Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Game Recap: Bobcats 94, Knicks 87

In the past three nights, I’ve watched two of my favorite teams lose in gut-wrenching fashion. Hosting Philadelphia on Sunday night, the 7-5 Giants coupled a career game from their quarterback with a rejunvenated rushing attack but couldn’t overcome an awful defensive effort and lost a crucial divisional matchup by a touchdown. Two nights later, in Charlotte, the 8-15 Knicks held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter and a six-point advantage with under 4 minutes to play. Like the Giants, however, the Knicks were unable to get big defensive stops and this, combined with a complete offensive meltdown in the waning minutes, doomed them to a 94-87 defeat.

Two seven-point losses: one by the defending #1 seed in the NFC playoffs, one by the defending #8 pick in the NBA draft.  So why did the second one surprise me more?

There aren’t a ton of positives for the Knicks to take away from this game. They were beaten, in the end, by Raymond Felton, a surprisingly (in a bad way) ordinary point guard on a surprisingly (in a good way) ordinary team.  Down the stretch, the Knicks were unable to a keep a quick point guard out of the paint or to sustain consistent ball movement on the offensive end. They were sloppy with the ball (to the tune of 21 turnovers) and overmatched on the glass (to the tune of a minus-7 rebound margin). The play that looked to really kill the Knicks’ spirits – a reckless charging foul on Wilson Chandler that led to the tying Bobcat possession – seemed, like the symptoms extolled in the previous two sentences, all too familiar.

But as much as I should have seen this collapse coming, as much as I know to trust a large sample of data (nearly a decade) over a small sample (less than a month), I was shocked by the Knicks failure. At 74-64, they seemed completely in control of the game. When Jared Jeffries drained a corner three to run the score to 80-74 and then threw home a dunk to make it 85-79 with 3:57 to play, I was certain they had weathered the best run the Bobcats had to offer. Even at 85-82, I truly believed they’d find a way to hold on, until Chandler’s charge finally awoke the inner pessimist that the Knicks have done so well to nurture these many years. Felton got to the rim twice for layups, Stephen Jackson got three the old-fashioned way, Felton drained two clinchers from the stripe, and the Knicks were done. Beaten, like the Giants, by a touchdown.

And it hurt, but not the way being a Knicks fan usually hurts. It didn’t hurt because they seemed hopeless, it didn’t hurt because their coach had given it away, and it didn’t hurt because the Knicks were just another stepping stone on the way to a great season for some team that played in another city. It hurt because the Knicks should have won. I think they are better than the Bobcats, I think they are more balanced than the Bobcats, and I go to bed tonight thinking that a game got away that shouldn’t have gotten away. Maybe even a game that will come back to haunt them at the end of the season. It’s been a long time since a Knicks loss hurt for that reason.

So there’s your silver lining. The 2009 Knicks lost a game they should have won, a game it felt like they really needed to win, which means, by definition, that there are teams that this year’s Knicks should beat, games they might just regret losing. Constant ineptitude can breed frustration, but it takes expectations to deliver real pain.

53 comments on “Game Recap: Bobcats 94, Knicks 87

  1. BigBlueAL

    You can tell by D’Antoni’s post-game pres conference he feels the same way. He didnt look depressed like he did earlier in the season he looked downright pissed because they lost a game they shouldve won and a game he expected them to win which is a huge difference fro earlier in the season.

  2. Robert Silverman

    Good recap Kev. Things could be worse, you could be a Jets/Mets fan, like me. Watched the rewind and I was stunned by how well Jared Jeffries played. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but are we entering the realm where trading JJ won’t be a relief, but a blow to the Nix’ playoff hopes?

    Who’da thunk it?

  3. irvin

    D’Antoni’s “brilliant” strategy is to play a bunch of guys who won’t be here next season, while the players likely to stay languish on the bench.

    And this is in exchange for saving his own coaching skin and nothing else, because…let’s face it…the Knicks are not going anywhere this season.

  4. Kevin McElroy Post author

    Also, the way Jeffries is playing (and Harrington as bait for Jeffries), the shortened rotation might be better for their future than getting more minutes for Douglas/Hill. If we can’t unload Jeffries and we can’t convince an all-star to come by himself, Douglas and Hill will have plenty of time to “develop” next year.

