New York Giants: Jake Fromm makes debut in disappointing home loss

jake fromm, giants

There’s not many things to celebrate from the New York Giants’ recent loss to the Cowboys, but there is one thing that might generate interest for the last few games of the season. That’s the starting quarterback situation, and the latest development. After Mike Glennon received the start in place of Daniel Jones and threw for 3 interceptions, the Giants gave a chance to the next man up Jake Fromm, who would make his NFL debut.

What does Jake Fromm’s debut mean for the Giants?

Fromm wasn’t able to carry the offense to a touchdown, but his performance does give reason to believe there will be a quarterback competition headed into the next game. This, of course, isn’t that relevant in the long run. The Giants don’t have many games left, and are already out of the division race. But finding out whether Fromm is a capable backup is a worthwhile task. After all, Daniel Jones has missed games with injuries in each of his NFL seasons. This year has been a hard lesson for the Giants that they need to be prepared for those situations.

Completing half of his 12 total attempts, Fromm threw for 82 yards and had a passer rating of 72.2 compared to 24.8 for Glennon. It’s a commendable performance, when considering how Glennon received more snaps and yet Fromm had the better game and would have thrown for more yards too if he had a similar amount of passing attempts.

It’s a bit early to say that Fromm should be the starter next week for sure. Fromm’s entry into this game was a surprise, and quarterbacks often have more success before defenses get a chance to prepare for them and go over their film.

But after a series of hopeless performances from Glennon, Fromm has definitely landed in a spot of contention to start for the rest of the year. No one wants to see more of the same from Glennon, and if Fromm can be the more competitive player in practice, the chances appear pretty high that the starting job will fall into his hands.

NHL game suspensions start Rangers’ Christmas break early

With the NHL suspending cross-border travel, the Rangers will have ten days off before their next game on Dec. 27.

The New York Rangers’ Christmas vacation is starting earlier than anticipated.

In the wake of the ongoing health crisis, the NHL has postponed all games involving travel between the United States and Canada through Dec. 27. The Rangers’ Wednesday tilt against the Montreal Canadiens was among the dozen games affected by the suspension.

As a result, the Rangers (19-7-4) are next scheduled to play on Dec. 27 against the Detroit Red Wings (7 p.m. ET, MSG). New York ends its pre-Christmas slate in third place in the Metropolitan Division, a point behind both the Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals.

Rising COVID-19 cases across the league have caused some teams to pause their proceedings until after the scheduled end of the holiday break on Dec. 27. With the added dozen brought upon by the border deal, 39 games on the regular season docket will now require rescheduling. The Rangers’ Nov. 28 game against the New York Islanders, brought upon by excess cases with the opponent, has already been moved to March 17.

The NHL and its players’ association released a joint statement on Sunday that vowed to play as many games as possible prior to the Christmas break. Both sides appear dedicated to avoiding a league-wide pause, though players’ participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing is in major doubt.

“Though there has been a recent increase in positive COVID test results among Players, coaches and hockey staff, there have been a low number of positive cases that have resulted in concerning symptoms or serious illness,” a joint statement between from the NHL and NHLPA reads. “Therefore, the NHLPA’s and NHL’s medical experts have determined that, with virtually all Players and Club hockey staff fully vaccinated, the need to temporarily shut down individual teams should continue to be made on a case-by-case basis. The effects of recently introduced enhanced prevention and detection measures will be evaluated daily.”

As for the Olympics, which were set to feature NHL players for the first time since the 2014 Games in Sochi, the statement declares that the league and the NHLPA are “actively discussing” the matter of participation. The league’s February schedule features a three-week break to allow for players’ participation in the Beijing Games, but that period of inactive could now be used for rescheduled games.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants lose to Dallas Cowboys in Week 15 divisional matchup

jake fromm, giants

The New York Giants have fallen to 4-10 on the season after Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys. New York has once again been swept by their division rivals after they lost their first matchup with the Cowboys in Week Five. The Cowboys topped the Giants today with a score of 21-6.

