Tag Archives: NBA

Phil vs Carmelo

New York Knicks’ star forward, Carmelo Anthony, has recently received a lot of attention in the media for his open dispute with Knicks’ president Phil Jackson. The dispute has stemmed from Jackson’s willingness to publicly put his own players under a microscope.

Jackson is a well-known and well-respected NBA coach with 11 championships to his name; not to mention the two he won with the Knicks as a player in the early 70s. In total, Jackson holds the NBA record for most championships as a coach and a player.

While he undoubtedly holds a very impressive resume, many would argue that Jackson is pushing for an outdated system. He is known for his use of the “triangle offense,” which can be successful when implemented by the right players. Knicks’ coach Jeff Hornacek, however, has not made consistent use of the triangle. He usually opts for a more fast- paced approach that the players responded to earlier in the season.

After getting off to a fairly strong start, the Knicks have struggled as of late. Some blame the problems on the difficult transition of key players from Chicago to New York, and even the team’s star Carmelo Anthony for holding the ball for too long.

Even the team’s president, who should be one of the biggest advocates of the players, has more or less thrown his star player under the bus.

The true problem with the Knicks lies in distractions off the court. At the heart of these distractions is Jackson himself. After the Knicks won four consecutive games in December, the team’s president publicly called out Anthony for being a ball hog.

Jackson’s comments came as a shock, especially because the Knicks were doing so well at that time. Among other factors, the timing just didn’t make sense.

It has become more clear now that Jackson’s plans for the future of the Knicks do not include Carmelo Anthony.

The two have rarely seen eye-to-eye on the team’s operations and plans for the future, but Anthony has always seemed more willing to work with Jackson for the success of the team. After a meeting between the two this week, it appears that Jackson is less eager.

In the meeting, Jackson reportedly asked if Anthony even wanted to be a Knick anymore. Time and time again, Anthony has proven himself and his love for New York to the organization and its fans. He is the centerpiece of a team that has great potential. In his meeting with Jackson, Anthony reiterated his desire to stay with the team. His only roadblock might be his own president.

Many Knicks’ fans fear Anthony will soon grow tired of Jackson’s shenanigans and accept a trade to a team that gives him a more immediate chance of winning, and less of an everyday battle with the front office.

Tensions are high in the Knicks’ organization. The team is struggling and certainly cannot afford to lose Melo. He has been a power force, team leader, and model citizen for the Knicks since 2011, and should not have to continuously answer for the president of the organization.

If someone has to go in order for the Knicks to have success, it has to be Phil Jackson.

image: http://clutchpoints.com/

Can the Warriors do it?

By now every NBA fan should be aware of the beating that the Golden State Warriors are putting on the league. After last night’s demolition of the Spurs, the Dubs are sitting pretty with a 41-4 record. There hasn’t been a team that has looked this dominant since the record setting ‘95-’96 Chicago Bulls. Now over halfway through the season, their only real clunker has been a 113-95 loss to the Pistons (their other losses came to the Bucks after a 24 game win streak, to the Mavs in a game where they were without Stephen Curry, and to the Nuggets by two points). Naturally, this raises the question: Can the Warriors beat the Bulls’ record mark of 72 wins?

Up until yesterday, this blogger’s answer was a staunch ‘no.’ The NBA season is a long, grueling journey in which even the best teams tend to have stretches of mediocrity. I assumed that the Warriors would start dropping games as the season wore on. This would only be natural, considering they have to take the opposition’s best effort every night. I assumed there would be mental lapses and games where the shots wouldn’t fall. I assumed the other top teams in the league would be able to take the occasional game off of them, simply because that’s how the NBA works.

I was wrong.

These Warriors are like no team I have seen in my lifetime. They don’t just beat teams. They emasculate them. They eviscerate them. They beat them so bad that they cause teams to fire their coaches (‘sup Cleveland). Last night the Spurs – a team that is shaping up to be historically great in their own right – allowed the Warriors to shoot 52% from the field and 42% from three. That was all I needed to see. If they can do that to the Spurs, especially after doing the same thing to the Cavs a week before, consider me to be on the bandwagon. At this point it’s hard to imagine the Warriors losing more than two or three games to the other top teams the rest of the way, even on the road. Add that to their seeming inability to play down to lesser opponents, and they’re looking very, very good as far as 73 wins are concerned.

