Chat with Jared Zwerling
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Wednesday, New York Knicks writer Jared Zwerling stops by to chat about the team.
Zwerling has covered the Knicks for ESPNNewYork since 2010. He is also an NBA contributor to ESPN.com and writes for ESPN High School. Prior to ESPN, Zwerling worked for Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and started his career with the NBA in 2004, upon graduating from New York University.
Send your questions now and join Zwerling Wednesday at noon ET!
Jared Zwerling (11:27 AM)
Hey Knicks fans, I'll be taking your questions starting at Noon ET, and we'll be going until 1 p.m. ET. You can start sending in your questions now. Talk soon!
Jim (Utica, NY)
Are the Knicks looking to trade Toney Douglas? And if so what are they looking to get back for him?
Jared Zwerling (11:59 AM)
A reliable source told me it's unclear how much longer Douglas will be in New Yok. D'Antoni is simply not using him and has no plans to use him with the depth the Knicks have right now. Plus, he doesn't fit so well into D'Antoni's system. He's not a pick-and-roll point guard. But he's still a solid talent and great shooter -- after all, he led the NBA in 3-pointers made after the 2011 All-Star break (68) -- so he'll be a valuable trade piece. I haven't heard of any trade situations yet with Douglas, but once I hear of something, I'll let you know.
Deven (Buffalo, New York)
Hi Jared. Do you think all this Lin-Sanity stuff has slowed down a bit lately? I mean Jeremy played okay in that loss to the Cs on Sunday, but should the Knicks been concerned on Lin's production? What are your thoughts?
Jared Zwerling (12:04 PM)
Of course it's slowed down since Carmelo and Amare returned to the lineup and the Knicks got deeper off the bench. Before, it was just Lin and Chandler as the focal point in the offense. Lin is still playing well -- he just needs to learn to adjust to much more aggressive defenses that are coming at him, especially traps). Before Linsanity, no one had heard of him. Lin can play; he just has adjustments to make, and I trust he can make many of them because he's a true student of the game (he even watches film during halftime). He especially needs to work on driving left more (not always right and being predictable) and not making rushed passes out of the paint. He needs to stop on the dime more and not make jumping passes. Again, defenses are clogging on him more, so he's not having as much breathing room. I think he's still a bonus for the Knicks at point guard, and Davis should continue to complement him well off the bench.
Deven (New York)
What is wrong with Carmelo? Amare looked like his old self from last year, Lin's struggling now and the Knicks blew the chance of closing out the game by putting some of their starters back in. What are your thoughts?
Jared Zwerling (12:07 PM)
Previous talk whether his wrist injury is an issue has resurfaced, especially after last night. 2-for-12 shooting? Even though it was against one of the best defensive teams, star players just don't do that. As I wrote in this morning's "Opening Tip," his plummeting free throw percentage is concerning. That tells me that maybe his wrist injury is not all that okay. Last season, he shot 87.2 percent from the line, but in the last month he's dropped to 72.4. Let's see if he can have a big rebound game against the Spurs. Tonight will be really REALLY telling about what Melo is made of. His body language during the game and postgame character (just leaving the locker room in a hurry) weren't good signs.
Deven (New York)
Should the Knicks really consider trading Carmelo Anthony? I was really excited when we got him last year, but now I have second thoughts. He's not that top five scorer he used to be last year. What do you think?
Jared Zwerling (12:09 PM)
Absolutely not. If he is really healthy, like he says he is, he's still the Knicks' best scorer and finisher. The team will need him more than ever in the playoffs. The Knicks just have to find more of an offensive rhythm to get him going more and find him more open shots. The Knicks still don't have offensive cohesion and great ball movement. The standing around element is hurting not just Melo, but all the players from getting it going on offense.
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
Melo & Tyson Chandler for Dwight Howard
Jared Zwerling (12:11 PM)
Not happening. Next question, especially because Melo's value is a bit lower right now and now Tyson Chandler is not 100 percent healthy. The reports with his wrist injury aren't looking great. He'll likely play through pain the rest of the season.
Jim (Utica, NY)
How likely is it that before the season is over we could be looking at a starting backcourt of Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert?
Jared Zwerling (12:14 PM)
Hard question to answer right now, because the Knicks need to focus on building a foundation with their starting unit right now, which is a good one. The Knicks basically have a revamped roster and they're like in their second week of training camp. Lin and Fields were playing well before the roster was revamped, so let's give it some time. First of all, Davis is still not playing many minutes. D'Antoni said Davis is about 60 percent healthy right now, so who knows how much better Davis gets, especially in a condensed schedule. As far as Shumpert, the kid can start right now, if you ask me, over Fields. He brings penetration, defense and shooting ability. Fields has struggled offensively, but he brings seasoned intangibles that feed well into Lin and Chandler's game. He still has to adjust better to Melo and Amare, but that goes for all the Knicks.
