The New York Knicks have lost seven of their last eight, and in that stretch have a bottom eight offense and defense. Carmelo Anthony‘s shoulder is bothering him, there’s concern about the workload for Kristaps Porzingis, and the Knicks remain below .500 and out of the playoffs as of today.
Considering this team made win-now moves last summer bringing in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to go with ‘Melo, everyone around the team should be frustrated.
Porzingis is, as he told Marc Berman of the New York Post after the Knicks fell to the Pacers on Saturday.
“In the moment we were four games out of .500, I said it — I don’t see ourselves as that good of a team yet,’’ Porzingis said in his season’s most candid remarks. “We were still growing. We were winning games, but we still had a lot to learn. It was a good moment based on our talent, but we weren’t there yet and now it’s showing. We got to figure this out and keep growing as a team. It’s not coming together yet. It’s frustrating.’’
All season the problems with the Knicks have started on the defensive end, but the fears that Rose and Anthony can be ball stoppers and inefficient have come true as well — the Knicks are 1-12 when Rose takes 17 or more shots. That’s not a coincidence.
Knicks fans would understand a rough season or two if they could see a plan of bringing in young players to build a foundation with and around Porzingis, but the feeling that there can never be a rebuild in New York has the organization stuck. Until the mentality changes in the front office, we may just see variations of this team on the court.
Don’t know who Davis Bertans is? He’s Latvian, taken in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Pacers. He was a throw-in from Indiana as part of the George Hill/Kawhi Leonard trade (that the Spurs already won).
And he’s the latest guy the Spurs found, kept and eye on, groomed and now seem to have turned into a player. The forward with the versatile game — he was always a shooter but now brings much more to the table, including solid defense — dropped 21 on the Hornets. Charlotte packed the paint and so Bertans (and other Spurs) made them pay with threes, he hit 4-of-5 from deep.
And when he did get to the lane, he threw it down with authority.
Bertans is the kind of quality depth player that fits well in what Gregg Popovich wants to do, which allows the Spurs to just keep on winning.
Timofey Mozgov saw his role shrink in Cleveland last season, but he was still there in the end when they won a championship ring. He may have wanted to stay, but when the Lakers came calling with a four-year, $64 million offer that nobody else was going to match, well, what did you expect him to do?
That doesn’t mean it’s not a shock to go from contender to team on pace to win 29 games (and give its high lottery pick to the Sixers, but that’s another story). Mozgov admitted he missed playing for the Cavaliers to 60smol.com (via Eurohoops.net).
“To be honest I miss that place,” said the Russian big guy. When asked what made it so special, he added, “Everything was special.”
As for the current Lakers, Mozgov said.
“So far we got some tough losses. But I think we’ll soon play the same as played in the beginning of the season. Be together and enjoy the game. We’ll be good.”
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Mozgov. Part of the reason the Lakers offered him such a massive contract, beyond providing a big presence in the paint this season, is as a trade chip for the future. The Lakers have their young core for the future, but they will need the right pieces to go around them, and Mitch Kupchak/Jim Buss brought in some trade chips to give them options. The Lakers aren’t expected to make a move at this trade deadline, but in a year or so, who knows.
Russell Westbrook is known for his athleticism and ability to attack the rim — 32 percent of his shot attempts this season have come inside three feet.
Not Saturday night — only one of his 20 shot attempts did. Westbrook pulled up for 12 three pointers, but he hit seven of them on the way to 32 points, 17 rebounds, and 11 assists.
That got the Thunder a 121-106 win over Denver, ending a three-game losing streak as the Thunder go through a tough January in terms of schedule. The Thunder are now 22-16, on pace to win 48 games,
Usually a spin into a step-back three is not a good shot, but when you’re as hot as Jimmy Butler is lately everything is going to fall.
Butler hit the shot above in OT to seal the Bulls win over the Raptors, and he finished with 42 points and 10 boards on the night. Butler has been playing like an MVP the past couple weeks — not the kind of guy that should be coming up in trade rumors.
This week the Bulls knocked off the Hornets, then the Cavaliers, and now the Toronto Raptors. None of it happens without Butler playing this well.