The New York Giants’ offense was abysmal today, once again. They failed to score a touchdown and benched their backup quarterback, Mike Glennon, for the second-year Jake Fromm toward the end of the fourth quarter. Glennon struggled all game and failed to move the Giants’ offense downfield.

Going forward, Jake Fromm looks like the better fill-in quarterback candidate. The former Buffalo Bills backup was composed in the pocket and threw with accuracy, outplaying Mike Glennon. Glennon threw for 99 yards (13/24) and 3 interceptions through three and a half quarters. Jake Fromm was able to total 82 yards on 6 completions and 0 turnovers in less than half of a quarter.

The Giants defense played well, holding the Cowboys to only 21 points (two touchdowns). But, ultimately, the Giants’ offense was unable to capitalize on any good field positioning or turnovers created by their defense.

The Giants lost the turnover battle 4-1. Glennon threw three interceptions and Saquon Barkley lost the first fumble of his career today. The 2021 NFL season is drawing to a close, and today’s loss pushes the Giants closer to the top of the draft board. If the season ended today, New York would own the fifth overall pick. The Giants appear set to own two top-ten picks with the Chicago Bears currently sitting at 4-9. This could help make the Giants a more attractive destination for potential general manager candidates.

New York Yankees: What you need to know about recent signings

ender inciarte, yankees

Like the other 29 MLB teams, the New York Yankees can not have any major league transactions due to the MLB lock-out. The owners and players couldn’t come to an agreement before the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on December 1. However, that did not tie their hand from signing minor league players as they are not members of the players association. As a result, the Yankees have improved their future with some of those signings.

Yankees signed free agent SS Jose Peraza to a minor league contract at the end of November. Peraza will give the Yankees an option going forward at short. The 27-year-old hit .204 last season with six home runs over 142 plate appearances with the New York Mets. He has a six-year career average of .266. Peraza comes to the Yankees with an excellent defensive record.

On December 15, the Yankees signed RHP Vinny Nittoli to a minor league contract. The signing of Nittoli is a bit perplexing. He pitched in only one game last season for the Seattle Mariners. In one inning, his ERA was 18.00. So it must be the Yankee scouts saw something that caused them to make this signing.

The Yankees also signed center fielder Ender Inciarte and Blake Perkins to minor league contracts. EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Alexander Wilson had this to say about Inciarte:

Inciarte was once a respectable player, but at 31-years-old, his best service comes in the form of depth and last-resort situations. The veteran outfielder started off his career in Arizona with the Diamondbacks, posting intriguing numbers, including a .278 average in 2014 and .303 in 2015.

Inciarte is an All-Star and three-time Gold Glover.

Blake Perkins is a 25-year-old switch-hitting outfielder that plays primarily in center field. The Washington Nationals drafted him in the second round of the 2015 draft. In 2018 with the Pacific Nationals, he hit .234 with one home run, 21 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases through 65 games. Last season, he hit .224/.330/.347 with eight home runs, 34 RBIs, and 22 stolen bases with two different minor league teams. Perkins will provide depth for the Yankees in center.

The Yankees also added Wilkerman Garcia, a 23-year-old shortstop, to their minor league fold. Garcia is another switch hitter; he has a career batting average of .284 with 12 home runs over five years in the majors. However, he had not played since 2019, when he was with four minor league teams in the Yankee organization. Luis Soho has called Garcia a defending solid shortstop.

 

Kemba Walker fights for spot not only with Knicks but entire NBA

Kemba Walker poured out his pent-up energy and emotions on the TD Garden floor, his home for the last two years before a feel-good New York homecoming that has turned sour.

It took a COVID-19-gutted Knicks roster and a Derrick Rose ankle injury for Walker to get out of the doghouse. And he seized the moment like it was his last.

