Past Their Prime – Episode 10

Sorry – it’s been a while since I’ve updated everyone on the podcast. We’re still going strong and are 10 episodes in. From Wednesday:

We’re back and true to our Northeast roots, we spend 15 minutes dissecting the collapse of the Lakers (and taking some glee in it). We also try not to get too distracted by the collapse of the Celtics occuring in real time. SPOILER ALERT: They lose in overtime.

Sticking with our NBA theme, Phil from Los Angeles emails us and asks about the future of the NBA playoffs.

Also, Jesse goes all 1930’s on us with his analysis of the Kentucky Derby, boxing, and Constitutional law as it applies to Twitter and Rashard Mendenhall. Welcome to the Atlantic 10, new GW head coach Mark Lonergan. You have your work cut out for you.

Be a part of the show – please. Email your question to PastTheirPrime@gmail.com and have it read on the air.

You can follow us on Twitter at @_PastTheirPrime. We promise, we won’t go all political on you.

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Past Their Prime – Episode 7

Talk about a late start this week. Between Passover and the Celtics kicking ass, we haven’t had a chance to record and post this thing until now. Well, it was recorded on Wednesday, but you get the idea.

Here’s what you have in store for your listening pleasure – Lee and Jesse break down the NBA Playoffs, discuss the most American football matchup ever and Lee makes a prediction about Jesus . . . Shuttlesworth. Plus Jesse sends his condolences to Cameraman Kevin.

Be a part of the show! Submit your questions to PastTheirPrime@gmail.com and you could be a winner too.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @_PastTheirPrime.

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Past Their Prime – Episode 5

We managed to make it through five episodes. Cause for celebration.

This week, Lee and Jesse talk about the most unrealistic finish to a Butler season since Benson became governor. Look it up.

Also, we give our MLB predictions, try to talk Red Sox fans off the ledge and debate which is easier – getting 76ers playoff tickets or hating Spike Lee.

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Want to win a $25 gift certificate? Send your sports-related question to us at PastTheirPrime@gmail.com and following us on Twitter @_PastTheirPrime.The prizes are in the mail – we promise.

More ‘Melodrama

There are many people in the media, in the sports world, in the arenas each night, and even on this blog, who still believe all is well with the New York Knicks.As I pointed out last week, I think this team is in serious trouble, both this season and beyond, given the current coaching situation. So for all those who think this team simply needs to just back in to the playoffs and turn on the switch from there, what do you make of Carmelo’s statement about tonight’s game:

“For our own confidence, our own satisfaction, it’s a must-win for us” – Carmelo Anthony

Having a 4.5 game lead with 7 games to play only becomes a must-win game when even the players start to doubt if they belong in the playoffs. The system doesn’t work, nobody can agree on whether or not the team needs practice, and Carmelo and Amare have blended as well as water and oil. So while some continue to insist that the team is in good shape, even the players are now showing their doubt.

 

No, It Is Time For The Knicks To Worry

First of all, my apologies for being absent from the blog for so long. Sometimes that whole “career” thing gets in the way. I will do my best to post more often.

So now, while I totally respect the view of Billy in his post about the Knicks, I think I need to take a stance on the other side of the fence. There is cause for major concern with this team, and while making the playoffs is a big step up from where they were a year ago, given their roster, just making the playoffs should not be enough. Yes, these players need time to gel, time to learn where each other tend to go on the floor when they don’t have the ball. I agree with Billy here, and I don’t put this on the players for not knowing their new teammates tendencies just yet.

Where I place blame, and where I see the reason to worry about this team, is Mike D’Antoni. In my view, he is simply not cut out to be the coach of this set of players. A Mike D’Antoni team is a pick-n-roll, jump-shooting team that runs the floor and looks to score in 7 seconds or less. While this style has helped transform some players from “average” to “good” (see Raymond Felton), the current set of players are not run-and-gun guys.

To break it down a bit more, these are the top 5 issues I see with the D’Antoni scheme fitting in with the “new look Knicks”:

  1. Chauncey Billups is a great point guard in the half court game and is a great shooter from the outside. He can also find holes, drive to the lane and draw fouls. The MD system doesn’t allow him to utilize his skill set in the best way possible, leading to poor shot selection.
  2. Carmelo Anthony is one of the best NBA forwards on the post. He is impossible to defend when he can back you down to the hoop and either drive past you or hit the open bucket. It takes time to set that play up, to clear out other players, and to give Melo the space to create off the dribble. That can’t happen in 7 seconds.
  3. The pick-n-roll was working well for the Knicks pre-trade, and most teams had a hard time stopping it. Now, with Billups running point, the openings aren’t there anymore and Stat doesn’t come clean of the pick. Too many balls are being forced and turnovers are killing them, especially late in games.
  4. DE-FENSE! D’Antoni has never, and will never, be accused of being a defensive coach. His philosophy is simple: we don’t care how many points you score – we just will outscore you. This attitude has trickled down on to the players as well, as the effort on the defensive side of the ball is rarely there. While Stat and Melo have never been considered good defenders, you can teach defense. Defense is all about effort and it starts from the top. Winning teams play great defense and make the most of offensive opportunities.
  5. The culmination of all of these points makes the Knicks live and die by the jumper, more specifically, the 3-ball. If the Knicks are shooting well, they have a chance to win every night. If they aren’t knocking down shots, they don’t just lose, they get blown out. How many times have we seen teams shoot 40% from the field against the Knicks and still be in the game because they are playing defense and holding the Knicks to 35% shooting?

