Tagged: marc berman

When The Story Becomes The Story

I wish this post was about the Knicks gearing up for a playoff run. It’s not. It’s the twilight of yet another miserable Knicks season and instead of the team, the story has become the story. It has been a bitter year on many fronts: A lot of consternation has flowed in a dizzying array of directions: Players to coach; coach to players; players to media; coaches to media; media to management; media to coaches; blogs to all of it. Losing will bring out the worst in everyone pulled into the franchise’s orbit.

From a fan’s perspective, the most despicable aspect of the last decade or so has indisputably been the play on the court. The next is the mismanagement. Then comes the press corps. At its best, the Knicks’ beat is intelligent, analytical, honest. At its worst it is defensive, dishonest, demeaning to its readers, hypocritical. Some of the writers fall consistently into the first category. Others into the second. Sometimes, rarely, they change hats.

This is a theme that has recurred in this space. It has been touched upon elsewhere but judging by some comments and tweets, I’ve probably developed a reputation as the guy who takes the writers to task when I think they deserve it. I call them out when they publish propaganda, when they fail to fact check, when they fail to recognize obvious truths to suit the predetermined direction of their coverage, and when they lie to get start a controversy in an effort to get a sound byte that will help them sell papers. For example, when:

It should come as no surprise that certain publications are featured prominently in this list while others are conspicuously absent. That makes it all the more puzzling that of all the writers who cover the Knicks, it was Alan Hahn of Newsday who was the prickliest about Tracy McGrady’s assertion that “you guys”, e.g., the press, will keep players away from New York. Hahn took exception, writing:

Apparently NBA players prefer hero worship over raw honesty and unfettered opinion. They prefer the big fish/small pond ratio in smaller markets, where the coverage has the intensity of a street light.

NBA players who relish a challenge should most definitely be willing to subject themselves to the spotlight. But what about the interrogation lamp? That’s why I’m not sure it’s really Hahn that McGrady had in mind. Hahn continued:

How should this team be covered at this point? Should we just shrug when Eddy Curry continually gets injured and yet still makes every single road trip, pocketing per diem and enjoying the free travel?

I can’t disagree with Hahn that if players are upset about the coverage that exposes:

  1. Eddy Curry for failing to properly condition himself for the rigors of the NBA despite collecting an $11 million salary; or
  2. Larry Hughes for pouting the night of a monster 43 point win over the Pacers; or
  3. Darko Milicic for wanting the Knicks to cut him, and let him return to Europe while still guaranteeing him his full paycheck; or
  4. Nate Robinson likely instructing his agent to complain in the midst of the Knicks’ best month in a decade; or
  5. their general and individual poor play in a losing season;

then that is a problem with the players and not the writers. But I think McGrady may have been referring more to the unfair treatment some writers bestow on some players (and the coaches, and management), the most glaring examples of which I’ve referenced above.

You better believe it’s a circus.

And McGrady isn’t the only one holding that opinion. Hahn points out that Ron Artest said that players are “scared of the fans and the media”. And Chris Bosh stated his distaste for the Knicks’ beat too.

It’s hard to tell if Hahn was sticking up for his colleagues or just himself. Without naming names, probably as a professional courtesy, he wrote:

I can’t speak for everybody in this business, but I can say there is not supposed to be agenda in any of this. It’s merely unbiased observations from those closest to the team without being part of the team. Most of us ask questions not because we don’t know the answers, we ask them because we DO know the answers.

Look, some of that is true. For Hahn, it certainly is. But even if Hahn asks honest questions seeking honest answers, let’s not pretend that there aren’t others who carefully engineer loaded, indefensible questions to solicit a frustrated response – to make news. You can’t honestly suggest that no writers have an agenda. Not when we’re still getting updates about what Stephon Marbury thinks about the Knicks. Not when they are openly calling for the Coach’s head (are journalists supposed to report the story or be a part of it?). There are plenty of fans who recognize that Mike D’Antoni has not been perfect, not even close, but are tired of reading diatribes, insulting to their intelligence, positing that all of the blame falls at the Coach’s feet. Will Berman, who had D’Antoni up in slings when he benched Nate Robinson refer to Nate’s latest benching with the Celtics as “Nate-Gate”? Will he recognize, as every single one of Nate’s pro coaches has that Nate’s best spot may be the end of the bench?

