Would Steph Curry have been the New York Knicks savior?

Over the past 20 years or so the result of the New York Knicks’ long list of poor decisions has left fans daydreaming in a perennial state of “What if?” Perhaps the biggest one of them all, however, is what if superstar point guard Stephen Curry had not been drafted seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 2009 NBA Draft, and instead had fallen to the Knicks who were picking eighth.

Almost all Knicks fans like to assume that Curry would have gone on to have the same kind of career in New York that he’s had with Golden State, where he’s amassed a Hall of Fame resume with 6 All-Star appearances, 2 MVP trophies, and 3 championship rings. While I’m not denying that to be possible, I don’t think it would have been that simple. Curry is one of the greatest players of all time, but there are different factors that might have turned out differently with the Knicks than they did with the Warriors.

For one, the Warriors have had a very stable and legitimate front office for a while now, and they were able to surround Curry with other homegrown superstar draft picks in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. They built and developed a superb young core that has been the backbone for their success and allowed them to land other stars like Kevin Durant. The Knicks president at the time, Donnie Walsh, would have benefited greatly from selecting a stud point guard like Curry to pair with the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, who would both be acquired over the next two years.

Having a big three of that caliber would have set the Knicks up for title contention for years to come, but it’s also very possible that the instability and constant change of the Knicks front office could have prevented that from ever materializing. Let’s not forget that Walsh was only the Knicks president until 2011 and then was replaced with Glen Grunwald.

The Knicks did have Mike D’Antoni as their head coach in 2009, and it is fascinating to wonder what he would’ve been able to do with a talent like Curry in his offense. D’Antoni’s fast-paced scoring system would have been great for Curry, especially from seeing how another elite scorer in James Harden has thrived under it in Houston.

Perhaps the biggest aspect of Curry’s career that could have affected his career with the Knicks, however, was his early ankle problems. Though Curry’s first four seasons in the league he battled repetitive ankle injuries that required multiple surgeries and at one point even left his playing career in jeopardy.

There were reports about the Warriors possibly looking to trade Curry because of the uncertainty surrounding his ankles, and a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks was even in place. Fortunately for Golden State, the Bucks shared that same concern regarding Curry and therefore the deal ended up falling through. The Warriors traded away guard Monta Ellis instead, which obviously ended up being the right choice.

Curry didn’t get his ankle issues fully under control until 2013 when the Warriors brought in a trainer named Keke Lyles who worked with Curry extensively and completely transformed how he trained. It worked.

But if the Knicks had drafted Curry, his early injury woes likely would have had the New York media and fans labeling him a talented but injury-prone player who would never reach his full potential. The Knicks very well could’ve ended up seeing Curry as a lost cause and moving on from him after two or three years like they’ve done with so many draft picks. I could be wrong, but recent history seems to indicate that it wouldn’t have been all that unlikely.

Maybe I am wrong and the Knicks would have stuck with Curry through all of his early injury battles and he would’ve indeed become the face of New York like so many belief. Maybe D’Antoni would’ve stayed on as the coach and led a trio of Curry Stoudemire and Melo to multiple championships. We’ll never know. And to those of you who are probably reading this thinking, I’m being too negative, you’re right, but what have the Knicks given us to be positive about over the past two decades?

Obviously I would’ve loved to see Curry get drafted by the Knicks. Him rocking a blue and orange jersey lighting it up at the Garden is a beautiful thing to think about. All I’m saying is that based off of the large sample size of organizational dysfunction and poor basketball that the Knicks have given us for quite some time now, Curry’s Knick tenure could have ended up being more of the same just as much as it could’ve been the move that turned the franchise around and saved them at least a decade of dysfunction.

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The coronavirus has changed our lives in so many ways.  We at EmpireSportsMedia.com devote our stories to all of New York sports, the coronavirus effect on our sports, and our hopes for the future of all sports. But today all sports fans hopefully will take a moment out and reflect on the soldiers that have lost their lives to make our American way of life and all of the sports possible.

Today is an unusual Memorial Day in that the coronavirus has canceled parades and cemetery events to remember those that have given their lives for our freedom.

There is a way you can celebrate this day. Today at 3 pm sharp buglers
around the country will play taps. If you hear taps in your
neighborhood, step out your door and stand to show your respect.  Please share this with your families and all sports fans.

