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Saturday, November 1, 2014

TrueHoop: The stuff before hope

I have a piece up at TrueHoop about January’s Denver game. Wasn’t so long ago, right?

Losers of five straight, the Knicks’ already fragile, lockout-shortened season had — by late January — morphed into a dire downward spiral. Weeks away from the most unlikely of athletic ascensions, hope had given way to Hell in the Garden. As such, their January 21st showdown with the Nuggets had assumed a level of intrigue at odds with your run of the mill, dead-of-winter, cross-conference NBA game.

Nearly a full year on from one of the most drawn-out and controversial trade operas in recent memory, the combination of Denver’s endearingly scrappy success (29-12 since the trade, at that point) and the Knicks’ mesmerizing struggles had suddenly transformed the meeting into something resembling a capital punishment trial. Seldom purveyors of patience and perspective, Knicks fans, if they couldn’t get a W, would likely settle for heads.

Read the rest at TrueHoop!

77 comments on “TrueHoop: The stuff before hope

  1. Frank

    Great read Jim!

    btw I have been as down on Amare as anyone here, but it was only 19 days ago (feels like 3 months), that Amare had this line:

    34 points, 11 rebounds, 16-27 FG, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and just 1 turnover. 11-13 at the rim. In traffic. Against Chicago, probably the best defense in the league, at full strength. In fact, that was in the middle of a 5-game stretch in which he averaged (per-36)

    22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2 TOs, on a TS% of 56
    These are sub-PHX-standard #s, but I would take that in a second at this point.

    btw if you guys have not read the Zach Lowe video+commentary on the full-strength NYK offense, it is a great read, and shows how dangerous this offense can be, and also how it’ll take a little time to get going.
    http://nba-point-forward.si.com/?sct=nba_bf2_a1

  2. Caleb

    I don’t think Amare is finished but it’s obvious his best days are behind him. Even last year his TS% was 56.5 and it had never dropped below 60. If you remotely had a chance to move his contract now, you would.

    But more likely he’s here for the duration and that isn’t all bad – if he’s your 4th or 5th best player that’s probably a good team.

  3. Frank

    Caleb:
    I don’t think Amare is finished but it’s obvious his best days are behind him. Even last year his TS% was 56.5 and it had never dropped below 60. If you remotely had a chance to move his contract now, you would.

    But more likely he’s here for the duration and that isn’t all bad – if he’s your 4th or 5th best player that’s probably a good team.

    I still hold out a tiny bit of hope – the reason is that according to hoopdata, his ability to finish at the rim is unchanged from what it has been for the last 5 years they have been tracking it – he’s shooting ~67% at the rim this year (probably worse recently especially the 7 block game by Amir Johnson). But what has REALLY gotten worse is his jumpshooting – he’s shooting WELL below his career averages on 10-15ft and 16-23ft jumpers. He takes 5.4 16-23 foot jumpers per game and in the 5 years before this one he shot in the mid 40s from there. This year – 36%. From 10-15 ft he is shooting 33%, when in the past he’s sort of been all over the place, from 36->51%.

    http://www.hoopdata.com/player.aspx?name=Amare%20Stoudemire

    You would think that the one part of his game that should actually improve regardless of his explosiveness is his jumpshooting – one can only hope that he will “progress” to the mean going forward.

  4. Caleb

    @13 That’s interesting, and a good point. I suppose that shows how he can easily improve to a TS% around 55, at pretty high volume, even if his All-Star 60% days are behind him.

    my bright side is that his rebounding – a good measure of athleticism – has not dropped; even with Chandler here Amare has a better rebound rate than he has in a few years (just barely, but still).

  5. Robert Silverman

    Caleb:
    @13 That’s interesting, and a good point. I suppose that shows how he can easily improve to a TS% around 55, at pretty high volume, even if his All-Star 60% days are behind him.

    my bright side is that his rebounding – a good measure of athleticism – has not dropped; even with Chandler here Amare has a better rebound rate than he has in a few years (just barely, but still).

