Newly acquired New York Knicks point guard Jose Calderon will miss 2-3 weeks due to a strain in his right calf, according to a team announcement.
Calderon, who was acquired by the Knicks during the off-season in the Tyson Chandler deal, had missed the final two preseason games and their Wednesday home opener against the Chicago Bulls where the Knicks were mauled, 104-80.
Knicks coach Derek Fisher had already announced that the Spaniard would be starting and good to go against the Bulls, but the 33-year old guard was a late scratch after feeling “discomfort” in his right calf during the pre-game workouts. An MRI later revealed that Calderon aggravated the injury during the warm-ups.
Fit For the Triangle
Calderon was the key part of the Tyson Chandler trade which also brought Samuel Dalembert and Shane Larkin to the Knicks. His adaptability to Phil Jackson’s triangle offense was expected because of his ability to space the floor with his outside shooting and his excellent passing skills. Calderon has a career average of 6.8 assists per game and 1.1 three point makes per game. Last season, Calderon shot a very high 2.4 three pointers per game while playing for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Knicks have been struggling to learn the triangle system and according to sources, Calderon was the “quickest” to absorb it. He is also an upgrade from their former starting point guard Raymond Felton, who was also shipped out during the Tyson Chandler deal.
Problem at The Point
Calderon’s injury does mean a big problem at the point guard spot for the Knicks who only have Pablo Prigioni and Shane Larkin as the other point guards available. The 37-year old Prigioni doesn’t look like he can play significant minutes anymore with the minor injuries that he’s been dealing with, while the second year guard Larkin doesn’t have the experience to lead a team that has Carmelo Anthony and bigger stars in it.
Larkin started in Calderon’s absence on Wednesday and he struggled in the first start of his NBA career by going 2-6 from the field and scoring 6 points, grabbing 2 rebounds and issuing 3 assists. He was also 0-2 from the three point area. On the other hand, Prigioni did have 3 steals and the same number of assists and rebounds as Larkin, but he too struggled with his offense after just notching 4 points on 1-4 shooting and going 0-3 from three point distance. Calderon’s absence was visibly felt as the Knicks were out-assisted 19-21 and outshot from three point distance 3-7. Without an able floor general, the Knicks also shot a dismal 37% from the field.
The problem does not stop on opening night for the 0-1 Knicks as they will be facing teams with strong point guards in their next three games: Cleveland with Kyrie Irving, Charlotte with Kemba Walker and Washington with John Wall. Starting 0-4 will not be a good sign for the Phil Jackson era.