How Phil Jackson Made the Knicks Normal

How Phil Jackson Made the Knicks Normal

Since 2000, the only New York Knicks we have known have been dysfunctional.  The quick splash and sale of false promises, and the back page, have always mattered more than building methodically and astutely: that’s just boring. Allow Patrick Ewing to expire to open flexibility? Allowing floatsam in 2003 to expire to open flexibility? Let’s bring in Stephon Marbury and a bunch of big names and see how it works!  Some thought normalcy came in 2008 when the Knicks hired Donnie Walsh.  Nope. Fans wanted to hear “we are not impulsive and will get LeBron,” so the Knicks sold that; and when LeBron did not come they panicked by overpaying lesser free agents because striking out would lose the headline. That brought just one good team from 2010-2014, when the Knicks hired Phil Jackson.  Phil deserves praise for getting James Dolan’s ear, and bringing normalcy to the Garden. It is true that the hype from MSG when hiring Phil was that he would become what Pat Riley has become in Miami: the shark in the waters, selling free agents on his grand plans for New York.  Phil has taken some heat because to date, he has not accomplished that, his biggest non draft talent addition being Robin Lopez (a nice role player, but not a star by any means). However, the job Phil has done should be judged based upon his name, or the city where he manages. It should be judged the way all GM’s are judged: based upon the situation he inherited, and where he has brought it, in light of the market.  From that perspective, Phil...
Durant Justifies Not Giving Beal a Contract Extension

Durant Justifies Not Giving Beal a Contract Extension

The Washington Wizards have been criticized in some circles for declining to give Bradley Beal a contract extension prior to the Halloween deadline.  But their reason is obvious, and it only requires 2 words: Kevin Durant.  Beal is a very good player, but the Wizards made the right decision here. It has become trendy to criticize teams for going all in for a superstar in free agency.  What makes you think he will be yours?  What if you don’t get him?  And surely, the Wizards took some risk here with Beal, who has been excellent to start the season.  Beal will hit restricted free agency and may fetch a max offer (approximately $21 million) that would tie the Wizards cap space up as they look at other free agents. Beal, also, may become upset with the franchise, the way Eric Bledsoe, Jeff Teague, and others got upset with their teams for not extending them, and then lagging during the free agency period due to restricted free agency’s quirks.  Players typically do not understand the business side of restricted free agency (or resent that they are subjected to it while peers get early extensions and contracts), and this can cause friction. However, the decision not to extend Beal right now, to maximize Washington’s shot at Durant, was the correct call. Most importantly, the risk of actually losing Beal is extremely low.  Beal is a restricted free agent, and the Wizards can match any offer sheet he signs, even one at the max.  And after looking at this past summer, where Enes Kanter was the only free agent to sign an...
Top 5 Players Under 25

Top 5 Players Under 25

  By @OMaroney In this ranking, I based my criteria off the value that player has to his respective franchise. When you take this player off the team they are currently playing for, what is that team left with? 1. Kawhi Leonard Not only is Kawhi Leonard a great basketball player, he’s an even better example of what to be off the court. Following in the footsteps of Tim Duncan, he stays calm, humble, and has one of the best all-around games in the NBA. This is clearly his team and while he might not always look the part of a leader, he’s one who leads by example. He is averaging close to 22 points, two steals, and one block per game, while holding some of the NBA’s best scorers to under 25% shooting. The reigning defensive player of the year provides some of the best perimeter defense I’ve ever seen. In an age where we continue to see the backcourts “rule the roost”, perimeter defense has never been more vital. It’s clear the 24 year old has turned some heads, as he has progressively gotten better each and every year. But what has stunned me the most is his ability to score. Coming into the league, Kawhi was known as a defender and rebounder, but his shot was always criticized. Year over year, he’s improved in shooting and offensive efficiency, whilst taking more shots. This season, he’s averaging 52% field goal percentage while having a 56% eFG. His diverse all around skill set and his cool collected mentality, may lead him to MVP conversation this season. I think this year...
Hoopscritic DFS: Where Weird Nights Happen

