Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Amid Noise, A Rooster Crows

There’s a lot to talk about with the Knicks these days. The Nate Robinson saga is in full swing, with the latest volley being the diminutive guard having his agent lobby for a trade. Of course this goes hand in hand with the Knicks current win streak, as lots of people will point out the team has gone 6-3 since D’Antoni exiled Nate to the canine abode. And if Nate is asking for a trade that means the number of rumors involving Tracy McGrady, Tyrus Thomas, and Anthony Randolph will also increase. You could add into this drama Eddy Curry’s status, as the former franchise savior sits behind Darko Milicic in terms of minutes played on the season (Curry 62, Darko 71). There are grumblings that Curry is unhappy with his lack of court time as well. Finally is the newly acquired Jonathan Bender, who is having a Rip Van Winkle style awakening.

But perhaps lost in all this is the improved play of Danilo Gallinari. The team grabbed Gallo with the 6th pick last year, and a back injury derailed his initial campaign. The Rooster was a one trick pony, hitting threes at an unbelievable rate. This season, Gallo seems to be taking the critical next step forward in his development.

Year  G  MP  FGA  FG% 3PA  3P% FTA  FT% ORB DRB TRB
2009 28 412 10.9 .448 6.3 .444 2.4 .963 1.1 3.7 4.8
2010 26 771 13.0 .432 8.2 .423 3.0 .785 0.9 4.8 5.7

Year AST STL BLK TOV  PF  PTS  TS%  PER
2009 1.3 1.2 0.3 1.3 4.2 14.9 .621 13.4
2010 1.7 1.2 1.0 1.6 2.5 17.0 .595 16.5

Although his primary asset is still the long ball (61% of all his points come from behind the arc), Gallo is showing a more well rounded game. He has improved his passing, scoring volume, free throw attempts, rebounding, fouls, and blocked shots. The latter stats are vital to Danilo’s growth. There was never any doubt that Gallinari could shot, but rather it was his athleticism that was under question. So to see Gallo contribute in these areas is a good sign. Some stats are more linked to physical ability, and it’s good to compare Gallinari’s to another young Knick known for his “explosiveness”.

   Player Year Age  G FTA ORB DRB TRB STL BLK  PF
 Chandler 2010  22 27 2.2 1.8 3.7 5.6 0.5 0.9 3.8
Gallinari 2010  21 26 3.0 0.9 4.8 5.7 1.2 1.0 2.5

Gallo has clear advantages in free throws attempted, steals, and fouls per minute. The first is a bit surprising considering how often Gallinari is camped behind the three point line. However he has shown the ability to get inside and either finish or draw contact. Gallo’s success could be the result of having a few different moves, as witnessed by his pump & scoop shot against the Bobcats on Sunday. The steals seem to be more the result of quick hands than playing the passing lanes. And Gallo’s height advantage allows him to commit less fouls. The interesting aspect of comparing Gallinari to Wilson Chandler is that the latter is thought of being a player that relies on his physical ability. But it’s clear that Gallo is more athletic than previously thought and/or Chandler isn’t producing has you’d expect from someone with his physique.

Looking back at the Knicks recent win streak, there’s been a lot of conjecture on if this was the result of Robinson’s banishment or Jeffries role as a defensive force. But perhaps it’s Gallinari’s emergence that has helped to put New York over the top. In the Knicks last 9 games, the Rooster has give New York 13 blocks and 13 steals, in addition to 2 double digit rebound games and 8 double digit scoring outputs. There’s an old basketball axiom that says your shot may not be there some games, but you can bring intensity on the defensive end every night. Perhaps a microcosm of Gallinari’s game could be seen in the final moments of the Bobcats game. Gallo was unable to hit free throws to ice the game, but he blocked a shot in the final second to preserve the victory.

141 comments on “Amid Noise, A Rooster Crows

  1. daaarn

    I admit I wasn’t too high on picking Gallo at the time [I didn't completely hate it either, but my feelings were definitely leaning negative], but he’s done alright this year. It’s still too early in his career [we still haven't seen him play one full season's worth of games since his rookie campaign got derailed], but if Gallo can be a solid starter for this team for years to come, then I would consider him a success. I don’t really expect him to ever be an All-Star, but if he can bump his stats to a consistent 16-18ppg and 5-7reb eventually, then I think he’ll be doing well.

  2. J Weezy

    when comparing stats, gallo’s second year(could even be considered his first) reminds me very much of dirk’s second year at both the same age. if trends continue i will be VERY happy that the knicks picked gallo and an all star selection will be sure to follow.

  3. d-mar

    “I don’t really expect him to ever be an All-Star, but if he can bump his stats to a consistent 16-18ppg and 5-7reb eventually, then I think he’ll be doing well.”

    I think that’s underselling Gallo. I’ve seen the comparison to Nowitski several times on this blog, and I think it’s a good one. Dirk struggled mightily his rookie year and got better and better each year, and when you watch him, it looks like he’s moving in slow motion (sort of like Gallo) but he can get his shot off against anyone and is a decent rebounder. I think if Gallo develops a back to the basket post-up move a la Dirk, the sky’s the limit.

  4. Nick C.

    Until, this streak Gallo and his development were really the only thing to cheer about. It’s kinda wierd b/c I though his shot seemed off lately, or at least no longer near automatic, but he does contribute in other ways which is nice. I notice less of him losing his man and leaving him wide open for 3. As for the WC comp at the risk of being un-PC its probably a Euro stereotype vs. a black player stereotype. Even there Gallo has some jams of his own that have gone uncommented whereas everyone of WCs seems to elicit an athletic comment from somewhere.

  5. JK47

    Gallinari simply has good feel for the game of basketball. The most pleasant surprise about him is that he hasn’t been a pushover on defense. He’s an anti-Isiah player– efficient, useful on offense even without the ball, good basketball IQ, defensively competent.

  6. Mike Kurylo Post author

    I definitely side on the Gallo being much more athletic than given credit for. Whether that perception is due to being white, European, a fantastic three point shooter, his bad-backed rookie season, or all of the above is hard to figure out. But he seems to be quick with good hops. And hence why I don’t see the Dirk comparison. Yes both young Euros that can shoot, but Dirk’s more of a plodding/skilled 7 footer (at least he is now – when he entered the league 7 footers were less fleet of foot) – Gallo is more of a quick/agile 6-10. I don’t recall watching Dirk and saying – wow that’s a pretty athletic play. But Gallo seems to have a few of those moments every game.

  7. Z

    I’ve missed most of the games since the 2nd Orlando defeat, but it seems from reading the game thread comments that it is Jeffries more than anyone who has stepped up their play. That and a more competent contribution from Duhon.

    Gallinari yesterday had 0 rebounds. And if he hadn’t gotten that block would have been the goat. Not sure if Gallos improved stats from last season are the main reason the Knicks are having success.

    But whatever the reason– I’ll take it!!

  8. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Gallo didn’t have a rebound yesterday. But he did score 21 points on 14 shots, had 0 turnovers, 2 steals, 1 assist, and 2 blocks. If Al Harrington played like that, we’d be calling him an All Star.

    Oh and for fun, the number of times Al Harrington has done that in his career: zero.

  9. JK47

    Gallo is ten million times better than Quentin Richardson, who played nearly 1900 minutes of godawful basketball for us last season, sixth highest on the team. Richardson had an eFG% of .483 last year while Gallo is humming along at a cool .565, even after a recent shooting slump. Gallo is getting the minutes and shots that went to Q last year, and the team is much better off as a result.

  10. SeeWhyDee77

    I would love for Rooster to gain 10lbs, get stronger and exclusively play at the 4-that’s where he’d be most potent. Regardless of whether he plays the 4 or the 3, this kid is gonna be GOOD. People like to compare him to Dirk, but I think he has a higher ceiling mainly b/c he’s aggressive on D. He may not be the rebounder Dirk is, but if he maxes out at 25ppg 7rpg 4apg, a steal and a block(all of which he’s very capable of doing)-i’ll take that in an instant. I think that finding a permanent position for him to play is key to who we sign in the offseason. If Coach sticks him at the 4, that damn near rules Bosh out, unless Bosh plays center-and thas a position I really don’t like him at. If Coach plays him at the 3, it would be interesting to see how a player like LBJ would use the floor (if we were to land him) with a wing like Rooster out there with him. I was resigned to the fact that Amare and Wade or Johnson would land in NY this offseason. Rooster’s play thus far has severely altered my thinking. If he sticks at the 4, we need a physical 5. So does that mean Lee is in play for a S&T in the offseason? I would like to be able to keep Lee as well, but if I had 2 choose between the 2 I’d pick Rooster all day. Also, Chandler and Rooster have proven to be quite the tandem here lately. So do we take advantage of Will’s improved play and move him for cap relief or a pick? We will definitely need a PG next season-this system is crud without a competent PG. The Rooster revelation has left us with a few more questions I believe. But he’s definitely a keeper, D’Antoni or not.

  11. Frank

    I don’t have access to Hahn’s articles anymore but apparently there has been some rumor of GSW wanting Gallinari in a trade for Anthony Randolph. Anyone a fan of that trade here? I say no– but Randolph is pretty tempting.

  12. BigBlueAL

    I dont want Gallo as a 4, he is perfect as a 3. He is a much better perimeter defender than I ever imagined, dont think he would be as good playing D in the post.

    He has looked alot more quicker and agile recently too, especially off the dribble he has such long, quick strides he is beating his man off the dribble and getting to the rim real quick.

  13. Brian Cronin

    Gallo is the only Knick who I would even vaguely label as “untouchable” (and even then, if he could net, say, Chris Paul, I’d trade him before the Hornets got finished saying Paul. “Chris Pau” “Deal!”).

    So no to Anthony Randolph.

  14. Brian Cronin

    On the previous thread, someone mentioned buying Curry out. I’d rather not, as buying him out guarantees that his contract stays on the books, as you cannot buy an option year, at least not overtly, and there is no way that the NBA would allow an under the table deal, as it would be too blatant, as there is no way Eddy Curry would ever turn down his option year with the way he has played.

    And amazingly enough, if the Knicks do manage to get a great player here next year (but only one), Curry’s expiring contract would then become quite valuable to pick up another piece, if they Knicks were in a position where they were good next year (of course, the most logical move would be to just let it expire and try to use that money to pick up another free agent in 2011, but there’s a chance that the Knicks might be in a position where they could make a run in 2010, so they might want to trade Curry for a good player earlier).

  15. Dan Panorama

    Randolph might end up being great, but Gallo looks awesome already and fits D’antoni’s coaching to a T. I say no to that deal.

    It’s been said before but Gallo and Lebron would be an absolutely deadly inside-out combination One nice thing about the 2010 and 2011 free agent mix is that Gallo pairs well with any superstar since he’d be so effective playing catch and shoot off their double teams. And since he can pass, he doesn’t gum up the offense for them either.

  16. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, Gallo strikes me as one of the most pass-heavy deadly shooter that I have ever seen.

    He is really committed to ball movement.

  17. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.,

    “But Ted, the Knicks defense is better. The Knicks have held teams to under 100 points seven games now.”

    Opponent’s points per game is a function of pace, opponent’s offensive efficiency, and your defensive efficiency. The Bulls, Bobcats, and Clippers are among the bottom 6 in the NBA in offensive efficiency and 24th, 25th, and 17th in pace. The Bobs and Bulls have scored over 100 points a combined 8 times in non-overtime games. The Nets are the worst offense in the NBA. They’ve only scored 100 points in a game where they weren’t blown out by 15 or more points once.The Blazers are the slowest team in the NBA and have only scored over 100 9 times despite being an above average offense. NO is the 19th offense and plays at the 18th fastest pace. They haven’t scored over 100 points during regulation in any of their past 11 games.

    “The Knicks are winning defensively.”

    To determine this you would have to look at the offensive and defensive efficiency for each game and compare it to the Knicks and their opponent in each game’s averages on both sides of the ball. I have not done this, so I cannot say. If you have not done this, you also shouldn’t jump to conclusions. I assume they are not winning defensively because while they’ve offensive efficiency has improved significantly relative to the rest of the league since Nate went down (from mid 20s to 18th) their defensive efficiency hasn’t really improved relative to the rest of the league… even during a stretch when they’ve played the 5 of their last 7 games against bottom 6 defenses.

    “Oh, and speaking of maturity…he sits several games, and instead of simply working his ass off in practice, he demands a trade.”

    You and I both have very little idea what he is and isn’t doing in practice. If it’s clear that he’s not going to get back into the rotation and he’s in a contract year and he’s a small player who tend to have shorter careers (making his 2nd contract relatively more important), why not request a trade? If the Knicks can get a player who will make their rotation and/or a pick, it’s good for them. If Nate can play (especially on a winner), it’s good for him. Nate cannot play within the system if he never gets a chance to play. I’m not saying to hand Nate minutes on a platter, but in both the Charlotte and Chicago losses the Knicks offense wasn’t getting it done and it could have been a great opportunity to let Nate have his chance to get back into grace.

    “The knicks are taller across the board and making key defensive stops. Gallo’s block was one of those moments.”

    Gallo and Nate do not play the same position. The Knicks could still throw out 4 guys 6-8 or taller with Nate if they felt like it. For all his defensive flaws Nate is quick enough to give quick PGs a lot more resistance than Duhon.

    “Nate needs to play within the system.”

