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Saturday, August 23, 2014

2010 Game Thread: Bulls vs Knicks

You know the deal.

Here’s Thomas B.’s preview of the game:

New York (10-17) hosts Chicago (10-16).

New York is coming off a very nice win against the Bobcats–I don’t care what CNNSI says, that game is final. The Bulls meanwhile just blew the second largest lead in NBA history in a home loss to the Kings. I know many of the posters here were high on Rubio, but I’m starting to think Tyreke Evans could be the best player in the 2009 draft. But we wont know for sure until (if) Rubiocomes across the pond.

Knick Offense
Pace Eff eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 94.6 106 50.7 15.3 22.8 19.8
Rank 7 18 10 9 29 27
Knick Defense
Pace Eff eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 94.6 109 51.5 17 27 24.2
Rank 7 24 25 7 14 21
Bulls Offense
Pace Eff eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 91.7 98.7 44.8 16.3 29.1 20.5
Rank 22 28 29 20 7 26
Bulls Defense
Eff eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
Stat 91.7 106.6 49 14.9 27.6 20.6
Rank 22 17 13.5 22 21 7

The Bulls won the last meeting 98-89 in a game the Knicks really should have won. You can point to the Knicks’ cold shooting in the 2nd and 4th quarters for that loss. Hopefully, the Knicks have realized that the Bulls trouble scoring, and that even a modest defensive effort should complicate the execution of the Bulls offense. To that end, I am naming Jared Jeffries as the key to victory–seriously. Yes, I am aware he was a -9 in the last meeting. Gallanari was a -22 so there.

The Bulls attempt to run a…hmmm, you know what, I’m not sure what kind of offense they run. This guy tries to explain it–have fun with that. I do know that they try to run it through Rose by spacing the floor and giving Rose options. The problem is this: What are Rose’s options? Not much. They have no solid post presence–both Thomas and Miller prefer to face the basket. Noah is not what you would call a force down low. The Bulls don’t have many outside scoring options either. Other than Deng, no one on this team can shoot from deep. This is where they really miss Ben Gordon. Last year they at least had Gordon as pressure relief if nothing else was there on offense. Frankly, a guy like Nate Robinson would be just what they need. Anyway, back to why Jared is the key to this game.

What to watch for 1: Pressure on Rose

Rose is still trying to figure out Del Negro’s offensive schemes–so is Vinny (rimshot). The best way to make that more difficult for him is to keep pressure on him and force him into poor decisions. I think JJ, and to a lesser extent Toney Douglas, is perfectly suited for that task. The Knicks really failed to pressure Rose and take away his best options of offense–Deng and Salmons. So, pressure Rose and focus the defensive effort on Deng and Salmons.

What to watch for 2: You know, the rules allow you to take close shots too

Next, the Knicks have to reduce the number of three point field goals attempted–they took 47 against the Bulls in the last meeting. I understand the Knicks can be tempted to shoot their way out of trouble but more often than not they shoot their way out of games. The Knicks should be getting to the basket since the Bulls best shot blockers–Noah and Gibson–are foul prone. Take advantage of that and get to the line.

Injury report: Tyrus Thomas (fore arm) returned to full contact drills this week (out). Kirk Hinrich (ankle) is likely to play. Deng (fractured thumb) is day to day but expected to play. Salmons (black Chia Pet lodged in chin) is likely to play and scare small children. Larry Hughes (groin) missed the last two games, reports are that he will dress for tonight’s game.

258 comments on “2010 Game Thread: Bulls vs Knicks

  1. SeeWhyDee77

    lol thanx Mike! We needed something to get us off that Nate/D’Antoni tailspin. Hopefully Hughes can give it a go tonight.

  2. Thomas B.

    Brian,

    Would you mind doing the honors? I’m just on my my out the door. Thanks. If I could be consistent with getting the game previews done this would not be an issue. Oh well. Go New York, Go New York, GO!!

  3. Brian Cronin

    Boy, I wonder what will win for the best Bulls/Knicks Garden memory.

    Will it be Michael Jordan dunking on Ewing? Will it be Jordan’s double nickel against the Knicks?

    Or, just maaaybe it will be one of the other two choices which involve the Knicks beating the Bulls.

    What a weird poll by MSG.

  4. Brian Cronin

    Apropos of nothing, Van Gundy sure did wonders on the defensive end. In 2000-01, the Knicks just barely missed out on having the best defensive efficiency in the NBA (they were at 98.2, the Suns and Spurs tied for first with 98.0) with a lineup that included Allan Houston and Glen Rice being two of the top three players, minutes-wise.

  5. Brian Cronin

    This is one heck of an opening few minutes.

    A beautiful block by Gallo, two beautiful shots by Gallo, a great drive by Chandler…good stuff.

  6. tastycakes

    I’m trying not to get too excited about Gallo (you know, keep my expectations in check), but when he has a stretch like this, it’s hard not to dream big. Defending, driving, rising for the trey! I love it!

  7. ess-dog

    Man I really like Bender. He’s like a Jeffries with hands. The dude really deserves to play!

    On another note, OKC snagged Eric Maynor for a musty old euro draft pick? Why couldn’t we get in on that?

  8. tastycakes

    Yes, but they are a team in the midst of collapse. Important game for the Knicks to win — must show that they can kick a team while it’s down. If we embarass them tonight, Del Negro is not long for his job.

  9. tastycakes

    I mean, good lord, who is supposed to score for the Bulls? Noah is involved in way too many offensive plays.

  10. Brian Cronin

    The Bulls should try to sign Wally World.

    They need someone who can regularly hit an outside shot.

  11. SeeWhyDee77

    On the topic of Maynor(who I also believed the Knicks shoulda drafted while trading down to pick up extra assets..), since OKC waived Livingston-shouldn’t we give him a looksee?

  12. Brian Cronin

    Gotta love Harrington. The announcer says, “Duhon pulls the ball back, he says to slow things down.” He then passes to Harrington who instantly shoots a brick.

  13. Brian Cronin

    The Knicks have scored only 8 points so far in the third, yet the Bulls have only managed to trim 7 points off of their lead. That’s pretty hilarious.

  14. J Weezy

    i told my friend that if i were donnie walsh i’d give him 42 million over five years…tell me thats not fair for D.Lee

  15. tastycakes

    It’s funny, D Lee has been our most consistent player for so long, his ‘down’ periods seem less dramatic than other players. But he wasn’t quite himself the first few weeks of the season. Lately, he has been superb.

  16. rohank

    yeah ditto to eric’s comment.

    Gallo looks great – 3 blocks!?? that’s awesome. When was the last time the knicks had a shotblocker? Camby?

  17. tastycakes

    8M per year is perfectly fair market value for David. He’ll be looking for more, though, and will be unrestricted. Somebody might offer him more than the Knicks are willing to. Meanwhile, the Knicks are gonna put the full court press on LBJ and others. Lee and Gallo are really the only 2 guys I want to see back next year.

  18. BigBlueAL

    I know Rose is a beast, but man any decent PG just lights up the Knicks (see Felton, Jarret Jack last season).

  19. Brian Cronin

    David Lee will get at least one team offering him $10 million per.

    I mean, come on, Aldridge is making $11 million and that was not even on the open market! Ben Gordon just got $11 million on the open market!

  20. ess-dog

    Man any halfway decent team would’ve buried us this half.
    This would be a great time for some Pretty Toney, no?

  21. Thomas B.

    JJ has been the key to the game. Didnt some smart and very good looking contributor to this site say something like that in a preview of something? Maybe I imagined that.

  22. Travis Knight Rider

    Sometimes I wish Jeffries would challenge shots instead of trying to draw the charge every time.

  23. tastycakes

    Keep shooting, Gallo! (Seriously, you guys think he can’t suddenly hit a couple? I’d rather have him shoot an open 3 than watch Fraggle Harrington drive into 4 defenders and throw up a prayer)

  24. Brian Cronin

    Keep shooting, Gallo! (Seriously, you guys think he can’t suddenly hit a couple? I’d rather have him shoot an open 3 than watch Fraggle Harrington drive into 4 defenders and throw up a prayer)

    Oh, I have no problem with him shooting. I’m just saying he’s killing them with all the misses.

  25. Brian Cronin

    It’s really remarkable that they seriously thought that the best way to stop this run was to take ugly jumpers.

  26. Thomas B.

    I’m sorry, let me clarify…what I said about driving:

    Why wont someone who can FINISH drive to the basket?!

  27. Brian Cronin

    By the by, whoever noted that Jeffries really has to stop trying to draw charges on, like, every play, was spot on.

  28. tastycakes

    Mike Breen, I don’t think it’s “ironic” that the Bulls are trying to comeback the night after a historical collapse. I do, however, find it pathetic that this Knicks team can’t dominate a teetering, offensively challenged team like the Bulls for more than 2 quarters.

  29. Kikuchiyo

    I don’t have this one on tv tonight, but what is with the scoring? 29 points in the second half? Yikes. That must be awful to see.

  30. David Crockett

    Tastycakes:

    You know Mike Breen is Captain Irony. Everything is ironic with that guy. (Gus Johnson is General Irony.)

  31. tastycakes

    If I win FTs in my fantasy league this week ’cause of 2 from Gallo here, I’ll be pretty psyched!

  32. Knicks671

    I think the knicks just like to be dramatic with their games. Win by 4, win by 5. Why can’t they just win by double digits every now and then?

  33. ess-dog

    Who do you think was the key to this game?

    Here’s a stat for you statheads: Games where Jonathan Bender plays for the Knicks – 3 and 0.

    That’s one correlation that produces one damn sweet motherhumpin’ causation, baby!

  34. Brian Cronin

    I just rewound – I’m pretty sure David Lee actually botched his celebration after the basket. You know how they do that thing where they jump up and sort of bounce off of each other? Well, Lee did that after the shot, but missed the guy he was trying to bump with.

    In addition, why do the Knicks play “Hey Baby” for important possessions at the end of the game?!? That doesn’t make any sort of sense!!

  35. rama

    It says something about Lee that no one reacted with surprise to the 21 boards. It was a career high…but somehow didn’t seem all that unusual.

  36. KnickFan4Life

    Well it was ugly, pretty much all the 2nd half was ugly, but you gotta like they still got the win. The better teams in the league still win when they gotta dig in and win ugly. Earlier in the year we lose this game easy. Refs were bad. A few possibly costly non-calls. I was nervous as heck watching this and I thought D’Antoni’s extra short ro was going to cost him again like it did in Chicago, but the karma went Knicks way this time thankfully.

  37. KnickFan4Life

    I also like that Gallo still contributed a lot even though he had a horrible offensive game. Good sign. This kid just keeps impressing me more and more. Keep it up Rooster!

  38. totti

    They played well even in the third, the thing was shots did not want to go in. Then in the fourth we saw again the old good knicks. It seems that every time vs chicago we miss Nate offense later on.
    But a win is a win!

  39. Ted Nelson

    The wins keep on coming.

    Jazz give up on Eric Maynor already? A financial move for them, but was a shock to me.

  40. Z-man

    Another resilient performance down the stretch. Seemed like Rose had 50 points, he was a thing of beauty in the second half. The missed Jeffries FTs were gut-wrenching; I was actually hoping the Bulls were not in the penalty before he took them.

    The Lee-Noah duel was fun to watch.

    In other games…
    Pryzbylla wend down hard, looked real bad. Poor Blazers, do they need a center? Curry? Darko? Jeffries? Hill? Anyone?

    Zach Randolph has been an absolute monster in his last 3 games.

  41. daJudge

    It’s a win. I’m really psyched. Awesome first half. Too bad Coach didn’t use some of his bench at opportune moments. It might have helped. Maybe someone could have generated some so called “instant offense”. Maybe someone other then JJ could have played a little D when they were up big. Maybe they could have won as a total team. I guess the Knicks didn’t need that boost. Of course, they’re really deep at guard and center. The dog house is made of steel and is a locked vault. I don’t mean to be sarcastic or negative, but I do not want this coach leading the team when they sign premier free agent(s) next year. I do not believe in his system nor do I find him creative, adaptive or particularly credible. I also believe that leaders find a way to maximize talent and deal with and quell distractions, rather than create them. Sorry to be a little negative, but that’s how I see it; and, please, don’t say I am a troll after watching this team for 44 years.

  42. totti

    I like Mike but i agree with you. he should have used his bench on the second half. Defense sucks energies.

