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Saturday, April 19, 2014

2009 Report Card: David Lee

After 3 years of coming off the bench, David Lee finally earned a starting spot in 2009. Lee started 74 of 81 games (D’Antoni toyed with a Randolph/Chandler front court in November), 19 more than in his 3 previous seasons combined. On the court, Lee expanded his repertoire showing some new moves in the low and mid post while adding a jump shot. This, along with being emphasized in the offense with pick and rolls, allowed his pts/36 to increase to a career high of 16.5. However it’s not necessarily the scoring increase that elevated Lee from reserve to starter. KnickerBlogger readers and stat savvy fans understood that for a few years David Lee has been the most productive of the Knick front court players.

Much like his draftmate Nate Robinson, the expanded role exposed a flaw in Lee’s game: his defense. Lee’s block shot rate hit the lowest of his career (0.3 blk/36) and was similar to that of another notoriously bad defender in Zach Randolph. Granted in Lee’s defense, Coach D’Antoni played him as an undersized center (6-9), but even at PF, Lee’s help defense is sub par. Ideally the Knicks (or whoever signs Lee) will want to pair him with a center that can turn back some shots.

Overall Lee had a typically good season. He provided efficient scoring with excellent rebounding, and didn’t eat up too many possessions. He silenced his critics who said the half court set would stall with Lee in the mix. D’Antoni frequently featured Lee with pick & rolls, and the New York offense increased to the middle of the pack (17th, 108.1 pts/poss). Lee was 4th among Knick regulars in points per minutes, so talk about him being a garbage man is unfounded. There are a lot of players in the NBA with the ability to create a shot in isolation, but too often they do so at the high cost of missed shots, turnovers, and a lack of fundamentals. Thank goodness David Lee isn’t one of those players.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 5
Defense: 2
Teamwork: 5
Rootability: 5
Performance/Expectations: 4

Grade: B+

Similarity Scores:

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS% eFG% PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 David Lee 2009 NYK 19.0 .590 .549 16.5 3.3 12.1 2.2 1.0 0.3 1.9
.095 Jerome Whitehead 1982 SDC 16.7 .599 .559 16.2 3.8 10.8 1.7 0.8 0.7 2.3
.115 Loy Vaught 1994 LAC 16.0 .566 .537 14.9 3.7 11.2 1.3 1.3 0.4 1.6
.116 A.C. Green 1989 LAL 17.8 .594 .532 15.6 3.7 10.6 1.5 1.3 0.8 1.7
.134 Michael Cage 1987 LAC 17.1 .579 .521 15.5 4.4 11.4 1.6 1.2 0.8 2.1
.161 Chris Wilcox 2008 SEA 16.3 .554 .524 17.1 2.6 9.0 1.5 1.0 0.7 2.1
.162 Tyrone Hill 1994 CLE 18.4 .590 .543 15.0 4.6 12.4 1.1 1.3 0.9 1.9
.166 Tom Owens 1975 TOT 19.4 .565 .527 16.9 4.0 12.3 2.8 0.5 1.1 2.1
.166 Brad Daugherty 1991 CLE 19.9 .583 .524 20.1 2.2 10.1 3.1 0.9 0.6 2.6
.166 Kenny Carr 1981 CLE 17.0 .560 .511 16.9 3.6 11.5 2.6 1.0 0.6 3.2
.174 Calvin Natt 1982 POR 19.0 .622 .577 18.4 2.7 8.5 2.1 0.9 0.5 1.9

For Knick fans that envision David Lee as a borderline All Star (including his agent), this has to be a disappointing list of comparable players. But overall this isn’t such a bad list to be in. The top 4 players (Wilcox is still active) were all in the league for 11+ seasons, with Green & Cage banging until their late 30s. And there is one other ray of hope: Lee outclasses most of these players.

At his current age (25), Lee has already become a league leader in his key strengths (rebounding & scoring percentage). In the two seasons he’s had enough minutes to qualify for league leaders, Lee has been in the top 10 in fg% twice, and in his first season as a starter he was in the top 5 in both offensive and defensive rebounds. By the age of 25 Cage was in the top 5 in offensive rebounding once and Vaught was among the top 10 in field goal percentage. Other than these two instances, none of Lee’s other top 5 comparable players accomplished either of these goals by the same age.

So what to make of this list? Clearly Lee’s defensive inefficiencies put him in a lower tier of players. To use a food analogy, this group of players are the hamburgers of the league. They’re not something that you’d necessarily look to build around, but if you were deprived of them, you’d feel something was missing. There aren’t many White Castle sliders (Wilcox?, Carr?) and there are some Jackson Hole Wyoming savory burgers (Green, Cage, Daugherty). And although David Lee is still a hamburger, he’s made of Kobe beef.

83 comments on “2009 Report Card: David Lee

  1. madgrinch

    defense…is a fundamental. So yes Lee is still lacking there. he is a good player but he is overrating himself on the market, he is a 7-8 million dollar a year player at best.

    he isn’t good enough on offense to warrant double teams or teams going through extreme measures to slow/stop him and he isn’t a very good defender …that alone means he isn’t a starter which limits his value. you look around the league and all the decent starters in the post can do at least of these things.

    does that change the fact that he is a good rebounder?
    no.
    or a good teamate ?
    no.
    or fun to watch?
    no.

    but he gets a pass on defense in people’s hearts(posters sometimes mention it but almost in passing completely different in randolph’s and curry’s situations) on the net while getting some people to give him a pass on greed in a way most players would never recieve.

