Knicks Do Something Dumb!

Yet another dumb thing by the Knicks.

by Kriel IbarrolaFebruary 5, 2020
The New York Knicks are finally taking some steps in the right direction by relieving Steve Mills from his duties as president of basketball operations on Tuesday.

Pundits believe that team owner James Dolan will try to make a big splash by luring Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri away from Canada and into The Big Apple.

While acquiring a brilliant mind and proven winner in Ujiri will certainly turn things around for the dysfunctional franchise, the Knicks could actually go an unorthodox, yet increasingly popular route.

We’re talking about the possibility of giving a player agent full reigns over one of the biggest basketball markets in the world.

Bulls 82, Knicks 81

New York Knicks 81 Final
Recap | Box Score
82 Chicago Bulls
Andrea Bargnani, PF

25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 9 PTS | -9

Fine. Not his fault Woody started him and played him a bit too much. We should be using him like we used Novak and taking his ability to penetrate and draw fouls as gravy. I think that gets figured out eventually. Tonight he hit a few shots and competed gamely on defense. More rebounds would be great but so would…I don’t know…something equally unrealistic? A pet unicorn whose horn was also a satellite receiver? That would be pretty tight. What were we talking about? Oh, Bargs. By no means should he be a part of the crunch-time lineup right now and, to Woody’s credit, he wasn’t.

Carmelo Anthony, SF

42 MIN | 8-24 FG | 4-5 FT | 6 REB | 6 AST | 6 STL | 2 BLK | 4 TO | 22 PTS | -6

Such a weird game. He had 6 steals and 6 assists and played excellent team defense. His shot wasn’t going which happens to everybody from time to time but his offensive approach the last 4 minutes of the game was horrible and probably prevented the Knicks from stealing a road win on the second night of a back-to-back against one of the 4 best teams in their conference. I get that hero ball is a part of the NBA, I get that Iso-Melo is a thing that is going to happen in the closing moments of close games. I am at peace with it. But it strikes me as very odd that we can erase a 12 point deficit through cohesive, movement-intensive team offense and then decide that Melo, like some sort of latter-day Jerome Bettis, has the right to put it over the goal line. He will win us plenty of games this year but on this night against Luol Deng and this Thibodeau-designed defense, he bailed the Bulls out.

Tyson Chandler, C

36 MIN | 3-8 FG | 1-2 FT | 19 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 4 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +8

You remembered that when he’s 100% he’s the best and most important player on the team, right? That he fits perfectly with Melo, perfectly with a defensive philosophy built on switching and jumping passing lanes, perfectly with a point guard that gets by on herky-jerky savvy and workaday efficiency rather than lightning quickness and stylistic flair, perfectly with teammates that like to chuck up threes and wait for their human-ball-return of a pivot man to give them do-overs on their misses? That he’s an unstoppable roll man that creates historically high-percentage chances and forces opposing post players into early foul trouble? That he plays team defense the way Steve Atwater played free safety and motivates his teammates by the sheer force of personality exuded by every glare, every chest-pound, every primal yell?

Did you remember? Now you remember.

Raymond Felton, PG

37 MIN | 5-14 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 6 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +6

He looks quicker to me this season. He’s looked more comfortable to me since the calendar turned to 2013 and he was paired with Prigioni and given as much opportunity to freelance off the ball as to dominate it and create for others. On the ball, he’s far more dangerous with an athletic roll man at his disposal and right now he’s getting precisely that from the rejuvenated Chandler. The shot was off tonight but he protected the ball (2 turnovers in 37 minutes) and defended (bull)doggedly, staying in front of Rose when his number was called and switching away sharply when required. His one three-point make was a huge one that gets lost in the defeat. If 2 of his misses drop it’s a really good game.

