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SummerThunder 99, SummerKnicks 87: Vince Carter understands defense better than the coaches

Keep chucking them threes, boys!

Virginia v Pittsburgh Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

If you watch enough Knicks games, you start to pick up on patterns, particularly on the defensive side of the ball: bad pick-and-roll coverage, five players collapsing into the paint while 2-3 quality shooters wait uncovered around the three-point line. The 2017 Summer League squad isn’t exactly flush with regular-season Knicks outside of Chasson Randle and Marshall Plumlee—not exactly huge contributors, themselves—and yet they somehow defend exactly the same way they always have.

One of their biggest problems was diagnosed during Monday afternoon’s 99-87 loss to the Thunder by none other than Vince Carter, moonlighting as a broadcaster this summer, who said, “There’s such a thing as over-helping.” I guess everybody’s heart is in the right place—helping is nice!—but for the Knicks the end result is usually an open three-pointer. And the Thunder knew what to do with those open looks, hitting 13-25 from downtown. Please figure this out, have a few months.

The Good

  • The Knickerbockers appear to have some dudes who can stroke it from beyond the arc. Second-round pick Damyean Dotson (3-3 from three), training camp invitee Jamel Artis (2-5 from three), wily vet Randle (3-5 from three) and first-ever two-way signee Luke Kornet (3-6 from three) were letting it rip, particularly in the second half. If Frank Ntilikina never gets healthy enough to play, I highly suggest the Knicks forget running plays and just bomb away during their final two games of the summer.
  • Nobody looked worse than Randle over the Knicks’ first two games in Orlando, but on Monday the Stanford alum finally resembled the Randle of old, dropping an ultra-efficient 20 points on 6-8 shooting. He is by no means a true point guard, but he definitely has value as a combo guard/bucket-getter.
  • Everybody knows now-former Knick Justin Holiday could shoot and defend a little, but his most underrated talent was helping the ‘Bockers on the boards—a critical bonus for the league’s worst defensive rebounding team. Damyean Dotson showed a bit of that Holiday touch on Monday, grabbing a team-high 5 rebounds. Crash them boards, youngblood.
  • Jamel Artis is gonna make the 15-man roster if he keeps this up.
  • Luke Kornet knows how to use them gangly limbs on defense, blocking 4 shots. Threes + blocks = NBA future.
  • Ognjen Jaramaz still hasn’t made a shot in Summer League, but he got fouled on one the most audacious dunk attempts I’ve seen in many a year. I hope he at least stays around Westchester so I can watch him throw himself around the hardwood like a bowling ball.

The Bad

  • Nigel Hayes is a short big man with long arms who gets blocked on damn near every shot attempt.
  • Marshall Plumlee is a bigger big man with tiny arms who gets blocked on damn near every shot attempt.
  • The Knicks should surgically attach Hayes’ arms to Plumlee’s body, is what I’m saying.

The Summer Knicks have a day off Tuesday, so hopefully Ntilikina’s sore knee is finally healed. Then again...

Yeah, he’s probably not gonna play in Orlando. But we still have Ognjen Jaramaz.