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Knicks-Bobcats: What to Watch For?

The Knicks have struggled this season against the lowly 3-14 Charlotte Bobcats. The Knicks and Bobcats have split their two prior meetings this season and have two match ups this season, including tonights game.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Can somebody please guard Boris Diaw? The large Bobcats forward is averaging 7.4 points per game this season. Against the Knicks he is averaging 23 ppg in 2 games. Both of his season high point totals, 27 in the first matchup and 19 in the second, have come against Amar’e Stoudemire and the Knicks. However, New York forward Jared Jeffries did not play in either of the two match ups with Charlotte due to a calf injury. Jeffries is a strong defender and may be able to slow down Diaw. Unfortunately for the Knicks, Jorts Harrellson is out 6 weeks with a broken wrist so his strong defensive services will not be called on to body up Diaw tonight. Ultimately, stopping Diaw will come down to the effort and will of Amar’e Stoudemire. If Stoudemire struggles (again) on Diaw, the Bobcats will once again compete against this reeling Knick team.
  • Speaking of reeling, will Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire figure this thing out? The two stars had a sit down talk yesterday about their struggles as of late. Stoudemire has looked butthurt and uninterested all year while Anthony decides to play 1 on 5, especially late in games. The individual games of the two stars did not mesh last season after the trade and this season has been a complete disaster. If there was ever an opponent to figure it out against, the Bobcats would be it. They suck. Point blank, they just are a sad team. I am interested to see how Anthony and Stoudemire play following their discussion but I am not expecting all that much.
  • Is Chandler going to play 47 minutes tonight? With Harrellson out, the Knicks are once again thin on the front line. Mike D’Antoni is not expected to give Jerome Jordan any additional minutes which means that Jared Jeffries, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire will be splitting the minutes at center. Jeffries and Stoudemire, better thought of as forwards, are clear downgrades at center from Chandler. Especially in a close game tonight, Chandler may be playing 40+ minutes at center. D’Antoni has already played Chandler an average of 33 minutes per game, up 6 minutes from his 27 mpg average last season. I am not in support of the Knick center playing these kind of minutes. D’Antoni is playing a dangerous game with Chandler in that if he were to go down the Bockers would truly be screwed in the front court. Harrellson’s absence has left the Knicks insanely thin again and losing Chandler would be disaster.
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Is a Howard to Knicks Trade Even Possible?

ESPN New York’s Stephen A Smith reported yesterday on his show that the Orlando Magic inquired, the key word there, the New York Knicks about a potential Dwight Howard for Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler trade. Given the contracts of Stoudemire and Chandler, the Knicks would have to also take back a sizable contract from Orlando. The 2011 figures in this rumored trade look like this:

Amar’e Stoudemire $18,217,705 million

Tyson Chandler $13,107,838 million

Total: $31,325,543 million

Dwight Howard: $17,885,400

The new NBA collective bargaining agreement contains new rules pertaining to trades. Taxpaying teams can take back 125% of their outgoing salary plus $100,000. Non-taxpaying teams (based on team salary after the trade) have two options as to how much salary they can take back. Non-taxpaying teams can acquire up to the lesser of 150% plus $100,000 OR  100% plus $5 million. Teams can trade up to $3 million in a trade but the Knicks used up that $3 million in the Tyson Chandler sign and trade.

The Knicks sit at $62,487,871 in salary. The Orlando Magic currently sit at $69,066,010 million dollars in salary. This figure puts them slightly under the $70 million luxury tax threshold. Here are the 2011 salaries for their players, significant to this trade, minus Dwight Howard:

Hedo Turkoglu: $10,600,000 million

Jameer Nelson $7,305,555 million

JJ Redick $6,500,000 million

Glen Davis $6,300,000 million

Jason Richardson $5,395,000 million

Chris Duhon $3,460,000 million

Quentin Richardson $2,446,200 million

Ryan Anderson $2,244,600 million

Earl Clark $1,200,000 million

Excluded: Von Wafer, Daniel Orton, DeAndre Liggins, Justin Harper, Larry Hughes

Because of the cap standings of both teams, both teams being under the luxury tax threshold, the Knicks and Magic have more flexibility with a potential trade. However, the Knicks swapping $31.3 million in salary with Orlando and taking in Howards $17.8 million in salary is not possible. Under the new CBA trade guidelines, the Knicks would have to take back another salary because swapping STAT and Chandler for Howard would not work. Here are some trade scenarios as pertained to each CBA rule:

  1. The Knicks take back 100% of Orlando’s salaries plus 5 million. The Magic would have to give up $26,325,543 million or more in salary to make this scenario work. That means in addition to Howard’s salary, the Magic would have to shed an additional $8,440,143 million in salary. Any trade of Howard likely will include the long term contract (3 years remaining, $34.2 mil) of Hedo Turkoglu. Turkoglu makes 10.6 million this season thus bring Orlando’s salary price up to $28,485,400 mil. This trade will work under the new CBA rules. However, the Magic would be taking back an additional $2,840,143 million in salary. Under the 100% + 5 mil rule, the Magic would have to remain under the tax. Therfore they would have to give up another contract resulting in an excess of $1,906,153 million. In my opinion, ex-Knicks Chris Duhon (3 years remaining, approx $11 mil in salary) and Quentin Richardson (2 years remaining with an additional players option for 2013, approx 5 mil in salary, $7.8 mil with option) would be the most likely candidates to be included in a trade. I believe that the basic framework of a Turkoglu/Howard/additional contract for Stoudemire/Chandler trade is the most likely trade if one is to come to fruition.
  2. The Knicks take back 150% of Orlando’s salaries plus $100k. The Magic would have to give up a little bit more than $20.8 million in salary to make this trade work. Given the long term contracts the Magic have on their roster along with the minor rebuilding they will need to do losing their star player, I believe the Magic would want to give up more than $20.8 million in a trade. In order to use this 100% + 100k clause, the Magic would have to give up between $20.8 million and $26.325 million (from the scenario above). However, if they were to give up Turkoglu, which they should and which they want to, they would eliminate this clause from being used in the CBA. This scenario would be plausible if the Knicks were going to take back any other Orlando player not named Hedo Turkoglu in a trade. This scenario is unlikely because I truly believe the Magic are going to part ways with Turkoglu as well as Howard in any trade they make.
  3. The Knicks and Magic never have serious discussions. Per the new CBA, Tyson Chandler, a newly acquired free agent, cannot be dealt until March 1st. If Orlando is swept off its feet by the Lakers, Clippers, Mavs, Nets or a mystery team, which I do not believe it will be, then they could move Howard before the Knicks can even discuss this trade seriously.
  4. The Knicks and Magic find a 3rd team. Conceivably, just like the trades that brought Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler to New York, the Knicks could find a 3rd team to deal with. Any trade scenario involving 3 teams would have to include more parts than just Turkoglu/Howard and Stoudemire/Chandler. At this point it is impossible to predict what 3rd team could be involved because no serious talks have gone on between Orlando and New York.

In conclusion, the main idea of this long and potentially head-ache enabling blog post is that financially the Knicks could pull off a trade for Dwight Howard. The new CBA allows it and both teams have contracts to make it work. The factors that would hold up a trade go beyond the financials. Whether the Magic are fully committed to trading Howard is up in the air. It is unknown whether the Knicks would part ways with newly acquired Chandler. As well as whether to give up Chandler, there have been no indications from the organization that Dolan is ready to break his loyalty with Stoudemire. It also remains unknown as to whether Orlando would even take this kind of deal. They would be locked into two long term big contracts and two decaying Amar’e Stoudemire knees. In my opinion, I do not believe this is a trade that will ever come to fruition. I think it makes obvious sense for the Knicks but I think the financials of the situation would far outweigh the on-court benefits for the Magic. I believe Amar’e and Tyson Chandler could fit nicely with that already strong Orlando team but I do not think the two players would launch the Magic into championship contention. Either way, Chandler cannot be dealt until March 1st so the Knicks will have their current center for at least 6 more weeks before they go chasing after another team’s star center. A lot can change in six weeks but if I had to bet a hypothetical house (seeming that I don’t own a house) on whether this trade would happen, I would bet against it.

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Josh Harrellson Out 6 Weeks

Good thing we have Jared Jeffries. With Harrellson out for 6 weeks, Jeffries will get a lot of run playing both center and power forward. I imagine that Jerome Jordan will be recalled from the D-league as well. Jordan scored 26 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in his first D-League game earlier this week.

Apart from Jordan’s call up, Harrellson’s injury may also open up a spot for either Renaldo Balkman or Steve Novak. I would like to see Novak get some more run because the Knicks have struggled to hit shots from beyond the arc this season. At 6’10 Novak is big enough to play a stretch 4 and I think he will get some run there. I like the energy Balkman brings but right now this team needs scoring and Novak can shoot the 3. Harrellson was one of the Knicks better 3 point shooters this season and losing him will be a big loss.

