New York Nine: The Coaches (7/23/11)

9) Peter DeBoer

DeBoer was just hired a few days ago. Let’s see if he can lead the Devils back to glory.

8) Jack Capuano

The Islanders had a nice little surge in the second half of last year, but Capuano and the Isles have proven nothing as of yet.

7) Mike D’Antoni

See Fire Mike D’Antoni.

6) Avery Johnson

He won the Coach of the Year in 2006, he made an NBA Finals appearance in 2006, and he had the guts to take over a sinking ship with the Nets. There’s not much not to like about Avery Johnson. I just wish he’d stop starting Stephen Graham.

5) Terry Collins

I really like what Terry has brought to the Mets this year, but let’s see how the Mets finish out the season. Collins’ real test will be next year, when he should theoretically have a better roster to work with, although I don’t think that will be the case at all.

4) Tom Coughlin

People are going to disagree with me for putting Coughlin this low, but I strongly feel he is the most overrated coach in New York. Under Coughlin, the Giants have often been good, but they’ve rarely been great. In seven seasons, Coughlin has only won four playoff games. Rex Ryan has won four playoff games in two years with a franchise that isn’t supposed to win anything.

Spin it any way you want, but his track record isn’t good when you’re talking about coaching what is supposed to be an elite franchise. Sure, he helped the Giants win Super Bowl 42, but he’s yet to win a playoff game any other year. Not only that, he’s let his team completely collapse over the past two seasons. Elite coaches aren’t supposed to let that happen.

Coughlin has also lost his players’ respect. His old-school style has caused players such as Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle to say they’d rather play for Rex Ryan. Not to mention the whole Osi Umenyiora fiasco that has gone on during the past few seasons. But perhaps Coughlin’s biggest mistake was essentially pushing Tiki Barber out the door. It’s safe to say that Tom isn’t exactly a guy that players are dying to play for.

3) Joe Girardi

Joe has been dealt a pretty easy hand in managing the greatest sports franchise in the world, but he’s done a pretty good job. Joe Torre was a pitiful manager in his last few years, and Girardi has undone his errors by doing things such as actually managing the bullpen. He also was the Manager of the Year in 2006 with the Marlins, proving he’d be great anywhere.

2) John Tortorella

Tortorella has yet to win a playoff series, but the Rangers have been an extremely competetive team the past two and a half seasons. He’s led the Blueshirts through injuries, controversies, and flat-out poor play. His fiery style makes him the perfect coach the lead the Rangers to the promised land in the near future. He’s also won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay, which is certainly a positive thing.

1) Rex Ryan

Rex took over a team that was supposed to be in a rebuilding mode and turned them into perennial contenders. In his first two seasons, Ryan made the playoffs twice and won a total of four playoff games. Under his guidance, the Jets should be Super Bowl contenders every year in the near future.

Did we miss anyone?  Is there someone we should have ranked higher or lower?  Leave us feedback here or on Facebook/Twitter.

Rex Ryan has turned the Jets into perennial Super Bowl contenders.

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Could the Knicks Acquire Kenyon Martin?

On the day after justice was served on a much bigger scale, we now must move on and talk about justice in a different sense.  After a rather mediocre 2010-2011 campaign, the Knicks must go back to the drawing board and make up for this lackluster season.  Quite frankly, the fans deserved better than this after two years of tanking and a decade of losing.  In a perfect world, the Knicks would get Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Deron Williams, and every free agent their hearts desired.  Unfortunately, you can’t re-build the Olympics team in the NBA.  So the Knicks must pick and choose.  One option according to LoHud is Kenyon Martin.

Often lost amidst the incessant talk of Dwight Howard this, and Chris Paul that, is the fact that the Knicks’ most glaring need this off-season is for players that come cheaply, understand their respective roles, and complement the existing roster.

And there isn’t much doubt that the player attribute that should be most sought after by GM Donnie Walsh is toughness.

A presence on the defensive end, a respected veteran that can that can hit a big basket when necessary. Someone who is entirely comfortable being just a piece of the puzzle at this stage of their career.

So might one of those pieces be Carmelo Anthony’s former teammate, and unrestricted free agent, Kenyon Martin?

It’s not so far fetched, if you believe what Martin told the Denver Post a few days ago:

“At this point in my career, I think winning and being part of a winning team is more important than starting,” Martin said.