Walker had a season-high 29 points, but in the end, a sacrifice foul robbed him a ‘Cardiac Kemba’ moment.

Evan Fournier, Walker’s teammate from Celtics to Knicks, tweaked his ankle after pushing the Knicks within five, 109-104, with over two minutes left. Walker made a duty foul to stop the clock that allowed them to check in on Fournier. But to his surprise, it was his sixth foul, unceremoniously ending his electric return to the court after nine games at the end of the bench.

“I was told to foul,” Walker said via ESPN. “I’m not gonna lie: I didn’t know I had five. But I heard them on the sideline, they told me to foul. Very, very unfortunate situation, but that’s what I was told to do.”

It was an emotional return for Walker in Boston — after the Celtics unceremoniously shipped him last summer that signaled the start of Walker’s downtrodden year — and to the Knicks rotation — after eight straight CD-DNP (did not play due to coach’s decision).

The Celtics fans’ gave him an ovation during the pregame introduction but sarcastically waved him goodbye when he fouled out. That, in a nutshell, summed up Walker’s career in the last two years.

Walker had a great start with the Celtics, earning his fourth All-Star selection until knee injuries robbed him of his time and his athleticism on the court. The Knicks took a flier on him after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Walker signed a two-year worth $17.9 million deal, trumpeted as a great value pickup for a Knicks front office looking to bolster their offense around first-time All-Star and All-NBA forward Julius Randle.

It looked like a fairy tale run as the Knicks raced to a 5-1 start. But it was short-lived. The Knicks went spiraling, and Walker became the scapegoat though advanced metrics and numbers supported it.

Tom Thibodeau, a defensive guru, opted for more size, elevating 6-6 Alec Burks for the 6-0 Walker. But the Knicks were 2-7 since Walker’s demotion, though some of those games were competitive, and the last four, they were shorthanded with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Six players are under health and safety protocols, including Quentin Grimes and Miles McBride, two defensive-minded rookies who impressed Thibodeau and pushed for their case to make the rotation.

Walker knows he’s only a placeholder despite his scintillating return to the court.

“I hate it,” Walker said of not playing in the last nine games. “I want to play. “It is what it is. Guys went down. I got to fill in. Do what I can until they get back.”

Without directly saying, Walker knows his future is somewhere else.

But history hasn’t been kind on injury-riddled, pint-sized guards as they age.

Another former Celtic point guard Isaiah Thomas is a cautionary tale. While Thomas has recently hooked up with the Los Angeles Lakers, the harsh reality is, teams around the league aren’t high on small guards who can be a liability on defense.

Four days since Walker became trade-eligible, there has been no traction on the trade market. That speaks volumes on how low Walker’s value has dropped around the league. Last summer, the Celtics attached a first-round draft pick to get rid of his max contract in exchange for Al Horford.

“It’s definitely been a rough couple years, to be honest,” Walker said via ESPN. “But, you know, when you get a chance to kind of slow down and think about things, myself, you know, I think it’s just some adversity. At some point in life, everyone goes through tough times.

“I’ve had a great career thus far, and a lot of things went my way. It’s a tough time right now, so it’s really about just showing my character, showing who I really am. I’m so mentally tough, I feel like I’m built for any situation, and I’m going to handle it the best I can. I’ve got a great support system, great family, great friends who help me stay humble and stay grounded, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. Just try to be unbreakable and continue to put my work in and just stay ready for anything that comes my way.”

Walker showed he can still be explosive in spurts as he did in an electrifying third quarter. He led a Knicks 17-2 run to overhaul a 15-point halftime deficit.

“He played really well,” Thibodeau said of Walker. “Really well. That’s what he’s supposed to do. He’s a pro, great character and played well.”

When his shots are falling, and he’s attacking the rim with reckless abandon (he had a season-high 8 of 10 free throws), Walker provides value exceeding his current contract. But there’s always a question mark about his health that drags his consistency to make an impact.

