Knicks Morning News (Friday, Jul 26 2013)

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Basketball: Liberty Fall to the Silver Stars (Fri, 26 Jul 2013 04:05:53 GMT)

    Danielle Adams had 20 points and 8 rebounds as San Antonio defeated the Liberty, who have lost four of five.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Basketball: Knicks Re-Sign Martin to a One-Year Deal (Fri, 26 Jul 2013 04:01:10 GMT)

    Kenyon Martin will make about $1.4 million next year on a veteran’s minimum contract, which was all the over-the-salary-cap Knicks could offer him.    

  • The Las Vegas Summer League in Pictures: Part I

    I’m a huge Hunter S. Thompson fan. So when I climbed into my huge red ’71 Chevy Impala Convertible with two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls booked a flight on JetBlue, I took my Samoan Attorney a photographer and movie cameraperson with me. She took a slew of great photos. More coming tomorrow.

    I recommend clicking on the images. They’re prettier full size. All photos are a by Laura Nespola. Enjoy!



    Not sure who this scout works for, but he was taking extensive notes.
    Not sure who this scout works for, but he was taking extensive notes.



    Will Barton being helped off the court. As you can see, it looked really bad.
    Will Barton being helped off the court. As you can see, it looked really bad.


    This photo was taken at the end of the game, when both teams were utterly exhausted.



    Thomas Robinson bricking a dunk.
    Thomas Robinson bricking a dunk.



    Sacre bein’ Sacre.



    camera guy
    Yes, the guy operating the boom mike is checking out the ref’s tuchus.



    dan dantoni
    Peep the varying reactions by everyone — the crowd, the players on the bench, Dan D’Antoni — to whatever occurred during this play.



    Dear Unnamed Kid in this photo, I will totally make a poster of you getting serious air during a timeout dunking contest for your home or office.



    on ball defense
    A failed swipe of the ball from Josh Selby.



    Like Bill Russell said, “This game has always been – and will always be – about buckets.”


    Part II (and possibly III) will run in the next couple of days. If any bloggers/writers/scriveners would like to republish these at his/her fine site, hit me up on the Twitter and I’ll send the originals.

    More Melo-As-Screener Plz

    Before the season began, I wrote an article for about Carmelo Anthony being used as a screener more on offense. The idea being to give opposing defenses a new look that’s a tough one to guard, while keeping Anthony out of those blasted and repetitive isolation sets. I’d like to revisit this piece of mine, to see what this past season’s statistics yield, and if Anthony should be utilized in this fashion far more often. (All forthcoming statistics provided by Synergy Sports.)

    In the aforementioned post, I mentioned how, in the 2012 season, Melo was hardly used as a pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop screen man, despite connecting on 61% of his 18 attempts operating out of those sets. For what it’s worth, none of his attempts were three-pointers (one could argue whether this was a good or bad thing).

    This past season, Anthony put up 38 tries as a pick-and-roll man, shooting 60% from the field. Nine of those shots were attempted from downtown, of which he made 6. Synergy ranked him fifth in the entire league in scoring as a screener, yet these only accounted for a measly 2% of his offense. Looking through the plays on Synergy, there are a few things that stand out to me.

    Like last year, the majority of these “screens” weren’t actually screens: Anthony would either 1) come in for one and, before setting it, slip to the basket or outside for a jumper; or 2) set himself lethargically without making any legitimate contact with the handler’s defender. Somehow, his unorthodox pick-setting played out to his benefit — for the most part. Although the ball handler was seldom able to find a lane to the basket, due to his defender being undaunted by Anthony’s half-hearted screen, Melo’s man often left him to help the handler’s defender because of Carmelo’s “I’m just going to set this bullshit screen to set it, I don’t really want to do anything here” body language. The result? An occasional open jumper.

    Anthony’s slow strutting to the screen placement also often set the stage for him to quickly change direction and head to the basket, where his man struggled to recover. If Melo ever started setting real screens to give the handler space (especially if he’s running the play with Felton), it could open up an array of scoring looks for all involved; the handler has a lane to the basket, making defenses collapse and leaving shooters open, and Anthony could find himself being guarded by the handler’s defender — usually a point guard — due to a switch.

