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Saturday, November 1, 2014

2010 Game Thread: OKC vs. NYK

The new look Knicks take the court tonight to face the Oklahoma City Thunder with a brand-new starting lineup!

Tracy McGrady will start at shooting guard, with Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari each moving up one spot (from guard to small forward for Chandler and from small forward to power forward for Gallo). Duhon will never not start for point guard for the Knicks.

Should be interesting!

Put your in-game comments here!

307 comments on “2010 Game Thread: OKC vs. NYK

  1. Brian Cronin

    Seriously, who thinks OKC has a good offense (Ted mentioned a friend of his argued the point – but if you watch them, their offense looks pathetic – their defense, though, looks awesome)?

  2. Brian Cronin

    It’s depressing that it took us 53 games (and no chance to make the playoffs) before we got to watch a fun Knicks team.

  3. BigBlueAL

    WOW, what a pass by T-Mac to Harrington. The Knicks passing has improved night and day now with T-Mac and Sergio.

  4. Droidz1979

    the new guys House, Sergio and T-Mac are a breath of fresh air for the Knicks!!! At least these guys know how to passs!!! hope Knicks win this won..nice shot by T-Mac and he sure does look solid so far..

  5. BigBlueAL

    I dont want to get too excited after just 1 quarter, but T-Mac is looking way better than I expected this early.

  6. Brian Cronin

    So far, so good!! Nice to finally have a Knick that will get some calls going to the hoop!

    Good point. When’s the last time the Knicks had a guy who got BS touch fouls? Ewing, maybe?

  7. SeeWhyDee77

    WOW…the ball movement is incredible tonite. I guess guys are really movin around tonite and swingin the ball becuz there are 2 guys on the roster now that will find you wherever u r on the court. I like what I see so far

  8. d-mar

    I really don’t miss Jared Jeffries.

    The only sad thing about this new team is it looks like Gallo is becoming sort of irrelevant to the offense.

  9. Brian Cronin

    The only sad thing about this new team is it looks like Gallo is becoming sort of irrelevant to the offense.

    They should play him with Rodriguez – the open looks Rodriguez is getting for Bender and Harrington seem pointless.

  10. Droidz1979

    Nice pass by Bender to T-Mac!! boy are they fun to watch..hope they don’t choke the rest of the game though..

  11. Brian Cronin

    I was going to write that Duhon has been made nearly irrelevant, but before I could say that, he goes and makes a terrible pass to Lee.

  12. Brian Cronin

    You know what this really shows?

    This is like an audition to guys like Lebron and Wade and say “Look how these guys can play if you give them a playmaker.”

  13. Brian Cronin

    I get that T-Mac is slow coming back, but why would you ever trust Duhon to run the plays if T-Mac is there?

    As soon as Duhon is given responsibility, the team falls apart.

  14. BigBlueAL

    Is it me, or does Duhon’s body language look horrible when the ball isnt in his hands on offense.

  15. Brian Cronin

    You’re totally right, Al, but I don’t mind him playing if he’s there just as a defender – when he starts running the offense – yuck.

  16. Droidz1979

    T-Mac for max contract?? don’t get way ahead of yourselves guys..i’d rather have Lebron, Wade or Bosh..besides, he knows that he is not at the level of his old self thus his remarks from his prior interview.

    The difference i think is Sergio, when his out the ball movement ain’t that good..It seems its only been T-Mac that bailed the Knicks out there. Am done with Duhon! Hope i don’t see no more of him after the half, heck make it for the rest of the season or say a lifetime in a Knick uniform!

  17. cbrooklyn

    feelin a little giddy bout them knicks rt now!! Tmac looks like he’s ready to be a leader on this team..something that was sorely missed for a long time..sensing some character on this team..FINALLY!!

  18. nicos

    It’ll be interesting to see how much McGrady has left in the tank in the 2nd half- he’s got to be pretty gassed. How about actually being able to get a good shot up at the end of the half?? Haven’t seen that in a while.

    With no Jeffries you’re seeing Duhon getting exposed as a defender (though in his defense, Westbrook pretty much blows by everyone). I think the big difference I see between Sergio and Duhon on offense is Sergio does everything so much quicker- neither will shoot well, but on the pass Sergio gets the ball out of his hands so much quicker that it should give the Knicks shooters a little more room. I’m interested to see if Sergio will attack the basket a little more on the p & r- that alone would make up for whatever he gives back on defense.

