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Friday, August 22, 2014

Knicks Roster, Not Chemistry, The Problem

Late last night I was called by AM New York’s Tim Herrera and asked some questions about the Knicks. Even though I’m not mentioned anywhere in his article, he does quote some other Knick bloggers:

The experts agree: It’s all about the chemistry.

“The team just doesn’t know who they are at this point,” said Tommy Dee of theknicksblog.com. “They’re not clicking game-in game-out. When they sort that out, they’ll do some damage.”

Wayne McDonnell, sports management professor at NYU, agreed, adding, “When you make a move of this magnitude in such a short period of time, chemistry is key.”

Seth Rosenthal of Knicks blog postingandtoasting.com said expectations after the trade were unrealistically high.

“You can’t expect a guy who spent seven years at another team with another style to mesh with another star scorer and immediately figure things out,” he said.

But don’t panic, Dee said. “They’re still gonna be a tough team to deal with in the first round of the playoffs,” he said.

If you’ve been following my blog since the trade, you can see why my remarks didn’t make print. Either he didn’t understand what I was saying over the phone, or he doesn’t consider me an expert. Nonetheless I don’t think it’s all about chemistry, rather it’s all about the roster.

New York has a couple of holes in their roster. The first is a big man that could defend the paint and rebound with a modicum of outside shooting to keep the lane free. In other words, they need someone to compliment Amar’e Stoudemire. Turiaf has been useful in stretches, but his rebounding is subpar, and his body doesn’t seem to be up to the task of more than 20 minutes per game. Considering that the Knicks best rebounder, Landry Fields, has seen his court time diminish recently (less than 32 minutes in 7 of the last 8 games), glasswork has been a glaring weakness. D’Antoni tried to address it by starting Sheldon Williams. Despite being only 6-9, Williams is a good rebounder and decent defender. Although he was active on the glass, Sheldon missed an open 12 foot jumper and a contested layup. Unfortunately the Bucks teed off on New York to the tune of 32-9 first quarter, and Williams was yanked just 6 minutes into the game. Hence, I’m not sure if D’Antoni will give Sheldon another try.

The second big need is a true point guard that fits D’Antoni’s system. This year the Knicks have used five point guards. Felton could run the offense, but his shooting was woeful and his defense was worse than advertised. Toney Douglas is a fine defender, but he struggles distributing the ball and he’s a streaky shooter. Chauncey Billups can score efficiently, but at his age (34 yrs old) has trouble staying in front of quicker guards. Roger Mason’s shot is starting to fall, but he makes Billups look like Jason Kidd on defense. Finally Anthony Carter can defend, and that’s about it. Billups is obviously the best of this group, but New York needs a competent backup who can eat major minutes or spot start when Chauncey gets hurt.

The third thing New York lacks is a swingman defender. Chandler and Gallinari were both underrated defenders, and I’d rate the pair above average. However with the duo taking their talents to the Queen City of the Plains, the Knicks are hurting for a guard-forward that can clamp down on an opponent. Witness yesterday’s game when Carlos Delfino dropped 30 points on just 13 shots. Unfortunately there is no one in the rotation that could fit this role, and apparently the bench guys aren’t good enough (or trying hard enough in practice) to see court time.

In any case these aren’t chemistry problems. No amount of practice or game cohesion will fix these issues, because there are fundamental flaws in the roster. In the Carmelo Anthony trade, the Knicks traded away its depth and became more top heavy. New York saw three of their top minute-getters depart, and only received two starters in return. None of the other players the Knicks received are in the rotation. The team was built around the players they had in the offseason, and wasn’t meant to compliment the duo of Amar’e & ‘Melo. Since the trade the Knicks bench is an amalgamation of what other teams were willing to jettison, and what other teams deemed unworthy as filler.

Yesterday I was asked if New Yorkers were too optimistic about the team’s chances in the playoffs. I said that depended on the expectations. If they expected the team to a game or two in the first round, then they were being perfectly reasonable. Anything beyond that is hopeful optimism, because New York doesn’t have the horses to take them into the second round. Knick fans will have to wait until the summer and trust in Donnie Walsh to address the team’s needs.

82 comments on “Knicks Roster, Not Chemistry, The Problem

  1. Caleb

    No surprise – I agree!

    I am a little surprised that they seem to be going the wrong direction, although that may just be a Billups issue – when your team is a “Big 3″ plus random filler, if any Big One is off his game, things get ugly fast (see: Miami).

    As you know this is not the mainstream view. Sunday morning I heard Stephen A. on the radio saying he still thinks the trade was a good idea, and D’Antoni has to find a way to make the team play defense.

    What may be wildly optimistic is the idea that Walsh and D’Antoni will be around to patch things up. Stephen A. and Tommy Dee stand for about 95 percent of public opinion. If the Knicks wrap up with 42 or 43 wins, and get steamrolled in the first round – is Donnie going to get that extension? Will Mike D. get the blame?

    Nothing’s written in stone but if I had to bet right now, Donnie won’t be back and Mike D. will last until about Christmas 2011.

    If I’m giving advice, I seriously consider not picking up Billups’ option and using the $$$ to try and sign Nene or Tyson Chandler, or maybe a combo of a center (like Dalembert, or DeAndre Jordan) and a younger PG.

    Not to overreact to a couple of bad games, but Billups isn’t getting younger and even if he’s healthy, the team as constructed is not better than a 50-win team next year – barring a big surprise like scoring a Landry Fields-like hit with the #20 pick. It’s getting to Hail Mary time.

    Letting Billups go would be a major gamble, in that signing a big-time center is a longshot (Chandler might re-sign in Dallas; Clips might match a big offer to Jordan; Nene might not even opt out, etc.). But unless the Knicks find an impact defender, longshot is more like no shot.

    The other Plan B (or Plan C) would be to blow things up and trade Carmelo, but the odds of that happening are about 0.2 percent. Maybe Dwight Howard will make a big trade demand this summer and Orlando will feel the pressure!

  2. Count Zero

    A hearty ‘Amen!” to both the article and Caleb’s post. I would be shocked if ODB is back next season, and that is going to be a crying shame (assuming he was arm-twisted into the ‘Melo deal against his better judgment).

    I would definitely decline Chauncey’s option and take my chances on doing better with that $14MM — but somehow I doubt this is what will happen. A part of me hopes he continues to suck the rest of the way and into the first round, because that may force the issue.

  3. Nick C.

    Unfortunately when the big move of the season is made to justify a ticket price increase rather than to do more than bump up (maybe) your starting SF and PG a bit without adddressing any of the weakensses of the club what woudl anyone expect. Naturally all the peope pumping the trade can’t possibly admit they were wrong so the stall tactic of “needs time” “chemistry.” Really how much time is it goign to take for Melo to have the sense to follow or mark Delfino when he curls to the 3 point line rather than standing uselessly next to a teammate by the low block (which happened at elast twice) before belatedly waking up. Billups had his moments but it seems like his biggest upgrade over Felton is he gets the calls that this board used to groan about the refs missing with Felton (and a 39-33 edge in career 3pt%).

