Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crawford Possibly Out for the Year with a Stress Fracture

The associated press is reporting that Jamal Crawford has a stress fracture in his right ankle which may require regular season ending surgery. He might be available for a potential playoff series should he require surgery. Apparently the injury was sustained at some point during Monday’s game against the Heat, but Crawford is unsure of when.

160 comments on “Crawford Possibly Out for the Year with a Stress Fracture

  1. Brian Cronin

    That is devastatingly bad.

    I guess this will have to be Nate’s time to shine, if he can (or Balkman, if Q becomes the main shooting guard).

  2. Barnesgasm

    Its rough, since Crawford led us in minutes per game and games, and was second in points but I still think we can make the playoffs. Q has to pick up Crawfords stats, Balkman and Nate have to step up, Steph will have to play an extra 3 or 4 minutes per game Mardy will have to fill some minutes, and the Knicks are probably going to sign a guard to a ten-day. Can you spell Qyntel?

  3. daniel

    again, as I posted previosly, not to be happy about someones injury when his career is based on his ability to stay healthy; but if the Knicks confidence stays high, nothing helps this team more than getting Crawford’s terrible ineffeciancy and bad decisions out of the lineup-sure he scores, but he shoots a pathetic %40 from the field and shoots a ton; he turns the ball over ad nauseum-he will never help a team win consistenly-sure every once in while he’ll hit a majority of his shots-but that is every once in a LONG while; if Thomas plays this well, plays Balkman, and takes advantage of the more effecient scorers he has(heck, even Robinson is more reliable from outside) Crawford out of the lineup gives the team hope…….

  4. jon abbey

    on one hand, I see your point, Daniel, but on the other, I think Crawford continuing to blossom is a big part of our future, unless we somehow get someone like Vince Carter or Rashard Lewis (and maybe still then). that’ll have to resume next season now.

    also don’t forget Francis is already likely done for the year, and asking even more from Steph makes the chances of him getting hurt even worse than he is already go up. as someone said on the other thread, we’re going to get to see what Balkman, Collins and Nate can do, and hopefully we keep driving to win games and push the Bulls draft pick lower, even if we don’t make the playoffs (which I was dubious about even with Jamal in there).

    anyway, hopefully Lee is back soon, tomorrow night would be nice.

  5. Ted Nelson

    Like Daniel, I’ll be interested to see if the Knicks play better by reallocating Crawford’s 15 shots per game to more efficient scorers: say maybe those 2 they have who are in the top 5 in the league in shooting percentage.

    Maybe Frye can find a bigger role in the offense now?

  6. Grandpa Joe

    I second Qyntel. I hope this doesn’t mean Nate will start taking more shots. He’s been a lot more adorable cheering on the bench than missing guarded threes.

  7. Matthew

    Is this really that bad? Crawford takes a lot of shots and doesn’t make very many of them. Offense should be more efficient.

  8. T-MART

    Just go 1-Marbury 2-Q 3-Lee 4-Frye 5-Curry. Everyone always complains about how Lee gets burned by faster swingmen, but the cumulative effect in the way his effort on defense and good passing rubs off on everyone else hes on the floor with overwhelmingly offsets his limitations against a handful of lighting fast swingmen in the league no one else on the team can defend anyways. Then people complain about how hes too far away from the basket to maximize his rebounding skills, this is really inconsequential because his rebounding prowess is because of his knack crashing the boards from the outside to begin with. And then the complaint about his jumpshot, he passes off free jumpers anyways, and his passing skills would be maximized farther away from the basket to begin with. Meaning his superior chemistry with Eddy Curry would also be maximized. There are far too many pros then cons to not give this lineup a shot.

  9. Confucius

    Man, you guys are rough on Jamal. He is a talent that is maturing before your eyes. I understand peoples gripe about his shot selection, but it has improved over the course of the season and he has been somewhat of a “glue” for the Knicks.
    Having said that, his loss does have a silver lining. It is an opportunity for the Knicks to become a better defensive team. I would move Balkman into the staring lineup, and move Q to 2 spot. Lineup will be
    1. Steph
    2. Q
    3. Balkman
    4. James
    5. Curry
    off the bench Lee/Frye/Collins.

  10. jon abbey

    why doesn’t anyone ever consider Frye at SF and Lee at PF? Frye spends all his time on the perimeter on offense already, and as T-Mart said so eloquently, “his limitations against a handful of lighting fast swingmen in the league no one else on the team can defend anyways” would be more than made up for by the positives on offense.

    then Lee and Curry could clog the middle, crash the boards, and develop even more chemistry, since that’s our starting PF/C going forward (once Isiah is fired or someone slaps some sense into him).

  11. Ben

    I have been very critical of Jamal’s shot selection this year but he is extremely talented and will be missed more than people realize.

    My rotation would be:

    Marbury
    Richardson
    Jeffries
    Lee
    Curry

    Collins
    Balkman
    Frye

    I figure with Jeffries, Collins and Balkman getting all of Crawford’s minutes the loss in offense would be, at least for the most part, offset by the gain in defense.

    I do not think that extended roles for Francis or Nate would be a good idea. We need defense not offense so this is our chance to become more defensivly minded.

  12. gmal

    Can we please end this J. James experiment
    What are we showcasing him now for?
    Better yet, lets showcase him in the D-league.
    Crawfords points will be missed despite his inconsistancy. You’ll see some real inconsistancy when Nate gets more minutes tommorrow.

  13. dave crockett

    Crawford’s biggest loss may well be as a ball handler. Though turnover prone Crawford allows Marbury to play off the ball on offense. Now Marbury must be almost the sole ball handler for the rest of the season.

    Robinson is too wild. Q doesn’t handle the ball especially well. Mardy Collins is slow. I can’t speak for his ball handling, though was the primary ball handler at Temple.

    Just when the team was beginning to fix the turnover problem too…

    As an aside, I read that Lee has a high ankle sprain. In football, that’s 6-8 weeks virtually without exception. How is he gonna be back tomorrow?

  14. jon abbey

    yeah, it’s been a brutal year for injuries in the league, the season is just too long. Yao still isn’t close to coming back from his broken leg, that’s a pretty big deal at his size, I’d guess. we’ve actually been very lucky on that front until this one.

    where Jamal will be missed the most is in crunch time, when the other team’s D tightens up, Curry can’t get the ball much, and Jamal generally carries us, for better or for worse. people seem to think that other and better options at the end of games will somehow appear, I’m not so sure. if Steph can keep playing like he did in the fourth against Miami, that’d be one thing, but I don’t think any of us expect that, and even then we needed that Jamal corner three to win it.

  15. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, Crawford’s ability to create his own shot (even if it looks awful, and a lot of the times IS awful) at the end of the game was huge for this team.

  16. Nixluva

    This team should be OK without Jamal. Nate is actually a higher % shooter and he’s pretty elusive himself. What Nate doesn’t do as well is pass the ball. Hopefully Isiah will also give Collins a shot. The guy in my mind, is an NBA player. He just hasn’t gotten a shot. Whenever he’s come in he’s done a good job. He gives us size, defense and a not so fancy, but solid ball handler.

    The most important players on this team are Steph, Curry and Lee. As long as Lee comes back healthy I feel this team will be fine.

  17. Qube

    I think in terms of Ball Handling and bringing the ball upto Half Court, Mardy Collins might be able to take that load. He also seems to be a more determined defender than Crawford, but I think he has a huge drawback in the fact that he can’t shoot that well.

    Quentin should step up, and I think that he’s a very capable basketball player that can do almost everything well and his game should flourish. However he does have injury concerns with his back, and I still think that he should try to lose some of his bulk and work on his cardio.

    BTW,
    Crawford is shown jumping up and down after winning the game last night, and apparently this injury has been known for a while? Does anybody know anything about where or how he sustained the injury? Because he looked damn good playing ball last night, and didn’t seem like he was injured at all!

  18. KnickerBlogger

    Isn’t there a D-League guy we can grab? I heard Sioux Falls has a pretty good PG.

    OK here’s a game we should play: who would you sign from the D-League. You can get stats from here:

    http://www.nba.com/dleague/statistics/2006/default_regular_season_leaders/LeagueLeadersPPGQuery.html?topic=0&stat=0

    Kelenna Azubuike & Von Wafer seem to be signed to NBA teams. In all seriousness, Frank doesn’t seem to be a bad choice. He’s a PG, so he can run the offense & take the pressure off Marbury (11th in APG). Additionally he’s hitting 38% from downtown, and we all know he can help out on the defensive end.

    Albeit at this point we might be better off giving Balkman more time, and letting Collins take some minutes when needed. But if I had to take someone from the D-League anyway…

  19. Gabe Farkas

    NBA TV said this was horrible news for the Knicks. Why is that?

    In my mind, it brings us this much closer to (A) the Oden sweepstakes (F Kevin Durant), and (B) Isiah getting fired.

  20. Jim K

    I don’t know if this will really destroy the Knicks, …Q-Rich’s offense, which has been sagging, might perk up as he can take up more offense with Crawford out, and Jeffries, with some real minutes, might at least iron out as the adequate defender and rebounder he always was…also, this means more minutes for Balkman, who hustles and we all generally like. Certainly Nate can score, so if we throw him in the mix for a few more minutes than he’s been getting as of late, he’ll probably come through with some offensive numbers. As Hollinger points out in today’s SUN, while Crawford was the best last minute shooter the Knicks had, the routine was also becoming so rote this might force Thomas to come up with some other clock-winding-down plays!

