Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Filling Out the Roster: Options at Backup Center

ESPN New York beat writer Jared Zwerling is saying that the Knicks plan to fill out the roster with two bigs, two point guards, and a wing. Two PGs seems a bit excessive. I’d be a little surprised if that were the mix. I take a look at some available players who could fill the various roles. I’m not going to include much on the guys we already know (e.g., Kenyon Martin, Jerome Jordan, Chris Smith).

Players are listed in no particular order, with links to each player page at basketball-reference.com. I also think NBA.com has a pretty good free agent tracker.

BACKUP CENTER OPTIONS

  • Samuel Dalembert – If you’re looking for a “poor man’s” Tyson Chandler then Dalembert should probably be your top target for the rest of the mini-MLE. The Negatives: He’s 31 and he’s been out of shape. Not “Big Snacks” out-of-shape, but he only played 47 games for Milwaukee last season. He got into Scott Skiles notoriously roomy dog house and got benched. The Positives: Despite that, Dalembert had a fairly typical season in 2012–a season the Knicks could sorely use. He shot well (TS: .563), rebounded nicely (O%-14.2, D%-22.9), and wasn’t far off his career avg. for blocks (5.1 vs. 5.6%). Overall: This guy is about as good as there is in traditional centers if you’re not looking for upside. There may eventually be some comp from other playoff teams but it hasn’t emerged yet.
  • Cole Aldrich – I admit to liking Aldrich when he came out of Kansas. I thought he’d become a Collison-quality big man. The Negatives: Hard to say since he hasn’t gotten much run in the league. I suppose that’s a negative. Statistically he’s been a bit of a turnover machine, but so are a lot of bigs who don’t get consistent minutes. He’s hardly old at 25 this season, but you can’t really play the upside card anymore. The Positives: His excellent college rebounding and shot-blocking have translated to limited minutes in the NBA. This guy just needs a little run. Overall: Aldrich could be a Jeremy Lin-style find. I’m NOT talking Lin-level talent, but just a useful guy that probably fell between the cracks. It’d be hard to argue with Aldrich on a minimum contract.
  • Elton Brand – I have to say, Brand may be getting a little too much love from the Knick faithful. The Negatives: His rising fouls per 36 (4.5/36 last season) are a major red flag. As is his declining efficiency. He’s been a below average to awful shooter for most of the past five seasons. He was nuclear winter cold in Dallas in just 21 MPG. The Positives: On defense he still rebounds and blocks shots. I love that. He’s still a useful passer, even though his assist rate has declined. Overall: For the kind of money we’re talking he’d be an okay signing. I just think we can do about as well or better for probably the same money. We signed four old guys last off-season and got, oh, about a quarter-season’s worth of actual backup for Chandler.
  • Brandan Wright – The Negatives: He is an undersized center (not power forward) in the extreme. He is listed at 6’9″ and #205 on BB-reference. He played a career high 64 games last season, his fifth. The Positives: There is a lot to like if you understand what you’re getting. Wright is a consistently good shooter (career .594 TS) and rebounder at both ends (O%-9.1; D%-16.4). He even blocks a couple shots (2.3/36). Overall: A portion of the mini-MLE seems to be precisely what he’s worth, but the market for him seems deeper. He’s on everybody’s list as a guy they’d like to get cheap. Someone seems destined to overpay.
  • Timofey Mozgov – The rumor mill has it that Mozgov has interest from Russia on a four year deal, which means he’s not likely on NY’s radar.
  • Greg StiemsmaThe Negatives: He was just turrbull on offense for Minnesota, who waived him, after good rookie season with Boston. He does not appear to have an NBA-quality offensive skill. The Positives: I see a Jared Jeffries-type, who rebounds, plays good position defense, and can even block a shots (3.2/36). He could be a decent end-of-bench vet if, for instance, paired with another big man that can score. Someone like…
  • Josh Harrellson – Yeah, we all know what Jorts brings to the table. But you may not know he went for 30 and 23 for Chongqing FD (China) earlier this month.
  • Byron MullensThe Negatives: He seems like a crappier version of what Bargnani is now. He took over five triples/36, hitting only 31.7%. He didn’t do much else and Charlotte gave up on him. The Positives: He’s an okay defensive rebounder and can pass a bit. Overall: The Lakers are sniffing around. I have little interest in bidding for this guy.
  • Chris WilcoxThe Positives & Negatives: He shot the bejeezus out of the ball for Boston last year, but did so on basically career-low minutes and usage in only 61 games. I have always liked Wilcox, but I think you’re a fool if you pay him above the minimum.

