SI Vault
 
ENEMY LINES an opposing team's scout sizes up the Knicks
Chris Ballard
October 27, 2003
Signing Dikembe Mutombo will help, but because he can give them only about 20 minutes a game, all they can expect is a half dozen points and rebounds plus a blocked shot or two. At least Mutombo will ease the burden on their hardest-working player, Kurt Thomas, who won't be overmatched at center for those 20 minutes....
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 27, 2003

Enemy Lines An Opposing Team's Scout Sizes Up The Knicks

View CoverRead All Articles

Signing Dikembe Mutombo will help, but because he can give them only about 20 minutes a game, all they can expect is a half dozen points and rebounds plus a blocked shot or two. At least Mutombo will ease the burden on their hardest-working player, Kurt Thomas, who won't be overmatched at center for those 20 minutes....

They'll miss Latrell Sprewell's intensity, but he was no longer making a big difference. The Knicks were fourth-worst last year in field goal percentage allowed, and they were near the bottom in steals and blocks....

Keith Van Horn will suffer if fans compare him to Sprewell, for whom he was essentially traded. If you start missing shots and the fans are booing, you have to block that out and keep shooting. Van Horn has a reputation for disappearing when things aren't going well....

You can pressure Charlie Ward because he's not going to get by you on his bad right knee. It might take longer to initiate the half-court offense when he's running the team....

I didn't understand their first-round pick, Mike Sweetney out of Georgetown. He's undersized and, like Clarence Weather-spoon, figures to have trouble against the big power forwards. On the other hand, Maciej Lampe of Poland was a great second-round pick. He's too young and thin to contribute right away, but he has a huge upside....

The big variable is going to be power forward Antonio McDyess, whose return from surgery to repair a fractured kneecap—his third operation in two years—has not been determined. After breaking that kneecap on a routine dunk last year, he's bound to have concerns about reinjuring himself. But if he's back to where he was two years ago and everybody else plays well, they're a .500 team fighting for the last playoff spot. Otherwise they will do well to match the 37 games they won last year.

1