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Friday, August 1, 2014

Balkman Traded for Nothing?

According to ESPN:

The Denver Nuggets have traded Taurean Green, Bobby Jones and a 2010 second-round draft pick to the Knicks for Renaldo Balkman and cash considerations, an NBA front-office source tells ESPN.com’s John Hollinger.

Green and Jones are likely to be cut because they have non-guaranteed deals, the source told Hollinger. Their acquisitions would increase the Knicks’ roster to 17 players.

Interesting that Hollinger broke the story for ESPN, although he does cover the Knicks for the NY Sun. As for the Knicks, assuming that they’re going to cut Green and Jones, this is a bad trade. Balkman has value as a defender, rebounder, and transition player. If the only thing New York ends up with is the draft pick it’s a total loss. They’re not likely to get an NBA caliber with that 2nd round pick.

Until this is official I’m hoping that one of two things are true about this trade: either the draft pick is a conditional first or they are going to cut someone else and keep Green. He had nice numbers in 8 games in the NBDL and is only 21 years old. At least it would mean they got something out of the deal.

332 comments on “Balkman Traded for Nothing?

  1. Dan Panorama

    Oh my god, this sucks. How long ago was it that we were refusing to include him an Artest deal? I guess I see the logic in that Balkman wasn’t a likely fit for D’antoni and because of Chandler/Galinari he wouldn’t get the minutes needed to showcase him and boost his trade value…but this still hurts.

  2. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Newsday has confirmed it:

    “The New York Knickerbockers President of Basketball Operations Donnie Walsh announced today that a 2010 second-round draft choice, guard Taurean Green and guard/forward Bobby Jones have been acquired from Denver for forward Renaldo Balkman and cash considerations.”

    I hope Balkman was moved because of Gallinari/Chandler and not Q-Rich/Jeffries/Gallinari/Chandler…

  3. daaarn

    i’ve been away for a little while and the first thing i see when i get back is this. yeesh. i hope there’s more to the trade than what’s in the article (or at least some other move over the horizon), b/c giving up a young guy willing to play defense like that is pretty hard to fathom

  4. Count Zero

    Mystified.

    The only rumor I heard that makes any sense is that D’Antoni / the FO felt Balkman wasn’t mentally capable of learning the D’Antoni system — a system which is all read and react. (You know what that means? If Balkman was too dumb to learn the system, noted Rhodes Scholar Stephon Marbury isn’t even bothering to try.)

    Still gotta’ think even if you don’t want Balkman, he had more value in a trade than you got for him. D’Antoni must have been really down on Balkman for some reason…

  5. Count Zero

    I loves me some Humpty as much as the next guy, but If this is a way of clearing roster spots for a multi-player deal involving Randolph, I understand it.

    Now THAT actually makes some sense. I guess we’ll see…

  6. Thomas B.

    I feel like I brought this on the Knicks, well me and Capt. Merlin, who were pleading with Donnie to do something. I sense yet another conflict within. A debate between my rational side and my emotional side….

    Rational: “This is for the best. How many teams carry five SFs anyway? C’mon 1 of the 5 SFs on the team was likely to be traded. They drafted DG, they seem to love WC, and they are stuck with Q and JJ, so yeah Balkman seems to be the odd man out.”

    Emotional: “Rational, you are a damned fool! Balkman’s a great rebounder, solid defender, and efficient scorer. How could that player ever be the odd man out? He’s Reggie Evans sanz the ugly. Why not just cut Rose and let Balkman play spot duty at 3 and 4? Teams should take the same approach to roster management as they do to the draft. On draft night you take the best player. You dont worry about position, you take the best player you can get and find a way to make it work. You do the same thing with your roster. You keep the best players and you move the bad ones. Balkman is better than either of the JJs, and Rose. They should have hit the chopping block first!!”

    Rational: “Emotional, I need you to stop yelling. Balkman did not get alot of playing time last year, there had to be a reason for that. He could not get 20 mpg on a 23 win team. That must tell you something. Even when we lost Q, and Marbury for extended periods, he could not crack the rotation. Hell, he could not even take minutes from Fred Jones.”

    Emotional: Okay fine, maybe there was no room, but you traded him for nothing!! And you still are stuck with that giant zero James. His fat butt takes up two roster spots, the one he wastes and the one he keeps from a productive player.

    Rational: C’mon lets be rational. Balkman was not that good.

    Emotional: Not true. Nothing you say is true.

    Rational: “He doesnt fit the D’antoni system.”

    Emotional: “Not true.”

    Rational: “We should have drafted Williams or Rondo in his place.”

    Emotional: “Not true.”

    Rational: “No half court offense.”

    Emotional: “Not true.”

    Rational: “He has far less talent that Gallanari and Chandler.”

    Emotional: “Not true.”

    Rational: “He smokes way too much weed.”

    Emotional: “…… Uh….”

    Rational: “I rest my case.”

  7. Jose B

    This is not necessarily a terrible trade, but it is definitely a setback for the Knicks. Balkman was a legit defensive stopper, the type of guy you can either throw at the other teams best scorer, be it LeBron, Pierce, or whoever. Sure he is an offensive liability, but the Celtics won a championship by proving that team defense, rebounding and timely shooting are all keys to winning. Balkman gives you two of those, and certainly can be surrounded by good shooters. Now on the bright side, this does shave 3 mill off the payroll for 2010/11, so every little bit helps. Also, it frees up minutes for Gallinari and Chandler to develop and show LeBron that he will have at least two capable running mates if he does decide to bolt Cleveland for the Knicks. Let’s not rush to diss Walsh/D’Antoni on this trade because in the end they are making moves with a much bigger picture in mind.

  8. Frank

    “Caleb – Jul 28th, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    ” D’Antoni likes players that are versatile and who can shoot.”

    Based on… ummm…. Steve Nash was his PG? Mike D. had below-average shooters at 2 or 3 positions, every year except the first one, in Phoenix. And his offense there was exactly the opposite of an offense that requires good outside shooters.

    My best analysis is that Balkman seems to have a knack for unsettling management. And for getting hurt.”

    And for fouling.
    And for jumping on shot fakes.
    And for not improving his free throw shooting one bit in 2 years.
    And for not improving his jump shooting one bit in 2 years.

    I really liked Balkman on the team and am pseudo-impressed by his +/- on our team (probably most likely due to coming in for QRich most times), but I really don’t think he fits on a D’Antoni team.

    Sorry Caleb but your point about D’Antoni’s system not requiring good shooters just makes no sense to me. Name me one player other than Brian Skinner (who I’m sure made Mike D gag every time he had to put him in the game) and Shaq who got significant minutes on any D’Antoni team in the last three years that can’t hit a 15 foot jump shot.

    let’s see–

    Stoudemire (especially over the last 1-2 years) is a pretty good shooter for his position, not to mention the best finisher in the league.

    Kurt Thomas, same. One of the better pick-and-pop and set shooters from the PF position.

    Shawn Marion shoots respectably from 3 (career 34%), certainly well enough to require respect. Also ridiculously versatile in so many other ways.

    Raja Bell is a 41% career 3 point shooter.

    Steve Nash speaks for himself.

    Barbosa is a 41% career 3 point shooter.

    Diaw is not a good 3 point shooter but is a fair mid-range shooter and is extremely versatile, good ball handler, good post-up player as we saw in the playoffs when he caused all those problems for the Spurs.

    Giricek is not good as a player but shoots 37% from 3 for his career.

    Grant Hill is not a great 3 point shooter but is a good mid-range shooter and very versatile, great ball-handler.

    James Jones got some burn 2-3 years ago, shoots 40% from 3 for his career.

    Tim Thomas, for all his inability to fulfill his potential is a 37% 3 point shooter for his career at 6’10″

    Eddie House got good burn while he was there, is a shooting specialist.

    The way I read D’Antoni’s system is that it is reliant on spacing and good PG play. Spacing in my mind is created by having good shooters on the floor. So to say that his system is the opposite of one requiring good shooters just makes no sense.

  9. daniel

    “This is not necessarily a terrible trade, but it is definitely a setback for the Knicks….”

    So how is this not necessarily a terrible trade, if it is pointless – other than being a setback?

    …I could stab myself in the foot for no reason today, and although I might not be in dire straits, I’d be injuring myself for no reason.

  10. Z

    This is tough to figure out. I suppose it’s easiest to assume that Count 0, and Caleb on the last thread, are probably right– that management simply didn’t like Balkman for whatever reasons they have.

    Still, at least package him with a player you don’t want who actually sucks (take your choice of pretty much everybody else on the roster).

    If we are angling for a pick, 2nd rounders are for sale every year. (Maybe we were able to get the Clippers’ conditional 2nd round pick from the Camby trade for Balkman!!)

    If it was Green we wanted, he was traded last year for summer league no-show Von Wafer. The age old question “who benefitted more from the Wafer-Green trade, the Nuggets or the Blazers?” now has an answer. The Knicks.

    My best guess:

    Sydney Green still wields huge amounts of influence within the Kick franchise…

  11. Z

    KB– I tried going back to the archives to re-read a post from Nov. 2007 (Balkman future DPOY). I couldn’t pull up anything from the archives. Is there a trick or are the archives inaccessible these days?

  12. alee

    D’Antoni and Walsh must be really high on Danillo and I dont know why, he has disaster written all over him. They move balkman (probably our best defender) to make space for a first round European pick who already shows signs of not being tough enough to make it through a Summer league. Yes, Balkman is not the most skilled NBA player out there, but you cannot tell me the only thing you can get for him is two journeymen and a second rounder? I have to say the Walsh/Dantoni era isn’t off to a good start.

    Summer League:

    Danillo 1 game (sat out the rest due to injury)
    Bayless Summer League MVP

    If anything we should have drafted bayless and tried to trade crawford. Bayless is sure to be a better pro than Danillo and Crawford is worth more than what we got from Balkman. Plus I’ll add it again, he is our BEST DEFENDER!!!!!!

  13. Brian

    Looks like a straight salary dumping trade to me. Trade Balkman and his $1.32 million salary for guys with non-guaranteed contracts. Cut down on the roster count by 1. Add a draft pick for tradeable assets along the way.

  14. Ted Nelson

    I don’t think this trade makes or breaks the Donnie Walsh era, but I absolutely hate it. If for no other reason than he got Isiahed into giving Denver their dream deal and getting nothing in return. You can’t even say he got cap space in 2010: the Knicks don’t have to pick up Balkman’s option for 09/10 or extend him a qualifying offer in 10/11. Maybe there is just nothing out there for Balkman, so Walsh thought 3 2nd rounders was a good deal. (After he passed on the Randolph deal you have to seriously wonder if Donnie Walsh isn’t the NBA’s new Isiah in terms of having no clue about player’s trade values.)

    Denver looked like the new worst run team in the NBA after giving away Camby, now Donnie gets dooped by the Nuggets???? This better be part of a larger strategy or this is going to be another long 5 years of misery.

    Denver risks nothing and adds a top notch defender who will have his best chance at making an impact in the NBA playing on a team with Melo, AI, and JR Smith. This is a situation where you make them sweat it out and get a future first.

    Was Donnie quick on the trigger because the memory of passing on the chance to move Randolph for nothing was so fresh in his mind?

  15. teddd

    Jones also has a solid defensive rep it’s just that nobody has really given him a chance thus far. And while his accuracy hasn’t been great thus far unlike Balkman, he does have that type of range. It makes you wonder if he won’t be another one of those R.Bell/B.Bowen types given enough time to develop?

    And one could actually call it encouraging that he’s played for 6 (now 7) teams in just 2 seasons. It probably mean that a lot of coaches and GM’s like what he brings.

  16. Ted Nelson

    alee,

    “D’Antoni and Walsh must be really high on Danillo and I dont know why, he has disaster written all over him.”

    What are you talking about? He’s European and had a sore back so he’s soft?

    Danilo has good basketball player written all over him based on his stats in 2 strong professional leagues in Europe and the way he played in that one summer league game. Bayless looks like a good player as well, but Nate Robinson was last season’s summer league MVP.

  17. Z

    Looks like a straight salary dumping trade to me. Trade Balkman and his $1.32 million salary for guys with non-guaranteed contracts. Cut down on the roster count by 1. Add a draft pick for tradeable assets along the way.

    Okay. You’ve rationalized it (well done!). But, where do you stand on it?? A salary dump of $1 million? We’re the New York-fucking-Knicks. Our payroll is $90 million and it’s all for crappy players. We dump Balkman’s $1 million instead of Randolph’s $48 million?

    If we’re in salary dump mode, we seriously need a new auditor.

  18. Ted Nelson

    teddd,

    I do like Jones a bit. He and Green (the 2nd former Gator guard added this offseason, while Jones also played with Nate Rob) do have some chance to become rotation players in the NBA. I question the report that they’ll both be cut. Maybe, but I doubt this was a money saving move. Maybe Walsh views Balkman basically as a 2nd rounder (where a lot of people think he would have gone if Isiah hadn’t drafted him), and figures the odds are a lot better that 1 of 3 2nd rounders becomes a rotation player than 1 of 1. (I personally think Balkman showed enough to be considered a lot better than your average 2nd rounder.) Or maybe Walsh and/or D’Antoni was/were really high on Jones and/or Green and jumped at the chance (or maybe David Lee and Nate Robinson are now running the show and the Knicks will now become a roster of former Gators and Huskies rather than former one and dones and high schoolers).

    I’m just really frustrated that a couple weeks after reportedly passing up the chance to give away one of my least favorite Knicks they apparently jump on the chance to give away

  19. Frank

    FYI re: Bobby Jones — here are some cut/pastes from his draftexpress scouting report from 2006 draft. Should remind you of a certain player he was just traded for. And for what it’s worth, he shot 33% and 51% from 3 point range his junior/senior years of college and 68% and 75% from the free throw line. Sounds like an upgrade already.

    DraftExpress All-Orlando Pre-Draft Camp Teams
    June 15, 2006
    Solid as a rock would be the best way to describe the best perimeter defender in the 2006 draft. Jones wasn’t the flashiest player in Orlando, but he got the job done for his team every single time he stepped out on the floor by doing all the little things. Using his terrific height (6-7) and length (6-9.5), Jones shut down every single player he was asked to match up against, doing a fantastic job not only staying in front of his man, but also intimidating him enough with his quick hands and excellent strength and hustle to force him to give up the ball with his sheer peskiness. When given the opportunity, Jones looked quite content going down to the post to help out on the glass or even rotate over for a blocked shot on a smaller player.

    Bobby Jones NBA Draft Scouting Report
    April 11, 2006
    Strengths
    Bobby Jones is a defensive stopper in the truest sense. He has great size and quickness and moves his feet intelligently, always staying in front of his man and taking great pride in harassing whoever he is guarding. He is a versatile defender as well; being used in college to defend any position on the court 1-5. Jones does a good job with post defense and he can defend shorter players on the perimeter as well. He is exceptional at sliding his feet from side to side, knowing when to extend or advance his on the ball defensive position and having the instincts to retreat backwards while staying in his defensive stance and keeping his technique.

    He is not incredibly thick or bulky as a player physically but is a very good athlete overall. He runs the court well, can slash to the hoop, finish in traffic and make some agile plays while in the air. He is a quick leaper as well that can get off the ground in a hurry. Jones has a very good wingspan and uses it on defense to get into the passing lanes and pick up steals.

    Jones is mostly a role player and doesn’t seem to have a problem with that. Offensively he is a decent slasher, being able to take a few short dribbles with his right hand to get to the hoop. Jones moves well without the ball, cutting to the basket and looking for opportunities to come up with cheap baskets in the paint. Once at the rim, he has the length and athleticism to finish well at the hoop.

    Most of his scoring opportunities on offense will come in the form of put backs off offensive rebounds or layups created by teammates. Jones anticipates well and uses his quick leaping ability on the glass to get the ball at its highest point. For a SG or SF he is an above average rebounder, and can also use his length and quickness to get loose balls on defense and offense.

    Bobby Jones is not going to be a star at the next level, instead he is your consummate role player who could be a true defensive stopper in the NBA under the right coach. The special thing about Jones is the defensive versatility he has shown in college, being asked to guard all positions on the floor. If asked to switch on a screen in the NBA this will come in very handy as he is used to defending all kinds of
    offensive players, which will increase his value at the next level. He is a smart defender, and he just understands that part of the game.

    It would have been very easy for Jones, a starter for years at Washington to demand more shots and more of a role on offense. He did not do that though, he just did what was asked of and in many ways relished and grew into that role. If asked to set screens he did that, if asked to defend a bigger, larger player than him in the post he did that, if asked to guard a quick athletic scoring guard he did that as well.

    In terms of intangibles, Jones is about as solid as they come. His coaches rave about his work ethic and attitude off the court, and he’s known as a quiet hard-working type off the court as well.

  20. Owen

    Love it, trading Balkman for a guy who has played for six teams in his two year NBA career.

  21. Captain Merlin

    Well, well, well, Thomas B. I believe this is the documented case of the existence of psionic power/telepathy generated via pissoffery and boredom. This is just the sort of fuckarow that had been talked about. Sure, it is absolutely a horrible deal that I in no way condone, however this trade brings with it not only the promise of a bleaker tomorrow, but also revives the only brand ofpleasure that I have derived from these Knicks over the past 6 or 7 years. This pleasure is none other than that which comes from being able to rightfully berate management for being blundering around like a chicken with its head cut off wandering in a mine field. Hello darkness my old friend.

    Sure this clears up a bit of the glut at the 3, but I’m not terribly sure it happened how we all wanted it to. First, we get back absolutely nothing of any value for a player who likely could have at least commanded a box of jelly doughnuts more in return. Also, this means we will have only Chandler, Danilo, and Q to play the position–none of whom we’re too sure will do well–knowing our plight, it will probably be Q who winds up holding the spot down.

    By giving up our best perimeter, perhaps overall, defensive player, we have accomplished two small feats, however. We are now as close as we’ve ever been to seeing a team featuring Mardy Collins in the rotation capable of averaging 120 ppg and giving up 140 ppg. See, there is a lead lining to every silver cloud…

    Msrdy Collins, yet again the saving grace for an otherwise drab and dreary future. Bingo.

  22. dave crockett

    What is it about NY that turns otherwise sane front office personnel into blithering morons?

    There’s just no way to convince me that, even if D’Antoni said he didn’t overly care for Balkman, Walsh shouldn’t have said “So what. This kid can defend for you and doesn’t do stupid things with the ball.” It’s one thing to give away Mardy Collins for nothing, but this was just awful.

  23. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    Shit. Does this mean I have to be Taurean Green’s agent now?

    (Or conditional second round Clipper pick from the Marcus Camby trade’s agent?)

  24. ess-dog

    this is pretty bad. i mean, it’s not going to change the team keep or trade Balkman… but like is being said, very little value in return. I have to think something else is in the works (pure hope?) The money that is saved is inconsequential. They could have bought out players for the roster spots. I think some thing else is going on…

  25. Z

    Yeah, seriously– Caleb, et al, argued to keep Randolph/Marbury on the team because they could at least bring in something of value in the next two years. Seemed like that was Walsh’s theory too. Now this.

    All I know is Randolph better be gone by Nov. 1 or MSG will have one less viewer of their games…

  26. Owen

    “it’s not going to change the team to keep or trade Balkman”

    Who on this team is any fun to watch? Nate? Alright, sort of fun. But Balkman was awesome. Blocks, dunks, vicious fouls, fast breaks, mind bogglingly bad foul shots.

    Not only are we going to be terrible, but we are going to be so frigging boring. We will have literally one player on the team who can dunk, and that’s a 5-7 lilliputian who performs best when there is no one else on the court.

    I am really upset….

  27. Isiah Watch

    I don’t get this trade. I guess we are doing exactly what Isiah Thomas did which was evaluate the trade in its part and not as a whole.

    As a whole we have seen Dantoni pick up a back up point guard who is going to be given a chance to start, a spot up shooter in the Eddie House mold, and now trade away Balkman who was a great defender, but also had atitude issues and wasn’t known to hit the gym early and get in extra practice. Plus someone mentioned his smoking habits.

    So whether or not we like it or not Balkman wasn’t going to become Marcus Camby.

    That being said him going to Denver helps Denver a lot because he goes to a team where the only time he will touch the ball is when he gets a rebound and or blocks a shot. So he may blossom in Denver.

    The alternative was to trade David Lee and I would rather trade Balkman vs David Lee.

  28. Captain Merlin

    ess-dog…I’m not too sure what else could be going on. Stockpiling guys who can’t play with unguaranteed contracts in order to make a big a big run at…Marko Jaric? Steven Hunter? Wow the possibilities of the future just make me tingly with excitement.

    At least we haven’t yet broken up the vaunted Mardy & Malik inside-outside connection.

  29. TDM

    Chandler will be starting at SF by mid-season. Q will pick up the scraps. There was no room for Balkman. This is unfortunate because I did like the energy he brought. That said, the dude was a liability — his jump shot and free throw shooting flat out sucked. Although Abbey is right that we didn’t give him an opportunity to show what he can do, Chandler looks much more rounded for the SF position.

    My bet is that the Knicks get rid of Big Snacks either by medical retirement or buy out, and they keep T Green.

    It would have been nice if we could have worked out a 3-way deal sending Zbo to LA, Balk to Den and getting back Camby.

  30. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    Boy, between Renaldo, Melo, and AI there is new meaning to the “Mile High Club”.

    Hope the Nuggets don’t have to play any games at 4:20 next season.

  31. Captain Merlin

    “The alternative was to trade David Lee and I would rather trade Balkman vs David Lee.”

    What the hell is that supposed to mean? It’s not as if someone put the starter pistol to Walsh’s head and made him choose between offing Lee or Balkman. His hand was not forced. He could have easily just held them both rather than pull this sort of shenanigan.

  32. Captain Merlin

    How could you not trust your fate to an article written by a guy in his late 20′s who wears a backwards black hat in his “media photo” and has penned a lone 2 articles for site under the name “A-train.” Really, if nothing else, that profile just rings of credibility. Also I will blindly follow anything that starts off “Some people are going to call me crazy here–and maybe I am…” Who Wouldn’t?

  33. Owen

    Honestly, never has the scoring bias been so confirmed.

    This is basically the start of the Wilson Chandler era in New York. Some people like him on this board, and I am still reserving full judgment, but notwithstanding his last six games or whatever, he sucked in his rookie year.

    Clearly tbough, the Knicks chose him over Balkman because they could envision him playing an offensive role. D”Antoni got a positive impression of him in summer league, where his TS% has 51%.

    Honestly, I am getting more incensed by the minute….

  34. Adam

    I’m not sure what all the consternation here is about.

    Balkman was a fun player to watch and had some skills, but really is his presence on the team going to make or break the Knicks in the next three years?

    Could the Knicks start Balkman over Chandler? Should he play over Dano? Who is more likely to be a a part of the next winning Knicks team.

    Yes, the Knicks should be getting rid of Q and Randolph and Jeffries and Fat Boy James — but unless Issiah is the GM of another team out there who’s gonna take them.

    Could the Knicks have gotten more? I don’t know, but I wish they had that second rounder this year. Walsh is a professional, he’s not perfect, but this isn’t his first rodeo, so I’m sure

    Even Bowen who Balkman is compared to is a 39% 3pt shooter — Balkman 15%.

    A good team can make a player like that work, on a bad team its a luxury. Not to mention the fact that he may not have the basketball mind for D’Antoni’s system.

    The Knicks are not going to be good this year or next, accept that fact. My guess is they’ll be better and give us plenty of excitement (the good kind) and hope going forward.

    And just think — it can’t get any worse.

  35. Isiah Watch

    The Knicks were looking to trade David Lee.

    Because they needed to get under the cap in 2010 nad 2011. They got rid of Balkman instead albeit saved a little bit less money.

    Big Snacks will get the buyout and as a collection of moves Walsh who has mentioned that getting under the cap is goal #1 is doing his job.

    goal #2 is getting to the playoffs.

    Right now guys as long as we can get to 40 wins in 2 years that is the goal + having some cap room to get someone legitimate.

    Remember we have to undo what Isiah did.

  36. Brian Cronin

    Honestly, I am getting more incensed by the minute….

    I’ve been trying to calm myself down since I saw the trade announced.

    It was like I got kicked in the stomach, that’s how shitty this move is.

    There’s got to be some silver lining here, right? Somewhere? Anywhere?

    Please, Walsh, pull off a Z-Bo trade tomorrow that will make me feel better.

    Because otherwise, the Walsh era has begun with a terrible non-move followed by an even worse (only worse because I can sorta believe that maybe the Clippers did ask for a pick) move.

  37. justin

    i liked balkman and all, but there was no way he was part of the long term plan..everyone should calm down and wait to see the final roster the knicks hand in before the season begins

  38. Owen

    “Remember we have to undo what Isiah did.”

    NO WE DON’T!

    Literally, IT did two good things. He drafted Lee and Balkman. And in this offseason, the only thing we seem bent on doing is reversing those actions. It’s honestly ludicrous.

    And we aren’t saving any money towards the cap. As has been pointed out 100 times, Balkman could have been released after next year, if it came to that.

    Adam – Here is a comparison of Balkman’s freshman numbers with Bowen’s numbers last year. Cherry picking perhaps, but you will notice that Balkman pretty much destroys Bowen in every category. He had a better ts%, better scoring, better assists, averaged 6.5! rebounds per 36 more. The only exception is turnovers. And that was his rookie season. He also had a 10 point impact on defensive +/-. Balkman is good, awesome to watch, and absolutely the kind of complementary player you can cultivate while waiting to add a scoring superstar. And we gave him away.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=balkmre01&y1=2007&p2=bowenbr01&y2=2008

  39. bud

    i think the nuggets are a good destination for balkman, he can step right into that edward najera role they had last year, which is vacant with the mexican’s departure. a good trade for the nuggets.

    im not a huge balkman fan (you know, since he’s not that good at basketball) and he wasn’t a player to build around, but trading him for nothing is stupid. his contract was only for 1.32 mil, it’s not like we were obligated to extend him longterm, and we never even gave him a shot to play meaningful minutes. taurean green, from what i have seen of him, and that is a lot, is not an nba player. he is slow, small, and a bad passer for his position. the only thing he does at a pro level is bomb the three. bobby jones i don’t know much about, but he sounds less physically gifted than balkman.

    the gallinari/chandler pt comments are probably spot on, and the knicks prolly moved balkman so he can actually get minutes somewhere, and earn himself another gauranteed deal in the future. if we weren’t gonna play him anyway, maybe it’s for the best, though i wish we got something other than nothing for him.

  40. Matthew

    Looks like Owen is backing away from his “Balkman is comparable to Josh Smith” comments from a few weeks ago and now going with Bowen as the example.

    The glaring thing to me about that comparison is Bowen’s 3P%. I don’t believe Bowen would be nearly as valuable on the Spurs if he didn’t have that one skill that Balkman will absolutely never have. I don’t think you can compare the (very rare) transition basket to that.

  41. Z

    “as long as we can get to 40 wins in 2 years that is the goal”

    You mean 20 wins this year, 20 wins next year?? Even with the bar set lower than the Knick’s collective basketball IQ, the way things are looking, that goal may even be unattainable…

  42. bernardking

    I am ambivalent about the deal, but Im neither surprised nor do I feel its awful. They got a 2nd round pick for Balkman right now which is what he is worth. He shouldnt have been a first round pick. He is a pure hustle guy with limited offensive skills. He has not improved one bit in 2 years and from what I saw of the games he played in Vegas, he still is the same guy — a pure energy guy capable of changing the game tempo but a complete liability on offense other than in finishing fast breaks. His inability to hit free throws further exacerbates the problem.

    Whatever the reasons for the trade, my frustration is that I thought it was a horrible draft pick at the time. We desperately needed (and still do) a PG of the future. The following players were still on the board and will all likely be better or at least more useful NBA players:

    20. Balkman
    21. Rajon Rondo (!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    22. Marcus Williams (hasnt been great but still has potential)
    23. Josh Boone (solid role player, also an awful FT shooter but plays the 4 and 5 and is a defensive specialist)
    24. Kyle Lowry (productive backup)
    25. Shannon Brown (bust)
    26. Jordan Farmar (productive backup)

    so Rondo is a starter and Boone, Lowry and Farmar are all productive backups that fill defined roles. Williams still has upside (although he in all likelihood is a bust).

    Rondo and Boone were both much better fits for the Knicks.

    To make matters worse, the “need” for Balkman only came about because of the horrendous trade we made for Steve Francis. had we just kept Trevor Ariza, the “need” for Balkman would not have existed. We would have Ariza in the defensive spark off the bench role and we probably draft Rondo who was the defensive type we needed and wanted (and then tried to get in Mardy Collins).

    So instead of having Ariza, Rondo and say, Craig Smith (who also has been a decent role player in the NBA), we are stuck with Z-Bo and have Mardy Collins.

    Nice.

  43. Ray

    Wow some of you guys really love Balkman. I presume some of the anger is because some of us feel we ddint get good value in return. Well, I remember many games where because of his energy Balk came in and changed the pace of the game. I also remember other games when he didnt do a damn thing!!! He was a guy that played D-fense and dunked and rebounded a bit. Thats about it. He wasnt going to come in and show us the jumper he worked on during the summer. There never is going to be one. If this makes room for minutes for Danillo and Chandler then im cool with that. These young guys will finally be able to develop all-round skills in real games with out hiding behind vets with fat contracts that have to be played. We are slowly becoming a more promising ,younger and cap free team. Hopefully we will get rid of Zacheuus Randolph soon. Other than that relax guys it was only Renaldo Balkman not Chris Paul.

  44. Owen

    I don’t remember comparing Smith and Balkman, but its a fair comparison to make. Balkman in his rookie year posted numbers that were better than what Josh Smith did this year. He is a better rebounder, turned the ball over much less, more steals, with a slightly higher ts%. Balkman better than Smith? I think so. But that is just me and a few others, and it isn’t really the point. Balkman could have been signed to a small contract. Josh Smith and his 3 turnovers per game and his lifetime 51% ts@ are apparently worth 10 million plus. You can’t win in the NBA with Josh Smith signed to a big deal. You most certainly can win with a talent like Balkman signed to a reasonable deal. In fact that is exactly how you win, by having a few underappreciated talents to play with genuine superstars. For instance, Rondo, Perkins, Powe, and Posey.

    Phew, must calm down, must calm down. So Matthew, I am not going to enter a discussion of what I think of Bruce Bowen’s ability to stretch the floor with his three point shooting.

    I wouldn’t mind having Rondo, Farmar, Boone or Lowry on the team. That is besides the point.

    The point is that this sends a terrible message about what D’Antoni and Walsh think is the way forward. They prefer players like Roberson, Collins, and Chandler to Balkman, which bodes very poorly for the future imho.

  45. CMAC

    I have never seen so many people get so worked up over somebody who has averaged 4.2 points in 15 min. a game. Listen I liked him but he is not a make or break player. This will not determine the outcome of the Knicks season. He was fun to watch at times but come on guys don’t get all riled up for Renaldo Balkman. This isn’t Patrick Ewing. This is a bench player not even a role player. This is a new regime in place and Balk didn’t fit in to their plan. Lets relax a bit and enjoy the baseball season. Come on guys I think we over value and under value our own players and i really doubt any other GM really thought this guy was worth a first round pick. Balk I enjoyed watching you play and at times the most exciting person on the court good luck.

  46. Italian Stallion

    I realize many people here like Balkman’s game and can point to various rebounding, efficiency, and defense oriented stats to make the case for why he has value. However, he wasn’t going to get much, if any, time on THIS Knick’s team. Balkman simply does not have the required skill set for this team given the way they think about the game.

    Please don’t shoot the messenger! (me)

    This management team believes that statistics tell you what happened, but they don’t tell you WHY they happened.

    This management team believes that a teams needs a balanced attack of inside and outside shooting, passing, speed, rebounding, shot blocking, basketball IQ, defense etc…

    They look at a guy like Balkman and see a guy that can contribute defensively, on the boards, and with his energy. However, they also see a guy that is extremely limited as a shooter, on the free throw line, and in basketball IQ. So in order to create a balanced attack he needs to be teamed with exceptionally talented offensive players. Otherwise he becomes a net liability. I have discussed this in the past. Again, management doesn’t really care whether stats oriented people agree. That’s just the way it is. So get used to it. It’s going to govern all their thinking. SF’s like Chandler and Gallinari are the future.

    IMO, this is actually going to be a great thing for Balkman. Denver is the perfect fit for him. With scorers like Anthony and Iverson on the team, he can get minutes, contribute to the Nuggets in important ways because he has the skill set they need, but he won’t be a drag on their offense because of the high powered offensive players they have.

  47. Count Zero

    Boy, between Renaldo, Melo, and AI there is new meaning to the “Mile High Club”.
    Hope the Nuggets don’t have to play any games at 4:20 next season.

    lol

    Seriously, I think I’ve come up with a comforting analogy (rationalization?) for this trade…

    Picture this: You buy a $1 scratch off ticket (2nd round pick). You scratch off half the circles and it’s obvious two possible outcomes remain when you scratch off the other half: 50% you win $2 (NBA role player). 50% you win nothing (bench warmer or released). Another guy comes up to you with an untouched $1 scratch off ticket (2nd round pick) and offers to trade it for yours. You take the deal and give up a 50/50 shot at $2 hoping your next $1 scratch off ticket (2nd round pick) will be lucky and you’ll win $50 (NBA starter) on it. Also, you get to have fun scratching off more circles. ;-)

    That’s what this seems like to me. I’m less annoyed by this trade the more I look at it — I think we sold low, but really, (as many have said) how important is Balkman to our future?

  48. Owen

    “how important is Balkman to our future?”

    Less important than Anthony Roberson apparently, which is what I find disquieting.

    I love Balk, sorry to see him go, and I am glad he is going somewhere that should be the perfect situation for him.

    That’s it from me on this.

  49. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    KB– I tried going back to the archives to re-read a post from Nov. 2007 (Balkman future DPOY). I couldn’t pull up anything from the archives. Is there a trick or are the archives inaccessible these days?

    Sorry I guess searching & the archives weren’t working. Here’s the Balkman Link. Funny thing is that it was against Denver.

  50. ess-dog

    yeah well how come Williams from NJ is worth a 1st round pick, and Balkman is only worth garbage and a 2nd? I mean, I liked Green in college, but that’s all we could get? what about a sign and trade for JR Smith? What about some real options? Hopefully we’ll at least keep Green and finally boot Collins to the curb. If we could just pick up some really good ex-Gators now, Walsh would be onto something!
    Ha!

  51. ess-dog

    wow – the clips signed Ricky Davis? Are we have a ‘who’s the worst organization’ contest with them or what?

  52. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    IS you mention Balkman’s “lack of IQ” twice, but I didn’t see it that way. An observational view from a Balkman game last year:

    Balkman has amazing quickness to recover to the outside, phenomenal leaping ability, and superb length. I don’t think I’ve seen many defenders that can reach the outside and block the shot of an open shooter standing behind the arc. Bruce Bowen can’t do it. Ron Artest can’t either. The only comparison I have is Andrei Kirilenko. It’s funny because at some point last year KnickerBlogger writer, and USC employee, Dave Crockett received flack for using the same comparison. Watching Balkman, the analogy is apt.

    But Balkman isn’t just your run-of-the-mill skinny shot blocker. Balkman’s most impressive work of the second half was on Carmelo Anthony. Due primarily to the work of Balkman, Anthony shot 2-9 in the second half with 3 turnovers. Against Anthony, Balkman bodied him up, usually on the blocks, and forced him into uncomfortable situations. Balkman blocked one of Carmelo’s layups in the third quarter, and forced Anthony to cough the ball up with a critical charging call in the fourth quarter. The latter play was partially due to Marbury reaching for the ball, but Balkman anticipated the spot Anthony would turn to and hit the floor convincingly when contact was made. It was the type of play that Artest or Bowen excel at. Strong physical defense combined with the intelligence to know when to hit the floor.

    Good defensive players usually excel at only one area of defense. There are the skinny shot blockers like Kirilenko, Camby, and Gadzuric who aren’t physical enough to be effective man defenders. On the other hand there are good man defenders that don’t block shots well, such as Jason Collins, Bruce Bowen, and Kurt Thomas. However Balkman seems to encompass both attributes, which makes him a particularly strong defender. If he can ever get enough minutes and stay healthy, I could see Balkman could competing for a DPOY.

    Maybe you’re only looking at things from the offensive side of the ball?

  53. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, it is an absolute joke that Marcus Williams garnered a first rounder and Balkman only a second rounder.

  54. Z-man

    I would have liked to see us get more for Balkman, but the bottom line for me is that he is not a smart basketball player. I thought his defensive (that’s right, defensive!) lapse at the end of the San Antonio game was indicative of a massive lack of b-ball IQ. He is an unskilled player at a skill-demanding position (please don’t tell me about his ability to play 2 or 4, he is a 3, period.) The smarter SFs in the league will keep him on the bench with foul trouble, or will exploit his propensity to be out of position.

    If we are willing to give Walsh (and to a lesser extent, D’Antoni)the benefit of the doubt, they must have some dope on Balk (no pun intended) that we don’t, or they are less than enamored with his lack of understanding of the nuances of the game and his woeful FT shooting. Perhaps they feel that there is more chance that Chandler will improve on D to compliment his O than Balk will do vice versa.

  55. Thomas B.

    Well, well, well, Thomas B. I believe this is the documented case of the existence of psionic power/telepathy generated via pissoffery and boredom. This is just the sort of fuckarow that had been talked about. Sure, it is absolutely a horrible deal that I in no way condone, however this trade brings with it not only the promise of a bleaker tomorrow, but also revives the only brand ofpleasure that I have derived from these Knicks over the past 6 or 7 years. This pleasure is none other than that which comes from being able to rightfully berate management for being blundering around like a chicken with its head cut off wandering in a mine field. Hello darkness my old friend.
    Sure this clears up a bit of the glut at the 3, but I’m not terribly sure it happened how we all wanted it to. First, we get back absolutely nothing of any value for a player who likely could have at least commanded a box of jelly doughnuts more in return. Also, this means we will have only Chandler, Danilo, and Q to play the position–none of whom we’re too sure will do well–knowing our plight, it will probably be Q who winds up holding the spot down.
    By giving up our best perimeter, perhaps overall, defensive player, we have accomplished two small feats, however. We are now as close as we’ve ever been to seeing a team featuring Mardy Collins in the rotation capable of averaging 120 ppg and giving up 140 ppg. See, there is a lead lining to every silver cloud…
    Msrdy Collins, yet again the saving grace for an otherwise drab and dreary future. Bingo.

    Thank you. I really needed that laugh. Yeah, we have telepathic perhaps even some telekenetic powers people. So if one of us is crowned Prom King, you damn well better not drop a bucket of pigs blood on us-or else. Well before I lose my gift, trade Zach Randolph, trade Zach Randolph, trade Zach Randolph….

  56. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Even though I like Balkman, he was definitely was their most exciting player, I’m not so upset that they traded him. I can see him having a Bo Outlaw/Bruce Bowen type career as a defensive specialist with a seriously limited offensive game. And maybe it takes him a few stops to get his act together and take the NBA more seriously (obviously he didn’t impress his old or new coach).

    I’m more upset how they traded him. I think they could have gotten more. New York has a logjam at SF with Chandler, Gallinari, Richardson, and Jeffries. But is there anyone that would rather see Richardson or Jeffries instead of Balkman next year? That the Denver Post reported that the Knicks also gave up a half a million dollars, this deal is probably more about getting Balkman out of town than anything else.

    I know a lot of Knick fans are unhappy with this move, and they should be. But on the bright side, this isn’t the worst deal Walsh could have made. (Let’s say he traded Lee instead and extended Eddy Curry’s contract.) Most likely this won’t be the move the Knicks rue 4 years from now. And in the next few days Walsh will be forced to make some roster moves, which will end the suspense of who will be around come November.


