Phil Jackson should still be with the Knicks

Phil Jackson should still be with the Knicks

Written by Luke Ambrose, follow him on twitter and instagram

For all the damage Phil Jackson inflicted on the New York Knickerbockers, and all
the criticism he took during his time in the city, he may have actually saved the
Knicks.

This year we are witnessing Kristaps Porzingis live up to his multiple alter-egos, we
have seen flashes of both ‘Porzingod’ and the ‘Unicorn’. I’m not entirely sure what
either of those would look like, but I’m pretty sure KP is the closest thing you can get.
In fact, this season Porzingis has outperformed most of his talented 2015 rookie
class. So far in this season KP is producing 30 ppg, whilst also increasing his
efficiency across the board. Compared to the Latvian’s previous two years of 44.5
FG%/ 35 3FG% he has improved 6.2% from the field and 3% better from deep. The
numbers seem steady, until you explore the usage this year (35.7 USG%) which has
increased by more than 10% after Carmelo’s departure in the summer. Usually we
don’t see efficiency increases co-inside with a dramatic usage increase. Therefore,
seeing Porzingis’s development this year has surprised most. Also noteworthy is the
fourth quarter heroics, on three occasions now Kristaps has single handedly won
games (looking like 2009 Kobe). His new-found mamba mentality was on full show
during the Knicks’ recent game vs an in-form Indiana Pacers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsBT7kihaTE (Real GD’s Latest Highlights)

But we already knew Porzingis was going to be a scorer after his first few games in
the league, and with Carmelo Anthony as a mentor it seemed even more likely. What
is more encouraging for the Knicks faithfuls is the dynamic defensive ability KP can
produce, especially in the clutch. In the very same Pacers game KP rejected six
shots, four of which came in the second half, and all during the Knicks come back.
After the theatrics New York witnessed during KP’s first two years it was clear he
was a steal at the 4th pick back in 2015. Although that wasn’t commonly known in
June 2015, and while some saw athletic Dirk, most saw Darko. Even after some
impressive, well-edited highlight videos started to appear, many still were calling for
the Knicks to select Justice Winslow (a sure thing in many people’s opinion, even
mine). Then it happened; Phil Jackson rang-in the selection of a skinny 7’3″ European
and the rest just may well be history.

Fast forward two years, and things are really reaching a boiling point. Phil wants
Melo gone, Melo loves NY but hates Phil so agrees to make two teams available for
a trade (either of which he would join later in the year). Then it comes out Hornacrk
thinks KP plays ‘like a pussy’, so then Kristaps flies home before meeting with Phil
and Horneck. Or so it is rumoured.

Finally, the 2017 NBA draft, the one event that the Knicks excelled at, or at least
when they have had a 1 st round pick. And again, Phil Jackson along with his Knicks
staff select a long, skinny European, who like Porzingis had been playing
professional ball for a couple of years. Frank Ntilikina (the ‘t’ is silent) has gone
reasonably unnoticed among his peers, but that is by no means a reflection of his
potential. What’s most striking when watching Ntilikina is his defensive IQ, coupled
with a relentless motor. After 11 games, the 19-year- old has averaged 1.6 spg whilst
only playing 20 minutes, he’s also within the 100th percentile for his position on steals
per team possession (cleaningtheglass.com). In comparison to Dennis Smith Jr’s
defensive numbers 0.8 spg (1 spg per 36 minutes) Frank looks much more capable
defensively.

‘The French Prince’ (Ntilikina’s favoured nickname) has also shown his ability to be
that floor general teams look for in an all-star point guard. Proving that his high
basketball IQ is not just a defensive one, he’s averaging 5 apg during is 20 minutes
of playing time. He’s also in the 73rd percentile in his position on what percentage of
his teammates’ buckets did he assist on (cleaningtheglass.com). At 19, his overall
game is impressive and throughout the year we are bound to see mistakes and
brilliance from the rookie. Once again it is difficult to criticise the pick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUTLx11GYQ8 (FreeDawkins)

So that’s one franchise player selected and a 6’5, 19-year- old point guard who after 11
games has shown he can defend really well and find his teammates. Plus let’s not
forget the trade Jackson made to acquire Willy Hernangomez (drafted and stashed
by the Philadelphia 76ers), another highly skilled European who was selected in the
NBA first all-rookie team just last year.

So, the question has to be asked, should Phil Jackson still be with the Knicks? Well
quite clearly no, but his time with the Knicks shouldn’t be remembered as a failure. In
fact, Jackson might have been one of the rare executives that leave a team in better
condition than when they started. Perhaps the Knicks could make the 11-time NBA
champion their head European scout? He could even live in Lithuania with
Kuzminskus once he gets cut to make room for Phil’s best friend, Joakim Noah.

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Pistons 111, Knicks 107 – Where do the Knicks go from here?