    For sure Mike is adaptive, the offense is now run at a much slower pace and they defend hard.

    for sure is credible around the league.

  43. Owen

    “What happened to irvin, did Mike finally dust off the hook?”

    lol…

    Couldn’t get it on tv, another very nice win, watched it through the box score which was an interesting experience…

    Watching the Thunder right now play the Lakers. Hard to believe how athletic that OKC team is, every guy on that team is a blur…

  44. d-mar

    Gotta keep piling up those home wins fellas! What a difference a month makes, in November around this time we were getting manhandled by the Kings, were 3-12 and all we could talk about was how much it sucked that the Jazz were gonna get the #1 or 2 pick in the 2010 draft.

    I have to give tremendous props to Lee, he’s playing the best ball of his career, and it is not outrageous at all to call him an All-Star candidate. And 3 blocks by Gallo, I’m almost more impressed by that than if he had made a bunch of 3′s. Keep it going Knicks, give us a little extra Xmas present by beating up on the Heat!

  45. jon abbey

    whew, I did not think that was going to end well. not only do we hold on against the hated Bulls (for once!), but we pass them in the standings, at least temporarily. I don’t know why Rose doesn’t play all the time like he did in the second half tonight, you’d really think Del Negro is near the end.

    here’s a stat for you: Chicago got outscored 113-52 over a consecutive 48 minute stretch spanning two games, and still had a shot to win both games.

    Jeffries was guarding everyone tonight from Rose to Noah to Deng, he’s all over the place. he’s actually an asset at this point to attract LeBron, he could definitely be a rotation guy next to him. what were the odds on that happening this summer, like 1000-1?

  46. BigBlueAL

    I still would rather trade him and get the extra cap space, although obviously I would rather trade Curry and keep Jeffries but good luck with that (although Portland now has lost BOTH of its centers for the season, hmmmmm).

  47. greatscott

    greatscott says:
    December 17, 2009 at 10:21 pm
    At least they had a lead. They were leading by 17. That is a good sign. Here’s my prediction. The Knicks will take a three game win streak into the game on Christmas. They will beat the Clippers, Charlotte and get revenge with Chicago. Then the Knicks will win on Christmas to complete another 4 game win streak. And Knicks with Coach D will once again be one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

    ——-

    My prediction is coming true….the hottest team in the NBA, the NY Knicks!

  48. daJudge

    Big Blue Al: What would cap space look like if we resigned Lee at 9-10 million and kept JJ? I really like the way JJ is playing and there are not many players who change the game on D. He plays his role and that role may really fit with a high scoring free agent.

  49. Frank O.

    From the NY Times:

    The Knicks held their eighth consecutive opponent below 100 points. They last held that many opponents below 100 during a nine-game stretch in November 2005.

  50. taggart4800

    I beleive someone was pondering trades for the Knicks and Robinson in an earlier post. This would solve a few tempestuous problems for all the teams involved. Although the fine points of the trade i may have wrong.

    Knicks Receive:

    Tracy McGrady (Not that they want or need him but his 22mill at the end of the season will indeed be valuable)

    Portland Receive:

    Milicic and Robinson (This provides them with a years rental at centre whilst they wait for oden and the guys name i can’t spell Przybilla…? plus scoring from Nate, whom they can let go at the end of the season also)

    Houston Receives:

    Eddy Curry (They do not have a clear cut centre)
    Andre Miller (Veteran PG… Best i could do!)
    Rudy Fernandez (Quality at the 2 spot and another solid scoring option)
    Martell Webster (Further Depth and the change of location may ease his scoring woes of late)

    Likely hood of such a complicated trade being excecuted are somewhat slim. However i do beleive if Houston are going to try and get something for TMac rather than let him walk at the end of the year, there aren’t many better options.
    With regards to Portland, i may be mistaken, but i remember hearing that they were trying to ship Miller as he was causing problems…
    and although Milicic is no offensive powerhouse he is a good interior defender and primarily a centre. Nate speaks for himself and would be returning to the west coast and therefore perhaps less reluctant to move there. Furthermore, and this is completely out of thin air, he may increase ticket sales by returning to his native area… but thats probably not going to be in pritchards thinking. He is however only 4 mill and combined both he and milicic free up 11 mill in cap space next year. adding a rudy gay level player to an already solid roster could make them big players in the west.

  51. taggart4800

    sorry just checked the trade machine and to avoid Houston having to cut anybody i beleive the knicks would have to take one of their lesser contracts. Budinger for example.

  52. Frank O.

    From the NY Post:
    As the lead shrunk and the offense couldn’t buy a bucket (35 second-half points), D’Antoni never looked Robinson’s way for instant offense.

    “I don’t know how you can do it,” D’Antoni said. “He hasn’t played in [10] games. That’s why you have your rotation. You’re either in or out. You might as well flip a coin. OK, maybe he can [make shots], but our defense wasn’t going to be as good. I was going with the odds.”

  53. KnickFan4Life

    “daJudge says:
    December 22, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    It’s a win. I’m really psyched. Awesome first half. Too bad Coach didn’t use some of his bench at opportune moments. It might have helped. Maybe someone could have generated some so called “instant offense”. Maybe someone other then JJ could have played a little D when they were up big. Maybe they could have won as a total team. I guess the Knicks didn’t need that boost. Of course, they’re really deep at guard and center. The dog house is made of steel and is a locked vault. I don’t mean to be sarcastic or negative, but I do not want this coach leading the team when they sign premier free agent(s) next year. I do not believe in his system nor do I find him creative, adaptive or particularly credible. I also believe that leaders find a way to maximize talent and deal with and quell distractions, rather than create them. Sorry to be a little negative, but that’s how I see it; and, please, don’t say I am a troll after watching this team for 44 years.”

    ——————————————–
    Remember this D’Antoni’s second year with that unmentioned player. He knows what he has in him. He tried, it didn’t work, he has gone with something that is working well. Sometimes as fans we get attached to players and we forget the NBA is a business and guys sometimes need to move on and change teams. I think at this juncture, it’s best for both parties to part ways…

  54. Frank

    Great win over a bad team, but this is the type of game we would have lost last month. I’ve said lots about the Nate situation but at the end of the day it is very difficult to argue with the results — whether or not we are better BECAUSE Nate is out hardly matters – 9-3 is a great stretch for any NBA team against anyone regardless of the competition. Sucks for Nate but that’s the way it goes I guess.

    Meanwhile – love how Gallo is filling up the box score even when his shot isn’t falling. He looks great out there.

  55. jon abbey

    I’m kind of bummed Owen missed that game, that was one of Lee’s top few games ever. he looked unusually motivated going against his old college teammate Noah, his jumper was a thing of beauty.

  56. Ted Nelson

    I do agree to some extent with D’Antoni about not yanking guys in and out of the rotation. It can be more frustrating to get a few minutes here and there–either feeling like you’re showing enough to be in the rotation but not being or feeling like little 2 minute runs after not playing in several games are not a fair way to show anything–than to know you are not in the rotation.

    That said, I still think Nate could help him. If Nate does in fact have a chance to earn his way back into the rotation, last night was as good a time as any to give him some rope and either let him pull the team out of the abyss that was the 2nd half of that game or let him hang himself. Even if Nate does not play within the system, D’Antoni should be flexible enough to use Nate in an Eddie House role and get the most out of him. No one plays outside the system more than Eddie House and House plays zero D, but a lot of coaches–including D’Antoni himself–have used him. House played 17.5 mpg for 81 games on a 54 win team for D’Antoni.

    The defense comment frustrates me to no end… the Bulls were killing their defense in the 2nd half. How much would Robinson have hurt? Rose had a TS% of 72% in the 2nd half… their PG defense killed them. The Knicks offense, on the other hand, was atrocious. Nate definitely could have had a net positive impact on that game.

    At the very least, D’Antoni could have looked to Douglas. Someone with one foot in the rotation who plays good defense. This is where the dogmatic adherence to his coaching strategy–be it 7SOL or now the short rotation–is just ANNOYING.

    “He knows what he has in him. He tried, it didn’t work”

    Yeah, he was possibly the best player on the team last season… didn’t work at all.

  57. Ted Nelson

    The reason you trade Jeffries for an expiring contract should the opportunity arise is to get TWO max FAs, preferably LeBron and Wade. “Come play in NY with Jared Jeffries!” or Come play in NY with LeBron/Wade!” Which is more attractive to Wade/LeBron? Uniting those two (plus Gallo, Douglas, etc.) makes you an instant favorite, and uniting LeBron/Wade with a Bosh type makes you an instant contender.

    By my back of the napkin calculations, the Knicks will have anywhere from 32-37 mill in cap space on a cap from 50-55 mill if they trade Jeffries. LeBron and Wade are both eligible for to make 30% of the cap with 7 years in the league (http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q11). Assuming the 50-55 mill range for the cap, the Knicks need 15-16.5 *2 or 30-33 mill in cap space to sign both.

    I will invoke the 1% doctrine for low probability occurrences with huge impacts (positive impacts in this case, not negative) and say that if there is even a 1% chance of bringing a LeBron-Wade tag-team you do what you can to make it happen. Especially because their salaries will apparently be paid by Jesus and Jay-Z, respectively (see Empire State of Mind).

    Or, at least spend the $7 mill Jeffries is due on Lee (probably plus somewhere between 1-3 mill). Good defensive players with zero scoring ability are undervalued and relatively cheap to acquire, so getting another Jeffries is relatively easy compared to a bigtime scorer/rebounder like Lee.

  58. KnickFan4Life

    Ted he was the best player in a very forgettable season, and under a system D’Antoni has totally scrapped.

  59. StevenU

    Frank you are right on; I was really happy and impressed that Gallo helped them get a win even while his shot was really off. The more I see him the more I see he has a very high basketball IQ. He was well aware the shot wasn’t falling and unlike Harrington, or Chandler do in similar situations he ADAPTED. He set up teammates (great clutch bounce pass assist to Lee, and in general always looking for the open man-such a pleasure to watch), gave extra effort on the boards and on defense, he drove to the hoop and got to the line. LOVE it. he was robbed of a BS on Salmons’ drive; I think the refs are not (yet!) aware that he IS a shot blocker; they assume he must foul to get the block but he is lanky and rangy and a better defender than anyone realized.
    A W is a W but let’s be honest-the Bulls were awful; I think Rose was the only one who played well on offense-for a half- and Noah the only one on D. I enjoyed it because I am a huge fan of the Knicks but this was a bad game between two bad teams that do not scare anyone.
    Gorky, DLee is skilled and improved-but he is by no means a “premiere low post scorer”-that’s a huge stretch.
    dajudge, you are right on-what is with Damphonys’ utter lack of in game adjustments; it relly shows his stubbornness and that is NOT an asset.
    and Knickfan4life-are you coach D’antoni in disguise or what???
    A relative? C’mon, admit it. I honestly don’t even care about Nate, to be honest, but I still think it is a classic D’antoni play all the way-pick a scapegoat as a way of asserting his authority and then give a lot of double speak crap to the media and get all touchy at any question about it. What a %^$#@-I mean it is almost funny- (bench the guy and then say you can’t play him because….he hasn’t played?) Are you kidding me?
    I think it’s notable that the Suns jettisoned him despite his relative success. I call it the Rick Carlisle syndrome: A guy that really can coach but is such a downright jerk that no one wants to work with him.

  60. KnickFan4Life

    Steven no I am not related to D’Antoni nor am I D’Antoni in disguise, your the one calling him Damphony and you seem to clearly have a bias against him. And get a clue the NBA is full of jerks with big egos, including tons on the players side of things. I hope your not naive to think D’Antoni is the only one. This is professional sports. It’s a big boy business…

  61. StevenU

    Ted, thank you-you are spot on and that’s really my only big issue with the coach. Just as players are asked to sacrifice and adapt to help the team, the coach is supposed to lead in the same manner. There is no reasonable argument to have kept nate on the bench in the second half-or certainly none that relates to basketball. Really, if they are absolutely posivitely not going to play him, why not release him? It is just way too remniscent of last year’s garbage and the best way to move on-let him go. Or, what I would prefer-utilize him-in whatever role you see fit, even if it is more limited.
    I have never been a big Jeffries guy, but, it is becoming hard to ignore that he has been a huge key to the recent success. I am not debating the merits of keeping him vs. a salary dump-just giving credit where it is due: Without Jared Jeffries the Knicks would not have won all of these games. I am generally opposed to having anyone on the floor who isn’t an offensive threat-especially on a team built for offense, but, given that so many Knick players are below average defenders, he completely changes the defense. His versatility allows them to play the 1-2-2 zone for stretches and also to play stretches where they switch everything. These are defensive gimmicks, but useful ones in spots for a bad defensive team.

