Tag Archives: tyson chandler

BREAKING: Tyson Chandler out 4-6 Weeks

Image

The Knicks have announced that All-Star Center Tyson Chandler has a small non-displaced fracture of his right fibula and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

This is obviously a huge blow to the team. Chandler is the team’s anchor on defense, and when he is not on the floor, opposing offenses are much more efficient. In addition, Tyson’s absence will be felt greatly on the boards and even on offense to some extent, as he is the main screener in pick-and-roll plays. You can take the it-could-be-worse approach, considering that Chandler will only miss about a month, but as we know, setbacks happen.

So what do the Knicks do now? Cole Aldrich will be activated immediately, of course. Kenyon Martin and Amar’e Stoudemire will have to step up and take bigger roles on the team, if their bodies are up to it. Chris Smith’s roster spot is in serious jeopardy as the team will almost certainly need to sign a big man. This doesn’t seem like a season-ender for the Knicks— at least, not if Tyson is actually only out for 4-6 weeks. But other guys— including Carmelo Anthony— need to step it up. If the Knicks continue to turn the ball over and miss open shots, they are in trouble.

Can the Knicks find a way to stop getting killed on the boards like they were after Chandler’s first-quarter exit last night? Can the defense tighten up? Can the team get back on track, or at least tread water until Chandler returns? We’ll see…

-Tommy Rothman

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NBA SEASON PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS: 2013-2014

By Tommy Rothman

melo james

Awards / Accolades

MVP: LeBron James

DPOY: LeBron James

ROY: Victor Oladipo

6MOTY: Tyreke Evans

COTY: Tom Thibodeau

MIP: Iman Shumpert

All-NBA First Team: Derrick Rose, James Harden, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard

All-NBA Second Team: Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love, Marc Gasol

All-NBA Third Team: Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, Paul George, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tyson Chandler

All-Defensive First Team: Chris Paul, Tony Allen, Paul George, LeBron James, Dwight Howard

All-Defensive Second Team: Mike Conley, Iman Shumpert, Kawhi Leonard, Serge Ibaka, Tyson Chandler

All-Rookie First Team: Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo, Ben McLemore, Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk

All-Rookie Second Team: Trey Burke, CJ McCollum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Bennett, Gorgui Dieng

Per-Game-Leaders:

Scoring Leader: Kevin Durant

Assists Leader: Chris Paul

Rebounds Leader: Kevin Love

Steals Leader: Chris Paul

Blocks Leader: Serge Ibaka

3 Pointers Made Leader: Stephen Curry

Field Goal % Leader: Tyson Chandler

Free Throw % Leader: Kevin Durant

TEAM-BY-TEAM PROJECTIONS

Key: # seed team name (Record) —- [seed last year]

Note: The 3 division winners in each conference are guaranteed a top 4 seed. If 2 teams have identical records, and one team is a division winner, that team gets the higher seed. If both teams win their division or if neither team wins its division, the team which wins the head-to-head matchup during the season gets the higher seed. If the head-to-head matchup was tied as well, whichever team has a better record against its divisional opponents gets the higher seed.

Eastern Conference

#1 Miami Heat (60-22) — [1 in 2012-2013]

MIA

Roster: Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Michael Beasley, Rashard Lewis, Chris Andersen, Mario Chalmers, Greg Oden, Roger Mason Jr., James Jones, Norris Cole, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Udonis Haslem, Joel Anthony, Erik Spoelstra (Coach)

The Heat looked suspiciously beatable at times last season against the Pacers and Spurs and struggled at times during the regular season to assert their dominance over teams like the Knicks. Of course, along with these “struggles” came a 27-game winning streak and a second straight championship (even if they needed a total collapse from the Spurs in the Finals), so there’s not much that anybody can complain about. LeBron James is by far the best player alive and is forcing his way into the greatest-of-all-time conversation (like it or not). Dwyane Wade may be a bit past his prime but is still a star, and he should be better than he was down the stretch last season after getting some treatment on and rest for his ailing knees. Chris Bosh is an all-star in his own right despite frequently being overshadowed by his two super-teammates, and the Heat have a decent supporting cast, one that is certainly good enough given how amazing their top three players are. The Heat may slip a bit this season, but are still the early favorite to win the East.

#2 Chicago Bulls (55-27) — [5 in 2012-2013]

dr

Roster: Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Mike James, Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, Tony Snell, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Marquis Teague, Erik Murphy, Mike Dunleavy, Nazr Mohammed, Tom Thibodeau (Coach).

I cheated a bit… I waited until the preseason was over to write my NBA preview. What I saw from Derrick Rose during the preseason was enough to convince me that former MVP Derrick Rose is back… and it’s about damn time. Rose looked as electric as ever in his return to the court, and if he can stay healthy, what was already a formidable squad without him returns to being an elite team in the NBA. The Bulls could make a serious run for the top seed in the East if Rose’s body holds up.

#3 New York Knicks (52-30) — [2 in 2012-2013]

mtc

Roster: Chris Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Kenyon Martin, Tim Hardaway Jr., Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Pablo Prigioni, Beno Udrih, Iman Shumpert, Toure Murry, Cole Aldrich, Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, Mike Woodson (Coach).

There’s a lot that can go wrong here, that is undeniable. What I don’t understand is the seemingly global assumption that everything will go wrong. The Knicks were the second-best team in the Eastern Conference last year, won the season series against Miami convincingly, finally won a playoff series, and may have gone farther had four of their top five players not battled injury during the second round against Indiana. Nearly all of last year’s team is back, and with the Knicks finally taking steps to avoid overworking Amar’e Stoudemire, this could be the year they finally keep him on the court for the lion’s share of the season. An injury to Anthony would probably sink the ship altogether, but with a bit of luck— hopefully more than they’ve had recently— there is no reason to think the Knicks can’t still be a top team in the East.

