New York Knicks: Post-Carmelo Anthony Trade, How Are New and Old Knicks Doing?
The New York Knicks sit exactly where they were—two games above .500 and sixth place in the Eastern Conference—before the blockbuster trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to Madison Square Garden on February 22.
Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets are 7-2 since their new players have taken the floor (8-2 if you count their transition game between Anthony's departure and the new Nuggets' arrival).
In the aforementioned 13-player, three-team deal, Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter and Renaldo Balkman went from Denver to New York. Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Timofey Mozgov packed their bags for the Rocky Mountains. Eddy Curry and Anthony Randolph also went to Minnesota, and Corey Brewer came to New York, but Brewer was soon released and picked up by the Dallas Mavericks. Kosta Koufos also left Minnesota, eventually landing in Denver. Draft picks and cash also exchanged hands as part of the deal.
The Knicks picked up Derrick Brown and Jared Jeffries to fill out roster spots. Brown and Jeffries had been released by Charlotte and Houston, respectively, during the season.
With that mouthful out of the way, let's grade the seven Knicks that joined the team midseason.
As an addendum, the old Knicks' stats with their new teams are on the final slide.
Note: The grades are relative to a player's expectations and given on a curve. So before you go up in arms about Anthony Carter being graded higher than Chauncey Billups, realize that while Billups has a bigger on-court impact and is a much better player, Carter is exceeding expectations while Billups has not met them yet, even prior to his injury.
Carmelo Anthony: A-
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Knicks Stats: 25.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 3.3 APG, 45.0 FG%, 41.9 3P%, 36.2 MPG
Carmelo Anthony came as advertised. He is a volume scorer, but has shown more effort on the defensive end with the Knicks, specifically in wins against Atlanta and Miami.
Many superstars come to New York, only to wilt under the spotlight. Give Anthony credit for individually shining so far, highlighted by the game-winning basket against Memphis in a 31-point effort.
Anthony Carter: B
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Knicks Stats: 4.3 PPG, 1.5 APG, 2.6 RPG, 40.0 FG%, 30.8 3P%, 16.8 MPG
Anthony Carter is receiving playing time as a backup point guard and doing surprisingly well. He scored 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting at Atlanta, dished five assists versus Utah, pulled down seven rebounds against New Orleans and scored eight points at home against Cleveland. Most remarkably, he only played over 19 minutes once in these four games.
Carter gives the Knicks some veteran savvy and is very efficient in his time on the court.
Chauncey Billups: C+
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Knicks Stats: 19.3 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.2 RPG, 37.8 FG%, 26.3 3P%, 32.7 MPG
Billups missed all 11 of his three-point attempts in the home-and-home against Indiana, averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. In particular, he was a minus-20 on the court in New York's 119-117 loss last night. Chalk those performances up to rust after missing six games due to a thigh injury sustained when he bumped into Dwight Howard after the Orlando big man set a screen.
Prior to the injury, Billups was playing well overall. He almost single-handedly won the Miami Heat game with his defense and clutch shooting, but played poor defense on Ramon Sessions and Jameer Nelson in losses to Cleveland and Orlando. Still, his nearly automatic free-throw shooting made him a weapon.
Of all the players on this list, expect Billups' grade to rise the most. Point guards need time to transition to a new system, and Billups thrives in the playoffs.
Jared Jeffries: Q-
Knicks Stats: 1.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 1.4 APG, 21.1 FG%, 23.4 MPG
The only reason Jeffries doesn't get a Z is because of his good defense on an inbounds pass that prevented the Memphis Grizzlies from scoring a game-tying alley-oop in the Knicks' 110-108 win last week.
I don't care that Jeffries offers enough length at 6'11" to guard a multitude of positions, because he is offering only slightly more offensive production than I could, and I have the body type and waddle of a North Pole penguin.
Jeffries is being asked to guard power forwards in lieu of the versatile Wilson Chandler, which is why he is receiving playing time, but this experiment is not working out.
Shelden Williams, Renaldo Balkman and Derrick Brown: Incomplete
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Williams' Knicks Stats: 3.8 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.8 APG, 36.4 FG%, 9.4 MPG
Balkman's Knicks Stats: 1.0 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.0 APG, 25.0 FG%, 6.0 MPG
Brown's Knicks Stats: 3.0 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.0 APG, 100.0 FG%, 8.0 MPG
The new members of the Knicks' encouragement squad on the bench, Williams, Balkman and Brown haven't received enough playing time to warrant grades.
Williams has played only five games with the Knicks and seen extensive playing time in one of them, a 25-minute night against the Jazz that was largely in garbage time. He did have quite the game, going for 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the 134-101 win.
Don't expect Williams to replicate those numbers in close games, though. Williams is a bad fit for the Knicks' system.
Balkman played 11 total minutes against Miami and Cleveland in late February, and like the rest of the Knicks roster, saw extensive playing time versus Utah. He has played a total of 62 minutes all season. In other words, he has made $27,016.13 per minute played on the court. I have no idea why I chose editing and writing as my career paths. Clearly I should have been a 12th man for the Knicks.
Brown has made all three of his field goals so far. That's a good start. All six of his Knicks points came against the Jazz, and he also picked up four minutes against New Orleans.
Where Are They Now?
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Anthony Randolph's T-Wolves Stats: 6.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 42.4 FG%, 14.5 MPG
Minnesota cut Eddy Curry and kept Randolph, who has done well in limited action in Minnesota. The lengthy forward put up 19 and 10 against Detroit.
Danilo Gallinari's Nuggets Stats: 16.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 40.0 FG%, 14.3 3P%, 30.5 MPG
Gallinari scored 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds against Portland after a two-point effort in his Nuggets debut against Boston. Unfortunately, Gallinari stubbed, and subsequently fractured, his big left toe late in the Portland game. He has been out ever since but is expected to come back soon.
Wilson Chandler's Nuggets Stats: 14.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.3 APG, 44.4 FG%, 44.1 3P%, 30.9 MPG
Chandler is playing roughly five fewer minutes with the Nuggets than he did with the Knicks, but he hasn't missed a beat, still filling out the entire box score and playing solid defense.
Timofey Mozgov's Nuggets Stats: 3.5 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 0.4 APG, 50.0 FG%, 6.5 MPG
Everyone's favorite Russian center isn't receiving the playing time he did during the latter part of his New York stint, but he is still happy thanks to a shotgun wedding in Vegas to his fiancee. No, really.
Raymond Felton's Nuggets Stats: 11.0 PPG, 6.8 APG, 4.2 RPG, 43.7 FG%, 44.0 3P%, 31.8 MPG
Felton is playing roughly seven fewer minutes per game with the Nuggets than the Knicks, as Ty Lawson currently mans the point in Denver. Still, Felton is making contributions and has added to Denver's now insane depth.