Preseason Recap: ‘Ptors 123, Knicks 120 (15 Overtimes)

New York Knicks 120 Final
Recap | Box Score
123 Toronto Raptors
Andrea Bargnani, PF 29 MIN | 4-12 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 13 PTS | -4

Sure it’s the preseason, but someone’s gotta be with me on this: Bargnani looks a lot better / smoother / sexier / more effective when he’s killing YOUR team during the regular season. Sure, there were some promising notes: jumpers sans hesitation, a beautiful drive and dime-stopped turnaround, a smooth baseline J a few moments later. Still, the sour remains, in the form of roadkill-slow defensive rotations, and the fact that Bargs couldn’t jump over a million-dollar bill if you told him he could keep it.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 27 MIN | 4-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 3 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | -4

I suppose “missing shots in every conceivable way” qualifies as a legit preseason exercise. I don’t know if Melo temporarily replaced his right arm with a splintered yardstick or woven strands of dried kelp or what – touch just wasn’t there. He did haul in a bevy of tough rebounds in traffic, perfectly timed a couple of defensive rakes, and didn’t force the issue to a concerning degree at the other end. Even had the feed on Chandler’s ferocious dunk. As far as tune-ups go, it was akin to watching a stock car going for pole in a grocery store.

Tyson Chandler, C 20 MIN | 5-6 FG | 5-7 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | -7

Let’s get this out of the way now: the jumper is a real thing that might damn well work. Anyone who displays Chandler’s brand of free throw mechanics – smooth for a big man, no discernable hitch – oughta have the mid-range J clamped to tool belt. It took a few years (12), but we’re finally here. Overall Tyson looked energize and engaged at both ends of the floor.

Beno Udrih, PG 34 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-5 FT | 4 REB | 7 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | -4

A longstanding totem of Beno’s game has been his mid-range prowess – off curls, dribble-drives, on the break, wherever. We saw a dash of that tonight, along with solid D and a steadfast recognition that he really does grasp his primary preseason function: get the youngens involved. He’d eventually have to snap the reigns on his own account late in the game, but overall it was a balanced, impressive showing from someone who might have a real chance of supplanting Pablo Pri * sniper rifle *

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 39 MIN | 4-16 FG | 3-4 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 15 PTS | -4

Cut a shaky picture throughout, save for a handful of timely, cold-blooded treys. He was victimized pretty routinely on defense – consistent post-up abuse from Gay and DeRozen early, and Terrence Ross’s perimeter heroics later on. As a late shot-clock, catch-and-shoot option, Hardaway is show-ready. As a reliable 20-plus minute a night rotation player? He’s got a ways to go.

Ike Diogu, PF 29 MIN | 5-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | +7

If Ike Diagu doesn’t make this team, I might have to renounce the religion I don’t have. The combination of confident spot-up shooting (mid-range, but seldom so far as to seem ill-advised), paint-scrappin’, and a truly barbaric hate for Tyler Hansbrough maks him a cult hero in waiting. Oh, and Robert thinks he looks like Bob Saget in Full House.

C.J. Leslie, SF 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 1-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +6

I had no idea C.J. Leslie was this skinny. I think you could fit C.J. Leslie into a slot machine or a very narrow bathroom cabinet. The early pull-up was nice, in that I don’t think I’ve ever seen C.J. Leslie make a pull-up jumper. Woody knew he was giving Leslie his longest showcase, and the results were fairly forgettable. I won’t get into why he hasn’t panned out, except to refer you to Mr. Udwary’s terrific piece from earlier today. We’ll just leave it at that.

Metta World Peace, SF 31 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-2 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +1

We’d been hearing quite a bit about Metta’s training camp showing the last few days, so it was nice to see a tangible translation – aggressiveness at both ends of the floor, and a concerted effort to take terrible shots at the worst possible times. Metta’s leadership is evident, but it’s hard not to question whether “getting his” is really the healthiest thing. At a certain point, isn’t it incumbent upon us to wonder whether Metta’s poor decision-make- HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA OMG I LOVE YOU PEACE!

Chris Douglas-Roberts, SG 12 MIN | 1-3 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | +1

A guy who appeared poised for a 10-plus year career while at Memphis, now doomed to the dustbin – at least for now. Deferred early and often, which was great for the offensive flow, and piss poor for his professional prospects. Seems like a good dude, so I hope he sticks somewhere.