Note: An extensive Knicks Season Preview will be published later on New York Knicks Memes.

#4 Indiana Pacers (50-32) — [3 in 2012-2013]

IND

Roster: Lance Stephenson, George Hill, Luis Scola, Rasaul Butler, Solomon Hill, Orlando Johnson, Donald Sloan, David West, Chris Copeland, Paul George, Ian Mahinmi, C.J. Watson, Danny Granger, Roy Hibbert, Frank Vogel (Coach).

So apparently, I’m lower on the Pacers than anybody else is. The Pacers are a very good team, and might have made the Finals last season if they had bothered to stop the best player alive from getting an easy layup at the buzzer. But they were at their best during those three weeks against the Knicks and Heat, and because they were so good the last time we saw them, a lot of people are throwing out a much larger sample size: the regular season, during which Roy Hibbert, Paul George, and the Indiana Pacers were good… very good… but not elite. George and Hibbert are still developing, but I think both players are being slightly overrated as things stand right now. And after all that hype about Danny Granger’s return, the team announced that Granger will miss at least the first three weeks of the season. The Pacers were the 3 seed last year, and even though things really clicked for them in May and June, I’m not sold on them as a championship team just yet.

#5 Brooklyn Nets (49-33) — [4 in 2012-2013]

BKN

Roster: Andray Blatche, Mason Plumlee, Kevin Garnett, Alan Anderson, Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Tyshawn Taylor, Brook Lopez, Shaun Livingston, Tornike Shengelia, Reggie Evans, Jason Terry, Mirza Teletovic, Paul Pierce, Andrei Kirilenko, Jason Kidd (Coach).

The Nets managed to trade for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett this summer, which would be a lot more exciting if this were 2008. Still, while the two ex-Celtics are well past their primes, this team is dangerous, with a star-studded starting five of Williams, Johnson, Pierce, Garnett, and Lopez. But the team is not too deep, although Kirilenko was a fantastic signing, Evans is a terrific rebounder (if nothing else), and Terry might still have a bit left in the tank). And even the starting lineup gives me some concern… Johnson, Pierce, and Lopez are seldom willing to pass the ball, and Pierce, KG, and (to a lesser extent) Johnson are declining. Can their rookie coach make it work? This is a very good team, but I’m not sure I’m buying into the championship hype, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong here. And as far as their regular season record goes, Coach Kidd will likely give Garnett and Pierce a lot of rest in an effort to keep them fresh for the playoffs, and this could cost them a few wins in the regular season.

#6 Detroit Pistons (41-41) — [11 in 2012-2013]

DET

Roster: (Andre Drummond, Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, Tony Mitchell, Greg Monroe, Will Bynum, Gigi Datome, Kyle Singler, Charlie Villanueva, Jonas Jerebko, Peyton Siva, Josh Harrellson, Maurice Cheeks (Coach).

Just when I was getting excited about the Pistons, the team announced that new addition Brandon Jennings will miss several weeks with a tooth injury. Still, this team is much improved and should be solid this season. The starting lineup of Jennings, Billups, Smith, Monroe, and Drummond (if Coach Cheeks chooses to run with those five) is one of the best in the league, and Caldwell-Pope is one of my favorite rookies. The Pistons probably aren’t good enough to crack the East’s top five just yet, but they have a very, very good shot to finally get back to the playoffs.

#7 Cleveland Cavaliers (40-42) — [13 in 2012-2013]

2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

Roster: C.J. Miles, Jarret Jack, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Earl Clark, Matthew Dellavedova, Sergey Karasev, Tristan Thompson, Henry Sims, Anthony Bennett, Anderson Varejao, Andrew Bynum, Carrick Felix, Alonzo Gee, Tyler Zeller, Mike Brown (Coach).

Kyrie Irving is already one of the game’s best point guards and he is still improving. The Cavs have one eye on next year’s LeBron sweepstakes, but the team they have right now should be good enough to flirt with the 500 mark and make the playoffs. Irving is a stud, Waiters has great potential, Varejao is a top big man when healthy, and Bynum will be an elite player if he can stay on the floor. If Thompson can develop a bit more on offense, and Bennett can prove that he was the right choice for the top pick in this year’s draft, the Cavs could make some noise.

#8 Atlanta Hawks (39-43) — [6 in 2012-2013]

ATL

Roster: Jeff Teague, Louis Williams, Paul Millsap, DeMarre Carroll, Pero Antic, Jared Cunningham, Shelvin Mack, John Jenkins, Gustavo Ayon, Al Horford, Dennis Schroeder, Cartier Martin, Kyle Korver, Mike Scott, Elton Brand, Mike Budenholzer (Coach).

Paul Millsap was a nice signing, but the loss of Josh Smith will hurt the Hawks on both offense and defense. Teague is one of the more underrated point guards in the league and Horford is one of the game’s best centers, but the Hawks really don’t have much after those two and Millsap. Fortunately, in a top-heavy East, they might not need much more than that to make the playoffs.

#9 Washington Wizards (37-45) — [12 in 2012-2013]

WIZ

Roster: Trevor Ariza, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Marcin Gortat, Eric Maynor, Al Harrington, Martell Webster, Kendall Marshall, Kevin Seraphin, Glen Rice, Garrett Temple, Otto Porter, Jan Vesely, Shannon Brown, Malcolm Lee, Chris Singleton, Trevor Booker, Nenê, Randy Wittman (Coach).

