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Among the Knicks problems: all that depth they traded away

Mar 23, 2011, 11:29 AM EST

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks Getty Images

Despite what some people on the island of Manhattan believed, the deal to get Carmelo Anthony was not a steal. This wasn’t purchasing Manhattan itself from the Native American Lenape people for trinkets.

The Knicks are not coming together as fast as expected, and part of the reason is there is no depth around the stars, Howard Beck reminds us at the New York Times. Depth that was traded away to get ‘Melo (and something most Knicks fans were good with at the time).

The Knicks are top-heavy, with Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups headlining an otherwise woeful roster. They lack a legitimate starting center. Their starting off-guard, Landry Fields, would be a reserve on most teams. Among the reserves, only Toney Douglas is a reliable producer. They have no 7-footers, no shot-blockers and no perimeter stoppers. The tallest Knick, Jeffries (6 feet 11 inches), is one of the N.B.A.’s least productive players. He has started 8 of the last 11 games.

“I just think they’re flawed,” said an Eastern Conference scout who has watched the Knicks several times since the trade….

“You have no depth,” he said. “You’ve got five good starters and a sixth man in Toney Douglas and who is the next guy? Jared Jeffries is your next-best player?”

Jeffries couldn’t get off the bench in Houston but is getting pretty good run with the Knicks. Not a good sign.

That lack of depth will haunt them in the playoffs. Well, that and the lack of good defenders. The playoffs are all about matchups and depth of the kind seen in Boston and Chicago — one of those two may well end up the Knicks opponent in the first round — allows a coach to adjust the matchups. Mike D’Antoni will enter the playoffs with few options beyond his three stars.

Who are not meshing well right now. But that is a different problem.

  1. dysraw1 - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    heres and idea sign some bigs

    • cordae - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:44 PM

      Well if that isnt the easiest thing to do…

  2. ibchuck33 - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    NY fans demand instant gratification. If not for that reason, which is stupid, I’d think missing the playoffs would be smarter. So they could draft a decent center. If they miss the playoffs, Knick fans will be ready to tar and feather mike diantoni. Even more so than they want to now. But really, what they’ve accomplished so far, this year, has been leaps and bounds with an eye to the next few years. Knick fans be happy. You have hope. Remember hope? I know it’s been a while.

  3. Fred - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Kurt, I agree with your conclusion, but I quibble with your recollection of how Knick fans felt about the deal at the time. In my conversations, most of us were ambivalent about the trade. I think this guy got it exactly right: http://macnchis.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/impressions-of-the-carmelo-anthony-trade/

  4. knicksnyny100 - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    D’Antoni system is good however he seems to be out of touch when it comes to match ups,subsitution,time outs,defence!D’Antoni had a chance to make up for what we traded away,he got JJeffries so you can’t blame Jeffries unless you blame,the man that hand pick him D’Antoni

  5. r0llinginthedeep - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Sorry Kurt, but us Knicks fans definitely didn’t think that this trade made us a whole lot better in the short term (I admit, I maybe expected them to remain on about the same pace with Melo and Billups, but they’ve still played some quality games that I don’t think they would’ve been capable of before the trade in amongst all the other dross).

    But, if you honestly thought that this was a team built to win now, as opposed to a team that had two superstars in place and not an awful lot else after that, who simply had to get more pieces in place before they could be seen as a threat, then you simply need to wake up. You have to get the superstars in place first before worrying about the rest of the team. Look at the Bulls for example (okay, so not exactly a carbon copy situation), they had Rose in place aswell as guys like Noah and Deng in place. That team in the east is a perennial 6-8 seed. However, you add that second superstar like Boozer, and that pushes you up a bit. But it’s the additions of Brewer, Korver, Watson, Asik and even Thomas that have really made the difference for this team (That is not to slight the amazing job by Coach Thibodeau, but you need the players in place). Chicago is a number one seed because they got ALL of that in one off-season. Simply put, other teams (The Knicks) haven’t had that luxury.

    The bottom line is this: You take one superstar + a good player over 5 role players any day of the week, you can get a couple of seven footers in the offseason aswell as a couple of other half-decent guys and you’ve got yourself a good team. The trade sacrificed depth in the short term to ensure that you get the superstar. You can’t really argue with that.

  6. genericcommenter - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    I have never understood what coaches see in Jeffries. There are a lot of players with similar or even better production who don’t even get a 2nd contract in the NBA.

    • Lateef - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

      The real question is what does D’Antoni see in Jeffries. He wouldn’t play Anthony Randolph, who is the same type of player only more athletic and skilled.

  7. Lateef - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Depth is really the main problem with the Knicks. Pre and post-trade. They had no bigs before the trade and they have no bigs now. Carmelo is better than Gallo and Chandler, so they did improve. The depth should come though. Walsh is a good GM and should be able to find good players to add on to their core in the next two years. Much in the same way Riley will slowly improve the Heat roster.

    One thing that has bothered me about the trade is the idea that the Knicks were playing well before the trade. They weren’t. They’ve had a good December, but have been treading water since January and quite honestly they were in the same situation they’re in now only now they have Carmelo Anthony instead of Gallo and Chandler (who was a restricted free agent and likely to leave).

    Another thing that is bothering me is when people say Knicks fans expect a championship right now. I’m Knick fan, I live in NY and I don’t expect a championship right now. Heck, I would be surprised if we make it to the second round. The Knicks fans I’ve talked to are expecting a championship now and understand that it is process. Seriously, who thinks that you’re a championship caliber team with Jared Jeffries as your starting center. I’m sure that would work out real well against the Lakers, the Magic, or even the Pacers.