Iman Shumpert, SG

25 MIN | 2-6 FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | +1

Not much in the way of numbers tonight but the Knicks’ best defensive lineups this year are going to be the ones that involve at least 2 (and often 3) of him, Chandler, World Peace, and Prigs just jumping passing lanes and closing out on guys hard and applying full-court pressure and generally being a pain in everybody else’s ass. I can’t wait to see more of it.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF

11 MIN | 2-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 5 PTS | -3

I guess it doesn’t look that bad on paper — 5 points on 3 shots in 11 minutes — but I was sad watching Stoudemire tonight. His legs just aren’t there anymore and given that there hasn’t been any injury news to speak of lately and he took last night off, that probably means they ain’t coming back. He’s got little to offer as a roll man; no less a defensive stiff than Mike Dunleavy was able to beat him to his spot, set himself, and draw a charge tonight. He’s not getting any rebound he has to compete for and, cruelly, just when he seems like he’s started to know where to be on defense, he doesn’t have the athleticism to bang with the big boys or stay in front of his man. Looking at STAT, I think of Antonio McDyess, another impossibly athletic 4 who lost his legs and had to completely change his game to claim a second act to his career. STAT will never be the gritty defender that McDyess was but if he can accept that he’s now a post scorer (and a damn good one) and mid-range jump shooter (ditto) and Woodson can find creative ways to use him as such, he still has a great chance to be a useful offensive player. Defensively, he’s GOT to rebound. It was never his primary strength but if his shot-blocking days are over (they are) and he can no longer be the athletic centerpiece of an offense (he can’t) he needs to commit himself to locking down the defensive glass.

Basically, I want him to be a poor man’s David Lee. Hence the sadness.

Kenyon Martin, PF

4 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +2

Here’s something that makes no sense. Woodson starts Bargnani tonight and, in explaining his decision, emphasizes his determination to go big against a Bulls team that bangs on the interior and relies on a penetrating point guard on offense.

Two things:

1) This is stupid and I expect better from a head coach who showed legitimate creativity last season. Bargs is seven feet tall but you don’t use him to “go big” (unless you’re playing him at, like, shooting guard) you specifically use him to “go small.” It’s an intellectually dishonest claim that sounds like ass-covering from a coach who was instructed to start the team’s biggest offensive acquisition at least some of the time. I admittedly have no idea whether this is true, I just choose to believe that Woodson doesn’t actually believe such a BS justification.

2) But, OK, fine, you want to go big. Why make Martin unavailable tonight? You know the season starts with a back to back and you know the Bulls are on the tail end of it. Why use K-Mart against the Bucks instead of letting him spell Chandler tonight and protect the rim from Rose and co.? Why throw STAT to the wolves and make him guard Noah and Boozer instead of Larry Sanders and John Henson? It smacks of the type of short-sightedness that the league’s top coaches simply don’t fall victim to. And we lost by one freaking point tonight, so you can’t say it didn’t matter.

Metta World Peace, SF

23 MIN | 3-11 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -4

Shot badly, defended hard, marginalized down the stretch by iso-Melo. Starting to sound familiar?

Pablo Prigioni, PG

11 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | -7

Love his defense, love his wiles, needs to take his own shot when it’s there. Had two extremely clean looks at threes and passed into traffic each time. Again, one point game, little things.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG

27 MIN | 4-13 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 10 PTS | +7

His stroke is pretty but wasn’t true tonight. Don’t care. Competes on defense, takes his shot in the flow of the offense, grinds all night. He can play on my team any day. We are getting very good at finding guards in the middle part of the draft.

As a side note, his build and movement remind me so much of Anfernee Hardaway, which is odd since they share a last name but aren’t related. That he doesn’t look like his father will spare me much self-reflection that I frankly lack the time for. Double points!

Mike Woodson

The season turns on games like this: a back to back on the road against a good team that didn’t have its fastball. If we just want to be a playoff team, we can write off a road loss against the Bulls no matter the circumstances. If we want our name on the short list, though, we need to grab winnable games by the throat and worry about people’s feelings later. And tonight, for this coach, that meant telling the star that the last couple of possessions are his but the 5 or 6 before them have to look like the ones that brought us back from a 12-point hole. It meant realizing before the start of LAST night’s game that 12-15 minutes of Kenyon Martin vs. the Bulls was an absolute must.

