Wassup world, it’s Skyzoo checking in for week 2 of my Chain Link Champions blog series for SLAM. As stated last week, I’ll be here every Wednesday recapping the League’s events of the week prior, as well as chiming in with my views and takes on what’s been played. With that being said, it’s with great sadness that I begin to write the entry I didn’t wanna have to write: My beloved NYK’s are out of the Playoffs.
Off top, congrats to the Knicks for making the Playoffs for the first time in seven years. For the biggest city in the world (…”in the world Craig, the WORLD…”) to not have its professional basketball team in the Playoffs for seven years is mind blowing. So for the higher ups to put the pieces together to do so at the last minute and pull it off is admirable to say the very least. The city now has a team to be proud of and can openly rep without expecting a joke or laugh to follow behind it. Regardless of the outcome of the series, the reality of us being a top seed in the east is about two years away, at the most. Beautiful music.
The Chauncey Billups situation is a tough one. As a leader, finals MVP trophy owner, blueprint for “how to be a PG,” Chauncey is one of a kind. This is the guy who Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose said they looked up to and learned everything from in the 2010 World Basketball Classic last summer. The guy who pulls Toney Douglas to the side while in a suit and shows him how to attempt to stop Rondo by using Andy Rauntins (also in a suit) as a guide during time out huddles. The guy who, is pretty much, “the guy.” The problem is, the Roses and Westbrooks who he schooled last summer were listening, and they’re 12 years younger than he is, with the calves to match. As dope as Chauncey is, I’m not sure if he can keep up with the Roses, DWills, Westbrooks, CP3s, Rondos, Jennings, etc. of the new PG-led NBA. At most, the higher ups will pick up his contract for one more year, but the reality is, we need another PG for a good five year stretch to youthfully and explosively run the team at the 1 spot. Thus where both the realistic dilemma and the sweetest dream both lie.
To me, this offseason is about changing the bench, completely. The biggest concerns for us as of now are centers, point guards, and a good shooting guard to start. I personally like Landry Fields’ game and think he had a great first half of a season, but he should definitely be a first option off the bench. As I said Sunday on Twitter (@therealskyzoo), I’d like to see an OJ Mayo type of player come over to the 2 spot. One who can run a little bit when needed and has some height, but is primarily a “shoot the lights out” type of player. Doesn’t need the ball on every possession, but can get you 16 pts/5 rbs EVERY NIGHT. Add that to Melo’s 25 pts/7 rbs and Amar’e’s 24 pts/8 rbs, and that’s a pretty serious core to build around. In a perfect world, a Kendrick Perkins clone, worth 8 pts/14 rbs/4 blks per game who’s around 7-1 would be at the 5, and then, by the grace of the basketball Gods, CP3 chipping in 15 pts/12 asts/4 stls would easily have us on the road to the banners.
Bench-wise, keep Shawne Williams, Billy Walker, Landry Fields (who I’d move to the bench but bring in around eight minutes into the first quarter), Toney Douglas, Anthony Carter, and Derrick Brown. Everyone else GOES. Use the remaining four seats on two more back-up bigs (6-10-7-1 heighted players), another shooter, a la JJ Reddick, and a Greivis Vasquez-type of young PG. I actually wanted us to draft Vasquez, the 2010 recipient of the Naismith Collegiate award for best point guard in the nation (which was awarded to Jimmer Fredette this year). Memphis got the jump on us and picked up Greivis before our turn, and we drafted Andy Rautins, and THEN Landry Fields. Ironic, right?
So, a perfect world would and could look like this:
1) Chris Paul
2) OJ Mayo
3) Carmelo Anthony
4) Amare Stoudemire
5) Kendrick Perkins’ clone
Bench: Landry Fields, Derrick Brown, Toney Douglas, Anthony Carter, Shawne Williams, Billy Walker, Greivis Vasquez, two bigs (6’10-7’1) and JJ Reddick.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you put together a team. Or at least a dream.
So let’s pray that the Dolans and Walshs of the NYK world read rapper blogs. Til next week, see y’all by the Chain Links.
Sidebar: I had all types of intentions of covering the OKC/DEN, LA/NO, CHI/IND, ORL/ATL, MEM/SA and MIA/PHI series this week, but being that this was the Knicks’ first Playoffs in seven years, my blue and orange family deserved a full congrats and breakdown at once. “What you want me to do? I’m sorry!”
Sidebar 2: My Duck Down records fam are doing another NBA 2K contest for MC’s to be on NBA 2K12. As an NBA 2K alumni (2K11), it’s an extremely dope feeling to be both on and in a video game. Get with it at www.duckdown.com for more details on how to be involved.