|Rank||Player||Comments||Last weeks Rank|
|1||Porzingis, Kristaps||Please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured, please don’t be injured.||3|
|2||Kanter, Enes||The fact that Kanter is a double-double machine and McDermott is a solid bench player while Melo is averaging career lows in just about every category makes me feel so much better about this trade than I did a few months ago.||2|
|3||Lee, Courtney||Lee has had some monster games lately. Definitely picking up scoring void Hardaway left when he went down.||1|
|4||McDermott, Doug||McDermott was a big reason that all of the starters had a negative +/- while all the bench players had a positive +/- against the Hawks.||7|
|5||Beasley, Michael||If Beasley keeps playing like this it’s definitely going to effect the odds on Knicks making the playoffs.||5|
|6||Ntilikina, Frank||Up and down season, which is normal for a 19 year old PG. This week was a very up week.||11|
|7||Jack, Jarrett||Jack had a similar week to last week. He’s only moving down because so many Knicks had an even better week.||4|
|8||Thomas, Lance||Thomas has moved into the starting lineup and hasn’t looked too bad. No apology coming.||8|
|9||O’Quinn, Kyle||O’Quinn hasn’t been getting many minutes lately but he’s definitely been making the most of them.||9|
|10||Hardaway Jr., Tim||The Knicks have been winning, but they are going to need Timmy to get healthy soon. A ton of away games in January and against much better competition.||6|
|11||Baker, Ron||Baker came back and has looked like a 4M a year player. Take that however you want.||13|
|12||Dotson, Damyean||Looks like Baker took Dotsons minutes. Not sure how I feel about that. I don’t think I feel great about it.||10|
|13||Hernangomez, Willy||Willy better figure out defense and fast or he’s going to be out of the NBA in a year or two.||12|
|14||Sessions, Ramon||Since Jack is the Knicks veteran PG presense what value does Sessions bring?||14|
|15||Noah, Joakim||Parsons is averaging over 12 PPG this month, making Noah the official worst contract in the NBA.||15|
|The holidays got in the way so this raking will cover two weeks and 6 games. Unfortunately 4 of those games are losses and injuries are finally playing a factor.|
|Rank||Player||Comments||Last weeks Rank|
|1||Hardaway Jr., Tim||Well I didn’t see this coming. Hardaway has kicked it up a couple notches since last rankings. He’s still inconsistent but in addition to scoring he’s been rebounding and assisting at an impressive rate.||3|
|2||Porzingis, Kristaps||Porzingis shot has still been way off since it came out that his elbow has been injured. Still he’s been averaging over 20ppg and is still the prohibitive favorite among the most improved players 1/4 through the season.||1|
|3||Lee, Courtney||Other than the first Raptors game Lee has played well. On a team of inconsistent players the consistency has been appreciated.||2|
|4||Jack, Jarrett||Jack had a 14 assist game this week. It was in a loss to the Hawks, but still.||6|
|5||O’Quinn, Kyle||O’Quinn isn’t the best player but man is he fun to watch. Gotta love his energy.||8|
|6||Kanter, Enes||The Knicks have a lot of big guys but not a lot of good ones. This was really apparent when Kanter went down. Bonus points for trolling LeBron.||5|
|7||McDermott, Doug||Can’t put all the blame on McDermott but his +/- this week raises all the eyebrows.||7|
|8||Beasley, Michael||Beasley had 24 points at the half against the Rockets. In the 2nd half he showed why so many teams gave up on him. He didn’t even cross half court on a couple defensive stints.||11|
|9||Ntilikina, Frank||Frank had a rough couple weeks. He’s looked out of his element lately. Coach seems to notice too, his minutes are way down.||4|
|11||Dotson, Damyean||Didn’t get to see much of Damyean lately.||10|
|12||Noah, Joakim||3 minutes in the last 2 weeks. Noah is going to get run in Westchester this week, that’s the way to slowly bring him back. I like it.||12|
|13||Baker, Ron||Baker is also playing in Westchester this week. If you’re doing the math that’s over $20 million in salary playing in Westchester instead of MSG.||14|
|14||Hernangomez, Willy||Willy has been so bad I went from ‘the Knicks have too many big men’ to ‘I wonder what Luke Kornet is up to?’||13|
|15||Sessions, Ramon||Nothing to see here.||15|
New York Knicks at Orlando Magic
March 6, 2017
Knicks 115, Magic 105
by Eric Weinstein
Yo, didn’t they just play the Magic?
