New York Knicks
Coach: Mike D’Antoni
2007-08 Record: 23-59
Pythagorean Record for 07-08: 23-59
Offensive Rating: 104.7 (23rd in the league)
Defensive Rating: 111.9 (29th)
Possessions per 48: 91.6 (15th)
Min%: 81.4 (14th)
|Offensive||47.5 (27th)||.134 (15th)||.286 (10th)||.226 (16th)|
|Defensive||51.8 (28th)||.121 (26th)||.727 (21st)||.229 (15th)|
Roster (Red indicates new acquisition, Blue indicates rookie)
Man, where to start with this roster. After years of managerial incompetence, there’s precious little on this roster worth mentioning.
Lets play some Mad Libs. (Jared Jeffries, Quentin Richardson, Jerome James, Malik Rose)___________ might once have been productive, but now he (is too fat, is too old, has lost a step)___________ and doesn’t do much good on the court. For the next (year, two years, three years)__________ he’ll just be sitting on the bench (cashing his humongous paycheck, …that’s pretty much it)__________.
Has anyone’s value ever dropped as precipitously in one year as Zach Randolph’s? In Portland, he was a talented, if problematic, young big man. After a disastrous year in New York, well, this is about all he’s remembered for. I’m not exactly sure what to think of Randolph. I still think he could be successful if put in the right situation. He’s a big-bodied (too big right now), long-armed post with fantastic touch and a smooth jumper. Offensively, there’s a lot to offer, though he’s an absolute sieve defensively. If he were acquired by a veteran team that could keep him out of trouble and pair him with a defensive-minded center, I think he could turn his career around. However, most teams won’t want to risk gambling on Randolph, and his large contract is prohibitive to trading.
You can win ballgames with Jamal Crawford as your third option. As a first option, he’s not much to write home about. The main problem with Crawford is that he settles for far too many jumpers. He’s certainly capable of beating his man to the rim, he’s quick for his size and has an excellent crossover. However, he tends to get past the first defender and then pull up for a long jumper. 86% of his shots last year were jumpers, far too high for a guard with the size and quickness of Crawford. If he’s ever to become an efficient scorer, he’s got to take the ball to the rim and get to the line with a whole lot more frequency. Until then, he’s not a bad option, but certainly not a star.
If you’re wondering, David Lee has been the Knicks’ best player the last two years, and it isn’t really close. He’s an absolutely incredible rebounder, and he almost never misses around the rim. He can hit shots with either hand, and he finishes lobs and follow-shots as well as anyone. Is he a go-to scorer? No, but he’s one of the best role-players in the league, able to be help his team without the ball in his hands. He’s also one of the few Knicks to actually give an effort on defense.
I don’t know what to think about Danilo Gallinari, I haven’t seen him in action enough yet. I can tell you this though, he’s in for a rough year. He has a versatile skill set, but his range isn’t consistently NBA three yet, and he’ll need to add strength to be successful. Time will tell if he’s more Bostjan Nachbar or Manu Ginobili.
X-Factor: Eddy Curry – There are few players in the league who could be considered a bigger waste of talent than Eddy Curry. His natural talent for scoring in the post is matched by very few. Despite being embarrassingly overweight, slow, unathletic and giving very little effort, he can score the ball fairly efficiently when he catches it in the post. However, every other facet of his game is ridiculously underdeveloped. He can’t pass out of double teams, he gives no effort rebounding (his 10.2 rebound rate is absolutely pathetic for a big man), and to say his defensive is sieve-like would be an insult to sieves everywhere. The talent is there for Curry to become an excellent player, but to this point the heart hasn’t been. I wonder if we’ll ever see much improvement out of him, or if he’s just content to cash paychecks now.
The Isiah Thomas era will go down in history as perhaps the greatest debacle in NBA management history, and last year was a microcosm of that. The Brown-Sanders trial, the acquisition of Zach Randolph, the sideshow that is Stephon Marbury, the 45-point loss to the Celtics, the 40-point loss to the Sixers…do I need to keep going? They had the highest payroll in the league and, all things considered, might have been the worst team in the league. They were a highly dysfunctional locker room. They’re loaded up with bloated contracts that won’t come off the books for another year or two. I’m not even going to go into strengths and weaknesses, because that would imply that the Knicks did something positive last year. Maybe I should stop now and start talking New Yorkers off the ledge.
The good news, Knicks fans, is that a new leaf is being turned. It will not be fast, and it probably won’t be pretty for the next few years, but Isiah is gone and the franchise is in better hands (because, lets be honest, they’ve been in the worst hands on earth for a while now, anyone would be an improvement). Of specific interest to watch for this year is how Curry and Randolph respond to Mike D’Antoni’s system. If he can get them running the floor and believing in conditioning, the turn-around could be that much faster. If not, there’s probably only 2-3 players on this roster worth keeping past the next two years. Oh yeah, and speaking of those next two years, there’s a free agent class in that second offseason that I’ve heard is pretty good. Some LeBron guy, you may have heard of him. If New York can land one of the coveted James-Wade-Bosh-Anthony free agents two years from now, things change significantly. For this year, it’s all about the future. There are no illusions about competing here, this team is going to be developing young talent and trying to dispose of the dead-weight contracts they have so many of.
15th in the East – Let’s Not Mince Words, These Guys Suck