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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Indiana Pacers 121 – New York Knicks 106 – Game Recap

At what point, exactly, does resignation sets in?

I’m not talking about being resigned to losing. We all knew that since February, 6th 2018. And that’s good! We need to lose the highest possible number of games this season. I’m talking about being resigned to watch ugly basketball with no hope for something better in clear sight. Our best overall contributor sees his minutes cut down by foul trouble. Our highest-paid player (not a good player to begin with) is collecting minor injuries as if they were Pokemon and the coach keeps on trotting him on the field as if nothing happened. Our starting point guard shouldn’t be our starting point guard, and what’s amazing is that the last sentence is applicable to whomever is our starting PG on any given night. Our double-double empty calories machine is being sidelined by… cheeseburgers? Our lottery pick is back again putting muffled double-digit scoring efforts that only look like someone is giving him a free taco if he reaches 10 points. Our Brad Lohaus clone isn’t working anymore. Our most promising rookie is out because while he was nursing his ankle injury he picked up a groin injury (this reminds me of an Italian soccer player who injured himself while taking a bath in his own house. Really. He fell down and dislocated his shoulder in the bathtub just a few days after returning from a bad injury). We know nothing about KP’s return and his tailoring choices are definitely tailspinning. The media is head over heels for Fizdale magic, even if it’s pretty clear it doesn’t exist (seriously, Doris Burke is probably one of the best color commentators in the business and even she was fawning over Mudiay’s improvement, while calling Fizdale “David” over and over again. I get it, dude is charismatic, but how much effort does it take to recognize that whatever he’s doing it’s not working? And I’m not talking about incompetence. I’m talking about not changing a damn thing in his players, unless you believe that Fizdale magic is what is helping Mudiay hit long twos at a Nowitzki-esque pace while being a .350 career shooter from there, even accounting for this season).

All of this is to say that, wow, since I need something to keep my juices flowing, I took a dive into the dark side and I learned to root for Mario. And for Lance. I guess this is a point of no return as definitive as they come (until one between Mitch and KP comes back, at least – or maybe Anthony Bennett!).

I dare of you, find me a Knick worth rooting for. I. Just. Can’t. And that’s why now I root for the bad guys. The ones that have no reason at all to be on the court. The ones that should be out of the League.

I have become one the guys Heath Ledger’s Joker was talking about. I want the Knicks’ nuclear winter.

I just want to watch the world burn.

And pick first at the 2019 lottery, of course.

The “if you squint your eyes this picture of Albert Einstein looks like Marylin Monroe – no, really, squint harder”:

– Oh hey, guess who also got injured tonight (contused left calf)? Our forgotten aficionado of the good column, Damyean Dotson (15 pts, 6 rebs, 4 ast, -4 +/-). I maintain that there’s no reason, like, at all not to play Dotson in the starting five. You can’t have three ball dominant guys at your 1-2-3 spots and expect something to develop organically in a string of possessions. It’s always gonna be “my turn, your turn” basketball at its worst. And the best case scenario for that type of offensive setting is Scott Brooks’s Russ/KD Thunder iterations. Which were good because of the transcendent talent in spite of not having anything (even very basic sets) to run for the other guys. You need a Dotson-like player plugged into your starting backcourt, at least to have someone moving without the ball with a semblance of purpose here and there. Since we’re experimenting with lineup, and we have no reason nor intention to start Kanter again (god bless), and Kornet is blah, why not try a Mudiay-THJ-Dotson-Knox-Vonleh? I mean, I wouldn’t play neither Mudiay nor THJ, but let’s not be disingenuous, Fiz will play them come hell or high water (My preferred lineup would be Mudiay-Dot-Knox-Vonleh-Kornet, and only because we don’t have a 10-day contract PG on our roster). At least Dotson gives you a release valve. 15 points on 7 shots, a few boards, even 4 assists, what more can you ask of your resident Mikal Bridges?

