Saturday, January 24, 2015

"My 2015 Wishes for the Knicks" by Cboh

     The Knicks are a dumpster fire right now, an insult to everything that is basketball. However, in the NBA you have to get worse before you get better and the Knicks are finally doing that right. No more mortgaging their future for those quick attempts to remain relevant that always backfire. 
     The motto for this season has to be, “In Phil we trust,” which I do fully. As Jalen Rose loves to point out, there have been four men who have been in some way responsible for the majority of championships since the Bill Russell days. Those four: Red Auerbach, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich and, of course, our man, Phil Jackson. So he is a good person to put our faith in. 
     Trading J.R. Smith was a fantastic move that needed to be done, and while I have always been a fan of Iman Shumpert, he is an impending free agent who has always been somewhat overrated in the eyes of Knicks fans and will probably receive contract offers higher than he deserves or than the Knicks would have be willing to pay. They have gotten rid of almost every contract that goes beyond this season, will hopefully be able to  make some sort of deals involving Calderon and Bargnani, and are in position to get a top pick in the upcoming draft, one that has some prospects expected to be stars at the next level. 
     If all goes right, they will receive a top-2 pick and select either Jahlil Okafor from Duke or Emmanuel Mudiay, the explosive point guard who was tearing up a Chinese league before getting injured and has been receiving Russell Westbrook comparisons. Then, in my perfect dream world, signing Marc Gasol away from the Grizzlies is already a foregone conclusion. This would form a very solid core composed of the defensive leader and basketball genius Marc Gasol, offensive force Carmelo Anthony, who when paired with other good players has proven to be incredibly effective and a great teammate, and the young, raw talent of either Okafor or Mundiay. Whoever they pick will not have the pressure of carrying a bad team, but instead will be the incredibly talented X-factor on a veteran team, a la young Rajon Rondo on those great Boston teams. 
     They then fill out their roster with some veterans who will also be free agents this summer. Some players that are on my list of hopefuls are:
David West - He has a player option that he will most likely opt out of to get out of the tough Indiana situation. The guy is a battled tested, feisty competitor. While his skills might not be close to his once all star level, he is a type of player you want on your team in the playoffs and who puts his heart and soul into the game. 
Arron Affalo - Another player with a player option and a good chance of opting out. A fantastic shooting guard who has improved his game each season he has been in the league. The guy has great range and has willed himself to be a good passer and above average defender. 
Thaddeus Young - He will most likely be looking for greener pastures after playing last few seasons on the 76ers and now on the Timberwolves. A 6 foot 8 power forward who just flat out works harder than everyone else, he is a consummate professional who hustles on every play. The guy is a nightmare in transition and by all accounts an amazing teammate. A perfect glue guy/6th or 7th man on a team looking to contend
Brandon Wright -The perfect back up center. The guy is one of the most efficient basketball players in the league, always very near the top in PER. He would be a perfect back up for Marc Gasol and could easily fill in as starter when Gasol needed a rest. 
Thomas Robinson - The guy came into the league as a high lottery pick which he has greatly and spectacularly failed to live up to, bouncing around the league before landing in Portland for the past couple seasons. While he may be considered a huge draft bust considering where he was picked, the guy has settled into being a very capable role player who the Knick maybe able to get at a low cost, depending on what the Trailblazers decide to do with him. He is completely egoless and will do anything that is asked of him. The guy is flat out gritty, can bang on the boards, and you will never hear a peep from him whether he plays 20 minutes in a game or gets a DNP-coaches decision. 
     In my perfect, Knicks dream world, they will get a top 2 pick, sign Marc Gasol, have a rejuvenated and hungry Carmelo looking to prove himself as not just a scorer but a winner, and a roster filled out with some combination of talented, hungry, professional veterans along with youth who put winning above everything else. I truly believe Phil Jackson is the perfect guy to change this disaster of a season with a quick turn-around, creating a team ready to compete in the playoffs.