The Knicks are unsure of what they have, and maybe so are the Celtics.

Yesterday I spent a couple of minutes chatting with AM NY’s Tim Herrera.

“It should be entertaining, but I think Boston is just too strong,” said Mike Kurylo of “They have a better team structure. When the Knicks traded for Carmelo, they kind of got a ‘Franken-team.’ They really don’t have a team concept.”

A recurring theme in my recent posts is that since New York traded for Carmelo Anthony, they’ve lacked the complementary pieces to their two superstars. I’ve outlined this in the past, noting the Knicks need a big man rebounder/defender, a swingman defender, and a point guard that fits SSOL. Donnie Walsh grabbed Amar’e Stoudemire to be the heart of the team, and added Carmelo Anthony to be the legs that keeps the offense moving when things get stagnant. However the rest of his creation is ill-equipped to work with those parts. Over the last few weeks D’Antoni has experimented with different players and has taken longer looks at guys like Billy Walker, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, and Derrick Brown. Even the regular rotation guys like Shawne Williams, Jared Jeffries, or Ronny Turiaf aren’t ideal fits for the Knicks.

Boston really doesn’t have this problem. Their team is predicated on defense, and most of their pieces fit that mold. In fact, critics point out that the the Perkins/Green trade went against the Celtics team concept. And while the ‘Melo trade wasn’t exactly that, his skill set was different from those that were traded away and hence forced the team to adjust their style. Additionally the Knicks lost depth in the deal, which also has changed the fabric of the team.

One of the things that I spoke about with Tim that didn’t make print was what I felt to be the Knicks main advantage, namely their capricious nature. While Boston is a more established team, New York is still trying to find their identity. It’s easier to scout an opponent when they’ve had largely the same style and personnel over a few season. However a team that has only played together for a few weeks is less stable and might have the element of surprise. Of all the playoff teams, the Knicks are the ones I feel least comfortable predicting, and I’ve watched nearly every minute of their regular season games. Much like Frankenstein’s monster, the Knicks mish-mosh roster is unreliable. And given their underdog status, that isn’t such a bad thing to be.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

14 thoughts to “Frankenteam”

  1. First off, a shout out to Frankenstein. I’m a big fan.

    With that said, I agree with your assessment of the Knicks as currently constructed. The Knicks do not have a team identity yet. In part, because they haven’t played enough minutes together, but also in part, because they still lack certain facets to their game (defensive big man, back up pg) that would help their strengths (scoring) shine.

    The series against Boston, IMO, is going to come down to whether Billups and Toney can slow down Rondo. Last time the starters played each other, Rondo had trouble scoring but he dished out 12 assists, and the Celts beat the Knicks by 10. Earlier in the season, he dished out 24 against the Knicks. When Rondo isn’t dishing out 10 assists per game, Boston is not nearly as successful.

    Also, although currently the Celtics have horrible interior defense (almost as bad as the Knicks), that is most likely due to losing Perkins and Shaq. If Shaq comes back strong and can play 20 minutes a game, Amare and Melo could have difficulty scoring in the paint and would have to rely on mid-range jumpers. If Shaq can’t carry that load, the Knicks should be able to do some damage inside.

    That said, Rondo is still the key. Boston didn’t have Perk in any of the 4 games between the teams this season, and Shaq only played in one of them. However, that point aside, they still beat us in all four games, and in the 3 games Rondo played, he had 50 assists.

  2. I think the playoffs in the early rounds are about who peaks at the right time. Great teams win championships, but hot teams shake things up in early rounds.
    The Knicks are a hot team that is just starting to figure things out. How much have they figured out? Have they figured out enough?
    Hard to say.
    But it is clear they have established that Melo is option 1 and Stat is option 2. Thing 1 and Thing 2, if you will. :) Then you have Billups.
    On defense, it is notable that this team has started to find its legs….in spurts. Offensive boards will be a problem against big teams. But if Stat and Melo and Shelden crash the boards consistently in the playoffs, with strong board work from Landry, we all may be surprised.

