Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

95 comments on “14-14

  1. Dan Panorama

    Holy shit.

    Just to put it in perspective here are all the other Rookie-Soph MVPS: Elton Brand, Wally Szczerbiak, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, Amare Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Andre Igoudala. That’s pretty distinguished company.

    As soon as the trade deadline’s over and this ridiculous James “showcasing” is finished, Lee better be starting.

  2. Confucius

    I am so happy that David Lee was able to distinguish himself amidst all those studs. What he did was awesome.

    Please remember no defense is played in these All-star games.

  3. jon abbey

    if what the papers are saying about Isiah keeping Lee on the bench to make sure he has a shot at the sixth man award (so stupid but not my point), that can end after one more game. the rule is you need to come off the bench in more games than you start, and Lee has already come off the bench 41 times (and started the other 12).

  4. jon abbey

    “Please remember no defense is played in these All-star games.”

    he is leading the league in FG percentage in the real games also.

  5. dave crockett

    This is one of those controversies where I’m not sure why it won’t go away. Unless there are incentives in Lee’s contract for starts I kinda don’t get it.

    If the issue is minutes, he’s playing 30.9/game. That’s 5 minutes more than Frye (and 10 more than Jeffries). He’s almost always in the game quickly, and always on the floor for end of half situations.

    I can see a case for increasing his minutes to 35, but whether they come as a starter is 6 in one hand a half-dozen in the other. Strategically, I don’t see the difference.

  6. jon abbey

    “I can see a case for increasing his minutes to 35, but whether they come as a starter is 6 in one hand a half-dozen in the other. Strategically, I don?t see the difference.”

    why start any of your best players then? we get into a hole way too often at the start of the games, it’d be nice if Lee was out there from the start. it’s not like we don’t have a bench without him, Frye, Francis (who looked awful against GS, but he was far from alone in that), Jeffries and/or Balkman, and even Nate occasionally. that’s plenty of energy off the bench.

  7. Paul

    Seriously? What makes you think Lee’s unworthy of all the praise he’s been getting lately? And who exactly could/should we trade him for?

  8. jon abbey

    I’d trade him for Deron Williams or Chris Paul (not that those teams would consider that), and I’d think about Felton. that’s about the end of the list, honestly. in lieu of that pipe dream, start the damn guy already.

  9. Paul

    I would love to upgrade our PG spot AND get younger at it at the same time, but yeah you’re right. It’s a pipe dream. Two trades, one that was and one that wasn’t, that I wish we could have mulligans with would be the Ariza trade and the Frye-for-Bynum trade.

    But this is a derail. David Lee for President!

  10. mac

    According to 82games, the top knick’s pair for
    +/- is Lee and Balkman… Should Balkman start as well? Although last year, the top pair was Lee and Butler…

  11. jon abbey

    Balkman shouldn’t start, but he should certainly play 15-20 minutes a game. with he and Lee, it’s not just what they give you right now, it’s a question of them needing minutes to develop so we can see more precisely what we have. Balkman is a pretty unique talent, he’s had some success guarding everyone from Yao to Wade this year, it’d be nice to see just how good he can be.

  12. mase

    he is our best player a nd best trading chip…you would never get Deron or Chris paul or felton for him, why even mention it?

    He’s my fav player but the Knicks have a lot of needs and can’t afford to keep him.

  13. big_fella

    Lee should start and get 35 mpg. The first quarter is important, the team that wins that quarter often wins the game. Plus, it would be nice to watch the Knicks 5 best players start together and play together, so we can see what we really have and what we need.

  14. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    He’s your favorite player, he’s on his rookie contract, you can’t get an elite young PG for him…how exactly does this add up to trading him?

    That being said, I do think Lee should start as well, for reasons others have stated — it’s rare the team jumps out to a lead. Far more often than not, the Knicks are down by 10 or so after one or at best tied. Having Lee on the floor for our nightly “furious 3rd/4th quarter comeback” is nice, but how about seeing if the team can avoid that trap?

    On a side note, if this team is going to make a run, there are more important factors than whether or not Lee starts:

    1. The schedule
    Of the last 29 games, 18 are back to back sets. As was the case in GS, the Knicks have looked particularly awful on the second night of back to backs. For example, after the all-star break, they have a tough game v. Orlando at home followed by a a road game v. Philly. The Orlando game I can see this team willing and then falling utterly phlat v. Philadelphia. They must figure out a way to remain “energized” on back to back sets. Is this coaching? Is this simply a question of will?

    2. Don’t play down to the competition.
    Most “winning” teams play about .500 ball v. the other “winning” teams and demolish the lottery contestants. The Knicks have actually done pretty well v. the elite (wins at Washington, Chicago, Utah, LA (2x), Cleveland, Detroit). It’s the terrible losses to Philly, Boston (2x), Charlotte (2x), Atlanta, etc. that have the Knicks under .500. If they’d won 4 of the games mentioned above, we’d be in the playoffs as of this date.

    3. Steve Francis
    Marbury can’t keep playing 36-38 mpg the rest of the season and expect his knees to hold up. Francis needs to be an effective PG off the bench and continue Steph’s solid, unselfish play.

    4. Channing Frye
    There are entire threads devoted to the “deer in the headlights” look that Frye seems to have this year. Whatever the reason, if he can start draining the midrange shots the way he did as a rookie, it’d take pressure off Curry and Crawford to carry the load each and every night.

    5. The Rotation.
    Here’s my two cents — Marbury, Crawford, Richardson, Lee and Curry as the starters. Frye, Francis, Balkman, and Robinson off the bench. That’s it. Carve it in stone tablets and prop them in front of Zeke’s nose before every game. Sorry Jared, it’s been a lousy year.

