The Knicks Are Going Into Next Season With A Strong Starting Lineup But Their Bench Remains A Concern
New York Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has concerns over the team’s second unit as it prepares to head into the 2022/23 season. Vogel’s first season in charge of the Knicks saw them return to relevancy and they made the playoffs for the first time since 2013 but his second term, last season, was not as bright.
The Knicks have made moves to improve the squad over the offseason, though they failed to land any stellar names and somehow managed to lose the race to sign Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But they did bring in Jalen Brunson while signing RJ Barrett to a long-term deal.
Having added Brunson to the pairing of Barrett and Julius Randle, the Knicks now have a much better starting lineup than they did last season. Their second unit, though, could use a lot more work and rotation might suffer as a result.
NY’s bench was quite poor last season and it had difficulty on both ends of the floor, ranking 18th in points, 16th in assists per game, and 17th in defensive rating. Though the team has improved overall this year, evidenced by their 3-1 preseason, there’s much to be desired when the bench comes into focus.
Thibodeau was questioned about this during an interview with the press following a practice session on Sunday. The head coach admitted there are concerns, but he did point out that there were reasons for the unit failing to convince thus far.
“It was choppy but, [it’s] part one we have to do better,” he remarked (H/T Heavy.com). “They gotta get to know each other [and] that sort of thing. And also, it’s part, like, we’re playing a lot of different combinations.”
Thibs added that there have been many positives despite the bench’s struggles and singled out two players for praise.
“I like what Isaiah [Hartenstein] brings to that group, you know. I’m not worried about [Immanuel Quickley] making shots. I know he’s going to make shots,” he continued.
The coach also noted that having players back in Derrick Rose and Quentin Grimes – Rose missed 56 games last season with an ankle injury while Grimes only missed one game – would provide a huge boost to the bench unit.
While Thibodeau has expressed confidence in the bench unit and reckons they will continue to get better during the upcoming season, it was clear that they weren’t all that great during the preseason.
The Knicks bench sat near the bottom of plenty of statistical categories over the four games, including three-point percentage, points per game, field goal percentage, and plus-minus rating. The one game they lost was mostly down to the second unit not performing up to standard – the bench saw the majority of the minutes during the second half of that loss, having gone into the half ahead. They proceeded to get outscored 61-46 in the period, with the Pacers scoring 11 points more than them in the fourth quarter of the game while holding them to 36 percent shooting from the floor and a worrying 15.4 percent from three-point range.
The Knicks will open their season against the Memphis Grizzlies this Wednesday and fans engaging in New York sports betting will be aware of their underdog status heading into the fixture. New York is 1/3 to win this one while the Grizzlies are 2/1. There are nine sportsbooks with apps available for betting, including Caesars, BetMGM, and DraftKings.
Meanwhile, Thibs has suggested that there could be changes to the team’s offensive system this season. He pointed out that the team should show improvement in cutting, having finished last in points coming from said method last season.
“Well, a lot of it is dependent on who you have on the floor,” he told a reporter when quizzed on the fact. “Like, a primary scorer, if you command a double team, the idea is anytime you can get two [defenders] onto the ball, that’s going to lead to good offense because you’re forcing the defense.
“You’re four on three on the backside, so you’re going to get cutting, you’re going to get open shots. And, so, I think we have more guys now that will probably command the blitz or the double team in the post, which should open things up.”
The Marvelous Marilyn Maye Received Twelve Standing Ovations At The New York Pops
Karen Akers, Jim Caruso, Tony Danza, Jamie deRoy, Max von Essen, Melissa Errico, Bob Mackie, Susie Mosher, Sidney Myer, Josh Prince, Lee Roy Reams, Rex Reed, Randy Roberts, Mo Rocca , Mark Sendroff, Lee Roy Reams, Brenda Vaccaro and David Zippel were there to see and honor Cabaret legend and Grammy nominee Marilyn Maye. Maye who turns 95 April 10th, made her at Carnegie Hall solo debut last night with The New York Pops, led by Music Director and Conductor Steven Reineke.
Maye is a highly praised singer, actress, director, arranger, educator, Grammy nominated recording artist and a musical treasure. Her entire life has been committed to the art of song and performance and it showed with the 12 standing ovations she received.