The Wizards have a talented team but a lot of injury risk. Their recent trade for Gortat gives another solid frontcourt player to put alongside Nenê, and the backcourt of Wall and Beal will be exciting to watch. But until the key guys on this team show that they can be healthy and productive for a full season, I don’t trust them.

#10 Toronto Raptors (34-48) — [10 in 2012-2013]

TOR

Roster: Landry Fields, Quincy Acy, Austin Daye, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Dwight Buyck, D.J. Augustin, Amir Johnson, Steve Novak, Jonas Valanciunas, Rudy Gay, Terrence Ross, Aaron Gray, Tyler Hansbrough, Julyan Stone, Dwane Casey (Coach).

Last year’s trade for Rudy Gay gave the Raptors a go-to scorer and gives this year’s team a chance to compete for one of the final playoff spots in the east. Lowry is a pretty solid point guard, DeRozan is one of the most athletic players in the league and Valanciunas has terrific upside, but after those 4 guys, Toronto has almost nothing, and I don’t think that Gay, Lowry, DeRozan, and Valanciunas alone will lead this team to the playoffs… but they certainly have a chance.

#11 Boston Celtics (29-53) — [7 in 2012-2013]

BOS

Roster: Avery Bradley, Keith Bogans, Jared Sullinger, Jeff Green, Rajon Rondo, Courtney Lee, MarShon Brooks, Phil Pressey, Jordan Crawford, Brandon Bass, Victor Faverani, Kelly Olynyk, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Brad Stevens (Coach)

O, how the mighty have shipped their core to the Nets for nearly nothing in return! When Rajon Rondo comes back from his ACL tear (and nobody knows exactly when that will be), the Celtics might be decent, but until then, their best player is Jeff Green. This won’t go well.

#12 Milwaukee Bucks (26-56) — [8 in 2012-2013]

MIL

Roster: O.J. Mayo, Caron Butler, Ekpe Udoh, Nate Wolters, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, Miroslav Raduljica, Carlos Delfino, Brandon Knight, Gary Neal, Luke Ridnour, Khris Muddleton, Zaza Pachulia, John Henson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Larry Drew (Coach).

Milwaukee lost their two best scorers this summer when Monta Ellis left for Dallas and Brandon Jennings was traded to Detroit. Mayo can put the ball in the basket, and the defense, anchored by Sanders, might be decent this season… but the team has almost no depth and lacks star power, meaning they probably won’t be going anywhere.

#13 Charlotte Bobcats (22-60) — [14 in 2012-2013]

CHA

Roster: Bismack Biyombo, Jeff Adrien, Jannero Pargo, Ramon Sessions, Ben Gordon, Gerald Henderson, Josh McRoberts, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson, Brendan Haywood, Cody Zeller, Anthony Tolliver, Jeffrey Taylor, James Southerland, Steve Clifford (Coach).

Michael Jordan may have been the best player on the team last year, which is probably a bad sign given that the greatest player of all time is the 50-year-old owner, not the starting shooting guard. But the Bobcats should actually take a step forward this season, after signing star big man Al Jefferson and drafting one of the nation’s top bigs in Cody Zeller. Kemba Walker is electric, and Gerald Henderson is much better than most fans give him credit for. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist isn’t a star, but he is a pretty solid role player. Overall, the Bobcats could have a competent team this season. Of course, their standards for competence are lower than most.

#14 Orlando Magic (19-63) — [15 in 2012-2013]

ORL

Roster: Doron Lamb, Kyle O’Quinn, Aaron Afflalo, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Ronnie Price, Glen Davis, Tobias Harris, Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Maurice Harkless, Solomon Jones, Andrew Nicholson, Jason Maxiell, E’Twaun Moore, Jacque Vaughn (Coach).

Nikola Vucevic showed that he might have what it takes to become an all-star big man in Orlando before his inevitable defection to Los Angeles. Victor Oladipo is the early favorite for the Rookie of the Year award, and Big Baby Davis is a lot better than his nickname implies. Afflalo and Nelson are solid as well. But this team is still a work-in-progress. It has some potential, and their salary cap situation is very good, but they will need a couple more years of drafting and developing before they are relevant again in the East.

#15 Philadelphia 76ers (14-68) — [9 in 2012-2013]

PHI

Roster: Spencer Hawes, Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, Arnett Moultrie, Darius Morris, Tony Wroten, James Anderson, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Jason Richardson, Hollis Thompson, Daniel Orton, Lavoy Allen, Kwame Brown, Brandon Davies, Brett Brown (Coach).

The Sixers are really going for it this season. And by “it”, I mean the top pick in the draft. For the second summer in a row, Philly traded their best player for a big man with serious knee concerns. Not-So-Bold Prediction: It won’t work out this time, either.

Western Conference

#1 Oklahoma City Thunder (58-24) — [1 in 2012-2013]

durantwestbrook

Roster: Russell Westbrook, Perry Jones III, Nick Collison, Kendrick Perkins, Derek Fisher, Ryan Gomes, Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb, Steven Adams, Reggie Jackson, Andre Roberson, Thabo Sefolosha, Hasheem Thabeet, Kevin Durant, Scott Brooks (Coach).

Seriously, can you imagine if this team still had James Harden? Even without The Beard, this team is still very dangerous, with the league’s second best player leading the way. Durant will have to handle almost all of the offensive load until Russell Westbrook gets back, but a solid, deep supporting cast and a fantastic defense should keep this team very competitive before Westbrook’s return makes them truly elite.

#2 Los Angeles Clippers (57-25) — [4 in 2012-2013]

LAC

Roster: Byron Mullens, Darren Collison, Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Maalik Wayns, DeAndre Jordan, Jared Dudley, Jamal Crawford, Ryan Hollins, Matt Barnes, Reggie Bullock, Blake Griffin, Antawn Jamison, Willie Green, Doc Rivers (Coach).

