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Posts tagged “Iman Shumpert

5 Reasons the Knicks Will Win the Atlantic Division

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Hey Spike – it’s not a field goal.

If you are still reading this article after that absurdly bold prediction in the title, I appreciate it.  One can take a look at that heading and completely bash the article without even reading it but I can assure you that I have some facts, and opinions, to back it up.  The beginning of the Knicks season has been absolutely atrocious to say the least and they hadn’t given their fans any signs of hope until recently.  From James Dolan representing himself as the Jerry Jones of the NBA and the Knicks showing 0% of the team chemistry that won them 54 games and the Atlantic title last season, New York has been the laughing-stock of the league.  So with their star player with basically one foot out the door, why do I feel that these horrid Knicks will turn it around?  I’m glad you asked.

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THAT’S the court. The bench is the other direction.

1.  Texas Trip Turnaround

In the Knicks most recent 3-game road trip to Texas, every analyst predicted that New York would be manhandled from San Antonio to Houston and finally in Dallas.  If you watched those 3 games you would know that was clearly not the case.  Somehow, the injury plagued Knicks pulled off huge victories in San Antonio, which has been the hardest arena to play in during the 17 year Duncan Era, and Dallas, which is always a tough spot to succeed.  They did lose to Houston but only because of the bonehead play from Mr. Weed himself, JR Smith.  Regardless of the win-loss record from the 3 day trip, the Knicks were playing with a swagger that they had seemed to have lost since the end of the Celtics playoff series last year.

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I Man! You nobody!

2.  Iman Is Back!

Outside of Carmelo Anthony, every Knicks fan knew that for us to have a big season Iman Shumpert would have to live up to his potential.  Obviously, in New York Knicks fashion, trade rumors surfaced involving Iman within 2 days into the season.  That would rattle any athlete, let alone a 3rd year player who is entering his first full season after ACL surgery.  Now I am not placing all of Shumpert’s early season woes on rumors but it definitely didn’t help.  All of the energy we all saw last year seemed to have dissipated and the Knicks looked like they were stuck with a shell of the former Knicks Tape creator.  If you don’t know what the Knicks Tape is, here is a video that was made prior to the 2012 season:

This was the type of swagger that helped fuel the Knicks all last season.  In this most recent Texas trip, Knicks fans were delighted to see the artist formerly known as Iman playing like we knew he could.  I expect the second half of this season to be huge for Iman to showcase his talents.

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Okay, I get the whole “stay healthy” thing, but these vitamin pills a f$#%ing ridiculous!

3.  Getting Healthy is Key

Like most of the NBA, the Knicks have been hit hard with the injury bug.  Every single player, except for Andrea Bargnani ironically, has been sidelined with at least one injury whether significant or not.  As of this moment, only Felton and Prigioni are still hurt but rumor has it that Raymond will be making a reappearance soon.  I honestly believe that if Melo, Tyson, Shumpert and (laugh all you want) Stoudemire can stay healthy, then the Knicks pose a tough matchup for anyone in the league.  I wouldn’t mind if JR Suck goes down with a tattoo injury of some sort because he is the one player who just doesn’t seem to be able to get his shit together.

toure tim

Sitting is believing!

4.  Bench Energy

Over the past 2 seasons, the Knicks have had one of the deadliest benches in the game.  Their depth was so good that no one injury could really throw them off of their game.  Somehow, all of their depth vanished in a season where it looked like on paper they had gotten deeper.  Well, JR proved he really is just a punk with athleticism (yet Woodson still gives him way too many minutes), Prigioni wasn’t showing the comfort level he had last year and STAT and Kenyon were really showing their ages as the season began.  Even the acquisition of Metta Worldpeace didn’t pan out the way New York had hoped, but recently Knicks rookies Tim Hardaway Jr and Toure Murry have provided that spark that has been missing all year-long.  They add tenacity and Defense to a team that needs it oh so badly.  Kenyon has began to show glimpses of the guy who went to back to back NBA Championships with New Jersey and STAT is finally giving us some of those skills he paid Hakeem Olajuwon $200,000 to teach him.  As long as the bench can provide energy, the Knicks will win games.

taped5.  It’s the G-d Damn Atlantic Division

Let’s call a spade a spade.  The Atlantic division is a joke and no one should feel proud winning it but someone will and I believe it will be the Knicks.  With Lopez out for the season Brooklyn doesn’t stand a chance and there is no way that Toronto will keep up this type of play, especially when they trade away Lowry.  That leaves Boston and Philadelphia…enough said.   I am not saying the Knicks will win the Atlantic because they are a great team, I am saying they will win it because the rest of their division is pathetic!

