The Knicks Need Defense And Rebounding, So They Traded For The Softest Big Man In The Game

  • Eric Goldschein

andrea bargnani so soft

The Knicks went 54-28 and made it to the second round of the NBA playoffs in 2012-13, which by most metrics meant it was a pretty good year. The Knicks were contenders, all things considered, and it appeared they had put the era of making questionable-to-horrible personnel moves firmly behind them — although Isiah Thomas’ name still appears in the tabloids often enough to make any sane Knicks fan nervous.

Well, if you really thought the Knicks were going to be smart from now on, joke’s on you, buddy. In what may end up being their worst move since paying Jerome James $30 million, the Knicks traded for the Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani, giving up Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson and THREE draft picks (a 2016 first-round, a 2017 second-round, and 2014 second-round pick) for the former number one overall.

People are talking a lot about how the Knicks were able to shed the costly, long-term contracts of Novak and Camby, which will help position them for a big run at the free agents of 2015. And Bargnani’s ability to stretch the floor is a nice compliment to Carmelo and Tyson Chandler, who do some of their best work down low.

But the Knicks don’t need a stretch-four. They don’t need more three-point shooting. They need defense, and rebounding. In short, they didn’t need Andrea Bargnani.

Last year the Knicks were ranked 26th in the league in total rebounds, last in blocked shots, and last in offensive rebounds allowed. These things absolutely killed them in their second-round matchup with the Pacers. To compete with the East’s top teams — Miami, Indiana, Chicago and Brooklyn — the Knicks had to get better on the boards and in the paint.

So they traded for this guy:

We need some Vegas odds on how quickly new Net Kevin Garnett makes Bargnani cry in the first Knicks-Nets game next year. Five minutes? Maybe 10, tops.

The Knicks are already dealing with the unfortunate contract of a big man who can’t defend, or crash the boards, or stay healthy. To think that they will possibly be paying two guys tens of millions of dollars just to come off the bench and not rebound the ball is shocking, until you remember that this is the New York Knicks we’re talking about here. Making decisions like these is par for the course.

The Knicks couldn’t have been much better on offense than they were last year. They could have improved immensely on the other end of the floor. Unless Mike Woodson can turn Bargnani’s career around, look for a similar result at the end of 2013-14 for the ‘Bockers.

Photo via Getty