Novak, White Go Home Empty on All-Star Saturday

Saturday night in Houston, Steve Novak and James White participated in the Three-Point Shootout and the Dunk Contest. I had high hopes for both participants. Though I picked Matt Bonner to win the Three-Point Shootout, (Kyrie Irving won) I thought Novak would be in the finals. I thought James White, given that his basketball existence seemed to exist only for him to be crowned champion of one such contest, would win the Dunk Contest with a handful of unbelievable dunks. Neither happened on a somewhat disappointing Saturday night.

Let’s start with Novak, who came just short of the second round (the finals) in the Shootout. Novak was the last of the three participants to shoot in the Eastern bracket. Paul George had a contest worst 10 points, while Kyrie Irving had 18. Novak started off hot, hitting 8 of his first 10 shots, but went cold and scored just 5 points in the final three racks. His score of 17 fell just short of Irving and he was eliminated from the contest. It wasn’t a total failure on Novak’s part, as he fell just shy of the second round, but given how hot he started, I can’t imagine he’s satisfied with his performance.

On the other hand, White’s night was a complete disaster. I loved the way he came out for his first dunk. Having his ‘Flight Crew’ with him, about 10 attractive women dawning flight crew attire, was a great perk. They lined up forming a tunnel for him to run through en route to his dunk. After missing a few times, Flight had an impressive two handed dunk from the free throw line, or about half a foot inside the free throw line. The judges, who handed out 50′s like candy all night, gave White a 45, which I thought was too low.

For White’s second dunk, he was trying to throw in a windmill from the free throw line. He ended up attempting the dunk about 6 times, all unsuccessful. After the competition, White said that “the basketballs were hard to grip.” Regardless, it was a disappointing night for White, given his reputation.

These competitions don’t matter. They’re for the fans and they’re supposed to be fun for the players. Tonight’s competitions don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, nor do they change anything. White is still a great dunker, Novak is still a great shooter. I would’ve loved to see one or both take home trophies, but regardless it was still fun to see them participate in each competition. Tomorrow, we’ve got Tyson (!!!) and Melo in the All-Star game. That should be fun.

Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food?

Gerbils are one of the most popular and known pets among all the pets, they quite look like rats and mice small and not that expensive to buy and it is also easy to care for them. Gerbil varies in the color of black, white and gold. The common name given to them is Mongolian gerbil by which they actually are known by people and him scientific of them is Meriones unguiculatus with the size of 4 inches and the tail also add and inches into its size, they live for approx 2 to 3 year only.

Having them as a pet required proper care of them like they required a good room temperature to stay, food they most likely prefer to eat grass and chewing grinds but if one is petting them and they go food for them like guinea pig food available in the market but people do prefer giving them natural seeds, grains and food which gerbils can eat easily and smoothly.

How to give proper housing to gerbils?

Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food?

Gerbils are small and cute pets and also very active pet so they required a good space where they can move and have fun, one can keep them in a various way like:

  • Aquariums because they are deep and larger where one can decorate it for gerbils’ and they also can easily burrow due to the natural nature of them.
  • Plastics cages where gerbils can stay in a spacious manner with decorative room conditions which make it attractive and tempting for gerbils too.
  • Gerbil can also be kept in the nest where they feel secure and also can sleep in a safe feeling, as they are tiny so they are used to live in space like a nest and live in a room where they can hide and sleep sometimes.

Reasons behind the popularity of gerbils

Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food?

Gerbils are popular as household pets not just because of their looks which make them cute but that they are not aggressive like other pets and do not bite anybody or they rarely bite somebody until they provoke or any irritation. As they are small and easy to handle by people as they sociable nature which means they are friendly with human and can be kept with other gerbils in the same house where they do enjoy the company of other. They are clean and lesser in odor.

Also, one the major reason for petting them is that people can get food for them easily there are varieties of foods available in the market but finding the best food for gerbils are not that tough because they do love eating home species to like rids, seeds and grass. People prefer to stay with the animals who are human-friendly because one having small kids and babies in their house so that going for gerbils is quite good options people think.

Options available to feed and resident gerbils’

Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food?

As we all know food is one of the important parts of humans and animals live and also play a very major role in life of human as well as animals without food no one can survive, Now in market, there are so many options available to feed your pet gerbil and one can also go with natural food too.

  • Seed mixes are kind of loose mixtures of seeds and anything which is dried and look alike seed with eatable properties can be easily fed up to them.
  • They eat grass also which is healthful for such breed and one can option buy products from the market for feeding them as per the taste of their gerbils. Pallets and lab blocks are also one of the food eaten by a gerbil.

Providing them food is as important as giving them proper living area because the food is necessary to live the environment has to be clean so that they can live happily and healthy there are so many decorative items also comes to buy and let their home be clean and decorative to stay and enjoy living there.

