Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Game Thread: Knicks Vs Blazers

Notice the contrast between the two rebuilding franchises.

Thomas B.:

December 2 Portland [First meeting of the teams this year.]

TEAM POSS EFF eFG TO OREB% FT/FG
New York Knicks-Offense 98.8 107 50.3 14.8 23.5 19.3
Rank 1 11 10 10 27 29
Portland Trail Blazers-Defense 86.2 107.3 49.7 16.2 25.2 23.5
Rank 30 18 21 13 8 13
New York Knicks-Defense 98.8 109.4 51.5 14.5 28.8 18.8
Rank 1 26 27 25.5 25 2
Portland Trail Blazers-Offense 86.2 113.5 51.4 15.1 32.8 22.1
Rank 30 2 3 12 1 21

Terrible Tuesdays continue for the Knicks (four Tuesday games, four playoff teams), this time Portland comes to town. In some ways, the Blazers are the Bizzaro Knicks. The Blazers are dead last in pace (86.6 possessions per game), while the Knicks are first in pace (98.7 possessions per game). The Blazers are a great rebounding team (detailed below), while the Knick are not. The Blazers waived a highly paid, petulant, offensive minded point guard before a power play between he and management became a distraction. The Knicks… well you know the story.

What to watch for 1: Rebounding. The Knicks are going to have trouble keeping the Blazers off the glass. The Blazers are 2nd in offensive rebound percentage (32.6%), and none too shabby on defensive glass securing all but 25.1% of defensive rebounds (6th). The Knicks give up 28.8% of all defensive rebounds (24th), while securing 23.5% of available offensive boards (27th). Long story short: make the first shot; there will not be many second chances.

What to watch for 2: The neutralization of David Lee. Lee at center is not going to have the easy match ups he had against the Warriors. Oden and Aldridge are solid interior defenders and strong shot blockers (2.7 and 1.3 blocks per 36 minutes respectively). What Lee can do to help the team is work the pick and roll with Duhon and then hit the 15 footer with consistency (why don’t they run that more with Lee and Harrington’s mid range game?). If Lee can lure Oden out of the paint, it could open things up for drives to the lane (if only there was a Knick that liked to do that).

What to watch for 3: The Blazers are exceedingly efficient on offense (113.1, 2nd in the NBA) and from the floor (51.1 eFG%, 5th). The Knicks will need a solid defensive effort against this team.

104 comments on “Game Thread: Knicks Vs Blazers

  1. jon abbey

    take a look at how young this Portland team is, besides Przybilla and Blake (both playing key roles), it’s remarkable how they’ve assembled such an impressive roster.

  2. o_boogie

    looks like portland is concerned with lee and neglecting duhon on the pick-n-roll after watching him have dunkfest on the warriors the other night.

  3. Gian Casimiro (SSoM) Post author

    take a look at how young this Portland team is, besides Przybilla and Blake (both playing key roles), it’s remarkable how they’ve assembled such an impressive roster.

    Yeah, for a team that rebuilt with the draft, it’s impressive that all of their lottery picks have all become good or useful. That’s not always guaranteed considering what happened to the Bulls and (pre-Joe Johnson) Hawks.

  4. Danisrob

    Its going to be another long and busy night for Duhon with Roberson the only guard on the bench.

    Tim Thomas 11 points in 5 minutes, wow.

  5. Thomas B.

    Lee looks good so far.

    True that. So much for Lee being nuetralized by the Blazers’ front court. No one is happier about my being wrong than I am.

  6. Italian Stallion

    The thing that worries me about this game is that the Blazers couldn’t possibly be playing any worse but they are still in the game. That doesn’t bode well for us in the 2nd half.

  7. BigBlueAL

    Portland wants to thank Coach D’Antoni for bringing in Malik Rose and giving the Blazers the lead thereafter.

  8. cwod

    Portland wants to thank Coach D’Antoni for bringing in Malik Rose and giving the Blazers the lead thereafter.

    Or for putting in Robereson to run the point.

  9. o_boogie

    Q-Rich guarding Roy is a bad matchup. I would expect to see Roy get a lot of 2nd half touches if we keep Q on him.

    Not too enthused with Ill-Will’s lack of aggression.

  10. Italian Stallion

    David Lee has really stepped it up a notch since Randolph was traded. Even though he started out the season a little weak statistically, I thought he would eventually demonstrate that he’s actually a better player now that has a little bit of mid range game. But that’s not even coming into play much. He’s doing a great job getting himself open inside and Duhon etc.. keep finding him. Tonight he’s even hitting free throws. That’s the one area he’s been struggling a bit this year. Impressive.

  11. Gian Casimiro (SSoM) Post author

    The thing that worries me about this game is that the Blazers couldn’t possibly be playing any worse but they are still in the game. That doesn’t bode well for us in the 2nd half.

    I think they’re doing fine aside from Blake taking seven shots. Their offense never looks good unless it runs through Roy anyway. I’m surprised that they haven’t tried to postup Aldridge and Oden more but they’ve had 12 extra possessions this half and the Knicks wouldn’t be in it if not for the +10 FT advantage.

  12. Italian Stallion
    Portland wants to thank Coach D’Antoni for bringing in Malik Rose and giving the Blazers the lead thereafter.

    Or for putting in Robereson to run the point.

    I wouldn’t mind Roberson so much if he would at least live up to his reputation has a deadly shooter. But he hasn’t been shooting well at all and that makes him useless.

  13. Italian Stallion
    The thing that worries me about this game is that the Blazers couldn’t possibly be playing any worse but they are still in the game. That doesn’t bode well for us in the 2nd half.

    I think they’re doing fine aside from Blake taking seven shots. Their offense never looks good unless it runs through Roy anyway. I’m surprised that they haven’t tried to postup Aldridge and Oden more but they’ve had 12 extra possessions this half and the Knicks wouldn’t be in it if not for the +10 FT advantage.

