Eddy Curry: from the fescue to the rescue?
We can't let this month go by without showing more blind, senseless faith in the presence of Eddy Curry on this roster. He is the Starbury to my Berman. If only I thought enough to have him autograph that boxscore of the last game he played, since it might be the last game he ever played.
But it really shouldn't be. The Knicks appear to have put Easy E out to pasture, with plans to slaughter him for his beef (that being the heft of his expiring contract, you won't find cliche fat jokes here because like Avis, we try harder, we don't just attempt to make it looklike we're trying harder). I think there is no better time than now to play him.
First, consider the next four games are on the road, out West, with three of the four games starting after 10 p.m. ET -- When a tree falls in the woods . . . -- and with three of the four teams starting legit bigs, such as Nene (Denver), DeMarcus Cousins (Kings) and Chris Kaman (Clippers). Obviously Curry shouldn't even be in the gym when the Knicks run suicides with the Warriors, but aside from that game, it might be worth giving their unused $11.2M center some burn. Especially if Ronny Turiaf isn't quite ready or isn't quite 100 percent.
This isn't about defense or rebounding. This is about space-eating and a legit low-post presence for an offense that has a point guard who is struggling to run a pick-and-roll and a marquee power forward who is struggling to be a post-up player.
So make Eddy the focal. Dump it in and let him bang and draw fouls and also use em. He has six. No way he lasts more than 20 minutes, which means he can use a foul every three minutes. Tell Timofey Mozgov to do the same and now you have 12 hard fouls in the game.
While we're at it, let's have Eddy and Timo shave their heads and wear black sneakers, just to complete the look.
Mozgov looks frustrated, too, because he's also not a post-up player. He's a guy who finishes in the pick-and-roll (or did we already forget what he did in the World Championships?). But he never gets the ball in the pick-and-roll, even when all you ever have to do is chuck it toward the rim.
Clearly, it's time to try something dramatic. Hard fouls and low-post grinding might be it. Let Amar'e play off Curry as an offensive rebounder. With one big having to handle Eddy on the post, most teams won't have enough size to deal with Stoudemire on the weak side, or crashing from the high post. Against the Clippers, who have TNT in sneakers, Blake Griffin, a Curry-Stoudemire front line might actually be the best counter.
Yes, Eddy has let you down before. And before that. And before that. And . . yeah.
And he's only been cleared to practice for about a week now and with the schedule the way it has been, Eddy's had only three practices so far, with today's workout at MSG Training Center making it four. But hey, if he gets through this one, that'll be the most consecutive days of work he's gone without an injury since 2007-08!
Understand that it would take a lot to convince Mike D'Antoni to even put Curry in uniform, let alone put him on the court. But riding a five-game losing streak with torches and pitchforks at his door, D'Antoni needs some alternative thinking. Perhaps he won't tell Wilson Chandler and Toney Douglas to stop shooting early in the shot clock when the're in the midst of Mark Madsen-like rhythm, but with Eddy on the floor, Wilson, at least, is sure to defer to his big buddy.
This, of course, is 99 percent sure to fail. But that only means there's a chance it could succeed.
Look at it this way: last season, the Knicks were rolling along when D'Antoni tried to force Curry into the rotation to get him minutes and hope he might play well enough to engage someone to trade an expiring contract for him. If that worked out, Jordan Hill and those two first round picks may still be in ownership of the Knicks. Well, at least those picks. But it didn't, because Curry completely disrupted the flow of the Knick offense when he was out there and was a defensive liability (is this redundant?) and several Knick players at the time were upset with the obvious motivation of playing Curry, which took precedence over the success of the team.
But this time around, the offense is already a mess. So how bad could it be?
Could it really get any worse than Amar'e kicking the ball out of bounds as he attempts to drive to the basket against two talls blocking his sight and a small swatting at his high dribble? Could it be any worse than four players on the perimeter watching their long rebounds fall into the hands of the defense, who quickly turn it into transition offense?
At least with a low-post game, the shots are more likely to produce shorter rebounds and the Knicks can take advantage of their excessive length (6-10 Gallinari, 6-10 Stoudemire, etc.) to get to them. The Knicks are one of the best free throw shooting teams in the NBA (last night's game notwithstanding) so perhaps the object should be to play to their strengths.
Or at least try something else. A good coach maximizes the talent on his roster. Last I checked, Eddy Curry is still on the roster.