    Jamal had some of the most intriguing plusses on the team, and didn’t deserve a benching, but now that he’s forced out, we’ll see if just maybe the team can live without his 39% shooting and multiple awkward shots a game. Certainly Marbury and Rich won’t mind taking on more of the scoring load, and even Frye might perk up with more touches…

  21. Nicholas Chivily

    Crawford is going to be missed as much becuase of the step down from him to Nate and Mardy. It’s hilarious to read the comments how a guy who is in his 7th year in the league and 5th as a starter is blossiming or developing. Crawford is what he is a consistent high volume 40% shooter. Nate is great in garbage time now he has to step it up when the other team is taking the game seriously. His last go round pre-suspension was filled with game killing plays down the stretch.

  22. daniel

    Hey Gabe, where you been? We are not involved in the Oden or Durant sweepstakes as we traded our possible lottery pick to the Bulls for Curry, of course!!!!

    btw for all:

    Crawford is the fifth worst shooter in the nba of the players who have played at least 50 games and the second worst shooter in the nba for players who have taken more than 15 shots a game….

  23. John

    G-Mac is playing in NBDL in Bakersfield, averaging:
    29.5 min
    12.4 ppg
    38.3% FG
    28.3% 3pt

    However, he can shoot under pressure, gets steals, and is automatic from the line. I say sign him to a 10-day contract.

  24. Count Zero

    daniel Said: Crawford is the fifth worst shooter in the nba of the players who have played at least 50 games and the second worst shooter in the nba for players who have taken more than 15 shots a game?.

    Yeah but Nate Robinson is probably the worst guard in the NBA across all categories. So it’s hardly an upgrade. ;-)

    Put it this way, Jamal has a significantly higher PER, better Passing Rating and a better Hands Rating than Nate. Claiming that the Knicks will benefit from losing Crawford because of his FG% is like claiming that the Yankees would benefit from losing A-Rod because he strikes out a lot.

  25. Matt D

    Oh man, who ever suggested jeffries should get more time with Crawford out is smoking crack…. Robinson, who shoots better from 2 and 3 than Crawford, and Balkman should pick up the slack pretty well. Jeffries is probably the worst signing of Thomas’ tenure at the Knicks.

    Crawford makes some pretty infuriating turnovers, but I’m worried about the intangibles he brings that the Knicks will lack.

  26. dave crockett

    I think I read in Newsday that Isiah claims he isn’t going to sign another guard in all likelihood. That’s not overly surprising, given that what’s out there on the market isn’t guaranteed to be any better than what’s on the bench already.

    It’ll be interesting to see if between Nate and Mardy Collins we can upgrade the perimeter defense.

  27. M

    Zeke has got to be worried about his job now. 8 more games won then Larry would still be terrible. Okay, I’ll give them 10 more wins…still terrible.
    hoopedup.wordpress.com

  28. Ben

    Crawford was actually shooting alot better since the new year. In January he had an efg% of 47.7% and in February it was 49.6%. He also shot as many free throws as three pointers in February which means he was finally starting to attack the basket rather than settle for jumpers.

    This is a huge hit for us and I just hope Isiah doesn’t compound the problem by giving his minutes to Nate or (if he comes back) Francis.

    The last thing we need to do is replace Crawford with a player that is less talented, makes more mistakes and plays worse defense.

    If we can replace him with a combo of Balkman and Collins we still get less talent but at least we get solid decision making and better defense.

    Maybe then by playing better defense and forcing more turnovers we can make up at least somewhat for our loss on offense.

    I have not always been a huge Crawford supporter but anyone who thinks we are better off without him are very wrong.

  29. Confucius

    I like either Cedric Bozeman or Randy Livingston from the NBADL. I even like Clay Tucker. Defensive minded big guards that can score.

    “It?s hilarious to read the comments how a guy who is in his 7th year in the league and 5th as a starter is blossiming or developing”

    There are different levels of players. There are your superstars ( Kobe, Lebron, Dwade) and there are those that are a tier below them( Lamar Odom, Elton Brand)and then there are those players that are on the brink( Jamaal, Memet Okur, Ben Gordon). It is tis type of development I am refering to about Jamaal. I hope this stems your laughter

  30. Owen

    After seeing this thread I went over to the Wages of Wins to check on Crawford’s productivity this year, and what you know, they had a whole post about the Crawford and Livingston injuries. Dave Berri thinks this will help the Knicks, but hurt the Clips, because Livingston is above average while Crawford is not. Its an interesting post.

    http://dberri.wordpress.com/

  31. Ken "The Animal" Bannister

    Hey Owen. We watched the Milwaukee game at Ryan’s tavern on Friday. I hear you regarding Jamal’s stats. But the chemistry he eveloped with Curry is where this hurts the team the most. Say goodbye to all the alley-oops we’ve seen this season.

  32. jon abbey

    again, not actually me. I tried to sign up for a login, but didn’t get a confirming e-mail, maybe mr. knickerblogger can help me with that somehow, I didn’t see an e-mail for him.

    what’s funny about this one is that if this is actually this ‘zannettis’ character, it’s not much dumber than his normal observations.

  33. jon abbey

    thanks, man.

    I hope you guys who were happy to see Jamal out are enjoying the Rose/Jeffries/Collins lineup. brutal.

  34. jon abbey

    I guess the idea is to make sure that Curry has no chance of getting the ball without 2 or 3 guys all over him. mission accomplished!

    this team is pretty unwatchable without Lee and Jamal, no Nate doesn’t help either.

  35. Andre

    The season is over, fugetaboutit. My question is, if Crawfords’ injury was getting progressively worse why wouldn’t Knicks MGMT try to trade some folks as a possible back up or replacement to Jamal before the deadline. This ship is sinking without any life boats. Its going to be a long 2nd half

  36. jon abbey

    I mean, we should keep in mind that 1) we lost 2 of 3 to Boston with Crawford earlier this year, 2) we’ll get back Lee in the next week sometime and 3) we lose every alternate game with or without both Crawford and Lee.

    all that being said, this is back to the Layden-era unwatchable Knicks, with Ward and Eisley running the point. hopefully Lee won’t be out too much longer.

  37. jon abbey

    what we learned tonight:

    1) Isiah’s inability to pick an adequate starting lineup cost us another game. if either Frye or Lee is not one of the starting forwards in the next game, Dolan should fire him at halftime and let one of the Knicks City Dancers run the team for the rest of the year.

    2) anyone who doubted we were going to miss Crawford on offense in crunch time, I hope you noticed the offense completely break down in the last few minutes.

  38. Owen

    What’s up “Ken”! Great to see you on here…

    Well Boston fans are upset, one more win, one step backwards in the race for Oden-Durant.

    My preoccupation with the Wages of Wins is probably evident in my posts. Tonight, rather than writing a long post off the top of my head, I decided to do some grunt work and calculate the metrics they developed in the book. The stat is called win score/min, its calculated like this:

    (Points + Rebounds + Steals + ?Assists + ?Blocked Shots ? Field Goal Attempts ? Turnovers – ?Free Throw Attempts – ?Personal Fouls) / Minutes = Win Score per Minute

    The Win Score/min totals for tonights game are:

    Knicks

    Jeffries 12/33 = .363
    Rose -7/10 = -.700
    Curry 3.5/45 = .077
    Richardson 10/42 = .238
    Marbury 7.5/44 = .170
    Frye 11/33 = .333
    Mardy Collins 2/25 = .08
    Balkman – -1/6 = -.16

    Boston –

    Scalabrine 6/36 = .166
    Jefferson 13.5/42= .321
    Perkins 6/25= .24
    Pierce 10.5/41= .256
    West -2/24 = -.08
    Rondo 8/25 = .320
    Gomes 3/24 = .125
    Green 10/20 = .500

    The Per Minute Position Averages are
    * Centers: 0.225
    * Power Forwards: 0.215
    * Small Forwards: 0.152
    * Shooting Guards: 0.128
    * Point Guards: 0.132

    What does this all tell us?

    Jeffries had an excellent game and was well above average for the Knicks. He had his third best game of the year, after the LAL and Atlanta games. Richardson, Marbury, and Frye were all above average. Malik Rose was downright awful, as was Curry. He accounted for nearly all our minutes at center and posted a mark very far below the average. His free throw shooting and turnovers had a lot to do with it. He was the biggest weakness for us tonight. The Celts were helped by a really terrific performance from Gerald Green, whose win score was three times the average for his position, and excellent performances also from Jefferson, Pierce, Perkins, and Rondo, who outrebounded Eddy Curry and the rest of the Knicks in 25 minutes of play.

    I dont think we will miss Jamal “4-15″ Crawford much. Not having Lee out there is an enormous loss.

    The problem with this game is the same as our problem all season long, underperformance at the center position. Curry’s statline is just incredibly anemic for a player playing the most productive position on average in the NBA. He was way way below average tonight and has been most of the season. Unless he improves dramatically, we will struggle if he plays center for us.

    Sorry for the lengthy post.

