On Tuesday morning, I got a chance to interview Metta World Peace over the phone. Metta, an NBA All-Star, Champion, and Defensive Player of the Year, had some great (and funny!) things to say. We talked about Pandas, name changes, Melo, the Knicks, teeth, China, shoes, Kobe, acting, wrestling bears, and more! Sit back, go ahead and give it a read, and enjoy!
The roof didn’t come off for Billy “Eugene” Faison during one of his four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, or at any other point during his 17 years (and counting) in the army. No, Billy’s lid popped on a cold December day in Indiana, as he watched the Knicks get absolutely decimated by a shorthanded Celtics team.
That 41-point beatdown came on December 8, 2013, one year ago today. The game was a rout from the start, arguably the worst showing in a season full of lackluster efforts for the Knicks. Nearly all Knicks fans were upset… but very few got as angry as Billy, whose tirade (which you can watch below, although be advised of the NSFW language) quickly went viral.
“I was just ranting like I always do,” Billy The Angry Knicks Fan told me when I reached out to him on the anniversary of his rant, “My homie who was behind me is actually a Boston fan. And truth be told, I had no idea I was being filmed til a few moments into the video.”
“They know I’m like this all the time, so Chanci always said he was gonna sneak one on me, so he did.”
Chanci, Billy’s friend and the man who filmed the video, provides a priceless, calm, running commentary which serves as the backup vocals to Billy’s rage.
As for the Knicks gear he buried in the snow (GIF above), Billy has yet to have a change of heart:
“Haven’t worn the shirt, hat or shoes since…I don’t know where the shirt and hat are, shoes are in the closet. Haven’t worn Knicks apparel since.”
The Knicks started turning things around about a month after Billy’s outburst, and salvaged a scrap of dignity with a strong second half, although they fell just short of the playoffs. But the Knicks are off to their worst start in franchise history this season, and Billy is as angry as ever:
“As a fan it looks like we are going through the motions, and this team on a nightly basis doesn’t believe they can win any game.”
“Basically it looks like the Knicks just go out there collecting a check,” said Billy, who cited JR Smith, Tim Hardaway Junior, and General Manager Steve Mills as the most frequent inducers of his wrath, while sparing the universally-admired Pablo Prigioni.
So here we are on December 8, 2014. Billy wasn’t a one-hit wonder. He still posts his angry thoughts on his Youtube channel, Facebook page, and Twitter. While many view his work as pure comedy, he raises many fair points, and as we celebrate the one year anniversary of his explosion, it’s frustrating to see that the Knicks, at least in the standings, are in an even worse place than they were a year ago.
The Knicks are about to get some much-needed reinforcements. José Calderón, who has missed the first 13 games of the season with a calf strain, is expected to return for tonight’s game against the 76ers. The Knicks traded their best defensive player, Tyson Chandler, for Calderón in the offseason, and as you would expect, the move has done more harm than good with the 33 year-old Spaniard sitting on the bench in street clothes. Calderón is a poor defender, but a strong offensive player and a fantastic shooter, so he should give the Knicks a boost as they continue to grapple with the Triangle Offense.
However, Andrea Bargnani, also expected to return tonight from his hamstring injury, suffered a calf strain of his own in practice today, and will not return tonight (or, one would assume, for at least a couple weeks, given the length of Calderón’s absence).
James Dolan is the latest sports owner to find himself in hot water. The Knicks owner is facing charges from the National Labor Relations Board claiming that he threatened, illegally, to withhold pay increases from employees unless they voted to quit their union. Dolan runs the Knicks, Rangers, and Cablevision. You can read more about the case here
By Tommy Rothman
The season is close. Very close. So for those of you who want to follow the team, prepare for the season, feed their excitement for the season, go to some games, watch some games, know what to look for, and have an easy page to reference, read on! This is an “article”, but it will also be posted as a PAGE on our website under the “2014-15 Schedule Guide” tab in our menu, so you can access it easily whenever you want!
This post has game-by-game previews, as well as other information you might want. AND, of course, some jokes!
So to see our schedule guide, click the “Continue Reading” thing, either here or right under the image of Melo below, and enjoy! (I don’t want to clog up the entire front page with one article). You can also just click the image of Melo below. (If you went straight to this article, ignore this paragraph)
Analyzing the Knicks’ qualifications
By Tommy Rothman
ESPN has just released their yearly “Ultimate Franchise Rankings” list, which ranks the 122 teams in the NBA, NFL, NHL, and MLB on a 9-category scale. The rankings implement both statistical data and survey responses from fans. (Link at the end of this article)
The Knicks were ranked 121st on this year’s list, ahead of only the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and directly behind the NBA’s reigning cellar-dwellers, the Milwaukee Bucks. Rounding out the bottom 5 were the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and the MLB’s New York Mets. The NFL’s New York Jets and the NHL’s New York Islanders also finished near the very bottom of the rankings.
The Knicks ranked last in both “Fan Relations” and “On-Field Player Effort + Off-Field Player Likeability,” second-to-last in “Affordability,” fifth-to-last in “Ownership,” 112th in “Title Track (championships won and expected during life expectancy of fans who responded),” 108th in “Coaching,” 91st in “Stadium Experience,” and 8th in “Bang-For-Buck,” leading to their ultimate ranking of 121 out of 122.
