The Knicks may have high hopes to make the playoffs but they have to play with more effort than what they are showing now. Giving 75% effort is not good enough. Too often the Knicks find themselves trying to get back in game after a slow start. What you find at the end of games is the Knicks trying to make a comeback after a slow start. Which means the Knicks must play perfect 3rd and 4th quarters to win games. The slow start may have to do with the Mike D’Antoni's lineup changes. Mike D’Antoni recently stated that in order for the Knicks to make the playoffs they need to win 40 games in the East. The problem is the Knicks are not playing like they are going to win 40 games. Especially with the way Mike D’Antoni is handling his rotation. Mike D’Antoni also seems not to know when to call a timeout. In the Knicks lost to the Heat there was a point where Wade was hitting every shot to get the Heat back in the game yet Mike’ D’Antoni did not call a timeout. This could have slowed down Wades hot streak.
There is no way the Knicks are going to have and offensive punch to start games when their only offensive weapon in the starting lineup is Al Harrington. The Knicks need at least one other player in the starting lineup like Wilson Chander. Lee does score points from hustle plays but if the pick and roll is not there it makes Lee’s job that much harder. That’s why starting Chandler at this point is a necessity.
Mike D’Antoni's recent mistakes included starting Quentin Richardson, who sat out the previous game, to bench Wilson Chandler, who scored 27 points against the Orlando Magics and 15 points against the Pacers. I am still puzzled as to why Richardson was in the starting lineup as the shooting guard over Chandler who is a young athletic player that gets it done on the offensive and defensive end. Chandler can block shots and keep his man honest because of his offensive game.
The next mistake was playing Duhon so many minutes regardless if he was having a good night or not. In the game against the Sixers, Duhon was playing poorly on the court and was turning over the ball more than pancakes at the neighborhood waffle house. Yet Mike D’antoni kept him in the game and decided to take out Al Harrington who had the hot hand. Not only was Duhon playing bad in recent games but it looks like teams are getting use to the Knicks running the pick and roll. D’Antoni has to know when to play the hot hand and to take out the person that is not performing.
Mike D’Antoni's other huge mistakes has been the use of the young rookie Danilo Gallinari. If the veterans Jeffries, Richardson, and even Duhon at times are not getting it done then there should be minutes available for Danilo to get playing time. It shouldn't have to take the Knicks getting blown out for Mike D’Antoni to realize that the best lineup for offense might include this young player who has the ability to hit the big shot.
This is what I think can help the Knicks play better and help them make a playoff push if it is not too late.
1. Play Duhon only 32 mintues
2. Start Nate Robinson at the shooting guard. This eliminates the slow starts.
3. Give more playing time to Danilo and less playing to Quentin Richarson
4. Start Wilcox over Jeffries. Wilcox is a better defender and rebounder than Jeffries
5. If the Knicks do not start Wilcox the Knicks should start Chandler at the powerfoward
6. Make Danilo Gallinari the first player off the bench
The starting lineup should be: