Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Game Preview & Thread: Knicks @ Blazers

You could make the case that every week of this season has been Hell Week for the Knicks. You definitely could. However, what the Knicks have in store for them this week is pretty heinous. The Knicks have the Blazers, Clippers and Nuggets all on the road this week. Weeeee! 

First up in this week’s potential blood bath, the Portland Trail Blazers. To help get a better sense of what the Knicks are up against tonight NBA Writer Sean Highkin of USA TODAY and Chris Lucia of Blazersedge stopped by to engage in some light chin-wagging. 

The Portland Trail Blazers are 12-2, which is pretty surprising, right? What has been the biggest reason behind their hot start? Can they keep it up?

Chase Thomas (@ChaseThomasSBN) : The Blazers hot start is surprising to some degree. The Western Conference is incredibly deep this and year, and even though the Blazers haven’t had the most difficult schedule they’re still winning and doing so in a way that you can’t really call their hot start a fluke. Obviously their three-point shooting has been a big reason why the Blazers are 12-2, but their newfound depth may be biggest reason they keep it up all season.

Sean Highkin (@highkin) : I’m not surprised that the Blazers are off to a much better start than anything they showed last season. Did I expect them to be this good? Certainly not. But going into the offseason, they had two major areas of need: a starting center who can play defense (i.e. not J.J. Hickson) and a bench. Last season, their best reserve players were Ronnie Price, Luke Babbitt and Sasha Pavlovic. When any of their starters came out of the game, it was a disaster. Having the likes of Dorell Wright, Mo Williams and Thomas Robinson on the bench this year makes all the difference in the world.

Chris Lucia (@ChrisLucia_BE) : To be honest, I really didn’t see this hot of a start as realistic prior to the season. Blazers GM Neil Olshey added some much-needed depth to the Portland bench this offseason and signed Robin Lopez, a starting-caliber center. It was tough to not be excited about the new acquisitions considering the 2012-13 Blazers squad featured the least-productive bench in the entire NBA and coach Terry Stotts had no reasonable choice but to start 6’9” power forward J.J. Hickson at center.

The defense was bad, the starters played too many minutes and Portland ended the season on a 13-game losing streak, so just about any free-agent trade or signing felt like an upgrade at that point.

Stotts uses an offensive system that allows his outside shooters to consistently get open looks via ball movement and guard penetration that breaks down opposing defenses. Guards Wesley Matthews, Damian Lillard and forward Nicolas Batum have all been at or above 40 percent from downtown on the season, with Matthews making half of his three-point attempts. That means Portland has three deep threats in the starting lineup alone, with guard Mo Williams and forward Dorrel Wright coming off the bench, both of whom are capable of scoring three-pointers in bursts.

Aldridge has continued his All-Star level of play, taking more shots than he ever has in a season and Lopez has had a huge impact on the boards, not only individually but also in terms of team-rebounding, as well. The defense opts to pressure the three-point line heavily and usually relies on guarding teams one-on-one without sagging much, sacrificing points in the paint and the mid-range shot. The philosophy is based on the notion that the three-pointer is the most efficient shot in basketball and mid-range twos are the opposite. So far, the Blazers have been hammered inside but have defended the arc better than any team in the NBA, and thus you see a 12-2 start to the year.

Is this level of play sustainable? Not likely; Matthews has no doubt improved his game, but he’ll probably cool off a bit eventually. The Blazers have also been fortunate enough to largely avoid injuries – knock on wood – and at some point or another, rotational guys will miss some time. But Stotts has proven his gameplan is effective on both ends of the court, even with a fairly soft schedule to start the season. Portland probably won’t end the season atop the Western Conference, but they’ve certainly raised the ceiling of where most prognosticators had them, which was typically somewhere around the edge of the playoff picture, one way or the other.

