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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Should The New York Knicks Pick Up Lou Amundson?

After a rough January for the Knicks, they’re back to playing stellar basketball going 8-3 in their last 11 contests, but there still is work to be done. With all the major pieces in the rotation (Carmelo, Amar’e, Chandler, etc.), the Knicks need to look to add a final piece to their supporting cast of role players.

The Knicks have been very dominating this season. It’s second and fourth in the Eastern Conference in points scored and allowed per game, respectively. However, they have a more jarring issue on the other side of the ball.

Crashing the boards should come easy to a Knicks team that bolsters two Olympians (Melo/Chandler) and fresh legs in the frontcourt (Amar’e, Copeland). There should be no reason that the team is placed 23rd in the league in rebounding per game. Especially when three teams that are all playoff hopefuls (Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn) are all significantly better at crashing the boards.

Changes need to be made and there needs to be more support on the offensive glass.

This is where Lou Amundson becomes so valuable in a role player position for the Knicks to make a lengthy playoff run.

ESPN 1500’s Darren Wolfson reported on Feb. 1 that both the Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers were interested in bringing in Amundson.

The Timberwolves released Amundson on Friday afternoon to resign Michael Gelabale and Chris Johnson for the remainder of the season.

This makes Amundson valuable for a playoff stretch since he won’t be looking for much money but could guarantee a spot on the roster with improved play and added help to the rebounding woes of the Knicks.

At first, there isn’t a grand expectation for Amundson to come off the bench and light it up nightly. The 30-year-old is only averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game during his six-year career in the NBA. Although his numbers look dainty, there is a hidden power within Amundson that usually goes unnoticed.

Amundson averaged 12.9 minutes a game, including a five-year low 8.1 minutes a game this season in Minnesota. But when looking at his stats per 36 minutes played, his numbers increase but leaps and bounds.

Lou averages a double-double per 36 minutes played in his career, with 10.6 points and 10.1 rebounds a contest in that time frame. That could be the difference maker for the Knicks.

The 6-foot-9 Amundson brings versatility into the frontcourt and can play the center or the power forward position at will, giving the Knicks all the flexibility they need in their rotation. In the absence of Rasheed Wallace, the age of Marcus Camby, and the future of the Knicks in the second half of the season, Amundson could be the defensive rock that Coach Mike Woodson needs.

Why not run away with a steal on a player who can improve the overall rebounding effort of the team. Losing on the boards is an easy way to lose a basketball game. With all the talent in the Knicks camp, Amundson could be the recipe to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance.

32 comments on “Should The New York Knicks Pick Up Lou Amundson?

  1. jon abbey

    again, defensive rebounding and offensive rebounding are very different things in today’s NBA, and shouldn’t really be combined. at least as of a few days ago, NY was the top defensive rebounding team in the league.

    that being said, I have no idea why NY hasn’t picked up Amundson or Kenyon Martin and dumped Kurt Thomas, clearly they need some Sheed/Camby insurance.

  2. flossy

    In retrospect it seems more and more clear that Kurt Thomas is one old fart too many. Hell, I’d happily trade him back to the Blazers in return for Jared Jeffries at this point

  3. Keniman Shumpwalker

    jon abbey:
    again, defensive rebounding and offensive rebounding are very different things in today’s NBA, and shouldn’t really be combined. at least as of a few days ago, NY was the top defensive rebounding team in the league.

    that being said, I have no idea why NY hasn’t picked up Amundson or Kenyon Martin and dumped Kurt Thomas, clearly they need some Sheed/Camby insurance.

    Been following the site for a little over a year now, first time commenting so I’m going to jump right in on this topic since it’s one I’ve been talking about since the offseason…while Sheed contributed way more early on then I imagined he would, I was not at all happy that we didn’t make a stronger push to pick up Amundson. Those kind of high-energy, D-and-board-type bigs are extremely valuable, especially to a lineup that has a cadre of old farts in the bigs department. I really hope this does come to fruition now given that I have zero faith that BOTH Marcus and Sheed will be valuable contributors for the stretch run. Hell, I would have liked to give Birdman a shot, if for no other reason than sheer entertainment value. Anyway, it’s clear we need a shot in the arm, defensively, and I don’t think we can simply hold our collective breath hoping that Sheed/Camby come back and provide that jolt.

  4. Keniman Shumpwalker

    Also, I agree with Abbey here in that looking at combined rebound numbers, especially something as limited as RPG (which doesn’t factor in pace), is a woefully insufficient barometer for a teams overall rebounding ability, and the impact that ability has on a team’s success.

