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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Early Season Knick Evaluation

Ten games into the season is too early to draw any long term conclusions, but not short enough to ignore what has happened already. Undoubtedly any team evaluation must begin with the four factors. For those that are new to the site and unfamiliar with them, the four factors are a way to statistically break down how a team performs in certain aspects of the game. These areas, namely shooting, turnovers, rebounding, and free throws, strongly correlate with winning. You can learn more about them at Basketball-Reference, or from the source himself, Dean Oliver.

Despite D’Antoni’s reputation as an offensive-minded coach, it’s the Knicks defense that is leading the team. New York is 11th in defensive efficiency, a huge improvement over last year when they tied for 27th. Breaking that down into their four factors, the Knicks aren’t doing well in getting opponents to miss shots (50.5 eFG, 21st). However they are average or better in forcing turnovers (16.9 to rate, 9th), grabbing rebounds (26.6% reb%, 13th) and giving away free points (23.7 ft/fg, 15th).

I won’t attempt to figure out who individually is responsible for the team’s poor showing with regards to opponent shooting percentage, although this is a considerable improvement over last year’s 29th ranking. Among the public, the big story this year is how New York has become a good shot blocking team. Unfortunately turning back shots hasn’t helped them in the most important aspect of defense, lowering their opponent’s ability to score from the floor.

On the other hand turnovers, fueled by the Knick point guards, is helping them keep opponents at bay. Kleptomaniac Toney Douglas is leading the team with a sizzling 2.8 stl/36, and Raymond Felton is behind him with 1.5 stl/36. When I interviewed Douglas this summer, he insisted that he was “going to be a way better defensive player this year, especially off the ball.” So far, he’s lived up to his claim.

Surprisingly, defensive rebounding is a team strength this year as well. Oddly enough it’s not from the overhauled front court. Amar’e Stoudemire (8.5 reb/36), Ronny Turiaf (5.2 reb/36), and Timofey Mozgov (6.5 reb/36), along with developing youngster Danilo Gallinari (5.4 reb/36) haven’t contributed much in this area. Instead the team has received strong glass work from the smaller spots. Chandler (7.6 reb/36), Fields (7.5 reb/36), and Douglas (5.1) have all been grabbing defensive boards at a substantial rate.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Knicks are feebly ranked 25th. Their only positive attribute is their free throw shooting, fueled by Amar’e Stoudemire (7.7 fta/36) and Danilo Gallinari (6.0 fta/36). Shooting has been a problem, and a good portion of that is tied into poor three point shooting. From downtown the team has gotten killed by Chandler (29.4%, 5.9 3pa/36), Gallo (32.7%, 6.0 3pa/36), and Toney Douglas (28.8%, 7.2 3pa/36). Amar’e also shoulders some of the blame for poor shooting on the floor (46.9% eFG%), despite his strong ability to get to the line. Another counter-intuitive point is that turnovers aren’t singularly hurting the team. Being tied for 18th isn’t awful, rather it’s merely below average. The main offenders here are Amar’e (4.3 to/36) and Mozgov (3.9 to/36).

So what does this all mean? First the Knicks are doing well on defense. If before the season you told me they’d be a stone’s throw from cracking the top 10, I’d be thrilled. It was clear that Walsh’s acquisitions had an eye on the defensive side, and credit D’Antoni here for keeping the team motivated on that end of the floor.

However as much credit as D’Antoni gets for the defense, he shoulders that much blame for the poor state of the offense. His first priority is to fix the three point shooting mess. Why are Gallo and Douglas struggling so much? Is it the situations they are getting the ball, the spots on the floor, or something else? As for Chandler he needs to be shown the red light & have him take the action to the hoop. Heck even seldom used Roger Mason is shooting 9% eFG, and hasn’t made a three all year. New York has looked mechanical running the weave-like plays that D’Antoni features, and the pick & roll has been erratic. There’s obviously something amiss with how the Knicks are playing on offense, and it’s up to the coaching staff to figure out what adjustments need to be made to get the offense clicking.

84 comments on “Early Season Knick Evaluation

  1. Frank

    I’ve stayed away from commenting the last few days because it’s just been so ugly out there. Not sure who to blame. Truth is, the Knicks are just missing open shots. How many layups did we miss yesterday? And regardless of the fact that opposing defenses are just begging us to shoot 3s, we are missing what are, for the most part, WIDE OPEN 3’s. Toney Douglas, who should be a pretty good shooter, has shot just 4-23 from 3 during this losing streak. Gallo has shot 6-29 from 3. These are the guys we WANT shooting from 3. I’m not even going to get into Chandler, who is 8-27 shooting way too many 3’s. From what we’ve been told, D’Antoni wants his guys to shoot when they have open looks — these are OPEN looks that they are missing over and over. Is this just an unbelievable cold streak?

    In terms of the defense, it looks like points off turnovers have really made the defense struggle. Meanwhile, how badly do we miss Turiaf. Granted it is a ridiculously small sample, but look how much better we have been with Turiaf on the court–

    http://www.82games.com/1011/10NYK13.HTM#onoff

  2. Owen

    The impact of Turiaf is pretty amazing. I do think he is a nice complement to Stoudemire and an asset when he is out on the court. Still a small sample size though to evaluate him as a Knick.

    Landry Fields is still smelling like roses.

  3. Caleb

    Amazing, Turiaf looks like the key acquisition so far!

    Thanks for the perspective. I don’t really disagree with the D’Antoni-bashing – I won’t recap it all, but the offense looks uni-dimensional and the sub patterns look weird.

    But the Nix aren’t as bad as they’ve looked. You gotta have some faith in the law of averages. Gallo at 32 percent from 3. Douglas at 28 percent. Stoudemire is 6 or 7 points under his career TS%… Chandler is no offensive star, but he’s not this bad – all his #s are way off last year, when he was already a chucker. You can blame some of these problems on the game plan and the coaching, but those haven’t changed so a lot is random chance. They’ll start hitting some shots, and we’ll hit some win streaks.

    Gotta say – I am a Randolph fan and it’s pretty frustrating to see these 3- and 5- minute games. He’s raw and his offense his ugly, but I’d rather see AR playing through mistakes, than Timo. Or swap out Chandler for one stretch per game. You can see how active AR is, and you have to find 15 minutes, at least, to see what he can do.

    I’m also worried about Stoudemire who isn’t rebounding and looks a half-step slow – hopefully it’s just being tentative, working into a new rotation.

  4. Caleb

    re: Turiaf, a big part of that +/- is that he’s usually replaced by Timo, who has been awful. But yes, he’s been good. He IS pretty good – I believe he led the league in blocks per minute AND led all centers in assist rate, in the same season (2 years ago).

    Felton’s plus-minus is also amazingly bad. I know he’s got his issues but I’m not exactly sure what’s going on there. The mysteries of +/-…

  5. ess-dog

    I don’t buy +/- as a statistic. But sure Turiaf would be helping as an active big body blocking shots and moving the ball around. Plus, we just desperately need another vocal veteran out there to work stuff out and calm nerves in the 4th quarter.
    I don’t expect Turiaf’s worldy #’s to continue though, just like I don’t expect Douglas’ struggles to continue.
    Although we had our share of bonehead plays last night, there’s not much you can say about poor shooting. .435 from the floor, .325 from three ain’t gettin’ it done, even if you have 5 seven footers who shoot laser beams out of their eyes.
    We do seem slow to our spots though. I can’t entirely put my finger on it, but all of our outside shots look rushed, especially Gallo, TD and Mason. Even if no one is in their face.
    The real problem, as we all predicted, is Felton. Will he ever be able to utilize his teammates properly on the floor? I sure hope so. That could be part of the shooting woes (not to heap all the blame on Ray) but maybe there’s not a good flow to his passes and our shooters aren’t getting the ball at the best time? I don’t know.
    I think allotted minutes and rotations might ultimately mean less than figuring out the engine that is supposed to drive this wreck.

  6. Frank O.

    http://mobile.newsday.com/inf/infomo;JSESSIONID=85D7C3A98E2D821821BD.2982?site=newsday&view=sports_item&feed%3Aa=newsday_5min&feed%3Ac=sports&feed%3Ai=1.2461808&nopaging=1

    Amare just went off on the culture.

    What needs to happen is he needs to kick some guys’ asses. Really, I am willing to be patient with a young team that really doesn’t know itself yet. But last night, they stopped caring all of a sudden. Ill Will was pathetic. His inbounds pass about made me want him benched for the foreseeable future.
    I realize that is extreme, but it was unacceptable at the stage of the game for him to so easily throw the ball away.
    Amare needs to confront Douglas, Gallo and Felton. There needs to be harsh words and challenges.

