Chat with Jared Zwerling
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jared Zwerling (1:34 PM)
Hey Knicks fans! I'll be taking your questions from 2 to 3 p.m. ET today. Talk to you soon!
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Why when Jeremy Lin takes a Day off that the New York Knicks are absolutely Terrible?
Jared Zwerling (2:01 PM)
If you mean against the Nets, Lin didn't take a day off. He had 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. What took the day off was the Knicks' consistent energy level throughout the game, which Mike D'Antoni spoke about after the game. In fact, the Knicks are not winning the first and third quarter scoring margins -- two very important periods to start the game. The Knicks have to show more consistent energy, especially on the defensive end. Against the Nets, Kris Humphries and Shelden Williams had too many offensive rebounds. Also, speaking of the Nets game, Carmelo Anthony, of course, returned and there is some adjustment that has to happen. All in all, the Knicks, with their new stacked team, can't lose to the Hornets and then the Nets three days later. More consistency is needed.
OMARVLS (NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA)
Jared, Don't you feel it? that something special is about to happenI mean the Knicks finally have a real team. I believe the Knicks will be the second best team in the East and make it to the ECF. they will beat the Bulls and challenge the Heat
Jared Zwerling (2:04 PM)
I do feel it. The Knicks are talented and deep now, which is especially important in a shortened season when rest and day-to-day injuries are inevitable. As I just mentioned, that defensive consistency is vital for the Knicks to contend with the Heat and Bulls, two teams that never let up on both ends of the court. The Knicks have enough pieces now to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The biggest personnel question revolves around Lin. If he can maintain his production with Baron Davis adding in valuable minutes off the bench, the Knicks will be able to maintain that offensive (and defensive) consistency from the starting five to the second unit.
Chris (New York)
Are the Knicks for real with amare melo tyson and linsanity
Jared Zwerling (2:10 PM)
The Knicks with their talent now can be the third best team in the East, but defensive consistency is key. Melo and Amare need to pick it up. Fortunately, Jared Jeffries has been a tremendous glue guy. On the offensive end, Lin has many pick-and-roll options and has an additional shooter (J.R. Smith) to make things happen from the perimeter. They just have to hit shots, which they didn't do, again, against the Nets.
The Cooler (Twitterverse/circa NYC)
The Knicks defense is horrible with Amar'e on the court. Every time they went on a run vs. DAL he was on the bench. Is there anyway to trade him for an expiring deal?
Jared Zwerling (2:14 PM)
Amare isn't going anywhere. He has a lot of money left on his deal, which is not insured. Teams are going to wary of picking that up. But back to the Knicks with Amare. There is no question his defense has dropped off, but you can't just look at Amare and say he's the reason the Knicks have struggled defensively. Mike D'Antoni has said it's a situation based on team matchups. The Knicks switch on a lot of pick-and-rolls and don't rotate as well as they should yet on outside shooters. Amare does need to improve defensively, but fortunately Jared Jeffries has stepped in well.
pat [via mobile]
Are the Knicks gonna rest Iman tonight and save him for the Heat game, or let him rest over the allstar break?
Jared Zwerling (2:17 PM)
The Knicks have him officially as day-to-day. There is no confirmation yet about him playing tonight against the Hawks or tomorrow night in Miami. We'll know about tonight around 6 p.m. when D'Antoni addresses the media. Whatever the case, the Knicks have to take their time with Shumpert. He's the team's best perimeter defender and was sorely missed against the Nets defending Deron Williams, who had a career-high eight 3-pointers. I expect Shumpert to take the weekend off, so the team won't be concerned with any lingering effects.
Chris Augur (KY)
Just wondering, do u think Josh Harellson will be a starter by the end of the season?
Jared Zwerling (2:19 PM)
Over who? Amare? No way. Harrellson is not versatile enough offensively. He's really just a shooter. Plus, he's already missed a huge chunk of time and heading into the playoffs, it's important D'Antoni has as much veteran experience in the starting five to set the tone early.
Jared, can we expect D'Antoni to go ten deep, given their depth and the intensity of this schedule?
Jared Zwerling (2:21 PM)
D'Antoni said after the Nets game that he'll go deep. He didn't put a number on it, but expect it to be around nine players per game on overage. He said he has a lot of options now, and some games he'll play more than others, depending on if they're hot from the outside.
Anthony for Howard? We're going to lose him anyway why not make this deal? It works for both teams right?
