Knick Players Discovering Their Roles


New Buckets writer, Antony Marino, believes your New York Knicks’ current winning streak is due to everyone, particularly Roger Mason Jr, finding their roles:

I apologize for my recent lack of productivity. I awoke this morning to the unmistakable stench of smelling salts and the discomfort of a full beard. Doctors told me I had been in a deep coma since Blake Griffin’s dunk, but that I had fared better than Mr. Mozgov who was now eating his meals through a straw. Luckily, middling-grade vodka has been Timo’s primary means of sustenance for years, but the experience of drinking it through a straw has been harrowing nonetheless.

So where do we stand, Knick fans?

The last time we spoke, we talked about players fulfilling certain roles to perfection. Each player was performing his given task with gusto, including Roger Mason Jr. (uncoordinated pariah).  Over the course of last week’s disastrous losing streak we lost sight of what made us a decent team at the season’s outset. Our ball movement was non existent, Felton looked lost in the pick and roll, Amar’e was trying to create off the dribble, Chandler was taking horrible shots, D’Antoni was stubbornly playing Amare for long stretches at the 5, Gallo stood in the corner like an emo kid forced to play little league and Roger Mason Jr. kept arriving to games on time. It was an abject disaster, and we optimists felt more squeamish with every loss, every minute, every play and every spectator hospitalized by a Roger Mason Jr. 3-point carom (God I hate you Roger).

Since these dark days, the Knicks have shown cause for tepid excitement from their loyal followers. As with any D’Antoni offense, ball movement is essential and Raymond Felton is finally making a clear and concerted effort to get Amare the ball on pick and rolls. Turiaf has shown uncommon court vision and “I just free based a can of 4loko on a trampoline” enthusiasm as a starter. Toney Douglas’ once lost jumper has now been found and Danilo Gallinari is getting to the line at will. Muuuuch better gentlemen. But I must ask, what has caused this great awakening?

The only substantive changes in the Knicks team that had lost six straight games and the one that has currently won three [Editor’s note: now four. Sorry, didn’t get to post this yesterday.] straight are that Ronny Turiaf is a starter, Roger Mason Jr. has been rightfully relegated to Azkhaban (soon to be Azubuike) and team toxologists are now aware that Wilson Chandler’s bite is venomous. Such minor alterations, and yet the team looks totally different on the floor. How is this possible?

Certainly the Knicks have benefited from playing weak Western Conference foes (you could argue that we owe the Golden State win to Chandler’s murderous fang/ floss-fobia), but road wins are road wins and there are certainly signs that improved on-court chemistry has finally taken hold. With the soft underbelly of the 2010 schedule coming up, the Knicks need to show that they have learned something from this successful Western jaunt. Keep the ball moving, keep Gallo involved, keep a center on the floor and keep Roger Mason Jr. off the team plane. Now let’s take care of business.