Toure’ Murry, SG 34 MIN | 5-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 12 PTS | -2

There’s an element of style-points at play with Murry: the idea that it’s gotta be really, really hard to transition from college two (at a mid-major, no less) to pro one in less than a year. And the deficit is evident, in the occasional shaky handle and corner-gripping instincts. All that aside, the highlights were erudite: a gorgeous lefty lay-in on the break, a pair of contorting and-ones, and that silly third quarter buzzer-beater. The jumper needs some work, as does his propensity for navigating picks like Captain Beefheart on a slalom. Think about it.

Five Things We Saw

  1. “Clyde, how do you feel about the full beard look from Woodson?”

    “It looks…. huh…. it…. it loo….Wow… I me… it looks….Shit…. OK… it looks good? It looks good. I think it looks good. It looks fine. Yeah… it looks alright.”

  2. Toronto’s gaggle of long, athletic wings gave the Knicks fits the night long; abusing them on turn-arounds and spins like a ballet review, and canning timely threes — contested and wide open alike — when it counted. Hardaway Jr. in particular got barbecued in isolation, the result — SURPRISE! — of undiscerning switches, especially early on.
  3. During the early stages of the third quarter, the Knicks trotted out a lineup of Murry, Melo, Metta, Bargs, and Chandler. You read that right – Melo at the two. I think? It was kind of a disaster. So Woody can go just ahead and file that whole episode in his failure cabinet, right between “ALL EUROS ALL THE TIME” and “JIM TODD TEAM BUILDING AQUARIUM FIELD TRIP”.
  4. I alluded to this at a few points earlier in the cap, but I’ve lately been fascinated – thanks to Metta in particular – by the seemingly disparate functions of preseason play: On the one hand, you want to give your vets as many real-time reps as possible; on the other, every possession that ends with a MWP fade-away left corner three with 14 seconds on the shot clock and not, say, a 1-3 P&R with Murry and Leslie on the right wing, kinda seems like a wasted opportunity. Isn’t it in the best interest of the team to – if not outright feed – at least defer to the hopefuls? Why do guys who have long been guaranteed a roster spot feel the need to try moves and shots they know won’t go over well during the preseason? Why are you falling asleep? That’s rude.
  5. I’ll be honest, I kinda zoned out during those three years of overtime. Mostly because I was busy compiling this:

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    Screen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.21.36 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-21 at 11.23.06 PMScreen Shot 2013-10-21 at 9.43.21 PM

Preseason Recap: Knicks 98, Wizards 89

New York Knicks 98 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 Washington Wizards
Andrea Bargnani, PF 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 3 BLK | 3 TO | 13 PTS | -4

THAT’S what we’re kinda sorta talking about! Kinda! Bargs forged an effective niche early, taking what the defense was giving, attacking the tin aggressively, and hitting his throws when he did. On defense, a 6-foot ball of dryer lint could be rolling towards him at one mile an hour, Bargnani still wouldn’t take the charge. He relied a little too much on his J in the second half, but did manage a trio of well-timed snuffs. Promising signs of progress, albeit mostly in one dimension.

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: No.

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: C%

Carmelo Anthony, SF 29 MIN | 8-17 FG | 5-6 FT | 5 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 22 PTS | +1

Prodigal Son blah blah pffffffffffft whatever. Like every preseason game Melo’s ever played, tonight’s tilt was less about mimicking real time flow or getting others going than it was lubing up the ol’ bucket launcher. That sounded a lot better in my head.

Anyway, some classic concerns turned up: Completely ignoring open teammates; taking plays off defensively; relying too much on defender-lulling dribbles and pull-ups. Just chalk it up to brandishing on behalf of the WB, and nothing else.

CHANCES OF MAKING THE TEAM: The same as me doing a Father Knickerbocker installment every week for the rest of the season, whether you fucking like it or not.

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: Melo’s elbow might be stronger than Kevlar at this point.

Tyson Chandler, C 6 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2

I think Tyson had full possession of the ball once, when he missed a mid-range jumper early in the game. Every other time he looked like the flailing receiver reaching for the wildly high thrown ball in Tecmo Super Bowl – no chance at all and holy shit did I just date myself. Basically he snagged three boards in six minutes and missed a couple of rotations on D. And sweated, kind of.

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: 100%

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: Probably.