Wes Matthews, Nicolas Batum, Dorell Wright, Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson and Robin Lopez have done a nifty job complementing Lillard and Aldridge so far this season. Which role player is the most important cog in the Blazers’ stellar offensive machine?
Chase: Wesley Matthews seems like the logical choice here. Matthews leads the team in PER, is lighting it up from beyond the arc, and is a great defender. Lopez does deserve a lot of praise as well for shoring up the Blazers frontline defensively. Lopez staying healthy may be the sneakiest most important piece to keeping the Blazers atop the Western Conference.
Sean:  It has to be Matthews. He’s always been a good three-point shooter (somewhere in the 38-40% range every season of his career) but this season, he’s shooting the lights out. His 56.8% mark from the field is the sixth-highest in the league, and the highest of any guard. His 52.5% mark from beyond the arc is also sixth-best in the NBA. Outside of LaMarcus Aldridge, he’s been the single biggest offensive threat on this team.
Chris: I’d eliminate Robinson and Wright from those considerations, mostly because neither plays more than 15 minutes a night on average. Williams has been an underrated signing as a sixth-man, as he brings ball-handling, energy, penetration and decent three-point shooting off the bench, but he has a propensity to be a bit streaky. Batum and Matthews have been the most effective perimeter defenders on the team, both chip in tremendously on the glass for their positions and both are accurate outside shooters.Batum is more of a “glue-guy” – though it’s a bit cliché, he really does fit that bill, doing a little bit of everything on both sides of the ball. Matthews is on fire from deep, though, and his defensive effort has been consistent and contagious. I’m not in the Blazers locker room, but I’d also venture to say he’s one of the emotional leaders on the team, setting a tone of hard-work and staying hungry.It’s hard for me to choose just one of those guys, but I’d say Portland’s best role player so far has been Matthews. His outside shooting has been insane to start the year and I think his effort and intensity has been infectious. He gets the edge over Batum, but it’s a slight one.
The Blazers are 11th in the league in DRtg at 104.1, so there has to be some areas of weakness . What are they and how might the Knicks possibly exploit them?
Chase: Disrupting passing lanes to keep the Blazers from getting good looks on the perimeter is going to be critical for the Knicks to stay in this game. Starting Prigioni-Shumpert-Metta makes a lot of sense in this matchup to try and inhibit the Blazers three-pointer assault.
Sean: The Blazers’ success on defense this season has come from their ability to force teams to take long twos where they would normally take threes. The best counters are either to attack the paint and home to get Aldridge and Robin Lopez into foul trouble or shoot a high percentage from midrange. Expect a lot of Carmelo Anthony isolations in this game.
Chris: Well, the Knicks can try to score easy buckets inside via guard penetration and establishing somebody efficiently in the post, though it appears those aren’t really strong suits for New York. Moving the ball well and forcing Lillard, Matthews and Batum to expend extra energy securing the perimeter would be a good start. Connecting on threes would be the second key, but the list of Knicks’ player shooting over 35 percent begins and ends with Pablo Prigioni.Taking the easy shots allowed by Portland’s defense – mostly inside and from the mid-range – plays right into their hands. Portland has been outscored in the paint almost every game this season, yet only two of the 12 teams they’ve played so far have been able to ride that strategy to victory. Scoring inside is almost always a factor, but to beat the Blazers right now it needs to be complemented with efficient outside shooting, and that’s a tough task against this motivated Portland defense.
Matthews and Batum have been deadly from three-point range, especially catch and shoot opportunities with Matthews hitting 54 percent and Batum making 45 percent. Are most of the Blazers three-point attempts good looks, and if so, how should the Knicks defend the perimeter to try and make things harder for them?
Sean: Terry Stotts’ offense is based primarily around ball movement. The high percentages the Blazers have been shooting this year aren’t luck — they come from working to turn good looks into better looks. Disrupting the passing lanes and forcing them to take long twos instead — essentially, beating them at their own game — as the Chicago Bulls did in the first half on Friday is the best way to take them out of that comfort zone.
Chris: Stotts’ offense allows for a ton of open shots, and I think you’ve seen the positive overall results in the standings and the individual stats. Matthews and Batum’s shots are largely within the flow of the offense. Occasionally, they’ll fall victim to a case of “heat-checking” where they’ll attempt some step-back threes if they’ve made a few in a row, but really, it seems like they’re playing pretty unselfishly. Williams and Lillard tend to dominate the ball when they’re in the game, taking more difficult shots at time, but Lillard has established himself as a legitimate threat from outside and defenses cannot sag on him at all when he has the ball. He’ll launch a 25-footer with 10 seconds on the shot clock if he feels a defender isn’t respecting his outside shot, and he seems to make it enough to warrant a ton of defensive attention whenever he has the ball.If the Knicks could force Portland’s wings to dribble more than necessary, things might get a bit dicey for the Blazers. Fighting through screens, staying home on their individual assignments, not biting on pump fakes and generally being as pesty as possible around the arc should be effective. The Blazers will always make the extra pass if it means a better look for a teammate, so forcing them to use up the shot-clock could maybe punish Portland for being maybe too unselfish times, but it’s hard to string together an effort like that for 48 minutes against a team that sticks to its game plan, launching open outside shots whether or not they’re falling at the usual high-rate. So far, this gamble has paid off for Stotts and his offense.
Who ultimately wins this game and why?
Chase: I think the Blazers win this one in a blowout. Look for Damian Lillard to have a big night as I expect the fans to not be so kind to Felton once again, which could lead to a really erratic night from him. He also has a bad hip so Lillard should be able to penetrate and find open guys on the perimeter all night long, unless Woodson decides to play Prigioni-Shumpert-Metta together for most of the game. For the Knicks to win this game they’ll have to out-shoot the Blazers from beyond the arc and I just don’t think they currently have the personal to pull it off at the moment.
Sean: The Blazers have all of the confidence right now, while the Knicks are a mess. They’re a completely different team defensively without Tyson Chandler out there, and the injury to Raymond Felton weakens their point guard position, meaning they don’t have a real counter to Damian Lillard and Mo Williams. I have to go Portland here.
Chris: The Knicks are a weakened team and have been woefully inefficient offensively, owners of a 3-9 record and a current five-game losing streak. The Blazers, on the other hand, have won 10 straight behind their aforementioned outside shooting and effective defensive game planning. If one or more of New York’s players reverses the current trend of the season and can hit some shots with consistency, they’ll have a chance if they can also execute defensively and stifle the Blazers shooters.Portland could also go cold and start missing shots, but they’ve been on such a good roll lately and when implemented properly, this Blazers offense provides high-percentage shots for multiple players. Eventually, it seems like the shots always start falling and Portland has so many weapons from deep that it’s unlikely all their shooters would simultaneously lose their touch, but it’s happened before and could again if the Knicks do their part by playing disciplined defense.Really, though, it seem like New York doesn’t have much of a chance of winning in Portland on the road, especially considering the current opposite trends of both teams. I’d guess the Blazers have a great chance of picking up a win at the Knicks’ expense, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the final score isn’t decidedly close.

