About Taylor Armosino

Taylor Armosino is a Business major at the University of Arizona. He loves the Knicks, Raiders and A's, but mostly the Knicks. He also writes at KnicksNow.com, Saving the Skyhook, and Charged.fm. Email him taylorarmosino@yahoo.com. Follow him @tarmosino

Posts by Taylor Armosino:

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

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

Meloship of the Ring Podcast Episode 3, Featuring Chris Herring

Dan (@TheDanstein) and I sat down with the esteemed Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) of the Wall Street Journal to discuss Tim Hardaway Jr, the Andrea Bargnani trade, JR Smith’s situation, and the rest of the Knicks free agency affairs.

Follow Taylor on Twitter @tarmosino

Andrea Bargnani Roundtable

Andrea Bargnani Roundtable

The Knicks made a surprising trade with the Raptors. We discuss it here
1. What are the Knicks getting in Andrea Bargnani?
  • Taylor Armosino (@tarmosino): A 7-footer that hasn’t shot well in three seasons, can’t defend or rebound, and is injury prone. Statistics aren’t a skill, rather the result of a skill, but the numbers on Bargnani are scary bad. There’s no denying that he has the ability to shoot from three, but he hasn’t been good at it for a while now. Since shooting 40.9% from three in 2008-2009, his three point percentage has rapidly declined, topping off at 29.6% and 30.9% each of the past two seasons. If he isn’t able to be an above-average shooter, he’s a minus-minus (or minus x2) player. He can’t rebound a lick, can’t defend a lick and takes tough shots.
  • John Gunther (@EmbraceAnalytix): A restoration project and a lot of questions. The hope is that the Knicks are getting the floor spacing, scoring big man that Bargnani was from 2008 through 2011. A volume scorer to help ease the burden off Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith (if he returns). In reality, that Bargnani has not really existed the past two seasons. He averaged 21.4 PPG in 2010-11 while shooting 34.5% from 3P with a 44.4% 3FG%.  But his long distance shooting has plummeted consistently since he shot 40.9% in ’08-09, down all the way to 29.6% and 30.9% the past two seasons. Accordingly, his eFG% has come down as well. As his efficiency has decreased and his scoring tapered off, he suddenly became the bane Raptors fans existence so much so that Bryan Colangelo was publicly shopping him at the trade deadline. All this has left the Knicks to acquire Bargnani as a “fixer-upper.” Is he still a “floor spacer” despite his noticeable drop off in 3P%? Could a change of scenery bring him back to his previous self? Is his previous self (scoring yes, but Bargnani has consistently rebounded at a historically low rate for a 7 footer) even the type of player the Knicks really need? Time will tell.
  • Brandon Rushie (@Ayo_Rush): The optimist in me says we’ve just added a 7-footer with a pretty set shot who can contribute in the pick and pop and can draw rim protectors away from the paint. His presence will generally improve spacing for a team that loves to stretch the floor and shoot the three. Andrea clearly crumbled trying to shoulder the weight of being “the guy” in Toronto, but in New York he’d be a 2nd/3rd option, and probably playing no more than 20-22 minutes a game. The wary Knick fan in me is disgusted at the fact we just gave up three picks to get rid of two bad contracts, and received a disappointing one-way player who was reportedly on the verge of being amnestied. He’s an atrocious rebounder for his size and a sub-par defender, compounding two of our biggest weaknesses, and comes with durability concerns – having only played 66 games over the past two seasons.
  • John Dorn (@JSDorn6): The Knicks are getting something they already have too many of: a one-way player. Sure, they needed a big. But they needed a big that can help on the glass and that can defend. Bargnani, in 7 seasons, hasn’t proven that he can do either. He’s an offensive center whose offensive game isn’t good enough to justify that label. Spot-up three shooters didn’t last in Woodson’s system last year, and there’s no reason to believe they will any time soon. Overall, Bargnani is a decent scorer, who scores in ways the Knicks don’t need.
  • James Griffo: (@J_Griff): To be exact, the Knicks are getting a stretch-four/stretch five floor spacer in Bargnani. But something that is very important in a stretch-four/stretch five is that the player is capable of hitting perimeter and mid-range jumpers, hence the rudimentary floor spacing skill, which is something Bargnani can’t do. He’s an average-to-mediocre-to-subpar shooter. Combine that with also being a poor rebounder and injury-plagued for the past two seasons.

