Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Atlanta Hawks 114 – New York Knicks 107 – Game Recap

I don’t want a lot for Christmas/there is just one thing I need/Keep on piling all these losses/so that Zion’s chance increases*

Hey, Christmas came early this year! I never thought they would have actually pulled off this loss, but alas, here we are talking about a miserable and tank-empowering loss to the extremely lowly Hawks, who count on their roster an NBA player (Collins), two overpaid NBA role players (Bazemore and Lin), two inconsistent rookies, a fringe role player (Dedmon) and spare parts from the church charity auction for a new oven for Mrs. Taylor, you know the one, the old lady that makes that special cherry pie that brings to her doorstep half the neighborhood.

*Actually, Santa Claus, please bring back Clyde.

I don’t have all that much to say about this game, because Wally’s commentary induces a sort of basketball coma thanks to his atrocious remarks, and I might or might not have tried the “Wally drinking game”™, where you pour down a shot every time he says something wrong and a beer every time he says something trite (and a shot of absinthe when he says something wrong and trite at the same time). Nah, just kidding, I didn’t try it, but I patented it as the next social drinking game that’s guaranteed to bring down even the most alcohol-happy members of your family on the next Wally occasion – and will soothe both the auditory and basketball related pains.

Today I won’t use my standard format, but I’ll assess a bit the game and the season until now, grading some players for actual basketball purposes and for tank purposes; these games are becoming a blur of sloppy action and botched attempts at doing anything, so it’s really becoming harder and harder to gauge their daily contributions. For example, has Mudiay played well tonight? His scoring numbers might suggest so (32 points on 20 shots), but if you watched the game you’d know that he’s doing a very bad job at directing the team. Kevin Knox’s night is evidence number one: the rookie came out with guns a-blazing in the first quarter, and while a little bit of fatigue from Thibs-level minutes might have played a role in his deflated second quarter, in the second half he was just freezed by the non-existent play creation from Mudiay (and THJ, for that matter). When he finally got into the action again, Kevin was cold and out of rhythm. A point guard first and foremost task should be to know when to pass the ball (and to whom) or when to call his number; else, you’re just a miscast combo guard on a team chock-full of teamwork-deprived checkers. That’s why Mudiay is more bad than good even on nights like this, and that’s as much on him as is on who makes roster-related decisions, namely Perry/Mills and (albeit a bit less) Fizdale. Fizdale has done a good job at making Mudiay recognize his mismatches and exploit them; as long as Mudiay is on the roster, he has to make an extra step and acknowledge that Mud’s a combo guard and not a point guard, and gameplan accordingly.

Oh, who am I kidding? Fizdale apparent can’t even draw an average ATO: this time, after a timeout in the fourth, with the game on the line, the team wasn’t even able to hoist a shot attempt (and the Hawks’ defense was far from suffocating).

On to the grades, then! (I will list numbers/grades as follows: points/rebounds/assists/plus-minus for the night; PPG/RPG/APG for the season; TS% and WS/48 for the season)

In-depth grades:

– Emmanuel Mudiay (32/1/4/-6; 14.4/3/3.6; .559, 0.073) has seen some ups and down this season but his December numbers really can’t be ignored (20/3.6/5.5). As said before, he probably has made some for real improvements. He’s probably better suited as a combo-guard off the bench for a team who’s trying to make the playoffs, as some sort of lite-Tyreke Evans. The problem with him doesn’t really reside in him. It’s that we’ve all been scarred too many times by incompetent front office iterations who have given terrible contracts to pointzzz guys. I’m kinda rooting for him; I just don’t want him here after this season unless the contract is super-favorable – and even then, I think Trier is already a better player than him. Grade for the season: C+. Grade for the tank: C+

– Chuck Hardaway Jr. (15/4/5/-13; 21/3.2/3; .540, 0.064) is the contract we don’t need and don’t deserve. We can commend him all we want for being a good soldier and playing through plantar fasciitis and drawing charges with the best in the league (tied for first with Kyle Lowry and Blake Griffin), but he’s another mindless chucker who adds a side dish of troubling handles. This was the umpteenth time this season where he netted the game-worst +/-. It has to mean something, I guess. Tonight I can commend the fact that he wasn’t as shot-happy as usual, but his shot selection is still the same of his Knicks two-fold career. I think that, in the three and a half seasons Timmy has played for us, the top three for Clyde words uttered is “rebounding and astounding” “persistence personified” and “Timmy’s problem is always shot selection”. By the way, have I said already that I miss Clyde? Grade for the season: C-. Grade for the tank: B+

– Kevin Knox (24/6/1/-11; 11.6/4.1/0.9; .483, -0.011) has asserted himself of late as a credible scoring threat. He’s at his best in open court and on maximum-one-dribble-before-shooting attempts. Maybe with an average point guard he can be a league average scorer one day. As for now, we can be happy that his motor is better than we thought and sad that this is the NBA and not the BIG3 League, where he probably would have been MVP from day one. Grade for the season: C (for being a rookie. Actual grade: D+). Grade for the tank: B-.

– Noah Vonleh (11/10/2/-11; 8.2/8.3/2.3; .567, 0.096) is, as you know, my early season Knicks MVP. He’s regressed to the mean in his three-point shooting prowess, but that doesn’t deter him from being useful in many more ways. He’s the only starter that doesn’t routinely miscalculate defensive rotations and he seems to always body up his man, both on offense and on defense. He’s probably a useful NBA player to have around. I wouldn’t be against keeping him on the roster for a few more seasons. Tonight he didn’t do anything good nor egregious, and was subbed in and out at will at the end because Fiz’s defense/offense switches resemble my attempts at speaking German more than 15 years after I stopped studying it: random and confused. Grade for the season: B. Grade for the tank: D-.

– Enes Kanter (10/5/1/-8; 15/11.1/2; .604, 0.156) is the poster boy for the “numbers don’t tell you everything” party, but as a bizarro-Shane Battier. Where Shane was the no-stats all-star, Enes is the all-stats no-star. The day someone will finally invent a single stat to help us understand how to really quantify individual defensive contributions, the computer who will be asked to go back and calculate Enes’ number for that stat will commit seppuku as not to withstand the dishonor that would come with such an abomination. You had to see this game to get a grasp on how Enes mistreats every defensive aspect (save for defensive rebounding purposes). I will never get why Fiz inserts back Kanter late into games. In crunch time it’s hard to give the ball to your bigs and it’s crazy to play 4-on-5 on defense. Grade for the season: D–. Grade for the tank: A-.

