Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Charlotte Hornets 119 – New York Knicks 107 – Game Recap

Hear me out, I have a proposal. What if we started every game with a -15 handicap from the beginning? I mean, if that’s what it takes for Fiz to feel safe playing our kids a lot of minutes, why not (all the same, somebody has to explain to me how come that you choose to play Hezonja and Mudiay to win games)?

We were treated to a game where scores were approximately a lot for them and a little for us, and I think nobody cared even a bit. We saw, maybe by accident, a game similar to the ones we grew accustomed to in the first portion of the year. 41 minutes for Knox. 31 for Dotson. 20 for Frank (artificially limited by his penchant to pick useless fouls on the perimeter and by two bogus calls in the fourth quarter). 20 for Robinson. Even 9 for Baker  (Trier was out with a strained hamstring; we don’t have news about him yet, I guess he’ll be out for the whole three-game road trip)! But more than that, more than minutes distribution, it was evident that the kids had the greenlight to be, you know, just them, which in case of Knox is “a guy who shoots everything in sight”.

Now, it’s impossible to say that even a single guy has played well (they haven’t; when stakes are this low, you have to play a perfect game to be “good”). But it’s not impossible to single out who played really bad, so I’ll do just that comparing guys to typical winter maladies, with the recipe to cure that illness right after the “bad” player.

The cold and the cough: Mario Hezonja (1 reb, 1 foul, -4 +/-) is annoying, persistent, and doesn’t seem to go away easily. In the end, it’s inconsequential at best, but can leave you tired and numb after a few weeks of its presence. Mario was so bad that he was the only starter not to return on the court for the second half, having Knox start in his place in the third quarter. I can’t remember a player who does less for the Knicks than Mario since the Bargs days. Hez looks like he has talent, but at this point I’m not even convinced he has some aside from the talent of convincing you of the contrary.

Acetylsalicilyc acid: Damyean Dotson (12 pts, 1 reb, 3 ast, +7 +/-) scored again in double figures with cool efficiency, hitting 6 of his 8 shots. I have a weak spot for low-variance guys, the ones who produce the same without regards for context. Dot is one of them: he doesn’t care if the team is up 20 or down 20, he’ll play the same way as he always does. Oddly, he didn’t attempt a single three tonight (he’s shooting 4.1 per game), but it’s not like there were timid guys around him. Bottom line: if you want to feel better after Mario, play some Dotson and revel in his consistency and workmanlike competence.

The headache: Emmanuel Mudiay (6 pts, 3 rebs, 4 ast, -20 +/-) makes it impossible to have a headstart, as for the last three games his individual defense has cratered and his team defense… well, I can’t focus with this impending migraine. This season Mudiay has objectively gotten a bit better on offense, picking his spots more carefully inside of the arc and showing off some passing chops (the best pass of the game was his assist to THJ in the first quarter for a backdoor cut between three opponents. A Nash-like pass, I swear to you). His shooting from the perimeter, though… with that form it’s impossible he’ll be ever able to hit more than 30% of his outside shots, and that’s a clear limitation on his overall impact on the game. What is really detrimental, anyway, is his defense. It’s difficult for everyone to stop Kemba and the likes, but Emmanuel doesn’t even try. He gets lost on the first screen and then wanders around like a hobbled man would play tag. Combine him with Mario on the defensive end and you’re better off staying in bed all day.

The ibuprofen: Ron Baker Frank Ntilikina (18 pts, 1 ast, 64% FG, +2 +/-) had the offensive night of his career, going perfect from three on four attempts and playing the third quarter like a real NBA combo guard, confident and assertive. On defense he was not his best self, especially in the second quarter when matched with Tony Parker, who schooled him over and over again. I don’t know what happened at half-time, but it was certainly something goooood. After going scoreless and at times being listless in the first half, in the second Frank stepped onto the court with 8:42 to go in the third quarter. He had to adjust a bit to the game, and then two minutes later he exploded in a flurry of shots: his first basket was a pullup shot after a behind-the-back dribble and a headfake; his second was an extended elbow three; his third was a top of the key three in rhythm; his fourth was an elbow pullup after a Robinson screen; his fifth a corner three. All in all, he was often in the right spot after having moved well without the ball. He couldn’t keep cooking in the fourth because of a very wrong call on a drive (bogus offensive foul, his fifth) and a possibly wrong call on defense a couple minutes later. It was also good to see Fizdale incensed for those calls on the man he benched for three straight games; if there was a moment to be ejected, he picked the right one. Maybe (just maybe) Fiz was up to something with those DNP? I don’t like mind games, but everything is possible. All in all, not the best game of Ntilikina’s career (his defense was a bit meh) but a huge injection of confidence – and maybe a great way to earn more playing time. I wish he could hit the boards more, though. He’s tall, he’s kinda big. He has to grab at least 3 boards per game.

The sore throat: Enes Kanter (6 pts, 4 rebs, 50% FG, -17 +/-) leaves you speechless at the worst times, and not in a good way. It’s not the first times a second-string opponent big starts the game wreaking havoc against the Knicks, thanks to the porous defense of Enes (remember Sabonis?). Cody Zeller went 5-5 in the first quarter to help Charlotte building a comfortable lead, while Enes stood around watching the stiffy Hornets center having his way near the rim. You convince yourself that maybe Kanter isn’t that bad for your team, and then are forced to turn the other way scratching your throat feeling uneasy just to have thought that. Enes also had uncharacteristically weak hands, fumbling passes and boards. Not his best night.

