Carmelo Anthony understands it — the difference between the Bulls and Heat versus his Knicks is defense. Last season the Bulls and Heat were both top five in defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions), the Knicks were 23rd giving up seven more points per 100. That won’t get it done.
And ‘Melo is committed to change it. No, not just by watching Tyson Chandler do all the work, but by defending himself.
Stop laughing city of Denver. He means it. Here is what he told Newsday.
“I get tired of hearing we don’t play defense, I don’t play defense,” he said after the game. “I just wanted to get out there and do it. I just wanted to show it….”
Long before the arrival of Tyson Chandler, Anthony said the Knicks “can be a great defensive team” and put himself out in front of that mission.
“I’ll lead that charge,” he said in October. “I’ll take that stance . . . At the end of the day, we will be a great defensive team.”
The Knicks are not going to be the Heat or Bulls defensively, but they don’t need to be. They are going to score a lot with Anthony and Amare Stoudemire, New York just needs to play good defense and they are going to win a lot.
Tyson Chandler alone can raise the Knicks to an average defensive team, but it will take a full commitment like Anthony is talking about to do any better. Well, honestly it’s going to take some better defensive players on the roster to make more big strides, but if the attitude is right it will be a big step.
We’ll see how long it lasts.
Amar’e Stoudemire didn’t come to New York so his wife could have a reality television show, he came there to win. He came to transform the Knicks from a decade of despair back into a team you had to respect. He came before there were other stars there.
And he knows the Knicks were basically a .500 team last season because they were 22nd in the league in defense (using points per possession). That’s the end of the where the changes have to take place.
Which is why Stoudemire told the New York Daily News he is excited to see Mike Woodson added to Mike D’Antoni’s staff as a defensive specialist.
“I think it’s great,” Stoudemire said Wednesday. “It’s definitely what we talked about, improving defensively. With the help of Mike (Woodson) it’s going to be really positive for us. But it’s up to us as players to take that commitment and implement it.”
A commitment from players is nice, but the Knicks need some personnel changes, too — they need a defensive minded big man in the middle. Their Tyson Chandler or Kendrick Perkins. No doubt Ronny Turiaf will give it his all but he is not the guy, there aren’t many of those guys. The Knicks need one because I don’t think “commitment” do defense will be enough with this roster. If they are going to be serious title contenders they need some defensive players to go with the scoring forward tandem.
Everyone agrees that the Knicks didn’t play much defense last season.
Whether you go points per game (28) or the superior points per possession (22) the Knicks were near the bottom of the league in defense. Part of that is that the roster is not exactly loaded with guys who think defense first and then having undersized Ronny Turiaf as your best choice as a big man trying to defend the paint. But part of it is system — Mike D’Antoni has never coached great defensive teams.
The Knicks front office wants that to change, according to the New York Daily News — they may force him to hire an assistant coach who will take over the defense. A defensive coordinator, if you will.
According to several sources, the front office will encourage D’Antoni to revamp his coaching staff to hire a defensive coach. In the past, D’Antoni has been reluctant to seek outside help, most famously refusing Steve Kerr’s request four years ago to hire Tom Thibodeau in Phoenix.
There are some assistants known for the defense who may be available, including Lawrence Frank, the Boston assistant and former Nets head coach (his contract is up this summer, although he is considered a head coaching candidate a few places, including Boston if Doc Rivers steps away).
This could be an issue on two fronts. One is autonomy of decisions — D’Antoni isn’t going to want another chef in the kitchen, he wants to make his own decisions.
Secondly, how does a new defensive system mesh with his seven-second-or-less offense? A defensive system like is run in Chicago and Boston (the Thibodeau system) has a team of guys deep in protecting the paint, which will slow their push up court. The Celtics and Bulls were 22 and 23 in the league in pace this season for a reason.
Walsh is in the middle of a couple of days of meetings with owner James Dolan. It is expected that at the end of this Walsh will be retained as team president for two more seasons. As much as anyone can expect logic from the Knicks owner, anyway.