    I agree with Caleb that this team isn’t as bad off as their record seems.

    But I do think D’Antoni needs to sit their asses down and show them the first few games of the season, when their preseason training was showing, and they were executing their offense together as a team. The ball moved.
    But the neural pathways were not fully forged and these guys are falling back on iso play.
    They forgot what made them effective early on.

    I have said from the beginning that those with pitch forks out about Turiaf weren’t seeing the team operate, and all the things he was doing well. His absence has led to a let down in effort, in talk, and continuity on defense. While their D has gotten better over last year, it has suffered these past few games without the Frenchman. These guys are retreating. It was the Frenchman that stood and fought and kept heads up. (irony…)

    Those early games, even the tough losses, the ball moved well.

    Turnovers are a killer. They had a nice first half with turnovers, but it fell apart in the second half. And Amare showed his frustration by trying to take the game over himself in the second half.

    But, if I’m the coach, or Amare, I would be in people’s faces about this kind of let down. They gave up last night. That cannot happen.
    If that means AR gets more time (god help me), then so be it.
    I would sit Will and Douglas, who are pathetic. Their inefficiencies are killing this team.
    I’d go with other guys and I would start to reward Fields with more chances. Run some plays for him, let him handle the ball a bit more. Let him run the PnR with Amare and Mosgov. Mosgov is a very nice shooter. Why isn’t he getting the ball in that corner of the key where he hits almost every time?

    Time to shake up the guys that gave up last night. If you allow that to stand unpunished, then this could snowball.

    I can be patient if a team plays hard, but makes mistakes because they’re figuring things out. I can’t accept people who literally quit.
    Last night, Will and Felton and Douglas, IMHO, showed carelessness that appeared for all intents and purposes to be quitting.

    Unacceptable. These guys need to be held accountable.
    It was worse because they were in the Garden. No Knicks player should be permitted to quit under this new team. It’s a bad precedent.
    Perhaps I’m being harsh, but those three guys, Will, Felton and Douglas, and maybe add in Gallo, need to get that asses chewed.
    And they need to be made example of so that our promising young guys know what is expected.
    It isn’t time to blow up the team or fire a coach; it’s time to teach people what is and is not acceptable. It’s essential for young players to get the message loud and clear.

  7. Jacob

    I hope – I really hope – Amar’e’s performance so far is the product of random noise and his getting used to his new mates. Because he’s been way below my expectations.

    His 17.0 PER seems pretty OK at first, but then you realize most NBA teams get much more from their PF. Stoudemire is currently ranked 31st (!!) among Power Forwards with at least 10 MPG. This is by PER, and this is considering the fact that Amar’e is flattered by PER because he’s not known for his defense.

    His replacement in PHX, the $4 million man Hakim Warrick, is 12 spots higher with a 18.71 PER. Also in front of Amare: Blake Griffin, JJ Hickson, B-Easy, Charlie Villanueva, Taj Gibson, David West… Ouch.

  8. Frank

    Not to make a snarky anti-advanced stats point here, but as far as I can tell from the box scores, Felton is having a career year so far — but we all know he is one of the major causes of our bad start.

    Per basketball-reference, he currently has a career high TS% (57.2), career high assist rate, career high PER (although also career high TO-rate), and is basically matching his career high WS/48 at 0.114 which is well above average. From a #s standpoint I don’t think we could have hoped for anything better.

    Other than +/- numbers, which we all know are flawed, is there an advanced stat for how crappily you set up other players on your team?

  9. Caleb

    Frank: …his career high WS/48 at 0.114 which is well above average.

    Technically speaking, 0.100 is average…

    hard to know what to make of Felton. He’s shooting well, but subjectively, doesn’t get the ball to anyone in the best spot. On the other hand, is he really worse than Duhon at setting up his teammates.. I think not. Also the Knicks defense is dramatically improved and it’s hard not to give some credit to the Felton/Douglas duo – finally putting some pressure on the opposing ballhandlers.

    All in all he’s about as-advertised…

  10. cgreene

    @9
    agree about Felton. so the coach should change the style to fit more with his bc he is actually playing efficiently. play Wilson at the 2 more and post him. Post Gallo too at the 3. use amare as a cutter. go away from the pnr and try something new to play to their strengths. fields could even post up at the 2. play more inside out. not that hard.

  11. jaylamerique

    Frank O.: http://mobile.newsday.com/inf/infomo;JSESSIONID=85D7C3A98E2D821821BD.2982?site=newsday&view=sports_item&feed%3Aa=newsday_5min&feed%3Ac=sports&feed%3Ai=1.2461808&nopaging=1Amare just went off on the culture.What needs to happen is he needs to kick some guys’ asses. Really, I am willing to be patient with a young team that really doesn’t know itself yet. But last night, they stopped caring all of a sudden. Ill Will was pathetic. His inbounds pass about made me want him benched for the foreseeable future.I realize that is extreme, but it was unacceptable at the stage of the game for him to so easily throw the ball away.Amare needs to confront Douglas, Gallo and Felton. There needs to be harsh words and challenges. I agree with Caleb that this team isn’t as bad off as their record seems.But I do think D’Antoni needs to sit their asses down and show them the first few games of the season, when their preseason training was showing, and they were executing their offense together as a team. The ball moved.But the neural pathways were not fully forged and these guys are falling back on iso play.They forgot what made them effective early on.I have said from the beginning that those with pitch forks out about Turiaf weren’t seeing the team operate, and all the things he was doing well. His absence has led to a let down in effort, in talk, and continuity on defense. While their D has gotten better over last year, it has suffered these past few games without the Frenchman. These guys are retreating. It was the Frenchman that stood and fought and kept heads up. (irony…)Those early games, even the tough losses, the ball moved well.Turnovers are a killer. They had a nice first half with turnovers, but it fell apart in the second half. And Amare showed his frustration by trying to take the game over himself in the second half.But, if I’m the coach, or Amare, I would be in people’s faces about this kind of let down. They gave up last night. That cannot happen.If that means AR gets more time (god help me), then so be it.I would sit Will and Douglas, who are pathetic. Their inefficiencies are killing this team.I’d go with other guys and I would start to reward Fields with more chances. Run some plays for him, let him handle the ball a bit more. Let him run the PnR with Amare and Mosgov. Mosgov is a very nice shooter. Why isn’t he getting the ball in that corner of the key where he hits almost every time?Time to shake up the guys that gave up last night. If you allow that to stand unpunished, then this could snowball.I can be patient if a team plays hard, but makes mistakes because they’re figuring things out. I can’t accept people who literally quit.Last night, Will and Felton and Douglas, IMHO, showed carelessness that appeared for all intents and purposes to be quitting.Unacceptable. These guys need to be held accountable.It was worse because they were in the Garden. No Knicks player should be permitted to quit under this new team. It’s a bad precedent.Perhaps I’m being harsh, but those three guys, Will, Felton and Douglas, and maybe add in Gallo, need to get that asses chewed.And they need to be made example of so that our promising young guys know what is expected.It isn’t time to blow up the team or fire a coach; it’s time to teach people what is and is not acceptable. It’s essential for young players to get the message loud and clear.  (Quote)

    the problem with that plan is that you literally can not bench WC or TD. there is no one that is playing well enough to warrent their mintues. Also AR does not need to be on the court more. he adds to our offensive problems. His man does not need to worry about guarding him beyond 8 ft from the basket. this adds an extra defender to the paint and makes it harder in there for us.

  12. Frank O.

    cgreene: @9agree about Felton. so the coach should change the style to fit more with his bc he is actually playing efficiently. play Wilson at the 2 more and post him. Post Gallo too at the 3. use amare as a cutter. go away from the pnr and try something new to play to their strengths. fields could even post up at the 2. play more inside out. not that hard.  (Quote)

    I cannot fathom taking minutes from Fields to get WC time at the deuce. I would support stealing minutes from Douglas tho. That dude is killing me.
    I also cannot fathom watching WC crank it up from outside much more.

    Frank: Not to make a snarky anti-advanced stats point here, but as far as I can tell from the box scores, Felton is having a career year so far — but we all know he is one of the major causes of our bad start.Per basketball-reference, he currently has a career high TS% (57.2), career high assist rate, career high PER (although also career high TO-rate), and is basically matching his career high WS/48 at 0.114 which is well above average. From a #s standpoint I don’t think we could have hoped for anything better.Other than +/- numbers, which we all know are flawed, is there an advanced stat for how crappily you set up other players on your team?  (Quote)

    Frank:

    You are so right in pointing this out. Felton has been horrible getting people the ball in the right places.
    His position is all about enabling others, not as the second coming of Stephon Marbury.

