Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Knicks 100, Celtics 85

New York Knicks 100 Final
Recap | Box Score
85 Boston Celtics
Kenyon Martin, PF 25 MIN | 4-7 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +3

We keep waiting for struck midnight to find Kenyon flagrantly fouling the teenage mop boys for “gettin’ too close to the neck lips,” but damn if K-Mart doesn’t keep producing. His most consistent contribution tonight was on the offensive glass, where he hammered home six of his nine points off of narrow misses and grabbed four of his five ‘bounds. The defensive engagement wasn’t quite as tenacious as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, but that amounts to a petty grievance in the grand scheme of things.

Carmelo Anthony, SF 36 MIN | 10-30 FG | 7-9 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 29 PTS | +16

The fact that I had to do a double-take at “FGA: 30” is as good an indication as any at how free of tumult this whole affair was. Between the crapsack of terrible shots, Melo managed some beautiful possessions – particularly on the few strong, purposeful takes to the tin that marked the deficit-ballooning stretch between the second and third quarters. The defense was passable, although ole #7 seemed floor-bolted during a few of Boston’s early penetrating drives. Credit good help defense with at least two of the three steals, and general engagement for the plethora of boards. Not the most efficient night, certainly, but that’s…what…J….R….Smith is for?

Iman Shumpert, SF 26 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | +3

A quiet night offensively – Shump hit but a lone corner jumper in transition early in the third – was offset somewhat by a few impressive stints on Pierce. He still looks at times like he’s dribbling a 25-cent bouncy ball in the open court, but on a team simply trying to balance depth and fit, I think the soph’s niche will end up being a sensible one.

Raymond Felton, PG 32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | +6

I mean… there’s only so much Avery Bradley can eat, right? Against a team as deathly depleted as the Beanfarts, we didn’t need spectacular from Raymond; we needed not disastrous. The numbers might seem slight for such a heavy workload – though there were peppered throughout some brutish and well-timed drives, both in transition and in the half court – but the only real stat that mattered in this one was one, as in the number of turnovers committed.

Pablo Prigioni, PG 30 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +7

Just days after posted a blog wherein he laments in words I don’t understand about not getting enough minutes and being late to see Che off on his northern motorcycle sojourn back in ’48, Pablo turned his biggest burn to date into a positively encouraging outing. A couple nice drives, a gorgeous P&R feed to a rolling Melo, solid on-ball defense – all were equally important. But converting an open court layup with Avery Bradley humping both his legs and still managing to lay it in without having the ball smeared on the glass like a giant bug? Clandestine candidate for Play of the Night.

Steve Novak, SF 18 MIN | 3-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 9 PTS | +5

A statue made of Angel Food Cake would provide more consistent defense, but at least the stroke was twangin’.

Jason Kidd, PG 23 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | +16

Man, I just hope I still have my own teeth when I’m 40. Seems like our sage might be summoning a second wind, this all-of-the-above outing being just the latest example. Whether the bevy of key defensive plays – drawing charges, help D ninja hands – grabbing big boards in traffic, or hitting huge buckets (taking Avery Bradley into the lane for a hefty reverse layup was magical), J-Kidd was once again a basketball binding agent. Concerns for age and wear aren’t exactly illegitimate, but at a certain point you have to wonder whether someone so imbued with basketball intelligence might not also understand that January and February isn’t exactly a bad time to coast.

J.R. Smith, SG 34 MIN | 13-24 FG | 5-5 FT | 7 REB | 1 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 32 PTS | +17

It’s been noted ad nauseous, but it bears repeating: Ever since his nightmarish 4-76 outing in L.A. a fortnight ago, Earl’s radar has honed squarely on tin. Tonight’s performance – a flurry of rimward takes at once quick, graceful, and resilient – was the culmination of this newfound ethos. And that absurd half-ending 25-foot three pointer to extend the league back to 15 wasn’t too shabby, either. Even when he started settling during Boston’s would-be threat early in the fourth, J.R. simply threw the switch anew, finishing up right where he started: within a gentle flick of the basket. Also: Seven rebounds? Three steals? Has he been in bed since Saturday? Check the Twitter.

Chris Copeland, SF 13 MIN | 0-4 FG | 1-2 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 1 PTS | +2

Looked like a Muppet after drinking a trough full of chocolate milk and bacon fat; was awful.

