Chat with Ian Begley
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Wednesday, New York Knicks writer Ian Begley stops by to chat about the team.
Begley has covered New York sports since graduating from the University of Richmond in 2005. He has covered the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets, Rangers and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. Prior to writing for ESPN's New York site, he worked for the New York Daily News.
Send your questions now and join Begley Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Ian Begley (2:02 PM)
Good afternoon everyone, plenty going on with the Knicks right now, so let's get right to it.
Deven (New York)
Hi Ian. In your mind, will the Knicks still make the playoffs, even with Amare out for at least a month?
Ian Begley (2:03 PM)
Hey what's up Deven, I think because of their strong play on defense under Woodson, they have a good chance of making it in even without Amare. According to my buddies at ESPN Stats & Info, AccuScore gives the Knicks a 64.4 percent chance of making the postseason with Stoudemire. Without him, that percentage drops to 54.3.
Not much being written about Gardner this Spring. I see him as a pretty important hitter in the lineup, if he can bounce back. How's he looking? Getting on base more? Better feel of when to steal? can he actually bunt the ball?
Ian Begley (2:05 PM)
Wrong chat, big guy. Yanks are chatting this afternoon, I believe
With Stat and Jefferies out, are the Knicks looking to bring in another big?
Ian Begley (2:06 PM)
Hey Marvin, Rasheed Wallace is out there and Woodson has a relationship with him dating back to their days in Detroit, but nothing appears imminent at this point. They'd have to release someone to open up a roster spot. I think they'll be patient, take what Harrellson and Novak can give them and hope for the best
AOK (ISELIN NJ)
I see that Jeremy Lin dominated the "most beloved" poll. Do you have any inside info on the breakdown of the voting? I.e., were most of the voters from the NY/CT/NJ area???
Ian Begley (2:07 PM)
Hey AOK, I don't have any inside info but I believe the majority of our readers are from the tri-state area. That one shocked me, for the record.
lionel (new york, ny)
Does Amare become an amnesty candidate if he doesn't stay healthy next year?
Ian Begley (2:07 PM)
No, the Knicks already used their amnesty clause. You can only use it once over the life of the CBA
any chance jeff van gundy coaches the knicks next year? what are you hearing about potential candidates (or is dolan giving woodson a legitimate shot to keep the job)?
Ian Begley (2:09 PM)
Hey Jeremy, I think that if Woodson gets the Knicks to the second round, he becomes a serious candidate. Assuming Woodson doesn't lock the job up with his performance for the rest of the season, the Knicks will probably throw a ton of money at Phil Jackson and John Calipari. Given the history with Jeff Van Gundy, I see him as a longer shot to return to MSG.
Ian - the current story running on Amare states that as part of his treatments, he's going to be receiving epidural injections. My question is this, as epidurals are essentially injections of steroids into the tissue surrounding the bulged disc, how does that come into play with rules regarding PEDs? I've always wondered what the answer to this question is....
Ian Begley (2:10 PM)
Hey David, It's my understanding that the epidural will be a steroid but not of the illegal variety. Im sure the Knicks wouldn't do anything to jeopardize Stoudemire, such as giving him something that could cause him to flunk a drug test
Deven (New York)
Should we start talking about Lin-Sanity: Part 2 if Melo is out tonight and Jeremy comes back?
Ian Begley (2:13 PM)
Hey Deven, Melo is playing and Lin is out so the onus really is on Anthony to carry the load offensively once again. He responded well on Monday with 28 points against Milwaukee. It'll be interesting to see if he can keep it going tonight against Orlando. Don't forget, he's struggled with his shot for most of the season, shooting a career-low 39.9 percent
DanC (Queens, NY)
In your opinion which top 2 team does the Knicks match up better against going into the playoffs. In my view I think it's the Bulls, what do you think?
Ian Begley (2:15 PM)
I'd go with Chicago too because the Knicks would have an easier time defensively against the Bulls in comparison to Miami (Chicago has fewer weapons, IMO). Also, the Knicks have been competitive each time they've faced the Bulls in the reg season. Not so with Miami. In addition, if your a Knicks fan, you'd probably rather see Carmelo Anthony guarding Loul Deng rather than LeBron James. What do you guys think?
Dan C (Queens, NY)
Rumor has it that Woodson sees Tony Douglas getting possible minutes tonight, do you think he will rise to the opportunity and do well or will he be like before they interjected Lin in the lineup?