The Knicks are out of the playoffs because D’Antoni didn’t play Darko? Really? Is it truly a meaningful issue that Mike D’Antoni didn’t coddle Larry Hughes and Eddy Curry enough?

Marc, we know you’re worried that people aren’t going to pay attention to you if the Knicks aren’t good, but don’t you have some sort of professional responsibility as a journalist?

And as for Isola: look, we get it, the Knicks have PR people who follow you around with blackberries and take notes. Get the hell over it already. You’re a journalist, don’t let it taint your coverage. Fans want intelligent, honest coverage, not someone with a vendetta pledging to make things right for the time the Knicks “screwed me over.”

For all of the professionalism supposedly absent from the Knicks organization, from the coaching staff to the players (and yes, some of the players don’t know what that word means), the last ones to judge should be those who call their assignment “a gulag”, or “depressing”, and who pine for the old Checketts days when the Knicks treated the beat writers to a catered trips on yachts. Guess what Frank? I don’t get catered trips on yachts at my job either but I don’t elevate that grievance over my duties.

Granted, the good one’s like Hahn, Steve Adamek and Howard Beck are honest. They’re professional. They can have their negative opinions of the organization, as immortalized in the New York Observer article, without letting it cloud their work product. Marc Berman and Frank Isola are driven by personal issues and it’s a waste of time to argue otherwise.

These are circling vultures waiting to twist words and parse statements and misrepresent them, and take them out of context. They do this in order to generate enough controversy to satisfy a decade old grudge, or satiate some narcissistic thirst for attention/sell papers for News Corp. Despite their presence, you can understand why a player like LeBron James would put up with it anyway. He has an empire he wants to build and New York may be the best place to do it.

For an average or even above average player though, all other things are more or less equal. So what is there to gain by subjecting yourself to the daily dishonesty and mind bending disingenuousness? I have some news for the writers on the beat that hate their jobs and take it out on the organization. LeBron might not come, and if McGrady, Artest and Bosh represent the feelings of the rest of the players in the league, you’ve got a number of “depressing” years left in this “gulag”.

If Only The Knicks Had Darko, Kurt Rambis, Or Both

We liked Marc Berman’s latest blog entry over at the New York Post so much that we asked him to come over to our site and expand on his thoughts (Note, this is a parody, Marc Berman did not write the entry below, but I’m in tune to his special brand of propagandistic muck-raking, so I know that if the Bermanator did write a guest spot for us, it would go a little something like this:)

Darko Milicic has exactly one more ring than Mike D’Antoni, so who would have been more crucial to the Knicks’ success going forward? The guy with the ring obviously. The second overall pick behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmello Anthony earned that ring playing a key role for the Detroit Pistons during their 2004 championship run. He averaged 4.6 minutes, 1.4 points and 1.3 boards. Without those contributions, the Pistons might not have even made the playoffs. But the Pistons, for some reason, gave up on Darko. What a waste. They traded him to the Orlando Magic where he averaged career highs in points (8) and rebounds (6.1). Then the Magic inexplicably gave up on Darko Milicic. Who knows why. Morons. He signed a free agent deal with Memphis, where the Grizzlies gave up on him. For some reason. I bet they wish they still had him, since now they are left with second overall pick Thabeet “patrolling” the paint. If only the Knicks had Thabeet. Alas, that’s a topic for another day.

Anyway…

Then after all those teams gave up on Darko, Mike D’Antoni made the inexcusable, indefensible coaching decision to give up on Darko. D’Antoni apparently thought Darko was lazy and mailed it in. There’s no credibility to that assertion. I know Tommy Dee routinely noticed that Darko was always the first player off the court after practice, but what does he know, he’s just a blogger.

What was D’Antoni thinking???

Sadly, since D’Antoni folded his hand, Donnie Walsh traded Darko to the Timberwolves, a team Darko has powered to a STAGGERING 1-15 record since the trade while averaging 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds. THIS COULD HAVE BEEN OURS!!!! If Mike D’Antoni knew how to properly value his players the Knicks could be more like the 14 win Timberwolves, who astutely drafted Johnny Flynn and Ricky Rubio.

