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BockerKnocker

J.R. Smith and the emotional anguish of the New York Knicks fan base

(Editor’s Note: Below is a full fledged breakdown from my man BockerKnocker, professed in a mid-day e-mail. I would like to stress that this wasn’t designed to be a post. This was merely a Knicks fan crying out for a better basketball world.)
 
When the companies in which I invest make poor decisions, I take my money out and put it elsewhere. When retail brands offer reduced quality in their products or services, I run to its competitors, almost as a form of punishment. And when girls start to realize that I’m not “the one,” I get out and move on. (This last one is only half true, but I attribute it 100% to emotional, and thus, irrational human error.) So why do I feel like I have to stick with the #sameoldKnicks every time James Dolan and the powers-that-be make a stupid decision?
 
J.R. Smith played this organization like a fiddle, delaying his knee surgery until after we rewarded his playoff free fall with a huge multi-year contract. So naturally, our response was to reward him further by rostering his D-League quality younger brother at the expense of a necessary extra big man. Did we not consider the fact that our bigs include the declining Tyson Chandler, the injury prone Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin, and the inept Andrea Bargnani?
 
Does Dolan think J.R.’s face is handsome, so much so that he can now get to see it twice by way of Chris’ exquisite new backpiece tattoo? Why is this happening?
 
Why can’t I drop the Knicks just like anything else? Am I scared of facing the torment of New York’s “true fans?” Why do true fans even exist? How many people reallocated their personal funds when our country’s credit rating was downgraded or when the market crashed? How many people voted for “Hope” and “Change” in the past two presidential elections because their needs weren’t being met? Isn’t being a “true fan” of America, i.e. an “American,” mean that we get to pick and choose our desires as we please?
 
I can’t take it anymore. I want to cheer for a well-run organization whose failures are only attributable to the risk and luck that is appropriate. Being involved in sexual harassment lawsuits, employing people that have ruined, nay, DECIMATED, the quality of the company’s product, and having the stubbornness to make me feel like this will all happen again, is not the profile of an organization that I want to support. I want to be a Spurs fan, damnit, but I can’t.
 
This is emotional torture.

 … Read more...

Accelerating the clock: New Orleans PELICANS Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Jrue Holiday, SG Eric Gordon, SF Al-Farouq Aminu, PF Anthony Davis, C Greg Stiemmsma
 
Key bench players: G/F Tyreke Evans, PF Ryan Anderson, SF Anthony Morrow, C Jeff Withey
 
Offseason additions: Holiday, Evans, Stiemmsma, Morrow
 
Offseason subtractions: PG Greivis Vasquez, C Robin Lopez
 
FACT OR FICTION: “New Orleans Pelicans” has a good ring to it.
 
FICTION. Let’s move on.
 
FACT OR FICTION: The Pelicans did the right thing by trading for Jrue Holiday.
 
FACT. Potential is a funny thing. It’s impossible to put value on an unknown, so it allows us to overvalue just for the sake of doing so. Nerlens Noel, drafted #1 overall by New Orleans but subsequently traded to Philadelphia, is brimming with potential, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Today’s rim protectors are more valuable than ever because the league is moving toward efficient offenses. For example, the pick and roll is designed to give the ball-handler a plethora of options that result in high percentage shots, such as layups, corner 3s, and any open shots that may force the defense to foul. Furthermore, pairing Noel with Anthony Davis would give the Pelicans TWO protectors, which is a sweet fallback whenever the opposing offense forces one of them into a high-PnR situation.… Read more...

Offseason, Strike 3: Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Starting Five: PG Jose Calderon, SG Monta Ellis, SF Shawn Marion, PF Dirk Nowitzki, C Sam Dalembert
 
Key Bench Players: G/F Vince Carter, G/F Wayne Ellington, F Brandan Wright
 
Offseason Additions: Additions: Ellis, Calderon, Dalembert, PG Shane Larkin, G Ricky Ledo
 
Offseason Subtractions: SG Ovinton J’Anthony Mayo, C Chris Kaman, PG Darren Collison, PF Elton Brand
 
FACT OR FICTION: The Mavericks are a playoff team.
 
FACT, barely. Honest admission? I actually wrote “Fiction” before seeing that not only the MAMBINO aggregate has Cuban’s boys in the 8-slot, but your boy BK himself slid them in at 7.
 
But a closer look has made me realize that the West, by virtue of various reasons, has become very top heavy this year. Unlike years past, there isn’t going to be a solid 9-seed this season. Dallas will sneak by with guile, with heart, and under the tutelage of the most underrated coach in basketball: Alvy, a one-time contributor to the MAMBINO team.… Read more...

