Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dream Matchup in Space City

No. 1 seed Memphis matches up with No. 2 seed Texas this afternoon at Reliant. How I wish I could be there. *sighs*

But the intriguing matchup of the day (and the entire tournament IMO) is the point god matchup between freshman point Derrick Rose of the Tigers and sophomore quarterback D.J. Augustin of my future Horns.

Now, admittedly, I've had a slight (read: not so slight) man-crush on both these young men since last year, DVR-ing pretty much all their games. So it's hard to root against any one of them.

Rose is my favorite player not in the League and somebody I believe will do damage similar to Chris Paul and Deron Williams very soon. Augustin is a (temporary) Houston native tearing it up for my future alma mater.

I'll just watch and see (and record) like the rest of you should.

My prediction: Memphis' size and quickness is just way too much for the Horns. Tigers by 8 and onto San Antonio.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

CP3 for MVP

Remember when I raised the Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams debate on this site?

Well, let's just say, there's a clear-cut favorite now, and it's exactly who I suspected it to be.

Chris Paul is not only better than Deron (who I believe is the second-best pg in the world right now), but CP3 is absolutely the best point guard on the planet.

Steve Nash? Still sick, but older with less talent and no defense. Plus Paul (and D-Will, and Baron, and Tony Parker, etc.) kills him whenever they meet up.

Jason Kidd? He's 35, can't shoot or score, is slower and nowhere close to the All-NBA defender he used to be. (See CP3 drubbing he took immediately after coming over from the Swamp.)

Baron? Too inconsistent. One night he's a triple-double threat and the next a three-point shooting fiend.

Quick stat: Paul has 9 games with 20 points and 10+ assists, the rest of the NBA has eight.

And not only is he clearly the best point guard, he is and should be the MVP this year. Why? His Hornets overcame what was a thin bench until the Bonzi trade and a less-than stellar home court advantage until a year ago to get to the top spot in an amazingly rough Western Conference.

Paul has also improved his already sick game in every area: scoring, assists (which he is leading the league in. Move over Steve), shooting, steals.

Quick stat part II: Name another player in history to average 20 ppg, 10 apg, and 3 spg. Trick question. If CP keeps up with his average, he'll be the first ever.

And lastly, if Steve Nash could win two consecutive wins just for leading the league in assists, leading his team to the top of the standings, and getting the most out of his (already talented) teammates, why shouldn't Paul win for doing the exact same thing, only way better.

In 2004-05, Nash averaged 15.5 ppg and 11.5 apg for a Suns team that had the best team in the league, a time when the West wasn't nearly as deep as it is now. Paul is averaging as of today 21.6 ppg, 11.4 apg, and 2.7 steals.

In 2005-06, Nash averaged 18.8 ppg and 10.5 apg. Once again, compare that to the almost 22 ppg, 11 apg, and almost 3 spg Paul is putting up in a season where there will most likely be nine 50-win teams. And New Orleans is number 1.

Yes, the same Hornets squad with Morris Peterson as the starting 2-guard and a bench that relies on Bonzi Wells. Not a loaded Suns squad that had two other All-Stars (Amare and Marion) and shooters at every position.

Chris Paul made David West into an All-Star. And the season he's having should make him the NBA's MVP.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Friend or Foe?

Why do I enjoy kicking Knicks fans in the balls? Well, for starters, my team was steamrolling into the playoffs on a franchise-record winning streak until our franchise center went down for the season with a foot injury, so the world must feel my wrath.

But seriously, it's not Knicks fans' fault their hometown team is run by incompetent brainfarts of a president/GM/owner, or that the team can't possibly be competitive - even in the weaker East - until 2010 at least.

It's also not their fault that Stephon Marbury, New York's supposed "hometown savior", has fizzled out as a factor in the storied franchise's future resurgence. "Starbury" is currently out of commission while he "recovers" from ankle surgery (that he was all to elated to have in the first place), and reports have him banned from MSG. Who would have thought that would be the ending to the story that started in 2004 when he was brought back to the Big Apple by mentor-turned-nemesis Isiah Thomas?

