Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

2008 Game Thread: Sixers at Knicks

Your pre/in/post game thoughts.

164 comments on “2008 Game Thread: Sixers at Knicks

  1. Owen Post author

    Knicks making a good start tonight, and Mardy Collins was spotted stroking an open jump shot, a highly unexpected start to the second half of the season…

  2. Owen

    leading by seven at the end of the first :-), partly because Curry got two quick fouls on both Dalembert and Curry. Go Isiah!

  3. Thomas B.

    Caleb,

    Your comments on Balkman are playing out nicely as I type. The team plays better when he is on the floor. His defense and rebounding more than makes up for his lack of shooting. When you take in account that Q is shooting a 32%, you might as well have Balkman on the floor. He shoots no worse than Q and brings much more to the game.

  4. Sledge

    Why when the knicks are swinging with lee-balkman-jeffries-nate and crawford on the floor, isiah puts back in curry and zack???

    can someone xplain this???

  5. Frank O.

    near the end of the half, zeke subbed for three fifths of the team.
    But I realized there was under a minute to play in the half
    no big

  6. Sledge

    maybe under a minute to play, yes, dunno

    what i do know is that after lee got taken out of the game, the lead went down from 11 to just 4 points

    enough said

  7. Frank O.

    so let me get this straight:
    Zeke pulls the most effective player on the court in Lee and replaces him in the last few minutes with a guy that is 3-9 from the stripe and is basically a defensive matador?

  8. cwod

    is zach actually have an alright game or is he just having one of those lucky everything-he-shoots-goes-in nights?

  9. DRed

    Our classic late game play-Jamal holds and holds and holds and then heaves up an airball. Great coaching.

  10. Frank O.

    in bricks world you can have a guy shooting 8-11, another 6-8,but you want the guy shooting 4-16 to dribble down the clock and heave a prayer.

  11. Ray

    What is it with you guys leaving these questions/comments during the game? So corny. Good win tonight. The usuals stepped up…Lee , Nate, Crawford.

  12. John

    Look…as a sixers fan…you all should have beat the snot out of this team…2/5 of the sixers starting line up are bench players who shouldn’t see more than 10-15 minutes a game…the coach is challenged at even the most basic coaching concepts…the starting PFs best strength (offensive rebounding) is hampered by his offensive offensive game…Thank you for winning this game…please continue to win so the sixers get ‘higher’ in the lottery

    Calvin Booth is the ugliest man since larry bird

    Chris Kaman is the ugliest man in the history of basketball…who thought the haircut would make him UGLIER…

  13. daaarn

    positives: they won
    negatives: another inconsequential draft pick that’ll probably lead to a horrendous trade that will kill any chance of the Knicks getting a prime free agent in 2010

  14. jon abbey

    “2/5 of the sixers starting line up are bench players who shouldn’t see more than 10-15 minutes a game”

    um, we started Mardy Collins and the Player Formerly Known As Quentin Richardson.

    both teams are pretty lousy, no need to figure out which is worse.

  15. Ben R

    What does Isiah have against Balkman. He played a great first half and then couldn’t get back into the game.

  16. Sledge

    7 of the next 10 games are on the road,six of them against + .500 teams.
    Finally a real good chance for this team to show how good/strong they have become over these last games.
    Looking at how long it took for the knicks to finally put away the sixers… . I’m very afraid that this upcoming five-game roadtrip will end with (a huge) maybe 1 out of 5.

  17. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “What does Isiah have against Balkman. He played a great first half and then couldn’t get back into the game.”

    It’s a well established factorial that any NBA SF has to hit 60% of their 12-15 foot jumpshots.

  18. z-man

    I agree on Balk, Mike, he has to be spotted in at SF until his offensive game develops. Q is marginally better on O lately (couldn’t possibly have gotten worse) and Jeffries is a better/smarter/longer defender with the same zero on O as Balk. You don’t want Balk,s minutes to go up at the expense of Lee or JC. As such, he is no more than a 10-12 minute energy guy at best except if other team goes small, foul trouble, injury, etc.

    I am wondering if all the Zach-haters are coming around on him at all. Not many PFs in the league can be playing better than he has in the past 10 games. He has shown improvement in all areas of his game (still a long way to go on D), is taking better shots, is an absolute beast on the boards every night (can’t do that without effort for those who think he is lazy) and was the only player with a pulse vs. Celtics. He has done nothing to indicate that his past indiscretions are still an issue.

    Eddy on the other hand…

  19. caleb

    “Not many PFs in the league can be playing better than he has in the past 10 games.”

    I hope you don’t really believe this!

    But yeah, the first 25-30 games were sort of an aberration, in that he was terrible on offense, too. Based on the rest of Zach’s career he’s been slightly above average on that end – though nowhere near an elite player. Only one year with a TS over 53%, I believe… his turnover #s aren’t as bad as some think, given how much he has the ball, but they’re not good, either.

  20. z-man

    With Zach, he can clearly put up deceptive numbers and have 25 and 15 on a night when he had a negative overall impact. In recent games, however, his points and rebounds seem more legit and in the positive flow of the Knicks’ recent more team-oriented game-you’ll dig this comparison-more DLee-like. Granted, this makes it harder for Lee to get minutes, but if Zach does the same things as Lee at PF AND is more effective as an offensive threat he has to gets his 35-40 minutes.

    Maybe David has to focus on geting more minutes at center. He seemed to do OK (relative to Eddy) vs. Yao and Shaq. Maybe he should watching Dave Cowens tapes and hit the weight room big time. Most NBA centers suck anyway these days.

  21. Z

    “I am wondering if all the Zach-haters are coming around on him at all. Not many PFs in the league can be playing better than he has in the past 10 games.”

    Did he renegotiate his contract during those ten games to have it expire a year earlier?

    Did he have a breakthrough in therapy to realize that he’s a selfish, overtly negative presence on the court, even when playing with a pulse?

    Did he learn to play defense in the last ten games?

    If one or more answers to the above questions is “no”, then, no, I haven’t come around on him.

    Then, no. I haven’t come around on him.

  22. ess-dog

    What would it hurt to have Balkman on the floor with Zach, Craford and Nate? With so many shooters, we don’t need a jump shooter at the SF- we need defense and rebounding and sprinting down the floor. Balkman needs 30 minutes a game period!

  23. Spider Cider

    I only caught a few minutes of this game, but seeing a lineup out there, even if only briefly, of Robinson-JEffries-Balkman-Lee-Curry was the most hilarious thing ever. I wish they’d play the whole game with that lineup, at least then the Knicks would be constant source of comedy.

  24. z-man

    Balk’s energy is still ahead of his smarts. He is often out of position and foul/turnover prone. I wish he was ready for these types of minutes because he is so spectacular when going good. No way he is ready for 30 minutes unless you want to tank the rest of the season for the sake of his development.

    Z,
    I disagree that he is a “selfish, overly negative presence” during the recent stretch of games. For example, he had 3 beautiful assists last night and has been a much more effective passer lately in general. His shot selection is much improved lately.

    His contract is a non-issue until we get under the cap, and is in line with the better but non-elite PFs in the league. Even as a trade pawn, his value must have increased lately and will certainly increase if his game continues to improve as it has lately. Curry, both JJs, Q-Poor are all more overpaid than Zach. You can even make an argument that Jamal is more overpaid, given his inconsistency and defensive woes.

    Defensively, he is much less of a liablity than Eddy, who is truly the worst, and no worse than Lee. He has a long way to go, but D is a lot easier to learn than O or rebounding. And, as I said, you cant consistently put up his gaudy rebounding numbers without heart and desire, and if he can learn to react better defensively and position himself better, he has the tools to improve. He is only 26 and comes from a notoriously negative Jailblazer team where nobody gave a thought to teamwork or D. Objectively, he deserves a lot of credit for what he has done lately.

  25. z-man

    By the way, I didn’t mean to diss Jamal. In fact, I commend him for quietly becoming the on-court leader of this team. What the Knicks lack more than anything else is on-court leadership. If we had someone that would get in Zach’s face when he took plays off on D or hoisted dumb shots (like Isiah the player would have) it would be interesting to see how far his game would develop. To be fair, Zach hasn’t had that yet.

