Posted on: October 28, 2009 12:54 pm
Knicks basketball starts up in just under 7 hours, and nobody has bothered to do a nice preview for them. Where has the official CBS Knicks blogger been to make that happen? What, that's me? Oh...
Yet again, the Knicks are waiting for LeBron. But there are some interesting differences between this season and last season, despite both of them being seasons with no chance for an NBA title. The two main differences between this season and last season are:
1) Knicks have a better roster this year. Q-Rich is gone, but Darko is here to add post defense, lotto pick Jordan Hill exists, and anything he does will be a bonus, late 1st round draft pick Toney Douglas will enter the Knicks heavy minute rotation and has shown flashes of being a good defending guard, something the Knicks desperately need, and Danilo Gallinari is going to be healthy this season, and bring his mix of outside shooting and surprising defense to the mix.
2) Knicks have a better situation going into this year. Nobody is going to be chanting "We want Steph!" at opening night at the Garden this year. Reporters havn't covered the Knicks like the paparazzi all over Brittney, as was the case last season. People know their roles, they know the Knicks don't have too many moves up their sleeves this season, and they are likely to feel comfortable in their security of being a Knick all year long. Plus there is one full year in the D'Antoni system under the belts of most key contributers. There is a lot to be said for that.
I think both these things should translate to a few more wins then the 32-50 record.
Now the most common argument against the Knicks showing any improvement is "Everyone else got better, too!". Well, the Knicks don't care about the top of the East. They were better then the Knicks anyway, and they beat the Knicks most every time last year. The Knicks arn't going to start going .500 or even .250 against the cream of the crop. And did the teams competing for the bottom of the East really improve as much or more then the Knicks did? Knicks filled their greatest hole, interior defense, and added two lottery picks (Danilo might as well be an addition after sitting out most of last year) and a defending guard. That's pretty strong.
But let's say that you still don't believe that the Knicks, despite having a better roster, a better scenario, more experience with the SSOL, and less distractions this season, are good enough to improve their 32-50 record. Here are 3 other ways the Knicks may get better as the season goes along.
1) Cuttino Mobley's insured contract. What a great trade chip this contract is. It's 9.5 million and 80% insured. So right now, it represents a way for a team to save almost 8 million dollars in salary. In these harsh economic times, what kind of player can you get if you give a team 8 million dollars? I'd like to think you could get a pretty nice piece for that kinda contract.
Now Donnie Walsh will dangle this bad boy in an effort to move Eddy Curry or Jared Jeffries, but if he can't move either of them, expect him to flip it for either a 1 year rental or a young player in a bad sitation that won't cut into the 2010 plan too much.
2) Larry Hughes's 13.5 million dollar expiring contract. The Knicks have no use for Larry Hughes. Mostly because he is, as Charles Barkley would say, "turrrrrible". But perhaps the Knicks could swap this expiring deal for a expiring deal that better suits the team. Or maybe this high dollar contract will be the perfect matching contract towards a superstar that gets disgruntled at some point this season, and can be had for peanuts. The large amount of dollar signs on Larry Hughes' contract makes it a very flexable tool that can be used in a number of ways to improve the Knicks, either in 2009, 2010, or maybe both.
3) Youth. The simple reason may end up being the right one in this case. The Knicks are still, at their core, very young. Danilo, Hill Ghostface Douglas, Nate, Lee, Chandler. These guys still have room to grow. Nate during the preseason looked like the light clicked on for him that he can be a 2.5 steal/game player. Lee will continue to improve his jumper with time. Danilo will get better as the season goes on and he passes the half century mark in NBA games played. Chandler will continue to figure out how to best guard wingmen and how to get his own shot, and his outside stroke will likely get better with time. There is still some untapped upside with a majority of the Knicks rotation. The Knicks should fufill some of that upside this season, maybe just a little, but maybe a fair amount.
Will the Knicks make it all the way to the playoffs? I don't know. I kinda hope they don't. I think this is a 36 win team as currently assembled. If the Knicks make just 1 good move, they could be a 39 win team easily, which could easily make the playoffs this year. But I'd rather the Knicks made the good move of trading Jeffries or Curry then the good move that gets the Knicks the 8 seed. The playoffs would be awesome, but there will be plenty of playoffs in the future after this season. I'd rather do all we can to lock up a situation to lure the King to the Basketball Mecca then try to make the playoffs with no chance of doing anything.
