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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Denver Win, The Good Side of Rebuilding

Tuesday’s victory over Denver was one the bright moments for Knick fans this year. Against one of the league’s best teams, New York kept it close for most of the game. They broke open a third quarter lead only to relinquish it in the fourth. But down the final stretch the Knicks held on to the lead for the victory. They even had a few calls go their way, including a David Lee charge that would have been his sixth foul, but was surprisingly reversed. And their most promising young player, Danilo Gallinari, held his own against one of the league’s premiere forwards. Gallo scored 28 points on 19 shots, and was eager to defend against Carmelo Anthony.

But what made this win even more enjoyable was that it was done on the backs of the Knicks fledglings. In the Denver game, more than half of the total minutes (129 of 240) went to players under the age of 25. The cliche is that fans don’t want to see their team rebuild, or even more strongly that you can’t rebuild in New York. However if rebuilding is what we’ve seen over the last few games, then what’s not to like?

Over the last 9 games, the Knick youngsters of Toney Douglas, Danilo Gallinari, Bill Walker, and J.R. Giddens has been given more playing time by D’Antoni. Douglas has hit 22 minutes in all those games, and started in the last 6. Gallo’s role has expanded and he’s played in 40+ minutes in 5 of those 9 games. Walker started in 4 games, while his ex-Boston teammate J.R. Giddens has played in all 4 games since coming back from injury. Three big questions from the preseason was: A. Could Gallo survive playing a big dosage of minutes? B. Could Toney Douglas become an NBA caliber rotation player? C. Could the Knicks find inexpensive talent for next year? From the results of the last 3 weeks, the answer seems to be yes on all accounts.

The Knicks have been winning during this rebuilding phase, as New York in 5-4 in this stretch. Having their young and inexperienced players do well with extended playing time gives Knick fans hope that these guys can form a solid supporting cast around whoever the team grabs in free agency this year. Winning is just the icing on the cake.

51 comments on “Denver Win, The Good Side of Rebuilding

  1. Frank

    This whole season has gotten me thinking about how bad the lottery system is for the NBA and its fans. As we have won a few more games, I always find myself almost thankful that we don’t have a draft pick that would be adversely affected by the win, and that I can just watch the game and hope we play well and pull it out. Last year, I kept cringing every time we squeaked out a win — that’s just wrong but I couldn’t help it. And we all know that one win basically kept us from getting Curry, who is just lighting it up. Damn.

    Simmons or one of those commentators always talks about a “play-in” tournament at the end of the year for the bad teams in the league to get a playoff spot, thereby decreasing the chances that teams will tank at the end. I’m not a big fan of that because it definitely would decrease the importance of the regular season overall. But I think I would like a system where the bottom 8-10 teams each have their draft pick determined randomly — so that even if you have the worst record, you have an equal chance of getting the 1st pick or 8th pick. I think that would pretty much abolish tanking. Sure, the worst team might get screwed, but that’s what you get for sucking. The best of the loser bunch might end up with the #1 pick, but I think that is a reaosnable price to pay to eliminate tanking, and to prevent fans from HOPING their team loses.

    Not a new topic by any means, but any thoughts?

  2. Count Zero

    I like rebuilding teams loaded with kids, because they don’t know they’re supposed to just pad their stats and lose.

    Gallo showed me some real cojones the other night. He never rolled over to Melo — he just kept going back at him. If that was a glimpse into his future, I am pretty pleased with it.

  3. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Frank – I don’t like the straight random system, because it gives an unfair advantage to teams on the cusp. So if you’re the 19th worst team in the league you will tank to get in that top 10.

    I still like my idea best. Whatever your record is at the All Star Break or 41st game is your position at the draft for non-playoff teams. Add in a mini weighted lottery to ensure that teams don’t tank in January. Either way there is zero incentive to throw games in March/April.

    “I like rebuilding teams loaded with kids, because they don’t know they’re supposed to just pad their stats and lose.”

    Hysterical – but also a sad commentary on how veterans get paid in the league which is antithetical to winning. Well said.

  4. Garson

    I was thinking about what the knicks should do when they have their meeting with Lebron this July. Their presentation needs to be kick ass and blow him away in every aspect. One of the strong selling points they have is the Garden atmosphere which we all saw vs Denver this past week.

