If Carmelo Anthony stays, how will Jeff Hornacek utilize him next season?

Originally posted on August 6th, 2017 at iSportsWeb

There are many questions facing the New York Knicks going into the upcoming season, and most of these questions circulate around the future of Carmelo Anthony.

Will he be traded? Will he be waived? Will he stay?

As of now, it seems like there’s a huge possibility that Anthony will still be a Knick by the time October rolls around. According to multiple reports, he’s hell bent on a move to the Houston Rockets to join his fellow banana boat buddy Chris Paul and MVP runner-up James Harden — who’s well known for making it rain buckets and other things that shall not be discussed in this article.

With Anthony, the Rockets would become a strong contender to knock the Golden State Warriors off their perch and challenge for the NBA title, so it’s no surprise he wants to be traded there, but if he’s serious about leaving New York, he has to be willing to waive his no-trade clause to be traded elsewhere. Currently, the Rockets have little to no assets to offer that would be of interest to the Knicks front office.

Also, who’s really trying to take Ryan Anderson’s bad $20 million per year contract? Not even the most incompetent front offices would be willing to bring in Anderson for that type of money. Therefore, more than likely, the Rockets will be stuck with Anderson, and the Knicks will be stuck with Anthony, unless the Rockets and Knicks could find a third team that would be willing to take on the abyss that is Anderson’s contract.

As the days go by, the probability of Anthony staying put in New York is growing, and the problem coach Jeff Hornacek will have to solve is how will he use Anthony in his high-tempo offense this upcoming season.

Typically, Hornacek likes to play with two guards, two versatile forwards, and a center, but in his first season as Knicks coach, he has experimented with lineups which included two bigs who are not that versatile. Also, with a surplus of bigs currently on the Knicks roster, it’s hard to believe that only one big will be in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season.

There are many possibilities to how the Knicks may lineup when the first game of the season arrives, but all of these possibilities are centered around whether Anthony will be playing power forward or small forward.

If Anthony is moved to power forward, it’ll be evident that coach Hornacek will be going with a small ball lineup that’ll be able to fill it up at will. This would be a smart move by Hornacek since Anthony had his best season as a Knick when he played power forward, under Mike Woodson, in the 2012-13 season.

Nowadays, Anthony doesn’t have the quickness to keep up with most small forwards on defense. By moving to power forward, he will most likely be guarding players who don’t have superior foot speed, which would help him to be more productive on defense. Plus, most opposing power forwards can’t guard Anthony because they lack the quickness to defend on the perimeter, and with the plethora of moves he has at his disposal, Anthony is a problem for any big to try to lock down defensively.

The void left by Anthony at the wing can be filled by Tim Hardaway Jr., which will create a three guard lineup capable of running the fast break and filling it up from deep. Essentially, the Knicks would have a lineup of all shooters who can stretch the floor and open up lanes for the guards to penetrate and break down the defense.

Possible Knicks starting lineup: PG – Ramon Sessions, SG – Tim Hardaway Jr., SF – Courtney Lee, PF –Carmelo Anthony, C – Kristaps Porzingis

If Anthony remains as the starting small forward, coach Hornacek will probably be going with a lineup that’ll provide more rebounding and more of a defensive presence at the rim.

This lineup makes more sense since the Knicks are loaded with bigs on their roster.

Porzingis can be paired with a defensive big, like Kyle O’Quinn or Joakim Noah, to help provide more of a defensive presence in the paint, or he can be paired with another offensive big, like Willy Hernangomez, who will be capable of punishing defenders in the post. Either way, Porzingis won’t have to lift the heavy load of defending the paint on his own and he’ll have more help rebounding the ball.

Anthony won’t benefit as much since he’ll have to face quicker players who will blow by him on defense and be able to keep up with him on offense, but being the elite scorer that he is, he’ll still find ways to score and be a very productive player on offense for the Knicks.

Possible Knicks starting lineup: PG – Ramon Sessions, SG – Tim Hardaway Jr., SF – Carmelo Anthony, PF – Kyle O’Quinn/Joakim Noah/Willy Hernangomez, C – Kristaps Porzingis

Coach Hornacek will have a lot to figure out if Anthony remains a Knick when the season starts, but ultimately, what matters most is creating a starting lineup which will make the Knicks competitive, and fun to watch, every game.

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How Cliff Rowley and U-ADE Are Making A Mark on the Sports Drink Industry

Originally posted on August 28th, 2017 at The Knick of Time Podcast Website

Have you ever wondered why athletes, who play different sports, drink the same sports performance formula to refuel themselves? This is the question that popped into Cliff Rowley’s head as he was strolling through Modell’s Sporting Goods. He began to examine how there’s specific equipment for each athlete, and he wondered to himself why athletes aren’t being tailored to from a nutrition standpoint. At this moment, the idea to create sports specific performance drinks started to brew in his mind.

