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Thursday, April 17, 2014

NYT: Home Court Advantage or Burden for the Underachieving Knicks?

My latest NYT Off the Dribble piece examines the weird double-edged sword that is Madison Square Garden:

Even in the leanest of years for the Knicks -– an era in which they’re still arguably mired -– they have enjoyed an impressive home-court advantage at Madison Square Garden. Whatever their on-court fortunes, the Knicks can count in their favor a fan base as knowledgeable, and as loud, as any in professional sports.

59 comments on “NYT: Home Court Advantage or Burden for the Underachieving Knicks?

  1. Marc R

    Is this a new phenomenon for this year? It seems like the Knicks never do quite as well as they should at home. At least that seems to be the case since 1993 and 1994.

  2. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    Marc R:
    Is this a new phenomenon for this year?It seems like the Knicks never do quite as well as they should at home.At least that seems to be the case since 1993 and 1994.

    I wish I’d had more room to explore just that, but I hear what you’re saying. The argument I wish I’d had time / room to make is that an offense-first philosophy allows the other team to feel more comfortable and not as intimidated. After all, it’s the kind of ball that ever kid wants to play growing up — run and gun. The defense-first teams of the 90s, on the other hand, by virtue of beating the holy hell out of you, never let you feel comfortable. Hence a much more distinct home court advantage: When you have to worry more about your own physical well-being, you’re much less liable to get into the kind of comfortable rhythm we’ve seen teams routinely get into the last few years.

  3. TDM

    Nice read Jim. I have to wonder how much better this team would be playing with a full offseason of working together. The strike really could not have come at a worse time for the Knicks, when they were looking forward to time for their two stars to meld. Additionally, Shump and Harrelson could have used the additional time getting used to the system. Then . . . there are the injuries. We started the season off with our primary backup to Chandler out with injuries, plus we have lost Melo, Shump and Harrelson for numerous games.

    Now it is being reported that Melo is doubtful against the Pistons.

    https://twitter.com/#!/HowardBeckNYT/status/164049701639950336

    It is just one thing after another with this team.

    I hope we will see 20+ minutes of Lin again tonight. If this kid can get his turnovers and fouls down, he really could be an option until Baron gets healthy.

    On another note, has anyone else noticed how much better Balkman’s FT% is since his first stint with the Knicks? With the exception of 09-10 and 10-11 when he was in no-mans-land, his FT% has gone from under 50% to almost 70%. His fouls and turnovers are also down considerably. Is it possible that he is becoming a smarter player?

  4. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    TDM: I have to wonder how much better this team would be playing with a full offseason of working together. The strike really could not have come at a worse time for the Knicks, when they were looking forward to time for their two stars to meld.

    Couldn’t agree more. If there’s a team or a system that needed a full training camp to get acclimated, it’s this one. And now today we’re having like our third practice of the season. I know every other team is in the same boat, but it just seems like a roster as patchwork and unfamiliar as ours would suffer the most not having the regular practice schedule in place — and we have.

  5. hoolahoop

    This, from the guy who consistently refers to himself as the team’s leader:

    Anthony, who rested his ailments the past two games, including Friday’s showdown with the Heat, was not in the locker room after the Houston loss. He was not on the bench for either game because he was getting treatment, but should be back at practice today and play tomorrow.

    Anthony never has appeared to be a big fan of D’Antoni’s speedball offense, which he has mockingly referred to as “D’Antoni’s quote unquote system.’’ After last season, Anthony seemed ambivalent compared to Stoudemire when asked if he wanted D’Antoni back.

    He didn’t even show up to be with his comrades on the bench. Yeah, that’s a real leader.

  6. hoolahoop

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): Couldn’t agree more. If there’s a team or a system that needed a full training camp to get acclimated, it’s this one. And now today we’re having like our third practice of the season. I know every other team is in the same boat, but it just seems like a roster as patchwork and unfamiliar as ours would suffer the most not having the regular practice schedule in place — and we have.

    Couldn’t agree less. When your highest paid player, your team “leader”, is not on board with the coach’s philosophy, practices won’t have as much value as it will to teams that really are working on executing their system. Melo’s been here for plenty of games now. Just how long does it take to gel?

