Saturday, March 29, 2014

Report: Kevin Love will consider NY in 2015

ESPN is reporting that -- along with Los Angeles and Chicago -- forward Kevin Love will also consider the Knicks as a possible landing spot when his contract expires during the 2015 offseason.

Love will be the cream of that year's free agency crop and at the same time, the Knicks' cap will be relatively clear with Amar'e Stoudemire's, Andrea Bargnani's and Tyson Chandler's contracts all expiring at the same time.

Love has been on the radar of Knicks fans and is a MVP-level player. This past season, he has averaged 26 ppg with 12 rpg. The 6'10'' forward has also shown versatility as a scorer who can score in the paint/on the post and knock down outside shots consistently. However, his defense is questionable and he has accrued a career defensive rating of 106.

Whether or not Kevin Love will want to venture into the fray that is the New York Knicks is the main concern for NYK fans. Especially if that's a Carmelo-less Knicks roster.

If Melo does leave, the Knicks will have a rare 1st round pick in that summer's draft, which could end up being a pretty high pick in that scenario. Even if Melo does stay, there's no guarantee the Knicks won't have a lottery pick next season, as this year will demonstrate. The Knicks at this point, aren't in position to make any significant roster moves, so at best, the Knicks will have about the same squad but with a new coach. Or possible, the same squad with no Melo and a new coach.

Read the ESPN story here: http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/39404/llakers-can-still-dream-about-kevin-love?ex_cid=espnapi_public

Monday, March 24, 2014

Knicks have Knicks-like second half, end streak with loss to Cavs

That terrible Knicks ball that hasn't been nearly as present over the past eight games returned Sunday night, as the team bungled a 17-point lead.

"They beat us, they won the game," said a dejected Carmelo Anthony following the game. "It's tough, we should have won this game, we gave it away."

Melo scored 32 points in the loss, but laid an egg in the fourth, going 0 for 5 from the field. After the game, Melo said double teams caused him problems and also admitted the ball just wouldn't go in the basket. It also felt like player movement also stopped at times and it became Melo versus the world. The team also settled for a number of perimeter jumpers rather than going to the basket. Amar'e Stoudemire, who has been a strong point in the teams streak, also disappeared in fourth, scoring only a single basket.

On the other side of the ball, while the Knicks stars were fading, guard Jarrett Jack went off. He scored 23 points in the second half on 10 for 13 shooting and dished out 5 assists.  Jack -- who scored an unsurprising season high -- was unstoppable in the second half and in the final minute, scoring  a crucial basket to help put the game away.

"Those guys got hot," said Raymond Felton, who was responsible for guarding Jack for a majority of the half. "Jarrett Jack got hot coming off that screen-and-roll... once a guy gets hot like that, it's kind of hard to guard him."

"He hit a lot of tough shots, contested by me, contested by Tyson. I mean, he just had a good night."

The players and coach Mike Woodson both seemed to target the slow start to the third quarter for their downfall.

"In the third quarter we came out a little flat," said Tyson Chandler. "We had some defensive breakdowns to start that quarter. It kind of gave them a bit of a rhythm and from their they just fed off it."

Coach Woodson said, "I thought we started off well, and we came in after the half time, I thought we were playing pretty good basketball. And then we went dry early in the third. I thought we came out of the third so slow, they scored the first five points and then we decided we wanted to play."

"Once Jack and Waiters really got going, it was tough."

This is an especially disappoint loss considering the streak the team was on and the push they are trying to make for the playoffs. Woodson said before the game he thinks the team will need to hit the 38 to 40 wins area to take the spot, meaning they will have to be almost perfect over the final 12 games.

Something that Carmelo Anthony says is more than possible. Despite the loss on Sunday, he seemed eager to move ahead and continue the push.

"I got faith that we can make a run, we've been playing extremely well," said Anthony. "As far as how many wins it's going to take -- who knows? We got to go play. We can't worry about how many wins it's going to take."

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Knicks string six wins together, make push for playoffs

The Knicks pulled off another decisive win over the Bucks on Sunday, for the team's sixth straight win. Saturday's win puts the team just three wins behind the Hawks, but with only 15 games left to play. Certainly enough time to close the gap and take the eight seed, especially if the team continues to finish strong, but unlikely, in my opinion.

