Good afternoon from New York, where I am chatting al fresco despite the 39 degree temperature. At least the sun is out. Bring on the panic ...
Whats up Chris, enjoyed your latest article which really echoed my sentiments, and to add to that, if anything else, all this discussion and coverage about Melo and the Knicks really shows how now they're actually worth discussing, I think the franchise being so bad since the Van Gundy days even this is great in comparison as a fan. Anyway, speaking of Van Gundy, although D'antoni deserves at least next yr to show what he can do here, would Jeff ever come back in the future with Dolan still being the owner?
That bridge has been burned, Ed. And with as good as Jeff has gotten at broadcasting, I would be surprised if he was back on the sidelines anytime soon.
Landry Fields seems to be taking more contested 3-pointers and therefore making less of them, instead of driving to the basket like he was in the first half of the season. Would you agree? Do you think it has to do with the spacing of the offense because of the trade?
When the ball doesn't move, he doesn't get his hands on it. Plus, it's not as much of an equal opportunity offense anymore. I think he needs to create more of his own opportunities by crashing the glass more as he did earlier this year. He was an opportunity scorer both then and now, the difference being that he is going to have to work harder off the ball for his own opportunities now.
I agree with you on the notion that Knicks' fans are overreacting to recent struggles. I think if I had to pinpoint the main problem with their 4th quarter scoring/defense I would have say that Billups is taking time to recover from his bruise, and I expect him to breakout with a big game sometime soon. What do you think?
Here's the thing on the struggles: Miami struggled at the start of the season. Orlando is still struggling to make Gilbert Arenas an effective scorer off the bench. The Celtics have been struggling since their trades. So the Knicks are not the only ones. Even LeBron James was commenting yesterday on how it is going to take time for the Knicks to gel, just as it did for the Heat. What the Knicks have on their side is a locked-up playoff spot. I cannot overemphasize how much they did not seem to let that loss to Orlando bother them when I spoke to them in the locker room two nights ago.
Hey Chris,Do you think it was ever possible during the trade negotiations that we could have somehow kept more of our players? Is there any way to tell, now after the fact, that Melo would have signed with the Nets if we called his bluff? Would it have made a difference to just wait till the last possible second before we gutted our team or is that what happened? I guess I just miss Gallo and Chandler.
Donnie Walsh said the Knicks gave up what they gave up because they feared 'Melo would sign the extension with the Nuggets if the teams didn't work out a mutually agreeable deal. In other words, they didn't think he'd be available as a free agent. That was too much money to be leaving on the table.
Hey Chris, I had 31 points and 11 rebounds last night, and I'm not even 22 years old. Did I make D'Antoni look bad for never getting me in the rotation?
With it looking like Kevin Love might be shut down, Knicks fans should keep one eye on the Wolves' box scores to see what AR can do with some real playing time. He has never had it in his brief NBA career.
How far in the playoffs do you think the Knick's are going to get?
Too soon to say. Sorry, but that is an honest answer. Need to see how they play in April going into the postseason, then who they match up against and how healthy that opponent is.
Hey Chris, I know this goes against the pipe dream of Dwight Howard or one of the point guards in 2012 but wouldn't it make more sense for the Knicks to go after a guy like Tyson Chandler this summer? I think Chauncey's game translates well for him to play the same as he gets older and we could use the extra money to shore up our bench.
The allure of Howard/Paul/DWill outweighs the benefits of signing someone the caliber of Chandler long term. Better to hang onto the flexibility for the summer of '12 than to go after anyone on the market this summer who will want a long-term deal. I think the Knicks will be value shoppers this summer and will draft a center, or sign Mozgov 2.0 from the Slovenian/Ukrainian/Slovakian League.
I am more annoyed by the Anthony Randolph fiasco. I know it's one game on a bad team, but Randolph went OFF last night and I can not understand how/why he was shipped out for a guy who they wound up cutting about a week later.
I expect to hear back from you in next week's chat, Jonny. Bottom line is they needed a No. 1 pick and Minny was willing to give one. AR still would have been a 10-minute per night player at best going forward because he plays the same position as Stoudemire, who is signed through 2014-15.
Just how bad is the rift, if there even is one, between the players and D'Antoni over lack of defensive schemes?
D'Antoni went off a little bit when someone posed a question similar to this one pre-game a few games back. D'Antoni explained that the team does a lot of stuff the public and the media do not see, such as film sessions in which they look at defensive schemes and debate strategies. D'Antoni said there was an open dialogue, a lot of 'Should we try this, or should be try that?' But despite that, they keep allowing opponents to score on possession after possession late in games (it was 13 of the last 15 for the Magic). And they openly call defense "our Achilles' heel" which is a curious choice of words.
Is Felton better at running D'Antoni's offense than Billups is? And is Billups part of the Knicks' offensive problems of late?
Yes, and yes. With Chauncey, he was shooting very well from 3-point range before the injury, and he hasn't gotten that part of his game back. He still has it in him, though. When you talk about players who need rest, the focus has been on Stoudemire -- but it is Billups who probably needs it just as much, if not more.
I know the Knicks were -12 when I was on the floor in the first quarter for 6 minutes. But in the rest of the quarter they were -11. Surely D'Antoni understands the Knicks could use some rebounding and defense next to Amar'e and 'Melo, right? I should get another chance to earn a rotation spot, no?
Fewer have played a more inglorious six minutes than you, Shelden.
Why does Jeffries sometimes just jack up a three? Does he actually practice those in his spare time or is he kidding?