    Once we’re past the trade deadline, if we’re out of the race, you’ll see plenty more of Douglas, I would suspect. I do think D’Antoni likes him, but he’s not a pure enough PG to take Duhon’s mins (yet) and Hughes has been the best player on the team for much of this season. Hill, for his part, is stuck behind Lee and Harrington, but I bet we see more of him if they unload anyone in the frontcourt.

  5. Dan Panorama

    Jeffries was – astoundingly – about the best player on the court and he’s looked like exactly the player we were promised when he was signed the last few games. I can’t believe it, but he may have trade value soon. And the announcers sure are doing their best to talk him up, they’re practically dancing in their seats whenever he takes a charge.

  6. Count Zero

    Last night was very frustrating because it felt like an opportunity to “turn the corner” — as you say not on an “upset” type of win, but one where you thought we “were the better team and should” win.

    Incidentally, I have an extra ticket for Friday night’s (8pm tip) game against the Clips. Sec 44 Club level. Free to good home.

    Shoot me an email at “count underscore zero at charter dot net” if interested — you would have to meet me at the Garden before the game to pick it up as I’m not sending it FedEx to you. ;-)

  7. stratomatic

    1. I thought the key point in the game was when the Knicks had a 10-12 point lead in the 3rd period. The Hornets were playing poorly and gave the Knicks multiple opportunities to break the game open and deliver the psychological KO punch. Instead, Gallo missed a few open 3 pointers, Hughes missed a few shots, there were a couple of bad turnovers that allowed them to keep it close and get back into the game mentally.

    2. I thought D’Atnoni made a coaching error by not using Nate last night. Charlotte was defending the pick and roll well late in the game. When the Knicks looked for the wing after the PNR failed, he was also usally covered. Once you take away the Knicks offensive scheme, the possession often comes down to someone creating for themself later in the shot clock. In this favorable run, that role has been filled quite well by Harrington. But he was under the weather and off his best last night. Nate is the only other player on the Knicks that can consistently create his own shot and knock it down. He should have been brought in once it was clear Harrington was off and Charlotte was taking away our scheme.

    3. The only positive I took away from the game was that Wilson Chandler is almost certainly totally recovered physically. He boarded fairly well for a wing, blocked a couple of shots, and looked like his former athletic self on a few drives to the basket. He had a horrible pre season and October, more “Chandler like” November, and has now had a very good December so far. Whether being 100% healthy will translate into a more consistent and higher level of offensive efficiency remains to be seen. But this is a similar pattern to what we saw last year. Within his overall record of hyper-inconsistent shooting and inefficient offense was a slowly improving game. I realize he’s very unpopular here, but we should be rooting for him to blossom, get to hoop more often, draw more fouls, and make better shooting decisions. Ih he does blossom he’ll either contribute positively or we’ll trade him and get good value back.

  8. d-mar

    “I thought the key point in the game was when the Knicks had a 10-12 point lead in the 3rd period. The Hornets were playing poorly and gave the Knicks multiple opportunities to break the game open and deliver the psychological KO punch. Instead, Gallo missed a few open 3 pointers, Hughes missed a few shots, there were a couple of bad turnovers that allowed them to keep it close and get back into the game mentally.”

    I agree, but a lot of teams have the tendency to let up a little when they’re up double figures. To me, the game was decided on the Jeffries no charge call. It cuts the Knicks lead to 3 and fouls out Jeffries. If he gets that call, we’re up 6 with the ball and Jeffries on the floor. Somehow, I don’t see the Bobcats coming back from that. I also think Douglas should have gotten some minutes in the 4th quarter, Duhon looked gassed and it showed in his D on Felton at the end.

  9. Z

    “There aren’t a ton of positives for the Knicks to take away from this game. They were beaten, in the end, by Raymond Felton…”

    Wasn’t this the 2nd time Ray Felton beat us this year?

  10. stratomatic

    I agree that the Jeffries call really derailed them (not even sure if it was a good call or not), but I suspect if they had hit one of those big shots and extended the lead to 15 or more it never would have gotten to that point. They let’m off the ropes.

    Great point on Douglas. Douglas can also create some offense and probably would have done a much better job on Felton. I guess D’Antoni doesn’t trust him in that kind of tough situation yet. But if you are going to keep Nate in the doghouse, you might as well give Douglas some seasoning when Duhon appears gassed.

    I’m sick over that loss!

