Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

2009 Game Thread: NYK @ NOH

At halftime, the Knicks are down 9, 62-53, courtesy of a circus shot half-court three.

Talk about the second half here!

117 comments on “2009 Game Thread: NYK @ NOH

  1. David Crockett

    Just finished all the grading I’m doing tonight and turned on the Knicks. From down 9 up to 6!

    DLee and LHughes working the pick and roll.

  2. Thomas B.

    Damn when they pass the ball the right way this team is a joy to watch..of course I cant watch since League Pass figured out how to close the loophole that allowed me to access free games. Oh well. Watching the still pictures on espn gamecast is just as good right..right?

    Can we start calling him Ill Will again?

    Oh and Sir Gloats alot want to remind you that the Sixers lost again. Iverson scored 20 on 7-18 with 1 t/o.

  3. Travis Knight Rider

    Wow, maybe Duhon needs to fly his friends and family to all the Knicks games to watch him play.

  4. David Crockett

    Duhon just hit two ridiculous 3s. And then Harrington follows.

    Nice.

    Of course, Duhon used his up for the next week.

    I swear these refs are shaving points. The calls are not egregious. It’s just that NY is getting called for really ticky tack fouls. The 6th foul on Chandler just didn’t look like anything. He was posting a smaller player, just calling for the ball. There was no off-hand movement, no excessive lower body movement. He was just called for a foul and walked off the court. It was weird. Maybe my view was obstructed and I missed something but wow.

  5. David Crockett

    Unfortunately, now he’s going to start taking more of these pull up treys off the dribble for no reason.

    If Nate takes that shot, make or miss, Mike Breen craps his pants right on the sideline.

  6. DRed

    Thrashing any nba team on the road is not easy. Color me impressed. Gotta love that this team is playing some D these days.

  7. Brian Cronin

    Gallo’s block was sick. It didn’t even make any sense that that could/would work, but it did!

    Amazing.

    So Curry gets Douglas’ minutes? Fair enough.

  8. Frank O.

    Thomas were you trashing d’antoni’s coaching or was it ted or someone else?
    Because i thing your last comment was right now.
    D’antoni at least these past few weeks has made a massive difference. Picked his guys, shortened the bench and didn’t waver when some guys struggled.
    And he’s taken a lot of crap and kept his head.
    Pretty impressive

  9. Sandy

    wow. what a great win and a highly entertaining game. aside from the blazing hot finish, we had 7 blocks and held NO to 34 points in the second half. we also had a good shooting game from both duhon and chandler, which have been hard to come by this year. somehow Gallo only took 2 shots in the second half but he blocked shots and had a steal. he also served as an intimidator twice as paul drove the lane and kicked out because of gallo. this was a big game against a team that was hot at home. im impressed by the knicks ability to handle opposing teams runs and respond and the shortened rotation has been great.

    curry? still terrible. he came in, we went down. turnovers, poor defense and forcing the issue. i did see him sprint down the court, though, which almost blew my mind. maybe he can just continue to train for the 100m and give up on basketball. just kidding. hopefully he regains some form. also, big game from harrington. several nice drives and finishes. i am so happy right now.

  10. Sandy

    i must say that hughes and chandler are still not willing passers to gallo. i don’t really get it but they believe that their shot is better than his. whatever.

  11. greatscott

    Eddy Curry was getting back into the groove tonight. Perfect from the field. Didn’t miss a shot. He’ll be a great pickup for a team that needs a center. Go Eddy Curry!

  12. cgreene

    it would be a major shame if we lost lee after this season. he is playing the best ball of his career by far. should/can we offer him an extension right now? i believe we have $6-7 million above one max offer.

  13. BigBlueAL

    Just saw box score and noticed Gallo with 11 reb and 2 blocks. Besides the great shooting he is beginning to show other facets of his game.

  14. Ray

    What is this team going to look like when all the expiring contracts leave? We have about six spots to fill….more or less.

  15. Mulligan

    Also, what did Will finish with, like 10-15 with only 2 attempts from beyond the arc? How long have we been waiting for that?

  16. Z-man

    That was another gritty, total team win, a real professional effort. Very mentally tough and confident in the second half. 3 ridiculous threes don’t hurt (Harrington’s to end the half and the two bankers.) Duhon really put on a show for his family, good for him.

    Harrington is playing all-star caliber ball right now. This must be the best stretch of his career. Seems like teams have no answer for him.

    Chandler deserves some props, he’s been playing better and better (and being coached better.) Solid game tonight.

    Gallo was big on the defensive end, had lots of intangibles going for him. You could argue that he is freeing up the pick-and-roll and stuff for Harrington.

    For a guy that has been rapped for not being much of a defensive coach, D’Antoni seems to have the team and individual defense maxed out. Could anyone be expected to have this team playing better defense than they are right now?

    Jeffries continues to be a major disruption to opposing offenses. For a really good guy who everyone here (me too) has frequently maligned, it is good to see him finally earning his salary. I’m happy for him and for us.

    Still shocking to see Curry so slim.

  17. BK

    Sandy probably deserves the most credit around here. The only optimist who looked at the schedule and saw opportunity for this team in the month of December.

    I have to say that I can’t believe D’Antoni would have played Curry if not for the “showcasing” nonsense. I’m rooting for Eddy as a person (seriously), but as a player he completely derailed the flow in the second quarter. Completely different team in the second half with the short rotation.

    BTW, I’ve always supported the coach, but I’m going to give some credit to the players for buying in and toughening up mentally lately. They are showing a commitment to ball movement and talking on defense that was non-existent at the start of the season. Maybe Wilson will never make the best decisions or Al will never be a good passer or Lee a good defender, but they’re doing whatever they can to get past their limitations and work with their teammates.

  18. daJudge

    Wonderful game. But….Dantoni’s challenge happens when the three’s don’t go in off glass and don’t fall, period. The shooting was an aberration tonight. Duhon’s numbers off the chart—no turn overs, what, 10 assists? Loved watching the game but, Thomas B, do you really attribute tonight’s game to coaching, or were you being sarcastic? I’m going to sleep now and instead of counting sheep, I will count the days till we add a star to this line up. Maybe it’s Lebron, maybe it’s someone else. Either way, this team could be smok’in with such an addition. Good night sweet king.

  19. Sandy

    “Sandy probably deserves the most credit around here. The only optimist who looked at the schedule and saw opportunity for this team in the month of December.”

    wow. thanks. I used two assumptions to construct my complex hypothesis.

    1. regression to the mean. knicks could not continue to play that bad.

    2. weak december schedule.

    but even I did not predict that they would play this well. also, one thing I have always supported is D’Antoni’s almost stubborn loyalty to some his veterans. he stuck with them through hard times and is riding them in good. the question is…will the knicks regress back?

  20. Thomas B.

    @ Frank O.

    “Thomas were you trashing d’antoni’s coaching or was it ted or someone else?”

    It could have been me. At the time I bet he deserved it if I did. Sticking with Duhon those first 12 games just made no sense to me. So I am sure I bashed him for that.

    But my point is that the coaching matters, not that this coach is a great one. When the coach does his/her job well–as D’Antoni has done of late–the team plays to its potential. I’ve read many people write that this is a player’s league, and that may be true, but what else but coaching can you say is the proximate cause of this improvement? No trades, no real significant improvements in the health of players; what else can it be?

    Preseason people expected the Bulls to be better–they possibly have more talent than the Knicks but they have poor coaching or perhaps player dis interested in the coach’s style. Either way it goe back to the coach not the talent level of the players.

  21. d-mar

    “only knicks fan could be excited at being 7 under .500 gotta love it.”

    Jeez, Thomas B., cut us some slack! The Knicks were 1-9 and dead in the water, and have beaten some quality teams in the last few weeks. Give a little bit of credit, and think about the East teams that started out strong and are headed in the opposite direction now.

    What really impressed me tonight was the active hands on defense. Lots of deflections, blocks, grabbing loose balls, it’s just totally different than what we saw earlier in the season, when teams just scored at will. And to echo Z-man’s comments on Jeffries, as much as we malign the guy, he really is the x-factor on defense.

  22. zulu

    I think Galinari is still the biggest difference maker. He draws a cover deep on the perimeter. Al, Lee, and Galinari shooting off the charts. Jennings was still a disgusting mistake. A major screw for a team for with no pick in 2010. I still cannot get over it. I don’t want to hear how other teams screwed up too. The Knicks needed to work tirelessly, needed to be much better than the competition. Walsh screwed up big time and is trying to blame the scouting staff for the mistake. Hill and Douglas are both garbage, bench players at best. How the front office could see no difference between a stiff and a future All Star is mind boggling.

  23. jon abbey

    people who were slamming D’Antoni (like myself) were right. he was forcing this team into a SSOL system that it didn’t have the personnel for. I saw him say something like “I had to stop believing what people were writing about me, and just slow things down.”

    since they’ve done that, they’ve been way overachieving for their talent level and D’Antoni’s finally been earning his money. pretty much every game, the other team has the best player on the floor, and often times the best two or three.

    but to outscore NO 18-0 in the last 4:56 of a one point game on the road is impressive, that should put us into the top 15 of Hollinger’s rankings.

    +28 in 33 minutes for Jeffrightened tonight, he may actually be moveable. and the much maligned Chandler (I’m kind of agnostic on him) hit some big, tough shots.

  24. Brian Cronin

    but to outscore NO 18-0 in the last 4:56 of a one point game on the road is impressive, that should put us into the top 15 of Hollinger’s rankings.

    They are, indeed, in the Top 15 of Hollinger’s rankings (#15 exactly).

    It’s such a weird thing to see.

  25. Brian Cronin

    More than a few times this game, Chandler was complimented by the announcer for making a “good decision.”

    These were the first times “Wilson Chandler” and “good decision” were in the same sentence since “That was a good decision by the defender to let Wilson Chandler take that three-pointer.”

