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Friday, November 21, 2014

Who Will Run The Chandlerful (Billupsless) Point?

One of the questions that surfaced in the Knicks’ Chandlerfest (since Melodrama every major move to New York has to have its own punny name) is who will play the point guard for New York if Chauncey Billups is jettisoned? From my perspective there are three options.

1. Toney Douglas/Iman Shumpert

You don’t need to be a disciple of Paul Ekman or Ray Birdwhistell to read D’Antoni’s body language when Toney Douglas is running the point. It’s pretty obvious to any observer that Mike D. is not happy with how the former Seminole sets up his teammates. On the other hand he may not have much of a choice given New York’s lack of acquisition options post-Chandler. I’m sure Anthony Carter would come back for a 13th year if asked, but you have to think that starting him or even giving him major minutes is beyond D’Antoni’s big blind spot for passing point guards. Shumpert was drafted for his athleticism and doesn’t have good shooting instincts, which means he isn’t likely to pass D’Antoni’s high criteria for point guards. Besides how bad can the offense be with Douglas and Shumpert at the point considering Amar’e and Carmelo would be taking a majority of the shots?

2. Carmelo Anthony

Why does it have to be a point guard that runs the offense? Averaging 3.0 ast/36, there’s no reason that Anthony can’t run the show. What Knick fan isn’t dying to see more pick & roll plays featuring ‘Melo and Amar’e? Besides Carmelo seems most comfortable in the offense with the ball in his hands.

3. Amar’e Stoudemire

Remember David Lee’s last year in New York where D’Antoni made him the point-center? Lee racked up 3.5 ast/36 and laughed his way to an $80M deal with Golden State. New York had a respectable offense that year (17th overall) considering they gave nearly 5000 minutes to Chris Duhon, Jared Jeffries, Larry Hughes, and Tracy McGrady.

Amar’e is capable of hitting an 18 footer, so having him run the offense from the perimeter doesn’t seem so far fetched. The Knicks wouldn’t be giving up their rebounding with Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony, and Landry Fields in the mix. And having Stoudemire play ball handler doesn’t preclude him from diving to the basket either. Lee averaged the same amount of shots at the rim and from close range during the 2010 season.

Obviously there are other choices as well. New York could sign a veteran like Delonte West, Baron Davis, or Mike Bibby. They can re-enact their Chris Duhon experiment and reach into the reject bin for a Ben Uzoh or Chris Quinn. Neither method will likely come up with a better player than a Douglas/Shumpert tandem.

And perhaps the bigger question isn’t who will run the offense but how will the team improve. Giving minutes to stout defenders Douglas, Shumpert, and Chandler will certainly improve the team’s defense. Last year the team was 22nd on defense, and if they can have a league average defense (while keeping the same offense) that should translate to something like 7 extra wins (during a normal length season). Even a small slip in offense (from 7th to 10th) and a top 10 defense (certainly obtainable) would still mean a .600 win percentage. Personally I think the Knicks will go with a combination 1 & 2 and a sprinkle of 3, until D’Antoni figures out which one suits him best.

[ED NOTE: D’Antoni said that Douglas would be the PG, but ‘Melo run the point. Don’t think that for a second we won’t see a healthy portion of Douglas or Amar’e running the show, especially when ‘Melo hits the pine.]

37 comments on “Who Will Run The Chandlerful (Billupsless) Point?

  1. mikeplugh

    Thank Anastasia for the Ray Birdwhistell reference. Media ecology and the Knicks…only at Knickerblogger.

    Melo is no Larry Bird (and TD/Shumpert are no DJ and Ainge) but the evolution from the Nash/SSOL offense to something more akin to the mid-80s Celtics offense with The Big Three up front seems like a step in the right direction. The 85-86 Celtics scored 114 ppg (8th) at a 16th place pace and gave up 104 (3rd) winning 67 games.

    Times have changed. The Knicks scored 106 ppg (2nd) at a 3rd place pace and gave up 105 (28th) last season and managed 42 wins. If we can keep the ppg roughly the same while slowing the pace a notch, we can probably cut the points allowed in the process and see stronger results.