Later, while watching football practice at Monmouth University, the idea dawned to him again. Why there isn’t a sports specific performance drink to provide athletes with the nutrients they need to recover in their respective sports?

Think about it.

For example, a football and a soccer athlete train differently and use different muscle movements as they perform. Why would both players require the same sports performance drink to help recover after putting a shift in on the field? Wouldn’t it make sense to create a drink, specific to each sport, which would allow athletes to receive the proper nutrients they need to recover? This idea was foreign to the top sports drink companies, but Rowley, through his hard work and dedication, put this plan into action, and he created U-ADE — the first sports specific performance drink on the market.

Rowley’s vision is truly magnificent, but despite his brilliant ideas, he faced some pitfalls as he was trying to sell U-ADE to companies to make the product and distribute it.

One of the hardest feats to do, as an entrepreneur, is to sell your product in a market that is dominated by companies who has proven their products are top notch over a long period of time.

That was the challenge Rowley was facing, and often times, he had the door shut in his face.

Many distributing companies didn’t believe U-ADE provided what it represented, and sadly, many people, along his journey, disqualified U-ADE because his company wasn’t at the level of the major players in the market. Even after he was able to find a facility to distribute U-ADE, a catastrophic accident happened which resulted in the loss of product.

Going through such a difficult setback would have broken the strongest of people, but not Rowley. He was determined to get U-ADE out on the market, and currently, he is making strides to challenge the major sports drink companies.

Today, U-ADE is partnered with NCAA Institutions, along with amateur clubs and teams, and Rowley is currently working on a formula, with his team, to help those outside of sports as well.

His vision isn’t just specific to sports. He wants to spread his vision to those who help to serve and protect the communities that we live in.

Rowley, who is a man of faith, used the positive support of friends and family, and his belief in God, to help him through the hard times as he was struggling to sell U-ADE to distributors.

As an entrepreneur, it’s tough to make others believe in your vision, and often, you’ll run into close friends and family members that may shoot down your ideas. To be successful, it takes positive reinforcement and unwavering confidence to believe in your vision, and it takes hard work to bring that vision into fruition. Rowley didn’t allow the doubters to seep into his thoughts. He kept his head down and worked hard, and now, he is beginning to reap the benefits of his labor.

If you’re not familiar with U-ADE, you better get familiar with it because it’s definitely a game changer.

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How the legend of Hoodie Melo was born

Originally posted on Sept. 7th, 2017 at The Knick of Time Podcast Website

Summer basketball tournaments, such as the Drew League in Los Angeles, have always been another avenue for NBA players to generate more hype, but very few have found ways to develop hype through workout videos like Carmelo Anthony.

During the offseason, many NBA stars try to find different ways to stay relevant to their fan bases and with the help of social media, anyone who has access to a smartphone can view highlights of their favorite NBA stars, in action, as the tournament is taking place. The reason why these highlights gain so much attention is because fans get a chance to see their favorite players, in their natural habitat, without the rules and regulations of the NBA restricting their creativity with the ball in their hands. The creativity expressed in those videos is what makes those videos exciting to watch, but Chris Brickley has found a way to combine the creativity of the streets and his workouts to help transform Anthony into an internet sensation.

Brickley is well known as one of the top NBA workout gurus in the U.S., and the list of players he has trained can probably stretch from New York City to the beautiful scenery of South Beach. He has over 280,000 followers on Instagram, which is an impressive number, and he has helped many players develop their game, but one of his greatest accomplishments is raising the hype around Anthony, who has split the opinion of many Knicks fans.

Wearing the orange and blue will always come with a lot of scrutiny, which Anthony has handled extremely well. Some fans want him to stay in New York because they believe his offensive game is second to none — well only second to Kevin Durant — and he still has more to offer, while others would like him to be traded because he’s not seen as the type of player who can potentially lead the Knicks to a championship, which hasn’t been achieved since Richard Nixon was in office. Even though fans have mixed feelings about Anthony, the one thing fans can agree on is the awesomeness of his workout videos.

In these videos, Anthony can be seen wearing a hoodie with no sleeves. Now, this style may not be approved by the fashion police, but who cares what the fashion police think when Anthony is making bucket after bucket in his hooded armor. It’s almost as if the word “miss” is not in Anthony’s dictionary, and if anyone mentions the word “miss” to him, he will probably jab step his opponent ten times with sheer force before dribbling the ball on the ground. What will follow is a series of moves which will probably include a crossover between the legs, and ultimately ending with a pull-up jumper being nailed in his opponent’s grill.

