The SEVEN
by Mack Williams
15 April 2014

I. Na Na Na Na…

The generally held assumption is that Mike Woodson is in his last days of coaching the New York Knicks, especially since the Atlanta Hawks’ victory over Miami Saturday night eliminated the Knicks from contention for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference – and to a certain extent, that’s understood. It’s expected that almost any new management group – in sports or in general – will often bring on board people that they have familiarity with.

That said, here are two things I really dislike:
1) Coaches/Managers fired mid-season.

(This obviously did not happen to Woodson.)

2) Coaches/Managers left to swing in the wind of uncertainty. This did happen to Woodson, and I’m not so sure – after an 18-6 mark during the end of the 2011-12 season, a 50-win season last year and the team’s first playoff series win in years – that that was what he deserved.

As for Phil Jackson and what happens going forward, Knick fans can only hope that Jackson’s championship resume can attract free agent talent needed to get the team over the top. Otherwise, this may turn out to be the movie we’ve seen before; Mike D’Antoni was very successful with Phoenix but went to the Knicks without bringing two-time MVP Steve Nash along with him – and did not replicate his prior success. Phil Jackson has coached 10 championship teams and played on two others, but we know for a fact that Jackson is bringing along neither Jordan, Pippen and Rodman, nor Kobe and Shaq, nor Clyde and Earl.

II. Off To See The Wizard

Shout out to my dude Flax, who once told me of a high school game in which he scored his career high of 18 points, including a half court shot to send the game into overtime, along with more heroics in the overtime period. In the next game, armed with new found courage and confidence like Dorothy’s Cowardly Lion, he scored 40.

The Timberwolves’ Corey Brewer, averaging 12.3 points per game this year and 10 points per game over a seven-year career, has had a week like Flax, albeit on a much larger scale. On Friday – with high scorers Kevin Love and Kevin Martin sitting out – he scored 51 in a win over the Rockets.

III. Win And Go Home

The forthcoming playoffs, which will not feature either the Knicks or the Timberwolves, will also not feature the Phoenix Suns, who will be going home winners of 47 games in a year many assumed they would be “tanking.” Meanwhile the Hawks will be in with a sub-.500 record as the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. I’m glad new commissioner Adam Silver thinks the system should at least be looked at on some level. Adam, if you’re reading this, here’s a solution: keep the division winners in regardless of record, take the next best ten records regardless of conference, and guarantee each regular season conference winner home court advantage in round one.

IV. Try Something Else

Perhaps Blake Griffin should jump over some more cars or people or something, because those Griffin Force spots are not funny. Kia, if you want to farm out some of your ad agency work, shoot me an email!

V. The Luckiest Man…

At the very least, one of the luckiest men on the face of the earth would be Manhattan College coach Steve Masiello, who was poised to leave for a bigger school until new school found his credentials were not exactly as represented on his resume. Fortunately for him, Manhattan will take him back. How often will that happen?

VI. Train Wreck

Actually the luckiest still-employed individual in the world might be Rutgers University AD Julie Hermann, whose latest foot-in-mouth incident featured her saying that it would be great if the Star-Ledger would fold. I’m just going to assume that she failed to consider the economic effect from the folding of the state’s largest newspaper.

Give the job to Eric LeGrand.

VII. Doggone People

Now some folks are protesting Mike Vick’s participation at the New York Jets camp. Did they forget that Mike Vick did time for his crime, apologized numerous times, and was nothing but a model citizen during his years with the Eagles? And they don’t want him to be able to work in his field?

If only people were as steadfast about punishing George Z.

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