Posted today on the New York Times’ fantastic “Off The Dribble” NBA blog was an interview with current TNT broadcaster and member of the Hall of Fame Kevin McHale (conducted by basketball writer Jonathan Abrams). Here are a few snippets:
Most Favorable Playoff Matchup:
I would say probably they might match up best with Orlando. Watching Orlando and just seeing them play and where they’re at, Orlando can go through some periods where they get funky offensively and I think the Knicks could pressure them offensively.
How New York Has Played Since The Trade:
It’s hard to judge them now. They haven’t been together that long. Any time you have two scorers like ‘Melo and Stoudemire on the floor, you can put a lot of pressure on the defense. They can both score in a number of ways. They bring a total package of scoring to the team. They score inside outside, driving pick and roll. My concern is will the New York Knicks be able to play the good defense they really need to in order to beat the top teams in the East.
Parallels With His 1980′s Celtic Squads:
It was different because we all came together as youngsters. My rookie year was Larry’s second year. Robert had got there early. We just grew together. We weren’t six- and seven-year veterans at the peak of our games all thrown together. It was one of those deals, where it was very easy to do. We learned how to play together and our skills complemented each other. It was easy. It would have been harder later in our careers, maybe. Maybe not. I never did it, so it’s impossible to say.
If you get a chance, click on the link above and read the whole interview. It isn’t too long and anytime a player as great as Kevin McHale opens his mouth to speak about your team, you should take notes. With that being said, there’s one point I could not disagree more with. How is it, after watching Dwight Howard turn New York’s front line into his own..personal…hand puppet just two weeks ago, can McHale say Orlando is a good matchup? Yes the Magic are a fading team that wouldn’t have enough in the tank, if the playoffs started today, to be called a legitimate contender, but in a seven game series, with the intensity ratcheted up, Howard completely controlling both baskets, and the Magic running an unstoppable pick and roll whenever they needed offense, the matchup isn’t a good one for New York. Neither is Chicago nor Boston. In the days following New York’s loss to Orlando, I wrote that their most favorable opponent would be the Heat. Withholding any connection to locker room tears as a legitimate reason, I stand by that claim because of Miami’s inability to grab a big body (where’s Dexter Pittman when you need him) in a buyout situation. Instead they chose to acquire another veteran who’s struggling with open three-pointers. I’ll take the Knicks in that one.