Wednesday, April 27, 2011

N.Y. KNICKS ~ SWEPT!! But Not Under The Rug.

N.Y. Knicks
Barclays Center
All-Time Playoff List; LINK

NEW YORK KNICKS:  My Four Point Play.

In no particular order,  these are the points I believe to be most important to the Knicks heading into the off-season:

1) - Re-Sign Donnie Walsh

2) - Maintain Salary Cap Flexibility

3) - Building A Bench

4) - D'Antoni, Amare, and Melo Need A New Plan

You saw what happened at Madison Square Garden in games three and four versus Boston.  There's no need to rehash there? 

Just know, the Knicks needed to play at their absolute best while Boston needed merely to hang-around in games one and two.  And in the closing minutes of both games, the Celtics were able to pull out late victories because they knew how to finish and the Knicks didn't.  Then, when the series shifted to New York, it seemed as if the Knicks took two steps backwards while the Celtics took three leaps forward. 

....Under The Bench.
Like in the first two games, the Knicks also made runs in games three and four that might lead you to believe they are closer to the Celtics than they really are.  Just don't believe it, because they're not.  And I'll give you seven reasons why. - Toney Douglas; Roger Mason; Anthony Carter; Shawne Williams; Bill Walker; Jared Jefferies; and Ronny Turiaf are not the stuff dream seasons are made of.  They're just not.  Nor is anyone else you care to throw into the mix.  I don't mean to come down hard on these guys.  Some of them are serviceable.  But just take a look at Boston's depth and bench alone, and you know what I mean.

We didn't win the series against Boston because those players were getting extraordinarily more time than they should rightfully expect to play.  But that's what happens when your owner agrees to trade away a bus-load of players for Melo; you lose Chauncey Billups for the series, Landry Fields disappears, and you play with a compromised Amare Stoudemire since game two.

So clearly, finding complementary players to fit around Melo and Amare is Donnie Walsh's next mission.  So, the sooner the Knicks resign him the better.  Needs for a rebounder/Center; addressing Landry Fields; and possibilities at Point Guard are matters to be talked about as the Knicks lurch forward.  But it starts with Donnie.

Donnie Walsh Still Has Work To Do.....,
But, there were Knick Fans who thought this team was a championship contender heading into the playoffs.  I was never one of them.  Instead, I think the Knicks are a not-so-well mixed bag of goods heading into the off-season.  This team is still obviously a work in progress and the playoffs should have nailed that notion home for everybody by now.

This is Donnie Walsh's work in progress, so let's take this from the top. 

Donnie Walsh is yet to have a contract extension offered to him.  I most definitely want him back but there's speculation Donnie may not want to come back.  And of course, there is always the Dolan Effect that needs to be factored in when talking about the Knicks' Front Office.  According to James Dolan by his own spoken word at the Melo press conference, Donnie Walsh and him would address a contract extension after the buzz of the Melo trade subsided.  Why are we now done with the regular season and the playoffs, yet, here we are in the off-season and still no offer?

.....And Coach D'Antoni Should Be Allowed to Return.
I also hear many fans calling for Coach D'Antoni's job.  Many fans called for his job last season also.  As a matter of fact, fans were calling for his job after his first season in New York too.  I detect a not so subtle pattern here.  But, rest assured, he will be the New York Knicks' coach again to start the 2011-2012 season.

I concur Coach D'Antoni got woefully out-coached by Doc Rivers on most counts.  Now let's leave Boston out of this.  There is no one available to replace Coach D at the moment, and it's unlikely a better coach will become available before next season starts.  The recurring names of speculation replacing D'Antoni continue to be Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers.  Even if there was a grain of believability there, that chance is still well over a calendar year away from being theoretically possible. 

But then that begs the question as to whether the Knicks should extend D'Antoni?  Ah....What to do?  Answer - Tack on a year to his present deal so he isn't a lame duck coach next season and take it from there.  But of course, easier said than done.

I'm not completely sold on Mike D'Antoni, but I am not against him.  I believe he deserves to come back next season because after all, this team did make the playoffs after undergoing a complete renovation over the prior two years.  And in that time, Coach D never had a consistent or quality roster to work with until this season.   But I won't commit beyond that. 

....But Coach And His Two Stars Need A Brand New Plan.
We have a Coach and a system being carried out by incompatible players.  On the court, the Knicks have Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and a roster full of question marks. Coach D and Amare Stoudemire play one way, while Chauncey Billups and Carmelo Anthony play another.  Additionally, Melo and Stoudemire have still yet to prove they can play together on the same court.  What we saw since the trade were spurts and pops, but nothing resembling something which was clearly cohesive, unified, and meshing.  Going forward, the Knicks either need a system that better adapts to the players, or we need players that better adapt to the Coach.  In that regard, something has got to give and it involves everyone the Knicks plan on surrounding Melo and Amare with.

Maintain Cap Flexibility!  Buy-Out Billups.
And speaking of giving...., the Knicks should not give Chauncey Billups $14 million+ to return next season.  Donnie Walsh damn near performed a miracle clearing out Cap-Space in the short time he did.  I don't believe the Knicks should handcuff themselves with a player I believe will continue to decline and be even more susceptible to injuries.  We've played more games without him than with him since the trade, and he isn't a good fit in D'Antoni's system anyway.  The Knicks are playerS (plural) away from greatness; not lacking one player to put them over the top.  Therefore, I'd rather free-up the point guard position for competition and be in a position to make a trade-deadline deal next season.  Then, we'll see if next season's free-agent class is needed to provide a solution.  My mind is on getting younger and better; not getting older and hanging on.  Maintaining our cap flexibility is a major part of that.

Elsewhere on the Local Basketball Scene:  Construction of Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

View From Flatbush Avenue at 4th Avenue.

View From Dean Street and Flatbush Avenue.

And for those of you who enjoy debating over a
List of All-Time Playoff Greats, check out this LINK: 
The Ten Best NBA Playoff Players of All-Time; by


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