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 (11:45 AM)
Hey there! I'll be taking your questions from Noon to 1 p.m. ET today. Looking forward to chatting with you!
Danny (Bronx, NY)
Is having Nash and JLin on the team for next year financially possible in your opinion??
Jared Zwerling (12:05 PM)
Yes it is, even though the Knicks are locked up in around $50 million in salaries for Amare, Carmelo and Tyson. With that small breathing room, the Knicks could sign Lin to around a mid-level, multi-year deal, which is what he'd likely demand in the marketplace, and then sign Nash to a veteran's minimum deal. The question, of course, with Nash playing so well this season -- and he still does have about two or three seasons of good basketball left -- would he be willing to take much less money? He's making nearly $12 million this season. So, yes, it could happen financially. But realistically? Not really.
Ross (New York)
What players contracts are up at the end of this season?
Jared Zwerling (12:08 PM)
Lin, Fields, Walker, Novak, Jeffries, Bibby and Davis. J.R. Smith has a player option and Josh Harrellson has a team option for their second seasons in New York. Those haven't been picked up yet.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
Hi Jared. Love these chats! Is Mike Woodson using Melo to be the go-to-guy just like Joe Johnson was when he coached the Hawks?
Jared Zwerling (12:12 PM)
Absolutely. But there is one main difference that's affecting the team a little bit, which was evident last night in Indiana. While Melo is a great scorer, he looks to score on his own a bit too much, especially down the stretch. Scouts agree Joe Johnson is a better passer than Melo. In that fourth quarter last night against the Pacers, in which the Knicks lost 40-17, there was not enough ball movement on offense. As great as he is, Melo was trying to take on too much himself. But give the man some credit. The Knicks are down right now without a legitimate second scorer and Melo's doing everything he can. But I would like to see more team basketball in the fourth quarter, which they were doing a great job of earlier in the game, especially in that third quarter.
What is the updated diagnosis on Lin's level of arthritis on the knee?
Jared Zwerling (12:14 PM)
Way too soon to tell. He just got surgery on Monday and is starting rehab this week.
do you see the knicks stilling winning the atlantic
Jared Zwerling (12:18 PM)
It's going to be tough to catch up to the Celtics, the leader in the division right now. They have won five straight. No matter how up and down they start the season or in games, they always know how to finish strong. The Knicks and Celtics have basically the same strength of schedule the rest of the way, but to me it comes down to the point guard position. The Knicks are obviously down in that department, but the Celtics have Rajon Rondo. He's playing at a ridiculously high level right now and getting all his starting five teammates involved. I still think the Knicks will make the playoffs, but I'm not sure about the division.
Ben (NY) [via mobile]
Is there anyone that the knicks could trade Amare too? He's becoming more of a hassle isn't he?
Jared Zwerling (12:21 PM)
Well, first of all, the trade deadline has passed. Amare is not going anywhere, at least until next season, depending on how the Knicks are doing, what they need and his health, of course. So we can leave this alone for a while. And, remember, his contract is a hefty one many teams do not want to take on.
Ross (New York)
So with Fields having a player option do you think he comes back next season?
Jared Zwerling (12:25 PM)
Well, the Knicks picked up Fields' team option last year, so as far as what happens this offseason, who knows? Obviously Fields has been struggling and doesn't necessarily fit into the Woodson system, which stresses defense. As of right now, Fields is dead last in allowing points per play off of the pick-and-roll. However, Fields played very well with Lin in the lineup, and they're very good friends. If Lin wants to remain in New York, he may make a strong pitch for Fields. Fiels was playing very well offensively from mid-January to mid-March, before Woodson took over.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
Jared, what happened in the 4th quarter last night against the Pacers? This is by far the worst loss of the year. What are your thoughts?