    In addition, Neither Zach nor Jamal has a shot-blocker to back them up on D, exposing them further. This is especially true for Jamal, who has to guard the toughest covers in the league at the 2. I wish we could pick up a Sam Dalambert-type for Marbury’s expiring contract or some scrubs or Eddy.

  26. Joe V TradeClyde

    Clyde was more tolerable in this game. Even though he reserves his dishing and swishing remarks for the oppisite team, despite a few that were made by Crawford, Maubury and I think even Zach made a good move to the basket.

    On a seperate note,
    Curious, why when the discusion came up about the allstar lineup they preview the players doing moves on the Knicks. Is that suppose to be some great achievement. Why not just show them making moves on teams throughout the league.They claim the knicks are so bad, why not show them making moves on a varsity team. I mean if your not a constant follower than you might see a clip of Yao dunking on Curry and feel worse about the knicks if that’s possible for some of you. I guess if they had to justify why Yao didn’t make it to the allstar they would have shown Nates leap into his face to block his shot under the basket. I guess reality can be anything you want it to be. It depends on the audience.

    By the way, I was booted for some reason before I had to keep my Joe V and change the rest. I hope it does not happen again.

  27. frank

    Mike K. – by saying it’s factorial that all NBA SFs have to hit 60% of their 12-15 ft jumpers, I assume you are making fun of my assertion about balkman’s terrible shooting when I made that exact statement. I can’t believe that on this board of mostly reasonably minded basketball fans that this is not a universally accepted fact. A SF is not a lumbering 7 footer who is too clumsy to shoot from more than 3 ft away… The SF should be one the most athletic and versatile players on the team. To me that means if you are 12 feet from thebasket and the other team is daring you to shoot, then as a supremely athletically gifted, non- lumbering specimen, you should be able hit that shot the majority of the time. I’m not asking for steve Nash 48% from 3 point range with hands in your face. I’m just asking for udonis haslem or even Ryan gomes- like efficiency from a position known to have good shooters,, from a position that is supposed to spread the floor so lumberingtypes like zach and curry have room to work. To forgive his absolute lack of a game from morethan 3ft away is ridiculous in my mind. Shooting is just about practice and more practice.

  28. ess-dog

    z-man, I agree that Zach has improved lately, and like I said before, surrounded by the right complementary players, and with the right attitude, Z-bo could be a fine player. Even though Curry’s efficiency is better, I think Zach has way more “talent”. It’s too bad he is overpaid, but it is what it is.
    As for Balkman, I think his energy and intangibles outweigh his mental mistakes and jump shot. Especially with Z-bo, Crawford and Nate taking so many jumpers. It’s possible we could use Lee at SF as well since his jumper is coming along nicely. I just think Q has become a real problem and is undersized and Jeffries while he has good defensive skills is better at the 4 or even the 5 for this club.
    Or we could just give Curry and Q 40 minutes each and play for the lottery pick which may be the smartest thing to do.

  29. z-man

    ess-dog, I agree that this is my fave five on the floor. The problem is that you have some mismatch problems against an good team’s best lineup. None ot the five you suggest are defensive stoppers vs veteran scorers in the halfcourt game and other team can either zone or double whoever is hot. I think that Balk’s minutes should be determined by his play and the situation/matchups, and my guess is that an average of 20 minutes is all Balk’s game merits right now, unless he goes on a spree (no reference to latrell intended). The one guy whose minutes have to go up is Nate. I think he should start and should play 35 minutes or more a night.

  30. jon abbey

    if anyone is worried about us rising in the standings and losing ping-pong balls, we’re about to get blown out four times in a row: @GS, @LAL, @Utah, @Portland. I’ll be surprised if any of those games are a single digit loss, let alone a win.

  31. Z

    “I disagree that he is a “selfish, overly negative presence” during the recent stretch of games.”

    But has he really turned a corner? You are looking at 10 games. I’m looking at the first 30 games, as well as his career in Portland. He has always been a selfish player, a negative presence, and from all indications, a less than stellar teammate. 10 games is not enough to turn my “Zach hating” into Zach liking (unless those ten games come in the conference semis/finals…)

    “His contract is a non-issue until we get under the cap”

    His contract is the reason we cannot get under the cap. How is that a non-issue? His acquisition made our cap situation way worse than it was going into last summer. His contract is not a non-issue. It is the absolute biggest issue that “Zach haters” have with him.

    “Defensively, he is much less of a liablity than Eddy, who is truly the worst, and no worse than Lee.”

    Randolph is the worst defender I’ve seen on the Knicks in a long time. He’s never drawn a charge, he’s barely ever blocked a shot, he sags, he fails to rotate, he talks to the ref while his man shoots open Js, he goes for every fake (presumably to try to get a rebound in the rare even of a miss). He is terrible, and these 10 games have not made him better.

    Curry is horrible too, but at least he can block a shot, even if he tends not to.

    The difference between Lee and Randolph on D is not even close. Lee has dropped off in scoring efficiency and rebounding since last year, but he has improved on D. He’s been put on Yao and Duncan, two guys who would have punished him last year, and he did pretty well. Even if your contention that Lee and Randolph are equally bad at D is true, I’d put my money on Lee improving his D than on Randolph improving his over the next three years.

    I think that in order to appreciate Randolph, you have to be the kind of person who wakes up in the morning and sees 18 and 10 in the paper and says, “wow, I’m glad Isiah traded for Randolph. Think of how bad we’d be without him”. It’s not an unreasonable thing to say– it just leaves out a lot of what is really going on in the games.

  32. daJudge

    Z is right. Randolph is a terrible defensive player. His offensive stats are impressive. His skills make him even more frustrating as a team member. Balkman’s tenacity will earn him more minutes, but there is no question that his shot needs work. Hopefully he will be tenacious practicing his shot. Assuming, for arguments sake, that he is not doing so in practice, I think the message to him should be less minutes. I don’t think Zeke would be wrong in that situation. One final thing–stat lines on a bad team are particularly meaningless. There have been so many players with great stat lines that hindered a team. Steph’s career stat line is very impressive, but his career isn’t.

  33. z-man

    As I said, Zach went from a highly dysfunctional jailblazers situation to the just as dysfunctional Knicks of the offseason and first 30 games. I am not dubbing him the savior, but if hid development as a team player continues, he can be a bonafide starter on a playoff team. As with Eddy, Steph and Q, Isiah has cut his minutes and is benching him when his selfish play merits it. Only Zach has responded with better play.

    I also read here that Lee’s non-development or even drop-off across the board this year is mainly due to less minutes and erratic playing time. He is still averaging 26+ minutes a game, only 6 less than Zach. He rarely draws charges or blocks shots either. Lee admittedly is a much better help defender than Zach, but never commands a double team to take heat off of other scorers either. When Zach passes well, as he has done lately, he is simply superior to Lee. If he improves defensively (the coach’s job) the gap between Lee and Zach will widen.

    Unless Lee magically turns into Dave Cowens, he will remain what he is, a complimentary player worthy of 26-30 minutes a night. His attitude is great, but given his innate talent level has less upside than people here give him credit for. Zach, whose minutes are currently down to 32, has the talent to earn increased minutes, and should be given a chance to develop before giving up on him. As much as I hate Isiah, I have to agree with him here.

  34. z-man

    One more thing, people act like Lee and Balk just need to practice their shot. It’s like they aren’t doing so all the time. I heard repeatedly during off-season and preseason how hard Lee and Balk worked on their shooting. Their shooting deficiencies are in spite of all the practice they have put in. Expecting them to improve much is wishful thinking. Game-speed hand-eye coordination (a big part of what we call talent) is a lot harder to teach than moving your feet on D.

  35. Z

    “When Zach passes well, as he has done lately, he is simply superior to Lee.”

    Okay, so Randolph passing well makes him better than Lee. Does it make him $14 million a year better than Lee?

  36. daJudge

    I respectfully disagree with the assessment that it’s easier to become a better defensive player than learn to shoot. Defense is not just about moving one’s feet. It is about reading plays, anticipating movement, timing blocks, fighting through picks, getting in shooters heads and playing with heart. Very hard to teach heart. Shooting is about repetition and confidence. I do however totally agree that Balkman and Lee will never, no matter how much practice, shoot the 12-15 footer like Zach.

  37. njhoops

    “if anyone is worried about us rising in the standings and losing ping-pong balls, we’re about to get blown out four times in a row: @GS, @LAL, @Utah, @Portland. I’ll be surprised if any of those games are a single digit loss, let alone a win.”