There is so many houses come in the market already designed and maintained for a pet, gerbils love to play inside or lives in tunnels so the shapes of tunnels small pieces or toys like that comes in market which can easily be pace in the house of gerbil in which they can play and stay all day long. One can also make gerbil houses by themselves just watching some videos of making a great house of their choice and requirement or with their own ideas they can let the architect make one as per their demand for their pet. There is a number of pet lovers who treat their pet as a family member and by the nature of gerbils, it has always been and loving adorable pet for a long time for which people do spend money either it’s eating or living.

Gerbils are social by its behavior and nature

Can Gerbils Eat Guinea Pig Food?

Gerbils are social by their nature and human-friendly which attract peoples to buy one for their house, they are not kind of aggressive in nature they love stay in the same house with other gerbils and enjoy the company in the house they live, handling a gerbil not an much tough task it doesn’t required to took them for walk or outside they live in their house where they all need is just a good space all what one has to do is cleaning their house time to time for letting them be in clean and pure environment without getting ill, changing their water for drinking on daily basis which they drink inside their house with fresh water and good quality of food and natural food also because these species love to eat natural food most.

Hence, the gerbils’ are very popular known pets among people and they love to keep them as a pet due to their nature and cuteness, they do eat fruits, veggie’s like all human does so it become quite easy for people to keep one as they are not much expensive to keep and one can easily afford in their house.

Can Hedgehogs Climb out of Cages?

Many companies are specialized in the design and manufacturing of cages for pet animals and they have a dedication to provide the world-class yet affordable cages as per the expectations of their customers. As a pet owner you can buy a perfect cage for your hedgehog, you can visit the trustworthy online store recommended by the satisfied users. You will get the absolute assistance while buying the best hedgehog cage via online and you can compare the different cage products and pick the best one which is suitable for your hedgehog. You can save time and money when you compare and narrow down a list of top hedgehog cages via online.

A huge collection of hedgehog cages on online

Images and specifications of hedgehog cages catch the attention of everyone who likes to keep up-to-date with these cages and make a better-informed decision while buying a brand-new cage for their pet. People who own the pet hedgehog at the first time, they need to think about whether this pet climbs out of cages or not. They need to understand the overall significance of following the best approach to take care of this pet animal day after day.  You can contact and discuss with experts in this sector at any time you like to pick and purchase the hedgehog cage. You will get more than expected guidance for buying the suitable hedgehog cage.

In general, hedgehogs try to climb and are usually quite adept at climbing. These pet animals cannot easily climb down when they are up. This is because the body mass of these pet animals is not proportioned for climbing. Hedgehog is any spiny mammal of the Erinaceinae subfamily. There are five genres and seventeen species of hedgehogs available worldwide at this time. Pet hedgehogs are low maintenance, entertaining, quiet and active animal. You require the best hedgehog cage designed to keep this pet animal safe, secure and comfortable. You will get an array of benefits from a proper use of the pet cage selection guidelines.

Explore the specifications of hedgehog cages

Can Hedgehogs Climb out of Cages?

Different styles of cages are available for sale and recommended for hedgehog pet owners worldwide. You may get confused with these choices and think about how to choose and buy one of the most special cages to make your pet animal comfortable, safe and secure.  You have to consider and make certain about an array of significant things when you like to choose and buy the first-class design of the hedgehog cage within your budget. Some of these things are the security, space and safety.

The wild hedgehogs travel from 4 to 7 miles per night. You have to remember this fact and invest in the cage with the large space for your pet hedgehog. Any hedgehog in the cage with the plenty of room can be healthy and happy as it can exercise and explore devoid of complexity in any aspect. The overall longevity and quality of life of the hedgehog depend on the home and environment of this pet animal. Hedgehog enthusiasts worldwide these days suggest 24”x24” as the minimum size of the cage for hedgehog. They recommend the hedgehog cage with enough room for eating area, nest box, sleeping bag, liter box and wheel.

Follow the best guidelines

The latest guidelines for the best hedgehog cage shopping attract almost everyone who has decided to pick and purchase the best-in-class nature and reasonable price of the hedgehog cage. You can read unbiased reviews of well-known brands of hedgehogs one after another and make positive changes in your approach for buying a brand-new hedgehog cage. You will be satisfied with the successful approach for investing in the first-class hedgehog cage and recommend this product to likeminded people in your community.

Hedgehogs are not big in size. However, they are very active and known for their nature to run around and hide. These pet animals have tiny and delicate feet. You can consider everything related to the world-class hedgehog cages one after another and discuss with experts in this industry. You will get the absolute assistance and fulfil your expectations about the convenient method to find out and purchase an appropriate hedgehog cage on online.

Safety Gear You Should Wear in Lacrosse

Lacrosse is a dangerous sport that needs a level of protective gear. When I say level, I am not talking about small gear that helps you run faster. Best lacrosse helmets to protect your eyes and face. Gloves to keep your hands from getting damaged from the swinging stick. Knee pads to stop you from bleeding. Elbow pads to stop your elbows from being disjointed. Lacrosse is not a sport for girls. It is a tough sport that is just like football but with sticks connected to small catch nets. Players catch the ball with the stick and get it in the net of the opposing team. While the lacrosse players are doing this action, enemy players are shoving them with their chest. Player are not allowed to tackle them. But, they are allowed to push them in the dirt. The kids are hit pretty hard you know. They need something to keep their chest, arms, and face safe. I have added more reasons for wearing protective lacrosse gear below.

