Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Though the Bobcats will continue their search for a new head coach, they will no longer be considering Knicks legend Patrick Ewing for the job.
According to Yahoo! Sports, team owner Michael Jordan recently informed his former on-the-court rival that he was no longer a candidate for the job.
While Ewing had a fallback plan when he first interviewed for the position (his existing assistant coaching job with the Magic), the iconic big man will likely be looking for another job either way. Stan Van Gundy is out in Orlando, which means not much more can be said for his coaching staff.
Given the experience he has working under coaches like Doug Collins, Jeff Van Gundy, and Stan, it could be argued that Ewing has done enough in his nine years as an assistant to warrant an interview in Orlando for the vacant spot. That said, with former General Manager Otis Smith out in Orlando as well, it's likely an overhaul and a fresh start is what the franchise is aiming for. Putting Ewing in charge may simply be considered an extension of the old Van Gundy regime, which is clearly not something the team desires.
With Ewing no longer a candidate in Charlotte and his future with the Magic all but non-existent, he'll probably be showing up on another NBA bench next season. Could we see a Collins/Ewing reunion in Philadelphia? With the Nets starting fresh in Brooklyn, could they be brazen enough to offer him a chance to return to New York?
Another interesting spot for the legendary big man would be Indiana. Ewing has done wonders with the likes of Yao Ming and Dwight Howard in the past, and could be an interesting match with the up and coming, yet still offensively raw, Roy Hibbert. Should Ewing's search for work be longer than he hopes, another one of his former Dream Team teammates (Larry Bird) would be smart to offer him a job on Frank Vogel's already intelligent staff.
Of course, every New Yorker and their mother still hopes for Ewing to re-join the Knicks at some point. Having already hand-picked some assistants mid-season (and former Knicks big man Herb Williams already on the staff), it'd be surprising to see the newly official head coach Mike Woodson hire Ewing.
Nevertheless, if he can't land a head coaching job this offseason, it'd be nice to see Ewing find a strong fit for him to continue building his reputation as a respectable coach. Have any other suggestions as to where might be a good fit for the big man? Let us know on Twitter @KnicksJournal.
With Ewing now out of the running, Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan, Team U.S.A Assistant Coach Nate McMillan, and Warriors top assistant Michael Malone appear to be top candidates for the Charlotte post.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
The NBA revealed the selections for its three "All-NBA" teams (as voted by the media) earlier this afternoon.
Though players like M.V.P LeBron James and Kevin Durant highlighted the "All-NBA" First Team, and both Andrew Bynum and Tony Parker paced the Second Team, it was the Knicks' own Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler who represented New York, being honored as Third Team selections.
While making such a team is a major accomplishment in itself, this same distinction also suggests that Anthony is not (or at the very least, was not this season) a top-ten player in the NBA, as our friend Alan Hahn of MSG notes.
Anthony's 22.6 points per game was the second-lowest average of his career. He struggled earlier in the season to get into a flow offensively under former coach Mike D'Antoni, and was subsequently blamed by many for the coach's sudden resignation.
Nevertheless, Anthony began to thrive as the season progressed and new coach Mike Woodson featured him on offense in isolation. With Woodson in charge, the forward helped propel the Knicks to an 18-6 record down the stretch and averaged 23.5 during that span. Had he averaged that the entire season, Anthony would have hovered nowhere near career-low numbers.
What matters most is that the Knicks' star turned up the heat when the pressure was on. He was named the NBA's "Eastern Conference Player of the Month" during the season's final month of April. The team soared to an 8-4 record in the month.
In addition to the 22.6 points, Anthony also averaged 6.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 3.6 assists (the second-highest assist average of his career) over the course of the season.
Though this was the fifth All-NBA Team selection of Anthony's career, it was the first for Chandler, who truly had a deserving and solid all-around productive season. Already named the 2011-2012 "Defensive Player of the Year," Chandler tallied 60 total points (5 points are awarded for a First Team vote, 3 for a Second Team vote, and 1 for a Third Team vote), edging out Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who finished with 55 points.
Also noteworthy is the fact that Chandler received four First Team votes as well, tying Rajon Rondo for the most First Team votes on the Third Team. Anthony was only awarded one First Team vote.
Of course, Chandler changed the defensive culture in New York, helping rise the Knicks up enough to become one of the most efficient defensive teams in the entire league. While such an elevated effort has his fingerprints all over it, Chandler's impressive season didn't stop there.
The 2011 NBA champion also led the NBA in field goal percentage, shooting a career-high 67.9% from the field. The percentage was the third-highest in league history. Following the Knicks' first-round playoff loss to the Miami Heat, Chandler vowed to improve his offensive game. With such a sweet touch and his ability to finish underneath the basket, being more aggressive on offense would certainly only help his team next season.
Chandler averaged 11.3 points, 9.9 points, and 1.4 blocks per game during the campaign.
Such a high honor for the big man may be enough for Knicks fans to cope easier with the fact that he was only named to the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team, despite being recognized as the league's top defensive individual player for this past season. The media votes for the "Defensive Player of the Year," whereas coaches vote for the All-NBA defensive squads.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
After their playing days are over, most NBA players ride off into the sunset and enjoy the relaxation that comes with retirement. Senator Bill Bradley isn’t “most NBA players.” After a storied basketball career that included two NBA championships and an all-star appearance, Bradley decided to take the political world by storm. After spending ten seasons as a New York Knicks, the Hall of Famer went on to win three Senate races and even launched his own Presidential campaign in 2000.
An author of seven books (many of which have landed on The New York Times’ bestsellers’ list), Senator Bradley is back with his newest release, We Can All Do Better. The former Knicks star offers his thoughts on the state of the nation, as well as continues to spread a positive message. Having constantly been in the public eye, it’s clear he carries all of his interactions (both as a politician and an athlete) with him.
Senator Bradley sat down with Knicks Journal for an exclusive one-on-one interview in which he talks about his new book and life philosophies, and furthermore reflects on his time with the Knicks and the current state of the team. You can read our conversation below.
Q: Talk to me a little bit about your new book, We Can All Do Better. The title obviously conveys a clear message in itself, but what were your motivations for writing the book?