    Jon Abbey, I disagree. GS will likely kick our butts as we matchup horribly against them, but I think we have a legit shot against LA without Bynum and even Portland. However, if somehow we don’t show up for the first few, I agree, an 0-5 trip would be almost inevitable based on past history.

  38. caleb

    “given his innate talent level has less upside than people here give him credit for.”

    It’s not about upside… why is it so hard to see? He’s better than Randolph right now. He was better last year. He’s better this year, even playing worse. He rebounds and passes as well, scores less but much more efficienly (not only does he not take bad shots, he gets to the line more than Randolph), and plays better defense. Granted — it would be hard to win a championship with David Lee as your best player, but he’s the best we have right now… not to mention that he’s a couple years younger than Zach.

    Randolph is an excellent rebounder, slightly above average on offense, putrid on defense. All in all he’s maybe a slightly above average NBA starter. On a different team (like the Bulls) he might be more valuable. On the Knicks, he a) takes minutes from the best player; b) destroys our long-term salary structure (Curry, Crawford & Jeffries do, too, but Zach’s deal is the biggest by a good margin; and c) seems to make Curry worse. He’s barely helping the team, if at all.

  39. caleb

    apologies, Randolph has moved ahead of Lee in free-throw attempts, 6.2 vs. 5.2. per 48. Considering Zach’s usage rate is almost twice as high, that’s not impressive.

  40. T-Mart

    Calvin Booth is the ugliest man since larry bird”
    Bo Outlaw

    Calvin Booth is the ugliest man since larry bird

    Chris Kaman is the ugliest man in the history of basketball…who thought the haircut would make him UGLIER…

    How could you look any further then Zach Randloph???? He is definitely a nominee for ugliest man in the NBA.

    “It’s a well established factorial that any NBA SF has to hit 60% of their 12-15 foot jumpshots”

    Sarcasm=factorial

  41. caleb

    And what’s all this about Zach’s deadly jump shot? He’s hitting 38% of them, for god’s sake. Lee is only making 33%, but still… that’s supposed to be his big advantage?

  42. daJudge

    With respect to Lee and Randolph: Look at the market for a minute. Randolph, with all of his stats was shipped out and his team clearly improved. How many teams would line up for Lee right now if he was offered? My guess is many would. Conversely, Randolph’s market value is much lower, not just because his contract, but because of his flaws, which become more apparent given his talent level.

  43. jon abbey

    “GS will likely kick our butts as we matchup horribly against them, but I think we have a legit shot against LA without Bynum and even Portland. However, if somehow we don’t show up for the first few, I agree, an 0-5 trip would be almost inevitable based on past history.”

    I didn’t say 0-5, we can beat Seattle (even though they blew us out in NY). but the first four teams are all fighting for the playoffs and need every win they can get, I don’t see us coming close in any of those.

  44. caleb

    Finally.. just to put Lee’s dropoff in perspective. While his numbers are off from last year, his TS% – my fave measure of scoring efficiency – is still 59.4%, 4th among NBA power forwards. Kevin Garnett is the only big-minute guy ahead of him, at .603.

    Last year his rebound rate (percentage of missed shots rebounded) was a spectular 20+; this year its way down — to 17.2, still 7th among power forwards (and higher than Garnett, fyi).

    Randolph, btw is 3rd in rebound rate (among PFs) and 36th in TS%.

  45. Ess-dog

    The Lee vs. Randolph argument is intriguing but c’mon, the real issue is that Zeke never should’ve traded for Curry, and after that, shouldn’t have traded for Randolph who in no way compliments Curry. Never i a million years will a frontcourt of Curry and Randolph work. I think Lee is the most desirable trade pawn we have because he makes very little money and is high energy and does a lot of things well. The one thing he doesn’t do well which Zach does well is take his man one-on-one and attract double-teams. Curry also does this (fairly well) but is a worse passer and worse rebounder than Zach. He is a very slightly better shotblocker and they are pretty equally bad defensively. Also Curry is less consistent than Zach in all aspects except D. The other big negative to Zach is that contract, but getting rid of Zach only to clear up room for Lebron who probably won’t come to NY seems like a longshot prayer.
    I think when we get to the trading deadline, you might see some people get desperate to trade players that will otherwise walk for nothing. Andre Miller for example. Look for Zeke to make a move with one of these players involving Zach or Eddy. Let’s just pray it’s not a typical Zeke trade…

  46. Joe V Clyde off balance

    Knicks are going to kick butt, they’ll win at least two of their next five. Hopefully there is no momentum breaking bad calls.

    How did they not catch that ball interference when even the host called it.

    Hurray! Marbury is on leave.

  47. z-man

    Couple of things:

    Throw out first 30 games. They were polluted by Steph and Isiah’s inconsistent coaching strategy. The current team is different and being coached differently. Starters (other than Jamal) no longer have guaranteed minutes past the first 5 minutes. Team assists are way up from earlier in season and have been consistently in the 20′s.

    The most improved starter is Zach and the most improved bench player is Nate. Jeffries has also improved and so has Q, but their games are still so far below initial expectations it hardly matters. All I am saying is that before passing judgment for keeps, let’s see what happens with Zach. Unlike Curry, Jeffries, Q-Poor, Jerome James, and for his first 3 years, Jamal, he is at least giving close to what was expected of him in his first year with the team.

    Lee’s trade value is mainly due to his low salary. After he signs his next contract he is just as likely to be an overpaid journeyman as Zach, especially if his game develops at the snail’s pace it is this year despite his 26 minutes of burn a night.

    Finally, as to Zach taking Lee’s minutes, Zach is averaging 32, Eddy 27, Jeffries 16 and Lee 26. You could argue that it is Jeffries that is taking minutes away from Lee. Imagine Isiah doing that to the “best player on the team.”

  48. z-man

    One more thing, Caleb, the fact that anyone would selectively use his favorite statistics of any kind to favorably compare Lee to one of the great all-around players and arguably the most complete power forward in NBA history during his most effective season is evidence of how grossly inflated your view of Lee’s game is. Do you honestly believe that Lee is almost as “efficient” of a scorer and a better rebounder than Garnett? In my book, anyone that mentions these two players in the same breath (and other bonafide stars that Lee may have some quirky statistical advantage on) can’t be trusted to evaluate who the best player on any team is.

  49. z-man

    Just to clarify, by “effective” I mean his overall impact on the team including intangibles such as leadership. I’m sure that statistically KG has had better seasons.

  50. Caleb

    “Do you honestly believe that Lee is almost as “efficient” of a scorer and a better rebounder than Garnett?”

    Of course not (although at this point in KG’s career Lee is in the same league as a rebounder). ANd I don’t suggest that Lee is that caliber player — but it does put the stats in a little bit of context, for those who aren’t familiar with them.

    It’s not cherry-picking some random stats where he looks good — those are both extremely useful measures, looking at any player.

    Jsut since I’m feeling argumentative…

    I don’t think this is anything like KG’s most effective season; he’s always been an awesome player (maybe the best) but the main difference this year is he has real teammates.

    It’s a little disappointing to see Lee take a slight downturn this year, but I have to emphasize “slight.” My point in putting the numbers out is to remind people that he’s not about potential, he’s extremely effective right now — even without a huge offensive repertoire, even without 20 extra pounds of muscle, etc. By effective I mean making his team better and doing the things (scoring points, rebounding, defending, and NOT making bad plays like missed shots and turnovers) which make a player excellent.

    Of course his trade value is helped dramatically by his contract — he probably has one of the top 20 trade values in the league. But even if all dollars were even, I think he’s a top-50 player, at the very least.

    p.s. you’re right that Jeffries is eating into his minutes and that’s yet another example of IT’s idiocy.

    My main problem with Randolph is the contract/team-building issue — he’s not a terrible player

  51. z-man

    Again, I love Lee for what he is. However, to say he is a top 50 player is saying that if drafting from scratch he should be one of the top 50 players taken. Think about that, it is saying that you wouldnt get twice around the league before he is picked. That is an awfully dubious contention.

    There are liabilities that stats don’t effectively measure. For example, KG draws double and triple teams, relieving defensive pressure on teammates so they can increase their shooting % by taking uncontested shots. DLee is never even double-teamed and is sometimes left alone on the perimeter, increasing defensive pressure on his teammates and lowering their shooting percentage. This reduces his effectiveness, yet doesn’t show up in the stats. Since his man is often the guy to leave to double-team or pick up Jamal or Zach after they have done the hard work of beating the defense and getting to a threatening offensive position, Lee is freed up to rebound or get a pass for an easy dunk. Lee is extremely good at reading these situations and making the most of them, but does little to return the favor to Zach and Jamal so they can pad their stats. I therefore respectfully disagree with you as to the degree to which Lee makes his teammates better.

  52. Thomas B.

    Do defensive rebounds count as defense? Some of the best defensive big men over the past few years have been very strong rebounders such as Camby, Wallace, Mutumbo, Garnett, and Duncan.

    Zach’s defensive skill set is as poor as Curry’s but Zach is nearly twice the defensive rebounder that Curry is. Does that make him a better defensive contributor than Curry? I think reducing second chance points is defense on some level. Curry does not block enough shots to make up for his poor rebounding. So I think Curry is the least effective defender. Trade Curry for a Camby type center.

  53. Brian Cronin

    Again, I love Lee for what he is. However, to say he is a top 50 player is saying that if drafting from scratch he should be one of the top 50 players taken. Think about that, it is saying that you wouldnt get twice around the league before he is picked. That is an awfully dubious contention.

    Bill Simmons made that contention when he had Lee towards the bottom of his annual trade value list (I believe he had Lee at 46).

    I think Simmons is about right.

  54. Ben R

    I did a very quick list in my head and I think I would put Lee in the top 50 players I would pick to start a team. Near the bottom of the list but on it nonetheless.

  55. Ess-dog

    Well it is weird that our player with the best all around game is on the bench. If we had a shot blocker to protect Lee on defense, he could play the 3 more. As far as top 50… he’s probably near #50. Where does Zach rank? Would you take Lee over Gasol? What about Horford? What about Yi? What about Drew Gooden? Hmmm…
    How does everyone feel about Nate running the point? Do you think he’ll every be able to really lead this team? Or should we look for a pt. guard in the draft? That’s a major question. I like Nate’s game, but there’s no way he can play off guard. What about Jamal? He’s our only clutch scorer, but I would prefer a better all around guard at his spot and have him come off the bench. But will he be willing to come off the bench at this point? I think we all agree that Curry needs to go, but who will take him? What about the 3 spot? We are still pretty deficient in this area.
    The biggest areas of need to me are: 1) center 2) small forward 3) point guard 4) shooting guard.

  56. DS

    Ess, I see Nate as a (very) poor man’s Steve Nash someday. So, I’d feel great about Nate as a starting point when we get rid of Z-Bo and Curry and he can play with some more mobile guys.

    #2 – For what has felt like the worst Knicks season I’ve ever seen, we’re only 3.5 games out of the playoffs. Hope we can avoid losing the next 4 games.

    #3 It crossed my mind that we could sign Chris Anderson to be that shot blocking 4 we always wanted and that he might gel nicely with our energy unit (Nate, Lee, Renaldo) but he’s not young enough to be part of a youth movement and he may have lost a step.

  57. z-man

    In regard to whether Lee is in the top 50, here are just the Eastern Conference guys that I think are better than Lee right now and/or probably will be better for the next 2 seasons after this one (ignoring salary considerations, better player does not equal better value). Clearly there are more guys in the West that would fit the bill, so I didn’t feel the need to go there.

    Boston
    Paul Pierce
    Kevin Garnett
    Ray Allen

    Detroit
    Tayshaun Prince
    Chauncey Billups
    Richard Hamilton
    Rasheed Wallace (at least for now)

    Orlando
    Dwight Howard
    Hedo Turkoglu
    Rashard Lewis

    Washington
    Gilbert Arenas
    Antawn Jamison
    Caron Butler

    Toronto
    Chris Bosh
    Andrea Bargnani
    T.J. Ford

    Cleveland
    LeBron James
    Zydrunas Ilgauskas

    Atlanta
    Joe Johnson
    Josh Smith

    Indiana
    Mike Dunleavy
    Jermaine O’Neal

    New Jersey
    Vince Carter (I don’t want him, but he’s better)
    Jason Kidd
    Richard Jefferson

    Chicago
    Luol Deng
    Ben Gordon
    Ben Wallace (way overpaid, but better)

    Charlotte
    Gerald Wallace
    Emeka Okafor
    Jason Richardson

    Milwaukee
    Andrew Bogut
    Michael Redd

    Philadelphia
    Andre Igoudala
    Sam Dalambert (only due to defensive presence)
    Andre Miller

    Miami
    Dwayne Wade

    If not better now, will probably be better in a year or two:
    Joakim Noah
    Tyrus Thomas
    Josh Boone
    Yi Jianlian
    Charlie Villanueva
    Jameer Nelson

    If salary is not a consideration, I believe most GMs trade Lee for any of these guys straight up. There are many other guys you could make an argument for, I mainly limited myself to positive PER players.

  58. jon abbey

    Nate as a poor man’s Steve Nash (this doesn’t work even if the man is homeless)? Josh Boone better than David Lee “in a year or two”? some people here watch the Knicks too much, I think.

  59. Owen

    Z-Man – Richard Hamilton? Bargnani? You honestly thin Andrea Bargnani is better than David Lee?

    That’s some list. You didn’t even put Jose Calderon on it, he of the 5.53 assist to turnover ratio, and 60% ts%.

    When you take into account age and salary considerations there are very few people on that list you would be better off starting with than Lee. His destiny is to be a complimentary superstar I think, a Pippen type role, and that is a very valuable commodity.

    James, Howard, Wade, possibly Bosh, would be the only guys I would prefer from that list for sure. Taking out age, Billups and Garnett.

  60. jon abbey

    “His destiny is to be a complimentary superstar I think, a Pippen type role, and that is a very valuable commodity.”

    you think he can be the second best player on a team that wins six titles? sorry, I don’t see that, even if the first player is LeBron. the third best player, maybe.

  61. Owen

    Second and a half banana maybe. I don’t know if Lee will be quite as good as Pippen. Pippen was the second banana on the greatest team of all time.

    Lee just seems to me to be the kind of guy who will win championships in his career. He is really good and very likely to be underpaid and seems to care about winning. I think the chances are extremely good that he will end up paired with a superstar good enough to win a title, because he can play with anyone and be effective, and this skill is not valued all that highly on the salary market, at least not relative to the ability to dominate the ball.

  62. jon abbey

    Lee isn’t young, he’ll be 25 in April. Portland alone has five players under contract that I’d consider taking over him:

    Oden (20)
    Aldridge (22)
    Roy (23)
    Outlaw (23)
    Webster (21)

  63. jon abbey

    I don’t think Lee would make Simmons’ list if he made it again today, he’s gone sideways or slightly down this season, and too many younger guys have gotten better (see Outlaw and Webster above to start).

  64. Ben R

    jon – Outlaw and Webster are not that good. I live in Portland they are both nice players but not even close to Lee.

    As for the Lee list starting a team I would not take Allen, Rasheed, Ilgauskas, O’Neal, Wallace or Carter because they are all obviously on the decline. I would also pass on Garnett, Kidd, and Miller because they are all about to decline very soon. (maybe I still take Garnett he is a beast)

    As for the rest of your list I would easily put Lee above; Turkoglu, Bargnani, Ford, Dunleavey, Bogut, and Dalembert. The only young players on that list that I think have any potential to be better than Lee are Thomas and Yi. At this point I would probably take Lee over either of them but they both have alot of potential.

    I would then add Calderon to your list and then that puts Lee at about number 22 all though I would put him even with or maybe slightly above a few more like Richardson, Johnson, Gordon, Hamilton, Redd, Lewis, Okafor, and Billips depending on my first player because of concerns like age, injury, and defense.

    So in conclusion I think there are about 13-15 players in the East who I would always take over Lee, another 7-8 that I might depending on how the picking was shaping up so at worst he is still in the top 25 Eastern players which is still good enough to be on pace for top 50.

  65. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “I can’t believe that on this board of mostly reasonably minded basketball fans that [all NBA SFs have to hit 60% of their 12-15 ft jumpers] is not a universally accepted fact.”

