The Knicks are 8-1 to start the season and it isn’t a fluke — this is a team that plays legitimately good defense and with Carmelo Anthony at the four (and Raymond Felton playing smartly at the point).
But there remains a big question looming about this team — what happens when Amare Stoudemire returns?
If you start Anthony at the four and move ‘Melo back to the three, are the Knicks going to look a lot like last season’s offensively challenged Knicks that were destined for a first round loss. The ones with Stoudemire looking lost and ‘Melo jacking long, contested twos.
Coach Mike Woodson isn’t worried — while the pair struggled together in Mike D’Antoni’s system they were 8-2 together for Woodson. Here is what he told Newsday (hat tip to SLAM).
“I can’t think about what happened before I took over. As a coach, I feel good about both of them playing together on the floor at the same time. That’s not going to change.”
There been talk — and I think smart talk — about bringing Stoudemire off the bench, but it doesn’t sound like Woodson is thinking that way long term. When asked more directly Woodson pretty much dodged the question.
“I’m going to address that when I get to that point,” Woodson said. “Right now, I’m just taking it a day at a time and working the guys we have in uniform as we speak.”
He can dodge it for now. But when Stoudemire returns from his October knee surgery at some point next month he is going to have to deal with it.
And the answer to that question of how the two stars play together, will determine the rest of the Knicks season.
Warriors guard Klay Thompson possessed the ball for 1:28 last night.
Teammate Ian Clark had it for 2:05.
Obviously, Thompson made a little more of his opportunities.
Thompson scored an insane 60 points in 29 minutes in Golden State’s win over the Pacers.
Remarkably, he didn’t hijack the offense to produce those eye-popping numbers. Thompson shot a cool 21-of-33 from the field, and 20 of his baskets were assisted. In addition to Clark, Stephen Curry,Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston all possessed the ball longer than Thompson.
In fact, nobody has come close to scoring so much while having the ball so little.
Here are the highest scoring games since the NBA began publishing possession time in 2013-14, marking points in time of possession:
The the second-lowest time of possession on that leaderboard was also by Thompson. He scored 52 points in 2:40 of possession against the Kings in 2015.
But even that game required more than a minute of extra touch time.
Who has scored the most points in a game while possessing the ball for fewer than two minutes? Again, Thompson litters the list – with last night blowing the rest out of the water:
- Klay Thompson (GSW-IND 12-5-16):60 in 1:28
- Klay Thompson (GSW-DAL 1-27-16):45 in 1:40
- Bojan Bogdanovic (BRK-PHI 3-15-16):44 points in 1:53
- Klay Thompson (GSW-PHO 12-16-15):43 in 1:17
- Anthony Davis (NOP-UTA 11-22-14):43 points in 1:36
Maybe Thompson knew what he was talking about when he said he wasn’t sacrificing for Durant. Even with his usage rate down slightly, Thompson has still found ways to flourish. He gets hot in a hurry.
It does take him a while to cool down, though.
Ever been so excited you didn’t know to react?
That was Stephen Curry as Klay Thompson worked his way toward 60 points in 29 minutes, running from the bench toward midcourt then doubling back and heading right into the tunnel.
Eventually, Curry found his senses and tried to put out the fire.
After the Rockets matched the Nets’ offer sheet, Donatas Motiejunas skipped his Houston physical today.
It doesn’t sound as if Motiejunas will become more cooperative anytime soon.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Unlike previous examples of Armstrong making foolish points to protect his clients, this could be a path that bites his client.
Motiejunas’ rights here were collectively bargained, and they’re pretty clear here.
He has a right not to undergo the physical within two days of Houston matching, but that means the Rockets can hold him in limbo through March 1. On March 2, his offer sheet would become void, and he’d be a restricted free agent – and unable to sign with Brooklyn for a year. Houston could also elect to formalize its offer match or make him a restricted free agent – still without the ability to sign with Brooklyn for a year – at any point between now and March 1.
Motiejunas probably wants the Rockets to “fail” him on his physical, which would send him to the Nets under the terms of the offer sheet. I doubt he’d even need to actually come in for a checkup if the failing is prearranged. But that’d require Houston general manager Daryl Morey squandering an asset out of the goodness of his heart.
Otherwise, Motiejunas is heading toward exercising his right to not get paid – while losing the ability for one year to sign with the one team outside Houston we know wants him.
The Nets’ signed Rockets restricted free agent Donatas Motiejunas to an offer sheet. Houston elected to match.
Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
Houston has a right to demand Motiejunas undergo a physical within two days of exercising its matching rights, which it did yesterday. Motiejunas is requires to answer questions truthfully and supply requested medical information.
If Motiejunas fails to meet those requirements, he hangs in limbo until the Rockets decide his fate.
At any time between now and March 1, they could elect to undo their offer-sheet match. That would invalidate Motiejunas’ offer sheet and make him a restricted free agent again, and the Nets couldn’t sign him for a year. On March 2, the same effect will become automatic.
I don’t see what Motiejunas gains by not reporting. If he fails his Houston physical, he’d go to Brooklyn on the terms of the offer sheet.
By not undergoing the physical, he goes nowhere.