Thursday, February 02, 2006

A Confused Man in the Big Apple
By John W. Schmeelk

Likely, the assumption is the confused man is Isiah Thomas, or even Jim Dolan. Oh, they’re confused, but they always have been, I’m talking about Larry Brown. He’s lost.

Yes the roster is flawed, but right now Larry Brown is not doing what is necessary to get this team to win. Many Knicks fans thought the team crossed the Rubecon with their six game winning streak, and it appeared they did. Besides improved play from Marbury the reason for the turnaround was a set rotation. Then Marbury gets hurt, Antonio Davis gets suspended, the Knicks lose five in a row and Larry Brown decides to turn the team upside down.

He revamped the starting lineup – reinserting Jamal Crawford (even after Marbury returned), who has excelled in a sixth man role, and Quentin Richardson who has been as bad as any NBA player this season. David Lee, and Nate Robinson, two players that actually bring intangibles to the table sit, the former getting a DNP or two along the way. Jackie Butler is taken off the inactive list and logs minutes. Malik Rose re-enters the rotation. Channing Frye’s minutes are cut. And now all of a sudden Quintel Wood is a starter.

Richardson should never start for this team again, unless he proves he can in a bench role. He doesn’t defend, his back has hindered his ability to finish in transition, and he can’t score at all. He is shooting an unthinkable 35% from the field and only 32% from behind the arc. He offers nothing. So Nate Robinson has to start, there’s no one else. Shows how much the Knicks either need true starting shooting guard, or point guard.

IN terms of small forward, I’m not surprised by Quintel Woods becoming a starter. The team has no true three besides Wood and Ariza, and Woods is much more skilled offensively and is becoming a good hustle player that rebounds, plays defense, and doesn’t force a lot of shots. But don’t be surprised, and much to my dismay, if Jalen Rose is on this team in the near future.

And Malik Rose shouldn’t play either, ever. Neither should Jermoe James or Jackie Butler. Put shortly, they all stink. Tell me what Malik Rose does better than David Lee besides turn the ball over and Ill buy you dinner. If you have to play James, then give him a token 5-7 minutes if the opposing team has a decent center.

Larry Brown should have stayed with the rotation that won six in a row, despite the losing streak that followed – a streak by the way that would not have happened without Marbury’s injury. And give Marbury some credit, he’s playing with a bum shoulder, still grabbing 6 rebounds, and dishing eight assists. Brown needs to find a rotation again – the team looks lost again on offense and this time it is Brown’s fault. He needs to end the chaos – and it has nothing to do with Isaih sexually harassing some woman. Fix it Larry – this is why the team is paying you all this money. No more excuses.If he does set a rotation, a shot of at the playoffs is not absurd but in the very least the draft pick they have to surrender to the Bulls wont be too high.

Now very briefly on Isiah. If he makes it through February Ill be surprised. Combine the Knicks bad record, pressure from Larry Brown, and Cablevision’s obsession with being politically correct and the sum is not good for Thomas. There is one qualifier, if Thomas makes a big trade that appears popular in the near future I think Dolan will allow the season to play out, and then make the decision on Thomas.

Stay tuned for the Super Bowl Preview of all time in a day or two… you know there’s just something about Seattle…….


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