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January 4, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Jared Zwerling

Jared Zwerling
  (12:00 PM)

Let's get this chat going ...

Deven (New York, NY)

Happy New Year Jared! Are teams finally figuring out the Knicks?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:04 PM)

First of all, they've been banged up a bit more than some other teams. The Knicks themselves are going through adjustments with lineups, trying to find the right balance, etc. That's understandable. But beyond that, I do think defenses had started to lay off Brewer more and try to take away Chandler's looks at the rim, in order to improve their perimeter rotations against the Knicks. Their catch-and-shoot opportunities dropped. But what was really missing from the Knicks without Felton was their lack of deeper penetration from their point guards. Kidd and especially Prigioni did a better job doing that last night. Of course, people will bring up that the Spurs played four games in five nights, but the Knicks set a blueprint last night for how they can find success with offensive balance without Felton. More importantly, they brought it defensively. They picked up the effort with their perimeter rotations and played very physical inside. I thought the Chandler-Camby combination to start the game was great.

ryan (san diego)

why do the hawks get absolutely no love considering they have done pretty well over that last few years?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:06 PM)

I think the first thing is that the Hawks haven't had a big-name star recently. Josh Smith is damn good, but he's not a name guy. I think Woodson left a great mark there. The guys get after it for sure. They could be a tough first-round out in the playoffs.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Even though you Cover the Knicks, What are your Favorite NFL & MLB Teams?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:09 PM)

The Dolphins and Marlins because I'm from Miami. But my favorite team to root for -- not to cover -- is the Miami Hurricanes. I actually played high school basketball with former Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor, who unfortunately was killed. But those Canes have always been my favorite ever since the 1980s.

Chris (Florida)

Best case scenario...how far do you think the knicks can go this year?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:10 PM)

I think the early-season expectation was definitely second round. Now, it's got to be Eastern Conference finals. Once they get all their pieces back in late January/February, hopefully, they should be the deepest team in the league right there with the Clippers. That says a lot. The Knicks could eventually put themselves in Finals contention.

Jonathan (NYC)

Hello Jared. I have this vision... starting five : felton, shumpert, brewer, melo, chandler; a bench of: Kidd, JR, Novak, Amare, Camby. How would you asses my vision, and is this the deepest team in the NBA, alongside the Clippers? How does it stack up against the rest of the East? Are we your favorites? Thank you !

Jared Zwerling
  (12:12 PM)

That could be what happens. I think your vision is in the direction. I think those two lineups offer great balance with offense and defense. But with Shumpert, don't expect that to happen, if it does, until February or so. He hasn't even been cleared for contact yet.

Pete (Albany, NY)

Do you think these Knicks are front-runners for the following post season awards?Melo - MVPWoody - Coach of the YearJR - 6th Man

Jared Zwerling
  (12:15 PM)

I like those picks, but Del Negro out West could be a bigger favorite for Coach of the Year at this point. Remember there was some turmoil in the Clippers' locker room last year? That seems to have dissipated. From what happened then to now, I'm definitely impressed. But Woodson could be right there. It's still so early in the season.

Alex (Chicago, IL)

What do you think of the Knicks starting games with a bigger lineup recently, with Camby and Chandler? I personally like it. It shores up the interior defense while also drastically helping in the rebounding department where the Knicks have been getting destroyed this year in. I know it takes Melo away from the four, but the way I see it, Melo will get his points from wherever you play him. While Melo at the four is an obvious mismatch and can be utilized at certain points, I think the bigger lineup sets a better defensive tone right out of the gate. Plus with Melo already missing 6 games from various injuries, it must be a concern for Woodson him banging with the bigger bodies down low for extended periods. Thoughts on all of this? #KnicksTape

Jared Zwerling
  (12:18 PM)

First of all, Melo will get points as the 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. The position he plays is overrated. But the four spot actually better suits him on defense. He's much quicker and has better hands against power forwards. But, to answer your main question, I do like Chandler and Camby against bigger lineups, which the Spurs presented last night. I do think that eventually Shumpert's presence in the starting five will be better, so it could be Felton, Shump, Brewer, Melo and Chandler. I think the league is more dangerous from the point-guard position, and you never want to give an opposing point guard too much confidence early on. They always set the tempo. So I think Shump's defensive presence on those kinds of guys could be more helpful. We'll see how his return looks.