Marcus Camby, C DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

Grabbed his crotch while pointing a three-barreled hand gun at his head; was amazing.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Both squads broached the fray roughly two injuries shy of having to start floor buffers, so the fact that the first nine shots fell wayward wasn’t much of a surprise – ball was just flying all over the place. Fortunately, the Knicks were the only ones who managed to tighten the vices – they committed but six turnovers after the first two minutes – while the Celtics coughed up the marble a stunning 19 times (thank the 12 Knick steals), many of those coming in transition or on silly swings to the weak side.
  2. Much has been made of Woodson’s recent propensity for quirky lineups, but tonight has to take the cake: The Knicks were forced to field a lineup featuring Carmelo Anthony at center, and still whipped Boston’s ass for a solid five minutes. Granted, the small vs. small dynamic was somewhat inevitable given the banged-up nature of the two squads, but still – what a fun little stint that was.
  3. Both teams found success probing, plodding, and cutting their way into the paint, but the Bockers’ beastly offensive rebounding (15-7 advantage) was the real difference maker. Everyone got in on the act – Melo, J.R., K-Mart, Walt Whitman, Barbara Hershey. Against a team so depleted in the front court, having the Knicks settle for terrible outside shots, iffy one-on-one gambits, and diminutive glass hounding would not have exactly been shocking, given the two teams’ recent history. Alas, scripts were flipped all around.
  4. Speaking of scripts, whoever thought the Celtics’ quick 5-0 spurt to start the second half would morph into a crippling, game-altering tide against which the Knicks would feebly beat back and ultimately fail, raise your hands. Right. The Cs would cut the margin to seven on two occasions, and both times the Bockers dug deep and came up with timely buckets – a Kidd straightaway three, an Earl blitz, whatever they needed, when they needed it.
  5. Five in a row. And all without Chandler. Before I say any more, let me make clear that the two have very little, if anything, to do with one another. Rather, the ingredients for this particular streak are – as Chris Herring aptly pointed out earlier today – games in the making. Back is the ball movement, consistent defensive engagement, and chemistry that marked that halcyon 18-5 clip. Indeed, there might be something to this whole two-headed point guard thing after all. Whether or not Woodson’s had designs on this all along, and has been keeping Prigs bench-bolted for that very purpose – I highly doubt that. But sometimes found money is better than intelligent investment, and to that end I’m just glad that we’ve been able to mine useful wares from what very easily could have been a season-jeopardizing rash of injuries. We played Carmelo Anthony at center, got every conceivable call, and beat the snot out of the Boston Celtics. Let’s enjoy it.

62 comments on “Knicks 100, Celtics 85

  1. TheRant

    Thanks, Jim. Well done. I especially like this:

    It’s been noted ad nauseous, but it bears repeating: Ever since his nightmarish 4-76 outing in L.A. a fortnight ago, Earl’s radar has honed squarely on tin.

    Anyway, you hear all the time about how some NBA player really likes some other player, as if it matters. Well, it is worth noting that Kidd and K Mart seem to really have a bond. It’s nice to see, and could account for some of the chemistry, ball movement, and defensive communication we’ve been seeing.

  2. lavor postell

    Nowitzki teaching Griffin the game of basketball right now. Him and Paul putting on a scoring clinic down the stretch of this game.

  3. jon abbey

    just went through the play by play, JR/Melo had a ridiculous eight combined offensive rebounds off their own shots, all of which turned into immediate scores (7 FGs, 2 FTs).

    so their combined 23-54 with 10 offensive boards in reality had precisely the same impact as a 23-47 with 2 offensive boards would have had.

  4. jon abbey

    and actually you could subtract another one for the fast break attempt where Melo drew the defense and JR had the uncontested putback. box scores are so deceptive.

  5. BigBlueAL

    If the Knicks were going to split this back-to-back much prefer to get the win in Boston so this was great (big for the conference record too in case of a tie with Indiana). A win vs Memphis would be icing on the cake.

    Will say the quotes I read from Chandler today were pretty worrisome and the beat writers seem to think this injury is alot more serious than is being let on which again judging from his quotes today I dont blame them. I say take the rest of the week off and target the game in Miami to return if possible.

  6. ephus

    Good JR is one of the twenty best players in the NBA. Everyone who trashes Woodson (including me) needs to pump the breaks. If it were easy to get this out of Earl, someone else would have done so many years ago.

  7. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin:
    I still can’t believe he seriously has a bulging disc in his neck. Do we know where it even happened?

    The writers have mentioned in the past that Chandler’s neck had been bothering him some since around mid-January Id like to say but Tina Cervasio said during the game tonight that in Denver before injuring his knee he had apparently re-aggravated his neck injury in a collision with Faried.

  8. Zanzibar

    ephus:
    Good JR is one of the twenty best players in the NBA.Everyone who trashes Woodson (including me) needs to pump the breaks. If it were easy to get this out of Earl, someone else would have done so many years ago.

    True – and Woody certainly does deserve the credit – but I think there might be something deeper at work here. After his rookie year, JR’s 3FG% for 4 years in a row was above the league average; however, for 3 of the last 4 years, he has been below the league average, including the last 2 years. Maybe this drop – plus this being a contract year – has awakened him to the need to become a better all-around player. He ranks 6th among all SGs in turnover ratio (4th for those >20 minutes/game) and 7th in rebounding rate (5th for those > 20 minutes/game). His dimes and TS% should improve as he drives more: On March 7th, his TS% was .499 and since then it’s been .559. His ability to create for others will lessen the load on Melo when together on the court, allowing Melo to conserve energy and focus on his more efficient post-up game. And consider a second unit of JR/Amare/Camby/Novak/Prigioni with Earl running PnRs with Amare – hey if it works with JR/Copeland well….Ephus, JR has improved from the neck up and if Tyson recovers there as well, it may be time to resuscitate your mantra! Melo has found his Pippen! (Owen and THCJ just spit out their morning coffee.)