    It’s reasonable to want to see some proof before thinking anything is fact. I would doubt that any NBA player hits 60% of their jumpshots. For instance, take Rip Hamilton. 12-15 footers is his bread & butter. He runs the curl play more than anyone else in the league, and he’s probably the best at it. Yet Hamilton has never come close to shooting 60%.

    Secondly not only you would have to prove that every NBA SF has to hit 60% of their jumpshots (which you can’t even prove that any player has done this) – but that to be a successful SF you have to hit 60% of them. I don’t think Bruce Bowen, Tayshaun Prince or Andre Iguodala has done this, and all three have had success in this league.

    Every player in the league has a flaw (and usually many flaws). To pick out one and say “that’s the reason that person can’t play” is a bit on the extreme side. I might say that a starting power forward that can’t block more than 20 shots in a year shouldn’t be in the league. I might say that a starting center that can’t grab more than 7 rebounds a game shouldn’t be in the league. Yet it’s not a mainstream idea that Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry should be banished to some European league.

  66. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Oh frank – thanks for the compliment of saying we’re reasonably minded basketball fans.

    And just to clarify – I’m not saying that Balkman’s lack of a jumpshot doesn’t hurt him on offense, especially in the half court. All I’m saying is that every player has flaws, and you could say that most of the league should be excluded because of their flaws. I don’t think a jumpshot is so crucial at the small forward spot that a player that can’t hit a jumper should be excluded from a chance at starting.

    And that’s especially true on this Knick team. New York is starving for defense – they’re one of the worst teams in the league on defense. And there are plenty of players that can create their own shot on this team: Curry, Crawford, Zach Randolph, Nate Robinson, etc. We can afford one player that can’t hit a jumper.

  67. Caleb

    Hedo Turkoglu?

    I guess I have to do my own better-than-David-Lee-right-now list, for the East. Here goes:

    Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jose Calderon, Chris Bosh, Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson, Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler, Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwight Howard, Emeka Okafor, Tayshaun Prince, Chauncey Billups, Jermaine O’Neal, Luol Deng and LeBron James.

    So I guess I have our guy at #20.

    You’ll notice I left off a bunch of similar players – Rashard Lewis, Ray Allen, Mike Redd, Antwan Jamison. – who are great shooters but offer nothing else at all (Allen did a few years ago, not now) – and are brutal defenders. At the same time, I left on a bunch of questionable bigs – both O’Neals, Okafor – who are probably better when healthy (largely on defensive impact but then again are never healthy. I thought for a minute about Rasheed Wallace, who is a terrific defender… but Lee rebounds almost twice as much, literally. And while Wallace is a more “versatile” player, i.e. he jacks up three-pointers even though he’s not a great shooter, he actually doesn’t score much more than DL, and is far less efficient. So, no, sorry.

    If I wanted to push the envelope, I’d say there are only about a dozen guys in the East unquestionably better.

  68. Caleb

    Randolph & Jefferson for Balkman & Magliore? Sounds good to me. I love Balk but Jefferson is better, and only a few years older. And we dump Zach!

    Nets would never do it.

  69. jon abbey

    “he is still in the top 25 Eastern players which is still good enough to be on pace for top 50.”

    haha, you may live in Portland, but clearly you need to watch more of the Western Conference if you think half of the top 50 players are in the East right now.

    more and more I’m thinking that Lee’s peak value was last summer.

  70. Ben R

    jon – I agree that more than 25 of the best players are in the West but not that many more than half. Also in my post I stated at worst Lee is in the top 25 and in reality I would put him in the 15-20 range.

  71. z-man

    Ben R, I specifically said for now and the next 2 years, so the guys on the decline still have enough game left to be better than Lee for the next two years.

    Caleb, you think any GM takes Lee and salary equalizing throw-ins (say Q or James) for either Lewis, Allen, Redd or Jamison? Highly doubt they think as highly of Lee’s potential as you do.

    I consider Turkoglu a better “complimentary” player because of his versatility as a fundamentaly sound “european”-style player who makes core players better by stretching defenses.

    Owen, any GM who would trade Hamilton for Lee (and salary-equalizing throw-ins) would be the laughingstock of the league. Bargnani, while struggling mightely, was the #1 overall pick in the draft and has upside Lee couldn’t begin to dream about, although I agree he is not as good s Lee is right now. Comparing Lee to Scottie Pippin, a sure hall of famer, is not even worthy of comment. It is blasphemy to connect the word “superstar” to Lee in any context, to compare him to a guy voted one of the NBA’s greatest 50 players at the NBA’s 50th anniversary is truly insanity. Lee couldn’t sniff Horace Grant’s jock, much less Pippen’s.

    Jon, you’re right about Lee, he had a nice little run last year on a scrub team that nobody took seriously. The league has adjusted to him and his development has stopped cold in his third year, which is a breakout year for many young players, especially those who had at least 3 years of college. His value is down and may never recover to what it was last year.

    Like most Knick fans, I am desperate for a savior, a perrenial all star hall-of-famer type to lead us to the promised land after 35 years of waiting. While I will continue to enjoy watching Lee, I see no link between him and a Knick championship unless some dopey GM overestimates his value as much as some of you guys do.

  72. Caleb

    Bargnani is shaping up as a worse flop than Pervis Ellison.

    I would agree that my opinion of Lee is probably higher than most GMs… but not by much, and the ones who disagree are wrong! :)

    In reality, I think Washington would swap Jamison for Lee in a heartbeat. Orlando wouldn’t trade Lewis, partly because of PR (he was their big-deal acquisition) but also because his game fits what they need — they already have Howard to be the rebounding beast; they need a shooter. FOr that reason I agree Turkoglu is a nice fit in Orlando, but he’s nowhere near the player that Lee is.

    Boston already has a power forward, but I bet at least 25 other teams would take Lee over Allen at this point, if there some kind of real-life fantasy draft.

    Milwaukee is a mess — they have two big-name prospects at power forward, but neither is as good as Lee – Yi and Charlie V. look way overhyped as #6 and 7 pick respectively.. and they have tons of money sunk into Redd. About that team — with all the “talent” they allegedly have — why are they so bad? Who, do YOU think, is overrated?

    I tend to think Lee will have better years than this — not just his minutes but his role has been turned upside down – just look at the usage rate. But even if he never improves a bit, he already has the value of a player like Horace Grant (though in a different way — less defense, better boarding, better O).

  73. Owen

    Z-man – What is so great about Richard Hamilton exactly? Efficient scorer, but otherwise he does very little on the court. I wouldn’t put him in the top 100 players in the league. In fact, I remember being pleasantly surprised reading APBR once that so many people agreed that he is a mediocre player. He has benefitted from having terrific teammates.

    Lee isn’t Pippen. But last year he was a top 30 player in the NBA. His numbers were incredible and so was the Knicks record when he was playing, at least relative to this year. On a losing team, he managed to have a positive differential. You don’t see that much.

    Lee’s stats have been hurt this year by being rusty I think at the beginning of the year, and by very inconsistent minutes and being asked to play strange roles this year with Randolph on the floor. And even with that, he has been our best player.

    I think under any other coach this conversation would be impossible to have….

  74. jon abbey

    well, that’s two different coaches that have buried him, and he’s 25 in April. I like him a lot, but I’m starting to wonder just what was possible last summer.

  75. DRed

    We have to get LeBron to the Knicks-that’s what all our moves should be based on. Of course, Zeke’s moves have probably already ruined our chances.

  76. z-man

    Better O than Horace Grant? Please, not even close. I still have nightmares of Grant doing his “March of the Wooden Soldiers” dance after making a basket to knock the Knicks out of the playoffs. Forget what the arcane stats say, it’s just not true. Bear in mind that he played during the “grab and hold” period of NBA history. He also was a MUCH better defender and a bonafide shot blocker. During the bulls’ first championship run, his stats were consistently roughly 14pts, 10rebs,3assts, 1.5blocks and event these stats do not accurately reflect his impact as a player. He was always a 50+% shooter and was particularly deadly in the 15-ft range when left open via pippen-jordan doubleteams. Again, keep in mind that points and rebounds were harder to come by during this era (I think!)

    Today’s not a good day to be dissin’ Turkoglu, did you see the game today?!

    This has been fun, let’s see how this road trip plays out for Zach and Lee…hope I can keep awake!