  13. jaylamerique

    Also can we set up a stop TD from shooting movement. that guy has been worse than chandler from 3. which is hard to do. Aside from the chicago game his shooting % from distance must be horrible.

  14. Frank O.

    jaylamerique: the problem with that plan is that you literally can not bench WC or TD. there is no one that is playing well enough to warrent their mintues. Also AR does not need to be on the court more. he adds to our offensive problems. His man does not need to worry about guarding him beyond 8 ft from the basket. this adds an extra defender to the paint and makes it harder in there for us.  (Quote)

    But my point is they have lost five in a row and largely because these guys are not playing well.
    Trying other guys may actually kick start things. I mean, what is worse? Sitting tight and losing while holding no one accountable, or Making some changes, making some examples of people, and using this as a teachable moment?
    I think this is an easy call.

  15. Frank O.

    Last point:

    Some folks are suddenly whispering about D’Antoni’s job performance.
    I’m not sure sitting pat is what he should be doing for the team or himself.
    Players quit. There was no urgency. They simply went limp.
    That kind of think, not addressed, will become a cancer.
    If D’Antoni fails to take direct action against a lack of effort and quitting, well, then I think you have to consider letting him go.

    I don’t think that is where this is headed, and maybe he knows something that is not knowable to the lay person observer.

    But if this team continues to lay down in the fourth, continues to look unconcerned at the end, then there needs to be changes.

  16. Ted Nelson

    Frank: his career high WS/48 at 0.114 which is well above average

    Hard to call that a career high when he was at .118 last season… It’s marginal, but he’s at the same level as last season according to WS.

    He’s turning the ball over too much, which is reflected in his stats.

    As much as I am not a Felton fan, I wouldn’t really blame him more than the rest. He can only do so much to make shooters hit their shots, and to me that’s the #1 problem. TD was 1-11 last night… how do you even do that? Felton is what he is. He’s a solid defender. He’s been good on the break. He’s hitting his shots. He’s not a very good halfcourt PG, and never was. You can blame him for not being Steve Nash or Chris Paul, but it was totally unrealistic to expect that in the first place. He could absolutely be doing a better job, but so could others. I wouldn’t expect a ton more from Felton going forward. Maybe he needs to be getting guys the ball in better spots, but those guys could also get to those better spots more…

    Frank: Other than +/- numbers, which we all know are flawed

    ess-dog: I don’t buy +/- as a statistic.

    The numbers aren’t flawed. The way people interpret them might be flawed. There are a lot of things to consider with +/-, but it does capture some things the box score doesn’t and if a player is consistently a relative + or a – across seasons and teams it does start to tell you something. I don’t think it’s worthless, though I also don’t think it’s worth quoting without providing a lot of context and explanation.

  17. Ted Nelson

    jaylamerique: Also can we set up a stop TD from shooting movement. that guy has been worse than chandler from 3. which is hard to do. Aside from the chicago game his shooting % from distance must be horrible.  

    I think he’ll come around at some point. He was a very good shooter in college and as a rookie.

    Frank O.: what is worse? Sitting tight and losing while holding no one accountable, or Making some changes, making some examples of people, and using this as a teachable moment?
    I think this is an easy call.  

    I don’t think it’s an easy call at all… More of a case by case thing. Maybe you send a message and motivate people, but maybe you give up on a season 10 games into it when the better thing to do would have been to stick with your guys and teach them while they’re playing.

    I tend to agree that AR could help in a few more minutes… he can’t score, but he’s a great passer, good in transition, and a good defender… I like seeing him out there with more starters and halfcourt players so that his weaknesses are masked a bit… but he’s really inconsistent and it’s hard to argue for the guy when he shoots himself in the foot constantly.

    Frank O.: If D’Antoni fails to take direct action against a lack of effort and quitting, well, then I think you have to consider letting him go.

    There is more than one way to skin a cat… Players quit on Larry Brown too when he coached the Knicks and he did try to get in their faces about everything. I would give D’Antoni the season or at least until it’s obvious you’re going to fire him eventually… I can’t say there’s only one approach he should take, because I think there are multiple ways to get the same results. If he goes outside himself and tries to channel a different style of coach he might lose the players.

  18. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.: But if this team continues to lay down in the fourth

    I think they need to play better from minute 1 to 48. They lost to the Rockets in the 2nd Q. They actually won the 4th against the Rockets and Warriors. The Bucks just creamed them all game, especially the 1st. The Wolves and Sixers did beat them in the 4th, and both were pathetic collapses. You can’t dig yourself a hole through 3 Qs every night and then get mad you didn’t cream them in the 4th… 2 of the 5 were lost in the 4th, but 3 of the 5 were lost before the 4th.

  19. JK47

    TD is a stopgap solution at PG. He’s not great but he’s not a black hole either. But I get the criticism. Felton’s game is all herky-jerky and he does not exude a sense of being in control. He is not at all an aesthetically pleasing player to watch.

    We don’t get enough easy buckets. Everything is either a jump shot or a drive to the hole against a packed-in defense. This is partially because of mediocre-to-bad PG play, partially because our shooting has been comically awful, and partially because the coach’s system encourages conscience-free chucking.

  20. chrisk06811

    ON Douglas shooting…….the problem with asking him not to shoot is, who exactly do you want him to pass it to? A doubled Amare? Felton / Chandler / Gallo? I don’t blame him for trying to shoot his way out.

    I still think Azubuike is the key to the GS deal. He doesn’t take a lot of 3’s, but he hits what he takes.

  21. Nick C.

    I’m not sure what to make of these guys. I must say the last few games coudl have fit right in with any Isaiah era performances…all that was missing was the pout and head towel on the bench. As fo rthe players and scheme I honestly don’t know in Phoenix there was a top 10-20 all-time PG running the system here a PG that most here are not sure is among the 20 currently starting. I have faith that Gallo will revert to form from 3 and (soemwhat less) that TD will keep up his college and rookie #s. Fields makes me smile every game. AR should play a bit at least because he seems to board and is active. In a way I would be happy if Turiaf really was that key, at least for him since he came off so well with Kevin McElroy, in another way that is frightening. My biggest fear is that the team doesn’t turn it around and you know who is brought back by the one person who would give him an NBA GM job.

  22. Ted Nelson

    As much as people point to the 3pt shooting (lack thereof) being a problem because of spacing, I think it’s even more a problem because they are missing the shots… Sure, it’s a vicious cycle with the spacing. 3-16 from 3, though, is a TS% of 28… a 3P% of 16… If the Knicks could just hit 5/16 (31.25%) they might make that game really interesting. If they hit 6/16 (37.5%) they might win that game. I have no idea why the shots aren’t falling. I also have no idea why the attempts are often so unevenly spread (TD and Felton combine for 11 3PA v. Houston, WC for 2… rest of team… 3…). Should we commend Gallo for pulling back when he’s cold or tell him to suck it up and keep firing till they fall? Is Fields being smart and picking his spots, or too tentative? Why are those guys pulling back so much, while at the very same time Felton, TD, and WC are pushing too hard?

    It is very, very reminiscent of Isiah–agree with whoever said that–that the guards and most aggressive players get all the FGAs, while some of the most efficient guys just get left out… I mean (most extreme example) Roger Mason and AR both had about as many FGAs as Fields and Gallo… HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN??? I would blame a lot of it on teamwork, or lack thereof. Too many ball-stoppers and willing chuckers (WC, Felton, and TD last night… along with Mason and AR to an extent). Another part of it, IMO, is that D’Antoni tends to deploy all his best scorers on the court together. If they worked as a team, you might get out to huge leads and be able to give a little back when the chuckers come out there. I would prefer to see more balance in the rotation, though. Take some pressure off the WCs and TDs to “create” shots by playing them with starters more, and spread out your guys who actually know how to play basketball like Fields and Gallo and Amare. He seems to be getting diminishing returns from both the starting unit and back-up unit with this rotation.

    JK47: TD is a stopgap solution at PG. He’s not great but he’s not a black hole either.

    I still think TD is a great 3rd guard. He’s had a rough patch, but I’m still confident he’ll get it together. If the Knicks continue to run primarily an isolation offense predicated entirely on one guy dribbling the ball around and making things happen… no, Douglas can’t play PG much (and neither can Felton and all but 2-7 guys in the entire league…). If they figure things out and the shots start to fall, though, I think he’s one of the Knicks best players.

  23. dubisaweapon

    I have had to do some serious soul-searching after watching these last three games against the Bucks, T’Wolves, and Rockets. The reality is we have seen the Knicks slide from reasonable early-season success to Isiah-era duldrums faster then you can say “Fire D’Antoni”.