  26. Ted Nelson

    “This is why coaching matters. Some will argue otherwise but coaching matters.”

    No one said coaching doesn’t matter period, but that it doesn’t matter nearly as much as most people think.

    “Hill and Douglas are both garbage, bench players at best. How the front office could see no difference between a stiff and a future All Star is mind boggling.”

    Really?? I agree that Donnie blaming Isiah’s scouts publicly was bush. Hill and Douglas have both shown a lot in the minutes they’ve gotten, though. All-Star is synonymous with high-volume scorer, not with good player. If you don’t average 20 ppg or 10 rpg or 10 apg, you are not going to be an All-Star (unless you’re T-Mac and get voted in without playing). That doesn’t mean all the players who hit those marks are extremely valuable or that if you don’t you’re not good. Jennings has been a surprise, but he looks a lot like Iverson at the same age. Not necessarily a good thing. Not necessarily a bad thing, either, he’s got a lot of promise but we’ll have to see if he can make more of his talent than AI managed to.

  27. kaine

    I believe that the game against the celtics did something to the players.

    despite playing like a bunch of headlss goose, the almost won.
    that brings confidence, that leads to purpose and swagger.

    they developed a new team identity

  28. irvin

    D’Antoni fully deserves all the criticism he’s got. Winning a few games in December does NOT excuse the atrocious coaching – let’s remember that sticking with a player who has had a stretch of 55 bad games (between last season and this season) combined with 4 really good games is not great coaching.

    In fact, the Knicks are just two bad performances away from their old despicable form.

    And, yes, like everyone else, I’m happy they won. But it doesn’t mean that we can now attack those who rightfully pointed out that D’Antoni was and is still responsible for a great deal of the mess these Knicks are.

  29. rrude

    While I think we might even be due for a couple bad performances, you can’t deny that there’s something drastically different about the energy of the team, compared to earlier in the season. Hard to pin down, but they have more confidence and play more as a team.

    Unfortunately, a big part of the last couple wins has been Duhon ringing up 20 points, something I really doubt we will see regularly from here on out. That said, Gallo looks like he could go off for 30 on any given night if he get the touches, so maybe it’ll balance out.

    I give Mike D. credit for slowing the tempo down…well, the tempo was already slowed if you watched the games, the players just couldn’t do SSOL very well. But maybe having the pressure off to stay out of halfcourt sets is helping this team share the ball more and playing more to their strengths.

  30. Z-man

    irvin, I couldn’t disagree more. Do you actually think that Mark Jackson or Avery Johnson would have these guys playing any better than they are right now? This isn’t just four games anymore, it is a long stretch against some pretty good teams. Jon’s take at least acknowledges this, yours goes beyond cynical into the irrational.

    D’Antoni took a lot of heat for the way the team started the season and the benching of Nate. He has taken heat for not playing Hill and Darko and playing Chandler and Jeffries too much. yet, going back to the Celtic game, can anyone rightfully have expected better play and results than what our eyes are seeing right now? Time to forgive and forget.

    “pretty much every game, the other team has the best player on the floor, and often times the best two or three”

    jon, I’m starting to question this. Harrington, Gallo and Lee are all playing all-star caliber ball (maybe not yet for Gallo, but he has definitely gotten the other team’s attention on both ends. His length has really been a factor on D. Maybe he really can play PF someday.)

    btw, I would HATE to see us unload Harrington, IMO he is the main reason we are playing well and winning right now. He made some bold statements before the season started, then played horribly for the first stretch of games to the point where he god bounced from the starting lineup. Since then, he’s been a monster and is living up to his own hype; his attitude has been perfect. D’Antoni deserves some credit for this.

    Getting players to overachieve is the essence of coaching. D’Antoni had Tim Thomas overachieving in Phoenix after we basically ran him out of town. Every Knick in the rotation is currently overachieving, except maybe Lee who has been rock solid although his D seems to be improving. Duhon has risen from the ashes. Hughes had an off shooting night and still helped the team.

  31. irvin

    z-man wrote:

    “Irvin… yours goes beyond cynical into the irrational”
    “Getting players to overachieve is the essence of coaching… Every Knick in the rotation is currently overachieving, except maybe Lee who has been rock solid although his D seems to be improving”

    Irrational is to take a 4-game winning streak and forget that D’Antoni didn’t begin coaching this group last week. That’s irrational. Yes, the Kicks are playing much better than at any time during D’Antoni’s reign. However, it makes sense to judge the team’s performance as a whole. If we go by a few chosen games, the Knicks are competitive with the Celtics and Lakers, but we know that’s not the case.

    In fact, if you analyze this winning streak with intelligence, you will conclude the opposite: D’Antoni had this group “underachieving” with his bad coaching. We must remember that the only reason this is so big is because the Knicks have been so bad.

  32. Z

    “it makes sense to judge the team’s performance as a whole. If we go by a few chosen games, the Knicks are competitive with the Celtics and Lakers, but we know that’s not the case.”

    Didn’t Larry Brown’s 23-59 Knicks enjoy a 6 game winning streak?

    (yes BK– I’m comparing D’Antoni to Larry Brown again :)

  33. irvin

    Z wrote:

    “Didn’t Larry Brown’s 23-59 Knicks enjoy a 6 game winning streak?”

    Well put, Z.

    Not to mention that using the word “overachievers” on a 7-15 team is absolutely ridiculous.

  34. ess-dog

    I’d say as a team we are pretty much on track. If functional we are a 35 win team, if dysfunctional we are a 25 win team.
    You have to remember that we lost a lot of close games during that early bad stretch. Mike also had to deal with Duhon being awful, Chandler coming back from injury, working Gallo into the rotation, and “showcasing” Jeffries and Curry. That’s not an easy list.
    Does anyone know if it’s possible to sign Lee, Bosh and Lebron this offseason? It would probably mean trading Curry AND Jeffries right? I just can’t believe we trade Curry this year, even with a Nate or Chandler sweetener.
    But you have to like a lineup of Douglas, Lebron, Gallo, Lee and Bosh.

  35. BK

    Irvin, if the Knicks have “two bad performances” in the next two games, they’ll still be winning at a pace roughly commensurate with their talent. I don’t think you’ve made sense in any of your troll-like rantings about the coach or the team. But keep trying…or don’t.

    I’ll keep repeating what Owen said many posts back…at a certain level, coaching doesn’t have that much of an effect in the long term. The coach gets too much blame when they lose and too much credit when they win. With that said, one reason I like this coaching staff is that they’ve historically made adjustments and are nowhere near as doctrinaire as some people claim they are…and they (seem to) have a better handle on the problematic players and personalities than other coaches in similar (or worse) straits with the underachieving of their personnel (i.e. Wizards, Bulls, Sixers etc)

    I’m excited about the team’s good play but don’t have any illusions about it being anything other than one that will hover several games under .500 all season, which is what you expect — it will be overachieving if they can actually get to .500. So I wouldn’t put too much stock in the idea of some religious, Riley-like conversion on the part of the current coaching staff to slow down the pace and maximize the talent. Coaches (the good ones, anyway) always tinker and consider the nature of their personnel, and are rarely as one-dimensional as portrayed.

    And with all that, there’s only so much you can do with a certain level of talent. Duhon’s been good and bad with the faster pace, and it will be the same with the slower pace (though perhaps better for his conditioning).

    Z, compare him to Larry Brown all you want. :-) I liked Larry before he went off the deep end with the Olympic team and the Knicks. Who knows, maybe D’Antoni will be driven to similar levels of lunacy by the silly expectations of Irvin-like fans.

    As always, I qualify my comments by noting that some of the more tempered coaching criticism from the intelligent posters is fine by me and very instructive. It’s the “Joey Four Rings Should Drink Green Tea in A Straitjacket: His Players Carry His *ss!l” type posts every time the team hits a speed bump that pollute the discussion.

  36. Z-man

    “Irrational is to take a 4-game winning streak and forget that D’Antoni didn’t begin coaching this group last week.”

    Again, it’s not the winning streak, its the play over the last month. It is not a few chosen games but a steady, sustained improvement over 13 games based on sticking with a rotation (despite taking lots of criticism for benching Nate) and modifying the game plan to better fit the players in the rotation. And they’re playing their asses off on D, which is supposedly not D’Antoni’s MO. Realistically, what do you expect from the guy? They clearly can’t be expected to be competitive with the Celtics, Lakers, Magic, Spurs, Nuggets, or Cavs. However, it looks like they might be competitive with the Suns, Hornets, Hawks, Blazers, and hopefully the Heat, Pistons, Bulls, Bucks and Bobcats, and other EC playoff competition. And to boot, Jeffries and Curry are looking much more tradable than anyone had the right to expect. I just don’t know what you expect from the guy.

    “Didn’t Larry Brown’s 23-59 Knicks enjoy a 6 game winning streak?”

    True, Z, I remember that streak well. After a rough start, that team started to gel and Steph was playing his best ball as a Knick during that streak. Then he got injured and the team proceded to go 2-20. If you are taking a swipe at D’Antoni or the optimists around here with that comment, I don’t get it. I don’t know if anyone on this team is as indispensable as Steph was to that team, but I would guess that if we lost Harrington to an injury (or dumb trade) right now, we’d be in trouble.

    BTW it isn’t exactly an insult to be compared to Larry Brown. LB is a weird, erratic dude and turned out to be a bad fit for the Knick team he inherited and Isiah. The Francis trade was a monumentally stupid idea. However, he’s done some pretty good coaching in his career with the Nets, Pacers, 76ers and Pistons, and is the only coach to have won a championship in recent memory without a superstar or two. He has the Bobcats playing pretty well right now and should surpass the franchise record for wins his team set last year.

    Speaking of the Bobcats, we play them and the Bulls twice in the days to come, obviously with playoff implications. Should be fun!