  7. Bruno Almeida

    hoolahoop: Couldn’t agree less. When your highest paid player, your team “leader”, is not on board with the coach’s philosophy, practices won’t have as much value as it will to teams that really are working on executing their system. Melo’s been here for plenty of games now. Just how long does it take to gel?

    I couldn’t agree more, we would probably be better with a full training camp and off-season, but this isn’t why this team sucks.

    It sucks because our 2 best players aren’t good enough to carry a franchise, yet get paid like they could, which hinders our chances to build a good team around them.

    Amare and Carmelo could be the 2 best players on a championship team, but NEVER while getting paid max contracts, because they truly need excellent teammates around them… kinda like Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton could be the 2 best players on a championship team, provided that they had excellent defenders on the team (Ben Wallace, Prince), a really good 3rd option (Rasheed Wallace) and plenty decent good backup players (Okur, Williamson, Lindsey Hunter, even Mike James and Elden Campbell).

  8. TDM

    hoolahoop: Melo’s been here for plenty of games now. Just how long does it take to gel?

    I think you are simplifying it a bit. You have to remember that key elements of last year’s team are gone. Specifically, the loss of Billups and Extra E left large holes in the offensive scheme that was beginning to develop towards the end of last season. Without Billup’s playmaking abilities, the Knicks had to try and force a square peg (TDDWTDD) into a round hole (PG). Furthermore, the loss of Extra E’s three point shooting has still not been addressed. Finally, you inserted Chandler into the mix which was a great addition, however, it meant that STAT, Chandler and Melo did not have time to work together as a unit before the start of the season, which was especially important given that STAT had to switch back to PF. This does not even consider the other issues like injuries that were mentioned above. In sum, there has been no opportunity to gel. And it will only get worse as the Knicks try to assimilate a healthy BD into the mix.

    If Melo shares any blame for the current morass that is the Knicks, it is that he has tried (and was asked) to do too much. Melo not fully buying into MDA’s “system” is not the reason the Knicks suck right now.

  9. Frank

    @8 – call me crazy and over-optimistic (yes, I was the one who predicted a 9-1 start to the season), but I really think we are one credible point guard away from being a good team. Our defense is very good DESPITE the fact that we can’t score – ie. we give up more baskets in transition off misses and have fewer possessions where our defense is totally set because we miss so much — and our defensive efficiency is still top 1/3 in the league.

    Our biggest problems are turnovers and an inability to create good shots despite having a coach who historically has had very efficient and high-scoring offenses. And what’s the job of the PG again? Handle the ball, don’t turn the ball over, create good shots.

    If Baron is the answer then great – maybe we come together in time to make a playoff push. If not – there are a bunch of free agent point guards upgrades that potentially could become available after the season for either the MLE or mini-MLE–

    Ramon Sessions
    DJ Augustin
    Andre Miller
    Jameer Nelson
    Steve Nash
    Felton
    Hinrich

    I don’t think Hinrich is much of an upgrade, but the other ones would clearly be better than what we have going right now. And if he’s any good this year, maybe Baron would even come on board for another year.

    Really who this team needs is Steve Nash and his 50/40/90 percentages and 10 assists/game in 30 min/game.

  10. Bruno Almeida

    @10

    I don’t know man, I agree that with Nash this team gets to a whole different level, and Miller or Sessions (or even Ridnour) would help a lot.

    but, excluding Nash, I don’t see this team becoming a championship team with Jameer Nelson or Ramon Sessions as the PG, I really don’t… good team? ok (and that would already be much better than what we have) but not a real contender.

