Mike Woodson did not rule out the possibility that Andrea Bargnani, who has been in a bit of an offensive funk recently, could be removed from the starting lineup.
Putting Bargnani on the bench would allow Carmelo Anthony to play power forward.
“That’s a possibility,” Woodson said before tipoff on Friday. “I know we were great last year with Melo at [power forward] and Melo hasn’t had an opportunity to play a lot of four this year based on, you know, Bargnani, and having Kenyon and Amar’e. You’ll probably see more four now that those guys are out. Bargnani could possibly come off and back up Tyson at the center spot.”
It's interesting that Woodson didn't totally dismiss the possibility of bringing Bargnani off the bench. He's been committed to starting a big lineup of Tyson Chandler, Bargnani and Anthony along the front line when all three players are healthy.
After the Knicks' loss to the Clippers on Friday, Woodson suggested that he may make a change to the starting lineup.
“Either I got to change the lineup or we just got to get our starting five clicking,” Woodson said.
Earlier Friday, Woodson said that he would base his lineups on the opponent. He went with the Bargnani-Chandler-Anthony trio against Los Angeles' big front line. But the Knicks' backcourt of Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert combined for just five points, prompting Woodson to talk about a lineup change.
The coach is not considering starting J.R. Smith instead of Shumpert, so Bargnani would be the next logical candidate. With Pablo Prigioni set to return Monday, maybe Woodson subs Prigioni for Bargnani and goes with the two point-guard lineup that worked well for the Knicks last season?
Bargnani’s production has tailed off of late. He’d scored just 8.5 points in 28 minutes per game in his last five games entering play Friday. He had 13 points (5-for-12 shooting) in 36 minutes against the Clippers.
“I don’t think he’s getting a lot of the good looks that he had early on and he’s missed some good shots that he’s taken too as well,” Woodson said before the game, adding that he did not wish to single out Bargnani.
“I wish everybody could step up,” Woodson said. “... There’s been struggles all over the place.”
Bringing Bargnani in off the bench would limit the amount of time he spends on the floor with Tyson Chandler. If recent statistics paint an accurate picture, that may be a good thing for the Knicks.
With Chandler and Bargnani on the court, the Knicks were allowing 117.4 points per 100 possessions entering play Friday. When Chandler is on the floor alone, that number drops to 98.9 points per 100 possessions. (Thanks to MSG's Alan Hahn for the Bargnani/Chandler stats).
Chandler says "strategy" is an issue: There are plenty of reasons why the Knicks are ten games under .500. One of them, according to Chandler, is that the team is having operating strategically.
"We have to be a little more strategic about what we’re doing offensively and defensively, understand who has it going and what’s working (and) make it easier on guys out there," Chandler said.
He added: "We have to get in our system so then it doesn’t matter so much when guys are going in and out. So that we don’t lean on personnel so much, so then we can fall back on the system in times of need."
Those comments could be perceived as Chandler being critical of Woodson and his staff. But Chandler insists that the onus is on both players and coaches.
"It’s collectively from the coaches down, coaches and players," Chandler said. "What happens is normally when things like this happen you start to shift blame – this player or that player or whatever. It’s all of us. Everybody in this locker room and every coach that’s signed on with the Knicks organization, all of our faults and we got to take it."
Hardaway’s wrist “better”: Tim Hardaway Jr. was back in the lineup on Friday after suffering a left wrist injury.
“Yesterday it was bad because it happened yesterday, but now I’ve slept, iced it down, got some treatment done to it, and now it feels a little bit better,” the rookie said.
Hardaway Jr. scored six points in 11:23 against the Clippers.
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