Tag Archives: new york knicks

Way Too Early Playoff Seeding Predictions for the 2022-2023 NBA Season

By Kalen Lumpkins

Kalen is a fourth year BGSU student from Toledo, Ohio. He is a sports management major with a minor in journalism. His primary sport interests include football and tennis, but he also has an interest in a wide variety in other sports, from baseball to hockey. His dream job outside of college is to be a sportswriter for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

October 18, 2022

Maxwell Media Watch

It is finally that time of the year for basketball fans. After an insane off-season, it is understandable that fans are eager to see how this year will play out. There are plenty of lingering questions that are set to be answered this season as well. Can the Warriors dynasty continue their dominance? How will the Celtics do without Ime Udoka on the sidelines? Can the Lakers bounce back? Who will be MVP? It is a long season, so we are not going to have these answers immediately. However, if you want something to base your season predictions on, I am here to help. Without further ado, here is how I see the NBA regular season playing out.

Eastern Conference Standings

  1. Boston Celtics (58-24)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks (56-26)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (55-27)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31)
  5. Brooklyn Nets (49-33)
  6. Miami Heat (47-35)
  7. Atlanta Hawks (44-38)
  8. New York Knicks (42-40)

———————————————————————————————————————

  1. Boston has had a roller coaster offseason after their Finals loss to the Warriors. They signed a much-needed playmaking guard in Malcom Brogdon and filled what seems to be the only hole in the Celtics roster. They also signed a quality shooter in Danilo Gallinari, but then the forward tore his ACL a few weeks later. Jaylen Brown was almost traded in a package deal offer for Kevin Durant that fell through, so there could be tension between him and the front office. Add-on the widely known suspension of Ime Udoka, and you have a team that is riddled with questions going into the season. Despite all the drama, I expect Brogdon’s presence to greatly improve the Celtics’ gameplan, including getting better looks for Jayson Tatum. The Celtics leader was shut down by Golden State in the finals, and that is surely still on his mind. Expect an MVP caliber season from #0 (Tatum) and expect interim coach Joe Mazzulla to continue to emphasize their defensive approach. 

2. Speaking of MVPs, the two-time award winner Giannis Antetokounmpo did everything he could to bring the Bucks to another Finals, but the absence of Khris Middleton proved too much as they fell to Boston in game 7 of the second round. Despite the loss, Milwaukee decided to run it back by bringing 16 of the 20 players that were on their roster last season. The Bucks have proven that they can win when they are healthy. It’s getting healthy that seems to be the problem. Middleton is recovering from wrist surgery, Joe Ingles is still battling his ACL tear, Brook Lopez missed some preseason games because of an ankle injury among other injuries. When this team is not 100%, it shows, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The Bucks dropped from 1st to 13th in points allowed at the rim after injuries to Lopez and George Hill. Despite the struggles, having Giannis on the team hides the defensive struggles. We will see how he elevates his game this season, and the continuation of Mike Budenholzer’s defensive schemes should keep Milwaukee in the championship picture.

3. The East was the most competitive it has been in years last season, with the second, third and fourth seed all posting 51-31 records. One game made the difference for these teams last year, and it begs the question of what last year could have been for the Sixers. After a (somewhat) dominant series against the Raptors, Philly would lose steam and fall to Miami in the second round. Joel Embiid missing time of course did not help, but the biggest flaw for the Sixers was the presence of James Harden. Or lack thereof. In the series, he averaged just 18 PPG on 40% shooting. We did see a flash of ‘prime’ Harden in Game 4, where he scored 31 points and carried Philly to even the series in Embiid’s absence. The key to this year for the Sixers will be James Harden performing on a consistent basis, and I think he will surprise everyone and show that he still has it. Embiid will be, well Embiid, and these two factors will make the Sixers a legitimate threat to the Celtics and Bucks.

