Knicks Opener Postponed Due to Hurricane Sandy

From ESPN.com:

The highly anticipated regular-season opener Thursday between the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks, which was to be the first NBA regular-season game at the $1 billion Barclays Center, has been postponed due to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, the Nets confirmed Wednesday.

At this point, a makeup date has not been announced.

The NBA announced on Tuesday that the game would take place as scheduled. But shutdowns of mass transit due to the hurricane would’ve caused significant problems for fans trying to attend the game.

Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said he spoke to NBA executive Stu Jackson, who confirmed that Thursday’s game will be postponed. Grunwald said he has been told that Friday’s game against Miami at Madison Square Garden is still on.

Well, that sucks. Although I did get tickets for their second match-up at Barclays, so maybe those tickets will be worth something now. Heh.

Knick Injury Over/Unders for the 2012-13 NBA Season

As the season rapidly approaches, one of the main concerns facing this New York Knicks team is worries over injuries to the key players on the Knicks. In this piece, I’ll be setting over/under on games played for the Knicks’ top eight players and you all can make your picks as to whether said player will play less games than the amount I list or more (Mike already did one for Iman Shumpert, so I’ll be skipping him this time around).

Carmelo Anthony

Did you know that Carmelo Anthony has only had two seasons where he has failed to miss at least five games? And the last time he failed to miss at least five games was seven years ago. So Melo is bound to miss a few games this season. However, he also tends to be tough enough to rarely miss a lot of time. This year, though, he might be playing more power forward than he has in the past. So the question is, will playing power forward more cause Melo to miss more time this year or will he miss the same five or so games he routinely misses?

Will Carmelo Anthony play under or over 75.5 games?

  • Over (57%, 133 Votes)
  • Under (43%, 102 Votes)

Total Voters: 235

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Amar’e Stoudemire

The current diagnosis for Amar’e Stoudemire is that he will be out for six to eight weeks due to an injury in his surgically repaired left knee. Eight weeks would see him back for the Knicks’ game in London on January 17th. So this over/under really depends on whether you think 6-8 weeks is accurate or if Amar’e will miss more time.

Will Amar'e Stoudemire play under or over 44.5 games?

  • Under (62%, 140 Votes)
  • Over (38%, 86 Votes)

Total Voters: 226

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Tyson Chandler

Much was made about how Tyson Chandler, who has had some major injury issues in the past, turned a corner with the Mavericks and Knicks, durability-wise. While essentially true, he still missed seven games with the Mavericks and four games with the Knicks. He recently left a preseason game with a knee injury that does not appear to be serious. Still, there is always cause for worry with Tyson Chandler, so this over/under asks how much faith you have that he will continue his relatively strong durability this season.

Will Tyson Chandler play under or over 69.5 games?

  • Over (69%, 137 Votes)
  • Under (32%, 63 Votes)

Total Voters: 200

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Raymond Felton

Felton had exceptional durability his first four seasons in the NBA, but in the last two seasons he has had a few nagging injuries, missing seven and six games respectively. This under/over presumes that he will be durable once again this year. Do you agree or disagree?

Will Raymond Felton play under or over 79.5 games?

  • Under (53%, 99 Votes)
  • Over (47%, 87 Votes)

Total Voters: 186

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Jason Kidd

Kidd is a tough son of a gun, so he does not miss games due to nagging injuries. If he isn’t seriously hurt, he’s going to play 80 games a year. The problem is that occasionally he does get seriously hurt. When he does, he misses a lot of time. This over/under basically asks whether you feel that his age will lead to more serious injuries than normal (he did miss a lot of time last season).

Will Jason Kidd play under or over 69.5 games?

  • Under (53%, 88 Votes)
  • Over (47%, 77 Votes)

Total Voters: 165

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J.R. Smith

Smith is also a durable player, but he missed a lot of the preseason, which is not a good sign. This over/under is based on the worry that his nagging injuries might be serious.

Will J.R. Smith play under or over 75.5 games this year?

  • Over (66%, 104 Votes)
  • Under (34%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 157

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Steve Novak

Novak does not seem to be the type of player who will miss much time during the season (unless he’s getting DNP-Coach’s Decisions) and this over/under reflects that view.

Will Steve Novak play under or over 77.5 games this year?