The team has really played well after faltering following the All-Star Weekend where the team dropped seven straight following the break. The team only won two games in the entire months of February. But the Knicks have looked significantly better over the past six games, on both sides of the ball. Albeit against subpar teams, but the Knicks of February were dropping games to the Bucks, Magic and Kings.

However, based on my projections, I don't think the Knicks will likely make the playoffs. Again, they are just three behind the Hawks and playing their best ball of the season, but I think the Hawks schedule is too easy going forward and the Knicks have just enough obstacles to get in their way.

My prediction: I can see the Knicks winning a majority of their games over the final month of action. I think there's a good chance they finish 10-5 or 9-6. Putting them (at best) 37-45. The Hawks on the other hand have seven games I think they should win easily (Raptors, Cavs, Sixers, T-Wolves, Bobcats, Pistons and Bucks). Those wins would put them at 35, meaning they would just have to win three games other games. They play the Raptors and Bobcats twice and I think they should be able to at least win one of each of those games, but they could obviously take both. They have a road games against the Wizards and Nets that are more than winnable. They also catch the Heat near the end of the season, and might catch a team that decides to rest veterans because they have already clinched their seed.

If the Knicks can finish strong, and the Hawks are lackluster, New York will have a shot to slide into the eight seed. But anything less than nine wins probably won't get it done. If, on the otherhand, the Knicks can exceed expectations and win 12 or 13 games, they can put a ton of pressure on the Hawks to win.

The bad news for New York is, if they do get the eighth seed, they will likely have to play the Pacers in the first round. Meaning a repeat of last season's disastrous playoff series.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Overview: A look at the triangle offense

According to reports, Phil Jackson will join the Knicks to become the president of basketball operations. In that position, he will oversee the entirety of the team's basketball decisions, likely including the team's next head coach. That is assuming Mike Woodson is a short timer.

We are still so early on in the process and Jackson hasn't spoken publicly about his plans for New York yet. Or with this organization, it's unclear how much you will ever hear from Jackson. But many people are already wondering if Jackson will attempt to bring the Triangle Offense to New York. The very same offensive strategy that has put eleven rings on his fingers. A system that served Jackson so well and led to such much success, but has more or less fallen to the wayside since Jackson retired in 2011.

So what is the triangle offense and what are the core concepts that go into the offensive strategy? Well, I've decided to write a very brief overview. First, let me start off and say that I'm no expert. I have been following the NBA as a fan for more than a decade and over the past few years I've gotten really interested in the triangle. I've watched Lakers and Bulls games under Phil Jackson and I've read books by Tex Winter. Above all else, I've learned that the Triangle Offense, isn't just a group of set plays, it's an ideology. To run it, everyone on the court has to understand their positioning and the reasoning behind their movements. It's also revolves around passing as a fundamental way to penetrate, rather than pure dribble penetration (as you tend to see in today's NBA).

The Triangle

The system gets it's name from the basic form of the set. On one side of the court, one player stands at the wing, another in the corner and the final player on the block. This forms the traditional triangle. The two remaining players are placed on the opposite or weak side of the court. One player is near the weak side wing or close to the top of the key. The other is near the weak side elbow area. The chart below kind of outlines the formation and show you the spacing formed in the set.


Typically the two big men on the court are the ones occupying the 4 and 5 spots, whereas the 1 and 2 wing spots are usually wing players (SG and SF) with the PG traditionally moving to the corner. However, one big part of Phil Jackson's strategy is the idea of flexibility and interchangeable parts. In a perfect world, any player could be put in any position in the triangle. For instance, it was not unusual to see Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant get shoved into the 5 spot on the block for a post-up play.

Spacing

As the chart above shows, the key part that goes into the triangle offense is the concept of spacing. Every player should be at least 15 to 18 feet apart. The reasoning behind that distance is that it makes it difficult for teams to double team. If a team does try to double a player, the 15-18 feet distance gives enough space for a pass out and clean look by the open player before the defender is able to rotate/close out.

Forming the triangle

As you would expect, there are a number of ways to form the triangle and start the set play. Rule number one is that the triangle can be formed on either side of the court. If the defense is denying the right side, you can swing the ball over and try to set the triangle on the left side.