But I kinda think the Knicks will in fact make the playoffs, despite my best wishes. Donnie Walsh is no dummy. He knows the stupid sports media is going to act like the LeBronless Knicks need to make the playoffs this year to be an attractive place for LeBron to sign. I don't understand how people think a teams success or lack thereof before LeBron shows up will indicate their success with LeBron. You just run your team around LeBron if you have him, so the pieces hardly matter around him. But anyway, after Walsh makes an effort to free salary up, if he can't find any takers for Jeffries/Curry, expect him to trade away those two contracts I mentioned to try to obtain a couple rentals to help propel the Knicks into the playoffs. With no #1 pick in 2010, the Knicks have nothing to lose by trading their expiring contracts for useful pieces, and may well take that road as the season goes on.
I really hope Walsh pulls off another masterpiece trade, gets rid of Jeffries or Curry, and the playoff dream fades away. But if that doesn't occur, New York could well challenge for that 8 seed, a lot harder then you think. If it happens, you heard it here first.
Posted on: December 25, 2008 2:41 pm
Edited on: December 25, 2008 2:43 pm
I figured I'd drop a Christmas themed blog to state my Knicks wishes for the rest of the season, since the Knicks are enjoying their break from NBA action and not giving me a lot of on the court things to talk about. You will notice a running theme here in my wishes, clarity. As in, I would love to get some on a lot of topics. The mystery of the Knicks makes them fun, but good teams don't have question marks and good future plans are well defined, so let's hope for the sake of the franchise that some of these topics gain some much needed clarity in the near term.
1) Eddy Curry gift wrapped under someone else's Christmas tree
If Donnie Walsh is giving away Eddy Curry for his GM Secret Santa gift this year and wrapping him up in David Lee wrapping paper, I hope the GM that has Donnie Walsh's name is kind enough to give Donnie some useful or expiring contracts in return. The much rumored Curry/Lee for Diaw/Barbosa deal is not the answer, although it is an improvement over the current situation of the Knicks heading into 2010. But I can't seem to get my egg nog flowing for the idea of Diaw in 2010. There has to be a better answer in the market. Curry is a problem that needs to be solved, but much like a homeowner with a bad loan, there are ways of solving it that set you up nicely, and their are ways of solving it that are marked improvements, but still a bad mortgage. I hope Donnie Walsh does not get himself out of one problem and into another, albeit smaller, problem. Walsh has impressed me so far, the hiring of D'Antoni was a stroke of genius and I believe will lure the top free agents in 2010, but the Knicks need to get into the best possible situation they can for that time, and Diaw on the books in 2010 is sub-optimal. Hopefully the Knicks can weasel a Marion deal out of Miami yet and get the expiring contracts and Curry off the books that they crave. David Lee is playing himself into a player that is worthy of accepting an Eddy Curry bad contract for, and since Lee is not in the Knicks plans long term, here is hoping we use him to our benefit.
2) A well defined direction for the season, and soon
So, are the Knicks going to compete for the playoffs or not? The highs and lows of the season are a staple of early Knicks seasons, but this team seems to have just enough to steal the 7 or 8 seed if the breaks fall. But will the breaks the Knicks will need come, or will this be a team that does nothing more then lose ping pong balls in the draft? My love for Ricky Rubio is clear as day, but at least with a push to the playoffs, the Knicks could have some 2009 backup plans come to the forefront. Steve Nash on the cheap after this season would be a great move, as I think the Knicks need one star player to believe in the promise of 2010 before LeBron becomes a free agent and sign with the Knicks on cap-friendly terms. Remember, Duhon is nothing more then an overachieving stopgap at the point guard until the Knicks get some superstars in the Garden, and then can find a superstar point guard to run the show. If it's in the draft or in free agency, the Knicks will let us know soon what direction their season will go, and based on how the season goes, that is how the Knicks will find their point guard of the future. So wins today increase the chances of Nash tomorrow, while losses today increase the chances of a rookie PG in the 2009 draft class. At least in my opinion
3) A hint on the direction of Nate Robinson
One thing is becoming clear lately, NBA players LOVE Nate Robinson. He is wildly popular with his peers, and it's not just token lip service. I fully expected Lee and Robinson to be on their last years in NY coming into this season as the Knicks look ahead to 2010, but maybe there is something to locking up little Nate long-term. He is actually an attractive piece for NBA superstars to play with. Couple this with the fact that Lee is being shopped more then Nate is these days, and I think Nate is a serious possibility for the Knicks future. Do I think you can win with Nate Robinson playing major minutes? I think he's a detriment to a winning team in a big role, his D can be suspect and he takes a lot of shots, but he is high energy. I'd rather he was gone in the future outside his intangibles, but if he can really be a serious selling point for big names in 2010, then I say whatever it takes to get a serious contender in 2010 is what should be going on now. If nothing else, you can do far worse then Nate Robinson playing minutes for your NBA team, that is for sure. Hopefully the Knicks actions or lack thereof will bring some clarity to the Robinson situation in the coming weeks.
