Hamilton: After Raptors Loss, Knicks Have Run Out of Answers

Moke Hamilton, NBA Analyst

He stood, still somewhat talented, but not as tall as usual. Amar’e Stoudemire stared blankly for a moment after being asked a simple question whose answer should have been easy enough to find.

Brad Penner - USA Today Sports

Brad Penner – USA Today Sports

What do the Knicks have to do to dig themselves out of the deep 9-20 hole that they have found themselves in?

“That’s a great question,” Stoudemire said with a sigh.

And after discussing some of the things that he thought went well for the Knicks during Friday night’s 95-83 loss to the Toronto Raptors, it was obvious: Stoudemire does not have the answer.

Neither does Mike Woodson, J.R. Smith or Carmelo Anthony.

In fact, things have become quite repetitive for the Knicks and the losing has become routine. Woodson discussing the team’s injury woes and Smith saying that the Knicks need to make shots has become as redundant as unguarded opponents prancing into the Garden’s orange paint and getting unobstructed lay ups.

Wanna know what else has become repetitive? Loud boos raining down from the rafters of the World’s Most Famous Arena.

Under normal circumstances, an NBA team would swallow its pride and do something—anything—to change its fortunes. But alas, the Knicks are not exactly a model of conventional thinking.

According to an ESPN.com report, James Dolan went out of his way to assure his team that no changes were forthcoming. The idea, according to the report, was to galvanize the troops and rally them behind their head coach.

But, at this point, a declaration that no changes are coming sounds more like complacent resignation than a vote of confidence.

Resignation: that was the theme in the team’s locker room on Friday night after the Knicks dropped to a miserable 4-12 at Madison Square Garden.

Still searching, still wondering, still blundering.

As the losses have piled up, so have the questions about what the Knicks may or may not do with everyone from Woodson to Iman Shumpert and Tyson Chandler. The constant speculation and a nightmare of a season has taken a visible toll on everyone from Andrea Bargnani to Stoudemire.

At some point, the question of whether or not this team has quit must be asked when listless efforts become the norm and when players stop having insightful answers to the simplest of questions.

It is beginning to look and feel about as if it’s about that time.

At this point, most NBA teams would make the somewhat obvious, even if not necessarily correct move—they fire their head coach.

Or, if the head coach has the support of his front office, then one or two roster altering moves are made.

But standing idly by, like this? Even when the team’s star player is set to enter unrestricted free agency and—by the looks of it—has little incentive to stay? It is now that the Knicks opt to stand pat?

At the very least, that is odd. At most, it is stubborn and shortsighted. But alas, those three adjectives have come to describe this franchise quite well.

The Knicks desperately need something, it is just sad that nobody seems to know what it is.

On Friday night, despite leading by as many as 12 points and beginning the fourth quarter ahead by five, the Raptors trio of DeMar DeRozan, John Salmons and Jonas Valanciunas combined to score 23 of the team’s 29 fourth quarter points and stole a win from beneath the Knicks’ noses.

Valanciunas’ career-high 18 rebounds came with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting while Kyle Lowry—a player the Raptors are openly shopping and have discussed trading to the Knicks—contributed a 15-point, 11-assist double-double.

At the end of the night, the Knicks stood around, responding to questions but providing no real answers. And with Anthony nursing his ankle and not making the trip to Toronto to battle the Raptors in the second of the home-and-home series, there is no immediately available solution.

One thing is for sure, though, something needs to change.

It is sad that nobody seems to know what does, but it is even sadder that the Knicks’ brass is apparently oblivious to that readily apparent fact.


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




61 comments
miracle33d
miracle33d

In all the past years that the Knicks have either competed for a championship or won one, their defense and rebounding  was capable of shutting down the other team and holding them to one shot for a 5-10 minute period during a crucial part of the game.  Sadly, the tables have now turned and it's the other teams, like Toronto did last night in the 4th quarter, that are now doing this to the Knicks.

tifoso6
tifoso6

Since MSG is making tons of money it is hard to believe that Dolan cares about anything but money. 

Welpee
Welpee

Crazy espn trade machine proposal, feel free to tear it apart (* = needed to make numbers work):


http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=mtwhoss


Knicks get:

Blake Griffin

Harrison Barnes

*Jermaine O'Neal

Darren Collison

* Willie Green


Golden State gets:

Tyson Chandler

Jamal Crawford

Matt Barnes

* Shelvin Mack


Atlanta gets:

David Lee

Reggie Bullock

* Antawn Jamison


Clippers gets:

Carmelo Anthony

Paul Milsap

Beno Udrih

rico
rico

I would trade shump and change for lowry in a heartbeat…wouldn't include a 1st rounder..no way..


