The New New York Knicks

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Whicha you guys is gonna yell at me in German when I mess up?

That title sounds like a Futurama reference, and Zombie-Jesus willing, someday it will be, but for today, it’s all about the Tyson Chandler-led defensive juggernaut to be. Not to put undue pressure on the defensive anchor and rah-rah leader of Rick Carlisle’s championship zone, but the Knicks have officially exited the races for Dwight Howard and Chris Paul in favor of picking up the 28 year old champ.

Positing a starting line-up:

PG (sort of) Toney Douglas
SG (sort of) Landry Fields
SF (for reals) Carmellllllllo AAAANNNN-thonYYYYY
PF (finally!) Amare Stoudemire
C (hells yeah) Tyson Chandler

Man that front court is looking good! Scoring, rebounding, more scoring, lane clogging, a little scoring, some scoring, and a little bit more scoring. The back court though…

I like Douglas defending point guards. He’s long and quick and gets after it. Offensively he’s more of a spot up jumpshooter (which the team needs) than a passing playmaker (which it also needs). But even as a one-dimensional offensive player, he may be more of a non-factor than anything as he boasted a True Shooting percentage of 53.4% and a PER of 15.2, which is basically baseline, middle of the road production for a designated floor-spacer.

Fields is a do-it-all type small forward who will be masquerading as a guard once again. He’s tough on the boards and tough in general, but he’s not a shooter or a playmaker and his handle is suspect – in fact his turnover percentage of 13.8% exceeded his usage of 13.5% and his assist percentage of 9.0%. Landry’s PER is an atrocious 13.5, but that’s largely because his usage was so low – and it will be again, since the lion’s share of the shots will be siphoned through Carmelo and Amare.

The Knicks did pick up Mike Bibby, which would have been great a decade ago. Unfortunately, Mike’s stint with the Heat last year demonstrated that he is no longer a true floor general, having lost the requisite quickness to handle against pressure and stay in front of a dribbler on defense.

According to reports, coach D’Antoni’s plan is to play Carmelo in the point forward role a la Larry Bird. I appreciate the optimism, Mike, but I don’t see that happening. Bird was one of the greatest passers the league has ever seen and to this day is the preeminent passing forward of all time. Carmelo is a one-on-one scoring dynamo. That’s his game. He’s a wing player who scores every way possible, but his assist percentage has never reached 20% while his usage hasn’t been beneath 30% since his second year (and never beneath 28%). Scottie Pippen and Clyde the Glyde, he is not. On the other hand Paul Pierce managed to act as the Celtics’ primary playmaker last year when Rondo was out, and I didn’t see that happening either, so maybe Melo and D’Antoni know something I don’t.

Word from the team and from the Knicks fans I get to listen to on the street and bus, train, and ferry is beyond enthusiastic about this move, and I agree. Chandler fills an important role that this team hasn’t had an answer for since Jeff Van Gundy left. The problem is the point guard slot is as weak as it’s been since JVG left too (no offense to the family of Chris Childs), and there’s nary a shooting guard to be seen on the roster. Unless the front office has a few more tricks up its sleeve, this Knicks team is probably headed for a first round playoff exit once again. Which would just give Phil Jackson enough time to rest up in Montana and take over the coaching reins as the team is finally completed in 2013 with a real NBA backcourt to go with what just might be the best front court in the league.

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One Response to “The New New York Knicks”

  1. pmadavi Says:

    My major concern here is that they will let Stoudemire go if Paul wants to come aboard in the off season. I also think Tyson Chandler is being severely over-valued in general. I think he’ll help the Knicks, no doubt – especially given Ama’re’s problems in the area of defense and rebounding – but I don’t see the upgrade making them that much better than they were last season. I imagine they can go from sixth to fourth. Homecourt for at least one round of playoffs and the ability to avoid Miami, Chicago, and Boston for that round.

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