Q&A With LIVES from “Knicks Fanatics Blog”

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I recently got in touch with LIVES from Knicks Fanatics Blog for a little Q&A action for the rematch tilt tomorrow night at Target Center.  As you all know, the Knicks pasted the Wolves earlier this week in New York.  Let’s not let that I wouldn’t be surprised if that happen again.  But they’ll still probably win, because we don’t matchup very well, and they are playing pretty well lately.

Anyways, I digress.  Make sure to check out KFB, it’s really awesome.  I’m not even kidding, it’s really a great site.  They have top notch Knicks coverage and analysis, which you won’t find in many other places on the net.  For my responses to their questions, make sure to check out the blog.  Otherwise, click below the fold to see what LIVES has to say about the state of the Knicks, how the season is going, and what’s in store for the TWolves…

1/31 UPDATED: Check out my responses to KFB HERE.

Click below the fold to check out another set of Q&A responses from O&B over at Knicks Fanatics Blog.  Good stuff, NBA fans!

Please click “Read More” to continue…


CW:  How do you like the season so far as a Knicks fan?  See some playoff potential?

LIVES: Great question.  Yes, I see playoff potential which has absolutely no relationship to how I feel about this season as a Knicks Fanatic.

The operative word is “potential” which is flickering only because of the quality of the teams currently vying for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.  While I expect some separation after the All-Star break, I see six teams fighting for that last spot: the Bulls, Bobcats, Bucks, Knicks, Heat and Pistons.  Of course, the team which makes the best move for itself prior to the trade deadline will have the upper-hand.  Our GM, Donnie Walsh, has given us no indication that he will make personnel moves that put playoff contention over the need to create more cap space.

The Bulls, Bobcats and Heat are solid playoff teams; the Heat and Bulls because of the will-power of their leading guards and the Bobcats because they run and play defense.  As badly as megalomaniacal Larry Brown messed up the Knicks, to my surprise he is doing a fabulous job with the Bobcats who will give somebody’s playoff team hell.  I give the Bucks a slight edge over the Knicks simply because Scott Skiles has a better command of his troops than D’Antoni does of his malcontents and expiring contracts.  The Bucks give effort most nights.  I have no idea why the Pistons are so bad, but if they can finally overcome injury absences, their experience may help them wake up in the second half.  I just can’t count out a team with Rip Hamilton, Ben Gordon and Tayshaun Prince. 

With that said, I am disappointed although my expectations were low.  I am disappointed because management was charged to change the losing culture at MSG, but they have created an atmosphere of discontent and nonchalance by focusing on the summer of 2010 and failing to rally their players together as a team instead of as a collection of expiring contracts.  I am disappointed because I supported hiring MIke D’Antoni and as nice a guy as he seems to be, he is a lousy leader which is the main reason the team is playing with such inconsistency despite having a decent core of players who look like they can play with the best on many nights. 

However, I am pleased with Danilo Gallinari not being sidelined by his previous back problems and with Wilson Chandler’s mid-range game now that he no longer sits on the tre-arc for most of four quarters.  I also love David Lee’s offensive game. Fabulous. 

CW: Would you give away Hill for free, if it meant being able to unload Curry or Jeffries for nothing but expiring contracts?

LIVES: Ah, you give away nothing for free.  Getting rid of Curry with Hill as bait, would be like hitting the NBA lottery without surrendering the draft pick to another team   Hill, like most lottery rooks, shows potential, but we don’t know what we have here.  D’Antoni sees Stoudemire.  I see a guy that is big and too frequently weak around the basket, but that can change because his desire is strong and evident.  But how long will that take?  D’Antoni will be long gone by the time the inner Stoudemire comes out and if he isn’t coaching another bunch, Hill will not learn how to play defense for years to come.

CW:  If you could be D’Antonio or Donnie Walsh, who would you want to be… and what would you do differently with the team?

LIVES: Either one; Fire myself.

CW:  Sooooo… will the Knicks land LeBron?  If not, what’s plan B?

LIVES: Sooooo, I have no idea but I have been stating very loudly without audio on every website I can that the LeBron gambit will fail.  It is highly unlikely that LeBron will come to New York.  He is playing us like Grant Hill and Jason Kidd did this past summer.  LeBron is a brilliant business man and that bunk about needing NY for endorsements has just been disproven with his new relationship with the Mecca of Branding – MickyD’s.  LeBron wants to win. 

