The Knicks, experts on everything except winning

Carmelo Anthony - (Image: Elsa/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony – (Image: Elsa/Getty Images)

If I was to start a list of what I believe is wrong with the New York Knicks, the blame game would go at the top of it.

Blame it on learning the triangle offense, the first-year head coach Derek Fisher, and anything else that can be thought of that takes away from the reality everyone, except them, sees — they’re a group of individuals disguised as a team.

I totally agree with Knicks team president Phil Jackson in his assessment of his team (The Rush Report, Dec. 8th), they do have a “loser’s mentality”. They’re reasons to point to which backs this up.

One look up and down at the Knicks current roster, it’s absent of a player with an NBA championship resume on it, this includes franchise cornerstone Carmelo Anthony. It was no coincidence that the 54-win season the Knicks enjoyed two years ago was a team peppered with veteran players surrounding Anthony. Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas — these were players that knew what it took to compete for and win a championship on the NBA level.

Carmelo Anthony may not agree with Phil Jackson’s assessment (Begley, Dec. 10), however he’s being paid a hefty sum of money to be the face of the franchise. That means leading by example when it comes to embracing the change in approach Jackson’s implementing. I watch Anthony play this season and I don’t consistently see the fire on the court of someone that’s tired of losing. I’m not talking about allegedly threatening to go upside his teammates head, as recently reported. However, Anthony’s capable of playing team defense and moving the ball effectively on offense, it’s time he does it consistently. That would produce far more better feedback from fans instead of what’s recently been in the headlines.

The Knicks appear resistant to change (The Rush Report, Dec.10), which goes against everything Jackson’s trying to do. While it’s true that Jackson has never run a basketball team in this capacity before, it doesn’t take away the 11 NBA championship rings he brings to the table. If things were so good with how the Knicks ran their offensive and defensive sets last year, why was it so easy to talk about what was wrong with then-head coach Mike Woodson, when it was all good just the year before? Woodson would still be here and there wouldn’t have been a need to “change the culture”.

The reality is most of the players on this current roster won’t be with the Knicks in 2015, depending on how Jackson views the team, some of them could be on the way out within a matter of weeks. In the meanwhile, what I’d say to the players reluctant to the culture change that’s taking place, look at the 4-19 record of the team you play for. Then look at your resume and take a good hard look at what’s missing before being so quick to complain about what’s wrong.

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‘Loser’s mentality’ alive and well within the New York Knicks

Tim Hardaway Jr. - (Image: lex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Tim Hardaway Jr. – (Image: lex Goodlett/Getty Images)

The daily nightmare that is the New York Knicks continues to add new chapters to a script that has everyone’s attention for all the wrong reasons.

The Knicks, 4-19, are off to their worst start in franchise history. The latest indication of how bad things are for the Knicks comes from the king of “sources” himself, Chris Broussard of

“Guys are definitely frustrated,” one source said.” But some of it’s just basketball stuff that the players don’t like doing. When somebody’s demanding that you make a hard cut, you don’t like it because you have to work harder. When someone says it’s not okay to throw a bull— pass, guys don’t like it.”

This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg,  according to Broussard’s article, the Knicks’ players reportedly are now at odds with each other, specifically Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. getting into a heated exchange recently on the court.

“Anthony, according to sources, then used another expletive in telling Hardaway he was going to beat him up when they got into the locker room after the game … Nobody’s taken a swing at anybody, but there’s a lot of arguing and cursing each other out after games, one source said.”

Broussard’s article goes on to shed more insight on how the players have apparently grown frustrated with first-year head coach Derek Fisher.

 If you ask me, it’s not as bad as the Isiah Thomas / Stephon Marbury days, however this is giving that a legitimate run for its money.

When a team’s this bad, one of two things tends to happen. They allow adversity as a team to bring them together or tear them apart. The recent history of the Knicks would indicate the latter being the more realistic prediction of what’s about to happen to them.

Everything mentioned in Broussard’s article about the current state of the Knicks is believable, despite the unnamed sources the information is coming from.

If everything in this report is all true, then team president Phil Jackson’s assessment of his team having a “loser’s mentality” (The Rush Report, Dec. 8th) on Monday was spot-on. Because in-fighting between players and the team’s biggest star, complaining about the head coach not being anything like the former coach, and doing more complaining about the triangle offense than actually committing to learning it — quite frankly, is the mentality of a loser.