After another home loss on Sunday, the Knicks immediately hit the road and went back down to Central Florida to take on the Orlando Magic once again. On March 1st, the Knicks defeated the Magic 101-90, and this game had the same end result, a Knicks victory. This game went a little differently, as New York had to play the catch up game for the first three quarters, without Carmelo Anthony, only to pull away in the fourth. Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, and Lance Thomas, all stepped up in Carmelo’s absence to get the Knicks a win, 112-105. Lee led the Knicks with 20 points, and Porzingis and Thomas combined for 31 points. Maybe the biggest story of this game was undrafted rookie Chasson Randle, who was playing his first extended minutes as a New York Knick. Randle filled the stat sheet with 7 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, and was an astonishing +27. To compare, Derrick Rose was a -23, for all those who think the Knicks should resign Rose in the off-season. Evan Fournier led the Magic with 25 points, and Elfrid Payton ended his night with a triple double. 16 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, and 1 awful haircut for the Magic point guard.
New York Knicks vs Golden State Warriors
March 5, 2017
Warriors 112, Knicks 105
by Eric Weinstein
We almost saw the impossible.
A sellout crowd at Madison Square Garden welcomed in the Golden State Warriors on a cold Sunday afternoon in the City. Most Knick fans, including myself, figured this game would be over quickly, but that wasn’t the case at all. The Knicks rose to the challenge and played some of their best basketball in a long time, albeit in a losing effort. I’m not one for the, “moral victory” but the Knicks should be proud of their effort on both ends of the floor. Granted, they gave up 112 points, but this is the most explosive offensive team in the NBA, so that could’ve been a lot worse. Kristaps Porzingis snapped out of his seemingly endless slump in a big way, going for 24 points and 15 rebounds, along with a couple of blocked shots. Derrick Rose was in vintage form as well, scoring 28 points and getting whatever he wanted on the offensive end. I’m ignoring his defense of course, but Rose was a blur offensively. Those two weren’t enough to stop the two time defending Western Conference Champs, however, as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson proved to be too much. The Splash Brothers (hate that name) combined for 60 points and continued to be the best backcourt in the NBA. Continue reading
New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers
February 23, 2017
Cavaliers 119, Knicks 104
“We’re back, and we’re the same as ever!” – The Knicks
So after a very New York Knicks trade deadline, where the Knicks made no moves to better the team right now, or better the team for the future, Carmelo Anthony led his team into the Quicken Loans Arena to battle LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and the Cleveland Cavaliers. It went exactly as you would think.
The Knicks got squashed tonight, and the score doesn’t do this beat down justice. Continue reading
Why this team is complete and utter garbage, and is worse than it should be
Nobody really expected much out of the New York Knicks this season. Why would they? The team tanked its way to 17 wins last season in a bid to rival the Washington Generals and couldn’t even do that right. What was supposed to be an awful season en route to having the best chance at getting the #1 pick turned into a terrible season inexplicably improved by meaningless wins at the end that dropped us to the #4 slot.
All’s well that ends well, though. With the drafting of future GOAT Kristaps Porzingis, and the addition of actual NBA-caliber players like Robin Lopez and Aaron Afflalo plus varsity team-caliber players like Derrick Williams and Kyle O’quinn, the Knicks looked poised to be fighting for a .400 record(hurray!).
The Knicks got out to a solid record considering their lack of talent, coaching, and experience together, flirting ever so teasingly with .500 several different times. When the team is clicking, they’ve played tough against the best in the league(without Melo even. Sign of something?), but the reality of the season has been that the Knicks have beaten a few solid teams and have usually lost to anyone who is actually good(and plenty who aren’t).
Despite some improvements, the Knicks still suck. But why? Why is it that fringe, formerly-unemployed NBA dreck feast against us night in and night out? Why do teams come to MSG expecting to get an easy win? Why is it that basic in-game adjustments from the other side kill us and there’s nothing we can do about it?
While talent, coaching, and lack of a good South American player(everyone knows that you need to have at least 1) have something to do with it, that doesn’t explain it all, and firing Fisher isn’t going to change much.