    How amazing would it be if the following occured. During the meeting Walsh giving the MSG tour , walks lebron through the players tunnel to center court. The lights are completly shut off. All of a sudden , the lights turn on to reveal a packed Garden filled to capacity who go out in all out frenzy. Standing Ovation for a good 5 min followed by the MSG patented “Defense” chant ( We dont know of the MVP chant for numerous reasons )

    This would be the ultimate experiance for Lebron and show him what hes missing.

  5. ess-dog

    Here’s a nice little dig on Thorpe’s chat today that backs up caleb:

    JOhn (Santa Barbara)

    In case folk missed it – the jrue holiday led sixers beat the ‘red hot’ brandon jennings led bucks – in milwaukee – minus two key players – last night…Holiday was a STEAL

    David Thorpe (12:06 PM)

    You have to wonder if the Knicks and Raps are not kicking themselves. Both liked Jrue a lot. He’s going to be a starter for a dozen+ years.

  6. ess-dog

    also, this leads me to believe that people haven’t watched DWTDD play:

    “Joe (NYC)

    Are the Knicks really sold on Toney Douglas as their point guard of the future? He looks solid, but so did Chris Duhon in his first season under D’Antoni. I feel like it couldn’t hurt to get in the Darren Collison sweepstakes this summer…

    David Thorpe (12:34 PM)

    Not at all. I’d be shocked if they didn’t shot for one this summer.”

    Really? SHOCKED if they didn’t go after a point guard? And how do we plan to get Collison? Give them Giddens? Or one of our coveted 2nd rounders?

  7. Caleb

    Hard to see how we could make a play for Collison…

    For 2010 I think we’re stuck with the FA route, unless there’s a move like trading Gallinari (or more likely Chandler) for a real center. Even that will never happen until after the FA period settles down, and Lee is still here.

  8. ess-dog

    I know Collison has played about 1000 more minutes than Douglas and has double the assists per 36, but Douglas’ offensive numbers thus far (not a huge sample size but significant) are better.
    TS, eFG and 3pt%, all better. Douglas is even better in the turnover per 36 dept. Everything else except assists is pretty even.
    I think TD will improve on the playmaking. He’ll never have Nash-like abilities, but he will be a solid passer/distributor I think.

  9. david

    I think we can could get Collison with our best trading piece in the off-season — Eddy Curry. Not sure I’d be willing to sink our 2011 cap space this way, but I bet the Hornets would be willing to trade Okafor and Collison for Curry and something else (a future pick, Chandler, Douglas whatever). They clear all that cap space and get a useful piece.

    If we sign two max, or one max (say Lebron) plus Lee and another player, then the trade might be worth it if we don’t have to throw in anyone. Okafor is extremely overpaid but would be a useful center or big off the bench given his ability to protect the rim. A Collison-Joe Johnson — Lebron — Gallo — Okafor (with Chandler and Douglas coming off the bench) or a Collison-Douglas-Gallo-Lee-New Guy (with Okafor and Chandler off the bench) lineup sounds pretty good.

    Although just about any line-up with LeBron can be made to sound good.

  10. Ben R

    david – If we could trade Curry for Collison and Okafor it would be a great move. I think Okafor despite being overpaid is just what we need and to also get Collison would be huge. I think that would be a great way to spend our 2011 cap room.

    I think if we do that trade and resign Lee it gives us a great base to add our free agent catch to.

    Okafor
    Lee
    Gallo
    Chandler
    Walker
    Douglas
    Collison

    That is a great base to add LeBron, Wade, Bosh, etc. Hell even Joe Johnson would look good in that lineup.

  11. Brian Cronin

    I’m sorry, I forget who it is that keeps harping on this point, so sorry to that person for not crediting them (is it Ted?), but I think it’s an important point to harp on – as much obvious sense as it makes to all of us for David Lee to play the 4 alongside a defensive 5 (Camby, Haywood, Okafor in that situation) – and, again, I totally agree, it does make obvious sense to try to pair Lee with a defensive 5, we really don’t know if D’Antoni is even slightly interested in such a roster alignment.

    That uncertainty perhaps scares me the most about this offseason (since losing out on Lebron is so likely, I can’t really say that missing out on him “scares” me) – can I really trust D’Antoni (and through him, Walsh) to make the best possible roster decisions?

    I sure hope so.

  12. Caleb

    That’s actually not a crazy trade.

    The biggest wrench is that Chris Paul would throw a fit and demand to be traded, but he probably has one foot out the door anyway, so once that dam breaks and Paul is on the market, it won’t matter.

    I know the Knicks are looking for bargains, but I’m not sure I’d consider Okafor dramatically overpaid – he’d probably get the same contract if he was a free agent this summer….

