Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

David: From Slingshot-Wielding Youth to King of the Garden

I wanted Chris Taft.

If you’re ever talking Knicks with me and I’m ragging on Isiah or Layden, talking about how unfathomable it was to draft Balkman with Rondo and Marcus Williams on the board and the Knicks without a point guard, killing the Steve Francis trade as simultaneously short-sighted and bad for the short term – basically talking like I could have done a better job running this team than the motley front office crew of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, you can always remind me of that one.

Holding the Phoenix Suns’ first round pick in the 2005 NBA Draft – thirtieth and last, thanks in part to futurebockers Mike D’Antoni and Amar’e Stoudemire – the New York Knicks selected a board-banging forward out of Florida named David Lee.  I was 19, and I was furious.*

*Granted, Isiah probably could have flipped Tim Thomas and Jackie Butler for Wilt Chamberlain and I would have found a reason to hate the move at that point.  I think we’re all about 10 years away from looking back on the 2004-2007 stretch as an extended period of Isiah-induced temporary insanity.  I am almost certain that it will eventually occur to Bernie Madoff to file an appeal on these grounds.

The Knicks were coming off a 33-49 season, their two best players were Stephon Marbury and Jamal Crawford, and they were years away from possessing even a glimmer of cap room.  If ever there was a time to swing for the fences with a draft pick, that was it.  And Chris Taft – an athletic, 6’10” prototype of a power forward, slated to go top-5 after his freshman year at Pitt before struggling through an ill-advised sophomore season and plummeting down draft boards under the weight of a reputation for being raw and immature – was there for the taking.  Here was a classic back-to-the basket four who could score in the post, rebound, block shots, and step out to the perimeter.  A flight risk to be sure but, on a team going nowhere, a risk worth taking.

But the final name David Stern announced before ceding the night’s emcee duties to Russ Granik was not Taft, it was Lee: a four-year senior who had averaged a workmanlike 11 and 7 in his time with the Gators and who projected to offer similarly steady but unspectacular production in a bench role for the Knicks.  For a team with absolutely nothing to get excited about, this seemed like a classic example of Isiah buying a nice new set of snow tires when he couldn’t afford a car (to say nothing of the fact that, in Kurt Thomas, the Knicks already possessed a set of the same model of snow tires, and a more broken-in set at that).  The pick was illogical, miscalculated, and hubristic.  And it was just about the only thing Isiah got right in his time at the helm.*

*I’ll spare you the effort of looking it up: Taft eventually went 42nd overall, somewhat coincidentally to the same Golden State Warriors that now employ Lee.  He played in 17 games, averaged 3 points and 2 rebounds, underwent back surgery and hasn’t played basketball professionally since 2006.  Again, remind me I wanted this guy the next time I criticize a personnel decision.

Lee was an absolute lock to be popular with a fan base whose conception of “The Good Old Days” was built on hustle, rebounding, efficient offense, and hard-nosed defense (let’s diplomatically say he went three for four on those criteria and move along).  He averaged 5 and 5 in 17 minutes as a rookie, usually sharing shifts with his pinballing classmate Nate Robinson.  The two formed a reckless bundle of hope and energy on a team that stumbled to a franchise-worst 59 losses under a wave of Marburian apathy and Jamal Crawford Fallaway Threes with Nineteen Seconds Left on the Shot Clock.™

Of the Knicks’ two most popular lineups that season, the one that had Marbury and Eddy Curry running with the young bucks was already vastly superior to the one including Steve Francis and two withering Roses (Jalen and Malik).  Moreover, the lineup that completely let the kids borrow the car keys was stunningly effective in limited minutes (especially stunning considering that it included such future Hall of Famers as Qyntel Woods and Jackie Butler).

Lee Chart 1

Unfortunately, nobody told Larry Brown about the youth movement and the Knicks most dynamic lineup got less than a full game’s worth of minutes together over the course of the entire 2005-2006 season.

Lee was far from a finished product that first year – his points all seemed to come via putbacks and dunks on the break, he looked positively terrified when he received the ball in the flow of the offense, and Brown’s trademark minute-jockeying prevented him from ever getting a feel for the NBA half court game on either end.  But man, could the dude rebound.  With every textbook box-out, weak-side swoop, and faceplant into Row AA, Lee ‘bounded and astounded his way deeper into our hearts.  After a decade of Knicks’ drafts in which Mike Sweetney and Trevor Ariza stood out as relative successes, this one-dimensional kid from St. Louis – with glue on his hands and springs in his shoes – was already everything we wanted him to be.

And then David Lee did something that, as Knicks fans, we’d forgotten we were entitled to expect.  He got better.  A LOT better.  At almost everything.

The first step for Lee was to build on his pre-existing strengths.  His 58% rookie free throw shooting clip was a major caveat for a player whose offensive hallmark was supposed to be efficient scoring.  Lee pulled this number all the way up to 82% in his sophomore campaign and it has remained in that neighborhood ever since.  His rebounding – merely a “very good” 9.7 per 36 minutes his rookie season – skyrocketed to 12.5 per 36 in 2006-2007, good for fifth in the league and best by a Knick since Willis Reed’s 12.6 in the 1970-1971 season (which is to say better than Ewing, better than Oakley, better than Camby or Mason or Bill Cartwright).  In fact, on a per-possession basis, Lee’s second year was the most efficient scoring and rebounding season in Knicks’ franchise history.*

Lee Chart 2

*Just to underline the point, the 23-year-old Lee’s 20.7% rebound rate means that he did the work of two average rebounders and his .652 true shooting percentage has been bettered by only three under-25 players in the last quarter century: Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrew Bynum, and Charles Barkley (who, incredibly, had already hit that mark 3 times by his the end of his age-25 year).  While Lee has yet to replicate either mark – and is unlikely to given his expanded repertoire – his rebound rate has never dipped below 17.5% and his true shooting percentage has remained above 58% in each subsequent season.

The Knicks felt the impact of Lee’s ultra-efficient production whenever he was on the court, as evidenced by on/off-court splits that compared favorably with more-highly touted and talented members of the 2010 free agent class of which Lee would eventually become a part:

Lee Chart 3

Lee’s efficiency took a dip in 2007-2008, but this was largely the result of an increased willingness to pull the trigger on open mid-range jumpers.  Lee – who was 1 for 12 from 10-15 feet for the entire 2006-07 season – forced opponents to at least consider guarding him away from the rim, attempting nearly a shot a game from that range and converting on 50% of those attempts.

The immediate impact was minimal, but it was a sign of the far more complete offensive player that Lee was primed to become.  The rest of the rock-bottom 2007-2008 Knicks’ season* was unremarkable for Lee – the team lost 59 games and was bad in essentially every possible lineup iteration.  Still, lineups with Lee continued to significantly outperform those without him.

