Check this stat out…

Even though he missed the last, what, month and a half, of last season, Jamal Crawford still ended up ranked third in the league over the past four seasons (thanks, Jon!) in “game-winning” field goal attempts , defined by 82games by as shot attempts in the last 24 seconds that can tie a game or put a team ahead (the shooting team is tied or behind by one or two points) (Hollinger printed the list in his latest Insider Column)!!!

I know it SEEMED like he was always taking possible game-winning shots, but I was still taken aback to see that he attempted possible game-winning shots THIRTY-FOUR times the last four years, including a whopping FIFTEEN this past season alone!

Only Kobe and Vince Carter took more attempts (although the also oft-injured Joe Johnson was right behind Crawford with 33).

Crawford, by the by, made 9 of the 34 shots, good for 26% (higher than Kobe’s 10 for 43, for what it’s worth).

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On a separate note, the NBA really, really needs to re-seed. They’re the only major sport that does not re-seed (that can, as MLB cannot re-seed, as they only have two rounds before the World Series), and their reasons just aren’t good enough to outweigh the drawbacks.

On Cloud Nine

The lottery has passed, and it really could not have gone much better for the Knicks fans than what transpired Tuesday night.

The order?

1. Portland
2. Seattle
3. Atlanta
4. Memphis
5. Boston
6. Milwaukee
7. Minnesota
8. Charlotte
9. Chicago
10. Sacramento
11. Atlanta
12. Philadelphia
13. New Orleans
14. L.A. Clippers

Not only do the Bulls stay put at #9, but the Celtics dramatically fell to FIFTH in the draft, the worst POSSIBLE scenario for Boston, which, actually, as much as I didn’t want Oden or Durant in the Knicks’ division, I still felt kinda bad for the Celtics. I mean, FIFTH?!? That’s rough.

Not as rough as Memphis, which really didn’t even tank this season, and yet fell all the way to FOURTH.

Atlanta made out like a bandit, sneaking up one spot to avoid giving their pick to Phoenix, but also seeing Indiana FAIL to move up, thereby giving Atlanta’ Indiana’s pick. That is huge for Atlanta. However, as someone (Hollinger?) joked, they will probably use both picks on 6’9″ swing men.

Good night for Knicks fans, even if most of the “joy” comes from sour grapes.

Will Amare miss Game 5?

I think we, as Knick fans, have a particularly interesting view of this situation, as we saw the 1996-97 season go down the drain when Patrick Ewing, Allan Houston, Larry Johnson and John Starks all left the bench during PJ Brown’s altercation with Charlie Ward, leading to the players getting suspended for Game 6 (Ewing and Houston) and Game 7 (Johnson and Starks).

So, will the NBA give the same stiff punishment to Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw? Or will they hide behind the silly explanation that “it wasn’t a real fight, so it doesn’t count.”? Or will they just say, “The rule is dumb, so we’re just not going to follow it?”

Rod Thorn made the call 10 years ago, but it is Stu Jackson’s call now – what do you think he will do?

Would you want Telfair on the Knicks?

Apparently, Sebastian Telfair’s career with the Boston Celtics is over, and Telfair’s career is in some serious jeopardy. That being said, certainly SOME team out there will give him another chance.

The question is – should it be the Knicks?

As commenter “Hudson River” points out, the downsides are:

He is another Shoot first point guard, but he can?t shoot. He doesn?t get along with Stephon at all. He could very well practice on the practice team, but whose minutes would he take? Not Marbury or Collins or even Steve Francis.

The upsides, of course, is that he is 21 years old and has a crap load of “talent.”

He can’t be expecting much money right now, can he? The Knicks could probably get it done without using their whole mid-level exemption.

But is it worth it?

I am not sure, but it’s definitely an interesting new wrinkle to the Knicks’ offseason.

The Glory of Schadenfreude

Besides one (fairly major) thing, tonight’s game really didn’t matter much to the Knicks. They do not own their draft pick, so it really doesn’t’ matter to them where they finish. However, it DOES matter to us fans, because, come on, you don’t want the Bulls to get a high draft pick, just due to schadenfreude – the joy of seeing them NOT happy.

Tonight, in beating Charlotte on an Eddy Curry tip-in of a Malik Rose miss, the Knicks tied Charlotte’s record of 33-49.

After the Knicks’ win, the Bulls lost to the Nets, locking the Bulls into the 5th spot in the playoffs, and picking 23rd in the draft (and if the Knicks pick this year is, in fact, protected only before 24 – that is especially cool – that is the fairly major thing, guaranteeing that the Knicks GET a draft pick this year).