  9. Z-man

    I (and many others here) have optimistically compared this Knicks team to Dallas circa 2010-11. In this comparison, JR is more like our Jason Terry, or maybe a hybrid between Terry and Barea.

    As to the “Melo has found his Pippen” statement, let’s not get crazy. JR is a great value and a top-10 talent, but playoff basketball is a neck-up affair. You don’t develop a b-ball IQ overnight. The prospect of our fate resting in a JR decision in a pivotal game is a terrifying prospect.

    The most encouraging sign of all is the resurgence of Jason Kidd. Since the Miami game, he has looked very much like the player he was early in the year. Love how Woody is keeping his minutes down.

  10. Owen

    “Melo has found his Pippen! (Owen and THCJ just spit out their morning coffee.)”

    Yes, coffee spit out. Second spilling after seeing Melo racked up 29 points on 34 shots.

    Jon – It would seem the deception in the box score probably stems from the fact that Brandon Bass and Jeff Green were the opposing power forward and center.

  11. d-mar

    Owen:
    “Melo has found his Pippen! (Owen and THCJ just spit out their morning coffee.)”

    Yes, coffee spit out. Second spilling after seeing Melo racked up 29 points on 34 shots.

    Jon – It would seem the deception in the box score probably stems from the fact that Brandon Bass and Jeff Green were the opposing power forward and center.

    Leave it to Debbie Downer to try and throw cold water on a butt whipping in Boston.

    BTW, Melo took 30 shots, not 34, and anytime we win by 15 on the road, I don’t care if he shoots 30% or 60%.

  12. johnno

    Owen: Jon – It would seem the deception in the box score probably stems from the fact that Brandon Bass and Jeff Green were the opposing power forward and center.

    As usual, despite the fact that the Knicks’ bench is like a hospital ward, the narrative is “Knicks beat short-handed Celtics.” By the way, the Knicks are one of only 8 teams in the league to have a winning road record. A road win against anyone is a good win.

  13. Owen

    Well, it does seem to bear directly on Jon’s point about K-Mart and Melo grabbing all those offensive boards. And more generally on the notion that defensive rebounds just collect themselves.

    As for the rest, no, i am not impressed with our winning streak. It doesn’t really change my opinion about this team. Not that our losing spell on our road trip did either. We are what we are, somewhere between the 6th and 10th best team in the league for the foreseeable future. If you are one of the people satisfied with that, well, I am happy for you…..

  14. ruruland

    Owen:
    “Melo has found his Pippen! (Owen and THCJ just spit out their morning coffee.)”

    Yes, coffee spit out. Second spilling after seeing Melo racked up 29 points on 34 shots.

    Jon – It would seem the deception in the box score probably stems from the fact that Brandon Bass and Jeff Green were the opposing power forward and center.

    Care to explain how the Knicks are +37 since Chandler went out (or +5 per game), with five of the seven games on the road?

    How is it possible that a guy off the street can replicate Chandler’s production?

    I guess he really isn’t the sole reason the Knicks win games, is he?

  15. ruruland

    Owen:
    And more generally on the notion that defensive rebounds just collect themselves.

    That’s never been the argument, Owen.

  16. ruruland

    Owen:
    We are what we are, somewhere between the 6th and 10th best team in the league for the foreseeable future. If you are one of the people satisfied with that, well, I am happy for you…..

    Indeed, most of the team’s Owen is a fan of are worse than the Knicks. I’m not exactly sure why Owen cares what Knicks fans think anyway.

  17. Nick C.

    6th best team puts us in the ECF or thereabouts (Miami, OKC, LAC, SA, Den/Mem). 10th puts us on a level with Indiana more than likely. considering the years and years and years of not being the 6-10th worst team. If it’s championship or bust then there is work to be done and maybe this permutation isn’t good enough or can’t get past the LeBron hump. But this is sooooo preferable to the crap that passed for basketball before its not even funny.

  18. lavor postell

    “Let’s just be quite frank about them. We always want to beat Boston. New York in anything wants to beat Boston and when we do it’s a great feeling.”

    -Melo

    That accurately sums it up

  19. lavor postell

    Heat at Spurs Sunday and then at home against the Knicks on Tuesday. You’ve gotta think if the streak gets stopped that it will be one of those 2 games, though not having STAT really hurts our chances of taking advantage of Miami’s relative lack of size inside.

  20. Z-man

    Look, when you buy into being a Knicks fan, you buy into Dolan. There’s no getting around that. At the end of the day, this is the team we have, not the team some of us have wished for. At some point, all of us have to accept that.

    Chances are that this team does not win a championship in the next 2 years. Nobody is disputing that. The style of basketball we are currently playing is not beautiful to watch compared to, say, Denver. Amare’s contract is an albatross, no doubt. But I like this team, it has a grittiness about it that’s hard to explain. Not really sure what our ceiling is, but avoiding a loss during the last 5 games is a good sign. Would love to see a win tonight!

  21. johnno

    Owen: We are what we are, somewhere between the 6th and 10th best team in the league for the foreseeable future. If you are one of the people satisfied with that, well, I am happy for you…..