Raymond Felton, PG 15 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 6 PTS | +5

God bless Raymond Felton, but you’d have a better chance getting Ted Cruz to start a Franklin Roosevelt Fan Club than you would getting Felton — or anyone, for that matter — to stay in front of John Wall consistently for 15 minutes. In fact, Ray had one and only one recourse: pull Wall down by his arm just as he was hitting 90 in transition. Which, amazingly, wasn’t called.

On offense, Ray was… exercising? His stroke looks noticeably less hitchy, and he continued to bound spry off the dribble. Works for me.

ODDS HE MAKES THE TEAM: 100%

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: No.

Iman Shumpert, SG 10 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -4

I don’t know who that bald-ass stunt double was, but damn if he didn’t pull off a good Shump impression: hitting a couple smooth jumpers, occasionally turning overzealous on defense, and throwing down a nuclear put-back that got by far the night’s biggest crowd rise.

Then, disaster, in the form of an ill-fated attempt at a purple nurple on a streaking John Wall. The result: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: SHUMPUNDRED%

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

Josh Powell, PF 19 MIN | 0-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +5

Productive in spurts, but didn’t do enough to assert himself as an end-of-bench option.

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: No.

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: No.

Ike Diogu, PF 23 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 10 PTS | -3

By far Diagu’s most impressive performance to date. The unthinking midrange jumpers make you cringe a little, but the confidence is there, and anyway his deftness around the rim more than makes up for it. He timed his rebounds well, boxed out effectively, and pretty much launched himself atop the 15th man fray. We’ll see if it lasts another week, but Ol Ike Diego (h/t: Mike Breen) is looking like he wants some of those stale-ass leftover media room cookies.

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: 65%

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: No.

Cole Aldrich, C 4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +8

COLE ALDRICH ANAGRAM FUN: Acid Cell Rho

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: Halo Circled

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: Cole ain’t got time to sprain.

Chris Smith, PG 7 MIN | 0-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -2

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Pablo Prigioni, PG 14 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | -6

Hit an open three, forced a feisty 10 second call late in the first half, had beautiful teeth. Not exactly sure when it happened, but Prigs apparently tweaked HIS elbow, too. The left one, but still: srsly?

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: ALL OF THE SECRETS

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: Whatever Spanish for “yes” is.

Beno Udrih, PG 26 MIN | 5-9 FG | 0-1 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | +24

Looked really, really good running the show, especially in the second half. He’s not the most fleet-footed defender, but he’s active, smart, and is able to use his deceptive size to hawk passing lanes. All but two shots were either wide open from deep or chippies in and around the paint – exactly what we need from him.

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: 100%

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: Be-NO!

Toure’ Murry, SG 25 MIN | 5-7 FG | 3-4 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | +11

No one benefited more from Shump’s and Pablo’s respective joint fails than Murry, who capitalized with cool, confident stretches of perceptive D, controlled offense, and timely jumpers. He still has a tendency to get caught in no man’s land on rotations and help defense, but the on-ball instincts – aided by absurd length and quick hands – are there in spades. Whether Toure’s NBA ride ends with a Chris Smith smirk, I have no idea. I do know, however, that he is a far, far better basketball player. And I don’t think I’m alone in this assessment.

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: 50/50

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: Yes. He sustained it punching the computer screen after finding out HE DOESN’T HAVE A FACE.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG 36 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 14 PTS | +8

It’s been a helter-skelter preseason for our lithe legacy, with moments of timely heroics interspersed with, well, terrible basketball. But that’s to be expected. Given extended burn, Junior looked light of foot and sweet of stroke, if lacking a bit in lateral quickness on the other end. He showed off keen athleticism on a third quarter off-handed transition reverse, deft touch on a couple of clang-around threes, and generally looked like, well, a legitimate NBA rotation player. His dad can go to hell.

ODDS OF MAKING THE TEAM: Tim Hardaway%

DID HE SPRAIN HIS ELBOW: No.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Seriously, what’s with the ObamaDrone3000 camera view? I felt like I was conducting science experiments on a bunch of Gatorade-addled mice.
  2. The Wizards’ plan was simple: Hawk the passing lanes, and get out in transition by any means necessary. The strategy paid dividends early, with the Knicks – seldom terrific in transition D – looking fairly uninterested in participating in a preseason track meet. The game’s pace eventually slowed, but for a few brief spells it definitely looked like the ‘Zards had a formula that could prove playoff-sealing come next Spring.
  3. Chris Herring pointed out that the Wizards were 47% on threes from the corner a year ago. Which explains why corner threes made up approximately 47% of their offense tonight. They would cool down eventually, but Washington seems particularly bent on exploiting this, most efficient of hoists. For their part, the Knicks weren’t too great at closing out, which will have to change as we enter the shit.
  4. The son of the guy who plowed Sarah Palin that one time isn’t half bad.
  5. The Knicks outlasted the Wizards with a combination of solid perimeter shooting and Washington sucking at shooting. Still, this is a team clearly on the rise; no longer a doormat, and hell-bent on nabbing one of the bottom three seeds. Which made it a good test, I think.

