Earlier today, the Knicks signed point guard Beno Udrih to a one year deal worth $1.27M, the veteran’s minimum.
There were a few teams that were strongly interested in the 31 year old southpaw point guard, such as the Grizzlies, Spurs and the Sixers, but he ultimately chose New York.
The point guard vacancy left by Jason Kidd is now filled. Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni now have a great third point guard to back them up. Udrih was the ultimate safety net for the Knicks, in case if the Knicks’ other options (ex: Will Bynum) departed for somewhere else (surely enough, they did). Just yesterday, there were reports of franchise-record-22-assists-in-a-game Chris Duhon returning to New York for whatever ghastly reason as a backup quick fix. Thank goodness that didn’t happen. Bobby Brown was also another backup solution, but he decided to stay overseas. More
The Knicks start the season October 30th at MSG versus the Bucks. Big picture, the first game doesn’t really matter all that much. It’s nice to win, but it’s not like the season is over for a team if it loses it’s first game. While there’s been a bit of negative backlash among the fan base about starting the season against a blah team like Milwaukee, I actually like the first matchup. Marquee opening night matchups are awesome, unless your team loses the game. It’s likely now that the Knicks start the year 1-0, and I’m totally fine with that.
They play Milwaukee, at Chicago, Minnesota, at Charlotte, Charlotte in their first five games. At the worst, the Knicks should be 3-2 through this first handful of games. People have tweeted me saying “4-1!” but they forget that a healthy Minnesota team makes for a very worthy opponent.
First Knicks-Nets matchup is December 5th at Barclays Center. It’s a Thursday night game, meaning it’ll be on TNT.
On Christmas Day, New York welcomes Oklahoma City to Madison Square Garden. I think this is a crappy Christmas day matchup. Of course both teams should be good, but I’d rather have seen the Knicks square off against an Eastern Conference rival like Brooklyn or Chicago. Oklahoma City should’ve played one of the other real elite teams like Miami or San Antonio.
After the OKC Christmas day game, New York plays a home-and-home vs Toronto. There’s a Bargnani joke in here somewhere. Those games also end this calendar year.
I always love seeing Felton get torched Steph Curry play, so naturally I’m excited for the Feb 28 Knicks-Warriors matchup at MSG, as well as March 30 at Oracle.
In April, the Knicks play Brooklyn twice, Chicago once and Miami once. Given how close the records of seeds 2-5 in the Eastern Conference project to be, these should be incredibly important games for New York.
It needed to happen. Everyone wanted it to happen. It happened. The man formerly known as Ron Artest, Metta World Peace, is now a New York Knickerbocker. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reported first that the Knicks had reached a 2 year agreement with World Peace, and it has been reported by others that the second year of the deal is a player option. New York used the second half of their mid-level exception (the other half used on Pablo Prigioni) to sign World Peace. Make no mistake, World Peace is not the player he once was, but he’s still an excellent fit for the Knicks.
The best part of this signing is the lineup versatility MWP brings to the table. In addition to playing the 3, he can play the 4 in super small lineups sans Carmelo Anthony. World Peace played some small-ball 4 in Mike D’Antoni’s offense last season, so he has experience playing different positions. He’s also a near-perfect fit next to Anthony – something the Knicks didn’t totally have last season.
Defensively, he can guard 4s that Anthony doesn’t want to, as well as most 3s. According to Synergy, opposing post up players scored just 0.75 points per possession against MWP. In an era where most traditional 4s are going by the wayside, the 260 lb World Peace will be just fine defending bigger guys. More
The Knicks lost 77-72 to the Pellies (stolen from Zach Lowe) today at UNLV in Las Vegas. Mike Woodson’s hat game was on point as he sat in the stands with Glen Grunwald, a man who hasn’t gotten a haircut in a while. Jim Todd and his wonderful accent coached the team today – unfortunately, he wasn’t interviewed. There isn’t much to take from summer league games, so I don’t have a ton of notes for you today. However, there are some interesting prospects that will be relevant later on in the process, so I mainly paid attention to them.