– Frank Ntilikina (0/4/1/-1; 6.3/1.9/2.6; .436, -0.046) is dangerously veering into Lance Thomas territory: the nothing-doer that gets minutes thanks to his competent defensive movements. Frank is in another league as far as his actual defensive contributions go, but his offensive game is all over the place, if “all” ranged between mediocre and god-awful. These should be the games to assert yourself as a believable rotation player. This team doesn’t need someone who doesn’t commit mistakes (and he commits them anyway, like a terrible turnover from the dribble in the third), it needs someone who’s not afraid to step up. Grow a pair, Frank. Grade for the season: F+. Grade for the tank: C-.

Speedy-grades:

– Damyean Dotson is a solid contributor who can have off-nights like this one. He’s the only one who didn’t deserve the dungeon this season. Grade for the season: B-. Grade for the tank: D+.

– I don’t know what to make of Courtney Lee at this point. He doesn’t have a role here. We might end up buying him out next year. Grade for the season: INC. Grade for the tank: C+.

– Ah, my man Lance Thomas. proud owner of a team-high +12 plus/minus and scorer of 6 points tonight. As usual, he does nothing on the court but he’s a live body. Grade for the season: D. Grade for the tank: INC.

– When Luke Kornet plays instead of Kanter, you can see the team trying to play better. They fail, of course, because Luke sucks and they all suck, but it’s a breath of fresh air to see someone who’s clearly not interested in padding his boxscore. Is he the goofiest mask-bearer ever? He might be. Grade for the season: INC. Grade for the tank: C-.

– I miss Mitch so much. Grade for the season: B-. Grade for the tank: B- (thanks to the fouls who get him off the court – insert sad emoji of choice here).

– I also miss Iso Zo. This whole Mudiay’s routine is much more fun if done by a rookie. Grade for the season: B-. Grade for the tank: C-.

– Do you want Mario grades, or can you figure them out? I’d just say one’s an A+ and the other is an F (could have been an F- but a certain stepover brashly removed the minus).

Merry Christmas guys, I’ll try to do the Bucks recap but, honestly, I can’t guarantee you anything after a couple bowls of Christmas-lunch tortellini.

PS: If you don’t know what tortellini are, I strongly advise you to click on the link. You can’t say to have really lived if you’ve never tasted a bowl of home-made tortellini with cream or broth. Actually I prefer them with cream, but here in Bologna that’s seen as a capital sin, and I can confess this just to you because nobody in my family speaks even a word of english. My secret is safe with you!

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122 comments on “Atlanta Hawks 114 – New York Knicks 107 – Game Recap

  1. Brian Cronin

    Good stuff, Farfa!

    For the Knicks overall, though, I got to give them an A so far this season for the tank! They’re tanking up the place big time. It’s given me some actual hope for the future!

  2. Farfa Post author

    @Brian

    Yeah, results so far yield an A. I’m too scared of our management, though, to let my guard down.

  3. ptmilo

    because i can’t abide the happiness of others i feel obligated to insert our weekly reminder that, while tanking is important for overall draft position, it has a very modest impact on our chances of getting zion if we assume he goes first. we are either going to have an 86% chance of not getting zion or a 90% chance of not getting zion. shuffling between 1-6 in the standings this year is almost entirely about jockeying toward the high end of the 5-8 lottery-loser consolation prize. leave it to us to finally tank correctly when the reward shrivels.

  4. Bruno Almeida

    @3

    Yeah, the whole thing is vintage Knicks, not simply by design (as the KP injury surely motivated Mills and Perry to just let the team be), but in the way it’s happening.

    I do want to say that lately I’m seeing a place for Knox as a starter in this league. He’s a credible scorer on the open court, specially as the game slows down and he gets more in control of his game, and his 3 point shot is pretty decent. There definitely is a place for a guy like this on a good team.

    The rebounding, the awkward drives that end up with him throwing a bad floater and flailing all limbs simultaneously and the fact that he is so incredibly allergic to passing are discouraging, but he has some good talent, there is something to work with.

  5. Z-man

    I am going to go against the grain for Frank and say that he should actually stop trying to drive and concentrate on hitting 3’s and drive only when an opportunity presents itself. He is pressing so badly trying to be more aggressive that it’s painful to watch.

  6. bockadoo

    I understand the benefit of tanking but damn, losing to Cleveland, Phoenix and Atlanta is embarrassing. As much as I love this team, we literally have the worst talent in the league. Hate to be Danny Downer here but it is so depressing. Listening to Steve Mills talk – he is not impressive at all. Why does he have this job? What has he done to deserve to still be here?

  7. ptmilo

    The rebounding, the awkward drives that end up with him throwing a bad floater and flailing all limbs simultaneously and the fact that he is so incredibly allergic to passing are discouraging, but he has some good talent, there is something to work with.

    i have definitely moved from the “how did i send you to [insert toy store chain if one still existed] with all that money and all you brought me was this ridiculous giant pokemon” phase on knox to the “i have no idea, still feel somewhat pessimistic but that may be personal digestive distress, and yet the hope is starting to glimmer” phase.

    I am going to go against the grain for Frank and say that he should actually stop trying to drive and concentrate on hitting 3’s and drive only when an opportunity presents itself. He is pressing so badly trying to be more aggressive that it’s painful to watch.

    it does get a little painful at times. it’s like one of those movies when the neighborhood kids are cajoling the group punching bag toward the haunted house on the corner and he keeps looking back at them with pleading eyes while inching forward before finally screwing on a very-ill fated face of fabricated courage and marching semi-confidently toward his demise.

  8. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    The worst record in the league guarantees no worse than the #5. If you believe, as I do, that James Jones would gladly take Barrett at #2 (or, incredibly, #1 because of Ayton), that gives a chance of Bol or Morant being there at 5.

