Many college sports fans support amateurism. They support it even when it defies all manners of common sense and logic. This was seen in various fans’ reactions to the injury that freshmen phenom Zion Williamson suffered in the UNC/Duke game on February 20, 2019. Leading up to and during that game, fans witnessed the sham […]Continue reading
Did anyone happen to watch the NBA Draft Lottery last night? It’s not that big of a deal. It can only change your franchise overnight if your team gets the first pick and receives the honor of drafting Zion Williamson. But other that than that, I’m sure you weren’t even watching…
I’m a diehard Knicks fans so the future of my favorite team was on the line. I’ll fill you in as to what happened.
I’ve taken punches to the face, hits to the stomach, and I’ve even been choked out. (Don’t wrestle your friend in college who outweighs you by 75 pounds after a night out). However, none of those can even compare to the disappointment I felt after hearing Mark Tatum say, “The third pick goes to the New York Knicks.” I was traveling back to my apartment via train so I had to stream the lottery from my phone. Needless to say, I was crushed.
I hate to use the typical “you just don’t understand” argument, but unless you’re a Knicks fan, you just don’t understand how much heartbreak the Knicks fanbase has suffered over the past couple decades. It all starts at the top with the owner, James Dolan. From banning Charles Oakley, disrespecting Patrick Ewing, and making horrible basketball move after horrible basketball move, Dolan is public enemy number one for Knicks’ fans.
I was born in 1993 so I never truly experienced the glory days of the 90s Knicks with Patrick Ewing and John Starks. Even though the Knicks lost two NBA Finals in six seasons, at least the team was winning. However, that all changed after Isiah Thomas was hired as the Knicks President of Basketball Operations. As bad as Dolan was at managing a roster, he’s not even in the same stratosphere as Thomas. Where do I even begin? Here were some notable moves during the Isiah Thomas era.
- Traded four draft picks, Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas and Jermaine Jackson for Eddy Curry.
- Signed Jerome James to a five-year, $30 million deal.
- Signed Jarred Jeffries as a free agent.
- Traded Anfernee Hardaway and Trevor Ariza to the Orlando Magic for Steve Francis.
- Traded Howard Eisley, Maciej Lampe, Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, Milos Vujanic, a 2004 1st round pick (Kirk Snyder) and a 2010 1st round draft pick (Gordan Hayward) to the Phoenix Suns for Stephon Marbury, Anfernee Hardaway and Cezary Trybanski.
There’s no need to explain any of the moves. They all didn’t pan out. Shocker!
After a few decent years with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire under Donnie Walsh and Glen Grunwald, the Knicks then turned to the coach with the most NBA Championships of all-time, Phil Jackson, to run basketball operations. What was his first move as an executive for the Knicks? I’ll let Stephen A. Smith take this one.
The cycle of losing continued and Phil Jackson was fired in 2017. Let’s skip to this past season. For the first time in almost a decade, the Knicks FINALLY had a plan. The right coach was hired in David Fizdale. The roster was built to lose, which is exactly what this team needed to do in order to have a shot at a top pick. Even though the Porzingis trade was a mess, the Knicks freed up enough cap space to potentially sign two max contracts in the summer of 2019. Since the Knicks had the worst record in the NBA, they were guaranteed to have a top 5 pick in this year’s NBA draft. The prize? Zion Williamson.
Zion was the most hyped player in the draft since LeBron James and I wanted him more than anything in the world. All the pieces were in place. The Knicks were finally on the right path to doing something right. All that needed to happen involved a ping pong ball bouncing our way.
Guess what? The ball didn’t bounce our way.
I’m not dumb or naive. The third pick is still a GREAT pick to have. New York will either select Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, who are going to be very good players. The Knicks are the frontrunners to sign Kevin Durant and possibly Kyrie Irving. They could use that third pick to create a package consisting og picks and players to trade for Anthony Davis.
The future is most certainly bright for the Knicks. However, for one night, I just wanted things to go right.
With just under two minutes left in the second round game between UCF and Duke, the Knights lead the Blue Devils 74-70. UCF had Duke on the ropes and were ready for the kill shot. UFC stole the ball and had a 2-on-1 fast break. UCF’s Dayon Griffin threw a lob pass to Aubrey Dawkins, who finished with 32 points, and had it been successful, the Knights would have been up 6 with all the momentum against one of the betting favorites to win it all. Instead, this happened.
We all know how the rest played out.
A couple questionable no-calls, some fortuitous bounces, and a missed put back helped Duke squeak out a 77-76 victory over UCF as the Blue Devils move on to the Sweet 16. Top seeds advancing to the Sweet 16 was the common theme this past weekend as all of the betting favorites won in the second round.
Although all of the favorites won, chalk is not necessarily a bad thing. Let’s say UCF beat Duke. That’s an awesome moment for UCF and its fans. However, to the common basketball fan, are you tuning in to watch UCF vs. Virginia Tech for a trip to the Elite 8? Or, would you rather watch Zion Williamson, Rj Barrett, and Duke play Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16? Unless you’re a UCF fan, my guess is that you’d rather watch Duke.
The NCAA Tournament is known as “March Madness,” but this year, it’s the furthest thing from chaos. There was a significant gap all season long between the top 10 teams and the rest of Division I. That growing sentiment came to fruition as all the top seeds took care of business this past weekend. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Cinderella stories are awesome. Watching a double digit seed fight their way through each round and advance to the Final Four is both entertaining and inspiring. Rooting for Sister Jean and Loyola-Chicago last season was a great story. However, there’s a reason why upsets rarely happen and that’s because of the talent disparity between the blue blood programs like Duke and UNC and the mid-major Cinderella stories like Loyola-Chicago or Wichita State. A Cinderella story is most likely a flash in the pan. Remember when Tim Tebow made the playoffs or “Linsanity” took over the Knicks? Those two athletes took the world by storm for a brief period of time and it was spectacular to witness. However, just like in Cinderella, the clock always strikes midnight. Tim Tebow never got another chance to start at quarterback and Jeremy Lin hasn’t been a star since. You know why? Tim Tebow may have won a few games, but Tom Brady wins Super Bowls. Jeremy Lin may dazzle for a few weeks, but LeBron James wins championships. Loyola Chicago and George Mason may win a region, but Duke, UNC, and Kentucky are staples in the Final Four
And you know what? That’s ok. The biggest gripe with the tournament is that the best team in the country does not always win it all. This year, one of the best teams in the country will win. Duke, UNC, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Gonzaga have all been in the top 3 at some point this year. Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, LSU, Texas Tech, Houston, Auburn, Virginia Tech, and Florida State have all been ranked inside the top 15. The only outlier is Oregon, but the Ducks have won 10 straight and are two years removed from a Final Four appearance.
The tournament has not been as exciting as year’s past, but there is hope on the horizon. There is a lot of good basketball to play from the best teams in the country. For now, chalk is fine by me.