  • Over (84%, 126 Votes)
  • Under (16%, 24 Votes)

Total Voters: 150

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Marcus Camby

Camby is already set to miss opening night and staying healthy has never been Camby’s strong suit, so this over/under asks you how much faith do you have that he’ll be healthy this season after starting the season not playing due to injuries? Or do you think this is going to be more like his previous tenure in New York where the most games he ever played was 63 (granted, he also played in 46 out of 50 games during the lockout-shortened season of 1999).

Will Marcus Camby play under or over 65.5 games?

  • Under (77%, 120 Votes)
  • Over (23%, 35 Votes)

Total Voters: 155

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Apologies to Ronnie Brewer, Pablo Prigioni, Kurt Thomas and Rasheed Wallace for not including them in this post. If you wish to guess how many games each of those four players will play, as well, feel to make your guesses in the comments section!

Amar’e Stoudemire Now Likely Out For At Least Six Weeks

ESPN is reporting that Amar’e Stoudemire will now be out for at least six weeks, possibly eight, and heck, let’s face it, who really knows what will happen next with his surgically repaired left knee.

Stoudemire went to the Phoenix Suns team doctor (the best team doctor in the world, right?) and he is the one who is projecting the new time frame.

Well, that’s not good news. I guess we won’t have to worry about how Melo and Amar’e mesh for awhile now, eh?

Knicks 2013 Preview: The Carmelo & Amar’e Conundrum

Amar’e Stoudemire has been paired with Carmelo Anthony for 20 months, and over that time period, when the pair have played in the same game the Knicks’ record is an underwhelming 31-40 (1-7 in playoffs) . When Stoudemire, Anthony, and Tyson Chandler were on the floor together, New York scored only 98.5 points per 100 possessions. To put that in perspective, that level of offensive *ahem* efficiency would put the Knicks in the bottom third of the league.

The individual stats available through NBA.com confirm that the pairing of Anthony and Stoudemire are the problem. Anthony posts average to below average numbers in key stats like points, FG%, FTA, and rebounds—when paired with S.T.A.T. And Stoudemire shows a similar drop in production.

A popular option to address this issue, one endorsed by Zack Lowe, Bill Simmons, and others, is moving Stoudemire to the bench, and allowing Anthony to start the game at the power forward position. Lowe noted that of all the players recorded by STATS, LLC’s multi-camera process for tracking every movement in an NBA game, Anthony was the most effective player in the league at driving the ball. Anthony was also the NBA leader in points per possession on elbow touches.

Anthony is highly effective at driving to the basket from the elbow or beyond, and highly effective at scoring when he catches at the elbow. The problem, as Lowe sees it, is that Stoudemire touches the ball at the elbow nearly twice as often as Anthony, and he was a far less effective scorer from that spot. Simply put Stoudemire is getting in the way of what Anthony does best.

In his NBA preview at Grantland.com, [29:30] Bill Simmons said that Amar’e Stoudemire must come off the bench, and that only a fool would argue against that. To quote Gomez Addams “Well, with God as my witness, I am that fool!”

Now, I agree the statistics make a compelling argument that something has to change, but I’d like to offer a few reasons why moving Stoudemire to the bench won’t be as helpful as some seem to think.

1. Making Stoudemire a reserve will only slightly reduce the amount of time he is on the court with Anthony.

Let’s say Carmelo Anthony plays his career average of 36.2 minutes per game. And let’s argue than in a reserve role, Stoudemire plays 32 minutes per game rather than his career average of 34.5. Even if Stoudemire plays every minute that Anthony sits, he will still be on the court with Anthony for 20.2 minutes per game. Last year, they were on the court together 25 minutes per game (976 minutes over 39 games). So bringing Stoudemire off the bench is likely to give Anthony an additional 4 minutes and 48 seconds without Stoudemire. At last year’s pace (93.2), that would mean an extra 9 possessions per game without Stoudemire.

Coach Woodson can tinker with the minutes by increasing Anthony’s or reducing Stoudemire’s, but each of those answers come with their own problems. Anthony’s career high minutes per game was 38.2 while he was in Denver at the age of 25. It is hard to image him playing that many minutes per game or anything in excess of that at 28, especially after a summer of Olympic Basketball. Stoudemire has never played less than 31 minutes per game, and wouldn’t likely respond well to such a sharp drop in minutes. Then again, maybe making Stoudemire sullen and unproductive is just the thing to get the Wizards to inquire about trading for him.