    The Blazers are 36.5% from the field and 27.8% from 3 point land. That’s horrible for them and they actually improved after I made my comment because they went on a little run when Roy got hot. They are going to shoot better than that in the 2nd half.

  14. DRed

    This game really hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I’m not a huge fan of Nate, but we really missed him tonight. Lee was excellent, of course, and I was really impressed with Duhon.

  15. BigBlueAL

    Cant really be too upset tonight, Knicks lost to a better team and played hard but just ran out of gas in the end.

    Sad thing is though this team could go 0-4 this week easily if they dont get back some combination of Nate, Jeffries, and Mobley back. They are essentially playing with 6 players since Roberson and Rose are useless.

    Actually looking at the upcoming schedule, this could be a 2-8, 1-9 stretch coming up easily if they dont get some players back soon….

  16. DRed

    Portland does indeed have some prodigious neophytes.

    Is there much of a difference between Chandler or Harrington? Neither one could shoot tonight.

  17. BigBlueAL

    Portland +18 on the boards. I wonder why Chandler got the minutes over Harrington down the stretch.

    Forgot to mention this too, Chandler has looked pretty bad lately. I think a starting role playing 30+ minutes is too much too soon for him, especially now since they have some added depth in the frontcourt, moreso with Jeffries returning soon.

  18. Gian Casimiro (SSoM) Post author

    Is there much of a difference between Chandler or Harrington?

    There isn’t which is why I don’t like them on the court at the same time. Harrington just ends up taking Chandler’s shots.

    I wonder why Chandler got the minutes over Harrington down the stretch.

    D’Antoni answered my question in the postgame interview. “Al was tired. We were down ten. I just tried it. Y’know, just try.” Sounds like an undermanned coach.

  19. nj hoop

    Can’t really complain about the effort tonight. They definitely ran out of gas in the 4th quarter. I thought Duhon played really well and Harrington, as someone said, looks to score every single time he touches the ball. And yeah, it sure would be fun to be a Blazers fan. You’re a force in the West,your #1 pick hasn’t really rounded into form yet and you’ve got exciting young US and international players up the wazoo. Oh, and one of the best PG’s in the game. What’s not to like? It’ll be interesting to see how they do in Boston on Friday.

  20. ess-dog

    Clyde in the 4th:
    “Pryzbilla finally makes a mistake!”
    That’s not a phrase you want to hear. As great as Lee is, he has a hard time with the big guys. But I have to say, if we had Nate with his added penetration, and Jeffries with his added height, we could have pulled this game out.
    I’d love to get my hands on that Rudy Fernandez… what a stroke. And Outlaw, Aldridge and of course Roy and great shooters too.
    Did anyone else notice Tim Thomas’s incredibly active defense? Who was that guy? Also, noone had the touch in the 4th except Duhon, which killed us. They need to work the ball around more for the open shot.
    Did anyone see that 2-hand stuff of Pryzbilla on Harrington? Put him on his butt, hilarious. Pryzbilla is my new favorite player. Possible nicknames: the ‘billa monster’ or the Pryz-villain.

  21. D

    I didn’t catch the whole game, just the second half. From what I saw they played well until they got tired. the team is just way to short on guys right now. I think if nate and jefferies get back soon they should be in pretty good shape.

    has anyone heard anything on Mobley? i thought he was getting some more tests yesterday or today.

  22. Gorky

    Did anyone see that 2-hand stuff of Pryzbilla on Harrington? Put him on his butt, hilarious. Pryzbilla is my new favorite player. Possible nicknames: the ‘billa monster’ or the Pryz-villain.

    How could you not know about Joel “The Vanilla Gorilla” Przbylla?

  23. jon abbey

    yeah, that was a much better effort than I expected, I think we win if we have Nate and Jeffries, as someone said above. amazing with only Lee and Duhon playing well, essentially a six man team (I refuse to count Roberson and Malik), we hung in the whole game against one of the top five teams in the league right now. D’Antoni’s coaching his ass off so far this season.

    Aldridge/Sheed: the Detroit announcers were talking about this on Sunday, Sheed supposedly thinks the same thing (“he’s a young me”), and he’s rarely impressed. Aldridge abused him also, it was pretty impressive.

    Mobley: they said during the game that he’s getting more tests in California and then somewhere else (Texas?). the only thing I can think of at this point is that he won’t sign a waiver.

    I think Portland has four big pieces in place for a title team: Oden, Aldridge, Roy at SG, and Fernandez as sixth man. if LeBron really only cared about winning titles, he’d go there in 2010.

  24. jon abbey

    Duhon passes Baron Davis and is now just behind Jason Kidd for 3rd in the league in assists, both have 17 games played, Kidd has 145 assists to Duhon’s 144.

  25. Ben R

    The offense has shifted since the trade. The Knicks are now running a high pick and roll almost everytime down the court. The shooters spread the floor and then Lee sets a pick for Duhon and rolls towards the basket, from there Duhon either passes to Lee, drives to the basket and scores, drives and dishes for an open three or waves it off and passes the ball around the perimeter. The ball is moving alot better and we do not seem to have any black holes. They were running the high pick and roll before but we were also slowing the offense down to look for Randolph or isolating for Crawford, now that they are both gone our offense seems more fluid.

    I do not think the high assist numbers for Duhon over the last couple games are a fluke and I think he could easily average 9-10 assists from here on out.

    Lee has also been amazing since the Randolph trade. In the last six games Lee is averaging over 20 pts and 14 rebs with a 61% TS%. We cannot let him go. He is a perfect piece in this offense.

    I am surprised by this team and I really think we could be pretty good once Nate and Jeffries return.