    Shotblocking is down from 2.1 to .6/game. That’s a better measure of athleticism than rebounding

  6. jon abbey

    I still tend to think the issue with Amare is the extra muscle he put on in the offseason, in which case I think he should get better as the long season wears on. a lot of ugliness right now, though…

  7. stratomatic

    IMO, the pre Melo trade Amare was as good as he ever was. His TS% was down slightly, but that could easily be attributed to operating with Felton instead of Nash. Felton was a decent PG in this system, by he wasn’t Nash. After the trade his TS% declined. How much of that was related to Billups, TD playing PG when Billups was hurt, the pace slowing with Melo etc… is hard to know, but I don’t think you get old in a few weeks.

    This season is different because he’s coming off a back injury, he’s one year older, and he didn’t work out much during the summer while he was rehabbing the back. IMO, it’s impossible to know if those things are impacting his play and how much. What we do know for certain is that his production is way down and physically he looks slower and less explosive.

    But I don’t think we should totally write him off yet.

    It was just a couple of weeks ago that I was reading articles about how Dirk was declining, Pierce was declining, etc.. A lot of very good players were well short of their best form at the start of the season because of the shortened camp and nagging injuries.

    I think we have to just sit back, watch, and hope that some of these issues (and missing a week because of his brother) have stalled his progress. I thought he was just starting to round into form when his brother passed.

  8. KJG

    Amare is taking a few more J’s this year coming off screens, and he’s taking them quickly. That’s just TOO fluid for him. He needs to be set. Come off the screens, set yourself and go up for the J… too much going on during his J’s. In his relatively set J’s, he’s still missing more than normal but I still have confidence in that one. When he goes up off a screen falling one way or another, it’s not going down more often than not.

    Something is off, but I still love him and have the blind faith. I won’t bash him or anyone on my mostest favoritist team of ALL TIME… the NYK

  9. stratomatic

    Random thoughts:

    1. I wish Iman Shumpert focused on becoming a defensive stopper like Tony Allen for this year and worked on his shot in the off season. As much as he’s giving us on defense, he’s giving up more on offense because of his poor shooting and willingness to shoot.

    2. I love Landry Fields and couldn’t be happier he’s slowly returning to form, but IMO he’s not ready for prime time playoff basketball. Even in some of these regular season games you can see him shying away from taking wide open big shots late in the game and struggling with pressure on the FT line. It just further verifies the playoffs last year.

    3. The Knicks would really good if they traded their 2 max players for players that were actually net “+” players. ;-) Seriously, I realize there have been some injuries, etc… but anyone not named Chandler, Lin, or Fields has been terrible this year (and Fields was terrible to start). I even like what Harrelson and Jeffries have given us gave us more than what our max players have given us.

    4. A lot of fans seem to want D’Antoni to get fired because they don’t think he’s good. I have mixed feelings. Part of me wants to see him go to another organization just so he doesn’t have to deal with Dolan and the pinhead NY fans and media.

    5. Initially I absolutely hated the idea of bringing in JR Smith even though I think he’s a perfect fit and a productive player. However, after seeing a few interviews I’m willing to give him a shot. He sounded more mature than I expected and his IQ “is” a lot higher than a rock (I heard he was a total immature nitwit).

    6. I still think the Melo deal was horrid and think this recent run with Lin is further evidence of that. A true max player has a huge impact on a team (positive when he’s there and negative when he’s not). Melo is the anti max.

  10. Bruno Almeida

    @20

    agree 100% with you sir.

    I think D’Antoni is a pretty good coach, he’s been showing that he’s not the stubborn guy we thought he was (by playing more players than his usual 8 guy rotations) and his work with Chandler and Lin has been pretty good.

    I still think he’d rather have a different roster, specially one without Melo and this version of Amare, but he’ll have to deal with it.

  11. Brian Cronin

    I don’t know how you could say Melo has been terrible this year. He’s played poorly for awhile now, but those poor games came while he was dealing with injuries and now he had a bad game in his first game back from a two-week stint on the DL. Even with all of those poor games, he’s had a decent enough overall season. That’s with the bad games. Early on, when he was healthy, he was quite good.

  12. Grymm

    Regarding Stat – looking at his February numbers, his FTA is way down. He’s at 5.0/36min on the season and 3.7/36min in February. Also, as mentioned, his jump shot is garbage thus far this season.