Brian (NJ)

Will we see Amare back in the starting lineup until Felton comes back? There is just not enough offensive help for Melo in the starting 5 right now.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:22 PM)

That could happen. The biggeer issue is at point guard, and Kidd and Prigioni made bigger plays last night -- not necessarily scoring, though. They don't have to score. They just need to attack pick-and-rolls better and get deeper into the lane. They're great passers, so it's all about positioning on the court for them. I think the Knicks, at this point, may need Amar'e to come off the bench so they can maintain their strong starts defensively. Amar'e still has work to do on the defensive end. His movement guarding pick-and-rolls and court awareness are still lacking. I think it's important for the Knicks to build a strong defensive tone to start. Amar'e did have a great steal on Ginobili last night, and he could be a great weak-side defender as a starter to support Chandler. But I think it's still too early to start him. Eventually? He could.

Deven (New York, NY)

What's that black dot under Amare's right eye? Is it a tattoo or something? I saw it during the pregame show?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:22 PM)

A tear drop tattoo I believe to honor his older brother, Hazell, who passed away last February.

Deven (New York, NY)

Will Carmelo Anthony still be an MVP candidate by the end of the season?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:23 PM)

Yes, absolutely!

Deven (New York)

Does this Spurs win give them a confidence booster heading into their next couple of games?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:23 PM)

No question. Wouldn't you think so, beating the second-best team in the West?

Max (Nj)

We need shump. Cud u seem him coming back soon, 10 days?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:25 PM)

Not sure on his timetable. Remember, he has to first be cleared for contact, then experience contact, then learn the plays, build chemistry with his teammates, etc. etc. It's a process. More than 10 days my man. We live in a world now of instant gratification, but you sometimes have to take a step back and look at the big picture. He's coming off one of the worst sports injuries. But I do think in late January/February, we'll start to see signs of the old Shump coming back.

Tim (North Jersey)

are the knicks going to be active at the trade deadline? I think guys like copeland,brewer and maybe even novak might get some interest around the league

Jared Zwerling
  (12:27 PM)

I do not think so. They're missing some pieces now due to injuries, but they'll be back soon. They're basically really deep right now. The guys you mentioned above will be Knicks all season. I don't see that changing.

Alex (New York, NY)

Do you think Amar'e will stay as a sixth/seventh man for the rest of the season?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:30 PM)

Take a look at one of my responses above. More importantly -- and just ask Smith this -- it's who's finishing games. We sometimes get caught up too much in who's starting, who's not. If Amar'e can give the Knicks something on both ends of the floor down the stretch, that's even better. But right now, his minutes are being curtailed to around 20 or so. But we'll see. Right now, I'd say use him off the bench to provide that second scoring punch -- him on the inside; Smith on the outside. But in the starting five, I could see him as a solid weak-side defender to support Chandler. Offensively, I'm not worried about him. He looked better last night and he should improve quickly on that end of the floor. That's always been his game.

Tim (North Jersey)

What knick not named carmelo anthony is the teams MVP thus far?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:30 PM)

Jason Kidd.

Jamal Crawford (LA)

Could JR beat me for the 6th man award this year?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:31 PM)

Yes lol ... Jamal Crawford is a heck of a scorer, but Smith is playing better on the defensive end this season. He's also becoming one of the best pick-and-roll guys in the league. I do think Crawford has more crafty one-on-one moves, but Smith is more of the total package.

Chris (Valley Stream NY)

Do you think Amare Stoudimire could ever be what he was. Answer to your question: No, and that's just factoring in his age and all his knee injuries. He's simply a step slower, and the NBA game is all about seconds. There's very little room to do things and very little room for error. That's why his biggest adjustment is on the defensive end. The speed of the game can be overwhelming at first for a new player or a guy just coming back from injury, which Amar'e is. But I think offensively, he'll adjust more quickly because that's always been his game. However, while I think Amar'e can't be the same exact player, I think he can get close to it in the fewer minutes he's going to play. He can exert himself more in limited time, and I think that's key. We'll see what happens.

chris (nc)

Wuts up jared? Happy new year... what is the timetable for Iman? Can we expect him back in a week or 2 or is it more like next month? And what will his role eventually be? Starter or or bench

Jared Zwerling
  (12:35 PM)

Late January-ish. Off the bench at first. Just like Amar'e.

