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. 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 noon ET!
Jared Zwerling (11:59 AM)
Chatting now ... Look forward to your questions and thoughts.
Jared Zwerling (12:05 PM)
I've been speaking to different insiders on the Amare thing, and also weaving in my person thoughts, and the consensus is that Amare will likely start when he's ready to go. He's one of their franchise players, just turned 30, technically still in his prime, making big bucks, a face of the city, and so there won't be the Knicks without Amare starting and in the player introductions. Some of that is from a business/superficial standpoint. Now ... from a player standpoint: Amare should benefit from the Knicks two point-guard backcourt in the starting five. He's never played alongside two seasoned floor generals at the same time, and they should help his game. He can alternate with Tyson as a pick-and-roller, but I think where Amare will excel more is an off-the-ball attacker and shooter. His midrange jumpshot is money and he can get to the line. The key is spacing, so Melo and Amare don't crowd the court, and as I just mentioned, I believe Felton and Kidd will help that. Most importantly, Amare needs to defend consistently. That's been his biggest weakness. That's where I look. I don't care if he starts or comes off the bench, to be honest. He needs to defend. At the end of the day, a game is 48 minutes -- not broken down by starting vs. who's not starting.
Jordan (livingston, nj)
What are your honest thoughts about Amare coming back, should he come off the bench? and if he does come back and things get worse with him in the lineup should they move him?, but then again he has a huge contract.
Jared Zwerling (12:06 PM)
To your point Jordan, Amare will likely start initially, but I think Woodson won't hesitate to use Amare off the bench if there's a letdown.
Shabazz (London uk)
Do you think melo WILL WIN the MVP this year? Will jr stay another year at $2.8 mil? And don't you think lebron is a better than Tyson since he has to guard all 5 positions and does it well? And finally shouldn't the Knicks be championship or bust since they effective created there big 3 the same way as Miami and have had a year 2gether????
Jared Zwerling (12:10 PM)
Melo, to me, is No. 1 in the MVP conversation so far. He's excelling very well on both ends of the court, and the Knicks are tied with the best record in the league. Simply those two factors put him in the conversation, no doubt about it. I think J.R. is very connected to Melo, Woodson and New York. He definitely has that contract year in mind -- who wouldn't in any line of work trying to get that next big paycheck? But I think J.R.'s connection to the things I just mentioned may keep him in New York. And no, LeBron is the best player in the world lol ... Your last question is interesting. If they keep playing like this -- one of the best teams in the league -- it will be championship or bust. But I think at least an Eastern Conference finals appearance will be deemed successful.
Xavier D (NYC)
I know we have been playing well but my mind is still on the memphis game where we were clearly out muscled. For the future, or at least until stat gets back, how do you see the lineup changing vs bigger more physical teams?
Jared Zwerling (12:14 PM)
I think Amare would help some in that regard. I think the tough back-to-back of the season got to New York a bit, after playing San Antonio. The Knicks' perimeter defense has been doing a great job not allowing many opportunities in the restricted area, but when opponents do get in that area, they're scoring a great amount. So Amare, more of Camby, Thomas, etc. when Knicks play teams like Memphis will help. That's the benefit Woodson has with his lineup. It's a grab bag of smaller and bigger talent.
Zwerl I really need you to settle an argument - Who will end up being the more valuable player once its all said and done: Shump Shump or Novak??
Jared Zwerling (12:21 PM)
In March or so, Shump Shump. Keep in mind that even if Shump returns in January, it takes time to get used to each game's style. Some are fast-paced; some are slower grind-outs, etc. There's no preparation for returning like an actual NBA game, so it will take some time for Shump to get adjusted. You may not see the entire Shump Shump until next season, but him at 85/90 percent healthy will be effective better on both ends of the floor than Novak. Shump is destined to be the starting shooting guard when he's feeling good. I can guarantee you his outside shot will be improved.
Jared:Do you worry about what happened the other night in Dallas? The Knicks D suffered a major meltdown in the second of a back-to-back.
Jared Zwerling (12:24 PM)
Their defensive rotations looked slow down the stretch, allowing Jae Crowder and Vince Carter to go off from downtown. And it's been their perimeter D that's been getting it done. I was surprised Woodson only went with three players off his bench, but that's what he felt like was working for most of the game. But then the Knicks' perimeter D suffered. I think he has to utilize his depth more. The Knicks should have taken that game. Obviously Melo didn't catch a good break. But as far as worried, no. It's still very early in the season, and it's a learning experience.
What's your starting 5 and 2nd unit once everyone's healthy?To me if Amare does start, he needs to come out at like the 8 min mark, so he maximizes most of his minutes with 2nd unit where I think he's more valuable.
Jared Zwerling (12:26 PM)
First unit: Felton, Shumpert, Melo, Amare and Chandler. Second unit: Kidd, Smith, Brewer, Wallace and Camby. Novak and Camby will alternate with different bench guys depending on the situation. Man, just thinking about it, this Knicks team is going to be the deepest in the league.
Xavier D (NYC)
I know everyone says it's impossible but people said the same thing about Gilbert Arenas being traded. If it were even remotely possible what teams do you think would be interested in Amare and if we could get Josh Smith would you do it?
Jared Zwerling (12:27 PM)
I highly doubt Amare is going to be traded this season.
You wrote about Melo's lack of calls yesterday, is this something that is starting to get into your head?
Jared Zwerling (12:29 PM)
I didn't write yesterday. You're referring to my colleague Ian Begley.
Jared it seems like the Knicks are built to beat the Heat. An elite scorer who can defend when he wants to (Melo), an elite center to keep the slashers from the Heat out of the paint (Tyson), point guards that don't turn the ball over (Felton, Kidd, Prigioni), elite defenders to slow down Wade and Lebron (Shump and Brewer), and three point shooters everywhere. What do you think their chances are with Miami in a 7 game series?