    Just as I’m a person who would be content with a 50-win team (while others are championship or bust), I focus more on the 1-5 guarantee than the marginal differences in winning the lottery with the #1 overall.

    The doomsday situation is getting the #1 pick and passing on Zion because they already drafted a smallball 4 in Knox. It’s the end of the road for me if that happens.

  9. JK47

    Frank is getting his chances to make something happen, but he seems to be lacking basketball talent. He’s still young blah blah blah but he stinks it up most of the time when he’s on the floor.

    Knox looks like the better prospect.

  10. GoNyGoNyGo

    Screw “embarrassing”. I’m OK with the once-a-month miracle win against a playoff team. It’s games against the pathetic doormats like ATL that I’m rooting hard for the Knicks to lose. It’s Zion or bust for me. I know that the odds, no matter where we land, aren’t great. But I want that once-in-a-lifetime player and I think he’s that kind of player. And in my mind, the team is doing what it needs to do in terms of helping the young kids learn the pro game. We all know it’s not something that happens in 2 months. It takes hard work and lots of minutes.

    The one blotch on the season, for me, is the digression of Ntilikina. He is not getting better and we’re seeing him get exposed on defense now. Is it effort? Is it the demotion? I don’t know. But we needed him to go the other way. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that he wakes up soon.

  11. Z-man

    Zion is clearly the #1 pick, but I’m not sure I see as much of a generational talent as people are suggesting.

  12. Bruno Almeida

    Guaranteeing a top 5 pick is still very useful, as we don’t know what will happen with the prospects from now on.

    Doncic was similarly seen by most of us as a can’t miss, one of the best prospects ever, can’t possibly not be the #1 pick, and all it took was two franchises inexplicably passing on him for the Mavs, with the 5th pick, to make a move for him. If you put yourself in the top 5 there is always the chance that weird things happen or opportunities such as this come up.

    There’s not only the chance that we pick 1, there’s also the chance that Zion drops for whatever reason, that bad GMs pass on him because of fit or any other exoteric reason, there’s a chance that if he’s gone we get Morant or Bol, etc. Being in the top 5 gives the franchise room to operate, while the 8th pick won’t do the same.

  13. Farfa Post author

    Knox looks like the better prospect

    I wouldn’t have bet a single penny on it, and I would have been wrong.

  14. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    The problem with Knox is not that he doesn’t have enough talent. It’s that he might be in that middle road where he can score on all 3 levels, but he can’t do any of it efficiently enough to have a hugely positive impact on the offense. We’ll have to see over time how good his 3p shot can get and whether he can finish better.

    Frank has been terrible. He’s not even defending well right now. I suspect he’s trying to incorporate so many new things at once, he’s so screwed up mentally he’s not doing anything well. He should just go back to what he was, but focus on making 3s at a higher clip. Coming into the season we all said we’d be happy if he played solid defense and could knock down 3s at a decent clip. That’s what he should be trying to do this year. Then next year adding something else. One thing at a time.

  15. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Doncic was similarly seen by most of us as a can’t miss, one of the best prospects ever, can’t possibly not be the #1 pick, and all it took was two franchises inexplicably passing on him for the Mavs, with the 5th pick, to make a move for him.

    I’m going to say it.

    Doncic is a white guy from Europe with limited athleticism that one could imagine being a liability a defense. I could see people looking at his stats and wondering how well they would translate against faster better athletes, especially on defense.

    No is asking any questions about Zion.

  16. Hubert

    it does get a little painful at times. it’s like one of those movies when the neighborhood kids are cajoling the group punching bag toward the haunted house on the corner and he keeps looking back at them with pleading eyes while inching forward before finally screwing on a very-ill fated face of fabricated courage and marching semi-confidently toward his demise.

    I’ve seen Frank more like the kid who is a naturally gifted dancer but his brutish step dad wants him to play football.

    If we actually had good players on the court who were moving without the ball and a structured offense, Frank’s intelligence and passing would be valuable. He’d need to shoot better and rebound, but he wouldn’t be hopeless. As long as the offense is simply “be aggressive and call your own number”, Frank is pointless.

  17. Z-man

    To elaborate, I don’t see a top-20 of all time player in Zion. I’m wondering if he becomes to the SF position what Westbrook is to the PG position…a guy that physically overmatches his counterpart and does highlight-reel things every night, but is missing the ability to make his teammates better.

  18. d-mar

    Myles Turner last night- 15 points, 12 rebounds, 5 blocks. He now leads the NBA in blocks with close to 3 per game.

    KP for Turner straight up, who would say no?

  19. chrisk06811

    OMG, If I had known about the Wally drinking game, I would have passed out w/ 8 minutes to go in the first half, and I would have woke up this morning excited to see if Knox reached 50.

  20. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    If we had to release one of Knox or Frank, I’d choose Frank, even if their contracts ran to the same endpoint and salary. Knox has been awful, but not quite the horrific depths that Frank has reached. I think that if you threw him into the ACC or PAC-12, he’d be a bench player on most teams. Cast back into the draft, I don’t think he’d warrant selection, much less a lottery pick. And given the team’s trajectory, he should play 25+ MPG until he hits his QO year. It’s a win-win.

    Zion is a future All-NBA player. Barring injury, he’s going to roast skinny wings and slow-footed centers. He’d be a starter 3-4-5 on at least 25 teams right now. If he gets a 35% 3PT shot the league is fucked.

    Bol is looking like what we wished Porzingis would be. Would be amazing to have both on the floor at the same time. Arguably unguardable, and Bol can actually rebound.

  21. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    To elaborate, I don’t see a top-20 of all time player in Zion.

    That’s fair, but any expectation of him being a top-20 player is unfair. LeBron, Durant, Harden, Paul, Duncan, Garnett, Shaq and Kawhi are the players of this century that can make a claim to the top-20 (sorry Kobe and Russ) and like with any rookie, it’s hard to predict whether he’ll be a perennial MVP candidate or “merely” the 2nd- or 3rd-best PF in the league.

  22. Bruno Almeida

    @21

    Yeah, and for the purposes of the draft that still merits a 1st overall pick anyway.