    Bad shots were still prevalent here, and as great as 60% from the field is, it could have been better. Anthony would sometimes catch the ball without making an instant move — shooting or driving — and his defender would catch up. From this position, Anthony hoisted a good amount of contested shots that were uncalled for, and with a good chunk of time left on the shot clock — typically long jumpers on the wing or at the baseline, meaning an added risk of triggering a fast break. These were few and far between, however, and if Anthony could limit himself to putting up smart looks out of this play and resetting the offense when nothing presents itself as an efficient scoring opportunity, this play could become even more dangerous.

    Only one of these super-efficient plays were used in the final two minutes of a close game. As it turns out, that one play ended up getting Melo a wide open three from the top of the key, a shot that would fall and bury Boston in Game 6 of the first round. The Knicks’ bland approach to tight games this past season drove many insane, why with better options available seemingly every time. The Knicks shot 38% from the field in the final five minutes of games where the scoring margin was five points or less. In the final minute, that number dropped to 31% from the field. Perhaps if, once in a blue moon, the Knicks ran a play other than an Anthony isolation on the wing (the blame is split between Coach Woodson and Melo himself, but I’ll write about this later), New York could come away with more crunch time victories.

    Finally, this play is really tough for teams to defend. The 1.33 PPP coming out of Melo screens is a ludicrous number, making it unjustifiable that it was run just 2% of the time. I mean, really? Two percent? Meanwhile (and unsurprisingly), isolations make up 27% of Anthony’s offense, out of which he shoots a mere 40%.

    Diversifying the offense a bit more by including this play as an every-game look would prove a big help for New York. For as cool as locking down the scoring title no doubt was, Anthony still shot under 45% from the field this season, while his eFG% barely cracked 50%.

    Although I’ve often cited defense as the Knicks’ biggest problem, there are smaller fish to fry on offense as well. Far too often the Knicks still find themselves going stagnant, leading to bitter stretches of Anthony isolation after Anthony isolation, despite it never working out well and being ridiculously hard to watch. This hurt them a good amount come Playoffs time, and letting this happen again would mean another exit with which fans and the team would most definitely not be content.

    This scheme highlighted above is not only a new look; it’s a monster for defenses to try and tame, and one that the Knicks should be looking to take advantage of more often come next season.

    Knicks Morning News (Thursday, Jul 25 2013)

  • [New York Post] Knicks re-sign K-Mart (Thu, 25 Jul 2013 02:19:24 -0500)

    The Knicks gave themselves some depth in their frontcourt by re-signing veteran big man Kenyon Martin to a one-year deal yesterday.
    With Martin in the fold, the Knicks have a fourth big man to go along with starting center Tyson Chandler, newly acquired Andrea Bargnani and the perpetually injured Amar…

  • [New York Daily News] Melo a Laker? Knicks star says no way to L.A. (Thu, 25 Jul 2013 04:04:08 GMT)

    Carmelo Anthony didn’t exactly say he’d be a Knick for life but the All-Star forward made it clear that joining the Lakers is not an option.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Basketball: Delle Donne May Miss All-Star Game After Sustaining Concussion (Thu, 25 Jul 2013 03:55:33 GMT)

    Elena Delle Donne sustained a concussion in the Sky’s 82-78 loss to the Mystics and is questionable for the W.N.B.A. All-Star Game this weekend.    

  • [New York Times] Miller Says He’s Returning to Grizzlies (Thu, 25 Jul 2013 02:04:03 GMT)

    Mike Miller is going back to a former home, agreeing to a deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.    

  • KMart Is Back With The Knicks

    Attention KMart shoppers, the store is now closed. According to Adrian Wojnarowski:

    Free agent Kenyon Martin has reached an agreement to return to the New York Knicks, league source tells Y! Sports.

    No details of the deal yet- I can’t promise that the Knicks didn’t trade their 2020 1st Round Pick to “Free Agency”- but Martin gives the Knicks additional big-man depth behind Chandler, Stoudemire, and Bargnani. While it’s hard to argue that the signing is good value for the veterans minimum, fans of #MeloAtThe4 must wonder if this further signifies the Knicks’ intention to put Carmelo back at his less productive position. Of course, it’s also possible the Knicks will try to keep Kenyon well-rested throughout the season in anticipation of the postseason, but, you know, Jason Kidd and #YOLO and whatnot.

    Last year Kenyon didn’t sign with New York until February 23, 2013, and only played in 18 regular season games, leading to obvious questions about how the thirty-five year old center will hold up over the course of an entire season. However, he filled in capably for an oft-injured Tyson Chandler and appeared in all 12 of the Knicks’ post-season games.