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Yankees part ways with David Robertson

Brian McCann and David Robertson (Image: Al Bello/Getty Images)
Brian McCann and David Robertson (Image: Al Bello/Getty Images)

For the second year in a row, the New York Yankees will begin the season with a new closer in the bullpen.

News broke Monday night of All-Star reliever David Robertson agreeing to a 4-year, $46 million deal with the Chicago White Sox (Nightengale, Dec. 8th).


This was a no-brainer for the White Sox, addressing the bullpen was an area of concern for them this winter. Last month they signed Zach Duke to a three-year deal, he’ll most likely be Robertson’s setup man. Chicago also traded for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija on Monday, ensuring their team as making the biggest splash on the first day of the winter meetings.

What’s left for the Yankees is a major question mark in their bullpen. Robertson saved 39 games in 2014 for the Yankees, admirably replacing the great Mariano Rivera as the team’s closer. However, all isn’t lost for the Yankees here. They’ve already added free agent reliever Andrew Miller, he’ll  join youngster Dellin Betances in the bullpen.

The idea of a Miller-Robertson-Betances bullpen was a good thought to entertain, however Robertson did enough in 2014 to show everyone he’s a top closer, expecting him to step back for Betances was not realistic.

Another way to look at this is Robertson’s price tag just may have been too steep for the Yankees, especially after committing to Miller for $36 million over four years. I’m all for having a strong bullpen, especially for the Yankees, however Miller and Betances could prove to be successful with the more traditional 1-2 punch in the 8th and 9th innings.

It would appear that the Yankees are, at the very least, intrigued with the idea of Betances as their closer. He made the All-Star team in 2014 setting up for Robertson, his arm is live and electric.

With the money saved from letting Robertson walk, the Yankees have options. They could go after a another reliever, preferably cheaper, with experience closing games. The juicy option would be if general manager Brian Cashman decides to address his highly questionable starting rotation by pursuing free agent starting pitcher Max Scherzer.

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For the Giants, a feel good win in a lost season

Odell Beckham Jr. - (Image: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Odell Beckham Jr. – (Image: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

The Giants finally were able to stop the bleeding with a 36-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. It may not take much of the pain away from what’s been a miserable season, however it’s still something for the 4-9 Giants to feel good about.

The schedule was kind to the Giants, they came up against a team that’s just as bad as that are, arguably more. The Titans dropped to 2-11 on the season, so it’s not as if the Giants came out of this as world-beaters. At the end of the day, for the Giants, this win presents a rare chance to feel good about themselves.

Rookies Odell Beckham Jr. and Andre Williams had big performances, Beckham’s is nothing new anymore (9 catches, 117 yards, 1 touchdown), however it was a breakout performance for Williams. The running back ran for 131 yards on 24 carries.

It’s been a miserable season for the Giants, they hadn’t won a football game since defeating the Atlanta Falcons on October 5th, it’s been downhill since then.

With speculation surrounding the future of head coach Tom Coughlin, his coaching staff, and general manager Jerry Reese — getting a win for the first time in over two months was a much-needed breath of fresh air for this team, even if it’s just a temporary feeling.

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Rex Ryan, loyalty under fire

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan - (Image: Elsa/Getty Images)
New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan – (Image: Elsa/Getty Images)

Three more for Rex Ryan, three more games until he’ll most likely have to wave the white flag as head coach of the New York Jets.

The Jets, 2-11, are coming off an overtime loss in Minnesota that provided more proof why it’s time once again for a change.

When asked if he’s made peace with the thought of the end being near, his response sounded much like the bravado of the old Rex Ryan (Cimini, Dec 8th).

“I’m not conceding anything, man … I’m not going anywhere. I know I’ve got three weeks, and here we come.”

As bad as it’s been for the Jets, Ryan’s loyalty to owner Woody Johnson has been admirable. It’s reasonable to conclude that Ryan will be among those receiving pink slips from Johnson after the season, however Ryan’s still quick to shoulder all of the blame for what’s gone wrong.

I’ll say this much for Ryan, he’s as loyal a coach as there is out there, that could go a long way in helping him with his future endeavors. That’s if it comes to that, as expected.