    Do I wish that the Knicks had Durant or LeBron? Yeah. But, since neither of those two seems to be available for the Knicks to acquire, we have to accept that, for the foreseeable future, the Knicks will not be the top seed in the East, let alone the league. However, here is what I think that they are — the second or third best team in the East, with a slim but real puncher’s chance of knocking the Heat off and making it to the finals. Improbable? Yes, but then again, so were two Giant Super Bowl runs in the last 5 years…

  22. lavor postell

    johnno: Do I wish that the Knicks had Durant or LeBron?Yeah.But, since neither of those two seems to be available for the Knicks to acquire, we have to accept that, for the foreseeable future, the Knicks will not be the top seed in the East, let alone the league.However, here is what I think that they are — the second or third best team in the East, with a slim but real puncher’s chance of knocking the Heat off and making it to the finals.Improbable?Yes, but then again, so were two Giant Super Bowl runs in the last 5 years…

    The Celtics made a Finals run in 2010 when nobody gave them a serious chance. Mavericks won in 2011. Orlando made a Finals run in 2009 upsetting Bron’s Cavs on ridiculously hot shooting from their three point shooters and a number of clutch shots by Hedo Turkoglu.

    The Patriots in their first Super Bowl year started 0-2, replaced Bledsoe with Brady, won the AFC East, needed the tuck rule (now abolished) and the best kicking performance of all time in terrible weather to beat Oakland at home in the divisonal round. They then overcame an injury to Brady in the AFC Championship Game to beat the Steelers with Bledsoe leading the charge and then beat the Rams on a field goal as time expired as two touchdown underdogs.

    Chelsea won the Champions League Final last year after being a goal down at the Nou Camp in Barcelona in the semi-finals and being a man down. They won the final in Munich against Bayern Munich (guess where they’re from) with only 2 shots on goal compared to 17 for Bayern and trailing 1-0 with less than 10 minutes left. They won in a penalty shootout which is as random as it gets.

    To think there is no shot the Knicks can beat Miami is foolish. It will probably take quite a bit of luck to do it, but look at the history of any sport and you know this can happen. What were the Knicks odds of making a Finals run…

  23. MJG1789

    lavor postell:
    To think there is no shot the Knicks can beat Miami is foolish.It will probably take quite a bit of luck to do it, but look at the history of any sport and you know this can happen.What were the Knicks odds of making a Finals run…

    This this this. This isn’t fantasy basketball. Would the Knicks be better off having Durant? Yeah. Is it gonna happen? No. However, the team as constructed competes every night and has a chance, however small, to win a title. There’s only a handful of teams that can say that. And they were scrappy as hell against the Celts – all those deflections from Shump and Kidd and tough board action from Melo and KM.

    Anyway, even if the Knicks won the title, there would be posters on here to explain it didn’t actually happen because Melo has insufficient win shares.

  24. massive

    How many more of these “much worse than we thought” injuries until we fire the medical staff? I think we have one of the 5 worst in the league. Maybe we can trade our draft pick this season for Phoenix’s staff?

  25. johnno

    MJG1789: Anyway, even if the Knicks won the title, there would be posters on here to explain it didn’t actually happen because Melo has insufficient win shares.

    I don’t think that I or anyone else can top this comment…

  26. jon abbey

    Owen:
    Well, it does seem to bear directly on Jon’s point about K-Mart and Melo grabbing all those offensive boards.

    that wasn’t really close to my point. my point didn’t involve Martin (much as I love him), it was that a missed shot shouldn’t count as a missed shot if the shooter gets the ball right back by rebounding the miss himself and then scores.

    JR and Melo did this a combined nine times yesterday, which was certainly in part because of Boston’s poor rebounding lineups, but still means that their shot attempt numbers are overinflated as are their offensive rebounding titles, in my eyes anyway.

    JR had one possession where he rebounded his own miss twice before successfully putting it back, so the box score gives him a 1-3 with 2 offensive boards when the end result is identical to a single made shot. that’s misleading IMO.

  27. johnlocke

    Yeh you’re right. The general notion is that a missed FG = a wasted offensive possession. This is a useful point because the Knicks won last night largely because they had a greater number of offensive possessions (less turnovers and more offensive rebounds) than the Celtics. Having said that Melo did have some points in that 3rd quarter where he was taking quick pull up jumpers instead of getting his butt in the post and doing damage as he was for most of the game…

    jon abbey: that wasn’t really close to my point. my point didn’t involve Martin (much as I love him), it was that a missed shot shouldn’t count as a missed shot if the shooter gets the ball right back by rebounding the miss himself and then scores.

    JR and Melo did this a combined nine times yesterday, which was certainly in part because of Boston’s poor rebounding lineups, but still means that their shot attempt numbers are overinflated as are their offensive rebounding titles, in my eyes anyway.

    JR had one possession where he rebounded his own miss twice before successfully putting it back, so the box score gives him a 1-3 with 2 offensive boards when the end result is identical to a single made shot. that’s misleading IMO.

  28. Owen

    “that wasn’t really close to my point. my point didn’t involve Martin (much as I love him), it was that a missed shot shouldn’t count as a missed shot if the shooter gets the ball right back by rebounding the miss himself and then scores.”

