Tag Archives: New York Knicks

Eastern Conference Preview: Atlantic Division

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  The Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference took a turn of events in the previous season with the Toronto Raptors winning the division with ease, while the New York Knicks & Brooklyn Nets struggled to play catch up after horrific starts to the season. There were many changes to each team in the division, which may have an impact on who wins the division. In addition, like any division race, the Atlantic will have an effect on the entire Eastern Conference playoff picture.

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Toronto Raptors

After trading Rudy Gay, the Toronto Raptors made progress during 2013-14 season. Despite an early first round exit in the playoffs to division rival Brooklyn Nets, they were able to win its division led by first time all-star Demar DeRozan the point guard Kyle Lowry. The addition of Lou Williams and the continuing improvement of Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas improves the arsenal for head coach Dwayne Casey as they look to take the next step.

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New York Knicks

The saying “In Phil we trust” has many faithful Knicks fans cheering ecstatically for the upcoming season. Phil Jackson will continue to run basketball operations along with the re-signing of Carmelo Anthony and the debut of the new head coach Derek Fisher. The Knicks are looking forward to the upcoming season led by Anthony working himself into great shape after last year’s disappointing season riddled with injuries and lack of discipline. With the addition of Jose Calderon and a rising star in Tim Hardaway Jr. coming into his own, expect New York to rebound from the debacle that was last season.

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Philadelphia 76ers

The future is bright for the Philadelphia 76ers going forward as as they continue to rebuild. Head coach Brett Brown will have the reigning Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter-Williams, he will receive some front court enforcement from Nerlens Noel and the team’s number one pick Joel Embiid waiting in the wings to make his debut. He will also have the courtesy of coaching six rookies that may lead to long gruesome 82 game season. With the teachings of Brown coming from the coaching tree of Greg Popovich, they will continue to improve everyday as a team.

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Boston Celtics

The growth of second year head coach Brad Stevens will be key as he was put in a comfortable situation with little pressure with the Boston Celtics. Acquiring young assets through the NBA Draft with the likes of Marcus Smart & James Young adds to the core of players featuring Avery Bradley and Jeff Green. With that being said, what happens to Rajon Rondo? The four-time NBA All-Star has expressed his feelings about being traded. We will have to await if general manager Danny Ainge is willing to give up its franchise player for the value he is offered.

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Brooklyn Nets

The Brooklyn Nets are looking forward to moving on from the Jason Kidd head coaching experiment after Kidd decided to taking his head coaching abilities to the Milwaukee Bucks during the offseason. Being replaced by former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins, the team will look to get off to a faster start to the season. They will also look to have a full healthy team with Brook Lopez returning and Deron Williams being a hundred percent after having a subpar season to his standards. The Nets will have to play at a high level consistently throughout the season in order to compete in an improved Eastern Conference.

Free Agency Watch List

 

NBA Free Agents 2014: Updated Rankings of Top 5 Players at Every Position

Eric Gay- Associated Press

     As we await July 1st for the start of NBA free agency, the free agent class of this summer that is being presented to us is intriguing. Very few marquee players are available that can change a franchise immediately, but many players are capable of being the missing piece to a championship puzzle. Here are the top free agents to keep on your radar during the off-season.

 

 

Pau Gasol Injury: Updates on Lakers Forward's Groin and Return

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Pau Gasol

 

     The past two seasons for Pau Gasol has been rough as he has been on a team consisting of disloyalty and lack of trust between a player and a head coach that was Mike D’Antoni. While being put in difficult positions and rumored in various trade talks, he would average 17.4 ppg and 9.7 rpg in an injury riddled season. Gasol is not the go to player he once was in the early stages of his Lakers career and as a member of the Grizzlies, but he is more than capable of being a reliable option for a championship contending team.

 

 

Kelly L Cox- USA Today

 

 Isaiah Thomas

The former last pick of the 2011 NBA Draft has come into the league and surprised many by what he has been able to do for the Sacramento Kings. Averaging career highs with 20.3 points per game and 6.3 assists per game, his numbers have been comparable to the number one pick in his draft who happened to be Kyrie Irving. The 5’9″ point guard is becoming a household name that will receive a lucrative for his talents at his position that is valued.

