Friday, July 10, 2009

11 comments Mike Celzic Talks New York Knickerbocker Basketball...Confusion Ensues

I have never covered a column written by Mike Celizic before. He is known more famously by the moniker "Hat Guy" because that is what the guys at Fire Joe Morgan had proclaimed as his true name many moons ago. In fact, if you Google "Mike Celizic" then it comes up mostly with people making fun of him. Clearly, this is a man who should be on my radar as well. I realize this is the second straight day I have covered something that FJMorgan covered famously and it is not intentional. I found this article a few weeks ago when the draft occurred and now I am very upset I did not write about this earlier.

As usual, he is completely wrong in his own special way. He starts off the column with the premise the New York Knickerbockers are attempting to lure LeBron James to their team in 2010 and ends it with several factually wrong and questionable statements.

At No. 8 in the NBA draft, it’s hard — okay, impossible — to make a bold pick that instantly pumps ticket sales and guarantees a better team come the fall and training camp.

It's not impossible. Not at all. Sure, the list of even notable players taken in the 8th pick spot over the past 28 years is not exactly impressive. It's one of the many "solid contributor" spots in the NBA Draft with Andrew Toney, Detlef Schrempf, Ron Harper, Jamal Crawford, Andre Miller, and Rudy Gay among the notables being drafted there.

There are even a few All-Stars and guys who may not have been franchise players but sold tickets to games in Tom Chambers and Vin Baker (before he was a punchline). It may be hard to instantly pump ticket sales in that spot but there are plenty of guys drafted after the 8th pick the team with the 8th pick could have chosen to guarantee a better team in the fall and training camp (do we call it training camp for the NBA?). These are guys drafted after the 8th pick just in the last five years:

2004: Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith, Jameer Nelson, Kevin Martin
2005: Danny Granger, David Lee, Monta Ellis
2006: Rajon Rondo, Paul Millsap
2007: Aaron Brooks
2008: Brook Lopez

I was extremely picky with the players that I put down as well, leaving out guys who are good players and can contribute like Courtney Lee, Glen Davis, and several others. The point is that while it may be impossible to find a player who gets the New York crowd pumped up, there are plenty of good players left after the #8 pick in the draft. So it is in no way impossible to choose a player that will make the Knicks better in training camp and in the fall of the upcoming year.

Quite the opposite actually. The Knicks stink, there are probably plenty of players that could have been chosen who would have made a positive impact on the team. If you notice, there are more players from 2004 and 2005 than in 2007 and 2008, and that is because it does take some players a few years to develop into great players...but they still would have made the team picking #8 a better team. It's not impossible, you just have to be patient sometimes.

When you haven’t won a playoff game since 2000, haven’t had a winning season since 2001 and haven’t been to the playoffs since 2004, the reaction is understandable. This is a seriously stinky team, and there just isn’t any one player who’s going to change that overnight — at least not one available with the eighth pick in the 2009 draft.

Wow, what great insight. There are maybe 5 players in the NBA right now that you could stick on the Knicks and would immediately turn them into a playoff contender. The fact the Knicks stink that badly doesn't mean the 8th pick of the draft is not a good position to be in for the NBA Draft or that the Knicks should not expect to find a good player still available at that spot.

Hill is a good player, maybe one who could develop into an elite player.

As some may know from what I have written in the past, I don't believe this will happen. He did go to a team that will fit his skill set well though.

He’s tall enough to play center, but, at around 230 pounds, not nearly bulky enough.

Not that Mike D'Antoni really values a traditional center anyway.

He can run, he’s athletic, and he can create his own shots, attributes necessary to thrive in coach Mike D’Antoni’s up-tempo offense.

When I think of Mike D'Antoni's offense I think of a great point guard that can run the offense and having other players around that point guard who run, so Hat Guy is correct in that measure. I am not too sure about the part where he says, "create his own shots," because I am thinking back to Amare Stoudamire in D'Antoni's offense and thinking of a time he was required to create his own shot. I think of that term used more with guards and forwards than centers. Maybe Hat Guy means he has good post moves, I am not 100% sure.

Hill does not turn the Knicks into playoff contenders, much less a team to be reckoned with next year. Curry might have been more of a help.