  77. Owen

    Lee is a better rebounder than Grant was, 2.4 rebounds per 36 better, which is a big margin. He is a much more efficient scorer. Grant was at 54% ts% for his career. Grant also had a lower scoring average in his career than Lee has had thus far, per 36 minutes. Grant averaged 1 block per game. Lee is at .5. Grant actually averaged 14-10 per game only twice in his career. Memories can be tricky things….

    AS for Turkoglu, great fantasy player this year, I have him on my team, but not a great player in general. Good player though and fun to watch…

  78. z-man

    Owen,
    Grant’s stats during the prime of his career:

    YR % PTS REBS ASTS BLKS PER

    90-91: .547, 13.6, 9.0, 2.4, 0.9, PER 17.6
    91-92: .578, 14.2, 10.0, 2.7, 1.6 PER 20.6
    92-93: .508, 13.2, 9.5, 2.6, 1.2 PER17.5
    93-94: .524, 15.1, 11.0, 3.4, 1.2 PER 19.8
    94-95: .567, 12.8, 9.7, 2.3, 1.2 PER 16.9
    95-96: .513, 13.4, 9.2, 2.7, 1.2 PER 17.9

    Come on, Owen, be fair. Did you notice the word “ROUGHLY” in my commentary or do you just leave out what you don’t like? I am 50, but don’t quite have Alzheimer’s yet. Having seen lots of both of them, I am quite certain that Grant would have abused Lee in all departments on a nightly basis, assuming he even bothered to guard Lee (as very few teams do now.)

    These stats were all put up as a starter (ROUGHLY 36 mins per) on championship caliber teams. Lee will never reach his level of impact or consistency.

    As to blocks, Lee is currently ranked 176th, behind many guards. at 1.2 Grant would be in the 30′s. A difference of .7 is hugh in blocked shots, and Lee is well below average for a power forward.

    Until Lee can hit an open 12-15 footer with regularity, I wouldn’t even call him a poor man’s Horace Grant.

  79. Ben R

    z-man – I missed the part about the two years so that puts Garnett, Pierce and Kidd definatly back on the list above Lee but the others that I said are too old are already declining and they are barely better now if at all and in a year it won’t be close.

    I would agree that the Pippen comment was a bit overboard. Lee is nowhere close to Pippen but Pippen was one of the greatest players of all time so thats unfair.

    I think even if Lee does not improve at all if he is a starter he would average 14-12 with two assists while shooting a TS% of between 60-65% for the next 5-7 years. Those stats put him in pretty elite company and as a second pick for a team that seems pretty good especially if you got a huge scorer with the first pick. I would not be surprised if he was picked before fifty players were gone and I would pick him in the 40-50 range.

    There is no one in the league that is considered tradable that I would trade Lee for. If I was GM he would be virtually untouchable.

    Also it would not take much improvement for Lee to up his usage a little so I would not be surprised if in his prime Lee averaged closer to 16 pts 12 rebs 3 asts while shooting between 60-65% TS%. Those are borderline all-star stats so I think he is alot better than people seem to give him credit for.

  80. Owen

    I didn’t say I thought Lee was better than Pippen. I said he capable of being the second banana, the best low usage player, on a great team. It would be totally ridiculous to say Lee was better than Pippen, given that he has only completed two seasons in this league.

    Look at the numbers that Lee put up last year, and tell me when Horace Grant did as well in his career.

    Grant was a good player, a low usage player who was lucky enough to play next to two of the all time greats. He wasn’t s superstar by any means though. It’s a certainty that Lee will end up with better career numbers than Grant barring injury.

  81. z-man

    Ben,

    Fair and objective commentary. I respectfully disagree, though, based primarily on his lack of development this year despite 26 minutes of playing time. I wil keep an open mind, though, and not pass judgment until the end of this year. Lost in my commentary, it seems, is the fact that I love watching the guy and also would prefer that we keep him. However, he is far from untouchable for me and I am distressed by the excuse making that many of you (and even Lee himself) has resorted to this year. I would sooner see him go than Nate, who is my “best Knick player” (and most fun to watch) candidate based on his development as a player this year.

    I’m suprised nobody jumped on my (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) Dave Cowens to Lee comparison made earlier in this thread. Are you guys all too young to remember Cowens?

  82. Ess-dog

    Maybe the Nets go for it. They don’t have a real good rebounder… I’m sorry but Boone ain’t all that. And they would get a budding SF in Balkman. Randolph would fit in pretty nicely in NJ. A lineup of Sean Williams, Randolph, Balkman, Vince and Kidd makes sense. Then we would have Curry, Lee, RJ, Crawford, and Nate.
    Anyway, yeah Lee’s a starter, let’s not trade him, yadda yadda… can we all please stop man-crushing on Lee? Didn’t that source say that Lee was one of only 3 players Zeke liked anyway?
    I tell ya who looks craptastic is the Bulls. 77 pts against phoenix? that’s bad. They’re fans were talkin so much smack before the season too… haha. I don’t know if I want any Bull at this point except the 2 we traded for Curry!
    Suddenly, the Knicks don’t look so bad in the east. The freakin Wizards are like the 4th best team in the east! With this new rotation, we could easily be the 7th seed… pathetic. This is why Zeke probably won’t make any trades this season.

  83. Ben R

    z-man – I think Grant was a great player and in his prime was one of the best PF’s in the NBA.

    I think your comparison to Lee is fair although I would personally put Lee a little ahead of Grant because he is a more dominant rebounder and is much better at getting to the FT line.

    If you look at their stats per 36 minutes over their first three seasons I think Lee is a little better:

    Grant – 54.2% TS%
    12.8 pts 8.6 rebs 2.0 asts 1.0 blks
    Lee – 62.2% TS%
    12.4 pts 11.2 rebs 1.7 asts 0.5 blks

    Grant is a better shotblocker but not by a huge margin but Lee is quite a bit better at rebounding and is is 8% better on TS%.

    I would put Lee through his first three seasons as a better player than Grant over his first three seasons. Grant improved just as Lee should and so I think Lee will have at least as good of a career as Grant if not better due to his rebounding and efficiency. As for defense I think Lee has the potential to be as good as Grant and maybe will, young bigmen are rarely great defenders.

    Either way I think you must see with very similar, a bit better actually, stats to a great long time starter in Grant, that Lee is more than capable of consistantly performing and impacting the game.

  84. Ben R

    Ess-dog – I do not think they would want to trade RJ because he has been their best player this year and is really playing well.

    If the Nets are really interested in Zach I would trade Randolph for Sean Williams, Collins, and Magliore. That way they keep all of their big three and only give up one valuable asset.

    In return we get a great player to complete the Lee/Curry rotation and we get an expiring and a one year contract.

    Unfortunatly I do not think they are interested. If they were that would be my offer; Zach for Sean Williams and whoever else they wanted to give us to make it fit under the salary cap.

  85. Caleb

    My favortie memories of Horace Grant are

    1) getting that facial from Starks — before that series went downhill…

    2) Being squashed like a bug, by Oakley, every single playoff meeting. Grant was a fine player but no Oak.

  86. Ess-dog

    Ben, I would love Sean Williams, but I’ve been reading that all NJ wants to do is break up the big 3 and hold onto their young bigs, and I don’t see anyone wanting Carter so we’ll see what they do…

  87. Ben R

    Ess-Dog – I think RJ is the one member of the big three they want to keep. He is the only one not in the decline and is in his prime. If they could get RJ and Randolph it would give them two borderline all-stars in their primes with at least 5 good years left each.

    They do not want to move Williams but I would be shocked if they held his value as higher than Kidd or Jefferson. So I do not think we will get any of them but I would love to get Kidd, Williams or Jefferson.

  88. Ben Bow

    I am reading some crazy comments. First of all, alot of people put lee of turkoglu. That is crazy. Hedo is having a great year, and is a key part to a powerful orlando team. If u said guess orlandos second scorer, you’d say rashard lewis, but your wrong. Its hedo.

    ALSO

    From a list of players better then lee in eastern confrence, by z-man.

    no way any of these players are personally better then lee.

    tayshaun prince
    rasheed wallace
    andrea bargnani
    sam dalembert
    andre miller
    ben wallace
    ANY of the people on end list of “if not better now, will be in a year or two”. Josh Boone better then lee? Yea, u keep thinkin that.

