[After Saturday night's defeat against Cleveland, the self loathing Knicks fan comes out and spews some venom.]
Well there’s the obvious statistical reasons. Players are supposed to get more efficient when they shoot less. Duhon averages 8.7 pts/36 with a TS% of 48.0%. Just to put that in perspective, Jared Jeffries scores 6.6 pts/36 with a TS% of 50.7%. Yes Jared Jeffries is more efficient than Duhon. If you gave Duhon’s extra shots to Jeffries, their numbers might be identical. Here’s a note to NBA players: if you can be compared to Jared Jeffries on offense, you suck.
Watching Duhon drive the lane is like watching your least mentally stable friend trying to pick up the most drunk girl in the bar. Both are way in over their heads, and the results are going to be ugly. I’m dumbfounded at how many shot attempts in the paint from point blank Duhon passes out of. It’s like Duhon’s bigger brothers were Ben Wallace and Josh Smith, and he’s been irreparably scared from scoring inside.
What sealed the deal was Duhon’s actions with 3:12 left in the Cleveland game. New York was down by 20 at half time, but they clawed their way back to a 3 point deficit. Nate has the ball on the top of the key & Duhon is on the wing calling for the ball. Nate gives him the ball and without hesitation Duhon launches up a three. Of all the Knicks on the court, I was dumbfounded that Duhon would demand the ball then take the last shot given his poor offensive play and his unselfishness. Was this a way for him to try to get back his starting job through heroics? In any case the shot careens off the rim and the Cavs will hold onto the victory with a little help from…
I’ll give you this, when the Knicks offensive is reeling and I want them to just score a freakin basket already! I hope the ball lands in Al Harrington’s hands. Yes I received some slack for being pro-Harrington at times, because all the guy does is score, but unlike Duhon he’s not awful at it. A TS% of 53.8% is good for a guy that averages 21.5 pts/36.
Saturday night I watched the second half from a bar, and had to give back stories for some of the Knicks to my wife. When Harrington got the ball I said two things. First is that sometimes they play “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon after he scores (she likes Paul Simon). Second is that when he gets the ball he’s not likely to give it back. And the latter is what kills me about Al. Everyone watching a Knick game knows when Al Harrington is going to shoot; when he gets the ball and makes that quick first move. That’s it the ball is going up – no matter how many defenders converge on him or how many of his teammates are open.
So with 1:51 left in last night’s game, with the Knicks down 5 and needing a score Harrington gets the ball and puts up one of the ugliest shots I’ve ever seen. If I recall correctly, Lebron James is guarding him and Al wildly chucks it off the glass. That’s it game over. Having Al Harrington on your team is the proverbial “he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”
When cornered by my wife Saturday night, I admitted that I like D’Antoni and that I think he’s one of the league’s best coaches. But I added “you have to deal with his quirks.” Now every coach has his quirks, and I’m fine with most of D’Antoni’s. Sure I’d like his rotation to be longer, to have him use a 7 foot center, or perhaps for him to communicate with his players on rotation issues. But he’s a good coach with a solid offensive and cares about defense. Even D’Antoni’s harshest critics have to admit that he’s better than the past few Knicks coaches.
However you have to wonder why D’Antoni had Harrington and Duhon on the floor for the final minutes. On the bench was Danilo Gallinari and David Lee. Gallo had 13 points on 10 shots, with 5 assists. Lee had 5 turnovers, but still managed 20 points on 14 shots, so why not pair him with Hill in lieu of Harrington? But more importantly where is the accountability with Duhon and Harrington? The pair wrecked what could have been a great comeback with lousy decision making. And they frequently make the same mistakes over and over again. Why not let them reflect on their mistakes with some extra bench time? Perhaps sticking them in the doghouse for a few games might prevent another loss from boneheaded mistakes.