The Search For Hatred

I want to dive into the NBA offseason real quick. First off, pretty much every TV analyst said this past draft could have been one of the craziest in NBA history (it wasn’t). However, it set the stage for a very lucrative beginning to free agency. Anyways, the fucking Lakers. I’m a Sixers fan, so you can assume I’ve hated the Lakers my whole life. Everyone does, but being a Sixers fan, history tell us to hate the Lakers. I was almost five years old during the 2001 finals and to be honest I remember very little of the Lakers demolishing the Sixers. Knowing about it should be enough to build that hatred, right? But dammit, I didn’t hate them (enough). There was always the “Oh, the Lakers? They get everything, so fuck them,” mindset. But for me there was never a concrete source of this hatred towards them. Enter the 2015 NBA draft and the following period of free agency.

The beginning of the draft was easy to predict. Karl Anthony-Towns was the consensus number one pick. His polished defensive game and potential on offense to go along with his high basketball IQ was too much to pass up for any team. And then there was Jah. Jahlil Okafor was the best prospect going into this past college season, and this kid was is a godddamn house. His post presence is unbelievable, he can move more the average giant, has great passing vision, and he had the second highest field goal percentage in the country last year, probably the biggest “sure-thing” of the draft. The Lakers need a big man, I mean their best center is Robert Sacre; boom, easy Jah to the Lakers at two. The Sixers get the playmaking guard that we need, put that with the Noel/Embiid combo, put some players around that, and eventually bring us to the Promised Land. That was how almost every mock draft was set up…until draft day. SPOILER ALERT: the Lakers don’t take the consensus #2 pick; they don’t take the franchise big man that they needed. The Lakers instead take the guard to play with (stand next to) Kobe and opted to gamble in free agency.

To be fair, it’s the Lakers, they can attract anyone in free agency right? They have one of the best players of all time, one of the most famous franchises in all of sports, a shitload of hardware and it’s L.A. With LaMarcus Aldridge most likely leaving Portland and Kevin Love opting out of his contract with the Cavs, there were two big name big men to help fill the Lakers hole and someone was destined to sign. First, Aldridge. LaMarcus is finally getting to the point where he realizes that Portland probably isn’t the place to win a championship. Yes Lillard is a stud and the two of them with the supporting cast they’ve assembled make up a consistent playoff roster. But Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews are gone and it’s not the team to get through the current Western Division and win a title. So you’d think: L.A. has a need for a big man, L.A. needs a home, their initials are the same so sign the fucking paper. But no, Aldridge was underwhelmed by the Lakers presentation and ruled them out and eventually signed with the Spurs. While K. Love never actually met with the Lakers, there was some serious speculation about the possibility of a homecoming. I mean he’s from Santa Monica and played at UCLA. When Love re-signed with the Cavs you couldn’t be surprised. He said he wanted to win, and Cleveland, NOT LOS ANGELES, is the place to do that right now. (Funny right?) I need to point out that all of this secretly made me happy to see the Lakers squirming around free agency finally unable to attract who they need.

So through the most exciting and wild part of free agency, the Lakers are left without a big man. Greg Monroe went to the Bucks, Deandre went to Dallas and then back to the Clips, and a slew of other not as big name signings occurred. With Boogie Cousins so close over in Sacramento, and clearly not happy with his situation there, you’d think the Lakers would be able to make some kind of push for him (but it doesn’t seem like that’ll ever happen). To put it lightly, the Lakers struck out. They bet on themselves by drafting D’Angelo and trying to get a big man in free agency but their attempts at wooing the top big men prospects failed.

Roy Hibbert, encouraged by Larry Bird to enter free agency, decided to sign back with the Pacers and will cost them about $15.5 mil this year. Here come the (purple and) golden child of the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers. When their pitch of “we play in L.A.” “we have 16 championships” “we have Kobe” no longer working on free agents as it has for their entire history, and when winning and rosters seem to be all the more important than traditions and location, it all but looked like the Lakers might finally be in for the long haul on the rebuilding train, waiting to get a franchise big man to fill in the hole they left wide open. Payback for not making the easy, obvious selection of Jahlil Okafor second overall, but instead stealing D’Ang right from under the city who desperately needs a basketball hero; Philadelphia. Nope, the two teams are finalizing talks that would send Hibbert to Los Angeles. You can’t really get mad (in a basketball sense) at the Pacers for this deal because they unload Hibbert’s contract and don’t have to deal with him anymore. Now, while Hibbert isn’t the dominating player he was when the Pacers made their run at the Heat, he’s still a 7-footer capable of taking up space and impacting a game. The fact that a team can make a risky draft pick, then strike out in free agency to prove it was probably the wrong pick, then get bailed out makes me upset. The fact that it was the Lakers makes me furious. It’s about time the Lakers suck.

The worst part about all of this is I think it has a chance to work. I love D’Ang. I went to the game up at State College when OSU came to town just to see him play. As I sat there watching him play, my buzz slowly but surely fading, I thought 2 things: 1. No way I’m staying past halftime, and 2. I want this kid on the Sixers. Luckily there were two surefire big man prospects and two teams that needed big men in front of us, so D’Angelo would surely fall to the Sixers, right? Nope. Sadly the Sixers got the number three overall pick, so once again it was out of our hands and we got fucked, something us Sixers fans have become all to accustomed to. Its brutal to think that D’Angelo should have fallen to us; not could have, should have. But he didn’t, and he is such a Los Angeles player. While I’m not quite sure what that means, he looks right at home in a Lakers uniform. L.A. was clearly the place that he wanted to end up, but shouldn’t have ended up. So, after being a Sixers fan my whole life, it has taken until now, but I finally have that source of my own personal Laker hatred. And I know, every time I see D’Angelo Russell in Lakers purple and gold I will think of what could’ve and should’ve been. One last thing, if that hate is inside you too, let it burn, and let it burn knowing that fans of every of NBA franchise are with you.

Finally, @Lakers, I fucking hate you.

