Vogel? Blatt? I wanted Thibs

Thibs had real Knicks roots at least.

Jackson is chillin’ right now on vacation while Thibs got snatched up as did Walton (no thanks, we’re good).

If the Knicks players don’t respect coach Rambis, is it telling of the coach, or the players?

Melo did a good job on the court this year, “sublimating his game,” as Clyde would say, but off the court, is he a leader?

I’m not sold on Jerian Grant as a point guard.  If you can’t keep your dribble at this level you maybe too hesitant to make sound quick decisions.

Tony Wroten might be the penetrating guard we have been missing since Jeremy Lin left, but is he damaged goods at age 24?  I hope he can bounce back and contribute.

The Knicks obviously need to upgrade their guards, as Ed Drossman said in the last comment.  Calderon and Galloway need to go.  Afflalo needs to go.  We haven’t had good guards in years.  The last guards I liked were pre-injury Allan Houston and maybe Chris Childs or Doc Rivers.  Marbury was all stats, no wins.  Melo is a taller version of Marbury in that respect.

As far as KP goes I think he is a good player.  I didn’t watch Porzingod yet, did you?  Here it is in case you’d like to see it.

Not too long ago Rachel Nichols said of Phil’s perceived arrogance during the failing season:  “I don’t have eleven rings but I have two eyes.”

rachel

Is that what qualifies her to talk basketball in the same circle as former NBA players?  Her pair of eyes?  Journalism degree doesn’t mean shit to real basketball people.  If you didn’t step on the court, you need to step off right now.  This is becoming way too common on TV.  Can’t stand Jill Martin either, but that is another mystery.  How these non basketball people get paid to be around basketball is a real mystery to me.

 

 

Mellow in New York

We lost.  Again.  I was hoping we could at least stay .500 for the rest of the season, but this seems improbable.

I didn’t watch tonight’s game against the Wizards, did you?  Was it our guards that cost us the game?  Is that unfair to assume?

Phil didn’t want to make a trade, only fire the coach, now Toronto may get a high pick as a result of our failure to win.

The Knicks as an organization have a lot to figure out?  What could they get for Melo if he demands a trade this summer?  Rambis saying he’d like to try Porzingis at the three means he favors Porzingis over Melo long term.  Jackson saying it is up to Melo means Jackson wants Melo to waive his no-trade clause so that the Knicks can begin rebuilding in the post Melo era.

Would free agents be more likely to come to New York with Melo NOT here?  I don’t believe that.  Melo is an all-star.  Everyone else on the Knicks simply is not of the same caliber.

All pros are awesome, but all-star is another level.

Still the Knicks haven’t won since 1973, as Isiah Thomas put it.  So true, Zeke, so true.

Lost and Found in Los Angeles [ NY 90 – LAL 87 ]

Wow it has been a minute since I last blogged. I’ve been experimenting with the form factor of Knicks Defense in recent days.  Like many things in life, it is an ongoing process.

Yet despite my time away, I never stopped rooting for this team.  I was just focused elsewhere. School.

Now that I have completed my most recent educational goal, I am back in Knicks Defense mode. I wish our guards could get into Knicks Defense mode.  Back straight, bend the knees, slide the feet, see-the-ball, see-your-man.  I realize that professional athletes know this man!  Still, why do guards so easily get into the paint against the Knicks?  Why do guards get their career high against the Knicks?

Last night’s game against Kobe and the Lakers was almost a huge disappointment. We blew a huge lead. The Lakers took the lead late in the game and Robin Lopez caught an inbounds pass near half court, almost turning it over. It looked like a travel, but nothing was called, and the ball found its way to Jose Calderon. I can almost forgive him for all of the defensive lapses on the perimeter, not only in this game, but all season has been a layup line for opposing guards easily manuvering into the paint against the likes of Calderon and Galloway.

But last night we would not be stopped. Calderon pulled up from three and knocked it down. I’m happy for him. This is the first time I’ve seen him smile in a Knicks jersey.

Prior to that big play, we had great consecutive baskets from Carmelo Anthony, who despite coming back from surgery in the summer, is still a leading scorer in the league even without his hops.  I think he will play even better next season, when he really rediscovers his rhythm.

Derrick Williams and Jerian Grant are showing signs of being a factor. We are 2-2 on this road trip with the unstoppable Golden State Warriors (59-6) scheduled to host the New York Knicks (28-40) under the direction of replacement head coach Kurt Rambis on Wednesday.  If the Lakers can do it…  I will not finish that sentence.