  62. KnickFan4Life

    StevenU we agree on that, the Knicks should release him if they are not going to play him. Maybe D’Antoni plays him again although I wouldn’t bet on it. Maybe they are waiting for a trade. However I am not going to go crazy about him not playing considering 1, knicks are doing well, and 2, I don’t think he is that necessary for Knicks to win honestly with Harrington doing well with the scoring off the bench, and Douglas/Hughes being able to handle backup point duties Nate’s roles is very diminished…

  63. StevenU

    Ok, Knickfan-just checking, thank you for the clarification. I can only tell you this regarding my “bias” against him: I always liked him a lot from afar-but once I see his methods up close, I have become overwhelmed with negativity.
    These are my gripes and I do not think any of them indicate any bias:
    -His leadership style and communication is lacking and divisive.
    -His in game adjustments are practically non-existent.
    -He is horrible with the media and this is a huge market where in fact that matters.
    -He has repeatedly lied and avoided all sorts of issues and is defensive when asked anything about his coaching decisions.
    Why do you think he and the Suns parted ways? Of course pro sports is full of jerks-just like everyplace else in the real world. That doesn’t mean you have to hire him to be your coach, does it? Is his resume comparable to Riley (or Jackson, or Brown)? What has he ever won to justify his gigantic out of control ego? He is more comparable to Rick Carlisle and his departure from the Suns was almost identical to Carlisle’s from the Pistons. And, oh yeah, what happened with Detroit after they unburdened themselves of a hated coach that no one wanted to work for or with?

  64. KnickFan4Life

    A lot of what you are saying about D’Antoni StevenU is stuff people would say about someone like Larry Brown for instance, when Brown finally won everybody forgot all that. D’Antoni’s NBA career is in its infancy by comparison. I disagree he is bad with the press, the local press pretty much loves the guy and gives him the benefit of the doubt despite his evasive answers. Just look at the local coverage on the Marbury/Nate thing…

  65. StevenU

    @ Knickfan-I am not trying to fight-only to enjoy spirited debate, and I appreciate you identifying our common ground. My larger point is this: I am not focused on any individual player. I am a fan of the team. The coach should be focused (only) on that as well. Where does the trashing your own player help you get fair value on a trade? There is an art to roster management. You NEVER ever denigrate your own player. It is not in the interest of the team. It’s so simple. You try to showcase a player and then quickly move him asap. My belief is that the divide and conquer leadership style rarely if ever works at the top level. Yesterday you mentioned treating the players like men and not babies; I agree 100%. I wish D’antoni would treat them like men. respect them by communicating as clearly as possible what is expected of them. It’s great that they are hot right now and I love it; I still think the situation with nate is a negative that will hurt the team if it is not resolved quickly. A lot more quickly than last years utter debacle, which admittedly, I am not fully healed from yet

  66. KnickFan4Life

    StevenU I don’t see why you would need to “showcase” Nate. He’s a known commodity. He is what he is. I think part of the problem is the molasses speed Walsh seems to prefer. He is not going to rush to move Nate and it doesn’t help D’Antoni look good, not that D’Antoni cares…

  67. Dan Panorama

    How would a Lebron/Wade duo function exactly? They both run the offense for their respective teams almost entirely and both are at their best driving to the basket. Is there any good precedent for that kind of arrangement of two 30 ppg slashers on the same team? I guess it’s like much-upgraded version of AI/Carmelo, but it still seems really unwieldy. I guess the pick and roll/pick and pop with Wade running past Lebron would be absolutely unguardable since Lebron also has infinite range.

  68. Nick C.

    Ted I agree Nate can come in for some “instant offense” but I don’t think he’s quite Eddie House as a shooter or that kinda spot up player. House is .395 from 3 for his career Nate .350 and and topped .395 once @ .397 his rookie year. But let him come in and try what he did v. Orlando is not a bad idea for a few minutes a half. If he sucks yank him if its fallin’ then roll.

  69. jon abbey

    “The reason you trade Jeffries for an expiring contract should the opportunity arise is to get TWO max FAs, preferably LeBron and Wade. “Come play in NY with Jared Jeffries!” or Come play in NY with LeBron/Wade!” Which is more attractive to Wade/LeBron? Uniting those two (plus Gallo, Douglas, etc.) makes you an instant favorite, and uniting LeBron/Wade with a Bosh type makes you an instant contender.”

    if you listened carefully to LeBron’s comments after the MSG game earlier this year and/or read Wade’s two-part interview with Peter Vecsey this week, you’ll realize that those guys are ready to take less money if it means a better team around them. Jeffries is turning himself into a Varejao/Bowen/Birdman type, and those guys are assets on title contending teams, and not really so easy to find. your Jeffries/Lee point is a better one, though. I’m just saying it’s at least a discussion now, which is amazing given how bad Jeffries was even a month ago.

    Nate fans will love this article, kind of shocking to me where he lands in that list of All-Stars:

    http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/22/how-do-you-determine-clutch/#more-983

  70. StevenU

    Another point on which we agree: D’antoni (I have not called him D’amphony after being chided by Brian to refrain from name calling even though I think it’s totally apt) IS comparable to (Next Town)Brown-not my nickname for him just a well established one I like-minus the one title, of course.
    I also think Brown is a total jerk and that he failed MISERABLY here in New York. In fact, as it played out, he was only paid half of what he was owed by his contract by the Knicks in a David Stern brokered deal. Why? Because the Knicks actually had a strong case that he did not do the job he was hired for. Why not? Because his egomania was so strong that he was more concerned with undermining Thomas and getting his job, too, that he forgot to even try to win ballgames. His goal was to prove that the roster couldn’t win. He may have been right-I mean-he was right, but that’s not the point and nor was it his job. I am not making this up-the settlement of the case is the proof. Have you ever heard of a coach that was not paid in full after being let go while under contract? I have not. I would be thrilled if the Knicks would admit their mistake, pay D’antoni whatever is owed, and bring in Mark Jackson before some other team gets him.

  71. jon abbey

    Dan, read the Wade pieces Vecsey wrote in his last two columns, he specifically addresses being able to play with LeBron and that he couldn’t play with some other superstars, but that he and LeBron would work very well together, he thinks.

  72. marxster

    Hey cgreene, I agree, that’s a weird article. From the impression that I have of D’Antoni, I can’t believe that he would mention his resume in front of the players. Not sure if I believe this.

  73. jon abbey

    D’Antoni is somehow winning games with an undertalented team which is going to be almost entirely different next season. he’s made some mistakes, and deserved a ton of flak after the first 10 games (not for the results as much as for the effort), but people are out of their minds to be criticizing him after the way he’s turned this team around. he’s also one of the only reasons we have a legit chance for LeBron, keep that in mind.

  74. KnickFan4Life

    StevenU,

    Unlike Brown, D’Antoni is finding ways to win with a not so great roster. To be fair if your going to slam him why not also praise him for working and having some sucess in what most coaches would find a nearly impossible situation. Remember what this team looked like coming into the season with over half the roster on 1-year contracts and how they played early in the season…

  75. StevenU

    Actually, Browns record in Charlotte is virtually identical to D’antoni’s Knicks this season. I find it amusing-and kind of ridiculous that fans are calling this a big turn around. It is simply a good month. Do you people not remember the last time the Knicks had a great month? It was 2-3 years ago, and got Isiah Thomas a giant extension. Immediately thereafter, they sunk like a stone. I will give the coach credit if they overcome the horrible start, finish near .500 and make the playoffs. Those are all prefectly reasonable expectations for this roster. This is not the Scott Layden Knicks. I am not gonna crack champagne 28 games into the season 6 games below .500. Sorry.
    p.s LOVE the times article and especially the yahoo article; THAT is what I am trying to say about D’antoni. Thank you to the people who linked them.

  76. KnickFan4Life

    StevenU,

    I was referring to Brown’s time with the Knicks. Right after I wrote it I did think about the similar success Brown has had with Charlotte…

  77. Jafa

    Off topic, but the injury last night to the Blazers center got me thinking. So I went to the ESPN trade machine and played around a bit and came up with a 4 team trade. Here’s what I came up with:

    NYK gets:
    TMac
    Rudy Fernandez (SG making $1.1M with 2yr left)
    DJ Augustine (PG making $2.3M with 2yrs left)

    Rockets gets:
    Al Harrington
    M. Webster (SF making $4.3 with 4yrs left)
    N. Mohammed (C making $6.4 with 2yrs left)

    Blazers get:
    Eddy Curry
    Chuck Hayes (C with expiring contract)

    Bobcat get:
    Andre Miller
    Nate Robinson

    Like I said, I played around a bit. But each team gets one or two things they want while having to bite the bullet on only one thing (mostly an extra year on a contract for a player they don’t want or giving up a player they like).

    What do you guys think?

  78. stratomatic

    I don’t think the issue with Nate has anything to do with winning games in the short term. I think it’s all about changing the long term culture of the team.

    What D’Antoni wants is mature, professional behavior at all times, players that give 100% at both ends of the court, players that listen and learn, players that don’t argue with him and the coaching staff when they disagree etc… Agree or disagree, the assumption is that a team of players like that will win more over the long haul and that sacrificing Nate in the short term is worth it.

    I also think he is very forgiving of guys like Chandler, Duhon, and others because he doesn’t care how many bricks they throw up as long as they are giving 100% and listening to him.

    I agree with that philosophy, but I part ways on the use of Toney Douglas.

    A quick look at the stats suggests that we give up a few boards and assists with Douglas, but he has actually been a slightly more efficient scorer and is putting up similar points per 36. If he actually is the better defender (I think he is), then it’s pretty close to a wash. So I would like to see Douglas get some minutes when the team seems to be struggling.

  79. StevenU

    That trade is only good for one team-the Knicks. It really makes little or no sense for any other team. Plus Brown hates Nate. Why would the Rockets deal Hayes? They love him. The Blazers especially get killed in that deal. They can not be dumb enough to give up Rudy and Andre Miller; those are good players. For Curry and Hayes??? No way.

  80. Ted Nelson

    Dan,

    They are possibly the two best players on the planet with incredible worth-ethics, will power, and will to win. I think they would figure it out. They both do pretty much EVERYTHING well. I think the positives of that combination far out-weigh the negatives; although the point you raise is a valid concern.

    LeBron has improved his jumper significantly, to the point where he is averaging 37% from 3 this season after putting in 34.4% last season. Wade’s outside shot it still lacking, but he was at a much more respectable 32% last season. They can both score anywhere/anytime in a variety of ways. It’s not like they both need to be inside and would ruin the spacing of the offense. Both are perimeter players, and I think they’d have plenty of room to operate.

    There have been few 1-2 punches like LeBron/Wade in NBA history, period, let alone both wing players… who seem to have gained importance as the league have aged. I would call the closest precedent MJ and Pippen. Pippen was a career 32.6% 3-point shooter (much improved in his early 30s) and put up usage rates in the mid-20s. Jordan was a 32.7% 3-point shooter and put up usage rates in the 30s. Both were great defenders and passers/playmakers.
    Their first title year, they took a combined 36.5 FGAs and 12.3 FTAs per game, but only 1.9 3PAs… Literally one out of every 20 possessions they used was from behind the arc, yet the Bulls had THE BEST offense in the NBA that season. 2nd Championship season it was 39.3 FGAs, 12.7 FTAs, and 2.3 3PAs. This season LeBron and Wade combine for 40.6 FGAs, 19.3 FTAs, and 7.9 3PAs.
    Jordan was already an established star with the Bulls when Pippen arrived: in his 4th season, with a career PER in the high 20s, and coming off a season where he led the league in minutes, PER, usage, and win shares at 23 years old… Pippen came in as the wingman. LeBron and Wade would both come in knowing full well that the other man would be their teammate: choosing this situation. So it would be reasonable for them to both expect to put their egos aside to some extent and not have a Jordan overshadowing Pippen situation.

    You would also have Danilo and Douglas and Hill to space the floor. Danilo takes 2/3 of his shots from 3 and hits a ridiculous %. Douglas is at least a decent outside shooter and has been a terrible playmaker so far: not an Andre Miller, Mark Jackson type PG. A scorer and defender. Ideally you add a Tyson Chandler/Marcus Camby/Kendrick Perkins type of low-usage defender/rebounder inside, a bench with at least one or two strong overall players and a couple specialists, and watch as your fingers fill up with rings over the next decade.