Lee Chart 4

*Among a myriad of less notable disgraces, this was the season that featured the resolution of the ongoing Anucha Browne Sanders sexual harassment case, Stephon Marbury unilaterally deciding to have season-ending ankle surgery, and a $1.2 million per minute salary for Jerome James.  Really hard to imagine a young player not thriving in such a positive, growth-oriented environment.

The drastic lows of 2007-2008 had the considerable fringe benefit of removing Isiah Thomas from his palace atop mount Knickerbocker.  Few were more positively affected by this change than Lee.*  The organizational overhaul saw the installation of a general manager with his eyes set on the future (meaning that no more quick-fix, past-their-prime perimeter players would be brought in to impede the development of younger Knicks**) and a head coach with a system built around creating fast breaks, finishing on said fast breaks, and creating open jumpers early in the shot clock (three tenets which were, respectively, tailor-made for Lee’s superior defensive rebounding ability, his natural knack for finishing at the rim, and his developing perimeter game).

*My father remains one of the few who benefitted more than Lee from Isiah’s removal, insofar as he is not dead from a brain aneurysm, which was about one Zach Randolph shot-clock violation from happening.

** Or so we thought.  Yes, I’m looking at you Tracy McGrady.

Lee responded with a two-year stretch in which he developed from one of the league’s premier energy guys into the player that just commanded an $80 million contract on the open market.  The metamorphosis can be explained in two words: minutes and usage.*

*If I had to pick a third word it would be “follicles,” as Lee’s transformation included the emergence of a curly mop-topchin-hair combo that led my girlfriend and me to refer to him as “goat boy” for his last two years as a Knick.

First, minutes.  Considering that he had drafted Lee – and received more praise for the pick than any other move during his tenure – Isiah was bafflingly and stubbornly resistant to the idea of actually, you know, giving him playing time.  Lee had started only 55 games in three years under Brown and Isiah and had yet to eclipse 30 minutes per game at the time of Mike D’Antoni’s hiring.  In the two years since, Lee has started 155 games and logged nearly 6000 minutes.  This has had a huge effect on his raw numbers, turning his 11 and 9 in 2008 into a 20 and 12 in 2010 without material changes in offensive efficiency or rebound rate.

Of course, stagnant offensive efficiency isn’t the same as stagnant offensive production, and that’s where usage comes in.  The first three years of Lee’s career resembled a series of spirited 48-minute games of hot potato.  As excited as Lee seemed to get his hands on the ball each time it went up for grabs, he seemed nearly as anxious to get rid of it once it was in his control.  On the offensive end, Lee was strictly a finisher, with virtually identical assist and turnover totals through the first three years of his career and nearly three quarters of his field goal attempts taken at the rim.

Lee chart 5

On the other end, Lee’s world-class knack for owning the defensive glass was partially off-set by his unwillingness – or inability – to put the ball on the floor or make a dangerous outlet pass.  If he received the ball in a position that wasn’t conducive to an easy basket, he would look for the nearest ball-handler and make the safest, most immediate pass.

Under D’Antoni, Lee simply morphed into a different player.  The change was gradual and it’s hard to say how much of it had to do with D’Antoni’s system, his encouragement, or simply Lee’s work ethic.  It’s likely that all three factors played a role.  What is certain is that the one-time rebounder, dunker, and eschewer of any and all playmaking responsibility became the focal point of a passable NBA offense and did it without compromising his efficiency or benefitting from the presence of a top-level point guard.*

*This is where you say “But wait, Chris Duhon was GREAT with David Lee!  Their pick and rolls were awesome!  This was the one good thing Duhon had going for him!”  The results were there and you’re entitled to that opinion, but it seems a lot more plausible to me that Lee gained all the tools of a great pick-and-roll four at the exact moment that Chris Duhon happened to show up, and their supposed synergy had a lot more to do with Lee than Duhon.  I think the Lee/Stephen Curry pick and roll situation in Golden State is going to be something truly special, as Lee will finally benefit from playing with a point guard whose outside shooting ability will prevent defenders from cutting under his screens and result in more open rolls to the rim and matchups with the other teams point guard.  That is providing, of course, that Don Nelson doesn’t bench both of them for the entire season.

Three causes stand out in the 50% increase in Lee’s usage rate from 2008 to 2010.  First, the replacement of Marbury with Duhon meant more ball for everybody, as the incidents of Duhon taking the rock all the way to the rim himself were (mercifully) few.  Second, Lee’s more diverse offensive game meant shots from everywhere inside the arc, and his ability to convert those shots at a rate commensurate with the league’s best shooting big men meant that he could do it without giving away much in terms of efficiency.

Lee Chart 6

The most important change in Lee these past two years, however, is both the easiest and most difficult to quantify.  Assist numbers are powerful in that they – along with their derivative statistics, like pure point rating – are the only widely available tools used to represent a player’s passing ability and role in creating offense.  With so little available to contradict what assist totals tell us about these qualities, we tend to listen to what they say as if it offers the entire story.  And in Lee’s case, assist totals don’t exactly mislead – his dimes have more than doubled in the past two years on a per-game, per-minute, and per-possession basis.

But that doesn’t really cover it, and anybody who has been watching Lee’s development would be right to object to such an oversimplification.  Something bigger happened, and something too holistic to be explained away by any one number.  In the 2009-2010 season, David Lee became The Man.

Now, let’s be perfectly clear.  Lee was The Man on a 29-win team.  He was The Man despite being completely overmatched on defense more often than not.  He was The Man on a roster whose next best candidates for such a title were a 5’7” combo guard, a Pacers/Hawks cast-off, and a 21-year-old Italian who hears the phrase “pick and roll” and thinks about two of the many products he might use to make his hair look different for tonight’s game.

Put simply, David Lee should not be The Man.  But by some confluence of encouragement, development, and a dearth of better options, the hyperactive kid who didn’t want to hold the ball started calling for it in the post.  Started patiently waiting for cutters and hitting them with inch-perfect bounce passes.  Started rolling up top when plays broke down, waiting to receive the ball and reset the offense from the top of the key.  He actually put his head down and went after a few of his multitude of defensive rebounds, and he made enterprising passes that led to baskets after a good many more of them.  He led a team that nobody else wanted to lead – that nobody else had even wanted to be a part of just two years before, and he did it while maintaining the same exuberance and hustle that had always defined him.  He managed to simultaneously be both the big-man-on-campus and the walk-on fighting for minutes.