    Up until Nate went down no one was playing within the system, or rather there was no system. Nate was hardly playing anyway and missed a chunk of games while the Knicks were still miserable… this is why I just don’t buy the correlation is causation line dished out by Abbey and others.

  18. Brian Cronin

    And yes, I, too, continue to see nothing in the way the Knicks have played since Nate has been benched to suggest that Nate’s absence had any noticeable impact on the team, besides the game in Chicago where his absence looked like it was a problem rather than an advantage (also a game against New Jersey where it looked like Nate would have been a better play in the second quarter). Unless, of course, you want to say Robinson’s absence has made Wilson Chandler start to take it to the hoop or has made Chris Duhon suddenly make shots he was missing in the beginning of the season (as you might imagine, my position is that he has nothing to do with either of those two things, with the former being smarter play on Chandler’s part/better coaching by D’Antoni and the latter being a reversion to the mean).

    By the by, someone noted somewhat recently that Douglas was better if you wanted instant offense from a bench guard than Robinson. I meant to reply at the time, and I apologize for failing to do so, but Robinson is far better suited for “instant offense” than Douglas – all Nate is is a bundle of energy off of the bench.

    What’s crazy is that I don’t even particularly like Nate Robinson and his game. But the way he has been thrown under the bus by his coach and the media has been quite disconcerting.

  19. Ted Nelson

    Love Gallo! Is it fair to say that he is the Knicks BEST young prospect since Ewing (in terms of production + promise)? Am I forgetting someone?

    His athleticism for his size was maybe his biggest strength in Europe, so I am not surprised that he’s athletic enough for the NBA. I am surprised by how good of a shooter he is (he hit 32% of his 3s in Euroleague). Same with Casspi, whose outside shot didn’t really come around in the Euroleague until his last season.

    As far as the recent good play, I think it can only be called a whole team effort. Pretty much every player’s had at least one bad game but they’ve all been playing a lot better than early in the season and their shots are falling.

    The big problem with Anthony Randolph is a reported lack of work ethic. That’s a big turnoff for me, having watched the underachieving slackers the Knicks have brought in over the past decade. Gallo’s back is also a risk factor, but you could stroll him out there in a wheelchair and watch him hit jumpers. If Randolph doesn’t work he’s not going to get better. GS has a reputation for being a pretty chaotic organization, but D’Antoni is also a hands-off coach.

  20. Ted Nelson

    “His athleticism for his size was maybe his biggest strength in Europe”

    I should probably say, “His basketball athleticism…”

  21. Brian Cronin

    Is it fair to say that he is the Knicks BEST young prospect since Ewing (in terms of production + promise)?

    I guess it’s all a matter of degree, but I think that Rod Strickland had a boatload of talent/promise, and he did end up having a long NBA career and made an All-NBA team once in his career, which is really hard to do.

    And Mark Jackson was an All-Star his second season in the NBA.

    But otherwise, yeah, basically Gallo is the best Knick prospect since Ewing.

  22. KnickFan4Life

    Brian said,

    “What’s crazy is that I don’t even particularly like Nate Robinson and his game. But the way he has been thrown under the bus by his coach and the media has been quite disconcerting.”

    I don’t feel like D’Antoni has thrown him under the bus. D’Antoni is the coach and therefore well within his right to play the rotation he wants to play, and while he has been short with his answers regarding Nate I wouldn’t say he has thrown him under the bus. The local media has always sort of looked at Nate like a sideshow clown, and let’s not forget he has had issues with previous coaches so I’m not surprised D’Antoni sort of got the benefit of the doubt from the press in regards to that.

    As for actually playing him, I could see D’Antoni giving both Hughes and Douglas preference over him since they are superior defenders and don’t need to control the ball as much to be effective. It’s been known D’Antoni likes to settle into an 8-9 man rotation and stick with so I’m actually more surprised at people who were shocked by this whole thing…

  23. jon abbey

    “What’s crazy is that I don’t even particularly like Nate Robinson and his game. But the way he has been thrown under the bus by his coach and the media has been quite disconcerting.”

    what’s crazy is that I actually do really like Nate and his game, certainly from an entertainment perspective, but the way that people have blown this up into a major issue as if he’s done anything in his career to prove that he definitively belongs in this rotation has been pretty hard to understand.

  24. cgreene

    1) Anyone who thinks the Knicks should trade Gallo for Anthony Randolph on this blog should reveal him/her self immediately for ridicule.

    2) We are spending too much time talking about the relative value of playing an average or below average player in Nate. Nate’s not that good and the one thing we can definitely say about him is he is difficult to coach based on all anecdotal evidence. “Having said that” (for all your Curb fans) D’Antoni is coming off as stubborn and there’s no reason not to go to him for short stints when the offense is struggling.

    3) I sat 2 seats away from Walsh last night and didnt have the stones to ask him anything. Seems like kind of a tough guy. Is that true, Mike? Going to my 3rd straight tomorrow. Fun.

  25. Brian Cronin

    I don’t feel like D’Antoni has thrown him under the bus.

    D’Antoni is throwing Nate under the bus by continuing to deny that Nate’s benching is due to a personality conflict between Nate and himself.

    By continuing to assert that Nate is not playing because he would hurt the Knicks’ chances of winning, without any truth to back said assertion up, that throws Nate under the bus.

    When he says he would play Satan if he thought it would help him win, right before the Knicks play a game where they absolutely could have used Nate (the Chicago game) and then he doesn’t play Nate, that throws Nate under the bus.

  26. Brian Cronin

    what’s crazy is that I actually do really like Nate and his game, certainly from an entertainment perspective, but the way that people have blown this up into a major issue as if he’s done anything in his career to prove that he definitively belongs in this rotation has been pretty hard to understand.

    The Knicks lost a game in Chicago where the rotation players were dead tired and missing shots like crazy, and one of their best offensive players was sitting on the bench because he “doesn’t help the team win.”

    It’s a major issue.

  27. Brian Cronin

    We are spending too much time talking about the relative value of playing an average or below average player in Nate. Nate’s not that good and the one thing we can definitely say about him is he is difficult to coach based on all anecdotal evidence. “Having said that” (for all your Curb fans) D’Antoni is coming off as stubborn and there’s no reason not to go to him for short stints when the offense is struggling.

    If D’Antoni would just cop to having a personal problem with Nate, then I would be less irked by it (I’d still be irked by it a little bit, for the times when I think Nate would be a clear help to the team, like the Chicago game, for instance, but otherwise, I don’t think Nate’s absence has much of an effect either way, so if he just said “I don’t like the guy and I won’t be playing him,” then whatever, it’s the assertion that Nate actively hurts the team that irks me the most), but, as you note, he’s too stubborn to admit it.

  28. KnickFan4Life

    Brian I still don’t see how that is throwing him under the bus. D’Antoni is an NBA coach and he is well within his rights to play what he feels are the best players and the ones who give him the best chance to win. It seems to be working so It’s hard to criticize him too much for it. D’Antoni like a lot of NBA coaches has his quirks or things he likes to do, and for him one is the whole 8-9 man rotation thing. A rotation, Nate is not a part of at the moment. Neither are Curry, Darko, Hill (a lottery pick), etc.

    Now the Chicago game was a game I definitely criticize D’Antoni for. He basically played 6 players that game and I was screaming at the tv for him to play Douglas at least. Douglas is a player who has played well (very well for a rookie) in limited minutes and plays sparingly.

  29. Brian Cronin

    Why would you criticize D’Antoni for the Chicago game, then? If he’s an NBA coach and it was well within his right to play who he thought would help give him the best chance to win, then why would you criticize him for not playing Douglas?

  30. Droidz1979

    Love Randolph’s upside and do hope that Knicks get him without losing Gallo and to some extent Lee and Chandler. Warriors is just such a dysfunctional team/organization although a tad less than that of Isiah i guess. Maybe with Walsh and D’Antoni around, such attitude problem could be corrected. Love to have Bender around too (if the knees hold up) as a veteran presence and with the low payroll.

  31. KnickFan4Life

    The Chicago game was bad coaching by D’Antoni. Players were clearly tired. The 8 man rotation works well because players really get used to playing with each other and it has clearly yieled some good results recently for D’Antoni and the Knicks but that night Knicks didn’t have Hughes. You can get by playing 8, heck probably even 7, depending on who you have on the bench but basically playing 6 guys was crazy…he basically played the starting 5 and Gallo as the only player who got significant minutes off the bench. Douglas who is part of the rotation only got 4 minutes…

  32. KnickFan4Life

    As long as D’antoni is here, I don’t see Knicks trading Gallo. So all this Randolph for Gallo talk is definite hogwash…

  33. greatscott

    The only thing that’s personal about Nate’s playing time are the folks who are claiming it is personal and now Robinson via his agent saying it is personal. It’s not personal. It’s just business. The Knicks have a five game win streak at home and 7 and 3 in the last ten games. It is unfortunate that Robinson and others tried to turn this into a personal issue because because Nate would have gotten back into the rotation eventually. God said ask and you shall receive. He didn’t say send out your agent to bitch and moan and you shall receive. Robinson had to do his part but he failed the test when he sent the agent after Coach D’Antoni. This is unfortunate for him.

  34. KnickFan4Life

    I think an underlying point that maybe I haven’t expressed very well is that I don’t think the Nate thing is personal. D’Antoni has his quirks and any good NBA coach worth a lick is stubborn and passionate about certain things. One of those things with D’Antoni is this whole 8 man rotation thing. Is him sitting Douglas, Hill, Darko, Curry, all personal?

  35. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I’d say Darko’s benching was personal, too.

    Not the other three, though (or Landry, for that matter).

    ETA: Actually, thinking back, while it certainly is a bit suspicious that as soon as Darko bitched about his erratic playing time, he was officially benched (and hasn’t played a minute since), it is true that he wasn’t getting a lot of playing time anyways, so I take it back about Darko. I’ll give the Coach a break there.

  36. Doug Chu

    I think we’re a lot safer assuming that Darko wasn’t getting playing time because he wasn’t good enough to crack the 8-9 man rotation. To get all “Who will console the widow Milicic?” is somewhat of a stretch.

  37. SeeWhyDee77

    As far as Darko goes..that benching is equally as puzzling as Nate’s. I am in no way saying Darko is a great player-but he is our best interior defender(which doesn’t say much). And when u give up as many points in the paint as we do, it frustrates me to see Darko rotting on the bench. I understand the concept of D’Antoni and his “chosen few” rotation, but it’s clear that he’s willing to give some things up in order to make his system work. Now, the Knicks have done well these past 10 games defensively-but how long can we depend on this type of defensive system (I call it soft defense) to keep teams under 100? U don’t do that consistently without interior defense. All the great ones, coaches and players alike, have egos to feed. But the truly great coaches utilize every weapon/asset they have properly ans well as get the most out of his players. That said, D’Antoni is getting the most out of his rotation, but I don’t think he’s using every weapon properly or enough. Overall however, Coach is doing a good job considering what he has to work with.

  38. BigBlueAL

    You guys dont think that benching Nate was a signal to the rest of the team to stop acting like jackasses and start taking the game seriously if you want to get your playing time??

    There was all this talk when they were 1-9 about the players complaining that the front office didnt give a shit about this season and their play showed that, so D’Antoni finally got fed up and started making examples of players and shortening his rotation to show that he does want to win and will only play the players he believes will give them a chance to win.

    That plus the fact he hates Nate…..

  39. SeeWhyDee77

    “But the truly great coaches utilize every weapon/asset they have properly ans well as get the most out of his players.”…typo there, I meant to say AS well as get the most out of his players

  40. BigBlueAL

    BTW, the Bulls were leading the Kings at home by 24 at the half, 19 after 3 quarters, and were outscored 33-10 in the 4th and lost to the Kings by 4. Hopefully they will still be shell-shocked when they go into the Garden tomorrow and the Knicks can kick their ass for the entire game this time and not just for 1 quarter.

  41. Ted Nelson

    I don’t understand why people are throwing Nate under the bus (to borrow that expression) because his agent sat down with Donnie Walsh. That’s what your agent does. Nate was one of the 2 best players on the team last season and now he is not playing at all. Whether it’s justified or not, that warrants an explanation. It’s pretty important for Nate and his agent to find out whether Nate has any chance of regaining a rotation spot this season, and if he doesn’t to look for a trade. Call him selfish all you want, but this is a business. Whether he plays or not is going to make millions of dollars difference for Nate and 10% of that for his agent. If David Lee were suddenly benched for Jordan Hill because his defense sucks I think he’d be handling this in a pretty similar way.

    His agent didn’t go to speak with Walsh until several games into the suspension. Nate has said the right things to the press and cheered his teammates in that time. I have no idea what’s happened in practice, but he may or may not have justified getting another shot in the rotation in practice. Nate did not go to the media and whine, bitch, complain or anything else… which is what a lot of prima donna athletes do.

    Whether you like him or not, think the benching is justified or not, etc. it is ridiculous to compare Nate to the Stephon Marbury’s and Chad Ochocinco’s of the world at this point. He’s been professional about this to date and he seems pretty lucid and in touch with reality. It’s fine to agree with D’Antoni and/or dislike Nate, but when people exaggerate the facts it throws the entire discussion out of whack. Brian and myself are not claiming Nate is an All-Star caliber player, so it would be nice not to have a similar distortion in the opposite direction thrown about so freely.

