Friday, July 25, 2008
Knicks, the players are bad..continued..
Alright, now the players. As prefaced in my last post, I mostly hate the Knicks roster. Further, it must be noted that the main parameter Donnie Walsh is working with when reconstructing the roster is to be as far under the cap for the summer of 2010 as possible. This is the King James, DWade, Bosh, etc. summer where several of the games best players will be free agents. We have the benefit of playing in the largest media market in the country, and simply because of that, are an attractive destination. Speculation has already begun surrounding 'Lebron to New York' and he still has two more years in Cleveland. With that, I will get right into it alphabetically and systematically picking apart each player. Fred Jones and Randolph Morris who are still free agents, both suck ass, and hopefully neither will be with the Knicks next season, will be omitted. Also, this will be further broken down into two parts, because after writing about half the team, this is already jokingly long. Again, this is very very nuts shit about the Knicks, so I can't promise your attention will be kept the whole time, unless you have that Morril in you.
Renaldo Balkman: Faulkman looks like he is high all the time, which I am totally fine with, because he doesn't play like it. He can't really do anything well on offense and has shown in his first two seasons with the Knicks that this part of his game is very unlikely to develop. He is a hustle guy and he brings energy and intensity on the defensive end of the floor. He has averaged 15 minutes per game in his first two seasons, without any offensive polish whatsoever, and this is the type of player he is. He is a fringe rotation guy who has value as an energy guy to bring off the bench. His rookie contract holds a team option for the '09-'10 season for just $2 mill which the Knicks will probably pick up. He has a qualifying offer at 2.3 mill for the '10-'11 season which, if Faulkman is still with the team, a decision will have to be made whether or not he is worth it. He will struggle, most likely, to fit into D'Antoni's system as he has no offensive game to speak of. And so it remains to be seen the type of minutes he will be given on a Knicks team cluttered with wingmen. Both the next two years, while contractually he comes at an affordable price, I would prefer to trade him if other teams were interested. He will never be a guy who will significantly contribute to this team in any capacity that is irreplaceable given the D'Antoni factor. We have other guys, primarily Wilson Chandler and Gallinari, who need to see the floor this year. We know what Balkman brings and we know his game, his future in this league is as a fringe rotation guy. As such, I would not balk(eoh) for a second on a deal if he were to be included in any type of package and sent out of town.
Wilson Chandler: Chandler is one of the most intriguing players on our roster heading into this year. He started 16 games for the Knicks towards the end of last season as Isiah was engaged in operation tanking. As to be expected out of a rookie, he was extremely inconsistent and would fall into a wide spectrum of best player on the floor to looking completely lost. What further perplexes is how much of when he looked lost was in fact his fault. Thomas is a laughable coach who basically stopped running plays towards the end of last year, so Chandler may not be entirely to blame when he looked like an idiot on the floor. He is 6'8" 220 and does have the all around game to develop into a special player for us. He is a good rebounder, has three point range, can score in bunches, and is a capable passer. He is a very talented athlete, has good length, and is very quick; he is a natural small forward with significant upside. Entering his second year, Walsh and D'Antoni will be very closely watching this kid and evaluating him. He may turn a corner and prove that he can be a building block with which to move forward or he may not cash in on his potential. Either way, we must play this kid enough minutes to see what kind of player he is so we can make a decision on him for the future. He showed in summer league much the same as he did starting for us last season: ups and downs. He would either be horrible or amazing; he needs to find some type of consistency this season. Again, there is a real logjam at the small forward position, but it would be prudent to play this kid as much as possible. Hopefully, his all around game will flourish under D'Antoni and he can turn into a beast. He could profile to be a great first wing guy off the bench in D'Antoni's 7-8 man rotation and capable of logging 25+ productive minutes in 2010ish when we will ideally be competing again. Or he will suck. We'll see. But I am excited to see what he can do this year, truly a big year for Wilson, and he may have a bright future with the Knicks.
Mardy Collins: Collins was a first round pick (#29) out of Temple who Thomas took 2 years ago. He sucks. He is too slow and lacks court vision or just any passing ability to play the point, as Isiah has previously tried. He is too slow and bad to play as a g/f, can barely score, and plays pretty poor defense. He's making a mill this year, and we have a team option on his deal for about a mill next season. He has no trade value, because he sucks, so hopefully we will just let him go after this season. He is a true 12th man, and it bothered me every time Isiah gave him significant run because he is just not very good. He should be playing in Europe soon enough.