141 comments on “Game Preview & Thread: Knicks @ Blazers

  1. Brian Cronin

    I’ve been told that maybe my optimism about their chances are jinxing them. So in that case, the Knicks are definitely going to lose tonight!

  2. Kahnzy

    I’ve been told that maybe my optimism about their chances are jinxing them. So in that case, the Knicks are definitely going to lose tonight!

    You bring the voodoo, I’ll find some virgins to sacrifice. Or goats. I’ll probably get in less trouble with goats.

  3. Shad0wF0x

    I have Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum, and LaMarcus Aldridge in my fantasy team. No matter how this game goes, I’ll still win one way or another.

  4. Kahnzy

    Watching the Portland cast on League Pass because the Knick cast sound is out for some reason, and the call guys for Portland are just ripping the Knicks left, right and center.

  5. Kahnzy

    Mike Breen: “The Knicks need Bargnani to become a better rebounder.”

    And the understatement of the night award goes to…

  6. BigBlueAL

    Everything for Portland is a layup/dunk or a wide open 3pter so far. Do the Knicks even go over defensive strategy before the game??

  7. coyle022

    Wow Udrih playing like the worst Defensive PG in the league right now…and this big frontcourt with Bargs-Martin-Melo has no spacing at all. Might as well put Melo at the 5 and go super-small

  8. d-mar

    After watching 6 minutes of this game I’d be shocked if we didn’t get our doors blown off. Should be extensive garbage time.

  9. Kikuchiyo

    Beno gets this year’s Roger Mason Jr. Award, given to the former Spur who comes to New York and completely loses his Spurs-ness.

  10. maxwell_3g

    gentlemen, the sooner our management realizes how bad we are, the greater the chance of swapping melo for assets and expirings, the sooner we are on the path to future contention.

  11. BigBlueAL

    Knicks will be lucky to lose by less than double digits these next 3 games. Maybe vs Denver they can keep it relatively close. Cant see Portland or the Clippers not beating the crap out of us.

  12. DRed

    Defense giving up layup after uncontested layup? Time to roll out the maginot line froncort of stat/melo/bargs. Maybe Woodson is high.

  13. Kahnzy

    Defense giving up layup after uncontested layup? Time to roll out the maginot line froncort of stat/melo/bargs. Maybe Woodson is high.

    gentlemen, the sooner our management realizes how bad we are, the greater the chance of swapping melo for assets and expirings, the sooner we are on the path to future contention.