Minnesota tanked, and both Portland and Sacramento lost (Portland against the playoff bound Golden State Warriors – which should be an interesting first round series – Nelson against the Mavericks), so the Knicks will be ranked, at the LOWEST, eighth. They are currently tied for eighth with Sacramento and Charlotte. There will be a tie-breaker that will determine if the Knicks are ranked 8th or 9th or 10th, but the thing most of us I presume are worried about are the Knicks’ chances of gaining one of the top three picks in the lottery.

The way the lottery works, there are 1000 possible number combinations for the top three picks. The team with the worst record gets 250 of those combinations. The second-worst record gets 199 and the third-worst gets 159. Those three teams combine for a 60.5% chance of getting the top three picks.

When there is a tie in the standings, each of the teams that are tied get the average of the possible combinations for their spot. For instance, if two teams are tied for 6th, you would take the average of the combinations for the 6th spot and the 7th spot, which would be 53 (63 and 43).

The Knicks are tied for 8th with Charlotte and Sacramento, meaning they will split the combinations for the 8th, 9th and 10th spots. So they have a three-way split of 56. As that does not go evenly into three, there will be a coin-flip to determine which team gets one less combination than the other two. As Jon Abbey so rightly pointed out, that means the Knicks will most likely have 19 combinations out of 1000.

So they will have a 19 out of 1000 ( 1.9% chance) of getting the first pick, about a 2.3% chance of getting the second pick and about a 3.0% chance of getting the third pick.

Compare that with the 63 combinations the Knicks would have received if they had lost (6.3% for the first pick, about 7.0% for the second pick and about 8.0% for the third pick) and Minnesota and Portland had won, and you can see why tonight was, for the first time in awhile, a pretty good night for the Knicks.

And not a great night for the Bulls.

Ahhh…lovely schadenfreude.

Just to Make Matters Worse…

As of right this second, the Knicks are tied for the 8th spot in the NBA lottery (ties are broken with coin tosses) with Sacramento. They are a half game ahead of Charlotte (currently 7th) and a game behind Philadelphia (10th).

The Knicks’ remaining games:

At New Jersey
At Toronto
New Jersey
At Charlotte

You have to figure, with the current unit they’ve got playing (no Marbury, no Lee, no Q, no Balkman and no Crawford), they shouldn’t expect to win more than one of the last four.

It ultimately does not matter to the Knicks WHERE they end up in the lottery, as their draft pick was forfeited when they made their trade with the Bulls.

However, it is certainly a bit of an insult added to injury to see the Knicks fall in the lottery standings…

1. Memphis 19-60 .241
2. Boston 23-55 .295
3. Milwaukee 26-52 .333
4. Atlanta 29-49 .372
5. Seattle 31-48 .392
6. Portland 31-47 .397
7. Charlotte 32-47 .405
8. New York 32-46 .410
9. Sacramento 32-46 .410
10. Philadelphia 33-45 .423
11. Indiana 35-43 .449
12. Orlando 36-42 .462
13. New Orl/OKC 37-41 .474
14. LA Clippers 37-40 .481
15. New Jersey 37-40 .481
16. Golden State 38-40 .487

Would you have kept Rose and Taylor’s contracts?

One of the more irritating things this season reading John Hollinger has been his consistent (not constant, as he has only brought it up a few times, but he has done so consistently – the same talking points) harping on the Knicks paying off of Jalen Rose and Maurice Taylor, which kept the Knicks from using their salaries in a similar way to the way they used Antonio Davis and Anfernee Hardaway last year, to trade to teams trying to clear salary cap room (a move that was pretty clearly done by the owner as an attempt to keep Isiah Thomas from doing those trades, as they usually involve taking on more salary).

My problem with Hollinger’s criticism is that I just do not think it is reasonable to believe that, had the Knicks kept the salaries and done similar moves to last year, Hollinger wouldn’t have (probably rightfully) ripped the Knicks for doing what he is currently chastisizing them for not doing! A true lose-lose proposition.

First off, the idea that, had the Knicks kept Jalen Rose’s contract, they would have been able to pick up Pau Gasol (as Hollinger recently suggested) is pretty silly.

But there probably would be a couple of other players that the Knicks could have at least been in the running for had they kept Rose and/or Taylor’s contracts.

My question is, do you think the Knicks are better off letting the contracts expire, or do you think they should have kept the salaries to make trades?

I personally think it is better to just take the money loss (and the Balkman pick that they got with Jalen Rose) and let the money come off the cap. The Knicks won’t be under the cap any time soon, but I’d prefer to keep that possibility an actual possibility, which would not be the case if they kept trading salaries for longer-term contracts. And really, who really WAS available this year? Anyone who could really change the Knicks? If Gasol could have been gotten, I guess that would have worked, but I sincerely doubt the Knicks would have been able to get Gasol.

But I’m interested in hearing from the rest of you folks. What do you think the Knicks should have done with Rose and Taylor’s contracts?