2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks @ Suns – The Knicks Still Haven’t Lose a Game in 2020!

The Suns are A. not that good and B. playing a bit over their heads recently, so this has all the makings of A. a win and B. a win that will make it seem like the Knicks are better than they actually are, as the Suns really aren’t that good.

The road to 32 wins continues apace!

Let’s go? Knicks!

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141 thoughts to “2019-20 Game Thread: Knicks @ Suns – The Knicks Still Haven’t Lose a Game in 2020!”

  1. paging kenny wooten, paging kenny wooten…

    We haven’t really seen Iggy yet either but at least they’re getting some burn in Westchester.

    As others have said, signs are that Pills is thinking of keeping Morris. We always think analytically about value and cost. These are people. Why would Morris bail from the Spurs to come to the Knicks? They say to be close to home. I buy that. Maybe there’s something “home” that’s important to him? Morris has (AFIK) come out twice now to say he wants to stay. Could he be offering to resign at a bargain? This is a guy who is in his largest contract to date by far. Yes, money means a lot but if I had someone that needed me near, hmmmm.

    Congrats to new daddy Elfrid Payton!

  2. Payton was a neat story about him coming out at his own expense to be with his teammates and play.

  3. can’t wait to see ayton and mitch match up…

    good for elf for leaving his family to play tonight…a team of guys that wanna play together, that doesn’t happen too often here…

  4. they look nothing like what they looked like at the beginning of the year…

    I see what the ringer article was referring too, 3 or 4 guys around the arc at all times makes for some nice lanes to the rim…

  5. Happy New Year KB! Haven’t been able to watch the Knicks since about Christmas. Apparently we are good now? Only been able to see some highlights and read some analysis, but seems like things are ticking along nicely under Miller (not so much for the tank though).

  6. Nice quarter. Mitch in foul trouble? Lots of pros on the floor now. Ellington and Bullock on the floor at the same time? Hmmmmm. Are the Knicks going to start raining 3’s?

  7. When was the last time we saw Ellington? I saw #2 out there and legit forgot who it was for a minute.

  8. I see what the ringer article was referring too, 3 or 4 guys around the arc at all times makes for some nice lanes to the rim…

    It’s really helping Frank and Payton drive the lane. I want to see Knox take advantage too.

  9. howdy dtrickey, happy 2020 to you sir…hope things are well in your spot in the world…

    yeah man, not everyone has received the memo yet – but, the tank is dead…all steam ahead for the 8th seed…

  10. Frank looks like he’s learning to use his length once he gets into the lane. That’s a huge development for him.

    Mitch needs to not foul out this game. Taj and Portis getting destroyed on D.

  11. howdy dtrickey, happy 2020 to you sir…hope things are well in your spot in the world…

    Aside from a chunk of the Country being on fire everything is pretty well thanks for asking.

    Having only gone off box scores and today, it looks like RJ has hit the wall a bit. He seems to be noticeably pissed off about it too, which doesn’t always manifest itself in a positive way, but it fees like a positive with RJ. Seems like a legit competitor.

  12. I’m interested to see what the clips do to stop julius from getting in to the paint…the ball is finally starting to stick to his hand on the those crazy spin moves…

    julius randall should have played football…

    on second thought, make a lot more money and stay clear of the early onset of dementia…wise choice julius…

  13. It’s funny how after lauding and praising increased civility the last thread turns into a good old fashioned street fight.

    As to trading Morris, a good surfer still needs a good wave. I know NYK management has a bad track record but the contract you “rent” CAN become a problem, no? I mean, wasn’t our problem that we had untrade-able contracts and wasn’t that why we had to trade KP? So, yes, trade him but not for Andrew Wiggins and a second round pick. The theoretical first round pick is only that. There are worse things than renouncing him, keeping a roster spot open, and maybe resigning him to a deal if this is truly a feel good story. If we do play.500 from here, doesn’t that bode well?

    Again, if a good deal comes along? Sure. Are we gonna go.500 from here, no, probably not, but the “just flip him” argument lacks a bit of reality perhaps.