The propolis: Kevin Knox (26 pts, 15 rebs, 1 stl, -7 +/-) had an overinflated night and as a result might become overrated and thought as a panacea for all sorts of sickness, but mind you: I liked it. I don’t like Knox’s game, and that’s definitely not new, but his motor has gotten a lot better and I like his disposition. He’s starting to look like he maybe has a place in the league after all, even if he won’t certainly ever be known for his efficiency; but 25+ points and 15+ boards are not a feat for every rookie. In the last 20 years, only fourteen guys, Kevin included, posted such numbers as a rookie. The only teenager besides Knox? LeBron James (the other rookies were, in temporal order: Keith Van Horn, Elton Brand, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, Amar’e Stoudemire, Emeka Okafor – lol -, Charlie Villanueva – double lol -, Marc Gasol, Michael Beasley – I’m out of lulz -, Blake Griffin, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ben Simmons. Not bad, huh? I just fear that in 20 more years someone else will write lol near poor Kev). If anything, we can say for sure that coach Fiz is not afraid to have his rookies shoot the ball: Kevin took 25 shots to get to his season-high in points, tying the tally of the Milwaukee game. He’s goodish in fastbreaks and shooting threes and uncontested pullups. Everything else is still a mess. There was a sequence in the first quarter where he missed the layup, grabbed his own board, missed by a country mile from under the basket, grabbed again his own board and finally was mercifully fouled. He just doesn’t know what to do when people put themselves between him and the rim.

Vaccinate yourself!:

– Noah Vonleh with 9 assists. Some of them were very good. I compared 20-ish games ago to a homeless man’s Draymond, and I stand by my opinion. I’d be happy to have him back (for a reasonable contract). An off night from the field, but it was a hard time for all the starters.

– Timmy was better than in the last games, scoring 21 points on 13 shots and dishing 5 assists. He turned the ball over five times, though. Timmy as the first option is a great tanking help.

– Mitchell Robinson is already a known quantity (6/2/1 with a side dish of two spicy blocks), and he can’t really play basketball yet. I love this kid. One thing I noticed: his screens are way better than they were at the beginning of the season. They’re already worlds better than KP’s screens. His defensive rebounding, instead, keeps on being questionable at best (his DRB% is less than his TRB%, go figure.

– Ron Baker got some playing time, and all he cared for was to make sure that Courtney Lee scored. Terrible offensive player, wonderful heart (and a surprisingly steady game, 5 points and 3 assists in garbage time).

– Courtney Lee played 13 impalpable minutes save for the time where he ditched and uncontested three to pump fake the air and then shoot (and miss) a contested 20-footer. Old habits never die.

– A wonderful vintage Tony Parker night. As I’m already on record saying, I liked the Manu-era Spurs. I feel like I could have appreciated Tony a little more than I did. He took to school every Knick defender (not that is was that hard, but still).

– At the end of the game, the cameras indulged on Frank being busy chatting with Batum and Parker, what with French Heritage Night and whatever. Kevin Knox dived in to greet the two Charlotte players, they saluted him back and went back at talking with Frank in one motiion, with the familiar expression everyone of us has when we meet someone we really don’t care about at the Christmas company party.

So, let’s head to Cleveland! It’s very likely that I won’t be able to recap that one (severe work obligations on Thursday!), so we’ll see each other on Friday night, again versus the Hornets.

Au revoir!

 

 

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98 comments on “Charlotte Hornets 119 – New York Knicks 107 – Game Recap

  1. ess-dog

    Frank and Mitch really need to pick and roll at least 5 times a game and just get it on lock. With their length moving toward the basket, it should be unstoppable.

  2. Farfa Post author

    I’m all for it, but Frank needs to do a better job at throwing lobs, he tried one last night that was an abomination of a descending parabola.

  3. thenoblefacehumper

    Good stuff Farfa.

    It continues to amaze me that Frank can’t, like, stumble into a rebound. It’s hard to say how meaningful it is since I think individual rebounding numbers are pretty noisy, but it’d be nice to see him stop racking up donuts. Very fun game from him for sure though.

    With the disclaimer that I haven’t coached above the middle school level, I’m not sure the permanent green light approach is serving Knox well. I can’t really blame him in the context of this team since there are very few usage soakers but if we’re trying to develop a productive player I think we need to tell him to cut some stuff out. Bomb threes, continue the awkward drives to the rim, maybe shoot wide open pull ups. The floaters…it’s hard to see them ever becoming a positive part of his game. It was definitely nice to see him look remotely like an NBA player.

    Frank and Mitch really need to pick and roll at least 5 times a game and just get it on lock. With their length moving toward the basket, it should be unstoppable.

    Unstoppable is a strong word but +1000 on the idea that we need to see it more.

  4. thenamestsam

    The Knox green light thing is an interesting question. I agree that he takes 1 or 2 shots per quarter that have me tearing out my hair. And my personal opinion has always been that Knox is most likely to become productive (at least in the near term) as a relatively low usage guy, thriving on assisted 3s and the occasional pump and drive. On the other hand his confidence as a young guy is nice to see, particularly compared to frustratingly timid Frank. I don’t think Fiz needs to yank him from the game every time he shoots a floater just yet (although I do reserve the right to scream it at my TV every time) but I really hope the c0aching staff is emphasizing to him that nobody should be taking shots like that. Floaters and contested 2-point pull ups off the dribble should be emergency shots only.

  5. wetbandit

    For some reason I read the below line as “womanlike competence,” and it took four or five reads to get it straight. It was a very confusing time. I blame it on trying blonde coffee today (although it supposedly has more caffeine due to be roasted less)

    Bottom line: if you want to feel better after Mario, play some Dotson and revel in his consistency and workmanlike competence.

