A few preliminary thoughts on the team overall before getting into some thoughts on individual players:
- Folks, it’s just the preseason. This team is going to be good, trust me. Even the Lakers lost to the T-Wolves.
- Rebounding is going to be an issue this year, although not as bad as it looked today. I know the stat sheet looks ugly for Randolph and Amar’e, but they’re both better rebounders than they’ve shown this preseason and their career stats bear this out. However, this team really needs to commit to improving on the boards. Honestly, there were a few times when a Knicks player missed out on a rebound simply because they neglected to box out their man – that’s just laziness.
- There are going to be days (nights) when the shots aren’t falling. On these days the Knicks will really need to work the pick and roll, feeding Amar’e and even Mozgov. They’ll also need Randolph and Chandler to get to the rim and draw fouls. Oh, and these kind of games would be the perfect opportunity for Gallo to show us his new post-up game. Again, it’s only the preseason and the starters didn’t play a whole bunch, but just sayin’.
Now, let’s get to it.
I missed the beginning of the first quarter, but, according to Clyde, Wilson Chandler started off the game really well, going 4-4. Chandler continued to impress me throughout the game. I’ve been on the fence regarding Chandler throughout his career, but after a rocky training camp he seems ready to assert himself this year.
Amar’e didn’t have a great game and I’m not going to kill him. However, Amar’e is now the alpha dog. There are going to be nights when he can’t get it going on offense and he will need to find a way to impact the game. A good way for him to do so would be by committing himself to rebounding. Look at Kobe’s Game 7 in last year’s finals. By no means did Kobe have a good shooting game and has been taken some heat (mostly from Bill Simmons) for his anemic offensive performance. But no one talks about how Kobe crashed the boards in that game, pulling down 15 rebounds. Stars and team leaders find ways to impact the game.
Danilo Gallinari was terrible. There really isn’t any other way to put this. His shot was off and while there was a drive to the basket here and there, I’d like to see him put the ball on the floor or post up more when it’s obvious his shot isn’t falling. Let’s give Gallo a pass on this one; I’m sure the trip to Milan was very demanding for him.
Man, can Anthony Randolph pass! I heard that Randolph is a skilled passer, but he really gave his teammates some nice looks tonight. However, he continued his frenetic play. The guy is all over the place. He really shouldn’t be taking 3’s; he excels when he slashed to the basket. I’m becoming quite fond of the play where Randolph gets the ball near the baseline and then slashed into the lane and lays the ball up with his left hand. Randolph is like a live wire: so much energy and electricity but it needs to be channeled correctly.
Raymond Felton was pretty bad. What’s interesting (to me at least) is that the word “awkward” kept coming to mind while watching Felton. I felt uncomfortable watching him push the tempo and then dribbling into traffic, seemingly without purpose. He looks like a PG who is going through the motions of running the D’Antoni system, but he doesn’t understand the purpose behind his own movements. He also looks like he is trying a bit too hard out there, perhaps trying to live up to his captaincy. Let’s hope Felton relaxes and starts letting the game come to him.
Toney Douglas played a really good game. Douglas looks to be in great shape and dare I say a bit quicker. Maybe he’s just more comfortable in his second season, but he looked like a player in total command out there today. Douglas had one of the better shooting days on the team and it’s easy to forget that he can stroke it from downtown. Personally, I think he ran the offense better than Felton. Actually, he simply outplayed Felton. Games like this are bittersweet; it’s great to see Douglas playing well but that increases his stock and it increases the odds he will be included in a deal. I’d hate to see Toney go.
Timofey Mozgov continues to impress me. My last post could become dated pretty quick if Mozgov can keep this up. If he stays out of foul trouble he could really put a stranglehold on the center position, Randolph or no Randolph. And forget about it if the dude improves his rebounding.
Bill Walker and Roger Mason did some good things and they looked ok, but they don’t seem to play within the flow of the game.
Finally, we get to Andy Rautins and Lance Fields. Both rookies impressed me tonight. Fields was more assertive and showcased his athleticism, skills, and bball IQ. I’m starting to come around on him. Today was the first time I have ever seen Rautins play on the Knicks. Boy does this kid have a quick release. Rautins was also a lot more athletic than I was expecting based on scouting reports that I’ve read. He had a really nice pass to Mozgov and nailed a few 3’s. He brought a lot of energy to the floor and provided a nice spark. Rautins caught my eye today and I’m interested to see what he does going forward.
Other recaps around the web:
Before I list the other recaps out there, I strongly encourage Knicks fans to check out as many sites as possible. Why is that? Well, as much as I pride myself on being unbiased (see my change of heart on Fields) and calling things as I see them, these are still my opinions. That’s what I love about the Knicks community on the internet: there are a bunch of unique personalities and opinions out there and they all have something to offer. While me and Dan Miranda from Knicks Vision tend to be more even-keeled, the guys over at Knicks Fantatics tend to be a bit, uh, fanatical. And that’s awesome. Variety is the spice of life and checking out all of these perspectives often provides a clearer picture of what’s going on.