Making Sense of the Knicks Draft Picks

Don’t let the headline deceive you; I still don’t know how I’m going to make sense of last night, and I’m the one writing this article. The only lottery pick that went as everyone expected was the first one, when Karl-Anthony Towns went to the Minnesota Timberwolves, joining two former first overall picks in Anthony Bennett and Andrew Wiggins. But I’m not here to talk about Towns or the Wolves or how Flip Saunders has acquired the past three #1 overall picks in the last 12 months.
I’m here to talk about the Knicks and honestly I’ve been stalling all day, trying to put this article off because I was still in shock from last night. You know that feeling you get when you watch Game of Thrones and then everyone dies in one episode? Yeah, that’s what I felt like after hearing “With the fourth pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select (Adam Silver Pauses for dramatic effect, knowing the words he’s about to utter would start a riot in the stands) Kristaps Porzingis, Cent…” I actually don’t remember anything after that point. I’m 99% sure I blacked out. It was inconceivable to me that Phil Jackson just drafted a 19-year-old, 7’1” Latvian project that won’t contribute next season. I, along with every Knicks fan actually at the Barclays Center, was letting blind rage consume my thoughts. Maybe it was the tease that was Okafor dropping to the Sixers, or that I think Emmanuel Mudiay is going to be the next Russell Westbrook. I just didn’t know. The picture to your left, which is of me, perfectly sums up how I felt immediately after the Knicks drafted Kristaps Porzingis. Yes, it was that kind of night.

My reaction to Porzingis being drafted by the Knicks

It has been almost 20 hours since the Draft started and I’ve had some time to sleep off the shock and think about the Knicks moves rationally and with a clear conscience. And, being perfectly honest, I actually love what the Knicks did last night. It’s not like me to completely flip my opinion on a class the day after the draft, but just hear me out. (I’m only breaking down the first round picks because who cares about the second round).
Kristaps Porzingis is at least almost a head taller than every other prospect in this draft, which I didn’t realize until I saw this picture:

Porzingis being tall

Porzingis being tall

Like holy fuck. This guy is only 19?? I mean I’ve suffered through 20 years of following four losing teams (Mets, Jets, Knicks, and Rangers, I don’t need your pity either), and I still take shit for going to Penn State (still hearing Sandusky jokes and I wasn’t even at the school when it happened). But if waiting two years for this Latvian gigantor to develop into Dirk 2.0 is what it’s going to take for me to see a team I root for win a title, then show me the dotted line. Porzingis can shoot from anywhere on the floor, is a decent shot blocker, and based off of the comments he’s made since being drafted, he is hungry. That right there is what sold me on this guy. This is an excerpt from Adrian Wojnarowski’s June 16 profile of Porzingis.

“The biggest thing for me – the thing that I think most about – is that you can get into the gym whenever you want here,” Porzingis told Yahoo Sports over dinner recently. “They give you a card, or a key, and in the middle of the night, if you want to work out, you just go to the gym and get your work in – and I think that’s amazing.
“In Europe, you don’t have that option. You can’t get your work in on a Sunday, because nobody is there. I think that’s one of the coolest things. This year, I didn’t have a place to play. I’ve got to talk to the GM, to talk one of the people who work in the arena to open the door for me. People don’t want to do extra work at the arena.”
So Porzingis laid awake in his bedroom in Sevilla, Spain, and thought to himself, “‘when I’m sleeping, someone else is working out.’ I’d think that I better get in my work the next day, because I’m already behind.”

The guy is HUNGRY. As Herb Brooks once said, “The legs feed the wolf, gentlemen.” Yes, historically, European players have not panned out unless your name is Dirk, Pau, or Marc. However if there is going to be a fourth great European player in the history of the NBA, Porzingis certainly has the mindset and drive to get to that point.

The Knicks entered yesterday’s draft with only one pick in total. Many felt that the Knicks needed to trade into the second round to help add depth to the roster, myself included. Well, Phil Jackson decided to one-up us and move into the first round instead. Jackson traded Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Washington Wizards straight up for the 19th pick in the NBA draft. And you thought Phil was delusional (still up in the air). The Knicks went out and drafted Jerian Grant, who in my humble opinion is an absolute beast. I picked his Notre Dame to make the National Championship game and followed the team religiously throughout the tournament and let me tell you, Grant can flat out BALL. What the Knicks got in Grant is a 6’5” point guard that can defend 1-3 and score from anywhere on the court. He’s very athletic and is a highly intelligent basketball player. Being at Notre Dame and staying until he graduated, he is much more mature than most players in this draft (22 years old), having played under Mike Brey for all four years (Side Note: The first four picks are all 19 years old). Grant brings an explosive mindset to the point-guard position in New York, who will create a nice 1-2 punch with last season’s breakout player for the Knicks, Langston Galloway.
I honestly was really upset with how the draft went in the moments following Porzingis’ selection, but I wont let 20 years of negativity and losing bring me down. I’m doing my best to look at the bright side of things and hopefully the rest of you Knick fans can do the same. And in all honesty, we were all mad (or still are) last night because Phil didn’t draft someone who can win now for us. And with reports of Melo being unhappy with how the draft went coming out, I can see how people are livid. However, if Melo really were THAT concerned with winning now, he would have left New York for Chicago or Houston last off-season. Instead he resigned and is holding the Knicks’ salary cap hostage. If he cared about winning he would have taken a discount so the team could sign respectable role players. Carmelo Anthony actually came out today and said he was pissed that Phil Jackson didn’t pick a player that would help the team win now. News flash Carmelo, NO ONE WOULD HELP THIS TEAM WIN NOW. Not one player in this draft would make this team a contender. Jalen Rose’s team needs for the Knicks last night was “Everything”. That, my friends, is when you know your team is shit. Hopefully this draft was the first step in the right direction for the Knicks, as their selections certainly have the potential to live up to their expectations. Then again, who knows? It’s the Knicks, what isn’t going to go wrong?