  2. ess-dog

    I’m glad someone around here is finally talking about David Lee!

    Isn’t it win-win if Lee comes back for 8 mil? Sure he’s not the best post player in the league, but he’s solid and once moved back to the PF slot, could improve his defense.

    Does he really think he’s worth more than a 4 year, 32-34 mil contract? I feel like he either goes for something like this, or else takes the QO if he really feels slighted (but why should he?)

    With him and Hill and Curry and Darko in the post, I have a hard time finding minutes for Harrington, despite his bucket-making abilities. Maybe he can play some 3? It shouldn’t be too hard to showcase Curry a little, but I don’t know where there’s room for Jeffries either.

    Maybe the best thing would be to trade Lee and Jeffries/Harrington for a 2nd tier all-star, but Boozer’s really the only one on the block and I’m not sure that’s a smart investment.

  3. DRed

    Harrington also has a lot of bucket missing abilities. He can sit on the bench until we (hopefully) trick someone into taking fat Eddy off our hands.

  4. chris.afroman

    Surely, SOMEBODY has to want Al Harrington? He doesn’t really defend well….and isn’t a good rebounder, but if you can score 21 PPG and hit 3s, there has to be a use for him. Our frontcourt is too crowded. Walsh must really be banking on a Jeffries or Curry trade in the near future.

  5. Caleb

    “Surely, SOMEBODY has to want Al Harrington…”

    I don’t think anyone wants him bad enough to take a Harrington/Jeffries package, but I totally agree — Harrington (and Duhon, and maybe even Hughes) — have trade value. There are probably teams who would send us a worse player with a similar contract, along with a draft pick.

  6. Ben R

    I think David Lee’s shortcomings on defense are blown way out of proportion by lots of Knick fans. He is not a bad defender, I would actually say he is average at the PF position and maybe a little below average at the center. He is not a shot blocker but he rotates well and I rarely see him way out of position ala Curry or Randolph. I think people get down on his defense because you cannot really criticize him anywhere else.

    As for Harrington he should have alot of value around the league. Look at the interest Hedo just got and Harrington is a better defender at both the 3 and the 4, a better rebounder, scored more points more efficiently last year and is a year younger. On top of that he did not have Howard creating open looks for him and has an expiring contract so teams can try him out for a year. The only real thing Hedo is better at is passing. I could see Harrington being a great asset to the right team. If Houston still has interest in Curry, doubtful I know, maybe a package of Harrington, Curry and something else, future pick, Nate S&T, etc for McGrady would be enough. They could really use Harrington’s scoring. Or maybe Harrington could be Portlands concession prize for missing Hedo, Harrington for one of their young propects plus a trade exemption. There has to be a good trade somewhere for a reasonably efficient 20+ a game scorer who plays solid defense, is in his prime and has an expiring contract.

  7. ess-dog

    “The only real thing Hedo is better at is passing.”

    You make this sound like a trivial difference, but it goes beyond just passing. Hedo makes his teammates better, spaces the floor, can pass out of a double team, move without the ball (not just on the 3 pt line), see the open man, set a pick, draw the foul, etc…..

    Harrington can really only score one-on-one, shoot the open 3, and play maybe slightly above average man defense.

    He does have a huge expiring contract which is a bonus for some teams, but they would really only want to give back longer contracts. A McGrady trade is the only reasonable offer for us, so we can shed more $ for 2010 by including Jeffries.

  8. Ricky_J

    Harrington would be a good replacement for Odom if LA doesn’t re-sign him. I don’t think they’re good trading partners in a one-for-one deal, but maybe a 3-way that nets us draft pick(s)?

  9. Z-man

    I’m with you ess-dog. Harrington seems to be one of those guys who, like Jamal and Zach, doesn’t make teams better. He was upset about his situation in GS, as was Jamal after the trade, which is no coincidence. He is a solid backup SF, but thinks of himself as a starter. On this team, he will get minutes because of all the youth, but probably at multiple positions and can provide insurance against injury to Gallo, Chandler, or even Lee if he’s still around. If we can get a draft pick and a bum with an expiring contract for him in mid-season, I’d be happy.

  10. BigBlueAL

    Have you guys seen Berman’s latest blog??

    http://blogs.nypost.com/sports/knicks/archives/2009/07/bosh_laughs_at.html#more

    He actually is making a big deal about Bosh laughing at the question like he is laughing at the Knicks. It seems pretty clear he is laughing that the fan says a better gift than his autographed shoes would be him going to the Knicks in 2010. Ive always hated Berman but this is even more ridiculous than anything he has written in the past if that is even possible.

  11. Ted Nelson

    “I think David Lee’s shortcomings on defense are blown way out of proportion by lots of Knick fans.”

    Agreed. I disagree about his defense at the 5, though, where I think he’s well below average. At the 4 I think he’s passable at worse.

    “Harrington (and Duhon, and maybe even Hughes) — have trade value. There are probably teams who would send us a worse player with a similar contract, along with a draft pick.”

    I’m not sure that there is a worse player with a similar contract to Hughes… I agree about Harrington and Duhon, though.

    “If we can get a draft pick and a bum with an expiring contract for him in mid-season, I’d be happy.”