We will have a hard time evaluating Lee’s Knick career as the years pass.  With any luck, we will look at his six years as the team’s worst stretch ever – Lee missed their last playoff appearance by two years and logged minutes on two Knicks teams that are currently tied for the most losses in franchise history.  He was a bad defensive power forward and an even worse defensive center – though it is criminally under-mentioned that preventing second chance opportunities is an important component of team defense and that Lee is among the best of his generation in that particular regard.  We will remember his spirit and hustle fondly, and his 20 and 12 in 2009-2010 will always jump off the page, but he may ultimately prove to be doomed by association; like Don Mattingly and Rodney Hampton before him, remembered in the New York sports zeitgeist as the defining player of a disappointing era – cursed by his own memorability.

But maybe this is a case where time will not lend perspective, where it will instead rob us of gut reactions that may be more accurate.  And my gut reaction is this: David Lee is a good player, not a great player.  An excellent third option, a poor centerpiece.  With any luck he will become an important part of a great team, but he is not and never will be a great player.  But he is – was – a great Knick.  He gave us bright spots during dark times and made us say “Thank God SOMEONE on this horrible team cares as much as I do.”  It’s a legacy he shares with Nate, but his constant ability to add new dimensions to his game even in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation makes him the headliner of that legacy.

There is one other way to think about David Lee, another way to consider his value and his lasting impact on the franchise.  This is to evaluate him based on the haul that he brought back from the Warriors.  In Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf, and – primarily – Anthony Randolph, we as Knicks fans have the fruits of David Lee’s labor.  His commitment on the glass, his development into a serious threat on the pick-and-roll, his unerring improvement in his shooting and passing game made him into a player whose sign-and-trade commanded one of the brightest – and rawest – young talents in the NBA.  What Randolph becomes as a Knick will be inexorably linked to our memories of David Lee and our appreciation for all the work he put in, whether that’s fair or not.

Randolph is super-athletic, well-built, versatile.  He is emphatic and raw.  He is exciting and immature.  In other words, he is Chris Taft, circa 2005.

Five years after the Knicks took David Lee over a raw, potential All-Star power forward, they accepted a raw, potential All-Star power forward in exchange for him.  Things didn’t work out for the one they passed on.  Hopefully they’ll work out better for the one they acquired this week.  And hopefully he, Randolph, will see happier days with the Knicks than the guy they traded for him – the one who was never supposed to be a star, and turned into one before our eyes.

92 comments on “David: From Slingshot-Wielding Youth to King of the Garden

  1. DS

    Nice job, Kevin!!

    I posted this under the last article RIGHT before this went up:

    Someone posted a link to an article yesterday about how much the Knicks will be improved using statistical analysis. I believe it was from ESPN New York. Can anyone re-post? I’m having the hardest time finding it. Is it restricted for some reason? Thanks!

  2. cgreene

    Nice article. Thanks for putting in the time, Kevin.

    No need for the Nate Robinson plugs though. Memories of him are not nearly as fond for most and not fond at all for some.

  3. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Cgreene-

    Thanks for putting in the time to read; I realize that brevity is not it’s forte.

    As for Nate, I can’t say he’s on the same plateau as Lee in my mind, but it would be really unfair to Nate to talk about Lee as the only bright spot of the past few years. Without even really thinking about it I can come up with 5 or 6 Nate moments that gave us some isolated joy. Always thought of Nate’s game like an ice cream sundae and his occasional bouts of immaturity as ice cream headaches — a real pain but not a big enough pain to stop eating the ice cream.

    Still think his 41 on New Year’s Day after maturely accepting a month-long benching was the best night to be a Knicks fan last season.

  4. cgreene

    Kevin –

    When you put it that way I understand. Isolated moments of joy were few and far between and Nate definitely gave us those. In my mind he is nothing but a spot minutes bench player in this league though and increased minutes was a law of diminishing returns for the team and that was frustrating and made me not really like him in the end. For every 5 instances of joy there were 10 of incredibly frustrating play and behavior and so he seemed part of the bigger problem of the Knicks as a losing team.

  5. dwyercd

    Awesome. Brilliant article. Just joined up, and the first thing I get to see is a near love-letter to one of my favorite Knicks all-time. Really wanted DLee to stay; but that was mostly because I knew we’d get better in the off-season, and I was hoping he’d get to reap some of the benefits of playing for a winning team. But things didn’t work out that way. Here’s hoping he tears it up in Golden State, and that our Knickerbockers are better off for having traded him, somehow.

  6. Ted Nelson

    Great tribute, Kevin! Very thorough, insightful, and accurate. As a fan it’s definitely hard to see Lee leave the Knicks and I’m sure all of us will still be Lee fans regardless of where he’s playing.

    I agree on Nate, as well. Whatever people think of him, he gave his all and I think it’s completely accurate to put him in line with Lee in terms of getting after it when the Knicks were struggling.

  7. Ted Nelson

    cgreene,

    Nate was one of the most productive Knicks in his time in NY… If he made a lot of mistakes and most other Knicks made a million times more, why hate Nate and not the other players? Nate was not the reason the Knicks lost. Not having better players in front of him in the rotation was.

    As far as diminishing returns, the season in which Nate played the most minutes was both his best season individually and the one in which the Knicks won the most games during his tenure.

    If you’re going to criticize someone, at least be rational and accurate.

  8. eyeke

    Kevin, great post.
    I remember very clearly when Lee came out. I’m a huge Gators hoops fan, and drafting Lee was the one thing that kept me from fleeing my lifelong Knicks love for my local team.. the Jazz.

    Truth is, the Jazz had a shot at Lee and had him here multiple times for tryouts. I was in heaven hoping that they’d grab both him and hopefully Anthony Roberson in the 2nd round. (who went undrafted)
    If there was any one player in the league that is worth losing Lee in his prime for.. it’s Randolph. Having Amare as a mentor and SSoL to grow in.. he’s going to explode and even I’ll forget about Lee in just a few years, as he is choked out by the chaos in Oakland.

  9. Ricky_J

    Am I the only one who got a little misty? I’ll miss both those guys although I agree with the general direction management is taking and unfortunately it necessitates parting ways with Lee.

    All the best #42.

  10. Marc R

    Kevin-

    Nice job. Very smartly and entertainingly written.

    But wasn’t Lee picked with the Spurs’ draft pick, not the Suns’ one? I thought Lee was the sole bright spot of the Malik Rose trade.

  11. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Marc-

    Suns pick, traded by Suns to Spurs, traded by Spurs to Knicks.

    Nice memory (it was the Rose/Nazr Mohammed trade that provoked Charles Barkley to say “Isiah Thomas is building a championship team…in San Antonio”) but it was still the Suns best record that made it 30th.

    [As kind of a cool trivia question, the Spurs initially got the pick from the Suns for the draft rights to one Leandro Barbosa].

  12. Ted Nelson

    By the way, for as much flack as Kahn takes he’s about to trade one of the worst contracts and most overrated players in the NBA to Utah for cap space and 2 1st Rounders.