For NBA players, there is no offseason, and Anthony is making his offseason count by practicing his handles, his passing, and his shooting. From watching the video clips, it doesn’t seem like Anthony is the same Anthony that came off an average season, by his standards, with the Knicks. He looks slimmer, his moves seem sharper, and in the pick-up games, he seems unstoppable. The seemingly new, and improved, Anthony may be the product of Brickley’s intense workouts or, as most sensible people would think, the product of the powers vested in him through his hoodie.

There seems to be an invincibility emanating from Anthony when he dons the hoodie. He becomes a whole different beast, and this had led to the internet creating memes to showcase the greatness of Anthony in a hoodie — even NBA 2K came out with a rating for Anthony when he’s basking in his hooded glory.

Anthony has broken the internet with his workout videos, and now, a new legend has been born, and that legend is called Hoodie Melo.

Check out Hoodie Melo’s workout videos on Chris Brickley’s Instagram account @cbrickley603!

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Who should the New York Knicks draft?

Originally posted on May 12th, 2017 at iSportsWeb

The lowly Knicks.

Last Saturday, the heart of the Knicks’ future, Kristaps Porzingis, posted a tweet about the LA Clippers with three smiley face emojis. Porzingis claimed he was hacked, but we all know the truth. He needs more people, but I digress.

It’s clear Porzingis is trying to send a message to the dysfunctional management of the Knicks. Either Phil Jackson uses his amazing zen abilities to build a winner in New York, or he will hit the road jack and never come back. To begin this “building a winner” process, Phil can look towards this year’s draft to bring in a top talent to possibly pair with Porzingis for the next ten years.

The upcoming draft is stockpiled with potential all-star talent, but who to draft isn’t clear cut because the Knicks have a lot of questions going into the offseason. Questions such as: Do you re-sign Derrick Rose? Do you trade Carmelo Anthony? Which position has the biggest need? All of these questions will take some time to answer, but in the meantime, here are some options on who the Knicks should draft.

First, and foremost, the Knicks need help at point guard. No, the Knicks shouldn’t draft any point guard. More specifically, the Knicks need to draft a point guard that can actually play defense. Last season, Rose was a sword on offense, but he was a butter knife on defense. Rose often didn’t fight over screens or play a screen aggressively, and he had many mental lapses, especially late in games, on defense which led to the Knicks losing a few games this season. Also, with Rose suffering a set back with another knee injury, it’s probably best for the Knicks to dump Rose and draft a point guard for the future.

Around the No. 7 pick, there should be a lot of intriguing options that should be available at point guard. One of the top options being De’Aaron Fox, coming out of the “NBA Prep School” known as the University of Kentucky. Fox put himself on the map in the NCAA Tournament by locking down potential top-3 pick, Lonzo Ball, in the Sweet 16. Fox plays with a lot of tenacity on defense, which isn’t matched by many point guards in the draft, but like most young point guards, he needs to improve his jumper and his playmaking ability. From a defensive standpoint, Fox would be a welcome addition to the Knicks backcourt.

Another point guard the Knicks should keep their eye on is Frank Ntilikina from France. When it comes to defensive point guards, Frank is probably one of the best in the draft. He may be a kid when it comes to creating offense, but on defense, he’s a full-grown man. With his 6’5” frame, and 6’11” wingspan, he has the size to lock down many point guards. He plays with pride on defense, and he has a pretty smooth jumper which will be useful in Jeff Hornacek’s, actually Phil’s, archaic triangle offense.

If the Knicks are lucky enough to get into the top-3, the obvious options would be Markelle Fultz, who gets buckets, and Lonzo Ball. Fultz has already said he’d like to play in New York. As for Lonzo, his father, who will remain nameless in this article, will probably push for him to play in Los Angeles because his father’s dream is for all his sons to be one-and-done and play for the hometown Lakers, but I digress once again.

Besides point guard, the Knicks can also look into drafting a Carmelo replacement, if he’s traded this offseason. An obvious option would be Jayson Tatum from the University of Duke. Watching Tatum play is like watching Carmelo 2.0. Tatum’s isolation game is a thing of beauty, and his exquisite use of the jab step is similar to Carmelo’s. The issue with picking Tatum is Phil has criticized Carmelo for being a ball stopper, something which Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant did at times also under his coaching, and Tatum is also a ball stopper. It remains to be seen if Phil would be willing to draft a Carmelo-like prospect, but every team needs a player who can get buckets in a variety of ways, and Tatum definitely fits that bill.

