What does Noah’s second chance look like?

What does Noah’s second chance look like?

Written by Luke Ambrose, follow him on twitter and instagram

At centre, 6’11, from hell’s kitchen, Joakim Noah will return November 14 th against the King and his Cavs. The $17-million a-year man has struggled during his time in New York so far, and with younger, better options ready to play meaningful minutes does Noah get another shot? More importantly what does Noah’s second chance role look like?

Over a year ago Phil Jackson offered Noah a huge 4-year deal which will send around $17- million plus per-year to Noah, paying him until he is 34. At the time, Jackson sold a lot of Knicks fans on Noah’s defence, rebounding and precision passing. Last season the garden only saw brief glimpses of the upside Jackson had praised before Noah returned to street clothes with injuries (sore left hamstring/ankle), then the PED suspension at the end of the season (12 games).

Since Noah has been out, the Knicks have transformed their roster into a young, hungry, and centre heavy team. Porzingis has developed into the superstar many predicted he would become a couple of years from now, currently the NBA’s 3 rd highest scorer (29 ppg). Enes Kanter has been exciting with his polished low post game and relentless rebounding (9.9 rpg), even Willy Hernangomez (2016-17 1 st team all-rookie) has had to sit a lot this season because of Kanter’s fireworks. And I haven’t even mentioned a current crowd favourite at the garden, Kyle O’Quinn, who like Porzingis has taken a big step up this year that many did not expect. So, with Kanter playing 24 minutes, O’Quinn playing 16.4 Minutes, and Willy playing just shy of 10 minutes, where does that leave Noah?

The 10-year veteran who won two national championships with Florida in college, and three years ago was in the conversation for MVP will have to fight for minutes. We have already seen coach Jeff Hornacek rewarding his players in minutes for the effort they are giving in practice, and more specifically their defence. Most noticeably Willy Hernangomez has gone from Marc Gasol look-a- like (according to Carmelo Anthony) to role player, because Hornacek has rewarded newbie Kanter for his defensive efforts. While both Willy and Kanter have been battling for minutes through an increased focus on defence neither are projected to be great rim protectors anytime soon.

ESPN’s Jaylen Rose says there are two kinds of players in the NBA, skill players and will
players. Generic as that statement may seem, it does ring true in the league, and Joakim Noah has made a career out of being one of the best ‘will players’ in the NBA. His gritty play may be more suited to the noughties, or even the 90’s, but that toughness Noah attributes to ‘growing up in New York’ is valuable. Granted it is not like the $17-million dollars of cap space, but never the less, it is valuable.

During Joakim’s media day interview he spoke of redemption, ‘I just want to redeem myself, for myself’ he added that he wanted to ‘make peace’ with the fact he got paid ‘a lot of money to be here’. At the time Noah’s personal interview did not truly register as anything noteworthy, but as we creep closer to his return, it may be a positive sign for the young Knicks.

So what does a redemption season look like for both Joakim and the Knicks? This debate has been ongoing for a while, many still see Noah playing meaningful minutes next to Porzingis. On the other end of the conversation Noah is collecting DNP’s and eventually getting removed from the roster via trade or buyout. The Knicks coaching staff will no doubt throw out some strange line-ups after Noah returns. Hornacek & Co, will be praying for a Joakim that resembles himself three years ago. However, his stats across the board both offensively and defensively have been in quick regression over the past three seasons. Multiply that with a long grocery list of injuries and it becomes very clear that Joakim’s most effective basketball has been left in Chi-Town with no intention on migrating to New York.

If he doesn’t play well enough to secure minutes, which seems inevitable with the log jam of talented centres in NY, what can the Knicks do? Trade him? The percentage of that happening without losing a young asset is low, very low. Maybe they can buy out his enormous $17-Million dollar plus contract? The percentage of that happening is equally depressing for Knick’s fans.

Beneath all of the accolades Noah received while he was with Chicago and the drama he has faced in New York he does still have an important role to play on this young Knicks team. If he is willing to buy in the Knicks could make use of Noah as the veteran that keeps this team honest. With so many young players the Knicks need a veteran that has always emphasized defense, ball movement, and effort during his 10-year NBA career. The young Europeans in Willy Hernangomez and Enes Kanter will need another voice in their ears other than Hornacek throughout the season, and Noah seems like the best candidate.

A leadership role may also benefit fellow Frenchman and newly drafted rookie Frank
Ntilikina. We may have already seen some of Noah’s defensive intensity rub off on the
Knicks point guard of the future, with his relentless ball pressure and razor-sharp instincts for cutting off opponents passing lanes. Frank is currently averaging 1.7 spg whilst playing only 17 minutes a night.