  13. theseebster

    I love this article. It is really nice to see appreciation for the guy who came in every night and played his heart out.

  14. massive

    Just as soon as I read an upsetting article on ESPN, I read this one. This was a great read. I’m glad to see that after we get spurned by LeBron and everybody’s pissed at that, David Lee gets a great tribute like this, and is not forgotten by all the New/Next Big 3 talk.

  15. cgreene

    Hey, Ted,

    I wasn’t comparing Nate to anyone. Did you read any comments of mine in which I compared him to other Knicks? Hmmm. That’s what I thought.

    But let’s be clear. This may be a stat oriented blog. And I thank Mike and the rest of the folks here for teaching me a lot about that stuff I didn’t know. But in relation to Nate I don’t really give a darn if he was statistically one of the better players on a horrible team. The guy is a bonehead. I have watched and PLAYED basketball my whole life. And it was very obvious at many times that he simply was an uncoachable, freewheeling, not team-oriented player who cared more about show boating after dunks than guarding his man on defense.

    I don’t like him. I don’t think he was a good teammate. I don’t think his teammates liked him (anecdotally). His coaches definitely didn’t like him (from the stringent Larry Brown to the clueless Isiah to the freewheeling MDA) and he doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as David Lee. Period.

    Awaiting condescending retort…

  16. BigBlueAL

    Oh crap forgot I think Mike doesnt want us posting articles from other sites right???? I know Im a big offender of this. I did at least mention from where the article is from and I do usually mention before the link where the article is from.

    Sorry if Im breaking the rules again, accept my humble apologies :-)

  17. tastycakes

    I don’t know for sure, but I think the problem is when people copy-paste the contents of an article on another site.

    Linking should be OK, I would think.

  18. Mulligan

    Great article. It really captures what I think we all loved about Lee: he hustled and he was a hard worker (on one end of the court, but still). Hopefully he’ll only have to suffer one year with Nelson and possibly less if the sale goes through. Plus, the Bay Area is one of best places to live, especially when you’re making hella money!

  19. Kikuchiyo

    Thanks for posting this. I was getting worried that we wouldn’t give ole D-Lee a proper sendoff. Although I hated watching him get violated by just about every center in the league, I absolutely loved every other aspect of Lee’s game. And, perhaps what is more important, I appreciate his character. He’s one of the good guys, and I can’t believe he kept his composure and kept working to get better even amid the circus all around him. He deserves to win, and I was hoping he’d get signed-and-traded to Phoenix or find his way to the Bulls. I hope Nellie doesn’t have some idea like making Lee his point center. In any case, like many of you I’m sure, this season I will:

    1. Add Golden State to my league pass teams to watch.

    2. Think a LOT about Lee if the wheels come off our experiment with Amar’e and company. I’m on record in support of these deals, but I worry about a team with no obvious locker room leader.

    Thanks, David! Here’s wishing you a shot-blocking center to play with some day.

  20. SeeWhyDee77

    I have 2 things 2 say..well it might end up bein more than 2 so i’ll just say 2 topics. 1st things 1st…excellent article Kevin. D Lee’s never gonna go down as an all time Knick great, but he’ll always be an all time Knick fave in my book. Right up there with Starks, Ewing, Oak, Spree, Gerald Wilkins, Ward, JVG, Nate, H20 (minus the contract), and maybe Harper or LJ. Now these r some of my personal faves. I left out Reed, Monroe and Frazier b/c I wasn’t around to see those guys. Anyway..#2, I know this would problee kill cap future cap space, but what do u guys think about Iggy in NY now? Would they take Curry and Chandler or Azu for Iggy now that they’ve drafted Turner and presumably would want the cap space. I’m thinkin that if Melo does the smart (for him) thing and signs that extension, that maybe Iggy would be great alongside Stat in NY with Felton, Randolph and Rooster flanking him.

  21. Dan Panorama

    This really is one of the best basketball posts I’ve ever read — David Lee deserves nothing less.

    By the way I was totally rooting for them to pick Chris Taft too. Nbadraft.net made him sound so awesome…..

  22. rama

    Kevin – really well-done piece. Thanks. That’s how I feel about the guy, too: thank God there was someone on the team worth rooting for the last few years.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Avi gets some D in his game this summer and goes back to being David. He said he picked one thing to work on each off-season, and this year it’s defense. I hope he prospers out west – it’s still a good trade for us if he does, since he would have killed the cap the next few years and Donnie is smart to give us a shot at Carmelo and CP3.

  23. Robert Silverman

    Really great piece, Kevin.

    Glad to see you’re pounding the keys for KB again.

    Just so’s you don’t feel alone in your Chris Taft admission, at the time I was royally pissed that Zeke had passed on Andray Blatche. Granted, Blatche had a nice run to end last season, but to paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen, he, Sir, is no David Lee.

  24. Robert Silverman

    And I’ll take this wager w/anyone: David Lee hits over 35% on threes next year. Just watch.

  25. Nick C.

    That was an awesome piece Kevin. Not to nit pick but whenever there were number sput up there D. Lee came out on top of his replacement. Just sayin’ and a lot of other people were until a few motnhs ago. And while I haven’t stopped by much due to LeBronsanity nausea its nice to see that in an article on David Lee half the comments are about some guy that’s on the Celtics (or is he somewhere else now).

  26. Spree8nyk8

    Robert seeing as he hasn’t hit one in his career I’d prolly have to take you up on that one….

  27. Kevin McElroy Post author

    One other thing to say on this — and it’s a new and original point that nobody has EVER made before — but thank God Isiah isn’t the GM this offseason. There is a 100 out of 100 chance that we would be talking ourselves into either Monta Ellis or Al Jefferson right now with $30M in cap space, no LeBron, and Lee as a trade chip. I’ll take the young Warriors and the remaining cap room, thanks.

  28. Ted Nelson

    cgreene,

    Not sure what you mean by comparison, the only reference I made to a comparison was in reference to Kevin’s article.

    This is what I was responding to: “For every 5 instances of joy there were 10 of incredibly frustrating play and behavior and so he seemed part of the bigger problem of the Knicks as a losing team.”

    This is how I responded: “Nate was one of the most productive Knicks in his time in NY… If he made a lot of mistakes and most other Knicks made a million times more, why hate Nate and not the other players? Nate was not the reason the Knicks lost. Not having better players in front of him in the rotation was.”

    This is what I was responding to: “increased minutes was a law of diminishing returns for the team and that was frustrating and made me not really like him in the end.”

    This is how I responded: “As far as diminishing returns, the season in which Nate played the most minutes was both his best season individually and the one in which the Knicks won the most games during his tenure.”

