Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, October 31, 2014

2013-14 Matchup Preview and Game Thread: Wolves @ Knicks

The great Steve McPherson of the blog A Wolf Among Wolves (and Grantland and Hardwood Paroxysm and a bunch of other places — seriously, if you’re not a fan of his work by now, you’re doing it wrong) graciously joins us to answer we these questions three in advance of today’s ‘Bockers-Puppies tilt. Enjoy!

 

1. Like Richard Nixon once asked at 4am of the Kent State Protesters at the Lincoln Memorial, how’s your team doing this year?

We’re only two games in, but the Wolves are on pace for the late and sadly missed Tim Allen‘s mythical 82-0 season. That first win against the Orlando Magic was closer to a loss than coach Rick Adelman was really comfortable with, and afterward he lamented how the team — especially the starters — went slack in the third and much of the fourth, allowing the Magic back in a game the Wolves led by 17 points before the Wolves forced overtime and won it.

But there’s something to the idea that such a result is the best of all possible ones from a learning standpoint. Had the Wolves won or lost a blowout or lost a close game, it might have been damaging to the psyche of a team that’s still full of flinches from a season where seemingly everything went wrong. Example: Even though the Wolves masterfully handled the Thunder in their second game, limiting Kevin Durant to 13 points on 36% shooting (including 20% from 3), at least a few people grumbled the next day when it was discovered that Ronny Turiaf’s hard fall courtesy of Nick Collison had broken his elbow. “Thus it begins,” was the refrain. The entire fanbase has PTSD, more or less.

So as giddy as everyone got during that game against the Thunder, there’s still a lot of trepidation, an awareness that this is a long road. That’s probably good, actually, but let me also say that seeing the entire machine humming on all cylinders against OKC was a truly beautiful thing. It really showed that if the execution and focus is there and they stay healthy this can be a tremendously deadly offensive team that can engage enough on defense to win a lot of games.

 

2. You woke up this morning only to shockingly discover that you’ve been named head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. After briefly dancing a jig, you realize you’ve got a game today. What’s your plan to beat the Knicks? What are your team’s strengths vis-a-vis New York/your weaknesses?

Given Mike Woodson’s apparent and somewhat disturbing fondness for trying to beat teams at their own game rather than playing to the Knicks’ strengths, I would just try to get a lineup out there that forces the Knicks away from their two point guard, Melo-at-the-4 lineups. That would have been harder last season for the Wolves — who ran double point guard lineups a lot of the time — but it should be a little easier this season. Ricky Rubio and Kevin Martin should create matchup problems for Felton/Prigioni lineups. And if Woodson insists on putting Bargnani out there against Kevin Love, he’s in for a rude awakening. They’re both big men who like to shoot, but Love actually makes his shots, plus rebounds the ever-loving stuffing out of the ball. If the Knicks have to rely on Chandler for all their rebounding while facing Love and Nikola Pekovic — who are straight killers on the offensive glass — it’s going to be truly ugly.

Honestly, the Knicks’ best option is to push Melo at the 4 as much as possible because Love will struggle to contain him or — if Corey Brewer is on Melo on the defensive end — will struggle with whomever the Knicks put at the 3. If both teams go small and just try to shoot their opponent out of the building, this will be a fun, fun game. But if the Wolves want to win, they’d be better advised to feature Pek and Love getting the ball on the move closer to the hoop.

 

3. For those who don’t get to see the Wolves on the regular, and may not know much about the team aside from Ricky Rubio’s dreamy puppy-dog eyes, Kevin Love’s brilliance and Nikola Pekovic’s odd habit of eating a still-beating wild boar’s heart before tip off because he needs to consume the beast’s life force, who should we be on the lookout for? Who has surprised so far this season/who has disappointed?

Anyone who loves basketball would be well-advised to keep an eye out for Dante Cunningham coming off the bench for the Wolves. You might know him as a so-called “energy guy,” which is partly true because he’s tremendous on the offensive and defensive boards, but that “energy” tag also implies a certain lack of skill, or at least an overcompensation for a lack of skill with a surplus of frenetic movement. But Cunningham’s energy comes from funneling what he has into very specific areas. He knows exactly where he’s effective, and that’s on the pick-and-pop around the elbow, where he’s nearly automatic on midrange jumpers. You can’t build an entire offense around it — as we saw last year — but his soft touch from that range is reliable and steady. It’s just what you want out of a bench guy, and it’s just good basketball.

Also, I can’t credit all of Durant’s awful night on Friday to Brewer — Durant may have been destined for a slump no matter what — but it was a lot of fun to watch Brewer get so far up into one of the league’s premier scorers that Durant practically had to submit a receipt to his health insurance for a colonoscopy. Brewer will take every inch afforded him by the refs in guarding a good scorer, which is either infuriating or supremely enjoyable, depending on your perspective. He’s equally as fun on the offensive side of the ball, but more because he flies with such reckless abandon. His forays to the basket appear to be governed by ragdoll physics more commonly associated with video games than the staid rules of motion the real world observes. Every fastbreak is an adventure when Brewer is involved.

 

229 comments on “2013-14 Matchup Preview and Game Thread: Wolves @ Knicks

  1. steveoh

    “Given Mike Woodson’s apparent and somewhat disturbing fondness for trying to beat teams at their own game rather than playing to the Knicks’ strengths”

    (sigh)

  2. ephus

    Kevin Love is the player that David Lee hoped to be. He has enormous strength – shooting and rebounding. But he is – like Lee – an enormous negative on the defensive end. Pekovic covers up for many of Love’s sins.

    If Love covers ‘Melo, I think the Knicks would be wise to feaure ‘Melo and Chandler in the PnR. ‘Melo can handle the ball well enough to deal with the pressure from Pek. And Love usually is horrible at recovering to the dive man.

    I’m also looking forward to Shumpert (or Prigioni) versus Rubio. Rubio is loose enough with the ball that I think we could see him forced into 5+ turnovers.

    Should be an entertaining game.

  3. Kahnzy

    I just hope if Woodson rolls out another Melo-Bargs-Stat lineup (which admittedly would be only for a few minutes given Stat’s minutes limit), that Pek doesn’t end up looking like some modern day reincarnation of Wilt.

