NBA Roundtable

Knicks Notes

In General NBA on October 5, 2009 at 8:35 am


Mike D’Antoni has been experimenting with a load of different lineups during training camp.

  • He’s even brought up the idea of playing Danilo Gallinari as a point guard in a big lineup where all the players are 6-8 are bigger.
  • And D’Antoni could just easily go with a three point guard lineup with Duhon, Nate and Toney alongside two big men … or one big and a combo forward.
  • D’Antoni has all sorts of options with the big men. He has a perimeter orientated scorer in Al Harrington. A top rebounder and pick roll player in David Lee. A 300lb low post scorer in Eddy Curry. And a 6-11 defensive anchor in Darko Milicic. Coach also has Jordan Hill, an athletic 6-10 power forward who rebounds well and has a nice spot up jumper out to 18 feet. They are very different types of players who’ll give D’Antoni great flexibility and versatility in his lineups.
  • Likewise, D’Antoni has great options with his two young stars on the wing. Wilson Chandler is able to defend one through four and play 2-4 offensively, while Gallinari can defend at least two positions and possibly play four offensively.
  • Furthermore, Larry Hughes can play all three perimeter positions. Nate Robinson is can play two positions reasonably well. D’Antoni also has two good options at the point guard spot with Chris Duhon and Toney Douglas.
  • Oh, and let’s not forget Jared Jeffries who is best used as a mobile four man offensively but is versatile enough to defend just about anyone on a basketball court.

So …

  • Big perimeter lineup idea — Gallinari + Chandler + Jeffries + Harrington + Lee
  • Small lineup idea — Toney + Nate + Gallinari + Chandler + Lee

Jared Jeffries

Jared Jeffries has been playing very well early in training camp. He’s been hitting his outside shots and been very active defensively. It would be great for NY if he could knock that perimeter shot down with consistency. That would be a nice weapon.

Toney Douglas

Toney Douglas has been NY’s best defender at the point guard spot. He’s playing aggressive defense, especially on pick and rolls. He has active hands and has been forcing turnovers.

I think this guy is ready to contribute right away. He has two good players ahead of him in Chris Duhon and Nate Robinson though, so minutes could be hard to come by. Very nice pickup on draft day.


Mike D’Antoni has been preaching defense in practices and in the media. He wants the Knicks to rank top 15 in defensive eFG% next season.

The Knicks finished 28th in eFG% defense last season. That’s why it’s become more of an open priority for D’Antoni this year.

Knicks Website

I don’t check out team’s websites very often, but the Knicks have a nice setup. A couple of nice banners with mantra’s like “working for it” and “doing it together” in nice italics. Very well laid out site with easy to navigate pages/sections. Some media stuff. Nice site.

A couple of good articles too — here’s one on Gallo and Chandler and another on Duhon and Toney.

Knicks Head Coach Mike D’Antoni already believes Douglas can contribute right away, particularly as a defensive specialist, and Duhon agrees with his coach’s assessment.

“Toney is a very smart player,” Duhon said. “Obviously, he’s an ACC guy so he knows what it means to compete. He’s very, very great defensively and has great instincts. I think at some point in the season he’s going to be a guy we count on a lot.”

More on Douglas

D’Antoni wasn’t impressed with Douglas during summer league but Douglas won him over during the summer, and Marc Berman reports that D’Antoni has now penciled him in as the backup point guard.

“He makes the simple pass now,” D’Antoni said. “Defensively I knew he had great instincts. I didn’t know if he could make the simple pass and keep the flow up. He’s shown signs of learning real quick.”

I’m surprised D’Antoni has him as the backup with Nate Robinson around … but D’Antoni explains

With Nate Robinson having more of a shooting-guard mentality, D’Antoni said he envisions Douglas and Robinson playing together in a lightning-quick alignment.

“They’re an intriguing tandem,” D’Antoni said. “Together they can create havoc on the other team. They’re so fast and dynamic.”

Some good reports about those playing alongside one another in practices. I’ll look forward to seeing that combination.

Gallinari’s Passing

Nice comment from David Lee after the game the other day

One value to Gallinari’s presence is as a decoy on the wing, even when he is not shooting. He allowed the lane to be free for a handful of power drives by Lee yesterday.

“Not only does he spread the floor but he made a couple of good passes,” Lee said. “He’s not a ball stopper. He’s going to be a huge part of our success.”

Seriously … It’s a lot of fun to watch Gallinari’s playmaking ability.

The Knicks are trying to get Gallinari to shoot/score the ball more often though.

Jordan Hill

Not hearing or reading a lot about Jordan Hill. It sounds like more of the same type of performances he was putting up in summer league which was underwhelming.

  1. Dave,

    IMO, the different tiers in the EC are beginning to shape up like this:

    TOP – Boston, Cleveland and Orlando … in any order

    NEXT – Atlanta, Miami* and Washington … in any order

    MIDDLE – Chicago, Charlotte, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York and Toronto … in any order

    LOWER – Indiana [injury ?’s], Milwaukee [personnel ?’s], New Jersey [personnel ?’s] … in any order

    with [A] any of the middle/lower tiered teams able to change positions based on injuries to key players, etc., and [B] any of the next-best/middle teams able to change positions, as well.

    * The Heat, with D-Wade, is a specific case, however, as … more than any other team in the NBA … Miami’s fortunes are completely tied to his health and performance [i.e. with him the Heat are a Next-best team; w/o him, they’re destined for the Lottery.

    The Knicks are shaping up as a very interesting team this season with considerable upside.

  2. Khandor,

    I agree. I have pretty much the same list.

    I’d flip flop Miami and Chicago though, and have the Bucks one tier higher. Miami and Milwaukee are going to be “prove-it-to-me” teams. I’m not on board with raising the Heat or lowering the Bucks yet. I need to see more to convince myself of that.

  3. Funny thing about the Knicks – if any of their guys with contracts past this year play well enough to be traded – expect them gone! Same as last year, NYK don’t care if they can make the playoffs this year – but they do love dumping contracts!

    Gotta feel kinda sorry for Mike, but I expect he’s on board with this.

  4. Hey Brothersteve,

    The Knicks only really have two contracts that go beyond 2010. The rest are rookie contracts. So just Eddy Curry at $11 million and Jared Jeffries at $7 million.

    It would be fantastic if the Knicks could move one of them. They may be able to keep David Lee and sign two max contracts (or close to it) if they managed to pull that off.

    If Jeffries continues to live up to the acclaim he’s earned in training camp … heck they may just pull it off. Still, best to consider it a long shot for the time being.

  5. Dave,

    The new format of the site will take some getting use to.

    Looks good, however. 🙂

  6. Khandor,

    Yeah, the comments section is weird-ing me out a bit. That’ll definitely take getting used to. Left side, right side … hmmm … I’ll try turning on the avatars, hopefully that will shrink the side of the comment box.

    I’m liking the rest of it though. I wanted to change to a one column setup for awhile now, so hopefully this will one will work out.

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