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Sunday, October 26, 2014

How to Fix the Knicks

I’ve watched every minute of every game this year, and I can state for the record that the Knicks have not been a good team thus far. New York is 2-5 and their 2 wins have come at a grand total of 3 points. While only the most rabid Knick fans expected New York to compete in the East this year, most prognosticators (save for the most rabid Knick hater) expected them to make some kind of improvement on their abysmal 2006 campaign. So far, their expected win% is close to their actual win percentage last year. As of this writing, the Knicks are ranked 22nd on offense and 28th on defense and haven’t shown much improvement overall as a team. While the year hasn’t gone as optimists would hope, there have been some bright spots on the early season. With a couple of adjustments, New York can improve on this horrid start.

The first step is to take a long look at the starting unit, because in every game this year New York has been down by double digits in the first half. Since the Knick bench has come in and sparked the team, usually making up the difference and then some, it makes sense that Isiah should apply the red pen to his starting roster. The first player I would remove would be Channing Frye. I don’t think anyone predicted such a downhill collapse for the Knicks’ best rookie last year. Frye’s sophomore slide is so huge, Disney has contacted his agent for a Splash Mountain commercial tie-in. Although Channing’s defense has been acceptable (per 40 minutes he’s averaging 1.4BLK & 1.7STL), he’s absolutely lost on offense. Frye’s 22% shooting percentage is well below the Tskitishvili-line (currently at 33.8%), and is the only stat I need to communicate how poor he’s been on offense.

But Channing Frye isn’t the only culprit. His frontcourt-mate Eddy Curry has been equally feeble. Although Frye is giving the Knicks some production on defense, Curry has given the Knicks nothing back on the defensive end. The 6-11 Curry has averaged 0.6 blocks per 40 minutes, which is an embarrassment for a player his size. Jamal Crawford, a 6-6 guard not known for his defense, is nearly at the same rate (0.5 BLK/40). Meanwhile, Curry’s 0.4 STL/40 is last on the team among the regular players. While defensive stats don’t tell the whole story, Eddy’s defense has been even worse to the eye. The Knicks’ center is just as bad defending his own man as he is helping contain penetrators into the lane. As a child, Curry was given the nickname “Lurch” for being the quiet giant, but I think the name “David” is more fitting. It’s not because Eddy Curry reminds me of David Robinson, a fantastic defensive center in his own right. It’s because Curry stands around like a giant statue on defense, ala Michelangelo’s famous sculpture.

Usually Curry’s defenders (not the NBA players that actually defend Curry, but guys like Knick’s owner James Dolan who thinks Curry “will develop into a league-leading center”) point to his offensive numbers in an effort to cast him in a productive light. Unfortunately for them, Eddy Curry’s points, turnovers, assists, and fouls are below his career average. In any case, Curry’s defense is so bad at this point he shouldn’t be on the court without a strong defensive player next to him.

If Isiah wants to turn his team around in the first quarter, starting the game off with Curry & Frye on the bench would be a good start. While it’s simple to identify them as the culprits (82games.com has the pair as the two worst Knicks in regards to +/-), finding two suitable replacements isn’t as easy. David Lee is the obvious choice, as he leads the Knicks with a 21.95 PER. Lee’s strength has been his work on the glass, and he’s third in the league in rebounding rate. The ambidextrous forward has a nice touch around the hoop, and he doesn’t demand the ball to score. “Buddy” Lee is able to put points on the board either cleaning up his teammates misses or being the beneficiary of a well placed pass. But after Lee, the choices are slim.

The popular choice might be Malik Rose, who has earned a name for himself by playing fantastic defense the last few games. But Rose’s poor shooting skills and high demand for the ball make him a poor mix with the offensive starters. If the Knick guards can ignore his repeated demands for the ball in the post, it could work, but that’s not likely to work. My choice would be to give Kelvin Cato a try.

Adding Cato & Lee to the starting 5 makes sense on a few levels. First off the starting group already has enough offensive minded players in as Marbury, Crawford/Francis, and Richardson. Let the offense center around these three, augmented by Lee’s strong rebounding. The loss of Curry and Frye’s post skills can be replaced partly with David Lee and partly with Quentin Richardson who can take smaller players on the blocks. Meanwhile on defense, Cato will provide more resistance to quicker guards that get past the Knick perimeter. If the loss of potential offense bothers you remember the Knicks will be able to run more often if they make more stops on defense. And with Cato’s defense and Lee’s rebounding, they should be able to get more stops on defense.