  37. irvin

    Z-man wrote:

    “Again, it’s not the winning streak, its the play over the last month. It is not a few chosen games but a steady, sustained improvement over 13 games based on sticking with a rotation (despite taking lots of criticism for benching Nate) and modifying the game plan to better fit the players in the rotation. And they’re playing their asses off on D, which is supposedly not D’Antoni’s MO. Realistically, what do you expect from the guy?”

    I don’t expect anything from D’Antoni. In fact, I’m not even opposed to him being the Knicks coach. If you read my original post on this thread, my position is very simple clear: the criticism levelled at D’Antoni is legitimate and largely deserved.

    Think about it: if D’Antoni is responsible for this good stretch, who is responsible for all the MANY MORE bad games before and during the stretch?

    ***************

    “And to boot, Jeffries and Curry are looking much more tradable than anyone had the right to expect. I just don’t know what you expect from the guy. ”

    How can Curry look “much more tradeable” based on what we have seen of him this year? Did you see his “performance” last night?

  38. Thomas B.

    @58 Ted Nelson
    “No one said coaching doesn’t matter period, but that it doesn’t matter nearly as much as most people think.”

    I’ve read many a poster write that a coach makes up about 5-10% of what makes a team work. I would say that is low enough to define the coach as negligible, hence the coach does not matter. I say the coach does matter.

    @49 d-mar
    “Jeez, Thomas B., cut us some slack!”

    Perhaps I should have said only WE Knick fans could be excited about being 7 under .500.

    I am very excited at how well the team is playing, but the fact is we have much much more work to do. The team dug a hole for itslef, but in such a weak conference it can be overcome-At least I hope it can be. Hell I’m on the record for 40 wins, I need this team playing very well.

    @ Irving and BK:
    Kum ba ya my lord, kum ba ya.

  39. NateRobinson

    People need to realize D’Antoni has little to work with. Duhon, their best and only point guard struggled early in the season. But had he been benched for Nate or Douglas what would have happened? Lee is the biggest recipient off the array of picks they go to. Lee outside of this is either too inactive inside or is outside bricking shots. Also take into notice that aside from Harrington and the occasional Hughes drive we get no baskets inside if its not for Duhons playmaking if you can call it so. Nate is too streaky (mentally) to consistently handle the point duties. Douglas is too young to even tell. Hughes is the only other alternative and that is a crapshoot. You’d have a better chance playing the lottery with him at the point pulling up for the hideous jumpers he takes.

    Mike D had to stick with a struggling Duhon because it wouldve affected the only team based offense we have.

    Just because a team plays bad is not necessarily a coaches fault. Wilson turning his game upside down from one season to another is not the coaches fault. Nate going AWOL (knowing Nate) is not in the control of the coach.

    Mike D is making the most of this roster, in order for this team to win it needs all its moving parts to be well, moving. That is too little room for error considering that almost 99% of the league has a star scorer that can take up the slack.

  40. Z-man

    So trends mean nothing to you. By that, I mean that you think Del Negro is doing a better job so far this year than D’Antoni (with a comparable team) because his team has a better record thus far. For me, a good coach’s team gets better and better as the year goes on, barring injury. If the bad start helped get us to the way we are playing now, I can live with it and not harp on it constantly, especially considering the things ess-dog mentioned. The Bulls, however, have played worse and worse; if the Knick trend was reversed and compared to the Bulls, I’d be right with you on D’Antoni. It is around this point that we part ways.

    As to last year, come on. There was the Steph fiasco, the trading of the team’s two highest scoring players, the injury to their #1 pick, the breaking down of their starting PG, the Eddy Curry tragedy, and so on. Still, the team’s record was much improved over the year before and very much in line with expectations going in to the year.

    Re Curry, what I see from Curry is a motivated, in-shape, healthy big man. Who in his right mind expected this version of Curry to show up at all this year? He might not ever break the rotation, but just to look at him is reason in and of itself for optimism about a possible trade to a team desperate for a post presence. I concede, however, that on-court play performance has not helped yet.

  41. Z-man

    On another note, who in last year’s draft do you trade Gallo for straight up right now, including those drafted above him? I’d pass.

  42. rohank

    Z-man: Without hesitation i would trade Gallinari for Derrick Rose, given that option. I love gallinari to death and I think he’ll be a great player, but Rose….come on!

    We always rag on Al Harrington a lot, and maybe he never will learn to pass as well as we expect from him. however, he deserves a lot of credit for this resurgence. Did you guys hear about the book that he made the team read together? Also they all hung out in los angeles I think. Team bonding matters. Nobody ever questioned Phil Jackson about his methods – Chemistry really matters. Now we’re seeing better ball movement, mostly likely because the players know each other better and genuinely enjoy playing with each other.

  43. rohank

    Btw – has anyone else noticed how under the radar we are for a New York team? Obviously Tiger is stealing the majority of headlines, but even for the NBA, only 2 teams have win streaks longer than ours (boston and LA) and detroit also has won 4 in a row. You would think that the resurgence of the knicks in december against good teams would be a decent story, but no word out of espn OR si.com.

    I think it’s a good thing though – less pressure on our guys.

  44. Z-man

    Statistically, Gallo is playing better than Rose right now. You could argue that Gallo is doing more to make his teammates better right now, even though Rose is a PG and that’s his main job. The biggest question mark for Rose has been his shot, and it is still a question mark. Gallo’s combo of length, shooting, and court sense has been pretty lethal thus far and he will only get better unless the back or something else goes out. He has the chance to be a really unique player. At the very least, he is making up for Frederic Weis.

    Anyway, I would not make that trade right now.

  45. Z-man

    rohank, I agree on the under the radar thing. Ironically, this is the kind of play that energizes NY fans, gritty, hard-nosed team ball. If the Jets and Giants get bounced from the playoffs and the Knicks keep up the good play, New Yorkers will definitely take notice.

    One thing that seems lost in the discussion is that the team seems pretty unflappable lately. Harrington emotes quite a bit, but the rest of the guys in the rotation are pretty even keeled. That might also lend itself to consistency.

    Sorry for all the posts, guys, obviously life has passed me by today!

  46. rrude

    I’m a little curious if the whole ‘coach doesn’t matter that much’ is specifically an argument about good teams winning as opposed to teams in general losing. Because it seems clear that coaches can have a tremendous negative effect on teams, whereas a team with Lebron James can be pretty successful with Mike Brown as the coach (rimshot!).

    Just take New Orleans as an example. It was clear last year that the players were not interested in Scott anymore. I know they haven’t looked too good against the Knicks, but they are competing better for Bower, plus he’s playing their rookies who seem to help them out quite a bit. Or take Larry Brown’s time here. The Knicks looked like they might actually be decent at one point in that season but Brown started jerking the rotation around for no apparent reason and things went south.

    Coaches can be too permissive, too strict, too petty, too meek, too conservative, etc., and make their teams worse than they need to be. Can coaching make a medicore team, talent-wise, a champion? No, but it can make a decent team bad, a bad team terrible, and sometimes a bad team decent. Maybe those small shifts just are the 5-10%, but as a fan the difference can be huge: it can be the difference between watching a miserable team play with no heart and watching a team that, while often overmatched, still competes and allows you to enjoy even the losses.

  47. irvin

    Excellent points, rrude.

    Your point is especially true in basketball, a sport where the frequent substitutions and substitution patterns have a tremendous impact on a team’s (and its players) performance.

    The current Knicks are a perfect example: it’s generally ackowledged – including D’Antoni himself – that the current roster does not match well with the 7SOL system. In that sense (among many other things), D’Antoni, the coach, by forcing his system on this team, was having an (negative) impact that is certainly far more that 10%.

    And, yes, the coach’s importance can be minimized/overlooked/neglected when there is plenty of talent around: it’s easy to get good games out of Koby/Gasol or Jordan/Pippen. On the other hand, when you have lesser players, the margin for error is far less. So, in that sense, the coach can be a huge factor.

  48. BK

    Hey Irvin, I was reacting to the tone of the coaching discussions and was out of line in making the “troll” designation…my apologies. I understand you and others here care a lot, but I don’t really care for how polar this discussion tends to get. But hey, it’s up to me to deal with that by taking a break and stop reading comments when it happens, not to name-call.

    Though I did find it funny that your last response to me was post number 69 in this thread (though it looks like it’s gone now). Maybe it’s the influence of my cum-sucking dead mother.

  49. Ted Nelson

    “I’ve read many a poster write that a coach makes up about 5-10% of what makes a team work. I would say that is low enough to define the coach as negligible, hence the coach does not matter. I say the coach does matter.”

    If you put another good up-tempo offensive coach in D’Antoni’s place, say George Karl, you don’t think this team wouldn’t be 8-15… on pace for 28/29 wins? If you replaced D’Antoni with a career journeyman coach, say, Alvin Gentry in Phoenix do you think the Suns could have the best offense in the NBA and be on pace for 57 wins?

    A lot of it evens out in the end and players will very rarely play above their talent level for an extended period. I do subscribe to a sort of contingency/situational theory of coaching: there are going to be certain coaches who are better in certain situations based on style of play/emphasis and intangibles like team chemistry. Similar to how one or two skill role players will fit in better in a certain role. Rare are the coaches who can or will adapt to the talent at hand, which is something D’Antoni seems to have done. And certainly there are just plain bad coaches who will be bad in any situation.

  50. Ted Nelson

    One thing I would like to point out is that D’Antoni hasn’t slowed the pace down all that much. They are still a fast paced offense, but being fast paced doesn’t mean running around like chickens with your heads cut off. (Which is a fine strategy when the head chicken is Steve Nash, but not so much with Duhon.) This was something that myself and others said during the horrid start to the season. D’Antoni has to some degree taken the advice of his critics. (I personally also argued against the Nate benching, for signing Iverson, for a temporary Duhon benching… and Chandler benching or at least reduction in minutes, for playing another bigman, and for more youth, so I’m not saying I’ve been completely on the same page with D’Antoni… but where we’ve differed on personnel matters we’ve agreed on style of play.)

