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Saturday, August 23, 2014

2009 Game Preview: Knicks at Rockets

Houston (23-15) hosts New York (13-21)

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98.1 105.4 49.5 15.8 23.7 20.6
Rank 1 20 14 17 28 27
Houston Rockets-Defense 89.9 103.9 48.2 14.2 25.5 19.3
Rank 23 6 6 27 9 2
New York Knicks-Defense 98.1 108.7 51.8 15.2 26.9 20
Rank 1 19 28 18 17 5
Houston Rockets-Offense 89.9 106.8 48.4 15.7 26.1 25.6
Rank 23 16 19 16 19 7

Injury Report

Ron Artest will likely miss tonight’s contest while he rests a sprained ankle.  Tracy McGrady may be able to play though he has missed time of late  with a sore knee.  Shane Battier is questionable with a sore knee.  Brent Barry missed the previous game dealing with a personal matter.  It is unknown whether he will be available tonight.

Gallanari is not likely to see action due to his sore back.  Jerome James is out with swelling of the everything, and Roberson is unlikely to see action due to a sprained 3 point jump shot.

What to watch for: Defense.Houston is not an especially strong team on offense.  Houston’s pace is in the bottom third of the NBA (89.9, 23rd), Houston’s efficiency (106.8, 16th) and eFG% (48.4, 19th) are right near the league average.  This by no means excuses New York from playing defense.  Houston has talented offensive players in McGrady, Yao, Alston and New York training camp casualty Von Wafer.  So New York needs a strong defensive effort designed to keep Yao out of the paint.  New York also needs to stay near the Houston 3 point shooters.  Wafer is hitting 43.5% of his 3s (Donnie, Roberson is only hitting 33.8%- I’m just saying).

What to watch for 2: Pace.  Tonight Houston plays its sixth game in nine nights and the second of a back-to-back.  New York has to really get into its running game and attempt to wear Houston down.  If Artest cannot play, Houston will be without its strongest defender.  Yao should be somewhat neutralized on defense since New York relies on outside shooting rather than post scoring or drives to the paint. 

Furthermore, if the injury report holds up Houston will be pretty thin.  The recent schedule, thin roster, and fast pace may tired them down.  Run, run, run.

What to watch for 3: Yao.  Tall, good footwork, and a soft touch means trouble for New York’s front court.  While Jeffries is likely to draw this defensive assignment, I would like to see if Curry can entice Yao into picking up a few fouls in the post.  With proper spacing, Lee and Duhon could create trouble for Yao on the pick and roll.  If New York can get Yao on the bench, things should be easier for the team on defense.

126 comments on “2009 Game Preview: Knicks at Rockets

  1. David Crockett

    It’s almost surprising that Adelman hasn’t gotten them to increase the pace a bit to at least middle of the pack.

  2. David Crockett

    I’m teaching a class on marketing communications this term, and for the life of me, I just don’t get the new Geico ads with those eyeballs on top of a stack of bills. I have no idea.

  3. ess-dog

    T-Mac is such a perennial let down. Is there any way they can trade him at this point? Lee! Makin’ it rain!

  4. Gorky

    Well, Morey is a “stathead” GM, so we’ll see how he does.

    I liked this line from Breen – “Von Wafer and Nate can look each other in the eye. That’s rare for them on the NBA level.”

  5. BigBlueAL

    There are too many games when even though the weakness of this Knicks team is their D, their offense costs them games. They should be up double digits in this game but their offense has been pathetic. Just hope the Rockets struggle to score even worse and the Knicks can steal this game.

  6. BigBlueAL

    WOW!!!! The Knicks rotated on D perfectly and forced a shot-clock violation!!!! What a concept!!!!

  7. Gorky

    Charlie Ward is a nice guy, but that was a really unintelligible interview. Good for him though, coaching HS football in Houston.

  8. BigBlueAL

    I dont think the Knicks could beat a High-School team right about now. I mean a game like tonight they shouldve come out fired up from the start and jumped this Rockets team who are missing BOTH TMac and Artest but instead they are playing the worse brand of offensive basketball Ive seen this season.

    If only I didnt care so much watching this wouldnt hurt so much. Let me just close my eyes and keep repeating 2010, 2010, 2010 (or be happy Yankees report to Spring Training on a month).

  9. BigBlueAL

    Jeffries once again benched to start the 2nd half. I think its about time he gets benched to start the game as well.

  10. BigBlueAL

    Are you serious!?!?!? Harrington has Yao one-on-one on the perimeter and instead of driving he pulls up from 20 feet!!!!

  11. BigBlueAL

    Mike Breen is getting nolstagic, wandering if the #1 jersey the fan was wearing was an old Chris Childs jersey. I feel his pain….

  12. BigBlueAL

    D’Antoni might quit after this game and come back to coach in 2010 after the Knicks get him some real NBA players to play in his system.

  13. David Crockett

    This is a horrible display…

    At least last year’s team had sense enough just to quit altogether–put the focus on their effort rather than the lack of talent. These guys are playing hard and stinking to high heaven. Sigh.

  14. ess-dog

    Harrington is the worst rebounding PF out there. Does he ever even try to get position under the boards?

  15. ess-dog

    But some minutes could at least help him become less out of shape…if thats possible

    I think D’Antoni’s seen enough.

  16. BigBlueAL

    Knicks signed wrong player from their Summer League team. Shouldve signed Wafer instead of Roberson.

    Actually Im surprised he has taken this long to catch on with somebody because for the past few years he always (except for with the Knicks this past summer) has played very well in summer leagues and pre-season.

