Mike D’Antoni has shortened his rotation, but 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. Amar’e Stoudemire. (Last week: 1) Well, he finally missed a game. After 52 contests without a hiccup, Amar’e wore civilian clothes (and quite snazzy ones at that) during the Knicks’ win over the Nets. Stoudemire will likely be back at it on Wednesday against the Hawks, not to mention as a starter in Sunday’s All-Star Game. Other than that, though, Amar’e should have the week to rest his various sore toes and knees and stave off further absences in the season’s homestretch. In fact, if anything keeps the cap’n off the court going forward, it’ll be his mouth. Griping after a foul call earned Stoudemire his fourteenth technical on Friday, and he’s well ahead of pace to reach the dreaded sixteenth. After that, it’s a one-game suspension for every other tech (alternating, that is), which the Knicks can’t really have. Not with the Sixers and Pacers nipping at their heels. It might behoove Amar’e to incorporate a little “woo-sah” into his rest and relaxation.
2. Raymond Felton. (Last week: 4) Felton still isn’t quite his punchy mid-November self, but he’s heading into the break with a decent head of steam. A 4–13 outing against the Nets notwithstanding, Raymond’s February to date has seen him shoot a solid 68.8 eFG%, which, if it holds four more games, will equal his best full shooting month of the season.
3. Landry Fields. (Last week: 3) It wasn’t the Landriest week ever, but Fields made his mark with a sharpshooting fourth quarter on Saturday. He drained two three-pointers from either corner in the game’s final minutes to put the Nets away for good. Aside from that big quarter, Landry’s jumper was mostly amiss over the last week. It’s totally forgivable, though, when you consider the two other jobs he was working. Besides leading the Knicks in Landriness, Fields moonlighted as a Modell’s salesman and even lent his lip-synching talents to a Keenan Cahill track. The NBA rookie salary is something, but it’s that lip-sync money that pays the bills.
4. Toney Douglas. (Last week: 6) Friday’s 1–6 outing was one of just two sub-50 percent shooting performances for Toney this month. Moreover, Toney has cut down on turnovers and upped the assist rate of late, making for a steadier, more reliable offensive option off the bench. Meanwhile, his sore shoulder very much looks forward to the All-Star break, when it won’t be run face-first into screens time and time again. (Sources confirm that Douglas’s right shoulder is, indeed, self-aware and does, indeed, have a face.)
5. Danilo Gallinari. (Last week: 2) If Gallo’s free-throw attempts hadn’t dwindled from a princely fourteen on Wednesday against the Clippers to six on Friday and a paltry two on Saturday, we’d be less inclined to harp on his long-running drought from downtown. Since returning from a knee injury in mid-January, he’s hit just 19 of 66 (29 percent) three-pointers. As usual, Il Gallo provides enough rebounding and man defense to keep his minutes, but the Knicks have missed their outside weapon. Not helping matters is Gallinari’s wobbly left knee, which continues to bug him and requires a brace during games.
6. Wilson Chandler. (Last week: 8) Slowly but surely (and quietly, of course), Chandler is working himself back into game shape after missing three games with an ankle injury. Those mid-range jumpers are starting to regain their spring, as are Wil’s defensive efforts. Chandler helped keep the Nets at arm’s length with five blocks on Saturday.
7. Timofey Mozgov. (Last week: 5) Mozgov was delightfully dunk-happy on Wednesday, providing one of the few offensive sparks in the loss to the Clippers. His defense, though, wavered somewhat this week. One issue is that Timo’s knack for blocking shots comes with a nasty habit of goalkeeping. Against the Clips, the Russian’s tendency to follow the ball granted DeAndre Jordan easy access to the basket off feeds inside. Later in the week, Mozgov looked a bit feeble against the likes of Andrew Bynum, who just bulldozed him in the paint, and Brook Lopez, who pushed Timo to five fouls in just twenty minutes.
8. Shawne Williams. (Last week: 7) Shawne is copilot on Danilo Gallinari’s journey through Slumpsville. Extra E has connected on just a third of his three-pointers over the last ten games.
9. Ronny Turiaf. (Last week: 9) Upon returning from an injury, Ronny promptly reverted to maiming bros. It took Turiaf just 9:41 to draw four fouls against the Nets.
10. Bill Walker. (Last week: 10) Bill had fallen out of the rotation but was sprung from the bench to play an instrumental role in the Knicks’ three-point siege of the Prudential Center. Walker’s fine shooting performance, along with six rebounds, may have earned him back some minutes. Maybe not. Such is life at the end of Mike D’Antoni’s bench.
11. Anthony Randolph. (Last week: 12) Though some expected him to absorb some minutes in Stoudemire’s absence, Anthony’s spin was limited to a five-minute stint in Friday’s gong show of a fourth quarter. He caught a fairly impressive alley-oop during that run, though, so props for being memorable.
12. Andy Rautins. (Last week: 11) Rautins didn’t catch any garbage time this week, but he did demonstrate the most convincing lyrical mastery in the lip-sync video linked above. Oh, and Andy’s back on Twitter.
13. Roger Mason Jr. (Last week: 13) Practicin’, warmin’ the bench, hatin’ on Rihanna. All in a week’s work.
(Injured: Kelenna Azubuike, Eddy Curry)