Chat with Jared Zwerling
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Friday, New York Knicks writer Jared Zwerling stops by to chat about the team.
Zwerling has covered the Knicks for ESPNNewYork since 2010. He is also an NBA contributor to ESPN.com and writes for ESPN High School. Prior to ESPN, Zwerling worked for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and started his career with the NBA in 2004, upon graduating from New York University.
Send your questions now and join Zwerling Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jared Zwerling (1:30 PM)
Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by to chat about the Knicks! Keep sending in your questions. I'll be answering them from 2 to 3 p.m. ET. Thanks, and talk to you guys soon!
Jared Zwerling (1:56 PM)
Obviously a lot of Jeremy Lin talk. That's where we'll start ...
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How did the Knicks Acquire PG Jeremy Lin?
Jared Zwerling (1:58 PM)
The Knicks claimed Lin off of waivers on December 27 after an injury to Iman Shumpert. Also Baron Davis was obviously out, and Toney Douglas was struggling at point.
I heard Baron Davis returned to practice yesterday. Any word on how it went? Did he shoot around this morning?
Jared Zwerling (2:01 PM)
He hasn't returned to practice or scrimmaging yet. He did some back exercises today.
Jared Zwerling (2:01 PM)
There is no timetable for Davis' return as of now.
Michael Scott (Los Angeles California)
Will the lakers' defense be able to slow down or even stop Jeremy Lin? Or will he have another monster game?
Jared Zwerling (2:03 PM)
Tonight will be the most challenging game for Lin so far, with the Lakers' frontline of Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum. His three previous opponents, the Nets, Jazz and Wizards, are three of the worst defensive teams in the league. I'm very interested to see how Lin handles the immense pressure in the paint and if he can still be just as effective working the two-man game with Chandler and finding the Knicks' shooters.
Dusty (Bushwick, Brooklyn)
Do you think a kid like Brandon Jennings is noticing all the attention and hype Jeremy Lin is getting after THREE GAMES, and wondering "Maybe NY could be a good situation for me?"
Jared Zwerling (2:05 PM)
No question about it. Which player doesn't think about the Knicks, being in New York, having that international attention, securing additional sponsorship deals? A lot of added value in the No. 1 media market.
Tom (Mount Sinai, NY)
So if Jeremy Lin was starting from Day 1 and had been a productive player, do you think he would have gotten some All Star love like Yao Ming got a few years back?
Jared Zwerling (2:08 PM)
That's really hard to answer right now because Lin has only played three games against weaker teams. The sample size is too small. Obviously Lin's pick-and-roll game looks great, but I have some questions about his floor game (eight turnovers against the Jazz) and his shooting (under 30 percent from three to 23 feet away form the basket). Rajon Rondo got All-Star love for not being a great shooter, but Rondo does everything else extremely well and he's a potential triple-double threat. Lin has to prove himself further, but he's on the right track.
Have you done any Linterviews with Jeremy over the past week? How is he taking all of the spotlight?
Jared Zwerling (2:12 PM)
I had my first lengthy conversation with Jeremy down in Miami on Jan. 27, before the Knicks faced the Heat. A really nice dude. He asked me what my name was and a little about my background. He actually sprained his ankle in his one D-League appearance, which not many people know about. He and Jerome Jordan were very happy to be recalled to the Knicks. They didn't necessarily enjoy it, but wanted to make the most of it. Since his explosion, the media attention is crazy. There's like 30 media members around his locker after games, but he's patient with the questions and never looks rattled -- and that includes on the court as well.
Chris (Holmdel, NJ)
Jared, Landry Fields seems to be playing much better lately. If the Knicks sign JR Smith, do you think he'll fill the 6th man role or bump Fields to the bench?
Jared Zwerling (2:15 PM)
The faster pace has benefited Fields, even before Lin exploded on to the scene. The Knicks were demonstrating more of that offensive flow. When the Knicks stall, Fields looks lost out there because he's not a stationary 3-point shooter. I've also been impressed with his attacking ability in halfcourt sets. He's really looking more and more like a starting shooting guard with multiple dimensions to his game. I think if the Knicks sign J.R. Smith, Fields will still remain as the starter. D'Antoni is not going there. With Toney Douglas especially struggling, the Knicks need that bench spark and Smith would be that guy.
Jared Zwerling (2:17 PM)
But, to be honest, now with Lin playing so well, and Iman Shumpert recapturing that scoring mentality against the Wizards (17 points), an imminent J.R. Smith signing may not be needed. Not to mention, Smith has had some behavioral issues in the past, so there's that question as well. Overall, would Smith help the Knicks? Yes. And I think with former Nuggets teammate Melo in New York, that would get him in check faster.
If the knicks can sign JR would they have to cut someone? who?
Jared Zwerling (2:17 PM)
No, the Knicks would not have to cut anyone. They still have a midlevel exception to spend.
Nick (Hell's Kitchen, NYC)
How soon before the wear and tear of all the media attention and hype brings Jeremy Lin down, the way it did Brandon Jennings after he scored 55 points?
