Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Carmelo Problem

I didn't like the way the Knicks went about acquiring Carmelo Anthony. Here's why.

Let's say you were at an auction. You see a piece of art that you want. You start at the minimum bid. Other people bid, but the auctioneer has already agreed to sell you the piece, no matter what. You can either get the art now, for a cheap price, or later, for free.

Instead of just standing pat, you begin raising your bid for no reason. You are betting against yourself, and you won't stop raising the price.

You would be pretty stupid, wouldn't you? Well that's almost exactly what the Knicks did.

Some people would argue that the Knicks were successful just because they got their piece of art (Carmelo Anthony.) I wouldn't go that far. These Knicks had all the chips in this arrangement, and they played like they were desperate. And let's be clear - the Knicks held all the power in these negotiations. Not Carmelo, not the Nuggets.

As soon as 'Melo demanded a trade, and announced he would not sign anywhere but New York, the power shifted directly into the Knickerbocker's corner.

Sure, Carmelo's agent, Leon Rose, tried the negotiating tactic of talking heavily with the New Jersey Nets, but the league's worst kept secret was already out - He was going to New York, whether it was this year, or next year. I'm not saying that the Knicks should have just ignored Anthony till next year. But they kept upping their offer until the trade actually occurred, for no reason at all.

Now they're left with a rapidly aging Chauncey Billups that hasn't hit a clutch shot in years, a legit chance of Kelenna Azubuike playing a pivotal role off the bench, and Shelden Williams being their top big man reserve. They won't be able to afford to add Paul or Williams for the max, especially after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed.

The Knicks, in my mind, are no better than 5th in the East, and they've essentially maxed out with the roster they have at the present. They won't have a first round pick until 2016, so Knicks fans had better hope this Carmelo experiment works. Until then...'Ello to Melo.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Talk Playoffs - Beasts of the East

After an extended hiatus from the blogging world, I'm back, and I've got NBA playoff fever. Today, we're dissecting the playoff matchups in the Eastern conference. We'll tackle the West in the next few days.

Let's start off with the East, where unfortunately it doesn't look to get all that interesting until the second round.

(1) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (8) Chicago Bulls


It ain't easy to sugarcoat this one - The Cavs will likely win this series, and win it handily. The Bulls just don't have the firepower to compete. The Cavs have the veteran savvy, the desire, and the overwhelming talent to dispose of the young upstarts from the Windy City with very few problems.

They've got a favorable matchup in Derrick Rose against a weak defender in Mo Williams. Also, the Cavs have to use this series to reintegrate a newly slimmed down Shaquille O'Neal into the lineup after his being injured for the past two months.

For those reasons, these Bulls have a shot to take a game or two away from the Cavs in this series. However, the Cavs have that fella named LeBron James, and even with the Cavs shaking off rust and adjusting to Shaq's re-entrance in the lineup, the Akron Hammer won't be allowing this series to go past 5 games.

However, even if this series doesn't prove to be compelling, it will offer us this - A battle of the ridiculous hair. Noah v. Varejao. It's goin' down ladies and gentleman. This is like the World Series of bad haircuts.

Prediction: Cavs in 5

(4) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Miami Heat


This will likely be the most compelling first round series in the East, and here's why -

Boston got real old, real fast this year. Rasheed Wallace, who predicted that the Celts would approach 70 wins on the year showed up looking like he welcomed himself to Boston by eating an entire Dunkin' Donuts franchise. Kevin Garnett is moving about as well as my grandfather. Ray Allen can't guard a chair at this point in his career, so I presume Dwyane Wade will present a challenge. This team has absolutely lost its fire while still behaving themselves like a team that will be in contention for a championship.

On the other side, Dwyane Wade is a bona fide superstar who can carve up the Celts in this series. However, his supporting cast remains terrible, with his supporting cast consisting of the underachieving Michael Beasley, Jermaine O'Neal's corpse, Quentin Richardson, Dorell Wright, and Carlos Arroyo. That team minus Wade might be good enough to beat the D-League All-Stars. They don't have an answer for Rajon Rondo nor Paul Pierce, so the Celtics should squeak by in a highly contested, entertaining series.

The Prediction: Celts in 7

(3) Atlanta Hawks vs. (6) Milwaukee Bucks


This series makes me sad, because I jumped on the "Fear the Deer" bandwagon and I was a full fledged member. I'm a huge fan of what Scott Skiles has done with this team, and Brandon Jennings has got a swagger you just don't find that often anymore. This team was rolling, and NBA analysts everywhere were picking them for a first round upset. Then, this happened:

Sigh. With rising star Andrew Bogut out for the rest of the year, the Bucks just aren't going to be able to compete in what is already a tough matchup for them. Like any Scott Skiles team, they'll play hard, smart, and tough on defense, but Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, Josh Smith and Al Horford should be able to dominate in this series. I see the Bucks taking one at home due to Atlanta's lack of success away from Phillips Arena, but can't imagine this series going much longer than that.

