Shooting Clinic at the Garden

Wednesday night, everyone had the privilege of witnessing the best game of the NBA season.  The New York Knicks took on the Golden State Warriors and Madison Square Garden once again proved why it is the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’.  Anyone who visits the Garden brings their A game.  They want to showcase their skills on the brightest of stages.  Jordan used to get up for games at the Garden, Kobe always brings it at the Garden, and most recently Lebron has shown that the Garden is a venue made for stars to shine.  Last night, we were all witness to the greatest individual performance of the NBA season, so far.  Stephen Curry showcased his skills in last night’s game and showed the world that he is an emerging superstar.  In case you missed it, Curry’s night went a little something like this: 54 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals.  Curry also played all 48 minutes of last night’s game.  He was 7-7 from the free throw line and went 18-28 from the field, including AN AMAZING 11-13 from 3-point range.  He was launching shots from everywhere and they all kept finding the bottom of the net.  Granted the Knicks should have started doubling Curry the second he got hot, but I’ll get back to that.  Curry has one of the smoothest jumpers in the game today.  He also requires very little space to get a shot off, and his release is lightning quick.  Add that to an impressive handle, and you have yourself a nightmare match-up.  As for his impact on last night’s game, he single-handedly kept the Warriors in the game (why do you think he played all 48 minutes even though he was in foul trouble?).  Without his performance the Warriors would have been blown out.  This goes to show you just how well the Knicks executed last night.

The Knicks won the game 109-105 in an absolute thriller.  I thought the Knicks played a really good all around game.  They had a well balanced scoring attack with 5 players scoring in double figures, and I saw something I’ve been begging for all year.  As written in many of my previous articles, the Knicks have played their best basketball when Carmelo Anthony penetrates, attracts a double team, and finds the open man (most notably Amar’e wide open under the hoop for easy dunks).  Now Melo took 26 shots so he still got his, but he also had a season high 8 assists.  Everyone and their mama knows that when Melo gets the ball on the wing he is going to shoot it.  However, if he puts the ball on the floor and starts taking it to the rack more often, he will either score at the basket, draw a foul, or draw a double/triple team leaving someone WIDE open.  This is a recipe for success for this Knicks team.  Now if only Jason Kidd could shoot a basketball, the Knicks would have another offensive option.  At this point, you might as well bring John Starks out of retirement and put him in for Kidd.  See, with Kidd it is not a question of ability (he is 3rd all time in 3 point field goals), it is a mental thing.  Right now his confidence is shattered, and honestly he looks like a broken man.  A fan who called into the Michael Kaye show yesterday said it best, “Jason Kidd is out there looking like he’s playing hot potato with the basketball.”  Yeah, that about sums it up.   Hey, quick question, who told Kidd that he has to keep shooting 3’s?!?!?  Jason, here’s a wild thought: take 3 or 4 steps in and try making some 15 footers.  Maybe when you gain some confidence there, you can inch your way back outside and continue launching 25 footers at will.  As for last night, the player of the game on the Knicks was Tyson Chandler, hands down.  Chandler had 16 points to go along with his 28 rebounds!!  He brought everything to the floor that the Knicks desperately need to win; physical play, defense, and rebounding.  He set the tone early grabbing 13 rebounds in the first quarter, and the rest of the Knicks seemed to feed off of his energy.  Iman Shumpert found himself in foul trouble, but his intensity on the defensive end continues to improve night  by night.  Amar’e Stoudemire’s offensive efficiency continued as well, but his defense is still nothing to write home about.  The Knicks success often relies on the streaky shooting of J.R. Smith, and last night Smith was on target, adding 26 points on 10 of 19 shooting.  On the other hand, Raymond Felton’s shooting woes continued (as his poor shooting has been overshadowed by Jason Kidd’s efforts), but he came up with the big plays down the stretch to seal the game for the Knicks.  The Knicks were lit up by Stephen Curry and gave up 105 points, but it was their defense that made the difference in the game.  Down the stretch, they finally figured out that they should be double teaming Curry.  Once they did that, they forced other players on the Warriors to beat them, and let’s just say they weren’t up to the task.  Also, when the game was coming down to the wire, Felton forced a couple of key turnovers and came up with a HUGE steal off of a Warriors inbound pass that pretty much sealed the game.  Overall I think there are a lot of positive things to take away from this victory.  The Knicks stood up at the sign of adversity and were the last men standing when the final buzzer sounded.  You can catch the Knicks in their next game Friday night @ 7:00 P.M.  They will be in Washington as they take on the Wizards and look to start another winning streak as they have now won 2 games in a row.

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!