  4. Donnie Walsh

    Wait, wasn’t Corey Brewer the guy the Knicks got in the Carmelo deal and subsequently waived? (Someone explain that move to me again, please, because I’m sure there was a really great reason behind it that I simply can’t remember right now). (Also, according to BBR, Corey Brewer’s closest similarity score comp is Steve Novak, which is kind of strange, seeing as they seem to be like, the exact opposite player in every single way imaginable).

  5. Brian Cronin

    Brewer was a throw-in for cap purposes. He was going to become a free agent and the Knicks weren’t going to re-sign him (as they needed all the cap room they could get that offseason to sign someone – as it turned out, it was Chandler) and Dallas expressed interest in signing him for a multi-year deal so his agent asked the Knicks if they’d be willing to let him go so that he could sign with the Mavericks. D’Antoni agreed. Oddly enough, Brewer was irked at the Knicks even though they were doing him a favor! The funny thing is that the Wolves dumped him for nothing and then ended up signing him on a three-year deal two and a half years later.

  6. BigBlueAL

    Berman tweeted quotes from Melo talking about how the offense is struggling right now because they dont have as many 3pt shooters as last season and that Bargs has to get used to shooting 3pters more. Melo reads Knickerblogger?? :-)

  7. Brian Cronin

    Interesting. Do you think Melo is trying to subtlety suggest “Hey, maybe more ISOs for me, please”?

  8. BigBlueAL

    Here is the actual quote:

    “I think we’re showing a different dynamic part our team. Last year we took a lot more 3-pointers than we took (now.) We got to get guys to used to being in those spots and wanting to shoot those. (We) got guys like Bargnani not used to playing a position like that outside the line taking 3s.’’

  9. Kahnzy

    Don’t get me wrong, when the Knicks’ offense was clicking on all cylinders last season, they were loads of fun to watch. But I’d rather have a middle-of-the-pack offensive but elite defensive team. I’d rather see the Knicks maintain their level of defense than see their offense improve (if I had to pick just one anyway).

  10. Brian Cronin

    The East is surprisingly frisky this year. I guess I was mistaken at how good some of these teams would be. Philly, as we know, has been shockingly good, but Orlando and Toronto have also played a lot friskier than I expected. Cleveland looks better than I thought they’d be. Detroit is decent. The East is no pushover.

    I guess Milwaukee has been a lot worse than I expected, at least. I figured they’d be a 36-40 win team and they look a lot worse than that.

  11. ephus

    One way to think about Bargnani coming to the Knicks is that this is the first time he has ever shared the court with an alpha dog (player) who is going to order him around. Bosh certainly was not that guy.

    If ‘Melo pressures Bargnani into smart spacing (like 3 point shots and slipped screens going to the rim), I believe that he has the raw ability to be an effective offensive player.

  12. ephus

    I guess Milwaukee has been a lot worse than I expected, at least. I figured they’d be a 36-40 win team and they look a lot worse than that.

    Did you watch the Celtics vs. the Bucks? Milwaukee won that game going away because Zaza was an unstoppable force and Wolters outplayed the Celtics anemic back court. If they get Ridnour and Brandon Knight back, I can see them winning 38 – 43 games.

  13. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, but that was because Boston is just beyond terrible not that Milwaukee is good.

    But yes, it is fair to note that a lot of their shittiness is likely that they don’t have a point guard due to injuries.

    Speaking of injuries, sad news about Beardy. I was happy to see him land in Minny. It seemed like a good opportunity for him. I love me some Beardy Turiaf.

  14. JK47

    Philly is a fluke team right now, unless you believe Michael Carter-Williams is the new Magic Johnson and Spencer Hawes is the new Kareem. I think they may regress to the mean a tad.

  15. ephus

    JK47 – you may be right that Philly is a fluke. The next seventeen games will tell a lot. In the meanwhile, Philly fans should enjoy having a reason for hope.

    Best perimeter D I have seen from Bargs. He closes out hard and forces Love into a travel.

  16. ephus

    And that was a great offensive rotation by Bargs. He knew exactly where to go when the Knicks ran the side PnR and his man sloughed off into the lane.

  17. JK47

    Two quick dumb fouls on Melo.

    I think Jason Kidd took all of the Knicks’ brains with him when he retired.

  18. JK47

    Very poor play on both sides of the ball here. Slow rotations, stupid fouls, careless turnovers, bricking of wide open shots.

  19. JK47

    Unforced turnover, then incredibly dumb foul on a three-point attempt. And a technical.

    How bad can they possibly play? I mean, this is epic.

  20. Owen

    Wow. Turned the game on with about 5 minutes left in quarter. That was I think the worst five minutes of basketball I have ever seen. Holy crap.

  21. cgreene

    Woodson has completely lost it. Why is this the day Amare is out? Do we know? Where is the offense supposed to come from w this lineup?

  22. ephus

    Before the game, I wrote that this game should be interesting. I was WRONG!

    After one quarter, this game is as bad as: (1) the drubbing by the Celtics when the Knicks looked as if they would get doubled for the whole game, and (2) the Laker game when Kobe broke Bernard’s MSG scoring record.

  23. Nick C.

    Um how many times in a row is Pekovic going to have the ball with nobody between him and the basket.

  24. JK47

    The Knicks’ good defense of the first two games was a complete illusion. Tonight they look like a YMCA pickup team on defense, utterly flummoxed by a team that has a reasonable ability to move the ball.

  25. Nick C.

    Nice pair of plays by Melo: cross court to Bargs for an open ten footer and then a rebound taken coast to coast for a stutter step blow by dunk. Now a three by Bargs.

  26. JK47

    The perimeter defense… The rotations… I’m going to vomit. Every single possession ends up being a good look for the Wolves.

    I had hopes that this Knicks team might be a good defensive team, but they are utterly dashed after watching this. They have too many dumb defensive players who are all following a fatally flawed switch-everything strategy. And Pekovic is eating Chandler for lunch.

  27. JK47

    Garbage defensive team. Just utter garbage.