Well, Timberwolves, Nets, and Suns fans might have had a clue. Marbury managed to burn just about every bridge (even the Brooklyn Bridge) he's crossed. Now he gets paid $20 million this year and next (if he isn't traded, which is likely because no team wants him) to watch a team from afar that doesn't want him around. And he's supposed to be their best player. Wow.

The NBA is moving to a point where team cancers aren't all that welcome in locker rooms these days, especially with squads with good young players.

But the question I need an answer to is: on a team that features Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry, how dysfunctional do you have to be that no one wants YOU around?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Rose, Beasley, D.J.: Bringing Light Skin Back?

Don't worry folks, I haven't offed myself. And no, Houston hasn't replaced Seattle as the suicide capital of the world after Yao went all Bill Walton on us.

Speaking of Seattle, it's a damn shame what Clay Bennett and David Stern are doing to the Sonics and their fans.

Anywoo, today's post focuses on the new phenomenon affecting the college basketball scene (besides good players actually going to school), the re-emergence of the light skin hoops star.

K-State's Michael Beasley, Memphis' Derrick Rose, Texas' D.J. Augustin, Indiana's Eric Gordon, Arizona's Jerryd Bayless, Tennessee's Chris Lofton and others have captivated campus hoops this year, setting up what could be seen as a revolution of the light skin star.

Beasley should be the number 1 pick this summer in the draft, with Rose a near lock at number 2. Augustin may be the best point guard in the country at this point and is a lock to be a first team All-American, Gordon is one of the most dynamic scorers in the country, and Bayless is also a top scoring combo guard as a freshman.

Hell, Lofton's Volunteers even upset number one Memphis at home last Saturday.

Is the light skin player officially back? Maybe, maybe not. Next year's incoming crop of froshes include Arizona recruit Brandon Jennings, UCLA's Jrue Holiday, and Tyreke Evans (who is undecided), who are all fairly dark skinned. However, USC recruit Demar Derozen is kinda light, so there may be hope.

And yes, this is a light-hearted post to keep my mind off the fact that the Rockets' playoff hopes now depend on Tracy McGrrady.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Apollo 13

I got a call coming out of my 11:00-12:15 class earlier today from my homeboy Frank, a diehard Mavs fan.

"You alright, dog." "Yeah, I'm good," I replied, a little confused. "Oh, you haven't heard the news yet," he said, I guess trying to hold back a short laugh. "I have some bad news for you."

Then, the world became a sad place again.

"Yao is out for the season."


"I wouldn't lie to you about this, Trey."


All through this magical 12-game winning streak, I've been praying for the Rockets to get more attention. I mean, after they won game no. 12, the game's highlight didn't come on until the middle of the show. I understand the Lakers are riding an eight-game win streak with the game's best player on a MVP campaign Barack Obama would envy and a new big man averaging 22 ppg in his first 10 runs with the Lake Show, but damn.

Well, attention we have, and this type of pub will undoubtedly cost us The Streak, playoff position, and will make sure we don't advance out of the first round for the 11th straight year.

The funny thing is, after Sunday's game against Chicago, I told my girlfriend how happy I was with the Rockets (which was rare for me) and how optimistic I was about their playoff chances. I mean damn, with another 3 consecutive wins and some losses by other teams, we could have been number one in the West. It's just that tight.

But hey, these are my Rockets. They're cursed. Not Clipper cursed, but cursed. Or unlucky. The Knicks are cursed (though it is to their own doing).

So what do I do now, root for a late playoff push, just so we can get bounced out by the Lakers in the first round? Root for the Rockets to tank the rest of the season (since we can't be taken seriously against any team in the top 8) and go for a late lottery pick?

I know what I'll do, I'll just be (no Common). No feelings. I'll be Tim Riggins, drinking beer all day in a lifeless state. 3-game win streak, whatever. 10-game losing streak, who cares?

