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
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
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!
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.
Going into last Thursday, many expected C.J. Leslie to be among the select few to hear their name called on draft night. The wiry combo forward’s basketball skill was still deemed raw by NBA scouts after a disappointing year for NC State, but Leslie’s physical tools were impossible to ignore. Besides, after supposedly receiving a promise from a team in the second round, he seemed a lock to be chosen. Either way, when Latvia’s Janis Timma came off the board to the Memphis Grizzlies with the 60th and final pick to conclude the event, Leslie found himself as a man without a team; probably near a silent phone and pondering life as an undrafted rookie in the NBA.
Prior to draft night, the Knicks, who selected Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th pick, were reportedly looking into making a deal for a second round pick. In a draft where talents such as Jeff Withey, Nate Wolters, and Tony Mitchell slid out of the first round, a second rounder would have been percious, but GM Glen Grunwald couldn’t get anyone to bite. Still in need of help at the forward position, Grunwald extended his hand to Leslie, signing him to the team and adding him to this year’s Summer League roster.
At 6-9, 209 pounds, the first thing you notice about Leslie is his athleticism. His 7′ 2.25″ wingspan is an awesome tool, and in combination with his explosive leaping ability, recorded a 12′ 1″ max reach vertical; the highest of any participant in 2013 Pre-Draft Combine. To put that in perspective, he can essentially reach the space in-between the white rectangle behind the rim and the top of the backboard. He’s also remarkably fast, as he completed the Combine agility drill in 10.19 seconds, also the best of the event. He even finished second in the three-quarter sprint with a time of 3.10 seconds, just behind Shane Larkin’s 3.08 seconds. More
As the focus around New York Knicks basketball is quickly shifting from a disappointing 2013 to “now what?” in 2014, let us take a breather from the Knick-less NBA Conference Finals to discuss our promising young friend, Iman Shumpert, and his future. Late last week, ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling tweeted that the team could be using Shumpert at point guard some next season, and he’ll be working to improve his skills there this summer.
With one or both of Pablo Prigioni and Jason Kidd possibly walking away from New York before next year, the Knicks definitely have a need at the point guard position behind Raymond Felton. After watching Shumpert used almost exclusively as a wing in 2013, Zwerling’s tweets came as a bit of a shock. But the news isn’t completely out of nowhere. More
Guest post written by Tony Lombardo (@TweetKnick)
This is a hopefully brief look at the Knicks salary situation going into this offseason and what kinds of moves they can and can not make to improve the team. First, let’s look at the players already on the roster for next year:
||1 + 1 year player option
||2 + 1 year player option
||2 + 1 year team option
|First Round Draft Pick
||3 + 1 year team option
The Knicks have $74,469,105 committed to eight players plus their first round draft pick on guaranteed contracts for next year. Barring trade or retirement, these are numbers we can lock in. We’ll get to how trades or retirements could impact the team in a bit. First, let’s look at other relevant salary numbers for the off-season. More
A look at the Knicks situation moving forward
The curtain fell on the 2012-2013 New York Knicks season Saturday night in Indiana and moving forward, the team has a plethora of questions surrounding it’s future. By most accounts, this team overachieved this season. Most intelligent entities pegged the team as a 45-51 win team that might squeeze out a top 3 seed. Not a contender. They won 54 games, a division title, and defeated the rival Celtics in the first round of the playoffs. New York still ended up not being a contender, but they were better than most people (myself included) believed they would be. More
Tyson is awesome, but was he deserving of such a high accolade?
Earlier today, Knicks center Tyson Chandler was named NBA first team All-Defense. Chandler is one of the best defenders in the league, as well as one of the game’s top centers. However, his injury riddled season combined with an iffy Knicks defensive scheme resulted in Chandler being much less effective this season than in his 2011 Defensive Player of the Year campaign. When he won that award last season, he was voted second team All-Defense. This years winner, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, finds himself in the same circumstance. The simple and likely explanation for this is that the coaches are always a year behind in these awards/accolades. Next year, Gasol will replace Chandler on the first team All-Defense.