Don’t Expect Rajon Rondo to be a Knick

Don’t Expect Rajon Rondo to be a Knick

Earlier this week, Frank Isola of the Daily News reported that the Knicks are going after Celtics assist lord Rajon Rondo. While the reports sound very convincing, let’s face it: The trade is not going to happen. More

Felton Elevator Doors Play (Video)

From tonight’s win over Charlotte…

I’ve always been a fan of teams running the “elevator doors” play, where a shooter will run between two screeners who then close the gap, like a set of elevator doors. Plenty of teams around the league run a variation of the play. Golden State is probably the team that has popularized the play most. Dating back to last season, the Knicks have used the play to get Raymond Felton open looks. I believe we’d already seen it once or twice over the first few games, and we saw it tonight. They ran it on their 2nd offensive possession of the game. Felton missed the shot, but it was a good look and it’s a good play.

Chris Smith Makes the Team: Business as Usual

Chris Smith Makes the Team: Business as Usual

Friday morning, the Knicks announced who would occupy the final three spots of their 2013 opening day roster. Unsurprisingly, guard Toure Murray and center Cole Aldrich made the team, and both deservingly so. While he can’t score a lick, Aldrich gives the Knicks a much needed third center who can give them ten decent minutes when needed. Though the team has a plethora of point guards, Murray was easily the best of these fringe roster players during the pre-season. The final roster spot however, is one that has generated a lot of controversy in Knicks-land.

Chris Smith is the brother of JR Smith. He also plays basketball, point guard to be specific, though he’s shown no signs to be good at it. Now, it’s not uncommon for siblings of NBA players to get summer league or pre-season tryouts. LeBron’s arranged for that before, Kobe has done it, and many others have as well. There’s nothing wrong with giving Smith a chance to prove himself in summer league and pre-season. But from what we’ve seen, Chris Smith isn’t an NBA player. In the pre-season, he played fewer minutes than anybody on the team. His 20 minutes played was four fewer than Chris Douglas-Roberts, who was cut and was never really a serious candidate to be a Knick. I think it’s fairly obvious that Coach Woodson knows that Smith isn’t an NBA player, so why is he on the team? More

5 Rookies To Watch

5 Rookies To Watch

The 2013 NBA Draft class was dubbed by pundits as being a “weak” class. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but I believe there are definitely intriguing first-year players worth watching. Here are five rookies that I’m especially excited to watch:

1. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope:

You down with KCP? Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is on this list for good reason. Yes, partially because of his fantastic name, but also because of his silky smooth jump shot.

I go bonkers whenever there is a shooting guard in the draft labeled as a hybrid with the attributes “athletic freak” and “natural shooter”. Those are my favorite kinds of players besides bruising centers that can crash the glass. KCP falls under that shooting guard hybrid category. If you ask anyone that watched Georgia basketball last year, they’ll tell you how KCP carried the team. He posted an offensive rating of 115.7, along with 3.9 offensive win shares and 6.3 total win shares. Get this: Caldwell-Pope led the team with his 3.9 offensive win shares while the second highest OWS on the team belonged to Vincent Williams at 0.5. Crazy, right? More

Knicks Sign Chris Douglas-Roberts

douglas-roberts-bogut

A few hours ago, the Knicks signed journeyman Chris Douglas-Roberts to a non-guaranteed training camp deal.

This is a very interesting move. CDR is one of my personal favorites, especially when he played the role of Derrick Rose’s sidekick at the University of Memphis. He vanished from the NBA after playing with crappy Nets teams for two years and played overseas for Italian powerhouse Virtus Bologna during the locked out season, after playing with the Bucks in 2011. He then made his return to the NBA last season, playing 6 games with the Mavericks and their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends. And just last summer, the Lakers signed CDR to play with their summer league squad, and was then cut from the roster shortly after Summer League play ended.

With the signing of CDR, random forward that’s not named John Shurna (remember that imbecile?) Justin Brownlee will we waived in order to free up the 20th and final training camp spot for him.