  39. jon abbey

    “Curry?s statline is just incredibly anemic for a player playing the most productive position on average in the NBA. He was way way below average tonight and has been most of the season. Unless he improves dramatically, we will struggle if he plays center for us.”

    Curry is leading the league in points in the paint this season, and it’s not even close as to who’s second (as of last game, Curry had 792 and Duncan had 712). “what all this tells us” is that basketball sabermetrics haven’t quite been able to capture many of the nuances of the game yet, like the ability to draw a double-team in the post every time you touch the ball.

    “I dont think we will miss Jamal ?4-15? Crawford much.”

    right, except we did. he’s the guy who takes the shots in the clutch, and our offense will continue to bog down down the stretch of games, barring some miraculous change.

    FWIW, our problem all season long isn’t underperformance at the center position (you really think that’s true? honestly? you don’t think there’s any chance the numbers might be missing something here?), it’s idiocy from the guard and ex-guard positions, Crawford, Steph, and coach Isiah.

  40. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, even Hollinger would tell you the Knicks’ problems are not at the 4 and 5.

    He’s been ripping the guards all season long.

    In any event, Jon, yeah, the offense bogged down towards the end of the game, but really, if it weren’t for the awful and idiotic beginning to the game, the Knicks wouldn’t have been in that position to begin with.

    It is incomprehensible that Thomas did not start Channing Frye.

  41. Owen

    Bottom line, Curry played 45 minutes and collected two less rebounds than Rajon Rondo, a 6’1 point guard who played 25 minutes.

    Here’s a summary of the knicks team so far this year from the wages of wins website, (not hollinger, who overestimates Curry’s production I think)

    http://www.wagesofwins.com/Knicks58.html

    The metric used here by Dave Berri is Wins Produced, which is a little bit more complicated and accurate than the Win Score I used above.

    Crawford and Marbury have both been better than Curry in absolute and per/min terms and have underperformed the league benchmarks for their position by a smaller margin.

    I agree that the guards aren’t very good and I think Isaiah sucks. I think Eddy is a nice kid, and I hope for our sake he improves. But he rebounds at too low a rate, commits way too many turnovers, isnt ranked in the top 75 in blocks in the NBA, and barely shoots a better percentage from the line than the field.

    How does Renaldo Balkman, playing 14 minutes per game, have more blocks than Eddy Curry?

    And how is it possible that David Lee had 12 double digit rebounding game in january, while Eddy Curry has had 14 all season?

    Lets trade him for Biedrins,

  42. Ben

    The player that really hurt us was Malik Rose. He only played ten minutes but we were -14 in point differential when he was on the court. That means during the 38 minutes that Rose was on the bench we actually outscored Boston by 6.

    It was ugly with Rose, Curry and Jeffries on the court, Boston was able to triple Curry and dare Rose to score on them, Rose responded by shooting 1-5 with 3 turnovers in ten minutes.

    In fact in the 2nd quarter in only three minutes he took as many shots as Richardson in 9 minutes, Curry in 10 and a half minutes and more shots than Marbury in 11 and a half minutes. No one took more shots than Rose in the 2nd Quarter.

    Isiah needs to only play Rose in extremely short bursts when we need a stop but he is a mess on offense. How can such a veteran player not realize that he is a liability when he tries to be a factor on the offensive end. If he would just not try to score his defense could almost offset his offense but he insists on being part on the offense.

  43. Brian Cronin

    Your problem, Owen, is that Jon (and me, for that matter) is calling into question the conclusions Wages of Wins came to, so to counter the questioning with MORE Wages of Wins really isn’t going to do any good.

    I gotta give Hollinger some props there, as he usually mixes in some non-PER stuff in his arguments, because he knows that he has to convince not only the people who believe in PER, but those that do not.

    In any event, yeah, Curry doesn’t rebound well or block shots well. It’s a problem, no doubt. But the Knicks are also tied for the third-most rebounds per game in the NBA, so rebounds aren’t exactly a problem for the Knicks.

    Meanwhile, just watch the game tonight – Curry was being SWARMED! And why? Because the Celtics know that the guy is practically unstoppable under the basket played one-on-one. The problem in the game was not Curry’s lack of blocks or rebounds, it was that when he was doubled, there was no one for him to kick to.

    Ben above explains how much Rose killed the Knicks in that category. Later on, as they went away from Rose, they started scoring a lot. It was too little, too late (and okay, they did also fall apart a bit at the end, as Q got a bit manic).

    That being said, yeah, sure, I’d probably take Biedrins for Curry, but that’s no shocker – Biedrins has become really, really good.

  44. Nicholas Chivily

    I think GS and NYK are 26-33. Question do you guys think Jamal being out will effectively end the season like Steph being out last year did? I’m not a Jamal fan but compared to what’s behind him he’s great.

  45. DMull

    I refuse to believe Crawford being out will hurt us that much until I see Lee back and Isiah stops starting Rose / James … I fear with Isiah coaching we may never see our best players playing. Balkman only got 7 minutes (admittedly he didn’t do anything) and Nate (everyone’s favorite bashing post on this board for reasons I see but think are being exaggerated) was hurt.

    Hopefully we get them all back and then we can at least see if Crawford’s positive +/- rating holds real weight or not.

  46. jon abbey

    “I?d probably take Biedrins for Curry, but that?s no shocker – Biedrins has become really, really good.”

    my friend the GS fan says he’s hit a wall recently, FWIW.

    “It is incomprehensible that Thomas did not start Channing Frye.”

    exactly.

  47. b.schac

    ?It is incomprehensible that Thomas did not start Channing Frye.?

    Agreed. Esp. if Jeffries stays starting at the 3 (which is fine by me if he plays anything like he did last night), is it not obscenely clear that we need another shooter in the lineup.

    I’m getting tired of sitting in front of my TV making sarcastic comments every time Malik touches the ball on the perimeter and consider, or takes, the J (“Shoot the 3, Malik! TAKE THE TREY!”).

  48. Nicholas Chivily

    Unfortunately, Malik is the only big (4/5) that gives a reasonably consistent and competent effort on defense. Cato can be good but I presume he’s shot.

  49. Caleb

    Especially with the active roster shrinking fast, no one can say that losing Crawford won’t hurt.. but it’s not like he’s Michael Jordan. Nate is actually a better scorer, not quite as bad on defense and actually a decent rebounder. It does hurt to lose Jamal’s ballhandling.

    Honestly… I won’t be crushed if the Knicks miss the playoffs by a game or two, say have the 12th worst record instead of the 15th worst. I’m more interested in the long-term… if this gives Nate and Balkman a chance to shine (or build up trade value), it’s ok. Anyone else feel that way?

    The only thing that would crush me is if the Nix win the lottery in a miracle and have to give it up to the Bulls.

  50. Ben

    Jeffries is a better defender at the 4/5 than Malik, and Malik is a bit inconsistant on defense so I think Lee can be almost as effective.

    Also Balkman in stretches can be a better defender at the 4/5 than Malik, he is even more inconsistant though.

  51. Nicholas Chivily

    I’m not sure either of them defend centers for more than a series particularly the few and far between low post players like Jefferson, Shaq, Duncan to name a few but he’s better than the other centers at least.

  52. Bulls Fan

    I just looked at the Knick’s remaining schedule and it looks pretty tough to me, esp if Isiah gives significant minutes to Francis which will turn the backcourt into a shoot-a-thon and negate the good offensive momentum that Curry has developed.

    Any predictions on the remainig 17 games (7 roadgames)?

  53. jon abbey

    there are 23 games left in the Knicks season, not 17.

    I predict they’ll go 21-2, sweep the Bulls in the first round, then beat Cleveland, Detroit and Dallas on their way to their first title since 1973, paving the way for James Dolan to be elected the next mayor of NYC. how’s that?

  54. daniel

    Thomas not using Balkman for more than six minutes is inexcusable; his lazy forgiving attitude after the game is inexcusable; I can’t imagine this team having any turn around certainly this year but next year either-I mean why would they? The roster won’t improve; Thomas will still be coaching; I mean David Lee plays with such aggresion and passion – can he become that much better without injury or burn out? Terribly unimpressive team and Dolan is just such a sucker supporting Thomas….

  55. Owen

    Alright, no arguments over Wages of Wins. I understand that most basketball fans like basketball precisely because they think its about much more than numbers. You guys fall in that camp, so I won’t belabor the point. I do think it makes for an interesting discussion and I may continue to post winscores if no one minds. I think it brings out some things, like how bad Rose’s game was, and how well Jeffries played.

    I will say for a guy who is getting double and tripled team all the time as you say, Curry has shockingly few assists. So far this year, his season high is three, which actually established a new career high for him as a Knick. its pretty amazing he has only managed to notch more than two assists in one game in the last two years. He has had 23 games this season in which he didnt manage an assist, and actually has the same number of assists this year as Tyson Chandler. Perhaps its something you learn with age.

    Meanwhile, he is second in the league in turnovers at the center position after Dwight Howard.

    His assist/turnover ratio of 23% (46/198) is so bad that double teaming him seems like a pretty high percentage play for the oppositio.

  56. jon abbey

    “I think it brings out some things, like how bad Rose?s game was, and how well Jeffries played.”

    watching the game brought that out also, pretty obvious on both counts.

    and don’t talk down to us (‘most basketball fans like basketball precisely because they think its about much more than numbers’), I understand statistics at least as well as you, and probably quite a bit better. when they’re used as part of an analysis, that’s one thing, it’s when they’re substituted for a more nuanced analysis that it becomes irritating.