  4. Mulligan

    I can’t believe this, but lately I’ve noticed that I’m just a whole lot less interested in the Knicks, and I stuck with this team though all of Layden/Isiah. Whereas I tried to watch near every game the first half of the season, I’ve been missing quite a few lately. I didn’t even realize they were playing Milwaukee yesterday until the game was over.

    I really miss the guys we used to have, don’t really like the way we play ball most games and don’t feel particularly excited about the future.

    I’m depressed.

  5. Owen

    “In any case these aren’t chemistry problems. No amount of practice or game cohesion will fix these issues, because there are fundamental flaws in the roster.”

    I would sum it up as, Carmelo and Amare are overrated, massively duplicative, and incredibly overpaid. If you spend scarce resources on players like them it becomes very difficult to field an elite team. Also, Billups has been injured which has hurt our performance. The Knicks have made it worse by cutting the minutes they are giving our most efficient player while leaving their best wing defender rotting on the bench in haze of pot smoke and making only feeble efforts to find someone who can give them even average production at the center position. (Jeffries, Turiaf, Williams)

    Caleb – I would say Billups has been fine when he has played. I don’t really think he is the problem if he can stay healthy. Obviously, I think adding an interior presence would be a great idea but it’s hard to know how you build an elite team with Melo and Amare as your foundation.

  6. Thomas B.

    Agreed. I said from the start that I was not against getting Melo, rather I was doubtful that Melo fills the holes in this roster. As you point out the holes at the five and one are still here. To be fair, the Knicks had those holes before the trade, but as you said the team went 10 deep. I honestly thought the depth made this a better team.

    Caleb, I think we going to have Melo for a while. I’d say filling the hole at the point in either the draft or free agencys will be easier than doing the same for a center.

    Billups scored well but has not distributed or defended very well since he returned.

  7. Frank O.

    I get whiplash lately when I read knickerblogger.net.

    So to be clear, the Knicks before needed a center and point guard.
    Now, after a trade that brought a pretty decent point guard and a small forward scorer, the Knicks need a center, a point guard and swingman defender, and apparently a serviceable back up power forward?

    Excellent. Of course, that seems obvious. Everyone knew the Knicks gave up a lot to get this package done. Perhaps it was too inconvenient a truth to include in the story.
    I’ve always thought giving away Mosgov was a center too far and mourned losing Gallo.
    I also hoped, and hope, that Carmelo would become less a freelancer in this system. So far, the results there are mixed.
    Now I have to say, as much as I have been trying to give the Knicks time to sort themselves out, I’m finding them unwatchable and frustrating.
    Effort seems subpar. I have seen players go to the ground for the ball all of twice since the trade. Shooting has been pretty terrible at times, and the ball isn’t moving much.
    Players do not appear to be having a good time. People seem disinterested. The players don’t seem to like each other. There is less chatter on the bench .
    They are running strangers out there.
    Carmelo sulking the other night, berating new teammates, and generally not playing well isn’t going to create harmony either.

    Stat is in an awkward position. It’s kind of like you’ve convinced your buddies to invite an outside friend of yours to go out and party, and the outside friend proceeds to turn into an angry drunk who tries to pick fights and hit on wives. You didn’t know your friend was like this, but now you’re partly responsible for bringing him on board.
    Except this is worse, because in bringing in your outside friend, a few popular friends got squeezed out. Suddenly, it’s less fun, chemistry is a problem, and it’s on you.

    I so want this crew to work out. But I’m pissed because what was a fund season has turned kind of sour.

  8. Ben R

    Caleb – I think not picking up Billups option might be an okay move if NY was willing to sign a bigman to a long term contract. But I think NY will still be trying to conserve cap space in 2012 for the unrealistic dream of signing Paul or Williams and therefore will only be willing to sign players to 1 year deals which will stop them from getting anyone of note, making Billups the best option.

    My biggest worry this offseason and moving forward is if the new CBA gets rid of the MLE, if that happens then we will have no money to improve this offseason. I say if Howard or Paul demands a trade we should offer them either Amare or Melo rather than try and get a “big 3″ but I know that won’t happen.

    Mike – I think Douglas, even with his shortcomings, is a more than capable backup point. But I am worried that our problems go deeper than a hole at the five and a weak bench. I am concerned that an Amare-Melo pairing is fundamentally flawed and will never be able to seriously contend. Neither is a good defender, neither helps the other score beter and neither contributes much except scoring. They are great players and with a true 5 and a better bench I can see Amare-Melo being a 50 win team but- Will they ever be able to defend well enough to be better than average? Will they ever be able to play the kind of team ball required to be a consitantly top 3 offense? I am worried that a low 50 win team is the peak for us.

  9. Mulligan

    Anyone familiar with the work of Bismack Biyombo? Draftexpress has him picked right around our slot. Dude averages 4.5 blocks and 11.4 rebounds per 40.

  10. Caleb

    Owen: Caleb – I would say Billups has been fine when he has played. I don’t really think he is the problem if he can stay healthy. Obviously, I think adding an interior presence would be a great idea but it’s hard to know how you build an elite team with Melo and Amare as your foundation.  

    I don’t think he is a “problem” per se – I’ve always been a Billups fan and he is an upgrade over Felton, for sure. But unless we’re trading Anthony or Stoudemire, that $14 million is the only tool the Knicks have for upgrading. (letting him go, S&T – whatever). Standing pat, I don’t see how this group does better than 50 wins over a full season. And Billups is 35, so his value is only going down.

    You could be conservative, keep him another year, upgrade around the edges, hope for your 50 wins and then make the major move in 2012 – but there are a lot more center options available this summer. Like we’ve talked about before, it’s highly unlikely the cap lands in a place where we could offer max $ to Deron Williams, Chris Paul, etc.

  11. Caleb

    p.s. And yes, it is frustrating to be talking about trades again after 7 or 8 years of watching ugly basketball and hoping for a better day. This was the first season in a long time where it was fun just to watch the games and root for the current team. Now, not so much.

    Of course I am going to root for the best and hope that I’m wrong about this roster. With the way we jack up 3s, and the way some of the top Eastern teams are vulnerable to injury, at least we have the puncher’s chance of an upset.

  12. Ben R

    Mulligan: I can’t believe this, but lately I’ve noticed that I’m just a whole lot less interested in the Knicks, and I stuck with this team though all of Layden/Isiah. Whereas I tried to watch near every game the first half of the season, I’ve been missing quite a few lately. I didn’t even realize they were playing Milwaukee yesterday until the game was over. I really miss the guys we used to have, don’t really like the way we play ball most games and don’t feel particularly excited about the future. I’m depressed.  (Quote)

    I feel this way as well. Even when we’re winning I am less interested in the games, before the trade I would look forward to a game all day now I barely even care while I’m watching.