4) A taste of the future, Chandler and Gallinari together on the court
Danilo "Old Country" Gallinari has suffered through back issues this season, leading many people to write him off already as a bust, which is wickedly unfair. Just ask Wilson Chandler, who sat the bench almost all of last season only to emerge this season as, well, as what? That is the part of the question here. Who is Wilson Chandler? Is he nothing more then a Channing Frye? Is he as good as Travis Outlaw (a very underrated player in my opinion)? Does he have the game to become a poor mans Danny Granger? Any of these situations is very possible. If you think the Granger name drop is out of line, think twice. If Chandler can just tack on another 6% or so from the arc, he could be a 18/5 small forward. And Gallinari should be a very interesting watch if he comes back this season, and if he comes back to a team without Lee, Danilo is going to get a real test. But these two are going to be around in 2010, and I expect the last part of this season and a lot of 2009-2010 to be all about these two, more so if/when Harrington opts out after this season.
5) Patrick Ewing Jr. in a Knicks uniform
Nothing more needs to be added. Sign the kid, he earned it in the preseason. This kid can learn more from D'Antoni, Rose, and Thomas then he can in the NBDL.
The Knicks are very enjoyable to watch this season, they are giving a ton of effort most every night and are learning how to win in the Association. They have battled injuries to Lee and Robinson and Gallinari and others. If this team stays healthy, then I know I will be getting a good show every time I throw the Knicks on TV, and maybe get a chance to see a bunch of overachieves make a push for the playoffs. With a bad injury, this Knicks team will sitting ducks for the rest of the NBA. Above all else this season, I'd like to see my crew have a punchers chance the rest of the year.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Posted on: December 15, 2008 1:40 am
Edited on: December 15, 2008 1:43 am
Well, the most telling exam of the Knicks early schedule is almost over, and the Knicks are coming very close to shocking all us long-suffering Knicks fans and scoring a solid B. As I have previously mentioned, the Knicks had to get out of the first 4 games of this road trip at 3-1 to get to .500 before they play the Lakers Tuesday. After a loss in the opening road game to Chicago in a game the Knicks could have won and maybe should have won, prospects looked bleak. But after two straight ROAD wins (road cannot be emphasized enough when you have seen the Knicks lose so many road games in the last 7 years), the Knicks just have to beat Phoenix on Monday, and I will declare this trip a success. The Knicks are rounding into form, Harrington is playing like a beast, the defense is playing pretty well at times, and the Knicks actually are looking like a 7 or 8 seed in the East.
Review: New York Knicks 121-109 Sacramento Kings- What a dominant first quarter! The Knicks jumped all over the Kings on the glass, from the arc, and with great ball movement. If I remember right the Knicks had a 13-2 rebounding advantage after 1 quarter to go with their 43-21 lead. I hinted that I expected the Knicks to actually win the rebounding battle when I picked the Knicks to beat the Kings as an underdog in my last blog, and that was the key to a Knicks rout. It was a laugher after that dominant 1st quarter, and a mighty fine one at that. I hope you enjoyed it Knicks fans, I don't know how often that Jeffries is going to drive down the lane for a thunderous dunk or Jerome James is going to get 2 points and a steal (If you can call it a steal, more like the ball found his hands and stuck).
- Al Harrington, what can you say? 33 points with 6 boards, 5 threes, and 4 dimes. The Kings cut the New York rout to 12 late in the 3rd, but Harrington dropped in a few big shots in a row and the game was never again in any sort of question. Let the record show that I was one of the first on the Al Harrington as an Eastern Conference All-Star train, because that thing is about to start getting crowded with people, and I want my seat in the first class section.
- Lee looked great after leaving the Nets game, dropping 17 points with 19 boards, and Nate shot over 50% on 15 shots to add 19 points. Duhon and Chandler struggled all game, Duhon only ending with 5 dimes and 10 points and Chandler having a bad day from the field, but it was great to see the Knicks win without it's emerging point guard and small forward doing much. Hopefully both with have a better game on Monday, both will be vital to the Knicks success against Phoenix.
