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Friday, October 31, 2014

2007 Preseason Game 5

Don’t have time for a full write up. Just some quick hits:

  • It was almost another one of those games. Boston started off on a 7-0 run, but I have to give credit to the Knick starters. They held in there & took a first quarter lead. Lee & Robinson also saw time with the first unit (for Curry & Crawford). At that point, that’s just about what a statistician might make the lineup (Marbury, Robinson, Richardson, Lee, Randolph).
  • I actually liked the second quarter team. Nate, Marbury, Jeffries, Lee, Rose. Robinson ran the point, and did a great job. He hit Rose and Jeffries for easy scores, and helped tear up the Celtics defense. On the other side of the court, the defense held up well. If Nate shows that he can run an offense & get other players involved (which he did well in the summer league & the preseason so far) this is a fantastic idea. Bring out your best defensive four, and let Robinson provide the scoring. You could also replace Jeffries or Marbury with Balkman, and Rose with Chandler (who leads the team in blocks this preseason). That would really be one athletic team with the ability to cleanup their misses.
  • The Celtics had no answer for Robinson all night. He scored 20 points on 13 shots in only 27 minutes. Robinson also had 9 rebounds. But the most impressive stat: 4 assists 0 turnovers.
  • There was certainly some animosity tonight. Curry seemed upset early (at Scalabrine?). He seems to be touchy about his shoulder this preseason. Professional sports are like the finale of the Karate Kidd – if you have an injury – be sure to know that’ll be the first place your opponent is going to hit you. Robinson got shoved in the face. Jamal Crawford almost got into a tussle. Keep a mental note of this when the two teams meet in the regular season.
  • David Lee had a nice game. Curry was limited due to foul trouble (17 min), which opened the door for Lee. Early on he lost a rebound to Powe, but he ended up with 14 boards for the evening. One of them was an offensive rebound with :44 seconds left and the Knicks trying to cling to a 4 point lead. Richardson scored 3 points, but had 3 blocks. It’s one of the positives of playing good defense. You can be productive even if your shot isn’t going down. Randolph had 23 points on 15 shots, despite playing most of the game being guarded by Garnett. He also had 5 steals.

64 comments on “2007 Preseason Game 5

  1. Brian Cronin

    Nice results.

    ESPECIALLY nice to see Robinson trying to answer all his critics by maturing enough to run the point. I was getting ready to see that happen years from now, when he was no longer a Knick, when it would piss me off greatly. ;)

  2. Jack Gashi

    Robinson played the point well, but i’d like to see him do this more often and have those five-turnover games less often; he just needs to be consistent, not spectacular.

  3. Dan Panorama

    Robinson was amazing but I’m not convinced yet that he won’t just forget about it and go back to his old ways after a rough game playing the “right” way, as does happen sometimes. As it stands, if he can keep making smart passes, especially those bullets to the post with Lee and others, he’s good.

    The Knicks offense looked great at times in general, btw. Randolph was setting good picks and they often took several passes to find a very open man created by the double teams down low. If Nate can keep hitting that open 3 he could start putting up big numbers in a hurry. Their opponents won’t be able to guard the perimeter well from the looks of things.

  4. Frank

    didn’t catch any of the game, but I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the team played so well with Curry getting just 18 min?

    probably not…

  5. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Robinson played the point well, but i?d like to see him do this more often and have those five-turnover games less often; he just needs to be consistent, not spectacular.

    Well he didn’t have any 5 turnover games last year, and only one 4 turnover game. “Mr. Spectacular” (aka Jamal Crawford) had nine 5 TO games last year.

    Robinson was amazing but I?m not convinced yet that he won?t just forget about it and go back to his old ways after a rough game playing the ?right? way, as does happen sometimes.

    I have more faith in Robinson learning to distribute at age 23, than Jamal Crawford learning not to take bad shots at age 27. I did an unpublished study that showed that taller players reached their peak quickly, and PG took some time.

    Although from what I’m seeing this preseason I might get my wish on both ends. Crawford shot 1-10, but I don’t remember him taking any wild shots (although I may be mistaken).

  6. Owen

    Damn, was going to make the same point about Robinson.

    I have to say, for those of us hoping Crawford might return to 05-06 form, it’s not looking too good so far…

  7. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “I have to say, for those of us hoping Crawford might return to 05-06 form, it?s not looking too good so far?”

    I don’t know Owen. Crawford is certainly going to the rim more often. His FTA/min & 3PA/min are nearly identical to ’06, and visually he’s taking it to the hoop more and shooting wildly from outside less. His eFG is only 36.7%, but that’s over 5 games which is too small of a sample for something as inconsistent as shooting percentage.

  8. Mike Hersh

    Curry might have the worst hands in the league. And im sick of him of taking turn around jumpers. The games when he plays the best is when he attacks the hoop. Did anyone see his “matador D” on any player taking it to the hoop?? I’m really sick of his game. Purely frustrating.

  9. Owen

    Well, I am of course reserving judgment on Crawford, but I would feel much better if his efg in the preseason were above 47%.

    Lee had six offensive rebounds. Nice to see him get into the swing of things….

  10. stopmikelupica

    Curry is a little flatfoot and out of shape on the defensive end. Hence he’s been in foul trouble a bit in the preseason. Still, he wasn’t that terrible a defender last season on his own man (who was usually in foul trouble); Curry just isn’t a very good help defender, which is what the Knicks need down low, with the bad perimeter defense they have (see Crawford, a.k.a. The Real Matador).

    Watching Ray Allen blow by Crawford early in the game while moving in slo-mo was just embarrassing. My biggest problem with Jamal is that his defense is atrocious.