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

    If Trier is injured, I hope the Knicks are smart enough that he doesn’t travel or practice with the team. That way days would count as d-leagud days, and not count toward the 45 day limit with the Knicks.

  7. Frank

    How does Frank have just 3 ORB in 568 minutes? That’s ridiculous.

    He definitely floats on the perimeter on offense in general, and I think he’s been tasked with stopping transition – there was one offensive possession last night where the rebound was volleyballed around and then was loose as far back as the top of (our offensive) key, and Frank was literally at the opposite free throw line instead of being in any position to go for it.

    That, and he just isn’t a good rebounder.

    It truly is impressive how little he contributes to the usual box score stats.

  8. alsep73

    Yeah, Frank’s never going to be much of a rebounder, but it’s also vaguely related to the Robin Lopez debate we used to have. With Lopez, he was boxing out strongly enough that the team rebounded well when he was on the floor, even though his totals were low. With Frank, his responsibilities as defensive QB and transition buster mean he’s rarely in position to grab boards. He also doesn’t go to the hoop much except when he’s driving with the ball. That said, as he starts driving more in the fashion he has the last few games, the ball is, by law of averages, going to start finding him more on that end than it has.

    Also, repeating a thought from the end of the last thread (which I made before I knew Farfa’s excellent recap had posted): it is not a coincidence that Frank and Knox play better when Burke is either injured or just not on the court with them. Whether we use him as a Lee sweetener, get a phantom 2nd round pick for him, or just release him, I’m ready to be done with that guy. Trier + Frank is a combo that can work, because Trier will still defer to the PG and occasionally give back the ball if his shot’s not there. Burke just wants to get his. Enough.

  9. Frank

    Looking at tankathon we are currently #5 and it’s hard to imagine us moving down (the wrong direction) — at #6 is Brooklyn, which is a much better team and has greatly underperformed their pythagorean (12.3 wins expected vs 10 wins) — they’ve actually lost more games in which they’ve had a double digit lead than they’ve won. Then it’s Washington, Houston, Miami, etc that are extremely unlikely to get worse than they are now. On the other side, is it even possible for us to be worse than PHX, Chicago, Atlanta, and Cleveland?

  10. DRed

    On the other side, is it even possible for us to be worse than PHX, Chicago, Atlanta, and Cleveland?

    It’s always possible, but it doesn’t seem likely. If Kevin Love gets healthy soon maybe Cleveland could get better? The other 3 teams are just terrible. The Bulls don’t have a single player with an above average WS/40

  11. Hubert

    On the other side, is it even possible for us to be worse than PHX, Chicago, Atlanta, and Cleveland?

    Atlanta looks a lot less awful with Collins back and I really like what I’ve seen from us in the last three games.

    Our shitty vets seem to have used up all their magic pixie dust in the Bucks win and are playing perfectly for the tank. And the upcoming schedule is extremely tank friendly.

    We’re 8-20 now. I can see us at 10-36. Then we can reevaluate.

  12. Farfa Post author

    On the other side, is it even possible for us to be worse than PHX, Chicago, Atlanta, and Cleveland?

    I don’t know. But finishing fifth-worst while feeding the kids big minutes is far from the worst case scenario.

  13. kevin5318

    Top 5 is pretty ideal 3-4 teams jumping us is a nightmare scenario. Can’t really stress about that tho.

  14. Bruno Almeida

    If we finish with 26 wins I think there’s a big chance we get the 5th worst record. I don’t think Phoenix is reaching 20 wins, and I think Chicago is also a lock to be worse than us. It’ll really depend on how Atlanta and and Cleveland go, and what happens with the Wizards at the trade deadline.

    I would be happy with the 5th worst record and very happy with the a top 3 one, then we just have to be a little lucky for once in this franchise’s existence.

  15. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    The Bulls’ wins this year:

    CHO +2
    ATL +12
    NYK +1 (a great win)
    CLE +1
    PHX +8
    OKC + 2

    So yeah, the Bulls are reeeeeeeeeeally bad. The only non-coinflip wins came against teams with an SRS of -9.78 and -9.90. Hard to see the Knicks being worse than CHI, PHX or ATL. I think we have to hope for some occasional heroball out of LaVine, Booker and Young if we want a better slot in June.

  16. Z-man

    Of all players 6’5″ and taller that have played 500+ minutes this year, Frank has the lowest OReb%. It’s not about role, he is simply a terrible rebounder at this point. Comparing him to Robin Lopez in terms of the effect of his role on rebounding is silly and typical of the Frankophile excuse-making that has mostly been debunked at this point.

    He shot well this weekend, and I’m okay with him putting first things first for now. But there is absolutely no excuse for a player of his size and length not getting more offensive rebounds. As George Karl said about DWill, even Coke machine…..

  17. DRed

    Comparing him to Robin Lopez in terms of the effect of his role on rebounding is silly and typical of the Frankophile excuse-making that has mostly been debunked at this point.

    Nobody compared Frank’s effect on rebounding to Robin Lopez’s effect on rebounding. They were trying to make the point that Frank’s role reduces his own rebounding, like Robin’s did, but in Frank’s case what he does in service of transition defense, not team rebounding.

    Frank is a bad rebounder though.

  18. chrisk06811

    I can’t remember the last time this happened….I had absolutely no knowledge that we were playing last night. i’m not sure if that’s good or bad!!