    Not sure what is misleading about it. In any linear weight system, the credit from the board generally erases the missed shot. So statistically, Melo and JR come out looking as good as they would if they had just made the first shot. And the credit for making the second shot does most of the work to correct their ts% as well. Overall, the result is exactly what you would want it to be right?

    Just lost a whole post, not going to bother rewriting it. Here is the precis. Melo is not a real superstar but, as I always say, I sincerely hope he proves me wrong this playoff season and actually plays as well as Ruru has been insisting the last two years he is capable of.

    And if he doesn’t, I hope Knicks fans don’t turn on him. Because I don’t want his trade value destroyed…..

  29. Owen

    And JohnLocke, each team should generally have the exact same # of possessions in a game, although you can game that with shrewd use of end of quarter tactics. Rebounds don’t create new possessions, they extend them. That at least is the semantics of possession theory which is how most everyone analyzes basketball these days. But we aren’t disagreeing, offensive rebounding played a pretty big part in our victory.

  30. ruruland

    Owen:

    Just lost a whole post, not going to bother rewriting it. Here is the precis. Melo is not a real superstar but, as I always say, I sincerely hope he proves me wrong this playoff season and actually plays as well as Ruru has been insisting the last two years he is capable of.

    He has played as well as I’ve insisted he was capable of. Yes, I’ll end up being wrong on his raw ts %, but that’s because of his usage increase and shot distribution.

    The fact that he was posting 580-600 TS prior to injuries with similar shot distribution was pretty fantastic. You’ll be hard pressed to find a player that efficient with Melo’s number/% of isolations.

    This year’s he’s been an elite scorer that’s taken a higher amount of isolations than expected (I expected much more of a transition game). Not because that’s the shot he can get, obviously (reduce his isolation % to average for wings and he still has well above average usage), but because it’s a primary form of shot-creation for the team.

    Melo’s isolations have increased beyond what they were earlier in the year (when they were still relatively high) which has led to almost perfectly inverted/symmetrical efficiency increases for Ray Felton and Jr. Smith’s.

    As the offense developed a more Melo-centric isolation flow with Ray out, Felton has come back to post a .540 TS with a usage of 19.7.

    Oddly enough, those were basically the numbers I projected he’d have going into the season. We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in Felton’s off dribble shots.

    Why you ask?

    Because when the initial shot isn’t available off the screen and roll or whatever screen/dribble hand-off action the Knicks use, they most often revert to Melo post-up/isolation instead of Felton creating.

    That’s hurt Melo’s raw efficiency but it’s benefited the team.

  31. johnlocke

    My point was more that if you view FG attempts as an “offensive possession”… it can tell a fuller story than just looking at shooting percentages. The same logic that is applied at the team level can also be understood at the player level I think. The Celtics actually shot better from the field than the Knicks last night, and the Knicks only made two more three pointers than they did and made less FTs. The difference was the Knicks shot 30% more FGs than the Celtics did (69 to 90) due to the turnover differential (+11) and the offensive rebound differential (+8). Melo led the team with 6 offensive rebounds, so on those possessions where he missed and then got it back and made it, his misses did not hurt the team. I think that was the simple point Jon was making. That looking at his FG% and saying he shot 10-30 he was horrible is a bit short-sighted. Although I do think he was chucking some, it wasn’t as bad as the shooting line states.

    Owen:
    And JohnLocke, each team should generally have the exact same# of possessions in a game, although you can game that with shrewd use of end of quarter tactics. Rebounds don’t create new possessions, they extend them. That at least is the semantics of possession theory which is how most everyone analyzes basketball these days.But we aren’t disagreeing, offensive rebounding played a pretty big part in our victory.

  32. johnlocke

    Agreed Ruru – but you also have to admit that some of that is on Melo for his poor shot selection, especially heat checks early in the clock and the hold the ball for 6 seconds before taking a contested mid range jumper. He’s done a lot less of that this year, but Melo could still be a bit smarter with his shot selection.

    ruruland:

    Melo’s isolations have increased beyond what they were earlier in the year (when they were still relatively high) which has led to almost perfectly inverted/symmetrical efficiency increases for Ray Felton and Jr. Smith’s.

    As the offense developed a more Melo-centric isolation flow with Ray out, Felton has come back to post a .540 TS with a usage of 19.7.

    Oddly enough, those were basically the numbers I projected he’d have going into the season. We’ve seen a dramatic decrease in Felton’s off dribble shots.

    Why you ask?

    Because when the initial shot isn’t available off the screen and roll or whatever screen/dribble hand-off action the Knicks use, they most often revert to Melo post-up/isolation instead of Felton creating.

    That’s hurt Melo’s raw efficiency but it’s benefited the team.