  11. bockadoo

    MDA should sue Dolan – for something… He has been given almost a zero chance of succeeding with the type of players he’s been given. It’s almost like Dolan said “who is the worst possible coach we could hire to run a team with the main guy a low % chucker and a bunch of guys who can’t shoot even if he passed it to them?” Who will ever hire him again? They knew what kind of coach he was when Walsh hired him – laid back, trust the players as professionals to do their jobs, move the ball, spread the floor, quick release shooting…it would have been beautiful to watch – the guy is an innovator. He needs to move on asap, for his and the team’s own good. The only reason he should stay is if we somehow trade Melo for DWill and bring in a guy who can make more than 35% of his damn shots. Has there ever been a worse shooting team? It’s gone on too long for it to be a slump. This organization is incredibly clueless. There hasn’t been a legitimate plan in place since Riley left. I have loved this team for 40 years and it has never been worse. I’m longing for the Ticky Burden and Mel Killer Davis days. All of you guys who think guys like me are “jumping ship” need to call it what it is and think with your brain and not your heart. What can POSSIBLY happen to save this season and make continuing in this direction worthwhile?

  12. flossy

    @10

    I don’t think you’re crazy for thinking that this could be a good team with the addition of a good PG. But if this team can’t string together a few wins, it won’t matter. We have 4 games this week, if we go 0-4 (not entirely unreasonable considering we have back-to-back-to-back), D’Antoni is as good as gone, and I say this as a fan of the coach who thinks he has gotten a raw deal.

    Once D’Antoni is gone, it’s only a matter of time before Amar’e is traded. Melo is quite obviously James Dolan’s favorite new toy, he and Amar’e prefer fundamentally different styles of play, and the one person who would have tailored the offense to suit Amar’e if given the opportunity, will have been fired.

    So “this team,” realistically, won’t be around for much longer, not unless Baron Davis steps on the court soon and starts killing it from Day 1. And already it’s looking like Melo is content to sit on the sidelines and heal while we wait for the inevitable shoe to drop.

  13. Frank

    @13 – problem is, if you fire D’Antoni then who do you hire that’s better? Woodson? Although to be honest, Woodson looks like he’s done a great job with the defense.

    I think it’s very hard to find a coach that could be successful without either a very good PG or at least a primary ball handler that can play like a good PG (ie. LBJ, Wade, Kobe when he wants to). Melo is pretty good at distributing but he’s not close to those guys in terms of ability to create for others as well as he does for himself.

    hate to say it but I think all our eggs are in the Baron Davis basket right now. If Baron can even play passably then our offense will be MUCH better. If not then I think we’re screwed this year and have to hope that Nash will sign for the MLE to close his career out in NYC and with D’Antoni.

    I would be very disappointed if we fired D’Antoni before he gets a chance to have a real team with a real training camp for at least a couple of months — not that I think MDA is that great – it’s just that he’s never really been given a chance to succeed. Unless Phil Jackson comes through that door, I’m just not sure there are that many better options than MDA at this point.

    As an aside, I think it’s clear now that MDA and the FO knew that TD was going to suck at PG. They went after JJ Barea, Crawford, etc. and struck out. Either of those two would look pretty good on this team right now.

  14. Z

    TDM: I think you are simplifying it a bit.You have to remember that key elements of last year’s team are gone.Specifically, the loss of Billups and Extra E left large holes in the offensive scheme that was beginning to develop towards the end of last season.Without Billup’s playmaking abilities, the Knicks had to try and force a square peg…”

    I don’t know. I think this is under simplifying it.

    Extra E’s role last year was to shoot the corner 3, nothing else. He did it really well for about a month, and about as badly as (Walker/Novac/Fields/TD/Bibby) the rest of the way. He didn’t leave a gaping hole. He left a finger-sized leak that was, unfortunately, all too easy to plug.

    Billups’ playmaking abilities weren’t very good last year either. His Assist% wasn’t all that much better than TD’s has been this year. Billups great play was to dribble the ball over half court and give it to Anthony in Iso.

    Having a regular preseason may have caused the team to play a bit better the first few weeks. But we’re 5 weeks in now, and the team is getting worse, not better. The optimism is kind of cute, I guess, but it’s a little desperate too. A shortened preseason is not why we’ve lost 9 out of 10. It’s not the loss of Shawne Williams either.

    Amar’e and Melo have been teammates now for almost a year. They’ve played 50 games together. They haven’t shown any signs that they can function together on a successful basketball team.

  15. Richmond County

    Remember that stretch in 2009 when Kobe lit up the Knicks up for an MSG record of 61 points only to be followed by Lebron dropping a triple double of 52 with 10 Boards and 11 Assists two days later?

