New York, New York: bottom of the heap for basketball

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If you have watched any basketball on television this season, you have probably seen the Kevin Garnett commercial for Beats by Dre.  For those who haven’t, most likely due to erratic channel surfing during timeouts, I will provide a quick summary.

The commercial begins with Kevin Garnett sitting in his living room, listening to Skip Bayless claim that he is too old to play at a championship level in order to achieve the Brooklyn Nets “One last hoorah season”.

Then it skips ahead to Garnett on a bus driving to an away game (depicted to be against the New York Knicks), where the home fans are screaming obscenities and even throwing eggs at the bus.  This ad ultimately ends with Garnett stepping off the bus and with his Beats noise cancelling headphones on listening to “I’m the Man” by Aloe Blacc.

What the commercial fails to mention is that only two parts of it are accurate. First, the headphones themselves are amazing.  I own a pair and have nothing but pleasantries from them.  However, this article is not a product review, but rather a musing on professional basketball, which brings me to the second true part of the advertisement: Skip Bayless’ comments about Kevin Garnett.

Both teams in the state of New York have been the biggest disappointments thus far nearly halfway through the NBA season.  At this point, both sit in or near the cellar of undoubtedly the worst division in all of basketball, even though both were supposed to put forth some sort of contest to Miami and Indiana.  In order to properly assess what is going on here, I will use a simple cliché: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.


The Ugly

We will start with the ugly because it is far and away the most prevalent issue in the Barclay’s Center.

When the Nets hired Jason Kidd, I think they honestly believed he would be a better coach than Morris Buttermaker, but they couldn’t have missed by a larger margin.  According to a source close to the Nets, “Jason Kidd doesn’t say anything when he is on the bench.  When the team is on defense Lawrence Frank stands up and starts yelling at the team.  When the Nets are on offense John Welch sends in the signals.”

Aside from a poor hire in Jason Kidd, the Nets experiment with veteran players to achieve what Skip Bayless referred to as “One last hoorah for a championship” clearly isn’t panning out.  Kevin Garnett is a skeleton of his former self and the team is nothing but a stagnant one-pass, then isolation without Derron Williams on the floor.

To make matters worse, Brook Lopez is done for the season with a broken foot.  Brooklyn needs to find a way to figure out a more consistent offensive plan moving forward if they have any hopes of breaking out of the bottom of the Eastern Conference.


The Bad

Being bad is by far the most prevalent issue for The Knicks.

The defense is so porous that even the trigger-happy Melo and JR cannot salvage the game.  The Knicks cannot use the excuse of a missing Tyson Chandler anymore, seeing as they have lost three straight and are still abysmal with him in the game.  No point guard on the roster plays any form of defense (Udrih, Felton, Prigioni), and Bargnani makes actual matadors look like All-Defensive team candidates.

The offense is a one trick pony named Carmelo Anthony.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the pony’s trick is fantastic, but in the NBA when opposing teams only have to stop one offensive weapon in your starting five, it adds up to a 9-21 record.

The Knicks miss Steve Novak, as they have no other weapon that is able to stretch the floor.  Tim Hardaway could be that guy, but he is far too inconsistent. The team needs to address at least one of these issues by the trade deadline, whether it be in an offensive player to help Melo and JR or a man to play defense on the opposing team’s best player.  May I suggest Tony Allen?


The Good

            There is one glimmer of hope for both of these teams.  They both can and should still make the playoffs.  Will they beat Indiana or Miami?  It will be a cold day in Hawaii before that happens.

However, because not only the East, but also the entire Atlantic division is so poor, that either of these teams should find a way to right the ship by the trade deadline in February and sneak into the playoffs.  If you’re the Knicks, home court is not out of the conversation just yet.

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