New Year Blues

Sorry for the lack of updates, but Ms. KnickerBlogger & I are enjoying a New Year’s vacation. Last night I called the local bar & asked if they would have the Knicks/Kings game on the television. They said of course. I told them it wasn’t a local game. (I’m not in NY.) They said they’ll be able to find it on their satellite dish. So I headed down to the local bar at 9:30, grabbed some food, and asked Dave our waiter to put the game on. He said “I’m a Sixers and Knicks fan, so I’ll put the Philly game on now, and the Knicks game on at 10.”

10pm arrived and I sought out Dave. He searched through every channel & was unable to find the game. “What channel is the Knicks on?” Dave inquired. When I replied “MSG”, he responded “Nope, I don’t think we get that channel.” Dave continued through each channel, until he hit the dreaded AUX channel, signifying the end of the search.

I’d like to think Dave was so thorough because of his partial devotion to the Knicks (how someone maintains allegiance to both the Sixers & Knicks is beyond me), but it’s more likely that he was amusing an eager and overstimulated customer. So despite my best laid plans, I missed my second Knicks game of the season. Oh well, add this to life’s small disappointments.

As for tonight’s matchup with the Blazers, the two teams are equally matched. From my stat page:

Blazers 13 19 0.406 0.329 90.6 30 105.76 19 111.28 28
Knicks 13 21 0.382 0.364 86.8 15 106.28 17 110.59 27

The Blazers have similar win/loss percentage and expected win percentage to the Knicks. Both have mediocre offenses (Portland ranks 19th, while New York 17th), & terrible defenses (New York ranks 27th, one spot ahead of Portland). The only major difference from a team perspective is the speed in which both teams play. The Knicks are right in the middle of the league at 90.6 possessions/game, & the Trailblazers are dead last at 86.8. Should be an interesting matchup for East Coast narcoleptics.

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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 “New Year Blues”

  1. Have fun on vacay KB!

    The scuttlebutt now appears to be whether the Knicks are positioning to buy out Steve Francis. Thomas is allowing Francis to rehab his ailing knees in Houston with the NBA’s version of Father Flannigan, John Lucas.

  2. Unfortunately, you did not miss much last night. The Knicks are looking really disoriented on this road trip, like they are waiting for a magical comeback at the end. I understand, and respect Isiah Thomas’ decision to give Jared Jefferies his starting position back, and not taking away his spot because of his suspension, but I’m not really sure (besides his ridiculously enormous contract) why he was awarded the starting spot in the first place. I’m all for having him on the team, especially since he virtually untradeable on this contract barring a Steve Nash like emergence as a superstar, and because he works hard plays solid defense, and is a great teamate (he looked like he wanted to kill Carmelo Anthony, and that was like his third game playing with the Knicks – he gets his teamates’ backs). However, unless his timing is just really off right now, he cannot really attack on offense at all, and turns the ball over consistently when trying to make a move off the dribble. David Lee is clearly a more productive option to start, offers solid defense, great rebounding, and can create a shot for himself within 5-10 feet of the basket. Also, when Quentin Richardson comes back, I would not mind seeing him back at that starting 3 spot.
    I would hope that Jamal Crawford has solidified himself as a starter for the rest of the season, and Steve Francis, if he is fully healthy again this season, could be a great compliment coming off the bench, given he really accepts that role. The one aspect of the Knicks recent games that gives me hope is that it seems Isiah Thomas has really made a decision to play less guys, but give those guys more consistent and predictable minutes and roles during a game. If the Knicks could just make some mroe strides on the defensive end, they might be able to finish around or above .500 – a.k.a. Atlantic Division Title

  3. I’m not sure why Jeffries starting over Lee has become such a huge controversy. David Lee plays both forward positions and averages more minutes than Jeffries, who is on a pretty short leash. Even when Richardson returns it shouldn’t impact Lee’s minutes substantially because the nature of Richardson’s injuries suggests that his minutes will need to be limited and Lee can just as easily rotate with Channing Frye.