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: SCHOENE merely sorcery masked as science!

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: SCHOENE merely sorcery masked as science!

Originally in “The Old Post”, October the 16th of 1803.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 9.18.38 AMFestooned as we are upon an age wherein matters of basketball opinion have been made readily available by dint of a free and noble public press, that spittle rag New York Post notwithstanding, it is nigh impossible to divorce oneself from the cacophony of opinion that is its wont. And basket ball, that equally democratic sport which has brought under awning all manner of man, save for certain breeds of Mongols, is no exception in this regard.

As such, the painter’s easel of prospects levied upon our scarlet horses have run a predictable gamut, from a steadfast success to one more tempered, either by time’s corporal curses or the hiring of improved stock by our competitors. Chief among them that malicious jack-of-legs Moscovite, now charged with taming the feral elements of wild and mountainous Brooklyn, rendered tender rich thanks to a lucrative native mining practice involving the extraction of tiny pups and comely kittens theretofore fed into incinerators to unfreeze a frozen people’s frozen souls.

But even that aforementioned Post, in vein love with its clever titles and ignorant of the rusty-gutted attendant prose, would not stoop so low as one Kenneth Pelton, lately of Everett’s Sporting Post Nightly, heretofore termed E.S.P.N. for sake of brevity. Owing to a strangely named brand of sorcery called SCHOENE, Mr. Pelton has come to predict our squad, one calendar round removed from a decade’s pinnacle performance, to tally a mere 37 fellings of foes.

I shall now afford you, dear reader, enough time as is necessary to consume a soldier’s bottle of strip-me-naked, to drive this absurdist drivel the way of an almshouse chamber pot.

Sufficient? Be sure to sweep away the vomit, lest a pack of Irish catch the scent! For I now wish to delve deeper into the so-called “analysis” of this Mr. Pelton, Protestant in name and pocket square sensibilities, a cavalier Catholic in hanktelo opinion and a flagrant Josephus Rex besides. As the base of this gooseberry’s brew, the rancid carrots and onions, is the suggestion that our team’s unrivaled prowess in converting From Downtowns would necessarily suffer a regression. I know not from which Gypsy staging ground Mr. Pelton commandeered such a colloquial crystal ball, but it seems to me it has taken to deceiving, as if the stage of its contents were some Florentine bank! For it stands to reason that the elements of spacing and horsebladder movement which marked the campaign previous should remain intact, the familiarity betwixt man and fellow only sharpened by a summer of frequenting punch houses hand in hand!

The next bone of contention of Dr. Pelton, PhD E.S.P.N., is with our charges’ rotations, specifically how General Woodson would deign to allow Antonio Bargnani, failed capital conscript, more time about the parquet pitch than the Portuguese family of twenty and seven hitherto tasked with cleaning said floor. To be sure, Bargnani’s weaknesses, beyond an Italian heraldry pocked with boulder-movers, are well documented. While stationed amongst the ferals and fur trappers that make up England’s arctic consolation, Bargnani displayed a shooter’s judgment worse than a Turk about a cannonade; seized re-bounds with all the tenacity and enthusiasm of a legless Quaker; and exhibited a Trojan’s defensive instincts.

However, as was so aptly pointed out by our dear friend Mr. Joseph Flynn, a rare breed of tempered Pogue now writing for Toast’s Post, what Mr. Pelton fails to take into account, hewn as he is to an academician’s marble tower, are the rotational luxuries which our squad’s unmatched depth affords General Woodson. For if Bargnani does indeed prove more a nitsqueeger than a basket-baller, we are hardly bereft of alternatives. Ditto the prospects of our resident Black Jew, now forced to fulfill career’s end by way of wooden legs, which while sturdy by virtue of their Franklin patent, risk splintering still. From deities to dustmen, ours is a roster replete with resources, bolstered anew by the acquisitions of vagabond mystic Metta World Peace, seasoned Slav Bennedictus Udrih, and the various amateur draftings.