Safety Gear You Should Wear in Lacrosse

Wear Helmets for Every Game

Best lacrosse helmets add defense for all areas of face. Each game you play, has balls and sticks being thrown at your face. Maybe you are pain tolerant. But, I thought I was too when I was playing tennis. I thought that plastic tennis racket was not going to give me a big red black eye. Your pain tolerance might be high. But, your body will look ugly if your not wearing a lacrosse helmet. The ball itself is not that hard. But, let it hit you unprotected too many times and you will need to go to hospital. Lacrosse helmets give your face and eyes full advantage on the field in terms of sight. Take this advantage along with the safety. In either case, protect yourself from all incoming impact aimed at your head by wearing a Best lacrosse helmets.

Safety Gear You Should Wear in Lacrosse

Another, the damage you incur out there is about the people you play with. Some people play to be friendly and have fun. Others, play to be absolutely ruthless. They honestly do not care about your well being. Will be more than happy to take a ball and bash it in your face and then  pretend it was an accident. I played baseball once and one of the guys hit me hard in the mouth. I still remember the pain. The ball hit me so willingly and the guy pretended it was an accident. There I was at the water fountain trying to get the blood out. Learn from my experience and wear a lacrosee helmet. Baseball is not the same sport as lacrosse, but the pain is something you don’t want to experience.

Shoulder Pads Are Good to Have

Safety Gear You Should Wear in Lacrosse

Next, we have the shoulder pads that came out no too long ago. Shoulder pads in lacrosse is good to have when you fall down hard. When you’re a kid, you can do this a lot. But, once you become an adult, you have to think about having the most safety because you have more important adult things to do. You can have your body giving out on you at the workplace. Not a way to please the boss. Apply shoulder pads to both shoulders and keep your bone structure tight and flexible. All kinds of people exist on the lacrosse field, that want to mess you up for good. Protect yourself so you can do other things you want to do in life.

 Mouth Guards Are Needed

Safety Gear You Should Wear in Lacrosse

Mouth guards block all incoming damage to the mouth. Balls and shoulders can hit your mouth at any time. Re-up with a mouth guard for every lacrosse game. They feel a little weird in your mouth. But, that feeling will get easy after a few weeks. Sport players from all around the world use mouth guards. Especially, American football players and boxers. So, don’t get the feeling your the only one who wears mouth guards in lacrosse. Have some pride and wear mouth guard to protect your front and bottom set of teeth.

Wear a Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet to Connect With the World

Finding the best helmet with bluetooth for a motorcycle might not be a bad idea these days. Technology has come a long way since the 1980s and long desert runs. Riding the rubber on the road with nothing but the sounds of nature. These days, motorcycle helmets have the power to communicate via web. In addition, they can call people and listen to music. Seems like you really need upgrade to a motorcycle helmet with bluetooth to get most of that motorcycle ride. In the old days, it was just the sound of the road. But, imagine what you could do if you had the sound of the world on a bike. Might not want to get off the road, if you know what I mean by those words.

Wear a Bluetooth Motorcycle Helmet to Connect With the World

Communicate With Your Motorcycle Buddies

Nice to hit the road and have a good bluetooth motorcycle helmet to communicate with friends. The helmets work like walkie talkies. Some bluetooth helmets do not have this feature. So, buy the best helmet with bluetooth to get that feature guaranteed. As you drive on the road, you can communicate with your buddies. You can do this at night or in the day. The signal on these helmets are pretty good. I can’t promise they work in areas where the internet does not work, but they work pretty good in country areas where phones work. Be smart, by riding your bike in areas where you can call people with your phone. To add more, helmets must be the same. To put bluntly, everybody that rides with you must have the same helmet for the technology to work. Its in the beginning stages. Technology has not gotten to the point where you can talk to different company helmets. Buy one today to talk to your buddies.

Listen to Music From MP3 Player

Bluetooth helmets have music listening capabilities. Maybe you’re a loner like me and you need to your own music. Currently, there is bluetooth helmets that can connect to any mp3 player. Very good for people who want to listen to music and ride their bike. However, I need to warn you about something related to safety. I only suggest you do this when your ridding on country roads with no cars on the road. You still need to hear the road man. Don’t let the music distract you from some sound you need to hear to see if your ok. Strongly suggest you listen to music when your on a road with no other cars. With that being said, listen to any song from any genre. Rock your ears off and go have some fun.

Side note, I think you should listen to music that keeps you focused on the road. When your driving on your bike, you can get distracted with the music genre. Listen to music with few words like black metal or cyber music. This will channel your intelligence into thinking about what is in front of you. At all times, it is important to focus on what is in front of you. Riding as bike is not the same thing as sitting down. You got to make eyes lock in on the road at all times. You don’t want leave the road for anything. In conclusion, listen to music that helps you focus on the road.

