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Saturday, August 23, 2014

2010 Report Card: Eddie House

House came over mid-season from Boston, and the common wisdom was that he would put up numbers similar to his season in 2006 under D’Antoni. That year in Phoenix, he posted his second highest PER (15.2) of his career. But things didn’t quite work out as planned. In 371 minutes for the Knicks, he had a career low PER of 7.2. House’s main value is his sharpshooting from downtown, but he inexplicably only managed to hit 25%. If someone is out there is keeping track of how common wisdom performs, this one is a serious “fail” in the column of a player doing well for a coach/system in which he has familiarity.

There’s not much to say about a three point specialist that can’t buy a bucket. He’s an undersized 2 guard who doesn’t defend well. What made his season worse was the number of long twos he took. According to Hoopdata, he took almost as many long jumpers (5.7 fga/40 from 16-23 feet) as three pointers (6.5 3pa/40). It was jaw dropping how many bad shots Eddie House attempted in a Knick uniform. If I had to look for a positive aspect of his game, I’d say that House was a good passer for a spot up shooter. But it nowhere near made up for his deficiencies.

Report Card (5 point scale):
Offense: 1
Defense: 1
Teamwork: 2
Rootability: 1
Performance/Expectations: 1

Final Grade: F

Similarity Scores:

z-Sum FLName Year Tm PER TS eFG PTS ORB TRB AST STL BLK TOV
.000 Eddie House 2010 TOT 10.5 49.5 46.7 14.0 0.4 3.2 2.5 1.2 0.2 1.4
.041 Kevin Grevey 1985 MIL 10.7 50.5 45.8 14.5 0.8 3.1 2.9 0.9 0.1 1.7
.047 Ron Anderson 1990 PHI 13.9 49.9 45.2 16.0 1.4 5.1 2.5 1.2 0.2 1.3
.048 Devin Brown 2010 TOT 10.0 50.0 45.7 13.6 1.0 4.2 2.2 1.1 0.2 2.1
.056 Kiki Vandeweghe 1990 NYK 12.5 51.2 46.3 16.5 1.0 3.4 2.6 1.0 0.2 1.7
.069 Jim Paxson 1989 BOS 11.5 50.2 45.8 15.6 0.6 2.3 3.4 1.2 0.3 1.8
.074 Anthony Peeler 2001 MIN 12.6 51.3 48.9 13.4 0.7 3.3 3.3 1.5 0.3 1.8
.079 David Wesley 2002 CHH 11.3 47.9 44.7 13.8 0.6 2.1 3.4 1.1 0.2 1.7
.081 Jaren Jackson 1999 SAS 12.5 50.0 47.4 12.6 0.9 4.1 2.0 1.7 0.4 1.5
.081 Tony Delk 2005 ATL 15.1 51.2 47.7 17.9 0.8 3.5 2.8 1.3 0.1 1.5
.089 Cuttino Mobley 2007 LAC 12.5 54.6 49.7 13.6 0.7 3.4 2.5 1.2 0.3 1.8

55 comments on “2010 Report Card: Eddie House

  1. Ted Nelson

    “It was jaw dropping how many bad shots Eddie House attempted in a Knick uniform.”

    Amen. One of my least favorite Knicks of all time. Does Hoopdata keep track of how many more shots he took without his feet set than shots he took with his feet set?

  2. Thomas B.

    Yikes. Hey am I mistaken or did Tony Delk once have like a season long streak of horrible shooting? I keep thinking it was with the Hawks or maybe the Warriors. But I thought I recall people making a big deal about how many shots in a row he had missed over a good number of games. Anyway, similarity to Delk and Peeler will not bode well for your career.

    Did you know Eddie House’s son has a reality TV show called “My dad’s a pro.” I’m not betting that show will be aired next season.

    Wow the Robinson trade would be an F- if not for a decent showing from Bill Walker at his very reasonable price tag. I wasnt not high on House, but I had no clue he would be this bad.

  3. DS

    Another brilliant article by Berman: IF there is such thing as a summit (???) between Wade, Bosh, LeBron, and Joe Johnson it COULD be a good thing for the Knicks. This LeBron free agency has engendered the worst form of journalism I’ve ever seen. Page 6 might be trashy but at least its stories are not 100% baseless and speculative. Not to mention EVERYONE’s opinion on the matter is printed. Am I supposed to care if Jalen Rose thinks Bosh would be the ideal teammate for LeBron??

    Nice write-up on House. It’s weird to see Kiki and Mobley on that list. I didn’t think either had bottomed out that low.

  4. BigBlueAL

    I remember when House played for the Heat all the fans wanted Riley to play him more and the fans would have signs that said “Free Eddie House”. Knick fans had vastly different feelings towards Eddie House.

  5. DS

    Nate Robinson acting a floor general w/ Rondo hurt. Can he get the C’s into the Finals?

  6. Mike Kurylo Post author

    “Wow the Robinson trade would be an F- if not for a decent showing from Bill Walker at his very reasonable price tag. I wasnt not high on House, but I had no clue he would be this bad.”

    Watching tonight’s Celtics/Magic game, Nate’s making that trade looking extremely one sided.

  7. Thomas B.

    “Watching tonight’s Celtics/Magic game, Nate’s making that trade looking extremely one sided.”

    True but remember, there is good Nate and there is bad Nate. Bad Nate is still in there somewhere. But something tells me KG would not tolerate bad Nate.

    We were not going to keep him and we may not have had any other trade options that were salary nuetral. Wish we got a pick back in 2011 though. oh well.

  8. BigBlueAL

    Nate did finish 4 for 10 and 2 for 6 from 3pt land so it wasnt like he was that on fire the whole time, just had a little hot stretch which we all know he is capable of having. Believe he finished a +3 in 13 minutes.

  9. massive

    So Hedo is looking to be traded. You think Colangelo will try to pair Bosh and Hedo? If he does, then we might be looking at Miami lucking out. They can send Beasley back for Bosh and Hedo, then Wade will re-sign. A Wade/Turkoglu/Bosh team would suck for us. But then again, Wade/Gallo/Bosh could be better than that in 3 years.

  10. JK47

    Who would the Heat send back in a S&T with Toronto? They have Wade, Beasley and a bunch of dreck. What would be in it for Toronto? I’m assuming the Heat would want to keep Beasley.

