New York Knicks F Derrick Williams talks with the Starting Point

By Stefan Anderson

Derrick Williams of the New York Knicks sat down to discuss a range of topics with The Starting Point during a charity event hosted at Quinnz Pinz in Middletown, NY. Williams along with Knicks teammates Pine Bush, NY native, Cleanthony Early and Kevin Seraphin participated in the bowling charity that gave proceedings to the Kevin Shaw Foundation and the Middletown Middies sports program.

Shaw, who passed away in a tragic car accident, was a good friend of Williams during their basketball encounters. Shaw known for his impact on the court and as coach  for the infamous New York City’s Gauchos  program. The event was a great opportunity for some aspiring players including the NYS Class AA state finalist Middletown Middies to get acquainted with professionals.

Check out the interview above.

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NBA Preview: Atlantic Division

atlantic

By Stefan Anderson

With the 2014-2015 NBA season starting shortly, here at the Starting Point, we will give our preview and what to expect for the upcoming season.

We will start our preview in the Eastern Conference with the Atlantic Division.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors are still riding the emotional high of reaching the playoffs and winning the division for the first time since 2007.  Adding players like James Johnson and Louis Williams to their bench to give an added dimension the Northern Neighbors. Lookout out for Demar Derozan to have a breakout season following his rejection from the USA World Cup team and Kyle Lowry will be amongst the top tier of Point Guards in the league.

I expect to see the Raptors back in the postseason this year and if the team can stay healthy can be fighting to win the Atlantic division once again. Dwayne Casey has established the hard-grit, winning culture that should have Drake and the T.Dot happy excited this season.

Brooklyn Nets

We have seen the Nets make the playoffs every season since switching states, but the 2014-2015 season brings a lot of question for the Brooklyn. The departure of Jason Kidd and Paul Pierce took away to of Brooklyn’s leaders and makes their playoff hopes even more distant. King’s County team might still have the answer bringing in savvy vets like Jarrett Jack and Marcus Thorthon to help their bench situation but are the main concern for the Nets. With an aging Kevin Garnett, a inconsistent Deron Williams and injury prone Brook Lopez , that leaves a lot of the load for Joe Johnson and the supporting cast.

I do not see the Nets making the playoffs this season and this will be the beginning of the darker days in Brooklyn after trading all of their chips away to acquire Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

Boston Celtics

Being NBA royalty, it’s astonishing to the Boston Celtics struggle the way have over the past few season. It has been a rebuilding situation since the Big 3 split up and went their separate ways. Drafting Marcus Smart and James Young gives Boston more young pieces to build with or either package in a trade to regain a big name in Beantown. The Celtics still lack “that guy” to help overcome their woes in the Eastern Conference. If Rondo gets traded for some pieces, what can happen with the young core(Bradley, Green, Sullinger), Boston can remain to prominence.

This is another year in the rebuilding process of Boston and the Brad Stevens experiment, can lead to something special but I highly doubt it this season.

New York Knicks

The New York Knicks are coming off of the hangover season after being the 2 seed in the year previous. New York, under the regime of Phil Jackson and company .look to bring a different brand of basketball playing the Triangle Offense and Carmelo Anthony looking to reach success like the predecessors (i.e. Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan).

The question that remains with the Knicks is defense, health and size, lacking a real rim protector, injury prone stars, and no real defensive player the Knicks has to shore up those holes while learning a new offensive system. I can see the Knicks potentially slipping into the postseason at a lower seed.

Philadelphia 76ers

Tanking is it real or is it a theory? We will find out this season as Philadelphia has yet to put together a winning roster after seeing one of the worst records last season. Nerlens Noel will be the bright spot for Philly this season; his defensive presence will bring him to Rookie of the Year and give the Sixers hope going forward.

This a definitely a “rebuilding “season for Philly and will get them another good draft pick as they gear up to make a great team featuring MCW, Noel, and Embiid.

Atlantic Division Standings

  1. Raptors (Playoffs)
  2. Knicks (Playoffs)
  3. Celtics
  4. Nets
  5. 76ers

Domino Effect

melo and bron

 

By Stefan Anderson

Cause and Effect, refers to the concept of Causality (also referred to as causation) is the relation between an event (the cause) and a second event (the effect), where the second event is understood as a consequence of the first.  Not 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, “I’m taking my talents to south beach” allegiance that would engineer one team the opportunity to have three Free Agent All-Star players combine on one roster. But wait, that would only come shortly after one storied franchise did similar years before but instead of building through free agency or draft they traded all assets to acquire the trio. Most things happen due to cause and effect and the newest trends of the NBA are a testament to that.

After Miami’s formed the big three, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement had just ended and players and owners were forced to make decision that help benefit each other, as they say, but instead forced players and fans to suffer with another lockout. During the lockout Owners wanted to have a higher BRI (Basketball Related Income) and players disagreed. Derek Fisher (the irony right) stood along the NBPA to bring back basketball. The sides came to an agreement but something’s changed including the salary cap, to help benefit smaller market teams from losing their superstars, and also changing max contracts to 5 years, so change is evident to come about.