In the meantime I’ve given a pass to the rest of the Knick not because all is well with the guards, but rather because the frontcourt has been disastrous. Additionally Francis’ injury has given him a pass for the early season, and his return will muddle the situation anyway. In the next few games, I imagine that Channing Frye will be benched for David Lee because Frye’s season has been so obviously bad and Lee’s so good. However Eddy Curry shouldn’t receive a free pass due to the amount the franchise has invested into him. While Cato doesn’t have Curry’s potential nor does his numbers on paper make him a logical starter, the Knicks are desperate for defense and it wouldn’t be so bad to see how he affects New York’s on the court chemistry.

51 comments on “How to Fix the Knicks

  1. dave crockett

    KB-

    yours is the most obvious move for immediate improvement. the one downside–and there’s really no way around this catch 22–is that now you have no bench. frye and curry are playing SO poorly it’s difficult to see what matchups they can play well in.

    having a limited bench might be less of a problem except thomas has been playing a lot of people thus far. in other words, there’s no way the knicks can get around needing both those players to improve dramatically. that’s what sucks about being the knicks right now. no easy answers.

  2. joseph

    Great Suggestions – If anything benching Curry and Frye will be good for both of them – hopefully a wakeup call to both of them..that will jump start their seasons -

  3. Brian Maniscalco

    If I had to choose one number to sum up Frye’s struggles so far, rather than FG% I’d point to his PER, which has been well below the other Tskitishivilli-line (5.18) all season. Actually, Frye’s PER has been on the wrong side of *zero* all season, a level of ineptitude that’s just hard to comprehend.

  4. Jim K

    While I simply don’t think they’ll bench Curry, it certainly makes sense to start Cato (James?) as there are enough offensive guys in the starting lineup already, and let him give them 8 minutes of defense early on — Cato would likely only play 10-15 a game even as a starter, but Curry, still playing 25 a game but coming on against more 2nd unit guys certainly wouldn’t hurt his offense and might help mask his defense.

    Let Lee start at PF, and then Rose and Frye soak up whatever minutes are left, with Rose getting the brunt as he does know how to look professional on the court, which this team needs more of. Frye should get 10-15; he’ll never get back into decent shape w/o playing, but he’s so horrendous you can’t have him out right now for more than 7 a half.

    As for guards, Francis’ per minutes weren’t terrible before he went down — he does more stuff than Marbury, who if he isn’t doing what he does well well, suddenly seems worthless. Start Marbury and Crawford with Robinson as the 3rd guard, and when Francis comes back use him off the bench — he and Curry could be a potent offense 2nd unit, especially when playing with defense guys like Rose and Balkman, just as Rich and Crawford can get their shots with defenders Cato and Lee in the 1st unit…

    But Thomas, after Brown’s revolving starting lineup, is unfortunately showing the patience of a saint with his own starting five…

  5. Ben

    A couple things about Curry.

    First his whole season has not been bad just the last couple games. When fed properly he has played pretty well, except when being manhandled by Yao. I think Francis’s injury has really hurt Curry as he is our best player feeding the post. (With Francis: 18 ppg 8 rbg w/o Francis: 9 ppg 5 rpg)

    Second Cato is hardly a replacement for Curry and can only probably play 20 minutes max anyway because of conditioning and foul trouble.

    So with that in mind I would bench Frye and if our slow starts continue then bench Curry in a week or two.

  6. Sam

    I agree with dave crockett…

    It’s really a matter of a couple underachieving players bringing down the whole team effort at the moment… how does someone get around that when the talent is irreplaceable???

    KB, you make an excellent point (though obvious: all great points are) regarding the frontcourt and their desire… i belive there are two very important words that i mentioned above: TEAM and EFFORT… cliche: to win a the club has to play as a team and give an effort! there’s no substitute for giving an effort…

    giving guys like Lee and rose a little more time earlier might just send a message and keep new york in ball games and allow them to give a better attempt at winning on a given night… As for Cato, i dunno if he’ll even cut it… especially if you wanna match him up with the starting frontcourt of another NBA roster… he’ll get worked… its a talent and conditioning thing as Ben noted above…

    i can’t understand why the two players singled out by KD aren’t playing well, especially since we know they can according to numbers from previous years… but whatever it is, they need to fix it fast

  7. KnickerBlogger Post author

    “First his [Curry] whole season has not been bad just the last couple games. ”

    Maybe his offense hasn’t been bad, but his defense has been god awful in every game.

