Over the last few days, we’ve had everything from a “Should Mike Woodson be fired?” poll
, to a discussion about why trading Carmelo Anthony is not the answer
Now, I’m ready to back up that claim with a little case study. Let’s pretend that Anthony is the problem and we’re replacing him with another superstar right now. Free of all salary cap restrictions, but on the basis that we are taking this team and replacing Anthony, here’s what it could look like.
Kevin Durant: What did we learn in the playoffs last year when Russell Westbrook was injured? Durant can still score. But Westbrook and Durant can win. If Durant was on the Knicks, who would he look like? Melo. The two guys are separated by percentage points in almost every offensive category and neither can be considered a plus defender.
Paul George: George is the closest thing we could have to a second coming of LeBron James. He’s a great defender and is turning into an elite scorer right in front of our eyes. But, guess what George has in Indiana? Probably the best supporting cast in the NBA. He has a dominant center in Roy Hibbert, a tough as nails power forward in David West and a back court comprised of George Hill, C.J. Watson and Lance Stephenson. Not too shabby.
Kevin Love: The guy everyone is fawning over in Knicks-land, Love is another guy who is highly skilled, but like Anthony, has never won a thing. In fact, if there was an NBA superstar out there with an even less impressive track record from a wins/loss perspective, it would have to be Love. In five full NBA seasons, the Love-led Timberwolves have made the playoffs exactly zero times.
Stephen Curry: Curry currently stands in a league of his own. He is the only player in the NBA to be both a top-10 scorer and a top-10 assist man. Curry is in his fifth season with the Golden State Warriors, surrounded by guys like Andre Iguodala, Klay Thompson and Andrew Bogut. He’s a rare breed, but still wouldn’t make the Knicks great. He’d be a one-man-show, if J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert were as ineffective as they’ve been with Anthony. The case could be made that he’d make the entire team better, but still, with only Curry as the superstar, they wouldn’t have the talent to win a championship.
LeBron James: James is probably the only superstar capable of carrying a team completely on his shoulders. Still, he’s proved in Miami that it takes more than just him to win it all. He didn’t hit the late-game three that saved them against the Spurs, that was Ray Allen. Instead, James is a player that makes everyone around him better. With James, this Knicks team would win a championship.
Now, I ask you, if Anthony is the problem, what is the solution? I don’t believe that, hypothetically, anyone not named LeBron makes the 2013-14 Knicks a winner. The issue is with the pieces around the superstar. Every superstar has help, and currently, it’s Anthony trying to do everything himself. He is second in scoring with 26.3 PPG and has turned himself into a top-15 rebounder in Tyson Chandler’s absence. He also leads the league in minutes per game, averaging 40.4.
GEICO SportsNite has reaction from Knicks practice as they prepare to take on the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
“I watch the Knicks play and I wouldn’t want to be in that hell for a million dollars.”
-George Karl on coaching in New York (and under James Dolan), via NYDN
Has Iman Shumpert’s trade value been impacted by Mike Woodson’s coaching?
Some seem to think so, via ESPN New York:
According to league sources with knowledge of the team’s talks with potential trade partners, president/GM Steve Mills’ management team has also cited Mike Woodson’s coaching as one reason for Shumpert’s poor play.
“They’re saying that Shumpert’s a better player [than he's shown] but Woodson isn’t using him right,” one league source said.
Shumpert has been the focus of trade rumors since the season began. He’s been shopped repeatedly, according to media reports.
I completely buy this idea. Iman Shumpert is a player in the digital age. No matter what he says, he hears the rumors swirling. He understands that his time in New York might be coming to an end and it’s clearly effecting him. Woodson’s use of Shumpert is tough to say. When the team is playing this badly, it’s hard to say he’s using anyone properly. Still, it seems like Shumpert is off the court in key situations in more situations than you’d like to see.
Related: Iman Shumpert’s frustration is showing
More could than bragging rights may be at stake Thursday night when the Knicks take on the Nets. … a lot more.
According to the New York Post, a blowout loss to the Nets — the Knicks’ 10th consecutive loss — could cost Mike Woodson his job.
The report states Knicks owner James Dolan is “obsessed” with the Brooklyn Nets franchise, and fallng to their crosstown rival could “trigger changes.”
