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

New Team, Did Phil and Steve Do Well?

I put Mills in the title because by all accounts, it seems as he is doing the heavy lifting and may in fact serve as the mediator between the success of Phil and the petulance of the owner.

We have ourselves a new roster.

Yes we struck out on the big names. People are saying they failed in that respect.

I think the Knicks might be fun to watch this year.

Much depends on Melo, the coach and how well the new players blend in chemistry-wise.

We weren’t going anywhere with Tyson Chandler (neither did Dallas) so I welcome Robin Lopez and his workman game.

We weren’t going anywhere with J.R. and Shump so I welcome the younger, more mid-range game of Afflalo.

We weren’t going to get Okafor or Towns, so I welcome the upside of Porzingis, who looked like a factor in Vegas Summer league.

Jerian Grant might finally give us a penetrating point guard that even a healthy Calderon will not provide.

No, we’re not a lock to make the playoffs, but we’re a lock to be close.

It all depends on Melo. It all depends on the coach. The other guys, Derrick Williams, Kyle, O’Quinn, Langston Galloway, Amundson, Lance Thomas, those guys are all role players to compliment Melo. To allow Melo to be Melo within the context of the triangle, the way Jordan and Kobe were as well.

The coach must command the respect of the players and he must know how to bring out the best in them.

If not, this team could see moves before the February trade deadline.

Yet, I fault the media for trying to paint Melo as a malcontent for not attending the summer league, not tweeting flowering things towards the new aquisitions. So what if he wanted Justice Winslow, that guy has Shumpert written all over him, and how well did Shumpert work out in this system?

It was strange to see Fisher trying to gain extra experience in the summer league, but perhaps beneficial, because more than a few of that roster will make the roster in late October, when we know all 15 guys who will fight this uphill battle as Knicks.

For now, we know the identity of 13 or so of those guys.

We also know who won’t be back: Shved, Acy and Bargs. Oh well. Weren’t going anywhere with those guys either.

Time to look at those summer league tapes again!

Does Thanasis Factor into the Draft?

As either a roster player next season or as a trade chip for perhaps a second-rounder?

Note that Langston Galloway is in many of these highlights. Funny how salary cap could have prevented Thanasis from seeing any real NBA time last year but Langston got plenty of time to shine. Maybe Phil didn’t want to show the rest of the league how bad Thanasis is on offense, or how good Thanasis is on defense.

At this point in the game of NBA Draft 2015, I know they’ve had Mudiay in and they plan to bring in many other new rookies for questioning. The Knicks are a mess, they only have 31 year old Melo and a few spare parts and there are legit concerns that other NBA players are too coward to come to where the “lights shine the brightest” as some idiot owner once said.

I’ve been reading Phil Jackson’s book (poor Phil, is he trying to pull a next town Larry Brown now that he knows how tough it is to work with these people?) and the triangle is all predicated on penetration. For that reason I think we need to get Mudiay. If people are right (you can’t trust people) and he has John Wall quickness, then you have to take that in today’s game, there is more an emphasis on athleticism.

I saw the quote from some one who used to play with Fisher, saying the players won’t listen to him because he is too young and not ready to coach. The good thing is, the players who wouldn’t listen were removed, or are going to be removed.

The jury is still out on Melo, but hey, Melo could be moved if he doesn’t figure out the triangle.

And Jerry West seems to want to tell players through the media that you can’t be yourself when playing in the triangle system. Hate much, Jerry?

And why does anyone in the world care who Laimbeer would prefer, Jordan or LeBron? Seriously, who in the world cares what Bill Laimbeer thinks about anything?

As far as the finals, game 3 was much more boring than game 2, which wasn’t as good as game 1. I have no dog in the fight, but the Cavs winning should light an already lit fire under both Melo and Jackson’s asses. Seeing those guys, Shump and JR, do well, even Mozzy who had to be thrown in so that Melo could have a couple more dollars, all of those guys are going to win a title and the media just wants to take another chance to shit on the Knicks for not getting enough back in exchange for those players.

As far as the draft goes, we might get Greg Monroe in free agency, so maybe you have to take either a guard who can penetrate, pass and shoot, or a big who can defend, because Monroe is known for his scoring.

Seems like it will either be Justice Winslow, Mudiay, or Will Cauley-Stein, but there are plenty of Knicks fans who want Frank Kaminksy. There are also a few euro players that seem to be climbing the charts, ask Fran Vazquez why he didn’t come to Orlando once they wasted a draft pick on him.

I watched every Duke game I could this year, Justice seems like a better, more competitive version of Wilson Chandler. Cauley-Stein could be like Tyson Chandler. I see Melo is buddying up with Justice Winslow now, is he trying to flex on management to pick who he wants?

Phil Jackson’s book is all about giving up ego, points, stats, for the team win. Has Melo read it?

I miss Danilo Gallinari. Didn’t he have a 40+ game before the season ended? I ate at his restaurant once in the west village. It was decent.

When was the last time the Knicks got it right?

In 2003, the Knicks picked Mike Sweetney at number 9.

In 2005, the Knicks picked Channing Frye at number 8. Ellis was taken at 40, Gortat was taken at 57. Someone like Fran Vazquez, never even made it to the NBA and was taken at 11. The draft is tricky even without involving trading up or down.

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Maybe the Knicks’ luck is set to change starting with the lottery tomorrow…

Ricky Ledo, the newest New York Knick

6’7″ 201lb, d-leaguer, age 22.

(note former Knick Renaldo Balkman is in the highlights above)

I like our backcourt right now of Langston Galloway and Alexy Shved. We can’t get any worse so the Knicks should play loose and play hard and let the chips fall where they may.

Interesting to note that Phil Jackson’s girl Buss is in charge of the other team, LA Lakers, looking to win the Carl Towns / Jhalil Okafor sweepstakes.

Iowa State has gone fishing. Enjoy the tournament, somewhere there is a future Knick out there to be scouted.