  8. Scott

    I like what you are saying; Frye on the bench along with Curry would make sense. This would be especially effective since, as you pointed out, their replacements would not be offensive minded. The problem though, lies in Isiah Thomas’ pride. He was the one who wanted the trade for Curry and I guarantee Isiah will go down with the proverbial ship. Unfortunately, for Knicks fans everywhere, we will see Eddy Curry in a knicks jersey, playing major minutes for atleast the rest of the season.

  9. Martha

    I’d just like to point out this bit of Clyde-channeling from the post: “The ambidextrous forward has a nice touch around the hoop.” Nice.

    I think Ben’s point about the team (apart from Francis, maybe) having no interest whatsoever in getting the ball to Curry — or anyone else — in the post in a good one. The fact is, however, that whether he’s getting the ball or not has nothing to do with his defense, which is uniformly abysmal. (Of course, that can be said about most of the team.)

    The bigger problem comes when you replace those two and the Knicks still can’t stop anyone — what then?

  10. Brian Cronin

    How about starting Frye at center (with Lee at the 4), and seeing if he can turn it around at a different position?

    The scariest thing about the Knick season to me so far has been how awesome Q has been. That they suck with Q playing out of his gourd – well, that really scares me.

  11. Count Zero

    I like Brian’s idea. Given that Curry looks worse every game, it’s worth a shot. Frye doesn’t really have the muscle to guard someone like Yao, but he might at least deter penetrating guards by stepping into the middle.

    Hell, at this point I would stick JJ at C as soon as he’s ready to play. Curry really looks like a PF coming off the bench…and even then, only if someone can learn to feed the damn post properly.

  12. Ken Bannister

    Rather than bench Frye & Curry (and honestly, I think you’re overreacting putting Cato and David “The Pink Panther” Lee into the starting 5 this early. Give Channing time, he’ll be fine.), if you really want to “fix the Knicks,” why not see if there are “addition by subtraction”
    trades out there for Curry and Marbury? Here are two examples (and yeah, both are unlikely due to ownership questions, Zeke’s need to “win now”, a plethora of reasons, but if Orlando/Toronto could get US to take Francis/J.Rose, it’s at least possible…)

    NY TRADES
    G Stephon Marbury

    MINNESOTA TRADES
    F/C Eddie Griffin
    SG Ricky Davis
    G/F Trenton Hassell

    Yeah, Minny/McHale is the only place you could potentially ship Steph to. Makes me sad. Honestly, I dig Steph, the pouty towel-headed lil’ bastid. Sigh. Anyway, then trade…

    NY TRADES
    C Eddy Curry

    MEMPHIS TRADES
    C Jake Tsakalidis (expiring)
    G/F Dahntay Jones (expiring)
    F Stromile Swift
    Future 1st round pick

    Or…

    NY TRADES
    Eddy Curry

    SEATTLE TRADES
    Danny Fortson (expiring)
    Robert Swift (OK, he’s injured, but such a cool poser-makeover, we gotta git ‘im!)

    Lets say Memphis wants to keep their cap space and West offers Isiah “Prince Albert in a can” and hangs up on him but the new Seattle/OKC owners, whacked out of their gourds on triple skinny chai mocha frappuccinomacallits do the trade. Hell, maybe the figure they owe us one for taking Jerome off their hands.Your lineup is then:

    PG Francis
    SG Richardson
    SF Jeffries (when he’s back from injury)
    PF Lee
    C Frye

    PG Robinson
    SG Crawford
    SF Davis
    PF Balkman
    C Griffin

    Bench: Swift, Cato, Rose, Hassell, Collins

    Release: Fortson

    Same depth as before, and one step closer to escaping cap hell and ou’ve got a seriously defensive-minded bench. Thoughts?

  13. Ken Bannister

    The biggest problem though (that can’t be fixed by my zany trades or your lineup switches) is that fearless leader Zeke admits mistakes about as often as the current US President. Witness Rumsfeld’s “resignation” which was held until after the election b/c he didn’t want to appear “weak” or (shudder) “Flip-Floppy” (like that basset hound-lookin’ mo-fo from Taxachusetts). But I digress — my point is I think we’re stuck with this lineup until Zeke leaves town.

