Tag Archives: Phil Jackson

Did the Knicks Phil Their Holes?

Cmjw8zEWIAAPRwP.jpgThe New York Knicks have not been very good the last couple of seasons. We all know this. Phil Jackson has been constantly ridiculed for “not doing enough” in free agency, especially due to his 5 year, $60 million salary. However, this summer, things have been a little bit different.

Out of nowhere, the Knicks acquired Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls. After years of struggling with subpar point guards including Chris Duhon, Raymond Felton (in his second stint) and Jose Calderon, they couldn’t find a good player to fill the position. Of course we know Rose has had his share of injuries over the last few years. But he only has one year left on his contract and hopefully can stay healthy. In exchange for Rose, the Knicks gave away some Doritos, a plain bagel and a box of Cheerios (Jose Calderon, Jerian Grant and Robin Lopez). While Rose’s injury woes are a major concern last season he played 66 games and averaged about 16 points and 5 assists a game. While he is not the MVP he once was when he averaged 25 and 8, I still expect solid production out of him assuming he stays healthy. I believe playing with Carmelo Anthony will force Rose to defer more often than not, creating more opportunities off the ball for Rose as well as setting up Carmelo for open jumpers.

Have you heard the phrase, “When one bull comes, the other bull follows?” Joakim Noah has, signing with the Knicks for 4 years and $72 million. I am a huge fan of this guy, and I think now that he is home, we will see what we saw from him before Fred Hoiberg came to Chicago. Now while he is up there in age at 31, he is 6’11” with 9 years of experience under his belt While last year he only averaged 4 points and 9 rebounds a game in an injury plagued season, those stats should be taken with a grain of salt, as he is probably the hardest working NBA player there is, if not top 5. He is not the most offensively skilled player, but on defense, loose balls and rebounding, he is there night in and night out. His injury woes have hindered his performance over the last couple of years, but in the 2013-14 season he played 80 games and averaged about 13 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists a game. With a career shooting percentage just under 50%, I do not worry that Noah will take too many shot attempts away from Carmelo Anthony or Kristaps Porzingis.

Signing with his 7th team in 8 years, Courtney Lee looks to have an immediate impact on the Knicks. At 6’5” and 30 years old, he is definitely an upgrade from Aaron Afflalo who was signed to a one year opt out deal which thankfully, he opted out of. While Lee is a very solid player, his numbers are nothing glamorous, yet he provides solid offense and defense and is not being heavily relied on to “carry the load” by any means.

The most intriguing signing for the Knicks is Brandon Jennings for $5 million over this season. Jennings was drafted in 2009 by the Bucks and was then traded to Detroit. He has been a productive player ever since Reggie Jackson took his spot in Detroit. He was then traded to Orlando last season where his numbers dramatically took a fall. However, this does not concern me and here is why. Jennings is an extremely talented player who has always had a role on his team. In Orlando, he was ignored behind Elfrid Payton. He has had constant pressure since Milwaukee to perform, which he has failed to do. However, in Milwaukee he had no pressure on him because he did not have a viable backup behind him. This time, he is the backup. While injury is certainly a concern for Jennings, he was extremely excited to sign with the Knicks and I expect that to translate to the court this season. Finally, he is certainly an upgrade from Langston Galloway, who never really found his role on the team.

The Knicks additionally retained key role players such as Lance Thomas, Kyle O’Quinn, Sasha Vujacic and signed 26 year-old Mindugas Kuziminskas, from Latvia who knows Kristaps Porzingis and 22 year-old Guillermo “Willy” Hernangomez from Spain who shows a lot of potential.

Last but not least, they hired Jeff Hornacek, the former head coach of the Phoenix Sun’s. The team’s performance was unimpressive under Hornacek, but other than Eric Bledsoe, there was little talent to work with. While Mark Jackson would have been my pick, anyone is better than Derrick Fisher… even Matt Barnes.