Something that I’ve always remembered about CDR is that his mid-range game and slashing to the tin were his main sources of scoring, along with (don’t tell Raymond Felton) floaters. He can also generate spacing around the perimeter for the open three, although, he’s a career 27.6% three point shooter. I bet if you look at old shot charts, you’ll see loads of green in the paint and on the elbows of the charity stripe.

Like most small forwards, CDR has a relatively long wingspan. It’s definitely not as long as Paul George’s wingspan, but it’s good enough to pester ball handlers.

In most aspects, Douglas-Roberts is under appreciated defensively. He posted 1.3 defensive win shares in 44 games during his lone year with Milwaukee in the 2010-11 season, and has 2.4 career defensive win shares. That’s not too bad for a player of that caliber.

I really hope CDR makes the roster. Making the roster will be a difficult task for him, though, due to the abundant of depth on this year’s upcoming roster. And to make everyone feel good about him, here’s a picture of CDR and two kittens.

cdr2

Knicks Sign Beno Udrih

Knicks Sign Beno Udrih

Earlier today, the Knicks signed point guard Beno Udrih to a one year deal worth $1.27M, the veteran’s minimum.

There were a few teams that were strongly interested in the 31 year old southpaw point guard, such as the Grizzlies, Spurs and the Sixers, but he ultimately chose New York.

The point guard vacancy left by Jason Kidd is now filled. Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni now have a great third point guard to back them up. Udrih was the ultimate safety net for the Knicks, in case if the Knicks’ other options (ex: Will Bynum) departed for somewhere else (surely enough, they did). Just yesterday, there were reports of franchise-record-22-assists-in-a-game Chris Duhon returning to New York for whatever ghastly reason as a backup quick fix. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. Bobby Brown was also another backup solution, but he decided to stay overseas. More

A Few Initial Thoughts On the Knicks Schedule

A Few Initial Thoughts On the Knicks Schedule

Here is the full Knicks schedule.

A few of the notable games:

  • The Knicks start the season October 30th at MSG versus the Bucks. Big picture, the first game doesn’t really matter all that much. It’s nice to win, but it’s not like the season is over for a team if it loses it’s first game. While there’s been a bit of negative backlash among the fan base about starting the season against a blah team like Milwaukee, I actually like the first matchup. Marquee opening night matchups are awesome, unless your team loses the game. It’s likely now that the Knicks start the year 1-0, and I’m totally fine with that. 
  • They play Milwaukee, at Chicago, Minnesota, at Charlotte, Charlotte in their first five games. At the worst, the Knicks should be 3-2 through this first handful of games. People have tweeted me saying “4-1!” but they forget that a healthy Minnesota team makes for a very worthy opponent.
  • First Knicks-Nets matchup is December 5th at Barclays Center. It’s a Thursday night game, meaning it’ll be on TNT.
  • On Christmas Day, New York welcomes Oklahoma City to Madison Square Garden. I think this is a crappy Christmas day matchup. Of course both teams should be good, but I’d rather have seen the Knicks square off against an Eastern Conference rival like Brooklyn or Chicago. Oklahoma City should’ve played one of the other real elite teams like Miami or San Antonio.
  • After the OKC Christmas day game, New York plays a home-and-home vs Toronto. There’s a Bargnani joke in here somewhere. Those games also end this calendar year.
  • I always love seeing Felton get torched Steph Curry play, so naturally I’m excited for the Feb 28 Knicks-Warriors matchup at MSG, as well as March 30 at Oracle.
  • In April, the Knicks play Brooklyn twice, Chicago once and Miami once. Given how close the records of seeds 2-5 in the Eastern Conference project to be, these should be incredibly important games for New York.

I’m going to go get a cheeseburger now. Goodbye!

Knicks Reach Agreement to Sign Metta World Peace

Knicks Reach Agreement to Sign Metta World Peace

It needed to happen. Everyone wanted it to happen. It happened. The man formerly known as Ron Artest, Metta World Peace, is now a New York Knickerbocker. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reported first that the Knicks had reached a 2 year agreement with World Peace, and it has been reported by others that the second year of the deal is a player option. New York used the second half of their mid-level exception (the other half used on Pablo Prigioni) to sign World Peace. Make no mistake, World Peace is not the player he once was, but he’s still an excellent fit for the Knicks.

