Finally, it seems as though interim head coach Kurt Rambis might shake up the New York Knicks starting lineup and remove Jose Calderon.
By Robby Sabo
Quite frankly, I won’t believe until I see it.
Through 54 less than stellar games, the New York Knicks have trotted out the same point guard to start things off. With a record of 24-34 – a full 10-games under .500 – Derek Fisher, and now Kurt Rambis, have used Jose Calderon at the No. 1 spot in the starting lineup.
This has led to Calderon averaging 27.5 minutes per game.
27.5 minutes a game? Is this serious?
For a 34-year old player who can’t even move anymore, this is a flat-out embarrassment – despite not having many other options.
Calderon’s clear deficiencies on the defensive end of the floor completely destroy the integrity of the Knicks defense. Monday night against the Toronto Raptors at the Garden was a clear example of that. Kyle Lowry toyed with the veteran, weaving in-and-out of the defense with a pass-shoot option at every turn.
— NBA (@NBA) February 23, 2016
Finally, interim head coach Kurt Rambis might take action, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:
“Always when you’re losing, you are considering a lot of things. We’ll see,” Rambis said Tuesday after practice in Tarrytown regarding a possible lineup change. “We’ll have some conversations with the coaching staff, management and players. We’ve got to find a way to play at a much higher level, and more intense level and for longer periods of time.”
The overall tone of Rambis’s words were giving way to a sentiment that “change” is needed when losing continues.
But why has it taken so long for change to actually occur in the starting lineup?
New York embarrassingly ranks dead last in NBA transitional points with a lowly 8.5 per game. This number pales in comparison to the Golden State Warriors, who lead the league with a 20.7 mark.
Admittedly, the personnel difference for both teams is drastic. Guys like Arron Afflalo and Carmelo Anthony just can’t move at the pace Stephen Curry and Draymond Green can. At the same time, though, are you telling me Kristaps Porzingis can’t beat the average four-man down the court?
The Knicks are also dead last in points off turnovers. This is a much more inexcusable ranking.
Possessing two big men in Porzingis and Robin Lopez, who do a tremendous job of altering and blocking shots down low, makes the idea of this squad struggling so mightily on that end of the floor mind-boggling.
The reason is quite simple: opposing guards are able to gain the first step, draw in a double team and feast off a defense with absolutely no integrity. The have a field day, and make no mistake about it, it’s not just Calderon. Afflalo, Anthony, and even KP get beat off the dribble. It’s a major issue, but one that lies in the lap of the point guard more often than not.
Fans and media members have taken notice all season long:
Kurt Rambis hinted that he may tinker with the Knicks starting lineup. Jose Calderon could be demoted.
— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 23, 2016
Report: Knicks coach Kurt Rambis may demote Jose Calderon. Finally. https://t.co/c2lo71N12O
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) February 23, 2016
Jose Calderon went scoreless with 2 turnovers and a team-worst minus-17. #Jimmer
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) February 23, 2016
Jose Calderon should benched immediately if not released…#Terrible…
— John Farrell (@JJFarrell451) February 23, 2016
— Wilson Sy (@WilsonSy93) February 23, 2016
Jose Calderon makes Raymond Felton look like Stephon Marbury
— “The Sherriff” (@colderskin) February 23, 2016
Jose Calderon says that @nyknicks fans are too hard on him.. He is -17 in the first half.. 0-points & 1-assist.. Hard to cheer for that..
— sandy cannold (@SandyCannold) February 23, 2016
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) February 23, 2016
Jose Calderon is so bad. Kyle Lowry is just blowing past this guy every time.
— Andrew Fok (@islandersallday) February 23, 2016
Jose Calderon gotta be one of the worst defenders I've ever seen
— ????800 Credit Score (@GQDanny) February 23, 2016
These tweets prove no exaggeration. To think 54 games have passed with the Knicks deploying the same point guard for all 54, has fans believing this organization accepts mediocrity.
Nobody believes Langston Galloway is a true point guard. He’s not. But should he start, he’d at least provide live legs on defense and a guy who can attack the rim on offense. It’ll also increase his minutes to a point the Knicks truly need.
There is no earthly explanation for why Calderon plays more minutes than Galloway. None. Gallo is averaging just 25.1 minutes a night to Calderon’s 27.5, yet he showcases a better assist/turnover ratio (3.6 to 3.3). He’s also quicker, shoots better, and attacks the rim on the offensive end.
Why not start Galloway and allow Calderon to assume a more veteran-like bench role with 10 minutes a night?
Take a look at this video just three games into the 2015-16 NBA season:
He’s just awful.
Furthermore, Jerian Grant‘s momentum heading into the season, which was washed away by lack of confidence and playing time, is extremely disappointing. No fan can feel good about the way Fisher handled the Notre Dame rookie. Confidence and experience are the only two attributes needed for a rookie to either flourish or fail – and Grant didn’t receive the chance to do either.
This starting lineup should’ve been tinkered with in the middle of December. Start Grant and Galloway at times, or Galloway and Afflalo. An argument can be made that Afflalo would be better served coming off the bench without Melo on the floor. He’s a guy who can get up his own shot and flourishes when the scoring is needed in the absence of Anthony. Just look at the box score for Afflalo when Melo misses a contest.
Keep Melo and KP together, but use Afflalo’s scoring ability with the second unit.
Splitting up the lively legs in Galloway and Grant would be a solid choice too, instead of always running them out there as the second unit.
The point is this: If it’s broke, continue to look for ways to fix it. The Knicks, instead, continue to throw a broke product onto the floor in hopes their point guard can turn back the clock a decade.
That’s never happening.
Jose Calderon is done as a starter in this league. If he was such a great leader he would recognize this and tell the coaching staff he deserves fewer minutes. No smart leader or basketball mind such as Calderon could actually think he’s helping the team. Right?
He’s an 8-12 minutes a night, backup point guard type player at this stage in his career. Adjust already and please stop this madness.