Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
Taking a one-point lead into the second quarter against the league-leading Warriors, the Knicks arguably had one of their best opening quarters of the entire season.
They kept up with Golden State, trading buckets and maintaining a certain tempo in the early goings. From there, the home team picked up the pace even more. The Knicks’ defense was spread too thin, as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson nearly single-handedly sunk New York. They each knocked down six daggers from deep a piece.
From there on out, things got back to normal for New York. Nevertheless, despite the loss, there were still some takeaways worth making note of, especially as the team continues to explore different players as potential fits for next season’s roster. See below for more observations.
– Langston Galloway has certainly had his inconsistencies from the field this season, but he’s one of the better rebounding guards the Knicks have employed in recent years. His tenacity in getting to balls off missed shot attempts is impressive, as he’s able to sneak inside and evade bigger defenders. Not many smaller guards can say the same.
– Scoring in double-figures (in quite efficient fashion, to say the least) over the last two games since returning from back spasms, Tim Hardaway Jr. continues to take advantage of a newfound opportunity. Being able to prove himself offensively as a centralized figure will be key to an increased role next season. The Knicks need to see more of the same from him.
– Leading the team with 18 points, it’s clear Andrea Bargnani is an efficient offensive player. His ability to step out away from the basket, all the while converting on such shot attempts, makes him a steady threat. For the Knicks’ sake, it’s a shame he hasn’t been able to remain healthy.
– With a team-high plus/minus of +3, Cole Aldrich was arguably the Knicks’ best performer in the loss. Playing gritty defense down low, the big man grabbed nine rebounds and swatted five blocks. Offensively, he dished out five assists as well.
Knicks president Phil Jackson has been fined by the NBA for his comments regarding Ohio St. star D’Angelo Russell (AP, March 4).
Jackson was in attendance for the Ohio St-Nebraska game last Thursday night and told Cleveland.com that Russell was a “great looking kid” and a “great prospect.”
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed the fine Tuesday night but did not disclose the amount.
Team personnel are prohibited from publicly discussing players who aren’t yet eligible for the NBA draft.
This isn’t the first time Jackson has been punished by the league for his public comments. Last season he was fined $250,000 for prematurely stating Derek Fisher was a head coaching candidate while he was still playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
With the Knicks struggling under rookie head coach Derek Fisher, will Phil Jackson seek out recently fired Brian Shaw to join their staff? (Berman, March 4)
Shaw was fired Tuesday night after serving as the head coach of the Denver Nuggets for less than two seasons. He led the Nuggets to a 36-46 record last season and 20-39 this year.
It was believed that Jackson preferred Shaw over Fisher in his pursuit for a head coach last off season. But Denver was unwilling to let Shaw walk at the time.
Jackson has both coached and worked with Shaw. He coached him with the Lakers from 1999-2003 and then Shaw served as both a scout and assistant under Jackson from 2005-11.
Derek Fisher might be running out of ways to stay positive as the Knicks fell to 12-47 on the season after being steamrolled by the Kings Tuesday night (Post, March 3).
“It was definitely not the level of character and integrity this group has been showing in recent weeks,’’ Fisher said. “That was the most disappointing part. It’s not necessarily losing the game but just the way as a group, we couldn’t find a way to compete.’’
None of the Knicks starters hit double figures and they trailed the Kings by as many as 44 points late in the third period. Fisher said this energy was similar to what he saw from them in practice on Monday – which isn’t exactly a good thing.
“We were flat,” Shane Larkin said. “And they were just out there playing free-flowing basketball.”
The Knicks host the Cavaliers this afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. and can be seen on MSG and heard on ESPN radio (98.7).
Jose Calderon, Lance Thomas, Langston Galloway, Jason Smith and Lou Amundson are expected to start for the Knicks.
Shane Larkin has been ruled out (Strep throat).
J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, who the Knicks traded to the Cavs, make their return to MSG today.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
As Phil Jackson prepares to put his own stamp on the Knicks and build from the ground up this coming summer, he and the rest of the team’s brass will use the rest of this season to evaluate and examine which of New York’s current players may be worth holding onto.
Of course, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Hardaway Jr., Pablo Prigioni, and Jose Calderon are among those currently under contract for next season. Langston Galloway is owed a partial guarantee. Other options include Lance Thomas and Travis Wear.
In Wear’s case, the forward turned heads following Summer League and training camp, impressing just enough, not only to sneak onto the opening night roster, but also earn his full guaranteed salary after managing to stick around past January.
From emerging as a LeBron James stopper in what is now considered a rare Knicks victory back in October, to slowly but steadily serving as someone who can space the floor and spread opposing defense, Wear has certainly made his mark. His ability to hit the mid-range jumper allows him to excel in the triangle.
