Monday, March 21, 2011

Did Knicks Trade for a Headache?

Knicks Feel the Pain After the Big Trade! 
The Knicks situation now reminds me of the saying “Why trade an upset stomach for a headache?” Before the blockbuster Carmelo Anthony trade, the Knicks (28-26) were competitive and beat the teams they were supposed to beat. They were a winning team that was a lock to make the playoffs. But they made a blockbuster trade where they broke up their team in an attempt to get better. But did they?

The Denver Nuggets definitely did get better after the trade. After losing Anthony, the Nuggets rank first in NBA scoring with 107 PPG and are winning more than ever. Denver also improved its teamwork as is evidenced by averaging 24.5 assists. Perhaps the biggest improvement for the Nuggets is on defense from allowing 105.2 PPG before the trade to only 93.3 since.
Although Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups definitely did upgrade NY’s talent level, now the Knicks often are a confused and desperate team that has a losing record of seven wins and eight loses since the trade just one month ago. The Knicks frequently are disorganized and lethargic, especially against sub-500 teams, where they have only one win and six losses since the trade.

Suffering a crushing 100-95 loss to the Bucks (28-41) at the Bradley Center last night, the Knicks (35-34) played the first quarter as though they were rehearsing for starring roles in a walking-dead movie. Unable or unwilling to score or play defense, the sleep-walking Knicks surrendered 32 first quarter points to the NBA’s worst offensive team, while finding only nine points drop into the hoop for them. Nine points established a new Knicks’ record as their worst first-quarter scoring in 55 years. Although the Knicks woke from its first-quarter blackout, even a combined 69 points from Stoudemire, Billups and Anthony were not enough to catch up. This humiliating defeat was the fifth in the last six games for the Knicks and the second consecutive loss to a lottery bound team. As a result, the Knicks have fallen from the sixth to seventh seed, behind the surging Philadelphia 76’ers. After the trade, the Knicks is a troubled team that is no longer certain of making the playoffs. 
Although I intend to explore the Knicks problems and solutions in a future article, I have provided a brief summary:
Knicks Problems Since the trade:
· Exploding roster so late in season, leaves little time to develop chemistry
· Players are not yet comfortable with each other and the system
· Billups plays a slow-down game rather than D’Antoni’s up-tempo system
· Players try to adjust to new point guard’s system rather than fit into the old one
· Chemistry problems at both ends causes confusion & lack of direction
· Carmelo & Amar'e are 1-on-1 players who impede ball movement
· 1-on-1 play at crunch time makes it easy to get double-team stops Vs Knicks
· Plays down to the level of the competition & usually loses to weak teams 
· Prone to slow starts that give even weak teams confidence and big leads
· Team often lacks effort & desperately fights back to try to make up big leads
· Poor individual & team defense on pick & rolls, dribble penetration & post ups
· The trade left team with a lack of height & insufficient attention to rebounding
· Weak bench lacks punch due to trading away so many good players
· Poor defensive coaching & leadership will make the transition-time even longer

Only time will tell if the Knicks trade will turn out to make them a contender or continue to be a headache!
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