Management

Why Giving Mike Woodson an Extension Now Would be Asinine

Earlier today, the New York Knicks lifted the interm tag from Glen Grundwald’s title. Grunwald was promoted to executive vice president and general manager. I think the move was necessary and warranted. In my opinion, Grunwald has done a good job with this team. He struck lightening with Jeremy Lin and he’s done well to bring Steve Novak, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler to the team this season. Well deserved, Glen Grundwald, well deserved.

Today, on his ESPN New York radio show, Stephen A Smith went on a spirited rant about how the Knicks should follow up Grunwald’s promotion by giving one to interm coach, Mike Woodson. In my opinion, it would be completely asinine for the Knicks to extend Woodson’s contract before the season ends. Here is why I say that. More

Recap: Knicks 113 Hawks 112

BOX SCORE

What a wild game for the Knicks against Atlanta.  With Tyson Chandler sitting this one out for rest, there was not a lot of defense on either side played in this one.

With Chandler out, Amar’e played the 5 and Melo moved back to the 4 where he has been on such a tear.  Landry Fields moved back into the starting lineup at the 3 spot.

The Knicks shut some people up about Melo and Amar’e not being able to play together for at least a few days. At least on the offensive side of the ball anyway.  Melo got lots of touches while also getting Amar’e involved on the pick and roll.

Melo finished with 32 points on 14-32 shooting to go along with 10 boards.  Amar’e was very aggressive and showing that quick burst that makes him so effective.  He also featured his spin move off the dribble in the post.  Amar’e finished with 22 points on 9-13 shooting with 12 rebounds.

The big difference in this game was there was a lot more going to the basket and less jumpshots.  The jumpshots they did take were quality shots (12-19) from 3.  The Hawks were equally as effective from the three point line shooting 15-23 from distance.

The most encouraging thing about the three point shooting was everyone not named JR Smith and Steve Novak contributed from the outside. Baron Davis, Melo, and Landry Fields all contributed 3 treys apiece.  Novak and JR had 1 apiece.

Landry Fields, who has struggled mightily with his jumpshot this season, was 3-3 in the third quarter from three.  The best part was there was no hesitation and there seemed to be more arc than he has had (which had been very little). He finished with 18 points on 7-8 shooting overall.

Baron Davis, coming back after a couple games off, was pretty effective although he still had a couple careless BD turnovers.  He was penetrating effectively and hit open three point shots as he was 3-4 from distance.  He had a nice penetrating move in the 3rd quarter and dished it to Amar’e for the jam.  The Knicks need him to take care of the basketball when playoff time comes.

The most important thing I take away from this game, besides the fact that Amar’e looks pretty healthy, is the Knicks didn’t fall in love with the 3 point shot.  They were shooting it well, but didn’t let that steer them into taking an inordinate amount of them.  They had pick and roll with Amar’e as well as Melo on the low block a couple times.

I would really like the Knicks to feature Melo on the low block a lot more as this either leads to more higher percentage shots, getting to the foul line, or double teams which help facilitate ball movement out of the double team.  I would like to see more of this in lieu of Melo getting it on the wing where there is no chance of ball movement.

I understand that Melo is going to get his isos on the wing, but I think a higher percentage of low block post ups are in order.  The benefits of this, of course, are getting more free throw attempts.  More fouls leads to the opposing team getting into the penalty quicker which leads to more free throw attempts for non-shooting fouls.

Now onto Amar’e’s defense or lack thereof.  Watching this game, you see that Amar’e doesn’t really seem to know how to play defense.  He lets the same quickness that he uses on the offensive end become a liability on the defensive end.  He tends to jump at defenders instead of simply staying in front of them.

Textbook example of this was when Josh Smith had Amar’e matched up with him, and Amar’e is jumping at Smith crowding him and overplaying him.  A big part of defense is reading the scouting report, and the scouting report on Josh Smith is make him shoot jumpers.  Josh Smith likes to take jumpers all too much, ask Mike Woodson.  All Amar’e has to do is stay in front of him, and if he makes a jumper so be it.  Playing defense is about playing the percentages.

When you are going against the best athletes in the world, all that offensive player needs is the defender leaning in the right direction.  Amar’e needs to stay balanced and in front of his man.  It is this overplaying and getting right up on his man that leads to players blowing right by him.

There were a lot of good things in this game from an offensive standpoint, although it is hard to put too much stock into it beings there was very little defense played.

I have mixed feelings about Chandler sitting out.  While it is good obviously for the big man to get some rest before the playoffs, does it help to have Amar’e at the 5 and Melo at the 4 if that’s not the lineup you are going to have in the playoffs?  With the spacing, you risk having to make even more adjustments.  Now if you just wanted to have Amar’e to get a solid game under his belt with Melo, then I can see it.  However, I have read some reports that the Knicks may shut Tyson down for the last 2 games.  I don’t like the idea of the Knicks waiting until the playoffs to get the offense working with these 3 on the floor at the same time.

One last note, I would have like to see Dan Gadzuric get some minutes especially with Chandler sitting out to see if he could contribute.  As seen by today’s game, the Knick defense leaks like a sieve when Tyson doesn’t play.