But lest you, dear reader, believe this correspondent’s fair discourse enough to uncloud the peepers of Mr. Pelton and E.S.P.N., a dose of caution. For this outlet, now delivered to every stoop and silver dinner plate the young nation over, has long committed itself to brandishing vindictive venom at the expense of our ‘Bocker brethren! Indeed Mr. Pelton, with his strange Maimonidenian mathematics, which puts to pedestal efficiency above prowess – as if this were business of fabric looms! – has long made his disdain clear as crystal! As such, is it better to engorge ourselves with rage, thereby granting credence to this wanton wizardry? Or shrug it off a feeble fly’s brandy-faced buzzing?

I say the latter, and with a laugh! For if Mr. Pelton’s can attribute his cherished SCHOENE acronym to a favorite former basket baller, as he has stated, then surely we, free citizens that we are, might offer up our own!

Servile Charlatans Hailing Only Esoteric Numbers?

Enemies!

— F.N.

ESPN 5-on-5: Knicks 2013-14 outlook

Hi! The boys and I had the pleasure of doing a 5-on-5 for ESPN’s NBA forecast. So here’s that:

1. What grade would you give the Knicks’ offseason?

Jim Cavan, KnickerBlogger: B. Yes, trading for Andrea Bargnani was risky. Yes, Masai Ujiri clowned them again. No, the Knicks’ small, mostly lateral moves might not be enough to keep pace in an improved East. But signing Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih, bringing back Pablo Prigioni — these are not insignificant moves. Former GM Glen Grunwald did a good job with barely a sliver of wiggle room.

Jared Dubin, Hardwood Paroxysm: B-. The Bargnani trade was questionable at best, but Grunwald had done an excellent job filling in the end of the bench on a limited budget with signings like Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak, Chris Copeland, Prigioni, Udrih and World Peace. Reassigning him to the role of adviser and re-hiring Steve Mills (who brought in Isiah Thomas last time he was around) is a puzzling decision.

Mike Kurylo, KnickerBlogger: C-. Good teams grab players like World Peace and Udrih, two guys who can complement a playoff team. Bad teams grab the rebounding-adverse Bargnani and the inconsistent Tim Hardaway Jr. And Congress is the only other body dysfunctional enough to do something like replace Grunwald days before training camp opens.

Israel Gutierrez, ESPN.com: C. As in Chaos. The Knicks didn’t have much flexibility to maneuver, so they did what they could. That translated to adding the inconsistent Bargnani and the volatile World Peace, creating a cluster of forwards who wouldn’t appear to complement their most important forward, Carmelo Anthony. It’ll be quite the challenge for Mike Woodson and his staff to get the best out of this group.

Robert Silverman, KnickerBlogger: C+, reflective of a mixed bag. While signing World Peace, Udrih and Prigioni to cheap deals was quite a coup, they also “reassigned” Grunwald five days before the start of camp for reasons that remain unknown. Equally mystifying is the slew of picks they surrendered to acquire Bargnani, offensive skills notwithstanding.

You can check the rest of the topics — which range from “most intriguing player” to “Have any of you ever actually asked to see Bob’s Clown College diploma?” — by clickin’ here.

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: To new seasons, twenty toasts too many!

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: To new seasons, twenty toasts too many!

Originally in “The Old Post”, October the 10th of 1803.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 9.18.38 AMEditor’s Note: The following transcript has been stitched together based on a stack of mostly indecipherable notes found strewn beside our humble correspondent as he lay asleep along Canal Street, hare fully swallowed and besotted by gin, the product, we suspect, of wanton excitement at the commencement of the new basket ball season. The dispatch begins in a manner cogent and coherent, but falls asunder quite apace.

To our readers, who would require an in-kind barrel to translate the good Father’s original intents, we offer our most sympathetic apologies, and assure you that he, being bed ridden but mending since, will return post haste to proper form.

To life! To joy! To that magnificent clock master cast upon the heavens, who has dispatched in three short weeks half of the Irish mongrels by way of clever cholera! We have endured yet another summer of basket ball purgatory, of the contents of chamber pots filling the streets and bequeathing their own systems of weather, of fortnightly Chinese opium shipments which turn Sundays morning into Golgotha after The Return, of endless chattering on base ball, that irretrievably boorish and boring game of tobacco indulgence, strange upper lip facial hair, and wares best reserved for winter kindling.

