remaining strength of schedule, and while that may serve as a silver lining if they lose, getting them “behind” the Knicks in the tank standings is imperative.

Bucks vs. Nuggets

The Bucks will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic just had a miserable game for Denver.

Who we want to win: Nuggets

Thanks to the Lakers’ victory against the Clippers, Denver is a mere game away from being tied for the second seed. And with the Utah Jazz on a five-game winning streak and a game back of the Nuggets, a Denver win adds more competition as the season comes to a close.

Raptors vs. Jazz

The Jazz made a coaching change and have since gone 5-1, including having won five in a row. The Raptors are on a three-game winning streak of their own. Whose winning streak will remain intact by the end of the night?!

Who we want to win: Jazz

As mentioned previously, the Jazz are getting really close to catching the Clippers. Both Utah and Toronto have tough schedules to finish the season but the Raptors have more easy games than you’d think: Pistons (H), Warriors (H), Knicks (A), Wizards (A), Hornets (A), Hawks (H), and Knicks (H). Now compare that to the Jazz: Timberwolves (H), Hawks (H), Bulls (H), Cavs (H), and Suns (A).

Tank Talk – March 6th-8th

I must say that when the biggest story of the day is speculating a soon-to-be 35-year old will become a Knick, you’re not having a bad day.

Frank Isola wants the Knicks to trade for Chris Paul because it’s a disaster no matter what happens. On one hand, the Knicks win too many games with CP3, don’t stay the course, and likely fall short of the playoffs. On the other hand, New York acquires CP3 and goes nowhere, and then he can crush Leon Rose. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

I guess I would be fine with a trade, depending on what the Knicks give up, of course. You do have to look at the opportunity cost – and that’s something Jon and I will probably discuss on the pod.

Recapping Last Night

Hornets lost ✅

Clippers lost  ❌

Warriors lost ✅

Not a great night for the tank. The Hornets second round pick improved and the Clippers pick didn’t get worse. The Warriors did lose though, and while they’re unlikely to be caught by the Knicks anyway, a win wouldn’t have been a bad thing in the end. 3/10.

Tank Standings

Sim of the Day

One dear reader suggested that I include the player the Knicks would draft at the position they fall. I love that idea, so that’s exactly what I’ve done.

I’m a little surprised that Tankathon would have Anthony Edwards going to the Knicks at number one, considering LaMelo Ball a) could be the better player and b) the Knicks are likely looking for a ball handler.

Average pick: 3.8

Average jump/fall: 0.6

Games This Weekend

Friday, March 6th

Hawks vs. Wizards

The Hawks have a ridiculously schedule coming up. They lost to the Wizards on the road and demolished them at home. This game will be in Washington.

Who we want to win: Hawks

Yeah, we want the team doing worse than the Knicks to do better. This is an easy one.

Pacers vs. Bulls and Magic vs. Timberwolves

Two teams around the Knicks in the standings.

Who we want to win: Bulls and Timberwolves

Easy decisions. Let’s ensure that the teams near where the Knicks are win games.

Saturday, March 7th

Let’s make this easy: let’s go Hornets, Pistons, Cavaliers, Hawks, and Warriors.

Sunday, March 8th

Today’s pretty easy: let’s go Bulls, Timberwolves, Lakers, and Cavaliers. The real matchup is…

Pistons vs. Knicks

I mentioned earlier this week that I wouldn’t include Knicks games unless they were against teams we needed to lose. Well, here we are.

Who we want to win: Pistons

I get rooting for the Knicks, I really do. The problem is that the Pistons have next to no talent on their roster, and if the Knicks keep winning, they’ll have to rely on lottery luck on draft night. There’s a difference between praying you rise and hoping you don’t fall too far. You can control how far you fall but you can’t control how high you rise. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, losing games (especially if they feature veterans) makes sense when we’re dealing with inferior teams.

Tank Talk – March 5th

Nothing like a wire-to-wire loss, huh? Add in a dash of veterans playing in the fourth quarter while the Knicks are down 15+ points and you’ve got a nice stew going.

Portis shot incredibly well (certainly in the first half), Payton stuffed the stat sheet and made Mike Conley briefly consider retirement, and Julius Randle posted a very solid stat line despite multiple gaffes on defense, turning over the ball while driving into traffic, and forcing some unnecessary turnovers, including a Conley push that could have been avoided.

The youth was quiet, save for RJ Barrett, who was in foul trouble for much of the game because of a couple dumb mistakes. Mitchell Robinson was held out due to injury, Frank Ntilikina drew a couple charges and had a nice dunk, and Kevin Knox hit one shot.

So yeah, not a fun night in the least bit. The Knicks host Oklahoma City on Friday.