2. It does nothing to address Stoudemire’s productivity issues

Stoudemire’s True Shooting Percentage and Effective Field Goal Percentage last season—.541 and .487 respectively—were well below his career averages of .596 and .534, and below 2010-2011’s .565 and .505. Stoudemire’s drop in scoring is complicated by the fact that he took about .5 fewer shots at the rim in 2011-2012( 5.7) than he did in 2010-2011 (6.2). Furthermore, he took nearly 2 fewer free throws per game in 2011-2012 (5.7 a career low) than he did in 2010-2011 (7.5).

Even if you want to argue that pairing Amar’e with ‘Melo is the proximate cause of the Stoudemire’s shooting woes [Stoudemire’s shot the same 48% while paired with Anthony as he did while Anthony was on the bench, the big change was in the FGAs (17.3 w/o Anthoony up from 14.1 with Anthony)], we’ve already established that Stoudemire will only have about 11.8 minutes per game to take advantage of this. Moving Stoudemire to the bench won’t solve the issue.

Barring a trade [or injury], there really is no way to keep Stoudemire and Anthony from sharing space. Since they are stuck with each other, the Knicks need to make changes to way they play together in order to make this work. Stoudemire seems to have sensed this and has already began adding new “jewels” to his game. I think adding post moves will be a good thing for Stoudemire. Working in the paint rather than at the elbow will free that space for Anthony. Furthermore, if Stoudemire is making moves in the low post, he may see a rise in the number of personal fouls he draws, something he needs to help his scoring efficiency. Catching in the low post and making a quick move may also reduce his turnover volume, which was slightly above average last year. And it is not as though moving to the low post will get in the way of Chandler and his wide assortment of post moves.

In order for this to work the entire team needs to buy-in. The coaching staff needs to incorporate plays for Stoudemire in the low post. The team needs to know when to deliver the ball to Stoudemire. Finally, Stoudemire needs to embrace his new role and not revert to past habits if he struggles early.

With a full training camp and a full season, the Knicks have time to figure out how to make this work before the playoffs start. Hopefully, the team will find a way to get the best out of Stoudemire and Anthony as a pair because there just aren’t enough minutes in a game to keep them apart.

Knicks Morning News (Monday, Oct 29 2012)

  • [New York Newsday] Marcus Camby hopes to be ready for season opener against Nets (Mon, 29 Oct 2012 01:32:23 EDT)

    The Knicks had a couple of welcome sights Sunday.

  • [New York Daily News] Healthy Deron ready to lead Nets against Knicks (Mon, 29 Oct 2012 01:36:23 GMT)

    The Nets got ready for the Knicks as they prepped for Sandy, knowing there’s a chance Mother Nature won’t allow them another practice before Thursday’s opener in Brooklyn. So they scrimmaged against themselves with the ‘B’ team playing as the Knicks, whether it was Toko Shengalia as Carmelo Anthony or Andray Blatche as Tyson Chandler.

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks bigs Chandler, Camby eye opener in Brooklyn (Mon, 29 Oct 2012 01:31:56 GMT)

    Amar’e Stoudemire will miss at least the first few weeks of the NBA season with a ruptured cyst in his left knee, but the Knicks’ other banged-up big men are hoping to play in the opener Thursday night against the Nets in Brooklyn.

  • [New York Post] Knicks thrilled to be back at Garden (Mon, 29 Oct 2012 03:42:00 -0500)

    The Knicks debuted on the Garden floor yesterday for the first time this preseason for a two-hour practice. Because of the second phase of Garden renovations highlighted by a new upper bowl, the Knicks didn’t play any of their six-game preseason schedule on their home floor.
    They visited non-NBA…

  • Knicks Morning News (Sunday, Oct 28 2012)

  • [New York Times] Basketball: McGrady Denies Money a Factor in China Move (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 07:42:10 GMT)

    Two-times NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady has denied money was a factor in his decision to join the Qingdao Eagles in the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA).

  • [New York Times] Doctor for Amar’e Stoudemire Mostly Agrees With Knicks’ Prognosis (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 05:48:12 GMT)

    Offering a second opinion, the doctor said Amar’e Stoudemire would miss several more weeks with a knee injury.

