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Sunday, October 26, 2014

2008-9 Game Thread: Knicks vs. The Team Formerly Known as the Sonics

The Knicks’ opponent tonight may be playing without Kevin Durant, which would only make this game an even more important one not to screw up.

How many wins can P.J. Carlesimo’s team possibly manage this year? They look terrible.

102 comments on “2008-9 Game Thread: Knicks vs. The Team Formerly Known as the Sonics

  1. Caleb

    Sonics, er, Thunder, look like an amazing combination of brilliant organizational skills, honed in San Antonio, and failure in the talent evaluation department.

    Maybe too harsh — hasn’t been that long, players are young, jury still out. But they don’t have much to show (yet) for all those draft picks. Maybe when they get the cap space.

  2. Owen

    Some might say that having Durant out could help them. I don’t feel the same way about Chris Wilcox though.

    I wish I could watch the game. Russell Westbrook was 3-19 in their last game. i would love to witness that kind of display from a Knicks opponent.

  3. cbrooklyn

    looking good again tonite..love it!! if only we had a decent big man in the middle…….. kinda looking forward to jeffries coming back….

  4. Thomas B.

    I’ve figured it out…

    If a team plays no defense, they get the ball back sooner and can try to score again.

  5. TDM

    Four players in double figures at the half. Turnovers are down, shooting percentages are up. A lot to like right now. I still think OKC should have gone with Thundercats.

  6. Thomas B.

    Up 20 or down 5, the failure to stop the ball is not a habit to get into. Good teams do not let up. There is much work to do.

  7. Thomas B.

    This 4q looks alot like the 4q against the Suns. The knicks have got to realize that while an offense may be streaky, there is no excuse for streaky defense.

  8. Thomas B.

    This 4q looks alot like the 4q against the Suns. The knicks have got to realize that while an offense may be streaky, there is no excuse for streaky defense.

    meant the Spurs.

  9. TDM

    Who would have thought the Knicks would get off to a 6-3 start? I know the schedule has been pretty favorable,but last year they would have lost this game. If Boston loses to the Nugs, the Knicks will be 1 1/2 games out of first, and(albeit early) on pace for 57 wins +/-. And, they have been playing without Marbs, Curry, Gallo and Jeffries.

  10. jon abbey

    “And, they have been playing without Marbs, Curry, Gallo and Jeffries.”

    the first two of those have a lot to do with why they’re winning games. the only differences from last year are Duhon and D’Antoni for the Sullen Loon and the Smiling Weasel, plus no Curry.

    still a really weak schedule, but only five teams in the league with a better record right now.

    WE DON’T WANT STEPH! WE DON’T WANT STEPH! WE DON’T WANT STEPH!

  11. Z

    Wow. Now that I see just how bad a team needs to be to finish with the top pick this year, I am glad the Knicks are off to a decent start. Even Isiah running the team couldn’t put up a worse product than the Ex-Sonics!

    “…on pace for 57 wins +/-. And, they have been playing without Marbs, Curry, Gallo and Jeffries.”

    Could there be a correlation?

  12. jon abbey

    we could use a guy like Westbrook too, no matter how well our three guard rotation is playing now. man, I wish we’d somehow gotten him or Mayo (or Rose, obviously).

  13. Mulligan

    Does this mean we’ve lost our shot at Rubio? That bums me out a bit. Luckily this draft seems to be stacked with PG’s..

  14. TDM

    we could use a guy like Westbrook too, no matter how well our three guard rotation is playing now. man, I wish we’d somehow gotten him or Mayo (or Rose, obviously).

    I’m still not a fan of Westbrook, although I will say that he has looked better than I thought he would. Still to early to judge I suppose. However, with a 29 fg% and horrible ass/to ratio, I’m not doing backflips.

  15. BigBlueAL

    This winning thing is really weird…I could get used to it though.

    I was used to this winning thing, just see my pic (substitute that pic for one of Ewing as well)!!

  16. Ted Nelson

    The thing I like about Westbrook is that he brings a similar explosiveness as Nate, but at 6-3 instead of 5-7 (without the jumper, though). I think he fouled him on the play but Westbrook didn’t look too out of place contesting Zach Randolph in the post: he should be a special defender. We’ll have to see if he can come around on offense; I doubt he looks so impressive against a team with more interior D to cut off his penetration.

    It was interesting that the Thunder made their run largely with Durant on the bench and then when he came back into the game the Knicks reasserted their lead.

    Nick Collison’s a smart player, definitely got some David Lee in him.

    Jeff Green’s not as hopeless as I thought.

    I know they’re really young, but I don’t know why the Thunder are so incredibly bad. They have some talent. Hate to say it, but I think they’re really poorly coached. No offensive game plan, besides give the ball to KD and hope he makes a play for himself. The Knicks have no interior D and guys like Collison, Westbrook, and even Petro were killing them inside, but the Thunder didn’t game plan (move the ball) to really take advantage. When they made their push they were moving the ball and getting easy looks, plus a combination of good D limiting the Knicks’ ball movement and the Knicks settling for awful jumpers trip after trip. As soon as KD reentered the game the Knicks started moving the ball again…

  17. Frank

    Boston loses at home to Denver – another decent outing by Balkman. We could use a guy like him.

