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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

At Hardwood Paroxysm: Zen and the Art of Knickerbocker Maintenance

Morning, gang.  I’m excited to report that I posted my first piece for Hardwood Paroxysm today.  It deals, as you might expect, with the seemingly impending Phil Jackson hire, why it probably won’t work, and why it still might work.

Here’s some of it:

Where some billionaires buy art or cars or pricey new gadgets, Dolan buys Big Names. They are his vanity pieces. Their success and creativity qualifies them as things worthy of his possession, even his desire, but like any good vanity piece, they…well, it’s right there in the name. When that same success and creativity stop serving his vanity, when they instead challenge his vision of himself and his own place in the NBA pecking order, when they suggest a change in the obviously flawed direction in which Dolan and his coterie of yes-men and doormats have taken the Knicks, they cease to serve their purpose. Once that happens, they’re just high-paid, highly-visible reminders that lots of really smart people don’t think James Dolan is particularly capable of owning a winning NBA franchise. And then it’s over, just as it would be over if you hung a painting on your wall and all of a sudden it started talking to you when you had company over, telling you to get up off the couch and do a load of laundry and for the love of God call your parents every now and then.

Yes, this will probably fail. And yes, it’s still the right move.

Here’s the rest of it.

Happy reading and may your days be full of sunshine, smiles, and Buddhist executives.

 

68 comments on “At Hardwood Paroxysm: Zen and the Art of Knickerbocker Maintenance

  1. Owen

    You gotta hand it to Dolan. He may not be optimizing our wins but he sure knows how to get the best out of the bloggers covering the team….

    Great stuff, love the title…

  2. Robtachi

    I love the Jackson hiring for however long it works. I’m not really sure how else I can put it.

  3. max fisher-cohen

    Nice, really well written, enjoyable article.

    I’d add one thing to your vanity spiel. Dolan’s favorite piece of art, one that has so far not started lecturing Dolan and probably the most influential and divisive acquisition in Dolan’s tenure, is Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo is Dolan’s Mona Lisa.

    My guess is that in Dolan’s eyes, Phil Jackson is just a faceless thing. Word has come that there are master art thieves on the loose, and those thieves have their eyes on the Mona Lisa, and someone told Dolan that Jackson was a state of the art security system — Dolan’s best chance at keeping the work of art that Dolan bursts with pride over whenever he has people over to see it.

  4. DRed

    A bit off topic, but how many minutes does everyone think Cole gets next game, assuming Stat and Tyson are back? My prediction is 2.

  5. Brian Cronin

    A bit off topic, but how many minutes does everyone think Cole gets next game, assuming Stat and Tyson are back? My prediction is 2.

    You’re being generous.

  6. hoolahoop

    This is NOT a done deal. There’s a ground swell of support emerging in LA for the Lakers to bring back Phil.
    Once again, the knicks are scewing things up. Instead of quietly doing this deal and making a splash announcement, they have to make fanfare of the hopeful signing before it’s done. All quiet on PJ’s side, but the knicks are feeding the media into a frenzy that may wind up killing their own deal.

  7. mokers

    I think we should enlist SportVu to get a “Screens that lead to uncontested FGA” stat. One of things I noticed right away when watching Cole is that he seems to have a good ability setting screens, even when it is off-ball or not part of a play. Who thought this guy would be competent at defense and rebounding? Oh, that’s right, a lot of us even before the season started. Nothing great on offense, but I liked that he had a lot of tips around the rim. And that two-handed granny save over his head while going out of bounds was wonderful.

  8. KnickfaninNJ

    Well if we pound Milwaukee like we’ve been doing in this stretch 6 minutes

    I think a good over under for Cole’s minutes next game is 6. I am going with the over. Even when both Chandler and Amare were playing Tyler got minutes. So it’s likely Woodson will give some of those minutes to Cole.

  9. Kevin Udwary

    hoola, I doubt the leaks are coming from the Knicks. Probably Phil’s camp letting LA know that he’s serious about taking the job in NY. It’s dragging on for so long probably because he’s hoping for an LA counteroffer.

