Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Could Shelden Tip The Balance?

A month ago I asked KnickerBlogger readers to pick which playoff opponent they’d prefer New York to face. The favorite was the Miami Heat with nearly half the vote (44%) while the Boston Celtics finished last with only 3%. New York currently holds the 7th seed, and it’s possible that the team moves up to the 6th spot and less likely that they move down to the 8th spot. Additionally the Celtics and Heat are a half game apart for the 2nd seed. Hence the Knicks are quite likely to face one of these two teams.

New York has beaten Miami twice in four contests, and there’s no doubt that the Heat offer a more unbalanced team. Since that time New York faced off against the Celtics and despite having a healthy lead, faltered down the stretch. In reviewing the final minutes, I concluded that New York needed a swingman stopper, a bigman that can knock down the open shot, and a rebounder. It appears that Shelden Williams has given the Knicks a little of those last two categories. Williams has averaged 17 minutes over the last 5 games, and is primarily a rebounding defending center. According to Hoopdata, he’s attempted half of his shots in the paint, but his next preferred area is 16-23 feet (29% of fga).

It seems ironic to think that a player who sees as few minutes as Williams could make a difference, but in the NBA every possession counts. However, look at the play-by-play of that Celtics game again, and imagine how a single rebound (5:53), defensive play (5:32), or shot could have altered the balance slightly giving the Knicks a needed shot in the arm. Unfortunately the Knicks still lack someone to lock down on Pierce or Allen, and make their life a little more uncomfortable.

17 comments on “Could Shelden Tip The Balance?

  1. Shad0wF0x

    At the moment, Carmelo has shown that when he tries to defend he’s pretty good at it. The problem is that when he puts effort into it, he tends to start pushing and swiping too much which results in a foul. Still, the alternative is that he doesn’t even bother but we saw the effort he put in when trying to defend LeBron.

    As for Allen, there’s really no one in this roster that I’m comfortable leaving on him. Toney Douglas if he was 3 inches taller would probably work or a faster Fields would work but unfortunately that’s just fantasy.

    If it is going to be a close game, at the very least I want the team to force Boston into long 2s. Unfortunately, their team is pretty good at that (Garnett, Davis, Pierce, Allen) but I’d rather take the long 2 than a wide open 3.

  2. Frank

    Shelden Williams is the kind of player we need on this team — if he were 3 inches taller it would be even better, but he’s the best we have. He was good enough to log 10 min/game on the Celts last year, and presumably had real defensive coaching there under Thibs and Rivers. Maybe he can teach everyone something. I think between him and a hopefully healthy Turiaf, we can keep the JJ sightings to <10 min per game.

  3. Sandy

    hey guys…sorry to interrupt, but just bought tickets for Game 4 and have no idea what date it is actually on. Stubhub lists it on April 21st, but that does not seem possible given that the playoffs start on the 16th. Anyone have a tentative schedule for Games 3 and Games 4 to be played at the Garden? Thanks.

  4. Frank

    Sandy: hey guys…sorry to interrupt, but just bought tickets for Game 4 and have no idea what date it is actually on. Stubhub lists it on April 21st, but that does not seem possible given that the playoffs start on the 16th. Anyone have a tentative schedule for Games 3 and Games 4 to be played at the Garden? Thanks.  

    the playoff tickets haven’t even been distributed yet, as far as I know. and given final playoff seeding hasn’t happened, i’m not sure that an official date or time has been set. i hope that is not a problem for you.

  5. massive

    I think it’s worth noting that Shawne Williams was given significant playing time in Denver this year, and they were the NBA’s best offense with him getting playing time. He, Stoudemire, and Turiaf should definitely split the playing time at the 5 for us.

  6. Frank O.

    I’ve been out of the loop for a few days.
    I have really enjoyed Shelden Williams’ energy and tenacity,
    He seems unafraid, strong and he exhibits some genuine skill.

    It’s also quite clear Carmelo is attempting to elevate his game. It was great to see Billups at 100 percent. He is the key to any success the Knicks will enjoy during the playoffs.
    I watch the Knuggets the other day, and love to see those guys.
    But I am trying to be positive about this current team. The extra practice time appears to have done them some good.

  7. Kikuchiyo

    Although the Heat should win, the LeBron/Bosh fragility factor seems very real. These guys get tight. We’ve seen LeBron get beat. The Celtics? They’ll die one day soon, but I don’t want to see them in the playoffs. No way.

    As an aside: Did anyone else think that Greg Anthony’s constant complaining about the awful shooting last night (UConn-Butler) was a little funny coming from him? Here are his lifetime playoff stats:

    FG%: .352
    3PT%: .295
    FT%: .583

    PER: 10.7
    TS%: .468
    eFG%: .429

    Nothing to be too proud of there.

  8. TDM

    I seem to remember Shelden “The Landlord” Williams being considered the “surest player in the draft” in 2006. Not an all-star, but a guy who would perform consistently over the season. In retrospect, he went waaayyy too high in that draft (no. 5 to ATL).

    Since coming to the Knicks, his rebounding has decreased substantially and his fouls per 36 have spiked upwards. Hopefully he can come back to his averages before playoff time if he is going to have any impact. Unfortunately, I’m a bit skeptical. If I’m limited to playing an undersized 5, I’d feel more comfortable with Kurt Thomas (at 27) or Paul Millsap manning the paint.

  9. Robert Silverman

    TDM: I’m limited to playing an undersized 5, I’d feel more comfortable with Kurt Thomas (at 27) or Paul Millsap manning the paint.  

    If we’re pining for undersized/unattainable centers, I’d kill to have Chuck Hayes playing for the ‘Bockers. And he’s 6’6″ at best

  10. Frank

    TDM: Since coming to the Knicks, his rebounding has decreased substantially and his fouls per 36 have spiked upwards.

    Hopefully that’s just about small sample size – two of the games were against Dwight Howard and Brook Lopez.

    If we can just get 24 minutes and/or 5-6 useful fouls/game out of him, I’d be happy. Between Turiaf, Shelden, and JJ that should be a reasonable enough rotation at the 5 defensively.

  11. d-mar

    I think it depends on who we are playing. If we need strong post defense and rebounding, give Shelden minutes. But neither Miami nor Boston has a legit center, so not sure how much we’ll need him come playoff time. Maybe just to save fouls on Amare.

  12. Robert Silverman

    d-mar: I think it depends on who we are playing. If we need strong post defense and rebounding, give Shelden minutes. But neither Miami nor Boston has a legit center, so not sure how much we’ll need him come playoff time. Maybe just to save fouls on Amare.  

    Even though neither Miami or Boston has a legit 5, I’d rather stick Shelden on Garnett/Bosh and let Amar’e “handle” Dampier/Big Baby/Ilgauskas/The O’Neals.

  13. Starks

    Great article. Thanks for sharing. Not that Melo is Jordan, but they said the same thing about him until he starting winning rings.

  14. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Starks: Great article. Thanks for sharing. Not that Melo is Jordan, but they said the same thing about him until he starting winning rings.  

    Carmelo won’t win a ring in NYC. He’s not good enough. Jordan, on the other hand, was the best player in the league before they put several of the best teams of all-time around him.

Comments are closed.