  17. BigBlueAL

    Roberson needs to be cut… tomorrow. What a bunch of hacks. Why am I watching this game?

    Cause the NFL game is worse than this one, and its Saturday night there aint crap to watch. Real question is, why the hell are we home on a Saturday night!!!!

  18. Thomas B. Post author

    It is sad to see this team looking like last year’s team. They look like they have quit. Iguess if you play all out and do not win, after time you jut stop trying.

    Boy it really looks like I’m gonna lose that bet Mike. Just have mercy, dont make me review a Ween album.

  19. jon abbey

    “Just have mercy, dont make me review a Ween album.”

    Pure Guava holds up remarkably well, I’ve been playing that again the last couple of weeks. that gets my vote!

    I alternated halves of Arizona/Carolina and this on my DVR, and made a good gut call to not watch the second half of this one and check the score instead.

    Lee looked good in the first half, I was impressed how he went right at Yao a few times.

  20. Z

    D. Lee was 5-5 when I tuned out. He finished 6-13. He really went 1-8 over the last three quarters?!

    Boy, glad I didn’t invest much time in this one.

  21. ess-dog

    Lee played alright on offense, but his man Yao went 7-8 and hardly had to break a sweat. I say trade him now while his value is hot!

  22. Gian Casimiro (SSoM)

    I wonder why Eddy Curry can’t get some minutes for conditioning in this one.

    It wouldn’t help.

    I realize this is just another fat joke but early fourth quarter it was clear that there would be no kind of comeback. Curry could’ve gotten some play to inch closer to game shape and get some of his timing back. And with Yao out of the game, he could’ve gotten an opportunity against a bunch of 6’9″ PF’s and he probably gets a few buckets. I wanted to see him out there because, in the bigger picture, Roberson getting 12 minutes – filling up the box score with 1 TO and 1 foul – doesn’t help the team the way Curry can.

    Edit:
    Just read this from the Post:
    “Currry told D’Antoni he could not dress because his other knee – the right one – was now bothering him from overcompensation. Curry had made his season debut Thursday in Dallas but played just 2:38 and was a minus-9. It was either knee pain or the Yao Ming flu.”

    Ridiculous.

  23. Brian Cronin

    I personally think it is outrageous that David Lee can’t defend Yao Ming well one-on-one.

    Trade him?

    I say cut him if he can’t stop Yao one-on-one.

  24. Brian Cronin

    In all seriousness, this was a depressing loss. One in a string of depressing losses.

    Anyone know why the League seems to be dragging their feet on ruling one way or the other on Mobley? Or is that just standard protocol to take a long time determining things like this? It would be awfully nice to have the roster spot (the $4.5 million exception is nice, too).

    Reading an article by Berman about the Mobley situation made me notice a great line from Berman that Durant, Green and Westbrook are better than Chandler, Nate and Gallinari. Wait – you mean to say that the #2 overall pick plus the 5th and 4th overall picks are better than two picks in the 20s and a #6 pick? Way to take a stand, Berman!

  25. jon abbey

    “Anyone know why the League seems to be dragging their feet on ruling one way or the other on Mobley? ”

    everything I’ve seen makes it sounds like the Knicks have been the ones who have been slow in every aspect of this case, and as of last week, they hadn’t officially submitted the paperwork for the league to rule on this. it’s a good reminder that despite the Walsh/D’Antoni era, it’s still the incompetent Dolan adminstration running things.

    and no such thing as a depressing loss for our boys this season, nice to see them making a (backwards) run at teams like Indiana, Charlotte and even Minnesota (five wins in a row). go NO! we want a top 5 pick!

  26. Cartman

    The Knicks looked pretty good before the trade, but this decline should hardly have been unexpected.

    1. Randolph is a better PF than Harrington.

    2. Thomas didn’t bring much to the table other than an extra body off the bench.

    3. We didn’t replace Crawford at SG because of the Mobley situation.

    4. As poor as Collins is offensively, he would have been a versatile body off the bench when we were short players and given us some defense.

    As inconsistent as Crawford is, on his good nights he can carry a team to a win with his scoring. On his bad nights, the Knicks often wouldn’t have won if he had an average night anyway. His volatility is probably underrated as a win producer when he’s on a bad team. Of course it would be a disaster on a good team.

    Rebuilding is always ugly.

  27. Cartman

    The Knicks were playing borderline playoff ball before the trade, but this decline should not come as a shock.

    1. Randolph is better than Harrington

    2. Thomas brings little to the table other than a body off the bench

    3. Despite is weak offense, Collins would have been useful off the bench at the #1, #2, and #3 when someone needed a rest or was hurt.

    4. The team didn’t replace Crawford because of the Mobley situation

    The loss of Crawford was probably the biggest blow. Despite his inconsistent shooting, on his very good nights he could carry a bad team like the Knicks to a victory. That kind of volatility is more of problem when you are on a good team.

  28. d-mar

    Let’s see – Houston was playing the 2nd night of a back to back, didn’t have Artest and McGrady, had Yao looking like he just ran a triathlon, Von Wafer at the 2, etc. etc. I truly believe that any other team in the NBA except maybe the Wiz would have at least brought that game down to the wire. Easily the worst loss of the year, and Harrington and Nate’s problems are not getting any better. Do you notice D’Antoni’s hair getting grayer every game? A fun season is getting not so fun.