Blake Griffin is pretty overrated, in my opinion… but as far as second-fiddles go, he’s one of the best in the league. Chris Paul is the star of this team and the Clippers managed to retain him this summer, meaning that they will once again be one of the league’s top teams. Eric Bledsoe is gone, but Jamal Crawford returns and new additions Jared Dudley, J.J. Redick, and veteran Antawn Jamison make this a very solid bench. This team is deep, has a pair of stars (including a top-five player), and is coached by one of the game’s best. They should challenge the Thunder and the Rockets for the West’s top seed.

#3 Houston Rockets (56-26) — [8 in 2012-2013]

rockets

Roster: Aaron Brooks, Isaiah Canaan, Patrick Beverley, Omer Asik, Greg Smith, Terrence Jones, Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Brewer, Dwight Howard, James Harden, Omri Casspi, Donatas Motiejunas, Chandler Parsons, Francisco Garcia, Robert Covington, Kevin McHale (Coach).

After years of failing to acquire a superstar, the Rockets had one fall into their lap last season when they fleeced the Thunder to acquire James Harden right before the season started. When one superstar is in place, others often follow, and indeed, the Rockets managed to win the Dwight Howard sweepstakes this summer, giving them the league’s best center to pair with its best shooting guard (players must have two functional Achilles tendons to qualify for this title). The supporting cast isn’t great, but its solid, with knockdown shooter Chandler Parsons, hustle-maniac Omer Asik, and Linsanity himself surrounding the two superstars. If Harden and Howard are healthy and motivated, this team will be extremely dangerous. If they have injuries, or Howard once again becomes unhappy and/or disinterested, there could be a problem.

#4 San Antonio Spurs (51-31) — [2 in 2012-2013]

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs

Roster: Kawhi Leonard, Marco Belinelli, Danny Green, Cory Joseph, Patrick Mills, Tony Parker, Jeff Ayres, Matt Bonner, Aron Baynes, Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter, Nando de Colo, Boris Diaw, Gregg Popovich (Coach).

Every year, we assume that this is the year the aging Spurs collapse, get proved wrong, and are forced to start the next season’s preview with this apologetic sentence. The Spurs should have won the NBA championship last season, but a complete meltdown in the final seconds of game six caused them to miss out on what may have been Tim Duncan’s final chance to get another ring. Each year, the collapse of the Spurs becomes more and more likely. I don’t think Tim Duncan will turn to dust this year, but with Ginobili seemingly on his way there, Duncan can’t be too far behind. Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard are younger and give this team some insurance, but to remain a top team, the Spurs need their 2 elder statesmen to hang on for another year. Fortunately for them, I think they have it in them… but the championship window has probably closed.

#5 Golden State Warriors (50-32) — [6 in 2012-2013]

GSW

Roster: Toney Douglas, Ognjen Kuzmic, Marreese Speights, Jermaine O’Neal, Nemanja Nedovic, Andre Iguodala, David Lee, Klay Thompson, Andrew Bogut, Kent Bazemore, Draymond Green, Stephen Curry, Festus Ezeli, Harrison Barnes, Mark Jackson (Coach).

Stephen Curry had a very solid regular season and a fantastic postseason, but most people are choosing to use the much smaller and slightly more recent sample size, which is why I believe Curry is slightly overrated. However, the Warriors are not a one-man team. David Lee is a very solid power forward, Klay Thompson is a fantastic shooter, new addition Andre Iguodala is one of the most versatile players in the league, Andrew Bogut is a very solid center when healthy, and Harrison Barnes has the potential to become a top scorer. This team is good. Very good, in fact. But I’m not so sure that they’re good enough to crack the top four in this extremely competitive Western Conference.

#6 Memphis Grizzlies (48-34) — [5 in 2012—2013]

New York Knicks v Memphis Grizzlies

Roster: Jerryd Bayless, Tony Allen, Mike Conley, Nick Calathes, Mike Miller, Quincy Pondexter, Tayshaun Prince, Jamaal Franklin, Jon Leuer, Ed Davis, Marc Gasol, Kosta Koufos, Zach Randolph, David Joerger (Coach).

This team is good, but not great. Marc Gasol established himself as a top center in the league on his way to winning the Defensive Player of the Year Award, and Zach Randolph can be very dangerous when his head, heart, and body are all in the game. But the guard play is a bit week, and last year’s midseason trade of top scorer Rudy Gay leaves a big hole in the offense which the Grizzlies failed to address this summer. The Grizzlies lucked out when Russell Westbrook went down with a knee injury, clearing a path for Memphis to advance to the Western Conference Finals (where they were swept aside by the Spurs). The Grizzlies made very few moves this offseason, and they should once again be a middle-of-the-pack team in the West’s top 8 during the regular season, after which they need to hope for another playoff run.

#7 Denver Nuggets (44-38) — [3 in 2012-2013]

DEN

Roster: Darrell Arthur, Jordan Hamilton, Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, J.J. Hickson, Danilo Gallinari, Nate Robinson, Anthony Randolph, Wilson Chandler, Andre Miller, Timofey Mozgov, Quincy Miller, JaVale Mcgee, Kenneth Faried, Evan Fournier, Brian Shaw (Coach).

The Nuggets had the Coach of the Year and the Executive of the Year last season… and they got rid of both. Color me slightly confused. In addition, Faried, a key part of last year’s team, appears to be a strong candidate to lose his starting spot to Anthony Randolph, despite the fact that Faried has been very solid since being drafted and Randolph has produced almost nothing. Add in the fact that Danilo Gallinari will miss a chunk of the season (at least) with a torn ACL, and the Nuggets are poised for a big drop-off in the improved Western Conference.

