Things have gotten off to a very slow start for Derek Fisher’s newly installed triangle offense in New York.
During the first three preseason games, the Knicks have averaged just 86 points per game and have looked awful doing so. What we have to remember is that the Knicks are trying to pull off a very difficult transition, keeping almost the entire roster intact while implementing a new system.
Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert already knw how to play together. They’ve done it for a season or two, but now are learning to play in a completely different manner under Fisher, with a third of the team being new players. It goes without saying that there are going to be some growing pains.
When asked about playing in the triangle last night, Anthony had this to say:
“I go out there and I don’t have a choice but to make it work. Whether it takes now or it takes later, we don’t have a choice but to make this work. I told you all early on, media day, I’m willing to take that chance to try to make it work and be patient with it.” (Daily News, Oct. 14)
If that’s the case, there’s a long climb ahead. The entire team was ice cold shooting last night. Smith finished 4-for-12, Amar’e Stoudemire was 2-for-9 and Tim Hardaway Jr. had the worst night of all, shooting 2-for-12 including an 0-for-6 night behind the arc.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, you have to remember that this is still the preseason, but hings aren’t going to magically turn around once the regular season starts. Despite the bumpy start to the preseason, Fisher thinks the team is “trending in the right direction.”
Don’t be surprised if the Knicks start the year very slow. Take a deep breathe and remember the circumstances. You have almost an entire team of guys that learned how to play together and now have to do it all over again, from scratch.
The triangle is a proven system, and with Fisher and Phil Jackson at the helm, you expect it to work…eventually.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
In their first preseason game against the Celtics last week, the Knicks suffered a twenty-point loss. No one is expecting the team to be champions right away, but such a blowout loss was demoralizing off the bat, nonetheless.
Such a poor showing certainly lit the fire underneath them, prompting the Knicks to react with their pride on the line during the rematch on Saturday. The commanding sixteen-point victory was needed to prove that the team still has dignity, even while going through the motions of learning the triangle offense.
On Monday night, things were back to normal as the Knicks hit the Garden floor for the first time. There wasn’t as much urgency to win, so alas, New York did not come away with one. The preseason is about understanding a team’s strengths, vulnerabilities and going through the stages of growing pains early on.
With that in mind, here are some observations from the Knicks’ 81-76 loss to Toronto:
- On the bright side, Jose Calderon continues to impress. One of the more active players on the court, it’s clear he likes evading defenders to knock down that running-jumper. What’s more, he is remaining very active off the ball.
- The Knicks were slow out the gate, and the offense was stagnant. The starters were working to get into a rhythm, but the reserves simply couldn’t sustain the same level of attack.
- There were traces of the triangle present once again, but the Knicks are clearly still a work in progress. They are overthinking things. The initiative to be successful in this offense is there, but the execution is lacking.
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GEICO SportsNite has reaction from the Knicks after they lost their preseason home opener to the Raptors on Monday night.
Recap: The Knicks lost to Toronto Monday in their first preseason game at Madison Square Garden.
Need to Know: J.R. Smith (10 points) was the only Knick in double figures as Derek Fisher used 14 players.
Quincy Acy started over Amar’e Stoudemire, but Fisher said “it’s not related to anything Amar’e hasn’t done or hasn’t shown.”
The Knicks shot 3-for-23 from three, and 37.8 percent (31-for-82 overall).
Andrea Bargnani (hamstring) sat out again.
Links: AP recap | Box Score
What’s Next: Carmelo Anthony returns to Syracuse Tuesday as the Knicks meet Philadelphia at 7 p.m. at the Carrier Dome.
The Raptors come to MSG on Monday night to play the Knicks in a preseason game.
The game will air on MSG at 7:30 p.m. You can follow the game online at NBA.com.
The Raptors are 7-0 vs. the Knicks during the preseason.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
After his team got blown out by the Celtics in their opening preseason game, J.R. Smith said he believed it would take a few months
for the team to ultimately learn the triangle offense.
In the interest of remaining competitive, first-time head coach Derek Fisher hopes the team can still put a good product on the floor in the meantime.
With that in mind, one has to wonder which of the Knicks are catching on and will lead by example.
Through the early phases of training camp, Carmelo Anthony begun to excel. And while the starting five still needs to be penciled in, Jose Calderon appears to be the second lock.
It’s a good thing he’s learning the triangle offense quicker than others, according to Phil Jackson.
Speaking at the New Yorker Festival, the Knicks’ President addressed a number of topics (reiterating his faith in Anthony, the control James Dolan has allowed him to have, etc.), while also alluding to Calderon’s faster learning curve (h/t Chris Delgado).
Arguably Jackson’s biggest offseason acquisition (aside from the re-signing of Anthony, of course), Calderon is poised to be the Knicks point guard of the (near) future. Under contract for the next three seasons, Jackson sacrificed some of New York’s cap space for next summer in order to reel in a quality floor general like Calderon.
Looking at next summer’s free agent crop, it’s clear Jackson saw the value in taking a chance on Calderon. He’s a proven veteran known for getting his teammates involved. He gives the Knicks a bit more credibility with potential free agents. What’s more, perhaps Jackson believed the team’s money was better well spent on him than another available point guard.
For what it’s worth, Calderon is rewarding Jackson early on. He’s been one of the better looking Knickerbockers through the first two preseason games. As he picks up the triangle, perhaps he’ll make it an easier transition for his teammates, too.
After missing out on the first-round of the loaded 2014 NBA Draft, the Knicks finally have a first-round pick in 2015.
Adam Zagoria, Team Reporter
That’s when a slew of big men like Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein and Dakari Johnson and Kansas’ Cliff Alexander are expected to lead the draft.
Toward that end, the Knicks had three executives — Steve Mills, Mark Warkentien and Clarence Gaines — at John Calipari’s Kentucky combine this weekend. A total of 90 NBA personnel, or three from each team, were on hand.
The Knicks will lose Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Barganani after this season and wlll need to rebuild their frontcourt through free agency, trades and the draft.
Kentucky has nine McDonald’s All-Americans and five projected first-round picks in 2015, according to DraftExpress.com.
“We had two more practices [Saturday] in front of a full house of NBA personnel,” Calipari tweeted. “A few that couldn’t come Friday made it yesterday.
“We focused on defense in the morning and offense in the afternoon with some 3-on-3 sprinkled in there. We will have one more practice today.
“I think the kids have performed well and everyone has benefitted from this weekend. Now it’s time to get down to work and make this right.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider for NBA.com and SNY.tv. You can follow him on Twitter and read his blog.