  10. ephus

    I will not celebrate until Phil Jackson stands next to Dolan at a press conference. Until the contract is signed, I remain skeptical that Jackson comes. I think he would rather have the Lakers job, and who could blame him:
    (1) He lives there,
    (2) Jeannie Buss lives there,
    (3) He won five championships there,
    (4) He can start rebuilding this off-season, and
    (5) He has the complete support of Kobe.
    The big minus is that he does not have an offer and he would certainly have to take less money.

    New York offers:
    (1) Phil’s history with the Knicks,
    (2) The chance to be the toast of New York,
    (3) Money and an equity stake.

    But the minuses are huge:
    (1) A “broken” roster that cannot be fixed until 2015,
    (2) Enormous Melo-drama immediately upon arrival,
    (3) The MSG nomenklatura,
    (4) Czar Dolan, and
    (5) A horrible commute and/or need to transplant.

  11. cgreene

    It is becoming v strange that this has been going on so long without any official announcement. Like it is getting super weird at this pt.

  12. JK47

    If Phil’s people leaked that he had a “done deal” with the Knicks, and then it turns out Jax was just using that for leverage and he ends up going back to the Lakers, that is a pretty epic dick move.

  13. ephus

    I think Cole Aldrich gets into the rotation based off of last night’s game – taking Tyler’s minutes. If Amar’e is playing, the Aldrich is a much better fit. So, I would expect Aldrich to get around 8 minutes/game once Amar’e and Chandler return.

  14. d-mar

    Can we get some help from the Bucks tonight with an upset over the Hawks in Atlanta?

    Somehow, I don’t see it happening, unfortunately.

  15. DRed

    Marv asked Kerr what his thoughts on the triangle were, and then asked if anything was new in his life

  16. Brian Cronin

    Can we get some help from the Bucks tonight with an upset over the Hawks in Atlanta?

    Somehow, I don’t see it happening, unfortunately.

    Unlikely, but man, what a game-changer a Bucks win would be tonight. A total game-changer.

  17. Brian Cronin

    Where does Jimmy Butler go if they re-do the 2011 draft? 4th?

    I think fifth or sizth.

    Augustin, by the way, is playing his way into looking like he actually deserved to be a lottery pick!

    Although, interestingly enough, not in his actual draft, of course, as that draft looks stocked now. Rose, Dragic, Love, Ibaka, Westbrook, Gallo, Hibbert, Batum…just a sick amount of talent.

  18. d-mar

    I had look at the box score to see if this final was for real:

    Louisville 92 Rutgers 31

    Wow, what an embarrassment

  19. DRed

    That 2011 class sucked, and the league really shit the bed collectively at evaluating what little talent there was. The first 10 picks are hilarious in retrospect. I’d take Leonard, Irving and Faried over Butler, but that’s probably it. Butler is what I wish Shump was.

  20. cgreene

    I hope Phil comes and changes shit but sometimes (like when I read yet another article from Marv Albert trashing the Knicks) I can’t help being bummed that I root for a team owned by such an asshole that everyone hates. If the Knicks ever win in the Dolan era it will be bitter sweet because he will be vindicated.

  21. Brian Cronin

    That 2011 class sucked, and the league really shit the bed collectively at evaluating what little talent there was. The first 10 picks are hilarious in retrospect. I’d take Leonard, Irving and Faried over Butler, but that’s probably it. Butler is what I wish Shump was.

    On top of those three, I’d rather have Parsons than Butler and I am torn on Jonas Valanciunas over him.

  22. Brian Cronin

    Nine-point lead! And that’s with Millsap having a good game. Imagine if they they didn’t have him?!

  23. Brian Cronin

    Keep talking like that Brian and we won’t win a game until next season

    Bah! Come on, this is awesome! If Milwaukee holds on then this changes a whole lot. The Knicks would be just four games back in the loss column!

  24. lavor postell

    @cgreene

    If the Knicks ever win in any era it will be fucking great and I won’t feel any pang of sorrow or remorse at all and I will thoroughly soak in having to hear Simmons, Barkley, etc. give us credit.