    Just as a funny note nbadraft.net’s mock draft for 2010 has Paul Harris of Syracuse penciled in as Denver’s 2nd round pick. Harris is a small forward who “has the body of an NFL linebacker and the athleticism of an Olympic high-jumper” with “one glaring hole in his game- his perimeter shooting.” Now that would be ironic.

    Finally what’s it with the recent Knicks & defensive minded small forwards? Matt Barnes lasted 6 games before being cut. A year later he’s a contributor in the Warriors rotation. Trevor Ariza was shipped off to Orlando and is likely to be in the Lakers rotation next year (he averaged 18 mpg in 24 games for L.A. after the trade). And now Balkman.

  57. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    From the Nuggets side, they seem to be trying to make up for the loss of Camby’s shotblocking. Steve Hunter, Chris Andersen, Balkman. They should also have Nene for the full year. Should be interesting to see how they turn out. I’d like to see Andersen get a chunk of playing time, his per-minute numbers are pretty interesting.

  58. dave crockett

    Z-man,

    I think what’s galling here though is how this deal works from a roster management perspective. Hell, it’s clear they don’t think Balkman can play; a fact that I find mind boggling on its own merit. But put that aside for a second. What leaves me scratching my head about this deal–assuming that Balkman is solely a 10th man–is that D’Antoni/Walsh would rather populate the end of the bench with undersized, completely one-dimensional CBA-quality fodder like Roberson over Balkman and even Taurean Green (who will almost assuredly get cut).

  59. Ben R

    Balkman was one of maybe 5 players on the whole team that even has a shot at being above average nba player in 2010.

    Q – no
    Marbury – no
    James – no
    Jeffries – no
    Randolph – no
    Collins – no
    Roberson – no
    Rose – no
    Crawford – probably not
    Curry – probably not (only if used extremely well)
    Duhon – maybe
    Gallinari – maybe
    Robinson – maybe
    Chandler – maybe
    Lee – Yes

    I would have put Balkman as at the very worst the fifth best player on the team, and at the very best the second best player.

    Walsh has not been a great GM since the ninties. It has been a long time since he made any really good personel moves. I am beginning to wonder how much of the Pacers problems of late are truly Bird’s fault.

    Things are not getting better. I have not seen a single move to make me confident in the new regime. (The Duhon asigning was merely solid, a decent player that we overpaid) Lee had to practically beg management to give him a chance to prove himself before trading him.

    Balkman was our second best frontcourt player. Neither Gallinari nor Chandler are capable of playing the 4/5. Balkman could. Balkman is clearly better than Randolph, Curry, James, or Rose.

    Bad trade. Even worse than giving away Balkman was that it shows me things are not getting better. Two of the three signings so far; a 6’1″ SG who cannot play defense and a 6’10″ PF/SF who cannot defend or rebound. Add that to the fact that D’Antoni is handing the reigns to Crawford and seems nervous about Lee fitting into his offense and we are in for trouble.

    I am sad and now really nervous about the people running this team. If someone had told me Isiah would give away Balkman, sign Duhon for the full MLE and draft a SF/PF that cannot defend or rebound I would be very upset, but not surprised. The management has changed yet the decision making has not gotten better. At least Isiah would have moved Randolph for a second round pick.

    I am not pining for Isiah, I am just using the comparison to show how things have not gotten better.

  60. Z-man

    Yeah, I agree, Dave, but usually when something doesn’t make sense based on limited info (not being at practices, on the bench when plays and strategies are being discussed, in the private interviews that D’ supposedly had with each player in Vegas except Steph, etc.) I am inclined to think that something else was in play. If I were to speculate, it is Balk’s slow absorbtion of the nuances of the NBA game.

    While there is a possibility that his game will develop to, say, Bowen status, I am OK with eating this one as a fan while seeing what Walsh and D’ have in mind. If Chandler becomes an 18 and 8 SF with decent D and plays 30 min per, we will not miss Balk.

    I wonder if they saw Jeffries and Balk as too similar and went with the more “mature” player, for lack of a better adjective.

  61. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Ok, let’s all calm down for a sec.

    Yes, I miss Humpty already, but let’s see what other moves Walsh has up his sleeve before we collectively throw him to the lions

    Patience, young skywalkers…

  62. Captain Merlin

    So much for those electric tumbleweeds that were rolling through here the past few days. I, myself am horribly, irretrievably infuriated towards the new guard atop the food chain, and could not be any more pleased about it. It’s a return to the roots laid by Layden and his gang. All those magical feelings we bottled away when Isiah was fired and they stepped in can come out again and retake the control they’ve had over our collective pathos for the past 6 or 7 years. Same shit, different day, new faces.

    However, on a brighter note, if the team holds on to Taurean and picks up two more former Gators–say, Matt Walsh, and oh what the hell, why not–everyone’s favorite alleged rapist, Teddy Dupay–then we could throw out five on the floor all from the same alma mater. That’s gotta be worth something, right? Probably is Mr. Walsh’s big smoke ‘em all while they’re not looking, big plan. What a fearsome fivesome. Unfortunately, he would probably wind up dumping Lee for Felton Spencer and a second rounder before we get there. At least that leaves room for Mardy to step in as the 5th member of that group. Hooray for Mardrick Lionel Collinsworth.

  63. jon abbey

    “The point is that this sends a terrible message about what D’Antoni and Walsh think is the way forward. They prefer players like Roberson, Collins, and Chandler to Balkman, which bodes very poorly for the future imho.”

    yeah, I think specifically this doesn’t bode well for David Lee’s future in orange and blue. D’Antoni’s NBA history is that he wants as many outside shooters as possible, regardless of what else they can do.

  64. Brian Cronin

    What I’m hoping is that, like Isiah, once D’Antoni actually sees Lee play, he can’t help but like him.

  65. Z

    D’Antoni explains the deal:

    “Renaldo really had no role after we drafted Gallinari, and with the emergence of Wilson Chandler his minutes would be nonexistent, so it really wasn’t fair to him to keep him in a spot that he wouldn’t play and also gives us an opportunity to clear up a roster spot and move on.”

    Okay, fine. But Q. Richardson better not be seeing any time at the SF this season.

    And since when has clearing a roster spot been so important? The roster doesn’t need to be trimmed until the end of October. If, at that time there is no room for Balkman, just buy out his (relatively) measly salary. The Knicks really have to scrimp and pinch to make ends meet?

    I suppose the silver lining of the quote is that D’Antoni sees Gallinari as a SF and not a PF, contrary to statements made on draft night. Posters thought that was the Death Knell of David Lee as a Knick. Perhaps Lee is safer than we thought?

    Oh, what am I talking about. Lee will be traded so as not to poach rebounds from Randolph and Curry in an effort to boost their value…

  66. Ted Nelson

    Donnie Walsh is becoming to Mark Warkentien what Isiah was to John Paxson: he seems to have opened the door for the Camby dump (looks terrible, but Denver apparently liked it), now he helps them make up for that by giving them a premier perimeter defender…
    Now he just has to work a sign-and-trade for JR Smith where he gives up a couple of unprotected firsts and takes back Kenyon Martin’s salary.

    ———————————

    Even after the quote Z just posted, what was the motivation behind this deal?
    -The salary dump is unreasistic.

    -The log jam at SF? Phoenix had 5 or 6 natural SFs most of the time. If he didn’t deserve minutes sit his butt on the bench, but to make that decision before he played a regular season game for D’Antoni seems foolish. I don’t buy it.
    The Bullets had a serious logjam at PF 10-15 years back, didn’t mean they had to trade Sheed for Rod Strickland, C-Webb for Mitch Richmond, and re-sign Juwan Howard to a $100 mill deal…

    -Balkman’s b-ball IQ is low? Yeah, and Wilson Chandler is Oscar Robertson…

    So, the only reasons I can buy are that Walsh hates Balkman or really likes the deal he got back for him (or he’s going to get eaten alive by other NBA execs for the next 5 seasons, ala Isiah). They’ve had a summer league to watch Balkman: he played well, but it’s true he hasn’t rounded out his game at all and maybe they didn’t like his personality.

    I can see them loving Bobby Jones and/or Taurean Green. Jones is a good perimeter defender (he’s made every team he’s played at least 100 minutes in the NBA for better on D, all small sample sizes, but still) and can hit the 3-pointer (34% on 53 3PA last season).
    If those two guys do get cut while the Knicks keep Malik Rose and Jerome James around I think I’m starting Netsblogger.net

    —————————————

    Yeah, Owen, the scoring bias is definitely obvious. I mean I know some posters here are incapable of grasping ideas like: if you score 100 points and allow 110 points you lose, basketball is a team game, and the ever elusive, extremely complex, almost rocket science, really, concept of the possession. But Walsh and D’Antoni are considered two of the brighter minds around the NBA… seems to say a lot about the minds around the NBA.
    Balkman’s a guy who could be All-Defense First Team in a few years and scores the limited points he does score very efficiently, something ½ the posters here seem to be overlooking or don’t realize.

    ————————————

    “IMO, this is actually going to be a great thing for Balkman. Denver is the perfect fit for him.”

    Yeah, that’s sort of the point: the Knicks just handed them a perfect fit. If you know he’s a perfect fit for them you should make them wait it out and overpay, not jump at the first deal offered.

    ———————————–

    Z,

    Interesting quote.
    The emergence of Wilson Chandler?????????????? In summer league???????? I guess they see Nate Robinson as Chris Paul after the way he played in last summer’s pick-up games (no wonder they love Jamal Crawford). I’m very high on Danilo, but he’s yet to play an NBA game and Chandler played a whole season of them and was subpar at best.
    You’re absolutely right: what was the rush of moving him before training camp??? This same trade likely would have been on the table then. (I really think Walsh might have been scared after losing the opportunity to move Randolph. Maybe he was trying to push the Clipps for a better deal, and after it backfired he was tentative to do the same… or Warkentien is just his daddy.)
    The quote seems to cement this as the dumbest deal since… Denver gave away Marcus Camby. I don’t buy it though, I mean if it’s true this is going to be a longer, more miserable 5 years than the Isiah era.
    How can you be paid millions, have millions at stake and not even (seem to) know the first thing about advanced stats? There’s a reason intelligent teams like the Spurs, Rockets, Colangelo teams (Suns, Raptors) always win… yet the old school teams never seem to catch on. D’Antoni certainly looks like Colangelo and Nash’s pawn at this point.
    I’m really trying to stay positive, but this quote makes it even harder. If only he had said: “Bobby Jones is the next Raja Bell, and Taurean Green is the next Leandrinho.” It still would have been stupid, but not nearly as stupid in my mind.

  67. Ted Nelson

    It seems intelligent life does exist in professional basketball:

    “Following is an e-mail question-and-answer session with Olympiacos assistant Manos Manouselis…
    his specific skill set at the [small forward/shooting guard] position as a perfect fit to our roster. Josh is an incredibly efficient perimeter player who could spread the floor, penetrate, is a great offensive rebounder, has excellent ballhandling skills for a player of his size and athletically he can play above the rim. Josh also has great character and is an extremely intelligent young man and that intelligence translates to the basketball court.”

    A solid NBA rotation player is a no-brainer in the Euroleague, but the guy says all the right things. He actually used the word efficient, and he’s (I assume) Greek.

    Didn’t realize Olympiacos had already signed Theodoros Papaloukas. Looks like Childress is heading to a Euroleague final four and has a great shot at a title and MVP award.

    I’m considering starting RealMadridblogger.net or maybe Olympiacosblogger.net, now.

    This guy should be first in line to replace Walsh or D’Antoni:

    “Tribune: This signing created national headlines about a possible trend for NBA players to sign overseas contracts. Do you believe the game has become global enough that Childress’ path will become more common?

    Manouselis: Every situation is different. In our case Josh was the last piece to our puzzle and we paid what the market dictated in order to secure his services. If the strength of the Euro versus the Dollar continues I believe this will become more commonplace. As the Euroleague draws more interest and therefore more consistent revenue streams that may also be a factor as to whether this will become the norm.”

    “Tribune: How important is Childress’ signing to Olympiacos?

    Manouselis: Truthfully Josh’s signing is just as important as all the other signings we made this summer. We sincerely emphasize the team and we either collectively win or lose. No individual is more important than the team. We recognize that Josh signing with us has created somewhat of a splash but that was not our intent. We simply were looking to put the best possible team on the floor when our season starts and that included Josh. We want Josh to play within himself and not try to do too much because of this becoming such a big story. We simply want him to help us win championships.”

    He does say they made an offer to Ricky Davis (negative points), but that might be offset by saying they also made an offer to James Posey. He then says that once they knew Childress was available he was their #1 option.

    Got the link to the article off Hoopshype.com

  68. Latke

    Let’s not forget who helped D’antoni build the suns – bryan colangelo – perhaps the best GM in the league, so i t wasn’t all D’Antoni’s doing. And let’s not forget that D’Antoni was GM for a short period over there and I believe made several poor decisions. I remember him signing marcus banks to that immense and ridiculous contract, among other things that google can’t seem to find for me. If Walsh is letting D’Antoni make a lot of decisions, I have am less willing to go on faith that they know more than we do.

  69. Ted Nelson

    Latke,

    Absolutely. Bryan Colangelo didn’t help D’Antoni build the Suns, he did build the Suns.

  70. Itailian Stallion

    IS you mention Balkman’s “lack of IQ” twice, but I didn’t see it that way. An observational view from a Balkman game last year:

    Balkman has amazing quickness to recover to the outside, phenomenal leaping ability, and superb length. I don’t think I’ve seen many defenders that can reach the outside and block the shot of an open shooter standing behind the arc. Bruce Bowen can’t do it. Ron Artest can’t either. The only comparison I have is Andrei Kirilenko. It’s funny because at some point last year KnickerBlogger writer, and USC employee, Dave Crockett received flack for using the same comparison. Watching Balkman, the analogy is apt.
    But Balkman isn’t just your run-of-the-mill skinny shot blocker. Balkman’s most impressive work of the second half was on Carmelo Anthony. Due primarily to the work of Balkman, Anthony shot 2-9 in the second half with 3 turnovers. Against Anthony, Balkman bodied him up, usually on the blocks, and forced him into uncomfortable situations. Balkman blocked one of Carmelo’s layups in the third quarter, and forced Anthony to cough the ball up with a critical charging call in the fourth quarter. The latter play was partially due to Marbury reaching for the ball, but Balkman anticipated the spot Anthony would turn to and hit the floor convincingly when contact was made. It was the type of play that Artest or Bowen excel at. Strong physical defense combined with the intelligence to know when to hit the floor.
    Good defensive players usually excel at only one area of defense. There are the skinny shot blockers like Kirilenko, Camby, and Gadzuric who aren’t physical enough to be effective man defenders. On the other hand there are good man defenders that don’t block shots well, such as Jason Collins, Bruce Bowen, and Kurt Thomas. However Balkman seems to encompass both attributes, which makes him a particularly strong defender. If he can ever get enough minutes and stay healthy, I could see Balkman could competing for a DPOY.

    Maybe you’re only looking at things from the offensive side of the ball?

    You aren’t getting it.

    As I said, Walsh and D’Antoni are looking for balanced players and/or role players that fit the Knicks current needs. The Knicks do need defense, but not at the expense of a total lack of some offensive skills when they already have Chandler and Gallinari. They would probably be happy to keep and use a guy like Balkman if they had two creative elite scorers on the team.

    What you have to understand (and the point I keep making) is that you can’t think about the game in a purely statistical way and expect to understand what management is doing. That’s NOT the way they are building or thinking about the team. I’m sure they are looking at the same stats, but they are using them as a tool to create a team of players that fits well together.

  71. Italian Stallion

    -Balkman’s b-ball IQ is low? Yeah, and Wilson Chandler is Oscar Robertson…
    “IMO, this is actually going to be a great thing for Balkman. Denver is the perfect fit for him.”
    Yeah, that’s sort of the point: the Knicks just handed them a perfect fit. If you know he’s a perfect fit for them you should make them wait it out and overpay, not jump at the first deal offered.

    1. Chandler has massively more “potential” than Balkman. He can score inside and outside, is at least as good an athlete and possibly better, he’s even younger and more likely to improve, and showed some very good signs on the defensive end as well.

    2. When I said he was a perfect fit, I didn’t mean he was going to be a starter or key role player. I meant he could get minutes on Denver and contribute.

  72. Caleb

    Asuming the reports are true that the Knicks plan to release Green and Jones, this means Walsh would rather have Jerome James & a #50 pick, than Balkman.

    Some of the supposed rationales for the trade —
    - clearing space for Randolph? You can cut anyone you take back so this trade is irrelevant.

    - Not enough PT for Renaldo? That should be irrelevant. You should only trade someone when you get what they’re worth. In Balkman’s case, since he’d been buried on the bench for two years, that was impossible.

    - Best deal available? a #50 pick? IMO he was worth about a #10; I know no one in the league was going to give that, but why move him at all? George Karl is laughing his ass off today.

    - Salary cap? Nope, Balk is off after this year, if they really want to see him go.

    - Plain ol’ money? While they refuse to buy out those other guys?

    - Lost a bet? Now, you’re getting somewhere…

    And I’m gone.

  73. Caleb

    ok, I’m not gone.

    What you have to understand (and the point I keep making) is that you can’t think about the game in a purely statistical way and expect to understand what management is doing.”

    I understand perfectly what management is doing. That’s why I’m so pissed. I don’t know what you’re talking about in the rest of the post. btw, what stats do YOU think Knicks management is looking at?

    re: Chandler – nothing against the guy, he’s a pretty good prospect, but at this point he’s not a competent NBA player on either end of the court. His theoretical upside is probably higher than Balkman but his floor is much lower. He’s a more well-rounded player – always an overrated quality – but doesn’t do anything especially well, unlike Balkman.

    “Name me one player other than Brian Skinner (who I’m sure made Mike D gag every time he had to put him in the game) and Shaq who got significant minutes on any D’Antoni team in the last three years that can’t hit a 15 foot jump shot.”

    Shawn Marion is a below-average jump shooter, and his supposed pet Boris Diaw is way below average. And there was a guy named Shaq…

    re: Balkman v. Bowen – Bowen can shoot threes but Renaldo’s rebound rate was DOUBLE Bowen, which more than makes up for it. And Bowen can’t hit a shot INSIDE the three-point line.

  74. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    You aren’t getting it.

    As I said, Walsh and D’Antoni are looking for balanced players and/or role players that fit the Knicks current needs. The Knicks do need defense, but not at the expense of a total lack of some offensive skills when they already have Chandler and Gallinari. They would probably be happy to keep and use a guy like Balkman if they had two creative elite scorers on the team.

    What you have to understand (and the point I keep making) is that you can’t think about the game in a purely statistical way and expect to understand what management is doing. That’s NOT the way they are building or thinking about the team. I’m sure they are looking at the same stats, but they are using them as a tool to create a team of players that fits well together.

    A. The quote I used was specifically one that was 100% observational (unless you think saying that Anthony shot 2-9 is a statistical observation). It was a single game that Balkman played well and showcased his worth to the team. You have it stuck in your head that I look at the game from a purely statistical standpoint and you couldn’t be more wrong. I agree that one of us doesn’t get it, but it’s not me.

    B. You give NBA front offices too much credit. I know for a fact that all NBA teams are NOT using the same stats that we are. I’ve been told that I probably have a better statistical NBA database in my house than maybe a half dozen NBA teams. I know that the teams that are looking at advanced stats (either what I have on my site – or even better +/- regression) are the better ones. And after this trade you have to wonder which camp Donnie Walsh is in.

  75. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    don’t know what you’re talking about in the rest of the post. btw, what stats do YOU think Knicks management is looking at?

    Obviously pts/g. Their advanced stats are something like this:

    SUM (pts/g) = TEAM pts/g

    Balkman was only 3.5 pts/g which is why he wasn’t even worth a roster spot. Paul Harris (the nbadraft.net’s #50 pick in 2010) scores 14.5 pts/g. This is clearly an upgrade.

  76. Italian Stallion

    This will be my last word on the subject.

    1. IMO it’s not necessary for anyone to agree with management on any specific deal.

    2. IMO it’s not necessary for anyone to agree with management’s evaluation of the talent/potential of any given player.

    However, IMO it helps to at least understand management’s thinking. That way you understand why they are making the deals they are making and drafting the players they are drafting. That will make discussion easier. I don’t think management is using the same intellectual model for thinking about and building a team that is generally used here. IMO, stats are only part of it. The rest has to do with fitting players together properly.

    If you would have asked me right after the season ended what the Knicks biggest needs were, I would have listed these things (in no special order).

    1. Better passing, playmaking, high basketball IQ type players.

    2. Better/more consistent outside shooting, especially from the SF position.

    3. Better defense at almost every position, but especially interior defense at the C and PF spots.

    4. Getting rid of all the disruptive personalities

    5. Get rid of some bad contracts

    The Gallinari draft was an effort to address playing making, passing, high basketball IQ, and outside shooting all from the SF position and all in one player. If he’s the real deal, this was a great move. Time will tell.

    The Duhon deal was an effort to address playmaking, passing, basketball IQ, and defense at the PG position.

    The Roberson signing was an effort to add another shooter to the bench should one be needed to spark the offense on some nights.

    The Balkman trade was simply a matter of getting rid of a player that didn’t quite fit here and getting a draft pick that can either be used or packaged as part of another deal.

    That still leaves a lot of work to be done.

    I am sure they looking to move Marbury and Randolph (disruptive etc…) and may still buy out the former.

    There are still gaping holes in the defense, but the addition of Duhon and the potential emergence of Chandler (IMO he didn’t look bad defensively this summer) might help a little without sacrificing too much on the offensive end (Q Rich could’t hit the ocean last year even though he’s an adequate defender). The subtraction of Randolph and substitution of Lee will also help on defense a little.

    I “think” the remaining MAJOR problem from “the management’s perspective” is probably the fact that Curry is not a good defender or rebounder. So if he’s playing he really needs to be teamed with a tough, defense oriented, shot blocking, rebounding PF. Lee fits part of that, but not all of it.

    So eventually (but maybe not this year), either Curry is going to be moved, Lee is going to be moved to make room for that type of player, or they will get that type of player some other way and Lee will be used off the bench at both PF and C on occasion.

    I give them an “B” so far for addressing NEEDS. I think Marbury and Zach will both be gone within a few months. The rest of it is going take some time.

  77. caleb

    Between getting Balkman and Nene’s return, I wonder if Denver won’t actually improve on its #12 defensive ranking of last year…

    I like their core a lot — Anthony, Smith, Balkman, Kleiza, Nene (I guess). With KMart in the mix, you’d think that Kleiza is the odd man out, especially since he has a lot of trade value. But I seem to recall that he’s the godson or something of Stan Kroenke (the owner), which makes him untouchable. Tough decisions.

    Still, the biggest problem is that the core 5 guys will take up about $55 million in salary through 2011. To take it up a level, they’ll need to get lucky somewhere — Balkman goes a long way in that direction.

  78. Italian Stallion
    You aren’t getting it.
    As I said, Walsh and D’Antoni are looking for balanced players and/or role players that fit the Knicks current needs. The Knicks do need defense, but not at the expense of a total lack of some offensive skills when they already have Chandler and Gallinari. They would probably be happy to keep and use a guy like Balkman if they had two creative elite scorers on the team.
    What you have to understand (and the point I keep making) is that you can’t think about the game in a purely statistical way and expect to understand what management is doing. That’s NOT the way they are building or thinking about the team. I’m sure they are looking at the same stats, but they are using them as a tool to create a team of players that fits well together.

    A. The quote I used was specifically one that was 100% observational (unless you think saying that Anthony shot 2-9 is a statistical observation). It was a single game that Balkman played well and showcased his worth to the team. You have it stuck in your head that I look at the game from a purely statistical standpoint and you couldn’t be more wrong. I agree that one of us doesn’t get it, but it’s not me.
    B. You give NBA front offices too much credit. I know for a fact that all NBA teams are NOT using the same stats that we are. I’ve been told that I probably have a better statistical NBA database in my house than maybe a half dozen NBA teams. I know that the teams that are looking at advanced stats (either what I have on my site – or even better +/- regression) are the better ones. And after this trade you have to wonder which camp Donnie Walsh is in.

    That one quote and subjective evaluation of Balkman on defense demonstrates that you don’t understand what they are doing or thinking (it doesn’t matter who is right).

    They know that Balkman is very good on defense!!!

    Everyone knows that!!!

    The point is they also know how limited he is offensively and DON’T THINK HE FITS ON THIS TEAM GIVEN ITS CURRENT MAKEUP AND DIRECTION. They are trying to fit players together properly. You don’t build around guys like Balkman.

  79. caleb

    The offense may be bad but the defense was basically worst in the league two years running. Now they’ve given away their best defender for nothing — you can’t trade a #50 pick for a sandwich in this league.

    This is management’s thinking. It’s clear. It’s stupid.

    IS,
    You’ve said a few times that you can only play a strong defender who doesn’t provide much offense, if you have two elite scorers on the team. How does this make sense? Why not say you can’t play a terrific offensive player unless you have two All-Defense guys on the team? I guess we will just forfeit every game for a couple of years while we wait for them to show up.

  80. Italian Stallion

    Knickerblogger,

    I don’t which stats they are looking at. You may be correct that your database is superior to theirs and many other NBA teams. I am not trying to be critical of anyone here. I am ONLY trying to explain the thought process.

    The goal is not to evaluate players in isolation. The goal is put the best possible players at every position THAT FIT WELL TOGETHER and create a balanced attack on both ends of the court. I believe that sometimes that will mean doing things that seem illogical based on the talents of the individual players involved. However, it is done because a player doesn’t fit and/or create the type of balance they are trying to achieve.

    Again, no one should construe my thought as an attack on them or approval of everything management is doing. I simply believe I understand their thinking well and am trying to explain what I believe it is.

    Feel free to disagree with “them”, but don’t attack the messenger. ;-)

  81. Italian Stallion

    IS,You’ve said a few times that you can only play a strong defender who doesn’t provide much offense, if you have two elite scorers on the team. How does this make sense? Why not say you can’t play a terrific offensive player unless you have two All-Defense guys on the team? I guess we will just forfeit every game for a couple of years while we wait for them to show up.

    I agree with you 1000%.

    There are still gaping holes in the defense, but IMO (and theirs) Balkman was/is so limited offensively, he was not the answer – especially on this team. A 2nd round pick seems a little light value wise, but let’s see if they can use the asset to fill a need better.

    I agree with you though and I believe they understand the issues on defense.

    Have a good day all.

  82. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    That one quote and subjective evaluation of Balkman on defense demonstrates that you don’t understand what they are doing or thinking (it doesn’t matter who is right).

    They know that Balkman is very good on defense!!!

    Everyone knows that!!!

    The point is they also know how limited he is offensively and DON’T THINK HE FITS ON THIS TEAM GIVEN ITS CURRENT MAKEUP AND DIRECTION. They are trying to fit players together properly. You don’t build around guys like Balkman.

    I get your point that they are using a different criteria than myself (and many others) about Balkman. That’s obvious, because I (and others) wouldn’t have made this deal. Obviously the Denver Nuggets felt Balkman was worth more than a 2nd round pick as well, or they wouldn’t have made the trade.

    And it’s obvious that they don’t think Balkman doesn’t fit in with their team, and that worries me as well. Not so much that they were going to “build around him” but that they dumped him for nothing when they could have either dumped someone else or gotten more value in return for trading him. I would rather dump Jeffries, Malik Rose, Jerome James, or Mardy Collins. Clearly Balkman has more value than those players, either as a long term piece in the Knicks future or a short term piece in a trade.

    If the Knicks keep Green and think he has value as a prospect, then it makes some sense. If they discard both players then the move was solely to get rid of Balkman, which doesn’t make sense to me. I understand that Walsh is trying to arrange the cards dealt to him, but I don’t understand why Balkman was chosen to be discarded with little in return.

  83. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    “1. Chandler has massively more “potential” than Balkman. He can score inside and outside, is at least as good an athlete and possibly better, he’s even younger and more likely to improve, and showed some very good signs on the defensive end as well.

    2. When I said he was a perfect fit, I didn’t mean he was going to be a starter or key role player. I meant he could get minutes on Denver and contribute.”

    You´re not adressing the points at all.
    1. The point was about “b-ball IQ.” Chandler spent his rookie season shooting the ball every time he touched it. D’Antoni and Walsh have actually met him so they´re in a better position to judge his bball iq than I am, but his rookie season doesn´t scream basketball iq.
    I don´t think his basketball iq had much to do with Balkman´s departure. The fact that he doesn´t have a jumper doesn´t mean much about his bball iq (it might actually show a high one: he knows his jumper is weak, so he doesn´t overuse it).
    As far as the new point you´ve made. I think Chandler is a solid young prospect. He is not the rebounder or defender that Balkman is, though: 6.7 reb/36 and 10.6 reb-rate vs. 9.1 reb/36 and 14.8 reb-rate on their careers, in terms of +/- (not a perfect measure) Chandler made the Knicks 1.6 pts/100 poss better on defense while Balkman made them 4.1 better (a significant drop from 9 his rookie year). Chandler has a decent looking shot, but he shot 30% on 3PA and 63% from the line as a rookie with a 48% TS% for a grand total of 13.4 pts/36. Saying he emerged in the summer league seems really premature, and Balkman´s rookie year was superior in just about every regard. Chandler could become the better player, but it´s not a sure thing. If Chandler´s shooting doesn´t improve dramatically from last season (which I hope it does) he´s never going to be a good player: scoring “inside and outside” at a 48% TS% doesn´t help a team.
    I highly doubt D’Antoni and Walsh considered all those factors (if they did they wouldn´t have traded Balkman without getting something good in return). Most NBA front office people don´t use advanced stats, but that doesn´t mean they shouldn´t.

    2. If you get minutes and contribute the way Balkman did his rookie year you´re a key role player. Denver is not a very deep team. Unfortunately a lot of their depth comes at the swing spots, but if Balkman´s going to live up to his potential Denver´s as good a place as any. His potential is to be an All-Defense First Team type of player if he can cut down the fouls and find a role on offense. His PFs/36 (5 and 4.9) have actually been similar to Artest´s 22 year old season and Bowen´s 26 year old season (first full NBA season).

  84. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Knickerblogger,

    I don’t which stats they are looking at. You may be correct that your database is superior to theirs and many other NBA teams. I am not trying to be critical of anyone here. I am ONLY trying to explain the thought process.

    The goal is not to evaluate players in isolation. The goal is put the best possible players at every position THAT FIT WELL TOGETHER and create a balanced attack on both ends of the court. I believe that sometimes that will mean doing things that seem illogical based on the talents of the individual players involved. However, it is done because a player doesn’t fit and/or create the type of balance they are trying to achieve.

    Again, no one should construe my thought as an attack on them or approval of everything management is doing. I simply believe I understand their thinking well and am trying to explain what I believe it is.

    Feel free to disagree with “them”, but don’t attack the messenger. ;-)

    I can understand what they’re trying to do. There are many reasons to dump Balkman from locker room cancer, poor choice in automobiles, lack of a jumpshot, or to save $700k. I just don’t agree with their evaluation. That’s basically what this blog (and probably every other blog) is about: analyzing and stating our opinion.

    And if you’re the one defending their view/moves and people disagree with those views, then we’re going to voice what we think. I don’t think anyone is attacking you, just your opinions.

  85. Frank

    I liked watching Balkman as much as the next guy but the guy has not improved one iota since South Carolina, and based on his apparent poor offseason and practice work (that’s an inference on my part), I think this whole firestorm is about someone who is a spot defender who will never average more than 20 minutes/game max. So, in other words, perhaps a 7th or 8th man. Chandler is a pretty good defender with potential to get better on both sides of the floor. If you ask me, I’d rather have a guy who is a 7.5/10 on offense and a 6/10 on defense than a guy who is an 8/10 on defense and a 2/10 on offense. And please don’t tell me that Balkman is a DPOY and that he’s a 10/10 on defense- he can’t guard someone for more than 10 minutes without committing 3 fouls. Part of what makes Bowen and other great defenders so good is that they can play great man/man defense WITHOUT fouling. Not to mention that Bowen is such a better man/man defender on a consistent night in night out basis than Balkman that they really don’t belong in the same conversation together. As we all know, great defense often does not show up in the box score.

    That’s just my opinion of course, but apparently one that is shared by management. Likely added to that in causing his demise here in NYC are his poor practice habits and zero basketball IQ.

  86. ess-dog

    well, Okafor’s officially off the wish list now. Is anyone else interested in taking a shot at Ben Gordon? I think the Bulls are through with him. What a slow and painful offseason this has been. Hopefully just growing pains, not self-inflicted punishment.

  87. Ted Nelson

    “However, IMO it helps to at least understand management’s thinking. That way you understand why they are making the deals they are making and drafting the players they are drafting. That will make discussion easier. I don’t think management is using the same intellectual model for thinking about and building a team that is generally used here. IMO, stats are only part of it. The rest has to do with fitting players together properly.”

    Isiah Thomas didn´t think the same way I do, but he was still bad at building a team.

    “I am ONLY trying to explain the thought process.”

    This is what really bugs me. It´s so presumptous: how do you know Walsh´s thought process any better than any of us?????????????? Are you personal friends with the man?

    I believe I understand the thought process as well as any casual fan, and I still think it´s wrong. An NBA team not using advanced statistical analysis is like a business that´s still using typewriters. If everything falls into place (say your former teammate offers you one of the top 2 players of his generation for scraps) it doesn´t matter, but you´re likely to make a lot of illinformed decisions that will eventually catch up with you.

  88. justin

    wow some of you are ready to kill over this balkman trade. i know he was a fan favorite and all but jeez!..management had been in for 4 months and you guys are already losing faith…for christ sake exhibition games havent even started yet. why not wait and see what other cards walsh has up his side before you go jump off a building and declare this regime a bust

  89. ramflabr

    Knicks fans are too short sighted and simple minded. Did you ever think the Knicks had a chance to do anything interesting this season? Are you crazy? It was a horrible roster with a horrible front office, and fans that were too ready to “forgive” and accept the lack of professionalism… Its just the nY way, which works ok for the Yankees and Giants (once in a while), but has never won the Knicks anything.

    What the current management is doing is dumping the team. It will take 2 years to finish the job. They will tank 2 seasons, just to get a couple of first rounders (and hopefully a 1st pick!). Galinari will be an ok player, much cheaper than all the clowns in the roster now anyway. You have to be a one bit fan to really think the current roster, with any realistic move, would contend even for the best ‘restroom’ of the season, with the likes of Miami, Boston, Philly, Toronto and Chicago in the east… This is a toilet team. In fact
    it is better this way! Have patience, slug it out for 2 years, and stop being like your owner: a retarded single season thinker…

    Even if in 2010 you don’t “get Lebron”, which is highly unlikely anyway, the team will start to have pieces, and you can grab a strong free agent, such as D-Wade or even who knows, Kevin Durant (in 2011), together with a pair of solid veterans, to complement a 2 first round pick cast… Knicks fans brought it onto themselves, always deluding themselves that they were ever going to win anything with the current circus cast.

    Even David Lee is an ok player. Not more than that. I bet Gallinari in 2 years will be a lot better than Lee… So why give D. Lee a huge contract?? It is not like he is going to win anything now! Are you crazy? If you win just to be booted out in the first round, you don’t even get draft picks!

  90. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    They will tank 2 seasons, just to get a couple of first rounders (and hopefully a 1st pick!).

    They’re going to lose one of their next two first rounders (Marbury trade), so tanking 2 years in a row isn’t an option.

  91. Caleb

    Frank sounds like a broken record with the “Balkman Hasn’t Gotten Better in Two Years” song. We can all agree his second year wasn’t as good as the first. So what? Balkman is pretty good right now. This is not to say he has no holes in his game – they’re gaping – but he’s a great not good rebounder for his position, and a good defender, fouls and all. If he ever cuts down the fouling he’ll be a great defender, too.

    As far as defense not showing up in the box score, the Knicks have been almost 10 points better defensively with Balkman on the court, two years running. Not that plus/minus is the be-all end all but that’s a dramatic number. Before you accuse me of only looking at stats, Balkman’s defensive impact should be obvious to anyone who tunes in for five minutes.

    fwiw, I don’t think they could have gotten much more in a trade — right now — which is why they should have kept him. Chandler would have brought much more in return, and we’d still have our offensive hope of the future (Gallinari) and a terrific defensive specialist (Balkman). Of course, it’s probably moot — Denver called up looking for Balkman. Walsh said, “what the hell, he scores 3 points a game and Mike has him as a 5th stringer. ”

    That’s the real problem — this trade gives a window into management’s thinking, and it ain’t pretty. it’s hard to build a team when you give away something for nothing. You don’t have to like Balkman as much as I do, to see this.

    Oh, there might be valid reasons — maybe Walshtoni knows about Balkman’s dark secret, or they have great insight into Taurean Green and he’s a future star (though all reports are that he’ll be cut). Maybe Balkman does have terrible practice habits and eats nothing but Cheetos, morning noon and night. I don’t know, but neither does anyone else here. It’s more likely that Walsh thinks like many other GMs and dramatically undervalues Balkman’s contributions. That means we’ll keep getting our ass kicked by the smart teams.

  92. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Chandler is a pretty good defender with potential to get better on both sides of the floor. If you ask me, I’d rather have a guy who is a 7.5/10 on offense and a 6/10 on defense than a guy who is an 8/10 on defense and a 2/10 on offense.

    But why do we only need to choose one? This wasn’t a decision between Chandler and Balkman. It was between Balkman and anyone else on the end of the bench: Jerome James, Mardy Collins, Jared Jeffries, etc.

  93. Caleb

    Is anyone else interested in taking a shot at Ben Gordon?”

    No. He’s okay, but to reel him in would take at least $6-7 million in a sign and trade — I’d rather put that money to our free agent options in 2010.

    I’d do it if Chicago would take back Crawford (or Jeffries, or Curry (lol)) in the trade, and Gordon were willing to do a 2-year deal at a higher per annum, like 2 years/$18 million. Who knows, maybe he’d do it for a shot at a bigger payday down the road. But I’m just talking out my ass; this isn’t going to happen.

    I’d love to see if Chicago would take Randolph for Larry Hughes.

    Or even Randolph & Jeffries for Hinrich & Hughes — Hinrich’s deal is long, but $8 million less than Zach and we could probably move him in a separate trade.

  94. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Frank sounds like a broken record with the “Balkman Hasn’t Gotten Better in Two Years” song.

    People tend to use this song about players they don’t like (I’ve heard it used for Lee, Robinson, Balkman, etc.) but never for guys they do like.

    I’m sure that there are people out there laughing at us for thinking that Balkman would be a quality NBA player, but holding onto their Eddy Curry/Mardy Collins rookie cards waiting for a breakout season.

    Oh wait, I forgot Curry already had his breakout season in 2007 when he averaged 19ppg. Don’t worry he’s only 26 and will keep getting better.

  95. Caleb

    But why do we only need to choose one? This wasn’t a decision between Chandler and Balkman. It was between Balkman and anyone else on the end of the bench: Jerome James, Mardy Collins, Jared Jeffries, etc.

    Amen.

    It is stupefying that Balkman would be cut, for all practical purposes, while Mardy Collins and Jerome James are still on the team. It makes less than no sense; that’s the only thing that makes me wonder if Walsh doesn’t actually plan on keeping Green (and/or Jones). If that’s the case, I still think it’s a terrible trade but at least there’s a chance that Green will prove me wrong. Someone said yesterday that the decision would be made by Thursday, when his contract becomes guaranteed. That sounds right.