So what are reasonable expectations for the Knicks this season? If the Knicks are fully healthy for 85% of their games, they should obtain anywhere from the 5th to 8th seed in the Eastern Conference standings. They have enough talent to be competitive, yet they are not better than the Cavaliers, Pacers, Celtics or the Raptors. While the Pistons, Bucks and Wizards pose a threat, the Knicks upgraded more in the offseason than either of those teams. However, if they are not fully healthy and have at least two starters out for more than 40% of their games, they could very well miss the playoffs. The main takeaway should be positive from this offseason. While Rose, Lee, Anthony, Porzingis and Noah are not the Dream Team, they are still better than Calderon, Afflalo, Anthony, Porzingis and Lopez last year, who won a mere 32 games. And while some may be upset about Durant, Wade and Howard going to other teams, the hopes and dreams of the Knicks signing them were for the most part unrealistic to begin with.

I hope this season is competitive! Go Knicks!

Image via https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cmjw8zEWIAAPRwP.jpg

About me: I’m Spencer Alexander Zied, a rising 12th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees and the Oregon football team. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN2. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

 

 

The Knicks Luck (or lack thereof)

Unknown

After a gruelingly painful time watching the lottery on Tuesday night as the Knicks received the fourth overall pick, many Knicks fans (including me) got angry and emotional. However, if we step back, we can see what the fourth pick really means for the Knicks.

In Chad Ford’s projected mock draft, he has the Knicks selecting guard Emmanuel Mudiay—not my first choice. Although Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor won’t be available, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise—or just another Knicks failure. Assuming Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell is taken, we will be left with Emmanuel Mudiay.

Mudiay is a 6’5” point guard originally from Africa. He moved to Texas to play basketball and was eventually recruited by Larry Brown at SMU. Brown is one of the best basketball coaches in the world, and he had very high praise for Mudiay. But Mudiay decided to forgo his season at SMU and play in China. He seems to have NBA potential, and although I would prefer D’Angelo over him, he may just work out.

Every franchise needs a point guard at the helm, because it is a point guard’s league. Assuming the Knicks select Mudiay or Russell, they do not need to feel as much pressure to sign a guard this summer as opposed to if they got Okafor or Towns. However, it has been rumored that the Knicks will be open to trading the pick. In order to satisfy their fan base, the Knicks will need to trade their pick for a proven star—not some inconsistent head case.

The Knicks have about $30 million in cap space, and if they trade Calderon they could have a bit more. There are a lot of good unrestricted free agents this summer that the Knicks have a chance to get at the guard position—and that I would be interested in—such as Goran Dragic, Louis Williams, and Wes Mathews. DeMarre Carroll and Mike Dunleavy could be signed to veterans’ minimum deals and could serve as good role players. Other free agents such as Greg Monroe (unrestricted) and Tobias Harris (player option) have expressed interest in signing with New York. However, Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge have ruled out coming to the Big Apple.

Non-unrestricted free agents that would interest me are Draymond Green, DeAndre Jordan, Corey Brewer, and Tristan Thompson. With all the money flowing in the Knicks pockets for the offseason, they should be able to grab at least two or three marquee free agents, if not four rising stars/proven players. If the Knicks fail to sign three marquee free agents, then Phil Jackson is officially inept and clearly does not know what he is doing. Assuming they draft Russell or Mudiay and don’t trade the pick, they should first look to sign a big man such as Greg Monroe who has expressed interest, following with the signing of a guy like Draymond Green or Tobias Harris—and if they have enough money, maybe Louis Williams or Wes Mathews. Of course these pieces are interchangeable, like if they don’t sign Green to get Dragic instead and if they don’t sign Mathews to get Harris instead, that type of thing. Assuming they then get three marquee free agents, and have one of the top players in the draft (along with Carmelo Anthony), we should begin to sign role players such as DeMare Carroll and Mike Dunleavy. If Phil Jackson is such a mastermind, this should be doable.