  26. Brian Cronin

    Just extend David Lee now, please!

    If it comes down to “having” to trade him to get Lebron and another guy in 2010, fine, so be it.

    But he is only going to get a lot more expensive as the season goes on, and I don’t want to see what kind of offers he’ll see this offseason (I fear he’ll see some cap-busting offers designed so that the Knicks “can’t” match the offer) – just extend him now!

    And yeah, it’s nuts how awesome Duhon and Lee are clicking right now.

  27. Ray

    I read in the paper today that Donnie doesnt even think Mobley will even play this season. There are major doubts about his heart health. Perhaps the Clipper can send over another player instead? Or we could buy Mobley out? The team is looking worn out.

  28. caleb

    I think the window for signing Lee or Nate to an extension has passed (Oct. 31) and they have to wait until after the season. Can anyone else confirm?

    But yeah, I hope this ends speculation that we’ll let Lee go to clear cap space. I’ve had the extension pegged around $8m on my guesstimate salary sheet – Tayshaun Prince money – so we’ll see where it ends up. You need to factor in that you’re not buying any defense.

    re: Portland – not only do they have the pieces that Jon mentions; Przybilla might be a top-10 center, too — they can either keep him for 20-25 minutes a game, or as Oden injury insurance, or trade him for a top-flight small forward (or PG).

  29. Italian Stallion
    Is there much of a difference between Chandler or Harrington?

    There isn’t which is why I don’t like them on the court at the same time. Harrington just ends up taking Chandler’s shots.

    I think that’s exactly the case. So I assume that those that don’t like Chandler will now start complainiung about his lack of scoring instead of the fact that he’s taking some questionable shots. LOL

  30. caleb

    I don’t see the problem with playing Chandler and Harrington together. It’s not a problem if Harrington takes shots from Chandler, since Harrington is the more efficient scorer. Chandler’s TS% is down to 52, and was 48 last year. Harrington is also a slightly better rebounder, although they’re both bad for a power forward.

    The thing is – Chandler is better on D, and can comfortably play the 3 (where his rebounding is ABOVE average). He can contribute more than Harrington when he’s not scoring. Chandler does a lot of good things; his problem is shooting too much, when he’s not very good at it and never draws any fouls. Playing next to Harrington makes WC shoot less, which is good for his game and the team.

    I’m not much of a Harrington fan but especially in a Nate-less lineup, it’s hard to see who else they’re going to run plays for, aside from Lee & Duhon doing the pick and roll.

  31. Gian Casimiro (SSoM) Post author

    I read in the paper today that Donnie doesnt even think Mobley will even play this season. There are major doubts about his heart health. Perhaps the Clipper can send over another player instead? Or we could buy Mobley out? The team is looking worn out.

    Mike Breen said last night that Mobley had to sign a release to play in Houston because of his heart condition so that the team wouldn’t be liable if anything ever happened to him. That makes it sound scary. He’s had it his whole career so if he won’t play this year, what makes us think he’ll play next year? I feel like this is going to end in some type of separation.

    The Clippers don’t need to send compensation. The Knicks waived his physical to complete the trade.

  32. Caleb

    The Mobley situation is weird – he’s been a full-time NBA player forever, with no problem – but I guess Walsh is being hyperconservative. Maybe he’s fed up and got new medical advisors after going through the Bender & Gallinari ordeals.

    Maybe we’re trying to pressure Mobley into taking a buyout, so we can save a few bucks (though not cap room)…

    Maybe there is a backroom deal where we let Mobley walk back to the Clippers, for some future consideration…

    Or maybe we’re just tanking for draft position…

  33. njhoop

    Did you see the spread on the game tonight? Cavs giving 16 points, which is probably appropriate given the state of the Knicks roster. This one will be really hard to watch, and I feel particularly bad for Duhon, whose back is probably killing him but will still have to play 40 plus minutes tonight.

  34. Italian Stallion

    I don’t see the problem with playing Chandler and Harrington together. It’s not a problem if Harrington takes shots from Chandler, since Harrington is the more efficient scorer. Chandler’s TS% is down to 52, and was 48 last year. Harrington is also a slightly better rebounder, although they’re both bad for a power forward.
    The thing is – Chandler is better on D, and can comfortably play the 3 (where his rebounding is ABOVE average). He can contribute more than Harrington when he’s not scoring. Chandler does a lot of good things; his problem is shooting too much, when he’s not very good at it and never draws any fouls. Playing next to Harrington makes WC shoot less, which is good for his game and the team.
    I’m not much of a Harrington fan but especially in a Nate-less lineup, it’s hard to see who else they’re going to run plays for, aside from Lee & Duhon doing the pick and roll.

    Chandler has a difficult game for me to analyze.

    If you look at the details of his play, you’ll see that he’s had a lot of very efficient nights. That’s especially true considering he takes a few shots/3 pointers every night that I believe he’ll eventually stop taking. People don’t seem to realize how incredibly inexperienced he is because he was on the team all last year. He’s pretty much a rookie based on age/time on the court. There’s plenty of room to improve and learn.

    However, he’s also had 2 or 3 absolutely horrible nights (twice against the Bucks I think?) with a very high volume of shooting. Those horror show nights are having a fairly significant impact on the overall perception of his efficiency on the typical night when you look at the averages.

    I don’t think that’s exactly typical even though all players have a bad night here or there. His bad nights are absolutely horrible.

    I’m not quite sure how that kind of shooting record impacts wins relative to a more typical flatter/less volatile shooting record, but I suspect on the typical night we are getting more bang for the buck than it looks based on the averages.

