Jose Calderon Starting To Produce

Every dies, baby that’s a fact / But maybe everything someday comes back

~Bruce Springsteen

Maybe it was a holdover from Halloween, but it was undeniable that Jose Calderon looked like a corpse to start this season. In his first six games, the Spaniard shot like a stormtrooper and defended… pretty much the way he normally does.

But he’s beginning to play like a real NBA point guard again, and perhaps beginning to quell talk that he would lose his starting spot to Langston Galloway or Jerian Grant. Since playing the Lakers—a panacea for many ailing players these days—Calderon has sported healthy 69.8 TS% and seen his playing time jump from 20 to 28 minutes per game, despite the return of Arron Afflalo.

For the season, Jose has brought his shooting numbers closer to career averages, a good sign for a guy who’s been one of the best shooters in the league. Contrast with Grant, who has really struggled with this shot particularly from three (11%). Of course, Calderon has never been as proficient as Grant is at getting into the lane and drawing fouls. Calderon shoots one free throw per 100 possessions. Grant takes 7.3.

Calderon’s three field goals against Houston were all catch-and-shoot three-pointers, two of which relied on screens, and one that relied on comatose, Kardashian-addled, Adidas-money-drunk James Harden.

Jose is playing within the offense and hitting the available shot, which, right now, is helping the Knicks offense a bit more than Jerian Grant’s penetration. Perhaps Calderon’s resurgence will put pressure back on Grant to start producing on offense. In the meantime it will allow the veteran to hold off talks of his hopefully premature demise.


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78 thoughts to “Jose Calderon Starting To Produce”

  1. New Rule: Every new thread must be about Porzingis.

    The long search for that elusive Porzingis nickname is over. Are you ready? Cue drumroll…Wait for it…….. PHAT LAT!! Move over Linsanity, the temperature is rising! We all got PHAT LAT FEVER!! Short and sweet, rhyme, assonance, alliteration. F(ph)at wordplay for skinny guy. It’s the best, Jerry! The best! That’s gold, Jerry! Gold! I tell ya it’s gold. Robert Randolph needs to change the lyrics to this song.

  2. I agree with this note on Calderon.
    He has been very effective, very efficient.
    He’s older and slower than Gallo, but he’s also far more experienced.
    KP noted that the veterans on the team are giving advise, teaching, guiding the younger players on the court. Phil Jackson seems to have built a team of young, athletic talent and sprinkled veterans among them.
    This team has a healthy dynamic and a core that could be here for many years. I have a feeling this team could be far better than any of us anticipated.

  3. You could tell Calderon’s awful start and the harsh criticism he was facing was really bothering him, and I give him credit for persevering. He’s a proud guy with a pretty good NBA career, and playing with Afflalo has obviously turned things around for him. Also, his defense is passable, not dreadful.

    Speaking of PG’s, Mudiay’s TS% after last night’s 6-21 now stands at .409. I’m not going to write him off yet, playing point guard as a rookie in the NBA is extremely challenging, and he may turn out to be good. But the guy has never been a great shooter (I think I read that he shot like 60% from the foul line in China) so reason for concern.

    If the Knicks had drafted him, Berman and Isola would be in a daily feeding frenzy.

  4. Also, I have not always been a big Melo supporter, but he has submitted himself to this plan. Hero ball is way down. How often have we seen him try to force almost every possession late in games when he has played nearly 40 intensive minutes because he didn’t believe his teammates could get the job done?
    That Melo simply isn’t here. His double-teamed three last game was ill-advised, though it went in (and was huge), but it didn’t feel egregious because it has been rare this season.
    I also have been thinking: Imagine the burden he must have felt when he got into foul trouble or had an off night, as even great players do (Tim Duncan the other night for the first time in his career had no rebounds), and simply knowing his team would lose because of it.
    Those days are gone. He had foul trouble, played only 16 minutes, and the Knicks won. He is not shooting as well as he can right now, but his team wins. His TS% is way off his career average, as is his usage. But his rebounds (two full rebounds greater on the D board) and assists are up over career averages /36. His playing time is also down on average 2 minutes per game, or about 164 minutes per season.
    But my eyes tell me something too. After a couple foolish plays early in the season bitching about fouls rather than getting back on D, Melo has been playing harder on defense. He’s extended his D late in games. He’s also having fun. I watched his most recent interview. Someone noted how KP went utterly nuts after Melo hit his ill-advised double-teamed 3 pointer, and he seemed so genuinely pleased.
    But most important, I think my perception of him has changed. I think because he cost so much, and he was all the Knicks had, I focused all my disappointment on him. Now this team has many parts and we don’t need a Hercules every night to win.
    It’s a better place to be.

