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Steve Novak

Knicks-Celtics thoughts going into Game 5

KOBEsh: In the midst of OT during Game 4, you texted me “We’ve had one good game all series. The Celtics are that terrible.” What in particular has been so awful about YOUR…New York Knickerbockers? And do you think this has any bearing on how far they can go in the playoffs?
BockerKnocker: For four straight games, the Knicks have depended too much on Carmelo Anthony. There is blame to be shared all around. Anthony demands the ball on every play, his teammates give in, and head coach Mike Woodson doesn’t do anything to stop it. It becomes much easier to defend a scoring machine when help defenders are focused on one player.
The Celtics are willing to let the other Knicks beat them, which is par for the course, but the problem with going through Melo on every play is that the guy gets fatigued relatively early. The PnRs with Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler have been rare; those plays enabled Melo to basically rest by spotting up from 3, where he shot a career high this season.
Why doesn’t Novak play with Carmelo? Most of the Discount Double Check minutes occur when Melo takes his early 2nd and 4th quarter rest. Novak’s help defender can never stray too far, while Felton and Kidd’s men will always take that risk.
This of course will impact how far they go. But let’s not put the Bockers in the 2nd round just yet.… Read more...

White American NBA Player Power Rankings, v. 3.0

If you’re a white American player in the NBA, it seems to me that you’re going to be one of two things: 1) a hustling banger big man down low who fights for rebounds, and gets most of his points through put-backs or dunks in transition or 2) a designated shooter who’s best strength is to move ever so slightly, catch the ball and shoot it from no closer than 25 feet.

Combing through all 30 team’s rosters just now, I found that what I felt was true actually wasn’t very far off from reality. From now on, we’re going to use these numbers and designate them to white NBA players, when necessary. Here’s a list:

1) Josh McRoberts, Tyler Hansbrough, Greg Stiemsma, BJ Mullens, Luke Harangody, Jason Smith, Nick Collison, Joel Pryzbilla, Aaron Gray

2) Troy Murphy, JJ Redick, Steve Novak, Kyle Korver, Ryan Anderson, Matt Carroll, The Immortal Brian Cardinal, Chris Anderson, Chase Budinger, Jorts

I don’t have an official count of white Americans in the league, but suffice to say that the 19 men I just listed above illustrates my point finer than a Norman Rockwell painting. They all have one thing in common: they’re role players. They have a specifically defined role, and for the good of the team, rarely step outside of it.

We’ve reached the end of the 2011-2012 NBA season, as brief as it was, and as we here at MAMBINO HQ give out awards such as Coach of the Year, All-Rookie Teams and All-Defensive Teams, we also have to finish out the these 66 games with White American Player Power Rankings, version 3.0.

Just like any season since 1961, compiling a top 5 has been a tough task in a mostly black league, but that’s why we’re here my friends; to do the dirty work. In case you want to check them out, here’s our first rankings, and then version 2.0. Let’s get to it:

1). Kevin Love

What strikes me most about Love is that while most of his caucasian brethren are so closely ratcheted to one of the two aforementioned designations for people of their pigmentation, number 42 has managed to take both roles and combine them together into a sublime hybrid of white glory. Whereas most players only have the skill set to either be a hustling rebounder or a long range shooter, Love does both better than almost anyone. He finished off the year scoring 26 points a game, with 13 boards (2nd most in the league, with the 5th most offensive rebounds), all while shooting an amazing 37% from beyond the arc.

When he was traded to the Timberwolves in a draft day transaction with the Memphis Grizzlies, most of us thought that Love would be glorified hustle player, whose effort and determination would get him by in a profession where most make it through athleticism and natural ability. I remember thinking that, at best, Love would end up having Brad Miller’s career, who with two All-Star appearances, isn’t a bad thing.

Kevin Love is going to end up finishign in the top 5 or 6 in MVP voting. Pretty good for the winner of the Young Burt Reynolds Facsimile Contest.

2). Ryan “The Assassin” Anderson

It’s ironic that the Magic just got rid of Rashard Lewis’ $121 million dollar deal, only to hand out what will probably be a 4 year, $45 million dollar deal to Ryan Anderson this summer. Yes, you’re only paying him for half the price for the same production, but you’re still also paying money to a power forward who’s just a tall designated shooter and has zero post game. Brilliant stuff, GM Otis Smith.

Regardless, Anderson is having a fantastic year and absolutely deser… Read more...