 

43 comments on “Filling Out the Roster: Options at Backup Center

  1. Vinny L.

    This will be another quiet day from the Knicks front office.

    Knicks are being outbid for quality impact players because their MLE was wasted.

    Knicks best bet: PG: Brooks SF: World Peace C: Dalembert

  2. TDM

    Is there any real chance that the Knicks can bring KMart back? I heard rumblings that the Nets are interested, however no offers have been presented yet that I know of. I’d live to have Kenyon and Jorts on our bench behind Chandler.

    Regarding pgs, I know he can be a knucklehead at times, but I’m a bit shocked that no team has made a play for N8. I think we could use him as another scoring option off the bench. I also really like Scott Machado from Iona. He’s a pass-first pg with good court vision.

    Artest to fill the wing position seems a great fit, talent-wise. However, I’d be a bit concerned that we would be signing another guy that will be eating Vaseline by mid-season.

  3. Frank O.

    I don’t see how they don’t take a veteran player like Artest.
    But I also don’t know how Artest would handle diminished minutes if his productivity isn’t what it needs to be. With him there, you know have a logjam at the 3 and 4, with Melo playing some three, but probably more 4, and then Amare playing less 4 and some 5 and Bargnani relegated to backing up the 5 and getting scant few minutes at the 4.
    Bargnani isn’t that important if you get Artest. I just would rather see Melo at the 3 because I don’t seem him sustaining the beating he would take at the 4.
    Ruru:
    Honestly, do you think Melo’s body will hold up to playing the 4?

  4. Frank O.

    Nate had an amazing series, but we already have JR and I feel like that’s enough “personality” for one team. Having two guys like that could be a problem.
    And at least JR plays D, when interested. Nate is a defensive liability. I’d also like to see Nate sustain good play over a season, not just in a series.

  5. Hubert

    I’m not going to lie, the Prigioni signing is starting to piss me off, too!

    I like Prigs and I wanted him back, but I don’t think you can split your mini-MLE in this market. The remaining part of the mini-MLE is barely greater than the vet’s minimum so it’s not appealing to anyone you want to sign.

    Prigioni is not as good as guys who are signing for the full mini-MLE. Would he have gotten a biannual exception somewhere? Maybe. I don’t know.

    I think we would have been better off using our entire mini-MLE on a better player (not Nate Robinson, Vinny!) than giving part of it to Prigioni and essentially wasting the other half.

    Of course, it remains to be seen what happens with that remaining bit of the exception. I’m not optimistic anymore.

    (Question: You can’t add the remainder of the mini-MLE to the vet’s minimum, right? For instance, we can only offer Brand or Martin the vet’s minimum. We can’t offer the vet’s minimum plus the remainder, right?)

  6. DCrockett17 Post author

    Vinny,

    The only case you could make for another PG in NY’s price range is Darren Collison. I’d have loved that move, but once the Clips moved Bledsoe no way Collison signs with NY for the same money. A backup PG isn’t a luxury for NY. In fact, we still need another. Felton shouldn’t be playing 34 minutes a night.

  7. chrisk06811

    Do we have any advanced stats on Jorts 30 / 23 for Chongging? pts and reb don’t do it for me.

    Hey……why do we talk about a jarred jeffries type, without talking about Jarred Jeffries? Didn’t he also have a cool middle name?

  8. Hubert

    DCrockett17:
    Vinny,

    The only case you could make for another PG in NY’s price range is Darren Collison. I’d have loved that move, but once the Clips moved Bledsoe no way Collison signs with NY for the same money. A backup PG isn’t a luxury for NY. In fact, we still need another. Felton shouldn’t be playing 34 minutes a night.

    Collison signed for 1 year, $1.9mm with an option for year 2.

    We could have offered him 3 years, $9mm had we not gone in with Prigioni right away.

    In retrospect, it’s looking like we should have at least been more patient. I think we might have been able to get Prigioni for the qualifying offer amount of $1mm.

  9. RicanKnick

    How about my fellow countryman J.J. Barea from Minny in a trade! Do you guys think that could happen??