The Ownership ranking jumps out at me a bit. For one, the NHL’s New York Rangers rank much higher in Ownership, despite the fact that, unless I am mistaken, Knicks Owner James Dolan is also the owner of the Rangers. The Rangers also rank much higher in Fan Relations, which seems odd, and they are also significantly higher in Stadium Experience, despite the fact that the Knicks and Rangers share a stadium.
In addition, James Dolan has one vastly under-appreciated trait: his ability and willingness to spend money. Dolan is ranked as the 118th best owner. The Wilpons, who own the Mets, are ranked 119th. As a fan of the Mets, I can testify to the fact that the Wilpons’ tight pockets have sunk their franchise into the pit of despair and it is unclear when, or if, they will spend the money needed to put the Mets back into contention. Of course, the NBA has a cap and the MLB does not. But James Dolan wants to win. Many NBA owners make decisions that hurt their teams to keep their payroll low and stay as far away from the luxury tax penalties as they can. Dolan is willing and able to open up his wallet and, with so many owners who cannot say the same, I think he is deserving of a higher ranking than 118.
As for Player Effort and Off-Field Likeability, it’s hard to look at this when considering “Franchises,” because a team’s roster is one of the things that changes most often, as opposed to ownership, organizational philosophy, pricing, stadium experiences, etc. While certain players put in despicably low amounts of effort this past season, the most glaring examples are no longer on the team, and the Knicks aren’t particularly unlikeable off the court compared to some teams (for instance, all 32 NFL teams).
When it comes to Stadium Experience, the Knicks should probably be higher. Their arena is legendary. Things are pricy, but if you’re in the stadium it means you have and are willing to spend money on the Knicks (although the horrible affordability ranking is completely valid). The entertainment is good, the food is good, the atmosphere is terrific, and it’s right in the middle of Manhattan, rather than a swamp in New Jersey.
The Knicks are probably rated too highly in Bang-For-Buck, if I understand the category correctly. It seems that it is based off of how well the team turns the fans’ money into wins. The Knicks haven’t been very successful, and they certainly reel in a lot of money from their fans. So I would have thought that category would be lower… I’ll look into that a bit more.
I don’t think of the Knicks as having the worst Fan Relations in the league, but it depends how you look at it. The demand for tickets, merchandise, and everything else related to the brand is very high for the Knicks. Thus, they don’t need to be handing out free seats and hot dogs and t-shirts and jerseys, because people are willing to buy them. If you’re running things right in New York, you don’t have to be nice to make money. In a business, kindness is plan B (The aforementioned Wilpons are on plan B). However, the Knicks are not very open with the fans from a management and PR perspective, which is frustrating, even if it is somewhat understandable. I wouldn’t put the Knicks last in this category, but I wouldn’t put them very highly either.
As for Title Track, the Knicks are ranked far too lowly. A team in a huge market (again with the exception of the Wilpons) has an advantage over other teams in its ability to lure in, spend on, and retain top talent. Due to the salary cap, the shaky reputation of the front office (even with Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher— whose low coach rating can’t really be debated against without further evidence— newly on board), the Knicks aren’t as well-positioned as a big-market, properly-owned, non-capped team like the Yankees are to win a title. But they definitely have an edge over more than 7 teams.
Knicks fans are a bit disgruntled these days, and in an entertainment industry, the company charging through-the-roof prices isn’t going to be the most beloved when the survey responses roll around, even if people are willing to pay those prices. But their ranking as the 2nd-to-worst team in American Sports seems a bit harsh.
Rankings aside, the Knicks, of course, are the most valuable team in the NBA, and had the highest revenues last season. The fans who responded to the survey, and all other fans, are spending, and as long as the cash is flowing, the only thing for the Knicks to truly be worried about is their pursuit of a title.
You can read the rest of the rankings here.
The Knicks have used their $3.27 million Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception on big man Jason Smith. Smith, 28, played for the New Orleans Pelicans last season and averaged 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block in 27 minutes per game. The 7-foot, 240 pound Smith is one of the game’s top mid-range shooters and a capable team defender, help defender, and shot-blocker (although he can be beaten in 1-on-1 situations). Smith is also a 78% shooter from the line.
Smith was the Pelicans’ starting center until he went down with a knee injury in January. He has a chance to get some big minutes on this Knicks team, but he will likely have to compete with Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Samuel Dalembert, Jeremy Tyler, and Cole Aldrich. This signing likely spells the end for Kenyon Martin’s time in New York.
Smith should fit well in the Triangle Offense, in which bigs who can shoot fare far better than your typical slow, lumbering, mass-cultivators. With Smith, Bargnani, and Stoudemire, the Knicks have 3 bigs who can shoot the mid-range jumper. Smith is by far the best defender of the 3, although less of an offensive threat all-around than Bargs and STAT.
The Knicks had been reluctant to use their MLE because they often end up being multi-year deals, but New York was able to land Smith on a 1-year deal which will not eat into next summer’s cap space.
RealGM was first to report.