  19. Hubert

    I would consider the 5th worst record to be as much of a failure as being 9th last year and 8th the year before.

  20. Bruno Almeida

    @24

    With the flattened lottery odds it definitely isn’t, and even if the Knicks just stay at 5. Just staying at 5 in the past two drafts could mean Fox and Wendell Carter Jr. on this team, considering the Knicks wouldn’t do the Doncic trade, which no matter how you feel about our young players is clearly a better outcome. Just staying at the 5 on this draft could mean Bol Bol, Nassir Little, Ja Morant or Cameron Reddish instead of Sekou Doumbouya or Kevin Porter Jr.

    It definitely matters. I would love to get Zion, but with the flattened odds no matter what happens the team that gets the 1st overall pick is going to do so because they got lucky, not because of their record. What matters is putting the team in the position to not miss out, worst case scenario, on the 4th, 5th or 6th best prospects.

  21. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    We’re currently on pace to be a 23 win team, and if that isn’t good enough to land in the top 5 then Adam Silver has a giant problem on his hands.

    I think the Knicks should be in slash and burn mode with the veterans. Kanter should be bought out in the spring time if we can’t trade him, Hezonja should lose his 15 minutes a night to Courtney Lee until it’s obvious we can’t trade him, and then all of the wing minutes should go to Frank, Dot, Knox, Trier, and Timmy.

    We’re not going to be worse than Chicago, Phoenix, Atlanta, or Cleveland but we don’t need to. Early returns are making this year look like a 7-8 player draft. Zion, RJ, Bol, Cam Reddish, Kevin Porter, Nassir Little, Romeo Langford, Ja Morant, and Rui Hachimura look like a pretty solid top half of the lottery. If we’re pick anywhere from 3-7, we’ll end up with a good prospect. My favorite guy for the Knicks is Cam Reddish (creates a lot of turnovers, great high for a wing, and might be the best shooter in the draft), but I’d take Kevin Porter and be very pleased all the same.

  22. thenoblefacehumper

    It’s also important to take into account the draft class. The 9th pick last year was far from ideal, but there were still some players who projected well on the board. We just didn’t take one of them.

    This year is looking pretty shallow. As of now there’s no one I’d be all that excited to have besides Zion, Bol, and Morant. Hopefully one or more of Barrett/Little/Hunter/Langford can change that, but regardless the 6th pick in this draft doesn’t seem like a great place to be unless multiple bad decisions are made at picks 1-5.

  23. Early Bird

    People remember we have this guy named Kristaps coming back right? Putting him in for Hezongarbage is gonna make an impact in where we finish

  24. Hubert

    @ CLE
    @ CHA
    @ IND
    v PHX
    @ PHI
    v ATL
    v MIL
    @ MIL
    @ UTAH
    @ DEN
    @ LA L
    @ POR
    @ GS
    v IND
    v PHI
    v WAS in London
    v OKC
    v HOU

    It’s hard to lose to Phoenix. If we can go 1-1 v Atlanta and Cleveland, we might go 2-16 in this stretch. I think there was a new coach bump in the beginning but our shitness is really shining through lately.

    Also, this is the first time I realized we were playing in London this year.

  25. Hubert

    Just staying at 5 in the past two drafts could mean Fox and Wendell Carter Jr. on this team

    The last couple of drafts have been unusually deep in the lottery, though. This one looks to be extremely shallow.

    Just staying at the 5 on this draft could mean Bol Bol, Nassir Little, Ja Morant or Cameron Reddish instead of Sekou Doumbouya or Kevin Porter Jr.

    Being at 5 means it’s very likely you *are* looking at Sekou or Porter, though. 56% chance of drafting 6-9. Oddly, it’s nearly impossible to draft 5th if you finish at 5.

    Gotta get to 3 or it’s another institutional failure. We have the guys to do it.

  26. Early Bird

    I could definitely see us winning more games than the Wizards. They have a similar SRS, Dwight is out for most of the season, and we have KP coming back to replace Hezonja.

  27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    People remember we have this guy named Kristaps coming back right?

    That’s if he comes back this year, and whether he comes back healthy enough to be as good as he was last year.

    I know we’re going to argue about whether he’s a star player until his 2nd designated-player max contract is over, but it’s totally unreasonable to think that KP, coming off knee reconstruction, is going to be an impact player, even against a player as comically inept as Hezonja. It’s not realistic.

  28. Ingmarrrr

    You guys haven’t factored in the 4-5 wins KP would bring in some 14 meaningless games he’d play at the end of the year. 5th worst is probably best case scenario.

    EDIT: I see that early bird got the worm ahead of me..

  29. Z-man

    Nobody compared Frank’s effect on rebounding to Robin Lopez’s effect on rebounding.

    To clarigy, I was specifically referring to the effect on his own rebounding. Getting back on D does not explain why he’s the worst offensive rebounder in the league at his size. He’s also 7th worst defensive rebounder and 2nd worst overall rebounder. And that includes lots of guys with much shorter wingspans. The larger point is, it’s not his role. He’s a terrible rebounder for his size right now, but that can be improved later.

  30. Ingmarrrr

    unreasonable to think that KP, coming off knee reconstruction, is going to be an impact player

    He’ll come back for the end-of-year stretch where half the teams are checked out, and he’ll want to prove himself.

  31. Hubert

    People remember we have this guy named Kristaps coming back right?

    You know something literally no one else knows?

  32. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    He’ll come back for the end-of-year stretch where half the teams are checked out, and he’ll want to prove himself.