  13. Brian Cronin

    That’s actually not a crazy trade.

    Agreed.

    Although, if the Hornets are scared about Paul freaking out, the Knicks could make it more palatable for them by taking Posey and Mo Pete instead of Okafor. Much worse for the Knicks, but a lot better for the Hornets’ roster construction (and the Knicks would still do it because it would net them Collison).

  14. Caleb

    That’s still gonna inspire a freakout, giving away two good rotation players for nothing but salary relief. They could sell it as, forget 2010-2011, we’ll spend the money better in the summer, but if I’m CP3 I’m not buying it…

  15. david

    CP3 would at least have the ability to sign a friend in 2011 — they’d be under the cap under either scenario.

    Regardless of whether that move will happen, I think Curry’s contract is the most under-discussed part of our 2010 strategy. While it is conceivable that, after signing a big FA or two, we would sit on Curry’s contract until 2011 or til the trade deadline, my guess is that we would try to unload it for a player or two to a team that loses out in the Lebron sweepstakes and wants to go after a FA (Carmelo?) in 2011. (Other possibilities — Devin Harris if the Nets get John Wall, Jose Calderon, Chris Kaman if he gets beat out by d’andre jordan and the clips strike out in FA). .

  16. ess-dog

    Are the Hornets really that desperate for cap space? Why don’t we just trade for CP3 then? Gallo, TD and Curry for CP3? Paul, Lebron and Lee should be enough. Ted and Caleb could round out that starting five and we’d still get to the finals.

    So I take it this means you are all in favor of Collison over TD?

  17. JoMo

    Call it speculative tripe, but:

    http://www.realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/65565/20100325/lebron_keeping_an_eye_on_gallinari/

    I’m anxious to see what TD works on this offseason and brings to the table as a (presumed) starter next year. I too would take collison over him in a heartbeat, but if douglas continues to play this well for the last 12 games, then obviously it broadens the scope of how we’ll be able to sacrifice Eddy Curry. Unfortunately not into a volcano, although what a bountiful harvest he’d be for whatever gods would accept him.

  18. Caleb

    I like Collison better than TD, but not by much… not so much that I’m willing to give New Orleans what they’re gonna want… they will have some real offers.

  19. d-mar

    It’ll be interesting to see how Douglas plays against Nash tom’w night and particularly how he deals with the pick and roll, which they run basically every time down the court (wonder who taught ‘em that?)

    I really liked in the Denver game when Toney hit that step back jumper over Nene. It showed a lot of poise and confidence at a critical time in the game.

  20. David Crockett

    @ 17 “Ted and Caleb could round out that starting five and we’d still get to the finals.”

    C’mon man… Ted is a straight gunner. No conscience. And Caleb? Would any intern be safe? :P

  21. Thomas B.

    I wonder what playing with a top PG would do the LBJ’s game?

    Even if D’Antoni has no interest in playing a defensive 5 he needs to open up to using one. Has the Knicks’ paint protection this year taught him nothing?I really like the Collison, Okafor for Curry deal.
    Okafor
    Lee
    Gallinari
    Johnson
    Collison
    with Chandler, Douglas, Walker as reserves is a big upgrade over current roster.

  22. kaine

    If only lbj grew up watching MAgic instead of Jordan…

    Camby as C
    Lee as PF
    Gallo as SF
    Chandler as SG
    LBJ as PG

    or even better

    Camby as C
    Gallo as PF
    Chandler as SF
    Johnson as SG
    LBJ as PG

    each starter can rebound well, agility, shooting , great passing…
    (drooling…)

  23. Caleb

    with Chandler, Douglas, Walker as reserves is a big upgrade over current roster.”

    Any time you trade nothing for two starters it’s a big upgrade!

    I doubt New Orleans would bite but this KIND of deal is one where the Knicks can throw their weight around – since they can afford to take on salaries… only helps if done wisely, of course…