In his return, Walker finished with +5 plus-minus, meaning the Knicks outscored the Celtics by five for the entirety of his season-high 37 minutes on the floor. But in the fourth quarter, where the Celtics regained control, he was 0 for 3 from the field and a -7 in his final 10 minutes on the floor. His sacrifice foul robbed him to atone for that and make one more ‘Cardiac Kemba’ highlight.

But that’s who Walker is. He’s the ultimate pro, as Thibodeau and his Knicks teammates described him. Walker has always been about the team, not himself. But as his career is winding down with limited opportunities, it’s time for Walker to look out for himself.

The dogmatic Thibodeau turned diplomatic when asked if he would reconsider bringing Walker back into the regular rotation following the point guard’s inspiring performance in Boston.

“We’ll see, we’ll see like you gotta look everything in totality,” Thibodeau said.

For what’s it worth, this rare opportunity to get back on the floor, born out of dire circumstances, was Walker’s audition for the rest of the league.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Do the Knicks have a Julius Randle problem? | What do the stats say?

The New York Knicks have completely adapted to the analytics age, making decisions based on probabilities and expectations due to numerical values. However, their statistics have led them down an interesting path, one that has backfired tremendously after signing Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier this past off-season to contribute more offensive production.

At this point in the season, Walker has already been benched due to lack of defense, and Fournier is wildly inconsistent on both sides of the floor. However, they likely didn’t anticipate Julius Randle taking such a massive step backward in his progression.

During Randle’s All-Star campaign in 2020–21, he posted incredible defensive and offensive metrics. Over 37.6 minutes per game, he recorded a 106.8 defensive rating paired with a 109.8 offensive. It was the first time he recorded a positive net rating in his career, logging career highs in assist/turnover ratio and the lowest turnover ratio in his career.

Via his advanced statistics, he had the highest Player Impact Estimate (PIE measures a player’s overall statistical contribution against the total statistics in games they play in) over his first six seasons in the league at 15.8. Altogether, he was contributing elite play on both ends of the floor, which justified the Knicks extending him on a four-year, $117 million deal.

Randle was capable of dominating by himself last season, thanks to incredible defense and effort. This season, though, everything has fallen apart as the communication with the starting five has degraded, and the trust of his teammates has also been reduced to a minimum.

A bit of natural regression was expected after posting incredible stats last season, shooting 45.6% from the field and 41% from three-point range, averaging 24.1 points per game. This season, his average points have fallen to 19.6 per game and is shooting just 33.5% from three-point range, a massive difference despite maintaining his 5.5 attempts.

In fact, Randle is connecting on just 25.5% of wide-open 3-PT shots this season, when he was hitting 40% last year. That’s purely a confidence metric.

A drop-off of nearly 8% in three-point hit rate is astronomical, showing that Julius simply isn’t converting shots at the same pace he did during his All-Star season. He is still managing to score at an adequate rate despite his fall in shooting efficiency. It is his defense that stands out as a primary liability, something that analysts aren’t talking enough about.

It seems a lack of focus and energy has been a culprit for Randle’s struggles, or maybe even the team’s free-agent moves. He’s allowing 10.7 opponent fast-break points per game, the highest number since 2017 with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s also giving up a career-high 9.5 points on opponent second chances. In other words, his defensive rebounding has taken a step back, which wasn’t expected.

One statistic that stands out is a career-high 34.1% percentage of teams turnovers. He is turning the ball over at such a significant rate that he represents more than a quarter of the team’s entire number in the category.

Whether it be a lack of focus or just natural regression, it is clear that Randle isn’t capable of leading a team as a No.1  player. The Knicks desperately need to find him a partner in crime to help elevate his game, something everyone acknowledged during the off-season, and the front office failed to do. The pressure seems too much for a leader that seems to be exerting more energy yelling at the referees than motivating his team.