Preview: New York Knicks (+8.5) at Phoenix Suns, Monday 9:00 pm ESTD'Antoni returns to Phoenix. Nothing more needs to be said, but I still will add a bit. Nash's reaction to D'Antoni's return will be telling to those of you in my camp that think that the Knicks possible ten million in cap room if/when Harrington opts out after this season could be a prelude to Nash wearing the Orange and Blue. Shaq is questionable with his family issues last I heard. And it will interesting to see how Stat matches up with Lee, Amare has such a huge talent advantage, but Lee has tons more heart then Amare does. If Amare doesn't come to play (and this happens a lot, he's on my fantasy team so I know all too well hahaha), the Knicks could have some success working inside/outside and off the pick and roll. J-Rich will be in line for a monster game, he likes to kill the Knicks. Shutting him down will be key. Chandler will get a test from the cagey vet Hill. It should be a fun one, but it could get ugly if the Suns all show up and lock down the glass.
Knicks-centric stats match-up:Again: Since the Knicks are a team that runs the D'Antoni offense, posting typical team offensive/defensive stats is pretty silly. I will use offensive and defensive efficiency, a.k.a. how many points a team scores and allows per 100 possessions. Hopefully this will give people a better idea on how teams will stack up against the unique style the Knicks offer.
Knicks on offense:
Knicks offensive efficiency: 103.8 points/100 (17th in the NBA)
Suns defensive efficiency: 106.8 points/100 (24th in the NBA)
Knicks on defense:
Suns offensive efficiency: 107.9 points/100 (4th in the NBA)
Knicks defensive efficiency: 105.8 points/100 (23rd in the NBA)
Knicks fantasy focus (attempting to appear every Monday, made for weekly lineup roto players):Knicks weekly schedule: (4 games) at Phx, at LAL, Mil, at Bos
Knicks start of the week: Wilson Chandler - Chandler is owned in 85 percent of CBS leagues but started in only 56 percent. On a 4 game week where the Knicks play two superstar teams, Chandler's mid-range game is the Knicks best chance to get some production against the NBA elite. Chandler looks for his own shot and knows how to score, and he can get you a fair amount of boards from the 3 spot. I start Chandler every week, but if you own him, this is not a week to be scared of his tough 4 game slate, he will take his shots and be productive.
Predicted weekly stat line: 17 ppg, 1.25 3's per game, 6 rpg, 3apg, 1spg, 1bpg, average shooting % and ++ FT% (Chandler is about 85% from the line since opening night, a great trait from your 3)
Knicks sit of the week: Nate Robinson if you have better options. You might not have a choice but to start all your Knicks this week, but if you got options outside Nate, consider them. Robinson has had average to poor games so far this season vs. Milwaukee and Boston, hitting few 3's, getting few dimes, and struggling with his shot %. Nate did grab 10 boards vs. Milwaukee last time out, but that is not to be expected. LA will be a very tough game for Nate as well, so don't feel like you just can't sit Nate this week, you can if you have a better option. He is more of a #4 guard this week in fantasy then his usual #3 status.
Knicks cut of the week: Tim Thomas. I did. He's just too streaky in his minutes and production. He will anger you by scoring 6 points with 2 boards when you start him and getting 24 and 10 when you don't. Avoid the headache!
Psst! Hey Donnie Walsh!This is the section where I usually will take the Knicks next opponent and suggest a legal NBA trade that is feasible for both teams and achieves the Knicks primary objectives moving forward, which are to move Eddy Curry, move Jared Jeffries, or maybe get something for Marbury. Phoenix is wheeling and dealing, but they have a team with very few expendable contracts right now. Everyone on Phoenix is either getting paid or not getting paid, and the only exception, Barbosa, is on a 3 year deal, usually something the Knicks don't want. However...
Knicks get: Leandro Barbosa ($6.1 million/3 years), Grant Hill (2 million/1 year)
Suns get: Jared Jeffries ($6 million/3 years), Nate Robinson (2 million/1 year)
Might just work. Right now the Knicks just have Curry and Jeffries on the books for 2010 for sure, and an option on Chandler and Danilo they will surly exercise. Ideally the Knicks would use Nate and maybe Lee to move Jeffries or Curry for an expiring contract to add to the 2010 cap space. But what if the Knicks just swap out Jeffries bad 2010 contract for Barbosa's good contract? Barbosa could help the Knicks by playing a solid 2, knowing D'Antoni's system, and spelling Duhon at the point, something the Knicks lack. Grant Hill could be a great mentor to Chandler. The Suns get Jared Jeffries, who is tall and plays D, and Nate Robinson, who could be part of the Suns future after Nash leaves. I think if you told Suns fans they could get rid of Barbosa, who is pretty useless as a Sub these days now that Jason Richardson is in town, and get a young player like Nate Robinson, they would be happy with the deal. And Barbosa would help the Knicks win now, and with enough playing time and shots, could easily be dealt for the same cap space that the Knicks would have dealt Jeffries for, or even kept and be considered a player that someone like a LeBron would want to play with. It's a pretty decent deal for both sides, and I for one would love for Chandler to get 60 games to learn from Grant Hill, he is a big part of the Knicks future and anything to help his progress, the better.
