Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Is this the Answer to our problems?

So Allen Iverson was waived by the Grizzlies yesterday and almost immediately the conversation here turned to whether the Knicks should bring him in to help the New York back court.  There are many opinions about what Iverson can do for the Knicks.  Some think he adds something we need.

at least he makes his shots. He also attacks the basket, something no one does right now. His passing numbers have gotten better with age. What’s the downside? -Zulu.

 Others think he would only be a hindrance.

He is not the future and in the present I simply don’t want to watch him play. He is the epitome of the scoring is greatness philosophy that got us where we are today. -Owen

I think Ted Nelson said it best.

I understand the general aversion to AI, but I think we should at least have a constructive discussion on the pros and cons (what the Daily News article says Walsh is doing). I don’t think it’s wise to just dismiss the possibility off-hand, given how bad the Knicks are and that they don’t have their first rounder. I would be interested to hear the reasoning behind the strong responses against AI. -Ted Nelson

I agree Ted.  And I think the best way to have this discussion—being that this is a site dedicated to advanced stats—is to look at Iverson’s advanced stats and see if he adds something the Knicks need. 

  eFG FT 3P% TS% FT/FG PTS/36
Iverson 59.6 50 100 59.1 23 19.9
Hughes 51.2 81.5 27.6 56.5 27 14.1
Douglas 56.2 75 37.5 56.9 4 20.9
Duhon 28.5 83.3 21.4 36.3 25 6.9
Robinson 35.2 57.1 22.7 37.2 9 12.6
  PPR AST-r TO-r REB-r USG-r PER
Iverson 0.5 22.3 14.2 3.5 24.4 17.3
Hughes 2.8 23.8 10.5 6.1 17.1 16.3
Douglas -1.8 8.9 8.9 5.5 22.4 16
Duhon 5.1 34.6 12.9 5.2 14.9 6.8
Robinson -0.7 19.7 14.1 5.2 23.8 4.2

At first blush I see why some people want Iverson on the Knicks.  He is putting up better numbers in terms of pts/36, eFG%, TS%, and PER than any other Knick guard, and far superior to Duhon’s.  So in the “pro” column Iverson gets a check for scoring and shooting.

Alternatively, Iverson’s PPR, and TO-r are not good at all.  He is a far less effective distributor than Duhon.  I think Iverson’s issues with distribution and turnovers adds to the lack of ball movement on this team.  Then add his high USG-r, which exceeds both Douglas and Robinson, and you can argue that he can’t help the team where it is needed most–executing the half court offense through effective ball movement.  Yes, Iverson can get whatever shot he wants but so does Harrington, look where that got us.  So I am calling this a “con.”

Now, I’m not a stat guy so I don’t have a clue how to run a similarity score, but it seems to me that we already have a player on the team somewhat similar to the current (I said current) Iverson.  I would say that player is Douglas.  Douglas is similar in scoring per 36 minutes, PER, and shooting (I’m throwing out 3ps as the sample size for Iverson–he took 1– is far too small).  Douglas has a higher reb-r, and a lower TO-r.  Right now, what Toney Douglas do is much like what Allen Iverson do (excepting ast-r).  So for failing to add something new to the mix, Iverson gets a “con.”

Finally, I think we must consider the impact Iverson will have on the development of the players who are likely to be on this team next year such as Douglas, Hill, and Gallanari.  I think Iverson’s addition will impact Douglas more than any other player.  To keep Iverson happy, he’ll need close to 30 minutes a game (he was not happy with 22 a game in Memphis).  That takes too many minutes from Douglas (29 mins per over the last 3 games) when he needs minutes to develop.  So that is a “con.” 

I think the addition of Iverson will hurt Douglas’ development, and in the end Iverson won’t be enough to turn this team around.  I don’t think his numbers warrant bringing him to New York.  For those reasons, I vote “No” on A.I.   

Now that you have the numbers, what do you think?

69 comments on “Is this the Answer to our problems?

  1. SeeWhyDee77

    hmmm…u make valid points Mike. But AI would bring more than numbers to the Knicks. Here’s my theory-adding AI gives us the possility of moving Nate for a 1st rounder. Walsh is probably not gonna re-sign Nate unless he agrees to sign for less. Adding AI replaces any numbers Nate can post this year, and probably gives us more considering the fact that AI has more PG skills than anyone on the roster. If we move Nate, it gives him the opportunity to learn behind a scorer AND a distributor-which should help him become the PG of the future, theoretically. All Walsh would need to do is find a home for Hughes or buy him out and replace him with a better shooter. D’Antoni can give Douglas Hughes’ minutes and find a way to put shooters around AI. Hell, Walsh may even be able to use Nate in a package to move Jeffries or Curry-which would give Jordan Hill more opportunity. This is a throwaway season anyway so what do we have to lose? At the very least AI will make us more competitive on the floor. I think that all people see in AI is the scorer and forget that he’s been a point guard all his life-even when he played football (he was QB). Given the current state of our Knicks, AI is worth a try. Like Ted Nelson said in the last thread-if he acts up Walsh can cut him before he becomes a cancer. Low risk-High reward.

  2. TDM

    Thomas B. – It appears the numbers in the chart above are only from this year. While Iverson’s numbers look pretty good, they are based on a limited sampling. He’s only played 67 minutes this year. Toney Douglas has played more than double that amount, and Duhon has played 5x as many minutes. I’m just uncertain how much we can take from Iverson’s limited time in Memphis.

    Another negative to signing AI would be who the Knicks may lose. Although they have a roster spot open, because of the logjam created, there is speculation that Larry Hughes would be bought out of his contract. So, it may be more of a question of whether you would rather have Hughes or AI on the Knicks for the short term. Hughes, to his credit, has played very well as of late, and seems to understand his role.