Marc Berman of the NY Post backed up that claim, with a source saying the locker room may be getting murky:

One source believes locker-room leadership has started to become an issue. Randle is not a born leader, self-admittedly the quiet type, as is Derrick Rose.

Randle is not known for his leadership qualities, so maybe the Knicks are dealing with a mentality and identity crisis without a vocal leader behind the scenes and on the floor.

Do these numbers indicate a Randle is a bad player? Absolutely not.

In fact, Julius is still an incredible scorer that has simply witnessed a dramatic drop-off in defensive quality. The reason behind his 3-PT drop-off seems more based on shot selection and confidence. These are mostly effort and positioning-based variables, so clearly, the change in starters with Kemba and Fournier impacted him in some way. The presence of Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton were mostly defensive boosters, and it’s clearly having some strange impact on Randle’s performance.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”k5v4snr7zn” question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]What do you think of Randle’s season so far? Why do you think he’s experienced such a massive drop-off in quality? Comment here![/wpdiscuz-feedback]

New York Yankees managers haven’t been successful with the Mets

Over the years, the New York Yankees have had some very successful managers that have led them to 27 World Championships. Five of those managers have also managed the New York Mets, but with far less success. Casey Stengel, Joe Torre, Yogi Berra, Dallas Green, and now as of yesterday Buck Showalter. Mets owner Steve Cohen announced the new Mets manager via his Twitter account. But strangely, all but one did not have any success with the Mets.

Casey Stengel, Yankees manager: 1949-60 – Mets manager: 1962-65

During his tenure, Casey Stengel was one of the most successful Yankee managers taking them to seven World Championships. He also took the Yankees to ten American League pennants during his 12 years with the Yankees. It was a different story when he took over the management of the Mets.

In 1962, the New York Mets came on the scene as the first National League expansion team; they selected former Yankee manager Casey Stengel to lead the team. Unfortunately, the results weren’t good; Stengel lost a historic 120 games that year, a stat that still holds today. Following two more 100 game plus losing seasons, Stengel retired after breaking his hip in 1965.

Yogi Berra, Yankees manager: 1964, 1984-85 – Mets manager: 1972-75

Yogi Berra wasn’t the winningest Yankee manager, but he did win a pennant with both the Yankees and the New York Mets. After George Steinbrenner fired Yogi in 1965, he became a coach for the cross-town Mets. In 1972, he became the Mets’ manager and won the NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds.

However, his success was short-lived. In 1973, he won just three more games than he lost, but nevertheless, he carried the team to the World Series, in which he lost four games to three. In 1974 he had a disastrous season with the Mets winning only 71 games. Finally, in 1975 after a poor start, the Mets had seen enough and fired Berra.

Joe Torre, Mets manager: 1977-81 – Yankees manager: 1996-2007

Joe Torre may be an iconic New York Yankee manager, but he managed several bad teams with little success before that. Long before his championship run with the Yankees, he managed the Mets for five years, starting in 1977. It was his first foray into managing, and it showed as he won only 286 games while losing 420. After five years, he was fired by the Mets.

Dallas Green, Yankees manager: 1989 – Mets manager: 1993-96

Many newer Yankee fans may not know that Dallas Green was ever a Yankee manager, but he was for 121 games in the failed 1989 season. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner fired him. But, just a few years later, he was hired by the New York Mets. That stint was just as bad; he had a 229-283 record in his four years at the helm of the Mets.

Buck Showalter, Yankee manager: 1992-95 – Mets manager: 2022 -current

Just being selected by the Mets, Buck Showalter has yet to show his abilities. After two losing seasons, the Mets hired Showalter to right the ship. Mets owner Steve Cohen has given him the tools to do it. 

Showalter managed the New York Yankees for three years from 1992. During his four years as the Yankees’ manager, the team posted a record of 313–268. He finished first in the 1994 strike-shortened season. The Associated Press named him manager of the year. In 1995, he was the manager of the All-Star game. The Yankees won the Wild Card game that year but lost to the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS. Most recently, Showalter was a pre and post-game commentator for the Yankees on the YES Network.

