Episode 401: Keep It Up

Mac and Jay talk about the last 3 games, defense, Kuz getting cut, Noah coming back, players that are playing well and some that aren’t, 10 minutes with a die hard Knicks fan, and much more
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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.

2017/18 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 3

I got busy at work so this is coming out 2 days late, which means I have to include the Houston game instead of it being a 3-0 week. A 3-1 week is still way more fun than last weeks 0-3 week. Maybe I won’t have a meltdown halfway through the rankings this time.
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Porzingis, Kristaps Porzingis averaged 33 and 9 in the three wins and 19 and 5 in the loss. Porzingis has now scored over 30 in 5 of 7 games this season. Would like to see him average more than 1 assist a game, but everything else about his game looks pretty great right now. 1
2 Kanter, Enes Really hoping Kanter can improve on defense. He’s so efficient on offense every night. If he plays over 24 minutes you can pretty much lock in a double double. 2
3 Lee, Courtney Speaking of consistency, Lee doesn’t light up the box score but he knows his roll. He defends, shoots a good % and does what he’s supposed to do. One of the best signings the Knicks have made in the last 10 years. Of course that’s not saying much. 5
4 O’Quinn, Kyle O’Quinn has been so good Knicks fans aren’t even grumbling that much about not seeing fan favorite Hernangomez on the floor. One of the best deals in the NBA. 3
5 Ntilikina, Frank Frank finally got healthy enough to play and the team ripped off 3 wins in a row. His defense is already way above average and he’s had some really nice passes. Not much of a scoring threat but I’d rather defense and passing. We tried a scoring PG with Rose and it didn’t work. 10
6 Jack, Jarrett Jack gets a huge bump for bringing league average talent to the PG position. It doesn’t sound like a complement but the Knicks haven’t had that in years and the difference was immediately noticable. 12
7 McDermott, Doug McDermott has been better than advertised so far. His defense isn’t great but hasn’t been the train wreck we were expecting. 7
8 Hardaway Jr., Tim Two good games this week. And those games were really good. Still going to have to do that more than once or twice a week to be worth that contract. I feel like the inconsistency is going to be absolutely maddening. 15
9 Dotson, Damyean Seeing minutes for Dotson way earlier than I thought we would. He’s looked pretty decent so far in limited playing time. 9
10 Hernangomez, Willy Willy looks like he hasn’t improved at all on defense which is probably why he can’t get minutes over O’Quinn. 6
11 Beasley, Michael I’m beginning to see why so many teams passed on Beasley. 11
12 Baker, Ron Baker really got injured at the wrong time. I wonder if there will be any minutes left for him when he comes back. 8
13 Thomas, Lance I almost forgot Lance was on the team. He has two more years after this one on his contract because Knicks. 13
14 Sessions, Ramon The team looked so much better when Sessions got benched. Not a good sign for Ramon. 4
15 Kuzminskas, Mindaugas Pretty sure Kuz will be wearing a suit for 4 more games and then will get cut. 14
16 Noah, Joakim 4 more games and then Noah will take minutes from a more deserving player. 16

 

 

Overview of the Knicks 2017 Season

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.

New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards – 1/31/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards
Game 50: January 31 st , 2017
Wizards 117, Knicks 101

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

If the Knicks play like they don’t care, why should we care?

That headline may be a little harsh considering the Knicks were without Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Rose tonight, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the team should be excused for a complete lack of effort on the defensive end. Brandon Jennings and Willy Hernangomez were inserted into the starting lineup to replace the two missing Knicks, and both of those guys played well on the offensive side of the ball. Jennings finished with 21 points and Hernangomez had 15 points and 14 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony continued his hot streak of scoring and led the Knicks with 26 points on 10-17 shooting,\ and also pulled down five rebounds. Offense isn’t the problem on this team, but I think we all know that by now.

I couldn’t count how many times Jennings let John Wall get into the paint in this game. In his defense, Wall is one of the best point guards in the NBA, but at least try and make it a little bit difficult for him to get to the basket. The big man duo of Hernangomez and Kyle O’Quinn can only bail out their teammates so much when they just continue to let the opposing guards get right into the lane, which leads to a lay-up or a wide open three.

Kelly Oubre, Markeiff Morris, and Otto Porter are all guys on the former Washington Bullets who can consistently make three pointers, and they all need to have a defender on them. If their man has to sag off of them because Rose and Jennings can’t keep their man out of the paint, then guys like the one’s I just listed are going to have a field day behind the arc.