The Best Part of Waking Up Is Baseball In Your Cup

I know I keep repeating myself, but isn’t this the best time of the year?  The weather has made a turn for the better, the players in the NBA are finally trying, March Madness is right around the corner, and with Spring Training in full swing, it’s time to start gearing up for baseball season.  Baseball’s preseason has to be the most exciting of any of the major sports.  While the games in the preseason don’t “matter” (like all sports), it is a very important time for every team.  It is time for teams to evaluate the talent on their rosters and see what they have to work with for the start of the regular season.  Some teams are already dealing with injuries, while others have difficult decisions to make with players competing for the same position.  Opening Day will be here before you know it as it is just 32 short days away.  Opening Day this year is March 31st, which is Easter Sunday.  The first game of the year will be the Texas Rangers taking on the Houston Astros @ 8:05 P.M.  Be sure to tune in to ESPN to catch all the action from Major League Baseball’s Opening Day.  The very next day, 24 more teams will jump into the action.

Just in case you can’t wait for Opening Day to see how the 2013 season is going to play out, I’m going to predict the future for everyone here.  Over the next month I will go through player projections and rankings for all you Fantasy Baseball Fanatics out there.  Want a preview of each team and each division before the season starts?  Have no fear, you’ll be able to find that here as well.  And lastly, I will break down the winners of all the major awards, and I will also give you my Division Winners, Playoff Predictions, and finally the World Series Champion.  Check back tomorrow for my first division preview.  I will start with an overview of each team in the National League East.

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Who Ya Gonna Call?? No, not Johnny Damon. Call the Ghostbusters.

Something big is happening in New York.  It’s not what you’d expect, and personally I’m terrified.  New York used to be the example of greatness.  We used to be the place that all others tried to model themselves after, but now we are the example of mediocrity.  Don’t believe me?  Okay, I’ll prove it.  The Islanders are one of the worst hockey teams in the world, the Jets are well the Jets (enough said), the Knicks are having a nice year, but they’re not winning any titles, and the Yankees are not the Yankees of the ’90’s anymore.  As sad as this is to say (I love the Yankees), the Yankees are not that good.  When Johnny Damon is the answer to your prayers, you know you’re in trouble.  For those of you who don’t know, Curtis Granderson broke his arm yesterday, causing mass hysteria here in New York.  Some of the media outlets here are suggesting that the Yankees sign free agent Johnny Damon to help fill the void.  A thought like that makes me wonder what really goes through peoples minds.  Do people enjoy living in the past?  Do they really think that veteran’s will bring intangibles to the team that the youngsters can’t?  Who in their right mind would think that the Yankees resigning Johnny Damon would be a good idea?  Everyone wants to talk about how old the Knicks are, but those same people obviously haven’t taken the time to look at the Yankees roster.  Let me run down the list of some of their ancient artifacts.  The Yankees have a 37 year old A-Rod who is probably not going to play this year or ever again, a 38 year old Derek Jeter who is recovering from a broken ankle, a 38 year old Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, a 39 year old Ichiro, a 40 year old Andy Pettite, and a 43 year old Mariano Rivera coming off major surgery.  Mark Teixeira (32) and Kevin Youkilis (33) are no spring chickens either.  With all the talk surrounding Robinson Cano’s contract negotiations (which are a year away), and Granderson going down, the Yankees season is already in disarray and it hasn’t even started.  Man, I’m really glad Steinbrenner made all of those off-season acquisitions this year.  Oh, yeah that’s right, they didn’t make any moves whatsoever.  Good idea Hal.  Quick side note: I’ve always said that the death of George Steinbrenner was the worst thing to ever happen to this franchise.  Clearly not everything runs in the family, because his kids have no clue how to run the most successful sports franchise in the world.  Anyway, with an aging roster and below average pitching staff, you’d think that the Yankees would have made a flurry of big moves to bring in some young talent during the off-season.  Instead, they let Russell Martin walk leaving the Yankees with literally no catcher.  They let Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez walk as well.  They also decided not to negotiate with Rafael Soriano due to the devil’s (I mean Scott Boras’) demands.  Hey Hal, do you know why the Yankees won 4 World Series in 5 years in the late 90’s and early 2000’s?  I didn’t think so.  It’s because you had a transition from a great closer (John Wetteland) to another GREAT closer (Mariano Rivera).  As much as I love Big Mo this is clearly going to be his last season, and great closers don’t exactly grow on trees.  But hey, I guess little Steinbrenner wants us to be excited about the signing of Travis Hafner.  Newsflash, the long ball doesn’t win Championships by itself (Exhibit A: last season)!!  Without any substantial additions to the Yankees roster as it is presently constructed, they will finish in 3rd place in the American League East and MISS the playoffs.  They need a pleasant surprise from someone already on the roster, a big trade, or they need find some talent from their Farm system to compete this year.  Otherwise, I think they are in big trouble.  Nobody loves the Yankees more than me, I am just calling it like I see it.