Ian Begley (2:20 PM)
Great question Dan. Your right, Toney should see minutes tonight against Orlando. I've been wondering why Woodson didn't go to him sooner with Lin out. But then someone mentioned a point that made sense: with Bibby, you know he's not going to give you much on either end of the floor but he's not going to make too many mistakesDouglas has a history of making costly mistakes. So, he's got an opportunity to show that he's learned from past mistakes tonight. It'll be interesting to see if he takes advantage. As far as a prediction goes, I think you will see him tone it down, run the offense and limit his mistakes
If the Knicks face the Bulls in the first round, how long will the Knicks extend the series?
Ian Begley (2:24 PM)
Mark, I think that depends on the health of Amare Stoudemire. If Stoudemire can return in two weeks (best-case scenario), that will give him nine regular season games to get his legs back. Then he realistically could make an impact in the postseason. If he comes back in four weeks, then that means he'll be back for Game 1 of the postseason but will likely have a tough time shaking off the rust. If Stoudemire has his legs back, I think they can give the Bulls trouble, maybe taking two games off of them. If not, I wouldn't be surprised if they sweep.
Jay (New York )
Hey Ian, it doesn't seem too smart to me to have melo consistently starting at the 4 in Stoudemire's absence, dont you think? he's gonna take a beating down there night in and night out. Would a lineup of Lin, Shumpert, Melo, Harrelson, Chandler get it done? and considering jeffries is out as well as amare, any chance we have a jerome jordan sighting?
Ian Begley (2:27 PM)
Hey what's up Jay? Judging from what we saw on Monday, it seemed like Melo could handle himself at the 4, especially because it gave him the opportunity to work closer to the basket. But you make a good point. If Melo's groin continues to bark or he gets another nagging injury, then I can see Woodson moving him back out to the three and maybe putting Novak in the starting 5. I think you try to avoid Shumpert and Harrellson in the same starting five because of their lack of experience As far as Jerome Jordan goes, I don't think you see him unless Chandler or one of the replacement 4s gets in early foul trouble
eddi (brooklyn )
hey Ian if amare was to get surgery in the off season when would be be able to return?
Ian Begley (2:29 PM)
what's up eddi? Good question. I'm told by a back specialist that Amare wouldn't start rehab until 10-12 weeks after surgery if he goes under the knife. So he should be ready for next season, depending on the date of surgery. The Knicks are hoping that he can avoid surgery, but if the injury recurs, then I'm told that surgery is a stronger option
Ian- Assuming that the Knicks lose in the first round of the playoffs, what kind of off season moves do you think they will make.
Ian Begley (2:33 PM)
Hey Venka, I think their first order of business would be to hire a head coach. Depending on how they fair in the playoffs, it could be Woodson. I think if he takes MIA or CHI to seven games, then he deserves a strong look. If not, they will probably make a strong push for Phil Jackson or John Calipari. As far as the roster, they will have to dip into their mid level exception to retain Jeremy Lin. They have early Bird Rights on Landry Fields, I believe, so they should be able to re-sign him. Novak is on a one-year veteran minimum, as is Baron Davis. So those two have to decide whether they are willing to play at that rate again next season. If not, it looks like the Knicks won't have much extra cash to offer.
Due to the injuries to Lin, Jefferies, & Stoudemire, do you see Woodson able to implement his iso heavy offense for Melo? And do you see that continuing after the guys come back, or will they go back to the offense prior to the injuries (more D'antoni style)?
Ian Begley (2:39 PM)
It looks like right now they will rely heavily on Anthony to generate offense. So that means more post-ups and ISO opportunities for Anthony. But I think you will still see the ball-movement that was prevalent before the injuries. After Lin and (maybe) Stoudemire comes back, Woodson would be smart to go back to a system that stresses sharing the ball and finding the open shooter, like the Knicks ran before the injuries. I don't see a reason why he wouldn't. Unless Anthony goes on a hot streak and Woodson feels the need to feed him the ball again and again. But don't forget, there isn't much practice time to implement these changes. So I expect Woodson to go with what's already in place.
Will Jeremy Lin hold down the PG position into next year? Or will they draft someone or keep Baron Davis or put Iman Shumpert into that role?