  11. cgreene

    Irvin, your rants are not only becoming old but are also misguided. First, D’Antoni is playing the players that (he thinks) give him the best chance of winning. Second, this is hardly the time to be “developing” Jordan Hill in light of the fact that there is no 2010 draft pick so losing and playing Hill (when you can “develop” him next year and the year after) does the team no good at all. Third, if D’Antoni can keep the team respectable with these castoffs then he maintains his mystique as a very good coach who the players like and, don’t fool yourself, that is the #1 selling point to next year’s FAs. Fourth, MDA and DW look good to agents and other players around the league when they demonstrate that they respect veterans who are playing for contracts and make sure they get time.

    Now if you said the rotation was too tight and a few players (Lee and Duhon) looked tired and that is why TD should have gotten burn then there I would agree.

  12. rrude

    I thought Duhon looked gassed from the mid-3rd period on, which contributed to us letting off the pedal when we were up 12. Pick and roll wasn’t working, why not use TD/Nate for a change of pace, if we’re trying to win games?

    Also, Gallo’s shot wasn’t falling…aren’t shooters supposed to keep shooting? Didn’t really get why he was on the bench for almost all of the 4th, when we desperately needed O.

    Starting to get concerned that if we trade Jeffries, this team might go back to being unwatchable. Is there a point where you want to keep him for next year, if he’s the glue holding the team together?

  13. Sandy

    rrude,

    unless Jeffries turns into a top 2010 ten free agent, who he is currently preventing us from getting, than NO

  14. rohank

    rrude – ABOSLUTELY NOT. If we trade jeffries, that give us over 9 million in extra cap room. That is much more important than winning a few games here or there this season. We can’t look at this season as “omg the jazz have our 1st rounder so we have to play really well so they dont get the top pick”…..that pick is a sunk cost and we can’t worry about it anymore.

    If i were Walsh i would trade jeffries w/o hesitation if i got back expirings.

  15. Sandy

    the one thing i might say though, rrude, is that holding onto jeffries may force us to be more prudent with our money. instead of forcing max money on two players who may not be worth (maybe donnie has something special for manu ginobli who I don’t think is a max player), jeffries would force us to use restraint, maybe sign d. lee for the remaining money, and then allow us to go after a prime max free agent in 2011 (melo)

    so while getting jeffries is a necessity for those who believe that one max agent wants another to fly with from year one and that Donnie know how to correctly value players…others may believe that holding onto jeffries may be better if you don’t believe Donnie knows how to accurately price players and will have a quick trigger finger before better free agents become available the following year

  16. Sandy

    rohank, I also agree with your sunk cost hypothesis, but its a bit different, because in most businesses the sunk cost can be concretely valued as to how much it has hurt your company and helped another company. this sunk cost however (2010 draft pick) has variable payouts, which each possibility (1st, 2nd, 3rd…) having a different value of helping rival team (which honestly hurts us in the long run). we therefore want to minimize those possibilities which could lead a higher payout to our competition (and a lower payout to our team in the long run). to minimize this probability, we have to win as many games as possible and hope the jazz get as close to 0% of getting a high draft pick…hope that made some sense, it did in my mind

  17. irvin

    cgreene wrote:

    “Irvin, your rants are not only becoming old but are also misguided.”

    Sorry. It’s not a rant – it’s a different view.

    “First, D’Antoni is playing the players that (he thinks) give him the best chance of winning. ”

    How are you so sure? Perhaps playing Gallo more (instead of a sick Harrington) and Douglas instead of Huges would have brought the point home last night. And commenting on coaching, managerial and other types of decisions is the real object of coming here. There is no other point, if you ever think about it.

    “Second, this is hardly the time to be “developing” Jordan Hill in light of the fact that there is no 2010 draft pick so losing and playing Hill (when you can “develop” him next year and the year after) does the team no good at all. ”

    Who care about next year’s pick? It belongs to Utah. Get it out of your mind.

    The reason young player should be given a chance is see who can become part of the supporting cast for the big free agent(s) the Knicks will supposedly sign next year.

    “Third, if D’Antoni can keep the team respectable with these castoffs then he maintains his mystique as a very good coach who the players like and, don’t fool yourself, that is the #1 selling point to next year’s FAs. ”

    I’m sorry to inform you that the difference between playing the veterans and playing a mix of veterans/rookies is no more than 5 or 10 games in any direction (for this team). You talk like D’Antoni is playing a 50-win squad and I want to rain on their parade by insisting that time be given to the rookies. These are not the Lakers on the floor. These are the Knicks, projected to win 27 games this year. Perhaps D’Antoni extracts gold from them – at the cost of stunting the young players – and they finish the season with 35 wins. So what?