A: I really wrote the book to restore people’s hope. I wanted to remind them that we’ve had wars and depressions in the past and have overcome them. We have the kind of political institutions that are flexible enough to deal with any problem. The core of who we are as people is a certain selflessness and goodness. That’s the key to what to build on for policy. The title of the book is self-explanatory. It actually comes from President Lincoln’s second “State of the Union” address. Given the challenges we face as a country, it requires each of us, be it those in government or individuals, to be at our best.
I wanted to start a dialogue to explore what we can do better as individuals. People can tweet me @BillBradley and use hash-tag “Do Better” to begin to tell me what they think. Obvious things that stand out for me are taking care of your health, as well as always reading and learning as much as you can.
Q: And in the book, you actually suggest we as people can find solutions to various social issues by watching successful sports teams. Explain that philosophy.
A: Sure. I just feel as though our future rests with teams that act as units, rather than individuals. That means all of the different things someone may learn on a basketball team, such as how to be selfless, are directly applicable to other aspects of your life. This was certainly evident on the Knicks squads I played on, because each player was simply one point on a five-point star. No one player was dominant, and that’s one of the biggest reasons why we were successful. I think this is true on a lot of teams. Not that there aren’t great stars, but I feel as though the bench players are just as important.
If those role players turn out to be complainers, they could prove to be a poison. But if each player is grateful to be part of the team, they can be supportive in a number of different ways. Not only do they play an important role in helping the starters stay in shape by pushing them in practice, but it’s also important they’re positive and/or funny in the locker room. Getting one another to relax is key.
Q: So balanced teams win championships. As you watch more and more NBA teams pride themselves on how many stars they have, forming various “Big Three” combos, what are your thoughts on the current state of the Knicks? Can a team solely centered around stars win big?
A: I think ultimately teams like that don’t win championships. I think you win a title when you have a group of complimentary talents and personalities. Obviously in order for a team to reach a certain threshold, you’ll always need some skill. But my Knicks squads were never full of the most talent; just the best overall teams. Players who truly understand what’s at stake are going to value championships more than scoring titles, because no one will recall who led the league in scoring once that season is long gone. There’s always going to be someone else.
But if you’re in that championship circle, it’s certainly a lifetime experience. I was lucky enough to accomplish such a feat twice with an extraordinary group in the basketball capital of the world. As far as today goes though, you know the saying: once a Knick, always a Knick. I’m constantly pulling for them to succeed.
Q: One of the key cogs on your championship winning Knicks teams was your very good friend, Phil Jackson. With rumors swirling that he could return to coaching, do you think Jackson could ever return to New York to finish things where they started?
A: I would be surprised if Phil came back, because he’s taken the time off to deal with his health. He has a full life and there are certainly a lot of things for him to do that aren’t basketball related. Personally, as his former roommate, I’d like it if he came back simply because I’d get to see him more. But as his friend, I’m not sure he would do that. It would take a very unusual circumstance for him to do it.
Q: The Knicks are obviously once again trying to experience some of the same success your squads did. I know you recently met one of their rising talents in Jeremy Lin, last month. What were your first impressions of him?
A: I met Jeremy briefly at the TIME 100 Gala and we posed for a few photographs together. I know about him and I’m familiar with his background. I know how hard he works too. His character appears to be stellar, and he’s clearly lifted his game in the last 18 months in quite the startling way. I think it’ll probably take about three years for him to be at his peak on the court. He needs a team that moves well without the ball, so that he’s able to use his vision to find them and get the ball to his teammates in the right places.
Q: Looking at some of the NBA’s other better talents, who are some of the players you like today? Do you have any NBA Finals predictions?
A: I like Kevin Durant. He’s a top-notch character. Tim Duncan is up there too. Looking at some more of the older guys, I’m fond of the Celtics’ stars and they way they play.
As far as the NBA Finals go, if I’m basing things off experience, obviously I look at two teams like the Spurs and Celtics facing off in The Finals. But if I start to look at some of the younger men rising up, I have to go with Durant and the Thunder. I really like them as a team, actually. There’s a certain cohesiveness to them. They play selflessly.
Q: I know you’ll be in town continuing to promote the book this week, with an upcoming signing this Thursday evening at the “Book Revue” store in Huntington, Long Island. Will you still have time to check out “Clyde’s Wine & Dine,” your former teammate Walt “Clyde” Frazier’s new restaurant in New York City?
A: I was there for the grand opening actually! It’s quite a restaurant. I think it’s a fantastic spot. There’s a great bank of televisions all around, and fans can relax and enjoy any game they want. They have a great free-throw shooting station there too, which I know Clyde happens to use. He never misses!
Q: Lastly, having achieved so much during your time here, what stands out to you as your most beloved memory in New York?
A: Winning the two championships are at the top for me. People always ask me how I compare winning two NBA titles to winning three Senate races. Winning the Senate race is a greater honor, but all that gives you is the opportunity to work 16 hours a day simply to prove to the people that they weren’t wrong in selecting you.
When you win an NBA championship though, you’re at the top of the mountain. You have chills going down your spine and your fists are thrown in the air. You know you’re the best in the world. That’s a unique experience. There are very few places where victory is so clear-cut.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Aside from proving he carries himself with enough swagger off the court to thrive in the Big Apple, Iman Shumpert also proved himself on the hardwood by elevating the Knicks all season long.
The rookie fit right into the new defensive culture the team's staff looked to instill on the squad. A fearless defender, Shumpert took on an array of the league's top talents, covering the likes of Paul Pierce, Derrick Rose, and Dirk Nowitzki. In addition to displaying slick defensive prowess, the young stud's athletic ability electrified the Garden crowd night in and night out. His aerodynamic dunks often paced New York's second unit's contributions.
For all of his efforts (and perhaps his mass popularity), the Georgia Tech product was named to the NBA's All-Rookie First Team. He received fifteen first-team votes, as well as ten second-team votes. The guard was joined by the likes of the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, and the Timerwolves' Ricky Rubio, among others.
Having been picked seventeenth overall in last June's rookie draft, Shumpert seemed to exceed just about every single expectation this past season. Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (last year's twenty-second overall selection) was the only player picked later than Shumpert in the draft to also be honored with a "First-Team" selection.
