By Yankee Todd
Coach’s Corner 8
February 20, 2012
What a difference the last few games make. The Knicks were like an animal at the side of the road that had been run over. They were in desperate need of assistance or the season was going to be over before the all star break.
That assistance has arrived in New York and as Nike billboards’ likes to point out – We are all witnesses.
While Jeremy Lin continues to grab every headline, rightfully so, the assistance has come has been in the way of others stepping up their play.
Tyson Chandler is a double- double man. If you have read any of my previous blog posts you will know I love the intensity and play of Chandler. I asked Coach Schott about Chandler.
“Tyson is the perfect teammate. You don’t have to run any plays for him and he plays hard every second he is on the floor. “
Landry Fields has regained his confidence and scoring touch.
But the assistance that has brought the Knicks back to life has come from the most unlikely of individuals. Jeremy Lin has received comparisons to Steve Nash from players such as Jason Kidd. Lin’s point production in his first 8 games is more than any NBA player in the history of the game.
Jeremy Lin plays with a sense of calmness. He is also doing it on the biggest stage in the world. MSG is not an easy place to play. Remember the fans booing the Knicks earlier in the season?
Steve Novak , according to NBA commentator Jeff Van Gundy, is one of the best three point shooters in the game. After hitting a three pointer in the fourth quarter of the win over of the Mavericks on Sunday, Novak had enough confidence in his game to give the electric crowd at MSG the Discount Double Check. That’s confidence!
J.R. Smith, who last played in China, gave the crowd something to cheer about in the first quarter by knocking down consecutive three pointers. His energy, aggressive play and defense could make the Knicks a very serious team in the playoffs.
Against the Mavericks, Lin was guarded by Shawn Marion. The Mavericks plan was to double team the Harvard grad and make him get the ball to different players. Lin responded with a career high 14 assists.
Eventually, Melo will return. Will teams continue to double team Lin if Melo is on the floor? Imagine the open looks for Novak or J.R. Smith!
Magic Johnson has reaped praise on the Knicks lately. Today during his broadcast he laughed as he said the Knicks are going to be dangerous in the playoffs if they can continue to gel.
I can see this line up the rest of the way as this – Jeremy Lin at the point, J.R. Smith at the off guard, Carmelo Anthony as small forward, A’mare Stoudemire at the power forward and Tyson Chandler at center.
That allows Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert, Jarred Jefferies, Steve Novak, and Baron Davis to provide minutes for the starters. Suddenly, the Knicks are the team that we all thought would contend for a championship.
Let me just take one moment to discuss the Jeremy Lin/Tim Tebow comparisons.
Jeremy Lin is a legitimate ball player. Tebow isn’t even guaranteed a job next year.
Jeremy Lin has skills and Tebow was a nice story.
As if I needed another reason to dislike Tim Tebow, please don’t compare him to Jeremy Lin.
Is Kevin Durant really only 23 years old?
Tony Parker continues to play like he is the best point guard in the NBA. Against Chris Paul (no relation to Derrick Paul) Parker had more points, more assists and more importantly willed his team to a road victory.
It now appears that Manu Ginobili will go back onto the injured reserve list. A rib injury could sideline the creative playmaker for 2-3 weeks.
While the Ginobili injury is gaining national attention, the injury of Tiago Splitter could be more devastating to the team. Splitter is currently listed as day to day with an ankle injury. Splitter’s continued development has been key in the Spurs rise to the top of the West.
My son Andrew wishes the Knicks had Denver Nuggets tattooed “Birdman” in New York. According to Andrew the Knicks could then have a section for the fans to sit that would be known as the Birdhouse.
In my son’s 10 year old basketball game this weekend, Andrew earned his first double-double of the year with 10 points and 12 rebounds. I am a proud papa.
The University of Texas Longhorn football team might have just found the next Vince Young, Cam Newton or RG3.
Legendary WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes’ son Tyrone Swoopes, a 6’5 athletic quarterback from the state of Texas has committed to play for the Longhorns. The soon to be senior in high school has one of the most impressive highlight videos I have ever seen. Throw his name into Google and you will see why UT coach Mack Brown is excited.
Some will say that Big Game Philip James favorite basketball player was Sheryl Swoopes.
I wish AJ Burnett a very successful two years in Pittsburgh. I used to like it when he threw a shaving cream pie into the face of a teammate when they were being interviewed after a game. I know my man Double D will represent Burnett in the ‘burg.
Look for my boys and I to break down the baseball season next weekend. Coach Schott, the Shark, Big Game Philip James, Derrick Paul, Mr. P, Coach Woods, Yankee Insider Aaron Semper, Chris from the Cuse and myself will all break down the upcoming season.
Would you allow your son to play for John Calipari?
Follow me on Twitter – @YankeeTodd1