NBA Power Rankings Vol. 7

  1. Boston Celtics 18-4 (-)
  2. Houston Rockets 16-4 (Up 1)
  3. Golden State Warriors 15-6 (Down 1)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers 14-7 (Up 2)
  5. San Antonio Spurs 13-7 (Down 1)
  6. Toronto Raptors 12-7 (Down 1)
  7. Detroit Pistons 13-6 (Up 2)
  8. Minnesota Timberwolves 12-9 (Down 1)
  9. Portland Trail Blazers 13-8 (Up 2)
  10. Washington Wizards 11-9 (Down 2)
  11. Denver Nuggets 11-9 (Down 1)
  12. Philadelphia 76ers 11-8 (Up 3)
  13. Milwaukee Bucks 10-9 (-)
  14. New Orleans Pelicans 11-9 (Up 2)
  15. Indiana Pacers 12-9 (Up 4)
  16. New York Knicks 10-10 (Down 2)
  17. Oklahoma City Thunder 8-11 (Down 5)
  18. Miami Heat 10-10 (Up 4)
  19. Utah Jazz 10-11 (Up 4)
  20. Memphis Grizzlies 7-12 (Down 3)
  21. Orlando Magic 8-13 (Down 3)
  22. Charlotte Hornets 8-11 (Down 1)
  23. Los Angeles Lakers 8-12 (Down 2)
  24. Los Angeles Clippers 8-11 (Up 2)
  25. Phoenix Suns 8-14 (Down 1)
  26. Brooklyn Nets 7-13 (Down 1)
  27. Sacramento Kings 6-15 (-)
  28. Atlanta Hawks 4-16 (Up 1)
  29. Dallas Mavericks 5-16 (Up 1)
  30. Chicago Bulls 3-16 (Down 2)
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Enes Kanter proves his value without even being on the court

Enes Kanter has sat the last three games for the New York Knicks due to back spasms. During that three game span the Knicks have not win a game, and that includes an ugly loss to the 4-16 Atlanta Hawks. Kristaps Porzingis has missed a game as well during this three-game losing streak, but what has been the one constant? No Enes Kanter.

Kanter is known for his offense and rebounding, while not being a very good defender. However, I think he plays a bigger role on the defensive end than he is given credit for and what the statistics say. Including the last three games, the Knicks are allowing 104.7 points per game. During the three-game losing streak without Kanter, the Knicks are allowing a whopping 112 points per game. That includes 116 points to the Hawks, who are averaging only 102.2 points per game. The reason may not be because of the absence of Kanter, but I would say it has at least a bit to do with it. When looking at the offensive side of things it is obvious that the Knicks are dearly missing Kanter. The Knicks are averaging 104 points per game through 20 games this year. However, during this three-game losing streak, they are only averaging 99 points per game, which is tied for 4th worst in the league over the last three games.

Let’s take a look at Kanter’s rankings among NBA Centers who have played at least 300 minutes through November 27th.

  • 90.6 FT% (1st)
  • 24.26 PER (4th)
  • 63.5 FG% (5th)
  • 3.7 Offensive Rebounds Per Game (5th)
  • 3.0 Estimated Wins Added (7th)
  • 90.7 Value Added (8th)
  • 10.2 Rebounds Per Game (11th)
  • 13.6 PPG (13th)
  • 105.3 Offensive Rating (15th)

Kanter has been playing very well for the Knicks this year, but he has really proven how valuable he is to this team in his absence. He adds not only production, but leadership and a spark whenever he is on the court. In the first 20 games this season, it is looking like Enes Kanter will be a cornerstone for this franchise moving forward. Kanter has resumed basketball activities today and he hopes to play Wednesday against the Heat. Knick fans are praying that he does as it is becoming clear that the Knicks need Kanter to win.

The Story of Valentina Allen: Half the Heart, but Twice the Fight

On February 15, 2013 Danielle and Ryan Allen gave birth to their second child, Valentina. However, this beautiful baby girl was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) 20 weeks into Danielle’s pregnancy, but Valentina was quite the fighter.