Another option at the three would be Josh Jackson from the University of Kansas. While Tatum is an offensive weapon, what makes Josh appealing is his defense. He can guard multiple positions, and like Frank, he plays with pride on defense. Also, unlike Tatum, he’s not a ball stopper, and he gets his points within the flow of the offense, which should appeal to Phil. With Josh, the Knicks would be getting a player who can play intense defense and keep the ball moving on the offensive end, something that the Knicks sorely need on the wing if Carmelo is traded.

There are many directions the Knicks can go in the draft, and with the wealth of talent available, the Knicks can’t go wrong with their pick.

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Revamped New York Giants’ offense is ready to to air it out

Originally posted on May 13th, 2017 at iSportsWeb

Currently, the New York Giants depend on the passing game more than ever, which is vastly different from the Giants’ 2008 and 2012 Super Bowl championship teams.

Those teams depended on a running game that would devastate and tire out the opponent’s defense, and Eli Manning would compliment the running game by using the play-action pass to cut an opponent’s secondary to shreds. This was the formula the Giants used, under coach Tom Coughlin, to propel them to those Super Bowl victories.

Now, the Giants have adopted to the new NFL, under coach Bob McAdoo, and they depend on Manning’s arm to win games. The problem is Manning hasn’t had a plethora of great weapons to throw the ball to. Besides Odell Beckham Jr., the rest of the receiving core were mediocre at best.

Since returning back from a serious calf injury, Victor Cruz — currently a free agent — has been a shadow of himself, and his salsa dance can only been seen nowadays through old YouTube videos. Sterling Shepard shows promise, and as he continues to grow as a player, he should be able to make a sizable impact in the future. As for the other Giants receivers, they’re not that relevant to talk about. In other words, Beckham and Shepard were Michael and Jermaine, while the other Giants receivers were Tito Jacksons.

Going into the NFL draft, one thing was very clear — the Giants needed another pass-catcher on offense. Preferably a tight-end.

Enter Evan Engram.

The Giants have been crying real tears for a tight-end that could be a game changer for a few years now. Larry Donnell, who the Giants refused to re-sign, and Will Tye are serviceable tight-ends, but neither player is a Gronkowski-type that could stretch the defense in the middle. Engram could be that game changer, from the tight-end position, that the Giants have been searching for. He runs a 4.4 forty, he catches the ball well, and with his 6’3” 216-pound frame, he will be a problem for opposing defensive backs to cover.

Last season, Beckham had opposing defensive backs double and triple-teaming him. If Beckham went deep, there was always a corner and a safety teaming up to covering him. If the opposing team played zone, usually their zone would be shifted towards Beckham’s side. Anywhere Beckham was on the field, he was a wanted man. It wouldn’t be a surprise if teams offered their players a monetary award for holding Beckham under 100 receiving yards.

Now, Engram offers the Giants another deep threat, which should loosen the coverage on Beckham and create more one-on-one opportunities deep. Also, the addition of Brandon Marshall will take some of the pressure off Beckham as well, but the real winner in the Giants receiving core is Shepard.

With Beckham and Marshall demanding attention, and Engram stretching the field through the middle, Shepard will be able to feast — like someone’s fat uncle at a cookout — on opposing defenses through intermediate routes. If Manning is unable to go deep, there’s a great chance Shepard will be open underneath the defense.

Along with Beckham, expect Shepard to put up monster numbers. Shepard is quick and elusive, and with all the field he’ll have available to him underneath the defense, he’ll be able to set up shop, catch passes, and make huge runs after the catch. The Giants offense is set up for Shepard to “style and profile” on nickel backs and safeties.

Shepard will eclipse 1,000 receiving yards this upcoming season. Take that to the bank!

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New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony needs to flex his muscle

Originally posted on May 19th, 2017 at iSportsWeb

Welcome to the soap opera called the New York Knicks!

Since their last NBA Finals appearance in 1999, the Knicks have gone through many trials and tribulations. Half of these trials and tribulations stem from their incompetent owner, better known as the worst owner in the NBA, James Dolan, and the other half stems from incompetent front office personnel.

This season, James Dolan and Phil Jackson, President of Basketball Operations, share the blame for the soap opera that has taken place within the Knicks organization.

If you haven’t heard already, there is currently a power struggle going on between Phil Jackson, and the Knicks lone superstar, Carmelo Anthony. In a typical struggle for power between the front office and the superstar, usually the superstar is traded to another team for valuable pieces because more likely than not, the superstar won’t be re-signing with the team. Unfortunately, for the Knicks, the situation between Jackson and Anthony isn’t that simple. Anthony is an aging superstar who loves to play in New York, but Jackson wants to shift the direction of the team without Anthony. To aid in this shift of direction, Jackson would love to trade Anthony, but he can’t due to one reason.

