The Knicks And Their Roster Madness …

VIDEO: Mike Fratello breaks down the hole in the middle of the Knicks’ defense

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — A quick review of the injuries and roster make-up of the New York Knicks reveals exactly what ails this team this season. Not only are they missing their defensive heart and soul in Tyson Chandler, but even when he’s in the lineup, the pieces don’t exactly fit.

Their latest disastrous outing, Sunday’s 114-73 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics, only served to accentuate the faulty chemistry of the group Knicks coach Mike Woodson is trying to poke and push into playing the “right way.” Even Woodson’s best-laid plans haven’t produced the desired results.

And at 5-14 heading into tonight’s game (7 p.m. ET, League Pass) against an equally disheveled Cleveland team, Woodson’s search for the right roster mix continues. How much longer he’ll have to continue that search is anyone’s guess. Woodson is up for the task, he said as much to reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of, Monday:

“Every day that I come to work, I work,” said Woodson, who repeatedly said how privileged he is to be Knicks coach. “I don’t take days off. I put my time in, I think my preparation is great with my staff. And we try to get our guys to play at a high level.”

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had a lot of the pieces,” Woodson continued of injuries to his squad. “I thought I got to a rotation in those two games with Brooklyn and Orlando which I felt was good, but got to the arena and Kenyon [Martin] couldn’t go … For me, it has kind of been a work in progress. I think I am up for the task.”

And I can vouch for him on that one. He’s endured nightmare stretches before in his coaching career. His first season as an NBA oach in Atlanta, his team was a league-worst 13-69. It was a miserable season on paper and in reality, one that left everyone — the players, coaches, fans and the entire city — with a bad taste in their mouths.

But Woodson fought off the drama and endless twists and turns of his brutal start to help the Hawks become the playoff regular they are today. It took a series of roster tweaks, however, to aid that cause. And it took time for the Hawks to assemble the right crew to help dig out of that initial sinkhole.

Despite the through-the-roof price tag, I’m not convinced he has the pieces in place to work similar magic this season in New York. Sure, it looks workable on paper. Shouldn’t any coach be able to win with Carmelo Anthony, Chandler (when he returns) J.R. Smith, Raymond Felton, Andrea Bargnani, Metta World PeaceAmar’e Stoudemire, Martin, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Pablo Prigioni as the core group?

Not when your only true two-way players are Chandler and Shumpert. And certainly not when two of your key components — Anthony and Bargnani, who has served admirably as the fill-in for Chandler — are absolutely brutal defensively when they’re on the floor together.

Anthony and Bargnani are the Knicks’ most-used two-man combination and they’ve allowed 109.8 points per 100 possessions with them on the floor together. That’s worse than Utah’s 30th-ranked defense. And their offense is bad, too, so they’re a -10.4 points per 100 possessions with those two on the floor. That’s just plain putrid.

In 205 minutes with Anthony on the floor without Bargnani, they’ve allowed 91.7 points per 100 possessions (better than the Pacers’ No. 1 defense) and are a +14.9, which is great.

Knicks pace and efficiency

On floor MIN Pace OffRtg DefRtg NetRtg +/-
Anthony + Bargnani 535 91.9 99.4 109.8 -10.4 -94
Only Anthony 205 96.8 106.6 91.7 +14.9 +49
Only Bargnani 47 92.0 91.4 85.6 +5.7 +2
One of the two 252 95.9 103.9 90.6 +13.3 +51
Neither 130 91.0 102.4 115.8 -13.4 -30

Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions

Not many coaches could whiteboard their way out of those dire numbers, not even one with Woodson’s years of experience and track record of turning a foul situation around.

Still, Woodson remains steadfast in his belief that he can grind away and eventually figure a way out of this mess:

“At the end of the day, the players are playing, but I’m still coaching the team,” Woodson said. “I’ve always had the responsibility as the coach to make sure guys are playing at a high level. We’ve done that for the most part since I’ve been here. We’ve had our lapses since I’ve been here.

“I’m still the head coach,” Woodson continued. “And I’m still going to push guys to play at a high level. Players have got to do their part as well. We can’t have games like that. That’s no fun for anybody.”

Woodson is right about at least one thing: the players indeed have to do their part. And so far, they have fallen down on the job in spectacular fashion.