    Whatever, there’s a game going on but not here in VT. Fuk and they’re actually playing well now.

  14. Can you imagine Mitch as a wide out?

    There’s a number of alley oops to Mitch that remind me of Randy Moss. You don’t have to throw a good pass, as long as its downfield Moss will find a way to run under the ball and out jump the CB. If it’s near the rim Mitch will just out jump everyone and throw it down.

  15. As to trading Morris, a good surfer still needs a good wave. I know NYK management has a bad track record but the contract you “rent” CAN become a problem, no?

    Theoretically? I guess, but not realistically. Again, the rumor is that there’s already a good trade offer out there (Harkless’ expiring and a first). If they want to wait to see if they can get better offers, then fair enough. If they moronically just keep him, then, well, fuck those morons.

  16. honestly, maybe I’m seeing stuff that ain’t there, but – I think his athletic iq is off the charts…

    he may not know the game of basketball super well, but his anticipation for the movement of others…his burst…his rapid development in wide variety of skill sets…it’s just not very normal…

    and, he’s got a chip on his shoulder and a competitive nature…caught part of his locker room interview after the blazers game…it was hard to hear him speak, but, yeah sounds like he likes to win…

    mitchell robinson could dominate in many different sports…the first time I saw him I thought track and field…I don’t know, a 7′ high jumper, does that even work…

  17. I think Miller finally got around to putting Portis in a position to succeed. The last few games he’s had more open looks from 3 than I remember. If you get Portis shooting threes, he’s an asset. Not worth the $15 mill, but shooting and rebounding is important.

    We’re up 10 and Mitch has only played 5 min.

  18. It’s funny how after lauding and praising increased civility the last thread turns into a good old

    I think maybe it’s healthy…seriously, I appreciate people telling me what they really think and feel…better to know…also better not to seethe sometimes…

    us folks out here in cali have mentioned it a few times, it’s a little tougher to get a read on people out here…one of the best things about new york is all the “sharing” that goes on…

    fuck you…well, fuck you too…and, you know what – fuck civil discourse too…

    go knicks…

  19. just spitballing here but maybe we should put in our best player

    Seriously, write a post about Dolan selling the team. This keeps happening.

  20. That little tip off the bad lob is what makes Mitch different from a lot of other rim running centers-he has really nice touch when he’s not dunking the ball.

  21. mitch drifts too much on the defensive glass-he probably should have got the board on that rubio shot but he just sort of floated out of the lane.

  22. Portis is a knucklehead.
    First, he’s slow to release the three.
    Then he hesitates to chase the breaking shooter.
    Then he gets a stupid foul on a shot he had no shot of contesting.

  23. Well this 0-4 road trip should bring everyone back to reality, except the Knicks front office of course.

  24. Randle with a terrible game

    RJ with 5 TOs

    Not enough Mitch

    Frank guarded Rubio instead of Booker was a waste. Should have kept BulLOCK or Frank on Booker all game.

  25. Does anyone buy Breen’s explanation for why Mitchell doesn’t get many minutes? That’s he too high energy and tires too easily?

  26. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2017/18 Knicks! Lots of players with no place in the long term plans of the team who are just good enough to pull the team into the middle of the lottery. Young players largely marginalized if not by reduced minutes then by reduced role in the offense. I can’t wait till we draft another Kevin Knox.

  27. Does anyone buy Breen’s explanation for why Mitchell doesn’t get many minutes? That’s he too high energy and tires too easily?

    Nope.

  28. crazy trade idea?

    That’s a fascinating idea. Horford has looked d-u-n done in Philly, though, so I don’t know if he even makes sense for the Clips. Trading a washed up Horford for Paul actually does make some sense for Philly, but yeah, as you obviously note, OKC has to move Horford somewhere else for it to make sense for them and I don’t know what Horford’s market is right now.

  29. Me neither. But besides getting pulled because he’s in foul trouble, I think sometimes he gets pulled for making defensive mistakes, which also cuts down on his minutes.

