Chauncey Billups

Ex-Knicks of the Week

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A new feature here at the Meloship, I introduce you to Ex-Knicks of the Week. Originally pitched to me by Matt Weiss (below), Ex-Knicks of the week will be a weekly feature on the site every Monday morning. We will pick either players that are in the NBA who have had great weeks, or we’ll just pick random ex-Knicks and write about them.

Matt Weiss (@thanksroy): Seeing as this whole ex-Knick of the week thing was my brain child, I thought I should set some ground rules. To be an ex-knick one must have suited up for the orange and blue, so traded picks (dammit we traded the picks that became Lamarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah), guys who re-routed through NY (Corey Brewer) and or picks who never played for us (with the exception of Freddy Weis because fuck him) dont count. Why is that? Because this was my idea and I get to set the rules.

When Carmelo Anthony entered our world on February 22nd 2011, he brought some friends with him. Some of those friends we knew (hello Renaldo!) some of them we soon wanted to forget (Shelden Williams) and one of them came with a big reputation. Melo was certainly the centerpiece of the deal, but at the time I was really excited about getting Chauncey Billups, aka Mr. Big Shot as a part of the deal. Just for the record I despise that nickname, but I used it anyway. Sure, sending Raymond away was tough as he had been a very productive Knick for the half season he was with us, but Chauncey came with a big reputation and a history of productivity and leadership. Amare was having an MVP caliber season, we were adding Melo, and with a floor general like Chauncey there was a genuine excitement this group could do some damage in the playoffs. The Knicks split their first two games post trade and then landed in Miami for a showdown with the heat. When a cobbled together starting lineup of Melo, Amare, Chauncey, Shawne Williams and Landry Fields came out with a thrilling victory the bar for that season was raised. “No one wants to face us in the first round” went my thinking and as usual we fans overreacted. What happens next is classic Knicks, Chauncey got banged up and missed some time and the team went 14-14 post trade. In their last 15 games the Knicks had both a 6 game losing streak and then a 7 game winning streak.
The team entered the playoffs as the 6 seed and faced the division champion Boston Celtics, who themselves were having issues as the playoffs began. After racing out to a record of 46-15 the Celtics ended the season 10-11. I was lucky enough to be in Boston for work that week and scalped my way into the TD Center and unabashedly rocked a melo jersey for game 1. I will save you the horror of the recap but the Knicks established an early lead before the Celtics did their usual Celtic thing and ripped our heart out. The difference was that we now had Chauncey. Even after the Celtics erased a 12 point half time lead Chauncey was cool, calm, collected (shout out Clyde) and made me feel good about the game when he had the ball. The funny thing is that he didn’t even play well in this game, and he still made me feel good about having him run the offense. And then Chauncey got hurt, and then KG set a horrendous moving screen that wasn’t called, and then Ray Allen hit a three that caused me to slink out of the arena. Amare hurt his back dunking in warm ups before game two, and by the end of that game, on the most critical offensive possession of the season the Knicks trotted out Jared Jeffries, Bill Walker, Toney Douglas and Roger Mason alongside Melo. Our season was over and we all knew it. More

Billups Cleared for Basketball Workouts

Alan Hahn of Newsday has reported that Chauncey Billups finally has been cleared for basketball workouts after suffering a strained knee ligament in game 1 of the playoffs versus the Celtics.

“Chauncey Billups, who suffered a bruised knee late in G1 vs BOS, was cleared this week to resume full workouts, Newsday has learned. #fb”
This is great news to hear in that Billups now has 7 weeks until training camp is scheduled to start. Obviously with the lockout, there is a good possibility that training camp will be wiped out but Billups will be ready to go if it remains. Now that Billups is seemingly healthy, the attention turns to Amar’e Stoudemire who still has not fully recovered from his back injury also suffered against Boston.
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What Happens Now to Anthony Carter?

With all the Knicks postseason talk about bringing in centers, the draft with Shumpert and Big Jorts and Mike D’Antoni’s defensive coordinator search, there has been no talk about Anthony Carter’s future with the team. The forgotten man was one of the better bench players down the stretch for the Knicks last season and I think the Knicks need to take a long hard look at bringing him back. Granted the first round selection of Iman Shumpert takes away another guard spot on the roster but I think Carter still brings alot to the table. Think back to game 4 against Boston when Carter led a fourth quarter comeback and hit a 3 to get the Knicks within 5 before Boston pulled away from the ailing Knicks. He showed that even at age 36, he still can be a very serviceable emergency point guard and I wouldn’t be so fast to throw him on the street now that Shumpert is on the team. Here is what the current guard situation looks like assuming Carter comes back:

PG Billups, Shumpert, Douglas, Carter
SG Fields, Douglas, Walker, Rautins

I think going in with Billups, Shumpert, Carter and Douglas as a combo guard would be a very good point guard rotation. I am not saying Carter deserves 20 minutes a game or even a bench spot, but why couldn’t Carter be a 12th man? Why not keep him around to mentor the younger players? He clearly knows how to play defense and how to bring energy every night. He can contribute big time in the locker room and if injuries happen he can step in and make a contribution. Now he is not a superstar or even an above average player but with Carmelo and Amare being the stars, we need high energy players willing to scrap and claw on defense and Carter is that kind of player.