    The Knicks were awful in ’09, and nobody would have cared about this back to back display if it happened in Toronto or Minneapolis.” But since it happened at the Garden, it was a great NBA story even though I probably could have put up 20 points against that particular Knicks squad.

    Point being, the Garden is the “Mecca of Basketball.” From Lebron James all the way down to Boris Diaw, players want to have their best game at MSG and as of late, they have. Home Court Disadvantage.

  16. KnicksFanInVA

    Frank:
    If not – there are a bunch of free agent point guards upgrades that potentially could become available after the season for either the MLE or mini-MLE–

    Ramon Sessions
    DJ Augustin
    Andre Miller
    Jameer Nelson
    Steve Nash
    Felton
    Hinrich

    Really who this team needs is Steve Nash and his 50/40/90 percentages and 10 assists/game in 30 min/game.

    It’s 2012 and we’re still waiting for players to come to NY to rescue the team. Looking forward to next season in January is kind of pathetic, especially after all Knicks fans have had to endure.

  17. Frank

    @15 – Billups’s job last year was to get the ball across half court and get them into their offense in a reasonable amount of time. On top of that, his job was to score efficiently. And he did – he had a usage% of 24 and a TS of 59. One non-obvious thing that has stuck out to me this year is how hard it looks for our guards to get the ball to Amare and Melo where they want it – all too often the entry pass is really an emergency pass near the sideline at or near the 3point line, leaving Amare/Melo out of their comfort zones– or, they finally get it where they want it but with 6 seconds left on the shot clock ==> iso play.

    Really – Douglas is playing indescribably horribly. He shoots with high volume and makes nothing. He turns the ball over. When he gets the ball to the main scorers, he does it in a way that makes it hard for them to score. He routinely misses passes to the roll man (he literally missed Chandler for open dunks 8 times during the Miami game), or if he does pass it, it gets picked off or is thrown in a bad spot for the receiver. And because he sucks so badly, we’re stuck either with Melo playing point forward, or when he’s out, with Amare going on 1-on-3.

    BTW – our starting guards (TD/Fields), who shoot a combined 7 3 pointers per game, are shooting 26 and 22% from 3 point range. Our other high volume shooting guard (Shump) is shooting 29%. For the most part these are OPEN 3′s. Of course Melo and Amare are going 1-on-3 when they drive – no one respects our crappy shooters.

  18. Bruno Almeida

    @16

    dude, really, if Lebron had a 52/10/11 on Rucker Park people would have talked about it all the time.

    obviously, it had the added effect of Lebron to Knicks speculation (he loves playing at MSG!) and the media tends to exaggerate everything Knicks-related, but everybody would have praised it even if it was against an 0-81 Timberwolves team in the last game of the season, the same way the media did when Kobe dropped 81 against a pathetic Raptors team.

    I do think the Garden is a special place and I love it, but let’s keep our feet on the ground.

  19. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    For the most part these are OPEN 3?s.

    I don’t think that they are open threes for the most part. I think most of the threes are bad shots because they aren’t getting the clean kick-outs from Amar’e and Melo (Amar’e being much, much much more of the culprit on those types of plays). I believe ESPN even did a spotlight on the Knicks where they pointed that out, as well (that the majority of the threes were on bad looks).

    What’s funny is that the ESPN article said what we all say – Melo and Amar’e really have to figure the pick and roll out.

  20. SangaD

    i think we should just stick with a player for once and develop TD, it really can be worse, i think he’s gonna come to life soon. His aura just seems to me to be a solid hard working dude and what do have him for one more year after this there’s a lot of other things to fix with this organization before we worry abt shipping my man black toney outta here. He is gonna get hot and u guys will remember I said this.

  21. conniehawkins

    I’m wondering where the commentary is on Amare’s screed, I mean, creed: “We need to pass the rock, play D’Antoni’s system.”

    So you look at Amare’s stat lines recently — two games with, count ‘em, ZERO assists (and ‘Melo doesn’t pass the rock???) and the most shots taken.

    That said, I’m hoping the Knicks do an imitation of the NY Giants — mediocre regular season and then put it all together for a run in the play-offs.

    Pass ME the rock!!!