  13. Caleb

    @10 – I should have added – Amare and Carmelo are not stepping on anyone’s game when the Knicks have the ball. Like I wrote the other day, the Knicks have the best offense in the league since the trade.

    Our problem is defense – and the way the NBA works, a big-time center can change things completely. Look at Orlando. Or Tyson Chandler, on a slightly lesser level. Chandler alone would move the Knicks to about league average on D, IMO. Combine with top-ranked offense and you have a very good team, at least when you fill in the smaller gaps.

  14. Frank O.

    And how was it that Delfino so outplayed Carmelo last night?
    I mean, okay, Delfino has been burying 3s. The Knicks see he is hot. How is it that Carmelo isn’t in his shirt on D? You going to tell me Delfino is a better athlete? Or is a lack of effort on Melo’s part?
    How often did we see Melo more than five feet from Delfino and simply unable to close the gap after a pass and before the shot?
    The funniest part – I use that phrase rather loosely – is my wife, who this season has become much more astute about basketball, went nuts yesterday yelling at the TV every time she saw Delfino wide open on the elbow. It got so bad, I finally went for a run.

    Melo’s greatest flaw in my opinion is a lack of maturity and discipline. He has all the skills, quickness, strength, speed, size, everything, but it all has come too easily. He lacks the discipline and maturity to sit down every night and watch film and learn the offense and defense.
    That he now is saying the team may not come together until next year showed a stunning lack of desire. For a man earning $65 million over the next few years, it would seem that 13 games from the playoffs – just after the team announced a huge increase in ticket prices – he’d be putting in extra time studying and learning the offense and defense so the team is ready for the playoffs.
    A great player would.
    But what this guy seems to be saying is: next year. And next year? What then?

  15. Frank O.

    Ben R:
    I feel this way as well. Even when we’re winning I am less interested in the games, before the trade I would look forward to a game all day now I barely even care while I’m watching.  

    This seems to be going around

  16. Frank O.

    My comments about the new guys not putting in the time come from statements by STAT that implied yesterday that guys weren’t putting in the time to get up to speed.

    But it kills me that the Knicks have the playoffs in sight, the team is struggling, the franchise raises ticket prices enormously, and he’s saying maybe it won’t come together until next year.
    I simply don’t want to hear that shit.

  17. JK47

    I think the Knicks are going to have to exercise Billups’ option. If you decline it and spend the dough on a big man, then you have an enormous gaping maw at the PG position. You’d have to hope for a miracle and pray that you get a starting caliber PG in the draft. By my count, there is only one really good pure point guard in this draft: Kyrie Irving, and he’ll be a top 3 pick. The rest of the point guard-ish guys in this draft are combo guards, and the good ones like Kemba Walker and Brandon Knight are probably going to be off the board when we pick.

  18. max fisher-cohen

    Ben R: I am concerned that an Amare-Melo pairing is fundamentally flawed and will never be able to seriously contend. Neither is a good defender, neither helps the other score beter and neither contributes much except scoring.

    This to me is the best argument for chemistry-yellers. So far, they haven’t really helped each other at all, and that goes back I think partially to the point guard issues/injuries. They need a guy who can play intermediary and get them each the ball at times when they can be most efficient. Too often, Billups seems to go with old habits of letting Carmelo isolate, even when he’s been struggling. The entire purpose of having a two stars is that they can’t direct the defense at both of them.

    Stat and Carmelo’s games can complement each other. Carmelo is a good shooter when open. Amare PNR can get him open shots. Carmelo is incredibly physical and agile when he has a step to the rim. Amare PNR can get him that lane. He needs to play the role that Gallinari and Chandler were playing. He can iso in late shot clock/late game situations and then he can be the hero, but most of the time offenses should be looking to avoid requiring a hero at all.

    Caleb and Mike are right though, the main flaw has been the defense, and it would be surprising for us to take any serious strides in that direction without roster changes.

  19. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Frank O.: Ben R:
    I feel this way as well. Even when we’re winning I am less interested in the games, before the trade I would look forward to a game all day now I barely even care while I’m watching.

    This seems to be going around

    I’ve said this privately to my wife on many occasions. Say what you want about D’Antoni as a coach, but his teams were always fun to watch. The team races up the court to score numbers or not, and the ball always moves. It was the opposite of the 90s grind it out isolation game. Just fun to watch.

    Now the games are pretty boring to watch. There’s enough iso – and once the ball gets into Anthony’s hand, you can count on the other guy going across the floor for an iso opportunity.

    Additionally there isn’t anyone to root for. Gallo and Chandler, two guys we’ve had from the losing days, were fun to see in a winning situation. Even for Gallo’s inconsistent play, it was a joy to see him go into convulsions on the way to the hoop. Chandler could be counted on one exciting block, or perhaps an oooh-worthy finger roll. Mozgov was that foreign exchange student that was so wide eyed he was adorable doing anything positive.

    Now? Stat has his moments, but he’s only fun to root for when the team is winning, since he’s the most responsible for such an act. Losing just exposes his deficiencies. Carmelo? I can’t say I’m a big fan. Especially when it comes with having 5-10 plays a game on defense where he just gets lost. Billups? Good player, but zzzzzzzz. Billy “No D” Walker? Roger “Ole!” Mason? Shawn-e “Corner Three”? Really the only rootable guys are Fields & Douglas. Although I’d like to see what Shelden can do.

    Funny thing is, I think most people are more excited with ‘Melo. We’re the clear minority.

  20. Caleb

    @17 They would have a big hole at PG, but over the long haul it is easier to fill that than to find a great interior defender and rebounder.

  21. Jim Cavan

    Frank O.: I simply don’t want to hear that shit.

    Well put. Speaking of Billups as the X factor: have he and Stat successfully pulled off a P&R yet? If they have, I haven’t seen it. That 6 games he was out really hurt us — it basically turned what should have been a 10 game learning curve into a 15 or 16 game learning curve.

    As much as I love Chauncey, I too would prefer to see his option dropped. Even though he’s playing the good soldier, I can tell by watching his body language that he’s just not as into it. Granted he’s always played it cool, but I think having to uproot from Denver and come East took more of a toll than we thought.

    Assuming we can’t snag Brandon Knight, the FA market this summer is pretty weak. I like Patty Mills, but doubt he’s starting caliber (although he showed A LOT of improvement over last season), and the only guy with any starter credentials is Arroyo. I know a lot of people, including myself, are really high on Faried, but I’m starting to think our approach should be the opposite: draft a PG (hopefully Knight or, granting a disaster of some kind, Walker), and try and find a stopper/rebounding big on the market this summer, or in the D-League.

    Of course, this all assumes they don’t bring Billups back, which I agree is probably unlikely.

  22. JK47

    @19

    I think Chauncey Billups is very “rootable” player– I love his professionalism and calm demeanor. He’s been a little bit all over the place since he got here, but I do find him very easy to root for.

