Tag Archives: Knicks

THE CARMELO TRADE AND GAME 1 OF THE KNICKS “NEW ERA.”

                                                                                       Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

THE CARMELO TRADE

Of course the Knicks had to pull the trigger on a Carmelo Anthony trade.  But questions surrounding the trade remain; mainly, did the Knicks have to give up so much?  There certainly is a feeling that, if left to his own devices (that is, without the interference of James Dolan and (maybe?) Isiah Thomas), star general manager (see the cap the last few years) Donnie Walsh could have obtained Anthony for less than the Knicks eventually had to give up.  An unanswerable question, of course, because we will never know the truth (a hard thing to find nowadays).  But the biggest Knick problem falls around giving up seven-footer Timofey Mozgov.

Nobody with even half a basketball brain thinks that the Knicks should have said no to the Anthony deal because of Mozgov.  If you do, you’re watching the wrong sport.  But that, of course, misses the point.  The point is that the Knicks, to make a real run at a championship, are going to need a presence in the middle; a big man who can defend and rebound, a seven-footer who will only have to score once-in-a-while, if at all.  The hardest thing to obtain to make a run at an NBA title is a superstar.  Or two.  While the Knicks now have two, looking at three (Chris Paul? Deron Williams?) after 2012 (or, if all stands the same in the NBA, this time next year at the trade deadline), it says here that if they can’t defend or rebound (and, right now, they can’t defend or rebound), there won’t be a title.  Then, non-New Yorkers (and anti-New Yorkers, you know there are lots of them) will start chanting “1973” like they used to chant “1940” for the Rangers.     

Would the Knicks have been better off now with a superstar point guard like Deron (pronounced Darin, by the way, according to Williams) Williams rather than a super scorer like Carmelo?  Hard to answer, but the Knicks don’t project as a championship team with Amare/Carmelo or Amare/Williams alone.  A third guy, at a minimum, will be needed.

Back to Mozgov.  Aside from the denied intrusion of Isiah Thomas and the “we’re all on the same page” statement from the Knick organization, it’s no secret that Donnie Walsh wanted to keep Mozgov.  Why?  Well, that’s easy.  Nobody knows what Mozgov’s upside really is; will he become that defensive, rebounding, shot-blocking, seven-foot center that the Knicks really need?  Well, he’s got the seven-foot part down.  But Walsh’s point is well-taken.  If Mozgov became that guy (and he would have had the rest of this season and all of next season to develop), the Knicks really would have hit the jackpot.  But even if he didn’t, he could have been that 15-18 minute back-up that really would have helped the Knicks.  Now Walsh, if he sticks around (he absolutely should be back), knows that he has to fill another hole.

Finally, all of this assumes that Mike D’Antoni’s “style” of play can win an NBA Championship.  While it says here that it can’t (see Kallas Remarks, 3/24/09), the fact is that remains to be seen.  Are the Knicks now on a par (talent-wise and depth-wise) with the successful Suns teams that D’Antoni coached before he came to New York? Well, no (two-time MVP (and future Hall of Famer) Steve Nash, a young Amare, an excellent Shawn Marion, Raja Bell, Q Richardson, Leandro Barbosa, Boris Diaw, Joe Johnson for a year, etc.).  Would the Suns have won an NBA title back in 2007 if not for the fight against the eventual- champion Spurs?  Of course, we will never know.  So the Knicks, right now, are diving in head first to follow the “D’Antoni way” to try and win an NBA title.  And the Knicks are still two seasons away (2012-2013, with the addition of a superstar point guard – Chauncey Billups, still an excellent player, will be 36 by then) from a chance to win a championship.

GAME ONE FOR THE NEW KNICKS

Well, the Knicks are very fortunate that the first game they had was against injury-riddled Milwaukee at the Garden, a 114-108 victory.  Any analysis of the actual game that doesn’t include this statement — Toney Douglas was far and away the MVP of the game – shouldn’t even be read.  The fact that some national highlight packages didn’t even include a shot of Douglas hitting a three (or getting the biggest rebound of the game) just shows how skewed the coverage can be.  This was Carmelo’s night (27 points, 10 rebounds, one assist, 10-25 shooting) and Toney Douglas wasn’t going to change that.