  11. Kikuchiyo

    It’s one thing for a shooter to have an unorthodox shooting motion (Rashard Lewis comes to mind), but Eddie House has a BAD shooting motion. I hadn’t seen much of him before, and he did make a higher percentage of shots in the past, but, as a Knick, he seemed to always be drifting side to side and rushing. It looked horrible. Even a high school coach might have to pull aside a player who is shooting that way. That ANY of his shots went in seems like a miracle to me.

    I fully support your F for House.

    Cue Talking Heads tune here: “Burnin’ down the House….”

  12. massive

    @12,

    I’m not sure if Beasley is attractive enough for Toronto, but I know Miami doesn’t want him. And what can Toronto really get in return for Turkoglu? I’m not too sure of his market value. Maybe they can work something out with LA, Portland, New Jersey (?), Utah, or possibly New Orleans. Okafor at the 4 and Bargnani at the 5 should be able to work. I guess Beasley wouldn’t be best for them.

  13. DS

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear. I meant that Hedo is overpaid; his contract is $10 million/yr. So as a Knicks fan I’d be OK with our former rivals, thel Heat paying him that much and preventing them from having the cap space to sign more valuable players.

    I think Beasley and cap room IS attractive enough for Toronto in exchange for Hedo.

  14. massive

    Okay, so I read an article on ESPN New York, and listened to the portion of 1050 AM when Donnie was on. One of the hosts mentioned trading for a player/s on a smaller market team that couldn’t necessarily afford the contract. Does anybody know if Chouest has taken controlling interest of New Orleans yet? Or if he ever will?

  15. tastycakes

    Really, Eddie House warrants a report card? Aren’t the playoffs happening?

    Boston/LA again? It just doesn’t seem fair.

    Watching the Suns get totally obliterated on the boards in games 5 and 6, I had a thought — if I were GM of the Suns, I’d try to orchestrate a sign-and-trade for David Lee. Pack up Amar’e and send him to New York, bringing back Lee on a slightly lighter deal (11M per, say).

    Honestly, I’m not sure David Lee isn’t better than Amar’e right now. Defensive deficiencies aside, he’s a better playmaker and a much, much better rebounder. If he was on PHX, I’d expect him to put up huge numbers in that offense. Meanwhile, I expect Amar’e to be a bit disappointing wherever he goes. The Nash effect and all.

    Mind you, as a Knick fan, I don’t want to see this happen. Amar’e isn’t worth the max, unless that somehow helps LeBron make the right decision and come to NYC. But I also feel like Lee is gone, and I’d love to see him on a good team that can make a deep playoff run, like Phoenix or Oklahoma City.

    Maybe I’m crazy. I do enjoy Stoudemire’s game and like him on Los Suns, and as a fan of the sport, I’d be happy if he stayed put. But I also think he’s overrated, because he plays with such flair and because he scores a lot of points (sometimes).

  16. Owen

    Eddie House I have no words for…

    The one thing I noticed about Stoudemire was how much bigger Gasol is than him. Gasol towered over him and is a ton wider. Amare is actually pretty slight, and I think it shows at the defensive end.

    Got to say, it’s been a pretty crappy Playoffs, but LA-Boston could be classic…

  17. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Here’s a question: what happens when David Lee’s salary (or any other $10M+ player) balloons up to $15M by the end of the contract? Does it really matter how much you’re paying for a given player between $12-22M (aside for whom that player can then be traded when he no longer produces wins proportionally to his salary)?

    My point is this: if you’re going to be over the cap, why does it matter? Why is Amare at $20M worse than David Lee at $14M if you have no possibility for signing players not already on your roster, and the cap-slaying contracts (Lebron, Bosh, etc.) end in the same year?

  18. iserp

    “aside for whom that player can then be traded when he no longer produces wins proportionally to his salary”

    Well, that’s the tough part. We had to give up assets to get rid of Jeffries contract. It wasn’t easy to trade Z-Bo or Crawford. We’re stuck with Curry.

    You’re right that it doesn’t matter as long as we are over the cap… and everything goes right. In Orlando, there isn’t much worry about Rashard Lewis’ contract, even if he is vastly overpaid. Actually, it’s been good for them; since he is an useful player. However, if Dwight Howard became a bust instead of a superstar; they would have trouble movin R. Lewis to rebuild, because he isn’t worth his salary.

    IMO, i’d rather have Stoudemire at the max than Lee at less, since Stoudemire at the max is still a good contract and would be very movable (and Stoudemire is the better player). So even if we aren’t the contender we are supposed to be, we could trade Stoudemire for another player / assets. I say the same about Bosh, although I am not so sure about Boozer, since he is injured frequently and i don’t think he is as special as Stoudemire and Bosh.

  19. massive

    @20,

    Something else to consider when talking about who’s better between Lee and Stoudemire is who will age better. Amar’e is an athletic freak and can light it up offensively, but when he starts to lose some of that athleticism, you won’t have that player anymore. Lee is the better rebounder and play-maker. I would give Amar’e the edge defensively because he’s the better athlete, but he probably won’t be the same player in four years. Remember that Lee is the one with the 20-10 season, is probably the better post-up player, and he was playing out of position and didn’t have Steve Nash. I’d take Lee over Stodemire.

    With the whole “it doesn’t matter when you’re over the cap” theory, you’re speaking as though the owners don’t exist. I’m sure a 73 million dollar contract looks better than a 96 million dollar contract, especially when you probably won’t get 23 million dollars more value. Also, at 73 million you will get the better rebounder and passer. At 96 million dollars, you get the better scorer, but lose some rebounding on what is already projecting to be an undersized team down-low. Certain things should be considered before you throw max money at a guy, especially one who probably isn’t worth it.

  20. iserp

    @21

    It’s Dolan’s money, not mine! I am Spanish, and so, i am used that sports owners lose money.

    In 4 years, Amare will be 31…. Maybe we can’t expect Karl Malone longevity, but he shouldn’t have declined too much (barring injury), still a couple of good years left. Besides, Lee is just 6 months younger than Stoudemire, not that a big difference.

  21. tastycakes

    iserp, the difference is that Stoudemire’s effectiveness is closely tied to his explosiveness. When he’s healthy and can attack the rim the way he has over the past 4 months or so, he’s very strong. But you have to factor in his injury history — ultimately his knees will betray him, the gamble is whether or not that will happen soon, turning him into McDyess Part 2, or if he will somehow manage to get another half-dozen all-star calibre years out of his body.

    Lee, on the other hand, is more of a skill player.