  29. ess-dog

    Exactly D-mar, the season is truly not fun anymore. That’s why I’m in favor of tanking and trading every contract we can that goes beyond 2010. Unfortunately, it looks like Curry will in fact be very hard to trade with his bevy of health issues. But Q and Jeffries could possibly be shipped. And Nate and Lee are very tradable for future assets. I think Walsh’s statement about signing Lee was just a maneuver to get teams desperate to want him (throw in a little extra.) I think he will be shipped by the deadline. I would love to ship Nate out too, but he’s making it tough.
    I am also dumbfounded as to why the Knicks aren’t adding a D-leaguer to the roster right now. There are plenty of able bodies they could use right now… especially big men. We are just at a depressing point of stasis it seems.

  30. Brian Cronin

    I am also dumbfounded as to why the Knicks aren’t adding a D-leaguer to the roster right now.

    They don’t have a roster spot available.

  31. Gian Casimiro (SSoM)

    Just read this on Golden State of Mind and it just made me chuckle:
    Jamal Crawford and iso play: I feel like a broken record! Why are we playing so much individual ball. This drives me crazy. I know we do not have an elite point guard to help make plays and distribute the ball, but even so you’d think with all the losing that people would get the point that we can’t do it alone. Crawford had one of those games that makes me shiver! He didn’t pass, took way too many shots, and tried to do everything himself. It’s like a disease that spreads because when the other guys don’t get the ball, when they do get it, they act the same way. In a sense Buike and Maggette did the same thing but fortunately for them, their shot was falling. Now granted if Crawford’s shot fell and scored 40 points then we’d all be praising him, but you’d hope if it wasn’t you’d know when to pass the ball. Either way … give us a good game tonight Crawford!

  32. ess-dog
    I am also dumbfounded as to why the Knicks aren’t adding a D-leaguer to the roster right now.

    They don’t have a roster spot available.

    by that I mean dealing either with the Marbury, Mobley or Roberson issues and then adding someone.

  33. ess-dog
    I am also dumbfounded as to why the Knicks aren’t adding a D-leaguer to the roster right now.

    They don’t have a roster spot available.

    I mean after dealing with Marbury/Mobley.

  34. BigBlueAL

    The Knicks were playing borderline playoff ball before the trade, but this decline should not come as a shock.
    1. Randolph is better than Harrington
    2. Thomas brings little to the table other than a body off the bench
    3. Despite is weak offense, Collins would have been useful off the bench at the #1, #2, and #3 when someone needed a rest or was hurt.
    4. The team didn’t replace Crawford because of the Mobley situation
    The loss of Crawford was probably the biggest blow. Despite his inconsistent shooting, on his very good nights he could carry a bad team like the Knicks to a victory. That kind of volatility is more of problem when you are on a good team.

    I wouldnt say Crawford was the biggest blow because he was traded for Harrington and they are very similar players. The Randolph trade is what sealed this season’s fate. They got NOTHING for him and even traded Collins as well who at the least was a body that couldve played guard all those games when Nate was hurt. Randolph and Lee were forming a very good tandem.

    I miss Crawford at times because lets face it he was fun to watch when he got hot, but we just have to keep reminding ourselves about the summer of 2010 and at the least another Top 10 pick in June.

  35. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, the team was getting by on smoke and mirrors back then. But still, they likely would have been better than this, though (I still love the trades, of course, just sayin’).

  36. jon abbey

    I honestly don’t think so, it’s guys like Nate and Chandler and even Duhon who have faded recently (Chandler has come back somewhat in the last handful of games, but had quite a bad stretch before that). I don’t think that would have been much different if the trades hadn’t happened, the rotation of competent players would still be too short (and Mardy Collins does not count as competent).

    now if we hadn’t made the Balkman deal and D’Antoni had played him 20+ minutes a night, would we have a few more wins? I think quite possibly.

  37. Owen

    Q was also playing reasonably well at the beginning of the year, but has shot 35.6% in the last month, another reason for our decline…

  38. BigBlueAL

    I honestly don’t think so, it’s guys like Nate and Chandler and even Duhon who have faded recently (Chandler has come back somewhat in the last handful of games, but had quite a bad stretch before that). I don’t think that would have been much different if the trades hadn’t happened, the rotation of competent players would still be too short (and Mardy Collins does not count as competent).
    now if we hadn’t made the Balkman deal and D’Antoni had played him 20+ minutes a night, would we have a few more wins? I think quite possibly.

    I really hope you are joking about the Balkman trade weakening this team more so than the Crawford/Zach trades.

  39. jon abbey

    no, I’m dead serious. if we had a real eight man rotation, I think we’d be a lot better off, now and for the rest of the season.

    look at it this way, so far the season has consisted of three roughly equal stretches:

    6-5 pre-trades

    5-7 in the first 12 games post-trade
    2-10 in the last 12

    that doesn’t look to me like a team that is severely hurt by the trades, that looks to me like a team playing a too short rotation that’s run out of steam.

  40. Ben R

    I would actually agree with jon. I do not think the Randolph and Crawford trades really hurt us while the Balkman trade did.

    Harrington despite being inconsistant is still scoring more points more efficiently than Randolph, while Thomas per minute is scoring almost as much as Jamal also more efficiently. On top of that the trades forced David Lee into a larger role and in it he has been better than Randolph or Crawford have ever been. Just to put the cherry on top they were our two worse defenders, so our defense would have also been worse without the trades.

    I think the one area that the trades hurt us was right after when we were so shorthanded, but right now we are better than we would be with Randolph and Crawford.

    Whatever prowess Randolph and Crawford had down the stretch in games (and that prowess is debatable) they would have hurt the team before the stretch by shooting alot and being less efficient than their teammates. So while maybe (again I am not so sure) they would have helped in a close game during the last five minutes their presence would have meant less games that were close in the last five minutes for them to help in.