    Agreed.

  12. TDM

    Lee’s D is only as good as the help he gets from his teammates. He was surrounded by a bunch of matadors last season. On last seasons squad, Bowen would look like a turnstyle.

    I don’t think Lee will ever be confused with a defensive stopper, but he really can’t be judged by his first real season as a starter. That said, he should jump at 8M per.

    Pistons signed Wilcox. Tinsley waived by Pacers.

  13. rohank

    This is my first post on this blog. I’ve been a Knicks fan since ’97 (I only came to the states and learned about bball in ’95), and I will continue to be one forever. You guys do a wonderful job with this site – one of the best I’ve ever seen, especially the statistical analysis.

    I was wondering if any of you could answer this: I noticed that Tinsley was waived by the pacers, but specifically he was bought out of the last TWO years of his contract. How does this affect the Pacers’ cap? Wouldn’t this be a viable solution to Curry or Jeffries? Or is it that “cap hold” thing again?

    Update on Sessions: Aldridge says we’ve basically given up…. http://www.nba.com/2009/news/features/david_aldridge/07/22/aldridge.0722/index.html

  14. Brian Cronin

    The buy out does not affect the cap room, rohank, Tinsley stays on the Pacers’ cap for the two years, so it would not help the Knicks to buy out either Curry or Jeffries (this is why they never bought out Jerome James).

    Welcome to the blog comments, by the way!

  15. Brian Cronin

    A nice tidbit in Aldridge’s column – former Knick Chris Jent is now an assistant coach for the Cavs. Good for him.

  16. slovene knick

    Pardon my french first – writing from the other side of the pond and a bit beyond.
    However i could say i am a big knickfan and was very confused and sad when reading information regarding the knicks on post,DN,(dogeatdogworld i’d say), Times(ok they are at least balanced – but slow), espn( only for the consecrated)and then found your site – (love at first site) thank you for your analysis and thoughtful and niveau’d art comments.

    Keep up the good work – you make my daily knick escape a lot more reassuring.

    I ‘ll allow myself a wish – i love it when the garden rocks and it is the heart and passion that produce that – that’s what i want the future Knicks to be about – hustle, pride and a good fight, be it on Mike’d s offense or someonelses defense…..the things that history of the knicks is full of.In my mind the Knicks are the mirror of it’s great city.
    As for david – i wear his jaersy( got older ones from Houston, Starks) and i hope he’ll stay a knick and produces something more in the defense( judging on some live games i saw last year – his D was a pain in my heart) in the future.

    Readya

  17. TDM

    Rohank – the Pacers buy out of Tinsley looks like it was primarily done just to clear a roster spot.

  18. ess-dog

    It seems like the Nate news is directly related to the Sessions interest… or is DW just playing hardball with ‘Chubby’?
    I still would like to get sessions, but it looks like the Bucks want no part of our roster. If I was Sessions, I would be pleading to get a deal done. To be the starting point guard in NYC under D’Antoni? Take a back loaded deal! Even if he only gets a modest 4 year deal, he will be 27 by the time it ends and could then cash in on 4 years with D’Antoni (if he improves.)

  19. Frank O.

    Mike:

    I agreed with your assessment of Lee. I think being forced to guard center was a problem for him, but in D’Antoni’s offense it also created some offensive mismatches that favored Lee. Not a lot of centers in the league can guard Lee that easily either.
    I think TDM is right in saying the Knicks defense doesn’t help Lee very much. He at least provides help. He gets no help from the center when he is PF or from the PF when he is center. And our perimeter defense, while better than the year before, was porous at best.
    With a team that has so many holes, a 6’9 power forward isn’t going to dominate on defense. After all, basketball is a team game, and Lee isn’t a monster.

    As for Tinsley, I think Walsh has been holding back on the guards out there because he knew something was happening with Tinsley. He drafted the guy; Tinsely also is a New Yorker. And because of his dispute with the Pacers, and with few teams with money to give, not many teams will go after him. There is a good chance Tinsely will become a Knicks guard.

    I admire Walsh’s patience in all this. He’s not acting rashly. He’s not playing to make a big PR splash, ala Isiah, all sound and fury, but no substance.

    And the way things are shaping up, the Knicks may just keep Lee and Robinson.

    What I’m wondering is: what is the thing Walsh says he has up his sleeve that would create more cap space flexibility, and why haven’t new york sports reporters been hammering at that to learn what he meant?

  20. BK

    >>“I think David Lee’s shortcomings on defense are blown way out of proportion by lots of Knick fans.”<<

    If you overvalue rebounding, yes. Otherwise, his defense is atrocious at the 4 and 5. Even Jared Jeffries made up for being overmatched by the likes of Dwight Howard by batting away entry passes and stripping the ball if he could. Lee shows no such ability to creatively defend quicker or bigger forwards and centers, gets crossed up on help, and is terrible at defending pick and rolls — I still see Devin Harris blowing past Lee’s weak attempt at a hedge and driving into the lane for baskets over and over (to cite just one example).

    I have some hopes that the other guys we’ve acquired who can block some shots will make David’s life easier, but his reputation on defense is well-earned. As a refresher:

    http://www.knickerblogger.net/?p=1604

  21. Caleb

    Tinsley on a one-year deal for the minimum or something like it, is an interesting idea. It’s a low risk move on a guy who could be a decent starter. On the other hand, he’s a terrible shooter with a ton of baggage. I’m guessing it doesn’t happen.

