The Knicks lost to the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night. I don’t really feel like recapping the game — the third quarter was awesome, the other quarters were basically standard Knicks garbage — but I do have several thoughts about the game I’d like to share. Please allow me to share them. PLEASE!
Look down upon Willy’s works, ye mighty, and despair
Willy Hernangomez set a career high Saturday with 24 points and 13 rebounds. It was pretty significant, as far as Knicks’ rookies go.
24 points & 13 boards for Willy Hernangomez— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 26, 2017
He joins KP and Ewing as just the third Knicks rookie in the last 30+ years w/ at least 24 & 13
Also, I don’t know how meaningful this stat is, but I love it.
Some context on Hernangomez's outstanding rookie year (per @bball_ref):— Thomas Duffy (@TJDhoops) March 26, 2017
GAMES W/20+ MINS
Getting Willy more pick-and-roll touches = good
Look back at Willy’s highlight package — you might spot a couple of surprising trends. The first one is how many of Willy’s points came via the pick-and-roll. Quite often Willy was chilling on the strong side of the offense — the triangle side, if you will — waiting for the perfect opportunity to dive to the rim and receive a pocket pass from a Knicks guard. Despite his gorgeous post-up moves, Willy has been much more of a threat in the pick-and-roll this season. Let the big man eat, of course, but you don’t have to run everything through the post to get Willy his buckets.
Courtney Lee: reluctant pick-and-roll maestro
The second surprise from the Willy highlights is just how many of those pick-and-roll feeds came courtesy of Courtney Lee. The Knicks’ nominal shooting guard finished with a team-high 7 assists. This cat continues to frustrate me. He can shoot the lights out, he can get the bigs involved as a secondary playmaker, but many nights he needs to be forced to do so. I’d experiment with putting Lee with the second unit next season. Give him more responsibility for the offense, and see how he responds.
Might as well try out Maurice Ndour
Saturday night we saw why, despite most evidence to the contrary, Maurice Ndour has a better shot than Marshall Plumlee at being an actual NBA contributor. Plums, bless his heart, was swallowed up by San Antonio’s awesome front line. These things tend to happen when you’re not particularly tall or athletic and also have T-Rex arms. Ndour actually started in place of Kristaps Porzingis in the second half, and did a good job on the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard. He’s undersized, but did a good enough job at holding position on the block while using his freaky-deaky long arms to harass his opponent’s dribble and contest shots. He also excelled on switches, which is always a big deal for this defense. Ndour is an extreme long-shot to make next year’s squad, but you could do worse than giving the kid 15 minutes a night to prove his worth.
Three minutes for Chasson Randle
Derrick Rose was excellent in the second half, and I don’t know if I can properly express how little that means to the Knicks at this point. Carmelo Anthony and Lance Thomas, content as they are in their long-term deals, seem content to spend extra time on their various aches and pains. Rose is playing for that contract, and the Knicks are indulging him: 36 minutes, a team-high 22 field-goal attempts. He’s playing pretty well of late! Who cares? Yes, I’ve heard the reports that a reunion hasn’t been ruled out by either party, but let’s consider the facts here. Rose hates the offense, appears miserable most of the time, and disappeared on the team at one point. The Knicks tried like hell to move him at the deadline. This relationship is at an end. Please, Jeff Hornacek, play the guy who might actually be on the team next season.