Photo via nba.com


Every play begins with a player, typically the point guard, bringing the ball up. The point guard (#9 in the pic above) will typically pass to the wing player (#7) on the strong side and then after the pass, the point guard will then move to the corner. The diagram above differs from the tradition formation, because it's set around Kobe Bryant in the low post. This kind of shows how the triangle can be formed in different ways. Kobe cuts across the paint as the pass and corner cut is made. Now we have the triangle and now the play can begin.

Triangle options

After the triangle is set and the ball is in the hands of the player on the wing (typically), at that point, there are five options. The primary option is typically getting the ball to the low post player. Whether that player is a traditional center, like Shaq or Andrew Bynum, or if it's like the play above where Kobe is in the low post spot. The closer to the rim your player is, the higher his FG% will be.

photo via http://thetriangleoffense.blogspot.com/
The next two options are moving the ball to the weak side for perhaps a pick and roll by the wing player and bigman or a pass to the bigman for a Princeton-like backdoor cut/pinch post play to the basket by the weak side wing player. You could also pass to the corner player or the ballhandler could keep the ball himself and run a play, but this is not preferred since the core concept of the triangle is passing the ball.

From this point, their is any number of plays or sets that you can run. As I said, a pinch post weak side play (example below) is a popular choice as is getting the ball to the interior low post player. Whatever the play, if a defense is able to stop it, a good team should look to reset the triangle and try something else.

Examples

Alright, there's only so much I can do to explain the triangle, so why don't we look at some examples. Before we do, I recommend checking out Triangle Offense blog and Coaches Clipboard both do good jobs at outlying the offense.

Example 1

Low post isolation




My first example is from a non-Phil Jackson source. This is a play from earlier this season, where the Pacers ran a triangle play. The Pacers have integrated parts of triangle into their offense after Brian Shaw came on as assistant coach. Shaw has since left the team, but the triangle is still a part of their offense. And they definitely have the parts to run it. The play above, is not your traditional set, but the top goal remains the same. Get the ball into the low post.

The play begins with CJ Watson bringing the ball up and an initial triangle is formed on the near side of the court. The amount of dribbling is a little unusual, but Watson dribbles across the perimeter as Lance Stephenson cuts around the back side to the strong side wing. Effectively, all that has happened is Watson and Stephenson have switched spots. Watson passes back over to the Stephenson at the wing and Stephenson swings the ball over to Paul George in the corner.

George makes the entry pass to Roy Hibbert in the post and then watch as he cuts back across the perimeter. Now you'll see that once again, another triangle has been formed, with Hibbert and Stephenson on the weak side. This new triangle also creates an isolation that allows Roy Hibbert to back down his man (Noah) in space for a turnaround jumper near the rim. You can see Stephenson's defender is wary to leave him and the 18 foot space makes it difficult for him to easily disrupt Hibbert's back down.

Example 2

Weak side pinch post




Alright, the play starts with Kobe bringing the ball up the court and passing to Gasol in the wing. Now, watch as Kobe cuts to the corner on the opposite side of the court, rather than moving to the near side corner close to Gasol. What this effectively does is form the triangle on the opposite side of the court and Gasol's side becomes the weak side, even though they have the ball.

In this formation, Bynum is also on the weak side in the post and Gasol is looking for the entry pass, but his defender is playing off of him and denying Bynum the ball. This is because they don't respect Gasol's perimeter jumper. Once Gasol realizes the entry pass won't work, he swings the ball back out to Derek Fisher, who's playing further out from the wing. He's so far out that he's actually closer to where the weak side wing player should be. Bynum shifts over to the opposite side of the paint and forms another triangle on the far side.

Fisher passes to Ron Artest on the strong side wing and Fisher moves over to Gasol, who has shifted closer to the basket. Artest quickly passes back to Fisher, who in turn passes back to Gasol. Then Fisher and Gasol run what is referred to as a pinch post play, where the bigman (Gasol) has the ball and the guard (Fisher) runs around him, effectively using Gasol as a screen. This is a play you will see over and over again in the NBA. Gasol passes back to Fisher as he moves around him and Fisher cuts to the basket.

Bynum's defender helps, leaving Bynum open under the basket. Fisher pulls up and alley-oops a pass to Bynum who puts it in. A great read by Fisher, who was probably hoping to get to the rim, but once he saw Bynum's defender rotate over, he instinctively found a way to get the ball to the open man.