    The amount Balkman would help us is debatable but I personally think he is at least better than Jeffries. Even if you disagree and think Balkman is a poor player having him is still better than not having him, so unlike the Crawford and Randolph trades that helped us the Balkman trade did not.

    I agree with the assesment that we are worse because of Q’s, Chandler’s and Nate’s slump, not because oif the trades. Our schedule has also tightened up considerably.

  41. Frank

    I for one am not unhappy about the recent slide — I think the culture of the team has already been changed, as has the fans’ expectations. I think that was always going to be the most important thing to come out of this year. Of course if we continue to win 17% of our games that might reverse, but I think all Donnie and D’Antoni wanted out of this year is to change the mindset and build for the future. Mindset has changed, cap space is open now. The worse we do this year, the more ping pong balls we get. Next year we’ll essentially add Gallinari and our new draft picks, dump other dead weight on our roster AKA James, Marbury, Malik, hopefully be a little healthy, and improve to the point where we give Utah a mid-teens to early 20s pick and convince one or two of these top tier max FAs to come and help out. As a fan it’s hard to watch my team take a beating every year, but hey, I’m a Jets fan too. I can always look to the future.

  42. Cartman
    The Knicks were playing borderline playoff ball before the trade, but this decline should not come as a shock.1. Randolph is better than Harrington2. Thomas brings little to the table other than a body off the bench3. Despite is weak offense, Collins would have been useful off the bench at the #1, #2, and #3 when someone needed a rest or was hurt.4. The team didn’t replace Crawford because of the Mobley situationThe loss of Crawford was probably the biggest blow. Despite his inconsistent shooting, on his very good nights he could carry a bad team like the Knicks to a victory. That kind of volatility is more of problem when you are on a good team.

    I wouldnt say Crawford was the biggest blow because he was traded for Harrington and they are very similar players. The Randolph trade is what sealed this season’s fate. They got NOTHING for him and even traded Collins as well who at the least was a body that couldve played guard all those games when Nate was hurt. Randolph and Lee were forming a very good tandem.
    I miss Crawford at times because lets face it he was fun to watch when he got hot, but we just have to keep reminding ourselves about the summer of 2010 and at the least another Top 10 pick in June.

    It was really a two part deal in that Crawford was only expendable because Mobley was expected come to the Knicks in the Zach deal and play the SG. I am assuming Walsh wanted to remain competitive.

    I’m no fan of Crawford, but he was explosive at times. On those nights he really lit it up, he sometimes carried the team to victory. When he went 6-18, the Knicks were probably going to lose anyway because they are terrible. Harrington is no Zach, but he’s filling in adequately at the PF. The bigger problem is at SG.

  43. Cartman

    At this point, I suspect that Walsh and D’Antoni realize the playoffs are probably out of the question. They’ll go through the motions and suggest the goal is still to get in, but they are realists.

    The rest of the season is going to be about evaluating Lee, Robinson, Gallinari, Chandler, and Duhon. Those are the 5 players that could play a significant role on the 2010 team.

    As we all know, decisions about Lee and Robinson must be made soon.

    I’m sure the Knicks would like to keep both, but Lee’s value on the open market is probably the highest it has ever been. He’s had ideal circumstances to produce good surface stats and be productive because of the faster pace, getting more minutes, and the lack of another rebounder on the team. The questions that must be answered are how much he is actually worth and can the team win a championship with Lee as the 3rd best player. I can’t see them giving 10M to a player they expect to be a reserve in 2010 or not good enough to get the team over the hump as its 3rd best player.

  44. ess-dog
    The Knicks were playing borderline playoff ball before the trade, but this decline should not come as a shock.1. Randolph is better than Harrington2. Thomas brings little to the table other than a body off the bench3. Despite is weak offense, Collins would have been useful off the bench at the #1, #2, and #3 when someone needed a rest or was hurt.4. The team didn’t replace Crawford because of the Mobley situationThe loss of Crawford was probably the biggest blow. Despite his inconsistent shooting, on his very good nights he could carry a bad team like the Knicks to a victory. That kind of volatility is more of problem when you are on a good team.

    I wouldnt say Crawford was the biggest blow because he was traded for Harrington and they are very similar players. The Randolph trade is what sealed this season’s fate. They got NOTHING for him and even traded Collins as well who at the least was a body that couldve played guard all those games when Nate was hurt. Randolph and Lee were forming a very good tandem.
    I miss Crawford at times because lets face it he was fun to watch when he got hot, but we just have to keep reminding ourselves about the summer of 2010 and at the least another Top 10 pick in June.

    It was really a two part deal in that Crawford was only expendable because Mobley was expected come to the Knicks in the Zach deal and play the SG. I am assuming Walsh wanted to remain competitive.
    I’m no fan of Crawford, but he was explosive at times. On those nights he really lit it up, he sometimes carried the team to victory. When he went 6-18, the Knicks were probably going to lose anyway because they are terrible. Harrington is no Zach, but he’s filling in adequately at the PF. The bigger problem is at SG.

    Agreed. The Mobley situation hurt us two-fold: we now have a gaping hole at shooting guard, and not enough able bodies if anyone so much as sprains an ankle (because we have so much dead weight at the end of the bench.) You can visibly see Duhon get tired at the end of games now. Back up pg is still a problem. But I agree with other posters that I’m not unhappy with rising in the lottery. It’s probably what’s best for us this season…
    As far as Balkman goes, it would be nice to have a 2nd rebounder on this team becase Lee gets tired too. But if we can deal w/ Mobley/Starbury, there are other players in the D league that can be had for similar purposes that can even hit free throws! I wonder if P.E.J. is ever going to be on this team? Haven’t heard his name for a while…
    I’m also on board for trading as many assets as we can before 2010 (including Lee.) A team with Bosh, Nash and James and 9 D-leaguers can beat anyone.