    If this team was 10-5 since the trade instead of 7-8, I think we’d find all of them a lot easier to root for.

  23. Nick C.

    This just feels like, to beat a fetid horse, an Isiah type team all over again. Huge defecits, late runs to no avail, open 3s and lanes all game long, individualistic “my turn” offense and unrootable players. I’m trying really hard but … and to hear wait till next year WTF was the point of trading then. Pretty much eveyrone above has echoed how this makes you feel. To go from 5-10 of unrootable garbage to get a team that is fun and makes you feel they can win every game to this is hard to stomach.

  24. Doug

    Mulligan: I can’t believe this, but lately I’ve noticed that I’m just a whole lot less interested in the Knicks, and I stuck with this team though all of Layden/Isiah. Whereas I tried to watch near every game the first half of the season, I’ve been missing quite a few lately. I didn’t even realize they were playing Milwaukee yesterday until the game was over.
    I really miss the guys we used to have, don’t really like the way we play ball most games and don’t feel particularly excited about the future.I’m depressed.  

    IT’S JUST BASKETBALL. It is grown men playing a children’s game for a living.

  25. cgreene

    Wow. The sentiment here is really pessimistic. At this point I can’t say that I disagree with any of it. We were all decrying a similar lack of emotional investment that one would have being a Heat fan with a synthetically constructed team and players with overlapping skills last July. It’s funny. Even though Wade and LBJ are more well rounded than our stars the brand of basketball that the Heat have played all year is hardly team oriented especially down the stretch. Bosh and even LBJ have come off as unlikeable at times. I find the similarities interesting.

    I get the sense that were we to overcome these tribulations, add some players and become a more well rounded team that the vitriol against Melo and our synthetically constructed roster would fade. Probably even more so if it takes time because time makes it less synthetic.

    Here’s hoping Donnie stays with us. That to me is the key more than anything else Mike discusses in the post.

  26. gbaked

    Its sad to me to see that you are all so convinced that Donnie is out…

    If donnie leaves and IT comes in, it will be my last straw. I am a very very very loyal fan… but I live in BK and if I they come in the same time that d-bag comes back I am out.

  27. Frank O.

    JK47: @19I think Chauncey Billups is very “rootable” player– I love his professionalism and calm demeanor.He’s been a little bit all over the place since he got here, but I do find him very easy to root for.If this team was 10-5 since the trade instead of 7-8, I think we’d find all of them a lot easier to root for.  

    JK:
    Of course. They would be winning most games, meaning good things are happening on the court, and likely they would all be playing within the system with some level of harmony.
    Respectfully, that’s a bit like saying that if the skies were blue and clear…it would be a nice day…:)

    Right now, this team is painful to watch.

  28. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Doug:
    IT’S JUST BASKETBALL. It is grown men playing a children’s game for a living.  

    It’s actually an enormous source of employment across the country. Sports do matter. I may disagree with their emotional importance according to that commenter, but if you’re going to keep being hip and condescending, could you at least be so about something empirically verifiable and not about your personal values?

  29. JK47

    If Isiah comes back I would stop rooting for the team. I’ve been a diehard Knicks fan since the 91-92 season and I’ve stuck with them through so many disappointments and so much heartache, but I’m not going through another round of Isiah Thomas. That’s just too much to endure– like reconciling with an abusive spouse or something.

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 13 years. I’d become a Laker fan.

  30. taggart4800

    @21 I beleive Chris wilcox is an FA this season and he is a future HOF’er.

    I really thik that with a bit of work we can have a very servicable Backcourt with Billups and DWTDD. We moan about middling guys going off on us, but he is that guy. He is incredibly potent when he is dialled in and that sort of player can be very frustrating.
    I would love to see more sets run that get our offensively challenge C’s easy looks at the rim. I know that it is all very well saying that but if only for their own confidence its stops the opposition crowding Amare and shutting down the PNR.

    @7 I think your comments regarding inviting the unlikeable friend, although not statiscally advanced, are very accurate. Really liked that. I had been getting that sense for a while. If Melo had gone through the shunning that Shawn-e williams had over the past few seasons, I think he would be a much more mature and focused player.

  31. JK47

    Respectfully, that’s a bit like saying that if the skies were blue and clear…it would be a nice day…:)

    Well, not exactly. People are saying they can’t root for certain players, not because they are good or bad players, but because of their demeanor and personality traits. I think those personality traits would suddenly become a lot more endearing if the team was winning. If we were winning nobody would say, “Jeez, these guys are good but Chauncey is boring and Melo smirks a lot, so I don’t like the new team.”

  32. citizen

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    It’s actually an enormous source of employment across the country. Sports do matter. I may disagree with their emotional importance according to that commenter, but if you’re going to keep being hip and condescending, could you at least be so about something empirically verifiable and not about your personal values?  

    Does the success of a team have an “empirically verifiable” effect on employment outcomes? The Knicks seemed to be plenty solvent during the mid-to-late 2000s. If it does at all, wouldn’t the effect be distortionary since your success comes at the expense of another’s failure, i.e. wouldn’t you gain jobs while another team loses them?

  33. Robert Silverman

    Mike Kurylo: &
    Funny thing is, I think most people are more excited with ‘Melo. We’re the clear minority.  

    It’s rarely fun being Cassandra.

  34. Count Zero

    @34 and 35 — QFT

    I think everyone is particularly pessimistic today after ‘Melo’s comments pre-game yesterday, and the result.

    That being said, the amount of payroll we have sunk into just two players going forward is a valid reason for pessimism unless those two show us that they can truly take over games with even the most basic supporting cast. $51MM for three guys next season is a pretty depressing thought when those three guys aren’t exactly tearing it up of late.

  35. Robert Silverman

    It’s the Stephon Marbury trade redux vibes that scare me the most about Melo.

    (And the Nix gave up WAY more to get Melo than Marbs)

  36. Frank O.

    Robert Silverman: It’s the Stephon Marbury trade redux vibes that scare me the most about Melo.
    (And the Nix gave up WAY more to get Melo than Marbs)  

    Truthfully, I felt sad watching Denver yesterday.
    Gallo was his knees and elbows self driving to the hoop. Mosgov’s hair remains comically boyish and Wilson’s has met his tat match in Kenyon Martin.
    ….and Ray sprained another ankle, I think.

  37. New Guy

    Funny thing is, I think most people are more excited with ‘Melo. We’re the clear minority.  

    That’s because we were the ones watching before he got here.

    And add me to the list of people who haven’t cared much recently. I’ve even taken to calling our new star “Carbury.”

  38. stratomatic

    Mike,

    First, let me thank you for this blog. It’s one of the few voices of reason and sanity on the Knicks.

    Not only do I agree with everything you said, I think things are actually a little worse than that. The fudamental problem goes beyond all the glaring holes that the team still has. It’s that both Amare and Melo are overrated.

    Amare is a great scorer/finisher, but he’s pretty much average at every other apect of the game relative to other PF/Cs.