Call People From Your Phone

Some bluetooth motorcycle helmets exists that can call people from  your phone. These are the very expensive bluetooth motorcycle helmets. But, they come in handy when you need to make a call on the road. It saves you the time of reaching in your pocket for that electric square box. Just put phone in your pocket and set it to connect with your bluetooth helmet. Should connect automatically. Sometimes, you have to press button on the side to get the helmet to run. Figure this out before you hit the road. Setting it up is not difficult but its a little tricky. Every time someone calls you, you will hear s sound in your helmet. That will give you signal to pick up. In essence, you get helmet that can help you call anyone you need to call for the given time.

Knicks-Heat Game 4: What to Watch For

In all likelihood, the 2011 Knicks season will come to an end this afternoon at Madison Square Garden. As we all know, the Knicks are down 3-0 against the powerhouse Miami Heat. Miami optimizes what the Knicks hope to one day become, although the Knicks sit miles away from that level. In game 4, the Knicks will try to snap their NBA-record 13 game playoff losing streak. For the Knicks, very little has gone well in this series. Carmelo Anthony has been horrible, shooting 34%, Tyson Chandler has been sick and ineffective and Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined himself by punching a fire extinguisher after game two. New York has been stagnant and ineffective on offense and unable to slow down the Heat stars on offense. It has been a complete disaster of a series for the Knicks.

In game 4, the Knicks will be playing for pride. To play devil’s advocate to my usually pessimistic self, the Knicks do have a slight chance of winning this game. Defensively they did with Miami in game 3 for the first 3 quarters before LeBron James put the game away with 10 minutes to go in the 4th. In game 2, the Knicks played Miami evenly for about 38 minutes of the game, but were killed by two separate 5 minute stretches in that game. There is a chance that Amar’e Stoudemire returns this afternoon, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I know he’s saying he wants to play and that he did in fact practice yesterday, but I just can’t see it. He posted that nasty picture of his hand yesterday, which looked like he had a baseball seam stitched onto his palm. As you can see in the picture, it is pretty clear to me that the meaty portion of his hand was in fact hanging off. I have a really difficult time he’s going to be recovered enough from almost losing a portion of his hand, to then playing a basketball game in a matter of days. Even if Stoudemire plays, he will have that hand covered up and nobody knows how effective he’ll be. We’ll see what happens today, but I would expect… well, the norm. I think the Knicks will be outplayed and they will lose. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Will Carmelo struggle again? If you didn’t see my rant about the Knicks “superstar” after game 3, I invite you to check it out here. I’m not going to rip on Anthony here. I know he’s struggled, you know he’s struggled and hopefully he knows and understands that he’s struggled in the playoffs. If he doesn’t have a great game tomorrow, the Knicks have no chance of winning. It is no coincidence that the Knicks most competitive game of the series, game 2, coincided with Anthony’s best game of the series. Even in that game Anthony was not great in my opinion, but it was better than the combined 10/38 shooting performance he’s put on over the other two games. I know that he’s not the only reason the Knicks have lost this series. I understand that the Knicks haven’t defended well or shot well as a team. I get it. But Anthony is the guy who was unwilling to adjust to a coach he disliked. Anthony is the one who could have tried “harder” throughout the season and Anthony is the one who demands the ball. He is New York’s main cog and when he sucks, the Knicks suck. He has really sucked so far in this series.
  • Can New York have at least one red-hot shooting game? Coming into this series, I thought the Knicks would lose in 5 games. I thought there would be a game in which they get really hot shooting, which would then carry them to a victory. It hasn’t happened yet. The Knicks have shot a horrid 28% from downtown in the first three games. Steve Novak has been completely neutralized by both a smart Heat defense and a stagnant Knicks offense. JR Smith has not been able to get going shooting the ball. Baron Davis and Landry Fields have been… well Baron Davis and Landry Fields while trying to shoot the ball. There’s a reason the Knicks were the 9th worst three point shooting team in the league. They have the ability to have games where they get hot, but they’re wildly inconsistent. A consistently good Heat defense has destroyed the Knicks offense and they’ll probably do so again in game 4. The only way the Knicks can fix this is to 1) either get 2010 Dallas Mavericks hot from downtown or 2) try to run screens to get their shooters open. My bet is that the Knicks won’t do either and they’ll probably shoot poorly again.
  • Do the Knicks have an answer for LeBron. As much as I hate LeBron James, and trust me I really hate him, he has absolutely KILLED the Knicks in this series. He has been nothing short of fantastic on both sides of the ball. James has completely outplayed Carmelo Anthony, one of the hottest offensive players in the league during the last month of the season, and has shown why he will be named the league MVP in the coming weeks. The Knicks have no way of stopping him. Anthony is trying to defend him, but is just over matched. James is too athletic, too skilled and too conditioned for Anthony to keep up for 4 quarters. Maybe the Knicks try to trap LeBron or hedge him harder on pick and rolls, I don’t know. They’ve gotta find a way to stop him if they want to win game 4.
  • Tyson Chandler has to dominate. The Defensive Player of the Year has been nothing short of fantastic this season, but the flu has hampered him throughout this series. He was close to ineffective in the first two games of the series, in which New York gave up 204 combined points, but he was better in game 3. He grabbed 15 boards and New York played 3 quarters of really solid defense before LeBron caught fire in the 4th. In game 4, the Knicks need Chandler to be dominant. I haven’t read anything about his health potentially hampering him, so I imagine he’s pretty close to 100%. If Chandler can dominate the paint defensively against the electric slashing ability of Dwayne Wade and LeBron James, the Knicks will have a chance to win.