  24. SeeWhyDee77

    Hey guys…I’m late 2 tha party as usual..been buildin this evil empire-my deathstar is about 25% complete lol. Anyways..I do have a few thoughts on what i’ve been seein these past few weeks:
    First, the obvious: Curry and Bender are done as NBA players. It’s sad becuz every player has a ginormous ego which means Big Eddy doesn’t realize he’s done and is less likely to accept a buyout that would help the team. If by small miracle there is a chance of him rehabilitating his career, he’s got 2 realize he can’t do it in NY with Mike D. Yes he gives us a big body, but now I am finally convinced that he is truly a lost cause. I had hope for him lol. Secondly, I won’t go as far as 2 say TD is a stud, but I am VERY impressed by this kid. I knew he would play decent D, but offensively…wow. Even if he becomes no more than 2nd string, I think Walsh hit on this pick..err, trade. If we can find a way to maximize Sergio, those 2 could be a nice 1-2 punch at the point. Third, our wings. TMac’s on his way which would be great only if he would sign for really cheap next season. Chandler was playing very well b4 the groin. Walker has been a pleasant surprise, and Giddens looks like he may be a keeper. Last but not least, The Rooster. Wow..tha cajones on this guy! Pure bliss watchin that 3rd quarter of the Denver game. I keep tellin people watch out for Gallo, if he gets any kind of light..the kid’s gonna be NICE. He’s truly a rarity..a 2 way european player. And he’s a lil physical. He will never be a dominant defender, but he’ll never be a slouch on that end either.
    IMO, we need to aim for LBJ or Wade and S&T Lee for a center. Actually Joe Johnson wouldn’t be a bad start along with S&T’ing Lee for a center (if we could find one that fits) and goin after ‘Melo in ’11. LBJ would be great, no doubt..but i’m wreckin my brain tryina fit pieces around him that won’t stunt Rooster’s growth. If a plan similar to mine would work..which centers do we go after is the biggest question. Mike D doesn’t play guys who can’t shoot too often, so he would problee want a center who fits his style when we actually need a Dalembert type. But getting him may screw our cap situation up. But overall, i’m excited about the offseason no matter who we sign becuz of the young guy’s performances these past few weeks. For the record, I on;y look at other options besides LBJ becuz I don’t want him to come 2 the Knicks anf hafta do everything like he does in Cleveland. If we grab him, we hafta get a Bosh type..and where does that leave Rooster? The bench? See what i’m sayin? It’s a lil harder tryin 2 fit LBJ in without hurting Rooster than it is a Wade or Joe Johnson, I think. And i’m not sayin that Rooster’s an all time great or even close. I’m jus sayin he has earned his shot to be a core piece to this championship team Walsh is tryin 2 build.

  25. Z

    “Are the Hornets really that desperate for cap space? Why don’t we just trade for CP3 then? Gallo, TD and Curry for CP3?”

    Yeah– the Hornets would have to a) be desperate for cap space and b) have the rest of the league be asleep at the wheel to trade Okafor and Collison for Curry.

    But… if the Hornets are desperate for cap space, and I mean DESPERATE (like the franchise crippling debt of 13 months ago that made them agree to trade Tyson Chandler for Chris Wilcox), then there really would be a better chance at trading for Paul than Collison. Collison is on his rookie contract for three more years while Paul is due $60 million. And the Knicks can offer relief better than Curry’s expiring: a $15 million trade exception. Throw in Curry for Okafor and NO saves over $100 million in all. Sweeten it with Gallo and Wilson Chandler and why not? (Or at least why set the dream bar at Okafor and Collison?)

  26. ess-dog

    man, Gallo’s looking like a star these days. Goes from guarding Nash to Lopez – and well. Douglas looks green. I’ve gotta say, Tmac’s a great passer. Lopez should eat this lineup alive though.

  27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    With all the terrible (guaranteed) contracts in this league, you can’t see any team giving him the MLE? I bet teams will line up to give him more than he’s worth.

  28. d-mar

    Just looked at the box score of last night’s Suns debacle, and Gallo had 3 steals and 2 blocks. He’s showing lately that not only does he have talent, but he’s working his butt off on the defensive end also. I’m really starting to believe he could be something special, and break the mold of the typical European “all O,no D” type player. Go Gallo!

  29. ess-dog

    Yeah gallo looked good but douglas looked pretty raw. He seemed to be having trouble with simple passes. His D was ok but he needs a lot of work on his pg skills.