    I don’t want to overreact, but I’m finding this game very disturbing.

  28. MarcusRinaldi

    It’s only game three, but Melos shot just doesn’t look right. I’ll give him a few more games before I start to worry, but maybe that shoulder isn’t as healthy as we were led to believe

  29. mokers

    Felton and Hardway Jr. are having terrible games. This is where Udrih should see some time. Nice game so far by Bargnani. Im glad Metta is hitting his shots, but it’s really strange to see him with the most FGA, even with how terrible Melo has been.

  30. d-mar

    Yes, it’s true, if the Knicks lose this game, they will be lucky to win 40 for the season. Oh, and they’ll be tied with the Nets for 3rd in the Atlantic.

    We are truly doomed.

  31. JK47

    It is so easy to switch the Knicks into a mismatch, it’s a joke. There has got to be a better way to play defense. Teams with savvy point guard play will just shred you every freaking time.

  32. Brian Cronin

    You really gotta give Bargs credit for being able to come back from such a shitty opening. He’s hit his last four shots, right?

  33. Kahnzy

    To be fair, I don’t think we can pin all of this on K-Mart alone. With a few exceptions, the entire team has played terribly. I don’t care who you have on the court, giving up 40 points in a quarter takes a total team effort of fail.

  34. Will the Thrill

    You really gotta give Bargs credit for being able to come back from such a shitty opening. He’s hit his last four shots, right?

    I really think that Bargs is our only chance of coming back this game, which is very surprising (and somewhat depressing).

  35. Z-man

    If Bargnani could play consistently like he played this half, he’d be worth what we paid for him.
    Melo was terrible and had a +3, weird.
    Felton is not playing well, not sure how he wound up with 6 assists
    Shump is playing dumb
    Tyson is getting dominated by Big Pek

  36. MarcusRinaldi

    I personally have been really happy the bargs we’ve seen in the second half of the bulls game, and so far this game. I think when he’s hitting jumpers and we get everything else working, this could be special. He really could create a matchup problem and actually make other teams adjust to our size, instead of us adjusting to other teams.

  37. KnickfaninNJ

    I thought the only time the defense was good was when they had Prigioni, Shumpert, MWP, Anthony and Chandler on the floor at once

  38. EB

    Kenyon Martin with the -18 in 6 minutes.

    It didn’t help that Melo and Bargs were benched for those 6 min. Regardless of what you think about Bargs, a Felton-Shump-THjr-Martin-Chandler lineup will struggle to score.

  39. Kahnzy

    I think the worst thing about this game to watch from just a pure fun-factor perspective has been the turnovers.

  40. Owen

    Getting killed by the Wolves. But hey, they are a batter team than us. Might not make the playoffs in the West but better than us.

    Love doesn’t play great defense it’s true. But everything else is pretty great.

  41. Brian Cronin

    Thank God for all the wide open shots the Wolves are missing.

    Right? That’s a really weird thing about this game. They’ve been blowing plenty of open looks and are still up 20!

  42. JK47

    Nope, don’ t look any better in this half.

    The guard play is miserable. On that last possession, Shumpert stood around with the ball and nothing else happened until about 10 seconds burned off the clock, then he passed it to Felton, who just drove it right at Pekovic who easily rejected it. This is some seriously shitty basketball.

    Shumpert does not look good out there at all.

  43. JK47

    It is a rare occurrence when the Wolves do not get a very high-percentage look on offense. This is beyond a few guys having bad nights and not shooting the ball well, this is horrendous fundamental defensive basketball.

  44. Brian Cronin

    I’ve noticed that there are lots of very solid 5?s in the NBA right now.

    Yeah, it’s a fascinating thing. I think Zach Lowe wrote about it before the season, about how people had been talking about the death of the traditional center and yet now suddenly there are tons of good ones!

  45. JK47

    Melo shoots into the teeth of a triple team, brick, defense doesn’t get back, wide open look at three for Wolves. Then on the other end, careless turnover. Fifth of the quarter, game over.

  46. Owen

    Hardaway can throw it down….

    Well on his way to being a crowd favorite, good dunker, shoots a lot….

    I think he might be Jr. jr.

  47. Owen

    Well one thing is for certain, Hardaway jr is a good pick

    I have a feeling this will be a bone of contention…

  48. ephus

    Tim Hardaway Jr. is going to get PT because of the things he does well (shooting, filling the lanes). He needs to work on a lot of things on the defensive end.

  49. Z-man

    Really, Owen? I know he’s making mistakes, but I’m seeing lots of nice things from him for a kid. Wjo did you like over him?

  50. JK47

    Tim Hardaway Jr. is a fool’s gold player. He’ll do something impressive and athletic every now and then, and you’ll think to yourself, “wow, good pick.” Then you realize he’s 3-9 for the game and has committed needless fouls and made dumb mistakes on the defensive end, and you has a sad.

  51. JK47

    Prigioni, wide open, all day to shoot. Instead passes it to Hardaway, who chucks it and misses. THJ is 3-11 now. Fool’s gold.

  52. cgreene

    I agree THJ is not a good shooter right now and is shooting waaayyy too much. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t a good player and a potentially decent pick. His defense is rather good. His handle better than expected. Doesn’t turn the ball over.

  53. mokers

    Yeah, Shump has been really bad this game. Felton has been bad this game. that’s why hardaway is getting burn. Prigs really making a difference right now.

  54. Kahnzy

    They’re still in this game!

    And try as I might, I can’t think of a single reason why. Someone help me with this one.

  55. Brian Cronin

    That Love three was not awesome.

    And yes, cgreene, this is exactly why they shouldn’t adapt their starters to match the other team’s lineup.

  56. ephus

    The Knicks are in this game because they have limited the Wolves (mostly) to single shots. Knicks have 30 defensive rebounds and have given up only 8 offensive rebounds.

    And that is mostly thanks to ‘Melo. Good effort on a bad offensive night.

  57. Kahnzy

    Everytime I see Kevin Martin release a shot, I think “that’s off.” But then it curves and goes nothing but net. Hate that.

  58. JK47

    Knicks gave away several possessions here and of course have given away three points on technicals. This is going to be a hard group to root for. The collective basketball IQ is sorely lacking.