When all is said and done, this team has the talent to succeed, but in order to do so, in my opinion, they need to grasp the concept of defense. The Celtics, Heat, Bulls, can all win games that are 82-80, but the Knicks can not. Only after these players not only learn to play D, but also want to play D, will they become true winners. I just don’t see this happening with MD running practice.

Would Everyone Calm Down About the Damn Knicks

The Knicks are in the midst of a terrible losing streak. The Knickerbockers are in so much trouble they won’t be competitive in the playoffs.  Can you imagine if Indiana passes them in the standings?  We’ll never survive against the Bulls.

Would everyone calm down.

The New York Knicks have 35 wins this year.  Doesn’t anyone want to celebrate that wonderful fact?  The fact is that the Knicks, for the first time in ten years, are scoring more points per game than they are allowing (at the moment that is).  They have two great players and more will come.  After a decade of crappy ball at the Garden, who in their right mind would trade this away.  Everyone just stop.  We are still a few pieces away.

Now, Mike D’Antoni’s anti-defense basketball style doesn’t appeal to me but let’s give the guy a few months to establish a team atmosphere (though a Jeff Van Gundy return wouldn’t be the worst thing).  There may come a time when the Knicks brass realizes that D’Antoni’s style won’t mesh with championship runs.  Then again, we could see the Knickerbockers stifling teams with an unstoppable offense (I won’t count on it).  Nevertheless, I’m willing to give the guy time.

In a few weeks, the Knicks will celebrate their first playoff berth in years!  The post-season will begin and they’ll get killed by Chicago, Boston or Miami in the First Round.  Who cares.  Did anyone truly think we were talking championship this year?  Please my fellow New Yorkers, calm down.  It’s been roughly 40 years since the last Knicks title, waiting a few more years won’t kill you… or me.

Brackets! THE Big LEast Bracket & The Evil Twin Big BEast Bracket

My official bracket is now in.  The Big East has zero Final Four teams.  I am singularly not impressed with a conference that is so overloaded with teams that they can maneuver nearly three-quarters of their schools into the Big Dance.  The Big East, despite the fact that I enjoy occasionally rooting for St. John’s, I’m refuse to be a homer and gush over the supremacy that is Big East basketball.  Why?  Because they are not as good as everyone thnks they are.  With that in mind, my Final Four selections are as follows: 1 Duke, 1 Kansas, 3 BYU, 4 Kentucky

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking?  Duke without Irving and BYU without Davies.  You are crazy.  Well, a few things.

THE Bracket: Big LEast – Champion: Kansas

First, since this is a weak field, the weakest in years and maybe ever, it seems all too reasonable to chalk this up.  I refuse to do that because of Pitt.  This is their tenth straight Tournament and they’ve been ranked 3, 2, 3, 9, 5, 3, 4, 1, 3, 1.  I will give them that their only other #1 seed team made the Final Four but they have been a disappointment given everyone’s expectations.  In my view, PITT stands for Perennially Indicative of Tournament Trouble.  I’ve bet on them before with no results.  Sorry Panthers.

Second, Kansas is going to wipe the floor in three of the four games in the Southwest.  Any trouble will come from Louisville.  I anticipate overtime in a crazy-close Sweet-16 game.  The lower part of the SW bracket is what I call the Ugly Eight.  These games could go in any which way but I’m estimating that whomever survives to the regional final will be shown the exit by the Jayhawks.

Third, Ohio State is good and there’s no Jim Tressel here to ruin their Tournament eligibility.  Nova’s due for a win and despite that I want George Mason to win real bad, I think they’ll come up short.  However, Villanova’s going to give OSU everything.  Kentucky will waltz into the 16 and surprise OSU.  Buckeyes go home.  Kentucky will survive an Orange scare and move on to Houston.

Fourth, Duke.  I’ve been battling with this one.  Despite all my hopes and dreams, Duke will succeed in making it to Reliant Stadium.  The lower end of that bracket, the Crazy Eight, is filled with a few “which team will knock off the Blue Devils.”  Sadly, I think they’ll spend most of their time knocking off each other.  Unlike the Ugly Eight in the SW, some of the Crazies are capable of winning the West, I just don’t think any of them will.

In either bracket, the two most important games that will shape the Championship game on April 4 are the Duke-UConn and Kansas-Lousiville games.  As you’ll see in the this bracket and the evil twin one, the winners of these games will play for the title.

So once Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and BYU make it to Houston, the formula is simple.  Duke and Kansas win.  Jayhawks barely beat the Blue Devils for the title.  No repeat for Duke and not a single Big East team.  In fact, only four Big East teams manage to get Sweet 16 berths.