  22. ess-dog

    Tinsley is in my opinion, a worse shooter than Sessions, and essentially had a year off of basketball. If you want to sign him to a one year deal and ease him into back up minutes for Duhon I guess you could make that move, but does that give you any extra wins next year or help you in the future? Why not just give those minutes to Toney Douglas? Do you think it’s possible that there is a team interested in Duhon but Walsh wants to shore up the pg position before making a move?
    When I think about the fact that Hughes is still slated to get major minutes, it ruins my day…

  23. Caleb

    I was surprised to see that Tinsley is 31 years old, but at least his absence wasn’t health related, like Marbury.

    He’s obviously not part of the future, so no way is it more than a one-year deal… and just idle speculation, seeing as how Walsh drafted him in the first place.

    IMO Tinsley is more likely than Douglass to be a competent NBA point guard in 2009-2010. But I don’t think he’s likely to be better than Duhon, so there’s no point in signing him unless you’re planning to move Duhon in which case he would be good veteran insurance.

  24. Frank O.

    I think he would be a more reliable back up than Douglas, and it would give Douglas a bit more time to develop. Tinsely is a decent defender and distributor. His shooting numbers are bad enough to give one pause, but on a team that can score, it’s nice to have a guy that can move the ball around and play some D.

    Anyone have a sense of his motor?

  25. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Tinsley is like Duhon, except with better passing, worse shooting, more turnovers, and 4 years older. Over his career he’s shot 30% from three, while attempting about 3 per game. Count me out. I’d rather give any potential minutes to Douglas.

  26. Frank O.

    From NBA.com:

    Multiple league sources said Wednesday that they believed the New York Knicks had abandoned their pursuit of Bucks restricted free agent guard Ramon Sessions, leaving the Clippers as the prime candidate for the 23-year-old.

  27. ess-dog

    Does anyone know anything about C.J. Watson? Would he be a good alternative to Sessions?

  28. Ted Nelson

    “Otherwise, his defense is atrocious at the 4 and 5.”

    This is just not true. I’ve spoken to scouts who like Lee’s D, and the Knicks were a better team defensively with him on the court the two seasons prior to this past one where he played out of position. That’s not saying too much, but he’s certainly not “atrocious” just because he doesn’t cause TOs. Devin Harris is one of the quicker guards in the league, not really a knock on Lee.
    He’s not a great defender, but I continue to maintain that he’s at least adequate at the 4.

    “Anyone have a sense of his motor?”

    He was constantly overweight in Indiana and was suspended for his attitude, so unless the suspension changed his attitude I don’t think he’s your prototypical hustle/glue guy.

    If the Knicks still had a huge hole at PG I’d go for Tinsley on a cheap enough deal. I agree with ess-dog and Mike, though, that there’s no sense in bringing in a mediocre veteran with attitude issues to compete with Douglas. The attitude issue is the big thing for me, because who knows what the guy’s going to do if he’s 3rd string and not sniffing the court.

    If Tinsley is willing to come in at 3rd on the depth chart and earn any minutes he gets then maybe he’s a good idea, otherwise a third string vet might be better.

  29. jon abbey

    assuming Nate is really coming back on a one year deal (exciting news if true), that should thankfully kill any talk about Tinsley. it’s a good rule of thumb that guys who get paid by their clubs to stay away from the team aren’t good additions.

  30. Caleb

    I don’t recall ever seeing Watson play but I just took a peek at his numbers and they are good — although he only has one decent season under his belt.

    Modest usage rate, but efficient, scoring 15 points per 40 with a 56.4 TS%, 40% from 3-point range and 87% on his FTs. He looks like more of a combo guard than a point, with only 4.4 assists per 40. On the other hand, he didn’t turn it over much — better than 2:1 A/TO ratio. He also had 1.3 steals per game in just 24 minutes.

    He’s 25 years old.

  31. Frank O.

    Well, all the intel gathering on Tinsley is making me back off. And what Abbey just wrote makes a lot of sense.
    You know, all this guard talk…I wonder if Walsh isn’t using this as leverage with Robinson.
    I mean, Robinson’s agent bringing in a Greek team for leverage seems pretty weak.

  32. Brian Cronin

    The Robinson move makes sense for the Knicks in that if they did choose to re-sign him, he’d be down for a smaller cap hold than he would be if he just signed the one year qualifying offer (where his cap hold would be almost $9 million).

  33. BigBlueAL

    John Thorpe after going to both Summer Leagues had his first Top 30 Rookies Report today on ESPN.com and he had Hill at #10 and Douglas at #20. Not too bad.

  34. chris.afroman

    I thought I heard CJ Watson had just signed with Orlando.
    And what’s with NY not going after Sessions anymore? I think he’s really good. He could start. I suppose that would mean they’d have to trade Duhon though. I get the feeling they want Toney Douglas as their backup PG.

  35. Frank

    “I don’t recall ever seeing Watson play but I just took a peek at his numbers and they are good — although he only has one decent season under his belt.

    Modest usage rate, but efficient, scoring 15 points per 40 with a 56.4 TS%, 40% from 3-point range and 87% on his FTs. He looks like more of a combo guard than a point, with only 4.4 assists per 40. On the other hand, he didn’t turn it over much — better than 2:1 A/TO ratio. He also had 1.3 steals per game in just 24 minutes.