    IMO, if Walsh is inclined to renting AI for the year, he should have jumped on this sooner and tried to approach Memphis with a trade. Walsh should have been able to read the tea leaves and see this as an opportunity to shed another contract — like Jeffries. IF that had been the case, I would have been 100% supportive of signing AI. However, I think the issues you have raised above with regard to shedding TD’s minutes is a big concern.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/pcm_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&p1=iversal01&y1=2010&p2=douglto01&y2=2010&p3=duhonch01&y3=2010&p4=hughela01&y4=2010

  3. Thomas B. Post author

    “hmmm…u make valid points Mike.”

    Who?

    TDM,

    I thought it best to look at the current market AI.

  4. Ted Nelson

    Thomas,

    Thanks for putting together a well thought out piece on the Iverson issue. Very good stuff. I agree with TDM, though, that the sample size for the stats is too limited.
    Iverson has a career TO-rate of 12.2 vs. Duhon’s of 18.5… over time you’d expect both to revert to the mean. Iverson is a low TO player, while Duhon is an unacceptably high one, that’s the kind of stat that doesn’t usually vary widely from year to year.
    Iverson’s assist-rate has been all over the place depending on his role. Over a full season, though, he has posted an ast-rate over 34 3 times (career high of 37.6), and broke 33 as a rookie and 30 in his 2nd season as well. Duhon has never broken 30 and has only broken 28 as a rookie. I don’t want the ball in AI’s hands enough for him to have an assist rate of 37 (combine that with his usage rate and he really would be a huge ball hog… as he has been in days passed), but his 07-08 ast-rate of 27.4 is close to Duhon’s total last season of 27.9. It’s fair enough to say that looking at what AI did at 21 in 96-97 has little baring on the present, but I do think 07-08 is still very relevant.

    To rehash it for the 12th time for those who missed the last thread: Iverson was very good in Denver in 07-08 for the fastest paced team in the NBA. To me the question is simply whether he’s still capable of that. 34 is older than 32, to state the obvious, but I assume he still is capable of it.
    AI played both on the ball and off the ball for George Karl (http://www.82games.com/0708/07DEN4B.HTM). He played a lot of minutes on that team with Anthony Carter (somewhat of a Duhon type), but also a fair number with JR Smith (a taller, worse playmaking scorer in the Robinson/Douglas vein). The units he played on are generally strong offensively regardless of his backcourt mate (though Denver’s frontcourt was probably stronger than the Knicks can hope to be). So, I think he could fit into the backcourt nicely and play minutes with Douglas, Robinson, Hughes, Landry… whoever deserves minutes.

    Finally: this is a pretty low risk move, despite all the clamoring about downsides. AI is washed up? Cut him. AI isn’t listening to D’Antoni? Cut him. Unhappy about whatever? Cut him. Distracting the team? Cut him. A locker room cancer? Cut him. Taking minutes for Douglas? Cut him. Racist against Italians (as the whole team apparently is)? Cut him. Who else could the Knicks bring in on a one year deal who has the upside of Iverson? With a 1-9 team, an open roster spot, and an unlimited budget they might as well bring in someone (suck it up and make a cut should a 2-for-1 trade come along).

  5. BigBlueAL

    “Racist against Italians (as the whole team apparently is)? Cut him.”

    LMFAO. Ted at first I didnt like you much because I thought during the summer you unfairly pegged me as one of the presidents of the David Lee hater fan club but since then you have by far become my favorite commenter here. Keep up the great, insightful comments. I have come to value your opinion as much as anyone else here.

  6. Jafa

    I vote YES on Iverson, but would have liked to get him via a trade that helped us shed Jeffries contract instead of picking him up after clearing waivers. Here are some additional pros:

    Iverson is a closer – we have had some games this year where it was close in the 4th quarter and overtime (2 overtime games already in 10 games). In these situations, you hand the rock to Iverson and let him work. He will either make the shot, drive to the basket or get to the foul line. That’s how good teams close out close games – Lakers hand it Kobe, Celtics = Pierce, Cavs = LBJ, etc. We don’t have anyone that can do this for us, hence we keep losing these games where we even have a chance (especially when we come back from 2nd and 3rd Quarter deficits).

    Iverson will be on his best behavior – his gripe at his last two locations were simple: he wanted to be a starter. Well, won’t have that problem on the Knicks, so Iverson should be a model citizen (especially now that his reputation is soiled). Plus we have a players coach – hard not to get along with Mike D.

    Iverson will be a better trading asset that the spare parts we currently have. With a $3M base salary, if he starts performing well for 20 – 25 games and looks great, the Knicks may start getting calls and may be able to package Jefferies away to some unsuspecting team.

    Cons? Everyone already mentioned them and I agree with them. But were a 1-9 team, what do we have to lose?

  7. TDM

    I believe the problem with AI right now is that noone has a solid gauge on what his value is. I think his limited time in Memphis over-inflates his value, while his time in Detroit has the opposite effect.

    I was hoping that, after getting axed by Memphis, AI would take a reflective moment and realize he isn’t one of the top 5 players in the league. He arguably wasn’t one of the top 5 on Memphis. But, like Terrell Owens, that may be wishful thinking.

  8. mase

    im not buying into AI ‘hurting the development’ of Douglas for several reasons, first and foremost Douglas isn’t the future of this franchise, Gallo is!… Iverson would bring Gallo tons of open looks and take the pressure off of him and douglas.

    also, losing in NY….if iverson can stop the bleeding than its mission accomplished. What is more hurting to young players development than ending a season in NY with empty seats and a 20-62 record?

    another point is that the young guys can prep for next season when they are playing alongside a superstar(hopefully Lebron!)

