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The Three Major Questions Heading Into Tonight’s NBA Draft Plus Mock Draft 2014

By Nick Guy

  1. What will Cleveland do?

The choices seem to be down to three: Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins or Trade out. While nobody would ever imagine trading out of the first pick in a draft where there are such high ceiling players, we ARE talking about the Cavs. One rumor has the Orlando Magic offering the 4th and 12th picks plus scoring forward Aron Afflalo. If Cleveland is truly in love with Joel Embiid this might make some sense as they could try to add Embiid with the 4th pick and add a second lottery pick and a good player in return. On the other hand if Embiid’s injury problems are chronic and Wiggins or Parker turn out to be…well you know the rest. As for Parker, there are rumors swirling that he wants no part of Cleveland and would be much happier in Milwaukee. If I am the Cavs I would not listen to anyone or anything and just take the best player, pair him with Kyrie Irving and move on. In my eyes that would be Andrew Wiggins. Wiggins has the most upside of anyone in the draft and will be a future star in the league.

 

  1. Where will Joel Embiid land?

Is Embiid’s injury bad timing or good timing? Depends who you ask. I would say bad timing for Joel Embiid but maybe lucky timing for the Cavs? As the draft banter has progressed in the last month or so all I kept hearing was Embiid was going first to the Cavs who were drooling at his potential. My thoughts? Always take the best player which to me means Andrew Wiggins 1st, Jabari Parker 2nd and Joel Embiid 3rd. I wondered if Cavs management had been stuck in a cave for the past 30 years and never heard the stories of Sam Bowie and Michael Jordan or Greg Oden and Kevin Durant? Is it possible they would pass on Wiggins and Parker to pick the injury prone big man with potential? Bad timing for Philly who at pick number 3 had to be giddy in thinking the Cavs would leave them Wiggins or Parker. How lucky can Cleveland be? First they come all the way up to win the lottery and snag the 1st pick and then an injury might actually force them to take the best player? WOW!! With that said, please understand that this is not to denigrate Joel Embiid who is an exceptional prospect. Just not the top prospect. So where does he land? I think the highest spot he could go is 3rd. The 76ers will choose between Embiid and Dante Exum or possibly maneuver within the top 6 or 7 with someone who will take a shot at Embiid. I don’t think he will last past Boston at number 6 and the teams most involved seem to be the 76ers, Celtics, Lakers and Magic.

Look for Joel Embiid to go in that 3-6 range in tonight's NBA Draft (Via USA Today)

Look for Joel Embiid to go in that 3-6 range in tonight’s NBA Draft (Via USA Today)

  1. How will LeBron and Melo’s free agency impact the draft?

When you are chasing free agents of this magnitude there are always two things to remember. First, the more cap room you have the better off you are and second, only one team gets them and the rest are left in limbo. So what does this mean for the draft? Teams will look to couple expiring deals with draft picks to create room for marquee names. The Lakers have already offered #7 with Steve Nash’s contract to suitors. The Bulls are looking to offload their 2 first rounders with Carlos Boozer to fit a max guy. Houston, Miami and OKC are all looking at moving out of the bottom of the first round and into the top of the second round where contracts are not guaranteed. The NBA draft has become a chess board where cap space has become more valuable than a mid level prospect. Expect to see at least a half dozen and potentially more first round picks move tonight. All the movement will be designed to free up valuable space and the beneficiaries of that could be teams like Philly, Utah, Detroit, Phoenix, Cleveland and Milwaukee. Those are the key teams that will have the maneuverability to add a player with an expiring contract without trading one away plus get a sweetener in return. Should be a very interesting night.

 

And now Mock Draft 2014

I will not include trades but I expect at least 6 or 7 and maybe as many as 10 or 12 before the night is over.