  57. Owen

    Man, you are feisty. If you were wondering, I am not the guy who keeps making fake posts in your name.

    I dont know why you think I am talking down to you or anyone. That was certainly not my intention. I dont really think that my statement is all that objectionable. Most sports fans don’t care that much about “sabremetrics” or statistical analysis The average knickerblogger poster is far from the average NBA fan.

    From your response to my first post, it seems you think Eddy Curry’s “points in the paints” statistic shows in a nuanced way what a good player he is. I disagree. I think that the fact that he is below average compared to other centers in rebounding, blocked shots, assists, steals, while tallying the second most turnovers for his position negates the benefits of his admittedly efficient scoring. I’d be happy to discuss any statistics you can muster to defend him

    I thought I responded to Brian’s point that Eddy Curry was getting swarmed last night with a not unnuanced use of statistics to show why. I said Curry should continue to expect double teams, no matter how well his teammates shoot, as long as he is three times more likely to commit a turnover than create a scoring play for his teammates. If he could pass he wouldn’t get double teamed so much or so profitably.

    And I suppose the fact that Curry has had more than two assists in exactly one game as a Knick, is merely a curious statistical tidbit, rather than serious analysis. Still amazing though.

    Here’s a statement for you to agree or disagree with Jon. Let’s test what kind of statistician you are.

    Points at the beginning of a game are just as valuable as points scored at the end of a game.

  58. Confucius

    Owen: Your stats dont tell one story. The situation the Knicks would be in if Eddie Curry was not on the roster. Image having to rely on Jerome James as your starting center. Gosh might as well sign Meadowlark Lemon.

  59. Dan Panorama

    I personally like the Eddy Curry trade – he’s not a finished product and the strides he’s taken this year indicate that he may have plenty of room left to grow – there’s no good reason he can’t work on some basic passing skills with the assistant coaches and this is the first season where he’s commanded double teams (sometimes even triple teams recently) consistently so there will be a leanring curve.

    That being said, Conuficius, to play devil’s advocate, the Knicks could have played Jerome James, tanked the season, scored some lame player like LaMarcus Aldridge, and then tanked this season in spectacular form to acquire an Oden/Durant superstar. Just saying, it could have happened.

  60. thepalerider

    The Curry deal is a win for us, UNLESS we miss the playoffs and we win either 1-2 in the lottery. Giving the Bull’s Durant or Oden is not worth Curry. But if we get a lower lottery pick then this deal has turned out in the Knicks favor.

  61. Bulls Fan

    It’s great that both sides are happy with the Curry trade.

    With 23 games left (thanks jon abbey) and four Western Conference teams on the Knick’s heals, My Knees Are Suddenly Better Francis returning, the Bulls have a shot at a top 5 pick!

    Seriously, you know what you have in Curry and while I’m ok that he’s gone, he is a very good kid. There’s more and more written on Ty Thomas being a bad element. Watch out what (who) you wish for.

  62. jon abbey

    “Here?s a statement for you to agree or disagree with Jon. Let?s test what kind of statistician you are.

    Points at the beginning of a game are just as valuable as points scored at the end of a game.”

    you’re not talking down to me, but you’re “testing” me? thanks for clearing that up.

    “valuable” is a misleading word in this context. of course all points are equally “valuable” whenever they’re scored, but it’s a lot harder (generally) to get them at the end of a close game. defenses simply play harder, not that that shows up in “Wages of Wins” or whatever other stat you want to use.

  63. T-MART

    My Wages of Wins stats updated after the Miami win shows that Isiah Thomas finally removed Jerome James from the starting lineup because his Krispy Kreme Donut consumption PER shattered Oliver Miller’s prior NBA record 17.11 by a walloping 7.38 to set the new mark at an even 24.5. Simply…Remarkable….

  64. b.schac

    owen, you are clearly acting douchebaggy.

    and its worth noting that ‘wages of wins’ stats don’t account for ON-BALL DEFENSE! how could you possibly say that a stat is enough to judge a player’s performance if it can’t asses how the player d-ed up their mark?

  65. Owen

    Lol. Alright. I am a douchebag.

    By incorporating blocks, steals, personal fouls, and rebounds in the formula, it does assess defense. But the basic proof is that the formula works. It works in predicting wins year over year. And it works in analyzing trades as well. For instance, after the Iverson trade, the Wages of Wins guy predicted Philadelphia would improve and Denver would not, despite having not one but two offensive powerhouses on the team. That’s because Andre Miller is a better player than Iverson, who has been below average for his career. So far that prediction has turned out to be eerily prescient.

    He’s been right on a lot of other things as well. Hopefully he is right about Crawford’s loss improving the Knicks, but in order for that to be so, we need Lee back, and we need balkman to play more.

  66. jon abbey

    “eerily prescient”? are you dating him?

    two minutes of research on that site shows that he was dead wrong about Detroit’s pickup of Webber, which he’s since admitted.

    Denver is a tough case, Iverson and Carmelo have still only played 11 games together. the true test for that deal will be next year.

  67. jon abbey

    would you guys try to give Mo Williams the full midcap this offseason? would that even be enough to get him? he’s still only 24.

  68. Ben

    One big thing that stats do not take into account when dealing with Curry is that he demands constant double and triple teams. That means his offensive stats are not reflective of the impact he has on a game offensively. The Knicks unfortuanatly are unable to really capitalize on Curry’s double teams because they have only a couple of decent outside shooters and no great ones.

    Also Curry is not a great rebounder but the teams he has been on have always been above average rebounding teams. So his lack of rebounding skill is more than made up by his teammates. For one, his constant double and triple teams means that the defense is always out of position which clears the way for a great rebounder like Lee or Chandler (when he was in Chicago) to rack up lots of offensive rebounds.

    On top of that while Curry is not a great defender(in fact he is a bad one), our biggest weakness on defense is turnovers forced which we are dead last in the league. If we were even average at forcing turnovers we would be an average defensive team. Forcing turnovers is more the job of perimeter defenders than interior ones.

    Also Crawford will be missed because while he was a low efficiency scorer, we needed him to take shots when our offense couldn’t get set. When Marbury is playing well and healthy Crawford is not very important because Marbury can get those shots but when Marbury is slowed by his knee Crawford provided the bulk scoring this team needed when teams were able to neutralize Curry.

    High efficiency scorers like Curry and Lee have to rely on things like getting position and recieving a decent pass, so teams can effectivly limit them if that is their goal. On the other hand high volume, low effeciency scorers like Crawford and Iverson can always get their shots so they have their place on teams that lack scoring. That is why the Denver trade was a bad move, not because Iverson is bad but because they already had a high volume scorer in Anthony who is more efficient than Iverson. On the other hand when Phily was a good team 5-6 years ago Iverson was the high volume scorer which paved the way for the high effeciency, low volume scorers around him to get their shots when they were availiable, and not be forced into bad shots when they were not.

    Crawford will be missed as seen during several scoring draughts in the Boston game. That is when a high volume scorer like Crawford earns his money. As you could see no one stepped up during the second quarter draught or the fourth quarter one.

    If we can tighten up our defense and become more disciplined on offense then we can survive or even improve without Crawford but if we don’t there will be stretches in every game where we cannot buy a basket.

  69. Kevin

    Ben,

    A few questions raised by your post – don’t have the answers, love to hear your thoughts.

    Is Curry’s bad defense and lack of presence in the paint responsible for the perimeters guys not taking chances to force turnovers.

    Has Curry really improved or has he stayed out of foul trouble and played more.

    Are the double teams on Curry responsible for Lee’s offensive rebounds and many of his points? In which case is Lee overrated?

    One observation from last night – what fun watching Jeferson pass out of the double team before it got there – I had forgotten what that looked like.

  70. Ben

    Curry’s bad defense might prevent the perimeter players from taking chances but I also think it is the fact that we do not have great perimeter defenders. Marbury and Q are good but neither is very good at forcing turnovers and Crawford was bad. Hopefully with Jeffries, Balkman and Collins all playing more minutes our perimeter defense will improve.

    I think Curry has improved alot. Staying out of foul trouble and better conditioning has allowed him to play more minutes but his improvement is more than that. In the past Curry would play very well and then teams would start to double team him and he would disappear. Now he has to contend with double teams all game and he still manages to average 20 pts a game shooting 60% from the field. He still has a long way to go but he is a much better player this year than last.

    I think that while Curry plays a part in Lee’s gaudy rebounding numbers, without Curry, Lee would still be a very good rebounder just not quite as good an offensive one. The thing that Curry does is make it hard for teams to single out Lee to try to keep him off the boards. So no I do not think he is overated.

    I hope I was able to provide good answers, also Curry is getting better at passing, did you see the pass to Jeffries from Curry it was beautiful. One thing we really need to work on is spacing, it would help Curry get position, make it harder to double him and give him more options when the double comes.

    Curry is young and big men tend to peak later than guards so I believe that he is still 2-3 years away from reaching his prime.