Jason (Rashford)

If Jason Kidd gets hurt is there any way for the Knicks to pick up another point gaurd till felton gets back?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:35 PM)

I don't want to go there. I'm not going to talk about if a player gets hurt, because he's not right now. Positive talk on this one.

chris (nc)

If all are playing well and are healthy, who starts at the four between amare rasheed and marcus?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:36 PM)

I still think Melo for now.

Otto (CA)

Do the Knicks have the cap space to sign Chris Paul when he's a FA?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:36 PM)

Nope.

Adam (Stamford, CT)

What can we, as basketball fans, do to help get James "Flight" White in the dunk contest and Novak in the 3PT contest?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:38 PM)

Social media is a powerful tool. I remember when the Raptors did something with Chris Bosh to try to get him on the All-Star team. It was on YouTube. That stuff does get watched. Overall, I would say be creative. Perhaps the NBA is watching? ;) ... I can tell you this, though: the Knicks will likely campaign for White. I know his teammates will definitely do it.

Big Poppa Pump (miami, fl)

Hey Jared do you think the Knicks will keep this new starting lineup of tyson and camby upfront? Any word of when Shump will debut this year? Thanks

Jared Zwerling
  (12:40 PM)

I think Woodson could continue using it. The Spurs only had like four points in the paint through the second quarter -- a big credit to Chandler and Camby together.

Mike (New York, NY)

How does the amnesty clause work? If the Knicks feel that STAT cant fit with the team, can they amnesty him in the offseason?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:43 PM)

They amnestied Chauncey Billups in 2011, so they can't do it for Amar'e or anyone else, I'm pretty sure.

Alex (NYC)

From what I've seen, it doesn't seem as much that Melo and Amar'e can't play together, it's more when Melo, Amar'e and Chandler are on the floor together that creates the spacing issues and hurts the team offensively. When Amar'e is back to a full workload, how can the Knicks limit the time those three are on the court together while still allowing them to play the meaningful minutes they need to be playing?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:46 PM)

I think Amar'e as a jumpshooter could come in handy when Chandler is running the pick-and-roll. The point guard could find Chandler inside or Amar'e outside. Also, if Chandler receives the pass as the roll man, Amar'e can sink down low for the feed or even Chandler could pass to Amar'e on the outside. Chandler is a good passer. Also when Amar'e posts, you could have Melo on the strong-side wing and then Chandler on the weak-side block for the rebound or feed inside. There are positioning ways to work around it.

Ron (PG County, MD)

Any deadline deals that you can see the Knicks making in order to improve their team?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:47 PM)

No, I don't. Felton and Shumpert coming back in like four weeks or so is like a "deal" in a way -- they're bringing in two new players soon. Also, potentially Rasheed Wallace. Look at it positively like that!

Brian (NJ)

I love the way Melo is playing, but I think he's pretty fair behind Lebron and Durant at this point for MVP. Those guys are both having seasons for the ages.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:56 PM)

You're probably right, but it's still early. How about Kobe? If you're talking about seasons for the ages, he's unreal at his older age. If the Lakers can start winning more, he'll definitely be in the conversation.

Lebron James (Miami)

Should i be scared of the Knicks come playoff time.

Jared Zwerling
  (12:56 PM)

Indeed sir. The Knicks will be deeper on paper -- and definitely keyed in more defensively.

Otto (CA)

Do the Knicks get all their draft picks this summer? If not, when do they have a first rounder again?

Jared Zwerling
  (12:59 PM)

I believe they have a first-round pick this summer.

Brently Cheek ((Maryland))

How do you think the Knicks match up with OKC?

Jared Zwerling
  (1:01 PM)

Great question. Going up against Russell Westbrook is the biggest concern I see. He can disrupt everything. The Knicks really need Shumpert back and healthy.

sadiq jersey city [via mobile]

Are the knicks a championship team with all there players when healthy

Jared Zwerling
  (1:01 PM)

Championship-caliber? Yes, I do think so.

Jared Zwerling
  (1:02 PM)

Thanks for your time, guys. It was fun, as always! If you another question or comment, hit me on Twitter @JaredZwerling ... Talk soon!