  33. er

    johnlocke: Agreed Ruru – but you also have to admit that some of that is on Melo for his poor shot selection, especially heat checks early in the clock and the hold the ball for 6 seconds before taking a contested mid range jumper. He’s done a lot less of that this year, but Melo could still be a bit smarter with his shot selection.

    melos TS numbers will always be more in line with kobe and ai , than lebron durant or dirk. Kobe AI and Melo love to take “bad” shots, they probably are better than most at these shots but even still they will go in at maybe a 25% clip. That alone kills effeciency, Melo also can get rather streaky at times. Yesterday for example he rimmed out about 5 WIDE open threes. Other nights he will make all 5, all in all i dont think melo is a player you can gather his true value from TS%

  34. ruruland

    johnlocke:
    Agreed Ruru – but you also have to admit that some of that is on Melo for his poor shot selection, especially heat checks early in the clock and the hold the ball for 6 seconds before taking a contested mid range jumper. He’s done a lot less of that this year, but Melo could still be a bit smarter with his shot selection.

    Yes, but if you actually look at the shots Melo takes when he’s surrounded by other high usage players, like Allen Iverson, or on the Olympic team, his efficiency goes way up and his isolations go way down.

    Honestly, if the Knicks had a healthy Amar’e and a good offensive point guard at around 24-25 usage, you would see a dramatic difference in Melo’s shot selection.

  35. lavor postell

    ruruland: Yes, but if you actually look at the shots Melo takes when he’s surrounded by other high usage players, like Allen Iverson, or on the Olympic team,his efficiency goes way up and his isolations go way down.

    Honestly, if the Knicks had a healthy Amar’e and a good offensive point guard at around 24-25 usage, you would see a dramatic difference in Melo’s shot selection.

    What was Billups’ usage post Melo trade? If I remember correctly that was some of Melo’s most efficient offensive basketball alongside Billups and STAT who, if I remember correctly, were definitely posting 20+ usage after the trade. Melo can be his own worst enemy with his jab stepping and the time he takes to get comfortable before deciding what kind of initial move he wants to make, if he wants to pass, drive, shoot etc.

  36. johnlocke

    It’s going to be funny watching Al Trautwig describe this injury tonight…

    Brian Cronin:
    This team seriously seems to be cursed with injuries. A freakin’ bulging disc in his neck. Ugh.

  37. lavor postell

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-chicago-bulls-derrick-rose-miami-heat-20130327,0,7647942.story

    I’d be pissed if I was a Bulls fan by this point. I actually have no idea what the logic of not playing him is since they are guaranteed to make the playoffs and he’s clearly healthy enough apparently to be practicing and working out with the team everyday. Lucky for him he doesn’t play in New York or else he really would be getting killed by the press.

  38. ruruland

    lavor postell: What was Billups’ usage post Melo trade?If I remember correctly that was some of Melo’s most efficient offensive basketball alongside Billups and STAT who, if I remember correctly, were definitely posting 20+ usage after the trade.Melo can be his own worst enemy with his jab stepping and the time he takes to get comfortable before deciding what kind of initial move he wants to make, if he wants to pass, drive, shoot etc.

    melo posted a .575 TS on 31. 4 usage with Billups and Amar’e.

    During that stretch, Amar’e posted a 29.3 usage, Billups a 24.3 usage.

    Both Amar’e and Melo improved their efficiency while dropping their usage when they started together in 2010-11.

    http://www.nba.com/advancedstats/player-vs-player.html#Carmelo-Anthony-vs-Amar%27e-Stoudemire|2546,2405;year=201011;season=r

    Same for both players this year.

    http://www.nba.com/advancedstats/player-vs-player.html#Carmelo-Anthony-vs-Amar%27e-Stoudemire|2546,2405;year=201213;season=r

    Who can forget that Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen each set their career highs in efficiency playing with each other well beyond the “prime” of their careers.

    In fact, four of Pierce’s most efficient seasons occurred after the age of 30, when his usage dropped below 25%.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/p/piercpa01.html

    Same with Garnett: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/g/garneke01.html

    Same with Ray Allen: http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/a/allenra02.html

    Lebron James
    http://knickerblogger.net/knicks-100-celtics-85/#comments

    DWade
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/wadedw01.html

    Ai and Melo set career highs in efficiency playing with each other and reducing usage

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

    There’s plenty more examples.

  39. er

    lavor postell: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-chicago-bulls-derrick-rose-miami-heat-20130327,0,7647942.storyI’d be pissed if I was a Bulls fan by this point. I actually have no idea what the logic of not playing him is since they are guaranteed to make the playoffs and he’s clearly healthy enough apparently to be practicing and working out with the team everyday. Lucky for him he doesn’t play in New York or else he really would be getting killed by the press.

    I think its because bulls fans and writers like him. If it was melo he would have been crucified by this media who always look for the snarky stories and headlines.

  40. ruruland

    Many studies show a strong correlation between usage and efficiency.
    Sometimes the numbers don’t bear that correlation out.

    One the whole, a player will only increase his usage if he’s capable of taking the extra opportunities to the perceived benefit of the team. Typically, the increased usage is pretty minimal.

    Therefore, there is likely to be minimal decrease in efficiency with increased usage for most players with around average usage.

    Many players don’t get the opportunity to showcase a particular skill-set, or aren’t asked to, and some develop it later in their careers, which leads to the increased usage/increased efficiency paradox.

    Most high usage players have an incredibly diverse range of skills that allow them to get far more opportunities than the average player.

    There is a finite number of efficient opportunities available to each team during each game, depending on the personnel, strategy, tactics and opponent.