Knicks need a PG, a Big and a clue



jax13
jax13

So frustrated by this team.....lowest iq of any ny team ever.

Watching lowry last nite, if we had a pg that was a threat n not a deficiency......it would instantly make us a threat.

U could trade for lowry n sign him for a few years then begin the unlikely dream of rondo when he is a free agent in 2014-15.......

The only thing is, is melo staying or leaving? I would not blame him for leaving but where is he going?

Gonna play for dantoni n an owner that chose dantoni over Phil jax n D12?

It may be the clips but in that case, they will need to trade us guys to make it work.

If he wants to remain the king of ny, he will stay.

The roster right now is not that bad except for the need for a solid starting nba pg......

Get a solid starter like lowry n that would be a good start..

fast_eddie
fast_eddie

Let's face it, it's over. Even if we somehow managed to win some games and "sneak in" the playoffs, a first round beat-down would be inevitable regardless of who we would play. Its time to start planning for the future - meaning new GM (a Danny Ainge-type), a new coach (someone young and hungry) and some new players who will form the nucleus of the future NY Knicks. I have seen enough of this group of fat cats, under achievers, old has beens and malcontents. Break it down and build it up. If you have the right guy in charge, we could have the right pieces in place in 2 or 3 years. I have waited 40 years for another NBA title, I guess I could wait a few more...

studmuffin
studmuffin

There are 30 teams in the NBA.  Lets take a look at where our starters would rank position by position.

PG Felton  Probably 20th-24th  He's always hurt and even at his best, he might be the 15th best PG in the league

SG JR Brick  Probably 20th-24th as well.  Last year he was in the top 10.  Big difference.  A good JR would probably be around 13th-15th best SG.

SF  Shump  Probably 30th.  He is awful.  Can't shoot.  Can't dribble.  Is completely lost.  Yes, his D is good, but you can't have an NBA player not able to score.

PF Melo  Probably 3rd-6th  We all know what he can/can't do.  He is still a solid player.

C Tyson  Probably 10th-12th right now.  But is being paid like a top 5 C.  He has regressed and isn't getting younger or better.

If you want to count Bargs as a starting PF, and not count Shump, Bargs would probably be ranked 14th-17th best PF.  Again-he's an average player at his position.

tommy2b
tommy2b

I really thought at halftime that Bargs was going to carry us to the win against his former team last night.  I should have known he was going to collapse in the 2nd half as usual.

Seth Nadler
Seth Nadler

If the Knicks are truly looking at 2015 then you need to start seeing what Chandler can get for you in terms of draft picks while he still has value. Clearly he's not part of the ridiculous plan this team has, and they have no reason to compete now. That's a trade that will show this team really has a plan..

grundy
grundy

Here is how it will end.


Knicks end up in the lottery, only to have pick go to Denver. Denver gets the #1 overall with knicks pick, and land the next franchise player. Knicks meanwhile are looking in at one of the best first rounds in recent memory with no pick.


To make it even worse, rumors will come out that the knicks have hired Isiah Thomas back as a consultant under the radar, Carmelo Anthony will opt out and go to Miami and the Knicks will Trade Shumpert, Hardaway Jr, and a 2024 1st round pick for young, budding superstar Andre Miller

KnickelusKnickleby
KnickelusKnickleby

What really made this game the worst was losing while we actually could've won more than once , Murry was a thought and didn't work as a Backup, Udrih was solid but looks like he isn't running the team but more so just playing pick-up. 

what made us lose last night was definitely the lack of rebounding and no type of offense which was a bunch of one on one play as usual. 

and NO PG

we lack a PG that can take us to the promise land. 

our Defense is very suspect. and it seems like either Woodson is focusing on Offense while the Defense is lacking


- I feel another assistant coach specialist should be hired to run the Offense so Woodson can focus on Defense.

it's like we have nice leads and cannot hold it for the life of us. 