  5. Keniman Shumpwalker

    DS:
    Oh, and Amundson is shooting <37% from the field this season. Ouch.

    Yeah but you throw offensive efficiency numbers out the window for a guy like Amundson. He could shoot 12% from the field and still have value to this lineup as a guy who can come in for 10-12 minutes a game, grab some boards, and provide some interior/weakside help D. He moves well for a big, has a nose for the ball, and provides a healthy dose of grit…all things we could really use right now while STAT is our only big man off then bench. That 2nd unit lineup, for all the offensive potential it possesses, is frighteningly bad, defensively. Would love to at least have the option of replacing Novak with Amundson at the 4 alongside STAT.

  6. jon abbey

    he would also be a nice x-factor if we draw Indiana in the playoffs, as someone who was very familiar with their personnel/system last year.

  7. Keniman Shumpwalker

    jon abbey:
    he would also be a nice x-factor if we draw Indiana in the playoffs, as someone who was very familiar with their personnel/system last year.

    Good point, hadn’t even thought about that angle. Also, is it wrong of me to just want a guy named “Lou” on my team? Is there a name out there that better embodies blue collar work ethic? I think not.

  8. Brian Cronin

    It’s funny that the Knicks could theoretically play Indiana, Chicago and Miami this postseason. It’d be like taking care of all 1990s family business at once!

  9. Keniman Shumpwalker

    Brian Cronin:
    It’s funny that the Knicks could theoretically play Indiana, Chicago and Miami this postseason. It’d be like taking care of all 1990s family business at once!

    While that gauntlet would scare me almost as much as a Reggie Miller catch-and-shoot with the game on the line, I can’t imagine any run to the finals being more gratifying. My brain might not eveb be able to handle that. It would likely melt.

  10. ephus

    The reason the Knicks are not getting more offensive rebounds is that they finally have good spacing on offense. As a consequence, they ordinarily do not have more than one player near the rim when most shots go up. Running towards the rim while a shot is in flight is a great way to get beat up the court for a transition basket.

    Amundson, to my memory, is not a strong post defender. He is much better at hustle plays, like hedging on the pick and roll. Thomas, on the other hand, has value only as a post defender at this point. I am not sure I would want Amundson over Thomas.

    Now, Kenyon Martin, if he can still get up and down the court, is a different story. He is a real post defender and has other decent skills. He also would add to team toughness.

  11. Keniman Shumpwalker

    ephus:
    The reason the Knicks are not getting more offensive rebounds is that they finally have good spacing on offense.As a consequence, they ordinarily do not have more than one player near the rim when most shots go up.Running towards the rim while a shot is in flight is a great way to get beat up the court for a transition basket.

    Amundson, to my memory, is not a strong post defender.He is much better at hustle plays, like hedging on the pick and roll.Thomas, on the other hand, has value only as a post defender at this point.I am not sure I would want Amundson over Thomas.

    Now, Kenyon Martin, if he can still get up and down the court, is a different story.He is a real post defender and has other decent skills.He also would add to team toughness.

    Amundson is not a particularly strong post defender, but he’s no sieve. Also, there aren’t THAT many instances where he’d be asked to match up against a traditional, back-to-the-basket big for any long stretches. Those hustle plays: the hedging, the weakside help, are exactly what this 2nd unit could use.

    I don’t even allow Kenyon thoughts to enter my mind because, as nice as it would be in theory, I just can’t see it happening. First off, there have been no indications that he’s interested in coming here to play limited minutes with a potential back up big man logjam coming down the road. Second, the guy hasn’t played NBA basketball in 8 months. There’s no guarantee that he can step in and contribute any time soon. Clearly, he is far and away a better basketball player than Amundson, but Amundson is both realistic and more likely to have an immediate impact.

  12. citizen

    Imagine if we dropped White before All Star Weekend – he’d then be the first (I think) free agent Slam Dunk Contest participant ever!

  13. JK47

    The Knicks rank #1 in defensive rebounding, and they’re headed on an upward trajectory in that statistic. They rebound very well as a team, with the guards pitching in lots of rebounds. Look at the DRB% of some of the key members of the team:

    Chandler 24.9
    Melo 15.0
    Kidd 15.0
    JR Smith 15.7
    Amar’e 15.2
    Shumpert 13.0

    Chandler does the bulk of the work, but everybody else chips in a little and at the end of the day you have the best defensive rebounding team in the league, at least for the moment.

    The problem is not getting the rebounds when the opponent misses– the problem is making them miss in the first place. The Knicks are 26th in the NBA in eFG% allowed, and that’s not a number you can really tolerate if you consider yourself a contender. I’m all for bringing in a banger, because who knows if the old guy PFs are going to be able to spin, but the real difference is going to have to come from within if the Knicks are going to become a good defensive team.