    “Think about it: if D’Antoni is responsible for this good stretch, who is responsible for all the MANY MORE bad games before and during the stretch?”

    I think this is the main point the people on the “criticizing D’Antoni side” are making. At this point we have to look at the whole season and not anoint him the second coming because he got the team playing how we all hoped they would play out of the gate (35-40 wins best case, 30-35 wins most likely scenario, and 25-30 wins worst case). Everyone is impressed with how the Knicks are playing and that they turned it around instead of laying down after that start, but at this point, being completely objective, it’s hard to argue that a whole lot of NBA coaches couldn’t have the Knicks at 8-15 (28/29 win pace… still in the worst realistic, non-Larry Brown comes to town and loses his mind case scenario, although there is obviously a lot of hope for improvement now).

    Z-man,

    We’re all excited, but no matter how well they finish the season this is a hot stretch. They are not going to win 5 out of 6 over the long-term, unless you feel they’re a 68 win team.

    “Getting players to overachieve is the essence of coaching. D’Antoni had Tim Thomas overachieving in Phoenix after we basically ran him out of town.”

    Putting players in a position to succeed is the essence of coaching, and the Bulls ran Tim Thomas out of town the Knicks traded him for Eddy Curry (which is worse than being run out of town, really).

    “So trends mean nothing to you.”

    There are ups and downs to every season. Standing where we are right now I feel really good about the Knicks and really bad about the Bulls. In a month, though, who knows? Maybe Derrick Rose gets it together and the Bulls win 5 of 6, and maybe the Knicks go 1-9 again, or maybe the Knicks keep playing .500 ball and Del Negro gets fired… Nice that the Knicks control their own destiny a little with 4 of their next 5 coming up against 2 teams they’re sort of competing with for the playoffs (Bobs and Bulls).

    BK,

    “Irvin, if the Knicks have “two bad performances” in the next two games, they’ll still be winning at a pace roughly commensurate with their talent.”

    If the Knicks lose the next two they’re on pace for 26 wins…

    NateRobinson
    “Duhon, their best and only point guard struggled early in the season. But had he been benched for Nate or Douglas what would have happened?”

    We will never know. My guess: they would not have started the season 1-9 or 3-14… Between Nate, Douglas, and Hughes I really don’t think Duhon would be missed. Yes, he’s erupted for some great performances, but so do those three.

    “Just because a team plays bad is not necessarily a coaches fault.”

    And just because the team plays well it’s also not necessarily to the coach’s credit.

    rohank,

    No one wants to be the jerk who prints a story about the Knicks resurgence only to watch them lose 5 of their next 6… I’m not saying they’re going to, just that the Knicks have done this before and then fallen off so the press is used to being burned by the Knicks.

  51. Z

    “Maybe those small shifts just are the 5-10%, but as a fan the difference can be huge: it can be the difference between watching a miserable team play with no heart and watching a team that, while often overmatched, still competes and allows you to enjoy even the losses.” -rrude

    I think this is a good point. Statistically the results may be marginal, but the impact on a fan base can be much more than just Ws and Ls.

    Which reminds me– the 1-9 Knicks of November weren’t just losing 90% of their games. They were looking HORRIBLE in them, and the final scores didn’t even accurately tell the story. In a lot of games they were down 20 in the first half, even to bad teams. They were a 12 man train-wreck of a team: no heart, no desire to compete. If D’Antoni wasn’t criticized for that display then he wouldn’t have been a coach at all. He’d have been a god.

    No one here said D’Antoni should have been fired. But at 3-13, it became clear D’Antoni’s “system” wasn’t working, and that he’d have to adjust to the players he had or the team would be historically bad. He seems to have done that, not based only on Ws and Ls, but on rotation and pace as well.

    Maybe D’Antoni could have kept the pace and rotation the same, stubbornly holding to his system that has worked for him in the past and the long term results would have been the same. But by adjusting to a self-proclaimed “24 seconds or less” offense, he may have kept fan’s interested in a lost season a little longer, which is a good thing.

    So basically, I like rrude’s point and agree with it.

  52. Ted Nelson

    rrude and irvin (79 & 80),

    I agree with irvin, that was an excellent comment rrude.

    Generally, when you look at team performance year-to-year-to-year-to-year personnel moves explain more than coaching moves. (Subjectively, from my observations, in-season coaching changes seem to have more of an impact in a lot of cases… which, in the positive cases, may be due to a better fit style wise and, in the negative case, may be due to a scrubby assistant taking over for a real head coach or a worse style fit.)

    Did the Lakers really miss Phil Jackson the year he didn’t coach, for example, or was is that they turned over more than half their roster, suffered a bunch of injuries, Chucky Atkins was the leader in minutes, Chris Mihm started, and Jumaine Jones was the 6th man???

  53. Z-man

    Ted, it is cynical to assume that teams will ultimately play to the mean or to their talent. Every year there are teams that get it together after cold starts and play well for the duration of the year. Other teams start out hot and then flounder around for the duration. Every year there are teams that exceed (or fail to get) the # of wins projected for them by the experts, surprising all the analysts.

    If you don’t see that the team is playing better basketball in every facet of the game, individually and collectively (and not just winning because the shots are falling when before they weren’t) I don’t know what games you are watching. I’m not suggesting that everyone get on line for playoff tickets, only that they acknowledge that the play is much better (even in most of the losses) and that the coach has a lot to do with it. This isn’t pick-up ball. Coaching is an incredibly important part of the game. You could argue that there isn’t variability among coaches, but players themselves rave about D’Antoni (except for Steph, I guess…).

    “If you put another good up-tempo offensive coach in D’Antoni’s place, say George Karl, you don’t think this team wouldn’t be 8-15… on pace for 28/29 wins? ”

    A better question is: which team would have a better chance of finishing the remaining games 59 games with a better record and getting this team into the playoffs? My money would be on D’Antoni. In other words, there isn’t a law that says that this team is on balance a 29 win team based on their current record. The team has played .500 ball in a reasonably long stretch against mostly winning teams. What do you expect will happen that will derail them? I don’t see it, other than a significant injury, although having pretty good players out of the rotation gives me hope even in that scenario. It the team goes .500 from here on out, they are a 37-38 win team. And one of the the toughest part of their schedule is now behind them. If they do lose 5 out of the next 6, it would suck, but what if they win 5 out of their next six? More than likely they will go 3-3 and I’d be happy with 4-2. Most importantly, if they play like they have been playing and lose because the shots just don’t fall, I can live with it. Again, it’s not the record, it’s how they’re playing that matters most to me this year.

    “personally also argued against the Nate benching, for signing Iverson, for a temporary Duhon benching… and Chandler benching or at least reduction in minutes, for playing another bigman, and for more youth, so I’m not saying I’ve been completely on the same page with D’Antoni… but where we’ve differed on personnel matters we’ve agreed on style of play.”

    Unfortunately, a coach has to consider both style and personnel. Do you really think your personnel moves would have panned out better in the style of play they are playing? It’s possible that the team would have completely disintegrated into a dysfunctional mess of malcontents by now.

  54. Ted Nelson

    Z-man,

    I would call it realistic, not cynical. I never said that some teams don’t get off to a bad start and then turn it around for the remainder of the season, I just said that some teams have ups and downs and you can’t say right now which one the Knicks will end up being.

    Most “analysts” ignore statistics and are well-paid talking heads. I’m not that interested in what they have to say. Charles Barkley called the Rockets the worst team in the league earlier this season.

    “If you don’t see that the team is playing better basketball in every facet of the game, individually and collectively (and not just winning because the shots are falling when before they weren’t) I don’t know what games you are watching.”

    I never, ever said that and wouldn’t, so I don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. I would say that they were playing so poorly to start the season that they had no where to go but up, and that they may or may not continue to play this well for the rest of the season.

    “A better question is: which team would have a better chance of finishing the remaining games 59 games with a better record and getting this team into the playoffs?”

    George Karl has had his share of coaching success. He irritates me, personally, but the guy is a good coach. I used him specifically because he favors an up-tempo offensive attack predicated upon ball-movement rather than running around like a chicken with your head cut off and heaving the first possible shot at the metal circle.

    I cannot possibly predict what will happen over the next 59 games. I have no idea what will happen. I am not pretending, however, that because of a hot stretch this team is guaranteed to continue to play this well all season. It’s certainly possible and I certainly am rooting for it, but there are a million things that could “derail” this team and keep it from winning 5 out of every 6 games they play (like just about everything). If I really wanted to be an asshole pessimist I could explain away every single win the Knicks have had in that stretch as due to a combination of circumstances and style of play (the match-up) and luck. I am not doing that, though, and would appreciate if you stopped taking such a hard-line stance and actually read my comments instead of reading your own preconceived notions into them.

    All I said is this is a 28/29 win team based on their current record. It’s too early to get in line for playoff tickets yet, as you say. I agree that their recent play hints at a better record, but I really am not an expert on how to project a team’s win total as the season goes on. All I can say is how they’ve played to date. I would also point out, to rain on the D’Antoni love parade a little more, that almost no one thought it was completely out of the question for the Knicks to win as many as 40 games this season based on their talent. It was a best-case realistic scenario and if they get there or higher it will be a really remarkable accomplishment, but based on the talent on this roster 40 wins was a reasonable best case if a lot of the many question marks going into the season turned into exclamation points.

    “Do you really think your personnel moves would have panned out better in the style of play they are playing?”

