Last night was the Knicks second and final preseason game, both against the New Jersey Nets soon to be of Brooklyn, and the Knicks won 88-82. Frank Isola said that the Knicks will need their BIG 3 to step up all year long in order for them to be successful. Mike Vaccaro likes this Tyson Chandler and says that Tyson Time (my own unique-but-not-really nickname) is off to a rousing start. Barbara Barker wrote about the newly renovated frontcourt making its debut in the newly renovated MSG.
Just a few quick notes that I took from this game:
– Sloppy. Its to be expected though considering that the Knicks barely had a training camp AND had to work in several new players including two rookies and a new starter. Amar’e Stoudemire’s shot was off and he didn’t even play a single second in the second half which shows you how concerned D’Antoni is in keeping him healthy throughout the season. What that means in the regular season will be interesting but Amar’es shot wasn’t falling and yet he basically sat throughout the second half while Avery Johnson kept his entire starting 5 out on the court for the final quarter. Carmelo seemed to be the only one with a semblance of a good, consistent game. Pick and rolls need to be worked on and so does alot of the defensive spacing but I like in general where the Knicks are going.
– Defensive prowess- I’m not trying to use Clyde lines but you can’t help but try and talk like him after a Knick game. There was definitely more effort on the defensive front. My All-Defensive Knick team would be Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony (yes,), Renaldo Balkman and Tyson Chandler. I love the effort these guys give on defense and Carmelo when he’s into it, can DEFINITELY excel at it. How much effort he wants to give is completely on him. As long as during crunch time he shows forth that effort to lock down his guy I’m ok with him giving not max on other plays. Sounds like I’m advocating for taking plays off but for guys as talented as Melo, it can appear he’s taking plays but he’s still giving more effort than less skilled players.
Alot of that communication came from….
– The Tyson Chandler Effect. Chandler has been a revelation on the court. On the bench. In warm up. In practice. Just his whole demeanor and leadership that he’s brought to this team is awesome. It reminds me of….Amar’e from last season when he came. Amar’e was a vocal leader prodding his underachieving, underrated line up. The Knicks were a legit threat with all their supposed “non-talent” they didn’t have to trade for Carmelo Anthony. What Tyson does is bring a presence in the middle of the paint which has long been a freeway for opposing offenses. He’s so good at keeping communication open while he’s on the floor AND EVEN on the bench. HIs biggest thing is keeping confidence up and keeping everyone loose. I LOVE Tyson Chandler and I’m ready to get his jersey. He looks like the real deal and a great fit.
– Questions about the bench are going to rise but I LOVE our bench. One major bit of news that came out of D’Antoni’s post game presser, is that he’s going to use a rotation of 10,11 maybe even 12 guys to keep everyone fresh. That would be awesome. Aside from the starting five, expect minutes from Iman, Jorts, Balkman, Devin, Novak when he arrives, Baron Davis and Mike Bibby. It would be completely out of character for D’Antoni and maybe he goes back to his old ways of riding his 8 man rotation out during the course of a season but you have to take a man at his word. I believe that things like a good supporting staff are important as having superstars on your front line. That’s why the Mavs won the title and the Heat didn’t. If you’re top heavy its almost impossible to win titles because eventually the tops wear out because they are human. The Knicks need to get alot of production from their bench and eventually their second unit is going to have to play above and beyond the call of duty. I like that Jorts does NOT hesitate shooting that three and I’d like to ask Renaldo Balkman to NEVER chuck up threes like that. I think Balkman’s cutting to the hoop is underrated and teams need to be wary of that especially if Carmelo is handling the ball.
– Knick rookies stepping up- Jorts and Iman are the two guys who will have a large hand in determining how far the knicks go. Jorts is definitely just an energy guy off the bench meant to spell Tyson Chandler and also provide defense and rebounding. He still needs to work on getting proper boxing out techniques but I think he can improve. Iman is a combo guard and for him that means chucking up the shot every five seconds.