S.O.S ( Save Our Season )

cj1786
cj1786

I don't agree with this post at all. I do not think standing pat right now is short sighted at all. I think the exact opposite. Making some desperate move, like trading shumpert, hardaway, or more picks would be short sighted. Of course the team needs something, but at some point you have to look at the team and say maybe it's not good enough. It's like an old car. How much money do you keep dumping into an old car too keep it running before you just have to give in and start saving for a new one? I think for once Dolan is making the smart, non short sighted move. I mean he could fire the coach, but that to me doesn't make much difference either way mid season.

dulcetpine
dulcetpine

THere are so many problems on this team that any change they make will have negligible effect.  Coaching is a problem but can that be fixed mid-season?  Players are a problem but they are under contracts and are undesirable as trade chips so really what can you do there without including yet another 1st round pick, aka mortgaging the future so we don't stink AS bad now.  We'll still stink and not make any noise in the EC so really, whats the point?

buddhabing
buddhabing

Just goes to show what an inspiring motivator King Dolan is. Gives the team a pep talk and gets this type of performance. What a joke of a franchise this is.

zebeto
zebeto

10-30 ........think about it .

Steven Porter
Steven Porter

So I stayed up until 4am to watch the Knicks blow it...again. I'm now up and on my way making a 500 mile trip to Cardiff to watch my football (soccer) team play this afternoon. Yup, I support Sunderland, who are struggling at the bottom of the league and last won a trophy in 1973.

Sound familiar?

Between the Knicks and Sunderland I must be some kind of sports curse...yet I still keep believing and making the trips. If you give up on your team during the bad times, you don't deserve the good times.

Brostoevsky
Brostoevsky

This team couldn't compete with 2/3 of the East with everyone healthy, so I don't see how waiting for the roster to heal will change anything. As I've said before, this season may be lost but our young players might not be, so at a minimum Woody has to go yesterday

jeandd323
jeandd323

Dudes, Dudettes


I decided to give up on this team.


I will not come to this blog until Woodson is fired and major upgrades are made to the point guard position


I will not watch an other Knicks game on TV either.


I will not go to any games in person either


The owner, the GM are insensitive to their fan base,


To give Woodson a vote of confidence in the middle of this mess is a slap in the face for me.


I decided to use my energy and passion for this team for other worthwhile endeavor.


Good bye everyone


God bless u all

Seth Nadler
Seth Nadler

Pretty bad when the organization you root for is ok and accepting losing while the fans seam to be the only ones who care

solar_lion
solar_lion

@jimmybxYep. Real analysis requires an assesment of factors, possible solutions (derived from examples from without or within in the context of similarities/descrepancies), and a proposition based on the phenomena assessed. The proposition maybe hypothetical in nature or can be emphasized. With Basketball, there is no exact science or roster turnover and team rebuilding but there are good alternative models out there. Though many seem to arise out of the circumstances and dynamics confronted by mid/small market teams. Still they are good examples. That the Lakers and Celtics and Heat (mid market though they are) trumped and manipulated a system that did no disadvantage big markets is no longer as viable an option today. The mid market models seem viable. But a fundamental character and culture change are required at MSG.

JayfromtheFix
JayfromtheFix

@Welpee I would rather take Bullock instead of green and would like some first round picks. Clips and Hawks win that trade tho

miracle33d
miracle33d

@kneggyknikAren't you contradicting yourself here?  If the chemistry is not good, then by definition the construction is bad.

airfeet
airfeet

@fast_eddie it will take more than 2-3 years to put a winner on the court though

miracle33d
miracle33d

@fast_eddie Let's face it fast-eddie, the "we" you refer to has no say in the matter.  What you propose won't happen unless Dolan dies or has an epiphany.  Barring that you may be waiting another 40 years...

Jason C
Jason C

@studmuffin  

Agreed. 

Although i would say Carmelo is not a solid player he is well above solid hes a borderline franchise player.  

The Knicks have worst combined  back-court in the NBA Period. 

And a terrible bench. Bargs is an inconsistent shooter but he is consistently horrible on the defensive end and the rest of the intangibles are non exisitant same goes for Amare. 

Every point Amara scores he gives it 2 points in return, what is the Point ? he is no longer a positive even when he drops 15 points. 

Like Phil Jackson said this is a clumsy roster, makes no sense. 

The entire planet know Melo needs a quality PG so our answer is Felton , everyone knows Melo needs a bruiser so the knicks brass comes up with Bargs its rather comical. 




studmuffin
studmuffin

Our bench-Prigs/Stat/Metta/KMart/Beno  get them an AARP card.  They are old and done.  No athleticism whatsoever.

Tim Hardaway JR-  has potential.  Can really shoot the rock. Needs to work big time on his D, but he  is a keeper.

Murry-not the answer at PG.  WIll not be Lin 2.0

Bottom line-the team is awful.  And worse, it is boring to watch.  Wholesale changes need to be made.  Phil Jackson coaching couldn't help us.

If we somehow win enough games to make the playoffs, we will lose Round 1 in probably 5 games.