  9. DRed

    If we think we can get someone else to trade for AI down the strech, I think it would be okay to sign him. It’s not like he can make the team any worse. Is there any limit to the number of teams a player can play for in a given season?

  10. Frank

    Ted, I guess you have converted me. At the end of the day, any move we make that makes Duhon play less is probably a good move especially since we can cut AI at the drop of a hat. I actually think Duhon is singularly responsible for how terrible we have been so far.

    That being said, I still think we should wait a week or two and not jump all over ourselves to sign a guy that will have no other offers. It can’t hurt to have him take an ego-beating and do some soul-searching — maybe will bring the 10 assist Iverson guy to our team as opposed to the 35 shot Iverson guy. That’ll give us a chance to see what the team looks like with a functional Nate Robinson, who I still contend gives us most everything Iverson does with only 20% of the drama.

    I would love to see full court pressure with Iverson, Douglas, and Nate — that would be fun to watch even if we would get crushed in the half-court.

  11. SeeWhyDee77

    I don’t know if signin AI and tradin him down the road would work. It’s a good idea if AI starts to play well. But logically, only a contender would trade for him if they need extra scoring. And no contender is gonna wanna give up anything of value to get AI, except for maybe Cleveland-who may be lookin to move Delonte West or Boobie Gibson. A contender definitely is not gonna give up a 1st rounder for him especially if they are stacked with veterans like most contenders are. Nate on the other hand is problee the best to trade away b/c he’s young and brings a skill set comparable to AI..and he will accept comin off the bench. So we would have more options when it comes to movin Nate. Now if AI finds the fountain of youth somehow…..movin him around the deadline would be a huge plus.

  12. SeeWhyDee77

    Wouldn’t it be great if DW could convince New Orleans to take 20 mil in cap room (Larry Hughes & Chris Duhon) and a young player execs believe have potential (Chandler) for a disgruntled Chris Paul and overpaid nothings like Songalia and Peterson? Who wouldn’t wanna play with CP3 in 2010 or 2011 if that were to happen?

  13. GAx

    I doubt anyone would trade for AI mid-season, and unless we take advantage of a fire sale like GSW appear set to have after Ellis talks with management this Thursday, I don’t see us being able to make any substantive trades this season.

    Iverson the closer? You don’t think this will be Jamal Crawford Endgame 2.0? Allen the veteran leader who’ll lead us with his fire on the court, just not the practice court? Really? These posts are starting to feel as hopeful as the talk on the radio of AI being a bonus bullet in our trading gun if we need it later in the season. GM’s are LITERALLY laughing in reporters’ faces when the question of picking AI off of waivers or as a FA is posed.

    If we pick this guy up we’ll be hoping to take him into a better situation than he had in Denver, Detroit, and Memphis. I just recently realized this when I saw Q slimmed down for Miami, but WE are that shitty situation that others hope to salvage good players from. This isn’t like AI coming into an already succesful Denver team with established go-to players and legit stars. His PER isn’t going to be nearly comparable to that year, just as the talent surrounding him if he comes here isn’t as well. I don’t buy that he’ll start throwing assists around because it’s his “last chance” either, unless it’s a kickout on a failed drive which I hope nobody here would credit an assist to him for. The point is it’s not as low-risk as it’s been painted, and the maximum potential reward is maybe 5-10 more wins with some wasted player movement to accomodate a guy who won’t be here next year anyway. We knew it was going to be tough. Let’s not burn up every book in the house because it’ll be a cold couple months.

  14. Z

    I just read two days worth of back-and-forth discussing whether the Knicks should let Iverson join the team. What hasn’t been discussed is whether Iverson WANTS to join the Knicks. Is Iverson really sitting by the phone waiting for Walsh’s offer?

    The last quote I read from Iverson, spoken just before he was waived was: “From day one with any team I’m on, I want to win. I want to win basketball games. That’s why I play the game. I hate losing more than I like winning.”

    Somehow, I don’t think the Knicks don’t meet his criteria.

    A team that does fit is the Hornets. They are in the same kind of disarray the Knicks are in (the kind of disarray that makes a team even consider adding AI): fired coach, “indefinitely” injured star point guard, delusions of contending, and a much better roster for Iverson to step onto.

    Could all this Iverson-to-the-Knicks debate be a lot of finger exercise and not much else?

  15. Count Zero

    “Could all this Iverson-to-the-Knicks debate be a lot of finger exercise and not much else?”

    Pretty much. I guess it beats talking about how bad the team is…or at least it’s a break from it.

  16. ess-dog

    I think someone earlier summed it up well saying “who cares if we win 30 games instead of 25?” Free agents aren’t going to factor that into their decision to come here. We don’t need more one year players (unless it’s to dump Curry or Jeffries.) We need more young cheap core players but it’s not likely we have the ammo to get them this year. So we have to take our lumps but in the meantime we COULD play our best players instead of crap-merchants like Harrinbone and DuDu.

  17. Sandy

    I hate talking about Iverson, but if we must i vote No. At best, he gives us 5 more wins. At worst, he becomes disgruntled starter for a team that may be out of playoff contention early in the season. His relationship with the coach, team and management could sour in a hurry. Honestly, this team does not need more bad press. The potential of 24 hour beat coverage on Iverson’s every move has me thinking of a former Knick…and NY does not need another headache heading into this offseason.

  18. d-mar

    “Could all this Iverson-to-the-Knicks debate be a lot of finger exercise and not much else?”

    “Pretty much. I guess it beats talking about how bad the team is…or at least it’s a break from it.”

    Well, according to basketball authority (and supposed personal friend of AI) Stephen A Smith on ESPN this morning said he spoke to Iverson and he would love to join the Knicks. And Stephen A is rarely wrong about anything, as we all know.

