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. Amar’e Stoudemire. (Last week: 2.) We know we said we would wait until Amar’e began earning his superstar status before we put him at the top spot … but, man, matters got dire real quick, didn’t they? Since we last did these rankings, the Knicks went 0–4 and looked lost and confused most of the way. Stoudemire gets the top spot not just because he’s leading the team in points and rebounds (and turnovers), but because he seems to understand the urgency of the Knicks’ current situation. This could spiral out of control fast, if it hasn’t already. Still: You’re part of the pick-and-roll too, Amar’e, and if it’s not working, that’s not entirely on the point guard. Plus: 41 turnovers!
2. Toney Douglas. (Last week: 1.) He was a wretched shooter in the loss to Houston —1-for-11 from the field is double-plus ungood — but his defense this year has really been a bit of a revelation. He’s third in the Eastern Conference in steals and is generally wreaking havoc on the defensive end. Douglas has sort of been a microcosm of all the Knicks’ problems so far: better than expected on defense, and save for a few outbursts, far, far worse on offense.
3. Wilson Chandler. (Last week: 5.) That our No. 3 Knick this week was pulled out of the starting lineup after a two-game cameo tells you how much we’re already scraping the barrel. He should never be allowed to shoot a three-pointer again, at least until he learns to behave, but he’s still second on the team in both points and rebounds, and he’s getting better on defense. He’s still more useful off the bench, though.
4. Landry Fields. (Last week: 4.) Still playing a lot of minutes, and still doing a lot of the little things. The problem is that the little things are the least of the Knicks’ problems right now; they need the big things done.
5. Danilo Gallinari. (Last week: 6.) Al Harrington, still a little angry about leaving New York, says part of the problem with the Knicks so far is that they’re promoting the Rooster too much like a star and that Mike D’Antoni coddles him too much. (Harrington took great pains to point out that he, and other teammates, all like Gallinari.) We’re far more concerned about the 4-for-19 from three-point range he put up in the four losses. Those four three-pointers were all in the Minnesota loss, by the way: In the other three losses, he was a combined 0-for-8.
6. Raymond Felton. (Last week: 3.) The pick-and-roll is a basic, rather fundamental basketball play, and it’s the centerpiece of everything the Knicks are trying to do. Which is why it’s a disaster that Felton seems so baffled by it. Felton keeps giving Amar’e the ball way too early, forcing the Knicks’ alleged superstar to go one-and-one on his man, robbing him of his essential strength. (And leading to a lot of those turnovers.) Felton is still better than Chris Duhon — we’ll never stop saying it — and he runs the break smartly, but until he figures out the pick-and-roll, this team is going to continue to struggle. He met with D’Antoni before heading out west to figure out what’s going on. They better come up with something fast.
7. Ronny Turiaf. (Last week: 7.) Turiaf hasn’t played in three games. As you might have noticed, those three games didn’t go well. Turiaf’s energy, toughness, and tenacity have been sorely missed. He’s supposed to be back tonight against Denver. Thank heavens.
8. Timofey Mozgov. (Last week: 8.) He’s back in the starting lineup, and he’s still grabbing boards at a decent rate … but his fouls are creeping back up toward his points again. (Points currently lead 34–24.)
9. Anthony Randolph. (Last week: 9.) Anyone getting a sense why Randolph drove the Warriors so crazy? As exciting as he can be to watch play defense — and he is awfully exciting — he’s madness with the ball in his hands, chucking dumb jumpers and pawing the ball around, all over the place. Randolph turns every game he’s in into chaos the minute he steps on the court, and order is not restored until he’s back on the bench. Eventually, this will be a good thing. Right now, it is certainly not.
10. Roger Mason Jr. (Last week: 11.) Mason hasn’t done anything to deserve being moved up a spot other than play. Of all the players left on the roster, he’s the only one to get any minutes since the Golden State game. They were not quality minutes.
11. Bill Walker (Last week: 10.) D’Antoni must be mad at him. Walker played ten pointless minutes against the Warriors and hasn’t seen the floor since.
12. Andy Rautins. (Last week: 12.) He made it in a game! He played eight minutes against the Bucks, and even hit a three-pointer. Atta boy!
(Injured: Kelenna Azubuike, Eddy Curry.)