    He’s 25 years old.”

    I actually know another combo guard who scored 23.7 points/40 with a 55% TS%, 5.5 assists/40 and a 2.2/1 A/TO ratio, and 1.3 steals in 29 minutes/game. And amazingly, Nate Robinson is also 25 years old and can probably be had for a 1 year qualifying offer!

    I think in the end our big PG move for the summer will be resigning Nate– otherwise, I can’t imagine we wouldn’t already have offered for Sessions or Miller. I would be perfectly happy with that — if you look at Nate, his TS% is above average, his assists/40 have gone up each year, his TO rate is very low, and he’s only getting more mature. I think Sessions is probably a good player but if we can get Nate for 3-4 years at 4 million per, I think he’d be a great value addition/retention.

  36. Frank

    One more thought – does anyone think maybe Donnie is dragging his feet on Nate and Lee so he can have more and more time to assess the economy? Many indications are that the economy is starting to turn around, which might mean the cap after this season might not be as badly hurt as Stern was saying. That obviously has huge implications for what kinds of players we can add.

    For example, if he can model out that the cap will be $58M that means a max contract would be 30% x 58M = 17.4M, leaving 40.6M left + whatever exceptions to sign the rest of the roster.

    We currently have (with cap holds) 28.7M in 2010 commitments, leaving ~13 million in 2010 contracts. If we can sign Lee and Nate for $12-13 million in 2010 then maybe we can keep everyone?

  37. Z-man

    Not too broken up about Sessions if we end up keeping Nate, but would have loved a Duhon-Sessions swap. I’d be surprised if Milwaukee or Sessions wouldn’t go for it, so it seems that Walsh or D’Antoni don’t want to do it. Maybe D’Antoni feels that he doesn’t want to have to break in another starting PG to start the season.

    Tinsley doesn’t excite me at all.

    My perception is that Lee was below avg on D at the 4 and lousy at 5, though not or lack of trying. That said, he has consistently responded to criticisms leveled against him during each off-season(FT shooting, mid-range J, etc.) Because of that I expect him to improve. He may never be much of a shot blocker because that’s more nature than nurture, but he can certainly improve his post and help D with hard work and good coaching. It might help that he finally has a couple of shot blockers playing along side him.

  38. cgreene

    Lee “frustrated” w Knicks according to Hahn. How about: you’re over pricing yourself, dude.??

    How about we stockpile as many young assets as possible and sign Sessions too so we are not overly reliant on superstar in 2010? Then we have Sessions, Gallo, Chandler, Hill, Lee and maybe Nate. That’s a nice young core. Get Lee and Sessions to backload/frontload deals so you can offer one max deal in 2010.

  39. Z-man

    More from ESPN:

    “Details remain scarce, but David Lee’s name is finally starting to come up again more often now that pretty much all the top unrestricted free agents apart from Odom and Andre Miller have been signed. With summer league ball behind us, the free-agent focus starts to shift to restricted free agents like Lee.

    The problem? Unless Portland uses its cap space to make him an offer, Lee will be relying on the Knicks to cooperate in a sign-and-trade arrangement. And it’s believed that New York is determined to retain Lee and Nate Robinson on one-year deals that preserve full Bird rights for both players without obligating the Knicks to slice into their projected salary-cap space for 2010 free agency.

    But one well-placed insider volunteered this tip when it comes to Lee’s situation: “Keep your eye on Chicago.”"

  40. Ray

    From what i’ve read the Sessions pursuit is not dead. To me he would be a fantastic addition here. 22 years old and great upside. Id make that deal in a heart beat. I’m a little frustrated by the lack of action by Donnie. I kind of see what hes trying to do in having the market determine the value for Lee and Nate but for heavens sake its almost August and we havent made any significant moves concerning our youth movement. Its not like we dont have the chips to get some sort of deal done ,we do. Expiring contracts, contributing players. We have those things but no deals yet. Donnie must be far more patient then we think he is but at this point in the summer id like to see something significant go down.

  41. nickatnight

    I think I’m more positive than the consensus on Duhon. I thought he was more than adequate in the first half of the season. I believe the reports that he was worn down and hurting the second half. So if Douglas can earn some minutes and we can keep Duhon to a reasonable number, we could get a full good season out him. Plus, he’s still relatively young. It’s not impossible he improves his game a bit more.

    I would also like to get Sessions. He’s even younger and could be really good if he develops an outside shot. Given his age, I don’t think that’s out of the question at all.

    If we get Tinsley, Walsh is going to be in my doghouse. I’m not even sure he was better than Duhon at his best. He hasn’t played in a year and is older. Plus, why the heck would we want another “suspect personality” on the team. I’m sick and tired of guys like that. I want to root for a team with no thugs, that produces no bad headlines, no sexual harassment cases, no interns in trucks, no arrests, etc… Who needs this bozo? We have a backup now and he’s obviously not a long term solution like Sessions would at least have a chance of becoming.

  42. jon abbey

    Chad Ford Twitters just now:

    “Sounds like Blazers inching closer to a deal. Nothing imminent, but team has 2 deals they like and believe 1 could happen soon …”

    “Rumors have everyone from David Lee to Andre Miller … but nothing confirmed yet and nothing tonight”

  43. ess-dog

    Okay, my neck is starting to hurt from this back and forth:

    “Sources tell WAOW in Wisconsin that the Knicks are ready to offer Ramon Sessions a five-year contract.