It may be a pipe dream to climb up to the eighth spot in the east right now, but most of the teams ahead of us also not on pace to make it are also playing poorly. Indiana, currently the seventh seed in the east, is just 5-5 in their last ten. It will take a huge winning streak of maybe 8 or so games to catch these teams that are slipping, but with 14 games left to play, and March Madness around the corner, why not keep hope alive?

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 1.31.01 PM

Phil should had made some moves at the trade deadline, but he did nothing.  We won 17 games last season.  Knicks fans will be Knicks fans.  We expect the playoffs.  New York coaches with winning records have been fired, so the bar is never set so lo as “improving from a 17-win season.”

For the remainder of the season, we have to make due with what we have, which is strength in the front court and very poor defense in the backcourt. Porzingis may not be as burnt out as people think, so maybe Rambis figures out a way to maximize returns on this team. Until then, we want to win as much as possible, so that Toronto doesn’t get a high draft pick. What should have been our high draft pick… The Andrea Bargnani curse lives. What a scrub. Shame on Glen Grunwald for making that deal.

Two and Three After Five

Aaron Afflalo… He hasn’t played yet. We’ve seen everyone on this team except for Afflalo and Lou Amundson. The consensus from around the internet with regards to this Knicks team is that the starting back court is shot, can’t shoot, and should be revamped with Jerian Grant and Langston Galloway as soon as possible.

But Afflalo is day-to-day nursing a hamstring problem, despite Phil Jackson’s famous quote from Charley Rosen’s summer series The Phil Files, “he takes excellent care of his body and I am certain he has something left in the tank.”

With Vujacic and Calderon in the back court starting, there is no penetration and mediocre defense. If Calderon started with Afflalo, things could be more balanced defensively and in terms of attacking the paint. Afflalo is also known for his midrange shooting, which is something the starting guards could improve on shooting a combined 29.6% from the field. So shitty.

So we have to wait to see how things develop, if Afflalo can come in and find his rhythm and be a leader as a guard. Galloway, despite his numerous big-shots early this season, IS a reserve, and Jerian Grant is still too much of a rookie to start. This is why coach Fisher doesn’t tinker with the lineup. At 2-3, he will probably not make any changes. If they go 2-10 with everyone healthy, I would expect to see changes.

Porzingis is quickly gaining popularity in the NBA, having dunked put backs over Lamarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love, both being players the Knicks wanted not so long ago. Porzingis’ biggest challenge is going to be to learn how to not foul and still play solid defense. It could take him all season to learn how to do this. Mozgov used to have this problem.

Kyle O’Quinn had been solid. Kevin Seraphin looked impressive in the first half against the Cavs, wonder why coach Fisher didn’t want to play him in the second half of the basketball game? Derrick Williams had a nice take to the basket, but once again didn’t put up huge numbers compared to the preseason despite limited minutes on the floor last night. The Knicks barely got any fast breaks, and this is due to the scouting reports. Teams are going to hustle back, but it is the defense that must provide the fast-break opportunities that Derrick Williams flourishes in.

I’m still wondering why Cleanthony Early was replaced with Lance Thomas in the rotation. Cleanthony had a hell of a preseason but is seeing very little daylight now in the regular season. Maybe a future Wally Pip moment will happen for Cleanthony…

Will Jimmer Fredette do his best impersonation of John Paxon in effort to find his way out of the d-league and onto the Knicks roster as the 15th man?

I hope the second unit remains intact, Porzingis learns how to play without fouling, and that Afflalo brings defense and penetration to the starting five, as well as leadership. Melo will get his, shooting slump or not, he’s still a top 10 scorer in the league, even with Porzingis slowly developing into New York’s newest star.

I leave you with this, a picture of Phil at MSG, having rode his bike there on draft day.

phil

Knicks K.O. (Kyle O’Quinn) Greg Monroe 122-97

kogm

It was brutal.

We were doing the brutality.

The team has bought-in to coach Derek Fisher’s philosophies on both sides of the court.

The bench scored 70.

Jason Kidd and his Milwaukee Bucks had no answers.

The question is:

Why does Derrick Williams remind me of Latrell Sprewell in a Knicks uniform?

-He flies on the break and finishes with athleticism that makes me forget about JR Smith.
-His hair is sort of like Latrell’s in that is is uncoventional for an NBA style. Long.

The energy of this team right now, can they sustain it?

Will Melo be happy to take less shots if it means statement wins like last night?

We don’t have to wait long to find out, the Knicks have their home opener tonight against the Hawks. The Hawks will be thirsty, they lost yesterday.

We Know our injured guys from last year, Calderon and Melo are back and are contributing in the starting minutes.