In the Spurs game Steph Curry scored 37 points through three quarters, before getting his usual rest in the fourth. And this may be the largest reason why I believe the Warriors can beat the Bulls’ record. The Warriors can only go as far as Curry goes. If he wears down as the season goes on, the Dubs can kiss the record goodbye, and I’m sure they are exceedingly aware of this fact. So how do they counter this? They simply get up by so many points that Curry doesn’t even have to play in the majority of fourth quarters. He is only averaging 33 minutes per game, an amount that should ensure that he will not be exhausted by season’s end.

I could go on for days gushing about Curry and his season (I firmly believe he is putting up the best offensive season of all time), but I will instead note that his supporting cast has been nothing short of incredible. Draymond Green has turned into one of the most versatile players in the league, and Klay Thompson continues to be solid as the lesser splash brother. With Harrison Barnes’ return from injury and Steve Kerr’s return to the bench in the wake of a back surgery, the Warriors only seem poised to improve as the season goes on.

And I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Head Coach Shake-Up in Cleveland

It seems to be déjà vu all over again for the Cleveland Cavaliers. David Blatt was fired today, January 22nd, in just his second season at the helm. Cleveland fans might remember a similar thing happening to one of their coaches six years ago when the Cavs fired former head coach, Mike Brown following a season where, despite not reaching the NBA Finals, they went 61-21, owning the best record in the East.

Blatt has ultimately faced a very similar fate. After leading the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals last season where they fell to Steve Kerr’s Golden State Warriors, the Cavs came into the 2015-16 season with a renewed vigor. They officially have a healthy team of elite talent with LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving and have been surging along in the Eastern Conference yet again to the tune of a 30-11 record, holding a 3.5 game lead over second place, Toronto.

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David Blatt has been fired after just 1+ seasons at Head Coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers

So what led to this change? Many people have speculated that the coaching change came at the behest of Cleveland’s star, LeBron James. It’s no secret that James’s opinions are highly regarded when it comes to his team. The 4x MVP and 2x Champion has always had the best interest for his team (whether Cleveland or Miami) at heart. He’s vocal and expects the same from his fellow players and coaches when it comes to leadership. However, all speculation that LeBron was involved in this Decision can be thrown out the window. As per, ESPN Insider, Brian Windhorst, LeBron was not consulted on the decision to fire Blatt. It remains odd that a Head Coach who is frankly quite respected by many in the NBA was fired so abruptly. Outspoken GM, David Griffin offered his take on the decision to fire Blatt at today’s news conference. Griffin frequently mentioned a disconnect within the organization, that “pretty good” was not good enough, and that he believed in the team possibly more than they believed in themselves. Griffin basically laid it all down, there. The decision to fire David Blatt was more or less his, and his alone. He seemed pretty determined and didn’t mince words in front of the press and stated that the players did not have a say in the decision. What he saw was sufficient enough for him. If you ask me, I’d say this has shades of the recent Chip Kelly firing that I wrote about a few weeks ago.

Who knows what the real story was on Blatt? As far as any fan or spectator could tell, sure there was some “disconnectedness” between the players and the coach, but that will happen with most franchises from time to time, and it can often be worked out of! David Blatt had a great track record as a Head Coach, both abroad in Israel and at home with the Cavs. In 123 games, Blatt went 83-40 with Cleveland, that’s good enough for a .675 win percentage, and though they lost the Finals to Golden State, he did this in his first year with the team (again, not overshadowing the accomplishments of Steve Kerr)! Blatt, in my opinion, has been the best coach that LeBron has played for in the NBA. He has excellent credentials and led this team as best as he could. He is MUCH BETTER than Erik Spoelstra of the Heat who, again in my opinion, is really not much of a coach at all but more of a figurehead, especially when he has James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh on his team. So, yeah I’m kinda peeved at the Cavs organization and Dave Griffin, but what’s done is done. The Cavaliers begin a new chapter tonight with assistant coach, turned head coach (on a multi-year contract no less) Tyronn Lue. Will Lue help this team reach its full potential? I couldn’t tell you. David Griffin seems to think he’s the best coach for this team right now, even if he doesn’t think he’s a “better basketball coach” (GEEZ! Way to instill confidence in your man, Griff!). I look forward to seeing how the rest of this season for Cleveland plays out.

 

NOTES:

-Tyronn Lue signed a 3 year contract worth at least $9.5 million, as per Adrian Wojnarowski

-GSW Head Coach, Steve Kerr returns to the bench for the first time this year, following an extensive recovery from offseason back surgery, the Warriors are 39-4 on the year