One of the best bit of reporting I heard was that Baron Davis went up to the neophyte and told him that Deron Williams is laying off him on purpose to bait him to shoot. Iman listened to him and began driving to the hoop which really helped the Knicks. I would like for Iman to drive and kick out and pass. He has a nice stroke but he has to know when he has the hot hand and when he doesn’t. Last night’s 2 for 10 meant he didn’t. At one stretch he began chucking up shots at the beginning of the 24 shot clock. That’s not effective nor efficient if you’re not making them. Toney Douglas began heating up after going a whole half without scoring. Iman should’ve looked for Toney on some of those plays but instead tried to find his own shot. I get that he is listed as a combo guard and I get that his athleticism makes him an excellent one AT THAT, but he needs to know WHEN he’s on and when he’s not and I think at 6’5 if he can make the transition to point guard it would be the best thing for the Knicks in the long run. I dont want OJ Mayo 2.0 on my team.
Don’t get me wrong, on the defensive end the man is a tireless worker and trust me that jump shot is going to come, but I’d like for him to really work on driving and passing and understanding that. I realize it may not happen this year and the shortened schedule will force the Knicks hand in giving him a ton of playing time, add into the equation that Toney Douglas may struggle a bit going forward and Knick fans will want Shump to play but I see that as a good thing. Hopefully the Knicks move forward trying to push the idea to Shump that he needs to find the open man.
– Melo as a passer- Man am I excited to see him run the point at times on this squad. He’s such a gifted passer/scorer/everything offensive that we sometimes undervalue how good he is. I mean the guy can do it all. He had probably the best assists and he’s got the mind of a savant when he’s playing basketball. His ability to pass will throw defenses for a loop and he’ll give his teammates really easy baskets and once the defense lays off him, this will give Carmelo tons of easy possessions and plenty of one on one opportunities which he’ll certainly take advantage of. He’s really a pleasure to watch.
– Toney Douglas and Landry Fields worry me- I realize they didn’t have terrible games but they disappeared for stretches throughout yesterday and it has to bug you that both of them are NOT having great training camps but nobody really is. Everyone’s struggling and coming to grips with the fact that the NBA season is beginning Sunday, a measly two weeks after training camp started. They will need to work hard because Iman Shumpert is there and gathering steam. He looks like the more active athlete, and the guy they want eventually taking over either spot (my vote is for point guard), but I think that D’Antoni would rather have these two succeed. In the end, I think both of these guys would benefit coming off the bench instead of starting but that’s all depending on how quickly Baron Davis recovers and if the Knicks have anyone to play shooting guard. Again, I’d rather Shump NOT pick up habits like wanting to score all the time like he already does, but hey, there’s always the hope that he picks up better habits like using his slashing, driving style to dish the ball out.
– Why all the hate towards Kris Humphries- Gotta love New York fans. That’s all i’m going to say.
– Clyde Frazier is already in midseason form- “The only green I like is money” and “Where’s the Kardashian guy?” I’m ready to go!
Here is today’s list of Knick stories including Marc Berman’s contention that the waiting for a team to be built is over for the Knicks. NOW is the time for Knicks to go out and win a title. Amar’e Stoudemire says that the Heat are not ready to climb for the title but the Knicks are ready to contend against Miami or whatever that means. Frank Isola of the Daily News tries to explain. Speaking of the Heat, Tom Haberstroh of TrueHoop did an excellent report on Erik Spolestra going to Oregon to study the offensive scheme of the Ducks, the college team who made it to the national championship game last year and have been perennial contenders under the guidance of Chip Kelly. Also, Seth Walder gives you the low-down on pricing of MSG tickets if you wanted to sit courtside.