  19. BigBlueAL

    I dont think Knicks win this game and might struggle over next few but I wouldnt be surprised if they finish last 20 games like 12-8 or so (barring any injuries).

  20. Droidz1979

    @67 hey droidz is your sarcasm detector broken? lol

    My bad..just saying though, if T-Mac demands for a max contract or that higher than what he should be getting then it should be ADIOS for him! Knicks ought to be smart of its cap space, besides if it was Isiah running this team, his probably working on a 10-year max contract at halftime by now..

  21. Jeff

    I’d love to see T-Mac maintain this kind of effort. Having him and Chandler on the floor causes a ton of havoc.

  22. Spree8nyk8

    So if someone can correct me if I’m wrong, but since the Knicks inherit Tmacs bird rights, if they sign two max players in the offseason they can still resign him above the cap right?

  23. cbrooklyn

    TMac already said he would love to stay if 1 of the big free agents come..he said MONEY IS NOT AN ISSUE!!.. HELL he’s makin 23 mill for a half a season this year..

  24. cbrooklyn

    Tmac is amazing me tonight as well….Good MOve DONNIE!!…so far so good..lol..dont wanna jinx it..

  25. GAx

    Don’t worry cbrooklyn. If anything you’d be the 83’rd jinx just from these comments alone.

    Oh god I wish I could watch this game instead of through the play-by-play box.

  26. cbrooklyn

    yeah Gax..i think all us knick fans are just excited because of the dismal garbage we’ve endured for so long!!

  27. massive

    well here’s that reality check. I almost forgot Al Harrington played for the knicks, too bad we couldn’t turn him into, say, Tyrus Thomas.

  28. Droidz1979

    Al should have been traded for some real assets also..heck even a future draft picl won’t be that bad..

  29. BigBlueAL

    Collison and Krstic are just dominating Lee offensively. Very pathetic. As I say that, WOW what a drive and dish by Sergio to Lee!!!

  30. Droidz1979

    Damn, suddenly Sergio is that good for a Knick standard..guess that’s how long its been starved from a decent PG..then again, it might just be between Duhon and Nate..

    If only we could have Rubio and Lebron next year..am drooling for that already lol

  31. cbrooklyn

    lol@massive..there is something sick about that relationship..but i think its gonna hard for dantoni to justify playing duhon with these new guys on the team..sergio,house,douglas and tmac can play dudu position…pack his bags NOW!!

  32. Kikuchiyo

    I’m loving the offense tonight, but the Knicks look like they’re auditioning for a spot in the Matador D Hall of Fame.

    Olé!

  33. BigBlueAL

    Im dead serious, Sergio has gotten into the lane more tonight than Duhon has done the entire season and its all being done on his own not with pick-n-rolls.

  34. Brian Cronin

    While yeah, Chandler should have caught the ball, Sergio has to got to know what he’s working with before he tries to get too tricky.

    House is one of the most maddening players in the league – he makes lots of big shots but he also misses a lot of shots.

  35. Droidz1979

    Sergio ought to be back in instead of House, he took a three when they had the numbers… Although he does hustle on D unlike Nate or Hughes, would still prefer Sergio and T-Mac playing along side Lee, Gallo and Chandler

  36. cbrooklyn

    sergio should be in the game..but just wait until these guys get a couple of practices together..gonna be a exciting finish to this season i think..

  37. Brian Cronin

    Durant reminds me of a better version of Iverson.

    So yeah, I don’t get how he can be compared to guys like Lebron or Wade. Those guys are a lot better. I will allow that only Lebron was better than him at the same age, though.

  38. Owen

    Wow, second block from lee…

    And then chandler misses a chippie, shouldn’t happen in that spot, or any spot….

    And then a great clutch shot from Lee….

    Love the new regime…

  39. Brian Cronin

    And then chandler misses a chippie, shouldn’t happen in that spot, or any spot….

    It really seems like he, in particular, is not used to actually getting nice passes.

    Lee at least played with Marbury when Steph still had a little left in the tank.

