Posts Tagged ‘Dirk Nowitizki’

Brutal Knicks Wasting Melo’s Best

VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony’s 44 points came in vain as the Knicks lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — If and when Carmelo Anthony decides to leave New York, he’ll be justified in departing the premises.

The Knicks are wasting the prime of Anthony’s career, his best years, with a staggeringly putrid season that has included on-court foolishness (yes, I’m looking at you J.R. Smith) rivaled only by even more bone-headed decisions off the court (really Raymond Felton?).

For years, ‘Melo has been an easy target for haters who insist he isn’t LeBron James or Dwyane Wade or Kevin Durant. He’s the only member of the top five of that vaunted 2003 Draft class without a ring (yes, even Darko Milicic has one). But he’s done yeoman’s work this season, most of it in vain. Because the Knicks can’t get right. Injuries, dysfunctional chemistry and an overall lack of clear thinking on the part of a several folks has led to the tire fire we are all witnessing.

The Knicks have been scrambling all season trying to clean up this mess, a futile effort to clean up a mess of their own making. Waiving Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih, as they did Monday, won’t do it. They tried to move Felton prior to and up until last week’s trade deadline but could not find a taker … anywhere.

Throw the shade on Anthony or Knicks coach Mike Woodson or whoever you’d like, but make no mistake, this is a systemic problem with the Knicks that has no quick fix. We’ve heard for years that you cannot afford to “rebuild” in New York, that the rabid fan base will not allow it. That’s nonsense. The only way you get out of this mess if you are the Knicks is if you rebuild and start that process now.

And again, that is why no one should be upset with ‘Melo if he decides he wants no part of a rebuilding effort at this stage of his career and decides to chase a title elsewhere by using his free-agent escape hatch this summer.

The Knicks’ current free fall, nine losses in 11 games after Monday night’s crushing home loss to Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks at the buzzer, only exacerbates the problems of this season. They are running out of time to salvage this thing. They are six games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase, a post currently occupied by an Atlanta Hawks team that has won just once in its last nine games and is limping to the regular-season finish line.

The Eastern Conference, after Indiana and Miami, is basically a blank canvas and the Knicks aren’t even capable of joining that party. It’s a disastrous way for ‘Melo to spend what could (and probably should) be his final season in New York.

“It’s a damn shame,” Woodson said of the way the Knicks are squandering Anthony’s splendid individual work this season. “The way he’s played, it’s a damn shame that we’re in the position we’re in, because our team doesn’t deserve [it] and he definitely does not deserve the position that we’re in.”

Making matters worse long-term for the Knicks is that they’re loaded with awful contracts that make it virtually impossible to rectify this situation before ‘Melo can walk. The only tradeable assets the Knicks may possess are Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert, young talents with reasonable contracts that New York would need if it decides to start rebuilding.

They’re on the hook for $50 million in salary for Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani in the 2014-15 season. And that does not include the more than $10 million owed to Smith and Felton that same season.

While we’re staring at the numbers, it should be noted that a max-deal in New York would net ‘Melo some $129 million. The most he could get from another team is $96 million. That’s a huge amount of money to leave on the table. But it wouldn’t be unprecedented. Dwight Howard made that extremely tough choice last summer, opting to chase his title in Houston rather than staying in Los Angeles with the Lakers in an environment that didn’t agree with him.

‘Melo’s specifics are different. However, the decision could end up being the same. And who could blame him for fleeing the scene of the crime that is the Knicks right now?

VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony talks after the Knicks’ home loss to the Mavs

Ellis Fitting in Just Fine in Big D After Impressive Debut


VIDEO: Monta Ellis impresses (32 points, eight assists) in his Mavs debut

DALLAS – The contract took longer than expected and it wasn’t for as much as he hoped. Yet all Monta Ellis could talk about this summer was how happy it made him to join the Mavericks and to play for a coach who cared enough to visit him at his offseason home in Houston.

Back in Dallas for Wednesday night’s season opener against the Atlanta Hawks, “Monta Basketball,” as he labeled his game during Media Day one month ago, rocked the house. Give the man credit. He’s always said he can do it all, and in Game 1 of 82, he didn’t disappoint, putting up a hard-charging 32 points, eight assists, four rebounds and a pair of steals in a team-high 37 minutes.

As for Ellis’ seven turnovers? Scoreboard. Dallas dropped the Hawks 118-109. Only the Warriors and Timberwolves (in overtime) put up more points in their openers. So on nights like this you live with seven turnovers.

Ellis drained 11-for-17 shots from the field, knocked down 2-for-3 from behind the arc and made all eight of his free throws. He showed off his handle, shuffled through traffic, dished off half of his assists in the final game-sealing six minutes of the fourth quarter, and four dimes found Dirk Nowitzki, who opened his 16th season with 24 points that included four long balls and five assists.

“He was great,” Nowitzki said of his new teammate. “His all-around game has impressed me more than his scoring. And he can score in bunches, so quick. He’s always attacking.