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Notes From Knicks 119-114 Double-OT Loss to Denver

In the Knicks first matchup with Denver since the Carmelo Anthony trade, a hard-fought game ended in a 119-114 Denver victory. Ex-Knicks Danilo Gallinari and Al Harrington were the difference in the game. Carmelo Anthony came alive in the 4th quarter and overtime and finished with 25 points.

Here are some notes from the game:

  • Despite his 25 points, Carmelo Anthony was off tonight. He finished 10/30 including a porous 1/7 from beyond the arc. The Knicks moved the ball well in the first half and that consequently came without Melo in the game. I will not say that Melo is a ball hog but it is very apparent that the Knicks system dramatically differs with Melo in the game. When he was in the game, the ball movement did stop. The garden crowd got on Melo, and deservingly so, for not passing the ball. Usually I defend Melo’s shot selection but tonight I did feel like he was forcing shots and forcing unnecessary shots. As for his three point shooting, he needs to cut that down to about 4 per game instead of 7 or 8 shots. He is not a 3 point shooter and clearly is a better scorer when he drives to the hoop. His missed 3′s are killing possessions right now and the Knicks cannot have that.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire was a total non-factor tonight. Stoudemire took 9 shots tonight. In a game that went double overtime, Stoudemire took 1 shot in the 4th quarter and both overtimes. That shot was taken with 10 seconds left in the double overtime. The offense became “iso-melo” in the overtimes and that cannot happen. Stoudemire is a max contract “star”. He cannot be excluded from the offense, especially when the Knicks need buckets. It seems that the Knicks seem to panic and lose their offensive system late in these close games and that can’t happen. While moving the ball frequently, the Knicks controlled the first half. While playing stagnant isolation-orriented offense, the Knicks lost control of the game in the second half and ultimately lose the game. Stoudemire has to shoot more than 9 times a game, especially when he has less shot attempts than Fields, Shumpert and Douglas.
  • Landry Fields is re-gaining his confidence. Tonight, Fields had 18 points on 8/14 shooting. He did have 3 turnovers and a late charging foul but for the 3rd straight game, he looks more confident and has been more productive. While the offense is struggling, Fields seems to be prospering as of late and is helping to keep the Knicks in these games. Even when the Knicks get production from Stoudemire, they’ll need their non-max contract role players to contribute and Fields has been doing his job as of late.
  • Douglas and Shumpert were also good tonight. Toney Douglas, 4/10 11 points, and Iman Shumpert, 7/16 18 points, were both pretty good tonight. Obviously neither of them is a true point guard, hence the problems the Knicks have had offensively this year, but they moved the ball well tonight. The Knicks got off to a very good start in this game moving the ball and then got away from it in the second. If the Knicks can start carrying over the ball movement to the second half every game, the offense will be a lot better. I think the two young guards showed a lot of good signs in terms of running the offense well tonight.
  • Walker played a good game. Billy Walker was red-hot, no I am not joking, when he came off the bench in the 2nd quarter. He did play poorly in the 3rd quarter and was benched for the rest of the game. I do think he should have gotten a bit of run early in the 4th just to rest Shumpert or Fields but I have no problem with him sitting. Knick fans were calling out D’Antoni for not playing him, because Knick fans love to call D’Antoni out on anything, and I think that is wrong. Fields, Douglas and Shumpert all played very well tonight. Jeffries played well and Harrellson played well. I feel more comfortable with all those guys playing in a close game than Walker playing in a close game. I will say though, if Walker can continue to play like this then he will deserve to play more on this team but right now he seems to be in D’Antoni’s dog house. Maybe D’Antoni reads this blog…
  • Jared Jeffries and Josh Harrellson continue to show prowess on the defensive end of the court. Jeffries drew another charge tonight and recorded 3 blocks. Harrellson’s defense was great all night and he recorded 6 boards. Ultimately as the bench changes in the coming years Harrellson will replace Jeffries but right now the duo gives the Knicks a very good defensive front court coming off the bench. They do not contribute as much offensively as you would like to see but right now both men are showing a lot of heart defensively.
  • The two man game between Stoudemire and Anthony is nonexistent.
  • Chandler only scored 8 points tonight. The Knicks need to get back to getting Chandler a couple dunks per game on back-screens. They seem to have gone away from that.
  • Andre Miller is exactly what the Knicks do not have. I thought he was very impressive tonight.
  • Don’t you wish the Knicks had Mozgov? Moz had 16 points 7 rebounds tonight and dominated in the early going. We all know his potential as tonight he showcased his athleticism getting up and down the court. I really think he could have been a great piece on this Knick team as his offensive game was good tonight. The Knicks would have two 7 footers down low and would have a bit more presence in the paint than they currently do.
  • I hated to see Gallo kill the Knicks. I was a proponent of the Melo trade although I was unhappy with how much the Knicks ultimately gave up. I knew Gallo had to go but that did not mean I was happy about it. I think he has the potential to be an all-star caliber player. He is a very proficient driver and has the ability to stroke from outside the arc. He killed the Knicks tonight with 37 points and 11 boards which was very sad to see.
  • Iman Shumpert left the game in overtime. The Knick point guard cramped in both his hamstring and his back.
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A Bit of Perspective on the 6-9 Knicks