Ian Begley (2:42 PM)
Hey Mark, Barring something unforeseen, I don't think they go after a PG. It looks like they will dip into the mid level exception to sign Lin. Grooming SHumpert for a backup PG role seems logical, though he is naturally more of a two guard. I think you wait to see how Baron Davis handles the last 16 games of the regular season before you make a decision on bringing him back. If he shows that he can handle a backup role, great. If not, then you have to shop for one
How about some run for Toney Douglas? I'd much rather see him get 8-10 a game instead of Mike Bibby.
Ian Begley (2:45 PM)
Same here, Brian. Based on what Woodson said today, it seems like he will turn to Douglas at some point tonight. He got four minutes against Detroit and three against Toronto but hast played more than seven since Feb. 4 -- the start of Linsanity. Woodson said that Davis can't handle 30-plus minutes a night right now, so I expect you'll see Douglas tonight. But right now, it seems like he's ahead of Bibby.
Jerome Jordan (NY)
How bout some love for me? With Amar'e and Jeffries out it's my time to shine!
Ian Begley (2:48 PM)
Haha, I'm sure the real Jerome is resting up ready for the game. I think if one of the reserve 4s or Chandler gets into foul trouble, Jordan will see some minutes. Woodson said he's got to 'go to war' with whoever suits up, including Jerome, who BTW, is one of my favorite guys in the locker room.
Lin is out tonight, but what is his status? Needs a couple more days off? back next game?
Ian Begley (2:49 PM)
Hey Kent, Woodson seems to be in the dark about Jeremy's injury. I asked him if, based on what he knew, Lin would be back Friday and he said he didn't know. It originally looked like he wouldn't miss time. But now that he's out two games, you have to wonder how bad the injury is.
Dan C (Queens, NY)
A few years ago Knicks fans would be booing Jared Jeffries out of the Garden but now he's a key piece to this lineup ex. takes charges, plays defense, etc the only thing is he struggles with is his handling of the ball. How can he improve with that when he comes back in 2 weeks?
Ian Begley (2:51 PM)
Hey Dan, I think you are spot on with your assessment of Jeffries. It's amazing that a guy who was booed off the floor as recently as last year is a key to the roster. As far as his dribbling goes, at this stage of his career, it is what it is. But I don't think you have to worry about him handling the ball much.
As a guy with a disk problem in my lower back i know just how painful it is and what Amar'e is going through. That being said, why not just have him get surgery now and come back healthy next year? The Knicks window is open for at least another 2 years with Melo, Stat, and Tyson, but its closed immediately without a healthy Amar'e for those 2 years. Plus it's not like they have a shot at the championship this year.
Ian Begley (2:53 PM)
Hey Rob, The problem with that is your team was talking about winning a championship all year (remember what D'Antoni said before he 'walked away'?), so I think it would be disingenuous, particularly given the Knicks ticket prices, if they just shut Amare down without trying to get him healthy for the playoffs. If the non-surgical treatment doesn't work, then he still has time to get surgery and return for next season , according to what back experts have told me.
Kobe (In the gym practicing)
Ian, can you explain to us why the Knicks would sit Jeremy Lin at this point? Theyre in the thick of the playoff race and it seems like the knee is not that big of a deal. Sure they have a back to back this weekend, but last game was vs a team in the hunt with them and tonight is vs a playoff team. I've played through way worse!Also, can you explain to normal humans when a team decides to sit a guy and to what extent can a player like me say "you know what? too bad. Im playing tonight"
Ian Begley (2:56 PM)
Hey Kobe, Generally we are told that coaches and players leave the decision to the team's medical staff. Im sure there are exceptions to this, but generally, that is the drill. I think they want to be conservative with the knee because of the condensed schedule. Sure, it hurts not to have him out there now. But it would be worse, in the organization's eyes, to lose him for an extended period of time if he did further damage to the knee
Dennis (New York)
what exactly is wrong with Jeremy Lin's knee? did he hurt it in the game? is it a chronic issue?
Ian Begley (3:00 PM)
Dennis, it's my understanding that he hurt it do to overuse but the injury didn't seriously affect him until Saturday. All indications were that it wasn't that serious. So it's kind of puzzling that it's lingered this long. Woodson is unsure if Lin will play Friday. But, no, I wouldn't call it a chronic issue.
Ian Begley (3:01 PM)
That's all for me today guys. As always, thanks a lot for stopping by. You guys are some of most passionate, knowledgeable fans in sports and it's always great chatting with you. Enjoy the game tonight.