The engines that fell apart …

The Engines that fell apart ….

By Tophatal

The second half of the NBA season will begin earnest on Friday 20th February after the mid-season All Star Break . Thursday, brought in the customary intrigue as it was the NBA Trade Deadline for teams to cut , waive or trade players , as they seek to make cap space or for those and seeking added help to bolster their playoff hopes with their trade maneuvers. All season long we were being told how good the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks were likely to be. Idiots bought into the notion Phil Jackson being hired to head the Knicks’ Basketball Operations added legitimacy to the organization , along with the hiring of rookie head coach Derek Fisher was simply another notion of sheer lunacy on their part.

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The Knicks’ season has been a complete disaster and now with the loss of the team’s best player , Carmelo Anthony having to undergo season ending surgery , what is now left of the franchise’s season has essentially been blown asunder. Fisher and his coaching staff have coached the team to one of the worst records not just within the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference but also in the entire NBA.

Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills have now began to revamp the roster as they begin the second half of their eighty-two game schedule . The first game of their slog will be a home game against Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. In an Eastern Conference which has been far from entertaining with the exception of the dominance of the Atlanta Hawks and the recent winning streak of the Cleveland Cavaliers , there has been nothing at all to recommend about the stature of the conference and the overall play there.

The Brooklyn Nets with their $90.5 million payroll have simply proven that throwing money at a matter doesn’t solve it or make things any better . GM Billy King and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov have began to find that out and they are likely find the financial penalty by way of the luxury tax will prove to be costly for the franchise which will in the end mean their having to pay the league hierarchy a hefty $135.6 million penalty . All of the imbecilic NBA fans without a clue , as to what the meaning being of fiscally prudent involves, should actually take note and understand the business of sports’ economics once and for all.

Nets’ head coach Lionel Hollins and his coaching staff have simply struggled to get the team to play with any type of determination , with the Nets bearing an average record among all NBA franchises. There has to be a great deal of frustration among the Brooklyn Nets’ fans as to the ongoing ineptitude shown by the team and many of the players. Hollins and the team will likely fare better in their next contest when they tip-off against the Los Angeles Lakers on the road at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California,. Between them collectively the Lakers and Nets have combined for seventeen road victories and if your belief is that the teams have fared any better at home then you would be sadly mistaken. The contest promises to be one of sheer mediocrity given the recent form of both teams.

The return of Kevin Garnett to the Minnesota Timberwolves , the franchise where the player began his career is likely to be one of nostalgia , after his travails elsewhere, which saw his success with the Boston Celtics and their their most recent championship win. His move on to a lackluster spell with the Brooklyn Nets , serves as a kindly reminder as to what can go wrong for a veteran player,who still believes he can contribute even when his career has taken a downward slide.

Minnesota’s own self-implosion has been brought on by the ineptitude shown within the front office , led by owner, Glen Taylor , de-facto GM and Head Coach Flip Saunders . All of this has been borne out by the team’s record and abysmal play throughout the course of this season . I am not so sure what Garnett might be able to bring to the table by way of leadership, because that was nowhere to be seen during his tenure with the Brooklyn Nets. Other than his veteran experience and the likelihood of his seeking move up the ranks and into a coaching or executive capacity, this move is one that will bring about the chapter to one of the great careers in recent NBA history.

Saunders and the Timberwolves’ next game will be a home match-up against conference rivals the Phoenix Suns at the Target Center in Minneapolis , Minnesota , on Friday evening .

Sam Presti , GM of the Oklahoma City Thunder might just be one of the most under-estimated front office executives in the entire NBA. With Kevin Durant having been sidelined for part of the season, Presti knew without his All Star and reigning League MVP , the team would likely suffer , albeit, they still had the prodigious talents of their point guard Russell Westbrook .

Durant’s return has led to an upswing in the play the Thunder, as they seek to strive for playoff berth within the Western Conference. They currently hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the conference, where were the season to end today , a first round match-up against the Golden State Warriors would await Kevin Durant and his teammates. That certainly would be a series well worth watching between of two of the best offensive scoring teams not just within the conference , but also the league . Over their last six games Oklahoma has been on a tear having won five of six .

