Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Knicks are not in total
freefall by any means.
But they are in a pickle and, much like actual pickles, the pickles the
Knicks face come in all forms.
On the court, the Knicks have lost starting center and defensive anchor Tyson
Chandler. He suffered a non-displaced fracture in his right fibula. The injury
will not require surgery, but the big fella will be gone 4-6 weeks.
How do you replace Chandler? Head coach Mike Woodson already acknowledged no
roster moves would be forthcoming, so it shall come from within. The
candidates are Andrea Bargnani, Amare Stoudemire, Kenyon Martin or Cole
"Everybody's got to step up," Woodson said. "Tyson's a big piece, but Cole
(Aldrich) now becomes maybe a rotation. The minutes Kenyon (Martin) and Amare
(Stoudemire) give us have to be good minutes."
There are few teams in the NBA who can replace a starting center. Almost every
team would cobble something together, or sign Jason Collins, but the Knicks
replacements feature widespread cause for concern.
Bargnani has never displayed the toughness to be a Disney World employee, let
alone a starting center. Stoudemire is on a minutes restriction and his body
is deteriorating. As for Martin, move your eyes back to the last sentence and
change the name. Aldrich as a meaningful contributor made me smile.
Woodson is a competent NBA coach. He'll scrap something together. (My bet is
on more of Martin.) But the center situation isn't the only problem on the
court for the Knickerbockers.
Last season, the Knicks led the NBA in fewest turnovers committed. This
season, they are throwing the ball around to Spike Lee and Philip Seymour
Hoffman. New York is 16th.
The defense has been solid. The Knicks rank third in opponents' scoring and
eighth in opponents' field-goal percentage. Those numbers should go down
without Chandler as none of that quartet, other than Martin, is defensive-
Offense is a problem.
The Knicks rank 25th in scoring and are down 8.0 ppg from last season, when
they averaged 100.0 ppg on the button. Field-goal percentage is 20th and 3-
point shooting is 24th. The Knicks are tied for 27th in assists, which is
actually an IMPROVEMENT from last season when they were last.
But last season they won, so the stagnant nature of their offense didn't
matter. Carmelo gets the ball, creates any number of shots for himself and we
move on. Anthony is actually a little underrated as a facilitator, but
generally, the ball goes to him and everyone clears out.
Again, that's somewhat fixable. Anthony will score more than the 23.8 ppg he's
at now. The Knicks will need that. Raymond Felton should see an increase in
his scoring as well and maybe Bargnani's numbers go up with more minutes.
What should be most concerning to the Knicks is that the effort or intensity
is not there. After a season-opening win over the Milwaukee Bucks, and a
respectable loss in Chicago, the Knicks allowed the Minnesota Timberwolves 40
points in the first quarter. They lost that one at home and two nights later,
gave up 64 points in the first half en route to a home loss to the Charlotte
That sort of thing can mean only one thing - team meeting.
"We shut the door after the game and talked it out a little bit and figure out
what was going on," said Anthony. "We just weren't competing the way we know
how to compete. I felt we needed to sit and talk. We've got to want it. We're
playing like we don't believe in ourselves."
The Knicks are a veteran team and shouldn't have competitive lapses. Anthony
displayed some genuine leadership, but he shouldn't have to motivate his
The owner, James Dolan, canned general manager Glen Grunwald just before the
season. All Grunwald did was untangle the humongous knot of Christmas lights
that was the Isiah Thomas era, and set the team up to win the Atlantic
Then, Dolan says, according to reports, he expects the team to win a title
this season. That's impractical as it is helpful.
The Knicks don't have a championship caliber roster. They have a good one and
one that should make the postseason, but it's not a title team.
And since Dolan fired Grunwald after he built the first Knicks team that
advanced in the playoffs in 13 years, it probably bathed Woodson in confidence
that his boss thinks they should win a title this season. Woodson, according
to reports, said he was surprised the roster wasn't built with more
championship experienced personnel.
There's nothing going on here that can't be cured with a few wins. But, it
bears watching that the Knicks are in some trouble at the moment. Woodson and
the Knicks have to hope to stay around .500 until Chandler comes back.
If not, he might be joining Grunwald on the unemployment line.
- The Indiana Pacers might actually get better. They are incredibly deep with
the underrated Luis Scola and C.J. Watson and with that Danny Granger trade
chip lingering out there, they could upgrade at guard.
- The Chicago Bulls don't need to panic, and yes, Derrick Rose is struggling.
But Joakim Noah averaging 5.5 ppg isn't helping much.
- The Larry Sanders situation is mildly ugly. After complaining about his
playing time under new Milwaukee Bucks head coach Larry Drew, he got into a
bar fight and hurt his thumb. That's a dumb way to get in better graces with
- Movie moment - For some coincidental reason, the last two movies I've
watched have been "The Wrestler" (love it), and "Parental Guidance" (hate it).
Both star Marisa Tomei and I feel like both characters would not approve of
- TV moment - I can not wait for NBC's live "Sound of Music" remake starring
Carrie Underwood. If Mrs. Underwood performed this live in my home, while I
was eating a cheesesteak, drinking a beer and getting my feet rubbed, I'd
still hate it.
The Sports Network