The Knicks' overall shaky backcourt situation resulted in Shumpert emerging as one of their strongest weapons, whether he started a game or provided a boost off the bench. He averaged 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and an astounding 1.7 steals in nearly 29 minutes per game. He played in 59 contests (starting 35) in the regular season before tearing his ACL during the Knicks' playoff series with the Miami Heat. With rehab expected to be a total of six to eight total months, it's unknown whether or not Shumpert will be ready by the start of next season. December seems to be a more likely month for his return.
While he undoubtedly became known for his versatile skills, Shumpert's interactions with fans via various types of social media certainly helped propel his popularity to new heights. The guard has nearly 110,00 followers on Twitter, and often responds to many of them daily.
In addition, Shumpert sat down with us at Knicks Journal for three exclusive one-on-one interviews over the last year. To see how his attitude progressed and view his maturation throughout the season, you can read all three interviews below:
August 2011: Iman Shumpert Discusses Rookie Season Goals and Workout Routine
February 2012: Iman Shumpert Talks About "Linsanity," the Dunk Contest, and Bouncing Back From His First NBA Injury
March 2012: Iman Shumpert Addresses the Knicks' Coaching Change and His Role on the Team
The 21 year old clearly went through the second-half of his rookie year with a chip on his shoulder, after not be selected for the Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend. He certainly played with a certain fire as he closed out the season. With this new and most deserving recognition, it seems as though he's successfully avenged the snub.
During this season's NBA playoffs, the Knicks received a bit of Deja Vu when two of their best players sat out with various injuries. Jeremy Lin (knee injury) and Amar'e Stoudemire (hand) both missed game(s) this postseason, preventing New York from making much noise for the second straight season.
Injuries surely don't help things, but there's still no doubt interim Coach Mike Woodson did a worthy enough job leading his team through certain adversities during the regular season. Not only did he take the reigns of the Knicks during a turbulent time in the Big Apple, but Coach Woodson altered the team's culture for the better as he forced players to take responsibility for their actions on and off the court. Asserting such authority resulted in the Knicks' elevating their play as a unit.
In fact, it only took Coach Woodson twenty four games to rack up 18 wins. It took his predecessor, former coach Mike D'Antoni, fourty-two games to lead the team to the same amount of wins.
Woodson's success and demeanor (playoff win or no playoff win) have impressed the Knicks enough to start hammering out the details of a contract that would keep him in New York as the team's official head coach, according to Al Iannazone of Newsday.
Woodson's offense, of course, runs through Carmelo Anthony, as the forward thrives in isolation. With that recognized, will Jeremy Lin, the point guard who emerged as brief savior in New York while running Coach D'Antoni's offense instead, be returning alongside the new coach?
Whereas things look especially promising for Woodson to return to the Knicks and continue building something special, the same certainty cannot yet be expressed when talking about Lin.
According to Lin's agent, nothing is set in stone. He and Lin plan to explore all various options, including one that is expected to present itself with the Toronto Raptors. Though the Knicks are in fact able to match any offer for Lin (a Restricted Free Agent), other teams are able to offer Lin a back-loaded contract which gives way to a maximum salary in the latter years of the contract. Matching such an offer would ultimately put New York above the luxury tax threshold. Is keeping Lin in the fold (recognizing his short-yet electrifying sample tenure as the Knicks' floor general) worth forfeiting the team's Midlevel Exception in the seasons to come?
Lin obviously rose up as an international phenomenon this past season, and thus, the marketing possibilities in a huge market like the Big Apple are endless. From a business prospective, it'd be insane (or simply Linsane) for the Knicks to let go such a hugely popular player, no matter what the cost may be.
Even so, Lin is still quite young and relatively unproven, given that he only started 25 contests. Which Jeremy Lin will show up in future seasons? Will it be the one that drove to the basket again and again, propelling the Knicks to victory nearly all on his own? Or might it be the young guard who looked inexperienced against teams like the Miami Heat, as he continued to struggle creating a balanced attack with his skills?
There's certainly a bit of irony that even after D'Antoni has left the organization, Lin's biggest competition for the Knicks' starting point guard stands to be fellow forthcoming free agent Steve Nash. As the team aims to develop so cohesion and consistency, perhaps it would be better to retain Lin, who is still young and may prove still able and willing to adapt to any system.
With free agency not set to begin until July 1st, it'll be Woodson who first learns his fate with the team. Iannazone notes an agreement to retain the interim coach could be reached in the coming days.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Most former NBA players simply go through the motions in order to receive a head coaching position. After a stellar playing career, all that's needed for most is a couple of seasons on an esteemed proven coach's bench to gain experience. After putting in the time, most men get an opportunity.
That hasn't been the case, however, for Patrick Ewing, perhaps the greatest New York Knicks player of all-time. Though Ewing has been an assistant coach for nearly ten years (having started in the 2002-03 season with the Washington Wizards), the legendary big man still has not been given the chance by an NBA team.
Ewing has surely gained a plethora of experience, learning under head coaches like Jeff Van Gundy, Doug Collins, and most recently, Stan Van Gundy, over the years. He's also done impressive work with some of the league's top players over this same time period, elevating the play of centers like Yao Ming and Dwight Howard.
Still, as much of an impact as he has made, it may be Ewing's very work with various big men that has limited his head coaching opportunities to date. Most former NBA player-coaches come from a long list of deserving point guards because they are used to leading teams after being floor generals on the court. As a former center, many executives believe coaches like Ewing are simply best suited mentoring the younger big men in today's league.
Nevertheless, Ewing is looking to break that trend. As it just so happens, he's not the first to attempt to do so. His former Knicks teammate and current New York assistant coach Herb Williams told Knicks Journal this past February, “People forget I’ve done the head-coaching thing before. I was head coach of the Knicks. I’m certainly no point guard coach, but I like to do a little of everything. Wherever I can step in and add my knowledge of the game, I’ll do it. I like talking to the guards, our big men—everybody. It’s important [former centers like him] don’t pigeon-hole themselves into only being able to mentor one type of player.”
Having just interviewed for the Bobcats' head coaching post on Thursday, Ewing may get the chance to prove he's more than a big men's coach very soon. Though he's gotten interviews in past years, he may indeed have an edge on this position. In addition to being Ewing's good friend and former on-the-court nemesis, Charlotte owner Michael Jordan actually hired Ewing for his first assistant coaching job with the Wizards. Jordan subsequently played on those Washington teams for which Ewing served on the coaching staff as well.