    I’ve got it! Woodson is intentionally encouraging the worst defense in the history of history because he knows the organization needs to change its thinking. He’s forcing their hand…either that or he’s entered the “screw it” stage of his career and is just throwing our shit because he can.

  14. BigBlueAL

    How the hell does Woodson keep his job if this west coast trip goes as bad as we assume it will go?? This team looks beyond lost and Woodson does nothing to try to change things up.

  15. coyle022

    Still not sure why Aldrich can’t get a few min of run. Uncontested Layups, multiple Oreb’s, the only solution is a Bargs-Stat-Melo frontline!

  16. KJG

    Can’t protect the rim, afraid of it actually… Perimeter D is beyond awful… And our rotations are belated… This team can challenge Larry browns Knicks!

  17. thenamestsam

    On top of the myriad of tactical and strategic issues, this team is straight up quitting on Woodson at this point. There’s no competitive spirit at all. Just fucking fire him already.

  18. cgreene

    It would be the best thing to happen to Dolan for Melo to walk. Huge slap in the face. Then what? He’d still have future HOFer Amare? Ha.

  19. KJG

    It’s disheartening. Let’s blow it up… We can put aside expectation and enjoy some ball for a few months…

  20. nyk8806

    I think Woodson read the Dolan interview and is now perfectly executing his plan of losing the players so he can get fired. Brilliant, really.

  21. Kahnzy

    Someone remind me: why do I put myself through this?

    It’s been scientifically proven (somewhere) that there is a causal link between being a Knick fan and being a masochist.

  22. maxwell_3g

    getting the Portland telecast. these announcers, like all others, are shocked at how good Kenyon martin still is. so there’s that…

  23. Kahnzy

    You know it’s bad when you’re down 17 at the half and you can’t help but think, “Hey, we’re only down by 17. It should be much worse.”

  24. Kikuchiyo

    Shumpert’s plan for not getting traded? Getting cut first. No points, rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks. -20 for the first half.

  25. d-mar

    Well, on the bright side, I don’t have to worry about not getting enough sleep during this road trip, the games should all be over by halftime.

  26. maxwell_3g

    melo needs to play a perfect game for us to win and melo is far from perfect. its not his fault, but we are going nowhere with him. its run its course

  27. yellowboy90

    See the knicks always has that tease qtr to get your hopes semi up. I am not fallen for the banana in the tale pipe. No sir.

  28. Will the Thrill

    Add MWP to the list of players who have no idea that a steal doesn’t mean you should dribble down the entire court and attempt a contested layup.

  29. yellowboy90

    I knew it MWP never fails. Metta needs a player on the break like in football that tells the KR when to return(drive) and when to take a Knee(Set up the O). SMH.

  30. Kahnzy

    Too bad they didn’t call a flagrant 2 on JR. We’d do better giving up the two ft’s and the ball but getting him out of the game.

  31. JK47

    It’s okay guys. The Knicks are a good team. The shots just aren’t falling.

    (knocks back shot of Jameson)

  32. maxwell_3g

    there is no reason for stat to be getting minutes ahead of Aldrich, IMO. I would like to see if Aldrich could at least catch a bounce pass and attack the rim

  33. Kahnzy

    It’s okay guys. The Knicks are a good team. The shots just aren’t falling.

    The worst part is they’re getting a good game from Melo (not great, but good) and they’re still just getting outclassed in every conceivable way.

  34. maxwell_3g

    this has been melo’s best game in recent memory. im not a fan, but he has done more than can be expected today

  35. nicos

    And the Knicks keep it just close enough so Melo tops 40 minutes again and neither Murry nor Aldritch get any meaningful minutes.

  36. Z

    I was actually hoping to catch the end of this game (morbid curiosity?!) but, alas, it’s not on nbatv and I cancelled my league pass a year ago July… Nice reading the game thread, though– these always were the best way to “watch” a Knickgame.

  37. yellowboy90

    Why Bargs is not guarding Aldrich is beyond me. It’s one thing on defense he is good at. post D and trapping the pnr.

  38. Kahnzy

    The worst part is they’re getting a good game from Melo (not great, but good) and they’re still just getting outclassed in every conceivable way.

    Correction: they’re getting a really really good game from Melo. Too bad, such a waste.

