2010 Report Card: Chris Duhon

How bad was Chris Duhon’s 2010 season? I first advocated for benching Chris Duhon on November 14th. That’s barely 2 weeks into the season. Of course Knick fans know that D’Antoni stayed with his point guard until February when the Knicks received Sergio Rodriguez in a trade. Duhon would relinquish the starter’s role a few games later to Toney Douglas, but then start the last 7 games of the season. Despite his season long poor play, he managed to find 2072 minutes of court time.

Duhon’s season was so bad, I wondered if I was too kind giving Duhon a B+ last year. But I only had to look at his career stats to see the reason why. Between 2009 and 2010, Duhon’s TS% dropped nearly 70 points to a subterranean 50.1%. He did see a drop in his free throws attempts (2.6 to 1.7), but his poor play was linked directly to his shooting woes.


From the chart above, you can see that his efficiency is closely tied into his shooting and it appears as if Duhon’s first year under D’Antoni (2009) was an outlier. That season was his only one above the league average. For the rest of his career he’s been a wretched scorer.
Shooting percentages fluctuate from year to year, so we don’t expect a smooth line when we look at a player’s shooting per year. However 2010 has dropped the Dukey’s shooting percentages down to a level just above his rookie year. Incidentally, “dropping the dukey” can be used to describe Duhon’s season.

If I had to select one single player to blame the misfortunes of the Knicks 2010 season, I’d have no other choice than to select Duhon. He was 5th on the team in minutes played, an astonishing amount considering how bad he truly was.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 1
Defense: 3
Teamwork: 3
Rootability: 1
Performance/Expectations: 1

Final Grade: F

Similarity Scores

.000 Chris Duhon 2010 NYK 10.7 50.1 47.2 8.6 0.5 3.1 6.6 1.0 0.1 1.9
.053 Steve Blake 2008 POR 12.0 51.8 50.2 10.3 0.5 2.9 6.1 0.8 0.1 1.7
.061 Lee Mayberry 1998 VAN 9.2 48.9 46.6 7.1 0.4 2.2 6.8 1.3 0.2 2.2
.097 Howard Eisley 2000 UTA 11.5 49.2 46.2 12.2 0.4 2.9 6.0 1.0 0.2 2.3
.115 Rory Sparrow 1986 NYK 13.0 51.1 48.1 12.2 0.8 2.6 7.2 1.3 0.2 2.4
.118 Steve Kerr 1993 TOT 9.4 50.5 45.9 10.0 0.4 3.4 5.2 0.7 0.1 2.0
.130 Bimbo Coles 1996 TOT 12.4 51.3 46.6 12.3 0.7 3.6 5.8 1.3 0.2 2.4
.130 Kirk Hinrich 2008 CHI 13.1 50.1 46.7 13.0 0.4 3.7 6.8 1.3 0.3 2.4
.133 John Bagley 1988 NJN 12.4 50.3 46.5 12.7 0.8 3.3 6.2 1.4 0.1 2.6
.135 Phil Ford 1984 HOU 10.4 54.8 50.4 10.2 0.5 2.4 7.3 1.1 0.1 2.4
.139 Doug Overton 1997 PHI 13.2 51.4 45.3 12.3 1.0 3.9 5.7 1.4 0.0 2.2

‘Nuff said.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

19 thoughts to “2010 Report Card: Chris Duhon”

  1. Good lord so many of our players comps are average at best players or better players at the end of their careers and that’s being kind. Interesting that Hinrich shows up.

  2. I would give Duhon a 1 on defense. He didn’t help the defense at all and the Knicks were the #27 defense… so, that’s a 1 to me. The Knicks had to put Danilo Gallinari on PGs at the end of the season to hide Duhon…

    I certainly didn’t expect Duhon to be this bad going into the season, but D’Antoni’s inability to adapt to his horrendous play is a big red flag to me and reason enough to give D’Antoni an F for the season. The options weren’t ideal, but between Nate (offense), Hughes (defense), and Douglas (both) there were options from the very start. Instead of attacking the tangible root of the problem and benching Duhon for horrendous play, D’Antoni lashed out and benched Robinson for his intangible impact on the team. Once Rodriguez came over–a player who most thought would be as good a fit for D’Antoni as he would be for anybody–he was not at all integrated into the system and had a -10.8 +/-. It was a misreable situation and I don’t want to blame D’Antoni for everything and call him a miserable coach, but the lack of adaptability is something that worries me going forward.

