Basketball I.Q., the real issue with the ’13-’14 Knicks

Harris Decker

J.R. SmithLast night, Knicks fans around the world threw their hands up in the air in unison with Tyson Chandler. With about 20 seconds left in the game, after Chandler secured a key rebound and J.R. Smith proceeded to hoist up a 3-point attempt, in a situation where you’d like to do 1 of 2 things. Either get a better look, or more ideally, get a better look AND take time off the clock. Smith did neither. The Knicks eventually lost.

To their credit, the Knicks are staying in games for the most part. 8 of the Knicks 22 losses have ended with less than a 5 point gap. It’s not like they’re getting blown out every single night. This was yet another example of that. They did 99% of what they had to do to win, failing to convert on that final 1% in the 4th.

Smith’s play felt like deja vu. Back on December 18th, Andrea Bargnani made an eerily similar mistake against the Milwaukee Bucks. After the game, Bargnani said “It was aggressive and it definitely was a mistake … It’s a good thing we won the game and stayed together.’’ Unfortunately for Smith, the Knicks wound up losing to the Rockets after Beno Udrih’s last second floater went in-and-out.

Being January, writers have discussed every possible angle for the failures of the ’13-’14 season. After all, last year, the Knicks didn’t lose their 22nd game until game 59. Last nights loss, the 22nd of the season, came in the teams 32nd game. So what’s left? It’s something that can’t be measured and can’t always be detected. It’s basketball I.Q.

It’s knowing the score at all times. It’s making split second decisions about passing vs. shooting. It’s knowing that with the shot clock turned off, holding the ball instead of shooting the ball is always the right decision. In the off-season, I was one of many that believed that this team got better from a player perspective. After all, the only real subtractions were Jason Kidd and Steve Novak while Glen Grunwald added Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace and Tim Hardaway Jr.

The intangible is the unmeasured basketball I.Q., a stat in which this team has dropped off this year. Kidd could be the main reason for this. Last year in that situation, you’d like to believe that Mike Woodson told the team to check the clock if they secure the rebound. Now we might be finding out the truth. Maybe, just maybe, it was Jason Kidd telling the team those things in key spots. Maybe Woodson relied too much on Kidd’s leadership and now, spends more time chewing out the young guys in timeouts and not enough time actually talking basketball.

Basketball I.Q. isn’t only apparent in late game situations. There’s a general level of intelligence needed in a basketball game and without Kidd, we’ve seen it suffer in other areas this year. Early in the season, there were games in which Smith was taking wild shots over and over, from well beyond the 3-point arc. Now, if you’re the point guard, responsible for moving the ball to the right guy, aren’t you going to make sure Smith doesn’t get the ball in those situations? It’s the little things. You can’t imagine Smith being so wild with his shots if Kidd is handling the distributing. Rest assure after a few misses, Kidd would look elsewhere. The Knicks point guards kept feeding him and Smith repaid them in kind.

We’ll never know if Smith would have hoisted up that shot if he had Kidd on the court. We’ll never know if Bargnani would or wouldn’t have done the same. What I know is that after 32 games, the ’13-’14 Knicks have a very low basketball I.Q. and it cost them last night.

114 comments
dagawd
dagawd

Woody has low i.q dolan has no I.Q and most the players don't know what i.q is

jax13
jax13

Big thing is we controlled the game at that point, we hold for final shot n win or simply go to ot.

Also I would rather take my chances with melo or shump taking a last second shot. Jr was like 1-7 at that point?

Beno did pass up a three but lets not forget, his shot was halfway down......jr took a shot n missed big n did not even try to follow shot

Cris MaddGenius Eastmond
Cris MaddGenius Eastmond

The play wasn't conventionally smart, and yes some time off the clock would be nice. But why does JR have to get a better look? There wasn't a Rocket within 5 feet of him. If that shot falls, he's a hero and no one is thinking about the clock. This wasn't comparable to Bargani where the game would have ended if he simply stood still. When Melo has the ball in isolation at the end of games, critics want him to get his teammates an open look. JR was wide open. Bash him for his terrible shooting percentage in the game, bash him for not driving nearly enough all season. But it was the best look they were going to get. And at least he shot his open 3, unlike Beno who passed up an open shot off a Melo pass to take a contested floater.

jax13
jax13

1. I want melo to stay

2. If he wants out, get something for him

3. Jr needs to earn his minutes n not be given star treatment for his minutes.

4. Murry, th jr need more minutes

5. They play with the effort they have shown since 2014 began, we can get a decent playoff seeding n get hot.

6. Pacers n heat are both pretty healthy, injuries will hit these teams in some way, keep playing hard n also, we play better against better teams.