  96. Ted Nelson

    Frank,

    Balkman´s lack of improvement is an issue and the people within the organization obviously see a lot more of him than us. He´s far from a DPOY at this point (I think he was below average last season), but he could be pretty good and the rage is more over how they gave him away than that they moved him. Between thinking Randolph was worth more than nothing and thinking Balkman was worth a 2nd rounder, Walsh has raised some red flags in NY after the last few years in Indy have been miserable (whether that´s his fault or Larry Birds, or both).

    Defense
    Bowen didn´t play a full NBA season until he was 26, and averaged 4.8 fouls per 36 minutes that season. Balkman has averaged 4.9 and 5. Balkman also brings rebounding and shot-blocking that Bowen does not. Is he ever going to be as good as Bowen defensively? Probably not, but the fact that he well could be is worth more than a 2nd rounder, IMO. If he was an 8/10 on a team that was a 1/10 defensively and a 2/10 offensively, I think you just have to play him. What other Knicks is a 8/10 on either side of the ball? Maybe Lee.

    Offense
    Offensively Balkman is no worse than Bowen (not saying too much). While Bowen has averaged 8 pts/36 on a .507 TS% on his career, Balkman has averaged 10 pts/36 on a .514 TS%. His TOs are slightly higher (1.5 vs. 1 per 36) and his assists roughly the same (1.7 Bowen vs. 1.5 Balk per 36). Balkman grabs over 3 orebs per 36. If you´re got a team with 3 players 1-4 can hit perimeter shots at a fairly high rate (Duhon/Marbury, Robinson, Danilo or AI, Kleiza/Smith, Melo) I don´t see why Balkman can´t be a sort of inverse Bowen (hanging out inside and cutting to the basket rather than camping out at the 3 point line). Maybe he´s never as good defensively (certainly he has to cut down on PFs, although Bowen and Artest each had one similarly foul prone season early in their careers to Balkman´s 2 foul prone seasons), but the Knicks also aren´t the Spurs.

    One big issue is whether you need two very good offensive player to cover up for one subpar one, as many posters keep insisting. I think this is a case where looking at possession stats (oeff and deff in particular) is informative, doing a detailed +/- study might also help although Balkman´s sample size isn´t very big.

    A case study
    The Milwaukee Bucks have what is considered to the a good, at least solid, offensive player at every position (about the only guy in their rotation last season who would fall into the no offense category was Royal Ivey at 20 mpg, Desmond Mason isn´t good but passable).
    Bogut, Villanueva/Yi, Mason/Simmons, Redd, Mo Williams/Charlie Bell.
    Only Bogut (their center) and Mason lack outside shots. This seems like the perfect example of what some posters are advocating the Knicks do: they have no great offensive player (the Bucks at least have Redd, who I guess you could compare Lee to), so they should just put out pretty good offensive players with good jump shots to overcome this. No room for Balkman and Lee. Problem? The Bucks were the 21st (Basketball-Reference) or 22nd (Knickerblogger stat page)best offense in the NBA last season.

    I think this is an interesting issue, I´d be interested in hearing an argument the other way.

  97. TDM

    From Alan Hahn of Newsday, the guy who first broke the Balkman rumor:

    “I know this [Balkman trade] is nickel-and-dime, but keep in mind this is just one deal out of several things I’m told Donnie is trying to work on this summer. Some things work out quickly, like this deal, and the bigger contracts (i.e.: Zach Randolph) take time to make happen.

    “Stay tuned . .”

    Perhaps that David Lee for [insert bench player / expiring contract here] trade we’ve all been pining for may finally be a reality?

  98. Caleb

    Perhaps that David Lee for [insert bench player / expiring contract here] trade we’ve all been pining for may finally be a reality?

    TDM, are you trying to incite a riot?

    Balkman doesn’t sound too upset.

    - “I’m going to make the best of my opportunity,” said Balkman, who is from Staten Island, N.Y. “New York was great, but that’s in my past now. Denver is my future.”

    - “I think it’s a good move, for the most part,” Balkman said. “We have a lot of forwards in New York. Somebody wasn’t going to play. Hopefully, this is a better place.”

    I have to think there was bad blood in NY – not that it’s any excuse for a stupid move.

  99. TDM

    “TDM, are you trying to incite a riot?”

    Just stirring the pot . . .

    Ok, the Clips signed Ricky Davis yesterday. Zbo and JCraw for Camby and Mobley? C’mon Donnie!

  100. Thomas B.

    I think there is something to what Mike K. said about the lack of understanding/value of advanced statistics. (Please note I only recently converted to the church of advance statistical analysis C.A.S.A.)

    I noticed several papers gave Balkman’s ppg and rpg averages of 3.5 and 3.3, but no one printed the minutes per game or the per 40 min stats. I think those raw numbers dont put his play into the propoer perspective. His per 40 minute point and rebounding stats are 9 and 9. Now perhaps there is some debate whether this foul prone player could stay on the court, 5.5 fouls per 40, but those scoring and rebounding numbers are not bad at all. Compare to Q’s 11.5 per 40. That is 1 basket or 2 FTs less offense.

    The thing I dont like about shedding Balkman is that he makes 1/6 the salary of Q but put up better numbers that Q in just about everything. People are fond of bashing Balkman’s offensive game but compare him to the survivors…

    Player________ eFG–TS%–3p%–FGA–FTA–3PA

    Richardson____ 42.1 44.4 32.2 12.1 1.9 1.5
    Balkman_______ 49.2 49.2 8.3 7.8 4.0 0.0
    Jeffries______ 40.7 43.3 16.0 8.2 2.8 0.1

    Sure Q gets the edge from behind the arc-not Balkman’s game btw- but Balkman has the higher eFG and TS%. Balkman has better rebounding, steals, and blocks numbers. He gives you all those things for 1/6th the price. And he seems to blow JJ out of the water.

    Was Balkman great? No. Future all-star? Doubtful. But he is better than two other SFs still on the roster. Why trade him for what amounts to a 3 million dollar savings and late 2nd rounder? That is what I am mad about. Balkman for a mid first rounder(15-18)? I’ll accept it. Balkman and Randolph for shorter contract? Sign me up. But for what we got? Booo.

  101. Thomas B.

    Check out some of the reactions from Nuggets fans:

    Comments
    July 28, 2008

    3:08 p.m.

    Suggest removal
    bigbadthor writes:

    Who? Is he defensive minded cause he can’t shoot, last time I saw the Knicks, they weren’t what I would call fundelmentally sound defensively.
    July 28, 2008

    3:11 p.m.

    Suggest removal
    anthony1979 writes:

    I’m along for the ride…I just don’t know where Kroenke’s takin’ us…especially w/ THIS move…hmmmm….
    July 28, 2008

    3:14 p.m.

    Suggest removal
    Who_Me writes:

    It’s chess, Grasshopper.
    July 28, 2008

    3:43 p.m.

    Suggest removal
    frosty writes:

    It may be chess, but I am not sure the nuggets front office knows about how all the pieces move.
    July 28, 2008

    4:32 p.m.

    Suggest removal
    bigbadthor writes:

    If this is chess, then the Nuggets front office looks like they are playing shoots and ladders. I looked at the stats on this dude and his points and rebounds went down last year.
    July 28, 2008

    5:37 p.m.

    Suggest removal
    Broncos4Life1 writes:

    I’m not really sure if I want to judge this guy yet. However, the Nuggets are really bordering on the edge of insanity with their off season moves so far, this one already has me wondering what they are doing. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt for now, but are they ever going to get a solid perimeter shooter? I know its been 20 years but right now Walter Davis could probably get significant minutes with the bunch we have right now.
    ——

    They dont appear to be too happy about the trade either and they got Balkman for nothing. I love the comment that the Knicks have no defensive minded players.

  102. Ben R

    I am still mad. I thought I would go to sleep and would be okay, yet I am still mad.

    This trade is in my opinion a sign of things to come. We keep talking about cap room in 2010 yet I hear no word about Walsh trying to move Crawford and Curry, two players that both make about 10 million in 2010 and actually have potential trade value. Yet Walsh passed on moving Randolph, gave away Balkman and is looking to trade Lee to save money in 2010.

    I think this whole cap room in 2010 is just a ruse to show everyone he is different than Isiah and give him an excuse for any moves he does end up making.

    It is clear that both D’Antoni and Walsh are excited to have Crawford. That worries me, because even a rudimentary understanding of advanced basketball statisitics show that Crawford is at best an average offensive player and even a casual obsevation of his game shows him to be poor defensively.

    So instead of trying very hard to move Crawford to save money in 2010 and possibly pick up an asset or two we give away Balkman, when maybe we could have used him to sweeten a deal to move Jeffries or Randolph. Worst case we cut him after training camp, if he truly has no place on a D’Antoni team. The assets we got back are essentially worthless, two NBDLers and a mediocre 2nd round pick.

    I really liked Balkman’s game and will be surprised if in three years he is not a very valuable nba player, but that is not why I am upset. I am upset because this trade combined with everything that has come out of both Walsh’s and D’Antoni’s mouths show me they do not have the slightest grasp on advanced statistics and are using the tried and true “obsevation technique” that assures the Knicks of never climbing out of the hole they are currently in, unless they get really really lucky.

  103. Caleb

    Thomas B did leave out some pro-Balkman comments on the Nuggets blog, but it’s running about 2-1 “against.” At least until November. Those guys are still steamed about the Camby deal, that’s for sure.

  104. Caleb

    even a rudimentary understanding of advanced basketball statisitics show that Crawford is at best an average offensive player and even a casual obsevation of his game shows him to be poor defensively.

    I agree with this, and basically agree with the rest of Ben’s comment… but it’s doesn’t need to be as narrow as “advanced statistics vs. observation.” IMO statistics are a great and underused tool, but if you can make sharp judgements based on other information – fine. Unfortunately, based on the early returns — most dramatically, the Balkman trade – Walsh has a shaky grasp on what goes into a winning team.

  105. Caleb

    It was on one of the newspaper links from my post about Balkman’s comments (at least, that’s how I found them)

  106. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Was Balkman great? No. Future all-star? Doubtful. But he is better than two other SFs still on the roster. Why trade him for what amounts to a 3 million dollar savings and late 2nd rounder? That is what I am mad about. Balkman for a mid first rounder(15-18)? I’ll accept it. Balkman and Randolph for shorter contract? Sign me up. But for what we got? Booo.

    Agreed. Nice analysis btw.

  107. Z

    “I have to think there was bad blood in NY – not that it’s any excuse for a stupid move.”

    24 hours (and many explanations for the trade) later, it seems clear that Caleb’s assessment is likely the most accurate: that management simply didn’t like Balkman and shipped him away.

    I am theoretically fine with this approach (addition by subtraction!); however, it seems strange to me that of all the low IQ, uncoachable, unlikeable, lifelong losers on the team, why is Balkman the one you send away for nothing? He may be lazy, but look at the competition he has on this roster.

    As for the bball IQ debate, I really don’t know who first stated that Balkman has a low IQ for the game, but I don’t understand the assessment. For a guy who supposedly never practices he seems to have a pretty solid grasp of the game (every minute he played he had an impact on the game). Also, I don’t understand why he doesn’t fit a fast paced system? He can rebound and bring the ball up the court, is a great finisher, has a strong handle, doesn’t turn over the ball, and he’s fast. The running game is centered around defense and defensive rebounding. To have a guy who is his own outlet pass is a major positive in a running system.

  108. Ted Nelson

    “Also, I don’t understand why he doesn’t fit a fast paced system? He can rebound and bring the ball up the court, is a great finisher, has a strong handle, doesn’t turn over the ball, and he’s fast. The running game is centered around defense and defensive rebounding. To have a guy who is his own outlet pass is a major positive in a running system.”

    It´s a mystery… Denver played at the fastest pace in the league last season, though, so it will likely be solved soon enough.

  109. Caleb

    NEW YORK (AP) — Scott O’Neil was hired Tuesday as president of Madison Square Garden Sports, replacing Steve Mills, who came under fire last summer in the embarrassing sexual harassment trial involving former Knicks coach Isiah Thomas.

    Both Thomas and former MSG executive Anucha Browne Sanders, who was awarded $11.5 million after suing Thomas and the Garden, reported to Mills. Mills had already lost power in April when Donnie Walsh was hired to replace Thomas as team president. It was announced then that Walsh would report directly to MSG chairman James Dolan.

    Mills was reassigned to president of business operations for MSG Sports teams and will report to O’Neil.

    O’Neil was formerly a senior vice president at the NBA, overseeing teams’ marketing and business operations. He will be in charge of all business operations for the Knicks, Rangers and Liberty, as well as sponsorship sales for the teams, the arena and its events.

  110. Frank

    Frank sounds like a broken record with the “Balkman Hasn’t Gotten Better in Two Years” song. We can all agree his second year wasn’t as good as the first. So what? Balkman is pretty good right now. This is not to say he has no holes in his game – they’re gaping – but he’s a great not good rebounder for his position, and a good defender, fouls and all. If he ever cuts down the fouling he’ll be a great defender, too.

    Caleb – I may sound like a broken record but it’s a record that you have to listen to when you’re building a team. If you break it down, you have a young, very athletic good defender who at ages 22-24 while here should have made most of the improvement he is going to by now. Yet he has made none. Now I agree that maybe we could have gotten more for him, but I really don’t think this trade is such a big deal. The Knicks brass really likes Chandler (as did we all at the end of last year), and I imagine between Q getting some minutes at the 3, Chandler maybe getting 25-30, and Gallinari getting his share, Balkman would have been buried at the end of the bench, sulking, not improving, and with whatever trade value dropping. And if you ask me, the only person out of those three that Balkman MIGHT play ahead of in my book is Q. Gallinari is our highest draft pick in I don’t know how long (Ewing?), and Chandler has showed IMPROVEMENT as well as SKILL on both the offensive and defensive end – that should be rewarded with playing time — which leaves no playing time for Balkman.

    So while I don’t understand why they sent him out when they did (I’d much rather get rid of JJ1 or JJ2 via buyout), it just doesn’t bother me that much. I’d say there is a 80% chance he is a fringe player in the NBA for next 5-6 years, 20% chance of being a solid role player. If they traded David Lee for a couple 2nd rounders and change then I’d be out there on the picket lines with all of you. I’m more upset about not trading Zach for nothing to the Clips than the actual trade of Balkman for nothing.

    I think the most realistic projection for Balkman is Jerome Williams, another athletic, good ballhandling, offensively challenged, energy guy — and I don’t think that anyone would be creating a firestorm over the trading of Jerome Williams.

  111. Caleb

    I’d say there is a 80% chance he is a fringe player in the NBA for next 5-6 years, 20% chance of being a solid role player.

    We just have to agree to disagree on Balkman’s value. I think Thomas B. has it right. Obviously, this colors the discussion.

    But when you talk about IMPROVEMENT, you’re also talking about a guy who missed all of training camp with a stress fracture, then had two sprained ankles and only played 800 spot minutes all year. It’s silly to make a definitive judgement based on that. On the other hand you’re saying Chandler has showed IMPROVEMENT based on six garbage time games last year, so I guess you’ll accept a small sample.

    But hey, even if Balkman is a marginal rotation player, he’s obviously better than Collins or Jeffries or Jerome James and yet Walsh chose to keep those players, instead. That takes this trade from bad to outrageous.

    ” Balkman would have been buried at the end of the bench, sulking, not improving, and with whatever trade value dropping”

    Unless you have a $17 million dollar contract and the hatred of fans in two cities, your trade value really can’t drop lower than a mid- to late-second round pick. You don’t expect those guys to even make a 15-man roster.

  112. Thomas B.

    “We just have to agree to disagree on Balkman’s value. I think Thomas B. has it right.”

    I’m framing this.

  113. Z

    “I don’t think that anyone would be creating a firestorm over the trading of Jerome Williams.”

    Jerome Willaims was traded for a 6th man of the year winner the next year (Corliss Williamson). The Pistons got great value for him.

    It’s not that the Knicks lost Balkman that hurts me right now. It’s that they chose to give him away for nothing over giving Randolph away for nothing!

  114. Captain Merlin

    I believe I just might quit the team for a while if the opening game starting five turns out like it looks it may–Marbury, Craw, Q, Zbo, and Curry. All we can do is hope that Walsh’s decimation of the current roster will extend beyond just the likable, decent players, and soon include some of the buffet bandits and hopefully maybe even Marbury. Either that, or maybe Marbury, Q, Zbo, and Curry could all go down with injuries and we’d make a run at topping Larry Brown’s record for most starting lineups in a season. At least we would have a chance to see Mardrick oopin’ to Gallo, with Roberson gunning, and Lee holding down both bigman spots. This is what we as a fanbase envisioned the rebuilding process as looking like, mais non?

  115. Anthony

    Two Balkman points-

    Last year his playing time becames less consistent, and he performed poorer when compared to his rookie season. Considering how much the head coach had riding on him as a draft selection, doesn’t that throw up a red flag immediately?

    Second, we all know going into next year he would rot on the bench. He is not an asset, where you are crazy not to get some value for him. He was nothing but filler at this point.

    Watching what happened with his playing time last year, and with some faith in D’antoni and Walsh, both of whom feel he is worth a 2nd and two scrubs, did they really GIVE him away?

  116. Caleb

    doesn’t that throw up a red flag immediately?”

    Of course, who could question coach Thomas. He always has his best players on the floor.

    did they really GIVE him away?

    With $575,00 worth of gift wrapping.

    with some faith in D’antoni and Walsh,

    My faith is gone, until further notice.

  117. Anthony

    I wonder how Caleb feels about the move…

    I won’t get started on the He Who Shalt Not Be Named, but he had a lot invested in Balkman, and even Thoman would’nt play him. Might there be something that metrix can’t measure? I fully understand and believe in advanced stats, I do some work in baseball my self, but there are certain things that cannot be measured.

    Really, if anyone knows or can inform me if there is an underlying issue here, I’d appreciate it.

  118. Anthony

    I understand the sentiment, but how does that make any sense? What does Dolan have to do with the Balkman trade? Is he at fault for spending on a top-flight coach, or a basketball lifer in Walsh? I understand he is a clown, but you do have an owner who will spend whatever it takes.

  119. Thomas B.

    Capt Merlin seems to think doom and gloom is around the corner, I say it’s already here.

    I wont even mind if we win 30 games this year. We could use another high draft pick. Rubio would be a great pg for the D’antoni style of play, but we must get out of the lottery by by 2010 because Utah has the rights to our 2010 pick-without protection.

    —–

    Balkman is now the second first round selection that we have moved (recently) after just two seasons-Frye was the other. Few of us are happy about trading Frye and ending up with Zach. Few of us are happy about trading Balkman for, well nothing.

    I’m a draft junkie and I like to track how poor draft management, or poor retention of draft picks harms a marginal team. I dont like what the Knicks have done with their picks over the last few years. The trading/swapping of picks aside, moving a young player before you know what you have is not a good move. Marginal teams absolutely need young talent to improve. Look at the Hornets. They developed around two young players CP3 and West. Sure, everyone knew CP# was something special right away, but that was not the case with West. West didnt really show he was a keeper until year 3.

    I’m not saving Frye is West, but you need to give a young player more time than we have. Right now it seems that we wasted a 2005 lottery pick-Frye, and wasted our top pick of 2006-Balkman. Marginal teams that waste picks do not get better.

    Take the Sonics or is it the Wranglers now? That team has stunk for the last two years. Now look at what they got from the draft in the four years before the stink period: 2003 Luke Ridnour and Collison, 2004 Robert Swift, 2005 Johan Petro, and 2006: Sear Sene. I’m not saying they are all terrible picks but none of them have been especially productive. I talked about the Hawks poor draft management/retention in an earlier post.

    When a team’s draft picks do not produce, the team cannot improve. Some may say the Celts may be an exception to the rule, but I say that they did get production for thier picks because those picks became Garnett and Allen, two All-Stars. The Knicks have not recieved All-Stars for their lost first round selections.

    I just don’t see how we improve without cultivating the young talent. The only silver lining, if such a thing exists in NYC, is that most of the remaining young players look pretty good. Robinson, Lee, and Chandler have all shown some nice ability. Gallanari may turn out okay too. I just hope Walsh realizes that we dont have an abundance of young talent to just waste.

    I also find this move to be short sighted. Lets just say a very good player demands a trade during the season or gets into a situation that makes his team want to move him. The Knicks could use a young player like Balkman in combination with an expiring contract-like Rose-to get that player. But the Knicks probably cant do the trade using Rose and or Jeffries/Richardson. The core of the Garnett trade was young players and short contracts. The core of the Gasol trade was young players, and expiring contract, and devine intervention. Waslh just gave himself one less asset to help the team improve. I’m suprised, I thought he had more savvy than this.

  120. Captain Merlin

    Lawd a-have a-mussy, we’ve-a gots ourseff’s a Jimmy Dolan defenduh!

    He might spend whatever it takes, but you can spend all the money in the world, but if it’s going to dirtbags like Thomas and paying the contracts of shlubs who can’t take three dribbles without putting it off their feet, then you won’t wind up with anything more than we’ve currently got.

  121. Owen

    A quote from IT, possibly my favorite quote…

    “I love what I’ve seen from Renaldo the whole year,” Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said. “Defensively he can change the game, his rebounding. Whenever we give him 30-plus minutes, he normally has double-figure rebounds and double-figure points. He’s just a guy that somehow finds a way to change a game.”

  122. Captain Merlin

    Thomas B.–Just because doom and gloom is already in our midst doesn’t mean it’s not still hanging around the corner…and the next few after that.

    Owen, that is a great quote. Really shows IT’s coaching aptitude–always keeping those game changers secret on the bench, preserving the element of surprise for that big run to 11th place in the conference.

  123. jon abbey

    “I understand the sentiment, but how does that make any sense? What does Dolan have to do with the Balkman trade? Is he at fault for spending on a top-flight coach, or a basketball lifer in Walsh? I understand he is a clown, but you do have an owner who will spend whatever it takes.”

    the rot starts at the top. I also don’t think it’s totally clear that D’Antoni is a “top-flight coach”, but I guess we’ll see soon enough.

  124. Z

    “I don’t think that anyone would be creating a firestorm over the trading of Jerome Williams.”

    I’m actually glad you brought up Jerome Williams because it speaks to the larger problems with Knick management. Not only was Jerome Williams traded for Corliss Williamson, who was a major contributor to a rebuilding effort in Detroit (and Detroit got a first round pick in the deal!), but the man who acquired him in the trade was our own Greg Grunwald. Not only did Grunwald like Jerome Williams intangibles, he liked them so much he gave him a $40 million dollar contract!

    Williams’ contract was probably a knee-jerk reaction to Vince Carter’s threats to not re-sign, and $40 million was too much to give a guy like JYD, but at least he saw the benefits of having a guy with heart hustling up and down the court, making big plays to win ball games.

    Then, today, Newsday writes:

    “the Knicks were close to moving Randolph to the Denver Nuggets right before the deadline. It wasn’t a done deal, but it was very, very close. But a source with knowledge of the talks said while Glen Grunwald had handled most of the work, Isiah Thomas jumped in at the 11th hour and started tinkering with the deal. The Nuggets were already on the verge of civil war about the trade so Isiah’s last-minute meddling caused the whole thing to shut down. The way it was told to me, Grunwald was frustrated.”

    Maybe we should just let Grunwald run this fucking team…

  125. Owen

    That is amazing about Grunwald.

    The Knicks record of futility in player management is truly staggering. I have been a fan of this team for roughly 24 years. Who have we had on the team in those years who was really good?

    Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley. I would throw David Lee in there as well. That’s pretty much it.

    Knicks GM’s have consistently had major major problems figuring out who the elite players are, and who the productive role players are. We signed Houston, LJ, Randolph, Francis, Marbury, Curry. We let Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Trevor Ariza, and Renaldo Balkman go.

    The hard part in the NBA is supposed to be figuring out how to get the great players signed to play for your team. But we can’t get past the stage of figuring out who the great players are.

    Thomas B – You are omitting Tyson Chandler from the New Orleans equation. He is as important as West, if not more so. (much more so in my book of course).Just imagine a world in which the Knicks had dealt for Chandler rather than Curry. How different would our future look?

  126. Latke

    That is amazing about Grunwald.
    The Knicks record of futility in player management is truly staggering. I have been a fan of this team for roughly 24 years. Who have we had on the team in those years who was really good?
    Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley. I would throw David Lee in there as well. That’s pretty much it.
    Knicks GM’s have consistently had major major problems figuring out who the elite players are, and who the productive role players are. We signed Houston, LJ, Randolph, Francis, Marbury, Curry. We let Kurt Thomas, Marcus Camby, Trevor Ariza, and Renaldo Balkman go.
    The hard part in the NBA is supposed to be figuring out how to get the great players signed to play for your team. But we can’t get past the stage of figuring out who the great players are.

    Don’t diss LJ. He played hard, and was better than anyone else really could have expected from a a very athletic guy who had lost almost all his ability to jump. He was the real heart of the team that went to the finals in 99.

    I also think that while Allan Houston was not worth 122 million, he was probably worth about 75% of that. The guy in his prime was at least as good as reggie miller in his best year, and with us all today bitching about our poor character guys, Houston was always positive/a good role model.

    You wanna play the “we brought in/we traded” game you have to look at the complete picture. We first brought in Camby at a time when people thought he was a bit of a bust, and he bloomed with us. We also brought in Sprewell. And Kurt Thomas. And drafted Ariza.

    The knicks had the right idea: move a player who’s never gonna be a superstar for someone who could potentially be someone you build around. Marbury was only I think 25 when we brought him in. Who was to say that NYC couldn’t revive his career? Well a sensible person might have, but still it was not unreasonable to hope. Same thing with the McDyess deal – He was only 27 and had been an amazing athlete, and people weren’t so aware of how bad his knee was. They were naive, but they had the right idea in that they knew the knicks needed a superstar and Camby’s ceiling appeared to be as an oft-injured star.

  127. Owen

    I am not dissing LJ. He was a great player before he got injured. And he did give everything when he played for us. But facts are facts, we paid him a tremendous amount of money when he was no longer an elite player.

    Allan Houston was a high character guy but he was an average to below average basketball player in the NBA. His contract was ludicrous and was the original sin of the Post Ewing era in New York.

    Here is a comparison of Reggie Miller and Allan Houston. Ignore the Win Score at the bottom if you like, the raw numbers bear out the fact that Miller was a LOT better than Houston, something which was very clear to me when they matched up.

    Marbury was never a very good player. His statistics up until he arrived pointed to him being about an average NBA talent. He was a high scoring, low efficiency player, and we made the classic Berrian mistake, paying too much for scoring. The funny thing is that New York did rejuvenate him. He posted a 57% ts% under Larry Brown. His first season here was easily his best. But its been all downhill from there.

    Sprewell was also highly overrated and highly overpaid. Not to mention Frederic Weis, Eisley, Shandon Anderson…..

    I need Donnie Walsh to do one thing right. Anything. It’s not a lot to ask.

  128. Ted Nelson

    ” and I don’t think that anyone would be creating a firestorm over the trading of Jerome Williams.”

    Not only did he get traded for a 6th man of the year early in his career, he was also a serious 6th man of the year candidate several times. His stats were very similar to Balkman’s, but he obviously wasn’t on the same level as a perimeter defender. I think any basketball fans who actually follow the Raptors (kidding) would have been pretty unhappy if the 6th man of a solid playoff team was given away for nothing.

    “I won’t get started on the He Who Shalt Not Be Named, but he had a lot invested in Balkman, and even Thoman would’nt play him. Might there be something that metrix can’t measure? I fully understand and believe in advanced stats, I do some work in baseball my self, but there are certain things that cannot be measured.”

    -Isiah literally acquired every single Knick last season, so that logics doesn’t work.

    -One thing that can be measured is that Isiah did a terrible job running and coaching the Knicks.

    Thomas B.

    Good point about the draft being a great opportunity.

    Balkman will almost definitely go in the Ariza, Frye pile of solid young players the Knicks gave away because they didn’t “fit.” The guys who had to be replaced with bad players who did “fit” (on a bad team). Maybe the worst part of this deal is that it brings back so many painful memories of the past decade or so. I really thought things were finally changing… Hopefully this is Walshtoni’s only lapse.

    Bobby Jones is someone I can actually root for, I’m still holding out hope that this trade was about Walshtoni liking Jones more than Balkman (a stretch I know, but it would make the deal somewhat acceptable in my mind). Of course, they could have probably picked him up at several different points this season, considering he played for 5 teams last season.

  129. Ted Nelson

    Yeah, come on: Houston v Miller? There’s no question about that one. Reggie’s career TS% was .614, Houston’s??? .546

  130. Owen

    Reggie Miller’s worst ts% was 57.4%. Allan Houston never posted a mark higher than that as a Knick.

  131. brian quinnett's left nipple

    honestly, if trading renaldo balkman now is a tax for trading zach randolph later, then i’m all for paying it.

    (of course, that’s assuming we didn’t have a free “get zach randolph out of town” free card that we didn’t use with the clippers).

  132. Captain Merlin

    I think part of the reason why some of us–including myself–are so up in arms over this trade, is not what Renaldo Balkman did on the court for us, so much as what he represented–hope. Seeing someone out there who actually hustled and played like he gave half a shit excited us enough to think that with him and his somewhat lacking offensive game there could be a way out of hell. Balkman was never going to lead us to the big trophy in the sky, but at least he played like he wanted to be out there. This is the sort of trade that is far more demoralizing to a fanbase–as their hope has been further damaged–than it is to the team–as they will hardly miss a step as they bumble their way along at the same clip they always have. At least we’ve still got Mardrick Lionel Collinsworth–our sole beacon of hope in these troubling times of darkness…Here’s to gunning for Colangelo by 2012.

  133. ess-dog

    well Green and Jones were officially dropped. I hope someone knows what their doing…

  134. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    For what it’s worth, I heard Steven A Smith hated this trade too…

    I feel slightly better about the trade then

  135. foilfence

    IIRC he said that a year ago we refused to include Balkman in a very plausible Artest deal but now we just gave him away in a salary dump.

    So he shares the sentiment that maybe we could have gotten more value for him.

  136. Captain Merlin

    I believe these newly made Steven A Smith comments are going to have a profound effect on how I view this trade. As history will corroborate, the opposite of anything Stevie A says is always correct. Therefore, this was quite possibly a genius move…likely, because it leaves more space for Mardy to crack the rotation.

  137. hoolahoop

    Balkman was the most exciting player on the Knicks. It seems that his streaking, run the court end to end style would have appealed to D’Antoni.

    On a side note, until I see evidence otherwise – Donnie Walsh is overrated. Way overrated. . . like everybody else portrayed in the media. Build em up, tear em down. Just think of everyone who came to the Knicks that was going to save them: Isiah, LB, Garbagebury, Jerome James, Jared Jeffries, etc etc etc.

    Same old story. When there’s a schmuck (Dolan) running the show it’s impossible to build a winning organization.

  138. Italian Stallion

    “1. The point was about “b-ball IQ.” Chandler spent his rookie season shooting the ball every time he touched it. D’Antoni and Walsh have actually met him so they´re in a better position to judge his bball iq than I am, but his rookie season doesn´t scream basketball iq. I don´t think his basketball iq had much to do with Balkman´s departure. The fact that he doesn´t have a jumper doesn´t mean much about his bball iq (it might actually show a high one: he knows his jumper is weak, so he doesn´t overuse it).”

    Ted,

    I would have a tough time defending the “basketball IQ” aspect of this trade because I’m not an offensive basketball guru like D’Antoni. ;-)

    The word is that running D’Antoni’s offense properly is not as easy as some people think and Balkman looked bad in practice this summer. Combine that with his other offensive deficiencies and it was clear he wasn’t going to get any playing time in NY. To me that was clear a long time ago.

    Chandler hasn’t demonstrated anything to me “IQ wise”. He didn’t get enough time last year and is younger and less seasoned than Balkman.

  139. Italian Stallion
    Knickerblogger,
    I don’t which stats they are looking at. You may be correct that your database is superior to theirs and many other NBA teams. I am not trying to be critical of anyone here. I am ONLY trying to explain the thought process.
    The goal is not to evaluate players in isolation. The goal is put the best possible players at every position THAT FIT WELL TOGETHER and create a balanced attack on both ends of the court. I believe that sometimes that will mean doing things that seem illogical based on the talents of the individual players involved. However, it is done because a player doesn’t fit and/or create the type of balance they are trying to achieve.
    Again, no one should construe my thought as an attack on them or approval of everything management is doing. I simply believe I understand their thinking well and am trying to explain what I believe it is.
    Feel free to disagree with “them”, but don’t attack the messenger. ;-)

    I can understand what they’re trying to do. There are many reasons to dump Balkman from locker room cancer, poor choice in automobiles, lack of a jumpshot, or to save $700k. I just don’t agree with their evaluation. That’s basically what this blog (and probably every other blog) is about: analyzing and stating our opinion.
    And if you’re the one defending their view/moves and people disagree with those views, then we’re going to voice what we think. I don’t think anyone is attacking you, just your opinions.

    I haven’t even expressed an opinion on the Balkman trade other than saying I believe I understand why this management team is making the moves it is making and don’t think most people here quite get it yet. That’s why I said don’t attack the messenger. I expressed no view on the trade itself.

    So far I predicted the Gallinari draft and no role for Balkman long before the developments. I’m two for two. I would say that suggests I know what they are thinking and why.

  140. Captain Merlin

    I cant wait til Olympic basketball starts.

    You know, that’s terrific, but such sentiments really wreak havoc on the ambiance of all this moaning, groaning, and Mardy praising. I think it’s time to piece together the team through Olympic triple jumpers.

  141. Italian Stallion

    I think there is something to what Mike K. said about the lack of understanding/value of advanced statistics. (Please note I only recently converted to the church of advance statistical analysis C.A.S.A.)
    I noticed several papers gave Balkman’s ppg and rpg averages of 3.5 and 3.3, but no one printed the minutes per game or the per 40 min stats. I think those raw numbers dont put his play into the propoer perspective. His per 40 minute point and rebounding stats are 9 and 9. Now perhaps there is some debate whether this foul prone player could stay on the court, 5.5 fouls per 40, but those scoring and rebounding numbers are not bad at all. Compare to Q’s 11.5 per 40. That is 1 basket or 2 FTs less offense.
    The thing I dont like about shedding Balkman is that he makes 1/6 the salary of Q but put up better numbers that Q in just about everything. People are fond of bashing Balkman’s offensive game but compare him to the survivors…
    Player________ eFG–TS%–3p%–FGA–FTA–3PA
    Richardson____ 42.1 44.4 32.2 12.1 1.9 1.5Balkman_______ 49.2 49.2 8.3 7.8 4.0 0.0Jeffries______ 40.7 43.3 16.0 8.2 2.8 0.1
    Sure Q gets the edge from behind the arc-not Balkman’s game btw- but Balkman has the higher eFG and TS%. Balkman has better rebounding, steals, and blocks numbers. He gives you all those things for 1/6th the price. And he seems to blow JJ out of the water.
    Was Balkman great? No. Future all-star? Doubtful. But he is better than two other SFs still on the roster. Why trade him for what amounts to a 3 million dollar savings and late 2nd rounder? That is what I am mad about. Balkman for a mid first rounder(15-18)? I’ll accept it. Balkman and Randolph for shorter contract? Sign me up. But for what we got? Booo.

    Thomas,

    I think Gallinari and Chandler almost have to be rated above Balkman.

    I don’t think statistics had or should have anything to do with the evaluation of Chandler because the case for him is based entirely on his very limited playing experience late last year when he showed a lot of progress and what he has shown in practice and summer league this year etc… He is being evaluated subjectively using visual skills and other scouting tools etc… Gallinari’s evaluation is similar. They are both prospects that look like they bring a more balanced overall game to the table than Balkman.

    Balkman, Q Rich, and Jeffries are another story. Out of those three, I think a good case could be made for keeping and using Balkman. He would be my first or second choice, with Jeffries being the other (I think Q Rich is totally shot). However, there was clearly a long jam at SF and someone wasn’t going to play. A player sitting on the bench that far down the line doesn’t have much value to the team even if he has some talent. Out of the three, it was almost certainly easiest to move Balkman because he not wildly overpaid.

    The management decided that Balkman was the odd man out. You and I may not agree with them, but that was the choice and I believe I understand the thinking.

    Getting a second round draft pick that might be packaged in some way in the future is probably better than allowing Balkman to get splinters and get nothing out of him.

    You and I may think he was worth a little more than that, but I don’t think the rest of the NBA thinks that or there would have been more interest. That’s the part that sort of has to sink in here. Much of the the NBA (including our management) evaluates players and believes in building teams differently than the prevailing views here. You don’t have to agree, but Balkman is seen as a very limited player who only fits well in very specific circumstances.

  142. Italian Stallion

    I’d like to say one thing positive about the team because it seems everyone is getting really down on Walsh and D’Antoni a little too soon.

    The Knicks are still flawed and probably one of the worst in all of basketball. However, I think enough improvements have been made to the chemistry and player mix that they are now only one solid player away from being a decent playoff team.

    This team needs a big bruising defense oriented intimidating shot blocker and rebounder to play along side Curry or a similar type center but with a little mid range game to play along side Lee. If we had that, we would have enough inside and outside scoring, passing, playmaking, defense, rebounding, speed etc… to play almost anyone tough and beat all the second string teams consistently. That’s really not that far away. You just have to believe that the sum of the parts is sometimes greater than the value of the individual parts. That’s what Walsh and D’Antoni are trying to demonstrate. I think we should at least given them a chance to prove the concept.

  143. GiantKnickFan420

    Ya can pound the stats all day. D’antoni doesnt like to play 4v5 on offense which is what we’ve been dealing with. Balkman can only score when fed, cannot create for others and cant shoot. Defense and rebounding are big positives, so is his versatility but we just drafted gallinari, and chandler has 10x more self control than balkman plus a more than decent offesive game. And chandler plays D. I think this is more about Chandler/Gallinari than it is about Jeffries or Richardson. Both will get a chance to sink or swim. Its easier to move balkman so i can understand the move and have no issues with it. I see the same balkman from 2 yrs ago, he hasnt gotten better the way a player should, u know round out ur skills and what not, but hes almost regressed.

  144. Brian Cronin

    what if Walsh ends up being a downgrade? :)

    It’s funny, we were all thinking, “Any other GM would be an improvement.”

    But now, boy, it sure looks like a lateral move.

    And the Knicks officially cut both Green and Jones today. Fuck the heck, indeed.

  145. Captain Merlin

    You guys bashing Walsh so soon are retarded. Balkman was trash.

    What moronic jibber jabber. I’ll admit we may be retarded, and that Balkman may well end up being trash, but that we are retarded because we bash walsh? I say nay. Even if Balkman ends up not winding up being the player he’s shown flashes of being and turns out to be trash, we have quite a few other, much plumper, smelly, cancerous sacks of trash laying around. To dump a benign, debatably trashy player like Balkman, when we’ve got 5+ full blown city dumps on the team is absurd.

  146. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Knicks fanny:

    I can name seven players on the Knicks I’d rather see traded before Balkman. Maybe more.

    Can you?

    Love,
    The Honorable Cock Jowles

  147. jon abbey

    Walsh doesn’t exactly have a fantastic track record. he has an OK track record, but I’m pretty underwhelmed with his moves here so far (obviously it’s early on still). but he doesn’t deserve a grace period, we’re not talking about Jerry West or Joe Dumars here.

  148. Knicks Fanny

    Hey Thall, is that you? I would trade everyone. So what? You make the trades as they come, not in the order of who you want traded before “Balkman.”

  149. danvt

    I think if you look at the playoff teams in this league and tried to find one rotation player that Renaldo could competently replace you would have a hard time.

    I guess Denver sees him as an option to replace Najera and/ or Camby. We’ll see if he can get off of their bench.

