Midway Memoirs

The New York Knicks so far in the 2017–18 NBA season

As I sit in my lounge room tuning in to Golden State versus New York at Oracle, I have decided rather than to pay my usual close attention to a game, I will walk fellow Knick fans through what I believe have been the positive and negative points for each player on the roster. As well as this, I will pose a few trade ideas the Knicks could explore before the deadline.

Porzingis: How’d you guess? Positively, he started in MVP form, and when he has the support he needs around him, floor spacing and perimeter defence, you can see that the Unicorn can lead this franchise to a sustained successful period of time. On a flat note, he has taken too many elbow jumpers, similar to Carmelo Anthony during his Knicks tenure. I’m happy to put this on coach Hornacek though, who has not been able to draw up enough efficient sets for KP to thrive in. All praise to the most high, Godzingis. AMEN

Hardaway: Tim Hardaway Jr has been incredible for the Knicks this season. Those who do not watch the Knicks would still think he is the player the Knicks traded away years ago, but he has improved and has continued to all season. He is committed to both ends, still a far superior offensive player, Hardaway has been able to secure some defensive rebounds and push the ball coast to coast, which in my time following the Knicks I have never seen a player too. Another thing he does is shoot, and make, 3s. The Knicks unfortunately do not take many 3s, they rank in the bottom 5 in 3-point attempts per game, I also put this on coach Hornacek. Hornacek draws up too many plays resulting in long 2s and tough layups. Negatively, Hardaway was hurt for over 20 games, this probably shows I don’t have anything negative to say about Hardaway Jr. I am all in on Timmy, and the shimmy. What makes me all in on him is the fact he makes Porzingis a better player, and that should make all Knick fans love Tim.

Ntilikina: Sweet, beautiful, innocent, 19-year-old Frank. A player who loves to play defence first in 2018, still refreshing, as I stated after a game in the first month of the season. Positively, he steals the ball, and is not afraid of challenges. Negatively, his shot has been inconsistent, some nights it has arc, others it is ugly or not trusted by Frank, who passes wide open shots for bad passes. He is still the 3rd most important piece the Knicks have right now. Again, like Hardaway, it is because of his fit with Porzingis. He defends the perimeter extremely well already. If he can slowly but surely improve his ball handling and 3s, he is going to be efficient, unlike nearly all New York Knick point guards of the past decade.

Lee: L33 has been steady for the Knicks. Like he always is, in whatever situation he winds up in. The negative for Lee has been his 4th quarter capitulations, but I’m putting this on Hornacek as much as Courtney. He shouldn’t be featuring in crunch time sets. Lee is a catch and shoot sniper. I can deal with him taking off the dribble floaters in the first 3 quarters, but he seems to get the jitters in the fourth. He knows his role, and he is a pro, I just wish the coaches let him be exactly that and didn’t try stretch him from what he is. Let KP, Timmy and Frank take on the big moments as they will benefit from them far greater than Lee will at 32 years of age.

Hernangomez: Oh Billy, Billy, Billy, Billleeeehh. Got some burn tonight in Golden State (first obvious tank game for the Knicks). Hernangomez has beautiful footwork around the basket, nobody can deny that. His rookie campaign was superb. This year he has been starved of opportunity in a frontcourt featuring the recently appointed 2018 All-Star Porzingis, Kyle O’Quinn (career year), Enes Kanter (career year), and Michael Beasley (walking bucket, Melo on the left, your favourite players favourite player, goat in ny). Tough rotation for ANY 22 year old center to break into in the NBA. The early season play of Kanter has prevented Hernangomez from progressing this year, and that has been extremely frustrating to see. I don’t just have Hernangomez this high because he is best friends with KP. That matters, of course, but the obvious offensive talent and knack for rebounds is a younger version of Kanter, and much cheaper. Tricky subject, is Billy.

Beasley: This is probably higher than I wanted to have super-cool-beas, because he is only on a 1-year deal. My goodness he’s been more than handy since early December. In saying that, the times he played the 3 he was horrible. He is strictly a KP backup at the 4. What’s wrong with that? Hopefully nothing in Beas’ eyes, as the Knicks should try bring him back on a respectable 1–2 year deal for under $5m a year. Similar to Ron Baker’s contract given last off-season.

