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Friday, November 28, 2014

2010 Summer Interview: Bill Walker

I sat down with Bill Walker for 3 minutes and 52 seconds, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

Mike Kurylo: What have you been doing this offseason?

Bill Walker: Getting a lot of shots up. Running. Try to get in shape and get ready for the season.

Mike Kurylo: It was reported that you lost a lot of weight this summer and you looked thinner at summer league. Is that true?

Bill Walker: Yeah. I think I got down too much (and was too fast). I lost a good amount of weight.

Mike Kurylo: How did you accomplish this?

Bill Walker: I stopped eating bread and sugar. That was basically it. I eat (everything else) that I like to eat. (That) and excersizing and it came off easy.

Mike Kurylo: On my site I looked up all players 6-6 and under, and you had the highest efficiency (including things like free throws and three pointers) last year. What makes you such an efficient scorer?

Bill Walker: I only take shots that I know I can make. That’s half the battle. I just try to get good shots.

Mike Kurylo: Do you know why you weren’t shooting well in the summer league?

Bill Walker: I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. When I work out, it feels fine. I don’t know.

Mike Kurylo: Last year Toney Douglas didn’t shoot well in the summer, but he was efficient during the season. When I asked him last year, he said it was just one of those weeks.

Bill Walker: Yeah. It was just a bad week.

Mike Kurylo: How hard was it last year to come to the Knicks mid-year?

Bill Walker: I welcomed it. It gave me an opportunity to play. I enjoyed it. It’s fun to get out there and show what you can do.

Mike Kurylo: What were some of the differences between the Celtics and the Knicks?

Bill Walker: The style of play. The Celtics are more of a inside first, trying to get who they want shooting the ball. New York is more of an uptempo, spread it around, everyone handles the ball. It’s a fast break mentality up here. We’re looking to run every time, and Boston only looks to run when they have the advantage.

Mike Kurylo: What areas of your game are you looking to improve?

Bill Walker: Passing. I know I can be a better passer. Rebounding. Defense. Those are three big things that I continue to work on and get better at.

Mike Kurylo: You started 13 games for New York, and there are a lot of new guys here. Do you feel like you’re competing for a starting spot?

Bill Walker: I don’t know. You’re always in competition. That could be every year. If I don’t get a starting spot, I just want to be a contributor. My goal is, like everyone else here, to start. At the same time we’re a team, and everybody has to know their role. Maybe being a starter isn’t my role. But whatever my role is I’ll play it out.

40 comments on “2010 Summer Interview: Bill Walker

  1. Thomas B.

    Nice work Mike. I have been thinking about Bill Walker over the last week as I try to educate myself for the game previews/season previews. I’ve penciled him in as the starting two. I figured he is competing with Azibuke, Chandler, and Mason. Azibuke is still getting his knee into shape, I think Mason is better suited as a reserve (coming off a down year as well). That leaves Chandler who is a far less efficient shooter than Walker.

    Felton, is at best borderline with shooting efficiency so I didnt want to pair him with Chandler and duplicate the Duhon, Hughes back court. Also I like putting efficient shooters on the floor with Stoudamire to help keep defenses honest. I also wanted better defense at center. So that left me with Felton, Walker, Gallanari, Stoudamire, and Turiaf. I wonder if D’Antoni knows the starting five yet.

    Anyway, a second unit of Douglas, Azibuke, Chandler, and Randolph isnt too bad. Plus with Mason and PEJ, this team really could go 11 deep, it won’t but it could.

  2. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Thomas B. – I would put Walker 3rd or 4th on that depth chart. Chandler will likely start and Azubuike will challenge him for the position. In fact if he weren’t hurt I’d give Kelenna the inside track to overtake Chandler by opening day. The injury will set him back on the depth chart. I think he’s superior defensively to Mason or Walker. And I think his three point shooting will eventually give him the edge over Wilson.

    Chandler’s plus is that he can defend any position 1-4 – but I figure that’ll only get him so far in D’Antoni’s system. His offense is hurting, and unless he shows marked improvement I think coach will eventually remove him from the lineup.

  3. TDM

    I’d also like to see Walker get a shot at starting at the 2. He came on strong towards the end of last season and really showed some promise in some of his better games. He could reasonably develop into a 15-5-5 guy if he works on his passing.

    As an aside, it appears all that bread and sugar he’s been rejecting has found its way onto Steady Eddy’s plate. He’s ballooned back up to 325 and is already nursing an injury. Good times.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/sports/basketball/27knicks.html?_r=3

  4. Mike Kurylo Post author

    this team really could go 11 deep, it won’t but it could.  

    Actually D’Antoni said he might go deeper this year. He said something to the effect that he would stop where the talent drop-off if the greatest. For instance if player #9 is much worse than player #8, then he’s only going 8 deep. But if that drop isn’t until #11…

    And yes I’ll believe it when I see it as well.