  14. Keniman Shumpwalker

    The problem is not getting the rebounds when the opponent misses– the problem is making them miss in the first place.The Knicks are 26th in the NBA in eFG% allowed, and that’s not a number you can really tolerate if you consider yourself a contender.I’m all for bringing in a banger, because who knows if the old guy PFs are going to be able to spin, but the real difference is going to have to come from within if the Knicks are going to become a good defensive team.

    Agreed 100%. Bringing in a guy like Amundson could help some, but it’s certainly not a cure-all. Much of our defensive woes stem from perimeter breakdowns which are a product of 2 things: guards not being able to contain penetration and a scheme that calls for constant switching which inevitably leads to mismatches and guys scrambling to rotate when the ball moves well around the perimeter.

    The Wizards picked us apart this way and it happens far to often. Like some others have commented in recent days, I’m not willing to simply dismiss games like Wednesday night as fluky, hot-shooting nights from otherwise poor-shooting teams. My rec league team could knock down a decent % of shots if left WIDE FU**ING OPEN.

    I’m surprised, given Woody’s D-minded background, that he hasn’t forced the necessary adjustments on this team. Less switching=less rotating. Also, we ran a decent zone for a few stretches in a recent game, I think it was the Bucks game, and it really worked well. I’d like to see us go back to that more against teams with quick, penetrating guards. An well executed zone is a great way to cover up for a lack of quickness on the outside, be it a 2-3 or a 3-2. The 2-3 can help clog the lane and make it difficult for guards to finish at the rim, and the 3-2 can make it extremely difficult for teams to get uncontested looks from deep. Obviously, the zone can’t be a staple of an NBA D, but it can be deployed situationally to great effect and I’d like to see more often.

  15. Keniman Shumpwalker

    Drats, I removed the HTML from the top of the JK47 quote I was trying to work off of. Still learning the nuances of posting here.

  16. jon abbey

    maybe it’s a reaction to overhype elsewhere, but I think people here are too dismissive of the Nets, who I think could be really dangerous if they ever gel and are all healthy at once. admittedly that’ll probably never happen…

    Gordon does seem like a way more expensive version of Marshon Brooks, but Humphries isn’t helping them at all with Evans on the roster and Wallace probably being better at 4 than the 3. Gordon is another guy who kills the Knicks, Brooklyn could certainly knock the Knicks out of the playoffs if they all play their best.

  17. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Ugh, Tyler R. Tynes with the saucy page-grabbing questions.

    Here’s a short answer:

    No.

    Pick your stat. He sucks at everything.

    They’d be better off signing an unclaimed FA rookie and mining for gold like they did with Lin.

  18. jon abbey

    I hope all the people who were whining here two nights ago are watching Washington kick the crap out of Brooklyn right now.

  19. d-mar

    jon abbey:
    I hope all the people who were whining here two nights ago are watching Washington kick the crap out of Brooklyn right now.

    Says more to me about the Nets than the Wiz, and they are relatively healthy, so no excuses

  20. jon abbey

    d-mar: Says more to me about the Nets than the Wiz, and they are relatively healthy, so no excuses

    right, but it shouldn’t. WAS is 8-1 before this in their last 9 at home, including wins against OKC, CHI and us. I’m not going to say I fully understand it, but with Wall back, they’re not the team that went 5-28 to start the year, especially at home.

  21. JK47

    They got Wall back and they also got Nene back, and Bradley Beal has been playing lots better after a terrible start. The Wiz’ depth drops off a cliff after the first 5 or 6 guys, so they’re really vulnerable to injury, but with all their main rotation guys healthy they’re not a terrible team.

  22. johnno

    Admunson was getting no playing time and got cut by the Timberwolves. Doesn’t that say a lot about how much he’s got left? Besides that, exactly whose minutes would he be taking? Amare? Chandler? And that’s a step up?
    For what it’s worth, the Knicks are +1 in rebounding differential since January 1. For the season, they are at -0.9, which puts them firmly ahead of the Heat, Hawks, Bucks, Celtics and 76ers and exactly tied with the Spurs (those same Spurs who have the best record in the league and who happen to be last in the league in offensive rebounding percentage).

  23. David Crockett

    jon abbey:
    he would also be a nice x-factor if we draw Indiana in the playoffs, as someone who was very familiar with their personnel/system last year.

    I thought you’d go with: Amundson could give us someon to go full-on knees and elbows with Tyler Hansborough.

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