Maye appeared 76 times on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, she was “discovered” by Steve Allen and had a RCA recording contract, seven albums and 34 singles.
The evening started out with the superlative New York Pops Overture of Mame, which Maye had played the title role.
Next a Cole Porter Medley with “Looking at You,” Concentrate On You,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” It’s Alright With Me,””Just One of Those Things,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” and “All of You”. This was Marilyn’s second standing ovation. The first was when she stood on that stage for the first time and the audience was rapturous.
A terrific “It’s Today” from Mame with high flying kicks was the third ovation and wow can that woman kick.
A rainbow medley included “Look To The Rainbow” from Finnian’s Rainbow, the iconic “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” the jazzy “Make Me Rainbows” and of course “The Rainbow Connection.” And with that another standing ovation.
“Put On A Happy Face” from Bye Bye Birdie.
Frank Loesser’s Joey, Joey, Joey brought on a fifth standing ovation. This song was a masterclass in acting and vocal nuance. For that matter every song that comes out of Ms. Maye’s mouth is perfection. Part of the brilliance of this night is her musical director, arranger, and pianist Ted Firth. That man is a genius.
Lerner and Loewe’s “On The Street Where You Live” from My Fair Lady ended the first act with a sixth standing ovation.
The overture from Hello Dolly! and then Cabaret shows Marilyn Maye also starred in opened the second act. The New York Pops sounded phenomenal as always.
“Your Gonna Hear From Me” from “Inside Daisy Clover was an appropriate starter for this next round as the audience got to its feet.
Maye’s most requested song “Guess Who I Saw Today” from New Faces of 1952 was followed by a show stopping “Fifty Percent” from Ballroom and of course another standing ovation.
Her next song was chosen by the Smithsonian Institute to be included in its permanent collection of recordings from the 20th century. Her recording of “Too Late Now” is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the 110 Best American Compositions of the Twentieth Century and Ms. Maye showed us why and again another standing ovation.
A proclamation from The City of New York read by Steven Reineke to Marilyn Maye made this day Marilyn Maye Day. This treasure cried with joy as she sang Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here.” Though she forgot some of the lyric, Ms. Maye proved performing is all on the intent and connecting to the audience. Two more standing ovations were added here.
For encores, I was thrilled to hear James Taylor’s “Circle of Life” and “Here’s To Life,” which is my personal favorite, finally going back into “It’s Today” with those high kicks and a twelfth standing ovation. Bravo Ms. Maye!
If you are a singer and do not catch Ms. Maye live, you really do not care about your craft. Last night Ms. Maye made it clear why she’s been celebrated as one of America’s greatest jazz singers for more than 50 years and this was a night I will always remember. Thank-you New York Pops.
Don’t miss the Pop’s 40th Birthday Gala: This One’s For You: The Music Of Barry Manilow on Monday, May 1st. The gala will star Sean Bell, Erich Bergen, Betty Buckley, Charo, Deborah Cox, Danny Kornfeld, Norm Lewis, Melissa Manchester, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman, Billy Stritch, Steven Telsey, Max von Essen, Dionne Warwick, and more to be announced. This will be yet another New York Pop’s Night not to miss.
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: A Dolls House: Arian Moayed and Jessica Chastain
I went with T2C’s editor to A Dolls House, which inspired this caricature. You can read Suzanna’s review of the show here.
The Olivier Awards Return
Celebrate the very best in British theatre in a star-studded evening as the Olivier Awards return to the Royal Albert Hall on April 2nd.
Three-time Olivier Award nominee & Primetime Emmy winner, Hannah Waddingham will be hosting the awards for the first time.
The event will feature performances from all of the Best New Musical nominees, including The Band’s Visit, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, Sylvia and Tammy Faye. Also performing will be Oklahoma! and Sister Act, both nominated for the Best Musical Revival award, as well as Disney’s Newsies, which has been nominated for Matt Cole’s choreography.
The multi-Olivier Award winner The Book of Mormon, will be performing to mark its ten-year anniversary in the West End. Additionally, special award winner Arlene Philips will be honored with a tribute from the cast of Grease.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on Magic Radio from 6pm with Ruthie Henshall and Alice Arnold hosting.
The highlights program will also be aired on ITV1 and ITVX at 10:15 pm in the UK and via Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel elsewhere.
And the nominees are:
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