Joe S. (NYC)
Lin has been going to the hole for his own shot way too much lately. Do you agree?
Jared Zwerling (12:17 PM)
I would say the opposite. I think he's playing a little more patient, which make sense, because he's now adjusting to Melo, Amare and Chandler. I would say he's giving the ball up Melo and Amare a little too soon, whereas before just playing with Chandler, he was using the pick-and-roll better and keeping his dribble alive through the pain, keeping defenses off-balance more like Steve Nash. When Lin does drive, he's playing great in isolation. He's actually scoring more points in those types of plays. I think the key for him is when he does go to the hole, he has to do a better job of passing out of the paint. That's where he's getting into trouble with his turnovers. He gets in the air too quickly and then gets jammed up. He has to leave his feet in a more timely fashion.
what is status of Jeffries, Jorts didn't look bad out there.
Jared Zwerling (12:19 PM)
I haven't heard anything new on Jeffries, but Harrellson looked great last night. He forced Nowitzki into a turnover and grabbed seven rebounds. His biggest strength is shooting the three, but he showed his value in other ways last night. D'Antoni has a lot of pieces now to work with; now it's about building that cohesion.
Vinny (West palm beach florida)
Do you think Baron Davis should close out the game?
Jared Zwerling (12:22 PM)
No, at least not yet. Right now, Lin is playing better in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter of games. He's averaging 5.3 points in the fourth quarter. Davis does have more experience in tight ball games, considering his 12 years in the league, but Lin is at better health and better stamina right now. D'Antoni said Davis is at only about 60 percent health right now.
Would you agree that in his private thoughts Melo is questioning his decision to come to the Knicks? He's gone from a never-questioned high-volume shooting star to a player whose every possession and shot is judged.
Jared Zwerling (12:25 PM)
Disagree. He seems thrilled to be on the Knicks, and there's a lot of talent on this roster. I think last night's poor body language and character were based on his own individual play. Personally, what I think he's probably thinking to himself is, "I wish I was healthier to help this team." I don't think he's Melo at 100 percent. Even his jumping ability doesn't look good. Remember, he did have leg and ankle injuries earlier this season. He's not getting up and dunking the ball like he used to. That also goes for Amare. This has been a difficult season for many players, because of the compressed schedule, and it's not allowing Melo to have a standout season. That's one of the reasons the Knicks built the depth they have now.
Kyle (Boston MA)
Do you predict the knicks will make the playoffs? if so what seed?
Jared Zwerling (12:32 PM)
Yes, most definitely. They have what it takes to pass Indiana at the fifth seed. While Indiana is talented, they've been losing their edge and same with Philadelphia at the fourth seed. This is New York's time to really claw their way back. They will be a playoff time, but the biggest issue I have with them is their inconsistencies on offense and defense. They currently play like a catch-up team, and not a stay-ahead team. They have slight lapses in games and seem to be always trying to climb back. If they can do a better job of setting the tone early, they'll feel better about themselves and stay positive. The Knicks got too down on themselves yesterday and that will affect them day in and day out as they're playing back-to-back games. Momentum swings are incredibly important in this kind of cramped season, and the Knicks need to stay on top of their game. If they can do that, they'll surpass Indiana and maybe even Philly. But if not, like they're currently playing, I see them as the seventh or eighth seed and losing to Miami or Chicago in the first round.
Brandon (New Jersey)
Why can't Amare and Melo ever have a good game at the same time? Why is this team so Jekyll-Hyde ish?
Jared Zwerling (12:38 PM)
Great question. Well, for one to give the Knicks the benefit of the doubt, they are going through training camp right now with a revamped roster. It takes some time, and not to mention there's not a lot of practice time. There's not a rhythm yet on offense and defense. They play sporadically and that leads to lapses and other teams going on runs. The truth is, Melo and Amare are isolation players and don't play well off each other. In comparison, LeBron and Wade do. Also, Durant and Westbrook. They're one of the few duos who are separate from each other on the court. The Knicks need to get back to their bread-and-butter (the pick-and-roll) and get back to ball movement and spacing. Lin needs to take more control in the offense, like he did when he was playing just with Chandler. He seems to be passing the ball too quickly to Melo and Amare and the offensive flow stops. The Knicks also need to push their transition more. Lin excels in that with Shumpert and Fields running the lanes, and Chandler trailing for the dunk or offensive rebound to a dunk. Melo and Amare can also run. The key is on defense, however. Last night against the Mavericks, the Knicks switched way too much (once again) and they didn't fight through screens enough. Lin and Stoudemire were especially culprits as they were guarding Jason Kidd and Dirk Nowitzki, respectively. The Knicks need to make defense more of an emphasis and bring that intensity all four quarters.