  14. Ammad

    I think bench Frye.

    Start Lee.

    Lee must play with Curry

    Curry is below avg in rebounding and Lee is above average this way they balance each other out.

    When Frye comes in with the high energy bench guys, do some pick and pops with him, get him in to the flow. Post him up a bit even. Run some plays for him.

    I still think that you start Curry.

  15. Brian Cronin

    But David Lee coming into the starting lineup, though, Ken, would be seen as a VICTORY of Isiah Thomas.

    If he moves Eddy Curry to the bench, and has Frye and Lee in the frontcourt, won’t that be a victory by Zeke? He drafted both of them!

  16. thepalerider

    Your trades look good for us, that is assuming those teams want to add that much payroll for expiring or shorter term contracts. Minn may take Steph but there is no way the Memphis is taking Curry, West is to good a GM to be roped into that deal. Besides Fratello is all about Defense and Curry just is not his type of player.

  17. Michael

    So … like … I still wanna know: Who stole Frye’s game and can we put out an All Points Bulletin and get it back? Last year any fan with a touch of sanity wanted Frye playing major minutes, and now? Paging Hawthorne Wingo

    The decline in every aspect of his game is astonishing, the moreso as the kid seemed last year to have a great work ethic. I know the NYT took a feeble shot at explaining this: Not enough touches, too crowded in the low blocks, etc. But as explanations, those fail to satisfy. A guy with Frye’s touch should be able to figure multiple ways to score.
    He does look, to my eye, a bit scrawny this year, making me wonder what he did during the summer. But still the mystery persists, as this was a kid who looked like a potential 18 pt, 7 or 8 rebound forward last year

  18. George M.

    These trade scenarios don’t reflect the true interest that’s out there.Denver,LALakers,and the Nets love him.Why?Because he would probably be a good Center on a fast break team.A healthy K.Martin would be perfect alongside Curry.{Note I said a HEALTHY K-MARTIN}.The Lakers wouldn’t maind trading L.Odom for him.But then the question would be could he play at the 4 with Curry,or at the 3 and move Jeffries{when healthy}or D.Lee to the 4& Q-Rich to the 2.The Nets, I don’t know what they could offer us besides Kidd,Carter,or Jefferson and we know they won’t do that.I really wish Zeke would’ve tried to trade J.Rose,M.Taylor,Curry,and Frye to the TWOLVES for K.Garnett.With those xpiring contracts and those 2 yo-yos,they might have gone for it.3less players and a bonafide inside scoring star who can run by the way.

  19. Ken Bannister

    I hear you Brian w/r/t Lee. Don’t get me wrong, he’s played great and desrves more PT, but I think you’re damaging both Frye and Curry to bench them this soon. Realistically, this team has little to no shot at the playoffs. What is this season for? Developig young players. And even though Curry’s been around forever, he’s still the same age as Channing Frye, David Lee and Nate Robinson. I think Isiah’s doing the right thing (I can’t believe I wrote that) by getting Curry out there for 30+ mpg, defensive failures notwithstanding. And give Frye time, it’s not like he forgot how to play over the summer. There may be lingering problems w/the knee, he may have bulked up too much and he’s most definitively pressing.

    Bob Knight (Wow, I can’t believe I’m quoting this tool) says the game is 4 parts mental to 1 part physical. This is clearly the case w/Frye. If you want to get Lee more pt, how about some of the 20mpg that Malik’s been getting the last three games. Yeah, he’s played solid defense, but so what? It doesn’t help the development of any of these frontcourt players who could be a part of a contending team in the future (probably about the same time we’re out o the middle east–zing!)

  20. thepalerider

    if you look at the teams (Suns) Isiah is trying to resemble they have one thing in common. Smaller lineups that get down the floor. he’s trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Curry’s game is not an up and down transition basketball. Every single time we go small the results are there. Curry just isn’t going to fit in with what Isiah is trying to do. If you move Frye to the 5 and start rose at the 4 you get faster and stronger on D. You still have Lee bringing energy off the bench. Once Jeffries gets back you start him at the 4 and then Rose is your backup 5. Curry is not going to change especially now that he has his money. If they can get ANYTHING for Curry that has less years on a contract Isiah should jump on it. But we all know this won’t happen because that would mean admitting a mistake.