Throughout the pregnancy, Danielle and Ryan knew they had to make a very difficult decision. They visited several hospitals and received many recommendations from different doctors. Most did not give Valentina much of a chance at all. However, one hospital would match Valentina’s fight. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia gave her the fighting chance that the parents needed to hear.

The birth of Valentina, which was a question mark in itself, was a success. When examining her condition, the doctors realized not only was she born with half a heart, but also what was on the left should have been on the right and vice versa. This made every surgery even more difficult.

Valentina went through countless surgeries before she did not have any more fight left in her. On May 12, 2015, at just two years old, Valentina passed. Many looked at this as a battle that was lost. However, those same people did not realize that the battle was just beginning.

Danielle and Ryan could have sat back and grieved, which would have been completely understandable, but they did not do that. They were inspired by their daughter’s two-year fight and they continue till this day to raise money and fight for other’s who are in the same shoes that Valentina once was.

Their story and fight has inspired others to join along. The battle started off small with small donations, and wristbands and t-shirts being sold in Valentina’s name. However, it continued to grow. In the two years since her passing, Danielle and Ryan have raised nearly $200,000 through various fundraisers. Most recently, the Angels of the Bay Foundation donated over $40,000 in Valentina’s name to CHOP. The family also collects toys during the holiday season to bring to the hospital so the kids who are spending their days there have something to bring them joy. The ultimate goal is to have a cardiology examining room at CHOP to be named in Valentina’s honor.

The fight is far from over and people are still getting on board. I encourage you to help continue this fight and hopefully a cure can be found. There are various treatments for patients who are diagnosed with HLHS, but a cure is yet to be found. Some do live with this disease, but there are complications that they face their whole lives. They have to deal with taking medicine day after day, check-ups too often, and even additional surgery may be required. Some patients are lucky enough to receive heart transplants, but even then the fight does not stop. These patients have to take medicines for the rest of their lives to prevent the body from rejecting the new heart.

It is time that HLHS becomes more known so we can stop others from suffering down the road. The people fighting this battle have been tremendous so far, but it is far from over. The support system continues to grow and it has now reached college sports. The St. Joseph’s Brooklyn Women’s Basketball team will be playing in Valentina’s honor for their first six home games. These games will be played on November 15th, 21st, 28th, and 30th, and December 2nd and 5th. During these games the team will be collecting donations with all the proceeds going towards CHOP, while collecting toys as well for the kids who spend their holidays at the Hospital. On December 5th they will hold a ceremony in honor of Valentina. I urge you to come support these girls as they play for a growing cause. Do not let the battle stop now. Help us in making sure this continues to grow. The fight is far from over, but the light is in sight.

HLHS is a disease that is overlooked too often and awareness needs to increase. All I ask is that you spread the word about HLHS. I am not expecting anyone to donate or take further action, but anything helps. Visit the donation page if you wish to help the cause. You can also help the cause by coming out and supporting the St. Joseph’s College Women’s Basketball Team. As mentioned, they will be collecting donations via 50/50 raffle and donation jars, while collecting toys as well. You can learn more about Valentina and the growing community who has been helping support the cause and raise awareness by visiting the Facebook page that was started by her parents, Ryan and Danielle. Once again, just help spread the word by sharing this article, retweeting the tweet about it on New York Groove’s Twitter page, or just talking about HLHS in your community. Let’s continue this fight together, so one day we can finally put an end to HLHS.