More

The Knicks Draft Tim Hardaway Jr 24th Overall

The Knicks Draft Tim Hardaway Jr 24th Overall

I don’t love this pick. I don’t love this pick because a) I don’t like the player and b) there were players I liked who were still on the board. The Knicks should’ve taken Reggie Bullock from North Carolina, who went 25th to the Clippers, but I digress.

When the pick was announced, my first thought was “WHAT THE F***!?!”. My second thought was that this is probably insurance in the event that JR Smith walks in free agency. Alan Hahn shared this thought as well:

Screen Shot 2013-06-27 at 7.34.38 PM

Hardaway Jr. is in no way as good or better than JR Smith, so it’s not like the Knicks can just let Smith go. Hardaway is athletic and does have some ability, but he’s incredibly inconsistent and doesn’t have the ball handling ability that Smith has. He’s far from a finished product at this point. More

2013 Mock Draft

2013 Mock Draft

Hey the draft is tonight! I put together a mock draft of what might happen tonight, though each pick is probably incorrect.

1. Cleveland – Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky. Though the Cavs have a void at small forward, I think they dip into their $22 million in cap space to fill that spot. I think Noel is going to be an absolute superstar on defense, though he’ll be a project in the short term. Coming off an ACL injury, Noel probably won’t be ready to play until late December, which works out for a Cavs team that would benefit from being in the lottery again next year. They’ll ultimately try and trade out of this pick, but I think they’ll ultimately be unable to move it and they’ll take Noel.

2. Orlando – Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana. The Magic will take Noel if he falls, but their pick is up in the air if he doesn’t. I think ultimately they’ll be deciding between Ben McLemore and Oladipo. Oladipo is a better prospect and I think his defense and motor win out over McLemore’s shooting stroke.

3. Washington – Otto Porter, F, Georgetown. I think the most often used comparison of Tayshaun Prince is right on. Like Prince, Porter is a long wing who understands floor spacing well. The biggest question mark with him is whether he does any single thing at an elite level. Nonetheless, I think the presence of guards John Wall and Bradley Beal, guys who can break down a defense, will help Porter get open looks as a floor spacing wing.

4. Charlotte – Ben McLemore, G, Kansas. The choice is between McLemore, Cody Zeller and Alex Len, and all three of those picks make sense here, but I think they go McLemore. They can either start him alongside Kemba Walker or bring him off the bench in a scoring role, and his outside shooting stroke is something they could definitely use – they were the 4th worst team in 3PT% last season.

5. Phoenix – Alex Len, C, Maryland. If Len’s here, he seems like the obvious choice for Phoenix. He has medical question marks, but there’s no better training staff in the league than Phoenix’s. With Gortat in the last year of his deal, it makes sense to have Len as the heir apparent. He’s high risk, but has Hibbert like potential defensively. In this draft, I think that’s a gamble worth taking at 5.

6. New Orleans – Trey Burke, PG, Michigan. With Burke, CJ McCollum, and Michael Carter-Williams all still on the board, there are three legit point guards deserving of being taken here. I think the Pelicans go with Burke. The national player of the year brings New Orleans a scorer with legit three point range that can push the ball in transition. If Eric Gordon forces his way elsewhere, they’ll need somebody to pick up the scoring. Also, Burke in the pick and roll with Anthony Davis could be lethal.

7. Sacramento  - CJ McCollum, PG, Lehigh. McCollum is one of my favorite prospects in this class. Not only is he a true student of the game and articulate, but he really can play. Sacramento needs a guard who can shoot the ball, and McCollum certainly fits that role. With the roster as is, he’d probably play off the ball quite a bit. However, I think the new regime will/should blow up that roster. He’ll be a good player for a rebuilding franchise. He’ll work hard, be coachable and contribute on the court.

8. Detroit – Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse. With Brandon Knight looking like more of an undersized 2 than a point guard, I think the Pistons grab Carter-Williams. At 6’6, he’ll provide good size at the position, and he’s more of a pure point than a scorer.

9. Minnesota – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia. I think Pope is the obvious choice here for Minnesota. He can’t create his own shot, nor shoot mid-range, but he does pretty much everything else well. I like him as an off-ball shooter next to Rubio, who will be handling the ball the majority of the time anyways.

10. Portland – Cody Zeller, C, Indiana. With all three point guards and Caldwell-Pope off the board, I think the Blazers bolster their front court with Zeller. With Meyers Leonard already there, Portland would have a young and exciting duo at center.

11. Philadelphia – Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV. Bennett has great potential as a dynamic 4 who can step out and shoot the three. He’s super athletic and can score inside as well. Philadelphia needs more impact players alongside Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young, and Evan Turner. Bennett can be that.