  39. BigBlueAL

    Melo has been a beast. Of all the problems on this team he aint one of them right now. Its a shame they are losing as much as they are while wearing him out.

  40. Kahnzy

    JR is a freaking joke right now. Pure garbage.

    Good thing we signed his brother so we can always be assured that he won’t be the worst Smith on the team.

  41. maxwell_3g

    time to BLOW IT UP!!!! or at least start preparing for December, when all players an be traded. melo needs to be traded for assets. chandler for picks. its so awesome when you want your team to blow it up and at the same time, they have traded all of their future picks

  42. yellowboy90

    Iam ready to start Hardaway with Murry coming off the bench. Smith, Metta, and Shump would be onlookers. Bargs goes to the bench. So the line up would be Beno-Prigs-Hardaway-Melo-Martin.

  43. coyle022

    Is it really that difficult to find a few minutes for Country Cole Aldrich? Like why even have him on the active roster???? Esp. when your ONLY true C goes down….He could at least protect the rim and rebound, 2 things that Bargnani/Amare cannot do. Kmart can only play so many minutes and Aldrich is just sitting there on the bench wasting away….really frustrating when damn near everyone on this site KNOWS that he is the answer

  44. JK47

    Maybe Cole Aldrich could help a little, but let’s be honest, he’s kicked around at the end if NBA benches for his whole career and he’s not gonna fix the myriad problems that plague this shitty ass team. We’re grasping at straws here.

    That said, they might as well give him some run, if only to get the other gimps who populate or front court some rest.

  45. d-mar

    And BTW, I don’t want to hear this BS about how the trade rumors are obviously effecting Shump’s play. You’re a highly paid professional athlete, there’s absolutely no excuse for looking like an uninterested zombie on the court.

  46. yellowboy90

    He looked like it with his shooting. I still do not understand whey he didn’t guard L.A. over STAT. As soon as Bargs guarded him he couldn’t get post position and forced a fall away that missed badly.

  47. ruruland

    J.R. is one of the worst rotation players in the NBA right now. AB is doing what he should have been expected to (playing decently in replace of Novak/Copeland’s minutes) .

    With Shumpert taking a step back so far (and not the step forward it appeared he was ready to make during the playoffs) and the Knicks getting bottom 5 point guard production, minus Chandler, this is pretty much how you’d expect it to go down.

  48. nyk8806

    Come on cool kids, we shot 40% from 3 and only had 9 turnovers. That’s like tied for third not even adjusted for pace. Math says we’re a 55 win team and this losing streak is just the equivalent of rolling dice and crapping out six times in a row! Total bad luck! All you negative nancies need to stop willing the team to lose and think happy, positive thoughts. Puppy dogs and ice cream will turn it all around!

  49. DRed

    Bargs isn’t playing decently. He’s mediocre on offense, a debacle on the glass, and a flaming trainwreck on D-just like he’s been for his whole career. At least Novak and Cope were good at something.

  50. JK47

    The other day it was “the Knicks are playing well but the shots aren’t falling.” Now it’s “well, they suck but that’s to be expected.”

    How about a simple “I WAS WRONG.” Try it sometime.

  51. er

    And BTW, I don’t want to hear this BS about how the trade rumors are obviously effecting Shump’s play. You’re a highly paid professional athlete, there’s absolutely no excuse for looking like an uninterested zombie on the court.

    I have been saying this since early. Im tired of the excuse making for Shump

  52. ruruland

    “Bargs isn’t playing decently. He’s mediocre on offense, a debacle on the glass, and a flaming trainwreck on D-just like he’s been for his whole career..”

    He has been pretty decent. Traps pick and rolls better than anyof the other bigs and defends the post really well.

    If we are evaluating his play relative to that of a starting center, he’s been bad. If we are grading his play relative to the kind of role he was supposed to have (replacing Novak/Copeland) he’s playing fine.

    It would be silly to use the former as a means of evaluating his play.

  53. Donnie Walsh

    Ruruland: just wondering, if Carmelo Anthony bolts, will you still be around to see how it all turns out in NY? Or will you don the purple and gold, and spend the next few years explaining to Lakerblogger all the reasons why an elderly Melo&Kobe should be a winning combo (but aren’t)?

  54. ruruland

    “The other day it was “the Knicks are playing well but the shots aren’t falling.” Now it’s “well, they suck but that’s to be expected.”

    How about a simple “I WAS WRONG.” Try it sometime.”