The biggest mistake the Knicks could make is to throw max dollars at a guy like Kevin Love, an unproven winner (even though it appears the Knicks don’t care about winning) and to just sit on their hands after his potential signing. The Knicks must be aggressive this offseason, hopefully getting rid of Tim Hardaway Jr. Assuming all works out (50/50 chance), the Knicks should have two very good guards, Carmelo Anthony playing alongside another proven forward, and a proven big and a very good bench. If this fails, the Knicks will have Carmelo Anthony, a top-four pick and Kevin Love having signed a max contact along with DeMare Carroll starting on a $10 million/year salary.

The fourth overall picks over the last five years have been Tyreke Evans, Wes Johnson, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and Cody Zeller- not such a great list. Although Johnson is the only real bust, Evans and Waiters haven’t been horrible, but certainly haven’t lived up to their expectations thus far. Thompson has become a dominant rebounder and physical presence, as Zeller has fallen through the cracks but still has time to grow.

Let’s see what happens moving forward. But Knicks fans should brace themselves because the team still has the worst owner in sports and a coach who does not really seem to know what to do.

About me: I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on Twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).

Are New York Sports Teams Going Down the Drain?

unnamed

Over the last year, New York sports teams have been a shell of what they once were, causing stress and anger among its fans.

In the MLB, the New York Yankees and New York Mets missed the playoffs this season and it wasn’t pretty. The Yankees lost a lot—Robinson Cano went the Mariners, Alex Rodriguez was suspended, and Mariano Rivera retired. It doesn’t seem like the bleeding for the Yankees will stop anytime soon, especially after they lost their 20-year captain, Derek Jeter.

In the NFL, the New York Giants and the New York Jets have combined for five wins so far this season—that’s as many wins as the Buffalo Bills have achieved this season with Kyle Orton as their starting quarterback. The Giants have had many injuries, especially among their starters including Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings and Prince Amukamara. The Jets have had a lot of quarterback changes, and have finally sidelined Geno Smith for Michael Vick, who on Sunday led them to their first win in two months. Their secondary is relatively empty and that has hindered the progress of their entire defense. In my opinion, the general manager of the Jets, John Idzik, is mainly to blame due to the fact that he did not go after big name defenders—their biggest weakness.

In the NBA, the New York Knicks haven’t been impressive either. Although they resigned star forward Carmelo Anthony, they still have a void of surrounding talent. With Derek Fisher as its new coach, the Knicks have struggled mightily in the triangle offense, so much that the commissioner even took a shot at their horrendous play. Due to their lack of talent and everything associated with them, they have been awful. They traded for a new point guard in Jose Calderon. However, he has been sidelined with injury and has not played yet. Ironically enough, the Knicks have beaten two hyped up machines—the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets. However, they still sit at 2-6 and do not look like they will get any better. As for the Brooklyn Nets, they sit atop the Knicks at 4-2 and have looked relatively good so far. Besides the Bills and Nets, who are a couple of games over .500, New York sports has been an absolute disgrace. Something needs to change quickly! Fans expect more and want what they want when they want it.

As for the Knicks, they need to get Calderon back, and need to acquire a good interior defender who can also help out on offense such as Marc Gasol. They also need to shop J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway, Jr.,, and Iman Shumpert in order to find value that we can use because all three shooting guards have similar strengths and weaknesses. They also need to develop Cleanthony Early into a productive NBA player.

The Giants need to fire their defensive coordinator and acquire new, young talent on defense. At the end of the season, they also need to fire Tom Coughlin and acquire at least two new good offensive linemen.

I’m still a fan of New York sports teams, especially the Knicks and the Giants. But I hope things change for the better, and soon, because it’s gotten ugly and painful and I’m not sure how much more I can take.

Who’s to blame for the poor performance of (most) New York sports teams? Owners? Coaches? Players? Fans? Media? Weather?

Check out some of my recent Second Take With Spencer A posts here.

About Me:

I’m Spencer (Alexander) Zied, a 10th grader from New York, New York. I love to play basketball, football and tennis, and am a big fan of the Knicks, Giants, Yankees, Oregon football and North Carolina basketball teams. I’m also a big fan of First Take and Sportscenter on ESPN. You can email me at spencer.zied@gmail.com or connect with me on twitter, on Facebook, or on Instagram (szied713).