NBA Power Rankings Vol. 6

  1. Boston Celtics 16-2 (-)
  2. Golden State Warriors 13-4 (-)
  3. Houston Rockets 13-4 (-)
  4. San Antonio Spurs 11-6 (-)
  5. Toronto Raptors 11-5 (Up 4)
  6. Cleveland Cavaliers 10-7 (-)
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves 10-7 (Down 2)
  8. Washington Wizards 10-7 (-)
  9. Detroit Pistons 11-6 (Down 2)
  10. Denver Nuggets 10-7 (Up 4)
  11. Portland Trail Blazers 10-7 (Up 6)
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder 7-9 (Down 2)
  13. Milwaukee Bucks 8-8 (Down 1)
  14. New York Knicks 9-7 (Up 4)
  15. Philadelphia 76ers 9-7 (Up 1)
  16. New Orleans Pelicans 9-8 (Down 1)
  17. Memphis Grizzlies 7-9 (Down 6)
  18. Orlando Magic 8-9 (Down 5)
  19. Indiana Pacers 10-8 (Up 4)
  20. Los Angeles Lakers 8-10 (Up 4)
  21. Charlotte Hornets 7-9 (-)
  22. Miami Heat 7-9 (Down 2)
  23. Utah Jazz 7-11 (Down 1)
  24. Phoenix Suns 7-11 (Up 2)
  25. Brooklyn Nets 6-10 (-)
  26. Los Angeles Clippers 5-11 (Down 7)
  27. Sacramento Kings 4-13 (-)
  28. Chicago Bulls 3-12 (-)
  29. Atlanta Hawks 3-14 (-)
  30. Dallas Mavericks 3-15 (-)

Winning On The Road: A Christmas Gift That Can Make Or Break The Knicks!

The (8-7) Knicks return home to Madison Square Garden tonight where so far in this early season, seem to play their best ball. On the other hand, the Los Angeles Clippers (5-10) come reeling in losing 8 in a row. If there’s a game the Knicks need to win, its tonight and here’s why.

As you may have been noticing, the Knicks have been playing an abundance amount of home games to start the season. Out of the Knicks first 15 games, they have played already 10 at home where they have gone 7-3. Starting tonight, 11 out of the next 18 games will also be at MSG. When the December 25th home game against the Philadelphia 76ers concludes, they will have played a stretch of 21 home games in their first 33 games………….And this Knick fans might hurt them if they can not take the same intensity they show at home, on the road.

In this early season their struggles, besides one win in Cleveland, have come when they have to play away from the Garden. They have looked like a completely different team posting a 1-4 record. Yes it might still only be a small sample size, but in these games they have lost, they have shown to lack that tenacity to win. Some players have come out saying that the home crowd gives them an extra boost of energy to keep pushing. Well I say, the Knicks need to find it in themselves to get that will power to win on the road or an upcoming stretch will be a “Recipe for Disaster!”

After the Christmas Day game, the NBA and the Grammy’s have gifted the Knicks a stretch run that includes 16 road games in a 20 game span. The Grammy Awards, who are returning to New York for their 60th anniversary show, will take place at Madison Square Garden on January 28. With that being said, the Grammy committee will need the venue for two weeks prior to the event, which is why there has been an unbalance in the Knicks schedule with all the home games.

Now the Knicks will have 7 road games in which hopefully are enough games for them to get it together. Another thing, they have not been away from Madison Square Garden for more than one game so far this season. In fact this upcoming weekend will be the first time they play two road games in a row, when they go up against the Atlanta Hawks and the Houston Rockets, in back to back games Friday and Saturday.

But before all that, there is a home game tonight and a home game Wednesday night!

The players love being at home. The fans are enjoying this gritty Knicks team. There is a buzz around New York City. Which makes picking up a win in tonight’s game and any upcoming home games important. And hopefully by the time Christmas Day comes, the Knicks will have notched a few more wins on the road. Because to go into this stretch not having confidence to win on the road, and then to make matters worst having to play 16 of 20 away, this can make or break their season.

The New York Knicks are definitely on the come up. Will they make the playoffs this season? Who knows. At home they look great. On the road, not so much. By the end of January, I believe we and the rest of the NBA will definitely know where this Knicks team, led by Kristaps Porzingis, ranks among the Eastern Conference.

When this time rolls around, with more than 50% of their games being completed, will the Knicks be in the top 8 defending a playoff spot? Or will they be on the outside looking in? One thing’s for sure, the Knicks must learn how to win on the road to stay relevant.