  30. Yeah I mean if I’m the clips I definitely need to work pretty hard to make myself believe it’s the fit and not just aging. That’s a big contract and a shitty first half of a basketball season. But he’d be useful against AD.

  31. Definitely an interesting idea, makes a lot of sense. But Horford is a tough contract to swallow if he turns out to be a bust.

  32. By the way, Danny Ainge is a fine GM, but some of the luck he’s had has been bizarre. Horford falling off a cliff right after the Celtics tried to keep him? That’s crazy good luck. Right up there with Fultz’s secret injury.

  33. Luckiest exec of all is Riley. Accidentatank just badly enough to draft wade after building a very 21st century Knicks style roster and having Mourning’s kidneys go bad. Make more Knicksy moves in advance of 2006 by trading youth for a clearly declined Shaq and then have everything go absolutely perfectly from Wade emerging as an MVP to Shaq going vintage in the playoffs to getting hte perfect matchup against a methodical, old team that struggled against athletic, scoring guards + super favorable referees when they played the Mavs in the finals. He gets credit, but I’m not sure the Antoine Walker / Shaq tandem was a better backup duo than Odom and Caron Butler woulda been, and it definitely wouldn’t have led into the 3 years of crappiness the HEat next experienced.

    Wade then becomes best buddies with the best player since Jordan, who decides to come play with his friend and has Wade tell Riley in advance that he’s bringing a fellow all-star, allowing Riley to clear room and rake in another two titles… I mean, come on.

    Again this new Heat seems a new, different type of lucky, redeeming Riley for the moment for a series of horrific FA signings and trades from 2 picks for Goran Dragic to giving Dion Waiters and Tyler Johnson all that money. Lo and behold, Jimmy Butler decides he wants warm weather, and Bam is suddenly all-star talent now, and a bunch nobodies become relevant. Riley deserves some credit for finding these guys and the org for developing them, but it’s too much of a swing to chalk up to just the organization.

    I mean jeez, dude’s gotta be part leprechaun.

  34. A couple of thoughts:

    Win or lose it is fun watching a team play in a semi-professional manner for a bit.

    What’s with all the broken shots here…. how can Payton miss 5 of his first 6 free throws?

    Maybe try Frank on a 2 guard that is going off for 37?

    Portis revival?

  35. Make more Knicksy moves in advance of 2006 by trading youth for a clearly declined Shaq and then have everything go absolutely perfectly from Wade emerging as an MVP to Shaq going vintage in the playoffs to getting hte perfect matchup against a methodical, old team that struggled against athletic, scoring guards + super favorable referees when they played the Mavs in the finals. He gets credit, but I’m not sure the Antoine Walker / Shaq tandem was a better backup duo than Odom and Caron Butler woulda been, and it definitely wouldn’t have led into the 3 years of crappiness the HEat next experienced.

    Shaq was still elite that first year. After that, yeah, the decline went quick until he was washed up by the end of his three-year stint in Miami. But he was still elite in that first season.

    But yes, that they were able to sign Lamar Odom so that they could trade him for Shaq in the first place was only because Anthony Carter’s agent forgot to opt in for the last year of his contract, giving them enough cap space to sign Odom. So yeah, they were still absurdly lucky either way.

  36. January 2, 2020
    Porzingis (knee) isn’t expected to play Saturday against Charlotte, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports.
    ANALYSIS
    Porzingis is on track to miss his third straight contest due to right knee soreness, and while the team hasn’t revealed a timetable for his return, MacMahon reports that Porzingis is expected back within the next week. Assuming he’s officially out for Saturday, his next opportunity to take the court would come Monday against Chicago.

    ??????

  37. team hasn’t revealed a timetable for his return, MacMahon reports that Porzingis is expected back within the next week.

    Sounds a lot like Zion’s “minor” knee issue that’s kept him out all year.

  38. Davis is the best teammate LeBron’s ever had, no? Not in terms of, like, career (Wade makes a solid claim there) but his actual ability while playing next to LBJ?

    46 points on .860 TS%, 13 rebounds, 3 steals and just 3 turnovers (not bad at all considering he used a full third of the Lakers’ scoring possessions. Just crazy.