Shumpert. Is. Not. A. Point. Guard. I’m all for developing his point guard skills – ball handling, creating off the dribble, distributing – but come meaningful hoops, he should be playing strictly off the ball. As we’ve seen in regular season action (remember that game in Memphis when Shumpert played point and was like 0-45 shooting at halftime?), Shumpert was ineffective running the point today. He had a nice lob to Tim Hardaway Jr and another good lob to Jeremy Tyler (I think it was Jeremy Tyler), but overall he wasn’t very good. He can’t really create anything in the pick and roll, nor can he create clean looks for himself off the dribble. These are skills he’ll need to develop as his career progresses. Again, you can’t take much from summer league games – hell, Renaldo Balkman looked like god in the 2006 LVSL – but I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Shumpert isn’t a point. More
I haven’t had a chance to get on here and blog about some of the recent happenings in the last few days of free agency. Here are my takes on some of the most interesting developments from around the league:
JJ Redick, Jared Dudley to the Clippers, Eric Bledsoe, Caron Butler to the Suns, picks to Milwaukee. I love this trade for the Clippers and Suns. LA gets back two of the league’s better perimeter shooters, on good contracts, to put around Chris Paul in a new Doc Rivers/Alvin Gentry run offense. Both guys are good team defenders as well, making them both upgrades over the severely one-dimensional Jamal Crawford. Crawford’s ball handling abilities will still have value, but Redick and Dudley are both better fits (and players) next to Chris Paul. From Phoenix’s standpoint, they acquire one of the prized young assets in the league right now. Just about every team with a need at point guard was rumored to be going after Bledsoe at one point or another, but Phoenix is the team that gets him – and they didn’t give up that much. Jared Dudley is a good player, but at age 27 he’s not an ideal player for a rebuilding team. The question now for Phoenix is if they move Goran Dragic or play him and Bledsoe together. In 185 minutes last season, the Clippers were a +11.1 NET-RTG with Bledsoe and Paul on the court together, so it’s clear that Bledsoe can succeed in a 2 point guard alignment. The issue will be with Dragic, who is a much better player with the ball in his hands and who has struggled to play shooting guard in two point guard sets. Milwaukee was the loser of this trade, but not for the trade itself. Losing JJ Redick for second round picks isn’t ideal, but they were going to lose him anyways and did well to at least get minor assets for him. The problem was acquiring Redick in the first place. They parted ways with Tobias Harris, who was impressive late in the season, to get Redick for their meaningless playoff run that ended with a first round shellacking at the hands of the Miami Heat. I hated the trade then, and I don’t like it now. More
Dan (@TheDanstein) and I sat down with the esteemed Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) of the Wall Street Journal to discuss Tim Hardaway Jr, the Andrea Bargnani trade, JR Smith’s situation, and the rest of the Knicks free agency affairs.
The Knicks made a surprising trade with the Raptors. We discuss it here
1. What are the Knicks getting in Andrea Bargnani?
Taylor Armosino (@tarmosino): A 7-footer that hasn’t shot well in three seasons, can’t defend or rebound, and is injury prone. Statistics aren’t a skill, rather the result of a skill, but the numbers on Bargnani are scary bad. There’s no denying that he has the ability to shoot from three, but he hasn’t been good at it for a while now. Since shooting 40.9% from three in 2008-2009, his three point percentage has rapidly declined, topping off at 29.6% and 30.9% each of the past two seasons. If he isn’t able to be an above-average shooter, he’s a minus-minus (or minus x2) player. He can’t rebound a lick, can’t defend a lick and takes tough shots.
John Gunther (@EmbraceAnalytix): A restoration project and a lot of questions. The hope is that the Knicks are getting the floor spacing, scoring big man that Bargnani was from 2008 through 2011. A volume scorer to help ease the burden off Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith (if he returns). In reality, that Bargnani has not really existed the past two seasons. He averaged 21.4 PPG in 2010-11 while shooting 34.5% from 3P with a 44.4% 3FG%. But his long distance shooting has plummeted consistently since he shot 40.9% in ’08-09, down all the way to 29.6% and 30.9% the past two seasons. Accordingly, his eFG% has come down as well. As his efficiency has decreased and his scoring tapered off, he suddenly became the bane Raptors fans existence so much so that Bryan Colangelo was publicly shopping him at the trade deadline. All this has left the Knicks to acquire Bargnani as a “fixer-upper.” Is he still a “floor spacer” despite his noticeable drop off in 3P%? Could a change of scenery bring him back to his previous self? Is his previous self (scoring yes, but Bargnani has consistently rebounded at a historically low rate for a 7 footer) even the type of player the Knicks really need? Time will tell.
