The Knicks had their best regular season since 1994-95, their first scoring champion since 1984-85 and their only playoff-series victory since 200
20. Their season, whether or not it sends in Game 5 against the Pacers tonight, should be viewed as a success and praised. New York overachieved, at one point playing like the best team in the NBA – a phenomenal achievement for an old, hodgepodge roster.
But thanks to the hypercritical media environment in New York, a vocal unreasonable fan base and their own doing, the Knicks will likely be viewed as failures with a second-round exit. The expectations have just become too high.
In the last 12 years, only the Bobcats and Raptors have fewer playoff wins than the Knicks.
Some act like the current Knicks should erase that dozen years of playoff futility, even though no current New York player has been on the roster more than three years.
The Knicks can’t fix the last 12 years tonight. They can win a game.
But they shouldn’t have to win that game to get respect.
If their closest peers in the last dozen years – the Wizard and Bucks on the slightly better side, Raptors and Bobcats on the slightly worse side – beat the Hawks in a first-round series, we’d celebrate their season as a success. The Knicks deserve the same treatment, no matter how fun it is too laugh at the haughty franchise when it stumbles.
This is a huge season — a contract kind of season of sorts — for Noah Vonleh in Portland. The team has an option on him next season (the third of his rookie deal), and to impress people he is going to have to earn minutes at the four in front of Al-Farouq Aminu, Moe Harkless, Meyers Leonard, and Ed Davis.
The Blazers have high hopes for Vonleh, he was a central part of the Nicolas Batum trade with Charlotte. However, watching Vonleh at Summer League — 12 points a game on 46.3 percent shooting, 8.8 rebounds a game in more than 30 minutes a night — he didn’t show the development anyone had hoped to see. He should have dominated at that level. He didn’t.
Now there another injury setback for him.
He should be good to go around the start of training camp at the end of September.
But he can’t afford a slow start in training camp (that set him back his rookie season). He needs to show what he can do from day one, or Portland is going to move on without him.
The Boston Celtics have 16 players with guaranteed contracts and NBA rules allow just 15 players on the roster. Which means if a trade doesn’t happen by the start of the season, someone is going to get cut but still paid for the season.
This doesn’t change that.
The Celtics signed guard John Holland last season (he played a total of one playoff minute for them), but the deal was not guaranteed for this season. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
This was expected. Holland, who has played on the Puerto Rican national team, will be looking for a new gig either in the D-League or overseas (it’s unlikely an NBA team offers more than a training camp invite) By the end of training camp, the Celtics also likely will cut second-round pick Ben Bentil of Providence, who had a partially guaranteed deal.
That will leave R.J. Hunter and James Young battling it out for the final roster spot in Boston.
Ty Lawson is headed to the Kings, as first reported on Monday. The team made the move official on Wednesday with a press release, and USA Today‘s Sam Amick offers up another important piece of information: Lawson’s deal is not guaranteed, making it essentially a make-good camp invite.
It’s staggering how Lawson went from a borderline All-Star level point guard in 2012-13 to signing a non-guaranteed one-year deal with a lottery team three years later. His off-the-court issues have contributed to that, and he didn’t produce last season in Houston and Indiana. Still, he should have a pretty good chance of making the Kings’ roster, with Seth Curry and Rajon Rondo gone and Darren Collison their only proven point guard. They need depth there.
When Ben Simmons declared for the NBA draft this spring, he signed with LeBron James‘ Klutch Sports group for representation. That association would appear to have its advantages for the No. 1 overall pick, including the opportunity to work out with James and Dwyane Wade during the offseason. Wade posted a group photo on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon:
Also, it’s pretty staggering to see Simmons standing next to James and realizing that he’s bigger and taller.