Bulls Veteran Believes Tour’e Murry Could Be The Answer

Moke Hamilton, NBA Analyst

Intense defense, accurate shooting and high-energy… those were the ever-present hallmarks in the first half of Wednesday night’s 83-78 victory over the Chicago Bulls. But as the game wore on, the ball movement ceased, the offense sputtered and the Knicks saw the Chicago Bulls erase a 23-point deficit before Amar’e Stoudemire saved the day with just over two minutes remaining in a tied-game.

hi-res-7776548_crop_650x440

It’s time to give Tour’e Murry a shot

With Raymond Felton nursing a hamstring injury and Iman Shumpert exiting the game with what the Knicks are calling a “bruised knee,” Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih may be counted on to play heavy minutes.

That may not be a good thing.

All too often and particularly down the stretch of tight games, the Knicks offense sputters to a screeching halt. Ball movement and player movement slows significantly and Carmelo Anthony gets much of the blame. But down the stretch against the Bulls, as Tom Thibodeau’s team zealously erased a seemingly insurmountable lead, Prigioni—certainly exhausted en route to playing 21 of the game’s 24 second-half minutes—had noticeable trouble getting the ball across the half-line against the Bulls’ younger defenders.

As a result, many of the Knicks’ final possessions resulted in Prigioni not getting rid of the ball until there were sometimes as little as seven seconds remaining on the shot clock. When a play-initiating pass occurs after 14-16 seconds have elapsed off of the shot clock, a play is likely to fail, especially if Anthony is being guarded by plus-defenders.

He often gets criticized for not passing enough, and sometimes, he does play selfishly. But down the stretch against the Bulls, Anthony did not make many passes because he simply did not have time.

In point guard fashion, with that problem, Tour’e Murry can assist.

It is no coincidence that Anthony shot just 1-for-7 in the game’s final quarter. And you know what else? It absolutely was not his fault. As solid as Prigioni is for the Knicks, he will continue to struggle against opposing point guards who are plus-defenders and are quick enough and disciplined enough to keep him in front. If pressed the length of the floor, the Knicks offense will struggle and that is something that any NBA coach will recognize and exploit.

The proceeding question becomes simple: Why hasn’t Murry been given a reasonable shot?

At 6-15, what is there to lose?

As the only spry point guard on the roster—one who has an ability to break down defenders and horizontally penetrate the paint—he has two skills that have been quite lacking in the Knicks’ offensive repertoire.

The following question becomes as simple: Does Murry have what it takes to be a meaningful member of coach Mike Woodson’s rotation?

The answer to that one depends on who you ask, but Mike James of the Chicago Bulls—an NBA champion and veteran point guard who has seen his fair share of successes—believes that Murry not only deserves a shot, but may be what the Knicks have been missing.

And James should know, since Murry is, as James called him, his protege.

Before the Bulls took on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, James told SNY.tv that one of the answers to turning the season around is sitting right on the bench. He is 6’5″ and weighs in at a solid 195.

He wears number 23 but has struggled to find consistent minutes, even as the 6-15 Knicks have begun the season with disastrous results

“How do you know what you have if you don’t use it?” James asked rhetorically before Wednesday night’s tip-off.

“Tour’e is a young talent and he’s probably going to be a really good player in this league someday. If New York was to give him the opportunity, I believe that he would earn more minutes but it’s hard to earn more minutes when you don’t really get a chance,” James said.

“With how the game has changed, with speed and quickness and being an uptempo game, he should be a rotation guard,” James said. “He can play as well as any point guard in the NBA and he can probably defend any point as good in the NBA.”

Mike James knows a thing or two about being a point guard

Mike James knows a thing or two about being a point guard

James, a 13-year NBA veteran, knows a thing or two about what it takes to not only make it into the NBA, but to excel.

Ever the hard worker, James epitomizes the hard-working spirit that New York basketball is all about, and it is fitting considering his local roots. Hailing from Amityville, New York, James, along with Danny Green of the San Antonio Spurs, is one of the New York area’s more successful contemporary basketball talents.

Even at 38 years old, James is in the best shape of his career and can easily provide an interested NBA team with rotation minutes at this very moment. Last season, as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, James proved that he still had the drive, work ethic and talent to excel in today’s NBA and since speaking with him last season, he has only gotten more focused.

Recovering from a minor knee tweak, James has not played since Dec. 2, but is working his way back into Thibodeau’s rotation.

Since his NBA career began back in 2001, James has made 13 different stops, but players like him can play for as long as they want. Why? Because they know the game and they know what it takes to make it in this league. So if James sees something in Murry, that may mean something.