Amare (and Shaq if he plays) will decide this game. We know Nash will cut Duhon up, get some clean looks, and create clean looks for Richardson. We know the Knicks will probably get a good game out of Harrington and Chandler and Tim Thomas. But if Lee can match Amare down low, the Knicks will be in it late, and maybe with a lead. I have said a few times this year that I think the Suns are an awful team. They have a good offense and no D, but they don't play to their strengths, and I feel their record is a lot of smoke and mirrors. Amare isn't very dominant at times, and if Lee can start off frustrating Amare, the Knicks could dominate the paint on the inside. This is a very winnable game for the Knicks, and the Suns are still getting used to a new rotation, which doesn't help. I think it will be close, and I want to say the Knicks win, but I know this is New York on the road for the 4th straight game. I have to see this win to believe it, and previous history with New York forces my hand and I have to predict...
Suns 112-Knicks 107 (season record: 5-1 straight up, 3-3 ATS)
Thanks for reading
Posted on: November 27, 2008 11:23 am
Well, I predicted a 109-99 win for the Pistons, so 110-96 was pretty darn close. That was about all I had to be excited about as a Knicks fan, however, at least while the game is on. I am excited for the holidays, however, and hope that everybody out there is able to enjoy a Thanksgiving full of good food and good times. As I wait for the family to gather today, I figured I will put out the Review/Preview Thanksgiving morning, because I have the time to write it, and it will give Knicks fans and NBA fans all of the long weekend to stumble upon it at their leisure. So let’s get right to the Detroit game.
Review: Detroit Pistons 110 - 96 New York KnicksComing off a brutal loss to Minnesota, Detroit was fired up and ready to go, and the difference in talent and coherision between the two teams was evident on the court from the second quarter on. Detroit looked to be on a mission to get a home NBA win, while the Knicks looked to be on a mission of gaining experience playing with each other, shaking the rust off of Al Harrington’s shot, and getting Harrington and Thomas more involved in the offense.
- Hopefully Al Harrington’s game is just really rusty. He had 25 points on 8-24 shooting, but most of his 8 makes were from close range. Harrington was 2-7 from behind the arc and was blocked twice, he doesn’t have an explosive vertical. However, he can take comfort in the fact that all the Knicks’ starters were blocked at least one time. Well, not really.
- The Knicks were outscored 26-13 in points off turnovers, out assisted 28-19, and outshot by about 13%. These things will get you beat in the National Basketball Association. However the Knicks did a fairly decent job on the boards, matching Detroit in interior scoring, and in the turnover count.
- The loss of Nate Robinson reared it’s ugly head, as the Knicks guards only took 27 of the 85 total shots. Anthony Roberson and Q-Rich had subpar games, Chris Duhon had one less point then Richardson and Roberson did combined, and Duhon did it on 8 of the 27 aformentioned shots and added 9 dimes.
- No comment on the Marbury situation. I stated he wouldn’t play despite the fact the Knicks were short handed at the guard spot, and I am the opposite of surprised that this story is back in the news. Much like Q-Rich, I don’t consider Marbury a Knick, and I don’t feel he deserves more then a casual mention buried in the middle of a Review/Preview until something changes.
Preview: New York Knicks vs. Golden State Warriors, Saturday 7:30 pm ESTJamal Crawford returns to MSG, and brings a 5-10 Golden State team to the Garden to face the 7-8 New York Knicks. The Warriors are giving up some serious points as they travel East, giving up 124 in a 24 point loss at Washington Tuesday, and 119 in a 8 point loss at Boston Wednesday night. The Warriors stay out on the road, playing at Cleveland Friday before heading to the World’s Most Famous Arena for a Saturday night game with the Knicks. If you do the math on this schedule, that is 4 road games in 5 days for the Warriors, all of them very far away from California, and it ends at MSG against a team that will have had the last two days off. This is as good a spot for the Knicks as you can have, and nothing short of a solid win will be acceptable for Knicks fans (at least those that are not setting the world record for looking forward to the 2009 NBA draft).
Again: Since the Knicks are a team that runs the D'Antoni offense, posting typical team offensive/defensive stats is pretty silly. I will use offensive and defensive efficiency, a.k.a. how many points a team scores and allows per 100 possessions. Hopefully this will give people a better idea on how teams will stack up against the unique style the Knicks offer. All stats are as of Thanksgiving Day.
