Can DWTDD Save NY’s Season?
In a word, no. Toney Douglas is not going to save NY’s season, but he could well have a significant impact on it.
I suspect Coach Woodson would rather Douglas did not play, but he will almost certainly need to. So, we may as well consider what he could possibly contribute. I doubt Bibby can play more than 25-30 useful minutes at both ends, and that may be optimistic. Douglas won’t take the entire remainder, but it’s hard to see him chained to the bench.
Of course, that awful stench you smell is Douglas’ descent from a useful-if-mediocre rookie to a Roger Mason, Jr. scented-turd in year three. It has been malodorous and nauseating. Douglas is a likeable guy having one of the worst seasons in the league. So it’s hard not to feel for him, coming off surgery in a lockout shortened season.
As circumstance would have it though, Douglas could be key to any chance NY has in game five. I fully expect the Heat to extend their defense with the goal of coaxing NY into continuing to stroll the ball up the floor. To this point the Heat has consistently forced NY to start its offense 3-4 steps beyond the arc, well into the shot clock, with flat-footed entry passes from awful angles. Davis and Bibby pose no threat off the dribble and have often been quick to pick it up with little pressure. DWTDD is notorious for doing killing his dribble too, so I don’t want to pitch him as NY’s salvation. Nevertheless, he might quicken the pace at which NY gets into sets, provide some useful ball-handling, and resistance on defense. He is at least theoretically capable of driving past his man. Just the threat of a drive could create an extra inch or to of floor spacing. Even if that is asking too much, Douglas can–again, in theory–play Shumpert’s designated ball-handler role. That mostly involves not picking up the dribble halfway between the half-court line and the arc to telegraph a 15 foot entry pass. Also I see a role for Douglas defending Chalmers, who seemed to run around unchecked in games 1 & 2. I’ll be happy if we can just get that.
At this point, we know WTD(cannot)D. He cannot shoot. So, let’s not have any illusions about a repeat of Chicago 2010. But, WTD(CAN)D is get the team into its sets quickly and stay in front of his man. NY is going to need a lot of that in game five.
Part-time blogger on the Knicks at Knickerblogger.net and Seahawks at FieldGulls.com. In my free time I hang out at the University of South Carolina and occasionally fill thirsty young minds with knowledge about various and sundry things related to consumer behavior and marketing.