He knows defense wins and D’Antoni is practically D’-less. 

LeBron is loyal and the Cavs have been great to him and are erecting a statue for the memories he will create.  And I suspect his second choice is hanging out in Miami with D-Wade.  Plus, the players know that management has a way of treating its players poorly when they fall out of favor.  There is not a lot of professionalism in how the Knicks handled Stephon Marbury, Nate Robinson, Darko Milicic, David Lee and Larry Hughes over the past two years.  Compare that to how the Cavs handled West.  A world of difference which reflects ownership’s and leadership’s values.  If you were LeBron what would you do?

CW:  In your opinion, why do the Wolves suck so bad?

LIVES: Simply because they are rebuilding after being pillaged and plundered by Kevin McHale. When you combine Kevin’s basketball player and managerial careers he easily overcomes Larry Bird as the greatest Celtic ever.  LOL.

No, seriously.  You guys are where OakCity was a few years ago when they drafted Kevin Durant and Jeff Green.  It takes a couple of years to build around youth and inexperience and to develop chemistry.   Plus you have a new coach and a new system.  What does one expect?

CW:  What does the Wolves future look like?

LIVES: It all depends on management.  The great thing is that your guys know what they are trying to build.  They may falter but Kahn is committed to making mistakes that move his team forward and now is a great time to do it.  The Wolves should have an excellent chance to build on or improve their young core during the off-season.  Your draft pick is going to be crucial and although we will all laugh if he picks up John Wall, it will turn out beautifully because you are stockpiling assets and taking the long view. 

I must say though that I was disappointed in what I saw in Jonny Flynn in the last game against the Knicks.  I saw him in the summer league and he was one of the two best guards out there.  When I saw him against the Knicks, I wanted to puke my recollection out just so I could see whether it was that messed up.  But, I suspect Flynn will get better and show better.  That’s a smart kid.

 

1/31/10 UPDATED: O&B from KFB responded as well:

CW:  If you could be D’Antonio or Donnie Walsh, who would you want to be… and what would you do differently with the team?

O&B: That question presumes that I assume to know more than either the GM or Coach about to run an NBA franchise on the court and in the war room. I won’t do that.

However, I often wonder why D’Antoni didn’t start the season with the half court/defensively improved style of play he eventually relented to use. I would think that if many of the players that returned to the Knicks from last season were still there this season, then D’Antoni would have had enough time to assess what sort of talent he had. Knowing the talent at hand he could have adapted the style of play accordingly to maximize his given roster’s opportunity to contend for a playoff spot this year. That snafu indicates to me that D’Antoni is either really dense and as damn insistent on his SSOL offense as Walsh is on his cap space worship, or that D’Antoni was haphazard or slow to identify and react to the talent on his bench.

Walsh is attempting to carry out what he said he would carry out, clear cap space and take a shot at an instant oats rebuild on July 1, 2010. He might have drafted Jennings instead of Hill, but I understand why he drafted Hill as an insurance against losing Lee. He is average at best.

CW:  Sooooo… will the Knicks land LeBron?  If not, what’s plan B?

O&B: Landing Lebron will require this year’s Knicks to make a serious bid for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The reason that is so, is because a playoff appearance with a roster of roll players could signal to many Free Agents, not just Lebron, that the Knicks are on the right track towards success and that their signing with the Knicks could push the Knicks further along.

However, despite the December surge, the Knicks have been playing sub 500 ball in January, and they will have a tough stretch of games in March and April, al while the teams ahead of them are on path for 500. records or better. If things continue a they are, Lebron may not come. Boo fng Hoo!

Plan B,… really really rebuild from the groung up, via the draft cycling through players acquired that route to determine which are the keepers, which are trading chips for turning over the roster to increase the chances at draft succes, all while keeping the payroll low untill the confluence of good talent and a star free agent once again converge. Also,… get rid of D’Antoni and get a coach who is a better communicator and for whome defense and a traditional half court offense is not a last ditch desperate act but rather a priority and the foundations of a winning formula.


CW:
In your opinion, why do the Wolves suck so bad?

O&B: They are a small market club in the highly competitive Western conference, they turned their sole franchise talent over as a gif to the Celtics as a sweetheart deal between former Celtics one of who did not have his Minnesota Timberwolves interest at heart. Other than that I’m sure you have a better grasp on the Wolve’s plight.

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