    To my mind the greatest obstacle to here is the deeply-entrenched losing-culture that we’ve cultivated for the past decade. When you’ve been losing and finding new and improved ways to lose for so long, that is a culture that doesn’t just go away by itself — those are serious demons that need to be forcibly exorcised. Short of calling in a witch doctor to perform a ceremony at the Garden, there needs to be some jolt to the system to wake these guys up and get them to play with passion. Amare’s post-game rant from last night is hopefully a step in the right direction — and not the beginning of an all-too-familiar downward spiral.

    Otherwise, the only thing that is giving me any solace and additional patience with the Knicks are the struggles of some little team down in South Beach called the Miami Heat. NBA TV replayed the Heat v. Jazz game yesterday, and to see the Heat literally give that game away was astonishing. In both the Knicks and Heats case, you have groups of guys without much experience playing together experiencing growing pains — ones that keep them from playing up to expected levels. The main difference of course is that the Heat are supposed to be championship contenders thanks to the Three Amigos, while our Knicks are just trying to be relevant by making the playoffs.

    Perhaps when looking at these teams through this lens, it shouldn’t be surprising that we’re 3-7 and they’re 5-4? If you’d asked me before the season started where these two teams would be right now, I would’ve said the Knicks would be playing .500 ball (so 5-5) and the Heat would’ve demolished everyone except the Celtics and the Magic leaving them at a likely 7-2. So far this means both teams are playing 2 games below my personal set of expectations. It is inevitable that Lebron, DWade, and Bosh finally click and step-up their collective game, so the optimist in me thinks that the Knicks will eventually move in a similarly positive direction.

    There is absolutely no science or stats behind my thinking, but alas I’m just trying to find ways to justify and understand our struggles while simultaneously hating the Heat. Let’s Go Knicks!

  24. JK47

    Ted, I actually meant to say that Felton is the stopgap PG, not Toney D. Felton has helped somewhat in that the PG position has not been a total black hole, but he’s just the guy in there holding down the fort until we get somebody better.

    I do like TD’s game but I’d like to see another true PG on the roster. I think he’ll shake off his shooting woes and become a productive bench guy.

  25. BigBlueAL

    Any way the Knicks find a way to go 2-2 this week and momentarily save the season??

    The schedule is tough because its 4 games in 5 days but after playing Denver you are talking about Sacramento, Golden St w/o Lee and the Clippers. Winning 2 of the last 3 games somehow would be huge for this team at the very least psychologically I would think. Getting Turiaf back would help alot too.

  26. Z

    dubisaweapon: To my mind the greatest obstacle to here is the deeply-entrenched losing-culture that we’ve cultivated for the past decade. When you’ve been losing and finding new and improved ways to lose for so long, that is a culture that doesn’t just go away by itself — those are serious demons that need to be forcibly exorcised.   

    Isn’t getting rid of everyone on the roster the same as forcibly exorcising the demons? Wilson Chandler is the only carry-over from the Isiah days. Unless it’s Herb Williams’ internalized losing that is bringing down the franchise.

    Amar’e is accustomed to winning 50+ games a year. D’Antoni was too before he got here. Felton was in the playoffs last year. Roger Mason came over from a team that hasn’t had a losing season in a generation. Bill Walker has spent more of his career with the champion Celtics than with the Knicks.

    I think that if the team won, the losing culture would end. All they have to do is win. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done, especially if you are not as good as your opponent…

  27. nicos

    Agree that the Knicks have been better defensively but they need to be smarter defensively if they want to be able to win games on that end of the court- last night Scola & Martin each got up 18 shots while Battier, Hayes, and Lowry (the guys you want to force to shoot the ball) shot 18 combined. They weren’t able to get the ball out of Beasley’s hands when he was hurting them in the 2nd half against Minnesota, etc… The steals and blocks have been nice but they’ve come at a price- Douglas overplaying everything has allowed too much penetration & at times the Knicks have over-rotated to challenge shots leaving guys open on the perimeter and opening up the glass to offensive rebounds. They’ve accomplished the first step of working hard almost every possession- now they need to start paying more attention to the situation- who do you want to force to take a shot? Who do want to play tighter off of the ball and who can you cheat off to get into the passing lanes? Get that stuff right and they have chance to win games even when their offense is ugly.

    And on offense- it seems as much mental as anything else esp. the last few games. The Knicks got really good shots against the Rockets in the late third/early fourth but just missed everything including a bunch of layups. They got good shots against Minnesota in the third too and just couldn’t knock anything down. And rather than trusting the offense that was getting them good shots (albeit ones they missed) they fell back into the iso’s by Amar’e and Chandler, everyone stopped moving and the offense completely stagnated. If Felton has failed it’s here- late in games he’s failed to take charge and keep running the offense- he’s gotten passive and let Amar’e run amok. That said- I think he’s done a better job than he’s been given credit for (at least for the first 3 quarters of games) other than Amar’e’s isos it’s not like the Knicks have been throwing up contested shots at the end of the clock- they’ve been getting decent looks but just haven’t been knocking enough of them down.

  28. taggart4800

    I think for me the hardest thing to accept is that the team is only going to improve

    A. Azubuike returns – more depth at shooting guard
    B. A Trade – who is going to trade us a legitimate scorer/shooter with what we have to offer? Wizards for Arenas is the only likely scenario i found that doesn’t kill us and might actually happen. Don’t for a second think i want that to happen

    C. Free Agency or the Nuggets being forced to trade Melo.

    I see the sense and really do think Walsh and D’Antoni have done a good job, i’m just nearing breaking point with the amount of losing. I really don’t think this team is that bad and two years ago i would have been relatively happy. However it just seems like the losing isn’t going to end. I sort of see this team as a better version of the Grizzlies from 2 years ago and they are only now finding a way of playing together and they aren’t even close to Finals material. Its a long way back from the bottom and all the losing starts making you think things like ‘Would Arenas put us in the Playoffs……? At the 2 spot…..’ Gonna be a long year me thinks.

  29. dubisaweapon

    Z:
    Isn’t getting rid of everyone on the roster the same as forcibly exorcising the demons? Wilson Chandler is the only carry-over from the Isiah days. Unless it’s Herb Williams’ internalized losing that is bringing down the franchise.Amar’e is accustomed to winning 50+ games a year. D’Antoni was too before he got here. Felton was in the playoffs last year. Roger Mason came over from a team that hasn’t had a losing season in a generation. Bill Walker has spent more of his career with the champion Celtics than with the Knicks.I think that if the team won, the losing culture would end. All they have to do is win. Unfortunately it’s easier said than done, especially if you are not as good as your opponent…  

    Obviously that was one of the reasons for the wholesale overhaul — bring in a brand new team without the baggage and that will help turn it around. Certainly D’Antoni and Stat are used to winning and winning often enough that you can legitimately expect them to bring that confidence to the Knicks But I don’t think you can say Roger Mason, Bill Walker, and Raymond Felton are somehow bringing a winning vibe to NYC — these three are spare parts from playoff teams that realized they didn’t need them.

    Obviously winning cures all, but I’m still of the belief that the lack of recent success for the Knicks only serves to reinforce our losing ways. Clearly getting this monkey of our backs is going to be a lot tougher then we bargained for.

  30. d-mar

    I made a half serious remark yesterday after that dreadful loss about trading half the team for Nash to at least have one intelligent basketball player on the floor, but I do think that one of the biggest problems for this team is overall basketball IQ. And I know some are going to point the finger at D’Antoni, but is it D’Antoni’s fault when WC throws the ball to the other team for a layup or when AR doesn’t pass the ball to a wide open Gallo underneath when he’s staring right at him? Or when Lou Williams head fakes defenders 3 or 4 times into the same stupid foul? You watch teams like the Bucks and the Rockets. and you rarely see them do dumb things on the court, and they ALWAYS seem to find the open man or make you pay for a double team. Yes, they’ll commit turnovers, but it will be for the occasional travel or overthrowing a pass, not plowing over defenders 5 or 6 times a game or dribbling the ball of your foot.

    I guess it is on the coach to make a team smarter and more efficient, but are players like WC and AR ever going to have court smarts? I wish I could be more optimistic.

  31. hoolahoop

    Frank: ………. Truth is, the Knicks are just missing open shots.How many layups did we miss yesterday?And regardless of the fact that opposing defenses are just begging us to shoot 3s, we are missing what are, for the most part, WIDE OPEN 3?s……….–http://www.82games.com/1011/10NYK13.HTM#onoff  

    Great point. … And it’s every game. If they make their shots, they’re winning games and D’antoni looks good. It confusing. How do pros miss wide open shots every game. The one game they shot lights out they looked great. I think it’s an organizational thing. They’ve developed a losing culture at MSG and the bigs are okay with it.
    If they had a great point guard, everybody would be playing much, much better.