  11. Z

    “Well he didn?t have any 5 turnover games last year, and only one 4 turnover game. ?Mr. Spectacular? (aka Jamal Crawford) had nine 5 TO games last year.”

    After 6 months reading your work I’m pretty sure you prefer per minute to per game comparisons. Does your comparison hold up?

    “The Celtics had no answer for Robinson all night. He scored 20 points on 13 shots in only 27 minutes. Robinson also had 9 rebounds. But the most impressive stat: 4 assists 0 turnovers.”

    Could his stock be going up around the league?

  12. Caleb

    “After 6 months reading your work I?m pretty sure you prefer per minute to per game comparisons. Does your comparison hold up?”

    I’ve beaten this horse with a stick all summer, but Nate’s turnover ratio last year (the percentage of possessions ending with a TO) was 9.6, the best of any Knick guard, down 30 percent from his rookie year and better than the league average.

    Crawford’s TO ratio was 11.4.

    JC has more ballhandling duties, so you would expect more TOs, but Nate is NOT turnover-prone.

    “If Nate can keep hitting that open 3 he could start putting up big numbers in a hurry.”

    He’s also led the team in 3-point shooting percentage the past two years, so that would not be a huge surprise.

  13. Dan Panorama

    I think Curry is experimenting with this new badass attitude, which to him seems to mean fouling people early and often. Probably not the best habit to get into, but with Lee around to back him up it’s not the end of the world when he goes to the bench like it was last year.

    Also there were a couple of plays with Curry and Randolph that looked like glimpses of a best case scenario if they could replicate them (a big if). I remember one play where they worked the around the perimeter and back to Curry, who was about six feet away from the basket because Randolph was drawing the defense out. He scored easily and should score every time they can get him that close to the basket. This offense is going to be a work in progress for at least a little while, but watching the preseason you can see how it might work.

    Defense is another story, although last night was pretty great.

  14. Owen

    Nate’s turnover rate was 9.6 last year. Crawford’s was 11.4. Per 40 Robinson had 2.1 turnovers, Crawford had 2.9.

    So, definitely an edge to Robinson. I have said before, Robinson was very turnover prone his rookie season, but last year he turned that around in a big way. It didnt look like it on the court, he was as wild as ever seemingly, but the numbers tell a different story.

    His stock probably is rising. He looks like the best gaurd on the team right now…

  15. Sebastian[GER]

    Hello,

    I’m from Germany so my english ist not that good. Hoping you understand what I’m tellin :).
    For me it seemed like Nate took much wilder shots vs BOS than Crawford. Everytime Nate took a shot i was freezed and i was just like “please, get in!”.

    My opinion is, that Crawford may has a little adventage over Nate, because of his body and at the offensive end Crawford will help the team more than Nate. Although Nate has improved in Pre-Season and the summer over all. But Crawford pumped his body up with another 15 pounds, i think. And that will help, anyway.

    In Germany we are not able to watch NBA so often, i think that is why I was so impressed by Lee, always grabbed them boards and scored well, at all. Curry didn’t even came back after early foul troubles. Maybe a Z-Bo/Lee or Curry/Lee frontcourt will be better to start with,than Z-Bo/Curry.

    Greetings from Germany and a real
    Knickerblogger-Fan

  16. Frank O.

    I’m all for Eddy letting it all hang out and clearing space for Lee to play. I like the Lee/Randolph pairing better anyway.
    Man, if Robinson suddenly matures into a solid point, what a huge turn of events that would be for this time.
    Interesting that Chandler got such limited minutes after playing so well last time out against some good competition, but the Knicks need to commit to 9 players and the rest will have to wait their turn.
    I seem to remember Crawford having another abysmal shooting game this pres season already. 1-10 is pathetic.

  17. Owen

    It looks like Nichols will be cut. From today’s NYT:

    Howard Beck: “He did not play the rookie Demetris Nichols, who seems certain to be waived.”

    Welcome Sebastian! You are not alone in wishing Lee were in the starting lineup.

  18. Dan Panorama

    Crawford might be dealing with his new muscles. Adding strength can throw off your shooting for awhile sometimes, at least from my experience.

  19. xduckshoex

    I’m not overly concerned with whether or not Lee starts. He seems to do fine as the team’s Ginobili, coming off the bench despite being one of the best in the League at his position.

  20. Owen

    I agree it makes no difference in he plays 33 minutes off the bench or 33 minutes as a starter.

    And probably, for the long term future of the club it might be better not to draw too much attention ot how good he is. Might make it easier to sign him to a reasonable long term deal…

  21. Mr. Black

    David Lee: Starter v. 32 mpg reserve

    I’m not sure where I come out on this debate. I think we can all say that we feel good about Lee playing 32 minutes per game. Does it benefit the team to have him on the floor the first six minutes of the game. Part of me thinks yes for the following reasons:

    – The Knicks tend to get off to slow starts. Last year I noticed that the 1st and 3rd quarters tended to be the times when the team was least effective. The team plays well when Lee is on the floor and it is crucial to play well at the start of each half.

    -Lee masks the weaknesses of Curry, those being defense and rebounding. Richardson did a great job last year picking up Curry’s rebounding slack with 7.2 per game. However, coming of back surgery, it is doubtful that he matches his career high on the glass. Lee can fix the lack of rebounding. Lee can also take some pressure of Curry on defense by swithcing for a few possessions. There arent many big bruiser centers left in the NBA, so Lee could hold his own in spurts. This would at least keep Curry from picking up 1-2 bad fouls.