Floyd Mayweather crossing the LeBron Line

Let’s get things started with a nice little disclaimer.
 
I absolutely despise Floyd Mayweather. Describing the reasons for doing so would just be a repetition of things that you guys already know.
 
So when taking my obvious bias into effect, if I say that Mayweather might be slowly crossing the LeBron Line, then you’d know that there’d be a lot of truth behind it.
 
The LeBron Line is the imaginary line that King James crossed when basketball fans outside of Cleveland substituted appreciation for its previous hatred. This past basketball season, LeBron submitted one of the finest basketball seasons of our generation. His offensive repertoire expanded again, and he completed the capture of my heart by becoming a defensive savant.… Read more...

Instant Trade Analysis: Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks

YOUR New York Knickerbockers get: An Andrea Bargnani Turd Sandwich
 
Toronto Raptors get: Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, and other pieces TBD (latest word is that it’s at least going to be the Knicks’ 2016 1st round pick, as well as two 2nd round picks).
 
New York has agreed in principle to acquire the #1 overall pick of the 2006 NBA Draft, a man who stands 7 feet tall, weighs 256 pounds, and is in shooting range once he enters the arena. “Il Mago” has an offensive repertoire that is prime for a 20-point scorer on any given night. He can space the floor for Carmelo Anthony and can prove to be a matchup problem for the defense.
 
In basketball, and in life, we evaluate everything with specifics. I chose a work commute that was approximately 7.89 minutes faster than the alternatives. People debunked (relatively) the financial advantage Dwight Howard would get in Los Angeles by crunching the numbers on how much he would save by playing in state tax-free Texas. And aside from the height and weight measurements I gave you on The Andrea Bargnani Turd Sandwich, the paragraph above mostly had to do with generalities. Generalities are what we fall back on when we can’t give specifics. If your per-36 numbers don’t jump off the page, then you still have a roster spot because of your potential. If your rebound rate is anemic, it’s because you play with glass monsters.… Read more...

The Curious Case of Carmelo Anthony

On Saturday, Carmelo Anthony attended a basketball game at Syracuse University. Although the game was memorable more because it was The Otto Porter Breakout Party, Anthony was in town to be honored by the team and school as one of its best basketball players of all-time, his number never to be worn by another Orange player.
 

NY Daily News


 
In 2003, my cell phone had an antenna, and the Anthony-led run by Syracuse culminated in a national championship. Every game was dominated by #15, as he played his way to Final Four MVP. The numbers were especially nice, as Anthony was a 20-10 machine with dreadlocks for days. But it was the eye test that confirmed the notion that Melo would be getting paid for playing basketball the following year. He bullied smaller opponents in the post and left bigger ones in the dust. He didn’t take games off and was especially active in coach Jim Boeheim’s roaming 2-3 zone defense. But most of all, he inspired his teammates, most of whom were older, to play with him, as opposed to playing alongside of him.
 
Anthony established a mature identity as a young Syracuse freshman, and his legacy remains significant today. 22 double-doubles on the march to his legendary coach’s only title was enough to cement his place in the hearts of the 35,012 strong that set a record at the Carrier Dome this past weekend. Yet Carmelo Anthony spent three of his NBA millions to build a practice facility that aims to produce the next of his kind. Carmelo Anthony isn’t just a hero in Syracuse; he’s a legend. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die. (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
 … Read more...

MAMBINO’s Pro Bowl Selections

It happens when Mike Antoni is prompted to talk about defense. It happens when an Asian student has to explain a B+ to the parental droids. It happens when you have to explain a mischievous deed to a significant other.

Rambling run-on sentences.
When you don’t know what you’re talking about or when anything you say won’t be believed, you may fall victim to over-talking and fail to use punctuation regarding tone and speed. I am certainly above such pedestrian nonsense, but rather than risk it, I present to you, the MAMBINO Pro Bowl rosters defined by best Youtube video.
Special thanks to my committee: Pucklius, who has staved off NHL Lockout-induced suicide for yet another day, and TuckRule, who is probably playing Madden to find a new NFL team to root for.

Players picked by Mambino but not chosen by the fans or the NFL are highlighted in bold.
Quarterbacks:
Tom Brady’s wife, Peyton Manning’s neck nerves, Andrew Luck
Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, The third version of Robert Griffin
Some people forget that she’s first ballot:
Running Backs:
Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice
Adrian Peterson’s drive, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin

If you ever need motivation for ANYTHING:
Wide Receivers:
A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Andre Johnson
Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, Vincent Jackson
This went from “subtle” to “awesome” rather quickly:
Tight Ends:
Heath Miller, Rob Gronkowski
Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten
Really hate that I’m posting videos related to THREE New England Patriots, but Gronk is just so damn likeable:
Check back in about 3 months when I refuse to do a traditional NFL Mock Draft.… Read more...