    I have a selfish (and admittedly shortsighted) reason for wanting AI – I am taking a serious bath this year trying to unload my season tickets, worse than any other year by far. If getting Iverson would get me a few more $$ for tickets, I vote yes. I also truly believe we have nothing to lose and any upgrade from the unwatchable Duhon (which would be any other PG in the NBA) is welcome.

  19. SeeWhyDee77

    lol…awwww Sandy, I don’t believe Iverson has the potential to eat vaseline and tattoo his company logo on his head…or have a live video feed with his shirt off, bawlin while listenin to gospel music right after a song that should shouldn’t precede gospel goes off, all while a mysterious dude’s hand rubs his neck and shoulder..lol did I mention he was shirtless…alone in a room with a live camera with another dude? What’s his wife think about that? But seriously, ess’ point does make sense to me now that I think about it. Maybe we shouldn’t add anymore 1 year players unless they are part of a package to move Jeffries and/or Curry.

  20. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’m so tired of watching losers that I’m willing to do anything to see the team pull out a “gutsy” win or two. With that said, I’m going to throw my hat in. Iverson should not be a Knick. He won’t be satisfied with losing fifty to sixty games, and it’ll turn into a media circus.

    It’s just all so frustrating. James Dolan should take a look at his franchise and ask himself how he let one GM drive its past, present, and future into the ground. There is no first-round pick this year. Think about that. And then realize that what is shaping up to be the worst season in the history of the franchise. This will likely be the first time in franchise history that the Knicks lose sixty games, barring some huge CP3 trade that absolutely will not happen without mortgaging the future, again. There is no silver lining, either: LeBron, in all his glory — and face it, he’s the best basketball player alive, without question — will have to play forty minutes per game to bring this team to the fifty-win plateau. And even then, his supporting cast is nothing compared to the elite teams in the NBA. There’s no hope, aside from the outside chance that we pick up Paul in 2011 or perhaps a diminishing-returns-cursed pairing with D-Wade next summer.

    When an aging, overrated, former volume-scoring superstar is your best option, you know your team is f___ed. Thank the lord for Isiah Thomas.

    (By the way, how funny is that FIU story about him being pissy that his team was getting blown out? It’s not the NBA anymore, Zeke! The players don’t go out after the game for a fraternal dinner and share road beef in the NCAA!)

  21. TheRant

    Iverson is *so* not the Answer for us.

    The moment that he joins the team is the moment it turns from an exercise in rebuilding, however flawed, to a desperate attempt to sell tickets at any cost, even if it ruins any hope that the existing players had for a transformation.

    Let’s just have sex shows and monster trucks at half time and parachute jumps into the garden by Paris Hilton. Let’s field Sarah Palin at point guard, Balloon Boy as the two guard, Obama can play small forward, we’ll take Lou Dobbs at Power Forward, and Sir Charles Barkley can play out of position at Center. We can have Tim Donaghy come off the bench for the back court with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed coming in for boards, as long as he’s awaiting trial in New York.

    That’ll sell tickets!

  22. Thomas B. Post author

    On the small sample size. Well there are two things to that.

    1) I think there comes a point in the career of a player in which you stop looking backwards. At 34 I think Iverson has reached that point. We can’t expect him to be what he was even two years ago.

    2) I’m lazy.

    “Over a full season, though, he has posted an ast-rate over 34 3 times (career high of 37.6), and broke 33 as a rookie and 30 in his 2nd season as well.”

    Has he done that lately? No. The last time he did was his last season in Philly–over three years ago. Check out the advance stats from the last two seasons and tell me if you see something in AI that this team can use. I couldnt find anything but like I said, I’m lazy.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/i/iversal01.html

    I think Iverson is low risk no reward.

  23. daJudge

    I vote yes on Iverson. I think he can bring some toughness to the Knicks and his downside doesn’t bother me very much over a one year bid. Also, I think the comparisons with Douglas make little sense, since Douglas has played maybe 8 NBA games. I agree completely with the writer who noted that if he becomes a problem, just cut him. In my view, the upside weighs in favor of signing him, but only by a preponderance of the evidence. Thomas B.—How ’bout very low risk, moderate reward?

  24. daJudge

    I’m sorry, but I wanted to add one more point. Who would you rather have take a significant last second shot? AI or any of the rest of the Knicks? Answer the question honestly.

  25. BigBlueAL

    If it was a one-on-one play than obviously Iverson over anyone on the current roster. However for the final shot I would like for them to design a play that would get Gallo a decent look because he is by far the best shooter on the team.

  26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Nate Robinson or Al Harrington. Better yet, Gallo. Gallo all the way. I’m okay with any of them taking a last-second shot. But the bigger question: who cares? Buzzer-shooting shouldn’t be a major factor in whether the front office signs a player or not. It’s such a rare (and random) occurrence that it’s essentially meaningless.

  27. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Travis Knight Rider,

    Are you out of your mind? Why? WHY?

    You want to add a player at $11M/yr who will be on the books through 2014 who has not yet proven himself to be worthy of that money? Should we give them our next two #1s, unprotected? Or maybe Lee and Danilo and our next three second-rounders?

    Isiah? Is that you?

  28. daJudge

    Honorable Cock Jowles: Thank you for answering my question. With all due respect, I think you are missing my point. The guy that takes the “buzzer beater” is the team’s money player. So, while the buzzer beater might be a rare occurrence, the money shot isn’t. If you would rather give the ball to Al Harrington, Nate Robinson or Gallo for a money shot, I’m fine with that. But I would not. At a bare minimum, AI would certainly draw the defense in that type of scenario.

  29. kaine

    Guys, the team sucks.
    it lacks talent and a plan. it’ just a bunch of random player thrown together.