The Evil Twin Bracket: Big BEast – Champion: Louisville

Here we are, the Final Four of my worst nightmare: being proven wrong about the Big East.  Let me start off by saying that enjoy rooting for the Johnnies.  Born in Queens and growing up on the Island, it’s good to see them succeeding.  The BYU-St. John’s game was a toss-up in this bracket and THE bracket.  I decided that whomever wins that matchup was poised to take the Southeast.  For me, it has become the magic carpet ride game in the Tournament.

The Southwest has three Big East teams.  Georgetown and Notre Dame are in that Ugly Eight bracket I mentioned previously.  The Hoyas, according to virtually every sports guy in the DC area, will not survive Purdue in the third round.  Some think they may not get by the Trojans if they beat VCU tonight.  A ND-PU battle will be for the hearts of Indiana.  After that, Louisville tells Indiana no way, no how.

I was ready and willing to watch Marquette get sliced and diced by Xavier.  A-10 represent.  But if the evil scenario comes true, they will play Cuse in the next round.  As for Syracuse’s following game against UNC.  Well, I heard something about Boeheim’s zone so I’m going with them.  After Duke’s shellacking of the Tar Heels in the ACC Championship, the Sweet 16 is as far as they go in both these brackets.  Cuse will dismiss Ohio State after WVU almost beats them in the regional semis.

Lastly, in this ugly and annoying scenario, UConn will continue playing great basketball, coming out of the Crazy Eight bracket alive and well, disposing of Coach K’s Blue Devils to the delight of many (I really don’t mean to pick on Duke exclusively but I’m still angry about GW’s bracket draw in 2006.  #8 seed my…).

Calhoun will dispatch of Boeheim and Pitino will beat Lavin.  In the end, I think UConn’s run can’t last and Rick is definitely due for a return to the top.  Louisville will remember the Kansas game as the moment they all knew destiny was waiting for them.  Here, seven of the Sweet 16 are Big East schools.

My Champions: Kansas.  And this year’s evil twin, Louisville.  If only I had Kentucky winning it all, how awesome would that evil twin thing work out. Thank you ESPN.  And look, free advertising for you, State Farm and Sprint because I used your bracket.

Past Their Prime – Episode 2

Amazingly, we managed to throw together a second podcast and some nifty post-production work.

This week, Lee and Jesse talk March Madness, Jesse loses faith in the strength of Bob Knight’s character, and Lee makes the case for the Wilpon family to buy an MLS franchise.

All that plus much more including the “Email of the Week” for your listening pleasure.

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Don’t forget to follow the show on Twitter @_PastTheirPrime or email the hosts at PastTheirPrime@gmail.com.

Melo Arrives. The 2013 Playoffs Will Be Awesome.

Yes, Carmelo Anthony is a Knick and only 36 hours before I said it would happen.  But as soon as Melo was notified, the criticism came flying in.  Some feel the Knicks have mortgaged the future to get him.  Others believe that Melo won’t solve the problem.  Another group, like a friend of mine who roots for a team in the West says, Melo’s defense sucks and that just adds to the Knicks crappy defensive problems.  Knicks fans are well aware of one glaring fact: We weren’t winning the title this year.

The Knicks have not one, but two years to fix “the rest” picture.  The rest being the other 13 guys that make up the roster.  They have two years because the NBA will not play basketball next year.  Chris Paul’s contract will end in 2012 and then he will join Melo and Amar’e.  So worry not Knicks fan, you’re in great shape for the 2013 playoffs.

Melo-Drama: The Great Trade of Feb. 23rd

Is Carmelo Anthony a Knick yet?

Rest assured Knick fans, he will be before the trade deadline.  Dan Gilbert was a stubborn mule when he made a pitch to LeBron James instead of trading him.  Thinking that King James would actually stay in Cleveland was preposterous.  He had New York and Miami knocking down his door.  He was leaving Cleveland behind.  Hopefully, Nuggets owner Josh Kroenke watched from his Rocky Mountain perch what was transpiring in Ohio last year.

Anthony has stated he does not want to stay in Denver.  He will not be a Nugget next year.  Kroenke and Co. are playing the cards exactly as they should.  Why rush?  The deadline is February 24.  Use Melo as long as you can.  Denver currently sits 7th in the Western Conference.  They are 2.5 games inside the playoffs now.  Judging the competition out west, the Nuggets may be able to hold off enough teams to stay in.  Now that Jerry Sloan is retiring mid-season, the Jazz could implode, giving Denver one less team to worry about.

In the midst of all this drama, reports say that Carmelo is mulling the extension Denver has offered.  Reports, reports.  Reports say that the Lakers stated their interest too but him going to LA is more ludicrous than him staying in Denver.  ‘Allowing’ Melo to rethink New York gives Denver time to pressure the Knickerbockers into giving more.  And they will.  The Knicks swallowed LeBron’s bitter pill last off-season when he announced he was taking his “talents to South Beach” in the Knicks backyard.

It will not be the Knicks that scuttle this deal.  If it doesn’t go through, they can make the case to Melo in the off-season that the Nuggets demands were unreasonable and allowed them to keep good pieces to compliment him and Amare.  Carmelo will be a Knick.  It just won’t happen until the trade deadline.

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