Psst! Hey Donnie Walsh!This is the section where I usually will take the Knicks next opponent and suggest a legal NBA trade that is feasible for both teams and achieves the Knicks primary objectives moving forward, which are to move Eddy Curry, move Jared Jeffries, or maybe get something for Marbury. These are by no way rumors or even .0001% likely to happen, this is just me having fun, and will hopefully spur a bit of discussion. However, the Knicks just did a deal with the Warriors. I’ll take a pass on this section for the Warriors game, instead unveiling a new section to Review/Preview…
Know the Knicks/Predict the Knicks:Here is how it works. I will post a trivia question about something Knicks related. Post your guess as a comment below on the blog (after you are done berating my Knicks coverage, of course!) AND post a final score for the Knicks/Warriors game. Also, try to say something funny/clever. I will try to do this every time the Knicks have some time before their next game. I will do a quick update edit to this blog on Saturday and post my pick and the pick of whoever got this answer correct, posted a final score, and I decided to choose for no good reason. I will keep track of the readers picks vs. my own and we will see who gets bragging rights at the end of the year!
Trivia Question (answer from now through all day Friday!):
What team did the Knicks beat in the game the NBA reconigises as the first game in NBA history?
Prediction record: (1-0 straight up, 0-1 ATS)
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Posted on: November 26, 2008 5:46 pm
The majority of this blog will be Review/Preview, where I recap the last game New York played, and try to offer an angle or two that is fresh, and give a quick look ahead to the next game the Knicks are playing. Review/Preview will have a few constant or semi-regular features; including one or two that I hope spark a bit of conversation. Let's get to the painful review that was last night's game against the Cavs.
Review: Cleveland Cavaliers 119 - 101 New York Knicks
It was billed as a party in the Garden last night, as most of the Knick faithful came out to see LeBron James as much, if not way more, then to scope the new look Knicks. A funny thing happened on the way to the second part of that plan, however, as the Knicks ran the D'Antoni system, but looked eerily like the Isiah Thomas Knicks of old, getting down huge and never seriously competing. A few thoughts I had watching the game.
- Why does LeBron James always find his three point shot against the Knicks? You can't read a major media outlet without finding somebody who is giving LeBron a nice e-scolding for his three point prolificacy, or lack thereof to be precise. However Knicks fans with long memories remember that LeBron shot over 54% from downtown against the Knicks last year, hitting 13 of 24 against New York in three games last year. LeBron was actually only 3-7 last night from beyond the arc against the Knicks, but it felt worse, and 3-7 is pretty good, he is only a 25% three point shooter for this season so far. If LeBron somehow has a three point shot that is made for the Garden, the Knicks fan base that is counting down the days until 2010 has one more thing to hope for.
- The Knicks were outscored 50-28 in the paint, and the Cavs really didn't have to work for many of those 50 points. Any time you see Ben Wallace looking for his offensive game, you know you lack interior D. The Cavs also got a healthy amount of points in the paint from the 30 total points they scored off turnovers.
- This was the third straight game where Wilson Chandler forced his offense, but tonight the big trees that Cleveland plants down low in their interior defense gave Chandler a lot of trouble. I tend to agree with most of what Clyde Frazier says, and he was on top of Chandler passing up medium range jump shots to challenge the Cavs height to limited success. Chandler has shown flashes of the medium range jump shot that is an endangered species in the NBA, and should go to his jumper more often.
- I feel like I am writing "The Knicks were utterly destroyed by the Cavs" in 5 different ways, but considering the Knicks were trotting out a new rotation, some of these stats within the game are things to keep an eye on as the Knicks move forward. How many of these were one night problems, and how many will be season long crutches? Knicks fans will find out before Christmas.
- Nate Robinson's groin injury isn't expected to be too bad, but without Nate (doubtful tonight vs. Detroit), it is hard to see New York having the offense to bust out of the slumps that the Detroit D can put you in. If I had a tepid smiley face I could use to convey my emotions heading into the Palace tonight, I would use it.
Preview: New York Knicks (+13) at Detroit Pistons, 8:00 pm EST
The Knicks are as big an underdog as they have been all season, and for good reason. Detroit can play the passing lanes and give the Knicks fits inside, just as Cleveland did. With Nate Robinson doubtful and Cuttino Mobley not expected to play all week (last I heard, this could be a very fluid situation), The Knicks are going to lack serious depth in the frontcourt. Don't start with the Marbury thoughts, it’s not happening. I'd love to have some thoughts about how the Knicks can overcome being new, hurt, and less talented on paper, but I'm stymied.