Brandon Rushie (@Ayo_Rush): The optimist in me says we’ve just added a 7-footer with a pretty set shot who can contribute in the pick and pop and can draw rim protectors away from the paint. His presence will generally improve spacing for a team that loves to stretch the floor and shoot the three. Andrea clearly crumbled trying to shoulder the weight of being “the guy” in Toronto, but in New York he’d be a 2nd/3rd option, and probably playing no more than 20-22 minutes a game. The wary Knick fan in me is disgusted at the fact we just gave up three picks to get rid of two bad contracts, and received a disappointing one-way player who was reportedly on the verge of being amnestied. He’s an atrocious rebounder for his size and a sub-par defender, compounding two of our biggest weaknesses, and comes with durability concerns – having only played 66 games over the past two seasons.
John Dorn (@JSDorn6): The Knicks are getting something they already have too many of: a one-way player. Sure, they needed a big. But they needed a big that can help on the glass and that can defend. Bargnani, in 7 seasons, hasn’t proven that he can do either. He’s an offensive center whose offensive game isn’t good enough to justify that label. Spot-up three shooters didn’t last in Woodson’s system last year, and there’s no reason to believe they will any time soon. Overall, Bargnani is a decent scorer, who scores in ways the Knicks don’t need.
James Griffo: (@J_Griff): To be exact, the Knicks are getting a stretch-four/stretch five floor spacer in Bargnani. But something that is very important in a stretch-four/stretch five is that the player is capable of hitting perimeter and mid-range jumpers, hence the rudimentary floor spacing skill, which is something Bargnani can’t do. He’s an average-to-mediocre-to-subpar shooter. Combine that with also being a poor rebounder and injury-plagued for the past two seasons.
Here’s a short video I put together with clips of my experience at the 2013 NBA Draft. This was the first I’ve ever attended, and I gotta say, it was SO much fun. I got good footage considering I filmed the entire thing on my iPhone (Barclays didn’t allow my Flip cam), and even sat down with fellow fans to get their thoughts on who they’d want their teams to draft.
It’s funny; when I first arrived, the first thing I noticed was the ridiculously wide assortment of jerseys in the crowd. Being born and raised in New York, the only fans I’ve come in contact with are Knicks fans, (recently) Nets fans, Laker fans, and fans of whatever team LeBron is on at the moment. But here there were Blazer fans, Mavs fans, Sixers fans, Cavs fans, Pistons fans; I even ran into a faithful Bobcats fan. I actually compared it to the UN Peace Summit in the way it brings fans of the NBA together. As much as we hate each-other when the ball is in play, at the end of the day we’re all fans of the game, and today was a great reminder.
Going into last Thursday, many expected C.J. Leslie to be among the select few to hear their name called on draft night. The wiry combo forward’s basketball skill was still deemed raw by NBA scouts after a disappointing year for NC State, but Leslie’s physical tools were impossible to ignore. Besides, after supposedly receiving a promise from a team in the second round, he seemed a lock to be chosen. Either way, when Latvia’s Janis Timma came off the board to the Memphis Grizzlies with the 60th and final pick to conclude the event, Leslie found himself as a man without a team; probably near a silent phone and pondering life as an undrafted rookie in the NBA.
Prior to draft night, the Knicks, who selected Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th pick, were reportedly looking into making a deal for a second round pick. In a draft where talents such as Jeff Withey, Nate Wolters, and Tony Mitchell slid out of the first round, a second rounder would have been percious, but GM Glen Grunwald couldn’t get anyone to bite. Still in need of help at the forward position, Grunwald extended his hand to Leslie, signing him to the team and adding him to this year’s Summer League roster.
At 6-9, 209 pounds, the first thing you notice about Leslie is his athleticism. His 7′ 2.25″ wingspan is an awesome tool, and in combination with his explosive leaping ability, recorded a 12′ 1″ max reach vertical; the highest of any participant in 2013 Pre-Draft Combine. To put that in perspective, he can essentially reach the space in-between the white rectangle behind the rim and the top of the backboard. He’s also remarkably fast, as he completed the Combine agility drill in 10.19 seconds, also the best of the event. He even finished second in the three-quarter sprint with a time of 3.10 seconds, just behind Shane Larkin’s 3.08 seconds. More
I don’t love this pick. I don’t love this pick because a) I don’t like the player and b) there were players I liked who were still on the board. The Knicks should’ve taken Reggie Bullock from North Carolina, who went 25th to the Clippers, but I digress.
When the pick was announced, my first thought was “WHAT THE F***!?!”. My second thought was that this is probably insurance in the event that JR Smith walks in free agency. Alan Hahn shared this thought as well:
Hardaway Jr. is in no way as good or better than JR Smith, so it’s not like the Knicks can just let Smith go. Hardaway is athletic and does have some ability, but he’s incredibly inconsistent and doesn’t have the ball handling ability that Smith has. He’s far from a finished product at this point. More