We just came off an offseason where seen the most superstars in my recent becoming free agent including the league’s biggest star LeBron James.

James, remained loyal to his fans in Cleveland, his hometown team that he helped propel the franchise to yearly competitors, including a trip the 2007 Finals, but Cleveland could not give the King a good supporting cast. James was given the opportunity to give himself the right opportunity to and make the best career decision. How often the does the best player gets the opportunity to do that for himself? Not often, most would argue that Magic, Jordan, Bird and etc., would never do the same but how many of them were surrounded with the same incompetent cast throughout their career? Exactly so if Owners and other in the front office cannot get the job, why not take matter into your own hands.

Not all superstars that are in small markets want to explore different options in a huge market (i.e. Kevin Durant, Tim Duncan). But for the most part they want to leave because of lack of basketball moves by the front office and having the opportunity to compete for a NBA Championship.

Recently Carmelo Anthony has been in reports to joining LeBron James and the Miami Heat, when he opts out of contract this summer. Anthony is in a similar situation in New York to James in Cleveland. When your career begins to dwindle down, how many more opportunities do you get to win a NBA Championship? Anthony is willing to walk away from 23 million dollars for this upcoming season to chase his championship aspirations. After experiencing nearly any success in Denver, he was traded to New York where he is suffering the same fate. Does it say a lot about Carmelo’s attitude and perseverance, or was he not in the best of situations. He came from a small market team in Denver that could not put the right pieces around him to now in New York with a money hungry owner that traded away the franchise’s future to receive the superstar.

The idea that players can now choose their own fate comes on the heels over Owners’ and other front office personnel that do not make the correct moves to keep teams and build long term situations is shown greatly. I am not opposed to the idea at all, and shows a new era of the NBA and could give the league an extremely great look or totally bad perception as well. I am afraid of the “If we can’t beat them then join them” effect happening in the NBA and take away from the various amounts of talent spread across and making one all-star team that wants to win a championship. As long as the talent is distributed evenly throughout the league, then I will be a happy customer but I believe that it will become oversaturated if these situations keep coming about.

Zen Master bring peace to New York

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By Stefan Anderson

The last time the New York Knicks have not been to the NBA Finals since the 1998-99 season where they were defeated the San Antonio Spurs, since then Phil Jackson left his dynasty in Chicago and started another one in Los Angeles where they won 5 more rings to add his to resume as arguably, the greatest coach ever.  The Knicks since then have been searching for answers swapping many coaches and many players, seeing it darkest days in the past two decades. Hoping to restore their happiness to diehard fans and sometimes delusional (including myself), and the face of their franchise by adding Phil Jackson to their front office.

Jackson is more than likely about to accept the position the Knicks president of basketball operations after declining the head coach position. If hired, Jackson will have a tough job to do, since the Knicks have become a massacre once again due to owner James Dolan and General Manager’s illogical decisions. Phil Jackson can help the Knicks in that department because of his star power and winning efforts, ala Pat Riley to help bring the Knicks to dominance in the Eastern Conference again.  It would definitely be challenge which Jackson is not used to after coaching some of the best players in NBA history, Shaq, Kobe, Scottie Pippen and of course Michael Jordan.

The Knicks are not those Bulls team in the 90’s nor the Lakers dynasty of the 2000’s, but have some great options pending Carmelo Anthony decision. Anthony has an early termination option this year and can leave New York to test free agency or stay and collect 23 million for his final season of his contract. But if the Zen Master can keep Anthony in New York for another season, he has options to make a great roster that has not seen any life since former GM Donnie Walsh left the position. The Knicks have traded away all their future first round picks for the next 3 years and are stuck with building their team the hard way through free agency and trades. With expiring contract of Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Andrea Bargnani  and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks will have a lot cap space to once again dig in the free agency pool that will feature Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo just to name a few. Or use those hefty expiring contracts, to receive draft picks or gain players to build a championship roster.

Jackson biggest issues will consist of players and what happens on the court, it would be with his boss James Dolan. Dolan has been known to a dictator and makes any one who works under him look foolish. Not to mention his new rivalry with Nets billion dollar owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, who already baited Dolan into trading away the Knicks future that was a decade of painful years for franchise, just to get on Carmelo Anthony, the irony right. The Zen Master will have to use his patience and peaceful ways to help Knicks owner get off his high horse and focus on basketball matters instead of the billion dollar companies MSG and Cablevision. The relationship will be one that will include many fights and disagreements that hopefully work out for the Knicks or can go completely the wrong way and turn into a damper on Jackson’s legacy.

Phil Jackson, other than current Assistant GM Allan Houston, is the best decision for the Knicks president of basketball operations.  With Houston introducing his new D-League team in White Plains, NY, the job is open for Jackson to fill. I believe that he can bring the Knicks back despite having no experience as GM, his knowledge of the game can be used in a franchise that has been a wreck in the past years.  Jackson is hoping to help Knicks win another championship, the first since 1973, when he played for the Knicks.