  81. stratomatic

    Lee has really stepped up his game. The addition of an improving mid range game and increased crisp passing has allowed him to become more of an offensive threat. It won’t be long until defenders stop giving him open looks on the outside. That will create more space for others and help marginally in other ways. If he doesn’t get serious all star consideration this year, the fix is in.

    I’m going to say an unpopular thing, but I think the primary reason the Knicks are playing so much better is Chandler and Duhon.

    Chandler and Duhon have both been below average players over their careers. However, at the start of the season both were playing horrificly. In December, I think you can argue that both are playing “average starter” quality basketball (certainy Chandler) relative to the norm for their postions. That’s a massive increase in the quality of play for two players that get a lot of minutes. In Chandler’s case, I think we can actually hold out hope for him sustaining it. He is now recovered from surgery and is getting to the basket better. D’Antoni has also finally put the reins on him from the outside and you can see him think about certain shots and then refrain. He’s learning.

  82. Dan Panorama

    Ted–

    I was thinking Jordan/Pippen was probably the most plausible comparison, thanks for the breakdown of the numbers. The Gallo/superstar combination definitely has me salivating over 2010 and 2011 — if he can get this many good looks off with these guys spreading the floor I can only imagine how he’d fare with a bonafide franchise player on the court.

  83. KnickFan4Life

    stratomatic says:
    December 23, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I don’t think the issue with Nate has anything to do with winning games in the short term. I think it’s all about changing the long term culture of the team.

    What D’Antoni wants is mature, professional behavior at all times, players that give 100% at both ends of the court, players that listen and learn, players that don’t argue with him and the coaching staff when they disagree etc… Agree or disagree, the assumption is that a team of players like that will win more over the long haul and that sacrificing Nate in the short term is worth it.

    I also think he is very forgiving of guys like Chandler, Duhon, and others because he doesn’t care how many bricks they throw up as long as they are giving 100% and listening to him.

    I agree with that philosophy, but I part ways on the use of Toney Douglas.

    A quick look at the stats suggests that we give up a few boards and assists with Douglas, but he has actually been a slightly more efficient scorer and is putting up similar points per 36. If he actually is the better defender (I think he is), then it’s pretty close to a wash. So I would like to see Douglas get some minutes when the team seems to be struggling.

    ———————————-

    stratomatic I agree with you very much so. I feel if anything there should be more of an argument to play Douglas more. It seems D’Antoni for whatever reason doesn’t trust him enough yet. But if he’s not going to play Nate he should at least play Douglas more unless he wants a Duhon burnout part 2.

  84. Ted Nelson

    Jon,

    “D’Antoni is somehow winning games with an undertalented team which is going to be almost entirely different next season. he’s made some mistakes, and deserved a ton of flak after the first 10 games (not for the results as much as for the effort), but people are out of their minds to be criticizing him after the way he’s turned this team around. he’s also one of the only reasons we have a legit chance for LeBron, keep that in mind.”

    D’Antoni is not above criticism just because of a hot streak. He has impressed me lately and I’m not criticizing him much, but he is not some sort of basketball God that no one can question without being insane.

    They’re at 11-17 on the season… that’s a 31 win pace. We have to look at the whole sample, because there’s no guarantee the Knicks are as good as they’ve been recently (just as I agree they are no where near as bad as they were through 10 games).

    I don’t know that this is such an under-talented team. They don’t have a star, but they have a lot of good NBA players. Under-performing is a better way to describe this group than under-talented:

    There are 6 top 8 pick on the roster. Half the roster is lottery picks. 12 of 14 guys are former 1st rounders. Hughes was judged to be a max player on the open market, Harrington got 10 mill. Every single player who has been on a team besides NYK in his career has been a rotation player on a playoff team (Harrington, Hughes, Jeffries, Duhon, Bender, Darko, even Eddy). Lee and Robinson have been among the Knicks best players for a while. Danilo has been a very promising young player. Douglas looks like a strong pick. Hill looks intriguing but there isn’t even room for him in the rotation. This is a mid-30s win team in terms of talent (Isiah won 33 games with a less talented, and far less professional team… think about it, Eddy was his go to guy and he doesn’t even play now).

    I also disagree that D’Antoni’s one of the biggest reasons the Knicks may have a shot at LeBron. NYC is BY FAR the biggest reason. If the Knicks played in Milwaukee and were coached by D’Antoni… no one would even mention it. The #2 reason is cap space: the cap space makes it a possibility to sign in NYC outright. A little more cap space and the possibility of signing Wade or Bosh makes it far more likely. That’s like 95-99% of the reason NYK are a somewhat likely destination for LeBron. I would also put Walsh ahead of D’Antoni. Competent management is much harder to come by than a decent coach. I would put D’Antoni even with or right behind Danilo/Douglas/Hill in terms of why LeBron would pick NYC.

  85. StevenU

    Stratomatic-Really, that’s a very good point. You could almost say, as Duhon goes so go the Knicks. Or even more succinctly: When Duhon can shoot ok, the Knicks can beat anyone. Chandler, also, has stepped up his game; still, I would really like to see him limit his outside shot-especially 3ponters. He is a below average shooter from long range and he repeatedly fails to recognize when he is hot and when he is not. Gallo adjusted in game last night. I’d like to see similar in game adjustments from other Knick players-notable Chandler and Harrington. As a team the Knicks have low basketball IQ; I think Gallinari and Duhon are the only ones who are above average in this underrated and very important category. To quote the best player in the history of the world: “Talent wins games. Teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

  86. tastycakes

    Folks, folks. Take a deep breath. NO TEAM IN THE LEAGUE will trade for Eddy Curry. Under any circumstances! It’s over. That talentless shmoe will be taking up a disproportionately high percentage of physical bench space for the next year and a half. Bank on it.

    Which is why trading Jeffries is our best hope for freeing up enough cap space to sign 2 max guys next year!

    If you seriously think Jeffries is a key piece to a championship team *at his current salary*, I have a couple hundred game tapes you should watch.

  87. Ted Nelson

    Jon,

    “if you listened carefully to LeBron’s comments after the MSG game earlier this year and/or read Wade’s two-part interview with Peter Vecsey this week, you’ll realize that those guys are ready to take less money if it means a better team around them. Jeffries is turning himself into a Varejao/Bowen/Birdman type, and those guys are assets on title contending teams, and not really so easy to find. your Jeffries/Lee point is a better one, though. I’m just saying it’s at least a discussion now, which is amazing given how bad Jeffries was even a month ago.”

    It will be interesting to see if LeBron/Wade are willing to take a pay cut, and if so how much… Personally, I doubt it will be much. They’re both on solid playoff teams (LeBron a strong contender) this season and won’t have a shortage of suitors. I figure they both MIGHT be willing to take the pay cut associated with signing elsewhere, but it’s not like they’ll play for only $10 mill per… let alone $5 mill or something. Who knows, that’s just my guess.

    I agree that it’s amazing how good Jeffries has been. I had pretty much given up hope coming into this season, not entirely (we all mostly thought he was more tradable than Fat/Skinny Eddy) but almost.

    I disagree that a Jeffries type is that hard to come by. Most teams have at least one guy who is a good defender and low-usage offensive player; although, they obviously vary as far as how good a defender and how good an offender (why does no one say offender, but they say defender?) they are. Jeffries length/versatility is definitely not something you stumble across every day.
    The fact that the three guys you mentioned were a 2nd rounder and two undrafted guys, though, is why I say those types are undervalued and relatively easy to come by. Ben Wallace, Azubuike, and Chuck Hayes, undrafted. Luc Mbah a Moute, 2nd rounder. Tayshaun fell to the late first despite playing at a major college. Przybilla was a lottery pick, but didn’t really get a chance until he was given away and then made it after signing somewhere as a free agent. Which raises another point, a lot of these guys are situational players who won’t be as valuable in every situation. Jeffries was pretty useless until the Knicks had a rotation where they could put 3 or 4 talented/intelligent/hard working NBA players around him. That plus his health holding up allowed him to get an opportunity. Even Camby and Tyson Chandler–both #2 picks–have seen their value vary widely over their career… both were picked so high and make good money largely because they are elite rebounders and shot blockers.

    I don’t have any data to back this up, but I think the NBA pay scale is largely linked to usage, with height and reb/blks/stls/asts per game sometimes confusing that relationship.

  88. Frank O.

    This is getting to be like a dysfunctional family reunion when everyone harks back nostalgically to bygone years, despite how utterly miserable it was growing up then…

    Now, by no means have the Knicks turned some kind of corner. They still are a flawed team, and their sked right now is friendly, although I am more than a little happy they are winning games they should win. That is something good teams do: feast on the weak, then play good teams tough in the hopes of achieving a .500 record against them.

    But this attachment to Nate, while touching, seems peculiar. It seems to me that some of the folks pining for Nate are the same folks who were saying no one should be considered safe on such a bad team. Lee and Nate were front and center guys we all were considering making trades with to improve the team.
    Well, it’s not particularly different when a coach finally (how many years have we begged Brown, Isiah and then D’Antoni to shorten his lineup so the team could establish some continuity???) makes some tough calls about who plays.
    Nate, ahem, got the short end of the stick. He’s not a guy D’Antoni – or any other coach – would let run his offense and I think Hughes and Chandler are better options at the 2, primarily because they are more balanced, well-rounded players.
    So who would lose a spot in the rotation to get Nate involved? You have to take Duhon and the 1 off the table because that’s not Nate position. I was virtually ignored when I suggested giving Nate a shot at the 1.
    So who gives up minutes? Douglas? You think Nate is content with 5 minutes a night? That won’t work.
    Hughes? He’s played very well so far this year. His scoring has been good. He has gotten a bunch of assists. His TS% is 50 and his eFG% is 44.4. He’s getting 5.8 rebounds and 5 assists per 36. Not bad, and he’s a sound defender. His size, 6’5, matters out there.
    Chandler? Maybe a case could have been made earlier in the season, but Chandler’s game has come one. And he is a better defender. It is rather valuable to have a big 2.
    Now, Nate is a potent scorer. Even this year, with some of his off games, his TS% and eFG% are good.
    But with all due respect, he’s not a better defender than Chandler or Hughes. Again, he simply isn’t a point guard.

    But that’s my opinion.

    For those folks who are upset about Nate getting benched. Who do you take minutes from to get him out there? The team is on a good run. Who do we disrupt to get Nate minutes?

    And what does it say about a coach when if suddenly his top 8 guys go cold, that suddenly he takes minutes from them to get Nate minutes? I think the shorter rotation has helped the Knicks. There will be games when their best scorers are cold. And those games may be losses.
    But this team doesn’t feel desperate anymore. It feels like they need to let the guys who are playing figure it out.

    Case and point: last night, Gallo couldn’t feed thread through the hoop, let alone the basketball. In games past, D’Antoni would have pulled him, restricted his minutes, desperately trying to find offense. Then he might run Nate out there for 20 or 30 minutes and see if his scoring offsets what he gives up defensively.
    But by leaving Gallo in, Gallo found other ways to help his team win, ways that might have been missed had D’Antoni pulled the plug on him as he did earlier this season.
    That is what happens when you commit to a rotation. That rotation begins to learn how to win. You can’t develop that nack -diversifying your approach, figuring out how to be effective -riding the bench.

    You throw Nate in there and he feels like he needs to take over the game because this could be his last shot to show something for some time again. With Nate, that isn’t always a good thing.

    I like that these guys are learning to win. One thing that has been so reassuring these past several games is it’s not always the same people winning it.
    Sometimes it’s Lee, sometimes Gallo. Sometimes it’s Harrington, sometimes it’s Chandler or Duhon.
    Everyone is finding a way to win, and that’s because D’Antoni is giving them a chance to learn. Remember, most of these guys haven’t won a damn thing since college. They appear to be learning now.

    All this commentary about egos and personalizing things seems a bit over the top to me. First, a professional athlete, coach, journalist or doctor worth his salt has an ego.
    And I don’t think deciding to sit a guard in favor of other players who play a more complete game is D’Antoni leading some Machiavellian scenario. He is a coach. He is the guy paid to make decisions like this. It’s his job. Just because you don’t like the decision doesn’t make his decision some kind of vendetta against Nate.
    Now, of course, it’s personal for Nate. This decision affects his life. I understand that. I find that acceptable.
    But discerning fans should know better.

