We've seen the New York Knicks operate without competent point guard play many, many times over the last years. It hasn't been a very pleasant experience ... so much so that Phil Jackson felt compelled to trade for Derrick Rose.
If Phil wasn't yet convinced as to the importance of the point guard position, Saturday's 81-49 loss to the Detroit Pistons probably sealed the deal. Summer League basketball is usually rough on the eyes, but hooooooooo boy were the Knicks terrible on offense. Coach Mike Miller didn't have much to work with at the 1, so he put the ball in Ron Baker's hands. It did not go well: 2 points on 1-9 shooting (I honestly don't even remember him hitting that one shot), 3 turnovers and zero assists. He did play some strong defense, however.
But let us not blame Ron entirely for the putrid offensive showing. The Knicks committed 20 turnovers. Five of them came from J.P. Tokoto. We got the full Tokoto experience Saturday: He shot 1-7 and fired a couple of the most poorly-directed floaters I've ever seen. I swear, it's like he thought the hoop was moving side-to-side. He also made a couple of ridiculously athletic blocks. He's a wild one.
- Marshall Plumlee looked very composed with the ball in his hands, particularly in the first half. He canned a few jumpers and dropped a few nice passes out of the post. I'm guessing he's already Phil's favorite.
- Louis Labeyrie was billed as a stretch 4, but man does his shot look weird. He shot 2-10 with some badddd misses. That being said, I liked what I saw out of him -- kid is athletic, smooth, and tenacious as hell. He led the team with 6 rebounds in only 16 minutes of play, and was in the midst of every scrum around the basket. He also looked comfortable with the ball in his hands on the perimeter, even if he wasn't the kind of post playmaker preferred by the Triangle crew. Started the game but played the fewest minutes of any starter -- seven fewer minutes than Plumlee. It'll interesting to see how they treat him over the next few games.
- Shooting guard Marvelle Harris scored 10 points, but managed a team-worst -26 net rating, which felt about right. He could get his own shot, but little else.
- The guys with NBA experience -- Ognjen Kuzmic and DaJuan Summers -- played the kind of steady ball you'd expect. Summers in particular looked smooth as hell, particularly with the jumper (2-5 from beyond the arc). He was a Knicks training camp invite last year and played for Westchester before injuring his Achilles in November. He's 28 years old, but he might have an inside track on another camp invite.
The Knicks play again at 3 PM Sunday. Not sure how much the offense will improve in the next 24 hours.