    Melo is one of the most versatile scorers in the league, but the only time he’s highly efficient is when he goes to the basket and draws fouls. IMO he should actually be a much lower usage player despite the broader than average range of scoring skills. That’s a subtle point. Sure he can do some things fairly well that Gallo can’t do at all, but those things are not generating much value because he’s not GREAT at them. He should be passing instead. I think it can actually be argued in some very strange way that Gallo was more valuable on offense because he could draw fouls going to the basket like Melo, shoot 3s at an elite level, and was smart enough to not even try to do the other things often.

    It’s very basic.

    The average fan, beat writer, blogger, player, and coach dramatically overrates points per game, athletic ability, and being able to knock down tough shots and dramatically underrates efficiency and playing intelligently.

  39. New Guy

    And that was before I read this!

    Robert Silverman: It’s the Stephon Marbury trade redux vibes that scare me the most about Melo.
    (And the Nix gave up WAY more to get Melo than Marbs)  

  40. Doug

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    It’s actually an enormous source of employment across the country. Sports do matter. I may disagree with their emotional importance according to that commenter, but if you’re going to keep being hip and condescending, could you at least be so about something empirically verifiable and not about your personal values?  

    Sports matter, but they shouldn’t matter that much. Or is it necessary for human beings to invest so much of their personal identity and self-worth into the travails of a professional sports franchise? If the Knicks have that big of an impact on your emotional state, get some help.

    And to say “I’m depressed” about this is disrespectful to those of us who have had struggles with mental health issues and it cheapens what they have had to go through.

  41. Jim Cavan

    Robert Silverman: It’s the Stephon Marbury trade redux vibes that scare me the most about Melo.
    (And the Nix gave up WAY more to get Melo than Marbs)  

    I just threw up in my mouth. Is Melo overrated? Maybe / probably. Is he a wee immature? Absolutely. But Marbury was a certifable headcase who, at this point, makes Melo look like Bill Russell by comparison.

    I’m just as nervous as the next guy about the long-term repercussions of this deal, but to christen Melo as Marbury 2.0 this early in the game is a little harsh I think.

  42. The Infamous Cdiggy

    JK47: Respectfully, that’s a bit like saying that if the skies were blue and clear…it would be a nice day…:)Well, not exactly.People are saying they can’t root for certain players, not because they are good or bad players, but because of their demeanor and personality traits.I think those personality traits would suddenly become a lot more endearing if the team was winning.If we were winning nobody would say, “Jeez, these guys are good but Chauncey is boring and Melo smirks a lot, so I don’t like the new team.”  

    I agree.
    As far as “minority” and our their feelings of the Melo trade, I have a coworker who, I suppose you could say represents the “popular” opinion of “yeeah man we got Melo, kid!”. I told him I thought the Knicks gave up a bit too much for him, and his response was “who cares about them [traded Knick players]?”

    While we all want the Knicks at least make the playoffs and “show us a lil somethin-somthin” this season, the goal is to have bigger fish to fry in the next couple years. Of course, when you witness the felonious D this team plays (on the inside I can forgive/understand to a point; it’s the poor rotations and coverage on the perimeter to me that’s maddening) plus the lack of offensive cohesion , it’s hard to feel optimistic about this team at all. But take a step back from what we see this year; our two best players, while deficient in several areas of defense, are considered amongst the best in their respective positions (PF and SF). I say this because this means, for the first time in a long time, we have real value on our team, value that could be coveted by other teams. Yeah, Amare and Melo are making top dollar, but they are not black holes. If in a year or two this current plan doesn’t work, we can look to trade them and recycle. Now, whether we’ll have a GM/Pres in place astute…

  43. stratomatic

    I have a confession to make.

    I occasionally bet on basketball games. Sometimes my spreadsheets tell me to bet against the Knicks. In that past, that would agonizing for me because I’ve been a fan for over 40 years. I saw Frazier, Reed, Monroe etc… I actually feel sorry for those of you too young to have seen those teams. It was a glorious time and a glorious team that played basketball in way that I can only dream about now.

    But I digress.

    In the past I didn’t know whether to root for the money or the Knicks. It was emotoinally difficut. Invariably I sided with the team in the end and consoled myself with the money when they lost.

    Recently I bet the Pacers against the Knicks. Quite honestly I had no feelings of guilt or confusion as I prayed that Granger would knock down the game winner and seal the victory for “me”.

    It’s a whole new world for me.

    I feel nothing toward this team right now. After all the hellishness of Isiah etc… this trade finally killed it all for me.

    I loved Gallo and Chandler. I dreamed that Randolph might put it all together some day. I loved Felton’s burning desire to win and willingness to leave it all on the court even when he was missing poor shots. Heck I even loved cheering MOSGOV MOSGOV MOSGOV. I loved that team. I loved the dreams of upside development, their personalities, and potential. I loved everything about them. We traded it all in for an overhyped player with a personality I like even less.

    It’s over for me.

    I just want to cover the spread and I want the KNuggets to kill the Knicks next year. Sorry, but that’s how I feel.

  44. Mulligan

    Doug:
    Sports matter, but they shouldn’t matter that much. Or is it necessary for human beings to invest so much of their personal identity and self-worth into the travails of a professional sports franchise? If the Knicks have that big of an impact on your emotional state, get some help.And to say “I’m depressed” about this is disrespectful to those of us who have had struggles with mental health issues and it cheapens what they have had to go through.  

    Alright Doug. Change it to “bummed out and pessimistic” or hell, even just sad. I thought it was pretty obvious from my comment that I wasn’t implying that my life was taking a decisive turn for the worse because the Knicks traded away Gallinari and the Russian. Obviously there’s a lot more to life than basketball and I have a lot to be thankful about. But this happens to be a blog about the Knicks and I generally speak to that piece when I comment here. So when it comes to the Knicks and being a fan, things don’t feel so great from this vantage point. I did not mean for my word choice to come across as disrespectful.

  45. JK47

    Melo and Stat do have certain intangibles– opposing defenses spend more resources trying to stop those two than they would spend trying to stop a Wilson Chandler or a Danilo Gallinari. Melo and Stat get double-teamed more often and this opens things up a bit for everybody else. It’s not surprising that our offensive efficiency is #1 in the league since Melo’s arrival. Melo and Stat are both fine offensive players. Forget all the complaints about iso ball and how much more fun it was to watch our old offense. Our old offense featured Ray Felton jacking up 15 field goal attempts every night. The offense is better now, period. The Nuggets were the #1 offense in the league before the trade and we’re the #1 offense since the trade. I think it’s pretty clear Carmelo Anthony is not the detriment to team offense that some people here would suggest.

    The problem is on the other end and it is indeed a significant problem. Sadly, it’s possibly an unfixable problem.

  46. dubisaweapon

    gbaked: I live in BK and if I they come in the same time that d-bag comes back I am out.  