    At 6-3, with players that like each other, with a coach that seems to know how to coach — I think it’s officially time to move on from Balkman. Seriously. His 4 points and 7 rebounds are great and all, and I’m sure his defensive abilities would be appreciated, but honestly, I think we’re doing just fine without him.

  18. Frank O.

    Ted:

    Hard to tell. We don’t know how many times the young guys on OKC break plays, miss assignments, etc. It could be poor execution by a very young team. Of course, it is the job of the coach to ensure they don’t miss assignments, but there isn’t a single veteran of note on that team. No doubt players bear responsibility.

    In this game, D’Antoni was just as excited as his players when it looked like a blow out. He needs to crack down on the Knicks’ young players and get them focused on crushing a team, not celebrating.

    I haven’t seen Durant much. Is he kind of like Crawford with four more inches? They both seem lanky and soft, yet explosive on offense. It may be part of the reason they don’t play D. But I simply haven’t seen Durant much. For those of you who have, I’d be interested in your assessment.

  19. Z-man

    Yes, 6-3 is nice, but for me, only that it is a complete break from the boring, underachieving brand of basketball we have seen for the past 5 years.

    Truthfully, only two of the 6 wins is vs. a team that is better than us on paper when at full strength:(Utah, who was without Deron) and Washington (without Gilbert). The Miami win was our season and home opener, and was Beasley’s and Chalmers’ first game. Charlotte, Memphis and OKC are terrible, or at least raw.

    It is more telling to me that we lost to SA minus 2 perennial all-stars and Milwaukee (a lower-tier playoff team at best) and were killed by Philly (an upper-tier playoff team.)

    So, I have thoroughly enjoyed the wins, but for me, the true test of this team starts now. We will not be able to disguise our glaring weaknesses over the games remaining in 2008. Injuries have not really been a factor for us (Gallo probably would have been a fringe rotation player and Curry is out for being fat and lazy, not because of his knee.) Lee played a solid game yesterday, so his ankle is only a minor blip thus far. And I am not as optimistic about Jefferies’ impact as an interior defender as everyone else seems to be, and will take minutes away from guys who are playing well.

    Looking at the upcoming schedule, I’d settle for 13-17 after 30 games, meaning 7-14 during the upcoming tough stretch.

    Furthermore, I would keep Steph on the roster in case Jamal, Nate or Duhon get hurt. I don’t think we beat anyone without any one of those 3, unless Steph is on the team. Really, why change the status quo and give a gift to a competing team? If they want him, let them trade for him.

  20. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.,

    I agree that OKC’s personnel is bad/young (they should be a bad team, and are), I just think that coaching has something to do with why they are pathetically bad.
    They are actually a much better defensive team than offensive so far this season: dead-last in offensive efficiency and 11th in defensive efficiency. Besides having some good defenders (Westbrook, Green, Watson, Mason, Collison’s a Kansas guy who at least knows what to do, and Petro/Swift are long 7-footers who can contest some shots), I’m sure P.J. has done a good job coaching defense.
    The problem is offense, where from that one game (I haven’t seen them otherwise) they completely seemed to lack a game plan other than go one-on-one against the guy guarding you and if you feel like it pass it to someone: basically the Knicks game plan for I don’t know how many seasons before this one.

    A lot of this probably comes from seeing what a change having a coherent offensive system and good coach has done for the Knicks.

  21. Italian Stallion

    I co-sign everything Z-Man said in his last post except for keeping Steph. There’s simply no point to it. The Knicks are a long term turnaround project. Whether we get an extra few wins here or there by having an extra guard on the bench that is going to play no part in the long term turnaround, is irrelevant.

    If anything, when I’m thinking my clearest I think it’s bad news that we are winning.

    IMO, we would be much better off if we simply saw signs that guys like Chandler, Lee, Robinson, and Duhon were developing into better players that will fit long term while guys like Zach, Curry etc…. were improving their marketability for a useful trade while we were accumulating losses.

    Winning is hurting our chances of getting another good pick this year (one that we will need because we don’t have the next one).

    Granted, I’m not that worried about us continuing to win because we simply aren’t that good or talented yet. No to seem too down though,
    I am very happy with many of the developments I have seen to date in some of our young players (those already reflected in the stats and those not there YET because of sample size and my tendency to look at moving averages)

  22. Greene

    Here is where I believe we are at this point as related to other thoughts on this string. Wishing we were losing as pointed out by Italian Stallion is ridiculous. If we had any hope for any of the players on the roster (not just the ones we are hoping to trade like Z Bo) we have to know that they can win some games and now we know that we have guys like Chandler, Nate, Z Bo, sometimes Craw and even Duhon who has been surprisingly efficient and good who can actually beat bad teams. And to be honest what we are not talking about enough at 6-3 is D’Antoni. The guy can flat out coach and motivate his players. Whether or not the you-cant-win-a-title-playing-this-system issue is still out there that becomes a high class problem because it means you are going deep into the playoffs which as we all know we havent seen around here in a while. So kudos to Mike D for getting to these guys. If Mark Jackson or Isiah was coaching this team we would be 3-6 not 6-3 and that is a big difference. By the way I would like to know if people think we should actually be looking at ZBo as the long term solution at PF and trying to get a defensive minded Okafor type for the middle. 21 and 12 through the next 25 games and he is an all star. Thoughts???? New prediction for wins this season is 40 – 43 and 6 seed. Who is better than us in the East besides Boston, Philly, Cleveland, Det, Orlando?

