Players not named Carmelo stepping up for Knicks

Harris Decker

During the Knicks routing of the Boston Celtics, it looked like the Knicks were finally having fun. It’s been a tough year for the Knicks, made worse by injuries around every corner. But last night felt great. The team played hard, loose and fast, creating offense through stellar defense.

The aggressiveness was impressive as well. Time and time again we saw guys getting to the basket, breaking down the defense and passing out of double teams. In particular, J.R. Smith did this at will. He would use his side-to-side speed to beat slower defenders like Gerald Wallace and then either finish at the rim or dish to a teammate. Smith was the summation of a fun, well-played basketball game.

One guy that Knicks fans got to really get to know last night was Jeremy Tyler. He scored 17 points and was highly effective. Although he played much of his time in garbage time against a team that is playing like they belong in the D-league, it is still nice to see the Knicks working on developing a guy like Tyler.

Carmelo Anthony had another great night, leading the team in scoring but sitting out much of the second half with the game well in hand. As I wrote earlier in the week, it all starts with how Anthony opens the game. If he’s hitting his shot, defenses immediately adjust, opening the floor for the rest of the team. Smith capitalizes on this as well as anyone.

One final note. Did you notice who was on the court during the final few minutes against the Lakers? It wasn’t Iman Shumpert, but Tim Hardaway Jr. Head coach Mike Woodson is finally starting to ride the hot hand and that hand is not Shumpert. Against the Lakers, we saw Raymond Felton in addition to Hardaway Jr. and Smith as the game came to a close.

With Shumpert now battling a shoulder injury, Hardaway Jr. will likely see an even more of an increased role as he continues to be one of the better rookies in a relatively weak rookie class.

Fun basketball has finally returned to New York and they’ll need to keep it up with some tough matchups ahead.

30 comments
denelor
denelor

The Knicks have looked good the last three games.  But the teams they've played are a tiny step above D-league level players.  Not trying to be a Debbie downer, but I want to see some consistency with this level of play over the next week or two before I get my hopes up.  


Let's see JR put together 3 weeks of solid play without forgetting the score or something dumb.  Let's see Woodson not cough up a game by forgetting a timeout with 9 seconds left.  


I'm hopeful, but I'm not getting fooled again.  The Knicks always show flashes of brilliance.  3 quarters here, 4 games in a row there.  Then they forget the score and fumble a game.  


Let's see some consistency.  Then I'll get excited. 

1strdpicks
1strdpicks

All knucklehead ish aside, I think everyone underestimated the severity of the knee injury including Woodson. Wall and Granger had the same injury and were out months longer. Not being able to pickup a basketball all summer he was still getting 30+ mins a night. He needed to be nursed back into things, but got a heavy ass workload. You can clearly see him getting his legs under him now. That jr thjr combo looks like they have some chemistry. Btw I don't give a damn who's hurt who's coming back keep giving Tyler pt.

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

With Bargnani out of the starting lineup and Prigioni back in, we look like the 2012-13 Knicks. Last year Toronto was 10-25 with Barganani on the floor and 24-23 without him. We are now 3-0 without Bargnani and 15-27 with him. Not to lay all that on Bargnani, but he isn't anyone I'd want to play 30 minutes per game and give him the role of second scorer.

Tyler and Aldrich have take Bargnani's minutes and replaced his scoring, grabbed more boards, and played better defense. THJR has also played more and we finally have a floor stretcher and a better Novak. Bargnani did not provide any spacing and his mid-range game and shot totals took away from Melo's usage. Melo would have never scored 62 with Bargnani on the court.

thatsagoodpoint
thatsagoodpoint

Couple of things at play here causing all this,


1, It's time that we all accept that 'as JR goes, so go the Knicks.'


2, Woodson is at his best as a coach with less. This year he has simply done a horrible job at managing minutes. He seems very comfortable giving proper minutes playing small ball though.


3, Jeremy Tyler is a player. It's a good thing Glen finally learned from his mistake of not signing Lin, Cope, and Novak to a team option 2nd year. That 2nd year is going to allow us to be able to trade Chandler or Bargs at some point and not have to bring Kmart back. And if he continues to develop the way he's been going so far for us we'll have enough cap space to sign him to a nice contract in 2015.


4, Absolutely have to trade Chandler. If Phoenix wants to match salaries for Okafor and wants to give us the rights to Washington's pick then we HAVE to do it. That trade seems very doable for us right now.  

babyface
babyface

Let's not get too carried away here, Harris.  The Celts played no defense (as was made clear by the repeated backdoor plays early).  Against any team that had its heart in the game, I'm pretty certain the Knicks wouldn't have had quite so much "fun."

Oscar Serna
Oscar Serna

maybe we were going over board with Shump last night. we some paranoid people anyway looking foward to see tyler and tim getting his minutes. 