    [Insert Clever Title Here] <------ Conlin's actual title

    I am not a Knicks fan.

    Considering this audience, I’m not sure whether I should apologize for that, or thank [insert your God here] for it. Maybe both.

    I grew up in Boston, but my first real memories of Celtics basketball prominently involved Chris Ford, M.L. Carr, and Rick Pitino. Not exactly a nurturing environment for a young hoops fan.

    So I’m not a Celtics fan. For reasons unknown, I never latched onto another NBA franchise for fan-dom’s sake. For the better part of my life, I’ve been walking adrift in the NBA universe with no allegiance to one team over the rest. I like to tell people that it’s because I don’t root for laundry, but that isn’t entirely true, because I’m a huge New England Patriots fan. But in the NBA? I’m agnostic.

    I have been told this is weird.

    All things considered, I probably SHOULD have been a Knicks fan. The last time they were in the Finals I was in diapers (although I was ten at the time, so I probably shouldn’t admit that), but they had a great deal of success throughout the decade in which my brain started to develop an affinity for pro basketball. On top of that, on some level I’m sure I was afraid that if I didn’t root for the Knicks, Anthony Mason and Charles Oakley would beat the shit out of me (I know one Knicks fan who uses this rationale).

    But still, for the better part of my life, I’ve remained ambivalent about the Knicks. I’ve followed the pattern of rooting for teams that fit with my NBA world-view (playing fast, shooting threes, valuing versatility over size). As such, I rooted for the Suns in the mid-2000s, the Heat since 2011, and I even had a brief fling with the Nuggets last season (although we broke up this summer and it’s been rather painful; I don’t like to talk about it). The Knicks now fit this world-view.

    This is not to say that I now bleed Blue and Orange. I just have a general affinity for the team, more so than I do for a team like, say, Chicago or Indiana or Memphis or Brooklyn. In fact, I’d consider myself both a Heat “fan” and a Knicks “fan,” an idea that I’m sure many find perplexing. But I want the Knicks to succeed. It’s just that the reasons why I want that are tough to verbalize.

    For a writer, this is embarrassing.

    I want the Knicks to succeed for selfish reasons. I want them to succeed because they (somewhat) fit my vision of what a successful team “should” look like, and therefore justifying my own opinions. I prefer teams that space the floor, shoot threes, play a ton of pick-and-roll, and don’t isolate inefficient scorers for low-leverage shots. The 2013 Regular season Knicks were great. The 2013 postseason Knicks were not.

    I want the Knicks to succeed because the New York media machine would have a field day. The NBA Finals are generally a zoo regardless, but the NBA Finals in New York would be like the green zone of Baghdad – relatively safe, but otherwise absolute chaos. For some reason I would find this delightful.

    I want the Knicks to succeed because the NBA Blogosphere deserves it. Just by nature of being the team from the biggest city in the country, there are roughly 174,000 Knicks fan bloggers on the internet. Of course, within that huge number there is a lot of noise, but some of the best NBA bloggers on the planet happen to be Knicks fans. I’m not going to list them all, only because I’d inevitably leave a few off and feel guilty about it later, but they’re out there if you look for them. Some of them are my bosses here (hi Mike, Jim, and Bob!), and a few of them I even consider friends. All of them are much better at this than I am.

    But I’m excited to be a part of the never-ending conversation surrounding the Knicks. A team with effectively unlimited resources (at least by NBA standards), that also constantly continues to shoot itself in the foot, intrigues me. The one-step-forward-two-steps-back routine is understandable for a small-market team that has to keep their belt tight and keep an eye out for the bottom line at all times. But for a team that practically has a mint in their basement and can pay a $50 million luxury tax bill with the change between their sofa cushions?

    That’s weird. But it’s fascinating. And I’m looking forward to jumping in head-first.

    Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, Jul 24 2013)

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Basketball: Pondexter Leads Liberty Over Fever (Wed, 24 Jul 2013 02:42:21 GMT)

    Cappie Pondexter scored 24 points and the Liberty overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to defeat the Indiana Fever, 77-72, in Indianapolis.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Basketball: Mavericks Add Ellis to New Lineup (Wed, 24 Jul 2013 02:37:03 GMT)

    The Dallas Mavericks have signed the free-agent shooting guard Monta Ellis, finishing off the final piece of their new starting lineup.