    Hard to say Lee is ‘better’ than Amar’e when he hasn’t won shit and Amar’e has gone deep in the playoffs a few times, but if you replaced Lee with Amar’e on last year’s Knick team, would you really expect a better result? They both are best served as #2 or #3 guys, playing alongside stars who can enhance their skill sets.

  22. ess-dog

    I think one thing that makes Lee less attractive is that he doesn’t fit into the lineup without issue. If he’s your pf, then you need a defensive center a be with Gallo on the wing, it makes you too slow of a team for what d’antoni wants to do. Speed would be less of an issue with him at center, but we all know he’s too slight to defend the position well. If we could be reasonably assured that he could bulk up and handle the center position in coach D’s style (think Kurt Thomas) then I thnk it would be possible to retain him and put a mobile, tall pf next to him, like Amare or someone cheaper and younger, who could give him adequate help defense. I don’t see Lebron coming to play next to Lee, but if Gallo plays up to expectations, you could do worse than having Lee as your #3option. And it gives you an extra 4-5 mil to work with. This is more than likely a lineup without Lebron though.

  23. Ted Nelson

    @24

    I wouldn’t call that a problem with Lee so much as a problem with D’Antoni…

    Not too many coaches would put Lee primarily at the 5, which is why there is a legitimate concern out there that D’Antoni doesn’t care ENOUGH about defense.

  24. Ted Nelson

    While I think Amare is far from perfect, he’s one of the best scorers in the entire league and I wouldn’t take his reliance on his athleticism nearly so far as to say he’s not a skilled player. Antonio McDyess had only one efficient scoring season before his injuries–about .575 TS not .600 like Amare does every season– so though there are similarities McDyess’ scoring prowess was never close to comparable to Amare’s. Will be interesting to see how much Nash helped him if he leaves.

  25. ess-dog

    @25
    Thats one way of looking at it. Or you could say that coach just wants a faster, more athletic power forward than David, but that he’s willing to consider him as a center candidate, thinking a speed mismatch will trump a height mismatch. Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. Depends on the personnel. I’m sure if he could find a player with Lee’s skills in a seven footer, he’d go with the seven footer, who knows? You could ask something like is it easier for Lee to bulk up and play better D, than it is for a guy like Haywood to learn to pass or shoot? I don’t know the answer.

  26. massive

    @27,

    In theory, it’ll probably be easier for Lee, since half the battle is won when you’re a strong guy on the block. Chuck Hayes played C for the Rockets this season at 6’6″, and he did fairly well because he’s a rock. By no means was he a shot-blocker, but he was a tough guy in post defense. His mentality on that end also helped out, despite being tremendously small for the position. As for Haywood, learning how to pass better and develop a 10-15 footer probably won’t happen in one offseason, because that’s asking a 31 year old to become more skilled not named Kobe Bryant.

  27. Ted Nelson

    My answer would be that it’s easier to change your system or to change your coach. I believe that D’Antoni recognizes that Lee is not a 5, since I remember him saying something along the lines of “if Lee is back he’ll have to be playing next to a real 5.” Ideally Walsh will get enough talent that none of this really matters, but if your coach is content running your offense through Haywood or anchoring your defense with Lee then there’s a problem. Both guys have strengths, and those are just not them. Even if the Knicks reported dream of LeBron/Bosh comes true–the absolute best case scenario–D’Antoni’s going to have to adjust at some point because Bosh cannot play the 5 defensively either (maybe year 1 they have no better option, but if they plan on winning a title they better find one or two interior defender[s] to pair with Bosh).

    Don’t get the Kobe reference.

  28. Garson

    I read today that Amare is joining Lebron, Wade, Bosh Johnson in the offseason players summit to discuss their pending free agency plans.

    Overall , this has to be a positive right? If they are talking on possibly teaming up with each other, there are only so many places teams that can afford to pay them in sets of 2. I would say worse case scenerio would go as follows:

    Lebron decides that he wants to go to Bulls and play with Rose.
    Wade sways Bosh to team up with him in Miami.
    Johnson and Amare come to NY.

    Although this is not what most of you would want, it is 1000% times better then what was discussed on this board pre-playoffs.

  29. ess-dog

    Ted,
    I don’t think there’s much of an argument here. Ultimately, we both believe you have to adjust to your set of players. Regarding Bosh, I do believe, after seeing that Knicks front office leak, that D’Antoni WOULD prefer to play Bosh at the 5 and will try to sell him/Lebron on that idea with Gallo as a stretch 4. It makes perfect sense if you look at D’Antoni’s history. Get the best athletes possible, ideally all shooters, and outrun the other team. It’s consistent with what we’ve seen of him even this past year.
    While Bosh isn’t a ‘banger’ he’s a good rebounder and I think the idea is if everyone can get down the floor faster than their man, we’ll have the advantage. I think it was Abbey who pointed out that offensive rebounds are much more rare in the D’Antoni style of play. He wants to break down the defense before they have time to set up. Mind you, it’s not that I agree or disagree with this, it’s simply what I feel D’Antoni wants in an “ideal” team.
    Now it does get tricky if we whiff on the big names and end up with a plan G, H or I, which would probably include re-signing Lee. Unless you have Lee at the 5 and Gallo at the 4, your team isn’t out-running anybody. A much more effective team would have Gallo at the 3 and Lee at the 4, but that does mean D’Antoni will have to use a different style of play, and as you’re saying, a great coach can adjust to his personnel. I think Walsh was the one who said that if Lee comes back, he needs to be paired with a shot-blocking center, so I think the organization understands what has to happen if Lee becomes part of the future.
    I guess the question is, can D’Antoni effectively coach a half-court offense? I think we saw some flashes at the end of the year with Barron playing as to what that would look like, and it could be potentially ugly, although ideally better without House, Bender and others mucking things up.
    Things would radically change without a James/Bosh purchase, as they are dependent on each other. Without James, you would then need a lead ball-handler… it sounds like Sergio is leaving and Douglas can’t handle that yet. Maybe Joe Johnson? Maybe they target a point guard in the draft (just in case) or a free agent like Ridnour or Blake? Who knows. And we’ll also need a center. So a Lee team likely means patchwork pg and center, maybe a Blake, Chandler, Gallo, Lee, Barron lineup at the very worst, but that team doesn’t stack up well against anybody.

  30. stratomatic

    I think virtually every high level coach wants players that fit their system. When a new coach comes in he will often make some trades, draft, or sign FAs to build the team he wants.