  59. Owen

    Rubio’s arms are about 8 feet long….

    Good effort. I have to give Melo props. Great game on the boards. He hasn’t shot well so far. But I think he has played pretty well. I like where his focus is this year. Will not slam him for how he has played, although clearly it’s not superstar stuff….

  60. ephus

    Shumpert has had a bad night and I hope that he learns from it. He has forced his offense, taking contested shots early in the shot clock.

    Clyde is correct that Rubio is surprisingly good on defense.

    Hardaway will get the foul call on that 3 two years from now (and maybe next year). As a rookie, not so much.

  61. JK47

    I can’t stand the arrogance of a rookie who is 0-6 in a game, yet still chucks up a 3-pointer at the end of a game that gets BLOCKED. Good God what a fucking stupid player.

  62. Brian Cronin

    They need Hardaway for his floor spacing. As soon as JR returns, though, he’ll get Hardaway’s minutes and THjr can work on his game in practice.

  63. Kahnzy

    I can’t stand the arrogance of a rookie who is 0-6 in a game, yet still chucks up a 3-pointer at the end of a game that gets BLOCKED. Good God what a fucking stupid player.

    I’d rather see a rookie with a pair on him than not. He did some good things, and like practically all rookies everywhere got carried away with himself and then did some not-so-good things. I can understand the frustration after this game, but let’s not pretend like we would have won had he not played. A 40 point first quarter is a 40 point first quarter, and when that happens you’re gonna lose most games.

  64. DRed

    We might have won this game if Hardaway actually was good at shooting. Tough to waste a tremndous night from Melo on the glass.

  65. BigBlueAL

    Already reading talk on Twitter on how much longer we should wait before starting Fire Woodson chants lol.

  66. d-mar

    Teams that suck: Knicks 1-2, Nets 1-2, Bulls 1-2

    Teams that are awesome: Sixers 3-0, Wolves 3-0

    Long season fellas, our defense has been pretty good for 10 out of 12 quarters. And if you put JR out there instead of TH Jr., we probably win this game.

  67. JK47

    I wish I could take some positives out of this game, but I can’t. There was nothing flukey about this game– the Knicks played a very dumb, mistake-prone, low-efficiency brand of basketball and looked utterly bewildered by the Wolves’ good screening and ball movement. The defensive rotations were just horrendous.

    I don’t know how you find 24 minutes for Tim Hardaway Jr., who does not belong on an NBA court at this point in time, and can only find 21 minutes for Metta World Peace, who actually knows how to play this sport.

  68. Z-man

    Well, first of all, Minnesota is very good (finally!)

    We played one dumb basketball game, obviously we’re missing JR’s B-ball IQ.

    Kevin Love is just sensational. Sure wish we had him, great guy to root for!

    I would have liked to see Metta in there in the end rather than Prigs or TH2. He quietly kept us in the game and deserved to be in there.

  69. Brian Cronin

    I don’t know how you find 24 minutes for Tim Hardaway Jr., who does not belong on an NBA court at this point in time, and can only find 21 minutes for Metta World Peace, who actually knows how to play this sport.

    The Knick offense does not work without a legit floor spacer out there at the 2. Even an inefficient one like Hardaway makes the other guys better because the teams can’t leave him open like they feel like they can leave Artest.

  70. ephus

    More than 20 years ago, Hubie Brown taught the five commandments of defense:

    The Knicks violated Commandment #4 – Never foul a jump shooter.

    The fouls on Kevin Love when he was taking fall away 3s were big mistakes.

    But ‘Melo was really strong on the defensive boards.

  71. JK47

    They’re gonna respect the guy that’s 0-6, but they’re not going to respect a veteran who has made 1100 three-pointers in his career, at a decent .340 clip? Aw hell naw.

  72. BigBlueAL

    Knicks outrebounded the Wolves by 6 and actually shot a slightly higher % from the floor. Neither team shot 3pters well but difference was the FT line.

  73. Brian Cronin

    They’re gonna respect the guy that’s 0-6, but they’re not going to respect a veteran who has made 1100 three-pointers in his career, at a decent .340 clip? Aw hell naw.

    Yes.

    And again, this is for just one more game. Then JR takes Hardaway’s minutes, so it’s really not a big deal.

    This was a bad loss, no doubt. There was no moral victory to be had here. They shouldn’t lose games like this at home. However, Hardaway is so far from the Knicks’ major problems that he’s not even visible.

  74. hoolahoop

    Woodson broke on to the the knicks head coaching scene with the motto, “Everyone is accountable”.
    Ironically, it seems no one is accountable.

  75. bidiong

    We just sucked tonight, end of story. Woodson better work on his discipline with his players though. They’re making dumb mistakes that teams that are held accountable don’t make.

  76. DRed

    Jowles the lesser is not a legit floor spacer. He’s a kid who should be sitting on the bench with Bargnani.

  77. yellowboy90

    I thought this was Shump’s 3rd bad game. He is shooting and rebounding ok but his defense looks bad and decision making has been awful. I think Shump along with Hardaway and Melo killed the momentum in the runs by taking poor shots and a couple of bad decisions sprinkled in. I think Melo played the entire second half which is never good but as much as I liked that he was willing to swing the ball and had some very nice assist those 3 pt shots were horrible.

  78. DRed

    melo sucked on offense, but he was a manimal on the glass. He’s way down on the list of reasons why the knicks lost tonight.

  79. mokers

    Mark me among the people that thought MWP deserved more time. He looked better defending Peckovic (yes, it was only a 5 minute stretch) than anybody else on the team.

    If there were any Moral victories, I would take a flopping fine or two on the Timberwolves.

  80. Brian Cronin

    melo sucked on offense, but he was a manimal on the glass. He’s way down on the list of reasons why the knicks lost tonight.

    Yeah, a whole lot of other reasons they lost this game. Hardaway, Felton and Shump were probably the main three offenders tonight.

  81. Owen

    Shump did hit a pretty big 3.

    Hardaway Jr. wouldn’t be in the NBA if his father hadn’t been. That’s all I can conclude having watched him so far and having looked through his college statistics….

