Tagged: new york post

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”.

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 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.

NY Post on Marbury “Breakthrough” Game: Worst. Blog Entry. Ever.

The Post’s web editor gets the above noted distinction for the latest entry, entitled “Marbury has Breakthrough Game”, reproduced in its entirety, below:

Here’s the latest on our blog lightning rod, out of the first round for the first time in his career..

The Boston Globe did a story on Stephon Marbury after he scored eight points in the Celtics Game 1 loss to the Magic.

That’s the whole entry. 8 whole points? Yaaaaaaaaay…

Let’s recap Marbury’s contributions to the Celtics escaping the 7th seeded Bulls in 7 games…

Game 7: 12 minutes, 2 points. Somehow manages to net a +11.

Triple OT game 6? Surely he’d at least get minutes? No. 8 minutes. 0-3. 1 foul. 0 points. -3.

Doc Rivers didn’t even play him in the second half in game 5.

He was a -17 in 5(!) minutes in game 4.

He was a -15 in 10 minutes in game 2.

He scored 0 points and had 2 turnovers in 10 minutes in game 1.

Arguably he had an ok game in game 3 when he got all the garbage minutes in the Celtics blowout.

As for his 8 whole “breakthrough” points in the LOSS to the Magic, I’ll just point you to Steve Adamek:

Boy, The One Who Won’t Be Mentioned Here sure looked like his old self running the Celtics on Monday, swishin’ and dishin’, as Clyde might say and getting the announcing crew all excited.

Oh, and the Celtics were a minus-7 while he was on the floor. Brian Scalabrine? Plus-22.

Just the facts.

Way to go Post, proving yourself as useless as ever.

Is There A Silver Lining?

Can someone tell me again the silver lining to this season that will end with 50-plus losses? Oh yes, cap space in 2010, when they’ll be in position to MAYBE sign an All-Star good enough to get the club the eighth seed? Yippee.

Who else but Marc Berman is capable of publishing such biased drivel. This is exactly the kind of thinking that governed the Knicks’ executives’ horrid decisions over the last decade, resulting in one visit to the lottery after another.

What’s the alternative, Berman? Add more salary? More trading draft picks for the McDyess’ and Marbury’s and Curry’s of the world? ‘Lest you forget that for the last eight years, the Knicks have unceasingly purchased teams’ “talented” trash off in exchange for actual assets (Camby, draft picks, cap flexibility).

‘Lest you forget how the Willie Anderson, Matt Fish, Gary Grant, Ron Grandison year (’95-’96) allowed the last competent management team prior to this one rejuvinate the Knicks by getting under the cap to sign Allan Houston and Chris Childs (Knicks traded for LJ that summer as well).

How short-sighted can Berman be? I feel bad for all of the pliable minds that buy into this cheap tripe, despite having witnessed failure after failure of the philosophy that New York is too impatient to rebuild. That philosophy merely delayed the rebuilding. The Knicks will be in 2010 where they should have been in 2000, yet Berman’s heart pines for the days of Layden and Thomas! “Oh that the Knicks continue to mismanage the salary cap and flail about in the dull winds of mediocrity, and worse!”

So short sighted and ignorant. Pushing an agenda intended to do nothing except sell papers. If it isn’t clear to you Berman, what the “silver lining” is, read on:

1. Get under the cap to sign one or two top tier free agents. You need superstars to win titles.

2. Compile enough assets to trade for 2010 (and beyond) free agents THIS summer. First acknowledge that next year’s team is going to be completely different from this year’s team (actually, you already have). Now realize that a lot of other teams are positioning themselves for 2010. They might be willing to part with a disgruntled star for expiring contracts (read Hughes, Harrington, et al.)

As Marc Stein wrote this morning:

[The Mavs] believe that several yet-to-be-identified established players will be shopped by financially strapped teams, as seen before the Feb. 19 trading deadline, when the likes of New Jersey’s Vince Carter, Milwaukee’s Richard Jefferson, New Orleans’ Tyson Chandler and, of course, O’Neal were made available.

[UPDATE: Maybe even, Chris Paul?]

Ignoring the above possibilities as REAL, CONSTRUCTIVE goals is to hearken for the alternative. We’ve all seen the results of that strategy: trade the expiring deals and young guys and draft picks for Steve Francis! For Stephon Marbury! For Eddy Curry! For Jamal Crawford! For Zach Randolph!

Berman, I have a challenge. If you hate the current plan so much, come up with a reasonable alternative. I don’t think you will. I don’t think you can.

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.

Berman Refocus…An Apology (Kinda)

I think Tommy Dee is the one guy covering the Knicks who we most respect over at The Knicks FanBlog, so it got our (mainly my actually, since this pertains mostly to me, and not Jon) attention when he wrote this yesterday:

I had never met Marc before and I have to say he is a really nice guy. I think beat writers draw the ire of frustrated fans and take the brunt of plenty of comments, especially now that they have their own blog.

