Anyone can have a blog about an NBA team, but some set themselves apart from the rest with the dedication and valuable insight they bring to their craft. We’ll be sharing some knowledge from these dialed-in writers on Hoops Rumors in a new feature called Top Bloggers. As with The Beat, our ongoing series of interviews with NBA beat writers, it’s part of an effort to bring Hoops Rumors readers ever closer to the pulse of the teams they follow.
Next up is Seth Rosenthal of SB Nation’s Posting & Toasting, where Seth is both the founder as well as the editor-in-chief. You can follow Seth on Twitter at @seth_rosenthal and click here to check out his stories. You can also follow Posting & Toasting at @ptknicksblog.
Hoops Rumors: Do you think that the Knicks will seriously entertain the notion of trading Carmelo Anthony? If so, what factor(s) would push the franchise in that direction? What teams do you think ‘Melo would be willing to waive his no trade clause for to allow a deal to get done?
Seth Rosenthal: I don’t think they will, but if they do, it will be because ‘Melo demanded a trade. That possibility shouldn’t even come up otherwise. It has to be his idea. Based on previous interest, I figure he’d like L.A. or Chicago.
Hoops Rumors: The specter of Isiah Thomas still looms large within the Knicks organization, and apparently will for as long as James Dolan owns the team. How real a scenario is it that Thomas would rejoin the Knicks front office? What sort of backlash would you expect from the fanbase if Thomas were indeed to make his return?
Seth Rosenthal: I don’t think Isiah will join the Knicks in any real, official capacity (“advisor” again? Maybe.), at least while Phil Jackson is president. If he did, I think that’d be the last straw for a lot of Knicks fans.
Hoops Rumors: Team president Phil Jackson didn’t land a top-tier free agent this offseason, but he did make some intriguing additions to the roster. Which free agent addition do you feel was the strongest, and why? On the flip side, which offseason addition is most likely to disappoint? Why?
Seth Rosenthal: I think Robin Lopez is going to make things easier for everyone. On offense, he’s fantastic at setting screens, making basic passes, and cleaning up around the rim — just opening space for the four other players. On defense, he holds his own and works well as part of a unit. I think he’ll fit wonderfully and earn that big contract the Knicks gave him as long as he stays healthy.
Since I think any reasonable person expects Derrick Williams to play pretty poorly, I reckon the signing most likely to disappoint is Arron Afflalo. He’s had a weirdly up-and-down career and doesn’t move like he used to, so it’s entirely possible his shot betrays him and he’s a possession-swallower on offense while offering nothing on the other end.
Hoops Rumors: The draft day trade of Tim Hardaway Jr. to Atlanta reportedly upset Carmelo Anthony, who was a fan of the young swingman. I happen to love this trade, and believe that Hardaway needed a change of scenery to continue to develop as a player. Plus, I really like the addition of Jerian Grant, who fits a clear need for the team. What are your thoughts on the trade, and do you think that Jackson gave up on Hardaway too quickly?
Seth Rosenthal: Yes, that’s a fantastic trade. Grant may or may not be an NBA player, but dealing one of the least efficient rotation players in the league — a guy whose production degraded with each opportunity — for a first-round pick of any kind is a coup. Maybe Hardaway just wasn’t happy or comfortable, but I had no faith in his ability to improve in New York.
Hoops Rumors: The Knicks had a top-five pick for the first time since 1986, when the team drafted Kenny Walker. The selection of Kristaps Porzingis at No. 4 overall this year was widely debated, mainly because of the time it will likely take for him to develop. What are your thoughts on the pick, and what kind of production do you expect from the young Latvian this season?
Seth Rosenthal: Kristaps wouldn’t have been my pick, but the fact that the Knicks took what some perceived to be a gamble and didn’t just invest their pick in the oldest, most established, “readiest” prospect tells me there will actually be some balance to their team-building approach. It was a good sign that Phil Jackson isn’t focusing exclusively on wins during Carmelo Anthony’s contract — he appears to be weighing short-term and long-term equally so there can be a team around ‘Melo *and* a team once he leaves someday.
As for Kristaps himself, I’ve been really pleasantly surprised by the little I’ve seen of him. He moved so well in Summer League and particularly impressed with his defensive timing and footwork. I don’t think he’s going to be a consistently positive player in his rookie year, but I believe he’s ready for minutes, and I think there’s some chance he becomes a star. Definitely seems like he has the temperament to become one — it’ll just be a product of how seriously he and the Knicks take his development.
Hoops Rumors: And finally … it’s time to get your 2015/16 season prediction for the Knicks. What do you think the team’s overall record will be, and if you think the playoffs are in the cards, what seed will they earn?
Seth Rosenthal: I see them at somewhere between liiiiike 33 and 38 wins? And I figure they’ll be on the edge of the playoff race, maybe just narrowly missing it in the 9th or 10th seed. Which is fine.