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James Dolan

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...

State of the Garden: To Brooklyn And Beyond?

Allow yourself to be a child again, and remember that one of the roughest moments of the Toy Story movies is when Buzz Lightyear finally realizes that he’s only a toy. Although, similar to other toys, he incredulously falls like dead weight whenever humans enter the room, it takes Buzz a while to realize that he can breathe without his space helmet, he cannot communicate with his home base, and he cannot fly. No matter how shiny his packaging is, he is still just like Woody and the gang. Each toy falls in line relative to the whims of Andy, and regardless of how much each toy is used, they are all part of Andy’s collection.

Buzz was pretty upset when he discovered the limitations of his powers. He almost let it get to him by becoming a depressing shell of himself, but he recovered in time to make the best of his situation. He didn’t go to the Vegas summer league and renegotiate his contract to put Andy in a worse position just because things weren’t perfect on the home front. But even if he did, the rest of the inanimate figurines would still be happy to play for the one team they’ve always known.

If you consider yourself a basketball one-percenter, then you may oftentimes refer to your NBA team as part of your family and friends, using a collective pronoun that implies shared feeling and experience. In reality, we all have the mental capacity to understand that we won’t ever don an official NBA (and coming in a year, 2×2 endorsed) uniform, we don’t employ agents or publicists, and for the most part, we actually are compensated at the level of our worth. However, we are justified in using “we” and “us” because we invest so much of our time and money for the right to feel the glory of a win and the immense pain of a loss.

As fans, we are YOUR New York Knickerbockers. We may be the toys that stay buried in the bottom of the treasure chest that never get to see the light of day, but we’re still there. So through all of our owner’s faults, if Jeremy Lin decides that Daryl Morey will provide a better home for him, it is our directive to stay home, even if the grass appears greener on the other side.

The Brooklyn Nets provide the alternative option for which a less headstrong Knickerbocker fan has been dreaming. Armed with a free-spending owner and a brand new arena, the Nets have put together a roster that will surely contend in the competition-starved Eastern Conference. But is that grass a true, solid green? Every single starter on Brooklyn (Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, and Brook Lopez) will form a tasty first 5, but all of them are overpaid, including D-Will. This has left the Nets with less money to spend on their bench. The Knicks, on the other hand, feature battle-tested veterans to provide much-needed depth; yeah they’re old and frail, but nobody will argue that Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, and Kurt Thomas can’t contribute to a professional basketball team. Brooklyn’s plastic seal hasn’t been lifted, so the new toy on the block is always intriguing. But I don’t know if that franchise provides the “greener” alternative. Green? Maybe. Greener? Questionable. It’s not puke-green, but it certainly isn’t money-green.

The most famous Mambinite of them all, Bill Simmons, gave his blessing for tortured Knicks fans to leave Manhattan this summer. As always, he put conditions on making a choice of free will, but I’ll take it a step further, and say that you can’t leave town. Not now… Read more...

Houston: Dolan Has a Problem

Before I go on, just get some background on what Jeremy Lin means to Mambino. KOBEsh and I experienced Lin’s 38-point effort against the Los Angeles Lakers, the peak of Linsanity, among fellow city-dwellers in NYC’s bar scene. (That’s bar scene, not sports bar scene.) Read his thoughts just hours after that game, and then come back here. Or don’t read it, but click the link. Because it’s ridiculous that the post, one of the best to grace TGM, is only 10th on the all-time list, trailing far-less deserving write-ups like Que-Ese’s on the NCAA bracket and my preview of the Exes season of MTV’s The Challenge.

Jeremy Lin is a popular guy these days. The Knicks have decided not to match Houston’s offer sheet, worth approximately 25 million dollars over 3 years. The pros and cons of retaining Lin’s services have been articulated far and wide, by minds with more sources and words with more eloquence than mine. As I’ve said plenty of times before, we strive to bring you Mambinites something that you may not find anywhere else; otherwise, what’s the point? If we only bring in the numbers from our friends and family, then we’re better off quitting.

To summarize, here are the major reasons for why YOUR New York Knickerbockers should sign Jeremy Lin for the next 3 years:

1. He is a marketing wunderkind. Madison Square Garden stock reached its high when Lin was ripping nets and dropping dimes to the surprise of nobody but himself. The Knicks, and the NBA, reached out to a demographic that had been relatively dormant since the retirement of Yao Ming, evidenced by merchandise sales, attendance at away games, and the exponential rise of Lin’s Twitter follower count. If you had listened to me and clicked on KOBEsh’s post, then you would have read that tapping into a new demographic would put a stamp on a race that has been looking for one since…ever. And the Bockers would always be associated with that. It’s more than just dollars and cents; it’s dollars and sense.
2. He is 23 years old. Many people like to point out the obvious deficiencies in his game: he’s not strong on the dribble, especially with his left hand; he has a propensity to turn the ball over when trapped by an aggressive defense; and he’s not exactly a lockdown defender. But…he’s 23! Why focus on the bad when there’s so much good? You’d be an idiot to think that a 23-year-old who’s willing to work won’t improve his game over the span of his career. Even in the Mike D’Antoni point guard-favored system, 15 ppg and 6 apg in 35 games is nothing to sneeze at. His per-48s look even better: 26 and 11. And then you stack that with the cojones that Lin displayed against the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks (28 and 14), and Toronto Raptors (game-winning 3 in Jose Calderon’s grill). I mean, just LISTEN to the crowd here:
3. The Knicks are not getting anything back in return for letting Lin walk! This will make me weep into my pillow every night for the foreseeable future. Why not match the offer sheet, and trade him? Would Houston really roll into the season without a point guard? Could Charlotte not use an influx of butts in seats?
But again, you could find those reasons everywhere else. Onto the good stuff:
I know it may be difficult to comprehend, but like all of you, I’ve made some decisions that weren’t so great.
Sad but true.
I’ve given the boot to dudes in my fantasy football league because they weren’t competitive en… Read more...