Elster's World

Monday, March 05, 2007

Going In Opposite Directions?

- Using a two-game sample from an 82 game season is always a terrible idea, which is exactly why I’ll use it to proclaim a possible shift in the run for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets spent this weekend botching themselves with horrible loses to the Celtics and 76ers – two awful teams, while the Knicks won against Golden State on Friday and followed it up with a huge overtime victory on Saturday night against Atlanta. The KNicks are now a half game behind the Nets for that final playoff spot – with Jersey getting ready for a tough Western swing and the Knicks playing a very light schedule for the next two weeks, affording them the opportunity to get slightly healthier. Q-Rich is having back issues again (a very bad sign) and both guards Stephon Marbury and Steve Francis(26 points in his first game back, including two three-point plays in overtime Saturday) have knee issues and could use a rest as well. Rookie Mardy Collins has pretty much used Nate Robonson’s flu bug to usurp his spot in the guard rotation (Collins is 6 feet 6 inches, plays defense and doesn’t turn the ball over)

Sure, who are we kidding. With a playoff run coming up, would you rather go to war with J-Kidd and Vince Carter or Marbury and Eddy Curry? I’ll take the Nets please. But hey, a Knick fan can dream no? And it is nice to see Marbury finally stepping up and trying to be a team leader.

And while I am beyond loathe to say it, if Isaiah Thomas can take this team to the playoffs (even the Easter Conference B-League version), banged up as it is and without their best perimeter player (Jamal Crawford), then you really have to tip your hat to him. Now let’s all watch out for the apocalypse.

And take it easy Joe, I’m not suggesting the Knicks are better than your dreadful Nets – only that they should have been blown up at the trade deadline and re-built. I think they will lose carter and how long before Kidd’s overused body starts to break down? Without a healthy Jefferson (something which is all too common these days) they are barely holding off the Knicks and Magic for the 8 spot in the playoffs. They are 4.5 games behind Toronto for cripes sakes. They need an overhaul badly.

- Speaking of wrong directions, how is it that the New England patriots managed to nab the best defensive player on the market (and perfect fit for their defense) Adalius Thomas, sign a blocking tight end (Kyle Brady), a back up running back(Sammy Morris) and perhaps soon a receiver (Wes Walker) while the jets have done nothing?

I’m not saying that the Jets should have gone out there and overspent on second rate type players ($30 million for Drew Bennett???) but with around $20 million is cap money and a bunch of cut players thrown in, have the Jets even been players? Did they even make offers to Thomas or Nate Clements (who got 8 and $80 million – I don’t know how back-loaded the contract was though, I haven’t looked)?

Of course, the last two paragraphs were written out of sheer jealousy. I am behind Mike Tannenbaum and Eric Mangini. They took a train wreck and turned them into 10 game winners. They did it with no running game to speak of and a weak armed quarterback who can’t throw 20 yard outs. But still they are doing it. I trust the leadership and hopefully the plan in place. It’s wise to build from within and develop your core. And to draft wisely. It’s just hard to watch your big brother go out and make themselves much better defensively (it’s been a while since the Pats have had a fearsome, QB chasing linebacker) and your team is maintaining radio silence.

- Very Quick Mets update. John Maine pitched well, Phil Humber got rocked. Can we really put anything into anyone’s first spring training start? Does it really matter that much? I’m thinking no, but that’s just me.


  • Nets - They can use an overhaul but were offered nothing but expiring contracts and late 1st round picks for Kidd and Carter. They can't simply give their best players away.

    What the Nets need to do is obviously fire their coach. Losing to Boston and the Sixers is pathetic.

    Jets - They don't have $20 million. Both Clements and Thomas got $20 million is essentially guaranteed money over the next two years.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 10:34 AM  

  • The numbers I read (in a few places not just one) quoted a number of over 20 mill and ess than 21. But I wiull defer to you on this. Either way, they have cap space.

    I agree that NE and SF overpaid for Thomas and Clements but the truth is in today's market you will have to overpay. Not saying the Jets should havem just that they will have to.

    You want Lawrence Frank gone badly but who is coming in the fix that team? They start Mikki Moore, a high energy guy but not exactly Carlos Boozer.

    By Blogger Elster, at 10:40 AM  

  • I also have seen the $20-21 million numbers, but it fails to reflect Cotchery's new contract and the cap hit upon Curtis Martin's retirement.

    The Nets are much better than their 28-32 record, and it's Frank's fault that they often don't bother to play the 4th quarter. Moore is only starting because of the injury to Kristic and in any event is hardly the problem with the team. I agree that the Nets need a top PF, which is why the Kenyon Martin trade was so disgraceful. I maintain that they remain a good PF away from Eastern Conference contention.

    By Blogger Joe Schick, at 11:08 AM  

  • Pretty much every eastern team is one player from EC contention. That's how bad it is. Give the KNicks Steve Nash and they are a contender too.

    Good point about Cotchery (a great move to lock him up) and the CM retirement hit. How bad is that anyway? How much signing bonus was left?

    By Blogger Elster, at 11:17 AM  

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