Anthony Randolph played 19 minutes last night and had 15 pts, 5 rebounds, 3 steals. I guess this is the kind of production D’Anton really DOESN’T want from his bench. Or, maybe Randolph only plays this well because sitting on the bench for most of the season made him a better player.
NO, NO SHELDEN IS NOT. But, Shelden Williams is 6’9 and 250lbs. The dude is wide. He takes up space and PATHETICALLY he is our best option at center for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. He is bigger and stronger than Jarred Jeffries and Shawne Williams. He is healthier than Ronny Turiaf (who is more fragile than a 3 year old girl). He can get rebounds and play defense. And, if you get him the ball down low he could throw it down like he did last night. So, Mr. Stubborn D’Antoni, as painful as this is to say, I IMPLORE YOU TO START GIVING SHELDEN WILLIAMS SERIOUS MINUTES.
The Knicks were absolutely atrocious in the first half. Their offense looked fine but their defense was flat out offensive. My throat hurt after the first half from screaming at the tv. The Knicks literally did not play defense during the first half. Boxing out was a truly foreign concept. They gave up 68 points to the New Jersey Nets in the first half. I repeat they gave up 68 goddamn points to the offensively challenged Nets in the first half. If I had to drink a shot of beer every time the Knicks blew a defensive assignment during the first half I would have drank so much that my future grandkids would be drunk.
THEN SOMETHING CHANGED. I do not know what the Knicks coaching staff said at halftime but I assume it was something like this, “We have kidnapped your wives and children and we will hold a mass execution at the conclusion of this game if you lose.” The Knicks played intense in the second half. They only allowed a reasonable 48 points from from the Nets in the second half. Carmelo was ferocious on defense. Jared Jeffries and Shelden Williams proved their pay checks were not just some form of charity. The Knicks hustled and worked together. It was awesome!!!
- Billups, Amare and Carmelo combined for 95 of the 120 points scored tonight. Do we rename this team the New York Heat?
- Shelden Williams had three huge dunks in a row and Anthony Carter fed him the ball every time. If you told me one player would have three dunks in a row tonight for the Knicks, Shelden would have been my 13th guess.
- Speaking of Anthony Carter, apparently he is the only PG on this team that knows how to run the D’Antoni offense.
- Carmelo is flat out an all star. He played awesome tonight with 39 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. This may not be Amare’s team anymore.
- Does anyone know what Roger Mason did to play himself back out of this rotation? Does anyone know how many players have to suffer season ending injuries for Derrick Brown to get playing time?
- Did you know that Kris Humphries has been in the league since 2004? I do not know how he suddenly became good after floundering for so long.
We discussed this on the show last night. I think this is a no-brainer. If you can get Dwight Howard you give up Amare or Carmelo but the preference would be to give up Amare. Howard is a game changer on both offense and defense. The Knicks really have something strong to build on with Carmelo and Amare but they would be a fool to not make this trade if it were available.
Of course, the Knicks did not play tonight but, hey, you have to get your celebrations in when you can as a Knick fan these days. And hey, the Cavs beat the Heat tonight which is pretty awesome.
So the Knicks have 8 games to go. I would like to see more winning and grinning so I have some requests for the Knicks upcoming opponents. The Knicks should be starting to adjust to each other and finding chemistry. Since they are not really doing that, I would like to request that their opponents adjust to the Knicks style of play in order to give the Knicks a better chance to win those games.
Dear Upcoming Opponents,
- Please do not use the pick and roll against us. We do not understand it. Switching on defense is like calculus to us and we do not understand calculus, especially Amare, who did not even go to college.
- Please drink half a bottle of NyQuil mid-way through the 3rd quarter so we have the same energy level to start the 4th quarter.
- When we go to isolation on offense (and that is about 70% of all plays we run) could you please not cover Amare or Carmelo with more than two players. It is not fair when you cover them with three or four players because you know they will not pass the ball.
- If we start a possession, especially a fast break with an incredibly ill-advised 3-point attempt (by say Billups or Douglas) could you please give us the rebound and let us have a do-over?
- If you are on offense against us please do not stand under the basket wide open and wait for someone to pass you the ball. We would have a much better chance in games if players would stop doing that against us.
- We get it, your big men can out rebound us and you can get second and third chances on offense. But, please limit yourselves to just second chances. It was like when I was a kid and my Dad kept getting all the rebounds on his missed shots. You are taller and it is not fair.
- If Carmelo and Amare think they were fouled on offense and no foul was called, please hold up your offensive possession until Carmelo and Amare are done arguing with officials.
- Please have a player on your team cover Jarred Jeffries. It is unfair that you do not have to cover him on offense.
- Please do not hurt Chauncey or any of our other players. We are fragile and barely have enough to have a normal rotation.
- And, if you have an extra 7 footer you are not playing, can we borrow him for the playoffs?
Justin over at KnicksGM makes the point that Herb Williams could be an interesting candidate. It would be great to have a home grown guy and one that emphasizes defense would be nice. I think the Knicks would be wise to not go after a big name for their next coach.
Frazier made the point tonight that Dwight Howard works relentlessly in practice to improve his free throw shooting. I have heard this countless times. I have heard announcers go on and on how Shaq hits all his free throws in practice. I get it. STOP TELLING ME ALREADY HOW THESE AWFUL FREE THROW SHOOTERS WORK SO HARD ON IT! I get it. Howard and Shaq shoot free throws like Chauncey Billups during practice but these two are just unlucky during the games. I am sure this is true.
Why can’t any announcer just admit that Howard and Shaq probably suck at shooting free throws in practice too? And, just because the announcer once saw one of these awful free throw shooters hit a couple in a row in practice does not mean they are really amazing free throw shooters when no one is watching.
Yes, that is right, the team has decided to PRACTICE. “A good practice could go a long way to helping the Knicks fine-tune some of their issues at both ends of the court.” I am not sure if what they need is called “fine-tuning” but I am shocked it has taken D’Antoni this long to try this.
Download Episode 50 of the Podcast.
Either way it seems fairly clear to me that Billups is not the long-term answer at PG and the team needs to really start moving forward next year. In the short-term, Billups is clearly taking a while to adapt to D’Antoni and vice versa. But, even if D’Anton and Billups end up on the same page, Billups is past his prime and his skills will only diminish over the next few years. A better solution would be to pair Toney Douglas up with maybe a less expensive veteran PG or with another developing PG who has the speed to keep up with the fast PGs the Knicks encounter night after night.
Of course, once the Knicks decide to buyout Billups this trade will look even more lopsided as they will have given up a young and developing PG, Raymond Felton and received very little in return. The Knicks, however, need to be realistic and know when it is time to move forward.
The Knicks need to concentrate on building around Amare and Carmelo this off-season and if they keep Billups they will have little cap space to work with as Billups would get $14MM if his option is picked up. They would get $11MM off the cap if they let Billups go ($14MM – $3MM buyout for Billups) and they could use that money to add some much needed size and depth.