And Darko has found so much success in Minnesota because they know how to treat their players. In fact, Darko, who was pining to get back to Europe when he had to collect his mammoth game checks to do nothing in New York, now wants to stay in the NBA. But only if the team guarantees him the 30-35 minutes he’s earned by carrying them to a .062 winning percentage.

If D’Antoni only had a clue, the Knicks would probably have at least 50 wins by now, all due to Darko’s dominant scoring and boardwork. And if he never planned on using the guy, at least the Knicks could have still had Quentin Richardson, who is averaging a Darko-esque 8.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in a shade under 30 minutes for the Heat. Another chance at 50 wins squandered! Ugh!

Donnie put together a title contender for Mike D’Antoni. But D’Antoni didn’t play the studs. Darko? Banished! Hughes? Banished! Nate? Banished during Nate-gate (“haters” might say the Knicks had their best month in close to a decade during this time. But that is just a “fact”, which we don’t value over here at News Corp.)! Curry? Banished! Here’s what the Knicks could have been if not for that know-nothing D’Antoni:

PG: Duhon or Marbury

SG: Nate

SF: Hughes

PF: Darko

C: Curry

You mean to tell me that this squad wouldn’t have more than the 26 wins the currently mismanaged group sports? Please. The problem in New York isn’t the lack of talent of the players, it’s the lack of talent of the head coach, who should’ve played Darko at center for his added 5 boards instead of their current all-star center. Case closed. I’m smart.

Walsh Says Again Knicks Won’t Make A BAD Deadline Deal

[UPDATE: I mistakenly attributed they NYPOST blog entry referenced below to Marc Berman. In fact, Brian Lewis wrote the post. An unfortunate bit of irony in a post about someone else’s lack of reading comprehension skills. I regret the error.]

Marc Berman Brian Lewis caught up to Donnie Walsh today and somehow came away with the impression that the Knicks’ GM has ruled out a deadline deal. This based on Donnie’s comments:

I’ve said this a lot, and it’s always the same: It’s you’re always looking to see if there’s something that can make you a better team. You’re not going I [sic] make a trade that’s a bad trade because there’s some idea that you should make a trade. Any time there’s a good trade you look into it.

I’d like to conduct a little experiment. I’m going to reprint that quote below but darken certain words. Tell me if it’s possible to agree with Berman’s Lewis’ interpretation:

I’ve said this a lot, and it’s always the same: It’s you’re always looking to see if there’s something that can make you a better team. You’re not going I [sic] make a trade that’s a bad trade because there’s some idea that you should make a trade. Any time there’s a good trade you look into it.

Yet Berman Lewis blogged: …”president Donnie Walsh reiterated that he won’t make any deals.” I’m no Supreme Court Justice or literary scholar, but I definitely think Donnie was saying he would make a trade. In fact, Donnie said he’s “always” looking to make a trade, if “there’s something that can make you a better team.”

He continued, “You’re not going I [sic] make a trade that’s a bad trade because there’s some idea that you should make a trade.” If you ask me he’s rejecting the notion that he should just make a trade, any trade, as long as it’s a trade. Who thinks like that anyway? Oh right, Berman the Post does.

But Berman The Post isn’t the GM. Donnie is. And according to my perhaps sophomoric interpretation, Donnie actually would make a trade at “[a]ny time”, as long as the trade is a “good trade”.

Sorry if I had to unrouse the rabble here a little but there will be plenty of time for our favorite publication to incite the impulsive masses if the Knicks don’t wind up making a deadline deal, even though they could have made a bad one.

Knicks Active In Trade Discussions

According to Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee, who polled sources from around the league, the Knicks have been among the most active teams in trade talks. Unsurprisingly, the Knicks, according to Amick, are primarily looking to trade Jared Jeffries.

Everyone knows the importance trading Jeffries has to the Knicks’ offseason. As an added benefit though, by accomplishing a trade, management would satiate Marc Berman’s mindless demands for a shake-up to preserve the season, as if anything management could do at the deadline, including a T-Mac trade, would help the Knicks make the playoffs this year.