.....I can see us getting like 6 games over 500 n making a nice playoff run, our roster is not as bad as we have played.....I am hoping a nice run is coming.....

We should have a few more wins but the east is so bad that we just have to keep plugging away n just make it to playoffs......

kefhrny17
kefhrny17

Real talk, JR is just not very smart in life...

ds2488
ds2488

For the Blake/Melo trade being discussed, I think 2 obvious things need to be know.  First, we have to know Melo is leaving.  And Second we have to guarantee that outside of Blake, there are some more future assets coming our way.  This is the trade that makes a lot of sense and always has.  


We know CP3 wants to play with Melo and vice versa.  We've heard a lot of rumors that Blake and CP3 don't get along that well.  LAC has a crazy owner that will make this trade.


But again I think the key thing is going to be future assets.  I'd rather get a bunch of draft picks than just Blake alone.  That's my own opinion.  Blake is not good enough to build a team around.  I like that he's still very young, but he gets by mostly on athleticism.  With already one major injury to his name, I'd worry about Stat potential once he reaches 30, 30+ to just regress a lot and get hurt all the time. 


But in any case, he's a very talented young player but he's not as good as Melo imo.  People will be disappointed if they expect him to come in and be "the guy".  So it's gonna be key if they do end up making the trade that they get enough future assets.  They should probably look to unload one of JR/Felton on the Clips as well.  Those extra years on their contracts not looking good right now if the Knicks want to rebuild.  


I'd look into something like Melo/Tyson/Felton or JR to get back a package with Blake, some filler contracts that expire a year earlier than Jr and Felton, and 2 1st rounders in the future along with a couple 2nd rounders.  

fasheezee
fasheezee

Woodson is abusive and dumb. Knight used abusive coaching tactics but atleast he was top of his class--bball IQ through the roof and he made sure his kids were on the ball academically. No excuse for his disrespectful disposition with his players but W is trying Knights act with absolutely NOTHING behind it!

knicks1996
knicks1996

trade melo for draft picks trade chandler for pics and let the other contracts come off the books, knowing the knicks they will trade for more trash with big contracts, start  Tim Hardaway, and lets see what the kid has we have noting more to lose

ds2488
ds2488

I will continue to ask:  For those that still defend this "coach", at what point do all the blunders, the "low bball iq", the lack of plays, the lack of discipline, the lack of leadership, at what freaking point do we start realizing that poor coaching is a major major part of it?


Why is JR saying he thought we were down 2?  Our "coach" didn't think to make sure everybody was aware of the situation?  After what happened in Milwaukee with Bargs?  After what happened in NY with Bradley Beal and the timeout situation?


It's unbelievable to me how poorly this team is "coached".  And people still defend him.  It's crazy. 

knicks1996
knicks1996

jr smith needs to be benched or bought out he is a cancer to this team

Mr.Boots
Mr.Boots

"Bone-headed play." Exactly, "Bone-heads" is what pot-smokers were called years ago for smoking "bones."

Chris
Chris

@Cris MaddGenius Eastmond Maybe the low IQ play originates on the bench? Why have a 1 for 7 3 point shooter in the game? Why not use a TO ti specify who and when you want the shot taken. The team shows no evidence of coaching , there is the problem, forget the team on the court. Who in their right mind plays Bargs Beno and Amarie together in the second half, We had our worst 3 defenders on the court at the same time for extended minutes. That is beyond dumb. 