  23. blackriderx

    For the power that be, is there a way to numericalize the comments?

    Just easier to address specific comments, as well as generally keeping track of things.

  24. Gian Casimiro (SSoM)

    New prediction for wins this season is 40 – 43 and 6 seed. Who is better than us in the East besides Boston, Philly, Cleveland, Det, Orlando?

    Sixth seed? I think seven teams will definitely be in the playoffs: Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, Orlando, Toronto and Philly – and all were in the playoffs last year. Can the Knicks be one of the three teams that eventually fight for the last playoff spot? Far too early to tell, but I’m optimistic.

    This team will hit a wall eventually when they play the better Eastern Conference teams more consistently. If the team is around 20 wins come All-Star break, and the void at center is filled through Jeffries and/or a trade, then I like our chances against Miami, Indy, Milwaukee and Chicago for that last spot.

    They play AT Boston and Detroit in the next two weeks – and host the Cavs the night before the Detroit game. We’ll have a better idea of where this team stands after that.

  25. Frank

    Truthfully, only two of the 6 wins is vs. a team that is better than us on paper when at full strength:(Utah, who was without Deron) and Washington (without Gilbert). The Miami win was our season and home opener, and was Beasley’s and Chalmers’ first game. Charlotte, Memphis and OKC are terrible, or at least raw.
    It is more telling to me that we lost to SA minus 2 perennial all-stars and Milwaukee (a lower-tier playoff team at best) and were killed by Philly (an upper-tier playoff team.)

    if it makes you feel any better, a full strength Houston just lost to the same depleted San Antonio team. It’s not like SA doesn’t have players — they still have Duncan, only one of the best players in NBA history, still in his prime. They still have Michael Finley who would start and be an integral part of 70% of the teams in the league. They still have Bruce Bowen who is still an all-NBA level stopper. And they have the best coach in the NBA. I see no shame in losing to that team in their building.

    As they say, you are only as good as your record says you are. And right now, we’re 6-3.

  26. jon abbey

    nitpicking slightly, not exactly a full strength Houston team, Alston was suspended and Battier is hurt, but the point is still basically valid (although Michael Finley really isn’t very good anymore).

  27. Jim K

    I think one cause for alarm is how thin the Knicks are…several teams are getting pounded by injuries, the Knicks aren’t…but the Knicks are awfully thin this year…Collins, Rose and Roberson are 12th men at best (Collins and Rose are more like 15th men) yet are in the rotation. After the starting five, the only guys who deserve any time are Lee and Robinson…if any of that top seven get flattened, the Knicks have serious issues…the Knicks are wasting three spots on players they seemingly have no intention of using at all (Curry, Marbury and James) and have lost 2 bench guys to injury already (James and the rookie whatsisname)…if anyone of the top 7 gets hurt, I think the Knicks will freefall…

  28. Italian Stallion

    Greene,

    There may be some correlation between winning now and getting the marketability of a guy like Zach high enough to trade him for something valuable at a later date, but the bigger correlation between winning games now and winning a championship in 2010-2015 is negative.

    This team is still so far away from being a serious contender it’s comical (both in terms of talent and playing skills). It’s a credit to the coaching staff that they have our players motivated, sharing the ball, developing team chemistry etc… now. Those ARE ALL LONG TERM PLUSES (I agree with you), but we’d be way better off with the same skills/attitudes from these young players and a 3-6 record. If you actually want a chance to win it all some day, we are going to need more than just a top free agent in a couple of years. We are going to need good picks and 2011 is already out the window.

    Winning is fun unless you win yourself into no man’s land where you are good enough to not get a pick that makes you a lot better but don’t have the talent to get to the promised land with the talent you have.

  29. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, Z-Bo is not the long-term answer for anything.

    I’m pleased that he’s getting his points and boards, though – you have to think if he keeps this up he might even net a first rounder (GASP!)!

  30. Ben R

    I am always happy about winning. I would rather miss the playoffs by one game and get the 13th pick then lose out and get the #1 even if that #1 was a potential franchise saver. I think winning the next game is always the most important thing, that being said I do not condone short shighted win-now moves and am always for moves that improve the long term health of the team but no matter what I always root to win the next game.

    We were a 23 win team last year, there were no games we should win, in fact last year we were the team other bad teams were circling and saying this is a game they should win. The fact that we are beating poor to mediocre teams consistantly is a huge improvement over the last couple of seasons. Also despite San Antonio’s record and injuries, they know how to beat D’Antoni’s system. They have consistantly dominated D’Antoni’s teams for as long as D’Antoni has been coaching, and they showed they knew exactly how to take the Knicks out of their system, if they had been healthy it would have been a blowout.

    Overall I am very excited about the teams play, not because I am expecting great things but because the team is finally playing at their potential. This team as constructed probably has 35-40 win talent, and so far we are actually playing like a 35-40 win team. So that makes me hopeful that when we improve our talent and have 45-50 win talent we will still play up to our potential and finally become a good team again.