    I hope he’s just not in shape. I think it’s sad to hope a guy who makes $20M/yr didn’t bother to keep up with his fitness or jumper in the offseason (working on your 3pt shot? really?), but nursing a back injury, I could see it. He wasn’t flying around playing in a bunch of all-star pickup games. You can still see him run by other power forwards and centers. He still looks quick. *fingers crossed*

  13. Gamecockerbocker

    I don’t get everyone’s love-fest with Landry Fields. I like the guy, I think he’s a good rotational player and he plays hard every night, but aside from rebounding, he’s not great at anything a shooting guard is supposed to do in the NBA. His offensive game has gotten to the point where I’d rather have him drive the lane than take an open three if given a choice between the two. He can’t hit free-throws, though, so even driving the lane leads to problems for him. Also, he gets run ragged on screens and loses his man way too much on defense. Seriously Ray Allen could score thirty points a game on him if Boston focused on that match-up every time we played the way that team sets screens. I’m not advocating moving him or anything like that, but when Smith learns the offense, the coaching staff seriously needs to consider starting him over Fields. Smith defended well against Dallas and was one of the more effective options against D-Will last night. I think if he stays motivated, Smith can be an above average wing defender this year.

    And with Melo, I 100 percent agree with Brian. How can someone argue that “the Melo deal was horrid and think this recent run with Lin is further evidence of that”? In the first game of Linsanity, Melo and Lin played well together. Now Melo comes off an extended stint on the DL and has to integrate himself into a brand new offense and just because he didn’t shoot well and turned the ball over, the two can’t mesh? Give me a break.

  14. Gamecockerbocker

    And by “more effective options” I mean he at least didn’t crap his pants every time Williams touched the ball.

  15. Will the Thrill

    I agree. Extra weight would obviously make him slower/less explosive, and bigger arms can definitely mess up your jump shot. His back may also be the issue too though, but I have a hard time believing that it is his age. Nobody falls off a cliff (athleticism) like this in a year due to age, even with his knees.

    jon abbey:
    I still tend to think the issue with Amare is the extra muscle he put on in the offseason, in which case I think he should get better as the long season wears on. a lot of ugliness right now, though…

  16. Ben R

    Amare’s shot selection:

    Final 4 seasons in Phoenix – 66% of attempts from inside
    Within 9 feet – 9.5 attempts
    Ouside 9 feet – 4.9 attempts

    Last Year – 58% of attempts from inside
    Within 9 feet – 11.0 attempts
    Outside 9 feet – 7.9 attempts

    This year – 51.9% of attempts from inside
    Within 9 feet – 8.1 attempts
    Outside 9 feet – 7.5 attempts

    The troubling thing isn’t the cold shooting from the outside (because that will probably bounce back) or the finishing inside (because, while it is lower than in Phx, it is almost even with last year), the troubling thing is the increasing propensity to shoot from outside. Almost twice as many shots inside as outside in Phoenix to almost 50/50 this year.

    As bigmen get older and less athletic their offense becomes more and more reliant on shots from the outside. This seems to be the case with Amare and even when shooting well from outside Amare is only a 45% shooter on jumpshots. Amare is showing the signs of a player that is not just cold but getting older and less athletic.

    Amare at 50-60% of his prior self offensively is not only not worth a max contract but when combined with his poor defense and mediocre rebounding is barely even a starter.

  17. flossy

    Robert Silverman: Shotblocking is down from 2.1 to .6/game. That’s a better measure of athleticism than rebounding

    Gotta be partly attributable to his role alongside Chandler, though, no? Last year at Center he guarded the rim against the penetration the Knicks backcourt allowed and ended up blocking a fair number of shots as a help defender. Indeed, I even recall our guards and wings funneling people toward him for that very purpose. That is obviously not the case this year (which is a shame, because his D gets worse the farther he gets from the basket).

  18. Juany8

    Part of the problem with Amar’e is that his shot attempts at the rim don’t exist in a vacuum, it’s hard for him to take the ball inside when Chandler is in the game because you need a jump shooter so defenses don’t pack the paint. A similar thing is happening in LA, where Pau Gasol got a lot of looks inside playing with Lamar Odom, but can’t get as many now since Bynum doesn’t have a jump shot. They’ve also had PG problems as bad as ours pre-Lin, which doesn’t help anyone and results in Kobe/Melo taking a bunch of hero shots to try to win games.

