By Neil Beldock – 1/5/2017
Another tough loss for the Knicks last night, a loss which in my mind really illuminates where their biggest problem is.
Many want to blame Carmelo Anthony, or Derrick Rose, or the coaching staff. But in my mind the problem is that the Knicks do not have a true point guard, a true floor leader who controls pace, makes sure everyone is in the right position(s), gets the offense flowing and is essentially a coach on the floor which is what a true point guard is supposed to be; A Floor General.
There seems to be a consensus that Derrick Rose is the point guard and it certainly appears as though at times he is being asked to play the point.
The problem is that Derrick Rose is not a true point guard. He is a 2-guard who is at his best playing from the wing, curling and moving without the ball, and/or receiving the ball and going to the basket hard. And he’s been very good at that this year. But, as someone who played point guard, it’s easy for me to see how uncomfortable he is playing from the top and bringing the ball up. It’s just not his game.
If the Knicks had a true point guard they would not have a 17 point 4th quarter as they did last night. They would also have better possessions in “late game” situations when floor leadership is most essential.
Good floor leadership/point guard play also curtails dry spells throughout the game by controlling pace and getting the team properly set-up when struggling. In essence, re-focusing the team.
I believe that if the Knicks had a true point guard they would be at least 5-6 games better, if not more.
And they don’t need a superstar point guard, just a steady and smart player with floor leadership skills. In that vain, a Derrick Harper or Doc Rivers or Chauncey Billups type. Even an old Jason Kidd type who was a coach on the floor (remember, the Knicks won 54 games with an old Jason Kidd playing the point).
To his credit, Brandon Jennings at times has done a good job running the point, but may be a little too erratic to be the full time answer.
There have been times when Jennings and Rose playing together, with Jennings at the point and Rose off the ball, have posted solid results. In my mind the positive results are directly related to both players, and particularly Rose, being in the positions they should be in.
And with Jennings, a true point guard running the point, the 2nd unit has played very well in stretches.
Now I am not writing to say I have the player in mind who is the answer. Rather I’m writing to identify the type player Knicks management needs to scour other NBA rosters and the European leagues for, be it for availability this year or certainly for next year.
I’ll go out on a limb and say that if the Knicks had the type point guard I’m referring to, this team could be the third best team in the Eastern Conference, if not challenge the Raptors to be the second best team.
The real problem for the Knicks? They need a true point guard.