Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 29, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Ian Begley

Ian Begley
  (1:07 PM)

Hey all, Sorry for the delay. Technical issues on my end. Anyway, the Knicks open the second half tonight against Cleveland. Will the Lansity continue? Let's talk about it.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that the New York Knicks will make the Playoffs this season?

Ian Begley
  (1:08 PM)

Hey Chris, I think that the Knicks will get in for sure. The issue is how high can they climb in the Eastern Conference standings? If they remain in seventh or eighth, they'll have a tough time in the first round, likely against either Miami or Chicago

Nick (New York)

Why didn't baron get more minutes against Miami? Lin could barely get the ball past half court, at least baron has the ball skills to beat a press.

Ian Begley
  (1:10 PM)

Nick, Baron is still getting his legs back. He'd been out for eight weeks with that back ailment ... He's going to play his fourth game tonight and said yesterday that he's still thinking about his injury when he's on the floor.

Deven (New York)

Hi Mr. Begley. I know this might be a long shot for them, but what would the Knicks have to give up in order to acquire D12 from the Magic?

Ian Begley
  (1:13 PM)

Hey Deven,I appreciate the formality, but we can stick with Ian, haha. The Knicks would likely have to give up Tyson Chandler in a package with Amare Stoudemire to land Howard. They'd need to free up space in the middle for Howard. But it's unlikely Orlando would do the deal for Stoudemire because of his balky knees and big contract.

Zach (new york )

so, after seeing the Knicks get picked apart on both sides of the court by Miami, safe to say they're not serious contenders after all?

Ian Begley
  (1:15 PM)

Zach, I don't think you can make a final judgement on this team after the Miami game. They have plenty of new pieces (Baron Davis, J.R. Smith) to incorporate. It will take time, but if they all fall into place I think they can sneak into the third spot in the East.

Alex (Anaheim)

Is Shumpert going to see a reduced role when he returns from injury?

Ian Begley
  (1:18 PM)

Hey Alex, We asked Mike D'Antoni about his extended rotation yesterday and he said he's going to try to play 10 guys, possibly 11. I see Shumpert getting regular minutes at the 2 and 3 off the bench (he's interchangeable with JR Smith) so his time shouldn't diminish much, if at all.

Michael C. (Westport, CT)

How about this---Carmelo doesn't start games, giving Amare a chance to get going with Lin. Then Carmelo comes in for Amare after 10 minutes or so, fresh, and goes til halftime. In the second half both play. Your thoughts?

Ian Begley
  (1:20 PM)

My thoughts are they would benefit from this, or Amare coming off of the bench, particularly because both of those guys have shown that they'd had a tough time fitting in with one another. But this is kind of like Joe Girardi taking Derek Jeter out of the leadoff spot. You have to weigh the public backlash against the good it would do on the floor.

J.M. (Flushing)

There's been a lot of speculation over where Linsanity goes from here - after the Miami rout and his performance in the Rising Stars Challenge. One of the main criticisms is that Lin has trouble going to his left. Is that something that can really be improved? Especially as a point guard, this is not the first time that Lin has has the ball in his hands for an offense, on what basis can we expect for his handle to get better?

Ian Begley
  (1:25 PM)

Hey J.M., I wouldnt put too much stock in his performance in the Rising Stars game. But you have a right to be concerned about his inability to go left. I'm told by someone who knows Lin's game well that his inability to go left has to do with his comfort level in pushing off with his left foot. I see no reason why he can't improve this in the offseason

ac (harlem ny )

what seed will knicks be at end of the season ???

Ian Begley
  (1:29 PM)

Hey AC, If things fall into place for the Knicks, meaning their reserves adapt well and they can develop cohesion in the second unit, I can see them sneaking into the third seed in the East. To do so, I think Carmelo Anthony needs to carry the way offensively. Again, that's the best-case scenario for this team.

Neal DiNapoli (New Jersey)

In your opinion, is Amare shot for the year until he can get to an offseason and start lifting and working out(he couldn't this year becuase of the back)? or can he rebound a bit and give us something close to what we saw first 50 games last year?

Ian Begley
  (1:32 PM)

What's up Neal, This is one of the hottest topics around the Knicks going into the second half. Amare got a chance to lift in the offseason. He actually put on 15 pounds of muscle to strengthen his back. The problem is the extra weight is slowing him down. He also wasn't able to play five on five because of the back injury. He wants to lose five pounds. If he can do so, I think he can regain some quickness and improve his game entering the playoffs. Though I dont think you'll see him score 25 ppg on 50 percent shooting this season

Bobby G (Hawley, PA)

Hi Mr. Begley. How important will the bench be doing the 2 half? And how deep will coach go?