The Knicks suck because it’s 2016 and not 2006. Better yet, they suck because it’s 2016 and not 1996. In a league that relies on versatility, controlled pace, spacing, and penetration, the Knicks are posting and joking, plodding and waddling, switching and bitching their way to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Let’s tear into it a little bit more…
The NBA that your parents grew up watching was a slower, choppier, more physical game played around the rim from the inside out. It was a big man’s league. The rules and spirit of the game at the time made it a hell of alot easier to play from the block. Perimeter-oriented teams were rare. That’s not the case anymore. The Modern NBA is dominated by free flowing, quasi-positionless, versatile teams that attack from the perimeter, and make you pick your poison. You either let the wings take it to the rim, or you give up an open 3 ball. The Knicks are on pace for closer to the 2006 average in 3’s than they are the 2015.
The Knicks run the triangle. And in defense of this system, it doesn’t matter if we were running the square, the circle or the trapezoid either, the talent on this team just doesn’t live up to a top-tier squad. Still, while nearly all great teams in the league initiate their offense via penetration from wings, ours starts with the slowest player catching the ball 17 feet from the basket. The triangle maximizes mid-range jump shot opportunities and often puts the ball in the hands of the one guy on the court whose job is physical defense and rebounding(Lopez). Take these stats to heart:
- The Knicks take the 5th most 2 point field goals in the league
- The Knicks rank 27th in 2 point %………
- The Knicks take the 23rd most 3’s, and rank 22nd in 3 point fg%
- The Knicks are 22nd in assists
- The Knicks are 25th in pace
So the Knicks run an offensive system geared at getting shots that they can’t make. Is there anything more Knicks than that? To top it off, they can’t balance it out with 3’s or free throws(even though the Knicks have the highest ft% in the league, they are only average at getting there). What makes it worse is that they iso the crap out of the ball, ranking 22nd in the league in assists and on pace for about the league average in the mid 00’s. Playing at the 5th slowest pace isn’t helping either. Not when the talent doesn’t match. Great teams like the 90’s Bulls, and recent Lakers and Celtics championship teams played slowly, but they had the talent to match. New York is playing Robin Lopez and Derrick Williams.
One thing that the Knicks can say about the team this year is that they actually have NBA-caliber players. Melo, Porzingis, Lopez, Afflalo, Thomas, and Galloway, and maybe Derrick Williams and Jose Calderon all belong in the league in some capacity, even if just as back ups in some cases.
The problem is that they are more of a hodgepodge than a cohesive unit. The leftovers of a swing and a miss in free agency. The best teams in the league field units that are not only talented, but that fit like gloves. They are mixes of shooters, defenders, penetrators, finishers, and post threats. To see how the Knicks are the opposite of that, let’s look at the starting lineup:
Calderon– Jose is the worst Spanish thing since the Spanish Flu. Not only is he inept defensively, he can’t do anything offensively aside from shoot. To make it worse, he can’t beat his man to get his shot off. So he is only a spot up shooter at this point, but the Knicks are playing him major minutes.
Afflalo- AA is off and on like a high school couple, and can’t play defense like he could in his day. He’s a net negative on D in terms of +/- and is barely posting in the positive for defensive win shares. The real issue is, though, that he doesn’t bring versatility to our attack. AA makes his living either posting up or shooting from mid range. And what’s worse is that the majority of those 2 point field goals are not assisted. That means he is someone who we iso from mid range or on the block. Sounds exactly like someone else in the starting lineup…..
Melo– Melo is still a star player, but something just isn’t right with him this season. The biggest issue is how he is being used. Melo is 13th in usage % at 29.5%, and has decreased his % of shots around the rim. He ranks second in isolation plays, and those plays produce less than 1 point per possession. He also has an assist % nearly identical to our point guard. It’s great to see Melo moving the ball, but should our star scorer really be our primary playmaker, especially when he is over 30? The players surrounding Melo don’t make up for his shortcomings, and don’t emphasize his strengths. There is no elite wing defender, no elite gunner or slasher to punish doubles, and no playmaker to make his life easier. He is at his best when finishing possessions created by a point guard or bullying smaller defenders in the post. Not isoing, turning and fading, or creating off the dribble.