  22. Z

    Frank:
    @15 – Billups’s job last year was to get the ball across half court and get them into their offense in a reasonable amount of time.

    Not sure why this is directed at me. I was responding to TDM’s comments that “without Billup’s playmaking abilities, the Knicks had to try and force a square peg (TDDWTDD) into a round hole (PG)” and “the loss of Extra E’s three point shooting has still not been addressed”.

    Billups The Playmaker is not very good. We’re not losing much from having TD bring the ball over the half court line and handing it to Melo. Of course if TD was the shooter that Billups is we’d be better, but that is a separate issue. (Besides, TD is $12 million cheaper, so it’s not even such a bad exchange rate, all things considered).

    The point is, the problem is becoming painfully clear. Amar’e and Melo cannot co-exist on a consistently winning basketball team. A good PG can mask that problem on some days. But after 50 games together the sample is big enough to see: Melo + Amar’e = $ poorly spent.

  23. Degree_Absolute

    TDM: Is it possible that he is becoming a smarter player?

    Studies have shown that high doses of synthetic cannabinoids can stimulate neurogenesis in rats.

  24. flossy

    Frank:
    @13 – problem is, if you fire D’Antoni then who do you hire that’s better? Woodson? Although to be honest, Woodson looks like he’s done a great job with the defense.

    I think it’s very hard to find a coach that could be successful without either a very good PG or at least a primary ball handler that can play like a good PG (ie. LBJ, Wade, Kobe when he wants to).Melo is pretty good at distributing but he’s not close to those guys in terms of ability to create for others as well as he does for himself.

    hate to say it but I think all our eggs are in the Baron Davis basket right now.If Baron can even play passably then our offense will be MUCH better.If not then I think we’re screwed this year and have to hope that Nash will sign for the MLE to close his career out in NYC and with D’Antoni.

    I would be very disappointed if we fired D’Antoni before he gets a chance to have a real team with a real training camp for at least a couple of months — not that I think MDA is that great – it’s just that he’s never really been given a chance to succeed.Unless Phil Jackson comes through that door, I’m just not sure there are that many better options than MDA at this point.

    As an aside, I think it’s clear now that MDA and the FO knew that TD was going to suck at PG.They went after JJ Barea, Crawford, etc. and struck out.Either of those two would look pretty good on this team right now.

    I’m not suggesting they fire D’Antoni, just predicting that is what will happen. I hope they don’t do it before Baron suits up, but if it take Davis 2 more weeks to get into game shape and we go 2-7 over that stretch, he’s gone. Too bad. Especially because if D’Antoni goes, there is no way in hell Nash comes here next year.

  25. SangaD

    i think we have a good team as is. we weren’t too far off with the last clique, and this squad is very capable of a better record and a surprise punch above their weight. i say we fall back develop what we have, these guys right now play as if they know they are talented to the point where they just coast and expect it to happen. Routinely at the start of games our five just outclasses the other team, we lack a killer instinct, our grit is an out of control rookie who Carmelo and Chandler seem to love correcting. lol. i just love my team as is. we are good enough.

  26. bobneptune

    Frank:
    @8 – call me crazy and over-optimistic (yes, I was the one who predicted a 9-1 start to the season), but I really think we are one credible point guard away from being a good team.Our defense is very good DESPITE the fact that we can’t score – ie. we give up more baskets in transition off misses and have fewer possessions where our defense is totally set because we miss so much — and our defensive efficiency is still top 1/3 in the league.

    Our biggest problems are turnovers and an inability to create good shots despite having a coach who historically has had very efficient and high-scoring offenses.And what’s the job of the PG again? Handle the ball, don’t turn the ball over, create good shots.

    If Baron is the answer then great – maybe we come together in time to make a playoff push.If not – there are a bunch of free agent point guards upgrades that potentially could become available after the season for either the MLE or mini-MLE–

    Ramon Sessions
    DJ Augustin
    Andre Miller
    Jameer Nelson
    Steve Nash
    Felton
    Hinrich

    I don’t think Hinrich is much of an upgrade, but the other ones would clearly be better than what we have going right now.And if he’s any good this year, maybe Baron would even come on board for another year.