So I guess at the #7 pick it is possible to find a player that can immediately turn a team into a playoff contender? What a difference Celizic thinks one slot down in the draft makes.

Instead, it’s been about drawing down the team’s bloated payroll and clearing the decks for 2010, the Year of LeBron.

It is pretty difficult to clear payroll space in preparation for LeBron James when drafting in the NBA. There is a rookie salary cap, so the contract that is given out to the #8 player is slotted. It's not like in baseball where a team can choose to draft a player who will be easily signable. This draft may have been about finding players that LeBron would want to play with, but there was not a whole lot of payroll clearing going on. At least to my knowledge, the NBA does have all sorts of bizarre rules but I don't believe any of the moves the Knicks triggered any exemptions or anything.

The Knicks traded Quentin Richardson for Darko but that doesn't really affect 2010 because Darko's contract will have expired at that point and he will be a free agent. The draft wasn't really about lowering the team's payroll. If it had been then the Knicks may not have traded for the 29th pick in the draft and then gotten Toney Douglas. So to say the Knicks draft was all about lowering payroll is wrong.

LeBron James becomes a free agent after next season.

I have heard something about this. I think it is a fallacy in planning if a team is going to plan the entire future around a free agent that may sign with them. Sure, it is good to keep in mind but it seems kind of short sighted to plan everything around it.

So too, may some other Hall of Fame talents, including Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudamire, Yao Ming, Chris Paul and Josh Howard.

I have to be honest. I don't see a single way that Josh Howard, Dwayne Wade, or Yao Ming fit into Mike D'Antoni's offense. Howard is too good on defense to be wasted on a team like that, I don't know if Wade's game fits in with what New York does offensively, and injury or not, Yao Ming will never fit into a running offense.

I realize the Knicks need more players but I don't see how it is possible to build an entire team and draft around 7 players who may or may not sign with the Knicks next year. I know the Knicks want to sign these players, but this draft was about finding talent and not saving money...or else the Knicks would not have traded for another first round pick.

And the team that can collect not just one but two of them can go from the league’s dung heap to a championship literally overnight.

I laughed out loud when I read this. No shit Sherlock. I would say that signing Chris Paul and LeBron James would go a long way to getting a team further in the playoffs.

What are the odds of this actually happening? I would predict half of these guys never reach the free agent market and then what are the odds two of these guys sign with the same team? I wonder how much payroll the Knicks are planning on trimming to sign two of these premiere free agents? Why is Hat Guy mistaking reality for a fantasy basketball league or a video game?

LeBron is obviously the pick of that free-agent litter. But think about adding him and somebody like Orlando center Dwight Howard.

How the hell do the Knicks plan on adding Dwight Howard to the team? He's not a free agent next year and he is under contract for the foreseeable future with the Orlando Magic. I did a 5 minute Google search and could not find evidence of an "opt out" in the contract that he signed for next year. Even if the Orlando Magic didn't make the NBA Finals this year and add Vince Carter to put them over the top, which means they are in no damn way trading Dwight Howard anytime soon, what do the Knicks have on the roster that would cause the Magic to trade Dwight Howard? This is lunacy.

I don't know if Hat Guy is stupid, ignorant or just plain dumb, but there is a .0001% chance Dwight Howard will end up on the New York Knicks team in 2010 with LeBron James. This isn't fantasy sports, it's real life.

If the Knicks could pull that off, does anyone think that the eighth pick in 2009 is going to be the big difference-maker?

No way! Especially if they are able to add Chris Paul at point guard and trade for Kevin Durant and Tim Duncan to come off the bench. At that point, I am like "Jordan Hill who?" The Knicks would win 19 straight championships if that happened...especially if they are able to trade for Blake Griffin after Duncan retires.

Rumors had the Knicks moving Hill and point guard Nate Robinson to the T-Wolves for Rubio.

As much as I would love to doubt Hat Guy, this seems like something incredibly stupid the Wolves would do. They would trade Rubio for an undersized point guard and Jordan Hill who would backup either Love, Jefferson, or Gomes on the inside. They would turn a player with value into two backups. I can see this happening.

Rubio has as much talent and as much upside as anyone in the draft. He was great as a 17-year-old Olympian. Give him four years to mature in the NBA and he could make everybody rethink what a point guard can be.