The D grade is for not doing those things. The “Plus” is for the team’s excellent defensive effort and Woody’s willingness to deviate from what one presumes was the initial plan and sit Bargs down the stretch.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Fantastic team defense. Holding the opposition to 41% shooting is good enough in its own right but when that number includes only 3 made three-pointers and is accompanied by 18 turnovers and only 19 FT attempts, it’s sensational. All told, 82 points on 89 possessions for Chicago tonight. No matter how rusty Rose was, that’s awesome.
  2. Speaking of Rose, at some point tonight I’m going to try to suspend my frustration over this loss (indeed, my very Knick fandom), rewatch his game-winner, and smile for just a moment. Derrick Rose is back and the NBA is that much richer for it.
  3. And as for that game-winning rainbow floater, the Knicks defended it perfectly. Just a great player making a tough shot, nothing to complain about.
  4. Oh yeah, that’s right, there IS one thing to complain about which is that if we just ran the freaking offense for the last 4 minutes of the game, we’re probably up 6 points and the Bulls never have a chance to win it. I usually dig Steve Kerr’s work, but his comment after Rose hit the shot (“It’s a superstar game down the stretch!”) was utterly asinine. To effusively and unreservedly praise Rose’s make (and the philosophy that led to it) after the preceding 3 minutes of hero ball from Rose and Melo prevented either team from putting away a game that was being handed to it (the Bulls missed their previous NINE shots and the Knicks hardly looked better) was the type of head-in-the-sand cheerleading by a prominent analyst that leads casual NBA observers to think the sport that we love is something very different from what it actually is and to think that teams like the Spurs are boring when what they actually are is awesome. Other than that, great point.
  5. If the defense plays like this all year, the Knicks will win 55 games. I hope we weren’t just being the ’93 Knicks for Halloween (if we were, losing a winnable game to the Bulls in heartbreaking fashion was a pretty effective flourish).

BREAKING NEWS: The Last Spots on the Roster go to Murry, Aldrich and…Chris Smith

So it’s Friday, traditionally considered a “slow news day.” If you’re running, for example, the government of the United States of America and you have an item of interest that you want to (or rather, have to) release, but you want to diminish the amount of attention it receives from the esteemed members of the Fourth Estate, you dump it on the world on a lazy Friday (preferably on the eve of a holiday) afternoon.

Because, you see, like the rest of us, the fine gentlemen and ladies who consider themselves journalists are also giddily eager to leave work as soon as humanly possible on this day (let alone hauling their bedraggled, possibly hung over carcasses into their fluorescent-lit, photo-and-ironic-toy-festooned sad little cubicles a Saturday) and would rather not crank up their Woodstein-y investigative juices up to a fever pitch just when they’re preparing to benumb themselves for 48-odd hours, barbecuing or spending time with a loved one or shopping for a nice new pair of slacks at Target or watching 300-kb men incur Dementia Pugilistica.

Basically, no one wants to either be forced to generate or feel some kind of moral imperative to consume 48-point font headlines screeching about corruption or the invasion/black ops bombing of a backwater third world hovel, when the vast portion of one’s cerebral cortex has shifted into put your feet up/kick back/consume beverages in totemic vessels with umbrellas mode

This too-long preamble is to let you know that our new lord and master of spreadsheets, Steve Mills, is aware of this practice, because the Knicks announced their final cuts a few minutes ago. Ready? Gird your loins, you may want to hide all the fire extinguishers and/or purchase an armored transport vehicle…

Sure. Murry totally deserved a spot. Yay Toure’! And I totally get keeping Aldrich over, say, Diogu. He is a legit center, if not a particularly skilled one, especially on the offensive end. You cannot teach altitude and whatnot, and he provides a credible presence on defense/the glass. Diogu could score, but he’s an undersized,  hustle-y/Tyler Hansbrough-y PF and given the makeup of the rest of the roster, that isn’t what this team needs. Aldrich also checks off the ‘upside’ box. There are not heaps of up to side to, but still.