  39. Two of the most overrated players in the NBA (who will probably both make the All Star team) are currently sporting TS%’s of .510 and .526. First one from the Western Conference, second one from the East.

    Any guesses?

  40. i kinda think wade was just as good and also a two way player when lebron fist join miami, but AD keeps a much larger percentage of his value playing with Lebron (especially older Lebron) so he’s definitely the best partner he’s had. of course we still have to see if health cooperates to make that matter.

    speaking of which as grim as things have been around here nothing would be as bad as two months of “wtf is kyrie getting surgery or what?”

  41. I think the Clippers would want to keep their depth, but if Horford can figure it out (and it’s just a slump and not signs of heavy decline), he’s what they need. Paul on the Sixers would be crazy to watch, Simmons played really well last night against the Rockets as Brown has been incorporating more plays for him off the ball, they ran a couple of Richardson / Simmons PnRs that led to very easy baskets. If suddenly you have Chris Paul running this play, it’s a whole other level of execution.

  42. One underrated thing about the Davis LeBron pairing is how much Davis allows LeBron to play defense the way he wants to. AD can always guard the best player on the other team with his unreal size and mobility, and LeBron can do what he does best, roaming around and pressuring people. I think Wade was incredible and even a bit underrated, but he declined during the Heatles years and just wasn’t the same player by 2013-14.

  43. Wade was still really good in 2010 and 2011 but AD is better now than Wade was then. Davis is the first teammate of Lebron’s that you could plausibly argue is better than Lebron since Carlos Boozer in 2003 (when Lebron was 19)

  44. Any guesses?

    I’m going to guess Porzingis and Beal. The latter is generally a better scorer than that, but I seem to recall some struggles from him as he carries (and drops) his team through this very lost season. My backup guess is Tatum, but I don’t think he’s likely to get the nod.

  45. @78

    “Riley is lucky” has to be the worst basketball take in human history. :-)

  46. Blake Griffin in the East? Last I checked he was really struggling. That or one of Boston’s overrated role players.

    KP almost definitely the West. Could also see Melo making it, but I don’t consider him likely at this point.

  47. Update: checked Blake Griffin, he’s woefully short of even that low bar. He’s in Frank Ntilikina territory.

  48. By the way, Danny Ainge is a fine GM, but some of the luck he’s had has been bizarre. Horford falling off a cliff right after the Celtics tried to keep him? That’s crazy good luck.

    Horford may be slowing a little, but he’s a terrible fit in Philly (as I said he was from the moment they signed him).

    The 76ers have 2 players Embiid and Simmons that both do their best work around the rim. They are not an ideal fit to begin with. Embiid could be the most dominant post man since Shaq. Instead, they have him shooting some 3s (not even all that well) because Simmons can’t shoot the ball in the ocean and he needs space to get to the rim where he can be effective.

    Subtracting Butler and even worse Reddick made the spacing even worse.

    Throwing Horford into that mix made it even worse.

    They have a lot of excellent players, but it’s tough for any of them to play their best basketball.

    Ideally, a guy like Simmons should be playing with four 3 point shooters (like Doncic does in Dallas) so he can drive to the rim, finish, draw fouls, or dish if the double team comes.

    Ideally, a guy like Embiid should be playing with four 3 point shooters so he can dominate in the low post with his size and strength and pass out when the double comes.

    Horford simply belongs in a more balanced situation with good coaching and team building where he can score inside and outside with space as the situation dictates as a 3rd scoring option. He’s be playing way better in Boston if he was still there, but at his age, he IS going to start declining.

  49. January 2, 2020
    Porzingis (knee) isn’t expected to play Saturday against Charlotte, Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com reports.
    ANALYSIS

    Opposite knee.

  50. I think Strat’s right about Horford, it’s not really a great fit in Philly and in addition to that he’s 33 and has a lot of mileage on him, many years of banging down low and setting hard screens. He doesn’t seem like the kind of player that’s going to age well and the last couple years of that contract at ages 35-36 are going to be albatross years.