    When I fractured my fibula and tore my soleus competing for a rebound in May, I wanted to prove to my wife that I didn’t need to go pay for an MRI. Didn’t make my leg heal faster.

  33. Early Bird

    My claim is not dependent on KP being a superstar. My claim is dependent on KP not being Mario Hezonja who is currently making Lance Thomas look like an allstar.

  34. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    You guys haven’t factored in the 4-5 wins KP would bring in some 14 meaningless games he’d play at the end of the year. 5th worst is probably best case scenario.

    You think KP, a career .100 WS48, -0.1 BPM and .535 TS% shooter, is going to be the edge to win 4-5 additional wins over 14 games? Whatever it is that you’re smoking, I want some.

  35. swiftandabundant

    Even if KP is 100 percent healed and stronger than ever when he comes back, he’s not going to contribute to wins this season. He will be rusty for awhile and even after that, he probably won’t 100 percent trust his knee for several months. He will be on a tight minutes restriction in whatever games he plays this season.

  36. Early Bird

    A league average KP at .100 ws/48 is still .150 ws/48 better than Hezonja and that likely does not capture the full extent of their contribution to defense.

    Even not at 100% kp would outplay him.

  37. Farfa Post author

    Also, this is the first time I realized we were playing in London this year.

    I was thinking of going to watch the game live, but Lady Farfa has an exam that day and I have a singing competition the next one. I guess I’ll have to wait at least another year to watch the Bockers live.

    Re: KP

    The fact that it’s December and there’s no timetable for his return means it’s highly unlikely he’ll be back before March. By then the tanking race will be even clearer and we might not see him until the last few games.

  38. Farfa Post author

    It seems like Hezonja is heading for the dungeon anyway.

    Now that would be a good message to send to all the Perry conspiracy theorists (raising hand here).

  39. Hubert

    Speaking of this draft, I just did a little more research on the non-Zion prospects. This seems to be a lottery full of Kevin Knox’s. If he had stayed in school or been one-and-done this year, he might have been a top 3 or 5 pick in this draft. Barrett is better than him, although not by as much as you would expect. Reddish seems to be about the same level prospect as Knox and he’s supposed to be one of the studs. I’ve heard great things about Little but they don’t show up in the stats. Langford seems like a poor man’s Hardaway and I’m not sure I like him more than Trier.

  40. ptmilo

    It seems like Hezonja is heading for the dungeon anyway.

    if we send our best defender to guard the dungeon, we are just asking for someone to raid the tower and abscond with rapunzel baker.

    I’m reading things about singing competitions and trying, for personal scheduling purposes, to figure out when we can expect our first crooning video-upload recap?

  41. Farfa Post author

    I’m reading things about singing competitions and trying, for personal scheduling purposes, to figure out when we can expect our first crooning video-upload recap?

    Hahaha! Who knows, maybe I’ll get drunk on Christmas and you will have spoken this into reality!

  42. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    @46

    Reddish and Little, despite their flaws, are significantly better prospects than Knox both from a productivity-now perspective and a projectible-future-skills perspective. Reddish has eye popping steals numbers, and solid assist and shooting numbers from the SF spot while playing very good defense. Little is posting 24/10 per 40 with low secondary numbers, but he’s doing it at 60 TS% while shooting only 26% from 3. He’s also far more athletic and coordinated than Knox will ever be. Langford is also a significantly better prospect than Knox, though not by the giant margin that Reddish and Little have on him.

    I can’t stress how bad of a prospect Knox was at the time of drafting. He should’ve been picked 29th, not 9th.

    The Kevin Knox (even worse than Knox, tbh) of this draft is Quentin Grimes.

  43. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I see nothing funny about his ineptitude.

    If you didn’t like the league’s arguably-worst player Iverstepping over an MVP candidate like they were peers (i.e. if you didn’t cackle at the hilarious absurdity of it), you don’t– like– NBA– basketball.

    Or is “Iversonned” a better way to put it?

  44. Owen

    I see nothing funny about his ineptitude.

    How about Fizdale being asked about Hezonja starting last night and being like, “Just Kemba, we had to throw whatever we could at him.”

  45. Hubert

    @49 that’s good stuff, Silky. Reddish’s steal numbers are encouraging. I’m still not particularly excited about this lottery after Zion.

    Re: Little, the 60% TS with 29% 3P shooting strikes me as incredibly noisy. Comparing a guy through 10 games to a guy who played a full season is always difficult, but it’s even more pointless in NCAAB where the first ten games are skewed by games against the likes of Elon and St Francis.

    We’ll see where we are at the end of the year. But I have a feeling a lot of these guys will look too much like Knox, i.e. a group of players whose alleged tools will heavily outweigh their actual production.

  46. thenoblefacehumper

    Reddish’s steal numbers are great, but I have no idea what’s going on with that 2PT% and his AST:TO ratio is 0.8. Rebounding is pretty underwhelming for someone his size too (though that could be team related). Overall he looks like a trap prospect to me.

    Little looks better but pretty limited. I admittedly haven’t watched much UNC though so I’m basing that entirely on the numbers.

    Langford stylistically resembles players we’ve come to hate but there is some reason for optimism in the numbers (2PT% is great for a guard). Ultimately I think he’ll be a bust if he doesn’t develop a consistent jump shot though.

    Barrett got off to a terrible start but I think by the end of the season we’ll be happy to have him. He’s shaping up to be pretty well rounded.

    Kevin Porter Jr. actually looks well rounded too but it’s hard to draw conclusions due to his minutes. Hopefully those go up.