Jared Zwerling (12:28 PM)
It came down, to me, to defensive rotations -- not jumping out on shooters fast enough in the pick-and-roll and leaving shooters open in the corners. Danny Granger, especially, was left wide open too many times. When the Knicks lost to the Hawks last Friday, it was the same situation. Joe Johnson was open too often. When the Knicks rotate and fight through screens and provide that defensive intensity for four quarters, it changes everything. I think because the Knicks are down a bit (personnel-wise) and some of the current players are hobbled, that affected their effort level in the final period. It appeared they didn't exert themselves to the fullest. This upcoming week with some more rest time after the Magic game Wednesday will be good for the team.
Do you think Starbury would be a good pick up if he is willing to put his ego to the side? Wouldn't he want to contend for a title with Amare (if healthy) and Melo?
Jared Zwerling (12:30 PM)
Let's not go there. Starbury made his final exit in New York, under negativity, and the Knicks, Dolan, etc. don't want to go there also. This is not the kind of season, with everything that's gone on surrounding the team, to add more fuel to the fire. No more distractions are needed with a team still hanging on to that eighth spot.
James (Fort Lee, NJ)
Jared, is there anything the Knicks can do at this point to shore up the PG situation ? Baron looks completely gassed as does Bibby and Toney Douglas seems to have no clue how to pass. what about Mike James, or any other ideas ?
Jared Zwerling (12:35 PM)
It's a great question. First of all, let's not forget about Iman Shumpert's role at point guard. Entering Tuesday, he was recently averaging 1.071 points per play in the pick-and-roll, compared to 0.519 previously. He did play point guard in college and has already this season, so I think Woodson should use him more in that role. He has solid floor vision and he's explosive getting into the lane. Shumpert's playmaking in pick-and-rolls has especially been significant with Lin out and Davis hobbling though a hamstring injury. I think Mike James would be a nice pickup. I actually like Carlos Arroyo, who's playing out in Turkey right now. Arroyo once told me directly he'd love to play in New York. I think the Knicks should consider an outside veteran point guard, but the Knicks do have Shumpert and J.R. Smith has the ability to play some point guard.
Of the remaining Knicks games, what do you guess their final record will be?
Jared Zwerling (12:36 PM)
I would say 34-32 or 33-33. Somewhere in that range.
jared, without lin and amare, in your heart you really believe we can make the po???
Jared Zwerling (12:39 PM)
The playoffs? Yes. They are 9-3 under Woodson, and still 3-2 without Lin and Stoudemire. They can remain at .500 the rest of the way, especially with Carmelo and Tyson setting the tone on offense and defense. They are both leaders in each respective category.
Jon (NY, NY)
What's your opinion on Baron Davis' performance during the last 5 games since Lin's injury?
Jared Zwerling (12:44 PM)
The biggest thing he's clearly lacking is his explosiveness, which has enabled him through the years to combine his crafty ball-handling with quick dribble-drive penetration that sometimes ended with a dunk. Now, he really only has that crafty ball-handling and he's not able to take his man off of the dribble that well. And being that he's become more of a perimeter player, he's not really putting pressure on the defense. So that's why Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith have been called upon to run pick-and-rolls and create that deep penetration. I think Davis makes strong plays occasionally, but because his hamstring tightens up at times, he can't play like that all the time. So that explosiveness, and consistency, is missing. And because of that, the Knicks' tempo has slowed down. There's no more Lin to push the pace and create quicker and easier scoring opportunities. The Knicks are having to play more of a grind-out style, halfcourt offense.
Max (Oradell, NJ)
Can Amare and Melo work together long term? All other duos in the nba seem to co-exist much better
Jared Zwerling (12:47 PM)
They really do play very similar games. They're both midrange scorers; they're just separated on the court on opposite wings. They'll never really co-exist like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook or LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, but when they're both on the court, they put more pressure on the defense. That's always a plus. It gives the Knicks different scoring options, instead of always having to go through Melo. That can wear down a defense. So there are several benefits, even though they do damage really more on their own in isolation situations.
Will we see Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose in our next 3 games?
Jared Zwerling (12:49 PM)
Howard is looking to be questionable. That should be more of a gametime decision. Rose is planning to return to practice on Wednesday and could likely play against the Celtics on Thursday. So I would expect to see Rose in uniform Sunday against the Knicks.