  10. AvonBarksdale

    I think moves are based on how Woodson would utilize people and since he is so hesitant to give certain players appropriate burn while favoring other players it’s possible our moves are even more limited than just who will take what money…i think jorts could be consistent with limited minutes and not fluctuate too much based on “his role” within any of our various dynamics or chemistry issues. Felton at times last season seemed to get frustrated with how things were run, Chandler obviously, Melo at times with the Refs, Prigs had to find a flow, so i think Jorts could quietly just maintain whatever production we’re asking for. World Peace would def. want and deserve more attention and his minutes alone could cause an issue if Woodson starts acting retarded which he will at some point. At this point i’d prefer we just start focusing on pushing Jerome Jordan to be a rebounding defensive machine and actually develop someone than hope someone has a banner year for minimum contract..the dude said he’s hungry, it’s been long enough start cracking the whip a while ago and maybe he’s 12th man 3rd big already. We really can’t afford Nate would like him back also..I think Prigs will earn his money and thensome not his fault we overpaid Amare and Chandler and Smith.

  11. Vinny L.

    @DCrockett17

    Former Pacer PF Tyler Hansbrough goes to the Raptors for a rumored 3 mill per:

    http://www.thestar.com/sports/raptors/2013/07/09/as_andrea_bargnani_departs_work_begins_for_raptors.html

    Imagine this:

    PG: Ray Felton, Aaron Brooks
    SG: Shump, J.R.
    SF: Melo, World Peace
    PF: K-Mart, Tyler Hansbrough, Amar’e
    C: Tyson Chandler, Samuel Dalembert

    PG Will Bynum re-signs with Pistons for 3 mill per:

    http://www.detroitbadboys.com/2013/7/9/4506014/2013-nba-free-agency-will-bynum-contract-detroit-pistons-cap

  12. Vinny L.

    I forgot to add Bargnani to my imaginary lineup.

    PG: Ray Felton, Aaron Brooks
    SG: Shump, J.R.
    SF: Melo, World Peace
    PF: K-Mart, Tyler Hansbrough, Amar’e
    C: Tyson Chandler, Samuel Dalembert, Bargnani

  13. Garson

    Nothing like a NY post speculation from one of the premier Dumbasses in the universe in Marc Berman

    Andrea Bargnani – F/C – Knicks The New York Post speculates that Andrea Bargnani “might not start” for the Knicks next season.
    “[The Knicks] envision [Bargnani] finishing games as a primary option down the stretch,” according to Marc Berman. “They love his range and feel he can score in the low post.” Carmelo Anthony was very successful playing at PF last season, but it’s hard to imagine New York paying a combined $32.4 million for two backup PF/Cs in Bargnani and Amare Stoudemire. It’s also hard to believe that they “love” his shooting range (30.4 percent from downtown since 2011-12) or low-post presence (0.86 points per possession in the post last season, with historically bad rebounding numbers).

  14. DCrockett17 Post author

    Hubert: Collison signed for 1 year, $1.9mm with an option for year 2.

    We could have offered him 3 years, $9mm had we not gone in with Prigioni right away.

    In retrospect, it’s looking like we should have at least been more patient.I think we might have been able to get Prigioni for the qualifying offer amount of $1mm.

    Collison at 3 for $9m strikes me as pricey, especially when we have other positions to address and the Knicks are clearing space for the summer after next. Given what we are looking at in the East, we really need a legit backup C. I’d much rather have Prigioni and, say, Dalembert split the mini-MLE than have Collison and then K-Mart on a minimum deal.

  15. DCrockett17 Post author

    Vinny L.:
    @DCrockett17

    Former Pacer PF Tyler Hansbrough goes to the Raptors for a rumored 3 mill per:

    I have always liked Hansborough. I hated that Indy extended him a sizable QO, and really didn’t think anyone would match it. I wonder how the Raps will use him because I thought Indy really made a mess of his offense. He always struck me as a guy who would be more impactful in a PnR offense. He’s got range out to 18 feet.

  16. Keniman Shumpwalker

    Vinny L.:
    I forgot to add Bargnani to my imaginary lineup.

    PG: Ray Felton, Aaron Brooks
    SG: Shump, J.R.
    SF: Melo, World Peace
    PF: K-Mart, Tyler Hansbrough, Amar’e
    C: Tyson Chandler, Samuel Dalembert, Bargnani

    You’re insane if you think Hansbrough AND K-Mart should be ahead of (a healthy) STAT on the depth chart. Psycho-T is a fouling machine who is actually a bad defender (don’t be fooled by his frenetic scrambling) and K-Mart will not hold up getting anything close to starters minutes over the course of a full season. Also, the spacing nightmare that a K-Mart/Chandler front court pairing brings is not worth the defensive boost he’d provide. K-Mart, if here, is an ideal backup 4/5, not a starter.

    I’m with the Aaron Brooks move, he’d be fine, and I would LOVE to see Artest here. Dalembert is another head case but he’s still a reasonably effective rim-protector so at the vets min, sure.