  150. jon abbey

    Hey Thall, is that you? I would trade everyone. So what? You make the trades as they come, not in the order of who you want traded before “Balkman.”

    do you think that’s not his real name, maybe some kind of alias?

    Artest traded to Houston.

  151. Captain Merlin

    Meet me on the NY Post blog. This place is dead.

    Yeah…in it to win it.

    do you think that’s not his real name, maybe some kind of alias?

    Considering how Balkman’s real identity is that of the Ambassador for some obscure North African country, whose real name is as of yet undisclosed, I find the “” usage appropriate.

  152. Knicks Fanny

    That is correct. Balkman has an alias and is from the King Jafa Jafa tribe.

    In Macau where he is on the Olympic coaching staff, Mike D’Antoni commented on the trade of Renaldo Balkman:

    “Renaldo really had no role after we drafted Gallinari, and with the emergence of Wilson Chandler his minutes would be nonexistent,” D’Antoni told The Associated Press. “So it really wasn’t fair to him to keep him in a spot that he wouldn’t play and also gives us an opportunity to clear up a roster spot and move on.”

  153. Captain Merlin

    In Macau where he is on the Olympic coaching staff, Mike D’Antoni commented on the trade of Renaldo Balkman:
    “Renaldo really had no role after we drafted Gallinari, and with the emergence of Wilson Chandler his minutes would be nonexistent,” D’Antoni told The Associated Press. “So it really wasn’t fair to him to keep him in a spot that he wouldn’t play and also gives us an opportunity to clear up a roster spot and move on.”

    I see, so the team has taken up making deals to help players find their niche in the league–that place where they can bloom? They’ve said fuck-it-all in regards to the welfare of the team and started concentrating on that of others? Well, considering what this new savior management has done so far, that does not seem so far-fetched. Yep, we’re the farm team for all the others and we compassionately deal to aid them whenever need be, always mindful of the players’ futures. That is what the quote given by D’Antoni and used as your defense amounts to. Huzzah.

  154. hoolahoop

    That is correct. Balkman has an alias and is from the King Jafa Jafa tribe.
    In Macau where he is on the Olympic coaching staff, Mike D’Antoni commented on the trade of Renaldo Balkman:
    “Renaldo really had no role after we drafted Gallinari, and with the emergence of Wilson Chandler his minutes would be nonexistent,” D’Antoni told The Associated Press. “So it really wasn’t fair to him to keep him in a spot that he wouldn’t play and also gives us an opportunity to clear up a roster spot and move on.”

    That’s the most sensible reason for the trade I’ve heard so far.

  155. Dave

    I liked Balkman but I’m fine with the trade. He was behind Chandler and Gallinari in the prospect chart. Add in Q and clearly the minutes weren’t there for Balkman. He didn’t have a future here. Without game time he wasn’t going to improve enough to beat out two interesting prospects ahead of him.

    I thought the best the club could do was a 2nd round pick. They got that so fine. Balkman’s trade value wasn’t going to go up while sitting on the end of the bench, might as well move him now.

    Knicks also got good value out of Green’s and Jones’ non-expiring contracts. Again, good stuff there.

    ………..

    As for Denver, I don’t picture Balkman playing. They have too many wings and all their weaknesses offensively make Balkman a problem. Hopefully it works out better than my expectations because I like Balkman and I’d love to see him get a good home.

  156. Dave

    It’s the non-move on Zach Randolph has been irked.

    Make a salary dump on Balkman? Fine I can see that. He wasn’t going to play so you were just throwing money down the drain, no problem. I don’t even mind you keeping Jeffries/James (although I’d waive them if it were my choice) because their contracts will come in handy as trade chips when the time comes, there’s some sense there so fine. But to turn down a salary dump on Randolph that puts you in a brilliant position for 2010, when you say you want cap space? Why? That makes no sense. Make that trade.

    At this stage of the summer I think the lack of activity is a clear sign that Donnie Walsh plans on bringing everyone back to camp and letting D’Antoni work with them. Find out for sure who fits and who doesn’t fit. No premature moves. Just a lot of patience.

    I wanted to see 50% of the top 8/9 guys changed so I’m not happy with this.

    It’s going to be another long season and D’Antoni is likely to get off to a poor start because he doesn’t have the horses to get the job done. Then the media will be off tearing him down and possibly the fans too. Why not give the guy a chance? C’mon Donnie? Why not give the man a fighting chance and make the necessary moves now? D’Antoni is a good coach. I don’t want to see everyone tearing him apart before he’s even given a real chance and that’s what’s likely to happen if there aren’t more changes to this team’s lineup.

  157. Z

    “C’mon Donnie? Why not give the man a fighting chance and make the necessary moves now? D’Antoni is a good coach. I don’t want to see everyone tearing him apart before he’s even given a real chance and that’s what’s likely to happen if there aren’t more changes to this team’s lineup.”

    The natives are hungry, and a 2010 2nd round pick will not satiate them.

    If Mark Jackson was coach there would be no expectation for next year and Q, Eddy, Zach, Steph, and Jamal could run amuck in the cellar of the Atlantic for the year while Walsh took his time dredging the muck filled roster.

    Perhaps D’Antoni convinced Walsh Isiah really did put the pieces in place, and all he needed was a “motor to run it”.

    2007 Knicks + Duhon + 19 year old project – Balkman = playoffs.

    Anyone drinking the coolaid??

  158. Ted Nelson

    IS

    “The word is that running D’Antoni’s offense properly is not as easy as some people think and Balkman looked bad in practice this summer. Combine that with his other offensive deficiencies and it was clear he wasn’t going to get any playing time in NY. To me that was clear a long time ago.”

    Why not wait until training camp to make that decision? Maybe Donnie Walsh is just a really generous person and wants to give him ample time to impress Denver and get a fresh start to his career. Good karma isn’t going to hurt you, but giving away a decent basketball player might.
    (Maybe other teams see Balkman turn it around in Denver and start to think that all the Knicks’ underacheiving players are just victims of circumstance, allowing Walsh to unload Randolph, etc. Doubt that is the plan, but maybe it’s a positive externality from a stupid decision.)

    At the same time, even if you think he’s not a very good player overall, used as a spark plug for 10-15 minutes a game (as he’s been) Balkman could have helped the team a lot more than some of the guys still on the roster. Team looks rusty? Other team’s top perimeter player is killing you? Throw in Balkman and he just might get things turned around. Someone like Bobby Jones or another D-Leaguer may be able to play a similar role, but probably not nearly as well.
    To me it seems like you have to really hate a guy, really be kind enough to look out for his best interest, or be really dumb (ie we want to have 3 players at every position so keeping Collins and Jerome James is more important than keeping Balkman). This last one seems especially odd because D’Antoni made a name for himself largely by playing guys out of position.

  159. Ted Nelson

    “I haven’t even expressed an opinion on the Balkman trade other than saying I believe I understand why this management team is making the moves it is making and don’t think most people here quite get it yet. That’s why I said don’t attack the messenger. I expressed no view on the trade itself.

    So far I predicted the Gallinari draft and no role for Balkman long before the developments. I’m two for two. I would say that suggests I know what they are thinking and why.”

    I would say it suggests your arrogant and condescending.

    You can understand what they’re doing and disagree with it. The Bullets had a reason to deal C-Webb for Mitch Richmond and Sheed for Rod Strickland and sign Juwan Howard to a 100 mill deal, but if you disagreed with their reasoning you would have been right. Every team has a reason for making every trade, or they wouldn’t make it. Doesn’t make it a valid reason or a good trade.

    The Gallinari draft? Those rumors broke months before the draft, and if you follow Italian basketball you could have speculated about it the day D’Antoni was hired. Taking credit for something that was speculated about by every mainstream media outlet???

    A lot of people think Balkman has no role on any team, again, that doesn’t mean they’re right.

  160. Frank

    “C’mon Donnie? Why not give the man a fighting chance and make the necessary moves now? D’Antoni is a good coach. I don’t want to see everyone tearing him apart before he’s even given a real chance and that’s what’s likely to happen if there aren’t more changes to this team’s lineup.”
    The natives are hungry, and a 2010 2nd round pick will not satiate them.
    If Mark Jackson was coach there would be no expectation for next year and Q, Eddy, Zach, Steph, and Jamal could run amuck in the cellar of the Atlantic for the year while Walsh took his time dredging the muck filled roster.
    Perhaps D’Antoni convinced Walsh Isiah really did put the pieces in place, and all he needed was a “motor to run it”.
    2007 Knicks + Duhon + 19 year old project – Balkman = playoffs.
    Anyone drinking the coolaid??

    Well, while we’re drinking Kool-Aid we might as well flesh out the equation– it it really is this:

    (2007 Knicks + Duhon +19 year old project + one of the best coaches in the league + a respectable if not amazing GM) – (Balkman + the worst coach and general manager in recent memory) = playoffs

    I actually give us an outside chance of sneaking into the 8th spot. Certainly beyond the first 5-6 teams in the east no one else really jumps out at me.

  161. Ted Nelson

    “I think Gallinari and Chandler almost have to be rated above Balkman.”

    No, no prospect has to be rated above another or above an established NBA player. How many times in history do you think anyone has ever matched the draft order exactly to the players available’s career success? My guess is never. If Wilson Chandler’s stats don’t change A LOT from last season (which I would guess is statistically the most likely outcome) he’s not even an NBA player. I expect that Wilson is an exception and his stats will improve, but we’ll have to see.

    “They are both prospects that look like they bring a more balanced overall game to the table than Balkman.”

    Yeah, and Jerome James has a more well rounded game than Dikembe Motumbo… not even sure if that´s true (certainly an extreme exaggeration), but my point is: who cares who has a more well rounded game? What’s important is who helps the team win.
    Only time will tell. Even if you’re confident Chandler and Danilo are better prospects than Balkman, why give him away?

    “The management decided that Balkman was the odd man out. You and I may not agree with them, but that was the choice and I believe I understand the thinking.”

    Again, what does understanding the thinking have to do with agreeing with it? I might understand Hitler’s thinking, but that doesn’t have anything at all to do with whether it was good, sound, logical thinking.

    Why did they feel so rushed to make that decision in July? Unless the cleared roster spot has some value in a 1 for 2 type trade (very well might), there was no rush. We’ll have to see if that was the case.

    “Getting a second round draft pick that might be packaged in some way in the future is probably better than allowing Balkman to get splinters and get nothing out of him.
    You and I may think he was worth a little more than that, but I don’t think the rest of the NBA thinks that or there would have been more interest. That’s the part that sort of has to sink in here. Much of the the NBA (including our management) evaluates players and believes in building teams differently than the prevailing views here. You don’t have to agree, but Balkman is seen as a very limited player who only fits well in very specific circumstances.”

    Teams sell FIRST ROUND picks every year, getting a second round pick is virtually worthless for future trades (could result in a good player in its own right or be packaged to move up in the draft…). It’s very unlikely to make or break a future deal.

    If you have an asset whose actual value is higher than his perceived value, do you trade it? All other things equal, would you sell a stock that you expected to go up? I could list hundreds of examples involving NBA players, but won’t waste the time. If Balkman becomes a solid NBA player this was almost definitely a bad deal, even if the Knicks take a stud with the pick or manage to trade Zach and bring in 2 good players they could have simply bought a pick or cut someone worse. If he becomes a top perimeter defender, this was a terrible deal.

    It may seem inconsequencial now: Balkman was a role player at best. However, the difference between getting a mid-2nd (assuming the Clipps don’t get worse after adding Baron Davis and lossing Corey Maggette to a team that played without Brand last season) and getting a late first for Balkman could be the difference between, well, 99.9% of mid-2nds ever taken and a shot at the Tony Parker, Josh Howard, Carlos Boozer, Gilbert Arenas of the 2010 draft. That’s the kind of thing that makes or breaks a rebuilding process, whether it’s evident or not.

  162. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Can I update it?

    (2007 Knicks + Duhon +19 year old project + one of the best coaches in the league + a respectable if not amazing GM) – (Balkman + the worst coach and general manager in recent memory) – (Brand to the Sixers + Jermaine O’Neal to the Raptors + Beasley to the Heat + Rose to the Bulls) <> playoffs

  163. hoolahoop

    Let’s not get too scientific about D’Antonio’s offense. This is not football. I read “Seven Seconds or Less” about D’Antonio and the Phoenix Suns (the book’s a 3 on a scale of 10). Basically, he’s a loose, player’s coach who let’s his team go out and play – and not be selfish.

    It’s a good system, and very very simple for guys who understand winning basketball (S. Nash, 1969 Knicks, etc.). For a guy like Garbagebury it’s against his instinct of just going hard to the basket to score.

    I think Balkman would fit Coach D’s style. He’s athletic and strong, and may be a better player than Galinari ever becomes.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  164. Ted Nelson

    “This team needs a big bruising defense oriented intimidating shot blocker and rebounder to play along side Curry or a similar type center but with a little mid range game to play along side Lee. If we had that, we would have enough inside and outside scoring, passing, playmaking, defense, rebounding, speed etc… to play almost anyone tough and beat all the second string teams consistently. That’s really not that far away. You just have to believe that the sum of the parts is sometimes greater than the value of the individual parts. That’s what Walsh and D’Antoni are trying to demonstrate. I think we should at least given them a chance to prove the concept.”

    You could literally say that about any team in the league. Maybe not the exact same thing, but something similar. If Kevin Love reaches his potential, Randy Foye improves, and they trade for a top of the line SG maybe even Minnesota is a playoff contender in the West in a season or two. The NBA is pretty balanced these day, and every team is a very good player and the development of a couple young players away from being a playoff team.

    Even if Walshtoni build a great team, doesn’t mean this was a good trade. Joe D has done a great job in Detroit, but there’s no defending some of his draft picks (he’s usually been good at making up for his mistakes: getting the pick that was Rodney Stuckey for Darko, moving Nazr’s really long contract to Charlotte). If Balkman never becomes a good NBA player then this was a fine trade I suppose, but even then I think he could have had slightly more value around the league. If he is good and the Knicks turn around and trade Randolph for two good players with the new roster spot and then, say, buy out Malik Rose you can say they made up for their mistake, but it was a mistake nonetheless: if you’re dying for a 2nd round you could probably turn around and trade even the great Mardy Collins to some team for a late 2nd, or just buy one for the $575,000 they gave Denver to take Balkman.

  165. Ted Nelson

    For the renewed shouts of “Balkman sucks” “Balkman is garbage” “Balkman isn’t even a rotation player”:

    Advanced stats are an amazing thing. When I first stumbled upon Knickerblogger a few years ago I would have been more or less in your camp (although I’m a sucker for defense and hustle, so I might have liked Balkman before I knew anything about advanced stats). However, if you look at advanaced statistical analysis, it’s amazing how often it’s better than the “traditional” way of doing things. It’s not everything: a GM should still aim to put pieces that fit together out there and might have to make a value judgement on whether some 19 year old international player with no statistical record to speak of is the next Dirk or the next Skita. A GM still has to make tough decisions and two reasonable people can disagree about a players worth with all the stats in the world in front of them, but why go to war without a gun?

    Now, Balkman is not someone who COULD be good, he is someone who I would say was VERY GOOD in limited minutes as a rookie and AVERAGE in limited minutes as a sophmore. Mike Sweetney is also someone who you could say was very good in limited minutes his first couple years in the NBA, and towards the beginning of my Knickerblogging a lot of people were upset that the Knicks let a guy who had done so well in limited minutes go for Eddy Curry. Hollinger said that the Bulls would end up with the better player in a couple years. Sweetney ate his way out of the league and never had the discipline to build on a strong start to his career: advanced stats don’t tell you everything and you would have had to use your brain to figure out that Sweetney was fat as shit to see that one coming.
    Where Balkman falls along the Sweetney-Nash scale is really up to him (how hard he wants to work), but to ignore the fact that he WAS VERY GOOD AS A ROOKIE is ignorant. I really urge anyone who thinks he was terrible as a rookie to learn something about advanced stats, it’s really been an eye openning experience for me.

  166. Ted Nelson

    For my 23rd post of the day (I just can’t resist responding to Italian Stallion):

    I really object to people calling Danilo Gallinari a 19 year old project. He’s 20 in a week and was one of the better players (definitely one of the better scorers) in the second best professional league in the world (Euroleague) and one of the best players in one of the top 5 or so professional leagues in the world (Italian League).

    At this point there’s no doubt the kid can play basketball.
    The questions are: will his game translate to the NBA? And will he continue to improve? How much?
    I realize the general perception in the US is that all foreign players come from some small towns in Transylvania and have never seen a basketball in their lives… but I’m here to tell you there is civilization outside the USA and there is high level basketball outside the USA. I’m exaggerating and joking around, but I don’t know why this kid’s a project. Other than few Americans have ever seen him play. I understand that if you don’t catch any European basketball (why/how would you living in the US?) every Euro draft pick could be either Skita or Manu… but they were alive before they were drafted.

    The Europeans whose games don’t translate are usually short combo-guards (who flourish in Europe if they’re any good), decent all-around players internationally who just don’t have NBA athleticism or any skills that are developed enough for the NBA, one dimensional, or young 7-footers who were never any good to begin with. Interstingly enough, these same types of players tend to fail to make the NBA even if they were born in the US.
    I can’t think of any European player who was as good as Danilo was as young as he is who didn’t become a good NBA player, but have to look into it more. At worst, he may end up being a fairly one dimensional scorer, but should be a pretty efficient one given that he was a pretty good shot, a wide range of offensive skills, and a pro as a dad (for example, Marco Belinelli’s shooting stats were terrible even in Italy, so it’s perplexing how anyone thought he’d suddenly blossom into a deadeye shooter as an NBA rookie).

  167. caleb

    On some teams, Balkman might still be buried on the bench, but he’ll definitely get a chance to prove himself in Denver. They only have 7 other real players and a bunch of NBDL benchwarmers. It’ll be obvious by December what a boneheaded move this was. Until then, there’s not much else to say.

    (Btw – I think Denver has been after Balkman for a long time — the deal that nearly happened last year was Randolph & Balkman for Kenyon Martin). I wouldn’t have liked it, but it would have been better than what we ended up with).

    Anyway, shifting gears… does anyone think the Artest trade puts Houston over the top? I love it, but if Bynum is healthy i still give the Lakers the benefit of the doubt.

  168. Isiah Thomas

    The Knicks are still flawed and probably one of the worst in all of basketball. However, I think enough improvements have been made to the chemistry and player mix that they are now only one solid player away from being a decent playoff team.

    I agree Italian Stalion. Soon everyone will see my genius being vindicated.

  169. Caleb

    There’s one silver lining to the trade — draft position!

    Playing Balkman more was probably the biggest opportunity for immediate improvement. (maybe Duhon/Marbury replacing last year’s Mardy/Nate/Jamal combo). I mean, David Lee already plays 25-30 minutes a game. Chandler and Gallinari – they’re a couple of years away.

    Of course it would be the same if Balkman was here on the bench, but now that he’s gone I think our over/under goes from maybe 35 wins, to 30. That should be worth a couple of draft spots.

  170. TDM

    Randolph Morris signed with the Hawks for the vet minimum. Horford is moving to PF, so Morris will compete with Zaza for the starting center gig. Good for Morris. I would have liked to see more of him last year so that we could assess his true potential.

    Another IT gaff.

  171. Latke

    Randolph Morris signed with the Hawks for the vet minimum. Horford is moving to PF, so Morris will compete with Zaza for the starting center gig. Good for Morris. I would have liked to see more of him last year so that we could assess his true potential.
    Another IT gaff.

    please. Morris never did a thing to suggest that he could be a decent player. Limited minutes or no, he had enough chances to show that he had the potential to be superior in some way, and he didn’t. We’re talking like 8pts, 8rebs per 40 minutes. He’s trash.

  172. CMAC

    This is off topic a bit but did anyone here about Paul Pearce Saying he is the greatest player in the world? Wow, guess he totally forgot about the year before he had KG.

  173. Captain Merlin

    please. Morris never did a thing to suggest that he could be a decent player. Limited minutes or no, he had enough chances to show that he had the potential to be superior in some way, and he didn’t. We’re talking like 8pts, 8rebs per 40 minutes. He’s trash.

    Actually, when a player gets as limited minutes as Morris got, and in the situations they were had, per 40 stats are a pretty worthless measure of ability. I’d wager that at least 70% of Morris’ minutes came during mop up time–those glorious last 5-10 minutes of the game when it’s so far gone no one on the court particularly gives a fuck. As a result of so many of his minutes being played when the game no longer mattered, it is impossible to extrapolate seasonal values from them. Also, considering how the occasions on which he did play were sporadically spaced and never really consistent or in long enough stretches to get a good read, he may be more than his stats say.

    Also, what the hell is it with all this labeling of role/bench players who didn’t play enough as “trash?” Is that the new generic term for “solid 7th or 8th man?” Between Latke and KnicksFanny–Mr. Post Blog–I don’t know who will be spared from this chronic trash-labelry.

  174. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    For my 23rd post of the day (I just can’t resist responding to Italian Stallion):

    I really object to people calling Danilo Gallinari a 19 year old project. He’s 20 in a week and was one of the better players (definitely one of the better scorers) in the second best professional league in the world (Euroleague) and one of the best players in one of the top 5 or so professional leagues in the world (Italian League).

    I think any 19 year old draft pick is going to have some growing pains, especially in their first year. If we drafted OJ Mayo – would people say he’s a project? Danilo is a year younger than OJ.

    But I respect your opinion about the European leagues, and I think you have a good point. I recall the latest statistical consensus being successful in European leagues (esp. the Euroleague) is a better indicator of NBA success than the NCAA.

  175. ess-dog

    Ron-ron to Houston. I see it as a good trade for both teams. Sacto got way more than they could’ve gotten from NYK, and the Rockets get a real triumvirate to make a play for the finals. I’m so jealous. I feel like the ugly girl w/ braces at the dance… watching, waiting…

  176. Ted Nelson

    Mike,

    I absolutely agree that Danilo will have growing pains, and like every young player there´s no saying whether he’ll ever reach his potential. The thing is that I really don´t think many people are calling Mayo a “project.” “Prospect” or “young player” with great “potential” sure, but to me project implies it´s going to be a long while before you see anything on the court. Basically that someone is relatively unready for the NBA, compared to their peirs. This is just a label all Europeans get: people like to remember Dirk, for example, as a project although he posted a PER of 12.8 as a rookie in half a season and then 17.5 as a 21 year old second year player, huge jump but a PER of 17.5 in the 2nd season isn´t what I would call a project. It’s rare to refer to a rookie wing with a polished offensive game (perimeter shot, ability to shoot off the dribble, post game) who was the leading scorer on one of the best teams in an NCAA power conference as a “project.” Guys like Joe Alexander and Anthony Randolph are billed as “projects” because they’re athletic and electric at times, but lack a well-rounded skill set and/or consistency. Project is also at times a label reserved to refer to athletic prospects who are bad basketball players. It might be semantics and I don’t mean to criticize any poster in particular, but that´s what “project” connotes to me.

    Of course every player adapts to the NBA at a different rate and develops at a different rate, but I think Danilo appears as NBA ready as any prospect between his polished game, his frame, his drive, and the level of competition he´s been playing against. We’ll have to see.

  177. tastycakes

    The overreaction here is pretty startling.

    I agree with the sentiment that we should have gotten more. But perhaps more wasn’t available. Perhaps the rest of the league doesn’t necessarily think Balkman IS going to be a future all-defensive player in this league. He was an inconsistent role player on a terrible team. Sure, he showed flashes of greatness, but he also demonstrated himself to be a complete headcase and crybaby. That said, I enjoyed watching him and would rather have seen almost anyone else on the team traded.

    But let’s get real. This trade does not make or break the Walsh / D’antoni years. It’s basically irrelevant. Folks here acting as if this is the end of the world need to get their heads examined.

    Guess what guys??? The Knicks aren’t winning a championship this year! Try a little patience. It will take time for the new regime to clean house and get things set up for success.

  178. Ted Nelson

    Not to say he´s going to lead the Ks to the playoffs (would be nice) or win ROY (with this rookie class he could have a good season and still miss the Rookie First Team). Just don´t see why he´s a project.

  179. Ted Nelson

    Dave,

    “At this stage of the summer I think the lack of activity is a clear sign that Donnie Walsh plans on bringing everyone back to camp and letting D’Antoni work with them. Find out for sure who fits and who doesn’t fit. No premature moves. Just a lot of patience.”

    Have patience: D’Antoni’s going to work with the 5-10 year vets to see if he can get through to them (not like 5-10 coaches haven´t tried in most cases), but there´s no getting through to a 24 year old 3rd year player who´s as good an athlete and defender as anyone on the roster… seriously? Trading Balkman for a second rounder is the definition of impatience and a premature move in my book. If Chandler´s summer of love doesn’t carry over to an improved regular season scoring efficiency Walshtoni might end up looking like Isiahgate (as Jon Abbey once said, you´ve got to make these predictions before the fact or you´re just jumping on the bandwagon).

    Tastycakes,

    “But perhaps more wasn’t available. Perhaps the rest of the league doesn’t necessarily think Balkman IS going to be a future all-defensive player in this league.”

    This point has been discussed before, in fact, it´s basically been what the entire discussion has been based on. If Balkman´s actual value is lower than his trade value, you hold on to him. Apparently Walshtoni think Balkman is worth less than a future 2nd rounder, while the Nuggets and most of the Knickerblogger faithful think he´s worth more. Stay tuned to the 08-09 Nuggets to see who´s right.

  180. tastycakes

    Ted,

    “Apparently Walshtoni think Balkman is worth less than a future 2nd rounder, while the Nuggets and most of the Knickerblogger faithful think he´s worth more.”

    Good way to summarize the argument.

    It’s not just the 2nd rounder though, it’s the future cap savings.

    Also, there is the element of the Knicks not thinking his value will necessarily be any higher. If they don’t intend to play him next year, his value will be decreasing, yes?

    Anyway, this discussion was already way too long, but personally, I won’t be surprised if Balkman is out of the league in 3-5 years. If he’s really a key role player for a winning team, I will be more surprised.

  181. Ted Nelson

    “It’s not just the 2nd rounder though, it’s the future cap savings.”

    After next season they have a team option and then they can extend him a qualifying offer the following offseason to make him a restricted free agent or simply let him walk.

    “Also, there is the element of the Knicks not thinking his value will necessarily be any higher. If they don’t intend to play him next year, his value will be decreasing, yes?”

    I just don´t see why you wouldn’t wait till training camp has started to decide who´s going to play. Q´s coming off a terrible year and an average NBA career, Jared Jeffries is coming off two terrible seasons and a firnge NBA career, Chandler is coming off a terrible rookie season, and Danilo´s never played in the NBA. I was slow to catch on, but Caleb hit the nail on the head: Balkman was the K’s BEST SF. Sure, maybe Q bounces back, maybe D’Antoni has a perfect role for Jeffries, maybe Chandler takes a huge step forward, and maybe Danilo is a future star. Maybe all 4 are better than him next season. MAYBE, but Balkman REALLY is really good at certain things.

    “but personally, I won’t be surprised if Balkman is out of the league in 3-5 years. If he’s really a key role player for a winning team, I will be more surprised.”

    That’s the million dollar question (which seems to be about how much the Ks save considering the luxury tax). I could see him out of the league, too (if he doesn’t put in the work), but I think the chances are higher that he’s in it. Certainly higher than your average 2nd rounder.

  182. Z

    “If they don’t intend to play him next year, his value will be decreasing, yes?”

    Unfortunately, this is true about Zach Randolph, Eddy Curry, and Jerrod Jeffries too.

    “just buy one for the $575,000 they gave Denver to take Balkman.”

    The trade is actually two trades: Balkman for the two waived guys; 2010 2nd round pick for $575,000. I don’t know what 2nd round picks usually sell for. Maybe they saved a few bucks. Still, when did we get so cheap?

  183. Thomas B.

    Owen,

    “Thomas B – You are omitting Tyson Chandler from the New Orleans equation. He is as important as West, if not more so. (much more so in my book of course).Just imagine a world in which the Knicks had dealt for Chandler rather than Curry. How different would our future look?”

    Hindsight is 20/20, so yes Chandler would look good in orange and blue. With Lee by his side, we could have the best rebounding team in the NBA. But alas, that is not the case. I think Chandler joined the Hornets the year after West’s break out year of 2005, Paul was All-Star shortly after birth. So it is fair to leave Chandler out when discussing the emergence of West and Paul. Besides the Chandler trade serves to illustrate my point, by holding on the young players you can use them as assests to get the player you need. The Hornets moved JR Smith and PJ Brown (young player and expiring contract) for Chandler. They did not just cut him like the Knicks did because he “did not have a role.” Now, Chandler is clearly essential to the Hornets success, but Chandler without Paul and West doesnt get N.O. into the conference semis (Spurs cheat, Horry is dirtier than dirt).
    —-

    IS,

    “Thomas,

    I think Gallinari and Chandler almost have to be rated above Balkman.”

    I agree. That is why I did not include them in my analysis. I thought I made it clear that Chandler and Gallanari had to stay. I don’t think either of them should have been moved because they are young cheap players that we havent seen the full range of their talents. My point was the Balkman was the 3rd best SF on the team, and that he has more value than JJ or Q. He would have been an excellent piece to add to a trade to fill a need, like say a shot blocker or PG.

    “Balkman, Q Rich, and Jeffries are another story. Out of those three, I think a good case could be made for keeping and using Balkman. He would be my first or second choice, with Jeffries being the other (I think Q Rich is totally shot).”

    Agreed.

    “Getting a second round draft pick that might be packaged in some way in the future is probably better than allowing Balkman to get splinters and get nothing out of him.”

    Disagree.

    Yes, we had 5 SFs but if Q is shot, as you say (I agree), then that makes four. Since JJ has really shown me nothing that would make me ever say, “Oh C’mon put in Jared.” I think that brings us to 3 decent SF’s. Now most of us dont think Gallo is ready for big time minutes, especially after watching Robert Traylor throw him around, so that gives you 2, Chandler and Balkman. If Chandler gets hurt, what do you do? Replace him with a dud (JJ), a rookie (DG), or with a guy who will soon join him on the injured list (Q)?

    Look I’m not crying over Balkman per se, I just wanted his trade to fill a need. This trade will fill no need for us. I doubt that 2010 2nd round pick, whomever he may be, will still be playing come 2012 (if he ever plays). But I bet Balkman will still be playing somewhere in 2012.
    ——

    Hell, I dont even know why we didnt (maybe we did) talk to the Nets about a Balkman for M. Williams swap. The Nets need a defensive minded forward and a player that can rebound. The Nets didnt need Williams with Harris there, so why not? With Williams you dont need to sign Duhon. His contract is identical to Balkman’s so we dont take on salary.

    ——

    On the NYPost’s Knick’s blog, Berman recently wrote about the problem of posters who hold multiple identities. It is the same person basically self promoting by creating an alias to congratulate himself on the post he wrote earlier. These people also use the multiple personalities to shout down legit posters. I was wondering if we have a similar problem here. I’ve been here a while and I have never read a post from the “Honorable Cock Jowles” or “Knick fanny.” I suspect they are the same person or at the very least working together. Each handle includes a crude reference to a body part, “Cock” and “Fanny” (ass). The posts come in rapid succession. The posts are similar in style, being short punchy one liners of no real intellectual value. Finally, the reference to the NYPost Blog, the very place this sort of thing occurs.

    If my suspicions are incorrect, then my apologies. But if I’m right, get a life.

  184. Caleb

    I have never read a post from the “Honorable Cock Jowles

    That’s weird… Marbury’s new neck tattoo says “Honorable Cock…” but I couldn’t see the rest.

  185. mysterious X man

    Cock Jowles and Knick Fanny were in disagreement on this thread. Does anybody have so much time on their hands that they debate themselves using alai?

    Hmmm….

  186. Thomas B.

    What is more sad than a person who disagrees with himself?

    You idiot that’s the dumbest thing you ever posted.

  187. Ted Nelson

    “but Chandler without Paul and West doesnt get N.O. into the conference semis”

    Yeah and KG without Pierce and Rondo doesn’t win Boston the title. Don’t mean to compare Tyson Chandler to KG, but come on… West without Paul gets you what exactly?

    The Hornets have a well built team all around. Peja is another guys in their core. Future Hall of Fame PG, deadeye perimeter shooter, versatile borderline All-Star PF, one of the best interior defenders, rebounders, and an efficient scorer to boot at C… What team wouldn’t take that?

    “With Williams you dont need to sign Duhon. His contract is identical to Balkman’s so we dont take on salary.”

    I would have been much happier about that deal (sort of indifferent I guess). Marcus WIlliams is sort of to pass first PGs what Balkman is to perimeter defenders. If I were going to sign Chris Duhon, trading for Marcus WIlliams wouldn’t have stopped me from doing so.

  188. Solomon Grundy

    “I haven’t even expressed an opinion on the Balkman trade other than saying I believe I understand why this management team is making the moves it is making and don’t think most people here quite get it yet. That’s why I said don’t attack the messenger. I expressed no view on the trade itself.
    So far I predicted the Gallinari draft and no role for Balkman long before the developments. I’m two for two. I would say that suggests I know what they are thinking and why.”

    Grundy also understand what Walsh thinking and help geeks learn too. Walsh getting rid of all Knick players. Balkman name first in alphabet, so Balkman first to go.

    Grundy not say this good move or bad. Grundy explain to stats only people.

  189. brian m

    I recently hired Donnie Walsh as my financial advisor, and got pretty upset when one of the first things he did was take a $50 from my wallet and burn it. My friends tried to console me by saying hey, it’s only $50. That won’t make or break you in the long run. As the old saying goes, you don’t build your portfolio around $50.

  190. Captain Merlin

    As the even older saying goes, “You don’t let someone who burns your $50 bill build your portfolio.”

  191. Owen

    Brian M – The thing is, you don’t understand what Walsh was trying to do by burning your 50$ bill. You can’t. You aren’t an NBA gm. But I can understand it.

  192. Caleb

    A $50 bill is pretty useless unless you have a couple of elite bills, Franklins at the least, in your wallet.

  193. Captain Merlin

    A $50 bill is pretty useless unless you have a couple of elite bills, Franklins at the least, in your wallet.

    True, which is why everyone knows that the best way to get those Franklins is by incinerating all the Grants and Jacksons, thus leading me to why the team must now burn David Lee, Nate Robinson, and Danilo Gallinari at the stake. It’s the only way we can ever get that big ticket, star player. And maybe we could get cap relief from their resulting medical reasons.

    So remember, when you want something you can’t have, burn all the money you’ve got.

  194. Matthew

    Ted, if it were so easy to tell which types of european players are successful, we would see a stronger correlation between high pick and productive players, but we don’t see that type of correlation with european players. In fact, if one were so inclined to do a study on the matter, you’d probably find that the more productive players tend to come out of the late first round. The lottery in particular is almost all busts. That’s the startling thing; not just “didn’t live up to his potential”, like you can say about a lot of lottery players, but flat out busts. I’d wager that among lottery picks in the last decade, less than 25% are productive NBA players. Among late first rounders it’s probably closer to 50% (which is what you would expect anyways).

  195. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I don’t have the time to respond to each and every point you made, but I think we agree a lot more than not.

    I don’t think Gallinari or Chandler are projects etc… Personally, I think it’s blatantly obvious that both are better than Q Rich, Jeffries, and Balkman. There are just no solid NBA stats to back up that the view and that is typically the focus here. That’s why I categorized them differently than I might categorize other NBA players.

    We agree on Balkman being better than Q Rich (and probably Jeffies), I just don’t think he would have gotten any time here because of the make up of this team.

    On my use of the term “well rounded”….

    I think one dimensional players can present team chemistry problems.

    I strongly believe that a team has to have a balanced attack to be really successful. By balanced, I mean the players “AS A GROUP” have to be able to play adequate defense, have an inside and outside game, pass well, create well, rebound well, block shots, have some speed etc… IMO, if a team if very deficient in any one area, it can create loads of problems.

    As a result, I generally prefer players that have somewhat balanced offensive and defensive skills. If they are great at one, that’s great as long as they are competent at the other. IMO, you can certainy win with one dimensional players, but it requires that the other players on the team have more than an average amount of what that one dimensional player lacks to make up for it.

    Assume I rated 10 players on an overall basis and they were all equal, except that 5 were very defense oriented and 5 were very offense oriented.

    I think a mix of offensive and defensive players would outperform either all the offensive players or all the defensive players.

    I am being very general here, but the concept is applicable to all basketball skills. I think that’s what Walsh and D’Antoni are addressing. They are bringing in passers, outside shooters, playmakers etc.. because the Knicks were badly lacking in those areas. They (and I) believe the whole will now be better than the sum of the parts because we have a better mix of parts.

    The remaining HOLE (and it’s big) is defense, especially inside.

  196. brian m

    Balkman could rebound, block shots, steal, play all around good D (judging by the +/-), make hustle plays and change the energy of a game, finish strong around the basket, start fast breaks off the defensive rebound and even lead the break well as a setup man. But good thing we got rid of him, because we don’t need one dimensional players on this team. We need more guys like Anthony Roberson, who has at least 10 dimensions: the 15 foot jumper, the 16 footer, all the way out to 25 feet. Good thing we got rid of Balkman to make room for Robey.

  197. Captain Merlin

    Anybody know what should happen in terms of cap relief in the situation that a player were kicked out of the league for drug use? This harkens back to the old coked up days of Michael Ray and Roy Tarpley, but knowing this is completely vital to my mind’s idle, scheming fantasies about how to pilot the team back to respectability. If there’s no relief, looks like planting an eightball on Zbo is out, and we’ll have to settle for plan B–Laxative muffins.

  198. Thomas B.

    Clips waived Josh Powell. He could be worth a look. His per 40 min numbers are similar to Balman’s and he can play the 4. With James on the Krispy Kreme diet again, Rose checked out and Balkman gone, we could use a rebounder with size.

  199. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I wouldn’t mind seeing the Knicks take a flier on Powell.

    He can play a little D at the 4, and he is a very good rebounder.

  200. caleb

    re: Josh Powell it would seem that with this regime, there is approximately a 0% chance of that signing. But you’ll have to ask Italian Stallion.

    I was thinking that the Balkman trade reminds me of the Shawn Marion trade. Not that Balkman is at that level, but D’Antoni apparently didn’t think twice about dumping his best defender (and strong rebounder, open court player). This winter, it seemed like a total cover story that the Shaq trade was D’Antoni’s idea — to cover Kerr’s ass — but no one has ever disputed it, and the Balkman trade seems like similar thinking.

    I’m probably dreaming, but in this scenario, maybe Donnie didn’t really like the move but agreed to give it a shot. When its foolishness becomes obvious – around mid-November – it won’t happen again.

    Some coaches, even good ones, are just terrible personnel people. Larry Brown, Exhibit A. Of course some are ok (Pat Riley, wild mix of hits and misses) and some are very good (Popovich).

  201. Ted Nelson

    Matthew,

    First of all, the draft is pretty hard to figure out even if you’re dealing with guys who have spent 3 or 4 years in the ACC (like Josh Howard and Carlos Boozer, on the one hand, and Shelden Williams, on the other). Analysts like Hollinger and Doerr have proven, in my mind, that using advanced statistical analysis (econometric regressions in Hollinger’s case and I believe simply calculating a player’s wins produced using Berri’s method in Doerr’s) makes the whole thing a lot simpler. European players, or players from anywhere else outside the US, don’t seem to be an exception to this rule.

    I think a lot of the reason drafting European players has been (we both assume) more unpredictable than US college players is due to
    1. poor scouting/decision making
    2. a lack of familiarity with European basketball and how players’ skills/stats translate to the NBA
    (The second could be said about prep-to-pros or juco players as well, probably even the first.)
    I’ve lived in Spain for the past 4 years, so I’ve seen quite a bit of the Spanish ACB League and the Euroleague. And as more Europeans have been drafted and Europleague vets have come to the NBA it’s a lot easier to figure out what transfers and what doesn’t (not that I claim to know exactly).