1. CLEVELAND- Andrew Wiggins-Kansas

2. MILWAUKEE- Jabari Parker-Duke

3. PHILADELPHIA- Dante Exum-Australia

4. ORLANDO- Joel Embiid- Kansas

5. UTAH- Noah Vonleh-Indiana

6. BOSTON- Doug McDermott-Creighton

7. LA LAKERS- Marcus Smart-Oklahoma State

8. SACRAMENTO- Aaron Gordon- Arizona

9.CHARLOTTE- Nik Stauskas-Michigan

10.PHILADELPHIA-Julius Randle-Kentucky

11. DENVER- James Young-Kentucky

12. ORLANDO-Elfrid Payton-Louisiana Lafayette

13. MINNESOTA- Rodney Hood- Duke

14. PHOENIX- Dario Saric- Croatia

15. ATLANTA- Zach Lavine-UCLA

16. CHICAGO- Gary Harris- Michigan St

17. BOSTON-Jusuf Nurkic- Bosnia

18. PHILADELPHIA- Kyle Anderson –UCLA

19. CHICAGO-Adreian Payne- Michigan State

20. TORONTO- Tyler Ennis- Syracuse

21. OKLAHOMA CITY- Jerami Grant- Syracuse

22. MEMPHIS- Shabazz Napier- UCONN

23. UTAH- Mitch McGary- Michigan

24.CHARLOTTE- TJ Warren-NC State

25.HOUSTON- Jordan Adams-UCLA

26. MIAMI- Patric Young- Florida

27. PHOENIX- KJ McDaniels-Clemson

28. LA CLIPPERS- PJ Hairston_ Texas Legends

29. OKLAHOMA CITY- Cleanthony Early- Wichita State

30. SAN ANTONIO-Clint Capela- Switzerland

 

 

Carmelo Opts Out of Contract to ‘Explore his Options’

By Brett Malamud

Reports surfaced last night that Carmelo Anthony has informed the New York Knicks that he will opt out of the final year of his contract and become an unrestricted free agent. This morning it became a reality. Melo’s agent Leon Rose announced this morning that Anthony will become an unrestricted free agent this July. “Carmelo loves being a Knick, he loves the city and he loves the fans,” Rose said. “At this stage of his career, he just wants to explore his options.” The Knicks have recently communicated to Anthony their desire for him to opt in to his final year of his contract. Since his introductory press conference, Knicks President Phil Jackson has privately and publicly expressed interest in keeping Carmelo Anthony, and newly hired coach Derek Fisher has said the same of their top player.

Could Carmelo Anthony be joining forces with Derrick Rose? (Via ChiCitySportsFan)

Could Carmelo Anthony be joining forces with Derrick Rose? (Via ChiCitySportsFan)

But Anthony didn’t listen and come July 1st, he could be on his way out of the Big Apple and on his way to the Windy City. That’s right, the Chicago Bulls. The idea of playing with Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose is a dreamland for Carmelo. Melo recently said, “The most important thing right now is winning.” Sound familiar? Sounds to me like the man who left his hometown to take his talents to South Beach. It was reported yesterday that Carmelo was already researching places to live in and around the Chicago area. If I’m the Knicks, I’m worried but not panicked. Who’s going to lead the team next year if Melo bolts? You’re telling me that Iman Shumpert, Tyson Chandler, and Tim Hardaway Jr. going to lead the Knicks to the playoffs? No way! As of this morning there are rumblings that Jackson may flip Shumpert for a late first round pick in Thursday’s draft. But there’s no room for panicking. In fact, with Carmelo gone, the Knicks will have a lot of cap room come 2015 and you can bet they’ll be knocking on Kevin Love and Rajon Rondo’s doors. Then of course there’s the Knicks fan’s ultimate fantasy of Kevin Durant dropping the only team he’s ever played for to go to the bright lights of Broadway in 2016. The recent Knicks hire of his good friend Derek Fisher has added some spark to that rumor, but who knows if Fisher will even still be coaching the Knicks in 2016.

As a Syracuse basketball fan, Carmelo has been my favorite NBA player and I’ll be sad to see him go. However, the move will allow Phil Jackson to start fresh with a team that’ll struggle this upcoming season (of course not having any draft picks won’t help), and a boatload of cap room in the next few seasons. So as a Knicks fan, if Chicago is what Melo really wants, all I can say is good riddance.


Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

Phil Jackson Videos

Phil Jackson was introduced Tuesday morning at Madison Square Garden as the new president of the New York Knicks. Here is a video of the press conference

The Zen Master was then introduced to the Garden crowd during their game on Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers, where he received a standing ovation.

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Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy

A Knick Fan’s Lament

By Nick Guy

So there I was back in February of 2011, screaming to anyone who would listen, please do not give up the house for Carmelo Anthony. We had chips, lots of chips, and to trade some of them for a super scorer who did not make his teammates better would only serve three purposes. First, it would create a team that would win 45 to 50 games per year. Second, that team would never get past the second round of the playoffs and that was if they even got that far. Third, it would fool the masses and sell lots of tickets.

