Is Basketball Back at MSG? Grading the Knicks Offseason – Part 2

Written by Kevin Meng

Yesterday we broke down the first half of the Knicks offseason.  Now on to the rest of the moves the Knicks made so far this summer.

Signing Courtney Lee to a 4 year, $48 million dollar deal

Not quite sure why Lee chose to play here, but I ain’t mad. In a starting 5 with a scoring forward, a defensive-minded center, the best Latvian big man since Kaspars Kambala, and a penetrating guard with a shaky shot, the one thing this team was lacking was a consistent three ball shooter and wing defender.

Lee has been a positive on the defensive end his whole career, playing bigger than his 6’5, 200lb frame might suggest. He also averaged 39% from bomb territory on 3 attempts per game last season. He was the one of the best shooters on a team that hoisted up the 4th most attempts in the league. With all of the attention on Mr. Anthony, KP, and Rose, he should thrive.

Seeing the deals thrown around for similar players like Kent Bazemore, and the premium put on 3nD wings, signing him for 12 per on average is a great deal. One marker of a good contract is the backend of the deal. A player might be worth their salary in the first two years and grossly overpaid the final two(Luol Deng to the Lakers??), but looking at Lee’s deal, he might even be underpaid in year 3 considering the new cap.

Finding the perfect compliment to the surrounding talent, and doing so on a fair contract? Here’s a big fat A for you, Mr. Jackson.

Grade: A

Signing Joakim Noah to a 4 year, $72 million dollar deal

Not sure if PMFJ still thinks he’s on his hippy retreat in Montana or not, but we have a sinking suspicion that he was on some serious mind altering substances when he signed this deal. When healthy, Noah is a still a very effective defender, good finisher around the rim, and great passer. Add to that his chemistry to Rose and the fact that we didn’t have a center, and the reasons for signing him are obvious. But 4/72 for a guy who can’t stay healthy and is on the downside of his career with a skillset that doesn’t age well? Yeesh.

In this market, players are going to get overpaid. There weren’t many C’s left on the market to get, and even fewer that fit what we needed, but this deal seems more like Phil panicked, realized he needed a C that could pass and be mobile on the court, and blew away the first one he could find with an offer he couldn’t refuse. Noah is still a good player, but he seemed angry at how Chicago did him dirty. Expect a big bounce back from him, but don’t expect him to earn the deal he signed. At least he isn’t Eddy Curry.

Grade: C+

Re-signing Lance Thomas to a 4 year, $27.5 million dollar deal

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Knicks vs Bulls – 4-13-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

Sunday night the New York Knicks played spoiler role to the Chicago Bulls, who unlike the Knicks actually have something to play for besides pride. New York had nothing to play for anymore because the Atlanta Hawks clinched a Playoffs spot by defeating the Miami Heat (of course that happens…) the previous night. The Bulls though had something to play for, looking to secure their third seed in the Playoffs, but was pushed down due to a 100-89 defeat to New York.

New York held on to win despite Carmelo Anthony not playing in the fourth quarter, after he picked up his fourth foul late in the third quarter. Anthony walked off the court arguing the call and was called for a technical foul. Anthony finished the game with 17 points, after starting off the game strong, scoring the first three baskets for the Knicks, finishing with nine points in the first quarter. His scoring was key to staying in a very ugly game, where Anthony converted on four field goals, the same amount as the rest of his teammates. The rest of the team went 4/14 in the opening quarter.

New York finished off the first half on a strong note, where an Anthony steal lead to Iman Shumpert facial on Joakim Noah, which ignited a 9-0 run, giving the Knicks a 45-39  half time lead. Just as Noah was in the middle of that highlight play, Noah was in the middle of everything Chicago Bulls, almost collecting a triple double with 13 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 assists.

The game would be broke open when J.R. Smith hit three straight threes to start the third quarter, giving New York a double digit lead 57-46. Smith finished the game connecting on five threes, finishing the game with 17 points.

Chicago desperately clawed back into the game, cutting a deficit as large as seventeen to as much as six, on a 5-0 mini run to get within 93-87 with 3:51 remaining in the game. Tim Hardaway Jr. though would knock down all his free throws, scoring seven points in the final three minutes, including a three at the end for final insult. Hardaway Jr. finished the game with 20 points.

New York will continue to play the spoiler role, with the last two games against the Playoff bound Brooklyn Nets, and Toronto Raptors who are still juggling for their seeding.

Knicks @ Bulls – 3-2-14 – Game Recap

Written by William Lee

New York continued their losing ways in matinee games.

            New York got throttled by Chicago in a Sunday matinee game. These teams are complete polar opposites. While Chicago’s management tried to tank the season for a projected outstanding 2014 draft class, by trading their leading scorer Luol Deng, the Bulls didn’t sulk. The Bulls refused to give in, and continued to give maximum effort every night, and the results speak for themselves. Chicago is an impressive 20-8 after trading Deng early in January.

           New York on the other hand looks to have talent on paper, but the sums do not add up to the whole. New York does not play with effort, does not play with any passion or urgency. It was another case of that Sunday afternoon, as the Knicks allowed the Bulls to jump out to a 12-1 lead within two and half minutes of tip off. Joakim Noah was destroying New York on hand off screens, creating the breathing room needed for shooters to get a clean shot. Noah created three of these opportunities for his Bulls teammates during the quick outburst to start the game.

            After a quick timeout to try to stop the Bulls’ momentum, the Knicks missed, and Noah grabbed the rebound and went coast to coast for a layup. Not exactly what Mike Woodson drew up (if he draws up any plays in the huddle). Chicago hit the 20 points mark before it was even mid-way through the first quarter, and this is a team that is the worst offensive team in the league at 93.1 points per game. When it was all said and done, the Knicks would allow Chicago to score 37 points in the first quarter.  37 points is the most points scored by the Bulls in any individual quarter all season. Continue reading