I think this set shows you the countless ways you can set the triangle. The play started off with an unusual set, with two bigmen on the same side of the court. But with a couple of passes, the set switched over to a more traditional look.


Example 3

Weak side iso


This video is a great example of  how the offense continues to try to reform the triangle after every stalled play. The play starts with Fisher bringing the ball up and passing to the Kobe at the wing. Fisher than reverses and goes to the opposite corner. This is similar to example 2, where Kobe moved to the opposite corner. This again forms the triangle on the opposite side of the court and puts Kobe on the weak side. But in this case, Lamar Odom is out of position at the top of the arc.

Kobe passes back to Lamar and Lamar passes to Artest. Kobe then cuts across the paint to the low post and the triangle is finally formed. Artest looks for Kobe, but doesn't like the positioning and passes the ball back to Odom who has now shifted onto the weak side with Gasol. They run a pick and roll and Odom looks for the low post pass, but it's denied. Odom has also picked up his dribble, so he is stuck.

Kobe cuts back across the formation and occupies the weak side wing. Odom passes Kobe the ball and then moves to the corner while Gasol shifts back over to the other side of the paint. Artest and Fisher shift back into place and the triangle is formed once again with Kobe again on the weak side. With just a few seconds left on the clock, Kobe is forced to beat his man on the dribble and pull up for a jumper near the basket.

If there was more time on the clock, you might have seen Kobe opt to pass to Fisher, who was open along the top of the key.

Concerns

I think the triangle is a phenominal offense that has worked for two of the greatest teams in NBA history, the Jordan Bulls and the Kobe-Shaq Lakers. But there are a couple things you should realize. The system worked, but it's not a miracle worker. It's not going to turn an average player into a god. If you don't have good players, if you don't have the right players and if you don't have smart players, it's not going to work.

For example, Kurt Rambis attempted to install the triangle in Minnesota in 2009. His top players at the time were Al Jefferson and then-rookie Kevin Love. Two players that fit in the system, no doubt. But outside of them were Ryan Gomes, Jonny Flynn and Corey Brewer. Not quite Kobe or Jordan.

Rambis had an abysmal time in Minnesota. Over the next two seasons, he compiled a 32-132 record and had one of the worst offenses in the league. He was fired in 2011 and returned to the Lakers as an assistant in the summer of 2013. Now, Love was a really good player, especially by his second season, but this is a case in point that any good triangle team has to have a competent wing player.

At this point, it's not clear if the Knicks have that piece. Is Melo good enough to get it done on the wing, or is he better used in the post (as Woodson has used him in the four spot the past two seasons). If the pieces the Knicks have now don't work in the triangle, will Jackson and his front office cronies be able to help? These are major questions/concerns, but I think, as long as he is allowed to work freely, Jackson is a smart man and a great basketball mind. If there is anyone that understands the type of players that are needed for the triangle, it's him. And I think he knows right now exactly how Melo should be used in the system. Or else, I don't know if he would have joined the Knicks. Jackson has always been a man that knows when to join a team at the right time.

Hopefully this is New York's right time.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What could Phil Jackson bring to the Knicks?

The Knicks are pushing hard for Phil Jackson to come in and right the ship that has gone so, so wrongthe Daily News, the Knicks expect Jackson to make a decision at some point on Monday. If he accepts a deal, it's believed that Jackson would be named head of basketball operations for the Knicks. However, it's not clear what type of role Jackson is hoping for and could potentially be a much less active position within the organization. The Knicks reportedly offered Jackson the head coach position (despite Woodson still being employed) a couple of weeks ago, which he turned down. According to Frank Isola, Jackson was looking for a consulting position, similar to Jerry West with the Warriors.
this season. According to

No matter what role Jackson takes, Knicks fans are hopeful that Jackson can provide guidance to help assemble a championship quality team. If Jackson joins as head of basketball operations, he's going to have a couple of huge decision right off the bat. Namely, the team's future at head coach and what to do with Carmelo Anthony.

Many have raised questions of what Jackson can do in the front office. We all know he has a great basketball mind and he's a genius head coach. But this would be his first official foray into the front office. So what will he provide of the bat? I think he will give the organization two key building blocks.