As for the Granderson situation, I have a solution that they should have been trying for about two years now.  Move Eduardo Nunez to the outfield.  Nunez has blazing speed but has not proven to be a consistent enough fielder at shortstop.  He makes far too many errors from one of the most important positions on the field.  If you keep Brett Gardner and Nunez in the order at the same time you will put speed on the base paths and be able to play small ball (a recipe for success that I’ve been begging for for years now).  And hey, if it doesn’t work you can always slide Nunez right back into his utility role.  It’s not like he’s ever had a set position and you would somehow be disrupting his rhythm by moving him to the outfield.

With Spring Training upon us, we are entering the best time of the year.  March Madness is on it’s way as is beautiful Spring weather.  Undoubtedly, the best part of the year is the start of Baseball season.  Stay tuned for my full preview of the Major League Baseball season including division winners, playoff and world series predictions, and player projections.

So That’s What Winning Feels Like?? Oh Man..I Almost Forgot!!

The Knicks got exactly what they needed.  A win.  It wasn’t all pretty but it got the job done.  I liked the style of basketball Carmelo Anthony played last night.  He looked like he kinda sort of cared on the defensive end and on offensive he was aggressive in taking the ball to the hoop.  Melo took a season high 18 free throw attempts last night (making 16 of them).  This goes to show you that his mentality was to attack the basket off the dribble, rather than jack up three pointers all night.  He had a team high 29 points, but he shot a measly 33% from the field.  On the other hand, Amar’e Stoudemire was clearly the player of the game.  He had a season high 22 points on 9 of 10 shooting from the field.  His field goal percentage this season (56.9%) is well above his career average (53.4%), and he is dominating inside the paint offensively in his role off the bench.  If the Knicks want to contend in the Eastern Conference this year, they need Amar’e to continue to his efficiency on the offensive end.  As far as the Knicks defense goes, they looked like they played with more energy and intensity than we’ve seen in the recent past.  However, this team lacks that killer instinct that say a Kobe Bryant has.  They found themselves sitting on a 20 point lead early in the 3rd quarter, and they simply didn’t go for the jugular.  I would have loved to see them blow the 76ers out last night.  It would have sent a statement to the rest of the league, and would have built their confidence beyond belief.  The Knicks let off the gas pedal and let the 76ers back in the game.  This game shouldn’t have been nearly as close as the final score would indicate.  Now, the Knicks did win 99-93, but I would have liked to see them hold the 76ers to under 90 points.  The Knicks also continue to lack any type of consistency from their “shooting” guards.  Shumpert’s intensity was up on the defensive end last night, which was great to see.  However, he is clearly still out of rhythm on the offensive side of the ball.  He is not 100%, and he has no lift on his jumper.  I was watching the game last night and thought to myself, man it would be nice to see Iman Shumpert throw down a ferocious dunk and get the fans up out of their seats.  He does have amazing hops and is extremely athletic, and I look forward to seeing him get back to form and contributing on both sides of the ball. As for Jason Kidd, have you ever seen a veteran player in his 19th season look more uncomfortable shooting a basketball?  I mean when he is WIDE OPEN he doesn’t even want to shoot it.  However when he does decide to jack up an occasional shot, his legs flail out like Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance.  Kidd did grab 9 rebounds last night and play decent defense, but if he is going to be the Knicks starting 2-guard for the foreseeable future he needs to start hitting some shots. The problem the Knicks had last night in closing this game out was their inability to guard quick point guards (nothing new there).  Jrue Holliday carved up the Knicks, scoring at will.  He ended up with a game high 30 points.  The Knicks won the ball game, but they are lucky the game ended when it did.  If the game were just 3 minutes longer, I guarantee you they would have lost.  They need to carry some momentum from this win into their next game.  They will remain at home, but have a tough match-up against the Golden State Warriors Wednesday night.  Tune in to MSG @ 8:00 P.M. this Wednesday night to watch the Knicks continue their winning ways, hopefully.

Top 10 NBA Basketball Players of All Time

With all of the talk surrounding Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, it has inspired me to construct a list of the top 10 NBA players of all time.  This list will consider everything these players have accomplished up until the present day.  Since some players on this list are still currently playing, you must read this list as if the NBA were to cease to exist tomorrow.  Do not take into account the potential for what current players may still accomplish, as that would create a bias.  Since the association officially became the NBA (National Basketball Association) in 1949, there have been a host of amazing players to grace the hardwood.  However, there are always a small group of living legends that stand out from the rest.  Why do they stand out?  What makes them the best?  It is a combination of their physical skills, their ability to win, and their intangibles (such as heart, leadership, and will to win).  I will take all of these factors in to account.  Essentially I will be looking at the complete makeup of each player and what made/makes them an all time great.  So, without further a due, here are the top 10 NBA players of all time in order.  Let the debate continue.

