In his article in today's New York Sun, John Hollinger introduces the welcome notion that, amongst all this scandal, there is basketball to be played- and soon. In acquiring Zach Randolph, Isiah Thomas has clearly made a stride towards a more powerful, frontcourt-oriented style of play. Who, then, is our model of style? Hollinger has an idea. In Utah, Jerry Sloan uses two star big men, Mehmet Okur and Carlos Boozer, to anchor an offense of constant screens and entry passes. How does this suit the Knicks?:
That's especially true now that Randolph is in town. He and Curry can use their huge frames to screen for each other and then roll toward the rim, where they're impossible to stop once they get a head of steam. Secondary players can take advantage of this as well -- for instance, wouldn't it be nice to let Quentin Richardson get a couple close-in looks off downlow screens the way the Jazz do for Matt Harpring?
Best of all, Utah's system helps mask one of their big weaknesses -- a lack of deep shooters. The Knicks' plan to isolate Curry and space the floor works really well if the guys around him can burn defenses from deep. If it works, great -- that's how San Antonio kills people. But if not, it only creates more crowds for Curry to deal with.
But in a five-man, flowing, motion offense like Utah's the defenders spend more time preoccupied with their own man's movement and fighting through the myriad screens. So you'll see fewer defenders abandoning Jared Jeffries to double Curry before the ball has even been passed.
I like this concept, and would even add that the Knicks are a better 3-point shooting team than the Jazz (23rd in the league last year as opposed to 29th...not good but better), and with the possible additions of Dickau, Nichols, and Chandler, they've probably improved. I will say that it's nearly impossible to imagine Curry and Randolph using "their huge frames to screen for each other" in any basketball sense.
I open this up to P&T nation. Who should be our model in this upcoming season? Does the Jazz offense suit the EZ Money tandem? Would you feel a little dirty mimicking anything that has its roots in Utah? Leave your answers in the comments.