As I have written several times, the Knicks have had trouble guarding guards. So when the Knicks face arguably the best point guard in the league, it’s not surprising that Chris Paul torched the Knicks for 25 points and 7 rebounds in the Clippers 102-88 win.
More concerning was the Knicks over-reliance on Carmelo Anthony. That was fine the first three quarters, when Anthony had 38 points on 13-24 from the field. In the fourth, when the Clippers used Grant Hill to effectively take Anthony out of the Knicks offense, the Knicks only managed to score 18 points.
Rumor Has It?
The big story heading into Sunday’s game was the rumor that the Phoenix Suns were interested in shipping Jared Dudley and a draft pick to the Knicks for Iman Shumpert. If the Knicks were interested (which in most reports it seemed as they were not), it would be an ultimate short-term move.
Shumpert, recovering from his ACL tear, has not regained his status as an elite perimeter defender, as evidenced by his work against Paul and Jamal Crawford on Sunday. The Knicks, built to win now or next year, can’t afford to wait for Shumpert to grow; they need someone who can guard Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose.
That’s where this proposed trade gets dicey. Here’s a chart of the 5 players we find who had season’s most similar to Jared Dudley’s current season:
You’ll notice that none are particularly good defenders, averaging a 109 DRtg, which is worse than Iman Shumpert last year (101), Iman Shumpert this year (107) and just slightly better than Steve Novak (111), who isn’t a good defender at all.
The other important column is how their teams performed in the playoffs. Just one made the playoffs, and Bobby Simmons’s Bucks lost to the Pistons in 5 games. In summary, that list is composed of good shooters for bad teams. Do the Knicks need another shooter? Not unless the NBA is going to a two basketball rule.
Breaking Down The Gay Addition
The Knicks close out the first half plus of the season tonight with a home contest against the Raptors, a team who the Knicks will become very familiar with in the near future, as the Knicks play the Raptors four times in the next 19 games. The Raptors biggest change has been the addition of Rudy Gay, and that has been a positive addition for Canada’s team. The Raptors are 4-2 with Gay, and they’ll come into the Garden on a three game winning streak.
While the addition of Gay has slightly improved the team’s offense, it’s the defense that has impressed the most. Over Gay’s 6 games as a Raptor, the Raptors have allowed 94.5 points per game, well below their season average of 99.3. Although Amir Johnson will likely start out on Carmelo Anthony, Gay will see significant stretches of time against the Knicks forward. It’s up to the Knicks to prove that they have other offensive options.