I must start this list with the honorable mentions.  These men showed signs of greatness throughout their entire career, however they simply were outplayed by the 10 legends who made this coveted list.  We must pay homage to the men just outside of the top 10, for the game is where it is thanks to their contributions as well.  Here they are:  Hakeem Olajuwon, Lebron James, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Julius Erving, Karl Malone, and John Stockton.  Hakeem is #11 on my list by the slightest of margins.  Hakeem “The Dream” had the smoothest game for a center the game has ever seen.  Combine that with tenacious defense and you have one of the greatest players of all time.  Lebron James is #12 on my list.  Lebron when it’s all said and done will be undoubtedly be in the top 5 of all time.  He is a unique talent and if he can continue to pile on Championships and MVP’s could find himself in the top 3 players to ever play in the NBA.  Elgin Baylor, Karl Malone, and John Stockton fall into the same category in my mind.  If you never won a Championship you can’t be on the list.  Sorry.  The Mailman is the 2nd leading scorer in NBA history and his longevity was unmatched, however he had the unfortunate pleasure of playing during the MJ era.  Elgin Baylor was one of the most talented players to ever play the game, however was also very unlucky to play in the time of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.  Baylor made 8 NBA Finals appearances and came away empty handed every time.  Stockton is the NBA’s all time assists leader (and 2nd place is not even close), however the combination of Stockton and Malone that was so much fun to watch never could get past that Michael Jordan guy.  Dr. J would have been on this list if he hadn’t played 5 seasons in the ABA.  He did win 3 Championships in the ABA, but this is an NBA only list.  He was another innovator to the game and should not be overlooked when discussing the greatest players to ever play.    Lastly, Jerry West played along side Elgin Baylor for quite some time, but was fortunate enough to finally win a Championship in 1972.  He certainly will never be forgotten, I mean he is the NBA’s logo.  Now, here are the top 10 NBA players of all time:


10.)Tim Duncan (Timmy)

Currently in his 16th NBA Season – 20.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, 50.7 FG%, 69.1 FT%

This was by far the most difficult decision I had in putting together this list.  I found myself trying to decide between the careers of Tim Duncan, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Lebron James for the 10th and final spot on this list.  At the end of the day, the hardware speaks loudest.  Tim Duncan has very quietly had one of the most impressive careers in NBA history.  He is without question the best power forward to ever play the game (sorry Karl), and his nickname should probably be “The Bank”.  Have you ever seen anyone shoot a better more effective jump shot off the backboard than Tim Duncan?  Even if he didn’t dominate physically or find himself on highlight reels with flashy moves or dunks, Tim Duncan found a way to win consistently.  He won 4 NBA Championships, 2 MVP’s, and 3 NBA Final’s MVP, s.  He also won the Rookie of the Year, of course.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot yet another facet of his game that attributes to his greatness.  Timmy is one of the best defenders at his position in the history of the NBA.  He is the most soft spoken champion the game has ever seen.


9.)Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq, The Diesel, Shaq Fu, Shaq Daddy, Superman)

19 NBA Seasons – 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, 58.2 FG%, 52.7 FT%

The Diesel.  Enough said?  I think his nicknames speak for themselves.  Shaq was the most dominant basketball player the world had seen since Wilt Chamberlain.  Only Shaq was easily the most physically dominating force the NBA ever produced.  He was like an unstoppable wrecking ball that could only be slowed (or fouled), but couldn’t be stopped.  Watching Shaq play in his prime was something special.  He showed an amazing amount of offensive skills with a basketball for a man of his size.  He also won a few games along the way too.  He won 4 NBA Championships,  1 MVP, and 3 NBA Finals MVP’s.  It is also no surprise that he won Rookie of the Year as well.  I personally like Shaq more than Kobe, but Kobe gets the edge because he accomplished slightly more in his career than Shaq.


8.)Kobe Bryant (Black Mamba)

Currently in his 17th NBA Season – 25.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 45.3 FG%, 83.8 FT%

While there will only be one Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant has been the closest thing the NBA has seen since MJ retired.  Kobe Bryant is as talented a scorer as the NBA has ever seen, and he has been one of the best on ball defenders in the NBA since he stormed his way into the league.  And his desire to win and cutthroat attitude is unmatched.  He has always cared about one thing and one thing only; winning.  He has done plenty of that, winning 5 NBA Championships, 1 MVP, and 2 NBA Finals MVP’s.  Another one of the more difficult decisions on this list was deciding who had a more accomplished career, Shaq or Kobe.  They may hate each other and not want to sit next to each other in real life ever again, but they are forced to sit next to each other today, on this list.