Easy boy. Rubio may end up being a great point guard but I don't know if he is going to make everyone rethink what a point guard can do. Not in the past 20 years where Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, and Stephon Marbury have played (ok, I am kidding about that last one).

Instead, the Knicks moved shooting guard Quentin Richardson to Memphis for center Darko Milicic. This, too, is a move made with LeBron in mind.

Please tell me Sage Hat Guy how trading for a guy who is going to be a free agent after the season is a move to get LeBron on the team? Are they attempting to show LeBron James they know what they are doing by not resigning Milicic? Do the Knicks want to prove to Wade and Bosh they would not pass over them for Milicic like Detroit did? I would love to know the reasoning behind this strategy since it seems Hat Guy has such a solid grip on the NBA.

The Knicks’ weakest link is at center, where Eddie Curry proved mostly useless as a stationary object in a mobile offense. Milicic isn’t the most dominating center, and what he lacks in scoring touch he makes up for with mediocre rebounding.

Milicic is a free agent after this year. Even if LeBron James signed with the Knicks, Milicic may never play on the same team as him. They would have to resign him as a free agent. I would like to see how the Knicks plan on signing James, another big name free agent, and Milicic for the 2010 season. They would be paying luxury tax out the ass.

But he’s more mobile than Curry, and a year hence he might be a nice back-up for Dwight Howard, who would be an awfully good complement to LeBron James.

Dwight Howard is not playing for the New York Knicks in 2010. I am so sure of this, I am now doubting myself and did another Google search. I don't see any "opt out" clause related to Dwight Howard so the only way he could play for the Knicks is if he got traded to the team. That's not happening. You can't just take random players around the league and place them on the Knicks team for 2010.

Milicic has already been a back-up to Dwight Howard anyway and as sad as it is to say this, will be too expensive to be a back-up on a team that has Dwight Howard and LeBron James on the team. What am I even talking about? There is no way Howard is playing on the 2010 Knicks. This isn't analysis by Hat Guy but a display of pure stupidity.

Hill would fit in with that team just fine. Believe me, Knick fans.

So don't worry Knicks fans, on Hat Guy's Fantasy 2010 New York Knickerbockers team with two of the best players in the NBA on the team, Jordan Hill is a great fit. As long as you don't pay attention to reality, where this is not happening, and stay in Hat Guy's Fantasy world, you will be satisfied with the draft pick of Jordan Hill. This is a Hat Guy guarantee.

And if the Knicks don’t get James, they will get someone pretty good. It could be Wade. It could be Paul. But it will be somebody good.

What is this confidence based upon? The Knicks are still a mess and though D'Antoni does run a player friendly system there are going to be other, possibly more attractive teams, after these players as well IF they even become free agents.

And that’s what this draft was about: Get the best available athlete to develop into a player next year;

He wasn't even the best available athlete who would have been a great fit for the Knicks, that would be DeMar DeRozan. If you really want to recruit a top flight player who would be attractive to a free agent, he may have been the better choice in my mind.

clear the salary decks;

Which according to my calculations they did not do. They actually added salary by trading for the 29th pick in the draft and they traded a guy who is going to be a free agent after this year (Richardson) for a guy who is going to be a free agent after this year (Milicic).

tell the fans things are getting better; and wait for 2010 and free-agent heaven.

Lie to the fans by mentioning players the Knicks may sign that aren't even free agents and then realize few players may want to even play for the Knicks.

Even if Dwight Howard was a free agent, why the hell would he sign with the Knicks? Does that look like a team or an offense/defense he would fit in well with? I don't think so personally. I have missed Hat Guy and by "missed" I mean age has not given him more knowledge.

As I finish this post, Bill Simmons put up his first "column" in weeks. It isn't even a column, it is a mail bag. Sorry, that's lazy to do a mail bag after not writing a column for a few weeks. We will read it and try to get to it.


Jeremy Conlin said...

