A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Knicks Are 0-5…Is Larry The Blame For This Mishap So Early In The Season?
SAN ANTONIO – The New York Knicks are 0-5 and head coach has no answers to the problem. At least that is what he has told the press as of late. Oh sure he has the credential to turn it around but now there are rumors swirling that Brown is unhappy with the team he has and he is ready to shake things up a bit. Trades are the order of the day but are they the true answer to Brown’s problem or simply a cover up to the fact that maybe this is going to be a more challenging coaching gig than first perceived? If you read the local and national fish wraps, you will notice that the only consensus that is out there is one that the Knicks haven’t changed their persona and that is where Brown must shine.
For the Knicks to get over this hump, it’s just a win one attitude that is needed. This team should have won their first game against Golden State last Sunday (81-83) and this past Friday (84-86). A four point total loss to the same opponent only a few days apart is not the way a coach should be managing the starting line up or his bench rotations.
“I thought it was desperate two weeks ago,” Brown said to assembled media. “I’ve been with a lot of teams that had bad starts, and I knew this team would.”
Now maybe it’s Larry’s paranoia kicking in again. After all Brown is as pessimistic coach as they come in this business. He’s about perfection and he thrives on making a challenging situation come out smelling like roses. There’s only one problem with this current situation. It stinks and no matter how pretty you make look like a pancake, put butter on it and pour Maine’s best maple syrup on it, the Knicks are exactly what they are right now; they look and play like ‘you know what’.
And thus the rumors then start flying about Isaiah Thomas wanting to trade away Malik Rose AND Stephon Marbury. Word comes out of the Big Apple that Marbury has questioned his coach’s rotations during key stretches of the game and many of the local folk who cover this team are beginning to echo that sentiment. I watched this team’s lost to Portland and I also began to wonder maybe everyone is right about Brown’s coaching decisions. In one play while the team was on offense, it seemed as if Jamal Crawford couldn’t get the team to get proper spacing to run the offensive sets in question. It wasn’t just Crawford however; it was the whole team and thus they lost 114-100. The same formula happened against the Warriors on Friday as I listened to the game while on my way back home from an outing of watching the Washington Wizards basically throttle the defending champs. For the Warriors it was another win against the hapless Knicks. For the Knicks, more mental mistakes. In this case 19 turnovers that allowed a poor shooting Warriors team to hold on to a two-point victory.
So what is it then, why is this team having such horrendous issues so early in the season when even they know that they should at least be at the 2-3 mark? Could it be that Brown is trying so hard to right the ship that he has the screws on entirely too tight? That’s going to be my guess on this matter but the true answer will come if the Knicks can defeat the Sacramento Kings on Sunday in Sac-Town and then the Utah Jazz (4-3) on Monday, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers who are at .500 at the time of this writing. Then follow that up with the Denver Nuggets who are 2-4. If the Knicks are looking for a win then they should be aiming for two wins against Western Conference teams that are currently down with a win over the Kings and a possible win over the Nuggets.
But the order of business win just one and worry about another later. If this formula isn’t followed, it could be a 0-9 or 1-8 start and then the talk of maybe not having Brown as a head coach would start before Thanksgiving.
WIZARDS ARE FOR REAL I know it’s early and I don’t think I need to re-think my preview predictions but the Washington Wizards are for real folks and if you don’t believe me just ask the San Antonio Spurs AND the Seattle Supersonics. In just two games the Wizards of the Belt Way have racked up 247 total points in two games while their opponents racked up 191 total points including holding the San Antonio Spurs to just 95 points on Friday night.
Gilbert Arenas is a true scoring point guard but his 15 for 20 performance was one for the books. However don’t expect him to go off like that on a consistent basis. In this league there are players that will shut him down and force the Wizards to rely on such guys like Antonio Daniels and Brandon Haywood. While this team is currently a game behind the Pistons, that position will not be there’s for the long run, as they will fall three spots by the season’s end. Yet they are fun to watch right now.
WORSE PERFORMANCE THIS WEEK BY A TEAM IS… The Sonics of course. Bob Weis may have wanted to bail out on Thursday night in their 137-96 loss but there’s no escaping the fact that this team bad; real bad. At 1-4, the Sonics have begun their 2005-06 season in probably one of the worst starts of their franchise history despite a quality 126-121 win over the Toronto Raptors.
There were a few teams who were in the running for this not so prestigious award. The Knicks should share the award with their 0-5 start but the 41-point loss by the Sonics just overshadows the Knicks horrendous start. The Raptors and Atlanta Hawks will share another award in a moment but for this past week, the raspberry goes to Weis and his horrendous coaching during that game on Thursday night.
TEAMS STEALING FANS’ MONEY The Atlanta Hawks should be willing to give away tickets this year with a 0-6 start; especially after this summer’s public soap opera display of ownership gripes and dirty laundry. The courts and the league have made it easy for Steve Belkin to be removed and the team got their man in Joe Johnson at a price of $70 million for seven years. Now you would think that Billy Knight, Mike Woodson and the Atlanta Spirit, LLC would be able to put a winning product on the floor at Phillips Arena. Well dreams are allowed in this society and at least they can dream. The Hawks may not win a game until week’s end of this week, as they are just not a team that has much basketball intelligence right now.
Now the Toronto Raptors are another story. 0-5 should not be in their vocabulary but Sam Mitchell’s squad has struggled early this season as well. What’s the matter Sam? Can’t figure out how to get Chris Bosh and Jalen Rose the ball in the games? Hopefully a win today against the Sonics will be the cure to this team.
The Sonics are a given right now and the Kings are just flat horrendous to watch. Don’t be surprised that coach firings come from these teams some where down the road.
GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK ARE… There are a few games in which paying good money for a ticket may be in order. Below is a list of games that may be of interest to either catch live in person or on your television at the house: Tues. Nov. 15 – Wizards vs. Cavaliers: LeBron James vs. Gilbert Arenas. These are two up and coming franchises with two stellar coaches in Mike Brown (Cavs) and Eddie Jordan. Won’t be a high scoring affair like everyone is hoping but definitely a game worth catching.
Tues. Nov. 15 – Nuggets vs. Mavericks: Potential playoff implications come early for these two teams as they could very well be facing each other in May. This would be a good test for first year head coach Avery Johnson and his coaching staff as the Nuggets are high flying even without NeNe.
Check your local television listings for game times of your favorite team or for complete schedule information, go to www.nba.com.