    Still, we need an answer for Wade and Rose and Wall and the other top notch guards in the East. That’s going to mean as much to our defensive success as our newfound size.

  2. JK47

    I dunno, Shumpert seems miscast as a PG to me. He looks to me like a John Starks type player– a leaping, above-the-rim offensive player and a terrific perimeter defender big and quick enough to guard opposing 2-guards. I’d like to see Shump get at least 50% of his minutes at SG.

  3. JK47

    So it appears the roster will essentially look like this for the moment:

    PG Toney Douglas
    SG Landry Fields
    SF Carmelo Anthony
    PF Amar’e Stoudemire
    C Tyson Chandler

    Bench: Mike Bibby, Iman Shumpert, Bill Walker, Jared Jeffries, Josh Harrellson, Renaldo Balkman, Andy Rautins

    I assume Bibby would be coming for the vet minimum, so that would still leave us with what, the mini-MLE? Maybe we should hold onto that with hopes of luring Wilson Chandler back when he gets out of China? Maybe take a flyer on Kwame Brown? Convince Kris Humphries that the best way to get back at Kim is to become an underpaid Knick?

  4. nicos

    JK47:
    I dunno, Shumpert seems miscast as a PG to me.He looks to me like a John Starks type player– a leaping, above-the-rim offensive player and a terrific perimeter defender big and quick enough to guard opposing 2-guards.I’d like to see Shump get at least 50% of his minutes at SG.

    Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if Shumpert winds up as the starting 2 by the end of the season and Fields moves to a 6th man role backing up both the 2 and the 3. With the addition of Chandler, Fields’ rebounding will be less of a necessity (and you have to believe that D’A will be thrilled to be able to have his 2 releasing to get out on the break rather than crashing the boards) and Shumpert’s defense and ball-handling could give him the edge. It all depends on how well he shoots the ball from the outside.

  5. chastrio

    Z: Aren’t we giving Dallas one of those bench guys?Also, what’s up with J. Jordan? Is he out of the mix?

    If we are giving Dallas a low salary bench guy I’m assuming it will be Balkman as it doesn’t seem like Mike D likes using him much unless they view Rautins as pretty much worthless.

  6. Z-man

    Shump isn’t a prototypical PG but it remains to be seen whether he can run the pick and roll, which is the only PG skill he really needs on a team like this. It seems that taking the ball to the rim with either hand is a strength of his and he did have decent assist numbers in college, especially as a freshman when he had some players on his team. If he is more effective on the P&R than Douglas, I can see TD bringing the ball up and then Shump taking over from there.

  7. jon abbey

    I would much much much prefer Baron Davis to Mike Bibby, but maybe that’s not possible. Bibby is close to worthless IMO, though.

  8. iserp

    I think if Shumpert and TD play together, Shumpert would take the role of PG and TD of SG on offense, but the other way round in defense. Carmelo will do a lot of the ballhandling, so Shumpert would just have to mix it a little bit, play P&R with Stoudemire, and find TD for an open 3 pointer (with Chandler setting a screen for him, for example).

    Although i think Shumpert will be the starting PG, we should bring a veteran minimum player to start, at least in the beginning of the season. It would be great if Toronto amnesty Calderon, we could pick him up with the MLE; he is bad defensively, but he will have Chandler behind (and not Bargnani), and he is a great spot up shooter and P&R player.

  9. ess-dog

    Maybe we can still pull a trade for Luke Ridnour? Stat likes his game. I have less faith in Shump as pg than TD.

    I predict we’ll see a lot of: TD flies 3/5ths of the way down the court, stops on a dime. Gets entry pass to Melo on the wing (1/4 of the time it gets stolen.) Melo holds it for 14 seconds, drives the lane and a. gets blocked, b. throws up a wild shot, or c. kicks it out to hopefully somebody. Stat will spend a lot of time just standing 16 feet away from the basket on the wing. Chandler will get a lot of O boards and garbage points. Not sure what Fields will do in this offense. Hopefully he and TD will hit open threes which will help, but it already sounds like a pretty still, stagnant offense.

