Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Danny Karpin: Knicks Have a Ways to go to "Get Back"

Well here we are once again fellow Knicks' aficionados.

The off-season has been in full swing with some major surprises taking place.

Not one to be left out of the festivities, the Knicks made some splashes of their own. They completely retooled their roster (which was smart) and added the big name marquee players like Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings.

They added to their depth with guys like Courtney Lee and signed one of their standouts from last year’s roster in Lance Thomas. (although they probably should have tried to sign one or two more; I would have really liked them to keep Langston Galloway)

Their new additions have high praise for the team as they should, I just wish they would temper their expectations a little. They made some pretty good moves and it has the whole basketball world saying that famous phrase that any realistically thinking Knicks fan absolutely HATES to hear: The Knicks Are Back".

With all due respect to the Beatles, If the Knicks are going to "get back to where you once belonged", it's not going to happen in one off-season.

Let me be one of the few people to declare we have a long way to go before the Knicks are officially “back”. This was also said when Amare Stoudamire came to the Knicks. Unfortunately that never came to fruition as he gave the Knicks just one good season, then his knees fell apart on him (something that could very well happen to their biggest offseason acquisition) His contract became a black hole of team funds. The Knicks were not “back”.

This was also said when the team traded basically their whole serviceable roster PLUS A FIRST ROUND PICK (?!?!?!) for Carmelo Anthony even though the whole basketball world knew for a fact that he would have signed with the Knicks as an impending free agent. Sorry, but that thought still stings to reminisce about. How great has he worked out for us? He was part of a Knicks team that featured the worst roster in possibly the history of the 70-year old team

This “The Knicks are Back” mindset just seems to be implanted in all of the basketball world and Knicks fans alike. Honestly can you blame them though? The last time the Knicks were good was three years ago when they “fluked” themselves to a 53 win season, only for their resident clown at the time, JR Smith to elbow Jason Terry in the playoffs against Boston and needlessly extend the series. The result made them that much more tired when they had to go up against a powerhouse of a team in the Lance Stephenson-era Indiana Pacers. That was the closest the Knicks got to real success recently.

Boy does that feel like a long time ago. They have only gone downhill from there, compiling what are some of the worst seasons in franchise history including one that set a franchise record low for wins! ('14-'15)

I’m sorry but it’s going to take some time before I am convinced that "The Knicks are Back".

I have seen this story before, and the only thing that makes me hopeful is that we have possibly the best European player to come to the NBA since Dirk Nowitzski.

Yes, the Knicks traded for Derrick Rose, the youngest MVP in the history of the NBA. The best part of this trade honestly is that they didn't give themselves a possible future blunder for the franchise by surrendering a first round pick.

Giving up their possible point guard of the future could turn into a blunder here.

Yes, they signed what was once one of the best centers in the game in Joakim Noah, but they might have offered him a couple of years too many. Do not be surprised if they are trying to trade him in two years if they have a better younger option coming in from the Spanish league.

Yes they signed Jennings and Lee, the former of which can really put up some dumb shots and the latter most of the time plays pretty average. Lee couldn’t possibly be as bad as last year’s starter at the position which is not a fair assessment to Aaron Afflalo but a true one. (He was barely put in a position to succeed here in his one year)

All this amounts to a lot of what ifs.

What if Rose is the exact same injury riddled player the Bulls wanted to rid themselves of? What if Noah follows that same archetype and does not see nearly as much floor time as expected? What if Jennings becomes the second coming of JR Smith on the Knicks (Not counting the year he won sixth man of the year) What if Lee is ultimately only remembered for that shot he missed with the Orlando Magic when they played the Lakers in the finals.

It means that the Knicks are not back just yet so please stop saying that.

Derrick Rose please do not make any more remarks about how the Knicks are a "Super Team". Joakim Noah, we are pleased that you are back playing in your home town but just show us a full year of minimal injuries? Courtney Lee please provide the defense they expect out of you, you won’t need to score we have plenty of guys who do that.

Please, Knicks, show us that we can actually say that you are back and not feel like we are yelling into a wall hoping it will magically open up one day and there will be a Larry O'Brien trophy sitting there for us. This kind of thing simply does not happen overnight.

The Knicks have a ways to go before we can officially declare they are “back”.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Danny Karpin: All is Not Right in Giant-Land

All is not right in Giant-Land.

The latest loss to the Vikings has me thinking that this team has many more problems than what has surfaced in the first four games.

Now it’s two years in a row they have lost to a Sam Bradford led team on Monday night. Last year’s game might have actually been worse considering they intercepted him three times and could not score a single point off those turnovers.

Hey, at least last year they were forcing turnovers, this year they have one through the first four games and have turned the ball over 9 times! A -8 differential in the turnover department is not going to help you win a lot of games but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Giants problems.

Where do we start?

Their tight ends are still glorified fourth stringers. Larry Donnell can never get open and Will Tye can't block.

The linebackers would not even be starting on most other teams, I almost have a heart attack every time the opposing team gets a play going beyond the line of scrimmage. Once the ball gets past their line it’s like a guaranteed 15-20 yards at least.

