The Losers

Every two weeks I do an NBA column for Popblerd.  Check out his site, he writes about music and pop culture as well as sports columns.  Here is this weeks entry The Losers.

  • The….race for 8th in the East (AKA the team who gets to be swept by the Bulls in the 1st round) is just about over. And the winner is….The Bobcats because they get to avoid the brutal beatdown the Bulls are going to provide.
  • I hope you like the teams that are in the playoffs this year because the only lottery teams I can see even possibly making it next year are Milwaukee, LAC, and Houston.
  • I know it’s bad PR but please trade Steve Nash in the offseason. If Sarver is going to blow up a team that was 2 wins away from the NBA finals, why torture Nash by keeping him around to deal with the fallout?
  • By low, sell high. This simple real estate concept also works in the NBA. Unfortunately the Pistons have never heard of this term before.
  • Washington as put together a ton of young talent and should be a team to recon with in the near future. Just kidding, they stink. Other than Wall (and I’m worried about his knee already) and McGee they have a lot of garbage. At least they have the Redskins and the Nationals….is D.C. built on an indian burial ground?
  • Mr. Kardashian on New Jersey came out of nowhere and has been one of the league leader in rebounds the last two months. Never thought I’d say this but Humphries might be a nice piece for the Nets to keep going forward.
  • Cleveland lost on Sunday against the Knicks, finishing the season series against them 3-1. Now I’m only very embarrassed instead of completely.
  • If you are in Anaheim are you excited to get an NBA team or do you realize it’s the Kings and you probably won’t see a playoff game unless you drive to LA?
  • I have nothing to say about Utah, other than they are bad and getting worse and I think Jefferson and Favors are both overrated.

THE KNICKS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s crack the champaign because I think this is all the celebrating the Knicks will get to do this season. Charlotte lost tonight and the Knicks beat the Cavs. The Cavs still scored 107 points, enough to win most nights but the Knicks beat them with the D’Antoni system of just trying to outscore your opponent and getting your rest while they play offense.  Bring on the playoffs!!!

Download Episode 52 –  A great interview with David Dwork, Miami Heat blogger for The Peninsula is Mightier.

Is D'Antoni somewhat overrated?

Coach Mike D’Antoni coming to New York was a pretty big deal. The Knicks were coming off the Isiah Thomas era (or should I say error). The Knicks had only won 23 games in 2007-08 and had not made the playoffs since 2003-04. The team had become a joke and that is tough to do in one of the biggest markets in all of sports. The Knicks needed a big time coach who was going to bring respect back to New York basketball and his name was Mike D’Antoni.

Coach D’Antoni was a star coach coming to a star town. He had a ton of success in Phoenix and was considered one of the best coaches in the NBA. While there was always a knock on him that his teams played little defense, no one could deny that his teams had a lot of success. His Suns averaged 58 wins a year for a four year stretch where they were contenders every year and may have won a title if Joe Johnson does not break his face or Amare does not get suspended.

Despite all his former success in Phoenix, is D’Antoni overrated? Was he a really a great coach in Phoenix or did he just have a ridiculous amount of talent? The same question can be asked about Phil Jackson, is he a great coach or is he just lucky to have spent his career coaching Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant? D’Antoni did have the only MVP at PG (and he was a two time MVP) in the last 20 years on his team in Steve Nash. Nash was also a PG that was perfect to execute the D’Antoni style of offense. The Suns also had an explosive Amare Stoudemire. They had great role players like Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion, Quentin Richardson (when he was good), Boris Diaw, Leandro Barbosa, Grant Hill, Raja Bell and Shaquille O’Neal. In his first full year they had 5 players average double figures, his second year 6 players, 5 players his third year and 7 players his fourth year. D’Antoni’s Phoenix teams all had deep rosters with a great deal of balance. My argument is that while D’Antoni did a great job with this team, he gets too much credit for their success. They had a loaded roster and D’Antoni just proved that he can coach well when he has a loaded roster. He can coach well when his roster fits well into his system. Just like Phil Jackson can lead your team to a championship as long as your roster includes the greatest player ever (Jordan) or the greatest player since Jordan.

Coach D’Antoni came to New York and success did not follow. His teams won 32 and 29 games in his first two years, barely distinguishable from from the lack of success Isiah had with this team. It would be hard to argue that Isiah would have had a worse record with the team during the 08-09 and 09-10 season. The Knicks where a team in disarray and playing solely for the summer of Lebron/summer of 2010. They changed their roster over dramatically and did all they could to free up cap space. D’Antoni clearly did not make these teams better. They played little defense and were not very good on offense. D’Antoni did nothing to adapt to the talent he had around him and seemed convinced that those first two years were lost years.

So this brings us to 2010-11 and the team we have with Amare and Carmelo. I am not advocating that we should bring back Isiah but I doubt we would have a much worse team with Isiah. A coach is supposed to make a team better. Make the sum of the parts better than the individual parts. The D’Antoni system can make a player look better on offense and below average on defense.   Is that what we need with Amare and Carmelo on our roster, a coach that will make us look better on offense?

D’Antoni has done nothing to truly distinguish himself as coach of the Knicks. He is still riding high from the four great years he had in Phoenix. Maybe he made those teams better but I have yet to see even the potential that D’Antoni will make these Knicks teams better now or going forward.

Download Episode 52

Episode 52: Interview with David Dwork

Today we interview David Dwork, Miami Heat blogger for The Peninsula is Mightier.  We talk about the decision, Miami’s bench, who David would and would not like to see in the playoffs, coach Erik Spoelstra, the possibility of reviving the Miami/New York rivalry of the 90’s, and much more. Download Episode 52

The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls or spoken by Stephon Marbury

“New York basketball is about defense,’ Marbury said. “You got to know New York to coach in New York. That’s why they should’ve hired Mark Jackson. Mike (D’Antoni] doesn’t adjust. Great coaches adjust. Phil Jackson adjusts. He will tell you I don’t coach basketball, I coach people.”

Sometimes Marbury actually makes sense. Too bad Dolan only listens to Isiah.