    You can think whatever you want. For example, since you spend so much time inside the Knicks locker room, you can think Nate was a bad teammate, hated by his teammates, and hated by coaches who gave him heavy minutes anyway. I really have no idea since I don’t know any of these people personally.
    However, you specifically said Nate did more to make the Knicks lose than he did to make them win. That’s what I responded to. I feel that is a demonstrably incorrect statement. You specifically stated a fact that as Nate’s minutes increased he played worse and hurt the team. Again, I feel I can demonstrate that is an incorrect statement.

    The larger point is that I agree with what Kevin said about Nate and Lee: “The two formed a reckless bundle of hope and energy on a team that stumbled to a franchise-worst 59 losses”
    “He gave us bright spots during dark times and made us say “Thank God SOMEONE on this horrible team cares as much as I do.” It’s a legacy he shares with Nate, but his constant ability to add new dimensions to his game even in the face of a seemingly hopeless situation makes him the headliner of that legacy.”
    I did not agree with you taking that opportunity to throw stones at Nate Robinson. I felt it was completely unjustified given the two things Kevin said about him.

  29. Brian Cronin

    Al Harrington to the Nuggets for the full mid-level for five years.

    Good for Al!

    A lot of good teams further solidifying themselves – the Heat moves seem to have spurred on a lot of other contenders. Like the Lakers now adding Blake and maybe Raja Bell?! Nuts.

  30. tastycakes

    Dance your cares away,
    Worry’s for another day.
    Let the music play,
    Down at Fraggle Rock.

    Work you cares away,
    Dancing’s for another day.
    Let the Fraggles play,
    We’re Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, Red.

    Dance your cares away,
    Worry’s for another day.
    Let the music play,
    Down at Fraggle Rock.
    Down at Fraggle Rock.
    Down at Fraggle Rock.

    I won’t miss you, Al!

  31. Frank

    In defense of Al and especially in light of the Lebron fiasco — at least he really played hard every night and wanted to be here in NYC. To some extent, it’s not his fault that he’s not a facilitator and that he was a ball-stopper at points — some guys are just not wired that way. I think he’d be a great sixth man somewhere and wish him well in Denver. Especially if his showing up there brings Melo here.

  32. tastycakes

    To me, Al is the epitome of mediocre NBA play. He’ll get contracts because he scores, but does he do anything else well? Not a good defensive player, doesn’t rebound, doesn’t pass, doesn’t make anybody better, stops the offensive flow, takes bad shots, etc.

    Yes, it’s not “his fault” that he’s an average player. I don’t like hate him personally or anything.

    But he was super frustrating as a Knick, responsible for plenty of “OMG why is he shooting!” or “OMG stop spinning so wildly in the lane” head-slap moments.

    As a Knicks fan, it’s a new era, and I for one welcome the change.

    I will miss David Lee, and that’s about it!

  33. ess-dog

    Great Lee post. It’s amazing how a flower can grow in a giant heap of dung.
    It will be interesting to see what happens with Lee. The fact is, despite his exceptional court smarts, he is considered undersized even at the pf by today’s NBA standards.
    Two things we know for sure: 1. He and Steph Curry will form an amazing p&r combo that should delight the bay area citizens to no end. 2. The Warriors have been sold to the owner of Oracle, someone who can truly finance a team and who hopefully has the brains to jettison Nellie and possibly Riley and really transform that lineup.
    Move Biedrins for a young defensive center – Javale McGee or Thabeet, someone of that ilk. Move Ellis for draft picks (see the Al Jefferson trade) and build around the Curry/Lee duo. They lost some good young players in ‘Buike/Randolph/Morrow but they’ve still got some parts.

  34. DS

    Good for Al, indeed. I’ll smile when he pours in 16 points in 20 mins. during some Nuggets playoff game and we get to listen to the national commentators talk about how great he is. In the past it was the reverse; we’d watch guys like JJ and JJ have bursts in the playoffs and we’d reward them w/ bloated contracts.

    The Nets have to settle on Danny Ferry or Billy Knight to lead their revolution??? THIS is who they fired Thorn for??? We should line up Thorn as heir to Donnie and Pritchard as GM. Throw in Kiki too.

    I think the Jazz will barely skip a beat w/ Jefferson in the fold (meaning no disgruntled Deron for us) and Dallas is getting insanely deep in the front court w/ Tyson Chandler. The West will be tough; I hope whoever emerges from there will have enough energy to crush the Heat.

  35. Z

    First off– Kevin, great article, as always. Seriously, one of the best basketball pieces I’ve read in a long time. (Hopefully members of the Pulitzer board read Knickerblogger…)

    Second off– Thanks Mike for re-inserting the “recent comments” feature. Talk about a service oriented site! (Somewhere deep in the frantic comments of the LeBron decision were a few iphone users’ requests to get this feature back.) Voila!

  36. Garson

    Funny story about Al Harrington.

    In his first game as a knick at MSG I was at the game sitting in some nice seats.

    At the time we were 7-6 right before we traded crawford and zach for the expiring contracts , one of which was Harrington.

    The game was vs Cavs, in which they blew us out 119 – 101. Harrington shot 5-16.

    After the second quarter, i commented to my friend , ” i guess we just punted the next 2 seasons with this trade for Harrington” After the remark , the woman sitting in front of me, turned around and said
    ” excuse me, thats my husband (al) , you gotta give him a chance out there” and turned back around.

    Extremely embarrased , we cheered for Al for the remainder of the game every time he touched the ball to the delight of Mrs Harrington.

  37. Mike Kurylo

    Z – moving to a new host has allowed me to bring it back (along with a few other things). Let’s hope for smooth sailing with these guys.

  38. callmened

    Great tribute to LEE (and its backed up with stats). However, I don’t mind getting rid of him because he (and nate) just represented the “old” knicks. Time for a new beginning!

    I loved rooting for him but he wasn’t a great player. He was a defensive liability. I think he’s just a good player on a bad team and a bench player on a good team.

    I wish him look in GState.

    ***PS – is there anyone here excited in A. Randolph? I feel like he was raw when he came out after his freshman year. But now we’re getting a more polished product who wouldve been finishing his Jr year in college. Great shot blocking and athleticism. I think of him as another Josh Smith***

  39. massive

    Wow, they pass up on Kevin Pritchard for Billy King? The same Kevin Pritchard who built a team that could have beat the Lakers if it wasn’t derailed by injury? Probably because Avery Johnson and Pritchard wouldn’t have worked out too well. Well, at least we can still snag him to be the GM if Walsh so chooses.

    But speaking of GMs, why on Earth is ESPN calling Pat Riley “the most influential man” in basketball? This is not fair. He presented three millionaires in their 20s with immense talent, one who was already on board, an oppurtunity to team up on South Beach, where there is no state income tax. I think the oppurtunity sold itself, not Pat Riley.