    Overall the draft projects to be pretty shallow. That can change, but unfortunately tanking is shaping up to be pretty important. 41 MPG for Knox is fine by me.

  47. JK47

    The guys I’m interested in are obviously Zion but also Bol Bol and Ja Morant. RJ Barrett has played pretty well over his last 4 games, looks like he might be back on track and is probably a better prospect than Nas Little, who has been underwhelming.

  48. Bruno Almeida

    The issue with Reddish specially is that it’s so absurdly rare to see a prospect of his caliber being the 3rd best freshman on a good team, so I guess his stats will be hard to gauge on that merit.

    I still think Zion is ahead of everybody else, but I’d be pretty excited with Little, Reddish, Morant, Bol or even Langford. I’ve been watching videos on Morant and I’m very excited about him, he looks like the real deal.

  49. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Little is worse on defense than advertised but more efficient than I’ve expected him to be. He really has a feel for driving to the basket and converting efficiently. I tend to discount cupcake schedule related reasons to be down on a prospect, given that one of the big lessons of recent NBA drafts is that stars from mid-major programs (Kawhi, Steph, Paul George, Hayward, D Wade, McCollum, Millsap, George Hill, Lillard, VanVleet, Bazemore etc.) who generally have really easy schedules throughout the year routinely do well in the NCAA. I think that if you’re producing in the NCAA, it’s pretty much irrespective of your competition–just like your production in the NBA is pretty much irrespective of competition (which is why studies show that low-minutes players tend to replicate their per 36 numbers if given the opportunity, unless they’re Cole Aldrich). Especially since plenty of teams in power conferences are just as bad as the early-season cupcakes. Though, of course, the quality spread is admittedly higher in the NCAA than in the NBA for various reasons. Either way, Knox is far worse than any of these guys. Though he’d be pick earlier in this draft than he deserved to be picked last draft, which I agree with.

  50. d-mar

    I’ve been watching videos on Morant and I’m very excited about him, he looks like the real deal.

    Which means he will be drafted one spot ahead of us and become the next Chris Paul

  51. ptmilo

    it would be sad if Lowry got old quickly right when kawhi arrived. he has attempted 3 two point fg in total over the last 4 games (and 4 FTs). lance Thomas is jealous. or maybe he’s just sending some weird irascible Kyle Lowry message because he’s mad at Masai. or maybe it’s nothing. I hope both he and CP3 can pull off one more run of peak undersized ferocious point guard eliteness this spring.

  52. JK47

    Little isn’t starting and isn’t getting a ton of minutes for a UNC team that isn’t really that great.

    The kid can throw it down though. He does take the ball to the hole with bad intentions.

  53. d-mar

    Meanwhile, Julius Randle is putting together a pretty impressive season with the Pelicans. His TS% is up to .62 (has improved every year) and he’s pulling in over 9.3 rebounds/game.

    New Orleans signed him for 2 years at 9 MM per, but unfortunately for them gave him the dreaded player option for year 2. So it’s the same old deal with reclamation projects (and I understand he was far from a bust like Mudiay or Hezonga) – if they surpass expectations, do you sign them to a big contract or let them walk? You know Randle’s gonna be asking for north of $20 MM if he keeps up this level of production.

  54. Bruno Almeida

    Randle is so damn good. He’s definitely been a victim of a market inefficiency underrating somewhat undersized big men who can’t shoot 3s in volume. I was a fan before this year but really, he seems to have figured things out. I thought he was going to be a bust when he got injured early and then played really badly in his second year, but he’s proven me wrong.

  55. nicos

    Randle is the power forward version of Kanter- he gives back too much of his production on the defensive end to be worth a big salary. He’s a very good deal at 9m, a bad one at 20m. My guess is both he and Kanter wind up making 12-15m next year- hopefully not in NYC.

    My goals for Knox are to finish the season around .500 TS% (doubtful without an overhaul of his shot selection) and an 11-12 trb% (possible). If he can do that I’d be fairly bullish on him as a prospect- not that I think he’ll be great but I think he’ll have a solid chance to be an okay starter. He’s up to 34% from three and can really run the floor. If he can improve his handle enough to attack close-outs and get strong enough to play through contact at the rim he can be a nice offensive player. He’s probably never going to be more than adequate defensively but if he can eventually become a plus rebounder he should be okay. I’d still swap him for SGA in a heartbeat but at least during this stretch since the Milwaukee game he’s back to looking like someone with a chance to be an NBA player.

  56. thenoblefacehumper

    I can’t blame the Pelicans’ front office for giving him that deal because I’m sure they had some competitors. Randle isn’t Mario Hezonja or Emmanuel Mudiay, though I agree that there’s a market inefficiency for so-called tweeners who can score well and rebound the hell out of the ball.

    They also should be trying to win as many games as possible as soon as possible and Randle helps with that. They’ve gotten off to a rocky start but I think they’ll get it together to an extent. Their pythag is 16-12 and, oddly enough, I think Payton coming back will help. In the end AD seems like a goner though.

  57. Hubert

    So far I feel like I’d be over the moon with Zion. I’d be happy with Morant. Happy but a little worried with Barrett or Reddish. Anyone else we draft feels like he should be accompanied with the womp womp noise.

    I mean, what are the odds that two 7’3″ players in the same frontcourt is a good idea? And who really wants another 6’5″ offguard.