And then there’s Chris Smith. No, he’s not good enough to be on an NBA roster. We’ve been hearing the nepotism chatter for awhile now, and yes, it does smack of all the gobsmackingly stupid, incestuous ways in which this so-called pro franchise has functioned for going on a decade plus. It also reaffirms all the paranoid musings about “CAA running the team” and/or Dolan having some kind of under-the-table deal w/the Smith family mafia clan in exchange for one of the two contracts that favorite son JR has signed over the past two offseasons.

Luckily for y’all, I studied at the Glenn Beck School of NBA Roster management (I majored in chalkboards). So here’s my thought: It doesn’t make keeping Smith any less of an atrocity, mind you, but it might make swallowing this fetid sack of derp a tad more palatable, like dousing a fecal fajita in hot sauce.

 

If the Knicks keep Smith past the 29th, he gets paid. Odds are, no one’s going to sign Tyler while he’s still wheeling around the practice facility on that one-knee scooter of his. When Tyler’s healthy, he rejoins the roster (or they pick up someone else of value who gets cut before Wednesday) and Lil Pipe either gets handed his pink slip or suffers a mysterious ‘injury’ of his own and maybe receives the Baron Davis I-get-to-be-part-of-the-team-but-no-one-really-knows-what-‘work’-I-actually-do role.

All of this though, still stinks. Giving a player a nice sack of consolation prizes just because he’s someone’s brother is bound to piss off the rest of the roster (at least the rest that isn’t related to Chris). I know and you probably know that nepotism/favoritism plays a part in any workplace, but when it happens at your/my job, we get really, really angry. No one wants to think that decisions in life aren’t based on pure merit. Basketball (and all sports) are supposed to be a respite from all that — a place where you succeed or fail on your skills alone, where the rules are clear and enforced, and, at the end of the day, you know exactly who’s won and who’s lost. No vast, unending, indecipherable, morally ambiguous (let alone outright rigged/corrupt/fixed) shades of gray. It’s a number. I have more, I win.

Of course, that’s never wholly the case either. Roster spots are often determined by salary/draft pick status. It’s never a pure Rand-ian meritocracy, but this is such a shameless example, so plaintively obvious, it’s bound to raise everyone’s hackles.

So yeah, this isn’t good. But maybe in a few weeks, it’ll be slightly less not-good. Optimism!

UPDATE [5:48pm] Well, this tweet isn’t definitive, but it certainly doesn’t dispel the tinfoil hat speculation I outlined.

Knicks Morning News (Sunday, Oct 27 2013)

  • [New York Newsday] Mike Woodson strongly considering alternating Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin (Sun, 27 Oct 2013 02:50:39 EDT)

    Fans at Friday night's unveiling of the renovated Madison Square Garden also got to see Amar'e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin make their preseason debuts for the Knicks.

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks’ Tick-Off: Bothered by naysayers predicting teams downfall (Sun, 27 Oct 2013 00:52:52 GMT)

    The so-called experts have forecast a major drop-off for the Knicks, from second in the Eastern Conference to the second-best team in New York City, and maybe not better than the fifth-best team in the East this season.    

  • Knicks Morning News (Saturday, Oct 26 2013)

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Like Voltron, Knicks come together as unit (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 00:35:21 EDT)

    NEW YORK — The Knicks appear to be getting whole as the regular season approaches.J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin made their preseason debuts in Friday night’s 85-83 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. All three rotation players had missed the previous six preseason games due to injury.Smith scored 11 points and had three rebounds in 13 minutes. He also hit a 35-foot jumper at the third-quarter buzzer.Stoudemire had six points on 3-of-4 shooting in 12 minutes.