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Iman Shumpert: Fresher Off the Court Than On

ImageMichelle Obama is putting out a rap album as part of her Lets Move: Active Schools initiative.  The program is geared towards solving the national problem of childhood obesity.  As somebody whose day job allows me to work with youth in the inner-cities, I know that putting out a hop-hop album is a great method for delivering a message to our kids. Run-D.M.C, Doug E. Fresh, and Ashanti are some of the acts that will be featured on the album, all of whom are successful artists in the hip hop industry.  However, the artist that struck my fancy the most was New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, who will have a track on the first lady’s album.

ImageNow as a Brooklyn Nets fan and Knicks “hater”, I have never been a huge supporter of Iman Shumpert.  Knicks fans have viewed him as the next big thing, and while I believe his defense is above average, to me he’s an athletic player who needs to improve his offensive consistency by a lot before he will be taken as a serious threat in the league.  I know Knicks fans want to believe he will come together like Paul George did for the Indiana Pacers, and maybe he will after he is more than a full season beyond his knee injury.  However, Knick fans were saying that Landry Fields was also going to be a huge building piece of the Knicks future, and then they let him go to a team within the division without making a completive offer to keep him.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see Shumpert have a similar departure if he doesn’t step up his scoring in a big way.

One thing I can’t knock about Shumpert is his rap game is really tight!  Last year, as he was recovering from a gruesome knee injury, he released the Knicks Anthem, which features his ability to flow.

Now a lot of athletes put out musical albums, thinking that their name and athletic ability will help their notoriety as a musical artist.  Shaquille O’Neal and Ron Artest are two examples of posers in the rap game.  The difference with Shumpert is that I believe that if he wasn’t in the NBA, he could possibly make it in the rap game as he is very skilled.

ImageOne of my favorite rappers today, Kendrick Lamar called Iman Shumpert out on his latest track “Control”, in which he mentioned every hip hop artist and the great Phil Jackson as well.  The fact that Kendrick Lamar even spoke Shump ‘s name shows the respect Iman is gaining in both the hip hop and basketball communities.  Later that day, Shumpert was the first to respond by releasing:

ImageSo while I don’t believe Shumpert is where he needs to be as an NBA player at this point, his overall ability as a rapper is unmatched in the world of professional sports.  Also, though I really do enjoy hearing him battle some of the best rappers in today’s game, (I think K. Lamar might be the best), what he’s doing with Michelle Obama is much more meaningful and shows Shumpert’s true character.  In a day where the children in our country do not engage in athletic competition like in generations past, it is vital that role models and celebrity figures step up and speak (or rap) the importance of being active.  So although I won’t be rooting for the New York Knicks this upcoming basketball season, I will be supporting Iman Shumpert and hoping that his offensive basketball game can approach the level of his rap game.


Silver Lining For New York Sports Fans

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and in front of every silver lining is a dark cloud…

As a huge New York Jets, Mets and Knicks fan, Monday was a very trying day for me.  Even though everything that could go wrong went wrong , I have taken more of an optimistic view over my three teams.  Yesterday, the New York Jets proved the world correct by finally ending what I consider to be the most pathetic and embarrassing season for a franchise that has been a joke for most of its existence.  The New York Mets became the first team since 1998 to trade away the past year’s Cy Young Award winner by dealing fan favorite RA Dickey to the Blue Jays (1998-Blue Jays traded Roger Clemens to the Yankees).  The New York Knicks had a visit from the most popular player in the league a year ago, Jeremy Lin, and got shellacked by him for the second time this season.  If you are a fan of any of these teams, or all three like myself, then Monday looked like and extremely rough day. I am going to explain why I feel there is a silver lining for each of these tumultuous events.

sanchez

Let’s wipe this dirty Sanchez off the face of the Jets once and for all!