    -Renaldo Balkman. Last year Thomas said he brought Lee off the bench because the reserve unit needs a player that brings his skill set. Renaldo Balkman fills that role. Balkman can serve as the rebounding specialist and defensive leader of the reserve unit. Additionally, Balkman’s offensive skill set, such that it is, is a better fit with the reserve unit than Lee’s is. Balkman plays a cutting, slashing, running game. This would fit very well with Robinson’s high energy approach. It also fits well with Collins’ ability to find cutters.

    As for the part of me that says no:

    – I’m not sure Lee can keep up with the swifter small forwards in the NBA. We already know about Curry’s poor D. What will happen when Rashard Lewis and Kevin Durant blow right by him? Dont expect Curry to block the shot.

    -Scoring outside of the paint. Lee is not yet ready to hit the 15-18 foot jumper. With Curry and Randolph on the floor the team needs some threat on the perimeter. Yeah, I know Crawford, Marbury, and Richardson can get ice cold, but can Lee at his best bring a legitimate outside scoring threat?

    I’m not sure what Thomas should do. I guess it would not hurt to try it if Q or Crawford isnt getting it done. But Lee at the 3 and bench either Q or JC.

  22. Z

    “Crawford might be dealing with his new muscles. Adding strength can throw off your shooting for awhile sometimes, at least from my experience.”

    From Channing Frye’s experience too.

  23. Kiyaman

    Nate Robinson game is the same as it was in his Rookie SLG, it may be much more refine to his teammates efforts. If a Knick player stay in front of Nate while he is bringing down the ball he will hit you with a decent pass. If you are a slasher to the basket Nate will hit you with a good pass (this was seen several times with Ariza, Lee, Frye, Balkman, and Collins).
    If you stop movement in the halfcourt offense dont expect a pass from Nate. If you dont play any defense dont expect a pass from Nate unless you’re Crawford. That is not considered immature when Jason Kidd does the same thing to his effortless teammates except Carter.
    All short PG in the NBA play to a fast run and gun up-tempo offensive game in the NBA from the 1960’s Bronx Tiny Archibald to the 2000’s Nate Robinson.
    The Knicks have been a steady Halfcourt offensive team since Ewing, and with Marbury, Crawford, Q.Richardson, and Curry, only being able to score in a Halfcourt offense only meets up to half of Nate Robinson skillz and talents.

    This Knick Team need chemistry, so it is best that this Knick Roster be broke into a Two-Unit Team or a 9-Man rotation same thing.
    The Knicks showed great promise in their second meeting with the Boston Celtics by WINNING in MSG. Thanks to Nate Robinson PG-play and Peremeter shooting.

    I can not wait untill Renaldo Balkman’s return so I could see the creativeness of Balkman, Lee, and Nate Robinson line-up do their thing on all Knick Oposition (the three have chemistry on both ends of the court).

    P.S. I am still amazed at the Knicks 6.8 Threesome lineup in the Summer League Games by not giving any of their SL oponents a second thought about WINNING any of the SLG games.
    The sport commentators had to take their hats off again to Isiah Thomas draft picks.
    That 6.8 Threesome look like a Future Knick Winning lineup in two season together in the NBA (Balkman, Chandler, and Nicholes) they covered each other positions (PF, SF, SG) so well like they been playing together for awhile.

    There have to be a strong reason why Isiah Thomas is not giving 6.8 Demetris Nicholes any playingtime in the Preseason games when he averaged 15 points in the SLG from his peremeter shooting with hands in his face.

  24. Hudson River

    ?Crawford might be dealing with his new muscles. Adding strength can throw off your shooting for awhile sometimes, at least from my experience.?

    Thats very true in my experience as well, it takes at least a year for your shot to catch up with your body. I play high school ball and two years ago I showed up to the season having grown significantly and had bulked up(not only because i had been working out) before the season, and while I found my defense and ability to drive the lane and take contact improved, my jumper was simply not the same. The only way to keep the jumper is to build muscle gradually and shoot every day.

    Maybe Crawford will realize we don’t need him to shoot, we have Nate, Q, Marbury (ehh), and Nichols (if he makes the team) who can make threes more consistently than he, and take the ball to the hole.

  25. Hudson River

    By the way, did anybody lose their train of thought and suddenly wonder if there is a divine entity when Malik Rose popped that three?

  26. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Very interesting game indeed.

    As y’all have mentioned, Nate, Lee, and Randolph all had very strong games.

    One thing no one has mentioned is how solid Stephon Marbury looked. He missed some open 3’s, but he had a breakaway steal, played really good D when matched up on Ray Allen (who he also defended well when Allen was in Seattle last year) and in general ran the team well. No, he didn’t get 12 assists and 3 dimes (as he’d put it), but he functioned well w/in the flow of the offense.

    And isn’t that what’s made Steph such a lightning rod of controversy over the years? (as a player, not as a born again Christian, Vick apologist, Shoe pitchman, and wacky interviewee). That he put up huge numbers, but didn’t “lead” the team and/or make others better? Isn’t the best thing we can say that, like a good butler or ref, he functioned so well that we DIDN’T notice him?

    One thing that still bugs me – the damn 3-guard lineup at the end of games. Come on Zeke…

    I am royally psyched at a hell-bent-for-leather 2nd Unit of Nate, Collins (if he ever gets over teh knee problems that have him glued to the bench) Lee, Balkman, and Chandler coming in en masse and, like a fastballing reliever coming in follwing a junkballing starter (think Joba Chamberlain), playing full-court press and running the other team to death. Then you return the E-Z Bake oven to the game and you pound them w/brute force. Nice idea, huh?