  5. Caleb

    Don’t forget Mozgov as a rotation option. He’s not really D’Antoni-style but he’s definitely got the talent. That makes 12 legit candidates (13, if you count fields). I could imagine a scenario where Mozgov and Turiaf take all the center minutes, and Stoudemire really does play PF exclusively. Or it could be Turiaf vs. Mozghov, with the loser sitting and Stoudemire picking up 15-20 minutes in the middle.

    If Stoudemire plays at the 4, there’s a ripple effect – Randolph would play more at the 3, and Chandler would get squeezed. His minutes will be interesting; he’s been a coaches’ favorite the last few years. Now we’re writing him off. It’s understandable, because the Knicks have more options this year, but Wilson can defend multiple positions, and is only 22 so I wouldn’t be shocked if he has improved.

    Also don’t forget Toney Douglas at the 2 – if he shoots like he did last year, D’Antoni will have to find him more minutes. Guarding smaller 2s, next to Felton, would be a very good defensive backcourt.

  6. Thomas B.

    I agree Azubuike should be the starter, he is an overall better player than anyone else at the spot. But he isnt even running full speed yet is he? I acknowledge that it is just circumstance that has Walker in the discussion, but he is a better pure 2 than Chandler. Chandler does have better defense and can stick with 3-4 positions, but as you said how far is a defensive player with a poor stroke (who isnt Duhon) going to go in this system?

    That is why I penciled Walker in. I don’t expect Chandler’s offense to get better. It was never great and he has not shown much of an outside touch. He can’t rely on that one dribble crossover to get to the hole each time. He has to start knocking down open shots or he can’t be on the floor with Felton.

    Turiaf is likely to be upfront with Stoudamire and Gallo. With Felton at the point, you have only two people (STAT and Gallo) on the court that are skilled offensive players. I think you need a third. I am not sure Chandler can do that. Besides, Walker has put up much better WS/48 than Chandler has. I say put the guys who most contribute to wins on the floor. For all of Chandler’s defensive ability, the defensive rating of the players is a push.

    But as you say, even if Walker gets the nod over Chandler, a healthy Azubuike will likely take over in time.

    Has your press pass let you watch any workouts? Which unit is Walker playing with the second or third? I assume the first unit is Felton, Chandler, Gallanari, Stoudamire, and Turiaf. And I assume Chandler’s offense isnt looking that great with the first unit.

  7. Nick C.

    How awesome was it to hear this:

    “Mike Kurylo: On my site I looked up all players 6-6 and under, and you had the highest efficiency (including things like free throws and three pointers) last year. What makes you such an efficient scorer?

    Bill Walker: I only take shots that I know I can make. That’s half the battle. I just try to get good shots.”

  8. Ted Nelson

    Great stuff, Mike. Good to hear Bill Walker at least saying the right things. His shooting could definitely be valuable in some capacity (anywhere from “starter” to spot minutes) and maybe he does improve in other areas.

    re: depth… Pretty interesting stuff. Enjoy the first hand info, Mike. Good to hear it from a reliable source without rampant speculation entangled in.
    Thomas, out of curiosity… why do you include Ewing Jr, who has yet to stick with an NBA team at 26, ahead of Landry and Timo?

    TDM, I wouldn’t say Walker can reasonably be expected to “develop into a 15-5-5 guy…” I’m more interested in per minute stats and efficiency/rate anyway, but Walker is currently a poor rebounder and playmaker. He can develop, but so can anyone. Last season even at 36 mpg he would have averaged only 4.1 rpg and 1.9 apg…

  9. Caleb

    Ted Nelson:
    TDM, I wouldn’t say Walker can reasonably be expected to “develop into a 15-5-5 guy…” I’m more interested in per minute stats and efficiency/rate anyway, but Walker is currently a poor rebounder and playmaker. He can develop, but so can anyone. Last season even at 36 mpg he would have averaged only 4.1 rpg and 1.9 apg…  

    Yeah, I wouldn’t get too into wishful thinking. But it’s not all bad – Walker’s rebound rate is right at average for a shooting guard (36th of 76). With his athleticism, I see more chance of improvement there – and on defense – than as a passer. (his assist rate was 59th of 76 SGs). He just doesn’t look to have the handle, or vision, to be a playmaker. Some guys have it, some don’t.

  10. Thomas B.

    Thomas, out of curiosity… why do you include Ewing Jr, who has yet to stick with an NBA team at 26, ahead of Landry and Timo?

    I have an excellent reason for that my good sir: I forgot about Fields and Timov.

  11. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Has your press pass let you watch any workouts? Which unit is Walker playing with the second or third?I assume the first unit is Felton, Chandler, Gallanari, Stoudamire, and Turiaf.And I assume Chandler’s offense isnt looking that great with the first unit.  