    Also, don’t be SO sure that D’Antoni is looking all sweet and dandy to players. In fact, any smart player will take notice of D’Antoni’s nasty behaviour toward players who – for whatever reason – fall out of favor (Marbury, Darko, Nate, etc.). They will also notice how he shows clear favoritism – often to the team’s detriment (Duhon, Huges).

    “Fourth, MDA and DW look good to agents and other players around the league when they demonstrate that they respect veterans who are playing for contracts and make sure they get time.”

    So, the goal of showcasing the veterans is more important that developing the young players. I guess we have very different ideas about long-term strategies for the Knicks.

  18. Sandy

    in other words, we have the ability to affect the probability of certain payouts occurring and the value of the sunk cost, unlike in other businesses, and should try to change our actions to minimize the value of the sunk cost

  19. Thomas B.

    Imagine what our salary cap would be without him.

    ANyone else think last night would have been a good time to take Nate Robinson of the top shelf, dust him off and say, “Okay, here is your shot to show you me want to part of what we are doing here?”

    Hughes was the worst I think I’ve seen of him this season–including the horrid preseason play. Technically, I did not see him play since the NBA closed the online loophole that allowed me free access to the games. Of course listening to Gus Johnson on the still free radio broadcasts is a nice consellation prise.

    Anyway, Nate could have helped.

  20. Thomas B.

    I would avoid Manu. I have a feeling he he going to start showing a serious production drop ala Elton Brand.

  21. Thomas B.

    irving,

    Do the names “Italian Stallion” or “iyamwhatiyam” mean anything to you? Becuase your name starts with an “i” as well and you also extoll the virtues of the “different view.” Verrrrrry interesting, but stupid. (from laugh-in)

  22. Sandy

    and maybe some of you may ask why it hurts us in the long run of utah were to get john wall… this is a valid question. in terms of wins, maybe we lose an extra 2 games a year because of this to Utah. but these types of things tend to define organizations in the same way not drafting sam bowie haunted the blazers. there is a loss of trust, blaming of management, and fan resentment. don’t know if this can be quantified, but i think the loss of prestige in the long run is …maybe i can’t properly articulate why, and others can do a better job

  23. cgreene

    Irvin,
    Nice retort.
    1) I said the player “he thinks” gave us the best chance. Not saying I agree. I was calling for Gallo instead over Al or Hughes in the last 6 minutes and I agree that TD should be getting 15 mins per night because he helps the team win with his D.
    2) So he is simply not going to play Hill simply for the purposes of getting him experience at this point. We will agree to disagree here. I think that is the right move. He is not stunting Hill’s growth. He gets to practice w NBA players, listen to NBA coaches and watch NBA games every day as a rookie which will then lead to more playing time if earned. Right now is he better than Jeffries, Lee or Harrington? Is he more important than trying to make something out of Curry? When you look at a cost/benefit analysis it would argue against you on this point.
    3) The difference is 5-10 games? Ok well I think there is a big difference in the aura of the team, the press coverage and the perceived performance of the coach at 27 wins (6 worse than last year) and 37 wins (projected 1 game from being an 8 seed). In addition, if you opt to play the rooks over vets on a 1 year deal now and those vets get disgruntled because they are losing their next contract and the whole locker room gets spoiled, things can go very awry. These ancillary things have a big affect on the perception of the organization.

  24. rrude

    “Imagine what our salary cap would be without him.”

    yeah, my immediate response to my own post was, imagine a really good player taking his place, instead of someone else currently on the roster.

    Yeah, I don’t really get the not playing players as a matter of principle thing. Nate was just what we needed towards the end of the third quarter. Energy and ability to create his own offense.

    I haven’t gotten a feel yet for which players posters on this board want out of next year’s free agents. Personally I feel sort of like it’s Lebron or nothing. (Assuming Wade is not leaving Miami) Lebron + any other bigger name guy = decent team. Any other 2 guys (besides Wade and Lebron) and I am not so sure. I am really not a fan of Amare and I can’t say the mediocrity of the Raps makes Bosh look like a #1 guy.

    Basically I am asking, would, say, Bosh and Joe Johnson make the Knicks a contending team? I am sceptical. Might be better to make one smart move next year and keep rebuilding, if we can’t get LBJ.

