NY Knicks Secondary Scoring Option

By: Prad, THE New York Knicks Fan

JR Smith
JR Smith

JR Smith will most likely not wear a New York Knick uniform next year. Since JR Smith opted out of his contract, the Knicks need to fill his void if he decides not to re-sign. From a Knicks fan perspective: “give him everything he wants and literally match any offer. Without him we’re not getting close to advancing out of the first round.” Glen Grunwald’s perspective is probably completely different though. This is the harsh reality that Knick fans must face. The Knicks don’t exactly have too many good options at replacing the Knicks secondary scorer after Carmelo Anthony. Amar’e Stoudemire, Steve Novak, Ray Felton, and Iman Shumpert all come to mind as possible candidates. Although Tyson Chandler is one of the best defenders in the NBA, he is void of any offensive talent. His high field goal percentage is in part because every other shot he takes is a dunk. This is also assuming that Chris Copeland, the three point specialist, doesn’t re-sign. Last season, he produced 8.7 PPG but in a very limited capacity (15.4 MPG). No matter how inefficient JR Smith was in the postseason, this year’s regular season was his coming out party, averaging 18.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in his sixth man role. In order for the Knicks to even reach the Eastern Conference Semi Finals again, another Knick needs to step up and accept the challenge.

Amar'e Stoudemire
Amar’e Stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire’s Case

STAT was paid more than Tyson Chandler this year and about half a million less than Carmelo Anthony and is going to be paid more than either next year. It’s a combined total of $41,628,692 with another $23,410,988 coming his way during the 2014/2015 NBA season. Yet, injuries have derailed him the last couple season. He played in 29 games and has averaged 23.5 MPG and 14.2 PPG. His first season in New York, 2010 was his best when he averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks a game. His numbers were actually a little higher until the February of that season, when Carmelo came to the Knicks. Critics of the trade say that Melo and STAT can’t coexist and it has been proven in the last two and a half years. They have a point: Amar’e has averaged fewer numbers each subsequent season and his worst season in NY was last, 14.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG. But, what these seemingly knowledgeable critics haven’t accounted for, is Stoudemire’s limited play due to injuries. In the last two seasons, injuries have derailed his playing time to the point of him only playing 76 games and the latter 29 saw him not starting. So, it’s not a matter of them not coexisting but an alternate factor comes into play. If Stoudemire played 36 minutes last season, which he’s done a few times in his career, he could’ve scored around 21 PPG. But, because of his injuries, I don’t look to him performing and taking on a scoring burden next season. Stoudemire will most probably never be the same player that we saw in 2010.

Steve Novak
Steve Novak

Steve Novak’s Case

Novak is a great and an efficient three point shooter who led the league in three point efficiency a couple years ago. Beyond that he sucks. His defense is poor because of his athletic ability and qualities. He lacks speed, strength, agility, and toughness. He can’t pass or grab boards. He averages 1.9 RPG and 0.4 APG in 20.3 minutes. The rebounding stat is pretty heinous considering he is 6 foot 10.  His scoring beyond the three is not that great. He only averages 6.6 points a game. He’ll be lucky if he could even score half of what the eventual secondary scorer will attain. It was my mistake for even putting him in this discussion.

Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton

Raymond Felton’s Case

I think Ray Felton is the most viable candidate to take on the job. He is the current starting point guard who touches the ball every possession down the court. He averaged 13.9 PPG and 5.5 APG this past season. He brings a lot of energy to the team, but might get too excited sometimes. He decides to take layups at inappropriate times when there might be two big men in the paint. Not surprisingly, he is one of the most blocked players on the team. This questionable play calling might be him channeling his inner JR Smith. His physical fitness was in much question a couple seasons ago but has improved tremendously this season and look for him to improve even more in agility and speed for this upcoming season. During his first stint with the Knicks, he averaged 17.1 points, 9.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game in 38.4 minutes a game. Unfortunately for him, Felton was a part of the massive Carmelo deal and got dealt to the Nuggets. Hopefully, he can put up these kind of numbers next season without a selfish JR Smith. He has proven though that he can thrive in a Knicks system and I look to him to step up to the challenge and have a much better season next year.

Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert’s Case

I think he’s the most exciting prospect to become a bigger scorer and have a bigger role in the Knicks offseason. Everything about him excites me, his athleticism, ability to knock down threes (39.6%), perimeter defense, and high top fade. Shump came back from a torn ACL this year and played bench minutes (22.1 MPG) but will definitely become more productive next year. Yet, it’s ambiguous how much of an immediate improvement and impact we’ll see from him next season. But, he is definitely an integral part of the Knick future.