    Of course, we will still probably be a top 6 offense. And then next year we’ll adopt the triangle when Jax takes over.

  10. BIG STAT

    Anyone have any insight as to why the Knicks went with Chandler with Marc Gasol (kinda, a restricted FA) and Nene on the market too?

    Also anyone else feel really iffy about this signing?

    Are the Knicks only going to be able to sign players at the minimum now and then have a full midlevel next year?

  11. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I cannot believe that they actually signed Bibby. That is insane. He is about as washed up as washed up gets. On the one hand, I figure that he is so washed up that they’ll realize this before the season is over and cut him, but that still means that they’ll be wasting minutes on him until that point. Ugh. What a dreadful signing. He makes me wish the team had Jamaal freakin’ Tingsley instead, that’s how washed up he is. He’s like a much, much much worse version of Chauncey Billups, and it wasn’t like Chauncey Billups was fitting in perfectly in the first place (but at least he was, you know, Chauncey Billups!!!).

  12. Thomas B.

    jon abbey:
    I would much much much prefer Baron Davis to Mike Bibby, but maybe that’s not possible. Bibby is close to worthless IMO, though.

    I agree that Bibby likely has nothing left in the tank. Davis has his flaws, and Douglas has his flaws, but right now I don’t even know what Bibby’s strengths are.

  13. SeeWhyDee77

    I will go play the point with that frontcourt!! lol..all 5’9″ 191 of me..I got one crossover left in me. LMAO..in all seriousness..I PRAY we don’t go after Bibby..but we do need another PG. I’ve tried working out a trade on ESPN’s trade machine with Cleveland (incase they keep Davis for some reason) an the only one that matched was Walker/Balkman/Rautins for Sessions- but I doubt they’d bite even with their need for a 2 guard. I wonder tho..would we have enough to throw at a guy like Barea? If I were in the front office, I’d throw all that I can at Cleveland for Sessions..as long as they don’t ask for Fields or Shump. The way I understand it, the Knicks wouldn’t get 1st dibs on Davis if he were amnestied.

  14. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Why in the hell did New Orleans just gift wrap David West to Boston for basically nothing?

  15. KnickfaninNJ

    I remember when Boston traded for their big three. All the comments were along the lines of “are they really going to have Rondo at the point?” So have hope.

  16. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I’d prefer they get someone better than Toney as the starting point guard, agreed. But if they can’t, they can’t. I don’t want them just to sign whatever has-been they can to give them terrible minutes until he is cut.

  17. daJudge

    I agree 100% with Brian. Maybe someone in D- League can serve as a back up to Tony? There are simply no quality starting PGs available for the Knicks right now. Also, there will be so many match up issues for most teams against the Knicks now, Fields and Tony will get more scoring opportunities. Fields moves really well w/o the ball and I see the addition of Chandler and doubles creating those opps for him. I hope our PG can exploit this in the sets. Also, perhaps the Knicks will be running more of a triangle, even under D’Antoni. That could limit Tony’s role a bit and open up the three, which he and Fields can hit. On that note, are the Knicks able to sign Extra E?

  18. Frank O.

    Melo is going to run this offense.
    I expect he’s going to have a hell of a year. The PG may take the ball over the line, but after that, he’ll quickly get the ball to Melo.
    Melo/Amare PnR last year showed real signs of being scary good.
    TDDWTDD will find a place along the 3pt line and wait to see if the ball finds him.
    Just have to teach Melo to give up the ball more after the pick. You gotta reward the roll from time to time for the PnR to work!
    I can’t wait to see Chandler in blue and orange.
    This team has a nice mix of young guys and veterans. With Billups gone, either Melo or Amare will need to take the reins. Anyone have a sense of Chandler’s leadership skills?
    I also like that TDDWTDD will play point,but not run the offense. It will give Landry his minutes. I want to see if his shot and overall fitness has improved. We know he can rebound and finish. I want to see if his college and pro career of steady improvement continues or plateaus.
    NBA League Pass!

