Quasi-elbowing that was considered a real elbowing, a proclaimed funeral that was actually a near-death experience, clubbing excessively (not seals), Twitter ranting, and the like; J.R Smith has never been the same on the court. The inefficient Sixth Man of The Year in the playoffs as of recent has been worrisome. It’s at a point where people prefer him to be on the bench rather than on the court, so people’s eyes could be saved from the hydrochloric acid being poured into their eyes that is the ghastly shooting percentages posted ever since he came back from his quasi-Bill Cartwright elbow incident on Jason Terry. Of course, it’s J.R in a nutshell; his cool shooting performances resulted in a playoff homecoming of “Bad J.R,” and playoffs “Good J.R” is still nowhere to be found. Let’s take a look at his recent shooting percentages: More
I have no issues with JR winning this award as I would’ve voted for him if I had a ballot. My mock ballot looked like this:
1. JR Smith
2. Ryan Anderson
3. Matt Barnes
4. Jarrett Jack
5. Jamal Crawford.
Winning 6MOY has become an award about wing scorers, and JR certainly would fit into that category, but that isn’t why I think he’s deserving of winning. If you looked at the majority of this season, he was largely inefficient shooting the ball (remember the ridiculous JR for all-star campaign?). Over the last month and a half, he’s been fantastic, but the season isn’t comprised of just it’s last month and a half. If this was an award about efficient scoring, Ryan Anderson is my runaway winner. But it’s not. More
It feels right that the Knicks will have to go through the Celtics on the road back to NBA prominence. Though the Knicks won 54 games, this season means absolutely nothing if they flame out in the first round of the playoffs. The Celtics may not be the the same dominant force we’ve seen been in recent memory, but they are certainly not a team to take likely. We’ve seen unlikely playoff runs before from Doc Rivers’ group in the past, and with the third ranked defensive in basketball another deep run is certainly possible. With all the chaos and tragedy that struck the state of Massachusetts over the last week, you know the Celtics are going to come out fired up and ready to play. All that being said, the Knicks are the much better team and should win this series handily.
Mike Woodson has been a very pleasant surprise this season – re-inventing his previously ball-sticky isolation oriented offense into a spread pick and roll attack that finished third in the NBA in offensive efficiency thus inserting himself into the conversation for coach of the year. Carmelo Anthony had the best season of his career after a wildly disappointing 2011 campaign. JR Smith is going to win Sixth Man of the Year, having transformed himself from an inconsistent long range gunner to an efficient multi-faceted scorer over the last two months of the season. This was the best Knicks season I’ve seen in my basketball watching lifetime, and it’s not close. It’s time for them to take the next step. More
Rejoice!! Not only are the Knicks headed to the playoffs but they wrapped up the Atlantic Division and the 2 seed in the East!! If you had told me in September that the season would play out this way, I would have assumed you were the devil and were interested in attaining my soul. Undoubtedly, the Knicks had a season to celebrate. And on top of that celebration, we also had the NBA’s scoring champion (congrats Melo!) and the potential (probable?) 6th Man of the Year.
Allow me to take a trip back to the previously alluded to past September before the 2012-13 NBA season started, back in the days when many believed the Lakers to be a potential 70 win team and the Andrew Bynum acquisition was a steal for the 76ers, Jonathan Abrams wrote a piece (link to JR Grantland article) about that potential 6th Man of the Year, one Earl Smith III, a.k.a. J.R. Smith, for Grantland. In this article, Abramsʼ general thesis questions J.R.ʼs erratic nature and whether or not it is a function of him being misguided or is it simply a case of J.R. being misunderstood by fans, coaches, teammates, and anyone else even remotely associated with the NBA. While Abrams did a phenomenal job, what he did not stress enough is what J.R. Smith truly has been over the course of his 9 seasons: frustrating. Frustrating to his teammates. Frustrating for his coaches (see Karl, George). But mostly, he has been frustrating to the fans of the teams that have employed him through the years. But that changed this season…potentially? More
All-NBA Team discussions are always fun this time of year so I thought I’d chip in and put mine up here with a little bit of justification for each. Let me know if you agree/disagree with my selections.
