When the Brooklyn Nets beat the Knicks for the 1st time this season, Jay Z tweeted “the city is under new management”. Well that will forever be a running joke. We all know where real New York basketball resides! Last night, for the 1st time in 20 years, the Knicks are winners of the Atlantic Division.
The Knicks have their first 50+ win season since 1999-2000. That’s especially significant for 2 reasons; the last time that happened, the league was coming off the lockout season. Additionally, that was the last time the Knicks went to the NBA Finals.
After beating the Thunder on the road Sunday and clinching the division by a win over the Wizards, the Knicks are now 51-26 and currently on a 13 game winning streak. #MeloGod is playing some of the best basketball of his career! He’s on a 5 game streak of 35+ points per game. He’s also averaging almost 8 rebounds per game. For all the criticism he’s received since the trade, Melo is also making the players around him look very good; mainly former Denver teammate JR Smith, Tyson Chandler, and Ray Felton.
I mentioned a few months ago about how incredible the back-court of a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal would be. Unfortunately, due to their differing injuries, we didn’t get a chance to see them play together for extended periods of time. John Wall wants a max deal and he’s playing like he deserves it. In his last 10 games, he’s averaging almost 26 points per game and 8 assists. In the open court, Wall is arguably top 5 overall. While there’s still a couple of aspects of his game to be improved upon (mainly his 3 pt shooting and overall shot selection), his presence gives the Washington back-court some upside. Wall and Beal balance each other offensively and complement each other defensively. While the Wizards will likely remain a lottery team for the next 5 years, these 2 have the potential to be 1 of most dangerous young back-courts in the league’s future.
It’s always amazing to see who starts to play with some fire in them after the All Star break. While he’ll likely never be up for consideration as MVP, Steph Curry has been quite offensively strong since mid-February. Aside from the 54 point brutalization he gave the Knicks, Curry has helped his team to in the 2nd spot for the Pacific Division and 6th spot overall in the West. In the last 10 games, he’s averaging 24.5 point per game and shooting 46%. The Warriors benefit greatly from him being healthy, having Jarrett Jack come off the bench, and the inside presence of David Lee. I wonder how Curry will move up the ranks of top 10 pure point guards.
Free Eric Gordon! The Hornets is like “Can’t get right” from the movie Life. Much like the Wizards, they’ll continue to be a lottery team that not even mid-level players or veterans can get excited about playing for. But the last 2 months, Eric Gordon has been slowly making me a fan of his again. He needs that Chris Paul/Jarrett Jack type of move. His discontent in New Orleans and with Coach Monty Williams is very apparent; especially since the Hornets matched his offer sheet from Phoenix last summer. Despite his pouting,
(why is this so common lately with these young millionaires? Another post entirely.) his stats haven’t been drastically effected to the point where a favorable trade is impossible. So why did I include Gordon’s situation as a “great” thing? Well, Phoenix can still make this trade happen if the Hornets take the high road and let Gordon go.
Remember when everybody said moving Rudy Gay to Toronto was going to hurt the Grizzlies more than it would benefit the Raptors? El. Oh. El. They’re sitting comfortably at the #5 spot in the West and behind the Spurs in the Division. I said it then and I’ll repeat it now. The Grizzlies will be just fine without Gay. When it comes to the All NBA, you can really make a case for taking Marc Gasol over Tim Duncan. Although Gasol can be an offensively liability down on the block, his defense always seems to make up for it. At the guard position, Mike Conley is on pace to average 20 and 6 and shoot 50% overall. The Grizzlies don’t have stellar bench production. In order for them to be considered a “threat” in thew 1st round, they’ll need more consistency from Tayshaun Prince. The great thing is Prince is still a good wing player and a solid defender. He’s been getting more than enough minutes to be productive. So I expect him to turn it up when it matters.
The playoffs will be fun and unpredictable. After the March Madness we just witnessed, I’m ready for more great basketball.