    It’s odd, when Riley/Van Gundy was coach it used to drive me bonkers that the same players would come off the bench at exactly the same time (save for foul trouble) no matter how well/poorly they were playing. I used to think, “God this is idiotically inflexible. Respond to what’s in front of you, not your precious, ‘rotation’.” Now that I’ve seen the alternative, I get the logic…

    Sorry if I;ve derailed the David “Buddy” Lee Love-fest with this screed. Lee rocks. He needs to ditch that Mike Brady perm he’s sporting pronto, but he still rocks.

    All 14 shots in the rookie game were dunks and or
    free throws. I remember watching a pre-season/summer game where he was knickig down 15-20 footers with ease? What happened to Lee’s improved outside shot?

  15. big_fella

    btw, I love Lee but Paul should have won the MVP. I thought Lee looked a little embarrassed getting the trophy. No big deal either way, but Paul really set the tone for the routing of the frosh squad.

  16. Nixluva

    GREAT for Lee! I love his game. I think it would be a good thing for him to be a starter. I think we’d start games a little more solid and with a bit more energy and focus. The James experiment should be over. I don’t want to see that guy again unless it’s a blowout. Tho we’ll probably see him in the Magic game, since he makes sense in that matchup.

    I think we can and should play a 10 man rotation. We have a couple of guys that aren’t consistent enough to give consistent minutes, so from game to game their time may fluctuate.

    Steph, Jamal, Q, Lee and Curry – Francis, Frye, Jared, Balkman and Nate.

  17. Dan

    Lee should definitely start. As for the MVP of the game, I thought it was really a tossup between him and Chris Paul, but I’m happy Lee won. 14-14 is ridiculous, and he coupled it with 4 assists 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.

    Regarding the rotation, I’d like to see Lee start and see more of Balkman AND Cato, who I think would provide the defense that Isiah was trying to get out of James.

  18. Ben

    Ken – I like your rotation and I totally agree with the set minutes for all the bench players but I would replace Nate with Jeffries. We do not need two PG’s coming off the bench and we need defense (Jeffries) more than offense (Nate).

    Also Lee is a great offensive player. People are too quick to dismiss his offensive talent, he has scored over 20 a number of times. He is also a great passer and once he learns to keep his turnovers down he will be a great asset passing on the high post.

    His jumpshot is developing but I do not want him to rely on it too much. Look at Kurt Thomas, early in his career he would work for points near the basket but as his shot got better he just settled fot the mid-range jumper.

  19. Dan Panorama

    The thing about Lee’s offense – and this is strictly for now, it could change – is that almost all his points are garbage buckets. A lot of them come from his prodigious offensive rebounding, or from broken plays in which he can finish extremely well, or from mismatches where he can use his speed off the dribble to get around a slow center. This is all great – but you still can’t use Lee as an offensive go-to guy with these abilities as they all start with something going wrong for the other team, he doesn’t create the shot for himself or disrupt the opposing team’s defense. If Lee were to add that jumper, as everyone keeps saying, this could change rapidly as it could force players to guard him closely which would enable him to use his superior speed to drive by them and finish strong around the basket.

  20. Larry A

    The game was great. Glad to see a Knick do well on a big stage. It’s been a long time comming.

    I think Isiah deserves some credit here for drafting Lee at the bottom of the first round after a lot of teams passed on him. If my memory is correct, both Isiah and Lee were booed on draft night at the garden when he was selected. I try to keep that in mind before I jump to bash Thomas for not starting him now.

    While I agree Lee is the best forward on the team, I can live with his 30 minutes off the bench if it means we are still developing Frye as well. Isiah may be dangling the starting spot in front of Lee to try to motivate him to keep working hard to improve…and well, Lee is certainly working hard and improving.

    The James experiment has continued to be a bust but since he only gets about 5 minutes it has not been a total disaster of epic proportions. The Knicks most obvious asset is size so it is hard to knock them for trying to use it.

    Can’t stand seeing Malik Rose chucking jumpers though. That has got to end.

  21. Confucius

    The whole David Lee debate is counter productive.
    Isiah has done a good job of managing him. Coming off the bench keeps Lee out of early foul trouble which in turn allows him to play agrressively and keeps on the court in the fourth quarter. The only way David Lee should become a starter is if there is a considerable upgrade at the 3 i.e..Artest.

    Does anyone think Scottie Pippen can help the Knicks? I thnk he can.

  22. T-MART

    Any reasonable person who has watched the Knicks this season can see that everything is just better when David Lee is on the floor. Eddy Curry plays better, everyone passes better, the totality of the defensive play is better, he should be starting and playing more minutes.

    Suggesting this debate is counter-productive is counter-productive to your credibility.

    And Scottie Pippen….dude…. we already have 79 assistant coaches, do we really need an extra one who sits on the bench with a uniform on instead.

  23. jon abbey

    “The thing about Lee?s offense – and this is strictly for now, it could change – is that almost all his points are garbage buckets. A lot of them come from his prodigious offensive rebounding, or from broken plays in which he can finish extremely well, or from mismatches where he can use his speed off the dribble to get around a slow center. This is all great – but you still can?t use Lee as an offensive go-to guy with these abilities as they all start with something going wrong for the other team, he doesn?t create the shot for himself or disrupt the opposing team?s defense”

    I think you’re understating his skills a bit here. his jumper is clearly pretty awful right now, but his one on one moves are underrated. besides which, who needs him to be an offensive go-to guy on a unit with Curry, Crawford, Marbury and Q?

  24. Dan Panorama

    “who needs him to be an offensive go-to guy on a unit with Curry, Crawford, Marbury and Q?”

    I agree completely, a big part of why Lee has been so successful is that the Knicks have plenty of offensive weapons already and can leave it to Lee to cover up their mistakes and get them more possessions.

