Mike D’Antoni

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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D’Antoni Expected to Hire Defensive Assistant

In the wake of the Donnie Walsh disaster, word has been reported that Mike D’Antoni will finally hire a defensive assistant as has been suggested by the Knicks front office. This is significant because D’Antoni had a falling out in Phoenix when he dismissed GM Steve Kerr’s request that he hire current Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau. Widely criticized by the media and Knick fans for the lack of defensive prowess in his coaching style, D’Antoni is trying to prove to Knicks hierarchy (Dolan and his secret lover) that he’s the right man for this job. I applaud D’Antoni’s ability to adjust his coaching style to fit the players that he has. Last season after trading for Carmelo Anthony, the “seven seconds or less” offense was all but scratched as most possessions down the court became half court sets that usually resulted in isolation basketball. This move shows D’Antoni’s intelligence. He realizes that this is going to be the best chance he’ll get to win championships and he needs to put his ego aside and admit he needs help coaching defense. Also it shows that he’s potentially panicked about his job security and is more likely to listen to the front office in hopes of securing his job moving forward. The only name I’ve heard so far is Lawrence Frank, who spent time around the team in the offseason, but he may be hired as the head coach in Toronto. I’ll keep posting as names come out but I believe it’s a very positive sign that D’Antoni is looking to hire an assistant.
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What’s Next For the Knicks?

Well what’s next for the Knicks now that Walsh is gone? Well first of all, finding a new GM is imperative. There are 2 people that I have heard that are possible replacements. I’m gonna go against myself and name the Knicks Voldemort: Isiah Thomas. Isiah could rear his big ugly head right back into the general managing job. That would re-create the giant black cloud that smothered the franchise for the 5 years he was in New York. The other name I’ve heard is Toronto Raptors GM Bryan Collangelo. Colangelo worked well with D’Antoni in Phoenix and it’s been thought that they’d work well again together in New York. Walsh is staying on as a “consultant” for the team but who knows how much power he will hold in decision making.

Image Via NBA.com

That brings me to the next thing. What does this mean for Mike D’Antoni? If I was D’Antoni, I’d be scared for my job. Contractually this is his final season with the Knicks but there are questions about whether he’ll even be given a chance to finish his contract out in New York. With the media constantly chirping in our brilliant owners ear, there’s a good chance that Dolan isn’t going to keep D’Antoni as well. Walsh was D’Antoni’s biggest proponent in the organization and now that he’s out of power D’Antoni’s job status is again in question. Similar to the GM situation, there are 2 names I hear to potentially replace D’Antoni: The recently “retired” Phil Jackson, and Kentucky Wildcat coach John Callipari. Callipari is part of this CAA agency, the same agency that represents Carmelo Anthony and has ties to Dolan, that seems to have a lot of pull with the Knick organization.

The most pressing issue for the Knicks right now is the NBA draft. We need to know who’s making the decisions and what coach we are drafting for. Whether it’s Jackson or D’Antoni or Callipari, the decision needs to be made soon because we need a home run with this pick. It’ll be interesting to see what happens but the future of this team is very much up in the air. Knick fans everywhere should be very worried in that Dolan is once again alone in the drivers seat and the car seems to be headed towards a cliff.
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High Risk Player Selby Among 4 To Work Out for Knicks on Friday

On Friday, Kansas’ Josh Selby, Tennessee’s Tobias Harris, UCLA’s Tyler Honeycutt and Purdue’s JaJuan Johnson will work out for the Knicks at the MSG training center. Honeycutt is a 6-8 small forward that’s projected to go in the late first round. He struggles to create a shot for himself which leads many to question his NBA game as a small forward but he is athletic and an all around solid basketball player. Harris is a 6-8 tweener forward that is projected to be a first round pick. Harris was a really good basketball player at Tennessee averaging 15 points a game last year as a freshman. He doesn’t have a great height but his 6’11 wingspan makes up for it somewhat. He can shoot from all spots of the court as well as pass with great touch for a big man. JaJuan Johnson is widely regarded as a bubble first rounder but I think his athleticism should put him in the late first. His basketball IQ and low post game aren’t great but he’s got a lot of athleticism and fantastic leaping ability. Johnson needs to add bulk to his frame to play power forward in the NBA but he’s overall a very athletic player that I like.

By far the most interesting of these prospects is Josh Selby, a high school star that fizzled to a dud during his 1 year Kansas career. While he’s filled with talent and has the potential to be the stud point guard that the Knicks need, I believe the Knicks should steer clear of him. He’s drawn a lot of Willie Warren comparisons. Warren was a beast alongside Blake Griffin in 2008 but as a sophomore he was awful, refused to play D and clashed with his coaches and now plays for the Bakersfield Jam. Selby is a similar case but only without the success part. In Selby’s high school career he committed to Tennessee, then un committed while living off of Carmelo Anthony’s business manager. He started off his NCAA career with a 9 game suspension then failed to make any sort of splash at Kansas.

Why he’s bad for the Knicks: The Knicks draft situation is baron. They have pick 17 this year, no 2nd rounder and no selections next year. The Knicks cannot afford to strike out on a combo guard with giant ego problems. We have enough headaches as it is with Donnie Walsh’s situation, Mike D’Antoni to Toronto rumors and a flawed roster that needs renovation, we don’t need Selby. While he’s got a ton of talent, he’s got 2 tons of baggage to go along with it, and that is why I don’t believe he’s the player we should select on June 23

 

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Report: Donnie Walsh to be Re-signed This Week

According to Peter Vescey of the New York Post, Donnie Walsh’s deal should be completed sometime this week:

“Because the give and take was not completed until last week, I’m informed. Late changes were made by Walsh and approved by Dolan. Once Camp Cablevision’s required “six signatures” (I don’t think my source was being facetious) are on the dotted line, apparently sometime this week, the deal will be done, if not publicized.

Clearly, the new arrangement will give Walsh the control to finish the Knicks’ renovation the way he sees fit. If there was any uncertainty about that it would have demonstrated Dolan did not want him back. That would have shoved Walsh into retirement”

It’s about damn time. Walsh has done a masterful job of cleaning up Isiah Thomas’ mess and transforming it to a team on the rise with a 2 headed tandem of superstars that has the fan base excited for the first time in years. The next order of business is whether coach Mike D’Antoni will return next season. Next year will be the final year of D’Antoni’s 4 year 24 million dollar deal. Walsh loves D’Antoni so it’s assumed that he will return but you never know with Jim Dolan as the owner. While Walsh should have and is supposed to have full control, that may not always be the case. As shown the Carmelo Anthony trade, Dolan will not hesitate to overrule Walsh and jump into any basketball discussions. This does and should worry Knick fans because there’s no doubt, Dolan’s a moron. This is proven by his continual honeymoon with Isiah Thomas despite the fact that he hasn’t coached since the 2007 season.

Overall I believe Walsh’s return will ensure the return of D’Antoni barring any interference by ding dong dolan. Walsh is a master personnel man and Knick fans should be very encouraged that he will be back for the next couple seasons (details of the contract have not yet been released).

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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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