Legitimacy

First, he'd provide immediate legitimacy. Especially after this tumultuous season, the Knicks have
reclaimed their spot as the laughingstock of the NBA. Under Dolan, NY has been a roller-coaster of disappointment.

The Knicks' dysfunction may end up being a key during the 2015 offseason, when the Knicks will have cap space to go after another star. You have to imagine, a lot of people looking from the outside wouldn't want to go to New York purely because of that dysfunction. If you are an All-Star player (or a top tier coach), would you opt for NY over another destination like LA, Chicago or Miami?

Probably not.

But if Phil Jackson is on the staff, that could sway opinions. Especially if the organization makes it clear that he will be in charge. No more Dolan calling shots, no more frantic, thoughtless, desperate attempts to make the team immediately competitive. The front office can now say they have the most successful coach in NBA history. The man who turned Jordan and Kobe into champions. The man who has 11 rings on his fingers. That man will now be making decision for this organization.

Control

One  common theme for any coach, general manager or front office member that has worked with the team over Dolan's reign has been the issue of control. The Knicks owner is often viewed as overbearing, impatient and easily upset. He is also seen as a man that likes to take a hands-on approach with the team. Dolan likes making the calls and when a big decision has to be made, you better side with him.

It's what happened with the Carmelo Anthony trade in 2010. Walsh reportedly didn't want to give up all the assets the team did when the trade was made. Walsh denied the rumors, but it's clear he felt he had giving up too much and even somewhat admitted the trade (at least temporarily) slowed the organization. Control also played a part in the Mike D'Antoni departure. D'Antoni reportedly didn't think he could get Melo to work within his team and wanted them to make a trade for a point guard that would better fit his system. He was overruled, and shortly there after resigned.

Dolan's overbearing nature once again reeked havoc this past offseason when he pushed for the Knicks to make a deal for Andrea Bargnani, when then-GM Glenn Grunwald wanted to make a push for the then-disgruntled LaMarcus Aldridge. He was forced into trading for Bargnani, reportedly at the behest of Dolan.

The fact that Dolan isn't an easy guy to work with. He wants results and believes he knows the way to get those results quickly. But so far it hasn't panned out, which is why the club is trying to lure in Phil Jackson.

Jackson's is a genius and a legend. Not only at coaching, but also at handling personalities. That might be his biggest asset for the team. The biggest personality that needs to be handled with the Knicks is Dolan. If there is anyone that can manipulate and override Dolan's impact on the team, it's the Zenmaster. I hope Dolan would have some respect for Jackson's accomplishments and he might be willing to listen when Jackson has an opinion. Grunwald was able to manage Dolan for a short time, but eventually he got on his bad side and got sent packing.

Concerns

There are of course some concerns when it comes to Phil Jackson joining the team. Jackson is a smart dude, but it's not prudent to think he's going to come in and cure the ills of a team that has been floundering for the better part of 15 years. The main concern every fan has to think about is if he will be able to handle Dolan. Nothing is going to go okay if they clash from day one and the Knicks suffer because of it.

Second, the Knicks are on the threshold of rebuilding and this is a crucial time for the team. The decisions made this offseason and next will likely affect the next five-plus years for the team. Jackson, if hired, will have some huge decisions. Most prominent, whether the team rebuilds around Carmelo and who the Knicks head coach is going forward. Jackson was very critical of the current Knicks squad in 2012, including Anthony. Would he let Melo walk and opt for a fresh start for the team? And is there any chance in hell that Dolan would let that happen?

The Knicks are going to be dumping a bunch of salary over the next year and this year's team is not going to look a lot like 2015's squad. If Jackson is hired, he'll be the one deciding the foundation the next Knicks team is build on, especially if Melo leaves. (Melo wasn't all that thrilled about the potential of Jackson joining the team, according to reports).

While I like the idea of someone as smart as PJ signing/drafting the Knicks' next franchise player, his track record isn't apparent. If you look at the players drafted under Phil Jackson's tenure with Chicago and LA, it's not awe-inspiring. He didn't draft Jordan. He didn't draft Kobe. For the most part, he's joined franchises where the pieces were in place. And from there, moves were made to make the team adapt to Jackson's system.