  25. irvin

    cgreene wrote:

    “In addition, if you opt to play the rooks over vets on a 1 year deal now and those vets get disgruntled because they are losing their next contract and the whole locker room gets spoiled, things can go very awry.”

    Quick note – cgreen (I don’t want to monopolize the blog!): if you read my post carefully, I never even suggested that he doesn’t play the veterans. What I would like to see is the young players getting constant minutes (even if it is just 10 per night). Not giving the rookies a few minutes when the veterans are playing badly (as was the case of Harrington and Huges against Charlotte) is hard to justify.

    Finally, your apprehension is unfounded: D’Antoni doesn’t seem concerned with alienating players. Darko, Marbury, Nate and even Huges have been put in the doghouse at various times. So, who is left among the veterans that could be alienated by giving the rookies a few minutes? Harrington and who else?

    I don’t think there is much to fear (or risk) and I don’t see why anyone would be angered by that. To me, D’Antoni is just making a mistake (he has made quite a few here in NY) and will sooner or later be forced to do the right thing; similar to what he was forced to do after the disastrous season beginning. But only time will tell.

  26. TDM

    “Do the names “Italian Stallion” or “iyamwhatiyam” mean anything to you? Becuase your name starts with an “i” as well and you also extoll the virtues of the “different view.” Verrrrrry interesting, but stupid. (from laugh-in)”

    Classic.

  27. rohank

    Sandy that analysis does make sense. I forgot that since Utah is a team we still play down the line etc., it makes sense to try and give them the worst possible pick. However, we are talking pretty long run (2 games per year out of 82 isn’t that huge) and so that need has to be balanced with how much good (utility?) trading jeffries might have for the team in the short run (ie next summer). Also don’t forget about discounting the future!

  28. Sandy

    and yes, if someone could create a utility function based on the number of games we win, the amount of cap space available next summer, and the expected pick that we give to Utah, that would be ideal. then we could maximize our utility given the things we can control (trading Jeffries, playing our young guys, etc…)

  29. Brian Cronin

    Gallo’s treatment is really weird – it’s like the guy has to be awesome or he won’t play, while Larry Hughes and Chris Duhon can do whatever the heck they want and not be penalized.

    I suppose it is because the Knicks have surplus at forward but only two guards, but that’s not a real excuse, ya know? That’s an excuse like “I couldn’t get the phone because I didn’t want to get up from the couch.”

    We only have two guards because D’Antoni won’t play his other guards.

  30. Ted Nelson

    Jeffries play is probably what I would take from the win. Trading him for an expiring is still a no brainer.

    “instead of forcing max money on two players who may not be worth (maybe donnie has something special for manu ginobli who I don’t think is a max player)”

    Being able to sign 2 max players may be the Knicks best, even only, shot at getting one of the Big 3. Being able to play with another one of the Big 3 plus Gallo, Douglas, Hill, and some vet’s min. FAs is a lot more attractive than being able to play with Jared Jeffries.
    I agree that they have to be careful not to overpay the wrong guy. Manu has been one of the best SGs in the NBA over his career, he’s not getting any younger though. Signing him for 5 years or whatever probably isn’t a great move. He’ll be 38 his last season. Joe Johnson is a more likely candidate for overpaying. Rudy Gay. Amare. Bosh could be considered one, but I’d say he’s a max guy… just not a top-level max guy.

    “Basically I am asking, would, say, Bosh and Joe Johnson make the Knicks a contending team?”

    Add Gallo and Douglas and maybe Hill and they’re definitely a candidate to be a top 3 offense. Defense… not so much. If they all stay healthy they’re probably consistently a top 4 Eastern Conference team.

    Sandy,

    Is John Wall lives up to the hype it might help the Knicks to have him in the Western Conference. There’s no guarantee that even if the Knicks lose more games than any team the Jazz get their pick, and there’s no guarantee John Wall will live up to the hype. If the Knicks end up with LeBron and Wade (however likely/unlikely that is), no one will be mad they potentially missed John Wall. People might say “imagine if..” If the Knicks are never great and the Jazz win 6 rings in 8 years then, yeah, people will be pissed.

    “the 7-5 Giants coupled a career game from their quarterback with a rejunvenated rushing attack but couldn’t overcome an awful defensive effort and lost a crucial divisional matchup by a touchdown.”