    Straw man. I never said the Knicks were playing “well,” but I did say that they were missing open shots, which compounds their problems on defense in transition.

    I still believe that the low percentage shooting on open looks is a big part of the slump, and I think it would be crazy not to expect JR and Shump to eventually play a lot better.

  55. er

    The other day it was “the Knicks are playing well but the shots aren’t falling.” Now it’s “well, they suck but that’s to be expected.”

    How about a simple “I WAS WRONG.” Try it sometime.

    The way that they are sucking is the killer. Its all small things. Missing a close out by a few inches. Not making ANY big shots while giving up ALL of the big shots by the opposition. They are second in the league in TOs and still getting beat down. Tyson is sorely needed to plug all of the defensive meltdowns to save a few points a game to give the Knicks a chance

  56. ruruland

    Donnie, that looks like an attempt at a rhetorical question.

    If you don’t like that I post, ask Mike to ban me.

  57. er

    Ruruland: just wondering, if Carmelo Anthony bolts, will you still be around to see how it all turns out in NY? Or will you don the purple and gold, and spend the next few years explaining to Lakerblogger all the reasons why an elderly Melo&Kobe should be a winning combo (but aren’t)?

    lol why does everyone attack this guy when the knicks are playing bad ?lol

  58. DRed

    We’re 8.5 points worse per 100 posessions on defense with Bargs on the court. He’s fucking terrible. And considering he’s our starting center, it seems fair to evaluate him as one.

  59. Donnie Walsh

    Donnie, that looks like an attempt at a rhetorical question.
    If you don’t like that I post, ask Mike to ban me

    Okay. (But, do I need to ask Mike to ban you, or do I only need to wait for Caremlo Anthony to bolt?)

  60. ruruland

    “We’re 8.5 points worse per 100 posessions on defense with Bargs on the court. He’s fucking terrible. And considering he’s our starting center, it seems fair to evaluate him as one.”

    The Knicks were better on defense with Tyson Chandler on the bench last year.

    Steve Novak and or Chris Copeland would be worse in AB’s current role, and that’s the only question that matters and the only fair way of evaluating AB.

    If Lebron James and Wade both suffered season ending injuries and Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier increase their usage by 150 percent and sucked (and they would suck in that scenario), you wouldn’t say they’re shitty role players, would you?

  61. ruruland

    “Okay. (But, do I need to ask Mike to ban you, or do I only need to wait for Caremlo Anthony to bolt?)”

    You’re an invaluable contributor to this site, I can’t imagine Mike not granting whatever wish you had for him.

  62. JK47

    The real problem with Bargnani is that he’s seven feet tall. This is actually to his detriment, because it fools people into believing he can play center or power forward in the NBA, when he can’t. He is repeatedly put into situations where he is destined to fail.

    If he was the exact same player, but was 6’8″, he’d be better off, because he’d play the small forward position where he belongs.

  63. Donnie Walsh

    Steve Novak and or Chris Copeland would be worse in AB’s current role, and that’s the only question that matters and the only fair way of evaluating AB.

    But that’s assuming that Bargnani was only brought in to replace Novak/Copland, which is a fallacy perpetrated only by proponents of the Bargnani trade. The Knicks Org was starting Bargs and featuring him more than they featured the departed, even before Chandler broke his leg.

  64. DRed

    Steve Novak would be bad playing 43 minutes at center? No shit, ruru? That’s surface level analysis bro. Getting Bargnani, a center, to back up our injury prone center was a bad idea for a lot of reasons, but one of them was the risk that we’d give big minutes to a horrible basketball player.

    Were the Knicks a -8.5 with Tyson last year? (that’s a rhetorical question. I know it was a -.2. ) Bargs is awful. Did you not watch the first half tonighr? He’s got a drtg of 112. How am I full of shit for thinking he’s bad at defense? My eyes tell me he’s bad. Stats tell me he’s bad.

  65. ruruland

    “But that’s assuming that Bargnani was only brought in to replace Novak/Copland, which is a fallacy perpetrated only by proponents of the Bargnani trade. The Knicks Org was starting Bargs and featuring him more than they featured the departed, even before Chandler broke his leg.”

    AB’s game merits him to be featured more in the offense, and Ronnie Brewer/James White started over JR Smith last year.

    I was a proponent of the Knicks receiving Bargnani in a trade for Novak (but not giving up the pick), but I’m not sure starting him was ideal.