Another question is if Jackson can build a team around a non-Triangle system? Will he opt to bring in a coach willing to run the triangle over a coach that prefers another system? I'm sure someone as smart as Jackson understands the parts that go into any basketball system. He likely understands better than most that each system needs it's own specific parts. But a man that has lived and had so much success within one system, it's will be interesting to see how he fairs working with a new one.

As of 3:30 p.m., no decision has made, but we will be watching.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Stages of grief

1. Denial and Isolation

"It is a normal reaction to rationalize overwhelming emotions. It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain." (PsychCentral.com)

Once we get Tyson back, everything will fall into place.

Fire Woodson and bring in Van Gundy. We were the two-seed last year!!!

2. Anger

"As the masking effects of denial and isolation begin to wear, reality and its pain re-emerge. We are not ready. The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger." (PsychCentral.com)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQu_T6-tBZk

3. Bargaining

"The normal reaction to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability is often a need to regain control. Secretly, we may make a deal with God or our higher power in an attempt to postpone the inevitable." (PsychCentral.com)

The trade deadline... if we can get a quality point guard... Rondo... ok, Lowry...

Fuck it, blow it up. Trade Melo, trade Shump, fire Woodson. Get draft picks. We need picks, they'll fix everything. Let's rebuild.

4. Depression

"Two types of depression are associated with mourning. The first one is a reaction to practical implications relating to the loss. Sadness and regret predominate this type of depression. We worry that, in our grief, we have spent less time with others that depend on us. This phase may be eased by simple clarification and reassurance. We may need a bit of helpful cooperation and a few kind words. The second type of depression is more subtle and, in a sense, perhaps more private. It is our quiet preparation to separate and to bid our loved one farewell. Sometimes all we really need is a hug.(PsychCentral.com)

Is this the worst team ever?

5. Acceptance

"Reaching this stage of mourning is a gift not afforded to everyone." (PsychCentral.com)

The Knicks are never going to be good.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What are the Knicks' best options at point guard

With the news on Tuesday morning that Raymond Felton has been arrested and is facing some serious jail time, the Knicks now have to be scrambling for a point guard. And less than 24 hours beforehand, the Knicks unknowingly worsened matters by releasing underused point guard Beno Udrih along with forward Metta World Peace.

So with Felton possibly facing some jail time and a healthy suspension, the Knicks are down to two point guards: 36-year-old Pablo Prigioni and former D-League player Toure' Murry.

Prigioni has really done a great job for the Knicks since joining the team last season after years of playing international ball. However, I don't think the Knicks can ask him to play starter minutes. We saw earlier this season the impact high minute games had on him. He played three 30+ minute games in December then went down in the midst of a fourth with a foot injury. He missed over a month as a result.

Murry is a mystery. He has really impressed in his limited action as a defender and player in general. But he is not without his flaws, most significantly his lack of an perimeter shot. He has rarely played since Prigioni's return and has only logged 245 minutes on the season. He's a second year player who's playing his first season in the NBA after an impressive summer league. Is he a guy that can come in and play well in extended minutes, I think so. Is he ready for 20+ minutes a night? I don't know.

Either way, the Knicks have to bring in some point guard help, especially since Shumpert (who played PG in college) is still out with a sprained MCL. So what are the Knicks options?

Jimmer Fredette

The Kings are working on a buyout with Fredette after failing to move him at the trade deadline. I
think most fans see him as an interesting prospect. He's improved every year as a pro, he is shooting phenomenally well this season, especially from three point range, and is a New York State native. He had problems cracking into the Kings rotation, but (as the Knicks saw when he came to the Garden) when he comes in he can start a fire with his shooting. And when he's in the zone, he's a damn good player. He's got a lot going for him, but there are also some huge red flags.

Number one: he's not a point guard. Though he has the body of a point guard, I don't think Fredette has the mindset, passing ability, athletic skill or defensive ability to play high minutes at the position. With a defensive rating of 111 this season, and 113 and 114 over the past two seasons, he's a defensive downgrade even compared to Felton.

Overall: I think he could be a good off-the-bench player for the team. Maybe playing a Steve Novak-type role. But I don't think he's the best fit for the Knicks at this point. But if they did sign him, it's a pretty low-risk addition. If he's interested, and willing to sign for the minimum, he could end up being an asset for the Knicks. At the very least, he could sit in the corner on Horns players/pick and roll plays and stretch out the defense.