    For me, Billups is and always has been the key, in the trade, and in the playoffs. In the last few years, Billups’ playoffs efficiency v. his regular season efficiency is off the charts better.
    And Chauncey’s defense also has improved over the last several games.
    The Unexpected
    With the Celts, you have to expect Pierce will do harm, and just hope it doesn’t come down to a last second shot from him. Allen scares me less, and I think Garnett is worn out for lack of healthy big man support.
    Rondo will get his assists, but his scoring isn’t dangerous, frankly. Keep him from penetrating too much, get him to settle for jumpers, and we’ll be good.
    The key for me is friggin’ Big Baby. He’s hurt us. His shooting and board work is a real pain. If he has a good to very good series, I’m not sure the Knicks can do this.
    Conversely, if TD fails to hit his shots, it could be tough. His shooting has become increasingly important. As has his ball handling and passing of late. If the Knicks can keep him in control, moving the ball and hitting his 3s, it will be tough on the Celts.

    Either way, it’s all gravy. Knicks are in the playoffs.

  3. We fans are like the blind hermit– praying to the lord to send us somebody, anybody, to deliver us from our playoff loneliness…

    And the lord heard, sending us Frankenstein’s monster…

    I just hope hangs around long enough to try the espresso this time.

  4. Im very curious to see how many players D’Antoni plays in Game 1 and what the minutes distribution will look like.

  5. I don’t think we’ll have trouble scoring, even against the Celtics, but we need to defend, especially against Rondo because he kills with his penetration and dishing. Also Pierce to a lesser degree. Rondo is a horrible matchup for us because our weakness really is help defense (2nd is closing out shooters on defense.)
    Rondo can break down the defense by getting by his man and then either score at the hoop or expertly dish to KG/Baby/whoever. Billups will just have to play a step back on Rondo and dare him to shoot. Don’t let him get close to the hoop. And if guys like Shawne and Stat can afford to stay at home on their guys, then we can limit their 2nd chances on the boards and not give them chippies. That’s the only way we’ll win in my opinion.
    The key is Rondo.

  6. ess-dog:

    The key is Rondo.

    This could never happen, but I’d like to see Douglas starting in the back court with Billups. You put Douglas on Rondo and let him make life hell for Rondo by making it difficult for him to get into the paint where he likes to score and picks up assists. Billups should have an easier time chasing someone his own age in Allen. Back up point you ask? It’s the playoffs, let TD play 88 minutes a game (yes he plays through time outs plus he does the halftime show for good measure) Call me crazy, but I don’t think the Knicks are so substantially weaker than the Celtics to warrant writing them off.

  7. I agree with Thomas B. in starting TD. I don’t think the idea is crazy at all and I love Fields. TD sometimes jacks it up, but not quite as much with Melo, Stat and Billups in the game. Also, he is a dangerous streak shooter in his own right and plays very tough annoying defense. His offense may come and go, but his defensive pestering is constant. Fields would be great off the bench and I believe some of his excellent, yet subtle execution, is not quite in the playbook at this point. Also, call me a crazy fan, and I’m not saying that we will take the series, but I have no fear of the Celtics at all this year. I’m ready to rock.

  8. Here’s a thought: can Amare focus primarily on the boards for the series and average +10rpg for the series? My better judgement tells me no, but he certainly has the capacity. And if he can, that would make a lot of difference.

  9. dsulz:
    Here’s a thought: can Amare focus primarily on the boards for the series and average +10rpg for the series?My better judgement tells me no, but he certainly has the capacity.And if he can, that would make a lot of difference.

    Let’s hope we get 06-07 playoffs Amare on the boards and not the 09-10 version…
    Yr GP TRB% RPG
    06-07 10 20.4 12.1
    09-10 16 10.9 6.6

    To say that’s a huge difference is an understatement

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