    But this role is also very different than being an “emerging superstar” which is something that’s been bandied about with Lee in the national press recently. I think he may quickly become the best at what he does in the league – being the “glue” guy who rebounds and hustles – but unless he seriously upgrades his offensive game he’ll succed only when utilized in that capacity.

  25. Jay G.

    i definitely wouldn’t trade david lee for ray felton, and i probably wouldnt trade him for deron williams

  26. mase

    Love the guy but lets be honest Lee has strengths and weaknessess… for a big guy at his position there are many players that can hit the 3 ball. He isn’t quick enough to guard 3′s on the perimeter or rugged in the post to guard opposing 4′s.
    If he is able to develop a mid-range jumper like Oakley and/or improve his passing to where he could be considered a point forward threat then he’s worth the accolades of an up and coming superstar. He is a stat machine but there are a lot of forwards who are very promising, ie. Deng, al jefferson, caron butler, etc…This is why I would consider trading him while his stock is high.

    The Knicks would have to be very good down the stretch to sneak into the 8th playoff spot. What happens to us next season when teams in the lower rankings can vastly improve due to high draft picks and salary cap room flexibility, both of which the Knicks have none?

    Maybe i’m looking at the glass half-empty but thiis a good draft coming up and would love to have an extra pick.

  27. villainx

    Emerging superstar in the Wallace, Rodman category is pretty valuable. I rather he stay as close to the basket as possible and not fall in love with the jumper.

    Though given his improvements on the free throw line, I think he’s interested in improving and will likely improve on different aspects of his game.

    And from his touches near the basket, he does have a really good knack at getting the ball into the basket. Maybe he can work with McHale or the equivalent.

  28. thepalerider

    “trade him while his stock is high”

    Are you serious? Trade the best thing we have going? Trade him for what? Another player who has to dominate the ball? Seriously Lee is the best thing going for the Knicks now people want to trade him?

  29. mase

    Rumors about Rashard lewis trades are bordering on absurd. he’s another aging all-star who can opt out after July.

  30. Owen

    My favorite basketball website after Knickerblooger is the Wages of Wins. They post fascinating statistical analysis of the NBA there. In a recent post they concluded that David Lee has to this point been the sixth most productive player in the entire NBA. Not on a per-minute basis either.

    I watch the knicks closely, and I can verify what many others have said above and what 82games confirms also. When David Lee is out there on the court the Knicks simply play much better. He is never going to win any style points or the kind of plaudits reserved for the high flying, upside guys. I can’t remember seeing him hit a shot outside of the paint, or posterizing someone, or breaking anyone’s ankles, but he is a devastatingly effective player nonetheless. It’s quite possible that if he had averaged 40 minutes per game this season, the Knicks would be in playoff position.

    Its simply ridiculous that David Lee doesnt get more minutes than anyone on the team. On the offensive end he is leading the league in offensive rebounding and field goal percentage. He has twice as many assists as Eddy Curry, the so called hub of our offense, while recording 80 fewer turnovers. What more do you want? On defense, he doesnt get many blocks, although he has almost as many as Eddy btw, but he has been a competent defender. His recent play against Lamar Odom was just another sign that he can do more on that end than people expect also.

    Free David Lee!

  31. Paul

    Aging? He’ll turn 28 this August! I mean he’s not as young as he was when he came straight out of high school, but he’s not Gary Payton, either.

    C’mon guys. A lot of the comments lately have had less and less thought behind them. Let’s not turn into RealGM here.

  32. Ira

    I’d go with an eight man rotation, similar to the nine man rotation mentioned above.
    Starters – Curry, Lee, Q, Craw, Marbury
    Backups – Frye, Balkman, Francis

    I’d also give Nate and Jeffries limited play in certain situations.

  33. jon abbey

    I’d make sure to start Jerome James every game, he’s a difference-maker. also Jeffries, he’s so good at holding onto the ball when he touches it, a rare skill in today’s league. and I’d build the offense around Malik Rose open jumpers, like we tried last game, how can you go wrong with that?

    I’d be crying if I wasn’t laughing…

  34. Tito

    Lee will become a great NBA player and he and Isiah know that his time will come. I like Lee off the bench because he can change the tempo of a game quickly and provides a impact on everyone’s game. As a Knicks fan, I’m just glad he’s in our team and I hope he continues to grow.

    One player the Knicks should be looking in a trade is Rashard Lewis. I hope Isiah can pull a trade bringing Lewis to the Knicks without using our young guns. I wouldn’t mind if he trade it Frye, Jeffreis, and Cato for Rashard Lewis or Crawford and Frye for Rashard Lewis.

    Knicks 4Ever!

  35. Confucius

    “Knicks are 6-2 when Lee plays 40+ minutes. I don?t buy the foul trouble argument either, sorry.”

    What is the Knicks record when Lee starts? The debate is about starting Lee and not how many minutes he plays.

  36. Paul

    I think the minutes issue is the what it all boils down to, though. It’s not like Isiah keeps him out for the 1st quarter and then starts putting him in afterwards. It turns it into a semantic and philosophic debate about the value of starting, instead of the actual time he’s out on the floor boarding and garbage-pailing to put up those sexy numbers.

    Like I said earlier, he’s getting ~31 minutes a game. I’d be comfortable with pushing that up maybe 5 more, but we have an interesting problem with the forward slot so I don’t think it would be realistic to throw him out there for longer even though Hollinger’s per-40′s would have us believe with 40 mins/g he’d be a bigger game changer than Kobe.