    Having seen some guys play over here and then make the jump to the NBA, it’s really not all that suprising how they do. Same goes for players who have gone to the NBA and failed and now play in Europe. Deciding whether a 20 year old who’s been warming the bench or is a bit slow to mature physically is going to get better is tough (just as it is for an NCAA prospect), but when a European player’s been as good as Danilo, has good size, and is a solid NBA-level athlete I just can’t think of an example of a European player who was as good at 19 and didn’t succeed in the NBA.

    Here are some long, drawn-out examples of what I’m talking about:

    (This all off the top of my head and I use no stats to back anything up, maybe I’ll do a bit more research and come up with something more organized.)

    The bigman busts:
    Taking Skita #5 was about the equivalent of taking Fresno State’s 3rd string center #5. The guy could never play basketball, and still can’t: he hasn’t gotten off the bench in Spain. (Joel Freeland is the same but a flyer on a 7 footer who didn’t pick up the game until his late teens at the end of the 1st round is more reasonable.)

    Now, the reason someone like Skita was taken so high, I think, has a lot to do with people’s perception that Dirk came out of nowhere–was extremely raw or a “project”–and suddenly developed into an All-NBA player when he got to Dallas. Of course, this just wasn’t true. Dirk was the leading scorer in Germany’s best league at 19 years old. Now, the Bundesliga isn’t one of the best in Europe, but he was already “the man” among men at 19. He also recieved offers to play for top Euroleague teams (FC Barcelona for example) but wanted to stay home and finish high school. Dirk apparently schooled Charles Barkeley in an exhibition game, after which Chuck said something about how if Dirk wanted to play in the NBA he should just give him a call. He also killed the competition in youth camps/tourneys against top US competition (Rashard Lewis, Al Harrington).
    All Skita did was look like Dirk in an empty gym and suddenly he’s a top 5 pick? I think that even at the time people thought Kiki was a little off his rocker for taking the kid #5 but he probably would have gone in the lottery anyway: it was as arbitrary as going to any playground in NYC and signing the best guy on the court (who happens to be 7 foot tall) to an NBA deal.
    Skita was the height of this type of absurdity, just as someone like Darius Miles or Jonathan Bender was for preps-to-pros or Kendrick Brown was for juco players. There are some other examples, though, of European prospects who never did anything on a basketball court but looked great in a gym or against youth competition so they were overvalued. Darko actually seems like a bit of a different story to me as everyone who saw him play, against actual players not by himself, thought he was special (just as there are plenty of lottery busts coming out of bigtime NCAA programs, although statistical analysis reveals a lot of these were obvious busts). Bargnani was a high ceiling guy in a draft with a pretty unclear top group of players (like Kandiman, for example).
    One of the big problems here is if you look only at skills, rather than results, you’re going to end up with as many Skitas as Dirks. Yeah, Darko is athletic, just like Kwame Brown is athletic. Even against high level competition these guys are capable of doing things few others are. Just like Jamal Crawford will blow up for 50 points on occasion, or 5 of 6 3 points from time to time (don’t know if he actually did that). You need to look at, and analyze, the stats to see the whole picture. It’s hard to compare stats from Atlanta high schoolers and LA high schoolers or from the Italian second division and the Spanish third division, but if you’re an NBA team I think you have to at least try. In other cases it’s far more clear: like in the NBA some European coaches are reluctant to play youth and some teams have so many good veterans that it’s hard to get PT, but if a guy hasn’t made the rotation by the time he’s 22 it’s like not making a college rotation for four seasons… if a guy hasn’t put up good numbers in Europe it’s like not putting up good numbers in the NCAA (here you have to look more at per minute and rate stats, since it is harder to make a Euroleague rotation at 19 than an NCAA one)…

    San Antonio Spurs:
    The Spurs have been way ahead of the curve scouting European players and I don’t think I need to explain any further. Some other teams also have great European scouting (Kings for a while, Detroit until the Darko incident, Dallas, etc.), but there were teams that saw the Spurs taking All-Stars at the end of the first and second round and–just as Kiki thought any 7 foot European with a jump shot had as good a chance of NBA stardom as Dirk–decided that taking a European, any European with their second round pick was the way to go. The same logic probably led teams to think that if the Spurs and co are taking the best European in the draft in the 20s or even 50s and he’s among the best in the draft, why not just take the best Euro available in the lottery? Some got good players, but others were just throwing darts at the board or going on a hunch/their expert opinion (just as they do with American prospects). Sometimes they hit the bullseye, but sometimes they miss the board completely.

    The European veterans:

    Guys like Sabonis, Kukoc, Ginobili were the unquestioned best players in Europe (legends before they set foot in the NBA) and went to the NBA where they were good / very good NBA players.

    Guys like Luis Scola (Argentine but played in Spain) and Anthony Parker (American but played in Isreal) and Juan Carlos Navarro were among the best in European basketball in their respective roles as veterans in their mid-20s (more or less in their primes). They jump to the NBA and they’re solid players in their (reduced compared to Europe) roles. In the case of JCN, he’s basically a more efficient Allen Iverson in Europe (a very popular role in European basketball, pretty much every team has an under 6-3 scoring guard in the starting lineup), so it’s not too suprising that he was a good 3 point shooter and decent all-around scorer but nothing more than a combo-guard at the end of the rotation in the 1 season he played in Memphis. Scola was a very strong all-around post player, considered the best in Spain and one of the best in Europe, and is a solid all-around PF in the NBA. Anthony Parker was a very strong all around wing in Tel Aviv, considered the best player on the best team in Europe, and has been a solid all around wing in Toronto.
    Sarunas Jasikevicius (who played at the University of Maryland) is a strong floor general in Europe, was considered the best PG in Europe at one time, but he has not one NBA skill: good shot but not a natural scorer, good passing ability but not Jason Kidd, solid defender but nothing special. So I’m not suprised he struggled in the NBA. His grit, toughness, and leadership make him more valuable than his oncourt play in Europe. I can see why NBA teams wanted to sign him, but I can also see why he didn’t work out.

    The young guys:
    As I said, Dirk was the best player in Germany since Detlef and tearing up international youth tournaments. Pau Gasol was already one of the best players in the Spanish league the playoffs of his 20 year old season. It shouldn’t really have been a suprise when they became stars in the NBA, and certainly wasn’t to the teams that drafted them in the top 10.
    Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol were among the top players in Spain as 22 year olds last season, we’ll have to see how they do. Danilo can also be put more or less in this category as one of the best players in Italy at 19, doesn’t mean he’ll be Pau/Dirk or was even as good as them in Europe (I personally haven’t analyzed it enough to say) but it’s got to bode well for him.

    Guys like Mario Kusan and Estaban Batista have really smooth post games, but are very one dimensional, even in Europe.

    Zoran Planinic has a good all around game, but doesn’t do anything well enough for the NBA (he distributes the ball well for a 6-7 player, but as with guys like Reece Gaines, for example, that doesn’t cut it in the NBA if you do nothing else). Like Marco Belinelli everyone was waiting for his shot to come around (assuming everyone in Europe shoots as accurately as Peja because their shots all look pretty), but also like Marco it was not a suprise that it didn’t because he never had a particularly accurate shot in Europe. Jiri Welsch is a good athlete who finishes well on the break and has a decent outside shot, but he’s a 7th or 8th man on a good European team in his prime so it’s not a suprise he failed in the NBA. The thing that really perplexes me is that he was billed as a point forward coming into the NBA, but rarely handles the ball (I mean he has a decent handle and vision, but just sort of above average for a wing even by European standards). Taking a chance on these guys in the mid-first round when they were under 22 isn’t unreasonable, but as with guys like, again, Reece Gaines or whoever else they just never liked up to their potential. At the same time as guys like these were drafted in the top 20 the NBA missed the boat completely on big Greek PGs like Theodoros Papaloukas, both of whom are better players in Europe.

  202. Ted Nelson

    Caleb,

    From what I remember reading at the time, D’Antoni not only endorsed the Shaq trade, he also pushed for it saying that Shaq would fit into his system. Of course, maybe Shaq 5 years ago would have fit in great, but he’s looking pretty washed up these days. D’Antoni obviously had something to do with Marion’s hatred for Phoenix, but I have no idea. They did let their second best player go for the equivelant of Hakeem in Toronto or Ewing in Orlando.
    Basically, I don’t think that either Kerr or Walsh got a gun put to his head by D’Antoni, but having a coach who is regarded as an offensive genius tell you that a player will or won’t fit into his system has to color your thinking.

  203. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    “On my use of the term “well rounded”….”

    As usual, this sort of thing can be proven or disproven using advanced statistics.

    I don’t want to get into this too much, if you’re interested pick up “Basketball on Paper” by Dean Oliver or check out the Knickerblogger guide to advanced stats. Basketball is pretty easily broken down into 2 parts: offense and defense. It’s also easily divided into possessions. Either you have the ball, or the other team has the ball, or it’s a loose ball and you’re both going for it (generally regarded as offense if you previously had possession of the ball and defense if the other team most recently had possession). Everytime you lose the ball, the other team necessarily gets it.
    This is a basic way of explaining the foundation on which advanced basketball stats are built.

    Offensive and defensive efficiency are very important stats to judge a team’s performance, based on the concept of a possession: how many points do you score per possession, vs. how many points does the other team score per possession. Because either team can only have one more possession, if you score more points per possession than you allow your opponent to score YOU WIN. That’s what basketball is all about. Now, how and why you score/give up more or less points and how you can improve are more complicated.

    However, if you simply go to the “Advanced Stats Page” link at the top of the page and then click on four factors offense, you’ll see the most efficient offenses in the NBA last season from best to worst and the same if you click on four factors defense. I think these are slightly different from the order on basketball-reference, no idea which are a better reflection of reality.

    From there you can test out your theories about what a well-balanced team means, and what types of players go into a good offense or a good defense.

    I’ll do the same and see what I come up with. Off hand, it’s obviously preferable to have a top 5 offense and defense, but if you can’t do that I think we’ll both find that it’s prefereable to be really good on one side of the ball and average on the other than average at both, even the Warriors were the #3 offense and the 20th defense and finished with 48 wins. (Which seems more likely what Walshtoni is trying to do offensively.)

    “The remaining HOLE (and it’s big) is defense, especially inside.”

    I’m a little confused by your 10 player example, because Balkman was the only guy I would have considered a particularly good defender for his position last season. So if you want a mix of offensive and defensive players, why cut your only good defender?

  204. Ted Nelson

    “Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol were among the top players in Spain as 22 year olds last season, we’ll have to see how they do.”

    Just to clarify, I don´t think Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol are the next Dirk and Pau, to put it mildly. For one thing, neither is an extremely athletic bigman, like Dirk and Pau are. I do expect that both will be good NBA players, probably a bit better than Anthony Parker and Luis Scola… maybe somewhere between those two and the Dirk/Pau’s.
    Of course, both have some bust potential, but I think it´s really low in both cases. Marc isn´t a top notch athlete (he is agile and skilled) so maybe his skills don´t transfer (he´s almost certainly going to be regarded as one of the lesser defensive centers in the NBA, whether it´s true or not). Rudy’s got to hit the gym if he wants to get to the basket in the NBA the way he did in Spain, and his shot selection is questionable: at times he reminds me a lot of Jamal Crawford although his shots actually go in at a high % but that’s in Spain(should improve playing in Portland with some other good young players and will pretty much have to improve since he’s unlikely to be able to get away with as much in the NBA as he was in the ACB). So, I guess neither is a sure thing and teams obviously didn´t think they were on draft night 07 (but both guys had great years last season).

  205. Thomas B.

    Powell, half the blocks, a third of the steals, the same rebounding despite playing PF/C (instead of SF), same TS%, older, but 150% better FT%. Meh.
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/fc/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=balkmre01&y1=2008&p2=poweljo01&y2=2008

    i was looking at rebounding, needed with curry poor rebounder and james on the doughnut reserve list. not perfect but better than nothing. wont crowd the 3, no worse than morris. comes cheap. what else is out there?

  206. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I think one dimensional players can present team chemistry problems.

    I strongly believe that a team has to have a balanced attack to be really successful. By balanced, I mean the players “AS A GROUP” have to be able to play adequate defense, have an inside and outside game, pass well, create well, rebound well, block shots, have some speed etc… IMO, if a team if very deficient in any one area, it can create loads of problems.

    As a result, I generally prefer players that have somewhat balanced offensive and defensive skills. If they are great at one, that’s great as long as they are competent at the other. IMO, you can certainy win with one dimensional players, but it requires that the other players on the team have more than an average amount of what that one dimensional player lacks to make up for it.

    I disagee with the conclusion here. I don’t think having many well balanced players makes as strong a team as a bunch of specialist. Just look at good NBA teams past the superstars (that are usually have fewer holes in their game) and you’ll find a bunch of specialists. Just thinking of the Bulls dynasties: Armstrong, Cartwright, Harper, Rodman, Kerr, etc. These guys are all specialists. Who was worth more to the Bulls: Toni Kukoc or Dennis Rodman?

    Just about every championship team has a bunch of specialists. Ben Wallace. Bruce Bowen. Kendrick Perkins. I think this is true for every sport. Nearly every baseball lineup has a couple of “good glove no hit” guys, “good speed no power” guys, and “good power nothing else” guys. Nearly every NFL team has a defensive end that can get to the QB and sucks against the run and a WR that can go deep but can’t catch over the middle.

    I think generally it’s easy to find athletes that are average and rare to find ones that excel at a few tasks, even at the cost of being subpar in an area.

  207. Frank

    Just about every championship team has a bunch of specialists. Ben Wallace. Bruce Bowen. Kendrick Perkins. I think this is true for every sport. Nearly every baseball lineup has a couple of “good glove no hit” guys, “good speed no power” guys, and “good power nothing else” guys. Nearly every NFL team has a defensive end that can get to the QB and sucks against the run and a WR that can go deep but can’t catch over the middle.
    I think generally it’s easy to find athletes that are average and rare to find ones that excel at a few tasks, even at the cost of being subpar in an area.

    That’s true but I think only in the setting of true superstars who can do everything and demand double/triple teams on the offensive end. Honestly, I think if you put Jordan and Pippen and surround them with 5-6 completely average players they would’ve been in the finals every year. Ben Wallace was great but only because they truly had 4 do-it-all guys around him — Rasheed, Prince, Hamilton (less so), and Billups. As soon as you put him on Chicago where the players around him were not as well-rounded, his weaknesses became glaring. Putting Perkins with Allen, Pierce, and Garnett specifically hides his major weakness (ability to do anything but give energy on the offensive end).

    On our team we have no one that fits the superstar bill, no one who really commands an inordinate amount of attention like a Garnett, Jordan, etc., so I think we need to go the Pistons route — a bunch of guys who can do everything, and if we find the right mix, then you can have one specialist in there, possibly two depending on who the other players are (Garnett, Allen, and Pierce, 3 amazing offensive talents did well with Rondo and Perkins). It helped Detroit also that Wallace was a possibly hall-of-fame defender, rebounder, and shotblocker, and as such is better at being a specialist than anyone the Knicks have ever had.

  208. Ben R

    Frank – I think an argument can be made that, for his position, Balkman is almost as good of a shotblocker and actually a better rebounder than Wallace. As for defense I think Balkman has the potential to actually be a better on ball defender than Wallace. Big Ben was always slightly overrated on defense and Rasheed was always the better low post defender.

    Also for offense Balkman in two years in the league has already shown himself to be a better offensive player than Big Ben ever was.

    While I agree all the Perkins, Kerr’s, Balkman’s, Wallace’s and Bowen’s won’t win anything without the superstars next to them, the superstars won’t win without the role players. Boston does not win this year without Rondo, Perkins and Posey.

    Superstars are harder to come by than even exceptional role players, like Balkman will probably become, but it still does not make sense to give away a player that could one day play a major role on the championship squad we are trying to build. If we moved him to get a high draft pick, a young player with superstar potential or even with a bad contract to get caproom to sign said superstar then I am not all that upset, but we didn’t. We moved him for nothing. Cutting him would have essentually amounted to the same thing in the long run.

  209. jon abbey

    “On our team we have no one that fits the superstar bill, no one who really commands an inordinate amount of attention like a Garnett, Jordan, etc., so I think we need to go the Pistons route — a bunch of guys who can do everything”

    awesomely, we have none of those guys either, with the possible exception of David Lee.

  210. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    I don’t buy that the Pistons would have been as good with an average all around center. Actually isn’t that what Nazr Mohammad was (16.5 PER in 2007)? Same with the Spurs sans Bowen. There’s a reason he played 600 minutes in 2007 and was on the floor in crunch time in lieu of a more well rounded player (Michael Finley).

  211. Dan Panorama

    “On our team we have no one that fits the superstar bill, no one who really commands an inordinate amount of attention like a Garnett, Jordan, etc., so I think we need to go the Pistons route — a bunch of guys who can do everything”

    The trouble with those teams is that they virtually never win championships and usually just tread water in the playoffs for a few years at best. The ’04 Pistons are virtually the only example since the 1970s of a championship team without a superstar — all the other ’00 winning teams have had a top-of-the-NBA talent like Wade, Duncan, O’Neal, or Garnett. In the 90s it’s also teams with superstars — Jordan, Olajuwon, Duncan, Isiah — and the 80s belonged to Magic and Bird.

    The Knicks entire focus long-term needs to be on getting one of those once-in-a-generation type talents, either through the lottery or through free agency, and building around that. Easier said than done, of course, but going for a Pistons-style mish mosh is almost a statistical guarantee that we’re not going to win a championship.

  212. Ted Nelson

    The thing I don’t understand with this “well rounded players” argument is that the same posters espousing it generally also mention a team that “fits together well” as important. A team that fits together, after all, generally implies balance. Inside scoring to go with outside scoring, for example. I don’t think it’s necessary that every player on your team be able to score inside AND out… Shaq’s perimeter game is terrible, but he still managed 4 rings and 6 conference championships. MJ was a weak 3 point shooter. You don’t even have to be well-rounded to be the best player of all time.

    “As soon as you put him on Chicago where the players around him were not as well-rounded, his weaknesses became glaring.”

    Huh? His first season in Chicago they won 49 games and were the best defense in the NBA. It seems like he just hit the top of the hill that season (which is why everyone was a bit shocked by the long-term deal the Bulls gave him) and fell hard last season just as Chicago’s entire team imploded (I’m guessing that’s a coincidence but maybe not). If not, what’s the excuse for him not recovering with LEBRON and well rounded guys like Z and Delonte West?

    “so I think we need to go the Pistons route — a bunch of guys who can do everything,”

    This is a media fallacy: the Pistons don’t have a bunch of guys who do everything well. They had a good defensive team and one of the best in the NBA at every position 1 through 6th man before Ben Wallace was gone. However, Billups is not much of a playmaker at all for a PG, Rip is hardly what I would call an all-around player, Prince’s career pts/36 are equal to David Lee’s last season yet somehow Lee is a terrible scorer in a lot of people’s minds, and Rasheed Wallace is a horrendous rebounder for a bigman. All of these guys lack a skill that is considered vital for their position: playmaking PG, SG who can create a shot of the dribble, and rebounding 4/5… a lot of people would say those are the most important skills at those positions.
    Again, one of the best at every position but they do have big holes in their games.

    While we’re on the subject, how many really well rounded players do the Knicks have? I would take Balkman’s offense over the defense (and even offense) played by probably 75% of the Knicks’ roster. So, I don’t think you can argue they’re trying to build a well-rounded team by promoting Zach Randolph as a superstar and cutting Balkman.
    As I said, the Pistons have had one of the best at every position. The Knicks best player is David Lee and people refuse to recognize him as a top 15-20, even top 30 PF…

    “On our team we have no one that fits the superstar bill, no one who really commands an inordinate amount of attention like a Garnett, Jordan, etc.,”

    Name a team that has won in the NBA without good players. I really don’t think it’s possible to name a team that won with a rotation of 8 mediocre players. The Pistons don’t have a real superstar, but they have some really good players. They also play very good D. There is no Zach Randolph or Eddie Curry or Stephon Marbury at the top end of the Pistons’ rotation. The Knicks need to get very good players, not a bunch of ok ones who do everything well (but again, how many players do everything well in the NBA?).

    I just don’t understand the logic that if you don’t have a “superstar” other good players are useless if they’re not “well-rounded.” What I would really like is to see an example of this team that’s won with a lot of mediocre, well-rounded players.

  213. Ted Nelson

    “The Knicks entire focus long-term needs to be on getting one of those once-in-a-generation type talents, either through the lottery or through free agency, and building around that. Easier said than done, of course, but going for a Pistons-style mish mosh is almost a statistical guarantee that we’re not going to win a championship.”

    There are 29 other NBA teams also hoping to get a once in a generation talent, I think easier said than done is a bit of an understatement. You can put yourself in a position to do that and NYC does have a draw to FAs, but there’s a lot of luck and timing involved. Even if you have one of the best players in the NBA–and who can really say whether Duncan, KG, LeBron, Wade, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and some others will be better next season?–there’s no guarantee you’ll win it all. I think we tend to consider the best player on the championship team–or just the best scorer–the best player in the NBA unless it’s painfully obvious that it’s not the case (Pistons, for example). I mean if MJ had been stuck in Minnesota (I know they didn’t have a team I’m making a refernce to KG’s situation before Boston) his whole career with Fred Hoiberg, Wally Szerbiak, Trenton Hassell, Troy Hudson, and Kandiman as his supporting cast, would anyone call him the greatest of all time? If the T-Wolves had drafted Kobe instead of Marbury, traded Gugs for a top 8 pick to draft T-Mac, and made some other moves like signing Horry, etc. might KG be the GOAT right now?

    How about building a team that goes deep into the playoffs every year so that the fans can enjoy several great playoff series a year? Why is there such an obsession with building a champion? I mean, yeah, of course it’s the ultimate goal of every team, but I’m still on the record saying that I’ll take the 90s Knicks over the Shaq Heat (for example, of course they might bounce right back with Wade, Marion, and Beasley) any day of the week. I mean the post-Jordan Bulls were doing everything they could to get a superstar, and I can’t think of a more miserable team to be a fan of until John Paxson brought in some solid players and put a playoff team together.

  214. Alec

    Please get off David Lee’s nuts. I like him, not as much as many of you, but he isn’t better than Zach. He is a great roll player. He reminds me of Udonis Haslem and I’d love to see him start, but that wont happen with this current roster.

  215. Owen

    “I just don’t understand the logic that if you don’t have a “superstar” other good players are useless if they’re not “well-rounded.”

    Unquestionably, you need a superstar to win in the NBA. Really, you need at least two legitimate stars to compete for the title.

    Regarding “good players.” what’s clear is that there is a large neighborhood effect when it comes to superstar players. You can’t win without one, and it’s hard to be recognized as a good player if you aren’t on a winning team. They totally change the public perception of their teammates.

    i would say scoring bias and this superstar effect are the principal driver of player reputations, far more than actual productivity.

  216. Z-man

    Ben R,
    I don’t get the comparison between Ben Wallace and Renaldo Balkman. Wallace was one of the most intimidating defensive centers in NBA history. His presence enabled the other 4 players to play more aggressively on the perimeter. Renaldo Balkman will not ever be close to the defensive presence that Wallace was in his prime, mainly because he is clearly a SF and will have to play out on the perimeter much of the time rather than lurking in the middle. Better comparisons would be to guys like Augmon, Pippin, Marion and Rodman (first 1/2 of career).

    Balkman has played in the league for 2 years, he’s no secret to other GMs looking for a defensive specialist. I have to wonder why there apparently wasn’t much interest in Balk, and why the Knicks were so quick to give up on him.

    My guess is that they felt that everything Balkman could give us, we could get from a combo of Jeffries (we are stuck with his bad contract anyway) and Chandler.

    I also wonder whether he did not respond to coaching all that well, meaning he was making the same rookie mistakes during the summer league games.

  217. Ted Nelson

    Personally, I would say that relates to Mike K.’s Dean Oliver comment that it doesn’t matter where your production is coming from. If George Karl can get away with a small ball lineup with Balkman and Melo/Kleiza at the forward spots for stretches, he’s getting perimeter offense at the 4 and the rebounding, shutdown perimeter D, and shotblocking at the 3. Not to say that would be their regular lineup, but it could be effective for strethes: if you’ve got AI, JR Smith, and Melo on the court together you don’t have to worry too much about who’s going to take the shots, Melo’s defense at the 4 might be a bigger concern.
    I’m interested to see how Balkman does in Denver.

    —————————————————————-

    By the way, Denver is a pretty good example of a team that’s pretty good on both sides of the ball: a well-rounded, just above average on both sides of the ball team. They were the 10th best defense and 11th best offense in the NBA according to B-R. They managed to win 50 games and get the 8th seed in the West, but finished behind less balanced teams like San Antonio (3rd seed, 56 wins, 3rd defense, 15th offense), Phoenix (4th seed, 55 wins, 16th defense, 2nd offense), Houston (5th seed, 55 wins, 2nd defense, 17th offense).

    Not saying that proves anything, but I wanted to throw it out there.

  218. Z-man

    Personally, I would say that relates to Mike K.’s Dean Oliver comment that it doesn’t matter where your production is coming from. If George Karl can get away with a small ball lineup with Balkman and Melo/Kleiza at the forward spots for stretches, he’s getting perimeter offense at the 4 and the rebounding, shutdown perimeter D, and shotblocking at the 3. Not to say that would be their regular lineup, but it could be effective for strethes: if you’ve got AI, JR Smith, and Melo on the court together you don’t have to worry too much about who’s going to take the shots, Melo’s defense at the 4 might be a bigger concern.I’m interested to see how Balkman does in Denver.
    —————————————————————-
    By the way, Denver is a pretty good example of a team that’s pretty good on both sides of the ball: a well-rounded, just above average on both sides of the ball team. They were the 10th best defense and 11th best offense in the NBA according to B-R. They managed to win 50 games and get the 8th seed in the West, but finished behind less balanced teams like San Antonio (3rd seed, 56 wins, 3rd defense, 15th offense), Phoenix (4th seed, 55 wins, 16th defense, 2nd offense), Houston (5th seed, 55 wins, 2nd defense, 17th offense).
    Not saying that proves anything, but I wanted to throw it out there.

    I only agree to a point. A “shotblocker” like Balkman has a different defensive presence than a shotblocker like Ben Wallace. Wallace’s presence totally changed the opposing team’s offensive by getting in the head of anyone who drove to the basket.

    I can’t back this up statistically, but maybe someone can figure out how to determine the impact of an elite shot-blocking center (e.g. Wallace,Motumbo in prime years) on opposing shot selection/shooting percentage. How do you measure shots altered or not even taken due to the presence of one of these guys in the middle?

    I also don’t like the term “lockdown” defender, and while I understand the rationale behind it, I think it is premature to put Balkman in that class. He is quite prone to picking up fouls and being out of position.

  219. Ben R

    Z-man – Balkman does play a different defensive role than Wallace. I would say though, that an elite perimeter defender is just as important as an elite shot blocking center. While a great shot blocker in the middle can do alot to cover for weak perimeter defenders a great perimeter defender can slow down a teams primary scorer.

    On a team like the Knicks where we have poor defenders all around, a Ben Wallace would help more than say a Bruce Bowen (not that Balkman is that good just using an example). On a good defensive team like the Spurs a Bruce Bowen is more valuable than a Ben Wallace.

    I know Balkman is far from an elite defender at this point but he is already very good with barely 2000 minutes. I would say, if he gets a consistant role, in a couple of years he could very well be an elite defender. I was comparing him to Wallace because he brings a similar skill set; great defense, solid passing, elite rebounding and limited offense. (Though Balkman is already a much better scorer than Wallace) He will probably never be as valuable as Wallace, even if he bcomes as effective because he plays an easier to fill position; forward as opposed to center, but he should still be a very valuable player.

    But that is neither here nor there. My main point is that Balkman, even with very little experience, is already an elite rebounder and a very good defender. Combine that with his good ball handling, solid passing and sense to take good shots and you have a player that even if he never improves on his rookie year numbers is a very good role player. The fact that Balkman will probably become a great to elite defender and at least a little better free throw shooter (he cannot really get worse) means he one day could be an elite role player.

    Great role players are more important to championship teams than good all around players. There is a reason teams like the Spurs, Bulls and now Celtics surround their superstars with role players. Because having a player that is great at a couple of things is better than having one that is solid at everything.

    I highly doubt that in three years both Chandler and Gallinari will be better than Balkman. One, very possibly, but both I seriously doubt.

  220. Italian Stallion

    Knickblogger/Ted

    Most managements take a look at the major talents on their team and realize they still have some holes to fill. Then they try to round out the team with specialists that fill in the gaps. They know they aren’t going to put together TEAM USA. ;-)

    A guy like Rodman was the perfect fit for the Bulls because they already had elite scoring. However, Pippin and Jordan weren’t going to get double digit rebounds or defend the paint. Rodman could do that at an elite level.

    Guy like BJ Armstrong and Steve Kerr were perfect fits because Jordan was such an offensive threat he would always get double and triple teamed. What could be better than finding a deadly outside shooter to pass to out of the double team?

    The goal of trying to build a team with enough offense, defense, passing, rebounding etc… to win should be obvious.

    The idea that the value of specialists varies depending on the team they are playing on is a little subtile.

    IMO a guy like Rodman would have less value on a team with a dominant defensive center that gets lot of boards and a small forward like Balkman than he would on the current Knicks where they are desperate for everything he brought to the table.

    The thing about specialists/role players is that IMO their value can be enormous in some situations, but less so in others.

    I believe that players with a more balanced game can fit into more situations and therefore have a less volatile value.

    I can see and measure Balkman’s ability using the advanced stats we have here as well as anyone. However, IMHO his skill set as a SF is going to be more valuable to the Nuggets than “these Knicks”.

    If Balkman was a full sized PF, I probably would be screaming about this trade instead of just thinking the Knicks got too little in return for him.

    I hope I explained my ideas. I’m not trying to make converts.

    I believe in using the advanced stats as a tool for measuring results and skill sets. I think building a “team” involves thinking about how players fit together. IMO if they don’t fit well together, all their stats will be impacted negatively and vice versa.

  221. Italian Stallion

    Here’s a question.

    The Knicks seem likely to play Curry at center this year.

    Would your thoughts about who you would like to see at PF change if the Knicks traded Curry for Dalembert?

    Mine would.

    I would look for the best possible player I could find, but among players with similar general statistical merit, I would look for different skill sets depending on which one was the C.

  222. Ben R

    IS – I agree that a specialists value is different depending on the team. You get a specialist to fill gaps that your team has. That is what is most frustrating about trading Balkman. The Knicks biggest weakness over the last three years has been defense. Balkman provided just that.

    Balkman provided something no one else on this team provided, perimeter defense. Maybe, Chandler can provide it to a lesser degree but since when is one better than average perimeter defender enough.

    If we had Battier and Bowen and Artest all on our team then Balkman would be redundant and trading him would make some sense. (Although I would still hope to get value in return) Unfortunatly we do not have them on our team and we are lacking good defenders. What it tells me is the lack of importance our new management puts in non-scoring skills.

    They seem stoked about Crawford and Curry two players that can do nothing except score and then drafted Gallinari another poor defense scorer. Then they trade away the only definitivly better than average defender we got because although he is our best defender and second best rebounder he cannot score lots of points so of course he is valueless.

    As for your other question, my opinion of who our PF should be would not change, unless we got a center that was better than him. Since I highly doubt we will be getting an elite center our worry should not be who fits with our average to below average center but who fits with Lee our very good PF.

  223. Ted Nelson

    I don’t understand why you keep insisting you understand how NBA GM’s minds work, and no one else has any clue. Everyone here can take a stab at the logic Walshtoni used in trading their best defender for a 2nd round pick (he’s inconsistent, he’s not a hard worker, he has offensive limitations, he’s behind two young players they like better, they’re trying to build a team around offense which is one that might actually be logical, etc.), we just think it was a bad trade.
    I don’t know how many times I can repeat myself, but the Bullets had good reason to trade C-Webb for Mitch Richmond and Sheed for Rod Strickland while resigning Juwan Howard for $100m, the Blazers used conventional wisdom to pick up a veteran who fit their team in Dale Davis for Jermaine O’Neal and a decade and a half earlier they thought it was a better idea to draft Sam Bowie than MJ because they already had Clyde Drexler… There are thousands of examples of teams that thought they were doing the right thing and got burned: the consensus logic isn’t always right, and you are allowed to disagree with what an NBA GM does. We’ll see if Balkman ever overcomes the multiple things that are holding him back (he may very well be the skinny, defense oriented Mike Sweetney; however, people who play as well as Balkman has to date generally find a way to fit in around the league–I would honestly be interested to see counter examples of similar players to Balkman who have failed, for my money the most similar guy to Balkman statistically has to be Jerome Williams who was a solid role player and 6th man of the year candidate).

    To repeat myself again, if you know Balkman’s a good fit on Denver it makes it that much stupider to give him away for nothing. I would say Donnie Walsh got outmaneuvered: unless 2nd rounders have suddenly become a very valuable commodity around the NBA in the last couple months (they do seem to get you very good defensive players: Camby, Balkman), would it really have killed Denver to give up 2 of them?

    “I believe in using the advanced stats as a tool for measuring results and skill sets. I think building a “team” involves thinking about how players fit together. IMO if they don’t fit well together, all their stats will be impacted negatively and vice versa.”

    If Balkman made the Knicks 4 points better defensively and 1 point better offensively, it would seem that he fit. +/- isn’t that cut and dry, but after two years where he clearly made the Knicks a better team when he was on the court, it seems reliable to look at the +/-. Now, the Knicks have been miserable for the past two seasons, so if Walshtoni can build a team this season that Balkman wouldn’t have made better (pretty impossible to say, but) I won’t ever mention this as a terrible trade again.

    In basketball you win by scoring more points than the other team (both scoring more than them and keeping them from scoring more than you, that’s all it boils down to). To win a lot of games you have to either be very good at scoring efficiently, keeping the other team from scoring efficiently, or both. It’s pretty hard to become a top 5 team in the league on either side of the ball, let alone both, so I’d say a team should focus on becoming top 5 in one or the other while trying to be top 10, top 15 in the other. I’ll list where every NBA champion of the past 20 years has finished in offensive and defensive efficiency in another post to give you an idea of what I’m talking about. Basically they were mostly very good on one side of the ball and good on the other.
    The Knicks seem to be going for offense, at least in the short term with D’Antoni and Danilo. As I said both when D’Antoni was hired and when they drafted Danilo, I think this makes sense given the talent on the roster. This makes it a bit more reasonable to get rid of Balkman, but he still could have been a valuable role player energizing the team and guarding the other team’s best perimeter scorer for stretches.

    Now, when you get more into the specifics of how to build a very good team on either/both side(s) of the ball, getting guys who fit together is important. And this is also where role players fit into the picture. The Lakers have a bunch of guys who pass above average for their position, a do everything threat on the perimeter, two good post players (who I think will complement each other rather than overlapping), a point-forward, and a bunch of solid outside shooters. If, instead, they had players who all do the same things well and especially if they didn’t pass well they wouldn’t have been a good enough offense to make the finals. If KG, Perkins, Rondo, Pierce, and Posey were all perimeter defenders or all inside defenders they wouldn’t have been a good enough defense to win it all. (This seems pretty painfully obvious.)

    Now, these teams cannot build team USA, but what I’m really interested in is a list of guys from around the NBA who do everything at the same level: truly well rounded players. I have a feeling they’re either All-Stars because they do everything so well (Kobe, LeBron, Tim Duncan, KG) or they’re fringe NBA players because they do everything ok. Most good role players, and even most stars, are much better at certain things. This is called specialization, and I don’t want to get into an introduction to economics course but you can just type Adam Smith into Wikipedia and look for specialization of labor.

    “IMO a guy like Rodman would have less value on a team with a dominant defensive center that gets lot of boards and a small forward like Balkman than he would on the current Knicks where they are desperate for everything he brought to the table.”

    First of all, there are diminishing returns in basketball in some cases (good defensive players is probably not one of them, but rebounding may be). Second of all, the Knicks are as good at rebounding as they are at ANYTHING: they could use a defensive presence, but aren’t in desperate need of rebounding. Third of all, Rodman is an inch shorter than Balkman, I don’t know where I can find his functional height which would be more important to compare with Balkman’s, but the dude was an inch shorter so I’m not sure how you can say you wish the Ks had Rodman and you’d miss Balkman more if he were taller in the same post… (the Worm was, of course, also a much better rebounder than Balkman).
    Rodman was a valuable player on a Spurs team with a GREAT defensive center in David Robinson (where he had his highest season of rebounds per minute and rebound rate and had his highest TS% after turning 29) and a good defender on the wing in Sean Elliot. He played on the Pistons, where he played 27 and 29 mpg on NBA champions, until he was 31 years old with guys like Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn and plenty of other very good defensive players.

  224. Ted Nelson

    Ben R.

    Good point about Balkman.

    I do agree that it was a bad trade, but I wouldn’t read as much into it about non-scoring skills as you. They gave the whole MLE to a non-scorer in Chris Duhon, and Danilo is an intelligent player and good passer as well as a good scorer (defensively, he’s no AK-47 and probably never will be, but I don’t know if he’s going to be Jamal Crawford after a few years in the league either): basically I really think the kid has a chance to be a star. Crawford is also a good passer at the 2 spot, although he’s not even a good scorer.

    IS,

    “Would your thoughts about who you would like to see at PF change if the Knicks traded Curry for Dalembert?”

    As far as who’s on the roster, I’d want Lee at PF whether Curry or Dalembert is the C. As far as who’s not on the roster, I think I’d want Duncan, KG, or Howard at PF no matter who the C was. So, no my thinking doesn’t seem to change at all.

  225. Ted Nelson

    Here’s the list of NBA Champions

    Team…OffEff Rank…DefEFF Rank

    Bos……9……1
    SAS……5……2
    Mia……7……9
    SAS……8……1
    Det……18….2
    SAS……7……3
    LAL……2……7
    LAL……2……21
    LAL……4……1
    SAS……11….1
    Chi……8……3
    Chi……1……4
    Chi……1……1
    Hou……6……12
    Hou……15….2
    Chi……2……7
    Chi……1……4
    Chi……1……7
    Det……11….2
    Det……7……3

    By and large they were great on one side and top 10 on the other.
    1 (5%) was top 3 on both sides

    5 (25%) were top 5 on both sides (including the 1 above)
    8 (40%) were top 3 on one side and 7-9 on the other
    5 (25%) were top 3 on one side and outside the top 10 on the other
    2 (10%) were outside the top 5 on both sides

    So, they were mostly well-rounded, but also mostly much better relative to the rest of the league on one side of the ball.

  226. Dave

    Wilson Chandler was clearly already the first choice ahead of Balkman for the future SF of the Knicks. He was playing 28mpg in April, 25mpg in March. He got 16 starts. He was the guy they were developing first and foremost. Balkman had already taken a backseat to him late last season.

    Then they added Gallinari who has serious potential and is a possible star. He’s the best prospect (albeit somewhat unknown potential) on the Knicks. The minute they drafted Gallinari, Balkman became redundant. They had two young players with more potential.

    I seriously doubt Donnie could get anything better than a second rounder for Balkman and seriously doubt that Balkman’s trade value would ever improve in a situation where he’s not playing. Donnie also got the bonus of cutting salary and getting the roster numbers down, great stuff.

    I’m not sold on Balkman spending time as a power forward in the NBA. Either way it wasn’t to be here in NY because of David Lee and Zach Randolph, there weren’t enough minutes there. Add in Q as another small forward who’ll likely play ahead of Balkman and the situation closes off even more.