  31. Frank

    Greene,
    There may be some correlation between winning now and getting the marketability of a guy like Zach high enough to trade him for something valuable at a later date, but the bigger correlation between winning games now and winning a championship in 2010-2015 is negative.
    This team is still so far away from being a serious contender it’s comical (both in terms of talent and playing skills). It’s a credit to the coaching staff that they have our players motivated, sharing the ball, developing team chemistry etc… now. Those ARE ALL LONG TERM PLUSES (I agree with you), but we’d be way better off with the same skills/attitudes from these young players and a 3-6 record. If you actually want a chance to win it all some day, we are going to need more than just a top free agent in a couple of years. We are going to need good picks and 2011 is already out the window.
    Winning is fun unless you win yourself into no man’s land where you are good enough to not get a pick that makes you a lot better but don’t have the talent to get to the promised land with the talent you have.

    I think the better we are now and the next 2 years, the more cohesive the team is, the better D’Antoni coaches — the these things happen, the better the chance at getting Lebron or Wade etc. in 2010. Winning now will make Zach and Crawford look better, one or both of whom will need to go in order to make room for a big FA. Who would want to sign a big contract to go to a horrible team and lose for the next 5 years?

  32. Z-man
    <P
    if it makes you feel any better, a full strength Houston just lost to the same depleted San Antonio team. It’s not like SA doesn’t have players — they still have Duncan, only one of the best players in NBA history, still in his prime. They still have Michael Finley who would start and be an integral part of 70% of the teams in the league. They still have Bruce Bowen who is still an all-NBA level stopper. And they have the best coach in the NBA. I see no shame in losing to that team in their building.
    As they say, you are only as good as your record says you are. And right now, we’re 6-3.

    If the playoffs started tomorrow, I’d be inclined to agree. Surely you don’t believe that we are as good as the Magic or Hornets.

    re SA, the fact is that they handles us easily without two of their 3 best players, without whom they are still a playoff team, but not a title contender. The point I was trying to make is that none of the outcomes have been all that surprising, even the Jazz game. I think we are jaded by all the winnable games we have lost in the past few years.

    Any predictions on what the recors will be after 30 games?

  33. Italian Stallion

    I think if we miss the playoffs badly again this year, but a few of the guys like Chandler, Lee, Robinson, and Duhon establish themselves as part of a core team to work with going forward all while Randolph is increasing his value for a trade later this year (maybe even a good pick) we might be in great shape in a couple of years.

    Let’s just say we get another good pick after this year, Gallinari comes back strong next year and proves he’s a core player, and some of the current kids blossom further this year and next. Then we look like we are ONE STAR player away from being a serious contender into 2010 and beyond.

    That’s my dream scenario.

    (of course we can always also hope that Walsh moves guys like Curry and the other bad salaries for other potential improvements and picks that we could get lucky with along the way).

    Not having that other future #1 pick is going to hurt. That’s why I think we need a good pick at the end of this year or will have to get really lucky in some other fashion.

  34. Z

    “Not having that other future #1 pick is going to hurt. That’s why I think we need a good pick at the end of this year or will have to get really lucky in some other fashion.”

    If the season ended today Utah would get our 2009 draft pick (22nd or higher they get this year). That would give us a 2010 first rounder. Just mentioning for future planning.

    I suppose we have to severely over-achieve (like home court advantage in the first round achieve!) to end up with the 21st pick, but if we do, I have to admit it would amount to a bittersweet feeling for me.

    (But if we managed to trade Randolph before the draft then there would be no bitterness– just sweet, sweet, sweetness…)!

  35. joeyd

    we could use a guy like Westbrook too, no matter how well our three guard rotation is playing now. man, I wish we’d somehow gotten him or Mayo (or Rose, obviously).

    i’d rather tke my chances with galinari, westbrook’s potential is limited, i think he was taken way too high.

  36. joeyd

    Does this mean we’ve lost our shot at Rubio? That bums me out a bit. Luckily this draft seems to be stacked with PG’s..

    dont think rubio will be eligible next draft, i think he will be just 18 at the time, which is absolutely amazing when you see him get minutes over navarro and beat out sergio for a roster spot on the spanish nat team.

    Brandon Jennings/ bj mullens /hasheem thabeet / blake griffin

    will be a nice draft, too bad the knicks will nbe picking 15th

    my vote is for thabeet, he will be a game changer

  37. joeyd

    The thing I like about Westbrook is that he brings a similar explosiveness as Nate, but at 6-3 instead of 5-7 (without the jumper, though). I think he fouled him on the play but Westbrook didn’t look too out of place contesting Zach Randolph in the post: he should be a special defender. We’ll have to see if he can come around on offense; I doubt he looks so impressive against a team with more interior D to cut off his penetration.
    It was interesting that the Thunder made their run largely with Durant on the bench and then when he came back into the game the Knicks reasserted their lead.

    Nick Collison’s a smart player, definitely got some David Lee in him.
    Jeff Green’s not as hopeless as I thought.
    I know they’re really young, but I don’t know why the Thunder are so incredibly bad. They have some talent. Hate to say it, but I think they’re really poorly coached. No offensive game plan, besides give the ball to KD and hope he makes a play for himself. The Knicks have no interior D and guys like Collison, Westbrook, and even Petro were killing them inside, but the Thunder didn’t game plan (move the ball) to really take advantage. When they made their push they were moving the ball and getting easy looks, plus a combination of good D limiting the Knicks’ ball movement and the Knicks settling for awful jumpers trip after trip. As soon as KD reentered the game the Knicks started moving the ball again…

    Not a big believer in durant, i like rudy gay alot better.