Knicks-Hawks: What to Watch For

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVKAHF0Q8jM]

The Knicks are heading to Atlanta on Sunday for their last regular-season bout with the Hawks. So far this season the two teams have split their two matchups, with the Knicks winning the first meeting by 17 and losing the second one by 10. The Knicks will be looking to bounce back after their pathetic (and I’m being quite generous) effort in the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers which also marked Amare Stoudemire’s return to the team. The chemistry between Melo and STAT picked up right where it left off, nonexistent. This game is an opportunity for the Knicks to right the ship against a very formidable Hawks team.

Here’s what to watch for: More

Melo-D’Antoni Deeper Than It Seems

We are back to where we always are with this year’s version of the New York Knicks, examining Carmelo Anthony.  Outside of a couple week excursion to Linsanity everything has been about Melo, sometimes fair and other times not.

This current situation is in regards to quotes Melo had after practice on Monday that are outlined in this column by Jamie O’Grady   http://knicks.lohudblogs.com/2012/03/20/melo-keepin-it-real-real-transparent/.

On the surface it’s a simple, cut and dry situation. Carmelo Anthony didn’t play hard under Coach D’Antoni, he should be castrated. If this is the opinion you have its completely fair and difficult to argue. More

Spreecast: What Role Does Jeremy Lin’s Race Play in Linsanity?

Last week, I had the honor of jumping on Spreecast with ESPN’s Ros Gold-Onwude to discuss the role that Jeremy Lin’s race plays in the “Linsanity” craze. Here is the link to the Spreecast (I am having trouble embedding the spreecast onto this site at the moment):

http://www.spreecast.com/events/linsanityandrace/embed-medium-520

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Notes From Knicks 91-88 Loss to Phoenix

In a disgustingly bad game to watch, the Knicks lost to the Suns 91-88. Chandler, Fields and Shumpert were good tonight. Everyone else sucked.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • The Knicks need to stop switching on defense. Phoenix had an advantage offensively all night due to the constant Knick defenders switching on picks. Robin Lopez would have had 30 tonight if he didn’t fucking suck. There was a stretch in the game where he was posted up on a guard about 6 times and he only scored once. Nash was often guarded by Tyson Chandler and Josh Harrellson on the perimeter. I don’t know what Woodson is doing with this defense. They have played better and the defense hasn’t been the problem so far but this defense could be so much better without the switches. There is no reason why the Knicks must always switch a big man onto a point guard. In emergency situations, the switch is acceptable but this team does it on every single screen. The defense was adequate tonight but the switches really did hurt the Knicks.
  • Stoudemire’s jump shot is still ice cold. I thought that tonight could be a turning point for Stoudemire’s season. I thought he would come out guns blazing and play lights out. I was wrong. Sort of. He was better tonight then he has been, scoring 23 points on 7/22 shooting, but his jump shot was still off. He did improve at finishing at the rim tonight but he got nothing from his perimeter game. His mid-range game is nonexistent right now and it hurts his game. Defenders are sagging off Stoudemire thus hurting his ability to drive to the rim. As a result to the cushion being given by defenders, Stoudemire picked up 2 bad offensive charges tonight.
  • Melo was awful tonight. I don’t know if it was the wrist injury or the personal matter that kept him from speaking to the media post game but Melo was dreadful tonight. He finished the game 5/22 with 12 points. While he did hit a big 3 late in the game, his head was just not in the game tonight. I don’t know if he was cold or if it was the personal matter but he was a non-factor tonight. While Stoudemire did not play well, I think the Knicks got enough production from him to win. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Anthony. The Knick star missed two big layups in the game that would have been big baskets in a close game. Obviously this will not be the norm for Anthony but his poor game really hurt the Knicks tonight.
  • Landry Fields came alive tonight. The beleaguered second year shooting guard from Stanford finally showed flashes of  being the productive rookie Knick fans came to love last season. Fields put in 17 points on 6/12 shooting. While he was scoreless from downtown, Fields’ nifty offensive game kept the Knicks afloat in the second half. Defensively I thought he was solid and he picked up 6 rebounds. Fields must continue to string solid games together and help this team get back on track.
  • Iman Shumpert played a phenomenal game tonight. Despite his air ball at the end of the game, Shumpert played one of his best games as a Knick. He held his own against Steve Nash and played a great offensive game. More impressive than his 20 points on 8/14 shooting were his 4 steals. His energy was great as always and he hit some clutch shots down the stretch. It was a very nice game by Shumpert further solidifying his starting spot on the team.
  • Amar’e had a great transition block tonight only to lead by a missed three by Fields. I thought that sequence would have been a momentum changing play but the Knicks were unable to finish it off with a basket.
  • Douglas regressed from last game which did not help anything. The Knicks got a whopping 7 points out of their bench tonight.
  • Steve Novak saw no minutes again tonight. I think that is a mistake. For a team that cannot shoot 3′s to save its life, I think Novak could give the Knicks 2-3 key baskets a game coming off the bench.
  • Chandler was a beast once again with 17 rebounds. His defense really was good tonight. He probably would have had 20 rebounds if he wasn’t guarding Nash out at the 3 point line for a lot of the game…
  • Shannon Brown had 14 points for Phoenix. That sums up what kind of game it was.
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Jerome Jordan and Jeremy Lin Assigned to D-League

Today the Knicks assigned center Jerome Jordan and point guard Jeremy Lin to their NBA D-league affiliate Erie Bayhawks. This move however does not clear up roster spots for the Knicks so the notion of a future signing can be ruled out.