  45. Owen

    “I’m also on board for trading as many assets as we can before 2010 (including Lee.) A team with Bosh, Nash and James and 9 D-leaguers can beat anyone.”

    Would you rather have Lee at 10 million (with 10 m salary to add another quality player), or Bosh at 20 million?

    I am going with Lee.

  46. Frank

    “I’m also on board for trading as many assets as we can before 2010 (including Lee.) A team with Bosh, Nash and James and 9 D-leaguers can beat anyone.”
    Would you rather have Lee at 10 million (with 10 m salary to add another quality player), or Bosh at 20 million?
    I am going with Lee.

    Seems to me it may matter less what Donnie, D’Antoni, or any of us want — what probably matters more is what Lebron wants. If he wants Bosh on the team in order to come to NY, then that’s what we’ll have to do. How to figure that out before we need to decide about extending Lee is another story though…

  47. jon abbey

    hmm, I might go with Bosh there, but it’s an interesting decision.

    more importantly, Steve Nash isn’t going to have much left in 2010-2011 and beyond and he’s already been a horrible defender for years, people need to set their sights higher than him.

  48. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “I’m also on board for trading as many assets as we can before 2010 (including Lee.) A team with Bosh, Nash and James and 9 D-leaguers can beat anyone.”

    Would you rather have Lee at 10 million (with 10 m salary to add another quality player), or Bosh at 20 million?

    I am going with Lee.

    I would take Bosh at $15M and perhaps at $20M (depending on how good of a defender I think he is). You can find good cheap talent to fill out a roster. Not the level of a Lee, but let’s just say Von Wafer looked great for $800K. How many guys are out there that can give you that kind of production? Probably enough to make the upgrade to Bosh worth it (depending on the price).

    That said I’d still hold onto Lee, because I think he’ll re-sign for less than $10M and/or we can still move him (or another 2010 contract) if needed to get another superstar.

  49. Thomas B. Post author

    “I’m also on board for trading as many assets as we can before 2010 (including Lee.) A team with Bosh, Nash and James and 9 D-leaguers can beat anyone.”

    Would you rather have Lee at 10 million (with 10 m salary to add another quality player), or Bosh at 20 million?

    I am going with Lee.

    I am going with Lee as well. If everything else stays about the same on this team, the Knicks can sign Lee, get a top free agent in 2010, and get another top free agent in 2011 when Curry and JJ come of the books. Chandler would be a restricted free agent in 2011, but even with his cap number on the books (until he is renounced or resigned) there will be just about enough cap room to make a max offer to a top 2011 free agent.

    You would have to pay double Lee’s salary to get Bosh and I don’t see Bosh as being worth double Lee’s salary. I’d rather use that money for a top true center in 2011 or a lights out shooting guard. Or perhaps we can fill one of those needs with the 2009 draft choice.

  50. Owen

    I think you can have a very legitimate argument about Bosh and Lee. But Lee has been playing unbelievable ball of late. In the last month, 16 and 13 per game on 58% fg and 83% ft%, with 1.5 steals and 1.9 turnovers.

    Is it too early to start thinking about the draft? I was just scoping Thabeet’s numbers, averaging 3.6 blocks per. Might be a very nice complement to Lee if we do keep him.

  51. Z

    “You would have to pay double Lee’s salary to get Bosh and I don’t see Bosh as being worth double Lee’s salary.”

    Okay, but let’s just say LeBron would rather play next to Bosh than Lee. Then is he worth twice the money?

  52. Z

    “You would have to pay double Lee’s salary to get Bosh and I don’t see Bosh as being worth double Lee’s salary.”"

    Okay, but let’s just say LeBron would rather play next to Bosh than Lee. Then is he worth twice the money?

  53. Z

    “”You would have to pay double Lee’s salary to get Bosh and I don’t see Bosh as being worth double Lee’s salary.”"

    Okay. But what if Lebron would rather play next to Bosh than Lee. Then is he worth double Lee’s salary?

  54. Caleb

    I’ve noticed a lot of people think Duhon is part of the post-2010 plan. This is extremely unlikely – worth explaining why:

    People think we can sign all our LeBrons, then re-sign Duhon for the mid-level. But the cap doesn’t work that way. Once Duhon’s contract is up, in the summer of 2010, he stays on the Knicks’ cap until we renounce him or re-sign him. Duhon will be considered an “Early Bird” player, because he’ll have spent two full seasons on the Knicks. So, his “cap hold” will be 130% of his previous salary ($6,031,000, per ShamSports). That’s a cap hold of $7.83 million. That’s eating up the cap space we would otherwise spend on LeBron, Bosh or whoever. I like Duhon, but I think $7.83 million can be better spent, and I’m betting that Walsh agrees.

    Unfortunately, if we renounce Duhon, we can’t re-sign him for a year.

    The only way I can imagine him staying is if we sign him to an extension this summer, or immediately re-sign him in 2010, for a number more like $4-5 million per. Duhon might be “worth” it, in that he probably WILL get a mid-level offer from someone. But even $4-5 million is a significant dent in our cap space, and I’m guessing he won’t be back.

