Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Is It Time To Panic?
I usually reserve judgment on a team until at least a third of the season has passed, and in this shortened NBA season that time frame should probably be adjusted a bit what with the lack of practice time and an adequate preseason. Except the Knicks look like garbage. And not just any garbage that can be easily cleaned up or taken out to the curb on a Monday night. No, hot, stinky, wet garbage that sits in the middle of one of those old ladies houses on Hoarders. I'm usually optimistic in that obnoxious way that only a Yankee fan can be (and I give Mets fans like Snoot and M@d $cientist a hard time about their intrinsic sad sack rooting style) but after witnessing nearly a month of Knicks 2012 basketball I can say with confidence that they are not a good team. A certain lack of timing is expected with barely any practices after an extended offseason, but even keeping that in mind, there are serious flaws with this team. We all knew letting Chauncey Billups angrily take off for Lob City would be a downgrade at point guard, but did anyone think Toney Douglas would be THIS BAD? Toney's a solid back up guard that can bring the ball up (I hesitate to call him a point guard) but as a starter, he makes me yearn for the glory days of Howard Eisley and Moochie Norris. When he's not hitting his 3 (as he has not been doing with remarkable consistency since he got yanked from the starting lineup) or little tear drop, he's absolutely useless as a person. Iman Shumpert has been a pleasant surprise with his defense and hustle, but we can't expect a rookie to run the point, especially one that goes 5 for 20 from the floor and doesn't seem to know how to throw a pass. It's gotten to the point that Knicks fans have resorted to holding out hope for a savior in Baron Davis. The often injured, usually overweight guy who has been known to quit on a team or two. Still, he'd be an upgrade (the white chick from Hang Time would be at this point) and would at least be able to run a simple pick and roll.
Besides the tragic point guard situation, there are other pot holes on the way to that victory parade that idiots envisioned when the Knicks signed the over rated Tyson Chandler. Surprisingly, defense isn't the biggest problem on a Mike D'Antoni coached team. Sure, they mostly suck on defense, switching on every opposing team's pick and roll resulting in horrible mismatches and allowing mediocre players like Ryan Anderson to look like Reggie Miller, but Chandler and Shumpert have been very good defenders and the team's been able to show flashes of holding teams down. The problem is the offense. It's been beyond terrible. Mike's basic set seems to be give the ball to Carmelo, let him hold it for 15 seconds and then either throw it up towards the hoop or pass to some other guy who has no idea what to do on a basketball court. Where's the movement and dynamic shooting that was a staple of the offensive genius's best teams? Sadly, I don't see anything changing until D'Antoni and his moustacheless brother are out on 33rd St. wondering what went wrong and if they can get tickets to see Jersey Boys.
Is it time to panic? Yes. This is a team that is flawed in very important areas for a basketball team (mainly point guard, bench and the ability to shoot a basketball) that probably won't be easily fixed even with time and practice. The best hope the beleaguered Knicks fan base has right now is that Baron Davis comes back to at least play what resembles a point guard (something they don't have right now) and the team's ice cold shooting picks up a little. Or else, it's going to be a long 4 months at the Garden.