  • [New York Times] Dwight Howard and Steve Nash Complete Lakers’ Powerful Starting Five (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 05:48:12 GMT)

    Adding center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash give the Lakers perhaps the most formidable starting five in recent N.B.A. history.

  • [New York Times] NBA: Harden Leaves Thunder for Rockets in Multi-Player Trade (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 05:42:10 GMT)

    The Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets on Saturday after the Western Conference champions were unable to reach an extension agreement with NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year.

  • [New York Times] Prokhorov Will Put Business Aside for Politics (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 05:33:28 GMT)

    Mikhail D. Prokhorov says he hopes to be a “third forceâ? in Russian politics, between President Vladimir V. Putin’s government and those protesting against it.

  • [New York Times] Thunder Send Sixth Man Harden to Rockets (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 04:21:20 GMT)

    Unable to work out an extension with James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded the Sixth Man of the Year to the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Knicks Rookie Chris Copeland Realizes His Dream (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 01:13:06 GMT)

    Chris Copeland is joining the N.B.A. at age 28 after spending most of the last five years playing in Europe.

  • [New York Post] Copeland cuts it as 15th man (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 04:14:20 -0500)

    The Knicks sliced their roster to their final 15 yesterday, cutting a player who started their first preseason game and keeping a player who was forgotten about until the second half of the second game.
    The team waived four players â?? forward Mychel Thompson, guard Oscar Bellfield, forward John Shurna and…

  • [New York Post] Knicks lack points with Amar’e out (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 03:19:10 -0500)

    The Knicks have few reliable scorers beyond Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, so the offense has a points void to fill in Stoudemire’s absence.
    The $100 million power forward is sidelined with a ruptured cyst in the back of his left knee, and as The Post’s Marc…

  • [New York Post] Serby’s Sunday Q & A with… Jason Kidd (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 03:12:42 -0500)

    Knicks point guard, and former Net, Jason Kidd took a shot at some Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.

    Q: What was it like being a New Jersey Net in a Knicks town?

    A: It was tough because everybody loves the Knicks. They have such deep history, and for…

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Without Amar'e, Knicks counting on depth (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 05:00:17 EDT)

    GREENBURGH, N.Y. — It feels like late last season when Amar’e Stoudemire went down, with everyone wanting to know: Where is the secondary scoring going to come from?
    After practice on Saturday, Carmelo Anthony had the reason why this season’s team is better prepared for Stoudemire’s absence while the power forward recovers from a ruptured popliteal cyst in his left knee.
    “We’re definitely a deeper team,” Anthony said.
    Mike Woodson continued the conversation.

  • [New York Daily News] Melo will share the load (Sun, 28 Oct 2012 04:00:36 GMT)

    You’d think that with Amar’e Stoudemire sidelined for perhaps the first month of the Knicks’ season, Carmelo Anthony will come out firing when the NBA season opens this week. Well, think again. For now, Anthony, one of the NBA’s premier scorers, says he plans on being just one of the guys when the Knicks open Thursday night against the Nets in Brooklyn. Well, think again.

  • Knicks Morning News (Saturday, Oct 27 2012)

  • [New York Post] Amar’e out indefinitely for Knicks (Sat, 27 Oct 2012 03:26:27 -0500)

    Though Tyson Chandler said he “absolutely” expects to be on the Brooklyn floor Thursday for the season opener despite his left-knee bone bruise, nobody can say when Amar’e Stoudemire and his ailing left knee will step onto a court again.
    According to a confidant of Stoudemire, the Knicks’ ailing…

  • [New York Post] Clyde: Melo primed for big year (Sat, 27 Oct 2012 01:01:33 -0500)

    Walt “Clydeâ? Frazier said he thinks Carmelo Anthony is ready to quiet the doubters and not only have a breakout season in his first full year with the Knicks, but develop into the all-around player many have been calling for him to become.”He’s saying all the right things…

  • [New York Post] Laimbeer says Isiah no help (Sat, 27 Oct 2012 00:47:27 -0500)

    James Dolan didn’t exactly need a recommendation from Isiah Thomas to decide hiring arguably the best WNBA coach in history, former Pistons “Bad Boy” Bill Laimbeer, was a no-brainer.Laimbeer’s WNBA resume speaks for itself as he won three championships during his six-year run with the Detroit Shock…