Blog Entry

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

Posted on: January 14, 2012 11:39 pm
Edited on: January 14, 2012 11:40 pm
Posted by Royce Young

OKLAHOMA CITY -- I guess Carmelo Anthony is really, really important to the Knicks. Either that, or they have some pretty serious issues to figure out before they actually start thinking of themselves as an Eastern contender.

Yeah, it's definitely the latter.

We already kind of knew that but after New York signed Tyson Chandler, then started playing a little defense and then beat the 76ers, it was easy to start wondering. But all that was brought back to Earth after the Thunder dismantled the Knicks in Oklahoma City Saturday night 104-92.

Here's where the Knicks faltered: Yeah, their defense was bad and I think an empty chair could've done a better job on Kevin Durant than Bill Walker, but the Knicks issues lie within their offense. They're still playing fast (fifth in the league in pace), but they are playing far from efficient. Scoring almost appears to be a chore at times, Melo or no Melo. All a player the caliber of Anthony does is provides a one-on-one bailout option when the ball stops moving and everyone starts standing.

Why is there a problem though? With Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo and Tyson Chandler, there shouldn't be issues, right? While those three form a nice trio, there simply isn't a good option to steer the boat. Mike D'Antoni has been using rookie Iman Shumpert at point guard recently, but changed that plan Saturday by starting Mike Bibby. He says it's not a permanent move, but was more of a matchup thing. But he didn't deny that he's looking for answers.

"You can always search a little bit and we are searching," he said. "When you lose two, you always re-evaluate everything. I'm not ready to say yea or nay [on starting Bibby for good]. It's definitely not Iman's fault or anything like that. It's just trying to find the right combos."

Reality is, neither Shumpert nor Toney Douglas is the answer. They're both nice players, but pretending either is a potential answer at point is like thinking you have a chance with that Hooters waitress that winked at you. Pipe dream, you guys, pipe dream. And as the Heat learned the hard way last season, Bibby isn't either. The hope is that when Baron Davis is healthy that he can take over that job, but that's not at all a guarantee. I mean, that's where things are -- the Knicks are hoping that Baron Davis is the answer at point guard. Think about that for a second.

It's really an interesting situation for New York, because it's one that the Heat are constantly trying to overcome themselves. Except the Knicks are like Miami Lite, a less talented version with less depth and not the same starpower. In truth, the Knicks would kill for either Norris Cole or Mario Chalmers at this point. And if they had one, they might kill a little more too. Or at least get killed less.

(Sidebar: Let me go ahead and throw out what everyone else has probably two thousand times this season: Steve Nash just makes too much sense for the Knicks. I have no idea what they possibly have that could interest the Suns, but with Phoenix not really going anywhere and Nash's contract and career ending soon, you have to give it a real shot. Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert and whatever picks the Knicks have left -- maybe?)

It is still early. The Knicks still have a whole lot of games left and remember, the Heat were 9-8 at one point last season. But I think when we watched that team, we could all see that eventually it would click. I have a hard time seeing that with this Knicks team.

"It's just going to take a while," D'Antoni said. "Almost always we have at least one or two rookies on the floor and without a training camp, excuse excuse, and I don't want to do that, we're just struggling right now a little bit. We just got to work through it."

Said Tyson Chandler: "We need practices under our belt. We need to get better chemistry on both ends of the floor."

That's an easy thing to say. We'll work through it. We're getting better. Give us time. At some point, there have to be results. D'Antoni has been heralded as an offensive guru, but his offense isn't working. And I don't think the blood is on his hands. He just doesn't have the personell. I mean, a team with two top 10 offensive players like Melo and Stoudemire shouldn't rank in the bottom third of the league in offensive efficiency. There has to be a reason for it.

The Knicks want to pretend that they have a new look and a new commitment to defense. And while they entered Saturday's game in the top 10 in points per 100 possessions, they aren't anywhere in the same universe as a team like the Bulls or Heat that can hang their hat on it. The Thunder proved that with their 70-point first half. It's the offense, stupid. It's a problem and unless the Knicks start finding answers, it's not looking like they're going anywhere they didn't go last year.

Since: Feb 6, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:53 pm

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

IT would make entirely too much sense for the Knicks to Fire D'Antoni !!!
And then bring in a pass first - tempo setting point guard like a Ronnie Price who is
available and D'Antoni has opted to pass over as he has every player that can play
defense and team basketball. So you have a Rookie Point Guard with the green light
from a bone headed Coach to take 20 shots in a game. And you have a Amare who has
NEVER seen a Double Team that he would pass the Ball out of in an offensive scheme that
has a 6'11" non-shooting Center like Josh Harrelson chucking three pointers!!!