    I agree that he’s best used at the 3, but I think his versatility and ability to play the 4 in some spots is a plus for him as a player and the team. Also, I als agree that with his athleticism he should be getting better shots and fouled more often going to the hoop. If he would just do that, his efficiency etc.. would improve. We’ll just have to hope he learns to improve his shot selection etc… with time and the numbers will take care of themselves. I’m not worried at all yet. If he’s not improving his shot and shot selction by next year, then I’ll start thinking he’s a little “thick”. LOL

  35. Caleb

    off-topic: Balkman report!

    Our man is back in action, at least in mop-up duty. He played 13 minutes in Denver’s 40-point win over the Raptors. Most amazing, he hit all 4 of his free throws, bringing his season FT% to 80% (16 of 20).

    It’s still mysterious to me as to why he doesn’t play more, and it probably always will be.

    For the year, he’s played 199 minutes… per 36 minutes, he’s averaging 12 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2 steals, 1.3 blocks and 6.7 fouls. His TS% is a gaudy 55.2.

    he’s had two ankle injuries and has actually ramped up his high foul rate — a career high by 30%. It’s fifth highest in the league and highest of all small forwards.

    ok, maybe not so mysterious.

  36. Caleb

    IS,

    I don’t think Chandler’s shooting is any more volatile than most players. I think we notice it more because he shoots so much — 3 for 18 stands out more than 1 for 6.

    But that’s what overall averages are for — 52.1 TS% isn’t horrible (it’s better than Zach Randolph), and it’s a nice improvement over last year… but his age and inexperience only goes so far in explaining it.

    Chandler played 685 minutes last year and 527 so far this year. Two other SFs who came out with him as college freshmen were Thaddeus Young and Julian Wright. Wright played 640 minutes last year and had a TS% of 58.1. This year he just got back from injury and has only played 112 minutes. Young played 1554 minutes last year with a TS% of 57.0; he’s played 612 this year with a TS% of 55.7.

    Sure, Chandler will probably get better but I don’t think shooting will ever be his strength.

  37. Italian Stallion

    Balkman’s raw numbers are good again this year, but I still suspect we are not seeing everything in those numbers that we need to fully understand his ability/potential contribution/liabilities that all his coaches are seeing (even though his +/- numbers are often pretty good too). I sort of refuse to believe Isiah, D’Antoni, Karl, Walsh, all their assistant coaches, the other players etc.. are all total idiots for not giving him a lot more time. He’s certainly a good role player though. (I’d be willing to bet he FT% drops to 60% +/- a little by year end despite the great start)

  38. Ted Nelson

    Jon,

    I have to point out that Duhon is also 4th in the league in MPG, but I don’t want to say anything too negative about him the way he’s been playing…

    Brian & Caleb,

    I also think the Knicks have to wait until after the season to resign Lee/Nate.

    IS,

    I like Wilson Chandler just fine. I’m still complaining about the same thing, though: he doesn’t get to the line. At the moment I’d call him an average NBA SF, but he’s clearly capable of better. If he gets to the line he’s going to balance out those 4-12 nights and make those 6-9 nights that much more impressive.

    Al Harrington is taking everyone’s shots, not just WC’s: he shoots more than Zach Randolph, I can see why he’s tired…

  39. Ted Nelson

    Didn’t see a bunch of new posts while I was writing. FTs are what will balance out those terrible and great shooting nights and make him an efficient scorer overall. His bad nights have been horrible becuase he never gets to the line. Someone like Paul Pierce might have a 1-11 night but still score 12 points (that’s an extreme example). Most guys who shoot that much get to the line a little. Then again, there are just inefficient scorers out there.

    My bigger “problem” with Chandler at this point is that he doesn’t have any other stand out skill. He’s a solid defender, but I still don’t think he’s anything special (certainly no Balkman). He’s sort of ok at most other things, but there’s no other area I can think of besides scoring volume where he sticks out, and those things usually don’t improve much with time. To be better than average, he’s got to be an efficient scorer.

  40. Italian Stallion

    Caleb,

    I agree with you. I doubt he’ll ever be a great outside shooter.

    We notice those 3-18 performances more than 1-6 performances because the guys that go 1-6 rarely do it 3 games in row (other than qRich last year). LOL

    I don’t know those other players well, but I’d be curious if they are doing most of their shooting around the basket in order to earn that high TS%. Chandler shoots from the outside way too much. Those 2 pointers from 15-18 feet count the same statistically as 2 pointers from under the basket or 4-5 feet away, but they are a lot tougher to make.

    A team needs outside shooting to spread the floor and make sure the defense isn’t cheating and laying off etc… but IMHO Chandler has the athletic ability to get much better shots and is not using it effectively yet.

    Let’s face it, he’s a better athlete than Lee, but Lee not only has much better shot selection, he also manages to put himself in a position to get much better shots despite less athleticism. That’s one of the things I’m just starting to appreciate about Lee (or he’s getting a lot better at it and Duhon is also helping). He puts himself in a position to get high quality shots. That in itself is a skill that is hard to measure.

  41. Ted Nelson

    I can’t really fault George Karl for playing most of the wings ahead of Balkman ahead of Balkman. The only guy I think he should be playing ahead of is Dahntay Jones, who with all due respect (and without having watched a sinlge Nugget’s game this season) has been a waste of space for the Nuggets. Jones has the same weaknesses as Balkman (fouls too much and no jumper, although he’s slightly better at both and doesn’t turn it over as much as RB) and has the same strengths to a lesser extent (defense, somewhat efficient low-volume scoring). The Nuggets are already one of the best teams in the West right now (record wise), imagine if they took Jones out of the rotation and replaced his minutes with Balkman and J.R. Smith (assuming he takes his tampon out and starts playing well).

    Klieza seems to be struggling a little, but has a different skill set.

    With the 07-08 Knicks, it was a completely different story.