 

 

Daniel Shirey- USA Today

 

Lance Stephenson

 

     Lance Stephenson has made himself a hot commodity for free agency this summer after having a breakout season as he became a focal point of the Indiana Pacers success. Yet, the antics on display during the postseason in the Eastern Conference Finals may have cost him millions of dollars while showing us the immaturity that once hindered his draft position. Stephenson is a unique player who can play and defend multiple positions along with having star potential, but the concern for him is if he can control his emotions on the basketball court.

 

 

Christian Petersen- Getty Images

Gordon Hayward
 
     It will be interesting to see where Gordon Hayward will land in free agency after Utah decided not to offer a contract extension. On the right team, Hayward can be a difference maker who can elevate his team to the next level with his talents and versatility at the wing position. As a member of the Jazz, he averaged career highs in points, rebounds, and assists. Seeking a lucrative contract, teams may shy away from him for his desire of big dollars wanted. If some team grants him his wish, Utah is set to match their offer.

 

NBA Free Agency

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Nick Young
     As the Los Angeles Lakers season was filled with injuries and disappointment , the one bright spot that kept fans excited was the on and off the court performance of Nick Young. In his return home, Young has arguably had his best season in his seven year career averaging 17.9 ppg. ‘Swaggy P’ will look to return to his hometown team under a long term contract that will keep him in purple and gold for years to come. The idea of bringing him back to the Lakers should be a top priority this offseason as he will become a target for teams looking for instant offense to uplift them.

Mark J. Rebilas- USA Today Sports


Eric Bledsoe
 

     In his first season as a starter, Eric Bledsoe found a home in the Phoenix Suns where early success was found during the 2013-14 season. It was a short stint season for Bledsoe as he sidelined with a knee injury. However, he would show promise as he averaged 17.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, and 5.5 apg and is now known for his defense. His return to Phoenix may be slim to none with the recent draft acquisition of TJ Warren in the NBA Draft with no qualifying offer being proposed to him, making him an unrestricted free agent. The success of the Suns without Bledsoe may also be a factor in whether to pay the dynamic point guard. For his talents, teams will be willing to offer him top dollar where the feeling from the Suns is not mutual.

Report: Los Angeles Lakers Interested in Kyle Lowry During 2014 Free Agency

Kathy Willens- Associated Press

Kyle Lowry

    Kyle Lowry’s breakout season with the Toronto Raptors has led him to being a marquee free agent acquisition during this off-season. With trade rumors swirling around him for majority of the season, he was able to perform at a high level averaging career highs 17.9 ppg and 7.4 apg and becoming Toronto’s leader on the floor with his play and emotionally. Lowry can take his talents elsewhere to elevate a teams chances of fulfilling his championship aspirations.

 

Longest-Tenured Houston Rocket, Chandler Parsons, Is Also Likely Most Important

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Chandler Parsons

     After the recent story of the Houston Rockets deciding to decline the option to maintain Chandler Parsons, the market for the small forward has became more attractive for him. Helping Houston lure in Dwight Howard, he would be the glue guy to this team with his play on both ends of the floor while improving his offensive game as he goes forward with a career high 16.6 ppg and 5 rpg. In Parsons case, a team may overpay for Parsons due to a high demand of interest by other teams. Being a 6’10 small forward will also help as teams will look for a wing that can deal with the likes of a Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, and Kevin Durant.

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Chris Bosh Says Miami Heat 'Must Win' Game 4 of 2014 NBA Finals

USA Today Sports

Chris Bosh

     Coming off a sub par season to his standards, Chris Bosh has became under appreciated in South Beach. Having catered to Miami’s game plan revolved around LeBron James can be a detriment to the team’s success, more plays should have been called for Bosh during games as he would display his clutch ability in moments. Although, the situation that was brought upon him has also improved Bosh’s overall game by expanding his outside perimeter game that leads to bringing out the opponents best big man into unfamiliar territories. A center in today’s NBA who can play both offense and defense at an exceptional level is rare. Bosh can easily become a second option elsewhere for a team who is looking to get over the hump of being a championship team if Miami is not willing to make him one.