I remember reading this and flipping out every time he mentioned Howard and Chris Paul. Paul and Howard both signed extensions BEFORE LAST SEASON. As in, over a year ago. Paul still has 4 years and $64 Million left on his contract. Howard has 4 years and $68 Million left. There is literally only one scenario in which these players could become free agents next summer: If both Orlando and New Orleans hopped in a time machine and went back to August 2005, and used their Allan Houston Exception on them, and wiped the two contracts off the books. This is the only scenario. The only one. And call me crazy, but I don't think Orlando is going to be jumping at a Dwight Howard/Eddy Curry swap. As for the Knicks, I have no idea who they're going to sign. My gut says LeBron stays in Cleveland, Wade either stays in Miami or goes to Chicago, Chris Bosh will follow Wade, and Amar'e will get traded and sign an extension somewhere else. So who exactly are the Knicks gunning for? What free agent will sign there when they have no idea who they'd be playing with other than Hill, Douglass, Gallinari, and Chandler? They'll probably end up settling for Carlos Boozer (if he doesn't get traded with an extension) or Ray Allen (if he doesn't re-sign), either the washed up Tracy McGrady or the washed up Shaq. Really, I don't see any scenario in which the Knicks are a contender in 2011.

Bengoodfella said...

If you are going to write an article about the Knicks chances to get great players, the least you could do is make sure you know what the hell you are talking about. This should be a journalism rule...which I think it is. He was also incredibly wrong in saying the Knicks were trying to save money, which based on what I saw, was completely inaccurate.

I thought Chris Paul did have an opt out in his contract. I did not even research that, but I knew for a fact Howard did not have an opt out and was there for 3-4 more years.

There is no way in hell, unless the Magic tank beyond belief this year that the Magic will look into trading Howard. Even then, what the hell would the Knicks offer in return? You are very right about that. The Knicks would really have nothing the Magic would want.

I see the Knicks overpaying for someone who plays well this upcoming year but is not a superstar. I may be wrong but I think Bosh is going to Chicago, assuming Boozer doesn't go there first, and LeBron will probably stay in Cleveland. I don't see Amare in New York, and even if he was, I don't think he is quite the superstar that pushes the Knicks into playoff contention. Maybe I am wrong.

The Knicks will settle for someone else like you and I have said who is washed up or played well last year and is probably overrated.

On another note, I can't believe Stallworth is out of prison for DUI manslaughter after 24 days. That is absolutely crazy. Just crazy. If I commit that crime, I am going away for a minimum of three years, especially considering he was drunk and high. I wonder what Goodell will give him as punishment?

ivn said...

did you just say Jamal Crawford was a "solid contributor"? say again?

when it comes to the NBA off-season in 2010, HatGuy (and I guess Knicks fans in general) sounds like every dorky college guy in denial who is trying to land a girl waaaay out of his league. "maybe if I help her write her term paper she'll sleep with me! I've been running errands for her all semester, she's got to see how great a guy I am!" "maybe if we offer Eddy Curry and a future #1 we can get Dwight Howard! LeBron can't say no to our capspace! New York is great, DWade will love it here!" etc. etc.

sorry, I just slogged through the Simmons mailbag so I have clumsy metaphors on the brain.

ivn said...

by the way, the lowdown on the mailbag:

pop culture references:
- Kurt Cobain, Elvis, Jeff Buckley, Heath Ledger, Jim Morrison, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix
- Jay Leno
- Peter Cetera (who?) and John Tesh
- The Karate Kid (Karate Kid:Sports Guy::Brett Favre:Peter King)
- how tall/short actors are
- the music video "99 Luftballons"
- Bloodsport
- Heat

Simmons references:
- "Tyson Zone"
- his stillborn quest to become Wolves GM
- his ongoing grudge with Chris Wallace
- "I'd absolutely want us to add a washed-up shortstop with no range" re: Derek Jeter
- his feud with Mike Dunleavy
- a possibly fake e-mail from a woman who wants to "tie [him] up and have fun with" him

life is fun when you've been laid-off. wheeee.

Bengoodfella said...

Sorry you have been laid off. That stinks, I hope you find something else hear soon.

Yeah, I did call Jamal Crawford a solid contributor. I couldn't believe it either.