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] New Garden bridges a hit with fans (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 00:02:32 EDT)

    NEW YORK –- The Madison Square Garden transformation appears to be a hit so far with fans.Some of the 19,812 fans who attended the debut of the renovated Madison Square Garden during the Knicks game against the Bobcats on Friday were thrilled with the new MSG changes. And that included those sitting on one of the new “Chase Bridges” as well as fans sitting at the very top of the arena on stools situated behind them.”I love it,” said Steve Marrero, a contractor seated on one of the bridges.

  • [New York Times] Thomas Leads Kings to 110-100 Win Over Clippers (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 05:09:44 GMT)

    Isaiah Thomas scored 27 points to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 110-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Lakers End Preseason With 111-106 Win Over Jazz (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 04:30:47 GMT)

    Steve Blake scored 13 of his 19 points in the third quarter, Pau Gasol and Nick Young each had 16, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 111-106 Friday night in the preseason finale for both teams.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Wizards Acquire Gortat From Suns (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 03:55:52 GMT)

    The Washington Wizards acquired center Marcin Gortat from the Phoenix Suns.    

  • [New York Times] Pacers End Preseason With 98-77 Win Over Mavs (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 03:19:12 GMT)

    Paul George scored 10 of his game-high 28 points in the third quarter and the Indiana Pacers used a 13-0 run to race past the Dallas Mavericks 98-77 on Friday night in the preseason finale for both teams.    

  • [New York Times] Harden Hurt in Rockets Rout of Memphis (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 03:10:02 GMT)

    Houston Rockets guard James Harden was listed as day-to-day after leaving Friday night’s preseason game against the Memphis Grizzlies with a right knee bruise.    

  • [New York Times] Bucks-Raptors Preseason Game Canceled (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 03:07:03 GMT)

    The Milwaukee Bucks have a slick new floor to play on this season.    

  • [New York Times] Nets’ Williams Looks Sharp in First Preseason Action (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 02:55:02 GMT)

    Deron Williams, the team’s mercurial point guard, spent much of the preseason watching from the sidelines after sustaining a sprained left ankle in mid-August.    

  • [New York Times] Williams Scores 11, Nets Top Heat 108-87 (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 02:51:47 GMT)

    Deron Williams got his first preseason action. LeBron James and Chris Bosh didn’t need any more.    

  • [New York Times] Bulls End Preseason With 94-89 Win Over Nuggets (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 02:48:56 GMT)

    Derrick Rose scored 15 points and the Chicago Bulls ended the preseason with a 94-89 win Friday over the Denver Nuggets.    

  • [New York Times] With Whiff of Nepotism, Knicks Tiptoe Toward Opener (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 02:43:51 GMT)

    The Knicks are neither the healthiest nor the deepest team in the Eastern Conference, and the roster cuts on Friday did little to address some pressing needs.    

  • [New York Times] Pelicans Run Past Magic 101-82 (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 02:36:49 GMT)

    Brian Roberts scored 21 points and Eric Gordon added 12 to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 101-82 rout of the Orlando Magic on Friday night.    

  • [New York Times] Walker, Bobcats Rally, Spoil Knicks’ Return to MSG (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 02:06:52 GMT)

    Kemba Walker scored 18 points and made the tiebreaking basket with 1:31 remaining as the Charlotte Bobcats spoiled the New York Knicks’ return to Madison Square Garden with an 85-83 preseason victory Friday night.    

  • [New York Post] Melo struggles, Knicks lose despite Amar’e and J.R. returns (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 00:05:52 -0400)

    Amar'e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith were back, full of hope, and the Knicks were back at a newly transformed Garden ,full of glitter. But the preseason ended on a dampening…

  • [New York Daily News] Amar’e, J.R. and Kenyon do 3-man weave back into lineup (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 04:14:38 GMT)

    The Knicks’ only home game of the preseason turned into a fully participatory dress rehearsal for Opening Night, with injured veterans J.R.    