  42. Z-man

    Clearly it is “personal” but who cares? It would be stupid for D’Antoni to publicly state that, but it is clear as can be. The bottom line is, the coach is the one who’s job and reputation is on the line with every decision he makes. This blog has had very divergent opinions on the Nate issue, so D’Antoni cant please everyone. He has to go with whatever he is comfortable with and live or die with the consequences. Right now, he seems to be living large. The Chicago loss was tough, and I would have given Nate a chance in that game, but so what? At least the players (and fans) know what to expect every night, like it or not. Since the 1-9 debacle, D’Antoni has instilled something that has been lacking for years with this team–a consistent rotation and a team that is performing equal to or above expectations on both ends of the floor. If Nate’s cavalier attitude (no pun intended) grates on the coach and makes him lose his focus, then he has every right to not play him and not to explain it to anybody.

    I personally think that Nate’s self-image was badly distorted by too much of wrong kind of success, especially his slam-dunk contest fame. This is evident in the brazen way he reacted to the police when he was pulled over. I honestly believe he needs to be humbled, and if he isn’t humbled by what has happened lately, he never will be. He has lost himself millions of dollars so far, and may never recover that money if he doesn’t learn from this. So in the long run, D’Antoni may be doing him a favor.

  43. Z

    “You guys don’t think that benching Nate was a signal to the rest of the team to stop acting like jackasses…”

    It is true that Al Harrington hasn’t hung on the rim once since the Nate benching.

    Correlation = Causation?

  44. Ted Nelson

    Darko played pretty crappy when he was playing. Jeffries, Duhon, and Chandler also played like crap and got the benefit of the doubt. With consistent minutes they were able to get it turned around, Jeffries after several years sailing in the wrong direction. On the one hand, Darko may have helped the Knicks as a defensive center had D’Antoni choosen to go that direction, on the other hand, Darko was somewhat critical of the coach and the decision looks pretty justified. Darko has never been any good and was especially crap this season, so I was about 50/50 at best about whether he’d make the rotation in the first place.

    “Now, the Knicks have done well these past 10 games defensively-but how long can we depend on this type of defensive system (I call it soft defense) to keep teams under 100?”

    Their defensive system has largely been “a good offense is the best defense.” I beg you to read comment 19. Not only does how many points a team scores in a game mean a lot less than you are making it out to, but it’s pretty expected that all of those teams would score under 100 points on any given night.

  45. KnickFan4Life

    SeeWhyDee77, you are correct in that observation, I don’t think D’Antoni would risk the offense not running well for the sake of improving interior defense. I don’t know if D’Antoni is capable of playing with a true back to basket center, or a slow plodding type. Someone like a Marcus Camby would be an ideal fit, unfortunately there aren’t too many Marcus Camby’s.

  46. KnickFan4Life

    Let’s not forget Nate has also had issues with other coaches. Larry Brown and Zeke both benched him although not as long as D’Antoni has.

    I don’t think Nate is a bad guy, nor do I think anyone thinks that, but I do think he is immature.

  47. BigBlueAL

    Holy Shit apparently the Kings ended the game vs the Bulls on a 58-19 run to win the game by 4 pts. WOW.

  48. KnickFan4Life

    TEd I went back and read your previous post, 19. You make a lot of excellent points. I do agree that the evidence to say Knicks are better without Nate is subjective at best but I will say that just from watching the games the team does seem to play more focused more cohesively sans Nate. I think it’s somewhat similar to the effect the Giants got a few years back when Jeremy Schockey was hurt.

    I will say Nate was not playing good basketball this year, even before he was hurt. He was lighting up the scoreboard at times but he wasn’t doing much to help his teammates, nor was he doing much on the defensive end. Nate is a fantastic athlete (he played corner at a major college program) and should hypothetically be a much better defender than he has been but for whatever reason it has not translated on a consistent basis.

  49. Ted Nelson

    I don’t disagree that they are playing much better since the time Nate was benched. I just don’t know how much that has to do with Nate. That’s why correlation not necessarily implying causation keeps coming up.

    As Brian mentioned before it’s hard to see why Duhon can’t hit wide open shots just because Nate is in the rotation (not necessarily even on the court when he was missing a lot of those shots) or why Chandler has to jack up a bunch of 3PAs just because Nate is in the rotation or why Jared Jeffries spent 3 seasons looking like a D-Leaguer because of Nate. Or why they were 1-5 during the 6 game stretch where Nate was hurt earlier in the season.

    Nate had a rough start, but he picked it up. On the season his offensive stats are better than Duhon’s or Hughes’ (http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/NYK/2010.html). Hughes is clearly a better defender, but I’m really not sure Duhon is. This is not a clear cut indication of anything, but the Knicks have been a better defensive team in the minutes Nate played this season than the minutes he has not played. It at least means he wasn’t killing their defense.

  50. JK47

    There’s an awful lot of digital ink being spilled here over a 5’9″ reserve guard who generated virtually no interest from other teams as a restricted free agent last offseason. Nate has his merits and can be a pretty effective offensive player as we all know, but I just don’t see him as a huge difference maker. I’d rather see Douglas get the minutes because Douglas is potentially part of the future here. They’ve played a similar number of minutes and Douglas has been the slightly more effective player. Throw in Douglas’ willingness to play hard on defense, Nate’s ‘tude and Douglas’ five inch height advantage and I can see why Nate isn’t cracking the rotation.

    Now, it is true that Douglas hasn’t shown himself to be a great passer and has looked much more like a 2 than a 1, and that this team still needs a reliable backup point guard to give Duhon some occasional rest. You would think a reasonably passable backup PG wouldn’t be too hard to find. But as the backup SG, I’m fine with Douglas getting the nod.

  51. Doug Chu

    Any benefit of the doubt I had given Darko vanished when I read the article about his decision to leave the NBA next year.

    “I don’t give a [bleep] about the money,” Milicic said. “I just want to enjoy the basketball. I’d like to have the ball in my hands and have an offense run through me. I’m not just a defensive player.”

    If Darko expected that D’Antoni was going to try running the offense through him AND if he wasn’t willing to accept a role as a post defender, then let him go free to Europe.

  52. kaine

    1) The comparison for Gallo is Bird. I’m not saying he’s going to be an Hall of Famer…but his father played in the Bird era, was a huge fan, and clearly shaped his son’s game to mirror bird’s game.

    I digress, but I think that Magic or Bird are the best basketball model for a player. Winners,team players, pure basket IQ.
    instead we are stuck with generations that just try to emulate jordan: all they can see is “the Dunk” or “the Shot” for the highlight reel.

    2) The bench is the best ally for a coach.
    Mike is trying to build a unity of intent in the organization. if that means benching a Nate or a Darko (mr. “next year I’m going to europe”) that’s fine with me.
    I can take some loss in the process.

  53. rama

    Mike’s piece about Gallo is good, but the reality is that you could point to the significantly improved play of several players during the latest streak. Toward the beginning, we had Frag-Al playing efficient, high-volume bball (which I loved – Al puts out such positive energy and does seem to hustle at both ends). We had Larry moving to the front of the rotation and playing somewhat efficient ball and definitely improving the team defensively. We had Duhon reanimate from truly corpse-like play. Later in the streak we had Jeffries reemerge in the role he was brought on to play.

    So yes, Rooster’s much improved from last year’s aborted beginning, but that is only a small part of the generally improved play. It also seems to have a lot to do with improved health (as someone pointed out, he was known as remarkably athletic for a Big in Italy) – maybe he’s still shaking off the rust after back surgery.

    The correlation/causality argument is interesting. I can’t help but feel that D’Antoni did effectively use the benching of Nate to send a message – one that was apparently received by the team. The problem is that it seems to have been received by Nate as well; all visible evidence was that he remained committed to the team, and he kept his mouth shut and said all the right things. Yet he didn’t play, even when it was obvious they really needed his energy. (Or Toney Douglas’s, but that’s another story.) So Ted Nelson is on the money with his criticism, and I think Nate’s agent is completely justified in asking for a trade. Nate’s on a one-year deal and isn’t playing, after an off-season where he didn’t have any offers. You can’t argue with D’Antoni if it hasn’t cost the team wins — and other than the possible Chicago game, it hasn’t — and you can’t argue with Nate/Nate’s agent for not being happy about it.

  54. rama

    Anticipating greater usage of Toney Douglas — What Would Toney Douglas Do? — I’d like to start calling him W2D2. (The “t” is silent.)

  55. boe

    hi everyone
    i’m a knicks fan from italy. i’ve seen gallinari play a lot in the italian league and in the euroleague. i swear that the first time i saw him dribble the ball in practice (when he was just 17) i immediately thought he was going to be a great player. i’ve never seen anybody so young and so good, he was far better than other NBA players that played in italy at the same age like ginobili or bargnani.
    but i just wanted to tell you this: believe it or not, back in italy he was NOT a three point shooter (that’s right: he was NOT a three point shooter). anyone who saw him play before coming to NY could confirm that. he also looked much more athletic (maybe because in europe anybody could look athletic, or maybe because of the back injury).
    that’s why i think nobody can tell what kind of a player danilo is going to become. i personally agree with mike, he’s not going be a dirk-kind of guy, even if their stats look similar. But he also won’t become a stojakovic-type, a player that can only camp outside the 3point line and is awful on defense.
    my personal opinion we haven’t really seen yet who gallo really is, so we’ll just have to wait and see. my idea is that he doesn not resemble any other actual NBA player. the one player he really resembles, as somebody already said is larry bird.
    i’m not saying he’s larry bird. he will never become such an incredible champion. but right now i think somebody should give gallo a few bird’s tapes. then we’ll see wht happens

  56. Droidz1979

    Then again rooster could also fly so maybe the Bird comparison makes sense =) Anyway, his upside is definitely undeniable and its nice to know that New York finally has a player with such potential and lethal shooting…

  57. Sandy

    Going to my first and (probably) only game tonight at the garden against the bulls. I think we have a good opportunity to win this one. Have the games recently been sold out, or are there a lot of empty seats?

  58. KnickFan4Life

    “Any benefit of the doubt I had given Darko vanished when I read the article about his decision to leave the NBA next year.

    “I don’t give a [bleep] about the money,” Milicic said. “I just want to enjoy the basketball. I’d like to have the ball in my hands and have an offense run through me. I’m not just a defensive player.”

    If Darko expected that D’Antoni was going to try running the offense through him AND if he wasn’t willing to accept a role as a post defender, then let him go free to Europe. ”
    ———————————————
    Wow I didn’t know Darko had said that. I’ve always wondered if part of the problem with Darko was that he never accepted that his offensive game just doesn’t translate to the NBA. In Europe he could play more facing the basket but in the NBA he is too slow to be able to do it.

  59. Frank O.

    Ted:

    Look, your point is ridiculous. You obviously are a very bright guy, but either you’re too in the weeds or you simply are making an argument for argument sake.
    “Opponent’s points per game is a function of pace, opponent’s offensive efficiency, and your defensive efficiency. The Bulls, Bobcats, and Clippers are among the bottom 6 in the NBA in offensive efficiency and 24th, 25th, and 17th in pace. The Bobs and Bulls have scored over 100 points a combined 8 times in non-overtime games. The Nets are the worst offense in the NBA. They’ve only scored 100 points in a game where they weren’t blown out by 15 or more points once.The Blazers are the slowest team in the NBA and have only scored over 100 9 times despite being an above average offense. NO is the 19th offense and plays at the 18th fastest pace. They haven’t scored over 100 points during regulation in any of their past 11 games.”

    Whether the Knicks were playing weak teams or not, in the past several years it didn’t matter who the Knicks played, they rarely held anyone under 100 points, and more often than not they lost winnable games against bad teams. By any measure, this is improvement.
    I have not looked, because I suspect it would be a waste of time, but I feel fairly okay saying that the Knicks have not had seven games (eight out of 10) of holding the opponent under 100 for quite some time .
    I don’t care what kind of stats you show me on the performance of other teams. The key here is unlike in the past the Knicks are holding teams under 100 points in these past seven games, and they are winning as a result.
    The key has always been to at least play some defense because if you have decent firepower, you have a good chance of winning.
    This is how people can use perfectly factual stats and miss the point.

    “You and I both have very little idea what he is and isn’t doing in practice. If it’s clear that he’s not going to get back into the rotation and he’s in a contract year and he’s a small player who tend to have shorter careers (making his 2nd contract relatively more important), why not request a trade? If the Knicks can get a player who will make their rotation and/or a pick, it’s good for them. If Nate can play (especially on a winner), it’s good for him. Nate cannot play within the system if he never gets a chance to play. I’m not saying to hand Nate minutes on a platter, but in both the Charlotte and Chicago losses the Knicks offense wasn’t getting it done and it could have been a great opportunity to let Nate have his chance to get back into grace. “

    Arter nine games, the dude requested a trade…come one, Ted. Nine games. In real life, if someone quit that quickly, my kids would call him a cry baby…:)
    As for Nate and practice, we have nothing to judge Nate’s performance or effort right now because he is not playing in games. But the coach and GM are saying he isn’t conforming to the team’s system and clearly if he were outplaying people in practice within the system, he would be playing. If you have ever played a sport, you know that practice actually means a lot in determining who plays and who sits. Being a athletic freak doesn’t guarantee a slot. His antics mattered before because the Knicks needed something to bring people in to MSG. We all have hoped they would have more to offer over time.
    If you believe the coach and GM are giving Nate a fair shake, and I’m inclined to do so since they gave him twice the money they had to give him this year, well, then simple deduction is that in practices he’s still having issues functioning within the team concept.
    I feel like you are using stats to cast a fog, not to determine truth. We make subjective observations that are based on experience and deduction. I feel perfectly comfortable drawing the conclusion that Nate has difficulty functioning in the system. And we all have seen his on court play.
    “Gallo and Nate do not play the same position. The Knicks could still throw out 4 guys 6-8 or taller with Nate if they felt like it. For all his defensive flaws Nate is quick enough to give quick PGs a lot more resistance than Duhon. “

    I do not feel Nate is a more able defender than Duhon.
    And no Gallo and Nate do not play the same position, yet Nate’s minutes have been going to Jeffries, as D’Antoni said. And if Nate were playing Jeffries would get fewer minutes or at least some minutes from Gallo. Positions in basketball are not stovepipes. Taking 30 minutes a game from Nate means other key players get more minutes.
    One could make the argument that benching Nate and redistributing his 30 minutes per game or so, may be the most significant shift in the run. Nine games, which is the number of benched Nate games, at 30 per, means 270 minutes went to more defensively minded players, and, wait, OH, gee, the Knicks defense has been more stout during this run…or at least stout enough to defeat teams they should beat…something they have struggled to do in the past decade…
    Deduction.

