Filed under: NBA | Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets, NBA, New York Knicks, Sports, trade, Wilson Chandler
You hear that steady sound of wind whistling by your house?
No, that isn’t mother nature. It’s a collection of NBA fans exhaling after a multi-month soap opera involving Carmelo Anthony and a host of “unnamed sources” and franchise altering blueprints.
It is unofficially official(as of late Monday night) that Carmelo Anthony will be headed to the Big Apple. With him go Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, and Renaldo Balkman. While the Denver Nuggets part ways with the former face of the franchise, they will receive a plethora of players. Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, the Knicks 2014 first rounder, and the Golden State Warrior’s ’12 and ’13 2nd rounders.
Rumor has it Gallinari and Mozgov will be flipped to the New Jersey Nets, but for the sake of clarity we’ll focus solely on what this means for the New York Knicks.
Spike Lee will have a new jersey to sport.
Oh, you mean to tell me this has serious Eastern Conference playoff ramifications written all over it? I would have never guessed.
Joking aside, there’s two trains of thought when evaluating this deal from a knee-jerk reaction. There’s the “everybody wins” soccer mom approach, which essentially takes the deal with a grain of salt and realizes both teams cured a growing pandemic. But there is also an “empire” state of mind that the New York Knicks gave up too much for ‘Melo.
While I question aspects of the trade, there’s no denying the deal needed to be done. The Knicks needed to take another step towards revitalizing the Mecca of basketball, and the Nuggets needed to rid themselves of a lackadaisical superstar who clearly did not care about his team any longer.
The Knicks took roughly 53 points a game in 4 players and shipped it to Denver for 41 points a game in 2 players, (sorry Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman, you don’t make the cut.) The Knicks also traded a point guard having his best season as a pro for an aging veteran who is statistically having one of his worst. Both young swingmen in Gallinari and Chandler are gone, and an already weak front line becomes even more depleted with the loss of Timofey Mozgov.
But what the Knicks do acquire is a star. While Gallinari and Chandler may have everlasting “potential,” we know what Carmelo Anthony can do. Hell, we know what Chauncey Billups can do. While the logistics of Mike D’Antoni’s offense clashing with 2 superstars may have to be worked out, the fact is the Knicks starting lineup became a much larger headache for opposing teams.
Beforehand, the Knicks were nothing more than a first round playoff filler. Sure, excitement about basketball was back in New York but they weren’t seriously considered contenders. While the jury is out on whether this team is now a serious contender, the expectations rise. Any team which pairs Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire won’t tread lightly, which doesn’t bode well for the rest of the NBA.
But how much better is this new Knicks team?
If reports are accurate,(and I’m sure they aren’t) the Knicks would go into the 2nd half of the season without Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, and the aforementioned Knicks players. They would add the aforementioned Nuggets players as well as Corey Brewer.
on February 16th, the Knicks lineup was Raymond Felton/Landry Fields/Danilo Gallinari/Amar’e Stoudemire/Timofey Mozgov. Wilson Chandler, Ronnie Turiaf, Toney Douglas, and Shawne Williams were considered notable bench players.
When the Knicks take the court next, their lineup will consist of Chauncey Billups/Landry Fields/Carmelo Anthony/Amar’e Stoudemire/Ronnie Turiaf. Shawn Williams, Corey Brewer, and Toney Douglas will still be on the bench.
Undoubtedly, the Knicks improve their perimeter play. Carmelo Anthony brings 25 points a game, but more importantly playoff experience. With that comes the experience of Chauncey Billups, someone who knows how to play the game in important situations and can hit the big shot when called upon. Where Raymond Felton provides regular season triumph, Billups can conquer the playoffs. Where Gallinari and Chandler bring hope for the future, ‘Melo brings plain hope. Hope for now, hope for later, hope for everyone.
But will the Knicks be a Finals contender this season?