  40. Frank O.

    @162
    Yeah, I keep noticing old Knicks getting surprised by passes from new Knicks.
    And we have seen players on the floor tonight.

  41. Owen

    Durant is over 60% ts% for the year. Iverson cracked 55% exactly once.

    Durant is for real, not a Lebron-Paul-Howard level talent yet, but definitely an elite second tier guy…

  42. Brian Cronin

    Durant is over 60% ts% for the year. Iverson cracked 55% exactly once.

    Yeah, hence the “better version” part. ;)

  43. Owen

    Crap, Chandler misses again, he was definitely fouled…

    I know you noted that Durant was better. But that is a HUGE difference in scoring efficiency. The difference there is almost as big as the difference in scoring efficiency between Lebron and Kobe this year

    ;-)

  44. cbrooklyn

    I dont give a damn what happens!! This was a entertaining Good friggin game!! I like the new REGIME!!

  45. Brian Cronin

    Honestly? I know it would never, ever ever ever happen, but I think I call another timeout as soon as it was clear that the play had broken down.

  46. cbrooklyn

    Its ok .. a couple of practices and we’re good…maybe dantoni will actually start adding some real go to plays since we have some real players now!!

  47. Frank O.

    Yeah, soon as Lee put it to the floor, you knew the play was broken

    Why wasn’t sergio on the floor for that play. The man makes things happen and Oka doesn’t have anyone that can stay with him

  48. Frank O.

    T-mac will come back in for the final seconds.
    Still holding out hope.

    Lee has played some solid d late in the game.
    They’re just small.

  49. Owen

    “This is why you need a defensive center who can also rebound.”

    Or a power forward who can rebound. Chandler was right there but Collison was just bigger and better at the job…

  50. BigBlueAL

    Like Heat fans used to say when House was a rookie and Riley didnt play him that much, “Free Eddie House!!!!”

  51. BigBlueAL

    Im sorry, Durant may not be in Lebron-Kobe level but he sure is damn fuckin close to it (at least offensively).

  52. Thomas B.

    @172

    I dont know if your are new to the Knicks Spree8, but this team can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like no team I know. Its been this way for the last 4 years. They just find ways to lose. I hope they break that trend tonight. I’m not holding my breath.

  53. Frank O.

    DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!

    Why is it that T-Mac didn’t have the ball at the end of regulation or OT…?
    So frustrating

  54. Brian Cronin

    Gallo is now 0 for 1000 in last second big shots at end of game.

    When do they ever give him the chance to take shots other than the rare off-balance shot off of a broken play? When they actually do get him on set plays at the end of the game, he has done pretty well (the big threes against Charlotte jump to my mind). Don’t get me wrong – part of that is that the other teams don’t want him shooting so they try to keep him from getting the ball, but still, the Knicks tend to go to other guys at the end of the game.

  55. David Crockett

    I’m sure someone covered this earlier, but at the end of regulation how do you walk away with a foul still left to give?

    Coach D Fail. (Unless someone just refused to foul.)

    Oh, and Wilson Chandler was just dreadful in the 4th and in OT.

  56. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, T-Mac was totally gassed – he was only in the game to inbounds, because of his strong court vision (and height).

  57. Brian Cronin

    Coach D Fail. (Unless someone just refused to foul.)

    I really have not been impressed with his end of the game came calling this season.

  58. Brian Cronin

    Im just venting Brian!! Ive calm down now….

    If you want to vent, I think #21 is a nice target. ;)

    Also, House shows exactly how maddening he can be. Big shots and then whatever the hell it was he shot at the end of the game.

  59. Robert Silverman

    This loss was about one thing – MISSED F@#$%^ING FREE THROWS!

    2 byT-Mac, One by Rodriguez. Awful

  60. Droidz1979

    the Knicks can’t buy a call at their own house, how many times was Chandler whacked and no call???

    Then again, Chandler had sooo many missed lay-ups and that missed free throws by T-Mac was HUGE…Would have loved if they won this game =(

  61. BigBlueAL

    Knicks now 1-6 in games decided by 3pts or less. Anyway still it was a fun game, unfortunately I work at night Monday and Tuesday so will hopefully be able to catch at least 4th quarter of the games but at least it is worth watching again if only for the entertainment value.