Simple Fitting Guide for Hockey Helmets

Hockey helmets are for fans who don’t want to do anything but throw a puck. Wear one when you go in the drive way or to the local skating ring. The Helmet is not for falling down. I’m sure you can handle a little ice pain. You need a hockey helmet to protect you from the puck. In order for the experience to be comfortable, it’s suggested from experts that you wear a helmet that is comfortable. Not a little comfortable because you might grow out of it. Very comfortable to last you the next 5 years. The best hockey helmets will last you longer. We have set up a simple guide for you to know what a comfortable hockey helmet is, which is something you really need if you haven’t looked for one in awhile.

Simple Fitting Guide for Hockey Helmets

Know the Cheap Helmets From the High End

There is a big difference between cheap and high end hockey helmets. Make sure to look for these things when searching for the best hockey helmets this year. High end helmets have EPP foam in them. Its a tough foam that can withstand a high amount of physical punishment. Most, are typically high in price and create a snug fit. A soft layer of foam is also added to high end helmets. Cheap helmets on the other half, the cheap helmets are $100 or less. They come with softer foam and are said by some to be the weak class of hockey protection helmet. In the end, look for helmet with EPP foam and you should have the best hockey helmet you can get. Maybe there is one on sale.

Buy Helmets With Advanced Technology

Its not mandatory, but you can get yourself some advanced hockey helmets. These helmets are created with superior suspend-tech liner and poronXD foam. New technology has been fused with other new technology to create something better. Company claims to protect users from extreme hit injuries. Concussions can still be given if individual is hit to fast, but you will get protection for all objects aiming for your head. High protection that is higher then high end hockey helmet protection. Purchase this item if you feel you need the best of the best hockey protection.

Don’t Expect Rajon Rondo to be a Knick

Earlier this week, Frank Isola of the Daily News reported that the Knicks are going after Celtics assist lord Rajon Rondo. While the reports sound very convincing, we can only have wet dreams about this trade, because let’s face it: The trade is not going to happen.

Realistically, the Knicks have squat to trade away for Rondo, with Iman Shumpert being the key piece in the trade offer itself. Shump is being posted as trade bait yet another time. Last year, he was thrown around in rumors for Jared Dudley and J.J Redick, but neither deal came to fruition. Just recently, he was also mentioned in two other trade rumors, centering around Greivis Vasquez of the Sacramento Kings and Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, but they were erased into obscurity soon after being brought up. There were also reports that swirled around yesterday from the Daily News that Shump had a secret knee surgery last summer, much similar to the one that J.R Smith had around the same time. Bearing the taciturn knee surgery in mind, Shump’s trade value has now plummeted, so trading away an injury prone player (you could say Shump is at this point after that surgery) in return for Rondo, that was injured last year sounds like something the Knicks would totally do.

The words “asset” and “youth” are incognizant to the Knicks front office. They believe that there is nothing to trade away besides gargantuan contracts and what little youth they have? Amare Stoudemire has a massive contract and has been shopped repeatedly on the market. Shockingly, no takers! Danny Ainge and the Celtics front office said they would consider taking his hefty contract (I don’t know why) only under one condition: The Knicks would have to take back Gerald Wallace and Courtney Lee in return (ah, I see why now).

Both Wallace and Lee wouldn’t be bad additions to the Knicks. Crash can still play decent defense, and Lee is a personal favorite of mine because of his three point shooting stroke. However, they have bad contracts. They combine for nearly 50 million dollars and run through 2016, a year longer than Stoudemire. Obviously this would cut into the Knicks 2015 cap space that will be used to chase free agents. Also, Metta World Peace and Wallace are relatively similar players and Lee would also add yet another shooting guard to the depth chart. The move doesn’t really make sense.

Instead of making a desperation trade, the Knicks could just wait until Stoudemire’s contract is off the books, along with Tyson Chandler’s deal, and chase an upper echelon free agent in 2015, i.e. Kevin Love. The logical thing to do is to wait it out, but this is the Knicks we’re talking about. It’s likely they’ll make a trade just to make one, thus solidifying – in their mind – good standing with Carmelo Anthony. However, the piece that comes back in a deal likely won’t be Rondo. The Knicks don’t have the pieces and the Celtics aren’t going to just trade him away. Ultimately, there isn’t an obvious trade to be made. That should worry Knicks fans, as they’ll likely sell their only young asset for pennies on the dollar.