  27. Z

    “[Nate's] stock probably is rising. He looks like the best [guard] on the team right now?”

    I still think we shouldtrade Nate. I like that we are excited over some preseason and a summer league, and if we keep him I’ll root for him, but since Curry and Randolph are deemed untouchable, Marbury and Crawford are overpaid for what they give you, and Lee, Balkman, and Chandler should stay, he’s one of our few assets as it is. I think we should get what we can for him. Even if he matures mentally, I think his updside is limited by his height.

    I’d rather trade Collins or Jones (or Curry, Randolph, Marbury, etc…) but since he has legitimate value, now, before the regular season begins, may be the time to deal him, since he is proving to be more than just a carnival act.

    If we keep him and he plays like he did last night all season I’ll be the first to say I was wrong (or if he goes elsewhere and plays great). But I’ll be shocked if he proves to be the best -6’0″ to play in the NBA (modern era), and I don’t think any that have come before him have been worth holding onto outside of their marketability (other than maybe Bouges who was the quickest player in the league and was a pure PG).

    Caleb– I know you are admittedly the biggest Nate supporter here, and in a perfect world I’d keep him. But looking past this season, do you see him as the PG, SG, or even role player of the future, and do you truly, in your heart, despite the stats, believe that he will be a team first, “play the right way”, major player on a contending ball club kind of player?

    If you say yes, I’ll back off and wait and see. But looking at the roster, the fact I’d like to keep Nichols (and Jordan), and think Isiah’s not good for the team outside of his drafting (for many reasons but most currently because he’s not buying out J. James), Nate seems like a guy that the Knicks can deal and not look like total fools in the long run.

    Just my thoughts.

  28. xduck_shoex

    I would like to see Marbury let loose a little bit more. Questions regarding Marbury have always centered around his brain, not his talent, and the way he is playing right now wastes his considerable talents. I’m not saying he should be a scorer, just that he should be given a little more freedom to open up the defense himself every now and then because it’s obvious that just making post entry passes and spot up jumpers is not really something he is suited for.

    And the Knicks playing small ball is something that bothers me as well. They play a normal style with undersized personnel, and that isn’t going to work. If you are going to play small ball, everything has to be fast and based on penetration, and you can’t have Curry in the game because rebounding will be at a premium. My small ball lineup would be Lee, Balkman, Richardson, Marbury and Robinson. Push the ball constantly, have Lee attack the glass and Balkman rush back for transition defense and adopt a “key or three” policy on offense. I think it would be successful for short stretches.

  29. danvt

    Nice to see Richardson back. We are pretty healthy at this point. No lingering problems for Lee or Jamal. Anyone know how Renaldo is coming along?

    On the Celtics network, the only feed I get, they made a big deal about KG’s block on Steph. I wouldn’t doubt that ESPN would have picked up on it as well based on the BS irony (was there a highlight package on ESPN for this game?). Anyway, the play was an obvious foul. Garnett put his entire forearm into Stephs neck. Anybody agree with me about that play?

  30. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Z – I disagree about trading Nate. He’ll always be valuable as a 6th/7th man – to come off the bench & provide instant efficient scoring. In a way, it would be great for the Knicks to keep him, because they could probably do for a couple of million. This way we’ll be sure to get 20+ quality minutes from a guard for a cheap price.

    Ken – I do like the idea of a fast/slow team. Makes it hard for the other team to scout. Also if the other team likes to play one way, you can take advantage when the other team is in (ie a slow paced team may not be able to deal with the running squad).

  31. Mr. Black

    For those wondering about D Nichols:

    I think he over played his hand. The knicks got him to stash him overseas for a year. D-Nice figures he could force the Knicks to keep him stateside. Maybe he thought he could force Thomas to cut Jones and Dicua. Thomas doesnt like that kind of thing. D-nice refused to help the Knicks by spending a year in Spain, now they are going to screw him by holding him until the last possible moment. He may not have time to latch with another team. Shame really

    Thomas is the baby faced assassin.

  32. Brian Cronin

    Agreed, Mr. Black, that that seems to be exactly what Thomas is doing.

    I really didn’t understand Nichols thought process there.

  33. Ted Nelson

    I can’t understand why everyone hates Nate Robinson. The guy is young, superathletic, and puts up very strong numbers. Put him on a team that doesn’t play nothing but isolation or a 2-man game, playground basketball, and he’ll be one of the better reserves in the league.
    As others have pointed out, he’s 23. Have some patience. I love the fans that are waiting for Curry and Crawford to become all-stars, but bash Lee and Balkman for being energy guys with no jumper and Nate for being “wild.”

    Z- What are you going to trade Nate Robinson for?

    “Crawford might be dealing with his new muscles. Adding strength can throw off your shooting for awhile sometimes, at least from my experience.”

    Crawford never had a jump shot to be thrown off, he’s a 40% shooter.

    “the best -6?0? to play in the NBA (modern era)”

    That would be Allen Iverson, so yeah if Nate Robinson could be Allen Iverson I think he’d be worth keeping. Seriously though, have there been many successful 6-4 PFs? Would you keep Charles Barkley? Is 6-9 the ideal height for a center? Would you keep Ben Wallace?
    Let’s evaluate Robinson based on the way he’s played, not his height.

  34. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Mr. Black – I’d be shocked if that’s what didn’t happen to Nichols. If Isiah planned on cutting Jerome James for Nichols, wouldn’t he be giving Nichols more playing time? And if all of us can see through Isiah this easily, can you imagine how transparent he is to the other GMs, agents, players, etc. It’s amazing how well David Crockett did with his 1000 mile psychoanalysis.

