Darren Hunter.

Man Without A League Pass: The Race to the Playoffs

For those who visit often, it’s very clear that I’ve became a big fan of basketball (I’ve rarely written about anything else recently), and since having started watching full games - that don’t involve the Looney Tunes, Bill Murray or aliens voiced by Danny DeVito - just after Christmas of last year, I’ve also been reading up on various aspects of the league, its teams and its players at every available opportunity. Having watched many, many games and having absorbed more basketball information than I had ever thought possible in such a short space of time (thank you, Bill Simmons, for your wonderful book), I feel that it’s now a lot easier for me to form my own opinions on the league and have good reasons to back them up, instead of reading blogs on nba.com to get the general consensus as to what’s actually going on instead of writing my own.

This new-found knowledge of mine now helps when it comes to this stage of the season: now that the All-Star Weekend is firmly in the past, the push towards the playoffs becomes more prominent than ever, as the finish line of the 2011-12 NBA season draws ever closer.

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Man Without A League Pass: What Comes Next?

It’s been eleven years since the New York Knicks won a playoff game. If the playoff seedings were based on today’s standings, they won’t make them this season either. And after a six-game losing streak, head coach Mike D’Antoni has resigned, with assistant coaches Phil Webber and Dan D’Antoni (Mike’s older brother) also leaving the team. What comes next for a Knicks team struggling to make the most of this season?

While Coach D’Antoni had less than half the season left to go, and while it seemed unlikely that his contract would be renewed after expiring at the end of this season, he decided to part ways with the organisation after discussions on Wednesday afternoon. In a conference on Wednesday afternoon, Knicks chairman James Dolan gave press details regarding D’Antoni’s resignation:

"He clearly felt it was best for the organisation if he were not to continue as coach of the team. He did offer to stay. After a long discussion, we did agree it was best for the organisation to have a new voice moving forward."

Glen Grunwald, interim General Manager for the Knicks, called D’Antoni’s departure “a selfless move,” adding:

"I think he felt that he had done all he could and he didn’t really see another way for him to really positively affect the team. He felt that maybe it was time for another voice, another approach."

That new approach, at least until the end of this season, will come courtesy of Mike Woodson.

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Man Without A League Pass: Risky Business

Consider this: what if Rangers were owned by the SPL? It’s a weird thought, but when you consider the predicament that the New Orleans Hornets currently find themselves in, the idea suddenly make far more sense. It’s no secret that Rangers, have only secured new ownership through venture capitalist Craig Whyte last year for the princely sum of £1, are in the midst of continuing financial trouble. HM Revenue & Customs is in a legal battle with the club, over claims that over £49million is owed in unpaid taxes and interest payments, and if the court case is decided in HMRC’s favour, it seems very likely that Rangers may end up in administration.

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Man Without a League Pass: I Was 80% Correct

The votes were counted, and before the Knicks-Celtics game on Thursday night, the starting lineups for the 61st NBA All-Star Game in Orlando on February 26th were announced. Beforehand, I had my own ideas as to who would be picked for both the Eastern and Western teams. If I’m being honest, I expected my choices to match the eventual outcome perfectly. Here, straight from Twitter, are my selections for the All-Star starting line-up:

In case you don’t know, here’s the player, position and team list (for each side that I picked):

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