#8 Dallas Mavericks (41-41) — [10 in 2012-2013]

dirk

Roster: Shawn Marion, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Bernard James, Ricky Ledo, Jose Calderon, Jae Crowder, Monta Ellis, Devin Harris, Wayne Ellinton, Vince Carter, Gal Mekel, Brandan Wright, Dirk Nowitzki, DeJuan Blair, Rick Carlisle (Coach).

The Mavericks did everything possible to land Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, or even two of those three, and struck out entirely. Where do they go from here? Well, they started by taking big gambles on the next tier of free agents, handing out juicy contracts to Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon in an effort to give the aging, deteriorating Dirk Nowitzki one more chance at a title. The Mavericks should actually have a very solid offense, but the defense looks like it is going to be horrible, meaning that the Mavericks still have a few more moves to make.

#9 New Orleans Pelicans (36-46) — [14 in 2012-2013]

PEL

Roster: Al-Farouq Aminu, Tyreke Evans, Darius Miller, Anthony Morrow, Jeff Withey, Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Jason Smith, Arinze Onuaku, Brian Roberts, Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Ryan Anderson, Greg Stiemsma, Lance Thomas, Monty Williams (Coach).

If they can stay healthy (I’m looking at you, Eric Gordon), the Pelicans should be able to make a run at the playoffs. Holiday and Davis are very good players, and Evans, Gordon, and Anderson are very solid people to put around those two. The Pelicans have almost no depth, which keeps them from being a top team, but the core is very promising.

#10 Minnesota Timberwolves (35-47) — [12 in 2012-2013]

MIN

Roster: Alexy Shved, Gorgui Dieng, Robbie Hummel, Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, Chase Budinger, J.J. Barea, Corey Brewer, Nikola Pekovic, Shabazz Muhammad, A.J. Price, Kevin Martin, Ronny Turiaf, Dante Cunningham, Kevin Love, Rick Adelman (Coach).

Kevin Love is one of the best players in the NBA, but has had some problems staying on the court. If the Wolves can get a full season from Love and electric young point guard Ricky Rubio, they could be a dangerous team. The addition of Martin gives them a solid second scorer, and Nikola Pekovic is one of the most underrated players in the league. Muhammad and Dieng have upside but cannot be relied on. I have the Timberwolves pretty high considering their lack of depth, but Love is a true superstar, and when healthy, teams with superstars rarely have records much worse than this.

#11 Portland Trail Blazers  (32-50) — [11 in 2012-2013]

LIL

Roster: Damian Lillard, Dorell Wright, Wesley Matthews, C.J. McCollum, Will Barton, Meyers Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Earl Watson, Victor Claver, Joel Freeland, Allen Crabbe, Maurice Williams, Thomas Robinson, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum, Terry Stotts (Coach).

It would have taken a complete genius to predict that Damian Lillard would win Rookie of the Year last season over Anthony Davis. On an unrelated note, I predicted that Damian Lillard would win Rookie of the Year last season over Anthony Davis. The second-year point guard is exciting and should be a star before too long, and he is paired with one of the best big men in the game in LaMarcus Aldridge. Wesley Matthews is a solid role player, Nicolas Batum is a decent scorer, and Thomas Robinson is only one year removed from being a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The Blazers added two solid rookies in June; both McCollum and Crabbe have the potential to be special. This team has the potential to make a run at the 8-seed in the West, and would certainly make the playoffs if they played in the East. In the end, however, I think they will fall just a bit short unless they can pick up another star in a midseason trade.

#12 Los Angeles Lakers (29-53) — [7 in 2012-2013]

kobe

Roster: Nick Young, Jordan Farmar, Elias Harris, Shawne Williams, Ryan Kelly, Steve Blake, Xavier Henry, Chris Kaman, Steve Nash, Wesley Johnson, Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Kobe Bryant, Jordan Hill, Robert Sacre, Mike D’Antoni (Coach).

Choosing to employ an absolutely terrible coach instead of one of the best coaches of all time was certainly a gutsy move by the Lakers, but it didn’t pay off last season as Kobe and his five rings struggled to get into the playoffs. Kobe blew out his Achilles at the end of the season, Dwight Howard bolted for Houston in the summer, and Steve Nash is breaking down before our eyes. The Lakers are a long shot to make the playoffs, and depending on how long Kobe is out (it is clear that his hopes of playing on Opening Night were delusional), this could get ugly.

#13 Utah Jazz (27-55) — [9 in 2012-2013]

JAZ

Roster: Enes Kanter, Marvin Williams, Trey Burke, John Lucas, Andris Biedrins, Derrick Favors, Gordon Hayward, Ian Clark, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush, Rudy Gobert, Mike Harris, Jeremy Evans, Jamaal Tinsley, Tyrone Corbin (Coach).

Gordon Hayward has proven to be a very solid NBA player, and the Jazz have 2 big men with star potential in Favors and Kanter. The loss of Millsap hurts, as does Trey Burke’s injury which will keep the rookie guard out for the beginning of the season. The Jazz were decent last year but will almost certainly take a step back in 2013-2014. The future, however, is not all that bleak, with cap space and draft picks on the horizon.

#14 Sacramento Kings (24-58) — [13 in 2012-2013]

cuz

Roster: Ray McCallum, John Salmons, Jimmer Fredette, Patrick Patteson, Greivis Vasquez, DeMarcus Cousins, Ben McLemore, Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Thornton, Carl Landry, Travis Outlaw, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jason Thompson, Chuck Hayes, Hamady N’Diaye, Mike Malone (Coach).