  30. StevenU

    It’s pretty amusing, albeit sad, to recall that a few short weeks ago many (delusional) Knick fans including posters here were talking about the playoffs. Now we are reduced to going on and on speculating about truly trivial elements of the game and of the team (Is Bill Walker worth 850K, is Sergio worth 2.8, what exactly can we project out of Douglas, does TMac have anything left, Curry’s future, ETC.
    Truth be told none of those minor issues will play large roles in shaping the future of the franchise. Not to duck them as issues, only to highlight how minor they are: To me Walker is clearly worth 850, Sergio surprisingly has not seemed to get a real opportunity from D’antoni but has very good court sense and at age 23 is also clearly worth his QO of 2.8, especially given the gaping whole at the position. Douglas is a decent defensive minded backup and nothing more-certainly NOT a true PG.
    I cringe when I think of thee Jazz getting our pick, I cringe when I see Frye (the PERFECT D’amphony C), playing smoothly and efficiently in Phoenix, and I am still smarting over Ariza, Robinson and Marbury, too (I know-everyone hates him and says he is a cancer; I say he is a sad messed up dude with all star PG skills that the Knick “braintrust” pushed over the edge into full blown insanity)
    Rather than assume the Knicks are getting LeBron I assume they will not. What can they do to build their new team they’ve tanked two full seasons for the opportunity to create?
    I say DLee, despite his truly pathetic defense is still worth 2/3rds of either Bosh or Amare, and with a lower cap around the corner would prefer to retain him. As long as Damphony is the coach there is no point in even worrying about the center position. Like Don Nelson, he wouldn’t know what do do with one if he had one and there are so few out there it’s basically moot. Wade is the clear 2 behind LeBron, and if this team with this management and coaching is ever going to win at all, they will need team speed and defense at skill positions-Dwade is obviously a great fit despite not being an outstanding outside shooter.
    The King would be awesome but if we can not get him Dwade, Lee, either Camby as a FA, or Frye who dropped to Robin Lopez’ backup would be a nice fit at C, if TMac seems moderately healthy and will stay for the midlevel exception he might not be too bad…Gallo, Chandler, Douglas, Walker, Sergio, Giddens to round out the roster-not an amazing team but not a terrible one either. Notably, even if you were to sub LeBropn for Wade they still would not be contenders-by a long stretch. And that is my most optimisitc projection.
    I think completely blowing the year of the PG in this past draft looms very large in the bleak outlook.
    Bottom line? Until Dolan and D’antoni are gone this team isn’t winning anything.
    I mean…just watch em go out and overpay Boozer and Joe Johnson or something. Did ya see how the Pistons did this year with two new fansy FAs? (Not that I say JJ is as bad as Ben G but still…and Boozer IMO is not an upgrade on DLee at all-a wash that will cost more)
    They will find a way to blow it. Again. Just like they have over and over already. I hate being a Knick fan.

  31. tastycakes

    Way to stay optimistic, StevenU.

    I agree with you on one thing — my worst fear is that the Knicks pay the wrong guys. If we don’t get LBJ, this thing is gonna take some time to turn around, regardless of the front office personnel. But at least there is a potential for a competitive / contending team within the next five years, whereas Isiah and Layden had us going perpetually in the opposite direction. Of course Walsh can still blow it, but now is exactly the time where a positive outlook makes sense. We have the flexibility to make much-needed changes, and restructure the roster in a cohesive fashion.

    What’s scary is that the league is filled with overpaid guys who can’t take you to the promised land. It’s far easier to build a pretender than a contender, obviously. You really need a top 10 player in the league to even dream of winning a ring, and those guys just don’t come around very often.

    Calling MDA “Damphony” isn’t really fair, in my book. He could have won a championship with the Suns if not for the atrocious coming-off-the-bench suspensions that one year. He may not coach in your preferred style, but he has won at this level.

    Also, Marbury was a loser his entire career. Talented, sure. But he never won anything and made his teams worse wherever he went.

  32. massive

    well Donnie Walsh gives me the impression that he’s not going to overpay guys. So if we’re lucky, Bosh doesn’t come (the guy thinks he’s worth a max contract when its more like 12-13) and Joe Johnson takes 9-10 mil. I’m really hoping we re-sign Lee and find a center. If anything the Jazz draft Cole Aldrich or Hassan Whiteside with our pick and start shopping Okur (a perfect MDA center) and we get him out of luck. But he’s an expiring, so chances are we have nothing to offer them but a sign-and-trade with Lee if Boozer bolts to Chicago. But then that means we bring in Amar’e or Bosh in. A line-up adding Okur, Stoudemire/Bosh, and Johnson seems more realistic than anything else, at least now.

  33. massive

    The Jazz were looking at Lee last season right? That’s probably our best asset this offseason, a David Lee sign and trade.

  34. Jeff

    That post was just a bunch of negative gibberish, StevenU. Also, as soon as you use “Damphony”, your entire argument is rendered invalid.