    I sorta disagree Strato because yes, people were questioning Doncic on a lot of things, but they will question Zion also, we’re just super early in the process. As soon as Collège season moves towards March madness and the draft hype season starts, you’ll see people questioning what position he’ll play, his “tweener ” status, if he’ll be able to dominate physically in the NBA and if he doesn’t, can he develop a shot? The questioning will start happening, it starts with even the absolute top prospects, and I’d say it happens specially to guys who aren’t big men. The elite more traditional big men prospects like Anthony Davis or Ayton are less affected by this, I would say, as the idea that you can’t teach size is still strong around the league.

  23. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Also I preemptively veto any attempt to turn this thread into a top-20 conversation. My list was merely to argue that it’s very hard to see whether a player will go from good to great to legendary when they’re young. Out of the players on that list, only a couple can say that they were labeled the “chosen ones” and lived up to it (LeBron, Duncan).

  24. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I don’t know how prevalent racial bias is in the NBA, but I do know that Andrea Bargnani got selected #1 overall. That doesn’t indicate that there’s no systematic bias happening, but I would probably point to the NCAA’s historic grip on NBA decision-makers and his tenuous grasp on defense before I throw the race card on the table.

  25. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    I caught up on watching some of the Atlanta game. (I probably should have noticed this before). I was struck by how big Knox is. It hit me especially when Breen interviewed him at the end of the first half. He’s quite fast for such a big guy.

  26. Z-man

    @18 I would say no. If your point is that Turner is underrated and KP is overrated, that’s fair. But even with the ACL, I think that KP has more trade value than Turner right now based solely on the dubiously deserved perception of him as a unicorn who played like an MVP candidate for a month. I’d rather take the chance on KP’s much higher ceiling because even if he stays as erratic and flawed as he is right now, some dumb GM will gladly swallow his soon-to-be max contract.

    Turner is a very nice player, though. He’s still only 22 and has a nice offensive skillset to go along with elite shot-blocking. However, I just don’t see him ever being all that much better than he is right now. We also have Mitch, and Turner will also be up for a max deal soon. I’d rather have KP and Vonleh (essentially a poor man’s Turner) on a mid 7-digit deal than Turner on a max and whoever would play the KP role.

  27. ClashFan

    Another great recap!

    I keep waiting for the other Mudiay shoe to drop, but he keeps making all kinds of off balance and fadeaway shots. I guess the shorter stuff over small guys like Trae Young will keep falling, but how much longer will the rest fall? IIRC, he took 20 shots last night vs. 4 assists and 3 turnovers. He’s not at all a decent PG, more of a scoring combo guard off the bench (a taller version of Burke).

    Frank’s game is so screwed up that even his D is suffering. Yet, he still appears to be the team’s best perimeter defender, almost by default, b/c he actually tries hard, switches intelligently most of the time, etc. He seems weaker going over screens, though, than he used to be, and is making more frustration fouls. As bad as he was last night, he still had the same 4 assists (vs. 2 turnovers, IIRC), in less than half of Mudiay’s minutes.

    Yet, I’ve long said that he just needs to take lots of threes and focus on D. I really hope they move him to the wing and make getting him shots a priority. He makes a nice drive every now and then, but still forces too much on the few times that he does drive and shies from any contact. But then, the team needs to run and actual offense as opposed to all the hero balling going on that Mudiay is now thriving with.

    I’d like to see Frank paired with Mudiay more, b/c he actually does try to find open guys (vs. Burke, who rarely does) and is drawing double teams, and Frank just needs to be put in a role where he’s not forced to try to create on his own.

  28. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    @25

    I don’t think it’s purely a white vs black thing.

    I think people build player profiles in their mind (knowingly or not) based on what they’ve seen and experienced with other players with the same athleticism, height, build, length, skillset etc.. I think that includes race and country of origin. Whether it’s fair or ever valid is another story.

  29. Donnie Walsh

    LeBron, Durant, Harden, Paul, Duncan, Garnett, Shaq and Kawhi… (Kobe and Russ)… and Curry

    The whole batch of them, by draft position:

    #1
    #1
    #1
    #2
    #3
    #4
    #4
    #5
    #7
    #13
    #15

    So, as you all high-five a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, keep in mind that, as transcendental players go, you have as good a chance of drafting one 1-3 as you do 4-7.

  30. kevin5318

    To elaborate, I don’t see a top-20 of all time player in Zion. I’m wondering if he becomes to the SF position what Westbrook is to the PG position…a guy that physically overmatches his counterpart and does highlight-reel things every night, but is missing the ability to make his teammates better.

    I think what separates a guy like Zion from a guy like Westbrook is his elite two way motor. He doesn’t take many plays off on defense which bodes well for his all time great potential. He even mentioned that he wants to be a DPOY like Jordan was.

    The only thing holding him back from greatness is injuries.

  31. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    And that Jokic is proof that we should buy a late 1st or early 2nd and grab Brandon Clarke as our very own Siakam.

  32. Donnie Walsh

    I do know that Andrea Bargnani got selected #1 overall. That doesn’t indicate that there’s no systematic bias happening

    Bargnani ruined the draft chances of white people for decades.

  33. abk

    I was dead wrong about Zion not being the best prospect in the draft pre-season. I said Barrett and Little were better. As a UNC fan Little has been a bit disappointing, as he hasn’t shown quite what I thought he would so far on either side of the ball. It’s early though, only been ten games.

    Zion is the clear #1 pick, unless some GM falls in love with Barrett. However, the “once in a generation” or “once a decade” labels I’ve seen thrown around here are still excessive in my opinion. A generation is at least 20 years people. Is Zion a better prospect than Lebron, AD, Durant, Oden, Simmons? Nah, and that’s all in the last 15 years, plus you have a couple other guys who are borderline his level (Griffin, and Embiid if he hadn’t gotten hurt). He’s a once in every 2-3 years type prospect, as opposed to some drafts like Fultz or Ayton where’s there’s debate on the top pick.

    I’m still very excited about us finishing (hopefully) in the top 3-4 lottery spots and having a great shot at a top 5 pick. I think that’s the big thing, as there are some other elite looking guys (Barrett, Bol, Morant so far) and it’s going to take massive luck to get the #1 pick no matter what we do.

