Tracy McGrady to Hufflepuff: Put Your Sorting Hats On!

Those of you who have followed this site for a minute are already aware that my favorite player in recent Knicks-tory is Renaldo Balkman. Why did I like him so much? Well, he was the ultimate enigma. Despite looking like he takes smoke-breaks from smoking blunts to rip bongs, his effort level was always off the charts. He remains a Las Vegas Summer League legend for his hustle and penchant from stuffing the box score on his birthday. Renaldo hung around because he was a great athlete with a matching motor, and the organization saw a future lockdown defender in him. It never panned out, and he was traded to Denver, where he re-upped (yeah, I know) his contract and played relatively few games of relevance.

Why am I talking about Renaldo Balkman? Because J.R. Giddens is a less-talented, less physically gifted version of him, and it would be a mistake to retain him next year. Who else should the Knicks let go, and who, if anyone, should they look to sign? Let’s explore.

 

Jonathan Bender

This guy! I can remember sitting in my friend Seb’s basement drinking champagne for no real reason after having just seen "Avatar" in theaters, and watching Jonathan "Legs" Bender check into the game as a New York Knick for the first time. He hit two shots, one of which was a three-pointer, and dazzled his deceivingly old-looking ass into my dreams, pause. He hit every free throw he took that game, shot 50% from the floor and had a great block at one point. The Knicks won in a close game, and I cheered so hard, drunk off champagne and Pandora, the fictitious planet, that I farted.

This pointless story as well as all other emotional attachment I have to Jon Bender must be curbed when evaluating his "comeback" in orange and blue. He saw steady minutes until receiving 37 total in March and zero in April. He’s not a center in the NBA on a good team, and in my opinion cannot back up effectively either. We should part ways with Legs knowing the love for him we felt was real.

 

Earl Barron

Barron was signed at the end of last season after going gangbusters in the NBADL. He played well for the Knicks, which was naturally and deservedly overblown by the community here at P&T. He single-handedly defeated the Boston Celtics, who tout some of the best big men in the game, out-rebounding and out-muscling them play after play on his way to a ridiculous 17 and 18.

            What can we take out of his performance? A checklist, fuckers:

-         A seemingly grand midrange jumper, which he hit at a David Lee-esque clip

-         Lukewarm defense (his opponents PER’d 18.00 against him)

-         Yeoman’s attitude (pun intended)

-         Most importantly, a preposterous propensity (yup) for offensive rebounds 

Barron clawed his way to 4.4 offensive boards a game despite playing only 33 minutes per game. He would have led the league in the category despite the relatively modest burn he received. I understand this clip would be nearly impossible to maintain throughout a season, but the ability is plainly there. Great offensive rebounding is a characteristic shared by the best energy backups in the league; Varejao, Ibaka, Amundson, Gortat, etc. These players are all better defensively than Barron, and Earl would be the oldest of the bunch, but the intent remains.

Could you imagine a second unit of: Barron, Varnado, Cock, Bully and DWTDD? Two ball handlers, three shooters, multiple slashers, a shot-blocker, an offensive rebounder who can drag his man away from the basket, and a total combined payroll of about $7 million? Sign. Me. The. Fuck. Up.

 

Chris Duhon

I’m not going to bash Du, for whom I still have some tainted appreciation due to his relatively great play a couple of years ago (not down the stretch, but whatever). Instead, I’m going to evaluate him as unbiased as I can, and come to the conclusion that he’s a relatively good backup point guard when he tries. Depending on the situation, he either needs more confidence in his jumpshot or less confidence in his jumpshot, but he’s an effective pick-and-roll player who can distribute like a professional point guard. He’s terrible at finishing at the rim, but everyone’s terrible at something.

For $3-4 million a year, I would resign him. But this will never happen due to the stink that will follow him back into the Garden should he return. He shouldn’t be retained for the sake of the fans, but from a basketball perspective, due to the lack of even decent point guards out there, he should get another shot.

 

Al Harrington

A sometimes otherworldly talent who does not belong on the Knicks, Harrington has overstayed his welcome in orange and blue and I wish him luck at his next stop. This guy never lacked passion, but he’s got the same symptoms as Duhon. Later, Al.

 

Eddie House

Did you know this guy makes $1.2 million less than Daniel Gibson? A situational player who has shot almost five times as many three-pointers in his career as foul shots, there’s no reason to hate this guy. I would sign him for $2 million a year and let him wave a towel, or let him walk. What do you guys think?

 

Tracy McGrady

Ahhhh, the man no one has mentioned for a month despite remaining one of the most interesting stories of the summer. How has he avoided the media? Can anyone tell me what he’s doing? Where he’s working out and with whom?

This man is the biggest mystery of the summer. He is 30 year old former All-Timer with a vendetta against Everyone. He’s probably looking for a deal more focused on longevity than actual dollars per year, so what do you think it would take to secure his scoring and passing talents (the first of which should be taken with a grain of salt, as he hasn’t topped 44% shooting since 2003)? Four years, $5 million per? $7 million per? Two years, $8 million per? Let’s talk about this!

 

Sergio Rodriguez

Advertised as a poor shooter and lackluster defender, Rodriguez proved to be a pretty good shooter and was quite the ball hawk on defense. Advertised as a spectacular passer, Rodriguez sort of underwhelmed me in this category; he’s a pretty damn good passer, but I didn’t see anything Rain Man-esque. Also, the guy dribbled out a lot of possessions and threw the ball away every now and then. Overall, he’s 23 and perpetually playing on a new team. He’s out of his home country at such a young age and I think his play shows it.

$1.5 million sounds about right, but it’s either him or Duhon. Let your voice be heard.

 

So there you have it. This post was to stimulate discussion about players who have actually worn a Knicks uniform in the last year. Let’s look to promote within, and remember that "Loyal" is the second adjective in the Scout Law.

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