  58. ptmilo

    Randle is fun to watch on offense. You can tell that every single time he gets the ball at the elbow he’s thinking “I should really drive left immediately, I’m the fastest guy in the nba and I have a big guarding me.” and it works out great because even though he’s not that fast he can bulldoze the shit out of just about anyone.

    he’s a bit of a problem on D though and when the Pels try to play him without AD they get eviscerated (but AD does just fine without Randle). Still, he’s a pretty good player who is at least not a bottom decile defender. He’s also one of the reasons I’m so down on the pistons for the rest of the year. Blake has played really well but even if he stays healthy I’m guessing he’ll get tired and beat up and his defense will regress (his effort has been high) and he’ll basically be Julius Randle. But Drummond is no AD and the rest of pistons combined are worse than half of jrue.

  59. Z-man

    If you didn’t like the league’s arguably-worst player Iverstepping over an MVP candidate like they were peers (i.e. if you didn’t cackle at the hilarious absurdity of it), you don’t– like– NBA– basketball.

    Or is “Iversonned” a better way to put it?

    The best part was when the next morning on Sirius, Frank Isola quipped that on Christmas Day there was going to be a performance of the Nutcracker Suite at MSG.

  60. alsep73

    What a mess the Bulls are:

    When Boylen arrived Sunday, the players stood and told Boylen they weren’t practicing, sources said, with the sides meeting to express their issues. Zach LaVine and Justin Holiday were the most vocal, sources said.

    Boylen repeatedly referenced his days on the San Antonio Spurs staff and instances in which coach Gregg Popovich pulled all five players off the floor to send a message, sources said.

    A player responded, sources said, telling Boylen in essence that they aren’t the Spurs and, more importantly, he isn’t Popovich.

  61. Ingmarrrr

    You think KP, a career .100 WS48, -0.1 BPM and .535 TS% shooter, is going to be the edge to win 4-5 additional wins over 14 games? Whatever it is that you’re smoking, I want some.

    The difference in winning percentage between the Knicks with and without KP last year is 0.129, which translates to 1.8 wins over 14 games. So technically you’re right. But we are talking about a stretch of games that is typically easier to win at the end of the year, with everyone on the floor coming together to help KP get his max. I’d say a 3-4 extra wins prediction does not require smoking what I’m smoking..

  62. Mike Honcho

    The Deadspin article on trading Frank:

    Though it would be the most cosmically Knicks move possible, please don’t give up on all that to get fucking John Wall.

    That about sums it up.

  63. latke

    @Frank

    The one team I don’t think we have any shot of catching is Atlanta. They have the least talent in the league and have been healthy. The other bottom of the barrel teams have had their better players miss games…

    Warren and Booker have missed games for Phoenix. Markannen and Porter have missed games for Chicago. I think we have at least a reasonable chance of passing those two especially if we continue to give Knox and Ntilikina big minutes.

    As far as Cleveland goes, it depends on if Love comes back or not. If they trade him once he gets healthy, then they would actually be my pick to finish worst, but if he plays 50 games @ 30 MPG, I think they’ll get up around 25 wins.

    Statistically, the biggest drop off in terms of average case outcome is from finishing with the 3rd worst to the 4th worst record, so I hope we can at least get up to #3.

  64. Donnie Walsh

    A player responded, sources said, telling Boylen in essence that they aren’t the Spurs and, more importantly, he isn’t Popovich.

    This is all about not wanting to practice? Talk about Iversonning!

  65. swiftandabundant

    There has been zero interest from The Knicks in acquiring John Wall. If anyone can find me one line written in one article where it says anyone within The Knicks organization is interested in trading for John Wall, show it to me.

    Same with trading Frank. Fiz sits Frank for 3 games and all of these media reports come out saying The Knicks want to trade him except they haven’t said ANYTHING that would lead anyone to believe that.

    Its hard enough being a Knicks fan without people constantly trolling our fan base to get clicks and LOLKnicksying every single time a player becomes available. We actually haven’t made a lopsided win now trade detrimental to us in a long time.

  66. thenoblefacehumper

    Its hard enough being a Knicks fan without people constantly trolling our fan base to get clicks and LOLKnicksying every single time a player becomes available. We actually haven’t made a lopsided win now trade detrimental to us in a long time.

    I dunno we traded a pretty nice pick for Emmanuel Mudiay a few months ago.

    Re: Frank, it’s pretty abnormal to glue a 2nd year lottery pick to the bench for multiple games in a row. Whatever you think of the decision to do it, people are going to talk about it if you do.

  67. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    The difference in winning percentage between the Knicks with and without KP last year is 0.129, which translates to 1.8 wins over 14 games. So technically you’re right.

    I don’t think I need to explain just how noisy this is, from small sample issues, to the missing information of who actually played in those 14 games aside from Porzingis, to the issue of wins being binary representations of average MOV (as if on/off and net rating weren’t noisy enough), to the Porzingis injury being a guarantee that he is not as strong a player as he was pre-injury for virtually any reason you can throw out there: learning the new coach’s “system,” playing with new players including several rookies, conditioning issues, the goddamn ACL repair itself and its effects on him both physically and psychologically. And also, he’s playing for the contract extension, which means that he could either be skittish about re-injuring the knee (ensuring that he receives zero offers) or go balls out to justify a DP max contract (also worrisome).

    I know that it’s a fact that the Knicks, as a team, lost more often after Porzingis went down.

    But we are talking about a stretch of games that is typically easier to win at the end of the year, with everyone on the floor coming together to help KP get his max.

    Too many assumptions in there as well. I don’t see any evidence (or even reasoning) that suggests that it’s easier to win games at the end of the year. If that’s the case, will the Bulls lose by 80 in game 82?