Since: Jan 9, 2012
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:04 pm

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

The Knicks play way too much one on one ball, which doesn't work unless your name is Kobe or Michael.  Shumpert looks good when he's looking to dish the ball, not when he tries to go one on one or when he dumps it off to melo to do so.  Amare is even getting caught up in the one on one game, but he's not that kind of player and needs someone to get him an open shot or lane.  D'antoni only saw success with a point guard who can efficiently run the offense, and theres no way he'll see it again unless he stops the one on one play and makes the PG lead the offense and spread the ball around.  Shumpert is young and has shown flashes of his talent and capability at the point, but its up to the coaching to change the system.  The most logical move in my eyes is sac D'antoni and bring in someone who can actually coach defense and has an actual offensive system that isn't one on one all the time and force bad shots.

Since: Sep 25, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:34 pm

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

How easily the Knick's fans saying the last time we had a quality PG was......... Last year! Your management decided to use their amnesty clause on him. Now he plays for the Clippers. Your problem runs deeper than Melo's selfish and subpar defensive play. Your coach won consistently in Phoenix and always made the playoffs. Did he run an offense first game, sure. Melo is a cancer , who will never commit to defense, never. Chandler had one great year, otherwise he is average. Your management has been an issue the whole time you have struggled! You won't win with this combination of players. And for what t is worth Denver smoked you in that trade with a rookie GM pulling the wool over your eyes. Enjoy it Knick's fans, this s your future , Meloooooooooooo! Ha

Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:02 pm

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

Dolan is a horror--the nightmare will not end until he's gone.  Which won't happen until many of us don't give a crap anymore.

Since: Sep 16, 2010
Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:16 am

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

I think what the Knicks really need is a new coach.
D'Antoni is pathetic.

Since: Feb 17, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:40 am

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

The Knicks have seemingly always had a Point Problem! Why? Because when is the last time a Knicks team had a quality point guard? I long for the days of Charlie Ward, Derrick Harper or Marc Jackson, and that is saying a lot. Having coached basketball for many years at the high school level and a student of the game for much longer, it defies logic that the Knicks franchise could go this long a stretch without a "floor general". And D'Antoni, if he is this offensive genius that he is purported to be by NBA writers, should have demanded a true PG four years ago. Did D'Antoni really believe that his philosophy could be executed by a well-past-his-prime Mike Bibby or a undisciplined combo-guard in Tony Douglas as well as by ballhandlingmagician and 2-Time MVP Steve Nash? At this point, they are praying that Baron Davis can come back and be the playmaker they so sorely have been missing. His stats- most assists last season that ended in layups- suggest he still ahs the talent. But can he stay healthy? His track record indicates that's a long shot. Although there are a few exceptions, basketball teams just do not win without an extension of the coach on the floor. When the Knicks organization coes to that conclusion, we can start talking about contending again. 

Since: Jan 14, 2012
Posted on: January 15, 2012 10:30 am

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

Tony Douglas needs to step up to win a couple games.After that god you have melo and amar'e.Win?

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: January 15, 2012 8:45 am

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

It is about the PG, or lack thereof, when and if Baron Davis is healthy I expect the offense to be more fluid.

When is the last time you saw the Knicks run a pick n roll?

Since: May 8, 2007
Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:28 am

Point Problem: Knicks have big issues to work out

These guys may not become the Miami Heat, but I think they'll figure things out a great deal by the end of the season compared to where they are now. Scoff at Baron Davis all you want, but he'll be an upgrade over what the Knicks are rolling with now, especially if he can actually get 100% healthy. They don't need Davis to be the "guy", they just need him to have that veteran point guard presence, and to run a more fluid offense. Granted he's not known throughout his career as that type of PG, but he certainly showed improvement in those areas last season. 

The ironic thing is that this Knicks team will be compared to the Heat for a long time, and they really aren't the same team in any way, superstars or not. As much as a I hate to say it, I think any team that has Lebron has the advantage. He could make the Wizards into a playoff team on his own. Wade is possibly the 2nd best player in the league, and Bosh is a great piece, but no one touches Lebron (I say that as anything but a fan of him). You don't beat the Heat by trying to stack your team with superstars, you do it by having the best players you can, with the best chemistry

The Knicks will get better, especially if they can get healthy, and in a 7 game series they could very well be the hottest team in the playoffs. I don't know that the Mavericks were the best team in the league last year, but they were very talented, and played the best basketball of the playoff season without question. They fully deserved to be the champs last year, despite having a roster that should have lost to the heat on paper. That's the beauty of the game. 

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