East Coast Egos 2015 NBA Mock Draft

With one of the most anticipated drafts in years, NBA teams are licking their chops at the potential talent coming their way. Watch what happens when three college degenerates get their chance to run the league. mattkaveney starts off the draft, followed by pfrie27 and last kosscastillo as they alternate turns in East Coast Egos’ first annual rotating NBA Mock Draft.

1st Overall: Minnesota Timberwolves – Karl Anthony Towns (Kentucky)
Karl Anthony Towns is a special talent this year. He has the ability to become a franchise player for the Timberwolves along with Andrew Wiggins. He will fit well with Flip Saunders’ team with his defensive dominance and offensive talent that is undeniable, even though it wasn’t fully exposed due to the way Kentucky spread the ball last year.

2nd Overall: Los Angeles Lakers – Jahlil Okafor (Duke)
Jahlil Okafor is both a need and a value pick for the Lakers at #2. He was widely considered to be the best player in college basketball for most of the season at Duke, this years national champs. He has a polished offensive game and the necessary size to be effective right away in the NBA. The Okafor and Julius Randle tandem should prove to be a formidable force for years to come on the Lakers.

3rd Overall: Philadelphia 76ers – D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State)
Even with all the recent hype around Kristaps Porzingis and his possible selection in this spot, there is no better fit for the Sixers than D’Angelo Russell. Russell will add sure talent and excitement to a franchise that has been a sinking ship for the past several seasons. Russell may not be able to carry the Sixers to the playoffs in his first year as some fans may hope, but he will help secure a young backcourt that needs a dominating presence to take the next step towards relevance. Expect Russell to put up Rookie of the Year numbers.

4th Overall: New York Knicks – Emmanuel Mudiay (International)
Emmanuel Mudiay will add a John Wall/Russell Westbrook type element to the Knicks at number 4 overall. His athletic ability is unmatched in this draft class, and his potential is scary if he can develop a more threatening outside jumper. The Knicks go with the best player available at 4 and that will most likely be Mudiay. Read http://eastcoastegos.com/2015/06/24/why-the-4th-overall-pick-could-be-worse-for-the-new-york-knicks/ to find out more about this pick.

5th Overall: Orlando Magic – Justise Winslow (Duke)
Justise Winslow finished off this college basketball season hot in the tournament which boosted his stock. On Duke he played second fiddle to Okafor all season long, however, he has the athleticism and playmaking ability to be a top offensive option in the NBA. The Magic have a lot of interesting young pieces but they are all at guard and in the post, so Winslow is a nice fit here on the wing for them.

6th Overall: Sacramento Kings – Kristaps Porzingis (International)
With prized possession Emmanuel Mudiay snatched up by the Knicks, Sacramento simply goes for the best available player in this spot. With Porzingis in the discussion to go top-3, the Kings take advantage of the value they are given. As Demarcus Cousins trade rumors swirl, Porzingis gives the Kings a versatile big man who can stretch the floor and make up (in part) for Boogie’s lost 24 points and 13 rebounds per game, if he is shipped. If Cousins stays, Porzingis gives Sacramento the potential for one of the top young frontcourts in the league. Look for the Kings to select a point guard later in the draft or acquire one in free agency.

7th Overall: Denver Nuggets – Devin Booker (Kentucky)
Devin Booker is beginning to draw a lot of comparisons to NBA champion Klay Thompson and for a good reason: he is a lethal shooter and quality defender. So why pass on this guy? The Nuggets could use the 6’6 Kentucky product to make an immediate impact come October.

8th Overall: Detroit Pistons – Sam Dekker (Wisconsin)
Sam Dekker is another player whose draft stock soared thanks to his play in the NCAA tournament. He is a classic Bo Ryan and Wisconsin player. He has good size for his position which allowed him to play a nice inside/outside game in college. If he can continue to develop his post game he should be able to translate his style of play into the pros nicely because his ability to shoot will always be there for him. The Pistons are set down low with Drummond and Monroe (if he stays) and they are good at guard with Reggie Jackson so this also meets a positional need.

9th Overall: Charlotte Hornets – Mario Hezonja (International)
Another value pick here, as Hezonja has the potential to be a top 5 pick. Hezonja provides a scoring dimension to a team with very limited offensive talent (28th in the league in scoring last year). Add that to the loss of SG tandem Lance Stephenson and Gerald Henderson and you have a recipe for disaster. At 6’8 with superior athleticism, Hezonja has all the tools (and confidence) in the world to become a future star in the league and will benefit from being a main scoring option in Charlotte so early in his career.

10th Overall: Miami Heat – Stanley Johnson (Arizona)
Stanley Johnson to the Heat here is a perfect match. The Heat need a slashing SG/SF and he fits the bill. He could certainly go higher than 10 but if he’s around this late, the Heat will gladly take him.

11th Overall: Indiana Pacers – RJ Hunter (Georgia State)
RJ Hunter put himself on the map this year with his big shot and great play in the NCAA tourney in their first round upset. His shooting is where he brings value so he fits in well with a Pacers team known for their defense and lack of offense while Paul George was hurt last year.

12th Overall: Utah Jazz – Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)
The reigning National Player of the Year in college basketball, Kaminsky immediately adds a talented and, more importantly, experienced big man. With the majority of college players declaring early for the draft, Kaminsky’s high basketball IQ will provide an early edge over other members of this draft class.

13th Overall: Phoenix Suns – Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky)
Another talented Kentucky player, Willie Cauley-Stein, will be taken in the lottery. The only question is where? The Suns could use this 7’0 athletic freak with the ability to provide an immediate spark the suns need to get to the next level

14th Overall: Oklahoma City Thunder – Tyus Jones (Duke)
Tyus Jones to the Thunder at 14 is my personal favorite pick. Jones is a high IQ point guard who showed off his chops in the clutch in the National Championship game. When healthy the Thunder have star power at guard and forward, and they recently acquired Enes Kanter at center. So this pick isn’t necessarily a need but it certainly is a good value pick in my book. Tyus Jones is a winner and his knack for making smart plays will compliment the sometimes erratic Russell Westbrook nicely.