  4. Minutes aren’t everything though – the starters set the tone for the game at the beginning. I’m not sure if Lee going to the bench is what changed things, but until last night against an inept Portland the Knicks starting lineup fell behind almost immediately in the first quarter, often in double digits. And wait didn’t they start out behind in Portland too and break away in the second and third quarter (with lee on the floor)? Having Lee in might change things in the early game – take away a team’s second chance opportunities, reduce Knicks turnovers, give the Knicks more chances to score, and set a tone of focus and energy. We won 3 of 4 with him starting, after all, so it’s at least worth thinking about. I’m not sure i disagree with Thomas’ decision, but I don’t think big minutes is always the same as starting.

  5. I can see both sides of the Lee issue as well. But on paper, it’s a tough case. Statistically, Lee looks like the best player on this team.

    His per 40s on 82games: Pts 15.9, Reb 13.4, Ast 2.1, Blk 0.6, Stl 1.5, Net/g +2.7, W% 52%

    Makes you think he should be getting 40 and starting as well…

  6. Lee is a power forward, not a wing. He’s been our best player. We’re a bad team. This is an easy decision.

    Start Lee at power forward, play him 35 minutes a night and figure out where everyone else fits in with the frontcourt rotation.

    Playing Lee any extended minutes at the 3 will take him away from the basket, expose his lack of footspeed defensively and sap his energy for offensive rebounding. Keep him at the 4, use Channing to back up him & Curry.

    JJ is our best option at 3. i wouldn’t mind using Balkman at 3 when Frye plays center to help shore up our rebounding. Q should backup the 2 & 3 when healthy. When not healthy, i think Mardy should be the third guard. Squeeze Francis, Nate, Cato, James out of the rotation. Less is more.

  7. David Lee has put some impressive stats, but he is not the Knicks best player. Most consistent? Yes, but not the best payer. He is one deminensional and needs to develop his perimeter shot and his defense. If he improved his defense I can easily see him playing 40 mins a game.

    The decision is not an easy one to make, else it would have been made already.

    Whilst we wait for Channing Frye ( does not rebound averaging 5.7 RPG should be around 8 or 9) to mature I say
    5. Eddie Curry
    4. David Lee
    3. Jarod Jeffries
    2. Q
    1. Marbury or Crawford
    Subs Balkman, Kato/Rose, Robinson ( give the kid a break – remember how polished you were at 21). Mardy Collins cannot shoot. Interestingly enough, when Nate come back I expect him to be taking many open 3 pts and unlike Jamaal, he will hit his shots. Maybe then you will like him.

  8. Long time reader, first time caller.

    The way i see it. Alot of people are confusing rebounding with defense. David Lee is an extraordinary rebounder but a great defender he is not. ideally you want someone who has a chance of blocking some shots out there at the 4 spot, rite ?

    and really whats the big deal with coming off the bench. David Lee is as quick as any pf in the game. i think its better to bring him in when the opposing starter pf is just alil bit tired to wear him down some more.

    okay so, my ideal starting 5:
    5. curry backed up by frye or kato
    4. frye backed up by lee (lees gotta keep getting his 35 minutes)
    3. jj backed up exclusively by renaldo
    2. q with a mix of jj and nate (off the benc as instant offense)
    1 jamal backed up by stephon.. u gotta admit craw is not a bad point.

  9. I know the word should be dimensional. Typed too fast and shoudl proof read. so stop laffing

  10. Confucius, for the good of the Knicks we shouldn’ play Nate if we don’t think hes polished, his age doesn’t matter. I do think he should get occasional minutes with Jamal in the backcourt, they play well together.

    Illmatic- Would you really put Marbury on the bench after his recent play? Would you also put Jared Jefferies at SG? He might be able to guard a shooting guard in the future but for now hes off and he can’t hit a jumper from the paint. He can’t help out on the press, and is way to turnover prone to play in the backcourt, his TOs would only increase.