    This team won 32 games last year with Nate being the spark plug off the bench. I’m not so fond of those memories.

  89. Frank O.

    Jon:
    I think the Knicks have heard often from players who considered the Knicks, considered a pay cut, but at the end of the day, took the big money.
    How many years has it been where all these stars call NY the Mecca of basketball, say all the right things about the city, the fans and even the organization, and then took bigger money elsewhere?

    I think if the Knicks plan on getting one or two stars, they will need to offer more than anyone else to get them. And even then, the players are more likely to stay…you have made that comment before…that most of the best FAs will stay home.

    I am wavering a bit, but I think unloading Jeffries or Curry or both would be the best decision to make.
    It’s tough right now considering losing Jeffries. If you read back to preseason I was a fan of starting Jeffries for exactly the reason he has been useful this year.
    But I also know, to get two max FAs, the Knicks need to either lose him or Curry or both.

  90. Ted Nelson

    stratomatic,

    168 and 171 are both good point.

    168: It’s so hard to discuss the situation when we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors. If Nate has not changed his behavior at all, then ok, keep him on the bench. If he’s been doing the things that have been asked of him, give him a chance. This is not Fat Eddy or even Steph who you can easily argue the Knicks were a better on court team without, Nate can help this team if he’s playing to his ability. You find out how good a prize fighter is by seeing how they respond to getting knocked down, not knocked down and then pummeled into a vegetative state…

    I like Douglas a lot. A big different between he and Nate, though, is that he has demonstrated almost no ability to distribute the ball and make plays for teammates. As much crap as he takes, Nate’s assist-rate is right there with Duhon’s. His rebounding is down this season, but he’s a strong rebounder. I really feel that he’s not as terrible a defender as D’Antoni and others make him out to be, in large part because I think Duhon is a lot worse defensively than his reputation. The guy just gets eaten alive by quick PGs. He was obviously better against SGs last season than PGs.

    One other problem I have with the Nate situation, that again I can’t comment on fully without watching the inner working of the team, if that Nate’s benching came shortly after a big change in philosophy by D’Antoni. For one season, an off-season, a preseason, and 10+ games of this season Nate was probably the Knicks who was most able to execute the Knicks offensive system. It called for fast-paced, transistion driven, individual scoring, lots of shooting, etc… Nate was a better fit than maybe anyone in that system. D’Antoni even praised his steals as a bright spot on the Knicks otherwise poultry defense last season. To suddenly change course (in a move that every other observer would tell you was long overdue) and then say “Nate can’t get with the program, he can’t play within the system, he’s grounded for life…” Is a bit unfair. The system up until a certain point was “there is no system, go bat-shit crazy out there guys…” After one week of practice in a new system Nate was unable to adapt, so now he’s never going to play again?

    171: Absolutely. Lee deserves at least strong all-star consideration (which I think he did get last season, if I remember correctly). Chandler and Duhon stepping up their play is a big reason for this hot stretch. Having them on the court was roughly the equivalent of having two middle-schoolers on the court early in the season, but they’ve both been good lately.

  91. StevenU

    Tastycakes, despite the groovy picture, you disappoint me. I thought this was a hyperbole free zone? I am no Eddy Curry fan and never have been (nor a Jeffries fan for that matter), but “talentless”? If that were true, he would not have been drafter so high nor paid so much (even with a heart condition-and I won’t even bother with all the potential jokes re: his heart or lack thereof). He may lack in conditioning, work ethic, intelligence and refinement of his skills-but he absolutely positively has talent. And calling him a “shmoe” is personal, not basketball related and just totally beside any point.
    If anything, I think one can easily make the argument that the Knick chances of trading Eddy Curry are at least equal to their chances of signing two max free agents. Good luck with that.
    I say you are the dreamer, like the dude whose picture you chose when he turned down $21mil over 3years and said, ” It’s an insult. I’ve got a family to feed.”

  92. Frank O.

    I also agree with the 1 percent rule Ted, I think, wrote about.
    If you can get both Wade and Lebron, you should do everything you can to get them, because even a minor step below both of them (say one of them and a middling FA) you’re still in great shape. And if you get both, well, then your biggest concern is teaching them to work together.

  93. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.,

    I agree on making tough choices. I disagree that there is no room for a guard in a 7-man rotation that is very forward heavy. The short rotation seems to be hurting the team as they are consistently getting outplayed in the 4th quarter… don’t know if they’re tired or other teams are figuring them out and getting a rhythm or both.

    Hughes scoring HAS NOT been good, that’s blasphemous. He had a nice little run there, but 50% TS% is worse than Jamal or Zach Randolph. That’s the number you can live with some terrible scorer like Jared Jeffries at, not a high usage guy.

    I was also calling for Nate at the 1 earlier in the season, I don’t think you were alone. Duhon is bit better creator/pure point because he doesn’t look for his own shot much on most nights. If Nate were given that role I don’t know that at his point in his career he couldn’t curtail his own usage a little. But he’s not been in that role recently, he’s been asked to provide instant offense. It’s tough to tell someone they are a SG and then yell at them for being a SG.
    Nate’s assist-rate is just about as high as Duhon’s, that’s not the only measure of being a good PG, but I think the Knicks would survive with Nate at the point maybe 15-20 mpg depending on the night. As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t think his defense is much worse, if at all, than Duhon on PGs.

    Again, I don’t really buy the defense argument. I think the Knicks can get by with Nate defensively and the offense provides makes him a net positive.

    “For those folks who are upset about Nate getting benched. Who do you take minutes from to get him out there? The team is on a good run. Who do we disrupt to get Nate minutes?”

    You don’t have to take all the minutes from 1 guy. A rotation is a fairly fluid thing. Sure, you can replace one guy with another guy straight-up. When you have a 7 man rotation, though, a lot of guys are getting a lot of minutes. Taking 3 mpg from 5 or 6 guys results in 15-18 mpg. Nate was only playing 22 mpg this season. You don’t negatively impact those players, and you might positively impact them by giving them a little rest and pulling them when they stink to avoid more stinkage.

    “Then he might run Nate out there for 20 or 30 minutes and see if his scoring offsets what he gives up defensively.”

    What he gives up defensively? You mean nothing? As much as I trust every word out of D’Antoni’s mouth blindly and without questioning it, I trust statistics more.

    The 2nd half collapse last night was nothing to laugh off or complement the few guys who got something done for. That was downright pathetic.

    I am not calling it personal, personally. I just disagree with D’Antoni on the decision. I can certainly wonder if it is personal, but I have no idea.

    “This team won 32 games last year with Nate being the spark plug off the bench. I’m not so fond of those memories.”

    And they are on pace for 31 wins this season without Nate playing hardly at all… woohoo!!!

  94. KnickFan4Life

    Ted you make some compelling arguments and provide some nice stats to back them up, but as a fan I have to tell you I’m more excited and more optimistic about seeing Douglas out there. He also has not yet been given a true chance to see if he can play the point. I have however seen Nate play quite a bit and I just haven’t seen enough in his game to make me believe he could be an effective every game PG in this league. There are just too many areas in the mental aspect, Nate lacks. I also don’t feel he does a good job getting his teammates into the flow of the offense. I’m sure you’ll bring out some stats that show the opposite but I just don’t see it watching the games. Douglas in the short time I have seen him has impressed me with his maturity, and I think he has nice upside. His game more naturally favors towards the combo guard side but I would like to see him some more before totally boxing him in as a combo guard.

  95. Frank O.

    Now Ted, let’s not get crazy.
    I’m not certain they are a 31 win team right now.
    I seriously doubt they will revert to the way they played the first 10 games. So which team are they? The one from late October early November, or the December Knicks, which have been pretty good.

    I am inclined to believe that this run is not a fluke. They are beating teams they should beat at a good rate right now. Given the weakness in the east, that could mean they get more wins than 31. Given how bad the east is, they could be a 40+ win team.
    Again, not great, but respectable, which is a far cry from what they have been.

    I was looking at stats from last year and was surprised a bit at what I saw. I decided to look back because the sampling was greater. This year Duhon had a strange start, and Nate hasn’t played much.
    But last year, they played about the same number of games.
    Here’s what I found.

    - TS%, Duhon was better, 56.7 to 55.
    - eFG%, Duhon was better, 52 to 50.
    - FG%, Nate was better, 43.7% to 42%.
    - FT%, Duhon was better, 86% to 84%
    - Rebounds, Nate was better, 3.9 to 3.1.
    - Assists, Duhon was better, 7.2 to 4.1.
    - TOs, Nate was slightly better.

    Duhon bested Nate in 4 of 7 areas.

    Not saying Duhon is better. But it’s not so clear that Nate is so much better than Duhon.

    Now, Duhon struggled mightily earlier this season. But when looking at the larger sampling of last year, their stats are oddly comparable…

    Food for thought

  96. Frank O.

    By the way, I’ve given up on the Nate argument.
    I’m going to remain silent henceforth about the Nate complaints.
    This apparently is quite and emotional issue about what appears to be a moot point.

  97. rama

    Ted: the Knicks’ “otherwise poultry defense last season…” Er, I think that’s “paltry.” But then again, with a 32-win team, maybe you had it right the first time.

  98. Z-man

    “Ted: the Knicks’ “otherwise poultry defense last season…” Er, I think that’s “paltry.””

    Dude, didn’t you catch the pun on “Gallo?” Jeez…

  99. Ted Nelson

    KnickFan4Life,

    I like seeing Douglas a lot, too. We don’t see him at all some games and for less than 10 minutes others, though, so I think he could continue in that role even if Robinson were ahead of him in the rotation. Take the minutes from Chandler (39 minutes last night), Duhon (37), Harrington (32), and even Hughes (28). Just say you took 4, 7, 2, and 2… that’s 15 minutes for Nate. Chandler was great in the first half, but a few more minutes off in the second wouldn’t have killed him (1-6 in the 3rd). He provides versatile and physical defense, but you run into the same problem with him at SG that you run into with Trevor Ariza: they can’t shoot. They need to slash and take a few wide open outside Js.
    I don’t know the exact right way to use Nate, because I have little idea about his personality and what his coaches have asked him to do over the years vs. what he’s done. If you can get him to play in the system I think he can be useful, and if you can’t I think he can be useful as an Eddie House-type who you bring in for instant offense or when match-ups warrant it and can keep on a short leash.

    Compared to Duhon I absolutely feel like Nate is a lesser “floor general” and probably has a lower b-ball IQ/aptitude to run a team. Duhon was a Coach K favorite for 4 years and will probably have a head coaching job at either the college or NBA level within a few years of retiring if he feels like it. I don’t have any stats to measure intangibles… +/- maybe, but I don’t think you can accurately separate “intangibles” from everything else. Scouting is probably the best way to see that. As I said, though, Nate hasn’t often been asked to run a team. Maybe that’s because what coaches have seen in practice was a disaster. I’m not saying replace Duhon with Nate (although I would have for a stretch early in the season), but if Duhon sits a few more minutes most nights I don’t think the Knicks will fall apart.

    I don’t know whether Douglas CAN run the point, but so far his assist rate isn’t that far from Wilson Chandler’s. Maybe D’Antoni has told him to focus on a well defined role, and the rest of the game will come. Maybe he just isn’t a PG, he wasn’t in college. D’Antoni seems to like him, but not enough to put him solidly in the rotation.

  100. rama

    “Dude, didn’t you catch the pun on “Gallo?” Jeez…”

    I guess I’m just not a Kryptologist….

  101. rama

    Yep.

    Although I guess it isn’t true, since we’ve been going on about the benching of a marginal player for days now…Ich bin ein Kryptologist….

  102. Ted Nelson

    rama & Z-man,

    LOL. Didn’t even know those were two different words… thought it was related to being a chicken, I guess.
    Very clever on the Gallo call.
    Nate may end up ich bin eining a Berliner if he can’t get a second NBA contract and has to go to Europe.

    Frank O.,

    They certainly haven’t been playing like a 31 win team lately. I don’t think they’ll have another 1-9 stretch, but I’m also not sure how many 7-3 type stretches they’ll have. I hope several, but I’m just looking at where they are on the season as a whole.