Jared Zwerling (2:20 PM)
The media attention is not getting to Lin so far, and I don't think it will. He's very composed on and off the court. He's going to have people who are going to hope he's just a week-long sensation, but he's going to continue playing well. Maybe not 25.3 points and 8.3 assits per game well, but he'll do just fine as either the starting or backup point guard. I was chatting with Idan Ravin, a top NBA tainer who's worked with Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and many other stars, and he's also been impressed with Lin's calmness and selfless mentality. Sports psychologists will tell you those are two defining factors about star athletes.
Inadvertent Chest Bump (NY)
Jared, it's hard to deny how the Novakiness has swept the Garden in the absence of Melo and Stat, coming off the bench and hitting big shot after big shot from way downtown - BANG! The Novakiness has become one of the big stories of the NBA this week, however, when is this kid Lin going to get any press?
Jared Zwerling (2:24 PM)
Steve Novak is one of my favorite players to chat with on the team. He's always willing to talk, he's very friendly. He gives you that eye-contact and doesn't look disinterested with questions. It's even more fun to watch this guy shoot threes after practice with one of the Knicks' assistant coaches. It's a routine for him, and he doesn't miss. He's like a robot. Before this week, Novak was already hitting more than 40 percent of his threes (more than one per game). So he just needed a bigger opportunity and he got it with Lin. Interestingly enough, Novak and Lin played one game in the D-League together last year in Reno. Novak was very impressed with Lin then, and look what's happening now. Novak is benefiting significantly from Lin's ability to get into the paint. He's turning into the Knicks' Kyle Korver.
Do you look for Lin's scoring to go down and his assists to go up.. as Amare and Melo make their way back?
Jared Zwerling (2:26 PM)
This is a really interesting conversation piece. How will Lin's game change once Melo and Amare are both on the court? Having Amare on the court for sure will benefit Lin and the Knicks. When Lin moves off the screen he'll have two options rolling to the basket. Amare and Tyson can be involved in double-screen sets, which they were doing before, and it was somewhat working. They just didn't have point guard to fully execute them consistently. Lin can. Also, Amare's ability to pick-and-pop and knock down the midrange jumpshot will give Lin another kick-out opportunity.
Jared Zwerling (2:27 PM)
This is what Mike A'Antoni said about Lin meshing with Amare: "I see when Amare comes back, there's another pick-and-roll guy, maybe the best in the game. I see that as a big plus. People jump to a conclusion, well when melo and amare come back ... Well, they've never played with Jeremy, so we can't make that conclusion until we see it, and then we'll adjust to it. But I can't wait to get those three guys back."
Jared Zwerling (2:30 PM)
How Lin and Carmelo Anthony will work together will be more interesting. Melo needs the ball in his hands much more than Amare does. Because Lin is not a great shooter, he needs the ball in his hands. I think Melo will benefit, however, from Lin's ability to penetrate. The ball will flow better and the spacing will be better for Melo to take more open shots. Before, he was taking more contested shots, which led to his poor shooting percentage. It wasn't just due to his injuries.
How excited are you about the possibilities that will present themselves if Lin continues to play this way with Melo and Stat back in the lineup?
Jared Zwerling (2:34 PM)
Very excited, especially because now the Knicks' bench can hopefully -- I say hopefully here -- flourish. To me, in this shortened season, depth is more than important than youth. Injuries can happen at any point. But you need that bench to help carry you through. The Knicks' bench has struggled this season, but Iman Shumpert and Steve Novak are starting to look good in the second unit because they're understanding their roles. Shumpert is especially key for the Knicks. He lost somewhat of his scoring mentality when he was moved to the starting point-guard role, but now coming off the bench he needs to attack lanes and draw fouls. Outside Lin, the Knicks haven't had another guard who's been consistently able to get to the line. Shumpert needs to use his size (6-5, 220) and athleticism (42-inch vertical leap) a lot more. Obviously, his defense speaks for itself. He's averaging 2.05 steals per game (fourth-best in the league).
Big Hypothetical: If Lin continues to play well all season AND meshes with Melo and Stat, what are the chances the Knicks would target someone like Wilson Chandler with their midlevel rather than Nash. (if he signs a remainder of the year contract he will be unrestricted).
Jared Zwerling (2:37 PM)
Recent reports I've read say that Wilson Chandler is leaning towards resigning with the Nuggets. As much as Wilson loves New York, he'll be a really tough get for the Knicks. Wilson is a restricted free agent and he'll demand bigger money. The Knicks are pretty locked up with Melo, Amare and Tyon's salaries. There are lot of factors beyond if Lin continues to play well that will impact the Knicks' offseason decisions. How far will the Knicks go in the playoffs? Will Mike D'Antoni be re-signed? Who's hot/who's not come April, May and possibly June? The season is just still too young right now.
What happens if the Knicks continue to play well /o Melo? We all know Stat can play in this system. But what if Melo can't? Is trading him for depth an option?