15th Overall: Atlanta Hawks – Bobby Portis (Arkansas)
One of the most underrated players in the country last year, Bobby Portis is an athletic F/C who will make an impact on both the offensive and defensive ends. Atlanta will be the perfect spot for Portis, as he will not be relied on to carry too big of a load given the Hawks’ strong starting lineup.

16th Overall: Boston Celtics – Myles Turner (Texas)
17th Overall: Milwaukee Bucks – Jerian Grant (Notre Dame)
18th Overall: Houston Rockets – Delon Wright (Utah)
19th Overall: Washington Wizards – Trey Lyles (Kentucky)
20th Overall: Toronto Raptors – Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona)
21st Overall: Dallas Mavericks – Kelly Oubre Jr. (Kansas)
22nd Overall: Chicago Bulls – Justin Anderson (Virginia)
23rd Overall: Portland Trailblazers – Cliff Alexander (Kansas)
24th Overall: Cleveland Cavaliers – Terry Rozier (Louisville)
25th Overall: Memphis Grizzlies – Cameron Payne (Murray State)
26th Overall: San Antonio Spurs – Montrezl Harrell (Louisville)
27th Overall: Los Angeles Lakers – Rashad Vaughn (UNLV)
28th Overall: Boston Celtics – Anthony Brown (Stanford)
29th Overall: Brooklyn Nets – Kevin Looney (UCLA)
30th Overall: Golden State Warriors – Christian Wood (UNLV)

mattkaveney 1st Round Steal: Chicago Bulls, 22nd Overall – Justin Anderson (Virginia)
Anderson is a mature, system player who would mold well with the bulls. Chicago could use a Small Forward here and would be nothing less than ecstatic if Anderson is still on the board at 22.

pfrie27 1st Round Steal – Milwaukee Bucks, 17th Overall – Jerian Grant (Notre Dame)
Jerian Grant was the best player in a high octane offense this year at Notre Dame. The Bucks were one of the best defensive teams in the league this year so they need to balance out their roster. MCW struggles on the offensive side of the ball at point guard so having Grant as a scoring option in the backcourt could be the spark this team needs to get to the next level.

kosscastillo 1st Round Steal: Los Angeles Lakers, 27th overall – Rashad Vaughn (UNLV)
With the Kobe era quickly coming to an end, the Lakers need someone who can take over the scoring role. Vaughn averaged 17.8 points per game in his freshman year at UNLV and will only get better, having the opportunity to play under the greatest scorer of this generation. Adding Vaughn to a roster that already has Jahlil Okafor, Julius Randle and 2015 breakout player Jordan Clarkson will form one of the best young rosters in the NBA, giving Laker Nation hope beyond Kobe Bryant.

The NBA Draft is set for tonight at 7 PM. Grab a beer and watch as your favorite team makes a pick you probably won’t like.

My Ultimate NBA team

In response to Parkers ultimate team, I have decided to create a super team of my own. This squad consists of players I would want to coach that I could take all the way to the NBA Finals. I selected this team based off of their passion and desire, their swagger, clutchness, winning, charisma, and overall abilities on the court. This team has players some people would never want on their “dream team” but I want them because of the edge they bring and how they can set the tone. I will select 2 players from each position (2 Center, 2 PF, 2 SF, 2 SG, 2 PG) and nothing else. Here we go.

Starters:

PG- Gary Payton

The Glove. I want Gary Payton leading my squad because of his defensive abilities, passing creativity, leadership and swagger. Payton was a master of trash talk and led a team with no talent (other than Shawn Kemp) to the playoffs numerous times. He has a will to win and is arguably the best defensive point guard of all time. He’s a great leader who will distribute to my scorers and run the show on defense.

SG- Michael Jordan

How can you not go with MJ? The GOAT. Clutch. Winner. MVP. Swagger. He’s got it all. Jordan is everything I could ever want in a player. He’s an incredible leader, a proven winner, and one of the clutchest players ever. He also was All NBA defensive team numerous times showing his all around ability.

SF- Larry Bird

Larry legend is the best shooter of all time. Forget this Steph Curry talk. Bird reigns supreme until Curry or someone else can hit more clutch shots than him. I personally think the most badass thing of all time is Bird going into the 3-point contest and not even taking off his warm up jacket. Yeah, he was that confident. His swagger, passion, and shooting ability will help him be my number two scoring option behind MJ and be the captain of my squad.

PF- Charles Barkley

The Round Mound of Rebound is my choice to start at power forward. Barkley talks the talk and walks the walk. This War Eagle out of Auburn University is a tenacious rebounder and prolific scorer as well, averaging a double-double multiple times throughout his career. Though a bit undersized, Barkley is still a Hall of Famer for his work on the court and his presence as a teammate. Barkley will play his role and crash the boards 20x the amount Tristan Thompson did these past playoffs, then dishing it out to Bird or MJ in transition. Barkley led teams with absolutely zero talent on the Suns and Sixers to the playoffs and made them contenders because of his heart and will to win. I want that on my team.

C- Shaquille O’Neal

The Big Aristotle is my favorite center of all time. He is the reason Kobe is at 5 rings (he’d only be at 2 if it weren’t for Shaq). He helped build the legacy of D-Wade, getting him a ring in ’06. Shaq is a winner and a gamer. He’s got charisma that would help with the team’s mojo. He’s an unstoppable force on the boards and in the paint and nobody could ever stop him until he wore Celtic green in his later years. Shaq is a top-3 center of all time that has all the qualities I’d want a center on my team to have. He leads and he wins. Simple as that.

Bench:

PG- Pete Maravich

Pistol Pete was born to play basketball. The man loves the game so much; you cant take the ball out of his hand. I saw a documentary once about him where he’d fucking dribble out the car window while being driven to school!!! That’s friggin insane. He loves the game and would bring passion and leadership to my squad. A great distributor and sneaky great scorer. Anyone with the nickname “Pistol” can play for me any day.