    - Larry Brown often overhauls his entire team in a couple of years when he changes jobs.

    - It’s no coincidence that Phil Jackson teams rarely have a traditional PG, but D’Antoni and Sloan both consider them very important.

    The Knicks are basically starting from scratch other than Lee and Chandler (they drafted Douglas and Gallo because they fit).

    IMO D’Antoni doesn’t have too much of a problem playing guys like Amare, Bosh or even Lee at the 5 because he feels whatever he gives up defensively he gains on the mistmatch going the other way. With Lee however, I think he realized they were giving up too much. No only is Lee an inch shorter, he’s also not as long or athletic. So the difference is greater than the one inch defensively. He continued to play Lee at the 5 because he didn’t have a productive enough 5 to create a more productive lineup than Lee playing the 5 and one of the other Knicks playing the 4.

    Once you conclude that Lee can’t play the 5 you have an entirely different set of problems.

    1. D’Antoni’s system relies on floor spacing. So it favors PFs with 3 point range. Lee doesn’t have 3 point range yet. So even though he might be great in NJ along side Brook Lopez in a more traditional lineup, he doesn’t really fit perfectly here as the PF either.

    2. If he puts Lee at the PF, then the team absolutely has to sign a long defensive C to block shots, protect the perimeter etc… and cover for Lee’s deficiencies.

    At some point you are practically abandoning the system in order to keep Lee.

    David Lee has huge value. I’m sure Walsh and D’Antoni recognize that the difference between him and Bosh/Amare is not very large. However, those guys fit better as Cs in this system and Lee does not fit perfectly as the PF either. So they are bascially considering swapping out similar values for a better fit. Like I said prior, that’s not at all unusual.

    If people have a problem with that, then what they really have is a problem with the system, not the actions being taken.

  31. Nick C.

    Pat Riley did win with the Showtime Lakers and then came to NY and won with a diametrically opposite style.

  32. Ted Nelson

    “It makes perfect sense if you look at D’Antoni’s history. Get the best athletes possible, ideally all shooters, and outrun the other team.”

    But when the Suns had the chance to get Shaq, D’Antoni was publicly on board. He was willing to go away from Amare at C and go with someone who couldn’t outrun anyone to get bigger and tougher for the playoffs. He was also willing to pair Amare with an aging Kurt Thomas and some other Cs at times. I don’t know what D’Antoni the GM would do ideally, but I think D’Antoni the coach is smart enough that if Walsh manages to get a no-brainer rotation player at the 5 he’ll see the court (total unwillingness to experiment with Lee/Hill or Lee/Darko wasn’t encouraging, but he realized at some point that the Knicks weren’t going to outrun anyone and changed course a little).

    My guess, and nothing more than that, is that D’Antoni and Walsh do not see Bosh as a long-term solution at the 5… not if they want to win it all: who was the last team to win it all without some sort of interior defensive presence (at least someone whose nickname was not RuPaul)? A guess which I am slightly more sure about is that LeBron will not see Bosh as a long-term 5, since he’s stated before that defense is the most important thing to him… The Cavs struggles might help him rethink the importance of offense, but I doubt he abandons defense. He also might come away from the playoffs thinking: “if we only had a better defensive PG to stop Rondo and hadn’t downgraded on D at the 4 with Jamison…” If he’s going to be sold on a Showtime Lakers pitch, he’s gonna ask where Kareem is… And, if he’s smart he’ll realize that the Showtime Lakers never made the Finals without a top 10 defense.

    “He wants to break down the defense before they have time to set up.”

    If you’re giving up easy baskets on D every time down the court it’s not going to matter how fast you get down the court on O…

    ” so I think the organization understands what has to happen if Lee becomes part of the future.”

    Bosh is only so much better defensively than Lee.

    This is a minor point of contention, but D’Antoni didn’t “get” the best athletes available in Phoenix… Bryan Colangelo got them and handed them to D’Antoni. He got the perfect PG too, with a little help from Mark Cuban. Why this is relevant is because of how rare players like Nash, Amare, and Marion are (and Joe Johnson, Diaw, Barbosa…). Nash is a HOF PG, obviously rare on talent alone but his blend of shooting and playmaking has only been seen a few other times in NBA history. Amare is possibly the most efficient high volume bigman in the league. Marion isn’t/wasn’t necessarily rare on talent level, but his ability to play offense like a 3 and defense/rebound like a 4 is pretty rare. There is no way to find that combination again (probably 1 in a trillion chance… lower considering the Knicks have no high draft picks forever), so one way or another D’Antoni is going to have to adapt his system to fit the talent he has.

  33. stratomatic

    “Pat Riley did win with the Showtime Lakers and then came to NY and won with a diametrically opposite style”

    I would make the argument that perhaps that makes Riley the best coach of modern times. He recognized how the game was changing, saw the players he had, and overhauled his entire strategy. No one else has done that as far as I know.

  34. stratomatic

    @34

    IMHO, D’Antoni was never on board with the Shaq deal and that’s one of the things that caused friction between him and management.

    He went along and said all the right things because he’s not a politcal moron. Had he come out and publicly said he was against it and thought it was going to be a big mistake he would have been out of a job almost immediately and may have even given himself a black eye for future employment. That’s the kind of thing Larry Brown does when he ready to move on. ;-)

    I think Walsh is giving him free reign to build the team he wants to build and if it doesn’t work, then he’ll be out. Both are not crazy though. THey both realize that Lee can’t be the 5 on a championship team. But D’Antoni believes that had it not been for injuries to Amare and Joe Johnson, and the highly suspect suspension of Amare another year, he would have won the champiosnhip with that team. Personally, I tend to agree with him, but even if not, they were right there.

  35. Ted Nelson

    “I think virtually every high level coach wants players that fit their system.”

    The best coaches also get the most out of the talent on hand, though. D’Antoni was intent on sticking round pegs into square holes this season: Duhon at PG even though he was horrendous since he was the only “pure PG”… Hill taking primarily jump shots before going to Houston and breaking out by working more inside…
    This may have been due in part to his job security and the Knicks rebuilding: were his job on the line he either would have done a better job or been fired.

    I take exception to calling D’Antoni a “high level coach.” He took one of the most talented teams in the league to two conference finals… big fing whoop… Alvin Gentry just took a similar team to the conference finals in his first season coaching it and he’s a journeyman coach.