    By the way its Cato and Eddy Curry

  11. Confucius: i am a big fan of your historical self.

    i must rebut on your points regarding the knicks, however. Curry is a weak rebounding center. Frye is a weak rebounding power forward. Jeffries is a weak rebounding small forward. Starting all three together leads to an obvious mismatch on the boards at both ends, despite whatever else is occurring.

    i know lee has a way to go developing a jumper on offense and footspeed on defense. His defensive prowess will be heightened by playing him at power forward, where his relative quickness and work ethic will lead to outstanding rebound rates, offensive rebound putbacks, and fast break layups.

    Frye coming off the bench in relief of Curry means that he becomes the focus of the offense in the low post, where he is the most comfortable in a half court offense. The dude is just not a bail-out 20-foot jumpshooter now, which is what he needs to be as a starter alongside Eddy Curry.

    Starting Lee and having Frye back up both him & Curry (hopefully to the exclusion of lessers like Cato, James, Balkman, Jeffries, etc) will put both youngsters in roles where they can thrive, albeit in reverse order of their draft position.

    Finally….not to be TOO cynical about things, but we Knicks fans need to be cut-throats at this stage of the game, sad as we are the past few seasons….it is in our best interest to maximize the trade potential of Lee, because in some smaller markets, a productive Caucasian player is worth far more than a similarly productive player of color who plays the same position. i’m not saying we could trade Lee + Marbury + #1 pick in a year for KG….i’m just sayin’, yo…..we need to thrive!

    P.S. Illmatic: i don’t have to admit that Craw is not a bad point. i do indeed admit that against certain matchups, he can and should be asked to play point. Doing it as a starter would be horrible, however IMHO.

    P.P.S. Contrary to scuttlebutt suggesting we should hire Ewing as a coach for Eddy, i think we should hire Oakley for that job. Oak will cave Eddy’s chest in when he plays soft in practice, and i am beginning to think that is what he needs.

    P.P.P.S. Mardy Collins can shoot – he just doesn’t have three point range yet. Give him a chance….Isiah knows talent.

    P.P.P.P.S. How glad would all of us be right now if we had either Trevor Ariza OR Matt Barnes right now instead of Jared Jeffries? Oh, and Qyntel….holla at ya dog yo!

  12. Paul
    Together Each Achieve More.
    Playing them( Curry, Jeffries, Frye) as a unit will overcome their individual stats. I am indifferent to Lee starting. He is getting the minutes and he is usually on the court in the fourth quarter. Frye is not an energy player so I dont see him coming off the bench. Frye did have the 20 ft jumper going last year. The injury has set him back some. In all the Curry-Jeffries-Frye line-up have not played that many games together.
    That front-line averages 6-11 and they are creating mismatches in other areas of the game. Rebounding is on stat in many.

    Frye and Lee are second year players. Let us examine them in year 4 or 5 of their career before we sign off or judge these guys.

    I wouldn’t trade Lee for anything in this world. He is starting to hit his little jump shot and I know he can improve on defense. He can improve his defense by knowing his opponent. Know who is more likely to stop and pop, who is more likely dribble penetrate, where they like to shoot from and so on.
    At this point in his career, Mardy Collins is not a shooter. Don’t know, which player you have been observing.

    Jeffries is trying too hard to impress you skeptical New York fans. Once he settles into his role( rebounding and defense) we will excel.

    Re: last night name against Seattle. Not impressed. I want to see that against quality ( for me that is any team above .500 ) opponent. I want a 7,8,9 game winning streak.

    Matt Who?

  13. As long was we’re talking about people we don’t miss:

    Has anyone for a minute this season thought – “DAMN, I can’t BELIEVE they gave up Jackie Butler.” I seem to remember people tearing their hair out over that decision in the preseason.

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