  62. Droidz1979

    Gallo ought to be attacking the basket more, he had no free throw attempt..And Sergio’s passes are mind boggling, most of the time Chandler seemed surprised after recieving them like the ball came from heaven or some sort.. simply reminds me how awful Duhon and Nate were..

  63. nicos

    Well, on the bright side, Duhon was glued to the bench throughout most of the 2nd half- hopefully that trend continues. And Gallo was very good defensively (though he’s missed several late game threes the last few games- all contested but still, you’d like to see him nail one). Didn’t like seeing McGrady rubbing his knee while on the bench in overtime. In Chandler’s defense he could have gotten a call on both that inbounds play and on that last drive but man did those two and the chippy he missed off of the McGrady feed kill us. It looked like he wasn’t ready for the speed at which Sergio and McGrady moved the ball- he needs to fix that.

  64. Droidz1979

    Great game though irregardless if the season is long over for the Knicks..at least its more entertaining now.. House may throw bricks and is bone-headed but at least its not Al Harrington and Larry Hughes bad coz he hussles and plays decent D. T-Mac surely gassed out in the end down there and was massaging his knees near the end of the game.

  65. Droidz1979

    well, he hasn’t played in a long time and was given like 8 minutes or so only at Houston… Should probably manage his playing time better coz he sure has some game left in him, probably play Sergio and ToneyD more and permanently bench Duhon. They also need a few more games to gel better and get used to all those sick passes..

  66. nicos

    Also, Sergio’s defense was no worse than Duhon’s and he seemed a lot more active going after loose balls- of course, this could be short-lived hustle borne out of moving to a new team. It is tough to get a read on a player’s defense when they have to guard Westbrook though as players are generally sagging so far off of him it difficult to tell just how good their on the ball defense is.

    House is basically Nate without Nate’s ability to get to the rim but with better defense. Maybe a little less streaky than Nate as well but I’m not counting on him repeating this performance all that often. Still, I think he and McGrady could be a pretty good defensive backcourt and given that it looks like the Knicks can run the offense through McGrady and the fact that House can definitely shoot the 3, it could be a pretty nice backcourt going forward (especially on nights where they don’t have to try to stay in front of Westbrook).

    It’ll also be interesting to see how Chandler responds to more minutes at the 3- I think some of the increase in his production has come from killing smaller 2’s both down low and by powering by them with the spin move.

  67. DS

    I bet Jeffries would have hit at least one of those free throws T-Mac missed.

    JJ and Hill quiet in their Rockets debuts. Kevin Martin 3-16 in a loss to the Pacers…

  68. DS

    I’m just kidding… did anyone else hear MSG call T-Mac 29 years-old several times tonight?? He’s going to 31 in May according to espn.com.

  69. Z-man

    Suffered through the whole game on TV last night. Damn, it was a tough one to let slip away. Lots of goats despite the stats: DLee’s D on the last shot in reg, T-Mac’s FT’s, Chandler’s execution on O, etc. (why doesn’t he dunk the freakin’ ball?) Still, it was nice to have an electric night at the Garden as a sign of things to come (hopefully!)

    T-Mac can obviously still play, but he looked concerned about his knee at the end of the game. I wonder if he didn’t ice it on the bench because of how it would have been perceived. Nothing has been said, so I guess that’s a good sign. Guess we’ll find out tomorrow night.

    Sergio plays much smaller than the 6’3″ he is listed at. Maybe it’s that he has short arms… kind of like Scott Skiles had. He got called for 1 travel and I thought he got away with a couple. He seems a split second slow on decision-making but can obviously really pass. Certainly a better offensive player than Duhon, but his D is a real liability.

    House showed some veteran leadership out there. I really liked what I saw out of him.

    Durant is a monster player. I would not be shocked if he winds up being the best player in the league in a couple of years, or at least second to LeBron. Showed a real killer instinct last night and is an impossible matchup.

  70. Frank O.

    I know there were folks who questioned me saying Durant needs to be at least in the conversation with Lebron and Wade and a couple others in the NBA, but last night was yet another example of how good he can be.
    He hits clutch shots, scores almost without effort. T-Mac scored 26 and people were amazed, and yet Durant seemingly easily scores 36.