Prediction: Hawks in 5

(2) Orlando Magic vs. (7) Charlotte Bobcats


One would be tempted to say that the Magic will win this series easily, but the Bobcats are not a team to be overlooked. Larry Brown has done one heck of a job revamping this roster in the short-term. He's added a player and a leader with championship experience, in Stephen Jackson, and Gerald Wallace elevated his play to all-star levels. They've got big bodies to throw at big Dwight Howard, and he's going to have to work for his points.

The Magic are talented, and deep. They can play fast, and they can play slow. They've got the best defensive player in the league, and the most dominant big in Dwight Howard. They've got the wing scoring talent in Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson, and J.J. Redick. They will likely win this series. But it will not be a cakewalk for them, and the Larry Brown led Bobcats will give them all that they have.

Prediction: Magic in 6

So that's that, kids. The East is a bit less intriguing than you'd like it be in the first round, but the West is gonna' be wild, and we'll tackle that in the next couple days.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here's What I Think - Week 5

Sorry about the lack of a week four post, I was fully engaged in the throes of death (I had a bad cold.) Luckily for you, I'll be providing DOUBLE the normal entertainment and observations this week!

Disclaimer: It'll be roughly the same entertainment and observations.

Let's get started!

Here's what I think:
  • The whole nation owes one Mr. Josh McDaniels a hardcore apology. I always felt like Kyle Orton was a solid quarterback. On the other hand, if you had told me that he would clearly outplay Tom Brady, I'd tell you that you were crazy. And yet, it happened. McDaniels deserves a ton of credit, and probably a smidge more than he normally would given the lambasting he received in the media over the offseason.
  • The Steelers are simply not the same team they were last year. The barely beat the Lions, who started Quarterback Daunte Culpepper who has aged about as well as milk, and an offensive line that may or may not actually exist.
  • In regards to the Dallas win:
I love the Cowboys. They are my favorite team. However, barely beating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime does not inspire much faith.

I've been watching Miles Austin these past two years, and I've always loved him, even though he hadn't put up big numbers. He's takin' Patrick Crayton's job, I think, what with the 250 yards on 10 catches. Wow.

Also, in regards to Austin, I've liked him for so long that I figured I'd pick him up on fantasy. I'd been starting him nearly every week of the season. This was the week I did not start him. I left 40 points on the bench in fantasy. I hate fantasy football, because it makes me sad.

  • Sometimes the NFL is absurdly top-heavy, with one clear cut team that you simply don't envision losing. This year is not one of those years. Not a single team that remains undefeated doesn't seem beatable in some way.
  • On that note, the Indianapolis Colts are starting to look that way. They are just dominating at times, and Peyton Manning sometimes just dominates defenses to the point of me feeling bad for them. They haven't played the best competition yet, but we'll see just how good this team is when they play San Fransisco in week 8, and New England in week 10.
  • The Bengals are for real. They traded blow for blow with the uber-physical Baltimore Ravens, and at no point did I expect them to crumble, which was my conditioned response given their...checkered past.
Another note from that game, an absolutely fantastic exchange happened that most people might not have noticed: In the Red Zone, Carson Palmer was directing the offense, and the Ravens showed a heavy blitz. Palmer instantly audibled into a max-protect package because he saw the blitz coming. Alternatively, as soon as he did that, the Ravens audibled into a heavy coverage package. As soon as the ball was hiked, there were only 3 guys running routes while there were 7 guys in coverage. Palmer had nowhere to go, and had to throw the ball away. Ray Lewis is a genius on the defensive end of the ball.

  • I find it interesting that as soon as the Cavaliers start blowing out people and stop waiting to win till the last second, the Bengals instantly pick up the crown and continue to raise my likelihood of a heart attack by a fair amount every game.
  • The Cleveland Browns won a game in which their QB completed 2 of his 17 pass attempts for 23 yards. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present both your 2009 Cleveland Browns and your 2009 Buffalo Bills! That's the second lowest completion percentage by a winning quarterback since the AFL-NFL merger. Absolutely incredible. Did Ralph Wilson give every person who attended that game their money back? He should have. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable.
  • What does JaMarcus Russell need to do to get benched? Clearly a lot, seeing as punching out an assistant coach doesn't get you booted from an organization (We're all lookin' at you, Tom Cable.) Nonetheless, they don't even have enough faith to throw the ball to get back into the game they were already getting blown out in! 13 pass attempts! Do you know what that means?! The Raiders coaching staff figured that, if anything, it'd just be better to lose 44-7 to the Giants rather than let Russell pathetically try to get them back in the game, and thus probably give up a solid 20 extra points via turnovers. What a travesty.
  • I don't want to be to hard on Mr. Russell though, so I'd like to congratulate him for topping 40 percent completion on the season with his powerhouse 8 of 13 performance on Sunday. Phew, he's a talented fella.
  • Chris Berman: "Darius Heyward-Bey still has one less catch than he has names." As in: 2.
  • In the battle of disappointing teams, the Arizona Cardinals made a goal line stand to beat the Houston Texans. Nobody seems to care all that much though. It's like a Charlotte Bobcats - Minnesota Timberwolves game. Sure, the game happened, one team won, and one lost, but nobody really notices.
  • Hey! We're the San Fransisco 49ers, and we got caught up in our own hype! That team will not have a fun week of practices under Mike Singletary, that's for sure.
  • Washington still hasn't played a team that had a win before they played them. And they're barely winning. They are a bad football team, which is insane given the talent they've got over there. Bad coaching makes for an indifferent football team.
  • Every Cleveland Browns fan watching Braylon Edwards have an absolutely great game has my condolences. Sorry guys...I really am.
  • It's this simple: Seahawks with Matt Hasselback=Good. Seahawks without Matt Hasselback=Not good. Just how it is.
  • Oh, you Titans. Looks like this season is lost. This team was gettin' old, and it's finally showing. That brings the total score to: Aging: 10,000,000,000 - Mankind: 0
  • I don't know what to think about the Minnesota Vikings. I'm pretty sure they're really good, but I still think they've got to prove it to me.

