We are near the half way mark, and i do think it's time to address the team.
Overall talent wins, but it takes much than such, and while their record is above expectation there are some things that need to be addressed if the goals are to be reached.
Firstly, I will say that all of these things upcoming are CORRECTABLE, but they are out there.
I repeat they are CORRECTABLE.
Now if you guys truly know me as a poster, I try to remain positive as I do watch alot of NBA games, not just the Knicks, I rarely blame role players or the officials, especially if they are playing in limited action.
I do have some points that I see that are of serious concerns of the team, and I have seen every single game.
From a team perspective, there has to be some type of offense and identity. Honestly I dont know what on earth they run....Iso and PNR is a simply basic basketball play, it is not an offense...and the team has yet to establish a true identity.
I do think the team is too "COOL WITH EACH OTHER". This sounds odd but every team with a championship mindset has at least one guy who just does his job doesn't create commotion but isn't buddy buddy with the club. They need to add this person somehow, which is why I'm not that sold on K-Mart, but I'd wouldn't oppose him, but ultimately the team needs an injection, some new blood.
Offensively, the team just does not play smart at times and have the appearance that each member on the floor is content trying to score on their own, and when they are struggling they refuse to try something else until they are down by a substantial margin. Less dribbling.... more passing. They also do not move well without the ball, but I'll address this in the player analysis.
Defensively at times, they either do it individually without talking, or lazily switch off and let someone else do it, or expect someone else to do it....which usually end up with no one securing a rebound and a wide open lane.
The effort seems to only be at it's highest when the game is on the line, and that cannot be the case for a team with title aspirations.
The team also is losing quite a few games AT HOME.....that is unacceptable no matter who the opponent is....14-6 at home is equal to 9th best in the league currently, and there is certainly not 9 contenders in the league.
I repeat these items are totally correctable....TOTALLY.
Now, I will address our starters....and I'm starting with the best player on the team Melo.
(Melo) Just because there is single coverage does not mean you have to shoot, I do not want to see Melo playing Kobe ball....sometimes that is the opposing teams gameplan, and watching pretty much every playoff bound team in the EC in Boston, Nets, Bulls in particular, which is who we have to get through to win, they all are covering Melo individually. I mention these three specifically because they very well could be our first round opponent. Dont fix this, and no need to worry about Miami, as we wont see them if we dont handle these teams first....and mind you they have all won in the GARDEN, they aren't afraid of our homecourt, they relish it.
Melo needs to simplify his game, play closer to the basket, he is quick and talented enough to drive and make quick decision whether to pass or go stronger to the cup, but taking 25 shots or more on 42% shooting of the last 10-15 games or so, is not winning basketball, and more times than none you're gonna come out on the losing end. He also must take a legit effort to rebounding, as the team is playing small for the most part and 6 boards is just not gonna cut it, and quite a few games he has walked away playing 40+ minutes and have much less. I think he has had double digit boards in only three games this season and that is as our full-time power forward....not acceptable.
Also he needs to attack the basket, not just strong layups, he needs to dunk the ball in the halfcourt and not just in transition, and sell the foul, make them call something WHILE FINISHING THE PLAY.
Also he has to communicate on offense and direct guys where to go, but that is assuming the team has a play book, which i can't say honestly they have one.
Melo needs to play smarter...he has all the talent in the world to do so.
Tyson I know this man has seen better and he certainly cannot be happy, but he is alot of times is a culprit of the teams issues.
Tyson needs to get back to talking on defense, even if no one is listening...keep talking, he dont need to have to do it himself because you dont TRUST the guys on the floor can do it, it makes the problem worse.
On offense Tyson needs to hit the gym and get those free throws up, he aint nearly this bad.
Kidd needs to become a bench player asap, and i know this is dependant on Felton returning, but must happen immediately up him returning, he just cannot guard starters for the most part anymore, not just from the opponent shooting but also stopping the plays being ran, but he will be needed come playoff time and must be fresh for that run. Offensively he does nothing but shoot threes, that's a bench role.
When Felton gets back he must impose his will...direct this team when he gets back, I think they miss that greatly, not just being a pg, but providing direction, a stability on the court.
Shump is getting back, so no jury there, although i do see he seems to be a willing shooter and if so, make those shots count, defensively no major issues, just needs to communicate, and that will come as his court time increase.
I'm not mentioning our Small Forward Position because apparently we really dont have one, it's done by committee far too often and must be solidified whomever it is.
The bench must have some organization as well.........
JR assumes the role of Melo alot, and the same rules that apply to Melo apply to JR. he's done better for the most part, but it seems his offense in particular needs to be wiser and he must pick his spots as well.
More drives, less threes, attract the defense, makes the same quick decisions that is expected from Melo.
Amare has been really good off the bench, and must be featured when on the court offensively, but has to gain court awareness, even if he fouls out doing so.
Novak needs to expand his game away from the three point line move better and prepared to catch and shoot and not worry about %'s, also needs to help out on the boards, and just be more aware on defense.
Now for the coaching.......
Woodson needs to get this team ACCOUNTABLE, even if it means making players mad.
He must become a motivator once again and take the reigns by the head.
My sig describes it all, minutes are precious, and each player must be held to the standard that they are one on the court and treat each minute like it is their last....which it should be if they are not playing with constant effort on both ends of the court.
At times the team is playing H.O.R.S.E. on offense and without any structure...they are winging it, and this is known by averaging close to the least amount of assists in the league....that's due to being stagnant, and lack of plays.
Defensively I think they are for the most part are close to expected, but must impose their will and only the coach can MAKE them do it.
He must also trust guys who are playing well and utilize them more, and not ride guys who are under-performing to the point they lose all their confidence. Far too many times a player is doing a solid job, only to be benched never to be seen again, yet some are allowed to fail.
He also must monitor guys minutes better as to provide proper rest and not ride them more than needed even if it cost the team a win here or there, as the season is a marathon.
Woodson instructed his top three highest paid to get their offenses expanded and I've yet to see much or any of those vaunted moves learned by Dream.....where are those post moves?
The road to the playoff is gonna be tougher not easier, he must guide this team to provide maximum effort primarily and willingness to make decisions that may not be to his natural liking.
Overall every aspect in this long and winded post is CORRECTABLE, i have no doubt of that, but must be made to achieve the greater things they desire.
Feel free to take a stab.
These tough-talking puppies need to get back on the porch before they tussle with the God and wind up underneath the lawn (KG Vs Bargnani)--Andrew Sharp vis Grantland.