First the Patriots, now the Rockets. My heart is broken. Our hearts are broken.

And everybody won't shut up about it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Streets Are On Fire

So the annual trade deadline for the previously-known-as No Balls Association has passed, just like the appropriation of that title.

Although it failed to live up to the excitement of past years, where big names like Baron Davis and Ray Allen were exchanged in the 11th hour, this year's trading fiasco (no Lupe) was definitely interesting.

Let's look at each deal (at least the important ones; nobody cares about Von Wafer for Taurean Green) and see how each team fared (especially my Rockets, who kept busy today.

Cleveland gets Ben Wallace and Joe Smith from Chicago and Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West from Seattle; Chicago gets Drew Gooden, Larry Hughes, Shannon Brown and Cedric Simmons from Cleveland; Seattle gets Donyell Marshall and Ira Newble from Cleveland and Adrian Griffin from Chicago.

Cavs - It looks like Danny Ferry came out on top in this deal, at least on the court. They got two big rebounders to make up for Gooden's inconsistent production in Medium Ben and Smith, who provides the low-post offense Wallace and Andy Vareajo are utterly incapable of. The only sucky part is that they take on Ben's horrible contract, which still has 3 years left on it.

The Cavs also receive a proven playoff shooter/scorer in Wally, who should play well off LeBron, and a young guard in Delonte West. Plus the added bonus that Wally's $12 million deal expires next summer.

Bulls - The Bulls get a relatively young forward in Gooden while getting rid of Wallace's horrendous contract, which opens up playing time for young guns Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas. The only problem? They take back Larry Hughes' slightly less horrible contract. Hughes could assume the scoring load for this Bulls team which has lacked a go-to scorer since....well you know who (if you don't count Elton Brand and Jalen Rose's brief hoorahs in the Windy City). Shannon Brown may or not be a player in the future and Simmons is...just...cap fodder.

Sonics - This was all just a salary dump for the Sonics. Nuff said.

Houston gets Bobby Jackson and Adam Huluska from the Hornets and a second round pick and the draft rights to Sergei Lishouk from the Grizzlies; New Orleans gets Bonzi Wells and Mike James from the Rockets; Memphis gets the draft rights to Malick Badiane from the Rockets and the draft rights to Marcus Vinicius from the Hornets.

Rockets - I've grown to like this deal. The Rockets get an established veteran point guard in Jackson, who has been playing well as of late for the division-rival Hornets. Of course, like every other Houstonian, I hate losing Bonzi to said division rivals. James, not so much. I thought this deal was a pre-cursor to a big deal later on in the day (like Battier and Snyder for Artest, but Snyder ending going elsewhere. More on that later.) This deal works for us because Jackson's deal expires next summer, giving us a big trade chip this summer or next season. Plus we don't have to pay Mike "Who" James $12 mil over the next two.

Hornets - New Orleans comes out of this deal looking real nice (except for the paying James $12 mil thing). Coach Byron Scott wanted to shore up his bench, and shore up his bench he did. Bonzi is a big guard with tremendous low-post scoring ability and maybe James can get off the bench in the Big Easy. N.O. is already number one in the West, and this trade gives them a better chance to stay in the home-court advantage range. If the home-court even works for them.

Memphis - See Seattle. Or Gasol trade.

Houston trades Kirk Snyder to Minnesota for Gerald Green.

Welcome home, young fella. We get hometown product Green, a former 18th pick overall, for basically nothing (sorry, Kirk). This gives us an unprecendented young core of Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola, Carl Landry and Gerald Green to go along with the veteran core of Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady (who may not be here if we don't get out of the first round), and Shane Battier (who I would have exchanged for Artest in a heartbeat). Good job, Daryl Morey.

The big news today: Isiah Thomas did not further ruin his cap by trading for the corpses formerly known as Vince Carter or Jermaine O'Neal. So that's pretty good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Mark Cuban Missile Crisis

What in the leather-shorts-hell is going on in Dallas?