    Now, if you broaden this run out to the entire season and include the 1-9 start, well yeah, their defense looks porous, and…well, they have a lot more losses….But if you throw that 1-9 start out, and I think there are plenty of people who see that start as anomalous for this team this year, the Knicks aren’t a bad team.
    There is a reason people who rank NBA teams put the Knicks in the top 15 in the league.

    But you can dash that argument by drawing even broader assessments…Like rolling in stats from the past two years. Then you’ll find the Knicks are among the worst defensive teams. Utterly horrible. And then you can continue to make the point that poor Nate is mistreated and the Knicks haven’t appreciably improved in any category or measure.

    By the way, when including the 1-9 start, the Knicks give up 106.3 points per game. Remove those first 10 games, and the Knicks are giving up only 101.8 pts per game. That means that with the first 10 games the Knicks defense in ppg is ranked 26th. But if you remove that first 10 games as anomalous, then they would be 22nd.
    Again, not a great team, but an improvement of 4.5 points per game will get you more wins, which is what we have seen.

    I wrote a long note because I did not have time to write a short one. But Jon Abbey probably hit the nail on the head: I like Nate and find him entertaining. But at some point entertaining isn’t enough, and Nate never made this a winning team.

    So I can only deduce that some of these arguments for Nate are purely emotions-based. This team stunk. They stink less now. No player is untouchable on a terrible team.
    Nate will figure it out or find a new home. No big.

  60. KnickFan4Life

    Sandy said,

    Going to my first and (probably) only game tonight at the garden against the bulls. I think we have a good opportunity to win this one. Have the games recently been sold out, or are there a lot of empty seats?”

    ————————————
    As far as I can tell not every game has sold out but they have been close at least. Don’t think I’ve heard of a lot of empty seats at any of the games.

  61. d-mar

    Sandy – as you know, the announced numbers never coincide with what you see when you’re at the Garden. But I was shocked that the Clippers game was a sellout, whether or not the people actually showed up. My last game was the Magic, and the Garden was as dead as I’ve ever heard it. I’ll be interested to hear whether there seems to be a little more buzz tonight given the Knicks recent good play.

    BBA – I read the accounts of that Bulls-Kings game, and it was the 2nd biggest comeback in NBA history (35 pts. down in the 3rd qtr.) And they did it at home in front of fans who booed them off of the court. If that isn’t the death knell for DelNegro, I don’t know what is. We need to put the final nail in his coffin tonight, this is one of those games that we have to win, no excuses.

  62. Mike Kurylo Post author

    “I sat 2 seats away from Walsh last night and didnt have the stones to ask him anything. Seems like kind of a tough guy. Is that true, Mike? Going to my 3rd straight tomorrow. Fun.”

    I obviously had a reason to approach Walsh and speak to him directly. From the 5 minutes I spent talking to him, I found him to be intelligent and that he liked to talk about basketball in general. Of course my relationship as a journalist would be different than that of a casual fan approaching. I’m sure he’s had years (decades) of reporters second guessing him, so that entered into our relationship as well.

    If I had to guess I would say he’s approachable, as long as you are cordial and positive, and perhaps stay away from a topic that would be controversial. In other words you wouldn’t go up to a religious person (priest, rabbi, imam, pastafarian pirate captain) and immediately question their religious beliefs, but rather tell them you enjoyed their service/meatballs. If you start off with a compliment and follow it with an intelligent question, or something interesting of note (“I like how D’Antoni is using Lee on the top of the key in the offense at times.”/”Boy Gallo is pretty athletic on the defensive end – did your scouts pick that out?”) my feeling is that you’ll have a nice little conversation.

  63. Frank O.

    “Hey Mr. Walsh, how might have shot selection affected the Knicks play over the past 10 games.”

    That question is the most intriguing to me…because aside from one game when the Knicks chucked 41 from 3 pt., it seems like they are trying to penetrate more recently. They still take a lot of perimeter shots, but it feels like Chandler, Duhon, Gallo, Lee and Harrington are going to the paint a little more often.
    Shot selection and shots made have a huge impact on defensive efficiency. Made shots mean fewer fast breaks and better defensive positioning in general. I’m not sure, but if the knicks are taking a few fewer shots, and those shots are of a higher quality, it could help the defense immensely.
    A team with a more efficient offense likely will have better defensive numbers…
    This is where D’Antoni’s decision to change the offense a bit to match his team has improved.
    Because, frankly, if your pace is high and you’re taking a lot of shots, and missing a lot of them, you just kill yourself. High pace works better when you have shooters that can hit the side of a barn. For the first part of the season the Knicks pave v. their shot selection and shooting percentage was killing their defense as well.

    By the way, I was looking at 82games.com and I was struck by something.
    First I was looking to see if the Knicks were better or worse with Nate on the court. His numbers showed the team better with him not playing (-5.3 on the court and -2.5 off).
    But then I looked at other players.
    Lee, who everyone is noting is having one of his best, most well-rounded seasons, based on these numbers isn’t helping the team. In fact, these numbers indicate that the Knicks are a -4.1 when he’s out there and -.7 when he’s on the bench.
    Harrington also has had a decent year by most of our standards, and yet the Knicks are worse with him on the court (-3.9 on and -1.7 on the bench).
    Hughes, Gallinari, and Jeffries among the players getting the most minutes, improve the team when they are on the court.
    Jeffries impact is significant. The guy who has virtually no offensive impact, shows that when he is playing the Knicks are +2.9 but when he’s on the bench, the Knicks are -7.7, which is HUGE.
    Conversely, when Chandler and Duhon are on the court, the Knicks are much, much worse. When Chandler is playing the Knicks are -6.1 and when he is benched the Knicks are +3. When Duhon is playing the Knicks are -4.1 and when he is benched they are -.7

    Some of this agrees with my eyeballs. Some of it takes into account the dismal start to the season.
    One thing is clear:
    Jeffries is the glue that holds the Knicks defense together. He is consumed always with guarding the opposing teams best scorer. He makes the Knicks perimeter defense and interior defense better when he is present there. We saw a game slip away suddenly recently when Jeffries fouled out. An argument can be made that his increase in minutes, which D’Antoni attributes in large part to Nate’s benching, has played an important role – if not the most important role – in the Knicks apparent improved play.
    On the other hand, Chandler’s egregious shot selection (which has improved recently) has truly killed the Knicks. He has been terrible from outside, and missed outside shots a) kill offensive flow and b)create great offensive opportunity for the opposition.
    Duhon also has killed the Knicks, and probably bears the most responsibility for the Knicks 1-9 start.

    I think Lee’s and Harrington’s, I think, are numbers we can throw out. Lee’s PER is 20.6 (and an excellent 60.3 TS%) and Harrington’s is 17.4 (a good TS% of 54.1). They were the offense and boards foundation for the team.

    Hope this all makes some sense.

  64. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.,

    Points per game is not the way to measure team defense. Defensive efficiency is. If we can’t agree on that (especially if you go so far as to call that ridiculous) then there is no point in having a discussion at all.

    Defensive efficiency IS a function of both pace and your opponent’s offense, as well as your defense. So you have to look at those two factors to comment on what kind of defense a team is playing.

  65. Ted Nelson

    That is the essence, the basic building block, of statistical analysis of the game of basketball, not using stats to cast a fog. You cannot analyze team basketball without considering offensive and defensive efficiency.

  66. Ricky_J

    “After nine games, the dude requested a trade…come one, Ted. Nine games. In real life, if someone quit that quickly, my kids would call him a cry baby…:)”

    Frank,

    While the benching has only been 9 games long, we’re 1/3 of the way through the season and more importantly, the window for trades is less than 2 months away. Relative to the length of the season, the timing of his request is acceptable and so is the manner in which it was approached: tactful and open minded.

    The fact is that trade requests are a part of this business but there are good and bad ways to handle them. Nate’s camp’s request falls into the former while, say, Stephen Jackson epitomizes the latter.

  67. Ted Nelson

    “Defensive efficiency IS a function of both pace and your opponent’s offense, as well as your defense.”

    I should say that PPG allowed is a function of pace, opponent’s offensive efficiency, and your defensive efficiency. Pace is not a factor in defensive efficiency, which is why you use it instead of PPG.

  68. Frank

    Frank O. – for once I have to disagree with you. As Ted says, you can’t separate the opponent from the result. For instance, if the Knicks played the local middle school’s team 10 times and held them to 10 PPG, would you consider them a better defensive team than you did before the game? It’s an extreme example but it seems obvious that if you’re playing a team that likes to take all 24 seconds on the clock (ie. the old Ewing-style Knicks) while at the same time you are slowing your own pace, then your gross defensive numbers will look better. Similarly, if you play a really crappy team, then you’ll look better too. See: NY Giants vs. Redskins last night.

    Now, if I knew how to use these various stat sites better, I assume we could track the Knicks’ offensive and defensive efficiencies in December vs. Nov/Oct, +/- Nate, etc. but I can’t seem to figure it out. certainly to the naked eye they are playing better defense. But again, the schedule has not been too tough during this stretch.

    About Nate — I have no problem at all with his agent asking for a trade– that is what they are paid to do. Nate is in a very important juncture in his career — not sure what the average career duration is for NBA players (Especially ones his size) but this next contract may potentially be his last, after which his earning potential for the REST OF HIS LIFE (ie. 60 years or so) would be drastically reduced. Seriously, he should want to make enough money the next several years to support him and his family for the rest of his life. Sure, he can get a regular job like the rest of us schmoes but this is his big chance. if he were to get back in the lineup and average 15 PPG, 5 assists, and in general show some value, his contract will be much greater. If he gets labeled a malcontent (which he has not been) and doesn’t get to show anything, there is no doubt that teams will low-ball him. So he signs another 1 year contract for 2 million or whatever — what if he gets injured and is out forever after that? I know – $2MM is a lot, but if Nate was playing as much and as well as he did last year and entered the FA market, he probably would get a GUARANTEED contract for more than Delonte West got (something like 4 years 16 MM?). I’d say it is his agent’s job to try and get him that 14 extra million dollars, even if it ruffles some feathers.

    I think his agent is doing his job. I think Nate is, at least in public, handling this the right way — “I want to play for the Knicks for the rest of my career, but if I’m not going to play, then I would be open to leaving”. He’s not creating a stink — you don’t see him tweeting discontent, giving interviews trashing the coach and front office. D’Antoni, for his part, is doing his job also. It’s just unfortunate for Nate that it has played out this way.

    One thing about D’Antoni though — clearly his doghouse is a deep and dark place with very few exits. Marbury fell in and disappeared forever. Darko may as well have fallen into a black hole. Being a Nate fan, I hope that does not happen to him. He’s no psycho-Marbury, has great fan support, is really a pretty good player — seems like he deserves better.

  69. Ted Nelson

    I am honestly tired of the whole Nate issue. I’ve gotten all my points out there and expressed my opinions. Mostly opinions and not facts, so anyone who has reasonable, fact/logic-based objections… I have no problem with that.

    Here are some of my main points:

    -I do have a problem with calling him a whiner. If your boss told you that you no longer need to perform your job and implied that you would be fired in a few months and you did not ask why or start looking for a new job, what would your kids call you then? I would call you an idiot (unless you have the financial means to retire or take a break). The Knicks are Nate’s employer, not his family. Still, if he whined to the media or sat on the bench with a towel over his head, then I would call him a whiner.
    Another Knick, Al Harrington, made what I would consider a far less appropriate trade DEMAND last season. He played like crap for GS early in the season and forcibly removed himself from the situation (not that PER is everything, but his PER was 8.8 in 5 games with GSW and 16.4 with NYK). That is a bad sport, that is a whiner.
    Nate is not playing. It makes sense for the Knicks to trade him if they’re not going to play him: it’s mutually beneficial. I don’t think Walsh had to wait for Nate’s agent to speak to him to consider trading him. He’s not very easy to trade since he’s a BYC player and the Knicks are unwilling to take on anything but expiring contracts. Maybe to OKC for a future pick. The demand for him is limited for 4 reasons, in my opinion: he’s a 5-7 guard with attitude issues, he’s a FA, the Knicks have no leverage since he’s rotting on their bench, and a lot of teams simply could not come up with a trade offer that meets both the BYC AND nothing but expiring contracts/future picks criteria for a trade.