    Criticizing AB for not being Tyson Chandler is stupid. Bargnani’s numbers/efficiency are up across the board. He’s defended the post quite well, like a really good 7-foot defender would. He’s been fine.

  66. Will the Thrill

    Nobody seriously believes Bargnani was ONLY brought in to fill the roles of Novak/Copeland. If he were, he still wouldn’t be playing 40 minutes in games where Chandler is injured, and I can pretty much guarantee that we would’ve given Cole Alrdrich a real try at center with Copeland/Novak holding down the center position. Its not Bargnani’s fault that we are misusing him, but almost everyone saw it coming because he’s been “misused” (or terrible) his entire career.

  67. Will the Thrill

    Bargnani’s numbers/efficiency are up across the board. He’s defended the post quite well, like a really good 7-foot defender would. He’s been fine.

    Do you think he helps the team at center more than Cole Aldrich would?

  68. DRed

    A really good 7 foot defender would play help defense. A really good defender’s team wouldn’t be 8.5 points worse on defense with him on the floor. You’re embarassing yourself, dude. Bargs is a disaster. I can’t believe I’m arguing with someone who isn’t related to Andrea Bargnani about his defensive value.

  69. ruruland

    “Steve Novak would be bad playing 43 minutes at center? No shit, ruru? That’s surface level analysis bro. Getting Bargnani, a center, to back up our injury prone center was a bad idea for a lot of reasons, but one of them was the risk that we’d give big minutes to a horrible basketball player.

    Were the Knicks a -8.5 with Tyson last year? (that’s a rhetorical question. I know it was a -.2. ) Bargs is awful. Did you not watch the first half tonighr? He’s got a drtg of 112. How am I full of shit for thinking he’s bad at defense? My eyes tell me he’s bad. Stats tell me he’s bad.”

    Novak wouldn’t play 43 minutes because he’s not capable of doing the things Bargnani can on defense. Bargnani can at least do a few things pretty well where you can play him at center in small spurts (and to force teams like the Pacers into substituting Hibbert), and he is the (second) best option in a desperate situation, just as Hinrich is the best pg for the Bulls in a really desperate situation (and he’s a very poor full-time, starting point guard, but a pretty good combo guard in a more limited role around a playmaker like Rose.)

    Bargnani is a bad rim protecting center. But he’s more than passable in other areas of defense. Playing center in place of Tyson Chandler was never the plan, and it’s silly to evaluate his defense in the current situation.

    You cannot build a team around the premise of, ‘what if one of our two best players misses significant time?’

    If you did, Morey would be an idiot for trying to trade Asik for assets dissimilar to Asik, etc.

  70. JK47

    Bargnani’s numbers are way up, from somewhere in the septic tank up to the actual toilet itself.

    After tonight’s game Bargs is sporting a .537 TS%. Spectacular, a totally winning player when you factor in the rest of his “game.”

  71. ruruland

    “Do you think he helps the team at center more than Cole Aldrich would?”

    I’ve been in favor of playing Aldrich at center since Chandler was injured. But everyone basically shares that opinion here.

  72. Will the Thrill

    Anyone who says Bargnani has been horrible on defense is full of shit.

    Relative to your average center? Or relative to Novak? I can assure you that he wouldn’t be catching this much flak if he were, you know, playing Novak’s role (even with Chandler out).

  73. ruruland

    After tonight’s game Bargs is sporting a .537 TS%. Spectacular, a totally winning player when you factor in the rest of his “game.”

    He had been in the 570 area prior to the 4/16 game. I tend to think that truly awful performances eventually get drowned out once the sample becomes large enough. He’s been a pretty consistent solid offensive player this year.

  74. DRed

    I mean, Im a Knicks fan. I’ve watched Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley. I’ve seen Marcus Camby and Tyson Chandler play a lot of games. I knew good interior defenders, and Bargnani you are no good interior defender.

  75. er

    I dont get the anger with Bargnani. He is who he is. He was not brought here to play 40 mins at center. The blame goes to woody for not playing Cole. As someone said before maybe Cole is only a practice player in the Knicks eyes.

  76. JK47

    Yeah, that .537 TS% is a real outlier, way off from his career .535 TS% that he’s amassed in 13,000 minutes.

  77. ruruland

    “Relative to your average center? Or relative to Novak? I can assure you that he wouldn’t be catching this much flak if he were, you know, playing Novak’s role (even with Chandler out).”