  35. BigBlueAL

    Bosh thinks he is worth the max because quite frankly he probably is worth the max. Joe Johnson isnt but he certainly is going to get more than 9-10 mill per year.

    I think StevenU is really Marc Berman.

  36. Owen

    Yeah, it’s really not rocket science. It’s moneyball. You win by finding a bunch of guys who produce surplus wins above what they are being paid.

    Bosh probably is worth about the max. He probably will give you 17 million dollars worth of wins and be fairly paid. Of course, whoever employs Lebron will get about 35 million dollars worth of wins for about half that.

    Last year there were a bunch of baffling decisions made. Detroit was at the top of the list with the max contract they gave to Charlie V and Gordon. The Raps resigning Bargnani to a 10 million contract was mindblowingly dumb. As a Knicks fan that is what we have to be scared of. Because giving J Johnson max money is about like giving Gordon 10 mil.

    Boozer I don’t mind. Say what you will about his defense, his injures, etc, but Utah has won a ton of games since he got there and despite Deron Williams having a down season the Jazz currently are the third best team in the league by efficiency differential. I would much rather have him be the consolation prize than Joe Johson or maybe even Bosh.

  37. Ben R

    Between Boozer and Lee I would rather have Lee. Their production this year is almost identical, plus Lee is younger and has been healthy. Boozer is too fragile and is no better of a defender. Also I think Lee would be cheaper.

    Wade and LeBron by far are the best players to sign but after that I am not sure if anyone will be a better value than Lee. Bosh is better but his contract will be much larger and both Amare and Boozer are too fragile to really be upgrades on Lee. As for Johnson and Gay they are both fine players but will be overpaid this offseason and I really hope we are not the ones overpaying them.

    I think we should chase the big two and probably Bosh as well, though I am unsure if he is a huge upgrade on Lee, but after that I would vote to resign Lee and make smaller, smarter moves. No one else is worth the huge paydays that await them.

  38. massive

    well i feel like Chris Bosh isn’t a max guy because he doesn’t bring a defensive intensity on the other end of the floor. But if we do land Bosh, does a sign-and trade with Lee for Okur seem believeable (If Utah drafts a center, that is)?

  39. BigBlueAL

    Okur is 500X less intense on D than Bosh. Gordon and Villanueva didnt get anything near max contracts, i believe Charlie V got 5 yr 35 mil and Gordon got 5 yr and 55 or 60 mil cant remember exactly how much.

  40. massive

    Okur is not coming to town for defense obviously, he’ coming to be a center who can stand out on the 3 pt arc and guard opposing centers so who ever is playing PF next season doesn’t have to inherit David Lee’s problems. We all know D’Antoni doesn’t really use defensive 5s, but no C at all is just a really bad predicament. But I guess Marcus Camby would be a cheaper option there.

  41. Ted Nelson

    What’s the obsession with Collison? He’s having a good rookie year, but nothing special. Is there going to be a “Darren Collison sweepstakes” this summer??? I doubt it. He will be cost controlled for a few more seasons and NO is always desperately looking for guards (hence the overrating of Pargo once he stepped up as a passable option). The rumors surrounding NO and cap space are always that they’re looking to get under the luxury tax, not have a $20 mill payroll. They gave away Chander for nothing but space, but in the offseason they backtracked and traded him for a longer, very slightly smaller per year contract.
    Regarding a Curry trade, 2011 cap space isn’t a huge help for NO since that’s when Peja expires as do Peterson and Songaila. West can opt out then. (Those 4 = $35 in salary next season, without West opting out it’s still $27. West will be coming off his age 30 season, though, and might be wise to get a long-term deal then.)
    Okafor is having a bad season, defensively even more so than offensively. He was seriously maybe twice as good last season, so I don’t know what it’s all about. Just a bad year or something more substantial. Defensively he was a 4 last season and a 5 this season, not a good sign for the Knicks that he’s struggled as a 5.

    I doubt the Raptors are really kicking themselves for passing on Jrue Holiday.
    1. DeRozan has outplayed him: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=holidjr01&y1=2010&p2=derozde01&y2=2010
    2. They have Calderon and Jack at PG. Jrue would have about 200 minutes of garbage time all season on that team as a PG (a role Marcus Banks presently fills), though they’d probably play him at the 2 for 15-20 mpg if they had him and no DeRozan.
    Knicks? Maybe, but they may have traded him for cap room just like Hill. Anyway, he’s got a long way to go still. At the moment (this season and next)–as ess-dog points out– I prefer Douglas, though it’s fair to say Holiday has a higher ceiling down the road. Hill, by the way, has also outplayed Holiday this season; although, he’s 3 years older and has played only 1/3 the minutes: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=1&p1=holidjr01&y1=2010&p2=hilljo01&y2=2010
    It fascinates me that his parents decided to name one kid Justin and one kid Jrue… Justin is a totally common name and I’ve never heard the name Jrue one other time in my life.