Knicks-centric stats match-up:
Note: Since the Knicks are a team that runs the D'Antoni offense, posting typical team offensive/defensive stats is pretty silly. I will use offensive and defensive efficiency, a.k.a. how many points a team scores and allows per 100 possessions. Hopefully this will give people a better idea on how teams will stack up against the unique style the Knicks offer.
Knicks on offense:
Knicks offensive efficiency: 103.2 points/100 (14th in the NBA)
Pistons defensive efficiency: 105.0 points/100 (t21st in the NBA)
Knicks on defense:
Pistons offensive efficiency: 103.9 points/100 (11th in the NBA)
Knicks defensive efficiency: 106.8 points/100 (27th in the NBA)
Psst! Hey Donnie Walsh!
This is the section where I will take the Knicks next opponent and suggest a legal NBA trade that is feasible for both teams and achieves the Knicks primary objectives moving forward, which are to move Eddy Curry, move Jared Jeffries, or maybe get something for Marbury. These are by no way rumors or even .0001% likely to happen, this is just me having fun, and will hopefully spur a bit of discussion.
Knicks/Pistons trade of the day:
Knicks get: Rasheed Wallace (1 year, $13.9 million, ) - 13.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg
Pistons get: Eddy Curry (3 years. $9.7 million), David Lee (1 year, $1.8 million) - 12.2 points, .7.9 rebounds
This one is a bit more far fetched then some of the other trades I have thought about, but ‘Sheed is not in the Pistons long term plans, the Pistons lack a rebounder outside Wallace (hey, they get two in return), and Curry still has the aura of a low block scorer, something the Pistons certainly don't have. We all know Joe Dumars is not above making moves. Sadly, he's probably well above making this one.
I don't see a lot of ways that this Knicks team is going to get anything going tonight in Detroit. However, I am sure the Pistons also don't see a lot of ways the Knicks pose a serious threat to them, either. This could be a game that Detroit sleeps through during the and lets the Knicks hang around. I surly don't see the Knicks pulling this one out, but I think that the Knicks might be able to stay within a baker's dozen. D'Antoni is going to be all over this team tonight, and I expect an inspired performance, but a loss nonetheless.
Pistons 109-Knicks 99 (season record: 0-0 straight up, 0-0 ATS)
Thanks for reading!
Posted on: November 25, 2008 7:11 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2008 7:31 pm
With the cap-clearing-for-LeBron Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas trade officially approved by GM Donnie Walsh Tuesday afternoon, the New York Knicks will have a much different look heading into tonight’s game at MSG against, ironically, LeBron James and the Cavs. Much has been made about the ramifications this trade has on the future of the Knicks, but not very much has been made about how this will change the play on the court for the Knicks for the rest of this season. Knicks fans are riding a wave of emotions, excited for the future, tepid about the present, and will get a lot of clarity on what can be expected on the court during the 2009 season tonight (and hopefully, from this read!).
Coach D’Antoni has insisted he believes the Knicks will put a strong product on the court this season, but what else is he supposed to say? By re-working the depth chart and making educated guesses as to what we can expect from D’Antoni’s 8-9 rotation this season, hopefully we can get an idea on how competitive the Knicks will be going forward and how truthful D’Antoni’s statements are.
For sure, Chris Duhon will continue to man the point. Even the most pessimistic Knicks fan has to be pleased with Duhon’s play in the first 13 games of the season (and count me in the camp that was skeptical of Duhon before this season started). Duhon is averaging 10 points and 7 dimes a night, and seems to have found his role in the offense over the last 7 games. Duhon plays the first half in the role of team leader and distributor, but is not afraid to make a big drive or take a big three in the 4th quarter. He is sneaky on the offensive end (shooting as well as he has in his career) and playing solid D, his defensive rebounds and steal totals are also above his career averages. Perhaps some of this is due to the increase in possessions that comes with the D’Antoni system, but Duhon is passing the eye test.
Nate Robinson is expected by some to start at the two guard for the Knicks moving forward. This should be the most pivotal factor moving forward for the Knicks. Nate Robinson is currently the leading scorer left on the Knicks roster, and he will have to maintain his production while seeing his minutes likely increase from just under 31 to something like 38-40. Robinson is shooting lights out from the field, and I have questions as to if 47% shooting is anything close to sustainable for the rest of the year. One thing is for sure, Nate will be going all out and making hustle plays, even if he plays the entire game one night. He has a motor that just does not stop, and if he can move to the shooting guard role and maintain his ability to distribute (4.5 assists/game), he could be a scoring option at the two guard that doesn’t fall into the trap of being an offensive black hole at times (See: Crawford, Jamal). As sad as I am that my 3 month old Crawford #11 Knicks jersey won’t be seeing much time at the bars this winter, Nate Robinson could be a great silver lining. He is a restricted free agent after this season, and a hot couple months could create some buzz around the league, and he may become a piece that is attractive enough to some teams that they would accept him to take on the burden of Eddy Curry’s contract. Nate is the man to watch for the Knicks in the next couple weeks in my opinion, as the implications of his play will be felt in the short and long term.
