Addition of Kenyon Martin:
Following a brutal loss to the Indiana Pacers, Knicks fans are left wondering about their team. What adjustments should the Knicks make to their rotations? Given the trade of Ronnie Brewer to the Thunder, and the acquisition of Kenyon Martin, there are many different ways the Knicks can shake up their rotation. One of the benefits of having Martin in our line-up is his ability to play power forward/center. Since Iman Shumpert is playing small forward, which is not his natural position, the Knicks defense has struggled at times. If they put Martin at the power forward/center, it will allow them to move Melo back to small forward and return Iman Shumpert from small forward to shooting guard, which is his best position. Having Martin, another potential starter, will allow them to give Jason Kidd less responsibility by reducing his valuable minutes. I believe when Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby come back from injuries, it will help by giving the Knicks some additional defensive big men. Luckily for the Knicks, Camby just participated in his first scrimmage since his injury, but Wallace is still relegated to non-contact practice.
How did the Knicks give up 74 points in the first half, including 44 in the second quarter? There is a simple answer, they played horrifically all around. It started with the Pacers running up and down the court at their own will. The Pacers had 14 more fast break points then the Knicks. Numerous times they pushed the ball down the court, passed to an open man, and found an open three point shot.
Should we consider this a good outing for the Pacers or a bad game for the Knicks? In my mind it was both. Will the trends continue? I believe they will. Any time a team can come out and shoot the basketball like Indiana did, it will result in a win for that team, despite how the other team plays. However, the Knicks were horrendous and have played poorly for the majority of the last month. This starts with guard J.R Smith. He was an early 6th man of the year candidate, but he has played terribly as of late, shooting just under 40% in the month of February. The worst part is that it is not only Smith shooting poorly, but also our “star” Carmelo Anthony, who is shooting 41% in the month of February. If I were playing in the NBA, I would fear Indiana, and regard them as a top five team. They are third in the East, despite being without the injured Danny Granger, their leading scorer from last year.
Ball Movement and Turnovers:
Why has a team who leads the NBA in the least amount of turnovers per game been struggling with turnovers in the last few games? We are not focusing on the basics. In basketball, making accurate and smart passes, having the whole court in sight, and proper ball movement is key. I cannot count how many times Clyde says we are not moving the ball well. What makes these mistakes even worse is, once again, their inability to stop the fast break. Even though they had six less turnovers then Indiana, the Pacers had five more points off turnovers then the Knicks.
The next game Friday against the Raptors is going to be tough. The Raptors are rejuvenated, motivated, and they have played well since acquiring Rudy Gay in a trade with Memphis. They dominated the Knicks last week, and they have the potential to dominate them again. If the Knicks want to come out on top, they have to perfect the fundamentals the way they did at the beginning of the season.