The way I see it, the same thing is wrong with both the Knicks and Nets – location.
They are competing with each other and everything else in the New York market, and that is a dangerous thing for a sports franchise.
The operative mentality for a New York team is that fans in Big Town will tolerate only a winner. (See: Steinbrenner, George, in Tyler Kepner’s excellent analysis of the Jacoby Ellsbury signing in Wednesday’s NY Times.)
While the Gene Michael vein of home-grown superstars has worn down, the Yankees keep trying to dominate with players who made their mark elsewhere. It’s a tricky formula for a baseball team, but much more problematical for a basketball team with a smaller roster, less margin for error, that decides it needs a quick fix to win a championship.
Yes, money can create a championship team, as Pat Riley did in Miami, but that involves brains and vision, all lacking in Madison Square Garden, and maybe in Brooklyn, too. But a team can also be built for the long haul, as the Spurs did.
The Knicks have been doomed since ownership blew up a nice team that was working in unison and brought in the empty calories of Carmelo Anthony. Anybody could see Anthony cannot be the core of a championship team because he lacks the leadership and teamwork skills. But James Dolan went for the points. His puppet regime then let Jeremy Lin get away because Anthony iced him out.
Now the Knicks are stuck with old players falling apart, Anthony gunning it up from anywhere, and a rebellious fan base paying insane money for the privilege to boo.
Dolan deserves it for his arrogance and his distance. He always seems to have a rehearsal for his rock band. What a dilettante. The Boss always backed up his moves, right or wrong, in person.
The Nets are also suffering from the quick fix syndrome. Owned by the Russian, Mikhail D. Prokhorov, they tried for a transplant of the Boston Celtics’ success, in a trade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry. What they missed was the Celtics’ coach, Doc Rivers, who was heading west. Instead, they got a Steinbrenner version of Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson – too expensive, and too late.
Now the Nets players are falling apart, and the coach, Jason Kidd is pulling a bush trick like spilling a soda on the court to force a timeout and pushing out his hand-picked assistant Lawrence Frank. Nothing worse than not being ready for prime time in New York.
There is good basketball news in New York, however. One of the New York teams will win a game Thursday night – inasmuch as they are playing each other.
Your take on why the two New York teams both stink?
Measuring Covid Deaths, by David Leonhardt. July 17, 2023. NYT online.
The United States has reached a milestone in the long struggle against Covid: The total number of Americans dying each day — from any cause — is no longer historically abnormal….
After three horrific years, in which Covid has killed more than one million Americans and transformed parts of daily life, the virus has turned into an ordinary illness.
The progress stems mostly from three factors:
First, about three-quarters of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine shot.
Second, more than three-quarters of Americans have been infected with Covid, providing natural immunity from future symptoms. (About 97 percent of adults fall into at least one of those first two categories.)
Third, post-infection treatments like Paxlovid, which can reduce the severity of symptoms, became widely available last year.
“Nearly every death is preventable,” Dr. Ashish Jha, who was until recently President Biden’s top Covid adviser, told me. “We are at a point where almost everybody who’s up to date on their vaccines and gets treated if they have Covid, they rarely end up in the hospital, they almost never die.”
That is also true for most high-risk people, Jha pointed out, including older adults — like his parents, who are in their 80s — and people whose immune systems are compromised. “Even for most — not all but most —immuno-compromised people, vaccines are actually still quite effective at preventing against serious illness,” he said. “There has been a lot of bad information out there that somehow if you’re immuno-compromised that vaccines don’t work.”
That excess deaths have fallen close to zero helps make this point: If Covid were still a dire threat to large numbers of people, that would show up in the data.
One point of confusion, I think, has been the way that many Americans — including we in the media — have talked about the immuno-compromised. They are a more diverse group than casual discussion often imagines.
Most immuno-compromised people are at little additional risk from Covid — even people with serious conditions, such as multiple sclerosis or a history of many cancers. A much smaller group, such as people who have received kidney transplants or are undergoing active chemotherapy, face higher risks.
Covid’s toll, to be clear, has not fallen to zero. The C.D.C.’s main Covid webpage estimates that about 80 people per day have been dying from the virus in recent weeks, which is equal to about 1 percent of overall daily deaths.
The official number is probably an exaggeration because it includes some people who had virus when they died even though it was not the underlying cause of death. Other C.D.C. data suggests that almost one-third of official recent Covid deaths have fallen into this category. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases came to similar conclusions.
Dr. Shira Doron, the chief infection control officer at Tufts Medicine in Massachusetts, told me that “age is clearly the most substantial risk factor.” Covid’s victims are both older and disproportionately unvaccinated. Given the politics of vaccination, the recent victims are also disproportionately
Republican and white.
Each of these deaths is a tragedy. The deaths that were preventable — because somebody had not received available vaccines and treatments — seem particularly tragic. (Here’s a Times guide to help you think about when to get your next booster shot.)
From the great Maureen Dowd:
As I write this, I’m in a deserted newsroom in The Times’s D.C. office. After working at home for two years during Covid, I was elated to get back, so I could wander around and pick up the latest scoop.
But in the last year, there has been only a smattering of people whenever I’m here, with row upon row of empty desks. Sometimes a larger group gets lured in for a meeting with a platter of bagels."
--- Dowd writes about the lost world of journalists clustered in newsrooms at all hours, smoking, drinking, gossipping, making phone calls, typing, editing.
"Putting out the paper," we called it.
Much more than nostalgia.