    -Nate does not kill the Knicks defense, which is completely mediocre with or without him. In fact, he’s possibly helped it in the D’Antoni era because Duhon doesn’t have to guard quick PGs, who kill him (this bares out both visually and statistically in his opponent’s PER #s). The Knicks are 0.5 pts/100 possessions better defensively this season with Nate on the court, so it’s hard to say that they are replacing him with stouter defenders.
    My contention is that they are a mediocre defense and they are winning mostly on offense. I don’t have any break down of the defensive and offensive efficiency by game/stretch, let alone all 4 factors on each side of the ball so I can’t say for sure.

    -Nate is one of the best individual offensive players on the team. Therefore, it stands to reason that there is some way in which he could help the team win games.

    -Correlation does not equal causation. This is the biggest, and most frustrating, one. You cannot conclude simply because the Knicks are playing better SINCE Nate was benched that they are playing better BECAUSE Nate was benched. This is not a logical argument. To give the most obvious example, it’s hard to see why Duhon couldn’t hit wide open 3s at a rate above 20% simply because Nate was in the rotation.

    -I really prefer not to speculate too much into what’s going on behind closed doors, because I have no idea. Commenting on it is pure speculation. However, I do feel like I have to offer alternative possibilities since so many people are jumping to conclusions about what’s going on. Maybe Nate is completely HATED by all of his coaches and teammates and just has an absolutely atrocious attitude, I have no idea. If this is the case, isn’t it in everyone’s best interest to trade him?

  70. Ted Nelson

    “I do have a problem with calling him a whiner.”

    In this context, that it. I think in part he is being called a whiner because he is a whiner on the court… to the refs. Plus his diminutive stature and youthful exuberance imply an immature kid who whines. If this were another player who had approached this same situation in this same way, I don’t think he’d be labeled a whiner so quickly.

  71. Ted Nelson

    In regards to your point about the Knicks atrocious defense in their first 10 games, Frank O., Nate Robinson missed 6 of the Knicks first 10 games. This is why I do not think benching Nate is all that big a cause of the Knicks recent play, at least not directly (maybe psychologically, but I have no way of knowing).

  72. Frank

    One thing about D’Antoni – I worry sometimes that players around the league see what goes on, and that FA’s may balk at the idea of playing for a coach who seems to develop vendettas that may not be based on on-court issues and then bury those players on the bench. Marbury can be understood since he was a psycho anyway, and Darko is irrelevant. But I get the feeling that Nate is well-liked around the league as everyone little brother.

  73. Brian Cronin

    I don’t think it’s a major issue, Frank, because D’Antoni only gives this treatment to marginal players, and the star players know this. Perhaps it would affect some vet who would consider joining the Knicks if the Knicks do pick up a major free agent (the way Eddie House joined the Celtics once they got KG and Ray Allen), but those vets don’t have a ton of options anyways, so I don’t think it’s a major factor.

    It also doesn’t hurt that the media completely backs D’Antoni’s every move, so if Lebron (or whoever) is listening to the media, it is “Knicks bench bratty Nate, improve team greatly.”

  74. Frank O.

    First, I could have expressed myself better than calling your point ridiculous, Ted. Please accept my apologies there.
    I don’t think defensive efficiency is a fair stat at this point of the season because I could not find a way to isolate out the first 10 games, which I believed were anomalous.
    I accept your point on points per game as a measure of defensive performance. I agree it is not good enough.
    But can anyone find me a way to look at this season without the first 10 games, or month by month, using defensive efficiency?

    My point about the schedule and the better play was mainly that in the past the Knicks weren’t winning winnable games against subpar teams. Now, they appear to be doing that fairly well, and I felt that the “holding teams under 100 points” measure was a fairly safe thing to notice. It seems to be a commonly used measure of team defenses.

    Perhaps the Knicks aren’t playing better BECAUSE of Nate’s absence, I can grant you that. But Nate’s absence caused D’Antoni to alot Jeffries more time. And I believe, and 82games.com backs me on this, Jeffries being on the court has a significant positive impact on the Knicks performance.

    As for Nate’s trade request, and I don’t believe his agent is freelancing on this, it doesn’t help his case. You may be right that he may feel he doesn’t stand a chance of getting in the game. Maybe that is a valid concern on his part.
    Count me as someone who doesn’t cry rivers for multi-millionaires. Nate just got a $4 million pay day, when the Knicks could have paid him just over $2 million. I would think if his future earning power were important to him the best way to remedy that problem would be to learn the coaches system, play within it, and fight his way into the starting lineup. Nate is an explosive scorer. Why can he not be effective in a system that is made for scorers?
    We have seen people land big contracts after having a good playoff series. James comes to mind.
    If Nate gets with it, he’s got two thirds of a season to figure it out. In that time, he could get back into the rotation and average 15 pts, 5 assists and 3-4 rpg, and walk into future prosperity.
    Instead, he has introduced an option that doesn’t seem practical for his team, and causes disruption to it. The Knicks can only get just over $2 million for him. They only want expiring deals back because they don’t want to affect the cap in 2010…and Nate could still be a valuable player should a) he get with the program or b) one of their other guards go down.
    I think is agent gave him bad advice.

  75. totti

    I red a post by another italian, Boe. He is completely right. Gallo was not known for being a 3pt shooter in italy. I’m very surprised to find him at the top of nba 3pt shooters list. It is true that in europe the game is completely different because of different rules which the most important is the defensive 3 seconds. This makes offense a lot easier in nba and defense more as a team work in europe. As consequence coming here and try to defend one on one when your man has unlimited spaces to run can be a nightmare for an euro guy. The contrary works too: tyreke would not drive at will in europe, exactly how he could not do in college. As for Gallo, i think it is all a matter of health, i think that he is completely healed but not yet recovered at 100%. For sure the main aspect of his game in europe was: drives, assists, playmaking and intangibles. May God save all the other teams from a fully recovered Gallo.

  76. Frank O.

    “In regards to your point about the Knicks atrocious defense in their first 10 games, Frank O., Nate Robinson missed 6 of the Knicks first 10 games. This is why I do not think benching Nate is all that big a cause of the Knicks recent play, at least not directly (maybe psychologically, but I have no way of knowing).”
    You may be right.
    But Nate’s absence and his minutes were directly benefiting other guards. I went back and looked it up. In the games Nate was out, Jeffries minutes, for the majority of the time, remained in the 16 or 18 minute range, while Duhon, Hughes and Douglas each saw a decent bump in minutes.
    It’s also noteworthy that guards were killing the Knicks in 6 of the 10 early games. Game 1 Wade. Game 2, Felton, Game 3, Iguodala and Williams, Game 4, Paul, Game 8, Jennings, Game 10, Bibby and Johnson.
    In the case of his benching nine games ago, D’Antoni said directly that Nate’s absence gave more minutes to Jeffries.

    As I said in my previous note, you may be right that Nate’s absence isn’t the direct cause of this mini-surge, it was the cause of Jeffries getting more playing time. And Jeffries’ impact on the Knicks does appear to have some statistical validity.

  77. KnickFan4Life

    Ted, Nate is quick but honestly it has rarely translated to good defense. He lacks the focus needed to be a good defender. I’ve seen a lot of times and not just this year where Nate is still celebrating some shot he made and does not come back on the defensive end focused. I do agree Duhon is a mediocre defender but he at least attempts to defend, I don’t always feel that with Nate out there. Since you can’t use the quickness excuse for his defense the only other one is that he lacks focus and the commitment to defend. I don’t feel Nate is a bad guy but sometimes you wear out your welcome with a team and a change of scenery is called for. For whatever reasons, team chemistry, etc. I think Nate’s expiration time has arrived. This will be my last post on Nate because I really feel the issue has been beaten to death.

  78. Frank

    Frank O –
    I’m not crying a river for Nate and his money situation either, but the fact is, this is a critical time in his life, and it is not helping him (in his and his agent’s mind at least) to sit on the bench and watch his value and relevance plummet. Obviously 99.9% of us would love to be in his situation, making $4MM for sitting around with still the opportunity to make more — but that doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t want to maximize his earning potential. I’m sure when you ask for a raise at your job and you get denied, there are plenty of people who have no sympathy for you also. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it or shouldn’t ask for it if you are doing a good job.

    The fact that Donnie is even considering the option of buyout seems to be an indication of how irreparably harmed this coach-player relationship is. Given that the Knicks are fighting for a playoff spot and that Nate could eventually be useful, I can’t imagine giving away a player for nothing. Unless, of course, you know that he’s never going to play again because he is in the D’Antoni black hole doghouse. I know this is all speculation, but it is possible that Nate and his agent know this too, and want to get him into a better situation asap before his value completely disappears. They’ve already seen this play out once with Marbury, whose career was effectively destroyed by what went on in that 12 month period. I can easily create a narrative by which Nate thinks: “Sure Marbury is crazy, but he DID come into camp in great shape, DID play within the system during the preseason, WAS told that he was going to play, and then was buried on the bench with no explanation, languished on the bench without any clear end in sight, embarrassed publicly, released at the last moment possible so he couldn’t develop any chemistry with a new team, and now is out of the league. Hmmm… I’m a little crazy too…sure, I shot the ball at my own basket, but it didn’t count, and I’m way better than Chris Duhon and Toney Douglas — even the stat guys at Knickerblogger.com say so. I WAS told when I signed a 1-year deal that I was an important part of the team, and now I’m buried on the bench without a clear explanation with no end in sight. 2+2 = …Hmmmm….hey, wait a minute…”. And I really wouldn’t blame him for thinking that way.

    (I don’t think the lack of offers for Nate in the offseason means much by the way — he was a restricted FA which is a tough thing to overcome – not even DLee got any offers. Plus, no one wants to give up cap space in 2010.)

    Clearly, the best outcome would be for Nate to work his butt off in practice and basically force D’Antoni to play him or lose the team. Trouble is — the team is winning now so D’Antoni is (justifiably) protected from any backlash.

    The worst outcome would be for us to buy him out, Cleveland to sign him, Lebron to love him (he already does), and the Cavs win the championship, and they both resign with the Cavs. This outcome is not so far-fetched, unfortunately.

  79. Brian Cronin

    At the beginning of the month, the Knicks were ranked 26th in defensive efficiency.

    Today’s rank?

    25th.

  80. Brian Cronin

    By the by, I love the term “black hole doghouse.”

    That’s a great line (and an accurate one).

  81. totti

    As for Darko: do you really think that he will be an above the average player in Europe? No way, imo he will be even worst that in nba, if possible. Darko is simply not good.

  82. Brian Cronin

    And thanks, Frank O., for finding that stat page! I know folks recently were looking for a way to track defensive efficiency, so thanks for finding a place where you can do it.

  83. Frank O.

    Frank:
    I’m crushed that you don’t agree. We were on such a run. The honeymoon is over…:)

    Actually, I see your point. I just think nine games is too quick. It seems like mid season is the time to retrench not after game 27.

    I was the guy who lobbied here to give Nate a shot at point, which was received with little or no support. I think Duhon is a real weakness, but he is a better defender than Nate and he does not need (nor should he try, given his history) to shoot often, as Nate does.
    On the other hand, Hughes, when healthy, was very effective. Some say he was playing over his head, but D’Antoni rode the hotter hand.
    One also could argue that Nate was hurt by team dynamics.
    Jeffries getting more minutes probably meant Chandler was getting more time at the 2 when Hughes was out.
    Another thing that worked against him, it seems, is that D’Antoni has made a conscious decision to get guys in the rotation who play defense, or at least on this team of poor defenders, he needed to play the best of the lot.

  84. KnickFan4Life

    Totti Darko has had success in FIBA games, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be effective in the Euroleagues.

  85. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.,

    I wasn’t really offended by the ridiculous comment, but thanks for the apology.

    I also don’t know where you can find splits of off/def efficiency numbers, short of calculating them. And I agree that the first 10 games were not the norm for the Knicks. I haven’t followed the progression on B-R.com TOO closely, but I believe they were hovering around 25th in the NBA in def eff when Nate was benched. They are 23rd now, so relative to the rest of the league they haven’t improved much. At one point their offense was 27th or something, and now it’s 18th. This progression relative to the rest of the league is why I assume this stretch of strong play and winning basketball is due more to offense than defense. Definitely not precise.

    “It seems to be a commonly used measure of team defenses.”

    Definitely common, but incorrect nonetheless. The kind of thing that leads the Charles Barkley’s of the world to decide the Rockets are the worst team in the West (worse than Minnesota…) because they don’t have a guy who scores 20 ppg or anyone over 6-9 (besides David Andersen… who plays like he’s 6-5).

    I haven’t looked back at the past few years for comparable stretches, but it’s not like they never won any games.

    An interesting thing about Jeffries is that even though he looks like a D-Leaguer a lot of the time, his +/- is often pretty good. A lot of people thought that was an aberration earlier in his Knicks’ tenure, but it may be because he defends, plays smart (besides the TOs, which I think are more ability related… the guy is just goofy), and doesn’t force (or take, basically) shots.
    Jeffries has been a D’Antoni favorite since day 1 last season. He played 36 and 28 minutes the first 2 games of this season (when Nate was in the rotation still), then was apparently demoted. The timing of his resurgence and Nate’s benching do coincide. But his resurgence also coincides with the whole team’s resurgence and his strong (and rising lately) +/- could be partially due to playing more minutes when the team is hot and less minutes when the team was not.
    I don’t dislike the rotation without Nate in it anymore, but I just still think he could help or at least hold the performance in line with what other guys in the rotation are doing.