O’Quinn: Doesn’t throw All-Star game passes every time he gets it anymore! Kyle has finally realised what he is as an NBA player, and he has had a good enough season to keep Hernangomez and Noah out of the rotation in a stacked center spot for the Knicks. Ranks after Hernangomez on this list purely because of age, but before Enes Kanter on this list because of his smart passing and superior defensive game.

Kanter: Xmas Day against Joel Embiid was a huge effort from Enes. He won that battle but we lost the war. And that typifies Enes’ time as the starting center for the New York Knicks. The team has had some great moments, beating OKC and Boston at home come to mind. Another was the night the Knicks lost to Cleveland in the Garden. Enes showed his value this game as a locker room glue guy. He stepped in to support Frank Ntilikina with no hesitation despite LeBron James trying to macho the 19 year old. This kind of mateship on sports teams is rarely spoken of in American sport. In Australia we have a fair focus on it. Enes is a great guy, but is he worth $20m a year? No.

Burke: It is a very small sample size, as Burke was only recently signed by the Knicks after waiving Ramon (Remote) Sessions. I like Burke’s fit with the roster better than not only Sessions, but Jack too. Positively, the former 9th overall draft selection is 9 years younger than Jarrett Jack, and can shoot 3s at a respectable clip. Another thing about Trey is he is not shy of the bright lights, an admirable trait for someone who is kitting up for the Knickerbockers in the world’s most famous arena for home games. Negatively, he will need to stay positive with limited minutes if he wants to be apart pf the Porzingis era long term. Stay tuned on Timmy’s Michigan mate.

Baker: Burgundy (as Melo hilariously called him in a post game interview last season) has been good in January. I repeat. Good in January… Let that sink in Knick fans. Baker should be playing the backup shooting guard minutes, but Hornacek has a fascination with never settling on a rotation. Baker has had some good +/- returns in losses foe the Knicks in January. Like O’Quinn, Baker knows what he is, and brings it consistently enough for me to sing his praises. No negatives for Ronny xx. No, hang on, the headband with mask is as ugly as it gets Ron. Get a cool mask like Kyrie rocks please.

Thomas: Positive, tries on D, hits the spot up 3 a good rate. Negative, looks more uncoordinated than ever on O. I’m flat about Lance, I’m a fan, but his struggles since the achilles injury last season have been so apparent.

Noah: Never plays. Stuck with his money for 2 more seasons. That fact is why he ranks higher than the rest, because I think he will outlast them as a Knick.

McDermott: Positively, improved a tiny bit on defence, and has hit some nice 3s in the Garden. Negatively, I do not like Doug in the rotation. The blend of players we have, we do not need him taking minutes away from Hardaway, Lee and Baker. Doug is out of contract at the end of the season. I would be surprised if he is brought back, unless he is happy to sign for the minimum and play less minutes than he did this year, as the Knicks should add a SF/PF through the draft this year (MILES BRIDGES PLEASE).

Jack: Don’t get me wrong, I respect what Jarrett has done for the Knicks as the starting point guard so far this year. But he is 33, can’t shoot 3s, and can’t guard anyone.

Dotson: Damyean has spent most of the year in the G-League, and that is where he needs to stay to develop. Simple as that. Nothing I love or loath about him yet.

Trade 1

Kanter – CHA

MKG, 2nd round pick – NY

Trade 2

Kanter, 2018 Bulls 2nd round pick – GS

Igoudala, 1st round pick – NY

Trade 3

O’Quinn, McDermott – LAL

Randle – NY

Trade 4

O’Quinn, Lee, Thomas, 2018 Bulls 2nd round pick – CLE

Love, Shumpert – NY

Trade 5

O’Quinn – GS

1st round pick – NY

Trade 6

Hernangomez, Thomas – Utah

Burks – NY

These deals are not concrete, but the teams involved in each I could see the Knicks engaging with before the deadline.

@jmcculloch13

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Jack McCulloch

👨‍🏫 — Rollercoaster Rider for the @richmond_fc @nyknicks @QPRFC @brisbaneroar & @RAIDERS