By no means is a bench heavy leadership role the best way to spend $17-Million in today’s NBA. However, with a new front office looking to make the Knicks interesting again, Noah’s large contract may act as a safety net during the next 2 years’ of free agency. It will prevent the tandem of Scott Perry and Steve Mills from over paying mid-level players (like Tim Hardaway Jr.). Then once Noah’s contract comes off the books, the Knicks will have a much better young core, and may only be a few pieces away from being interesting.

The NBA is a fast-paced league but for the Knicks at least it seems the best way to become truly relevant again is to take it slow, real slow.

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2017/18 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 2

I thought it would take a little longer to get this down on the Knicks, but they are already one of only 3 teams in the NBA without a win after two 20 point blowouts and one blown 20 point lead.
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Porzingis, Kristaps Porzingis was terrible against the Celtics but he gets a pass for looking pretty incredible in games 1 and 2. 1
2 Kanter, Enes If you blinked during the first quarter of game 3 you would have missed 8 rebounds by Kanter. He finished with 19. If he could develop even leauge average defense the Knicks could really have something here. 3
3 O’Quinn, Kyle O’Quinn looked like a solid backup in games 1 and 2, but was only given 6 minutes in game 3. I get Hernangomez needs minutes but I figured that would wait until KOQ hit a slump. 6
4 Sessions, Ramon Sessions hasn’t looked very good, but he’s ranked this high because I’m taking into account he’s a backup being thrust into a starting role. Considering that he’s been OK. 12
5 Lee, Courtney Lee’s best days are clearly behind him, but he’s not terrible, which is more than I can say for almost everyone ranked below him. 4 Continue reading

Episode 396: Preseason

Marc and Jay talk about the 3 preseason games, rotations, odd man out, injury concerns, and much more

Episode 380: Ex Knicks in the Playoffs

Marc and Jay talk about each series of the playoffs, offseason moves, ex Knicks in the playoffs, what Phil might be thinking, who to draft, and much more

Download Episode 380

Listen to The New York Knicks Show on ITunes

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or check out the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com.

EPISODE 378: ALMOST OVER

Marc and Jay talk about the last few games, the state of the race to the bottom, James Dolan isn’t that bad of a guy, a Melo debate, Noah is washed up, much more

Download Episode 378

Listen to The New York Knicks Show on ITunes

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or check out the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com.

 

Episode 375: Play Those Vets!

Marc and Jay talk about the last 2 games, the state of the tank race, playing vets in a lost season, what the heck is Phil doing, upcoming schedule, draft prospects and much more

Download Episode 375

Listen to the Almighty Baller Podcast Network on iTunes

or check out the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com.

Listen to The New York Knicks Podcast on ITunes

New York Knicks vs Indiana Pacers – 3/14/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs Indiana Pacers
March 14, 2017
Knicks 87, Pacers 81

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

The Indiana Pacers aren’t fans of snow, apparently.

The blizzard in New York City couldn’t keep the basketball out of MSG tonight as the Indiana Pacers came to town to wrap up the season series against the Knickerbockers. In a season without many bright spots, the Knicks put on an excellent performance in their building, to give the fans something to cheer about. Kristaps Porzingis was the biggest story tonight, as he left the game with a leg thigh contusion, because this season can’t have a high, without delivering a low immediately afterwards.

After the exit of the unicorn, it was Carmelo Anthony and Willy Hernangomez who put the Knicks on their back in the fourth to lead the Knicks to a win, 87-81. Anthony and Hernangomez were scoring, defending, and rebounding at an incredible rate, as both men pulled down double-digit rebounds for their respective double-doubles. Carmelo scored 22 to lead the Knicks, and Hernangomez scored 13 points and grabbed 16 boards. Derrick Rose also scored 16 points and continued to knock down mid-range jumpers.

The biggest story from this game? Defense. The Knicks played excellent defense tonight, and you read that correctly. The Knicks ACTUALLY played tough defense against a decent opponent. Credit to these guys to playing hard all game long and showing fight in another lost season. The Knicks could have easily played down and crawled to the finish, but they hung tough to give the paying customers what they traveled through the snow to see.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, how could the guy who has been one of the biggest advocates of the tank be okay with a win against a playoff team? I’ll tell you why, it’s because even though it goes against what I really think the Knicks should be doing, I love this team too damn much to not be happy about a win. During the 17 win season, the Knicks won a few games at the end of the season that knocked their draft position back a few spots, but I don’t see a win like this mattering too much. Everyone has to accept the fact that New York will land somewhere between the 6-10 pick range, and that should be just fine for everyone. This team isn’t bad enough to get to the top-5 mark with such little time left in the season.

Knicks are back in action against the tank-a-licious Brooklyn Nets in another riveting battle for New York City. Get your popcorn ready, this one will be brutal. 27-41.

Episode 374: The Tank Keeps Rolling

Marc and Jay talk about the last 4 games, Phil teaching the triangle, upcoming draft, overstepping boundaries, top PG’s of the last 10 years, and much more

Download Episode 374

Listen to The New York Knicks Podcast on ITunes

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or check out the rest of the Almighty Baller Podcast Network at AlmightyBaller.com.