  • [New York Daily News] Isola: MSG transformation complete, not Knicks (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 04:07:08 GMT)

    The cost exceeded $1 billion and the project took 13 long, painful years. That’s approximately how much James Dolan spent on the Knicks’ payroll dating back to 2001 before the franchise finally won a playoff series last season.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: It’s sibling revelry for Smith family (Sat, 26 Oct 2013 03:55:31 GMT)

    The little brother and the big man were among those to survive the Knicks’ five roster cuts Friday and remain for now on the team’s 15-man roster.    

  • Preseason Recap: Bobcats 85, Knicks 83

    Since it’s Friday night and I’m sure all of y’all have far better, funner, more exciting-er things to do than stay up late waiting for some preseason grades for a dull, annoying defeat, especially since for the bulk of the evening it looked for all intents and purposes like the ‘Bockers were going to cruise to a giddily silly, easy preseason victory over a BobHorCatNets team that was without Big Al Jefferson.

    We’ll try to keep the nervous biting of our fingernails down to bloody, culicle-strewn nubs to the minimum and repeat our fave October mantra—Knicku My?h? Preseasonenge Ky?—whilst we take a gander at some of the things we saw.

    Guh. After a rollicking first half, in which they built the lead up to 19 points, they went Ice Station Zebra cold in the third, notching 12 points, missing what seemed like 1,642.6 shots in a row (4-22 total. Math doesn’t seem to exactly square up there. Gotta git one o’ them baskeball nerds to ‘spain what the margin of error is on my tabulations) in total, once of which was JR’s last-second, air guitar-inspiring heave.

     

     

    They kept the advantage in the high single digits throughout the bulk of the final stanza, but then Kemba Walker—you know, another point guard who is swift of foot—started getting awfully toasty, and Son of Wood insisted on putting the starting five back in the game, even though said starters were possibly the least impressive quintet out of the multiple, Rubik’s Cube like variations the (thank God he shaved) Goateed One had at his disposal. So you lost the Snoopy Bowl, Mike. Rex Ryan’s gonna come over to your house and scream at you real loud for that.

    And of course, the Knicks insisted on force-feeding the ball into Melo’s eager mitts, even on a night where nothing was falling, and they just kept ISO-ing and stagnantly jab-stepping away until the North Carolinians pulled ahead. On the last possession, I dunno, maybe they’re saving all the good plays for when these things count, but a down screen to clear out the ball for Anthony at the three point line so he can massage the rock for a few seconds before launching a contested 15 footer lacks imagination/creativity/proof activity in any of the four lobes of the cerebral hemisphere.

    Then again, perhaps he didn’t want to risk yet another soporific, Canadian, double overtime affair. In that case, good job, Coach.

    Knicku Myoho Preseasonenge Kyo…

    Of course, it wasn’t an entirely derp-tastic, grating evening. Let’s start with the things that are good, shall we?.

    BALL MOVEMENT: In the first half, he ball movement that we’ve all grown so fond of decided to show up for the fancy-shmancy new MSG unveiling. The second possession of the game featured a super-pretty Melo-Felton screen hand off followed immediately by a second one between Felt and Chander, freeing up the latter for a wide open anger-fueled TysonSmash. Of course, when the two PG-unit, this time featuring the all-Furriner stylings of Prigs and Udrih took the floor…kaboom! Pick and rolls at the top of the key, kickout passes to the weakside, spacing! Happiness! Rainbow-colored unicorns bearing comely maidens of virtue true holding plates of double fudge brownies with macadamia nuts n’ stuff! Three straight wide open treys splashing joyously through the net. Hm. Might be something worth considering…nah, fergit it. Chicks don’t dig smallball, mang.

    RELATION TO CAA AND/OR THE SMITH FAMILY: Hard to say. You would think that a massive, uber-powerful corporate entity would be into sharing the wealth…actually, strike that. I’m sure they’re operating with a Rand-ian lust for self-improvement, even at the expense of the greater good. CAA agents probably hog the ball like Mofos.