  71. john

    i think that you can shut this site down. the knicks are doom and i am tired of the bad news.lol. and trying to figure out what they can do. the fact is they are bums. they proved it loosing to the celtics and being down by 20 after a win over miami. they are so dysfuctional its ridiculous. i miss the 90s.

  72. Kevin

    Better spacing would help the Knicks tremendously. I missed the pass to Jeffries, but in general his passes out of the post are terrible, from time to time he has a great one. His passes from the post are late and not fast enough to take advantage of a moving defense – just like the passes to him.

    I think Curry has improved, he is looking for the ball more and positioning himself better – he could always score. Staying on the court has helped, maybe having a reliable shooter like Q is the key.

    Thinking about last nights game, Curry always receives the ball assuming he will shoot, not as part of setting up the offense. Clearly part of the problem with the offense is guard play, maybe some is Curry.

    Lee clearly works hard, and he does what he can, is an alert player. A mid-range jumper would help his game a ton, (Kurt Thomas with less defense) but at the end of the day, a complementary player rather than a star. I think he is overrated.

    As to the team rebounding strength/Curry poor rebounding issue – Q has been great on the boards this year – one issue is have other players crashed the boards to help Eddy out rather than try to get out on the break? I don’t think so, but it is one explanation.

    Sorry disjointed thoughts.

  73. DMull

    I don’t think Owen is a douchebag.

    I don’t mind the Wages of Wins stats.

    I prefer Hollinger.

    No basketball metrics tell the whole story.

  74. Nicholas Chivily

    Curry’s low post game has expanded and grown as the season has progressed. Early on he needed the ball down low very close to the basket to be effective. Now there’s many times where he can take it from 10 or so feet away down low and score.

  75. Confucius

    WOW Dmull said something I agree with.

    The stats\metric are complimentary tools. They tell a story and should not be used to predict how well a player will player. There are too many times when a marginal player plays the game of his life to help his team win – you know like they do against the Knicks. The metrics cant predict that.

    I hate to see basketball become like basball where these stats are used by coaches to dictate every move made, because the bottom line is you still the talent and the players need to have the abiltiy to understand and execute game plan.

    Any predictions for tonights game?

    Curry is going school Biedrins.

  76. dave crockett

    I’ll throw in this bit about the “Wages” approach to player valuation. Any approach dependent on univariate stats, like tallies, averages, and rates, has to be careful about how to deal with context effects.

    In baseball win shares work precisely because context effects (e.g., the effect of the stadium or the defense on pitching performance) can be accounted for, and to some extent controlled.

    In basketball and football however, your teammates directly impact your ability to get an assist or score a TD in ways that are not replicated in baseball. That can really problematize the way you utilize what you get from stats in basketball and football. There’s nothing wrong with the stats, but I tend to find them most insightful when accompanied by a little humility. Not coincidentally, observation-based approaches are also most helpful when their users are open to the insights available from other approaches.

    Curry is a textbook case where stats tell a fairly clear, unambiguous story about a player’s strengths and weaknesses but observation strongly suggests his value would be greatly enhanced by changes in context, namely better guard play. Curry, as has been discussed here ad nauseum, is an impressively efficient scorer but much of his offensive value is offset by his poor floor game (assists, turnovers, rebounding, and blocks).

    Curry’s critics are justified in pointing out his obvious flaws: rebounding and shot-blocking. Those tend to be fairly context free. You either do those well or don’t; you can improve at the margins but probably not significantly. I think it’s safe to say Curry doesn’t provide much defensive value. I’m not necessarily convinced that’s a fatal flaw.

    However, it’s also safe to say that better guard play could easily improve turnovers and assists, the major drags on his offensive value. Amare Stoudemire is a clear testament to this. It’s not hyperbole to suggest that Curry’s career turnovers (15.3 To-r) and assists (3.9 As-r) could rival Stoudemire’s (11.9 To-r and 6.9 As-r) had Nash replaced Marbury in Curry’s life like he did for Stoudemire.

  77. Dan Panorama

    Good point…similarly everyone who’s every played with Shaq or J-Kidd has gone on to command a massively inflated contract because of the effects their teammate had on them. Hence we get ridiculous contracts like Derek Fisher’s, Brian Scalabrine’s, and Kenyon Martin’s.

  78. T-MART

    Stats in baseball work better because there are simply fewer variables resulting from the substanstially lower importance and necessity for that matter of team play. Basketball has an infinite amount of variables, the entirety of which could never be accounted for in a million years, which makes any one-dimensional attempt to analyze the game with statistics a disasterous quagmire.

  79. b.schac

    owen,

    “By incorporating blocks, steals, personal fouls, and rebounds in the formula, it does assess defense.”

    These are all off-ball defensive considerations, except for fouls I guess. I noted in my previous post that i was talking about on-ball defense. Say JJ is d-ing up Pierce. He does such a good job he either can’t get a shot off or puts up a brick. Knicks get the ball, and it is directly a result of JJ’s play. Now, put Craw on him. Pierce either gets by him or gets a good shot. 2 points for the Celtics. NOWHERE in the Wages of Wins formula does that show up. And that is a huge part of basketball. That’s my basic point.

  80. Owen

    Nice post Crockett.

    I dont know how things will shake out with the WOW, only time will tell. It seems like an interesting approach, and I, like Malcolm Gladwell think there is something compelling to it. We shall see.

    Vis-a-vis Curry, I just don’t think Nash would make that much of a difference. A guy who has had just one three assist game in two years, probably has deficiencies that go beyond the lack of an all-star point guard.

    Vis a vis Gene’s comment, many baseball analysts do in fact make the case that scouts, at least the traditional kind, should be unemployed. And if the Wages of Wins catches on we may feel the same way about basketball scouts in the near future.

    The insights that WOW turns out are interesting. The latest post about Iverson and Anthony in Denver are very interesting. But so is the small stuff. For instance, he picked out Paul Millsap out of the draft and said he would be the best rookie after Brandon Roy. He said Balkman would be a very pleasant surprise for a player who was booded on draft day. He was right about that, although Isaiah hasnt realized yet. Lots of interesting little insights.

    Anyway, beating a broken drum here, like what balkman and collins are doing so far, very good rebounding, nice work from francis, go knicks!

  81. Kevin

    Owen –

    Baseball analysts don’t say scouts should be unemployed. In fact most analysts say that scouting is important, especially with regard to pitching. Analysts look at the numbers scouts providing a different perspective.

    The people who say “the analsyts think scouts should be unemployed” are scouts.

  82. jon abbey

    everyone’s talking about the 7 and 8 playoff positions being open in the East, but Indiana has quietly lost 4 in a row and is down to 29-28 in the 6th spot, with a brutal schedule over the next month.

    if the Knicks could ever string a few Ws together and make a run at .500, they’d have a real shot at getting in. winning tonight and getting Lee back Tuesday would be two huge steps in the right direction certainly, but I’m not holding my breath on either of those actually happening. I do know that someone else besides Steph/Q/Curry needs to step up tonight, one would hope it would be Frye.

    oh, and before it’s lost, awesome steal and finish by Mardy Collins last night to put us ahead. welcome to the NBA, young man!

  83. jon abbey

    wow, Nets blow one at home to Boston, up by 7 with 45 seconds left, they end up losing by 8 in OT, tough loss with a 6 game road trip coming up.

    so right now, it looks like three of these five teams will make the playoffs, the 6/7/8 spots:

    Indiana 29-28
    Miami 29-29
    NJ 28-31

    Orlando 28-32
    NY 27-33

    if Miami ends up 6th after the half-assed season they’ve turned in, that’s going to be pretty funny/sad.

    FWIW, we lose head-to-head tiebreakers against Indiana, win them against Miami and Orlando, with NJ still to be determined (losing the season series 0-2 with two games left in the final week).

    go NY! amazing we’re still alive after all we’ve been through this year.

    and one last note: we haven’t lost at home in over a month, since the Phoenix game (1/24), seven Ws in a row including four against current playoff teams.

  84. TDM

    Interesting stats from tonights game against the Hawks:

    Marbury/Francis: 92 minutes, 64 points, 12 assists, 8 steals, and ONLY 3 TURNOVERS.

    I guess this is what Isiah imagined when he traded Ariza/Penny. Tonight was a nice, gritty win for the Knicks. Despite being the worst officiated game I’ve seen in quite a while, the Knicks pulled out the second part of a back-to-back.

  85. Owen

    I agree with TDM. Great backcourt play from Francis and Marbury. Big win. Balkman had a really great game, his win score was 18.5/38 min, or .486 which is three times the average for small forward. 13 rebounds from the small forward position is big, no turnovers too. Curry stunk up the joint.

  86. Ben

    That was an important win. We were without three of our top five players for most of the game and our top scorer had a rare off night. Marbury and Francis really stepped up.

    Also I am loving seeing Collins, Jeffries and Balkman on the floor more. It is refreshing to see some defense in a Knick uniform. I hope Nate stays glued to the bench because Collins brings alot more of what we need. If we can keep starting Jeffries and playing Collins and Balkman 20+ mins a night then I think our defense will really start to improve.

    If LA can hold on tonight against Indiana then we will have gained ground on three of the five teams we are chasing for the top four playoff spots.

