2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks @ Nuggets

It’s been a strange couple of days in Knicksland, which is to say that is has been a normal couple of days, since so many have been strange lately that the definition of normal has tilted towards the unusual being familiar. For one, they won their last game by 13 over a pretty good Detroit team (with Porzingis sitting out, no less). Melo played 41 minutes as his recent spat of being run into the ground by his coach continues, but he also has said some interesting things to the media. He wants to help the team recruit free agents this summer, making the conversation around whether or not he wants out of New York more murky because it seems he intends to stay. I’ve thought this all along about Melo, because as so many people have reported, he and his family have put down roots in New York and they enjoy living there. Why do you get a no-trade clause put into your contract if you don’t like your current situation? All might not be going so well on the court, but off the court, I think Melo genuinely enjoys his lifestyle and has no desire to change it.

I thought his focus on Rondo as his desired next point guard was interesting, mostly because I don’t think he would be a good fit. Rondo famously cannot shoot, and despite Melo and Rambis’ insistence that the Triangle is friendly for a traditional point guard, I don’t see Rondo able to fit into the spaces that kind of offense provides. Sure, he’s a willing passer and a defensive upgrade (to be fair, putting a Honeybaked Ham on the court in place of Calderon would be an upgrade), but he’s also a famous douchebag (the pundits insist on calling him “mercurial,” which is a fancy way of saying he’s an asshole) and the type of personality I’d rather not have on the team during Porzingis’ formative years. If the team really cares about its culture, it won’t go this route, no matter what Melo thinks of his buddy in Sacramento.

I do, however, think it’s smart that Melo wants to help out this summer’s recruiting efforts. I believe him when he says a lot of players have interest in playing in New York, because they see the new management and the foundation of an actual team being built. Sure, they haven’t even started framing the house yet, but the land has been chosen and the plans are being drawn up. It will take time, but a couple of good gets this summer could go a long way towards making that next step. Hell, there was a long stretch of time this year that we thought this team had what it took to sneak into the playoffs, and time has revealed that this roster is full of unwanted debris swept to New York by franchises who know the difference between what items can go and what can stay on an episode of Hoarders.

The Knicks do have several things going for them in this regard: they play at MSG, which still ranks as one of the best places to play in the league. Phil Jackson is the team president (for now) and his name commands the respect of the league. Kristaps is a foundational centerpiece who seems like a genuinely cool and hardworking person, and he’s young. And finally, Melo is a popular NBA player, someone a lot of people really like and count as a good friend. Because of Melo’s reputation and relationships around the league, I’m surprised he wasn’t more involved with recruiting before now. Maybe wading around in banana boats with The Hoopers in the summer wasn’t the best way to spend his off time as the face of a franchise starting from scratch?

The other piece of news was the signing of combo guard Tony Wroten, because when a player can’t crack the roster of a juggernaut like the 8-55 76ers, you’ve just got to add him to your roster. All jokes aside, Wroten was averaging 17 points a game last year before his ACL injury ended his season, and any young guard with potential deserves a look right now for the Knicks. It’s tough to say whether they have a single guard on the roster that the team would want going forward, so it makes sense to bring someone else in to give them a look. There’s no way this team can drag themselves into next year with the current rotation of guards and it’s good to know that they realize that. I don’t want to give up on Galloway or Grant at this point, and maybe one or both of them can become a productive rotation player, but I don’t see the potential for either of them to be an NBA starter. So the Knicks need to find help on the market, and that’s a whole ‘nother article we can save for when the season ends and we have a clearer picture of free agency.

Seeing as this is the game thread and the Knicks are in fact playing a game of professional basketball this evening, perhaps I should talk about it? Oh Denver, the franchise who traded Melo to New York when he forced his way out of Colorado. And they got a pretty damn good ransom for him, I think we can all agree, but both franchises find themselves in a similar spot right now (at least to the naked eye, if you’re just looking at the standings). Our old friend Danilo Gallinari suffered two torn ligaments in his ankle a couple of weeks ago and is out for another couple weeks at least, so we won’t get to see him play tonight. He’s been having a quietly efficient season for a Denver team that doesn’t have a playoff-capable roster and is never on TV, so we never hear about them.

For a team with a record nearly identical to the Knicks, the Nuggets have a lot of interesting players on their roster and could have as many as 3 1st round picks next year (it’s a bunch of tricky protected-pick stuff, but basically, if Houston and Portland makes the playoffs they get their 1st round picks this year) and another 2 or more next year. Their cupboard is not bare and they will be adding to it significantly with rookies on low-cost contracts, and it will be interesting to see what their team looks like in the next year or two. Denver really has done a good job of tearing down their roster and getting draft compensation for players like Mosgov, Ty Lawson and Aaron Afflalo (they got potential 1st round picks for all of those players, which is crazy to think about honestly given their relative value now. Damn Denver, keep up that hustle!). With a solid 6-man core of Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Kenneth Faried and Gary Harris, the Nuggets are a team that we can justifiably be jealous of going forward.

The season is mercifully winding down, and hopefully these are the End of Days for having to watch many of the players on this team, most notably our starting guards. With any luck, by this time next year Afflalo will be mean-mugging whoever he plans on launching fadeaways against in Charlotte or Milwaukee or some other franchise on the fringes, and Calderon will be explaining how he made his duck sauce in a celebrity cooking competition.

