Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ESPN 5 on 5: Talkin’ Knicks, Sixers, Lakers, Mavs, and…. Derek Fisher

A gaggle of us Mothership soldiers teamed up for a look at some recent NBA storylines:

1. Fact or Fiction: The Knicks are a new team under Mike Woodson.

J.A. Adande, ESPN.com: Fact. Carmelo Anthony saying he’s more into it tells you all you need to know. Sometimes who is coaching means more than what he’s doing. The Knicks needed someone fresh. Woodson fits that.

Phillip Barnett, Forum Blue & Gold: Fact-ish. Mike Woodson’s offensive philosophy isn’t exactly on the “seven seconds or less” family tree; Woodson’s playoff teams in Atlanta finished 18th, 24th and 27th in pace before he was let go. However, New York has problems that cannot be fixed in 20 games.

Jim Cavan, KnickerBlogger: Fact. Same team, same quirky personalities, yes, but now with a skipper who intends to use them differently. The biggest difference has been Woodson’s ability to get the most out of his guys where it matters most: on defense and on the glass. The Knicks have out-bounded their last four foes. Of course, playing four in a row against sub-elite teams certainly helps.

Ian Levy, The Two-Man Game: Fiction. All the problems the Knicks had two weeks ago are still there, although Woodson has seemed able to push some different buttons on the energy/effort/intensity apparatus. If nothing else, the players seem to perceive themselves as a new team, which will go a long way toward making them competitive over the rest of the season.

Tom Sunnergren, Philadunkia: Fiction. I’m reading “new team” here to mean “good one,” and as impressive as their last four games have been — and yeah, a 90-point margin is really impressive — the Knicks are still just a collection of plus role players who are weighed down by the (large) salaries and (larger) egos of two superstars in name only. In New York, albatross is spelled S-T-O-U-D-E-M-I-R-E.

Take the jump to read the rest!

26 comments on “ESPN 5 on 5: Talkin’ Knicks, Sixers, Lakers, Mavs, and…. Derek Fisher

  1. jon abbey

    “Of course, playing four in a row against sub-elite teams certainly helps.”

    the Pacers are a top 10 team if not higher, I think Hollinger has them 7th right now.

  2. ephus

    Jim,

    Your answer and Ian’s answer are substantively the same, with opposite headlines. The difference in the last four games has been rebounding and defensive effort. I think you have to credit the coaching change for that. Prior to MDA’s departure, the received wisdom was that the Knicks had enough talent to win against anyone, but that they (‘Melo and Stat) were not putting in sufficient effort on the defensive end to win games.

    Woodson has run largely the same system, made a few changes to the rotation (in part forced by BD’s injury), had the advantage of a healthy Tyson Chandler (who could not catch the ball with that huge brace on his wrist in his first five games back) and gotten the Knicks to gang rebound and rotate hard almost all of the time on defense. In the fourth quarter last night, I saw ‘Melo and Stat both close out on the third rotation.

    I would call that a new team. Very optimistic for tonight’s game against the 76ers.

    I still fear, however, that it will take at least 34-32 to make the 8th seed. In my nightmares, not even 34-32 is enough because they end up tied with Boston for the last slot.

  3. Jim Cavan Post author

    jon abbey: the Pacers are a top 10 team if not higher, I think Hollinger has them 7th right now.

    That very well may be, I just think of elite as, well, higher than that. The Pacers are good, but they’re only 9-11 since February 8th. Not sure any truly elite team can or should have a run like that.

  4. d-mar

    I have a hunch we might break 400 on the game thread tonight, as juiced up as we all are for this game.

    Repeat after me, Knicks: “Must not let Lou Williams get hot, must not let Lou Williams get hot…”

  5. ephus

    What is the defensive strategy on Lou Williams tonight?

    1. Don’t let Williams catch the ball — if you do not rotate off of Williams, we could see Evan Turner or Iggy have a monster game.

    2. Double Williams whenever he has the ball — requires great rotation work from the other three defenders.

    3. Play Williams straight up and pray he does not get hot.

    4. Make Williams work at the defensive end by running him off of lots of screens — risks taking the Knicks out of the nice offensive rhythm they developed over the last four games.

    5. Modified zone

    I would play Williams straight up, but double him any time he gets Stat on a switch.

  6. jock cowles

    d-mar:
    I have a hunch we might break 400 on the game thread tonight, as juiced up as we all are for this game.