  42. Italian Stallion

    Ted,

    I totally agree with you on getting to the free throw line. We are saying similar things from a different direction. If Chandler went to the hoop more often instead of settling for a 15-18 footer all the time, I think he would draw more fouls and get better shots. If he wasn’t athletic, I’d say he was limited and really can’t do it often. But he is athletic, so IMO he can change and develop his game. I don’t like all those outside shots any more than you do. We can hope.

  43. Ted Nelson

    % of shot attempts…eFG%

    WC
    jumpers…67%…48%
    close…..33%…53%

    Wright
    jumpers…69%…56%
    close…..31%…36%

    Young
    jumpers…56%…45%
    close…..44%…66%

  44. Ted Nelson

    Ted,
    I totally agree with you on getting to the free throw line. We are saying similar things from a different direction. If Chandler went to the hoop more often instead of settling for a 15-18 footer all the time, I think he would draw more fouls and get better shots. If he wasn’t athletic, I’d say he was limited and really can’t do it often. But he is athletic, so IMO he can change and develop his game. I don’t like all those outside shots any more than you do. We can hope.

    Yeah, absolutely, agree 100%. Also, I don’t mind him taking a few 3s if he cuts down on the mid-range shots.

  45. Gian Casimiro (SSoM) Post author

    Al Harrington is taking everyone’s shots, not just WC’s: he shoots more than Zach Randolph, I can see why he’s tired…

    Given this situation, I just don’t mind him shooting as much as he has been. Q, Tim Thomas, Roberson – they all get their appropriate three’s (and bricks) up. Lee has been getting Zach’s old shots, and if he shot more, they’d have to scrape him up off the floor. He’s getting fouled a ton and getting non-calls on top of that. So really they’re just redistributing Nate’s shots at the moment. Harrington and Chandler are the same kind of scorer so, naturally, Harrington’s going to get the looks. That’s why I don’t like them on the floor at the same time on the offensive end.

    My bigger “problem” with Chandler at this point is that he doesn’t have any other stand out skill. He’s a solid defender, but I still don’t think he’s anything special (certainly no Balkman). He’s sort of ok at most other things, but there’s no other area I can think of besides scoring volume where he sticks out, and those things usually don’t improve much with time.

    I see this, too. When I read Seven Seconds or Less, D’Antoni and his staff always tried to convince Shawn Marion that he was a better 4 and would look average as a 3 because he quickness would be negated. I have no doubt that they think the same about Chandler. He used to stand out a lot more when he got open corner three’s and scored off PnR’s cause he was being defended by slower 4’s. Now Lee is the one setting picks and Chandler’s just the designated wing defender. It makes him look very average.

  46. Ted Nelson

    Gian,

    I do mind Harrington shooting so much. He’s taking 20 FGA/36 right now for a TS% of 50.7%. Nate Robinson was taking only 14 FGA/36. Al’s the new Wilson Chandler… (kidding, kind of).

    Good point on the Marion thing. Although I think WC can get by at the 3. Marion is also a significantly better defender & rebounder than Chandler (also scorer, but we’ll see if that improves) so not as 1 dimensional (my original point).

  47. Caleb

    I don’t know those other players well, but I’d be curious if they are doing most of their shooting around the basket in order to earn that high TS%.

    Just looked… all three are remarkably similar, stat-wise. Last year they all shot about the same number of 3-pointers per minute, although this year Chandler has more than doubled his rate. Wright shot 42% on 3-pointers last year, but he wasn’t very good in college so it might be an aberration. Young is hitting 35%, and Chandler 33%.

    Neither of the others gets to the line as much as I thought. I saw Young a lot at Georgia Tech, and he was pretty versatile. But this year, he’s shot even fewer FTs than Chandler (33 times in 612 minutes vs. 34 in 527). That’s probably one reason he’s been less effective than last year. Still good, though. Wright does better, 52 FTAs in 640 minutes last year, but that’s still nothing special.

    Both Young and Wright play a pretty big role in their team’s offenses (especially Young); compared to Chandler the biggest difference seems to be that they make a much higher percentage of 2-pointers, either by being more selective or just having a better stroke. They’re both pretty good defenders, and I remember Wright as a terrific passer at Kansas.

    Last year was a pretty good draft year for SFs… Kevin Durant, too, even if he’s underachieving.

  48. Caleb

    I have no doubt that they think the same about Chandler. He used to stand out a lot more when he got open corner three’s and scored off PnR’s cause he was being defended by slower 4’s…

    They might think this – D’Antoni does like to play small — but I hope he realizes he doesn’t have Shawn Marion. Marion was (sort of still is) a great rebounder even for a PF, whereas Chandler is below average compared to PFs. Marion was also a FT machine, and of course an elite defender.

    Chandler’s quickness helps against 4s, and he’s a pretty good shotblocker, but when you compare his rebound and FT/post-up #s to an average power forward, the Knicks are giving up a lot.

    I think if Chandler focuses on his D, and becoming more selective with his shots, he could be a very good defender and above-average starter.

  49. Z

    “The Mobley situation is weird – he’s been a full-time NBA player forever, with no problem – but I guess Walsh is being hyperconservative. Maybe he’s fed up and got new medical advisors after going through the Bender & Gallinari ordeals.”

    Mobley’s not the only Knick with a bad heart that’s not playing. I think you are right that Walsh has hired very conservative medical advisors. They probably took a look at Curry’s records and contract and said “holy shit, you can’t play this guy!”

    Then Mobley arrived with the same issues…

  50. jon abbey

    The Nuggets are already one of the best teams in the West right now (record wise), imagine if they took Jones out of the rotation and replaced his minutes with Balkman and J.R. Smith (assuming he takes his tampon out and starts playing well).

    yeah, they might beat Toronto by 40! oh, wait.