Porzingis– the second coming is still in his infancy, but it’s clear that he has the skills to be dominant in the modern NBA. The problem is that the system isn’t emphasizing his strengths, either. The slower the team plays, the harder it is for Porzingis to use his natural advantages. How many impressive alley-oops and putbacks have we seen from him? How many times has he beaten slower bigs in transition, and how many times have we seen this Latvian beast trail for a wide open 3? Yet, he posts up(15% of possessions) more than he plays as the roll man(13.5%) despite being wildly more efficient at the latter and in the bottom third of the league at the former. His most efficient offensive possessions are when he cuts to the rim, yet he does that less than pretty much everything else. Partly a spacing issue, and partly a system issue. Also, when he does get doubled in the post, spacing issues make him more turnover prone and there isn’t enough shooting to punish double teams.
Lopez– Robin plays gritty, tough, hard nosed basketball. Exactly the kind of guy that Phil would have loved back in the old NBA. The problem is that the game has changed. Lopez is putting up great numbers close to the basket defensively (opponents are shooting 12% worse against him around the rim), but he is fairly one-dimensional. He struggles to keep up with quicker bigs, and doesn’t offer much versatility in the form of switching. On offense, he struggles to contribute much outside of post up hooks. So instead of having a mobile big that creates space, finishes off of cuts to the rim, and plays a modern style, the Knicks play a slow bruiser that muddies up the middle and takes away valuable space for the team’s two best offensive players.
What this boils down to is that the Knicks play players who don’t compliment each other’s strengths. If a player isn’t doing exactly what he is good at, then he can’t really contribute much else while on the floor.
The modern NBA is full of teams who play positionless basketball, especially on the defensive end. The Warriors, Spurs, Thunder, and to a lesser extent the Cavaliers have versatile personnel capable of at least keeping you honest on offense, and capable of defending multiple positions on defense or vice versa. The Knicks, on the other hand, attempt to keep the score low by playing as slow as possible, and not actually trying to stop their opponents from scoring. Players like Calderon, Afflalo, Williams, and Seraphin struggle on defense and aren’t anything special offensively. Players like Lopez and Galloway bring it defensively every night, but aren’t versatile offensively.
It’s sad to think that Carmelo Anthony might be the best two-way player on the team, and he is the guy we want saving his energy for offense. Lance Thomas, at 6-8, 235 should be that guy, but his defense isn’t as good as has been heralded, and he only scores 8.5 per game.
Having players that can’t play both sides of the ball in a versatile manner, either by being able to guard multiple positions and hit the long ball or by being talented offensively and at least passable defensively means that this team is not only predictable night in and night out, but is also incapable of adjusting. While teams of bygone eras past had rigid position definitions and specialists that filled pre-determined roles, modern NBA teams thrive on fluidity and versatility. Compare the starting lineups of the 2006 NBA finals between the Heat and Mavericks to the 2015 NBA finals between the Cavaliers and Warriors to see exactly what I am talking about. The Knicks just haven’t gotten the memo.
In an NBA where the best teams play in space while maximizing 3’s, free throws, and layups, the Knicks take long, inefficient 2’s. In an NBA where the best teams push the pace to make it easier on offense for their best players, the Knicks slow it down and pound the ball in, assuring everyone gets hurt and tired. In an NBA where the best teams play units that maximize each other’s strength and hide weaknesses, the Knicks either play redundant players and specialists, or misuse the talent that they do have. In an NBA where the best teams play versatile players capable of wearing multiple hats on either end, the Knicks play Jose Calderon and Robin Lopez. This team would have probably kicked some serious ass in 2006. Too bad that was ten years ago. The good news is that this squad is sure to provide plenty of fodder for the NewYorkKnicks Podcast, so stay tuned!