    Z re: 26,

    I believe the NBA has a minimum payroll numbers teams must surpass, instituted to make sure Donald Sterling actually fielded a team. Meaning NO has to pay someone. When they get to the point where they can’t pay anyone, they’ll sell the team.

    BBA,

    Owen was referring to their collective salaries (Gordon + Villanueva) equaling one max contract. Saying that even Gordon + Villanueva combined do not produce as much for your basketball team as one max player. When you consider that few max players would consider signing in Detroit and how much better both played last season than this season, I don’t think those contracts are in the same league of stupidness as Bargnani’s though. I think Dumar’s biggest mistakes recently have been not trading Hamilton the second he signed Gordon and deciding Stuckey was the second coming of Billups before the guy had even played in summer league. Stuckey is pretty bad.

    Massive,

    Okur would be an interesting possibility I never considered. I don’t think it’s that likely between Utah having Millsap and maybe bringing back Boozer, and from the Knicks perspective Okur being 30 already. Utah has two

    re: 36– I like Walsh a lot, and he certainly won’t intentionally overpay:
    -He declined to pay both Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic, for example. Walsh maxed out Jermaine O’Neal, though. O’Neal was a very good player, but his offense in Indiana was about as bad as Bosh’s defense. Brad Miller’s contract ended up being a better value than O’Neal’s, even if O’Neal never gets injured that might be the case (neither was a great contract, though I don’t think Miller’s was that bad… his decline just coincided with a general decline of the Kings’ roster). Passing on Stojakovic was definitely the right thing to do.
    -He got good value when signing Artest (and rightly so given his mental condition), but overpaid Bender.
    -He didn’t pay Harrington, paying Stephen Jackson a similar amount instead. Good move. (He… or Larry Bird?… eventually sent what would be a #11 pick to get Harrington back, though.)
    -He overpaid Jalen Rose, but quickly unloaded him in a great trade.
    -He overpaid Austin Croshere.
    So I don’t think he’ll run out and give Rudy Gay a max contract and there is definitely reason to be optimistic, but I wouldn’t say that he definitely won’t overpay. He has a tendency to overpay “his guys” for sure. Since Joe Johnson and Amare have been “D’Antoni’s guys” they might become Walshtoni guys and therefore Walsh guys and therefore be overpaid by Walsh.

    Ben R,

    How much are you assuming Lee will get?

    Owen,

    I agree that Boozer is probably underrated at this point because of his character/injuries. I would say it’s because of his production more than Utah’s wins, though, as they won 48 games last season when he missed more than 1/2 the season and played relatively poorly when he was out there. Missing huge parts of 3 out of 8 NBA seasons can hardly be ignored, though. You have to question whether he can stay healthy if you’re going to max him out. He’s solidly better than Joe Johnson. Considering that Johnson is a SG and Boozer’s health is a question, I wouldn’t put him too far behind Boozer.

    StevenU,

    That’s a seriously pessimistic outlook.
    So you assume the Knicks cannot sign LeBron, but you assume they can sign Wade???

    d-mar,

    The All-O, No-D European player is a myth. Kirilenko, Biedrins? Those are the biggest guys to gain the reps to break the stereotype because of gaudy possession stats (blks and stls), but plenty of other Europeans have played solid defense on good/great defensive teams.

    Biedrins, by the way, is a legitimate trade target for the Knicks with Curry’s deal or extra cap space since he’s fallen out of favor with Don Nelson and has four more years at $9 mill a pop. He’s only 23 this season, and, Brian, I think he’s a center D’Antoni might have to play. Too good at what he does not to play him and mobile. Easier to say that about someone with no jump shot now that Lee’s shown a mid-range game (even easier to say if the Knicks sign Bosh, who is a good jump shooter). He’s improved his passing drastically the past 2 seasons, too. I don’t know if D’Antoni would like it, but I think he’d have to give him decent minutes and if he couldn’t adjust Walsh could fire him. I know this is crazy fantasy talk, but maybe Knicks could somehow get Wright or Randolph in a deal… robbing GS completely. More likely with Wright probably and especially if GS drafts Favors. If they draft Favors I think they almost have to trade Wright.