  82. Hubert

    Look on the bright side: we outrebounded them. This is all Woodson has wanted since game 3 in Indiana. We’ll suck, but we’ll rebound.

    The man is an imbecile.

  83. Jake S.

    Dump on Shumpert or Felton or an excited rookie all you want, but Woodson lost this game (just as he did against Chicago). Until he regains trust in the lineup that went 16-1 (!) down the stretch last year, the Knicks are in trouble.

  84. hotdamn

    Melo not reason they lost? Our “superstar” goes 8-21 and 2-6 from 3 with 5 turnovers. Not gonna win many games like that. No blocks from Chandler who had a weak game in the paint and made Pekovic/Love look like Hibbert/West. Felton shot 3-12 and none from 3. Even Prigioni played poorly. I would have liked to see more Kenyon early on while they were faltering on D…and take Udrih for a spin when Felton and Prigs were proving ineffective. Ron Artest was the only solid player out there and you could make the case for Bargs who was relatively efficient with 6-10, 2-4 from 3. Stats don’t lie. 4/5 of our starters didn’t get it done.

  85. Owen

    Well, I am going to choke on some vomit and point out that Melo was a +8. I hate to defend him, having ripped him as much as anyone, but I really don’t think this one is on him.

    If i were to point to anything I would point to the fact that Martin and Love combined to score 64 poins on 43 possessions. That was where the game was lost….

    And Martin really hit some tough shots….

  86. ruruland

    That Wolves team will flop its way to the WCF. Love, Martin and even Rubio — such ugly offensive SCORING games.

    Really, I liked a lot of what I saw on defense at against what should be one of the 5 most efficient offenses in the league this year.

    So much of the Wolves offense came because of the Knicks “sloppy” offense. It will come along. So much of it is bad timing and mis-communication.

    I’m more confident now than I was before the start of the season that the Knicks are better than they were last year.

  87. flossy

    I’m not mad at Hardaway Jr. The guy is playing his 3rd NBA game and was the first player off the bench! He’s been asked to step right in and be JR Smith for 5 games, and clearly he’s not ready to replace the production of the reigning 6MOTY (who has had plenty of his own 3-12 nights, let’s remember). Most rookies picked 25th aren’t ready to do that. Hell, the rookie picked #1 overall is 0-12 in 40 minutes so far this season. If you watched Hardaway in preseason or the 1st couple of games, he can clearly shoot, especially off the catch. Although he had a bad shooting night tonight, he has looked more polished offensively for many stretches than Shumpert.

  88. ruruland

    We can all read the box scores and see who scored. Those run-outs killed the Knicks, and that was poor offense.

    But the Knicks generated a lot of open threes in the half-court. The deficit seemed to cause them to rush quite a bit.

  89. ruruland

    Hardway took shots he’s going to make as an NBA player. He generally plays within himself. A guy who takes threes, runs the floor extremely well and is a super athlete will likely be quite efficient.

    He’s better than I thought he’d be. Those shots are going to fall, just as they will with Melo and everyone else.

  90. Owen

    Let’s be honest. Anthony Bennet had no business being the #1 pick. It was Oladipo or Noel all the way. And for the Cavs Oladipo should have been a lock, for a team that wanted to contend this year and was hoping beyond hope that Bynum could be what he once was….

  91. ruruland

    “Hardaway Jr. wouldn’t be in the NBA if his father hadn’t been. That’s all I can conclude having watched him so far and having looked through his college statistics…”

    Please explain.

  92. ruruland

    “Jowles the lesser is not a legit floor spacer. He’s a kid who should be sitting on the bench with Bargnani.”

    He was an OUTSTANDING spot-up shooter in college. Hardaway is more athletic than I suspected, plays much more intelligently than what he showed at Michigan, and has not tried to create for himself very frequently, which was his downfall in college.

  93. Bison

    It’s depressing to realize that our season’s success may depend on cokehead who’s recovering from a knee problem.

  94. Owen

    “Hardaway Jr. wouldn’t be in the NBA if his father hadn’t been. That’s all I can conclude having watched him so far and having looked through his college statistics…”

    Please explain.

    Hardaway’s ts% in college 56%, 53%, 53%.
    He wasn’t a good shooter in college. He won’t be a good shooter in the pros.
    I can’t think of many players who shot better in the pros than they did in college.
    I hope TIm Hardaway Jr. is one of the few.

    Honestly, Hardaway is really a classic Knicks player. Shoots a lot. Doesn’t score efficiently. Doesn’t really do anything else very well.

  95. hotdamn

    Hardaway showed some flashes and gave us a spark but he’s too much of a gunner. Needs to play within himself. Same with Shumpert…they’re playing too fast for their own good.

  96. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Let’s be honest. Anthony Bennet had no business being the #1 pick. It was Oladipo or Noel all the way. And for the Cavs Oladipo should have been a lock, for a team that wanted to contend this year and was hoping beyond hope that Bynum could be what he once was….

    I watched a bit of the Cavs game last night (milking the console NBA League Pass app while it’s free) and was shocked by how fat Anthony Bennett looks. Ms. Jowles said, “But he’s not fat compared to most people,” to which I replied, silently, “Most people aren’t picked ahead of Nerlens Noel and Victor Oladipo in a professional sporting draft.” Sort of unreal how lost he looked out there. He missed a finger roll on a fast-break and I thought, “When’s the last time a guy that tall couldn’t dunk the basketball?”

    The Cavs are in for a whole lot of suck. Between the awful Thompson and Bennett picks, they’ve got nothing good going for them w/r/t player evaluation.

  97. ruruland

    You think Nets fans are overreacting like this after a 21 point loss to the Magic, or have they been through enough competitive NBA seasons to have a little perspective?

  98. flossy

    This loss is not on Hardaway, he was just doing what he was asked to do. I’m much higher on Hardaway than I thought he’d be when he was picked actually. Hitting a couple of those 3s would have been great, but this loss is on a few other people, namely the Knicks starting backcourt for sucking so bad for most of the game, and Mike Woodson, for being unable to find more minutes for Artest in the first half when nobody else had a pulse. I wouldn’t be surprised if we were starting Felton/JR/MWP/Melo/Chandler before too long… Granted, I missed the first game against the Bucks, Shumpert is not showing me what I want to see from so far this season.