  19. Frank O.

    Also, Chandler’s ability to finish at the glass (high percentage last year) will make it tough for teams to double down on Amare.
    Stat is going to have a monster year,too. Chandler, Amare and Melo up front is going to create havoc for other teams, and with the D’Antoni offense moves the ball, expect a lot of easy buckets.
    TDDWTDD, and whoever else they pin to the arc,is going to get a lot of shots.
    Question: any word on how amare’s back is doing?

  20. Frank O.

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    I’d prefer they get someone better than Toney as the starting point guard, agreed. But if they can’t, they can’t. I don’t want them just to sign whatever has-been they can to give them terrible minutes until he is cut.

    I think this fear about Toney as a PG is overblown. I can see more traditional folks would prefer to run things via the point, but the sport has changed. This O is designed to flow and the Knicks have a small forward that can handle the ball.

  21. Frank

    I agree that the PG issue is real, but probably overblown. Toney has been in this offense now for 3 full seasons, and at times has looked pretty good. Sure he looked awful against the Celtics, but he had nonfunctional shoulder, was being guarded by all-defense Rondo and one of the very best defensive teams in the league, all without any offensive weapons except Melo.

    Re: Bibby – depending on how much $ it’s for, I’m totally fine with it. If it’s a vet’s minimum, I couldn’t care less. Who else are they going to get? If anything, it’ll be good to have a veteran PG who knows how to hit a shot in a big moment, can bring the ball up safely in a hostile environment, and provide some guidance that we lost when whiny Chauncey left (seriously, he got an extra $10MM because we picked up his option when we didn’t have to. Is that enough of a severance package? The idea that Dallas would rather have a trade exception than him tells you what Cuban and the other sabermetrics guys they have think of him). And as someone said earlier, he shot 44% from 3 last year and is a lifetime 38% shooter. Just think of him as Eddie House or Von Wafer — that makes it easier doesn’t it?

    That being said – they better not be giving him multiple years for much more than the vet’s minimum. I still would very much like for them to use the room exception on Shawne and give him 2 or 3 years. Dude played very well for us last year and wants to come back. He knows the system. He played very passable D against Lebron and we will need another wing-type defender and stretch 4 for when Amare goes to the bench.

  22. Frank

    BTW – we tend to micro-criticize the Knicks GM’ing but I have to tip my hat to the FO. Check out our lineup from 2009:

    PG: Duhon
    SG: Larry freaking Hughes
    SF: Gallo/Chandler
    PF: Lee
    C: Darko? Al Harrington?
    Bench: Nate, M.Landry, Jordan Hill, Jefferies

    Now check out our likely roster in 2011:
    PG: TD
    SG: Fields
    SF: Melo
    PF: Amare
    C: Tyson Chandler
    Bench: Shumpert, Bibby, Jefferies, Shawne

    We’re in better cap shape, total salary is less. Say what you want about us giving up too much for Melo, but this will be by far the best team we’ve put out there since I don’t know, 1999?

  23. jon abbey

    the best thing about the Chandler acquisition is how good of a fit he should be with Amare/Carmelo. people forget (maybe they don’t), but Pierce and Allen were both pretty lousy defensive players before they had Garnett watching their backs, Chandler should provide a similar benefit for Amare/Melo.

    best starting frontline (SF/PF/C) in the league? certainly in the conversation if nothing else, wow.