    They are bad offensively because they dont have a player that you would have to double.

  38. caleb

    Rubio is eligible for ’09. I will be very surprised if he’s not in the draft. I have a feeling it will take some lottery luck for the Knicks to have a shot.

  39. joeyd

    Rubio is eligible for ‘09. I will be very surprised if he’s not in the draft. I have a feeling it will take some lottery luck for the Knicks to have a shot.

    i thought the rule was 19 at the time of the draft, rubio just turned 18 in october, he isnt listed on any mocks

  40. jon abbey

    you have to love LeBron’s use of the collective pronoun here as a Yankees fan, and also to an extent as a Knicks or a Nets fan:

    “CLEVELAND (AP)—LeBron James is convinced CC Sabathia will end up in pinstripes.

    The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar and New York Yankees fan wants his favorite baseball team to land Sabathia, the top starting pitcher in this year’s free-agent class.

    Asked before Cleveland’s game against Utah on Saturday night if he thought the Yankees would win the Sabathia sweepstakes, James smiled and said, “We’re gonna get him. Absolutely.””

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=ApQVfdlreuvIcuQxBqH.rI6F0bYF?slug=ap-james-sabathia&prov=ap&type=lgns

  41. Duff Soviet Union

    In this thread or last there was a discussion over whether if Jamal Crawford could make the all star game if he continued at his current pace. If he continues at his current pace, he will finish 182nd out of 182 qualifiers in rebound rate at 1.9%. I mean… I know he’s a shooting guard and rebounding isn’t his main job, but jeez.

  42. Duff Soviet Union

    By the way, the weirdest stat of the season might be that the Milwaukee Bucks are currently 11th in defensive efficiency. What’s so weird about that? They haven’t been above average in defensive efficiency since (seriously) 1990-91.

  43. Duff Soviet Union

    cwod. Yeah, pretty much. I don’t like Skiles and he tends to give to many minutes to Malik Allen types, but he knows defense. It might also be a Mo Williams effect as Cleveland’s defensive efficiency has gotten much worse, but the Cavs now rank #1 in offensive efficiency. The Cavs! Coached by that legendary innovator of offense Mike Brown. Does anyone seriously still think that Kobe Bryant is a better player than LBJ?

  44. Captain Merlin

    I disagree wholeheartedly, simply for the sake of being disagreeable. Kobe is clearly far superior to Lebron, as is evidenced by his on court demeanor. Kobe plays with such an intensity that is unparalleled by any other player bar none, whilst Lebron often seems to bear the same visage as one would expect to grace the face of a mildly enthused 12 year old playing on his church-affiliated youth rec league team. Lebron has yet to demonstrate such a pervasive tenacity.

  45. Ted Nelson

    While I don’t believe the Knicks will maintain a .667 winning percentage, there are several reasons why I think winning (being around .500) would be good for the Knicks long-term:

    -raise trade values–besides increasing interest among other teams, it should increase the Knicks’ bargaining position: they can just say screw you we’ll keep him and keep winning if a team low-balls them.

    -attract 2010 free agents–If Rubio declares or Blake Griffin really is the next Boozer it might help attract a FA, but a playoff team that has improved each of the last 2 seasons they can take to the next level is probably a better bet.

    -2009 is a weak draft class–If there were an LBJ or Oden at the top I’d be all for tanking. Blake Griffin (being compared to Carlos Boozer), BJ Mullens (being compared to Chris Kaman)… could end up being very good NBA players, but these guys don’t really get my heart racing. (I don’t know Rubio’s status, he’s in some mocks but I remember him signing an extension that made it pretty hard for him to get out after this season… like a couple million euros hard. He’s the best Spanish prospect since Pau and a virtual lock for the top 3, but he also must have in his mind countrymen Rudy/Marc falling in the draft, Jorge Grabajosa’s messy divorce with the Raps, and Sergio Rodriguez publicly feuding over playing time.) Depending on how the freshmen fair the class as a whole doesn’t look that great either. Mostly veteran “overachievers” who lack size/athleticism or “underachievers” with NBA size/athleticism.
    There will undoubtedly be some good NBA players in this class, but Donnie Walsh had a lot of success in Indiana with mid-to-late firsts. If the Knicks finish 7th-10th in the East they might have a shot at some solid players who would fit nicely into D’Antoni’s system (hate drafting for the system, but if they’re the best available): Victor Claver, Patrick Patterson, Chase Budinger, Stephen Curry. Maybe a Thaddeus Young-type, underrated after his freshman season, falls into their laps…
    Another benefit of a weak class is that other GMs might be more willing to give up their picks for instant help around the deadline.

    -Potential is overrated–I’d be very uneasy saying that Nate, Lee, WC, etc. all have good potential plus Zach and Jamal have good trade value or could be long-term Knicks if the Knicks were losing. If they’re all good players, then they should be a good team.
    Zach could be putting up 18-20/10-12 on a losing team (as he did last season and the season before) and other GMs still wouldn’t want him. Whether or not he’s the reason the Knicks are winning other GMs are seeing that you can win with him carrying your team for stretches.
    The Knicks do run the risk of overpaying Lee/Nate or losing them for nothing, but I think it’s a good position to be in. I’m thrilled to see WC putting it together and forcing less ugly shots (still a few too many for my taste). If the Knicks are losing I think you have to seriously question Lee/Nate’s potential since they’re already in their 4th seasons (not so young anymore) and whether WC’s athleticism will ever translate into basketball ability.
    We’ll see how the rest of the season goes, but at this point it’s nice to have seen some NBA-level production translating into wins for these guys.

