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Rating and Debating: What does D'Antoni do with Toney Douglas?

Struggling combo guard, potential ceviche ingredient. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Struggling combo guard, potential ceviche ingredient. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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This is a new feature here at P&T in which I, Seth, will engage in a debate on some Knicks topic with a person who is totally real. For our first exchange, please welcome celebrity chef and renowned hater, Cristobal Jeeves-Almibar.

Seth: Mr. Jeeves-Almibar, thanks for taking the time to join me in this debate.

Cristobal Jeeves-Almibar: Yes, okay.

S: Cool. So, our topic today is Knicks guard Toney Douglas. He's struggling mightily, no doubt about it. What comes to mind when I mention Douglas?

CJ-A: ¡Guacala! What comes to mind is incompetence! Here is a guard who cannot shoot, cannot pass, cannot GUARD anybody. He cannot do a thing! I would like to garnish him with cilantro and serve him at one of my trendy Latin fusion tapas boats!

S: That's a boat where you eat tapas?

CJ-A: A submarine, actually.

S: I see. Well, I can't deny that he's having a terrible season, Mr. Jeeves-Almibar, but are we really ready to say he CAN'T do all those things? We've seen him do each of those since he's been a Knick. We know he's a pretty decent shooter, and while he's not a starting-caliber point guard and far from an elite defender, he's certainly been way better in those aspects of the game than we've seen this season.

CJ-A: If he was good at those things, then he is not any longer! He is irredeemable! ¡Que asco!

S: I just can't buy that anybody's totally irredeemable like that. Think of the way people were talking about Landry Fields earlier this season. Some folks argued he wasn't even an NBA player! And now that he's comfortable and in a bit of a groove, he looks like the starting-caliber guard he was for most of last season. Isn't this still possible for Toney?

CJ-A: No! I would like to remove his teeth and grind them into a potent maté de Douglas! It is a hangover cure!

S: Well, how about this: Whether we like him or not, Douglas is one of the few healthy guards the Knicks have on the roster. What's the alternative?

CJ-A: Young Jeremy Lin! He is an Ivy Leaguer!

S: Hey, I like Lin. He's had some good moments, and I think he deserves minutes, including some of Toney's. I haven't seen much, though, to convince me that he can score consistently at this level. Once teams figure that out, he's going to have much more trouble creating for his teammates.

CJ-A: But surely he is better than Douglas! Douglas cannot score either!

S: Well, he's probably a better point guard. But again, are we going to trust twenty-ish bad games over two seasons worth of pretty serviceable basketball? Douglas can score.

CJ-A: Yes! Douglas cannot score. He can give me his beard hairs so I can sprinkle them in my guacamole (which is made by a member of the waitstaff at your table, which is a treasure chest. You sit on the floor.) is what he can do!

S: I don't know, man. On a deeper team, it might make sense to bench the guy indefinitely. This team is so shallow, though, and I'd rather they do what they can to resurrect his game than shelve him and rely on someone like Lin. Try and keep him off the ball-- alongside Lin, even-- get him cutting and working off screens. It might require some creativity to get him comfortable, but it seems worth it to foster bench depth.

CJ-A: Did you see your beloved Toney last night? Did you see him? He could not do anything right!

S: Yeah. Yeah. I know. It was sickening. I'm sick just remembering it. This is quite a pickle, Mr. Jeeves-Almibar.

CJ-A: A fine idea! I will sever his toes and pickle them with tomatillos!

S: I might be biased because I love the kid, but I think you ought to acknowledge that you're swayed by your desire to cook and eat him.

CJ-A: I would not eat a man! I would merely like to serve him to my customers!

S: Okay, but still...

CJ-A: ¡Que rico!

S: Alright, well this hasn't been too productive. Thanks for your time, though, Mr. Jeeves-Almibar.

CJ-A: Please, call me Cristobal.

S: Now you tell me.