Recapping Last Night

Cavaliers won ❌

Pistons won ❌

Bulls won ❌

Timberwolves won ✅

Always a good night for the tank when a team worse than you wins. 5/10 tonight.

Tank Standings

Sim of the Day

Falling again – this time by three spots! Also, what’s up with the Pistons winning the first pick in two of the last three days?

Average pick: 4.5

Average jump/fall: 0

Games Tonight

Nuggets vs. Hornets

The Nuggets are good. The Hornets are bad.

Who we want to win: Hornets

Charlotte will probably lose, which would at least put the second round pick at tied for 37th overall and 1.5 games back from tied for 36th. In all honesty, if the Knicks keep losing, it makes it a lot easier to root against the Hornets. Until that happens though, the first round pick is more important.

Clippers vs. Rockets

Do I really need to elaborate?

Who we want to win: Rockets

Duh.

Raptors vs. Warriors

You know the drill by now.

Who we want to win: Raptors

It’s unlikely they pull off the victory, but Stephen Curry is coming back and the Warriors winning can be a good thing.

However, if we’re being realistic here, the Knicks cannot catch the Warriors. So if this is indeed the case (and it is), we want the Raptors to win because of the Clippers pick. Toronto is only a game ahead of the Clippers, so ensuring Los Angeles doesn’t pick lower than 28 is important.

Tank Talk – March 4th

One thing I’ve been mulling is if I want to include Knicks games in here. I recognize that there are fans who, thanks to different lottery odds, don’t care about the tank nearly as much. In fact, those fans want the Knicks to continue winning.

So here’s the deal: unless it’s a crucial tank game, I’m not going to include the Knicks. For example, the Knicks are playing the Jazz at home. I won’t make fans choose. Sure, I probably want to see the Knicks lose and the Jazz win (depending on how playing time is doled out, of course), as it helps the Knicks’ odds and the Jazz winning could help them catch the Clippers. I recognize not everyone wants that outcome. So I’ll leave off games like that.

Recapping Last Night

Hornets lost ❌

Timberwolves won ✅

Thunder lost ❌

Clippers won ❌

Warriors won ✅

Raptors won ✅

Sixers lost ❌

Wizards won ❌

Very, very solid night for the tank. While the Clippers pick is decreasing in value, two teams “ahead” of the Knicks won. I give it a 7.5/10.

Tank Standings

Sim of the Day

Average pick: 3.7

Average jump/fall: 1

Moving on up! That’s twice in three days that the Knicks have avoided falling.

Games Tonight

Celtics vs. Cavaliers

The Cavs lost on Monday night and the Celtics blew a game to the Nets last night. Boston lost Jayson Tatum but gained Kemba Walker.

Who we want to win: Cavaliers

Regardless of New York’s outcome, the best thing is for the teams worse (and better) than the Knicks to win.

Thunder vs. Pistons

The Thunder have lost bigly recently and the Pistons have made the last two games extremely competitive.

Who we want to win: Pistons

The song remains the same here, as the Pistons are marginally better than the Knicks. Need them to be better than that.

Bulls vs. Timberwolves

Finally, a fun one!

The Knicks are almost squarely in between the two teams. The Timberwolves are quite bad despite a good win last night and the Bulls are pretty mediocre, so this game should be a shitshow.

Who we want to win: Bulls

This is admittedly a tough one. On one hand, the Wolves are worse than the Knicks, and we should be rooting for them to win. On the other hand, the Bulls have the fourth-toughest remaining schedule this season (the Wolves have the 14th). Is it better to root for the team that probably loses more games between now and the end of the season? I think so. The good news is that this game should be a positive regardless of the outcome.

Tank Talk – March 3rd

Yesterday, I told you I was rooting for the Rockets. Today, I tell you I’m glad the Knicks won.

Don’t get me wrong, the Knicks are still in an extremely precarious spot. Tanking may not matter as much but it still matters. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it now, and I’ll say it a million times between now and May: the reason the Knicks would benefit from losing is because it reduces the risk of falling as opposed to drastically increasing the odds of moving up. 

Last night felt different due to the team playing the youth, and in clutch situations, no less. This wasn’t four players with no future in New York and RJ Barrett on the floor when things matter. We saw Barrett be lethal in the first quarter and then be a bully late in the game, Mitchell Robinson generate instant offense to start the game en route to a double-double and playing key defense in the last minute or so of play, and Frank Ntilikina being a defensive pest (all ball on that Russell Westbrook foul by the way) and scoring double digits for the second time in three games played. All three players logged 30, 24, and 29 minutes, respectively.