  46. Ted Nelson

    A couple of random notes:

    -Besides the ankle, Lee’s rebounding troubles are largely on the offensive side. He’s also well below his career average defensively, but on the offensive glass he’s on par with Nate Robinson and at less than half his career (per minute) average. As soon as a teammate’s shot goes up he’s getting back on D. Suppose it’s “the system” and having one bigman back has got to be huge for the defense. As long as they’re winning and Zach is dominating the offensive glass I’m not going to complain.

    -WC got to the line for 4 FTs against OKC (not amazing but 1 shy of his season high), making up for a mediocre-bad night from the field. He passed up a jumper to take it into traffic and look for contact, against Utah he passed up an open 3 to step up and nail a 15 footer. This is all I was asking for, if he starts making heady plays like this (and not forcing long-jumpers) on a regular basis he’ll be a real difference maker.

  47. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I think potential can be overrated also, but when you don’t have a legit all star (or very close) at the moment, are loaded with bad contracts, and will need at least two plus the ability to attract a top free agent to be a “major force” in a few years, you have no choice but to look at your youngest and most athletic prospects and hope for the best. ;-)

  48. Italian Stallion

    I think the issue that needs to be discussed further is what happens when Jeffries comes back.

    We obviously need a real Center. If the coaching staff thinks Jeffries is really a #5 and intends on using him a lot, how does that shift the line up etc….

    Do we start Jeffries at C, move ZBO to PF, and Chandler to SF?

    Do we keep the same line up and just use Jeffries heavier at times when his defensive and other skills seem to suit the needs?

    How much will having Jeffries out there hurt the outside shooting, spacing etc… and offense given he’s probably less of a threat than anyone he might sub for?

  49. Ted Nelson

    Ted,
    , you have no choice but to look at your youngest and most athletic prospects and hope for the best. ;-)

    Maybe the title of that point–Potential is overrated–was misleading, but what you-‘re saying is pretty much what I was saying. If the best young players on the team (Lee, Nate, WC, not Danilo since he’s injured) are playing major minutes it’s much better to have them helping the team win. A much better sign then if WC was playing as miserably as last year and Nate/Lee were still contributing good stats to a miserable team. Replace Zach and Jamal with two All-NBA players and the Knicks might already be close to contention.

    I would agree that a high draft pick is usually as good a way to get an All-NBA player as any, but in this specific situation I think winning is a better strategy than tanking. Gives the “unmovable” Zach Randolph value, creates an environment a top FA might want to play in, and the only guys in the 2009 draft class I see as potential franchise players are really Blake Griffin and Ricky Rubio, neither of whom is a lock to even declare. We’ll have to see how a lot of prospects perform in 08-09, but this draft class looks like a lot of potential at the top (read: maybe some stars but definitely some busts) and some quality “role players” or solid starters later on… there’s no guarantee you get a better player #4 then you do later on (I mean it’s more likely, but if you draft well with a later pick) and the Knicks are going to have a hard time beating out some of these horrible teams they’ve played for a top 3 pick.

  50. Ted Nelson

    I think D’Antoni will try to ease Jeffries into the lineup. While I would love for him to transform into an interior defensive force, I have my doubts that he’s a better frontcourt option than Randolph, WC, or Lee. I would assume he earns only spot minutes, but he does have a high enough basketball IQ and enough skill that he should be an improvement over Malik Rose at the end of the rotation.

  51. Ted Nelson

    BTW, for whoever said that we should forget about Balkman, it’s going to be hard to do once Jeffries comes back… Hard not to realize that the Knicks had a better option on their roster, if it wasn’t already with Malik Rose getting PT. I really thought Balkman/WC would both fit D’Antoni’s system perfectly (in different roles) as versatile forwards.

  52. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, “We’re doing well right now, so who cares that we gave away a useful player for effectively nothing?” isn’t an argument that I think holds much sway.

    We don’t have to constantly dwell upon it, but a mistake’s a mistake’s a mistake.

  53. Gian Casimiro (SSoM)

    I think the issue that needs to be discussed further is what happens when Jeffries comes back.

    We obviously need a real Center. If the coaching staff thinks Jeffries is really a #5 and intends on using him a lot, how does that shift the line up etc….

    Do we start Jeffries at C, move ZBO to PF, and Chandler to SF?

    Do we keep the same line up and just use Jeffries heavier at times when his defensive and other skills seem to suit the needs?

    How much will having Jeffries out there hurt the outside shooting, spacing etc… and offense given he’s probably less of a threat than anyone he might sub for?

    I’m really interested in seeing how it works as well.

    I don’t know if anyone has any current updates but the initial reports said he’d be healthy by the end of the month. I think he’ll get Malik Roses’ 10 minutes/game for another two weeks to a month after his return until he gets his legs back.

    If he plays well enough to get the starting job then a lineup of Jeffries, Randolph, Chandler, Crawford and Duhon is probably what we’ll see. Q-Rich only plays 26 mins/g and mainly for defensive purposes anyway – sounds like a bench role to me.