    This seems to be the elephant in the room that no one is really talking about — at what point do you get so fed up with the Knicks that you desert them in favor of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets?

    I’d be interested to hear what other Brooklyn based fans are thinking these days. The Barclays Center is going to be a 10 minute walk from my apartment.

  47. Mulligan

    I also live 10 minutes away from the stadium and that is a non-factor for me. I would probably go to game there, just because of the convenience, but that team has little appeal for me.

  48. Robert Silverman

    Post-Melo trade stress disorder notwithstanding, it’s not going to make me jump to the Brooklyn Nets (and I’m about 20 mins from their new stadium as well).

    Now if Isiah is hired in any capacity, even selling programs, that’s another story.

  49. Brian Cronin

    I still have to look at it like the Jeffries trade the Knicks made with Houston. That was a terrible trade on the face of it, but it was worth it because it put the Knicks in the position to have a chance to get two stars this past offseason. And had they done so, the Knicks would have been in a great spot right now. They’d have their two stars plus Chandler and Gallo still. I think that terrible trade was worth the chance it gave the Knicks to get a Top 5 NBA player.

    Same thing here, this was a terrible trade on the face of it, but it gives them a chance to get Paul or D-Will. You can certainly argue that it is unlikely that they’ll get them, but I guarantee you that Donnie Walsh has been told “if you get Melo, Paul will sign with you in 2012.” Might not be true, but Paul is such an amazing player, I don’t mind gutting the roster or picking up an overrated, overpaid Melo to get him (or D-Will, whichever – and D-Will surely has not been giving New Jersey any signs that he will re-sign there).

    Paul/D-Will, Amar’e, Melo and scrubs is a title contender in year one. I don’t mind watching some depressing basketball now for the chance at a team like that in 2012.

  50. Doug

    Doug:
    It’s no problem. I was a little oversensitive.  

    It is just that “depressed” has a very different meaning to me than it would most people.

  51. Mulligan

    Brian Cronin: I don’t mind gutting the roster or picking up an overrated, overpaid Melo to get him (or D-Will, whichever – and D-Will surely has not been giving New Jersey any signs that he will re-sign there).
    Paul/D-Will, Amar’e, Melo and scrubs is a title contender in year one. I don’t mind watching some depressing basketball now for the chance at a team like that in 2012.  

    I hear this, and that’s a good point, but it also makes me think of how insane our roster turnover has been for the better part of a decade. Does anyone have the data on roster changes season to season for different teams? We must lead league in player turnover.

    Any guesses for which season started and ended with most of the roster intact? I bet it was the Larry Brown year…

  52. ess-dog

    Robert Silverman:
    Now if Isiah is hired in any capacity, even selling programs, that’s another story.  

    This is probably the only reason I’d jump ship. Maybe if Donnie is ousted in an uncouth way and/or if Mark Jackson is hired as coach.

    I’m not a fan of Melo-ball either, but replace Effries with Tyson Chandler, and you have a really nice team (albeit, not really a “D’Antoni” team.)

    I think Melo was speaking the truth that it would take longer than 20 games to gel (jell?) but you don’t want to hear him say that.

    As for Billups, could you see TD ever playing starters minutes at the point and using the Billups cash on a defensive big? TD has had 20 assists his last 2 games. Then again, getting a defensive big would take us out of the Paul/Deron race. Maybe you look for defensive big in the draft? A great distributor would be helpful in spreading this offense, and although I like Billups, he’s just not ideal for this system.

  53. Caleb

    @57 If we had, say, Tyson Chandler, we could not sign a FA outright but we certainly would be in good position to S&T for Carmelo for Deron Williams or Chris Paul, if they wanted to be in NY.

  54. Brian Cronin

    @57 If we had, say, Tyson Chandler, we could not sign a FA outright but we certainly would be in good position to S&T for Carmelo for Deron Williams or Chris Paul, if they wanted to be in NY.

    Logically, yes, but I think the deal is that those players would only come here to play with Melo. Although, logically, it’s STAT that should be making point guards tent their shorts. They all saw what STAT can do with a great point guard. And when you spent your whole career throwing passes to guys like Chandler and Okafor, STAT is…well…he’s an improvement, to say the absolute least.

  55. Mike Kurylo Post author

    dubisaweapon:
    This seems to be the elephant in the room that no one is really talking about — at what point do you get so fed up with the Knicks that you desert them in favor of the soon-to-be Brooklyn Nets?I’d be interested to hear what other Brooklyn based fans are thinking these days.The Barclays Center is going to be a 10 minute walk from my apartment.  

    If I were the Nets owner, I’d check on the availability of Gallo and Chandler this offseason. Perhaps Mozgov too. That might sway some disgruntled Knick fans.

    Realistically, they need to be better than New York, for a good amount of time before people start jumping ship. If they reclaim their Jason Kidd years while ‘Melo turns into ‘Melobury, I’d think there’d be an exodus.

    One disadvantage they’ll have is not getting as many stars in celebrity row. I imagine it’s easier for the elites to head to 33rd st than go to Brooklyn. But I could be mistaken.

  56. nicos

    Since everyone else is being so pessimistic I thought I’d try a little optimism. With Melo and Amar’e offense will never be the reason this team doesn’t win a championship. Amar’e is really, really good at scoring the ball. You know how many other guys have put up a career TS% of .600 with a usage of over 25? One, Adrian Dantley. Someone here posted a list of the guys who’ve had single seasons with a TS% of .570 and a usage over 30 like Amar’e this season and outside of one or two outliers it’s a list of hall of famers most of whom have won championships. All this to say, you can win a championship with Amar’e as your first option on offense. And while Melo may not be the greatest fit as a second option, they haven’t stepped on each others toes too much- both have been able to find their shots and there have been some tentative signs that they can create for each other a bit.
    2. Yes, Melo is a lazy defender but when motivated he’s at least average. Not much more than that perhaps but in big spots you at least shouldn’t have to gameplan to cover up for his deficiencies. He’s never going to be Bruce Bowen but he’s not Steve Nash or Kevin Martin on the defensive end either (Unfortunately he’s not either of them on the offensive either but that’s another story). Amar’e's below average and will probably always be but as long as he’s playing the 4 rather than the 5 (and you can keep him out of the high screen and roll) he’s not a total sieve and he will block some shots on the weak side. Pair the two with a good defensive center and a couple of wings who can deny penetration and you should have at least an average defensive team. It may take a little luck, but you should be able to find those kind of guys at salaries that’ll fit under the cap- I’d seriously consider taking a flier on Greg Oden in the off season- if he could ever get healthy he’d be perfect.
    3. Given the above there’s no reason we can’t duplicate D’A's success in…

  57. The Infamous Cdiggy

    +Cronin: I still have to look at it like the Jeffries trade the Knicks made with Houston. That was a terrible trade on the face of it, but it was worth it because it put the Knicks in the position to have a chance to get two stars this past offseason.   

    I agree, esp. since most thought at the time we had a legit chance to land LeBron.