  3. It’s a real shame Duhon didnt have this stinker of a season in 2009. If so, perhaps Walshtoni would have given more thought to taking a point in the lottery like Jennings or Holiday. Or perhaps we would have dropped a few more games and picked Curry or perhaps Rubio kid some of you love so much.

    You were right to call for Duhon’s benching in November. I wrote an article about that in January after D’Antoni said the only thing worng with Duhon was his shooting.

    You know, any time we put Duhon and House in the same backcourt, we sent out the worst guard combo in the NBA.

  4. I have to agree wih the “F”.

    If someone bothered to analyze the brief period when the Knicks were playing well last year I wouldn’t be surprised if it coincided with a brief period that Duhon was shooting well.

    D’Antoni’s system relies on the floot spacing and the pick and roll.

    If your PG can’t hit an outside shot it’s a lot easier to defend the P&R because the defenders don’t have to switch and the defending PG doesn’t have to go over the pick. They can give the PG space and dare him to beat them. If he can’t, the roll is eliminated. With Duhon throwing up bricks, being too slow to run a good fast break, and not finishing well, the entire system was put into a coma.

  5. “It was a misreable situation and I don’t want to blame D’Antoni for everything and call him a miserable coach, but the lack of adaptability is something that worries me going forward.”

    I agree Ted. I was a big D’Antoni supporter in year one — he really did have a terrible cast and situation to deal with. But he does show a disturbing tendency to stick with his decisions long after a rational person would admit to having made a mistake.

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting to get different results.

  6. I’m not worried… at best the benching of duhon would have win us 3,4 more games?

    at the risks of maybe ruin further the locker room?

    I’m not happy for the past season…but it’s the past.
    don’t look too much into it

    let’s get lebron or wade, the rest will take care of himself

  7. @5

    The thing is, IMHO “HE” doesn’t think he’s making a mistake.

    If you understand what he’s trying to implment here you can better understand why he stayed with Duhon and continued hoping he would come out of his shooting slump. Neither Douglas or Nate could run his system (though hopefully Douglas is using the summer to work on the P&R as Walsh suggested he was on ESPN radio last week). At a certain point he threw in the towel, but he IMO feels more strongly about his system than overhauling it to get an extra few wins in a lost season.

    Duhon was so pathetic, the rest of us threw in the towel a lot sooner, but I unedsrtand his thinking even if I disagree.

    THat’s why I said in the previous thread that most coaches have their system in mind when they trade for, draft, and sign players. They want players that fit. They don’t want to overhaul what they know best. The problem here is that the Knicks didn’t have the flexibility to bring in players that fit because they were dumping contracts to whoever would take them and didn’t want to sign anyone long term.

    I think this is the year to judge both D’Antoni and his system.

  8. Remember when Walsh could have had Ty Lawson and DeJuan Blair? I do. Then, with LeBron and Bosh, and a serviceable SG, the Knicks might have won 60 games next season.

  9. @8

    Again, I’m not disagreeing with anyone. I simply pointing out that they are looking for players that fit (for better or worse).

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

    Shoot the system. lol

    Dejuan Blair is a very talented and productive player, but there is no way he fits into what D’Antoni is trying to do here.

    The thinking on Lawson was discussed elsewhere, but I can’t remember where I read it. They saw him as a potential fit, but because he’s small, not very long, and not a good leaper with his shot they saw some danger that he would not be able to get his shot off well enough to run the point for them. There were also concerns about injuries.

  10. @8

    But then he presumably would have had to trade Lawson to Houston in the McGrady trade to free up the cap space to get the second max FA, that is, if Houston would have accepted Lawson rather than Jordan Hill.

  11. I agree with JK47 that there’s no reason to believe whoever was drafted #7 wouldn’t have been traded to Houston. Hill looks like a good value after the way he played in Houston. It was the way he was used by D’Antoni that was the problem.