How can you be mad that those three were on the court when the game mattered most and it led to a win? Even with Wayne Ellington and Bobby Portis scoring in bunches, their play (well, Ellington’s for the most part) made the players around them better. Remember, this team was never going 0-22. Maybe now they can go 22-0 instead.

Last night was fun. Maybe this game screws the Knicks over in the lottery but we can’t really point to one game and say “That’s the reason the Knicks got screwed.” For all we know, Tim Hardaway Jr. misses against the Magic, the Knicks finish with the worst record, wind up picking third, and draft Jahlil Okafor. There’s enough time anyway for the Knicks to ensure they fall no further than seventh or eighth.

Recapping Last Night

Knicks won ❌

Cavs lost ❌

Hawks lost ❌

Heat won ✅

Bulls won ✅

All in all, a very meh night for the tank. I’d give it a 4/10.

Tank Standings

Sim of the Day

Average pick: 4

Average jump/fall: 0.5

Oh look, the Pistons are right behind the Knicks and get the first pick while the Knicks drop two spots. Yay.

Games Tonight

Spurs vs. Hornets

Spurs lost to the Pacers last night and the Hornets had a day off.

Who we want to win: Hornets

This is a fun one because I go back and forth on the Hornets constantly. On one hand, each Hornets win helps the Knicks avoid falling too far in the pre-seeded lottery. On the other hand, each Hornets win hurts Charlotte’s second round pick, which is owned by the Knicks.

The smart play here is to root for the Hornets to win. The dropoff in talent after five compared to after nine, for example, is historically quite big. Compare that to the dropoff between the 35th pick and the 39th pick, and, well, there’s really no reason to compare it.

If the Hornets win, that’s ok. If the Hornets lose, that’s ok. Unless the Knicks go on an epic losing streak or have solidified their place in the pre-lottery standings, I’m going to generally be ambivalent about Hornets games.

Timberwolves vs. Pelicans

The Wolves are bad and without Karl-Anthony Towns (so maybe they’ll actually be okay, at least defensively?). The Pelicans are good and have Zion Williamson.

Who we want to win: Timberwolves

This is pretty evident. Don’t think I need to elaborate on games like this one moving forward tbqh.

Clippers vs. Thunder

Clippers came back to beat the Sixers this past Sunday, which was annoying. The Thunder lost to the Bucks by a cool 47.

Who we want to win: Thunder

#NeverClippers (unless they’re playing more important teams in regards to the tank).

Warriors vs. Nuggets

Both teams are 1-1 in their last two. The chaos!

Who we want to win: Warriors

This is basically the same as the Timberwolves, except I care more about the Wolves winning because the Knicks can actually catch them in the standings.

Raptors vs. Suns

The Raptors are on a three-game skid. Meanwhile, the Suns are… also on a three-game skid. Something something two objects in motion hurtling towards each other.

Who we want to win: Raptors

Toronto is only a game ahead of the Clippers in the standings. Need the Raptors to beat the Valley Boyz.

Sixers vs. Lakers

The Sixers are half deceased and the Lakers just won a fantastic game in Nawlins.

Who we want to win: Sixers, I guess

They’re unlikely to catch the Clippers (4.5 games out) and their two best players are injured. This really doesn’t matter much. I’ll probably stop including games featuring teams playing each other who are both too high and/or too low regarding the Clippers pick.

Wizards vs. Kings

Both these teams are mediocre but the Kings have won five of their last six. It’s late. I’m tired. You don’t really care about this game. If you say you do, you’re just lying to me and to yourself.

Who we want to win: Wizards

Washington is 1.5 games ahead of the Hornets for 10th place in the tank standings. Need to ensure that the Hornets pick doesn’t lose value.

Tank Talk – March 2nd

Leon Rose put pen to paper, the Knicks finally have a new president of basketball operations, and it’s a new season. Except, it’s also not.

We’ve reached that wonderful time of the year where wins start to mean losses and losses start to mean wins. I dream of a time when this does not apply to the Knicks. Unfortunately that’s not this year.

No matter what your preferred outcome is for the Knicks, I would like to believe that we mainly share common ground: We should, at the very least, root for teams hovering around where the Knicks are at to win. What’s more, we should consider where the Clippers’ first round pick and the Hornets’ second round pick land. With so many games left, and with so many teams potentially affecting those picks, it can be tricky to determine who to root for as the season concludes.

Well, fear not! Over the next six weeks or so, I’ll be writing about which teams I believe Knicks fans should root for and which teams to root against. This series was inspired by someone who did essentially this on the subreddit for the Knicks – seeing as how it hasn’t returned there, I’d like to bring it back. I may tinker with the format moving forward, so kindly bear with me.