  40. tastycakes

    Well, for one, Riles didn’t manage to cripple his team with an Eddy Curry-esque albatross of a contract. He was able to clear max space for 3 guys without having to give away draft picks (wait, is that true?)

    If the Knicks could have moved Curry this year, you know they would have, but it has been a literally unmoveable contract. Who knows what happens if the Knicks had room for 3.

    Then again, Miami had the institutional advantage because of D Wade already being there, the bastards.

  41. DS

    @49 ESPN is just trying to identify one name who receives the most credit for changing the balance of power in the NBA for the next 5-10 years. It’s a form of crappy journalism like Time Magazine’s Man of the Year but I think I agree with the assessment.

    It pains me but I think Riley’s track record w/ the Heat deserves a lot of credit. He has – time after time – struck fast and hard when an opportunity has presented itself; Mourning, Hardaway, Majerle, Mashburn, Eddie Jones, Mason, Shaq, NOW LeBron/Bosh!

    @50 – I like to think we weren’t that close. It helps me sleep at night. I can appreciate being the underdogs anyway. It reminds me of taking the Bulls to 7 games in 1992 (that was a scrappy Knicks team lead by Coach…. D’oh!)

  42. DS

    How do writers like Broussard and Howard Beck keep glossing over the fact that D’Antoni will play a traditional forward at the center position and doesn’t need a 7 footer? Broussard projected Curry as the starting center during the first week of Free Agency. Beck writes an article below about how the Knicks don’t have a competent 7-footer. Clearly, D’Antoni who has started Boris Diaw, Stoudemire and DLee at the 5 and who didn’t know how to use Shaq properly, will be OK w/ Turiaf/Amar’e/Anthony Randolph. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/14/sports/basketball/14nba.html?ref=basketball

  43. chris.afroman

    Wow. That was amazing. Made me tear up a bit.
    I feel like it’d be cool if Lee read that. Just so he could know NY fans appreciate what he did.

  44. Ted Nelson

    DS re: 52

    I agree that some of the accounts you’re referring to seem fairly ignorant. I’d call Turiaf as much a 5 as anything, anyway… Sort of a poor man’s Kurt Thomas. Would be great if Timo or Eddy really surprises us, but can hardly count on either.

    What I’ve read, though, that lends some credibility to *some* journalists speculating about the Knicks 5 spot is that the Knicks told Amare he will play primarily at the 4… that might mean Randolph playing the 5 while they’re on the court together or D’Antoni might just change his mind and play Amare at the 5. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Turiaf or Timo or even Eddy at the 5 to start games (at least early in the season), but the primary frontcourt in terms of minutes be Gallo/Randolph/Amare or Gallo/Amare/Randolph depending on how much bulk Randolph’s added and whether he can play the 5… he refers to himself as a 1-3 in interviews, so his mindset is going to need some adjusting if he’s the Knicks’ Diaw.

  45. Z

    “Beck writes an article below about how the Knicks don’t have a competent 7-footer. Clearly, D’Antoni who has started Boris Diaw, Stoudemire and DLee at the 5 and who didn’t know how to use Shaq properly, will be OK w/ Turiaf/Amar’e/Anthony Randolph. ”

    Plus, the Knicks have Timofey “Don’t Call Me Timothy” Mozgov. Not sure if his Russian stats were posted here or not but they look like this:

    Reb/36: 9.1
    Pts/36: 14.2
    Blks/36: 1.9

    Unfortunately foul trouble limited him to 19 minutes/game, but I doubt D’Anotini would use him any more than that, even if he was the second coming of Patrick Ewing.

    Not sure why he wasn’t drafted, but some scout seem to think he’s worth three-year, $9 million, which pays him roughly as much as the #4 pick.

    And whether it’s him or his translator talking, he’s certainly saying the right things:

    “I really focused on the Knicks. And I did not focus on the Nets because the Nets would take longer to rebuild. I liked Mike D’Antoni’s system better than the Nets’.”

  46. Robert Silverman

    Again, agents spreading rumors to drum up interest in their clients. When we did sign someone (Mozgov), it came out of nowhere.

    Howard’s pretty toast at this point. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Knicks revisit the Chandler-Fernandez deal at some point. If Utah doesn’t match the Wesley Matthews deal, that’d put Rudy at 3 on the SG depth chart. They traded Martell Webster this offseason and let Travis Outlaw go, so they only have Nicolas Batum and the rookie Babbitt at SF.

  47. JK47

    Josh Howard: DO NOT WANT. This is exactly the type of player I don’t want on the team: the washed-up veteran who vampires minutes from the young guys. Here’s hoping we stay away from
    this guy.

  48. Ted Nelson

    The Felton signing wasn’t exactly kept quite…

    I’m not saying the Knicks are or aren’t going to sign Josh Howard. For 1 year $4 mill or something (if the Celtics are one of the bidders, I beleive they only have $2 mill to spend at the vet’s min), I don’t think it’s the worst idea in the world. There’s a lot of depth on the wing already, but also a lot of question marks. If the young guys don’t earn minutes, I don’t really want to suffer through D-League caliber players in the rotation. Howard would be another question mark to throw in the mix. I probably wouldn’t do it but I don’t really care if they sign him to a small one-year deal. Could at least generate some trade interest if he revives his career.

    If the Knicks prefer signing someone to holding onto their cap space going into the season, what other options are really out there? Matt Barnes (turned down the multi-year deal Q got reportedly), Nate (…), Livingston, Brewer, Craig Smith, James Jones, Keith Bogans… Some of those I’d prefer to Howard, but the better ones are probably looking for multi-year deals.

  49. DS

    I agree with JK47; we would like to see 1) Douglas 2) Chandler 3) Azubuilke 4) Walker 5) Gallo 6) possibly Fields share minutes at the SG position. That’s pretty crowded Why add a 30 year old to the mix? Why not develop your younger guys into capable leaders of this team and/or attractive trade bait when our big opportunity knocks?

  50. Frank O.

    Ted:
    Do you really think after the history between D’Antoni and Nate that Walsh would bring Nate back?
    Put aside what anyone thinks about well/poorly Nate performed as a Knick, he had D’Antoni in knots most every game.