The no-trade clause that Anthony has in his possession — all thanks to Jackson!

With the no-trade clause, Anthony can use his superstar muscle to be the bully in the schoolyard. He has all the cards in the deck, which is great for him, but he hasn’t been utilizing his wild card to its full potential. Instead, he has sat back and allowed Jackson to drag his name through the mud to the media. Anthony has “stayed Melo” throughout this power struggle, but why hasn’t he flexed his superstar muscle to try to run Jackson out of town?

Anthony can be a bully on the court, but he’s acting softer than Charmin right now — which is a surprise because he used strong arm tactics to run coach Mike D’Antoni out of town, back in 2012, according to the New York Post.

Reportedly, Anthony is about that ultimatum setting life. If reports are true, why hasn’t Anthony used this strong arm tactic against Jackson? Even though Dolan is an incompetent owner, he likes Anthony. According to Stephen A. Smith, Dolan promised Anthony that he could turn him into a billionaire — which is part of the reason why Anthony is reluctant to leave New York. Clearly, Anthony has some pull in this situation, and if he can play his cards right, he can possibly end up with a royal flush. In other words, Jackson will be back in Los Angeles, sipping pina coladas by the pool.

Anthony should not waive his no-trade clause and approach Dolan to set the ultimatum of all ultimatums — either Jackson goes or I go.

It’s that simple.

Either way, Anthony can’t lose. If Dolan decides to fire Jackson, Anthony gets his wish of staying in New York, and even though it’s a pipe dream, there’s a possibility Dolan may actually hire a competent President of Basketball Operations to help get rid of the negative vibe that surrounds the Knicks. If Dolan decides to keep Jackson, Anthony can simply waive his no-trade clause, choose the team he wants to be traded to, and laugh in the face of the Knicks organization when he gets traded for, little to, nothing because Jackson has devalued Anthony with the poor comments he has made to the media.

It’s about time Anthony lets Jackson know who’s the big man on campus.

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Brooklyn Nets: Is Jeremy Lin the answer at point guard?

Originally posted on May 21st, 2017 at iSportsWeb

This season has been a season to forget for Brooklyn Nets fans.

Long gone are the days of Jason Kidd leading the then New Jersey Nets on deep playoff runs, and more recently, an aging Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce bringing toughness to a Brooklyn Nets team that wanted to establish dominance in the New York market. Nowadays, the Nets resemble a D-League team. Not even an avid NBA fan would recognize more than half the names on the current Nets roster.

If there’s a song that could be used to describe the Nets’ season, Jay Z “Can’t Be Life” comes to mind because losing 62 games in a season will have players asking themselves: “This can’t be right, there’s gotta be more, this can’t be us.”

Usually, one of the benefits of having a terrible season is the amount of ping pong balls the team receives in the NBA Draft. The team with the worst record has the highest chance of picking first, but unfortunately for the Nets, the Celtics took their heart with the Garnett and Pierce trade back in 2013. In other words, the Nets won’t be picking first in this year’s draft because they traded away their 2017 first round pick to the Celtics four years ago.

The future of the Nets may look gloomy, but not everything is doom and gloom for Brooklyn’s finest. There are a few bright lights on the Nets roster, and one of those lights trying to pierce through the gloom is Jeremy Lin.

Lin had an injury-filled season, but when he’s on the court, he can be effective for the Nets. He’s second on the team in Player Efficiency Rating (PER), behind Brook Lopez, and overall, he’s 51st in the NBA with a 19.33 PER, according to ESPN. Being 51st in PER isn’t excellent, but to put Lin’s ranking into perspective, he has a higher PER than Dwyane Wade, Klay Thompson, and Carmelo Anthony.

Also, without Lin on the court, the Nets were a dismal 7-39, which included an 11-game and an 14-game losing streak (eventually stretched to a 16-game losing streak once Lin returned from injury). With Lin on the court, the Nets were only 10 games under .500 (13-23). Sometimes, the simplest stat of showing a team’s wins and losses without a key player, on the court, is the most telling of a player’s importance to the team.

Throughout Lin’s career, his ability to help a team win has been doubted, but he has shown to be a spark plug when needed — especially during his stint with the Charlotte Hornets and when he rose to prominence with the New York Knicks. Lin can be that same spark plug for the Nets in the upcoming season.