 

 

The Detroit Pistons Have a Major Greg Monroe Dilemma

Rick Osentoski- USA Today Sports

 

 

Greg Monroe

     Greg Monroe’s name has been mentioned with many teams as a potential addition to their roster for next season. While playing for the Detroit, he may be unknown to many outside the Motor City. Monroe continues to remain consistent with his play, but also can be a household name with the right team in a major market with the right supporting cast around him. At 24 years old, he has not reached his ceiling that makes him more attracting to teams moving in a new direction. Monroe’s addition could work out immediately along the likes  of the Bobcats signing Al Jefferson last offseason. Monroe is a blue collar player who comes to work with his lunch box ready to go.

 

New York Knicks Giving Carmelo Anthony Every Reason to Leave in 2014 Free Agency

Daniel Shirey- USA Today Sports

Carmelo Anthony

 

     Carmelo Anthony’s journey has been well documented starting with the force trade from Denver to  New York all the way until the present where he has chosen to opt out of his final contract to become a free agent. Having to carry a heavy load of the work last season, the same may await Anthony next season with majority of the same players under contract for next season. The chances of Carmelo returning to the Big Apple are slim to none with what is set in place looking forward to destinations such as the Chicago Bulls and the Houston Rockets becoming more appealing for a chance to win a NBA title and cement his legacy as a great during his era.

LeBron James' Mask Hides Miami Heat's Real Story vs. New York Knicks

Steve Mitchell- USA Today Sports

LeBron James

 
     LeBron James created headlines by making the choice of opting out of his current contract that has now led to many teams preparing to make a pitch to the best player in the NBA. Does this give any implications of him leaving Miami? Not at all. The Miami Heat will do anything possible to retain James by any means. By opting out of his deal, King James is allowed to re-sign for a max contract that is well deserved while giving the Heat a chance to bolster its roster with talent that can take the pressure off of himself. Miami is has already made a step in the right direction in acquiring Shabazz Napier via trade during the NBA Draft, who LeBron is a huge fan of. Assuming Chris Bosh & Dwyane Wade come back to accept less money, it gives the team a chance to appease James with his needs.
 
     While we await the decision from LeBron James, teams have to remember not to focus on one player, running the risk of missing the opportunity to bring in exceptional players that are available. The free agency season is around the corner with plenty of players who are ready to step in right away and contribute to a new franchise. Other players that could become a factor on teams include Trevor Ariza, Marcin Gortat, Loul Deng, and Patty Mills as well as possible big trades with players like Rajon Rondo or Kevin Love. Let the July fireworks begin.

 

61 vs. 81

 

On Monday, we all witnessed the latest chapter of achievements in LeBron James illustrious career as he eclipsed the 60 point plateau. The career high total of 61 points also became the franchise single game scoring record in Miami Heat history. While scoring 25 points to match the total points the Charlotte Bobcats scored in the third quarter, James would finish the game shooting a staggering 22-33 from the field. The question many have been left with is: Where does this game rank in comparison to Kobe Bryant’s 81 point game?

 

 

The 81 point game versus the Toronto Raptors by Kobe Bryant may be the best single game performance we have ever seen. With a more than lackluster roster that featured Smush Parker and Kwame Brown, Bryant was forced to carry a heavy load throughout the season. This game was no different for The Black Mamba. Shooting over 50% from the field, his shot selection was high demanding, yet never in question as Phil Jackson and Kobe’s teammates were desperate for a win. The Raptors put forth a valiant effort as they threw multiple schemes at him, but to no avail.

 

 

The historic night of LeBron James comes during the final stretch of the 2013-14 regular season where he looks to win his 5th Most Valuable Player Award. Overshadowing the performance of Al Jefferson who finished with 38 points and 19 rebounds, King James played with a killer instinct that we have never seen. It was almost as if he was trying to make us remember why he is the best basketball player in the world as supposed to playing second fiddle to Kevin Durant. Shooting 66% from the field was incredible in itself, aggressively attacking Charlotte’s defense at will. In spite of that, James would go on a shooting clinic that we have never seen in his career as he shot 8-10 from the 3 point line, making his first eight attempts.