Jamal Crawford:I cannot wait to get rid of Crawford. Yes, he is probably our best player, but I just hate his game. Hear me out. Firstly, he has never played in a playoff game in his career. Ok. He is a capable passer, but often makes poor decisions with about a 2:1 career assist:turnover. He cannot play the point guard position. He is a pure 40% shooting guard, and Isiah's past experiments playing him at the 1 ended in fails. He can score in bunches, which is an understatement, ok truckloads, but his offensive game is just sooo streaky. He can very easily create his own shot, and while that shot is sometimes jacking up a three, so be it. That is his game, and he hits "bad shots" as well as anyone in the game. But one thing-ok one of many- that really pisses me off about Crawford is when he gets the ball facing the basket in a one on one situation, he might as well be on the floor by himself; he never, ever passes out of that spot and always, always drives or hoists up a shot. I do not like how one dimensional his offensive game is. When he is on, he will pour in 40 with ease but when he is off he will shoot 3-15 from the field in a losing effort, we always lose when Crawford isn't hitting his shots if you haven't noticed Knick fans. That is fine, many of the leagues elite scorers are streaky-maybe not to such a degree- but the one thing that is so frustrating about Crawford is that when his shot is off he does absolutely nothing else on the court that warrants his playing time. He cannot defend for HIS LIFE and is not active on that end of the floor. He is incapable of running the offense, and so when he is missing his shots and not scoring, he is completely worthless. And he still logs his 35-40 minutes. When he is off, we lose the game. Now, D'Antoni's philosophy is defense optional, so that works out well for Crawdad. But, he is still a tremendous liability on that end of the floor regardless of how much emphasis the coach places on it. His offensive game still pisses me off, 41% from the field is horrible, and his defense is utter crap. Now, his contract situation is a very interesting one. Crawford is 28. He is making 8.6 this year and has a player option for 9.3 next season. He should have a career year this year, I am certainly expecting it and I'm sure he is too. He will lead the team in scoring, NO question whatsoever, and will be an offensive juggernaut this year. Because I see the likelihood of the Knicks trading Craw is very slim, and I hope to god he will be gone by 2010, the best case scenario in my mind sees Crawford opting out of his deal at the end of this season hoping to sign a fat deal next off season. At 29, it will likely be the best and last chance for Crawford to sign another fat deal for the rest of his career. I know this is probably a bit harsh on Crawford, because the guy can flat out score buckets, but I really just don't believe his game is such that he can be a starting 2 guard for a title contender. And that is what I'm looking for here. I'm sorry.
Eddy Curry: Goddammit, where to begin with this fat behemoth of a mockery. He, like Faulkman, looks high a lot of the time, but unlike Faulkman, he plays like it. He is fat, slow, cannot jump, career averages of OVER 3x as many turnovers : steals PLUS blocks (!!!!), cannot rebound for his seven foot life, cannot hit a free throw for a cheeseburger (wait, actually maybe he would, Knicks should try this as some type of incentive, I have decided), cannot defend his assignment, and is further incapable of playing any type of help defense whatsoever. He is, however, big, fat, and a good post up player when the game is slowed down enough: see '06-'07 season. Because of his 285 (listed, mind you) frame, he is difficult for defenders to dislodge from the block once he manages to get from one end of the floor to the other. I do not want to belabor the deficiencies of Curry's game, as they are basically innumerable, but I will say this: I cannot under any circumstance see how he will play more than 10 minutes per game this year. You could say: well wait a minute, D'Antoni will use Curry in the same way he used Shaq last year; short jittery bursts before the debilitating and inevitable crash. False. While Shaq is a huge human, he was primarily used as a defensive asset down low for the Suns last year. D'Antoni did not modify his system extensively in order to accommodate the big fella; if he got back for offense before the shot went up great, if not, maybe next possession Shaq! Curry is WAYYY too slow (Shaq, same size, surprisingly quick) to play the 5 for D'Antoni and he serves absolutely no purpose as a defensive stopper if the opposing big is causing us problems. Luckily, D'Antoni will not feel he HAS to play Curry as Thomas did because he had absolutely no hand in putting his gigantic contract on our books, again, like Thomas did. D'Antoni will just not play Curry. As such, his trade value will plummet to an all time low, if it can be lower. He has player options at 10 and 11 million for the next two seasons which there is absolutely no chance he does not pick up. Curry's contract will be by far the hardest for Walsh to move. Randolph, who is equally important to move as Curry, can actually play basketball, and I am confidant that Walsh will find the correct spot to get his deal off the books before the 2010 season. We might be stuck with Curry's 11 million in 2010, which would seriously suck for us, decrease our flexibility, limit the cash we can throw at free agents, blahblalbh. Hopefully, Walsh can trick some other retarded team (think Grizz) into taking Curry off our hands. You think Camby to Clips was free, they DID reserve the right to swap 2nd round picks. We don't even want that!!! Curry is ACTUALLY free! What a good deal! Goddamn Curry. But seriously, he's bad and wayy overpaid. Oh well. Thanks Isiah.