  25. lavor postell

    It really looks like Harden and Parsons in particular got real shitfaced last night

  26. Kahnzy

    Other than the last 5 games and the Texas trip, the Rockets are looking very Knickerbockery.

  27. Donnie Walsh

    I find it sad that the only excitement the Knicks have given their fans this year comes from the Hawks losing all their games for an entire month.

    …It’s not a good time to be a Hawks fan, but I’d still rather be a Hawks fan than a Knicks fan, Phil Jackson or no Phil Jackson, any day of the 2014 week.

  28. ephus

    I defy you to name a highlight for the Hawks since they moved to Atlanta. No rings, no Finals and not even a single trip to the ECF. Their greatest moment was probably when ‘Nique lost the shoot out to Bird in ’87.

    The Hawks draw horribly and the fans are not NBA savvy.

    They have Millsap on a good contract. They are paying full freight for Teague. Lou Williams and Horford are injury risks.

    They have the Nets pick this year and swap rights next year. I do not think that will be enough to make them a contender.

  29. Brian Cronin

    I can’t believe that the Bucks are blowing this shit. What the fuck, Milwaukee?!?!

  30. Kahnzy

    Well, looks like Atlanta will hold on. Too bad, that would have been a gift had they lost.

  31. Kahnzy

    Holy shit, what a terrible loss by Milwaukee. I hate them so much.

    I’d be willing to bet that Buck fans feel the same way. All 4 of them.

  32. lavor postell

    I’m watching this replay of ECSF Game 7 against the Bulls. How did the salary cap work at that time? It seems ridiculous we were never able to get a premier perimeter player to play alongside Ewing in his prime in the early 90′s.

  33. Eternal OptiKnist

    @ 38, Atlanta has the right to swap their 1st rounder with Nets THIS YEAR. Thats why im convinved ATL is tanking. Its just tough to out-tank Milwaukee.

  34. Donnie Walsh

    for the Hawks since they moved to Atlanta. No rings, no Finals and not even a single trip to the ECF…

    The past doesn’t mean much. The Braves were the same way since their move to Atlanta until they got good and became a dynasty. The Hawks are closer to future long lasting success than the Knicks because the Knicks have James Dolan and the Hawks don’t.

    And even with their cruddy history, they’re pretty much tit for tat with the Knicks in terms of success and fan pleasure over the past 30 years. For every Bernard King, they can match us a Dominique Wilkins.

    And, ultimately, your point goes to prove mine: it is sad that rooting for the sad-sack Hawks to lose is more rewarding for Knick fans than rooting for their own team to win. I’m not saying that it’s wrong. Just that it’s sad.

  35. Owen

    Cronin, when are you going to learn?

    Into the penalty box….

    That’s absurd. You singlehandedly won the game for the Bucks with those shenanigans….

    For shame….

  36. ephus

    Knicks in the Finals in 94 (near miss) and 99 (overmatched) went two rounds deeper than the Atlanta Hawks ever have.

  37. BigBlueAL

    How the hell have the Hawks been equal to the Knicks in the past 30 years?? The Knicks went to 4 Conf Finals and 2 NBA Finals in that time span. Nique may cancel out BK but who the hell cancels out Ewing?? Or hell even Melo??

    The NBA moved to a 4 division/2 conference setup in 1971. Since then the Hawks have NEVER made it to the Conference Finals. NEVER. In 40+ years. That is a true definition of a shitty franchise.

  38. BigBlueAL

    Talking about NBATV showing the Game 7′s in 1994 vs the Bulls and Pacers, the thing that stands out the most to me watching those games is the crowd at MSG. It really adds so much to the atmosphere of the game. The intensity on the court is already crazy and fun to watch to begin with especially with those teams involved (same vs the Heat from 1997-2000) but man the crowds at MSG in those days really did add so much to the games.