Harvey (Long Island, NY)
Hey Jared, what do you think about trading STAT? I think he lost his place (so to speak) in the line up when Tyson came. Plus, with cap issues, why not trade him for young talent and picks?
Jared Zwerling (12:41 PM)
It won't happen. STAT's contract is for four more years, it's uninsured, he has microfracture-repaired knees and he's had a drop-off this season. Stoudemire played well last night and his corner jumpshot has been falling. He does have to work on finishing at the rim, but it's mostly his defense where he's been really struggling. He's having to guard mobile power forwards (like Nowitzki last night), compared to last season when he guarded more stationary centers and did a better job.
Jared, is it safe to say if the NYK don't win at least one playoff round then D'Antoni and/or Melo (seems like a bad fit now) will be gone?
Jared Zwerling (12:43 PM)
I would say definitely D'Antoni. The Knicks have the talent and depth now to make a Conference Finals push for sure. He's in the last year of his contract and a first-round exit would be inexcusable with the bunch they have now. As far Melo? He'll likely be sticking around in a Knicks uniform after this season.
Nick (Hell's Kitchen, NYC)
What's happened to the Knicks shooters this year? Are you telling me they only have ONE player who can make a 3 pointer now?
Jared Zwerling (12:50 PM)
Well, the biggest issue is that the Knicks are taking 3-pointers too quickly. Davis especially jacked up a couple of rushed long balls. There's not enough pick-and-rolls to ball movement is happening, like it was before when Lin and Chandler were running the pick-and-roll. While D'Antoni pushes a "green-light offense," where everyone can shoot it, there needs to be more patience in the offense. And team structure. J.R. Smith is playing too much streetball and not receiving good looks. Lin and the screeners should be creating those good looks for Smith, like they're doing for Novak. To Novak's credit, he's 6-10 and can release the ball even with a hand in his face. Last night, Lin and Davis were 1-for-10 from downtown. They need better, hard screens, first of all. And more creative screens. Change things up. Effort, effort, effort. The Knicks have to pick up their aggressiveness on offense and defense.
Dan (Queens, NY)
Best case scenario if the Knicks finally get the inconsistency kinks worked out who would be the best matchup in the first round of the playoffs? Indiana? Philly? Atlanta?
Jared Zwerling (12:56 PM)
Atlanta. For one, Mike Woodson knows them really well after coaching them for a couple of seasons. Two, the lost some depth, especially with the departure of Jamal Crawford. The Knicks' second unit should be able to cause havoc on the Hawks. And I like the Jeremy Lin vs. Jeff Teague matchup. I think Lin could outplay him in a series. Against the more seasoned Darren Collison (Indiana) and Jrue Holiday (Philly), I think Lin would have a tougher task in the first round.
Stan (St. Louis)
Hey jared: Choose one: in 3 years, Jeremy Lin will be (A) a starting point somewhere in the NBA, (B) a back-up point guard somewhere in the NBA, or (C) out of the NBA completely.
Jared Zwerling (12:58 PM)
Starting point guard. He's proving to be a talent while still adjusting to different defenses night in and night out. Once he gets more accustomed to them, I think he'll play even better.
Do you think the offense flows better with Baron, Amare, and Melo? It seems Jeremy flows better with the Landry and Novak.
Jared Zwerling (1:00 PM)
I think one of the things here that's being overloooked is that Davis has 12 years experience and knows how to play with stars. He has the veteran presence that Melo and Amare look up to. Lin is still earning his stripes and is more willing to give the ball up to those guys, which he does. Davis knows he needs the ball in his hands more to create for those two. It's an adjustment, but I think Lin will be able to work better with Melo and Amare if he continues to build on his leadership qualities.
Eric (Miami, FL)
Who ya got tonight, Spurs or Knicks?
Jared Zwerling (1:03 PM)
Spurs. I think the Knicks will build a better first quarter and keep it close, with better intensity and more timely shot selection, but it will be a little too much Tony Parker at the end of the day and he'll create key opportunities down the stretch for the Spurs to take the game.
Jared Zwerling (1:05 PM)
Thanks guys for your time. If you have any more questions, feel free to reach me on Twitter @JaredZwerling ... Talk soon!