Jared Zwerling (12:31 PM)
Talking to scouts, the Knicks repositioned their team to try and beat the Heat. At the end of the day, if that's who is going to stand in your way, why not? The points you brought up are dead-on. I'm watching D-Wade all season. He could be an injury liability down the stretch. We'll see. I think if the Heat are fully healthy and are back to playing their shutdown D, I don't see anyone beating them -- even out West.
Xavier D (NYC)
How do you feel about the 'Kevin Garnett' method for Stat? 5 mins on 5 mins off to A) keep him fresh and B) manage his time considering his knee issues? And I promise this is my last question lol
Jared Zwerling (12:33 PM)
Interesting question, but I don't see that happening in spurts. Woodson's a coach who goes with what's working for longer stretches. He won't go deep off the bench all the time if he doesn't think he needs to -- like we saw against Dallas. So I don't think Amare's going to get that kind of unique treatment.
Do you think that Carmelo Anthony would have drove into the paint in the Dallas game for the last shot if the refs had not officiated as horribly as they did?
Jared Zwerling (12:34 PM)
Who's to know. That midrange jumpshot is Melo's go-to move, but you have to give some credit to Marion. Great defense. The score, however, should've been different considering the previous play when he got fouled. Melo goes to the line, sinks two.
What does JR Smith's season look like right now if Woodson isnt the head coach? It really seems like they have a great bond and Woody really knows how to get the best out of JR (and all the players for that matter).
Jared Zwerling (12:36 PM)
It's not all about Mike Woodson. It's J.R. Smith buying into himself and realizing his full potential at still a young age in the league. He wanted to stop hearing, "He could've been this, he could've been that." That's how he treated his offseason, getting after it with more of a focus. (I have a story coming next week exploring this more.) He's still young enough to evolve and change peoples' perspectives, especially heading into a contract year. Overall, sometimes we forget to give credit to the players themselves. We talk about them buying into the coach, the team. But it starts with the player's attitude about himself -- and J.R. has proven a difference there.
You mentioned ians article.......Has there been any formal complaints filed to the nba regarding the officiating...melo has been punched in the face with no call and JR smith has been called for a flag aren't trying to block a shot up high.....doesn't make sense....and what happend to no impeding an offense player physically when facing the basket??
Jared Zwerling (12:42 PM)
As far as I know, no. I do know the Knicks sent in the J.R. Smith flagrant for review. I'm not aware of a verdict yet.
How do you think LA does with D'Antoni this season?
Jared Zwerling (12:45 PM)
Their bench is concerning. But if they find that right lineup cohesion, they'll be even more dangerous. I still give the edge to the Thunder, for now. Scary starting five, still strong depth without Harden.
what has happened to steve novak?????do you think he will turn this around?
Jared Zwerling (12:47 PM)
He's got to work to get open a little more. Teams are gunning for him more this season, and Woodson isn't calling plays for him. But he's also missing some good looks. Just gotta find that rhythm.
Ian (Atl, GA)
What are your thoughts on Woodson's Coaching Decision actually being to blame for the 2 losses. I mean, he refuses to matchup big for big in Memphis. Camby doesn't play at all and then Thomas doesn't come in until they are down 20. In Dallas, he played only 8 guys on the 2nd night of a back to back. if anything shouldn't he have played 8 the first night and then played 10 or more the second night. His starters rested the 4th quarter in New Orleans is that his logic?? Thoughts on these two decisions??
Jared Zwerling (12:51 PM)
Well, here's your answer after the Dallas game: Woodson admitted it wasn't the right call to shorten the lineup. He said: "I was trying to go for the sure win and not that I don't do that every time, but I narrowed the lineup knowing we had a day off for Thanksgiving. But it somewhat backfired. Bad coaching. We'll figure it out next game."
Aaron (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
What do you think the Knicks' record will be by the end of November?
Jared Zwerling (12:52 PM)
I'm going to go with 4-1. It will be a tight game in Milwaukee, who are playing pretty well.
will (ocala, fl)
Do you think melo has been treated unfairly by the refs this season? Especially against Dallas with that offesive foul call on melo with 2:20 left in the game and the no call hand to the face by Kaman at the very end of the game?
Jared Zwerling (12:56 PM)
I'm not going to speculate on this. Have there been some bad calls? Yes. But who's to know. The Knicks are tied with the best record in the league right now, Melo is playing like a MVP, so I would say overall things are looking pretty good.
what do you think the knicks final record will be?and do you think they have any realistic shot at the title?
Jared Zwerling (12:57 PM)
Somewhere in the 50 to 58 win range. Yes, I do. If they can stay healthy, their starting five and bench should rival any team in the league.
Ian (Atl, GA)
Question about the defensive alignments vs certain teams. Why was Kidd on Mayo most of the game! Isn't Brewer the defensive stopper?? Couldn't Kidd just stick Marion. Offense isn't his strong point. These cross matches can be effective if the team has a weak link offensively like Marion. Really, this is how teams do the Knicks b/c Chandler doesn't require a defender to play him one on one. He gets all of his points off pick and roll and put backs!!
Jared Zwerling (1:03 PM)
Interestingly, if you look at the numbers, Brewer hasn't been a good one-on-one defender this season. J-Kidd's been pretty good. But with the Knicks, it hasn't been about individual defense. They've been getting it done with their trapping, causing steals, and their rotations, forcing shooters to shoot contested jumpers or sometimes the weakest shooter on the court to shoot jumpers. I think more importantly is how the Knicks' inside presence will evolve. That's where they've been the most vulnerable.
Jared Zwerling (1:04 PM)
Guys, thanks for your time! If you have a question or thought, reach me on Twitter @JaredZwerling