    How it works with the offense is where it gets interesting. Like you said, I’m worried about the spacing because when Rose is in the game, he gets absolutely no respect from the free throw line and beyond. Jeffries should get the same treatment so they’re going to have to keep him in motion. I think you’ll constantly see him setting picks on and off the ball and roll to the paint for some touches. That’s what David Lee’s been doing of late since he can’t get lift on his jumpshot at the moment. So I don’t expect the offense to be too different but it’s all up to Jeffries’ performance.

  54. RAy

    When is Jeffries supposed to return? Im getting kinda tired of the wish Balkman were here sentiment. Hes in Denver and hes gone. Im glad hes gone because Chandler gets more playing time and hes a star.

  55. Brian Cronin

    Balkman playing ? Chandler not playing

    Particularly when Malik Rose is averaging 9 minutes a game.

  56. Z

    “When is Jeffries supposed to return? Im getting kinda tired of the wish Balkman were here sentiment. Hes in Denver and hes gone. Im glad hes gone…”

    Since when have people been interested in J. Jeffries? People talk like we are missing one of our key contributors. Maybe I blinked and missed his highlight reel over the past two seasons, but this guy was one of the worst Knicks I’ve ever seen wear the uniform during long stretches of his tenure.

    Balkman was, consensually at this site at least, the second most popular Knick for the past two years. Jeffries was an embarrassment and a sorry representation of the Isiah Thomas regime.

    I feel like I have woken up in an alternate universe– not only are the Knicks at .667, but they have done it without their “franchise center”.

  57. Italian Stallion

    I hate to add to this endless Balkman debate because even though the trade was probably an error from a “value perspective”, it was also probably a total non event from a long term perspective.

    I think what makes it looks a little worse now is that Gallinari is out, Jeffries got hurt, we are using Chandler at PF instead of SF, and we weren’t able to get rid of Marbury in time to keep Ewing on the roster (a similar playing style who IMHO has more overall long term upside).

    Undo just a little of that and Balkman would be getting very little playing time here anyway and his biggest fans would be complaining about that instead of the trade.

    Balkman has some usefull skills, may get a little better, and may even be a useful role player on a MAJOR contender some day. However, I would much rather be obsessing about not having Trevor Ariza than Renaldo Balkman. NOW THAT WAS MAJOR BLUNDER because IMO it was obvious he had a lot of raw athletic talent and was going to get a LOT BETTER.

  58. Brian Cronin

    It was not even that the Knicks traded Balkman, I doubt anyone here would have him marked as “untradeable.”

    It’s the fact that they effectively gave him away.

  59. jon abbey

    I agree that Jeffries was worthless in his previous Knick seasons, but I also think he’ll be a great fit at C in this system.

    and yeah, the thing about Balkman is they gave him away when the depth on the team (especially if there’s an injury to any of the top 7) is severely lacking. why we still haven’t bought out Jerome James is pretty inexplicable.

  60. Ted Nelson

    Ariza was traded a couple of seasons ago on Isiah’s watch. The reason people are upset about the Balkman trade is that we thought the Walshtoni era signalled an end to giving away talented young players and giving roster spaces to useless vets.

  61. Caleb

    i thought the rule was 19 at the time of the draft, rubio just turned 18 in october, he isnt listed on any mocks

    You have to turn 19 the same calendar year as the draft, so he squeaks in. He’s #1 on the DraftExpress board and #3 in Chad Ford’s lineup.

    re: Jeffries — what are we, zombies? D’Antoni calls him a center, so he’s a center? I joke, I joke – sort of. But Jeffries is a perimeter player – I doubt he tips 220 pounds. Maybe a center in some situations. Jeffries has been one of the worst offensive players in the league, and even at 6’11 is only an average rebounder for a SMALL FORWARD — about 5 per 40.

    I do think he is a decent defender, and probably a lot better in a wide-open, trapping system, than trying to push some big guy in the post.

    Fans of plus-minus know he’s put up good numbers there the last few years. That’s either the hidden genius of Jeffries or a black eye for plus-minus. You tell me.

    He’s nowhere near the player that Balkman is (sorry, have to point it out) but taking Malik Rose’s minutes will be a plus. Rose actually hasn’t been an embarrassment this year (53 TS, decent rebounding) but no doubt he will be, given a few more games.

  62. Caleb

    btw – I notice a few people complaining about the team’s depth (sorry Jon – I know there were others) – which seems weird. The Knicks are 6-3, even with 3 of their top 10 sitting out completely. IIt’s not depth like the Celtics or Blazers, but the main problem for this 30-40 win team isn’t depth — it’s that the best players aren’t that good. No star.

    If Crawford or Robinson gets hurt, the team probably wouldn’t miss a beat with Marbury.

    If Randolph got hurt, Lee would play PF, Crawford would take more shots, Curry might throw in a bit of scoring.

    We’ve been making do, somehow, without our franchise center and defensive stopper.

    The most indispensable player at this point is probably Duhon – no one else like him on the roster.

  63. Caleb

    I agree that the Trevor Ariza move was worse than the Balkman trade. Talk about painful memories.

    But anyone who think PEJ will have a better NBA career than Balkman should have his typing license revoked.