    I don’t think his agent is “freelancing.” His job is an an advisor to Nate, his lawyer in negotiations with the team. I would assume (no idea, really, just a guess) that their relationship is a two-way street where the agent is not going to do something Nate specifically tells him not to, but where the agent also has strong opinions and a large ego (stereotyping there).

    A few things that you are speculating about/assuming.
    1. That Nate couldn’t have gotten, say, $3 or 4 mill from some other team. The Knicks obviously would have matched, but if the Knicks insisted on low-balling him with a $2 mill offer until the start of training camp some team might have just taken the chance and signed him to a $4 mill offer sheet.
    2. That Nate is not doing everything he possibly can to learn D’Antoni’s system and fit into it. We cannot see practice or their personal interaction. In season practices may not be the best chance to showcase that you get the system or to change the coach’s mind about his rotation.
    3. Nate has a chance to get back in the rotation, short of an injury. D’Antoni seems pretty set on his rotation and they are winning. Even with Hughes injured he did not look to expand the rotation. D’Antoni and Walsh are both saying that Nate could theoretically get back into the rotation, but what else can they say? “No! Nate Robinson will never play, but we are total assholes so we’re just going to hold onto him, ruining his FA payday, in case Duhon AND Hughes both get hurt!” That’s really not an option. These are two straight-laced professionals who have said exactly what you would expect an NBA coach/President to say since getting here. I assume that he can theoretically get back into the rotation, but Nate AND his agent (one of the bigger names in that business, whatever that’s worth) may either feel like it’s a real long-shot or have picked something up from their interaction with Walshtoni to feel like it’s unlikely.

    “I think is agent gave him bad advice.”
    Trade requests are pretty common these days. It makes a lot of sense for the agent to at least ask Walsh whether there is any trade interest in Nate or whether the Knicks would even consider trading Nate. Know what the options are. Tell him Nate would not block a trade (which he has the right to do) if he’s not going to play in NY anyway. That actually gives Donnie MORE leverage in trade talks because he can assure teams Nate is fine with being traded.
    The Knicks actually can’t take back $2 mill for Nate from any team that’s over the cap (the most the Knicks can get for him is something like $2.6 mill and a capped-out team giving up that would not be able to bring back Robinson). I believe they need a team with cap room or a more complex deal.
    Certainly a deal involving Jeffries or Curry may be in the Knicks best interest and on the agenda already. Getting rid of Chandler’s contract and getting a decent return may also be in their best interest (free $2 mill in 2010 cap space and maybe bring back 2 future 1sts for WC/Nate? Not ridiculous to consider). Even getting rid of Hill’s contract may be in their best interest depending on how they feel about him. OKC is a somewhat logical trade partner, but if they are actually interested they know few other teams can come up with an offer. They’ve got the cap space to just bring in Nate straight-up, so why offer anything more than a future 2nd or even a conditional future 2nd unless they absolutely love Nate? If you’re Walsh, is a future 2nd really more valuable than your insurance policy should Hughes and Duhon go down (a definite realistic possibility)? Who else are you going to sign, Joe Crawford? Dan Dickau?
    Trading Nate would be tough, but it’s not clear his agent made any assertive demand (seems Nate’s been trying to clear that up) and it’s certainly possible that he could be traded. His agent may have spoken with Walsh in order to advise Nate, or maybe D’Antoni will not talk to Nate in any more specific terms than the same if you help the team win/if you buy into the system stuff he’s giving the media. On the other hand, maybe the agent knows Nate is a ticking time bomb and wants to diffuse him. Whatever the real situation, talking to management on behalf of his clients is part of the agent’s job.

  86. Ted Nelson

    “I found that the knicks are 11th overall in defense efficiency over the past three games…according to http://www.teamrankings.com/nba/stat/defensive-efficiency

    Great resource. You also have to consider the expected def eff for each of those teams based on their opponents. You have to consider that Chicago, Charlotte, and LAC are all in the bottom 6 in offensive efficiency. All else equal you would expect the average NBA defense to rank in the top 6 over that 3 game stretch.

  87. totti

    He is not athletic, he cannot shoot. Imo He is a donkey and i really don’t understand why knicks fans regret about his benching.
    Another difference between nba and euroleagues is obviously all the fantastics players you can find in any nba team. And look, if fiba competitions had to held with your rules, well, it will be a massacre every game, wow.
    As for Nate, i retain myself from judgement because i understand that you, as knicks fans, simply love him.
    As for me i’m a Gallo ans Mike fan which means a knicks fan. At the moment.

  88. Ted Nelson

    “D’Antoni has made a conscious decision to get guys in the rotation who play defense, or at least on this team of poor defenders, he needed to play the best of the lot.”

    This may be true, but it’s a questionable long-term strategy. This is part of the reason I harp so much on the Knicks defense apparently not improving that much. D’Antoni MAY (I am positing) not even know what is going on with his own team because he lacks any knowledge of statistical analysis (outside of the +/- stats they apparently use, but we all know +/- is pretty tricky to read in the first place).

    If it’s the case, D’Antoni is hardly alone among NBA people with little grasp of statistical analysis. It’s just frustrating to see… a lot like Chuck Barkley getting paid 6 or 7 figures to tell me that the Rockets are the worst team in the West based, presumably, on his enormous gut. The inefficiency of a multi-billion dollar company/collective/industry like NBA basketball is soooooo frustrating to me. If you spend $100 mill in payroll and you get the tax payers to build you ridiculously expensive stadiums, at least have the decency to use all relevant tools to do your job. Ignoring statistical analysis is like a plumber showing up to work with half a toolbox. It does give a tremendous advantage to the Houston Rockets of the world.

  89. Ted Nelson

    totti,

    I don’t think Darko will go to Europe and be a mega-star, but I think if his head’s in it he’s a rotation player on one of the elite European teams (Barca, Tau/Cara Laboral, CSKA, Olympiacos, Panathinaikos, Real, etc.). You are right that he can’t shoot and is not overly athletic, but I think he does enough to help even an elite team but certainly a more average European team. He hasn’t been miserable in the NBA, just not good. I agree that his benching is not regrettable.

  90. Ted Nelson

    In part I think that about Darko because he’s 7 foot. Were he, say, 6-7, I would say he’s unlikely to succeed in Europe in any way. Bigmen are scarce, though, and I think the talent gap between NBA and Europe is much larger for bigs than guards or wings. Middle-of-the-road and worse NBA guards and wings are very often no better than the better guards/wings in Europe. If you’re 7 feet, not totally and completely unathletic, show up to practice, know the game, and can get up the court you’re going to find a job playing professional basketball somewhere in the world. Darko’s 24 (I think 24) and decent, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him playing on a Euroleague team next season and doing ok. Not necessarily a real difference maker, but a defender/rebounder whose offensive game maybe even develops a little eventually.

  91. totti

    Good point Ted. Sometimes expectations can kill.
    As for Nate, i would like to add that it is hard not to love him. He is a “personnage”!

  92. StevenU

    This is my first comment here after visiting several times. I absolutely LOVE this site; great job. Finally, a forum with mostly intelligent fans who seem to watch the games and voice opinions of their own rather than simply regurgitating what they’ve read in the local papers. Hallelujah! It has been a very tough couple of years for the serious fans among us (serious defined as the ones that feel utterly compelled to watch every game, and every roster move and read and talk about them).
    Gallinari can flat out play and I absolutely believe he has been racially stereotyped; he is reasonably athletic and an emerging star. he is the best pure shooter since Allan Houston. he has a little mean streak, too, and I can not wait for his first good hard foul (then again I can’t wait for David Lee’s either and how many years has he been here with people swooning allover him for his exaggerated uptempo stats). I can not stand Damphony, and I am on the fence about Donnie, but this was a very good draft pick, Brook Lopez notwithstanding. I am really enjoying watching his game expand, his confidence grow and his teammates beginning to recognize that anytime he is open-he IS the best option. Period.
    Damphony’s handling of Nate-regardless of whether one likes or dislikes Nate or his game or his maturity level-exemplifies why I hate him. He is a liar, and a back stabber. Nate has been nothing but consistent; if they didn’t like him they didn’t have to sign him. If you want to move him, you do so QUIETLY without totally degrading him, embarrassing him and devaluing him along the way. That is just stupid. From the start and Damphonys’ pack of lies about Marbury, he has zero credibility. He does not believe in communicating with his players and treating them like men. This little hot streak is certainly fun, but this is why the Knicks will not get that much better while he is the coach. Trust is an essential ingredient in team success. Without it, defensive rotations are missed as are open shooters. When no one trusts the coach, well, that sets the tone…for failure.
    I love the Knicks/I like Gallo, Hughes, Wil, Nate even Duhon has grown on me (despite the fact that he is and will always be best suited as a back up). Haarington is an enigma; so much talent and scoring ability-and I don’t wanna be rude, but is he as dumb as he seems? I pretty much like any player that plays hard and unselfishly. Darko was not half bad when he got his mini chance. Curry would be okay if they would utilize him in the appropriate spots-and THAT is really at the heart of my issue with the coach. he does not adapt to game situations and match ups-ever. He is simply too stubborn. You wanna bench Nate? Fine, you are the coach, but then when the team is down, injury hit, and desperate for scoring, you use him. You wanna use Curry? Fine again, but don’t put him in when they are playing zone (like when they were up 17 the other night) You play Curry as a starter against a team with a big center. Period. That opens the floor for Gallo and the other perimeter shooters, but Dantoni keeps putting him in off the bench against quciker guys-makes no sense at all.

  93. StevenU

    and David Lee is good-if only he’d make an effort on help defense he could really elevate his game. Where are those mad hops he dunks with at the other end of the floor??? I just get sick watching him watching little guys blow by Knick guards and he rotates over quickly-to get the ball out of the basket!!! Could he just TRY to block a shot? Or, at the very least to knock a guy on his ass? Once? Please?

  94. totti

    I think that european system may limit in some ways one’s talent. Our habit to look at games from a strategic point of view instead of talent point of view is just too extreme. I can tell you that Mike would have never made a 6 men rotation here.

  95. totti

    StevenU, when you stated this is a blog with mostly intelligent fans you are absolutely right: you must have red dagawd posts!!!

  96. Frank O.

    I took some time to run some data on offensive efficiency.
    you can see from the data that there were some key losses that plunged the Knicks in the rankings. Games against Orlando killed the Knicks’ ranking.
    But you can see, over time, as more data is gathered it is much more difficult to move the ranking up or down appreciably. That means this run of decent defense will need to continue for some time before it starts to impact the def. efficiency rankings against the league.
    In this chart below you can also see that there is a correlation between giving up a lot of points a decline in def. eff.
    Maybe you all have other conclusions you can draw from this.
    This looks pretty clear before I hit submit comment. I hope it doesn’t jumble after.

    Date D.ef. Rank W-L

    20-Dec 1.069 24 w. cha 98-94
    18-Dec 1.072 24 w. lac 95-91
    17-Dec 1.074 24 l. chi 89-98
    15-Dec 1.076 25 l. char 87-94
    11-Dec 1.08 27 w. no 113-96
    7-Dec 1.084 27 w. por 93-84
    6-Dec 1.089 29 w. nj 106-97
    4-Dec 1.092 29 w. Atl. 114-107
    2-Dec 1.089 28 l. orl. 104-118
    1-Dec 1.083 26 w. pho 126-99
    29-Nov 1.087 26 l. orl 102-114
    27-Nov 1.068 22 l. den 125-128
    25-Nov 1.054 21 l. sac 97-11
    24-Nov 1.051 20 l. lal 90-100
    22-Nov 1.057 21 l. bos 105-107
    21-Nov 1.061 22 w. nj 98-91
    18-Nov 1.072 26 w. ind 110-103
    13-Nov 1.078 26 l. GS 107-121
    11-Nov 1.068 22 l. atl 101-114
    9-Nov 1.059 21 l. ut 93-95
    7-Nov 1.068 23 l. mil 87-102
    6-Nov 1.074 24 l. cle. 91-100
    4-Nov 1.082 25 l. ind. 89-101
    2-Nov 1.103 28 w. no 117-111
    31-Oct 1.105 28 l. phil 127-141
    30-Oct 1.024 19 l. char 100-102
    28-Oct 1.161 25 l. mia. 93-115

  97. Brian Cronin

    and I can not wait for his first good hard foul

    While he does tend to commit touch fouls, I’ve seen him do at least one or two hard fouls already.

    Damphony

    You really can’t open up with calling the guy that.

  98. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.,

    The defensive efficiency column is for season to date, or the one game? I’m assuming it’s season to date since it seems to progress in a pattern.