  21. George M.

    Maybe Zeke should try to move Q-Rich to the 2, and start D.Lee at the 3 until Jeffries gets healthy.He was going to start Jeffries at the 3 until he got hurt.Putting Lee there might create the same desired effect on the starters Zeke was looking for,or close to it.Zeke should do something soon,this club he put together has talent and he better find the right mixture before they go into a real tailspin like last season or it’s his job that goes!

  22. Marc R

    I agree that Lee should be starting, preferably for Curry so Curry doesn’t get into early foul trouble and can then come in and manhandle a second-string center.

    That said, this slow start was predictable and, in fact, widely predicted. Not just with the team getting used to a new system, but also the brutal early-season schedule. One of the only anticipated “cupcakes” in the first few weeks of the schedule was the first-place Hawks. Other than them (and I suppose Memphis) these have all been teams that were anticipated to contend, not to mention having 2 of the first seven games on the road and the last three being in four days.

    I can be a bit of an apologist (duh), but I wouldn’t hit the panic button just yet.

    That said, KB’s analysis about early double-digit deficits does scream for a starting lineup change.

  23. steve

    I have no excuse for Frye, or for Curry’s defense, which looks like the culmination of a lifetime of bad habits and laziness. Right now, Curry is the best example for why not to draft kids out of high school. That being said, I agree with the person who said Curry gets short shrift from his teammates who either get him the ball late or in bad position. And they let him stand there in the post like a statue. Try setting some picks and moving him around in the post.Bring him out to the high post to take a jumper once in a while. They are the most predictable team in the NBA. Opposing Teams know they will get out of the offense whenever they get down more than a few points. They just have to wait. Thats why they lead the league in turnovers, because there is no offense. We’ve all said this a million times. When you watch the games, the possessions where the Knick guards move the ball, when players KEEP moving without the ball, when players actually run the plays, they score!. Its amazing to watch how they get away from their offense, start chucking up bricks and get down by double digits. Other teams aren’t doing anything special, guards penetrating into the paint, kicking the pass out, then swinging the ball to shooters in their favorite spots. Jamal Crawford comes on a curl off a screen and scores on a 15 -18 foot J almost every time they run it. Then it stops. No pick and rolls with Steph and Frye?. When Marbury ran this with Kurt Thomas, no one could stop it.
    Isiah will rue the day he did not draft Marcus Williams, because as much as I hate Larry Brown with a passion, he was right about this team not having a head. These young players can’t learn the game from playing with Stephon Marbury. They need a real point guard to run this team, a coach on the floor. The good news is that Frye and Curry will get better, only time will tell just how much better.

  24. Brian Cronin

    It’s not Steph’s decision to no longer run the pick and roll.

    And yes, as bad as the Knicks have played, this HAS been a tough stretch to open a season with.

  25. John

    It really doesn’t matter who starts or comes off the bench in the frontcourt, because no one can play interior defense. The Knicks do not have a deterrent on the low post to stop guards from scoring inside, let alone PFs and Cs. Even if Lee and Curry are paired, or Frye and Lee, or Cato and Lee, or Curry and Cato, no one can stop the interior scoring. Without anyone to stop “slashing” guards, which the new rules favor even more this season, or low post scorers, the Knicks won’t win many games.

    The only way to fix the Knicks, as I see it, would be to make trades for a true PG (Earl Watson seems to be available!!) and a defensive center. However, even if Zeke suddenly saw the light and wanted to make some good moves, he doesn’t have leeway to make roster changes this season, and so the roster will probably be blown up in May ’07, with Isiah out of a job, with any luck.

  26. KD

    Wait, I’m not sure you’re allowed to write a column entitled “How to Fix the Knicks” without mentioning Kiki Vandeweghe.

  27. Hudson River

    The Knicks cannot just change their line-up and win, they need to work harder on defense. I would love to see Isiah run his team like the JV its playing like, play the guys making the plays and the people who hustle, whether or not their shots are going down.

    I propose starting the line-up the knicks have now, and as long as curry fights for position on offense and attempts to play defense he remains in the line-up, same for frye and the guards. If they are not giving a 100% effort replace them with somebody who will, even if its only for 7 minutes at a time in Cato’s case.