  32. hoolahoop

    I don’t think Dantoni should change the system to fit Felton. That’s Walsh’s job. Go out and get a better point guard. How’s this for core to build on: Amare, Gallo, Fields, and a new better PG?
    WC probably would play much better on a team that didn’t rely so much on him. As much as I hate a guy that takes bad shots and shoots too much, from what I’ve seen he’s the only guy on the team other than Amare that plays confident aggressive offense. If the offense was more fluid he could be a good role player and 6th man.

  33. Ted Nelson

    Z: Isn’t getting rid of everyone on the roster the same as forcibly exorcising the demons?

    Agreed… Hard to put this on old guys when most of the guys are new…

    taggart4800: I think for me the hardest thing to accept is that the team is only going to improve

    Or if guys like Gallo, Douglas, and Mason start shooting the way they are capable of… The Knicks are not a 3-16, 3-26, 3-1000 type of 3P shooting team in the long-run. If the shots fall they automatically improve. They’ve been losing a lot of their games by 5-ish pts. I know it’s not this simple, but theoretically 2 made 3 pters on misses that were rebounded by the opponent and the Knicks might have won those games… The Knicks have the shooter, they just need to hit their shots. Part of that is probably finding an “offensive rhythm” part of it is just stepping up and not being terrible.

    d-mar: nk that one of the biggest problems for this team is overall basketball IQ.

    It definitely seems like a problem, but I don’t think they need to be that smart to win 41 games. A little smarter and a little luckier. Get a few better shots and hit them, and I’ll live with a few ridiculous TOs.

  34. Ted Nelson

    hoolahoop: I think it’s an organizational thing. They’ve developed a losing culture at MSG and the bigs are okay with it.

    Yeah, all those losing teams Walsh had in Indiana for 2 decades… What a loser…

    hoolahoop: I don’t think Dantoni should change the system to fit Felton. That’s Walsh’s job. Go out and get a better point guard.

    A. Like who/how?
    B. It’s D’Antoni’s job to coach the talent on the roster, not bitch about it. Remember Larry Brown as Knicks coach?

    hoolahoop: I hate a guy that takes bad shots and shoots too much, from what I’ve seen he’s the only guy on the team other than Amare that plays confident aggressive offense. If the offense was more fluid he could be a good role player and 6th man.  

    It’s a fine line… WC also stops the ball and ruins the offensive flow. You can also argue that without WC (and recently TD) stopping the ball, it would find it’s way into the hand of guys like Gallo and Fields for good looks without them having to “confidently” force shots that they’d probably miss.

  35. crazchino

    Great article havent had a chance to read others’ comments cuz i got a bio paper due wednesday, but just a quick “LOL” at how everyone everywhere else is bashing the knicks for their “terrible” defense when we’re ranking above avg in most defensive categories.

  36. Droidz1979

    Just dropped Toney D from my basketball fantasy league team.. dude just ain’t getting it done and is killing my team. The good part is that i replaced him with Landry Fields!

    Still, i prefer my Knicks winning other than my basketball fantasy team tsk tsk

  37. hoolahoop

    Ted Nelson:
    Yeah, all those losing teams Walsh had in Indiana for 2 decades… What a loser…
    A. Like who/how?
    B. It’s D’Antoni’s job to coach the talent on the roster, not bitch about it. Remember Larry Brown as Knicks coach?
    It’s a fine line… WC also stops the ball and ruins the offensive flow. You can also argue that without WC (and recently TD) stopping the ball, it would find it’s way into the hand of guys like Gallo and Fields for good looks without them having to “confidently” force shots that they’d probably miss.  

    Ted
    You’ve got to be kidding me. I know you automatically like to refute every point that is made on this forum, but that you can defend the Knicks organization as not being a losing culture is laughable, otherwise it would be insulting. Newsflash: The Knicks are the Clippers of the East Ted. Yes, the Knicks are a losing culture. Walsh said in an nterview on espn radio last week that if the knicks win only 30 games he would not fire D’antoni. But actually, I was referring more to Dolan. Listen to Amare’s remarks.

    Yes, the coach does have to organize a game plan based on his roster. However, if one guy is the monkey wrench in the works, get rid of the one guy. Get Who? There are a lot of good point guards in the league. How? When I’m the GM of the knicks I’ll explore every which way with other GM’s. How is it that other teams rebuild and wind up with good players?

    I don’t think WC stops the flow. Yes, he takes too many bad shots, but I think that’s partly because of the ineptitude of his teammates. By the way, Gallo has been awful.

  38. GHenman

    Chandler is 15-51 from 3. Gallo 16-49. Douglas 15-52. Why are the majority of the post’s so anti-Chandler?

  39. ess-dog

    GHenman: Chandler is 15-51 from 3.Gallo 16-49. Douglas 15-52. Why are the majority of the post’s so anti-Chandler?  

    Chandler lifetime .517 TS, lifetime .306 from three
    Douglas lifetime .559 TS, lifetime .366 from three
    Gallo lifetime .578 TS, lifetime .384 from three

    Who stands out here?

  40. JK47

    GHenman: Chandler is 15-51 from 3.Gallo 16-49. Douglas 15-52. Why are the majority of the post’s so anti-Chandler?  

    Because Chandler is shooting near his career norms, so you can’t
    expect him to improve much. Douglas and Gallo have proven in the past that they can shoot, so you’d expect them to turn it around sooner or later. Chandler is not a good bet to turn it around, since his outside shot has always stunk.

    Wilson Chandler
    Career 3PT %: .306
    2010 3PT %: .294

    Danilo Gallinari
    Career 3PT %: .384
    2010 3PT %: .327

    Toney Douglas
    Career 3PT%: .366
    2010 3PT%: .288

  41. totti

    The analitical analisys on this blog are the mark of his quality.
    I thank you for this and i always read you with pleasure.
    In this case i blame you for not being enough agressive vs your stellar couple.
    The GM
    It should be clear to you by now that DW failed in doing his primary job of assembling the first winning roster after a decade. The roster is, if possible, worse than last year’s one. The holes at 1, 2 and 5 positions are still there. Knicks lack a decent pg in half court set and quite horribly, we can say duhon was better than felton on this regard. More, a mediocre barron shined comparing with mozgov. At 2 knicks brass has put the money on azabuike, still injured, and td, so as a matter of facts knicks don’t have a solid reliable sg as most of playoff contender teams do. The roster is overcrowded at 3/4 positions exactly like last year and worse, any of these players except ar, guarantee interior presence, dirty works and intimidation. The main problem is the dualism gallo/chandler: apparently those two don’t click on the court, don’t share the ball, don’t make the offense going. The best period of gallo coincided with will absence. This year chandler best performances came with gallo on the bench.
    In general, if one would be driven by suspicion, could say that DW assembled a roster against the style of dantoni!
    Solution: a complete shuffle of the roster and a possible firing of DW. In this case you can only hope that dolan won’t call isiah back.
    The coach
    Once run out of excuses, dantoni’s coaching shows his emptiness.
    No need to watch every single other nba team, to realise they clearly belong to another sport than knicks. After two years and ten games of miserable play, one is entitled to say that it was nash and his greatness only who made of dantoni an elite coach.
    The stubborness of dantoni is quickly becoming a legend and an argument of funny conversations in bars all around america.
    Solution: fire dantoni and hire a better coach, many are available.

  42. jaylamerique

    ess-dog:
    Chandler lifetime .517 TS, lifetime .306 from three
    Douglas lifetime .559 TS, lifetime .366 from three
    Gallo lifetime .578 TS, lifetime .384 from threeWho stands out here?  

    i think the reason is its far easier to pick on WC. He is the go to for anything bad that happens on the knicks. most of the comments here bash him, yet do not get angry when TD refuses to stop shooting or develop any sense of court vision. i mean i know TD is supposed to be a defensive specialist but i feel that he gets beat off the dribble to often. i saw Ish Smith repeatedly break him down and get into the paint in the houston game. i think its about time that TD receive the same amount of blame as WC on this site

  43. GHenman

    ess-dog: Chandler lifetime .517 TS, lifetime .306 from threeDouglas lifetime .559 TS, lifetime .366 from threeGallo lifetime .578 TS, lifetime .384 from threeWho stands out here?  (Quote)

    Couldn’t you argue the other two have underacheived and therefore should be wearing the goat horns? I think if they were more consistent Wil wouldn’t be playing or shooting as much.

  44. hoolahoop

    ess-dog:
    Chandler lifetime .517 TS, lifetime .306 from three
    Douglas lifetime .559 TS, lifetime .366 from three
    Gallo lifetime .578 TS, lifetime .384 from threeWho stands out here?  