Hoopscritic DFS: Where Weird Nights Happen

Last night was truly one of the strangest this NBA season, essentially just throwing out everyone’s DFS projections out the window. Cleveland and Utah was the game everyone avoided because it featured two of the best defensive teams in the NBA and two of the slowest pace teams in the NBA… until both teams decided to forget those facts and put up a 234 total. Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant were two of the best plays on the day and were on their way to monster games… until they left with injuries. Andrew Wiggins and Ricky Rubio were strongly considered good mid-tier plays…until they were both pulled at the very last minute by Sam Mitchell. I unfortunately decided that building my cash game lineups around Davis and Durant were smart plays (a sentence I never thought I’d type) and had my worst lineup scores of the season as a result. The good news is there’s absolutely nothing we can do about slates like last night. It’s a rare occurrence and not something we can play around when doing our DFS research. We got a huge slate of games tonight, so let’s get right into the match-ups.   Elite Plays of the Day: Ish Smith ($4,800 on DK, $5,100 on FD) Ish Smith has been a pleasant surprise for the Pelicans this season, filling in as a consistent option while Jrue Holiday rehabs from his injury. He had another monster game last night against the Mavericks, putting up 17 points, 12 assists, 3 rebounds and just 2 turnovers. It looks like Holiday will be out due to rest tonight, which should...
Is Byron Scott Hindering The Lakers More Than Helping Them?

Is Byron Scott Hindering The Lakers More Than Helping Them?

By Courtney Yates On July 28, 2014 the Lakers hired a familiar face to help wash away the stench of the last two seasons. Lakers hired one of their former players to try to lead the Lakers in a new direction. A lot of this was met with mixed results. Some thought that anyone would be an upgrade over the stubborn Mike D’Antoni while some (like Magic Johnson) thought this was the absolute right hire since Scott was on the Showtime Lakers. Others thought that Scott being head coach was a bad idea seeing as his track record since the back to back NBA Finals appearances has been less than stellar. Now we are in year 2 of the Scott era and results haven’t been good by any means. Scott, who has been heralded as a defensive coach has the Lakers currently surrendering 108.3 points per 100 possessions which is good for second worse in the league. The last six teams Scott has coached those teams have finished in the bottom 10 of the league in defensive efficiency. The last five of those teams have finished in the bottom five of that same category. Yes the Lakers haven’t been good defensively but most of the teams Scott has coached haven’t either so it’s not just THIS Lakers team. Things go beyond bad defense for the Lakers as Scott at one point considered starting Brandon Bass over Julius Randle before the season and benches rookie D’Angelo Russell during closing minutes of games. While it is apparent Scott is chasing wins he is hindering player development (which isn’t his strongest attribute)....
The Bright New Future of Detroit Basketball

The Bright New Future of Detroit Basketball

There’s something to be said for the positive and negative memories or associations we attach to people, places, or things. The NBA is no exception. If you hear names like, “The Los Angeles Lakers” or “ The Boston Celtics,” the first thing that comes to mind is probably their vast accrual of championships, or the great players that wore those uniforms. But what about the Detroit Pistons? Sadly, the first thing that comes to mind for myself when I think about the Pistons is a lucid Ron Artest charging the stands. The Malice at the Palace has burned its way into the minds of young fans. The Isiah Thomas Pistons are lore most of us never saw live, we’ve forgotten the boys and are left with only the bad. Reggie Miller talks about "The Malice at the Palace" 08/07/2015 https://t.co/cbKlos3Y0h via @YouTube — Fahad (@FahadAwan) November 7, 2015 All of that, however, is about to change. The 2015-2016 Pistons have busted out of the gates with a 5-2 record, embodying all that is a Stan Van Gundy team. In the offseason, Stan Van Gundy (SVG) let it be known that in order for his team to be competitive, the Pistons first had to change its defensive — or lack thereof — prowess. By season’s end last year, Detroit had amped up the defense, posting a defensive efficiency rating of 106.4 per 100 possessions, down from 109.7 the year prior to SVG taking over. This year, although the sample size is still very young, the Pistons are holding teams to 96.5 per night. The team also saw a drop in...
Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 11.10.15

Triple Double Tuesday – Weekly Column 11.10.15

We are two weeks into the young NBA season. There are some things we know like the Nets and 76ers are winless and Kobe has as many shot attempts as points (81 points in 79 shots), whereas the league’s MVP Steph Curry has scored 237 points in 233 minutes of playing time. The season is young and we are already off to a great start, now onto the weekly update. Three Positive Plays Bucks Win 4 In A Row After starting the season 0-3 the Milwaukee Bucks took advantage of their soft schedule to win the next four games. What really improved for the Bucks was their defense. After allowing 122, 118 and 106 to their opponents, they held their next four to below 100 points per game. The efficiency of Giannis is out of this world. He is scoring 154.6 points per 100 shots, essentially the opposite Kobe. The main reason for the turn around was Jabari Parker returning to the lineup. Although he has struggled out of the gate, his presence makes the bench a little deeper.   Greg Monroe continues to impress with his new team putting up 18 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The Bucks were able to weather an early storm but will look to make a push for home court in the first round as Kris Middleton and Jabari Parker find their groves. The Bucks are getting players back at the right time as John Henson returns and they await the return of OJ Mayo. Orlando Is A Must Watch League Pass Team Another team that started 0-3, although their three losses include...