    Larry Brown, Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Adelman… ALL of these guys have won with multiple teams across multiple eras. Mike D’Antoni has been “miserable” in Denver and NYC with bad talent and “brilliant” in Phoenix with amazing talent… coincidence? Maybe D’Antoni works his way into that class of coach, but he’s a long ways away at this point.

    “IMO D’Antoni doesn’t have too much of a problem playing guys like Amare, Bosh or even Lee at the 5 because he feels whatever he gives up defensively he gains on the mistmatch going the other way”

    I think this is true when it’s his best option, but were he to have a better option I’m sure he’d love it. If Dwight Howard were his 5 I’m sure he wouldn’t complain. If Walsh can put the talent in front of him that he has to pair Bosh with another bigman, I hope he’d do it. He used an aging Kurt Thomas in Phoenix whether he wanted to or not.

    “He continued to play Lee at the 5 because he didn’t have a productive enough 5 to create a more productive lineup than Lee playing the 5 and one of the other Knicks playing the 4.”

    He didn’t ever TRY a line-up with Lee at the 4 until Barron came on board. Lee played 3% of the team’s minutes at PF all season. He didn’t TRY Darko/Lee or Hill/Lee, so it’s tough to say he didn’t have it. I don’t mind not trying Darko since he’s a no talent whiner with a bad hairdo, but D’Antoni TOTALLY misused Hill as Rick Adelman proved once Hill was traded to Houston.

    “At some point you are practically abandoning the system in order to keep Lee.”

    And what’s so great about this system? Talent wins games in the NBA. You can’t possibly have floor spacing unless someone is making shots.

    “David Lee has huge value. I’m sure Walsh and D’Antoni recognize that the difference between him and Bosh/Amare is not very large.”

    I disagree. At this point I’ll bet you any GM in the entire league takes Bosh over Lee. Amare is older and a specialist, so that might be situational.

  36. Ted Nelson

    “I think Walsh is giving him free reign to build the team he wants to build and if it doesn’t work, then he’ll be out.”

    I doubt it. I think Walsh is giving D’Antoni input into personnel decisions, but this is Walsh’s reputation on the line as well. This is his job. D’Antoni is his employee. He’s not going to sit around and watch D’Antoni lock the Knicks into max deals on Joe Johnson and Rudy Gay for the next 6 seasons if he realizes what a moronic move that would be. That’s Walsh’s call, not D’Antoni’s.

    “even if not, they were right there.”

    They lost 4-1 and 4-2 in the Conference Finals. They were never right there. They never even made the Finals. Coulda, woulda, shoulda in my opinion.
    The Lakers and Celtics will walk all over Chris Bosh and spit in his face. He gives up over 50 lbs to Bynum. Over 50 lbs to Perkins AND Glen Davis. If the Knicks don’t have another answer inside Glen Davis will Tractor Traylor Danilo in the playoffs and end his career.

  37. Ted Nelson

    “No one else has done that as far as I know.”

    I think a lot of coaches would have done something similar under the same circumstances. Pat Riley did not invent those situations, Magic and Ewing were already All-Stars on established teams when he came in. The Lakers were one year removed from a Championship when Riley took over. Magic missed most of the next season with injury, they weren’t happy with Westhead and Riley took over as an interim coach. Their pace barely changed from Westhead to Riley. Knicks pace also didn’t change much from MacLeod to Riley (though their defense did).
    Riley deserves a lot of credit for being a great coach. However, if you took over a fast paced team with Magic Johnson at the helm… would you slow it down and tell it to walk the ball up, dump it inside, and not move? Would you bench Kareem because you thought Worthy would make a better 5 who could run? If you took over a slow team with Ewing at C, would you tell them to start running and bench Ewing because he didn’t fit your running system?

    Jax has won titles with 3 different groups across different eras. The pace of his champions has varied pretty widely: ranking from the 20s in the league and a low of 91.1 to top 5 and mid 90s. He’s won with no interior presence, one interior presence, and two interior presences. He hasn’t radically changed his system, but he’s adapted it to the talent on hand. Some teams have been stronger on D, others on O. Some slow, some fast.

  38. stratomatic

    @38

    Obviously Walsh has input and has to sign off on anything D’Antoni wants to do, but let’s not assume D’Antoni is a total moron. He’s only going to go to Walsh with players that make sense for his system that also make at least some sense economically. Then assuming Walsh agrees, he will sign off on them.

    It’s not going to be the other way around. Walsh is not going to dictate that certain players have to stay or that the team needs a C that can do X, Y and Z and even if D’Antoni disagrees he will ram that C down his throat. This is mostly D’Antoni’s show. Walsh understands the system, believes in it, and is helping him implement it.

    I disagree on the Suns, but we’ll never know. IMO he had excellent teams that were missing key components at critical times. I think they had an excellent chance to go all the way the year Amare got suspended and gave up home court advantage in his absense. I also can’t see how you can simply disregard missing Amare and Johnson (who was having a career year) other years. Yes, they didn’t win, but they got far without key players.

    As to Bosh being the C, like I keep saying this is entirely an issue of some people not agreeing that the system can win. THat’s fine, but the decisions being made will be conistent with the system.

    I guess you are almost going on record as thinking the system can’t win.

    I have mixed feeling about it.

    I was used to teams with high level Cs winning almost all the time until Jordan came along. I’m not entirely convinced a Suns-like team can’t win it all now if it had enough talent.

  39. Ted Nelson

    @40

    I have seen absolutely nothing that would lead me to believe D’Antoni is making the personnel decisions for the Knicks. Everything I’ve heard, seen, and read would lead me to believe that’s Walsh’s job. Walsh runs the draft. Walsh makes the trades. Walsh is probably going to sign the free agents. He’s going to involve D’Antoni in that process, but if they lose out on LeBron/Wade and Walsh decides to go in another direction he’s not married to D’Antoni.

    If you have some other source of information, please share.

    Everyone and their mother will be on board if LeBron or Wade wants to sign and make the Knicks an instant contender. No questions. When you get into the Joe Johnsons and Rudy Gays it’s often wise to seperate powers because the coach wants the talent and the exec has to look after the long-term health of the franchise. (Then again, Walsh painted himself into quite a win-now corner with the Hill trade, so his job is riding on this offseason too.)

    I’m not saying D’Antoni is a moron, but he did a bad job as GM of the Suns.

    “I also can’t see how you can simply disregard missing Amare and Johnson (who was having a career year) other years. Yes, they didn’t win, but they got far without key players.”