Let’s start with J-E-T-S (Just End The Season); Thank God they did!  I have never in my life rooted for one of my teams to lose…except for last night.  The Jets have been an  absolute CIRCUS since the end of last season.  The acquisition of Tim Tebow was a mistake from the get-go and not once did the Jets and their coaching staff try to rectify that situation.  The pathetic Offensive Coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, was fired only to be replaced by an even worse one, Tony Sparano.  Mark Sanchez’s ability as a QB receded worse that Lebron James’ hair line.  The Jets had arguably the worst receiving core in NFL history and couldn’t develop a running attack against any formidable opponents.  So why was I rooting against the Jets yesterday, even with their playoff chances still intact if they had won?  Because it would have all been the same shit again next year if the Jets showed even the slightest bit of success.  With this mortifying loss on Monday Night Football last night no Jets fans will ever have to watch Mark Sanchez at the QB position ever again! Ii has been announced that Greg McElroy will start Sunday against the Chargers.  The Jets GM, Mike Tannenbaum, is either going to be replaced or he is going to be put on such a hot seat that he will have no choice but to fix this never-ending pile of issues.  The Jets need to be completely revamped and there is no way that would have happened without them losing last night so there is the silver lining.

lin

It was Linevitable that the Knicks would lose sometime…

My New York Knicks have not given their fans much to complain about this season.  They have the best record in the Eastern Conference and have looked like a title contender the whole year.  They have really only hit one speed bump this season and their name is the Houston Rockets.  The last time the Knicks had to worry about the Rockets was in 1994 when they met in the NBA Finals and went to an exhilarating game 7 which the Knicks inevitably ended up losing.  Ever since Jeremy Lin left the Knicks for a more than generous contract with the Rockets, there has been a target on his back.  Unfortunately for the Knickerbockers, that target was too small to see because for the second time this season, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets manhandled them.  I never had any ill will towards Lin once he left, especially because I knew what the Knicks overall plan was and he just wasn’t the right fit for Woodson’s game plan.  So what’s the upside to the Knicks losing twice to a supposedly inferior team?  First, the Rockets most likely won’t make the playoffs this year so the Knicks won’t be playing them again until next year.  Secondly, there was no way the Knicks were going to go 77-5 so we were bound to lose eventually.  Finally, the real silver lining behind this most recent loss at the Garden to the slightly above average Houston Rockets is that we now know exactly what we need Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire for.  Shumpert wasn’t really an issue but everyone was questioning where Amare would fit in and the truth of the matter is that STAT is an extremely talented player and in situations where Melo or even Tyson or Kidd or Felton are out with injury, STAT can be a viable option that can help earn that W.

mets

Like a sugar daddy getting his new arm candy, the Mets are putting their money into some young talent.

The New York Mets are very good at being very bad.  Outside of a handful of years that Mike Piazza was destroying anything in his way, the Mets have been completely irrelevant for nearly a quarter century.  Last year the Mets let one of their franchise’s greatest players ever, Jose Reyes, leave to their divisional foe, the Miami Marlins,  due to their money issues.  Worst part about that was that Reyes was coming off of his best ever year and the National League Batting Title.  Yesterday, the Mets completed a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays which ended with the reigning CY Young Winner and Mets fan favorite RA Dickey leaving after one of the greatest pitching seasons in NY Mets history.  So how can losing your best pitcher and biggest ticket attraction have any positives behind it? Well, I’ll start by saying that with or without Dickey, the Mets were not going anywhere any time soon.  Having said that, the Mets have no money and they need to figure out new ways to rebuild a franchise that does not have much going for it right now.  I feel that they did the right thing by signing David Wright for pretty much the rest of his career.  Now they have to figure out who will hit around him and what direction they want their franchise to go.  Between Wheeler and Harvey the Mets have some talented pitching coming up soon.  In the trade for Dickey, the Mets acquired arguably one of the best young talents in the Minors, catcher Travis d’Arnaud.  On top of that they saved a butt load of money and have positioned themselves to be a formidable opponent within a few years.  I see some bright things in the Mets future and I think it starts with Travis d’Arnaud.