Their multi-million dollar defensive line has barely produced any QB pressure. I have not seen a really convincing quarterback crushing sack from this team in years. Olivier Vernon, while effective I will admit, has not produced the type of pressure they envisioned when they signed him, and if this is what Jason Pierre Paul is after fully recovering, I would let him walk next year in free agency.

Heck they should have resigned Linval Joseph instead and just invested in pairing him with Johnathan Hankins, which would have been the best combo of DTs in the league. He looked very excited to play well against the team that decided they did not want to pay him. He was all over the line in that game and it really reminded me of what they once had.

Their supposed future franchise left tackle, Ereck Flowers, is holding more than a single mother of three on grocery day, he is almost guaranteed a penalty every game nowadays.

Penalties are destroying the Giants and that needs to stop.

Then there's Odell Beckham Jr.

What has happened to the Giants wide receiver? He's gone from star to stagnant almost overnight. After taking the league by storm his first two years it appears as if this league has him figured out. His off the field behavior is becoming a serious nuisance, His tantrums and emotional outbursts are now an expected event from him.

Teams know this and they are now trying to exploit it. He’s been like non-existent in every game despite his numbers that may look respectable without the touchdowns of course. Oh yeah, where are the TD’s?

Might he be due for a big game? Possibly, but the Giants needed it yesterday. They need him to be “mouse-like” on the sidelines and start eliminating those drops that an elite receiver should not be making. From now on, until he begins to prove otherwise, the refs are going to be looking for things based on his rep and he cannot indulge them on that.

Is he going to return to the form that had put him on a pedestal? Is he running his routes well enough? Is he staying on the same page as Eli? Is he getting enough help from his other receivers? Is the lack of a big and tall wide receiver hurting them more than we thought?

Maybe Odell is just not as good as we all pegged him to be. Sure he started out like Randy Moss in his first two years, but he has not continued the progression. One of the main things in this game, and in all sports, is being able to make the subsequent adjustments to the opponent’s adjustments that are being made to stop you. Clearly he has not taken the next step to adapt to what teams are trying against him and it is really hurting the Giants. I still think he is very talented and has all the potential in the world but it is up to him to act upon that potential and not his temper.

Now these two losses are not solely on him, there is a litany of other aforementioned problems plaguing the Giants.

If Odell is not playing like the Odell we all know and love, then the Giants chances of winning these games goes way down. He is probably their most important player behind Eli. He needs to get going so the Giants can put together some offense. It has been dismal the past few weeks.

Something needs to change or they will get blown out in Green Bay


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Bad, Bad Josh Brown Draggin' Giants Down

By Danny Karpin

Ray Rice and Greg Hardy are just two examples. The list is already too long. 

Domestic violence is a serious societal problem that is being executed in part by NFL players. No one is denying that and this is not an indictment on the violent tendencies of an average NFL player. I cannot make a "blanket statement" that NFL players are violent off the field even if there have been documented cases of violence committed by NFL players. (There are too many accounts of violence from people who are not NFL players) 

No, that is a conversation for another day. 

This is a realization that my team, the team that I grew up watching, loving and rooting for with all my heart, is no different from any other team in the NFL. The almighty dollar dictates how the most important decisions are made.
The New York Football Giants, a team that in my eye was once synonymous with class, integrity and respect, have lost that in their recent decision to keep their kicker of the past two years. It was clear that they thought Josh Brown was the best kicking option available to them and that if they got rid of him they would be in danger of losing games which would ultimately affect the teams overall value and subsequently, their financial worth.

I'm not writing this post to render judgement on the man that is Josh Brown. There is a whole justice system in place for that. I am in no way condemning the human being that is Josh Brown. This could all be a farce for all I know, there is always an untold story to these things.

This is a statement on how the Giants handled this situation. Up until now they had been that team that would not have stood for this kind of nonsense. They have employed a brand new head coach in Ben McAdoo who publicly denounced domestic violence shortly after he was hired..

The Giants put their foot in their mouth by not cutting Josh Brown, I am sorry but this has me losing a lot of respect for the team. It would be one thing if it was an isolated incident but with his ex-wife reporting that over 20 times Brown assaulted her, the Giants should have had no other option than to cut him and move on.

The NFL is a value based league and certain players have more value than others. There are certainly other options out there. (The Giants signed former Jets kicker Randy Bullock) 

The player in question is not Eli Manning or Odell Beckham Jr. Those are guys who are not replaceable.

By taking this stand, they have damaged their reputation and their credibility. I can no longer hold them in high regard as the class of the NFL, because they have an accused wife beater on their roster. This whole thing just makes them look hypocritical. I lost a lot of respect for my favorite team this off season, especially since they have shown little hesitation to cut others with off the field problems in the past. Don't even get me started on the whole Damontre Moore headphones' incident... 

Let me reiterate, this is not an indictment on the violence of NFL players, Josh Brown as a person, or how domestic violence is handled by the NFL (poorly) but it is a question of how the Giants handled this situation other than just having Owner John Mara saying they will make a "football decision". 

The Giants had a decision to make with keeping or cutting Josh Brown, they made the wrong one.