Jordan knows full-well how much fire is in Ewing's competitive spirit. Clearly in rebuilding mode, it wouldn't take much from Ewing to help improve the Bobcats after the team posted the worst record in NBA history this past season. Even so, Ewing's skill and knowledge for the game would certainly go a long way towards working with Charlotte's young talent. Having already mentored his son (Patrick Ewing Jr.) towards becoming an NBA player, it's likely the senior would have ways of motivating and connecting with the players.
Could Ewing finally be getting his chance to be at the head of the bench? With little to lose but a lot to gain, Jordan and his Bobcats would receive a lot of praise for being the franchise to finally give the Knicks legend a chance, should things go well.
According to the New York Post, Warriors top assistant Michael Malone, the Grizzlies' Dave Joerger, the Cavs' Nate Tibbetts, and even St. John's University coach Mike Dunlap have all previously interviewed for the job as well. Current team assistant Stephen Silas is also said to garner consideration.
Could Ewing's tenth season as NBA coach be the one during which he finally leads his own team? Time will tell, but with Jordan already in his corner, this may be very well be the best shot Ewing ever gets.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
The Knicks' offseason plans are almost completely dependent on an arbitrator ruling in favor of previously waived (and then claimed) players retaining their "Bird Rights" as they head into free agency.
Should the ruling benefit the Knicks (by stating both Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak retain said rights), it would become much easier to also re-sign a player like J.R. Smith.
Though early reports suggest the valuable reserve will decline his player option for next season to sign a longer and more lucrative deal elsewhere, ESPN New York asserts Smith may very well opt out only to sign with the Knicks for a better deal.
As it just so happens, if Smith were to opt out, New York could actually sign him to a new contract worth 20% more than his existing player option. This would net him a $3.097 million salary next season.
Money will obviously play a major factor in where Smith ultimately signs, as it did in February when he chose the Knicks over the Clippers after returning from China. Such a factor weights heavily in most athletes' decisions, but for Smith, it may matter more than others. Though the guard is reportedly experiencing financial troubles, his father prefers that he in fact stays in New York. Should the feeling be mutual for the Knicks, a 20% raise could certainly help their case.
Smith had an electrifying effect on the Garden and the team's fans this past season. While he may also display an erratic shooting touch at times, his impact off the bench would continue to be valuable. When comparing the other options available, it's debatable not many others do what Smith can. What's more, it's unlikely the Knicks find another similarly skilled player at the same $3 million plus bargain.
Smith, who has publicly said he wants to return next season, clearly enjoys the benefits of playing in a big market like the Big Apple both on and off the court. He already plays alongside one of his best friends in Carmelo Anthony, who just happens to be godfather to Smith's two daughters. Furthermore, the active tweeter has made it known he'll likely begin building a house in his home state of New Jersey this upcoming summer.
Surely, Smith must realize what a short commute heading to the Garden for work would be from his "new" home.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
The Knicks are under an immense amount of pressure retain their top free agents (Jeremy Lin, Steve Novak, and J.R. Smith), all of whom made key contributions this past season.
According to our pal Howard Beck of The New York Times, doing so may become much easier for the team to do in the near future.
The NBA Player's Union has asked an arbitrator to clarify rules pertaining to a player's "Bird Rights." The question at hand is whether or not an NBA player carries over his rights once he is claimed off waivers from a new team after being let go by his old one.
These same rights not only usually give way to more lucrative contracts for players coming out of their contract seasons, but also allow teams to go over the salary cap to sign such players as well.
The union is challenging the league's interpretation that players lose their "Bird Rights"completely after being waived, regardless of whether or not they are claimed later. Should the union come out victorious, re-signing both Lin and Novak would seemingly become a much easier task for the Knicks to accomplish. Beck further explains:
If the union prevails, the Knicks would be able to re-sign both Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, their top free agents, despite cap constraints. They would also retain a $5 million salary slot — known as the midlevel exception — for use on another player, possibly J. R. Smith, who can opt out of his deal.
But if the union’s challenge fails, the Knicks will probably lose Novak and possibly Smith when free agency opens in July. And they will have little ability to sign a significant free agent like point guard Steve Nash once they re-sign Lin.
As it stands, the Knicks' Midlevel Exception is all but reserved for Lin, and it's likely that Novak priced himself out of the value of the team's Bi-Annual Exception (worth a tad under $2 million this offseason). With all the significant money available going Lin's way, both Novak and Smith stand to cash in on more lucrative contracts elsewhere.
The appeal of Linsanity and the impact of an efficient floor general on the hardwood make Lin a sensible, as well as likely, candidate to return to New York. Novak's sweet shooting touch and his ability to elevate the Knicks with a boost off the bench should also make him a top-notch priority.
The team will have to be crafty in order to retain both, should the union lose the dispute. If they win, however, New York will not only be able to keep its core intact by bringing back Lin and Novak, but also have room to build upon its existing talent and make improvements too.
How they would decide to do that remains to be seen, and with the dispute still in question, perhaps it's too early to speculate. But everyone knows waiting is no fun!
The Knicks could ultimately opt to throw the newly available cash at J.R. Smith, who proved to be an electrifying half of a strong one-two punch off the bench with Novak. How he gets his points sometimes proves to be a bumpy ride, but Smith nevertheless proved himself as a consistent double-digit scoring reserve. Playing alongside a fully healthy roster, he could thrive by simply scoring within his means and not forcing much else.
But should Smith command even more money in the open market (or if New York simply decides to go in a different direction), perhaps the team would be smart to target a veteran point guard to mentor, spell, and even play alongside Lin for the next year or two.
A prime candidate to fill such a role would certainly be Hall of Fame bound playmaker Jason Kidd. The floor general, who won his first NBA championship with the Mavericks in 2011, has mentioned he may be open to a reserve role next season as he begins to close out his career. Because the Knicks would still be able to offer significant minutes off the pine (in addition to a chance at seriously competing), perhaps Kidd would be open to playing in the Big Apple. Certainly a special request from his good friend and former Mavs teammate Tyson Chandler wouldn't hurt.
As nice as having a bonafide scorer like Smith would be, there's absolutely the possibility that other offensive options emerge off the bench for New York, as they have in past seasons. As exciting and promising as Lin was, he's still young. Furthermore, his run only lasted 39 games. Having a veteran floor general to guide him as looks to continue establishing himself could do wonders for the Knicks.