    One thing you have to consider when comparing Nate to Duhon is usage. Duhon never shoots the ball. His usage rate last season was 14.9, only Jeffries had a lower one on the Knicks. Nate’s usage rate was 25.6, only Harrington (26) was higher (and Randolph… in his 11 games and Jerome James in his 10 minutes).
    Usage is usually overrated, but it’s not completely irrelevant. If you score at basically the same efficiency while taking twice as many FGAs per 36 (Robinson took 16.8, Duhon 8.4… exactly half) then you were a better scorer. Their assist rates were a lot closer than their ast/36, but Duhon was still higher last season. Nate got significantly more steals, another reason to think he might be comparable defensively.
    Robinson beats or kills Duhon in PER (18.9 to 12.2), Win Shares (5.9 to 4.2), Roland Rating (+5 to -3.8), and WP48 (.146 to .090… where .100 is average). Those are the major overall player ratings that I know of.
    It’s not like it’s Duhon v. LeBron, but I think Nate is as good or better all else equal.

  103. Z-man

    Nate is the better talent, and has way more upside than Duhon. Except for the cerebral aspects of the game, so instead of Nate being the “no-brainer,” he is the “not-much-of-a-brainer.”

    Honestly, if you put Nate’s brain in Duhon’s body, you have a D-league benchwarmer. If you put Duhon’s brain in Nate’s body, you have a perennial all-star. Other than height, Duhon is physically inferior to Nate (and most PGs) in every way. Duhon seems to get the maximum out of a very limited pool of physical talent (slow, short, can’t jump, can’t really shoot), but is a true leader, which is probably why Coach K loved him. It took some balls for Duhon to criticize Nate (indirectly but obviously and publicly) when he himself was playing putrid ball. More than that, it took maturity and character. Lately, his game has caught up with his leadership, which is nice to see and makes him easy to root for.

    I honestly feel that during this latest stretch, Duhon and Jeffries have been consummate team players and that their leadership is rubbing off on the other players in the rotation. To me, Nate just doesn’t seem to inspire the same level of team commitment. When he goes off, he becomes more of a spectacle than an inspiration.

  104. tastycakes

    StevenU,

    A no hyperbole zone? The internet? I must have missed the memo.

    I remember that someone once asked Scott Skiles what he would miss about Eddy Curry, and Scott said, “What we miss most from Eddy is just his ability to catch the ball by the basket and dunk it.” So, right, Eddy has some degree of “talent,” it’s just that the “talent” doesn’t really have anything to do with the team sport of basketball at the highest level of competition.

    None of this is intended to be personal. This is a fan site, and I’m willing to call a bum a bum when I see one. I am a die-hard Knicks fan and am tired of watching a bunch of losers. They could all be totally fine human beings, but I’m a fan and I want my team to collect the most talented squad. That shouldn’t be controversial.

    The Walsh/D’Antoni years, thus far, have been a big improvement, because there is hope, the team plays with more passion, and, well, because there is hope.

    But I’m also trying to fight against that instinct to fall in love with a few guys (hi JJ!) on hot stretches. So when an opportunity comes up to shed contract without losing any of the young guns, it should be done, even if it makes us worse this year.

    Finally, Bill Simmons had a great column today loaded with trade scenario conjecture. Fun stuff. His suggestion is that the only way to lose Curry (and Jeffries) is to attach Gallo or Hill to them. So yeah, maybe somebody would take Eddy if they really wanted Gallo. Would you do that trade? I don’t want to overvalue my own guys. If doing that trade gets us LeBron, it’s a no-brainer. But we have no way to predict the outcome of the Bronstakes so it’s mega risky…

  105. tastycakes

    Anyway, point being: I don’t think there is a GM dumb enough to take Curry without getting additional cap relief (which we certainly won’t do), picks (which we won’t / can’t do), or young talent (which is .. unlikely?). Trading our best player (Lee) with Curry is difficult because of all the BYC rules and such.

    AND, the real key is freeing up more space to recruit free agents with this coming off-season. So, the guy who is playing (and playing well, I must add) is the dude who is the best bet to get moved without damaging our future prospects on some other access. JJ. Jeffrightened. Spooky J. Fumblehands. Fumbleroosky. No O-J.

    I hear some around here comparing him to Kirilenko or Battier or Artest. IMO, that would be a mighty dangerous assessment to make at this point. But hopefully some other team’s GM makes that assessment and we win.

  106. Frank O.

    Ted:

    All the player ratings are heavily weighted toward offense, as you know, and Duhon simply didn’t shoot as much.
    So I would expect them to favor Nate.
    For example,Zach Randolph’s PER is comparable to Nate’s,and we know he plays no real defense.

    I think it is more fair to look at TS%and eFG%.
    It was one of the measures that most on the board used to justify giving Lee and Nate more minutes when they were young and fighting for court time.

    Anyway, my point in all that was that I was surprised that the two were comparable.
    If one did not watch these two guys play,one might conclude from advanced stats alone that they were comparable, usage aside.
    I have also been told on this board that usage has no real impact on efficiency.
    I think it is fair to say that if Dhon’s usage were to increase, he would put up comparable numbers to Nate…

  107. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    I mostly agree with your take. I don’t know if it took balls for Duhon to call Nate out, though. It was like the first game of the season or something, the beginning of Duhon’s terrible run. When you’re the main reason the team is losing I would not call it leadership to call out other players for their pre-game preparation, I would call it passing the buck. I would call it a lot of other things, too, none of them positive.

    tastycakes,

    I mostly agree and I’m not trying to stand up for Eddy Curry or say he’s good, but he’s also not totally useless when he’s playing well. The one skill he has is VERY valuable when used effectively in the team concept (as only Chicago has been able to do… in his contract year…).
    I don’t think I would include Gallo just to trade Curry for an expiring deal. As you say, no guarantees the Knicks can attract the FAs they want. Also, Curry will still be valuable as an expiring contract next season, when some GM is a lot more likely to want him (even if it’s just to buy him out). He also had a career year in his last contract year, so maybe he gets it together enough to contribute next season.

  108. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.,

    PER overweights usage, but WP48 may do the opposite: you lose points for every shot you take, even makes (and gain back the makes). Those rating all come from different people (Roland Rating includes PER) and all have different weights, and they all came to the same conclusion.

    If you only want to look at TS% and eFG% you’ll find that Nate has an advantage in both on his career: .536 v. .525 and .491 v. .485. That difference is pretty insignificant, though.

    However, you can’t just ignore usage. If Nate had a career .536 TS% and Duhon’s was .600, then you can say even though he scores a lot less Duhon is more valuable. When their TS% is close and one scores twice as much, though, he’s clearly a more valuable scorer. I might agree with some arguments that Nate shot too much and that he hurts the offensive flow at times, but he’s a better scorer.

    Duhon’s TS% may also have been an aberration. He never came close to .570 before (.538 was a career high, but he also had a .529 season and a .508 right before coming here… he’s under .500 so far this season). The .570 is largely due to the first half of the season.
    Nate’s TS% seems very repeatable: he put up a .552 previously and is at .541 after a slow start this season.

    Usage doesn’t have as much impact on efficiency as most people think, but in most cases it’s going to have some. It depends in part on how the shots are coming. Take Ariza, who starting taking more jumpers… so his efficiency went down. Duhon takes mostly spot up 3s and is a weak finisher inside. Maybe he can be a Reggie Miller or Rip Hamiton, but then he’s not even an NBA player.
    Nate’s usage from last season of 25.6 is quite high, higher than I would like to see Nate. To get to that usage you either have to have everyone on the team trying to get you the ball, or be able to “create your own shot.”
    Basically, it’s a bit unrealistic to expect Duhon to ever take twice as many shots. And if he does, well, he’s a .525 TSer who is taking 17 shots per 36… he’s Jamal Crawford as a Knicks basically…

  109. Frank O.

    Ted:

    Agreed on Duhon taking shots.
    I also agree that Nate got too much use.
    The explanation is useful. Thanks.
    I think my eyes agree that Nate is the better scorer. I am impressed with Duhon’s ability to get to the glass,but his finishing is disappointing.
    His long range shot has shown real improvement during this run. My hope is that is not anomalous

  110. BigBlueAL

    All this PG talk reminds me of the good old days of the Ward/Childs duo and who should start/play in the 4th quarter.

  111. taggart4800

    Jeffries for Morrison

    LA has no reason not to do that trade. Other than save themselves dollars. The only reason would be to stop NY from becoming a contender.
    Throw in Nate for Vujacic and they save themselves 5 mill next year which offsets Jeffries contract. Plus they are getting more talent in return.

    I would trade JJ in a heartbeat in order to clear cap space. LeBron is a far better defender than he is.

  112. StevenU

    Tastycakes-good response-thanks. I posted here for the first time yesterday and got a flak for referring to the Knick coach as D’amphony. And, I did take notice right away that the comments here, as opposed to say NYPOST seem a lot more fact based and less people just making virtual noise-and I like that. I can tell you are a real fan….and I can not really disagree too much about Curry; as I said, I am not a fan of his. I just think that this time around he actually has worked hard (for once) and that he is talented regardless of whether his talents suit this team or D’antoni’s system-if you can call it that. I also agree with your point about falling in love with a guy (JJ) just because of a hot streak; I’d extend that thinking to the entire organization. This is just one month. Does anyone believe that the Knicks will play .700 (or .750) ball the rest of the way?
    I also do not understand why anyone would think that getting rid of Curry and/or Jeffries in any way assures the Knicks of landing LeBron, or of landing two top tier FAs. I just don’t see it, much I’d I’d love to be wrong.
    I would not trade Gallo in order to clear cap space. Please Mr. Walsh-do not under any circumstances do that. The ONLY way I’d want to trade Gallo is if it’s part of a sign and trade FOR a top FA; otherwise you are trading something of value for nothing-or (just) for the hope of something-not smart.
    taggart-in a short post you propose a trade that actually makes a lot of sense-kudos. Still, in no way is LeBron a “far better defender”-sorry, the king is the king and a very good defender-but if he is better-which I do not think he is-it’d be by a hair.
    Comparing Nate to Duhon is silly; they are way too different to compare.

  113. tastycakes

    Why it’s important to have space for 2 max guys:

    If you don’t, then you can only attract 1. :)

    If “playing for a contender” is something that seriously factors into the decision-making for these star players, telling LeBron that Wade or Bosh is going to sign with him and they are going to own NYC for the next decade .. well, that’s part of the pitch. If all we have to offer is a team with middling talent and no draft pick, that seems like it should be less attractive.

    I do like Bill Simmons’ reasoning .. you basically tell LeBron that the franchise is his, he gets to control the rebuilding, own New York, be the biggest media star in sports, etc. If the Cavs flame out this year (let’s face it, Shaq is not good anymore), perhaps LBJ will decide enough is enough with the Cleveland management.

    LBJ to the Knicks would be so, so sweet.

  114. daJudge

    (1) I guess it comes down to shedding contracts to build up the war chest. That mantra makes a lot of sense and it clearly appears to be the Knick’s strategy. It also diminishes the importance of winning this year–but, on many levels, it doesn’t mean winning is irrelevant. Attracting two max guys would be unbelievable, but I guess possible. I am actually getting psyched just thinking about it. I would prefer Wade over Bosh, but it depends who the Knicks could keep. What do you guys think? (2) I am starting to appreciate JJ, but I agree that if his contract thwarts the signing of free agents, his defensive intensity can be replaced for far less $$$. Being kind of old school, I have a problem disconnecting from player loyalty. I suppose that’s just the way it is if you want to win. I also do concede that Coach does appear to be loyal to certain players, despite their flaws. Maybe this is good. Maybe it’s inconsistently applied. I don’t know, but I am reassessing. (3) Can the Knicks sign LBJ and Wade and still keep David Lee and Gallo? Any number crunchers out there?

  115. Z-man

    “When you’re the main reason the team is losing I would not call it leadership to call out other players for their pre-game preparation, I would call it passing the buck. I would call it a lot of other things, too, none of them positive.”

    I disagree with this. A player can be in a slump and still be a leader. Duhon didn’t question Nate’s play, only his professionalism in practice. He called for the team to be more focused.

  116. daJudge

    Z-man–I’m not sure about this at all, but weren’t there questions concerning Duhon’s after hour habits? If true, this behavior would impact on his efficacy on the court and make his observations of Nate rather hypocritical. Nate seems like a gym rat to me and keeps himself in great shape. I could be all wet on this and maybe Duhon is a great leader, but his slump was very lengthy and perhaps attributed to his own off court ‘antics’.