Let’s look back at what happened on February 22nd of 2011. We did indeed make that trade that concerned me and acquired Carmelo Anthony. The town was abuzz. Tickets were hot. I was disgusted. We knew Denver needed to make the move so we played hard to get, right? No, not the Knicks. Instead of having our experienced GM and team president Donnie Walsh do the negotiating, our team owner Jim Dolan took over the negotiating and he did not give up SOME of our chips. Instead, he gave up ALL the chips we had amassed. Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Anthony Randolph, Timofey Mozgov, Eddy Curry’s expiring contract, 2012 & 2013 2nd round picks, a 2014 1st round pick, the option to switch 2016 1st round picks and of course the obligatory 3 million bucks. Eleven assets in all. But we didn’t just get Melo. No, we were also able to snag Chauncey Billups and his 15 million dollar salary and four other spare parts who would be gone within a year. And of course we would lose our potential amnesty provision with this deal, as we needed to use it on Billups. And as a byproduct, it also cost us our team president in Walsh because who could blame him for not wanting to work with Dolan and his personal advisors.

That brings me to the next question. Where are we now and what can we do to win a championship? Well its simple really. Trade Carmelo Anthony or bring in a guy above him!!  I agree with all of you who will tell me that Melo is a great player and one of the ten best players in the league. I could see him winning a couple of scoring titles in the next few years. He will NOT win a championship as the lead dog. You can look it up. Bernard King, Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Alex English are just a few. Scoring forwards who hog the ball do not win NBA titles. They never have and they never will. They need to play second fiddle to a player who makes their teammates better. Melo, for all his greatness, does not make his teammates better. Great centers and great guard play win. Scoring forwards just score. The Knicks had a golden opportunity and missed it. Would they be better today with Chris Paul or Deron Williams and Dwight Howard? Could a scorer be added to that combo? Maybe even Melo? Now we’re talking. Knick ownerships shortsighted view cost us as Knick fans. If the Melo trade was not made we could have used the amnesty on Amare instead of Billups and brought in three guys the same way the Miami Heat did. Our three guys ended up being Melo, Amare and Tyson. Where’s the guy to run the game? WOW….

Carmelo won't lead the Knicks to a championship if he's in charge, whether you like it or not. (Via Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

Carmelo won’t lead the Knicks to a championship if he’s in charge, whether you like it or not. (Via Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)

And so in conclusion, what do we do? Start over! My only qualifications as a GM are that I’ve been a Knick fan and a basketball guy forever. Does it make me an expert? No, but if I knew not to make the Melo deal, it makes me more competent than the guys running the Knicks. So, here’s my stab at it. Trade Carmelo Anthony to the Los Angeles Lakers at the trade deadline. Send Melo to the Lakers in a three team deal but they must take Amare too. What I want in return is simple. I want Pau Gasol and his expiring 19 million, a good young roster player that the Lakers would need to acquire elsewhere and two first round picks. I want their 2014 pick because they probably won’t make the playoffs in a very strong draft year and I want their 2016 to replace ours that’s been traded away. Why would the Lakers do it? Kobe is a lead guy! Nash is a lead guy! Melo will score 30 a night in LA and they will win with Kobe and Nash running the show. Amare can even chip in for the year that’s left on his deal. When Kobe comes back fully recovered for 2014-2015, showtime will sell tickets, be relevant and win alot, which will make Jim Buss a happy guy.

As for the Knicks, it gives us a mulligan to build a championship contender. With a few additional veteran departures in trade, we clear out the cap and add draft picks and young potential cornerstones. Free agents over the next couple of years will include some big time players that we could add. Flush with draft picks and loaded with cap space is the way to go. Getting to the first or second round of the playoffs is not acceptable. I want to feel what its like to win it all! Will the Knick fans or ownership stand for rebuilding again? No way! But if we want to celebrate a Knicks championship in the next ten years there really is only one viable option. I know it won’t happen, but a guy can dream can’t he?

Overrated to Underdogs: Analysis of New York Knicks Offseason Acquisitions

By Zachary Pokorny

It amazes me how drastically things can change within six months.  After putting up a 56 win season; becoming Atlantic Division Champion for the first time since 1994; and finishing second in the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks, once thought to be overrated garbage, are now projected by many to finish outside the top four in the east for the 2013-2014 NBA season, even after they made many roster improvements.