3 Centers and Joakim Noah .. What should the Knicks Do?

The Knicks have a problem on their hands, but it’s a problem Jeff Hornacek doesn’t seem to mind having. Joakim Noah, who just finished serving a 20 game suspension, is now on the bench along side his teammates…..but in his street clothes. With an abundance of centers on the Knicks roster and how well they have been playing, Hornacek basically said there is no room to play him right now. Hornacek and the organization couldn’t be any more right with this decision.

So now what about that atrocious Joakim Noah contract? A player in street clothes making about $18 million a year with 3 years left is just going to sit and not suit up? Well, maybe the Knicks organization is considering looking at the stretch provision. You might ask what is that? In the NBA, the stretch provision allows the organization to waive a player and stretch his remaining salary and cap hit over a number of years equal to the years remaining on his contract plus one. So by doing this with Noah, he would receive about $7.5 million per season for the next 5 years. This also gives the Knicks about $11 million in extra cap space for next year and $12 million for the year after that.

Right now with Noah’s contract, the Knicks have no cap space. Waiving him outright or finding a compatible trade suitor will not help the Knicks because that money would still be on the books. But by this “stretch” provision that the NBA provides, this in my opinion is best long term for the Knicks. It also gives them the opportunity to pursue a big free agent next summer when Lebron James and Paul George look to headline the free agent class.

Again only my opinion but this is what I feel the Knicks should do. The Knicks also have time in which to come up with a plan since they won’t have to make a decision til September 1, 2018 based on the stretch rule. Right now Noah will be looked to serve as a mentor to the Knicks young centers during practice until they ask him to dress. On a positive, the team did vote him this year the defensive captain so you can tell he is well liked by his teammates.

Also with Noah gone, the Knicks have themselves above .500 with Kristaps Porzingis at the helm of this new look team. It’s so rough with the abundance of centers, and the team playing so well, that Hornacek doesn’t look to get the fan favorite 2nd year center Willy Hernangomez into the in-game rotation. At this time Enes Kanter (acquired in the Carmelo Anthony trade) and Kyle O’Quinn (Brooklyn Native) have provided everything the Knicks need from the center position.

NBA Power Rankings Vol. 5

  1. Boston Celtics 13-2 (-)
  2. Golden State Warriors 11-3 (Up 1)
  3. Houston Rockets 11-4 (Down 1)
  4. San Antonio Spurs 9-5 (Up 1)
  5. Minnesota Timberwolves 8-5 (Down 1)
  6. Cleveland Cavaliers 7-7 (-)
  7. Detroit Pistons 10-3 (Up 3)
  8. Washington Wizards 8-5 (Up 2)
  9. Toronto Raptors 8-5 (Up 2)
  10. Oklahoma City Thunder 6-7 (Down 3)
  11. Memphis Grizzlies 7-6 (Down 3)
  12. Milwaukee Bucks 7-6 (Up 1)
  13. Orlando Magic 8-6 (Down 1)
  14. Denver Nuggets 8-6 (Up 2)
  15. New Orleans Pelicans 8-6 (Up 3)
  16. Philadelphia 76ers 7-6 (Up 1)
  17. Portland Trail Blazers 7-6 (Down 2)
  18. New York Knicks 7-6 (Up 1)
  19. Los Angeles Clippers 5-8 (Down 5)
  20. Miami Heat 6-7 (Up 3)
  21. Charlotte Hornets 5-7 (Up 1)
  22. Utah Jazz 6-8 (Down 2)
  23. Indiana Pacers 6-8 (Down 1)
  24. Los Angeles Lakers 6-8 (-)
  25. Brooklyn Nets 5-9 (-)
  26. Phoenix Suns 5-10 (-)
  27. Sacramento Kings 3-10 (Up 1)
  28. Chicago Bulls 2-9 (Down 1)
  29. Atlanta Hawks 2-12 (-)
  30. Dallas Mavericks 2-13 (-)