    I have a job that would prevent me from attending, so unless I suddenly start selling t-shirts by the bucketful I’ll be an outsider.

    Although I would tweet one of the beat guys and ask them, Hahn, Beck, Isola, Berman, etc.

  12. TDM

    Ted – I’m not putting Walker in the same category as DWade, Roy, or Joe Johnson, but how many rebounds per 36 do you think a good rebounding shooting guard should have?

  13. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Yeah I forgot about Fields in the SG rotation as well.

    BTW Mozgov is ungodly big in person, even in a room full of basketball players. I did speak with him, but it was an awful experience on both parts. I was nervous & didn’t have any prepared questions to ask him. He answered my questions, but I guess I used colloquialisms, because the answers weren’t exactly in the area I had hoped.

  14. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    Good points. It will be interesting to see. I’m wondering the same things (Timo and/or Turiaf? and WC’s minutes or just 2-guard in general…).
    The big problem I see, and have been saying over and over again, is that D’Antoni loves the 3-pt ball. If AR is getting a lot of minutes at the 3 and WC is playing a lot at the 2… Knicks will be a terrible 3 pt shooting team. If nothing else, he may have to extend the rotation to have some shooters out there. (There is plenty of reason to hope WC can at least return to the 33% 3P mark or a bit better. AR… he’s made 1 3P in 2 seasons…) Will be interesting to see what rotation he tries/settles on. If it is a bad 3pt shooting rotation will be interesting to see if he adjusts the style of play or goes down in flames or adjusts the personnel.

    re: #9… If Walker can’t handle the ball, though, is he really a 2? Or a smallish 3? Perhaps the Knicks sacrifice the playmaking for the shooting or one/more of their other wing guys (Gallo, AR, Fields) steps up his playmaking.

    Thomas B.: Besides, Walker has put up much better WS/48 than Chandler has. I say put the guys who most contribute to wins on the floor. For all of Chandler’s defensive ability, the defensive rating of the players is a push.

    Thomas, the thing is that Walker has barely played any NBA minutes. His WS is so high because his scoring efficiency has been SPECTACULAR… Maybe he is in fact a freak, but that .648 TS% looks very unsustainable. If his shot’s not falling Bill Walker is largely useless (he does finish well, but so does WC). Hopefully the shot keeps falling, but there’s a very real possibility he falls off a bit.
    Defensive rating is not a stat I put much importance on: very hard to assign points per 100 poss to one player without *really* in depth analysis (like breaking down tape of every play… and even then there will often be multiple. Subjectively WC is a far better defender than Walker. Walker’s defense kept him glued to the bench in Boston and forces D’Antoni to make uncomfortable defensive switches in NY… he seemed to guard the 4 as often as a wing, so expecting him to guard SG on a nightly basis is asking a lot.
    I’m not saying there is an easy answer or that Walker won’t/can’t start… Just that there are some interesting trade-offs that D’Antoni gets paid the big bucks to make decisions on.

    Thomas B.: And I assume Chandler’s offense isnt looking that great with the first unit.

    I’m not even a WC fan, but I think you are being a bit harsh. He’s a strong finisher and shot decently in 08-09. I’m also skeptical about him–especially with Felton–but I’m not completely writing him off. I don’t really care who is starting so much as what the rotation looks like. Perhaps a C starts so that D’Antoni can semi keep his promise to Amare and then only gets 15-20 mpg.
    The interesting thing is that depending on what Randolph actually brings to the table, he and WC could be fairly redundant. I thought this offseason might have been a good time to move WC, but maybe there were no offers or the Knicks have a better plan… Certainly he could improve this season, but then he’s a FA the Knicks risk losing or overpaying to match. Maybe mid-season is the time to more him.
    You also seem to be completely writing off Timo for the great Ronny Turiaf.
    I’m not as concerned about who “starts” as who actually gets minutes.

  15. Frank

    Just curious — what would happen if Melo went to the Nuggets and said — look, I want to play for the Knicks, and I will refuse to sign an extension anywhere else. Wouldn’t that pretty much force the Nuggets to take whatever we felt like giving them or else lose him for nothing a la Cavs and Raptors? If Melo really wants to come here AND get his money, he can just say that. And based on what has been most recently reported by the lemmings, I mean the mainstream sports media, it sounds like he really wants to play for the NYK.

    I say — wait for all the other suitors to become annoyed and insulted.
    Then come in with Curry, Chandler, and filler and that’s our final offer, or you can lose him for nothing and we’ll just sign him outright in the summer.

  16. Thomas B.

    I have a job that would prevent me from attending, so unless I suddenly start selling t-shirts by the bucketful I’ll be an outsider.