    He did make a mistake, though. Duhon couldn’t run his system and was outplayed on the season by Robinson, Douglas, and even Hughes (defense). If the Knicks weren’t tanking the season I think he gets fired. Sticking with Duhon all season and not playing 2 bigmen may have cost the Knicks 10 victories. That’s off the top of my head, but I really believe it. The way Hill played in Houston makes D’Antoni look bad.

    Duhon was a questionable signing in the first place: slow, walk it up, physical PG… not a running playmaking type. His hot shooting saved him in year 1, but it was a questionable signing all along. And that was one D’Antoni apparently championed. Most coaches make terrible personnel decisions and don’t actually know which players are going to fit their system. They have a limited eye for talent.

    “THat’s why I said in the previous thread that most coaches have their system in mind when they trade for, draft, and sign players.”

    I disagree. Most coaches have little say over personnel. If they can’t deal with the players on the roster, they get fired. Many more teams change their coaches for their players than vice versa. The average coaching stint lasts, what, 2 or 3 seasons? If the Knicks weren’t looking at 2010 the last two season, D’Antoni would be shown the door right about now.


    Blair could be an undersized 5 for D’Antoni. He could have had a good rookie season and then been traded either mid-season or now. I’m fine with Douglas, but if the Knicks had taken some scrub like Wayne Ellington or Jermaine Taylor I would be really pissed they passed on Blair because of “fit” and “projectability.” That late in the draft you’re just trying to get NBA talent. Blair and Budinger obviously had NBA talent, so any teams that passed on those guys for scrubs should be kicking themselves.

  12. @11

    Some coaches don’t have much of a say about the players, but when D’Antoni came here it was with the understanding that he plays a specific style of basketball. Walsh bought into that system and has already stated numerous times that he evaluates players on both a talent level and whether they will fit into the system (numerous times).

    In this case that’s probably especially true because the Knicks plan right from the beginning was to start with what was essentially a clean slate anyway.

    I think they work as a team trying to identify talented players that will fit.

    If you have a dispute with any of that or any of the players they used, signed, or eventually sign it’s not a disagreement with me. It’s a disagreement with Walsh and D’Antoni.

  13. @14

    I guess it comes down to some semantics, but I still think Walsh is looking for talent. LeBron, Bosh, Wade, Dirk… these are guys that are going to fit into any system. Guys who shoot the 3 are valuable in any system. Long athletes who can play are valuable in any system. I just don’t see many examples of a guy who is valuable in D’Antoni’s system and not just generally valuable. Shawn Marion seems like one possible example, but you don’t see too many Shawn Marion clones out there. (Look, for example, at Boris Diaw. He was supposed to be some special D’Antoni guy, but he’s played just as well for Larry Brown who some would consider about as far from D’Antoni strategically as you can get in today’s NBA. Raja Bell was similar to Bruce Bowen who was valuable to the Spurs. Nash, KT, Amare, Joe Johnson, Barbosa… all valuable outside D’Antoni’s system. Alvin Gentry has found a way to make the WCFs with Robin Lopez and Amare playing together… something we all seem to question whether D’Antoni would even consider.) My fear is that “the system” may be more exclusive than inclusive. I’ve said many times before that if you need Nash, Amare, Marion, etc., etc. to be a great coach… you’re not a great coach. You’ve got to adapt at least a bit to a new situation.

    My disagreements with you aren’t over actual moves made, but interpretations of the power structure of the Knicks and strategy. I trust Donnie Walsh to do the right thing if D’Antoni’s magical system gets in the way of building a good team… maybe I’m wrong but that’s my interpretation. So far results are a bit mixed.

  14. Have read all the comments about Walsh/D’Antoni and not surprised at all with Ted’s criticism of D’Antoni and basically giving him no credit at all for his success in Phoenix. lol

    He and most here should know I am a pretty big fan of D’Antoni BUT I agree 100% with Ted in regards to the fact that Walsh is not married to him and worships at his altar and will fire him in a second if he feels it would be necessary to do so. Walsh is the boss and runs the Knicks not D’Antoni. He is very respectful towards him and defends him to the press because Walsh is smart and good at his job but again he is the boss and is the one making the decisions even though Im sure he obviously asks D’Antoni for his input.