Lin’s energy on the offensive end of the court can be contagious at times. He averaged 14.5 points per game, with the Nets, and he shot a career-high 37.2% from three. He has the ability to get buckets at any given time, and it helps that Lin also has the ability to drop dimes to his teammates for easy baskets. He averaged 5.1 assists per game.

Simply put, Lin’s offensive output was what the Nets were sorely missing in his absence.

It remains to be seen who the Nets will sign in free agency or who the Nets may draft, but regardless of what happens, Lin has to be a major factor in the Nets’ plans for next season. With how the roster is currently constructed, Lin will give the Nets the best opportunity to win games at point guard.

The question is will Lin be able to stay healthy enough to make a huge impact for the Nets? If so, expect the Nets to win 30+ games next season.

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New York Knicks: Incompetent management strikes again

Originally posted on May 25th, 2017 at iSportsWeb

When someone holds a high, and mighty, position such as President of Basketball Operations, there are certain simplistic actions that person should be aware and not do.

A few of these simplistic actions may include not putting down the superstar player, to the media, and to keep the young and budding stars happy on the team. Much to the chagrin of Knicks’ fans, Phil Jackson has failed to do both.

Not only has Jackson repeatedly thrown jabs at Carmelo Anthony — like an elite boxer — through the media, Jackson has now upset the Knicks most important asset, Kristaps Porzingis. It’s tough to know what goes on in that Zen mind of Jackson’s, but anybody with common sense would know it’s not a smart move to upset your budding star, who can be the anchor of your franchise for years to come.

The beef between Jackson and Porzingis sparked when Porzingis questioned the direction of the Knicks — towards the end of the season. This may come as a surprise to those who have been living under a rock, but to the majority that follows the NBA, no one can really figure out the direction Jackson is trying to lead the Knicks.

Based on this season, the only direction Jackson is leading the Knicks is south.

Later, Porzingis let his frustrations, with management, be known further by skipping the exit meeting after the end of the regular season. To most people, seeing their budding star skip the exit meeting would be a cause of concern and management would do everything, within their power, to make sure their budding star is okay, but we’re talking about Jackson here.

Jackson is no mere mortal. He’s not here to please his star players. No, he’s here to exert his authority to let everyone within the organization know who’s boss.

In many instances, exerting the authority one has would be beneficial if its done for the greater good of the organization, but Jackson doesn’t believe in making decisions for the greater good. Jackson is a proponent of “my way or the highway,” even if it means developing bad relationships with his star players.

In prime form, Jackson utilized his “my way or the highway” attitude, and used a power move to further disgruntle Porzingis, by firing assistant coach Josh Longstaff.

Normally, the firing of an assistant coach wouldn’t make headlines, but Longstaff had a close relationship with Porzingis. He played a vital role in Porzingis’ development and traveled to Latvia, with Porzingis, to train him during the summer.

It’s unknown if Longstaff did anything to deserve being fired by Jackson, but from the outside looking in, it seems like Jackson wanted to flex his muscle and let Porzingis know that he needs to fall in line or he may be the next one to see the door.

If that’s the case, Porzingis may be inching closer to looking elsewhere once he becomes a free agent, and if that happens, add the firing of Longstaff to the long list of moves Jackson has done to push the Knicks back several years from becoming a legitimate contender for a NBA title.

Lately, it seems like every move Jackson makes is to hurt the Knicks. When he was hired, he was expected to transform the Knicks from perennial losers to consistent winners, but during his three-year stint as President of Basketball Operations, he hasn’t come anywhere close to transforming the Knicks into a winning franchise. Under his dismal leadership, the Knicks record is 80-166, which is no surprise because he’s only made one good move during his reign — which is drafting Porzingis — and he’s constantly changing the roster.

Every season, the Knicks have had a completely different team. Winners aren’t built that way, but it seems like Jackson is unaware of this.

Despite Jackson’s incompetence as an executive, the ire from fans shouldn’t be solely pointed at him. The one man who seems to have escaped criticism is owner James Dolan.

Dolan had a chance to let Jackson go at the end of the season but decided to bring Jackson back for the last two years of his contract. This shows Dolan is oblivious to what’s going on within the organization, and most importantly, he doesn’t have a clue about the pulse of the team. Any competent owner would be able to recognize the negativity Jackson has brought to the organization and let him go, but not Dolan.

It seems like Dolan is more interested in playing his guitar, and checking the pulse of his band, than caring about the Knicks and how Jackson has made New York one of the least desirable destinations for upcoming free agents. No superstar, in his right mind, would want to play for a franchise that mistreats its star players and take as many losses as Bow Wow and Meek Mill combined.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize the current state of the Knicks.

Without the ability to attract top free agents, management has to prioritize keeping its stars happy — especially a budding star like Porzingis.

