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ESPN ANALYSTS FIND OBVIOUS TRENDS AMONGST KNICKS

image ESPN’s top NBA analysts Ric Buecher and John Hollinger combined their skills, tools and observations to find trends within the Knicks. The analysis is tucked away in the Insider which requires a subscription for this “insider information.”  Unfortunately in this case, it seems that their combined effort is no more than common sense.

First they determine that the player “trending up” is Wilson Chandler.  Hollinger expects Wilson’s player efficiency rating to increase slightly but not drastically.   He writes:

Chandler will start at small forward again and has a good chance to build on last season’s numbers since he’s only 22. It’s unlikely his playing time will increase much this season, especially if Danilo Gallinari is healthy, so any uptick in Chandler’s numbers will have to come from either finding more shots or converting more of the ones he takes. Either is possible, but we’re talking about incremental shifts here with a gradual build. He’ll probably lift his percentages a bit and average around 15 points per game, which is solid. Just don’t expect the moon based on a superficial reading of last season’s numbers.

The player thought to be trending downward is Darko Milicic.  He believes that Milicic is little more than good trade bait around playoff time:

What? You thought Darko would be reborn in Gotham? Let’s curb the enthusiasm. The Grizzlies traded Milicic to New York for Quentin Richardson, and Milicic will serve as the backup center and provide one of the few sources of defense in the basket area for New York. He’s a good option to bring off the bench for 20 minutes a night for that reason, but he may get lost in the Knicks’ run-and-gun approach. Additionally, he doesn’t have the skill level to finish pick-and-roll plays, the bread-and-butter of New York’s half-court game.

According to Bucher, Jordan Hill is the “name to know” which is translated to mean that Knicks hopes may rest on his shoulders as much as Danilo Galinari’s.  However, he expects little from the raw forward.

Most rookies have an easier time if they can play a role alongside an established star. The Knicks don’t have any bona-fide stars, but their post players, Lee and Al Harrington, have strengths, meaning they won’t yield easily to the rookie. Hill is not going to outrebound Lee, and Hill showed no signs in the summer league of having a superior inside-outside game to Harrington’s. So what does he do to make his mark?

Chances are, he won’t. He’ll be just another guy in the rotation, much like Gallinari. And that won’t help Walsh that much.

As I see it, these are all safe observations and predictions that tell us little about how the Knicks will fare this year.  The key to the Knicks is how well D’Antoni will be able to institute his offense (and whether they will play any defense).  I was cracking up earlier this morning because last year I spent a little time on the Fix, where Chris Duhon was treated like a God, criticizing Duhon and Walsh because their actions dismantled D’Antoni’s offensive scheme and turned it into a half-court pick and roll offense.  The only way that changes is if the conditioning and mind-set of the bigs handling the ball on in-bounds or rebounds and the guards bringing up the ball change their mind-set and move the ball (not themselves) quickly up the court.

Consequently, D’Antoni will be looking to Danilo Galinari and his guard corp to direct the offense. As, I  will write later, Galinari is being put in an awfully difficult challenge but what you must like about him is that he has a great competitive mentality which is an important part of what makes a great player.  Still, the Knicks are probably asking too much of him, his conditioning and his understanding of the NBA game.  With so much weight on Galinari it is highly likely he will “peeter out” by the all-star break.

Regarding Chandler, we all expect him to play better and hopefully with more anger and aggression.  However, the problem regarding Chandler is that the D’Antoni staff must begin to maximize this kid’s skills.  He has the ability to have a nice inside game, but turning him into a three point shooter will ultimately hurt his game and confidence.  We can expect the local Beats to pound on his image by interpreting his laid back, deferential and youthful approach to the game as having a “low basketball IQ.”  (That term rankles me coming from the Beats who understand the game far less than most of the players and have a paper trail of prognostications and observations to prove it.)

D’Antoni’s handling of Curry and Milicic will decide how quickly he can get the team to play consistent ball with each other.  No one really expects much from Curry who will probably not be in D’Antoni game shape.  That would require D’Antoni to alter his “game” for another season. I am not very familiar with Milicic’s game although I have reviewed a lot of tape.  I haven’t seen him get the opportunity to demonstrate all those skills he supposedly has, so I reserve judgment for the moment.

As mentioned before, the key to the Knicks will be the guard corp and whether someone can step up and displace Duhon from the position of titular point guard.  All eyes are on Toney Douglas as the player who hopefully will trend up and be able to direct D’Antoni’s offense.  He showed an ability to play the up-tempo game during the summer league where almost all the games were horse races from end-to-end.  Otherwise, we may see another season with major in-season trades that can disrupt the teams’ flow.

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Although, I sorta kinda follow ESPN’s power ranking, they really don’t tell you much more than how certain analysts think a team should be ranked. Very subjective.  However, they are still decent entertainment.

This year the Knicks start off at number 26 in the power ranking, under the Nets and above the Wolves, Grizzlies, Bucks and Kings.  We’ll see.

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September 27, 2009 - Posted by | Al Harrington, Chris Duhon, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee, Donnie Walsh, Eddie Curry, Mike D'Antoni, New York Knicks, Toney Douglas | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Injured James hopes to make NBA turnaround with Bulls
    By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

    Published: 9/25/2009 4:58 PM

    Standing 7-feet-1 and weighing more than 300 pounds, it’s tough to miss Jerome James in person. But he’s the forgotten Bull, having been on the shelf with a torn Achilles tendon when acquired from New York last Feb. 19 in the Larry Hughes trade.

    James, 33, played in just 4 games the past two seasons with the Knicks and made only a brief stop in Chicago last spring to get checked out by doctors.

    He was in uniform at Friday’s media event, though, and vowed to play this season.

    “I’m about 65 percent,” James said. “This (injury), every time I try to speed it up, it slows me down. So I’m sticking to the program the Bulls gave me and hopefully here in a month or two, I’ll be ready to play.”

    Many expected James to simply retire, but he listed his main reason for wanting to come back.

    “My kids, they’re starting to read stuff on the Internet that just isn’t true about me,” he said. “A lot of people out there don’t know me or have no idea who I am, what I’m about, what I stand for. So I decided, if I’m going to go out, I’m going to go out on top. Get back right, get back healthy and play basketball again.”

    The highlight of James’ NBA career was averaging 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in the playoffs for Seattle in 2005. The Knicks signed him to a five-year contract that summer, but he contributed little in New York.

    “Unfortunately, it was a bad situation for me in New York,” James said. “Clearly, in Seattle it was the real me. I love the game of basketball.”

    Comment by livesinnewjersey | September 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, and so on.

    Comment by Tman | September 29, 2009 | Reply


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