    Brian Cronin: …but I guarantee you that Donnie Walsh has been told “if you get Melo, Paul will sign with you in 2012.” Might not be true, but Paul is such an amazing player, I don’t mind gutting the roster or picking up an overrated, overpaid Melo to get him (or D-Will, whichever – and D-Will surely has not been giving New Jersey any signs that he will re-sign there).
    Paul/D-Will, Amar’e, Melo and scrubs is a title contender in year one. I don’t mind watching some depressing basketball now for the chance at a team like that in 2012.  

    3 comments on that last paragraph:
    A. Let’s hope D.Walsh HAS been told that “wedding toast” by Paul was sincere and earnest, not a belief that being pushed on him by anyone with the initials J.D. or I.T.
    B. Can Paul ever be 100% healthy? or even 85 – 90%? If not, I’ll go with DWill.
    C. I don’t think 3 all-stars + scrubs = NBA Title, at least not yet in my eyes. Even Boston ’08′s Big Three needed Leon Powe, Big Baby, James Posey and PJ Brown to win. Unless Miami wins it this year (which I don’t think they will), I’ll always believe you need a bench.

  58. gbaked

    ess-dog: Then again, getting a defensive big would take us out of the Paul/Deron race.

    When your starting 3 & 4 are so bad on Defense as ours are, it makes having a solid big man very important. Howard or Ty Chan are much better fits for this team then a star PG would be. I think Toney can do quite well as our starting 1… Him and a guy like Landry at the 2 will play hard, do the little things to help the big guns up front score at will.

  59. d-mar

    Well, I’m as pissed at the Knicks recent play as anyone, but this avalanche of negativity is getting a little ridiculous.

    I mean, can we at least hold off on any Marbury references until Melo has one whole season under his belt? And I know it’s been said before, but stop romanticizing the old Knicks (I think Mike mentioned that Gallo and Chandler were good swing defenders) Our defense was awful then and it’s awful now, we got torched by bums then and we still do now. And #41, I just can’t buy into your “Amare is overrated” argument. I’m well aware of his deficiencies, but this guy took on the challenge (by himself) of turning around a franchise and we’ve gone from a joke to a playoff team mostly because of him.

    It makes me sick to my stomach to watch the Knicks lose to all these sub-.500 teams, but I’m just not ready to declare that all is lost.

  60. gbaked

    ess-dog: Robert Silverman:
    Now if Isiah is hired in any capacity, even selling programs, that’s another story.

    This is probably the only reason I’d jump ship. Maybe if Donnie is ousted in an uncouth way and/or if Mark Jackson is hired as coach.

    IT coming back to this team would be the only way I jump ship.

  61. massive

    What’s interesting to me is how these guys perform tonight. If they get the win, then its definitely a lack of maturity with our Big 2 1/2, and they need to play hard for the rest of the season. It won’t take until next season to “gel” if they play with a serious motor on defense.

  62. Mike Kurylo Post author

    d-mar: but stop romanticizing the old Knicks (I think Mike mentioned that Gallo and Chandler were good swing defenders)

    I said they were above average, and I’d stick with that. Gallo was always interested in the defensive end, and had good lateral movement. Chandler could block a shot here & there. They had their flaws (rebounding!), but their defense was passable.

    Consider this: New York swapped basically Gallo, Chandler, and Felton for Billups and Carmelo. Everyone has acknowledged that Felton’s defense was bad, probably as equally bad as Felton. So why is the team doing much worse on defense this year?

    d-mar: I mean, can we at least hold off on any Marbury references until Melo has one whole season under his belt?

    Two things can have similar characteristics without being the same in magnitude (ie Curry is like Shaq.) The Knicks traded a good chunk of their future for a player whose primary skill is scoring volume, has questionable defensive ethic, and makes a large sum of money. Am I talking about Marbury or Carmelo? Again if some of the characteristics match (Curry & Shaq both score a lot in the low post) then there is cause to make the analogy. Of course in the end Carmelo could turn out much different than Marbury (and most likely will be). But right now they share some of the same characteristics.

  63. Ben R

    d-mar: And I know it’s been said before, but stop romanticizing the old Knicks (I think Mike mentioned that Gallo and Chandler were good swing defenders) Our defense was awful then and it’s awful now, we got torched by bums then and we still do now.

    You see D-Mar that’s the problem. We are probably as good, or at least almost as good, as we were before the trade but we are not better. We traded away four young players all with upside all on rookie contracts, draft picks and a 26 year old PG for a max player already at his peak and an aging PG. We got older, more cap strapped and traded away likeable players with upside and we didn’t even improve. At best we are no worse than we were pre-trade and if Douglas had been playing like he had the last couple weeks before the trade, then the difference between the teams pre and post trade would be even greater.

    As for the “wait till next year”, “wait till we get Paul”, “wait till they gel” you know what I cry foul. We have been waiting for ten years. First it was “wait until we pull off a huge trade for Garnett”, then it was “wait until we sign LeBron” now it’s “wait until we get Paul”. You know what I’m okay with waiting if it’s for the right reasons, developing talent, improving through the draft, etc but I am tired of making short term moves holding my breath for the savior that never comes.

  64. d-mar

    Sorry about the above mispost>

    Ben R., how can you make this statement categorically after 15 games? Do you honestly think that after a full season with this roster that we’ll be an under .500 team? Look, I’m not ready to say right now that the Melo deal was the home run trade of the century, but it’s just WAY too early to be declaring that all is lost and for some to be invoking Isiah and Marbury references. And I’m also getting tired of this “likeable” vs. “unlikeable” whining. How likeable is Kobe? Garnett? Not comparing Melo to them, and I loved Gallo’s haircuts and Chandler’s bubbly personality, but I actually don’t give a crap about likeability, to be honest with you. We would all have figured out a way to LOVE LeBron if he had become a Knick.

  65. Brian Cronin

    I think the Marbury comparison is spot on. Melo and Marbury are very similar players (and I don’t even mean that as an insult to Melo, more like a compliment to Marbury). The big difference is that the Knicks are adding Melo to STAT, while they were adding Marbury to…Allan Houston, I guess? That and the possibility that Melo might bring them D-Will or Paul while Marbury could bring them nothing (even if he wanted to, the Knicks had no cap room to bluff teams into trading them their star free agents-to-be).

  66. Ben R

    I don’t think this team is a below .500 team. I think this team as constructed should be about a 50 win team next year with a full training camp and maybe a little roster reshuffling, we don’t have the cap room for any big moves. The thing is our team this year was a 42-46 win team and would have probably been a 50 win team next year based on the development of all our young talent and could have been even better because we could have signed a center to fill our biggest hole.

    I don’t think we really got worse, I think we honestly stayed about the same. We just gave up picks, youth and cap room to stay the same.

