Mike D’Antoni has the deepest rotation since he began coaching the Knicks, sometimes going with as many as ten players in the first quarter. The rotation, and the players’ performances, are forever changing. As part of our Knicks coverage all season, taking a note from Mark Lisanti’s “Mad Men Power Rankings,” we’ll be tracking each player every Tuesday. Come with us, for the Knicks Power Rankings!
1. Toney Douglas. (Last week: 6.) If the Knicks had just held on to their third-quarter lead over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday afternoon, Toney Douglas might have made the back page of a tabloid this week. (In a good way.) Douglas struggled with his shot Sunday, but he was unstoppable in wins over the Bulls and Wizards, including a career-high 30 in the eye-opening win over Chicago. Douglas’s struggles against the Sixers showed just how important to this team he has already become; he’s the second-leading scorer and he leads in steals. Obviously, Douglas won’t hold this spot all season — or probably even for a week — but so far, it’s clear that when Douglas’s shot is falling, the Knicks win.
2. Amar’e Stoudemire. (Last week: 2.) Amar’e should probably have the top spot on these rankings every week, but we’re gonna make him earn it. As Seth from Posting and Toasting put it Sunday, the loss to the Sixers was precisely the type of game in which the Knicks needed their superstar to be a superstar. The Knicks weren’t hitting from the arc; it would have been a nice time for the $100 million power forward to take over. It’s not fair to ask Amar’e to make up for all his teammates’ occasional issues, but hey: That’s why he gets paid the big bucks. We’re all still waiting for the Amar’e Effing Stoudemire game.
3. Raymond Felton. (Last week: 4.) By midseason, we hope we’ll be done comparing Felton to Chris Duhon — as in, “sweet heavens it’s nice having a point guard better than Chris Duhon” — but for now, we’ll just continue to enjoy Felton, who seems a little quicker than advertised. We’ve been most impressed by how well he runs the break. He still hasn’t clicked with Stoudemire; when (if?) he does, look out, people.
4. Landry Fields. (Last week: 3.) Still a calming influence when he’s on the court, and even though his defense is starting to show some fraying (he started the “get shot-faked into a foul by a Sixer guard” trend on Tuesday), he’s still of vital importance to everything the Knicks are doing. He’s the one guy who looks collected at all times, which is just amazing, considering he’s a rookie and a second-round pick. Perhaps the best indicator: In a ten-point loss to Philly, the Knicks were +17 when Fields was on the court.
5. Wilson Chandler. (Last week: 1.) He came down to Earth this week, but he’s still the team’s third-leading scorer and their second-leading rebounder. We’re not sure we understand how he can only have five assists so far, and it’s probably time for him to slow down on the three-pointers (he’s at 27.6 percent for the year). But we could watch his dunk over JaVale McGee on Friday night against Washington on an endless loop.
6. Danilo Gallinari (Last week: 7.) There he is! The Rooster hit five three-pointers in his first three games. In the next three: seventeen. He was one of the primary reasons the Knicks beat the Bulls, and one of the primary reasons they lost to the Sixers. Like Chandler, he has an assist problem: He only has six on the year, one a game.
7. Ronny Turiaf. (Last week: 5.) It’s not really fair that Turiaf dropped this week: He’s the team’s most reliable center, though we don’t want to see him near a free-throw line ever again. He leads the team in blocks and, impressively, is second in assists. And he is so far ahead of everyone else in the NBA in “fist pumps” that we should probably stop counting the stat right now.
8. Timofey Mozgov. (Last week: 8.) He’s “shooting” 70 percent from the field his last two games, mostly off dunks and layups, but in 28.5 minutes during those games, he has zero rebounds. Not good. At this point, however, he appears likely to finish with more points than fouls. (It’s 21-13.)
9. Anthony Randolph. (Last week: Unranked.) If you are the type of basketball fan who only pays attention when your team has the ball — these people exist — you would think that Randolph is a waste, a poor shooter who has no idea what he’s doing. You’d kind of be right. (He’s two-for-nine from the field and one-for-four from the line.) But if you see him on defense, you understand why everyone’s so excited about him. He’s a dervish of chaos, really: He’s longer and quicker than almost anyone else on the court, and he can jump higher than God. (He’s got a nifty outlet pass, too.) He’s still a long way from even halfway a finished project, but lordy, those gifts. Coach Mike D’Antoni has been putting him in for five-to-ten-minute stretches and then just watching the madness happen. He’s baking soda and vinegar in a kid’s volcano science-fair project.
10. Bill Walker. (Last week: 9.) He had a few whoa moments in the wins over the Bulls and Wizards, and he’s the type of offensive talent who can take over the game for five-minute stretches. We’ve got him ranked too low, we suspect.
11. Roger Mason Jr. (Last week: 10.) What have the Knicks gotten so far for their $1.4 million? One free throw and four missed shots. He hasn’t played since we last did these rankings. He’s in Rautins territory.
12. Andy Rautins. (Last week: 11.) Hasn’t made it into a game yet. Tuesday night, ‘Cuse plays LeMoyne again, though, so he can relive that experience again.
13. Shawne Williams. (Last week: 12.) We’re honestly not sure he’s currently on the team.
(Injured: Kelenna Azubuike, Eddy Curry.)