VIDEO: Knicks coach Mike Woodson addresses the team’s injuries


  1. asdf says:

    My knicks couldnt be in a worse place right now, we are getting blown out every game, Dont have any draftpicks, can really make any good trades, we are stuck with bargani, stoudemire, felton, jr for atleast one more season. terrible I dont know if the knciks can dig themselves out of this hole.

    only positive out of this team tis season is Hardaway Jr. I see a wes mathews type of player in him. hes gonna develop into a really good nba player, I would be hartbroken if the knicks traded him.

  2. realknlckfan says:

    The Knicks have no backup center and 2 backup pigs yet we all want to blame melo (playing great out of position most of the time) and bargnarni (also playlng great out of position all the time). 2 broke down backup PCs are not gonna make it at backup center. Melo and bargnarni will be hell on other teams when Chandler gets back.THE kNICkS WILL RISE AGAIN THISSEASON.

  3. jake s. says:

    melo will do well in clipper-land

  4. Davro83 says:

    We need a big man and a point guard. ANothony isnt the problem. look at all the shooting percentages of other players. They are terrible and cant shoot this season. Ive watched nearly every knicks game this season and Melo isnt playing that bad. he averages nearly a double double this season! What other man in his position does that. At the end of the day, we need a BIG to protect the rim and a PG to facilitate. Prigioni is a great back up Pg, but felton is nothing. Amare cant defend, Bargnani cant defend consistenly ( even tho he has done a good job this season one on one with defenders). Shumpert has lost interest in the knicks, probably because of the way he has been treated. Time to trade Shump and felton. Would say trade Stat, but no one will take him. We need something mixed up to get this team going again. Id also like to see Woodson actually SHOUT at these players and show some emmotion. He talks like he is high all the time with no emotion. I perosnally wouldnt mind the knicks hiring Stan Van Gundy to give this team a blow up the arse. He always loved to get down the necks of players, unlike woodson.

  5. riichie says:

    traaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade melooooooooo his not coming back

  6. freddy says:

    I will say this, centers can make or break teams, look at Portland and Robin Lopez vs last year. Tyson Chandler covered a lot the poor defense of the knicks, what they really need is a spot up shooting PG. No one comes to mind, however a PG who can make smart plays but can hit the 3 ball would be nice so that Melo can do his thing.

  7. freddy says:

    Guess J Lin would be nice right about now…

  8. Nick says:

    Melo’s style of play kills ball movement,and no team survives well in the NBA without good ball movement. JR seems to be in a contest with Melo to see who can jack up the most shots. In short, very little team play, so I agree it’s the players not the coach. It’s interesting, though, how Woodson is being supported by and large by most journalists while D’Antoni was vilified in LA last year. Especially considering the fact that the injuries in LA we’re much more severe and widespread, and they still made the playoffs!

  9. BlackDove- says:


  10. BlackDove- says:


  11. Gillsy says:

    Anthony will annoy the Knicks in he offseason and go to the Nets when KG calls it a day.

  12. tapk69 says:

    brilliant players? you must not watch the same team … Knicks have 3 players with 20+ shots a game mentality and thats not possible on the NBA . JR smith ,Melo and Bargnani are terrible defensive players and terrible FG% players.
    Only Melo can carry them but they need good role players like the ones they gave for melo , not inconsistent and shoot-first mentality players , they already have one of the best why do they even need more ? Just young legs and guys that want to work hard to get better , not players that want money and party time .

  13. Ao1 says:

    Knicks did a good job last season with the same coach. So what’s the difference this season?… Injuries might have something to do with it. But what else besides that?

    • PalmOil Preference says:

      The difference is we are not shooting 3’s like we did last year. And for that reason we need a new voice b/c we live and die by the 3 and that is not deep playoff basketball. It won cut it. As well as we did last year when it came time to excute and play defense we looked lost and pacers nicely got us out the way.

  14. PalmOil Preference says:

    Got to put this on the Coach. As a fan the GM in my eyes has out out a decent roster. Losing at home by 41 to a young team trying to figure it out, or so it seemed, is inexcusable it’s the last straw with me. The lack of energy and effort is the telling sign if they were comepting in these games then it would but Woodson more time. In actuality thier losses are bad bad bad losses no one is competing that what makes me feel the players need a new voice.