Metta World Peace headlines the Knicks offseason acquisitions (Via New York Daily News)

Metta World Peace headlines the Knicks offseason acquisitions (Via New York Daily News)

Now let me remind you why the Knicks always receive so much criticism: it’s because they play in New York.  When you play in the city that never sleeps, there are critics looking to take shots at every moment.  These critics range from the opinionated Charles Barkley, all the way to every bandwagon Nets fan possible.

However, any basic student of the great game of basketball should be able to note the improvements the Knicks have made with each new acquisition. Currently, Tim Hardaway Jr. is a work in progress after being obtained through the draft, but retaining Pablo Prigioni, Kenyon Martin, and reigning Sixth Man of the Year JR Smith were all very solid moves. However, the moves made through free agency and trade will be crucial to any success the Knicks will have.  Let’s analyze these players:

First off, the Knicks got Beno Udrih at a very inexpensive price.  He is a high basketball IQ point guard who can be a proven asset in the near future.  He will be a much more durable option than Jason Kidd was last season, although he does not have Kidd’s marksmanship from behind the arc.  He may not be the guard they were looking for at first, but he is certainly no downgrade, having averaged four more points and three more assists than Kidd in the same playing time. I look forward to seeing what he has to offer this season.

Next, we have the controversial trade for Italian big man Andrea Bargnani.  While they gave up next to nothing player-wise, the picks given up were a big question mark in this deal.  However, the Knicks received a player who could fit perfectly into Coach Woodson’s system.  He will be able to help space the floor for Carmelo and has the ability to snipe down jumpers with ease.  Although his defense and rebounding abilities are mediocre at best, a fresh start is exactly what Bargnani needs to rejuvenate his career.  If he can produce anywhere near as well as the Knicks last Italian stallion, fans should be very content with this deal.

Finally, we come to my favorite acquisition: Ron “Metta World Peace” Artest.  MWP is a character, to say the least.  However, he brings this team something they’ve lacked since Tyson Chandler joined the team: grit and toughness.  He is a scrappy player who is as catalytic on the defensive end as he is dynamic in personality.  Signing MWP was the most important move this offseason purely because he changes the culture of the team.  His toughness is contagious, which is evident in his role on the Lakers 2010 championship team.  Although he is older, he will hopefully play a similar role for the 2012-2013 New York Knicks

These moves were not groundbreaking, however they will be pivotal in any future success this team has.  This team definitely has the potential to prove the nonbelievers like the “Round Mound of Rebound” to be as wrong as my math homework from last night. I believe the Knicks will be a 50 win team and will place third in the conference, ahead of Chicago and Brooklyn.  These new-look Knicks have a lot to prove, but they have the potential to shine bright.  I can’t wait to watch as the rest of the season progresses.

New York Knicks NBA Champions 2013-14?

By Sam Breiter

Yes, I said it. The New York Knicks will win the NBA Finals in 2013-2014 for a few simple reasons. While, it will not be easy for them as challenges and setbacks arise, I truly believe that at the end of the day, they are the best team in the NBA this year.

Starting Lineup

PG- Raymond Felton

SG- Iman Shumpert

SF- Carmelo Anthony

PF- Andrea Bargnani

C-Tyson Chandler

Second Unit (Bench)

PG- Beno Udrih

SG- J.R Smith

SF- Metta World Peace

PF- Kenyon Martin

C- Amar’e Stoudemire

Not only do the Knicks have a strong starting lineup full of big shooters, but they also have a core of rebounders, and defensive players that will trouble strong offenses. If we look at the squad from last year, Iman Shumpert, who was my pick for most improved player this year, wasn’t even healthy until the middle of the season. Shumpert is not only an explosive threat, but gives the Knicks the defense they’ve always lacked at the guard position. Additionally, with the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani, the Knicks will have help inside the paint on defense, and on offense. He also poses a threat from outside the paint and shot .399 last season. Last year, they had Ronnie Brewer who gave little to no production while part of the team, and Jason Kidd who had some good moments, but his age and shape factored into why he is now an NBA coach.