If not, the Knicks organization will be stuck in mediocrity for years to come.

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New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr’s dominance over Josh Norman

Originally posted on May 28th, 2017 at iSportsWeb

To be successful in a tough, and physical, sport like the NFL, a player has to have the mental toughness to deal with the physicality of the league.

Not every player can master the mental aspect of the game, which is the difference between a player lasting a year in the league and a player lasting 10 years in the league. Every player in the NFL is physical, but only a select few has the mentality to be in the trenches every week throughout the season.

Therefore, to gain an advantage, many players resort to using words to try and get in the head of their opponent.

Words aren’t supposed to hurt like how sticks and stones may break bones, but to some, being verbally disrespected by their opponent may lead to their performance suffering. This is the goal players want to achieve when they try to use diatribe against an opponent who can beat them in more ways than one.

There has been some classic trash talkers throughout the history of the NFL, but in today’s game, the one player who probably wears the crown as the king of trash talk is Josh Norman.

Norman prides himself on being a bully and taking the soul of whoever he lines up against at corner. He first rose to prominence as one of the best corners, in the league, during the 2015 season with the Carolina Panthers. His play helped inspire a tough defense, which helped Cam Newton lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl.

During Norman’s breakout season, he developed a fierce rivalry with New York Giants star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. During their Week 15 encounter, both players channeled their inner Rick James and habitually stepped over the lines of the NFL rule book — which led to a hefty fine for Norman and a one-game suspension for Beckham.

With Norman and Beckham playing in different divisions, the Week 15 royal rumble seemed to be a one-off contest, but Norman ended up signing the most lucrative deal for a corner, in NFL history, with the Washington Redskins in 2016.

Signing with the Redskins, the Giants rival in the NFC East, guaranteed that Norman and Beckham will line up against each other, twice a season, for years to come. In 2016, the Giants and Redskins split their season series — with the Redskins winning on the road in Week 3 and the Giants returning the favor in Week 17.

There was no love lost between Norman and Beckham, and in an interview with B/R Mag, Norman reiterated his dislike of Beckham:

“He tries to be a tough guy. He tries to put on this persona which he’s not. Because he’s always going to have his head on a swivel. Always. Always when we play each other. He’s scary like that. He does things that he normally wouldn’t do because of all the pressure and added hype that he has to put on his whole persona. He’s not this guy. If you go back and watch the games in which we play compared to the games we don’t play each other, he’s a totally different guy.”

Let the mind games begin!

Next season is still months away, yet Norman felt the need to disrespect Beckham. While there may be some truth to what Norman is saying — because Beckham has acted out of character when lining up against him — it may not be a wise move on Norman’s part to ignite flames that may have simmered down since the season ended.

Although, Norman has gotten into Beckham’s head on numerous occasions, that hasn’t stopped Beckham from torching him multiple times a game.

In the first contest, Beckham was held to six receptions for 76 yards, and a touchdown, but Beckham also dropped a possible 52-yard pass for a touchdown on a play where he burned Norman. If Beckham was able to haul in that pass from Eli Manning, he would have topped over 100 receiving yards easily.

The dominance didn’t stop there.

In their second contest, Beckham continued to flourish against Norman — finishing with seven receptions for 121 yards — but what stood out the most were two plays in the fourth quarter, which made Norman look like an ordinary corner. On one play, Beckham completed a one-handed catch in front of Norman for a big gain, and on the very next play, Beckham ran a short-in route, caught the pass from Manning, then burned Norman on the sideline with a spin move.

In other words, Beckham’s spin move left Norman “right where he stand” as Jadakiss would say.

Luckily, for Norman, by the time the third contest came around, the Giants already clinched a spot in the playoffs, and Beckham didn’t play the whole game.

Norman can get the best of Beckham when it comes to psychological warfare, but sometimes, winning the psychological battle can’t overcome talent. Beckham is faster, quicker, and he has the ability to avoid the press at the line of scrimmage, which is the only way Norman can gain an advantage on him in coverage.

Small victories may be achieved by Norman, but Beckham is usually the one who ends up winning the war.

Therefore, it would be smart on Norman’s part to keep the war of words to a minimum and let sleeping dogs lie because Beckham is one dog that Norman doesn’t want to wake up on the football field.

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Would the New York Knicks benefit from a Carmelo Anthony trade to Los Angeles Clippers?

Originally posted on June 1st, 2017 at iSportsWeb

It seems like Carmelo Anthony’s time in New York has come to a screeching halt.