    Repeat after me, Knicks: “Must not let Lou Williams get hot, must not let Lou Williams get hot…”

    I am no doubt stoked for this one….and I think it’s a must-win for the division race.

    A loss puts them down 5 games with like 19 to go. Win brings it to 3. It sucks that they’re chasing 2 teams (BOS/PHI) but if they get it to 3, Knicks play Toronto and Detroit this weekend — “very winnable games” to borrow a line from Granger, while Philly plays Boston and San Antonio. Very losable games.

  7. jon abbey

    Jim Cavan: That very well may be, I just think of elite as, well, higher than that. The Pacers are good, but they’re only 9-11 since February 8th. Not sure any truly elite team can or should have a run like that.

    last year’s Heat team had separate 9-8 and 7-8 stretches, Dallas had separate 3-10 and 8-9 stretches. virtually every team has a run like that.

  8. Jim Cavan Post author

    jon abbey: last year’s Heat team had separate 9-8 and 7-8 stretches, Dallas had separate 3-10 and 8-9 stretches. virtually every team has a run like that.

    Good point.

  9. d-mar

    jock cowles: I am no doubt stoked for this one….and I think it’s a must-win for the division race.

    A loss puts them down 5 games with like 19 to go. Win brings it to 3. It sucks that they’re chasing 2 teams (BOS/PHI) but if they get it to 3, Knicks play Toronto and Detroit this weekend — “very winnable games” to borrow a line from Granger, while Philly plays Boston and San Antonio. Very losable games.

    And Boston plays Miami THREE more times, which is just awesome

  10. Frank O.

    The 76ers are about defense. They’re holding teams to about 88 points per game, and score 94.4.
    They get 5 blocks per game.
    They get 9 steals per game.
    They get 14 TOs per game.

    On the other hand, the Knicks allow 95.5 per game, scoring 97.9
    They get 4.4 blocks
    9.6 steals
    And 18 TOs

    But since the change, the Knicks allowed more than 88.5 ppg,
    And they have scored 111 per game.
    They have won their games on average by 22.5 points over that stretch.

    I think we’re all in for a surprise tonight. Not only will the Knicks have too many weapons, Melo is going to have that game Ruru has been talking about. Just a hunch.
    Williams is shooting 41 percent. His TS% and eFG% is about Melo’s and Melo is having a terrible year efficiency-wise.
    Iggy is the man to worry about.

  11. limpidgimp

    Frank O.:
    The 76ers are about defense. They’re holding teams to about 88 points per game, and score 94.4.
    They get 5 blocks per game.
    They get 9 steals per game.
    They get 14 TOs per game.

    On the other hand, the Knicks allow 95.5 per game, scoring 97.9
    They get 4.4 blocks
    9.6 steals
    And 18 TOs

    But since the change, the Knicks allowed more than 88.5 ppg,And they have scored 111 per game.
    They have won their games on average by 22.5 points over that stretch.

    I think we’re all in for a surprise tonight. Not only will the Knicks have too many weapons, Melo is going to have that game Ruru has been talking about. Just a hunch.
    Williams is shooting 41 percent. His TS% and eFG% is about Melo’s and Melo is having a terrible year efficiency-wise.
    Iggy is the man to worry about.

    I don’t follow the Sixers, but I think their scoring is pretty well distributed across players. Or do you mean it’s Iguodala’s defense that really stands out?

  12. Frank O.

    limpidgimp: I don’t follow the Sixers, but I think their scoring is pretty well distributed across players. Or do you mean it’s Iguodala’s defense that really stands out?

    .My sense of it is that how Iggy goes so go the Sixers.

  13. max fisher-cohen

    Jim Cavan: That very well may be, I just think of elite as, well, higher than that. The Pacers are good, but they’re only 9-11 since February 8th. Not sure any truly elite team can or should have a run like that.

    Sixers likewise have been slumping for quite some time. Started 18-7, since are 8-13.

  14. Frank

    Lou Williams is really the wild card in this game. I just went and watched all his shots from the game earlier this month, and probably 60% of his shots were contested or very difficult shots.

    Surprisingly – very few of them came against Lin — I think I only saw 1 basket in which Lin was the primary defender against him – the rest were Shump and Baron. Lin’s probably was on offense that time – 6 turnovers and shot 5/18 from the field. I’m pretty sure Woodsanity will not allow that to happen again.