Chris
Chris

@Cris MaddGenius Eastmond He was I think O for from 3, shouldn`t have been on the court. You wanted Shump to take that shot off a picks and roll by Murry Chandler with Melo at the foul line. That should have come off the bench

buddhabing
buddhabing

@Cris MaddGenius Eastmond But even if he hits the 3 you're giving Houston more than enough time to tie the game. There is no excusing what he did. Hold the ball and the worst that can happen is overtime. I think he's not being truthful by saying he thought they were down by 2. It makes him look absent minded by saying that, If he admits to knowing the score and still shooting it makes him look dumber believe it or not.

kenmetskni
kenmetskni

The Bargnani play was worse. Your right that it was a wide open look, so the "better shot" comment doesn't work for me. It was just a dumb play because of the time situation. The shot should have been taken with about 3 seconds left, not 20. Udrich really should have taken the open 3 at the end. Melo made the right pass and Beano should have taken the shot then.

tommy2b
tommy2b

You're right Bargnani's was worse but it's still a dumb shot.  You need to make sure you take the last shot.  Even if you make it, it gives the other team a chance to tie or win if there's time on the clock.

Chris
Chris

@jax13 JR is killing this team, which in turn means that DAW is killing this team for playing him. Murry plays 20 to 25 per game, Hardaway same. Shump 25 min per game, play Tyler and Cole, do not let Bargs and Amarie on the floor together and pleaz find a real coach

CL4nyk
CL4nyk

@ds2488If Melo is being shopped, teams other than the Clippers need to be named. If LAC is the preferred destination, Sterling needs to be afraid of him going elsewhere.

buddhabing
buddhabing

@ds2488 Clippers don't have PF on their roster to replace Griffin and Knicks don't have SF to replace Melo on theirs so i don't know how much a trade like this would strengthen either team.

buddhabing
buddhabing

@Kojo Brown Don't think Woodsons' behavior towards his players affect them all that much because they don't fear him. They know he's way more bark than bite. Players know regardless of any transgressions they commit they will still get playing time. Woodson is a paper tiger.

Juan Maldonado
Juan Maldonado

I think Raymond and Pablo are 2nd stringers and Beno is a 3rd stringer.

knicks1996
knicks1996

@kneggyknik i hope melo walks and knicks get noting then they can lose 50 games next year and draft a pg

buddhabing
buddhabing

@knicks1996 You need to get more than draft picks if you trade Melo. You need at least an all star caliber established player in return. Draft picks; especially the way this team drafts, are too risky. Griffin and future #1 or two #2s would be ideal.

buddhabing
buddhabing

@kneggyknik Knicks are a soft, 3point shooting team that other than Melo is afraid of contact. Not in their DNA to attack the basket regardless of game situation.

1harris1
1harris1

@ds2488 I agree with you that Woodson has done a poor job.  But JR has to know the score in that situation  That's on the player.

knicks1996
knicks1996

@ds2488fire the coach he keeps doing this over and over like larry Brown did play Tim Hardaway we have noting to lose we know what jr is trash send him to the D League for

fasheezee
fasheezee

@Kiyan Carter  According to Kiplinger's, the finance magazine in 2012 in order to be considered a millionaire you had to be worth atleast $10mil. You think Woodson is worth 10mil? I do not.

wingo43
wingo43

@tommy2b Even if the last shot is a highly contested shot?  How many times this season have we seen Melo take the last shot with time running out only to see him clank it or get it blocked by a 6'4" guard?

buddhabing
buddhabing

@Chris @jax13 If only they could trade Barniani for Humphries. Knicks need a rugged big man who can throw his weight around and be aggressive. Barniani and Amare are just too lacking defensively to have on the same roster.

1harris1
1harris1

@CL4nyk@ds2488 Except that Sterling could call that bluff, seeing that other teams presumably aren't going to give that much up for a player who won't commit to signing with it long term.  I guess the Knicks would try to bring the Lakers into the equation in such a scenario,  That's the one team that would probably resonate with Sterling.

1harris1
1harris1

@BiggieSmalls So if Anthony makes it clear that he's intent on leaving, would you rather watch him leave for nothing, or make that trade?  I say make that trade.  Griffin is still a very good player (and young), and if nothing else, a good trade asset given he is under team control  for another 3 years beyond this season.