    You are right, likeable doesn’t really matter very much but I can say for a fact that I am alot less interested in the Knicks than I was pre-trade and at least pre-trade it felt like we were building towards something that the mistakes and stuggles were growing pains. Most of this team is fully formed, Melo, Amare and Billups are only getting worse over the next couple of years. If they’re not good enough now they’re not changing. We went from a young team with upside like the Thunder (though not as good) to an average aged team without cap room like the Hawks.

  67. Doug

    Ben R: We traded away four young players all with upside all on rookie contracts, draft picks and a 26 year old PG for a max player already at his peak and an aging PG.

    1. Felton is not on his rookie contract.

    2. Ill Will is on the last year of his rookie contract and is about to get a lot more expensive.

    3. Gallo’s rookie contract expires next year. He has only one more cost-controlled year.

    4. Mozgov was signed as a free agent and is not on a rookie scale contract. He’s getting paid $3 million a year.

  68. Ben R

    1. Felton is not on his rookie contract.

    I didn’t include him: four rookie contracts (Gallo, Chandler, Randolph, Mozgov)

    2. Ill Will is on the last year of his rookie contract and is about to get a lot more expensive.

    Yes but for all intents and purposes the only thing that would have counted towards the cap this summer would have been his qualifing offer.

    3. Gallo’s rookie contract expires next year. He has only one more cost-controlled year.

    That one cost controlled year plus Chandler’s qualifing offer would have given us 12+ million in cap space this summer, without losing Chandler or Gallo.

    4. Mozgov was signed as a free agent and is not on a rookie scale contract. He’s getting paid $3 million a year.

    His contract is not rookie scale but it’s still a rookie contract and about equivilant to a late lottery contract.

  69. dsulz

    Ben R: I feel this way as well. Even when we’re winning I am less interested in the games, before the trade I would look forward to a game all day now I barely even care while I’m watching. Ben R

    (Quote)

    A lot of this is the change between Felton and Billups. With our old guys we played a very different game. We pushed the ball on any chance we got. There were a lot of fast breaks and alley-oops a lot of whom were directed at Chandler, who was awesome on the break. Now every time I turn around it’s an iso play for Stat or Melo or the PG dribbling around trying to create something. Paradoxically, I think our new offense is actually an upgrade over the old one–more consistent, less flaky. But it’s also less fun to watch, and as Mike points out, our defense has clearly gotten worse. End of the day, losing is always less fun to watch than winning.

  70. AY

    Add one more to the “it’s a lot harder to care about the Knicks post-trade for some reason” camp. I’m just looking at box scores now. I’ve even given away a bunch of tickets (albeit really bad seats).

    There’s a must-read article at the Wall St. Journal about how D’antoni called Billups and agreed to ditch his offense for something Billups was more comfortable with. I miss the old offense, particularly Felton. Though come to think of it, I miss Gallo raining threes and Chandler driving/dunking/blocking. I miss Mozgov too.

    Melo might be one of the most boring superstars there is in terms of his game. I hated how he yelled at Jared Jeffries for making the smart play (throwing it for a lob with .3 seconds left). He seems like that jerk in your pick-up game who’s yelling at everyone who doesn’t give him the ball. Even when you win with that guy it’s no fun.

    You know, we may trash the big three in Miami, but you have to say they took less money to play together. Melo wanted all of the money, else the Knicks could have kept some talent together.

    I don’t like rooting for Dolan and his decisions either. I like Donnie and D’antoni, and wished we’d been patient. If Dolan cans Walsh, I’ll turn on the team completely.

    We cashed in our chips for Melo and Billups. Hopefully they’ll get their acts together and all will be worthwhile.

    The only thing that would get me pumped up again is if we play the Heat in the 1st round. Of course, at this rate we’ll wind up playing from the 7 seed, and get mulched by Boston or Chicago.

    The Nets should totally overbid for some of the ex-Knicks if they want to bring in fans. Trade Brook Lopez for Gallo and Mozgov or whatever.

  71. Tufumbo

    Keith Benson the 6-11 center from oakland should be a draft target. averaged 17 10 and 3.6 blocks this season. put up 15 and 13 with 3 blocks against texas in the tourney. NBAdraft.net report says “Great in the open floor, runs very well”, “Uses his size well to create a big target in the post, and displays solid footwork”, “Appears to be highly coachable. Plays with solid intensity and a growing understanding of the game”. this is exactly the type of player the knicks could use and should target in the draft. a cheap option that could develope into the rebounding defensive big that this team lacks

  72. robinb

    Long term we have to get a different point guard than Billups. I don’t know if we decline his option next year, and I don’t want to make him a scapegoat for anything because he’s truly an all-time great player.

    But even if he weren’t on the wrong side of 33, this team would still need a point guard from a different mold. A guy who could wheel and deal, push the tempo, and dominate the offense the way Steve Nash did for D’Antoni in Phoenix. Chauncey is a conservative player whose floor game is all about safe passes and deliberate offense. His defense, shooting, unselfishness and savvy would be great to have next to a dynamic playmaking 2-guard, a point-forward, or a traditional post player.

    The star players that we have, however, are not playmakers. They’re finishers. They’re actually some of the best finishers the game has ever seen. If we want them to work well together, we need to have someone who can consistently get them the ball in position to finish (and never allow the offense to devolve into alternating isos). A creative playmaking point guard would unlock the potential of the Melo-Amare combo and turn a very good offense into the transcendent one that it should be.

    If it’s not already obvious, I think Chris Paul would be absolutely perfect for this team. The problem with needing a creative playmaking point guard is that there are so few good ones. Steve Nash is obviously another one, but you could only ever rent him at his age. Deron Williams would also be great, although Paul is better and I just don’t like D-Will as much.

    Yes, the chances of getting a guy like that are small. But by all accounts he’d like to come here, and what point guard wouldn’t have serious interest in a gig running the D’Antoni offense with Stat and Melo? The possibility is there. And that’s your path to a title. You simply have to create the opportunity and roll the dice.

  73. robinb

    By the way, did anybody else notice that we won 4 of 6 while Billups was out? Could be random, but I think there’s something to it. With Toney, at least we get great defense and better team speed. Neither guy does much to create opportunities for the rest of the team.

    As for our issues with size and defense, those are important too. But a certain amount of that is inevitable in the D’Antoni system. You sacrifice a bit of defense, especially inside, for a dividend in offensive efficiency. I’ve always liked Amare at the 5, because you can really open up the floor and unleash his quickness inside. I love Turiaf, but with him in there Amare seems to struggle with a crowded paint.

    Anyway, defensive upgrades should be easier to swing given the market’s undervaluing of defensive standouts. Hopefully the front office is doing their homework in that regard.

    It looks like there are some good options in the draft. I think Faried will be awesome, but maybe a little too offensively limited for what we want. A guy who looks really promising to me is Florida State’s Chris Singleton. With his athleticism and defensive talent, he could be great as a stretch-4 in the mold of Josh Smith or Shawn Marion. His spot-up shooting is supposed to be decent and getting better.

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