  51. ess-dog

    Although frankly, Howard was pretty good in ’06-’08 and a fair amount better than Chandler in ’08-’09. And was doing well in WASH until the injury.
    Still, the overcrowd makes you wonder if another trade isn’t looming… I mean, not all these guys will make the rotation. I guess the rookies would be on the outside looking in (even though Fields is showing promise) but you can’t get minutes for ‘Buike, Walker, Gallo, Chandler, Douglas and now maybe Howard at the 2 and 3. Gallo starts at the 3. You’ve got to imagine solid minutes for Douglas at the one and 2. D’Antoni sounds like he LOVES Walker every time he discusses young talent, but he’s likely not ready to start.
    But if Chandler’s on his way out, for who? for what? A better true center? PG, for better or worse, has been addressed.
    So far:
    pg: Felton
    sg: ???Howard/Chandler/’Buike/Walker
    sf: Gallo
    pf: Randolph
    c: Amar’e
    bench: Turiaf, Chandler/’Buike/Walker, Douglas
    That’s 8 right there, 9 if you include Howard or one of Chandler/’Buike/Walker off the bench.
    I guess you can’t rely on ‘Buike coming back from injury (or Howard for that matter.)
    Plus, Tinafey could get a little time as a 4th big.

  52. BigBlueAL

    All this talk about who should get most of the minutes at SG for the Knicks to me is pretty simple, if Azubuike is healthy he should clearly get most of the minutes at SG.

  53. ess-dog

    Based on what BBA? His career 14.3 PER or his .090 career Win Share? He’s a nice shooter and from what I hear, a good defender on the wing, but is that better than what DWTDD could do at sg?

  54. Ted Nelson

    @62 DS

    I agree. Those players are also in the mix for the 3 spot, especially if D’Antoni hates Randolph and/or plays Gallo at the 4. I probably wouldn’t sign Howard, but there’s not any harm in taking a look. He’s not really a SG and maybe the Knicks have another trade lined up that’s got them interested in SF depth…

    @63 Frank O.

    No. I do not. That’s why I put an ellipse in parentheses after Nate’s name…

    @64 ess-dog

    Walker might end up on the outside looking in, too. There’s reason to be excited about him, but he’s a limited player who has a whole lot to prove.

    @65 & 66 BBA & ess-dog

    Are you looking at his 09-10 numbers, BBA? He only played in 9 games…

    Toney Douglas can play the 2, but you probably also want a bigger guy to split minutes… Between he and Azubuike/Walker/Chandler one can start and the other come off the bench. Toney is also going to have to play 1/2 his minutes or more at PG if Felton is a 30 mpg player.

  55. Robert Silverman

    Nice play so far in SL action from Landry Fields and Marcus Landry. If the Nix can sign a player out there named Marcus Fields, they’ve gotta do it. Just to see Clyde’s head explode

  56. ess-dog

    Damn! Landry Fields looks for real. Grabbing the rebound, dribbling, changing speeds, then right to the rack +1.

  57. Robert Silverman

    For some reason, Landry Fields gives the impression he’d be a guy who would be cast in a basketball movie more than an actual professional. Like Rick Fox. Not sure what that means

  58. steveoh

    @70 Fields just comes across as extremely composed, as if nothing on the court is gonna surprise him. I don’t know if that translates to the big time, but still, I’m really digging him.

    The rest? Not so much.

  59. BigBlueAL

    Azubuike had a very solid 2008-2009 season and was playing even better last season before the injury. His first 2 seasons in the league were decent too. He has the body of a real SG and is a career 40% 3pt shooter. Also I believe Hollinger mentioned that he is a very good finisher at the basket as well.

    Obviously the key is if he is healthy but to me he has proven he can be a pretty decent SG in the NBA, much more proven than Walker and Chandler to me isnt a good enough shooter to play SG but that is probably nitpicking. I have no problem with Chandler starting at SG but I think Azubuike is a better fit with the starting lineup. I love TD like everyone else but no way he can play SG because he is just way too small. In spurts with him and Felton in the backcourt will be fine but again no way he starts at SG.

  60. JK47

    We’re really going to need Randolph to step up. We will need his rebounding. Amar’e/Turiaf/Gallo is not a very strong front court in terms of rebounding.

  61. BigBlueAL

    What is Windhorst talking about the Knicks interested in doing a sign and trade for Shaq!?!?!?

  62. supernova

    Now that Minnesota has signed Ridnour, how does everyone feel about trying to get Sessions. He would be a great backup to Felton, has quickness, and runs the pick and roll well. Seems like a good fit for D’Antoni’s system. This would also give us some insurance should Felton go down or if he flops in his role for the Knicks.

    On the down side he would eat into TD’s minutes. Also, what would the T’Wolves want from us. How about a straight up swap of Sessions for Chandler?

  63. rohank

    I know player interviews during summer league probably mean diddly-squat, but I really liked what I heard from randolph and mozgov.

    After the Mozgov interview, Tina cervasio (spelling?) mentioned that we now have Russian, French, and Italian players on our roster. I remember a few years ago reading an article about international players in the NBA stating that the only 2 teams without an international player were the Heat and Knicks. FINALLY we’re cashing in on the international scene!

  64. jon abbey

    Sessions is signed through 2012-2013, I don’t think that’s happening.

    when will Kahn admit that Rubio will never come to Minnesota and trade him to a team where he will play?

  65. DS

    @76: I agree that Randolph speaks smoothly and thoughtfully for a professional athlete and has said the right things. I though the other two ex-Warriors spoke very well too. What did you hear from Mosgov?? He seems humble and all but he knows hardly any English.

    I guess anything seems smoother than “this fall, um, man this is tough. This fall I’ll be taking my talents to South Beach…it’s not about sharing the spotlight. It’s about each of us having our own spotlight.”

    Like you said, though: diddly-squat.

  66. Z

    I almost hate to contaminate this great send off to D-Lee by talking about it, but man– this pending work stoppage is really going to kill all of the interest in the league. As if one team suddenly monopolizing all the talent wasn’t alienating enough to fans, a lockout would really set these fools back. How can the league claim to have lost $370 million this season when the salary cap, based on actual revenue, went up? And after a week of insane spending, how do the owners argue that they are losing money? If you’re losing money, don’t promise to pay Rudy Gay $82 million before he even hits the open market. It’s a completely unsympathetic stance that the owners are taking. If they were serious about a lockout, they should have positioned themselves to actually sell it.

    End of rant. Now back to appreciating David Lee…

  67. supernova

    #77

    Based on what Kahn is saying he sounds like he will wait a good long time before he throws in the towel on Rubio. I agree with you though, that I doubt Rubio wants or ever will play for the T’Wolves.

  68. Brian Cronin

    The impending work stoppage hangs over everything like a scythe, Z, so I don’t think it’s ever completely out of whack to bring it up.

  69. dmull

    Excellent article Kevin. The amount of work that must have went into that must have been mentally draining, so just wanted to make sure to give kudos where deserved – hopefully it was worth it. I think the article hits the nail on the head as to what David Lee was, is and will be..and why Knicks fans are always looked at in disbelief by other fans when talking about how good he is. Unfortunately, while I have little doubt he will get his numbers playing for Golden State, I’m not sure it is the ideal situation for him. I hope MSG gives him a heros welcome whenever he returns, and I’m sure they will.