The season is pretty much over for the Knicks [1, 2, 3], and the right move for the team to make would be a cap slashing move to open up more space this summer. That could be a McGrady trade, but it makes little sense to just rearrange the deck-chairs because Berman says so, with an exclamation point.

Just a reminder that the last major move Berman advocated for the Knicks with an exclamation point was to sign Iverson. He called Knicks’ management “Turkeys!”. About six or seven weeks later, he recanted. I’d like to see him admit when he’s wrong more often, but that might require double the amount of space than the Post currently allots him.

Players See Logic In Donnie’s Plan, Even If Some Fans Don’t

It’s a year and a half into Donnie Walsh’s two year rebuild and the Knicks’ record isn’t substantially better than it was last year. But it was never supposed to be. The primary goal all along, according to Donnie, was to clear out cap space. The secondary goal was always to try to be competitive. By definition, when the priorities clash, the first takes precedence. That’s what’s happened in Donnie’s reign so far. Otherwise the Knicks would still have Zach Randolph and Jamal Crawford, and maybe Ramon Sessions.

And as we’ve noted for some time, another year of sub .500 basketball is and has been a difficult pill to swallow for some people. For the folks who want the Knicks to spend money and take on contracts so they can try to win now, the main flaw in the Knicks’ plan is that star free agents aren’t going to want to join a perpetual lottery team.

We’ve always argued that when a star joins a team, that team stops being a lottery team. For example, is Miami without Dywane Wade any better than, say, the Nets? Are the Nets with Dywane Wade better than the Knicks? How would the Cavs do minus LeBron? This isn’t an untestable hypothesis. Two short years ago, a hobbled Dywane Wade played in just 51 games for the Heat. They won 15 games that entire year. In 1996-97, David Robinson played in 6 games for the Spurs. They won 20 games. This type of logic has always been lost on certain fans, and oddly, media outlets like ESPN.

But it isn’t lost on the players.

Last week, Chris Bosh said of the Knicks 2010 roster:

…in order to get certain guys you have to make room…So there’s no telling what kind of team will be here next year.

But even if the same core takes the floor next year, if a player like LeBron comes – as we’ve said over and over in this space – he’ll be joining a squad superior to the current Cavs. The Cavs squeaked by the Lakers on Thursday. Without LeBron they would have been blown out. The Lakers edged out the Knicks in the 4th quarter the next day, and even though the Lakers were playing on the second night of a back-to-back, if LeBron was on the Knicks, the Knicks would have dismantled the Lakers.

But don’t take my word for it. In another example of how players understand that stars make all the difference, and that supporting casts are just different degrees of mediocre most of the time, Ron Artest said [via Hahn]:

“Actually, I thought about that yesterday…If you take LeBron off [the Cavs], no.  They’re not [a playoff team]. No.”

Of course, even without LeBron, the Knicks still might be.

Knicks Fan’s EPIC Poll

We’ve gotten a lot of demand to bring back our defunct confidence rating. We’ve wanted to, but we also wanted to do something different. Well here is what we’ve decided to do.

We are going to have many polls designed to gauge the fans pulse about various and specific Knicks topics. Rather than just a confidence rating (which we’ll still have), we are going to assess and track your thoughts on the following categories:

  • Overall direction of the team
  • Backcourt
  • Frontcourt
  • Starters
  • Depth
  • PG
  • SG
  • SF
  • PF
  • C
  • Specific players
  • Coaching
  • Management
  • Media coverage

We’ll update the polls once per week and track them graphically. You have until Friday of each week to vote on the previous week.

If you ever need to find the poll page, you can click the “POLLS” in the page links above or the new “Knicks Fan’s EPIC Poll” link on the sidebar.

Let us know in the comments if there is anything else you’d like to see measured.

We’re kicking off this ambitious project right…now!

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Too Soon To Worry

It has only been a few weeks since the start of training camp, and the Knicks have only played two preseason games, but the New York Post is already willing to put labels on this team and its players:

Gallinari’s preseason is the puzzler, an alarming development. His presence as the next Hedo Turkoglu was hoped to be the biggest magnet to draw LeBron James. The Knicks should burn the DVD of their first two preseason games so King James can never see them.