We can always hope.

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Erik Judd

I'm a lifelong basketball fan whose interests range from some things to other things.

81 thoughts to “2015-16 Game Thread: Knicks @ Nuggets”

  1. We should let Lance recuperate for the rest of the season and bring back Thanasis.

  2. Is Zinger playing tonight?

    And I’m shocked that people think signing Dwight Howard would be a good idea if he doesn’t max out. Signing that guy is a terrible idea except maybe at the vets minimum, he’s a goofball who is past his prime and wears out his welcome with coaches and players after about 10 games.

    I was actually hoping Boston would go after him to guarantee they never get past the 2nd round of the playoffs.

  3. I’d like to be the first to congratulate young Mr. Mudiay on his new career high

  4. They are doing tests on LT’s knee so nothing yet. Sounds like a pretty innocuous incident. Just putting up shots and came down sore.

  5. Since the Knicks have very little interest in playing defense tonight I have very little interest in watching the rest of this game. New episode of the People vs OJ Simpson at 10pm!!

  6. 8-0 Denver run. Must be that damn altitude……yeah….we’ll go with that.

    @18 – It ain’t the altitude that is making them play like they’re high.

  7. Are you saying that it is the legal marijuana that they ingested before the game started that is, in fact, making the Knicks high?

  8. Did Breen just say “good play out of a timeout by the Knicks” or was I hallucinating?

  9. Last two buckets in transition from D-Will and Grant were nice to see. Lots of people look good against Denver’s bench, though.

    Weird game, feels like both teams have agreed to make this a glorified scrimmage and are just going through the motions.

    Kinda want to bail and watch the People vs OJ myself, lol, but I gotta write on this tonight so I’ll watch every agonizing possession as per usual.

  10. I just dont understand Why Williams doesnt play at least 15 mins every fucking game.

  11. @erik Judd not enough people are gonna finish watching this game. Just make some stuff up and see if anyone notices.

  12. I can’t believe how much stupid, lazy, awful, sloppy basketball I can suffer through.

  13. Erik, here’s your write up: “Knicks couldn’t guard anyone”

    Now go watch OJ!

  14. I still feel like we can hold these guys under 120 if they miss some free throws.

  15. LMAO d-mar. It’s about time I mailed in a recap anyways, eh? Gotta take after the team I write about at some point.

  16. Things to be “excited” about the rest of the way:
    1. If we keep playing like hot trash, we’ll be able to re-sign our crappy players to reasonable deals!
    2. We no longer need to worry about who we’ll waste our last roster spot on!
    3. We’ll be more and more justified in our anger about Grant not getting minutes!

  17. Rambis is throwing the game by not leaving one of KP or Lopez in the game. Its that simple

  18. I honestly like watching Grant more than Galloway these days. Gallo fucking sucks now.

  19. Axel Toupane career high alert.

    Kyle O’Quinn plays a lot like how I imagine James Harden looking in the 2036 celebrity all-star game.

  20. Galloway has gone full Sasha Vujacic. You never go full Sasha Vujacic. TS%=.231 over the last 5 games, not counting this one where he’s 1-5.

  21. Watching the OJ series is kind of like watching the Knicks, you know the team you’re rooting for is definitely going to lose

  22. Who’s that Lady?

    Let’s just turn this thread into a discussion of People vs OJ and agree to abandon ship.

  23. casting metaphorical marcia clark will be challenging, but i think we can all agree that charley rosen is kato kaelin.

  24. Actually, the Knicks just collectively decided to give this game some effort. Like they were saving themselves for the end or something.

    Effort has been largely missing lately, and I get that, the team has been losing a lot and the season is over and a lot of these guys don’t know where they will be in 6 months.

    But it’s good to see the starters put a bit of umph in their game even if it’s too little, too late.

  25. I don’t know if it’s a causation/correlation thing but all the younguns have gone to shit completely since Rambis took over

  26. Also, a significant number of you have been placed on my list of people to murder if I go crazy like the juice

  27. That Melo/KP PNR was nice. Would be nice if we took advantage of Grant and Calderon’s passing, Melo Lopez and KP’s picking.

    I still blame coaching>talent.

  28. Er, it’s easier to understand when you accept this team is coached by a fucking idiot

  29. i hate to defend rambis but if i were coaching i would have benched DW, too. guy was just sleeping on defense. I counted 5 of 6 consecutive possessions where he was originally at fault for a defensive breakdown.

  30. I still think that coaches determine a lot of defense, energy/effort, and obviously, rotations and plays. We’re 0/4 on those.

  31. Buckle up fam, because this road trip gonna be fucking bumpy.

    oh i know this one! ac cowlings to the 911 operator?

  32. I have a feeling the night of the OJ chase will be the closest I will ever get to seeing the Knicks win a championship. They won that night to go up 3-2 in the NBA Finals. 1 win away from being NBA champions, I can’t even fathom the current Knicks getting back to the playoffs anytime soon let alone being 1 win away from the championship.

  33. Maybe Brian could give Phil one of his NZT pills to use come FA. That might be the Knicks only hope

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