Rather than write another post game on last nights debacle, I decided to give some perspective into how bad a shape the Knicks truly are. Unlike most Knick fans, I will remain patient with this team. I am as frustrated as any fan but I understand that this is still a long NBA season and this team still has a lot of kinks to work out. They’ve been horrid this season but this Knick team still has the potential to have a great season. Hopefully this helps the reeling Knick fans reading, I’m trying my best to help, here is some perspective on the 6-9 Knicks:

At this point last season, the 15 game mark, the Knicks were 7-8. After their 3-8 start, the Knicks won 13 of 14 games to propel themselves into playoff contention. This years Knicks team started 6-8. While the fans were angry last season, the sky seems to be falling right now. D’Antoni’s head is being called for, Melo and Amar’e can’t work together, Chandler is not worth the money, etc. I do not however take any of these stances. What Knick fans need to realize is that there was a lockout shortened off-season. I understand that all teams dealt with this but few teams, if any, have to make adjustments like the Knicks do. This is a flawed roster, there is no doubt. Carmelo and Amar’e are not a perfect fit together but they can work. It just takes time. The offense can adjust to integrate Chandler more. It just takes time. The guards on this team should be able to hit jump shots, they have started the season cold. They should improve with time. There are 66 games in this season, the Knicks have played about as poor as they can and they are 6-9 and if the season ended today they would be the 8th seed in the east.

Where do the problems lie on this team? I believe everybody on the team, including the coaching staff, deserves blame for the recent struggles of the team. The Knicks offense has been stagnant and too Isolation oriented. That falls on both the coaching staff and the lack of a point guard. As this team continues to play together, they have the potential to fix this problem. There will always be isolation sets with Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire but as this team plays together, especially with Baron Davis returning, this team should become better and moving to open spots and moving the ball. I do not necessarily believe Davis will be an all-star savior for this team but I do not think this team needs him to put up 20 and 10 per night. Baron Davis needs to come onto the floor and lead this team. He needs to get the Knicks in their sets. He needs to get Amar’e and Melo and Chandler the ball in spots they can be successful. He must be the anti-Toney Douglas and I believe he will be. The Knicks shooting must improve as well on this team. Landry Fields has shown signs of busting out of his space jam-esque slump the past two games. Toney Douglas has been horrible but given his history as a Knick, it is not farfetched to believe that at some point he will start hitting his shots. Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire have shot far worse this season than they have shot historically. With time and a better point guard, everybody on the team should improve their shooting.

How bad is this team? They have been pretty bad as of late but there have been some upsides to be realized. The defense, impacted by assistant Mike Woodson, center Tyson Chandler and guard Iman Shumpert, has been pretty good this season. Although ranked a pedestrian 18th in defensive efficiency, before the last 5 games the Knicks were ranked in the top 10. The struggles of the offense, especially against Milwaukee in which the Knicks had 24 turnovers, have hurt the defense as of late which has resulted in the slide of their defensive efficiency rating. Point is, the defense has not been the problem this season which is a great sign because that was the big criticism of the Knicks coming into the season. With Mike D’Antoni coaching this team, I am confident the offense will improve. The Knicks currently are ranked 24th in offensive efficiency. That will not stick, the Knicks really have nowhere to go but up offensive since the offense has killed the Knicks this season.

