The New York Knicks, mostly Phil Jackson made a mistake this offseason. Derrick Rose can still bring the thunder, well, when healthy but his other big offseason signing has struggled. Joakim Noah has not been worth the ink that he signed his $18M a year contract with. What are the Knicks to do?
Bench him.[embedit snippet=”2″]
Noah is still the starter and to be honest that has to do more with Jackson’s ego than anything. The fans know, the players has to and so does Jeff Hornacek. But when you pay a guy $18M a year, it’s not to come off the bench. But, you’re also not playing for stats like these either: 4/8/1 in 22 minutes. Noah looks lost on the court and for a player that plays with such high intensity, he has yet to provide that spark for the Knicks.
But, the team still has a backup plan. Kyle O’Quinn is the player Noah was supposed to be when he slipped on the Orange & Blue. O’Quinn has averaged 6/5/1 in 16 minutes on the floor. I know that teams need solid contributors off the bench to lead the second unit but it’s time that Jackson lets Hornacek make some basketball decisions.
The last few games the Knicks have had O’Quinn on the floor during crunch time. Maybe that’s Hornacek’s subtle way of telling Noah that he’s being eased into the shadows. O’Quinn, over is last seven games has grabbed 69 rebounds, blocked 10 shots, and scored 78 points but yet, Noah is still perceived to be the starter. This has to change. Oh, did I forget to mention that the Knicks also went 5-2 during that stretch?
Yes, he makes a huge difference. His presence provides more space for Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis on the wings and opens the driving lane for Rose to operate. The Knicks defense has improved as well as their offensive output even with Carmelo going through a mini-slump.
If the Knicks are to be the contenders many picked them to be during the offseason then it’s O’Quinn that needs to be introduced with the starting unit and Noah checking in when he needs a breather.