In case you were too busy watching Congress make a fool out of itself, you would have missed the Mavericks doing the same.

Dallas and New Jersey have reportedly agreed in principle to a blockbuster deal that would send Jason Kidd to the Mavs in return for half of the Mavericks' roster.

To quote my homeboy Frank, a lifelong Mavericks fan from nearby Arlington, TX, "F--- that, I'm leaving Dallas and moving to Portland. I'm a Portland fan now." Suffice it to say he doesn't agree with the trade.

First of all, as previously noted, Dallas mortgaged its future (Devin Harris, Maurice Ager, 2 1st round picks), bench (Jerry Stackhouse, Ager, Devean George), and inside presence for the playoffs (Diop, who would come in handy when facing the Spurs, Suns, Lakers, Rockets, Jazz of the big man-dominating group in the West) for essentially one guy (Malik Allen, who would come to Texas with Kidd, won't be any kind of a factor).

Now, granted, I've never professed to be any kind of a fan of Devin Harris. I never thought he was a true point guard, nor do I ever think he ever will be. Sure, he's quick and his jump shot has been improving along with his stellar defense, but his ceiling as a NBA point guard is average. He's the equivalent to a NFL scat back. He's Darren Sproles to me. Or Maurice Jones-Drew. You will never give him the ball and entrust the game in his hands.

But he is 24-years-old and improving, and he gives the Mavs probably their best advantage: a super-quick guard who can get to the lane at will. And he fits better in their style than the soon-to-be 35-year-old Kidd.

The new question is whether the trio of Kidd-Dirk-Josh Howard is enough to win the West. The new answer is an emphatic NO. Where's the size? Dampier? Hell no. Where's the bench? Jason Terry? Is that it?

Put it like this: as a fan of a conference rival, I'm overwhelmingly excited for this deal. Thank you Mark Cuban for making sure your Mavs never win a NBA championship.

Sorry, Jason.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And The Rockets' Red Glare

Well well, look who's back into the playoff mix.

Seven in a row and 11 out of 12 (save for that stinker at home against the Jazz without Yao) and my boys are tied with G-State for no. 8 in the West.

Carl Landry for President, or at least way more minutes. The rookie has been the running, dunking power forward we've sorely needed since forever.

Now the hard part is to wait for some other Western Conference team to drop out of the top 8, and that other team would most likely be a very good squad like Golden State or Denver. But we will have a better vision of who that will be (if there will be such a team) after the All-Star break.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Grand Opening, Grand Closing

The Franchise has officially gone under.

It was announced that Steve Francis is likely out for the rest of the season with a torn quad.

So much for the big reunion. Steve has only played in 10 games this season, started three, and had an impact in only one (the big early season W in Phoenix).

After a summer of fantasizing about whether Francis would be the piece we needed to rejoin the elite, we now can wonder if he'll even be back in a Rockets uniform in 2008-09.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Diesel in the Desert

Congrats Phoenix, you just showed the world that L.A. got you shook.

The Suns, finally realizing that San Antonio will own them no matter how many points they score until they get some interior defense, rescued Shaq from Miami today, sending off their most versatile player, Shawn Marion, to the Heat along with scrub Marcus Banks.

Shaq's health issues aside, there have been many questions as to why the Suns would make this deal, including:

Wouldn't a slower, older Shaq slow down the fast-paced Suns?

Yes and no. Yes, it would provide them a low-post presence who still commands double-teams for the playoffs and another option to their slightly predictable pick-and-roll offense.

But Shaq's presence won't hinder them on the fast break. Quick question: when have you ever seen five guys, including a 7-foot center, run a fast break? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was like 48 and he never slowed down Showtime. If anything, the Suns with Shaq will be a homeless man's reincarnation of the late 80s-era Showtime. Let's call them Gametime. Or Showtime in the Desert. Whatever.

If Phoenix ownership has dreaded going far into luxury tax range, why take on $40 million for the last two years of O'Neal's contract?