  64. Italian Stallion

    It was not even that the Knicks traded Balkman, I doubt anyone here would have him marked as “untradeable.”
    It’s the fact that they effectively gave him away.

    They got a second round pick.

    I granted that the value was poor, but given the other points I made IMO it’s still not an obsessable issue. ;-)

  65. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    I don’t think the other points you made hold much water. Jeffries isn’t that good to begin with and D’Antoni views him as a center. Danilo is a rookie, I’m as high on him as I can be but you don’t just draft someone #6 and build your roster around him before he’s played an NBA game. Even if/when he gets healthy there’s no guarantee he’s all that good either. I think D’Antoni will continue to give WC heavy minutes at PF as long as he’s in the rotation and the Knicks don’t have All-NBA players at the 4 and 5. He’s a poorman’s Marion at this point, and Marion was his PF in Phoenix.

  66. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    I don’t think the other points you made hold much water. Jeffries isn’t that good to begin with and D’Antoni views him as a center. Danilo is a rookie, I’m as high on him as I can be but you don’t just draft someone #6 and build your roster around him before he’s played an NBA game. Even if/when he gets healthy there’s no guarantee he’s all that good either. I think D’Antoni will continue to give WC heavy minutes at PF as long as he’s in the rotation and the Knicks don’t have All-NBA players at the 4 and 5. He’s a poorman’s Marion at this point, and Marion was his PF in Phoenix.

  67. Ted Nelson

    Meant to address it to IS, realized at the last second it said Caleb and tried to change it while it was sending…

  68. Gian Casimiro (SSoM)

    re: Jeffries — what are we, zombies? D’Antoni calls him a center, so he’s a center? I joke, I joke – sort of. But Jeffries is a perimeter player – I doubt he tips 220 pounds. Maybe a center in some situations. Jeffries has been one of the worst offensive players in the league, and even at 6?11 is only an average rebounder for a SMALL FORWARD — about 5 per 40.

    I do think he is a decent defender, and probably a lot better in a wide-open, trapping system, than trying to push some big guy in the post.

    I hear you and agree but no roster moves have been made and we have no idea what Curry will bring back via trade, so he’s all we have to look forward to unfortunately.

    I have no faith in Jeffries’ man to man post defense either but I don’t think it’s any worse than what we’re seeing right now. His help defense around the basket is certainly better than Curry’s. And at the very least he adds length (I’m being optimistic, I know).

    These kinds of conversations are great. It takes us away from the early high of winning and makes us remember how far the team is from the playoffs.

  69. Z

    Looks like Anthony Morrow pulled a Rick Carlisle…

    In his first career start the undrafted rookie put up this line:

    37 pts on 15-20; 4-5 on 3s; 3-3 FTs; +/-=+24; 11 rebs; in 41 minutes.

    I know one doesn’t want to peak to soon, but that’s a career line for an undrafted player in any game, much less his first start. I guess he wanted to make a statement that he was better than all of those Serbian players drafted in the 2nd round.

    That’s 37 more points in one game than our rookie is going to score all season.

    Anthony Morrow. Who knew?

  70. Italian Stallion

    IS,
    I don’t think the other points you made hold much water.

    Ted,

    The point I was making was that Walsh and D’Antoni thought he was somewhat redundant at the time (and many here agreed even if they liked him). He would have much more use now given the ACTUAL developments and strategies AFTER THE FACT and perhaps he’d still be on the team had management had perfect foresight into the injuries and eventual uses of the other players.

  71. Thomas B.

    before you break your arm patting yourself on the back, you were dead wrong on Marbury.

    If memory serves, I think I said Marbury could be a great player again. We won’t know if I’m wrong until he gets to play.

    So there.

  72. Ted Nelson
    IS,
    I don’t think the other points you made hold much water.

    Ted,
    The point I was making was that Walsh and D’Antoni thought he was somewhat redundant at the time (and many here agreed even if they liked him). He would have much more use now given the ACTUAL developments and strategies AFTER THE FACT and perhaps he’d still be on the team had management had perfect foresight into the injuries and eventual uses of the other players.

    The point I’m making is that I think they were wrong, even if players hadn’t gotten injured. But I guess we’ve been through this before.

  73. jon abbey

    btw – I notice a few people complaining about the team’s depth (sorry Jon – I know there were others) – which seems weird. The Knicks are 6-3, even with 3 of their top 10 sitting out completely. IIt’s not depth like the Celtics or Blazers, but the main problem for this 30-40 win team isn’t depth — it’s that the best players aren’t that good. No star.
    If Crawford or Robinson gets hurt, the team probably wouldn’t miss a beat with Marbury.
    If Randolph got hurt, Lee would play PF, Crawford would take more shots, Curry might throw in a bit of scoring.
    We’ve been making do, somehow, without our franchise center and defensive stopper.
    The most indispensable player at this point is probably Duhon – no one else like him on the roster.

    yeah, I wasn’t thinking about it like that, since I think that Marbury (definitely) and Curry (probably) are basically just taking roster spots at this point. however, this:

    “If Crawford or Robinson gets hurt, the team probably wouldn’t miss a beat with Marbury.”

    with all due respect, you’re out of your mind. what is it about this guy that people still don’t understand? his entire career, teams are better without him than with him. it’s happening again right before our eyes, but still some people choose not to accept it.

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