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Remembering a Legend

I have a confession: When I was a kid, I started out as a Lakers fan. My parents aren’t exactly sports fans so I was left to forge my own path. And while I eventually let geography dictate my fandom, the Lakers provided the foundation for a love of a sport that would only intensify over time. 

Everyone has a favorite Kobe memory. Mine? The second game I ever saw in-person was Kobe and Shaq at the Garden.2 The one memory I’ve retained from that game, other than the 104-83 drubbing, is Kobe hitting a mid-range jumper and jogging up the court. It was so easy and… effortless. And sure, many other more iconic memories come to mind, but that memory was iconic to me.

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How can the Knicks land a franchise cornerstone?

Some moons ago on a podcast, Jon and I discussed whether or not the Knicks should trade for Brandon Ingram. While we may have disagreed on whether to trade for Ingram or not, what we did agree upon was that it would take quite a bit to acquire Ingram, and that he has the potential to be an excellent wing. The trouble is that, as good as he is, he’s unlikely to become a top-10 player in the NBA.

The conversation got me thinking: How can the Knicks get a top-10 player that aligns with their long term vision? What can the team do differently compared with the last time they acquired a top-10 player in a trade in Carmelo Anthony?

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Kiss da Rings, Pal

If you’re like me, this week’s been bleak for you as a Knicks fan. While last night’s win against the Warriors was a comforting pick-me-up like an iced Dunkin coffee on a sweltering day 2, the Knicks’ organizational dysfunction is still very much a topic of conversation.

Alan Hahn had a well-thought out thread yesterday, illustrating the Knicks’ lack of a plan and the need to throw out the old guard and start anew. What Hahn said wasn’t revolutionary but it got me thinking about what successful teams do look like. Enter: the New York Yankees, less than two days removed from signing one of the best pitchers in baseball, Gerrit Cole.

It would seem inconceivable to compare the Yankees, a model for perennial winning, with the Knicks, an example of consistent losing. We learn more from our failures than we do from our successes, but if the Knicks continue to not learn from what’s gone wrong, the least they can do is look at an organization that’s had plenty go right. What can we learn from the Yankees that can be applied to the Knicks?

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Too Much or Not Enough?

Once upon a time, I started a short-term, contract job I accepted through a temp agency. The position was in a field I had a significant interest in and I was thrilled to get started. During the first week, I realized both the job and the field of interest weren’t a fit. My boss knew it too. I privately planned my exit the second week and went back to another place I had turned down, asking if the position had been filled. One afternoon of the third week, I was offered that role and verbally committed. The goal was to sign my paperwork and give my notice the next day.

In a twist of fate, I received an email from my recruiter at the temp agency the day I verbally agreed to leave. “Can we talk later this afternoon?” It was lunchtime, I had an incredible amount of work to do, and I wanted to break the news that I was leaving to her the next day. She wrote back saying no. “We really need to chat today.”

Oh shit, I thought. I’m getting fired.

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The Only Way Up is Down

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the vets not excelling
And everyone telling you the end is neeeeeeeeeeeear
It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the crap-crappiest season of all
With some December beatings and the season’s fleeting
Randle please pass the baaaaaaaaaaaall
It’s the crap-crappiest season of all

There’s allowed coast to coasting
Knox defense for roasting
And several DNPs for Zo
There’ll be plenty of stories
And tales of the glories of
Ewing’s Knicks long, long ago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year
There’ll be some players going
And we’ll soon be knowing
If Fizdale’s still heeeeeeeeeeeere
It’s the most wonderful time
Yes the most wonderful time
Oh the most wonderful time
Of the yeeeeeeeeeeeear

Ah, December, the month that seemingly always breaks the Knicks. New York hasn’t survived December without either a losing season or some sort of skid for six years. It doesn’t appear this year will be any different.

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Assessing The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of New York’s Brain Trust

As the Knicks reach what I can only imagine is DEFCON 2, I’m left wondering how those who eventually remain will pick up the pieces and put this lovable pile of steaming turds back together. You see, firing everyone is the easy part. Tearing it down is simple. It’s the rebuilding where, as you’re likely well aware, things can go awry.

That’s why I’m assessing the chants, diving deeper, and trying to make sense of what would follow after firings. Without further ado…

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What’s the Point (Guard)?

Once Kevin Durant tore his Achilles, this year was going to be one of two things: 1) A potential playoff team, carried by another star, with a roster catered towards those two big name players or 2) A 17-win squad with a few starting-caliber players. If you don’t already know, it’s now the latter.

It’s only been three games – three games – and yet the season already feels like it’s slipping away from the Knicks. I truly, truly wish I was being overdramatic. And hell, maybe I am, but the near future feels incredibly daunting.

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