3 Realistic Trades for Carmelo Anthony: the future of the New York Knicks
Talking about trades for Carmelo Anthony is all the rage now that we have a blue-chip prospect in Kristaps Porzingis, but finding the right fit is more difficult than deciphering what the hell Clyde is talking about half the time during broadcasts. The New York Knicks have been pretty much synonymous with dysfunction and disappointment over the better part of this century. From trading away valuable draft picks for the worst Italian since Mussolini to signing clinically obese, immobile big men to multi-year, cap-destroying deals, this team has had little to be excited about for a long time. The Knicks are a hapless collection of oxymorons– a big market team in a center of world culture that nobody wants to play in, a team with a huge payroll and minuscule win total, a team that plays in the “Mecca of basketball” but usually loses to whichever team makes a pilgrimage there– so it’s only fitting that the one time in the past two decades that they’ve had a legit superstar is also the one time when the best thing to do for the franchise is trading him.
Although the Knicks are in no shape to compete for a championship as currently constructed, some of the ingredients are in the cupboard. There’s the scoring machine that can get buckets against any defense, a budding defensive stopper with unlimited range, and some young, tough guards that can stroke it from deep. But for everything that is in stock there is something missing, and the store probably won’t be stocking it any time soon. This team has everything except enough talent and coaching to win ball games.
Right pieces. The wrong time.
Seeing as how the timelines of the team’s best pieces don’t really align( Melo being 31 and Kristael JORD-zingis merely 19), it could be that the team won’t be in contention until Mr. Anthony is too old. While he can be this generation’s Paul Pierce(a star who never had enough help to play with the big boys until late in his career), do we really want to chance that? On the other hand, the organization is finally showing some signs of sensible management and finally has a bright future, do they really want to trade the best player the team has had since Patrick Ewing while he is still in his prime?
Depending on how you look it, it might be the best thing to do. IF they strike gold in free agency, say, Nicholas Batum, Mike Conley or both and a few solid veterans, then maybe there is hope that they can go down in a blaze of glory to the Lebron James Eastern Conference Championship corporation in the conference finals, but if they strike out again, then the landscape is bleak. Melo will be going on 33 with no sign of hope coming for another year or two at least. While he is still worth something, the Knicks could do well by trading him, accumulating draft picks and growing around a new core of young players. Which brings us to:
Crafting the right trade for Melo isn’t easy. First, he has a no trade clause, but that doesn’t worry me much seeing as how the current roster would send me screaming to the nearest competitor if I were an NBA superstar on the backend of my prime. Second, we would need to get solid young players and picks. The problem here is that the teams that Melo wants to go to probably won’t give us the type of pick we are looking for. That means getting the best young player possible, accumulating some solid picks, and tanking when we have our own pick next year while letting Magic-staps John-zingis develop by having free reign to devour unsuspecting defenses with his dragon-like wings and fire breath.
Step 1) Which teams might Melo go to?
First you need a contender or a team on the brink of contention in a place that doesn’t suck (sorry Orlando, Sacramento, and Utah). Certain places like Indy and OKC might not appeal to a city boy, can overcome their prairie issues with their sheer basketball abilities in my opinion. Current NBA chainsaw, Golden State won’t be making any changes, so they’re out. That leaves us with(in no order):
Houston, Cleveland, Indiana, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, OKC, Memphis, Dallas, LAC, New Orleans, Washington and Phoenix.
Step 2) Who has something we want?
We want a nice young player(or at least not old), cap relief and picks. That is going to eliminate Cleveland, Indiana, Memphis, Dallas, and LAC right off the bat. Sorry, but they have nothing we want. Now we have Houston, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, OKC, NOP, Washington and PHX.
Step 3) Find the real suitors
Sadly, Phoenix has a bevy of nice young assets but getting Melo wouldn’t vault them into contention. Same with Washington since we’d want Bradly Beal or nothing. I’m afraid they both need to be scratched from the board. New Orleans doesn’t really have any interesting players or picks aside from Jrue Holiday, who is oft injured and might actually be too good too quickly and win us more games than we want( DAMN YOU FISHER FOR WINNING THOSE GAMES AT THE END OF LAST SEASON!), so they are gone. All of OKC’s nice picks are gone when we need them, and they don’t really have anyone young that could help us or be anything good in the future, so that leaves us with Houston, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta. But Atlanta has a good thing going, and Melo wouldn’t fit there ball movement style of play( you know? those teams that pass the ball?!?). So now we are down to 3 measly little teams that would suit Melo, the Knicks and themselves in a trade: Houston, Chicago and Miami.