    With that in mind, he could be a pretty valuable trade chip between now and February 2010.

    p.s. I would say Bosh has become overrated — better than Lee, but not remotely close to the LeBron/Wade/Howard stratosphere. What is the WOW take?

    p.p.s. Did someone really say we could replace Balkman’s impact with PEJ or a D-Leaguer?

  55. ess-dog

    “p.p.s. Did someone really say we could replace Balkman’s impact with PEJ or a D-Leaguer?”

    What has been “Balkman’s impact?” I don’t recall him making the Knicks any better than they are now. Look, I liked Balkman and I wish he’d stayed, but he is what he is: a late 1st, early 2nd rounder with a lot of energy who can’t shoot a lick. I would say if we looked hard, we could find that somewhere else.
    As for Duhon, he might stay out of loyalty to Mike at a fair price (especially with 2 all-stars on board) but I would take a better cheaper alternative if it presents itself.
    And yes, Howard is better than Bosh, but is there another center in the east as good as Bosh? I think he’s worth the extra money esp. with Lebron or Wade to go with him.

  56. Z

    “As far as Balkman goes, it would be nice to have a 2nd rebounder on this team…there are other players in the D league that can be had for similar purposes that can even hit free throws!”

    Balkman’s shooting 73% from the line this year. (Higher than PEJ’s FT% in Reno thus far…)

  57. Caleb

    Balk didn’t have a big impact only because IT didn’t play him. Per 48, Knicks were 9 points better with him on the floor, both his seasons. Defense is hard to measure, but by rebound rate, he was the best or second-best rebounding SF in the league, each season. Chandler is above average for a SF and Balkman’s rate is 50% higher. Hard to match that.

    Don’t why I torture myself thinking about it.

    ess-dog,
    I get the feeling you don’t really disagree… even if you don’t like Balk as much as I do, you call him a late-1st/early 2nd kind of guy – which is a lot better than PEJ or 99% of the D-League.

  58. Owen

    “p.s. I would say Bosh has become overrated — better than Lee, but not remotely close to the LeBron/Wade/Howard stratosphere. What is the WOW take?”

    The WOW will tell you that they are pretty equal or that Lee is better. It’s almost a classic controversy generating comparison. On the one hand, Lee averages 2.5 rebounds more per 36 (although less when you adjust for pace). On defensive rebounding percentage Lee is much better, at 26.2% to Bosh’s 21.3%. And the Knicks are actually league average in D-Rebounding this year, while the Raps are at 24. Lee is also a better offensive rebounder.

    And Bosh is of course a better scorer. He scores 6.5 points more per 36 on a ts% that is only 2% lower. All their other stats are a wash.

    Bosh can create shots, and he is obviously an excellent player, no question. And at the beginning of the year, he was dominating statistically. But from that angle (stat), he doesn’t look to me like that much of an upgrade on Lee.

    But his defense is better. He has had a big impact there this year on his team, six points so far on one end. That would be one big reason to do it.

    But I still think we draft Thabeet and stick him next to Lee, sign Lebron, and then see who else we can sign with the cap room we have left.

    And if signing Bosh is the price we have to pay to get Lebron, well, fair enough. Lebron is the now officially the best player since Michael Jordan, by any measure you care to employ. We need him in New York.

    Also, great piece comparing Millsap and Boozer and analyzing whether Utah should keep the latter. Millsap comes out smelling like roses anyway you look at it, small victory there for the WOW which has loved Millsap since the second he entered the NBA.

    http://www.emptythebench.com/2009/01/12/the-power-forward-conundrum-in-utah/

  59. Caleb

    I might venture that Millsap is better than Lee… ? If I’m the Jazz, I trade Boozer asap – probably getting quite a bit – and re-sign Millsap to a mid-level contract, since it doesn’t look like anyone else will offer more.

    I’m not sharing the love for Thabeet. IMO he looks more like Shawn Bradley than Dikembe Mutombo. If I’m feeling generous, I might call him Ratliff-esque. He can block shots, but doesn’t really rebound and looks totally lost on offense. On the plus side, he’s really improved each year; there might be a bit more upside. But I don’t see any kind of franchise center.

    Thoughts?

  60. Owen

    Thabeet? God, I am in love with him even though I haven’t seen him play this year. It’s almost irrational. I want someone who can block shots on the Knicks ASAP.

    But you may be right that he isn’t that good. I will say this, he is no Shawn Bradley. Thabeet is an athlete. I think Dalembert is a better comparison.

    As for Millsap being better than Lee, I don’t know about that. Does that make him better than Bosh? ;-)

    He is the real deal though, which is what the per minute numbers have been saying the past two years….

  61. ess-dog

    Balk didn’t have a big impact only because IT didn’t play him. Per 48, Knicks were 9 points better with him on the floor, both his seasons. Defense is hard to measure, but by rebound rate, he was the best or second-best rebounding SF in the league, each season. Chandler is above average for a SF and Balkman’s rate is 50% higher. Hard to match that.
    Don’t why I torture myself thinking about it.
    ess-dog,
    I get the feeling you don’t really disagree… even if you don’t like Balk as much as I do, you call him a late-1st/early 2nd kind of guy – which is a lot better than PEJ or 99% of the D-League.