    As for the loss yesterday, does anyone realize our offense still isn’t running plays because our new best 5 man lineup has played 1 game together, with no practices? They’ll need a game or 2 to gel properly, and as for all the comments complaining about Melo and Baron’s poor defense, everyone realizes we lost yesterday because Lin was getting laughably abused by Deron Williams every time down the floor? Melo needs to work on his intensity, but there has not been 1 game this year where the offense specifically attacked him. It’s always Lin, Landry, or Amar’e, who are 100% useless in pick and roll defense (Landry is probably worse than Amar’e, I’m hoping his minutes get drastically cut when Shumpert comes back)

  19. d-mar

    Re: Amare – his jump shot last year was pure money, from 15 feet and in almost automatic. I have no problem with him taking jump shots, and I think @19 made a good point – those in-one-motion fadeaway shots never seem to go in. He’s better off catching, squaring up and then letting go, which is what he did successfully for most of last season.

    I also think writing him off completely is way premature, and trading a guy whose stock is way down makes no sense either.

  20. stratomatic

    Brian Cronin:
    I don’t know how you could say Melo has been terrible this year. He’s played poorly for awhile now, but those poor games came while he was dealing with injuries and now he had a bad game in his first game back from a two-week stint on the DL. Even with all of those poor games, he’s had a decent enough overall season. That’s with the bad games. Early on, when he was healthy, he was quite good.

    I qualified it by saying he has been injured and agree he came of the box playing well, but he has unquestionably been bad since his good start and below average overall.

    On a net basis his TS% is so poor this year, his scoring has been a net negative compared to substituting a couple of average players using those possessions instead. That’s partly why we got better when he was off the court.

    Other top players play at less than 100% or come back from a week off all the time and remain productive. If you are inclined to give a pass to players at less than 100%, I have no problem with that. I AGREE as long as you are consistent. (not you but I seem to recall the sounds of fury when Wilson Chandler and even Gallo played hurt and started throwing up bricks from outside)

    I don’t expect him to be this bad all season either, but he has been bad so far. There’s no escaping that.

  21. ess-dog

    flossy: Gotta be partly attributable to his role alongside Chandler, though, no?Last year at Center he guarded the rim against the penetration the Knicks backcourt allowed and ended up blocking a fair number of shots as a help defender.Indeed, I even recall our guards and wings funneling people toward him for that very purpose.That is obviously not the case this year (which is a shame, because his D gets worse the farther he gets from the basket).

    Yes a big part of the problem with Stat is that he just overlaps too much with Chandler. They are both pick and roll bigs who block shots and rebound and can only score efficiently inside.

  22. Caleb

    flossy: Gotta be partly attributable to his role alongside Chandler, though, no?Last year at Center he guarded the rim against the penetration the Knicks backcourt allowed and ended up blocking a fair number of shots as a help defender.

    I was about to say this; also his career shot block average is more like 1.1, aside from last year and one other year when he blocked shots a game.

  23. Nick C.

    Robert Silverman: Shotblocking is down from 2.1 to .6/game. That’s a better measure of athleticism than rebounding

    oh wow I noticed he wasn’t blocking as many shots but that is drastic.

  24. Caleb

    Amare and Walker are brutal on defense, Landry is bad too and Carmelo isn’t much better. Baron’s been good over his career, but he’s 32 and coming off a back injury so we’ll see. With Lin, it’s too early to tell.

    Obviously Shump and Chandler are impact defenders, and Jeffries is pretty good. Harrelson seemed solid as a post defender before he got hurt, although he can’t guard the perimeter. Novak and Bibby, the less said the better.

    IMO Landry and Shump make a nice offense-defense combo on the wing – you can mix them into different lineups, or depending who the opponent is. On the other hand you might conceivably trade them for one genuine really good 2-guard.

  25. stratomatic

    Gamecockerbocker: I don’t get everyone’s love-fest with Landry Fields.

    And with Melo, I 100 percent agree with Brian. How can someone argue that “the Melo deal was horrid and think this recent run with Lin is further evidence of that”? In the first game of Linsanity, Melo and Lin played well together. Now Melo comes off an extended stint on the DL and has to integrate himself into a brand new offense and just because he didn’t shoot well and turned the ball over, the two can’t mesh? Give me a break.