Pistons 111, Knicks 107 – Where do the Knicks go from here?

Written by Declan Ryan

The odds on a top draft pick going to New York at the end of the season just increased after what can only be described as a ‘routine’ loss for the Knicks Saturday night.

Leading by as many as 21 points in the first half, the visiting Pistons were sluggish and
noticeably off their game after coming off a loss to the Wizards the night before. However, a 13-point half time lead quickly became 1 point following a characteristic Knicks collapse in the 3rd quarter, and it wasn’t long before Detroit had the lead in the 4th quarter.

$71m man Tim Hardaway Jr. had a night to forget in front of the Knicks faithful, as he only hit 1 of his first 12 attempts from the field, including 0 of 6 from 3pt range. Blame can fairly be placed on his shoulders, as KP’s 33 points (including 23 in the first half) should’ve been more than enough to see the Knicks to their first win of the season, providing his teammates could produce even a semblance of scoring and defense.

For the team’s second scoring option, Hardaway’s night would’ve looked even worse if it wasn’t for the impressive performances from both Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn, who combined for 32 points and 17 rebounds in around 24 minutes on the floor each. I would argue that apart from Kanter and KOQ, none of the Knicks supporting players had games to remember.

Courtney Lee had a dismal 4 points 2 rebounds and 1 assist in 28 minutes of action, and
whilst Ramon Sessions had a passable Continue reading

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.

New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons – 3/11/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons
March 11, 2017
Pistons 112, Knicks 92

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

Same game, different day.

In what will be the final time the Knicks face the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Knicks once again failed to show up on the road. New York came out flat and allowed the Pistons to jump out to an early lead, one that was too much to overcome. New York showed fight and cut the deficit over the next three quarters, but were blown out at the end of the fourth.

Kristaps Porzingis led New York with 18 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 4 assists. He set up Willy Hernangomez on a number of nice bounce passes while set up in the post, passes that become possible through the triangle offense. Carmelo Anthony was invisible for another game, only scoring 13 points on 4-9 shooting, to go along with 4 assists. Chasson Randle made great use of more extended minutes to score 12 points, pull down 3 rebounds, and dish out 3 assists. The Knicks may have found something with this kid and he needs to see the floor more as the season comes to a close. Long Island product Tobias Harris led Detroit with 28 points, and Andre Drummond scored 24 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

It’s just more of the same with the New York Knicks as we keep rolling along here, with the team not being committed on defense, as well as having difficulty with an often stagnant offense.

When Carmelo has nights like tonight, where he doesn’t seem to even be interested in the game, really, it’s going to be tough for the Knicks offense to get going. When the top gun struggles, the team will struggle.

I turned the game off midway through the fourth quarter. It’s just too painful.

After today, the Knicks are currently six games back of Milwaukee with Charlotte, Miami, and Chicago ahead of them. Barring a miracle, this team is not making the playoffs, and that’s easy to see. It makes sense for the Knicks to go into this last stretch of the season seeing what they have in some of the guys who don’t play much. Guys like Randle, Ron Baker, Mindaugus Kuzminskas, Marshall Plumlee, among others, should all be playing more than they are. The Knicks know what they have with guys like Derrick Rose and Courtney Lee, so why not see if these other guys have a future with the team? It’s an easy answer, one that the Knicks don’t seem to understand.

Another back to back situation on Sunday, as the Knicks fly home, but will need to hop on the subway to Brooklyn for a Sunday evening affair with the Brooklyn Nets. This game should be renamed the tankapalooza, considering the participants. Chin up everyone, it’ll all be over soon.

26-40.

New York Knicks at Cleveland Cavaliers

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

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. Los Angeles Lakers – 2/6/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
February 6, 2017
Lakers 121, Knicks 107

I’m finished.

So after dealing with this one big crap of a Knicks season, it didn’t seem possible for the team to look any worse. They couldn’t possibly look any worse than they have, right?

Wrong.

The Knicks players, coaching staff, and front office should all be ashamed of themselves for the garbage that was on the floor against the Lakers, who by the way, had lost twelve straight on the road before Monday night. Twelve. There are so many things wrong with this team that I don’t even know where to start. Defense, rebounding, basically anything that has to do with effort, this team is bad at. They continue to look disinterested and unmotivated, and they’ve officially become unwatchable.

Carmelo Anthony needs to waive his no trade clause yesterday, because he’s going to go nowhere with this team. He scored 26 points in this one to lead the Knicks, with nobody else really bringing anything all that special to the table. Oh, and Derrick Rose was back, and he definitely looked like a guy who hadn’t played in over a week. He stunk up the joint. Also, Kristaps Porzingis needs to sit if he’s hurt, because all he is doing is giving himself a bigger chance of getting seriously injured. His shot is off, he couldn’t defend a fourth grader, he just doesn’t look like himself. There’s a conversation that needs to be had with him, and it needs to be done sooner rather than later. I know he wants to play, why wouldn’t he, but he’s only hurting the team with his current play. We all know he is better than what he is showing.