SG- Dwyane Wade

Wade is a top 5 shooting guard of all time in my opinion and to many others as well. The man is a stud, winning at every level of the game, and puts up stellar numbers while doing it. He’d be a great fit on this team as a role player off the bench because of his skillset and leadership abilities. Yes, he has started his whole career but he took a different role when LeBron came to South Beach, and I believe he can do the same here to bring me a title in my imaginary world.

SF- Reggie Miller

Potentially the greatest trash talker to ever play the game, Reggie is a lights out shooter and a team leader. Scoring 8 points in 30 seconds ain’t half bad either. The dude steps up in big time games and as Santana Moss says, “Big time players, make big time plays, in big time games.” Reggie does that for me.

PF- Christian Laettner

Ever since watching “I Hate Christian Laettner” on ESPN, I can’t help but love the guy. His passion, his game, his swagger, he is everything I dream of in a player. The only college player selected to play on the Dream Team, Laettner has experience in every aspect of the basketball world. He’s won on the college level, earned a gold medal in the Olympics, and played on a few playoff teams in the NBA. Yes, he wasn’t a great professional player, but he isn’t going to be contributing major minutes to this team. He is there as a teammate to push others in practice and lead by example. Laettner would bring energy off the bench in the 10-20 minutes he’d see a night and earn 8 boards in that time setting up Larry, MJ, or Reggie. I love Christian Laettner.

C- Dave Cowens

I may be biased choosing two of my hometown players to be on my team but there’s a reason these guys won titles. Cowens can say that he committed the most bad ass play of all time. It’s not even debatable. From the Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons, he tells a story about his first game at the Boston Garden to watch the Celtics and Dave Cowens was called for a soft foul. Cowens freaked out screaming at the ref. The very next play he tackles an opposing player into the stands and looks to the ref and says “Now that’s a fucking foul”. GET THIS MAN ON MY FUCKING SQUAD. I love that determination and heart. Guys a fucking warrior. He also averaged 17.6 ppg and 8.7 rbg on his way to a hall of fame career so he’s a pretty decent player as well. He’d be a hell of a role player and a locker room type guy I need to have.

Honorable Mentions:

I’d love to have Kobe or LeBron but I don’t see them starting over MJ or Bird and don’t think they’d be satisfied with a bench player role. Their egos are too big and wouldn’t work well in the locker room environment I want to have.

Paul Pierce and Ray Allen are two of my favorites as well who have won in big time atmospheres but I don’t think there’s much argument when it comes down to two of the greats over them at their positions.

Why the 4th overall pick could be worse for the New York Knicks

With The NBA draft coming up tomorrow, June 25, the Knicks, yet again, find themselves in a position without any definitive answers. The lottery was unfavorable, landing the Knicks the 4th overall pick even though they were the second worst team in the league.  A couple problems with the current state of the Knicks are that fans do not trust Phil Jackson right now, the Knicks dropped 2 picks in the lottery, and there isn’t any clear-cut player that they have their eye on. Trading down and banking on free agency would be foolish. So the Knicks need to keep cool on draft day, and take Emmanuel Mudiay.

Jahlil Okafor and Karl Anthony Towns will be the top 2 picks in some order. That is pretty set-in-stone, but the Knicks are up in the air with who they will take at 4, because the 76ers are slotted in front of them. This is good news though. There are two tiers consisting of two players each in this year’s draft class. Top tier is the centers Jahlil Okafor and Karl Anthony Towns. The second tier is the guards Deangelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay. This is good for the Knicks because another franchise, the Philadelphia 76ers, have to make a big decision at number 3 overall meaning that the last man standing will fall right into the Knicks hands. The Knicks are not going to have to make any tough, potentially regrettable decisions.

In the months leading up to the draft, there has been a lot of talk about how questionable Mudiay is, and thus his draft stock has fallen. Let me tell you, Emmanuel Mudiay is a beast. If you haven’t seen what he can do, go type his name in on YouTube and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I like him more than Deangelo Russell, even though he didn’t go to college. That scares some people, and if that isn’t enough of a problem, he only played 12 games in China because he was injured. So right off the bat there are 2 big no-no’s in a lot of fans minds. However, like I said, this dude is a beast. A top 10 recruit out of high school bound for Larry Brown’s SMU team, he decided to play abroad so he could sign a contract and have a nice pay day in order to help his struggling family. He would fit the Knicks perfectly because he is more of a versatile combo guard rather than a true point guard. He is also an athletic freak that can get the ball to the rack and defend point guards and shooting guards. He averaged 18 PPG 6.2 RPG 5.9 APG and 1.58 SPG in games played abroad. He reminds me a little bit of John Wall due to his athletic prowess, his defensive ability, and his offensive nature coming into the draft. Like Wall, he prefers to attack the rim rather than settle for outside jumpers. And the Knicks have depth at the guard position already to help him progress. Experienced Jose Calderon is not the long term answer, but the potential Langston Galloway-Emmanuel Mudiay tandem could work around Carmelo Anthony. The 2nd team all-rookie Galloway will be a serviceable guard in the NBA for years to come. He already got the endorsement from head coach Derek Fisher who sees a lot of himself in Galloway (side note: I am a student at Saint Joe’s so I am a little biased and love me some Langston Galloway. He is a hard worker, a system player who is very coachable and does not have a big ego).  Another reason to draft a guard: the plethora of power forwards/centers in this coming free agency. The Knicks have cap space and are going to sign a big man in the offseason. It would be a different story if the Knicks had a top two pick and could solve their post problem in the draft, but that isn’t the case and there is no reason to force a big man into the #4 draft spot.