    Really who this team needs is Steve Nash and his 50/40/90 percentages and 10 assists/game in 30 min/game.

    so the future of the knicks hinges on whether we can beg ramon sessions into taking a 4 yr 20 million dollar contract. whoopie-boy…. i’m excited!

    somewhere in indiana walsh is laughing his ass off…….

  27. BigBlueAL

    Everyone talks about how Melo and Amar’e cant co-exist but the fact is they have barely played any games together. Last season after the trade in the 28 regular season games they only played together in 24 of them. In the 4 playoff games only in Game 1 were they both healthyr.

    This season in the 20 games so far they have only played together in 15 of them. So they have played a grand total of 43 games together and in a few of them one of them wasnt playing anywhere near healthy.

    Also a real PG Im pretty sure would help them co-exist a helluva lot better.

  28. Bruno Almeida

    bobneptune: so the future of the knicks hinges on whether we can beg ramon sessions into taking a 4 yr 20 million dollar contract. whoopie-boy…. i’m excited!

    somewhere in indiana walsh is laughing his ass off…….

    that’s my vote for depressing, yet true comment of the week.

  29. hoolahoop

    bockadoo:
    MDA should sue Dolan – for something…He has been given almost a zero chance of succeeding with the type of players he’s been given.It’s almost like Dolan said “who is the worst possible coach we could hire to run a team with the main guy a low % chucker and a bunch of guys who can’t shoot even if he passed it to them?”Who will ever hire him again?T……

    Yes.
    I’ve heard everyone blamed on this team for their poor play. Melo, Amare, Chandler, TD, Fields, the bench, and D’antoni have all been accused by someone here as the “the problem”. That includes everyone on the team.
    You’re all wrong.
    TD was, basically, always what he is now. Maybe his numbers were a little better, I don’t even know. But this guy never had an eye for finding the open man, and always took bad shots. I always thought he sucked, despite everyone in this forum getting a hard-on for him.

    Melo, he sucked before he came here. Most people here just didn’t know it. Like everyone else across America, we saw his big numbers and great highlight moves and many of you thought he was even better than TD.

    Amare, he’s still a good player – but not when he is forced to iso to get a shot and prove himself to be on a level with Melo-bury. In a good system he will thrive.

    Dantoni – give him the team he excels with and he’ll excel. give him an iso team with no PG and a low basketball IQ and he’ll look like he does now.

    Fields – needs ball movement to find ways to use his high IQ to make a positive impact.

    MANAGEMENT IS TO BLAME. J. DOLAN IS TO BLAME.
    They put a bunch of pieces that don’t fit together on the floor and wonder why it’s not fitting together.
    ALL BLAME SHOULD BE ON MANAGEMENT. The same guys that doubled ticket prices and blacked out games in NYC.

  30. Z

    BigBlueAL:
    Everyone talks about how Melo and Amar’e cant co-exist but the fact is they have barely played any games together…

    43 games is a lot. It’s half a season. Certainly enough for them to show SOME encouraging signs. People are arguing here that preseason would have made a difference, but how? 6 exhibition games would help two max salaried 8+ year vets mesh? That is silly. Superstars don’t take exhibition games too seriously. It’s a desperate excuse for all that is going very wrong in NY.

  31. hoolahoop

    Z: The point is, the problem is becoming painfully clear. Amar’e and Melo cannot co-exist on a consistently winning basketball team. A good PG can mask that problem on some days. But after 50 games together the sample is big enough to see: Melo + Amar’e = $ poorly spent.

    Delete the name Amare from the above paragraph and I agree 100%

  32. danvt

    First of all, Thanks for the article Jim. Nice to see NYT picking up on the writers from this site.

    I do think there’s a home court / field disadvantage for all NY teams. Look at all the players who haven’t been able to handle the pressure of playing for the Yankees. Tough town.

    As to NYK, yes JD screwed us. The only silver lining I see to this is that the abject failure of these Knicks will convince him that he should hire good basketball people and stay out of their way. Don’t forget that Steinbrenner ruined the Yankees before he learned that lesson.