If the problem with this team is effort, than that starts with the coach. This is the first time all year I have thought Jeff Hornacek has looked overwhelmed, and I think he really doesn’t know what to do anymore. This team has a lot of moves to make at the trade deadline, and the trading block should have guys like Melo and Rose at the forefront.

Nobody but Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez should be untouchable. THINGS NEED TO CHANGE. NOW.

Sorry for the rant. If you want actual analysis on the game, here it is. The Knicks STUNK.

New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets – 2/1/17 – Game Recap

New York Knicks at Brooklyn Nets
Game 51: February 1, 2017
Knicks 95, Nets 90

Written by Eric Weinstein – @ericcweinsteinn

Man, I really can’t stomach this anymore.

We’ve all seen a lot of bad Knicks basketball over the last decade and a half, but the New York Knicks Podcast was going to need to find a new recap writer if they dropped this one to the Brooklyn Nets. Had the result been different, I would’ve quit on the season and stopped watching, cold turkey. By the way, I am writing this after a Knicks road win.

So after the Knicks didn’t show up against the Wizards on Tuesday, they stroll into the Barclays Center and immediately fall behind to the dumpster fire known as the Brooklyn Nets. Aside from Brook Lopez and Bojan Bogdanovich, I’ve barely heard of any of these guys. Well, there’s Quincy Acy, the apparent savior of the Brooklyn Nets and former tank-tastic Knick. Everyone looked slow and sluggish, and Kristaps Porzingis was quickly in foul trouble, of course. Carmelo Anthony was struggling, Derrick Rose missed another game with a sprained ankle, and Joakim Noah continues to be a non-factor. Who was going to save the day?

If you say that you guessed Sasha Vujacic would save the Knicks, you’re a liar.

I’ve been incredibly critical of Vujacic since he came to the Knicks a season and a half ago, but he proved to be the spark the Knicks needed. Let’s not get carried away, he only had twelve points on 4-10 shooting, but he came in and brought energy off the bench with his three point shooting. On the two shots that connected from downtown, he was fouled on both and converted on the four point play. Shoutout to Sasha for being ready to come into the game, even though he hasn’t seen a lot of action all season. #SashSanity.

The biggest story from this game was that Coach Hornacek sat Carmelo Anthony, Joakim Noah, and Courtney Lee in the fourth quarter and brought back the Euro-Knicks lineup he used earlier in the season, with Brandon Jennings, Justin Holiday, Porzingis, Vujacic, and Willy Hernangomez. WHG in particular had another strong game, finishing with 16 points and 16 rebounds, as well as a couple of assists. There is no reason that Willy should not be the starting center in the next game, as he continues to outplay the 72 million dollar man again and again. His rebounding and scoring has been excellent, but he has been much better on defense than advertised. He’s continued to hold his own against NBA big men, and deserves a chance to start for this team. Willy and Sasha saved the Knicks up until the fourth quarter, where KP took over.

Kristaps finished the game with 19 points, and 12 of them were in the fourth quarter.

The play of the Euro-Knicks led them to a much needed victory in the borough of  Brook.

Saturday may be a different story, with the King returning to Madison Square Garden.

LeBron James, Kyire Irving, and Kevin Love come to New York for the Saturday night primetime game on ABC. I don’t know about you, but I’m not feeling so great about this one, since the Knicks could barely beat Brooklyn on Wednesday. Let’s hope for a miracle. 22-29.

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.

2016/17 Knicks Roster Power Rankings – Week 15

The Knicks went 1-2 since last weeks rankings, although losing in 4OT felt like 2 losses. The offense has been there but the defense is still a huge problem. The Knicks have held exactly 1 team below 100 in January, and that was Philly whom they held to 98 in a loss.
Rank Player Comments Last weeks Rank
1 Anthony, Carmelo If this is indeed Melo’s last few weeks as a Knick he’s going out with a bang. A 30 and a 45 point game this week on efficient shooting might make a couple teams seriously consider making an offer. 1
2 Lee, Courtney Great week for Courtney. Almost won the game a couple times against the Hawks. For those of you who wanted him to shoot more, he’s over 13 attempts per game this week and shooting at a super efficient clip. 5
3 Porzingis, Kristaps Porzingis probably had his best week of 2017. Not saying much because he’s been downright bad or injured most of the time, but had to put him up here after that dunk on Dwight. 9
4 O’Quinn, Kyle We have Noah, Plumlee, and Hernangomez on the team, yet the much smaller O’Quinn defends and blocks shots better than all those guys. 7
5 Jennings, Brandon We got to see all 3 Jennings this week. The one that disappears, the one that scores like crazy, and the distributer that racks up more assists in one game than Rose in a week. Continue reading