Jared Zwerling (2:39 PM)
Trading Melo? Come on now. The playoffs come down to who can finish and who can't. They are more games that feature last-minute and second heroics. Melo is one of the league's best players and closers. Having him on the court provides the Knicks their most dangerous offensive weapon, especially in times that are needed the most.
Can the Knicks do better than the 8th seed?
Jared Zwerling (2:44 PM)
The Knicks have to try their best not to be the seventh or eighth seed in the East. That would mean a matchup most likely with the Heat or Bulls, and that would be an incredible challenge in the first round. The Heat and Bulls know how to take care of business when it matters most. Last season, they were facing off in the Eastern Conference finals. Can they do better than eighth? Yes. But there are some new surprises in the East playing well and they haven't taken a backseat yet. Those teams include the Sixers and Pacers. If the Magic trade Dwight Howard, they should drop in the standings. Overall, the Knicks will really have to play well in the next few months to make up a lot of lost ground.
What are your thoughts on the Dwight situation? If the Nets scoop him up in the offseason (and it seems they might if Magic front office doesn't want to trade him), they can do some real damage in the NY Metro area in terms of NY Supremacy...
Jared Zwerling (2:47 PM)
I've been saying from Day 1 that Howard will end up in LA to play alongside Kobe Bryant, who has about another three solid years left. I don't see him going to the Mavericks because the Magic will likely trade him before the March 15th deadline. The Nets are the best second option for Howard to play alongside Deron Williams, but there's been some question to how much Howard wants to be in Brooklyn, which is not the premier team in New York. That's obviously the Knicks. Also, he's an entertainment-type guy and LA offers him that rah-rah that he may want.
Why haven't teams forced Lin to the sideline on pick & rolls, especially on high pick
Jared Zwerling (2:49 PM)
Let me ask you this question. Which coach knew about Jeremy Lin until last Saturday? I don't even think he was on any of their scouting reports. Now, moving forward, it will be interesting to see how coaches adjust to defending him.
Sheldon (Pasadena, Ca)
Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, believe that the Clippers would be better than the Knicks?
Jared Zwerling (2:52 PM)
I knew they'd both be competitive. Knicks, unfortunately, have had more adversity. Melo's injuries, their point guard situation, eight new players coming into training camp, etc. etc. Chris Paul is a big reason why the Clippers are playing well. And it's a big reason why the Bulls, Thunder, Pacers and every other team with a great point guard is so good.
Zoltan (Staten Island)
Do the Knick's stand a chance tonight against the Lakers?
Jared Zwerling (2:55 PM)
They stand a chance if they can hit 3-pointers. Lin needs to play at a strong pace, get that ball blowing and create that spacing on the court so the Knicks' shooters can capitalize. The result of this game could look similar to the Knicks-Heat game on Jan. 27, when the Knicks made 18 threes in that game. Hopefully this time, they'll get a little more added scoring from Iman Shumpert off the bench. Remember how the Mavericks beat the Lakers in the Finals last year? 3-point shooting. The Lakers are interior-focused, so the Knicks will have to pick up the pace well in order to slow down the Lakers' defensive rotations. I think Tyson Chandler and Andrew Bynum are going to cancel each other out, so the perimeter game is key for the Knicks.
Nick (Hell's Kitchen, NYC)
If Lin turns out to be a legit starter for the Knicks this year, who do they target in Free Agency with their MLE and LLE and Vet's Min. to fill out the roster? I like Jamal Crawford (has an opt out), Terrence Williams, and Nate Robinson.
Jared Zwerling (2:57 PM)
I don't have specific names right now, but a backup scoring and defending forward will be a big need. The Knicks' bench right now is more focused on guard play. Obviously they lost out on Kenyon Martin, who I think could've benefited the Knicks. So a player like that, but a bit younger will be key.
Nick (Hell's Kitchen, NYC)
How good could Jeremy Lin be if the Knicks had, you know... some guys who can make layups and open jump shots?
Jared Zwerling (2:59 PM)
Well, Tyson Chandler is playing well (the layup part) and Knicks' perimeter players are doing their job (the open jump shots part). But they do need more of that, of course, to boost their chances against the better teams in the league. It's a good thing Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudmemire are coming back soon.
Does Lin start for the remainder of the season?
Jared Zwerling (3:01 PM)
I think it's going to have to happen. Baron Davis, at the earliest, won't be himself until mid-March. There's a lot of conditioning he needs to pick up. So expect Lin at the starting point guard for a while. Davis came off the bench for the Cavaliers last season, and he played well. He was also comfortable with that role, and then he started and also looked good.
When is big Josh going to be back on the court?
Jared Zwerling (3:04 PM)
Last question ... There's nothing new on Jorts timetable. The Knicks said it would be about six weeks after his surgery, and it's already been about three. So I would say a end of February/early March return seems fair.
Jared Zwerling (3:05 PM)
Thanks guys for tuning in and your questions! They're always insightful. Enjoy the Lin-sanity and the Lakers game tonight. Follow me on Twitter @JaredZwerling for all the latest on the Knicks. See you next time!