As Amare says “If everybody on the team is a leader then the team is going to be better”. Anthony Carter is a leader. Despite his lack of elite ability, age and stature on the depth chart, he is a leader. He made the most of his opportunities last season and he made a great impression on the coaching staff. Just because we drafted Iman Shumpert does not mean that Carter deserves to be shown the door. I would endorse him coming back even as the 15th man, as long as he is around the team he will have a positive impact. I am a big Anthony Carter fan and, bias aside, he deserves to be back with this team next season and the team could use veteran leaders like him.

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Should the Knicks Draft Jimmer Fredette?

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     With the 17th pick in this months NBA draft, it’s been widely rumored that the Knicks are in love with BYU scoring phenomenon and Glens Falls native Jimmer Fredette. There’s no question that he’s a lights out shooter but is he the right fit for the Knicks? I do not believe so. With 1 draft selection (17 in the first round) in this years draft and 0 selections in next years draft, I believe the Knicks need to hit a grand slam with this pick. With Miami in their way in the eastern conference, the Knicks do not have time to wait around for a project guard who may be better suited as a 2 guard. If we had no holes and were picking based on best available talent then I could accept a Fredette selection at number 17 but that is not the situation we are in. The Knicks lack serious bench depth, a backup point guard and a defensive minded center. While Fredette could help add to our bench, I believe he’s better suited as a 2 guard as he’s not a great passer. While typically Mike D’Antoni’s “seven seconds or less offense” would fit nicely with Fredette’s style of play, the Knicks offense right now is in transition to a slower pace with isolation monsters Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire and veteran point guard Chauncey Billups. Our point guard needs to be able to play off the ball and create shots when open from all spots on the court. While Fredette has the ability to make shots, we all know he has a great jumper, I am not sure how he will adjust to a change where he’s at best the 4th option. He’s not going to have any games like at BYU where he took 30 shots. He will be a 5-12 shot a game guy and he needs to be able to efficiently score. He was a volume scorer at BYU and obviously he’s not going to have the same freedoms in New York. My main problem with Jimmer is that if his offense doesn’t pan out, he has no defensive game to fall back on. He was an atrocious defender at BYU and that was with a lot of zone defense being played. He has reportedly been working hard to improve his defense in the offseason but you never know how much one can improve with one offseason. With the current roster that we have, I do not believe we need another high volume scorer who’s deficient on defense. While Jimmer has a lot of potential and could pay miraculous dividends, he also comes with a lot of bust potential. It’s not that I do not believe Jimmer can be a good player but with the roster and cap situation that we currently have, we just don’t have the time to wait on him to see if he’ll pan out. We need a player that can start impacting games from game 1. There’s no doubting while there is optimism in New York there is also a great amount of desperation. We have not won a playoff game since 2000 and the fans want results. We cannot afford to swing and miss with this draft pick and if we miss with Fredette, his lack of defensive effectiveness could be catastrophic to the team.

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Billups to Have Follow Up MRI This Week

According to Newsday, Chauncey Billups is supposed to have a follow up MRI on his left knee later this week. Billups, diagnosed with a strained tendon over after game 1 of the playoffs, was reported to still be feeling the effects of his injury last week. His MRI should show whether additional damage has occurred. With the upcoming NBA lockout, Billups may have extra time to heal his knee. If further action is needed after the MRI, I believe it would be smart to act on it right now as opposed to waiting.

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State of the Knicks 5/30/11

Overview: The 42-40 New York Knicks had high hopes for the playoffs after qualifying for the first time since 2003. The Knicks battled key injuries as Amare Stoudemire was injured badly for games 2,3 and 4, while Chauncey Billups was injured late in game 1 and missed the entire rest of the series. The Knicks were swept by Boston 4-0. They go into this offseason of CBA uncertainty with optimism not seen by this franchise in many years. While Billups’ 14.2 million dollar option has been picked up, there is still plenty of work to be done in terms of working the roster. Of course resigning Donnie Walsh should be priority number 1, although that is said to be done sometime this week. Overall the team is headed in the right direction but needs some work with its bench as well as adding a big man or two. The Knicks select number 17 in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft

Guards: The point guard situation is filled with uncertainty. Billups’ knee is not all the issues we have. While it’s critical that his knee reaches 100% before the season (if we have a season) starts, the backup point guard position is just as critical. While Toney Douglas played that role well last season, his size suits him better as a backup shooting guard. The backup point guard position is a position that many expect to be filled with the 17th pick in the draft. Anthony Carter’s contract is up and it’ll be interesting to see if he is re-signed. The coaching staff loves his professionalism and leadership and I was impressed with his play down the stretch, especially in game 4 of the playoffs as he sparked a Knicks comeback that ultimately fell short. As far as the shooting guard situation, the bench spots will be determined by what happens in the draft. Landry Fields should be the starter next season, and it is imperative to the teams success that he finds his pre-carmelo trade form. If he cannot, then suddenly the Knicks have a gaping hole at the shooting guard position. While Bill Walker and Andy Rautins will both be under contract next season, I’m not high on either player. Everyone seems to think Walker is okay but I think he’s an oaf, in the playoffs he had like 6 offensive fouls. I’m not a fan. Rautins is a wildcard because we haven’t seen what he can do yet. He was a great shooter in college but we know that doesn’t always translate to the NBA. Roger Mason played well in the 2nd half of the year when he got minutes due to injuries to Walker. Mason also played decently in the playoffs when his name was called but he’s undersized and in D’Antoni’s doghouse. Roger Mason is the only shooting guard who’s contact is expired and he is expected to be let go next season.

Forwards: Armelo, Camare, Batman and Robin. Whatever you wanna call them, they are the keys to the 2011 Knicks season. How they mesh is absolutely key to the offense and how they evolve into 2 way players is key to our defense. Offensively, it has to be about ball movement. While Amare and Carmelo are both great isolation players, the key to their cohesion is going to be ball movement. Granted they are dominant scorers but they aren’t the only scorers on this team. Landry Fields, Chauncey Billups, Shawne Williams and Toney Douglas are all lethal 3 point shooters. In order for this team to make the jump to 50-60 wins next season, the offense needs to feature more than 2 players. Don’t get me wrong, they both need their touches on offense but the throw it to Melo, stand around and watch offense needs to be abolished next season. Same goes for Amare, although he was good at feeding Carmelo on cuts and screens when the plays presented themselves. It shouldn’t be a competition for points, rather a mesh of efficient offense that results in high percentage shots being buried by two of the top 10 scorers in our league today. Defensively, the Knicks are a work in progress. The Heat have shown us that defense wins in the playoffs. As much as I hate Miami, I give their guys credit, namely James, Wade and Bosh, for transforming themselves to a dominant defensive team as well as a quality offensive team run by the big 3 (or 2 depending on how you look at it). This transformation needs to be executed by Melo and STAT as well. If the Knicks can at least get stops when needed, the sky will be the limit for this team that is just loaded with scoring. In terms of the backups, Derrick Brown, Shawne Williams and Jared Jeffries are all free agents this summer. Renaldo Balkman, acquired in the Denver deal, is the only backup forward that remains under contract. I believe that all 3 are decent players but depending on who we get on the market, all 3 are extremely expendable. I love Jeffries but his lack of offense is just sickening to watch. If he’d come back, it would have to be on a veteran’s minimum and he’d have a very minimal role (I would hope). Derrick Brown is very interesting to me. As shown in the Toronto game at MSG, he’s incredibly athletic. He’s a guy we should try to keep for cheap and develop. His athleticism gives me reason to believe he can be a serviceable backup wing player much like Shannon Brown from the Lakers. The player I believe we are most likely to resign is Shawne Williams. While he, like Fields, crapped out a bit at the end of the year, he proved to be a versatile player (having guarded Dwight Howard at one point) and a potent 3 point shooter. I think he has the toughness that we need on this team. We need some Mason’s and Oakley’s that will enforce and I think Williams can be that sort of player.

Centers: Ronny Turiaf was the playoff starter and he’s likely coming back on his 4 million dollar player option. I like Turiaf but not at 4 mil a season. He’s a high energy game but any more than 18 minutes a game and he wears down. I’d like him on a vet minimum and coming off the bench, he’d be a nice piece. Jeffries and Shelden Williams were the other two players who saw minutes at center. While Shelden Williams played well in the season, he saw no minutes in the playoffs leading me to believe he will not be back. The big story for the Knicks at center is Jerome Jordan, the 7 footer we purchased from Milwaukee last summer. He played this past year in Serbia and played well averaging 9 points and 4 boards a game. He should be a strong piece coming off the bench, or maybe starting a la Timofey Mozgov last season. This, along with Point guard is a position that may be addressed with the 17th pick in the draft.

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