Chat with Chris Sheridan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, Chris Sheridan stops by to chat about the New York Knicks' NBA season.
Sheridan has been covering the NBA full-time for the past 15 years. Since joining the ESPN.com staff in October of 2005, Chris has been providing in-depth reporting and commentary on the NBA and international basketball for all of ESPN's platforms. Follow him on Twitter: @csheridanespn.
Send your questions now and join Sheridan Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Chris Sheridan (2:01 PM)
Good afternoon, and welcome to my weekly Knicks chat. I am gonna switch things up a little today and invite y'all to post statements (as well as questions) arguing why you would prefer to see the Knicks play the Celtics or the Heat in the playoffs. I will post the most eloquent of them. (And I'll also take questions on all other Knicks related topics, from Amare's ankle to Jared's jump shot.)
Chris--I love Landry Fields, but would packaging him and our 1st round draft pick for a center this summer be a plausible idea? We still have wing depth (Bill Walker is like a poor man's Landry Fields with a better 3pt shot) and to get a good center we're gonna need to give up something real.
Chris Sheridan (2:04 PM)
I would say yes if Fields' stock was as high now as it was in February, but it has dropped precipitously. No other Knick has fallen off like he has since the trade, and they haven't found a way to get him back involved. I think the Knicks will try to draft a center, but if none of the ones they like are still on the board when they pick, they are probably going to have to look for a one-year rental on the free agency market to preserve their '12 cap space.
Justin (Los Angeles)
You?ve stated that you believe D?Antoni deserves a training camp with Melo in the fold (and hopefully some tough rebounders added) but do you agree with Simmons that D?Antoni is the Mike Martz of the NBA (great offensive mind exposed without a star QB)? I think the Knicks would win more with a Van Gundy/Fratello type coach, though I think they would win the most with Phil Jackson but don?t think he wants any part of Dolan and crew.
Chris Sheridan (2:08 PM)
I think there has been a rush to judgement on D'Antoni that has been waaaaaaay premature. He hasn't even coached a playoff game for them yet, and he had to wait 2 1/2 years to get the two pieces of the puzzle that were the centerpieces of Donnie Walsh's rebuilding plan. To me, it's a no-brainer to bring both of them back. They can both be fairly judged 13-14 months from now.
Adam (NY, NY)
why don't you respond to questions on twitter?
Chris Sheridan (2:11 PM)
Because I use Twitter almost exclusively as a news delivery and linking device. However, I do DM a few tweeps, one of whom seems to have boycotted my last two chats because I didn't post her Derrick Brown question. I also correspond with readers who e-mail me through my ESPN mailbox.
I would rather the Knicks face the Heat. I think that if the Knicks can steal a game on the road, Miami is much more likely to fold under pressure especially with the heat that Lebron will take in MSG. The Knicks might be able to steal a game on the road in Boston, but I think the Celtics would rebound and take the series regardless. What do you think?
Chris Sheridan (2:12 PM)
I agree 100 percent.
Raymin (New Jersey)
Is it possible for the Knicks to get Dwight Howard in the summer of 2012?
Chris Sheridan (2:15 PM)
Possibly, if the new cap rules allow for it. The only players the Knicks will have under contract in the summer of '12 are Anthony, Stoudemire, Balkman and this year's No. 1 pick. But since nobody knows what the new cap rules will be, nobody can say with certainty whether it can be done through a straight unrestricted free agency signing.
Wallace (Paterson, NJ)
Chris...It definitely seems like it would make more sense to let Chauncey go at the end of the year and pursue a good Center like DeAndre Jordan... Chauncey just isn't worth the money we'd have to pay him for 1 year, plus at his age he's clearly very injury prone. What are the chances we let Toney Douglas man the point, and go after some much needed size at the 5?
Chris Sheridan (2:18 PM)
That would be a pretty big risk to take on a restricted free agent, because the Clippers can match. So you'd be jettisoning Chancey on the chance, not the certainty, that you'd be getting Jordan (same case with Marc Gasol), and if the team didn't match, your '12 cap space is gone. You also, Wallace, are underrating how much Billups could mean as a playoff player this year and next. The guy is a calming, veteran presence in a locker room that needs a guy like that.