Chris Smith Makes the Team: Business as Usual

Friday morning, the Knicks announced who would occupy the final three spots of their 2013 opening day roster. Unsurprisingly, guard Toure Murray and center Cole Aldrich made the team, and both deservingly so. While he can’t score a lick, Aldrich gives the Knicks a much needed third center who can give them ten decent minutes when needed. Though the team has a plethora of point guards, Murray was easily the best of these fringe roster players during the pre-season. The final roster spot however, is one that has generated a lot of controversy in Knicks-land.

Chris Smith is the brother of JR Smith. He also plays basketball, point guard to be specific, though he’s shown no signs to be good at it. Now, it’s not uncommon for siblings of NBA players to get summer league or pre-season tryouts. LeBron’s arranged for that before, Kobe has done it, and many others have as well. There’s nothing wrong with giving Smith a chance to prove himself in summer league and pre-season. But from what we’ve seen, Chris Smith isn’t an NBA player. In the pre-season, he played fewer minutes than anybody on the team. His 20 minutes played was four fewer than Chris Douglas-Roberts, who was cut and was never really a serious candidate to be a Knick. I think it’s fairly obvious that Coach Woodson knows that Smith isn’t an NBA player, so why is he on the team?

Well, for starters, Jeremy Tyler got injured. While I’m skeptical of what Tyler can actually contribute to the team this season, I think he clearly was a guy they wanted to keep. He’s raw offensively and doesn’t comprehend defense at all, but he’s athletic as hell and has good size for a big at 6’10 250 lbs.  I feel pretty comfortable in believing that Tyler would’ve had Chris Smith’s spot on the team if he was able to stay healthy. There’s a belief among those who cover the team that Smith will eventually be cut when Tyler is ready to play. I also subscribe to that belief, and from that standpoint the Knicks keeping Smith doesn’t seem as bad. But it is.

Kenyon Martin is already injured, and may not be ready to go by next Wednesday. Stoudemire is trying to work his way back, but nobody knows what he can give the team and when he’ll be able to give it to them. Even with Aldrich, the Knicks are short on big men. It hasn’t been announced whether Bargnani (welp) will start (double-welp) alongside Chandler, or if Woodson will put his thinking cap on and play Anthony at power-forward. If Bargnani does end up starting, and Woodson plans to play bigger lineups, we’ll likely see the Italian playing 25-30 minutes a night (triple-welp). If Martin and Stoudemire are unable to go, then Aldrich becomes your one big off the bench. He’s a guy you can get away with playing ten minutes a game if you have to, but you don’t want him to be playing significant minutes by design. Rather than Smith, who likely will never even be active, the Knicks should’ve kept Ike Diogu for the time being until Tyler is healthy – assuming the plan is to eventually bring back Tyler and cut Smith.

While Diogu is a fringe NBA player himself, the position he plays is a more valuable one to the Knicks. They’re insanely thin on the front line and need bodies. Diogu showed great effort in the pre-season. He’s not really good, but at least he tries hard and gets to commit six fouls like everybody else. I don’t think any of these 15th spot guys we’re talking about have much upside as rotation players, though I do think Smith was by far the least useful of the Knicks camp bodies. The most Lin-ish or Copeland-ish of these guys, in terms of potentially making contributions, is Murray. I don’t see Diogu or Smith or even Tyler having more than replacement level upside this season.

I think what ultimately happens is that Woodson starts Carmelo at the four. The Knicks are too thin to be starting two big men, in my opinion. They play the two point-guard lineup to start games and bring in Bargnani off the bench. Aldrich plays 8-12 minutes a game, assuming Martin and Stoudemire cannot go. And Martin being hurt really does hurt the team. They need him to be that defensive center who plays next to Stoudemire or Bargnani. Right now, that guy is probably Aldrich. And yeah, he’s big and strong, but he’s not half the defender that Chandler or Martin are.

Toure Murray intrigues me. He’s a hard nosed defensive guard and the fans love him. I caught glimpses of the summer league, and by glimpses I mean the one game that Iman Shumpert played, and he wasn’t overly impressive to me. He’s been more impressive in pre-season and he was definitely deserving of making the roster. The problem for him is that the Knicks are very good at the guard positions. Felton, Prigioni and Udrih are all significantly better options at point guard and Shumpert, JR Smith and Tim Hardaway Jr will all see rotation minutes at shooting guard. It’s hard to find consistent minutes for Murray. However, the Knicks have been no stranger to the injury bug over the last few seasons. At some point I think we do see Murray in action, but I don’t think it’ll be by design.

