New York Knicks

Rosen Knick Knacks: On MVPs, Carmelo Anthony and Ron Baker

Brooklyn Nets' Jeremy Lin, rear, defends New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, March 16, 2017, in New York. The Nets won 121-110. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Here s some “knick knacks” of what I saw and heard at Madison Garden before, during, and after the Nets latest humiliation of the New York Knicks.

Several months ago, in response to a question posed by an interviewer, Phil Jackson said that a player holding the ball for more than two seconds is a no-no. That’s because it stops the flow of the play, makes spectators of his teammates, and allows the defense to adjust. Jackson then went on to say that Carmelo Anthony is a case in point.

Although Jackson’s characterization of Anthony’s adhesive hands was undeniably correct, most members of the sports media chastised him for dissing the Knicks star player.

That’s why I kept track of how many seconds elapsed between the times Anthony caught the ball and when he launched a shot.

The four instances when he immediately shot after a catch, as well as when he ran a 15-second iso before sinking a 19-footer to close out the first half, were discounted. Otherwise, Anthony’s average time between catch-and-shoot was approximately six seconds, including one possession where he faked and dribbled for 11 seconds before shooting.

For the game, he was 6-of-18 (including 0-of-6 from downtown) from the field.

This is certainly not to blame the loss on him. Indeed, except for the all-around play of Lance Thomas and the offense-only production of Kyle O’Quinn, the ensuing 121-110 loss was a team effort.

During the first time-out of the game, Ron Baker, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, and Marshall Plumlee left the Knicks huddle and instead did several energetic defensive slides back-and-forth across the lane. Baker then ran several half-speed wind-sprints to the far end line.

Speaking of Baker… He’s a smart, tough customer who’s destined to play perhaps as much as 20 minutes backing up both guard positions. But in the game at hand, he was whistled for several fouls that he absolutely did not commit.

Here’s what I said to him after the game: “You’re a rookie, so you won’t get officiated the same way as a vet does. Even worse, you were not drafted and weren’t in the rotation for most of the season. But, as the refs see more of you and learn your game, you’ll be treated more fairly.”

There was much discussion among members of the press about whether James Harden or Russell Westbrook should be the MVP.

Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) knocks the ball away from San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 13, 2017, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 107-99. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

The correct answer is Kawhi Leonard for the following reasons:

  • Westbrook does play half-way decent defense, but Harden plays none at all.
  • Leonard scores and also plays dynamic defense.
  • The focus on triple-doubles is nonsense because Harden and Westbrook always have the ball in their hands.

It was suggested that, while Anthony is extremely unhappy playing for the Knicks, he insisted on exercising his no-trade clause because he didn’t want to disrupt his family and his own daily routine by changing teams in mid-season. After the season, he’ll undoubtedly be ready to move on when he’ll have the entire summer to relocate, and he’ll also be able to have a full training camp with his new team.

Whichever team that might be.

Members of the press complain that their seats are the worst in the league—just below the upper deck and a long field goal away from a far corner of the end zone. Accordingly, advance scouts from other teams either buy seats closer to the action or simply resort to scouting the Knicks only when the team is on the road.

During one of the time-out extravaganzas, a fan sank a layup, a free throw and then a three-point shot. His prize was $600 worth of lottery tickets, whose value will most likely be nothing.

Just as a third-quarter timeout was called, Baker and Plumlee left the bench and sprinted to the other end of the court to glad-hand their five teammates and welcome them into the ensuing huddle.

Then Baker did a few more defensive slides across the paint.

Meanwhile, Thomas and Baker were the only Knicks who always looked to box their opponents off the glass.

Kenny Atkinson says he “loves” his team. “It’s a joy to coach them because they want to be coached.”

He also said this: “Deep down, it’s easier to lose with players who are good guys than to win with bad guys.”

Before getting hired by the Knicks, Jeff Hornacek only had a season-and-a-half’s  experience as a head coach and is still learning on the job. However, he still must be pitied for losing with a roster that includes too many uncoachable players.

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