Cuttino Mobley is someone who you could ask 5 NBA experts about and they will give you 5 different opinions about his current game. Some say he is a good defender, some say those days are far behind him. He is not expected to play tonight. My opinion is that it may surprise a lot of people how infrequently that Mobley is used by the Knicks. He is a scorer off the bench, a good free throw shooter and a guy that can hit the open 3, but he is not in the Knicks long term plans in any way, shape or form, and he cannot complete with Malik Rose for the veteran minutes used to teach the young Knicks toughness, grit, or other intangibles. I expect his 33 minutes a game to be cut in half at least, you have to expect that the Knicks will be working on seeing if Wilson Chandler can play the shooting guard at this league, and also give Quentin Richardson a few minutes at the 2.
Quentin Richardson and Wilsonn Chandler will continue to hold down the three, and both may see some time at the 2. After the trades, the Knicks were playing 7 handed, and Chandler was forced to create his own offense. In my observation, this had mixed success. However, Chandler is young with a large motor, and will continue to get opportunities to be a primary scorer on occasions. I feel D’Antoni will continue to try to develop Chandler as a scorer you can trust in this league, and he plays as good defense right now as anyone on the Knicks. Quentin Richardson has always been a guy the Knicks love to use in the first quarter for the Knicks, and I don’t think his role will change in any foreseeable way.
Al Harrington and Tim Thomas will try to replace the surprising performance that Zach Randolph was giving the Knicks on their way to a 7-6 start. Walsh loves Harrington, and you cannot write Harrington off when you think of the Knicks in the long term. D’Antoni knows who the boss is, and Harrington will be worked into the offense. Will he stall the offense as Zach did on occasions, or will he make quick decisions and get the guards involved? I can’t even pretend to have this answer, and compared to Nate Robinson, Harrington will be just slightly less important to the short term success of the Knicks. Knicks fans know exactly what you get out of Tim Thomas, but just to refresh some memories, Thomas is 6 foot 10, he is going to see some time at the 4 and the 5, and his rebounding numbers should improve a lot. Tim Thomas is going to have to play some really solid defense and get some putback baskets for the Knicks to hope to compete against the top teams in the NBA.
David Lee, say hello to serious pressure. Lee thrived in his previous role of 30 minutes a game split between the 4 and 5, but I expect D’Antoni to challenge Lee after this trade, and give him 36 minutes defending the center. This could be done for two reasons. Firstly, to allow the Knicks to see how exactly Lee will fit into some of the hypothetical situations the Knicks are bouncing around for the future. And secondly, it will both improve Lee’s entire game and decrease his effectiveness in the short term. This decrease in effectiveness over the short term could aid the Knicks if they are looking to sign him to a deal that goes beyond 2008-2009, as he is a restricted free agent after this year. Backing Lee up will probably be Tim Thomas with a touch of Malik Rose. Malik Rose needs no introduction to most NBA fans, he is who you think he is, to paraphrase Dennis Green.
If Danilo Gallinari can come back from back problems in a few months, he will get worked into the rotation and fill a larger role then many would assume by the end of this season, as the Knicks know he will be on the 2010 roster, and need to know what he can offer the franchise, but until that time, this is what you can expect from the Knicks.
Final analysis: If I had all the answers as to how this Knicks team will fare going forward, I’d be on a flight to Vegas right now. But D’Antoni might have a point when he says this team will stay competitive over the short term. Remember, the Knicks are 7-6 right now, but without a lot of marquee wins. The loss of Crawford and Randolph means the Knicks have two less superstars in a superstar driven league (Yes, I called Crawford and Randolph superstars. If you disagree, chalk it up to nostalgia and homer-ism), but it also means the D’Antoni offense is going to be run more efficiently in all likelihood, as the offense has less guys who will force shots. This team can still put up some points and run bad teams out of the gym, and can still give a good team fits, but when the 4th quarter comes and you need a player to make a play, will the Knicks have that man? If I had to guess, the big shots are going to go to Robinson and Chandler down the stretch, because they are players who are in the running to be part of the Knicks future. And if the Knicks can stay competitive in the 4th against great teams, that will not only increase the stock of Robinson and Chandler as ballplayers, it will make the Knicks look better, not only for the future, but in the 2008-2009 Atlantic Division standings.
Posted on: November 25, 2008 7:02 pm
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