The Knicks have always done business in a shady, bizarre manner. They mirror the style of their owner, in that regard. This Smith situation feels shady to me. And let me preface all this by saying that I really do feel sorry for Chris Smith. Yes, he makes an NBA roster and the guaranteed money that comes along with it. But this cloud of controversy will be hanging over his head at what should be a joyous time for him and the Smith family. This feels so illegitimate, and I’m sure he feels the same way after playing just 20 minutes in the pre-season. Clearly there are other factors are work here, the most likely being some sort of back-room agreement between JR Smith’s agency team and the Knicks front office.

I’ve seen Knicks fans on twitter say “Well, they’re a package deal. It’s business.” No. It’s not business. Look at every other NBA roster. How many D-League level NBA players are on rosters solely based on the presence of a family member on said roster. I’ll save you the work; the answer is zero. This is not something that happens regularly, if ever. I certainly can’t remember another situation like this. Again, D-League, summer league, pre-season roster, yes this happens. But a regular season roster? No way. This isn’t business as usual, it’s Knicks business as usual.

And Knicks business as usual is almost always bad business. Where politics trumps logic. Where hard work loses out to sibling association. This is wrong. I feel bad for Chris Smith, but I feel worse for Ike Diogu, who should’ve made the team. Or the other camp tryouts who now realize they didn’t even really have a shot because JR’s brother was going to be gifted a spot. In the end, will this end up biting the Knicks? Maybe, maybe not. The lack of big man depth may hurt, but Smith himself won’t ever see game action and likely won’t be on the team come January 1st, but that isn’t the point. With the Knicks, results are never the point. And that’s the problem.

5 Rookies To Watch

The 2013 NBA Draft class was dubbed by pundits as being a “weak” class. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but I believe there are definitely intriguing first-year players worth watching. Here are five rookies that I’m especially excited to watch:

1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:

You down with KCP? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is on this list for good reason. Yes, partially because of his fantastic name, but also because of his silky smooth jump shot.

I go bonkers whenever there is a shooting guard in the draft labeled as a hybrid with the attributes “athletic freak” and “natural shooter”. Those are my favorite kinds of players besides bruising centers that can crash the glass. KCP falls under that shooting guard hybrid category. If you ask anyone that watched Georgia basketball last year, they’ll tell you how KCP carried the team. He posted an offensive rating of 115.7, along with 3.9 offensive win shares and 6.3 total win shares. Get this: Caldwell-Pope led the team with his 3.9 offensive win shares while the second highest OWS on the team belonged to Vincent Williams at 0.5. Crazy, right?

The Pistons shooting guard position is up in the air. KCP has been going up against inefficient chucker Rodney Stuckey in training camp. After Stuckey’s atrociously bad 2012-13 season – Stuckey posted a dreadful .505 TS% and a PER of just 13 –  it would make a lot of sense for Caldwell-Pope to start at shooting guard. Not only does the upside effect come into play for KCP, but he’d provide Detroit with some much needed floor spacing. With a Smith-Monroe-Drummond front court, the Pistons will need as much outside shooting as it can get from the guard spots. Stuckey is also on an expiring contract, so there is no long term commitment if Detroit wants to go in a different direction. If he starts, he could get off to another horrible start like last season (32-102 shooting in his first ten games of 2012-13) which would also open up a door for Caldwell-Pope.

The principal viewing will not be on the two-guard position due to Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond being in the starting lineup. But with the Pistons “Big Three” on the floor (I hate using that term, but here goes it), KCP would be a viable perimeter threat. In his final year at Georgia, KCP hit 37% of his threes, establishing himself as a perfect off-the-dribble option and won the SEC Player of The Year honor. If he starts, then there would actually be floor spacing! The Pistons SB Nation blog Detroit Bad Boys made a great case for KCP starting at shooting guard.

As a matter of fact, Brandon Jennings is out for three weeks with a wisdom tooth fracture – which reminds me of a horrible root canal I had – and Rodney Stuckey broke his thumb in a car door. Will Bynum is more of a point guard, being just a 26% career three point shooter, and Chauncey Billups is very old. Billups could be in line to start, but I would bet that Caldwell-Pope takes his minutes by seasons end.

You down with KCP…he knows you…and me.

2. C.J McCollum:

Everyone should love C.J McCollum. He’s the epitome of a “student of the game.” During last year’s playoffs he would tweet smart basketball tweets and would interact with fans on a daily basis. Just before the draft, Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose did a segment for Grantland entitled “The Full NBA Job Interview,” in which they interviewed top draft prospects about their NBA paths. In my eyes, McCollum’s interview was the best one. His extroverted personality blends very well with his immense appetite for the game. It’s incredibly hard not to like him.

McCollum made Las Vegas Summer League  watchable for me. Summer League hoops is usually something I really could care less about. One night, there was nothing on TV. I flipped to NBATV, where they were rebroadcasting a Suns-Blazers game. It was early in the game, and I was thinking about turning it off. But here’s McCollum bumbling and stumbling (Clyde Frazier homages!) with the ball, trying to regain his balance. McCollum regains his balance like he was a gymnast by doing And-1 Mixtape Tour-esque moves. He drives to the baseline, and drains a floater that Raymond Felton has been trying so desperately to nail consistently for his entire career. Thanks to that moment of awesomeness, I watched the rest of the game. The Blazers ended up losing 92-84, but I didn’t care about the end result; I just cared about McCollum. He scored 22 points.