You are right about the Knicks sounding like they are trying to land a girl way out of their league. NY is an attractive market but I don't think it is as attractive now as Hat Guy may seem to think it is. I think the clumsy metaphors work. I just think he is blowing smoke up the asses of people who read the column. Its not that New York can't turn it around but I don't think they will do it with those players. They may land one of the premiere free agents, I don't want to rule that out, but Dwight Howard nor Chris Paul will not be a Knick in 2010.

Thanks for the lowdown on the mail bag. I found it to be pretty inoffensive. I don't know if I will cover it or not. It was pretty standard, I feel like he has a template now and that's how he does a mail bag. I feel like he is getting lazy, he needs to write more columns, but he wants to do more mail bags. It may just be me. I know he does a lot of pod casts.

ivn said...

in his past few mailbags the reader questions are more annoying than anything he says. then again, he is the one responding to them and putting them on his website. I guess in this case it takes 2 to be a douchebag.

Bengoodfella said...

I know it is hard to believe but it does seem like his readers are becoming more annoying than he is. All his mail bags really consist of is his readers referring to things that Bill has priorly said or making reference to something that has happened and they want to hear what Bill says about it.

It's a little bit annoying but I guess those are his readers. I still think he makes up the readers at times, or they are just pretending to weirder than they really are to get in the mail bag.

Anonymous said...

I bet you're just devastated about the Braves trading Failcoeur, aren't you?

Bengoodfella said...

Haha...I have been emailing back and forth with Awesomesean from Mike and the Mad Blog, he's a Mets fan...somehow he is very excited and I am not as excited for some reason. It should be the other way around. I think I am in shock they got value for him. He had to go, he was horrible.

It's one of those things you want and then hit happens and you realize he's not on the team anymore. It just sucks because he had all the potential in the world and he never ever wanted to make adjustments and have his swing criticized. Church was having a bad year yet he was still hitting better than Failcouer. Failcouer has all the potential in the world but it will be nice to have a RF OPSing 0.750 now.

I swear to God, if he starts blowing up there in New York and playing well...

Martin said...

How did you con the Mets into giving you a breathing player for Franceour? Ryan Church, I mean, he's servicable as a 4th outfielder, back up 1st baseman kind of guy.

Sadly, this Mailbag jsut offended me something large. I think it was the beginning when he said dying helped out some careers and he tossed in Heath Ledger. the guy was up and coming and had just finished what would be an Oscar winning performance in what would be one of the biggest movies in history. Yeah Bill, dying really gave a boost to his legacy.

I have a new theory...and it sounds far fetched, but not insane.
if you look at JoeChats from the last couple years, don't they resemble the Simmons Mailbags? I'm beginning to think that these ARE real letters/emails, and that a huge chunk of them are nothing more then people baiting Bill into sounding like a moron just one more time. Seriously, I doubt that almost any of the female questions are from females, because they read like dudes lit up on Natty Lite on a Thursday night who decided that it would be cool to impersonate a female on a Simmons Mailbag.

I couldn't listen to his Cowherd podcast because they spent time trying to figure out why the MLS hasn't taken off, because Euro 2008, the Champions League and such are taking off on ratings for ESPN. Perhaps because watching an MLS game is like watching A or AA baseball, at best, in comparison to the EPL, La Liga, or Serie A, and more like rookie ball compared to the Euro 2008 and Champ[ions League? Maybe guys? hmmm?

ohhh "redsmite" "billsmite" woulda been better, but it'll do.

Bengoodfella said...

Well, I don't know Frenchy went 2-4 today and Church went 0-4. Maybe the Braves just suck as hitters, which his highly likely. I am amazed they got anything of value for him really.

That's a pretty good theory, but if Simmons readers are actually slightly mocking him by making go into his schtick then the reader of the mail bag is not in on the joke like they are in the JoeChats. We all know when someone is baiting Joe, it is so hard to tell if most of the emails are serious are not. You could very well be right and I like your theory. I think the "crazy girl" emails are just pathetic attempts to get in the mail bag and have him end the column with something they say...or they could be guys.

Bill was way off base on the Heath Ledger thing. Ledger was a pretty good actor, I don't think it is fair to throw him in the category that death helped his career. It actually hurt it because Ledger can't be around to accept the praise and be in the sequel.

I read a little bit about the chat and they said some interesting things about blogs, I don't know if I will cover it or not, but I really had no interest in anything else I read about the chat.