    So, this means that Gallo makes one more shot than WC for every thirteen he takes.
    WC is plays aggressive active ball. Gallo usually stands in one spot with his feet planted.

  45. latke

    Jonathan Abrams with a couple interesting knick quotes:

    walsh: “This team is a young team that has to be brought along a certain way. He’s trying to do that. In the first 10 games, I expected that we would be up and down, and we have. So I don’t think it’s time for me to make judgments on Mike.”

    “At Monday’s practice, Stoudemire said he is confident in his teammates, but that they need to buy into D’Antoni’s system. Both D’Antoni and Walsh said the players are not in the mindset to run on every possession — a key component to D’Antoni’s offense. And so, the Knicks have been blown out, they’ve fumbled leads big and small and have been outhustled and outplayed.

    ‘It takes a while for guys to really get comfortable and really have confidence in the system,” Stoudemire said. “Everybody’s used to playing a different way, so it takes a little time. But I think now we understand that we have no choice. It definitely wasn’t a great start to the year, but we have a long season and we’ve got a chance to turn things around.’ ”

    http://offthedribble.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/15/slow-start-does-not-color-walshs-view-of-dantoni/

    The Stoudemire quote is as reassuring as these sorts of quotes can be… I do wish it had come from D’Antoni or from our other supposed captain, Raymond Felton.

  46. JK47

    hoolahoop:
    So, this means that Gallo makes one more shot than WC for every thirteen he takes.
    WC is plays aggressive active ball. Gallo usually stands in one spot with his feet planted.  

    How, then, does Gallinari have almost twice as many free throw attempts despite playing fewer minutes than Chandler? I guess people must be fouling him while he’s standing there with his feet planted.

    I’m all for Chandler’s “aggressive, active ball.” Let him show that active, aggressive side by trying to drive to the hole every now and then instead of chucking 6 treys per 36 minutes.

  47. Z

    hoolahoop:
    that you can defend the Knicks organization as not being a losing culture is laughable…The Knicks are the Clippers of the East Ted. Yes, the Knicks are a losing culture.   

    What exactly IS a losing culture? You really think that playing for the Knicks turns people into losers? The players that have been on the Knicks rosters over the past ten years have been bad. That’s why they have lost. What else can a GM do besides get rid of every player but one from the previous regime? Do you really think that being a “winner” is more important than being a good player? Would you rather have Derek Fisher on your team or Steph Curry? What’s Curry ever won? He’d just add to the losing culture of the Knicks, right?

    The Knicks are not the Clippers east. The only thing they have in common is that they are both bad basketball teams. The Clipper’s owner refuses to spend money to field a winning team and it’s been that way since he bought the team back in 1981 for $12 million. He runs it like a guy who only has $12 million invested in it. On the other hand, the Knicks owner has proven that he’s willing to pay 100s of millions of dollars more than any other franchise to put a competitive team together. The problem has been bad salary management mixed with poor talent recognition. Not the same problem as the Clippers at all. One can be fixed with better management. The other will never change until the Slum Lord changes his ways, which, 30 years later, probably isn’t going to happen.

    Ted is 100% right. Donnie Walsh has been a winner everywhere he’s been. Calling for Donnie Walsh’s head 10 games into a season is exactly why LeBron and Bosh opted for South Beach. Who needs a bunch of loud mouths claiming to be “the world’s most educated sports fans” filling the radio and the internet with inane demands to fire this guy, or bench that guy, or trade so-and-so.

    In 1998 the Yankees started 1-4. Every call to WFAN was about how Joe Torre needed to be fired. The Yankees went on to win 116 games that year and won the next three World Series. It’s crap like that that made Jim Dolan truly believe that “you can’t rebuild in NY,” and that is exactly how we got into the salary hell that became your Culture of Losing in the first place. Donnie Walsh got us out of salary hell. He also found Landry Fields at a draft slot where very few useful, let alone good, players are ever found. We should be a little more grateful.

    totti:
    It should be clear to you by now that DW failed in doing his primary job of assembling the first winning roster after a decade.   

    Five games ago Donnie Walsh HAD assembled a winner. They were 3-2! What’s that you say? 5 games is too small of a sample size? Well so is 10 games. So is 20 games. So is 50 games.

    You say you want to fire Walsh. What on earth could possibly come from that? No one can even be traded until Dec. 15th, and even then, there aren’t any sellers until February.

    Walsh’s plan was to recruit 2 max free agents. He only got one. Is that a fireable offense?

    The way he reacted to signing just one FA was not to throw a max contract at an undeserving player– a common knee-jerk reaction among execs. Instead he assembled a bunch of young, useful players. The fact that the players aren’t being used properly is not his fault, nor is it really anyone’s, considering we’re only 10 games in.

    GHenman:
    Couldn’t you argue the other two have underacheived and therefore should be wearing the goat horns?I think if they were more consistent Wil wouldn’t be playing or shooting as much.   

    Chandler has been in the league for 4 years. What he is is what he is. He’s not going to miraculously become a good 3 point shooter. The reason he took a step forward in the 2nd half of last year is because he quit shooting 3s. Now he’s back to his old ways, and it is an easy, easy thing to fix.

    Gallo and Douglas are both younger, and in their short time have proven to be good-to-great 3 point shooters. It’s not a riddle. If 3 point shots are required, they should be the ones taking them.

  48. hoolahoop

    Z:
    What exactly IS a losing culture? You really think that playing for the Knicks turns people into losers? The players that have been on the Knicks rosters over the past ten years have been bad. That’s why they have lost. What else can a GM do besides get rid of every player but one from the previous regime? Do you really think that being a “winner” is more important than being a good player? Would you rather have Derek Fisher on your team or Steph Curry? What’s Curry ever won? He’d just add to the losing culture of the Knicks, right?
    The Knicks are not the Clippers east. The only thing they have in common is that they are both bad basketball teams. The Clipper’s owner refuses to spend money to field a winning team and it’s been that way since he bought the team back in 1981 for $12 million. He runs it like a guy who only has $12 million invested in it. On the other hand, the Knicks owner has proven that he’s willing to pay 100s of millions of dollars more than any other franchise to put a competitive team together. The problem has been bad salary management mixed with poor talent recognition. Not the same problem as the Clippers at all. One can be fixed with better management. The other will never change until the Slum Lord changes his ways, which, 30 years later, probably isn’t going to happen.
    Ted is 100% right. Donnie Walsh has been a winner everywhere he’s been. Calling for Donnie Walsh’s head 10 games into a season is exactly why LeBron and Bosh opted for South Beach. Who needs a bunch of loud mouths claiming to be “the world’s most educated sports fans” filling the radio and the internet with inane demands to fire this guy, or bench that guy, or trade so-and-so.
    In 1998 the Yankees started 1-4. Every call to WFAN was about how Joe Torre needed to be fired. The Yankees went on to win 116 games that year and won the next three World Series. It’s crap like that that made Jim Dolan truly believe that “you can’t rebuild in NY,” and that is exactly how we got into the salary hell that became your Culture of Losing in the first place. Donnie Walsh got us out of salary hell. He also found Landry Fields at a draft slot where very few useful, let alone good, players are ever found. We should be a little more grateful.
    Five games ago Donnie Walsh HAD assembled a winner. They were 3-2! What’s that you say? 5 games is too small of a sample size? Well so is 10 games. So is 20 games. So is 50 games.You say you want to fire Walsh. What on earth could possibly come from that? No one can even be traded until Dec. 15th, and even then, there aren’t any sellers until February.Walsh’s plan was to recruit 2 max free agents. He only got one. Is that a fireable offense?
    The way he reacted to signing just one FA was not to throw a max contract at an undeserving player– a common knee-jerk reaction among execs. Instead he assembled a bunch of young, useful players. The fact that the players aren’t being used properly is not his fault, nor is it really anyone’s, considering we’re only 10 games in.
    Chandler has been in the league for 4 years. What he is is what he is. He’s not going to miraculously become a good 3 point shooter. The reason he took a step forward in the 2nd half of last year is because he quit shooting 3s. Now he’s back to his old ways, and it is an easy, easy thing to fix.Gallo and Douglas are both younger, and in their short time have proven to be good-to-great 3 point shooters. It’s not a riddle. If 3 point shots are required, they should be the ones taking them.  

    Not worth my effort to refute. You don’t have a clue of what you speak.

  49. ess-dog

    hoolahoop:
    So, this means that Gallo makes one more shot than WC for every thirteen he takes.
    WC is plays aggressive active ball. Gallo usually stands in one spot with his feet planted.  