    And last night he was a bit off, shooting 10-25, but with 15 FT attempts. Normally he shoots about 48% from the field…
    TS% of 60 and an eFG% of 52.

  71. Frank O.

    I wonder why T-Mac and Sergio weren’t on the floor together more?
    Maybe because staggering them ensures a sound ball handler throughout the game. I think the drop off is so radical when Duhon comes on that D’Antoni just decided it wasn’t worth risking leaving the team in Duhon’s hands in such a game.
    But also, I think it is important to note that the Knicks with new players that hadn’t even played together took everything one of the best teams around could give and almost won.
    With a few more practices, they could actually be very good. Chandler and Lee clearly will benefit from having passers like this. I can’t figure Gallo out yet. He seems a bit aloof sometimes on offense.
    A guy that big shouldn’t just live outside. With the Knicks having some size issues, getting his 6’10 frame in the mix would be a big help.

    So amazing that D’Antoni gets three guys in trades, and all three immediately displace starters on the Knicks. Must have been pretty humbling for the guys warming the bench. Harrington looked terrible at times last night. Just killed them.

  72. Owen

    Durant is definitely a great scorer. And it is interesting to line him up next to Lebron.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=jamesle01&y1=2010&p2=duranke01&y2=2010

    The major difference is in a/to. Bron averages 5 more assists per game while committing the same number of turnovers. Durant is still a little too one dimensional to be a truly elite player. But with the way turnover rates drop he may get there.

    One of the amazing things about Jordan is that he had a single digit turnover rate for the last ten years of his career. Durant needs to get into single digits and get his assist rate up to maximize his productivity…

  73. Brian Cronin

    Durant is still a little too one dimensional to be a truly elite player.

    Nothing I saw last night showed him to be more than a great defender and a brilliant shooter.

    What’s silly is that “a great defender and a brilliant shooter” at age 21 is a really, really, really, really good player. So it’s weird to think about that as a knock, ya know? Like “he’s ‘just’ a great defender and a brilliant shooter at age 21!” What you wouldn’t give to have a guy that good on your team, ya know?

    But Lebron and Jordan were that and so much more, even at age 21.

  74. Ben R

    Also now that we have McGrady and Lee running the offense, I would love to see Douglas in the starting line up for defense and spot up shooting. Then bring in House and Sergio to provide a huge spark off the bench. I think a Douglas/Mcgrady backcourt is perfect because Mcgrady can be the one on offense and the two on defense.

  75. Brian Cronin

    Also now that we have McGrady and Lee running the offense, I would love to see Douglas in the starting line up for defense and spot up shooting. Then bring in House and Sergio to provide a huge spark off the bench. I think a Douglas/Mcgrady backcourt is perfect because Mcgrady can be the one on offense and the two on defense.

    Good thinking!

  76. TheBigRooster

    This is Hilarious, I just came across this shirt. A must have!
    http://chazerclothing.com/2010/02/21/donnie-walsh-tee/

    Ben R, I agree with you kind of. I think it should be the other way around. Have Sergio start and bring douglas off the bench. Sergio has so much energy and brings it on D from the get go. Bring Douglas off the bench. Hes only a rookie and hes gotta get burn to build confidence, but he has more success off the bench. They both bring it on D, Sergio just makes everyone play better because he has great court vision.

    Both options I am in favor of, as long as Boohon stays on the bench.

  77. Ted Nelson

    Brian,

    Found something relevant in Larry Coon’s NBA Salary Cap FAQ (#33):

    “A renounced player no longer counts toward team salary, so teams use renouncement to gain additional cap room. After renouncing a player, the team is still permitted to re-sign that player, but must either have enough cap room to fit the salary, or sign the player using the Minimum Salary exception.”

    http://members.cox.net/lmcoon/salarycap.htm#Q33

    It doesn’t say it explicitedly, but implies that a team can be under the cap, go over, and use the minimum salary exception.

    Here’s another part of that answer that may be relevant to the Knicks this offseason:

    “After renouncing a player, a team can still trade the player in a sign-and-trade agreement (see question number 78).”