  37. jon abbey

    “What is the Knicks record when Lee starts? The debate is about starting Lee and not how many minutes he plays.”

    it’s pretty hard for him (or anyone) to get 40 minutes if they’re not starting and the game doesn’t go into OT. the idea of starting your five best players (with occasional exceptions for the right sixth man, almost always a scoring guard) is to maximize their minutes over the course of the game.

    I don’t feel like looking up the numbers, but I do know that he was starting during our six game winning streak last January, before Steph got hurt running into Sczerbiak.

  38. Matt

    Nate, Frye, and Malik Rose for Rashard Lewis if they can extend him, or throw in another contract in a sign-and-trade (Jeffries?). This seems like the best trade for both teams, and it works in the trade machine, but i dont know how this summer would affect it.

    We don’t _need_ Nate, don’t Need Frye (Lee can learn to shoot 15 footers and if you have Lewis, you surely don’t need Frye’s 18 footers. Losing Malik Rose would hurt, but Kelvin Cato seems to be doing a good job as a practice partner and I don’t think that the leadership void is as bad now as it was before, esp. when Q gets burn and plays well.

  39. jon abbey

    I think Kirilenko is a better fit than Rashard Lewis, but I don’t think Utah would want Frye (they have Boozer, Okur and Millsap).

  40. mase

    Ray Allen is a better fit than Lewis especially since he can opt out in July!

    why does everyone want Frye and Nate gone?
    7 footers who can knock down 15′-18′ are worth their weight in gold. Also, fearless Nate birngs a good 3-point range to the table….their stock will go up with time if there is a need to trade either one, right now both are low

  41. Dan Panorama

    I seriously disagree with the “as long as he gets his minutes it’s OK if he doesn’t start line of thinking.” Watching the Knicks this season two things have been apparent:

    1. If the Knicks are ahead in the fourth, they’re very good at sealing the deal.

    That’s the good part.

    2. The Knicks have a tendency to fall flat early in the first quarter and never recover.

    That’s the bad one and it’s cost us a lot of games that were otherwise winnable. So if the Knicks are a better team with Lee on the floor, why save him to dig us out of a hole when our biggest problems have been in the first five to ten minutes of the game? Let’s just not get in that hole in the first place – setting the tone at the start of the game is too important to leave to inferior players.

  42. chad

    well remember if Lee starts at PF he’s going to pick up fouls faster, especially guarding bigger, stronger, faster PFs. this could make him unavailable at the most unopportune times, like when we need him to give the team a shot in the arm.

    also when he’s on the bench it gives isiah a way of sending the team a message. if you don’t play hard you’re coming out right away and Lee will come in, someone we all know will produce.

    I think our 1st Quarter Woes have more to do with turnovers, defense and shot selection. our defense always starts off terrible, Jamal crawford will come out of the gates slinging 3 pointers at the basket instead of going to the hole early, and then we turn the ball over a lot.

  43. jon abbey

    yeah, maybe we should bench all our best players at the start, go with a lineup of James, Frye, Jeffries, Francis and Nate. then no one would ever get into foul trouble and everyone would be oh so motivated.

    look, this is easy to overthink, but it’s very simple. if it’s possible (meaning what positions they’re capable of playing), you start your five best players. the only exception should be for a scoring guard like Vinnie Johnson or Ben Gordon or Jamal, and the only reason it makes sense at all with Jamal is because Isiah refuses to take him out of the game once he’s in, so him being the sixth man would actually keep his minutes to the 35-38 range where he’s more effective than at 42-45.

    on a related note, Isiah is starting to get some general credit in the press, but it’s for his coaching and not his GM skills. it seems pretty clear to me that he’s a decidedly better GM than a coach, and he’s currently reaping the benefits of the talent he’s assembled the last few years, not sure why that’s not clear to all of the mediots.

  44. John

    “he?s currently reaping the benefits of the talent he?s assembled the last few years”

    Is missing the playoffs, going 23-30 in the Atlantic division with a payroll of $140 mil and no flexibility until 2009 reaping the benefits?

    Why the buyouts of the expiring contracts of Jalen Rose ($16.9 mil) and Taylor ($9.6 mil)? The Knicks will be over the cap for the next few years anyways, why not try to use the expiring contracts as trade chips?

    Also, the Mid-level exception, the only flexibility that the Knicks have, has been squandered on Jefferies and Jerome James over the last 2 years.

    Thomas should get credit for picking good scouts, drafting extremely well, being a decent coach, and improving the locker room atmosphere, but not for being a good GM.

  45. Jay G.

    “Thomas should get credit for picking good scouts, drafting extremely well, being a decent coach, and improving the locker room atmosphere, but not for being a good GM.”

    isnt “picking good scouts and drafting extremely well” (in general) part of being a good gm. theoretically, isnt that half or more of a gms job description?

  46. jon abbey

    “Is missing the playoffs, going 23-30 in the Atlantic division with a payroll of $140 mil and no flexibility until 2009 reaping the benefits?”

    again, “flexibility”, meaning salary cap space, is overrated.

    “Why the buyouts of the expiring contracts of Jalen Rose ($16.9 mil) and Taylor ($9.6 mil)? The Knicks will be over the cap for the next few years anyways, why not try to use the expiring contracts as trade chips?”

    yeah, I’ve heard this silliness a few times also, but all you get with those is other, longer contracts, and it would have meant two more cranky non-playing veterans in the locker room, we saw too much of that last year. non-issue here.

    “Also, the Mid-level exception, the only flexibility that the Knicks have, has been squandered on Jefferies and Jerome James over the last 2 years.”

    no argument there, but who does that hurt? were there other players they should have been spending that money on? again, pretty much of a non-issue.