    Sure, it’s likely true that many teams fall short of maximizing efficient opportunities. But on the whole, most players stay within a range of usage that’s dictated by their skill level.

    When Pierce, Garnett and Allen got together, they were able to leverage each other’s great skills, maximizing efficient opportunities while largely decreasing the inefficient shots they took in the past.

    I think balance is optimal. I don’t believe having a player with a 32-35 usage is better than a more balanced approach, even if that player’s usage is leveraged to the benefit of his teammates, as has been the case with Melo throughout his career playing with great many below average usage lineups (look at the efficiency dips of most of his teammates since leaving Denver, most of them coinciding with usage increases).

  41. Keniman Shumpwalker

    lavor postell:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/chi-chicago-bulls-derrick-rose-miami-heat-20130327,0,7647942.story

    I’d be pissed if I was a Bulls fan by this point.I actually have no idea what the logic of not playing him is since they are guaranteed to make the playoffs and he’s clearly healthy enough apparently to be practicing and working out with the team everyday.Lucky for him he doesn’t play in New York or else he really would be getting killed by the press.

    He would be getting CRUSHED by the New York media if he played here. I’m starting to think he might be a major headcase. From the public weeping, to all of the weird comments he’s made to the media since he was medically cleared to play. Something just seems off about him. This quote would infuriate me if I was a Bulls fan (this is in response to a question about when he’d play): “I really don’t know, man,” Rose said. “Like I said, it’s in God’s hands. Every day I’m just waking up to try and be the best player, try and produce every time I step on the court, just try and get better as a player, and who knows when?”

  42. Owen

    “When Pierce, Garnett and Allen got together, they were able to leverage each other’s great skills, maximizing efficient opportunities while largely decreasing the inefficient shots they took in the past.”

    That’s such a bizarre account of what happened in Boston. Sure they all saw a spike in their TS%. So what?

    All three guys were great before they joined forces. All of them had posted better seasons than Melo ever has before they started playing together. Both Garnett and Allen had their best seasons before hitting Boston. Pierce did have his two best seasons in the Big Three era. But they were just 10% better than his best season as the centerpiece of the Celtics, which is to say, not that different. And all three players saw their numbers benefit from the superb team defense the Celtics played.

    The lesson of the Big Three is pretty simple and it has nothing to do with the synergies that you are always talking about Melo needing around him to finally play at an elite leve.

    Find a way to put a bunch of guys who have put up amazing statistics in their career together on the same team and who are highly motivated to prove that everyone has been wrong about them. Then add the best young defensive point guard in the NBA and a solid young defensive center.

    For you to argue that Melo simply hasn’t had the right pieces around him, like you always do, it’s just total balderdash. Just look at the pieces Garnett had around him when he put up 18 win shares in 03-04. Or the pieces Ray Allen had when he put up 14 win shares in Milwaukee.

    Lord. dander up….

  43. ruruland

    Dude, your post literally does nothing to address the arguments I presented.

    10% difference with Melo would give him a ts of like 600.

    What a terrible attempt at a counter argument to my main thesis.

    What are you even doing here right now? Knicks are winning. Winning without the one-man win machine Tyson Chandler.

  44. ruruland

    What does team defense have to do with significant increases in shooting efficient coinciding with drops in usage for players well beyond their supposed prime years?

    What a weak post that was, Owen. laughable man.

  45. Owen

    “What does team defense have to do with significant increases in shooting efficient coinciding with drops in usage for players well beyond their supposed prime years?”

    Ray Allen posted more defensive win shares through his first four years in Boston than he did in his first 11 years in the league. And that I suspect explains why his productivity, measured by WS/48, stayed so strong, especially in the first two years of the Big Three. It was a far bigger factor than the changing mix of usage and efficiency in his offensive game. He was, in fact, pretty much the same player on offense, posting 13 OWS in those first two years, basically around or below his career averages. His second year, when he posted 7.4 OWS, was only his seventh best year.

    Incidentally, Melo’s all time OWS high is 6.8. So Allen has had seven more productive seasons on the offensive end than Melo. And six of those were before he put on his Big Three hat.

    Anyway, just to reiterate. All of the Big Three, however you measure it, showed they could be far more productive than Melo has ever been before they started playing together. And they showed it again after. And Rondo gives Melo a run for his money also.

    Lesson? Get four players better than Melo. Obvious conclusion? Get rid of Melo.

  46. ruruland

    Owen:
    “What does team defense have to do with significant increases in shooting efficient coinciding with drops in usage for players well beyond their supposed prime years?”

    Ray Allen posted more defensive win shares through his first four years in Boston than he did in his first 11 years in the league. And that I suspect explains why his productivity, measured by WS/48, stayed so strong, especially in the first two years of the Big Three. It was a far bigger factor than the changing mix of usage and efficiency in his offensive game. He was, in fact, pretty much the same player on offense, posting 13 OWS in those first two years, basically around or below his career averages. His second year, when he posted 7.4 OWS, was only his seventh best year.

    Incidentally, Melo’s all time OWS high is 6.8. So Allen has had seven more productive seasons on the offensive end than Melo. And six of those were before he put on his Big Three hat.