    Fields is just a somewhat above average player, but when he’s on his game he scores efficiently, makes plays, doesn’t turn the ball over a lot, and rebounds well for the position. He’s not great at anything, but he’s solid all around and very smart.

    I don’t recall saying Melo and Lin can’t mesh, but I’d hardly bring out their first game together as evidence of anything. Take a look at that boxscore. They won DESPITE Melo being terrible.

    IMO the issue with Melo is misunderstood anyway. People talk about selfishness, ball stopping etc… but IMO that’s not the problem.

    The issue with him is shot selection and decision making. He has a very high talent level, but a couple of times a game he makes a terrible decision that leads to an unforced TO and 3-4 times a game he takes a terrible shot that lowers his overall shooting efficiency.

    The evidence from advanced stats about his true value IS supported by the results in Denver & NY.

    After the trade Denver got better & NY same/worse.

    Melo got hurt, there was no negative impact offsetting the addition of Lin. The team actually got a lot better.

    Gallo and Nene got hurt, Denver fell off the cliff after playing great.

    We could argue about stats all day, but when players get traded or come in and out of a lineup, you start accumulating evidence that supports or contradicts the…

  26. stratomatic

    ess-dog: Yes a big part of the problem with Stat is that he just overlaps too much with Chandler.They are both pick and roll bigs who block shots and rebound and can only score efficiently inside.

    I agree with this.

    It’s actually worse than that because he overlaps with Melo also.

    Stat’s one elite attribute has always been that he’s a very high usage highly efficient scorer. Other than that he’s pretty much an average PF and probably below average as a defender.

    It makes absolutely no sense for him to play along side another high usage scorer. Some of his shots are simply going to get transferred to the other scorer and reduce his net value as a player. That goes double if the other scorer is taking more long 2s at 40% instead of what Stat might get if he was the #1 option.

    I wasn’t thrilled when we signed Stat and it didn’t lead to James, but he has rally grown on the fan side of me. I simply like him a lot. But IMO he does not fit with either Chandler or Melo.

  27. Garson

    stratomatic: I agree with this. It’s actually worse than that because he overlaps with Melo also. Stat’s one elite attribute has always been that he’s a very high usage highly efficient scorer. Other than that he’s pretty much an average PF and probably below average as a defender. It makes absolutely no sense for him to play along side another high usage scorer. Some of his shots are simply going to get transferred to the other scorer and reduce his net value as a player. That goes double if the other scorer is taking more long 2s at 40% instead of what Stat might get if he was the #1 option. I wasn’t thrilled when we signed Stat and it didn’t lead to James, but he has rally grown on the fan side of me. I simply like him a lot. But IMO he does not fit with either Chandler or Melo.

    Wasnt one of Stats best years playing aside Shaq as a Sun? Shaq was clearly in another league of offense ability compared to Chandler but at that time wasnt really defended outside of the paint.

  28. JK47

    What this team needs more than anything is some stability. They need to grow into a unit. I know there are some that think basketball players are just mindless drones that simply generate WP/48 numbers– hey, I’m a big advocate of advanced stats myself. But this game is more complicated than D’Antonisystem system works when it’s run correctly. The Suns led the league in eFG% by huge margins every year when he was the coach there, and in my opinion we now have the personnel to run that system successfully. We will be better than we are right now. We’ve played one game– ONE– with the full lineup intact.

  29. stratomatic

    Caleb: Like Eric Gordon! Or a PF who plays D.

    I’m not sure a PF that plays D is ideal unless he can also knock down the corner 3. With Chandler as the C, we really need a stretch PF to create more space for the P&R and for Lin to penetrate.

    When I go to Knicks games I will often see Stat shooting dozens of 3s before warmups. He spends a lot of time in the corner too. If he could ever become a 35%-40% shooter from the corner, that would change a lot of things.

  30. Frank

    Meanwhile did anyone catch the ESPN sport science thing on our very own Jeremy Lin? the link on the WWL seems to be broken but here is the youtube version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUmG1xPR4-I

    Pretty crazy stuff if actually true:
    – a first 3 steps like John Wall
    – nearly as fast a spin move as Derrick Rose
    – a faster release than Ray Allen

  31. stratomatic

    Garson: Wasnt one of Stats best years playing aside Shaq as a Sun? Shaq was clearly in another league of offense ability compared to Chandler but at that time wasnt really defended outside of the paint.