4. Last season was a success for the Cavaliers, despite losing two games in the play-in tourney and ultimately missing the playoffs. The big three of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley made Cleveland a force on defense while also controlling the paint. The Cavs can find success in the East with these three, but a missing piece needed to be filled for them to be championship contenders. Flash forward to today, and they may have filled that void with the signing of Donovan Mitchell. The addition of the former Jazz star means that Cleveland now has a presence in the paint, outside the key and beyond the perimeter, and I think opposing defenses will have a hard time covering all three parts of the court per game. Depth will be an issue, especially come playoff time, but the ceiling of the Cavs with those four on the floor is highest among teams that missed the post season last year.

5. The Brooklyn Nets beat the Cavaliers in the first play-in tourney game last season to become the 7-seed to set up what could have been one of the best playoff series of all time against Boston. Long story short, it was not, as they would get swept by the Celtics instead. And that is when turmoil almost happened in Brooklyn. Both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant stated their displeasure with the organization and almost went to different teams. While both players ended up staying, it remains to be seen how they will perform on a team they may or may not want to be a part of the following season. Best case scenario is that the team strives, and the additions of Ben Simmons and Seth Curry pay dividends. Worst case scenario is that the Nets do not improve, and Brooklyn loses two of the best players in NBA history for nothing in return. I expect something in the middle with the Nets as the 5-seed going against the Cavs.

6. The Heat finished last season one game from the NBA Finals but fell to the Celtics in game 7. In that series, it was clear that there was not a consistent threat in Miami offensively besides Jimmy Butler. I expected the Heat to go to work to find that piece, like a Donovan Mitchell or even Jalen Brunson, but ended up with an uneventful offseason. Due to this, I expect a drop of quality for the team. They will still make the playoffs as a 6-seed, but until there’s a true number two in Miami, they will not get over the hump.

7. Atlanta is coming off an underwhelming year of their own after making the Eastern Conference Finals the season before. John Collins and Bogdan Bogdanovic are becoming quality pieces for the Hawks, but I think Trae Young has yet to take that next step in his game. He is an unstoppable force when his shots go in but his decision making still needs to improve. For example, when they were down against Miami in their playoff series, Young would try shots from the logo to spark something for the offense. In general, he has had far too many ugly games in important situations, and I think that trend will continue this year. The Hawks could have a title contending team, but that will be determined by Trae Young’s play.

8. For the Knicks, where Trae Young is still public enemy #1, they will look to improve on last year’s letdown after making the playoffs the prior season. New York was able to pick up help for Julius Randle with the acquisition of Jalen Brunson. I still think Brunson needs to prove himself, but players like R.J Barrett and Obi Toppin will take some pressure off the former Dallas star. Expect the Knicks to improve this year and become possibly one of the top 5 seeds in the 2023-24 campaign.

Western Conference Standings  

  1. Golden State Warriors (65-17)
  2. Denver Nuggets (59-23)
  3. Los Angeles Clippers (56-26)
  4. Memphis Grizzlies (52-30)
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves (50-32)
  6. Phoenix Suns (47-35)
  7. New Orleans Pelicans (46-36)
  8. Dallas Mavericks (43-39)

——————————————————————————————————————-

  1. After putting together one of the best offensive clinics in NBA history, the Warriors are prepared to run it back as the defending champs for the fourth time in eight seasons. All seemed to be well in San Francisco, until Draymond Green decided to punch Jordan Poole during a practice. Green said after the incident that both will take a professional approach and continue to focus on the team. The impact of the punch to the team remains to be seen, but this group, especially the big three (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green) have been through enough to overcome this situation. With that being said, I expect the Warriors to continue to be an offensive juggernaut, and I cannot see any team in the West being able to win four games against this team.  

2. It has been an unfortunate couple of postseasons for the Nuggets. With injuries to Michael Porter Jr. and Jamal Murray lingering in the past two seasons, Denver would be eliminated twice in the first round, winning just one game across both series. This season, however, they come at (mostly) full strength. We all saw what Jamal Murray can do after watching his play in the bubble, while Porter Jr. brings back his defensive prowess. Staying healthy will remain the focal point for the Nuggets, but at full strength they can be a large challenge on both sides of the ball. Oh, and Nikola Jokic will be going for his third straight MVP trophy. Expect Denver to have a breakout season.