Should D’Antoni be fired? No. No. No. No. No. What good will firing D’Antoni do? There is no suitable replacement right now. The most likely replacement would be Mike Woodson, creator of the “Iso-Joe” offense in Atlanta. People complain about the offense now? The offense under Woodson would be twice as stagnant as it currently is now. Jeff Van Gundy? Too many burned bridges. Jerry Sloan? He will never want to deal with the New York media, especially cause he made his money as a coach in Salt Lake City. People think that the Knicks can get Phil Jackson. They are wrong. Phil Jackson historically, coaching teams with Jordan and Kobe, only will coach teams with superior talent. This Knick team currently has two isolation-minded offensive stars that haven’t learned to play together. This Knick team currently has no semblance of a bench. This Knick team currently has no point guard. Phil Jackson will not touch this team as it is currently producing/built. If this team finishes with a second round playoff loss then maybe Jackson comes but right now Jackson will not come within miles of Madison Square Garden.

In conclusion while this team has been pathetic as of late, there is still plenty of time to turn this team around. Despite all the struggles they have had, the Knicks would still be the 8th seed in the east. A loss tonight would put the Knicks as close to rock bottom as possible. Given that Baron Davis doesn’t blow out his back when he returns to the lineup, his leadership and presence should make a big difference on this team. I still believe this is a playoff team with the potential to make a run. They have not played well to this point and they have holes to patch up but the ceiling on this team is high. D’Antoni historically has shown the ability to take teams deep into the playoffs and I believe he should be given a chance with this team. I am as frustrated as any Knick fan but I hope this helps to give some perspective into how much trouble the Knicks truly are in.

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Knicks-Bucks: What to Watch For


^ Remember that. Carmelo Anthony’s first game as a Knick came last season against the Milwaukee Bucks. Since that game, the Knicks own a modest 20-22 record including a 6-8 record this season. The Knicks look to turn their season around tonight against a Bucks team that they finished 1-3 against last season.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Milwaukee ranks 24th in offensive efficiency. The Knicks improved defense may have to carry the team tonight as the offense has struggled all season. The Bucks rank 11th in defensive efficiency and played the Knicks very tough last season. I think the defense will have to carry the team tonight as I don’t see the offense breaking out.
  • Melo must distribute. With his injured wrist, Melo has been off the past couple games. I have not had an issue with his shot selection but the results do not lie. Anthony has made only 14 of his past 49 shot attempts. In addition to scoring more efficiently, Anthony will need to get others involved if the Knicks are going to win tonight.
  • Fields must continue to play well. Landry Fields played a very good game in Wednesday’s loss to Phoenix. His impact was felt and must be felt again tonight. Rather than detriment the team with air balls and turnovers, Fields was an efficient scorer Wednesday night. With the recent struggles of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks need Fields to help contribute to the offensive cause tonight.
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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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Knicks-Suns: What to Watch For


Last season the Knicks were 1-1 versus the Phoenix Suns. Tonight, the reeling Knicks look to get back on track against Amar’e Stoudemire’s old club at Madison Square Garden.

Here’s what to watch for:

  • Coming off a string of pathetic performances, Amar’e Stoudemire has to show up tonight. If he plays a poor offensive game again, the Knicks will likely drop their 4th straight game. The Knicks cannot solely rely on the banged up Carmelo Anthony to carry the offense for a second straight game. His 33 point performance was not enough to overcome Stoudemire’s 22 minute 12 point performance on Monday versus Orlando. This team is built around their two superstars and does not have the depth right now to overcome the consistently poor play by one of them. As long as Stoudemire struggles, this team will be mediocre and inconsistent. I am going out on a limb here, I think Stoudemire will be very good tonight. I think Monday’s performance was rock bottom and tonight he will get back on track and dominate.
  • Which mediocre Suns shooter will kill the Knicks tonight? The Knicks love to make people’s careers (credit to my uncle for that saying) and the Suns have plenty of candidates. Will Shannon Brown score 20? Jared Dudley 25? Will the Knicks let Robin Lopez go for 50? The Knicks perimeter defense sucked on Monday versus Orlando and if it sucks tonight I think the Knicks will lose. Defense hasn’t been the Knicks problem this year but with the offensive struggles, this team does not have a great margin for error defensively.
  • The Knicks must defend the pick and roll. The one thing the Knicks can’t do offensively is run the pick and roll. The one thing the Suns do very well offensively is the pick and roll. Suns center Marcin Gortat is ranked 3rd in the NBA in points per possession on the pick and roll. Tonight, if the Knicks can slow down the Nash to Gortat connection, they’ll have a good shot to hold the Suns in check defensively.
  • Bill Walker is not playing. Mike Bibby and Steve Novak will probably see more minutes tonight because of Walker’s absence.
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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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