  34. Bruno Almeida

    @32

    And also as a reminder that if you had the 1st overall pick in those drafts you could have chosen any of those guys. Also the list has the caveat of Kobe and Garnett, both who would have been drafted earlier than their positions if they weren’t straight from high school kids when they declared.

  35. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Bargnani ruined the draft chances of white people for decades.

    Our own Frederic Weis didn’t help and neither did Darko Milicic. :-)

  36. ess-dog

    He’s no Zion, but I think Reddish is a guy that will be better in the pros than in college. He’d be a decent pick at #5 depending on how he finishes out the season.

  37. vincoug

    The doomsday situation is getting the #1 pick and passing on Zion because they already drafted a smallball 4 in Knox. It’s the end of the road for me if that happens.

    I’ve thought this same thing but have been too afraid to say it out loud. Having a chance to get Zion and passing on him would probably be a red line for me and this team and I’d go from a love/hate relationship to straight out hate of the Knicks if it happened.

    RE: Top 20 players this century. Nowitzki and Wade both deserve some consideration, yes?

    EDIT: And Nash too.

  38. vincoug

    He’s no Zion, but I think Reddish is a guy that will be better in the pros than in college. He’d be a decent pick at #5 depending on how he finishes out the season.

    I can’t believe there are still people who believe in Reddish. Dude’s been legitimately bad in college. Only way I’d want him is if he falls to the 2nd round and we had multiple 2nd rounders to use.

  39. vincoug

    This century, yes. All-time, no.

    Damn, tough crowd when Dirk can’t even get in the conversation for top 20 all time. Honestly though, have a hard time thinking that Harden is that much better than Dirk that he’s top 20 and Dirk isn’t.

  40. JK47

    Reddish has been bad despite the fact that there is loads of talent around him and opposing defenses don’t even really key on him. Out of all the guys who came into this season as top prospects, his stock has fallen the most. I’m not super high on Barrett but he is clearly a better prospect than Reddish.

  41. Z-man

    There’s just been too many all-time greats to put guys like Dirk and Harden in the top 20.

    These 15 guys are no-brainers to me:
    Jordan
    LeBron
    Wilt
    Russell
    Kareem
    Bird
    Magic
    Oscar
    West
    Duncan
    Hakeem
    Shaq
    Kobe
    Durant (by the time he retires)
    Pettit

    Then it starts getting subjecive for the last 5 spots; all of these guys deserve consideration
    Garnett
    Barkley
    Robinson
    Barry
    Havlicek
    Pippen
    Stockton
    Curry (by the time he retires)
    Harden (same)
    Paul (same)
    Dirk
    Mailman
    Erving
    Moses

  42. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Is Zion a better prospect than Lebron, AD, Durant, Oden, Simmons?

    He is, without a doubt, the best player in NCAA ball so far this year. Yes, he is in that category of consensus #1 pick, and he has earned it. The stats, the hype, the eyetest: there is nothing to dislike about his game except that he isn’t Zion Williamson plus LeBron/Manu/Jokic court vision, or Zion plus Curry’s range, either of which is nitpicking when we’re talking about a guy whose ORtg is nearly double his DRtg. The guy is so dominant so far that it’s hindsight bias to suggest that he’s not on the same level of upside chatter as a Durant (knocked for being too skinny) or LeBron (who then had a shaky at best jumper).

  43. Josh

    @32

    So, as you all high-five a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, keep in mind that, as transcendental players go, you have as good a chance of drafting one 1-3 as you do 4-7.

    Not true. According to your numbers, if you were drafting in the top three spots in the last twenty years, you’d have a 1 out of 12 chance of drafting an all-time great. If you were drafting in spots 4 through 7, you’d have a 1 out of 20 chance. That’s a big difference!

  44. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Zion is outperforming AD, KAT, and Love, all of whom have claim to some of the best NCAA freshman seasons of all time. If the season ended today he’d be #1 in BPM (over the last ten years cause that’s how far back the stats go) and #2 in WS/48 behind Michael Beasley, who posted the single greatest offensive season of NCAA basketball ever. He’s absolutely in the LeBron/KD/AD conversation by any objective measure. If he shot league average from 3 he’d blow every single previous advanced metric record out of the water.

  45. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Nash was a great offensive player for a few years but his MVPs were stolen from more-deserving players by the ubiquitous narrative of a unique player finding late success in a unique offense full of talent and highlight-reel action during an era slammed for slow, grinding, unpleasant basketball. (In the 2005 Finals, a team cracked 100 points just one time, with 4 of the 14 team point totals being in the 70s.) Nash doesn’t crack the top 50 for me.

  46. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    If Zion were 6’9” with the same wingspan, max vert reach, max standing reach, weight, and stats, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. His height is the only reason there are people who don’t foam at the mouth in awe of his production.

  47. Brian Cronin

    Not true. According to your numbers, if you were drafting in the top three spots in the last twenty years, you’d have a 1 out of 12 chance of drafting an all-time great. If you were drafting in spots 4 through 7, you’d have a 1 out of 20 chance. That’s a big difference!

    Yeah, historically, the drop off is from #1-5 to #6-10 (and then an even bigger drop off from #6-10 and #11-15). Just being in the top five tends to give you a decent chance at a star. That’s why finishing the season with the worst record in the league is so huge – a guaranteed top five pick.

  48. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Doncic definitely got passed on twice because he isn’t viewed as a generational athlete, while DeAndre Ayton is what peak fitness looks like. I’d argue Ayton has a higher ceiling, and he’s the better player between the two right now. Bagley had a historical season for a frosh in the ACC, so I kind of understand that one too.

    Zion is both the best athlete and best on paper. He’s going #1 overall unless RJ gets his shot selection together, and then literally nobody has a chance to go ahead of him. Maybe Bol if Atlanta is on the clock.

  49. Z-man

    Nash is definitely not top-20, and although I agree that he was never the MVP, he was certainly a legit MVP candidate. As to rounding out the top-20, in my list in @46, I’d eliminate Erving, Paul, Harden and Dirk, and you could argue for Wade and AD (by the time he retires) and maybe even Rodman being in consideration. I would round out 15-20 with Barkley, Garnett, Moses, Curry and then it’s really a toss-up for that last spot between Stockton, Havlicek, Admiral, Barry and Pippen.