Showalter’s management career has been mostly tainted by taking over loser teams, the Diamondbacks, the Rangers, the Orioles, and the Yankees during some poor years. But Showalter enters this challenge with two of the best pitchers in the business and a much better Mets team. Time will tell, but many analysts say with Showalter at the helm, the team could win their first World Series since 1986.

MLB Insider proposes wild trade involving top Yankees prospect

New York Yankees, Jasson Dominguez

The New York Yankees have a busy off-season ahead once the lockout ends, as player agents believe general manager Brian Cashman will be active in the market when he is capable.

Given the Yankees were unable to secure any big-name free agents before the lockout, they will need to pick up the slack in the spring. However, they still have plenty of names left to pursue once things return to normal. Expect a ton of competition, though, driving up the price due to demand.

One way the Yankees can improve their team without spending an exorbitant amount of money is via trade. The team was connected to the Oakland Athletics in the early portions of the off-season regarding Matt Olson, their star first baseman.

Oakland is trying to find a new home for Olson, slashing his salary off the books. If the lockout ends with a salary floor set at $100 million, Oakland will have no choice but to pay Olson anyway, so it is entirely possible they retain him given that outcome. If things remain the same in that area, Cashman could look to acquire Olson, who is 27-years-old and has two years of team control left on his contract.

One MLB insider proposed an interesting trade scenario involving the Yankees’ top prospect in their farm system.

Joel Sherman of the NY Post proposed that the Yankees send Jasson Dominguez on his way for Matt Olson and Elvis Andrus, in addition to others:

My proposed trade: (Jasson) Dominguez, Luis Gil and Chad Green for Elvis Andrus and Olson.

In terms of pure value, Oakland might bite on the scenario, considering Dominguez is being compared to players like Lou Gehrig with his potential. The Yankees have failed to develop some of their more prominent names in the recent past, but there’s no chance Cashman gives up Dominguez at such a ripe age.
A five-tool outfielder at 18-years-old with the qualities to become a super-star doesn’t represent a trade piece to just toss around. He spent last season with the Tampa Tarpons, hitting .252 with five homers and 19 RBIs, tallying nine stolen bases.
Landing Olson would be a massive benefit, considering he hit .271 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs this past season. As a lefty batter, he would rake at Yankee Stadium, but the Yankees may not have to give up Dominguez to acquire Olson with other stud prospects at the ready.
The Yankees have two awesome shortstops rising through their system in Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe. Selling high on Peraza now might be ideal given their excitement about Volpe and his transition to the big leagues in the future. They would also have to include a pitcher like Luis Gil.
Acquiring Elvis Andrus would be a stopgap at shortstop, taking on his contract that ends after the 2022 season but does have a vesting option in 2023. Andrus hit .243 this past season but represents a solid defender.
Overall, this isn’t my favorite trade scenario, filling the shortstop spot with a low power contact hitter that is being overpaid and parting ways with one of the best prospects baseball has seen in quite some time.
[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”a38erfin0f” question=”What do you think?” opened=”0″]What do you think of this trade proposal? Comment here![/wpdiscuz-feedback]

Yankees Rumors: Agents believes Yankees will come out swinging after lockout, starting pitcher to target

New York Yankees, Brian Cashman

There is a reason to believe the New York Yankees will be big players once the lockout ends between the owners and Players Union. After remaining quiet in the early stages of free agency, allowing teams like the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers to scoop up the majority of quality shortstops, the Yankees do have a few options left at their disposal.

The obvious names revolve around Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, who represent either a long-term solution or short-term stopgap depending on the strategy general manager Brian Cashman institutes.

However, for those worried the Yankees won’t be active when things return to normal, several player agents believe they are gearing up for an exciting second half of free agency.

