Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Dear Entire NBA, You Got Serb-ed!"

Clyde put forth no less than two uses of "fortuitous bounce" in the fourth quarter last night against the Lakers. This proved to be fortuitous for the Knickerbockers -- they hung on to win. That said, Knicks v. Lakers sans Kobe Bryant was really underwhelming. Consider me barely whelmed, execpt for Vladimir Radmanovic's beard/hair which makes him look like a member of the Polyphonic Spree, and has me MAJORLY whelmed.

Side note: When Vlad was with the Sonics I actually heard Bill Walton describe him thusly: "Vladimir Radmanovic is chiseled like a Greek God." And there was no irony in Walton voice. There was, however, a good 10 seconds of dead air which followed Walton's words.

By the way, Vladamir shall be henceforth known throughout the Commonwealth of Bounce as Vlad-Rad. For I ask you, are Vlad's new beard, hair and dancing proclivities not, in fact, "rad"? (see explanation below). He may very well be near the top of my top-five favorite Serbian basketball players ever.

From the Mike Breen is Doing his Best to Avoid Killing Himself Dept: Breeny called the game last night "one of those trap games for the Knicks." Isn't that overstating the case a little bit? Kind of an odd turn of phrase to say that the Knicks, who struggle to win on any given night, might get "trapped" by a team missing its best player. When you're 7 or 8 games under .500 can you really get "trapped" by any team? "Tonight, Clyde, the Knicks take on the 8th Grade Girls team from P.S. 138 and you have to think that this could be one of those classic trap games for the Knicks." We need an industry standard for use of the phrase "trap game." I propose that the team you're referring to must be at least three games over .500 in order for that phrase to be employed.

Jamal Crawford Never Saw a Shot He Didn't Really, Really Like: I'm just going to go ahead and guess that Jamal probably shouldn't have heaved up a thre with the Knicks up five and less than two minutes to go. This was likely a mistep on his part. Isiah probably could have called a timeout and drawn something up here, but it probably would have been a 1-4 iso for Crawford anyway. I'm just throwing things out here. Just suggestions. But, Jamal's strategy was thus: dribble, let the clock run down, pass the ball. Now call for it back, dribble. Then shoot an off balance three.

Vlad-Rad is Rad and Bad: Crawford's shot led to a three from Vlad-Rad, putting the Lakers within two. Vlad-Rad then proceeded to skip to halfcourt and dance. I will do my best to describe the dance maneuver. Okay, I'm at a loss. Let me just say that for a moment it looked like he was going to do a Brett Farveian "six-shooters in the holster" but, at the last second, in a fit of Vlad-Radicalness, turned the gesture into a multi-step handshake with one of his teamates. But, what whelmed me in a way that I had never really been whelmed before, was that his dance was actually a commentary on Farve's six-gun shimmy. It was a celebratory sports dance about celebratory sports dancing, it was the Seinfield of post-basket boogies.

What turned Vladamir into a bearded dance fiend dedicated to deconstructing the very art of on field/court dancing in sports? My theory is that it could have been this fall while he was in Seattle (great color work by Borat on that clip by the way):

A frontal lobe-damaging fall, coupled with the move to big market Los Angeles, has morphed the once unassuming three-point shooting Vladimir into the persona you now recognize as Vlad-Rad the Destroyer. The new Lakers version of Vladimir is all about the music. He's really into Myspace. He does the handshake and one-arm mini-hug when greeting his male friends. He insists on people referring to him only as "Vlad-Rad." He calls his male friends "baby."

Now, finally, we have Vladimir at his most artistically bold. This is nothing less than a blossoming! A full blossoming. There is no more Vladimir. There is only Vlad-Rad, and he probably wants a record deal. Here he's ironically referencing the Shaq's "noodle-arm" move. That is just amazing. What'ch you got now, huh, rest of the NBA? "Dear Entire NBA, You Got Serb-ed!"

Contrast that with the pre-fall Radmanovic. Of course, there is no better background music to support early-period Vladamir shooting three pointers than 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks. What other music would YOU choose? Who the hell spends their time creating Vladamir Radmanovic "On Fire" graphic, by the way? But, watch the clip closely. This is not the free-wheeling Vlad of 2007 vintage. His on court style is careful, almost tentative. It's almost like a different Vladimir. Like I said, it's a blossoming.

Monday, January 22, 2007

What is a legitimate beef?

Mike Breen, he of the barely concealed disgust for his MSG gig, just mentioned that Channing Frye has a "legitimate beef" in response to a questionable offensive foul call in the third quarter. This begs the question, are "legitimate" beefs ever as interesting as illegitimate beefs?

Legitimate beefs: David Lee's playing time, the War in Iraq, global warming, guys who wear scarves with T-shirts, Eddy Curry's portion size.
Illegitimate beefs: Nat-Rob's playing time, anything Stephon Marbury ever complained about, Biggie v. Tupac, Mardy Collins' playing time.

The Bounce believes that Breen is right in saying this is one of those "strange games." This was perhaps predicted by Al Trautwig's increasingly caustic halftime spiel. Poor Trautwig, the guy looks like he almost cares. He looks like he just found his daughter's Myspace page. Something in his voice tells me he'll quit before the season ends, leaving MSG with no choice but to promote Bobbito Garcia.