7.)Oscar Robertson (The Big O)

14 NBA Seasons – 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 48.5 FG%, 83.8 FT%

When it comes to the legacy of Oscar Robertson, his numbers speak for themselves.  Oscar is the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for an entire season.  He is also the all time leader in triple doubles with 181.  That is a record that will probably never be broken.  Oscar Robertson, at only 6’5″ had the most well rounded offensive game the NBA has ever seen.  He is the most unfortunate soul in the history of the NBA though (him and Elgin Baylor), having played at the same time as Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.  If it wasn’t for them, Robertson surely would have added some more hardware to his trophy case.  He still managed to win 1 NBA Championship, 1 MVP, and the Rookie of the Year.


6.)Bill Russell (Bill)

13 NBA Seasons – 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 44 FG%, 56.1 FT%

Bill Russell will always be known as the ultimate winner.  He was part of the Boston Celtics teams of the 1950’s and 60’s that won 11 championships in a span of 13 seasons.  While he played with some great teammates over the years, he is regarded as the best defensive center of all time.  He is also one of the best rebounders in the history of the game.  It was mainly Russell’s intangibles, such as his leadership that made him stand out.  During Russell’s era they didn’t keep track of NBA Final’s MVP’s, however after the proper research I can safely say he would have won 4 NBA Final’s MVP’s.  In a time where Wilt Chamberlain dominated the NBA physically, it goes to show just how impressive Bill Russell’s Celtics reign as NBA Champions was.


5.)Larry Bird (The Hick From French Lick)

13 NBA Seasons – 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 49.6 FG%, 88.6 FT%

Larry Bird led the Boston Celtics to 3 NBA Championships in the 1980’s.  One of the most exciting times in the history of the NBA was the rivalry between Magic and Bird.  Larry Bird is regarded as one the best shooters and players in NBA history.  His heart and competitive spirit willed his team to victory over and over again.  Bird won 3 MVP’s, 2 Finals MVP’s, and Rookie of the Year during his career.  Bird had one of the most impressive all around games the NBA has ever seen.  He is the only player in NBA history to have career averages of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.  He is also probably the most underrated defender the NBA has ever seen.  He possessed the unbelievable ability to shut down the opponents best offensive player, and his anticipation on the court was unmatched.  Just like Magic and MJ, it is a shame Bird dealt with chronic back problems late in his career (he averaged over 20 points a game in the last season of his career), for if he hadn’t he could have added to his already stellar accomplishments.


4.)Wilt Chamberlain (Wilt The Stilt)

14 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 22.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 54 FG%, 51.1 FT%

One of the most difficult decisions I had to make on this list was Kareem vs. Wilt.  It is nearly impossible to definitively state who the best center in the history of the NBA was.  Wilt Chamberlain was one of the most dominant forces in NBA history.  He famously holds the record for most points scored in one game (100), a record I doubt will EVER be broken.  Chamberlain even averaged over 50 points for an entire season, another feat that will most likely never be accomplished (a season where he didn’t even win the NBA MVP).  It’s a shame that MVP’s were usually given to a player on the best team or a member of the championship team, because no one knows how many MVP’s Wilt could have won if the award was given appropriately.  Even with that obstacle, Wilt still managed 4 MVP awards, 2 NBA Championships, and 1 NBA Finals MVP.  Wilt was also one of those players who burst right on to the scene, winning the Rookie of the Year award.  It is difficult to place Wilt correctly on this list due to the difference of playing era and level of competition, however I guarantee if you put Wilt in the NBA today, he would still be the best center in the league (sorry Dwight).  Oh yeah, and as if all those statistics aren’t impressive enough, Wilt led the NBA in total assists for an entire season!!


3.)Kareem Abdul Jabbar (Cap)

20 NBA Seasons – 24.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.6 blocks, 55.9 FG%, 72.1 FT%

Kareem Abdul Jabbar was the centerpiece that the Lakers championships of the 1980’s were built around.  He was part of their 5 championship titles in the 80’s.  He also won a title with the Milwaukee Bucks prior to playing with the Lakers.  Kareem was the league’s MVP a record breaking 6 times, he won 6 NBA Championships while being named Finals MVP twice.  He was a true innovator to the game of basketball.  During his career, he perfected an unstoppable move called the sky hook and it helped him become the NBA’s all time leading scorer.  Kareem was a star from the second he entered the league and was named the Rookie of the Year (averaging 28.8 points and 14.4 rebounds).  Out of the long list of Kareem’s accolades, I find a center shooting over 72% from the free throw line most impressive.  He was an outstanding all around player, showcasing his offensive and defensive skills throughout his entire 20 year career.