  99. StevenU

    I am not trying to be antagonistic (at all), but Brian, if you can get me a clip of a David Lee hard foul I would just love to see it. And I like him and his game overall; I’ve enjoyed watching him grow as a player and he has improved tremendously at finishing (with either hand) around the rim and protecting his shot against bigger guys. I watch every single game and have for many many years, I honestly can not recall ever seeing him give a hard foul. And I do not see him apply himself on the defensive end the way he does on O; if he did, I think he’d have shown improvement, which he has not.
    As a side note, was it not a thing of beauty to see Bender get a flagrant in his first 3 minutes? It is not that I want a thuggish approach (though I’ll admit I miss the no layup rule and Oakley and Mase), I just believe that if you don’t care about protecting your basket you are not a winning team, and giving hard fouls does not, in my view, constitute dirty play.
    Lastly, with regard to D’antoni or Damphony as I prefer, I absolutely loved watching his Phoenix teams and I was cautiously optimistic about his hiring. Yes, I thought Mark Jackson would have been a far better choice, especially given that it was going to be a rough year or two anyway, and therefor a perfect opportunity for a young coach to learn and grow on the job, but I was all set to give him the benefit of the doubt-right up until opening night last year and his bizarre mishandling of Marbury. It was an awful situation that hurt the team and D’antoni (if you insist) created it entirely himself. He told Steph he’d play (though he started the doublespeak by saying that he envisioned him as a wing player???). He had Walsh bring in and overpay Duhon, then said he was afraid that having Steph on the bench would damage Duhons confidence??? He lied to the team’s best player, benched him without ever even telling him, so as to humiliate him-and after giving all those throwaway garbage lies to the media about how Steph was in great shape, doing and saying all the right things, and confiding his plan to that great but not forgotten team leader Qrich.
    Are you going to tell me that D’antoni is not a damn phony?
    Again, just to be clear: I happen to like Steph and his game but that’s not important. What IS important is that if you want to jettison a player you do not denigrate and devalue him before trying to do so. That is very basic business sense that extends beyond basketball, but that apparently escapes D’antonis brain.

  100. StevenU

    The current handling of NateGate, if you will only solidifies my point. It is not as if all of a sudden Nate got immature. Or all of a sudden he stopped playing great D. Or that the other guys are so great on D without him. Or that the team could not have used his scoring and energy even in a couple of brief stints over the duration of his benching-you know, like when Hughes can not even suit up and we do not even have a 2 guard on the roster (no offense to Wil but he is a 3 if I ever saw one, and SO out of place at the 2). If the coach were considering only the team and made all of his decisions based on that I would have no beef whatsoever. I do not presume to understand the game better than any NBA coach.
    Still, I know a vendetta when I witness one. It is obvious that there is a personal element to all this. And yet…D’antoni denies this and lies repeatedly and poorly while “explaining”. I would respect him if he’d just say, “Nate is ridiculously immature and I couldn’t stand it anymore.” But that would be direct and honest, the way say Mark Jackson might communicate. To hear D’antoni, I honestly can not see how anyone believes anything he says-or that anyone thinks he is not a damn phony-sorry.

  101. Frank

    I have to agree with StevenU on this – I like D’Antoni as a coach and I like his style, but he really mishandled the Steph situation last year. He basically destroyed what was left of the man’s career and made him into a laughingstock. It’d be one thing if he said from the beginning that he wanted Marbury out — but he didn’t — he said that he’d be a big part of the team etc. etc. etc. I remember there being some talk about how Steph had turned a corner in the preseason etc — then to basically bury him for no immediate reason — I thought that was unfair. Not that Steph really deserved another chance based on his previous history with the team — but to offer a second chance and then leave him hanging… not that cool.

    Nate’s banishment has only lasted 9 games and the Knicks are playing very well, so it’s hard to complain at this point. But somehow D’Antoni strikes me as a vindictive and unforgiving personality, which is probably ok when you’re winning, but can very quickly lead to a fractured locker room when you’re losing. Again — I just worry that players around the league see how some of the Knicks can apparently do no wrong (Duhon, Chandler, Harrington) whereas others get buried in a contract year for no clear reason — they might just think of going somewhere else.

    If the Knicks go on any sort of an extended losing streak and Nate still doesn’t play, I think you’ll start hearing players pop off.

  102. Brian Cronin

    And if it’s season to date, it’s after the game on that line?

    You would think, but I think it might be the season to date going into the game that it shares the line with.

  103. KnickFan4Life

    StevenU you also have to take into account the rules have changed a lot since the 90’s. More than anything the defensive rules. A hard foul these days almost always gets called a flagrant foul. The Bender flagrant from the other day for instance would definitely not be called a flagrant back in the 90’s. It’s not just the knicks that are rather soft inside, I notice a lot of these teams around the league are like this and I think the rule changes have a big part to do with that.

  104. Brian Cronin

    Hey, as someone mentioned earlier, I’ve certainly spent a lot of “electric ink” discussing why I think D’Antoni has mishandled the whole Nate situation, but come on, “Damphony”?

    Let’s be a bit more constructive than resorting to name-calling.

  105. Brian Cronin

    I am not trying to be antagonistic (at all), but Brian, if you can get me a clip of a David Lee hard foul I would just love to see it.

    Not Lee, Gallo.

  106. KnickFan4Life

    Frank to blame D’Antoni for ruining Marbury’s career is not only shortsighted but ridiculous on top of that. Marbury had a chance to come back this year with the Celts and he turned it down. On top of that he spent his offseason looking like a pyscho doing 24/7 online blogs. Sorry but Marbury has nobody to blame for where his career is at but himself.

  107. KnickFan4Life

    And also Frank, D’Antoni has built up a lot of good will around the league with players, especially from his Team USA experience, I don’t think the Marbury and now Nate situations are going to take away from that.

  108. Brian Cronin

    Frank to blame D’Antoni for ruining Marbury’s career is not only shortsighted but ridiculous on top of that. Marbury had a chance to come back this year with the Celts and he turned it down. On top of that he spent his offseason looking like a pyscho doing 24/7 online blogs. Sorry but Marbury has nobody to blame for where his career is at but himself.

    D’Antoni did handle the Marbury situation terribly, as well, though. Actually, he may have handled the Marbury situation even worse than the Nate situation, so I guess he’s improving in that regard!

  109. Brian Cronin

    And also Frank, D’Antoni has built up a lot of good will around the league with players, especially from his Team USA experience, I don’t think the Marbury and now Nate situations are going to take away from that

    And I do agree, D’Antoni is a very popular coach with the stars of the NBA.

  110. KnickFan4Life

    D’Antoni definitely could have handled Steph situation better but to blame him for where Marbury’s career is at now is asinine.

  111. StevenU

    Brian, I hear you with regard to name calling-I respect your view and I tend to agree-I’ll be honest here unlike the coach and admit: It has become personal with me. I can’t help it. I think he is a mean spirited person and it has affected how I view everything about him including his coaching decisions.
    Frank-EXACTLY-the whole favorites thing-FAIRNESS is part of a winning formula. I mean, on the court Nate’s biggest problem has been shot selection-and he has really improved in this area. Whereas Chandler and even Harrington, their shot selection boggles the mind.
    Knickfan4life-Of course you are right. Different rules, different style of play, etc. Still, the all of good teams still knock a guy on his ass once in a while when they keep getting to the rim-flagrant or no flagrant. My point is simply that I’d like to see this from time to time…just a little bit…at least ACT like they care about opponenents waltzing through the lane as much as they do about sinking a 3. (And I hold the coach responsible for this-100%).

  112. KnickFan4Life

    StevenU they have actually been getting a lot more blocks of late, so I do think D’Antoni has been addressing the waltzing into the lane thing to be fair.

  113. StevenU

    Knickfan4life-I STRONGLY disagree. Clearly, since then, Steph went on a downward spiral but to ignore D’antoni’s role in his disintegration could just as easily be called asinine-your word. And D’antoni did not “handle” the situation at all-he created it. Bill Russell, Mark Jackson, Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley all agree on this point as well.
    D’antoni absolutely purposely set out to ruin Steph-and succeeded.

  114. Frank

    Clearly Marbury is a weirdo, probably bipolar. Clearly he was a badly behaved person on the Knicks and behaved in a way unbecoming of professional athlete that is supposed to be the star of his team. There is no disputing that. With all of his talent, he should have been much more than he was.

    But maybe with a coach that actually did what he said he would do (use his skills), he would have been able to rescue his career. I think Steph probably would have played quite well in SSOL. Instead, the psycho got mind games and banishment from D’Antoni — and basically no one won – Marbury went off the deep end and the Knicks were horrible, especially from the guard position in the 2nd half of the year. So I guess D’Antoni made his point, but it’s a pyrrhic victory at best.

    My point is – and I think this is StevenU’s point to — clean house if you must, but at least be up front about it. There was no doubt that ZBo and Crawford were going to be out as soon as a reasonable deal materialized — Walshtoni knew it, the players knew it, the fans knew it. Marbury was left swinging in the wind — maybe he deserved it, but it’s still ugly to see regardless. I would much rather have seen D’Antoni say — look, you are not part of the long-term plan here, and I don’t like you, and you’re not going to play. You’re under contract, you’ll get your 19 million, but you need to stay away. Instead, he said – I’ll play you, you’ll be a part of the system. Not cool. Maybe deserved, but not cool.

  115. KnickFan4Life

    You guys need to stop treating these grown men like they are babies. I repeat Stephon Marbury had a chance to redeem himself with the Celtics and absolutely threw it away. He ultimately has no one to blame but himself.

  116. KnickFan4Life

    Look I am in no way saying D’Antoni handled the Marbury situation well. But let’s not make Marbury out to be some poor mentally challenged victim either. Come on guys…

  117. Frank

    So the Nate blow-back has already begun:

    http://www.nypost.com/p/blogs/knicksblog/stackhouse_blows_stack_on_antoni_z1zjjoiqdZttsFKW7pPu7O

    I really worry that it is just a matter of time before this sentiment becomes more popular throughout the league. Whether it is true or not isn’t even the issue — as soon as a topic like this comes up, the press runs with it and it becomes true just by word of mouth. This is not the last article we’ll see like this.

    I hate to be an alarmist but if I feel like this, it seems quite likely that players that have a huge personal stake in playing time, fairness, etc. might feel this way too.

  118. Frank

    “Look I am in no way saying D’Antoni handled the Marbury situation well. But let’s not make Marbury out to be some poor mentally challenged victim either. Come on guys…”

    Actually – based on Marbury’s weirdness over the last year — he probably really does have a psychiatric disorder.

  119. Brian Cronin

    Look I am in no way saying D’Antoni handled the Marbury situation well. But let’s not make Marbury out to be some poor mentally challenged victim either. Come on guys…

    But that’s basically the crux of the whole argument.

    He didn’t handle the Marbury situation well. He’s not handling the Nate situation well. D’Antoni has some irksome habits.

    It’s not a huge deal, and I think the guy is still a good coach (and is a major asset in getting top free agents to come play in New York), but, well, that’s really all there is to it – just noting that he hasn’t handled the Nate situation well. This wouldn’t be a debate if it weren’t for folks who continue to say that he has handled it correctly.

  120. StevenU

    Brian-it is all about the pattern here. Yes, players love run and gun-in no small part because it inflates their stats and their future contracts. That being said, his reputation as players coach is, right now, here, in the present, taking a huge hit right before what is supposedly going to be some big banner year for the Knicks signing free agents. What makes you think this is irrelevant? As an assistant on the Olympic team he was very popular. I would submit that was partly due to the fact that he was working under a truly smart and classy coach and not able to run the show as he sees fit, with all his “irksome” divide and conquer garbage-err techniques. I think you are minimizing the importance of this pattern. I think it’s plain to see that he is a vindictive person, and who wants a boss like that? I’d be perfectly content to have him as an offensive coordinator type assistant coach.
    His handling of these matters is indicative of the type of person-and coach-that he is. And the players all can see this unfold just like we can.
    And another thing, while we are debating whether he is or is not a “huge asset”. I know the Suns won a LOT of regular season games, but let’s please not forget that even with Nash at his peak, and Amare, and Joe Johnson, Shawn Marion etc etc-they never matched their regular season performance during the postseason. I think that’s worth noting.
    And, Knickfan4life, as Frank duly noted-Steph IS in fact mentally challenged. I say that as a fan of his, but I can not ignore his bizarre behavior. Still, D’antoni did him wrong and did send him on a downward spiral. Had Steph actually done anything wrong I wouldn’t have minded half as much-but D’antoni himself said that Steph was a model citizen in the time he (coach) was with the Knicks. How is that fair? Or reasonable? Or in the best interest of the team?
    (and PLEASE, I beg you. do not bring up that allegation that Steph ever refused to play in a game as D’antoni had said, because were that true the Knicks would have easily and perfectly legally-waived him right then and there rather than paying him 20 million several months later.)

  121. Ted Nelson

    D’Antoni’s got a big ego, I think that’s the main irksome habit. When you’re successful no one notices your ego, but when you’re mediocre or outright bad it’s unbecoming. A lot of coaches rub me the wrong way. Phil Jackson is one example, but he has great players and he wins so everyone deals with the ego. George Karl is a lot more likable when his teams are winning than when he was losing at the end of the Bucks days and throwing around his ego. Don Nelson, Larry Brown, etc., etc. I think D’Antoni is a good coach and I’ve been impressed with his will-power to turn around this season when it looked lost. The flip side of will-power is often ego, though.

    The Steph situation was very bizarre, but Walshtoni were vindicated when Steph blew his comeback attempt in Boston, spent his summer on the web, and is out of basketball. Curry situation was also a bit odd, but Curry has also vindicated D’Antoni by first responding by getting into shape (showing it worked) and then proving he’s lazy and not very good (showing they knew what they were doing). Even Balkman has vindicated them for giving him away (he played well last season, but he couldn’t/can’t get on the court). The pattern looks pretty good so far. Von Wafer provided some instant offense for Houston and Jennings looks better so far than Hill, but overall their decisions look pretty decent. I do think that the Nate thing is different, since he was good, in shape, mentally stable, etc. We’ll see how it turns out.