    If they were to do something along these lines they might get a line-up such as Frye at 5, Lee at 4, Q at 3, Crawford at 2, and Marbury at 1. The players should play 100% every second because each player can be replaced (Cato, Balkman, Nate the Great, and Marty Collins)

  28. Aron

    You are partly right; but the main problem is Marbury. He is supposed to be the main player but he never comes through when they need him. He gets his points when the team doesn’t need those points. Trade marbury, whoever they will get would be better. The starting line up should be: Nate, Q, Jamal, Eddy, & Francis.

  29. KnickerBlogger Post author

    Tonight against Cleveland, Frye looked good early, but foul trouble put him on the bench and when he came back in he didn’t look the same. Lee & Nate were two of the Knicks’ best players, but only played 23 minutes each. They shot a sparkling 13 of 15 combined!

    Curry played the third most minutes (33), but was mediocre. Cleveland didn’t really take advantage of Curry on defense, but Eddy didn’t do anything spectacular either. He almost got one whole block – but was called for the foul instead. If Thomas doesn’t want to take him out of the starting lineup, at least he shouldn’t put him out there for 30+ minutes a night.

    Crawford took turns taking crazy shots (including a 30 footer that he nailed) and composed drives to the hoop. Francis was a non-factor shooting, but was always around on the glass. Marbury had 7 assists, but missed 6 shots, including a wide open three to tie it late in the 4th.

    At least the Knicks had a lead early on.

  30. Matt

    I saw the game tonight. Curry is the world’s worst help defender. He basically patted Larry Hughes on the ass as he coasted to the bucket. Also, Damon Jones had 29, at least 7 threes. How on earth does that happen? Marbury on help defense, that’s how. He was terrible tonight. 7 assists don’t justify what he gave up.

    The new rules make Nate and Buddy Lee the most dangerous Knick tandem offensively, but Lee, aside from rebounding, can’t defend and Nate got torched tonight on D. How can you make 14 of 17 shots and not take the lead? By giving up everything you get.

    If Lee and Nate are going to be on the floor together, you need to have at least one help defender worth his salt. I say put Cato and Balkman out there for fouls, if nothing else–JJ too, when he’s done “worrying about Jerome.”

    Also, the set offense is all well and good, but the Knicks should have three offensive sets:

    A) pick-and-roll sets for Steph, Frye: who could beat them? Especially with Lee, maybe Francis, and Q on the floor–you’d get a little D, the best jumpshooting big, steph who can hit the J, and boards from Q, Francis, and Lee.

    B) Screens for Crawford. I don’t care who else is out there–anyone who can competently set picks.

    C) Motion offense when Francis and Curry are in the game. Feed Curry in the post in this set.

    Of course, you can run out of any of these sets, and you have to mix it up, but if you can run each of these three, you can figure out who needs minutes based on what’s working in a given game. I refuse to believe that Isaiah wouldn’t go to a pick and roll game with Frye at the 5 when the Knicks play Miami–but wouldn’t it have been nice to see more of it against Z tonight?

    If the Knicks are going to win with offense, then shouldn’t the offensive sets capitalize on the players best offensive strengths?

  31. Dan Panorama

    The Knicks are still losing at a similar rate so it’s hard to call it good news, but the feeling in these games is majorly different now. In that Cleveland game, as with every other one, they’ve put in a tremendous amount of effort, especially in the fourth quarter, battling their way back to within one or two points. Last year, the Knicks were down by ten every game in the first quarter and then disappeared into a rout. A few adjustments and the wins could start coming, they just have to learn to play all four quarters.

  32. thepalerider

    Someone posted earlier about Marbury not being the same since the shoulder injury. That was very clear last night when he would try to get through picks. He does not fight through them, he just tries to get through with minimal contact. Him and Curry our the biggest culprits on D. Someone stated Lee can’t defend I’m not sure I agree with that.

  33. Kevin

    Dan –

    Yes the Knicks have run off big rallies in the fourth quarter for wins. Watching last night and against the Spurs at MSG – IMO, both teams relaxed and the Knicks stormed back. Not sure that a closer game would allow the Knicks the opportunity to make a 15-3 run.

    As to Curry – he’s the problem. No defense and an offense that has to come to him. In the half court set, Curry just stands there, rarely extends an arm trying to help set up a passing lane. While the Knicks guards aren’t great at feeding the post, the problem is more Curry than the guards.