    I would say it had more to do with the fumbles than the defense. The defense couldn’t stop Philly, but take away the Jacobs and Manning fumbles and the Giants win by a pretty wide margin.

  31. Ted Nelson

    “There’s no guarantee that even if the Knicks lose more games than any team the Jazz get their pick”

    I meant to say get the #1 pick… due to the lottery

  32. ess-dog

    Now we want Anthony Randolph?

    “Sources within the Warriors organization and around the league say the 6-foot-10 forward is available, but they said he is not being shopped.

    “They’re not trying to unload the guy,” one Western Conference executive said. “But they are disappointed in him, so now they’re willing to listen to other teams. Whereas before the season, their thinking was that he was untouchable and they wouldn’t even listen.”

    Executives mentioned *New York* and Houston as clubs that have interest in Randolph, but he will not be easy to move because of the great disparity between his small salary ($1.8 million) and his perceived upside. The most likely trade scenario would include Randolph as part of a larger deal that featured a more accomplished player.”

  33. cgreene

    I think we are really overlooking David Lee as second signing behind LeBron with the current cap projections. Locking up LeBron and Lee (who one would assume’s yearly improvement could be well leveraged by a superstar) with Gallo, Chandler, Douglas and Jeffries/ Curry expiring deals is a pretty nice situation. You basically have 2 spots to fill with solid players being the 1 and the 5 and lot more cap space coming.

  34. Sandy

    forgetting Hill, cgreene, not that he is even playing but i think people are sleeping on him a bit in terms of growth down the line

  35. rrude

    “Add Gallo and Douglas and maybe Hill and they’re definitely a candidate to be a top 3 offense. Defense… not so much. If they all stay healthy they’re probably consistently a top 4 Eastern Conference team.”

    I don’t see how this is better than the current Raptors team. Taking Joe J. from Atlanta hamstrings them and brings them back into the pack. But I don’t think that lineup elevates the Knicks out of the second (very mediocre) tier of the Eastern Conference. Especially if it doesn’t include an upgrade at PG.

    So I guess this argues more strongly for the Knicks going all in for Lebron and a second FA. Trading anyone to have any shot at doing so. Otherwise we enter the no man’s land of lower playoff seed.

    I still think the course of dumping salary and regaining control of our destiny has been the correct one. Maybe someday we can make a trade and not be at another team’s mercy!

  36. Frank

    RE: Gallo’s treatment in the last game — I don’t blame D’Antoni for sitting him at all. he was KILLING the Knicks on the defensive glass – it’d be interesting to see how many offensive rebounds charlotte had while Gallo was in the game. Amazingly he had a positive +/- for the game, but if his shot is off, he’s not trusted to handle the ball much, and he isn’t rebounding, what is he out there for? Defense?

    That being said, at some point D’Antoni has to just put the kid out there for 30+ min/game and let him grow.

  37. hyperpick

    With the cap projected to drop further next year, the Knicks have no choice but to move Jeffries for expirings in order to have the ability to get 2 marquee FAs. The question being, if LBJ isn’t one of those, what’s the point? I don’t see, say DWade* and Bosh, or JJohsnon and Amare, being anywhere near the quality to command at or near max money for 5+ years. The Knicks are bringing over 4 youngsters plus Jeffries/Curry to the roster in 2010. Let’s assume Jeffries is moved (this isn’t a safe assumption, but this is a moot point without it). If you signed, sake of argument here, Joe Johnson and Amare, to the tune of ~$33 million combined, adding that to the committed ~$21 million for Curry, Gallo, TD, Chandler and Hill… you’ve pretty much maxed out your cap. Not much room for a much needed PG or veteran PF or C who still has legs. Sure you might sign Kurt Thomas or Joe Smith to the mid-level exception but how many minutes do they give you? 10 before sucking wind? So the roster might be playoff eligible, but it’s not likely to get out of the first round. Which gives a mid-level draft pick, which isn’t good, but then you’ve waited out Curry’s contract and freed up the money to pursue another marque FA.
    In essence, if you don’t pry LBJ for 2010**, you are running another summer of risk looking for another big-time player. You get LBJ next summer and your plan/foundation is set: build it around LeBron. He is a singular talent to whom the rest of the vaunted class of 2010 doesn’t compare (as good as many of them are). Without him, get the two next best things, and hope you can get a third in the summer of 2011.

    * Yes, DWade is a great player who’s won a championship, but I don’t have confidence that his specific style of play and body type will lead to many more years of elite productivity and health.