    I can’t re-write history. Every single season more than one team has a chance to win a title, that’s why there are playoffs. The Knicks could have had a couple of titles in the 90s if things broke differently, they didn’t though. No one here is claiming that the Knicks won it all during the 90s. They didn’t.

    “I’m not entirely convinced a Suns-like team can’t win it all now if it had enough talent.”

    If it had significantly more talent than its opponent, sure. When you’ve got a frontcourt of Bosh, Gallinari, Chandler going up against a frontcourt of Bynum, Gasol, Odom, though, you lose on talent and on size. Maybe no incredibly talented well-balanced teams crop up after the current contenders age. I sort of doubt it, though.

    Another larger point I’m trying to make is that you cannot rebuild the Suns. Jax, Riley, etc. have won with different rosters. Nash, Amare, Marion, Diaw/Johson, Barbosa… those are rare players. The Knicks can’t hope to replicate that team.
    Bosh does take 54% jumpers, though. You can find a 5 or a platoon of 5s to complement him in D’Antoni’s system. If you can’t, ditch D’Antoni. If the Knicks have LeBron, Bosh, Danilo, and 4 other above average NBA players… they should be winning championships. Period. I don’t care what system it takes or who the coach is. That’s a team that should be right there every season. If the coach can’t incorporate the best players on the roster into his rotation, screw him. NBA coaches are a dime-a-dozen. Alvin Gentry has never kept an NBA head coaching job in his life and made the WCFs this season…

  40. stratomatic

    #39

    It’s about way more than pace. It’s about having players that can execute and make the correct decisions within a system.

    Both the Bulls and the Lakers played the triangle and drafted, traded for, and signed players that could execute within it.

    Popovich does that.

    Sloan does that.

    You are never going to get perfection though.

    For example, Artest is still having some issues within the triangle in LA and Jefferson had some issues in San Antonio, but the goal is to get the right players and move them if you can’t get them to work.

    Riley is really unique because in the 80s teams ran a lot and he ran right with them. But in the 90s, rough and rugged defenses and half court offensive play took over and he did that as well as anyone given that he had good but not sensational talent in NY.

    Now the rules changes are changing the game again.

  41. stratomatic

    @41

    Neither is operating in a vaccum.

    I thought I was clear that Walsh understands the system, agrees that it can win, and is helping D’Antoni implement it.

    There is no way that Walsh is ramming his opnions down D’Antoni’s throat. He and D’Antoni are both looking for players that fit “D’ANTONI’s SYSTEM”, not the other way around. It’s D’Antoni’s system that will drive the decision making for drafts, trades, and FA signings.

  42. stratomatic

    I want to be clear on one thing.

    When I am talking about bringing in players that fit, I am talking about marginal decisions.

    In other words, the choice between Lee and Bosh is a marginal decision at the probable salaries. If anything you can make a better case that Lee is the better value. IMO the Knicks think Bosh fits better. So despite that the fact that Lee may be a better value, it’s small enough that it’s likely they will sign Bosh if given the choice.

    But if the choice is between a very good player that doesn’t fit and an average one that does, I am sure they will go with the very good player because they can always move him later.

    Time for me to get back to work.

    In a little over a month we will all know what the team looks like and then we can really debate things. lol

  43. Ted Nelson

    “Both the Bulls and the Lakers played the triangle and drafted, traded for, and signed players that could execute within it.”

    That’s not true. The cores of those teams were already in place before Jax became head coach. The Lakers had Shaq, Kobe, Horry, Fox, and Fisher ALL before Jackson got there.

    “It’s about way more than pace. It’s about having players that can execute and make the correct decisions within a system.”

    It’s about talent, pure and simple. Shaq was one of the best players of his generation. He won with Orlando, LA, and Miami. He was a force no matter the system and no matter the coach. Same with Tim Duncan. Same with Michael Jordan. Same with Pippen. Same with Kobe. Same with Hakeem. Etc. Etc. It’s not about the coach, it’s about the players.

    “Riley is really unique because in the 80s teams ran a lot and he ran right with them. But in the 90s, rough and rugged defenses and half court offensive play took over and he did that as well as anyone given that he had good but not sensational talent in NY.
    Now the rules changes are changing the game again.”

    That’s called “pace.” How many possessions per game you have is called pace. Phil Jackson also coached one of the 10 slowest teams in the slowball 90s and then the 4th fastest team last season in a faster-paced league. I don’t know how many ways I can say that without you getting it.

    The Knicks were the best defensive team EVER. EVER. He had GREAT defensive talent. They were a great defensive team. He didn’t have great offensive talent, they weren’t a great offensive team.

  44. Ted Nelson

    @43

    As soon as Walsh is done with D’Antoni he can fire him. D’Antoni cannot fire Walsh. Walsh is D’Antoni’s boss. If he talks to LeBron tomorrow and LeBron tells him to fire D’Antoni and that Coach X is the guy he wants to come to NYC to play for, Walsh will probably do it. Walsh hired D’Antoni because he thought he was the best head coach on the market and the best head coach to build a contender (i.e. lure LeBron/Wade/etc.). If at some point Walsh decides that’s not the case, D’Antoni is out the door.

    No head coach during the Walsh regime in Indiana kept his job for more than 4 seasons. There’s no indication that Walsh bows down to his coaches that I know of. I’m sure he’s on the same page as D’Antoni and they’re working together, I’m just saying that it’s Walsh who has the power to turn the page.

    @44

    “In other words, the choice between Lee and Bosh is a marginal decision at the probable salaries. If anything you can make a better case that Lee is the better value.”

    I disagree. 1st because the difference of a few million at that level makes no real difference. The difference between signing an Earl Watson for $3-5 mill this offseason and signing another player for the MLE next offseason. 2nd because Bosh potentially brings a little guy named LeBron along with him. 3rd because Bosh is better. The Knicks need talent. Bosh has been the centerpiece of multiple top 5 offenses. Lee cannot make that same claim.

