The New York Knicks are a team that can’t win consistently without Tyson Chandler in the lineup.
You can blame that on whomever you wish — coach Mike Woodson, management, James Dolan, Justin Bieiber, there is plenty of blame to go around — but it remains a fact they need him on defense to protect the rim, plus Chandler is a boost on offense.
And they get him back Wednesday night at Milwaukee.
The Knicks made it official after shootaround. It’s not a shock, his return was expected this week, still it is the best news the Knicks have had in a long time.
Chandler played just four games before suffering a fracture of the right fibula that has sidelined him since. Still, those four games showed what he meant to New York — the Knicks’ defense allowed 92.2 points per 100 possessions when Chandler is on the court and 107.1 when he sat. (The Knicks last five games they have allowed 106.4 per 100 possessions and went 2-3.)
This is a good game to ease him back in — the Bucks are a team the Knicks should beat handily and be able to get Chandler some rest.
However he’s not going to get a lot of rest going forward. Because they are in the Leastern Conference they are still just three games out of a playoff slot at 7-17, but there is a lot of pressure on the Knicks (read: Mike Woodson) to turn this ship around right now. They are going to lean on Chandler to do that.
By the way, another reason to watch this game: Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks rookie is just a joy to watch and could be starting soon.
DeMarcus Cousins had a bitter exit from the Kings, but that won’t be the last they see of him.
Cousins’ Pelicans will host Sacramento tomorrow night.
Not that Cousins rushed to talk about the matchup.
Justin Verrier of ESPN:
Cousins is pretty funny when joking with the media, and his smile is contagious. Just listen to all the laughs Cousins generates as he goes through his shtick.
Bonus points to Cousins for eventually breaking down and providing real answers. Some of his relationships in Sacramento were clearly meaningful to him, and he wanted to acknowledge those — even if he’d prefer just to get past this awkward game and all the talk it invites.
Lauri Markkanen is 7-foot and made 42% of his 3-pointers this season.
That combination alone will have NBA teams drooling, and the Arizona freshman will capitalize.
Evan Daniels of Scout:
Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen is declaring for the NBA Draft and is expected to sign with an agent, multiple sources told Scout.
Markkanen seems pretty certain to get picked in the lottery, likely in the top 10.
Calling him a good shooter for his height undersells him. It’s not just he shoots so efficiently from deep, it’s that he can generate 3-pointers in so many ways — pick-and-pops, spot-ups, off off-ball screens and even running pick-and-rolls himself. Having the height to shoot over defenders is his most noticeable asset, but don’t undersell his mobility.
Markkanen also finishes well at the rim and offensively rebounds at extremely impressive clip for someone who spends so much time on the perimeter. Those interior skills instill belief he will eventually become a suitable defender.
There are a couple red flags. He’s old for a freshman, turning 20 before the draft. He leaves plenty to be desired defensively, especially due to his lack of strength.
But his size and shooting are tantalizing. That’s plenty for now.
Watch for Collin Sexton in the 2018 NBA draft.
In the meantime, the Alabama commit had all eyes — include Dwyane Wade‘s — on him with this pass in the McDonald’s All-American Game last night.
Carmelo Anthony scored just nine points on 12 shots in the Knicks loss to the Heat last night — well below his season averages of 22 points on 19 shots per game.
Anthony, via Ian Begley of ESPN:
“I see the writing on the wall. I see what it is,” Anthony said late Wednesday night. “I see what they’re trying to do, and it’s just me accepting that. That’s what puts me at peace. Just knowing and understanding how things work. I’m at peace with that.”
Is Anthony talking about just the Knicks’ final dozen games of this season, when they’re clearly interesting in testing less-proven players? Or is he referring to his entire tenure in New York?
Anthony has said he’d consider waiving his no-trade clause if the Knicks want to rebuild, and they’ll reportedly try again to trade him this offseason. Perhaps, this is Anthony indicating he’s warming up to the idea of allowing a trade.
Anthony’s and Kristaps Porzingis‘ timelines are barely compatible, if at all. It’d make sense for the Knicks to go in a different direction.
Could Anthony be at peace with that?