“There are player agents who continue to believe that once baseball business is reopened, Hal Steinbrenner’s team will be among the more aggressive teams—and in particular, might revisit conversations with the representatives of [Carlos] Correa and [Trevor] Story,” ESPN’s Buster Olney reported.

It seems that Steinbrenner wanted to see how the luxury tax threshold was affected by union negotiations, and if things change, it could benefit the Yankees in a long-term way.

Clearly, he had a financial motive for Cashman sitting still while talented players were plucked off the market without much resistance. The Yankees’ GM did convince Steinbrenner to make an offer of $25 million over one season for Justin Verlander, but that was about as aggressive as they got.

At this point in time, the Yankees have several weaknesses on the roster, and starting pitching remains one of them.

After the majority of talented starters were scooped up off the market, one option they could consider is Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

It is entirely possible that Kershaw sticks with LA next season, but if he considers an alternative club, the Bombers could make sense on a short-term contract worth big money year-over-year.

Kershaw is coming off a 3.55 ERA season over 121.2 innings, including a 10.65 strikeout per nine rate and 48.5% ground ball rate. Kershaw has pitched over 100 innings every season in his career, aside from the Covid abbreviated campaign. He has dealt with injury in the past, but he can serve as a reliable second option behind Gerrit Cole.

The veteran pitcher has seen a decrease in velocity with his fastball over the last three years or so, settling in at 90.7 mph during the 2021 season. His fastball usage has decreased exponentially to 36.8% but has seen an increase in the usage of his slider at 47.5%, maintaining solid velocity.

If the Yankees are willing to spend, Kershaw should be a target at the very least, but I wouldn’t rule out Carlos Rodon as a potential fit as well.

The Knicks have a tough question to answer with Kemba Walker after dominant outing Vs Boston

knicks, kemba walker

When the New York Knicks initially signed veteran point guard Kemba Walker to a two-year contract, fans and analysts alike gushed about the addition. The supposed injection of elite scoring potential projected to be a major catalyst for the Knicks’ success heading into the season, but Walker’s lackluster defense and spotty shooting forced head coach Tom Thibodeau to make a change in late November.

Walker, who was well received by New York fans, has been benched since his last performance against the Phoenix Suns on November 26. In that contest, Walker posted 17 points over 23 minutes.

Walker’s return to the spotlight against Boston was the last resort, though, representing a cry of desperation for Thibodeau, who lost six players this past week to Covid health protocols. The team entered Saturday night against the Boston Celtics, Kemba’s former team, without Kevin Knox, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Miles McBride.

McBride woke up on Saturday expecting an opportunity of a lifetime to string together a third impressive performance after dominating in his first two major assignments with the Knicks. Nonetheless, it was Walker that ended up taking the spotlight, posting 29 points on 45.5% shooting from three-point range, six rebounds, and three assists.

Despite the Knicks dropping five of their previous six games, Walker’s performance offered a  glimmer of hope into his value, even after being exiled.

“I want to play,” Walker said. “I don’t know. So it is what it is.”

He added: “I don’t know what the future holds, you know? I do feel like I have a lot to give still. I don’t know. That’s up to these guys.”

The future is undoubtedly murky for the former All-Star, who represents a professional scorer that simply disappears on defense, leaving his team vulnerable. After all, that was the primary reason Thibodeau elected to bench him in the first place. When Kemba was on the court, the Knicks ranked dead last in defensive efficiency per 100 possessions.

“I know I should be playing, so no question. It feels great,” he said. “But whatever situation I’m in, I’m gonna stay locked in, stay prepared. Whatever the team needs from me, I’ll be there for them.”

With multiple players still on the Covid list, Walker has a solid opportunity to justify his worth for the remainder of the season. Reports have indicated that teams aren’t interested in acquiring him via trade, so the Knicks may have no choice but to either dump his salary or continue to utilize him in specific scenarios.

Ideally, his only value doesn’t come as a last resort due to Covid overload.