Another story leading up to the draft, Kristaps Porzingis. A 7’1” European big man. He is not worth the risk at number 4 overall. There is no reason the Knicks should take this guy. While writing this piece, I am actually watching the re-run of the 2001 NBA draft and I feel like Porzingis has Darko Milicic all over him. Who? Exactly. You probably didn’t even realize that he was actually drafted in 2003. He was taken #2 overall in the 2003 draft taken ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Tall, European big-man with outside shooting ability, nifty post moves but limited strength down low. This seems to be the intriguing description for a lot of European players, however per Jay Bilas, since 2002, 19 International players have been drafted in the lottery, none of which have made an NBA All-Star game. I want to put the Porzingis talk to bed based on the history of unknown European big men, there have been more failures than there have been Dirk Nowitzkis.

My message to the Knicks: Take Mudiay, let him adjust to the system, and help him develop from an athletic freak to an all-around NBA player and potential all-star.

Tom T-Money’s ESPY Picks

Best Male Athlete: Steph Curry, Aaron Rodgers, LeBron James, J.J. Watt.

My Pick: LeBron James.

To me, this one is pretty obvious. LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the best athletes in the word and what he accomplished in the 2014 -2015 NBA season is nothing short of remarkable. A newly assembled Cleveland Cavaliers finished the season 53-29 and fell just short of an NBA championship. The unfortunate injuries of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Anderson Varejao, and the empty bag of shits J.R. Smith gives were major setbacks for the Cavs, and had these circumstances been any different, it is reasonable to say that LeBron could have been donning ring number three. David Blatt’s biggest contribution to the team was suggesting all players wear a Yamaka during warmups, which was immediately shut down by Iman Shumpert because he didn’t want to mess up the hair. With a beat up Cavaliers team and a Rabbi for a coach, LBJ singlehandedly carried them to the Finals and almost did the unthinkable. Give the man his damn ESPY.

Best Game: A’s vs. Royals (MLB AL Wildcard), Spurs vs. Clippers (Game 7 of the NBA Western Conference Quarterfinals), Seahawks vs. Patriots (Super Bowl)

My Pick: Seahawks vs. Patriots

I still get a quarter chub thinking about the amount of wings, pizza, and entertaining football I watched during Superbowl XLIX. I’m neither a Seahawks nor Patriots fan, so I was just hoping for a good game and it certainly was that. True Story: the hair on my balls stood straight up when the Patriots defense made the huge interception to save the game and I’m pretty sure Pete Carroll is still giving himself titty-twisters to this day for not running the ball with Marshawn Money Lynch on this play. Gotta love the Superbowl.

 Best Comeback Athlete: Rob Gronkowski, Alex Rodriguez, Derrick Rose, Lindsey Vonn

My Pick: Rob Gronkowski

This one was mainly done by a process of elimination. Elimination #1: Lindsey Vonn. Yeah she has a nice face, but skiing is kind of irrelevant in my humble opinion. Elimination #2: A-Roid. Sure, 3,000 hits is cool but you know what isn’t? Sticking a syringe up your ass to make you hit a ball better. Elimination #3: Derrick Rose. I would call it an okay comeback. He went from averaging 25 PPG in his stellar 2010-2011 season to just 17.7 PPG this season. Give the guy credit though, he’s playing on one leg out there. All that’s left is the party animal himself; Rob Gronkowski. Superbowl Champion and a 12 touchdown season, Gronk definitely deserves the award over the other athletes.

Best Female Athlete: Ronda Rousey, Breanna Stewart, Lindsey Vonn, Serena Williams

My Pick: No Opinion

Alright guys let’s face it, out of all of these women, the only one I’ve seen perform was Serena Williams on Sportscenter highlights and I was too busy staring at her thunder thighs and biceps to know what was going on. On to the next one I guess.

Best Breakthrough Athlete:  Odell Beckham Jr., Mo’ne Davis, Cardale Jones, Jordan Speith

My Pick: Jordan Speith

From winning the Green Jacket at The Masters to his comeback victory at the U.S. Open in Chambers Bay, it’s safe to say Jordan Speith is having himself quite a year. Speith has put himself among some very elite names after being the 13th player to win back-to-back major tournaments. Other golfers to have done this include Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, and Arnold Palmer. Who knows, if he keeps golfing this well he may have a refreshing beverage named after him one day (or have a golf club smashed through the rear window of his SUV from a psycho wife… but let’s not go there).

One Love,

Tom

NBA Ultimate Team

Putting together the perfect team is no small task. Finding the right talent, skill sets and personalities to blend together to form a formidable unit is a challenge that for many GMs seems impossible. Every once in a while though, a GM will tinker just enough and land on the winning formula. When this happens we see dynasties like Jordan’s Bulls in the 90s and Duncan’s Spurs throughout the 2000s. Any basketball fan that is as passionate about the sport as I am has at one point or another played GM in their head and dreamt up their own dream team. Imagining what it would be like to see them tear up a league full of other legendary teams to crown themselves the best of all time.  In making this team I not only factored in the measurable statistics but also the intangibles, the abilities we can’t see but that often times are the difference between champions and runners up. So without further ado here is the team that I would go to war with no matter who the opponent. Starting Lineup:

Point Guard-Magic Johnson
Shooting Guard-Russell Westbrook
Small Forward-Michael Jordan
Power Forward-Tim Duncan
Center-Shaquille O’neal