  122. Brian Cronin

    Oh totally, Ted.

    I said it the other day – it’s not like being petty and arrogant makes you a bad NBA coach. After all, we all liked Pat Riley when he was winning here.

  123. KnickFan4Life

    Nate might still play but at this juncture with what just happened with his agent, I don’t know anymore. I was actually not in favor of bringing Nate back, and that was perhaps the Knicks original mistake in all this. I think they got nervous because they didn’t know what they were going to get in Hughes or Douglas and brought Nate back at the last moment. I didn’t like the possibility of him getting in the way of developing Douglas and even Gallo to an extent who are guys who project to be here in the long term. If you read some other writers out there like Alan Hahn, he mentions D’Antoni actually thought about benching Nate all the way back last season.

  124. StevenU

    Ted, I read and enjoyed several of your comments; clearly you know the game. I respect that. I do not however agree that the Knick organization has in any way been vindicated by Stephon’s truly sad demise. Or by their inability to find any useful role for Curry. You make a good point with regard to coaches and their over sized egos. And no one says you have to be a nice guy in order to be a successful coach….still
    What D’antoni did to Steph was unconscionable, and one could easily make the argument that it in fact triggered his emotional mental and psychological spiral (Bill Russell made this argument much better than I can; I wish I had a link for it). To tell him that he had a role (an outright lie from the very start) and then to humiliate him clearly was more grief than Steph could handle. I think your logic on this point is backwards.
    I have never been a big Curry fan but he CAN score. On anyone. And, in so doing, create space for the beloved 3pt shot. Period. And, once again, I have no idea why you say he has been lazy (at least not this time around) because the Knick staff all say he has worked his butt off and he did in fact look more fit than I’ve ever seen him. The job of a coach is to utilize the players on his team. Like any manager; to put people in a position to succeed. If a 300 pound man can not run very fast, why play him in a 1-2-2 zone where he is supposed to run out to cover 3pt shooters in the corner? That’s what D’antoni did the last time I saw Curry on the court when they blew the 17 point lead.
    I think Balkman could have helped this team which is so short on defensive intensity that Jeffries is becoming a key ingredient-and there is really no shame in sitting behind Kmart and Chris Anderson; they are far superior to the players he’s be competing with for time on the Knicks.
    Commenting on how the brain trust may have blown it in passing on Jennings for Hill is too easy after the fact so I’ll skip that one.

  125. StevenU

    Brian you are totally right-BUT-D’antoni (I will call him that out of respect for you) has never won anything in the postseason; he is no Pat Riley….and it is not as though he never had the talent to win.

  126. Ted Nelson

    Yeah, Danilo has had some borderline flagrant fouls where he’s just thrown guys to the ground. The ones I can remember/have seen were clean fouls (not malicious attempts to hurt someone), but hard.

    KnickFan4Life,

    A lot of people are still sore about signing Roberson over Wafer off the summer league roster. Wafer is a better player, but I don’t really care. He quit on Europe, I guess, because Memphis wanted to sign him.

    “Nate might still play but at this juncture with what just happened with his agent, I don’t know anymore.”

    What exactly happened with his agent?

    “I think they got nervous because they didn’t know what they were going to get in Hughes or Douglas and brought Nate back at the last moment.”

    Nate was one of their top 2 or 3, if not their best, player last season. Hughes was not in the rotation to start the season and there were rumors the Knicks were considering buying him out. You are speculating and I am speculating, but I speculate that you are incorrect.

    Frank O.,

    Proceeding on the assumption that they’re cumulative defensive efficiencies and that the game on the same line is reflected in the def eff:

    1. Good work, interesting data.
    2. You are right that the defensive efficiency has improved lately.
    3. The data does not address the fact that they’ve been playing weak offensive teams lately. They did have a great game against Portland (the #11 offense), but since the Atlanta game (where their def eff got worse, if I’m reading the data right) the other teams they’ve played are (according to B-R.com) 30th, 18th, 27th, 28th, 24th, and 27th in offensive efficiency. Including the Blazers, the Knicks average opponents since the Hawks have had the 23.57 offensive efficiency in the NBA…
    4. They were playing some very good offenses before that, so you can probably show that the same thing happened in the opposite direction then. When your sample size gets large enough those things even out. I don’t know if we’re there yet with 27 observations, but after tonight’s game we’re pretty well evened out over the past 15 or so games and we might (not doing the math since the game is starting soon) be around a league average opponent on average over that stretch.
    5. I swear I had another point, but I can’t remember it now. If I think of it I will post it.

  127. rama

    Well, Mike, you can try to create a thread about the Rooster, but Krypto-Nate (CryptoNate? DeactiNate? DetoNate?) is just too noisy a superhero to ignore…at least for the moment.

    Steven, welcome. But…have you seen Curry on O lately? He looks terrible. Good point about his role in the zone, but if in fact he could score on anyone, he’d be getting minutes. I totally disagree that D’Antoni has handled him poorly.

    If we all generally agree that D’Antoni hasn’t handled the Nate situation well, can we stop talking about it?

  128. Ted Nelson

    StevenU,

    I just think that the average person is not going to look at the situation and say the Knicks made a mistake by sitting Marbury. I was very critical of them on their handling of the situation at the time, but he’s blown it since then. They say you can only judge a heavyweight fighter once you’ve seen them get knocked down… Marbury got knocked down a year plus ago by a little jab and hasn’t gotten off the canvas since. A great fighter gets knocked down and gets right back up. You can only control yourself and your actions and Marbury’s done a really lousy job of that. I feel bad if the guy is mentally unstable, but I’m not going to cry while he sits on his NINE FIGURE nest egg.

    I don’t know if he ever actively told Stephon Marbury, “hey, Starbury, you’re going to play a lot this season,” or he told him, “you’ve got a shot to earn a rotation spot just like everyone else.” After the way Marbury stunk… I mean played… in Boston it’s impossible for me to make an argument that D’Antoni was wrong. I certainly felt he was at the time, and I feel he is somewhat wrong on Nate too. If the guys he treats like turds prove themselves to be turds and especially if the Knicks win (a recent revelation) I can’t argue. I hope for his sake, and to hold on to some sort of credibility on this board, that Nate does not prove himself to be a huge turd and gets up off the canvas to throw some hard punches. I speculate he will based on the attitude I’ve seen from him to date and the fact that his nest egg is probably only 7 figures, maybe barely 8 if he’s smart/lucky.

    Eddy definitely used to score. I say he’s proven himself lazy because although he finally got in shape for once in his adult life (pathetic for a professional athlete) his skills seem to have eroded. Bender had a much longer lay-off from NBA action but he came back firing while Curry, like Marbury, crawled to his feet completely unprepared to fight.
    I agree that the Knicks should try to find a way to utilize Curry’s strength (interior scoring), even if it’s only to trade him. The fact that they are dying to trade him and he can’t even get on the court is an indictment of him in and of itself. His weaknesses in every other area besides scoring make it pretty hard to justify his presence on the court ever, but especially if he’s not scoring.
    I think there may be something to Jon Abbey’s theory that Curry’s post game is hurt by being skinny. I would also say that he always scored in a slow, stagnant, bad offense… and now it’s a quick, decent motion offense. He may or may not be able to adjust.

    I love Balkman, but I’m becoming pretty suspicious that his rasta religious habits (getting baked out of his mind) are having a negative impact on his NBA career. He still fouls WAY too much and has earned himself a spot in George Karl’s doghouse after the first week or so of the season (unless he’s been hurt). His numbers in the 8 games he did play were atrocious, and he’s never improved appreciable.

  129. Frank O.

    Ted:

    The efficiency number represents the season to date efter each of those games,so you see a trend line. I graphed it,also, which I cannot post here.Bit it shows a notable downward arc over the past several games. December has shown decent improvement.

  130. KnickFan4Life

    Ted wrote,


    KnickFan4Life,

    A lot of people are still sore about signing Roberson over Wafer off the summer league roster. Wafer is a better player, but I don’t really care. He quit on Europe, I guess, because Memphis wanted to sign him.

    “Nate might still play but at this juncture with what just happened with his agent, I don’t know anymore.”

    What exactly happened with his agent?

    “I think they got nervous because they didn’t know what they were going to get in Hughes or Douglas and brought Nate back at the last moment.”

    Nate was one of their top 2 or 3, if not their best, player last season. Hughes was not in the rotation to start the season and there were rumors the Knicks were considering buying him out. You are speculating and I am speculating, but I speculate that you are incorrect.”

    —————————————-

    -Ted I don’t know if your still looking at this but I wouldn’t say a lot of people were sore about the Wafer thing. A few maybe, I think you overstated that. And as for Wafer being better, I honestly don’t think there is much difference between the two. They are both explosive scoring 2 guards, one just happens to be very undersized.

    -I was referring to his agent asking for a trade. A move that has actually lowered the tradeability and value of his client somewhat. Now that every team knows Knicks are going to trade him for sure, they will be tighter with what they offer back to the Knicks. That could change but for the moment it’s looking like at least the all star break before a trade can be worked out.

    -Lastly, the Knicks by most accounts I’ve read where seriously considering not bringing Nate back. In fact if they had somehow signed a vet (Grant Hill, Jason Kidd), or Sessions, Nate more than likely does not get brought back. When they didn’t sign any of those guys aformentioned they were faced with Hughes and Douglas as the remaining backcourt. Hughes was a big question makr, and Douglas was a rookie…

  131. Ted Nelson

    Wafer
    I really wasn’t trying to make a big deal about the Wafer thing. My point was that Walshtoni have made good decisions, I was just throwing out the couple of questionable decisions they have made. A lot of people on this blog have expressed varying levels of disappointment about not signing Wafer, from “man we could have had that guy” when he was playing well in Houston to “Walshtoni are completely incompetent for having a guy like Wafer on their summer league squad and not signing him.

    Wafer played five times better than Roberson last season, had a big offer from an elite European team, and has had two offers from NBA teams this season (Grizz and now Rockets) that fell through only because of an injury. It’s really, really, really hard to argue that he is not better overall than Roberson. He’s nothing more than an Eddie House type instant offense guy who never takes his eye off the basket, but he’s pretty good in that role.

    Robinson’s agent
    I don’t think it’s as big a deal as you’re making it out to be. His legal representative, one of the bigger agents in the NBA (he reps Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Al Horford, and others), sat down with Walsh and presumably told him that if Nate is not going to play for the Knicks (and especially if there is absolutely no way he can earn his way back into the rotation) he would like to be traded and probably asked what the trade market for Robinson was. Maybe things got ugly, but I sort of doubt it: Walsh seems like the consummate professional and Goodwin represents other players so he knows he’s going to have to deal with Walsh again in the future.

    If D’Antoni changes his stance on Robinson because his agent did his job, that’s pretty unprofessional and unacceptable in my mind.

    As far as trades, there are a limited number of teams who can make a trade offer for Robinson because of his status as a base-year compensation player. His salary counts as $2 mill from the Knicks perspective and $4 mill from the other team’s, meaning only a capped out team can acquire him straight-up without including other players. The Thunder were one potential partner, since they had cap space, but I believe they blew their cap space by acquiring Maynor and Harpring. The Grizz have a bit of cap room, I believe, and have tried to sign Wafer to replace Iverson… so maybe they would be interested. Otherwise, Walsh is looking for a team that is willing to take Jeffries’ or Curry’s contract or one of the expiring contracts with Nate as a sweetener. Plenty of guys who make outright trade demands end up getting dealt, so I don’t think that’s the reason he won’t be dealt. Walsh doesn’t want to give him away since he has zero backcourt depth, but he has no leverage since so few teams (one by my count) can acquire Nate straight-up, he’s a free agent after the season, and he’s not even playing for the Knicks.

    Re-signing Robinson
    He was a cheap restricted free agent with Bird rights (you don’t have to pay him much, no other team wants to touch him since they think you’ll match, and his money doesn’t even come out of the MLE so you still have that if you want to sign someone else) who had produced a lot last season, re-signing him to a one year deal was a no-brainer. If nothing else you re-sign him for depth and as a possible trade chip… worse case he sits all season and walks at the end of the year or you just cut him. Nate averaged 30 mpg last season, it’s not as if D’Antoni found him completely useless.

    Again, everything you read was the speculation of beat writers. That’s not something you can regard as fact. Walshtoni play their cards very close to their chest, I highly doubt they leaked any information like that. Walshtoni took as long to re-sign Lee as Nate, does that mean that they also wanted to run Lee out of town?

    I don’t disagree that they had no backcourt depth. Hughes and Duhon were both cast offs from a Bulls team that is now falling apart. That’s their starting backcourt. However, I don’t think you can say that they never wanted to bring back Nate. That’s pure speculation unless you know the inner workings of the Knicks front office and coaching staff. He was one of their best players last season and they brought him back on a really reasonable deal in line with their long-term plans… Like I said, that’s a no-brainer.

  132. Ted Nelson

    “meaning only a capped out team can acquire him straight-up without including other players.”

    I mean a capped-out team cannot acquire him straight-up, only a team with cap room can.

  133. KnickFan4Life

    Ted I just realized you were comparing Wafer to Roberson not Robinson. Oops my mistake. Totally right, Wafer is way way better than Roberson, but not worth getting too upset about either…

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