    Yes, I think it’s possible. The problem early was that they were running up the court and letting whoever felt like shooting (the most assertive players) shoot. How any coach could sit on the sideline and watch that crap for that long is really beyond me. (This is not my point, but even if the Knicks win 60 games and D’Antoni is the greatest coach in the history of organized sports… that was some of the worst coaching in the history of organized sports.)
    Anyway, Nate Robinson was the Knicks’ second best player last season. Do I think replacing Duhon with him would make the Knicks much worse, no. (Him as an example may help to explain the recent play, I agree with that. Him playing over Duhon early in the season, assuming he doesn’t get injured, may have meant 3 or 4 more wins early, too, though. He’s a better rebounder, a better scorer, and about as good a playmaker.) Do I think playing Lee AND Hill together is a bad idea. No. I have no idea how it will work and I don’t know exactly how raw Hill is. You have to actually play them together to find out, and in all of those losses giving them a nice run together wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Do I think Landry might be a more valuable player in the long-run than Wilson Chandler? Yes. Really like what we’re seeing from Chandler recently, and if it becomes the norm I would reconsider. No idea how good Landry is, though. You also have to appreciate that I made all of these personnel diagnoses without the benefit of ever having met a single player on the Knicks for even 1 second or having seen the Knicks practice. In that sense, D’Antoni had a lot more insight on which to base his choices. There is a human element involved, but I would say that coaches sometimes take it too far and that as fans there’s really no use in speculating about it unless something is really blatant (like eating Vaseline on the internet).

    Might they have disintegrated with my personnel recommendations? Yes. Did D’Antoni run the risk that Hughes, Chandler, Duhon, and Harrington would go a combined 1-for-1000 (exaggerating) from the field and they would lose 5 of 6? Yes. Making the changes I have suggested when I made them may have stopped the team from going 3-14 and may have led to a better rotation for the season on the whole (as Nate and/or Iverson outplayed Duhon, the young guys got their feet under them a litte–and I wasn’t for playing youth just to play youth, but if it made sense in the rotation because they were already better, if rawer, than the vets–and the defense might actually be half-way decent… despite all the talk about how great their defense has been, I think it’s been more great offense than good defense but I don’t have the efficiency numbers in front of me… Hill, Landy, and Douglas all have great defensive upside). The beasts we didn’t know on the bench may have turned out to be better players than the beasts we did know on the court (which is a convenient and optimistic assumption since the guys on the bench are the future of the franchise and the guys on the court will mostly be playing elsewhere next season). On the other hand, maybe these guys continue to tear it up. I would be very surprised if you could find me a whole group of guys who all played way above their career numbers the same season, though. Maybe the Knicks are a good candidate for coaching since they have so many underachievers who have rarely played to their talent levels…

  55. rohank

    Ted Nelson said: “No one wants to be the jerk who prints a story about the Knicks resurgence only to watch them lose 5 of their next 6… I’m not saying they’re going to, just that the Knicks have done this before and then fallen off so the press is used to being burned by the Knicks.”

    That’s why I guess I regard it as a good thing. I hope no one writes a story about it b/c then it’ll jinx it. This is like – omg the knicks have won 5 of 6 (knock on wood)…..

  56. Z-man

    ‘I just said that some teams have ups and downs and you can’t say right now which one the Knicks will end up being.”

    True, but some ups and downs just happen (the Lakers lose 4 out of 5 in a 60 win season) and some are based on changes in personnel, strategy, or experience. Time will tell, but this feels like the latter.

    “Most “analysts” ignore statistics and are well-paid talking heads. I’m not that interested in what they have to say. Charles Barkley called the Rockets the worst team in the league earlier this season.”

    Barkley is a joke, but he is not reprentative of an “expert.” Hollinger, Berri, etc. are not talking heads, they are way more into stats than most of us (writing books, coming up with formulas, etc.) and probably predict better than most of us. That doesn’t make them infallible, but certainly worthy of listening to. you make lots of opinionated statements and when they turn out to be wrong, so what? Your living doesn’t depend on it. So you will stick by your brilliant ideas until the evidence to the contrary seems impossible to refute. Your take on Chandler and Duhon are examples. You have said numerous times that they stink and should have been benched for Landry and Nate. Well, D’Antoni didn’t bench them, at a point the season could have turned into a 4-19 debacle had he heeded your advice. Instead, they are playing better than even I, the lunatic optimist, could have expected. Yet you still refuse to second-guess yourself but instead say “there was nowhere to go but up.” Have the Nets gone up?

    “I never, ever said that and wouldn’t”
    Come on, Ted. What have you been saying? I read everything you say and agree with you when I think you make valid points. I respect that you give detailed responses to every post people make. But you get on your high horse as nuch as anyone and can be as arrogant as anyone else on this blog. For example, you recently accused me of ‘tooting my own horn” about saying for a long time that Chandler and Ariza were basically a wash, and that Ariza was a beneficiary of his circumstances and that he wasn’t a prime time player, even though the stats you love so much seem to be on my side of the argument now after more than a quarter of a season. A few games ago when I started to comment about how good the team was starting to play, you remained cynical and a couple of games later even sarcastically talked about jumping on the bandwagon. Bottom line is, you toot your own horn as much as anybody. Frankly, I don’t mind it, because that’s what blogs are for.

    I do get annoyed when you bristle so much when D’Antoni makes changes that seem to have the Knicks playing the most inspired ball they have played in years and you basically say it is just as likely a fluke as good coaching and your half-baked ideas about Nate, Landry and Iverson would have likely yielded the same results. That, to me, is the height of arrogance.

    “George Karl has had his share of coaching success. He irritates me, personally, but the guy is a good coach. I used him specifically because he favors an up-tempo offensive attack predicated upon ball-movement rather than running around like a chicken with your head cut off and heaving the first possible shot at the metal circle.”

    Again, this is a cheap shot at D’Antoni. The team played reasonably well in preseason and did not seem a candidate for a 1-9 start. However, I was not without concern, even before the season started. If you look back, you will see several posts where I was very critical of the 30+ 3-point attempts per game. The difference between us is that when D’Antoni adjusted and his decisions paid off one after another, I gave him credit for them. For you to say “there was nowhere to go but up” is pretty derogatory, considering how many teams never go up with the talent he has to work with.

    “I cannot possibly predict what will happen over the next 59 games. I have no idea what will happen. I am not pretending, however, that because of a hot stretch this team is guaranteed to continue to play this well all season. It’s certainly possible and I certainly am rooting for it, but there are a million things that could “derail” this team and keep it from winning 5 out of every 6 games they play (like just about everything)”

    First, part of the reason we are on this blog is to predict, the other part is to analyze and reflect. There are obviously no guarantees for anyone. But you are doing exactly what you criticize me of doing. Where did I, or anyone else say that the Knicks would win 5 of 6 for the rest of the year? It works both ways… you don’t put words in my mouth and I won’t put words in yours.

    To be clear (feel free to review my posts and correct me) I merely said that over the last 13 games (and by the way, I have repeatedly said that the 7-6 over the last 13 is more important to me than the 5-1 in the last 6 games, which you seem to ignore) the Knicks have played the best basketball, relative to their talent and the competition, that they have played in many years. And that the head coach deserves much of the credit for it. And that the trend is in the right direction as opposed to the Bulls who are going the opposite way. And that it has been done with personnel decisions that nobody else, least of all you, thought were sound ones.

    “Yes, I think it’s possible. The problem early was that they were running up the court and letting whoever felt like shooting (the most assertive players) shoot. How any coach could sit on the sideline and watch that crap for that long is really beyond me. (This is not my point, but even if the Knicks win 60 games and D’Antoni is the greatest coach in the history of organized sports… that was some of the worst coaching in the history of organized sports.)”

    Yeah, that’s a rational statement. It was the first 10 games after a strong preseason with a weak team full of question marks. To say that is as wacked out as it would be for me to say that the coaching over the last 10 games is “some of the best coaching in the history of organized sports.”

    “Anyway, Nate Robinson was the Knicks’ second best player last season. Do I think replacing Duhon with him would make the Knicks much worse, no. (Him as an example may help to explain the recent play, I agree with that. Him playing over Duhon early in the season, assuming he doesn’t get injured, may have meant 3 or 4 more wins early, too, though. He’s a better rebounder, a better scorer, and about as good a playmaker.)”

    The proof is in the pudding. Nate did not make the Knicks a winning team last year, and sucked in his games this year even before the injury. He is simply not a PG. Interestingly, Duhon has stepped up played well since Nate was yanked…coincidence? At what point will you credit D’Antoni that this was a ballsy move that panned out? 60 wins?

    “On the other hand, maybe these guys continue to tear it up. I would be very surprised if you could find me a whole group of guys who all played way above their career numbers the same season, though. Maybe the Knicks are a good candidate for coaching since they have so many underachievers who have rarely played to their talent levels…”

    Playing just over .500 ball over 13 games is hardly tearing it up. It is cause for optimism, though. So is seeing much maligned players (Duhon, Harrington, Hughes, Chandler, Jeffries) play well as individuals and as a team. So is seeing Gallo (not a consensus pick, clearly a D’Antoni gamble) develop in line with our highest aspirations. So is watching a team that isn’t a sideshow (and your beloved Nate was a part of that; Iverson’s history speaks for itself.)

  57. Z

    “The team played reasonably well in preseason and did not seem a candidate for a 1-9 start…”

    If only we could have played the Nets and that Israeli team with the insane coach every night of the regular season too!

    “Playing just over .500 ball over 13 games is hardly tearing it up. It is cause for optimism, though. So is seeing much maligned players (Duhon, Harrington, Hughes, Chandler, Jeffries) play well as individuals and as a team.”

    Do you think that in light of the recent hot streak Donnie Walsh should trade said maligned players or keep them for a 2009-2010 playoff run? (Just how optimistic are we feeling?)

  58. Ted Nelson

    While Barkley’s opinion was more or less in line with the mainstream take on the Rockets going into this season, Berri dedicated a post to refuting this mainstream take and saying the Rockets should be pretty good (I don’t follow Berri closely, just using him as an example). I don’t think that anyone can consistently predict the final standings, but if you take stock of the talent on a team through statistical analysis and no major injuries occur (which rarely happens) stats guys usually aren’t totally stumped. If a team comes out of absolutely no where it usually has to do with the emergence of a young player or some other personnel move. Over an 82 game season I just don’t think there are many examples where a team significantly outperformed their talent and career numbers.