The Kings actually have a somewhat acceptable amount of talent on the team, even after losing Tyreke Evans in free agency. DeMarcus Cousins is a headcase, but he is one of the best centers in the NBA. Still, there’s really not enough on this team for a playoff run to be remotely conceivable.

#15 Phoenix Suns (12-70) — [15 in 2012-2013]

phx

Roster: Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Ish Smith, Channing Frye, Markieff Morris, Gerald Green, Marcus Morris, P.J. Tucker, Archie Goodwin, Alex Len, Miles Plumlee, Dointe Christmas, Emeka Okafor, Sasha Kravtsov, Jeff Hornacek (Coach).

With the first pick in the 2013-2014, the Phoenix Suns select… Andrew Wiggins, Freshman, from the University of Kansas. Just kidding… the team with the worst record never wins the lottery. But seriously, this team is dreadful. They made a nice trade to get Eric Bledsoe, but traded away Gortat, and Dragic will probably be next. The Suns probably won’t break the record for worst winning percentage in a season, but they might make it close.

PLAYOFFS:

Eastern Conference Quarterfinals:

#1 Miami vs. #8 Atlanta

This one shouldn’t really be close…. LeBron isn’t going home in the first round.

Heat in 4

#2 Chicago vs. #7 Cleveland

Uncle Drew could very well match Rose point-for-point, but the Bulls are much deeper once you look past the star point guards.

Bulls in 5

#3 New York vs. # 6 Detroit

Both teams have fantastic frontcourts, but the Pistons are far less experienced and a bit weaker across the board.

Knicks in 5.

#4 Indiana vs. #5 Brooklyn

Easily the most intriguing series of the first round. Will the aging and injury-prone Nets still be healthy at this point? I’m not so sure, so I’ll give the edge to the home team.

Pacers in 7

Western Conference Quarterfinals

#1 Thunder vs. #8 Mavericks

Both teams have solid offenses, but the Mavericks can’t possibly hope to match up on defense.

Thunder in 5

#2 Clippers vs. #7 Nuggets

With Gallo back, the Nuggets should be better than your average 7th seed, but still not good enough to beat the Clippers.

Clippers in 5

#3 Rockets vs. #6 Grizzlies

Superstars win in the playoffs. The Rockets have two of them.

Rockets in 5

#4 Spurs vs. #5 Warriors.

I don’t think the aging Spurs will be able to keep up with the Warriors. But picking against the Spurs still makes me nervous.

Warriors in 7

Eastern Conference Semifinals:

#1 Heat vs. #4 Pacers

The Pacers should give the Heat another tough series, but Miami can’t possibly be foolish enough to take them lightly again this time around.

Heat in 6

#2 Bulls vs. #3 Knicks.

The Knicks struggle with guarding point guards, which gives the Bulls an edge in this physical matchup.

Bulls in 6

Western Conference Semifinals:

#1 Thunder vs. #5 Warriors

Once again, the Thunder’s defense will give them an edge against the more one-dimensional Warriors. This will probably be the most fun series to watch in the West.

Thunder in 6

#2 Clippers vs. #3 Rockets

Howard will be Blake Griffin’s worst nightmare if he hasn’t demanded a trade at this point. The inexperienced Rockets could fall apart, but I like them on paper if their shooters are knocking down the open looks once Howard draws the double-teams.

Rockets in 7.

Eastern Conference Finals:

#1 Heat vs. #2 Bulls

These two teams are pretty evenly matched, but the Heat have more star power, and as good as Rose is, it’s hard to pick against the King.

Heat in 6.

Western Conference Finals:

#1 Thunder vs. #3 Rockets

Between the two superstar duos, Harden and Howard probably fit together better than Durant and Westbrook. But the Thunder will have a superior supporting cast, and the best player on the floor when the game comes down to the wire.

Thunder in 7, but it was still a dumb trade.

NBA Finals:

#1 Heat vs. #1 Thunder (Heat have home-court advantage).

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With the Thunder’s core having developed farther, and with Wade having slipped a bit, this matchup should be much closer than it was two years ago… but I’m going with the same outcome in the end.

Heat in 7 

Finals MVP: LeBron James

There are so many elite teams this season, and so many young superstars. This should be one of the best NBA seasons yet, so enjoy the ride, whether your team is chasing an NBA Championship or Andrew Wiggins.

J.R Smith Might Crack the Starting Lineup. Will He? Should He?

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Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony, and Tyson Chandler will start for the Knicks this season. Beyond that, the rotation is quite unclear, but Knicks fans were given a bit of info on the situation Wednesday.

Knicks Coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday that there is an open competition between J.R Smith and Iman Shumpert for the starting Shooting Guard position. Smith had a great year last year, taking home the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, but flamed out in the playoffs (during which he battled injury, suspension, and himself). Shumpert missed the first couple months of the season recovering from an ACL tear and struggled a bit once he got back, but finished the season strong and had a solid postseason after regaining his explosiveness. Both players are battling health issues: Smith had knee surgery during the offseason and is expected to at least miss most of the preseason, while Shumpert has said he felt a bit of knee soreness (which he says was to be expected) this summer following his comeback from the torn ACL.

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Here’s what Coach Woodson had to say:

I’m going to let [Smith and Shumpert] fight it out… I want [Smith] to be past that Sixth Man. Let somebody else get the Sixth Man if he deserves to get that starting job. Last year was last year. Why not grant him that opportunity? That’s not to say he’s going to win it, but I’m not telling him he’s not going to start… [Starting] frees him up to maybe expand his game and be better for our ballclub. I don’t know, but we’ll see.