So even if you are still having a hard time recovering from yesterday’s exhausting and trying events, just know that each of them have a silver lining and everything should be okay soon enough.


Building a Rivalry

If you are a basketball fan, then you were definitely tuned in for the first ever game between the newly formed inner-city rivalry New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets.  This was a make up game that was postponed due to the devastating destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.  One of the biggest questions heading into this contest was whether or not these teams could be considered a rivalry or not.  If it wasn’t a rivalry before the game, it sure as hell is now.  While the outcome of 96-89 win for the Brooklyn Nets was a disappointing one to Knicks fans like myself, the atmosphere around the game was absolutely brilliant for the NBA and especially New York.

My boy NYBobby recently wrote about how the Brooklyn Nets deserve more praise then they are getting for their impressive start the season (https://sports-debaters.com/2012/11/18/big-ups-to-brooklyin/).  I, of course, gave him a hard time and explained that to get quality press you must get quality wins.   Since that article, the Nets had a huge win over the LA Clippers, who are a top 3 team in the Western Conference, and last night they pulled out an even bigger win against the then Atlantic Division leading Knicks.  Now the Nets sit tied on top of the Atlantic Division with the Knicks and I feel that I owe them some recognition.  Clearly, the Brooklyn Nets are a team to recon with this season and while I still rank them behind the Knicks, the disparity between the two isn’t nearly what I thought it was.

Last nights game was a lot more then just a regular season win for the Brooklyn Nets and loss for the New York Knicks.  The game was played in the Nets new stomping grounds, the Barclays Center, and boy was it rocking.  The turnout for the game was way more electrifying then I thought it could be and both teams were represented well by their supporters.  While the commentators seemed to think the crowd was a 60-40 split in favor of the Nets, I thought it was 50-50.  There were actual points in the game where I couldn’t tell if a play went good or bad for the Knicks because they had an equal amount of fans and haters.  The stadium was a very unappealing mix of black, silver, blue and orange and the intensity was high.

Throughout the game, I was on the phone with Bobby talking about how exciting this regular season game was.  I rarely put much stock in any of the first 50 games of an NBA season as teams are just trying to find their footing.  That being said, the Knicks and Nets clearly new what this game could mean for the city and after the Nets big win, the city of New York now has 2 #1 teams to root for.  While I am Knicks fan through and through and I will never root against them, I do now have a small place in my heart for New York’s newest team.  New York has not had two quality teams in the same sport since the Subway Series between the Mets and Yankees back in 2000.  The Jets, Giants and even the forgotten Bills are never good at the same time, or in the Bills case…ever, and the Mets always seem to suck when the Yankees are thriving, which is almost always.

A lot of people are saying that the Nets and Knicks can’t be considered a rivalry because neither has been relevant in quite some time, but that’s not how I see it.  Knicks/Nets games has always been an important matchup on each teams respective calendars for a while now.  Just because neither team has been good recently shouldn’t take away from the intensity that both teams bring out of each other.  In their first battle as newly minted inner-city rivals, the two teams fought tooth and nail to earn a “W” and the Nets came out victorious in an exhilarating overtime thriller.  Sure, the Knicks were without Jason Kidd, Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire and the Nets were completely healthy, but I’m not an excuse maker and the Nets deserved the win.  Deron dominated Raymond and while Melo and Tyson had their best games of the season, it just wasn’t enough to defeat the scrappy Nets.

As tough as last nights loss was, I am very happy to know that the Knicks will not have to wait long to pay the Nets back with a taste of their own medicine as the two teams will face off once again on national television Tuesday, December 11th in the Barclays Center and then again on December 19th in the Garden.  Firstly, I want the Knicks to win because I just love the Knicks. Secondly, I want the Knicks to win to shut Charles Barkley and Shaq the hell up.  Congratulations to the Nets for their hard fought victory and I know I will be ready for another exciting game two weeks from today.  Sit back and enjoy the ride New York because it looks like our city has two teams that are looking to make some noise this year.