    If he wasn’t going to play, he likely wasn’t going to develop. Balkman needs game time and more experience, especially to get his defense up to that next level. What use is a young player who isn’t playing and likely isn’t developing? No use

    Let him move on and try to build his career. His time was up here.
    ________________________________________

    As for Balkman in Denver, I expect he’ll find himself on the outside looking in all over again. There’s so much talent on the wings there – Iverson, Melo, JR, Kleiza. Balkman’s offensive weaknesses will make it difficult for him to get court time – Denver have horrific ball movement and lack perimeter shooters so they can’t space the floor, they also get very little offensive production from their bigs or point guard which puts a lot of pressure on the wings.

    It’s a pity because George Karl will love Balkman, he’s exactly the type of hyper active disruptive defensive player that Karl loves. Plus Balkman is dangerous on the break which again Karl will love. I just can’t see Karl finding a way to get him on the court, there’s too many superior players ahead of Balkman.

    ________________________________________

    As for the perimeter defense, it should take a backseat to best young prospects on the roster since the Knicks are rebuilding – I’m not considering David Lee in that young prospect pile anymore, he’s established himself in this league.

    The team can find role players to fill these holes as they go on such as a Chris Duhon.

  227. Z-man

    Well said, Dave. Jeffries is also still in the mix and he can do most of what Balkman does, although I wish there was a way to have unloaded him instead of Balk. I really wonder whether there is something beneath the surface about Balk we are not privy to…locker room issues, ankle injury worse than we think, difficult to coach, drug rumors, etc. His less than stellar showing and injury in Summer league didn’t help, nor did the inconsistency he showed last year (I can’t blame this all on Isiah, Balk kept making rookie mistakes over and over again even in his limited time, not to mention that his foul trouble (5 per 36) kept him off the court as much as the coach did.

    I know there is room for disagreememnt on this issue, but I don’t think giving Balkman away is a reason in and of itself to lose faith in Walsh-D’Antoni. Dave’s argument above is at least a logical and compelling line of reasoning.

  228. Z-man

    Ted,
    I wouldn’t label Duhon as a “non-scorer” in the same way that Balkman is a “non-scorer.” Duhon’s offensive skillset is far more in line with PG expectations than Balkman’s is with SFs. His MLE status was because of need at PG; if we had any sort of stability/predictability at PG, this would have been a bad deal. It seems unlikely that he will be a bust of Jerome James/Jared Jeffries proportions (if his initials werer JJ instead of CD, I’d really be spooked!)

  229. Z

    “Wilson Chandler was clearly already the first choice ahead of Balkman for the future SF of the Knicks. He was playing 28mpg in April, 25mpg in March. He got 16 starts. He was the guy they were developing first and foremost. Balkman had already taken a backseat to him late last season.”

    Basing anything on last season is a mistake. The team was a disaster, led by a disaster, going from bad to worse as the season progressed. Who cares what Isiah Thomas was doing in the last 6 weeks?! He was a lame duck. Why would his coaching dictate the direction of the team for next year and beyond?

    “As for the perimeter defense, it should take a backseat to best young prospects on the roster since the Knicks are rebuilding…the team can find role players to fill these holes as they go on such as a Chris Duhon.”

    The Knicks had exactly 3 young prospects (on a roster of 15). One of them was Balkman. That makes 12 proven entities, most of which are over paid, useless, unlikeable players. Yet management chose to dump one of the three young guys instead. Makes no sense, still, almost a week later.

    And Chris Duhon is a stop gap. That is why he only got a two year deal. If he was the PG of the future, he’d have gotten a longer contract. If you asked most people “who would you rather have, Chris Duhon or Renaldo Balkman for the next two years?” I think most people would choose Balkman.

  230. Ben R

    I might be the only one but I am not at all sold on Gallinari. I think he will be a productive player but he is one of my least favorite types of NBA players. The 3-4 tweener that plays on the perimeter, is bad at rebounding, and a little too slow to defend most NBA wings.

    His upside is Turkaglu, Tim Thomas, Odom or Van Horn (without the rebounding), Radmonivic, etc.

    Is there a single great player that is 6’10″, plays on the perimeter, is a mediocre rebounder and an average at best defender. I do not see the upside.

    I know I am biased, I personally hate perimeter oriented big men, but I will be surprised if he is better than Balkman in three years.

  231. Ted Nelson

    Dave,

    Balkman is already a good defender and rebounder with the chance to become very good. Wilson Chandler developed as his rookie year went on, but currently has a career .480 TS%, .300 3p%, and 6.7 rebounds per 36 minutes. Danilo has yet to log an NBA minute. Coming into the league Isiah Rider was seen as having a lot more potential than Bruce Bowen, Jamal Crawford was seen as having a lot more potential than Tony Parker or Gilbert Arenas, Kwame Brown was seen as having more than Ben Wallace, and the Bulls literally made the choice to take Tyson Chandler’s potential over Elton Brand. Considering that a roster spot could have been cleared by simply buying out Mardy Collins or Malik Rose, was it really necessary to essentially cut the Knicks’ best SF for two guys with “potential”? Especially seeing as Balkman, Chandler, Q, and Danilo all seem fairly capable to playing multiple positions?

    There´s no guarantee that Balkman´s going to play in Denver, but considering that the Nuggets were equally good on offense and defense last season and lost their best defender I´d give him a chance. AI has been playing a lot of PG for them, and with Anthony Carter and Chucky Atkins as the alternatives I don´t see that changing. AI, JR Smith, Balkman, Melo/Kleiza, and Nene/K-Mart/Birdman… I´m not saying that Balkman will get 40 mpg, but Diawara has averaged 14.6 mpg over the past two seasons and Eduardo Najera played 21 mpg last season so I think Balkman´s got a shot at the rotation.

    I agree with Z´s take on Isiah’s coaching not having anything to do with the Knicks strategy going forward and Balkman being one of the best/only young prospects on the team. Walsh got desperate for a roster spot and a 2nd rounder instead of making Denver get desperate for Balkman and give up a 1st or at least 2 2nds (teams literally trade 2 2nds for a 2nd, so 2 2nds is about the least you should accept back for someone who´s shown signs of being a good NBA player like Balkman).

  232. Z

    “Is there a single great player that is 6?10?, plays on the perimeter, is a mediocre rebounder and an average at best defender.”

    Robert Horry has 7 rings…

  233. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    If Balkman continued to play like he did last season and Jeffries has a career year, maybe you could compare the two (I´ve said as much before). Over the past two seasons? There´s no comparison.

    ——————————

    I like the Duhon signing just fine, but he´s a non-scorer all the same. On his career he´s averaged 9.7 pts/36 (career high 10.8) on a .513 TS% (career high .538). Balkman has averaged 10 pts/36 (career high 11.3) on a .514 TS% (career high .531).
    I think Balkman has a fine skill set for a team that can put 3 guys on the court with him who are capable of scoring from the outside (AI, JR Smith, and Melo for example or Duhon/Marbury, Nate/Jamal, and Danilo/Chandler… everyone keeps insisting Chandler and Balkman can´t guard 4s, but what makes them so much less capable than Marion and Diaw?).
    Chris Duhon also has a more traditional PG “skill-set” than Chauncey Billups or Monta Ellis or Leandrinho or …, there´s still little doubt in my mind who I´d take.

  234. Ted Nelson

    Horry is/was a strong defender.

    Ben R,

    How about Dirk, Kobe (good defender), Tracy McGrady, Peja, Rashard Lewis, Carmelo Anthony, Grant Hill, Antoine Walker, Mike Miller, Mike Dunleavy (last season at least), Hedo last season as well, Caron Butler, Josh Howard (also a good defender), Rudy Gay, Okur (not a strong rebounder for a 5), Kevin Durant, Toni Kukoc…. Those are a few that come to mind.

    Out of curiousity, how many times have you seen Gallinari play in a real game? He´s a 6-9 SF, not sure why you would call him a “perimeter oriented bigman.” A 6-9 player is as likely to be a SF as a PF. D’Antoni wants to play him at the 4 once he develops physically, which I think would have been much more possible with a developed Renaldo Balkman.
    Danilo’s a very versatile scorer who can spot up, take his man off the dribble, and play a bit in the post. That´s where the Dirk comparisons come from. He´s also got a great understanding of the game for a 20 year old and should be an above average passer for a forward (although the Kukoc comparisons are off base at this point in my opinion: Danilo´s more of a scorer, less of a passer). He´s never going to be AK-47 defensively and he´s not Darius Miles athletically, but I think the claims about his athleticism were blown out of perportion. Every European player is labled “soft” and a weak defender, but somehow Dirk, Pau, Kukoc, Peja, and Vlade have all managed to log heavy minutes for very good defensive teams. Danilo’s rebounds per game were 3rd on his team in the Euroleague last season, right where you´d expect your starting SF to finish (behind Americas Travis Watson and Ansu Sesay). I don´t expect he´ll be much worse of a rebounder than Wilson Chandler was last season.
    Seriously, find me a 6-9 guy who´s not a stiff and played as well as Danilo in the Euroleague and as good a national league as the Italian at 19 in the past decade or two who didn´t go on to be an NBA star. Maybe there is one or Danilo’s an exception, but the precedent seems strongly in his favor.

    The players you´ve compared him to aren´t even very comparable to one another. Radman is a spot up 3 points shooter, while Odom is a point-forward and pretty good defender with a mediocre at best outside shot… and someone I wouldn´t at all mind having on the Knicks. Tim Thomas clearly never came close to reaching his potential (he did play some of his best ball for D’Antoni), probably due to work ethic and attitude more than anything. Hedo has been extremely inconsistent over his career and also unable to reach his potential, but was a good player last season. I think you’ll find that Danilo is a much more fluid run-jump athlete than KVH. None of these guys have developed the well-rounded offensive games that Danilo is capable of for more than short strecthes in their careers.
    Your comparisons are sort of like saying an athletic bigman has no place in the NBA because of Chris Washburn, Kwame Brown, and Kandiman…

    Now, maybe Danilo never reaches his potential, but I don´t think it will be because he´s a 6-9 SF without great athleticism who doesn’t rebound very well. It will likely be if he doesn’t turn into the scorer and overall offensive player he’s capable of being, just like Tim Thomas or KVH.

  235. Ben R

    Ted Nelson – I have not seen him play but after looking at his stats and hearing what both the scouts and even his own coach say. I think his potential is limited.

    I do not think that Europeans are poor defenders or soft players. There are alot of good defensive european players. Also from everything I have heard Gallinari is not soft. The problem is Gallinari was not even a good defender in Europe.

    Players that are poor defenders at lower levels rarely get better once they hit the NBA. Even his own coach in two different interviews alluded to his defensive shortcomings.

    Also his non-scoring stats were not that great in Europe. They were solid but certainly not impressive.

    NCAA Freshman SF prospect
    Stats for prospect eFG% P40 R40 A/TO ASB40
    All-Star Player – .556 20.1 9.0 0.9 6.0
    Rotation Regular- .546 17.9 9.0 0.7 5.1
    Journeyman Player .548 16.9 8.2 0.7 5.2
    Gallinari Italian .550 20.7 6.7 1.3 4.5
    Gallinari Eurolge .480 18.9 5.3 0.8 4.5

    As you can see Gallinari falls quite short in both rebounds per 40 and ASB40 (Assists, Steals, Blocks per 40).

    I know that Euroleague is better competition than NCAA but I do not feel that the Italian league is that much better. So if you look at his italian league stats versus other NCAA prospects, his scoring, efficiency and a/to ratio are all extremely promising but his rebounds and other stats fall quite short.

    Also most of the players you named are pure SF’s and I think if Gallinari keeps growing like people are expecting he will be a combo forward rather than a pure wing. This is why his lack of rebounding really worries me.

    I do not think he will be a flop but I do not see him being even average at rebounding or defense. I really hope I am wrong but I am just not excited at his potential.

  236. Ted Nelson

    “I do not think he will be a flop but I do not see him being even average at rebounding or defense.”

    Don’t think he’ll be above average as a rebounder, but I try to provide some examples of subpar rebounding forwards who’ve gone on to good careers. (I hope Owen’s not reading, but rebounds might be overvalued… if you get one less rebound per 36 than someone else you cost your team a possession, but if you score 20 pts/36 at a 600 TS%, pass well, don’t turn the ball over, play solid D, etc. you’re probably going to make up for it compared to most of the guys who’d get that extra rebound per 36, especially if you’ve got a couple of teammates who rebound well.)
    Defensively I think he can be average or even a bit better. (Unfortunately it’s not very common to classify guys defensively beyond “bad”, “average” and “good”.)

    “The problem is Gallinari was not even a good defender in Europe.”

    He was 19 years old playing in a league of grown men. He was the best offensive player on a good team. Guys like T-Mac, Paul Pierce (pre-KG), and Kevin Durant (even Kobe at times) have been given free passes by the media defensively because they’re shouldering the offensive load. I don’t know if that’s logical/acceptable, but I guess it could be the case for a 19 year old.
    I’m not expecting him to be a real difference maker defensively. He does show a great competitive fire and work ethic and isn’t a stiff athletically, so I don’t see him necessarily being a defensive liability. (That’s why I listed guys like Peja and Pau and Dirk who have been known as “soft” and are not particularly respected for their defensive prowess’s but have managed to play heavy minutes on very good defensive teams.)

    “Also his non-scoring stats were not that great in Europe. They were solid but certainly not impressive.”

    (Just curious: What are the numbers you list? An example of the college numbers of one of each kind or an average? The journeyman was better in 2 categories than the rotation player… )

    It’s a legitimate criticism. His rebounding numbers worry me a bit more (as I said I would expect him to fit in defensively, but not make a huge difference so the blks and stls don’t worry me too much and he was the primary scorer so his assists might increase if he were placed in a reduced role and as his game develops). Durant averaged a comparably miserable 4.5 reb/36 as a rookie after looking like Dennis Rodman in college… no idea if Durant will develop into a decent player, but the consensus is definitely a strong yes.

    I can find some good SFs/comboFs who averaged about 6 reb/36, so if Danilo improves to that level or his Italian stats are more indicative than his Euroleague stats I think he’ll be ok.
    5 reb/36—-Peja’s at 5.2 (Danilo’s outside shot isn’t as accurate as Peja’s at this point, but hopefully he can equal Peja’s .584 TS% through his more well rounded arsenal…). Mike Miller’s another guy you might be able to compare Danilo to who’s at 5. Hedo’s at 5.5 (I know you listed him as a negative example, but he finally put it all togher and had a very good season: 19 pts/36, .576 TS%, 5.6 reb/36, 4.9 ast/36, and 82 games at 37 mpg on the 52 win Magic…).
    6 reb/36—-Kukoc, Melo, Rashard Lewis, T-Mac, Dunleavy Jr. were/are right around 6.
    7 reb/36—-Horry and Sheed are both PFs at 7 (Grant Hill would also probably be about there if not for his knee injury).

    I don’t think Danilo’s upside is to lead a team to the championship, but I think he can be the 2nd, 3rd, maybe even 1st scoring option on a good team. If he does play the 4, Balkman would have been a great complement (if both developed), which is yet another reason that trade was so confusing. I’m not saying he’s going to be Dirk, but his upside is maybe a mix of Rashard Lewis and Carmelo Anthony: not a savior but a nice piece. He’s got to work to reach his potential, but how many 20 year olds hit the league ready to go? Average case I think he’s a Hedo or Dunleavy Jr., in which case you have to hope for a lot more consistency and finding his game before he’s 27/28 (we’ll see if they can maintain their 07/08 productions but both had a serious career year scoring the basketball). Worst case he Carlos Delfino and back to Europe after a few seasons.

    “Also most of the players you named are pure SF’s and I think if Gallinari keeps growing like people are expecting he will be a combo forward rather than a pure wing. This is why his lack of rebounding really worries me.”

    He can hit the 3 and take his man off the dribble as well as just about any 6-9 19 year old I’ve seen, so I give him a shot at the traditional 3 if his jumper becomes more consistent.
    If he’s a PF it might actually help him defensively once he develops physically. If he’s playing the 4 put a good rebounder at the 5 and 3 and call it a day. Sheed has a ring and Horry has more than a hand-full.
    If you grow an inch you also don’t suddenly lose all your athletic ability. Not that Danilo jumps out of the gym, but I think he’s adequate for the NBA athletically.

    Looking forward to seeing how he does. Definitely the most intriguing draft pick the Knicks have made in a while, though.

  237. Ted Nelson

    Final thought in regards to assists: they’re harder to come by in Europe. Players tend to play less minutes (the games are 40 minutes), but the all-time career leader in assists per game in the Euroleague is Ed Cota with 4.81.

  238. TDM

    Speaking of assists, did any of you read the article on Team USA defeating Russia with J. Kidd firmly planted to the bench the whole game.

    A reporter was questioning Coach K after the game regarding Kidd, when Kobe interjected.

    From ESPN:

    “Coach Mike Krzyzewski, when asked why he benched Kidd, was in the middle of answering during his postgame interview when Kobe Bryant interrupted with a two-word explanation: “He’s old.”"

  239. Ben R

    Ted – You make alot of good points and honestly I do see Danillo developing into a solid player. I just see him as merely solid and I personally do not like the games of many of the players you mentioned. He seems like a bit of a good at everything great at nothing offensive player. I do see alot of Kukoc or Dunleavy Jr. or Lewis in his game and I could see him develop into that kind of a player, it’s just that kind of player does not excite me. On top of that most of the SF’s you mentioned are poor defenders, which I think is because they are a little too big to effectively defend quick SF’s. I do not see Gallinari being different.

    The chart I used was one from hoopsanalyst where he looks at the college stats of present and former NBA players and sees what stats are most telling indicators of NBA success. You are right about the assists so if you give him the benefit of the doubt and multiply his assists by 1.5 he is then adaquate in the ASB/40 stat. So that does make me feel a bit better.

    I am just worried that we drafted an offfensive player, and jettisoned a defensive one. Season before last we were a very good offensive team before everyone got hurt and the wheels came off. We need defense, I am terrified that our management has no idea what to do and I am taking shots at Gallinari before he even plays. I think Gallinari is not what we needed, but I need to give him a shot before I make up my mind. I am going to do that and I really hope you are right about him.

    I think I am also upset because I do not see him ever being as good as Lee and I think our management sees him as our future PF instead of Lee. I would rather move forward with Balkman at the 3 and Lee at the 4 then Chandler at the 3 and Gallinari at the 4. I wish we could have them all but it’s too late for Balkman and I truly believe that Lee’s days as a Knick are numbered.

  240. nick

    Ben what makes you so sure you have any idea about what to do, much less more of an idea than either D’Antoni or Donnie Walsh, both of whom have experienced success without the benefit of your wisdom. Maybe Balkman is the canary in the coal mine here but I’m hoping its just a slow summer becuase otherwise you guys are makign way too much out of Renaldo Balkman being traded for a second round pick.

  241. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Season before last we were a very good offensive team before everyone got hurt and the wheels came off. We need defense, I am terrified that our management has no idea what to do and I am taking shots at Gallinari before he even plays. I think Gallinari is not what we needed, but I need to give him a shot before I make up my mind. I am going to do that and I really hope you are right about him.

    I think I am also upset because I do not see him ever being as good as Lee and I think our management sees him as our future PF instead of Lee. I would rather move forward with Balkman at the 3 and Lee at the 4 then Chandler at the 3 and Gallinari at the 4. I wish we could have them all but it’s too late for Balkman and I truly believe that Lee’s days as a Knick are numbered.

    1. In 2007 the Knicks were 16th on offense. They haven’t been a good offensive team since 2003, and before that since 1992.

    2. I agree about Balkman/Lee better promise rather than a Chandler/Gallo. Not that I think it will definitely turn out that way, but I think Balkman/Lee have a higher ceiling because they are both are excellent at a few things. Both are great rebounders for their position. Balkman is a fantastic defender. Lee is highly efficient.

    Going back to the discussion on well-rounded players, I think having players that excel at something (specialists) are much more important to winning. For instance would you rather have Eddy Curry as a dominant offensive scorer (give him the ability to cut down on his turnovers and good passing skills) or give him an average defensive game (increase in rebounding & shot blocking)? Honestly I’d rather have the former, because that would make him a player you could build around.

    Mind you I don’t think that Gallo/Chandler will be duds, and I think Gallo might be the kind of player that excels at something (scoring efficiently, getting his teammates open). I guess with Balkman/Lee I knew what skills the tandem were great at. Maybe I’m not so sold on Chandler…

  242. Ted Nelson

    Ben,

    We’ll have to see, in 4-5 years I can realistically see Danilo heading back to Europe (as a bust or ala Josh Childress) or on his way to being the 2nd or 3rd best player on an NBA Champion some day (like most #6 picks I guess).

    I´m a big defense guy, as well, but Walsh clearly seems set on building an offense-first team in the short to medium term (D’Antoni, Gallinari, and Balkman). As you’ve said, the Ks were already average offensively two seasons ago, so getting back to that point seems like a good, realistic first step. (Not that it excuses the Balkman trade.)
    I think it’s more important to be very good on one side of the ball than decent on both. Of course I’d still like to eventually be top 10 on the weaker side (see the post I left with the offensive and defensive efficiencies of the past 20 NBA Champs), but teams like the 07/08 Warriors (I know… they missed the playoffs) and one each of NBA Champion Pistons and Lakers listed above managed to win a lot of games while being below the league average on one side of the ball. I don’t expect the Knicks to be a top 5 offense next season, but top 10 is sort of the optimistic case and top 15 seems somewhat realistic if things go well (I’m not ruling out 30th either).

    I´m comfortable with the Kukoc/ Dunleavy Jr./ Hedo level being the most likely case scenario for Danilo: could be better, could be worse but somewhere around those 3 seems most realistic at this point. (I anticipate that he’ll be a better scorer than any of them, but we´ll see.)
    One thing that’s interesting is that none of those 3 has been able to maintain a high level of scoring over a few seasons: Kukoc hit the league at 25 and had his best seasons at 26 and 27, Dunleavy and Hedo never put it all together for a full season until last season when they were 27 and 28, respectively. Certainly you have to hope that Gallinari´s able to put it all together before 27 and that he can maintain it longer than Kukoc did.
    In their best seasons Kukoc/Dunleavy/Hedo have put up 18-19 pts/36 at a TS% between .575 and .605, 5-6 reb/36, 3-5 ast/36 and Hedo and Kukoc have both been rotation players on good defensive teams (Dunleavy an average, 15th, one last season).

    If Gallinari reaches his potential, he and Lee could be a great high-usage/high-efficiency, low to medium-usage/high-efficiency forward combo in a few seasons, and Lee largely makes up for Gallinari’s rebounding deficiency. Stock the rest of the rotation with strong defenders who bring various offensive skills (Balkman would have been a good start) and preferably one All-NBA type and you´ve got a team.
    Chandler has some promise, but he´s got a long way to go from last year before he’s even an NBA rotation player or can be considered for PT over Lee or a non-bust Gallinari.
    I didn’t even see/hear the whole quote, but did D’Antoni refer to Lee’s scoring efficiency at all when he said something about you can always use 10 and 10? As I’ve said before, I can see him having just lucked out in Phoenix and not being the offensive genius he gets credit for being, but maybe he is an offensive genius… we’ll have to see.

  243. Ben R

    Mike K. – Two seasons ago the Knicks started the season off very badly and was ranked about 20th on offense after one month. They changed their offense, to focus on Curry, and started playing .500 ball for almost three months. During this time the Knicks actually broke into the top ten offensively #8 or #9 at the peak before Lee, Crawford and Q Rich all got hurt and we lost almost every game over the last month and dropped to 16th overall offensively.

    That tells me that the potential for an at least solid offensive team is already there. What we do not have is any defensive promise especially now that we traded our only good defender.

    Ted – I have never heard D’Antoni refer to efficiency once about any player. I believe he is part of the old guard in the NBA that does not really look much at stats like TS% and per minute averages and looks more at overall averages and percievable skills. I hope I am wrong but I would not bet on it.

  244. Italian Stallion

    “Would your thoughts about who you would like to see at PF change if the Knicks traded Curry for Dalembert?”
    As far as who’s on the roster, I’d want Lee at PF whether Curry or Dalembert is the C. As far as who’s not on the roster, I think I’d want Duncan, KG, or Howard at PF no matter who the C was. So, no my thinking doesn’t seem to change at all.

    Ted,

    Anyone in their right mind would want Duncan, KG, or Howard etc… at PF no matter who the center was. Obviously if you can get a PF that is terrific on both sides of the floor you’d want him.

    However, if I had a choice among more limited power forwards (which is typically the case), I would try to team Curry with a defense oriented shotblocker and Dalembert with a post scorer with a little mid range game assuming those two guys had similar overall value despite their different skill sets.

  245. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    “To repeat myself again, if you know Balkman’s a good fit on Denver it makes it that much stupider to give him away for nothing. I would say Donnie Walsh got outmaneuvered: unless 2nd rounders have suddenly become a very valuable commodity around the NBA in the last couple months (they do seem to get you very good defensive players: Camby, Balkman), would it really have killed Denver to give up 2 of them?”

    I never said the Knicks got equal value back for Balkman. I predicted he wasn’t going to get many minutes for the Knicks. So I was not shocked when they traded him.

    “If Balkman made the Knicks 4 points better defensively and 1 point better offensively, it would seem that he fit. +/- isn’t that cut and dry, but after two years where he clearly made the Knicks a better team when he was on the court, it seems reliable to look at the +/-.”

    I’m not a big believer in +/- because it’s a fairly volatile stat from year to year and IMO in some cases misleading. I’m not saying it is useless, but it’s one of the last things I look it. I prefer to look at players individual skill sets statistically and then watch the games. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

    “First of all, there are diminishing returns in basketball in some cases (good defensive players is probably not one of them, but rebounding may be). Second of all, the Knicks are as good at rebounding as they are at ANYTHING: they could use a defensive presence, but aren’t in desperate need of rebounding. Third of all, Rodman is an inch shorter than Balkman, I don’t know where I can find his functional height which would be more important to compare with Balkman’s, but the dude was an inch shorter so I’m not sure how you can say you wish the Ks had Rodman and you’d miss Balkman more if he were taller in the same post… (the Worm was, of course, also a much better rebounder than Balkman).
    Rodman was a valuable player on a Spurs team with a GREAT defensive center in David Robinson (where he had his highest season of rebounds per minute and rebound rate and had his highest TS% after turning 29) and a good defender on the wing in Sean Elliot. He played on the Pistons, where he played 27 and 29 mpg on NBA champions, until he was 31 years old with guys like Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn and plenty of other very good defensive players.”

    The Knicks get their rebounding from Lee and Randolph. Both play power forward along side Curry. Neither, but especially Randolph is enough of a defensive presence to make up for the lack of defense by Curry. If you put Rodman at PF, you get the rebounds AND DEFENSE which is the EXACT COMBINATION THE KNICKS NEED AT PF! That was my point. You can’t put Balkman at PF and expect the kind of defense/rebounds that Rodman brought to that position.

    Of course you can team defensive players with other defensive players. The more the merrier. However, you can’t team defensive players with defensive players if no one on the court can shoot or score. Robinson could score inside and outside. The bad boys had plenty of scoring (among them a former Knick executive). ;-)

    The issue with Balkman was that the Knicks didn’t have a lot of high % outside shooting/scoring (it has been addressed to some degree). His defense is a big plus, but his offense is a big negative. He’s basically a role player. The Knicks believe that guys like Gallinari and Chandler are better all around players and prospects that also fill some very specific Knicks needs. I agree with them. They also have Jeffries and Q Rich. As I said, I think Jeffries and Balkman are very similar. IMO, Q Rich is done, but if not, he’s also a better all around player than Balkman. A couple of these guys were not going to get a lot of time. Balkman was one of them. He was also clearly the easiest to move.

    You have to seperate the Walsh deal from what Balkman was actually going to bring to the table for these Knicks. The deal was probably a bad one, but Balkman was not going to play.

  246. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    I was being over simplistic on the Curry/Dalembert thing. Overall I’d say I’d want the best player on the court regardless, which was why I made the comment I did: put Lee out there unless you can get an amazing PF.
    Lee is a good enough player that I’m not particularly worried about how he fits with Eddy Curry (not that I think he’s a bad fit with Curry). I don’t think it’s better to replace Lee with a worse overall player who’s a better defender than Lee (especially to “fit” next to a center who is not a very good basketball player). It’s pretty subjective, though, and would really depend on the player. The fact that Zach Randolph can complement Curry’s inside game with a pretty looking jump shot that he can heave at the basket at will, for example, does not make up for the fact that he’s about 70% as efficient a scorer as Lee, in my opinion.
    If you’re forced into a tradeoff between two players with different skill sets and can’t decide who is better overall, that’s when I think I’d look at fit. I’d look to get the best player first though, and then if I were left picking between 2 subpar players or lucky enough to have to choose between two good players for the last rotation spot then I’d see what I needed. This is not to say that balance isn’t important, it’s just that most players I would judge as very good as team-first offensively, good defenders, and a fair number probably have the requisite skills for their position (outside shooting for guards, rebounding for bigs, etc.). If you can put 7 or 8 good-very good players on a team balance will almost always take care of itself to some extent. If you really think your team has one glaring weakness like outside shooting or rebounding, one dimensional players whose weaknesses can be masked to some extent by you 7 or 8 good-very good players usually aren’t that hard to come by.
    Generally, though, players aren’t just great and average every great player and every average player interchangeable with one another. That’s why I have long objected to the oversimplified division between stars and role players: put up big per game stats in at least 1 category and you’re a star, don’t and you’re a role player. Unfortunately I think that’s about as complicated as some of the worse GMs around the NBA’s player analysis gets, and certainly as far as most in the media go.

    ————————————————————

    As far as the offense/defense balance part of it… this is why I keep referring to offensive and defensive efficiency. While the goal is obviously to be the best on both sides of the ball, a more realistic goal is to be very good on one side of the ball and good on the other. As I tried to show, this is what most NBA championship teams over the past two decades have done.
    I don’t think that counterbalancing a bunch of all D no O players with a bunch of all O no D players is the way to built a very good team on either side of the ball (I guess I’ll take good or even ok on both side of the ball from the Knicks at this point). You’re going to have a couple of very limited players like Curry hanging around in every rotation, but on good teams they’re the exception, not the rule.

    The Championship Pistons had a few good scorers (Thomas not being a great scorer, with very Jamal Crawfordesque scoring stats), but they were only the #7 offense in the NBA their first championship season and then fell to 11th the next season: they got by on their defense and had just enough offense.

    ————————————————————–
    I think it was a stupid trade.

    As far as his offense being so bad it counteracts his defense: I think it’s easy enough to cover up for a guy who doesn’t take a lot of shots as long as he makes the shots he does take and doesn’t turn it over (doesn’t waste possessions) and plays good D and hits the boards (created possessions). If he reduces his fouls and turns it over slightly less Balkman fits the bill to a T, if he can just hit 65-70% of his free throws he’s a “role playing” God. With a coach who actually managed to make a young Tim Thomas look like a future franchise player (might be able to motivate him) and teammates like AI, Melo, and JR who really need some low usage guys in the rotation he might get it done.

    Who’s to say what Balkman would do as a PF? Have to wonder if George Karl won’t try him out in the frontcourt. Look at Boris Diaw, Atlanta wanted to use him as a PG and now he’s regarded as a good defender on 4s and 5s. Rodman and Barkley were two of the best PFs of the 80s and 90s. I think the logic has been that if you take away perimeter defense you take away his biggest strength, but maybe you can give him some minutes at the 3 and he can develop a new strength of guarding athletic, versatile 4s (of which there are a lot these days).

    —————————————————

    “I prefer to look at players individual skill sets statistically and then watch the games. We’ll have to agree to disagree.”

    I don’t disagree. There are a lot of confounding factors in individual +/- numbers and individual stats show that Balkman is a good player just like his +/- does. There wasn’t a relatively large year to year variation in Balkman’s +/-, though, which is the point where I start to wonder if the trend means something.

  247. Ben R

    Balkman could defend four’s very well. I remember more than one occasion when he really gave Chris Bosh alot of trouble defensively. One game in particular he forced Bosh into commiting five turnovers in just twenty minutes of defense on him.

    We are in an NBA where most of the scoring PF’s are hybrids that spend alot of time facing the basket, against those kind of PF’s Balkman is very very effective. The small minority of back to the basket PF’s or center’s playing out of position, that Balkman would have to defend would not make him a poor defender at the four. I still think he would be a solid defender against those few and a very good defender against the rest.

    Two players who I think Balkman could be compared to in alot of ways Malik Rose and Jerome Williams defended in the post and are both actually shorter than Balkman.

    Balkman was a three position defender; 2, 3 and 4 with the ability to defend 1′s and 5′s on occasion. That is what made him such a good role player, he could fit anywhere in the rotation and help the team with his rebounding and defense.

    We could go big with him playing the two, with Chandler or Gallinari at the three or we could go small with him at the four with Lee at the five, Chandler at the three and Crawford at the two.

  248. Italian Stallion

    “I think it’s easy enough to cover up for a guy who doesn’t take a lot of shots as long as he makes the shots he does take and doesn’t turn it over (doesn’t waste possessions) and plays good D and hits the boards ”

    I also think it would be possible to win a championship using Balkman as a role player. I just don’t think it makes sense to build around a player like him when you already have at least 2 SFs that are probably better all around players. It almost seems as though his fans here can’t get past the fact that he was never going to be a KEY part of the team and think the Knicks should have built around him. (well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration)

    The issue is not Balkman’s talent or whether we got back equal trade value. I think we agree on Balkman’s talents and more or less agree that we may not have gotten back equal value in the trade.

    I just consider it a total non-event because he wasn’t going to play much if at all anyway, we will have a better SF anyway (maybe 2), and I’d like to see what Walsh eventually does with the 2nd rounder. It could be part of another deal that makes some sense.

  249. Ted Nelson

    “I just consider it a total non-event because he wasn’t going to play much if at all anyway, we will have a better SF anyway (maybe 2), and I’d like to see what Walsh eventually does with the 2nd rounder. It could be part of another deal that makes some sense.”

    My problem with this is that Gallinari nor Chandler has proven anything at the NBA level. Chandler actually has proven to be a bad player at the NBA level in his one season of play. He’ll almost definitely improve, but how much? and how quickly? If he puts up career numbers around 16 pts/36 on a .520 TS% and 7.5 reb/36 (which would be a real improvement on last season) and keeps up his 0.8 stl/36 and 0.8 blks/36, then all Balkman really has to do is cut down on his fouls and he’s already a better player. I hope that’s not the case, but given last season’s performance I think it’s the most likely outcome.
    Gallinari hasn’t even gotten a chance in the NBA and I’m as high on him as just about anyone, but what if he comes over and is the next Bostan Nachbar or Carlos Delfino?

    I’m just not sure how/why you can decide someone is not going to play before training camp. Especially given the versatility of Balkman, Chandler, and Gallinari and the success D’Antoni had in Phoenix with a frontcourt that included 2 wing players. It seems likely that Walshtoni thinks Balkman wasn’t going to play because he is nothing more than an immature Jared Jeffries, which I think is why some of us are “reacting to this as if the Knicks had traded Ewing” as people have been saying. Maybe they do have more logical reasoning behind it, but the “I only like guys with jump shots but don’t even bother to notice shooting efficiency” logic seems the most plausible at the moment between the Randolph non-deal and the Balkman deal.

    A 2nd rounder has almost no value in a trade. What are the chances that some GM is about to trade a good player for Zach Randolph but pulls out because they really wanted a 2nd round pick? It’s not exactly a deal breaker, more like icing on the cake.
    Even if Walsh gets a good player with the actual pick he could have just used Dolan’s money to buy a pick.

  250. Ted Nelson

    “Built around him” what are you talking about? I don’t want to “build around” anyone. I want to put together a very good team of good to very good players.

  251. Ted Nelson

    For example, the 06/07 Wolves were a lottery team built around KG and the 07/08 Celtics were a championship team built around KG. Were the Celtics really so much better because they put players who complemented KG out there, or because they put better players out there?

  252. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I think we touched on this briefly already. My belief that Gallinari and Chandler will be much better overall players than Balkman is based on my observation of their skill set vs. his. I consider Chandler’s NBA stats from last year to be irrelevant. It was too short a period of time and he was clearly getting better. I can already see he will be capable of more than Balkman. I have seen less of Gallinari, but I have seen more than just the summer league game and feel the same way. Time will tell if I am right, but I think it’s apparent that Walsh and D’Antoni agree with me.

    “Building around Balkman” was a bit extreme (I was half trying to be funny), but we seem to have very different ideas about how to put together a team. I want the best possible players also, but IMO most of the time you have to make a choice between players of similar overall ability, but with different skill sets. In those cases, IMO, you have to look at your core players and try to fit in role players that compliment them. I don’t think Balkman has the proper skill set to compliment this Knick’s team as a SF and I can’t see making a bunch of moves so that Balkman can get more playing time. That’s what I meant by building around him. In the end, Walsh and D’Antoni must think a lot like I do because I correctly predicted the Knicks would draft Gallinari (I think he fits the Knicks needs at SF very well) and also predicted that Balkman would become irrelevant because of the emergence of Chandler.

    We don’t have to agree on everything, but I do think I have pretty good insight into the thinking of the current management team. Maybe they are idiots and so am I. ;-)

  253. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    I don’t think many people would disagree with you that Chandler can be good, but, for example, there were a lot of bigmen taken in the lottery that had a lot more potntial than Ben Wallace and never turned out to be half the player he was/is. Chandler seems to be working to reach his potential (he seems really ambitious to me, I mean when was the last time a 23 pick had his own shoe add? let alone one implying a comparison between him and a legendary player: David Thompson…), which we all have been assuming has a bit to do with why he’s the favorite son of Walshtoni. Asking a guy to improve 50 fold in one season is tough, it might happen but you don’t have to trade someone who’s been better the last two seasons and could have served as an insurance policy.

    I think a lot of teams, even good ones, do end up just filling in role players around a core. That doesn’t mean that all of those role players around the league play at a very similar level and this is where advanced stats come in. How efficiently do they use the limited possessions they do use? How many possessions do they create/maintain? How many possessions do they assure will end badly for the other team?

    The problem is that the Knicks DON’T HAVE A CORE. The unstopable core of Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph???? Jamal Crawford? If your core players are mediocre most seasons, how do you expect your team to play?
    On a team with virtually no defense and too many high volume scorers, however, I think Balkman could have fit in. As a defensive specialist if nothing else. It’s a role someone like Jared Jeffries or Malik Rose or Wilson Chandler is likely to play now, but considering that Balkman has been a better defender the past two seasons he likely would have been a better choice (and more versatile). If D’Antoni’s offense gets going Balkman’s a great guy in transition or to cut to the basket and make the other team pay for doubling him.
    Basically, though, until they get what can actually be considered a core, I think they should have been seeing what their best players had to contribute, rather than cutting a guy who’s arguable been one of their best 5 or so players the past 2 seasons.
    So are you basically seeing them run out the same lineup Isiah did? Maybe with Duhon at PG and Gallinari off the bench. Maybe they get it to work. The Knicks are pretty deep in decent players, so I do have some hope D’Antoni can find a rotation that works. I could legitimately see this team contending for the playoffs, but it would involve almost everything going right.

    Again, every single mock draft predicted the Knicks would draft Gallinari months before the draft, then there was a period of uncertainty, then he was back at #6 on most mocks. It’s like saying I predicted the Blazers would draft Oden. I also knew they would buy a draft pick and take a European like Batum in the 2008 draft, Kevin Pritchard and I must be telepathically connected.

    In all seriousness, what do you see as their needs at PF? What’s your master vision for the team? Maybe you are right, but 2 for 2 doesn’t convince me.