  87. jon abbey

    let’s not forget that it’s still only been maybe 45-50 games since Curry’s emerged as a dominant post scorer. for the first 10-15 games this year, he was still getting no respect from the refs and constant offensive foul calls. he definitely has deficiencies, but hopefully he’ll continue to improve, although there’s not much he can do without help from his teammates. Crawford was the best at getting him the ball in good position, so that’s a bit of an adjustment there also.

  88. TDM

    The last couple of games it seems like Curry is waiting too long to make his move after receiving the ball. When he gets the ball, he usually has single coverage to deal with. Then he waits until 1 or 2 more defenders surround him. At that point, he either begins to make a move to the hoop or attempts to pass out of the double or triple team.

    While this does get Curry to the line often, his free throws have been Shaq-like as of late. Additionally, this habit tends to cause unnecessary turnovers. I’m a big Curry fan, but this is just something that I have noticed recently.

    On a similar note, before last night Curry hadn’t scored in single digits since the end of December. Before the start of last night’s game, I thought that we had a huge advantage at the Center position. It didn’t seem like the Knicks capitalized on this. Is this simply because Craw is out? I hope not.

  89. JK47

    The loss of Crawford is addition by subtraction, in my opinion. His high turnover rate and low shooting percentage are things I’m not going to miss. Plus he doesn’t defend well.

    The Knicks really protected the ball well last night and played with some discipline. This team is getting better.

  90. b.schac

    “The last couple of games it seems like Curry is waiting too long to make his move after receiving the ball.”

    Great point, TDM. I don’t think it’s just the last couple of games tho. It happens all the time. Curry has to get his position a bit lower in the block so he can get the ball and just go right into his move. If he gets going right BEFORE the double comes, the second defender will have little to no effect and has a good chance of being called for a reach if he tries to get ball.

  91. jon abbey

    Isiah was quoted in the Post about Curry after last night’s game, “he has dead legs”. which I think is understandable, he’s taken some big steps forward this season in terms of his role and his minutes played, it takes a toll after a while.

    we have a lot of time off in the next 10 days or so, before the homestretch begins, so hopefully he’ll be back to normal on Tuesday.

  92. Owen

    Curry had a really bad game. His win score was in the negative zone, -3.5/30, thats about as bad as you can play. Josh Smith is a tough customer in the paint. Bad nights do happen. Still, its pretty amazing he only pulled down four rebounds in thirty minutes.

    It warmed my heart to see how Stevie Franchise played. The numbers show he still can be a productive player. In fact they show he just trails Q slightly for the honor of being the most productive guard on our roster. He could be a huge improvement over Crawford, who is I think a useful backup guard at best. Lets hope his knees are ok.

    Curry did have two assists. One of them was a pass to Steph who nailed a three with one second remaining on the shot clock and a hand in his face. I honestly cant remember the last time Curry made a nice dish to someone cutting to the hoop.

    One note on Mardy Collins. He had a steal the other night that I thought was just a huge momentum shifter late, totally turned the game around. Lol, i dont believe in momentum, but it was a really great play.

    It was also interesting the other night switching back and forth between watching Shaq on ESPN and Curry on MSG. It was simply an amazing performance by the Diesel. Vintage. He had a win score of 22 in 35 minutes which is about three times better than the average center. It was the kind of game Eddy has never ever had for the Knicks. Shaq is one of the greatest players of all time, so comparisons are unfair, and Eddy is definitely healthier and younger, but Shaq just has a dimension to him I cant see our version having. I hope Curry does develop and become more like him, but I just cant see it right now. Shaq had four assists in the first half alone, besting Curry’s all -time knicks carrer high. His positioning and passing out of the low post were just terrific. Anyway, we shall see, Eddy is still young I guess.

  93. Dan Panorama

    The thing with Eddy is that he actually is passing out of the post a lot more than before (it used to never happen at all), they just are terrible passes and thus don’t register as assists often. He needs to learn to pass so that the players are in a good position to either catch and shoot (his current passes are slow and usually bounce awkwardly before they’re caught giving the defense time to adjust or even steal the ball and leaving the player at an awkward position) or to cut to the basket (he just doesn’t even attempt to catch guys running, for the life of me I don’t understand why they can’t work on this in practice).

  94. jon abbey

    Curry isn’t helped by the poor spacing and moving by the perimeter players either.

    wow, Owen, Eddy Curry isn’t Shaq? did you need “win scores” to tell you that?

    “I don’t believe in momentum”

    I just believe in win scores, win scores and me, that’s reality (with apologies to John Lennon).

  95. T-MART

    I wonder what happens when Wages of Wins and Winscores contradict each other on a player evaluation. Does Owen’s brain have an elaborate mental syntax error sparking a malignant domino effect which culminates in full body spontaneous combustion.

  96. jon abbey

    hehehe…

    Nets lay another egg tonight, blowing an early 17 point lead and getting run out of the building by the Sixers, they’ve got the brutal three game Texas swing up next. curious if Jason Kidd’s “win scores” for that game (he had a triple double with 14 boards and 14 assists) include the Sixers beating him down the floor for open fast break layups time and again.

    6T. Indiana 29-29
    6T. Miami 29-29
    8. New Jersey 28-32

    9T. NY 28-33
    9T. Orlando 28-33

    tomorrow is another must-win for our boys, the schedule gets tougher after that again.

  97. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I really should start a new entry (what with all the interesting playoff matchups and all), but this entry seems to be having good luck for the Knicks, so I don’t want to jinx things.

  98. jon abbey

    Indiana is in total free-fall also, 5 straight losses, and they only had 46 points with 6 minutes left against the Clippers last night, before they scored a bunch in garbage time to get up to 64 (!). they have a brutal March schedule also.

    38 or 39 wins could mean a playoff spot, we’ll see if we can get there.

  99. Owen

    Jon – I just looked back and realized you were being sarcastic but I already had done the calculations. Kidd’s win score stats were:

    11 points + 14 rebounds + (1/2) x 14 assists + 3 steals + (1/2) 0 blocks – 2 turnovers – (1/2) 2 ft – 14 shot attempts – 1/2 2 pf.

    So his win score per minute was 17/38 min or .447. Thats really really good. (no duh they say). The per minute position average for point guards is .132 so he was more than three times better than average despite going 5 for 14 from the field. Like Shaq, Jason Kidd is a special player. The Wages of Wins has him rated as the most productive player in the NBA this year through the All-Star break.

    To play the role of Captain Obvious once more, I would say the Nets loss had more to do with the fact that Vince Carter went 4-20, (win score of -5 in 38 minutes :) than Kidd not hustling.

    T-Mart – Win Score is the Wages of Wins metric.

    Confucius – I was sort trying to make a joke. From reading this book and other works of economics, you get the sense they morosely doubt there is any such thing as free will/ individual agency. I suspect they would quibble with the idea of swings, like they do clutch shooting, and peg it up to random variations in scoring distribution resulting from competitive imbalance, or some mularkey. anyway, bad joke.

    Re Curry, while researching your win score Jon I noticed something that blew my mind even more than the fact that Eddy Curry has only had one three assist game as Knick. Jason Kidd is averaging a rebound more per game than our lovable Baby Shaq. Pretty amazing that our 285 pound stud center is getting outrebounded by the point guard across the river. Also pretty amazing that Curry has committed fifty more turnovers this year also.

    Dan, I agree with you, his passing out of the post needs a lot of work.

  100. jon abbey

    yeah, obviously Carter missing his last 14 shots was huge, but if you watched the game (you do do that occasionally, right? it’s more fun than plugging numbers into formulas, I’d recommend it), you’d know that those numbers vastly overstate Kidd’s performance.

  101. Caleb

    re: wages of wins, I’ve followed it closely and my biggest beef with the authors is that David Berri seems arrogant and unwilling to fine-tune his formula. He’s like a high draft pick with tons of talent… but if he’d work hard and pay attention to detail he could be an all-star. Berri is the Tim Thomas of sabermetricians.

    If you haven’t read the book or the website, Berri is openly snobby and likes to pretend he invented this type of analysis for sports. Steven Levitt (“Freakonomics”) gets lots of props but the phrase “Bill James” does not appear. Berri rips all non-academic analysts, but also ignores academic types who have been analyzing basketball a lot longer than he has, people like Dean Oliver and David Rosenbaum.

    I think this leads him into bullheaded errors. The WOW formula consistently overrates players like Tyson Chandler (rebounding machines) while underrating players like Kobe or Iverson (prolific guards with relatively low shooting percentages). It’s not that it’s idiotic – hey, Iverson probably IS overrated – but he’s unwilling to tweak the formula, even when it spits out things like saying Dennis Rodman was FAR more valuable to the Bulls than Michael Jordan.

    Also, Owen… just because his numbers are consistent doesn’t mean they’re right. It’s a self-enclosed system – could be consistently overvaluing one or more stat while undervaluing others….

    Anyway, WOW is interesting but as others here have said, it’s not close to a finished product. I’d say a team hiring Hollinger as their guru would outperform a team that hired Berri. And no one has really figured out a way to measure an individual’s value to defense.

  102. DMull

    I agree with Caleb on this. I don’t really like the WOW stats as much as Hollinger’s ratings.

    But I really don’t see the harm in Owen posting the numbers. It’s interesting. Why ridicule him? Look at the numbers or don’t. What’s the big deal?

  103. DMull

    Caleb –

    I wasn’t talking about you. I think yours was a fair, thought out conclusion.

