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2011 grades

Jared Jeffries: C-

Jeffries did not have the impact after the trade that I would have thought, but he also wasn't getting the reps during the year so it took him a little while to get his lateral movement back. Come playoff time Jeffries was actually a pleasant surprise in games 2 and 3, despite the Knicks barely showing up for the first game in MSG in a long time.

The game 2 performance was Jeffries' best as a Knick and if it weren't for that last play where he failed to complete a pass to Bill Walker, he would have been credited with a tremendous game even by his biggest detractors.

Tags: 2011 grades, Jared Jeffries
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Landry Fields: C+

Hard to imagine that a player who was a Rookie of the Year Candidate for 3/4 of the season can only get a C+ but Fields was nothing short of overmatched over the final stretch of 2011 and the post season. To me, Fields is a good option who can create space on the floor because of his ability to stretch and catch/shoot. But in a crowded half court system, he can create. He has a very low and slow release that is easy to close out on. He's not a great off the dribble pull up player, although he can most certainly learn to create space in that area in my opinion. He needs to learn to consistently knock down jump shots and use that to set up shot fake two dribble pull ups. That's how he can make a living with Melo. He also has to continue to focus on tips and rebounds on defense that can lead to transition opportunities where he can use his speed and athleticism to get to the rim if the point guard can get out on the break. And let's be real, he was FAR more explosive early in the year than the last 2 months. He needs to come back with the swagger after working on leg strength. A fantastic young man who has the New York vibe, Fields can succeed here and he's great value being a second round long shot.

Tags: 2011 grades, Landry Fields
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Toney Douglas: B-

There may be no bigger fan of Douglas than me, but truth be told I was very disappointed in his playoff performance. Look, I always said I consider TD a very solid 3rd guard on a strong playoff team and an excellent 4th guard on a championship team. But let's be real he's a great value at his salary. He can shoot, play SOME point and guard multiple positions. I think D'Antoni lets him take too many defensive possessions off on the ball, especially when you consider the amount of ground he covered to close out on Ray Allen before he was tripped by KG in Game 1.

Tags: 2011 grades, Derrick Brown, Toney Douglas
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Anthony Carter: C+

You love what Carter brings and what he is. He made a long sustaining NBA career out of very little athleticism and oodles of savvy. He was a veteran in his rookie season. That said, what is Carter's role on this team moving forward? He made just 1.3 million dollars this year and can be signed for a similar amount next season, but if the Knicks decide to keep Chauncey Billups and Toney Douglas, do they invest money in Carter's veteran presence (and legs) at the expense of possibly drafting at the PG position? Hard to say. You need veterans in the playoffs, but you also need talent. Carter may be a great locker room guy who can play at a slow pace and control the offense, but is he producing enough per minute? Can he play an entire 82 game season plus? All questions the Knicks have to answer.

Tags: 2011 grades
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Derrick Brown: INC

Those of you who follow the site know my feelings on Derrick Brown. He's very athletic and seems to have a pretty strong defensive acumen. Players out of Xavier always seem to and yes I apologize for the generalization.

Brown doesn't have a particular position and I think, ideally, the Knicks would like to see him develop more range on his jump shot so they can sneak him some minutes at the 4 position in this system. But I think he can really be a solid, two-way transition forward for the Knicks and a player that, at a good salary rate (aka NBA dollar cost average) he can provide some value and be developed into a rotation player or a trade asset.

Tags: 2011 grades, Derrick Brown
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As part of doing the end of the season grades, I'm including a poll that asks "do you think player X" is part of the solution, meaning should he be on the roster next season. I'll be going through the roster over the next week or so giving my thoughts on the individual's performance because I think each player deserves their own post.

Renaldo Balkman- INC

We didn't get the chance to see much of Balkman in his second stint with the Knicks, but what I noticed is a player who has benefited from International play as he was a member of team Puerto Rico in the World's Championships.? We remember Balkman as a hustle player and some of that ability and skill has been lost with age and lack of use. His motor certainly has shifted from 6 cylinders to 4 in my opinion. He's a "defensive specialist" but he's not someone who's a great individual defender. He's not a supreme athlete or rebounder for his size. And, of course, he's limited offensively. To me, the biggest issue with Balkman is his salary, as he's due over 3.2 million dollars over the next two seasons. A steep price tag for a player who doesn't suit up.

Tags: 2011 grades
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