  • In a game that nobody really seemed to take the Dolphins, they played one heck of a game, and Chad Henne looked like a cool veteran out there. They've been grooming him to be their starter since picking him in the 2nd round last year,and he is leaping on the opportunity.
  • Why is it that the Dolphins are so successful with their Wildcat offense when nobody else seems to be? I've got a theory:
When other teams began implementing the offense, they thought of it as a fun gimmick that opposing defenses would have to spend time preparing for.

The Dolphins however, use it as a legitimate tool, and their Jumbo Wildcat set ran roughshod all over that ballyhooed Jets defense. They don't think it's a gimmick, they think it is a legitimate part of their offense and their dedication to it is what makes it so good.

In Conclusion:

  • I don't really know what to make of the league right now. Nothing invalidates preseason predictions like teams actually playing the games. Who on earth would have thought that the Denver Broncos would be 5 games ahead of the Tennessee Titans....5 weeks into the season? Nobody, that's who. I don't know who the best team in the league in, and that makes this year a lot of fun so far. Well, that and watching Peyton Manning as well as Drew Brees play football all year.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Here's What I Think: NFL - Week 3

  • There's been a lot of talk about how, for once, the Ravens defense needs to catch up to their offense. Yes, the Ravens have been allowing a lot of points and a lot of yards. But here's the thing: It's inevitable. If you're moving down the field with the pass and scoring quickly, you're having your defense on the field for a good deal longer and you're giving the opposing offense more possessions. I'm not saying they won't adjust, but you won't see a lot of shutouts pitched by the Ravens if they keep up this offensive pace
  • Watching a Cleveland Browns game depresses me. It's not an issue of being a Browns fan, because I'm not. It's just so...hopeless.
  • Something that's not mentioned too often in the Patriots early offensive struggles is the lack of the ability for Tom Brady and Joey Galloway to connect...at all. They've simply been out of sync, and without Wes Welker, it's served to put a swift finish to a good amount of Patriots' drives.
  • Titans Fans: Don't be too heartbroken about the 0-3 start. They've played the Jets, Steelers, and Texans, all well-reputed opponents. Let's see how they do once the schedule softens up a bit.
  • On that note, I'd like to now mention that the Denver Broncos are 3-0, and the Cincinnati Bengals are 2-1. On the other hand, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the same record as the Detroit Lions. We're in for a crazy year of football.
  • Cedric Benson is living proof that there's a reason that we put so much into a player's "potential." He is blossoming as a Bengal, and is simply driving that offense despite some spotty play by Carson Palmer.
  • I've been of the opinion for a long time that Mark Sanchez will be a better pro quarterback than number one overall pick Matt Stafford. Through three weeks... Stafford has not changed my mind. I've been of the opinion that a player has to be put in a position to succeed, and Stafford does not have the same opportunity that Sanchez does. Stafford has a terrible offensive line, and we all know what happens when talented quarterbacks get beat up a bit too much early on in their careers (ie: David Carr.) It's worth paying attention to.
  • Sports media consistently has two favorite teams in the NFL: The New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers. Finally, one of them is living up to their immense potential. The Saints are for real. They've won shootouts, and they've held an opponent to seven points today. That's huge, to prove that they're capable of winning different kinds of games.

  • The Chargers are now sitting at 2-1, but I'm not so sure they're as good as their record indicates. They barely beat an Oakland team with a quarterback whose accuracy could at the most be described as "spotty."
  • On that note, Jamarcus Russell is a rare quarterback in the sense that when he drops back to throw, I'm surprised by a completion. He is bad at football.
  • I wouldn't be too worried about the Cardinals just yet. They were thoroughly dominated against the Colts, but that is exactly the kind of team that they're going to have trouble with. The Colts' D-Line are speed pass rushers, and they've consistently been one of the best teams against the pass in recent years, and the Cards simply don't have the running game to punish them. They should be alright.