    With a first-season salary around $5.8 million, the Knicks would be using all or nearly all of their mid-level exception.

    The Bucks would have seven days to match the offer sheet or let Sessions join the Knicks.”

  44. Caleb

    I like Sessions but I’m neutral on signing him — he’s not that rare a talent and would take up $5 million of 2010 cap space.

    Frank, I don’t disagree with you on Nate – I will be happy to see him back. I do think that without even knowing anything about him, Watson is probably a better defender, if only because he’s not 5’7 and almost couldn’t be worse.

    I’ve wondered about Lee and Chicago — they really need a guy like him. I’ve been flogging a Lee for Noah swap for the past year but I don’t get the feeling the Bulls would give him up. They’d probably try to use Hinrich for Lee and someone else (like Nate), which we will refuse. They’ll try to swap Thomas, which is another bad deal… They might even offer Deng… but unless it’s Noah, I don’t think they have what we want.

    (p.s. as a base-year compensation player (once signed) Lee’s value in a trade is only half his actual salary — assuming he signed for $8-10 million, the Bulls would have to send back $4-5 million in salary — making it a money-saver for us.)

  45. Caleb

    Jonathan Givony twitters, “if the Knicks miss on both Sessions and Andre Miller they are going to go after Pablo Prigioni.” (some guy from Argentina)

  46. Ted Nelson

    “it’s a good rule of thumb that guys who get paid by their clubs to stay away from the team aren’t good additions.”

    LOL… Excellent point. Imagine if the Knicks sign both Tinsley AND Tim Thomas (also paid to stay away first time around with Bulls)…

  47. Ted Nelson

    Ray, After the Isiah tenure I’m inclined to say that sometimes the best move is no move at all. I have no idea what Donnie’s actually had on the table, but I’m not going to beat up on him for what he hasn’t done yet.

    “If we get Tinsley, Walsh is going to be in my doghouse.”

    I’m certainly not rooting for the signing, but given the low risk nature of it I’ll trust Donnie’s judgment since he’s actually worked with the guy. My gut is that he won’t do it, but if he does then he must have a really good feeling about it.

    “I like Sessions but I’m neutral on signing him — he’s not that rare a talent and would take up $5 million of 2010 cap space. ”

    Well put.

  48. ess-dog

    Okay, here’s my crazzzy 3-way trade proposal:

    NYK’s get: Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez, Jerome James, Bulls 2010 1st rounder

    Bulls get: Chris Duhon, David Lee

    Portland gets: Kirk Hinrich, Taj Gibson

  49. Ted Nelson

    “Jonathan Givony twitters, “if the Knicks miss on both Sessions and Andre Miller they are going to go after Pablo Prigioni.” (some guy from Argentina)”

    I don’t know his contract status, but Prigioni is one of the best PGs in Europe and has always played very well for Argentina’s (very good) national team. He’s over 30 and has very little chance to standing out in the NBA. A smart pass-first playmaker and solid defender. Basically a non-scorer, but very efficient with the shots he takes. Very good passer. Not much of a penetrator. With Duhon, Nate, and Douglas already fighting for minutes he could make a solid contribution in limited minutes.

  50. Caleb

    ess-dog, that’s at least worth a thought – especially if Outlaw is an expiring deal (is he?)

  51. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    Interesting proposal. Some potential problems are: 1) Jerome James cannot be traded back to the Knicks for a certain time period (one year???), 2) Taj Gibson may not be allowed to be traded for a certain period after signing (if he’s signed at this point), and 3) the Bulls may not be anxious to get Duhon back or at least weary of whether he’ll be upset and let it show in his play.
    I’m not even sure if the first two apply in this case, but alternative players could probably be subbed in. #3 is purely hypothetical, I don’t know what either side (Duhon/Bulls) feels about the other at this point.

    It could make some sense for each team, but it really depends on the direction they’re going and the value they assign to each player (which I guess all trades do).

    For example:
    -Bulls might actually rather include Ty Thomas than Gibson + 1st (I would probably prefer it your way personally were I the Bulls, and they might be able to find a better deal for Thomas).
    -I don’t know that Portland would trade Fernandez for Hinrich, especially while also giving up Outlaw for an unproven guy who climbed the draft board due to a lack of size in the draft. Maybe I should say that I don’t know if I would do it… no idea about Portland.
    -It’s obviously a long-term play for the Knicks, don’t know if that’s Walshtoni’s plan. They could turn around and trade Outlaw or Chandler, since there’s some overlap between the two.

    Very creative scenario, though.

  52. Z

    Great news!

    The Knicks CAN reacquire Jerome James!!

    The rule is teams can’t reacquire a player during the same season. As of July 1st, Jerome James was officially available to return to his customary role of eating junk food at the end of the bench.

    The real question is how the Bulls bought out Tim Thomas and Anthony Roberson, but Jerome James lives on on their roster. Was James the targeted player in the Larry Hughes deal?? Are they hoping he mans the center on their playoff team next year?

  53. Mike Kurylo Post author

    “Are they hoping he mans the center on their playoff team next year?”

    We all know Jerome James saves his best for the playoffs.