Ricky (Lancaster, PA)
Jared, do the Knicks have any draft picks in 2012? If, not do you see them purchasing any picks based on the draft class of 2012?
Jared Zwerling (12:53 PM)
The Knicks do not have any first-round draft picks (the Rockets received it from the Knicks in that Tracy McGrady deal in 2010) and they don't have any second-round picks (the Suns received it from the Knicks in that Amare Stoudemire deal in 2010). With the Knicks locked up in massive salaries, I don't see the Knicks being able to leverage the best talent in the draft. I think it's going to come from free agency with the little money they have.
Josh (Washington D.C.)
Is there a chance Lin will come back in less than 6 weeks, and when will Amare come back?
Khyber Jones (Los Angeles)
As I look at the schedule the 5 games beginning with last night's against Indiana are key to making the playoffs. I think they need to finish 2-3 over this stretch or better. Do you agree?
Hey Jared, Do you think it is hard to find a balance between iso and ball movement. I also think Dantoni used melo incorrectly by telling him to play solely on the wing, when his game is "bully ball". You don't tell Durant to play post. So why tell Melo to play solely on the wing? I think if STAT can rediscover his automatic 17 footer and Melo continues to play in the post. Then Lin will be the icing on the cake with his penetration and pick and roll play.
David NC [via mobile]
Do you see the knicks making it past the first round
Our PG situation is horrible. Anthony Carter played well last year. Would the knicks be looking at picking him up and letting Bibby walk? Bibby got abused last night by Hill and Collison
Who would the Knicks prefer to see in the first round of the playoffs? Knicks-Bulls and Knicks-Heat would be very nostalgic!
Jared Zwerling (12:59 PM)
I would say the Bulls. The Bulls are scarier to me right now. Since Derrick Rose has gone down for 10 games, the Bulls still got it done on both sides of the ball. It proves they have such a great system in place and role players are able to handle the adjustments. The Heat have been a bit more inconsistent lately, and I think Carmelo Anthony would step up to the LeBron James matchup. And I think because it's the legendary Knicks-Heat rivalry, that would further energize the Knicks.
Ross (New York)
Melo playing the 4 the reason for he's success?
Jared Zwerling (1:01 PM)
Woodson has him playing the post more, which is something a 4 would do anyway. At the end of the day, I don't think it's really the position that's helping Melo. It's Melo being Melo -- one of the best scorers in the league. He's a matchup problem for anyone 1 through 4 in the league. And he's finding his shooting touch again. Let's not forget about that.
It doesn't seem like the Knicks will go very far into the playoffs this year. However, next year is a whole new ball game. Will Tyson, Stat, Melo, and Lin become the future of the Knicks franchise? Can they become a legitimate threat?
Jared Zwerling (1:02 PM)
Yes, but who will be their point guard? That's the biggest question heading into the postseason. They need a point guard who will tie all that talent together.
Jared Zwerling (1:06 PM)
Amare was on the court before the Pacers game shooting, so that's a very positive sign. But I would say he won't be playing for at least another two weeks. A bulging disk has more room for quick re-injury. With Lin, remember, these are NBA players, so there is always more wear and tear right away. They are not like you and me just walking around. If the surgeon is saying approximately six weeks, I would say that's about right. Four weeks at the earliest is realistic.
Jared Zwerling (1:07 PM)
Past the first round? With the lineup and seed they have now, playing the Bulls or Heat, no.
Jared Zwerling (1:09 PM)
JRAR (CT), I'm with you on your points. That extra pick-and-roll element with Lin running it with Chandler or Stoudemire will create quick open looks for the Knicks, instead of now, where they're grinding out possessions to find one. Plus, Melo won't have to work as hard.
Jared Zwerling (1:11 PM)
Thank you for your time. That's all for now. If you want to reach me further, tweet me @JaredZwerling. I always appreciate your questions and insights. Look forward to hearing from you soon!