  45. ess-dog

    So this is what we’ve learned:

    1. It’s best to have the best players.

    2. The best coaches have great players.

    3. Ted likes to argue.

    In defense of D’Antoni, look at what he had to work with this year. Larry Hughes. Jared Jeffries. Al Harrington. Chris Duhon. And these were his starters! Compare that to names like Patrick Ewing, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker. Hell, look at some of the secondary players: Alonzo Mourning, Ron Harper, John Starks, Horace Grant, Glen Rice, Robert Horry, Manu Ginobli…

    The Knicks were compiled of really really really bad players. A Red Holtzman/John Wooden cyborg couldn’t have coached more than 40 wins out of this group. Yes, he misused Nate a bit. Maybe he could’ve tried a bust 7 footer next to Lee, squeezed out 1 or 2 more wins, maybe he could’ve started his rookies 15 games earlier… but when you look at ‘Finals’ teams, you realize it really doesn’t make a difference. It’s completely marginal.
    I do agree that a few mil makes no difference to get a better player. Go after the best player. And obviously D’Antoni was brought in because of the team USA players, so if those players ultimately want someone else, I’m sure Walsh would be happy to oblige. But I don’t think there are (or were at the time) any amazing alternatives to D’Antoni, aside from everyone trying to woo Jax or possibly bringing back van Gundy.

  46. Ted Nelson

    @47

    I mostly agree.

    “The Knicks were compiled of really really really bad players. A Red Holtzman/John Wooden cyborg couldn’t have coached more than 40 wins out of this group.”

    This where I sort of disagree. The Knicks roster was composed of bad players, but I wouldn’t say really, really, really bad players. They finished tied for the 9th worst record. 17th offense and 27th defense. It is pretty unimportant since I would call 40 wins the absolute best case, but I think he could have gotten close to 40 wins. Maybe there will be a D’Antoni report card, but until then here are my big problems where D’Antoni cost them wins:

    1. They started horrifically. D’Antoni had all of last season and all offseason to get ready to start this season. He should have known what he had and put a system in place that would work, and he should have had his guys ready to start the season. I give him a lot of credit for switching it up mid-season, but it should have never been necessary.

    2. Point guard. Nate was maybe his best player last season (as in 08-09), so D’Antoni cut his minutes, benched him, and alienated him. Nate is a fringe rotation guy on the Celts, but he was as good as any Knick in 08-09. He was a better scorer, better playmaker, and less TO prone than Duhon. Not a huge defensive downgrade, IMO, because Duhon is a slow drunk on defense. D’Antoni simultaneously cost the Knicks wins and desacrated Nate’s trade value. Bill Walker was a nice find, but if Nate got 35 mpg instead of 25 (at Duhon’s expense) I’ll bet the Knicks win 5 more games AND have more to show for Nate than Bill Walker. Douglas also should have played more, but I’ll get to that in #3. I cannot get on board with the idea that Duhon was the best “fit” because D’Antoni’s offense needs spacing. Spacing is created by actually making shots and the realistic threat of making more shots. Duhon missed all his shots and there was never ANY threat of him driving to the basket and actually making a lay-up. Both Nate and Douglas can score inside and out and go off for 20 points at any moment. That creates spacing. Nate was a better playmaker than Duhon as a Knick this season anyway, with a way lower TO%. If your great offensive genius is that you use the pick-and-roll… you’re not an offensive genius. That’s the oldest play in the book.

    3. Rookies. On a team like D’Antoni’s Suns, I can see why unproven rookies are not given the benefit of the doubt: there are better players ahead of them. On a team with talent issues like the Knicks, you give the lottery pick and the late 1st you were so high on the chance to prove they cannot play. When D’Antoni defensively stammered on about why Hill didn’t play he listed Wilson Chandler and Darko as options ahead of him at the 4 going into the season… You’ve got to be Fing kidding me… They take a kid who reminds them of Amare, only to use him strictly as a jump shooter??? Then say he didn’t play because of Darko who also didn’t play? If D’Antoni’s offensive system is so rigid that it can’t integrate two bigmen on the court together, it’s useless in my opinion. The way Douglas played on the season and the way Hill played in Houston made D’Antoni look dumb for not playing them.
    Douglas was the best defensive 1 the Knicks had–besides maybe Hughes–and the best scoring 1, so they didn’t play him. Makes sense. For all his rawness and shortcomings, Douglas was too productive and too promising to sit. If you have no hope of winning more than 29 games, as you suggest, play the bloody rookies.

    4. He integrated trade acquisitions pretty poorly. Bill Walker shot the lights out and at least made an effort to guard guys he had no business guarding on D, but otherwise Rodriguez had a career low in ast% when you’d expect him to thrive, House (a “D’Antoni guy”) was flat and useless, and it’s hard to expect much from T-Mac so I’ll give him that one… though he and/or Walsh reportedly expected a lot more.

    You look at those four D’Antoni related problems and I think the Knicks could have won 10 more games. They started the season 3-14. They had a 3-9 stretch after the Nate trade. They finished the season 3-8. They lost plenty of games to bad teams (2 to the Nets, 1 each to Wash and Minn, 0-4 against the Raps). There was a lot of room for improvement. A little more offense here, a little more defense there… Chicago won 41 games and made the playoffs as the 27th offense and 11th defense in the league.

  47. stratomatic

    @45 and @46,

    It’s hard for me to respond to eveything because you went off on a few tangents. I’ll try to be concise and stay with the major points I’ve been making.

    1. I’m not questioning whether Walsh is the boss is or not. I’m not even sure where you got that idea.

    What I am saying is that Walsh bought into D’Antoni’s system when he hired him. He understands D’Antoni’s system and the types of players he wants at each position. He has repeatedly said that he both evaluates talent and evaluates how those players would fit into the system (repeatedly).

    Perhaps some teams don’t do it that way, but that’s what some of the leading management teams do, including those at San Antonio and Utah. They’ve said as much.

    In any event, this is a different situation. Had Walsh inherited a talented team of players that did not fit D’Antoni’s style, perhaps he would have gone in a different direction when selecting a coach. Teams do that also.

    2. Here is an interesting note that helps make the point.

    It was leaked that the Knicks Plan “A” is Lebron/Bosh and Plan “B” is Lebron/Wade.

    IMHO Wade is a much better player than Bosh. He plays a different position than Lebron.

    So why go with the inferior player?

    The story suggested that Lebron/Bosh is plan “A” because the Knicks feel they fit together better within their system. It went on to describe how they would use both players.

    3. I agree that the Knicks also want Bosh over Lee because he’s a better player, a few million doesn’t matter much (I made that point last week in another thread) and they also want to attract James. But it goes beyond that with Lee. As I said, the Knicks feel it will be tougher to fit Lee into the system. Right now they may have an opportunity to get an equal or better player that fits better. So that is part of the thinking assuming Lebron is unavailable.