3. Even though the Clippers missed the postseason, last year was still a success for LA in my eyes. Being able to win 42 games without Paul George and Kawhi Leonard shows how good this team can really be with the big 2 on the floor. This team also has depth behind Kawhi and PG as well, with players like Reggie Jackson, Terrance Mann, and new signee John Wall. Being a balanced team on both sides of the ball, the Clippers are going to be a force to be reckoned with. I think people are overlooking this squad, and I truly believe that they are the biggest threat to Golden State in the west when healthy.

4. The Grizzlies had one of their best seasons in franchise history last year, and Ja Morant’s huge elevation in his game is a part of the reason for that. What would have happened in their series with the Warriors had Morant not missed time will be the biggest ‘what if’ for Memphis fans, but I expect them to be able to rebound and keep the same defensive identity they did last year. The absence of Jaren Jackson Jr. to start the season will be noticed, but when he returns, this team will have a chip on their shoulder. I also do expect Ja Morant to be an MVP finalist.

5. The Grizzlies’ first round opponent last season was the Minnesota Timberwolves and they put on a phenomenal series. The Timberwolves would fall short, and it was mostly because of poor decision making. Players like Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony Towns tried to play too much ‘hero ball,’ attempting to carry the team instead of creating quality shots. In other words, the maturity levels between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves were as bright as day. This year, however, I expect the players to take a step forward mentally and become a top five offense on the league. I still think that defense is a concern, despite Minnesota’s bust in free agency, but the players performing more as a team will make up for the flaws on the other side of the ball.

6. I do not think anyone expected game 7 in the Western Conference second round to turn out the way it did. Especially no one in Phoenix. After being on the wrong side of one of the biggest blowouts in NBA postseason history, the Suns are looking to get back to the NBA Finals like they did two seasons ago. The Suns are bringing pretty much everyone back from last season, including a huge signing with Deandre Ayton. However, it seems that opposing teams have been able to figure out Monty Williams’ gameplan quicker than a couple seasons ago. Devin Booker will make sure to keep the Suns in contention, but I predict a decrease in quality for the Suns this season.

7. On paper, the Pelicans can become one of the most improved teams in the league and a legitimate championship contender. In reality, the floor and ceiling for this team solely depends on the health of Zion Williamson. That has not proven to be a good thing to bank on given that he has only played 85 games in three seasons, including missing the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign. Without Zion, the Pelicans held their own by making the playoffs and taking the Suns to six games. The additions of CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram have proven to be gold, but there still seems to be a missing piece and intensity that only Zion can fill. I have New Orleans as the 7-seed because even if Zion misses significant time again, I expect the players to know what to do and still be a quality team. If Zion plays for a majority of the season, however, the Pelicans can surprise many.

8. Unfortunately for the Mavericks, I expect them to have the biggest drop off from last year. Luka Doncic will be, well, Luka Doncic again, but my major concern with Dallas is the lack of a second option. Jalen Brunson used to be the backup for Luka, but he is now in a Knicks jersey. The return of Tim Hardaway Jr. will provide some shooting help, but other players will have to step up if the Mavericks want to return to glory. Spencer Dinwiddie and Christian Wood will have to produce on a nightly basis to help Luka out, but I just do not see that happening. The Mavs will have to be busier come next free agency.

The NBA season is set to kick off on October 18 when the Philadelphia Sixers face the Boston Celtics at 7:30 PM.

Porzingis: Is the hype real?

by Brendan Ripley-Barasch

In the weeks leading up to the NBA draft lottery, Phil Jackson, the president of basketball operations for the New York Knicks, kept a close eye on the three best prospects. He attended Kentucky’s practice to see Karl-Anthony Towns, then stopped by at Madison Square Garden for a St. Johns-Duke game to scout Jahlil Okafor, and attended the Ohio State-Nebraska game to observe D’Angelo Russell. With a record of 17-65, the New York Knicks had a great chance at landing the number one overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft. Unfortunately the ping-pong balls did not fall their way, first pick went to the Minnesota Timberwolves, second went to the Los Angeles Lakers, and third went to the Philadelphia 76ers. How is that possible? How did the Knicks drop out of the top three? Finally at number four the New York Knicks name was called. Phil Jackson and Knicks fans alike were disappointed with landing the number four spot but still had hope that one of the top three prospects could fall to four.