    To all of you who thinks that AI may be a problem to the development of the (few) young talents, consider this:

    he’s a future hall of famer.
    that means he must have done something right along the way…it’s not a marbury.

    it’s a rare opportunity to have “kids” grown with an Hall of famer, even an aging one.

    don’t think to the minutes he takes…think about practice together, travels, games. it’s an invaluable asset. he could TEACH some of his game.

    at worst this group of people will still suck…but with more flavor :)

  30. Nick C.

    Did anyone read anything that was linked about AI, like how he acted in Memphis or Detroit. All I’m saying is why go out of your way to give this dude a bone? Seriously. The team is gonna suck anyhow so why are we running a charity or better yet the home for misfit A’holes that BS’d themselves off every good team they were on and were too stupid to figure out that a 20 something win team with all sorts of lottery picks in the back court was going to hand his 34 year old a** the keys and let him go ballin’ around. Get serious, the fact that this is even a marginally feasable argument says all you want about how shot the NYK are, no young talent other than Gallo and maybe the two rooks based on a one week sample of competence, and no future. Eeech. That’s all I’m sayin’. Dude gets cut by crappy Memphis and people are trippin’ over themselves to roll out the red carpet for the man. Its a stranze world and somehting only possible thanks to the Bizzaro world that was Isiah land.

  31. irvin

    Iverson can’t play at the level that made his stupidity palatable. There is nothing exceptional left, except for the bad attitude.

    Why steal playing time from the young guys while exposing them to another Marbury? Not to mention that at this point inhis career, Iverson can’t out-produce Nate.

    So, what’s the point?

    Sell tickets? Win more games? I don’t think Iverson can sell any tickets or play anymore, as his stints with the Grizzlies and Detroit clearly prove.

  32. irvin

    In fact, the same reasons used to justify bringing Iverson could be used to justify bringing Marbury back!

    *THAT* would sell tickets! Yeah, let’s bring Iverson and Marbury back. They have been some of the League most talented players at some point in their careers. Their stats clearly confirm this.

  33. Garson

    I think a major problem with this team is that it has no players that know, or used to know how to win games. If you go down the roster , the only player that has been on a winning team has been hughes , whom is so far removed from that Environment that hes in the same boat as the rest of the team.

    That being said, i do think iverson has that intangible quiality of winning in him that it would help the rest of the team obtain it.

    Worst case scenerio is he sucks and we cut him, either way , 100% a risk worth taking. FACT – he cannot make the team worse then it is now.

  34. Thomas B. Post author

    Dajudge,

    “Also, I think the comparisons with Douglas make little sense, since Douglas has played maybe 8 NBA games.”

    Fair enough but what else can we use for the comparison? Yes, I offered a small sample size–I think I had good reasons to do so, which I spoke to earlier. The numbers I offered, while small, are still more than anyone else in the last post spoke of. The previous Iverson discussion involved no talk of how Iverson’s numbers help the team. While my method has its flaws (with a small enough sample size you can prove anything), I find it better than reliance on the romanticized memory of Allen Iverson. He isn’t very close the the player he was even 3 years ago and a shell of the player he was during his MVP year.

    In the 8 games that Douglas is playing he is doing very much of what Iverson is doing in his 3 games this season. I never said Douglas was Iverson, I just said we already have a player that is doing much of what the current Iverson is doing. I think the advance stats related to scoring show similarites between rookie Douglas and 34 year old Iverson so far this season. I dont have 13 years worth of advance stats for Douglas to compare, so I went with what they are each doing now. Douglas has a future with the team, Iverson does not.

    So when you look at the stats you don’t see similarity in PER, USG-r, PT/36, eFG%, TS%, or do you think it a fluke due to the small sample size?

  35. iserp

    Although many of us have a romanticized idea of Iverson, come on! he isnt a shell of his former self!

    He would be better right now than any of our PG. And if Toney Douglas is the future, we don’t need to hurry and make him play 40 minutes a game now.

    The season is very long, and i don’t want to end 8-74. Iverson would bring some excitement… and some leadership, which this team needs desperately. If a game goes wrong, Iverson can be the go to guy to try and change things, instead of everyone taking ill-advised shots. At least AI makes some of those.

    Right now, some of our players lack total confidence, and having someone next to them that can handle the situation would be a boost for all the team.

    And as many people have already said. If AI doesn’t work, cut it!

  36. Kikuchiyo

    My favorite comment so far is Frank’s:

    “Not worth it in my book, although it would be fun to watch Harrington and AI fight over the ball on offense. Maybe they could shoot the ball together.”

    Haha. [In a related thought, I've sometimes wished that D-Lee could step inside a bigger or longer body (maybe JJ or thin Eddy)--Aliens-like--and get all Ripley on the rest of the league. And who wouldn't root for Zombie Eddy or Jeffrightenstein?]

    And since we’re all voting–and I’m sure DW is anxiously watching our discussion–I have to vote NO on Iverson as well.

    I love A.I. for spirit, energy, blah blah blah. Even despite his age, I’d grab him in a minute if he had simply been waived as some kind of mutual agreement. But the signs of a narcissistic malcontent are everywhere with today’s Iverson. That he doesn’t even entertain the idea that he is more suited to a 6th man role is the clincher. Too bad, but no thanks.

  37. gbaked

    fact: AI would be the best player on the knicks. Right now. Its a sad statement, yes, but when you can add a player that is better then anyone else on your team you have to strongly consider it.

    It would be nice to have someone on this team that hates losing. When we talk baseball, stats are king. Talk of grit and hustle is generally overrated. Not so in basketball (IMO). The attitude of who you are playing next to has an effect on your game.

    Most of us fans felt the knicks would be around the 8 spot this year. maybe not really have a shot at it, but at least be around the discussion. We are not so far off of that its crazy. What happened? Do we all of a sudden think this team is less talented?