15 minutes. 0 points. 4 rebounds. 1 assist. Phil Jackson gave this man 72 million dollars for numbers like this. Would you give that money to someone who puts up these numbers? If you answered yes, I don’t think basketball is for you. Joakim Noah continues to be just awful for the Knicks, and I don’t see it getting any better. Hernangomez needs to stay in the starting lineup when Kristaps Porzingis returns, because it is enough wth this dude. Horrible.

I stopped watching early in the fourth quarter. I just can’t stomach watching this team continue to be disinterested on the defensive end. If this team thinks they can get out of this slump, the defense has to improve. It’s that simple. Guys like Hernangomez, O’Quinn, Justin Holiday (who had a tough game), and Courtney Lee all play so hard when they come into the game, and I don’t understand why it isn’t contagious. To be fair to the rest of the Knicks, those guys aren’t perfect, but the effort is there every night. If someone one year ago today told me I would be praising the effort of Kyle O’Quinn, I would have laughed at them, but he has been one of the few bright spots of the Knicks this season. Maybe the Knicks dangle him for draft picks at the trade deadline? Who knows, but for now, I want to see him or WHG in the starting lineup every game.

The Knicks come right back and play a struggling Brooklyn Nets team at the Barclays Center Wednesday night, and that one has to end with a Knicks victory. You absolutely cannot lose to the Nets, who were a robust 1-15 in the month of January. I’m borderline done with the Knicks this season, and if they lose to Brooklyn, I’ll be fully  done. 21-29.

New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks – 1/6/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks at Milwaukee Bucks
Game 38: January 6, 2017
Knicks 116, Bucks 111

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

Finally, a win.

The Knicks finally ended the six game losing streak tonight against the Milwaukee Bucks After a heartbreaking loss on Wednesday thanks to Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Knicks returned the favor and took down the Bucks, 116-111. Kristaps Porzingis returned after a three game absence to score 26 points for New York. Carmelo Anthony led the way with maybe his best all-around game of the season with 26 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds. 17 assists in the past two games for Carmelo, which is the highest assists count over two games he has had in his career.

Most notably, we had a Ron Baker crunch time minutes extravaganza with him finishing 6 points and 4 assists, all in the fourth quarter. Bravo Ron, Bravo. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker both led the Bucks with 25 points each, and Greg Monroe had 19 points off the bench.

Takeaways from this game: Continue reading

Episode 362: Some Positivity

Marc and Jay talk about the last few games, Phil’s breakup, George Carl’s comments, trade deadline, the ever improving bench

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IT’S TIME FOR HORNACEK TO STEP IT UP

IT’S TIME FOR HORNACEK TO STEP IT UP

 Written by Guillem – @GoodOldLiam

Don’t get me wrong. I like what Hornacek has done so far.

Did I expect more? Not really. I liked what he did in Phoenix. How he had a creative offense, a fun team to watch. How he did the A/B teams, showing he will get the best out of the full roster. And I like his character.

He’s just done what I expected; I expected very good things from him.

Now he needs to find ways to improve the performance of the team. Not just wins. Offense and defense.

Right now we are 14th in offense and 25th in defense. With a net rating of -2.9, we are the 20th best team. However, in terms of winning %, we are 12th.

What does that mean? Continue reading

New York Knicks vs Indiana Pacers – 12/20/16

New York Knicks vs Indiana Pacers
Game 28: December 20, 2016
Knicks 118, Pacers 111

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

‘Member Carmelo? ‘Member how he can score efficiently? Yeah, I ‘member!

The Knicks finally returned home after their long west coast trip to face the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. After falling behind in the third quarter, the Knicks stormed back and took the lead back in the fourth quarter to win the game 118-111. Carmelo Anthony snapped out of his shooting slump to lead the Knicks with 35 points on 13-25 shooting, which was the first time he shot over 50% in what feels like forever. I’ve been incredibly critical of Carmelo the past few weeks, but he showed his elite offensive game tonight. The returning Derrick Rose had 24 points and 6 assists, and Kristaps Porzingis 21 points and 8 rebounds. The big three put on a show for the home crowd and brought the Knicks all the way back. Thad Young and Myles Turner led the Pacers with 21 points each, and Paul George had 16 points.

Takeaways from this game:

Continue reading

Episode 361: The Sky is Falling

Marc and Jay talk about the losing streak, injuries, the roster, Noah, and more

Listen to Episode 361 on Itunes

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Download Episode 361