Jared Zwerling (2:25 PM)
Of course any team could use Dwight Howard, but the Knicks are fine with Tyson Chandler, who is a reigning defending champ. Chandler doesn't get the amount of recognition he deserves, especially with Lin's explosion on to the scene, but he's been great offensively and defensively, a vocal leader. And with Melo, now the Knicks have a perimeter finisher, which you need in the playoffs. If the Knicks trade Melo away, Lin will be asked to carry the load a lot more from the outside, and he can't do it himself. The playoffs are all about tight finishes, and you need a guy like Melo in those situations. Not to mention, Amare can hit the big shot as well.
Matthew (Columbus, OH)
Please settle this argument between my father and I...he heard a rumor about a Melo-Pau trade. I think it's ridiculous because you can't play Chandler-Pau-Amare at the same time. He says Pau is better, isn't a Melo fan and thinks they'll figure it out. Please tell him he's crazy. I'd much prefer to trade Melo for Igoudala and Even turner.
Jared Zwerling (2:28 PM)
I have heard nothing about a Melo for Pau trade. Pau would slow down the Knicks' offense, which is predicated on the pick-and-roll and spacing. Not happening, and Melo is the perimeter finisher the Knicks need in the playoffs.
Will JR Smith be a starter at any point or will they use him off the bench?
Jared Zwerling (2:30 PM)
D'Antoni was asked about this and he's going with Landry Fields right now. Fields has been thriving in the starting five, playing alongside Lin. He's not only picking up his rebounding, which he did last season, but he's slashing to the basket better. He's starting to look like a bona fide two guard. He just needs to improve his outside shooting. He's been shooting a little flat, but Fields provides that complementary game that Lin and the Knicks need. J.R. Smith needs the ball in his hands a bit more, so he's suited better for the second unit. That's not to say he couldn't be the starting two guard -- he's very talented -- but the Knicks needed depth off the bench, and he provides that.
Everybody wants to trade Melo. Can he play more than one game with Lin first?
Jared Zwerling (2:31 PM)
Yes, I keep getting asked this question. New Yorkers, all about instant gratification. Being that Lin is so humble and such a student of the game and Melo really wants to win -- as so do all of the Knicks -- fans should be reassured to know that they're going to put their best effort in to make this all work.
I don't think there is any shame in losing to the Nets when they shot 50% from 3pt range and the Knicks were missing their only above-average perimeter defender. That being said, what was the biggest positive takeaway from Monday night's game for the Knicks?
Jared Zwerling (2:33 PM)
The future offensive options this team has. Lin can run the pick-and-roll with Melo, Stoudemire or Chandler. At different times during the game, each of these situations worked. There are so many different sets they can bring in now, and I think if they get on the same page and learn how to execute, they're always going to keep defenders on their toes. Melo and Amare will have to recognize, though, that sacrifices will be made, which means they not have the ball in their hands as much. If they can keep that in mind and focus on team first, the Knicks will be dangerous.
ross (new york)
Why does amare have trouble asserting himself in big games and late game situations?
Jared Zwerling (2:39 PM)
Well, keep this in mind first: Amare had to play alongside three different inefficient point guards (Douglas, Shumpert and Bibby) before Lin. And they've really only played in a few games together. So overall, Amare really hasn't built a consistency yet. He, like the Knicks, have been sort of figuring it out. But another reason is Chandler has established himself as a better roll guy this season than Amare, and Lin has been clicking him. Amare is not as big of a focal point in the offense, but he's still needed and has looked a bit off this season. A lot of insiders have said his injury and the shortened training camp limited his development this season. So we'll see what the second half brings. He's had his "pep in his step" moments, but not enough. For the Knicks to be really effective offensively, Amare has to be able to knock down his patented midrange jumpshot.
What happened to Tony Douglas? Is it the shoulder injury that has rendered his shot so inept?
Jared Zwerling (2:41 PM)
I've heard it could be bothering him, but nothing definite. Overall, he was just struggling and D'Antoni is the kind of the coach who plays who's ever hot, and that hasn't been Douglas. Glen Grunwald did say he expects Douglas to have a comeback soon. I've gotten to know Douglas quite a bit since last year and I know his work ethic. He's not just giving in to being buried on the bench. He comes out on to the court at around 2 p.m. sometimes before games to work with an assistant coach. I think he's primed for a second chance soon.
Any move in the Knicks future? I think you have to give them the year to gel and see what happens.
Jared Zwerling (2:42 PM)
I don't see any moves right now. They've got their point guard, their leading scorer (Melo back) and their bench revamped. Not to mention, Josh Harrellson is returning in about a week and a half, if his right wrist checks out okay. So the Knicks are looking pretty good.