    I don’t know if we’ve seen enough of PEJ to know what he would provide (besides a cool name and a few highlight dunks) but you could also say we haven’t seen enough of Balkman to really see what his place on a team would be. Like I said, I would prefer he was still around, but someone like Richard Hendrix could also help in a similar capacity.
    This goes back to the argument of the “specialty” player vs. the “all-around” player and which is more valued. In our case, the overall game ove Chandler was valued more than the specialty game of Balkman. Of course, these are players that should surround 2 or 3 all stars who have all-around game. I’m not sure which side of the fence I’m on, but it does seem specialty players have an important role on winning teams (Steve Kerr, Rondo, Bowen.) I don’t think managment felt Balkman could add anything else to his game at his age (for instance, taking someone off the drive, a post move, a baby hook, a 3 pointer, soemething…) But like I said, we could use his rebounding help right about now!

  62. BigBlueAL

    I cant believe people are saying Bosh would not be an upgrade over David Lee. Your right he wouldnt be an upgrade, he would be a SUPER HUGE INCREDIBLE upgrade.

  63. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    I think specialty players are much more useful. You can do much more creative things knowing you have a defender like Balkman on the floor, or let’s say a three point shooter like Kerr. Put it this way. Rodman was an awesome rebounder, a great defender, but pretty bad in many other aspects of the game. If you took Rodman’s extreme abilities and averaged him out, he’d be a run of the mill PF (Kurt Thomas?).

    And I’d like to remind everyone, Balkman was not dumped in favor of ‘all around’ Chandler. Balkman was dumped in favor of Roberson.

  64. Frank

    Just wondering — why is everyone assuming it’s going to be Bosh? I for one would much rather have Stoudemire. May not be a great rebounder but you at least know that he is borderline unstoppable in this system. He’s 2 years older (but still probably in the beginning of his prime years) and has more injury concern, maybe some defensive effort problems, but it’s hard to argue with a TS% of 62-66% in D’Antoni system in a guy shooting the ball that much. Not to mention his career playoff averages of 25 ppg, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks on 53% shooting (didn’t calculate his TS%). He absolutely dominated that Spurs series a few years back even though they lost.

  65. ess-dog

    “And I’d like to remind everyone, Balkman was not dumped in favor of ‘all around’ Chandler. Balkman was dumped in favor of Roberson.”

    Now you’re just throwing gasoline onto the fire!

  66. cgreene

    Mike, you keep coming back to Balkman. C’mon. Players with “extreme abilities” tend to flourish on great teams not on bad ones. So if the Knicks had Balkman is that worth more than a win or two at this point? Fewer minutes for other guys sure. D’Antoni’s system works best with multi-tooled players like Boris Diaw who can pass, shoot and even handle the ball. Balkman can’t shoot, can’t pass and is an ok ball handler for his size.

    I am not at all sold on Bosh and think that the Lee / Bosh comparison vs the price that each will command is a great argument. The thing about Bosh that is scary is that dominant players at the 4 or 5 position should mean wins in this league. Look at teams with very good to great big men. Spurs w Duncan, Orlando w Howard, Dallas w Nowitzki (probably a good comp for Bosh), Celts w Garnett. Those guys are the leading big men on playoff teams. The Raps are terrible. Maybe worse than NY with a much better lineup. What does that say about Bosh? Not sold on him.

    ps: why aren’t we talking about Dirk or Amare? Aren’t both of those guys better than Bosh?

    2010 lineup:
    Duhon/Nash
    LeBron/Wade
    Chandler
    Lee
    Dirk

    or

    Duhon/Nash
    LeBron/Wade
    Chandler
    Lee
    Amare

  67. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Mike, you keep coming back to Balkman. C’mon. Players with “extreme abilities” tend to flourish on great teams not on bad ones.

    OK I was the 10th person to mention Balkman, so you can’t blame me for bring him up. Additionally if “extreme” players are only good for winning teams, wouldn’t the Knicks want him when they become one?

  68. cgreene

    Wouldn’t we have to resign Balkman in 2009-2010? So he would be in the same boat as Lee now. Not worth the cap space.

    I look at players in 3 tiers.
    Tier 1: Team’s Go-to players (basically the team’s 2 best players for deep playoff teams.

    Tier 2: Every day starter who fills roles and does not need the ball

    Tier 3: Designated role player off the bench. Basically someone who the longer they are on the court unless they are having a specifically good game the more their deficiencies become apparent.

    Lee is a tier 2 player. Balkman is a tier 3.

    I know all this shit is not statistical but would you not agree?

  69. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    I would classify players in those tiers, per se, but playing along, I might say that Balkman peaks at 2/3. Right now he’s at least a 3.

    Btw I think Balkman would have done really well in D’Antoni’s system. He’s very good in transition, esp. in leading the break. D’Antoni loves effort, defense, & rebounding. He has no problem with putting a half court black hole like Jared Jeffries on the floor.

    Again, I’m still not sure what the positive of letting Balkman go like Walsh did. In 2010 he has a qualifying offer of $3M. Let’s say we kept him and he played exceptionally well. Some team could come along and give him an offer sheet, and we’d be in the same boat we’re in now – get nothing in return for him. If Balkman didn’t play well we probably could have still found someone to take him off our hands for nothing.

    But here’s the kicker. In 2010 we’re looking to sign some big free agents and compete right away. We’re going to need role players that are cheap. You admitted that a player like Balkman is perfect for that kind of team. If Balkman stayed, gave the same level of production (tier 3), the Knicks might have been able to keep him at about $3M per, which would have been a discount. Most likely now they’re going to need to find a free agent and pay more, or rotate NBDL fodder and get much less production.

    Again in terms of mistakes, a team could do worse. It’s not like he’s tearing it up in Denver, and he may take a Bowen-eque path to NBA starterdom. Perhaps his personally/practice habits sucked too. But between him & Roberson, it seemed like a no-brainer to me.