    Duhon has been terrible this season, especially early on in the season. I don’t see how you can deny that. Even after a couple of career night type performances he’s at .454 TS% for the season. I’ve never said he’s been terrible his whole career (although he’s never exactly been amazing), just that he’s been terrible this season. I would have given him a night or more off or benched him at some point earlier in the season depending on whether I thought the slump was just bad luck/something out of his control or his own fault. I don’t see any reason for me not to stand by that opinion at this point. I certainly expected that he would get it together at some point and move towards the mean, but it got a bit painful to watch him absolutely STINK for 40 mpg night after night wondering when that would be. His crappy play absolutely has cost the Knicks wins this season. His slump lasted almost a quarter of the season, if it’s even over yet.

    Chandler has never been consistently good and I’ve never been a fan. His TS% is under 50% but he still shoots a lot, and he brings very little else to the table except low TOs and solid defense. I like what I’ve seen from him over the past few games. If he can do that for a whole season, I’ll be impressed. He’s teased us since he’s gotten here, though, so pardon my cynicism.

    “Well, D’Antoni didn’t bench them, at a point the season could have turned into a 4-19 debacle had he heeded your advice.”

    My point is that if D’Antoni had coached them at the right time, whether that was benching them or motivating them, there would have never been a 3-14 start to the season in the first place. They never would have been headed towards a 4-19 debacle. My advice on Chandler was get the guy to stop taking so many 3s and get to the basket, that seems to be exactly what he’s done…

    “For example, you recently accused me of ‘tooting my own horn” about saying for a long time that Chandler and Ariza were basically a wash, and that Ariza was a beneficiary of his circumstances and that he wasn’t a prime time player, even though the stats you love so much seem to be on my side of the argument now after more than a quarter of a season.”

    I would re-read my responses on the subject. The fact that this is what you took from them makes me wonder (seriously, not being a dick) if you even read my last post at the end of that thread. Ariza is not the same player as Chandler. He is a slasher and Chandler is a jump shooter. Very different games. This season, Ariza is imitating Chandler and getting similar results. In NY, Orlando, AND LA on three very different teams he always got to the basket a lot (which seems to disprove your theory that he was only good because of one teammate, Kobe Bryant). Chandler has never gotten to the basket much. Just because they are athletic wings doesn’t mean they are the same player. I also disagree that they are similarly effective defenders.

    “a couple of games later even sarcastically talked about jumping on the bandwagon.”

    I wasn’t being sarcastic. I am a fan and I have rooted for the Knicks to win even at points when I knew they wouldn’t. I’m on the bandwagon, I am just able to look out and see the cliffs lurking in the distance and hope that the team avoids them.

    “Again, this is a cheap shot at D’Antoni. The team played reasonably well in preseason and did not seem a candidate for a 1-9 start.”

    Preseason? The 05-06 Knicks were 4-2 in preseason before going on to win 23 games. Preseason is meaningless. They started 1-9 this season. D’Antoni himself has admitted that imposing the 7SOL system on a group that was not suited to it is a big reason why. 90% of this blog was saying it at the time. I don’t see why you are arguing this point.

    “The difference between us is that when D’Antoni adjusted and his decisions paid off one after another, I gave him credit for them. For you to say “there was nowhere to go but up” is pretty derogatory”

    Z-man, this is why I asked that you read my posts more carefully and look at what I’m actually trying to say instead of reading into them. When you start 1-9 with a team that was clearly capable of playing better, there is no where to go but up.

    My point is that any decent offensive coach would have a good chance at a 8-15 start with this group. Can you really disagree with that statement? Not to put words in your mouth, but my impression is that you feel that this run is more indicative of the team’s season than the bad start. I AM NOT DISAGREEING WITH YOU, I am just saying to have some perspective and consider the entire sample we have to work with. Every season they go on a run and we start speculating about what will happen if they can just finish the season .500 from here on… I hope this is the year, too, but I’m open to the possibility that it might actually be just like every other year. You seem convinced it is not based on your gut.

    Different group and different coaching style, but as an example of an 8-15 start, Larry Brown started 8-15 with the Knicks in 05-06. 6 of 8 teams they beat in that start finished the season over .500, including the eventual champion Heat. 7 of 8 won 40 games. I am not comparing LB and D’Antoni in any way. I am just saying that beating good teams does not make you a good team.

    I have given D’Antoni credit for his adjustments. I just didn’t do it after one or two wins.

    “considering how many teams never go up with the talent he has to work with.”

    He has 30-35 win talent to work with, easily.

    “I have repeatedly said that the 7-6 over the last 13 is more important to me than the 5-1 in the last 6 games, which you seem to ignore”

    They are 7-6 because they are 5-1. In the other 7 games they were 2-5… The part that is good is the 5-1, not the 2-5 with the wins coming against the Nets (as part of an 0-18 start) and Pacers (as part of a 1-10 stretch) and 3 double-digit loses. Before this 5-1 stretch you couldn’t possibly have been this optimistic about the team. If they were 2-4 (similar to the 2-5) instead of 5-1 you wouldn’t be this optimistic. We could be happy against overtime losses to good teams and other positives that you can take away from losses, but winning 5 of their last 6 is why we’re SO happy and why they’ve won 7 of their last 13.

    “Yeah, that’s a rational statement.”

    I was exaggerating, obviously, but he did a crummy job in the beginning of the season. Visually they were running up the court and chucking up bad shots, and statistically they were miserable. The results were miserable. D’Antoni is on record saying that his coaching mistakes cost the team early in the season. It was bad coaching. If it had continued all season, it would have been historically bad. I think that’s rational to say.

    “At what point will you credit D’Antoni that this was a ballsy move that panned out? 60 wins?”

    No coach has given Nate the reigns to the offense in his career. Actually making him your primary PG would be the ballsy move. Sticking with Duhon is the plain vanilla, coaches manual, mainstream move.
    To say that Nate Robinson is the reason the Knicks were bad last season seems pretty ridiculous to me. He was one of the biggest bright spots. Does he share in the losses and overall results with everyone else, yeah, but is it his fault? Really?

    “Iverson’s history speaks for itself.”

    Yeah, 8 playoff trips in 11 seasons, clearly no way to win with AI on your team… I feel like Iverson is as overrated on his career as anyone, but after he came out gunning in two games with the Grizzlies I thought he was worth a look. I wasn’t particularly disappointed when they didn’t sign him.

    “your beloved Nate”

    I feel like Nate Robinson’s on court play has spoken for itself, and he will get another chance soon in NY or elsewhere. How you can not fall in love with a 5-7 guy who through shear will power turned himself into an above average NBA player and Slam Dunk champion after walking on to the basketball team in college is beyond me.

  59. cwod

    I’d probably trade Gallo straight-up for B. Lopez, who has already turned out much better than I expected. And yet, Gallo is totally grabbing more boards and blocking more shots lately, so I’ll get back to you after another couple of months. It will be close. Gallo also missed most of his rookie year, so it’s kind of a hard comparison to make.

    I’m not a huge Rose fan. If you look at the numbers, he hasn’t really lived up to the pre-draft hype or even his current status as point guard of the future. He’s supposedly playing hurt right now, but still, even when he’s healthy, he’s not necessarily a guy I’d build my team around with very much confidence. This season’s Larry Hughes is probably a better playmaker. I don’t know if that says more about Hughes or Rose.

    Kevin Love intrigues me. He’s just a beast of a rebounder. Some of the studies on him are just insane.

    It’s true that D’Antoni has been getting better play out of Duhon, Hughes, Harrington, Chandler, Jeffries, and everyone else pretty much, but I think the realist argument is that these guys aren’t just playing well; they’re playing totally out of their minds. They’re having superstar-level shooting performances — and all at or around the same time. With that in mind, we’ll probably have a 4-7 stretch soon, and then people will all be calling for D’Antoni’s head again, but it will really just be more regression. Hopefully they’ve really made a significant adjustment and will finish near .500, but I think that’s still an absolute best case scenario. For a .500 season to happen, they’d have to go 33-26 the rest of the way, which seems fairly unlikely. It’s entirely plausible that our recent unfathomable success is some wicked adjustment, all stemming from our equally unfathomable 1-9 start. I mean, we had players in our starting five shooting under 30% from the field. That’s so unsustainably awful that they’d have to begin a stretch of 60% shooting just to return to their career averages. So crazy.

  60. daJudge

    Let’s be fair. I’m not trying to bolster my point of view, but, I have been an avid fan for over 40 years. Can we agree on some things? (1)Plain and simple, the Knicks are shooting well and playing better defense. They are more fun to watch. (2) With their talent and a decent coach, they are a 35 win team. With a crappy coach, they are a 25-30 win team. With luck and a great coach, they win 37-38. (3) Their start was bad, and their play of late will probably not continue. Certainly not their 3 point shooting. (4) The coach is tied to a system that these Knicks can simply not play. (5) The coach modified his system, at least modestly, to try to adapt to his actual team. Great move. (6) This year is a loss leader—-enjoy the wins. (7) With all candor, all of you, D’antoni has done little to show anyone that he is a top shelf coach. (8) For example, how many games did it take to play the zone on defense? Come on… e do that routinely in my Y league. (9) The benching of Nate is becoming absurd.

  61. Ted Nelson

    “he wasn’t a prime time player, even though the stats you love so much seem to be on my side of the argument now”

    To be clear, I would have never argued that Ariza was a “prime-time player” if you mean a high volume scorer by that. I certainly thought it may be possible for him to remain effective in a larger role by expanding his game, as Lee has for the Knicks. I feel like he is a valuable “role player” as a medium-volume slasher, and I’m pretty sure the stats back me up on that.