On Nov. 19, Dolan gave a vote of confidence to Woodson. At the time, however, New York was 3-7. Since, the team has dropped six in a row to fall to 3-13. Brooklyn, meanwhile, is 4-15 and 1.5 games ahead of New York in the Atlantic Division.
Adding more fuel to the fire, the Post suggests Woodson’s placement would be former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy, who is currently an analyst for ESPN. The report states Van Gundy may be option, but it is more likely he would be hired in the offseason and the team would have to find an interim coach for the remainder of the 2013-14 season.
Knicks president Steve Mills worked with Van Gundy for more than two seasons in Mills’ stint as vice president of franchise operations. The Post speculated the hiring of Van Gundy may result in the hiring of Patrick Ewing, who was an assistant under Van Gundy in Orlando and currently serves in the same with the Charlotte Bobcats.
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After speaking with the media following Tuesday’s practice, Knicks coach Mike Woodson left the court and disappeared from view.
Assistants Darrell Walker, Herb Williams and Jim Todd remained on the court working out players.
This is customary for a Knicks practice, but given the team’s present circumstances it seems fair to wonder whether it was a metaphor for what might transpire in the next few days.
If the 3-13 Knicks lose one or both games Thursday in Brooklyn and Friday at home against the Orlando Magic, will Woodson be fired?
“I mean, yeah, we’re worried about that,” Carmelo Anthony said. “But then again, we’ve got to worry about playing basketball, man.”
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The poll results are in and they aren’t very surprising: Knicks fans think Mike Woodson should be fired.
The 56.42% of fans that think he should be fired because he deserves to be fired make up the majority while the remaining 43.58% are split among the other three options. The surprising thing, to me, is that so few people attribute Tyson Chandler’s injury to the reason he shouldn’t be fired. There is no way this Knicks team has just three wins if Chandler was healthy through all 16 games. The team has been horrible in his absence.
My vote is the second option, which netted 19.31% of the vote. I don’t think he deserves to be fired, but at this point, someone might just need take the fall. You can’t fire J.R. Smith. You can’t fire Raymond Felton. So, unless James Dolan is willing to sell the team (as he should be the fall man), Woodson is the only option.
All things considered, over 75% of fans believe that Woodson should be fired for some reason. That is an overwhelming number.
“They are just not playing like a team that wants to win.”
-Victor Cruz on the state of the New York Knicks on this mornings Boomer & Carton on WFAN
While I don’t put all that much stock in what a football player says about a basketball team, Cruz is a Knicks fan and a friend of J.R. Smith. He also knows a thing or two about winning. If he believes that this team is isn’t playing like a team that wants to win, I tend to believe him. Maybe he needs to teach Smith some more salsa moves.
I’ve gotten a ton of feedback from fans over the past few days about “blowing up” the Knicks: Trading everyone that you can trade and starting from scratch. The trouble with this is blowing it up includes trading Carmelo Anthony. Looking around the league I don’t see a player that can replace him.
We can all say that Anthony “isn’t a winner” and that he’ll “never get it done against LeBron.” Well, I have news for you. Almost no one can get it done against LeBron James and that’s not a slant against Anthony. In the superstar-driven league that is the NBA, Anthony can win, but he needs help. Just like James has in Miami. Just like Kobe Bryant had in his back to back titles in ’09 and ’10. Just like Dirk Nowitzki had in ’11.
The term “superstar-driven league” needs to be abolished. Teams need a superstar but they also need five to seven guys around them in order to win a championship. Right now, they Knicks have two or three key pieces. They are missing the other two to five. They need the Ray Allens and the Danny Greens, the Pau Gasols and the Shane Battiers. Without these guys, James, Bryant and Duncan would be much, much farther from winning the NBA title every year.
So, do you really want to blow it up? Start a search for a superstar all over again? Does Kevin Love surrounded by the Knicks current roster win a title? Does Paul George? Does LeBron James?
None of these guys would win in New York because the superstar isn’t the problem. Finding the superstar is the most difficult part of the equation and the Knicks have that solved. Check.
Now, it’s time to rebuild around Anthony, instead of without him.
Kenyon Martin and Metta World Peace got into a “heated” argument in a workout before Sunday’s game against the Pelicans (Begley).
There were no punches thrown, but the argument was “intense,” according to Begley’s source.
The two players cleared things up before the game started.