    Wow, I’ve never been triple-quoted before!
    Look, I know I’m coming off like I ‘hate’ Chandler, but really I hate the way he’s being used. I’d just prefer he come in with the second unit and play 25 minutes vs. 35 minutes. He brings rebounding, defense (although I don’t think he can defend NBA 4’s), energy and he’s even improved his assists lately, which is surprising.
    I just can’t green-light a .51TS% shooter being our 2nd option – some nights our 1st option – on offense. It just makes no sense.
    We should maybe cut him SOME slack on his three-bombing since he was our best three point shooter in pre season, but pre season means very little in the end.
    I’m guessing Mike gave him more leeway b/c of this and it isn’t working 10 games in. Chandler only shot 2 threes the other night, so I think he’s adjusting.
    And even though TD and Gallo’s shooting woes are depressing, it IS only 10 games so I’m not going to ‘goat’ them or D’Antoni because they are underachieving.
    And seriously, look at the stats. So far, Chandler is Al Harrington with more blocks.

  50. massive

    @50,
    FG% isn’t a good way to measure scoring. TS% is better, seeing that it accounts for 3 point shooting, 2 point shooting, and free throws. Gallo’s TS% is .552. Chandler is at .499. Gallo has been scoring more efficiently.

  51. BigBlueAL

    TS%

    WC 49.9
    Gallo 55.2

    Bigest reason:

    WC 28 FTA’s, FT% 75
    Gallo 49 FTA’s, FT% 90

    As mentioned above, for all of Chandler’s apparent “active” ball he is allergic to getting fouled where as Gallo is developing into a player who can get to the FT line at a pretty high rate and can obviously make them at an even greater rate.

  52. rama

    Before the season, I predicated 40 wins, and that we would start 3-7.

    We have started 3-7.

    That doesn’t mean we’ll win 40, but the point of that post was that we were almost entirely a new team, and that it would take time to gel. I think we won’t start playing more consistently until January. And then we’ll come on strong late in the year. And make the playoffs.

    Give it time, people. As much as you could point to a “culture of losing,” just as much or more the fans have a culture of being irrational and impatient. Bring in a new point guard! Who? Hire another coach! Who?

    Give it time.

    Z, I second everything you say in post #49. Walsh has done a great job. To date, D’Antoni has not. But…it’s 10 games.

    Give it time.

  53. nicos

    As people have argued, Gallo’s TS% hasn’t been bad but it’s based almost entirely on the fact that he’s been getting to the line a ton and converting them at a very high rate. He’s not really stretching the defense with the three and he doesn’t pass well off of the dribble so while he’s scoring fairly well himself, it’s not helping create offense for anyone else. Still a better option than Chandler though and you’d have to think that at some point he’ll start both hitting threes AND getting to the line at a decent rate but it hasn’t happened yet. Still, I consider him a real disappointment so far- after showing signs of making more of an effort on the boards his rebound rate is still exactly where it was last year. And, as hard as it is to believe, his already anemic assist numbers have actually gotten worse. It’s only been ten games but he really needs to step it up- along with just about everyone else besides Fields and Turiaf.

  54. Z

    hoolahoop:
    I don’t get it. Are you saying you know more than they do?  

    No. It’s just a place where FG%, Pts/g, and other archaic stats are used. It’s also a place where facts are simply things that get in the way of opinions. And finally, it’s a place where Walsh and D’Antoni are vilified, so you’ll get lot’s of +1s. (And if you say you love Stephon Marbury you’ll even get some +1000s!).

  55. Frank

    way to kill the discussion hoolahoop!!

    meanwhile, it seems likely that Melo is going to come out super-aggressive tonight. I expect him to score probably 40+ tonight. hopefully it takes him 45 shots to do it.

  56. eric8476

    the isolations for amare are terrible. amare is to far from the bucket to do anything with it. d’antoni’s offense seems like it’s only a pick and roll transition style basketball. felton isn’t making the good pass or a good decision (shoot his own shot) on the pick and roll. too many threes they are settling on and shots inside the arc aren’t going in even though they are open shots.

  57. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I propose that Walsh blows the whole thing up and tries over. Maybe Fields and Turiaf can stay.

  58. david

    The discussion seems to have a logical problem that should be mentioned. Just because we are playing well on defense is playing well on defense and badly on offense doesn’t mean we should figure out how to fix the offense and simply rest on the good defense. It may be that, even though our defense is good now, we have the tools to make it even better (i.e. I’m not sure there are diminishing returns to focusing more on defense, at least yet) and that our focus could go in that direction instead of sacrificing defense for offense.

    The key to this is Turiaf, who was playing fantastically before he was injured. Even though he’s a pretty useless offensive player (decent passer, I suppose), I would like to see him starting when healthy. Also, I think — and this is just observation and not statistics — that Randolph has been playing well defensively. I think giving him Mosgov’s minutes will help the defense, and should be done, particularly if we can convince him not to shoot.

    On offense, I think Azu will help, but I think D’Antoni needs to get a bit more creative in getting Gallo the ball moving off screens or on the pick and pop (which we should run with Felton much, much more). Also, as everyone has noted, Fields needs to play more and be given more responsibility — he makes good decisions and great cuts.

  59. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Z:
    No. It’s just a place where FG%, Pts/g, and other archaic stats are used. It’s also a place where facts are simply things that get in the way of opinions. And finally, it’s a place where Walsh and D’Antoni are vilified, so you’ll get lot’s of +1s. (And if you say you love Stephon Marbury you’ll even get some +1000s!).  

    I think the better tact is to point hoolahoop to the Layman’s Guide to Advanced Stats, so that he can learn about TS% and how it’s superior to FG%, pts/g, etc.

  60. Ben R

    If we made more shots alot of our sins would be covered up but frankly our offensive scheme is poor. It is not Felton’s fault, he is playing well for who he is, I agree with the poster who said we cannot expect him to be Nash, a future hall of famer, Felton is an average nba starting PG. It is not Chandler’s fault, he is playing 1on1 basketball because it seems to be the gameplan, same with Amare.

    I look at our spacing and while our poor shooting from three hurts, the biggest problem is our complete lack of movement. Multiple times against Houston I saw Amare or Chandler or Douglas get the ball and the rest of the team just stood at the three point line like their feet were nailed to the ground, then Houston got the ball and it was a thing of beauty they were moving, setting screnes on and off the ball, the ball was flying around from player to player and then all of a sudden they got a nice wide open shot.

    I think the worst part is our half court offense looks so labored. Nothing is easy, nothing is open. We are missing alot of threes but alot of our threes are contested and off the dribble. The only players that seem to move alot without the ball are Fields and Mozgov, though mozgov often looks a little lost, and Fields was actually criticized for his movement.

  61. stratomatic

    ess-dog: Wow, I’ve never been triple-quoted before!Look, I know I’m coming off like I ‘hate’ Chandler, but really I hate the way he’s being used.   (Quote)

    That’s the key point.

    No one is going to confuse Chandler with a basketball Einstein, but he demontrated last year that he could play with restraint and increase his efficiency. His TS% was between 56%-57% AFTER he stopped shotting as many 3s.

    This is entirely on D’Antoni.

    He’s telling ALL his wing players and guards to shoot if they are open from beyond the arc or from 20 feet even if they are lousy shooters. If they didn’t have the green light, he would be yelling at them or benching them.

    The same thing is true of Randolph.

    Randolph is no offensive dynamo, but he averaged between 15-18 points per 36 minutes for GS in his two seasons in the open court, off offensive boards, slashing etc… D’Antoni has him on the perimeter standing like a dolt shooting a lot of jumpers and sometimes even from outside the arc.

    This is an issue with D’Antoni. The system comes first. He tries to fit players into the system instead of maximizing the skills of the players within an offensive system.

    The same thing is true of Amare.

    Last season David Lee developed into the kind of player you could run the offense through on the perimeter because he can handle, pass, make plays, shoot a mid range jumper, and is a very good decision maker.

    Amare has the jumper, but he can’t handle, pass, make plays or make decisions nearly as well. He’s mostly just an extremely athletic finisher than needs space. So the offense is not effective when he gets the ball outside. But D’Antoni it stubbornly trying to turn him into Lee to run what the Knicks ran with Lee instead of reducing Amare’s role UNTIL we have a knockdown SG that can help space the floor.

    I’m with everyone else that LOVES FIELDS, but IMO he is not the answer at SG. He’s more of a SF. He’s kind of like Wilson Chandler with an extra 20 basketball IQ points. He’s better in the open court, slashing etc… than shooting jumpers. WE need an excellent outside shooter with a higher usuage rate at SG to space the floor. The good news is that he’s so good, I think we can be comfortable trading either Gallo or Chandler and turning Fields into our SF eventually if we want. If he wants to be the SG, he’s going to have get more aggressive on offense and add a knockdown outside shot.