2.) Earvin Johnson (Magic)

12 NBA Seasons – 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 11.2 assists, 52 FG%, 84.8 FT %

As the leader of the “Showtime” Lakers, Magic Johnson reinvented the fast break.  He was an innovative player who revolutionized the point guard position.  At 6’9” tall, Magic was a nightmare match-up for anyone who tried to guard him.  Well, they didn’t guard him they only slowed him down, sometimes.  Larry Bird was his most formidable opponent , but as we all know the Lakers got the better of that rivalry.  He brought power forward size and strength to the point guard position (and he even played center in an NBA Finals when necessary), and he is second all time (to Oscar Robertson) in career games with a triple double (138).  It is a tragedy that Magic’s career was cut short due to his battle with HIV.  Magic won 5 championships, 3 MVP, s, and 3 Final’s MVP’s in just 12 short seasons.  Just like Jordan, one can only imagine what he would have accomplished if he played another 4 or 5 seasons.


1.) Michael Jordan (MJ, Air Jordan)

15 NBA Seasons – 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 49.7 FG %, and 83.5 FT%

What can be said about Michael Jordan that hasn’t been said already?  Michael Jordan is hands down the greatest basketball player to ever walk the face of the planet.  He won 6 NBA Championships, 5 MVP’s, and 6 NBA Finals MVP’s.  Jordan won the rookie of the year award, he was a one-time defensive player of the year, and regarded as the best defender at his position in the history of the NBA.  One of the most impressive feats Michael ever pulled off was he was a perfect 6 for 6 in Finals appearances, and he NEVER allowed an NBA Finals series to reach a decisive 7th game.  If that is not the epitome of greatness; I don’t know what is.  What you also have to remember is that Jordan retired TWICE in his prime, which caused him to miss nearly five full seasons.  Just imagine if he never retired and played straight through the age of 40 (where he averaged over 20 points).  I think it’s fair to say he would have won at least 2 more MVP’s and 2 more titles.  All others can strive to Be Like Mike, but there will always be only one Michael Jordan.

Is This Rock Bottom?

This has to be rock bottom right? Well, I hope for the sake of Knicks fans everywhere it is. The New York Knicks put forth another lousy performance last night and lost to the Toronto Raptors (100-98). Granted the Raptors are 7-3 since Rudy Gay arrived, but they are still a team the Knicks should beat handily. We all know the Knicks weaknesses, but right now it’s more than that. They look wildly uninspired. They look like they could care less about losing basketball games night in and night out. Maybe it’s because they have been too busy complaining to the referees rather than focusing on playing basketball. The Knicks have now lost 5 of their last 6 games and are in serious danger of falling to 2nd place in the Atlantic Division. Carmelo put up his usual 32 points, but in my opinion he played his WORST game of the year. Do you want to know why? it’s because he doesn’t care!! He wants to be called a superstar, but he doesn’t want to do all the things that that title comes with. He is not a leader. He doesn’t rally his team and get everyone amped up. He doesn’t dive on the floor and do any of the dirty work. And he certainly doesn’t play the type of defense a superstar should be playing. Never in all my life have I ever seen a player completely give up on a play like Carmelo Anthony did last night. With just 6 seconds to go in the 1st quarter, Demar Derozan took the ball and drove the length of the floor for a layup. Carmelo Anthony was planted right under the basket in prime position to take a charge, try to block the shot, or at minimum take a foul and keep him from scoring an easy basket. So what did he do? Nothing!! He didn’t even pretend to swipe at the ball. He simply braced for impact to save himself from Derozan landing on him after the ball had already fallen through the hoop. I can’t come close to overstate how pathetic this play was. And that is the overall mentality of the Knicks right now. They look totally disinterested. As for Jason Kidd, he is not disinterested, he has simply lost any confidence he once had shooting a basketball. I mean the guy made his first two three pointers right out of the gate, and still had no plan to continue shooting. He had at least 5 wide open shots later on in the game, that he passed up and swung the ball to someone who wasn’t open. This team is in total disarray, and it all starts with the coach and his “superstar”. I’m done giving solutions to how they can fix their substitutions or play better defense. Of course we already know they need an interior presence who’s not 78 years old and a real 2-guard. However, even with their current roster, they just need a leader who is going to lead by example. They need a leader who is going to take this team and carry every last person on the roster through the finish line. Carmelo “well at least I score a lot of points” Anthony is not a leader.