    You couldnt take leave to cover training camp? You know these outside distractions of yours like a job and a family are really starting to get in the way of what matters most. :-)

    Speaking of T-shirts, I’m going to check out the store, my anniversery is coming up and I promised Mrs. B something nice. Free shipping for contributors right?

  17. DS

    I don’t know if you all have been watching the scrimmages posted to the Knicks Blog: http://www.theknicksblog.com/2010/09/26/sunday-notes-2/

    But it seems the depth chart (minus Azubuike) is:

    PG – Felton, Douglas, Rautins
    SG – Chandler, Mason, Fields
    SF – Gallo, Walker, PE Jr.
    PF – STAT, Randolph, Williams
    C – Turiaf, Mosgov, Curry

    Also, Hollinger’s extensive team forecast has been posted:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/trainingcamp10/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=KnicksForecast1011

    Biggest Strength: Youth
    Biggest Weakness: Shooting [???]
    Prediction: 37-45, 3rd in Atlantic Division, 8th in Eastern Conference

  18. Ted Nelson

    TDM: Ted – I’m not putting Walker in the same category as DWade, Roy, or Joe Johnson, but how many rebounds per 36 do you think a good rebounding shooting guard should have?  

    The part of 15-5-5 I am skeptical about is the assists (as well as the minutes it would take to average that per game). The rebounding may be average or even above average (either if he’s playing the 2 or if his Boston numbers were more accurate because of his role in NY or if he just improves)… but he’s a weak defender and not a plus playmaker. His scoring efficiency is what gives him value.
    If his scoring efficiency were, say, .530 and he hit, say, 33% of his 3s… we would be asking whether he’ll make the team: plenty of 6-6 guys out there offer average rebounding, no defense, and average playmaking to go with average low-volume scoring. He hasn’t been an average scorer, though. He scored a below-average volume ridiculously efficiently. His value right now is as a scorer.
    If he ever averages 5 apg, I’d call it a remarkable or incredible improvement, not what I reasonably expected. Maybe there is information I am not considering… his college assist numbers didn’t stand out either, though. As Caleb said, “He just doesn’t look to have the handle, or vision, to be a playmaker. Some guys have it, some don’t.”

    I wouldn’t look at a SG grabbing 5 reb/36 and call his rebounding a really valuable asset, though, no. Q Rich, for example, has a career reb% of 10 even with the back injury. Walker’s reb% of 6.9 puts him more in Nate Robinson territory. If he’s playing the 2 for you I would look at that rebounding as a nice plus maybe, but not a reason to put him on the floor (there’s a trade-off with both defense and playmaking/ball-handling). His scoring would be a reason to put him on the floor. WC and Azu, for example, are better rebounders. Toney Douglas is worse, but not incredibly worse.

    Rebounding numbers don’t tend to improve with experience, but maybe since Walker is young, sort of coming off injury (years ago), we’re looking at a small sample, and he played a certain role for the Knicks last season… (The role, though, involved guarding a lot of 4s, which you’d think would put him in position for more defensive rebounds… his offensive rebounding #s were better for the 216 minutes he played in Boston in 08-09… but that sample covered a total of 8 OffReb…) I just don’t reasonably expect a marked improvement in either rebounding or playmaking.

  19. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Free shipping for contributors right?  

    I actually don’t control any of that, save for my measly commission. And I have a new design that I need to work a little more on before I add it. Should be up in a week or two.

  20. Ted Nelson

    Frank: what would happen if Melo went to the Nuggets and said — look, I want to play for the Knicks, and I will refuse to sign an extension anywhere else.

    Melo would look like a huge prima donna, if he doesn’t already.

    I guess no one can say for sure. For one, though, Melo loses any leverage he has.

    If the Knicks and Nuggets couldn’t agree on a deal… he’d be forced into signing under the new CBA (if that’s a concern to him).

    He risks that the Knicks even want to sign him over the off-season. If they do and know they are his only option they’re not paying him the max.

    The Knicks could just say… “he only wants to sign here… why give up anything to get him? We’ll just wait for free agency…” Or, ok we’ll offer Eddy Curry and …a future 2nd/WC/whatever… now the Nuggets might prefer to just keep Melo for this season (making a nice playoff run) or accept a deal from a team that knows they are facing an uphill battle to re-sign him. They could get a similar sized expiring of a good player (say AK-47, J-Rich, Vince Carter…), and/or they could get a big contract they like (Iggy, Deng, Arenas, Rashard Lewis…), and/or a young guy/picks that they like better than WC/Knicks pick.

    You’re also assuming that the Knicks are the only team he’ll sign with. I don’t know if that’s true or not.

  21. Thomas B.

    Gee Ted have you been waiting for me to start posting again? I peep my head out for the first time since July 15 and wham! Kumbaya Ted, kumbaya.

