Now that we are three-quarters of the way through the season, it’s time to look back at the strategy that New York Knicks’ general manager Glenn Grunwald had.
By the time Grunwald was finished, the Knicks had the oldest roster in NBA history. It looked good at the time as the Knicks appeared to have great depth with a bunch of veterans who could play a role in the Knicks winning a championship.
As Knicks head coach Mike Woodson put it: “Young players don’t win championships.”
As it turns out, neither do ancient players.
Grunwald’s strategy has backfired in a big way as the Knicks veterans have been often injured and they clearly don’t have the legs to compete with younger and more athletic teams.
Here’s a look at each move that Grunwald made and how it simply hasn’t worked out.
Marcus Camby (three years, $13. million): Even Camby was a bit shocked that he got so much money and it has turned out to be a waste. He was brought in to play a major role off the Knicks bench as a backup to Tyson Chandler, but similar to the first time around, Camby’s second stint with the Knicks has been marred by injuries. He’s played in only 18 games and when he has been healthy, has had trouble cracking Woodson’s rotation.
Coming into the season, there was much more expected than 10.6 minutes per game, averaging only 2.2 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Chris Copeland (one year, $473 K): I have no problem with Copeland being signed. He played his way onto the Opening Day roster and has done some nice things when given the opportunity.
Raymond Felton (four years, $14.8 million): Felton did a great job early on making Knicks fans forget about the decision to allow Jeremy Lin to leave for the Houston Rockets, but his play as of late might make you have to question the decision. It’s not that Lin is having a great season in Houston, but Felton’s play has dropped off that much.
His shooting has been erratic and the bottom line is that your point guard has to average more than 5.7 assists per game. Felton looked great running the Knicks offense the first month and a half of the season, but now there has to be serious questions of if he is the man for the job going forward. The Knicks are the worst team in the NBA when it comes to defending opposing point guards and Felton isn’t getting any quicker as he ages. He’s only 28 but has the look of a 35-year old.
Jason Kidd (three years, $9.09 million): Kidd was a big reason why the Knicks got off to such a great start, but hasn’t been the same player over the course of the past two and a half months. His shooting has completely fallen off the table as he couldn’t hit water right now if he fell out of a boat. He still brings the intangible that you would expect, but he has played over 27 minutes per game and seems to be tiring out.
Steve Novak (four years, $15 million): Novak cashed in after leading the NBA in three-point shooting a season ago. Now it looks like a bad contract. He’s still shooting over 40 percent from behind the arc, but averages only 6.6 points per game and has trouble getting off shots. Now that teams have game planned to take him out of the game, Novak offers very little value to this team.
Pablo Prigioni (one year, $474 K): No problem in adding a cheap third point guard and Prigioni has earned his money and then some.
J.R. Smith (two years, $5.6 million): If you can live with Smith’s poor shot selection and his antics, this is one deal that turned out to be a bargain. Smith is having a solid season scoring the ball and despite all of the things he does that makes you shake your head, he is a very valuable part of the Knicks bench. Maybe the only valuable part.
Kurt Thomas (two years, $2.7 million): Thomas doesn’t get his number called much, but when he is on the floor you know what you will get from him.
Rasheed Wallace (one year, $1.35 million): The Knicks were great when Wallace was in the lineup, but he’s taking up a roster spot and the Knicks have got only 20 games out of him this season.
James White (one year, $854 K): White is just one of those guys who takes up a roster spot and isn’t going to offer much. Whatever production you get from him is a bonus. Being that he comes very cheap, you can’t complain too much.
When you look back at the offseason, this is Grunwald’s team, built the way Woodson wanted it and the plan has failed.
The Knicks have become nothing more than a mediocre team filled with aging veterans whose bodies have broken down and castoffs.
There’s nothing about this team right now that would suggest that they can get out of the first round of the playoffs. If that’s the case, then they have failed in a big way and the finger needs to be pointed at the general manager and the head coach.
What’s worse is the fact that there is nothing to build around.
The Knicks window to win with this group is a small one, likely this season and next.
Sure they bring back Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire (if ever healthy) and Tyson Chandler, but what else is there on this team to get excited about?
Many thought the Knicks could build around Iman Shumpert for the future, but that looks less and less likely by the game.
What they have tried to do hasn’t worked and there is no quick fix in sight for the foreseeable future.
For that, Grunwald needs to be held accountable.
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