On Friday afternoon, MSG Networks analyst, Alan Hahn, took over KnicksNow.com to answer questions from fans about the state of the team and the highly anticipated matchup against the Miami Heat. Read outtakes from the discussion as Hahn tackled all of the tough questions:
danninit80: "Now that Carmelo isn't playing, do the Knicks have a better chance of winning vs the Heat? (Better spacing, ball movement potentially?)"
AH: "I would never assume that playing without a scorer like Carmelo is a good thing, but it's a good idea for Melo to take a rest because he's clearly not himself. It's up to the rest of the team to play within the system and create the spacing needed to establish Amar'e now as the primary scorer. The trick is to hit those open threes that seems to be the biggest issue for this team."
Melo Kyan Alfonso: "@alan hahn do you think the knicks is in good position this season? do you think they can make the playoffs? @danninit80 with or without melo this team cant win. i love knicks but to be honest with you this team is in need of leader."
AH: "Right now, no, the Knicks are not in a good position. They have a serious issue with the offense and the lack of someone to take control of it on the court. Could the answer be Baron Davis? We'll have to see but you can't fall under .500 by too many games and create too large of a hole to climb out of in the second half. This is a very precarious point in the season for the team."
Gary_Levin: "Steve Novak...ill make this a real simple post why is he not playing AT ALL? i need some sort of logical explanation for this."
AH: "Only thing I have come up with is his struggle to defend both forward positions, which would suggest he is viewed as a liability that other teams would immediately try to exploit. But spot minutes? Why not? I think with Carmelo out he may get his chance."
Faizan Saleem: "Will baron Davis be the starting pg when he is healthy?"
AH: "I think that's safe to predict."
Jae Cartagena: "do you think its just a overall lack of hustle and wanting to win"
AH: "I think what happens is the team loses its spirit when open shots miss and momentum goes against them. When you lose spirit, you lose intensity. I think there also has to be someone who comes off the bench with a more aggressive mentality. The bench has no identity on this team. Someone needs to step up and lead that second team. Bill Walker is unpredictable when he enters a game. You have no idea if he's going to come to play hard or if he's half asleep. Maybe it'll be Iman Shumpert once he moves to the bench when Baron Davis is ready to play. Shumpert and Toney Douglas as a defensive duo to come in and change the pace? They need to figure out some kind of identity off the bench and be more intense."
Vinnie_Chestnut: "Do you think it showing itself unwise to turn Shump lose as a rooking on the O-End? Conventional philosophy is to manage rookies more... "
AH: "You have a point, Vinnie, but right now I don't see any other alternatives. Shumpert gives them defense and a big body and someone who is athletic. But his decision-making is typical of a rookie and that is glaring when you have to set up two star scorers. But Douglas had his chance and wasn't effective and Mike Bibby clearly can't log a heavy load of minutes because he breaks down physically. So right now Shumpert is all you have."
keemflemo: "Why does Fields hesitate to take shots"
AH: "Confidence, mainly. But he's been much better lately, especially in putting the ball on the floor and attacking the rim with his athleticism. He is a pace player, meaning he needs an uptempo game to be most effective."
AH: "Thanks everyone for joining us and hit me on Twitter if we didn't get to you today. Enjoy the game tonight."
Follow Alan on twitter @alanhahn.