Well, it's a risk-reward issue. If Shaq can stay healthy and be the inside presence the Suns have lacked since Steve Nash re-arrived in 2004 and Phoenix can win a chip this year or next, wouldn't that be worth the $20 million he'll get in 2009-10? Plus, after Nash retires, the Suns are going to have to do some reloading anyway.

So yeah, I think it was a fairly good deal for Phoenix, and an even better deal for Miami. Pat Riley gets from under Shaq's massive salary and takes back Marion's deal, which he might opt out of this summer, leaving Riley with major cap space to go along with a potential top 2 pick in a very good draft.

So will the Suns overtake the Spurs (and Lakers) in the crowded West? Maybe. The Spurs have looked off, though they tend to look that way through stretches of many a regular season. But this has looked more so like a year-long thing.

Put it this way: The Suns just gave themselves a way better chance of not being San Antonio's property.

Monday, February 4, 2008

On My New York Ish

Wow....just wow.

I'm finally getting over last night's precedings. My beloved Pats went down for the first time since last January. Wow.

Anywoo...congrats to Eli Manning, who took a bunch of criticism (some unfair), the Giants, and the whole New York area (except for Jets fans).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Highway (101) Robbery

How ya like Mitch Kupchak now?

I take back everything (well, some) I ever said about Kupchak and his idiotic trading pattern. Besides, trading a future All-Star in Caron Butler for Kwame "Doodoo" Brown, almost all of his moves have worked.

He got rid of Shaq when he was clearly physically in decline and wanted too much money, and now you look and the Diesel can't even make the All-Star game as a reserve. He drafted Andrew Bynum amid league-wide criticism and stubbornly held on to him through trade talks, amid league-wide criticism. Now the young Bynum is a double-double developing beast, a damaging knee injury not withstanding.

Jordan Farmar has become a reliable spark plug off the bench, Ronny Turiaf is an ultimate glue guy, and he and the Lakers organization stayed patient through Kobe's trade talk madness..

Now you can add today's move to his growing list of accomplishments.

Quite simply, the Lakers stole an All-Star-caliber big man for absolutely nothing. Kwame Brown was only kept around because of Bynum's injury; Javaris Chrittenton was the third guard on L.A.'s depth chart, and was a project with no real position, and Aaron McKie is more coach than player these days.

The Lakers do give up a couple of first round picks (2008 and 2010), but they should be a veteran-laden championship contending team by 2010 and won't really need them. You don't see the Spurs sweating over late-20s picks.

So what does this mean for the Lakers in the spring of 2008? They immediately move up a level in the stacked West. They went from a playoff lock with the emergence of Bynum giving them a chance to go deep to Bynum getting hurt and the Lakers being in jeopardy of falling out of the top 8 (and making room for my Rockets *sad*), and now they should be regarded as a team that should be expected to challenge for the West crown.

Their whole core is still intact, including their starting five. Gasol gives them not only a consistent low post threat in Bynum's absence, he provides a mid-range game young Andrew had not yet developed, and he is a very good shot blocker with those long arms. Not to mention his passing is a definite upgrade over Kwame (especially Kwame) and Bynum. And just think about a starting lineup of Fisher, Kobe, Odom, Gasol, and Bynum. Nasty.

Can they beat the Mavs? Yes. Suns? They already could with their young center beasting Phoenix's soft interior. Can they beat the Spurs? Probably not, but Pau Gasol surely gives them a better chance than Doodoo Brown.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chris Paul = Best Point Guard in the NBA

Remember that whole Chris Paul/Deron Williams debate over who was better?

Yeah, me neither.

Let's just say, with the way not only CP3 has been playing, but the Hornets as a squad, we have a clear cut answer to that question for the first time in a long time.