  39. lavor postell

    MSG can still be a fun place when the Knicks are playing well. There were times last year when the Garden was really rolling. Games 1 & 2 against the Celtics last year in particular were electric. Knicks fans also still travel better than any fans.

  40. BigBlueAL

    Yeah, the past 3 seasons there have been some fun games at the Garden where the crowd was really into it. But still the craziest the MSG crowd has ever been to me was the ending of LJ’s 4pt play. When Mark Jackson missed at the buzzer and the Knicks won the crowd did not stop cheering until the game went off the air. It was unreal. Mustve been even more amazing being there because even today when I re-watch the ending of that game on my laptop I get chills watching it.

  41. Donnie Walsh

    Knicks in the Finals in 94 (near miss) and 99 (overmatched) went two rounds deeper than the Atlanta Hawks ever have.

    Sure, the Knicks were better in the Clinton administration. All that means is that you are old enough to remember back that far.

    Besides, doesn’t the bad get weighted into the good as well? Those few good moments have had some horrible bletch-inducing moments for Knick fans (I don’t have to name them, do I?). Are those to be completely forgotten about because LJ hit a big shot 15 years ago?

  42. lavor postell

    I’ll never forget that LJ shot. I was watching that game at my aunt’s house in Connecticut in a house filled with Celtics fans who felt the need to inform me that Larry Bird was the messiah every time I watched a Knicks game in their presence. 12 year old me felt very overwhelmed and devastated before that shot and I don’t think I stopped screaming for a good 5 minutes after it went in. If I remember correctly the Knicks nearly stole Game 2 of that series in Indiana as well. I think they ended up losing by 1 point, but we were incredibly close to not just making the Finals as an 8 seed, but also sweeping our way in.

  43. BigBlueAL

    Game 2 was a heartbreaker. Awful blocking foul call on Camby which shouldve been a charge on Antonio Davis then Miller got 2 FT’s on another questionable call to give them a 2 pt lead. Game ends with Ewing missing at the buzzer off a full-court amazing pass by Charlie Ward.

    Donnie, the point is you made it seem like the Hawks and Knicks have had a similar history in the past 30 years. I was born in 1980 so the 90′s was when I grew up as a Knicks fan. That was an amazing time to be a Knicks fan. That decade was as good as you can get w/o actually winning it all. So yeah Im going to take a big offense to someone saying the Hawks and Knicks have had a similar history in the past 30 years because its not even close as mentioned above.

    The past 14 years will never erase the fond memories I have of the 90′s (and 2000) Knicks. I guess it is an age thing so I get your point in that regard.

  44. lavor postell

    Another way to think of it too is if it ends like we think we’ll only have endured 2.5 season of Woodson’s coaching. Atlanta not only had to deal with Woodson coaching for six seasons, but also in conjunction with iso-Joe and Josh Smith. Granted we sucked ass during most of that tenure but I don’t know how much Woodson I could really take.

  45. d-mar

    I was actually at the LJ 4 point play game, best game I’ve ever been to. The crowd went absolutely nuts when the ball went in, there’s a promo the Knicks run where they have a long shot of the Garden during the shot, and you see all 19,000 fans jump up and throw their hands in the air. Just amazing.

    The only game that comes close for me was watching Bernard single handedly beat the Celtics in the 1984 playoffs.

    I do feel that the crowds today just don’t measure up to the 90′s crowds, probably because so many hard core fans have been squeezed out by ridiculous ticket prices.

  46. BigBlueAL

    Thats amazing that you were there d-mar. The best part of the tv broadcast is when the final buzzer sounds the players and crowd go so crazy that you see Mathew Modine go on the court and he starts rubbing all of the players heads and then Spike Lee jumps into LJ’s arms and Bill Walton starts laughing his ass off. The you have the classic LJ interview where every few seconds he praises allah lol.

  47. lavor postell

    Game 6 of that series was also amazing. That was Houston’s magnum opus. I just remember Bird’s press conference after the game where he just had no words for Houston’s display that night.