    Thomas, the thing is that Walker has barely played any NBA minutes. His WS is so high because his scoring efficiency has been SPECTACULAR… Maybe he is in fact a freak, but that .648 TS% looks very unsustainable. If his shot’s not falling Bill Walker is largely useless (he does finish well, but so does WC). Hopefully the shot keeps falling, but there’s a very real possibility he falls off a bit.

    I’m not even a WC fan, but I think you are being a bit harsh. He’s a strong finisher and shot decently in 08-09. I’m also skeptical about him–especially with Felton–but I’m not completely writing him off.

    Yes Walker has barely played any NBA minutes. But he has been a solid contributor in those minutes. Both in Boston and in NYC. Sure he has never averaged more than 15 per for a season, but in the limited time he played with better overall efficiency than Wilson has. Didn’t I read somewhere that most players stats don’t tend to change significantly as they play more minutes? Maybe that was on this site, I can’t recall but it sounds right. I don’t agree with the “largely useless” outside of scoring comment. His rebounding is average for the position. I admit the playmaking is poor. But it isnt all that much worse than Chandler’s.

    The comment on Wilson struggling wasn’t a slight. It was in response to Mike’s comment about Wilson’s offense “hurting” (comment 2). I assumed that Mike meant that Wilson didnt look right now, ans I was asking. It wasnt a write off, but after three years I think it is time to acknowledge that Wilson probably can’t become the type of shooter this team needs at the two. That is not to say he is a bad player. I wouldnt mind him paired with Toney Douglas in the backcourt (I’d actually like the defense there, though playmaking and turnovers would take a hit). I just dont want two average to below average efficiency scorers in the backcourt. So with Felton as the starter, I thought Walker was the better fit.

  22. marxster

    Guys, explain this to me. How is it possible that a guy can get paid millions of dollars and report to training camp out of shape? Aren’t there clauses in his contract that say you have to be in shape to play basketball? If he’s not in shape to play basketball, to me that means he’s not holding up his end of the bargain and there should be a way to break this contract. Are NBA lawyers really that stupid not to put such a stipulation in these contracts?

  23. Caleb

    Hollinger’s extensive team forecast has been posted:
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/trainingcamp10/insider/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=KnicksForecast1011Biggest Strength: Youth
    Biggest Weakness: Shooting [???]
    Prediction: 37-45, 3rd in Atlantic Division, 8th in Eastern Conference  

    I can’t argue with much, in the details, but I would say he’s being overly pessimistic about the coming season. Especially on the defense. The Knicks added a few good defenders and aren’t worse defensively anywhere, unless you think Jared Jeffries is a big loss. I don’t. Just given the new talent, it seems like a good bet that the Knicks will be a lot better on D, if not exactly good. I also think Hollinger is overly critical of D’Antoni’s history – we’ve argued it here before, but the Phoenix defenses were mostly average, not bad. I don’t think they underperformed based on talent. Not by much, anyway.

    Anyway, the Knicks aren’t just young – good for the long-term – they’re better at every position than they were in 2009-2010. Deeper, too. I think that will be enough to get them to .500, assuming Stoudemire stays healthy.

  24. Ted Nelson

    Thomas, it’s definitely nothing personal. I’m always this annoying… at least on here for some reason (I don’t think I’m particularly annoying in real life, in fact, I’d consider myself fairly agreeable, but maybe I’m wrong…).

    I’m not saying Bill Walker can’t or even shouldn’t start (I agree the Knicks need more shooting in that starting group if D’Antoni isn’t going to turn into Larry Brown or JVG…). I’m just saying that I don’t think it’s a given, and even if he does start the game it doesn’t mean he’s the primary 2. I definitely think he should be in the competition for the spot. I’m mostly playing devil’s advocate.

    Thomas B.: Sure he has never averaged more than 15 per for a season, but in the limited time he played with better overall efficiency than Wilson has.

    I’m not saying 15, I’m saying that he’s only played 984 NBA minutes. If you’re a 36 mpg player, that’s 27 games. At 30 mpg that’s 33 games. This sample size leaves his numbers open to far more variability (a player’s career does not always follow the path of their first 1000 minutes, though certain trends may emerge). A sample is not always representative of a population (in this case BW’s ability/production), but the larger the sample the more certainty you can have that it represents the underlying population. With a veteran you can write off 20-30-40 unusual games or attribute it to injury, luck, or decline… when you have nothing but the 1000 minutes to go on, it’s a lot harder. Walker’s D-League stats do bode well for his scoring and rebounder and ok for his assists, but it’s also a small sample against poor competition (24 games, 732 minutes). I do think there’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about BW’s scoring efficiency, it’s just not a given till be proves it.

    Thomas B.: I don’t agree with the “largely useless” outside of scoring comment. His rebounding is average for the position.