G – Chris Paul
G – Russell Westbrook
F – LeBron James
F – Kevin Durant
C – Marc Gasol
The two spots for debate here are Westbrook’s guard spot and the center spot. More
In an effort to add players who aren’t broken and can actually play, the Knicks will sign forward James Singleton (no, not the guy we passed up for Shumpert in the draft) and release the injured Kurt Thomas. The only thing I knew about Singleton prior to writing this post is that his name was James Singleton. I’d heard of him a few times, but couldn’t recall having seen him play. I read around the inter-webs for information and here’s what I came up with:
Singleton stands 6’8 230 pounds and is a forward. He seems positionally versatile due to his size, so I could see him playing multiple positions with the Knicks. Because the Knicks have zero healthy big men, he’ll play power-forward primarily and probably some center too. Basketball-reference had him listed as a power-forward for the Wizards last year. In 12 games with Washington last season, Singleton played well. His TS% was .60 and he recorded a PER of 19.6. Small sample size definitely applies, but I like this guy. I took to Synergy to watch some film on him and I like what I saw. More
All season, despite the media narrative of the Knicks being a defense oriented team, New York’s elite offense has been the catalyst for it’s success. The Knicks score 108.2 points per 100 possessions, a mark that ranks third in the NBA behind only Miami and Oklahoma City. However, the defense has been woefully average all season. New York gives up 103.1 points per 100 possessions, good for 16th in the league behind Minnesota, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Golden State.
On Wednesday night’s Knicks-Hawks ESPN broadcast, the insufferable Jon Barry said something that spurred me to go look at the stats. He incorrectly spoke about how the Knicks defense has been the difference during the winning streak. Having watched the games, I didn’t think the Knicks were that much better defensively. They’ve had a few great performances (Utah, Boston) and a few not so great performances (Memphis, Charlotte). As I figured, and par the usual, Barry was completely wrong. More
Having beaten down the Boston Celtics twice in the last week, including a 108-89 laugher last night, New York’s playoff prospects look quite good in the event that the two teams meet in the first round. Without notorious Knick killer Rajon Rondo in the fold, Boston doesn’t look to be a team that matches up well with the Knicks. Granted, Boston lost to New York without the invaluable Kevin Garnett, but the Knicks have been playing without the equally as invaluable Tyson Chandler. Without Rondo, Chandler and Garnett in the fold, the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony is both the best player on either team and a matchup nightmare for the Celtics. Without Boston having any rim protectors and Green being an average defender, Anthony was able to muck things up for Boston’s defense in the past two games. His jump shot wasn’t hot, but he was able to get to the rim, grabbing offensive boards and causing havoc in the paint. More
Look, I know that Kenyon Martin has only played 13 games with the Knicks, but recently, he has been a valuable piece to the Knicks bench. It wasn’t fair to adjudge the way K-Mart played during his first 10 day tenure because he got little to no playing time. He only played one game during his first 10 day deal, and was on the floor for just under 5 minutes, the game being Stephen Curry’s 54 point explosion at MSG. The second 10 day deal was pretty much the same, except, he actually got playing time, but again, in only one game. K-Mart made his legitimate Knicks debut against the Thunder and pulled a Bill Walker by fouling out in 17 minutes of run, four of those fouls being in a very short span. But at the same time, if it wasn’t for him defending Kevin Durant, defending as in bear hugging him or smacking the crap out of him, the Knicks wouldn’t have been in that game. Then, K-Mart was signed for the remainder of the season, and as of now, it has turned out to be a great move. More
Instead of recapping last night’s blowout win over Toronto, I thought I’d take a look at the 14 remaining games on New York’s schedule. The Knicks currently sit at 42-26, and while catching Miami is out of the question, winning 50 games this season is not. However, the road to 50 is a difficult one. Here is the Knicks remaining schedule:
Only four remaining games will be played against sub .500 teams, Charlotte twice, Cleveland, and Washington. And two of those four games are on the road. Assuming the Knicks win all four of those games, they’d only have to win four of the other ten to get to 50 wins. Although the Knicks have been good against bad teams this year, it’s far from a sure thing that they’ll win all four. For the sake of discussion here, let’s say the Knicks win three out of the four. More