    And also, do we really believe that Porzingis is going to come back and suddenly guys are going to care more about winning than they do now? Hezonja, Knox, Vonleh, Rapist, Trier, Mudiay and Robinson have never played an NBA minute with him, and Kanter, Hezonja, Baker, Burke, Vonleh, Kornet and all of the rookies are fighting to keep themselves on NBA rosters. Do they care more about his new contract than their own?

  68. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Its hard enough being a Knicks fan without people constantly trolling our fan base to get clicks and LOLKnicksying every single time a player becomes available. We actually haven’t made a lopsided win now trade detrimental to us in a long time.

    I think you’re just characteristically in denial about (1) how bad this team is and (2) how poorly managed it’s been for the last twenty years.

    This team has a zero-percent chance of making the playoffs, owns its own 1st rounder and just put last year’s lottery pick on the bench with three consecutive DNP-CDs for no reason at all. You want to explain that better than Deadspin did? Because I don’t think you can explain it.

  69. nicos

    The one team I don’t think we have any shot of catching is Atlanta. They have the least talent in the league and have been healthy. The other bottom of the barrel teams have had their better players miss games…

    John Collins is their best player and he missed 16 games. Since he’s been back in the starting lineup they’re 3-6; still really bad but no worse than the Knicks. If Trae Young improves his shooting at all I think they have a chance of catching the Knicks. I think that the Knicks will probably finish anywhere from 2nd to 7th worst but most likely stay right where they are.

  70. swiftandabundant

    Jowles, I’m 41 years old. I started following the Knicks in 93. I’m well aware of our ineptitude during the 21st century.

    But if there is no real evidence, no quote…nothing even to read between the lines…indicating that the Knicks want to trade Frank or trade for Wall..its pretty irresponsible to just say shit like that because it has no basis in reality.

    Past Knicks regimes never gave us any indication that they were really serious about a youth rebuild. Past Knicks regimes talked about championships and competing. Mills and Perry have done no such thing and have yet to make a real win now move that mortgages the future for some small incremental gain (well besides Hardaway but we gave up nothing to sign him).

    So yeah, I will trust these guys until they prove they don’t deserve my trust. Dolan has stayed out of the knicks day to day affairs for almost 5 years now, even during the end of Phil’s days he only intervened to fire Phil when it was clear he needed to be fired.

    Its 100 percent the sports media making shit up because for years they didn’t have to and during that time they grew accustomed to clicks and comments whenever the Knicks did something stupid.

  71. DRed

    It’s at least possible they benched Frank because he was playing like shit and they thought a few games off would help him get his head together or encourage him to work harder or something.

  72. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    It’s at least possible they benched Frank because he was playing like shit and they thought a few games off would help him get his head together or encourage him to work harder or something.

    I’d believe that if it sounded like Frank himself knew why he was benched.

  73. Z-man

    “…just put last year’s lottery pick on the bench with three consecutive DNP-CDs for no reason at all”

    What an upside-down world it is when it becomes absurd for a team that should be tanking hard to bench a second year lottery pick in favor of Emmanuel Mudiay (someone around here repeatedly referred to him as the worst player in the NBA) and an undrafted guy on a 2-way contract.

  74. swiftandabundant

    DRed…its not “at least possible.” That is EXACTLY why they benched Frank for those games. Its what Fizdale SAID.

    We should really take people’s words at face value until proven otherwise. Frank was playing like crap on offense and he needed a kick in the ass. He needed to sit so that he could watch what more aggressive players were doing and also to motivate him to be more aggressive…and it worked!

  75. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    I think it’s easier for Knicks fans to exist in a world where nobody knows what they’re doing. Fizdale knows what he’s doing, we’re not trading for Wall, and we’re definitely trying to secure a top 5 draft pick.

    I’m totally fine with Perry and Fizdale. The team hasn’t done anything dumb yet, and they’ve done a solid job in the draft the past couple years. So we traded Hernangomez for two 2RPs. That’s not going to come back to haunt us anytime soon.

  76. alsep73

    Courtney Lee will play in the G League tomorrow and is scheduled to rejoin the Knicks for Friday’s game in Charlotte, meaning he’ll miss Wednesday’s game in Cleveland. If there’s no Burke (knee) or Trier (hamstring), Frank Ntilikina will have to get another real opportunity.

    Per Bondy. That’s interesting. Lee will get more play in Westchester than he will with the big club. And very good for the Frankaissance. And for Ron to get a little more run before he’s cut for Trier.

  77. Bruno Almeida

    Yeah, I can’t remember a case a veteran who is presumably healthy has spent time with the G-League team during the season like this.

    I think he probably asked for it so he shake off the rust.

  78. rama, mayor of Realitytown

    Very weird. Maybe they need to showcase he’s healthy but don’t want him to take too many minutes from the kids?

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

    I think so too. He needs concentrated playing time

  80. Bruno Almeida

    It kinda has to be, he has to accept the assignment as a veteran, so it’s either showcasing for a trade, which would be pretty bizarre, or just him wanting to get in rhythm. Doesn’t make much sense to tell teams “hey trade for Courtney Lee he’s so good we can’t find minutes for him on our garbage team so we sent him to Westchester to showcase his abilities!”

  81. geo

    yeah the courtney lee thing is a little odd – but, what the heck is up with some younger folks not believing the earth is round or that people walked on the moon…

    man, our educational system is really falling apart…

    I’ll be honest – on more than one occasion i’ve mainlined one too many episodes of ancient aliens over a weekend, but, believing that we never sent folks to the moon…wow…

    the ability to shoot from long range does not seem to equate to much of an interest in science…

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