True leaders gone,
Of land and people.
We choose no kin but adopted strangers.
The family weakens by the length we travel…
— “Three Days” by Jane’s Addiction
Yesterday after last night’s post game interview, Mike D’Antoni said the team had three days of practices to figure out what’s wrong before the next game against Indiana. Clearly at 1-9 the team needs a shakeup, so I thought as Knick fans we could discuss what changes you’d like to see come Wednesday.
The 2009 Knicks gave up 110.8 points per 100 possessions and were ranked 23rd. This year they are allowing 109.4, which is ranked 21st. So the defense is about the same as last year, which is what everyone expected. Doing the same comparison on offense shows a serious decline from 108.1 (17th) to 100.2 (25th). Scrutinizing the offensive 4 factors reveals the team’s main weakness. Their eFG has dropped from 50.3% to 47.7%. Other than that, the team has done slightly better with regards to turnovers, and slightly worse at rebounding.
So with those statistics in mind, I think it’s clear who needs to sit. Chris Duhon (29.2% eFG, 36.7% TS) should be at the top of the list, and in fact I’d lobby for him to receive his first DNP on Wednesday. In D’Antoni’s offense, the point guard is critical to the team’s success, and Duhon is the main culprit to their scoring woes. Duhon’s decline is baffling, because players don’t normally decline without reason. Perhaps there’s either a lingering injury or some off-court matter that is causing his putrid performance.
In his place I would play the rookie Toney Douglas. For all the talk of the Knicks passing on drafting Jennings, Lawson, and Blair, Douglas is quietly having a good November (21.1 pts/36, 59.8% eFG, 60.7% eFG). His assists are low, but perhaps that’s because he’s been more of a shooting guard in the offense (2.1 to/36, 1.5 ast/36). Handing the offensive reigns over to him, even if Douglas looks to score first, couldn’t be any worse than what Duhon is doing.
Next to Douglas would be Danilo Gallinari (58.4% eFG, 62.3% TS), David Lee (54.8%, 57.0%), and Larry Hughes (53.3%, 58.6%). Which leaves one spot open. Currently Wilson Chandler has been filling that role, but his shooting has been really bad as well (42.0%, 44.8%). In fact his three point percentage is at a point that he should just really stop taking them (21.9%). Unfortunately there isn’t another Knick who is shooting well enough to be a clear candidate to take his place. So my choice would be Darko Milicic. While Darko isn’t going to help the offense, he doesn’t take a lot of shots and he’ll theoretically help the team defensively.
A lineup of Douglas, Hughes, Gallo, Lee, and Darko should be decent enough defensively without sacrificing too much offense (unlike if they played Chandler and Jeffries). It would end the small ball lineup D’Antoni craves, and give the Knicks a little more size. Shifting Lee to PF would benefit him defensively, Douglas and Hughes would make a strong back court, and Darko could help with penetrators in the paint.
Nate Robinson would be the 6th man to provide scoring off the bench. If Curry were ready, I would use him in a center platoon with Darko, perhaps giving Jordan Hill some minutes there too. This would keep New York in a more traditional alignment for most of the game. And the rest of the minutes can be split between Chandler and Harrington. Actually the latter could earn a DNP in my book, if the Knicks can replace Lee in another way. All Harrington contributes is scoring, and this year his shooting has been substandard (44.2% eFG, 51.3% TS). Which means Harrington isn’t giving the team anything. Visually he’s been unbelievably selfish on the court taking just about every possession he can get his hands on.
Well that’s my take on the Knicks rotation. What’s yours?