  117. Brian Cronin

    If Lebron and Wade somehow came to the Knicks, I’d imagine D’Antoni would play them at the 4 and 2, respectively, with Gallo at the 3.

    That’s where Lebron and Wade played during the Olympics.

  118. daJudge

    Brian–what if they needed to add Gallo into the equation to get two top free agents? Still not on the table?

  119. jon abbey

    there need to be other players on the roster, and Gallo’s going to be one of them. even if NY had the cap space, it doesn’t make sense for LeBron and Wade to take max contracts (from their perspective), since it would totally handcuff adding additional players and getting them the title/s they want.

    LeBron is coming here, I’ve been saying it for probably five years now, before he signed his extension, and before anyone else I know was talking about it. not sure if it’s possible to search the archives like this, but I’m pretty sure I’m the first one who broached the possibility here. six months to go!

  120. daJudge

    I agree that LBJ will be in NYC. All my friends thinks I’m just a dopey fan. Jon Abbey, what about another max dude w/ LBJ? What about David Lee? Look into your Crystal ball. BTW, I love this site and happy holidays to all. What a great read.

  121. J Weezy

    I personally love B.S and thought the article was well written but the stuff about how Gallo will needed to be included if the Knicks plan to sign 2 max guys is just his Celtic Pride/Knick Hate showing….When the Knicks are relevant next year with the NBA’s top player [or two ;)] the celtics won’t be beating on us anymore. Knicks/Celtics is a classic NBA feud that hasn’t been great since Bird left and really great since the seventies

  122. rama

    The numbers don’t work to keep Lee and sign two max deals. If we are able to get rid of Jeffries or Curry, we have enough to offer the max to Wade/LBJ or Bosh (don’t do it!) or Joe Johnson (don’t do it!) or whoever. But sorry to say we’re looking at the last year of DLee if JJ or Curry goes.

    Of course, if Curry and JJ stay, it may yet work out for us: we could sign Lee and a max (oh, please LBJ, say yes!), and the following year we could sign another max (hello, CP3!).

    Either way, Gallo isn’t going except FOR LBJ or Wade (along with freight, like JJ). We need another component, and both those guys would love a sharpshooting, good-passing, shot-blocking tall dude.

    But then…we still lack an interior defender. Is that why we drafted JHill? I suspect so.

  123. jon abbey

    I’m quite sure that LeBron has a plan as to who he’ll be playing with if and when he signs here (and that it’s a topic that’s been discussed between him and Wade and Bosh and whoever quite a bit), but I’m not sure as to what that plan is. I think Joe Johnson would also be a great sidekick. if Gallo keeps progressing and they can somehow keep Lee, they would be most of the way there.

  124. ess-dog

    I would say Gallo is untouchable. But is anyone else? Do you include Douglas or Hill just to move Jeffries or Curry? Maybe Hill was drafted just for that reason? Curry may be impossible, but how could Portland not take Jeffries/Hill for expirings? That’s a good deal. Or Sacto. Or Dallas.
    Call me crazy, but I don’t see Wade/James happening. It’s too much top dog competition. James and CP3 or Johnson works better. Because you know that if you go to NY with LBJ, it will be all about LBJ. If I were Wade I’d go to Houston. Great organization with great role players and a hole at SG. And I think Chicago has taken itself out of the running.
    And I’d love to keep Lee but with LBJ at the 4 doesn’t that seem unreasonable?

  125. Brian Cronin

    I think Lebron would only play the 4 if they have a good 2 alongside him.

    So if they don’t get one, I could see Lee sticking at the 4/5.

  126. jon abbey

    in unrelated news, nice to see Brandon Jennings coming back to earth in a big way in the last month. tonight he was -22 +/- in 16 minutes, that’s tough to do. Milwaukee is 4-13 since 11/23.

  127. ess-dog

    no abbey, i didn’t read that interview? what’s the gist? don’t get me wrong, i love wade almost as much as ‘bron. i read something saying that he’d like to play alongside ‘bron. and those guys do talk about the olympics team w/ d’antoni as being a great experience. the only way it could happen is if we trade jeffries and buyout curry.
    how absurd would that be to have wade, gallo and lebron at the 2, 3 and 4? i think you could put owen and thomas b. at pg and center and still win 3 or 4 championships.

  128. Z-man

    “weren’t there questions concerning Duhon’s after hour habits? If true, this behavior would impact on his efficacy on the court and make his observations of Nate rather hypocritical. Nate seems like a gym rat to me and keeps himself in great shape. I could be all wet on this and maybe Duhon is a great leader, but his slump was very lengthy and perhaps attributed to his own off court ‘antics’.”

    What one does on his free time is a separate issue. Derek Jeter is known for his late-night carousing, as was Clyde Frazier and many other all-time greats. Magic and Kobe apparently had lots of fun outside their marriages. To me, what one does in practices and games is separate unless the off-court becomes such a distraction it hurts the team. Duhon has never gotten into trouble or embarrassing circumstances off the court to my knowledge. He had the complete respect of one of the great college coaches of all time, as well as his current coach, despite being overmatched athletically on most nights. Nate has had run-ins with his coaches forever and acted like a complete a-hole when he got pulled over last summer.

  129. rama

    Z-man – DaJudge’s point (which is a good one) is that Duhon’s off-the-court “antics” did affect his on-the-court play. Significantly. There were many voices saying that he wore down last year not because of the minutes he played, but because he didn’t take care of himself off-the-court. To p[lay at the highest level, you simply can’t go out drinking until 4…even if you’re Derek Jeter.

    Jon – buying out Curry doesn’t accomplish anything; his salary still counts against the cap. It’s a trade or nothing.

    Good as Lee is, I can’t see how he stays. We’ll find a taker for Jeffries + talent. And then we’ll have cap room to sign two max guys – probably LBJ and Joe Johnson, I’d guess. And then no room to sign Lee. No way Lee doesn’t get at least 10 mil.

  130. AJJA

    Even if we can’t land 2 free agents next summer, I think we’d still be ok b/c Chris Paul becomes a free agent in 2011 I believe. So Lebron comes to NY next year and then the following season Chris Paul comes and we have the PG we all know we need. Can you imagine a line-up with Lebron, Chris Paul, and Gallo, that would be unbelievable.

  131. KnickFan4Life

    I think the Chris Duhon going out thing might be overstated. So while people may believe it was the cause of his breakdown last year how exactly would you prove that. I tend to go with the theory D’Antoni overplayed him since that is more logical considering he was a mainly used as a backup for most of his career. Or even more logically it was probably a combination of the two. Duhon could probably overcome his regular nightlife and his hangovers when he was a backup, but now as a starter playing heavy minutes he might have hit a wall. If that is the case I hope for his sake and for the Knicks sake that he has made adjustments and is at least not going out as much…

    I’ve even heard rumors of him having a serious drinking problem, but again I think this might be overstated. For one he’s played in both Chicago and New York, so you know stuff gets exaggerated guaranteed. 2, he’s Chris Duhon so people immediately react shouldn’t he be resting or working on his game instead of going out all the time, like someone mentioned previously elite athletes often get a pass for their carousing, but with an average player it gets frowned upon which is somewhat hypocritical. On top of that people have this image of him as a Duke choir-boy that contradicts his late night activities. 3, let’s be real a lot of these guys go out and drink etc,.

  132. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Is there something I’m missing in Joe Johnson’s game? Sure, he’d be a good fit in D’Antoni’s system (even though he’s not that efficient of a scorer at a .526 career TS%), but a 6’8″ swingman to play alongside… Lebron James, King of 6’8″ Swingmen? Basketball is a game of diminishing returns, particularly when players must have the ball to make a serious impact on the game. Johnson doesn’t accrue many defensive stats (1.0 STL/36 and 0.3 BLK/36), so wouldn’t pairing him up with a more athletic, productive, and efficient player of the same mold produce a much smaller return than, say, a Chris Paul or Chris Bosh?

    And the idea that a small lineup can win in the playoffs is not one that has been proven in quite some time. Garnett, Duncan, and Shaq have been responsible for many of the last ten championships, so if there’s money to be spent, I’d argue that it’d be best spent on a big man like Bosh.

  133. KnickFan4Life

    Honorable I don’t think Lebron with Joe is a good match. Lebron with a good PF is a good match but most swingman matches are bad. There are some who believe him and Wade would work, notably Peter Vecsy, but I don’t see it personally…

  134. Z-man

    “Duhon’s off-the-court “antics” did affect his on-the-court play. Significantly. There were many voices saying that he wore down last year not because of the minutes he played, but because he didn’t take care of himself off-the-court. To play at the highest level, you simply can’t go out drinking until 4…even if you’re Derek Jeter.”

    I did a quick search and found no evidence of the “many voices” you bring up. Some posters here have mentioned rumors, but I have to take that with a grain of salt. I, for one, have seen absolutely no evidence of him regularly (or even occasionally) getting drunk while staying our to 4, or reporting to work hung over, or of his performance ever being affected by his drinking or staying out late; at least not with the Knicks. (BTW, Duhon does not have a 9-5 job so 2 am or even 4 am for him is not the same as it is for most folks.)

    With Nate, there is ample evidence of his “antics.” And again, what one does on the job in front of colleagues and bosses is WAY more important than what one does in his own time…unless it get into the illegal and immoral, i.e. conduct detrimental to the team a la Plaxico Burress. Dinner, drinks and dancing and womanizing (for a single guy) after a game hardly rises to that threshold, unless it is extreme in one way or another and becomes a distraction.

    I just don’t get the insinuation that D’Antoni had a double standard for Duhon vs. Nate re: unprofessional behavior. I agree that D’Antoni is clearly lying when he says it isn’t personal with Nate, but that doesn’t matter to me because I understand the need to be PC in public.

    Furthermore, nobody can deny that Duhon has played as well as can reasonably be expected (given his limitations) since the early slump, or that he was not the only one stinking up the court even back then (basically everone except Lee, and certainly including Nate.) He doesn’t complain incessantly about every call, throw balls at opposing baskets, or make a mockery of practices and pre-game prep.

    And how do we know that Nate isn’t living it up himself at night or during the off-season. David Lee has improved on something every year, what did Nate improve on? Did he come in ready for the season? Did he do what was necessary to challenge for the starting PG role?

  135. Frank

    “Honorable I don’t think Lebron with Joe is a good match. Lebron with a good PF is a good match but most swingman matches are bad. There are some who believe him and Wade would work, notably Peter Vecsy, but I don’t see it personally…”

    I think that’s why the Knicks were so upset not to get Steph Curry. He would have been perfect with Lebron — sort of a BJ Armstrong-type but better to play with the Jordan-type that Lebron is. I’m not even sure that Paul is necessarily the best point to play with Lebron although I certainly wouldn’t complain. I feel like Lebron is best when he’s got the ball and plays point forward – so guards that play well without the ball but can still distribute it when Lebron is on the bench etc. would be best. If we had Paul and Lebron, who controls the ball?Same thing with Wade. Magic Johnson doesn’t think Lebron and Wade can play together either.

    If we were to get Lebron, I’d almost rather pay him the max, bring Lee back, and then sign another big FA in 2011 after Curry and Jefferies disappear… anyone know how much we’ll be under the cap in 2011 assuming we pay Lee 8-9MM per?

  136. Frank O.

    Wow!
    What a string. All this winning has gotten people heady.

    Put me on the record as a guy who wants to ensure the knicks hold onto Gallo and Lee.
    Lee continues to improve and Gallo has emerged as a very good player.
    Everyone else is dealable.
    Again, Ted’s 1 percent rule is in affect. If you have a 1 percent chance to get Wade and James you need to try.

  137. Sandy

    Seriously, this site is blowing up. I wonder what would happen if the Knicks win out through December!

    As much as I love Lee, he is not worth more than $12 million a year. With that kind of money, and given our cap situation, he would be the second highest paid player on our team (assuming we nab a max level player). Lee cannot be the second highest paid player on a championship caliber team.

    We have to stop falling in love with guys just because we drafted them. Again, just like Donnie said, Lee is good at one number and bad at another. None of us thought he was worth much more than he is currently paid before the season and I contend he is not worth a whole lot more than he is making now (maybe another $3-4 million). After that, he is simply not worth it. Given the number of teams with cap space next year, we cannot afford to play the numbers game with David, who IMO (despite all this talk of wanting to be a Knick), will run for the highest offer. I don’t blame him for that, but overpaying David, after spending two years clearing albatross contracts would be a travesty. If we cannot trade Jeffries, sign him for the $10 million if he will take it, otherwise, let him walk and wish him luck.