    Just as a note, I’m not blaming Melo or Amar’e. They’re good but just not worth everything that was sacrificed to bring them in.

  33. d-mar

    Happened to flip to MSG, where they’re doing a highlight reel of Amare from 2010-2011. And almost every time he scored, he was fed the ball while in motion, or rolling to the hoop for a dunk. A lot of times by Felton, who is no Steve Nash.

    Anyone who says a serviceable point guard wouldn’t make all the difference in STAT’s production should watch what I just watched. He hasn’t gone from a stud to a dud because of Melo, it’s because we don’t have a PG who can actually see the floor.

  34. Frank

    hoolahoop:
    TD was, basically, always what he is now. Maybe his numbers were a little better, I don’t even know. But this guy never had an eye for finding the open man, and always took bad shots. I always thought he sucked, despite everyone in this forum getting a hard-on for him.

    I agree with a lot of what you said (especially the part about how Dolan really screwed the pooch on the Melo trade), but writing something like this just makes me never want to read what you write ever again. TD is DEFINITELY not “what he has always been”. Last year he shot 40% from 3 after the all-star break, leading the entire league in triples. He wasn’t a good point guard, he WAS an overrated defender, but he was, on balance, average. PER of 15. WS/48 of 0.100. Average. The year before, average with PER 14.9 and WS/48 of 0.097. Average.

    This year, he has been THE WORST PLAYER IN THE NBA, and I would wager by a very large margin considering he’s supposed to be playing point guard, which some would consider the most important position on the floor. He has the LOWEST estimated wins added of any starter in the league. He has the HIGHEST USAGE of any player with a PER of <9.49, and his PER is the LOWEST of any point guard in the entire league (in fact we have 2 of the 5 lowest PER's for PGs – him and Bibby). HE'S WORSE THAN MIKE BIBBY. HE'S WORSE THAN SEBASTIAN TELFAIR.

    Toney is having an EPICALLY HORRIBLE season. I used to think Shandon Anderson was the worst player in the NBA when he played for the Knicks, but Toney is much worse since he plays point guard.

    I still believe that Toney has the ability to turn this around, but there is no doubt in my mind that he is the biggest reason for this season so far. He was absolutely pivotal after Billups was amnestied, and he has failed as badly as one can fail.

  35. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Happened to flip to MSG, where they’re doing a highlight reel of Amare from 2010-2011. And almost every time he scored, he was fed the ball while in motion, or rolling to the hoop for a dunk. A lot of times by Felton, who is no Steve Nash.

    Anyone who says a serviceable point guard wouldn’t make all the difference in STAT’s production should watch what I just watched. He hasn’t gone from a stud to a dud because of Melo, it’s because we don’t have a PG who can actually see the floor.

    While I agree in general, d-mar, what we have yet to see is how a serviceable point guard will interact with Melo. Remember, Melo has to adapt his game for Amar’e to be able to move freely and roll to the hoop. I would imagine that he would, but the proof, as they say, will be in the pudding.

  36. Hudson River

    I had desperately hoped we had outgrown wanting MLE point guards on these boards. People have been talking about the Knicks trading for Ramon Sessions/Earl Watson/insert undersized mediocre point guard. In this league you have to have good facilitators and Melo, Amare and Tyson are not, we let teams shoot 51% from the field in our own gym, and even Iman Shumpert is run down before the end of January.

    AND we have to listen people say how the triangle offense would work well with our players and Phil Jackson will/would save the Knicks while we wait for the Mike Woodson, Grunsweld and Isiah to reunite and bring Monta Ellis in as our “savior” for “only” 2 first rounders.

  37. SangaD

    without a doubt hes doing pretty bad but at least imo he can be used differently and he just cant get any worse. this is a solid mid level talent once again like trevor ariza or hubert davis that we can maximze but cant expect the world from, the effort we get outta these guys is the kind of effort that keeps a team together.

  38. max fisher-cohen

    @dmar, yeah, the problem is for the high pick and roll to work, you need a guy who can hit the top of the key three pointer off the dribble with relative consistency. It’s a hard shot. There just aren’t very many guys who can do that. But unless they can, Amaré’s man can just stay with him and the PG’s guy can just go under the screen. Douglas actually shot really well from that spot last year (38%), but his shooting from everywhere this year is just in the tank.
    Felton did it early in the season, but as soon as his shooting started to fall off, Amaré’s production did as well.