The “stop trying to convince yourself that The Upside is gonna be a good movie”:

– I hate the fact that Emmanuel Mudiay (21 pts, 2 rebs, 3 ast, -18 +/-) got over 20 points tonight. His game was absolutely dreadful, and his first half was the perfect representation of that. A scoreless first half, marred with ugly turnovers and general horrendous play. I found myself wishing that his stat line at the end of game would remain god-awful, not because I carry any ill will against Mud (I don’t, I hope the best for him and for everyone, really. I only despise jerks and criminals, which is ironic given the scattered past of Dotson, but, well, until proven guilty… keep quiet, conscience of mine) but because this was a nationally televised game. If Mudiay sucked ass in this one (check), we lost by a long mile (check) and his stat line looked terrible (dang) maybe the media would have curbed their enthusiasm, right? But no, this terrible player continued his terrible play and in the mean time he tallied 21 points. In itself, 21 points mean absolutely nothing. Do you remember Flip Murray? He was a not-so-good shooting guard that in the early aughts started putting up 20 point games like it was nothing in Ray Allen’s absence. Nobody flinched even one bit, and he never got to weigh on any cap situation. Well, guess what. We’re not Seattle. We’re New York, where free agent dreams go to die and bad press prospers. Mudiay scoring 21 points on national TV, while playing a horrible game, only spells doom for us. I hope I’m wrong. By the way: 3 assist to 4 turnovers (a couple of them were veeeeery bad) is what point guards are made of, right?

Why so serious-fun-sized bits:

– Noah Vonleh should really learn to restrain himself a bit on the fouling end. He might end up costing himself a few bucks that way. Ask Ed Davis.

– If I told you the sentence “Lance Thomas played center for us”, would you believe he was probably our best center tonight? Plus/minus does, as he posted a team-best +9. Fun fact: Lance Thomas pulled down 7+ boards just 20 times in his career with tonight (one out of every 18 games he played). Of those, 13 were for us. If anything, Lance should gift Phil a huge peyote.

– Can we please sit down Timmy? What good is it for anyone if he plays through multiple injuries? We have an abundance of sucking, it’s not like we need him for the tank.

– On the good side of the nationally televised game spectrum, this game might make a Trey Burke trade more likely.

– From the moment Trier signed that damn contract, his basketball skills have reduced significantly. I don’t know for how many games we can pretend it’s on the nagging injury. Damn, I liked him.

– If I had to narrate the 2013-2019 Knicks to my grandchildren one day and I had to use only one play, I think a wide-open Thaddeus Young corner three is what I’d choose.

And that’s all. This recap is a bit subdued, but such is a Knicks fan life. I guess. See you against the Sixers on Sunday for the Jimmy Butler audition (given how obnoxious he is, isn’t he our best bet in the free agent market?).

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27 comments on “Indiana Pacers 121 – New York Knicks 106 – Game Recap

  1. thenoblefacehumper

    Phil inherited a team of misfits, malcontents, and dimwits that was barren of 1st round picks. He decided to get rid of those players and go from there. The goal was always to build simultaneously through free agents and picks. He said a much constantly.

    He cared so deeply about building via picks that he traded a pick to shed Travis Outlaw’s $3.5M salary. He also traded for a bad basketball player who was credibly accused of sexual assault, but I guess that doesn’t make you a misfit, malcontent, or a dimwit. Interesting standards.

    Then he learned lesson #1. Top free agents do not come to bad teams no matter what city you are in, how many rings you have, and especially if they see you as an old out of touch white dude.

    Phil Jackson was in charge of the Knicks. Them being bad was entirely on him. He had the power to make them, you know, not bad. Instead he chose to try (and fail badly) to win 41 games because for some inexplicable reason he thought that would carry some ambiguous significance.

    Your theory that free agents won’t sign with teams whose GMs are old white men is belied by…almost every data point that exists when it comes to player movement. They didn’t sign with the Knicks because the Knicks sucked due to Phil Jackson’s transactions.

    Then he learned lesson #2. Melo is a self centered low IQ pinhead. He was arrogant and wrong to think he could succeed in changing him when 2 coaches of the year had failed.

    When Phil Jackson made Carmelo Anthony the highest paid player in the NBA and have him a full no trade clause, Carmelo had played eleven NBA seasons already. Anyone who thought there were significant changes on the horizon is completely and utter dullard.

  2. Farfa Post author

    Can I forget about this season Knicks games as much as Phil has forgotten about basketball?

  3. thenoblefacehumper

    They inherited 20m of cap space, a few decent young players, and all their 1st round picks with the stated goal of getting better. But they are so terrible at evaluating talent, they let a few of the decent role players go (or traded them), brought in worse one way players, and clobbered the 20m of cap space with a player that Phil tossed. So it’s two years and 20+ million dollars later and we are a worse team.

    Player names, strat. Which players should they have kept? For how much money?