    It’s stuff like this that annoys me:

    “but if you watched the game (you do do that occasionally, right? it?s more fun than plugging numbers into formulas, I?d recommend it)”

    Just because the guy uses new statistics, how does that make him any less-likely to watch a game? And is it maybe just a little possible that your naked eye doesn’t always see everything that happens during a game? I think there’s a good point Jon is making in this (that Kidd didn’t play any defense – allegedly and that WOW doesn’t catch that)..but why be condescending about it?

    While WOW and even PER for that matter are far from being perfect statistics I still think it’s cool that they’re attempting to create better stats for examining a players value. Personally, I can’t see every game every team plays, so a stat like PER is pretty handy. It’s not the end-all, it’s just a tool.

  104. jon abbey

    I’m not initiating the condescension, it’s almost always implicit when people cite sabermetric stats (along the lines of ‘these numbers tell the truth, drawing conclusions from watching the actual games is old-fashioned’).

    I just think it’s very easy to rely on numbers and trust them, it’s much more difficult and interesting to try to figure out the truth for yourself (sometimes using those numbers to help, sometimes not). I like that this blog is generally more towards the intelligent analysis side of things, combining observation and stats, not knee-jerk fans and not PER or WOW devotees who say things like “momentum doesn’t exist”. I personally find both of the latter categories pretty misguided and dull, sorry if that offends.

  105. jon abbey

    for an ideal example of how numbers with no common sense applied to sports analysis draw precisely the wrong conclusion, check out the new hilarious Forbes rankings of the GMs in all the sports. they rank Kevin McHale as the best GM across all four sports, when in reality, he’s among the very worst few and has basically squandered the career of one of the great players of this generation in Garnett.

    http://www.forbes.com/business/2007/03/02/sports-greatest-gms-biz-cz_jg_0302gms_2.html

    Billy King at 3 is also hysterical, he’s one of the five worst GMs in the league right now.

  106. DMull

    ^Link is not working. Did Forbes maybe realize how dumb they are looking? That is unbelievable..

    Anyway..

    “I?m not initiating the condescension, it?s almost always implicit when people cite sabermetric stats (along the lines of these numbers tell the truth, drawing conclusions from watching the actual games is old-fashioned?).”

    I think this is just untrue. I agree with the sentiment but I think the statement is stereotypical and ultimately untrue. A lot of guys who cite scabermetric stats also watch more games than people who still believe in batting average, FG%, etc. And many of them, Hollinger for instance, allow that the metrics aren’t the end-all, but are better methods of evaluating players than some of the old statistics.

  107. Confucius

    Oh oh Owen, a numbers guy with a sense of humor. that is rare.

    I may be getting a bit ahead of myslef….but if the Knicks should make the playoffs they do stand a good chance to advance in the Eastern conference. I think the numbers agree with me.

  108. Owen

    Caleb – I should have said also, as DMull did, that I thought your post was very fair and thoughtful.

    I did notice the Forbes writers admitting that their choice “would raise some eyebrows.” They seem to understand how stupid they look. Perhaps they are gleefully anticipating a high traffic shitstorm when True Hoop posts their conclusino, and lots of people check out the article. I didnt see what they said about Isaiah, couldnt bear to look. Vis a vis Billy King, I think he made a shrewd trade for Miller, which may cost him a shot at Oden or Durant, one step forward, two steps back, something which others said here first I think.

    Jon – To respond your point above, I will again crib directly from Gladwell. This debate over numbers vs instinct, stats vs “the look test” are after all, his bread and butter. He thinks Berri-Hollinger sheds a lot of light on a much larger issue, what are the most effective methods of decision-making for various contexts. Can we rely on number-crunching?

    This is a subject that is very important and which I find totally fascinating. Given the success of Gladwell’s book Blink on the subject, I dont think I am alone. Anyway, here is what Gladwell said on his personal blog.

    “One more point: one of the fascinating things about this argument is how similar it is to the argument currently going on in medicine about “clinical” versus “acturial” decision-making. One study after another has demonstrated that in a number of critical diagnostic situations, the unaided judgment of most doctors is substantially inferior to a diagnosis made with the assistance of some kind of algorithm or decision-rule. Doctors don’t like to admit this. But it happens to be true.

    A lot of the huffing and puffing about Berri’s ideas, it strikes me, is just basketball’s version of the same defensiveness and close-mindedness.”

    One last thing. The thread which follows Berri’s response to Hollinger is really great, it has some of the most thoughtful comments I have seen.

    http://dberri.wordpress.com/2006/11/26/answering-a-critic/

  109. Count Zero

    That’s an interesting Gladwell quote…especially in light of the fact that Blink comes down on the opposite side of the argument in general. His story about the fraud perpetrated on the Guggenheim being the most noted example.

    I think Gladwell’s thesis is that decades of training and experience (e.g., watching 40+ games per season, coaching a team or two, and maybe playing) can enable a human being to solve problems/answer questions without being able to totally describe how he did so. And that quite often, that well-trained human will be correct when the measurement system is wrong, because most measurement systems are inherently flawed in at least one respect.

    The caveat is of course, it doesn’t work without the training and experience. And more importantly, as a species we have been spouting this story since the earliest science fiction books — the robotic brain is inferior to the human one because it doesn’t have instincts or can’t guess. The fact that it’s a rather flattering way of looking at ourselves and building our self esteem when a $50 computer can beat 99.99% percent of us in a game of chess has nothing to do with it of course. ;-)

  110. jon abbey

    I’m not overly impressed with Gladwell either, to be honest. you may not be alone, but popularity certainly doesn’t equal accuracy/intelligence/whatever. he too often misses the forest for the trees, his amazingly offbase piece on Enron recently for the New Yorker is an ideal example.

    here’s the bottom line: I don’t care what Berri thinks, I don’t care what Hollinger thinks, I don’t care what Gladwell thinks. tell me what you think, don’t just parrot someone else’s formulas. if I want to read them, I can go to their sites pretty easily, I don’t really need it reprinted here. this obviously isn’t my site, that’s not my decision, but that’s my perspective as a poster here.

  111. Owen

    Count Zero- Certain kinds of decision-making suit different contexts better. Computers now play chess better than humans. And clearly, you will never develop a formula that can detect an artistic fake better than a human being. I think Gladwell is interested in both sides of the coin, and in situations where a shift occurs between preferred methods of decision making, like for instance the shift chronicled by Michael Lewis in Moneybal. Those kinds of paradigm shifts are interesting.

    Jon – I have to concede, having just read Berri’s latest post, which is a barnburner, that he can be arrogant and condescending. You are right about that. And if I have come off that way I am sorry. I appreciate this forum and certainly wouldnt want to do anything to disrupt it or to antagonize a veteran poster like you, which I think I did when I said “I understand that most basketball fans like basketball precisely because they think its about much more than numbers.” Watching games and enjoying watching the human drama unfold is what its all about in the final analysis.

    You asked what I think. I think the best players on the Knicks are Lee, Q, Francis, Balkman, and Marbury. I think Curry is our best option at center, but that he isn’t very good. I think Frye may still improve but early returns are troubling. His sophomore slump has been downright amazing.

    Confucius- I think we have a very legitimate shot of making the playoffs if we can keep Q healthy, get Lee up and running, and give Balkman more time and Curry more help with passing out of the post and feeding cutters. And if we make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, anything can happen.

  112. cwod

    I think, in hindsight, Moneyball showed the shortcomings of sabermetrics. The A’s best player from that draft is probably Nick Swisher, who traditional tools-oriented scouts loved. The rest of the people they were so high on haven’t quite panned out. In fact, I think someone did a study, noting how many A’s players from that draft made it to the big leagues compared to players from other teams. It came out to be a pretty neglible difference. I think other teams actually fared better in terms of first rounders’ reaching the big leagues.

    Oh, and go Knicks!

  113. Dan Panorama

    I was trying to find the article, but Danny Ainge a few years ago used some newfangled sabermetric equation his team had devised and had never been used before to justify throwing all that money at Brian Scalabrine. I really wish I could find the article I remember reading it and thinking – “wow, this guy is either full of it or a genius who is going to revolutionize the GM position.” They basically positioned themselved as the most advanced GM office in NBA history. We now know he was full of it – complicated stats just didn’t tell the obvious, which was that Scalabrine was a meh role player with a low ceiling.

  114. Dan Panorama

    Ah pardon me, I was wrong about Ainge (I mean, yes he’s full of it but not for the same reasons).

    Ainge signed Scalabrine to the big contract based on a consultant’s revolutionary “brain typing” formula, which isn’t the same as some new type of stats. From the article (just because it’s weird):

    “SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Jon Niednagel knows how it sounds to group Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Doc Rivers, and Gary Payton with serial killers. He changes topics when asked about criminal profiles he keeps. As someone who has made an unexpected career out of predicting behavior patterns, the Celtics consultant nicknamed “The Brain Doctor” anticipates the rolling eyes of skeptics who view brain typing as a bastard science.

    But Niednagel cannot deny the evidence he has collected that indicates some murderers and some NBA Hall of Famers share the intense ISTP brain type – one of 16 four-letter designations the Brain Doctor borrowed from personality testing. He also recognizes the odd coupling that places LeBron James with Britney Spears (ESFP), Paul Pierce with Grady Little (ISFP), and Antoine Walker with Winston Churchill (ENTP) raises more questions about what he does.

