Thursday, February 19, 2009

We Want Patrick!

Rejoice! Twenty-four hours passed and David Lee is still a Knick. Now all it will take is 40 million dollars in the offseason and I can be at ease. But today is an exciting day for other reasons. Who would've thought the Knicks would be going after playoff rentals? That's exactly what Larry Hughes and Chris Wilcox are. They aren't stars, but two seasons ago, when the Knicks were fighting for the 8th seed and David Lee went down, wouldn't it have been nice if Wilcox were around to fill in? Adding talented bodies that aren't on bad contracts (past this season) is never a bad idea. It was disappointing to see the Nets keep Vince Carter, but that 8th seed is there for the taking, nonetheless, and today the Knicks made two moves to get better.

Wilcox has a limited game--he's inconsistent and is mostly interested in scoring--but is the backup big man the Knicks have not had this season. This adds a whole new kind of body to the rotation, and I think the Knicks will be able to work the pick-and-roll now even when Lee sits (watching Danillo set a pick and beg for the ball for a three just isn't the same). In general, it's nice to see the Knicks solidify their frontcourt for the duration of the season. Maybe Lee can slide down to the 4 a bit now. Wilcox has shown serious flashes of his talent, especially in the half season after being traded for Vladimir Radmanovic. He's probably a better rebounder and worse defender than Jared Jeffries, but he wins out big time on strength and offensive ability, and is a welcome third body to the frontcourt

Now, I hate Larry Hughes. But he can steal a few wins for this team, and that's all it takes. He's a headache of a player, but he goes off every now and then for a big game. Plus, he's the only legitimate 2-guard (size considered, Nate) on the roster right now. He'll overdribble, he'll force bad shots, he'll make boneheaded plays, he'll go so cold that I'll get angry when he shoots, but Knicks fans are used to that. Nothing Al Harrington isn't prone to doing, just like Jamal Crawford was before him, along with a younger Nate Robinson. Duhon is going to break down if he doesn't get more rest, whether it's due to back spasms, a bad ankle or fatigue. So Hughes and Nate will handle ballhandling duties a bit more. Hughes is an upgrade to the team's perimeter defense, as long as Chandler doesn't lose minutes. Overall, it can't hurt. This team takes perimeter shots in volume, and Hughes can get hot and provide offense often enough. He's solid in the passing lanes and is just another guy who fits the system and can fill a hole in the rotation for 25 minutes a night. If this means Danillo and Q each miss out on 10 minutes that previously were theirs as Chandler slides to the 3, I'm not complaining.

I will say, though, that Tim Thomas' second stint in New York was impressive. He clearly grew up in the four years since he last was a Knick. Thomas was all-smiles and looked to be a great teammate. He stopped forcing shots big time, was accurate from three, and even worked harder on defense. And the tears of Anthony Randolph are on his hands for an unforgettable dunk.

But look, Thomas would've been gone just like Hughes and Wilcox won't last past this season. The real importance here? The Knicks now have a second roster spot open. No more nonsense about saving room for a backup guard. Jannero Pargo found a new home, Carlos Arroyo is worthless, and even if he weren't, there would still be room for Patrick Ewing Jr. to be called up.

Last time he wore orange and blue, he was knocking down threes, blocking shots and throwing down about the nicest dunk you'll see a Knick have (nicer, even, than some of Chandler's best this year). Of course for some reason it was more important to keep Anthony Roberson's guaranteed contract, but it's time to make amends. Neither his surname nor his first name are going to change anytime soon. Patrick Ewing. I could see that working in a Knicks uniform.

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