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Phil Jackson’s culture change a painful process to watch

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson - (Image:Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson – (Image:Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The losing streak for the Knicks has now reached eight games. At 4-18, they’re off to the worst 22-game start in the 69-year history of the franchise. They have the same number of losses as the woeful Philadelphia 76ers.

It was time to hear from the head-man in charge, not head coach Derek Fisher, it was time to hear from the man being paid $60 million over the next five years to fix the mess that is the New York Knicks.

Knicks president Phil Jackson spoke to the media on Monday (Begley, Dec. 8th), clearly not pleased with what he’s seen so far this season from his team:

“It’s about a loser’s mentality. It’s not about the skill or the talent level. I think guys understand what we’re trying to do. Hopefully, they’re getting to be more compliant. There’s some resistance to discipline and order and culture change and things like that. I will call it a crucible for what we’re going through here. The process, maybe the heat, is going to refine some of the stuff so that we come out and be a pretty good team after all is said and done.”

The process has been painful to watch, however it’s a reality this team needed to face, we all know this. The loser’s mentality Jackson spoke of to the media has been a dark cloud over this team for over a decade.

Unofficially, the 2014-15 season is a rebuilding year for the Knicks, they’ll most likely never admit to it, however it clearly is. The lack of depth in the NBA eastern conference is the primary reason the Knicks were being considered as a playoff team going into this season. However, at 4-18, a failure to be able to close out winnable games has hindered them.

No one should have expected change to happen overnight, however that doesn’t excuse the lack of effort or commitment to the process. Evaluation is what this year’s about for Jackson, he’s being a paid a lot of money to turn the Knicks into a team with credibility. The players who are not willing to buy-in simply have to be removed.

Patience is a requirement in order to watch the Knicks this season, in a city where results are expected now.

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Jets give starting job back to Geno Smith

Geno Smith #7, Chris Johnson, Michael Vick #1 (Image:Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Geno Smith #7, Chris Johnson, Michael Vick #1 (Image:Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Jets, coming off an embarrassing 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills, are making another change at quarterback.

Head coach Rex Ryan, announced his decision to bench Michael Vick, Geno Smith will be the starter when the Jets play the Miami Dolphins on Monday night at Metlife Stadium.

Reports are surfacing that the decision to go back to Smith came down from team general manager John Idzik (Cimini, Nov. 26).

It’s not that Vick was ineffective as a starter, however he’s not the long-term answer for the Jets. It would be a surprise to me if he’s on the team in 2015.

The Jets are 2-9, having a miserable year, and most likely will fire Ryan at the end of the season. At this point, Idzik needs to find out once and for all if Smith’s worth keeping for the future to at least compete for the starting job next year.

Smith’s chances to prove himself worthy of being a starting quarterback in the NFL are fading away. He’s 1-7 this year as the starting quarterback, with a quarterback-rating of 27.6. He’s regressed in his development since being selected by Idzik in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

The Jets are giving Smith a national stage on Monday night to begin changing the minds of his doubters, including those on his team.

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Giancarlo Stanton, the Miami Marlins, and a $325 million apology

Giancarlo Stanton - (Image: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Giancarlo Stanton – (Image: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The Miami Marlins agreed to terms with Giancarlo Stanton on a $325 million, 13-year contract, it’s the most lucrative deal for an American athlete in history. The deal averages out to $25 million per season, a no-trade clause, and an opt out for Stanton after six years.

Stanton is the real deal, 25 years old, and arguably Major League Baseball’s most feared hitter. He doesn’t just hit home runs, he hits them far. Stanton has more 450-foot home runs than any player in baseball over the last five seasons.

Signing Stanton to such a lucrative deal puts Miami at the top of the baseball headlines. The Marlins have drawn criticism for how the team’s ownership has handled payroll in the past. They splurged on big-money free agents a couple of years ago, hoping it would help fill their new state of the art ballpark that the public helped pay for. They then changed course after one bad season by slashing payroll so aggressively it turned their fan base against them.

Miami needs Giancarlo Stanton to continue launching baseballs far beyond the fences of Marlins Park. Signing Stanton to a long-term deal is just as much about business off the field for the Marlins as it is on it. It’s another high-priced apology by a team to its fan base, $325 million to be exact.

Stanton can’t be blamed for taking Miami’s money, Major League Baseball does this every year it seems. Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols — all of these players have received  big-money deals from teams obsessed with capitalizing on the present, however gambling on the future.

In Stanton’s case, his 2014 season ended abruptly on September 11th when he was hit in the face by a pitch. It can’t be ignored the possibility of Stanton seeing that as a reminder of how fragile a professional athlete’s career can be, it can be over in one play.

There’s also the opt-out clause in the deal for Stanton, he’ll be entering his 30’s around that time. If the Marlins are not holding up their end of a the deal as far as fielding a competitive team, Stanton can always look to take his talents away from South Beach to another team with deep pockets, perhaps the Yankees.

While many will debate if Stanton’s worth the money, or if the Marlins will surround him with enough talent to compete in the years going forward, both sides have agreed to this deal for reasons far beyond just baseball.

Anthony Rushing | @AnthonyRushing_



Calvin Pryor, the New York Jets, opportunity, and the things that motivate us

Calvin Pryor - (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Calvin Pryor – (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

2014 hasn’t been the rookie season Calvin Pryor was hoping for. The first-round pick of the New York Jets has not played up to expectations, the Jets are a 2-8 team, and Pryor has now been demoted from his starting safety position.

Pryor’s poor play isn’t the primary reason the Jets are 2-8 this season, however it’s arguable the reasons behind his demotion shed light on some of the things that have gone wrong with them.

There were reports of Pryor missing multiple team meetings this season (Patra, Nov. 10), apparently it all came to a head this past weekend when Jets head coach Rex Ryan decided enough was enough. Pryor played only 13 snaps on Sunday against the Steelers, all on special teams.

Pryor’s response to being benched was one of admission and realization (Walder, Nov,12). He realizes when it comes to the expectations placed upon a hard-hitting, first-round draft pick out of Louisville, he hasn’t held up his end of the deal.

“I haven’t been playing the way I should,” Pryor said Tuesday. “That’s something I have to look at myself and tell myself and just go do better.” “Got a little chip on my shoulder right now. Kind of my back is against the wall,”

His back’s against the wall alright.

Pryor not only lost his starting job this past weekend, his replacement, Jaiquawn Jarrett went out against the Steelers and picked up two interceptions along with a sack. Pryor’s mistakes and poor judgement created an opportunity that Jarrett is taking full advantage of.

Sometimes it takes the strangest of events to motivate us into fixing what went wrong along the way. Pryor will have to work hard to regain his starting job, he’s a first-round draft pick so I wouldn’t count him out. However, he’ll need to use that chip on his shoulder to help navigate him through the first major crossroads of his professional career.

Anthony Rushing | @AnthonyRushing_



Trouble in Brooklyn? Nets’ Joe Johnson rips teammates for ‘selfish’ play

Joe Johnson - (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images )
Joe Johnson – (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images )

Joe Johnson leads the Brooklyn Nets in field goal attempts with an average of 16 per game. The Nets are 4-2 to start the season with a top-five offense, however the normally quiet Johnson apparently isn’t pleased.

Before taking off for a three-game road trip out west, Johnson voiced his concern on what he feels has been selfish play on the offensive side of the ball by the Nets (The Brooklyn Game, Nov 11).

“It’s just- as individuals, as players, (we have to) have each other’s backs out there,” Johnson vented to the media after the team’s Tuesday afternoon practice. “I just felt, I didn’t believe it. I go back, and I watch the tape, and I watch film just to try to get a different perspective, and I mean, my feelings haven’t changed.”

“It’s just kind of what it is. Defensively, we help from time to time, offensively, I just think guys kind of exhaust their options and then when there’s nothing else for them, then they’ll pass it when they have to. For the most part, we’ve been very selfish…”

“I’m not hiding anything,” Johnson vented after the team’s practice Tuesday. “We’re 4-2 six games into the season, but it’s early. We haven’t played anybody, and the Minnesota game (is) obviously a game we should’ve won. I thought this last game that we played against Orlando was almost a carbon copy.”

Johnson has been a key reason as to why Brooklyn is off to a 4-2 start this season, he leads the team in scoring, averaging 19.8 per game. The timing of his comments seem odd along with the fact that he’s normally very quiet when it comes to these type of things.

Whatever it is that caused Johnson to speak up publicly, it has to be something worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses for Brooklyn.

Anthony Rushing | @AnthonyRushing