    DOES IT SURVIVE THE FINAL CUTDOWN: Sad to say, but CAA disapproves. Therefore, no more ball movement.

    Knicku Myoho Preseasonenge Kyo…

     

    DEFENSE: Defense? Yes, really. Defense. Granted, those cats from down south aren’t exactly the SSoL Suns, firepower-wise. But still, as a whole, they seemed a step or two quicker in reacting and rotating, especially closing out on shooters at the three point line. Our Italian friend too, did a much better job at helping at the rim, doing a nice job snuffing out a couple of Walker’s drives. Martin was active and springy and shout-y in his first live action, which is certainly nice for those of us who equally feared that Cole Aldrich and Bargs would be the sole backup pivots and Tyson getting pressed into 35 or more MPG. Heck, even Amar’e had a few solid sequences And yes, I think using the six fouls that he has allotted to him in whatever sub-20 minute restriction he’s working under as “solid,” or at least a productive usage of the resources at hand. Aggressive (or slightly over-aggressive) hackery is better than the glassy-eyed torpor that we’re used to from STAT.

    RELATION TO CAA AND/OR THE SMITH FAMILY: To quote JR: “We want to be a defensive ballclub and I think he’s (Chris’s) a great defensive-minded player. He puts a lot of pressure on the ball when he guards it and he just flat-out likes to guard people.” They are a defensive lot, the Smiths.

    DOES IT SURVIVE THE FINAL CUTDOWN: Indeed it does. Dee-fense! (clap, clap) Dee-fense! (clap, clap)

    Knicku Myoho Preseasonenge Kyo…

     

    JR AND STAT ARE BACK!: Well, that was a pleasant surprise! Our ol’ pals shed their walking boots and German platelets and bandages and cyborg-esque joint braces and actually played pro ball! I certainly didn’t think we’d see either of these two. I get starting the countdown on the suspension clock ASAP for JR, but Amar’e seems to have healed a lot quicker than any of us thought possible, especially after three visits to the surgeon in the last calendar year. Both looked like reasonable facsimiles of their former, healthy selves. STAT ha a couple of his now-trademark spin post ups and Smith’s fadeaway splashed the net more often than not. It’s not surprising that he didn’t have the burst to explode to the net yet, and there were a couple of times that his heave came awful early in the shot clock…but, well, that’s JR Smith.

    RELATION TO CAA AND/OR THE SMITH FAMILY: JR is not, funnily enough, related to JR. Unless…wait. There are TWO JR SMITHs. Good JR and Bad JR. Maybe that’s how he can rock and roll all night and par-tay ev-er-y day! One goes out carousing with the ladies and the other goes to practice on time and stuff. And sometimes the two of them get confused which is which and so that’s why he can look like an all-star one moment and the foulest spawn of Lucifer the next! So yes, JR is related to JR.

    DOES IT SURVIVE THE FINAL CUTDOWN: JR Smith has made the roster. Which JR it is remains to be seen.

    Knicku Myoho Preseasonenge Kyo…

     

    3,603,600: That’s how many different lineup combinations Woodson has at his disposal, disregarding the fact that certain players can really only play certain positions. The above figure includes a Tyson-Cole-Bargs-Martin-STAT pairing. Oh crap. No one show Woody this recap. He might try that, because size and rebounding or something. I mention this bit of abacus usage because it seems like Son of Wood tried out at least half those permutations tonight.

    Once the starters left the game we were treated to a dizzying parade of possibilities. There was the cheesecloth frontcourt, which led to this tweet:

    And this one..

     

    They were joined on court by JR and Prigs. It started off kind of badly, two straight turnovers by Bargs and STAT, followed hard upon by some sort of zone, which gifted offensive wunderkind Bismarck Biyombo a wide open dunk. But then, things started to click. Pablo drained a three after pausing for what seemed like eons to contemplate his shoe/make sure he was over the line. I assumed he was composing a romantic ode to his laces but he couldn’t remember what the word is for those plastic thingies on the tips.