  51. You know who would be a great fit for PHI? Morris.

    LAC? Morris.
    LAL? Morris.
    HOU? Morris.
    POR? Morris.

    NYK? Definitely not Morris.

  52. How much longer before Bullock replaces RJB in the starting lineup?

    Not soon enough?

    I’m still fine with RJ Barrett long term. We knew he was going to struggle with scoring efficiency early in his career. But the Knicks always feel compelled to immediately start and overplay their hyped lottery picks. I don’t know that it helps much. I haven’t seen any evidence f it. Then once they do, it becomes harder to reverse course. A demotion is harder to handle.

    There’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about a top pick playing 15 minutes a game off the bench (or even less in some cases) early in the season and then slowly bringing him on as he develops and earns the minutes. RJB is a weak link in the starting lineup. There are a couple of players that should be playing ahead of him. I don’t think any of this is helping his confidence or his development.

  53. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22flliJLTQ

    NBA’s top 100 plays of the decade. Obvious watch for anyone who is on this board, but as I worked my way through it in pieces, I had a real experience seeing Blake Griffin trying to break off the rim at #95.

    His dunk rate is currently one-tenth what it was when he was a sophomore NBAer, just 8 years ago. One dunk every 100 minutes of game action. If Wall didn’t have that extra year, Griffin would have the worst contract in the league, hands down.

  54. I do wonder if RJ would benefit from playing more of a PG role. He seems so much more comfortable with the ball in his hands AND when he knows where everyone else is. He needs set plays. But longterm he needs to figure out how to play off-ball.

  55. Horford is producing at exactly the same level he was in Boston in every category, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, fouls, turnovers, everything is the same, he simply can’t hit a shot. Even his FGA is the same. He’s just shooting much lower at every FG category outside of at the rim.

    Now, if you believe shooting percentages are inherently tied to team fit, spacing and role on the team, then strat might be right; I don’t, so I think he’s just slumping massively or his decline has come entirely on his shooting percentages and has not affected literally anything else on his game.

  56. Makes sense that Horford could struggle based on fit, but if that’s the explanation, it also drives a stake through the heart of that undead argument about playing next to highly talented offensive players. I’d guess that age is not helping him, either.

  57. Two of the most overrated players in the NBA (who will probably both make the All Star team) are currently sporting TS%’s of .510 and .526. First one from the Western Conference, second one from the East.

    Any guesses?

    Porzingis and Tatum. I’m always amazed how announcers gush over Tatum, even Breen falls for the “he’s got all the tools” hype after every made basket. Since his unsustainable shooting his rookie season, he’s gone steadily downhill, and this season has had some epically awful performances, including a 1-18 against Dallas and last night a 2-16 vs. the Hawks.

  58. Porzingis and Tatum. I’m always amazed how announcers gush over Tatum, even Breen falls for the “he’s got all the tools” hype after every made basket. Since his unsustainable shooting his rookie season, he’s gone steadily downhill, and this season has had some epically awful performances, including a 1-18 against Dallas and last night a 2-16 vs. the Hawks.

    there’s some truth to this but i think it’s an overstatement. he’s had a horrible time finishing this year and that matters a lot. He has some intrinsic weaknesses here including small hands and a weird body type. And yeah, his rookie shooting inflated perceptions. but he’s also at career highs in ftas, rebs, asts, and stls per 100 and his usage is way up. He’s gone from being a pretty good defender for a young player to a really good defender period. The Celtics have consistently been much better when he plays every year, notable for a young guy playing a lot of minutes on good teams. Despite the shooting he’s already a good player and will probably improve a bit more.

  59. It would be weird for Horford’s shooting to be the first thing to go, before more athletic-based skills like rebounding.

    Looking at the shooting breakdown, he’s shifted rim attempts to threes. Although he’s good at threes, he’s stellar at the rim.

    Perhaps more importantly, last year Horford shot unsustainably well from midrange. He hit over 50% of his shots from each of BKRef’s midrange categories. No one does that.