  99. JK47

    Really, I liked a lot of what I saw on defense at against what should be one of the 5 most efficient offenses in the league this year.

    That just boggles my mind, because all I saw was that the Wolves had an extremely high-percentage look at the basket just about every time they brought the ball down the floor. In the fourth quarter the Knicks had a string of possessions where they pressured the ball pretty well, but overall the rotations were pitiful and the lack of discipline leading to cheap fouls was just irritating beyond belief. For much of the game it looked to me like the Knicks don’t grasp basic defensive concepts.

  100. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    You think Nets fans are overreacting like this after a 21 point loss to the Magic, or have they been through enough competitive NBA seasons to have a little perspective?

    Enlighten us, O sage, of your esteemed eye for shot creation and keen eye for 7-footers who box out but do not secure rebounds.

    Want to take the Vegas over? I can head to the bank tomorrow. I’ll even give you the over at 48.5.

  101. ruruland

    “Hardaway’s ts% in college 56%, 53%, 53%.
    He wasn’t a good shooter in college. He won’t be a good shooter in the pros.
    I can’t think of many players who shot better in the pros than they did in college.”

    We’ve been through a list I compiled a few months ago. THJ’s efficiency was very poor in shots taken off the dribble. On spot-ups, screens and transition, he was stellar. Those are the shot he’s taking with the Knicks, and that he’ll make at a high rate.

    Until he develops a better shot creation game, he needs to play w/in himself, which is what he’s doing.

    Those transition three’s are good shots for him.

  102. hotdamn

    Nets fans haven’t been through that many competitive seasons lately. And they have plenty of reasons to be worried because the younger teams look kinda nice and they look kinda tired (like us). Until last year they were on a 5 year playoff drought. Haven’t been good since the Kidd days.

  103. ruruland

    “Want to take the Vegas over? I can head to the bank tomorrow. I’ll even give you the over at 48.5.”

    We’d need to set some rules in games participated by certain players.

  104. flossy

    Hardaway’s ts% in college 56%, 53%, 53%.
    He wasn’t a good shooter in college. He won’t be a good shooter in the pros.

    You know there’s a difference between scoring efficiently and being a good shooter (specifically spot-up shooter, since thats what ruruland actually said), right? Hardaway missed open spot up 3s tonight that he would normally make. Shots he has made already this season and throughout the preseason.

  105. JK47

    Chucking up 12 shots in 25 minutes, 3 of which go in, many of which were ill advised, does not count as “playing within yourself.” He was 1-10 on shots that weren’t dunks.

  106. Owen

    I don’t know about Bennet’s fitness. Haven’t followed him too closely of late. I think he is talented and should have been a lottery pick. I watched him in college, he is good.

    But to me, Oladipo was far and away the best player in the draft given Noel’s injury. Just insane he wasn’t taken first by a team with Bynum and Varejao.

    I don’t think this was the worse level ever. But it might have been the worse first quarter we will have all year.

  107. ruruland

    “Nets fans haven’t been through that many competitive seasons lately.”

    That the point. Knicks fans aren’t doing it right.

  108. ruruland

    “Chucking up 12 shots in 25 minutes, 3 of which go in, many of which were ill advised, does not count as “playing within yourself.” He was 1-10 on shots that weren’t dunks.”

    In a few months you won’t think those were ill-advised. He’s a very good spot-up shooter and he doesn’t need to be completely wide open to make those shots.

  109. flossy

    Chucking up 12 shots in 25 minutes, 3 of which go in, many of which were ill advised, does not count as “playing within yourself.” He was 1-10 on shots that weren’t dunks.

    Oh for fuck’s sake, he’s a shooting guard! He needs to shoot! The Knicks need him to shoot–they need him to do his JR Smith impersonation, stretch the floor and score off the bench. Of the shots that he missed, there were probably 2-3 that were ill-advised (not exactly crazy for a rookie), and the rest were just good old-fashioned decent looks that he just missed. I think the kid’s a little too green to be getting 24-28 mpg on the Knicks right now, but I could have told you that way before this game. Luckily, the actual JR Smith will be back in a couple of games and Tim Jr. can develop at a bit more of a reasonable pace [until Shumpert gets traded].

  110. Owen

    You know there’s a difference between scoring efficiently and being a good shooter (specifically spot-up shooter, since thats what ruruland actually said), right? Hardaway missed open spot up 3s tonight that he would normally make. Shots he has made already this season and throughout the preseason.

    Flossy – Look, guys who aren’t efficient scorers in college, especially perimeter players, almost never are in the NBA.

    Hardaway, despite the dunks, is not an elite athlete. He doesn’t have a good handle or good slashing skills. He doesn’t move well without the ball. He doesn’t hit free throws. And he only shot 36% from three at best in college.

    I didn’t watch Hardaway in college. But i see nothing in his numbers that make him worth drafting. Dude also has extraordinarily pedestrian wingspan for an NBA player, basically same as his height….

    I don’t know, what am I missing? On one side we have Ruru saying he is a good shooter. On the other side we have three years of college statistics saying he isn’t.

    I know which i go with….

  111. DRed

    Mini-cock was a good spot up shooter last year-he was poor the year before. Saying he was an outstanding spot up shooter in college is, unsurprisingly, an overly optimistic way to look at his career. Maybe he’ll develop, but learning on the job is going to hurt the knicks.

  112. ruruland

    “…because all I saw was that the Wolves had an extremely high-percentage look at the basket just about every time they brought the ball down the floor..”

    That offense is going to generate it’s share of high percentage plays. The Wolves shot below 40 percent from the field in the half court (they shot 44 percent overall)

    It was the Wolves run-outs and 38 free throws that won the game.

    How often does a team win with a 25 free throw differential while shooting 28 percent from three?

  113. ruruland

    You don’t believe that players can change the types of shots they take or develop the shots they make infrequently.