Fast forward to the NBA draft, the solid depth of the draft opposed to recent years gave NY fans hope they could still find a superstar at the fourth pick. The draft begins with the Timberwolves predictably taking Karl-Anthony Towns. Next, the Lakers take D’Angelo Russell, and that was a bit crushing to fans and of course Phil Jackson because he was very public about how highly he thought of him, “He’s a great-looking kid,” said Jackson. Then the crushing blow to Knicks fans was when the 76ers selected Jahlil Okafor. The top three were gone, who is Phil going to pick? “With the fourth pick in 2015 NBA draft, The New York Knicks select Kristaps Porzingis,” announced commissioner Adam Silver. The arena filled with boos and the camera even caught a young Knicks’ fan crying. Everyone was baffled at the pick because no one even knew who this guy was.

Leading up to the season teammates and coaches were raving about Porzingis and his incredible athletic ability, but NY fans were not convinced, they had to see it with their own eyes. In the regular season opener against the Milwaukee Bucks, Porzingis dropped sixteen points including a three, grabbed five rebounds, and had a block. Now fans were paying attention, the 7-3 power forward had made a great first impression with the city of New York. This was the first of many great performances which led to Porzingis being named rookie of the month in November. The highlights of the first month  with a twenty-nine point and eleven rebound game against Charlotte and a game against Houston where he had twenty-four points, fourteen rebounds, and seven blocks.

After his insane first month, Kristaps Porzingis had become a sensation in New York. Much like the short-lived Linsanity that swept through Knicks fans, they were honoring Porzingis like a god, even with some giving him the nickname “Porzingod” or “Godzingis”. Night after night he made spectacular plays, most notably his put-back dunks over players and his use of the post move we know as the “Dream Shake.”  Everyone knows how New York media can hype something up, and that was exactly what was happening to Porzingis. First they booed him and ridiculed Phil Jackson for picking him and now all of a sudden they were praising him and foresee him as the savior for the New York Knicks. Number six jerseys were flying off the shelves, he was a fan favorite and his goofy personality made him a favorite of the press as well.

Now the media focuses on Porzingis more than they focus on the former superstar and savior, Carmelo Anthony. Remember that kid who cried when the Knicks drafted Porzingis? Yeah, they met and the kid ended up getting an autograph and apologizing. It is rare to find a story about the Knicks that doesn’t mention Porzingis now.

But is the hype about him real? I think so. After collecting his third consecutive Rookie of the Month award, helping the Knicks surpass their entire win total of last year before the All-star break, drawing raves about him from superstars such as Tim Duncan and Kevin Durant, and posting a line of 14 points/7.7 rebounds/1.9 blocks. It is fair to say that this is not the same case as with Jeremy Lin where the media got overly excited and talked about him being a future superstar and face of the franchise after one month and then he ended up falling off the NBA radar for a while. Porzingis has continued to display consistency, maturity, and improvement over the NBA season and may have the highest upside out of any rookie with his size, athletic ability, and basketball IQ. Although he’s not an All-star and might not even be the Rookie of the Year thanks to the stellar season that Towns is having, New York has found a player to build around for the future with Carmelo Anthony for sure.

The Cavs Make Moves

By Kaleb Page

In this early stage of the NBA season the Cleveland Cavaliers have had not even close to the start everyone including themselves had expected. With a record of 19-16 this is still a team searching to find what it is and what it wants to hang its hat on night in and night out. As I said it is still very early so things can change and even with injuries to Kyrie Irving and LeBron James this team still is second in their division and fifth in the eastern conference.