Thankfully, Mike Breen and Walt Frazier (not surprisingly) saw it for what it was.  Douglas was 5-6 in each half and scored 23 points in 29 minutes.  Breen was on it right away and at the end, at two different times, Clyde said it was “The Toney Douglas Show.”  Of course, he was 100% right.

Douglas hit a huge three at the end of the third quarter to put the Knicks up seven (the Bucks never got closer than two in the fourth).  He also hit a huge three with about three minutes left to put the Knicks up six.  And then, with about 45 seconds left, he got the biggest rebound of the game on the offensive glass and then dropped it in to Carmelo for the game-clinching basket (up six again).

But even more important, big picture (i.e., potential championship contender down the road), was the amazing contribution of Toney Douglas at the defensive end.  Douglas probably guarded Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings for about 25 possessions and all Jennings could get was one basket.  Douglas also guarded hot-shooting Keyon Dooling for awhile and shut him out.  This is where the Knicks are really going to need help.

The Milwaukee Bucks have a good team but have had a tough year.  Did you know that sweet-shooting Michael Redd is still on the Bucks? He’s missed the whole season.  How about Drew Gooden?  He’s still not back and has missed 32 games.  Carlos Delfino, who hurt the Knicks, has missed 31 games.  Andrew Bogut, still not 100% after that terrible fall last year where he hurt his elbow and wrist and broke his (shooting) hand, has missed nine games.  And Jennings just returned from missing 19 games with a foot injury.

The Bucks are the lowest (as in 30th) scoring team in the NBA, averaging 91.7 points per game.  Yet they put up 108 against the Knicks and were in the game until the final minute.

That’s not necessarily to criticize the Knicks.  It was their first game (with no practice) with Carmelo and Billups (21 points, 8 assists, great floor leadership) and a scaled-back Amare Stoudemire (19 points, only 13 shots, fouled out).  But the problems are clear from the get-go.  The Knicks are under-sized.  Ronny Turiaf as a starter is not the answer.  Shawne Williams as the back-up center is not the answer either. 

But the Knicks have to go with what they have.

And that’s certainly better than what they had a few days ago.

© Copyright 2011 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

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IF YOU COULD BEAT THE NEW YORK KNICKS’ STARTERS WITH FIVE GUYS OFF THE KNICKS’ BENCH (YOU COULD), DOES IT MEAN ANYTHING?

                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

 

What’s a Donnie Walsh to do?  He wants to make his team stronger, he was hoping for even a little trade value for Stephon Marbury and then his choice to bring the franchise out of the wilderness (Mike D’Antoni) humiliates Marbury by not playing him at all after (at least) giving him about 20 minutes a game in the exhibition season.

    

Maybe Walsh can suggest that the Knicks run an intrasquad scrimmage with the following lineups:  THE STARTERS: Chris Duhon and Jamal Crawford at the guards with Quentin Richardson, David Lee and Zach Randolph up front.  For the subs:  Stephon Marbury and Nate Robinson at the guards with Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries (or Danilo Gallinari or even Malik Rose, you pick the fifth guy).

    

WHO WINS THIS GAME? 

 

Walsh can invite scouts from other teams (think how hard Marbury and Curry will play).  I think the subs could win this game.  Don’t you?  Of course, this game will never happen (at least not publicly) but the point is clear:  the Knicks are still a not-so-good (and certainly no stars) team with some (slightly) talented guys.  Can Mike D’Antoni change all of this?

    

Well, we can all understand D’Antoni’s “message.”  Marbury is not in the future plans of the team.  Eddie Curry isn’t in shape.  Etc., etc., etc.  But exactly to whom is the message being given?  How many guys on this roster are going to be around when the Knicks turn the corner (fill in your own definition here of “turning the corner”), if they do turn the corner?

    

Is Chris Duhon the answer (this answer is with a small “a”)?  A nice player, if the New York announcers are telling us what a great “winner” he was at Duke, that’s a problem since he’s been in the NBA for FOUR seasons.  And relatively mediocre ones, at that.  He averaged about seven points and four assists per game for the Bulls, playing about 25 minutes per game.  For the Knicks, after an admittedly small sample of only three games, he’s averaging about seven points and four assists per game, playing about 35 minutes per game.  Frankly, that’s a problem

 

WHAT’S DONNIE WALSH TO DO?