A team’s point guard is supposed to be their leader on the floor, often known as the floor general, running the offense and making sure everyone is doing their job. Magic is in my opinion the undisputed best point guard basketball has ever seen. At 6’9” he has uncommon size for a point guard that allows him to guard multiple positions on defense if needed. He has valuable postseason experience with his five championships and three finals MVPs that provides confidence for the rest of the team in following his lead on the court. He also has experience playing with other big time players, like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and James Worthy, so massaging egos won’t be an issue for him in handling is teammates. He is so silky smooth with the ball in his hands and has hawk-like vision, to me there is no other point guard to even consider for an all time team.
Russell Westbrook’s role on this team is as much about his drive and passion as it is his freak like athleticism. Russ is gifted with athleticism that is unmatched by any guard to come before him, even Jordan. He has a bounce to his step like I’ve never seen and he puts it to good use taking off from anywhere trying outrageous dunk attempts over anyone standing in his way. He has the speed to take an inbound pass and outrun the entire defense coast to coast for a slam, as he has done on multiple occasions. But the most likable thing about Westbrook which is also his greatest value to this team is his attitude and work ethic. The kid plays balls to the wall all game. He never takes a play off and he has that look in his eye at all times like he’s coming for blood. He’s not afraid to make the gritty hustle plays either. What he lacks in efficiency he more than makes up for in effort and thats why he lands the starting two spot on my team.
At small forward I have the GOAT, Air Jordan. No all time team is complete without the all time gamer, the all time hustler, and the all time king of the clutch. Michael Jordan is all of that rolled into one. He’s hit more clutch shots in big games than anyone. Most memorably his game winning step back jumper in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz over Byron Russell. His resume speaks for itself. He is a six time NBA champion(undefeated in the finals), six time finals MVP, five time NBA MVP, and nine time All NBA Defensive First Team. We’ve all heard the stories about Jordan’s competitiveness, about how he was obsessed with being the best at everything, not just basketball. At halftime of an exhibition game with the Indiana Pacers, Reggie Miller was outscoring MJ 10-4 and proceeded to talk smack to Michael. Jordan came out in the second half and outscored Reggie 40-2, finishing the individual head to head matchup with a score of 44-12. This is Michael Jordan in a nutshell. He’s the ultimate smack talker and can dissect a player on defense with his physical ability and his power to get in your head. If you ever try to talk back, prepare yourself for annihilation. Jordan isn’t just on this team, he makes the team.
The big men on this team are both big time winners. Their results on the court individually and with their respective teams are legendary, but their personalities couldn’t be more different. Which is exactly why they work so well together for my team. Tim Duncan’s dynasty on the Spurs led by Coach Poppovich at the helm is the prime example of sustained long term success in the league today. He has five rings and three finals MVPs to go with eight All NBA Defensive First Team appearances and two league MVPs. He is a master of his craft, serving as a silent assassin with his quiet personality. Everyone knows his signature plays, like the midrange bank shot, but they can’t stop it. His reserved character allows him to gel with his teammates on this team. The Spurs are known for their ball movement, using their game planning to take down the toughest of foes like Lebron James, twice. And that’s Timmy’s greatest importance on this team, instilling and upholding the value of game prep and ball movement.
Last but not least we have the Diesel, Superman, Cake, the Big Aristotle, Mr. Shaquille O’neal. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Shaq myself when I was younger and if it’s not blatantly obvious already, he is one BIG man. When Shaq posts up in the paint good luck stopping him. He will bulldoze or drop step (“black tornado” as he likes to call it) his way to the hoop everytime. There are certainly craftier, more skilled, and better free throw shooting centers out there than Shaq. But, when it comes to sheer dominance over his opponents I’m not sure there is anyone on his level. Exemplified by his ranking on the all time scorers list (6th all time) and the all time rebounding list (14th all time). He his one of the funniest players to come through the league and he is not afraid to show it. He is a fun guy who adds some playfulness to this lineup of serious gamers.
My lineup may not be the best statistical lineup out there. It may not be comprised of the best players all time at each position. But their combination of skills and personalities make them more lethal as a group than any other team I can think of. If you feel differently make your case, just know I’ll fight you to the death about it just like these guys fight to the death on the court when winning is on the line.

Building For The Future Or Winning Now: Where The Cavs Went Wrong

The 2014-2015 NBA season has finally come to an end after a thrilling NBA playoffs that saw Steph Curry and the Warriors crowned champions. Their 4-2 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers came as no surprise as they were the top seed coming out of a loaded Western Conference with a 67-15 record. Statistically they proved themselves to be the top team in the league on both sides of the ball, sporting a 109.7 offensive efficiency rating and a 98.2 defensive efficiency rating. This years NBA finals, however, wasn’t about the juggernaut that was the Warriors. As usual, when Lebron James is involved in anything it is all about him. Lebron’s heroic effort in this years finals will further cement his place in the pantheon of the basketball greats. The worlds greatest basketball player posted an incredible 35.8 PPG 8.8 APG 13.3 RPG stat line in the finals, an effort unmatched by any that has come before it. Unfortunately for Lebron it simply wasn’t enough, once again proving that no matter how great a player is, championships aren’t won alone. King James’ supporting cast, depleted by injuries, just wasn’t up for the challenge. Now its time for Lebron to take a break, recover from a physically and mentally draining season, and then get back on his grind in hopes of bringing the Cleveland Cavaliers its first championship ever. As the Cavs now look to next season they must reevaluate their roster and James’ supporting cast. They must learn from their mistakes in assembling this years roster or they risk meeting the same fate next year. But, have the Cavaliers already sealed their destiny for years to come with the biggest trade of the year before the season started? The Cavaliers traded top pick Andrew Wiggins, along with others, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. This move made the organization’s goals very clear, they want to win now. What the Cavs didn’t realize though, is that they did not need to make this trade to win now or in the future because this trade was never really about Kevin Love vs. Andrew Wiggins, but Andrew Wiggins vs. LBJ.
Andrew Wiggins and Lebron James have a lot in common. Both players were the top pick in their respective drafts coming out as athletic freaks, capable of being lockdown defenders and offensive studs immediately. There will always be differences between the two but their similarities at a young age is why the Cavs should be concerned about dumping Wiggins.
Player A: 20.9 PPG 5.9 APG 5.5 RPG 41.7 FG% 29 3P%.
Player B: 20.0 PPG 2.3 APG 4.9 RPG 44.6 FG% 16.1 3P%.
These stat lines represent the rookie seasons of both players in their rookie season in which they each won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award. Player A is the King and Player B is Andrew Wiggins. As expected from the league’s best James posted a slightly better line across the board. The point, however, is that both exhibited limitless potential early on. In order to turn potential into reality you need help, and who would’ve been more suited than LBJ to mentor Wiggins as he strives to get to where Lebron is today. James is the NBA’s smartest player and his vision, ability to see the floor and the play develop before it happens is unmatched. On the Timberwolves Wiggins didn’t exactly have the best support in helping him develop. His starting point guard, Ricky Rubio, had another injury riddled season and the rest of the roster lacks any substantial talent. What he did as a rookie on such a bad team in the Western Conference, the tougher conference by far, is impressive. If you take a player like that and put him next to Lebron and scary things are bound to happen. LBJ and Wiggin’s alley oops would make the Clippers knack for high flying plays look like Sob City, rising up so high you’d think they were playing on 9 ft hoops. Wiggins efficiency would benefit as well because he wouldn’t be the top scoring option, or even the second and he would be getting set up by Lebron which everyone knows leads to better looks. By keeping a young, potentially elite defender their team defense would become a strength opposed to the weakness it was for the Cavaliers throughout the regular season. Lebron makes players around him better, no matter who it is. Look at Matthew Dellavadova in the finals. He played the best basketball of his career because James enabled him to and Delly is a player with very limited talent, just imagine what Lebron could do for his potential mini me. There is no doubt that all of the skills that King James possesses helped Kevin Love better his game in some respects, but there are few players with the ability to reach the level Lebron is on. It is clear at this point in his career that Kevin Love doesn’t have what it takes to be a Lebron James caliber player. So if there is even the slightest chance Andrew Wiggins does, the Cavs will regret quitting on the Lebron-Wiggins tandem before it even began, especially given how good he is already.

