Jul 5 2012
Look, I’ve always had a disdain for the Lakers. I’ve had that disdain for ages now, ever since the Kings and the Lakers were a premiere rivalry back in the early to mid 2000′s in the days of when Mike Bibby was actually alive and not a dead degenerate corpse, when Chris Webber was playing his absolute elite best basketball of his career and when Doug Christie was playing outstanding lockdown defense for a team not named the New York Knicks. For the Lakers, Kobe and Shaq reigned supreme along with Derek Fisher and Robert Horry hitting in the clutch, which made the rivalry more and more heated as time progressed.
Yesterday, my hate for the Lakers and Steve Nash is at a new level, but let’s expunge all of the antipathy about the Lakers for a moment. If you were paying attention to Twitter like I was for the majority of the day on a beautiful Fourth of July, it seemed like the 38 year old Nash was heading to the Big Apple. Some Knick fans on Twitter were on one hell of an emotional roller coaster about the sign and trade deal and other Knick fans were going bonkers as if an encore was being demanded at a concert. The emotional roller coaster part in that sentence is the equivalent to Iman Shumpert, who is probably my favorite rookie on the team that is coming off of a grisly torn ACL injury. The trade didn’t only contain Shumpert, though. The Knicks initial trade for Nash was Shumpert, Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, garbage time rookie Jerome Jordan and a couple of draft picks. But at this point post-Nash trade, it’s totally clear that Shump was the colossal stuffed animal dog at the carnival that you want so badly you’ll do anything to get him in this trade.
What made Shump so popular here in New York is fundamentally because of his lockdown defensive presence in which he amassed 1.7 SPG along with a petite 3.2 RPG average. His offensive input was mediocre last season, averaging 9.5 PPG, and 2.8 APG with a 484 TS% and a 10.8 PER, hence his defensive prowess. Shump’s future is still luminous like Betelgeuse, and that certainly made Knick fans think twice about how valuable he is to the team. Shump is one of my favorites and if he were to be dealt away to Phoenix for Nash, I would of been deprived like a little kid crying in a corner with a dunce hat on my head. But at the same time, he’s recovering from that torn ACL injury, albeit at a tortoise’s pace, which, ya never know, could affect the way he plays his game, just ask Shaun Livingston. I’m happy that Shump is staying with the Knicks and I’m sure the Knick fans that wanted him back are also having a jolly ole time as well, but as of now, other old fart point guard that is being mentioned in this post, Jason Kidd, has been signed by the Knicks not long ago, while Jeremy Lin is still playing hardball with that hefty overpriced 3 year $30M contract offered by the Rockets.
Of course, now with the acquisition of Kidd, if Lin re-signs with the Knicks, will give Lin a mentor and time for Lin to establish himself as a true point guard on another level. The Linsanity phenomenon back in February was so epic and had some awe-inspiring moments, but if Lin were to re-sign back with the Knicks, and I hope he does, there’s an abundant of room for him to improve. Meanwhile, the first Knick to surrender in free agency was Landry Fields, who signed with the Raptors a few days ago. Now that Kyle Lowry has signed with the Raptors, maybe Landry will play well again, not at first-rate levels, but enough to contribute to the Raptors young gun core consisting of Lowry, sole scoring threat, DeMar DeRozan, newly drafted Washington Husky Terrence Ross, Andrea Bargnani, Lithuanian hero (I’m Lithuanian) Jonas Valanciunas and more.
With Landry’s starting shooting guard role he left over in New York, Shump will take over that role after he fully rejuvenates from his ACL injury and the NBA king of Twitter, J.R Smith, as I stated in my inaugural article here at the Meloship, is probably signing back with New York, despite not taking his team option at $2.5M, (which I still don’t understand why he didn’t take it, but whatever) for $3M, or something like that. J.R would probably get the majority of the minutes before Shump comes back. I’m almost certain that Steve Novak would sign back. After all, he lead the league in 3P% shooting .472 from three. I still think whenever Novak spots up from three and fakes the shot, he’s just screwing around with the Garden crowd, but he’ll make the three most of the time anyways cause he’s Steve Novak and I’m not. Continue to sedate me with Novakaine, Steve.
Now, let’s bring back the distasteful scorn towards Nash, well, not really, to me at least. Actually, somewhat. Honestly, I thought out of all the teams that were going for Nash such as the Knicks, Mavericks, Raptors and a couple of others, the Lakers would be the best fit out of all of those teams. The Mavericks didn’t really have any assets to trade away, the Raptors had an ample amount of money, but Nash flushed Bryan Colangelo’s contract offer down the toilet, and for the Knicks, I don’t think trading away the majority of the bench/ a quarter of the team and draft picks would get a player with an elite caliber that’s still contained in Nash. In fact, even when the most reliable sources were reporting that the Knicks were the frontrunners in acquiring Nash, I was like “pshh, fat chance.”
Right before the fireworks started to go off in the area I live in, Nash made his decision to go to the Lakers, and Suns fans were heartbroken, while NBA fans continued to be in shock. I was so eager to see where he would sign, hence causing 8 bad requests on my Twitter iPhone app because I was pretty much out for the day. Finally, Marc Stein, Woj, and the majority of reliable NBA sources confirmed the deal and the fireworks were starting to go off in L.A in celebration of the deal, probably. As much as I hate the Lakers, imagine how awesome Nash-Gasol pick and rolls will be next season, or Nash-Bynum pick and rolls, depending on whether Bynum is going on the trading block for Dwight Howard and what not. Mike Brown’s offensive scheme will probably be eaten by rabid dogs with rabies now that Nash is in the mix and Nash, as the grizzled but still stupendously productive veteran, will take over the offense. Yeah, there’s Kobe’s astronomical 35+% usage rates, but I think that his usage rates won’t be as correlative as last year’s league leading 35.7% or 35.1% the year before, which was also league leading. I think his usage rate will be 30% at the least, but in the high 20s and his PPG average will still be about 26-30 PPG, which are pretty analogous numbers to last year’s 27.9 PPG. As for Nash’s AST% and APG average? His AST% will be at least 50% and will almost certainly average 10 APG, along with 10-13 PPG. His PPG average last season is 12.5.
Knick fans, I’ll say this: it’s more than easy to move on from all of this Nash hullabaloo, it’s smooth sailing. To the fans that wanted Shump back: a half a loaf is better than none.
Follow James on Twitter @jgriffo31
Like Meloship of the Ring on Facebook