    I don’t have great hope for his development either. Yes he turns 24 in a few weeks but its his sixth season and he’s played 8500 minutes. Do we really think he cares to get better or does he think he is good enough.

    On Nate – highlight reel layups (esp. the 360) two big turnovers late in the game and overmatched on defense. Even shooting 8 for 9, were the Knicks better off? At best Nate is a Vinnie Johnson type who can score and inject energy but its playing with fire. Like most of the Knicks perimeter players need someone in the paint who will have some presence on help defense.

    Lastly, when Jeffries comes back, who do you think will lose minutes?

  34. Brian Cronin

    I think Jeffries will relegate Rose to the twilight zone.

    Beyond that – wow…it’s a really tough call. I have no idea (and Jeffries is going to need more than Rose’s anemic minutes).

  35. dave crockett

    Did anyone see Hollinger’s piece in today’s Sun? I’ve been super critical of Hollinger because he likes kicking Isiah–which is a kind of guilty pleasure I must admit to enjoying myself–without offering much insight.

    Today though, I think he offers a nice antedote to the easy interpretation that the guards are “carrying” this team. Sure, they’re scoring enough to make bad losses appear cosmetically close, but even then it’s based on volume rather than efficiency. Most importantly the ball isn’t moving. A couple days ago I was going to post a comment about how I thought the bigs (other than Lee) are having trouble playing at the new pace, only to discover that the new pace isn’t much different than the old pace. It just looks faster because of the incessant dribbling by the guards.

  36. George M.

    While we eagerly await the reurn of Jeffries,what Steve said yesterday about efficient offensive sets is probably on the money.That,and the inability to feed Curry properly in the low post are what is probably hurting the efficiency of the offense.Efficient offense might help them be more efficient on defense.Zeke was real confident about the team before Jeffries got hurt,I hope this works when he returns.Until then running sets that Matt spoke about earlier might work.

  37. Josh

    Dave, I read Hollinger’s piece. Check out my link for my take on it in full, but I thought he was dead on. Last night’s scoring by Robinson and Crawford was fun but the whole night was a perfect example of why the Knick offense doesn’t work. They don’t run plays through a set, the occasional pick-and-roll dies because the picker never gets the ball while open and the ball doesn’t move nearly enough to create open shots or mismatches.

  38. George M.

    One more thing,since P.Ewing isn’t working for the Rockets anymore maybe Zeke should call him to help with Curry&Frye.His xperience and skills might help them,after all,look how well Yao is playing!!!! Just a thought.

  39. Seth

    They do have Mark Aguirre for that purpose, but I agree that those kids need some coaching. Having Ewing on the staff would be a nice gesture either way.

  40. KnickerBlogger Post author

    Not to pick on you George, but I’m not crazy on the hire a coach theory. Sure there are assistant coaches that can make a difference (Leo Mazzone comes to mind). But Eddy Curry has been in the league for 6 seasons now, and I’m sure he’s had a few different coaches already that have apparently failed. It’s not like every team he’s been on has said “well we’ve got this kid Eddy Curry who just needs to learn a few things. Let’s *not* give him an assistant coach to work on these things & just pray he figures it out on his own.”

    Patrick isn’t going to walk in like Edward James Olmos and teach Curry how to play defense & solve diffy-Qs. I’m sure Curry has been trained by some of the better coaches in the world (read guys that are assistant coaches in the NBA). If he hasn’t learned it from them, he’s not likely going to learn anything from anyone else.

  41. Knick Fan

    I think what the Knicks should do is stop starting marbury & francis together & actively shop either. Marbury should start w/ the first unit & francis should come off the bench w/ the second unit. They just look completely lost together on the floor. Jamal Crawford should start at the 2. Once Jared Jeffries comes back Q should be the regular shooting guard w/ Marbury. Eddy Curry & Frye should be given some time. Channing should come out of his funk soon. He had a decent game vs. the CAVS. If not bench him & start David Lee who has been amazing. There is no way you bench Curry, too much of an investment, he has to play minutes, he’ll round in to shape as the season progresses.