    As for Nichols signing with another team, he’ll catch on. Ime Udoka and Matt Carroll signed with teams. And Matt Barnes did fine as well.

  35. bmj320

    What a real screw job Isiah is doing on Nichols. This kid is right to feel that he deserved a shot to make the roster. He has a rare ability that says so his shooting. So many teams lack outside shooting and Isiah is going to let him walk for nothing.

  36. Caleb

    “Caleb? I know you are admittedly the biggest Nate supporter here.”

    Oh, you noticed?

    “I?d rather trade Collins or Jones (or Curry, Randolph, Marbury, etc?) but since he has legitimate value, now, before the regular season begins, may be the time to deal him, since he is proving to be more than just a carnival act.”

    I’m not saying you can build a team around Nate, or that he should be untouchable… but I don’t think we’d get anything close to his true value in return. If we could somehow turn him into a shot-blocking, rebounding center (like DeSagna Diop, or maybe a prospect like Robert Swift)… or a starter-quality point guard (like Jose Calderon, or Sergio Rodriguez)… then, sure, I’d trade him. But right now he’s the best offensive player in the backcourt (at least as good as Marbury), at the lowest salary, so why dump him now?

    “do you see him as the PG, SG, or even role player of the future, and do you truly, in your heart, despite the stats, believe that he will be a team first, ?play the right way?, major player on a contending ball club kind of player?”

    I see him as a scoring machine 2-guard, playing 20-25 minutes a night on a contending team. I don’t think he has a bad attitude, and he doesn’t turn it over much, but he’s not a natural point.

  37. Caleb

    Why do I keep hearing that Nichols has been treated unfairly? Does anyone think Isiah is so stupid he would cut Nichols even while believing that he’s really good enough to help the team?

    Has it occurred to you that he’s not playing or making the team because, like all the other 53rd picks in the draft, he’s not that good?

    I supposed he might become another Matt Carroll, but even in the best case scenario would he really be much better than any of the other Knick wings? I don’t see it as more than a minor roster issue.

  38. Owen

    ?Caleb? I know you are admittedly the biggest Nate supporter here.?

    Um, I would like a piece of that action also, Robinson’s deceptively high TS% last year featured regularly in my posts, although so did Francis’ (still not backing off on that either actually)…

    Caleb – You are spot on. Our weaknesses are at guard and center. We aren’t trading Nate for a better guard. And No one is trading a promising big man for a 5’8 sg.

    Nate is at this point a slightly below average NBA guard who looks be improving. And that is better than every guard on our roster other than Q and Steph (barely), who is in decline. A cheap, slightly below average guard can be a real value. The difference between having Willie Green playing 25 minutes for you and NAte Robinson is probably 2-3 wins in a year.

    And when I think about what Nate might be, I think about this comp, which I have posted before. FWIW I don’t love Ben Gordon, most people do, but Nate isn’t far behind him. Has a big edge in rebounds and turnovers…

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/pcm.cgi?req=1&cum=0&p1=robinna01&y1=2007&p2=gordobe01&y2=2007

  39. Caleb

    I love that basketball reference site. Here’s one comparing Nate to Leandro Barbosa at the same age (22), to Barbosa this past season (age 24) and to Vinnie Johnson at age 24, his first full season.

    Nate’s #s are much better than Barbosa at the same age. Compared to two-years-older Barbosa and Johnson, Nate’s TS nad scoring/48 are a bit lower. He has barely half the assists, but the assist/TO ratio is just as good. He is a much better rebounder than Barbosa, though not Johnson.

    I’d guess that by the same age (2008-2009 for Nate) he will be better than either.

  40. Owen

    Yeah, its pretty cool. I need to donate to that website.

    Barbosa was very efficient offensively last year. He was around 18th in ts% in the league(according to league leaders page, subtracting Amir Johnson), and the seventh best guard. Playing with Nash probably helps him a little bit, although they are on the court together less than say Marion/Nash or Stoudemire/Nash. Still, those guys have seen a jump in their ts% since Nash’s arrival. (well Marion did0, and it probably helps Barbosa too.

    So, yeah, I see some Barbosa potential. However the jump from 55% to 59% ts% is a pretty big one…

  41. Z

    “Crawford never had a jump shot to be thrown off, he?s a 40% shooter.”

    I think Crawford has a very soft, fluent shooting touch. It’s more his shot selection than his shooting ability that brings down his FG%.

    “the best -6?0? to play in the NBA (modern era)– That would be Allen Iverson, so yeah if Nate Robinson could be Allen Iverson I think he?d be worth keeping.”

    Iverson’s listed at 6 foot. That is more or less of a technicality, but still, Nate is a good 4 inches shorter than AI who has already bucked the odds, achieved greatness (and still is a liability because of his size, style, and position).

    “Let?s evaluate Robinson based on the way he?s played, not his height.”

    Saying Barkley and Wallace are short for their positions is irrelevent– they are both tall human beings. Robinson is a short man playing a tall man’s game. I think this limits what he can do, especially when what he does is try to out jump people or shoot over them. He has shown himself to be effective at times and ineffective at times. I think that while most players can work on improving the flaws in their games, Robinson can’t because he can’t grow taller.

    The role of 5’9″ guys in the NBA, historically, has been to distribute the ball with excellence. I don’t think Nate can do this. People who write on this site love historical evidence. Is there any reason, outside of a few strong games and a deceptive stat line that says 5’9″ shooting guards can be more than a side show attraction?

    “What are you going to trade Nate Robinson for?”