    • Lateef - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:06 PM

      that should be “aren’t expecting a championship”

  8. goforthanddie - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    At least they’re better off than Miami, they can’t even field a starting 5.

    • hnirobert3 - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:51 PM

      Uhhhh, Dampier? I’m not saying he’s much but he’s been there starting 5 longer than Jeffries has been the starter for the Knicks.

  9. kast2l - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    Regardless barring some miracle, knicks won’t win with melo, I feel they made the move to appease fans and to increase ticket prices, not to win championships

  10. starks3 - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    I disagree about Playoff depth being an issue. Look how many days rest they will get in between games especially in round 1. They can afford their players to log big minutes when they don’t have to play for 4 or 5 days. Thats the only way the Celtics did it last year. No way the make the finals if they had to do a Hockey like playoff schedule.

    And no I don’t expect a title. I will be happy just to see the Knicks in the playoffs this year, I understand its a process. I just disagree that depth is a huge deal in the playoffs.

  11. jsarge99 - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    After the heat’s struggles this season, how did anyone expect the Knicks to be good without depth. You need top end talent and depth, see Chicago.

  12. Lateef - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    starks3 – The depth problem isn’t Amare or Melo logging big minutes. It’s the fact that Jeffries, Mason Jr., Sheldon Williams, Turiaf get significant court time. Other than Amare no big guy on the team would get more than 5 minutes of court time on the elite teams (LA, Boston, Chicago, SA, Miami). This is why our defensive is awful, why players like Roy Hibbert or Chris Wilcox go for huge games against us, and why we can’t rebound.

    • starks3 - Mar 23, 2011 at 9:44 PM

      I agree, you make great points. Looking at the East is an odd animal this postseason. Before I go any further let me just say I will be tickled pink to just be in the playoffs. But I feel our deficiencies aren’t that bad depending who we play.

      Vs. Miami- We have better PG/PF, Center is a wash, SF Lebron wins. Bench about equally mediocre. So in that matchup I say its a toss up who wins series.

      Boston- Yea I give edge to Boston at positions 1-4, however with their Center deficiencies, they actually are a better match up now for Knicks since the Perkins trade.

      Chicago- They have a great team, reminds me of vintage 90’s Knicks teams, however they don’t have a real scorer besides Rose, I feel we could win 2 games out of 7 vs them based off of Knicks having a hot night or two and Bulls not being able to keep up. .

      Orlando-They have issues however they have Howard. As I watch this game he clearly could score every posession if he wanted to. The worst team for Knicks to face.

      All of this is meaningless when Knicks lose to all garbage teams, however they have beaten Heat twice, and are 2-0 vs Chicago, as well as beating Hawks, and Grizzlies Twice. They have shown they can play with the best can’t wait till April!!!

  13. dysraw1 - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    yeah heres the deal regardless to fact that we may or may not be successful in the playoffs. the point is were going in for the 1st time in ten years. amare is a beast & melo cant be checked. but unless we have some bangers & shot blockers, we wont get pass the 1st round the knicks need one player that can hold down the paint once u enter the playoffs its a whole nother level were at least half court d is essential teams know they can tree us down,they wont wait to attack us were we r weak,[like all season]

  14. dysraw1 - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    yeah mike brown did an excellent job in his time cleveland, and he did it without two so called superstars. he is just a good defensive coach

  15. midnite2020 - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    bunch of idiots one our head coach sucks two never has the knicks ever to the time to mold anyone draft a young athletic center and stick with him theres a second round for a reason finally please tell me why chauncey is the point for an uptempo team why didnt we put our foot down an say no felton you can’t have him but thats the knicks for you patrick ewing tried to warn you nobody ever listened mang.is and has always been the problem

  16. knicksnyny100 - Mar 24, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Earl Barron would have made the knicks complete after the trade,Donnie Walsh wanted him D’Antoni wanted J Jeffries so thats D’Antoni’s FAULT he is the only coach in the NBA that thinks he could win without a real center and its not working

  17. rapmusicmademedoit - Mar 24, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    I think they are running out of clean towels by the 4th quarter and the players have to share so they rather not sweat so they cruise thru the remainder fo the game so they don’t have to double up.
    Too bvad they would be good if Dolan bought more towels, maybe the players can bring in their own fluffy
    towels.

  18. truprof - Mar 25, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Depth is definitely an issue in the playoffs. Think back to the Phoenix Suns teams and how they could not execute down the stretch vs. SA and vs. Dallas in the 2 WCF’s they played in under D’Antoni. 7 and 8 man rotations left them absolutely gassed in crunch time. Meanwhile I recall SA using 10 and 11 man rotations regularly. Heck, one game Pops even used 9 guys in the first half alone! SA had way more energy and it showed in their defensive intensity and in their offensive execution. Phoenix was running on fumes and rubber legs! Depth is a MAJOR factor in the playoffs!

  19. damp1015 - Mar 26, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    First of all I am not going to lie, I did not read the posts. I just wanted to state something as one of the Knicks fans from California. I knew the trade would only make us equal is not slightly better(and that was being hopeful). I know we have to build from there, look at all those other teams in the playoff race, they have a very strong 5 with decent bench depth, even Miami has better depth with House and Miller and maybe even Howard for a big. What we need is indeed a BIG, but that is not as easy as it is said. That is another thing to progress on after this season with hopes of no lock out for next season. There is a possibility of us making it to the 2nd round but I do not think we have enough to make the good run. We can hang with Miami and even the Bulls which was earlier in the season, but are 0-3 with Boston, almost the same with Magic and lets not even talk about Indiana who just killed us in 2 games days apart. So in closing, I am being realistic when I say hooray for the 1st and amazing if we make the 2nd but I am just looking forward to next season to build the team even further.

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