Mike P (Chicago)
There was an article posted by Tom Haberstroh that listed each playoff team's Kryptonite. For the Bulls, only the Heat were listed. Why not the Knicks? The Bulls have beaten every team in the league this year besides New York. Also, the Bulls will only meet Miami in the conference finals, the same time a matchup with New York would happen. I understand the Knicks are not "contending" this year, but they have proven to be the Bulls Kryptonite.
Chris Sheridan (2:21 PM)
The Knicks' victories over the Bulls happened a very long time ago with a very different team. And you can draw no judgments off next Tuesday's game, because the Bulls likely will have nothing to play for except homecourt over Spurs and maybe the Lakers in the finals.
Rick (Long Island)
Would you rather go try and steal a game in Boston, or in front of a half-Knicks crowd in Miami with a headcase Lebron? 'Nuff said.
Chris Sheridan (2:22 PM)
Headcase is a little harsh, Rick. But you make a good argument about that crowd when the Knicks play there. There is no such dynamic when the Knicks play in Boston.
Fred L (New York)
There is no doubt the Heat is the preference. I believe the playoffs are about having the right mental strength to fight through tough games and still win. Neither Lebron or Bosh have shown that strength while Billups, Melo and Amar'e have. If it becomes a warfare, we will win that series.
Chris Sheridan (2:25 PM)
LeBron showed it in Auburn Hills, Mich. back in 2007, but not so much since. He has a lot to prove this postseason, and the spotlight is going to be on him brighter than ever when they encounter some adversity.
Miami Heat, no doubt. All the pressure is on them, they have no postseason experience and they're prone to in-game and multi-game lapses. Plus Carmelo guards Lebron well. As dangerous as they are Ill take my chances over the well-gelled and experienced Celtics. Not to mention the rivalry of the future is Heat/Knicks not Celtics/Knicks, let's start it now.
Chris Sheridan (2:26 PM)
KG is a tweep and knows her stuff. I am going to scroll through for a pro-Boston person ...
Chris--I know everyone says we match up better with miami but IMO i feel Boston is the best bet. After watching the horrible lost against the bulls i truly believe we can go toe to toe with them. Even though there a good defensive veteran team their offense doesnt really scare you at all and the center position is as a big a question mark as ours. Also their Achilles heel is also rebounding which were also bad at. Our last game we lost because of our breakdown in the 4th but i feel we will solve that problem come playoff time. thoughts?
Chris Sheridan (2:30 PM)
I think the Celtics are too mentally tough and battle tested to be knocked off by a Knicks team that is still learning to play together. If the game is tied with 3 minutes left, the smart money is on the Celtics to be the better team in those final 3 minutes (look what they did in that situation two weeks ago at MSG). With the Heat, they are not as solid a commodity in a similar late-game scenario.
To your knowledge or at least in your opinion, do teams honestly tank games in order to get a more favorable first round match up in the playoffs? If so, how would the coach go about telling his team to lose? "Hey guys, Jeffries is playing the full 48 tonight.. I wanna see him beat the NBA record for most off-hand 3 pointers taken in a single game"
Chris Sheridan (2:33 PM)
Yes, I believe teams tank. And if the Knicks are going to tank, it would only be to avoid the Celtics in a 3-6 matchup. But Boston has the tie-breaker over Miami and is the likelier 2 seed if they beat the Heat on Sunday, so it'll be interesting to see how things play out if the Heat win against the Celtics this Sunday and take a one-game lead.
Is Chauncey Billups the best thing to happen for Toney Douglas becoming a point guard? He seems to be playing the point better since his arrival?
Chris Sheridan (2:37 PM)
Toney was clutch at times and shaky at times playing the whole 4th quarter in Philly on Wednesday, and Chauncey spoke with him afterward about having to know when to get the ball into certain players' hands late in the shot clock rather than trying to force the offense himself. As long as Douglas is receptive to those discussions (and he seemed to be when I discussed it with him after the game Wednesday), Chauncey will make him a much better player over the next year.
Fred L (NYC)
Here is the bottomline. Even though I respect Chicago, Boston and Miami, there is not one team in the Eastern Conference I am afraid of meeting in the playoffs. If Melo gets hot, I don't know how far we can go.