At one time, Anthony and the New York Knicks seemed like a match made in heaven. Anthony, originally from Brooklyn, New York, wanted to go back home to where it all began for him, and in 2011, his wish was granted when the Knicks sent half of their roster to the Denver Nuggets to acquire him.

To this day, many believe the Knicks were foolish to pull the trigger on the trade, for Anthony, since it was believed he would sign with the Knicks in free agency, but Donnie Walsh — who was the President of Basketball Operations at the time — pulled the trigger because he believed there was no other chance to bring Anthony to the Big Apple.

In the beginning, Anthony enjoyed the fruit of his labor as he led the Knicks to three straight playoff appearances, and in his breakout season in 2013, he propelled the Knicks to 54 wins and a second-round appearance in the playoffs. Afterwards, the fruit began to turn sour as the Knicks barely missed the playoffs in the following season.

Since then, the Knicks have missed the playoffs four seasons in a row.

Usually, the superstar is to blame for a team’s inability to make the playoffs, but in Anthony’s case, he doesn’t deserve the full blame. In those four miserable years, Anthony had four different coaches, and he played with over seventy different players. It’s hard for anyone, even a superstar, to be able to lead a reassembled team to the playoffs every season — unless your name is LeBron James.

Now, there is no future for Anthony in New York.

Knicks management — or better known as Phil Jackson — has put Anthony in an uncomfortable situation by telling him, eloquently, to go elsewhere and win. Anthony’s no-trade clause gives him the leverage needed to stiff-arm any of Jackson’s attempts to move him, but if his goal is to win a championship, it’s best he demands a trade to a team where he can be the missing piece for a championship run.

One of the more likely options for Anthony would be to land in Los Angeles to play for the Clippers, but the question is, would this move make sense for the Clippers, the Knicks, and for Anthony?

From the Clippers point of view, they’ll be landing an aging superstar who can get buckets blindfolded.

None of the Clippers big three has the ability to create their own shot at will like Anthony can. Chris Paul is a born facilitator, and he only scores when the Clippers need his scoring to win. Blake Griffin has developed his game over the years, but nowadays, he’s more of a jump shooter, and he depends on Paul to set him up on offense. As for DeAndre Jordan, unless Paul is throwing a lob to him, he’s as useful as a cardboard box being used to hold heavy metals on offense.

With the addition of Anthony, the Clippers would finally have a bonafide scorer who they can depend on in clutch situations to make baskets, and with Griffin’s extensive injury history, Anthony can also be used as a backup option, at power forward, to fill in for Griffin if needed.

Going into the offseason, there are questions to be answered about the Clippers — the most important question being if Paul will re-sign to stay in Los Angeles. It’s unknown where Paul’s head is turned at the moment, but perhaps, the best pitch the Clippers can make to him is to bring one of his best friends, Anthony, to Clip City, Chip City — as Marcellus Wiley would say.

In the process of bringing in Anthony through trade, the Clippers are rumored to send J.J. Redick (through sign-and-trade), Austin Rivers, and Wesley Johnson to Madison Square Garden. The pieces the Clippers are sending aren’t glamorous, but the main benefit the Knicks receive from the trade is to get rid of Anthony’s contract and create more cap space for future signings.

As for the trade itself, the only player that would have value to a rebuilding Knicks team is, surprisingly, Rivers.

He would be a solid addition because of his youth, only 25 years old, and he would be an upgrade to Ron Baker at point guard. Rivers averaged 12.0 points per game and 2.8 assists per game compared to Baker who only averaged 4.1 points per game and 2.1 assists per game. Plus, Rivers plays good defense which makes him a decent threat on both sides of the ball.

As for Redick and Johnson, both players would hold little to no value for the Knicks.

Redick is a 32-year old shooter, who’s main interest would be to play for a contender, and it’s no secret the Knicks are lightyears away from becoming contenders. Besides, the Knicks already have a solid shooting guard, Courtney Lee, on a 4-year contract and the Knicks are interested in re-signing Justin Holiday, who’s faster, quicker, and a better defender than Redick.

Johnson is a young wing player, but the Knicks are already loaded on the wing. Lance Thomas is a solid defender, when healthy, and Mindaugas Kuzminskas can provide some pop off the bench when needed. More than likely, Johnson would be used as a piece in another trade to acquire talent that would more help the Knicks.

After studying the different factors of the trade, it’s clear the Clippers and Anthony would benefit the most because the Clippers would become a legitimate contender with the addition of Anthony to their roster — while the Knicks would be picking up scraps and thinking about how those scraps can be recycled to aid in the rebuilding process.

In the end, it’s not about which team benefits the most from the trade. It’s about ending the unhappy marriage between Anthony and the Knicks.

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