Melo clearly needs a partner to help the Knicks go deeper in the playoffs. We all know that he has his streaks that can span quarters, games, and even series. But, the other times when his shot isn’t falling or on the bench, he needs somebody to take over the offense. After all, he averaged 37 minutes a game this past season. The other time, worth almost a quarter was when JR Smith got a large chunk of his points and when he was the primary scorer in the second unit. I’m only hoping that another secondary scorer doesn’t have to be selected and the Knicks can hold on to Smith because of the Knicks’ lack of options.

All Stats and Pictures are from ESPN

Trouble in the Twittersphere

By: Josh

Brian Cashman/Alex Rodriguez
Brian Cashman/Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez has always been surrounded by controversy.  By the time he was 25, he signed a $252 million contract with the Texas Rangers, the biggest deal ever to be signed by a professional athlete.  In 2009, Alex admitted to performance enhancing drug use during a three-year period starting in 2001 with the Rangers (ESPN) and more recently has been linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Miami.  The media has scrutinized A-rod, especially during his stay in New York, fans have booed him during slumps and negativity constantly accompanies his name.  However, this time it isn’t the media or the fans, but his own organization.

Tuesday June 25, Rodriguez tweeted, “Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news – the green light to play games again!” Surprisingly, even this innocuous, light-hearted tweet was criticized, this time by Yankee’s general manager, Brian Cashman.  Cashman commented, “You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, (we will).  Alex should just shut the …. up. That’s it.  I’m going to call Alex now.”  Rodriguez can simply never catch a break.  After hearing Cashman’s words, Alex told a reporter, “The tweet was pure excitement about Dr. Kelly’s prognosis.” He also said, “I will continue to work hard until my efforts get me back in pinstripes and help my team win” (ABC News).

Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez

Although Rodriguez has made his fair share of poor choices and probably does not deserve his current salary, he should not be judged so harshly.  He is not a god, even though he is paid like one, and makes mistakes like any other player or person.  Yankees fans need to calm down and have rational expectations for their aging superstar.

Top Shortstops and Future Star

By: Jon

Shortstop is one of the weakest positions in baseball. The top players, Tulo and Reyes, are constantly hurt while Derek Jeter is growing old and losing a step.

1. Troy Tulowitzki

Troy Tulowitzki
Troy Tulowitzki

When “Tulo” is healthy, he is by far the best all-around shortstop in the league because of his ability to hit and play defense. Tulowitzki value is so high because he has a third baseman’s bat while playing shortstop. Tulowitzki has hit over 25 HR three times in the last four years and is on pace to over 25 again. This year, he is hitting over 5o points higher than his career average, .347 verses .296. Troy is a great a defensive shortstop, who has won two Gold Gloves in the last three years. Tulo is one of the few shortstops that has the ability to drive in over 90 RBI, which is evident by the fact that he has drove in 90 RBI or more in 4 of his last 6 seasons.

2. Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes
Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes is one of the fastest players in the league. After a disappointing first season with the Marlins, Reyes traded to the Blue Jays and has thrived when he has been on the field. Before being sideline for 2 months with a torn hamstring, Reyes was batting .357. Reyes is one of the best base stealers in the league. Although he does not run like when he was with the Metropolitans, he is still a dynamic baserunner, who stole 40 bags last season. At the height of his career two years ago, Reyes batted .337 with 16 triples and 40 steals. As he career progresses, Reyes will likely fall in the rankings because his legs will not be as threatening.

3. Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez
Hanley Ramirez

Along with Reyes and Tulowitzki, Ramirez is one of the most talented players in the league, but has experienced constant injuries. Ramirez was once thought of as having the best talent in the sport, but has since struggled because of injuries and being out of weight. The Dodgers are hoping that Hanley returns to his 2009 form, when he hit .342, 24 HR, 106 RBI, 101 Runs, and 27 steals. The past few years Hanley has not hit over over .300. This year, Ramirez has rebounded by hitting .375, 5 HR, and 14 RBI in only 22 games. Although Ramirez will never steal 30+ bags again, he can still be an above average shortstop, who can hit .300 and 20+ HR. Unlike Reyes and Tulo, Ramirez is not a great defensive ball player.

Future Star: Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro
Starlin Castro

The Cubs young shortstop is the first player in MLB who was born during the 1990s. The two-time All Star has a career .287 average, although he is struggling this season. Starlin Castro is a hit machine, averaging 188 hits in his first four seasons. Many people believe that the 23 year old shortstop will be the Cubs franchise player and a future star in the league. However, Castro must focus more on defense as he consistently makes bone head plays, which angers his manager. Along with first baseman Anthony Rizzo, the Chicago Cubs have a solid nucleus that they can build upon in the future.

Stats from Baseball Reference