    Based on that, I’d bet on a return to form in a situation where he can play C and trade his 3pt attempts for more rim touches.

  60. Getting to the rim is partly athleticism based, so if Horford just can’t get there that’s a problem. But it seems reasonable that those touches are just going to Embiid instead of him.

  61. Despite the shooting he’s already a good player and will probably improve a bit more.

    This sounds a little like the Frank defense i.e. if he could just shoot he’d be a really good player. When you’re sporting a .526 TS%, you better be REALLY good at the other stuff. The only player I’ve seen in recent years who shoots that badly and is somewhat productive is Marcus Smart, but that guy is a holy terror on defense. Maybe I haven’t watched enough Celtics games, but I don’t see that level from Tatum.

  62. I will point out that watching the Sixers, it seems they’re not going as much to the Horford high pick and roll that was so effective with the Celtics, and that’s partly due to the fact that since Simmons can’t shoot, and nobody else on the team can really handle the ball, it’s not as effective as it was with Kyrie doing it while Horford rolls or pops. That could explain why his percentages are down in some ways, but I still would stay with the explanation that it’s a major slump, as decline would also probably show in other athletic categories such as rebounding.

  63. Saw a stat on Twitter, believe from Tommy Beer, that over the last 2 seasons only rookies who attempted 500 FG’s with an EFG below 44% were Frank and Knox. This year RJ is on pace to join them. Those are the last 3 Knick lottery picks and all 3 of them are historically awful at shooting.

  64. I suspect they got a historically high number of minutes compared to other very young rookies who didn’t shoot well.

  65. This sounds a little like the Frank defense i.e. if he could just shoot he’d be a really good player.

    but he can shoot. shooting variance works both ways. tatum is a 39pct career 3 pt shooter and 84pct at the line. he’s shooting 31.6 pct on corner 3s this year. he’s also a lower turnover high usage player at 10.1. you’re talking about a 21 year old with a career ts of 55.6 and a 10.2pct tov rate playing plus defense and top minutes on playoff teams. it’s silly call it the frank defense because his ts has dipped into mediocrity ytd.

  66. Check your spam folder. It was coming from one of those temp email addresses.

    Bingo. Thanks very much.

  67. Saw a stat on Twitter, believe from Tommy Beer, that over the last 2 seasons only rookies who attempted 500 FG’s with an EFG below 44% were Frank and Knox. This year RJ is on pace to join them. Those are the last 3 Knick lottery picks and all 3 of them are historically awful at shooting.

    How is this even statistically possible? It’s almost like hitting the lottery.

  68. This is what happens when you draft on potential, not production. I bet one of the three will reach league-average efficiency by the end of their rookie deals. Not sure which one.

  69. I’m sure there were other rookies who shot just as badly, but didn’t play enough to have 500 shot attempts because their teams didn’t give them enough minutes. Usually if you are not good you don’t get many minutes. But on the Knicks, they got starter minutes or close to it. Some of those other lousy shooters may have had good careers, but I don’t know how to look that up.

  70. Recently I was watching and did some research on the 1989 Knicks which was Pitino’s 2nd and final season with the Knicks. They won 52 games, finished as the 2nd seed in the East. Swept Barkley’s 76ers in the 1st rd but then of course lost to Jordan’s Bulls in 6 games in the 2nd rd in what was actually a bit of an upset since the Knicks had the better record that season.

    That Knicks team was considered a team with a great future because of their roster: Ewing (4th season), Oakley (4th season), Johnny Newman (3rd season), Gerald Wilkins (4th season) and Mark Jackson (2nd season) was the starting lineup. Plus you had Kenny Walker (3rd season) and Rod Strickland (rookie) playing big minutes off the bench. Now that’s a team with a young core. Of course they traded Rod Strickland the next season for Mo Cheeks, lost Newman as a FA in the summer of 1990 and Kenny Walker left to Spain in the summer of 1991. Thats when Riley took over and revitalized the team but man it’s a pretty big What If in Knicks history if Pitino didn’t leave cause they really did have a great young team playing an uptempo, 3pt style which was pretty radical for that time. I was too young to remember details from that era, I started paying more attention as a kid the following season when Stu Jackson was coach and I became a true die-hard during the Riley era but it was fun to look back and watch some games during the brief Pitino era. Looked like those were fun times.