    Everything else seems to come down to you disagreeing with D’Antoni’s coaching, whether players fit, whether they should even be considering whether players fit.

    I’m just the messenger. lol

    Maybe they should just hire you to make all personnel and coaching decisions and forget about everything else. Then we woudn’t need to have this conversation. lol

    You can have the last word and I’m sure you’ll take it. lol

  48. Ted Nelson

    1. What I’m saying is that he can also buy out of D’Antoni’s system.

    Here’s one excerp from Isola: “However, sources close to the Knicks president say that Walsh is concerned about the team’s defensive woes. The best way to solve the problem is to acquire defensive-minded players. But the culture also needs to change, and yesterday D’Antoni, who has a reputation for being rigid, made it clear that his system works.”
    I just don’t think it’s clear that Walsh is going to cow-toe to whatever D’Antoni wants. The winning team is more important than D’Antoni’s system. Pops and Sloan keep their jobs because they make the most of the talent on hand and win. If the Knicks bring in LeBron/Bosh and D’Antoni can’t make it work… he’ll be looking for work. He’s not coach for life. You make it seem like Donnie Walsh is on his hands and knees in front of D’Antoni. Walsh has a much longer history of success in this league than D’Antoni.
    As I said previously, Walsh himself has never been known for building his teams around his coachs’ systems. His coach changed every few seasons in Indiana. Maybe he’s trying a new strategy, but he could also abandon it at any time.

    2. A lot of people think Bosh would be a better complement to LeBron than Wade. That’s pretty much the conventional wisdom on the subject. I tend to disagree as well, but most people feel there would be diminishing returns if you pair LeBron and Wade. (I see MJ/Pippen II, though am concerned a little about how Wade will age.) I don’t think that has much of anything to do with D’Antoni’s magical system. Plenty of people with no affiliation to D’Antoni’s system whatsoever have said the same thing.

    3. “As I said, the Knicks feel it will be tougher to fit Lee into the system.” Where did you come up with this? Have you had conversations with Walsh or D’Antoni on the subject? If it’s your interpretation and not their words you are not the messenger. You are the analyst.
    You can just as easily see it as: they can get a better player, so they will try to get that better player. Just about any team would do that. If the Nets go out and upgrade at the 2, 3, or 4 positions via free agency this offseason it will not be because the new guy fits their system better, it will be because they think the new guy is better. It’s not that Yi doesn’t fit their system, it’s that he stinks.

    “Maybe they should just hire you to make all personnel and coaching decisions and forget about everything else. Then we woudn’t need to have this conversation.”

    Again, I don’t see why you insist that A. you have a telepathic connection with both Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni and B. that any coach whose team wins only 29 games is beyond repproach. I have as much right as you to interpret Walshtoni’s thinking and if you don’t see possible errors in what the Knicks did last season you’re not looking very hard…

  49. Ted Nelson

    Something else that I’ve left unsaid because it’s pretty much conventional wisdom around here usually is that I believe the biggest impact a coach can have is playing the wrong players and costing the team wins. That the coach’s biggest job is to get the right players onto the court. By not playing Nate, Douglas, Hill, Hughes… and by playing Duhon WAY too much I think D’Antoni failed at this job to some extent.

  50. ess-dog

    I somewhat agree with the sentences above. I have no ideas what coach’s reasons for not playing the rookies more were. But I think Hill’s improvement as a Rocket is somewhat exaggerated. His PER was roughly a point higher with the Rockets in very limited amount of games playing with better players. Defensively, I think he was in a better position to get more blocks in that system. Overall, he was “pretty good” for a rookie in the end – no Dajuan Blair – but pretty good considering.
    I think Harrington caused a real logjam, and sadly Jeffries was our best defender. It would be nice to still have Hill, but I’d rather have Bosh, Lee, Amare or even Boozer. We’ll find out if that was the right move soon enough.
    But first, the draft. Even without a first rounder, I’m still very intrigued by this years draft. Lots of depth and we could really go any direction with our picks.

  51. stratomatic

    I agree that Walsh could easily abandon the system, fire D’Antoni, and move on if the team fails.

    Regarding Lee, I believe both Walsh and D’Antoni have both publicly stated that Lee is out of position at the 5. The insights about playing him at the 4 come from a media source that talks to management and the well established goals of the PF within this system.

    Ideally, this system requires a stretch PF with 3 point range. Lee does not have that kind of range (at least yet).

    Each NBA system ideally has a handful of different requirements.

    The Triangle does not need a really good PG, but a pick and roll offense like D’Antoni’s or Sloan’s does.

    In and out basketball ideally wants a dominant post scorer to draw double teams, but ideally D’Antoni doesn’t want a post player clogging up the middle. He wants rollers and slashers that can use space to finish well or kick it out.

  52. Ted Nelson

    The thing with Hill is his scoring efficiency. It was below .500 with the Knicks because he was used primarily as a jump shooter, then jumped to something like .575 with the Rockets. To me having everyone shoot from the outside is not good for spacing unless you take advantage of it by getting some easy baskets in close. Hill could have helped with that instead of being one of 5 guys sitting around the perimeter launching long jumpers. Adelman tends to have a good offense that stresess ball movement, but he still plays two big guys on the court together. If PER is your measuring stick he finished the season at 15, which is league average overall. Pretty good for a rookie.

    I’m not talking about the Hill trade, just about playing him while he was in NY and getting the most out of him instead of misusing him. Maybe starting the season better than 3-14 and actually looking like an NBA team and not the Nets. Not that that was the whole key to the season, but one miscue.

    It’s unfair to use hindsight, I know. However, some of the knicks biggest issues were ones D’Antoni continued to compound: Duhon, Lee at the 5 defensively, not playing talented rookies. Looking at how the knicks’ season went I don’t know how people can say it couldn’t have gone better simply by playing the most talented guys.

  53. ess-dog

    Not to beat a dead horse, but I also think there is something to D’Antoni wanting to make nicey nice with his veterans this year… sort of accruing good will towards agents and vets before the big offseason. Of course, Nate’s the exception to the rule, but what coach hasn’t he rubbed the wrong way? Many vets played their best ball this year (not counting Duhon, and I think Duhon knows that.) Al had a good year for Al, as did Jeffries and even Hughes played well in spurts. Actually I think the chain of command in the NY office looks pretty respectable for once, especially compared to Chicago, and the Clippers.

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