Melo62
Melo62

Felton is a great backup PG, no business being a starter except if you are tanking.

saintknick
saintknick

It is Woodson's CORE offensive philosophy to minimize turnovers. The big change in the last three games that I've noticed is this philosophy has been left at the door. Its been replaced by "don't do stupid turnover" instead. 


JR, Felton, Melo, and other have been making bounce passes into traffic, or blind passes out of screens. This is something the Knicks haven't done much of since D'Antoni's last season as the HC. 


In the new NBA, you have to play aggressive, where you will turn the ball over more. It makes defenses play the passing lanes which open up more pass options outside, and creates space for shots.


Imagine if 40% Lowry was taking 4-5 three's, half wide open thanks to Melo/JR, instead of Felton and Bargnani taking those shots... I'm not lobbying for Lowry - just explaining the importance of having guys who knock down open jumpers.

Melo62
Melo62

@OLDKNICK and people used to say Amare and Melo couldn't play together!  At Least they've had little chemistry and we're actually starting to look good together before Amare sprained his ankle.

Melo62
Melo62

@OLDKNICK I think he's better suited coming off the bench than starting.

OLDKNICK
OLDKNICK

@Melo62 Yeah I posted this last night... Exact article good one though!

thatsagoodpoint
thatsagoodpoint

@denelor We all want to see consistency. Talent is there. Bigger thing to me though is we seems to be finding our identity. Maybe Bargs snowballed the early part of our season more than we'll ever know. Maybe JR's dumbassery and recovering from knee surgery hurt more than we thought. Maybe this, maybe that. You can't control who you play against so just take it all 1 game at a time.

Melo62
Melo62

Bargs would be better in the triangle offense sorta like Tony Kukoc

Knicks_Fanatic
Knicks_Fanatic

@thatsagoodpoint 

According to Shamsports, Tyler is signed through 2015 at the minimum. His original contract was for 2 years, but when he was cut for Chris Smith that became void. If he is signed for 3 years, as Shamsports implies, we will have his Bird rights and be able to lock him up. On a two year deal, we would only have early Bird rights, with the poison pill in play. 

Maybe Mills got this one right.

Oscar Serna
Oscar Serna

@thatsagoodpoint dolan ain't trading nobody. he's sticking to this team and coach for the rest of the year. if he was going to make a trade he would of done it a long time ago

denelor
denelor

@thatsagoodpoint @denelor  That's all well and good.  My point was that I'm not getting on the "Fun basketball has finally returned to New York" bandwagon until it's actually returned.  I've been burned by that one too many times with this team.  It's not fun going into each game wondering whether the lights out team is showing up or it's the "What score is it?" guys are in the building.  


The problem is it's not just about effort or identity, it's about basic basketball sense.  Too many times their mistakes are of the "we can't be bothered to pay attention" variety.  


I'm not confident that's something that "finding your identity" fixes.  


Desperately hope I'm wrong and that they show some consistency against the coming schedule.  


thatsagoodpoint
thatsagoodpoint

@Knicks_Fanatic@thatsagoodpoint Even better. It's like he was our 2012 draft pick but was hurt his first year. Regardless of contract I just hope he continues to play well and becomes the player we desperately need him to be.

saintknick
saintknick

@Oscar Serna A lot of times, teams wait till the 11th hour for trades - especially when they think the market for a player will change.


For example, if Toronto has no intention to sign lowry in the offseason, they will be more willing to take less in February. On the other hand, if Lowry keeps crushing and a couple PGs on playoff teams go down for the year, are playing like crap, or just aren't very good, the market could grow a lot by the deadline.


Its a game of chicken. My guess is that guys like Pau, Lowry, Asik, etc. will be re-marketed in the next couple weeks. If you want to buy low, you wait it out and see if no market grows. If it doesn't, THAT is when you get bargain basement exchanges here.


If your team is a piece away from being a contender, you might make a move earlier, and potentially overpay for a guy, instead of risking his market growing by the deadline. The Knicks don't NEED any available player because it isn't likely one of these guys will suddenly make the Knicks contenders. 


THAT SAID, the team is in need of a few things. 1) Future planning - bringing in guys who could be part of the future. 2) adding expiring contracts for players who could help the Knicks this year.


The trick is to not overpay - so the Knicks were always likely to wait till the deadline because opposing GMs are going to demand more in December than in February.

thatsagoodpoint
thatsagoodpoint

@Oscar Serna Yes and no. A magical trade for Chandler hasn't been staring us right in the face all year so it's hard to say that 'if we were going to make a trade we'd have done it by now.'

Oscar Serna
Oscar Serna

it was good to hear him say "I'm starting to feel like myself again, I'm starting to get my legs back,"