Chris Duhon: I love Walsh's decision to bring Duhon in to run this team for the next two years while he continues to rebuild the team. Duhon will be able to run D'Antoni's system with competence, I believe, and bring stability to the most crucial position on the team. He turned down a more lucrative contract with Orlando, a better team, to come play in New York under D'Antoni; hopefully this will be a sign of more to come as we continue to try and attract free agents to our club. Duhon is coming off his fourth season, all with the Bulls, where he assumed a backup point guard role. Given the question marks surrounding Marbury, it looks like the point guard job is now his to lose. He is a very smart basketball player, he is constantly among league leaders in assist to turnover ratios (albeit, in a backup role where he handles the ball less than other starting point guards but still), and is very good at reading defenses when he has the ball in his hands. Walsh and D'Antoni had quite a few options out there at point guard but they targeted Duhon and used our full mid-level to bring him here. While he is not a prolific scorer, he will be able to get us into our offensive sets and get it going. He has never averaged double digit points, and while it is likely he will this year, I am expecting 12 ppg at most. But he will bring, if he logs the starter minutes which I expect, around seven assists a game with his usual low turnover rate. Having this stability at PG for the next two years is HUGE. And signing Duhon to a two year deal is also huge with it set to expire before the 2010 season. I believe he will play well for us and be a fan favorite as he is a tough, gritty and plays with a tremendous amount of intensity. I hope that we will have the money to work out keeping him through 2010 as we free up more cap space. Duhon, after having two seasons mastering D'Antoni's system, would be an ideal candidate to slide into the backup point guard role. Hopefully we will have the ability of doing this after his contract expires. He is clearly not the type of point guard who will lead the Knicks to the promise land, but he is more than sufficient for the time being. And when we do get that stud point guard in the future, Duhon would be a perfect backup.
Danillo Gallinari: I love this kid. Loveee, love, love. I am thrilled that we drafted him, and in retrospect, am elated that we didn't use our pick on a point guard. The importance of the point guard in D'Antoni's system cannot be overstated. As such, I would prefer not to spend a lottery pick on an unknown commodity at the point guard spot and be married to this player with so much of our future in his hands. We will get our pg, we will wait and see, and hopefully it will come via trade or free agency with an already stud who D'Antoni sees his NBA game translating well into his scheme. Gallinari, on the other hand, has the potential to be a verrrryyyy special player. I am debating how much to gush/profess/count the ways in which I love this man, no homo, so we'll see what happens. After listening to basically every interview with him I could find, he absolutely amazes me with his composure and candor. This kid is just 19, coming to the biggest city and media market in the country, from a foreign country, and he handles the press like a veteran. AND his English is sort of a joke. He has unparalleled maturity for someone his age, tremendous confidence in his ability, and a shut up and play attitude. He doesn't even understand what the New York media is like, he can't, he's from Italy, but his personality is such that he can handle it. He was booed to DEATH at the Garden by Knick fans and he couldn't have cared less. LOVE that. He just wants to get on the floor, fight, shoot, D up, own, and show the fans what he can do. Now, his game. The one main criticism with Rooster (Gallinari..gallina..rooster...lulululu) I have seen is 1: he is soft and 2: he does not have the lateral quickness to defend NBA players. 1: he played as an 18 year old against grown men in an underratedly competitive Italian league (better than the NCAA and tougher than playing against fellow teenagers), was the captain of his team, and led his team in scoring. 2: that may be, but that doesn't mean he can't be an average to above average defender. He will definitely have his share of difficulties on the defensive end this season but from what I have seen he is quicker than I thought given what I have read about Gallinari. Again, D'Antoni: defense optional, but even still, the kid is such a competitor. He wants to be an all-star. I really believe he will work hard on the defensive end and make the necessary adjustments to be a solid defender. He needs to convert some body weight into muscle, but he is just 19 and once he starts lifting, training, and growing he should get jacked. Offensively, the sky is the limit for the Rooster. He has legitimate three point range, a tremendous mid range game, great size and length, and is a terrific penetrator with a knack of getting to the line where he shoots at a 80%+ clip. He is comfortable with his back to the basket or facing it. He doesn't really have any offensive weakness, and I can't wait to see him this year. At 6'8", and given our current roster construction, it looks to me that he will be forced to play some power forward. Defensively, big problem; offensively, he is an impossible match up for 90% of the 4s in the Eastern Conference. I'm sure we'll see a front court featuring Rooster at the 4 with DLee at the 5 which will be very exciting and fun to watch this year. I think that Gallinari will be with the Knicks for a longgg time and has the chance to be a star.
Ok, rest of the roster analysis coming soon. Too nuts? Probably. But I am nuts, so we're fine.