BREAKING: Sports can resume immediately in NYS

Today, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that all professional sports are cleared to begin training and practicing in New York. It will go into effect immediately and include Buffalo area teams.

This is a big announcement, and it’s the first step to games returning. Right now, the NBA, NHL, and MLB are working on restart plans, and this allows teams to be able to practice at home if they choose to.

“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps” said the governor on Sunday. “I believe that sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena–do it.”

The MLB is planning to plan an 82-game schedule in home ballparks if an economic plan is agreed upon. The NBA is zeroing in on Disney World to resume their season, while the NHL is looking at multiple cities to play.

“Work out the economics if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports. To the extent people are still staying home, it gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible, and we’ll work with them to make sure that can happen.”

Cuomo also stated that he is very open to making the games accessible to all fans.

“The games could be televised. New York State will help those major sports franchises to do just that,” said Cuomo. “Hockey, basketball, baseball, football–whoever can reopen–we’re a ready, willing, and able partner.”

This is a big step in the right direction for a return to sports. Now, it’s up to the individual leagues to make agreements with their players and teams.

Brooklyn Nets: Sources believe Nets Internally Discussing Trade Options for Bradley Beal

For many weeks, the rumor among Brooklyn Nets fans has been the possibility of the Brooklyn franchise bringing in a 3rd star to accompany Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. On Thursday afternoon, those rumors were confirmed by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News in the following tweet/article:

Beal has proved to be one of the league’s most efficient scorers, especially in this most recent season without his usual running mate John Wall. Although he was snubbed from the all-star team this year due to the Wizards abysmal record, Beal was averaging a career-best 30.5 ppg on 52% from the field before the season was suspended. From an offensive standpoint, Beal would be an improvement over the young Caris LeVert and create a dynamic trio of professional shot makers in Brooklyn’s starting lineup. As an undersized 2 guard, the only critique on Beal has been his defense. Beal found himself having to defend his play on the defensive end this year after being called out by several in the media as one of the worst defenders in the NBA.

3 Factors to Consider in a Beal to Brooklyn Trade

Obviously there are several variables to consider during these discussions regarding how this trade can happen. For one, would the Washington Wizards be willing to part with Beal? He has said in the past that he would like to retire a Wizard and has a great relationship with the city of Washington D.C. He even gets along great with his co-star John Wall. But with the Wizards struggling mightily in recent years, it seems that this would be the perfect time for the team to acquire assets and get younger. Moving Beal makes sense from the Wizards perspective, assuming they don’t believe they can keep trying to build around John Wall and Bradley Beal to create a championship contender.

Two, how much do the Nets really want to give up for a Beal? Is Sean Marks willing to part with young talents such as Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen? Would Spencer Dinwiddie be involved? How many draft picks would Brooklyn be willing to give up? Sean Marks has to ask himself if he’s willing to mortgage the future of the franchise in order to acquire a player who he believes will get Brooklyn closer to a championship. It’s going to cost the Nets regardless since Beal will be in the 2nd year of a $72 million dollar deal. Hopefully, Marks can find a way to trade for Beal without giving away the farm.

And finally, does Bradley Beal want to play in Brooklyn? As the 1b to Wall’s 1a, Beal will have to accept the “Chris Bosh” role in this potential Big 3 with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the lineup. If Beal is willing to sacrifice some of his offensive production, be the 3rd cog in the system, and improve on defense, he will no doubt be an excellent fit on this team.

It will be extremely interesting to see how this plays out. Marks has been an aggressive GM for Brooklyn thus far and it has paid off. A deal of this magnitude could make or break the next five years for the Brooklyn Nets. Will Marks be willing to make the sacrifice to acquire Beal? Beal is no doubt a great player but does trading for him make Brooklyn a title contender? All I know is there has never been and will never be a professional sports league with more drama than the NBA. That’s why the NBA is often televised on TNT…their tagline is “We Know Drama.”

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What The Bundesliga’s Return Tells Us About American Sports Returning

I’ve been a Yankee fan all my life and grew up actively watching both the Jets and Giants. But my introduction to the world of German soccer was… interesting to say the least.