    Maybe its attitude.

    All I know is AI is one of the toughest players I have ever seen. This knicks team could really use some of that right now.

  38. Nick C.

    Dude quit on Detroit last year, tough, competitive, hates to lose and all that, and still he flat out quit because if it wasn’t all abnout him or close to it he didn’t want to have anything to do with it. So stop the fantasies.

  39. jagermeister

    So just think of what can happen when it WILL be all about him. And it WILL be all about him because he instantly becomes the most credible cog in your offensive machine if he joins the team.

    Name one person on the Knicks who would command the respect on offense that Iverson would. You can’t…. yet. Which is why signing someone with his talent with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, especially if it’s just for the short term, is worth a shot.

    There are no fantasies here. Just the reality of a dreadful season this year with a sharp punctuation of no draft pick next year. Unconventional times call for unconventional measures.

  40. Owen

    I have to say, this Iverson discussion seems totally out of character for Knickerblogger.

    On a totally different topic, here is an excellent synopsis of all the articles on the Belichick fourth down decision last weekend.

    http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/belichick-emboldened-the-geeks/

    Although it’s football, not basketball, I do think it was a watershed moment in sports statistics, a huge decision in a crucial game made based strictly on statistical analysis rather than gut instinct.

  41. Nick C.

    I don’t know why Jager but for some strange life sucked out of me reason, I guess OK. It really speaks very very very little for management that 1) they really thought a plan of we are waiting for 2010 would somehow have no effect on this season 2) how crappy and un futureless the roster we have is, when we’re rushing after Memphis’ hand me downs 3) why maybe the way they non-negpotiated with Lee and Nate hwo shall we say did not inspire loyalty in the troops. I still see coming to NYK as a reward for AI and I am philosophically opposed to rewarding what in my mind is poor behavior.

  42. Thomas B. Post author

    “Although many of us have a romanticized idea of Iverson, come on! he isnt a shell of his former self!”

    Um, yes he is.

    AI’s career high PER came at 30, it was 25.9. Find me two seasons since he turned 30 where his PER was over 20. You cant. I’d say that at 30 Iverson had his best all around season. He a career high in PER, 2nd lowest TOV% in his career, the snd highest Ast% of his career, a .543 TS% (second highest of the career) and he did all that with one of the higher USG-r of his career 35.8.

    Find me two seasons after 30 where he played that well. The only one I can find is at age 32 along side Carmello Anthony. Since then its been a steady decline. His numbers from last year are a shell of his numbers from age 30. And yes, folks love to say “Well, Iverson was just misued on the Pistons.” Well, I say Iverson was struggling before he got to the Pistons, it just got worse when he arrived. Look at the numbers in Denver before the trade.

    Also, take note of his TOV% since 30. There has been a steady upswing in TOV% since 30 when it was at its lowest (10.2) with exception of the 07-08 full season with Denver. This year its over 18. The 07-08 season was the last one in which we saw “The Answer.” Since then he has been the “Can you repeat the question?”

    This is getting off point. The point here is not whether Iverson is still good, it is whether Iverson is good for this team. I don’t think he brings what we need. We need better defense, effective scoring, and any level of offensive production from the PG combined with acceptable ball distribution. I just dont see AI bringing that to NYC. The numbers from the last two seasons do not show he can help in those areas.

  43. gbaked

    Nick C

    Didnt Lee and Nate both get more money from the knicks then they had to?

    I mean, nobody was offering them contracts. They could have both signed for the min and not had much of a choice over it.

    The knicks gave them both nice raises, along with that nice 1 mil bonus…

  44. gbaked

    “I don’t think he brings what we need.”

    really though… we need just about anything and everything…

    Iverson is not a perfect fit. But it could be crazy enough to work.

    If we dont get him, whatever… but as of now I just want this season to end. Watching them play is depressing…

    I enjoy watching basketball and getting to watch AI try to take a team on his back will prob be better then what we have now. If it turns into a mess… then you cut him.

  45. Nick C.

    G, yeah they did on both counts but they sure took their sweet time about it. Is it too much to expect your boss to give you a raise?

  46. Sandy

    Owen,

    I crunched the number myself on Belichick’s decision, and I certainly agree with the statisticians. I concluded it would have been (marginally) better to punt the ball, but these guys have way more data than I do. I’m glad that people are starting to take a second look at this, especially on a site as notoriously lacking in advanced stats as ESPN.

  47. Johnny Carsick

    Ted’s got it right. This team is rancid. There’s not exactly much in terms of chemistry or a discernable system that AI can disrupt. And worst case scenario, we cut him and he’s off the books for 2010. And maybe he isn’t what he used to be, but he’d still be the best player on the team, gives non-Knicks fans a reason to watch and hell, he might win us a couple of games with some clutch play.

    Bench Duhon until he starts showing quality minutes, start Douglas and AI with Chandler, Gallo and Lee. Or Gallo, Lee and Darko.

    We’re not getting Chris Paul for cap relief and projects, folks. There really isn’t enough downside to justify taking not taking a shot. We’re desperate, he’s desperate. Til 2010 do us part.

  48. iserp

    Since Iverson became 30, there have been 4 seasons

    05 – 06: 25.9
    06 – 07: 19.6
    07 – 08: 20.9
    08 – 09: 15.8

    There are 2 seasons over 20, one season almost 20 and the detroit season.