Back in 2005, James was traded to the Houston Rockets and fell in love with the city. He makes his home there and eventually met an impressive prospect named Tour’e some years ago.

“He’s from Houston and I really took an interest and a liking to him,” James told SNY.tv. “I just really saw something in the future for him and just really wanted to help him, so I just made sure that I tried to mentally prepare him for this season, and also physically. In the process, I beat on him everyday,” he said with a laugh.

“I really think he has a bright future ahead of him but I think that he would really be a great energy for New York right now,” he said. “Not just in garbage minutes, but when it counts. Things aren’t working for the Knicks right now, so maybe if there’s a change, you never know what could happen. You never know, maybe that change can come from him.”

James, a member of the 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons, knows a thing or two about impressive point guards. Though his best days are behind him, James became a household name across the NBA during the 2005-06 season when he averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 3.3 rebounds for the rebuilding Toronto Raptors.

Since then, his career has made multiple stops, but he is known across front offices as the quintessential professional and solid guard. He has seen his fair share of opposing guards over the years and sees distinct similarities between Murry and one in particular.

“He reminds me a little of George Hill,” James said. “He’s composed, he has athleticism, but he can also defend. I think that’s one of his great attributes, his length, especially at the point guard position, being 6’5″ and being so athletic. He can play off the ball, also. I think, of course, there’s always growing pains and point guard is the hardest position in the game, but the more reps. he gets, the more time he gets, the more comfortable he’ll get with the ball in his hands.”

With Raymond Felton injuring his hamstring in the Knicks’ Dec. 10 loss at the Cleveland Cavaliers, the point guard position—one which has been marred by inconsistency thus far this season—will be a big question, especially if Felton’s absence is extended.

It is a question, but according to James, the Knicks may have the answer sitting right on the bench.


Moke Hamilton is the NBA Analyst for SNY.tv and, along with Lead Writer Harris Decker, hosts the Knicks Blog Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @MokeHamilton




48 comments
diggs
diggs

I'd love for us to find another diamond in the rough, but considering he hasn't yet found playing time with all of our guards struggling, probably says somethnig about his ability to handle NBA action.

DourSiesel
DourSiesel

should've picked up bobby brown over the summer as well :/

buddhabing
buddhabing

From the little that i've seen of him Murry does not really play like a pg. His defense seems solid but his ball handling and decision making haven't really impressed me. He plays like Shumpert.

brookdon
brookdon

I want Toure to have a chance and all but we can't forget that he was an UFA.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

Free Torre Murry! He can't get burned on D any worse than Felton, Udrih, and Pablo.

ponzies86
ponzies86

Beno looks like a Stiff out there, I much rather see Murray! younger faster player who can drive in and create his own shot! 

ds2488
ds2488

As many of us have said, this is very reminiscent of the Dantoni/Bibby/Toney Douglas/Lin debacle.  In that situation, it was obvious to everyone but the coach that Lin could help.  It's the same here, as Mike Woodsontoni has no idea what he's doing.  


The fact that Toure has not gotten a shot yet, between Felton turning into Mike Bibby 2.0, Jr Smith playing more like his brother every day, and Pablo/Beno being too old for this crap, it's ridiculous and insane that Toure has not been given a chance.  


I guess it's too hopeful to hope that this coach would understand an adjustment past "Put Ray Felton back in.  Put JR Smith back in."


And I don't blame Pablo being old for barely being able to get the ball up court last night.  I blame this team again looking like it has no idea what it's doing.  No help, nobody setting a pick to help Pablo, nobody moving on offense, Melo bail out isos...It's the same thing over and over with this coach.  

JerseyFan1
JerseyFan1

Woody need to start continuously play Murry, give him about 5-6 min a game so he can develop a rhythm. Prigs is AGING(good defensive instincts only). Be no may be out of shape a little, I prefer him & Murry to play.

ReneNYK1
ReneNYK1

I wanted Murry to make the team because I saw his talent but he has played in garbage time and he is raw and a TO machine at this stage in his development.

frankieboy
frankieboy

If this kid is good as all say , then Woodson will be exposed ONCE he is fired. 


Right now he will continue to play his boys. 


What a joke. 