It was during the 2006 World Cup. I had wandered in to find my dad watching Germany in the round-robin stage of the tournament. A young up and coming midfielder by the name of Bastian Schweinsteiger were making his World Cup debut for his country. I heard that Schweinsteiger translated into English was “pig wrestler” and that he played for Bayern Munich of the Bundesliga. Hearing the translation, I proclaimed “THAT’S COOL!” and kept a close eye on the career of the future captain of the German National Soccer Team (Die Mannschaft), from Bayern Munich to Manchester United, to Chicago FC of the MLS. But by this point, I was such a huge fan of Bayern Munich that I kept following the Yankees of the Bundesliga.

With the return of the Bundesliga, including a 2-0 victory over Union Berlin by Bayern Munich, the future of American sports was fully on display in the time of the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s what we can expect.

Testing, Testing, Testing!

When Germany announced that the Bundesliga was returning, testing was a paramount prerequisite. shortly before the season resumed, 10 confirmed Bundesliga players and personnel tested positive for the coronavirus. While it seemed jarring for many, all 10 confirmed cases were asymptomatic, meaning they showed no symptoms. The three players were immediately put into isolation, and the team they played for were all closely monitored before being cleared to play this weekend.

Germany currently has a testing capacity of 860 thousand tests a week, which more than covers the 25,000 tests needed to complete the season. They currently test the players the day before a match, and at one other point during the week. The US will need to up. their game, as the country is currently at a 300 thousand tests a week capacity, and the frequency of testing needs to be determined/revealed for MLB, the NBA, NHL, and the impending NFL season, as well as necessary testing for our college athletes, should a college sports season occur.

No Fans Improve Social Distancing

Players and personnel were under strict social distancing protocols. Soccer teams tend to go out on the pitch together, shake hands, and tackle each other in goal scoring situations. Under the new Bundesliga format, teams got on the pitch individually, no formal handshaking, and they merely tapped elbows. And when they are on the bench, everyone wears a mask, and have to sit 6 feet apart. Your average bench and sidelines in American sports don’t offer that much room to be socially distant. Neither does a soccer bench.

Well, since the stands were empty, the players sat in the stands.

No Fans Is the Most Jarring

These German soccer stadiums fit 80 thousand plus fans. It’s comparable to the average capacity of a college football stadium. But imagine those big rivalry games played to empty stadiums during the college football season.

To continue to curb spreading the disease any further than its spread, going to sporting events for these games will be nearly nonexistent until some point next year. Hearing how much of an impact crowd noise has on a game does take a lot of time to get used to. After this weekend, I’m not completely used to it yet. Whether or not certain leagues follow through on pumping crowd noise into the stadium, it’ll be hard to replicate that feeling of crowds actually being there.

 

Brooklyn Nets: An Eventful Recap of the Week

Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving

Since the quarantine has began, there have been many non-eventful weeks for your Brooklyn Nets. This was not one of those weeks. We now have a full Spencer Dinwiddie controversy on our hands, our former point guard taking shots at our former coach, and two Nets players attending a virtual strip club together. Let’s get into it!

Spencer Dinwiddie Creates Pandemonium Among Nets Fan with new Proposal

Dinwiddie is no stranger to stirring the pot on Twitter. Last month, he joked about being a player/GM for the Chicago Bulls to fix their franchise. This week, he seems to be a bit more serious about his impending free agency and assumed exit out of Brooklyn. Dinwiddie has been tweeting a storm recently about fans choosing Dinwiddie’s next destination by donating in Bitcoin to reach a target goal of about $24 million. While most have no idea of the legality of his plan or if the team that wins the fan auction would even want Dinwiddie’s services, Nets fans have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment in the point guard’s recent actions. Here are several fans reacting to Dinwiddie’s recent proposal:

It seems as though Dinwiddie’s days with the Nets are numbered. General Manager Sean Marks cannot like what he sees from Dinwiddie, who more often than not recently, has seemed to make the story about him.

D’Angelo Russell Takes Shot at Former Nets HC Kenny Atkinson

Maybe even more shocking than Dinwiddie’s Bitcoin proposition is the recent revelation from former fan favorite D’Angelo Russell, who had some very interesting things to say about his former coach Kenny Atkinson. Many fans assumed he two had a decent relationship, based on their shared success in the 2019 season. Apparently, that might not have been the case.