    And, again, people bemoan losing Ariza as much for the incompetence it represented as the loss itself. If Ariza was traded for Pau Gasol or KG, say, no one would care less.

  62. jon abbey

    the upsetting part is that they’re doing this almost exclusively with guys who are probably not going to be here next year, while Gallinari is now coming off the bench and Douglas and Hill are both totally out of the rotation. I’d still probably rather win games without those guys playing than lose with them playing, but it’s not entirely clearcut.

    also, when is one of the beat writers going to write that Curry’s weight loss has killed what was his only possible asset, scoring in the post? he can’t even get the ball most of the time now. maybe they just feel bad for him, but it’s pretty damn obvious.

    on the bright side, Magic Johnson said in today’s Post he thinks LeBron will come to the Knicks.

  63. irvin

    Assuming Lebron – or any other big star – comes here next year, what can we expect from the Kncks with Duhon as their PG?

    What are the Knicks doing to solve their long-term weaknesses? How long will D’Antoni need to get the team to play decent ball if Lebron comes, but Lee, Hughes and Harrington leave? (I’m NOT in any way suggesting those players should be kept or let go).

    I think D’Antoni is gambling with the future (by not giving meaningful time to the rookies during a losing season) in exchange for 10 extra wins (we go from 20 to 30).

    I’m afraid that, the way things are being handled, even if we sign Lebron or Wade, 2010-2011 will be, at best, a 40-45 win 1st. round exit. I really can’t see the Knicks go far with Duhon as their PG.

    I’m not trying to be pessimistic – I’m just stressing that the Knicks’ problems are very deep and require a lot of soul-searching, something that D’Antoni does not seem very adept at (his insistence on Duhon being the starting PG in spite of 50+ bad games – dating to last season – is proof of that).

  64. Z-man

    Ted, for the record I love your commentary and thoughtful responses even when I disagree with them. Thanks for not being totally dismissive or escalating this into a pissing contest.

    Re: Ariza vs. Chandler, it is ironic Chandler is playing more like a slasher and Ariza is playing more like a jump shooter. I would suggest that that is probably a function of coaching as much as anything else. That being said, I disagree that they are dissimilar. Chandler is showing flashes of adapting to a slasher role and his efficiency is going up while his 3-pt attempts are going down. He’s not a natural but he’s not inept either. That D’Antoni chose to stick with him and Chandler has adapted his game is a plus to me, not a minus.

    Re: Iverson, I was specifically referring to the sideshow aspect. Maybe what I like most about the current rotation is that there is nothing but basketball going on both on and off the court, aside from some minor posturing by Harrington. There is no bitching and moaning about playing time or roles (Nate, to his credit, has been great so far.) Iverson might have messed that up. He is also not the player he was when he had all his success, and never was much of a defender. Stats aside, the defensive intensity of this team certainly looks better to the eye.

    Re: the value of close losses to good teams, we’ll just have to agree to disagree here. I think the turnaround for this team started with gaining confidence vs. Celtics, Lakers, Denver, and Orlando (at least the first game,) teams that are on their way to 60-win seasons. You can play great ball and lose just by getting out-talented, and the players have to tip their hat and focus on the positives when that happens. Or they can get down, focus on each loss as a loss, period, and go into a tailspin that has them losing to the Hawks and Suns, or maybe even the desperate Nets. To me, the coach has something to do with that, and the main thing he does is decides who plays and who sits. D’Antoni went contrary to several personnel moves you were pushing for and has gotten pretty impressive results.

    Re Larry Brown, I thought I alluded to that already in a response to irvin. Didn’t Steph get injured, putting them in a 2-20 tailspin? Injuries could derail any team.

  65. Brian Cronin

    Three days off followed by a game followed by three days off is absurdly stupid scheduling.

    Even Mitch Lawrence mentioned it in the Daily News today, about how annoying all this waiting is.

  66. ess-dog

    Wow, lot of swearing these days on Knickerblogger.
    Ok here’s a thought:
    If the Blazers can’t find a taker for ‘dre Miller, maybe we should trade something like Chandler or Landry and Curry to them for Miller, Outlaw and a 2nd rounder.
    That gives us an extra 4-5 mil for next year and even if we can’t turn around and trade Miller, he could play competent point guard.
    Portland could really use the post scoring and a replacement body for Oden off the bench and they could use another wing too.
    Of course this all depends on Curry doing something on the court.

  67. Brian Cronin

    By the way, three off days before and after the New Orleans game, and then the Knicks play in Chicago on Thursday and in New York on Friday.

    Who comes up with these dumb schedules?!?

  68. d-mar

    “Three days off followed by a game followed by three days off is absurdly stupid scheduling.”

    Of course, if we were banged up with injuries or playing crappy ball, we’d probably welcome a bunch of days off.

    Prediction: Del Negro will be gone by the end of the week. I also think the Bulls should be taking a serious look at Nate, their offense is pathetic and relies on John Salmons to be their primary scorer.

  69. marxster

    RealGM just posted this:

    New York Knicks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that free agent forward Jonathan Bender has been signed to a contract. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. “Jonathan has worked extremely hard in preparing himself for a return to the NBA,” said Walsh. “I know him to be a young man of the highest character from my relationship with him that dates back 10 years to his rookie year and I think he will be a fine addition to our team both on and off the court.”

    The Picayune, MS-native was selected out of high school by the Toronto Raptors with the fifth overall selection in the 1999 NBA Draft and was acquired by the Pacers on Aug. 1, 1999 in exchange for Antonio Davis.

  70. rama

    Z-man – I’m with you: the last 13 games is what I’m judging the Knicks’ potential season on, not the last 6. While I will admit to being as bewildered as delighted about the recent 5-1 (could that possibly be the same group of players who have tortured me all season?), I’m purely thrilled at the brand of ball the team’s been playing over the last 13. They’ve been competitive every night; they’ve hustled; they’ve made better decisions on offense; the right players seem to be sitting. They’ve been slightly better than .500 during that time, beating the weak teams and losing to the better teams.

    Is there a single person on this blog who wouldn’t have taken a .500 record at the start of the season????

    No freaking way. I predicted 38 wins, and that with some anxiety (an expensive dinner rides on it). Watching the chaos of the first 10 games – getting killed on the boards, weak on D, lots of players coming in and out without defined roles, shades of crazy Larry Brown days, jacking up unconscionable 3s – I practically conceded the expensive dinner. D’Antoni played a significant part in those struggles.

    Now, with the team playing essentially .500 ball over A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME, I see a coach who made changes to bring about that better brand of ball. Sure, it would have been nicer if it had happened sooner. BUT: this season is a wash no matter what. (We don’t have our draft pick, even!) So a few extra wins, had we gone 4-6 instead of 1-9, won’t in the end be terribly significant. What will be significant, to any potential A-list free-agent, is that the Knicks have a coach who changed his system to fit his players and bring more wins. That’s good coaching.

    And THAT is cause for optimism.

  71. SJK

    Would Al Harrington take a pay cut next year so he could come back and play in NY? Then if we keep him, Lee, some of our decent players and add a star we’re set…

  72. cgreene

    As mentioned previously, I think we should address the Lee situation on the blog. He is the best player on the team. Losing him for nothing would be bad. In what scenarios can we keep Lee and add a a star level contract?

  73. Ted Nelson

    “That D’Antoni chose to stick with him and Chandler has adapted his game is a plus to me, not a minus.”

    I agree and my impression is also that his recent play has to do with coaching (he had 6 dunks in the NO game… I wonder if he’s ever had 6 dunks in a game before…). I just wonder if it will last. He had hot stretches last season, too, but mixed in enough clunkers and cold stretches that he wasn’t very good on the season.

    D’Antoni has been sticking with him for 1.25 seasons and he’s not been a good NBA player on the whole of that period.

    “Re: the value of close losses to good teams, we’ll just have to agree to disagree here.”

    As Mike said recently, bad teams lose a lot of close games. Bad teams also beat good teams. Two of Minni’s 3 wins are against Denver and Utah. Washington has beaten Dallas, Cleveland, and Miami. Pacers beat the Celtics by 9 points. 5 of Cleveland’s 7 losses are to teams under .500 on the season, 4 of Denver’s 7 plus the Bucks (.500 right now), and 3 of Dallas’ 7.

    ” I think the turnaround for this team started with gaining confidence vs. Celtics, Lakers, Denver, and Orlando (at least the first game,) teams that are on their way to 60-win seasons.”

    The question is not whether those losses led to a 5-1 run, but whether this level of play can be sustained all season.
    I agree that they have played better since D’Antoni made the coaching change that the whole world was calling for 13 games ago when they had a few days off. I understand why you are lumping all 13 games together.
    My point, though, was that the 5-1 run makes the 7-6 run. If they continued their 2-5 ways and were 2-4 or 1-5 through the last 6 games, there would be little reason to be excited. They’d be 3-9/4-9 over that stretch and 4-19/5-18 overall. We could be happy about moral victories and solid effort, but they’d still be terrible. The 5-1 run has made the season to date.

    “Orlando (at least the first game,)”

    Who single-handedly kept them in the game for the first 1/2 of the the 4th Quarter, then got benched starting during the very next game?

    “Re Larry Brown, I thought I alluded to that already in a response to irvin. Didn’t Steph get injured, putting them in a 2-20 tailspin? Injuries could derail any team.”

    I was mixing up two different seasons. They started 8-15 in 06-07 when Isiah was the coach and they won 33 games. They beat 3 teams with a winning record and 1 .500 team in that stretch. So far this season the Knicks have also beaten 3 teams with winning records (to this point in the season) in their first 8 wins. The point was just that at 8-15 you’re more likely to be headed for a losing season than a winning one. You can look at recent play and anticipate a strong finish and 35-40+ win season, but you can also look at the overall picture and anticipate a 30-35 win season, at best.
    With Larry Brown as coach the Knicks started 6-11 (similar winning % to 8-15, over fewer games obviously). They then dropped 10 of their next 11 before the 6 game win streak.