  24. Frank O.

    You know, Shawne Williams feels like one of those old Knicks.
    He can be very good, and we all are happy for the guy, and then he’s suddenly mediocre.
    Having said that, as an off the bench guy, I have no problem with him.
    I suddenly find myself luxuriating in the idea that I’m not talking about role players in starting positions so much, and depending on the role players to somehow win games.
    We have a very good center, one of the best PFs in the game, and a very good SF. We have a sophomore 2, that finished fourth in rookie of the year ballots, and a serviceable PG, who on any given night is streaky like John Starks.
    No more ‘can decidedly below average Turiaf give us more than 20 minutes?’ No more wondering if WC can put all his physical gifts together with a general clue. No more hoping Gallo’s magical stroke doesn’t turn into a Houdini disappearing act. No more wondering if Billups were only healthy. No more feeling the elation of a center’s break out game and the frustration that never again would the young Russian have a game like that. No more fat Eddie House or fat Eddie, or meteoric mighty-mite Nate, or Larry Hughes, or Darko or Bender, or Al “I’m the best player on this team” Harrington, or Marty Collins or Jamal or hopeless Duhon or Malik Rose, or Nichols, and fat, angry Q-Rich. No more wondering if Lee’s efficiency translates into elite-ness.
    We used to get angry with those guys because they couldn’t win games, not understanding that those guys were never meant to win games, that our expectations for those some good, some not so good role players were severely overblown, severely unjust, and the product of a desperate fan base grasping at snowflakes only to find drops of water in our palms.
    This team largely will be built on legit starters and three or four role players who get some minutes.
    Now we get to see if D’Antoni can make this team hum.

  25. Frank O.

    Frank:
    BTW – we tend to micro-criticize the Knicks GM’ing but I have to tip my hat to the FO. Check out our lineup from 2009:

    PG: Duhon
    SG: Larry freaking Hughes
    SF: Gallo/Chandler
    PF: Lee
    C: Darko? Al Harrington?
    Bench: Nate, M.Landry, Jordan Hill, Jefferies

    Now check out our likely roster in 2011:
    PG: TD
    SG: Fields
    SF: Melo
    PF: Amare
    C: Tyson Chandler
    Bench: Shumpert, Bibby, Jefferies, Shawne

    We’re in better cap shape, total salary is less.Say what you want about us giving up too much for Melo, but this will be by far the best team we’ve put out there since I don’t know, 1999?

    Frank: Simpatico. It’s funny because I was literally going through the same thought process. You put out lineups, I overwrote the note above, the equivalent of fifteen jon abbey posts and probably not as insightful. :)
    On the other hand, my note above is equivalent to Ted just warming up. :)

  26. Frank

    One other thing – can one of the people here that actually have some connection to the media please tell the bloggers that are ripping the Knicks for picking up Chauncey’s option and then amnestying him that there was no way to get Chandler without doing that? Chauncey had a $4MM buyout that would have counted against the cap, which would have made it impossible to make this signing.

  27. Z

    Thomas B.: right now I don’t even know what Bibby’s strengths are.

    3 point shooting and running the pick-and-roll. What else do we need from our PG position. (Besides defense, of course, but D’Antoni still has SOME say, right?)

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    Why in the hell did New Orleans just gift wrap David West to Boston for basically nothing?

    He is a free agent. (Same reason Dallas traded us Chandler for Andy Rautins).

  28. Z

    Frank:
    One other thing – can one of the people here that actually have some connection to the media please tell the bloggers that are ripping the Knicks for picking up Chauncey’s option and then amnestying him that there was no way to get Chandler without doing that? Chauncey had a $4MM buyout that would have counted against the cap, which would have made it impossible to make this signing.

    I think it doesn’t ultimately matter. Yes, they are right because trading Turiaf probably freed up enough to absorb Billups’ buyout free; however, the amnesty provision really isn’t that much use to the Knicks after this season or next, so it’s not like they are losing a great asset by waiving Billups. And, at the time, Billup’s contract was valuable as a big expiring pact, so it is silly to rip the Knicks for it now.

  29. art vandelay

    I understand how S&T worked with boston concerning West trade….but how did they have any leverage in this S&T since they had no cap space, right??? Why didn’t Hornets request more since Boston had no cap space to sign him without a S&T done?

  30. KnickfaninNJ

    I read in the NY Post that Rautins was dealt in a sgn and trade instead of just getting Chandler as a fwree agent was that the Knicks needed the space. But if I look at the list above, even adding Balkman, Walker, Jordan and maybe Bibby, that’s still only thirteen. Can someone help me understand what the Post meant?

  31. twoseam2007

    Bibby? He’s a downgrade from TD and Shumpert. I’m thinking Baron Davis. If Baron plays like he did right before he was traded to CLEVELAND, we could be Championship contenders…

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