    He did have a very good year with Shaq, but I think in general they worked a little differently because Shaq was not a P&R player. I don’t really remember too many of those games but I think Shaq sort of trailed the play and if they didn’t score on the break he was in the post.

    Another thing to consider is that Amare played really well with Turiaf at C, but Turiaf has a decent mid range game and could pass and make plays from the outside. So the space was there.

    Maybe Chandler can develop a little mid range corner shot or something to help give space to Amare too.

  32. Bruno Almeida

    @41

    actually, Shumpert was out, so we didn’t have a full lineup.

    let’s see, I hope it gets better but watching Amare right now is definitely painful.

  33. BigBlueAL

    JK47:
    What this team needs more than anything is some stability. They need to grow into a unit. I know there are some that think basketball players are just mindless drones that simply generate WP/48 numbers– hey, I’m a big advocate of advanced stats myself. But this game is more complicated than D’Antonisystem system works when it’s run correctly. The Suns led the league in eFG% by huge margins every year when he was the coach there, and in my opinion we now have the personnel to run that system successfully. We will be better than we are right now. We’ve played one game– ONE– with the full lineup intact.

    What this team needs is a full training camp and a normal regular season schedule. This season is going to be a roller-coaster ride for the rest of the season. If the Knicks can get out of the 7/8 seeds than they have a chance of winning a playoff series and having a nice little playoff run. If not then they will be done in 5 games most likely.

    The real key is this off-season. As much as people complain Im pretty sure Chandler/Amar’e/Melo will be the starting frontcourt for the next 3 seasons. Lin should be the starting PG for years to come so the key will be how they fill out the rest of the roster. Most importantly to me is who will be the coach next season. I really hope D’Antoni gets a chance to coach this team next season.

  34. Z-man

    I know that the Melo and Amare haters will use every loss as an opportunity to say “told you so” and to propose trades to ditch the big salaries. Why can’t people just chill for the time being until this team gets a few games under its belt with JR, Baron, and both Amare and Melo (and Jorts!) back in the mix? I really don’t get it. After the Mavs game, just about everybody out there in the media was talking about how dangerous and deep the Knicks looked. One game later, the folks here are looking to break up the team. I just don’t get it.

  35. Z-man

    Re: Amare, it has to be the back. 15 lbs of muscle would not immobilize hime to the point where he can’t defend, block shots or get to the line anywhere near the way he did in the past.

  36. Caleb

    ess-dog: Ask and ye shall receive:http://basketball.realgm.com/wiretap/219120/Marvin_Williams_Would_Like_Trade_From_Hawks

    He’d be a nice fit between Chandler and Melo.

    I see a lot of the Hawks… Marvin’s ok but he’s not an upgrade from Stat. No point trading young guys for more mid-rotation filler.

    I was more thinking of a long-term starter type, someone who could give us 35 mpg – let Amare back up both bigs and play 25-30.

    Like, oh, say, Josh Smith. Although I don’t see a way to make the salaries wor.

    re: D, I don’t think it would be too hard to upgrade from Jared Jeffries. Tyrus Thomas? Chris Anderson?

  37. Frank

    First – as I’ve said before, I’d rather we just see how this group does going forward as opposed to changing up the roster AGAIN.

    If someone hits us a with a no-brainer trade offer, that’s another story – but we need to be careful about the cap situation going forward. It is already highly likely that we will be over luxury tax territory in 2013-14 when the cap drops – once that happens we will be really hamstrung to get this kind of depth ever again. Fact is that we will need to find a lot of guys that can play a very important role making 1-2M/year. Trading 3 of them for one guy making 7-8 is only going to make our depth issue much worse in the future, right when Amare is of questionable health, TC will be in his 30s, etc.

    One thing that is helping us though – Linsanity must be really jacking up the BRI this year. If the big-market Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, and Clippers are really good the next few years, hopefully the overall revenues will go up so much that the cap won’t be lowered that much.