    “Thomas should get credit for picking good scouts, drafting extremely well, being a decent coach, and improving the locker room atmosphere, but not for being a good GM.”

    he’s made some blunders, but with the hand he was dealt when he got here, I disagree. I’d give him a B+ or so as a GM, a C- as a coach. as a coach, he still isn’t starting his best overall player, seemingly just to be obstinate, and he ran out of timeouts in critical situations at least twice (we win those games and we’re right in the playoff race now), and that’s just a start.

  47. Caleb

    Re: David Lee – I’m with Davey Crockett. He probably should be starting, but it doesn’t really matters as long as he gets the minutes.

    I like the Rashard Lewis trade – his outside shooting is a a good fit with the Knicks. He’s a decent rebounder, decent defender – you could think of him as the player Tim Thomas was SUPPOSED to be when he came out of ‘Nova. Frontline of Curry, Lee, Lewis would be terrific. A longshot, though.

    Kirilenko is interesting – doesn’t give you the shooting we need, but if he gets his act back together, he’s awesome. Not sure it would happen, and pretty sure Utah would never do it.

    No one is saying we need to get rid of Frye, but face it – he’s expendable. We have our starting center and PF. Frye is the only guy on the team with any trade value. Same idea with Nate – although if you ask me, he has the exact same strengths and weakness as Crawford, except he’s a better shooter, an even better scorer, has more upside and eats up 1/10th the salary cap.

  48. Dan Panorama

    I agree on the Lewis deal. I think Frye is going to be a great player, but he’ll be underutilized with the Knicks and it won’t be worth it to pay to keep him when we have Lee around – might as well get a piece that fits with the team better while his trade value is high based on his potential alone. Lewis would be especially useful as Q-Rich, who helps out with similar areas, is not at all a sure thing healthwise for the next week let alone the next two or three seasons. Lewis, despite his injury this season, is usually pretty healthy (worst non-rookie season was 71 games) and does a lot of the same things as Q and some of them better.

  49. jon abbey

    Nate is not even close to as good of a scorer as Jamal, who’s unstoppable when he’s on (which admittedly isn’t nearly frequently enough, but still).

  50. Seth

    I may not be the first one to say this, but Lee’s passing is what I’ve really loved about him lately. He’s very adept at feeding Curry and his no-looks often result in an easy basket.

  51. John

    Jon-
    Some of the blame for the Knicks mediocrity since 2003 (39-43, 33-49, 23-59, and 23-30) has to be on Isiah’s shoulders as team president.

    Re: expiring contracts – He brought Jalen Rose here just last year for A. Davis’ expiring contract. If the objective is to get rid of cranky vets, why trade for J. Rose in the first place? Why pick up Francis for Penny’s expiring contract and Ariza? Even if some of that was to stop the bleeding in the LB era, Thomas is the one who made all of those deals, and in my eyes, that hurts his rating as a GM.

    Also, I would agree that salary cap space is overrated in a market like Charlotte, but in New York, marketing and endorsements are a huge incentive for players to sign.

    Zeke as GM: C-

  52. jon abbey

    look, this has been rehashed a million times, but since some people seem to have pretty short-term memories, here is the roster when Isiah took over:

    C-Dikembe Mutumbo, Michael Doleac
    PF-Kurt Thomas, Antonio McDyess, Othella Harrington, Mike Sweetney
    SF-Keith Van Horn, Clarence Weatherspoon
    SG-Allan Houston, Shandon Anderson
    PG-Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward, Frank Williams

    not to mention they were irrevocably over the cap for the next three seasons, until Houston’s contract expired. from this mess, he’s put together arguably the most talented young front line in the league (Curry/Frye/Lee). look at that mess above, most of those guys aren’t even in the league anymore.

    “He brought Jalen Rose here just last year for A. Davis? expiring contract. If the objective is to get rid of cranky vets, why trade for J. Rose in the first place?”

    the objective changed in the interim, at this point he was still stockpiling talent. plus they got the number 1 pick that ended up being Balkman in this deal, plus both that deal and the Ariza one were at least partly driven by Larry Brown’s constant whining, instead of actually coaching as he was being paid a king’s ransom to do.

    so “all of those deals” are two, one of which was good (Balkman for nothing except cash), one of which is a pretty clear dud.

  53. mase

    if he accepted rebuilding the team would have upside and playoff contention by now, instead its ‘lets pray for the first round one-and done scenario’…bottom line is that during his tenure we are not a very good team.

    I fault Isiah for coninuously trying to find that ‘one piece’, which he still does(rashard Lewis), when he should have tore the it down and started over.
    we’d have better future if he shed payroll and drafted well, instead we drafted well and added payroll and we are still lousy!

  54. jon abbey

    first of all, there’s no confirmation that Isiah has even made one phone call regarding Rashard Lewis.

    “if he accepted rebuilding the team would have upside and playoff contention by now”

    what is this based on? we’d certainly have less talent on the roster, no Curry and Crawford to start.

    “bottom line is that during his tenure we are not a very good team.”

    well, no kidding, but the point is he was left in an absurd hole by Layden.

    “we?d have better future if he shed payroll and drafted well”

    taking on payroll was a major reason why we had five first round picks the last two seasons.

  55. KnickerBlogger Post author

    jon, we have gone down this road before as well. Just because each individual deal isn’t poor doesn’t mean that Isiah has done a good job. Take a look at the front line you touted. There isn’t a good defender in the lot. How can you build a winning team without a good defensive front court?

    The goal of every GM is to build towards a championship, whether that means acquiring that last piece (Dumars with Rasheed Wallace) or tearing down a team to rebuild. Isiah made the mistake of trying to to both at the same time, (or one then the other) which has led to a mediocre (at best) result in each. Remember that in 2003 there were 9 teams worse than us in the standings. Of those 9 teams, only Memphis & Atlanta are still worse than us. While the roster Isiah inherited may not have been that great, other teams inherited poor states as well and have had better success than Zeke.