  5. @Frank O. I don’t think it’s Anthony who has changed so much, but the team around him. The one thing that has always concerned him is being able to “trust” his teammates. This is pretty much his first season here that he actually has not one, but multiple options, if he gets double teamed. Options other than forcing up a bad shot. This in and of itself is a weapon because now, you will pay if you overdo the Melo double team thing. Yes, Melo will still have his moments, such as the aforementioned “ill-advised double-teamed 3 pointer”. The guy is a scorer and I believe he knew he was on and the odds were with him making that shot, so he took it. When he’s on, he’s unstoppable and we need to recognize that. Let’s also give him credit for the regular and hockey assists he is piling up. That all being said, it will still take more time for the NYK to realize how good they can be and increase trust even more. For Melo, having teammates he can trust is the key to getting a well rounded game out of him.

    Another thing I liked is the devastating “small” lineup with KP6 at the 5 and Melo at the 4. Not something they can use all the time, but if the other team goes small, it is a very effective answer.

  6. Great point and great post. Love the Springsteen reference also. Calderon has always been a deadeye shooter with a good a/to and defensive issues. If he can manage to be above average even that would be a huge win for us. Galloway should still be starting though.

    I do think a Porzingis nickname thread is in order. It’s quite possible it might end up being one of the top threads in Knickerblogger history.

    In fact, I think a round table could even be in order, maybe see if Seth from P&T wants to do some guest brainstorming….

  7. If Calderon can keep playing like this he can be a classic triangle PG in the Steve Kerr-John Paxson-BJ Armstrong mold– a reliable spot-up shooter with smarts and passing ability. Calderon, even at his advanced age, is a good fit for this role. Kerr and Paxson weren’t great defenders either but they were still effective role players on those teams.

  8. Back to Calderon, I don’t know how much is about shaking off rust, and how much is just being freed from having Sasha as his backcourt-mate, but he’s definitely been playing much better since Afflalo came off the shelf. Afflalo himself hasn’t been going great guns just yet, but it’s amazing how much more confident I feel watching him dribble, spot up to shoot, or really do anything on the court as opposed to when Sasha was in the starting lineup. Like a lot of aspects of this year’s team, it’s startling how great merely competent play looks after last year’s dumpster fire.

  9. My Personal test if I want the guy playing and taking shots.
    I call it the Balkman Test.

    When he shoots it do I say NOOO – I do not do this for Calderon. I like when he shoots, especially off set screens.

    Others that failed the “balkman test”
    JR smith
    Jared Jeffries
    Larry Hughes
    Anthony Randolph
    Fields after melo trade version
    Steve Francis
    Mardy Collins
    Lee Nailon

  10. About Calderon I’ve always been in his camp (mainly because unlike many here I trust Jackson’s judgement whether he is a actuarial stat geek or not). Clearly he takes that stuff into account in his decision matrix.

    But the almost hate on this board was a little over the top. The guy had a calf/Achilles issue last year and when you take a bad defender and slow him down with a bad wheel and add zero rim protection, you have a disaster.

    However (and what really surprises me here ) is Calderon is a historically excellent offensive player 14 all time in O rating! He is like Fort Knox with the ball and marvelously efficient, along with being a willing and good passer.

    He is an awful on the ball defender, but with Rolo and the Unicorn backstopping him, that glaring weakness is ameliorated somewhat. Letting him defend another position other than point helps too.