I think the Jeremy Lin story has been great. However, I think a huge part of the Knicks recent success that has gone partially overlooked is the defensive presence of Chandler/Jeffries in the paint and Shumpert on the perimeter. Without this, Lin probably still puts up good numbers, but the Knicks lose alot of these games.
Jared Zwerling (2:45 PM)
Absolutely! D'Antoni and the team have referred to Jeffries as "the glue guy." No one takes charges like Jeffries does. And Chandler has been everything as advertised. I go back to that game against the Lakers, featuring Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. Without Chandler and Jeffries' defense on those guys, Lin's 38 points would've just been another one-man show in a loss.
Jared, everyone seems so concerned with players fitting back in on offense, but isnt team defense the larger issue because of Melo and Amare?
Jared Zwerling (2:50 PM)
Agreed. Because D'Antoni's offense is predicated on quick ball movement and transition plays, that can tire players out a little bit. That's why it's so key the Knicks have depth now, so they don't have an energy drop-off, which has been a concern lately. The Knicks have to be better in their rotations and watch out for backdoor cuts, especially leading into paint points. Too many bigs (Kevin Love, Kris Humphries, etc.) have had big games against the Knicks. Chandler does a great job of communicating, but that needs to be a total team effort. They also have to play the pick-and-roll better. They switch an awful lot, and if they don't, they don't show fast enough, and that has allowed shooters to get going, like Deron Williams against the Knicks Monday night.
ross (new york)
what's to expect tonight against the hawks
Jared Zwerling (2:51 PM)
It looks like no Joe Johnson and Al Horford, the Hawks' two best players, so it's a must-win for the Knicks, especially after losing two out of their last three games to poor teams (the Hornets and Nets). The Knicks need to come out with a vengeance tonight and build momentum and confidence before they fly down to Miami to face the Heat, the East's best team.
ross (new york)
if the team has a disappointing finish to the season could we see a different head coach
Jared Zwerling (2:54 PM)
In a first-round exit, definitely. Now that all depends on a multitude of factors (injuries, off-the-court stuff, etc.). But the Knicks have built a team to contend with the Heat and Bulls. Although that's a bit premature to say now, I'm talking about when the Knicks figure it out and become the team they should become in March/April, with the talent and depth they have.
Peter (New York)
Are the knicks a legitimate contenders with there pick and roll offense
Jared Zwerling (2:59 PM)
The Knicks' pick and roll is looking pretty good with Lin and Chandler, but offensive cohesion and defensive consistency are the two biggest keys for me. If Melo and Amare can find their place in the offense, especially, with the way Lin and Chandler were playing, that's critical. Also, the Knicks have to play defense for four quarters and not in spurts, which they've been doing lately. They have to win the first and third quarter scoring margins, which they haven't been doing, and those are two key periods to start the game off.
If D'Antonini s gone, would that hurt Lin in his development?
Jared Zwerling (3:02 PM)
Interesting question, because many people, including scouts I've spoken to, credit D'Antoni for allowing Lin to flourish. You have to remember the Knicks had no point guards before Lin. Lin had a lot of flexibility to run with things, and D'Antoni has given him the green light quickly. But now that people realize Lin can play, if Lin keeps up what he's doing and remains with the Knicks (with a different coach) or ever goes to a new team, the coaches will not want to interfere with what Lin can do. That's saying the same thing for any of the top point guards in the league.
Melo has a little double chin going on. You look at the best players in the league, they are all in amazing shape (lebron, wade, durant, rose, griffin, kobe). Melo should focus on losing 15 ibls this summer and come back in 12/13 with a vengeance.
Jared Zwerling (3:07 PM)
There are some insiders who don't think Melo works out well enough in the offseason and they can already predict how he'll look after he retires from the NBA. But the guy is obviously talented one way or the other. Considering how well he plays in the fourth quarter, I'm not really going to question his conditioning issues. He seems to be able to last through games well. Just injuries have bitten him up this season.
ross (new york)
where do you rank Lin in point guards in the league like top 15?
Jared Zwerling (3:09 PM)
The way he's playing right now, top 10. We'll see if he keeps it up with the shortened season. Baron Davis off the bench is key, because he'll be able to alleviate pressure and minutes off of Lin. The top point guards in this league (Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook) all play around 35 minutes per game, especially because they have solid backup point guard play. The Knicks need that from Davis.
Jared Zwerling (3:10 PM)
Thanks guys for your time! I'm signing off. See you next time! I appreciate all of your questions and thoughts, and if I ever run into you at a Knicks game, definitely say hello. We can talk more then. Take care and have a great day!