For the GM of the Cavaliers David Griffin, managing this team that has so much potential is a huge task. With Irving and James down and the Cavalier faithful starting to wonder what is up with this team in recent weeks; Griffin needed to find something to re-energize not only the team but the fans as well. On Monday night that opportunity presented itself in a trade.

Prior to the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Cleveland Cavaliers starting shooting guard Dion Waiters was pulled from the line-up. It was then soon broadcast all over the sporting world that a three team deal had been made. This deal would send Waiters to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to the Cavaliers, and the Knicks get three players who have non-guaranteed contracts they can dump at the end of the season to further open up their cap space. Along with the players in the deal, the Thunder are giving the Cavs a protected future first-round draft pick and they are also sending a 2019 second-round draft pick to the Knicks.

Quite the deal that happened on a Monday night in the NBA. This move for the Cavaliers was dissected by ESPN’s Tim Legler and he made it clear that this trade really benefits everyone involved. In his break down on SportsCenter, Legler mentioned that this trade addresses a need the Cavs have when it comes to team defense, and with a guy like Shumpert who adds length along with a defensive mindset to the starting line-up; the Cavs made a great deal. He also went on to mention that the swap of Smith for Waiters is a slight upgrade even though both players do have similar playing styles.

With that said I would have to agree with Legler on this trade being really beneficial for the Cavaliers. When you can get a young guy like Shumpert, who is a rising player in the league known for his perimeter defense, it helps improve what the team is lacking right now. Even though Smith is somewhat a loose cannon no matter what team he is on, he has proven to be an offensive weapon capable of going off at any time. It will be interesting to see if these two pieces are able to pay dividends for this team that expects to be in the finals when it is all over.

I would add though that this might not be the end for the Cavaliers as far as deals go. Even though the deal is great, it does miss the hole that is still their post defense. It is hard to find anyone on the market to fill the void left when Anderson Varejao went down, but the team does need to find some type of presence to shore up the back-end just like it did with this trade that added help to the perimeter.

Acy Gets Antsy: Suspended 1 Game

By Ellen Chlumecky

Nothing says the holidays quite like fighting, right? However this fight was not over who got the last iPad or the last turkey leg. On Christmas Day, New York Knicks forward Quincy Acy and Washington Wizards guard John Wall participated in a shoving match with one another. Quincy Acy is the one who initiated the shove while John Wall had the ball when the Wizards were winning. While Wall retaliated with a shove of his own and a fight erupted from the shoving. There was talk about Acy throwing a punch but rumors have not been confirmed on whether or not that is true. Both players were separated by their respective teams.

Quincy Acy has been suspended one game while his sparing partner was fined $15,000 by the NBA for their roles in the fight. Both seem to be fitting punishments for the two athletes, correct? It didn’t seem like that big of a fight in comparison to certain fights over the past couple years that happened in the NBA or even in the NHL or NFL. However, any fighting in the NBA is frowned upon and needs to be handled with severity no matter how big or small the fight may be.

When so many more impressionable children are watching professional sports nowadays, the NBA needs to have a firmer grasp on keeping the violence to a minimum. While there is more and more attention being drawn to athletes participating in violent acts off the field, court, or ice, people seem to forget that players can be doing the exact same thing on the field, court, or ice. While this may seem to be a simple, almost juvenile, act of violence it is unacceptable none the less.

Acy not only claimed that he did not throw a punch but also expressed shock when he received word about being suspended. He claimed that he was just trying to foul John Wall saying that he was just trying to stop a fast break and was trying to stop the play. Even his coach, Derek Fisher chimed in saying that he shouldn’t be suspended for shoving because there was in fact no punch thrown. He also stated that he was not upset with Acy’s action because there was no intent behind them.

What these athletes and coaches still don’t seem to understand is that there is always consequences to your actions. Whether it is just a shove or a punch thrown, you are being shown on television for everyone to see. You have to take into account what these people will think about you and wonder what kind of organization lets athletes play like childish boys. Whether or not he had intent to hurt him is beyond the point. Quincy Acy wants to play as a professional then he needs to act like one as well.