These are all pleasant possibilities, but the fact of the matter is New York's chances (as well as their hopes) at not only keeping their team intact, but elevating it too, remain up in the air as the union waits for a decision from the arbitrator.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Following the New York Knicks' first-round playoff exit (having suffered at the hands of the Miami Heat), questions still remain as to whether Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire can co-exist on the hardwood.
Furthermore, is it for certain that there's enough talent currently on the team to take them to the next level? Having struggled without a point guard for much of the season, some are suggesting the Knicks move on from "Linsanity," and hope the appeal of playing in the Big Apple is enough to lure a star guard like Steve Nash in for less money.
And regardless of what kind of talent is in New York, the team still needs a coach to lead them. Did Mike Woodson do enough to warrant a return to the bench, or will Knicks' brass target a historically proven coach like Phil Jackson to bring a championship back to where it all started for him?
There are endless possibilities for the Knicks, but as they look to build upon existent success, might it be best that they just keep their offseason priorities rather simple?
Having already committed to the likes of Anthony, Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler (salary-cap wise), the Knicks are left with limited resources to make improvements (or even simply maintain the team).
If New York shoots for the stars (quite literally) and targets a player like Steve Nash, not only is it possible he may draw out the process as he makes his decision, but it's also a possibility that he rejects any potential offer.
Should Jeremy Lin choose to sign elsewhere quickly (while the Knicks wait on a player like Nash), they might in fact have to opt not to match a deal for Lin to free up money for the alternative option, or simply run out of time to match. If the alternative option happens to reject the Knicks' offer as well, the team will have sacrificed Lin and be forced to move on to the "plan B's and C's" of the free agent world.
A similar situation may unfold with the coaching situation too. If the Knicks opt to target a big name coach, who's to say another team won't jump at the chance to hire Woodson, given his success. If Woodon doesn't want to play the waiting game, he could easily find a nice, comfortable offer elsewhere.
The Knicks have made their bad (for better of worse) with the core already intact on the roster. Thus, they have already shown the confidence in the potential of this group. The natural next step is to simply add to the core, continuing to surround them with pieces that will enhance their play. As members of the team continue to preach that time is needed for them to figure things out on the court, there's no more opportunity for any significant shakeups.
With their Midlevel Exception, New York should look to lock up Lin long term. Not only is he a marketing phenomenon, but the second-year guard proved to elevate many of his teammates. What's more, despite his rise in the public eye, Lin's ego has stayed in check. This should prove that he will be open to playing for any coach, and be able and willing to adjust to any system.
Nash thrived in Mike D'Antoni's offense, which Carmelo Anthony seemed to loathe. With questions already surrounding the compatibility of STAT and Melo, who wants to raise new questions by adding Nash to that mix? Lin's willingness (and the fact that he's still developing as a player) will allow him the opportunity to try to fit in with anyone.
The Knicks hold RFA rights on Lin, and no other team can exceed an offer from New York, so the home team seems to hold all the power here. If they want him back, Lin can and will return.
With regard to their Bi-Annual Exception, the Knicks should pray to their lucky stars that Steve Novak displays loyalty and gratitude, opting to return. Not only did the forward lead the entire NBA in three-point shooting, but he helped give his team that much needed spark off the bench. He does so many things for the team offensively, and tries hard on defense too. He should be a no-brainer to return. Despite his stellar breakout season, Novak's quiet playoffs may have lowered his market value enough for the Knicks to bring him back.
With not much money to go around as it is, the Knicks will likely lose J.R. Smith, whose hot and cold play lifted the Knicks just as many times as it sunk them. He shot erratically, but had the ability to excite Garden fans like not many others could. He proved to be the ultimate "X-Factor," which the team can only hope to replace through another bargain players.
When it comes to possibly retaining the likes of Jared Jeffries and Mike Bibby, the team will once again have to get crafty. The Knicks found key contributors in many of their veteran minimum signings this past season, and will have to do it again this summer. Jeffries, among the league's leaders in charges, was a big part of the team's elevated effort on defense. It's unclear whether or not he will receive higher bids in the open market from a worthy enough team. Time will tell.
To tie everything together, though, the Knicks should reward Mike Woodson, not simply for his impressive record, but for changing the culture in New York. Woodson was/is a big part of the team's changed defensive mentality, which has clearly resulted in winning ways. The players have bought into the coach, and now the franchise should follow suit. Let Woodson continue to prove himself and finish what he started.
Of course, nothing ever goes exactly to plan, so no matter what/who the Knicks' priorities might be, it's sure to be an interesting offseason. We'll have you covered here on Knicks Journal with all the twists and turns.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
The biggest question surrounding J.R. Smith's potential return to the New York Knicks next season has been whether or not he will exercise his $2.5 million player option.
Having signed a more modest contract midseason (Smith was previously playing in China due to the NBA lockout), it's widely expected that the swingman will opt out to cash in on a larger payday.
Because the Knicks owe substantial money to the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tyson Chandler, they are otherwise strapped for cash in regard to filling out the rest of their roster. Thus, with the team's Mid-level Exception likely reserved for Jeremy Lin (or another point guard like Steve Nash), the player option represents the highest salary Smith could make as a member of the Knicks next season.
Smith certainly holds the power right now, but did he in fact do enough to warrant a return to the team? Fresh off his stint in China, the veteran struggled to get into a groove offensively once he arrived in New York. He became more well-known for his erratic shooting touch than anything else, initially failing to provide the Knicks with the boost they had expected from him.
As time went on, however, Smith began to pour in the points, teaming up with the likes of Steve Novak and Iman Shumpert to help "Mobb Deep" emerge off the bench. At the end of his short 35-game tenure in New York, Smith boasted averages of 12.5 points and 1.5 steals, but only shot nearly 41% from the field, including 35% from beyond the arc.
Perhaps a more telling statistic, though, is the Knicks' record when Smith scored in double-figures. New York went 17-7 when the guard scored 10 points or more, but only went 4-7 when he did not.
Smith's impact undoubtedly elevated his team when he caught fire and filled it up on offense. That said, the team sank whenever he happened to cool off. Consistency will continue to be the key to Smith positively contributing not only to the Knicks, but any team for that matter.
