By John Schmeelk
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It was a question before Jeremy Lin showed up and now it’s a question again since he is injured. Can the Knicks find a capable point guard? Baron Davis, despite showing tons of toughness playing through a myriad of injuries, wasn’t the answer either. If anyone doubted that, all questions should have been answered watching the four games in the series against the Miami Heat. With Davis in the game the offense was pretty simple. It went something like this:
“Alright men, here’s what we’re going to do. Baron, you walk the ball up court as slowly as possible. Once you get across half court, stand in one place and dribble the shot clock down to about 10 seconds. All everyone else has to do is watch Baron. Once the shot clock is at ten, Carmelo Anthony can come out and catch the ball from twenty feet out and force a bad shot as the shot clock expires. If Carmelo isn’t in the game, do the same thing with J.R. Smith.”
As you might imagine, that strategy didn’t work all that well and is one of the reasons the Knicks offense has been absolutely anemic for most of the series. In my opinion, the Knicks offense has moved a lot better with Mike Bibby at point guard than Baron Davis in this playoff series. We’ll find out soon enough if that continues to be the case since Zombie Bibby will be the new starting point guard for the New York Knicks.
It really shows how many issues they’ve had in the backcourt in terms of injuries. Early in the season, it was obvious the once very good point guard had been relegated to the “corpse of Bibby”. It’s only been in the final weeks of the season and the playoffs that he has been upgraded to zombie status. If the Knicks want to come back in this series, he’ll have to actually get a heartbeat. There were signs of it with his big three in the fourth quarter against the Heat. Bibby only has to do two things, hit an occasional open three, and move the ball without turning it over. That’s all the Knicks need out of him.
And they better get it because the Knicks have no one else to turn to. Despite everyone craving another round of Linsanity, he just isn’t ready. Down three games to one, putting a promising young player out there against the Heat with an unstable knee is a recipe for disaster. They would be jeopardizing not only Lin’s future, but also the Knicks, who need him to be a long term solution at the position. Even if he couldn’t reinjure himself, how effective would he really be after sitting out for a month against the Heat’s ball pressure?
Then there’s Toney Douglas, who was a real factor the Knicks last season. Unfortunately, in 2012 he has been an absolute disaster. Once a reliable scorer as a combo guard, Douglas hasn’t been able to find his shot all season. Mike Woodson said publically that he can’t play Douglas because he can’t get the Knicks into their offense, and the Coach would have to call every play from the sideline. That can’t happen at the NBA level. I wish the team could turn to Douglas, but other than one game against Orlando, whenever he was given a chance this season he has failed miserably. That won’t change now.
Bibby probably can’t give the team much more than 25 minutes, so when he is off the floor it will probably be JR Smith, Carmelo Anthony, and even Landry Fields that will serve as quasi-point guards and get the team into its offense. All three are capable of running the pick and roll, a simple play that is really the only thing the Knicks have done all series to promote ball movement. As bad as Baron Davis has been, I can’t imagine these three could be much worse. If anything, maybe it will get Carmelo Anthony to do more of what he did in Game 4, find open teammates.
The one thing whomever the Knicks have handle the ball must do on Wednesday is avoid turnovers. The Heat offense feasts on them, especially at home. If the Knicks turn it over a lot they will lose by double digits. The odds the Knicks find an answer at point guard at this point of the season is slim to none, but they have no choice but to try. Who would have thought the Knicks playoff lives would be dependent on Zombie Bibby? That’s the way the season has gone, and it will be the way it will likely end on Wednesday night.
You can follow Schmeelk on Twitter for everything Knicks, Giants, Yankees and New York sports @Schmeelk.