    Ideally, I’d package him with a player I’d rather get rid of (pick ‘em), but I suppose I’d take a protected future 1st rounder. (Keep in mind this is not because I hate Nate or even want him off the team. We have too many players and too many guards especially. I feel like another team might actually give us something in return for him, and I don’t think the long run interests of the Knicks would be hurt by moving him).

    “Does anyone think Isiah is so stupid he would cut Nichols even while believing that he?s really good enough to help the team?”

    Does anyone think Isiah is so stupid he’d give Jerome James a 5 year deal? So stupid to then refuse to buy him out? (all in favor of a guy who can actually shoot the ball (something every team needs) or a playmaking PG (something every team needs))

  42. Frank O.

    SI.com had a breakdown on the Knicks
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/specials/preview/2007/enemy.lines/knicks.html

    A few thoughts on the Knicks on the context of what SI wrote…
    I think the Knicks have a some very nice young players.
    Robinson owned the summer league and has been a force in the preseason.
    I suspect his role will increase. His passing is clearly sharper and his scoring is excellent.
    What is the best news of all about him, however, is he has become a defensive force. He’s picking up the PG at three quarters, harassing him and, as the article notes, no one is stronger than him at his position.

    I think you will see more of Marbury at the two.
    Crawford will still get time, and I think Q will lose time. Especially when Balkman comes back.
    I have a feeling this could go very, very well, or fall apart.
    There are a lot of unknowns.
    But at least this year the players are more familiar with each other and the system. There is a big difference between a two year guy and a three year guy: less thinking on D, more reacting.
    That means guys like Lee and Balkman, who already showed themselves to be pretty significant players in year two, will become that much more important. Lee put up 12 and 14 rpgs last game. I think that is something we can expect from him all year.

    Randolph and Curry will complement. I don’t think people realize how good Randolph actually is from mid-range. And Curry seems to be playing mean this year, which can only help.
    Having Randolph and Lee on the team, Curry can play tougher, not timidly on defense, and while he may have foul trouble, we get better D from him and then we have Randolph scoring and Lee causing havoc behind him.

    Part of Curry’s lax D is that he is slow to react and fitness, but part also is that he is trying to not foul because he was expected to be the go-to scorer. This team will put up points, it’s the D that could be problematic.

    And I feel better with Randolph getting the ball at the end of the game rather than Crawford. Crawford has a terrible shooting percentage.
    If he’s shooting 15 or so a game, you’re going to lose a lot of games. But if Randolph and/or Curry take 15 per game, at 57-60 percent, you’re going to win a lot.

    But this year will be about Lee, Balkman and Robinson. If those guys play up to expectations, the Knicks will be very hard to beat…

    Big if, however.

  43. Caleb

    Frank O., I agree with a lot of what you’re saying. Marbury would definitely make a better shooting guard than a point. The problem is – who plays the point, then? That’s the biggest hole, on offense.

    On defense, Curry will never defend or rebound, but the perimeter D could be serviceable, which would be a big improvement. IF Robinson plays smarter and uses his strength and quickness, IF Balkman gets starter’s minutes, IF Q stays healthy, IF Jones plays, etc.

  44. Owen

    Z – Shawn Marion has the ugliest shot I have ever seen. He shot 31.7 from three last year. Jamal has the prettiest shot you have ever seen and he shot 32% from three.

    Really, how a player looks doesn’t matter much. You can’t look at a player and tell how good a shooter he is. You need the numbers IMHO. But also, shot selection is a fairly massive part of fg %. It’s not something like a glitch in your release you can work on, its a basic expression of your basketball IQ, which seems in most cases to be fixed for players. Most basketball players don’t see their shot taking habits change after seven years.

    i would also argue about Iverson achieving greatness. I would use a different word, but that’s a rabbit hole none of us need to go down… :-)

    Robinson improved a great deal in his sophomore season, and seems to be advancing through slg, and the preseason. So it would seem he at least is not limited by his height in respect to improving his game. And while height usually is destiny, there are always exceptions, and Robinson sure looks like one of those exceptions, given his NFL physique and Slam Dunk champion leaping ability.

    If you arguing for trading Robinson so we can keep Nichols, I suppose I can understand the logic. I would say that for a player like Nichols, you really have no idea how he will turn out, but the odds are definitely stacked against him, given his college numbers, and given the general improbability of a draftee turning into an above average nba player. Robinson is a known quantity with a demonstrated capacity for improvement whose numbers are as good or better than every other guard on the team. That seems like a strong case for keeping him unless we can get something better than him at the SG position in return.

  45. Mr. Black

    Caleb,

    “Why do I keep hearing that Nichols has been treated unfairly? Does anyone think Isiah is so stupid he would cut Nichols even while believing that he?s really good enough to help the team?

    Has it occurred to you that he?s not playing or making the team because, like all the other 53rd picks in the draft, he?s not that good?”

    D-Nice had a very good predraft camp and a very good summer league. He can play in this league because he is a great shooter. His D might stink like all Orange men, but he can play. Draft express had him listed as one of the best pure shooters in the draft.

    Don’t hate on the guy because he was a late second rounder.

    1999 Draft 57th pick: Emmanuel Ginobli
    2000 Draft 43rd pick: Mike Redd
    2001 Draft 41st pick Earl Watson
    2002 Draft 46th pick Matt Barnes

    There are good players in the second round, and with the NBA draft getting deeper due to all the freshmen taken in the first round, second rounders can be very good players.