With a back supposedly as good as new and 28 competent games behind him from a shortened rookie year, Gallinari was expected to be the dangerous sniper from the perimeter. He was going to be the X-factor allowing the Knicks to escape with the close games they choked on last year (18 losses by five points or less).

In two games, Gallinari looks slow, tentative and lack ing [sic] confidence shooting 3 of 13. He does not look like a starter, let alone a differen ce-maker [sic].

Too soon, Berman. Too soon. Besides, in the first preseason game against the Nets, Gallo looked pretty impressive to me. With some tired legs after a week of two-a-days, Gallo recognized that his shot was a touch flat (even though he shot 50% from downtown), and he took it upon himself instead to penetrate and create for others (Lee specifically). More importantly, he was a +8, and the Knicks won.

As far as the Boston game, was there any Knick who had an impressive shooting performance against one of the league’s elite teams? Sure Gallo shot poorly, but so did the entire team.

I wonder if Allan Houston ever had an off night.

Earlier in the week, Dan Tomasino, filling in for Berman, wrote that thus far, Gallinari has been a “bust”. I wouldn’t say that, considering that the Knicks were .500 with Gallo in the lineup last year, and when he played it was clear that even as a 20 year old he had the highest basketball IQ and was the most skillful Knick. Two games into the preseason is too soon for labels.

But the fact that Berman has a bashing buddy over at the Post makes it clear that that rag has an institutional agenda to blow things out of proportion, drive the stories rather than just report them, get coaches fired, turn players into villains, shatter the confidence of young players, and otherwise sensationalize the minutest of details while ignoring the positives. Is it any wonder that that the Post is under the same corporate umbrella (News Corp.) as their fair and balanced brethren over at Fox News?

Before we start demanding to see Gallinari’s birth certificate though, we should realize that it would be more rational to give the team and its players the benefit of the doubt until they’ve at least played one regular season game.

From Around the Knicks-O-Sphere

This morning’s draft rumblings from the beat:

  • Star-Vermin tells us that the Knicks would have interest in Rubio if he slid all the way down to 8th. Earth-shattering stuff. POST EXCLUSIVE?

Draft Morsels

Marc Berman speculates that Stephen Curry, through Tuesday’s workout, which by all accounts was terrific, sealed the deal for the Knicks to draft him. He writes that the Knicks will certainly draft Curry unless Arizona Power Forward Jordan Hill is still on the board. Berman has a history of making up news, falsely attributing statements, and trying to pass rumor off as fact. (Example 1, example 2.)

Now, the Hill thing I’m pretty sure is typical Marc Berman fake news. No quote. No attribution.  I’ve never seen Hill associated with the Knicks before and I think that if Curry and Hill are both on the board, the Knicks choose Curry in half a second.

I’m also unfortunately unconvinced that Curry closed the deal with the Knicks. Last year, Gallinari closed the deal with the Knicks after he worked out for them and then shut down all other workouts. Word today is that Curry will work out for the Wizards.

UPDATE: Hahn is reporting that Curry will indeed workout for the Wizards, but not the Wolves or anyone else. Certainly a good sign, but it would’ve been a clearer signal if cancelled his workout with the Wizards too.

Steve Adamek Says Marc Berman Has No Integrity

Though not in so many words:

We love the revisionist history practiced in a story Tuesday about Zach Randolph’s arrest for drunk driving in Los Angeles and how it was good the Knicks got rid of him because they feared similar problems.

But in previous reports in the same publication, it was bad that the Knicks didn’t keep Zach because with him (and Jamal Crawford), the premise was frequently broached that the Knicks might’ve made the playoffs this season.

Whichever way the wind blows.

I suppose Ademek is holding back a little bit as a professional courtesy but, after all, Berman is nothing if not unprofessional, so we say “why bother?”

He’s referring, of course, to Berman’s article that appeared in this morning’s Post where he wrote that the Knicks were justified in trading Randolph before his propensity for criminality reared its head despite having previously taken the position that the Knicks were foolish to trade Zach and Jamal because they might have snared the 8th seed had they held onto those guys (you can see that here).

Now, we’ve known over here that Berman lacks professionalism and integrity for a while now. But it’s always fun when someone besides Dan says it aloud. So when someone does, we’re more than happy to point it out to our readers.