  70. Ted Nelson

    @77 Jon

    There was never much chance of Rubio coming to the NBA this offseason, no matter what team. His NBA opt-out is next offseason. Right now he’d have to fork over a lot of money out of his own pocket to come to the NBA. Next off-season he can come for free.

    Playing with Kevin Love and Wesley Johnson might not be the worst thing in the world. Ricky can hold out and play in the B-league his whole life, but the T-Wolves have a good amount of leverage in that if he ever wants to step up to the plate and challenge himself he has to go through them. Pau Gasol is by far the most popular basketball player in Spain. He’s in tons of ads. No one who plays in the Spanish league is in any big ads. Rubio will be eating millions and millions of dollars/euros if he decides to spend his whole career in Spain.

  71. Ted Nelson

    @72 BBA

    I agree that Azubuike makes a lot of sense as the Knicks starting SG and would also call him the favorite. The thing I disagree with is just that it’s a total no-brainer.

  72. rohank

    @76 – lol DS, I have other terms in my vocabulary to replace “diddly-squat”, but I remember someone mentioning once that this is a family website and their kid reads over their shoulder or something. haha.

    @79 – Z, the issue with interpreting the numbers is that the salary cap is based on revenue and revenue alone, whereas the owners are saying they lost $370 million NET. That means that the costs of producing that revenue were astronomical and pushed them into the red. This makes sense to me – almost every team has had special offers to try and sell tickets (and that’s just one small example).

  73. Z

    “Z, the issue with interpreting the numbers is that the salary cap is based on revenue and revenue alone, whereas the owners are saying they lost $370 million NET. That means that the costs of producing that revenue were astronomical and pushed them into the red. This makes sense to me – almost every team has had special offers to try and sell tickets (and that’s just one small example).”

    Look, if the owners of the Wolves, Clippers, Nets, Raptors, and Cavs all vote to lockout, then fine, I get it. But the Grizzlies, the Hawks, the Knicks, the Heat, the Pistons, and the Nuggets, among others, have no grounds to stand on. They offered ridiculous contracts, some to ridiculous players. If they are worried about money they should do the obvious thing: not commit billions of dollars to Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay, Amar’e, Lee, etc… If you can’t afford the guys, don’t hire them.

  74. Ted Nelson

    rohank,

    The question is why are teams throwing around such ridiculous contracts when they’re (supposedly) losing money? *If* the T-Wolves, for example (no idea about their financial situation), lost millions of dollars last season, why did they feel the need to give $4 mill a year to a guy who is a marginal rotation player at best? Winning can help drive revenue, but you can have someone who will help you win as much as or more than Darko for 1/2 the price. Z’s example of Rudy Gay is perhaps the best… above average player paid as if he were a mega-star. Same for Joe Johnson. Memphis and Atlanta are two organizations you always hear are having financial problems, yet they threw two of the summer’s worst contracts out there this off-season. A. I would say these organizations don’t really understand basketball and need better statistical analysts and B. They might not have a clue how to run a business either. The individual teams might have reasons to justify their excess spending (Memphis, for example, has a lot of money coming off the books soon and is not a draw for free agents… i.e. can’t necessarily use cap space well in free agency), but on the whole the owners need to control themselves.

    I agree with Z’s larger point that the owners are acting inconsistently by all going up to or above the salary cap and then crying that the salary cap is too high or whatever they’re crying about. No one is forcing them to spend up to the salary cap… that’s a (soft) maximum of what you can spend not a minimum of what you have to spend.
    And also his even larger point that a strike is going to alienate fans and hurt the league. Even the thought of an impending strike is a turn off for me, a diehard NBA fan… Can’t imagine how marginal fans view the news of a bunch of million and billionaires arguing over money in the middle of a recession/(hopefully)recovery.

    Accounting wise, you can also record things in such a way that it looks like you’re losing money when you’re not. I’m not implying that they’re doing anything illegal and I have never looked at a single NBA team’s books, but accounting isn’t that straight-forward. You can make reality look how you want it to.

  75. rohank

    Z and Ted,

    I agree that owners shouldn’t be using the argument “We need to change the CBA to protect us from ourselves”. If they’re the ones giving out the huge contracts and stand to lose money from it, then it’s their own fault.

    However, like you said, we’re in a recession/hopeful recovery, so I think it is important to change parts of the CBA to better reflect the economic times as well as hopefully produce a better business model.

    The only thing I was pointing out in my post is that you can’t point to the rise in the salary cap as evidence that the league isn’t losing money, because it’s based on revenue, not profits. That’s all.

  76. Ted Nelson

    rohank,

    Good points.

    I don’t know much about NBA economics but the question is really, why are costs increasing faster than revenues? Using your example, decreasing ticket prices through special offers *will* be reflected in revenue (less revenue than full ticket cost, if they’re giving things away to entice people to buy tickets and losing money on what they’re giving away they really have to rethink that strategy… just decrease the ticket price to it’s market value…). If your revenues are increasing, but your costs are increasing faster there’s a good chance you’re doing something wrong. You have limited control over revenue, but you have total control over costs.

  77. Owen

    Fantastic stuff, that is what I would have written, if I could write that well and I weren’t so devastated by events.

    It’s a sad commentary on our franchise that David Lee is one of the top ten players ever to take the floor as a Knick and
    A. So few fans realize it
    B. Most of his coaches and his management didn’t realize it.

    My hope is that in the acquistion of Morgov will give me an exciting new rooting interest. I find it promising that the man charged with guarding the paint for us next year has a name ominously similar (for our opponents I hope), to the arch villain in the Tolkien books, Morgoth. For years I have been pushing for the Knicks to acquire Smaug or one of the Balrogs currently playing over in Europe, maybe even a cave troll or an Oliphaunt. Hopefully he can fill the niche.

    Ok, someone had to attempt that pun, I did my best…

  78. carlhil2

    Listen, i loved D. Lee as much as the next man but, come on guys, he brought NOTHING to the table as far as playing D goes, who is he stopping, at his position, in the west?……………i mean, his stats will go down next season, he is a CAREER 13.0 pts, 9.6 rebounds and .36 blocks per game, gots to come back to reality, his last two seasons were contract years, lets see what he does in the west, PEACE!

  79. carlhil2

    Owen
    July 15, 2010 at 11:52 pm
    “Fantastic stuff, that is what I would have written, if I could write that well and I weren’t so devastated by events.

    It’s a sad commentary on our franchise that David Lee is one of the top ten players ever to take the floor as a Knick”…………………..STOP IT, are you for real? if that is the case, then Amar’e will go down in the top 3, PEACE!

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