The Knicks will seek a way back to the finals, but they'll have a tough road ahead

The Knicks will seek a way back to the finals, but they’ll have a tough road ahead (Via USA Today)

Overall, the Knicks were definitely a success last year. They came in second place in the conference, a large improvement from past years, but fell short to Indiana missing the conference finals. They had depth, but through no names like Chris Copeland, and players on the verge of retiring from the game, such as Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas, and Marcus Camby. Now, I am not saying these players didn’t help. Copeland proved to be a huge offensive aid for the Knicks, and the rest helped mentor the younger players through their years of experience in the league. Although, I believe most people would be more comfortable with Kenyon Martin, and Stoudemire rather than Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby coming off the bench to grab boards. Yes, Amar’e is always an injury threat, but last year he barely even played and the Knicks played well without him. If the Knicks get a little more Stoudemire than last year, which shouldn’t be difficult, they will see improvements in both their pick and roll game and post defense.

Are you convinced yet? I haven’t even mentioned Carmelo Anthony, and J.R Smith, their two biggest shooters. Anthony, and Smith both achieved their goals last year. Anthony won his scoring title, and JR received the NBA’s sixth man of the year award. If Carmelo, and J.R continue to take 30 shots a game, and are comfortable with hitting only two out of every five shots, the Knicks will not excel in the playoffs or during the regular season. These huge offensive weapons will need to find a way to hold back on some of their normal shots, and find the open man. Last year, it was tough because the Knicks didn’t really have anyone who could make their own shot besides Anthony and Smith. Now with Bargnani, Shumpert, and Metta World Peace, more passing options will be available. Carmelo Anthony averaging 25 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and shooting 50 percent from the field per game seems possible, especially with the team surrounding him. This is Carmelo’s team, and he will always get to take the big shots he wants, but the Knicks will only win the finals if he keeps his head up, and notices the open man in the paint when being double-teamed.

To sum it up, the Knicks are faster, bigger, and younger than they were last year. With the old timers departing, some new key players joining the organization, and the health of the team improving, the Knicks will be unstoppable this year. Not only do they have one of the best offenses in the league, but now their defense will improve as well. Then, of course there are what ifs. What if Tim Hardaway Jr. has a break out rookie season? What if Amar’e stays healthy and goes back the 20 point 10 rebound guy he use to be? What if the Knicks find talent in a player like Chris Smith that they didn’t even know was possible? The possibilities for the Knicks are endless. This team is very underrated this year, and if it’s ever time for them to bring a championship back to New York it’s NOW!

2013- 2014 NBA Season Predictions

The time has finally come. The NBA season starts today, and we’d like to make some predictions on what we think the NBA will have in store for you this year. We’ve included our picks for the playoffs, as well as the end of season awards. Feel free to comment with your own opinions, as these are simply ours. Without further ado, we present our 2013- 2014 NBA Season Predictions:

EAST
Place Sam Breiter Brett Malamud
1 Miami Heat Miami Heat
2 New York Knicks Chicago Bulls
3 Chicago Bulls Indiana Pacers
4 Brooklyn Nets Brooklyn Nets
5 Indiana Pacers New York Knicks
6 Detroit Pistons Washington Wizards
7 Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland Cavaliers
8 Toronto Raptors Detroit Pistons
Bubble Team (9th) Boston Celtics Atlanta Hawks
ECF Miami Heat vs New York Knicks Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers
West
Place Sam Breiter Brett Malamud
1 L.A Clippers L.A. Clippers
2 Oklahoma City Thunder Oklahoma City Thunder
3 San Antonio Spurs San Antonio Spurs
4 Houston Rockets Golden State Warriors
5 Golden State Warriors Houston Rockets
6 Dallas Mavericks Minnesota Timberwolves
7 Portland Trail Blazers Dallas Mavericks
8 New Orleans Pelicans New Orleans Pelicans
Bubble Team (9th) Denver Nuggets Portland Trail Blazers
WCF L.A Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors L.A. Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Champion and Awards
Sam Breiter Brett Malamud
FINALS New York Knicks vs LA Clippers Miami Heat vs. L.A. Clippers
Champion New York Knicks L.A. Clippers
Defensive POY Dwight Howard Dwight Howard
Rookie of the Year Victor Oladipo Victor Oladipo
Coach of the Year Doc Rivers Doc Rivers
Most Improved Iman Shumpert Eric Bledsoe
MVP LeBron James LeBron James
Sixth Man of the Year Tyreke Evans Jamal Crawford

We hope that this NBA season will be as fun for you as it will be for us. We look forward to keeping you covered this NBA season.