    Working closely with Celtics executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge, Niednagel offers advice on draft prospects, NBA personnel, and player development, a role that falls somewhere between scout and sports psychologist.

    “I cannot prove to you at this moment that what I’m saying is true, though I can give you tons of empirical evidence and scientific evidence that looks like it’s truthful,” said Niednagel. “Brain typing is so much bigger than me. Brain typing will be a multibillion-dollar industry in the years ahead. It will be as big as anything. It transcends race, color, creed, whatever it is.” “

  115. Brian Cronin

    The Moneyball draft yielded Swisher, Joe Blanton, Mark Teahan and four scrubs.

    That is an impressive draft.

  116. cwod

    Swisher is good, but sabermetrics had nothing to do with his being picked. Everyone, traditional scouts included, loved him.

    From
    http://baseballevolution.com/guest/richard/rvzbeane1.html

    “There were 41 first round draft choices in 2002. Of those 41 only one, John Mayberry, drafted 28th overall out of high school by Seattle, did not sign and instead elected to go to college (he was drafted again by Texas in 2005, 19th overall, and is now with the Indians organization). He can be counted, in terms of the 2002, draft as a failed pick since the Mariners got nothing for that pick even if he does eventually reach the big leagues.

    So out of those 41, there are 19 (or 46%) who have thus far made it to the Majors (by comparison, of the A?s 7 first round picks, 3 have reached the Majors ? 43%).”

    This article is kind of old, so the pct. for other teams is actually higher now, with Hamels’ and Loewen’s reaching the show.

    Also, if you look at that chart on that page, Oakland only had the 11th best draft that year in terms of getting its players to the big leagues. If Moneyball was such a paradigm shift, why wasn’t it more successful compared to teams that used more traditional scouting methods, and why is Oakland, in 2006, drafting high school players, whose stats are basically useless, something Beane was very against in the book? The Moneyball draft strategy utlimately yields lots of low-ceiling, older prospects.

    I’m just trying to point out how limited using numbers alone is, especially in a game like basketball with so many moving parts and variables. I think there’s something to be said for observation. Isiah’s draft record is a testament to that.

  117. Kevin

    Cwod,

    While we can update the numbers and argue details as they relate to the moneyball draft it misses the point.

    Billy Beane is more of an arbitrager, or contrarian. OBP and college guys were undervalued – hence the focus. The league started drafting college guys and signing OBP machines. Billy went to HS guys and defensive players. Moneyball is about relative value not fixed rules.

    When the free agent market went nuts for average pitchers he traded Hudson and Mulder and is better off for it.

  118. Matt D

    Can someone explain to me why, under dberri’s system, a rebound counts the same as a point?

  119. Caleb

    Berri thinks his system is better because it’s not a “system.” Aside from minor adjustments, his regression analysis just tells you how closely various statistics correlate with wins. e.g. A team that averages three rebounds more than its opponents will win approximately the same number of games as a team scoring three more points (on average) than its opponents.

    When anyone criticizes Berri’s ratings, he just tells them they don’t know what they’re talking about and says “the numbers don’t lie.”

    The biggest problem is the assumption that you can treat individual statistics in exactly the same way as team statistics – the assumption that a basketball team is nothing but the sum of five individual parts.

    This may be pretty true in baseball, but in hoops there are different “types” of players that need to complement each other. Dikembe Mutombo (at least a few years ago) was a very good player (and highly ranked by Berri), but can you imagine a team with five Dikembes on the floor?

    I think Berri makes some position adjustments to adjust for this, but to my mind it’s not enough.

  120. cwod

    Don’t get me wrong. Beane is probably one of my favorite GMs, in any sport, simply for what he has accomplished with his budget. You’re right that he has moved on to defense as his undervalued commodity of choice. But, in this thread, we’re not talking about market inefficiencies, and I think to say that Moneyball represented a “paradigm shift” is inaccurate and suggests that new statistical tools were drastically changing the game of baseball (and thus could eventually change basketball in the same way), but, while they’ve definitely had some effect, just as many teams are scooping up mediocre players, especially pitchers. In FA, year after year, GMs are seemingly ignorant of things like K/9, BB/9, HR/9. Meanwhile, a stats guy like Paul DePodesta led LA to one of their worst seasons ever and totally overlooked team chemistry issues, which probably played a part in his firing. I think this — the importance of chemistry — is a good example not to get too wrapped up in metrics of any kind.

    That’s not to say I dislike stats. I’m way more of a stathead than any of my friends, and like Owen, I think the Knicks’ best five are probably Lee, Francis, Marbury, Balkman, and Q-Rich (and not in that order).

    I found this quote by Larry Dierker:
    “Suddenly my chess pieces had hearts. And frequently, I felt the statistical advantage I might gain in juggling lineups and using pinch hitters was less important than showing confidence in my players by trying to trust them rather than sending them the silent message that I really did not.”

  121. DMull

    So with Dallas playing Jersey tonight and Orlando off – pretty good shot we’ll be all tied up for 8th place with a win. Seattle has won two straight (over the Clippers and Charlotte)…but this is one of those games we have to win, at home against an average team.

    Anyone have any thoughts on what we have to do? I think I read Lee is supposed to be back?

  122. jon abbey

    “Anyone have any thoughts on what we have to do? I think I read Lee is supposed to be back?”

    Lee is probable, last I heard, Q will be back.

    it’s a shame to not have either of our Seattle-born guards against the Sonics, they both love playing against them. Curry dominated the game they played earlier this year, hopefully he’s reenergized and ready to do that again tonight.

  123. Matt D

    I hope Thomas has told Curry that if he scores twenty points but has 6 turnovers, then he’s of no use whatsoever.

    Also: Play Balkman and keep Jeffries parked firmly on the bench.

  124. Owen

    Matt D – read this post and the comments after http://dberri.wordpress.com/2006/11/09/do-we-overvalue-rebounds/

    Dan Panorama – Good Free Darko post. Thoughtful, thorough critique of TWOW. It doesn’t really shake my zealots faith. I posted a request for a response though on the WOW website.

    I thought this comment on that thread was good.

    “You could do the same statistical analysis, but title it why doesn’t a player as good as Allen Iverson win as much as he should?, and the people’s take on it would be totally different.”

    Its a hard subject to discuss, and I think the WOW was rated the most controversial blog in sports for good reasons.

    I do think any Knicks/Rangers fan should be highly sympathetic to a book that says GM’s are idiots, which in the final analysis is what the Wages of Wins is saying. There is no correlation between payroll and wins. Both New York teams have the highest payrolls in their respective sports and have barely made the playoffs this decade.

    I grew up idolizing Charles Oakley. Its hardly surprising then that I love David Lee and that I have no trouble accepting the fact that Power Forwards are more productive than shooting guards.

    I am a firm believer that the Allan Houston signing was the most terrible blunder in team history, and I believed that long before I read in the WOW that

    “Perhaps no player illustrates the focus on scoring more than Allan Houston. In his career Houston was below average with respect to every statistical category except points scored and shooting efficiency. Except for these two stats, he did nothing else well. Yet he received more than $100 million in his career to play NBA basketball.”

    Eddy Curry, a latter day Allan Houston?

    Anyway, its going to be an extremely interesting contest tonight. Can’t wait to see Lee back in action.

  125. DMull

    I’d like to read his response to that FreeDarko post.

    Seems a strange way to attack – through player psychology. I wonder if just the fact that taking away points for shot attempts in itself is flawed enough – someone has to shoot every possession or it turns into a turnover, a shot is better than a turnover, therefore isn’t a shot attempt a good thing (obviously better shot attempts > bas shot attempts, but even taking a half court shot is > turning it over)?

  126. jon abbey

    “I do think any Knicks/Rangers fan should be highly sympathetic to a book that says GM?s are idiots, which in the final analysis is what the Wages of Wins is saying. ”

    most people are idiots and less than competent at their jobs, big deal. making decisions in the real world is a lot different from crunching numbers.

    “I am a firm believer that the Allan Houston signing was the most terrible blunder in team history”

    dunno, the move that started our long slide was trading Ewing instead of just letting him play out his contract and leave. that saddled us with Glen Rice, who turned into Shandon Anderson and Howard Eisley, Anderson is still on the payroll through this season. at least Allan Houston helped get us to the Finals once, although admittedly before that long deal.

    speaking of Allan Houston, has there ever been discussion anywhere about the last game of the Eastern Conference finals in 1999 somehow being fixed? every close call went to the Knicks, anyone who looked at Houston the wrong way got a foul call against them, and Mark Jackson’s huge butt back-in in the post, which Indiana ran their offense through all series, was all of a sudden a foul. I watched it a second time a few weeks later to count up the dubious calls and they were something like 22-2 in the Knicks’ favor. anyway, I don’t ever remember hearing anyone else talk about this, just curious if you guys remember things that way too.

  127. jon abbey

    oh, and also, clearly James Dolan is the primary culprit in the decline and fall of MSG. I’m not sure things will ever really turn around as long as that smug bozo’s still in charge.

  128. Owen

    Yeah, its certainly Dolan’s fault ultimately.

    Dont really recall that game. Interesting though.

Comments are closed.