He is clearly at his best when he's not asked to do too much. Allowing him to come off the bench and provide a spark helps Smith stay in his wheelhouse. However, when Lin was sidelined, Smith not only represented the team's third-leading scorer, but was also featured more in isolation. This is where he seemed to fail, because the Knicks never pulled the plug on him when appeared to be having an off game. They continued to let him falter, bringing the team down with him at times.
Smith's erratic hot/cold shooting touch has garnered a comparison from fans of him to John Starks. While I tend to disagree with such a comparison, I would instead venture to compare Smith's contributions (or lack there of) to Nate Robinson. The firecracker guard lit up the Garden, bringing fans to their feet whenever he was on the money, but struggled to build consistency in his game.
The decision of whether or not to return to New York is ultimately in Smith's hands. That said, should he actually come back, the Knicks need to assure they'll get the most bang for the buck out of him by putting him in a situation to succeed. By pairing him with strong players while continuing to bring him off the bench, the team will allow Smith to do what he does best, concealing any glaring flaws and putting an end to any major criticisms.
If Smith does not appear to be the right fit for this roster moving forward, however, it's obviously best to cut ties now and instead search for a more worthwhile bargain.
The New York Knicks' season finally came to a close Wednesday, with the team suffering a 106-94 loss to the Heat, giving Miami a 4-1 series victory in the first round.
Many of the things that plagued the Knicks in game five happened to plague them the entire series. New York struggled defensively throughout, with Tyson Chandler playing through flu-symptoms and Iman Shumpert sidelined with a knee injury.
The Heat have overwhelming offensive firepower as it is, but the fact that the Knicks were without their two top defenders at 100% each definitely gave way to further struggles.
Miami obviously has a strong balance of talent throughout the roster, making it difficult for an opponent to pinpoint one main scoring option. The "Big Three" can hit you in a number of different ways, as evidenced in the 29 point performance by LeBron James in game five, as well as the 19 point contributions by each Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
The trio and their teammates have been building chemistry and rapport dating back to last season, taking time to understand each other offensively and do what they have to in order to succeed. Now in their second season together and expectations still as high as ever, the Heat have their sights set on the NBA Finals.
This is exactly why the Heat made quick work of the Knicks. Not only are they simply more talented, but they have a deeper understanding of what each other can on the court. They unselfishly find one another in the right spots, alternating between who's featured on offense. This keeps opponents guessing at all times.
The Knicks are clearly not at this level yet, and could thus learn a few things from the Heat. New York's core needs time to develop trust and camaraderie on the court.
During this time to develop, many questions will need to be answered. Can Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony co-exist on the court? If so, who will be the next Knicks point guard to tie things together? Will it be Jeremy Lin, Steve Nash, or someone else? Is there enough money to go around for players like J.R. Smith and Steve Novak in order to keep the bench intact?
But perhaps the most pressing question of all right now is whether or not Mike Woodson deserves to return as coach of the New York Knicks. Following a 18-6 record to finish out the year, it seems as though Woodson has the support of the players. With a defensive mentality pretty much second to none, the biggest question surrounding Woodson right now appears to be whether or not he can get his star players to gel.
What's more, Knicks brass will have to assess whether or not they believe Woodson can eventually bring a championship to New York. Having already won an NBA championship as an assistant coach of the Detroit Pistons, Woodson also made headlines as he helped the Hawks improve each year he was coaching. He certainly has promise.
Is promise enough, or would the Knicks rather go with a proven coach who can bring home the bacon like Phil Jackson? With the players already on board and fans growing impatient, perhaps it's best for the Knicks to buy in to Woodson's philosophy with a short-term contract to see if he can carry some momentum into next season.
Most, if not all of these questions to begin to be answered in the coming weeks. Hopefully it'll be a fun enough ride for all involved as the Knicks look to make improvements.
Carmelo Anthony led New York with 35 points, thriving in isolation, but the offensive production more or less stopped there for the Knicks. Amar'e Stoudemire, Steve Novak, and Tyson Chandler all struggled to get involved in the offense, leaving J.R. Smith to help sink the Knicks with a 3 for 15 shooting performance in the loss.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The Knicks are clearly shorthanded in the backcourt, with Baron Davis, Iman Shumpert, and Jeremy Lin all sidelined due to various knee injuries.
As a result, the team's starting point guard in tonight's game five matchup against the Heat in Miami will be veteran Mike Bibby, who only appeared in 39 regular season games.
Though he's starting merely by default, Bibby has a plethora of postseason experience with teams like the Kings and Hawks. What's more, he's continued to play the right way as he's inched his way back into the Knicks' rotation. Not only does he space the floor by forcing the defense to respect his jumper, Bibby also finds his teammates on the floor while still keeping his turnovers to a minimum.
Bibby, who will turn 34 on Sunday, is by no means flashy and has lost a lot of quickness in his game. Nevertheless, the Knicks can rest assured the veteran will contribute by making smart decisions on the court.
Perhaps a more worrisome factor of tonight's game will be the impact of Toney Douglas, be it positive or negative. Like Bibby, Douglas will likely be thrust into some big-time moments on the hardwood during this crucial game for the Knicks.
Douglas, who frustrated fans with his crash and burn trial as the team's starting point guard earlier this season, was shunned to the bench shortly after. Though he only played in a total of 38 games, the young guard was dusted off and logged two strong outings in April: a 15 point, 6 assist effort in a decisive 96-80 win against the Magic on April 5th, and a 6 point, 6 assist, 9 rebound effort during an all the more embarrassing 98-90 loss to the Cavs on April 20th.
After three seasons donning orange and blue, the Knicks understand what Douglas can do, but also what he clearly cannot. With that said, his days running the floor are clearly over, having been ever so short-lived in the first place. Luckily for New York, there's more to his game than his inability to pass the ball effectively.
By asserting Douglas in the game tonight, Coach Mike Woodson will assert he has faith in him knocking down jump shots. The fact of the matter is though Douglas may have failed miserably as a playmaker, by no means has he failed as an NBA player. His role tonight (one he should be very familiar with, having filled it in the past) will be to attempt to provide the Knicks with a boost off the bench.
