Sunday, February 19, 2012
The kid knows when he's wrong... A month ago, the homie Ben Detrick wrote this article. And you know what... he was right, D'Antoni was not the problem. Now that he found a point guard to run the pick-n-roll to death, he's assembled his type of squad. He has a Nash in Lin (although Nash is the much better shooter, ball handler, Lin is much stronger going to the rack), a Joe Johnson in JR Smith, a mini-Marion in Shumpert, a Quentin Richardson in Landry Fields, Amare is Amare, and Chandler is the bonus. I'm eating crow because I have not seen the Knicks play as a unit like they are the last two weeks. Lin is clearly the catalyst and the missing piece, but D'Antoni deserves some credit RIGHT NOW. Respect, coach...
For years, I've begged for "My Coach" back... Jeff Van Gundy. He might be the one person I liked more than Cam'ron and I own three copies of Killa Season. Although Van Gundy never won a championship, I could live with it because the Knicks gave 110% every night. That's all we ask for in NY because that's what we do day in and day out. No one goes harder than us and we expect the Knicks to do the same. D'Antoni and his offense were always viewed as "soft", but today, D'Antoni is MY COACH.
Melo simply wasn't gelling in D'Antoni's offense. I was a huge supporter of the Melo trade and I still don't believe it was a bad trade. If you look at it on paper, we got good value and every other team would make that deal for Melo. Gallinari is doing well but Felton got moved and Chandler's still a free agent. While Gallinari was a better fit with the Knicks, we made the trade because you can get guys like Gallinari. JR Smith may not play as under control and Novak actually has even worse feet than Gallo, but together, they fill that role. 6'9" 220lb dudes who can break Lebron James down off the dribble, bang the 3, post-up, and kill you softly from 18 feet out simply don't come around very often. Offensively, Melo is a freak.
For anyone who thinks we don't need Melo, watch the games, check the box scores. Lin has an enormous amount of turnovers. He is cheffin' but having Melo to take some of the scoring load off his shoulders will make him a more efficient player. Whether you guys want to admit it or not, there is ALWAYS a place on the team for a top-5 scorer in the league. Right now, we're exclusively a pick-n-roll team. Dallas had a great game plan trapping Lin at the wing and at the top of the key. When he saw it coming, he got the ball out to JR Smith or Novak, but imagine if that's fucking Melo out there! They trap Lin, then Melo gets to play 4 on 3, we're un fucking stoppable. Basketball is about spacing. That's what D'Antoni's offense is predicated on. All of this in an effort to create lanes for the point guard. Who better to create those lanes than Carmelo FUCKING Anthony?
We could be scoring 110 to 115 points a game, there are plenty of touches to go around. This isn't fantasy football, it's basketball. You don't need to keep track of touches, especially in a D'Antoni offense. It's the inverse of Communism. D'Antoni wants every one to buy in, just like communism, you play as a team, every one shares the ball, but here's the wrinkle. You shoot in 7 seconds or less so unlike Communism, there's actually enough to go around. Theoretically, we should be getting 3 times more possessions than any other team in basketball. If there was ever a team that didn't have to worry about Melo coming back and stealing touches, it's the Knicks.
Lin should still be the engine driving this offense. He is doing a great job reading the D, looking at the lanes, but if the defense is set to stop Lin, you spread Carmelo off weakside, so when the ball swings, Melo has an advantage. The ball moves faster than the man. Defenses physically can't set up to stop Lin, unless they are willing to spot Melo a first step against the weak side. Pick your poison. Lin makes the call and in many ways we become a basketball team running a zone read. I mean, the entire time we've been on this winning streak we've run one play: pick-n-roll. Now we have 2. Also, we have no post game, with Melo back, Lin-Melo or JR Smith/Novak - Melo can play inside out. This should all be happening weak side with Lin-Stat/Chandler pick-n-roll strong side. Right now, Lin's biggest problem is going left, but why bother? Latrell Sprewell had a career going right cause Allen Houston held him down on the weakside. Lin has Melo. LET'S FUCKING GO.
I'm proud of D'Antoni and the Knicks because every one is hitting the floor, diving for loose balls, playing help defense, and we haven't seen this for almost a decade. Props to Mike Woodson as well because it's not just effort. People know their rotations, we're creative with the defensive match-ups and we're being cerebral on defense. Instead of getting Chandler/Stat in foul trouble, we sacrificed Shumpert on Nowitzki early, then put a army of Small Forwards on him the rest of the game. Every one is willing because we're winning. These dudes are playing for each other and it's so fucking ill. It's on Melo to come back and fit in with this team. It's not Amare's team, it's not Melo's team, it's not Lin's team. This is D'Antoni's team. If we are going to keep this up, D'Antoni has his biggest challenge to date. Take the reins and insist that every man on this squad knows his role. But if we handle this correctly, I will tell you right now, it's Miami-New York in the Eastern Conference Finals for the Championship this Spring and once again... Tyson Chandler will be the difference. The team that plays as a unit and gets contributions from 1 to 12 will win and I guarantee its the Knicks this year. We're back yall...