The New York Knicks will get an up close look at their top point guard target on Wednesday when they take on Steve Nash's Phoenix Suns.
The Knicks have longed to pair Nash with coach Mike D'Antoni for years, but never has the need for a steady point guard been more apparent than this season.
The Knicks used their amnesty clause on starting point guard Chauncey Billups in the off-season in order to sign center Tyson Chandler and hoped to just plug in backup Toney Douglas into a starting role, but the results have been less than desirable.
Douglas has always been a score first guard and hasn't been able to distribute the ball as well as Knicks management might have hoped. Amare Stoudemire has struggled mightily without a natural point guard to guide him in the pick-and-roll game, while star Carmelo Anthony is still more of a stopper than a point-forward.
The team came into the season with extremely high expectations, but has struggled to a 6-7 record and owns the league's fifth-worst shooting percentage. Stoudemire's 42 percent shooting percentage certainly isn't helping matters and can likely be attributed to the lack of experience at the point guard position.
He [Stoudemire is] a product, a lot of guys are a product of flows, and if you're not on the top of your game going one-on-one, you really look bad, D'Antoni told reporters on Tuesday. The offense has to help you get to the top of your game, which is confidence. ... But right now, our flow is not good.''
The Knicks do expect to get point guard Baron Davis sometime in late January, but greatly prefer Nash as a more long-term option. The New York Post reported on Wednesday that the team plans to target Nash, Jameer Nelson, and Raymond Felton with their $5 million mid-level exception in the off-season.
Nash was extremely successful in D'Antoni's offense when both were in Phoenix, but does turn 38 next month. He has slowed down a bit from his heyday of multiple MVP awards, but D'Antoni had nothing but former praise for his point guard on Tuesday.
Nash is one of the best. They run our offense; or we run their offense, either way you want to look at it. But maybe we'll learn how to run it,'' D'Antoni said. He and Grant [Hill] are both amazing. I don't know how long they could go, but it doesn't look like they're slowing down. I hope forever, because it's fun to watch them.''
The Knicks grabbing Nash or one of the other aforementioned point guards would greatly help shore up their starting lineup. Otherwise it might make sense for Knicks management to dump fourth-year coach D'Antoni in favor of a more defensive minded head coach. D'Antoni's offense revolves around a strong point guard and without one; it doesn't make much sense to continue to run his fast-paced offense.