  51. njhoop

    Interesting notes from last night’s box score:

    Duhon – 44 minutes, 13 assists, 1 turnover, very impressive

    Rose – came within 1 foul of the dreaded “trillion” – zeros across the board. That guy should never be on the court unless it’s a blowout.

  52. Owen

    The amazing thing about the Nuggets is that Carmelo has been stinking up the joint this year, scoring at just 50.6% ts% so far and committing 3.6 turnovers per 36.

    I thought the Nuggets would be significantly improved by the Billups-Iverson trade. Billups has always been a much better player, but even I am surprised with how well they have played. 6th best defense in the league thus far, and 11th best offensivily, which is where they ended up last year.

    It’s going to be interesting to see what people think about Iverson at the end of this season.

  53. jon abbey

    yeah, good call on that deal, Owen.

    Detroit would be better off IMO starting Stuckey and bringing Iverson off the bench as a sixth man, but I doubt Curry has the stones to do that.

  54. Thomas B.

    Interesting notes from last night’s box score:

    Duhon – 44 minutes, 13 assists, 1 turnover, very impressive

    Rose – came within 1 foul of the dreaded “trillion” – zeros across the board. That guy should never be on the court unless it’s a blowout.

    When he is on the court it usually is a blow out…with the Knicks on the wrong end of it.

  55. Caleb

    Owen,

    I like the Billups trade, too, but something else happened at the same time… the return of Chris Anderson, who’s been playing out of his mind… 2 blocks a game in 20 minutes, lots of rebounds, efficient scoring. Nene has also been good.

    If you said before the season that Anthony and JR Smith would be this mediocre, you wouldn’t have put them above .500.

  56. Italian Stallion

    Iverson could be a truly great player. He has the talent. He just never learned how to play the game as if he was actually trying to win instead of just maximizing his own scoring.

    He’s basically Stephon Marbury on speed. ;-)

  57. Frank O.

    One thing is clear: Regardless of the Knicks’ record after this string of games, this team plays hard, plays with heart, and does a lot of things well.
    D’Antoni has done an excellent job. Duhon is everything fans could have expected. Lee seems to have raised his game.
    It’s so much more fun to follow them.

    I’m excited to see Jeffries’ affect on this team. Do you think Jeffries would have gone out and rented a hyperbaric chamber to quicken his return last year? No way.
    These guys are having fun and are fired up to play together.

  58. njhoop

    One thing is clear: Regardless of the Knicks’ record after this string of games, this team plays hard, plays with heart, and does a lot of things well.D’Antoni has done an excellent job. Duhon is everything fans could have expected. Lee seems to have raised his game.It’s so much more fun to follow them.
    I’m excited to see Jeffries’ affect on this team. Do you think Jeffries would have gone out and rented a hyperbaric chamber to quicken his return last year? No way.These guys are having fun and are fired up to play together.

    Frank O., absolutely agree. I haven’t seen the Knicks “mail it in” once this year, except maybe the first Bucks game. (now tonight, of course,they have every right to) It all starts with the coach’s positive attitude and filters down to the players. They all seem to love playing in D’Antoni’s system, and recognize that the coach really cares, as opposed to a certain prior coach who stood like a statue every game.

  59. jon abbey

    Owen,
    I like the Billups trade, too, but something else happened at the same time… the return of Chris Anderson, who’s been playing out of his mind… 2 blocks a game in 20 minutes, lots of rebounds, efficient scoring.

    Andersen’s only been back for four games, Denver is 12-3 since getting Billups.

  60. Nick C.

    I have to chime in that this cast is likeable even Tim Thomas whose trade the last straw first time around. They really have to stop bumbling around with Mobley, I find it hard to believe it was a secret considerign he was with three other clubs before NYK.

  61. T-Mart

    “You can’t pay for your freedom. Freedom has to come free. I’m not giving nothing. That’s for real.”

    Stephon Marbury is such a literary diamond in the rough.

  62. Italian Stallion

    http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/dailydime?page=dime-081203
    Mark Jackson on Marbury. Mark is so damn wise; no wonder the Knicks would not offer him the job of head coach.

    I don’t know, I got the clear impression that Jackson is still pissed off he lost the head coaching job to D’Antoni. It’s one thing to think they should have bought Marbury out before the season started (most players and former players are probably on Steph’s side on this). It’s another thing to be back door trashing D’Antoni for the loss against the Spurs. IMHO, you pretty much have to be an idiot to criticize D’Antoni for his coaching, motivation of the players etc.. to this point.

  63. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Re: Chandler.

    The reason he doesn’t get to the line is because he’s not good at scoring inside. Almost all his shots & moves end up with jumpers. Even when he gets the ball down low he goes to his spin-turnaround jumper.

    One of the things that the anti-David Lee crowd would always mention would be how Lee had a lot of his shots close to the hoop. Well they failed to understand that scoring from close is a skill in the NBA. Look at the difference between Duhon & Marbury. When they drive and attempt to score, Duhon is pretty bad at finishing around the hoop, a skill that Marbury excelled at.

    So it may not be a given that Chandler will develop that skill, but it’s something he’s going to need to work on.

  64. Caleb

    I’m not saying Anderson’s imapct is same as Billups – but he’s played 10 games this year, and played great – per-minute, he’s replaced everything Camby did last year. Albeit, just 20 minutes a game, for 10 games.

    The Nugs are playing very well but have also gotten a boost from a soft-ish schedule the last few weeks.

  65. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Lee has excellent hands and can finish equally well with either one… helps a lot, inside.

    Exactly. What makes Lee a great inside scorer isn’t so much that he gets the ball inside a lot, but rather that he has the skill to finish close to the hoop. When thinking about Chandler, you hope he can develop that skill.