At only 24-years-old and not likely to command much money next season, Wear might be worth keeping around. His brother certainly seems to think so, though, he, of course, may be a little biased.
TheKnicksBlog.com and SNY.tv spoke to David Wear, twin brother of Travis, during NBA All-Star Weekend. The Knickbocker’s sibling was participating in the D-League’s Three-Point Contest, representing the Sacramento Kings’ affiliated Reno Bighorns.
“[Travis] is a hard worker. He’s been very team-oriented over his whole life. He does what it takes to win basketball games,” the minor leaguer explained about his brother. “Whether that’s about doing all of the little things, or stepping up and being more of a scorer, we’ve both had to fill different roles throughout high school and college.”
Wear has already displayed an ability, and downright willingness, to adapt, roll with the punches, and serve in different capacities for the Knicks. He’s a steady shooter and continues to prove he won’t be a defensive liability.
“The number one thing [about Travis] is his mindset to do whatever it takes to win basketball games,” his brother added.
“It’s always been great. All of our lives, we’ve had someone of equal caliber to work out with and play against. We’re both each other’s biggest supporter, but also our own biggest critic,” the twin said as he reminisced about growing up with the Knicks’ rookie. “We’ve gotten into more fights after games and practices than I can count, because when you’re a twin, I think you always expect perfection out of the other.”
The Knicks’ Wear undoubtedly defeated the odds when by rising to the NBA ranks this season. His brother is averaging 16.7 points and 6.9 rebounds for Reno, which suggests it may not be long before the two are matching up against one another in The Association.
“That’d be a dream come true. It’d be surreal, really. We’ve dreamed about that all of our lives, so it’d obviously be really special,” the Bighorn confessed. “To not only be able to put on an NBA uniform, but also look across the court and see your brother, I can’t really think of anything more special than that.”
(Travis) Wear has played sparingly for the Knicks over the last ten games, but did show some promise by averaging 7.1 points and 2.9 during the month of January.
Keith Schlosser, Lead Writer
In the Warriors’ defeat of the Knicks on Saturday night, the charge to victory was not entirely led by Stephen Curry
. It wasn’t led by fellow 2015 NBA All-Star Klay Thompson
, either. Instead, it was none other than Draymond Green
who stood as the staring attraction en route to victory.
Whereas Curry scored 22 points and hit a couple of daggers towards the end to put the Knicks away for good, Green proved to be the more efficient player throughout. Adding 20 points, he shot 8 of 12 from the field and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds. This went along with two blocks and three assists.
Such a versatile performance has been par for the course all season long for Green, who was widely considered to be an All-Star candidate if the Western Conference leading Warriors were awarded a third one, a la the Eastern Conference leading Atlanta Hawks. The forward is averaging 11.4 points (on 43% from the field and 34% from deep), 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.4 blocks through 49 contests. Needless to say, he’s a true stat-sheet stuffer, and can hurt opposing teams in a number of different ways.
While his point average may not be all too imposing, Green has clearly taken a necessary backseat to the likes of Curry and Thompson as he and others buy into a team concept that has helped Golden State sit atop their conference.
In New York, Green would be considered more of a centralized figure, even on the offensive end. He’d be given more freedom to score the basketball, which would be a plus. Even so, his value would continue to be displayed across the board.
The good thing about Green being in the shadows of other players at this point is the fact that when he hits the free agency market this coming summer, there’s a chance other teams could outbid Golden State for his services. Color the Knicks as a team that should be interested.
Is Green a max player at this point? Probably not, but there’s a good chance he’d likely prove his worth, even at an $10-$12 million per year salary. Given his numbers with the Warriors, the 24 year could arguably average a double-double with anywhere between 15-17 points to go along with 10 rebounds per contest in the Big Apple.
Of course, in a perfect world, Phil Jackson will target the bigger names available, a la Marc Gasol and others. It’s one thing to desire. It’s another thing to execute, quality players in solid situations don’t want to leave. In a case like Gasol, a maximum contract is his for the taking wherever he goes. But that might not bode true for Green.
Green is a winner and a quality player at that, but the Knicks can undoubtedly offer him more than most teams, even if that doesn’t translate into a maximum contract. He’d be a popular figure under the bright lights of the big city. Not many teams can offer that, and it’s something New York should use to their advantage.
To his own credit, the 6’7″, 230 pound Green is physical player who can fight his way inside for easy buckets and/or pull down boards on either side of the floor. A player with sound defensive instincts, he can also hit the three-ball on occasion.
Being apart of the Warriors’ organization, it’s clear he has an understanding of what a winning culture is like. It might be appealing to him (at the right price, of course) to be someone who helps spearhead such a movement in New York as a number two or three alongside Carmelo Anthony.