  78. Ted Nelson

    Way too early to say anything definitive, but I may have underestimated how good T-Mac can be. If nothing else he could be a sign-and-trade piece or part of a back-up plan. I pretty much wrote that off as a consideration, but (after only one game) looks promising. If the Knicks miss on JamesWade and T-Mac gives them 5 solid years the draft picks are a lot less of a concern…

    Ben R re: James vs. Durant,

    I would call the passing a pretty huge deal, personally. LeBron’s offensive role on the team can be about twice what Durant’s is: he’s your main scorer and your main distributor. I mean, you look at a list of players with above 40% ast%s and it’s all All-Star and HOF PGs: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=per_minute&per_minute_base=36&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1947&year_max=2010&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&lg_id=&franch_id=&is_active=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=ast_pct&c1comp=gt&c1val=40&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=ws
    In their early careers Durant’s efficiency might partially make up for this, but LeBron is now up around 60% TS the past two seasons, and I sort of doubt Durant is going to continue improving to 65% TS or something (maybe I’m wrong, though).

    So, I think the gap is pretty large. The point about #2 in the league in a couple years… certainly possible. The 3 other guys I would nominate off the top of my head are Wade, Howard, and Paul: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=duranke01&y1=2010&p2=wadedw01&y2=2010&p3=paulch01&y3=2010&p4=howardw01&y4=2010

    Durant leads the group in Win Shares, 3rd in PER…. whatever it’s worth.
    Wade is older and less efficient, but has a similar ast% advantage to LeBron… Wade has been more efficient in previous seasons than this one, but his 3-pt shot never coming around is troubling as he ages. Could easily say Durant is already better or will pass him in a couple years. Howard and Paul are harder to compare since they play different positions/roles. Durant is clearly a better scorer, but Howard is a significantly better rebounder and interior defender (though his TOs are a killer) and Paul is a far better playmaker and despite being 3/4 of a foot shorter isn’t much worse on the boards.

    I think I would put Durant ahead of Melo, since they have similar games but Durant is more efficient. I would also put him ahead of Kobe, who is in a bit of a down year and not getting younger. Duncan’s right there, but not getting younger. He peaked at the beginning of the decade. Another guy I would throw into the conversation is Chris Bosh, at least this season (maybe more so if he can hold his own on a good defensive team). KG’s defense maybe still keeps him in the discussion, though he’s clearly not the player he was.

    Young guys who might pass him… Have to throw John Wall’s name out there, who knows what he’ll do in the NBA? I would throw Bynum’s name out there, but I don’t know when/if he’ll get the minutes and role to justify it. Would throw Oden out there. If he gets his health together. Blake Griffin? I would also put Rubio’s name out there, though I doubt he’ll be quite that good even in the best case.

    Anyway, although I’ve never been as high on him as some others, I guess Durant will be 1st or 2nd team All-NBA for the next decade and could be/become the 2nd best player or even pass LeBron should he age or have an off year. I think all else equal I would take Chris Paul or Dwight Howard over Durant, personally, but I guess it really depends what type of team you have. He’s a great fit for OKC and hopefully they can start producing around him. If you’re starting from scratch I might rather have the amazing PG (Paul) or interior force (Howard) than the scoring wing, but maybe that’s just ignorant conventional wisdom.

  79. Ben R

    Ted – I agree that Lebron’s passing makes him a much better player than Durant but I was shocked how similar Durant was to Lebron through their first three years. I don’t think Durant will ever be as good as Lebron but I expect him to be better than Wade or Kobe in their primes. He is certainly better than they were at 21. I knew Durant was good but until I looked closer at the stats I had no idea how good.

    I realistically think there will be a four person discussion in two years as to the best player and I think Durant will be right there with Howard and Paul competing to be the second best player.

    Maybe Wall will be there too, until he plays in the NBA who knows, but none of the other names stand a chance in my opinion; Bynum, Oden, Evans, Rubio, Griffin, Rose, etc. From what I’ve seen none of them has shown me anything to think they could be that good. Very good possibly, hall of fame maybe, but not top three players in the league good.

  80. Ted Nelson

    “I knew Durant was good but until I looked closer at the stats I had no idea how good.”

    His greatness has kind of snuck up on me too.

    “none of the other names stand a chance in my opinion; Bynum, Oden, Evans, Rubio, Griffin, Rose, etc.”

    Rose: no. Mediocre at this point. OK, good but overrated. He’s duplicating his rookie season. Career .516 TS% and 29.1 ast%… Doesn’t belong anywhere near the discussion at this point.