  66. o_boogie

    “I don’t know, I got the clear impression that Jackson is still pissed off he lost the head coaching job to D’Antoni. It’s one thing to think they should have bought Marbury out before the season started (most players and former players are probably on Steph’s side on this). It’s another thing to be back door trashing D’Antoni for the loss against the Spurs. IMHO, you pretty much have to be an idiot to criticize D’Antoni for his coaching, motivation of the players etc.. to this point.”

    Totally agree. Jackson definitely has sour grapes. I havent heard him make a positive comment about the Knicks since D’Antoni was hired.

    “Duhon is pretty bad at finishing around the hoop, a skill that Marbury excelled at.”

    The first few games I screamed at my TV when Duhon drove because he always chumped his layups. More recently, he has been finishing around the hoop extremely well. Last night when Oden switched on a screen, Duhon crossed him over, drove right, sealed the ball with his body and had a nice right hand finish.

    As far as WC, after watching him make this sick preseason dunk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30IIMw-ig9w), I was half expecting him to be an excellent finisher around the rim. However, he has proven otherwise with his BS fadeaways, predictable spin move, and double clutches. To take his game to the next level he needs to be able to get to the charity stripe. Time will tell if this is an acquired skill.

    “I’m excited to see Jeffries’ affect on this team. Do you think Jeffries would have gone out and rented a hyperbaric chamber to quicken his return last year? No way. These guys are having fun and are fired up to play together.”

    Good stuff Frank. Love the heart and the hustle.

    “They really have to stop bumbling around with Mobley, I find it hard to believe it was a secret considerign he was with three other clubs before NYK.”

    We definitely could have used Mobley last night. This compounded with the Marbury debacle is kind of turning me off to Walsh’s dealings with personnel (his ability to evaluate talent is unquestionable, tho). He really needs Mobley to sign a health waiver, because at this point the last thing we need is another dead roster spot. As of now we have 7 dead spots (soon to be 5): Marbury, Curry, JJames, Mobley, Nate, Gallinari and Jeffries. How does the team even practice when we only have 8 healthy people.

    I understand Walsh is against buyouts, but this is getting ridiculous. We need bodies and we are going to lose close games in the 4th quarter unless we have an 8-9 person rotation.

  67. njhoop
    Lee has excellent hands and can finish equally well with either one… helps a lot, inside.

    Exactly. What makes Lee a great inside scorer isn’t so much that he gets the ball inside a lot, but rather that he has the skill to finish close to the hoop. When thinking about Chandler, you hope he can develop that skill.

    Case in point -that play last night where Lee got crunched in the head by Przbilla and there was no call, Chandler retrieved the ball right in front of the basket and put up a double pump brick that actually went over the backboard.

  68. o_boogie

    “Case in point -that play last night where Lee got crunched in the head by Przbilla and there was no call, Chandler retrieved the ball right in front of the basket and put up a double pump brick that actually went over the backboard.”

    The officiating was dreadful last night. Two situations really jumped out at me:
    -Lee getting smashed by Pryzbilla
    -A sequence where Rudy Fernandez CLEARLY double dribbled which the refs didnt call. Shortly thereafter, Tim Thomas reached in and hacked a driving Rudy to knock the ball away resulting in a steal and fast break. I think the refs did your classic make-up (no)call on Thomas by letting the reach in slide after not calling the double dribble.

  69. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    “As of now we have 7 dead spots (soon to be 5): Marbury, Curry, JJames, Mobley, Nate, Gallinari and Jeffries.”

    So Rose and Roberson are classified as “live” roster spots?

  70. o_boogie

    ““As of now we have 7 dead spots (soon to be 5): Marbury, Curry, JJames, Mobley, Nate, Gallinari and Jeffries.”

    So Rose and Roberson are classified as “live” roster spots?”

    From a quality standpoint, no. From a standpoint of a body that can provide more than 20 min and practice, yes. Pretty sad.

  71. Ted Nelson

    It’s a good point that Chandler needs to improve at finishing around the basket, but I don’t think the relationship between being able to finish around the basket and drawing fouls is 100% direct. Reggie Miller put up 4.6 FTA/36 at 39 years old on 12.3 FGA/36, while Chandler is only putting up 2.3 on 15.5. Richard Hamilton is shooting 82% jumpers this season and still getting to the line 5.1/36 on 14.4 FGA/36. I would assume it’s something that improves at least a bit with age as a player gains some savvy, so maybe finishing around the basket is something that he should be more concerned about.

  72. Italian Stallion

    I agree on Lee’s ability to finish etc…, but I also think it’s a skill to actually get the ball in that position so ften to begin with. He seems to be very smart about where he should be and when he should be there. I also think he might be getting fewer of his shots blocked this year (though I haven’t checked the stats). For awhile last year, that was a huge problem for him.

    All in all, I am very satisfied with his play this year, though I still wish he had just a little more of an outside game because I think it would help the rest of his offense and the team (he is more willing this year though).

  73. Brian Cronin

    You seriously can’t extend your own player during the regular season?

    Wow, that sounds like a pretty harsh rule.

  74. Brian Cronin

    By the by, how nuts is it how bad some of the teams are in the NBA right now?

    The Knicks could actively try to tank the season and I don’t think they’ll get any better than the 5th pick in the 2009 Draft!

    There are some goddawful teams in the NBA right now.

    Hopefully these teams will continue to suck next year when the Knicks will be losing their draft pick.

  75. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Ted – are you comparing Wilson Chandler, a 3/4, to two of the best shooting 2s in the last 20 years?

    IS – honestly I just don’t see Lee needing more of an outside game. The other day he got the ball 20 feet from the hoop and drove past his defender for a dunk. Last night he used the jumper (against Oden).