  54. nickatnight

    I see Tinsley as such an obviously bad move at any price, I would no longer trust Walsh’s judgement. He’s simply not that good AND he has baggage. The only way I would even consider it was if Nate was gone, I was convinced that Douglas couldn’t give me some quality minutes yet, and no one else on the planet was available for a rental as a backup.

    I’m not sure how much Sessions is worth, but if Duhon was worth the mid level, Sessions is worth a similar amount. Of course you could argue that we overpaid for Duhon. ;-)

    They are different players. Sessions has no 3 point shot and is not as efficient a scorer, but he scores more, gets into the paint, rebounds a little better, steals a little more.

    IMO, the only thing standing between him an being an upper tier PG is an adequate outside shot and 3 pointer. At 23, I would like to get this kid because the shot is sometimes the last thing to come. I’ll leave the exact amount a money he’s worth to the experts (you guys).

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=duhonch01&y1=2009&p2=sessira01&y2=2009

  55. ess-dog

    ““Are they hoping he mans the center on their playoff team next year?”

    We all know Jerome James saves his best for the playoffs.”

    AND CONTRACT YEARS!

  56. jagermeister

    Tinsley on a one-year deal is not a sexy option, but if it preserves Duhon’s durability for the year by providing a competent backup, it’s not as negative as some are making it sound. Jason Williams could be another short-term option to spell Duhon now that he’s coming back onto the market, according to ESPN:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4351672

    I’d still prefer Sessions as the primary target. He gives us something to build on and has enough upside to warrant some enthusiasm among Knicks fans. Prigioni, if described accurately by Ted Nelson, seems like an older version of Sessions and is probably only more attractive because obtaining him will be less difficult than working out an offer sheet or S&T for an RFA.

  57. Ted Nelson

    nickatnight,

    I’m not hoping the Knicks sign Tinsley, but as far as 3rd string PGs at the vet’s minimum go they could do worse.

    jagermeister,

    All things equal, I would prefer Sessions to Prigioni. If Prigioni would except a one year deal, then I’d give him a look. He’s probably got fairly lucrative multi-year offers in Europe, so I don’t know if he comes all the way to the States for a one-year deal. It’s his last shot at the NBA if that’s a goal of his at all, though, and one year means he’s not locked in if he ends up being a 3rd string NBA guard. If they don’t get Sessions or Miller, then I guess it makes sense to overpay someone like Prigioni for one season.

    As far as their actual games: Prigioni took almost 3 times as many 3 pters as 2 pters last season in the Euroleague (not uncommon in Europe), and hit 43% of those 3s (closer 3 than NBA). I’m also not so sure about Sessions’ defense. I would really compare Prigioni to Duhon more than to Sessions.

  58. Frank

    “Jason Williams could be another short-term option to spell Duhon now that he’s coming back onto the market, according to ESPN:

    I would MUCH rather have Jason Williams than Tinsley, and if he comes cheap, which he probably will (ie. 2-3 million/year) I’d rather have him than Sessions, who will probably cost 2.5x that for 5 years. I know he’s not much of a defender and probably has lost a step, but guys with a career nearly 3:1 A/TO ratio, can hit the 3, and shoot 85% from the line don’t just grow on trees, especially for cheap.

  59. Frank

    “Jason Williams could be another short-term option to spell Duhon now that he’s coming back onto the market, according to ESPN:

    I would MUCH rather have Jason Williams than Tinsley, and if he comes cheap, which he probably will (ie. 2-3 million/year) I’d rather have him than Sessions, who will probably cost 2.5x that for 5 years. I know he’s not much of a defender and probably has lost a step, but guys with a career nearly 3:1 A/TO ratio, can hit the 3, and shoot 85% from the line don’t just grow on trees, especially for cheap.

  60. Frank O.

    yep.
    From Philly Inquirer:

    Andre Miller’s agent says that the guard will be a member of the Trail Blazers within 24 hours.

    Andy Miller says that the two sides are “finalizing” the deal, which one source described as an improvement over the offer the 76ers made to keep Miller.

    Philadelphia had offered the point guard a one-year deal worth roughly $6 million.

  61. Frank O.

    From the Sun Sentinel:

    The Heat are looking for a point guard and a pair of veteran options are expected to hit the free-agent market next week.

    Jamaal Tinsley and Jason Williams, veteran point guards that have started for past teams, are expected to clear waivers within seven days.

    Tinsley reached a buy out with the Pacers on Wednesday after more than a year of exile, while the Clippers set Williams free on Thursday as he pursues a comeback to the NBA.

    Unlike Allen Iverson, Miami’s other option at the position, Tinsley and Williams will likely be willing to agree to a lesser role in the team’s offense.

  62. Frank O.

    From Alan Hahn’s twitter:

    Miller gets $7M per from POR, which means 2 things: 1. The Knix are down to Sessions, Tinsley or Duhon; 2. David Lee is down to S&Ts.

  63. Brian Cronin

    Lee isn’t really down to just sign and trades.

    The option still exists for him to take a one-year, $7 million dollar contract and then go to unrestricted free agency next year.

    It’s less of a financial risk for him than taking the qualifying offer and it is a smaller cap hold for the Knicks.

    At this point, I think that is a very possible resolution to this mess (with Robinson doing a similar move, only for less money).

    It’s bad for the Knicks, because it likely means no more David Lee after this upcoming season, but it is better than no David Lee at all.