    Evans I didn’t think of. He’s only a rookie, so could still take a big step forward. Durant himself was pretty lost as a rookie (.519 TS% and 6.9 TRB%). I really didn’t except Evans to be this good this early (kudos to Donnie Walsh who called him the 2nd best player in the draft).

    Leaving the best player in the draft: Blake Griffin. I think he’ll be a 20/10 machine, but I don’t know if he’ll be more Karl Malone or Elton Brand. Falls in the same boat as Wall in terms of never playing in the league.

    Rubio can get into the discussion as a Steve Nash type of sneaky good guy who just drives his team. He has incredible passing ability and his shot is coming around (though he’s not the natural shooter Nash was at a young age). His scoring volume will never be spectacular, but he’s scoring efficiently in Spain this year. His defense also projects to be a lot better than Nash’s. Also never played in the NBA, a league that’s all about penetrating guards right now.

    I would put Bynum and Oden in the discussion because I think they could challenge Howard as best center in the NBA. They are the only two challengers currently in the league that I see. http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=howardw01&y1=2010&p2=bynuman01&y2=2010&p3=odengr01&y3=2010

    Bynum is solidly worse than Howard: rebounding, blocks, scoring efficiency. His rebounding spiked up the season he got injured. Seems like an outlier at this point, but if he wants to maybe he can get back to that elite rebounding status. His blocks are a career low this season. His scoring volume might go up appreciably if not on the Lakers, which I think is the main argument for him (along with his massive size). Howard’s kryptonites are (besides kryptoNate) scoring volume and TOs. Bynum is a very low TO big man, so if he could go up to the point where he’s putting in 25-30 pts/36 he might actually leapfrog Howard. It’s a stretch since Marc Gasol and Horford are probably having better seasons (not to mention PFs Lee and Bosh), but I base it on Bynum’s ability to be a dominant bigman on both sides of the ball. If you make him the focal point of your team does he get better or worse? I don’t know. He’s the #2 scorer (per 36) on a top 10 offense and a main cog in their #2 defense.

    This season, in a fairly small sample, Oden was right there with Howard in terms of rebounds and had him beat in terms of blocks and scoring efficiency. Howard gets more stls and asts, but also slightly more TOs. If Oden can get healthy and integrated into the Blazers’ team, I think he’s in the discussion.

    Both Bynum and Oden are two years younger than Howard.

  81. Ted Nelson

    “They are the only two challengers currently in the league that I see.”

    Should say the only two potential challengers going forward, since Marc Gasol is not very athletic, and Horford, Lee, and Bosh have more PF bodies. All 4 of those guys are 25 or older, too. All of those guys could be better than Bynum and Oden going forward, but I think those two have the highest ceilings.
    Maybe Thabeet becomes Dikembe, but even in that case the ow scoring volume will keep him out of it.
    Hassan Whiteside is projected by NBAdraft.net as the #1 pick in 2011: http://www.nbadraft.net/2011mock_draft
    Sounds like a glorified Javal McGee to me, but we’ll have to see.

  82. Frank O.

    Chris Paul has one of those kinds of injuries from which some guys never fully recover.
    That will require watching. It was a meniscus tear in his left knee, and often leads to osteoarthritis.
    Essentially, without the meniscus, youre practically rubbing bone on bone. It’s a bad, bad injury for basketball players…

    I’ve watched a lot of Durant lately, and then staring with a bit of disbelief at his stats. He’s a beast.

    Ben and Ted are both right about his passing. He’s never been asked to be a playmaker. Lebron clearly was and has been his entire college and pro career.
    But I’m not sure there is a better more efficient scorer out there in the clutch.
    And while Lebron sometimes feels like a blunt force instrument, Durant is just so smooth and easy. It’s easy to lose sight of him.
    I think as he adds muscle, and deepens his skills his rebound and passing will improve.
    But I love watching the guy play, except when he’s playing the Knicks.

    It was interesting reading Collison’s assessment of T-Mac, BTW. He was the only Okla player that played him in his prime. He gave T-Mac props for his play, but he also noted that he’s not as athletic as he once was. I can see that, but at 6’8 and with his IQ, he clearly can still be great.

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