 

Well, for starters, get on the same page with the coach.  D’Antoni has killed what little trade value Marbury might have had (it says here he can still play) if he were given, say, 20 minutes a game.  But is the organization cutting off its nose to spite its face?  It sure seems that way.  There’s got to be some interest in Marbury.  But what little there was may have been already killed by D’Antoni.  D’Antoni can curse at fans at the Garden (although that’s a tough way to go in NYC) and think they’re idiots or whatever he wants; but is Marbury worth less today (in trade value) than he was right before the season started?  Absolutely.

 

WHERE ARE THE KNICKS GOING?

 

Well, if you heard the hysterical “experts” in New York after the Knicks beat the woeful Heat in their opener, words like “turnaround” and “stunning victory” were used (seriously).  Of course, a nice Philly team blew them out in game two and a not-very-good Bucks team beat them in the Garden in game three.  So, while everybody knew it would “take some time” and that “things won’t get turned around overnight,” the reality is this team is far away from, let’s say, .500 (although the optimist would say they’re only one game away from .500 — and now, as of Thursday, even at .500 after beating Larry Brown’s latest terrible team).

    

This is going to take awhile.

 

CAN MIKE D’ANTONI DO THIS?

 

Well, there are a few problems.  D’Antoni had a real good run with Phoenix.  But he also had one of the ten best point guards ever in Steve Nash.  He had a stunning talent in Amare Stoudemire.  He also had guys like Shawn Marion and Leandro Barbosa and Raja Bell and Boris Diaw (boy, could the Knicks use a couple of guys like these), who fit well into his running style of play.

    

Despite all of this ability and all of this success, D’Antoni couldn’t get the Suns to the Promised Land.  Unfortunately for him, the Suns were playing in the varsity league while the Knicks, during the same time frame, were playing in the junior varsity league (or was it the freshman league after Michael Jordan retired (again) in 1998?).

     

When it became clear the Suns were an excellent regular season team who weren’t going to get over the hump (maybe they just weren’t “built for the post-season”), the Suns went out and got Shaq.  To no avail.  

    

But a funny thing happened in the Eastern Conference in the last two years.  It got better.  Much better.  Although Rick Pitino once famously said that Bird, Parish and McHale weren’t going to walk through those doors (in Boston), Kevin Garnett (thanks to McHale) and Ray Allen did (from the Western Conference) – and the Celtics won the 2008 NBA Championship.

    

In addition, Elton Brand came over from the Western Conference to make Philly a contender.  And, now, here comes Allen Iverson back to the East to see if he can be the revitalizing Answer in Detroit. 

    

The point for Knick fans is that the East is much better than it’s been and D’Antoni has much less talent to work with in New York than he had in Phoenix.  The numbers just don’t quite add up.  If D’Antoni will break down (with Walsh’s urging) and give Marbury some playing time, maybe he can pick up a building block for the future.

    

Either way, at this stage, it looks like it’s going to be a long, cold winter (or two or three) in New York basketball.  We’ll see. 

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

PAT RILEY, GREATEST COACH EVER?

                                                             Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas       

Pat Riley’s time to retire not only is here, but was actually here two years ago right after he stole an NBA Championship from the Dallas Mavericks (and it looks like the Mavericks won’t get another chance).  Rather than go out on top, he chose to struggle along for two more years before he saw the light.

But it says here that Pat Riley is one of the greatest coaches ever, maybe the greatest coach ever.  Preposterous, you say?  Wait just a minute.    

Riley enters the conversation because of his four titles with the Lakers.  Of course, many believe that anybody could have coached the Magic-Kareem-Worthy Lakers and, while that’s a decent argument, the reality is that to be a great coach and win NBA titles, you need great players (Red Auerbach – Russell, Cousy and the rest; Phil Jackson – Jordan and Pippen, Shaq and Kobe, to name two great coaches).    

