By Neil Beldock 1/12/17: 76ers 98 – Knicks 97
Another night, another game, another loss………
Knick fans, it’s time to recognize the cold, hard and unfortunate truth……This is a terribly flawed basketball team, with emphasis on the word TEAM.
Night in and night out the Knicks will get very good and exciting play from a number of different players individually.
But it seems rare when you watch a Knicks game and come away feeling as if it was an excellent, or even good TEAM effort.
Last night was a perfect example. Rose was very good, Melo was very good, O’Quinn was very good, Jennings was good, Lee had his moments and Noah had a big 4th quarter. But most of it emigrated from individual play, not from TEAM play.
Melo was on fire in the 3rd quarter. But for me I was thinking that when he cools down, which inevitably every player does, trouble could be on the horizon…..And that’s exactly what happened in the 4th quarter.
Rose executes some of the most amazing drives to the basket you will see, but it’s always an individual play, not a play emigrating from good TEAM play. In fact, often these forays to the hoop come before any initial pass is made.
It’s inarguable that the Knicks play awful defense. But with that being said, what is the best way to solve poor individual defense? Good TEAM defense.
The Knicks have rarely shown good TEAM play on either end of the floor.
It is possible to be good or very good without great TEAM offense, providing you play solid TEAM defense…..Neither seems to be consistently evident from the Knicks.
This team, as I’ve written before, lacks leadership. If poor leadership exists, team play will suffer and the team will be more individualistic than team oriented. From my perspective, this defines the Knicks.
Part of the problem speaks directly to their roster construction. Their roster is horribly flawed…..I’ll explain;
To me, a starting five of Noah, Melo, Porzingis, Lee and Rose is not a lineup which consists of a Center, Power Forward, Small Forward, Shooting Guard and Point Guard, as one would hope a starting five would consist of….
From my perspective, the above lineup looks much more like 2-small forwards, 2-shooting guards, and a center……Again, I’ll explain;
As I’ve written before, Rose is much more of a 2-guard than a point guard who should be playing from the wing with his sole responsibility being to do what he does best which is get the ball and go, and not be responsible to set-up the offense.
At this point in both their careers, Melo and Porzingis are small forwards, not power forwards. Yes, when Melo plays power forward he creates a difficult match-up for other power forwards, but a price is paid when it comes to defense and rebounding. And whereas Porzingis may eventually wind up being a top-flight power forward, right now he lacks the overall physicality and gets man-handled by stronger players.
With Noah you do have a legitimate center, but an aging center who has a difficult time contributing offensively and is just not the defensive player he once was.
What does it all add up to? A flawed starting 5 and a flawed TEAM with flawed and inconsistent TEAM play.
Until the Knicks can find a means to become more of a TEAM, sadly and unfortunately, there will be more nights which mirror that which we have witnessed over the last 10-12 games.