    Being a 6-6 average (for NBA) rebounding SG who can’t handle the ball and scores at an average efficiency on a below-average volume isn’t going to get you a long-term NBA job. Bill Walker’s value comes from his scoring efficiency. If that falls off a cliff, he can say hello to the D-League or a league overseas. Defense is also a huge part of the game that simply looking at box score stats offers little insight into. I expect, however, for his scoring to remain efficient and him to have a nice NBA career. How efficient and how nice are question marks.

    Thomas B.: I just dont want two average to below average efficiency scorers in the backcourt.

    I agree with that, especially with D’Antoni as your coach. I guess my issue, then, is treating the C position as fixed or treating the “starting” line-up as the “primary” line-up. I’m *hoping* AR can step up into a 30+ mpg front-court role. Even if he’s promised Amare to play the 4, he can start Randolph at the 5 on defense.

    Thomas B.: So with Felton as the starter, I thought Walker was the better fit.  

    I’m not saying he is or isn’t: I could see Walker starting and playing 30+ mpg, or I could see him out of the rotation for most of the season. I think D’Antoni has some tough decisions to make. I also think between now and the start of the season his rotation might change. Nothing’s given, but I also don’t expect Azu to miss a significant portion of the season.

  25. DS

    @24 – I agree. Hollinger could very well have short changed the Knicks by 4 or 5 wins. I think Mike K. said the team was 17th in offensive efficiency last year and that was w/ Lee, Duhon, and Harrington leading the charge! Don’t the Knicks project to be top 10 now?? Couple that with improved D.

    Hollinger IS pretty high on Randolph. BTW, why isn’t there more discussion about him playing center?? Is it because Turiaf is 20 lbs. heavier? Turiaf’s also a better passer and a higher percentage (though very low volume) shooter. But Randolph is a much better rebounder, is faster, far more athletic, can shoot from deep and score in bunches, and is arguably as good of a shot blocker (Turiaf’s biggest strength). It reminds me of how long Van Gundy waited to unleash Camby behind Kurt Thomas in 1999. No offense to our beloved Kurt.

  26. Ted Nelson

    marxster: to me that means he’s not holding up his end of the bargain and there should be a way to break this contract. Are NBA lawyers really that stupid not to put such a stipulation in these contracts?  

    I’m not an expert. I absolutely agree that there *should* be some way to punish Eddy Curry for being a P.O.S. (then again, the Knicks knew the ground rules when they bid against themselves to sign-and-trade for him). However, I don’t think the “NBA lawyers” are “stupid.” The collective bargaining agreement is by definition agreed upon collectively between the owners (league) and the players (players’ union). The owners are not slave holders and cannot simply dictate the terms of contracts. It is fairly understandable that players A. wouldn’t want to have any performance clauses that could lose them $ in their contracts once they’ve signed them and b. wouldn’t want the contracts to be open to arbitrary conditioning levels that could allow teams to cut players they don’t like. I’m personally under the impression that the players hold the power and could start their own league if the owners were too upity, but it would obviously be a huge pain and money would be lost all around.

    Caleb: Just given the new talent, it seems like a good bet that the Knicks will be a lot better on D, if not exactly good.

    I generally am not very impressed with Hollinger’s Knicks analysis or his work at ESPN in general (at least compared to my expectations when he got the ESPN gig… which were very high). On this point, though, I think he does say something along the lines of “better doesn’t necessarily mean good.” Depends what you define as “good.” Could be top 10, top 15, even top 5-7… It’s possible, but predicting the Knicks to finish top 10 on D would be pretty optimistic.

    I feel like Hollinger and everyone else is/are overly critical of Douglas. Or just trapped in the “starters are good and bench players are bad” way of thinking and/or “taller is better” way of thinking. I expect more from Hollinger, but that’s why I’m disappointed in him. Hollinger says that he’s not as good a prospect as WC, but also that he may be an ideal 3rd guard and 6th man… If your reasonable potential is to be a top 6th man, you are a pretty darn good prospect. Hollinger also calls his FSU numbers shaky in reference to outside shooting, which is just not true. He had one mediocre 3-pt season sandwiched between 2 strong ones and a strong one at Auburn.

    Not that he’s a huge part of the team, but Hollinger completely neglects to mention that Mason was injured last season in his “down season.”

    Hollinger also calls Felton a “solid” scorer… which seems very generous. Generally he throws around words like “stats” without providing any specifics, evidence, or even links. Like a typical mainstream journalist, it’s right because he said it is.

    Hollinger does make plenty of points that almost any other msm hack would miss, and I’d rather read him than most shlubs. Much prefer this site to any other I’ve seen for Knicks coverage and NBA discussion in general.