Unfortunately, McCollum broke a metatarsal in his left foot, causing him to have surgery. The injury was deja vu all over again for him, as he had the same exact injury while playing at Lehigh. The injury shelved him for the rest of his fourth and final season at Lehigh. What sucks is that McCollum was turning heads early in the process with his fantastic Summer League – he averaged 21 points in five games. He’s out indefinitely, meaning that he’ll probably miss the season opener and the first couple to few weeks of the regular season.

3. Victor Oladipo:

On top of Jason Maxiell’s elite post defending (haha just kidding, his post defense is horrible) and Arron Afflalo’s underrated play, Magic fans will be looking forward to Victor Oladipo’s freakishly athletic skillset. I too am excited about Oladipo’s athletic ability. In the draft, this was the main talking point used when discussing the second overall pick. If you watched Indiana play at all this season, you have an idea of what we’re talking about here.

The step taken between Oladipo’s sophomore and junior years are mind-blowing. His FG% went from 47% to 59%, his 3P% went from an abysmal 20% to 44%, and he raised his scoring totals from 10.8 up to 13.6 PPG. His draft stock went from bottom-of-the-table material to top 3 lottery pick in a span of two seasons.

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn has reportedly contemplated about playing the Indiana wunderkind at point guard. The proposed experiment makes no sense whatsoever. Court vision is the most rudimentary skill to have in a point guard and Oladipo doesn’t have it. Just thinking about the idea gives me the chills. Speaking of players being played out of position, this reminds me of when Iman Shumpert was inserted as a point guard in this year’s Summer League, prompting James Dolan to demand his trading from the team, and in his rookie year. This is a horrible idea and heads should roll in Orlando if Oladipo’s talents are wasted at point guard.

Magic fans’ only hopes are Oladipo and Arron Afflalo this upcoming season. I’m happy for you, Magic fans, but at the same time you have Jason Maxiell, Ronnie Price and E’Twaun Moore. Sorry about that.

4. Isaiah Canaan:

Ever since Steve Prohm took over the Murray St. head coaching position in 2011, the basketball program’s resurgence has been swift. The Racers have been transformed into an NCAA tournament contender. In Prohm’s inaugural coaching season, he coached the Racers to a 23-0 start and later to a 31-2 overall record while going 15-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference. They eventually lost in the Round of 32 against Marquette.

There’s one particular salient individual that assisted Prohm to that 31-2 pinnacle; rookie PG Isaiah Canaan, now of the Houston Rockets. The Knicks were considering drafting him with their 24th pick, but passed. Canaan fell to the early second round, which is weird to me because he was the centerpiece of Murray State’s offense. Without him at the helm, the Racers were hapless without their master general.

The Rockets investing in Canaan with their lone second round pick was a very smart decision. I penned him as the biggest steal of this year’s draft. Grabbing a 21.8 PPG scorer and .211 WS/40 point guard that late in the draft is impressive. Although Canaan will be the third point guard behind 2012-13 D-League graduate Patrick Beverley, the future is still bright for him. He’ll certainly be around.

5. Reggie Bullock:

Reggie Bullock was the guy that the majority of Knick fans wanted to draft. Why? Because he replicated the Knicks offense from last year: As Blind Melon said, “Three is a magic number.” Shoot threes, bomb threes, make threes, chuck threes; everything is about the number three. Essentially, Bullock’s role at North Carolina was to stand on the perimeter, or run around curl screen, and knock down the open perimeter shot. He shot 43% from downtown in his final season at Chapel Hill, and shot almost 39% lifetime. The Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. and Bullock went the selection after. His final season was his best, partially helped by his teammates Kendall Marshall, Tyler Zeller and Harrison Barnes all declaring for the NBA draft the year before. He was picking up much of the responsibility that those three left over, a very hefty bulk.. No matter what team was going to draft Bullock, any team was going to get a bang for their buck in a good “3 and D” wing.

Bullock may not get major playing time, due to the Clippers acquiring Jared Dudley and JJ Redick in the off-season, but he can be that full-time three point specialist in the future. He could become a Danny Green type player in the future. Bullock is currently the fourth shooting guard on the depth chart behind Jamal Crawford, Dudley, Redick, and Willie Green.

I’m talking about all of this offense relentlessly. It must mean Bullock is a subpar defender, right? Nope. In fact, he’s a pretty good defender. You can place him under the “3-and-D winger” category along with the likes of Shane Battier and Kawhi Leonard. A “3-and-D” type player is a very special player to have. Players like that are very valuable to a team. In this day in age, the three point shot is incredibly valuable to a team’s offense. Bullock is an example of what the analytics crowd adores. He posted a scorching .625 TS% his junior year at North Carolina and is good defender. Bullock is a new age role player and should fit in quite nicely in Los Angeles.