  56. jon abbey

    “other teams inherited poor states as well and have had better success than Zeke.”

    no one in league history has had a combined roster with no future and salary cap situation anywhere near the Knicks of three years ago. there simply has never been a comparable situation, not even close.

  57. jon abbey

    “Remember that in 2003 there were 9 teams worse than us in the standings.”

    you’ll also recall that half those teams drafted superstars that year in the first five picks of the draft, something we didn’t have a chance to do (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Carmelo).

  58. jon abbey

    “How can you build a winning team without a good defensive front court?”

    Phoenix and Dallas (before this year) say hello.

  59. jon abbey

    sorry for the multiple posts, one more:

    are we going to win a championship soon? no, of course not. but we’re back in the league, out of the huge hole we were in, with quite a few players who have upside potential. the roster Isiah inherited had little present and zero future. we’re only one or maybe two moves away from being a 45-50 win team next year, I think.

  60. John

    Its funny to me that this roster is constantly considered better than it has performed over the last few years. I understand that Isiah he had to untangle a mess when he took the job in ’03, but that was four years ago. If Curry/Frye/Lee is the best young frontline in the league, and the roster that Thomas contructed is that good, shouldn’t that translate into wins at some point? The most important measure of a team is their season record and performance in the playoffs (not applicable in this case). Until the Knicks are the very least .500, I don’t know how you can justify that Thomas has been good GM.

  61. mase

    “taking on payroll was a major reason why we had five first round picks the last two seasons. ”

    we’ve also given up 5 first round draft picks.

  62. KnickerBlogger Post author

    “you?ll also recall that half those teams drafted superstars that year in the first five picks of the draft, something we didn?t have a chance to do (LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Carmelo).”

    Right, but that’s not a case for Isiah. His original plan was to make New York an immediate winner. Had Isiah stayed with the sinking ship, New York would have had a high pick in ’04. Granted there wasn’t a bevvy of talent in that draft, but with the .385 mid-season win% we had before his arrival, we would have had the 7th pick in the draft which is Luol Deng. By trading for Curry, we also lost the #2 overall pick as well (Aldridge or Tyrus). And if Isiah let the ship sink with that disasterous roster we would have gotten a better pick than #8 in ’05. Deron Williams was still around at #3, and Chris Paul was at #4.

    So saying that Isiah didn’t have an impact player because we haven’t had top draft picks isn’t accurate. His actions have taken that possibility away from us. In a way, we’ve sacraficed getting a top draft pick in favor of Stephon Marbury & Eddy Curry.

  63. Confucius

    It is still too early to evaluate the moves Isiah has made.

    Criticized at first, the Curry deal is looking better each day. Should Curry go on to dominate the Eastern Conference who could argue against that trade.

  64. John

    Its worth mentioning that Isiah Thomas has had a distinct advantage over every other GM in the league–an owner who doesn’t care how much money is spent. In the first half of this year, the Knicks paid players $35 million not to play–that’s almost the entire payroll of the Bobcats roster. No other GM has that kind of license from their owner.

  65. jon abbey

    “Had Isiah stayed with the sinking ship, New York would have had a high pick in ?04. Granted there wasn?t a bevvy of talent in that draft, but with the .385 mid-season win% we had before his arrival, we would have had the 7th pick in the draft which is Luol Deng. By trading for Curry, we also lost the #2 overall pick as well (Aldridge or Tyrus). And if Isiah let the ship sink with that disasterous roster we would have gotten a better pick than #8 in ?05. Deron Williams was still around at #3, and Chris Paul was at #4.”

    there’s just so many hypotheticals here, it’s tough to argue for me. sure, Deng was #7 in 2004, but Josh Childress was #6 and Rafael Araujo was #8. crediting someone with the best player left at a hypothetical draft position is just too much of a jump for me, I’d prefer to argue somewhat more tangibles.

  66. jon abbey

    “If Curry/Frye/Lee is the best young frontline in the league, and the roster that Thomas contructed is that good, shouldn?t that translate into wins at some point?”

    yes, definitely. the problem is that Larry Brown made us start from square 1 this year in terms of chemistry, making this year a necessary developmental one (I mean, it was obvious from his first preseason that Lee should be playing more, but Brown kept pushing Maurice Taylor in there, UGH). there’s still an outside chance for the playoffs this year, although our boys have shown zero ability to string any wins together so far, but if we don’t get to the 40-50 win level next year, then I think that can be held against Isiah.

  67. DMull

    “Its funny to me that this roster is constantly considered better than it has performed over the last few years. I understand that Isiah he had to untangle a mess when he took the job in ?03, but that was four years ago. If Curry/Frye/Lee is the best young frontline in the league, and the roster that Thomas contructed is that good, shouldn?t that translate into wins at some point? The most important measure of a team is their season record and performance in the playoffs (not applicable in this case). Until the Knicks are the very least .500, I don?t know how you can justify that Thomas has been good GM.”

    John – *High Five*

    The idea is that we should win more because our players are so talented. And they are. But at what point do you start looking in the mirror and say “It is what it is.”

    Jamal Crawford – Yes, he has unbelievable talent. He could be a very good defender, has a nice touch, good handle and great passing skills. But he’s been in the league how long now?

    I could go through the list on just about every player.

    We keep expecting these guys to play better because they’re still young, but a lot of them are NBA veterans – marginal improvement is all we can expect at this point.

    And I also think that offensive talent is overrated. Defense and rebounding and such is considered a matter of hustle – but that’s not totally accurate. Some guys have great defensive instincts (and/or the will to be good defensive players) and some do not. At what point do we realize that some of our players don’t have that?

    Do I think this roster has the ability to win more games? Yes, I do. But until we actually start winning more games, all of this “we’re so talented” talk is really just useless blabber to keep us interested.