Ellis’ 32 points were the most by any player making their Mavs debut. Who saw 11-for-17 coming? Welcome to that other side of “Monta Basketball,” the side that furrows coaches’ brows by finishing the preseason in a 14-for-50 funk.

“I just wanted to be more aggressive. I’ve been coming in late with [assistant] coach D.A. [Darrell Armstrong], getting up a lot of shots, trying to get my rhythm,” said Ellis, who ended the preseason in a bit of a funk. “Right now I’m in a good rhythm.”

When coach Rick Carlisle met with Ellis in Houston, they went to the gym. Carlisle didn’t harp on shot selection or mention efficiency. He homed in on his mechanics, and Ellis liked that. It doesn’t mean Carlisle isn’t strapped in for a roller-coaster ride with the 6-foot-3 gunslinger, but he is a believer in an environmental shift aiding helping to make Ellis a more efficient scorer.

“I don’t think he’s ever played with a team quite like this that had bigs that can shoot, things like that,” Carlisle said. “He’s going to be fine.”

The Hawks, with Jeff Teague starting at point and Kyle Korver at shooting guard for the majority of the game, had no one that could stay in front of Ellis. The challenge stiffens Friday night when Dallas plays at Houston (8 ET, League Pass), which can attack Ellis with the larger James Harden and light-on-his-feet Patrick Beverley (assuming both are healthy). On Saturday, Tony Allen and the Memphis Grizzlies (8:30 ET, League Pass) come to town.

But for the opening curtain, Ellis delivered swagger to a club that for two seasons has struggled to keep up offensively. No one is more aware of that fact than Nowitzki, 35, the team’s leading scorer for 13 seasons running.

“He can score with the best of them in this league,” Nowitzki said. “We’re going to need him to score.”

VIDEO: Ellis on his monster debut for the Mavericks

Rick’s Tips: Time To Buy Low

What’s up, fantasy freaks? Great to be back with you after an insane night of hoops. I had planned on this blog coming out earlier on Wednesday evening, but the action was so intense I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. From the Pacers winning in Chicago to the Mavs’ ring ceremony to Love and Rubio beating the champs to overtime in Philadelphiaand Utah … to the Lakers getting even with the Clippers … Wednesday was an NBA night to remember.

As we downshift into the fantasy of it all, I decided to take a break from waiver watching so I/we could focus on five buy-low candidates. Trust me, freaks, there are oodles of frustrated fantasy owners out there just waiting for the right trade offer. We are one month into the regular season, time enough to draw conclusions on players and the perfect time to make a bold move.

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo was top 10 on the 8-cat rankings after two weeks, but he’s been dragged down to 26th because of wrist and ankle injuries, as well as the Knicks’ offensive struggles. ‘Melo had a one-point game on Monday, followed up by a dirty 15 (36%) on Tuesday in another bad Knicks’ loss. This period of time around which we speak may very well go down as the greatest buy-low opportunity in the fantasy existence of one, Carmelo Anthony. Do not hesitate. Act now … before ‘Melo erupts — perhaps as early as Friday against LeBron and the Heat.

Amar’e Stoudemire

After ranking 5th on the 8-cat charts last season, Amar’e has plummeted to 69th this season thanks to a scoring average of “only” 17.8 and a measly 0.5 blocks per game. I feared Amare’s shot blocking would suffer with the addition of Tyson Chandler and those fears have been realized. What’s really dragging down his value is 43 percent shooting from the field. However, that percentage, as well as his scoring average, will increase dramatically when/if Baron Davis gets healthy.

Pau Gasol

After dropping 23-10-4 on the Clippers in a big win for the Lakers, the buy low ship may have sailed away from Pau. But just in case his fantasy owner is still sleeping, make a trade offer with the thought that Pau’s numbers are right on time with the exception of 16.2 ppg. The best is yet to come from Pau, whose current 8-cat ranking of 29th gets better by the game.

Dirk Nowitzki

The Finals MVP is on the shelf for at least a couple more games to rest his knee, and the team has said he may miss more time, if necessary. It doesn’t sound good for Dirk in the short-term, or even the medium-term, as we may not get full Dirk until after the All-Star break. However, if you think this competitor is going to mail in the entire season, then you haven’t been paying attention to his Hall of Fame career. Dirk has been a top-10 fantasy monster for the last decade and he currently ranks 61st thanks to just 17.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Trade for Dirk now and reap the benefits during the fantasy playoffs.

Danny Granger

DG fell in all of my drafts and I scooped him up in three of them: League Freak (8-cat), my bro’s 5-cat league, and NBA TV’s 20-team, 8-cat league. Granger’s 8-cat ranking has slumped to 62nd, but he is starting to show signs of returning to top 20 fantasy form. Thanks in large part to his 22 and 9 with 3 threes in Wednesday’s win over the Bulls, Granger ranks 20th on the 8-cat chart over the past week. Granger is one of two players (Kevin Durant is the other) averaging at least one block, steal, and three, so go buy low …

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