Tommy DeeI’ve been watching basketball for a while and I have to say last night’s effort in Indiana, a sound, solid playoff team, was one of the bigger let downs I’ve seen. Here were the Knicks, fresh off what many believed was a much-needed rest ready to come flying out of the gate as they push to close out the regular season. Here were the Knicks facing the same old issues that plagued the, the last 30 games.
I don’t believe that the reason is that this team is old. What I witnessed yesterday was a group obviously divided. A catatonic group of players in stuck in second gear, not because they didn’t have the ability to get into 5th, but because they were unsure if they were a standard transmission.
Why Woodson refuses to start Amar’e Stoudemire, to me, is senseless. Why he doesn’t bring Iman Shumpert off the bench in a position to handle the ball and make plays while guarding other team’s best penetrator is equally maddening. How many slow starts and gaping holes do the Knicks have to find themselves in before realizing it may make sense to change things up? So many choose to point the finger at perimeter defense, and that’s fair, so why not attempted a combination of Shumpert, Smith and Brewer… or at least the latter two together?
Is the problem offense? Sure it is. Zero pick and roll penetration against good teams leaves more shots rushed and contested and that leaves you as a group 5-28.
And what on earth is going on with J.R. Smith? What happened to the guy who many thought was an All-Star?
Something just doesn’t seem right amongst this group and it started with the return of Happy Walters’ clients, Stoudemire and Shumpert. Walters recently took exception to a report from Chris Sheridan, one that clearly struck a nerve with the agent. Word is that Walters hasn’t been happy with the Knicks since the Anthony trade and most of that resentment came over the Knicks unwillingness to re-sign Shawne Williams. It’s fair to say the relationship isn’t nearly as strong as it was when Stoudemire boldly announced “The Knicks are Back.”
The Knicks are back alright. Back from the All-Star break and back to the same old story of getting out of the game slow, abandoning their pick and roll game and relying on post ups and rushed kick outs.
This simply has to change.
It’s long been said that the Knicks will remain dormant today and I think that would be making a terrible mistake. They need a shot of energy in a group of players living in a divided house.
The deadline is in a few hours and the Knicks, most definitely, are on the clock. If they remain asleep at the wheel, this could get very ugly, very quickly.