Sam Presti engineered the trades of Kendrick Perkins, Grant Jerrett , to bolster the team’s roster and perhaps give themselves not only cap room for 2015 , but also perhaps even greater depth than the rosters of the Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers , Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs . With addition of of DJ Augustin , Enes Kanter, Steve Novak , Dion Waiters and Kyle Singler . This is a team that cannot be now overlooked, merely, because of their early season travails . The Oklahoma City Thunder have a very good coach in Scott Brooks and a coaching staff which complements Brooks’ acumen. It would be foolhardy to overlook those assets.

In the past six weeks , I certainly believe the Phoenix Suns have gone from being possible playoff contenders in the Western Conference to now having blown any chance of actually gaining themselves a playoff berth. My reasons for this come about from the front office’s decision to trade both Goran and Zoran Dragic to the Miami Heat for veteran swing-man Danny Granger, which I believe the recipients got the better end of this deal by far ! Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough and Head of Basketball Operations Lon Babby may well have been thinking long-term as to the franchise’s future , but short-term , this deal does nothing for the team’s aspirations for the season. If anything, it now places Phoenix among the ” also-rans” of playoff contenders within the West. Their only hope now , may well lay elsewhere , with the implosion of several teams ahead of them within the West and their going on a multiple game winning streak . Something I do not firmly believe them to be capable of !

Phoenix may well have “sold their souls ” to the Devil and might now feel the wrath of their long-suffering fans after this deal. We will certainly get to gauge this all, when they play their next game . However , it will be their next two home contests , that will likely give vent to their anger towards to the front office and team owner Robert Sarver . The can be no denying before this trade was given the seal of approval, Goran Dragic was one of the primary reasons behind the Suns’ success over the greater part of their season. Dragic’s former teammate Eric Bledsoe may well have been viewed as the focal point of the lineup , but the two players complemented each other and made Phoenix’s success all the more pivotal. It remains to be seen, how the Suns will acclimatize themselves without Dragic and how the player will now impact the Heat’s own fortunes as they seek to make their presence felt within their division as well as the Eastern Conference.

LeBron James may well now be enjoying the fruits of his labors with the Cleveland Cavaliers , having left the Miami Heat prior to the start of the season. With both teams having struggled within the conference and their respective divisions. It could be said their current records are a reflection of who they represent as teams within the NBA .

Heat Team President Pat Riley may well have felt perturbed by James’ abrupt departure, but it should be noted the front office executive did little to aid the disgruntled star in building a roster capable of winning an NBA title last season. Granted, Miami made it to the Finals in 2014 , but manner in which they fell to the San Antonio Spurs was not only embarrassing, but the lack of competitiveness shown by the team was more of a surprise than anything else. You simply were given the impression , that James and his former teammates felt they had the luxury of sleep-walking their way through the series . A 4-1 series’ ass whupping suffered at the hands of the Spurs led to more than a wake-up call, not just LeBron James , but for the entire organization of the Miami Heat and their fans.

On Friday night, the Miami Heat came away with a lopsided twenty-four point road victory over the New York Knicks in a game played and I use the term ” game played” loosely , as nothing about the Knicks suggests this is a team which has a frigging clue , from the front office , down to the coaches and playing staff has any idea as to what it takes to win in the NBA at present . Anyone seeking to point out any positives concerning the New York Knicks this season has to be in need of psychiatric assistance.

The Cleveland Cavaliers for their part were bolstered by a thirty-eight point victory over the Washington Wizards , with Lebron James leading all scorers with twenty-eight points. victory which helps the Cavaliers make inroads in to the Central Division lead of the Chicago Bulls.

A debate continues to rage on all corners this season, as to which player should be viewed as the leading candidate for the NBA League MVP . We have the four-time winner LeBron James once again staking a claim for himself, that he is not only the best player in the league, but also the best of his generation and perhaps among the top-fifteen players to have ever stepped unto an NBA and win just about every accolade possible. In a year when we have seen Steph Curry , Klay Thompson , Kevin Durant, Chris Paul , Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook and James Harden raise the level of their play. I cannot help but wonder are they really that good or is the the level of coaching that bad , where the defensive mindset within the NBA is almost non-existent ?

Harden has led the Houston Rockets to one of the best records in the NBA and is almost single-handedly making the team a force to be reckoned with in the league. So much for Dwight Howard bring his prowess to the team. Howard remains ‘Robin’ to Harden’s role as ‘Batman’ . Holy smorgasbord , what’s going to happen now ? While some might decry Harden as purely an offensive minded player , you simply cannot deny what he has brought to the Houston Rockets as a player. Consider the fact, there have been a number of winners of the League MVP Award who were no better better than James Harden , in terms of their defensive ability , but yet a number of observer, perhaps out of bias rather than using common sense, believe the Rockets’ forward not worthy of being the recipient of the NBA’s most prestigious regular season award. If left to them it would gift-wrapped and handed to LeBron James annually , without taking a vote ? The only player where that premise should be applied should be during the era where Michael Jordan reigned supreme within the NBA. The year that Karl Marlone was the recipient of the award, may well have been done out of pity , rather than merit.