The best part of this signing is the lineup versatility MWP brings to the table. In addition to playing the 3, he can play the 4 in super small lineups sans Carmelo Anthony. World Peace played some small-ball 4 in Mike D’Antoni’s offense last season, so he has experience playing different positions. He’s also a near-perfect fit next to Anthony – something the Knicks didn’t totally have last season.

Defensively, he can guard 4s that Anthony doesn’t want to, as well as most 3s. According to Synergy, opposing post up players scored just 0.75 points per possession against MWP. In an era where most traditional 4s are going by the wayside, the 260 lb World Peace will be just fine defending bigger guys. More

Summer League Recap: Pelicans 77 Knicks 72

Summer League Recap: Pelicans 77 Knicks 72

The Knicks lost 77-72 to the Pellies (stolen from Zach Lowe) today at UNLV in Las Vegas. Mike Woodson’s hat game was on point as he sat in the stands with Glen Grunwald, a man who hasn’t gotten a haircut in a while. Jim Todd and his wonderful accent coached the team today – unfortunately, he wasn’t interviewed. There isn’t much to take from summer league games, so I don’t have a ton of notes for you today. However, there are some interesting prospects that will be relevant later on in the process, so I mainly paid attention to them.

  • Shumpert. Is. Not. A. Point. Guard. I’m all for developing his point guard skills – ball handling, creating off the dribble, distributing – but come meaningful hoops, he should be playing strictly off the ball. As we’ve seen in regular season action (remember that game in Memphis when Shumpert played point and was like 0-45 shooting at halftime?), Shumpert was ineffective running the point today. He had a nice lob to Tim Hardaway Jr and another good lob to Jeremy Tyler (I think it was Jeremy Tyler), but overall he wasn’t very good. He can’t really create anything in the pick and roll, nor can he create clean looks for himself off the dribble. These are skills he’ll need to develop as his career progresses. Again, you can’t take much from summer league games – hell, Renaldo Balkman looked like god in the 2006 LVSL – but I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Shumpert isn’t a point. More
Takes From the Last Week in Free Agency

Takes From the Last Week in Free Agency

I haven’t had a chance to get on here and blog about some of the recent happenings in the last few days of free agency. Here are my takes on some of the most interesting developments from around the league:

  • JJ Redick, Jared Dudley to the Clippers, Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler to the Suns, picks to Milwaukee. I love this trade for the Clippers and Suns. LA gets back two of the league’s better perimeter shooters, on good contracts, to put around Chris Paul in a new Doc Rivers/Alvin Gentry run offense. Both guys are good team defenders as well, making them both upgrades over the severely one-dimensional Jamal Crawford. Crawford’s ball handling abilities will still have value, but Redick and Dudley are both better fits (and players) next to Chris Paul. From Phoenix’s standpoint, they acquire one of the prized young assets in the league right now. Just about every team with a need at point guard was rumored to be going after Bledsoe at one point or another, but Phoenix is the team that gets him – and they didn’t give up that much. Jared Dudley is a good player, but at age 27 he’s not an ideal player for a rebuilding team. The question now for Phoenix is if they move Goran Dragic or play him and Bledsoe together. In 185 minutes last season, the Clippers were a +11.1 NET-RTG with Bledsoe and Paul on the court together, so it’s clear that Bledsoe can succeed in a 2 point guard alignment. The issue will be with Dragic, who is a much better player with the ball in his hands and who has struggled to play shooting guard in two point guard sets. Milwaukee was the loser of this trade, but not for the trade itself. Losing JJ Redick for second round picks isn’t ideal, but they were going to lose him anyways and did well to at least get minor assets for him. The problem was acquiring Redick in the first place. They parted ways with Tobias Harris, who was impressive late in the season, to get Redick for their meaningless playoff run that ended with a first round shellacking at the hands of the Miami Heat. I hated the trade then, and I don’t like it now. More