But Riley’s ability goes way beyond four titles with the Lakers (plus a fifth with the Heat).  What he did, which puts him in the conversation for greatest coach ever, is CHANGE THE WAY THE GAME IS PLAYED IN THE NBA.      

Now, we may not have liked it, but when Riley coached first the Knicks and then the Heat, he changed the league from the up tempo “Showtime” Lakers to the defensive “let’s make the game a rugby scrum” New York Knicks.  People still actually believe there was a “rivalry” between the Bulls of Jordan and Pippen and the Knicks of Patrick Ewing and … well, not that much else.  There really wasn’t, yet Riley made everybody in the league, including the Bulls, scratch and claw for every basket.  If he had coached the Knicks the way he coached the Lakers, the Knicks would have been non-contenders.  But he did great things with the Knicks during the regular season and at least made the Bulls sweat during the Jordan years.  He even got the Knicks to a Game 7 of the NBA Finals against the Rockets (in a Jordan-retired year, of course).    

He then worked similar magic with a Miami Heat team that also wasn’t really that good.  When Tim Hardaway could play on two legs, Alonzo Mourning wasn’t quite yet ALONZO MOURNING.  By the time Mourning became a star, Tim Hardaway was essentially playing on one leg.  The only time the Heat could beat the Jeff Van Gundy-coached Knicks was when half the Knicks got suspended in 1997.  Again, a “great” rivalry that really wasn’t as great as it was cracked up to be.    

So, the reason that Riley is in the conversation as greatest coach is because he’s the most diverse NBA coach ever (Showtime Lakers v. Scrum Knicks) and, the icing on the cake, his delivery, as promised, of a title to Miami, another franchise he turned from pretenders to contenders.    

Does Riley have his downside?  You betcha.  Faxing in his Knicks resignation was bush league, to say the least.  Cutting the legs out from under Stan Van Gundy to replace him as coach (right when Shaq was coming back from injury) during Miami’s title season in 2005-06 was nauseating, especially to those of us who always thought Stan Van Gundy would be an excellent NBA coach (he’s showing that now with Orlando).  But in the big picture, this guy won five titles and did even better work with two franchises that simply didn’t have a talent level high enough to realistically compete for an NBA title.    

To stay for this final 15-67 disaster in Miami was another mistake.  But I don’t think you can find another coach with Pat Riley’s success who made teams that he coached better and literally changed (for better or worse) the way the game was played in the NBA in the 1990s.    

Pat Riley, greatest coach ever?  You can certainly make a case for him.       

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved. 

THE QUOTE OF THE YEAR (TO DATE); CBS NEEDS HELP IN NCAA COVERAGE; THE KNICKS JUST NEED HELP

                                               Kallas Remarks  By Steve Kallas

  

THE QUOTE OF THE YEAR (TO DATE):  Seth Davis of CBS Sports is on WFAN on Monday to discuss the NCAA tournament.  The subject of sweet-shooting Stephen Curry of Davidson comes up:  Why wasn’t he recruited by the major schools?  After correctly explaining that recruiting is more art than science, here’s what Seth Davis said:  “The one thing that you never know in recruiting is what’s inside a guy’s head, what’s inside a guy’s heart and what’s inside a guy’s shorts.  Stephen Curry is three for three in that regard.”   You can’t make this stuff up.  

 

CBS NEEDS HELP IN NCAA COVERAGE:  You could never (and never will) properly cover 32 NCAA games in two days on one TV channel.  You can’t even cover eight games in one day if CBS insists on starting them at similar times (at least stagger the starts 20 minutes apart, not five or ten).  The absurdity of it all came home to roost on Sunday as CBS didn’t know what to do with the amazingly exciting Butler-Tennessee game, which went into overtime, while at the same time 10 seed Davidson was stunning 2 seed Georgetown.  First CBS essentially ignored the Georgetown game but once Butler-Tennessee went OT, they had no choice and proceeded to switch back and forth so many times as to give one a headache.  During all of this time, a very close, exciting (I think, we never saw it) game between 12 seed Western Kentucky and 13 seed San Diego was never shown down the stretch by CBS.