No More ‘Kidd’ing Around

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Stark raving lunatics

Let’s get something straight, I understand that the New York Knicks have not made it easy on their fans over the past 12 years but all the whining is getting old.  There are two types of Knicks fans in the world, one that bleeds orange and blue while keeping faith and supporting their team all the time, and the other is a pouting little bitch that complains about any move the organization makes and pulls their vintage Starks jersey out of the closet once the team starts winning again.  I understand the Knicks have been awful in recent years and they have been the comedic punching bag of the NBA for over 10 years, but unless you are blind you can’t deny the organization has been working their asses off to turn things around.

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Okay, let’s frame this action and track the lighting a little to center. Now do the right thing, and look towards camera 3 for the final shot.

It seems that all of these bootleg Knicks fan’s minds have been permanently tainted by the horrid dark years that  the moron Isiah Thomas was responsible for in the early 2000’s.  The fact of the matter is that the Knicks are not far off from becoming a contender once again in the Eastern Conference.  Sure in the last two season’s, the Knicks have been eliminated embarrassingly from the first round of the playoffs but there were outstanding circumstances that definitely were not in their favor. Between Stoudemire’s stupidity and an endless array of injuries, the Knicks really didn’t have a chance in either of those series.

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Terry Crews? Is he here for Spike?
Only Kidding.

In the Knicks most recent attempt to bring success back to the world’s most famous arena, they came to terms with Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks.  The second I heard this news I knew that every Knicks “fan” that has been drinking their ‘Hater’ade on a daily basis was going to come out of their shell to criticize this signing without thinking the move over.  What they see is a washed up point guard at the end of his career, what I see is one of the greatest point guards that the NBA has ever seen who is only 2 years removed from winning the NBA Championship as the starting PG.  I understand Kidd is not the player he once was, but if you honestly don’t think he can help improve the Knicks than you should take your head out of your ass.

Amare Stumblemire.

Will the Knicks treat Lin with Kidd gloves?

Let’s put it into perspective.  The Knicks have one of the most talented scorer’s in the world in Carmelo Anthony. They have the second best defensive Center in the NBA in Tyson Chandler, who just won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year by the way.  They have a highly talented and young Iman Shumpert, who definitely proved he can play with the big boys last season, and they are most likely going to retain the young phenomenon, Jeremy Lin.  Now I can mention Amare as a formidable player, but he has given me no reason to do so.
With all that being said, I have a few reason’s why this Jason Kidd acquisition will work in the Knicks favor.  If nothing else, Jeremy Lin will be able to play out his most impressionable years in the NBA under the tutelage of one of the smartest players to ever step foot on the hardwood.  Kidd also has proven chemistry with Tyson Chandler, as they were both integral parts around Dirk Nowitzki during the Mavericks championship run just two years ago.  Another positive that comes with Kidd is that he demands absolutely no offensive possessions, and in the isolation style of basketball that the Knicks play, that is very good news.  Those should be enough reason’s to get some of these haters to shut up for a moment.

Ja and Ty – the new Sons of Anarchy?

Now I am sure some of you will come at me with rubbish like, “well Melo and Amare can’t play together,” or “Lin was a flash in the pan and will suck now,” or even “Kidd is just going to be another Baron Davis.”  All I can say to that is that you should just wait and see because nobody knows for sure what’s going to happen.  I’m not an idiot, of course I would have rather had Steve Nash at the point, but once he was scooped up by the Lakers, Kidd was the next best choice and not such a bad one at that.  Unless you wanted the Knicks to resign Raymond Felton, they went with the right choice.  Mike Woodson will now have a complete off-season to get his team together and maybe build some chemistry that has been nonexistent for the past two years and if everyone can stay healthy the Knicks will be a team to fear.  Will the Knicks be on the same level as the Miami Heat?  Of course not, but no one will.  So all I ask is that all of you crybaby supposed Knicks fan’s just shut up and roll with the punches because I see good things ahead.