The Hornets are currently 32-12, good enough for first place in the razor-tough Western Conference, and Paul is the unquestioned reason why. He's on pace to be the only player EVER to average 20 points, 10 assists, and 3 steals per game. He would also be the first player to average 20 points and 10 dimes since Timmy Hardaway in 1995. 12 times this season he's scored 20 and thrown double-digit assists. He's averaged over 24 ppg and 10 apg in two head-to-head wins over Steve Nash and the Suns.

Plus, he's making a mockery of the point guard position right now.

Not only is he getting to the rim at ease and turning David West and Tyson Chandler into potential All-Stars, he's shown much improvement on what was perceived to be his biggest flaw: his outside shooting. He's shooting 48% from the field and 35% from 3, making him literally unguardable.

But his greatest strength is what he's been known for since forever - leadership. Dude is almost Isiah Thomas reincarnated. He can score from anywhere on the floor, has the uncanny ability to find open teammates, gets inside your jersey on defense, and absolutely gets the most out of his team every single night. Let's hope he doesn't sink an entire league as an owner, help ruin a storied NBA franchise as a GM,
and embarrass all sports fans with a ridiculous sexual harassment lawsuit. Just sayin'.

There's a level of intensity in CP that he exudes among his squad. They don't just think they're good, they think they should win every night. Ask the reigning champ Spurs, who got blitzed by the Hornets at home 102-78 after another double-double by CP3 (17 points, 11 assists), and the Nuggets, the Hornets' next victim who got stung in the Big Easy behind a monstrous game (23 points, 17 assists, 9 boards) by the league's premier pg.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Cool

In December 2007, Chicago wunderkind Lupe Fiasco released his sophomore album, "The Cool", a great album from top to bottom. Though it may have some missteps here and there, every verse of every song should be treated as a potential masterpiece.

Coincedently, five weeks later, fellow Chi-town prodigy Derrick Rose, aka The Cool, may have put together his own masterpiece. His 19-point, 9-assist, 8-rebound game (along with Chris Douglas-Roberts' team-leading 21) in Saturday's win over Gonzaga went a long way in justifying the already lofty expectations that came with him to Memphis from the Windy City.

For about a year, The Cool (which he will be referred to until further notice) has been touted by scouts, analysts, experts and fans alike (including myself) have sworn on a stack of SLAM magazines that he will not only be a surefire lottery pick this June, but will undoubtedly be a top 2 selection.

It all started for me with the ESPN-televised showdown he had with then-top junior point guard Brandon Jennings and the number one ranked Oak Hill squad. As many of you may recall, The Cool put up 28 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists in front of the whole nation, solidyfing his position as the top pg in the '07 class and a big reason why Memphis would be number one (which they now are).

Though The Cool has struggled at times during his freshman season at UM (six games with single-digit points and seven games with more turnovers than assists - 1.47 assist/TO ratio), he has also shown those flashes of brilliance that will make sure the Commish calls his name very early this summer. In his first collegiate game, he had 17 points, 6 rebounds and five assists next to only one turnover against UT-Martin. The next game he had 21 against Richmond (gaining him the Coaches vs Cancer Memphis Regional MVP). Then there's the 24 points vs UConn in the Garden, the 19 points and 12 dimes against Austin Peay, the 26 point outing (with five 3s) at Cincinnati, and the 18 and 6 dimes against the then-number 4 ranked Georgetown Hoyas. All with the same cool expression on his face.

Numbers like those - especially Saturday's near-triple double vs Gonzaga - are why he gets (prematurely) compared to Jason Kidd. Those numbers should also have fans and scouts alike from the Knicks, Heat, Sonics, Clippers, Wolves, and Sixers drooling and praying for a miracle come May.

Friday, January 25, 2008

How To Fix the Knicks

Yes, ladies and gents, Isiah Thomas is still the head coach of your Knicks.

Look on the bright side, at least you don't have Eli and Coughlin to kick around anymore.

But I have good news for you: Zeke staying as coach of the 'Bockers might actually be a good thing. (We'll get back to that.)

New York's problem isn't with Isiah the coach, it's Isiah the team president/GM who needs to get whacked. He's the one who brought in every member of this horrible roster.

