Focusing On The Knicks’ Rotation Issues

I’m going to use list form for this, as I have no idea how to coherently put my thoughts together on some of the decisions Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is currently making.

  1. Why the hell are the Knicks starting James White?  I thought White could potentially be a useful rotation player if given the opportunity, but it’s not happening.  I feel sorry for him, he bombed in the dunk contest and when you watch him play in a game it’s blatantly obvious he doesn’t belong on the court.  He has absolutely no idea what to do.  Also, SPACING. White kills all of it – PICTURES!!!!!!

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White is in the bottom right hand corner. The Cavs are paying less attention to him than girls do to me at a bar (not a good thing).

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White is in the top left.  The Cavs paid so little attention to him on this possession, that the only logical reasoning is he had arm pit implants from Vlade Divac or Peja Stojokovic.

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White and Shump on the weak side is comical.  The Cavs completely ignored an entire half the court.

The Knicks didn’t start getting blown out against Cleveland until White was on the bench, but don’t let that trick you. He can’t be playing.

The most logical move is bringing Kidd back into the starting line up or letting J.R. Smith start.  Honestly, I’m fine with any two of Shump, J.R. and Kidd along with Chandler, Melo and Felton – if given time to gel I think any of those units would eventually be successful.  If my only other option is starting Amar’e Stoudemire or White, I would choose STAT, not my first choice, but I’m throwing that out there also.

2. If Pablo Prigioni wasn’t hurt why was he taken out of the rotation?  A step further, why does Prigs not average 15-18 minutes a night.?

Here is Pablo’s shot chart for this season:

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Let’s keep this simple, green is good and there is a lot of green.  Also, basically every shot Prigs takes is either a three pointer or a lay up, he takes limited mid ranger jumpers.

After Steve Novak, Pablo is actually the Knicks second best three pointer shooter at 40%.  He plays defense reasonably well and understands how to play basketball.  I would like him to turn the ball over less and wish he was a bigger threat to break down a defense off the bounce, but within the context of this Knicks team he needs to be playing more.

3. Two lists of numbers with Carmelo Anthony:

-List 1: 41, 36, 45, 37, 45, 40, 40, 45, 41, 39, 44, 39, 44, 27, 37, 44, 40, 43, 41, 28, 42, 40, 40, 43, 42, 14

-List 2: 58, 45, 48, 23, 43, 36, 42, 37, 39, 32, 53, 47, 31, 33, 58, 43, 50, 53, 20, 33, 45, 33, 38, 41, 47

Sadly, neither of those lists are the amount of points Melo has scored in the last 26 games because that would actually rock.

List one is Melo’s minutes and list two is his FG%.  List one features way too many numbers that are 40 and above and list two features too many that are 40 or below.

After the Knicks win against the Cavs this news broke…

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Lets call “a couple weeks” going back to February 13th against the Raptors.  Woodson has played Melo 40 minutes or more in six of seven games before Monday night with a bum knee????  If someone has any explanation for how this is in any way a good idea I’m all ears because common sense says it isn’t. Yes, I would have been willing to sacrifice some wins along the way to keep Melo at 35 to 38 minutes or even giving him an occasional game off.   You know what coach gives his players games off?  Gregg Popovich, that guy is smart, I would like my coach to do more things he does.   Look at the level Tim Duncan is playing at age 36, if you don’t think Pop has something to do with that you’re not paying attention (started limititing Duncan’s minutes when he was 28 years old).

The regression in shooting is potentially tied in with the minutes and nagging injuries for Anthony.  I truly think Melo has improved as a shooter.  He seems to be short on a large amount of his missed three pointers and no longer has the range he did early in the season when he had the ability to hit transition threes from two or three feet behind the line.

4. Woodson’s first instinct and the training staff for that matter in dealing with Amar’e Stoudemire was right and they shouldn’t bail on their plan.  On nights he’s being productive on the offensive end and being average to below average, not horrific on the defensive end, it can be tempting to increase his time on the court.  Keeping Amar’e at 25 to 28 minutes tops is the smart move long term and shouldn’t be aborted.  In the playoffs if  STAT is earning more minutes you can increase them then, but right now conservative is the smart way to go.

5. What’s the deal with Shump?  I’m not even getting into the who he should be guarding defensively here, that is an entire column in itself.  During 10:40 of the first period Shump shot 3-5 overall, 2-3 from three, while scoring eight points.  Shump didn’t return to the game in the second quarter, not one second, and only played about eight minutes in the second half.  Logic would dictate a struggling players shows signs of life it would be a good idea extend him a little more than in recent action.  That’s not what happened here.   If the Knicks are doing to be cautious with Shumpert’s knee, fine, I understand that, but would it hurt to just come out and say it?

That’s enough whining from me for now.  The Knicks did beat the Cavs not lose, which you would have zero idea reading the above complaints.  Sometimes it’s important to analyze what is going on without fully focusing on the result.  New York is a more talented team than Cleveland and it got them through.  If Woodson continues to be stubborn making awkward adjustments instead of logical ones it will come back to haunt this team.

  • Ariel Axler

    Tell it to Woodson !!!!!! Very good analysis, i think the same about our team.

  • KnicksPR

    Interesting article. Something I don’t understand is why if we have 2 playmakers (Felton & Kidd) at the same time in the floor, we keep allowing Melo and JR to bring to ball to the half court?. JR normally doesn’t take good decisions with the ball (unless if for shooting) and have Melo with the ball at the top of the free throw line is not the best spot for him. Let’s use Melo in the post more.

  • Pronto

    Woodson is not a great x and o coach and the funny thing
    Is that he had admitted several bad moves. What’s really funny is that the media blames is on Melo and other players but ignores the coaches mistakes. That’s a lot of
    Offensive blunders and defensive mistakes for a “defensive coach”?

  • casey

    i disagree with your statement on Amare. the coach should start our big three of chandler, Amare, and Melo. i think its quite silly that people say the big three don’t play well together. the coach needs to spread the floor with Felton being the floor general and Shump who is a underrated passer in the backcourt slashing. lets face it Amare is the better pick and roll or pick and pop player over Chandler. Chandlers main focus with all three stars in is should turn into a bigger ben wallace back in his piston days scrapping, and playing lockdown defense with an few interior draw off defender slams. Amare the pick and roll,pick and pop or post up on the low blocks. and Melo being Melo creating shots post up and driving dishing. I feel that Amare and chandler can work well passing the ball to one another for easy shots down low.I think that if the big three start together and build chemistry, it will take a lot of pressure off our role players and Jr Chucker. Let the role players focus on what they can do best offensively. Shump needs to be back at the two guard he is not a small forward. the big three starting is the best option its just to talented not to start off games with a bang. I think Melo, Amare, Chandler should finish games especially Amare, he’s to clutch in the end of games not to be finishing.