  17. EB

    Vinny L.:
    This will be another quiet day from the Knicks front office.

    Knicks are being outbid for quality impact players because their MLE was wasted.

    Knicks best bet: PG: Brooks SF: World Peace C: Dalembert

    How about we wait and see what they do with the rest of their money before saying they made a poor decision, huh? And I still don’t see anything wrong with Prigioni who had a .595 TS% last year.

  18. Hubert

    DCrockett17: I’d much rather have Prigioni and, say, Dalembert split the mini-MLE than have Collison and then K-Mart on a minimum deal.

    What I’m saying, though, is that splitting the mini-MLE seems to not be feasible.

    If you’re Samuel Dalembert, you can take our remaining part of the mini-MLE, or you can take the vet’s minimum somewhere else. It’s the same amount!

    Prigioni was such a unique case: a 35 year old rookie who was ineligible for the vet’s minimum but not really good enough for the whole mini-MLE.

    He ended up taking only part of the mini-MLE, but he might as well have taken the whole thing.

  19. TDM

    If Stiemsma is getting $2.7M, you can pretty much scratch everyone off the above list with the exceptions of Jorts and possibly Wilcox.

  20. EB

    Hubert: What I’m saying, though, is that splitting the mini-MLE seems to not be feasible.

    If you’re Samuel Dalembert, you can take our remaining part of the mini-MLE, or you can take the vet’s minimum somewhere else.It’s the same amount!

    Prigioni was such a unique case: a 35 year old rookie who was ineligible for the vet’s minimum but not really good enough for the whole mini-MLE.

    He ended up taking only part of the mini-MLE, but he might as well have taken the whole thing.

    +/- $300,000 is not the same amount.

  21. jon abbey

    the vet’s minimum varies depending on service time, for younger guys the remaining part of the mini-MLE is a lot more.

  22. Frank

    Hubert: Prigioni was such a unique case: a 35 year old rookie who was ineligible for the vet’s minimum but not really good enough for the whole mini-MLE.

    He ended up taking only part of the mini-MLE, but he might as well have taken the whole thing.

    I think we need to see how things settle out before we start condemning this. The Collison deal seems remarkably under-market, and likely happened because a) the Clips are looking really really good, b) Doc Rivers apparently has some cachet that other coaches (including ours) don’t have, and c) probably most importantly, he’s from LA.

    Other than that, I’m not sure guys like Will Bynum, Tyler Hansbrough, etc. are guys that are “must-haves” on this team. What we need on this team are ballhandlers that are unselfish and move the ball (ie. Prigioni), a real wing defender, and a true big that can defend and rebound. Will Bynum, Aaron Brooks, etc. are luxuries– a 3rd PG. Bynum is another shoot first undersized SG in a PG’s body. Brooks has been utterly forgettable. Hansbrough is basically a replacement level player at a position that we have too many of anyway.

    Ultimately what splitting the MLE did was ensure that we get Pablo back (his agent said 3 other teams were interested FWIW) and that if a player has a choice between 1.7MM and 1.4MM vet’s minimum, they’ll take the 1.7. Maybe that’s Kenyon Martin. Maybe that’s Elton Brand, although it sounds like that ship has sailed. Amazingly enough, 1.7 is exactly what Chris Andersen signed for — and maybe that’s why he signed back with MIA rather than going elsewhere for the minimum.

    Lol – probably 99.9% of the posters here make <300K per year and here we are debating whether 1.4 and 1.7M are the same number.

  23. Hubert

    EB: +/- $300,000 is not the same amount.

    It will be after he pays New York State and New York City taxes, unfortunately.

    I really wish the NBA would balance that out, by the way, by letting teams in places like NY offer incrementally more than teams in Texas and Florida so that $3 million from the Knicks wasn’t 18% less than $3 million from the Heat.

  24. Hubert

    Frank: I think we need to see how things settle out before we start condemning this.

    This is true, and I did say:

    “Of course, it remains to be seen what happens with that remaining bit of the exception. I’m not optimistic anymore.”

    I’m not condemning it. I’m just becoming pessimistic about our chances of getting two quality players with the mini-MLE.

  25. Frank

    Hubert: I’m not condemning it. I’m just becoming pessimistic about our chances of getting two quality players with the mini-MLE.

    FWIW I think Pablo is worth the whole mini-MLE for this team. His skill set is exactly what the Knicks need – low usage, smart, high efficiency, unselfish. I’d much rather have him for 2 years than Will Bynum given how many other scoring options we have. I sorta feel like you can find a high usage scoring little guy for the vet’s minimum — like JL III for instance. Now maybe Elton Brand would be someone we could have gotten for the full mini-MLE but I still think Pablo’s skill set is more of a fit for this team.