If James Harden is not the named League MVP at the end of this season , given the fact the second-half of the schedule, is still in its infancy, my choice for the award would be Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors ! He is having an outstanding season , while making his presence felt as a very versatile player . Given Curry is presently earning as a point guard in this league , I believe him to be vastly underpaid in his current role !

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Over the coming months which player , players , team or teams, do you believe will be on the ascent as the second-half of the season begins to take shape ? Finally, which two franchises do you believe will be the conference representatives in this season’s NBA Finals ? Your comments are more than welcomed on this topic and anything else you believe to be relevant to the subject . So let’s get the ball rolling with a comment or two.

🙂

Picture and slideshow details below.

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(1) New York Knicks’ GM Steve Mills seated , is seen congratulating Derek Fisher center , after the formal announcement has been made that the former Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard has been named the new head coach of the franchise . The decision was made by Phil Jackson who heads up the Knicks’ Basketball Operations . This season the New York Knicks have been far from convincing as a team and are likely to end up being part of the NBA Draft Lottery when the 2015 NBA Draft takes place on the 25th June , 2015. AP Photo / Paul Daniels

(2) Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat posts up LeBron James (23) of the Cleveland Cavaliers during a game at American Airlines Arena on December 25 , 2014 in Miami, Florida. Getty Images / Mike Ehrmann

(3) Jordan Clarkson(6) of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots over Deron Williams (8) of the Brooklyn Nets at Staples Center on February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. With the departures of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from the Nets this season, the team is now back firmly in the hands Nets point guard Williams to lead . Unfortunately , for Brooklyn, Deron Williams’ play has been inconsistent as has been the team’s play which is reflected in their record . Getty Images / Stephen Dunn

(4) Kevin Garnett (2) of the Brooklyn Nets waits to hear the calls after he and Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets got into a scuffle in the first quarter at the Barclays Center on January 12, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Getty Images/ Elsa Martinez

(5) Seen here in the foreground is Oklahoma City Thunder player and reigning League MVP Kevin Durant . Also pictured is team GM Sam Presti who has engineered a multiple player trade with the view of bolstering the roster. Durant is due to become a free agent in 2016 , but could opt out at the end of this year and become one of the marquee free agents on the market during off-season. The front office and ownership are likely provide the their MVP with a lucrative contract at the time his current deal expires, making him one of the highest paid players in the league. However , Kevin’s Durant’s main goal is to win an NBA title having come close already , only for the Thunder to falter on each occasion . AP Photo / Matt Holmes

(6) Phoenix Suns’ GM Ryan McDonough is seen here speaking with the convened press, addressing their questions posed concerning the team’s season . McDonough made the decision to trade both Goran and Zoran Dragic to the Miami Heat , but has now leveled some criticism aimed at both players in the aftermath of their departure. Getty Images / Phil Pearson

(7) Steph Curry (30) and teammate Klay Thompson (11) are the primary reasons why the Golden State Warriors possess the best record in the Western Conference and are closely bearing down on the league’s best mark held by the Eastern Conference top seeds the Atlanta Hawks . Curry is also seen as a leading contender for League MVP . Getty Images / Steve White

(8) James Harden of the Houston Rockets might well be the leading candidate for the League MVP this season but questions are being raised to the Harden’s candidacy and his legitimacy as a nominee for the award . Getty Images /Harry How
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About tophatal ...........

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Now working with a consultancy firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front , concerning economic policies . Also covering the area of finance , banking, international banking. An MBA graduate from the (LSE) and UCL (London) , M&A (mergers & acquisitions), economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate , muy-thai) & an vowed sports ' fan , sports' junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines . Taught unarmed combat to members of the military and also competed in tournaments prior to joining the Royal Marines . Also an avid motorcycle junkie & free running enthusiast . Tech geek and computer repair technician. Entertainment: Musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal
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7 Responses to The engines that fell apart …

  1. :

    So the Miami Heat will be without Chris Bosh for the remainder of the season ? This places a deal dent in the team’s chances of having a healthy lineup for the NBA Playoffs should they actually advance . Erik Spoelstra and the coaching staff will now have to review their game strategy as they seek to make their playoff hopes a reality .