Jason Kapono has scored more than 20 points. Without Wade and Shaq -- who, while nursing a knee injury, shall heretofore be known as "the Big Ligament" -- the Knicks are getting stomped on by the Miami Heat's JV team. Kapono, Posey, Mourning, White Chocolate, 'Toine, Jim J. Bullock (pictured). Even ex-Knick Michael Doleac is getting in on the act. These are the World Champs? Ladies and gentlemen, the NBA version of the St. Louis Cardinals. To borrow a phrase from Simmons, it's like a bad episode of The Match Game. I'll take Jason Kapono for the block.

Other thoughts:

  • Nate Robinson is a horrible defender. Have we answered why he's in the NBA yet? How is he different from Spyda from the And1 tour?
  • Why doesn't every team just play zone against the Knicks?
  • According to Breen, Jason Williams has "just unlimited range." I'm skeptical. Isn't this what Reagan said about the Star Wars program?
  • Gary Payton is the only point guard in NBA history who has spent the latter part of his career without ever having to have to actually break into a full run. Watching him walk/jog the ball up the court is like watching a short court run at the JCC Lawyer's League. Even the prospect of watching a Payton/Sam Cassell game makes me wish 1992-1998 in the NBA never happened, as many other commentators have hoped. It didn't.
  • Breen, ever the optimist just said that "it looked like it could have been the greatest comeback in Knicks history." This at a time when the Knicks were down by 15 with one minute left.
  • Jared Jeffries has yet to score (or something close). Remind me again why signing this guy was preferable to keeping some cap space? With Lee, Curry, and Jeffries on the floor is there a front line in the history of the NBA with worse jump shots? Why does no one mention that Frye is our only forward who has more than four feet worth of range? So much for the Knicks getting in on the "small ball" era of the NBA.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Knicks to be Sold?

From the department of speculative wish fulfilment, I'm going to make the backhanded case that a Knicks sale could be pending. As a member of the Bounce that works in some fashion in the financial news media, here's the barely publishable line of reasoning:

The Dolans, the family that controls Cablevision and our Knicks, are trying to take Cablevision private. Essentially, they want to buy up all the stock from shareholders in the public. The Dolans are currently haggling with shareholders about the fair market value of each outstanding share. Cablevision's stock performance is somewhat mixed; yesterday, amidst reports that the Dolans had offered $30 per share to shareholders, the stock sunk. Today, after shareholders rejected the Dolans' offer, it's up. Assuming Cablevision does go private, what's to stop these gentlemen from selling the company and the Knicks along with it? Look at this from today's Wall Street Journal:

"The Dolans have said they have no interest in selling the company. But the family is known for surprises, as well as for its combative nature. Cablevision also is one of many companies under federal investigation for allegedly issuing backdated options to executives. "

So, there we have it! The family IS known for suprises! Like letting Isiah buy out contracts, basically paying players not to play for the Knicks, rather than using their expiring contracts as tradeable assets? Like giving their GM a 1-year "measurable progress" ultimatum only AFTER he'd performed poorly enough rank up there with the worst NBA GMs in the last 25 years? Those Dolans! They're always doing wacky things.

Yesterday, the Journal speculated that Time Warner might be interested in buying Cablevision to beef up its New York region cable services. Why would Dolan try to take Cablevision private unless he thought the market was undervaluing it and he wanted to sell it for a profit? They control 70 percent of the company's stock. You have to wonder whether or not they're covering their asses here against stock scandals or are trying to take advantage of a booming private equity market. Or maybe James Dolan is so exhausted by being the Knicks steadfast, diligent owner that he just wants to retire. I hear Arizona is nice this time of year, Jim. I hear it's a dry heat.

The Bounce is Back

Welcome to Fortuitous Bounce, a semi-regular Knicks blog.

The kids want to know what the bounce is and why it's, in fact, back. Let's be clear, this is our blog's first post, but the bounce may be back. Or it never left. Let's explain.

Brushing aside the surface references to Walt Clyde Frazier's favorite phrase, fortuitous bounce encompasses all things metaphysically Knicks. Since untold numbers of Isiah-era Knicks fans root for their team to actually lose because they see defeat as the best prescription for long-term success (i.e. Isiah gets fired), double meanings seem natural territory for a Knicks blog. Thus fortuitous bounce applies to the following:

  1. To the luck bounce of lottery balls which brought us Patrick Ewing,
  2. To Alan Houston's rim bouncing series winner versus the Heat,
  3. To the bounce in Nat-Rob's step, which may or may not prove fortuitous for the Knicks.
  4. To the bounce in Eddy Curry's bosom, which may or may not prove fortuitous for the Knicks.
  5. To the colloquial meaning of bounce which connotes "to leave" (as in "Isiah's getting bounced out of the Knicks GM position was fortuitous," or as in James Dolan saying, fortuitously, "Yo, I have to bounce as owner of the Knicks")
  6. To the bounce(s) involved in Nat-Rob's 30 or so attempts during last year's dunk contest
  7. To the fact that the Knicks don't even have the opportunity to have a fortuitous bounce in this year's NBA Draft Lottery because of the Eddy Curry trade.
  8. To the fact that "bounce," as a swagger-intensive state of being, which several current Knicks embody, may be in the NBA's modern era, inherently fortuitous.
  9. It's a catchy name.