    And if you want to know 1-2 players I would have considered signing if I had my choice (excluding fantasies like Durant or Curry etc..) instead of Hardaway Jr it would have been players like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nikola Mirotic. At that time they both looked like players that would bring something to the table and they were also young enough to get better

    KCP has signed 1/$17M and 1/$12M deals. Would you have signed either of those contracts as GM of the Knicks? How would those contracts have helped the Knicks? Mirotic was traded for a first round pick. Would you have traded a first round pick for him?

    A dead man can get worse and worse every year, keep drafting in the lottery, and eventually get lucky at it. Even the Cavs did that. So will the dead men managing our team. That does not mean what they are doing is right or the best path.

    Yep. It’s demonstrably a better path than:

    1. Make Carmelo Anthony the highest paid player in the NBA and give him a full NTC
    2. Sign a bunch of aging free agents like Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee
    3. Don’t acquire any picks, and shed some for marginal salary space since all free agents want to play in the triangle
    4. ???
    5. Championship!

  4. Owen

    Trier had a great block and at least one terrific move I can remember. Somehow he only took 2 shots in 16 minutes. I turned it off at the half and went to bed. The writing was on the wall.

    Listening to Breen with Burke is a hard sell for me. I want my Clyde. I need my Clyde. Hopefully he is in St Croix.

    Sabonis is interesting. What are his defensive numbers? Because that guy is a great garbageman on offense and is having an outstanding season. Pretty good trade for the Pacers. And it worked out ok for the Thunder too I guess.

    Great recap Farfa, you definitely worked through a lot there…

  5. Bo Nateman

    Has a book ever been written on Coping with a Tanking Team?
    If not, perhaps Farfa should consider doing so. It is really hard to maintain perspective relative to being in the midst of a tank as we are. Having the worst record is the primary objective while having a glimmer of future upside is second. I guess we are so disconsolate because, while we are strongly competing for the worst record, there seems to be almost no glimmer at this moment.

  6. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

    noblefacehumper,

    You remind me of all the youngsters I’ve known at the racetrack and on Wall St over the years that were convinced they had the keys to the highway until they eventually almost went broke and figured out they were clueless when they were young.

    There is no one path. The path is constantly changing because markets are constantly changing.

    However, if anything, rebuilding via the draft may be the WORST path right now because everyone else thinks it’s the right path and is valuing picks so highly. That’s happening despite the fact that it’s more difficult to evaluate 18-19 years than it was 22-23 year olds years ago, teams don’t get nearly as much value out of them at that age as they used to, and then you often have to extend them before you know their top.

    Don’t worry though. As bad as our management has been for years and despite the fact that it’s even worse now, this group were handed a full cupboard of picks and a few decent young players to get started. They may not blow it all and they may get lucky. Morons hit the lottery every day in America and our scouts are (or at least used to be) good basketball people.

    You aren’t even a good troll.

  7. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I came to tell you all that Luka Doncic is 19, but I stayed to smell the fresh popcorn.

  8. ProjectKnicks

    Lost in the general despair is the interesting and very real possibility this ‘tank’ is not even intentional. We *are* that bad.

  9. Farfa Post author

    @5

    It makes sense, if life gives you lemons…

    @7

    Yeah, so is Knox! (Sobbing incontrollably)

  10. thenoblefacehumper

    Specific questions I asked:

    Which players should they have kept? For how much money?

    KCP has signed 1/$17M and 1/$12M deals. Would you have signed either of those contracts as GM of the Knicks? How would those contracts have helped the Knicks? Mirotic was traded for a first round pick. Would you have traded a first round pick for him?

    The response:

    You would be a bad horserace bettor and rebuilding through the draft is bad.

    Don’t worry though, soon Courtney Lee will find a front office smart enough to unleash his latent power.

  11. JK47

    Signing free agents when you’re at the bottom of your win curve is pretty much ALWAYS dumb. It’s very, very difficult to get surplus value out of free agents unless the free agents happen to be LeBron, Steph, Durant or some other true superstar. You sign free agents when you ALREADY HAVE surplus value, either from one of those superstars or great players on rookie contracts. Nikola Mirotic or Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would have been mistakes. Players like them would have been mistakes.

    You want to know what I would have done if I was hired instead of Phil Jackson? I would have strip mined everything of value on the team I inherited and flipped those pieces for assets. Draft picks, or young players on rookie contracts. I would have recognized that no amount of triangulizing would have made Carmelo Anthony into a max player and I would have looked to sign and trade him. I would have looked to move a still valuable Tyson Chandler for draft picks or young players instead of 50 year old Jose Calderon. And so on, and so forth. This shit is not rocket science. When you’re bad, you rebuild, like for real.