  114. hotdamn

    You can cherry pick which stats to highlight…but the bottom line is the guy doesn’t only shoot those kind of shots. That’s the point.

  115. JK47

    That’s the go-to ruruland stat when he is trying to convince you that a shitty player is actually a good player. “Shooting percentage on spot-ups.”

  116. JK47

    Minnesota shot 39 percent in the half-court.

    Yeah, but as you said, they shot 38 free throw attempts. Any way you slice it, the Knicks played bullshit defense in this game.

  117. ruruland

    “You can cherry pick which stats to highlight…but the bottom line is the guy doesn’t only shoot those kind of shots. That’s the point.”

    Those were exactly the kinds of shots he took tonight.

    Spot-up threes and transition. Exactly the shots he needs to take to be efficient.

  118. ruruland

    “Yeah, but as you said, they shot 38 free throw attempts. Any way you slice it, the Knicks played bullshit defense in this game.”

    They were too aggressive on the ball against floppers who got a great whistle tonight.

  119. ruruland

    “That’s the go-to ruruland stat when he is trying to convince you that a shitty player is actually a good player. “Shooting percentage on spot-ups.””

    Such as….

  120. JK47

    Such as….

    A certain non-rebounding Italian comes to mind.

    On that note, though, I thought Bargnani’s performance was one of the more positive aspects of the game. He had a few ugly looking turnovers but he knocked down his shots and played okay defense at times.

  121. Owen

    Ruru – If you want to put yourself out on a limb for J.R. jr. that’s your prerogative.

    As I said, the track record for below average scorer prospects like him improving in the NBA is horrible. The track record for even elite college scorers being able to maintain their level is obviously terrible. But I would be very hard pressed to find an example of someone who posted numbers like Hardaway in college going on to be efficient in the pros.

    Anyone have good examples?

  122. ruruland

    Owen, we went through a pretty extensive list when Jowles argued, in a similar vein to you now, that players cannot improve their shooting.

    He did not think Shumpert would improve as a shooter.

    The guy that comes to mind is Raja Bell. But there are quite a few guys who couldn’t shoot threes in college who developed it in the NBA.

    If the Knicks were asking THJ to be a primary scorer, I’d be less optimistic.

  123. Owen

    Look, I don’t point to Wins Produced often, or I try not to, but the track record of guys who were below average in college by that measure as Hardaway was going on to be successful pros by any definition is incredibly poor.

    Raja Bell is a good example. I could argue he was a Nash effect special but whatever. There are probably some guys out there. But really, guys like Hardaway Jr. are a dime a dozen in the D-league and easy to find.

    Anyway, won’t be relevant once J.R. Sr. comes back, as many have said….

  124. Owen

    Also, Shumpert hasn’t improved as a scorer. He hasn’t been efficient in the NBA. Nor would you have expected him to be since he wasn’t in college.

    He has other talents though (though I am not nor never have been as high on him as many on this board).

    Hardaway has no other talents. He really has no talent at all other than a decent vert and pretty good end to end speed.

  125. ruruland

    JR didn’t play college basketball. How could anyone ever know he’d have some really efficient seasons playing off the ball?

  126. Owen

    JR didn’t play college basketball. How could anyone ever know he’d have some really efficient seasons playing off the ball?

    i would have hated to have been an NBA gm having to evaluate high school prospects.

    And now I hate the fact they make these guys play college basketball. It’s totally outrageous.

    You could have looked at Jr’s high school numbers and AAU numbers maybe.

    I know Eddy Curry averaged less than ten boards a game his senior year in high school, pretty unusual for high school center prospects I am pretty sure. Turned out to be a pretty telling indicator of how he would board in the pros.

    Of note, one of my favorite pieces of Eddy Curry trivia.

    Favorite subject: Math. “I like numbers and applying the math concepts.”

    Words for all of us to heed.

  127. ruruland

    Shumpert shot 40 percent from three last season. If he went into the draft as a 40+ percent spot-up shooter he’d have been a top 5 pick. The last 21 games of 2013 he finished with a 600 TS, combining his 3-pt shooting with the finishing he was known for in college and his rookie year.

    I guarantee you, barring injury, he’ll be a 560 TS + player this year.

    And if THJ sticks to spot-up 3s and transition, as he has so far, he’ll be right there with Shump. It looks like he’ll turn into a solid defender, too.

    Update: through three games Shump has a 585 TS, doing exactly what he did the second half of last season.

    He hasn’t even played well yet. I could see Shump hovering around the 600 TS area.

  128. nicos

    Owen
    November 4, 2013 at 12:26 am
    Also, Shumpert hasn’t improved as a scorer. He hasn’t been efficient in the NBA. Nor would you have expected him to be since he wasn’t in college.

    Once Shumpert got healthy last year he shot very well- .597 TS% in his last 23 games. His TS% was over .600 in the preseason and it’s .582 through three games this year. You really don’t think he’s going to wind up this season with a TS significantly north of where it was after year one?

    Oops- Ruru beat me to it!

  129. Owen

    Shumpert had a below average ts% last year, despite hitting a probably unsustainable number of threes. In his second year. I don’t think that would have made him a top five pick.

    Shumpert isn’t going to have a 60% ts. I don’t see him touching Carmelo’s career high of 56.8 either. He’ll probably settle in around 53-54 at best. If not? Great! Believe it when I see it….

    Your love of small sample sizes and statistical cherry picking continues to be baffling. But hey, sometimes your predictions pan out….

  130. ruruland

    Analysis is not looking at a player’s career percentages and assuming they will remain the same.

    I try to pick non-random samples. I try to pick samples in which the circumstances have changed.

  131. ruruland

    “I don’t see him touching Carmelo’s career high of 56.8 either. He’ll probably settle in around 53-54 at best.”

    Friendly wager Shump finishes with a ts north of 56?

  132. JK47

    Metta needs to start and play 30 minutes, and needs to be a key part of the identity of the team, not a guy who comes in for 21 disjointed bench minutes. He didn’t get in the game tonight until there were 30 seconds left in the first quarter, the Knicks were down by 20 and the game was kinda over.

    Somehow I doubt the Wolves would have racked up a 20 point first quarter lead if MWP was in the game.