We really should consider unloading everyone besides Melo and TH JR and stockpile draft picks and get younger and more athletic.

Anyone else second these thoughts?  Where do you rank our starters?

rico
rico

@tommy2b You would have thought that Bargs would show up big vs the Raptors and put a dagger through their hearts but Bargs only did that for half the game…which is so typically Bargs

tommy2b
tommy2b

I completely disagree with this post - it will be a 2018 1st rounder in that trade!

manchu
manchu

@KnickelusKnickleby

Im glad ole "Backboard Beno" played better, but I agree we need a true point guard. Murry has minor flashes but needs a lot of work particularly on his ball handling skills (pause lol) he plays good defense but looks lost on the offensive end. Shump is just a complete mess right now, I don't know what the heck hes doing and the sad part is he doesn't know either.

solar_lion
solar_lion

@cj1786I agree wholeheartedly. Plus you never trade when the value of your products are at an all time low. You won't get much in return. Standing pat is terrible to watch. But if the players regain health and can make a push they enhance their trade value for a cap space clearing reload in 2015. If that is indeed the plan. I can wait. Just no more knee jerk trades where the team in desperation parts with first rounders and continues to sustain cap space hell. In 2015 that won't be a problem. That is if the franchise has patience.

rico
rico

@jeandd323 I can understand using your time more productively, but to NOT BE A FAN anymore..

I guess you never were. And thanks for telling us since we never knew you to begin with



VerySilentJay
VerySilentJay

@jeandd323 You won't be watching any Knick ball any time soon then.

Too bad you couldn't stick by the colors.

rgm891
rgm891

Yeah old knick it's so hard to watch this man. Killing us all inside

kenmetskni
kenmetskni

Come on Biggie! You can't really believe that. I know you don't want to hear this, but our Knicks are a broken team. It is time to rebuild.

George Gamble
George Gamble

@BiggieSmalls Seriously? For what?  Great, get healthy and get slaughtered in the first round.  This team has yet to really hit the brutal part of the schedule.   After January, they are going to be a lot further from first than they are now.  Melo's going to realize he's not winning it with this team as constructed which means he's waiting for 2016-18 (assume they rebuild in 2015 they need 2-3 years to gel) for that ring.  That puts him at 32-33 years of age.  I can't see that happening.  He's bolting at the end of this year and the Knicks are idiots if they do not realize that and try to start fixing the team now.

Seth Nadler
Seth Nadler

Get healthy is easier said than done , do you realize with the brutal januAry schedule it's very realistic this team will be 10-30? So what if they get healthy, even when healthy they stunk. Basically ownership told it's fans this season is over let's focus on 2015

rico
rico

@studmuffin nice idea but someone (another team) has to want those players and their contracts for draft picks…prognosis…"unlikely"

solar_lion
solar_lion

@BiggieSmalls@jeandd323I may not like Woodson and this year and I don't care much for some players or the favoritism the coach practices or the nepotism with the Smith brothers. But I'm on this ship, sink or swim. We can agree to disagree.

Will Franklin
Will Franklin

I'm in the navy currently in Jacksonville Florida and I get so much crap for being a Knicks fan.... But I will not give up on my team.... Period!!! But anyway we stink and can't wAit to see what kind of run we make when healthy !

Will Franklin
Will Franklin

I know ppl would say the same about me but I been reading this blog for about 5-6 years now and I never seen that guy post.... Big loss tho... Hope he comes back soon hahahaha!!!

sammysauna
sammysauna

@kenmetskni True indeed, not even entertaining to watch. Just bad basketball at this point. What did the Raptors want for Kyle Lowry??

kenmetskni
kenmetskni

Spot on. Trade Melo and any veteran you can for young players and draft picks. Rebuild this team from scratch.

1harris1
1harris1

@kenmetskni But the Clippers don't have any great cap room this summer.  He's going to give up 100 million dollars to play with Chris Paul?

kenmetskni
kenmetskni

The Clippers is my guess. CP3 and Melo have wanted to team up for years. If the Knicks were smart, they would look to trade Melo to the Clippers now. The Clippers could compete for a title with Melo. We might e able to get some young talent and/or draft picks.

kenmetskni
kenmetskni

My guess is that Melo will join CP3 on the Clippers. That team could make the finals out of the West with Melo. I'm hoping the Knicks can get some you talent and a 1st round from the Clios for Melo.

Seth Nadler
Seth Nadler

5 out by tomorrow night and 9-21, let me remind you 3-20 record vs rest if NBA outside of hawks, Orlando, bucks, that screams worst team in NBA. They aren't turning it around.