  68. Knickerblogger

    Fine about the hyoptheticals. But then you can’t argue the point that other teams have had a quicker turnaround because of getting high draft picks. We’ve had the opportunity to get some good draft picks, but opted for another method of rebuilding.

  69. mase

    “C-Dikembe Mutumbo, Michael Doleac
    PF-Kurt Thomas, Antonio McDyess, Othella Harrington, Mike Sweetney
    SF-Keith Van Horn, Clarence Weatherspoon
    SG-Allan Houston, Shandon Anderson
    PG-Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward, Frank Williams”

    from this roster i’d take:
    frank williams over Mardy Collins
    Othella over Mo Taylor/Malik/cato
    KVH over Jalen Rose/Jeffries
    Healthy Allan houston over Crawford/Francis/Q/marbury
    Mutombo over Jerome James/cato

    Isiah added so much talent?

  70. jon abbey

    Van Horn and Houston aren’t in the league anymore, in case you hadn’t noticed. the above is a roster with pretty much zero collective future, whereas I’d say right now probably half our team has considerable upside, I like the Curry/Lee/Crawford axis going into next season, hopefully we can build a bit more around it before then.

  71. mase

    I noticed Van Horn and Houston werent in the league, I was comparing the roster then to the current roster…in case you hadnt noticed.

  72. Brian Cronin

    from this roster i?d take:
    frank williams over Mardy Collins
    Othella over Mo Taylor/Malik/cato
    KVH over Jalen Rose/Jeffries
    Healthy Allan houston over Crawford/Francis/Q/marbury
    Mutombo over Jerome James/cato

    Isiah added so much talent?

    I don’t get it. You would take the Knicks’ former starting center over the Knicks’ current backup center.

    You would take the Knicks’ former starting small forward over their current backup small forward.

    Isn’t that just obvious?

    The only guy you’d take over a starter (and no, Jerome James does not count, consarnit!) is the Knicks’ former All Star shooting guard, whose departure from the team was due to injury, not Isiah Thomas.

  73. cwod

    he’s saying you can’t just compare layden-era starters to the current backups and say, “oh look, isiah didn’t add talent.” that’s almost like saying, “i’d take curry over doleac. isiah added talent.”

  74. T-Mart

    “We keep expecting these guys to play better because they?re still young, but a lot of them are NBA veterans – marginal improvement is all we can expect at this point.”

    Have you been watching any games this season, the turn-around we have seen in Marbury completely trashes your entire argument, a player on the down-side, beyond an NBA vet at this point. He has shown substantial material improvement.

  75. Capt. Merlin

    I’ve been pushed over the edge by the absolute ridiculous nature of the starting lineup issue, which has degenerated to the point of only being classifiable as a shenanigan. To immediately state my point on the matter: yes, David Lee has undeniably shown to everyone that he deserves to be in the starting 5. And to those of you who claim it doesn’t matter if Lee starts so long as he gets his minutes, that is as equally ridiculous as the less than satisfactory way Isiah is handling the situation altogether. If that stance had any worth or merit at all, then why would any team even bother starting its best 5(with exceptions made for position of course)? Some may argue that a move to the starting lineup for Lee would disrupt the developing chemistry, or something equating to that argument. Admittedly, it could, however, the Knicks are only 24-30, which despite leaving them in playoff contention, is a completely unacceptable mark, indicative of just how well the current chemistry is racking up the W’s. Were the record to be different, then perhaps 6th man would be acceptable. However, it is not. But were Lee to have started more than the meager twelve he did as a result of injuries and suspensions, I can assure you the Knicks would find themselves better positioned for a playoff push, as his presence on the court is a very valuable one that undoubtedly would have prevented the Knicks from falling into some of the deep holes to which they seem to be quite prone. Sure, it’s wonderful to have that seemingly inevitable furious 3rd or 4th quarter surge every night–the notorious one which always brings every fan to the edge of their seats and fills their heart with hope and their minds with thoughts of a miracle victory, only then to, excepting a few occasions, fall just short. But what would be even more wonderful is if the necessity for such a run each night were to be mitigated by the presence of the Knicks’ hardiest competitor, most consistent rebounder, and at the very least their PF with the least flawed game of the lot. Perhaps it would be a different story if there were five other players on the team–even with complete disregard to position–who were able to produce more consistently than he.

    But it is none of that which pushed me over the edge, I was able to cope with seeing Frye start in Lee’s place. Even for the disastrous brief stretch when Jeffries started I somehow restrained myself from falling into this state of utter dismay. But now, who is starting along Curry in the frontcourt? None other than the fudgepacking, $38 million marshmallow man himself–Jerome James–a 7-footer self-professed disdain towards any general sort or form of effort whatsoever. This move can only be seen as an attempt to showcase James, whose stock is so far in the toilets that the attempt isn’t even worthwhile, especially considering the 5 minute time limit he imposes on himself through a level of play one can only remark upon as utterly disgusting.

    The man behind all this madness is none other than the coach himself. Isiah is pulling double duty as President and Coach for perhaps the hardest to manage franchise in all sports’ history, and is failing at both. Given his keen eye for talent, but lack of all other qualities necessary for the former part of his job definition, coupled with his ability to mediate the personalities of his team, Isiah is best suited as a talent scout and/or locker room parent of sorts. Nothing More.

    kdkessler2001@yahoo.com

  76. DMull

    “Have you been watching any games this season, the turn-around we have seen in Marbury completely trashes your entire argument, a player on the down-side, beyond an NBA vet at this point. He has shown substantial material improvement.”