I think this was a case of the Knicks just trying to get Jordan and Lin more playing time because clearly they were not going to get any better sitting on the Knicks bench. I think Jordan can be a future contributor on this team. He showed some nice raw athleticism and I think he will vastly improve as he matures with more playing time. There aren’t many 7 footers around and I think Jordan has the potential to be a pretty good one. He’ll never be a star but I think he could definitely be a contributor coming off the bench and spot starting if needed. I am not as sold on Jeremy Lin. He has been good in the D-league before and was good for Harvard but he hasn’t shown me anything, in both Golden State and New York, that would indicate to me that he can be a contributor for the Knicks. He looked bad even in garbage minutes with the Knicks. Obviously he is very smart having gone to Harvard and so I do not rule out an NBA career for him. While I am not sold on him, there is no reason why he cannot be an Anthony Carter-esq 15th man on a roster next year. Brains will always give you an advantage in the NBA but I’m just not sold on whether Lin has the skill and athleticism to catch on to an NBA roster in the future.

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Stoudemire, Williams, Shumpert Working Out With Isiah?

Frank Isola, beat writer for the NY Daily News (and fellow Isiah conspiracist) reports via twitter that Amar’e Stoudemire, Iman Shumpert and Shawne Williams will not report to Knicks camp until next week. The reason for their delayed arrival: a few workouts at the college of Isiah.

I don’t think this is a huge deal but I hate hearing any deal of involvement of Knicks down at FIU. Obviously Isiah has to be involved in some capacity. I doubt he’s running a workout or anything like that but obviously he knows those players are there and they might be there because Isiah is there. Clearly Dolan and Isiah’s still have each other on speed dial. Isiah is clearly involved with the Knicks and their front office decisions. Stoudemire’s back problems, Williams’ free agency, Shumpert is the first round pick. Who better to get a look at them then the back room puppet Isiah Thomas? Any decision Dolan and Knicks hierarchy make will run through Isiah and will be checked off by Isiah. I wish this weren’t the case but unfortunately it is. Why else would an NBA front office legend like Donnie Walsh be dismissed after leading the team to their first playoff season since 2003? Intern GM Glen Grundwald has ties to Isiah. Clearly Dolan still has his fat fingers in the cookie jar (see Carmelo Anthony firesale). Despite the fact that Isiah and guitar Jim will try and screw this up, it is very hard to mess up a team with this much talent. Not saying they can’t do it, but it should be a bit harder. Donnie Walsh laid the foundation for a great team, lets see what Sonny and Cher can do with it.

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James Dolan the Rational Man?

According to Berman of the NY Post:

Knicks owner James Dolan is frustrated the lockout rages on and the club’s season opener tomorrow against the Heat at the Garden has been wiped out. But Dolan, part of the owners’ negotiating committee, is content about one of the agreed-upon aspects of a new collective bargaining agreement: the size of the salary cap will not go down.

More than any team in the NBA, that will benefit Dolan’s big-market Knicks the most, ironically.

According to multiple sources, one of the resolved issues in a new CBA is the 2011 salary cap will remain at the level as it was in 2010 — $58 million.

Ironically, Dolan has been seated across from Paul, who is the Knicks’ top priority, during many of the labor bargaining sessions because Paul is on the union’s negotiation committee.

According to a players source, Dolan has been the least combative of the owners and often serves as a mediator during contentious moments.

“He’s tried to keep the parties on point,’’ the source said. “He’s trying to make a deal, seeing a positive spin. He’s been, in a word, productive.’’

This does not surprise me in the least because Dolan is a strong business man. His basketball IQ and decision making are what I have always criticized but the man does know how to do business. This NBA labor dispute is a business, not a basketball, dispute. This is why a deal has yet to get done because emotions have interfered with rational decision making. Dolan is a smart business man and he clearly understands the economics of his team as it pertains to this lockout. He understands that his Knicks are one of the premier products the NBA has to offer. Dolan’s team is coming off its first playoff appearance since 2001, he has acquired two of the league’s superstars onto his roster, his team plays in the biggest market in the country and he has a new arena to unveil. No team has more to lose from a missed season than the New York Knicks. Dolan realizes this. He also realizes that by working to keep the cap at 58 million he will have enough money to sign one more max contract. Dolan is a business man. What will bring in more revenue than having 2 superstars on his team. Having 3. While I still question Dolan’s overall intelligence in terms of rational decision making (not trusting Donnie Walsh, trusting Isiah) and in terms of his basketball IQ (do you really need an example?), it has never been in question that Dolan is a strong business man. Therefore this article by Berman does not surprise me although I do wish some of Dolan’s business smarts would carry over into his basketball IQ.

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NBA First Two Weeks Canceled