How horrible is this roster? Any 14-year-old NBA Live or NBA 2K veteran who has ever guided a virtual team through franchise mode can tell you this group would never work.

Let's start with the obvious transgressions:

- Their "star" player is Stephon "Teams get better after I leave" Marbury, who is currently living up to his moniker. He just underwent voluntary surgery (which may have been an excuse for an early vacation and a chance to escape from New York). Of course, the team played its most inspired stretch of basketball this season. Did I mention that Steph is owed almost $42 million through 2009?

Solution: Buy him out, trade him to Miami, trade him to Italy, whatever. But as Minnesota, New Jersey, and Phoenix (and now NY) has taught us: getting rid of Marbury is the first step in the right direction.

- Zach Randolph just isn't working out in the Big Apple. Losing, plus an unpredictable rotation plus Eddy Curry haven't exactly resulted in the dominance many expected from Z-Bo when he was brought there last summer. Plus, there's only room for one overweight New York big man who is allergic to defense. Which brings us to....

- Eddy Curry. Give him a year or two to prove he can develop any semblance of consistency and actually get more rebounds than a 5'9 guard...or get rid of him too. Ooh, maybe the Knicks can get back one of those first rounders that they mortgaged their future to get Curry.

Let's do a quick rundown of the rest of the Knicks' roster:

- Jamal Crawford. He seems like he could be a good player on a good team, until you realize that he's played the most games in the NBA without playing in a postseason game. He's a gunner with horrible shot selection and no idea how to play team basketball (though you can argue it's because he's played for the Bulls and Knicks), but he has heart.

- David Lee. New York's best role player, though inconsistent minutes have certainly caused a lack of enthusiasm. Either trade him to a good team for a first rounder or keep him as a building block.

- Quentin Richardson. No use to any team without good ball movement and great passers. Absolutely no use.

- Renaldo Balkman. Should be the only "untouchable" player on this roster. Every good team has someone like him.

- Mardy Collins. Good versatile backup guard. Should be kept unless a (cheap) upgrade comes along.

- Everybody else should be traded, bought out or released as quickly as possible. Quite frankly, this team needs to be blown up. They should've been blown up back in 2003 when Thomas first got hired. Unlike the Yankees, the Knicks have a salary cap and it's a lot tougher to keep adding big names with big contracts to improve. And you can't buy out every horrible contract on the roster. Sooner or later, you're just spending a lot of money to make up for spending a lot of money.

The Knicks need to immediately start planning for the future. Keep young guys like Balkman, Lee, Nate, and Collins and try to unload contracts for 1st round picks. Either buy out Marbury or let him walk next summer and find a point guard, ASAP.

Fortunately for New York, they actually get to keep their number one pick this summer. Since there will be no first pick in 2009 (barring a trade), try to get multiple picks this June and make them count. Depending on how the balls bounce (no homo), go after a young, exciting point guard (Memphis' Derrick Rose, Texas' D.J. Augustin, North Carolina's Tywon Lawson) or a young, athletic big man (Kansas State's Michael Beasley, Syracuse's Donte Green. Then you'll have the base for a future.

In 2-3 years, after they've gotten off some horrendous contracts (Jerome James?), drafted well, and haven't added any more long-term money they don't need, New York could transform into a youthful, exciting squad ripe for a 2010 offseason that could bring King James to the Garden. And if Isiah follows those rules, he should get what he rightfully deserves - fired.

After all, why make a good GM and coach suffer through Zeke's mess.

It's Been A Long Time

I shouldn't have left you.

Due to the following obstacles, I haven't been able to update here at I Ball For Real:

1. School (18 hours is a bitch)

2. Work (I work for the Rockets, a lot of long nights)

3. My addiction to NFL Madden

4. And laziness (Sorry..)

But starting today, I'm back on it. Sorry for the absence.

Shout out to Don from Minus the Bars for awaking me from the interdead.