    I am sorry , but why do we have to put up with anal retentive and obviously unintelligent fans in the city of New York ? Now those with allegiances to the Brooklyn Nets are trying to suggest the team is now in a better place to make a legitimate run at a playoff berth within the Eastern Conference . Nothing about the Nets this season has even suggested they’re good enough to contend within the conference and their record against the competition in the conference has been frigging mediocre , if nothing else .

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    Tophatal …………..

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  2. Saturday’s results can longer leave anyone in any doubt as to how dire things are for a number of teams in the NBA . Can the fans of the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks show some goddamn common sense for once . All of this horse about the front office having a plan under Phil Jackson shows their continued stupidity. If Jackson had a fu#king clue he would not have hired Derek Fisher to coach the team.

    Explain to me succinctly what Fisher brings to the table in terms of coaching experience ? Only a frigging moron would try to suggest that Derek Fisher and his coaching staff which includes Kurt Rambis has any goddamn idea as to what they’re actually doing . New York over their last twelve games have simply been a joke , no matter how you try to slice and dice ,

    As for the idiots kissing Jackson’s sphincter concerning what he’s going to bring to the table the proof is in the evidence now , not what he’s said to have done in the past . Jackson was not the executive who assembled the teams that won six titles with the Chicago Bulls or the five recent titles with the Los Angeles Lakers . So for all of the anal retentive idiots , get a frigging clue for once .

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  3. Here we go again , another New York Knicks’ loss this time at home and still the excuses for this organization and the alleged acumen of Phil Jackson are being piled higher than the fecal matter emanating from an elephant’s @ss . Wouldn’t expect anything less from a bunch idiot of Knicks’ fans and Jackson apologists .

    At the start of this season what idiot was actually of the belief that JR Smith , Iman Shumpert or Pablo Prigioni would be able to contribute to the team ? Now even after their activity in the market ,they are a still no better off and the loss of Carmelo ‘Dumb-@ss Anthony makes them an even worst a lineup than ever before .

    Having a Knicks’ fan show their intellect would be like asking Sarah Palin to name a Chief Justice in the US Supreme Court and have her name a brief they wrote the opinion and the reasons why the decision was reached .

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  4. Once again it appears that Chicago Bulls’ point guard and MVP player Derrick Rose will have another season curtailed due to injury , with the player having torn meniscus tissue in his knee , forcing him to sit out the remainder of the season and then undergo surgery a long rehabilitation period of therapy. Has me wondering, if Rose can make another comeback or will he simply retire once and for all. He has been doomed over the past two and a half years with repeated injuries , each time coming back , and then incurring another on-court mishap .

    Rose hampered by another injury .

    Tom Thibodeau and his coaching staff have to be wondering whether or not it is in their best interest to have or the player around or actually include in any type of long-term planning for the future . At the same time , GM Gar Forman , Head of Basketball Operations John Paxson and team owner Jerry Reinsdorf have to be looking at various ways to recoup their remaining investment in the point guard after this loss and its implications overall on the organization .

    When all else fails just stay down .

    Biggest benefactors in this all , has to be the Bulls’ divisional rivals in the Central Division the Cleveland Cavaliers and their standing within the Central as well as the Eastern Conference .

    With Rose likely to shut down for the remainder of the season it will now be left to Jimmy Butler , Pau Gasol and their teammates to see if they can get things clicking on all fronts , as they try to make some semblance to their season and its outcome.

    Rose plays at such a frenetic pace , it should not come as a surprise another mishap has one again blighted his season .

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  5. If there has been a better player in the NBA over the course of their last eighteen games in the NBA other than Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry then let them step forward and make themselves known .

    Curry of the Warriors and Westbrook of the Thunder

    These two players have been by far the best point guards in the league this season !

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  6. With roughly seven games left in the regular season , we can now witness the mediocrity which was on hand to be seen all season long within the NBA . Yet , idiots were trying to sell me on how good the Lakers, Knicks , Nets and Clippers were going to be .

    The Eastern Conference was an embarrassment and will remain mediocre because the talent level there is simply dire and that is even with four-time League MVP LeBron James .

    James and the Cavaliers are not even the best team in the East , albeit , they are expected to have a smooth run on the way to the conference finals .

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