From the glass hewn offerings of a trusted Dutch comrade, who distills fine spirits by way of both honest yeoman’s study and spices pilfered from Haitians, a Toast! And I, in my finest roast meat clothes, do not hesitate to accept! Our first contest, with those ancient Northern rivals so unfortunately named for that degenerate tuber sucking race of penniless Papists, only on the surface appeared of little consequence, being as it was three full weeks ahead of officially sanctioned play. For enemies are enemies, be they met on the pitch, along a Cathedral’s aisle, or in an alms queue, lacking all their limbs. Mercy — pshaw! Leave it to the nuns and nannies!

Another toast! This to a contest promptly started at half past seven, with both squads joined in play of a virile variety uncommon within October’s typically amateurish offerings. Crispus De Anthony, that sturdy stalwart of the Caribbean, cut a picture of preparedness and deft devotion. A toast to that!

Emmanuel Shumpert, he of the [Pythagorean?] hair, commandeered a marksmen’s countenance, stroking his jump shots in a manner decisive and minus a young soldier’s nerves. A chip about his [shoulder?], secured by the prospects of Earl Smith prospective race for starter’s status, serves the younger well! Another toast!

Thaddeus Chandler! Lately the unflattering subject of renderings which have made him look herring gutted, his legs unsturdy [switches?]! His movements unfurl strong and true. A toast to form’s return! A toast to [INDECIPHERABLE]!

A quick letting loose of water, and this [humble?] scribe has [returned?]. But not with joy! [Bargnani?], that [INDECIPHERABLE] bag of [INDECIPHERABLE]! That oil haired Beau Nasty! How he stumbles about, a blundering bull [calf?] to slaughter! For certain [syphilis?] has afflicted his brain, the result no doubt of dalliances with Drury Lane vestals! Another swizzle of gin, this one to that oversized [Roman’s?] imminent departure aboard the first God permit out of town!

[Timothy Hardaway?]! Lo, for this supposed sage has [sinned?] in saddling the wrong horse, and decrying your selection in the [draft?] as dirty [nepotism?]! For yours is a shot staid and pure! The basket ball [equivalent?] of a harpist’s song heaven sent to Saturday drawing rooms! Yours in a spot secure, and I for one [shall?] bring my ass to anchor as penance!

To Ronald Artest, that strange [mystic?] and curious character, no longer a paper skull, a double toast! May your counsel aim as true as your [jumpshot?], which you deploy absent an actual [jump?]!

A toast to the second [half’s?] beginning! Bung our eyes let [us?]! Let us ride! Ride as if we were fetching the [midwife?]!

[INDECIPHERABLE]

Having imbibed beyond my share, I have returned from casting my considerable, [junipered?] accounts upon the German [sausage?] vendor, including that poor man’s [INDECIPHERABLE] and am [embarrassed?] at my present station. To stave off two days sleep – a toast!

Do my [bespectacled?] eyes deceive me! A lead of 23 points! A toast to [INDECIPHERABLE]! Accuse me of hyperbole! These [men?] are destined for championship gold!

Curses! For I have fallen asleep in the arena [stands?], and awake [INDECIPHERABLE] to see all manner of women and children cleared a full dozen rows from my [presence?]! There is [blood?] about my cheek, and I may have [soiled?] myself! Further, I fear having reached for a Piper’s wife, and received the brunt of her bejeweled [gypsy?] fist! Worse still! Those loutish [leprechauns?], those Papist [Paddy-whacks?] have rekindled last spring’s night terrors! The lead has been [whittled?] to nine! And now five! [INDECIPHERABLE] [INDECIPHERABLE] [INDECIPHERABLE]

[TIMMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOOOTHYYYYYYYYY?]!!!!!!!

[INDECIPHERABLE]

Thomas [Jefferson?], that infernal [agrarian?]! The whole of our [nation’s?] mint FOR NAPOLEON’S SWAMPS!

[INDECIPHERABLE]

— F.N.

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: A New Pride’s Purge! Dastardly Dolan forsakes tempered Grunwald for tumult of yore

Father Knickerbocker Knows Best: A New Pride’s Purge! Dastardly Dolan forsakes tempered Grunwald for tumult of yore

Originally in “The Old Post”, October the 3rd of 1803.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 9.18.38 AMAfter two calendars of capable management, punctuated by personnel decisions on the whole admirable and only questionable in trivial fits, Gerhardt Grunwald, chief administrator of our beloved basket ballers and that increasingly rare breed of even-tempered German, has been removed from his post in what appears a flagrant attempt at turning house intrigue into something out of Boccaccio!