So who should start? Well, when both are healthy, Smith is clearly the better player (although Shumpert has great potential). However, putting Smith in the starting 5 instead of Shumpert could greatly hurt the defense Coach Woodson gets out of his first unit. Carmelo Anthony is a subpar defender due to a lack of effort, Raymond Felton is a defensive (albeit tenacious) defender at best, and Andrea Bargnani’s defense is atrocious unless his man is only a few feet away from the hoop (in which case it is actually very good, as stats have shown). And Tyson Chandler can’t do it all himself; taking Shumpert’s fantastic defense out of the starting lineup could be a huge mistake, even though Smith is decent on the defensive end.

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Another issue with starting Smith is his nature as a scorer. Carmelo Anthony is the main scorer in the first unit (as you may have heard), and the Knicks rely on Smith to give them a solid scoring punch when the second unit takes the floor. Putting Smith in the starting lineup would hurt the offense of the second unit. But starting Smith would increase the offensive production from the first unit, negating the negative impact on the second unit, right? Wrong.

Again, Carmelo is the primary scorer whenever he is on the floor. So when Carmelo is on the floor, this means 2 things.

  1. Anthony will have the ball
  2. Anthony’s teammates will not have the ball

You probably just nodded while reading those 2 things. If you happen to be Amar’e Stoudemire, you may have even let out a sigh. When Melo is on the floor, Melo is going to shoot, something which he has earned the right to do by establishing himself as one of the game’s premier scorers. But if J.R and Melo spend more time on the court together, it means that J.R Smith will spend more time doing what Iman Shumpert did last season: standing on the floor without the ball. Iman Shumpert is a much better off-ball player than Smith due to his unselfishness, athleticism, and most important his fantastic defense. J.R needs the ball to have a big impact on the game. Iman Shumpert does not. Therefore, I believe that Iman Shumpert is better suited for the Melo-led first unit, J.R is better suited to lead the second unit, and Coach Woodson would be wise to keep these things in mind.

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But who will start? Again, I say Shumpert. For one, Smith’s injury problems are larger than Shumpert’s right now. In addition, Smith will already miss the first 5 games of the season regardless of the state of his knees due to his suspension for violating the league’s recreational drug use policy. And most importantly, Shumpert started last year, and Coach Woodson is not a man who likes to change the way he does things. It is important to note that both players have indicated that they will be happy in either role, so hopefully team chemistry will not be affected by this competition.

Of course, there’s a chance that neither player starts if Coach Woodson goes back to those two-point-guard lineups. Pablo Prigioni, anyone?

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-Tommy Rothman

Knicks Memes Interview with “Friday Night Knicks Guy” Robert Randolph

By Tommy Rothman

 

 Robert Randolph is the leader of Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and was named as one of the “Greatest 100 Guitarists of All-Time” by Rolling Stone. Randolph is also a celebrity amongst Knicks fans. Randolph is a die-hard Knicks fan himself and has risen to fame in the Knicks community as the “Friday Night Knicks Guy” over the last few years. Every Friday Night on which there is a Knicks game televised on MSG, Randolph performs a game-tailored version of his song “Get There” (video above). While the song and the video are a nice, catchy part of the broadcast, Randolph has come under fire in the past due to allegations of him being a “curse”. Entering last season, the Knicks had had a losing record on Fridays for several years in a row, and every year since Randolph had joined the broadcast. Randolph promised he would do something about the curse, and he delivered; the Knicks went 10-6 on Fridays this past season. Earlier this week, I contacted  Randolph asking him if he would be interested in doing an online interview, and he kindly accepted. Here is what he had to say on the team, his career, the curse, and more:

Tommy (New York Knicks Memes): How did you get started in music? What made you decide you wanted to be a musician?

Robert Randolph (Family Band, Friday Night Knicks): I grew up in New Jersey playing music in church and in public schools, that’s where I had a chance to see and get involved in music.

Tommy: Aside from your business relationship with the Knicks, what is your backstory as a Knicks fan?

Randolph: I was born a Knicks fan, my father talked about Clyde Frazier and Willis Reed growing up. But I became a die-hard Knicks fan when Patrick Ewing and Mark Jackson got drafted. Mark Jackson was my favorite player growing up.

Tommy: How did “Friday Night Knicks” get started? Did you contact the Knicks or did they reach out to you?

Randolph: I have many fans that work for MSG, they used to come to a lot of my early shows without me knowing. In 2003, I met an employee named Sammy Steinlight, who had an idea when the Knicks were doing very [badly] in 06, 07 to create some sense of hope for Knicks fans. But apparently everyone started calling me “The Jinx”. [Laugh]

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Tommy: What is it like to be a part of the broadcast for the team you rooted for as a child?

Randolph: I love every minute of being part of the Knicks’ MSG family. I still get goose bumps every time I walk in the Garden.

Tommy: What is the strangest thing that has happened to you since you became “The Friday Night Knicks Guy” (aside from me asking you for this interview, of course)?

Randolph: Strangest thing [that] happens is when people who never bought any of my records or haven’t been to any of my live shows know me for just ” Friday Night Knicks.” [Laugh]

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Tommy: Do you think the Knicks will be able to play with the toughness they relied on in the late 90’s now that Kenyon Martin, Metta World Peace, Tyson Chandler, JR Smith, and others are all on board?

Randolph: The 90’s Knicks were the toughest team ever. Mason, Starks, Derek Harper, Oakley… even Xman McDaniel was a badass!! But these Knicks are a much more exciting team to watch and everyone is seriously underestimating how good [Andrea Bargnani] is!

Tommy: Focusing back on your career as a successful musician, what advice do you have for the several fans of our page who are trying to break into the industry as singers and rappers?

