What does Noah’s second chance look like?
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.
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
Overview of the Knicks 2017 Season
The New York Knicks are a far cry from the perennial powerhouse they used to be in the days of Patrick Ewing in the early to mid-90s. Today, they are consistently ranked towards the bottom of the Eastern Conference and haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season. Over the last decade, they’ve made the playoffs three times, while that may not seem all that bad, it is when you consider that the team made the playoffs every single season in the 90s.
Today’s New York Knicks are led by Carmello Anthony in his 14th season in the league, and is the Knicks’ biggest star player with his 21.8 points per game average. They also made some moves that were viewed a blockbuster moves when they acquired former MVP Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls during the offseason, as well as another former Bull, Joakim Noah.
Entering the season, the New York Knicks had plenty to be optimistic about. They had added two solid players in Rose and Noah, and already had what they thought to be a solid core to build around in Carmello Anthony. It simply didn’t click up to expectations for the Knicks this season as they currently sit 8 games out of the final playoff spot with the season coming to a close early next week. To add insult to an already disappointing season, the Knicks lost Derrick Rose for the remainder of the season after he tore his meniscus in his left knee a few days ago. A recent NBA analyst discovered that handicapper Jon Price made over $375,000 from wagering against the Knicks in the month of March alone. He takes into account arbitrage betting strategies and trends and this year the Knicks have been his friend.
One can’t help but to see the Knicks as a perennial disappointment in today’s NBA. They have suffered through mediocrity for years, changing general managers and head coaches multiple times, and even did what they could in free agency, but the players don’t seem to pan out as well once they come to New York. The Knicks had as much hype entering the 2016-2017 season as any Knicks team in the last ten years, and they disappointed greatly.
Some are already looking to the next draft and saying that the Knicks need to draft a guard to provide insurance for an injury-prone Derrick Rose, or to potentially even replace him. Rose had an average performance in 2016 and 2017, but missed games again this year due to injuries. He finished his season averaging 18 points per game, which is a point below his career average. Still better than how the acquisition of Joakim Noah worked out for them, as he only played in 46 games and averaged 5 points per game in those contests.
With the 2016-’17 NBA Season coming to a close, it’s safe to say this year was another disappointment for the dynasty that used to be the New York Knicks. Now they’re left with more questions than answers as they enter an offseason with a lot of uncertainty around Derrick Rose and the overall performance of their team.
They’ll look to bounce back and grow through the draft, in time for the 2017-’18 NBA Season.
Marc and Jay talk about the last few games, building a winning culture, keeping vs trading draft picks, the draft, defense, Derrick Rose’s latest season-ending injury, and much more
New York Knicks vs Indiana Pacers
March 14, 2017
Knicks 87, Pacers 81
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.