12. Oklahoma City – Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh. Oklahoma City gets a very good value pick here. Adams is raw on offense, but has ridiculous defensive upside as a 7 footer with 7’3 wingspan. He’s not there yet, but Oklahoma City is in as good a position as any to be patient with young players.

13. Dallas – Sergey Karasev, F, Russia. The Mavs have been trying to move this pick for cash. If they can’t, I think they get a draft-and-stash guy. I’m giving them Karasev. He’s a guard who can play multiple positions and has a high basketball IQ. He just feels like a player Rick Carslile would be able to get good production out of, whenever he comes over to the NBA.

14. Utah – Shane Larkin, PG, Miami. Utah has needs at point guard and PF/C with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson being free agents. I think they address point guard here and go big with their pick at 21.

15. Milwaukee – Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany. With Larkin off the board, I think Milwaukee has to jump on the next best point guard. Schroeder has been lauded as the next Rajon Rondo, except that he can actually spot up and make shots. He’ll be a good fit with new coach Larry Drew.

16. Boston – Shabazz Muhammad, F, UCLA. Paul Pierce appears to be headed to Brooklyn, leaving a void at small forward. I think Muhammad has been scrutinized to the point of where he’s now underrated. Boston gets a good value pick here.

17. Atlanta – Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Greece. Multiple reports say the Hawks love this guy, and it makes sense. His reputation suggests he’s a point forward type who can handle the ball and pass well. With coach Mike Budenholzer coming over from the Spurs, it makes sense he’d like a guy like this.

18. Atlanta – Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil. Al Horford is a one of the best centers in basketball, but the Hawks get a bigger, shot blocking center they can bring off the bench. Nogueira is raw offensively, but has great potential as a shot blocker.

19. Cleveland – Reggie Bullock, F, North Carolina. Knicks fans weep as Bullock comes off the board here. He just makes too much sense for the Cavs, given what they need.

20. Chicago – Gorgui Dieng, C, Lousiville. Given his defensive prowess and ability to pass, I think Dieng fits in nicely as a backup center in both Tom Thibodeau’s offense and defensive systems.

21. Utah – Jeff Withey, C, Kansas. Al Jefferson is probably gone in free agency. Utah replaces him with the gigantic Withey, a big who has high upside defensively.

22. Brooklyn – Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga. Olynyk has good size and a versatile game. If he develops, he and Brook Lopez could be a very formidable front court.

23. Indiana – Isaiah Canaan, PG, Murray State. Indiana gets a fantastic pick here. They need a point guard that can score, which is exactly what Canaan is. He’s not a great distributor, but Indiana runs much of it’s offense through the post anyways. He’s a good fit here.

24. New York – Tony Snell, F, New Mexico. A 3 and D SG/SF, Snell fits in nicely with the Knicks. Part of New York’s problem is that they have too many one dimensional players – Novak, STAT, Melo, Felton. They need more guys like Shumpert who can contribute on both ends of the court and I think Snell can be that. He can’t dribble much or create his own shot, but he’s a guy who is an excellent spot up shooter, as well as a good defender with NBA athleticism and length.

25. Los Angeles Clippers – Tim Hardaway Jr, SG, Michigan. Hardaway gives Doc Rivers and Alvin Gentry yet another offensive weapon to an already dominant offense.

26. Minnesota – Rudy Gobert, C, France. I think this pick comes down to Gobert or Allen Crabbe from Cal. Minnesota could easily add Crabbe to bolster their non-existent shooting even more, but they got Caldwell-Pope at 9 and I think they grab the 7-2 center from France.

27. Denver – Allen Crabbe, G, Cal. Another team that needs outside shooting, the Nuggets snag Crabbe. He’s got good size and length and will allow them to continue to play versatile lineups with all the wings they have.

28. San Antonio – Mason Plumlee, C, Duke. San Antonio needs size and might lose Tiago Splitter in free agency. I think Plumlee is a good fit here.

29. Oklahoma City – Jamaal Franklin, G, SDSU. They need to find a replacement for James Harden. Franklin can’t shoot, but he’s incredibly athletic and gets himself to the foul line. Without Russell Westbrook, OKC was unable to breakdown defenses with anyone other than Durant. Franklin gives them a guy who can do that.

30. Phoenix – Lorenzo Brown, G, NC State. Phoenix takes the best player left on the board. They’d probably think about Ricky Ledo here, but his off-court question marks might scare the Suns away – they don’t exactly have a sound veteran locker room in place.