Mr.Boots
Mr.Boots

Yes, I think that he should get some meaningful minutes, even if it is the last 2,3,4 minutes of quarters when the Knicks are up. If he can hold the lead, he should deserve more minutes. The problem that I see with this is that under the best of circumstances Woodson doesn't like to play rookies or even young players as he claimed young players caused his downfall in Atlanta (Note: no taking any of the responsibility for his role there).  Now that, no matter what he says publicly, he is in fear of losing his job, I see him as even more reluctant to trust his future to a rookie PG.


On the matter of PGs and Woodson's desire to play only experienced players, it boggled my mind last night that his "experienced" players had so little clue about beating the press. I have to wonder about basketball IQ of these guys, and I'm not talking about just the PGs, when beating the press is something practiced from JHS ball on up, and they still were flustered and didn't seem to know what to do. Obviously, scouts saw that the Knicks get rattled when pressed, so the Knicks can expect to see the press more often.

fasheezee
fasheezee

Murry is an exciting player with so to offer on the court. Woodson is afraid to play him because if he is successful he will be pressured to limit his favorites minutes. He is such a brown nose company man I can smell it from here.

PeteyWheatstraw
PeteyWheatstraw

Sometimes in a season you need to have vision on where the team can be in February, March & April. 


We constantly get torched by opposing PG's and the current crop of NYK PG's are not racking up points or assist. So why not play an athletic 6'5" PG to try and stop PG's like Kyrie from breaking down the defense and causing havoc. Just deal with the mistakes now and let the kid learn like THJ.


Play Tour'e now and he may give you big dividends later.


Woody has no vision. 

chuco
chuco

Even a bulls player have been saying what we have play toure murry that's why woody needs to be fired old priggie good to an extent

chrisb
chrisb

I know the majority of the posters on this site have been saying this since the beginning of the season. That is one of the reasons I have been calling for a new coach. This guy has no creativity at all. He does everything in the expected way. He is a slave to his antiquated thinking process. My thought is if he plays younger players, he might actually have to teach, and I don`t think he even knows where to begin in teaching the game

Brian Somsook
Brian Somsook

Tell WOODSON TO PUT TOUR'E Murray in as back-up point. PLAY HIM OVER BENO NEXT GAME. He's way more agile than Beno, and plays at a much faster tempo than Beno. He is exactly what the Knicks need off the bench. HOW CAN WOODSON NOT SEE THIS?!? If he doesn't see this, he should get fired.

tifoso6
tifoso6

I have been in total agreement with this article for the entire season.  I would send it to Melo via facebook

or twitter if I knew how.  At my age I am not  computer literate.  How about it will someone send this to

Melo and Dolan.  I would not waste my breath on Woodson who is feeble minded.

NYKnickerBocker
NYKnickerBocker

Last night was a perfect night to put in Murry. Not down the stretch, but to get some rest time to our guards during the game.

Here was a game where the Knicks had a big lead and you had Pablo, Beno, Shump and JR that could have all at some time been subbed with Murry. Pablo and Bemo were gassed and Shump not giving you anything plus injured and JR was a knucklehead. Good game to throw Murry in and missed it.

The L Train
The L Train

Melo needs to tell woodson to play murray like he told 'Antoni to play Lin. but he wont do that because he didn't like the attention Lin got the last time he did such a thing -__-

Extechguy
Extechguy

Imagine if he could be this years Jeremy Lin!

Tikki
Tikki

I like the George HIll comparison. Toure might not be a natural playmaker, but he looks like he has the ability to hit some shots and defend - and this team needs both on the perimeter.  A combo-guard that can defend either position.


But if Toure can't get run with Felton hurt and Beno (generally) playing so poorly, I don't know how much floor time we can expect him to see this year.  And the backlog at SG isn't going to open up any minutes for him either.  All he can do is stay ready.

dogmanx23
dogmanx23

Woodson doesn't like playing young talent. He plays Shumpert and THjr but gives them about hard time about everything. 


Murray and Cole won't play. Ill bet even if Prig or Beno go down, he'll have Melo or JR run the point. 


Beno has been garbage this season. Give the kid a chance. 

Max Denby
Max Denby

Very interesting.  I think we know why he has not been giving a shot.  Our coach just is not that bright

Brian Webster
Brian Webster

@diggs   How long did it take Lin and Copeland to get playing time and it still worked out pretty well with both of them

chrisb
chrisb

@BiggieSmalls That is ahole Woody`s depth chart, he has the  IQ of a dumb squirrel. and wouldn`t know talent if it fell on him. He should be playing backup to Pablo, Ray is right back to his Portland form, came in out of shape and gets injuries, Beno came in out of shape, and they are playing. You have to be blind not to see that

ds2488
ds2488

@BiggieSmalls 20 games in a vacuum is not unreasonable.  But 20 games with Ray F'n Felton?  Much more unreasonable.