    Another guy who might make a good C for D’Antoni is Baylor’s Ekpe Udoh. A bit undersized for the 5, but projects to be a much better defender than Lee. Great shot blocker. Moves very well, passes very well, good rebounder, and a decent scorer with range out to college 3. Right now nbdraft.net has him at 24, but draftexpress.com has him 13. At 24 the Knicks could definitely trade up or buy a pick, if they have the cap space to spare.
    Pretty remarkable the steps forward both he and Wesley Johnson played this season after transferring. I guess Steph Curry’s little bro (Dell Curry #3) is a candidate to take the transfer star torch from them next season for Duke.

  42. StevenU

    I do not assume they can sign Wade, either, that is just my most optimistic scenario. And, in fact I am quite surprised that people seem to find my “projection” to be PESSimistic. How? What basis is there to assume anything better? The comments about Boozer surprise me- the guy has no D whatsoever and has barely remained a starter over a lunchpail undersized guy who plays a lot harder than him. And anyone who has an objection with the moniker Damphony , well, too bad, Just my opinion: the guy has a giant zero when it comes to credibility. I’ve heard all the arguments how he is supposed to spin everything to the media (spin=lying), how he is a players coach and everyone is dying to play for him (just cuz he was an ok ASSISTANT to Coach K doesn’t mean jack and if you think the players in the league have not noticed his incredibly poor communication with the players just watch what happens. These guys are not idiots. They see. They talk amongst each other and they know: He does not think NBA players deserve respect and communication. He is disingenuous to say the least and from the beginning of his Knick tenure he has demonstrated this repeatedly each and every time he has been questioned about his rotation by the media or by his players. YOu know two guys who would be decent centers for him? Frye and Darko. D’antoni is a liar, a fool and has never won jack in the postseason despite having the best PG of the last 15 years ion a loaded roster and yes, the suspensions loomed large against SA but you know what-the coaching staff is ultimately responsible for that just as Riley and his staff were held accountable way back when. D’antoni is no genius and he is not a winner-he is a lair, a back stabber, a megalomaniac and a jerk. And oph yeah, his teams have never been able to stop anyone either regardless of tempo. Bring in mark Jackson and see the tide turn…till then-they will remain hopeless and that is not pessimistic it is observant.
    p.s anyone who thinks DLee has been at a disadvantage at the 5 and would benefot from playing the 4 I guess has not seen how all the good 4s kill him and how he can not blow by them like the lead footed 5s. he has benefitted tremendously from playing the 5.

  43. Ted Nelson

    In that comment I think you turned from pessimistic to absolutely ridiculous.

    -I called your last comment pessimistic largely because you act as if after this offseason they can never make another move again, they are stuck with that roster. As if they have to be winning rings by next season or Walsh has done a terrible job.

    -I don’t think D’Antoni is the greatest thing since sliced bread and I would agree with criticizing him for being a system coach and questioning whether he can adapt. I do not agree with your criticism of everything he does: you’ve criticized him for not playing a guy (Frye) who was traded a full year before he became Knicks coach.
    Mark Jackson is as bad as any national announcer I’ve heard and has zero coaching experience, but I suppose it’s ok to assume he’d be an amazing coach and a guy who’s won 60+ games multiple times and is respected around the league is a horrible person and a horrible coach. I suppose Charles Barkley should be #2 on their list, followed by the Celtics terrible announcers.

    -http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/b/boozeca01.html

    -p.s. David Lee played the 4 his first three seasons in the NBA. You don’t have to speculate about how he would do there. He more then held his own overall and was better defensively than he has been at the 5. (He’s also been a lot better defensively this season than last according to his defensive +/-.)

  44. Owen

    What I meant, just to clarify for posterity’s sake :-) is that Detroit spent the equivalent of a max contract just about on the combination of Charlie V and Ben Gordon. And Toronto spent at least a max contract on extensions for Hedo and Andrea. If you look at their raw numbers, since they all are mediocre at best on defense, it’s easy to see that that was money very poorly spent.

    Bizarre right, Dwight Howard actually was the guy winning all those games in Orlando, not Hedo, Who would have thunk…

    I wonder if Brian Colangelo loses sleep at night thinking about the fact that the Bucks are getting more from Luc Mbah a Moute and Carlos Delfino then he is getting from Andrea Bargnani and Hedo?

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