Personal shots at beat writers are lame, however valid arguments are essential. They have always been the direct link between fan and team. That is a special relationship and one that fans seem to forget.

First, we’re not journalists over here. We’re fans/bloggers. Of course we are going to vent our frustrations, and we’ll continue to do so. We aren’t held to the standards of journalists.

That said…

Tommy is probably right. Reflecting after reading his post, I couldn’t really identify a reason why I should attack Berman’s weight, or other aspects of his appearance. That doesn’t really have anything to do with the Knicks or his coverage of them. I wouldn’t say those things to his face, and so I’ll stop writing those things in this blog.

However, Berman is a journalist. He should be held to the standards of a journalist, yet that hasn’t stopped him from getting very personal, and in an unfair way, in his space. So I’ll have no compunction about calling out the inane notions in his articles. Yes, I’ll call them stupid. I’ll call him stupid for writing and thinking them. Berman has one of the most coveted jobs in all of sports journalism, and when he treats it without dignity, I’m going to make sure our comparatively meager audience knows about it. The sloppy writing, replete with typos, the false, contrived controversies, manufactured stories, false attributions and unabashed misquoting, the blatant bias, the muckraking, which is all done, at the expense of professionalism, because it’s good entertainment and the Post is trying to sell papers. Guess what? This blog is entertainment too.

All of this, I’d say to his face, and I’d have about an article or two a day to back up my claims, and so I’ll continue to say so here.

For example, I think the recent Fatter or Stupider post crossed the line, but the Berman 1 to 10 was fair. Thoughts?

Berman from 1 to 10

Really, I think Berman is just asking for it. I wish this blog attracted thousands upon thousands of readers like the Post does, so he can realize that he sucks. He wrote this in his blog today:

I asked Mike if he thought, under the circumstances, had he done a good job this season.

“That’s not for me to say,” D’Antoni said. “What am I going to say? “Oh boy, I’m good.” That’s Donnie’s question. I wouldn’t say if I did, wouldn’t say if I didn’t. I do my job. Do you think you do a good job as a writer? You wouldn’t write an article saying you’re really good as a writer. You wouldn’t do it. And I wouldn’t do it. I do the best job as I could do. It’s for everybody else to figure out if it’s good or bad.”

Fair enough. So it’s up to you blog readers now. On a scale of 1 to 10, what rating do you give D’Antoni as his 29-44 Knicks finish up their final nine games, starting with the Jazz tonight.

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Marc Berman: Fatter, or Stupider?

This is a tough call. I’ll let you help me answer the question in the title. But first consider this, written by Berman in his blog this weekend:

When D’Antoni took this job, he promised he would adjust to the cast. Let’s see him do that the next three weeks instead of throwing Curry out there to look bad and to fail.

Maybe Mike can even call Isiah Thomas and ask him about the systems he ran for Eddy during his near All-Star campaign two seasons ago when he got double and triple-teamed. Mike said he would use Isiah as a resource and I’d bet they haven’t talked once this season.

Curry is still talking about how much he cares, how much he wants to help, how much he wants to play. He’s a sensitive sort and needs the head coach to embrace him, not make wise cracks that he didn’t play him in the second half because “I didn’t want him to foul out.”

Were those “systems” Isiah set up for Curry so great? The Knicks won 33 games that year, and they didn’t have their lottery pick. Chicago had it. They got it from Isiah. For Curry. Mike D’Antoni’s Suns won 61 games that year. No team Isiah has been involved with as an executive or coach has ever broken 48 wins.

So I don’t think Mike D’Antoni should be asking Isiah Thomas about anything having to do with basketball.

As for Curry being a “sensitive sort”, maybe it’s an unwritten code that unashamed, unapologetic slobs stand up for one another. So Berman, you played your part. But it’s not D’Antoni’s job to coddle Curry. At least not when Curry can’t get in the requisite shape to play more than 2-3 minutes a game, or damage his knees beneath the aggregated lard of so many Big Macs. When Curry shows some respect for his job, his teammates, his team, and the fans, then maybe D’Antoni should cut him some slack. Then again, if that happens, Curry won’t be a fat slob, so D’Antoni won’t have to. Besides, what D’Antoni said was a joke. Much like Berman’s tenure with the Post since about 2004.

UPDATE: Writing about Chris Duhon’s take on the frequent roster turnover on the team this season, Berman stated:

When Duhon chose the Knicks over Orlando last July, he didn’t realize the team was more concerned about 2010.

Really? Then why did he sign a 2 year deal? That’s not typical in the NBA. What did Duhon think that was all about? Berman offers no quote from Duhon or further explanation.

That said…

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