 

 

However, how significant is this performance?

 

It is hard to give such enormous credit to James for his performance of 61 points with New York Knicks All-Star Carmelo Anthony scoring 62 points against the same defensively challenged Bobcats team. The puzzling performance from James is remarkable, however does not compare to the all time great scoring performances the NBA has seen.

 

There are many games left to play in his career, we can not make the final decision until it is all set and done. However, this particular performance in comparison to the 81 point game of Kobe Bryant does not measure to another.

Top 5 NBA All-Star Weekend Moments

 

The 2014 NBA All-Star weekend was an overall success for the debut of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. A time out of the busy NBA schedule to recognize the best players of our league was rejuvenated as they showcase their talents to the world. While there were many exciting highlights that we witnessed, here are the top five moments from New Orleans.

 

5. Ovation for Bill Russell

During the intermission going into the 2nd quarter of the NBA All-Star Game, the All-Star players representing both conferences stood and applaud for Bill Russell celebrating his 80th birthday. To acknowledge one of the greatest centers of all-time and pioneers by today’s players and fans was significant for the game of basketball.

 

 

 

4. Marco Belinelli become Three Point Champion

     Coming into the competition leading the league in three point field goal percentage at 45%, Marco Belinelli would become the dark horse to win the shootout that also featured Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love. Only to prevail in overtime defeating Bradley Beal, the NBA journeyman was able to enjoy this victory, adding on to a consistent season thus far with the San Antonio Spurs.

3. Dion Waiters vs. Tim Hardaway Jr.

     On the eve of NBA All-Star Saturday Night, the highlight of Friday was the one on one battle between 2nd year player Dion Waiters and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. in the Rising Stars challenge. The duel of two NBA bright stars grasped the attention of their NBA peers and fans that had people raving about what was taking place.

 

 

2. John Wall becomes Slam Dunk Champion

     What was once lost in the Slam Dunk Contest has been found by Washington Wizards John Wall. Started off as a team competition between the Western Conference vs. Eastern Conference became a dominating performance for the East while Terrance Ross would defeat Damian Lillard and Paul George handled Harrison Barnes. Wall would steal the night with his leap over the teams mascot while completing a reverse dunk that left the crowd appalled and social media buzzing as legends Julius Erving and Magic Johnson proclaim the Slam Dunk Contest being revived.

 

 

 

1. NBA All-Star Game

Capping off an exciting weekend, the 63rd annual NBA All-Star Game did not fail to disappoint fans across the world. The best players in the game today put on a performance filled with vigorous effort and jaw dropping highlights from both conferences as it became a lack of defensive effort that resulted in an offensive record setting night. While Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin were to able to score 38 points each, the spotlight belong to Kyrie Irving becoming Most Valuable Player with 31 points and 14 assists.

MJ Mondays- First NBA Championship

     The 1990-91 season in the association would begin a new era of a dynasty as Michael Jordan would lead the Chicago Bulls to their first NBA Championship in franchise history.

     Having seven years since entering the league, Jordan would begin his title run in the postseason against the rival New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers that would ultimately set up a match between Isaiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons. Chicago would sweep the two-time defending champions who had eliminated the Bulls in the previous three seasons. They would close out Game 4 while advancing to the NBA Finals winning 115-94 that led to the famous walk off the court by the “Bad Boys” Pistons without congratulating the newly crowned Eastern Conference Finals Champions.

     Chicago would face the Los Angeles Lakers where Jordan would continue to work his magic. In Game 2 of the Finals, Jordan would probe into the defense to the basket while switching hands mid air to the basket for the layup. A move we would never forget in NBA history.

The Bulls would defeat the Lakers 4-1 to become NBA Champions. Jordan would win his first NBA Finals MVP award averaging 31.2 points, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 2.8 steals per game throughout the series. He would also become Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1991 for his postseason heroics.