  138. Dan Panorama

    Ha, I was just thinking about what a difference winning has made to the comment boards here — it’s like night and day. Since these blogs have never really been around for a strong winning season I can only imagine what it’ll be like if the Knicks become outright awesome again.

  139. ess-dog

    Re: buyout of Curry, you could save 2 or 3 million with a fair buyout – that could be the difference between retaining Lee or not. Anything helps. And I mean, there’s no way we trade him until halfway through 2010 anyway.
    We really should send him to the D league to get minutes, get some confidence. It’s pointless putting him in real games.
    Any news on Bender? Is he injured?

  140. taggart4800

    StevenU,
    Im not in anyway going to attack you. Seeing as you gave me kudos and i am new! However the LBJ is a better defender than JJ.
    On an average from 2003/04 season
    DRB%
    LBJ 16.775
    JJ 11.788

    STL%

    LBJ 2.25
    JJ 1.6375

    BLK%

    LBJ 1.6125
    JJ 1.75

    Drtg – points per 100

    LBJ 102.735
    JJ 108.625

    DWS

    LBJ 7.5125
    JJ 1.9

    LeBron wins in every catergory other than blocks. which surprises me as is this is really the only catergory i would have hung my hat on to say that he is better at.
    This said i am just glad i got kudos!

  141. Ted Nelson

    Seems like Jeffries might be able to be moved on his own if he keeps playing this way and helping the team win. Would take a team looking for exactly what he brings, of course, and that team would have to have expiring contract(s) that work out financially. I would certainly

    Chris Paul cannot become a free agent until 2012: http://hoopshype.com/salaries/new_orleans.htm

    For me LeBron/Wade is still the #1 option to be, by a mile. I think that combo might be better than one of them and Chris Paul, even, since Paul is a PG who is best with the ball in his hands all the time. Two wings with great playmaking ability may be able to share the court better. Bosh is a defensive liability at the 5. He’s having a career year, but LeBron/Wade have career years pretty much every year (although Wade’s injuries are a concern). LeBron/Wade + an interior defender or two is better than one + Bosh, in my opinion.
    Chicago proved the exception to the bigmen win championship rule, and LeBron/Wade/Gallo/Douglas/Hill could impersonate the Bulls pretty well with a passable 5. If Phil Jackson were to leave LA for NY, he’d be in heaven with that group.

    Again, you single out one of your teammates and then proceed to be possibly the worst player in the entire NBA for a month… that’s leadership? I don’t remember Duhon making a big deal about calling out himself when he was killing the team, but I have to admit that I don’t see too many quotes for Duhon and the media largely decides which ones we do see. I have no problem with calling Duhon a leader, at least on this team–in Chicago he was rumored to be a malcontent for years and I believe his feud with Scott Skiles was pretty common knowledge. There were also rumors that the Bulls organization was not happy with Duhon’s off-court lifestyle.
    As far as Nate’s “antics…” LeBron does more radical stuff before games. The Spurs were known for joking around all the time in practice during their dynasty years. Nick Swisher is widely credited with loosening up the Yankees’ clubhouse in a positive way. Some teams want to keep it loose, and some teams want to keep it tight. The Knicks are the latter, which makes Nate a poor fit chemistry wise. On the right team he might be a key part of the locker room chemistry.

  142. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    I believe that Curry’s cap number stays the same on the books if you buy him out, the team just saves that money and Dolan does not seem to be hurting for money.
    He can’t be forced to go to the D-League (only players in their first 2? or 3? years can be), but if it’s possible (would be unprecedented in the NBA, I think) I agree that him agreeing to a sort of minor league rehab stint might be in his best interest. The NBA players association seems to have their panties all in a bunch about the D-League, so I feel like they might step in if it’s not already against some rule.

  143. Ted Nelson

    Frank,

    Didn’t see post 236 before. I agree about the Steph Curry thing… although, Douglas might be better than Curry both overall and for LeBron (since he looks like a plus defender at the 1).
    I do think LeBron and Wade can play together. I posted a more detailed explanation previously, but there are a lot of parallels for Jordan/Pippen… besides Pippen being SO overshadowed by MJ. I don’t think LeBron is best off with two similar catch-and-shoot, some PG ability, a little penetration ability guards, since he’s had that in Cleveland and it hasn’t yielded a ring. Another All-World point-wing who can kill a defense in just about every way would be a great complement. You’d get increasing returns from having those two on the court together, I believe.
    I STRONGLY disagree that it’s preferable, assuming you get LeBron, to keep Jeffries and Lee rather than bring in Wade. I feel pretty confident that LeBron would agree and probably wouldn’t sign if the former were the plan, if the latter is the plan he gets a shot at his stated goal of being able to compete for a ring every single year.

  144. jon abbey

    “Since these blogs have never really been around for a strong winning season I can only imagine what it’ll be like if the Knicks become outright awesome again.”

    the more a team wins, the dumber the fan base gets, so it’ll probably mean more hands-on moderation from Mike to maintain standards. a problem I’m willing to live with!

    happy holidays to all! our present is only six months away, hopefully… :)

  145. Frank

    “I STRONGLY disagree that it’s preferable, assuming you get LeBron, to keep Jeffries and Lee rather than bring in Wade. I feel pretty confident that LeBron would agree and probably wouldn’t sign if the former were the plan, if the latter is the plan he gets a shot at his stated goal of being able to compete for a ring every single year.”

    Don’t get me wrong — if Lebron and Wade want to come here I’d take it in a heartbeat. But I really think the chances of that are miniscule, and you’d have to renounce Lee before you could even try for it. And then you’d be stuck giving the rest of your space to Joe Johnson or some such player, blah.

    I don’t think the failure of Lebron to win a championship in Cleveland invalidates the idea that a shooter/defender rather than a slasher/scorer at the guard position is the best fit. Honestly, Cleveland is horrible other than him. Mo Williams? He’s just a slightly taller version of Nate as far as I can tell. No D, shoots too much, very streaky. Delonte West? Average at best. Gibson stinks. Varejao is not even as good as Jefferies. Ilgauskas is like a hippo out there, or at least moves like one. Seriously, is there any player on the Cavs other than Lebron that you’d actually want on the Knicks?

    I think a lineup of:

    PG: Douglas or other similar player
    SG/SF: Chandler
    SF/PF: Lebron
    SF/PF: Gallo
    C: Lee
    with Jefferies, Hill, etc., sign Bender to a vet’s minimum…
    is better than any team the Cavs have thrown out there the last few years. I’d almost bring back Harrington on a 1 year deal for the rest of the cap room if he’d take it (he won’t).

  146. jon abbey

    yeah, people don’t seem to understand how much better LeBron makes the players around him, much like Jordan used to do. they’ll see pretty quickly if he leaves Cleveland, though.

  147. J Weezy

    frank your lineup seems realistic and probable for 2010 if Lebron were to sign with the Knicks. Lebron knows that if the Knicks are unable to trade either Jeffries or Curry then they won’t have enough room to sign a second max free agent. I believe hes not expecting to arrive in his first year and take the Knicks to the ship but play with the understanding that the team is in a better position to get better in the next 5 years than the Cavs are. With a core of Lee Gallo and Bron and 2011 free agents the Knicks then could be championship contenders. Knicks will promise great things in the summer of 2011 if they are unable to unload jeffries and/or curry. Not alot of stars (unless some pick up there option) but some nice players the Knicks could attract for cheap due to that fact that its NY and that they could play without Bron.

  148. d-mar

    As much as I think a LeBron/Wade pairing would be way cool, I think the least likely of the 2 to go for this idea would be Wade. Don’t forget, he won a title in Miami, so he’s not as desperate as some other players. He has an ego just like any superstar, and I don’t see him pairing with the King to get ring number 2. But hopefully I’m wrong.

  149. BigBlueAL

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?page=Heat-Knicks-091224

    Interesting preview of the Knicks-Heat Christmas day game. A little disappointed with the answers to the Beasley or Gallo question. Not that they all picked Beasley but you can tell by some of the comments that most of the analysts have never seen Gallo play, calling him just a one-trick pony (his 3-pt shooting) and saying every night the other teams attack him on defense as if they are lighting him up and the Knicks need to hide him on defense when in fact its becoming the opposite all of a sudden.

  150. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    The comments on the Beasley/Gallo question aren’t great. For example, I would put the odds of Beasley winning an MVP right around the odds of me winning one. Abbott’s been hitting the eggnog a little too hard. .512 TS%, 12.9 reb-rate… Beasley is like a glorified Wilson Chandler.

    This is why there’s no reason to listen to the so-called “experts.” The most valid points they make are that Gallo’s back is a big risk and that Beasley has more “upside” (which he doesn’t look like he’ll come close to fulfilling).

  151. BigBlueAL

    Right my point was like I mentioned how everybody talked about how basically all Gallo does good is shoot. At least Abbott did mention that Gallo does play some D unlike Sheridan who made it seem like every night the other team attacks Gallo and scores at will on him.

    I looked it up and Gallo’s PER for this season is actually slightly better than Beasley’s.

  152. Bodacious Bryan

    It’s not just the winning. People on Hahn’s blog on are looking for some place sensible to post. Hahn was getting upwards of 100 comments on his blog. But now with the paysite, little to none. Somebody asked him the other the day what was another good blog to post at other than his own and he recommended this one.

  153. cwod

    Do you think Hahn reads this site?

    Beasley is not very impressive. By the way, weren’t stats guys all over him before the draft? Clearly his attitude is playing a role, as well as his maybe being misused.

  154. Sandy

    experts are idiots. barely have enough time to read about each team, let alone watch them. i certainly trust this group of knowledgeable fans more than I trust the experts, whose only real value add is breaking new stories. (even that is questionable)

  155. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    I was agreeing, I wasn’t associating the comments with you. Just agreeing that those “experts” don’t always know what they’re talking about.

    Frank,

    I think you’re underselling Cleveland’s supporting cast, as almost everyone does. They are a very good defensive team (3rd last season, 6th this season), and although LeBron is a very good defender that’s not all on him. They are also good offensively, and LeBron is easily the biggest reason why but he has some talented players around him. Mo Williams was already well respected in Milwaukee, where he got his contract. He’s not great, but he’s a pretty decent player. I don’t know how steaky he is, but he’s but up a TS% above .566 and a 3p% above .385 each of the last three seasons (above 58% and 40% as a Cav): the guy can shoot. Shaq hasn’t fit in there, but he and Z are still solid bigs… the Knicks, in comparison, have no true bigs (who actually play). “Varejao is not even as good as Jefferies.” I strongly disagree. Varejao is about twice the scorer, a much better rebounder, and a better interior defender. Jeffries strengths are his defensive versatility and b-ball IQ, but he’s not a good player.

    “is better than any team the Cavs have thrown out there the last few years.” Again, I disagree. Douglas is really promising, but hasn’t shown much… especially not the ability to play anything resembling PG in NBA games. Hopefully Chandler has turned the corner, but on his career he’s way below average starter and not a SG. The Gallo/Lee frontcourt is great offensively, but will get eaten alive defensively. Bender has still only played 37 minutes. The Cavs are 6th and 8th in defense and offense this season after finishing 3rd and 4th last season. Knicks would probably be top 10 offensively, but I really doubt it would be in the top 10 defensively.

    Jon,

    “yeah, people don’t seem to understand how much better LeBron makes the players around him, much like Jordan used to do. they’ll see pretty quickly if he leaves Cleveland, though.”

    Many of his teammates have played separately from LeBron, so all you have to do is look at their production pre- and/or post- LeBron vs. their production with LeBron. Mo Williams, for example, has played better with LeBron… but he put up only slightly worse numbers his last season in Milwaukee. Anthony Parker played better his first two seasons in Toronto than he is this season. Z was all-rookie 1st team when LeBron was in middle school and an All-Star the season before LeBron got there… There’s no pattern of improved stats with LeBron. Delonte West put up similar numbers with a mediocre Boston team his first couple years in the league.

    I am not saying that LeBron doesn’t make the game easier offensively for his teammates, I am just saying that I don’t think their production is impacted as much as you’re letting on. I am also not commenting on his overall impact on the team (as in, if they lose him without bringing in another All-NBA player they are going to be a lot worse), but his impact on his teammates’ production.

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