    We’d be better off today without question if some hypothetical GM had followed that strategy. Instead we got Phil Jackson’s failed attempt to prove that his ancient style of basketball was superior to modern basketball. It was a giant ego wank and we’re still paying the price.

  12. thenoblefacehumper

    You want to know what I would have done if I was hired instead of Phil Jackson? I would have strip mined everything of value on the team I inherited and flipped those pieces for assets. Draft picks, or young players on rookie contracts. I would have recognized that no amount of triangulizing would have made Carmelo Anthony into a max player and I would have looked to sign and trade him. I would have looked to move a still valuable Tyson Chandler for draft picks or young players instead of 50 year old Jose Calderon. And so on, and so forth. This shit is not rocket science. When you’re bad, you rebuild, like for real.

    Well you see, rebuilding through the draft is not guaranteed to win you a championship so it’s really no different than rebuilding through Joakim Noah. Different paths, you know?

    By the way, great cap Farfa. You really do capture the essence of rooting for this team better than most. Hopefully we make some trades and sign some 10-days to make this thing less of an eyesore, otherwise I’m gonna be tuning out in favor of Luka much more frequently.

  13. ClashFan

    Mudiay is becoming the king of garbage time. And garbage time for the Knicks usually begins midway through the 3rd quarter, sometimes earlier. Then the guy shoots a bunch to get his pointz.

    His only threat is Hezonja, who also likes to take lots of shots once the game is long over. Of course, Knox is like that all the time…
    :-)

  14. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’m going to have to search the archives for when the board’s stat-believing contingent started calling for buying 2nds and trading anything of value for salary dumps and 1sts, anywhere in the draft. I’m pretty sure we were doing it before teams stopped packaging unprotected 1sts for shite players like Bargnani or over-the-hill players like K.G. and to unload players like Baron Davis (2011, which gave the #1 overall to the Cavs).

    There is an alternate universe wherein the Knicks trade or waive every player on the 2014-15 roster and replace them with young NCAA stars on midmajors who cost about $20m total and produce maybe a handful of fewer wins over the course of that year.

    I can’t imagine we’d be in worse shape now.

  15. Bruno Almeida

    @7

    Ah, these youngsters at the court who think they know it all and play like it!

    As soon as he does this against Missouri we’ll know if he’s worthy of being the top pick.

  16. chrisconley

    To commemorate the halfway point of the season, ESPN used their BPI to predict the most likely playoff seeding. They also predicted the results of Tankathon 2019 and have the Knicks finishing 5th from the bottom. This would guarantee a top-9 pick. :/

  17. thenoblefacehumper

    I’m going to have to search the archives for when the board’s stat-believing contingent started calling for buying 2nds and trading anything of value for salary dumps and 1sts, anywhere in the draft. I’m pretty sure we were doing it before teams stopped packaging unprotected 1sts for shite players like Bargnani or over-the-hill players like K.G. and to unload players like Baron Davis (2011, which gave the #1 overall to the Cavs).

    ¯\_(?)_/¯

    I would be a very mediocre NBA GM, but way better than Phil Jackson.

  18. Grocer

    It is amazing to me that someone is capable of watching the Knicks lo these many years and deciding that win now free agent moves are the best path to relevance and stating this with a big ol heaping dollop of condescension.

    Congratulations on your retirement. You’ve forgotten more about basketball than you ever knew.

  19. Z-man

    Barrett isn’t impressing me from what I’ve seen of him so far.

    Then we should definitely draft him

  20. JK47

    This draft is so thin that RJ Barrett might in fact be the third best prospect. He’s slipping behind Morant in some of the mocks but I can’t say there are too many guys projected in the high lottery who I’d hands down rather have than Barrett. And I don’t even really like Barrett. Nasir Little has played like kind of a stiff, Bol Bol’s foot is a major concern, Cam Reddish has played worse than Barrett…

    Jarrett Culver seems like an okay prospect maybe? Kevin Porter Jr? Lots of 2-guard types projected in the top 10.

  21. Bruno Almeida

    @23

    With Kyrie bring pissed at Hayward about the last play of the game… I think after the Knicks getting Zion, my main source of pleasure on this season would be seeing the Celtics self-destruct. But yeah, it’s more likely that Ainge will realize his young talent has been massively overrated and will flip them to New Orleans for AD.

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