    “while Randolph seems the only potential star in the group”
    “While he was mainly a 3-point threat”

    Yeah, I mean Reggie Miller wasn’t a star… Peja in his prime wasn’t a star… makes a lot of sense… except that it makes no sense at all. He has a chance to be one of the best pure shooters in the game at 6-10, but he doesn’t have a chance to be a star?

  27. Frank

    So Melo is taking a page out of the Lebron playbook. Shocker. I feel better and better about signing him as a FA next summer.

  28. Ted Nelson

    Frank: So Melo is taking a page out of the Lebron playbook. Shocker.I feel better and better about signing him as a FA next summer.  

    Which page is that?

  29. DS

    The page that says to act like you’re interested in helping your current team when you’re just playing out your contract and planning to join your friends in a better city ASAP.

  30. d-mar

    A thought – obviously, the best scenario for the Knicks is somehow Melo plays another season in Denver and they grab him as a FA next year without giving up anyone on their roster. Isn’t this also the best scenario for Melo? Then he ends up on a much better team with a much better roster than any of the proposed destinations today like NJ or Philly (post trade). I guess the big wildcard is the CBA and the threat of a lockout, and also does Melo want to spend a “lame duck” season in Denver? But in a sense he does control his own destiny if he refuses to sign an extension with any team.

    Anyway, just a thought as the rumors continue to swirl.

  31. Ted Nelson

    DS: The page that says to act like you’re interested in helping your current team when you’re just playing out your contract and planning to join your friends in a better city ASAP.  

    LeBron never did the Cavs the service of letting them know he wasn’t re-signing. Apparently he didn’t even call them before his tv special went on air, let alone tell them before the season even began. Melo, on the other hand, has told the Nuggets he’s unlikely to re-sign there. Given them a chance to evaluate their options. If the Nuggets think their best option is to keep Anthony all season and try to re-sign him, that’s their call. Ultimately Melo has every right to look after his own self-interest and do what makes him and his family happy. He’s done that with a lot more class to date than LeBron, in my opinion. He doesn’t owe it to Denver to sign an extension he doesn’t want to sign with either them or any other team.

  32. Frank

    It’s just the $$$$$. If Melo gets traded he gets his $22M/year extension (guaranteed $$) as opposed to whatever is the max under the new CBA. And if he suffers a career-ending injury this year he won’t be able to get the guaranteed $ and somehow will have to get by on the $56872937846 he has already banked.

  33. DS

    @32 – All I’m saying is that ‘Melo is a goner this summer and if he plays out this year with the Nuggets, he’ll have to exaggerate in interviews the likelihood that he’ll stay and his desire for the team to do well.

    I agree that he won’t antagonize the Nuggets and the rest of the country outside of NY the way LeBron did. I don’t know how much credit I give him for telling the Nuggets he’s unlikely to stay.

  34. Ted Nelson

    DS: he’ll have to exaggerate in interviews the likelihood that he’ll stay and his desire for the team to do well.

    I don’t know… he can avoid questions on whether he’ll stay and even if he has no intention of staying he can still hope the Nuggets win every game and give 100% effort.

    DS: I don’t know how much credit I give him for telling the Nuggets he’s unlikely to stay. 

    It is hard to say because it’s in his own self interest to tell them he wants out with the CBA expiring and his wife apparently wanting out of Denver, whereas that was not the case for LeBron or Chris Bosh (though I guess Bosh did want to leave Toronto). LeBron especially also had the hometown factor working against him a bit to come out and declare he was leaving Cleveland before/early in the season… and Miami wouldn’t really have had the assets to make good offers for LeBron and/or Bosh… further complicating the situation for both the players and the old teams: if they would only sign extensions with Miami.
    The two contexts make it likely both players were just acting in their own self-interests, but Melo still told Denver while LeBron didn’t so there is the possibility Melo is just being more respectful of the Denver organization… who knows.

    I still don’t really understand Frank’s original comment about taking a page from LeBron’s playbook, though.

  35. DS

    “I still don’t really understand Frank’s original comment about taking a page from LeBron’s playbook, though.”

    Well, not to get involved but our man Alan Hahn did tweet:
    alanhahn: Carmelo, finally, gets on the LeBron ’09 Script, and Knicks have to love what they hear: http://bit.ly/b8aRsR #nyknicks #NBA