Chris Sheridan (2:38 PM)
Did you feel that way during the six-game losing streak, Fred? The panic meter was at 9.9, and that wasn't so long ago.
DID YOU KNOW THAT:-LeBron James's only loss in high school basketball came against Carmelo Anthony.-Carmelo Anthony went to college and won a national championship, while LeBron decided to go straight to bricking threes in the pros.-Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have met 13 times since they have gone to the pros-- Carmelo Anthony has won 9 of those 13.CARMELO ANTHONY:Ruining LeBrick James since puberty.
Chris Sheridan (2:39 PM)
Did not know that. Windhorst would know that.
Boston hands down... ever since the perkins deal they match up well with the knicks... let amare battle KG.. melo battle pierce... bum centers square off.. chauncey/landry scramble chasing ray allen and let TD hound rondo for 7 games... they do not rotate defensively as they used to with perkins and both ray allen and rondo are missing the CEMENT screens perkins would set for them.
Chris Sheridan (2:42 PM)
And there we have a decent Boston argument. I still think the Celtics would win the 4th quarters to win the series. But I also remember when the Knicks went up there with an old point guard named Mo Cheeks and stole Game 5 on the old Garden parquet to win a series in which nobody have them much of a chance. (As I recall, Cheeks played 48 minutes and Mark Jackson played 0 minutes).
Sean (New York)
Are the injuries to Chauncey and Stat a concern?
Chris Sheridan (2:43 PM)
Bilups is playing tonight. D'Antoni seemed genuinely unconcerned about Amare this morning at shootaround.
I am sure the Knicks have a short list of big men in the draft they view can help them at some point plug the middle. IF you had to guess who could they be targeting?
Chris Sheridan (2:47 PM)
My best guess would be Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas of Lietuva Rytas. Enes Kanter will likely be long gone by the time they pick.
Your thoughts on the playoff rotation? Do Walker and Brown squeeze their way in? I see D'Antoni playing Jeffries a lot against Boston, maybe not so much vs. Miami.
Chris Sheridan (2:50 PM)
Bill Walker is really the guy to watch in the last four games. He could squeeze Fields if he plays exceptionally well and Landry continues to struggle. It appears they have given up on Roger Mason. Derrick Brown is probably a guy they will only use if Stoudemire gets into early foul trouble and they need a beefy defender with fouls to use.
What's your take on the Knicks D? At times we look awful at that end but I've seen stretches (MIA game and second half vs. New Jersey) where we really lock in and play solid. Do you think our defense can hold up over the course of a 7 game series?
Chris Sheridan (2:52 PM)
I'd like to see it hold up for the course of two consecutive games first. Until I see that, I expect to see in the playoffs more of the lapses we've grown so accustomed to seeing. Which is one of the reasons why if the Knicks win a series, it's probably going to be a seven-game series that they'll have to win on the road.
Matchups aside, wouldn't a Knicks-Heat series just be really entertaining to watch?
Chris Sheridan (2:53 PM)
Yes, on so many levels.
Jacob (New York, New York)
I heard that D'Antoni is considering only playing seven players in the playoffs. Do you think that this is as foolish as it comes and, instead, he should be playing the entire bench or is it better to just rely on your trusted players?
Chris Sheridan (2:55 PM)
Today he said it will be eight, maybe nine. Part of that is because he is going to use a three-headed center in Shelden-Jeffries-Turiaf. Key bench guys are Douglas and Shawne Williams. And again, if Bill Walker cracks the 9, it'll likely be at Fields' expense.
What do you think about melo increased three point efficiency and overall field goal percantage. Are we seeing something here, maybe the fact that after seven years of random basketball in denver (read iso and iso only) melo is finally unleashing his true potential. And give dantoni some credit, he needs training camp with melo to work on playmaking, that could be huge.
Chris Sheridan (2:57 PM)
The 44 percent conversion rate on 3s is something the Knicks coaching staff never imagined. He is shooting them with supreme confidence, and part of that is because he has the freedom to shoot them when he's feeling it.
Chris Sheridan (2:59 PM)
That is a wrap for this week, folks. Off to Newark. Follow me on Twitter (@CSheridanESPN) for the date of my next Knicks chat.