The New York Knicks lost again last night 92-86. This is not the same team as last year, yet coach Mike Woodson coaches them the same as last year.
The Knicks lost their 3 point snipers in Steve Novak, Jason Kidd and Chris Copeland. Plus last year the Knicks has Rasheed Wallace another good shooting veteran. These four players stretched the floor when they played, which is why the Knicks started last year on fire. Woodson continues to look to small ball which simply isn’t working this year and refuses to make the necessary changes.
Without a true point guard the Knicks looked stagnant again on offense. Woodson continues not to give Cole Aldrich any minutes. Last night against Detroit’s large front line, the Knicks were dominated in the paint. With Detroit’s bigs being poor foul shooters, it was a good opportunity to give the youngster a look.
Tonight the Knicks face Indiana and it’s time Woodson faces the facts. You can’t win in the NBA, without a true point guard or a center.
Last year the Knicks had Jason Kidd, the second leading 3 point shooter in NBA history. His offensive presence and on court coaching helped hide the weaknesses of Raymond Felton and Woodson. This team lacks more than chemistry, it lacks good ball movement and offensive scoring.
Woodson needs to watch some tape from the San Antonio Spurs to see true offensive ball movement. Without a penetrating point guard and an inside scorer, teams will continue to double team Carmelo Anthony.
Anthony shot only 8-for-20, but was hacked continuously. The referees continue to show Anthony no respect as Detroit physically abused him. Without a consistent 3 point shooter, teams are clogging the middle and abusing Anthony as referees continue to overlook the beating he takes on a nightly basis.
J.R. Smith played his best game of the season scoring 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting and was a plus one in this defeat. His ability to penetrate and not force the jumper was the key to his game improvement. Smith also looked more comfortable in his role as sixth man.
Amar’e Stoudemire scored six points on 3-of-7 shooting in 15 minutes. He said after the game “it makes no sense to play me only 15 minutes when I go an hour straight at practice.”
He also stated the medical staff has cleared him to play 25 minutes per game. Stoudemire was a plus-two, with two strong dunks and looks to have his hops back. Since the Knicks are playing him $29 million, play him.
If he shows an offensive presence without injury, he can either help the Knicks or maybe some team will take a gamble on him. Playing him 5-10 minutes a game is a waste of time and money. He wants to play and Woodson needs to play him.
Woodson continues to try to win with small ball. He plays three guards, a center who is really a four and Anthony who defensively is a three. Anthony had seven rebounds, one more than Andrea Bargnani. The small ball lineup put the Knicks in a major hole in the third quarter.
Bargnani scored nine points in the first quarter and got only three shots in the entire second half. Woodson needs to respect Bargnani and work him into the offense.
Historically, if you play small ball, you want to run the ball. Yet, the Knicks walk it continuously up the court. Woodson started Beno Udrih, who shot 0-for-3 and looked rusty in his first minutes of the season. He was a minus-9.
Pablo Prigioni shot 3-for-5 in only 23 minutes for 8 points. To play small ball you need a point guard who can score and penetrate. The Knicks had only two fast break points which shows small ball is ineffective.
Kenyon Martin who demanded more time and fought the medical restrictions added front court depth. He had seven rebounds in 25 minutes and was a plus-3.
The Knicks had only three players in the plus column, Martin, Stoudemire and Smith. Martin and Stoudemire were only a combined plus-5 which shows the Knicks need an inside presence.
General manager Steve Mills needs to find a three point shooter and a point guard.
Raymond Felton sat out last night’s game with a pinched nerve, an injury that either went unnoticed or unreported by the Knicks meddling medical staff.
Early in the game Anthony found his shots in rhythm and looked good as Bargnani went to the basket at will. However the Knicks eventually went back to their bad habits of Anthony isolation. Woodson needs to recognize Bargnani offensive skills can only help Anthony. The Knicks were outscored 28-20 in the third quarter as Bargnani was not a part of the offense.
The third quarter cost the Knicks the game. Bargnani again shot 50 percent for 13 points after nine in the first quarter. Not getting him involved in the second half is inexcusable.
With only two fast break points against such a tall athletic team, shows small ball will not work in 2013, as the Knicks are simply not a good 3 point shooting team, which was their trademark for the entire last season.
The Knicks shot 6-for-24 (25 percent), from beyond the three point line. The Knicks now rank 19th in the league shooting only 33.6 percent from behind the arc.
This is a different team than last years, yet Woodson utilizes the same offense.
Woodson needs to play a more structured offense, with a more conventional frontline. Mills needs to get the point and find a point guard quickly, or the Knicks will remain pointless on offense and defense.
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a bestselling author www.5minutemotivator.com
Follow him on twitter @drekaplan