  36. ess-dog

    If the Nuggets were the ones to waver here, that seems incredibly foolish to me. It seems pretty clear, short of making it to the Finals this year, that Melo is going to leave Denver asap. The longer that Denver puts this off the worse the trade value will be. Once Melo is in the Nuggets locker room, there will be no rush to leave this season. He will not commit to a trade to any other team now (unless the bargaining agreement reveals something that should really scare him.) Favors, AK-47 (who looks pretty damn good in win shares), two 1st rounders, one inherited from the hapless Warriors… what more do they expect to get? The only thing possibly better would be to replace the Nets w/ the Sixers and get Iggy, AK, and 2 picks, or at least one. But it’s not likely that Melo signs off on the Sixers, and maybe he did with the Nets, who knows? Now I assume Donnie will put on the brakes for a while. We’ll see.
    Re: Walker, I loved his play last year, but a) it was a small sample size b) they weren’t meaningful games and c) we lost most of those games. But I was still excited about him. Unfortunately, although he lost weight, it doesn’t look like he was in the gym that much. He has those young Allan Houston kind of stovepipe arms. Losing weight is fine but losing weight and adding strength is better. So now his shot looks terrible and unlike last year, he’s not the only good athlete on the team any more.
    Early reports on Walker are mixed at best. Mason sounds like he’s regained his shooting form and could be valuable if he regains the form he had before last year. Another top 3 pt shooter with a handle and a classy vet on the floor would really help. I could even see him starting depending on the play of the other guards. Returns on Fields show him to be one of the best athletes in camp. He looks like he more than belongs. His shot gets iffy the further out he gets, but I could see him stealing some effective minutes this year. Haven’t heard anything on Chandler. Can’t imagine he’ll be a starter for long, but maybe he’ll prove me wrong. He just really seems like the most sf of our sg’s – few of whom are sg’s.
    I think he’ll back up Gallo. And I think Randolph is a pf. Which leaves him a little out in the cold if D’Antoni commits to playing a center (Mosgov/Turiaf.)
    Maybe we could do something like Randolph, Curry and a pick for Iguodala? He fills more of a need that Carmelo, and he’s Berri-approved. It’s a little less outside shooting and rebounding than I would prefer, but Felton, Iggy, Gallo, Amare, Moz/Turiaf sounds like a very complimentary team.

  37. Frank

    How about this lineup for 15 minutes/game or more:

    C: Mozgov or Turiaf
    PF: Amare
    SF: Gallo
    SG: Randolph
    PG: Felton or TD

    That is a BIG lineup which has no obvious holes defensively. I haven’t seen too much of Randolph but by all reports he should be able to guard most 2’s. Felton/TD and Gallo can be the 3-ball shooters, Amare can shoot everything from 15 feet in, and Mozgov/Turiaf and Randolph can concentrate on O-rebounds.

    Anyone have any idea whether Randolph has any post game?

  38. Ted Nelson

    ess-dog,

    I’m not sure I would trade AR for Iggy (unless AR rubs Walshtoni the wrong way and they’re pessimistic about him). I like Iggy, but AR can do a lot of what he does and is significantly taller/longer, younger, and currently cheaper. It’s definitely intriguing–especially the playmaking he’d bring–but I don’t think it answers the Knicks questions at the 2. Iggy played the 4 in the WCs. Given his mediocre jumper that’s also where I’d envision him for D’Antoni. So the playmaking would be huge and he might score very well in the Shawn Marion role, but there would be a trade-off with rebounding and defense. I guess I’d be 50/50 on it.

    ess-dog: Mason sounds like he’s regained his shooting form and could be valuable if he regains the form he had before last year.

    Since he was injured last year and had a long track-record of good outside shooting, I think this was a good bet.

    ess-dog: And I think Randolph is a pf. Which leaves him a little out in the cold if D’Antoni commits to playing a center (Mosgov/Turiaf.)

    If Amare’s playing 35 mpg with 8 of those in a smaller line-up (whether he or AR is the 5), and Timo/Turiaf are combining for 35 mpg… there’s 26 mpg for AR right there… plus any time at the 3. That, of course, would be a new career high. If only one of Timo/Turiaf is in the rotation, there’s a surplus of front-court minutes.

    Frank: How about this lineup for 15 minutes/game or more:

    We discussed this to death earlier, but the huge weakness with that line-up is perimeter shooting when Felton is on the floor. Not to say it can’t work for stretches, just to say that it’s not an ideal long-term solution unless Randolph’s shot improves 1000000000% and/or TD can run the point and/or Gallo/AR’s ball-handling/playmaking really picks up this season in line with what we all think they’re capable of on paper.

    Frank: Anyone have any idea whether Randolph has any post game?  

    Not much that I’ve seen, and the question is whether he even wants to. He describes himself as a 1-3 hybrid; although, D’Antoni has made comments about him being very coachable. If he were guarded by a 2, maybe he could exploit that match-up in the post. A team might stick their 2 on Gallo, though, and defend AR with their 3.

  39. Z

    d-mar: I guess the big wildcard is the CBA and the threat of a lockout   

    I don’t think the new CBA is a wild card. I think it is THE card. It’s the only reason Carmelo is in this situation, and it is what is going to keep him from entering free agency this summer.

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