I still believe that  the smart money is on Melo staying, given the extra 30 million dollars that the Knicks can pay him above anybody else.  But obviously if the guy makes it clear that he wants out, all bets are off. 



fasheezee
fasheezee

@buddhabing @Kojo Brown Regardless of that probable fact (except in Shump's case, his stuff bothers him and rightly so) public embarrassment in front of 10s of thousands of people--millions it is still degrading.

Juan Maldonado
Juan Maldonado

Idk about Murray yet though, i think right now hes a 3rd stringer with a potential to be a 2nd maybe. Idk what do you guys think?

rkj473
rkj473

@buddhabing @kneggyknik I wouldn't say the Knicks are a 3-point shooting team, as much as they are a JUMP SHOOTING team. They have taken considerably less 3-point attempts because they don't have players who hit the 3 consistently this season as opposed to last season.

CL4nyk
CL4nyk

@BiggieSmalls@ds2488 "so an NBA coach is required to remind 10 year veterans what the score is?'

Um, out of a timeout? Hell yes. 100% on the coach to make sure the players know the situation.

knicks1996
knicks1996

@1harris1@ds2488JR is not smart that elbow in the playoffs cost him 10 to 15mil you think he is smart enough to keep track of the score

tommy2b
tommy2b

@wingo43 then it's a lack of trust in your teammates and coaching staff to run a play that will get your team a decent look.

1harris1
1harris1

@BiggieSmalls@1harris1 I don't think Dolan or management would have the guts to just let Melo go somewhere else for significantly less money,  That's presumably why all of this "internal conversation" started.


But it is true that he would never go to the Clippers for the money they'd be able to offer him as a free agent.  And I want to see him take 30 million dollars less to join a Laker team that isn't any good, coached by you know who.


That's why the smart money is still on him staying.  The Knicks can offer him significantly more money than anyone else.  He's playing in the city where he wanted to be; one that also works perfectly for his brand and the wife,  And in another year, the team should be able to land another top marquee player with the cap space they'll have.


I was just speaking from the hypothetical scenario of Carmelo making it clear that he wants out, and Dolan/ management believing there was a strong possibility that he would leave.  Then, I don't think Blake Griffin would be a bad return (it's not like we would have a whole lot of options, given his pending free agency status).  But I don't believe that things are ultimately going to play out that way,


1harris1
1harris1

@Chris@1harris1 Yeah, I agree.  I don't think he's leaving either,  I was just speaking in hypotheticals. 

Chris
Chris

@1harris1 Then we burn down the efing Garden with Dolan tied to one of the baskets

Chris
Chris

@1harris1 No he was real clear with Denver, they wanted to extend his contract and he upfront told them he wanted out and he wanted NYK. If the CBA was not up he would have waited, that is why he said trade. The guy is upfront and honest. I don`t think he is leaving, Jimmy B says no, and he knows Melo pretty well. Melo has increased his brand and expanded his profitability immensely in NYC. That is life after hoops. He is also an A lister socially in this city which pleases his wife and his agent. He wants better players, he wants to grow a Heat like team in NYC. He will push for Rondo, they played HS together at Oak Hill, they will bring in another scorer (maybe Shump if DAW gets off his case ) and some good role players. He is actually well liked by league players, sans some of the jealous idiots on this site and can get players if Dolan gives him power, and lasly he needs a competent coach

1harris1
1harris1

@Chris@1harris1 That's fair.  But I'm not sure Carmelo would ever come out publicly and say he wanted to be traded.  He didn't really do that even when he was in Denver during that last season (although it's obviously true that Denver's management knew that he wanted out, so the situation appears different here).


I'm good with him trying to light a fire under the big wigs at MSG.  But suppose they know they can't do something by the trading deadline.  What then?

Chris
Chris

@1harris1 Read this clearly. If Melo wanted to leave, he would have said I want a trade, and I want it to. He hasn`t said that. What he is saying to the Knick Front menagerie is get your butts moving , you said you can put a team around me,get it

Chris
Chris

@Juan Maldonado Hard to tell playing for DAW, he could be a starter. Note WOOD was in his grill both times he took him out. That does not help Murry. Just tells me what a fool DAW is