Perhaps “giving up” is too strong a word for this time of year. Perhaps. But it certainly seemed like the Knicks had given up in the second half of a 102 – 89 drubbing at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday. Maybe it was the fatigue of a third game in four days. Maybe it was the heat. Whatever it was, it stunk.
Sure, summer league is not about wins or losses. It’s about individual performances. It’s about the handful of guys who are going to make the team and the much larger handful who are kidding themselves. But it wouldn’t take a basketball genius to notice how horrific the team played defensively on this afternoon. It got hard to watch at points.
Not only did Toronto put up an unfathomable 102 spot in 40 minutes, but they looked unstoppable doing so. It was almost as if a “no defense” rule was put in place moments before the teams took the floor. After countless high-flying ally-ooop dunks, no look passes in the lane, and threes that couldn’t even be described as “uncontested” (for that would be an understatement), it was hard to tell whether the Raptors or Harlem Globetrotters had come to play.
Four players finished in double figures for Toronto. Sonny Weems was unstoppable in the first half. Weems finished with 19 points in 18 minutes. Demar Derozon led the Raptors with 23 points.
Offensively, the Knicks weren’t bad. Generally, it’s difficult to have too many bad offensive outings playing in this system. Landry Fields is looking more and more like the best rookie out of this draft class. Wednesday was his third “solid” game and second “really good” game of the week. He led all Knicks with 19 points.
Fields showed that he can score even when he doesn’t have a great shooting night. Even though the Standford product was only 4-12 from the field, he got to the line 13 times, making 10 free throws. Fields showed a physicality and willingness to drive to the hoop that wasn’t seen as much in his previous two games. It’s entirely possible that Fields, the most controversial of the three 2010 draft picks, may also be the most versatile. At this point, that’s a no – brainer.
Marcus Landry also played well in the third game. Landry had two quick three’s in the opening minutes and finished with 14 points. The Landry boys have been arguably the most impressive Knick duo of the week.
Andy Rautins has failed to duplicate the promise he showed in the first game against Denver. He left the game in the second half with a sprained ankle, but was unimpressive before that. He disappears within games, taking four threes and making only one of them against Toronto. His defense is severely lacking and hasn’t provided a consistent enough three point threat to make keeping him on the floor worth while. He is headed towards a bad summer league grade.
Jerome Jordan is headed towards the “most frustrating of the week” crown. True to his scouting report, Jordan’s talent is obvious; it’s just the consistency that needs work. That may come or it may not. It’s unfair to make an assumption on that one way or another based on three summer league games. Jordan had 3 points and 7 rebounds.
Toney Douglas had 13 point and 6 assists. He hasn’t quite looked as good as he did against Denver in either of his last two games.
The Knicks are 1-2 in Summer League. The play Detroit on Friday at 4pm.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1