What’s the Deal with the Yankees?

If you didn’t think the American League East was the most loaded division in baseball, some of the teams did their very best to convert you. The Toronto Blue Jays acquired R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and everyone else on the Miami Marlins with a pulse, save for Giancarlo Stanton. The Tampa Bay Rays fleeced Kansas City for its famed minor league system, netting all-world prospect Wil Myers, ready-for-the-majors starter Jake Odorizzi, and project Mike Montgomery. Buck Showalter has proven that he can make lemons out of lemonade dog crap. And the hated Boston Red Sox beat the Yankees to the punch by trading away onerous contracts and starting over.

Before last season, I predicted that the Yankees would race to a great record because they would feast on inferior middle relief pitching, but ultimately would be outmatched by playoff aces. I’m not saying I’m the only one who forecasted that, but I like to give myself credit whenever I can.
Keeping that in mind, the Yankees will enter spring training with virtually the same infrastructure, only now, as the winter has played out, their divisional opponents have either upgraded their roster or showcased a clear plan for doing business. And then there’s the Yankees. If the Yankees had Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford on their roster, they never would have taken advantage of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ unquenchable thirst for a competitive team. The New York front office is in disarray, and here’s why:

Hal Steinbrenner is a numbers guy. His dad dreamed of trophies, but the contents of Hal’s dreams are only those that can within a spreadsheet. I picture him as the accountant that slobbers all over Ben Wyatt’s jokes:
General Manager Brian Cashman isn’t averse to the role of statistics, but isn’t a full on sabermetrics geek. He has always wanted to prove that he can win without the benefit of the Yankee treasure chest.
There are a couple of problems with the mindsets of each of these guys. Let’s start with Hal:
This cake has more personality than Hal.
Not only does Hal want to have his cake and eat it too, Hal wants a celebrity chef to make a wedding-sized cake with his name in big bold letters, and eat a slice of it while the majority of the cake melts all over his father’s tombstone. The roster is full of terrible contracts, and if Hal really wants to slide under the magic number of 189, then he should have been proactive in rebuilding the Yankees from the bottom up. Give more young guys a shot, dump salaries whenever possible, and use the treasure chest to offer draft picks big signing bonuses, rather than pay veterans for past performance. But Hal knows that the over-the-hill Yanks will always have what it takes to eke their way into the postseason. And a playoff team will always make money in the short-term. So, since Hal has taken the blasphemous-to-George path of running the franchise like a business and a business only, he is cheating the fans by giving them a conflicting plan. Winning is replaced by profits and losses.
Poor me, I have so much money!
Cash is one of the best general managers in baseball. He doesn’t pull of Andrew Friedman heists, but he gains value in deals that only make the front pages in the 5 boroughs. When the Yankees win, executives should get proper credit for assembling a championship roster, but in the Bronx, nobody gets credit when the champion craps dollar bills on the daily. Therefore, anybody can understand how Cash wants to prove his skills to the baseball elite. News flash for ya, buddy
Read more...

The Future of Manny Pacquiao

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people refuse to do something because they just “don’t have the time” to do it. Time is endless, and we have many choices of what to do with it. But we always possess the requisite amount of time to do anything. When we say that we don’t have the time to do something, what we are really saying is that we prefer to do something else with our time. Now, granted, if KOBEsh asks me to blog about the Knicks and I’m literally (correct use of the word “literally”) in a meeting, I may not have the time to do it at the present moment, but I can always make time to do so later. Show me the man who has absolutely no free time in his life, and I’ll show you a liar.

The Fighting Pride of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao, may seem to fit the bill. He’s an attentive Congressman on the islands, and when there’s a fight looming, no athlete in the world trains as hard as fighters do. But even Pacman can be seen playing darts with his posse, engaging in serious religious group study, and the like. To put it another way, it’s not that he doesn’t have time to sleep with groupies, drink copious amounts of alcohol, or throw money away at a casino. It’s that he chose to spend his time that he previously reserved for that past life, for the things that he currently does now.

So how does affect his choice to fight again?

When Juan Manuel Marquez defeated Pacquiao by knockout on December 8th, his elongated body plunged face-down into the mat, springing laughs, cries, and memes worldwide. After talking heads allowed the shock of the moment pass over, the first question they entertained, as always, is whether or not the beaten fighter will come back to the ring again.