    Before Jeffries After Jeffries
    PG — Marbury PG — Marbury
    SG — Crawford SG — Richardson
    C — Curry C — Curry
    SF — Richardson SF — Jeffries
    PF — Frye or Lee PF — Frye or Lee

  42. George M.

    You know what,you’re right.I’m sick and tired of watching or listening or reading about how this team of “Talented” yet overpaid veteran bunch of maggots that are poorly blended together by Zeke!!! Give him his “Pink Slip” NOW!!Trade away the overpriced turds that have to be rescued by the bench night in,night out!!If Curry is that INCOMPETENT,where the hell was Zeke’s research into this player’s character,HEALTH!!,and skill sets or,lack there of??What the hell was he thinking when he brought this JACKASS!!!!! in???? It’s sad for me to say this but,as much as I liked Zeke as a player,and hated him as our opponent back in the day,the aquisition of Curry and J.James prove to me that he’s not competent as GM to turn our organization into a CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDER AGAIN!!!!! Never mind letting LB con him into aquiring J.Rose and Francis.He could have tried to trade those xpiring contracts for players with more proven talent than those 2 chumps!!! Or combine them together for a superstar!!! Dolan has said he could still do that.Instead of putting all those chips he had together to do that,what is he doing you ask??? Trying to prove LB he was wrong!! Instead of trying to bring in a superstar,and using some common sense,he wants to prove LB wrong ,HOW JUVENILLE !!!!! Dolan should just let him go. Kiki Vandewege looks like he’s waiting for this job to open up.MESSAGE TO DOLAN:If there is a better option than Kiki,please take it!!! Don’t just take him Bcause of what he did in Denver! Remember,they didn’t renew his contract!And all Denver is,is a fast break team that’s eliminated in the 1st round.Can’t compete with Clippers,Lakers,Spurs,Suns,Mavericks,you know, the elite teams in that conference.I’m a fan of nearly 30 yrs.I can’t tell which was worse,the Layden era or the Thomas era.Bcause,bottom line, we stink and I don’t see any Improvement in the WIN COLUMN!!! I don’t care who is right Zeke,you or LB right now!! Bottom line,you helped CREATE THIS MESS,and it looks to me like you’ve painted yourself into a corner,you know,NO WAY OUT!! Enough of my ranting.Mr.KNICKERBLOGGER,could you tell us what could be done here??????

  43. Hudson River

    Talk about assistant coaches for eddy curry, Patrick Ewing could be useful, but Herb Williams is a knicks assistant coach and he used to be a very good defensive player but Eddy….

    The Knicks should try playing Jamal Crawford at point guard, because he plays defense better than Marbury, and because of his friendship he won’t forget to give the ball to Eddy. Then Marbury and Nate Robinson are thrust into the role immediate bench players, with Marbury being the smart scorer on the floor with Channing Frye, and Nate being the spark.

    Last year every single Piston had better numbers than their champion ship year, except Ben Wallace. They had more wins last year than their championship year, but they didn’t win the ring. The reason? Defense. The Knicks need to commit to defense. They don’t need to radically change the line-up immediately but get Curry and Marbury to at least make an effort to rebound and play defense.

    -Note- Last game Curry looked solid on the boards

  44. VS

    Does anybody else get utterly bummed out on all kinds of levels watching that commercial where Channing Frye is reading the letters from impoverished children?

  45. Peter H.

    Good defense always starts in the middle and grabbing boards. Starting Lee would be a good start but I think trying Frye at center would be a good idea. I think benching him would do more harm than good and there are signs that Frye is breaking out of it. If anything it’ll allow Isiah to play at the frenetic pace that he wants.

    Curry, I’m convinced will never be an average defender let alone a good one and I think he’s too prone to turnovers to run the offense through him. One-dimensional players usually don’t start and I think that will be Curry’s fate. Isiah will hopefully realize this.

    I think we can all agree though that David Lee needs to get significantly more minutes and I much rather have it at the expense of Curry than Frye. At least for the time being.

  46. Peter H.

    I also think it’s abundantly clear that Q should not be going to the bench. He’s been our best player and it’s probably best to start him at the 2, his more natural position and split jeffries/balkman at the 3 with whatever minutes left to Q. It really seems this improved play is here to stick and I’m proud of him.

  47. blackice

    I think the best fix for the Knicks if they dont improve over the 82 games and be respectable in the league is for them to sell the team and have it move to OKC. Then get the Sac. Kings to move here in their place. I bet the the owners of the Kings would love the Big Apple and go out of their way to insure a competitive team. Last is to boycott all the games until they are 500 or above.

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