  254. Ted Nelson

    “what do you see as their needs at PF?”

    I meant SF, sorry, in reference to the Gallinari comment.

  255. Ted Nelson

    As far as the Balkman “prediction”, just a few weeks ago in a discussion with Caleb I also stated that Balkman could easily be the Knicks’ 3rd best SF next season and possibly even worse. It would have required him to play the way he did his 2nd season, while 2 of the following 3 things happened: Gallinari has a strong rookie season on his way to a very good career, Chandler takes a major step forward, and/or Q bounces back from a terrible season and has another season above his career averages. I even went so far as to say that if Jeffries had a career year and Balkman remained at last season’s level Jeffries might be better. The last one is a huge stretch, but I still would say any of the first three COULD have been better than Balkman as a Knick next season. Doesn´t mean they would have. Balkman’s in a somewhat similar situation in Denver with a run-and-gun offense and a few high usage scorers, so I think his production there will be a pretty fair comparison to how he would have produced with the Knicks.

    Anyway, my point is that I don’t believe to have any more insight into Waslhtoni’s thinking than anyone else on the board, despite knowing that Gallinari was the guy they were most likely to take and Balkman might well have been plastered to the bench all season.

  256. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I believe the Knicks are an extreme example of mismatched talent (though moving in the right direction). By mismatched I mean they don’t compliment each other well.

    I also think almost every player on this team is actually a role player, though some are very good role players. By that, I mean they do some things well, but other things poorly.

    If I had my way, I’d trade practically the whole team except Gallinari, Chandler, and Lee. But since that’s not a realistic goal, I’d have to work with guys like Crawford, Curry etc…

    One thing was obvious. Randolph’s production pretty much came straight out of Curry. Since the only thing Curry does very well is score efficiently on the inside, Randolph or Curry HAS to go. I am assuming it will eventually be Randolph because of the contract.

    Last year I thought the Knicks needed more high percentage outside shooting, playmaking, and defense. I thought the weakest position was SF because Q Rich was simply horrible on offense even if his defense was OK. The problem was that out SF subs (Balkman and Jeffries can’t shoot or score either).

    It was my feeling that despite the good defense they could get from Balkman and Jeffries etc…, the Knicks needed the outside shooting and playmaking from that position even more. It would take some of the scoring/shooting pressure off Crawford and enhance Curry’s inside game a lot more.

    To a large extent, I think having a good outside shooting, scoring, passing, playmaking SF will not only add what he brings to the table relative to Q Rich, I think it will make Curry and Crawford more efficient. I think the combination of Chandler and Gallinari is just what the doctor ordered. That may be especially true because it looks like Chandler can play defense.

    That’s my theory.

    I’ll elaborate on some more changes when I have some time, but I have to go to work now.

  257. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I like the Duhon addition because he brings several thigs the Knicks need. He passes well, is a playmaker, and plays defense. I doubt he’s the ultimate solution, but he was positive addition given the players on this team. I wish he had a slightly better outside shot, but if he did, we probably couldn’t afford him.

    IMO, the next most pressing needs are getting rid of Randolph and bringing in a big man whose primary focus is defense and shotblocking.

    Curry and Lee compliment each other is some ways, but neither can block shots or be an intimidating inside defensive presence. I think bringing in someone like that to play along side one or the other at various times would help both – preferably doing so by adding shorter contracts.

    A guy like Camby would have been perfect.

    If they can accomplish those two things before the season, IMO this would have been a wildy successful spring and summer in making the Knicks competitive and getting rid of a bad long term contract.

    Longer term, the goals are obviously to get rid of the bad contracts and draft and trade to get the best possible players they can. It’s hard to make projections like that though.

  258. Z-man

    Ted,
    I agree with your last post that Balkman is a hard read, and therein lies the problem. I believe that Walshtoni concluded that Balkman was a head case and/or that he was not especially coachable, and that his defensive prowess was largely reproducible from other options. I think they believe that Q will be a better player next year, that Chandler is for real and athletic enough to play serious D with some experience, and that Jeffries is a similar enough player to Balkman (and much more experienced and mature)to make him redundant. I think Balkman’s lack of development last year and his recent injury reduced his value. I also think they are far from done dealing and, like most GMs/coaches in rebuilding situations, have much more to worry about than the 9th-10th guy off the bench, especially one who is flawed even in his specialty area.

    For example, the 06/07 Wolves were a lottery team built around KG and the 07/08 Celtics were a championship team built around KG. Were the Celtics really so much better because they put players who complemented KG out there, or because they put better players out there?

    I’m not sure what you are implying here. If it is that the complimentary players were as important to the Celtic’s success and the Timberwolves’ failure, it is ridiculous argument. The Celts were also a putrid lottery team the year before with Paul Pierce. The reason why they were so good was because Paul Pierce and KG perfectly complimented one another, not to mention Ray Allen. Give that team the bottom nine guys on the roster of any other NBA team and they are still in the playoffs and probably in the second or third round. Without either KG or Pierce they struggle to make the playoffs and probably don’t (except for the boon of the putrid east). This type of thinking on your part underscores the fundamental disagreement we have about how to build a team.

    Sure, some complimentary players are better at some things than others, and some are better fits for some teams and/or situations than others. And I have already agreed that we migtht have gotten more for Balkman that we did. But in the big picture, this is such a minor blip on the radar.

  259. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    1. Pretty much agree with the first post. I like Gallinari a lot and like Chandler but I’m just skeptical of whether he can take a huge step forward from a weak rookie year (I know the last month was good, but Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph all have months where they look great). I just can’t get over the Balkman deal for a few years when the results are more clear (however it ends up turning out). The past few years (of hell) combined with not giving away Randolph and this deal (Balkman) I feel a bit like a Bullets/Wizards fan who watched his team trade All-Star PFs in Sheed and then C-Webb for washed up guards but has to watch Juwan Howard make top dollars, plus to add insult to injury the team just let a 24 year old Ben Wallace with 3 seasons in which he has yet to play 2000 minutes in a season but has put up good per minutes stats walk to Orlando. (Hopefully Walsh doesn’t turn into our MJ, especially after we already went through one IT.)
    If you look at Wallace’s first three seasons in the NBA, it’s really not a stretch to call Balkman a more perimeter oriented, slightly more scoring Wallace (he even fouled too much and shot UNDER 40% on FTs in Washington). Whether a perimeter Wallace can work on a team (I think so) or Balkman has anything resembling the incredible work ethic Wallace seems to have yet to be seen.

    2. I like Duhon also.
    Definitely wouldn’t mind a defensive presence in the middle, but (I really can’t get over it) they just gave away their best defender. Before the Balkman deal and Randolph non-deal I was pretty happy with what Walsh had done. Those two events raised some serious questions in my mind, though. I could honestly see them being the kind of errors that Walshtoni never fully recover from, on the one hand, or actually working out if Balkman’s work ethic really is poor and they get a better deal for Randolph. Most likely, I think it’s the kind of thing that doesn’t kill him, but you look back and say what if, for example, he had drafted Joe Johnson instead of Rodney White or Bosh/Wade/Melo instead of Darko. There’s obviously no way to know and maybe–sticking with the Joe D example–he never drafts Prince because he’s set at the 3 or Rodney Stuckey (the guy selected with the pick acquired by trading Darko) turns out to be an All-NBA player.
    One thing that gives me hope is that the Clippers’ 2010 2nd round draft choice seems to have been destined for the NYKs as they first passed it up for Randolph and then (in the likely scenario that the Clipps are worse than the Nuggs) got it for Balkman. I predict a steal coming our way with that pick…

  260. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    He’s not that easy to read, but because he’s unproven not because he’s not good. Will he ever make the necessary improvements to become very good? I don’t know, but he’s already been good over the last two seasons in the minutes he’s played. You always have the Mike Sweetney factor in projecting per minute stats, and maybe Balkman’s attitude/work ethic/karma/etc. will keep him from doing what he’s done on a per minute basis on a per game basis. I personally just think it’s going to take a coach/mentor of some kind to get through to him and a team that accepts his game for what it is.

    I think you’re seriously undervaluing Balkman though, if you say that his defensive presence is easily replaced. 10 reb/36, 1.5 blk/36, 2 stl/36 minutes, and a 4-9 point boost in efficiency from a SF? How many other guys bring that skill set? Move him to the 4 and his rebounding and block numbers might improve.

    “GMs/coaches in rebuilding situations, have much more to worry about than the 9th-10th guy off the bench, especially one who is flawed even in his specialty area.”

    Just like Washington had more pressing needs than Ben Wallace? Like Steve Francis was more important to Isiah than Trevor Ariza?

    ———————————————————–

    “If it is that the complimentary players were as important to the Celtic’s success and the Timberwolves’ failure, it is ridiculous argument. The Celts were also a putrid lottery team the year before with Paul Pierce. The reason why they were so good was because Paul Pierce and KG perfectly complimented one another, not to mention Ray Allen”

    I’ll grant you that they were a playoff team simply by putting a player of Paul Pierce’s caliber next to KG. Not sure why they balance each other perfectly much more than your average 3rd team All-NBA backcourt player would complement your average 1st team All-NBA frontcourt player, though. If you go with the “franchise player you build around” line of thinking, then Paul Pierce was Boston’s Ricky Davis. Pierce is much better than Davis, just like Perkins is better than Blount, and Rondo is better than Randy Foye, and Allen is better than Mike James, and Posey is better than Trenton Hassell, and the Celtics 12th man was probably better than the Wolves 3rd man (Mark Blount) and maybe 2nd (Ricky Davis).

    Making the playoff in the East required a grand total of 37 wins, but the Celtics won 66 games and were judged to be THE BEST team in the NBA by the playoff format. To say that all you need is a superstar and any scrubs to win like that in the NBA would be to ignore lottery teams with the likes of Garnett, Kobe, and Pierce. They can’t get into the playoffs, but they win a championship when you put them together? I don’t buy that.

    Ray Allen had more terrible games in the playoffs than good games, so while he might have played a big role in the 66 wins I’d say off the top of my head that his role in the playoffs meant less than Rondo’s and maybe even Perkins’ or Posey’s.

    Perhaps most importantly, the Celtics were a 66 game winner and a champion primarily because of their defense. I don’t have the playoff numbers, but during the regular season they were the best defense in the nba and the 9th best offense. You might consider guys like Perkins and Rondo and Posey garbage because they don’t score many points, but they are all 3 considered above average defenders for their positions. Garnett is one of the best defenders in the NBA, but even with a younger Garnett and Spreewell and Cassell the Wolves were the 6th and then 14th best defense in the league.

  261. jon abbey

    “Not sure why they balance each other perfectly much more than your average 3rd team All-NBA backcourt player would complement your average 1st team All-NBA frontcourt player, though.”

    because Garnett has always disappeared at the end of games, and Pierce has always disappeared for long stretches during games. with the two of them together, Garnett could cover the first three quarters and let Pierce take over down the stretch.

  262. Ted Nelson

    Interesting theory Jon. Don’t know about the entire 4th Q, but Garnett scored slightly more points per minute in “clutch time” than Pierce at a FG% that was 160 points higher last season according to 82games.com.

  263. Z-man

    I don’t think it is fair to compare Balkman to either Ben Wallace or Dennis Rodman. Balkman was measured at 6’5 1/4″ without shoes at pre-draft camp in 2006, and at age 22 where it is pretty safe to assume that he hasn’t grown; his wingspan, standing reach, bench press reps were not especially impressive. His vertical leap was less than Mardy Collins. Compare his size to LaMarcus Aldridge, and you will see that it is a huge stretch to compare him to any true PF. I though that Gallinari looked significantly taller than him in Vegas. Let’s stop saying that Balkman is taller than Rodman, or a PF at all.

    How many good teams have you seen that play a purely defensive player at SF for extended minutes? Does anyone really think tha Balkman will “lock down” the many outstanding SFs in the league, that opposing coaches wont find ways to get these guys loose or use Balk’s aggresiveness against him? You simply can’t compare a force in the middle (Wallace)to a grabbing, lunging perimeter defender.

    As for being our best defensive player, when you average 5 fouls per 36, it means that you are playing out of control and lunging a lot. Can he do as well without fouling so much? Will teams start sending him to the line whenever he is on the court since he is such a horrible FT shooter?

  264. Z-man

    I never said that Posey, Perkins and Rondo are garbage. Yet nobody was talking about Posey and Perkins before this year (Rondo has his fans but I think he is somewhat overrated on this site.) There are countless examples of teams that had 3 studs where complimentary players came and left. (Pistons, Spurs, Lakers to name a few). And all three of these guys haved an offensive game to complement their defensive game. Furthermore, KG, etc., made those guys play at a higher level, just like Jordan inspired confidence and/or demanded better play on both ends from the likes of Bill Wennington and Jon Paxson. my point is that you can find these kinds of players through the draft, free agency or through trades whenever you need them. Maybe you wont be 1 defensively and 9 offensively, you might reverse the 2 somewhat, the bottom line is that you can maintain a great team as long as the core remains intact.

    Spreewell and Cassell are 2 head cases that are not in the same league as Pierce and Allen, which is why that team wasn’t as good. Not to mention that Minnesota is not the Celtics, basketball’s greatest franchise.

    It will be interesting to see how much the Celts miss Posey, although I wouldn’t have expected the Celts to be as good even with him (KG no longer as hungry, He and RA a year older, East getting better, etc..

  265. Owen

    “If it is that the complimentary players were as important to the Celtic’s success and the Timberwolves’ failure, it is ridiculous argument. The Celts were also a putrid lottery team the year before with Paul Pierce. The reason why they were so good was because Paul Pierce and KG perfectly complimented one another, not to mention Ray Allen”

    I disagree with this very strongly. Their success had nothing to do with how well the Big Three complimented each other. The Celtics were stacked last year. Rajon Rondo was outstanding, just as he was in his rookie season. In my book, he clearly outperformed Ray Allen. And they got above average production from Powe, Posey, Perkins, Cassell, House, and T. Allen. They had a pythag of 68.3 games. That was not because of the mystical union of Garnett, Allen, and Pierce, who were not close to the best trio in the leage. They were awesome because they had a terric supporting cast. With the typical bench on an average NBA team there is no way they win an NBA championship.

    What was interesting about the Garnett trade was that they managed to get rid of the worst players on their roster, and managed to keeo the four guys who had posted above average numbers for them in the previous two seasons.. If Minnesota had gotten Powe/Perkins and Rondo rather than Telfair and Green, last year would have been totally different.

  266. Ted Nelson

    If you can’t acknowledge that Balkman played well over the 2 seasons he was a Knick then I’m not going to waste my time. If you want to say he wasn’t particularly good his second year, I agree, but as a rookie, on average over the two seasons, and as a defender he was good.

    “Let’s stop saying that Balkman is taller than Rodman, or a PF at all.”

    Take it up with the NBA, my friend. They list Balkman at 6-8.

    Charles Barkley? Name ring a ball? Listed at 6-6, rumored to be closer to 6-4??? Didn’t he spend some time at PF???

    Anthony Mason used to be the Knicks’ most effective defender on Shaq for stretches. Ben Wallace was a 6-9 center.

    Centers are supposed to be 7 foot and Ben Wallace was a DPOY at 6-9 and PFs are supposed to be 6-10, 6-9 and Rodman’s a HOF type at 6-7 in his stilettos so let’s stop saying that size matters so much.

    “How many good teams have you seen that play a purely defensive player at SF for extended minutes?”

    Are the Spurs considered a good team? How about when James Posey scored 9.1 pts/36 on the NBA Champion Miami Heat? Shane Battier? Keith Bogans on the Magic last season? Those guys were starters on 50 win teams. I’m sure if you looked for rotation players on playoff teams the list would expand exponentially.

    I know, those guys can spot up for jumpers, which does bring into question whether Balkman can be a SF on a great team. I’d say put Balkman next to a guy like Gallinari’s capable of becoming and they make up for each other’s weaknesses as much as Italian Stallion’s defensive bigman will make up for Curry’s.

    Balkman is fairly unique, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be good. Being able to hit 33% of you 3-pointers when left wide open strikes me as easier to come by than 10 reb/36 and 1.5 blk/36 from your 3. I’m interested to see what he does in Denver.

    “As for being our best defensive player, when you average 5 fouls per 36, it means that you are playing out of control and lunging a lot. Can he do as well without fouling so much? Will teams start sending him to the line whenever he is on the court since he is such a horrible FT shooter?”

    Marcus Camby, Raja Bell, Bruce Bowen, Eric Snow, Doug Christie, Theo Ratliff, Derrick McKey, Nate McMillan, Dennis Rodman, and Ron Artest all had seasons where they averaged 5 PF/36 and Ben Wallace was in the high 3s in Washington after 4.9 in limited minutes as a rookie. PJ Brown averaged 4 PF/36 when he was 28. Charles Oakley averaged 4.7 at 29 and was first team All-Defense the next season.

    Foul problems are as much the rule as the exception for young players who mature into NBA defensive stoppers.

  267. jon abbey

    “but Garnett scored slightly more points per minute in “clutch time” than Pierce at a FG% that was 160 points higher last season according to 82games.com.”

    tough to take too much out of Boston’s regular season stats last year, as they were really never challenged for best record in the East or the league and so in a way, most of the second half of their season was pretty low pressure.

    what I’m talking about was pretty clear in the playoffs, KG quite obviously tightens up (and has his whole career) down the stretch of most big games. maybe getting a ring will change this going forward, we’ll see.

  268. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    “Spreewell [sic] and Cassell are 2 head cases”

    Cassell’s head is fucked up on the outside, not the inside.

  269. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    “Not to mention that Minnesota is not the Celtics, basketball’s greatest franchise.”

    Are you really telling me that the Celtics’ past success is why they won the championship last season?

    Come on, really? If you believe in karma I have no problem with that, but does anyone want to talk about basketball? Give me something to work with here: I have counter examples for every one of your examples of why Balkman sucks and all you need is 2 great players and a bunch of interchangeable D-Leaguers to win a title, and you don’t have so much as an example of a team that won without strong role players.

    Guys like Glen Rice, A.C. Green, Horace Grant (LAL time), Isiah Rider, Lindsey Hunter, Rick Fox, Ron Harper, Toni Kukoc (in Europe), and Bill Cartwright were top players on other teams before taking reduced roles to become role players on the Lakers and Bulls’ dynasties. Steve Kerr was never a great all around player, but he had a career .454 3p% and .593 TS% and shot 52.7% on 3s as a 24 year old in Cleveland. Guys like Luc Longley and Bill Wennington’s per minute numbers in Chicago go very much with the flow of their mediocre careers.
    You may also forget that the Bulls were a 55 win team the full season Jordan retired. So any argument that they were a terrible team without Jordan is shot to shit.

  270. Ted Nelson

    Jon,

    Clutch time is defined by 82games as 4th Q or OT, less than 5 minutes to play, and no team ahead by more than 5.

    Z-Man,

    “(Pistons, Spurs, Lakers to name a few).”

    Missed that, I’m not saying that having 2 or 3 or more very good all-around players is a bad thing. It’s really almost necessary to sustain a contender for any period of time. I’m saying that basketball is a team sport where everyone’s proportion weighs on the result.

    As far as those examples:

    The Spurs have also replaced 2 of their top 3 during their run, as well.

    Shaq/Kobe Lakers or Magic Lakers? The Kobe/Shaq Lakers did shuffle role players, although Fox, Horry, Fisher stayed similar. However,
    The names on the Showtime Lakers stay fairly similar year to year although they did a great job of having a great team for a decade and there was a good deal of turnover over tha period. Like the Spurs or the Aurebach Celtics I think this was just a superiorly run organization.

    The Bad Boy Pistons were pretty remarkably similar for the 2 seasons before their championships and their 2 title runs.

  271. Z-man

    If you can’t acknowledge that Balkman played well over the 2 seasons he was a Knick then I’m not going to waste my time. If you want to say he wasn’t particularly good his second year, I agree, but as a rookie, on average over the two seasons, and as a defender he was good.
    “Let’s stop saying that Balkman is taller than Rodman, or a PF at all.”
    Take it up with the NBA, my friend. They list Balkman at 6-8.
    Charles Barkley? Name ring a ball? Listed at 6-6, rumored to be closer to 6-4??? Didn’t he spend some time at PF???
    Anthony Mason used to be the Knicks’ most effective defender on Shaq for stretches. Ben Wallace was a 6-9 center.
    Centers are supposed to be 7 foot and Ben Wallace was a DPOY at 6-9 and PFs are supposed to be 6-10, 6-9 and Rodman’s a HOF type at 6-7 in his stilettos so let’s stop saying that size matters so much.
    “How many good teams have you seen that play a purely defensive player at SF for extended minutes?”
    Are the Spurs considered a good team? How about when James Posey scored 9.1 pts/36 on the NBA Champion Miami Heat? Shane Battier? Keith Bogans on the Magic last season? Those guys were starters on 50 win teams. I’m sure if you looked for rotation players on playoff teams the list would expand exponentially.
    I know, those guys can spot up for jumpers, which does bring into question whether Balkman can be a SF on a great team. I’d say put Balkman next to a guy like Gallinari’s capable of becoming and they make up for each other’s weaknesses as much as Italian Stallion’s defensive bigman will make up for Curry’s.
    Balkman is fairly unique, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be good. Being able to hit 33% of you 3-pointers when left wide open strikes me as easier to come by than 10 reb/36 and 1.5 blk/36 from your 3. I’m interested to see what he does in Denver.
    “As for being our best defensive player, when you average 5 fouls per 36, it means that you are playing out of control and lunging a lot. Can he do as well without fouling so much? Will teams start sending him to the line whenever he is on the court since he is such a horrible FT shooter?”
    Marcus Camby, Raja Bell, Bruce Bowen, Eric Snow, Doug Christie, Theo Ratliff, Derrick McKey, Nate McMillan, Dennis Rodman, and Ron Artest all had seasons where they averaged 5 PF/36 and Ben Wallace was in the high 3s in Washington after 4.9 in limited minutes as a rookie. PJ Brown averaged 4 PF/36 when he was 28. Charles Oakley averaged 4.7 at 29 and was first team All-Defense the next season.
    Foul problems are as much the rule as the exception for young players who mature into NBA defensive stoppers.

    The NBA list players at whatever height they say they are. The Pre-draft measurements are actually done right then and there. Try looking at these measurements and you will be pretty surprised at some of them. Clearly, Balkman’s measuremants are inflated, as compared to , say, LaMarcus Aldridge.

    Obviously it’s not just about height. But to compare Balkman to guys like Barkley is absurd. Neither does Balk have the body/strength of Mase, Oak, or for that matter, Wes Unseld.

    You must have missed the word “purely” in my point, although you seem to acknowledge that all the guys you bring up are better offensive players than Balkman (in most cases, by far.)

    I’ll concede your point about the 5 PF/26. I don’t think Balkman should be compared to any of those players, however, except maybe Bowen (who came into the league at 25 and played for 4 teams before he stuck in SA, so it proves the point that his ilk is easy to acquire when needed). The other pure defensive player you mention is Ratliff, another journeyman. Doug Christie couldn’t get on the court for a defensive-minded coach (Riley/Van Gundy), and in both cases it was 3-point shooting that got these guys (and Posey, and some others you mention) extended playing time, not defense.

    Like these last examples, Balkman will probably bounce around until he learns how to shoot; he has journeyman written all over his game right now. The Knicks are not really in a position to wait around for him to develop.

    And as to whether I think he had a “good” year last year, he lost me when he made that unforgivable mistake at the end of the Spurs game, you know, the kind of mistake that a coach shouldn’t have to tell you not to make even in HS, much less the pros. In 2-3 years, we can pick him up again if we need him, like Miami did with Bowen, only to give up on him again!

  272. Dave

    I believe KG also led the C’s in fourth quarter points during the playoffs.

    That said I think it’s a misleading stat. The principle point is you can throw the ball to Pierce and ask him to get a basket and he’ll do it. You throw the ball to KG and you’re just as likely to have Mark Madsen take a game winning 20 footer as KG take the shot. Pierce is relentless attacker who can create on demand and get his side easy baskets, which is something KG struggles with. Pierce’s ability to get to the line is especially important (easy points).

    That’s why they’re an excellent combination. Plus you have Pierce’s ability to create not only for himself but others and do so from the perimeter which balances KG’s game beautifully.

    That’s why Pierce is the guy they look to when times are tough.

  273. Ted Nelson

    “The NBA list players at whatever height they say they are. ”

    And you think Balkman’s the only guy listed taller than he is???

    “You must have missed the word “purely” in my point, although you seem to acknowledge that all the guys you bring up are better offensive players than Balkman (in most cases, by far.)”

    Does Balkman stay on the defensive end when the Knicks have the ball?
    To say that Balkman only plays D is ridiculous. Standing in one spot behind the 3 point line doesn’t make you a better offensive player than someone who get’s offensive boards, cuts to the basket, and scores at the same efficiency.

    “(who came into the league at 25 and played for 4 teams before he stuck in SA, so it proves the point that his ilk is easy to acquire when needed).”

    I’m not saying Bruce Bowen is harder to find or more valuable than MJ, but an All-NBA defender who doesn’t srew up the offense isn’t THAT easy to find. I would guess harder to find (and definitely more valuable) than the Jamal Crawford high-volume/low-efficiency, poor defenders.

    “in both cases it was 3-point shooting that got these guys (and Posey, and some others you mention) extended playing time, not defense.”

    They were All-NBA defenders, but the 3 3PA/36 both took were the reason they were playing?????????????? Yeah, I guess your whole argument is valid and defense is completely worthless.

    “The Knicks are not really in a position to wait around for him to develop.”

    Yeah, because they’re such a great team…. I’d say they’re in the perfect position to let good young players develop.

    You don’t seem to believe that guys per minute numbers stay pretty constant over their careers. Take a look and you’ll see that they do.
    Find me how many wing players have reb, blk, stl numbers like Balkman’s. If he’s such a common guy, one you can find on every D-League team, there should be plenty. If there are tons of guys as good as Balkman in those categories, then you’re probably right.

  274. Ted Nelson

    “Standing in one spot behind the 3 point line doesn’t make you a better offensive player than someone who get’s offensive boards, cuts to the basket, and scores at the same efficiency.”

    I should add scores the same points/minute at the same efficiency. The list obviously varies, but I looked for 3s who scored roughly 9-13 pts/36 on good teams.

  275. Dave

    I think the point about the role players wasn’t that they were bad or irrelevant pieces …. but that they’re mostly replaceable. There’s a few exceptional talents, like a Bruce Bowen, who should be treated as such. But most are an Oberto, a Finley, a Vaughn and are very much replaceable.

    ________________________

    The three point shooting is very important to Bowen’s playing time. In order to be a 30 minute or so player you have to be able to contribute something offensively.

    Popovich has pulled Bowen’s playing time despite great defense when he isn’t contributing enough offensively. For example, in the first round this year Bowen played only 21mpg despite playing excellent defense on Steve Nash and causing a lot of problems for the Suns through his defense. Unfortunately the Spurs offense wasn’t able to keep up with the Suns despite Bowen slowing down Nash so Pop had to pull him. This is the second best perimeter defender (I rate Battier as the best) in the league and he’s causing one of the best offensive players in the league problems, and his time is still partially dependent on his offense.

    The three point shooting is a very important component. It also has a larger effect than the 2-3 threes scored because it creates space for the best offensive players on the team which allows them to be more effective. Bowen’s shooting ability makes Parker and Ginobili so much more difficult to defend on penetration and Duncan’s post ups more difficult to defend. It’s a very valuable skill.

    The ability to contribute something meaningful offensively is what stops several top defensive players, like Diop, from becoming 30-35mpg players. The lack of offense makes it difficult to keep them on the floor for long minutes.

    This has only become more important since the defensive rule changes allowing zone defense which make guys like Ben Wallace more of an offensive liability than in year’s past.

    ______________________

    On Balkman playing power forward

    For the Knicks I think it’s largely irrelevant. Management choose to keep Randolph and clearly Randolph and Lee are going to playing ahead of him. The minutes aren’t there.

    In general … I have my doubts about Balkman’s ability to play power forward. I think his lack of physical size, bulk and strength as well as height, will cause him a lot of problems. I’m not completely convinced he can’t do it but I am very doubtful and taking a prove-it-me-first attitude with the idea.

    I think he can be effective on some power forwards, like a Dirk or Bargnani, the perimeter or finesse types. Then again so are many other small forwards so how special is that?

    In the more general sense I think he’ll struggle at the four. Struggle against players like a Luis Scola. A player who is good but not a top level player. I expect those types will shoot a higher percentage, rebound more and possibly score more.

    I also agree with the idea that Balkman’s best defensive skills are on the perimeter and question his interior defense. Perhaps he can develop that, but he hasn’t shown it so far. I’d much rather utilize his perimeter D skills.

    I make the same, well opposite, argument with Kirilenko. He’s only an average perimeter defender but he’s a game changing interior defender when he’s allowed wreak havoc as a shot blocker in the paint. I don’t think he has much value as a defender to Utah because of Boozer/Okur but if he were somewhere else he could return to his All-Defense performance levels. I’d love to see him get back to playing power forward for that reason, his defense skills are being wasted as a small forward.

    Offensively Balkman could have a huge advantage. His perimeter skills – passing, handle, driving, mobility – would all go from mediocre to huge advantages when moving from small forward to power forward. That could make Balkman more effective offensively if he could use those skills wisely. Unfortunately I have no faith in his ability to do so, this is not a new problem, it’s been a problem since his rookie season and something the coaches have been hounding him on since SL last year. He just doesn’t show an aptitude for making those skills work for him. If he could turn that around I’d have a lot more interest in the possibility of Balkman at the power forward.

    _____________________________

    On the undersized players part … I think players have to be truly excellent at their craft in order to become high level players despite their size disadvantage. Not good or very good but excellent. Making the case from guys like Rodman or Ben Wallace gives an unfair picture. It’s best to compare Balkman to lesser players.

    Most undersized players have a different advantage physically and skill wise allowing them to perform at a good level there. For example; Glen Davis has phenomenal strength, quickness and skill wise he plays excellent post defense which allows him to spend some time as a center. Another case, similar case, would be Chuck Hayes. His strength and post defense and also his terrific rebounding allow him to contribute as a power forward despite his smaller size.

    So how about Balkman, what would his advantages be there?

    - Handle, passing, driving
    - Mobility and quickness defensively
    - Solid rebounding but not standout.

    Any other advantages? I’m open to all suggestions and interpretations. This is just how I see it, did I overlook something?

    It’s not the strongest case for his effectiveness there. He’s more on the average side as a rebounder (at power forward). He doesn’t use his offensive skills to good effect so that advantage gets wasted for the most part. Add in his physical advantages versus disadvantages and he’s possibly only effective against certain types of power forwards.

    Then if you add in a few more of weaknesses – lack of scoring and lack of jump shooting. He’s not going to be able to drag opposing bigs out of the paint and he’s likely not going to be able to score enough to make up what he’s giving up defensively. Add in his inability to protect the rim and more problems occur for the help defense, and teams are likely to shoot a higher percentage in the paint.

    _______________________

    As for Balkman I think he’d be best suited to an offense that is based around ball and player movement. A passing and cutting based offense like the Lakers with the Triangle. Similar to Ariza, I think Balkman would be far more effective playing in that type of environment.

    It’s part of the reason why I think his value to Denver is limited since they have a stagnant offense.

  276. Z

    “[Balkman] lost me when he made that unforgivable mistake at the end of the Spurs game”

    Okay. He lost one game for the Knicks last year out of 59 lost by everybody else. What about the Denver game which they wouldn’t have won without him (1 of only 23!), or all the others he had a game changing presence in? It seems a little harsh to give up on a guy playing in maybe his 80th NBA game because he had a defensive lapse, especially when the rest of his time here he was clearly the best defender on the roster.

    It’s not like he turned and talked to the ref while Troy Murphy lined up a wide-open three…

  277. Owen

    “I think the point about the role players wasn’t that they were bad or irrelevant pieces …. but that they’re mostly replaceable.”

    Replaceable? Like, you can find someone to fill their spot? Or you can find someone who can post the same numbers?

    That may be the perception, but I think it’s totally false. Sure, you can replace the “energy” of a guy like Ronny Turiaf easily enough, but its a lot harder to replace a guy like Paul Millsap or David Lee. The only role players who are replaceable are the bad ones.

    I think people have so little interest in non-scoring players that they don’t notice the often very large statistical differences between them. But those differences exist, are consistent over time, and show up in win totals.

    The quality of your role players is a major separating factor in the NBA. Not as important as the quality of your top three players, but often quite decisive on the margin. Just ask the Phoenix Suns. If they had managed to put together a supporting cast as strong as the Celtics had last year, there is no question they would have had a few championships by now.

  278. Dave

    Owen,

    What do you have against the Suns supporting cast?

    Raja Bell – Leandro Barbosa – James Jones – Kurt Thomas – Boris Diaw

    That’s a very strong supporting cast. They weren’t losing because of those guys.

    ____________

    I was curious about the Suns, anyway, to the rest of your post.

    I agree with you that the quality of the supporting players aren’t given enough recognition but I disagree about them not being replaceable.

    I said in my first post that there are some exceptional role players and that they are very difficult to replace … but that most are replaceable.

    The Spurs keep on ticking whether they have Rasho-Nazr-Oberto-Elson-Thomas. There’s a lot of good role players in the league and they’re acquirable.

    Also on the replacement player I meant someone who can have a comparable level of impact whether in the same or different way.

  279. Ted Nelson

    Dave,

    I never stated that role players aren’t easier to replace than a truly very good all-around player (in fact I’ve expressly said they are), but the point that was made was basically that all role players are the same. In fact, Z-Man said that the Celtics might as well just replace everyone besides KG and Pierce with the bottom 9 from any roster in the NBA (let me remind you of the guys Miami was throwing out there last season).
    Someone like Michael Finley was a good all around player, aged and is now a role player. He’s lost a step, but he knows how to play the game. To say that you could simply replace his 27 mpg last season with, for example, Wilson Chandler or Jamal Crawford or Q last season or Jared Jeffries and the Spurs would be just as good seems wrong to me.
    Oberto’s not a great NBA player, and the Spurs have been lucky enough to put just about anyone they want next to Duncan since Robinson retired. However, Oberto’s NBA averages are 9.5 reb/36 and a TS% of .581. He moves very well without the ball, and is another guy who knows the game.

    Those few exceptional role players (much like those few exceptional overall players), often end up on good teams much more so than bad teams. To say, for example, that the Celtics offense was more responsible for their regular season success than their defense would be blatantly wrong (I assume the same is true for the playoffs, but don’t really know). I think we generally tend to think of the scorers as the ones who carry the team because defensive stats are so incomplete, but on a defensive team shouldn’t it be the opposite?(Not that KG’s not a great defender and Pierce didn’t play good D last season, I wasn’t specifically referring to the Celts in that sentence.)
    Anyway, the original argument (or sub-argument) was about whether all role players are replaceable parts and you could just pick up a Bruce Bowen or Brent Berry or Horry in the D-League any day of the week, on the one hand, and whether all you need is 1 or 2 great players, or you should aim to put together a rotation of good players with 1 or 2 very good players in it, on the other.

    ——————————————–

    I have as much respect for Pops as any NBA coach, but the coach deciding to pull someone is not an indication that the coach should have pulled someone. That said, yeah, if a player’s missing shots he’s hurting the team. No matter if it’s Bruce Bowen or Tim Duncan (Bowen’s more likely to miss a shot than Duncan, of course).

    I’m not sure teams game plan against the Spurs as not to leave Bowen open in the corner. It’s definitely something you have to keep in mind, but he’s wide open as often as not. Bowen’s never scored more than 9.3 pts/36 in SA (his career high is 9.4 and is career average is 8.1) and his career TS% is .507. He’s really not much of a threat to score, and isn’t even efficient when he does shoot. This is why I say that standing in 1 spot and hitting a good % of open shots is not necessarily better for an offense than a guy without a jumper mixing it up in the paint. Spacing may be an important issue, but give Parker an outside jumper and I think (if Balkman’s D ever develops to Bowen’s level) he could be just as valuable with his play around the basket.

    Again, Balkman is not without his offensive skills. I think it’s been shown plenty that Detroit was a very good offense (top 5 in the NBA) with Ben Wallace. You leave Bowen open and he’ll hit a couple 3s a game, you leave Balkman open and in a functional offense he can cut to the basket and he’ll make you pay with his offensive rebounds (he gets the same number of offensive rebounds per minute as Marcus Camby).

    ————————————————–
    “For the Knicks I think it’s largely irrelevant. Management choose to keep Randolph and clearly Randolph and Lee are going to playing ahead of him. The minutes aren’t there.”

    This is one of my biggest problems with all the trade defenders: since when was it ok to decide who iss going to play and who isn’t based on reputation and summer league? Marbury and Randolph (amongst others) get clean slates and Balkman doesn’t???
    Furthermore, if Balkman wasn’t going to play and becomes an NBA journeyman or is out of the league in a few years that’s one thing. If George Karl gets him motivated (like he was as a rookie) and he becomes a good player in the NBA, we will almost definitely be able to say the Knicks could have used him.

    “In the more general sense I think he’ll struggle at the four. Struggle against players like a Luis Scola. A player who is good but not a top level player. I expect those types will shoot a higher percentage, rebound more and possibly score more.”

    As Ben R touched on, there are more finesse PFs in the NBA these days than effective low post scoring PFs. Scola is a smart, skilled player who shot well against the NBA in general and also rebounded well (and was considered the premier post player in Europe before making the jump). Balkman has been a good rebounder even by the standards of a 4 while playing primarily on the wing, so to say that Scola would get more rebounds against Balkman than a poor rebounding PF like Rasheed Wallace is pretty illogical (in my mind).

    Anyway, most of the guys who are strong enough to guard the back to the basket PFs are probably getting lit up my the Chris Bosh, Beasley, Marion, Nowitski, Gasol, Jamison, West, Josh Smith, Turkoglu/Lewis, etc PFs (some/most of whom are lighting the league up in general) , and probably still aren’t stopping Duncan or another really good POWER forward (Brand, Boozer,…). So, if he can get the job done against the Bosh’s I think I’d take my chances with Balkman in my rotation and sub him out if he’s getting eaten alive in the post, just as you’ve mentioned the Spurs subbed Bowen out when he wasn’t effective (for another reason, I know). I mean I’m not saying Balkman will be a 40 mpg franchise player, but his athletic advantage over Scola would be immense.

    AK might not be being used to his full potential, but I would hardly call him average defensively at the SF spot. He’s a good defender on one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. I’d call a very good defender at the 3, just not as good as he’s capable of being. If Balkman can be a 90 guarding perimeter players but you really can’t get him into the offense at that spot, and he can be an 80 guarding the 4 and he fits better there he might help the team more (again, I think with the right guys around him he can play the 3, but maybe not and maybe he’s even more valuable guarding the Dirks and Bosh’s of the world).

    ——————————————-

    “Solid rebounding but not standout.”

    9.9 reb/36 (his rookie level) stands out even for a PF, but he was primarily playing on the wing when he did that. The best rebounding centers in the NBA (Wallace, Tyson Chandler, Dwight Howard) get 12 per 36, so if you can move Balkman inside and he gets 11 I would call that standout (David Lee and Marcus Camby’s career level). If he gets 12 he’s hanging with anyone in the NBA. (Not Rodman who was at 15/36 on his career, also blocked only 0.7 shots per 36 and got only 0.8 stl/36.)

    “He’s more on the average side as a rebounder (at power forward).”

    Again, he was playing on the perimeter, maybe I’m wrong but I would expect his rebound rate to go up is he’s generally camped out closer to the basket.