  38. Caleb

    @51 We are basically capped out badly through 2015 anyway… of course hitting the luxury tax would keep us from using the mid-level, so you wouldn’t want to make that trade unless you’re getting a player better than what you could likely get with the mid-level. That seems to be the right bar, to consider.

    Anyway, I would not be looking for a major shakeup – just pointing out that we have enough depth to play the trade market as an option.

  39. PC

    @51 – I totally agree. I like our current roster (and even more with Harrelson playing). I can’t wait to see what this team looks like (if healthy) going into the playoffs after playing the second half of the season together.

  40. Frank

    btw – what do people here think is the MINIMUM advancement in the playoffs for MDA to get an extension?

    IMHO – unless we lose badly in the first round (ie. 4-0 or 4-1 in a series that isn’t close) I’d like the see MDA get 2 more years. We’ve already been gifted a PG that seems very well suited to his system, and we’ve already seen that this team did not give up on him even when they were 8-15. They play hard for him, they seem to like him. And he STILL hasn’t been given a real training camp and roster at the same time even though this is his 4th year here.

    Good blog by Hahn today, noticing that after the ASB there is an entire week with only 1 game — that is enough time for what would essentially be a mini-training camp. Hopefully we will see big strides by the offense after that.

    http://www.msg.com/blogs/alan-hahn/the-knicks-fix-the-necessary-evil-1.83980

  41. d-mar

    @48 I agree, we can’t panic after every loss, BUT if we’re going to gel, we need to do it sooner rather than later. Here are some strength of schedule numbers for the rest of the season for teams that we hope to pass in the standings. (The Knicks have had the easiest schedule in the Eastern Conference so far BTW):

    Winning % of teams left on schedule:

    NY 52%
    Boston 52%
    Atlanta 47%
    Indiana 48%
    Orlando 49%

    Plus we come out of the gate after the AS break with 4 out of 5 on the road, including Boston, Dallas and SA. From this point forward, we really can’t afford any more losses to supposed inferior teams.

  42. er

    Wow Michael Kay just said Melo is NYKs Arod…..sadly it looks like itch be true…the major difference is that amare(jeter) doesn’t have any rings …but in alotta aspects it’s kinda eerily similar and as a Yankees fan it bothers me

  43. Gamecockerbocker

    Caleb: I see a lot of the Hawks… Marvin’s ok but he’s not an upgrade from Stat. No point trading young guys for more mid-rotation filler.

    I was more thinking of a long-term starter type, someone who could give us 35 mpg – let Amare back up both bigs and play 25-30.

    Like, oh, say, Josh Smith. Although I don’t see a way to make the salaries wor.

    re: D, I don’t think it would be too hard to upgrade from Jared Jeffries. Tyrus Thomas? Chris Anderson?

    I live 3 hours outside of Charlotte. Watch a lot of Bobcats games… Tyrus Thomas has been nothing short of horrible. Doesn’t do anything well for that team. Idk about Anderson, though.

  44. Shad0wF0x

    I’d like to hold on to JJ since he seems to be willing to play for the smallest amount that the team can give him. That’s good value for money IMO.

  45. BigBlueAL

    er:
    Wow Michael Kay just said Melo is NYKs Arod…..sadly it looks like itch be true…the major difference is that amare(jeter) doesn’t have any rings …but in alotta aspects it’s kinda eerily similar and as a Yankees fan it bothers me

    I wish Melo was as good as Arod.

  46. Doug

    er:
    Wow Michael Kay just said Melo is NYKs Arod…..sadly it looks like itch be true…the major difference is that amare(jeter) doesn’t have any rings …but in alotta aspects it’s kinda eerily similar and as a Yankees fan it bothers me

    I don’t listen to Kay’s analysis on any sport, baseball, basketball, or otherwise.

  47. d-mar

    er:
    Wow Michael Kay just said Melo is NYKs Arod…..sadly it looks like itch be true…the major difference is that amare(jeter) doesn’t have any rings …but in alotta aspects it’s kinda eerily similar and as a Yankees fan it bothers me

    Michael Kay is a dope, the other day I actually heard him use the words: “That’s just the way I feel, and if you don’t like it, too bad” Very mature.

  48. villainx

    I listened to Kay show a little yesterday. Classic bait and switch or straw man arguments. He was being righteous about the fact that he can criticize Lin’s game, or not have to deal with criticism from others when he criticizes Lin. Saying that his turnover and foul shooting are real problem areas.