    Thomas thought D-Nice was good enough to get him. But the plan was to have him play overseas for one year. Thomas and D-Nice’s former agent worked that out. But D-Nice fired the agent and tried to stay stateside. He is as good as gone unless James has season ending surgery and the Knicks are granted a medical exemption to add another contract. Barring that or a trade, its the Clippers or Bobcats for D-Nice.

  46. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Watching the Knicks preview – Al asks Clyde who he likes. Clydes response: Balkman (relentless defense), Lee (tremendous rebounding), and Nate (fearless on the court).

    Hey Clyde you out there reading KB?

  47. Caleb

    I don’t disagree with your Nichols analysis… but that doesn’t mean Nichols is being treated unfairly, just that he brought this on himself. Summer league is summer league.

    I’d also be surprised if he was ever a better player than any of the SGs or SFs on the Knicks roster right now. YOu mentioned a handful of success stories from the second round, but there are dozens who never even made an NBA roster. Nichols is 23 and not much of an “athlete,” so doesn’t seem like a likely exception. Of course he might find a niche as a shooter.

    Still… I agree it IS ridiculous if Jerome James stays on the roster while Nichols goes.

  48. dFrank

    I’ve been really impressed with Randolph in the pre-season games. I think its going to be a promising season. I was reading an interview with Thomas, and he is really impressed with Nate Robinson in practice. I found the interview at gameon.msg.com

  49. Mr. Black

    Caleb,

    I agree. Cutting Nichols to keep James is a problem. The Knicks should encourage James to have the surgery. I read in the NYPost that there are only three things that can fix James’ knee (1) surgery, (2) dramatic weight loss or, (3) a southern faith healer. Does anybody believe James can drop 30-40 pounds during the season? Surgery is the way to go as it solves two problems. It helps us keep Nichols and it keeps Burger King James off the court.

  50. Caleb

    Some things are just a mystery, like the Jerome James deal. I mean – he has always been horrible. It’s not like he’s played any worse since coming to New York. And if he got totally healthy, he still wouldn’t play a meaningful minute for the rest of his contract. So they’re already paying him for nothing. Why not cut bait and clear the roster spot? It just makes zero sense.

  51. Z

    “there are only three things that can fix James? knee”

    Who cares if his knee gets fixed. Even if he was fully healthy he couldn’t find a job on any other team in this league. He’s dead wood on a maxed out roster. Admit you were wrong Isiah and buy him out (he’s much more useless than Jalen and Mo Taylor, considering his contract isn’t even an asset).

  52. Z

    “Shawn Marion has the ugliest shot I have ever seen. He shot 31.7 from three last year. Jamal has the prettiest shot you have ever seen and he shot 32% from three.”

    Owen– Is there a stat that distinguishes Jamal’s bad shots from his good ones? If he refines his shot selection, isn’t there a good chance his FG% will go up? Without looking at any numbers, I would say both Jamal and Marion are excellent shooters, despite their different mechanical approaches. Marion takes better shots and if Jamal decided to devote himself to increasing his eFG% (or whatever it is that is the hard line shooters stat) he’d be able to impress you.

    “i would also argue about Iverson achieving greatness. I would use a different word, but that?s a rabbit hole none of us need to go down? :-)”

    I’m not sure what this means but it sounds intriguing. I’d like to go down the rabbit hole with you on it I think…

    “If you arguing for trading Robinson so we can keep Nichols…”

    I basically am. Or Jordan. Or just having roster flexibility at what I feel is a reasonable price. Obviously, Jerome James is the prefered man to let go (and at the start of camp I sort of figured since Houston was here he’d probably make the team for PR, which I thought would cramp the roster up even more, but obviously didn’t). Still, Nate is a few more me-against-the-world brawls away from being a paraiah to other teams and since his stock is high right now it might be prudent to cash him out.

  53. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I don’t think the Nichols situation is a GOOD one for the Knicks, but I don’t think the way Thomas is handling it is totally unreasonable.

    Thomas thinks Nichols can play, but he doesn’t think he is ready to contribute THIS year (and he is most likely correct), so he wanted him to stay in Europe for a year – that’s completely reasonable for a GM to think about a 53rd pick.

    Nichols thinks he is good enough to play in the league NOW.

    So what can you do? It’s just a complete opposite position by both parties.

  54. Caleb

    “Yeah, I don?t think the Nichols situation is a GOOD one for the Knicks, but I don?t think the way Thomas is handling it is totally unreasonable.”

    Aruging against myself here… Hollinger made a good point that the Knicks probably should have seen this roster crunch coming, and just wasted next year’s 2nd rounder.
    http://www.nysun.com/article/65123

    I suppose you could argue that IT had a deal in place to send him to Europe… but still, looks sloppy.

  55. z-man

    Nichols was strokin’ it tonite!! Especially for a guy with virtually no light all preseason. Gotta figute out a way to keep him. In a way, we need his game more right now than Chandler (too interchangable with Balk). Who do you guys think has more upside?

  56. z-man

    Another option is to drop Mardy and keep Demetrius. Have to admit I’m warming up to Fred Jones so maybe he makes Mardy expendable, along with improved Nate.

  57. Mr. Black

    z-man,

    I think Chandler has the most upside. D-Nice is one dimensional, a very good dimension, but still one. Chandler could give you a two way player. Just cut James and keep D-Nice.

  58. Frank O.

    I have been a fairly consistent Robinson critic, but he’s winning me over at the pg.
    His ball handling is very good. His turnovers have been reduced, and his passing is very crisp. He looked like a dominant pg in summer, and has outplayed all Knicks guards so far this year.
    Isiah sees him as a significant pg backup to Marbury, and he really should consider Marbury as a two and work him in rotation.
    I think Robinson has shown huge maturation since last year. He sounds more together from what I read today also.
    And he has always been able to score.
    Again, having a pg that plays D would just be a godsend.
    I think Isiah has plans to use Robinson a lot at the point.
    I think Collins is odd man out this year.
    I haven’t seen enough of Nichols to know what he can do. What I have seen of Chandler has been impressive.