Not since that beady eyed vulture, that wooden-toothed gin swimmer, that pock-faced gingamob Oliver Cromwell instigated from a distance the infamous Pride’s Purge, forever altering the course of that rotted North Sea Isle now more slippery and slimy than a whale’s carcass, has such a scrupulous coup been couched in such shameless sentiments!

In his stead, Mesiter Dolan has twisted in that rustiest of broken screws, Stephen Mills, whose second tenure commenced with the creation of a new position, Team Constable, immediately given to Mills’ Doberman Pinscher, who is unprepared for the task at hand, being that he has for five years been encased in a tin urn.

For the unawares, allow your humble Plutarch a brief sojourn down the sordid, sickening events of Mr. Mill’s previous, more clandestine occupancy. This is the man – nay monster! – whose faculties led him to procure Isiah Thomas, who proceeded over an epoch more rife with futility and failure than the whole of Italia’s days since the Vandal sackings. Isiah Thomas, who forced his sugar stick upon the Eve’s custom House belonging to that poor administrator, Anna Sanders. Who piled upon Edward Curry and Jeremiah James a pair of monumental largesse, only to watch them wallow and whither beneath the weight of their own butter binges. Who cast himself with blindfold upon the occasion of lauded Pointe Guarde Samuel Marbury’s sexual escapades betwixt the doors of a public carriage.

Mr. Mills was present for the full, and now he has returned, a prodigal buffoon, presumably to convert next winter’s woodstove cords into bricks of dollars bound with bands of gilt silk. All the while, the previous pair of managers, the sagacious Donald Walsh and the aforementioned, wholly capable Teuton – a first! – Mr. Grunwald, have found themselves divorced from the weight of their accomplishments, left to languish whilst our impish proprietor waddles his way to disaster, an interbred Harold at Hastings.

That Mr. Mills arrives with a reputation for sound business instincts and a positive report amongst players from throughout the Continental Basket Ball Guild, means less than a new lectern at the Vatican. For all who know of Dolan’s dealings understand the man practically holds a license to print press his own tender. What good, then, are such “sound business instincts”, when the paramount party will profit regardless? Mr. Mills could put to contract a triptych of wingless pigeons, two Welsh coal-suckers, and a whelping Labrador bitch, then stand idly by as our squad melts more quickly than a Frenchman in the vanguard, and would it matter a scratch? Our warriors could win nary a contest for the next two scores, and Dastardly Dolan, that bacon faced blowhard, would still take to stages and marshal his transcendently awful jug band to rapturous publick vomiting.

And yet, perhaps Mr. Mills’ lengthy sabbatical will prove to have been epiphanic, and the brain rot that wrought such terror inducing episodes during his previous reign will have been cured, perhaps by one of the city’s more innocuous Caribbean practitioners of the black magick.

Perhaps, now that our squad has enjoyed the warm champagnes of light success, the situation in which Mr. Mills finds himself will prove more malleable, in a manner that is both constructive and duly lacking our player’s doing the goat’s jig in a creaky carriage with some toothless pintle merchant.

To whom are we crediting such hilarious hypotheticals? These are the Knickerbockers! There is scarce a shred of chance in suggesting this gatekeeper’s gambit will result in syphilitic decision making; a paranoia more debilitating than a Spaniard in the Inquisition; and personnel shufflings doomed to rival the Pontiff’s Cardinal Mouthbreathers; and a reputation about the Guild which has long gone the way of a one-legged whore. We count them all as matters not of chance, but of fate. For ours is the team of tumult; the squad of squanderings; the collective of collagenic noggins!

To save our season, it rests upon the broad shoulders of Crispus De Anthony; upon the sinewy switch legs of Thaddeus Chandler; upon the majestic follicles of Emmanuel Shumpert; upon the curious constitution of Ronald Artest; upon the charmingly strange mumblings of our Argentine conscript whose name contains far too many vowels; upon the gut of Raymond Felton filled with all manner of vitalitous produce; upon the sawdust knee sockets of our beloved black Hebrew; and upon the furtive scowls of Master Woodson, who lately received fresh eyebrow implants, courtesy of a fine local ewe and dynamic in their movements. For, when it comes to these New York Knickerbockers, the basket ball brawn has become the lone brains!

— F.N.