A Look Ahead

 Written by William Lee

The Super Bowl is over, and basketball season is over half way over. This is the time where causal fans move over from football to basketball. Listening to a recent appearance from Mike Breen on The Michael Kay Show, where “Mike Breen says at this point the Knicks just need wins at this point and it doesn’t matter how they come.” And that the Knicks need to continue to improve throughout the season, I completely agree with this sentiment, and decided to take a look at New York’s schedule, and predict what could happen. Below there is a breakdown, having an optimistic, realistic, and pessimistic outlook on the remainder of the season.

 The Knicks currently stand 10th in the Eastern Conference standings with a 19-29 record. Now the Eastern Conference is atrocious, and the Charlotte Bobcats stand as the 8th seed with a 21-28 record. The Brooklyn Nets currently hold a 21-25 record, now ideally the Knicks would want to avoid the 7th or 8th seed, because that would mean they would either have to face the Indiana Pacers, or the Miami Heat in the First Round of the Playoffs.

Looking back last season, 2012-2013, the 7th and 8th seed did not have more than 41 wins. Sixth seed was a 44-38 Atlanta Hawks, so to avoid a most definite First Round exit, New York will need to somehow get above .500. To get even at 41-41 the Knicks will need to go 22-12 the rest of the way…which seems a little far-fetched…Now in 2011-2012 all teams were over .500, but this was in a strike shortened season. In 2010-2011 the sixth seed was actually the Knicks with 42-40, so just looking back a few years back, getting the sixth seed is a must to be over .500.

 Without further a due here is the breakdown.

Game Date Time Pos/Realistic/Neg Comments
New York vs. Portland 2/5/14 8:00 PM L/ L/ L Highest scoring team in the league at 108 per, we will not be able to stop them Continue reading
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Tweet of the Week

I forgot to post the tweet of the week yesterday.  This one comes from Melo, showing some good sportsmanship:

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Michael (@delacmi1) scours twitter all week to find our Knicks player Tweet of the Week every Monday morning.

Around the league after the first month

The first full month of bball has just ended so lets take a look around the league and see what’s going on:

Eastern Conference:

New York Knicks – 13-4 after playing one of the hardest schedules in the league. As expected they are banged up; Amare, Shumpert, Camby and Kidd are all out and Felton looks like he’s going to play with a bone bruise in his hand. This hasn’t stopped them from holding a 20 point lead in 8 out of their first 16 games. Tough D, Melo averaging the most points per 36 minutes and Chandler on pace for the all time highest FG% for a season have been huge reasons why the Knicks are on such a tear. By the end of the month everyone except Shumpert is supposed to be back so it will be interesting to see if that makes them better or provides chemistry issues. And hopefully Rasheed Wallace can stay on the court more than 90 seconds next game without getting ejected.

The Brooklyn Nets are right behind the Knicks in the standings, however they’ve played a much easier schedule. They did survive an attack by Rajon Rondo. Even though they have the worst crowd chant and the worst mascot it looks like they are going to be a good team.

Andrew Bynum hurt his knee (the supposedly good one) bowling. There is no timetable for his return. Is it possible to be a part of a three team trade where all 3 teams got worse?

Rondo was tied for the second longest double-digit assist streak in NBA history before he attacked Mr. Kardashian. His team is still reeling too. Avery Bradley can’t come back soon enough.

The Toronto Raptors are a very bad team. Kyle Lowry has been the one bright spot. Landry Fields has been terrible but something tells me he’s going to be just fine.

Fortunately for Chicago they are in the worst division in the NBA. It’s totally possible for them to steal a #4 seed without Derrick Rose and then have him healthy for a playoff run. Continue reading

New Pre-Game 90 Second Rule

Sometimes I just don’t get what the NBA is thinking.  There is a new 90-second pre-game rule, which gives players 90 seconds to return to the court after introductions.  The NBA says it’s to speed up the games.  They are going to ignore all of the fouls that could be no-calls resulting in free throws that slow down the game.  They’re also going to ignore how long it takes for free throws to be taken.  Can’t do away with TV times outs either.  So now we’ll miss out on awesome pre-game rituals like this

and this

Why is this a problem?  Especially the Ellis/Maggette dance.  I’d watch an entire half hour of that.

Western Conference Mid-season Grades

Oklahoma City Thunder: A+: Having the best record in the league sure silenced the whole ‘Westbrook vs. Durant power struggle’. Reggie Jackson seamlessly filled Eric Maynors shoes after his season ending injury and Harden is making a strong case for 6th man of the year. The only concern in OKC right now is the fact that their starting center, Kendrick Perkins, looks 37 and not 27. With no decent backups this could present a matchup problem in the playoffs should the Thunder run into the Grizzlies or Lakers. Right now though they are enjoying life on the top of the standings.

San Antonio Spurs: A+: Another year, another dominating regular season when everyone thought they were finally finished. They’ve been doing this without Manu Ginobili. Greg Popovich has been rationing the older players minutes which not only makes his players fresh for the playoffs, but also develops the younger talent on the team. He remains one of the best/underrated coaches in the league. It also helps that Tony Parker is having one of the best seasons of his career.

Continue reading

Thoughts on the season so far

The season is 25% finished already. What have we learned?

  • Chicago and Miami are by far the two best teams in the east, as expected. They should really start the eastern conference playoffs with the conference finals. The first two rounds are just going through the motions.
  • Philly and Indiana are better than expected. One of those two will make it to the second round this year. These teams can actually get much better at the trade deadline as they are both in favorable cap situations with a lot of movable assets. That is something to keep an eye on, especially in Indiana’s case; they are a piece or two away from being a contender.
  • Orlando should trade Dwight now. Two complete drubbings in the last two games, a thin bench and a disgruntled Dwight = a situation that is barely keeping it together right now, could totally implode any day, and has a ceiling of getting a beatdown in the second round of the playoffs. Dwight is leaving, time to face that reality and rebuild.
  • Atlanta will do what they do every year; lose in the 2nd round. Moving on.
  • Boston is starting to get it together, 4 wins in a row and 4 easy games this week. If they can be healthy come seasons end they will be a tough draw in the playoffs. Their really weak bench is suspect, however they totally won the Big Baby for Brandon Bass trade. Continue reading

Western Conference Initial Reactions

Western Conference

Oklahoma City – This team is on fire right now.  The loss of Maynor for the season doesn’t seem to have affected them at all.  The Westbrook/Durant feud seems to have been nothing but hot air.  The team that everyone expected to make the conference finals before the season started is on pace to do just that.

Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe is ignoring the fact that this team is much worse than last year and Metta World Piece has only had 1 good game all season.  Playing with a chip on his shoulder after ESPN named him the 7th best player in the league, he’s been destroying teams,  recently with four straight 40 point games.  Will be interesting to see how they handle Bynums annual injury.  You know it’s coming Laker fans.

San Antonio Spurs – These guys just won’t go away.  They’ve been called old and past their prime for years and yet still lead their division.  It helps when your scouts consistently find a player no one has ever heard of that ends up being very good.  Gary Neal was that player last year;  James Anderson is that player this year. Continue reading