    And the Unicorn is the only possible moniker for Porzingis, because….. well…. he IS a unicorn. He hold s the hopes and aspirations of all Knick fans. The guy is the most uniquely talented player ever to step on a court. And he is lucky to have Jackson as his ultimate boss who understands true greatness.

  11. I have a nickname for Porzingis that I haven’t yet seen elsewhere. Waiting to see if I can cobble together a few hours to make a tshirt for it before I let it go.

  12. Let’s not get carried away by Calderon having a decent game vs Houston. He was being guarded by 38-year old Jason Terry. Westbrook lit him up with a near triple-double. But I also think that Fisher is trying to help Calderon out a bit with some of the defensive rotations.

    What I’ve been hoping for with Calderon is that he runs the offense. Against the Rockets, who love to run-and-gun, Calderon’s half-court savvy was a good thing. But he’ll prevent the Knicks from running a fast game and he doesn’t break down the defense. It’s a case of him being the right player for certain situations and virtually useless in others.

  13. Westbrook didn’t light him up. Westbrook chucked up 26 shots and made 9 of them. Calderon’s been playing well for more than one game now.

  14. Plus, Westbrook has lit up most of the league for triple doubles at this point. I won’t hold it against Calderon for Westbrook almost getting another.

  15. His name is already awesome. He doesn’t need a nickname.

    Besides, nicknames are for mid-level players. Does Dirk have a nickname? LeBron? What was Bird’s? (Ok, I admit, I was about to say “what was Magic’s?”)

    One thing I always do, though… Anyone remember the Seinfeld episode where George compared himself to the “By Mennen” commercial jingle? “At first I’m a little irritating, but by the third date you’re like “coooo STANza.”

    That’s how I say Porzingis.

  16. Calderon has been much better during our win streak. I don’t think it’s coincidental.

    Wait…win streak? I’m still trying to get used to this new vocabulary…

  17. I’m going context-dependent in a vain effort to capture Kristaps’ many dimensions:
    Kristopper – For exclamations after blocks
    KrisPKareem – After hooks
    The Sky – Big rebounds
    Crashin’ Kris Porzinnnnngis! – Put backs
    Vanilla Sky – Big long-distance 3s

    KP should be the nickname of last resort used only when extreme brevity is of paramount value IMO. It’s downside is obvious: rhymes with and evokes KG. However charming it is that Kristaps aspires to be a similarly hyper-focused badass multi-threat 2-way bone-crushing war demon like Garnet once was, the fact remains that KG is a particularly repugnant agent of Satan. His wanton association with any beloved Knick should amply justified. Brevity alone is no excuse.

  18. Or Kris P. Hoops. Krispy Hoops. Chicago has Doug McBuckets and Jimmy G. Buckets while Golden State has Mo Buckets. We don’t need more buckets

  19. @19

    Dirk Diggler
    Air Jordan
    King James
    Larry Legend
    Hakeem The Dream
    Clyde the Glide
    Sir Charles

    Plenty of all-stars have nicknames. Anything with Krispy in it is a no go. You need a nickname that is larger than life. Krispy sounds like a mascot for a kids cereal.

  20. Calderon has been playing better. Just as importantly, his major problem, perimeter D, somehow hasn’t been a problem. I don’t want to know what clear liquid Phil has slipped into opponent’s locker room water coolers to engineer this. I’m just going to enjoy it while it lasts.

    He and Grant present a nice complementary set of match up challenges IMO. You can’t leave Jose alone and you have to sag off Grant to try and limit his penetration. I think Grant is doing well despite his shooting. If his shot eventually returns to near college levels, he’ll be a very solid pg by next year.

  21. I liked Kurzeme Machine. Except Kurzeme is pronounced more like Coors-Za-Meh. Hard to find something that rhymes with that.

    Another option was the Liepaja Baller.

  22. However charming it is that Kristaps aspires to be a similarly hyper-focused badass multi-threat 2-way bone-crushing war demon like Garnet once was, the fact remains that KG is a particularly repugnant agent of Satan.

