SPANISH HARLEM – Okay, let’s just toss this one up and see if it’s a brick. Since my Eagles are out of the NFL playoff picture and there is no news on the Yankees front – unless you want me to discuss a rumor about Jose Quintana – which I don’t think will happen (with my luck, a trade will be made tomorrow). Anyway… Today’s topic: “Three Things I Think I know”- All NBA Edition.
The New York Knicks: You know I have to talk about my Knicks… I just have to! I truly believe that this will be the season the Knicks get into the playoffs. Why, you ask? Because they are a better team than in years past and they are made to win now. There are no if, ands or buts about it. Phil Jackson made the Derrick Rose trade not for the future, but for this season. If Jackson expects to make a dent in Free Agency, it starts with winning basketball. For far too long the Orange and Blue have been mediocre at best – or just plain bad. Nobody wants to play on a team that consistently loses; Phil knows this all as well as anyone.
If the playoffs started today, Jackson’s Knickerbockers would be the 5th best team in the east. That’s not saying much with half the season left to play, but it’s better than what fans have come to expect. Sure, the defense sucks – ranked 25th in the league – but those things can hopefully be corrected with experience and time. Don’t forget that this team has 10 new players that are learning everyday how to play with one another. They have the offense to play against the better teams in the NBA, so the defense will decide how good this team can really be.
Russell Westbrook: There isn’t a more explosive player in the NBA today. As of today, Russell Westbrook is averaging a Triple Double, with 30 of those to his name this season alone! The guy is like watching The Expendables movie on CRACK! It seems like he never wants to lose a game and when he does, he dies a little inside. He never takes a game off, unlike some people… [cough, cough Lebron James, more on that later] and plays every game like it’s the last game he will ever play. That’s why I don’t think there is another player more worthy of the MVP this year. It doesn’t matter if he averages a Triple Double the whole season because he has made OKC a fun team to watch and root for. Before the season started, many pundits picked this team to finish with a losing record and out of the playoffs, but as of right now they are in 20-12 and very much in the playoff picture going forward. We can only hope that he continues to rise to the occasion.
Rest Days: There is nothing I hate more in the NBA than when players decide to take a day off/rest. It pisses me off as a fan because I have seen it done to the Knicks over the years, specifically in recent years when the Knicks were terrible. Fans pay good money to see the best players in the world play basketball and it sucks when you go to a game to watch a player – maybe your favorite player – or a star like Lebron James, and find out minutes before the game that he won’t be suiting up. I have tried to look at both sides of the story; the coaches’ side and fthe players’ perspective. I know Lebron has played more games the last ten years than probably anyone in the game ever and that includes playoffs. I also understand back to back games are the worst thing about playing in the NBA but something has to be done.
I have three proposals that may help. One is being instituted next year, which will allow the NBA to start the season a bit sooner than before, while also limiting preseason games – which suck anyway! I propose an adjustment in where we start the season even sooner than what will be implemented next year. Maybe even a full month sooner with three games a week, equally spaced out so that players and coaches don’t have to worry about back to backs.
Another idea is to have coaches look at the schedule before the season and decide which games players will rest so that fans know what to expect when they purchase tickets. What is that you say? Those games won’t sell out? Who cares? Tickets are expensive and fans deserve better!
My last proposal would be to fine the players that sit out with no injury whatsoever. Some will say that injuries could be lied about, which would negate a fine being paid. I say have independent physicians assess injuries after the game to see if a legit injury can be found and if not, double the fine.
Invoking my Inner Angry Ward, I’m tired of players needing rest days. It’s not right and it shouldn’t be allowed. Fack you NBA, for allowing this!