New York's bench production has undoubtedly been lacking this series, with the Heat neutralizing Steve Novak and J.R. Smith displaying a rather erratic shooting touch. In addition to Carmelo Anthony's offense, the Knicks have been riding and dying on Smith's scoring output. As high as he can elevate the team when he's hot, that's how low Smith can in fact sink his team if he's cold. Neither Novak or Smith can be relied upon in this decisive game.
And that's where the Knicks hope Douglas can step in and fill a much need scoring void. Even Bibby proved to make a positive impact off the bench with his occasional jumper, so if Douglas can follow suit, perhaps he and Bibby can together can help New York balance their offensive attack.
The Knicks need help in a pinch, and though the pressure is on Douglas, all he needs to keep in mind is that less is more when it comes to helping his team. Nothing else is needed but knocking down a few jump shots. He has the ability to do that.
What Coach Woodson has to keep in mind, however, is when to pull the plug if necessary. If Douglas is able to get things going offensively, he'll do wonders for the Knicks. But if he is unable to find his jumper, Woodson needs to sit him right back down. In such a crucial game, there's no time to encourage Douglas to keep shooting until he finds his rhythm.
With little to no other options, it's understandable why New York wants to roll the dice with Douglas. Shoot for the stars and see what happens, but keep him on a short leash.
**This piece was written by Knicks Journal contributor, Zach Horst. You can follow Zach on Twitter @zd183.**
The Knicks fans no longer have to hear their fans' cries of playoff losing streak frustrations.
The team’s Game Four victory in the World’s Greatest Arena was a step in the right direction. They played with confidence and proved yet again they can compete with elite teams - on certain nights. Here are five changes the Knicks need to make in order the next step and win a pivotal Game Five in South Beach:
Take Early Lead
Sunday’s matinee was the first game in the series where the Knicks had the lead after the first quarter. This will be paramount in Game 5. If the Knicks, however, are the aggressors from the tip, the crowd will be a non-factor.
Shoot 75% from the FT Line
The Knicks have done well from the line in the series, but they will need to be great in Game Five. One has to expect a few “home” calls going Miami’s way, and thus more chances at the line for the Heat.
The Knicks will need every point they can muster against a superior opponent on the road. Though they won’t necessarily win if they shoot 75%, but it’s more likely the Knicks lose should they not reach that same percentage.
Higher Assist %
Assist ratio is the percentage of a team's possessions that end in an assist. The Knicks have the worst of any team in the playoffs so far at 9.3 - more than two points below the second-lowest Mavericks. In order for New York to find success on the court, the number needs to approach 13 or 14. The key is to start ball movement earlier in the shot clock, passing it around for 12 - 15 seconds-- you are bound to find one open man. Less isolation and more penetration will also help.
Lower TO %
New York also has the worst turnover percentage of any team in the playoffs - a walloping 32% of their possessions have ended in a turnover so far. The Knicks’ guards need to stop forcing cross-court passes or highlight-reel alley-oops. Force the ball inside, work it down on the block, then pass it back out if nothing is open. The Heat thrive on fast break points. The Knicks will need 14 turnovers or less to have a fighting chance.
Tyson Chandler Needs More Shots
The man who led the regular season in FG% (70%) has taken just 19 shots in the entire series so far. Compare this to JR Smith, who has taken over 60 attempts and is shooting a measly 35%.
Tyson Chandler has been an afterthought on offense, but can be effective around the rim. He is three inches taller than Joel Anthony, and should be able to draw contact under the basket and flip in a few easy tips and dunks. Coach Mike Woodson must utilize him more in pick and roll scenarios, as he is quick to the basket and explosive off the floor. The hope should be for him to have 8-10 shots in Game Five.
This may seem like a tall order, but when you consider the Knicks are on the road against the best team left in the East, it becomes more reasonable. Make no mistake, the Knicks are heavy underdogs and have an uphill battle. If they come out aggressive, hit their free throws, and protect the ball, they have a fighting chance to bring this series back to the Garden for Game Six.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, otherwise known as "The Big Three" have looked like a three-man wrecking crew as the Heat have so far made quick work of the Knicks in their first-round playoff matchup.
As much firepower as the trio may pack in their punch, however, they and the rest of their teammates have overwhelmed the Knicks with a full out team effort.
Though New York was able to stay within striking distance through three quarters in game three, the team failed to capitalize on the slow effort by the Heat. As a result, Miami took the home team by storm, erupting for an offensive explosion led by LeBron James' 17 points in the final quarter. The Knicks had unfortunately woken the sleeping dragon.
While James did get help from Wade, who added 20 points in Thursday night's 87-70, the all-star set of teammates actually received a big helping hand from a lesser known source as well. With the pair doing most of the ball-handling, point guard Mario Chalmers was free to space the floor well, positioning himself to cash in on some easy buckets from down town. In doing so, the Kansas product hit five shots from deep as he poured in 19 points to help put the Knicks away.
Able to play alongside a star-studded cast, Chalmers' success truly comes with ease. His ability to make smart decisions (whether it be knowing where to find his teammates or simply knowing when to pull up for a shot from downtown), along with a non-existent ego, makes Chalmers an ideal fit for the Heat. I go on to further state my case for Chalmers in my latest contribution for the "Off the Dribble" blog at The New York Times:
Clearly not the biggest star on the stage, Chalmers simply does whatever is necessary to help the Heat win. As a point guard, he can play the part of floor general, effectively moving the ball and getting his teammates involved. Of course, although he has this capability, the need to handle the ball often becomes secondary when you have both James and Wade as teammates.
As James and Wade both thrive with the ball in their hands, Chalmers’ other main objective simply becomes not getting in the way. It becomes much easier for the young guard to let his superstar teammates do what they do best, which is dominate offensively. His nonexistent ego makes him an ideal player to just slide into the lineup to put in solid work on the defensive end while the stars pour in the points.
Though it may be subtle at times, Chalmers also has the ability to affect the offense when the ball is not in his hands. His long-range shooting ability makes him a constant threat from outside, forcing teams to cover him and thus not smother one of his all-star teammates with a double-team.
The young point guard and the Heat continue to produce one of the more well-balanced attacks in all of the NBA, perhaps all the while on their way to another trip to the NBA Finals. Should the Knicks continue to truly desire a shot at such greatness, they should continue to learn from Miami's model for a successful lineup surrounding their stars.