  59. Brian Cronin

    Caleb, Hollinger’s point is good in that he’s right, the Knicks are, in effect, wasting TWO picks with this cut, as they’ll be losing both Nichols AND next year’s pick that they traded to GET Nichols.

    However, I find it quite annoying that Hollinger did not mention the point that we all know, which is WHY Nichols may be cut – because Thomas felt he was going to go to Europe for this season.

    It is perfectly reasonable to say, “Thomas should not have been so confident in Nichols going to Europe, so he is still at fault,” but you have to at least MENTION it if you’re going to rip Thomas for the move.

    And I think it is also important to note that Thomas almost CERTAINLY did get a guarantee from Nichols’ agent that yes, Nichols WOULD go to Europe for a year, but Nichols then proceeded to fire his agent. But I don’t expect that much in depth research, but you gotta have the first part, at least (that Isiah was planning on Nichols going to Europe before Nichols refused).

  60. Ted Nelson

    “I don?t see it as more than a minor roster issue.”

    I agree, but I think it’s more the principal. After the trial, Isiah is seen as incompetent and unprofessional. Gven his career to date I think he’s going to have to prove otherwise before anyone is willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
    It’s also odd because all of last season Isiah said that what the Knicks needed more than anything was perimeter shooting. He added two good shooters in Houston and Nichols, but gave neither one any shot at making the team.

    I agree that it was in Nichols best interest to go to Europe for a year, and that’s likely where he’s headed for now anyway. He made a questionable call by forcing the Knicks hand, but it was well within his rights to do so. I still get the feeling that Isiah had already picked his 15 before training camp started.

    “I think Crawford has a very soft, fluent shooting touch. It?s more his shot selection than his shooting ability that brings down his FG%.”

    As Owen points out, soft and fluent is not the same as consistent. I agree that he’d be passable if he didn’t force so many bad shots, but still not particularly efficient. Certainly not a guy you’d want taking the most shots on your team.

    “Ideally, I?d package him with a player I?d rather get rid of (pick ?em), but I suppose I?d take a protected future 1st rounder. (Keep in mind this is not because I hate Nate or even want him off the team. We have too many players and too many guards especially. I feel like another team might actually give us something in return for him, and I don?t think the long run interests of the Knicks would be hurt by moving him).”

    I’m all for trading him in a move that’s going to make the Knicks a better team. But if you trade him for a future pick, who are you making room for? Mardy Collins? Nichols?
    Neither of those guys have proven they can play in the NBA. Robinson has put up very respectable numbers in the NBA, especially for his age.

    Another question: what are the long-run interests of the Knicks? The Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry frontcourt? I think that keeping all the young talent around for the next GM is what’s in the Knicks’ long-run interests. If the Raps had held onto T-Mac, Camby, Billups, Christie, etc. and drafted Carter they might have been a contender to this day.

    “I think that while most players can work on improving the flaws in their games, Robinson can?t because he can?t grow taller. The role of 5?9? guys in the NBA, historically, has been to distribute the ball with excellence. I don?t think Nate can do this. People who write on this site love historical evidence. Is there any reason, outside of a few strong games and a deceptive stat line that says 5?9? shooting guards can be more than a side show attraction?”

    I don’t think many people on this site look to height for historical evidence. Olowakandi had the height and athleticism but only had to improve some flaws in his game, never happened. Guys like Barkley or Wallace were consistently 3-4 inches shoter then their man, yet were still very high impact players. The role of a 6-6 player has historically been on the wing, but Barkley had a unique skill set, body, and demeanor that allowed him to play the 4 at an All-Star level.
    I realize that Robinson is not only 3 inches shorter than his man, but also around 9 inches shorter than the average guy on the court. I agree with Owen that the guy is just such an incredible athlete that it doesn’t matter.

    As far as historical evidence, how about similarity scores? Most of Robinson’s comparisons were solid NBA comtributors, and the most comparable season to his 2006-2007 was Bobby Jackson’s 2001-2002: the season before he won 6th man of the year.

  61. Kiyaman

    Last night in the Knick WIN over the 76ers 103-90
    Coach Isiah Thomas put D-Nicholes in the game with 9 minutes remaining in the 4th qtr. (Show-Casing Nicholes).
    The 76ers players did not know which Knick player to put their best defender on “D-Nicholes or Nate Robinson”. The two Knick Players went on 15-4 run that put the Knicks ahead by 20 points.

    What NBA coach would not work a player like D-Nicholes in his offensive Playbook to take a huge lead or come back from being behind by a huge lead?
    D-Nicholes defend well on the peremeter just in case a team want to match points on the peremeter.
    Sorry, but Jerome James would have to be put under the knife for surgery for a season ending injury so the insurance could help with his pay and we could keep Nicholes on the Roster.
    F/C-Randolph Morris looks like a little playingtime this season will prepare his NBA career.

    Show-Casing Demetris Nicholes will get him alot of NBA offers from the next NBA team when the Knicks waive him.

  62. jon abbey

    “Caleb, Hollinger?s point is good in that he?s right, the Knicks are, in effect, wasting TWO picks with this cut, as they?ll be losing both Nichols AND next year?s pick that they traded to GET Nichols.”

    I didn’t read the article, but that’s still only one pick, no matter how many times you trade it for another one.

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