  15. Dani says:

    Coach…try this combination..first five Anthony, Stoudemire, Martin, Felton, World Peace..the rest is to rest the first five..

    • asdf says:

      That line-up is terrible, Stat and Melo cannot be on the floor the same since they play in the same areas of the court, Amar’e is no post up guy so he lurks around mid-range which takes away space from Melo who likes his mid-range game quite a lot as well.

  16. BlackDove- says:

    look at what the 1999 Knicks done.

    I Believe in my team!

  17. kwat says:

    this team is cursed.. they just need a legit point guard, thats their only problem

  18. sam says:

    not a good team that’s it

  19. Wzzzzaaaapppp says:

    I like melo as an individual player and during isolation plays, but one on one plays doesnt win games, it’s just fancy and exciting. He takes far too many ill advisded shots, and hits them sometimes, but for the most part he shoots a bad percentage. I would like to see this team make the playoffs but they need to start running team offence. I think Jason Kidd had much to do with their past success but he’s not here anymore and Melo needs to step up and become more of a leader.

  20. dustydreamnz says:

    I think their players are brilliant but too many suffer from inconsistency and in this league you need consistent players to win consistently. eg Spurs, Thunder, Heat, Pacers. They do need a better point guard.

  21. Elshan says:

    I pray to Jesus Christ from Azerbaijan that God would help NYK to go forward and become stronger and stronger and get the championship this season. It would take a miracle for it to happen and God can do it! So, let’s pray together!

  22. Drago says:

    No point working through it no couch in this legue can make that team play good defense during the season.I would start trading right now.

  23. Ike says:

    Melo needs a fresh start with a better team and a more demanding coach. He should take a long, hard look at the Chicago Bulls this offseason. They need his star-studded scoring punch and he needs thir improved roster including Rose, their stable coaching staff and a more easygoing environment. #MelotoBulls

  24. eastbrook russell says:

    i dont think anyone is saying that woodson isn’t trying, or doing his job as he should. But the Knicks don’t need a respectable coach who can do his job optimally, they need a changer, someone that will teach them (maybe even from scratch) how to play the game. Lionel Hollins was such a transformer, Tom Thibodeau is the best example. I am convinced that if Melo was somehow to play for Thibodeau we would see unimaginable improvements. Since that is very unlikely to happen, we can say with enough certainty that Melo’s best chance to anything glorious was that Western Conference finals appearance against the Lakers, which I still think they should have won. I never will understand why Melo broke free from that team just when he had a system in which he was the undisputable star and yet had game-changing teammates too. I will repeat this: the only time the Knicks are actually playing sensible basketball is the 16-20 mins when Prigioni is in the game. No matter how talented, when a team is unable to run basic fundamental offense, they are doomed. That was proved by the inability of the Thunder to win the 2012 finals. Yet, look at how much the Thunder have improved in attacking in a sensible manner, only by incorporating a couple of bench players. The Knicks are just getting worse, not learning from their mistakes.

  25. JeJr says:

    TheY JusT Dont Want To PlaY With this Coach

  26. nba fan says:

    nice site

    • artifex says:

      I wonder: Woodson must be TOTALLY BLIND for statistics.
      Because Chris Herring wrote for Wall Street Journal on NOV 12 (THAT IS ONE MONTH AGO!!!):
      “In 134 minutes with Bargnani, Anthony has posted lackluster numbers: 38.3% shooting, averaging 19 points on 17 shots per 40 minutes. In 109 minutes without Bargnani, he has shot 44.3%, averaging 28 points on 22 shots per 40 minutes—identical to what he posted last season, when he finished third in MVP voting. The Knicks have outscored opponents by 15.4 points per 40 minutes when Anthony has been on the court without Bargnani, but have been outscored by 15.5 points per 40 minutes when he and Bargnani play together…”
      That is:
      Nothing has changed ever since: Melo + Bargnani = NO GO,
      but they played 401 min together in 1 month (14 games = 28.6 min/game)! They lost 11 of those.

  27. jayr says:

    woodson and carmelo is a bad combination. both give up on their team. ask the atlanta hawks and the denver nuggets