Ian Begley
  (1:35 PM)

What's up Bobby, The bench is pivotal for the Knicks. If the second unit can develop cohesion, that gives New York the depth it lacked in the first half. If things fall into place, you can make an argument that they have the deepest teams in the league. This will give the Knicks an advantage, especailly in the shortened season.

Brad (Chicago)

What is Toney Douglas' current role with the team? Will he ever see playing time as a Knick again? How much longer will he be on the roster?

Ian Begley
  (1:37 PM)

Toney has really struggled with his shot for all of the season. Some have speculated that he never fully recovered from shoulder surgery. Since Jerermy Lin emerged, Douglas' role has been to cheer on the Knicks. Barring injury, that isn't likely to change.

Brian (Bethesda, MD)

Hey Ian, While Melo and STAT were out Steve Novak played a major role coming off the bench and hitting big 3's. He provides great floor spacing at the 4 spot. How do you see his time being impacted with Josh Harrellson coming back tonight?

Ian Begley
  (1:41 PM)

Hey Brian, You are 100 percent right. This is one of the biggest challenges for Mike D'Antoni in the second half. He needs to find time for Novak at the 4. He also needs to find time for Jared Jeffries and Josh Harrellson. If one of those guys is at the five, the Knicks may be too undersized. I think Novak's minutes decrease, but D'Antoni needs to make sure that he still gets regular time off the bench.

Frank (New Orleans)

Will Lin minutes decrease the second half of the season now that the Knicks have a healthy Baron Davis?

Ian Begley
  (1:43 PM)

Baron Davis isn' texactly healthy yet. His numbers through three games have been sub par. But if/when he gets back to 100%, you can expect him to play 15 - 18 minutes a night, to lighten Lin's load.

kent (nyc)

Who is in street close/gets cut with everyone healthy? Bibby? James? Walker? You can only dress 12 right?

Ian Begley
  (1:44 PM)

No need to cut anyone. Knicks can have 15 guys on the roster. You can dress 13.

Bill (Charlotte)

Is there anyway the Knicks can bring back the whole team next year? I know we can match any offer to Lin with the mid level exception and I know we have early bird rights for Fields. But can we offer more then the vet min to players like Jr Smith and Steve Novak?

Ian Begley
  (1:47 PM)

Smith has a player option for next season and depending on cap space, Novak will likely have to agree to the veteran's minimum. If he continues to shoot well, you'd have to think another team gives Novak a better offer next season.

Zolty (NY)

Could you explain who is to blame for signing Amare to an uninsured contract? Was that Donnie's fault or did Amare/Happy Walters demand it?

Ian Begley
  (1:52 PM)

It's my understanding that the league's insurance carrier has the option to decline to insure the contract of players it deems are a high risk. They appear to have deemed Stoudemire and his knees to high of a risk

Will (Stamford, CT)

Will Baron Davis take Lin's starting job? I've been preaching Baron Davis as soon as the Knicks got him. I like what he can bring to the first unit. I think Lin plays even better with the second unit. Thoughts?

Ian Begley
  (1:54 PM)

What's up, Will. Barring a huuuuuuuge dip in Lin's play, no. Mike D'Antoni has left the door open when asked about Davis starting just in case Lin's play falls off and Davis emerges as healthy. He doesn't want to pigeonhole himself by saying Davis will never start. But unless something unforseen happens with Lin, you can bet the starting job is his.

Joe (NY)

In my opinion, Iman Shumpert needs to start because of his defense. He can be the reason the Knicks do anything in the playoffs. He will make it a difficult 7 games for players like rondo, rose and wade..thoghts?

Ian Begley
  (1:57 PM)

Many thought the same back when Landry Fields was struggling in the first month of the season. But I think as long as Fields continues to play well, D'Antoni will be hesitant to make that move. He's mentioned in the past that he didn't want to demote Fields because it would affect his confidence.

Brian (Ridgewood)

do they match up better against the bulls or the heat?

Ian Begley
  (2:00 PM)

Based on the way the two teams are playing right now, Chicago. They have an advantage with Tyson Chandler in the middle against both teams. But I think you'd rather see Carmelo Anthony matchup against Loul Deng than LeBron James. This is really splitting hairs though because both teams present plenty of matchup problems

Ian Begley
  (2:01 PM)

Alright guys, I have to run but it was great chatting with you. You guys are knowledgable and passionate and I appreciate you stopping by. Let's do it again soon.