  74. Ted Nelson

    The 6 game Larry Brown win streak was pretty odd. The starting line-up was Steph, Nate, Lee, Antonio Davis, and Curry…

    I don’t think you can blame the fall off after that on Steph getting hurt. He played well in the 2 losses after the streak, and played in 7 of the next 10… which was a 1-9 stretch for the Knicks. Maybe he was hurt the whole time, but he played pretty well in most of the games.

    During the win streak the Knicks shot the ball well from 3 on most nights, and only 1 opponent topped 30% from 3 (Seattle took 35 3PAs and hit 40%). Only one other opponent topped 24% from 3. They were coming off a 1-9 stretch, the coach shook up the starting line-up, a sweet shooting young bigman in his second season was stroking it (Frye), and the vets were playing way better than you would expect based on their histories. Everyone was contributing. They beat 4 teams with winning records, including a 50 game winner and 2 60 game winners.

    I’m not saying that the endings will be the same and there are plenty of differences, but there are some definite parallels between these two streaks.

  75. rrude

    TN, what’s funny is, I remember what happened after the 6 game streak is that a very willful LB changed the starting lineup that was clicking for no apparent reason (as he would continue to do all through the season).

    I sort of feel like by citing this you are undermining your own point, which seems to be, players will regress (or return) to the mean, coaching is negligible over the course of the season vs. actual player talent. (Maybe this was just a point in this thread, not your point and I am losing track…)

    But the screaming difference between this season and that one is our current coach seems invested in trying to win games, whereas LB clearly had a different agenda.

    LB fancied himself a Bill Parcells/Mike Keenan type. He was here to reshape, bring in his own people, break down whatever existing star system was in place, blah, blah, blah–whatever rationalizes his schtick. D’Antoni seems genuinely embarrassed by the losing and I don’t think he’s satisfied saying the season is a throwaway.

    We can trade psychological profiles all we want, but I think you’d agree that LB and MD were/are operating under different agendas. To the point at hand, LB’s tinkering directly deflated any chance of the Knicks continuing a hot streak, whereas we can guess Mike is going to keep playing it similarly to how he is right now. The Knicks have chance of continuing in a similar vein now, whereas LB’s Knicks seemed directly affected by his weird machinations.

    Maybe given the relative talent involved, it won’t really matter, but again this might be where a fan perspective, as strictly a fan, overrides: I have more hope that this team will be competitive for the rest of the season than I did at the point where I realized LB was grinding his own axe that didn’t have much to do with the Knicks winning games, at least not the games they were currently playing.

  76. Ted Nelson

    I wasn’t trying to compare LB and D’Antoni. The 6 game streak came up as a side bar, and only because I was mistakenly looking at the schedule for 06-07 when I thought I was looking at 05-06. Once it came up I looked back at those games just because. Like I said, I think that there were some similarities and also plenty of differences.

    LB was annoying, and at some point I would agree he was counterproductive, with all the line-up tinkering he did. In the case of the 6 game win streak, though, he really didn’t tinker much afterwards. He kept the exact same (unorthodox) starting line-up and largely the same rotation for 2 games after the streak and then when Steph went down with injury continued with the same starting line-up with Jamal in Steph’s place for the next two games. Davis was suspended the next game, so Frye took his spot. Then, after a nice 5 game losing streak, he started tinkering. A lot of coaches on losing teams fall into this habit. Not to the extent that Brown did, but it’s hard not to at some point… especially when you have the depth of mediocrity that the Knicks had.

    D’Antoni’s decision to have some patience and stick with the guys he felt gave him the best chance to win even when they kept losing seems to have worked out so far, and is a big difference between his approach and Brown’s, definitely.

  77. stratomatic

    I think the Knicks recent good play is a chicken and egg situation.

    Are the Knicks making a higher percentage of their shots because of a random distribution of good luck or are they passing better and making better decisions which in turn is leading to higher percentage shots which they are now making?

    My view is that it’s a little of both.

    In the first few weeks they were both playing poorly and getting bad luck and now they are playing better and getting above average luck.

    The “luck” or randomness factor is the thing that tends to mean revert, but I think the better play may be sustainable. So I would conclude the Knicks are a lot better than they were the first few weeks, but not quite a good as the recent few weeks.

  78. stratomatic

    I think Ariza is a good test case for the relationship between usage and efficiency.

    Ariza was not a primary scoring option for LA. He typically used his athletic talents to get to the basket and take wide open shots when he had a chance or when his defender left him to double team one of the primary scoring options (usually Kobe). That’s all LA wanted or needed from him because they have so much offensive fire power. Anyone that watched the playoffs last year could see that most of LA’s opponenents opted to leave Ariza wide open and double Kobe instead. Ariza has always beeen a suspect outside shooter and Kobe will kill almost anyone with all single coverage. However, Ariza got on a roll from the outside and made them pay. I thik that was one part getting wide open looks (a benefit of playing with Kobe) and one part positive random distribution.

    On Houston, he’s being asked to shoot more, score more, and be a primary scoring option because the team doesn’t have many high quiality scorers that can create and get shots at will. So he has had to expand the types of shots he takes and is not open nearly as often. Slashing dunks and wide open looks because of a double team are not available in the quantities he’s being asked to score.

    He could easily revert back to being a low usage slashing scorer, but then someone else on Houston would have to pick up the shooting and scoring slack. That person could easily be a worse scoring option than the extra shots that Ariza is taking now. That’s something that Houston is going to have to work out over time.

  79. stratomatic

    One of the things I believe D’Antoni considers is the psychological impact of abandoning a player like Duhon or Chandler when they are going through a rough period. I don’t know that it actually matters, but based on his comments he seems to think it does because it puts added pressure on all the players to put up good numbers or fear getting yanked if they have a randomly poor stretch of games.

    He seems to be more willing to shuffle the line up looking for good combinations and bench players that are doing stupid things and not working hard than benching players for missing shots.

  80. Ted Nelson

    stratomatic,

    re: Ariza… I don’t disagree with a lot of what you say, but Ariza hasn’t only played in LA previously. He had as good a season in Orlando as in LA. At each of his stops (NY, Orlando, LA, and even a little in Houston) he’s been an effective slasher who gets to and finishes at the basket. I don’t think that’s ascribable to his teammates. The playoffs last season were pretty obviously a fluke (48% 3-pt shooting after he shot 32% on the season…); although, he might not feel that way with all the jumpers he’s been taking. His increased usage has increased the % of jump shots he takes he’s not a very good jump shooter. We discussed this at length in a previous thread, but since he’s playing SG in Houston with Battier, Scola, and Hayes as the frontline he plays with most of the time, he’s relied on as a perimeter jump shooter. At some point missing those jumpers hurts the team, and I think we’re probably at that point. His 2nd most common 5 man group features jump shooters Chase Budinger and David Andersen, and that has been a really good unit for Houston in the minutes they’ve played.

    re: Duhon and Chandler… It’s a little beyond the point of Chandler missing shots being a random poor stretch. His making shots recently is more likely to be a random good stretch, but who knows maybe he surprises me.
    Duhon’s slump was long enough that I wouldn’t ascribe it to luck, either. Certainly one expected him to snap out of it at some point, but that was a lot of games and a lot of really piss poor shooting. I see your point about sticking with your guys for psychological reasons, which seems like something a lot of coaches do. Sticking with Duhon that whole stretch very likely cost the Knicks a few wins, though. I have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes, so maybe D’Antoni and Duhon talked extensively about what was going on and D’Antoni concluded that it was bad luck and he might break out of it any day. I wasn’t necessarily in favor of benching him long-term, just giving him a couple days off to clear his mind or possibly to take care of any mental, emotional, or physical issues that were behind the bad shooting. If others stepped up in his place, keep him on the bench. If not, bring him back after a few games off.
    I’m also not so sure about Duhon being such an important core player for D’Antoni. He certainly seems to have some leadership and b-ball IQ, but on the whole he’s pretty mediocre and very replaceable. Same for Chandler. It’s not like we’re talking about Nash and Amare here.

  81. Nick C.

    “re: Duhon and Chandler… It’s a little beyond the point of Chandler missing shots being a random poor stretch. His making shots recently is more likely to be a random good stretch, but who knows maybe he surprises me.” I know it wasn’t supposed to be, or maybe it was, but that’s pretty funny (and something along the lines of what I was thinking).

  82. stratomatic

    Regarding Ariza, I think his record prior to LA isn’t very relevant. The problem is that NOW he being asked to carry more of the offensive load for Houston. You can’t simultaneously ask him to go back to being the efficient slasher he used to be for LA and Orlando and also score 20+ points per game. He lacks the overall skill level to do both at this time UNLESS he has a Kobe drawing the defense away from him. If he goes back to being the lower usage slasher, then the weight of that extra offense falls on other players that may also lack the offensive skills to do so. Houston has to try to find the correct balance.

    Regarding Duhon, I think we’ll have to wait to see if his shooting reverts to the mean or he remains in a funk and below his longer term average TS%. If you believe it was more than a random distribution of poor luck then it’s possible it started out random and became psychological. There was no physical reason for it that I am aware of. If it was psychological, then I suspect D’Antoni thought benching him would do permanent damage. That’s why he stuck with him. Coach has hinted at that kind of thing.

    Regarding Chandler, I think you exaggerated a bit, but I got a chuckle out of it. ;-) Early in the season he was shooting well below is own typically inefficient norm. Recently he has been shooting above it. He’s not a very consistent sort or much of an outside shooter, but I think the mean reversion that is already almost complete demonstrates that it might have been a bad idea to bench him and damage him psychologically (assuming you believe what D’Antoni believes about that sort of thing).

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