Jimmer Ferdette? JIMMER FERDETTE?! Have you no pride, Knicks? No sense of honor in what you do? Yes, the Knicks limp into the All-Star break with another defeat, but this might be the most damning of the season, as Jimmer Ferdette of all people came off the bench to drop 24 points (6/8 from three) to lead the Western Conference-worst Sacramento Kings over the Knicks. After last night, there are some people I never want to see on a Knicks sideline again…
FELTON: Who else did you think I’d start with? Only our star-crossed point guard could turn a game where he dished 12 assists into a nightmare. He had a bad shooting night (3/11), including an open three-pointer with 36 seconds left that could have extended the Knicks lead to 96-91. Rudy Gay followed Felton’s miss with a left elbow jumper to tie and take the game into overtime.
From there our offense went straight to the trash. In addition, Felton committed a crucial turnover that lead to a King fast break dunk and a 98-93 deficit. Later, he’d go 1-2 at the free throw line to make the deficit 102-98, allowing the Kings to have an easier time nursing their lead with just 49 seconds left.
So, let’s sum it up. The point guard position is our biggest hole on the offensive and defensive ends. Felton takes too long to get offensive plays going (if you want to call them that), can’t consistently penetrate, and can’t keep athletic guards in front of him. Oh, don’t let me forget that he’s a streaky shooter (including 67% at the free throw line) and injury prone.
The season is beyond salvageable, but if the Knicks want to at least have a respectable finish, this man has got to go.
WOODY’S ONE-MAN COMEDY SHOW: Is there anyone in the league that can’t outcoach Mike Woodson? For months, you’ve heard commentators defend him, stating that the “pieces don’t fit” and it isn’t his fault. YES IT IS. To keep doing the same thing over and over is the definition of insanity. Felton is a net negative, yet he continues to get heavy minutes. Small ball has been our best weapon this season, yet we go big in crunch time last night and wonder why the defense collapses. ISO MELO has been shown to not effectively work all season, yet that’s what happened with the game on the line in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.
One of our main candidates to replace Woodson, Jeff Van Gundy, has already made it clear he doesn’t want to take the reins mid-season. I can definitely understand that, but I’d rather see Herb Williams patrolling the bench than endure two months more of coaching blunders from Woody.
THJ HAS MUCH WORK AHEAD OF HIM: Tim Hardway Jr. plays with a lot of confidence and fire. He’s one of the few guys who you can never doubt is bringing 100% effort every night. With that said, his defense can be downright horrific. He was -28 for the game and every time he can in, starting with the Knicks holding a 33-22 lead after the first quarter, the leads evaporated.
Normally, the bad defense can be offset by his hot three-point aim, but this time Hardaway was ice-cold, shooting 3/12 (1/6 from downtown). The fact that Fredette scored 15 points in the seconds quarter alone says it all.
MELO’S DESCENT: As has been pointed out for the last 2 weeks, Melo shooting percentage has been dropping alarmingly every quarter. For the season, he starts out shooting 51% and goes under 40% by the fourth. It’s no surprise to anyone who’s watched the Knicks this year, as he has to work so hard just to keep the team afloat.
Last night, Melo played 48 minutes, including all of the second half. There’s very few players that can remain productive logging that much time on the floor. From the fourth quarter on, he went 1-7, including a blown layup and missing an open three in overtime (0/5 in OT).
It doesn’t matter if you personally don’t like Melo’s game. Hell, I wasn’t a big fan of our beloved Ewing’s game. But it says a lot that Melo is one of the best players in the league and we can’t utilize him better than what we’ve seen, and get a competent team around him to highlight his strengths.
INJURIES: You already know you can’t have a Knicks game without someone getting crippled. Iman Shumpert left the game early with a bruised left hip flexor. There’s no timetable on his return, but he’ll likely be ready to go after the All-Star break. JR stayed out, still nursing the face injury he received courtesy of an errant Kevin Durant knee last Sunday.
BRIGHT SPOTS: Tyson Chandler did a decent job on DeMarcus Cousing and also managed to drop 17 points and grab 11 rebounds. However, his defense on driving guards in the fourth and overtime was lacking. Stoudemire had a good offensive game (20 points on 10/15 shooting)… you already know about his defense.
The Knicks front office has A LOT of work to do over the next week. Word is they’re back to exploring the Kyle Lowry and Shumpert/Kenneth Faried trade ideas. Anything would be better than what we’ve been seeing on the court.