Sure, Martin is no longer anywhere near the player he once was — and an argument can be made that he has always been overrated and under productive given his talent level (surprisingly just 13.5 PPG and 7.2 RPG for his career), but for 20-25 minutes a night, the Knicks could probably do worse.

Yes, he’s injury prone, and yes, he was something of a bad apple earlier in his career, but Martin does bring elements of intensity and “not in my house-ed-ness” to the table that the Knicks could use. And although Martin’s never been mistaken for an all-world defender, he’s better than any other Knick “big,” he’s is an above average passer, and he shot over 50% from the floor last season in Denver.

Much like how Bill Walker sometimes provided the 2010-11 team with an infusion of attitude, perhaps Martin can do the same.

Martin has ties to area — having been drafted by New Jersey 11 season ago — and he’s never been bashful about shooting, a quality that fits right in with Mike D’Antoni’s coaching philosophy. As a bench player capable of scoring when Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo are getting a breather or find themselves in foul trouble, why not?

Plus, he has lots and lots of tattoos.

If he’s willing to play for peanuts, and he truly just wants to be part of a winner — along with some like minded other players — Martin just might make some sense.

If Martin would take a one-year deal, I’d sign him in a heartbeat.  He not only would be a very useful player, but he would be a valuable trade piece in a possible deadline deal for CP3 or Dwight Howard.  Having watched Kenyon since his Nets days, I know what he’s capable of.  Obviously a lot has changed since then, but I think Mike D’Antoni could find a role for him on this team.

Could one of Melo's former teammates join him in New York?

Calipari Garden Bound?

According to a team executive, who knows a thing or two about a thing or two regarding goings-on behind the screens, believes Dolan may have eyes for John Calipari….to run the front office and coach.

Admittedly, I don’t know too much about college basketball, but anything is better than D’Antoni.  I’m done trying to defend him, he’s absolute garbage.  I want a coach who has a good chance at winning a title, not one who is concerned about proving that his fast-paced style of offense works.

 

WE PLAYOFFS NOW

It’s been a while, but somehow, someway, the Knicks are in the playoffs.  The past few seasons have not been easy.  Here’s a trip down memory lane.

The Knicks are a Joke

“Amar’e and Melo need time to learn how to play together.”

“They haven’t had a practice yet since the trade.”

“They have no size.”

“Fire D’Antoni!”

“This trade wasn’t made for this season.”

Really?

Knick apologists are hilarious.  They’ve been making excuses for the past ten years.  But there’s no excuse for how the Knicks are playing right now.  This team is playing with no heart.  We all know Melo isn’t Lebron, but he can at least turn up the level of his game in the last five minutes.  When other teams kick into second gear late in games, the Knicks sit back and play with no sense of urgency.

And don’t blame the coach.  Yeah, he sucks, we know.  But in the end it comes down to the players to play defense and make shots.  Yeah, a good system helps, but that’s not why the Knicks are playing so poorly.  I’d love to see him fired, but he’s not the problem right now.  And who else would you hire?  Sometimes the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know.

The Knicks have lost six out of their last seven.  There are no excuses when you have two superstars.  And Dolan is raising ticket prices?  Are you kidding me?  The Melo trade doesn’t even look good right now.  It may be a long time before the Knicks hang a banner at the newly transformed MSG.  And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wholeheartedly believe they’ll be beat to a championship once again by the Rangers.

 

A Rant About Mike D’Antoni’s System

I, admittedly, have never played or coached in an organized basketball league.  I don’t know a lot about coaching in the NBA, nor do I or would I ever claim to.  But every fan can see that there is something wrong with this Knicks team.  It’s not the players, as the roster has a lot of talent on it.  It’s not even Mike D’Antoni himself, as the Knicks do have some fantastic nights.  It’s D’Antoni’s system that is the problem.

The way the system is set up, there are three things wrong with it.

1) You need to shoot well in it, as the fast-tempo leads to a weak defense.

2) You almost have to go small in it, as big centers can’t run up and down the court as much as smaller, athletic players.

3) Because your defense is so poor, you have to hope the other team is cold.  If they are hotter than you, you can’t win.  However, you can be hotter then them and still lose because they played defense and you didn’t.