  64. cgreene

    Brian, giving Lee $7M for one year would be a terrible deal for the Knicks. It just about says you are giving up your best player for nothing after one more year because we all know he won’t come back because he is “frustrated” with them. S&T is a much better option. We MUST get assets in return if we lose Lee.

  65. Z

    “At this point, I think that is a very possible resolution to this mess”

    What exactly is the “mess”. Lee’s agent said his client was worth $10-12 mil a year. Walsh said to go out and find that money in the open market. His agent tried and failed.

    Lee can be frustrated that the economy stinks, and that guys he thinks he’s better than are getting offers while he’s not, but it’s the fault of the system, not the fault of the Knicks.

  66. Frank O.

    Boy, it would be nice to have a tough defender on the perimeter

    According to San Antonio paper:

    The Bucks are shopping Bruce Bowen, according to a number of leagues sources.

    Milwaukee acquired Bowen in the trade that sent Richard Jefferson to San Antonio last month.

    Bowen could be an attractive option for some teams because his contract is only partially guaranteed.

  67. jon abbey

    “It just about says you are giving up your best player for nothing after one more year because we all know he won’t come back because he is “frustrated” with them.”

    this is far from a certainty, FWIW. remember how pissed Varejao was the year before last? he sat out half a season because Cleveland wouldn’t give him what he thought he was worth, then he signed a deal for a year and a half and said he’d leave after that. well, that year and a half is now up and he just resigned with the Cavs.

  68. nickatnight

    I’m not sure what to think of the Lee situation other than I want him back next year and think it would be a terrible idea to overpay him. We can debate what’s he’s actually worth. But IMO he’s only slightly better than Milsap and not as good as Odom. So I think 8.5M plus or minus a little is probably about right.

    Who is taking a bigger risk if he signs for one year?

    The Knicks could lose him for nothing, but Lee could have a disappointing year or even get hurt.

    If they sign him for one year they can still trade him later this year can’t they?

    If he really thinks he’s worth 10m-12m we have a problem. It’s hard to negotiate with delusional people.

    Anyway, what ever happened to the NY discount?

  69. bselig

    “For Knick fans that envision David Lee as a borderline All Star (including his agent), this has to be a disappointing list of comparable players.”

    The players on the list in the original post are not comparable players; each of them simply had a somewhat comparable season.

    It might make more sense to compare Lee’s first four years in the league to the first few years played by other players. Win Share is a solid, pretty all-encompassing stat to compare the players with.

    Player – Minutes(Years) – WS

    David Lee – 8040(4) – 26.4
    J Whitehead – 7967(7) – 13.1
    C Wilcox – 8678(6) – 18.6
    L Vaught – 6636(4) – 16.5
    AC Green – 8928(4) – 28.2
    M Cage – 8758(4) – 19.1
    T Hill – 8992(5) – 23.8
    T Owens – stats not available
    B Daugherty – 8473(3) – 21.9
    K Carr – 8261(5) – 13.7
    C Natt – 7567(3) – 20.6

    So if you look at each player’s performance in his first few years, it’s clear that few of these players were close to as good as Lee early in their careers. In fact, Jerome Whitehead and Kenny Carr produced roughly half as many wins as Lee at the start of their careers. The only guy on the list who is pretty close to Lee is A.C. Green.

    How about comparing him to some better power forwards? I killed a couple of hours and went through the top 250 players (by career Win Shares) and collected the same numbers for the power forwards as for the guys in the above list. Here are, in rough order, the top 20 by WS/minute early in their careers:

    Player – Minutes(Years) – WS

    Tim Duncan – 8042(3) – 33.9
    Cedric Maxwell – 6926(3) – 28.1
    Bobby Jones – 7970(3) – 32.4
    Charles Barkley – 8039(3) – 29.7
    Brad Miller – 7397(5) – 27.3
    Amare Stoudemire – 7534(4) – 26.2
    Kevin McHale – 8889(4) – 30.2
    Dirk Nowitzki – 7021(3) – 23.9
    Dennis Rodman – 7887(4) – 26.3
    DAVID LEE – 8040(4) – 26.4
    Terry Cummings – 8160(3) – 26.4
    Buck Williams – 8789(3) – 28.3
    A.C. Green – 8928(4) – 28.2
    Larry Nance – 6999(3) – 22.5
    Swen Nater – 8838(4) – 27.9
    Mehmet Okur – 8195(4) – 25.2
    Chris Webber – 7879(4) – 23.7
    Elton Brand – 8926(3) – 26.7
    Shawn Kemp – 7952(4) – 23.7
    Pau Gasol – 8440(3) – 24.5
    Alvan Adams – 9212(4) – 26.4
    Larry Johnson – 8127(3) – 23.4

    This isn’t a list of average-to-above-average role player power forwards. These guys range from All Stars to Hall of Famers.

  70. Z

    “Please do me a favor and don’t show that list to Lee’s agent.”

    Unless it convinces him that Lee is the next Swen Nater!

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=leeda02&y1=2009&p2=natersw01&y2=1977

    and this from Wikipedia:

    “[Nater] built the basketball program Christian Heritage College in San Diego, California and coached from 1985 to 1995.[5] He left the position because it “was high on work and low on pay” for employment at Costco. As of 2008 he still works there.”

    That could be you David if you don’t take the 5 year deal from Donnie!

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