    ** Total shot in the dark on my part, but somehow I expect Chris Paul to be made available in a crazy move. Similar to the Pau Gasol trade, where the Knicks could get CPIII for Curry, their 2011 pick and Wilson Chandler because the Hornet’s owner wants Paul’s contract off the next several years worth of books. Excuse me while I lapse into a coma dreaming of CPIII, LBJ and Bosh on the same Knicks team. Somebody whisper this in George Shinn’s ear (I think that’s the Hornets owner’s name)… he could save a lot of money in the long run. Do it, George. Become a hero in New York. Do it.

  38. Sandy

    hope that Knicks can grab a victory tonight and then again on Tuesday against the Bulls. I fear what will happen to Vinny Del Negro if his team loses the next 4 games including two against NY, one against Atlanta, and one against a dangerous Sacramento. You never like to speculate about a person’s job, but with 4 more losses, and a three day break after that, I believe the Bulls might pull the trigger. in any case, let’s hope the knicks start a new win streak.

  39. Sandy

    and I’m not saying its right either. i haven’t watched the bulls, but changing coaches mid season rarely produces different results.

  40. Ted Nelson

    rrude,

    The Raptors are the #5 offense in the NBA right now. Their defense is terrible, though: dead last. If the Knicks added Bosh and Joe Johnson and could play something resembling defense they’d have a shot to be better than Toronto this season. The biggest thing I think they would need to get into the top tier of the east (top 3, say: Orlando, Boston, and Cleveland right now is the top tier to me) is defense. They might be able to add some through low cost vets who want to come to NY, their 2nd rounder, and development from their young players. PG is not really a concern to me. Joe Johnson takes care of a lot of the ball-handling, so an efficient guy to share those duties and defend the 1 well might be the best match next to him. This is what Douglas looks like.
    LeBron should absolutely be the top target, and Wade #2. But if the Knicks ended up with Bosh and Johnson I wouldn’t be upset.

    Frank,

    One question is whether Danilo’s shot would eventually start falling. He’s the highest % outside shooter on the squad, so the chances of him finding his jumper is higher than that of anyone else on the squad. Hughes and Harrington were a combined 2-10 from 3… Why are those guys taking 10 3PAs in a game ever, let alone when you’ve got 3 pt shooters like Gallo, Douglas, and Nate on the bench? Their peripherals? 8 TOs, 8 rebs (in 55 mins), 4 asts., and 3 stls, and 2 blks… Intabgibles? Both -15 on the game…

    hyperpick,

    Wade isn’t a max level player? Really? One of the top 2-5 players in the world and you’re not willing to risk his body holding up? Bosh? One of the best offensive bigmen in the game? Amare and Johnson are less obvious cases, but they’ll both get max deals easily. Larry Hughes got a max deal a few years ago, and there are tons of teams with tons of cap space plus each one of those guys teams really wants them back.
    I am by no means hoping for Amare and Joe Johnson, but I think your take on that theoretical situation is too grave. You’re one of the best offenses in the NBA. You don’t really need a great playmaking PG wth Johnson, his assist rate is higher than Bibby’s or Crawford’s this season. You don’t even have the mid-level if you go into the offseason with cap space, but Kurt Thomas and Joe Smith are by no means the only bargain FAs you can bring in (those kind of signings have been helping teams win rings for years, so they’re not always sucking wind after 10 minutes of playing time). With a top 5 offense and a mediocre defense you can make it to the 2nd round in the East. And then, as you say, you’ve got space again in 2011.
    “Without him, get the two next best things, and hope you can get a third in the summer of 2011.”
    That I agree with.

  41. d-mar

    Hey, didn’t a couple (or maybe even 3?) coaches get fired last year right after losing to us? I think we have a chance to do that to DelNegro tonight. Not to wish bad tidings on the guy, but all I care about is the Knicks winning, so sorry Vinny if it comes to you getting the boot.

  42. Sandy

    byron scott was fired this year after losing to us. teams can’t handle losing to us. its does a number on the psyche.

  43. ess-dog

    My bad- Bender is in uni, not starting. I hope he gets burn. You’d think they would showcase Nate and Al tonight for the bulls…

  44. J Weezy

    great start from the knicks…3 ball is going down smooth…hopefully the knicks can learn from charlottle and put opponents away and not let them get any hope of a comeback by lingering

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