  50. Farfa Post author

    I’m not even sure Nash is top-50. He was an amazing player but if we rank PGs there’s no way he’s ahead of Curry, Magic, Isiah, Stockton, Paul and Oscar (in no particular order). I’d put him in the Kidd tier. If you can’t break the top-5 PG list I don’t think you have a claim for top-50 player.

  51. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    According to NBA sources, Knicks brass no longer views 2019 as a make-or-break free-agent summer.

    Translation

    The team we’ve put together the last 2 years is so terrible and going backwards so fast, we’ve given up the delusion of a star actually wanting to come here and will continue drafting and signing scorers that can’t defend or play team basketball while calling for patience from the fans and media.

  52. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    Isiah is wildly overrated. He’s not even in the conversation with Nash. Nash was one of the greatest play making and efficient scoring PGs ever. That Suns team was comically bad every time he was out. The biggest downside to Nash (aside from defense) what that he was too unselfish. He should have shot a lot more. He had the skills to create those shots. He could have been a lighter version of Curry before 3 point shooting became more fashionable. All that said, he was no Magic, Stockton, or Oscar.

  53. Farfa Post author

    Translation

    The team we’ve put together the last 2 years is so terrible and going backwards so fast, we’ve given up the delusion of a star actually wanting to come here and will continue drafting and signing scorers that can’t defend or play team basketball while calling for patience from the fans and media.

    I actually fear that what they’re really saying is “We’re dead set extending Mudiay and will not trade THJ”.

  54. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    I actually fear that what they’re really saying is “We’re dead set extending Mudiay and will not trade THJ”.

    The article actually mentioned keeping Mudiay and Vonleh, but it sounded more like that’s because they now realize when you put together a team that sucks, no one that’s any good will want to play on your team. So that’s plan B.

    This was very easy to predict. I’ve been saying it since the beginning. The key now is to not screw up the cap space with bad long term contracts like Hardaway. They can take fliers for a year like they have been, add good young players on reasonable contracts, or rent the space out as long as it isn’t for too long and they are actually getting something worthwhile back. Just don’t do anything else dumb and don’t let good players walk for nothing so we keep getting worse.

  55. Donnie Walsh

    According to NBA sources, Knicks brass no longer views 2019 as a make-or-break free-agent summer.

    So, the rush to stretch waive Noah was….?

  56. vincoug

    I’d put him in the Kidd tier. If you can’t break the top-5 PG list I don’t think you have a claim for top-50 player.

    That’s an odd rule. There’s only 5 positions on a basketball team. By definition, any top 50 list would have to include players not in the top 5 at their position.

  57. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Start, what article is the quote from?

    I’m glad our management has come to their senses. It is always a long shot to get an A list free agent, since very few actually move to new team, so getting one shouldn’t be the core of your rebuilding plan.

  58. abk

    @ Jowles you completely talked past my post.

    He is, without a doubt, the best player in NCAA ball so far this year. Yes, he is in that category of consensus #1 pick, and he has earned it.

    Agreed. I never said anything to the contrary. I admitted I was dead wrong thinking he wasn’t the best player.

    The stats, the hype, the eyetest: there is nothing to dislike about his game except that he isn’t Zion Williamson plus LeBron/Manu/Jokic court vision, or Zion plus Curry’s range, either of which is nitpicking when we’re talking about a guy whose ORtg is nearly double his DRtg.

    Perfect example of where the hype is excessive. He’s shooting .167 from three this year, on 18 shots. So no, it’s not just nitpicking that he doesn’t have Curry range. He can’t really shoot at all. It’s not some tiny peccadillo.

    The guy is so dominant so far that it’s hindsight bias to suggest that he’s not on the same level of upside chatter as a Durant (knocked for being too skinny) or LeBron (who then had a shaky at best jumper).

    Read what I wrote again, you misinterpreted my post. I asked “Is he BETTER than LeBron, AD, Simmons, Durant, Oden?”. He is on the level of most of those guys, but there are 5 of them in 15 years (6-7 if you include Embiid and Griffin), aka a one in every 2-3 years type prospect, a clear-cut #1 pick type. Once in a generation you have to be LeBron, or maybe Shaq before him.

  59. Brian Cronin

    Translation

    The team we’ve put together the last 2 years is so terrible and going backwards so fast, we’ve given up the delusion of a star actually wanting to come here and will continue drafting and signing scorers that can’t defend or play team basketball while calling for patience from the fans and media.

    That article, though, is just another Berman special, so it depends on what you think about Berman’s reliability.

    Start, what article is the quote from?

    Ta da!

    https://nypost.com/2018/12/22/knicks-summer-plan-may-not-include-a-big-free-agent-splash/

  60. abk

    Just don’t do anything else dumb and don’t let good players walk for nothing so we keep getting worse.

    We should look to trade Mud and Vonleh for whatever we can get. There is not much value to keeping them; we could always re-sign them as free agents in the off-season.

  61. vincoug

    Read what I wrote again, you misinterpreted my post. I asked “Is he BETTER than LeBron, AD, Simmons, Durant, Oden?”. He is on the level of most of those guys, but there are 5 of them in 15 years (6-7 if you include Embiid and Griffin), aka a one in every 2-3 years type prospect, a clear-cut #1 pick type. Once in a generation you have to be LeBron, or maybe Shaq before him.

    But those guys aren’t even all on the same level. People had been talking about Lebron for years and he was drafted out of HS. Hell, people were talking that he would have been the first pick in the draft after his sophomore year he was that good.

  62. abk

    But those guys aren’t even all on the same level. People had been talking about Lebron for years and he was drafted out of HS. Hell, people were talking that he would have been the first pick in the draft after his sophomore year he was that good.

    Yes agreed. My point is a prospect comes around once every 2-3 years that’s at least on Zion’s level. He can’t be a “generational prospect”, when there are 5-7 guys in 15 years that are at or above his level. He’s just a clear cut #1 pick type prospect, aka the kind that’s only available every 2-3 years..

