Over the first few weeks the Knicks front office had been quite unhappy with some of the rotations Jeff Hornacek has thrown onto the court at times. Having one of the superstar duo of Harden and Irving at all times is a good idea in principal. But only if the coaching staff staggers their minutes properly. Which they didn't always do, resulting in some weird lineups.
Veteran Jason Terry has done a good job of filling spot minutes at the point, but is now out for at least a couple of weeks with a strained hamstring. So the Knicks went out and got themselves a good backup point man, who will play both ends of the court in Corey Joseph.
Joseph has always been a pest on the defensive end and is a decent playmaker and quite recently has turned himself into an excellent three-point shooter.
To get the deal done, the Knicks reluctantly included rookie Caleb Swanigan, but not without getting another rookie in return. Picked several spots ahead of Swanigan, TJ Leaf looks like a dead-eye shooter in the early going. He clearly needs to improve all other aspects of his game, but at least his shooting skills has translated to the pros.
Early returns for the addition of Joseph look quite promising as the Knicks went 4-1 this week with Joseph comfortable running the second unit.†
But he was of course overshadowed by the play of the Knicks star trio.
Harden dropped 53 points on the Lakers and averaged 33 for the week. Howard had 32/20 in a grudge match with Robin† Lopez who thoroughly dominated him last week and then shot 10-11 against the Lakers. Irving was on pace to average 25 himself, before taking a back-seat to the Harden-show against LA.
With NenÍ out, Zach Randolph got another crack at playing time and looked much rejuvanted. He once again reporting back out of shape in November and is now slowly getting back to his playing weight. He grabbed 15 rebounds against the young giants from Milwaukee and avearged 8 points and 9 rebounds in 18 minutes. And it seems GMs around the league have taken notice too.
NenÍ should be back next week, but Luc Mbah a Moute suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Lakers and will miss at least a couple of weeks. So we will likely see another pairing of two bruisers next week. Hopefully it will go down better than it did in week one.