Unfortunately, that probably isn’t the case. As much as I like the direction of this team and feel they may be the next power in the East, they still have glaring issues. Ronnie Turiaf is not a starting center, he’s a great role player. The lack of depth behind the starting-5 in New York is scary, petrifying perhaps. They don’t have another center, or a defensive low post presence. In reality, the Knicks don’t have much defense at all. While Carmelo and Amar’e will shine in the regular season, I question whether they have what it takes to carry a team in the playoffs. The way I see it, both are more than willing to play Robin, but can either step up and provide the role of Batman?
The future is bright for the Knicks, but a lack of depth/talent surrounding their new fab-duo could haunt them come playoff time. Mike D’Antoni’s lack of defensive strategy might not be too great either, but that’s another blog for another time.
- Mark Chiarelli
You can follow Mark at http://www.twitter/com/Mark_Chiarelli.
Filed under: College Sports, NBA, NFL, Uncategorized | Tags: Basketball, Football, Golf, Hockey, NBA, NFL, NHL, Sports, TV, X-Games
Even though the Super Bowl is a week away, the present weekend at hand offers sports fans galore a plethora of viewing choices. 3 of the 4 major professional sports command your attention, college basketball is in full swing, golf has started up again, and extreme sports blesses us with its greatest spectacle. Without further ado, here’s what’s on tap for Sports fans this weekend.
Saturday, January 29
College Basketball: Many will just be getting into their day as Georgetown and Villanova take the air at noon ET. The Big East has displayed the highest level of men’s basketball this season, and this game figures to live up to the billing. Rivalries are our theme here on the Sports Blast, as North Carolina squares off against NC State following GU/NOVA. Both are televised on ESPN, with the battle of 2 Carolina’s at 2pm ET. One of the most intense rivalries in all of college sports tips off at 7 with Kansas State visiting Kansas. Kansas boasts one of the strongest home court advantages in the nation, but Frank Martin and Jacob Pullen look to overcome the KU backdrop. Our college hoops rating on Saturday? 4.5/5
College Football: College Football? The National Championship was almost 3 weeks ago! Don’t fret football fans, the draft nerds are here. And with them they bring the Senior Bowl, based out of Mobile, Alabama. The Senior Bowl pits the top seniors in the country against each other, as pro franchises generate scouting material heading into the April draft. The game kicks off at 4 on the NFL Network. 3.5/5
Action Sports: The Winter X-Games are back for a 16th season, and they’ll be on the ESPN family of networks all weekend. You can catch the X-Games at 4 on ESPN 2, and at 9 on ESPN. While the extreme sport activists will love this, I question if the X-Games can get any air-time from me on a busy weekend. 3/5
NHL: The SuperSkills Competition will take place in Carolina, featuring the bright young guns in the NHL. While it may not be the most popular of sports, true NHL fans relish this weekend, and more “regular joes” should as well. Many new faces who will soon dominate the NHL spotlight will compete with current stars. You can catch this on Versus at 7. 3.5/5
Notables: Strikeforce MMA will square off at 10 on Showtime, featuring Diaz vs. Cyborg. 3rd Round of the Farmer’s Insurance Open takes place, featuring Tiger Woods amongst others. Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley in a welterweight championship bout, pay-per-view.
Sunday, January 30
Action Sports: The Winter X-Games are back for day 2. They will air on ESPN at the 12:30, 7, and 11 time slots. All are Eastern Time.
Golf: The final round of the Farmers Insurance Open will air at 3PM on CBS. As a huge golf fan, I’m excited for the season’s infant stages and expect big things in 2011. Watch for Tiger Woods to be in contention. 3.5/5
NBA: The best of the best square off on Sunday in a double-header. Miami takes on Oklahoma City in a match up of young, evolving stars. LeBron James, D-Wade, Kevin Durant, and Russell Westbrook headline this 1PM start. At 3:30, the best rivalry in the NBA(maybe even sports) takes center stage with their first meeting since an epic 7 game Finals just a year ago. Yes basketball fans, it’s the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Boston will return to the scene of the crime, hoping for a better result than game 7. Both games will air on ABC. 5/5
NFL: Done with all of that? Perfect, because the Pro Bowl is on. While the Pro Bowl has been the butt-end of a lot of football jokes, it still displays many of the top stars in the NFL. This will serve as many fans football fix, and offers a unique mic’d up style atmosphere. Many fans will get to observe Bill Belichick up close. I’ll try to hold my attention through the game, I can’t make any bets. 3/5
NHL: Unlike the NFL, the NHL’s All-Star Game is often one of the most exciting games of the year. This years class is LOADED with firepower despite not having Sidney Crosby or Jerome Iginla. The teams will duke it out, matched up thanks to the All-Star Player Draft, held Friday night. Expect a lot of offense as well as true magnificence. You can catch the game at 4, on Versus. 4.5/5
While it may not dominate Sportscenter, this weekend’s crop of sporting events figures to be very interesting. On Saturday, I’ll focus most of my attention on the College Hoops and the Senior Bowl, looking to get a read on some of the top draft prospects. On Sunday, I’ll be backing my beloved Celtics at 3:30, while catching as much of the NHL All-Star Game as possible. I’ll get my football/golf fix in as well. Sunday should be great!