Jamaal Tinsley


Another old vet that might be able to come in for the Knicks and help out in light doses. The 35-year-old point guard and Brooklyn native was cut earlier this season by the Jazz and has been waiting around since.

While, I can't see him joining the team and making a huge impact, he should be able to provide some third-string minutes to help the Knicks get by. And his veteran experience and defensive-mindset might be an asset to this floundering team, especially in the locker room. Even though physically he's far from the same guy making plays in Indiana a decade ago.

The down side? His shooting. Tinsley has never been a great shooter. His career FG% is under 40. He's never shot better than 37% from behind the arc. So he's not going to come into New York with all guns blazing like Jimmer Fredette could. He does have a history of having a bad attitude, but has allegedly reformed in Utah, becoming a positive "voice" for that team.

Overall: I could see him offering a Jason Kidd-like role for the team, but he's not going to be able to play high minutes or be anywhere as effective as Kidd was as a shooter for the Knicks or leader. In his prime, he was a strong defender with a great skillset, but he's never been an efficient shooter. He might end up coming in being the equivalent of Mike Bibby with the Knicks in 2011-12.

Delonte West

Currently, West is in the Far East playing in China and contractually won't be available until next month when his season ends (much like when the Knicks signed JR Smith). So right off the bat, he's not an immediate option. He could potentially be a good option as a backup to Prigioni and could provide some help as an off-the-bench distributor and scorer.

The question marks? He hasn't played in the NBA for two years. But not for lack of ability, rather because of issues he had in the locker room with the Mavericks and a host of other off-the-court issues.

Overall: We know he's talented and can help the team, but I don't think anyone wants him in the same locker room as JR Smith. The Knicks don't need to bring his problems into an already troubled franchise
.

D-League options?

There are a handful of guys in the D-League right now that are pretty attractive for the Knicks, brimming with potential, but unskilled.

Probably the most attractive name would be Pierre Jackson. The Baylor standout has dominated in the D-League, scoring averaging 29 points-per-game with six assists. However, he's not an option for the Knicks as the Pelicans still hold the draft rights. So unless the Pelicans renounce his rights, he's not coming to the Knicks any time soon.

Aside from Jackson, the next most intriguing name would probably be Seth Curry, brother the Golden State Warriors star point guard, Steph. Curry wasn't selected in last summer's draft and the only NBA-level action he's seen has been summer league with the Warriors and a short 10-day contract with the Grizzlies where he played in one game. In the D-League, playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Curry is averaging 19.5 points and just six assists per game. Good stat line, but we all know that probably won't transfer to the NBA.

Also available is former D-Leaguer and Lakers point guard Darius Morris who also signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, but was not resigned. Morris has also had stints with the Sixers and Clippers but he has done little to impress teams in his limited action.

Finally, I'll throw out Dee Bost, Pierre Jackson's teammate in Idaho, who has put up some pretty nice numbers with 16.5 points-per-game with just under nine assists. Not bad.

Chris Smith

I'm just kidding.

Wrap up

In the end, options aren't great for the Knicks at point guard. My guess is Prigioni, Shump and Murry will be leading the way. There isn't any real options available currently that could come in and be a starter, in my opinion. The only good news, is Knick fans won't have to deal with Raymond Felton's questionable play. But it's unlikely the team will be better off without Felton than they were with him.

UPDATE: There are reports that the Knicks are interested in guard Shannon Brown. I didn't consider him because I thought he was more of a SG. But he is certainly a skilled ballhandler and athletic enough to play point. He might not be a good option for the time being. The Knicks previously made a run at Brown back in 2010, so they have been looking at him for some time.

This season, Brown was traded from the Suns and Wizards and then waived by Washington. He signed two 10-day contracts recently with the San Antonio Spurs, but did not re-sign after the second contract expired. In 10 games with the Spurs, he was less than impressive in limited action, shooting 28% from the field and failing to make a single three. He offensive rating for that brief period was an abysmal 68. But he only played in 10 games and averaged 10 minutes per game. Not a huge sample-size, especially considering he was probably more than a little rusty.