  48. Brian Cronin

    I was actually at the LJ 4 point play game, best game I’ve ever been to. The crowd went absolutely nuts when the ball went in, there’s a promo the Knicks run where they have a long shot of the Garden during the shot, and you see all 19,000 fans jump up and throw their hands in the air. Just amazing.

    That shot is amazing. Jeff Van Gundy has specifically pointed out that shot as an example of the atmosphere of the Garden, that’s how famous that shot is. The dude was coaching the game at the time and yet he still references that camera shot when he thinks of that game.

  49. hoolahoop

    If Phil’s people leaked that he had a “done deal” with the Knicks, and then it turns out Jax was just using that for leverage and he ends up going back to the Lakers, that is a pretty epic dick move.

    Even if Phil’s camp leaked it to the knicks, the knicks should not have been such amateurs to blurt it to the media. Deals not done till the signatures are on the paper. Then, you can talk.
    Even a novice real estate broker knows that much.

  50. Brian Cronin

    As for the Atlanta/New York thing, I think Donnie’s point was only which team would you rather be rooting for for the next X amount of years, setting aside any preconceived loyalties. I think I’d still pick the Knicks, but the Hawks do look like they have a pretty bright future.

  51. Donnie Walsh

    BBA– I was actually one of those dudes in the garden going crazy after LJ’s shot too. It was, without a doubt, a great moment.

    But I’d give it back in a heartbeat if it meant James Dolan never existed in the Knick universe. Would you?

  52. Z-man

    I was at the Knicks-Sixers game last monday, my brother won tickets in the Lexus Madison Club. Before the game, LJ walks through the club and I got a picture of him with my 14YO son, who was born that year. My son has the misfortune of being a diehard Knicks fan like his dad and has seen that video clip 1000 times, so it made his night! My brother bought him an authentic Walt Frazier jersey to boot. Now if only Phil can bring him a winner, like I had when I was his age (I was 12 in 1970 and 15 in 1973)

  53. Hubert

    I just want to add (belatedly) to the LJ 4 point play lovefest.

    That was the climax of an amazing day in NY sports:

    - The Mets and Yankees played a subway series game in the afternoon (back when that was still cool – this was the game El Duque couldn’t get the ball out of his webbing so he threw the whole glove to Tino).

    - Then after that, Charismatic went for the triple crown at Belmont in front of a crowd of 100,000 strong but lost to Lemon Drop Kid.

    - And then that game and that shot happened, approximately 24 hours after we all learned that Ewing was done for the playoffs and all hope had left the building.

    One of the best days of my life. I had just graduated college from Fordham but still had my apartment there and watched it all from Clark’s Bar on Webster Ave. I remember borrowing a quarter to call my dad on a payphone to see if he had watched it and going to the computer lab the next morning because that’s how you checked the internet back then.

  54. Frank

    That shot is amazing. Jeff Van Gundy has specifically pointed out that shot as an example of the atmosphere of the Garden, that’s how famous that shot is. The dude was coaching the game at the time and yet he still references that camera shot when he thinks of that game.

    I was at the JVG-hanging-on-Zo-like-a-terrier game, sitting in the back of what used to be section 314. Literally had no idea what had happened until after the game. That was nuts back then. Crowds were just wild.

    And remember the pre-game video they put up after half our team was suspended after the PJ Brown Charlie Ward flip? I was in a bar for that and it was so loud in there it felt like we were at the Garden.

    The only atmosphere that’s been close to back then was Melo’s first game with the “I’m Coming Home”. Was lucky enough to be at that game – still brings chills.

  55. mase

    This is a splashy move by Dolan, in his defense it is a move he has to make both from a business perspective and because he bought credibility to a failing franchise and restored some sense of winning history.

    No matter what Dolan does he cant win with the knicks faithful. Even winning a title we would still be calling for his head on a pike. I will add that confidence for this season by the players has been boosted for a playoff run now. At the very least this move changes a losing sentimentality.

    I can’t say I felt this way when Dolan hired Walsh after allowing Isaiah to ruin the team. Why not be positive about this move I’m asking myself. I’d want him to coach the team so him as president makes sense.

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