    That’s reasonable.

  23. @26
    We can work with the kid’s cereal association though:

    There once was a man they called KrisP
    For the smoke from his shot was quite wispy
    Humming tunes from worldstar
    He fired shots near and far
    With the snap crackle pop of rice crispies

    Plus, if his hook really develops and he becomes really dominant, KrisPKareem seems too apt to pass up.

  24. White Wagtail – See below.

    The Latvian national bird is the balta cielava or white wagtail (Motacilla alba). This slender and graceful bird is often found in Latvia from April till October. The white wagtail can usually be seen running briskly along the ground, wagging its tail up and down.

  25. Ice KrisP?

    Almost works for me. If I liked Ice Cube or Vanilla Ice more I could go for it.

    A big part of the kid’s charm IMO is the contrast between looking like he’s 14 years old and being so poised, earnest, and effective. An ideal name should capture that sweetness and infuse it into something darker and more powerful that evokes what he excels at or his style of play.

  26. @35
    I don’t get it. No obvious connection with his name and my associations are with:
    T-Bone Walker – Great blues guy, but relevance?
    T-Bone Burnett – Great music producer but again…?

    What am I missing?

  27. I think Porzingis’ new nickname should be The Lativian Express.

    And his putback dunks should be nicknamed “Death From Above” in homage to Ivan Drago’s dismantling of Apollo Creed in Rocky 4.

  28. I like the Atlantic City clip BTW.
    Hank Williams III did a nice cover of it also on the Springsteen-Nebraska tribute Badlands. First half is straight up-tempo hillbilly. Second half is very slow and desolate. Up there with The Gourds cover of Gin and Juice for great hillbilly covers of gritty urban tunes.

  29. Hubert mentioned George Costanza (from Seinfeld). There’s an episode where he tries to give himself the nickname T-Bone.

  30. So far the only one of these that’s passable is T-Bone.

    If there must be a nickname, it will come naturally, like KoKo the Monkey did.

  31. Three 6 Latvia reads great, but I don’t think it’s ideal as something to call out when he’s playing.

    I may be coming around to the idea that Porzingis is an entertaining enough moniker that he requires no Knickname.

  32. Guys, I think the answer is pretty self-evident at this point. There is no one nickname for Porzingis. Instead, his name is a template for creating nicknames that fit the situation. It’s that much funnier and will never get stale. Much how the possibilities are endless with Kristaps on the court, there are infinite possibilities with his nickname. Such a multi-dimensional beast cannot be contained or explained by any one moniker.

  33. @47

    I think you hit the nail on the head. I mean his name is freaking Kristaps Porzingis. It’s so unique already. I think he can be like a Shaquille O’neal, where his de facto nickname is just a shortened version of his real name, but then with various monikers based off of his real name (Shaq Diesel, Shaq-tus, Shaq-Fu, etc.)

    We’re really limiting HIM by limiting him to one nickname. His nickname will be whatever rolls off the tongue in any given moment when describing him and his game. For my .02 cents, it will be PorzinGOD for in-game moments like big 3’s and putback dunks, and KP when discussing him in conversation.

  34. @49 While we agree in theory, I was thinking more along the lines of having infinite permutations of KP name puns.

    Such as (borrowing heavily from the Posting & Toasting crowd here):
    Hoodwacked bamboozis
    Dreamstaps Shakezingis
    6od Porzingoink
    Fishstaps Philzingis
    Godstaps Porzingod
    Krislams Putbackingus
    Kris-smash Your-Facingis
    Backtaps Newtgingrich
    putbacks pordunkis
    Krisstyles GOATzingis

    The dumber the better!

  35. Before I forget, and I know this is early, but….

    Happy Thankzingis and Merry Kristaps to all!!!

  36. How about Not Quite Cauley-Stein but Whatever It’s Cool? Mike, will that fit on a shirt?

  37. For my .02 cents, it will be PorzinGOD for in-game moments like big 3’s and putback dunks, and KP when discussing him in conversation.