    I can think of plenty of undersized role players, so I’m not overly worried about size (if he can play the way he did as a rookie and hopefully improve… fouls, for example, I mean other good defenders had seasons at his level, but not careers). Z-Man stated that his arms aren’t particularly long, but as I remember it they are pretty long and they certainly look long. I sort of remember his height being brought up when he was drafted, but it getting somewhat shot down because his functional height is better. I don’t know if he’ll be able to guard PFs, but I think it’s a possibility and one Denver might consider checking out with both Camby and Najera gone in the front-court. Certainly might have been worth a look in preseason, and if it didn’t look promising there might have been a team looking to fill out it’s roster with a good defender willing to part with a 2nd rounder.

    ————————-

    We’ve discussed this before and I’m still a bit lost. Balkman should be in an offense with ball movement (agreed, as I would agree with most players) but he absolutely wouldn’t fit next to Nash, Hill, and Diaw in Phoenix??? Maybe he’s that dumb, but I have a hard time believing he wouldn’t start to catch on if Steve Nash kept telling him “you run towards the basket, and I’ll throw you the basketball, or Grant will, or Boris will (don’t worry we’re all among the best passers at our positions in the world). Then you put the basketball into that hoop over there.” Not saying he turns into Magic or Oscar Robertson, but I have a hard time believing he’d be bad in any offense expect for one in which he’d be great. Usually it’s more shades of that than so black and white.
    Anyway, I don’t know if Denver is the best situation for him, but with a few high volume scorers, their best defender given away (like another team I know), and some serious health concerns in the frontcourt (Nene, K-Mart, Hunter) I think we could see him develop.

  280. Ted Nelson

    Owen,

    Well said. That’s pretty much what I’ve been trying to say, but much more succint and to the point.

    ———————————————

    Dave,

    I’ll let Owen answer, but I think your first response is very much the problem with the common perception. “Raja Bell – Leandro Barbosa – James Jones – Kurt Thomas – Boris Diaw”??? Those guys are all talented, so it can’t be any of their faults the Suns don’t have a ring. I have no idea whose fault it is, but just because a guy has talent doesn’t mean he’s been a productive player. Or at least not a terrifically productive player, because the Suns haven’t exactly been losing, they’ve just been losing to good teams in a tough conference come playoff time.

    Getting a good role player is a lot easier if you have a really well run front office that can say “come play next to Tim Duncan and win a ring every other year.” The play with Duncan part seems to speak for itself in courting free agents and getting a selection bias towards players who want to win badly enough to move to San Antonio helps as well… If every team was run as well as the Spurs guys like Tony Parker and Manu might be lottery picks and good role players might be harder/more expensive to acquire. When a team is still willing to pay Jerome James or Brian Cardinal twice what Bowen makes and something like 6 times what Udoka makes, though, the purs are at a huge advantage. Rasho wasn’t exactly David Robinson, but he was a passable NBA Center, and the T-Wolves decided signing Kandiman was a better idea than keeping him… I mean they’re both replaceable role players right?
    You do have a point that there are more good role players out there than great overall players or even great role players, but that seems pretty obvious and I don’t think anyone is debating that.

  281. Dave

    Okay now I’m confused on the role players part. Maybe I misunderstood the initial point on the role players
    _______________

    I think Balkman’s measurements were 6-7 height, 7-1 wingspan, 8-8 standing reach which is average for a small forward. So yes he has good length.

    Like I said I worry more about Balkman’s strength and bulk than his height at power forward. I can think of a couple solid power forwards of his height but few of both his height and lack of bulk.

    _______________

    The Phoenix discussion from a few weeks ago was about Gerald Green. Balkman could play in Phoenix – he moves well without the ball, is smart, a good finisher, solid general skill and comfort around the court.

    Phoenix is different than Denver because they pass and move, Denver is an isolation dependent offense with limited ball/player movement. A player like Balkman who can’t shoot isn’t of great value there because AI and Melo need guys who can shoot when the double arrives.

    That said Phoenix wouldn’t be a great fit now since they’ve gone big and need shooters on the wings more than someone like Balkman …. but he can definitely function in that type of offense.

    A place where Balkman could have been an interesting fit is replacing Childress in Atlanta. Childress has many similarities to Balkman and they could have made good use of Balkman.

    Trevor Ariza this past season had a really difficult time in Orlando for SVG. Stan likes his perimeter players to create plays with the ball in their hands, why Hedo gets more touches than Rashard. That didn’t suit Ariza’s game and his opportunities on the court became fairly limited. His minutes and effectiveness were also decreasing. Then he gets traded to LA where they move the ball and rely on cutting which is a tremendous strength for Ariza, he’s not just a good cutter, he’s an excellent cutter. Ariza’s impact improved tremendously. His skill set was relatively dependent on the system. Balkman has similar issues although he could work around them with his handle/passing if he had more confidence in his game.
    ___________________

    I didn’t really consider an increase in Balkman’s rebounding while at the four. I did consider a possible (likely I reckon) decrease in team rebounding.

    According to 82games his rebounding was fairly similar regardless of which forward position he’s playing. He was plus 1 his rookie year per 48 minutes and minus 1 his second year.

    As I said I’d also worry about the opposition gaining more rebounds while Balkman is on the court, both the player he’s defending but also the rest of the opposing squad. He’s a small player at the four and doesn’t take up a lot of space, leaving room for the opposition to make way down the lane. Much like squads did against Marion and the Suns.

    Balkman’s rebounding percentage was 12.9% last season. Is that not somewhere near the average for a power forward? I’d guess slightly above. I don’t know the answer, I’m wondering. Rasheed Wallace is at 13% incidentally.

    His rebounding is great for a wing. Is it more than solid for a power forward?

    ____________

    Watch Kirilenko closely when you next see the Jazz play. He’s not a stopper and he’s not a perimeter defender. His best skill defensively are help defense, and his best help defense is done around the rim where he can use his shot blocking and mobility to challenge shots. There’s a reason why Utah keeps getting lit up by opposing wings for the last two years and it’s because they have no high level defender on the wing. Slightly above average is a better description than mediocre, that’s where I rate Kirilenko’s perimeter D.

  282. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    “I’d say put Balkman next to a guy like Gallinari’s capable of becoming and they make up for each other’s weaknesses as much as Italian Stallion’s defensive bigman will make up for Curry’s.”

    You are starting to sound a lot like me. ;-)

  283. Italian Stallion

    I’m surprised to hear some people say that Balkman doesn’t fit very well in Denver. I think no matter where Balkman went, he wasn’t going to be a significant asset on offense. It was a matter of how much of a liability his offense was going to be relative to the possible alternatives.

    I think the perfect fit is a team with enough high powered creative scorers for it not to matter that Balkman doesn’t have an outside shot and can’t hit free throws because the team can score anyway.

    That goes double if the team lacks defense and some rebounding because he will certainly be valuable in those areas.

    By that standard, I think Denver is fine. Pheonix would also have been a good match. But if he can’t make it in Denver, he’s got major career problems and the Knicks will probably be able to get him back for nothing.

  284. Ted Nelson

    I’m not even sure what all the points have been… the main ones I’m against at this point are that all role players are the same and that the quality of your role players doesn’t matter (sort of one and the same, and not really worth arguing against).

    ———————-

    I just don’t think it’s a game where you need bulk to be an effective PF anymore. Not that Balkman’s going to be All-NBA at the 4, just that he might be versatile enough to offer value at both the 3 and 4 and maybe sometimes 2 depending on the match-ups.

    ———————–

    My mistake on the Green/Balkman mix-up.

    To further complicate the issue they gave away not only their best defender, but also the guy who’s arguably the best passer for his position on their squad. I think still having Camby around would have helped Balkman, although I know a lot of people will disagree because they’re both low volume scorers.

    ————————

    I could be wrong, but I’m assuming that if there are x mixed shots and a player has a rebound rate of 15 that’s a pretty good indication he’s not hurting the team on the boards. I have nothing to back this up, but I assume that even if a guy occasionally goes around him when he couldn’t have gone around Barkley, Balkman’s quickness will make up for it at the end of the day. Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see the extra room in the lane as important as the number of rebounds you actually get. It’s not like Rodman had that wide a frame in his 6-7 body, I don’t think (he did get significantly more rebounds than Balkman).

    Balkman’s rebounding numbers, like most of his numbers, were down last season. On his career he’s at a 14.8 rebound rate, which is pretty much what you’re expecting from a solid center. It’s definitely not amazing, but I assume it’s well above average for a PF.

    ———————-

    I agree that Kirilenko’s greatest strength isn’t defending on the wing, I would just say that he’s above average even at that. There are a lot of bad/indifferent defenders in the NBA and Kirilenko’s got the length and focus and stats to stick out as above average. That’s just my opinion.

    His blocked shots suffered last season, but were right at his career average the season before. Winning the European Championships over the summer might have taken something out of him last season.
    I would also like to see him in a role that’s better for him, and was really hoping the Knicks could pull something off for him when his name was flying around in trade rumors.

  285. Ted Nelson

    IS,

    I don’t deny that teams should fit together, I just think that having better players usually trumps players that fit together. (Even if those better players are really good at one thing, but not really well rounded.) If you have what I’d consider good players or really good players they’re almost naturally going to complement each other because they almost invariably play basketball as a team game.

  286. Dave

    To take an extreme example

    Marion vs Shaq

    Marion has been averaging 10-12 rebounds a game for 5 seasons now. Shaq was averaging between 7.4 and 9.2 rebounds for the past four seasons. This past season Marion averaged 10 rebounds for the Suns, Shaq averaged 10.6 rebounds but played 9 less minutes. Per 36 minutes the difference is three rebounds, but a rebounder of less quality was filling in for Shaq so it wasn’t even that much.

    This season, the Suns were out-rebounded by an average of 3 a game with Shawn Marion and out-rebounded the opponent by an average of 5 a game once Shaq arrived. That’s an 8 rebound difference. Huge difference in team rebounding. They did a much better job of limiting the opponent to one shot.

    Shaq’s not exactly the most committed in the world at boxing out either, it’s mainly the bulk. Having a guy with serious bulk in the paint helps to protect your backboards.

  287. Ted Nelson

    I’ll have to look into it more carefully. You might be right, I mean I have no doubt that you’re right to an extent just not sure how relevant it is.

    A couple of preliminary thoughts without having looked at anything but their individual stats:

    1. They might have rebounded more because there were more opportunities to rebound. If the defense got better after the trade, it would follow that they’d get more rebounds. The offense, I’m pretty sure, got worse after the trade which might have accounted for more offensive rebounds, but I’d assume that would help the opponent more than them.

    2. They played a different style once Shaq arrived. Maybe not completely different, but they slowed it down, for one thing. This might have led to more rebounds somehow.

    3. For another thing Amare and guys like Diaw and Hill were playing more minutes at their natural positions. If their rebounding went up once Shaq arrived it could have been because of his bulk, but also because they’d slid down to their natural position.

    4. Someone could have been injured for a stretch while Marion was there. (Was Marion himself?)

    5. Miami was a mess last season, but did the opposite happen for them?

    “but a rebounder of less quality was filling in for Shaq so it wasn’t even that much.”

    I don’t follow this one… With Shaq replacing Marion in the rotation everyone kind of slid down a spot, plus 9 minutes were handed out.

  288. Owen

    “Owen,

    What do you have against the Suns supporting cast?
    Raja Bell – Leandro Barbosa – James Jones – Kurt Thomas – Boris Diaw
    That’s a very strong supporting cast. They weren’t losing because of those guys.”

    (disclaimer – I am a WOW fan)

    Dave,

    No, I don’t think that’s a strong supporting cast. I think that’s a bunch of players whose reputations have been burnished by having three absolutely outstanding teammates. Barbosa and Thomas did offer about average productivity, but neither was anywhere near being a star role player. Also Kurt Thomas was very expensive. You have to consider cost of production. The Celtics got more production from Leon Powe last year than the Suns got from Thomas, and they got it at 1/10th the price. (fwiw – Powe also was above average as a rookie before the arrival of the big 3)

    Diaw had one decent season that sent his reputation to the sun. He was a sensational story, the 6-8 French point forward plucked off the obscurity of another team’s bench. However, he has been dreadful ever since. James Jones was terrible in Phoenix (although he was outstanding for Portland this year). Raja Bell is incredibly overrated. He is a below average basketball player whose major value is that he is cheap, durable, and doesn’t get in the way of better players. I would put Bowen in the same basket.

    The Suns made a colossal blunder in trading Marion (at least from the perspective of winning an NBA title.) But they also had a supportinc cast. They didn’t get above average production from any player outside their top 4.

    I also would heartily disagree about the Spurs bench players. Oberto had an excellent, above-average season in 06-07. He looks to have improved in 07-08. In the last two years, he has posted a ts% around 60% while offering decent rebounding, low turnovers, and defense. Oberto is not only a lot better than Eddy Curry (something which I have argued forcefully in the past) but he made an average of 3 million per over the last two seasons. Employing extremely cheap and productive guys like Oberto is a major way you win in the NBA. Having a guy like that often makes the small but crucial difference between being great and being the best. If the Suns had a guy on their bench like Oberto rather than say Brian Skinner, their season have gone differently. (Although part of the reason for that would be that they wouldn’t have felt the need to go get Shaq.)

    As for the rest of them, Nazr Mohammed is by many measures (wow, adjusted +/-) an above average NBA performer and was for the Spurs also. Elson was just below average. Nesterovic wasn’t good and they unloaded him.

    In general, the Spurs have had one of the strongest benches in the NBA over the past few years. Some of that is due to Brent Barry. But they have gotten around average performance from a lot of different guys which has been a major factor in their success, (finley, jones, udoka etc). I chalk that up to good management rather than to the general replaceability of role players.

    The supporting cast is almost like a swing vote. It’s just one vote among many, but it can often be decisive. I think the Hornets are a good example. They had the best trio in the league this year, a conclusion shared by most statisticians from what I can tell from reading APBR. But their supporting cast was extremely weak. Obviously, getting Paul, Chandler, and West on the same team is huge. But from here what will determine whether they win a championship will probably be their luck in finding cheap, productive role players to add to the mix.

  289. Owen

    Dave,

    Re Shaq and Marion.

    Where did you get the rebounding differential splits for Phoenix pre and post trade?

    One point I would make is that you might be looking at a small sample size effect. Shaq’s per 36 rebounding totals in Phoenix were the highest of his career.

    Also, he averaged 3.7 turnovers per 36 compared to Marion’s 1 per 36.

    I think it’s also a bit misleading to fault Marion for the team’s poor rebounding on a team that gives heavy minutes to Nash, Barbosa, Bell, Diaw, etc…

  290. Dave

    Great question on Miami. I’m not sure how to answer it though. The Phoenix stat was off several TV broadcasts late in the season and during the playoffs.

    On the team splits it gives the team’s rebounding numbers but doesn’t do the splits for the opposing teams stats, so it’s constant at 82 games for the opposition. Miami did rebound two less itself with Marion on board versus with Shaq.

    On 82games for the team rebounding numbers. Miami were plus 1.7% rebounds with Shaq on the floor versus off the floor. With Marion they were 0.5% better. The difference was 1.1% for Shaq when comparing on court to on court.

    Shaq averaged 7.8rpg to Marion’s 11.2rpg for the Heat this past season. Again a 9 minute difference, per 36 the difference was 1 more rebound for Marion. Again Shaq would be replaced by a less prolific rebounder so that difference for the team’s overall rebounding per game should be less (I’ll try to explain that better, my fault)

    ________________________

    For reference, just to compare the on court/off court rebounding numbers in Phoenix. There’s was a plus 4.9% difference in team rebounding with Shaq on the court versus off. For Marion there was a -0.2% difference. The on court to on court was a 4.1% difference

    So the difference in Miami is much less than Phoenix but there is a clear difference. Part of is definitely better utilizing other rebounders. Oddly enough Amare’s individual rebounding didn’t increase, it actually decreased slightly. Diaw’s was comparable with a slight rise, Hill’s did rise a decent bit. Again all these guys were now boxing out their natural positions and making it harder for the opposition to get multiple attempts at the rim.
    ________________________

    ….. “but a rebounder of less quality was filling in for Shaq so it wasn’t even that much.”

    I don’t follow this one… With Shaq replacing Marion in the rotation everyone kind of slid down a spot, plus 9 minutes were handed out. ….

    Shaq played 9 less minutes than Marion and grabbed x number of boards in 28 minutes. In those 9 other minutes someone had to replace Shaq to make up Marion’s minutes, that replacement player averages less rebounds than either Shaq or Marion so the rate of rebounding would fall. So the per 36 difference of three rebounds would be slightly less in actual on court production.

    ___________________

    You see odd team rebounding stats for several of the skinnier/out of post/poor boxing out rebounders despite their good individual numbers. Sometimes they show up on opposing PER and sometimes it’s a team wide situation, other positions getting into the paint and stealing rebounds. Normally you see it on the defensive end rather than the offensive end, low team defensive rebounding.

    A good chunk of those differences are down to lineups and who they’re on the floor with. The Marion-Shaq one is interesting though because everything is fairly similar and the difference is very large.

    Obviously Shaq being Shaq makes it an extreme example. Not many guys his size in the league and not many PFs as small as Marion.

    There’s definitely some other factors also but having bulk in the paint can be a big factor. There’s lots of other teams in the league that get a good bump in their team rebounding when they have large centers on the court.

    Extreme example

  291. Dave

    Thanks for the answer on Phoenix’s supporting cast Owen. Disagree with you completely but I was interested in your answer.

    The Suns rebounding stat was off TV, ESPN.

    Very true point on the sample size, I remember the Suns slamming a couple of teams (Portland at least twice) on the backboards which could pump that number up a bit more. Still I expect them to remain one of the league’s better rebounding teams next season versus a below average rebounding team that they were with Marion.

    I wasn’t blaming Marion for the rebounding as much as I was saying that his numbers are deceiving. A player like Yao Ming or Tim Duncan averaging the same per minute rebounds will have a larger effect on his team’s overall rebounding because they’re better at keeping the opposition off the glass. Marion’s per game rebounding numbers only detail one part of rebounding, the actual grabbing of the ball.

    _______________________

    Also I love Oberto, he’s actually one of my favourite big men in the league. His passing and movement off the ball is a thing of beauty. I just think he’s replaceable. They’ve had several bigs since Robinson and they’ve won with all of them and they could win with many others from around the league.

    I also disagree with the Spurs having a strong supporting cast. They have had in year’s past but not anymore. They have a weak supporting cast compared to other contenders, it cost them last season and it’ll cost them again this coming season.

    One of the reasons why Manu is so important off the bench is because of their otherwise weak bench production.

    Their lack of a fourth scorer also puts far too much pressure on their trio to create every play on every possession, just a little help would be nice, something that remove just a small part of that burden.

    The lack of a second shot blocker alongside Duncan is also a crucial reason why their defense has fallen behind a team like Boston, and why Kobe was more able to get to the rim and finish late in tight playoff games.

    The jury is still out on Kurt Thomas. He didn’t fit in well on the offensive end last season. Four fouls in under 16 minutes in the playoffs wasn’t doing his case any good either. He struggled defensively with quicker bigs, like Duncan, which caused the Spurs defense some extra problems because matching up defensively and screen and roll defense all became more difficult.

    They also lacked a backup point guard last season. Vaughn’s performances decreased significantly, especially on the defensive end and his offense never was much. Stoudamire was a joke. Their draft pick, George Hill, is reportedly struggling to adapt and unlikely to play. I expect their signing Roger Mason Jr to replace Barry’s role but he might play the point.

    ________________

    As for the Hornets I think their starting five on a whole was phenomenal last season. For the first half a season their bench was getting slaughtered though. The starters would build a big lead and it would fall apart the minute the bench came.

    APBR? Is that an adjusted stat that would be affected by their starters having very poor backups?

    It improved a lot in the second half of the season around the Bobby Jackson trade which gave them three legit quality bench players – Bonzi Wells, Jannero Pargo and Julian Wright who had just broken into their rotation.

    Still they lacked a backup big man so their bench went from atrocious to respectable-solid but was still a good bit off from being a top bench. That hole hurt them severely in their playoff run, it’s also made Tyson Chandler more cautious defensively because foul trouble now causes his team a lot of problems. Unfortunately they have yet to fill this hole and it’ll likely cause them more problems again.

  292. Z-man

    Ted,

    You are continually misquoting me in making your arguments, which by the way, didn’t seem to fly with the rest of the talent evaluators actually doing this for a living, or else Balk would have been in more demand.

    ” In fact, Z-Man said that the Celtics might as well just replace everyone besides KG and Pierce with the bottom 9 from any roster in the NBA (let me remind you of the guys Miami was throwing out there last season).”

    This is not what I said, go back and read the quote and your response, which actually agreed with the point I made.

    Here’s what I said: “The reason why they were so good was because Paul Pierce and KG perfectly complimented one another, not to mention Ray Allen. Give that team the bottom nine guys on the roster of any other NBA team and they are still in the playoffs and probably in the second or third round. Without either KG or Pierce they struggle to make the playoffs and probably don’t…” This implies that they would NOT be as good, which you conveniently ignored, or worse, twisted beyond recognition.

    And your response: ” I’ll grant you that they were a playoff team simply by putting a player of Paul Pierce’s caliber next to KG.”

    “They were All-NBA defenders, but the 3 3PA/36 both took were the reason they were playing?????????????? Yeah, I guess your whole argument is valid and defense is completely worthless”

    Again, this totally twists the point I made until it is unrecognizable. Here is my point verbatum: “in both cases [Bowen and Posey] it was 3-point shooting that got these guys (and Posey, and some others you mention) extended playing time, not defense.”

    Posey was in top-10 in offensive rating (6th in 03-04, largely due to 3-point and FT shooting) 4 years before he was in top-10 in defensive rating (07-08; gee, did playing with the Celts and KG’s presence have anything to do with that?) He has been on 6 different teams.

    Bowen was known as a defensive stopper right away. Yet he did not crack 21 MPG until he was 29 and on his 4th team, (well technically 3rd, miami got him back and got rid of him the following year).

    Never did I once mention D-league players, but you said this: ” I have counter examples for every one of your examples of why Balkman sucks and all you need is 2 great players and a bunch of interchangeable D-Leaguers to win a title, and you don’t have so much as an example of a team that won without strong role players.”

    How many role players from the Spurs 2002-03 team were still on the 06-07 team?

    How many role players from the 90-91 Bulls were still on the 97-98 Bulls?

    How many role players from the 79-80 Laker team were still on the 87-88 team?

    Obviously not many. Somehow these teams were able to turn over almost their entire non-star roster and still compete for and win championships. And most of the role players were not home-grown from draft picks, but acquired through trades and FA.

    Your tendency to grossly misstate my arguments makes it difficult to not respond angrily and sarcastically, but I am trying. I will again try to make my main point.

    Complimentary players are far easier to acquire than star-quality players, and even with the salary cap, good GMs figure out how to get the necessary parts to complement the stars and to replace those players when they leave due to their percieved increased value, like the above teams did. However, when the franchise players are lost, the team is usually irreparably damaged. Do you think Miami’s demise was actually more due to losing Posey than to Wade’s injury and Shaq’s and Zo’s demise?

    In 3 or 4 years when the Knicks hopefully have a couple of franchise players, they can get another Balkman or someone who benefits the team as much as he would IF he ever develops, which is still subject to question. (obviously the people who actually get paid lots of $ to evaluate talent in the NBA don’t seem too high on Balkman, unless you are so cynical about D’antoni and Walsh and their scouting staff that you think they didn’t bother to shop him around before pulling the trigger, and the same for the other teams, that they cant recognize what some have labeled a DPOY in the making when they see one and wouldn’t up the ante on a measly 2nd round pick and 2 immediate cuts.) If dumping Balkman helps us get under the cap even a little bit for when it counts, I can live with it.

    By the way, have any of the professional hoops insiders and B-ball pundits been saying what a steal this trade was for the Nuggets or are they treating this as a non-event?

  293. Z

    “By the way, have any of the professional hoops insiders and B-ball pundits been saying what a steal this trade was for the Nuggets or are they treating this as a non-event?”

    Haha. No, it’s not exactly a trade that makes beat writers cancel their August vacations. I don’t think the Denver Post even ran a commentary on the trade.

    The comments posted on Denver boards seem to indicate that Nuggets’ fans: a) are pissed about the Camby trade; and b) don’t know anything about Balkman. Therefore, they are c) pissed that Camby has basically been traded for Balkman (the Clipper pick they got for Camby is now the Knick’s pick).

    But this isn’t the only site that has posters on it pissed that the Knicks traded one of their two likable players for nothing in return. It seems like pretty universal frustration throughout Knick Nation and not a Knickerblogger phenomenon.

  294. Owen

    Dave -

    The bottom line with Phoenix, Shaq, and Marion is efficiency differential. The Suns declined significantly after the trade, from a +7 to a +5. Small sample size, but exactly what you would expect given the recent statistical production of Shaq and Marion. The Suns went from the best team in the West in terms of efficiency differential to a pretender.

    The reason the trade was supposed to work was (I think) partly “moving everyone back,” partly rebounding, and partly defense. The Phoenix management seemed to put stock in the idea that with Grant Hill there to play the Marion role, Shaq would complement the rest of the Suns better.

    He did come in and rebound. But he turned the ball over 2.7 times more per 36 while garnering 1.3 less steals. Overall his impact on net possessions was much less than Marion when you consider that a center generally grabs more rebounds than a power forward.

    Also, Marion has been a better rebounder in his career than Stoudemire. To me that indicates Stoudemire is more to blame for their rebounding problems than the Matrix, who outrebounded David West by a bound per 36 last year.

    In general, I think what you see in the result of the trade is one piece of evidence to support the point Ted is making. I will say it in my hardline fashion. Player quality is basically the only thing that matters. Systems don’t matter, player combinations and interactions basically don’t matter. At the end of the day, the team that puts the most talent on the court has the best chance of winning. Shaq and Amare may be a better fit, but mismatched as they were Amare and Marion were the more productive duo.

    Re the Hornets -

    I don’t think much of Pargo, and it looks like the Hornets are going to release him. Wells is a solid player, very volatile performances though. Julian Wright was just below average last year, excellent for a rookie. If he blossoms they might be an Oberto away from being title favorites.

    Re APBR that’s the premier basketball stats board. You can check it out at this link….

    http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewforum.php?f=1

  295. Owen

    It’s run by the guy who is qouted on the Knickerblogger home page….

    “The (NBA’s) premier analytical blog.”
    Kevin Pelton SuperSonics.com

  296. Ted Nelson

    Z-Man,

    I’ve been exaggerating, but after reading your quotes I really don’t think I was misquoting you:

    -The 3rd round in the playoffs is the conference finals. The Celtics won 4-3, 4-3 in the first two rounds, you really think that with Miami’s bottom 9 (or whatever other bad team’s) outside their top 2 or 3 they’d have made it out of the first round? That being said, you think they drop 30 wins if Paul Pierce or KG goes down? They were 9-2 in games KG missed. I agree with Owen’s take on just how badly Ainge screwed his buddy McHale.

    -Posey was considered a good defender and raw player offensively from the moment he stepped into the NBA. Bowen was someone who had to work very hard for his chance in the NBA, you can actually continue to improve and learn the game after being 22.
    You specifically said they are out there for their offense: both guys around 10 pts/36 on their careers, but regarded as strong defenders. They wouldn’t play as many minutes on very good teams if they did nothing offensively, but they’re not out there for their offense.

    “Bowen was known as a defensive stopper right away.”

    He didn’t even set foot in the NBA regular season until he was 25, for a total of 1 game. He wasn’t known at all at first.

    “Never did I once mention D-league players, but you said this”

    You’re argument has been that all role players are easily replaceable, the way you’ve built your arguments has implied to me that you can wave your wand and find a role player in the D-League. If this isn’t what you mean, you should express your point.

    I have continuously agreed that good all-around players are more scarce and more valuable than good role players. However, this does not mean that you can just replace any role player with any other and win. I believe it was you who implied as much when you said that without Rondo and Perkins the Celtics could simply sign 2 other players and become the #1 offense in the entire NBA just like that. As if their offense was even close to #1 and as if every offense in the NBA isn’t trying to be #1.

    The dynasties you mention a. had very good role players, maybe not every single guy in their rotation over the years was very good but some were b. were very well organizations c. had the benefit of adding good free agents by telling them they’d play for a ring.
    Over the Spur’s run they have replaced everyone except Duncan: they have also added 2 of their their top 3 in Manu and Parker and lost Robinson and Sean Elliot. Your argument is that the core remains constant, but this is not the case.
    Bottom line: They had great role players, the fact that they were able to replace them doesn’t mean that they didn’t have them. This doesn’t help the ultimate point that I disagreed with that great role players grow on trees and Balkman is a dime a dozen. If Balkman is such a usual player, please list me all the similar SFs in terms of per minute stats. I’ve already said that if the list is impressive, I will admit that you’re right.

    “By the way, have any of the professional hoops insiders and B-ball pundits been saying what a steal this trade was for the Nuggets or are they treating this as a non-event?”
    “obviously the people who actually get paid lots of $ to evaluate talent in the NBA don’t seem too high on Balkman”

    By the way, was it called the Grant Hill sign-and-trade or the Ben Wallace trade by the media??? Was is the Steve Francis deal or the Ariza and get Orlando under the cap deal? The people around the NBA didn’t seem too high on Ben Wallace when he left Washington and got only an $800,000 deal from Orlando, but obviously they know what they’re doing every single time. Would explain why the 2nd best SG in the NBA was the 2nd to last pick in his draft and a 4 time DPOY went undrafted.
    It may turn out to be a non-event (like including Sweetney in the Curry trade did), but given Balkman’s play to date there’s a good enough chance it was an event that I continue to feel (surprise, surprise) that is was a bad trade. Even if Balkman never develops beyond where he is now I think it was a poor decision to effectively release him from a team that could use all the good players it can get.

    “In 3 or 4 years when the Knicks hopefully have a couple of franchise players, they can get another Balkman or someone who benefits the team as much as he would IF he ever develops, which is still subject to question.”

    What’s the logic here? How does trading Balkman for a second rounder help the Knicks to get to those franchise players?
    This works in the opposite way as well: if they have a Balkman they can get a franchise player. If they manage to draft a stud in next year’s lottery and get under the cap for 2010 you think players will refuse to play for them because Balkman is on the roster?
    There is no long-term cap relief. Balkman could have been simply set free after the season if he didn’t perform, given the lack of interest around the league they probably could have just re-signed him to a minimum deal.

  297. Italian Stallion

    Owen,

    >In general, I think what you see in the result of the trade is one piece of evidence to support the point Ted is making. I will say it in my hardline fashion. Player quality is basically the only thing that matters. Systems don’t matter, player combinations and interactions basically don’t matter. At the end of the day, the team that puts the most talent on the court has the best chance of winning. Shaq and Amare may be a better fit, but mismatched as they were Amare and Marion were the more productive duo. <

    I don’t think anyone ever suggested that player interactions, combinations, chemistry etc…are more important than having the best talent on the court.

    What people have been suggesting is that when you are talking about players of similar ability but with different skill sets, you are better off building a team with complimentary players.

    In addition, the entire process of building a team usually revolves around selecting the role players. The core superstar/all star caliber players (or close) are obvious. You build around them trying to get the best players possible that fit specific needed roles.

    I don’t think you have to look any further than the Knicks for proof of the chemistry factor. Regardless of what you think of Randolph and Curry, it couldn’t be more obvious that Randolph’s offensive production came straight out of Curry and that their lack of speed, defense, shotblocking etc… left a gaping hole on the inside.

    The Knicks would certainly have been better off with a PF that was the “statistical equivalent” of Randolph but on the defensive/rebounding end. That way they would still get the rebounds, add a few blocked shots, add a bit of defensive intimidating presence when players made it into the paint, BUT get more efficient scoring out of Curry than they did out of Randolph because Curry would again get more touches.

    This is not a big knock on Randolph. I don’t think he’s as bad as many Knick’s fan think (aside from being very overpaid). It’s just that he’s not as efficient a scorer with his combination inside/outside game as Curry is inside and he lacks many of the same skills as Curry. If you put Randolph on some teams, IMO he would be a positive. It just depends on the skill set of the center on that team and PF he replaces.

  298. Italian Stallion

    Owen,
    >In general, I think what you see in the result of the trade is one piece of evidence to support the point Ted is making. I will say it in my hardline fashion. Player quality is basically the only thing that matters. Systems don’t matter, player combinations and interactions basically don’t matter. At the end of the day, the team that puts the most talent on the court has the best chance of winning. Shaq and Amare may be a better fit, but mismatched as they were Amare and Marion were the more productive duo. <
    I don’t think anyone ever suggested that player interactions, combinations, chemistry etc…are more important than having the best talent on the court.
    What people have been suggesting is that when you are talking about players of similar ability but with different skill sets, you are better off building a team with complimentary players.
    In addition, the entire process of building a team usually revolves around selecting the role players. The core superstar/all star caliber players (or close) are obvious. You build around them trying to get the best players possible that fit specific needed roles.
    I don’t think you have to look any further than the Knicks for proof of the chemistry factor. Regardless of what you think of Randolph and Curry, it couldn’t be more obvious that Randolph’s offensive production came straight out of Curry and that their lack of speed, defense, shotblocking etc… left a gaping hole on the inside.
    The Knicks would certainly have been better off with a PF that was the “statistical equivalent” of Randolph but on the defensive/rebounding end. That way they would still get the rebounds, add a few blocked shots, add a bit of defensive intimidating presence when players made it into the paint, BUT get more efficient scoring out of Curry than they did out of Randolph because Curry would again get more touches.
    This is not a big knock on Randolph. I don’t think he’s as bad as many Knick’s fan think (aside from being very overpaid). It’s just that he’s not as efficient a scorer with his combination inside/outside game as Curry is inside and he lacks many of the same skills as Curry. If you put Randolph on some teams, IMO he would be a positive. It just depends on the skill set of the center on that team and PF he replaces.

    To make a brief comment on the Shaq trade, two thing come to mind.

    1. Grant Hill missed a lot of games after the trade and was a more important piece once Marion was traded. That kind of threw a monkey wrench into the plan.

    2. The COMBINATION of MARION and NASH was a critical relationship that was broken up. Nash is not a particularly effective defender. Marion often guarded or helped out on the best small man on the opposing team which freed Nash to guard a weaker player. Without Marion, Nash was getting lit up by opposing guards.

    I’m not saying it was a good trade, I am saying the lack of success there did not prove a thing about player chemistry/combinations. At most, what happened there was that the Suns overestimated their need for a defensive rebounding presence in the middle to compliment Amare relative to their need for a defensive presence to protect Nash. (plus they were simply tired of Marion)

  299. Owen

    “The core superstar/all star caliber players (or close) are obvious. ”

    Really?

    The Knicks have outspent the rest of the league by a huge margin over the past twenty years. And they have had exactly one perennial All-Star to show for it. Oakley was a legitimate star as well and deserved more than the one trip he made. Allan Houston, John Starks, and Sprewell round out the list I think, none of whom were legitimate NBA stars.

    If anything is clear it’s that Knicks management has a long track record on not being able to identify who the top quality talents are. We can only hope that Walshtoni will be different, but for a lot of reasons I am beginning to have strong doubts.

    “It’s just that he’s not as efficient a scorer with his combination inside/outside game as Curry is inside and he lacks many of the same skills as Curry. If you put Randolph on some teams, IMO he would be a positive. It just depends on the skill set of the center on that team and PF he replaces.”

    This is just total balderdash. Randolph is what he is. Who he plays with is completely irrelevant to how good he is. It’s not irrelevant to how well the team does. Put Randolph next to Dwight Howard, you win a lot of games. But that’s almost entirely because Dwight Howard, who is the kind of star the Kmcks can’t seem to get on the roster.

  300. Italian Stallion

    “Really? The Knicks have outspent the rest of the league by a huge margin over the past twenty years. And they have had exactly one perennial All-Star to show for it. Oakley was a legitimate star as well and deserved more than the one trip he made. Allan Houston, John Starks, and Sprewell round out the list I think, none of whom were legitimate NBA stars. If anything is clear it’s that Knicks management has a long track record on not being able to identify who the top quality talents are.”

    Owen,

    You are commenting on the propensity of Knicks management to overpay for good players and prospects. That’s not what I am talking about. There wasn’t a single player that I can think of that came to the Knicks that was a recognized all star that then disappointed badly.

    What I am talking about is when you actually “already have” an All Star (or more than one) and you know it. It doesn’t matter whether you drafted him or traded for him. It’s at that point you look at the skill set of those key players and start filling in the blanks with role players.

    >Randolph is what he is. Who he plays with is completely irrelevant to how good he is. It’s not irrelevant to how well the team does. Put Randolph next to Dwight Howard, you win a lot of games. But that’s almost entirely because Dwight Howard, who is the kind of star the Kmcks can’t seem to get on the roster.<

    Randolph is Randolph. On some teams he will win (like with Howard) and on some teams he will lose (like with the Knicks). However, if you take stock of his talents, it’s apparent (at least to me) that with some combinations he’s more valuable than others.

    For example:

    If a team has almost no scoring threat in the paint because both the PF and Center are defense oriented players, opposing teams can easily adjust their own defense to prevent outside scoring. That can create serious problems. If you throw Randolph into a situation like that, you probably lose a little defense, but not a huge amount because you still have the good defensive center to help him out and protect the paint. You might gain a lot on offense though. You automatically get Randolph’s fairly efficient inside offense relative to the guy he replaced and you also force the opposing team out of some of their adjustments which improves the outside game.

    If you look at what happened on the Knicks, it was the opposite. They already had a very efficient scoring threat on the inside in Curry. So some of Randolph’s shots were coming out of Curry. That’s a negative because Curry is better in there. In addition, the combination of Curry and Randolph is so bad and slow defensively, it was easy for good teams to adjust their offense to exploit them.

    IMO when you are dealing with role players like Randolph (albeit IMO a pretty good, but overpaid one), the idea is to mix and match skill sets to fill gaps around your best players (of which the Knicks had none), reduce diminishing returns, and maximize the difficulty of other teams to exploit your weaknesses.

    The major problem I see with Randolph’s game aside from defense is his tendency to take poor shots from the outside. To be honest though, IMO a lot of his bad shots last year were no worse than the alternatives at the time (a bad shot from Crawford, a brick from Q Rich, an outside shot from any number of Knicks with no outside shot at all, etc…) The Knicks have now hopefully corrected their problems with outside shooting to some degree. If Randolph stays, we are going to learn more about him this year. If he takes a poor shot while Gallinari is open (instead of Q Rich), then he’s an idiot. Regardless, he still doesn’t fit on the Knicks as long as Curry is the Center.

  301. Rashidi

    The funny thing is after reading about 200 replies to this, I still haven’t seen anyone tell us what Balkman’s trade value is, if not a second round pick.

    Is he worth a first round pick?

    First round pick: Four years of a possibly good player
    Renaldo Balkman: Two years of a player with limited upside that hasn’t improved since draft night

    You tell me.

    Second Round picks get two year deals, make half of what Balkman is making, and are generally just as (un)talented.

    Anyone care to explain how Balkman is worth more than that? There is no line of teams looking to throw away their assets to get a player of Balkman’s caliber. If there were, he would have been traded for more than a second round pick.

    Yes, the team still has Mardy Collins. I’m not even sure Mardy Collins is worth a second round pick. He is maybe worth a pick in the 45-60 range but I bet you’d be hardpressed to find a team that likes him enough to offer that – they’d be better off just signing an unknown to a non-guaranteed deal.

    You guys need a dose of NBA economic reality. A player like Balkman has limited trade value, regardless of how full you view the glass. The Knicks needed a roster spot, so instead of waiving a player and getting nothing, they turned it into a future player.

    A second round pick is also more attractive and flexible for future trades since all teams can use picks but not all teams can use 3rd string small forwards who can’t shoot.

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