  62. stratomatic

    I should add that Fields has been OK shooting jumpers when he’s open, but we need someone that can create from the outside, shoot off the dribble, come off picks etc… in addition to getting those better looks inside and outside. We need a dynamic high level high usage SG.

    It’s my preference that we use Curry + Chandler + ? to try to find one at the trade deadline. I’d prefer that than getting another SF like Melo who we’d have to overpay and tie up more cap space to have.

  63. Ben R

    Stratomatic – I think in our offense Gallo can be the “SG” and Fields can be the “SF” since you were saying you want a deadeye shooter with a higher usage rate from the 2 and a slasher finisher lower usage rate from the 3. No reason to trade Gallo for a SG who will most likely be a worse scorer.

  64. Caleb

    stratomatic:
    This is an issue with D’Antoni. The system comes first. He tries to fit players into the system instead of maximizing the skills of the players within an offensive system.

    That sums it up pretty well.

    And players like Randolph (and Chandler) look the worst for it…

  65. JK47

    stratomatic: I should add that Fields has been OK shooting jumpers when he’s open, but we need someone that can create from the outside, shoot off the dribble, come off picks etc… in addition to getting those better looks inside and outside. We need a dynamic high level high usage SG.
    It’s my preference that we use Curry + Chandler + ? to try to find one at the trade deadline. I’d prefer that than getting another SF like Melo who we’d have to overpay and tie up more cap space to have.  

    I’m a ‘Cuse homer and I love Melo, and I do think he’d solve a major problem for us: the “create your own shot” problem. I’m down with a plan of signing Melo, bringing in a 3PT specialist at SG, letting some contracts come off the books and trying to acquire a legit PG and some defensive specialists.

    We need a second star player, and it’s becoming kind of clear to me that that guy is not currently on the roster.

  66. Nick C.

    I think

    Caleb: That sums it up pretty well. And players like Randolph (and Chandler) look the worst for it…  (Quote)

    I think I was reading or have read stuff along the lines of they just have to be patient and trust the system or something to that effect either from him or Amare. I’m not really crazy about stuff like that tho I seem to recall hearing things to that effect and perhaps similar criticisms to the ones most of us have regarding the Triangle (and obviously that had much more success).

  67. stratomatic

    JK47,

    The only problem I have with Melo is that I don’t think either he or Amare is productive enough on an all around basis to be our two max contract players and still fit in enough around them under the cap to win it all. If we can figure out a way to get Paul…..

  68. ess-dog

    stratomatic:

    This is entirely on D’Antoni.
    He’s telling ALL his wing players and guards to shoot if they are open from beyond the arc or from 20 feet even if they are lousy shooters. If they didn’t have the green light, he would be yelling at them or benching them.

    That’s specious reasoning, strat, but sure maybe he DOES want his wing players to shoot when their open. Chandler is the only below average three point shooter and he’s not really a wing anymore, and hopefully he’s cutting down his threes. I guess Landry was average in college. TD, Walker, Gallo, Mason, and even Felton last year have a history of shooting the three above-average so why is this bad?

    stratomatic:

    Amare has the jumper, but he can’t handle, pass, make plays or make decisions nearly as well. He’s mostly just an extremely athletic finisher than needs space.

    Did you watch the last game? Stat had some really nice passes actually. His problem to me is just trying to do to much at the end of games… and who can blame him? No one else is stepping up.

    stratomatic:

    I’m with everyone else that LOVES FIELDS, but IMO he is not the answer at SG. He’s more of a SF. He’s kind of like Wilson Chandler with an extra 20 basketball IQ points. He’s better in the open court, slashing etc… than shooting jumpers. WE need an excellent outside shooter with a higher usuage rate at SG to space the floor. shot.  

    But this is offset by Gallo’s excellent shooting at the 3 spot. He’s just not hot right now. We need athletes and slashers and guys that get up and down the floor. THAT is what the system is about. We shouldn’t be in the halfcourt set much at all if the system is working right. It’s about running on offense before the defense can set up and getting a quick score – off of a rebound, steal or even a quick inbounds. We just aren’t doing that for some reason. Guys need to be running ALL THE TIME. Like on that fast break pass to AR for the slam last game. That should be happening WAY more. But yes we need to figure out the pick and roll as well.

  69. hoolahoop

    I like D’antoni’s system and don’t think he should change it. It’s much more exciting – and effective. Quick penetration offense, if properly executed, enables less talented teams to win more games by keeping their opponents off balance and out of rhythm. If the knicks were shooting well they’d have a few more wins and this conversation would have a very different tone. I just don’tunderstand why these guys can’t make open shots and free throws.

  70. latke

    hoolahoop: I like D’antoni’s system and don’t think he should change it. It’s much more exciting – and effective.Quick penetration offense, if properly executed, enables less talented teams to win more games by keeping their opponents off balance and out of rhythm.If the knicks were shooting well they’d have a few more wins and this conversation would have a very different tone. I just don’tunderstand why these guys can’t make open shots and free throws.  

    We were missing a lot of free throws early in the season, but we have raised our average to a respectable 77.3% – 14th in the league.

    I agree with you about the system. It works, and has mostly worked for the Knicks when they’ve played within it, and I think the roster is right, the only exception being Felton. There are certain things we need Felton to do that he should be able to do:

    1) He can certainly push the ball up the floor more. It pained me to watch the two minutes of the Houston game, after we fell behind by 15. We were pushing the ball wildly just in attempt to put points on the board. I know that teams adjust their defenses with late game leads so as to avoid fouling teams, but we were STILL drawing fouls. We took 3 free throws in those last two minutes (the equivalent of 72 FTA/game) and had three layups. We outscored the rockets 11-4, and those 4 were all on free throws that we gave them so we could get the ball back. When Felton pushes the ball, and the team as a whole gets down the floor fast, we do well. I looked at it on previous posts where I looked at our pace in different quarters, and when we push the ball, there is a HUGE difference.

    2) We can’t expect that he will be great in the halfcourt, but we can expect some improvement in terms of decision making.

  71. jaylamerique

    Caleb:
    That sums it up pretty well.
    And players like Randolph (and Chandler) look the worst for it…  

    this is false. were you guys watching the team last year. Coach D has clearly shown a willingness to adapt his offense on the fly. for example last year when he realized how bad Duhon was at playing pg he started putting the ball in Lee’s hand more to initiate the offense. this improved our offense. so you can’t say he only follows the system.

  72. daJudge

    Just some thoughts after the first eighth of the season.
    1. The Knicks do not move the ball well. I have seen very little evidence of skilled passing. This certainly includes Felton.

    2. The Knicks do not space the court properly, particularly on the p&r. I’m not sure why this is so, but again I look to the guards. They seem to be deficient in that skill set. This is all the more annoying because Gallo and Chandler and sometimes even Randolph are all hanging at the three point line. At the same time, the penetrator and the post up or roller are too close together. Very ugly to watch.

    4. The Knicks, excluding Fields, do a terrible job boxing out.

    5. While the Knicks can run and even finish, the rebounders are not throwing good outlets to start the break—very frustrating.

    6. The Knicks are not shooting well, but this does not concern me too much right now. I think it will even out. However, their shot selection is suspect, including the three point barrage. Since the team rebounds poorly (point 4), the long rebounds appear to lead to fast breaks.

    7. The Knicks really do not have any player, including Amare that really can make their own shot. Amare can be a bull, but he also can easily become turn over prone.

    8. The Knicks do not make the extra pass and, if they do, it’s probably a poor decision.

    9. Why does a rookie look, to many, like the brightest player on the Court?

    10. The Knicks lack flow most of the time. This is a little hard to define, but like porn., you know it when you see it.

    I’m sure sure the coach’s system is to blame. However, if you can’t execute fundamentals, you probably will struggle with any system. Hope they win tonight.

  73. rama

    #80 –

    Jay is right: after a miserable 1-9 start last year, D’a adjusted hi system to fit the actual talents of the team. There just weren’t that many talents.

    This year there’s more talent, but if we don’t push the ball, like latke says, we’re not taking full advantage of it. I still think the coach is accountable – the players may make the mistakes, but the coach has to get his players to listen and execute or adjust accordingly. I just happen to believe that D’A will succeed in getting the players to listen to him. The season is young.

  74. hoolahoop

    I was surprised when the Knicks traded Ranaldo Balkman. I thought he fit perfectly into D’antoni’s system. I know he has no shot whatsoever, but he’s super athletic, runs like the wind, hustles for loose balls and is great for an upbeat, hi-tempo offense.

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