MJ Mondays- 55 point game vs. New York Knicks

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During the 1994-1995 NBA season, Michael Jordan returned to the association after retiring following the 1992-93 season in order to pursue a baseball career. Wearing number 45, Jordan would continue to harass his hated rivals, the New York Knicks.

The game before Jordan would face the Knicks again, he sank the winning shot against the Atlanta Hawks, a positive harbinger of things to come. In just his fifth game back from retirement, Jordan put on a show for the Madison Square Garden faithful letting everyone know that he was back. In the game, Jordan erupted for an NBA season high 55 points. Displaying masterful ball handling and scoring at will, Jordan finished the game shooting 21-37 from the field and 10-11 from the free throw line.

Despite Jordan’s domination, the Bull needed a last minute bucket from center, Bill Wennington to clinch the 113-111 victory coming on the assist from Jordan. He would finish the last 17 games of the 94-95 season averaging 26.9 points per game, 7 rebounds and 5 assists leading Chicago to the Eastern Conference finals where they fell short of returning to the NBA finals.

History would repeat itself when Jordan would silence critics the next season by winning his fourth MVP and leading the Bulls to their fourth championship of the 90’s era defeating the Seattle Supersonics.

Top 5 Most Disappointing Teams of the Early Season

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The start to the NBA season gives us an outlook on whats to come throughout this year. We have the opportunity to see familiar faces in new places with players and coaches for teams with aspirations of improving their success from the previous season. With that being said, here are your top five most disappointing teams thus far in the early part of the season.

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5. Denver Nuggets

      By not retaining the most recent recipient of the Coach of the Year award in George Karl, the Denver Nuggets decided to move forward by bringing in first season head coach Brian Shaw. Denver is more than capable of scoring the ball in bunches with Ty Lawson to lead the way as they are without Danilo Gallinari. Denver has had a slow start to their season as they opened the season with a three game losing streak and have lost big man Javale McGee who is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his lower leg. The challenge for Shaw this season is to get his players on the court to commit on the defensive side of the ball.

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4. Memphis Grizzlies

     The Memphis Grizzlies achieved historic franchise success last season by reaching the Western Conference Finals. This previous offseason, Memphis decided not to bring back head coach Lionel Hollins, instead choosing to go with assistant coach David Joerger. The Grizzlies remained subtle during free agency while we witnessed a west coast shuffle. With free agents coming and going, Memphis only decided to bring in sharp shooter Mike Miller to spread the floor with perimeter shooting and stretch out defenses. Memphis is off to 4-5 start in the 2013-14 campaign under Joerger that has many questioning if they can repeat the success of last season.

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3. Cleveland Cavaliers

     The Cleveland Cavaliers impressed many this offseason with the return of head coach Mike Brown and free agent acquisitions headlined by the signing of Andrew Bynum and Jarrett Jack as pieces to fit the puzzle of the supporting cast for Kyrie Irving. With a record of 4-7, things are not going well for Cleveland as recently there was a report of a confrontational meeting between players. It is a long season, so this team has an opportunity to turn matters around and get on the right track.

i2. Brooklyn Nets

    Many can make the argument that the Brooklyn Nets had the best offseason by adding Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry to add to the roster of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson and Brook Lopez. With the addition of newly retired and first year head coach Jason Kidd, the Nets look to have the best roster on paper to compete in the Eastern Conference. Instead, the new look team has done nothing that has impressed anybody. Injuries and age being problems to Brooklyn only presents Kidd with an uphill battle while overcoming a 3-6 start.

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1. New York Knicks

     After winning the Atlantic Division last season, many assume the New York Knicks can continue to progress in the Eastern Conference. However, many questioned the offseason moves made by New York after acquiring the former No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani via trade. Bargnani adds to an already crowded frontcourt that contains Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, and Kenyon Martin. With a horrific 3-6 start to the season, the big apple has become rotten. A consistency of effort becomes the main problem for New York which can lead to head coach Mike Woodson’s job being in jeopardy. It can also lead to the departure of Carmelo Anthony out of New York.