New York Knicks VS. San Antonio Spurs – 12/13/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks VS. San Antonio Spurs
February 13, 2017
Knicks 94, Spurs 90

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

A little sun was peaking through the dark clouds over MSG on a Sunday afternoon.

After perhaps the worst loss of the season against the Denver Nuggets, the Knicks faced a daunting challenge against the Western Conference powerhouse San Antonio Spurs. With all the drama surrounding the New York Knicks, and I wont get into that yet, it looked like this would be the perfect setup for a Spurs beatdown of the Knickerbockers. I, along with many others, was wrong. The Knicks showed up in a big way on a nationally televised game and took down the Spurs, 94-90.

How did they do it? Well, they finally inserted Rookie phenom, and new Garden favorite, Willy Hernangomez into the starting lineup, and he was a welcome addition. He played another solid game and scored 12 points while pulling down 9 rebounds. This kid could be the spark on both ends to bring the Knicks out of this prolonged and miserable stretch of basketball. Along with WHG, Carmelo Anthony shook off a tough first half shooting wise to lead the Knicks in scoring once again with 25 points, as well as some big buckets in the fourth quarter. He continues to show that he wants the big shot down the stretch, and against San Antonio, he delivered. The most impressive part about it was the fact that he was matched up with the best defender in basketball today, Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, who can lock up anybody in the NBA, took it to Carmelo in the first half, but Carmelo was able to get on a roll in the fourth quarter, and when that happens nobody can guard him, not even Kawhi.

Leonard was also a real headache for the Knicks on offense as well, as he led the Spurs with 36 points to go with his 9 rebounds and 4 assists. This guy has become a top 5 player in the NBA, and he can takeover a game on both sides of the floor. Watching him pick up an opposing guard at half court is incredible. He lurks, and then pounces on them with his enormous hands and long arms. A game changer on defense, for sure.

Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis also showed up to play in this one, with Rose scoring 18 points and Porzingis scoring 16 points and blocking for shots. The key in this game was the effort, and the Knicks finally looked like they were tired of being the laughing stock of the NBA, something they’ve been dealing with for the past decade and a half, but who’s counting?

I’d be remised if I didn’t mention the off court drama with the Knicks. Jimmy Dolan banned Charles Oakley from the Garden, which sucks. However, in a calculated move, he invited back ex-Knicks like Bernard King (G.O.A.T), Larry Johnson (who works with the Knicks), Vin Baker (played like 11 minutes as a Knick), and none other than Latrell Sprewell, who cursed out little Jimmy when he was traded way back in 2004. It’s an obvious shot at Oakley, and a desperate PR move to save face with all of the Oakley drama. I’m firmly on team Oakley, but it was nice to see Sprewell back at the Garden.

Guys like him, Marcus Camby, and Allan Houston are the guys I remember from when I first starting watching basketball. I’m only 22, so I started watching them right when sucking became the norm. Awesome.

The Knicks are going to look to build on this one, but the building is going to be met by the wrecking ball known as Russell Westbrook when the Knicks travel to OKC and take on the Thunder. If the Knicks can slow down Westbrook like they did the Spurs, maybe he’ll only get double figures in two out of his three usual triple-double  categories.

Courtney Lee, good luck bud.

New York Knicks vs. Denver Nuggets – 2/10/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs. Denver Nuggets
February 10, 2017
Nuggets 131, Knicks 123

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

The real way to punish Charles Oakley was to make him watch this game.

The New York Knicks, for lack of a better term, suck. Plain and simple. A team that scores 120+ points wins 9 out of 10 times. This time was the one of the ten. The Denver Nuggets, who aren’t exactly the cream of the crop of the Western Conference, came into Madison Square Garden and steamrolled the Knicks. The Knick defense, if you can even call it defense, continues to be horrible, as they made a mediocre Nuggets team look like the ShowTime Lakers. It’s time to accept what this team is: a bottom feeder.

This one is going to be short and sweet, because I hate the fact that I continue to repeat myself. Carmelo Anthony had another great scoring night and led the team with 31 points, but like, who cares? He continues to put up great numbers on offense, and the defense makes it so unimportant. Everyone wanted to see Kristaps Porzingis play center, and they got their wish, and it showed that he isn’t ready to play center in the NBA. Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings were the starting guards tonight, and offensively it worked, but these guys need to get better on defense to be just awful. There’s a theme tonight ladies and gentleman, the defense is the reason this team will continue to lose, and lose badly.

Shout out to Jimmy Dolan and Phil Jackson for ruining the New York Knicks. We deserve better than this. By the way, the point guard from Washington, Markelle Fultz, is incredible. Look him up and pray for the first pick in the draft.