August 29, 2016, 11:38 am
“Reach for the stars so if you fall you land on a cloud.”
A wise man once said that- maybe not wise, but the point remains. Phil Jackson’s approach towards goal-setting is apparently far more selective.
Back in 2014-15, Jackson predicted the Knicks would make the playoffs. They didn’t. This offseason he’s got those heights in mind once more, thanks to what some (literally dozens, maybe) are calling a superteam.
But in between, Jackson’s goal for the Knicks was 35 wins. That little nugget came from Charley Rosen’s chronicles of Jackson over at Today’s Fastbreak.
If you’re not rebuilding, it sure looks like a kick in the groin for management to think that a 35-47 record is right in the wheelhouse. For an organization that likes to talk about changing the culture of the recently futile franchise, setting a goal like that is hardly encouraging. Getting better takes time, certainly, but it’s not good to know that you’re hoping to settle in towards the middle of the draft lottery.
The Zen Master deserves a little credit for being realistic, but that sort of thinking probably doesn’t sit well with players who didn’t sign up to run the treadmill of mediocrity. Any prideful professional this side of Sam Hinkie would hate to hear that the team’s decision makers are merely hoping to eye the playoff race from a safe distance.
It’s especially painful for a team that has longed to be good; one that relied slightly too long on big money deals to fill the marquee without considering the on-court product’s actually efficacy. A team that finally has a promising young piece to get excited about and a coach who might maximize everyone’s abilities instead of jamming square pegs into round holes.
Things appear to be turning around, and win totals in the 30’s are a part of the road back to relevancy. It just doesn’t sit right that that’s the end goal.
As for the 2015-16 Knicks? They finished at 32-50. The bar was just a touch too high.
April 22, 2019, 7:27 pmBlake Griffin - F - Detroit Pistons
Blake Griffin (left knee soreness) is active for Monday's Game 4 against the Bucks, as expected.
Griffin was listed as probable but there was pretty much zero doubt about whether or not he'd play with Detroit facing elimination. We'll see if they can extend this series tonight, even with their best player clearly working at less than 100 percent health.
Source: Keith Langlois on Twitter
April 22, 2019, 6:48 pmMalcolm Brogdon - G - Milwaukee Bucks
Mike Budenholzer expects to have a firm target date for Malcolm Brogdon (partial right plantar fascia tear) in the next 3-to-5 days.
Brogdon has been out since mid-March and remains on track to meet the original 6-to-8 week timetable, though he hasn't done any scrimmaging yet. It's still anticipated that Brogdon will be back in the mix some time in the second round. Once he's up to speed we'll see less George Hill, Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton.
Source: Matt Velazquez on Twitter
April 22, 2019, 5:36 pmChris Boucher - F - Toronto Raptors
Chris Boucher (back spasms) has been ruled out ahead of Tuesday's Game 5 with the Magic.
Boucher was briefly taken off the injury report ahead of Game 4 but ended up being ruled out anyway. He's highly unlikely to see the floor at all in the postseason, healthy or not.
Source: NBA Injury Report
April 22, 2019, 5:34 pmJoel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) is probable ahead of Tuesday's Game 5 against the Nets.
Embiid played it coy with his status earlier today but we'd expect to see him out there in a closeout opportunity. Ending this quickly would give him some additional rest with the second round starting on the weekend at the earliest, so a focused effort would give Philly benefits on multiple fronts. Embiid's played through the injury after missing Game 3 and hasn't looked too hampered in dominating Brooklyn up front.
Source: NBA Injury Report
April 22, 2019, 1:49 pmJoel Embiid - F/C - Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid (left knee soreness) wouldn't commit to playing in Game 5 vs. the Nets on Tuesday.
Embiid said that "We've got to keep them guessing" and it's highly likely he doesn't even know whether or not he's going to play yet. He's been a true game-time decision for the entire series and that's not going to change so stay tuned for updates closer to tip off.
Source: Keith Pompey on Twitter
April 22, 2019, 12:54 pmEd Davis - C - Brooklyn Nets
Ed Davis (ankle) is considered to be questionable going into Tuesday's Game 5 vs. the 76ers.
Davis was a big part in the Nets' Game 1 win and his rebounding could serve to help Brooklyn out a ton. They just look outmatched by Joel Embiid and Boban Marjanovic and Davis could provide another big man presence down low. This could be the last game of the series so Davis' status should be a big story coming into the game.
Source: Brian Lewis on Twitter
April 22, 2019, 11:52 amJeff Green - F - Washington Wizards
Jeff Green expressed that he would like to return and play for the Wizards during the 2019-2020 season.
"I would love to come back," Green said. "Great set of guys on this team. I loved playing with Brad [Beal], John [Wall]." Green was very consistent and was on a friendly contract, but the direction in which the organization wants to go remains unclear. Green may need to find a new home given the plethora of depth the Wizards have at the forward position.
Source: Chase Hughes of NBC Washington
April 22, 2019, 12:42 amRussell Westbrook - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook went 5-for-21 from the field to finish with 14 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and two treys in Sunday's 98-111 Game 4 loss to the Blazers.
Time and again in this series, it's been evident that Damian Lillard has been playing at a higher level than Westbrook and tonight was a fine example. Lillard was able to shake off his early shooting struggles and come up big in the second half, but Westbrook was still forcing shots and appeared to be on the back foot for most of the game. He's best when he's the one taking it to his opponents. A reactive Westbrook is simply not the star the Thunder need right now, if they want to salvage any hopes of coming back in this first-round series.
April 22, 2019, 12:36 amDennis Schroder - G - Oklahoma City Thunder
Dennis Schroder mirrored his 17-point performance from Friday with another 17-point game in Sunday's loss to the Blazers.
Schroder shot 6-of-12 from the field and added three rebounds, three assists, two 3s and one steal to the box score tonight. Aside from him though, the Thunder's bench was deafeningly quiet. He cannot carry the load of the second unit's scoring output by his lonesome, especially when they're faced up against a team with multiple weapons like the Blazers. For now, the Thunder can only hope he keeps this up and that the other reserves will follow suit.
April 22, 2019, 12:32 amJerami Grant - F - Oklahoma City Thunder
Jerami Grant made just 4-of-10 shots from the field on Sunday to finish with 11 points, nine rebounds, two assists, three triples and two steals in 34 minutes.
Grant's impact on the defensive end has been invaluable to the Thunder in this series and it was nice to see him active on the glass tonight, especially with Steven Adams being relatively quiet on that front with seven boards while adding six points, one assist, one steal and one block. Unfortunately for the Thunder, Portland's forwards, Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu outplayed and out-hustled them on both ends of the floor.