  133. ruruland

    People get why MWP is really good now, right? I agree JK, more MWP. He does so many little things at an elite level.

  134. max fisher-cohen

    I’m going to agree with ruru here in that it seemed to me that Hardaway mostly took good shots. Those are shots he has to take (and of course make at a decent percentage) if he’s going to be a decent player. He made them in the preseason. Who knows if he’ll bring that in the long term though.

    As far as the rest of his game goes, it seems to me that he is similar to Shumpert in that he’s a good leaper who runs the floor well, but he seems to lack the ability to dribble through and finish in traffic. Even if he is a decent shooter, he’s going to have to add a second dimension to his game to truly be a 25+ MPG level player, whether it’s becoming an elite shooter, a great defender (doubtful) or getting better off the dribble.

  135. yellowboy90

    I like Meta when he is shooting with good balance. The off balance shots just irks me along with the hesitation step back J.

    I am not too worried but Tuesday is another evaluation day. After 15-20 games the real Knicks should show themselves. I think.

  136. Owen

    “I don’t see him touching Carmelo’s career high of 56.8 either. He’ll probably settle in around 53-54 at best.”

    Friendly wager Shump finishes with a ts north of 56?

    That is a deal. As always, looking forward to losing a bet.

  137. flossy

    Danny Green, through 3 college seasons: 107 3FG/307 3FGA = .348

    Tim Hardaway Jr., through 3 college seasons 202 3FG/589 3FGA = .343

  138. Owen

    Danny Green posted a ts% of 59 % in his final two years in college. So it’s not exactly apples to apples. He also was a much better rebounder.

    Hardaway had just one good season out of three in college, and that good season was basically average for an NBA prospect.

    All I am saying is that his college numbers provide no reason to believe he will ever be a productive NBA player, as they do in the case of many people who go on to be stars.

    It was the 24th spot in the draft. You don’t often get a good player there. But I would have much rather have taken Rudy Gobert or someone with actual upside.

  139. flossy

    We’re not talking about overall scoring efficiency, we’re talking about proficiency as a long-range shooter in (largely) spot-up situations. Rebounding is also not relevant to the conversation.

    Danny Green was hardly a lights-out 3 point shooter in college, and has turned into a very valuable spot-up and off-screen shooter for the Spurs. Hardaway was basically Green’s equal as a 3 pt shooter in college despite taking twice the number of attempts and having to shoot far more off the dribble.

    It’s no stretch to suggest that Hardaway could have a Danny Green-like career trajectory. Nobody is suggesting Hardaway Jr will be a “star.” That’s a straw man. If you’re trying to argue that Hardaway shouldn’t be taking 18 FGA/36 as a rookie, there’s nobody who disagrees with you. But it’s incredibly common for star players in college to become role players in the NBA, and that is ultimately where THJ is headed long term. His shooting stroke and athletic ability suggests he’ll be well suited for it.

  140. Owen

    We’re not talking about overall scoring efficiency, we’re talking about proficiency as a long-range shooter in (largely) spot-up situations.

    Why aren’t we talking about scoring efficiency? I don’t get it. What difference does it make how he performs in selected spot up situations if he can’t board, pass, defend, move off-ball or do anything else at an NBA level?

    Guys like him are a dime a dozen in the D-league.

    I looked Hardaway up on College Reference. He actually finished the year with a TS% of 54%, not 56%. Why in heck would he do better than that in the NBA?

    My Wolverine buddy pretty much confirmed what I thought. Said Hardaway was the fifth best player on the team last year.

  141. flossy

    Because someone’s role in college vs. the NBA is liable to change dramatically? We’re talking about a player with specific NBA-caliber skills. His overall efficiency at the college level is not relevant, because no team will be asking him to be the primary or secondary option on offense.

    NBA teams are going to turn a guy like Hardaway into an off-the-ball shooter (spot ups and off-screen catch and shoots, like Danny Green) and transition finisher.

    NBA teams will NOT be asking him to be the player he was in college, where he often had to create his own shot, handle the ball, initiate the offense, or be the leading/second leading scorer on a team. He was, as you point out, only an average efficiency scorer in that role, but it doesn’t matter, because the Knicks didn’t draft him to be JR Smith-lite (despite what you may see in games where he is literally forced to play JR Smith’s role due to JR’s weed habit).

    When an athletic player with an average (for elite college players) all-around game but a few standout skills is drafted late in the 1st round, chances are a team wants to develop a role player who lives off what they can do well. Ruruland has already demonstrated ad nauseum that Hardaway shot much better in college off the ball. If Danny Green was asked to take the late-in-the-shot-clock prayers and to be the #1 scorer on the floor (as THJ was at times last night!!) his NBA career would suck, too. That’s not what the future holds for THJ. And frankly, I couldn’t care less what your U Mich thinks, sorry.

  142. Nick C.

    Doesn’t everyone shoot better off the ball? That’s actually a real question. If they do then saying a player shot better off the ball and in spot ups would really not be anything so monumental.

  143. Owen

    When an athletic player with an average (for elite college players) all-around game but a few standout skills is drafted late in the 1st round, chances are a team wants to develop a role player who lives off what they can do well.

    What makes you say he was average for an elite player? I don’t understand what you are referring to. By every statistical measure Hardaway was a well below average NBA prospect. Volume, efficiency, passing, rebounding, defense, all below average. He graded out as one of the very worst shooting guard prospects in the draft. And that was as a junior.

    Is he represented by CAA?

  144. flossy

    What are you talking about? There are thousands of D1 college basketball players. Hardaway Jr. was among the elite. Not the best of the best, but up there. His rebounding and assist numbers are not significantly different from Green’s, since we’re using him as similar case.

  145. Owen

    His rebounding numbers are different. Green was a much better college rebounder. And a much more efficient scorer as a junior and senior.

    Hardaway also had one of the lowest usage rates among NBA shooting guard prospects. So projecting any kind of increased efficiency from a change in role is a big stretch.

    I don’t know. I am not a fan. But really no point in discussing it anymore. Consider positions stacked out. As always, I hope I am wrong about the topic at hand….

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