Aside from the UConn women, the futility that is basketball in the Tri-State region continues to grow. After losing to the Dallas Mavericks last night, the New Jersey Nets have inched ever closer to achieving the NBA’s all-time worst regular season record thereby surpassing the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers whose record was 9-73. The only hope for the team would be if all their remaining games were against the Knicks, Bobcats, and AARP member Celtics. They do have a game against Charlotte on April 12th so maybe there’s a little hope. This amount of hope; however, equates to the chances that James Cameron’s ego isn’t the size of Jupiter. New Jersey is a disaster. Do they have cap room? Some. Would you, if you were a top free agent, want to sign with the Nets and play 41 games a season for the next 4-5 years in a swamp on a team that should be dumped in the East River? Didn’t think so. But hey, Jay Z is part owner; you’d get to hang out with him all the time! Wait, what’s that, Hova’s at the Knicks game? Really? But, but he doesn’t even own that team. Wait, now he’s hanging out with LeBron? Michael Jordan spends more time playing H.O.R.S.E. with the Bobcats than Jay Z does with the Nets.
The future is bleak in the swamps of the “Garden State.” It gets even worse for them as the Mavericks continue to win this season as the Nets hold the Mavericks 2010 first round draft pick. They received it in the Devin Harris for Jason Kidd swap. (I wonder who got the better of that deal.) I’m pretty sure John Wall isn’t going to be around late in the draft. The Nets’ only goal should be to win 10 games. They only need three more. They could manage that, right? If they do, they’ll only be the second worse team of all time ahead of the aforementioned 76ers and just behind the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks and the 1997-98 Denver Nuggets who both had 11-71 records.
Just across the river from the swamps, lays the Mecca of basketball: Madison Square Garden. However, unlike Mecca there are no great pilgrimages made to this holy arena. There are only tourists stopping by to catch a game while on vacation and a lone figure draped in orange and blue sitting courtside who bares a striking resemblance to Mars Blackmon. MSG does fill occasionally, but only when other prophets make their way into the city. Disciples of the one they call King and the one with four gold rings from the city of angels flock to see and hear them preach in the once most holy of destinations. But they are not the first to create their own legend and religion on the hardwood grounds that were laid before their time. Before them came others, two especially would terrorize the Garden temple and its worshipers. One had the shooting touch that was like a dagger to those in attendance. He drove right to the heart of their religion eight times in mere seconds. The other performed feats of skill and gravity defying ability as he flew across the court stunning and silencing the crowd as he preached dogma. Long ago this Mecca was shaken from its foundation. Even Mars Blackmon, for a time, worshiped with the visiting prophet who made his presence felt not on the ground but through the air itself. His religion and culture would never be the same. MSG’s religion has been permanently tainted by outside prophets including one that may truly be a deity.
There may be a light upon the horizon, however. Could a new prophet journey to the Mecca of Madison Square Garden and revive the holy temple and bring followers out of the darkness? Only time can answer this question. Until that time comes, followers of the old religion will have to come to terms with nine-consecutive years of drought and famine which they have endured.
In all reality, religious overtones aside, the New York Knicks are bad. Losing to the San Antonio Spurs last night, in San Antonio (where they have not won a game since 2003), secured the ninth consecutive losing season for the Knicks. The Knicks haven’t had a winning season since going 48-34 in 2000-01. It is unsure; however, whether this is the largest issue the Knicks have dealt with this season. They lost to the Dallas Mavericks by 50, yes, 50, points this season. On Saturday they fell to the lowly Nets. During this game the Knicks did set an NBA record though. They attempted 18 three-pointers during the game and failed to connect on a single one. The Isaiah Years may be finally over for the team with only a few of his contract players left but the Knicks are still smarting from the beating they took during those and tumultuous lean years. New York has done its very best to work deals and trades to acquire as many expiring contracts as it can so that the team will have the cap room to be able to lure one if not two top free agents over the summer. However, the price they paid was in draft picks. If New York has any hopes of winning, they are for the present and not the long term future.
Yes, the region is in Basketball limbo. Well, Basketball hell. Even the UConn men wont be making the big dance this season. It has been marred by over-hyped players and large amounts of money essentially spent on nothing. The problems range from the hardwood to the mahogany desks in management offices. The Knicks and Nets are soaked in disappointment and have been for years. Don’t expect things to change anytime soon unless better decisions are made by the men in suits and Stevie Franchise keeps hiding under whatever rock he now calls home.