The Trades for Carmelo Anthony
New York trades Carmelo Anthony, Jose Calderon and Lou Amundson
Houston trades Ty Lawson, Patrick Beverly, Corey Brewer, K.J McDaniels and Terrence Jones + a 2018 first round pick and a 2020 first round pick.
Why for New York?
The Knicks go into full rebuild mode and nab two future firsts + a very intriguing youngish player in Terrence Jones. He can hit the corner 3, run the floor, and is a great athlete. He just needs playing time and an open system. Beverly is a known quantity but a solid player that can shore up our PG defense, and with Beverly, Gallo, and Porzingis locked up long-term we will be set on that end of the floor. K.J has shown some promise at times, and could be a solid rotation player in the future. Ty Lawson is an alcoholic that would have fit in great with the Ray Felton era Knicks where they could hit the town and get arrested together, but would probably be cut by this new Knicks squad. And Corey Brewer is….from Tennessee.
Embrace the tank, go young and cheap, get some picks, and pray.
Why For Houston?
Houston has all of the elements of a contender but hasn’t put it together so far this season. Many pegged them as a the hipster pick to make the finals this season after their run last year, and with their star wing/big duo plus solid wing defenders in Beverly, Ariza, Brewer, there was no reason to think otherwise…until the season started. Melo would give them more raw offensive talent than any team in the league outside of the state of Oklahoma, and they’d still have enough depth to weather the storm during bench time. This is the proverbial all-in push as they say. It sucks losing their two pg’s in this trade, but seeing as how Ty Lawson isn’t even really running the point much anyway when he even gets playing time and Calderon is coming over, there is no reason to think this trade wouldn’t make them one of the best teams in the West. They might have to take a flyer on a free agent or d-league guy just to shore up their PG or SG spot but having Melo would be worth it.
#2 The Chicago Bulls
The Knicks crushed D’Antoni’s dreams of having a victorious return to the Garden last night. The Knicks dominated the game until the closing minutes when they decided to let up and make things interesting. Though there were brief moments of concern Felton, JR and Chandler eventually said “not going to happen Lakers.” This was another fun one though we had a minor scare from Melo. Instead of sharing my thoughts on the game, here what the players/coaches were thinking last night:
- D’Antoni – “The system works…the system works…the system works. It’s the players fault. The system works…”
- Woodson – “These guys are definitely running laps tomorrow. A win by less than 10 is a loss in my book.”
- D.Howard – “I don’t want to make it awkward. I will just ask to be traded and that management fire D’Antoni and then I will get ready for the second half.”
- Kobe – “Do you think this season is somehow payback for Colorado?”
- Melo – “Wow, I am so on tonight. Take that D’Antoni. Nothing could go wrong tonight…” Continue reading
Some thoughts from last night:
- Great game, these two teams are, to my disappointment, pretty evenly matched up when they play one another.
- If JR Smith had actually lost a limb during the 4th quarter, would he have let Woodson take him out?
- It was aid before the season that the Knicks would be pretty good if the year was 2003. Looks like Jason Kidd things it is 2003 at least based on the way he has been playing.
- It has to be so awful as a Nets fan to watch Kidd – one of your arguably top 3 players all time – hit a back breaking 3 pointer against you while playing for your big city rivals. The closest equivalent for Knicks fans would have been having Ewing drop a double double on us while wearing a Sonics uniform.
- Hey Nets fans, Deron is a very good point guard. Carmelo is an MVP candidate. I hope you understand the difference. Continue reading
The Knicks won by 21 points tonight against the Bullets (I hate calling them the Wizards). The game was never really close and the Knicks did what they are supposed to do, show no mercy on lesser opponents. It is hard to remember a time when the Knicks consistently blew out their opponents. There is more I could say about the Knicks performance but instead I am just going to spend the rest of this recap insulting the Bullets/Wizards.
- David Stern announced big sanctions coming against Washington for playing the actual guys on the roster.
- Washington thought they had a chance tonight because they misread the inactive and active list and thought they would be playing against Jason Kidd by himself…and, even then, they only thought they had a chance.
- Washington is nicknamed the Wizards because it would take an actual Wizard to turn this franchise around.
- The Wizards are so bad that they have been asked to replace the Generals so the Globetrotters can have an easier opponent.
- How can the Wizards cut Blatche and actually get worse? Continue reading