    I know the most recent season is the worst one; but you also have to take into account the situation. Maybe AI is in decline, but you’re killing him because a GM wanted to dump salary and didn’t care whether he was a fit for his team (from the fastest to the slowest team, mmm…)

    Duhon has never been over 13, and he is currently at 7. Even if Iverson posted a PER of 17, he would be an upgrade. Since i am a believer, i say that AI is capable of having a PER of 20 (whatever that means)

    And yeah, we’re beating a dead horse; but it doesn’t matter because Eddy Curry is going to post a 30 15 game and we’re gonna win the Pacers with a Chandler buzzer-beater on the 3rd overtime, and then we will be able to talk about this game for the rest of the season. (Sign AI for a little excitement please!!!)

  49. GAx

    If you’re part of the team that contributed to a historic low in the business’s history? Sure.

    Do these players think they’re all guaranteed to have a job in the NBA next year? It’s pitiable to see the lack of effort from all these guys with their careers on the bubble. Sure some of them will still be playing next year, but they’re not doing too good a job at present of washing the stink off of their reputations. Management shouldn’t be blamed too much for this regression when _nobody_ saw it coming, either. Who here thought we’d be appreciably worse than last year’s record?

    Owen: I was thinking the same thing. I was going to comment on the lack of concrete information in the last post’s comments, but Thomas B busted this one out(thanks for doing that, btw).

  50. GAx

    “If you’re part of the team that contributed to a historic low in the business’s history? Sure.”

    That was in response to Nick C. btw. You guys post too quickly.

  51. Ted Nelson

    BBA,

    Thanks. The Lee thing basically became a defense mechanism at some point, with all the Lee hate that used to go on.

    Thomas,

    I don’t think that 3 games (both in Denver last season and in Memphis this season) is enough to say that Iverson is washed up. That small of a sample size simply cannot be be used as a representation of a player’s ability. I understand why you wanted to use current numbers, but the sample size is just too small to say anything definitive… especially when you have years of data for Iverson, Duhon, and Hughes.
    Your argument is that Iverson had one of his best seasons ever at 32 (a season where he actually fit into a 50 win team as a 3rd offensive option), then in 3 whole games with Denver at 33 he started this colossal decline that continued in Detroit? It couldn’t be that he was asked to play a role he was not at all suited to in an environment which his attitude was not suited for? Or just that he had an off year? Maybe he’s declined, but one bad season in a new environment doesn’t really establish a trend.
    If he came to the Knicks I would hope it would be primarily as a replacement to Duhon. The last time he was running the point (part time) on a fast paced team was 07-08 in Denver. For a guy known for being in excellent shape I don’t think it’s a huge leap to say he can capture what he had at 32 at 34. So, I really take exception to you calling him a shell of his former self.

    In the previous thread I did try to address how he would impact the team, using stats in the argument.

    “The 07-08 season was the last one in which we saw “The Answer.” Since then he has been the “Can you repeat the question?””

    You’re being a little ridiculous. He’s only played one season since 07-08.

    “This is getting off point. The point here is not whether Iverson is still good, it is whether Iverson is good for this team. I don’t think he brings what we need. We need better defense, effective scoring, and any level of offensive production from the PG combined with acceptable ball distribution. I just dont see AI bringing that to NYC. The numbers from the last two seasons do not show he can help in those areas.”

    It’s funny because this is exactly what I see him bringing. When you talk about the last two seasons, it’s 07-08 and 08-09. I’m begging you to stop referring to 3 games as a season, it’s simply incorrect. Iverson had one 4 TO game against GS that’s impacting his TO-rate, you simply can’t look at a career of low TO-rate (10 times lower than Duhon’s) and say that it’s trumped by 1 bad game.
    Iverson is a good defender. He learned from Thompson and Brown, two very good defensive coaches. The past 3 seasons his teams have been better defensively with him on the court than off. That’s not conclusive evidence that he’s a great defender, but it’s conclusive that he doesn’t kill your defense. I would wager, without looking, that Iverson has played on more top 10 defensive teams than any other Knick.
    The question really is whether Iverson is still good. If he can match 07-08, or come close, than he is an effective/efficient scorer. 56.7% TS% that season. And since you insist on using 3 games from this season, is a TS% of 59 not efficient?
    Iverson is easily as good a distributor as anyone on the Knicks. He doesn’t turn it over nearly as much as Duhon, while getting as many assists. Douglas does not look like a PG yet, and we all know Nate is not a true PG.

  52. TheRant

    Why not just force Nate to wear cornrows and dress like Iverson when he returns in full?

    Nate would do it — he’s a wise*ss. You get the same player. Same mini-ball points on the board.

    Best yet, you get to play ball the same way without disrupting the beautiful chemistry that is the Knicks right now.

  53. d-mar

    Since we’ve beaten the Iverson situation to death several times over, what are the predictions for Eddy’s debut tonight? As much as I’m hoping for something to get excited about, I predict 12 minutes, 4 pts. 1 reb., 3 TO’s, 3 fouls and most shocking, 0 blocked shots. Thoughts?

  54. Owen

    D-Mar – Beaten to death, I agree. Going to beat it a little more. It’s going to be fun to have Eddy back, the man is a statistical marvel in all the wrong ways…

    Ted – I agree that 3 games is an inappropriate sample size. However, other than that, I am shocked you are so gung ho about this idea. Here is a post from Neil Paine of Basketball Reference on Iverson. This gives a much better account of the stats

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/blog/?p=3202

    I don’t want to have a referendum on how good Iverson has been as a basketball player. But anyone who looks past his PER and his scoring totals (and many of you probably should) has good reason to doubt whether he was ever a true star player in this league in terms of production rather than perception.

    He has a career offensive rating of just 105, a career ts% of 52%, and no great strength anywhere else in the box score. He has never been in the top 5 in the league in Win Shares. He is one of the highest scoring and most celebrated offensive stars in league history, but he has never played a full season on a top 10 offense in his NBA career. Let me say that again,

    Allen Iverson has never played a full season on a top ten offense

    Until recently, his defensive -/+ performance was below average. And every team he has left has improved. I am not even going to bring up the Wages of Wins perspective, you all can read Malcolm Gladwell on Iverson if you like.