  71. Well….. the good news is neither the Giants or the Jets have to worry about having a certifiable moron like Josh Allen as their QB for the next 15 years…….

  72. it was fun to look back and watch some games during the brief Pitino era. Looked like those were fun times.

    If I recall, Pitino had them launching 3’s before it was in vogue.

  73. Bills fans are tortured. They had Watson dead to rights for like a 15 yard loss and 2 defenders run into each other and he runs for 30 and ballgame.

    Paging Scott Norwood…..

  74. The funny part is those Knicks averaged around 5 for 14 from 3pt range per game and that was considered crazy in 1989.

  75. How is this even statistically possible? It’s almost like hitting the lottery.

    When you accept Dolan’s razor these things cease to be incredible and instead become probable. Perhaps likely.

  76. seriously what the hell was going on with the titans running off almost 2 minutes there towards the end of the game…that was a joy to watch…

  77. early game tomorrow at 12:30 pm p.s.t.

    clips gave up 140 to the grizz today…we might just maybe have a chance…

  78. now that doumbouya is starting for the pistons it will be interesting to compare him to knox. they both came into the league very young and raw, a bit late to picking up basketball. they’re around the same size and they both have nice looking jumpers but haven’t yet put up true sharp shooting numbers. they both look very good handling in transition for their size and age, and they both looking overmatched handling in traffic. neither comes comes into the nba with crazy defensive awareness and consistency like, say, a pj washington or thybulle.

    knox is the more fluid athlete and seems to have more vision and passing accuracy when he has time. doumbouya definitely has more functional strength and seems to have much better reaction reflexes. my bias is that those two traits are often what matter most and make doumbouya a much better prospect, even with a fine motor skill disadvantage. he wasn’t tearing it up in the g league tho.

  79. Makes sense that Horford could struggle based on fit, but if that’s the explanation, it also drives a stake through the heart of that undead argument about playing next to highly talented offensive players.

    I think fit and teammates are partially independent factors.

    Playing with better players will tend to free you up for better quality shots (off double teams etc..) and there might be higher quality assists coming your way too if you are playing with an elite play maker. But it’s partially dependent on the skill sets of the players being complimentary, having good coaching, and good basketball IQ to take advantage if it.

    Also, if you used to be the #1 or #2 option on a bad team, you’ll probably be 3rd or 4th option on a really good team. That means you won’t be handling the ball as often and some of your own numbers may go down. The lower boxscore stats don’t mean you are paying worse. It means your role has changed. That’s fine, as long as the overall quality of what you are doing is higher. Maybe you are expending less energy on offense, so play higher energy better defense and raise your TS%.

    I’m not sure there’s a magic formula that works in all situations for all players. The biggest thing is how damn good you are, but at the margin other things matter.

  80. I think a reasonable case can be made that Tatum is the best all around player on the Celtics right now even though his efficiency is down a bit. Considering they are a pretty darn good team (as I predicted, but unfortunately did not bet on) that’s saying a lot. Even Kanter looks better in Celtics green. Doh!!!

  81. I made a handful of predictions this year.

    1. The Celtics and Thunder are going to be better than people think.

    2. The Jazz might be a serious contender.

    3. The Nets are going to be worse than people expect.

    4. One of either the Bulls or Hawks would break out a bit and compete for a playoff spot.

    5. The fit in Philly is poor.

    Only the Chicago/Hawks one is in tough shape, but injuries have been a bit of a factor for the Nets, Hawks, and Bulls.

  82. I love that half the predictions are like better or worse than “people think”. I have two friends who think the Celtics are surely winning the championship this year, so I’m totally right when I guessed they won’t at the beginning of the season.

  83. It’s downright baffling how we can start two 50% FT shooters in the backcourt, have one not play, the other go 9-11 from the line, and still suck at FT shooting.

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