Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Another Knicks Rant

I pose a serious question: does anyone legitimately like the Knicks right now? I’m not talking about an undying love for your favorite team; plenty of us still like them in that way. But does anyone enjoy watching the starting five on a nightly basis? How could anyone answer yes to this?

Never mind their atrocious record. Forget the fact that the most incompetent executive in the history of sports is not only still running the team, but is still fully supported by the team’s owner. And try to brush aside the coach, who has done little but stroke his own ego this season. Just look at the five guys they start on a nightly basis.

Sure, it’s not consistent, but you basically know what you’re getting: Marbury, Richardson (though since he’s been hurt it’s been Franchise), Curry, Rose, and then sometimes you get Channing Frye (good idea), and sometimes you get Malik Rose (not bad, but I still don’t like him). In essence, they run a four-guard set, with Frye sometimes (depending on Larry’s mood) playing the role of second big man. But there is an inherent flaw in this lineup philosophy:

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EDDIE CURRY CANNOT BE THE ONLY BIG MAN ON THE FLOOR!

I understand that using all caps and exclamation points are the mark of an immature writer, but I feel that they are warranted in this situation. If you’re going to have a team of slashers and shooters, you best have a big man who can play some D down low, dominate the defensive boards, and give your team an adequate number of second chance opportunities. Curry does none of these. And yet, he’s the only “untouchable” player on the Knicks roster, when in fact he should be traded for 15 cents on the dollar.

That’s okay, though; there have been successful offensive-minded big men in the league before. You just need a defensive-minded big man to complement him. Unfortunately, Frye is not that guy. I’ve been saying this since Frye started to get hot early in the season: the Knicks will never find success starting those two. There’s just no way you can win with a two big men that only know how to score. Maybe Frye will prove me wrong in the off-season, hitting the gym and adding some girth. But that seems like too simple – and possibly unattainable – of a solution.

So they have two offensive-minded big men, one who powers inside and one who shoots. Okay, so maybe there are a few guards who can shore up and play D at the first level, helping out the defensively impotent big men. Too bad the Knicks sorely lack that as well. Quentin Richardson is highly lauded by Brown for his fine defensive skills, which is nice, but he’s hurt. We know Marbury can play D, but only when he feels like it. And since he doesn’t like his current situation, he’s obviously dogging it. Francis has been completely unimpressive thus far as a defender, and Jamal Crawford still looks lost when he’s attempting to contain an opponent. Nate Robinson tries the hardest on defense, but 1) he doesn’t get enough playing time and 2) he’s still figuring out ways to overcome his height disadvantage. But he’s got heart. He could certainly develop into a more than adequate defender.

I don’t think it took my words to prove that the team is flawed at the core. They have star talent, but no real team concept. By accumulating these players and their atrocious contracts, Isiah Thomas has successfully diminished their trade value. Who is going to trade for Marbury or Francis? Maybe – and this is a stretch – but maybe Kevin McHale will be desperate enough to unload KG (yes, McHale is a moron) that he’ll take on Francis in a potential trade. But not even McHale is dumb enough to consummate such a trade without fleecing the Knicks for one of their rookies (probably Frye) and a future first rounder. How is that productive?

I’m sorry to vent like this, as I’ve ranted similarly in recent weeks. But after watching the Knicks lose to the Raptors – and seeing Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson proving their worth as the two starting guards – I’m as frustrated as ever. With Frye, Crawford, Robinson, and Lee, the Knicks have a core of relatively cheap, viable talent who are cast aside by overpaid hotdogs. The only solution is to rid the team of said hotdogs, but our GM doesn’t believe in such a philosophy.

A few Knicks tidbits before I stop ranting now (and I promise I’ll try to keep quiet as the Knicks get shellacked by Darko and the Magic tonight).

Francis wants to be traded. Well, he wants to start or be traded, and I think the latter is a mighty fine option. Twenty-five cents on the dollar. Any takers?

Channing hurts his knee. D’oh! If it’s anything remotely serious, he should pack it up and begin preparation for 2006-2007. He could start by hitting the gym, the lanky motherfucker.