What Makes a Team Valuable: Location or Historical Success?

According to a study that we have conducted here, at East Coast Egos, we have come to the conclusion that the world is full of no-good, godforsaken, bandwagon sports fans. We have found a way to back up this notion with statistics: There is a much greater correlation between a teams’ historical success and their value than the amount of local supporters they have and their value.

Value, of course, is derived from the amount of fans that a team has, amongst other factors. In ECE’s study, we took the top 31 ranked teams on Forbes’ 2014 Most Valuable Sports Teams list and weighed them against the teams’ success and population in their metropolitan area. Success was measured by major championships won by the respective team.

Although there are outliers, such as the poor San Antonio Spurs and Montreal Canadiens, this study is shockingly accurate

Here is a look at the data:

bandwagon2

For those statistics nerds, there is a .136 correlation between a team’s home metropolitan area population and their respective value. On the other hand, there is a .781 correlation between the amount of major championships a team has won and their respective value. For everyone who slept through statistics class, a higher correlation suggests a more significant association, and the highest possible linear correlation is 1.

So when your friend from Minnesota tells you that he likes the New York Yankees “because he always has,” you now know that, statistically, he is likely to be just another goddamn bandwagon fan.

New York Ex-Knicks

Most fans of the NBA consider the 2014-2015 season to be a bust for the New York Knicks. Right? WRONG. The Knicks were the most active out of any team in the playoff this year. 16 teams entered the postseason and 12 of them carried at least one former Knick on their active roster. 20 players that once suited up for the Knickerbockers participated in their quest for a ring. While most players have been sitting on the end of the bench or even on the towels under the basket, they still made it deeper than the $21 Million Carmelo Anthony.

The Brooklyn Nets had key contributions from former Knick great Jerome Jordan who held a one year stint with the Knicks playing in 21 games and averaging a whole 2 points. He doubled his production in Brooklyn playing in over 42 games and threw in one more point.
Just down the bench sat Earl Clark. Clark improved his performance by appearing in one more game for the Nets than he did for the Knicks, finishing with a whopping 10 games played.

Washington has gotten a great deal of production out of their big Brazilian Nene. Although never touching the floor for the Knicks, the number seven overall pick was swapped for Antonio McDyess, the number 25 pick in the 2002 draft and a second round pick in the following draft. Its all good though, the Knicks got Frank Williams who averaged 3.2 Points per game while on the team.

We all know Toronto picked up Landry Fields when he peaked. He had a great two years. Sorry Melo didn’t like you Landry.

Somehow Nazr Mohammed is still walking and he is participating in warm-ups for the Chicago Bulls

Of course not a player, but Jason Kidd (former Knicks team grandpa) did coach his Bucks into the postseason.

One mans trash is another mans…trash. Cleveland has the amazing privilege to hold the 3 contracts of Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, and Timofey Mozgov. I am not denying Mozgov’s value to the undermanned Cavs this postseason but for every word of English he speaks is equal to the amount of seconds J.R. gives a shit.

Out west, and I mean very west because he’s sitting on the last seat on the bench, Toney Douglas (3-point king) is molding into his new role for the Pelicans.

Shake and Bake, oh what a move that was, or maybe what a move by Jamal Crawford to escape from New York and his now succeeding on a successful team out in L.A. Although no longer in lob city, Matt Barnes, one time Knick, played key minutes for LA.

The best thing that has happened to New York since the Knicks drafted Ronaldo Balkan is out in Dallas. Yup, the munchkin himself Raymond Felton is collecting his salary from Mark Cuban. Alongside the basketball playing Umpa Lumpa Standing tired and talentless Amar’e Stoudemire. However there is a key ex Knick out in Dallas— former defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler who is finally healthy and productive.

The 90-Year-old Pablo Prigioni is using his walker in Houston alongside the much younger ex-Knick Trevor Ariza, who is still on his quest to play for every team in the Association

NBA Champion David Lee has finally won his ring this year. I may be living in the past but I want Chris Duhon to pass it to Lee just one more time.

Quite possibly the biggest success story is out in Memphis. Zach Randolph, the only player you could possibly consider a centerpiece out of all of the ex-Knicks. His partner in crime Beno Undrih has only seen greener pastures since leaving the Big Apple.

The Spurs, Trailblazers, Celtics and Atlanta were the only playoff teams without an ex-Knick on the roster. The true equation for success.

Hey, Phil should bring 14 of the 20 back. That’s true playoff experience. Oh what could’ve been.