    See, the reason I’m leading the no-nickname charge is because what is better to shout in those situations than PORZINGIS!!!!

    Seriously, have you never yelled stood up and just shouted PORZINGIS!!! It’s exhilarating.

    It’s like, here God comes and gifts us the perfect player with the greatest name ever, and y’all are tripping over yourselves to make his name worse. Shame on you.

  38. Amar’e:

    ?@DavidDwork Sep 28
    Love this…Amare Stoudemire “can’t wait” to play the #Knicks. “I’m drooling, like a rottweiler that hadn’t ate in four weeks.” #Heat

    @MiamiHEAT 3h3 hours ago
    Amar’e Stoudemire was not at shoot around (illness). He will be a game time decision.

  39. Amare Stoudemire “can’t wait” to play the #Knicks. “I’m drooling, like a rottweiler that hadn’t ate in four weeks.” #Heat

    Amar’e hates us? Why?

  40. Feeling terrible and drooling uncontrollably are symptoms of rabies. Amare might want to get that checked out.

  41. NY Post = “Heat stars call out Porzingis: Let’s see him against tight D”

    Yes, let’s. To quote the not quite immortal Bart Scott: “Can’t wait!”

  42. If they’re going to focus that much on T-Bone I wonder if Fish would be willing to go crazy and start him at center. I don’t think Whiteside wants to guard a man out on the perimeter.

  43. I tend to agree with people saying that Kristaps Porzingis is such a unique name, like Shaquille or Lebron, that his real name will basically be his nickname. But, here are a couple that I thought of:

    Kristaps “Big Shots” Porzingis – PROS: Big Shots kind of rhymes with Kristaps which is important. CONS: A little too similar with Billups’ nickname, Mr Big Shot.

    Kristaps “Sky” Porzingis – Because he’s so tall that he can touch the sky.

    The Latvian Champion – Eh, almost rhymes but not really

    His hometown, Liepaja, has the nickname “The City Where the Wind is Born”. We could do something playing off of that. The Hurricane. The Tornado, The Monsoon, The Zephyr.

  44. If they’re going to focus that much on T-Bone

    Well played, DRed. You got me to laugh out loud at my desk and make everyone around me wonder what the hell is wrong with me.

  45. My Personal test if I want the guy playing and taking shots.
    I call it the Balkman Test.

    When he shoots it do I say NOOO – I do not do this for Calderon. I like when he shoots, especially off set screens.

    Others that failed the “balkman test”
    JR smith

    There were many problems with Earl Smith, on and off the court. His shooting stroke was never one of them. Even when he was missing shots, I always expected the ball to go in when it left his hands (except for full court heaves, which he loved putting up for some reason).

    Because Jim Cavan is better at this than everyone else (especially me), I go with: “Latviathan”

    But, in my recaps, I may use the shortened “KP”. I may even make some spud peeling jokes. If you do not get those jokes, go read Beetle Bailey. On second thought, don’t.

  46. 6God still gets my vote. Play off the Drake nickname, correct jersey #, sufficiently ominous + epic. Might not resonate with some older folk but definitely resonates with a bunch of newer would-be knick fans as well as the fans who came of age to the JVG Knicks.

    Plus that’s a strong ass hashtag.

  47. Others that failed the “balkman test”

    Mardy Collins

    I think this dude is the all-time NBA leader in air-ball/36.

    Couldn’t hit a layup

  48. Zinger was nominated for Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Lebron won, but still, that’s pretty damn awesome.

  49. @68

    I like 6God too, but if you use that hashtag you’re going to get 90% Drake and/or Toronto (Raptors) crap.

    Do you follow the brand Undrcrwn? They recently did a pretty cool 6od graphic.

  50. Drake is the softest rapper in the game. He should have nothing to do with T-Bone

    Straight baby thighs soft, ‘nahmsayin’?

  51. If he were “Mr Fine”, when paired with Anthony they’d be “Fine and Melo”. Billie Holiday > Drake

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