Russell was recently interviewed by the Athletic and was asked as to why Atkinson did receive enough credit for the Nets making the playoffs in 2019. DLo told The Athletic, “I’m not going to give it to Kenny. I still don’t think he knew what he had, honestly. I don’t think he knew what I was capable of in the fourth quarter.” (Full article here) Russell was electric that year for the Nets, but there were moments throughout the season that it seemed like he could have been playing more down the stretch. Clearly, Atkinson’s usage of Russell still bothers him to this day and it seems as though these two won’t be getting together for a friendly dinner anytime soon.

Kevin Durant and Caris Levert Allegedly Attend Virtual Strip Club Together

According to TMZ, Demon Time, the “most popular digital strip club,” has partnered with OnlyFans after becoming too raunchy for Instagram Live. Who would be interested in a virtual strip club experience you ask? Apparently Brooklyn Nets Kevin Durant and Caris Levert are! The two, along with several other celebrities, we’re on a special celebrity guest list that went public yesterday. Clearly, this seems like a great virtual event for Durant and Levert to bond with each other, which will make their connection on the court that much more special! Other notable athletes on the list include Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, and Delon Wright.

I hope you enjoyed this weekly summary Nets shenanigans! Check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for your latest Brooklyn Nets news and listen to the Fireside Nets w/ Spen & Nick podcast!

On this Date in Nets History: 1976

On May 13th, 1976, Julius Erving and the New York Nets defeated the Nuggets 112 – 106 in Game 6 of the ABA Finals in Nassau Coliseum to win their 2nd ABA championship in 3 years. With Dr. J leading the way, the team also had several players who would play in the NBA later in their career, including Al Skinner, John Williamson, and Brian Taylor.

Before their NBA tenure, the Nets were a force to be reckoned with in the ABA. Their star? Julius “Dr. J” Erving. a man who would go on to be one of the greatest players in the history of the league. Before his 11 dominant years in the NBA, Erving was the king of the ABA, averaging close to 30 a game during his 5 years in the ABA. He won 2 ABA championships in 3 years with the Nets. One could say, he was the Michael Jordan of the ABA.

For those who are not as familiar with Julius Erving’s body of work, check out this video of several highlights from his Nets career:

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New York Knicks: Why trading up for LaMelo Ball makes sense

The New York Knicks will enter the 2020 NBA draft with picks to play with, and possibly use in a trade. NBA insider Chad Ford recently said on The Locked On Warriors Podcast that he could see the Knicks making a move to trade up in the draft if they fall in love with a top prospect, specifically LaMelo Ball. Ford said:

“I think there’s one team that I see out there that might be desperate to get up and really make some buzz, and that’s the Knicks… If the Knicks don’t get the number one pick in this draft, just given the trajectory of that franchise over the years, I could see them, they have some assets, they’ll still probably have a fairly high lottery pick, packaging all of that together to try to get up to make a big splash. And if there’s a guy that sort of makes sense in New York, it’s LaMelo Ball.”

LaMelo Ball is easily the most polarizing prospect in the draft, and while he’s not quite the consensus number one pick like Zion Williamson was last year, you won’t find a big board that has him outside the top 3.

LaMelo had his season in the Australian National Basketball League cut short due to injury, but it’s easy to see what makes him such an eye-popping prospect. He’s got other-worldly vision and awareness. He makes everyone around him better. His intangibles on offense are simply things you cannot teach.

LaMelo’s Untapped Potential

The flaws in LaMelo Ball’s game seem very coachable not just because of his basketball IQ but his physical profile. Ball is a 6’9 point guard. As he grows into his body and gains more strength I fully expect his defense to improve. At his size and with his athleticism, he could turn into a defender that can effectively guard 3 positions.

You will sometimes find a misconception about LaMelo Ball not being a good shooter because of his low percentages. While I don’t think Ball is an elite shooter just yet, he certainly has the potential. Ball is forced to take a lot of difficult shots on his team. Some of that is his own fault. He needs to work on his shot selection, he’s been prone to taking shots too early in the shot clock.