    ALSO

    I saw a comment that someone would take travis outlaw, or martell webster over lee. that’s just crazy. lee is currently better, and has more potential.

  89. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “well, that’s two different coaches that have buried him, and he’s 25 in April. I like him a lot, but I’m starting to wonder just what was possible last summer.”

    Is that a real criteria for how good a player is? Steve Francis started 30 of the 44 games he appeared in last year.

  90. Ess-dog

    Yeah Ben, but like I said, I can’t see anyone biting on Vince. And they just gave him a contract extension (I have no idea why.) Vince and RJ are somewhat similar scorers, so it would be good for the Nets to get a post scorer who can attract a double team. Kidd is obviously in decline but is still a good pt. guard (his jumper still looks like a wounded moth though) and many teams lacking a pg who want to make a push in the playoffs like the Lakers will want to snag him. Just seems like a rational fit to me b/c Lee should be starting.
    Of course I’d rather replace Curry, but I don’t see anyone taking him off our hands.
    You know who Zeke should bring in to coach Curry? His old buddy Bill Laimbeer. Maybe while he’s at it, he could teach Jeffries and Balkman how to shoot…

  91. z-man

    This was fun, guys. Let’s all hope that we see Lee et.al. play a meaningful role in some meaningful games as a Knick some day, until then, all this is moot.

  92. jon abbey

    Mike, it’s not a major criterion, but it’s at least worth noting.

    and yeah, I’d seriously consider Outlaw over Lee, two years younger and IMO way more upside potential. Webster is younger, but any 21 year old who can score 24 points in a quarter in the NBA has some serious potential.

    if Laimbeer has any association with the Knicks, I’m done as a fan until he’s gone. I’m pretty close to the breaking point already and he’s one of my three least favorite players ever (Pippen and Mark Jackson being the other two, not counting Jackson’s rookie year).

  93. T-Mart

    Wow, Isiah plays Balkman for a full 13 minutes in the first half, the results: 4-5 from the field 4 boards (2 offensive), 1 steal 1 block, and the Knicks are up by 5 over the Warriors, you don’t say.

    Check out the big brain on Braddddd!

  94. Frank

    Not to beat a dead horse here but re: a good NBA SF being able to hit 60% of wide open 12-15 footers? I think there a probably quite a few. If you gave Richard Hamilton the shots that Balkman has available to him every game, he probably would shoot 70%. We’re talking about shots where there is no one within 6 feet of him and no one even running at him. That player that should be running at him is zoning up on another player, which means effectively two players (Balkman and the zoned up player) are completely taken out of the offense.

    Anyway, Balkman is playing great tonight, don’t want to rain on his parade tonight. Not saying he’s not a valuable player, but how much better would he be if he could hit a 15 footer?

  95. sean

    For all you damn David Lee lovers do you now realize why he come off the bench he plays about as much defense as frigging Curry

  96. sean

    Yea like LEE cant grab a fricky rebound cant score and doesnt play defence at least nates entertaining me

  97. dave crockett

    damn. we just couldn’t buy a three tonight. that seems like the difference. golden state hit a couple, including that bank shot, to get themselves back into it.

  98. Frank O.

    have to say, nate needs to find a way to stay on the court.
    he is this team’s star player. He never gives up.
    If he can get 32-34 minutes, the bricks start winning these games.
    Crawford is just so inconsistent as a scorer.

  99. Roshi

    Every time Balkman drives to the basket he either scores or gets fouled. Despite his lousy shooting, he has the ball handling chops, speed, and finishing ability to be a viable offensive option.
    Does Isiah tell him not to try to score?

  100. Spider Cider

    Coming up with 50 players better than Lee should be pretty easy. Let’s give it a shot:

    Kevin Garnett
    Paul Pierce
    Ray Allen
    Richard Jefferson
    Jason Kidd
    Vince Carter (debatable)
    Andre Iguodala
    Andre Miller
    Chris Bosh
    TJ Ford (check his stats this year before his injury, you’ll be surprised at his shooting %)
    Jose Calderon
    Kirk Hinrich
    Luol Deng
    Ben Gordon
    Lebron James
    Zydrunas Ilguaskas
    Chauncey Billups
    Rip Hamilton
    Rasheed Wallace
    Danny Granger
    Andrew Bogut
    Michael Redd
    Joe Johnson
    Josh Smith
    Gerald Wallace
    Emeka Okafor
    Jason Richardson (debatable)
    Dwyane Wade
    Dwight Howard
    Rashard Lewis
    Hedo Turkoglu
    Caron Butler
    Antawn Jamison
    Gilbert Arenas
    Josh Howard
    Dirk Nowitzki
    Jason Terry
    Yao Ming
    Tracy McGrady
    Shane Battier (debatable)
    Pau Gasol
    Rudy Gay
    Mike Miller (debatable)
    Chris Paul
    David West
    Tyson Chandler
    Peja Stojakovic (debatable)
    Tim Duncan
    Manu Ginobili
    Tony Parker
    Allen Iverson
    Carmelo Anthony
    Marcus Camby
    Al Jefferson
    Randy Foye (debatable, haven’t seen him this year due to injuries, but he looked like a solid player last year when he got the minutes)
    Brandon Roy
    LaMarcus Aldridge
    Greg Oden (almost certainly)
    Kevin Durant (debatable)
    Deron Williams
    Carlos Boozer
    Andrei Kirilenko
    Baron Daivs
    Monta Ellis
    Stephen Jackson
    Andris Beidrins
    Chris Kaman
    Elton Brand
    Corey Maggette (debatable)
    Kobe Bryant
    Andrew Bynum
    Steve Nash
    Leandro Barbosa (debatable)
    Shawn Marion
    Amare Stoudemire
    Ron Artest
    Kevin Martin

    That’s 77 guys right there, and I think at best maybe 20 are debatable. So, at best, David Lee is just below the top 50, IMHO, of course.

  101. Caleb

    I would say that if the criteria is “better” instead of “more famous” Lee fares much better on this list.

  102. Caleb

    “a good NBA SF being able to hit 60% of wide open 12-15 footers?”

    The league leader in FG% is always around 60%, and that’s a center who dunks most of them. How can anyone be hitting that many jumpers?

  103. Spider Cider

    Caleb: The criteria I used was in fact “better” and not “more famous”, and I find the implication you made mildly insulting. As I said, there are maybe 20 guys on that list that are debatable, but that still puts Lee outside of the top 50. I also qualified the whole statement at the end by saying it was simply my opinion, as I certainly realize that value (who’s better) in basketball is not only extremely subjective, but subject to much volatility, depending on circumstance. For instance, I would never imply that Antoine Walker is, in a vacuum, a good player, but he certainly fit in well in Miami and fulfilled his role when they won the championship. So in that situation, he was a “good” player, in most situations, he is a “bad” player.

    I’m curious, if you have the time and desire, to see who on that list you feel is clearly inferior to David Lee.

  104. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    On defense Andrew Bogut makes Eddy Curry look like Dikembe Mutombo.

    Also I love how these lists can go both ways. Greg Oden, who has never played a second in the NBA is on there because in 2 years he’ll probably be better than Lee. But in 2 years Zydrunas Ilgauskas may need to buy tickets to see a live NBA game.

    Not really, but he certainly won’t be better than Lee at that point.

  105. Spider Cider

    Note the “almost certainly” next to Oden’s name.

    Also, I forgot Varejao and Bowen. I’d take both of those guys over Lee right now.

  106. Roshi

    Personally, I think David Lee looks so good because everyone else on the Knicks looks so bad. Lee’s defense against the Warriors was pretty lousy last night. Not Z-bo bad mind you, but bad. Off the top of my head, I’m recalling 3 times he was schooled by Monta Ellis (to be expected I guess), twice he didn’t close out on Stephen Jackson at the three point line, and twice he failed to provide help defense when Baron Davis beat Mardy off the dribble.
    I’m not saying he’s a bad player, in fact he certainly is top 75 in the league. But, on a good team, he is definitely not a starter. He’s a great glue guy, but just too limited on offense (barely any decent post moves) and defense (not a great one on one defender).

  107. Thomas B.

    Spider Cider,

    I know I’m late to the party but….

    Randy Foye, big no to him better than Lee. He has been injured much too often in two years to speculate.

