FanPost

This is what's wrong with the Knicks.

This started out as a comment but turned into a fanpost. What's wrong with the Knicks? In essence, we are an injury-ravaged team with a core built around two one-dimensional, high-scoring forwards whose games are not compatible with one another, and who are supported by the worst starting backcourt and thinnest bench in the league, presided over by a coach who is torn between yet again trying to ram square pegs into his effective-if-very-narrow round hole of an offensive scheme, and not having any other feasible idea of how to make these ill-fitting parts work.

So! Let's begin.

First of all, there is nothing "wrong" with Amar'e, this is the same player that dropped 30+ points in ten straight games last fall. He is one of the most unstoppable finishers and paint scorers in the game and he has a pretty nice mid-range J when he's in rhythm. The problem is he's not, I repeat NOT an ISO player; in order to score like a star he needs to be playing within an offense designed to get him the ball in motion heading toward the basket, preferably without another teammate (and his man) clogging up the paint. We are not doing this. Right now Amar'e is either being used as a decoy to draw a defender away while Melo ISOs, or he is being given the ball while defended 20+ feet from the goal and asked to score while Melo is on the bench and the likes of Josh Harrelson, Mike Bibby et al are the only other "shooters" on the floor.

Melo is maybe the most talented pure scorer and one-on-one player in the NBA, but he's also a ball-stopping isolation specialist and occasional chuckaholic being asked to run an offense, initiate ball movement and be responsible for everyone's success. This will never work. While he can make a nice pass now and then, he's just not that player. Even in the best of circumstances, he and Amar'e are fundamentally incompatible: Amar'e needs a crisp offense in which he is the focus and ball-movement is paramount, Melo needs an offense in which he is the focus and he is allowed to isolate and beat his man one-on-one as often as possible.

Because Melo can be effective farther from the basket and without a true playmaking PG to facilitate, by default his style of offense wins out and Amar'e is rendered more or less useless. And because we have no PG whatsoever or anyone capable of organizing an offense and running a play, the offense by default is a series of Melo isolations while everyone else kind of stands around to see what happens. This works okay when Melo is red hot and stinks like a wet fart when he isn't, especially because for whatever reason when Melo has the ball the other four players seem to forget it's necessary to play basketball or do anything aside from watch the Melo show unfold.

In essence, we gutted the team and sacrificed future flexibility in order to pay $40m/year to two players who are not good defenders and don't even play offense all that well in combination with one another. Hurray!

But wait that's not all! What else is wrong?

Let's see, we're paying $12m to a defensive center who has been totally, and I mean completely left out of the offensive playbook (and Amar'e thinks he has it bad!) while being asked to guard *everyone* since Stat and Melo are bad defenders who need to play 36 mins per night and we can't keep anyone out of the paint because our backcourt is totally, pathetically overmatched and straight-up shook.

Because all our cap is tied up in 3 players the rest of the team is a joke--aside from the Toney and Landry issues, nobody on our bench should be more than an 8-9th man on a decent team at least until Shumpert gets back (and who truly knows what he'll bring--hopefully a lot).

Last but not least, having been given the 17th roster of his coaching tenure that is again ill-equipped to succeed in his preferred style of play, our coach seems like he is finally out of steam. Enough excuses, it's a short preseason for everyone, and we're supposed to have two of the best players in the league on our team (who played together last year!). The Knicks are playing like it's a pick-up game amongst dudes who don't even know much less like each other. As some point, when you supposedly have the best talent in the world, that lack of effort and focus is just unprofessional and it falls on the coach.

The only real hope for this team is if Baron Davis comes back, takes the ball out of Melo's hands, and actually runs an offense that features some set plays, pick and roll, off-ball screens, etc. Amar'e becomes effective again, Melo will still get his, Tyson gets a lob or two, and the offense works well enough to mask our defensive mediocrity. Shump comes back and brings scoring and defense off the bench. Toney Douglas takes his rightful seat on the bench and resumes DWTDD. Landry Fields comes back from the dead in the presence of a PG who can actually do more than chuck shots and/or watch Melo chuck shots.

I hate to say it but if B-Diddy isn't the answer this team is proper fucked. Melo as PG is not going to work, and so far it seems like either D'Antoni has no idea what else to do or the team is just tuning him out. Davis by all accounts has been more vocal in timeouts and on the sidelines than even D'Antoni, and he is the kind of strong-willed personality who might fill the desperate need for a coach on the floor. If Boom Dizzle can't get it done I have a strong feeling we will either have a new coach or a different superstar to root for before the season is over because without him the team as presently constructed is too top-heavy with redundant, incompatible pieces to do anything but flounder and disappoint.

If, by the trade deadline, Baron hasn't righted the ship, I'd suggest we throw a hail-mary and trade Melo to NJ for Deron Williams (assuming Dwight hasn't ended up there already somehow). Both teams would be better for it, honestly.



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