The Warriors Standing Tall in the Wild Wild West

By Kaleb Page

In today’s NBA it cannot be denied that the Western Conference is the best conference. With teams that are contenders to win not only the West but an NBA title as well. The surprise of the year thus far is the historic start the Golden State Warriors have that sees them sitting a top the Western Conference and in most minds as the best team in the league.

With a team this successful it is also a surprise since the coach is just a first year man. Fresh out of the broadcasting realm, Steve Kerr was granted a great opportunity. After the Warriors let go of coach Mark Jackson they wanted to get a new basketball mind that seemed like the hot item at the time. This past summer when Steve Kerr and Derek Fisher were two of the big names on the market, teams needing a coach looked at them as must haves. With Fisher having a tough time in New York with the Knicks and Kerr finding success with the Warriors it seems that the Warriors got the better end of the deal. There is one caveat to this scenario however.

Is Kerr just the recipient of being handed the keys to an already tuned up machine? For years Golden State was the laughing-stock of the league with no relevance at all, until they hired Mark Jackson who took the role of giving the team an identity and some sense of discipline they had been lacking for years. With Jackson putting in a lot of the leg work it leaves me looking at this run the Warriors are having with some skepticism.

Mainly this is caused by the fact that Jackson was a good coach and for all the work he put in didn’t he deserve a longer leash? I guess sometimes a change is nice, but is there really any difference from this team to last years with Jackson? I don’t see much besides the emergence and progression of players like Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson (just to name a few). These progressions that more than likely were coming even if Kerr wasn’t the coach.

The Washington Post article on Kerr was interesting talking about how this coach could be seeing the Erik Spoelstra treatment in not getting enough credit for what he is doing with the team. While I do hold my reservations since a lot of the foundation was laid by coach Jackson, there is something to be said for what can be done once that foundation is laid down. For what its worth Kerr looks to be making a great foundation into a great project in the works.

Hopefully the work done thus far this year turns out and Kerr can fully show that his coaching is the reason for this success. If Kerr is the bright coveted disciple of the Phil Jackson coaching tree then this Warriors team full of talent could become an all-time great team poised for a great run for years to come with its core of young talent.

The New York Knicks Woes

The New York Knicks are off to their worst start in franchise history 5-21. They are becoming a laughing joke in the already terrible eastern conference. There are so many problems within the Knicks organization. Those problems can be the record itself, team chemistry, the coach, and the triangle system. The article Chris Broussard wrote about the Knicks’ woes covers the above topics.

To start everything off, Broussard jumped right into the fact that the Knicks are 5-21 on the season. With any teams, a record like that can be very discouraging. Confidence is at an all time low and frustration is at an all time high. I’m sure, many teams are beginning to not take the Knicks seriously as a basketball team especially since they are in a joke of a conference.

With the losing record, it brings me to Broussard’s second point, team chemistry. Apparently, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Carmelo Anthony, never liked each other and the fact that the Knicks can’t buy a win surely isn’t helping. Insiders have said that players are not working hard in practice and that is transferring over to games.

In fact, players have started to argue in the middle of the games even though they are fully aware that there are cameras everywhere.

The next topic of discussion is the coach Derek Fisher. Many players are used to having a soft practice like previous years with Mike Woodson. Derek Fisher has fast past hard tiring practices and some players are unhappy with that.

I believe that professional athletes can be spoiled ungrateful brats. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that you need to practice hard so the games are easy. In my opinion, Fisher is one of the most respected players to every play the game, he also has multiple championships.

Lastly, the only thing that the Knicks players seem to agree on is they feel like they should stop running the triangle offense. Players feel like it not only is the current offense not working, but also they feel as though the competition knows exactly how to guard the offense.

I feel as though that is just an excuse and if the players would listen and work hard at the offense it could possibly help them. When Knicks owner Phil Jackson was coaching the Los Angeles Lakers, they ran the triangle offense and it won them six championships.

Overall, I feel like the Knicks are starting to give up on the season and it’s so early on. I feel like Phil Jackson definitely needs to consider trading players starting with the obnoxious J.R. Smith and maybe even considering Carmelo Anthony.