NBA Trade Deadline in Review

The NBA trade deadline came and went without much noise.  All week Josh Smith’s name had been circulating in trade talks, and it all amounted to nothing.  Personally, I don’t understand why they didn’t deal him, as well as why the Lakers didn’t deal Dwight Howard.  Why would teams not trade players who are going to walk away in free agency at the end of the year?  Josh Smith is definitely leaving Atlanta, so the fact that they didn’t trade him is idiotic.  Dwight Howard may stay in Los Angeles, so I understand the Lakers keeping him in hopes to re-sign him at the end of the year.  The biggest name that was traded yesterday was JJ Reddick.  The Orlando Magic traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks, along with Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith for Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb, and Tobias Harris.  It was not a big trade by any stretch of the imagination.  However, the name of the game in the NBA is money money money.  Trades get made in the NBA once the money matches on both sides.  The Magic are in rebuilding mode (as they always are), and they were looking for some young talent which they received in Doron Lamb.  I think the Bucks got the better of this trade, with the addition of a solid perimeter shooter.  The New York Knicks did not make a big splash in the trade deadline either.  They traded Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 2nd round pick and a trade exception.  And we all know what the Knicks did next right?  Come on, it made so much sense.  You can’t think of it?  Okay, I’ll tell you.  They signed Kenyon Martin to a 10-Day Contract.  Yes!!!!  That is just what they need, another mid thirties player who if his life depended on it couldn’t stay healthy.  Now, if, and this is a BIG IF, he can stay healthy he will help out their front line.  He can add some much needed rebounding, defense, and toughness.  That gritty warrior’s mentality is what the Knicks are lacking, big time.  Overall, I’ll give the Knicks an average grade of a C for their trade deadline moves.  Even with the inactivity at the trade deadline, we should have some good competitive basketball to watch over the last two months of the season.  Enjoy!!

Quiet night in the NBA speaks volumes

In a quiet night in the NBA, we saw the Miami heat and San Antonio Spurs send a message to the rest of the league.  That message was: Watch out because here we come!  Last night the Spurs handily beat the Los Angeles Clippers on the road by 26 points!  The Clippers, like the Knicks, might have physically been on the court last night but mentally they were still on vacation.  Both the Spurs and the Heat are hitting their stride at the right time.  There is just under two months left in the season, and it is the perfect time to gain some momentum and carry it into the playoffs.  The Spurs have the best record in the NBA (44-12) by four games, and they have won 16 of their last 17 games.  So much for getting old huh?  The Spurs always seem to quietly plug along and put up consistently good numbers.  At this point, I think we can all agree that Gregg Popovich is the best coach of this era.  Was this a statement game or did the Clippers just take a night off?  Will the Spurs hold up come playoff time (unlike last year)?  I believe the Spurs are great, but I think they will meet a different Clippers team come playoff time.  And let’s not forget how impressive of a season Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are having.  Durant’s season is spectacular and is being wildly overshadowed by Lebron James’ performances.  When you get a chance, take a look at Durant’s numbers so far this season, and then take a look at a guy’s statistics in his prime that you may have heard of (A Mr. Larry Bird).  Eerily similar aren’t they?  With that being said, the Miami Heat certainly look like a championship caliber team, again.  Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and the Heat made the Chicago Bulls look like a Junior Varsity squad last night.  The Bulls only scored 32 points in the 2nd half of a very sloppy performance.  The heat did what they had to do and cruised to an 86-67 victory.  The Heat are playing great basketball right now (winners of their last nine games).  I believe if Dwayne Wade can remain healthy that the Heat will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals this season.  Will they win the championship again this year?  At this point, I think they will (even though I hope they don’t), however only time will tell.  We are heading towards the best time of the year in sports.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Sooooo….That Didn’t Go As Planned Did It??