CL4nyk
CL4nyk

+100

Wanna see what this kid has, but if people are expecting Jeremy Lin redux, they're going to be disappointed. Ease him in to it. A few of meaningful minutes in the 2nd quarter, see if he has some chemistry with Amar'e and/or Melo and go from there.

ponzies86
ponzies86

@moneyball Melo pass to K-Mart was awesome! too bad K-Mart miss the easy slam

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

Woody doesn't seem to believe in running, attacking a defense before it sets up, scoring in transition, and playing at a quick pace. So he doesn't need a quick. fast, PG. The Knicks run very little, it's more walking and jogging upcourt. I've never seen Woody yelling, "Go, go, go!" and flapping his arms like a windmill. He is very deliberate and would rather not risk a turnover in the open court. Many times our offense is like watching paint dry.

MeloStat301
MeloStat301

@OLD_KNICK Either fast PG or smart Pg, or combo of both.  Rondo is not the fastest guy, but has a very high IQ that makes him one of the top PG in the league.

JerseyFan1
JerseyFan1

You have a point there. Prigs only good w/ PnR's; he always stay outside the 3 Pt line(TDoug syndrome), only go to hoop if it's WIDE open. Woody can't control these guys to prevent ISO.

chrisb
chrisb

@ReneNYK1 We have lost 15 games. who efing cares if this kid TOs. He can defend and he can run, puts him ahead of Beno and Ray

DourSiesel
DourSiesel

how can he develop when he's constantly sitting?

frankieboy
frankieboy

@MeloStat301


Really ? 2 games when we are on the brink of losing our coach , having the worst record , our big men are injured and all of a sudden ...he's back? 

fasheezee
fasheezee

@PeteyWheatstraw You are exactly right! He is a dullard of a coach. He reminds of the uncle who comes over on the holidays and knows nothing about nothing but talks loud and talks shizz all night.

NYKnickerBocker
NYKnickerBocker

@chrisb 

What boggles my mind is that last night with a big lead was a perfect game to give an aging Pablo and an out of shape Beno some rest.  They were spent and couldn't even beat the press.  Add to that Shump wasn't giving you anything and got hurt.  

Perfect opportunity to put Murry in a real game situation and blew it.

The L Train
The L Train

@Extechguy he isn't asian enough to be an international story. but i see where you're coming from..

MeloStat301
MeloStat301

@Knicks_Fanatic "Go! Go! Go!"??  I don't think youre being very honest with your assessment.  He isn't Mike d'antoni and all he says is "go!" but if you watch the games (which I;m sure you do because your a fanatic) he is constantly yelling "push!! push! push!".  Its usually off an offensive board that shump or smith would grab, and even felton, you can see and hear woody yelling "push!".  So much so, Breen even comments on that along with frazier, so he might not say "Go! Go! Go!"...but "push! Push!" while moving his hand does the same thing.  I agree though, we might not have the personnel to run and gun, but the ball does get pushed up, but felton and prigs aren't quick enough to go down and run at that pace, its why shump or smith do it when woodson yells it out.

chrisb
chrisb

@BiggieSmalls A lot. Just not here. This idiot is locked in a 60s mentality when there were 8 teams

DourSiesel
DourSiesel

by now he should at least get some burn over udrih. Pablo is 36 and hes gonna need a break soon or he'll get worn out, and with felton hurt i cant see why he hasnt been given even 10 minutes in a game yet.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@MeloStat301


Ray Felton ran the floor when D'Antoni coached and we had one of the fastest offenses in the league. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. Woody's Atlanta teams were also towards the bottom of the league in pace. He was known for ISO play and slow pace before he got here and that's what we got.

MeloStat301
MeloStat301

@Knicks_Fanatic that's natural, because we are slow at the PG position, but to say the coach doesn't ask the team to push the ball?  When you can hear him clearly yelling it from the sidelines, that's dishonest, not that you are, or maybe u never noticed him yelling it?  But like I said if u watch the games, he clearly asks them to do it...its more a personnel issue rather than the coach not asking them to push the ball.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@MeloStat301

We play at the slowest pace in the NBA, 30 out of 30, and you call me dishonest. Everyone else plays at a faster tempo.

DourSiesel
DourSiesel

@BiggieSmalls hes gonna practice with a team thats 5-16?? yea that should develop him a lot -__-


we learn from mistakes, so in that case he would learn MORE when mistakes are the most crucial. In a game!