    I’m not sure what else he should be doing out there. I’d rather he not jack up 4-5 jumpers a game. There was a possession near the end of the Knicks game yesterday in crunch time where the Knicks desperately needed a made basket. The bal rotated on the outside and Chandler took a covered trey and missed badly. If Lee becomes a player like that, I don’t see how it will make the offense better.

  76. Thomas B.

    RE: Chandler

    I like Wilson. Having said that, the bigger concern for me is his left.

    I played a few pick games last week and for the first few games I killed with a little move I call the Wilson Chandler. Here is how it works:

    Catch the ball, with the defneder facing you. Take 1 dribble with your left, then immediately switch to your right, then finish the drive. Watch Wilson tonight, this is what he does about on the vast majority of moves that involve a dribble with a defender facing him. Think about it; have you seen Wilson do that move to the left after starting right?

    Anyway, this move worked really well for me until a defender figured out that I switch from left to right after the first dribble not because the defender has committed to sticking me to the left, but because I can’t dribble to the left. I suspect this is Wilson’s problem as well. Watch Wilson in the game against Boston, I think they figured him out. The advance scouts have got to know about this by now.

    The point is Wilson’s left is probably more a problem than his ability to finish inside. For wing players, finishing inside comes second to actually getting inside. He would be a better player if he could go to his left. But what do I know, I cant go left or hit the pull up (don’t let me set my feet though-I will make it rain).

  77. Italian Stallion

    I certainly don’t want him shooting jumpers if he can beat his man to the hoop. What I don’t want to see him doing is passing up wide open jumpers from 10-12 feet because he lacks confidence or can’t make them. Last year he did that a real lot and you could see defenders sagging off him whenever he had the ball outside. This year, he is more willing to take them.

  78. Owen

    Don’t I have a bet with someone about Wilson Chandler’s ts% this year? Thomas B, was that you?

    IS – At some point, you will cave and admit that it doesn’t really matter whether Lee shoots the outside jumper.

    Re Denver – It’s an interesting story. I think schedule has something to do with it. And while Carmelo has scored abysmally, he has averaged nearly 9 rebounds per 36, and 3.8 assists. His WP is down, but not as much as I would have expected, still very much on the positive side of the ledger.

    Anderson has played very well. Actually, the way he is playing isn’t a surprise. He is posting identical numbers to what he did before his various problems took him off the court.

    But I think the answer in Denver right now is the play of Nene, who has posted a WP48 of .248 to date while contributing to the sixth best defense in the league. His on/off stands at +13.4, second highest on the team.

    Billups has also played great basketball, but that really isn’t the surprise. Nene shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise either. He has been a very productive player in the past. But he has never been an elite player. Right now, he is making that 10 million dollar contract look like a bargain.

  79. Italian Stallion

    Thomas,

    I think you are right. His handle is not that good. It’s something he’s going to have to work on to get to the next level, especially if he’s going to play more 3. I think that lack of skill is probably because he played mostly the 4 in college. He has probably been trying to make the transition to a 3 because he’s undersized, but D’Antoni is playing him both ways.

  80. Italian Stallion

    Owen,

    I’ll never cave because I don’t think it’s necessary for him to shoot them. I think it’s necessary for his defender to know that if he sags off him, he CAN and will make enough of them to hurt. That kind of thing will take his game to the next level and also help his teamates. I think he knows that (he has said as much) and that’s why he worked on it in the offseason and is taking more of them when open this year.

  81. Italian Stallion

    Nene’s play has made losing Camby seem less important than initial reactions. However, with Nene you have to wonder whether he’ll last the whole season.

  82. o_boogie

    “IS – honestly I just don’t see Lee needing more of an outside game. The other day he got the ball 20 feet from the hoop and drove past his defender for a dunk. Last night he used the jumper (against Oden).

    I’m not sure what else he should be doing out there. I’d rather he not jack up 4-5 jumpers a game. There was a possession near the end of the Knicks game yesterday in crunch time where the Knicks desperately needed a made basket. The bal rotated on the outside and Chandler took a covered trey and missed badly. If Lee becomes a player like that, I don’t see how it will make the offense better.”

    The first season Marbury was on the Knicks, we made the playoffs off Marbury and Kurt Thomas running the pick-n-roll. Thomas was especially effective with that pick and pop move since he was $ from 15-18 feet and was always open. If Lee could become as effective at shooting from that range he would undoubtably be an allstar since he would get that open look all night. Considering Lee’s work ethic and the fact he comes back every season improved, I wouldn’t be too suprised if he has that shot in 2-3 seasons.

    I do agree that I would like to see Lee doing most of his damage in the paint, but if he could get a reliable shot it could be the difference between a good starter and an allstar.

  83. Thomas B.

    Don’t I have a bet with someone about Wilson Chandler’s ts% this year? Thomas B, was that you?

    Nah, not me. I think I’m only on the hook with Mike K. for the Knicks getting more than 34 1/2 wins. If i lose, I have to write an article of the subject of his choice. It’ll probably be a review of every Ween album. Oh Lord, take me now if that happens.

  84. Owen

    Just heard this from George Karl on PTI:

    “Chauncey is not a spectacular player, he is not even a statistically special player. His presence, his character, his leadership, his locker room demeanor, all these little things that coaches love to talk about and drink beers over, Chauncey has and now gives to us, and gives us the opportunity to be a great team.”

    So George, what about his 60% ts% and the 19 points per game he is averaging? What about the 7.2 assists versus just 1.6 turnovers, or the 1.5 steals he has averaged so far?

  85. Duff Soviet Union

    Owen, yeah anyone who says that Billups is not a statistically excellent player is obviously looking at the wrong statistics.

  86. Brian Cronin

    I dunno, it sounds less like not looking at the right stats and more like a case of “it’s all about the intangibles! Billups is a winner!”

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