WOW!!!!  Just when everyone thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.  I am not going to break down last nights game because I don’t want to make anyone sick to their stomach.  In case you missed it the Knicks lost to the Pacers by a score of 125-91, and have now lost four of their last five games.  Let’s just say it was ugly, pathetic, and the Knicks looked like they didn’t want to be out on the court.  After a nice week off for the All Star break, the Knicks looked like they were still on vacation.  With that being said, last night the New York Knicks looked like, well the New York Knicks.  As Knicks fans, we are used to this by now aren’t we?  I know I am.  They toy with your emotions.  They trick you into believing they are a complete team and they’ve put their woes behind them.  And then what happens?  They go through horrid stretches that make you wonder what’s next.  It may sound like I’m jumping ship, but I’m not.  Let me explain to you what’s happening with the New York Knicks.  They are a jump shooting team that has an affinity for three pointers, they play next to no defense, and they have a confused lineup.  Earlier on in the season the Knicks weren’t good, they were great.  This is because the three’s and jumpers were falling.  Jump shooting teams are streaky.  They lose games they have no business losing, and sometimes they win games they have no business winning.  Don’t be surprised if the Knicks turn this ship around and go on a nice little stretch in March.  Let me tell you something, that would leave everyone scratching their heads saying, who are the real Knicks?  This is because the Knicks, in March, play ten of their first fifteen games on the road.  I know you all feel like I did two months ago (as a Jets fan), and you believe Murphy’s Law is in affect.  However, it’s not time to give up, yet.  Like I said, they are a jump shooting team, and they will start falling again real soon (right Jason?).  Jason Kidd can talk about how rejuvenated he is after his week off, but I think he left his jump shot in Cabo along with his sunscreen.  All the Knicks need to do (besides trade for a power forward who can play defense and rebound) is stop playing one on one, get some ball movement, and play team defense.  I know that is easier said then done, but that’s what was happening at the start of the season.  And hey, guess what?  The more you move the ball the more open shots you’ll get.  The more open shots you get the more shots you will probably make.  More made shots = more points (I know that’s a wild concept).  The defense issue is the toughest problem to solve because you only have three guys who actually want to play defense on the roster; Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, and Ronnie Brewer.  Brewer never sees the light of day because he is more useless on the offensive end than George W. Bush in a library.  Shumpert is still not 100% and Woodson doesn’t seem to be his biggest fan.  And Chandler is doing his part, but he can’t defend five guys at once.  Finally, the lineup is as confused as Andy Dick (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  This falls on Coach Woodson.  I understand that Woodson needs to shuffle around the lineup when things aren’t going well, but he needs to find some continuity for the team to thrive.  It’s certainly not looking good right now, but it ain’t over til the fat lady sings, and I don’t see Rosie O’ Donnell anywhere so I think they have some time to figure this out.

Brooklyn’s Finest

If you missed that game in Brooklyn last night, you missed a thriller. The Brooklyn Nets pulled out an overtime victory over the Milwaukee Bucks thanks to Joe Johnson’s heroics. Let us rewind to the last two minutes of regulation. The score had been stuck on 101-100 (Milwaukee) since there was two minutes and nine seconds left in the 4th quarter. With just under thirty seconds left, Deron Williams drove to his left, drew two defenders at about five feet from the basket, and found Andray Blatche under the hoop. Blatche threw two pump fakes up before he got fouled going up to the basket. Blatche stepped to the free throw line and knocked down both free throws, giving New Jersey a 102-101 lead with twenty seconds left (Blatche came up huge in the 4th quarter scoring 10 points). Coming out of a twenty second timeout, Milwaukee’s Brandon Jennings (Jennings had a great game with 34 points) took the ball to the basket and missed a right handed lay-up, but Larry Sanders was there for the put back right at the rim. This gave Milwaukee a 103-102 lead with ten seconds left. After a twenty second timeout, the Nets inbounded to Deron Williams at half court. The ball was inbounded off a defenders leg and should have been a kick ball, however it went unnoticed. With Monta Ellis well within Williams’ three feet of personal space, Williams swung the ball past Ellis’ face and inadvertently struck him in the jaw with his elbow. The referee made an insanely late call, not blowing the whistle until Williams had passed the three point line. Now, I am in the minority that believes that fouls are fouls no matter when they occur. A foul in the first ten seconds of a game should also be a foul in the last ten seconds of the game. However, this call on Williams was a HORRIBLE CALL!! And on top of it, the call was made two hours late. This gave Milwaukee two early Christmas Presents, ahem, I mean free throws. Ellis knocked down both free throws, and put the Bucks up 105-102 with six seconds left. After another twenty second timeout by the Nets, the ball was advanced to half court. They inbounded to Deron Williams who quickly swung the ball to Joe Johnson at the top of the key, who caught the ball in stride, stepped up, and knocked down a three with one second left on the clock!! The crowd in the Barclays Center erupted!! With the Nets in celebration mode, the Bucks inbounded the ball and heaved up a three-quarter court shot that banged off the side of the rim nearly stealing an improbable victory. Off to overtime they went. It was a back and forth overtime, and Keith Bogans of the Nets kept them in the game with two huge three pointers in the extra frame. We’ll fast forward to a tie ball game (111-111) with five seconds left. Even though everyone and their mother knew Joe Johnson was going to take the last shot, the Bucks still allowed him to get the ball off the inbounds. Johnson drove the ball to the right, put a crossover through his legs back to the left, and off of one dribble he rose from 17 feet and drained a jumper right at the buzzer!! The crowd went wild, and the New Jersey Nets won a thriller over the Milwaukee Bucks 113-111.