    Shortly after, they trotted out a super small ball unit, featuring STAT-Metta-JR-Prigs-Tim Jr., with K-Mart and Udrih subbing in for Amar’e and JR. Like wave after wave of unkillable zombies they. Just. Kept. Coming.

    Seriously though, this team runs 12-deep. They’ve got the talent and the versatility to play all manner of styles. And the hardest thing is going to be figuring out which one of them to utilize/works best. Injuries probably will make this a moot point, but if Woody wants to keep folks rested, he’s certainly got the Hessians coming in fresh as a summer morn to do it.

    They do need nicknames, however. Here are some fine examples for the unhinged, let’s call them, Metta-Kenyon-Earl Jr. Trio.

     

     

     

     

     

    Feel free to add your own.

    RELATION TO CAA AND/OR THE SMITH FAMILY: Vertical integration and corporate synergy are incredibly valuable to long-term market power and stability. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it sounds buzzword-y and plausible, so we’ll say yes.

    DOES IT SURVIVE THE FINAL CUTDOWN: CAA’s shadowy senior partners say yay.

    And that should cover it. There were some more lovelies, like how awesome Shump is playing and the sensitive mic near the basket that caught Melo bellowing, “TYSON GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE,” when they both went up to snaggle a rebound, and some not so lovelies, like Metta smooshing a pale, oh-so-fragile looking, Children of the Corn-ish kid when diving, Oakley-like, into the stands for a loose ball…

     

    BXdyIjEIAAAFuQQ

     

    …and the MSG Network’s incessant pimping of the kajillion dollar bridges and scoreboards and possibly NSA-level listening devices they implanted at the faboo new Garden. Seriously, guys. I got it. I’ll come to the games in person if the team’s good, but this perpetual, unceasing selling feels painfully huckster-ish. It’s an arena, not a ShamWOW.

    Wednesday night, y’all. The real deal. Your 2013-14 New York Knickerbockers!

    Knicku Myoho Preseasonenge Kyo…

    Knicks Morning News (Friday, Oct 25 2013)

  • [New York Times] Blazers Beat Warriors 90-74 in Preseason Finale (Fri, 25 Oct 2013 07:13:03 GMT)

    The taxing preseason, which included two games in China, is finally over. Whether the Golden State Warriors are ready to live up to lofty expectations remains unclear.    

  • [New York Times] Harden, Howard Help Rockets Roll Past Spurs (Fri, 25 Oct 2013 02:43:05 GMT)

    James Harden had 22 points and 11 assists, Dwight Howard added 15 points and 16 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets routed the San Antonio Spurs 109-92 on Thursday night.    

  • [New York Times] Pistons Beat Wolves on Smith’s 3-Pointer (Fri, 25 Oct 2013 02:16:02 GMT)

    Josh Smith made a 3-pointer as time expired and finished with 20 points to lift the Detroit Pistons to a 99-98 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night in both teams’ exhibition finale.    

  • [ESPN.com – New York Knicks] Melo's heart-to-heart with J.R. (Fri, 25 Oct 2013 00:33:40 EDT)

    NEW YORK — New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said he had a “heart-to-heart” with longtime teammate J.R. Smith when news surfaced that Smith had been suspended five games for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy.Anthony delivered a dose of tough love to Smith during the conversation.”The time is now,” Anthony said he told Smith. “You’ve got to want to help yourself. Everybody else wants to help you but if you don’t want to help yourself, that defeats the purpose.

  • [New York Daily News] J.R. to see first game action for Knicks (Fri, 25 Oct 2013 02:15:54 GMT)

    J.R. Smith visited Lambeau Field with a few teammates the other day when the Knicks were in Green Bay. Coming off knee surgery and still not feeling like his old explosive self, he didn’t try to do a Lambeau Leap on the field where they coined the term “the frozen tundra.”