    Point being, I don’t want to be a hardliner. but I would like to leaven the Iverson adulation on this board of late with the fact that there is nothing statistically special about Iverson. He probably had his finest season in the league two years ago and that Nuggets team won just 50 games, had just the 11th best pythagorean, and got blown out in the playoffs.

    It’s not a step forward to sign Iverson, and if it’s not a step forward it’s a step back….

  55. cwod

    On his blog, Howard Beck writes that the Knicks are likely to pursue Iverson.

    He cites a source in the front office who says the odds are around 50-50 right now. Another source says it’s a given and that a big play is imminent.

    “He would be signed for just this season, and he could be cut at the first sign of trouble.”

    http://bit.ly/23eW5M

  56. Ted Nelson

    Owen,

    I completely agree that Iverson has been vastly overrated on his career. He had the tools to be a great player, but it didn’t really happen despite popular opinion. However, my whole point is exactly that this should not be a referendum on how good Iverson’s been over his career.

    I am trying to look only at this particular situation. Iverson is no longer a $20 mill per player, he’s probably looking at 1-3 mill to finish the season. The Knicks are not a good team and have been desperate for good PG play this season, they don’t have the option of Andre Miller or Chauncey Billups over Iverson: it’s Duhon vs. Iverson. They have an open roster spot. Right there I think you have enough to at least consider the move.
    The reason I am for giving it a shot (and, mind you, I am not saying he will come in and be All-NBA or even that it will work out at all) is precisely that his best NBA season was in 07-08. I am trying to look past the PER (not sure I’ve used PER once, at least not since the beginning of the discussion). His WP48 in 07-08 was above average. I don’t know if he can repeat that, and I don’t know what Duhon’s WP48 is so far this season. The Knicks team has some similarities to the Nuggets’ offense Iverson helped to an 11th place ranking in 07-08: fast pace, versatile young wing scorer as top scoring option, cold hearted young scoring guard(s) off bench, athletic bigs. I really doubt the Knicks can finish 11th (even from here on out, ignoring the first 10 games), but I thought they could be a top 15 offense entering this season… The defense has been about as good as I would have expected (which means bad), and I don’t think Iverson will hurt on that side of the ball.

    My argument is just that I would take Iverson over Duhon as my starting PG in tonight’s game. I sort of agree with those who say give it a few days, no one else is going to sign him. The only downside is that it becomes a “will they sign him or not” media circus and hypes up the arrival if they do sign him or makes passing him up more memorable if he signs elsewhere and contributes. The Knicks need a shot in the arm right now, not a distraction. So, I would make a decision quickly if I were Walshtoni, and if it’s no you can always keep the door a little open.

    “He probably had his finest season in the league two years ago and that Nuggets team won just 50 games, had just the 11th best pythagorean, and got blown out in the playoffs.”

    The Knicks are about 1/2 the team that Nuggets team was… They need talent, in any form. Wilson Chandler and Larry Hughes combine for 22 FGAs/game for this squad. Harrington takes almost 16. It’s reasonable to expect someone who was a major cog on that Nuggets team to help this 1-9, 26th in offensive efficiency, 25th in defensive efficiency, 28th in Pythagorean W-L, and 4th in Pace Knicks team…

  57. Ted Nelson

    “cold hearted young scoring guard(s) off bench”

    I meant cold blooded, not cold hearted… was searching for that saying in my mind and couldn’t find it.

  58. BigBlueAL

    David Thorpe just came out with his latest Top 50 rookies rankings and Toney Douglas is #7!!! Woohoo!!

    Of course Jordan Hill is #31….

  59. daJudge

    Thomas B–sorry I could not respond sooner, but I can not blog at my job. To be clear, I have no problem whatsoever with your statistical analysis. In fact, I really appreciate it. You, as most on this site, are light years ahead of me in this department. My only point is that the comparison between AI and Douglas statistically, over the very short term, is not very important to me in evaluating the players. For example, the fact that Jordan Hill’s p.e.r. over 5 games is 28.6 would not lead me to compare him with a player with that p.e.r. over their career, or even over one half of a season. The only conclusion that I would draw is that his p.e.r. is high over 5 games. As you would put it, this is probably my own issue with the sample size.

  60. Thomas B. Post author

    daJudge,

    No, the issue is not just yours, many people have said the same. You make a very fair point. And I do hope my response did not read like I am a high and mighty know it all–clearly I don’t know it all, I’m not mighty and I don’t get high ahem anymore ahem .

    I admit the stat comparison is full of flaws. I just dont have much else to go on and i’d rather we talk about numbers–even a small sample size–than not. I acknowleded several times that it is a very narrow comparison, but again its all we have.

    Really, i only wanted people to understand that the 2004-05 Allen Iverson wont be walking through that door. And i think Allen’s numbers from the last two seasons plus his age should confirm that.

    I do appreciate the feedback being a junior contributor to this site its the only way I’ll improve.

    GAx,

    “Thomas B busted this one out(thanks for doing that, btw).”

    I try. We got a game tonight lets close the books on this discussion barring a contract offer to AI shall we?

  61. phreesh

    I will add a couple non-stats observations.

    1) Iverson will likely increase attendence. People will pay to see Iverson play. This will help the financial situation at MSG

    2) Iverson and Nate are basically the same player. Adding Iverson at a reasonable salary allows you to package Nate with some of our albatross contracts and maybe let us get two big free agents next year.

    Now, I don’t know what his addition will mean in wins and losses, but it can’t be much worse right now. He could be a distraction and take minutes away from developing players, but I think the upside beats the downside.

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