  26. Frank

    And meanwhile I still think it’s a small possibility that Nate signs somewhere for the vet’s minimum. His #s the last 2 years have been identical, and after the 10-11 and 11-12 seasons, he ended up settling for the minimum.

  27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Dalembert was awesome last year. If he’s a mini-MLE player, this league is full of retarded Sportscenter fans in the front office.

  28. Hubert

    I’ll be happier when we have a backup center in the fold. It’s such a critical position to this team.

    If the extra $300k gets us martin or brand, then it’s all good.

  29. mokers

    I think all of this trouble of splitting the mMLE for Pablo was well worth it. Didn’t he essentially take over the Jason Kidd role on the team in terms of ball movement? Kidd was valuable in that he could guard bigger players, but with a full year of Shumpert, that is not likely as necessary this year.

    I am hesitant on MWP because I am not sure he is going to want to go down to 15-20 minutes a game. Then I think about it again and he would be a very good piece to have if any of the wing players get into foul trouble. But if he is playing second unit minutes it means more pressure on JR to initiate offense and we know that can turn into step-back jumpers 22ft in a hurry.

    I still think a backup big man is the number 1 priority over a 3rd PG. We need to make sure Chandler’s minutes are low enough that he has enough in the tank by the time playoffs come around.

  30. JK47

    Here’s why the Knicks need MWP:

    You can’t count on either Stat or Bargnani to stay healthy. Even if Bargnani is healthy, you can’t count on him to be productive.

    Say the playoffs roll around, and Stat and Bargnani are both on the shelf– not an unlikely scenario, everybody would have to admit. Wouldn’t you want a guy like MWP, who is durable, to be around? Metta plays 2,000 minutes a year, every year, never breaks down.

  31. JK47

    Chris Andersen is going back to the Heat, which is sort of a good news/bad news proposition for the Knicks. The bad news is that Chris Andersen is pretty awesome and makes the Heat a lot tougher to beat. The good news is that now maybe the Heat aren’t interested in Sam Dalembert, who clearly wants to go to Miami.

    Oh, who am I kidding. Dalembert is probably ALSO going to go to Miami.

  32. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    JK47:
    Chris Andersen is going back to the Heat, which is sort of a good news/bad news proposition for the Knicks.The bad news is that Chris Andersen is pretty awesome and makes the Heat a lot tougher to beat.The good news is that now maybe the Heat aren’t interested in Sam Dalembert, who clearly wants to go to Miami.

    Oh, who am I kidding.Dalembert is probably ALSO going to go to Miami.

    Barring huge drop-offs from their aging players, they’d win 70 games. I can’t imagine how good they’d be with both of them. I think only Chandler would be a better fit than those two.

  33. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    johnno: Funny guy this THCJ…

    He was third in the league in ORB% but he didn’t qualify for MP. Do you really think that this is a bad thing?

  34. johnno

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: but he didn’t qualify for MP

    I would think that a team that is desperately trying to win games would have figured out a way to get an “awesome” performer into games enough for him to qualify for MP…

  35. Juany8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Dalembert was awesome last year. If he’s a mini-MLE player, this league is full of retarded Sportscenter fans in the front office.

    You’re absolutely right. He’s actually vet min player, nobody is stupid enough to waste assets on a guy that gets benched by his teams every year

  36. JK47

    Dalembert is very talented, but he is one lazy SOB. He is certainly a better player than some of the guys who got minutes over him in Milwaukee, but I can’t blame a coach for benching a guy who is blatantly, obviously not playing hard.

  37. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    johnno: I would think that a team that is desperately trying to win games would have figured out a way to get an “awesome” performer into games enough for him to qualify for MP…

    There’s a difference between being [productive and lazy] and being [unproductive and hard-working]. I can see why a coach would prefer the latter, but the numbers (.56 TS%, 14.2 ORB%) say that he is one hell of a productive player for a guy who doesn’t try.

  38. Juany8

    JK47:
    Dalembert is very talented, but he is one lazy SOB. He is certainly a better player than some of the guys who got minutes over him in Milwaukee, but I can’t blame a coach for benching a guy who is blatantly, obviously not playing hard.

    There’s a reason he keeps being blown around the league. You will notice that the rockets will show zero interest in him… Ever. Saying dalembert is good because of his stats is like saying monta Ellis is an all star because he scores a lot. You’re looking at the wrong measures of value.

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