Thursday, May 3, 2012
**Scott Campsall has joined the Knicks Journal staff as its newest contributor. He has covered the NBA for a number of different online outlets . Scott's most recent work can read here at Knicks Journal, in addition to HoopsAddict.com and over at the SB Nation blog RaptorsHQ. Follow him on twitter @TheScottCamps.**
By now, the news that Amar’e Stoudemire injured his right hand in embarrassing fashion (after losing a battle with a fire extinguisher), following the Knicks’ ten point loss in game two of their first round with the Miami Heat has hit home for fans. The big man will sit out game three tonight, and his status for game four is still up in the air.
The injury now leaves the Knicks without three of their regular starters—this list includes Iman Shumpert, who is out the next 6-8 months with a torn ACL, and Jeremy Lin, who is also sidelined with a knee injury.
As a result, the general feeling around the team following the senseless move by Stoudemire is that of doom and gloom, but perhaps that shouldn’t be the case just yet.
The reality of the situation is that the Knicks have played some of their best basketball of the season with Stoudemire on the bench and by no means does his injury spell the end of the team’s chances in this series. The Knicks were 14-5 without Stoudemire in the lineup this season. In fact, the last time he was sidelined for an extended period of time, the entire roster rallied around New York’s other resident star, Carmelo Anthony, and made a significant run late in the season.
Another thing to consider about Stoudemire’s injury is the fact that the Knicks seem to thrive when faced with adversity. They have overcome a number of major bumps in the road this season, including significant losing streaks, multiple major injuries to key players, and the firing of former head coach Mike D’Antoni. Yet, in situations where most teams would just pack it in, the Knicks have responded and fought through the adversity, becoming a much improved team in the process.
Make no mistake; the deck is still stacked in favor of the Heat. The Knicks still need to find someone to guard Dwyane Wade in Shumpert’s absence, as well as someone to get other teammates involved offensively. But to count the Knicks out, at this point, would mean ignoring the perseverance they exhibited all season long.
The fate of this team now rests squarely on the shoulders of Carmelo Anthony. He will be the focal point of the offense and it will be his job to both score and distribute the ball to open shooters. If he responds the same way he did the last time Stoudemire was forced out of the lineup, the Knicks could end up making things very interesting for the remainder of this first round series.
By no means can one say the Knicks will undoubtedly win this series, but if you expect them to roll over and let the Heat run right through them, then you might just have a surprise coming your way this evening.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The New York Knicks will reportedly announce later this afternoon that big man Tyson Chandler has won the NBA's "Defensive Player of the Year" award.
Chandler joined the Knicks this past offseason fresh off helping pace the Dallas Mavericks defensively towards an NBA title last season.
While New York has struggled this postseason, and just about have their backs against the wall down 2-0 in the first-round matchup with the Heat, there's no doubt Chandler made a groundbreaking effort towards changing the culture in the Big Apple all season long.
The Knicks sacrificed Chauncey Billups, amnestying the five-time all-star in order to bring Chandler to town. He rewarded the franchise's bold decision, elevating their play all around as he served as their defensive anchor, also emerging as a leader on and off the court. His presence helped New York jump leaps and bounds in defensive efficiency, rising from a 22nd place ranking last season to 5th this season.
Though interim coach Mike Woodson's new mentality around defensive intensity led to the Knicks to a 18-6 record to close out the regular season, it has been Chandler's physicality and aggression on that side of the court which has set the tone. His play has been infectious, as evidenced in the effort from many of his teammates, most notably rookie guard Iman Shumpert.
The 7'1 center has risen above, providing his team with an intimidating figure down low. Should New York have any chance at pulling off a comeback against the Heat, it will be Chandler's impact and leadership that will most likely play a big role in propelling them to an overall series victory.
Chandler, who has persevered through flu-like symptoms during the playoffs, averaged 11.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks while leading the entire league with a 67.9% field goal percentage this season.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
The Knicks headed into game two of its first-round playoff series against the Heat minus the injured Iman Shumpert, but plus a relatively healthy Tyson Chandler.
How this would ultimately translate on the court was unknown, but one thing was certain; things couldn't get much worse than the 33 point loss the Knicks suffered to open up the series.
With Chandler rising above his flu-like symptoms, New York was hoping to take game two in Miami in order to prove they would no longer get pushed around.
The team certainly came to play, as Carmelo Anthony led five scorers in double-figures with 30 points. Amar'e Stoudemire added 18 points, aggressively getting to the basket, and even Baron Davis displayed some quickness as he dribbled inside for some easy buckets, pouring in 12 points of his own.
Though Davis was on the money in terms of scoring the basketball, he and his teammates struggled once again to produce some fluidity in the offense. The point guard did have six assists, but the Knicks' most success in the game came from featuring Anthony and J.R. Smith (13 points) in isolation. As proven in the regular season, riding both players down the stretch is often not enough to pace the team the whole way for a victory.
Anthony did keep the Knicks afloat somewhat, with New York narrowing the Heat's lead all the way down to five points in the third quarter. Unfortunately, that's as close as they would come.
Miami's "Big Three" continued to overwhelm the Knicks, with Dwyane Wade taking full advantage of Shumpert's absence, going to town for a team-leading 25 points. Chris Bosh added 21 points, and though LeBron James was limited to 19 points, his 9 assists helped orchestrate the Heat offense.
James successfully did what Anthony has failed to do over the last two games: get his teammates involved offensively. As much as the ball is in Anthony's hands, he should work towards creating opportunities for everyone else. Isolation does not always prove to be successful, and often can bunch up the offense. As a result, the Knicks have failed to get solid production out of the likes of Steve Novak and Landry Fields.
Anthony has the power to change things, but he'll have to wait until Thursday to attempt to do so. The Knicks ultimately fell to the Heat 104-94 last night, now facing a 2-0 series deficit.
As if things couldn't get any worse for the Knicks, the already hobbled team will be without Stoudemire for game three. Frustrations are clearing mounting with New York appearing inferior to Miami in every way. As the losing team headed into the locker room last night, STAT lost his cool, punching a fire extinguisher, resulting in a laceration on his hand.
Chandler, whose spirits were truly dampened following the innocent, revealed he figured his front court mate would be out of competition when the two teams resume things in New York.
ESPN New York reports that the incident will not only prevent STAT from taking part in game three, but will also make him questionable for the remainder of the series.