The Knicks are 1-2, having beat the woeful Raptors, and lost to the imposing Celtics and Blazers. Let’s take a look back at the general themes that have emerged so far in this young season.
First, as always, the bright side of things.
I just picked up Landry for my fantasy team. It looks like he is determined to hold on tight to his starting 2 spot. It has been said by many, but Fields just has a knack for the game. He knows where to be, knows his role, and makes the right decision. He is an opportunistic player, never stops looking for a lane to cut into, and is always flying after offensive rebounds. He already notched his first double-double. Fields also has played solid defense (he did get abused by Brandon Roy a little, but really, nobody could have stopped his midrange artistry). To sum up my blossoming admiration for Landry’s game, against the Blazers I said “why is Gallo in the game, take him out, put in Fields!” which is borderline blasphemy for me.
Against the Blazer Tim showed that he can play. He defended excellently against LaMarcus Aldridge, and swatted a few shots, all without fouling at an absurd rate. Sure he has made his share of rookie mistakes, and got a technical after he got called for a cheap foul, but like a fine wine, he will get better with age (and NBA experience).
Wil the Thrill
Wilson Chandler is loving the sixth man role. He is still playing starters minutes, and is getting into the game pretty quickly. Wil has been an all around stud, scoring with ease, resounding rebounding, and blocking shots. When Amar’e and the starters are on the bench, it’s been Wil or nothing on offense, and he has carried the Knicks through some sketchy offensive stretches. And he really looks great with his new look baby fro and beard.
The Knicks eked out a close win against a plucky Raptors squad, then battled until the dying moments against the veteran Celtics. They matched the Blazers the whole game until collapsing late. The point is they beat who they were supposed to, and nearly beat the teams they weren’t supposed to. Both losses could have gone the other way. The Knicks aren’t elite, but they gave the elite Celtics and quasi elite Blazers a run for there money. Sure it would have been nice to win, but you gotta take the crookeds with the straights right?
Last year there was swiss cheese defense, now there are NO EASY BUCKETS. The Knicks are #1 in the NBA in blocks per game, with 8.3. I mean…wow….
How can you not love Rice a Roni? He plays so hard and swats people so much. He can also dunk off of pick and rolls, and likes to make funny faces, dance, flex, and make Amar’e say “Roni is crazy!”
Yeah he is scoring a lot, but I think he was the culprit on a lot of those Blazer backdoor cuts that burnt the Knicks over and over. One time you could hear him yell “hey, what’s going on here” as the Blazers completed another backdoor layup. He has had some emphatic rejections, but needs to be more aware and guide the defense better. Also, he needs to recognize his limitations. Amar’e is not so good at dribbling, and it is painfully obvious to me, and opposing defenders, when a steal is coming. One or two dribbles should be his max. Also, Amar’e probably shouldn’t shoot contested 3’s, until he has proven he can nail some open ones. He has played decent, but needs to shoot a higher percentage from the charity stripe, and especially cut down on the turnovers.
Danilo has looked extremely bad. Preseason, I shrugged it off. The first game, meh just one game. Now it has been 3 games, and Danilo is shooting 20% and 18% from 3. My favorite player looks like a shadow of his formerly cocksure self, and I am afraid. Afraid Landry Fields and Wilson Chandler will take over most of the swingman minutes, and Gallo will drift into oblivion. Now, he is supposedly nursing a bad wrist, and also, it has only been 3 games, but whoa he looks bad. He is playing scared, and bricking shots he usually swishes. The Knicks desperately need a 3 point gunner to space the floor and open up some room for the pick and roll, and I hope Gallo will return to form. With an in form Gallo, no doubt the Knicks would be 3-0.
That’s really it for the dark clouds.
Let’s looks at some interesting stats from the first 3 games.
Wilson Chandler is averaging 21 and 10, a steal and 3 blocks
Unfortunately, Wil is shooting 26% from downtown, and attempting 6 per game.
Amar’e and Landry Fields lead the team in 3 point shooting, at 40%. Not a good sign.
The team is shooting 68% from the line. Not good
The Knicks have the 2nd highest 3 point rate (3 pointers attempted/FG attempted), not surprising. Only the Magic shoot the 3 ball more often.
That’s all for now. Overall the first 3 games have been mildly encouraging, and mildly disappointing. We will surely learn more about the team this week, when the Knicks face off with the Magic, Bulls, Wizards and 76ers. They should get at least 2 wins.