    Funny watching some of that game again. Our defense is really different now — much tighter on rotations and much more active feet.

  15. Frank

    Interesting Hollinger article re: the Knicks and Woodson. Said that they had 4 starters 6’7″ to 6’9″ and that their bigs were very mobile, so switching all the picks was reasonable with that personnel. We are not seeing quite as much switching lately on our team.

  16. nicos

    Frank:
    Interesting Hollinger article re: the Knicks and Woodson.Said that they had 4 starters 6’7? to 6’9? and that their bigs were very mobile, so switching all the picks was reasonable with that personnel.We are not seeing quite as much switching lately on our team.

    The Knicks switched a lot under D’A the last couple of years as well and it made sense- especially last year when you often had Fields, Gallo, and Chandler playing the two, three, and four. What’s rarely a good idea is switching one/four (esp. if that four is Amar’e) or one/five. Having Amar’e (or even Tyson) trying to guard Calderon or Tony Parker out at the three point line is never a good idea. My one complaint with Shumpert on defense is that he gives up those switches too easily- there was one play last night where you could hear someone (had to be Shump) yelling “switch it” before he even hit the screen, leaving Amar’e iso’d on Calderon. I think Shump feels like he can guard anybody so there’s no problem switching onto a big- not realizing that he’s causing problems for his own big in the process.

  17. ephus

    One of the big lessons from the last debacle against Philly: No lazy cross court passes. The Sixers do a great job of jumping the passing lanes when a PG penetrates and looks to dish. Not only do they get steals, they get easy transition buckets because no one is back once the PG heads towards the rim.

    I would love to see Melo operating from the elbow (a la Dirk) after getting downscreens from Chandler tonight.

  18. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Frank O.:
    Williams is shooting 41 percent. His TS% and eFG% is about Melo’s and Melo is having a terrible year efficiency-wise.
    Iggy is the man to worry about.

    Williams is not a terribly efficient shooter, but where his value comes is his ridiculous low turnover rate.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&match=single&per_minute_base=36&type=advanced&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=2006&year_max=&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=&is_hof=&is_as=&as_comp=gt&as_val=0&pos_is_g=Y&pos_is_gf=Y&pos_is_f=Y&pos_is_fg=Y&pos_is_fc=Y&pos_is_c=Y&pos_is_cf=Y&qual=&c1stat=usg_pct&c1comp=gt&c1val=25&c2stat=tov_pct&c2comp=lt&c2val=8&c3stat=mp&c3comp=gt&c3val=1000&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=ws#stats::25

    It’s hard to be inefficient when you never give the ball to the other team. 1.6 TO/36 as a guard!

  19. jon abbey

    Baron is playing tonight, let’s get a game thread going before the game starts. hope we can get some revenge for the MSG game…

  20. Bruno Almeida

    ephus:
    What is the defensive strategy on Lou Williams tonight?

    1.Don’t let Williams catch the ball — if you do not rotate off of Williams, we could see Evan Turner or Iggy have a monster game.

    2.Double Williams whenever he has the ball — requires great rotation work from the other three defenders.

    3.Play Williams straight up and pray he does not get hot.

    4.Make Williams work at the defensive end by running him off of lots of screens — risks taking the Knicks out of the nice offensive rhythm they developed over the last four games.

    5.Modified zone

    I would play Williams straight up, but double him any time he gets Stat on a switch.

    guard him straight up and let him shoot.

    Williams has a tendency to be irrationally confident about his shot (using some Bill Simmons’ terminology), and he’s probably hyped up for this game after the last meeting.

    however, he’s not a great shooter and will force the issue sometimes, so if we can get him to take the majority of shots while interrupting the Sixers’ flow on offense, that’d be good imo.

  21. JK47

    @21

    The Sixers in general never turn the ball over; they lead the NBA in offensive TOV% by a mile. They’re also dead last in offensive FT/FGA, also by a mile. It’s an extremely methodical and conservative offense and it’s worked well for them. You look up and down their B-R page and it’s all guys with middling TS% and eFG% numbers, yet they’re a decent 13th in the NBA in offensive rating.

    Collins’ strategy with that team is very sound– keep the pace slow, win the turnover battle and force your opponent to shoot low-percentage jumpers. I have a lot of respect for what they do over there.

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