Jose Calderon has not had a good season; on that, Knicks fans can all agree. I don't want to speak for anyone else, but I know that I have been fairly harsh, both on this website and in personal conversations, when writing/speaking about Calderon's play this year. Hell, just three days ago, I spent more time complaining about Jose than praising Kristaps Porzingis in my recap of the Knicks' loss to the Bucks, even though Kris had an amazing game (that was the night he threw down those two MONSTER dunks). Point is, I've been unrelentingly critical of Jose, and I know I'm not alone in that, considering the apparent consensus among everyone who follows the Knicks that Calderon should be relegated to a "break glass in case of garbage-time" role.
Jose Calderon had a good game yesterday against the Lakers. He scored 14 points on 6-12 shooting, pulled down 5 rebounds, and dished 3 assists. It was nice to see him contribute to a win after seriously struggling for six games, and everyone took notice.
"I want to win, I want to help this team," he said. "It doesn't matter if I am starting or coming off the bench or if I'm the fourth point guard, at the end of the day. So it's all right. You guys were talking about me. You weren't talking [badly] about [my teammates], so it was good for us."
"After 11 years, I know what I can do," Calderon said. "I know my weaknesses, I know my strengths. I'm going to go out there and compete every night. ... My teammates respect me, I'm good with that. I try to be a leader that way."
Reporter was in midst of asking Jose a question. Reporter: "Have you..." Jose: "Lost a step? You gonna ask me that again?" Funny moment.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) November 8, 2015
There are two things I take from those quotes: 1) that Calderon knows his skills are diminishing rapidly and that he's more useful to the team with less playing time; and 2) that Calderon is probably a million times more frustrated with his poor play than we are.
We begin each season with expectations for every player, and I expected Jose Calderon to be an effective starting point guard. He did not have a great season last year, but there were multiple reasons to explain that away: injury to himself, injury to Melo, terrible supporting cast, etc. Therefore, I saw no reason to assume that, with all of those issues taken care of, Calderon would not return to something resembling his pre-Knicks form this season. And I think that is why I'm so annoyed by his suckiness. When Sasha Vujacic airballs an open 3-pointer, I sigh, but I can't say I didn't expect him to miss. When Jose Calderon airballs an open 3-pointer, I get mad, because I know he can be better.
What I hadn't considered is that if I'm pissed off, then Calderon must also be, and those quotes make it clear that he is. Seth and Joe have said this before, but Jose Calderon is not supposed to miss open 3-pointers. He makes those. It's what he does best. The thing is, though, that if we know that Jose Calderon makes open 3-pointers, then Jose Calderon knows it as well. When he takes an open 3, he assumes he's going to make it, because, between practice and games, he's done so thousands of times. But suddenly, he can't make those shots during games anymore, and he probably has no idea why that's the case.
Jose Calderon is not the player he once was; that's a fact. There's probably no need for me, or anyone else, to continue reminding him of it, though. Because every time Jose Calderon misses an open 3-pointer, that's reminder enough.