Make sense?  Can this system win a championship?  Maybe.  Once the Knicks can build a team as they wish in the offseason, I can see them being a lot better (and more consistent) then they are now.  But who knows, maybe this team gets hot and wins a championship this season.  Or maybe they get swept out of the first round.  You never know what’s going to happen with these Knicks, but buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Like I’ve said before, this rebuilding process was never about making the second round of the playoffs.  It’s about the parade down the Canyon of Heroes.  If Mike D’Antoni can win the Knicks a championship, he will be looked at as a legend.  If he doesn’t, his legacy won’t be nearly as great.  As a matter of fact, many will look at D’Antoni as the reason the Knicks didn’t win a title with Stat and Melo if they don’t win one.

Time will tell what D’Antoni’s legacy will be, but for now Knick fans have no choice but to put their faith in him.

The stars are in place, now the pressure is D'Antoni.

Knicks Need to Wait for Melo

As the reader probably already knows, there have been many rumors circulating about Carmelo Anthony and where he will be playing after the February 24 trade deadline. Some are saying the Knicks, others say he will remain in Denver, and I’m sure Chris Broussard is thinking that Melo will somehow end up playing in Chicago. As a die-hard Knicks fan, I do hope that Anthony does become a Knickerbocker but not at the expense of all of our young, talented players.

I am ecstatic about how this season has gone so far, especially after the 3-9 start. We had an eight game winning streak before we lost a heart-breaker, but still great game, to the Celtics. Some people say that we did not play a formidable opponent during that stretch but one still has to be impressed with how the Knicks have performed so far. Even though we have not been very impressive since then, I’m still happy. After LeBron and even Bosh announced that they would be taking their talents to South Beach, I’m sure that every Knicks fan thought that the past three years of “rebuilding” was a waste. Sure signing Stoudemire was good, but 2010 was supposed to be “the Summer of LeBron,” not “the Summer of Amar’e and Raymond Felton”….. Everyone probably thought that the Knicks would have another futile season, but they’re not. Sure we’re not a championship contender right now but watching these Knicks play, one can’t help to be excited about what the future holds.

Amar’e Stoudemire has, without question, been the leader of this Knicks team filled with young players. He has been a dominant player this season and, although he probably won’t win it, has to be put into consideration for the MVP award. How about Raymond Felton? Yeah his name was known around the league while he played in Charlotte but no one expected him to become the double-double threat every night that he has become. These two players help lead this team but they aren’t the only players who have surprised people around the league.

I think we’re finally starting to see what the Knicks saw in the players who they have drafted the past few seasons. Wilson Chandler has suddenly become a player who is a 20 point threat every night. Although he is a free agent at the end of the season. Danillo Gallinari has become a great shooter. Maybe when coach Mike D’Antoni said that Gallinari is the best shooter he has ever seen, he wasn’t that far off (he must’ve slept through the 90s, I wonder if coach has ever heard of Reggie Miller….). What about that kid from Stanford who everyone overlooked in this past summer’s draft. Landry Fields has started every game this season for the Knicks as a rookie. He has without a doubt been the Rookie of the Year thus far for the Eastern Conference, perhaps even the whole league if not for Blake Griffin (a controversial issue). Even Toney Douglass, who i believe is a 2 guard in a point guard body, has been contributing to the team.

Many people will probably disagree with me but I don’t think that the Knicks should trade for Anthony. Of course I want him in New York, he could be the key player who helps take the Knicks over the hump and turn them from a playoff team into a title contender, but we can’t get rid of our whole team for one player. Look at this team now. They play together with so much chemistry, THIS CAN’T BE MESSED UP. If they make this trade, it could possible set them back another few years. Teams aren’t just made of superstars, they need good role and bench players too. The Knicks aren’t built to win now anyway. Sure they’re a playoff team but are they really a title contender? If Melo really wants to only play for the Knicks like he has “said” then he has to understand that he has to wait this season out and sign with the team at the end of the season.

Watching some of these Knicks games I get the chills. I look at those stands and I see those fans cheering and screaming and rockin’ the Garden. I don’t remember a time when the Knicks were good, but I have watched games from the 90s and I’ve seen how crazy New York can get with a winning basketball team. If Carmelo can understand that he has to sign after the season, I think that New York Knicks basketball can return the way it was back in the 90s. Who knows, maybe we can even take it back to the 70s and win it all, but only if we can preserve our youth.