And from there, the possibilities are endless. Is Pacquiao too old to fight again? Does he need to gain a competitive advantage the way Marquez allegedly did? Did he get knocked out because a religious life doesn’t allow him to have the drive to physically destroy an opponent?

When I ventured back into my parents’ country of origin years ago, I endured culture shock from beginning to end. As my family stepped into a car waiting for us, I saw many people walking to their next destination. As our car stopped at traffic lights and stop signs, people knocked on our windows hoping to sell knick-knacks and other various items that had a sole purpose of acting as legal tender. And whenever we had to step out of the car, a small child would run to us and stick his palm out for some coins, as if we were entering a live UNICEF commercial.

“You smell like America,” my father said.

__________

It would be ignorant of me to talk about the political structure of the Philippines. It would be similarly foolish of me to deny that a Pacquiao fight does not help the economy of a third-world country. But what I do know is that Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, once upon a time, looked at his busy schedule and decided to use his time to run for Congress. Pac himself used to be the little boy who tugged at my dry-cleaned pants looking for any way to make some extra money. By running for public office, he wanted to foster enough change so that there would be less Filipino boys and girls appearing on TV commercials that make you sad and sick to your stomach.

Merry Christmas Manny. Give your wife, your family, and your country what it needs, but not necessarily what it deserves (obligatory Batman reference whenever possible), and call it a career. Championships in eight different weight classes will defeat any argument that proposes to ta… Read more...

State of the Garden: Dolan’s Boys

I am a carbon copy of my father. It has nothing to do with the fact that my peoples all look alike (okay, maybe just a little bit). But it’s other things: we have the same mannerisms, we showcase the same stubbornness, and we make the same mistakes because we run through the same thought processes and use the same logic.

Similarly, YOUR New York Knickerbockers are a carbon copy of their illegitimate father, James Dolan. We know the story of Dolan already. The stupidity of the Isiah Thomas era, the botched handling of Linsanity, and the foolishness of JD and the Straight Shot all tell us that in spite of his obvious intelligence, the King of New York is too brash, too vindictive, and too ridiculous. We’re lucky that general manager Glen Grunwald has undoubtedly been the best executive in pro sports for the past two years (and yes, I’m including Presti in OKC, Buford in Santone, Baalke in Frisco, Friedman in Tampa, and any other executive who decided to take a job in the National Hockey League).

The Knicks are Dolan’s boys. Their attitudes and their play on the court, from superstar Carmelo Anthony to head coach Mike Woodson, give Dolan every reason to call the Bockers his team. Let’s take a look why:

The Technical Fouls

Anthony leads the league in technical fouls with 8. J.R. Smith and Rasheed Wallace each have 4. Including Woodson, the Knicks have gotten T’d up 24 times in 27 games.

NBA referees are horrendous. But they were horrendous during the days of Naismith’s peach baskets. They’ll continue to be horrendous in the future because a) the NBA doesn’t conduct a rigorous hand-eye coordination test to become employed, and b) referees are human. Even the most calm player will show a little emotion when there is a missed call or no-call, but the Knicks compound forgivable human error with unforgiveable human error. Exhibit A, Anthony against the Rockets last month (fast-forward to 1:20 if you’re so inclined):

Anthony’s blatant disregard to continue playing basketball does the obvious: the Rockets had a clear path to two points. But this and other reactions to referee mistakes has given the Knicks a terrible reputation. Many basketball heads point to the Knicks’ inability to get to the free throw line as a huge reason why the winning ways of the Bockers is unsustainable. But I counter by saying that Melo and Smith are just not getting the calls near the basket. Breen hammered on that point during yesterday’s game against Minnesota, that Carmelo is just getting beat up down low without the benefit of hearing a whistle.

The players’ reaction to non-calls, missed calls, and the technical fouls themselves portray Dolan-ing at its finest. When asked about the whistle-happy referees that ejected Tyson Chandler, Woodson, and himself against Chicago on Saturday, Anthony said:

“Sh*t happens.”

How lovely. Don’t blame it on the fact that we can’t control our emotions like rational adults. Blame it on someone else, it’s the Jimmy D way.

The Overconfidence

Dolan and Isiah, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. I’m all for standing by your boys til the bitter end, but the continued employment and affection for someone who torpedoed the franchise for years was comical. People are bad at their jobs all the time, and sure, Isiah should have been fired for that. But when Anucha Browne-Sanders filed an eight-figure sexual harassment lawsuit against Madison Square Garden based on Isiah’s transgressions (I love that word… Read more...