- Mark Chiarelli
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Basketball, Boston, Celtics, Kevin Garnett, NBA, Sports
Way to go ruin the New Year for me Kevin, nice work.
Seriously, if there is one thing the Boston Celtics could not afford to happen, it was lose Kevin Garnett. With Shaquille O’Neal, Semih Erden, and Jermaine O’Neal all missing time recently and nowhere near the perfect bill of health, it was crucial to have the one cog up front.
That cog was Kevin Garnett, and he has broken down(again).
Downplay the injury all you want. “They haven’t come out with anything yet, it isn’t his knee it’s just a muscle.” I’m pretty sure Doc Rivers has already gone into damage control, announcing that he has deemed this injury something he “isn’t too worried about.”
What? Did I catch that correctly?
Call me stupid, but I’ve seen this before. Kevin Garnett goes up for an alley-oop in 2008 uncontested and comes down with some type of knee injury. As if that isn’t enough, the Celtics turned into the New England Patriots of the NBA downplaying the severity of his injury for weeks. He goes on to miss 25 regular season games and all of the playoffs, seriously hampering the team in terms of production on both ends of the floor.
It’s also been noted that KG is not a quick healer. Look at last season, when it took him 3/4 of the year just to come “somewhat close” to playing at his old level.
The man has played 15 years in the NBA, nagging leg injuries are the last type of injury he should have to deal with. Just ask new teammate Shaquille O’Neal, leg injuries just aren’t the same as you get older.
Optimistically speaking, this isn’t the end all be all of the Boston Celtics. In 2008-09, the team went 18-7 without KG and reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. This year, the front-court is a lot deeper. Shaq, Erden, Jermaine O’Neal, and Glen Davis all play meaningful minutes. An addition by subtraction type deal will unfold in the coming months when Kendrick Perkins returns from his torn ACL.
If anyone is to step up it is most likely Glen Davis. Davis has redefined his scoring options, adding a much improved jump shot to his repetoire. He gives energy minutes and sizes up surprisingly well against bigger opponents. Obviously the man is no Kevin Garnett, but could fill his role if utilized correctly by Doc Rivers.
The biggest concern when losing Kevin Garnett is the leadership/intensity he brings on the defense. He is the floor general, commanding one of the stingiest defense’s in the league year in and year out. 6 million Glen Davis’ could not mask the fallout the Celtics will have on the defensive end without him.
Now I for the life of me hope that I’m wrong. Hopefully this is just a “calf-muscle injury” and KG may miss time this winter, but have ample game time to respond prior to the playoffs. This does not become a nagging injury like the last lower leg injury he suffered, and does not derail the explosiveness he’s regained for this season. Big Baby will fill in for KG proudly, and it will be a full team effort while the Celtics respond from injuries.
Alas, I’ve seen this before. And all the optimism in the world from the Celtics could not tone down the overwhelming feeling of concern. We’ve seen this before, it didn’t end well for KG. Maybe the most important stat missed in all this is that when KG has been in the lineup, this team has reached the NBA finals. Without him, can they seriously compete this season with the Magic or Heat?
Here’s to hoping the MRI reveals just a muscle strain!
- Mark Chiarelli