Minor Moves leads to Big Moral in the Big Apple
February 19, 2009 by Jay K
As a New York resident and long time anti-Knick basketball person, I must admit today I am proud to say that the Knicks aren’t that bad anymore. I know… some of you guys are thinking this guy is crazy!! Well maybe just a little, but the Knicks are looking to be moving up from doormat to a middle-of-the-road team now. Sure it’s not a huge turnaround but progress is made in baby steps.
In exchange for Malik Rose (1.7 ppg/1.7 rpg/over 8.9 min) and cash consideration, the Knicks boosted thier front court by adding a solid rebounding and low post defender in Chris Wilcox. By no means is he a superstar, he is infact the opposite, he is just a role player. But he is a solid role player and he plays hard and he is athletic which fits in perfectly into Mike D’Antoni’s system. With Wilcox in the picture they can now remove Jeffries from his duties at center and pull him off the bench or utilize him as a perimeter defender (which is why he was brought to NY in the first place).
From a financial standpoint the Knicks lost about $900,000 in cap space since Rose had a larger contract than Wilcox. However, Rose was clearly not being used by the Knicks and because the bottom half of the Eastern Conference race for the 8th spot is so tight the addition of Wilcox can help them make that late season push.
The move for Larry Hughes is a lot like a bittersweet moment. The Knicks needed to fill the void at the two guard since the departure of Jamal Crawford, but essentially they got back a similar player in return. Over his career Hughes has average 31 mpg and shoots 41%. Although Knicks fans can rejoice because Jerome James has finally left the building, but I’m not so sure it was good move. Wilson Chandler is having a coming out party this year and to insert Hughes into the lineup over Chandler would hinder his development and possible New York’s longterm plans. The only way they could utilize Hughes properly is to plug him into the three spot and have him start over Q. Rich who is shooting an abismal 38.5% this year over 28.7 mpg. The only other plus I see to this is that Larry Hughes was regarded as a top notch perimeter defender and steals leader back when he was in Washington. However, that was almost 3 years ago and Hughes is clearly slowing down in that department, but yet still relatively effective.
Financially this trade has no real rammifications unless if Jerome James decides to retire in advance, in which it would seem that Chicago has gotten the best of New York once again in these swaps that we constantly have with one another.
Yet in spite of all my negativity I will say this. Donnie Walsh has made his plan very clear. Let D’Antoni pick the supplies he wants to make dinner with, and he’ll go out and get them. The addition of these two players has added greater athleticism and extended the depth of the bench. The greatest benefit is that it does not hurt them in the run for 2010 and has created greater excitement for NY basketball fans, in hopes that the Knicks can make the playoffs this year. The only real question is: why bother making the playoffs when your going to end up playing the Celtics or the Cavs in the first round?