    Also saw this today on ESPNNY.com on the Knicks blog about D’Antoni’s Suns teams defense. As has been mentioned before they were not horrible at all but were just average at best although if you have the best offense in the league and an average defense you will win alot of games. Here is the link in case someone wants to check it out: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/knicks/post/_/id/75/defending-dantonis-d

  15. All this D’Antoni stuff shouldn’t really be a problem. He can coach the game of basketball, and its apparent he values the defensive side of the ball. That’s the big reason Douglas was so highly praised, because he can defend the perimeter. He had a great offensive game early in the season against Utah, but he didn’t get an increase of minutes after that game. Also, D’Antoni is known as a player’s coach. I think if LeBron, Wade, or Bosh comes here and wants to play defense, we’re going to play defense.

    At this point, both Walsh and D’Antoni should know the value of defense. What I want to see is how D’Antoni adjusts his system, because it seems inevitable now. This year is the “hot seat” year with high-expectations. I want to see Walsh string something together and get a high energy big who plays defense, and get some real defenders more the vet. min like Matt Barnes and Raja Bell. Then any combination of Johnson/Wade/ and Stoudemire/Bosh/Lee would work best because you have guys who are willing to score, run, and defend all around them. A Douglas/Wade/Gallo/Bosh/Biedrins starting line-up with Chandler, Walker, Barnes, Bell, two draft picks and maybe Ben Wallace creates a really talented team that could win 55+ games next season. Maybe Johnson and Lee together won’t accomplish this feat, but its possible.

    My point is you shouldn’t worry about D’Antoni because of what he did with no talent. Of course sticking to Duhon last year was at least questionable, but this year everybody’s hoping we don’t have to worry about the players. I’m sure D’Antoni will make it work. Walsh did say something like D’Antoni is as good a defensive coach he’s been around and compared him to Dean Smith. Now I doubt all of this, but he seems to be confident in D’Antoni’s defense.

  16. @BBA

    Good points. It’s not that I don’t give D’Antoni any credit. I just try to put it into perspective. He was given THE perfect roster for his system… I mean can you think of any NBA roster in the last decade or two that would have been better for D’Antoni? His system worked great with one particular core group, but has never worked any other time on this side of the Atlantic. Journeyman coach Alvin Gentry doing every bit as well with a similarly talented Suns team as D’Antoni ever did also makes him look bad. I’m not trying to be negative about D’Antoni. He obviously has his positives too and I would call him a good NBA coach overall. I’m just saying that I don’t think he’s done enough to establish his greatness yet and I wouldn’t take the magic of his system too far, as the knicks have spent two years proving. The talent is what drives the system on both sides of the ball. Ignoring interior defense is going to make thing a bit of an uphill battle. All I would say is that Bosh probably gives up 20 lbs to Amare and Danilo is not yet Shawn Marion… I believe D’Antoni himself even would at least want a strong defensive.3rd big if that’s his frontcourt.


    I largely agree that D’Antoni doesn’t ignore defense, though he doesn’t seem to stress it as much as other coaches either. That’s why I’ve been arguing he’s not going to go ape shit about a Bosh/Danilo frontcourt without some serious defensive reinforcement.

    It’s also about perception, though, and LeBron is on record taking a shot at D’Antoni’s lack of attention to D could be a problem.

    I agree with most of your points. I’m going to wait for D’Antoni to prove it to me before I assume he’ll figure it out.

  17. Lebron’s upcoming CNN interview sounds like generally decent news for the teams hoping he’ll leave the Cavs. He apparently says all the correct things, like that the Cavs have the “advantage” in signing him, without actually strongly leaning towards re-signing with the Cavs. Of course the Cavs have the “advantage” at signing him, due to the money incentives and the fact that he is from Ohio, but effectively he is saying nothing, and nothing is good news for the Bulls and Knicks at this point.

    By the way, I was playing around with ESPN’s slot machine game – and boy, how silly. Lebron ends up on the Nets more often than he does on the Knicks, which is way too silly. And when Lebron does end up as a Knick, it’s usually by himself. Oh well, I suppose you can’t expect a little slot machine game to be realistic.

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