    Right, but that was one of the things about the trade — in a pinch or a good matchup (against Howard/Hibbert for example) he could play a little bit of center at a pretty decent level, unlike Novak.

    Novak wouldn’t be catching flak because he is completely incapable of doing anything Bargnani does well on defense, and thus wouldn’t be playing center despite being 6-foot-10.

    Bargnani was acquired by the Knicks because he could do enough things on defense with Chandler protecting him, where his offensive game and versatility would make him an upgrade (especially in the playoffs against good defenses) over the departed Novak.

  78. ruruland

    “I knew good interior defenders, and Bargnani you are no good interior defender.”

    Who are you arguing with right now?

  79. ruruland

    “Yeah, that .537 TS% is a real outlier, way off from his career .535 TS% that he’s amassed in 13,000 minutes.”

    In six of his last nine games he has an offensive rating of 110+, and in 9 of his last 12 games a TS of 500 +

    Where I see a guy, finally healthy, starting to get comfortable in the offense and with his teammates, you see aggregate numbers/averages.

    I look at short term trends. It works for me. We’ll see who ends up being right about AB’s offense.

  80. DRed

    Yes, Novak can’t do things that Bargs can, like keeping Dwight Howard from scoring in the post, or standing there like a renaissance marble while player after player strolls down the lane for uncontested scores, or missing a remarkable number of open 3s. But who gives a shit? The bottom line is that the knicks are worse with Andrea on the floor. All that matters is whether you help team win games. Bargs does not help the Knicks win.

  81. ruruland

    Assuming Cole doesn’t play, who would be getting how many minutes for the Knicks if you were coach, Dred?

    Break it down for us.

  82. JK47

    If you throw out the games where he sucks, then yeah, he’s great.

    This is just a bizarre conversation. Like the 13,000 minutes Bargnani has played mean nothing, and 9 of the last 12 games are the real meaningful ones to look at, because something.

    Why would he magically be better here? How is his role here so magically different than his role in Toronto? He’s the same terrible player he has always been, in exactly all of the same ways he has always been terrible. Your “Andrea Bargnani is a good player” agenda is just really strange. Do you hate WoW so much that the hatred just blinds you to all reason?

  83. Zanzibar

    RE Bargnani: Could we all just calm down for a few moments and do an objective evaluation of the guy? Nobody ever envisioned him being the primary center on this team and that’s been his role in Chandler’s absence. Also Bargs was not working out all that well as a stretch 4. Lineups with Melo at the 4 along with Shump/JR or Shump/MWP or JR/MWP are simply better. Right now at least, I don’t think giving up a 1st round pick to use Bargs at the 4 would be considered a good deal. To be fair though, keep in mind that when we acquired Bargs we didn’t have MWP.

    So that’s the negative about Bargs but there is a positive. True 5-out lineups (NOT generic Bargs at the 5 lineups) have performed well and have been a net plus overall. Our 2nd best lineup in terms of +/- has been a 5-out lineup. Woodson has only once played a 5-out lineup in the last 3 games (8 minutes against Pacers and that unit went +3). I don’t know if those 5-out units can continue to perform well but I would like to give them a chance in light of their performance-to-date. If they do work out, Bargs will be a huge plus for us because they will be critical against teams that pack the paint. Just to be clear: I’m talking about units which always have Bargs and Melo together plus a PG plus two of Shump/JR/MWP. The post I made a few days ago (before the last 3 games) showed these lineups being 97 minutes plus and 66 minutes minus. I can now update it to 105 minutes plus and 66 minutes minus.

  84. ruruland

    “Why would he magically be better here? How is his role here so magically different than his role in Toronto? ”

    His isolation attempts are WAY down, which is what a few of us envisioned. Should that stay true and he shoots the ball as he’s shown capable of when healthy, his efficiency should be quite good on low 20s usage.

  85. Donnie Walsh

    Bargnani was acquired by the Knicks because he could do enough things on defense with Chandler protecting him, where his offensive game and versatility would make him an upgrade (especially in the playoffs against good defenses) over the departed Novak

    Yeah, but it was apparent that Chandler was on the decline in the 2nd half of last season. Knowing this fact, the Knicks maybe could have traded their 1st round pick for a player that could actually help them, instead of the most famous player available. It’s not a surprise to anyone that Chandler is missing a substantial amount of games this year. To pretend that Bargnani is being forced into a role that’s unfair to his skill set is revisionist.

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