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News » New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-11-09

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-11-09

New York Knicks Getting Inside 2009-11-09The worst fears are already starting to be realized. What happens when you take a team loaded half with expiring-contract veterans and the other half with young, undeveloped talent, then add the ubiquity of the team's master plan, which is to use the expiring contracts to clear salary-cap space to rebuild the team through free agency at season's end?

You have the Knicks, who have made an art of disgracefully effortless defeats and a disaster of Mike D'Antoni's once-vaunted Seven Seconds or Less offense.

And D'Antoni keeps shuffling through the lineup as if hoping to find some magical combination that will suddenly mimic Nash-to-Marion-to-Stoudemire. In reality, what he continues to see are players who really don't collectively fit his system. Or is it his system doesn't properly fit the players?

The franchise was careful to insist the goal was to win this season and try to make the playoffs with the myriad cast of castoffs and unwanted salaries. The chronically inconsistent Larry Hughes broke out for a couple of good games, and now D'Antoni is almost forced to play him. Al Harrington is the human stop sign in an offense that relies on ball movement and flow, as he prefers to catch, face up, stare down and make a one-on-one move. Sometimes it works out well, sometimes it looks about as polished as a pickup game at the Y.

Chris Duhon had a strong first half last season running the system but hasn't come close to replicating that performance so far this season as he looks somehow slower and extremely hesitant. Jared Jeffries simply cannot catch the basketball. Not even if he was throwing it to himself, it seems. Nate Robinson, before he went out with an ankle injury, couldn't find his KryptoNate mojo. And David Lee, though he continues to put up solid statistics in points and rebounds, plays traffic cone on defense.

But the bigger issue than performance, which can always be corrected, is that among them none is a true leader. After Thursday's practice, Harrington and Hughes organized a closed-door, players-only meeting that was, essentially, loaded with mere rhetoric. It's not that they're absent of players willing to speak for the team -- Duhon did it after the second game, when he ripped some players for their poor preparation -- but what really matters most is there is no beacon to lead them out of the fog.

This could be the result of having a team of expiring contracts of which, at most, one (Lee) stands a chance of being re-signed.

BUCKS 102, KNICKS 87: For the second straight game, the Knicks gave up 40 points in the first quarter en route to a third straight loss and a 1-6 start. Andrew Bogut led the Bucks (3-2) with 22 points, which were the bulk of the 52 points-in-the-paint allowed by the soft Knicks defense. And the offense wasn't much better, with a collective field-goal percentage of 41.3 (33-for-80), that included misfirings by Wilson Chandler (1-for-10), Al Harrington (1-for-7) and Chris Duhon (0-for-4). David Lee had 18 points to lead the Knicks, who fell behind by as many as 36 points.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 9, 2009


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