    He’s made strides on defense. But his offense isn’t what it was. He’s playing much better than last year, but he’s playing alright – let’s stop acting like he’s playing out of this world. He’s a guy with all-star potential at PG who is now being credited for playing like a marginal PG.

    And Marbury was my favorite player since he went to Georgia Tech. He’s quite simply not playing that well though.

    But yes, he’s changed his effort on defense. But how often does this happen to a guy who’s been in the league as long as him?

    Why is Marbury suddenly a better player? He’s much worse than he was a few years ago. It’s not even close.

    Hey if you want to believe that Jamal is suddenly going to start to put consistent effort into his defense and start shooting 45% from the field..and Eddy is going to start blocking shots..and Channing Frye is going to stop being soft..and Nate is going to be effective under control..etc, etc….go for it..I’ll try to be a bit more realistic.

  77. T-Mart

    Your entire argument was predicated on the fact that we will never see any of the young players on the Knicks make even marginal improvement. You then concede that one of the must bullish uncoachable stars in NBA history has made a material improvement in his game that noone ever thought possible in a million years, and then continue to insist that marginal improvement is unrealistic for our ‘younger’ and defaultedly easier to coach players. Come on man.

  78. DMull

    “marginal improvement is all we can expect at this point.” is different than “we will never see any of the young players on the Knicks make even marginal improvement.”

    I was talking about guys who have been in the league 6 years already – like Crawford. I don’t see him becoming an all-star, sorry. Maybe he’ll get a little better each year. But is he going to wake up tomorrow and start playing D and shooting 50% and cutting down the turnovers? I highly doubt it.

    Eddy Curry is in his 6th season, he’s been on two different teams and his offense has imrpoved but his rebounding rate and defense and blocked shots have been stagnant. Sorry, but I’m not going to sit around booking on him turning into Patrick Ewing on defense, I just don’t see it as being realistic.

    I didn’t bring Steph up – you did. So OK, maybe all our players will change their style and in turn become worse at the game of basketball. That will do us a lot of good.

    You claim I said Steph “has made a material improvement in his game”

    did you read what I wrote?

    “Why is Marbury suddenly a better player? He?s much worse than he was a few years ago. It?s not even close.”

    Go ahead and argue that he’s better, I don’t buy it. But don’t claim I said he has improved when I in fact said he’s a much worse player than a few years ago (I DID say he is playing better than last year, but we all know that last year was an absolute mess, to count that as improvement would be ridiculous).

  79. Owen

    This thread is ridiculous. David Lee should be starting. He is the best player on the Knicks, and in fact statistically one of the top ten in the league. Anyone who claims you should limit your best players minutes for the sake of chemistry is being foolish.

    I have DLee on my fantasy team, where he wins the rebounding category every week almost by himself. I did notice thought that he had a seven turnover game last night, which I can barely believe. I said to myself thats probably something Eddy Curry has never done. LOL. Actually, he’s done it twice in the past month.

    They still won though, DLee offset his turnovers with sixteen count em sixteen rebounds, four offensive, and two blocks, in 35 minutes. Curry meanwhile had just six rebounds in 38 minutes, although three were offensive. Unreal. Very efficient scoring by Curry, and he was even above the Curry line, notching three steals and an assist against three turnovers. No blocks though, amazing how few blocks he gets…

  80. Dan Panorama

    Owen, I play fantasy sports too and there is something major to keep in mind – the best statistical players are not the best players in real life. Would you take Josh Smith over Allen Iverson or Andris Biedrins over Shaquille O’Neal, even without factoring in age or contracts? On my fantasy team, yeah in a minute. Smith and Biedrins are more balanced and hurt my team less on turnovers and free throws. In real life, hell no! Don’t throw the fantasy stuff in these discussions, it’s a waste of time.

  81. Owen

    Last time I checked, which was just now, DLee was the 56th rated player in my Yahoo Fantasy League. My assessment of him is not based on his fantasy value, although watching his stats every night certainly has opened my eyes to how productive a player he is. His stats are pretty eye-popping, sixteen rebounds in 35 minutes?

    The statistical assessment i was referring to is actually based on work done on two websites. The first is The Wages of Wins, which I think may have the best claim to being the premier analytical basketball blog on the web. For its rating of the top thirty players in the NBA, which I have posted here before, see:

    http://www.wagesofwins.com/Top30-41.html

    82games. com also rates David Lee as the best player on the knicks in terms of plus/minus, actually Cato is first, but DLee is much better than any of the other regulars.

    You wont find Allen Iverson in the aforementioned list of the top thirty players. He’s very exciting, but he actually is a below average player, something which Philly’s win totals over the past few years bear out. The only year they did well he was surrounded by a fairly stong supporting cast I think, Mutombo, Webber, T Hill, and Snow. He commits way too many turnovers, doesnt rebound well, and shoots a very low percentage.

    You wont find Josh Smith on that list either, but Andris Biedrins does make it in to the Wages of Wins top thirty, and yes I would much rather have him on my team than Allen Iverson.

  82. Dan Panorama

    I find an Iverson-Biedrins trade being validated by the thorougly debunked Wages of Wins further evidence of its own invalidity in determining player value.

  83. Gmall

    from nba.com: knicks record when ahead at the
    half 18-1, when behind; 2-27. You can’t afford to get down 10 or more points. David gives the knicks 2nd chance points and limits opponents to 1 shot. Curry is just to weak a defender and rebounder not to have a strong rebounder on the court with him. Knicks will never get anywhere whithout a real 1 and 2. Marbury and Crawford are both 1 1/2′s. The mix is wrong and why there is the inconsistancy. A solid perimeter good defending 2 will make the defense pay for anyone double teaming Curry or blocking a penetrating point guard. Marbury is playing well at the point but despite his good defense this year everyone knows he’s going right and good teams defend him well.

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