    Big Z, is highly debateable. Two years ago yes but right now he is on significant decline. His lateral movement is gone so he cant defend a big man that can put the ball on the floor. He cant jump anymore. He still has a nice jumper but that doesnt put him ahead of Lee.

    David West is a nice player that is clearly drawing benefit from playing with good players. He is very good at what he is asked to do but I dont think he would shine on a bad team. Defenses are so focused on Paul and Peja that he gets overlooked. He is a good defender but he can take big risks on defense thanks to Chandler being around to clean up.

    Shane B. I just never liked him, Duke and all. Here is the test, money aside, would a GM trade Battier for Lee? I think yes Houston would make that trade. Lee is a very good compliment for Yao as rebounding is a problem for Houston. I think it is much easier to find a solid SF in the NBA than it is to find a PF that rebounds well, can run the floor, and is not lost in the half court set. That is Lee. Having said that, Lee may not be “better” than every player on the list but I think his skill set is more valuable than the skill set of t least ten of the players on the list.

  108. Spider Cider

    Thomas B: It certainly depends on what the team needs. Houston may trade Battier for Lee (money aside), but I think a large part of that is that they have a surplus of backcourt players and very few bigs.

    So much of player value in basketball depends on how a guy fits into a team/system. I mean, if Lee played in a system that requires the PF to be able to stretch the D, he’d be almost worthless. But if he’s free to do what he does well (rebound, score “garbage” buckets) he can be very valuable.

    And like I said, there’s probably about 20 guys on that list that are debatable, but there’s also probably a few guys I forgot, as well.

    I think the bottom line is, David Lee is a very good player, but not an elite one.

  109. z-man

    Since I started this whole mess (lots of free time over the weekend) let me weigh in again after reading comments from both sides of the Lee-top 50 debate.

    I think Spider Cider summed it up well in last commentary, Lee’s value is largely determined by need and the makeup of the team he is on. Turkoglu, for example, is unquestionably a better fit on Orlando than Lee would be for the next 3 years.(I actually think he is a better player, period, but I can understand how others [not GMs] might differ. I strongly stand by my contention that he is overrated by some folks on this blog and that his ranking would be somewhere in the mid 70′s by any measure that discounted salary and age-related decline past 2 years out. I reiterate that on many teams much of Lee’s production would come at the expense of the production of others. In man-to-man defense, he is often left unguarded by opposing PF who helps out in post and on penetration. Against zones, he has no ability to stretch the defense to create openings for scorers. His defensive positioning and instincts are solid (not great) but he blocks only .3 shots a game. He gets almost no assists because he never draws a double team (even Zach gets way more assists per minute lately than he does!) That is why he needs to be on a team that needs no scoring, shot-blocking, or assists from the PF position.

  110. Thomas B.

    Spider Cider,

    Agreed. DL is good but not elite. He would be better on the right team. Infact, I think a few Knicks would be much more valuable on the right team. Balkman could probably step into David West’s role and the Hornets would not miss a beat. David Lee would play very well for the Lakers. He could put up 15 and 11 on the Lakers playing between Bynum and Kobe. Robinson would do well on the Heat as they really need a guard that can score and take some ball handling away from Wade. Plus Robinson’s ability to get to the Basket would draw defenders off Shaq.

    The problem with the Knicks is that they have the role players good teams need to be great, but they lack the starts that keep teams from being average. The Lakers of two years ago had the opposite problem. They had two stars Kobe and Odom but no real role players hence they suffered.

    This is why i want the Knicks to get a player like Derrick Rose. I think he can be a star. Hell, if you need any indication how important a star point can be to a team then compare Atlanta to the Hornets.

    Outside of the PG, Atlanta and the Hornets have similar talent (except for Chandler, Za-Za is no Chandler). The big difference is the point. Chris P v. Speedy “I.R.” Claxton. No contest. That is why Hornets are one of the NBA’s best right now. Chris is playing out of his mind.

  111. Nick

    TSP os a nice stat but it can be and in Lee’s case is almost completely a factor of the shots one takes rather than a measure of offensive ability. The following ballplayers are more in Lee’s ballpark and I doubt anyone of them was ever considered a great, good or even average offensive player. Put backs coupled with the occasional drive of lob make for an almost guaranteed high FGP and TSP unless your name is Jason Collins.

    Basketball-Reference.com
    Bo Outlaw .572 TSP 12.4 reb%
    Mark West .592 TSP 14.8 reb%
    Tree Rollins .555 TSP 15.5 reb%
    Kurt Rambis .573 TSP 17.3 reb%
    Larry Smith .541 TSP 19.3 reb%
    Tyrone Hill .544 TSP 18.2 reb%
    Michael Cage .549 TSP 16.8 reb%
    James Donaldson .618 TSP 15.8 reb%

    David Lee .623 TSP 18.5 reb%

  112. Owen

    Nick – You have to look at points scored as well as ts%. No one is billing Lee as an offensive superpower. He is a highly efficient, highly effective low usage player. He scores at about an average rate for his position, while being one of the most efficient scorers. And he is one of the best rebounders. What more do you want?

    I think its great that David West hits 42% of his jumpers. But the bottom line is that his ts% at 52.8%, is just about league average. It’s probably helpful in the context of the New Orleans offense that he can score, but the stars of that team are Chandler and Paul.

  113. Nick

    Efficient scorer does not necessarily = good scorer or even good offensive player that’s all. Are you implying that everyone should shoot only three foot shots?

  114. Owen

    Nick – David Lee is a good scorer. He was the most efficient frontcourt scorer in the NBA last year, while scoring at about an average rate for the power forward position.

    There are a lot of guys in the NBA who get their points mostly through putbacks, transition buckets, and garbabe opportunities. Lee is the best of the bunch.

    I agree with Thomas. We have the role players on the Knicks, we need a superstar to go with them.

  115. Nick

    I don’t know how he can be a good scorer if he can barely generate his own offense. Lee’s a good “garbage man.” The Sly Williams for the new millenium. A team of Lee-like players might have a high TSP for the 25 times a game they get a shot off without a 24 second violation. He’s just a very high end role player as you say and it’s maddening when he’s described as anything more.

  116. Roshi

    I don’t see how anyone can compare David West to David Lee. Giving you the benefit of the doubt and saying that David Lee could get 18 pts 11 boards roughly given the PT that West gets, there is still one glaring fact.

    David West has a varied repertoire of offensive moves, both in the post and facing the basket, that put pressure on the defense, opening opportunities for other guys. David Lee gets all his points on put backs and quick interior passes. Rarely does he make a solid back to the basket move or hit an open shot.

    Simply put, David West can create offense, whereas David Lee takes what he’s given. Until David Lee develops a viable offensive game, they shouldn’t even be in the same category of player.

  117. Nick

    Is everything boiled down to TSP with you Owen? Do you watch games or have any frame of reference for anythign that happened before say the year 2000? I assume when you checked on Sly Wiliiima’s him the nickname “garbage man” was there? It’s hard to read anything from you seriously when it’s so one dimensional. Next you’ll point out that Michael Jordan’s career high in TSP was.614 and his career average was .569 and imply that David Lee was better than him as well, like you already tried with KG and Horace Grant and Pippen until you backpedaled.

  118. Owen

    “Is everything boiled down to TSP with you Owen?”

    No, of course not. But if you are looking just at a player’s scoring ability, which is what we have been discussing here, then yes, scoring volume and ts% are most of what matter.

    I don’t know who Sly Williams was, before my time, but if his ts% was 10% below Lee’s, I think it’s safe to say the two don’t have much in common.

    But also re scoring, I tend to think that a players impact on possession, i.e. the net of his turnovers, steals, and rebounds, is just as important as his scoring, if not more so.

    I don’t recall saying Lee was better than Jordan or KG. I think Jordan was the best player of the modern era, except for possibly Magic, and that KG has been the best player of this millenium so far. I didn’t say Lee was better than Pippen. I said I thought he might be capable of being the second banana on a championship team in a few years, though not the second banana on the best team of all time. However, I would certainly take Lee’s career to date over Pippen’s. And I said he was better last year than Horace Grant ever was. No backpedaling on that one.

    As a Knicks fan, we don’t have a lot to look forward to for the next 2.5 years. But if we can get Lee and Balkman signed to reasonable contracts, then acquire a genuine superstar in 2010, things might improve rapidly. That’s my hope. Lee is part of the story, not the whole story.

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