Love Vujacic and what he brings to the starting five. He reads those passing lanes well and with Calderon will keep the defense on the perimter – both guys can shoot.

But with that second unit, you see the future of the franchise’s back court. Jerian Grant, not many are talking about him right now because of the focus of Porzingis and Derrick Williams, but Grant is a major reason why Charles Barkley, a Knick-basher for decades, is now their #1 fan. Grant was a tremendous player for a very fun to watch Notre Dame team last year. He is NBA-ready and could make the all-rookie team if his minutes are consistent.

Porzingis showed promise with a solid stat line: 15 points 5 rebounds 1 block 1 assist 1 steal. He didn’t shy away from contact and doesn’t appear to be getting pushed around as the pundits promised he would.

Loved the tag team effort on Greg Monroe: What Robin Lopez started, Kyle O’Quinn continued to bring against the big who spurned the Knicks in the offseason. Boy am I tired of hearing about that, but this was nice revenge.

If Melo starts to get to the line, we have three guys who can draw fouls: Melo, Kristaps, and Derrick Williams.

galloway

Langston Galloway was awesome to start that second half with big three’s. We have bigs that can shoot those too – O’Quinn was tempted but did not. Maybe you’ll see him put up a three tonight.

I do not miss Chris Copeland, or Steve Novak for that matter and Lopez and Porzingis are helping me start to forget Mozgov and Gallinari. We are getting two-way players now, not guys like Shumpert or Tyson who can defend but can’t shoot or J.R. Smith who can dazzle but well, enough about those players.

Watching how much Cleanthony Early improved during the offseason and during the preseason, I was surprised the coach gave the minutes to Lance Thomas, but that was a great decision as Lance Thomas produced double figures and was a plus 20 off the bench in efficiency.

Knicks finish preseason at 4-2

Last night’s game in Boston was the first time we saw the starting five that we can expect to see at the Garden for the season opener on Wednesday against the Bucks:

PG Calderon – had his best game thus far as a Knick
SG Afflalo – hurt his hamstring again, will Sasha start on Wednesday?
SF Melo – worst outing of the preseason but I’m not concerned
PF Porzingis – very shaky on D but had his moments on offense
C Lopez – solid short range jump hook, expect more from him in the regular season.

New York has strength in its bench, however:

PG Grant – best penetrator on the team
SG Galloway – solid sophomore with much less on his plate than during his rookie season
SF Cleanthony Early – seems so improved it’s like getting a new player
PF Derrick Williams – the “mvp of the preseason” according to Afflalo
C Kyle O’Quinn – both Kyle and Seraphin are hungry for minutes and will have to take advantage when they’re in to assure their role on the team as enforcer.

We have the role players from last year, Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, and possibly a roster opening now that the training camp players have been cut.

The Knicks, particularly the rookies, look a little lost on defense, and need to learn how to not jump on pump fakes.

If the starting five can keep up in terms of speed with other NBA starting fives, we have a solid chance to be a 500 ball club this year, because the strength of the second unit is their chemistry.

Melo needs to find that balance of team play versus individual performance.

This year’s Knicks team is deep, so finding the right rotations will be easier for Derek Fisher.

There are, of course, Knicks fans who aren’t convinced of Fisher’s abilities as a coach. He was in a very difficult situation last season, hopefully this time around he won’t have the same type of adversity in the world’s most famous arena.

This is the Video that Convinced Phil to Draft Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez

In the video, Porzingis wears #6 and Willie is #14. Willy will come on next season and is described by Phil as being “stronger version of Luis Scola.”

That’s strong.

WG is a post player that gets rebounds. KP seems like stretch four that likes to set high screens and pop.

The Knicks will be faster next year

The addition of this guy guarantees it:

If Calderon doesn’t come back full speed in November (he was hobbled much of the second half of the season in case you quit watching), I would expect 4-years of college traingle royalty in Jerian Grant. He’s the 6’5″ point guard nephew of Horace Grant, of Chicago Bulls dynasty.

So we have Derrick Williams, Jerian Grant and Aaron Afflalo as the shooting guard. The Afflalo signing assures decreased minutes for Langston Galloway, a d-league all star who started last season and was the Knicks’ only award-winner during the season of 17 wins.

O’Quinn doesn’t appear as quick, but is definitely young and talented as a reserve big.

….
Here’s how the summer league rookie highlights looks:

Porzingis blocked Okafor three times in one game.

Jerian Grant at #19.

Mario Hezonja at #5

Jhalil Okafor at #3 (he will be a good post scorer but not much else in my eyes

Karl Towns at #1