  63. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Read what I wrote again, you misinterpreted my post. I asked “Is he BETTER than LeBron, AD, Simmons, Durant, Oden?”. He is on the level of most of those guys, but there are 5 of them in 15 years (6-7 if you include Embiid and Griffin), aka a one in every 2-3 years type prospect, a clear-cut #1 pick type. Once in a generation you have to be LeBron, or maybe Shaq before him.

    No, he’s not a better prospect. He’s just in the same tier.

  64. Sir Robin

    @46, Z-man. Due respect, but to me Clyde is better than at least one of [if not all] of Kobe, Pippen, Havlicek, Stockton and Barry. Of those 5, only Pip and Hondo were even 2 way players. Can’t believe Willis or even Mikan did not crack the list either. They were better than Pettit.

  65. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Maybe when people call Zion “generational” they mean hes among the best prospects of his generation, which is true. “Once in a generation” might be strictly speaking false however

  66. Z-man

    Sorry, Sir, you need a history lesson. Petit was sensational, maybe the greatest player pre-Russell, and would be a stud in any era. I love Clyde and Willis like few here, having watched or listened to every Knicks game during that era. They are icons, but not above anyone in my top 20. Mikan would not be a force today, all others on the list would be.

  67. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Between the shot clock, 3-point line and NBA/ABA merger, I don’t see the point of trying to argue greatness across eras.

  68. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    @72 dawg Kobe Bryant was selected to 12 different All Defense teams. He’s not my cup of tea but c’mon man.

  69. swiftandabundant

    In the last decade Kobe has gone from extremely overrated to extremely underrated. People forget how good he was on defense for the majority of his career.

    Jowles, debating this stuff is why people like sports. It’s fun!

  70. Z-man

    On paper, we should lose our next 12 games. Say we go 2-10, that’s 11-35. Hard to cal that anything but tanking, right?

  71. Owen

    Kobe was always overrated on defense.

    Generational is a tough word. There have been 36 seasons of more than 2000 minutes with a WS/48 over .275. There have been 14 players to post at least one season like that. There have been 6 players to do it at least 3 times. Michael Jordan (6x), Wilt(4x), Kareem (4x), Lebron 4X, Chris Paul (4x), Durant (3x),

    That’s a pretty arbitrary hack at it. And it mostly made me say, holy shit Chris Paul has been great. But the odds are against Zion being this kind of player.

    But he can still be completely insane and really fun to boot.

  72. bidiong

    Zion just has to be a perennial all star for us to have a shot at being really good. He doesn’t need to be LeBron. Of course we need to get lucky enough to draft him.

    I would hope that between Knox, KP, and Frank + Zion and a free agent we would see some light in a couple years. Just have to hope everyone stays healthy and develops.

  73. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Brian, Thanks for the URL

  74. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    You know what we should argue about? Whether we should watch the Suns try to pull out another uesless win, or watch actual good basketball matchups (and there are quite a few of those tonight).

  75. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Of all the players who absolutely can’t jump Jokic has to be the GOAT right

  76. JK47

    Kobe was always overrated on defense.

    In his prime Kobe was a very tenacious defender, and a key component of an excellent defensive team. Later in his career he coasted on his reputation, and he made a few all-defensive teams that he probably didn’t deserve to make. But in his prime, at his best, he was outstanding.

  77. Sir Robin

    Z, i love you dude, but you only addressed my one slip up-i did some research and found Pettit WAS great. And it doesn’t matter if Mikan’s game would translate today-neither would Wilt, Shaq, etc., but everyone acknowledges their greatness. But i will stand by my statement: Clyde and Willis ARE better than Kobe, Pippen, Stockton, Havlicek and even the great Rick Barry.

  78. Sir Robin

    78, dude, Kobe was overrated on the defensive end and on the offensive end in my opinion. He was no Jordan, and he was not Clyde, who was superlative on both ends. And Clyde owns probably the greatest game 7 perf in league history.

    IMO, Kobe was what the league felt it needed after Jordan. And he played with great players and had a great coach as well.

    overall, i can’t believe how little love the top 2 knicks have gotten on this board. Even West couldn’t deal with Clyde. Passer, shooter, defender, and great team player as well.

  79. Sir Robin

    There have been 72 players in NBA history who have attempted as many shots as Kobe MISSED in the regular season. Bryant missed 14,435 shots in the regular season. Of the 72 players who have taken that many shots, Bryant ranks 56th in field goal percentage.

    Box Plus/Minus (BPM): Lebron has 5 of the top 10 best seasons, including the #1 spot. Kobe’s best comes in at #155. Even lesser greats like T Mac, KG, and David Robinson all have seasons in the top 30.

    Win Shares per 48: Kareem had 3 of the top 5 greatest win share seasons of all time. Lesser greats like Chris Paul, Dirk, Wade, and Barkley managed to make the top 50. Kobe doesn’t have a season in the top 200.

    True Shooting Percentage (TS%): This stat is dominated by bigs; however wing players such as Lebron, Harden, Curry, and Magic have all made the top 50. Kobe doesn’t a season in the top 250.

    In short, Kobe was overrated.

  80. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    One important thing to note about Clyde was how efficient he was for his day. The league average TS% in 69-70 was 51%, and Clyde sported a 58 TS%. That’s really good without a three point line. He’s probably underrated, since we don’t have accurate steals data from back then. He’s clearly top 50. I wouldn’t put him in my top 3 PGs all time though. He’s in the 30s on my personal all time list.

  81. Sir Robin

    @92, Silky, thanks for supporting my point. Clyde was more of a combo guard, as the NYKs were all such great passers and team players. He was bigger (and slower) than most of the PGs he played against. One of the most clutch players in history, he did not self-promote, always remaining humble and true to the team. I used to practice his form as a kid, but i could never approach his results. He was and always will be my idol.

  82. Sir Robin

    I remember hearing Clyde say he would let a guy get away with a move that he knew he could stop, but when he tried that move in the 4Q, Clyde timed the steal or block more often than not. Reminds me of Mattingly, who would never swing at the first pitch until clutch time late in the game.