  

What can CBS do?  Well, there are a few things.  Besides staggering the start times in a more intelligent way, CBS should really consider using a second channel to show the tournament (imagine what ESPN could do – you’d have to think they’d have the ability to get to every big part of every game on one station or another (or another, or another)).  If necessary, as it clearly was on Sunday, CBS could have gone with a split-screen, showing both the Tennessee overtime and the end of Georgetown.  Personally, I don’t like split-screens (Direct TV’s four-in-one screen, offered for $19.95 a day, was poor because approximately one-third of the screen was devoted to other scores and, of course, commercials), but, in this instance, someone at CBS with a brain and some power should have been bold and put up both at once.

  

THE KNICKS JUST NEED HELP:  If you’re a Knick fan, it’s very sad what’s happened at and to the Garden.  I went to the Grizzlies-Knicks game last Friday (I promised to take my son at least once a season – stupid me) and it’s like a morgue.  Sitting downstairs, they give you those stupid thunder sticks at half-time to distract the opposition – disappointing that a New York crowd would stoop to that.  But that’s how it is nowadays at the Garden.  The on-the-court problems are much worse:  this is an Elias Sports Bureau question, but the Knicks have to be one of the only (maybe the only) teams in the history of the NBA to score 18 points in a row and STILL be losing (69-50 at the half, 69-68 after 18 in a row).  Worse than that, the Knicks went “young” at the end of the game (translation: no chance of winning).  Here’s who they put on the floor in the fourth quarter: Mardy Collins, Wilson Chandler, Renaldo Balkman, Jared Jeffries and Randolph Morris.  Who, of this group, can throw the ball in the ocean, let alone the basket?  If they’re really “watching” the young guys, as opposed to trying to improve their lottery position, they can’t like what they are seeing from this group.  Hard to believe there was a good NBA player on the floor for the Knicks during that time.  For sure, there were no future NBA All-Stars.  Donnie Walsh (if it is Donnie Walsh) has a virtually impossible task. 

  

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.

 

 

WHO DID ISIAH FOOL? DID JEFF GREEN WALK LAST YEAR?

                               Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas

1)      Who did Isiah Thomas fool?  We’ve just passed the one-year anniversary of the most inexplicable extension in the history of sports:  Isiah Thomas’s four-year extension during his continuous destruction of the New York Knick franchise.  The reality is this:  Isiah only had to fool one man to get his extension.  Oddly enough, Isiah only fooled one man (no other Knick fan alive was fooled).  But the real strange thing is: What were the odds that that man in both instances would be the same person (the owner)?  One in a million?  I say one in 10 million.  You get the point.

  

2)      Did Jeff Green walk last year?  If you’re a college basketball fan, you’ll remember last year’s Georgetown-Vanderbilt Sweet 16 game where, with a few seconds left and Vandy up 1, Georgetown’s Jeff Green clearly switched his pivot foot and walked.  He made the shot (no call) and won the game, catapulting Georgetown to a Final Four appearance.  The only people on the planet who didn’t think it was a walk were Jim Nantz, Billy Packer and the officials.  In fact, you’ll recall, when CBS went back to the studio, everyone told us what a “big story” was brewing, the fact that Georgetown won on a missed call.  Clearly, the guys in the studio were right.  That is, until Billy Packer decided they were wrong.  Unable to see his obvious mistake, Packer started a national spitting contest, insisting that two plus two equals five.  Some people (John Thompson, for one) ignored the tape and agreed with him.

  

Fast forward to the Big East Final this past weekend.  Georgetown-Pitt, about 15 minutes left, the ball goes down to Georgetown’s Roy Hibbert in the same spot on the court that Jeff Green was last year.  On a virtual identical move to that of Green last year, Hibbert switches his pivot foot, an obvious (again) walk.  But this time, two officials call it, the announcers laugh (it was so clear) and even Hibbert, who knows he walked, runs back to play defense.  Since there was no big-time announcer there trying to cover his own mistake, play just continued with Pitt eventually winning the game.  It’s just another example of what generally good announcers can do to mess up game coverage when they make an obvious mistake and won’t admit it.

         

Of course, none of this makes Vanderbilt (2007 team) any happier.  Again, you get the point. 

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.