Randolph: Fans should just follow their passion and be themselves. Too many singers and rappers try to be like some folks they see on TV, and never get a chance to grow into the talents God has given them!

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Tommy: How do you feel about the state of the Knicks right now, both short-term and long-term?

Randolph: The state of the Knicks right now is all positive. We’ve added all the necessary pieces. I’m concerned about Tyson Chandler’s offensive inability to score, and Amar’e’s knees are a big concern, but Grunwald has provided insurance for both these scenarios. The Knicks will once again win the Atlantic and [they will] proceed to the Eastern Conference Finals this upcoming season!

Tommy: Would you ever consider featuring Knicks guard & rapper Iman Shumpert on a song, now that our other rapper—Steve Novak— has been traded to the Raptors?

Randolph: I would definitely do a hot song with Iman Shumpert! He is talented and everyone is raving about his skills.

Tommy: And now, the question that Knicks fans have all been waiting for. Before this season, the Knicks had never had a winning record on Fridays since you started the job. Many fans started talking about “The Friday Night Knicks Curse”. However, the Knicks went 10-6 on Fridays this past season. How did you improve your game to make this happen? Is the weight of the Knicks community finally off your shoulders?

Randolph: The reason the Knicks were losing, not only on Friday nights but all the time, was because of the sorry coach we had in [Former Knicks’ and current Lakers’ Coach Mike] D’antoni, he has an ego problem. He damaged the careers of Marbury, Eddy Curry and others, tried to do the same thing to Nate Robinson, who we see rose above all of that. And Pau Gasol now that [D’antoni] is on the Lakers… D’antoni should no longer coach NBA basketball

—— End of Interview —–

Randolph seems to have doubts about the true nature of the curse now that it has seemingly been broken. He also seems optimistic about the team. You can follow Randolph here, and buy his latest album “Lickety Split“, which is in stores now.

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Tyson Chandler 2012-2013 Highlight Reel

Dunks. Lots and lots of Dunks. And Defense. WARNING: jumpers not included. -Tommy

 

TC D

Which Knicks Will Be Back This Season?

By Tommy Rothman

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The Knicks head into the offseason with only 8 players under contract (not counting the recently retired Jason Kidd). Who will be back? Who will not? We go through every player on the roster.

Under contract

These players will be on the team unless they retire, are traded, or are released. 

Carmelo Anthony: Obviously not going anywhere.

Chances he is on roster: 100%

Mike Woodson: No way he gets fired before the season starts

Chances: 100%

Amar’e Stoudemire: We couldn’t get rid of him even if we wanted to.

Chances: 99%

Iman Shumpert: The team views him as a future star, would only trade him for a current one.

Chances: 95%

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Tyson Chandler: Good player, important to team. Trade value is a bit low, and contract is hard to trade, anyway. Would only be moved in a package for a star.

Chances: 90%

Raymond Felton: Good point guard, good contract. No reason to trade him, barring a surprise package for a big-time player.

Chances: 85%

Marcus Camby: We would probably love to get rid of his contract. But we probably can’t.

Chances: 85%

Steve Novak: Same contract problem as Camby, albeit probably a more useful player. But other teams could take interest as well.

Chances: 80%

James White: Could be a useful trade chip. His unguaranteed $1 million salary makes him an option for a team looking to save that amount of money (and cap space). Not very useful beyond that.

Chances: 40%

Jason Kidd: Already gone, released from his 3-year contract

Chances: 0%

Restricted Free Agents

These players are free agents. However, the Knicks can bring them back by matching any offer the RFA signs with another team, salary cap permitting. The Knicks are over the cap and do not have Bird Rights for either of their two RFA’s, so to match an offer greater than $1 million, the Knicks would have to dip into their $3.1 Midlevel Exception. To keep both of their RFA’s (or even just the second one on this list), it will likely cost them the entirety of their MLE.

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Pablo Prigioni: Knicks can probably only give him $1 million. Might be worth more, but likes New York, and has defined role here. Team may elect to take another point guard in the draft, which could mean the end of Pablo.

Chances: 50%

Chris Copeland: Worth more than Qualifying Offer of $1 million. Knicks can give him up to $3 million using their Midlevel Exception, which would probably prevent them from signing other Free Agents for more than the minimum. He wants  to stay, and it sounds like they want him back. Will probably receive bigger offers elsewhere, and probably more minutes. He reportedly turned down bigger offers last year to come to New York, and will need to do the same again.

Chances: 50%

Unrestricted Free Agents

These players are free agents and can sign with any team. The Knicks do not own the Bird Rights for any of these players, and they are over the cap. Therefore, they can only offer the minimum to Barron and Richardson. Martin will be offered the minimum, and probably a slight raise (around 20%) if they are allowed to use a Non-Bird Exception on him. Smith will be offered the Early-Bird Exception, assuming the Knicks want him back.

J.R Smith: Has clearly stated his desire to remain in New York. If the Knicks want to commit to him, they can give him around 6 million per year. Other teams might give him a bit more, but his unpredictability on and off the court probably keeps him in our price range. If we want him back, he should be back.

Chances: 80%

Kenyon Martin: Eligible for Vet’s minimum. Held out last year for a bigger contract. Didn’t work. He loves New York, will probably take offer of VM.

Chances: 70%

Earl Barron: Actually can be a useful big man, should be cheap. They should keep him. Not sure if they will.

Chances: 50%

Quentin Richardson: Can’t see the organization bringing him back. Not much upside.

Chances: 10%

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Draft Pick

Whoever we draft will be on the team unless we trade them.

Chances: 90%

Who should the Knicks bring back? Who should be sent packing? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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