  83. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    The Suns and Bullets are terrible, but this game is pretty entertaining. Thomas Bryant going 14 for 14 for 31 points and 13 rebounds, only one turnover.

  84. Owen

    Sir Robin – Admirable piece of Kobe slamming. As a long time player in the trash Kobe game let me say I very much enjoyed that post.

  85. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Haha, Devin Booker basically dribbles out the clock! What a fucking scrub. Max-contract tank commander.

  86. ptmilo

    now seems like a good time to mention I pimped for Thomas Bryant on here like I was his agent including saying we should try to steal him from the lakers like an hour before he was suddenly waived and later claimed by the wizards

  87. Bruno Almeida

    I love me some Thomas Bryant too, but I mean, if you’re a Phoenix fan you got to be at least a little bit concerned that their first overall pick let the opposing center go 14-14 right?

  88. Bruno Almeida

    @101

    I was one of the founding members of the Paul George is overrated as hell group, but this year he’s really playing like a superstar. Shooting well, career highs in points, assists, rebounds, blocks and steals per game while playing very good defense.

    If OKC manages a top 3 seed he’s probably getting MVP votes.

  89. ptmilo

    I’m telling you Ayton is kind of weird. I mean he’s obviously incredibly good and will be a good player no matter what. But I remember watching Towns as a rookie, thinking wow he’s good but also may have narcolepsy and should probably get checked out. Ayton puts that to shame, his mind seems to go on a private rumspringa one out of every three defensive possessions, but much like KAT he can sometimes play good defense.

    Also they said 15-15 on the telecast but I also see a Wilt 18-18 game.

  90. Bruno Almeida

    @106

    I mean, I do too, he’s a rookie and it’s a triple overtime game on the road, it’s not easy at all. But his defense is a bit concerning, it’s an issue he’s going to have to work on a lot.

  91. Z-man

    Ayton’s D was a known issue pre-draft, he’s Amar’e-like in that way, great physical profile, a bit slow on reading and reacting.

  92. Z-man

    Also they said 15-15 on the telecast but I also see a Wilt 18-18 game.

    I would sincerely hope that Wilt would not lose a record like this to a scrub.

  93. Brian Cronin

    I remember hearing Clyde say he would let a guy get away with a move that he knew he could stop, but when he tried that move in the 4Q, Clyde timed the steal or block more often than not. Reminds me of Mattingly, who would never swing at the first pitch until clutch time late in the game.

    Typically, players say stuff like that and it’s rarely actually borne out in the actual games. Like the famous “Bagwell Gambit” that Greg Maddux was credited with. Here’s George Will on Maddux, “Leading 8 – 0 in a regular season game against the Astros, Maddux threw what he had said he would never throw to Jeff Bagwell–a fastball in. Bagwell did what Maddux wanted him to do: he homered. So two weeks later, when Maddux was facing Bagwell in a close game, Bagwell was looking for a fastball in, and Maddux fanned him on a changeup away.” Only, of course, that never happened (or anything remotely similar). I believe Clyde is amazing and smart as fuck and everything you’d ever want to see in a player, but I doubt he ever let guys get away with moves early in games so that he could stop the move in the fourth.

  94. Grocer

    The 18-18 game came during a four game stretch where he went 35-35. Mostly on fadeaways, apparently. He also grabbed 30 rebounds and dished out 10 assists that game. Feb. 24th, 1967 vs the Bullets.

  95. Sir Robin

    @112, Brian, understood. I’m only realating what I heard Clyde say. I always hear him speak reverentially of Red and his teammates. Heard him call each of Willis and tricky Dick “his idol” Rarely hear him brag, so forgive me Brian if I choose to believe Clyde when he says it. And, by the way, as a long time Mattingly fan, he DID use the approach I described.

  96. Bo Nateman

    On the ’69 Knicks, Dick Barnett would often guard the opponents top guard ( Jerry West, Earl Monroe) allowing Clyde to act as a sort of super free safety by playing the passing lanes or double-teaming in the paint. On 1/2 court sets, Clyde would penetrate on smaller weaker guards masterfully using his body to back them down. On fast breaks, Bradley and Debusshere would often take the outlet and push the ball. At crunch time, the ball was usually in Clyde’s hands. It would be nice to have some of Clyde’s preternatural cool rub-off on Frank.

  97. GHenman

    Clyde wrote about setting guys up like that in Rockin’ Steady. If he knew he could steal the ball from an opponent, he would wait for a key moment in the game to do it.

  98. Sir Robin

    As 1 of Clyde’s biggest fans, I’m biased. But how many times has he said on air “it’s not how much you score, but when you score”. I know he played the game the same way.
    And thanks Bo, Clyde was a combo guard, and you broke down a lot of his job description. That may be 1 reason his greatness may not be readily apparent. He was the original combo guard so his stats across the board dint jump out at you.
    I’ll repeat, Clyde was better than Barry, Hondo, Stockton, Pippen, Kobe and Dirk as well. Hes top 20 for me.

  99. bobneptune

    As to yesterday’s mention of Bob Pettit… those of you < 65 have no idea how good he was. He had a great inside post game with a feathery pretty jump shot from 15-19 feet. He was a savage offensive rebounder to boot.

    Statistically he was incredible, but you only really need to know 2 things:

    In a league with Wilt , Russell, West, Baylor, Oscar, etc during his 11 seasons in the NBA he was first team all NBA 10 times!

    Secondly, in the biggest game of his career (winning game 6 vs Boston for the championship) he hung 50 and 25 on the greatest defensive player of all time Bill Russell!

    Think of Kevin McHale with much better range and a much better rebounder.

  100. Sir Robin

    Thanks Bob for the ed. How come you never hear about that game among greatest closeout perfs ? I never knew he did that.
    How was on defense?

  101. bobneptune

    Thanks Bob for the ed. How come you never hear about that game among greatest closeout perfs ? I never knew he did that.

    Because the Celt’s losing didn’t fit the “greatness of Celtics/Russell” meme….

  102. Sir Robin

    You’re probably right, Bob. For whatever reason, there is an order of priorities for the league. Celtics, Lakers always at the top. NYKs relegated quite a bit behind.

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