    Of course, of the few callers that reasonably argue about high usage and the system to mitigate some of the negatives that come with high turnovers, he brings up Steve Nash’s best year, and then say turn to say that his criticism is valid because Lin hasn’t been a great foul shooter.

    I mean, no one would argue with the foul shooting part, but fairly criticizing the foul shooting problem doesn’t mean that the turnover criticism shouldn’t be given some more perspective or nuance.

  49. max fisher-cohen

    My dream trade would be something like this: http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=6tvx4g6

    Knicks get Camby to backup Chandler, J. Smith to start at the 4, and N. Batum to play SF in place of Anthony. They become an incredible defensive team with all NBA level defensive talent at all the forward positions. Smith can still run the floor and play the role man like STAT, and Batum is a great 3 point shooter to keep the floor spaced.

  50. Owen

    Max – That lineup sort of suggests that defense is as important as offense. And everyone who is a student of recent Knicks history knows that’s not true.

  51. ess-dog

    I don’t know why people here are such fans of Josh Smith – eFG of .468? No thanks. Can’t hit the 3, average passer… sure he defends well through athleticism, but he’s getting older. I can understand three years ago but now… what’s the point?

    Maybe when Jorts returns we can adjust Amare’s minutes to have him in the 2nd unit more. If Jorts can be a solid defender and a three-ball threat, we could give Amare the early hook if need be and then stagger him against Chandler.

    As a center with Jeffries, Shump, JR and Baron he could be very effective, especially against 2nd teamers. It would help his confidence too.

  52. max fisher-cohen

    Josh Smith is 26. If you’re worried about his athleticism declining, then you should be sweating bullets about the 29 year old Stoudemire.

  53. massive

    I don’t like any trades unless the player coming in is a clear upgrade over the player going out. There are no clear, or even marginal, upgrades for Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire on the market right now. Besides, the team has yet to have all members of the rotation healthy. With Jeremy Lin running the show, he’ll make all of our players better. He made Jared Jeffries and Steve Novak fan favorites. Let’s just watch the kid resurrect the reputations of our 2 “stars,” because I’m sure he’ll do it. We probably have the most talented roster in the NBA, and if the pieces come together, we have a shot at contending for a championship this season. I have a good feeling about this roster, so I don’t see a need for a trade. At least not yet.

  54. jon abbey

    Chandler can’t be traded until March 1 anyway, so there’s your week.

    again, if you can get one of the best two players in the league who is still only 26, you blow it up yet again and do just that, then build around him for the next five years. sorry if people are sick of hearing trade talk, but that’s one reason why this site should have threads in a forum and not just one active discussion at a time (I know, I lost this battle a few years ago, just saying).

  55. Owen

    Jon – I can still remember the tumbleweeds blowing through the site when we had our separate thread experiment.

    Josh Smith is a chucker but I’d much rather have him than Stoudemire. Great defensive player, another guy for Lin to throw lobs too, and I think there would be some balance with him, Melo, and T-1000 out there. Sign me up for that trade….

  56. Brian Cronin

    I don’t like any trades unless the player coming in is a clear upgrade over the player going out. There are no clear, or even marginal, upgrades for Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire on the market right now.

    The second-best player in the NBA is on the market right now. As is Pau Gasol.

  57. massive

    Brian Cronin: The second-best player in the NBA is on the market right now. As is Pau Gasol.

    Well, I know that. I guess I should say there are no players on the Knicks’ radar. Either of Gasol and Howard would be an upgrade, but that’s not likely to happen. Grunwald has already stated that the Knicks were done dealing, so any trade talk is really a moot point.

  58. Brian Cronin

    Well, I know that. I guess I should say there are no players on the Knicks’ radar. Either of Gasol and Howard would be an upgrade, but that’s not likely to happen. Grunwald has already stated that the Knicks were done dealing, so any trade talk is really a moot point.

    While I do believe that the Knicks are unlikely to make a trade, when a GM says something like “we’re done dealing,” that means about as much as Brian Cashman stating that Bubba Crosby was going to be the Yankees’ center fielder in 2006 (right before they signed Johnny Damon to a big free agent contract).

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