I got to the arena in Milwaukee early last Sunday and went out to the court, sat on the bench and talked with Toney Douglas about the merits of Florida State's chances and Marquette's chances in the NCAA. And as we spoke, Jared was nailing 3 after 3 after 3 from the right corner. So he has it in his practice arsenal, but he is not a confident offensive player (especially at MSG), and in games he seizes up. The 3 the other night that hit the side of the backboard came from the left corner. If JJ's next 3 comes from the right corner and goes in, maybe we will be onto something ...
Why is Roger Mason now getting all of Bill Walkers minutes? What is going on there?
They need 3-point shooters, and Mason is a better shooter than Walker, and has been around a few more years. Played under good coaches, including Popovich. Doesn't get rattled. Also, I must say he has the lowest arc on his shot for a 3-point shooter that I have seen since Trent Tucker. Almost never misses long.
Hey Chris, do you believe that the current team doesn't the personnel to compete against bigger 4s and 5s (as oppose to peoples claims of D'Antoni NOT preaching defense) ? Because people complain about having shawne williams or jeffries guarding opposing centers but I'm not quite sure who else is suppose to do it. (Stat isn't a center, and gets into foul trouble easily against bigger centers)
Yes, which is why I have been writing that D'Antoni needs to give the to to Turiaf and stick with it. He also needs to play Carmelo and Amare together for 12 minutes every fourth quarter. Those are my two biggest tactical criticisms of him at this point since the trade.
I know the past is the past, by why do you think Mike D'antoni refused to put Turiaf in the fourth quarter during the Magic game. He was defending Howard the best out of all the players. Not to mention he was scoring more than Jeffries.
Turiaf had to go back to the locker room to get something re-taped, which means he got hurt in a game for the 472nd time in his career. That comes with the territory with Turiaf.
how do the knicks get back on trak before the playoffs
Beat the Nets next Wednesday, enjoy three straight days without a game, and then make April 3 the new Day One.
what possible cheap centers do you think the knicks could land in the offseason?
Does Dan Gadzuric do it for ya? Let's wait and see if they sign Earl Barron first. They would have to cut Ed Davis to make room.
OK, moved indoors for last 20 minutes of chat. Isn't it supposed to be spring?
Hey Chris,In spite of what you said about D'Antoni's defensive work has been, using the Bulls as an example (last year to this year defensively), a Coach has to be a big reason behind defense. That being said, will D'Antoni be back after 2012 if the defense doesnt improve with or without big men additions?
Next year is the year that determines D'Antoni's future. The defense ultimately falls on the coach and the label attached to him, and D'Antoni is certainly an offensive-oriented coach, but it comes down to the efforts and abilities of the players.
would you say it is fatigue or a lack of athleticism that is hurting the knicks in areas like rebounding and transition offense/defense?if it's a bit of both, how much better do you expect the knicks to be in these areas once they recuperate?
It is an issue of size. Even Turiaf is not a great rebounder, and he is their only true center.
Why no motivation to go sign Earl Barron? It was a small sample size, but in the few games he played with us last year he averaged a double double! I'm not saying he's going to do that again, but every time I see Jared Jeffries out there I get sick to my stomach.
Will have an answer for you tonight, Steve. On Monday night when I blogged about Barron, Donnie was not aware that Barron's second 10-day with the Bucks had expired the previous day.
I agree with your assessment that melo/amare need to play more int he 4th quarter. It appears that d'antoni uses the same exact rotation every game (except if real foul trouble). Melo plays entire 1st, amare sits end of 1st, amare starts 2nd, melo sits start of 2nd, and repeats the same in 2nd half. He needs to adjust game by game depending on situations and who is hot hand!
Again, if they can't play defense in the 4th, they need to go to their greatest strength, which is having those two guys on the court together with two or three shooters. But if they use three shooters, i.e. Billups, Shawne, Douglas, they are playing small, and that leads to trouble on the boards and on the defensive end near the basket.
how many more games can we lose before the crowd starts chanting "fire D'antoni"?
If the losing streak reaches five tonight against Milwaukee, I wouldn't be surprised to hear it. There is a lot of Fire D'Antoni sentiment on the airwaves and on the streets.
Hey Chris, what are the chances D'Antoni goes to a starting lineup of STAT, Melo, Fields, Douglas and Billups?
Zero. He was asked if he'd use Douglas as a starter and he ruled it out.
I hate it that Knicks fans are impatient, and don't realize that the Knicks have had a brutal schedule, no practice time, and the fact that Billups got hurt, missed some games, where the team started to play well under Douglas, then had that momentum interrupted by Billups' return, so thanks for pointing this out in last column. My question, do you think Knicks have decided on Billups' future for next year, is there a chance he comes back at a lesser price than his option calls for, or do you think they could go out and get another player?
I believe they will bring Billups back, pay him his $14 million and let him be a leader in the locker room. It also gives them another year to assess Toney Douglas and determine whether he is a keeper in the summer of '12 when they'll have cap space. Billups would have to have a terrible playoffs to make me believe otherwise.
Didn't Donnie say he wanted Earl Barron but wouldn't get him because D'Antoni wouldn't use him?
He said he wanted to wait and see. I assume they've discussed it internally since Monday night. I will ask Donnie about it tonight.
Is Toney Douglas better as a PG or SG?
PG. He also defends very well, which allows Billups to move to SG at times.
When is the right time to assess the trade, after the Nuggets decide who to keep?
In 3 years. Remember, the Nuggets have to re-sign or lose Nene, Afflalo, W.Chandler, JR Smith and Kenyon Martin this summer.
As a long suffering knicks fan, I'm just glad they're relevant again! I'll start "losing my patience" if they're playing like this NEXT march/april...
One less guy on a ledge. We'll chat again next Friday. Enjoy the weekend, everyone.