I like to compare Ball’s shooting to percentages to Luka Doncic’s percentages at Real Madrid before he was drafted into the NBA. Doncic, like LaMelo, loves to create and take shots off of the dribble. Doncic shot just 28% from 3 in his final season at Real Madrid, largely due to him being forced to take a lot of difficult shots. It’s a similar scenario with Ball.

Perfect Fit For The Knicks

The New York Knicks are in desperate need of a franchise point guard, and LaMelo Ball’s fit with the team makes too much sense. The Knicks’ offense has been stagnant all season long, and LaMelo Ball would be the jolt of firepower the team needs.

The Knicks hold 3 extra first-round picks in the next 3 years on top of their own, so don’t be surprised if they use one to move up in the draft to take the dynamic 18-year-old Ball.

Brooklyn Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie Weighs in on possible continuation of NBA Season

Brooklyn Nets, Spencer Dinwiddie

Recognized as one of the most active Brooklyn Nets on Twitter, Spencer Dinwiddie had a few drinks on Sunday night and decided to share his thoughts on the NBA possibly salvaging the rest of this season. Here are a series of Dinwiddie’s tweets from Sunday night:

So according to Dinwiddie, saving this season is not worth it the reasons he listed. He also has a very creative thought process as to how the NBA could play next season without fans. I personally find Dinwiddie’s plan for the NBA extremely feasible and really think the NBA could stand to gain something from listening to his and other players’ suggestions.

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1997 – 98 Nets to be featured in “The Last Dance” as victims of dominant Jordan-led Bulls teams in Playoffs

We got a teaser at the end of episode #6 of “The Last Dance” that should make old New Jersey Nets fans ill. The docu-series, which has done a great job of covering almost every key moment in Michael Jordan’s career with the Chicago Bulls from 1984 to his eventual retirement after his 6th and final championship in 1998, will showcase the 1st round playoff series in 1998 between the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets.

The Nets came into the series a heavy underdog but had a good amount of talent on their roster. Playing for New Jersey at the time was talented big man Jayson Williams, veteran scoring point guard Sam Cassell, a 23-year-old shooting guard in Kerry Kittles, and veteran swingman Kendall Gill. Key role players included Chris Gatling, Sherman Douglas, Keith Van Horn, and Lucious Harris.

The 1st game ended up going into OT and it looked like the Nets had a serious chance to win. With 41 seconds left, the score was tied at 91 apiece. Kerry Kittles was stripped clean by Michael Jordan near the top of the key, who took the ball the length of the court and finished with an emphatic dunk. Jordan was fouled by Kendall Gill as he slammed it home. The Nets would not recover from that play and go on to lose the game by a final of 96 – 93. Michael finished with 39 points and Scottie Pippen netted 24 points and 7 rebounds for Chicago. For the Nets, Chris Gatling led the way with 24 points.

In Game 2, the Nets got down big early, scoring less than 20 points in each of the first 2 quarters. They outscored the Bulls after halftime and made a solid push to come back, only to fold again down the stretch, losing the game 96 – 91. At one point during the Game 2 broadcast, Bob Costas said about the Nets, “and at least they’ve been competitive in these first two games.” Jordan finished with 32 points while the leading man for the Nets was Kerry Kittles with 23 points.

In the 3rd game, the Nets had zero gas left in the tank. They were blown out by the Bulls, 116 – 101, losing every quarter except the 4th (they were +2). Jordan, in his final game against the Nets as a Bull, poured in 38 points in a dominant performance while Scott Burrell chipped in with 23 points as well. 5 players on the Nets scored in double figures that game – Sherman Douglas had 19 points, Chris Gatling and Keith Van Horn both finished with 18 points, Kerry Kittles had 16 points and Kendall Gill had 17 points, but it wasn’t enough to challenge the team in Chicago. The Nets had zero answers for MJ, who seemed to score with ease against the New Jersey squad the entire series.

The Nets would go on to miss the playoffs the next three seasons before entirely revamping their front office and roster. This shakeup, and acquisition of point guard Jason Kidd from the Phoenix Suns would lead to back to back NBA finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. Three players from the 1997 -98 playoff team – Kerry Kittles, Keith Van Horn, and Lucious Harris – remained on the roster for all or part of those Finals runs.

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