Tag: Melo to Knicks

Indiana Pacers v New York Knicks

Billups wants Knicks to build team not collect stars


The Knicks have two big stars now — Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire — and New York fans are dreaming of adding Chris Paul or Dwight Howard to that mix. New CBA, what new CBA? Those fans realize the road to the NBA finals out of the Eastern Conference goes through Miami and their three stars for the next few years.

Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups sees something different. He wants to see a team in New York. A real team. A deep team playing as a unit. A team that out executes its opponent. Like he was part of in Detroit in 2004. Like the Mavericks had this season. That’s what he told Chris Tomasson of Hoopshype.

“I think that in any situation you got to get a team,’’ Billups said in a wide-ranging interview at his basketball camp in suburban Denver. “It’s not about names, how many people on your team can make the All-Star Game. It’s not about that at all. It’s about putting the right pieces together. You got to have a cohesive unit. You got to have guys that know to play off of one another, guys that are going to be unselfish on both ends of the floor. Those are things that win championships, and we’ve seen that clear as day in the Finals.’’

“It’s not about that,’’ Billups said of collecting big names on a team. “We got two of the biggest names in basketball already (in Anthony and Stoudemire). It’s not about that. It’s about getting somebody that can play with the talent that you have… You look at the Mavericks, and they just share the basketball every time down the floor… Dirk is one of the best the game has ever seen. But he couldn’t do it by himself… So it’s all about the team….

“We need a lot,’’ said Billups, a five-time All-Star who averaged 16.8 points and 5.4 assists last season. “We got (six) free agents…. We need a lot of stuff. That’s why the front office gets paid the big bucks. It’s their job to do it. It’s our job to execute.’’

He’s got a point. Knicks fans — and their owner — may want that third star, but the new CBA likely will force them to choose another path. Potentially a wiser path, with guys that know how to work with their stars, fill in around their weaknesses. The Knicks need a team with depth that can beat you in multiple ways. A team that executes. The stars they have can certainly be a part of it, but that is just one piece of the puzzle.

Building a team is how they ultimately get by the Heat. Well, that and hope the Heat don’t learn those same lessons…

Isiah Thomas doesn’t deny he helped get ‘Melo to New York

Image (1) iThomas-FIU-thumb-250x299-17794-thumb-250x299-17795.jpg for post 3620

It’s never easy to tell reality with Isiah Thomas.

With him, the truth is messy and convoluted. You want to make it simple — “he was a terrible GM” — but reality is more complex (he made some very good draft picks and showed an eye for spotting talent out of college).

So it is with the recruitment of Carmelo Anthony to New York.

Knicks owner James Dolan stood on the podium and specifically denied that Thomas had consulted or influenced efforts to get Anthony to New York. Nobody around the Knicks believed that.

Thomas, in a fascinating and wide-ranging interview by Bill Reiter of Fox Sports, did not deny he was involved in the Knicks getting ‘Melo.

“I do have a lot of friends,” he says carefully. “And I am asked to advise in a lot of different scenarios. Players, coaches, and … ” A very long pause. “I won’t comment on the Knicks situation, but I do like helping the Knicks, and I do want them to do well.”

Right now, with the Knicks struggling to fit Anthony in and the team losing, plenty of Knicks fans would say this trade has all the markings of a Thomas move. But we do not know how it will turn out in a year or two.

Thomas in this interview vacillates between confident and needy. He desperately wants back in the NBA, he has confidence his friends will back him. To the point he pushed Reiter to call Charles Barkley right then and there, in front of him (without Barkley knowing Thomas was there).

Barkley, as always, was honest.

“He’s coaching right now,” Barkley says. “He got fired, and when you get fired you don’t just go get another job. He’s a great guy and I like him, but he made some bad decisions with the Knicks, like I think everyone knows. He has a job now, so that should be his No. 1 priority. Gotta do that.”

I hang up. I tell Isiah what Barkley said. His face falls.

Thomas all but admitted he struggles as a coach but sees himself as a good talent evaluator. His drafts were solid to very good, but his free agent choices in New York cut him and the franchise off at the knees. Thomas said his problem was more PR than actions.

Thomas was insanely confident of his skills as a player, comparing himself to Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.

“I have no problem saying this at all,” he says. “They’re all 6-(feet)-9 and Jordan was 6-6 and a half. If they were all 6-1, it wouldn’t even be a question. They wouldn’t even f—ing rate. If they were all my size, s—, they wouldn’t even be talked about.

“I beat the s— out of them when they were that big. If we were all the same size, f—.” He stops to laugh good-naturedly. “Make them 6-1 and let’s go on the court.”

Go read the entire article. Like Thomas himself it is conflicting and both impressive and sad all at once.

Other key Knicks shooting worse since ‘Melo’s arrival

New York Knicks v Dallas Mavericks

Since Carmelo Anthony arrived with the Knicks, their offense overall has gotten nominally better. They had averaged 109.8 points per 100 possessions, now that is up to 110.4.

But they haven’t looked good doing it. (And the slightly better offense doesn’t make up for the much worse defense, especially in the fourth quarter. Which is why the Knicks are losing. A lot.)

Other key Knicks have seen their shooting percentages drop since Anthony’s arrival, points out OG Knicks blogger Mike Kurylo at Knickerblogger.

Amar’e Stoudemire has seen a decrease — his true shooting percentage (think points per shot taken, counting free throws and threes) is down 0.5 percent (57 to 56.5 percent) and his points produced per minute is off slightly, also. Landry Fields also has seen a 0.6 decrease in his true shooting percentage, but his points per minute are up slightly as he is getting more shots.

After that Shawne Williams, Ronny Turiaf and Bill Walker all have seen more dramatic drop offs in their shooting percentage and points per minute since Carmelo Anthony’s arrival.

The two players who have seen their numbers go up — Toney Douglas and Roger Mason Junior — both are coming off injuries so their improvement probably have more to do with getting healthy than improved offense.

Part of the problem in New York is that outside of Fields a lot of the guys being asked to do more are guys who played smaller roles before the Knicks traded away all their depth to get Anthony. But added to that is right now there is no flow to the Knicks offense — they play much slower and the ball sticks in the half court, not moving around. Come the playoffs — if they make it — the Knicks will be much easier to defend.

The reasons behind all this are not simple fixes. It doesn’t matter much this season, expectations were overblown for this year anyway, but next season the Knicks need to figure some things out. Because this is New York where expectations are always overblown.