New York Knicks team president Phil Jackson sat down with his old CBA buddy Charley Rosen, and gave a frank assessment of his team prior to the start of the regular season.
Jackson discussed the entire roster, pointing out their strengths and weaknesses.
Phil knows Carmelo Anthony isn’t a great passer, but he believes the newly-installed Triangle Offense will force Melo to look for his teammates on the floor.
“Even though Iman Shumpert was in [former Knicks coach] Mike Woodson’s dog house for much of last season, he’s one of my favorites because he’s simply our best on-ball defender at the 2 position and also against the bigger 1s. Once he learns the intricacies of the offense, Iman will be able to create scoring opportunities for his teammates and, unlike last season, he’ll know where his own shots will come from. Iman is an excellent driver but his shooting mechanics are very inconsistent. Sometimes he jumps too high to release his shot and sometimes he doesn’t jump high enough. As a result, he never shoots the same shot twice.”
“Carmelo Anthony is obviously the team’s only certified All-Star. It’s also no secret that Melo has to keep the ball moving, but he’s committed to doing this. Passing has never been a great strength of his, but in the triangle he’ll be able to have check-off reads like a quarterback looking for his first-option receiver, then his second and then his third. There’ll be plenty of iso opportunities for Melo, and in the triangle it’ll be very difficult for defenses to double-team him. It won’t be like last season where he had to take clutch shots with a gang of defenders in his face. Also look for Melo to get a bunch of post-up looks.”
“The 2 position is our deepest, and J.R. Smith is easily the best athlete on the team. But J.R. has to learn the difference between a good shot and a bad shot. He has to trust that the triangle will create good shots and to avoid searching for his own shot. His defense also needs work because he tends to be a ball-watcher, and he’s late in chasing his man around screens when he should be tailgating him. Defense is the key to any winning team, so Smith has to really work hard on his deficiencies in training camp.”