Not lacking confidence is a good thing and frankly a welcome thing in these parts. For years the Knicks and its fan base have had to be very quiet, patiently waiting for a winner to be built. Well, the Knicks told everyone to open their eyes. The Knicks are here and this is what the contender looks like. Sure, there are still a few pieces to be added midseason. The Knicks still have the $2.5 million room exception which can be used on someone like, say, a Kenyon Martin, but the Knicks know that in order for them to compete they have to go through Miami who almost certainly WILL get that number one seed. Speaking of the Heat, that article scared me because of what it contained. It looks like Spolestra was determined to make an offense that was part Showtime, part Amoeba, part crazy offense where Lebron and Co. will be playing a lot of smaller line ups to take advantage of their quickness and elusiveness. Again, I dont know how it will work but I expect this shortened season to REALLY be the best thing for the Heat because if anyone is built for this kind of crazy schedule its young teams with very capable superstars. Do I think the Heat will win the East this year? Yes. Do I think the Heat are better than the Knicks? yes. Do I think Lebron is the best player in the East? Yes. Do I think Dwayne Wade is better than Carmelo Anthony? No. I think its a tie but that’s only if Melo comes to play on the defensive end because Wade does. Again, for the Knicks to contend I think Berman put it correctly, that Melo playing Point Forward HAS to work out and Melo has to play at an MVP like level. I expect Amar’e AND Melo to bring 50-52 PPG and about 18-21 RPG. I really hope that all goes well and they remain healthy and D’Antoni IS serious about a heavy rotation of players.
The Mets are officially in trouble says a brand new book by Mets blogger Howard Megdal who recently released an E-Book titled Wilpon’s folly. According to Jeff Bradley of the Star Ledger, it talks about how much debt that the Wilpons have and how even with the investors they claim will purchase the necessary amount of shares to make $200 million that the Wilpons will be forced to sell the team. Josh Kosman of the Daily News says the book made a claim that the Wilpons used their friendship with Bud Selig to make him look like the bad guy so if David Einhorn, who wanted to invest in the club and in effect take majority ownership SHOULD the Mets not be able to pay him back, ever tried to sue him the Wilpons could say that it was Major League Baseball’s decision not to approve ownership and not his. According to Anthony Reiber, the Mets are cutting their GCL team in a cost-cutting move further developing fears within Major League circles that the Mets are indeed in a very seriously dire financial situation.
Look, I’ll say it again: The Coupon family WILL NOT sell this team willingly. It will take a bank robber and a ski mask and a machine gun to sell and even then they may take a few minutes to weigh death. I hate what they have done to this team but in the back of my mind I believe they have had good intentions the whole way. Have they made some poor investments? Sure. Have they embarassed the Mets enough? Hopefully. Is it the darkest before the dawn? Scientifically I have no idea. But I do believe that the Wilpons are true fans. Unfortunately the team they root for no longer occupies Brooklyn but Southern California and they have been trying to get Jackie Robinson to play second base for their team for years and just can’t find a suitable contact number for him.
The Coupons are major league owners which should give the rest of us some hope that one day we could be total fuck ups and still enjoy the luxuries of owning a Major League franchise. I think that the Mets are in a deep shithole and won’t be able to get out of it and this season’s ticket sales will be an issue. Do I think the Mets can get enough investors to make the $200 million goal? Yes. Unfortunately business people will look at the Mets as a great investment considering they play in the biggest market and having an ownership stake in a franchise is huge for guys who are rich but not wealthy. Remember kids there’s a difference.
But how much longer before they are asking those guys to invest more money in and how much longer before the math comes back to the Coupon family that they no longer own a majority share? Again, these are questions that the Coupons really hope they don’t have to answer in the long run but its impossible to ignore.
A semi cool thing. Ok its a major cool thing. If you haven’t heard about Louis CK you’re living under a rock but if not check this article out on the New York Times about his come up- and his new comedy special which is coming out in a very unique way.
Howard Beck of the New York Times also looks at how Brook Lopez’ stress fracture could ultimately deal a very big blow to the Nets chances at landing Dwight Howard. Self explanatory but for those who want the elaborate answer.