  70. jon abbey

    my point with bringing up Balkman was for this year and next year, not resigning him after that. right now, we almost never have eight healthy and competent players for a rotation. with Balkman on the roster instead of Roberson (or if they’d bought out James, god knows what the reluctance is on that), we’d have had eight healthy and competent players for quite a few games, which reduces the wear and tear on the other players in the rotation.

    as it is, D’Antoni can’t do much coaching in terms of who he plays, because he has almost no competent options. if and when Gallinari comes back in a week or two, this will improve, but it didn’t need to be like this for the first 40 games.

  71. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    BTW to clarify, it may not be a no-brainer (on Balkman). But I sure know which I would have chosen.

    As for Gallinari I agree with Clyde’s assessment from a few games ago. “No way.” Gallo is 19, from Europe, and has played all of 20(?) minutes against NBA level competition. I’m expecting zero from him this year. In a way I hope he doesn’t suit up until the Knicks are long out of contention.

  72. DRed

    Anyone watching the game tonight? The Knicks are actually winning. I assume we’ll get tired and fold down the stretch again, but it’s been an enjoyable half.

  73. D-Rim

    Only the Knicks could start a road trip with a loss in Oklahoma City and close it out with a win at New Orleans

  74. d-mar

    Only the Knicks could start a road trip with a loss in Oklahoma City and close it out with a win at New Orleans

    LOL ain’t it the truth. That was a total team effort, and I’ve gotta give Q credit, he played his butt off. And to bring up a very often discussed subject, I don’t think we should trade Lee. He had a couple of finishes tonight with his right hand from a few feet away that I don’t think many players at his position are capable of. I would really be sad to see him go.

  75. jon abbey

    not happy about the win, but what’s way more important than that is I think you could make a case that Jeffries has some actual trade value now, based on his ability to disrupt the other team’s offense by guarding the PG and his offensive rebounding.

    also, Lee was fantastic. considering the opposition, one of his few best games ever, he was probably the best player on the floor. lastly, it’s nice to see Chandler repeatedly stepping up in the clutch, that bodes well for him long-term.

  76. jon abbey

    sure, that was nice, but they gave it back tonight. if they can manage to get swept by Washington the next two games, they’ll be in good shape to make a run at the 5th or 6th worst record.

    meanwhile, assuming Portland holds on, somehow NY is only a game behind Chicago. what a disappointment they’ve been, injuries and all…

  77. DRed

    It’s a real shame that two and a half minutes of competitive basketball was too much for Fat Eddy’s knees-he’d help lose some games to the Wiz.

  78. ess-dog

    not happy about the win, but what’s way more important than that is I think you could make a case that Jeffries has some actual trade value now, based on his ability to disrupt the other team’s offense by guarding the PG and his offensive rebounding.
    also, Lee was fantastic. considering the opposition, one of his few best games ever, he was probably the best player on the floor. lastly, it’s nice to see Chandler repeatedly stepping up in the clutch, that bodes well for him long-term.

    Agree with all of this. Lee really was amazing tonight (quick cut to a smiling Owen in bed smoking a cigarette) and looked better than West. He probably stays after that performance. And Jeffrightened looked like Jeffranchise tonight!

  79. Brian Cronin

    The Knicks currently have almost a .400 winning percentage (.380).

    There are a shocking six teams with winning percentages under .300 right now.

    Toss in Minnesota’s barely over .300 winning percentage (.306) and I just don’t see how the Knicks are going to make a run at the Top 5, and if you don’t crack the Top 5, there’s not a huge benefit to losing.

    They’re as close to the #8 seed in the East as they are to Minnesota (three games).

  80. Owen

    “(quick cut to a smiling Owen in bed smoking a cigarette) and looked better than West.”

    Yes indeed. Got a warm feeling when I saw the box score. Missed the game though. No game thread?

    Very nice line from Lee tonight. And a very nice win.

    In other news, Brook Lopez looked pretty good tonight. Still think we should have drafted him.

  81. Gian Casimiro (SSoM)

    In other news, Brook Lopez looked pretty good tonight. Still think we should have drafted him.

    Agreed. If the organization knew it wanted to get rid of Randolph and Curry eventually, why not get the 7 footer with a jumpshot and low-post game. And I know it was unexpected coming out of college but he’s a great shot blocker, too. What does this team lack again? Size and shot blocking? Oh well.

  82. Frank

    ps: why aren’t we talking about Dirk or Amare? Aren’t both of those guys better than Bosh?

    I agree completely cgreene — I don’t want Dirk only because he’s got too many miles on his body, but Amare’s only 26 and has already shown that he can be borderline unstoppable in this system. AND he has always played very well in playoff games and in big games in general. He’s not as good a defender as Bosh but boy can he finish on anyone in this league.

    In any case, I’m sort of coming around to Owen’s point of view — only took 2 years. Every game I see DLee play the better I think he is. The only issue is I’m not sure what kind of player you can get in this league for $8MM/year anymore…

  83. Cartman

    The jury is still out on Balkman. There almost has to be a reason that multiple coaches and organizations don’t play him even though he’s puts up some decent numbers in short stints.

    The Roberson move was the bad one. The thinking at the time was that the Knicks had plenty of players that could play SF, but very few good outside shooters. They were right about the lack of consistent shooting, but Roberson turned out to be a bust under game time pressure. Then Gallinari went down. So in hindsight we could have used a player like Balkman this season. Perhaps this issue will seem less relevant once Gallinari returns. The real mistake was Roberson though. I can’t believe they couldn’t find a better shooter than that to fill a roster spot. Almost anyone else would have been better.

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