    It’s a shot that Davis certainly won’t be shy about taking, and he actually shot much better there last year (35%) than on the corner three where he shot 27%.

  39. hoolahoop

    Frank: TD is DEFINITELY not “what he has always been”

    Yes, I understand. But I think he showed the potential to be this bad. Maybe his shoulder is exacerbating his poor play, but his propensity to hoist up horrible shot after horrible shot and not even look for a teammate for an easy look is nothing new. Then thrust him into a starting PG position and what’s to be surprised about. Last season everyone on this board was goo goo over him for reasons i could not figure out.

  40. Z

    hoolahoop:Maybe his shoulder is exacerbating his poor play

    Frank: Last year he shot 40% from 3 after the all-star break, leading the entire league in triples.

    Wasn’t TD’s shoulder injured while he was shooting 40% the second half of last year? Seems like he needs a different excuse, no?

  41. bobneptune

    danvt:

    As to NYK, yes JD screwed us.The only silver lining I see to this is that the abject failure of these Knicks will convince him that he should hire good basketball people and stay out of their way.

    clearly, you haven’t spent much time around narcissistic people with addictive personalities much. :-)

  42. hoolahoop

    Frank: . Last year he shot 40% from 3 after the all-star break, leading the entire league in triples.

    Show me the evidence.

  43. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I think the shoulder excuse could still work for this season.

    His shoulder was hurt in the first half of 2010/11- he sucked.

    His shoulder got healthy over the break – he came back and was awesome shooting the ball.

    His shoulder got hurt again – he sucked for the rest of last season. Remember how bad he was in the playoffs?

    His shoulder is still hurt in 2011/12 – he sucks.

    Toney’s one clear-cut skill is that he hits threes at a prodigious rate. When the shoulder was affecting him last year, he couldn’t do that at all. This year he can’t do it at all. It does not mean that the shoulder is definitely hurt, but I think it is a realistic possibility, especially since so many players stupidly lie about injuries.

  44. slovene knick

    Lester “Bo” McCalebb is the best PG in Euroleague(Europe)I think….that guy makes every team he plays for so much better. If there is a guy ready to instantly play PG for Knicks he is the closest thing.
    FG% of 71.
    Leads EL in scoring per 40min. Is solid passer.
    In short: he is very, very rich man’s TD:))

  45. slovene knick

    Is there even a theoretical possibility to bring a guy that went undrafted from Europe this season or next season?

  46. slovene knick

    :)) I tried.
    Actualy he is a two/combo….but he’s gooood as anyone i can think of. If I was GM he would be the top of my list.

  47. Frank

    hoolahoop: Show me the evidence.

    On top of that – his TS was 56.8% in the 2nd half last year, and although I can’t find his usage% for that period, for the year it was “only” 20.1. This year it is 39.7 on a usage of 25%. He BARELY lost out to Jeremy Pargo for worst TS% for any point guard in the league, but has a higher usage and plays nearly double the minutes so in effect it’s even worse. He has the 5th worst TS% for any guard in the ENTIRE LEAGUE (behind Pargo, Roger Mason, Marquis Daniels, and Lance Stephenson) and shoots and plays more minutes than any of the ones worse than him.

  48. Nick C.

    Frank: On top of that – his TS was 56.8% in the 2nd half last year, and although I can’t find his usage% for that period, for the year it was “only” 20.1. This year it is 39.7 on a usage of 25%. He BARELY lost out to Jeremy Pargo for worst TS% for any point guard in the league, but has a higher usage and plays nearly double the minutes so in effect it’s even worse. He has the 5th worst TS% for any guard in the ENTIRE LEAGUE (behind Pargo, Roger Mason, Marquis Daniels, and Lance Stephenson) and shoots and plays more minutes than any of the ones worse than him.

    What is it with “superstar” NYC HS PGs these days. Stephenson is here and earlier someone ridiculed or had Telfair as the only PG worse than Bibby and TD or something to that effect. Just a question.

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