    Anyway, just to reiterate. All of the Big Three, however you measure it, showed they could be far more productive than Melo has ever been before they started playing together. And they showed it again after. And Rondo gives Melo a run for his money also.

    Lesson? Get four players better than Melo. Obvious conclusion? Get rid of Melo.

    Typical Owen trolling. Obfuscate, ignore, pivot to completely different topic, move goal posts, pretend to score.

    I used to think you were just intellectually dishonest. You’re actually kind of stupid.

  47. BigBlueAL

    Not to compare the 2 because there is no comparison since Ewing was a much better player but I wonder if this site was around back in the 90′s if Ewing wouldve been just as scrutinized as Melo is now. I know Ewing had his fair share of critics in both the media and fan base back then (especially in the late 90′s). Wasnt as easy to read about it in my case since the internet didnt become such a big thing until later in the decade and I didnt start reading NY papers online until 1997 lol. I moved away from NY in 1990.

    I will say back then I wouldve defended Ewing with as much passion as ruru does Melo because is and always will be my favorite basketball player ever.

  48. Brian Cronin

    Not to compare the 2 because there is no comparison since Ewing was a much better player but I wonder if this site was around back in the 90?s if Ewing wouldve been just as scrutinized as Melo is now. I know Ewing had his fair share of critics in both the media and fan base back then (especially in the late 90?s). Wasnt as easy to read about it in my case since the internet didnt become such a big thing until later in the decade and I didnt start reading NY papers online until 1997 lol. I moved away from NY in 1990.

    I will say back then I wouldve defended Ewing with as much passion as ruru does Melo because is and always will be my favorite basketball player ever.

    Ewing would have had his critics, of course (all players do), but the guy was a no-doubter from both sides of the fence – the stats guys love him and the “eye test” guys love him. He finished in the top five of the MVP voting six times. That’s more top five finishes than all of the current Knicks combined (the current Knicks combine for two top five finishes, both by Kidd).

  49. Owen

    BigBlue – Ewing was measurably far more productive than Melo. And with Ewing, there was also a lot of defense that was difficult to quantify and value, whereas with Melo, there is just a lack of effort, athleticism and focus. Ewing frustrated me, no question. But his biggest sin was really just not being as good as MJ, Magic and Bird. Which is easy to forgive him for.

    Ruru – Pretty typical. I attack Melo’s play. You can’t really come up with a coherent response, so you attack me.

    But I know how it feels. I really do. I rode DLee all the way down.

    Let’s see what happens. I will give you and Melo (and yes, all of knickerblogger) a break for a week. Let’s see if Melo, without the shadow of my criticism and negativity, can pick up his play a bit. And let’s see if you can improve your tone a bit and stop all the personal attacks….

  50. BigBlueAL

    Yeah like I said Im not comparing them as players just in terms of the way they are viewed by the fans/media because they each were/are the face of the franchise for better or worse.

    I remember everyone LOVED Spree and were very critical of Houston and this was before he got his contract, Im talking about when the team was still very good from 99-01. But statistically Spree was pretty much a bad offensive player while Houston was much more efficient although not as much as he shouldve been. Everybody loved Spree’s D and just the way he played while Houston was considered the laid back player who didnt defend well. He wasnt a typical 90′s Knicks player which was a big negative I think in many people’s eyes. Yet Houston earned alot of respect around the NBA, being named to the US team in 2000 and back-to-back All-Star games.

    I just think Melo obviously gets WAY too much focus, for good and mostly bad. I know it comes with the territory and he seems to understand that and doesnt complain about it at all unlike I know Ewing would do once in awhile.

  51. Brian Cronin

    Yeah like I said Im not comparing them as players just in terms of the way they are viewed by the fans/media because they each were/are the face of the franchise for better or worse.

    I remember everyone LOVED Spree and were very critical of Houston and this was before he got his contract, Im talking about when the team was still very good from 99-01. But statistically Spree was pretty much a bad offensive player while Houston was much more efficient although not as much as he shouldve been. Everybody loved Spree’s D and just the way he played while Houston was considered the laid back player who didnt defend well. He wasnt a typical 90?s Knicks player which was a big negative I think in many people’s eyes. Yet Houston earned alot of respect around the NBA, being named to the US team in 2000 and back-to-back All-Star games.

    I just think Melo obviously gets WAY too much focus, for good and mostly bad. I know it comes with the territory and he seems to understand that and doesnt complain about it at all unlike I know Ewing would do once in awhile.

    Oh yeah, the coverage of that Knicks’ squad would have been a lot different in the more modern stats era. It is interesting to wonder if they would have been better if they had used modern stats ideas. For instance, they obviously should have been shooting a lot more threes – check out this INSANE stat from that era. For as long as Van Gundy was the head coach, Allan Houston averaged 3.3 threes a game, and that was with him averaging 4.7 a game his first season as a Knick. Yes, you read that right, from 1997-98 to 2001-02, Allan “holy shit that dude has a smooth stroke” Houston averaged less than 3 threes a game! Fuck the heck?!

  52. BigBlueAL

    Ive mentioned this in the past Brian but the 1999-2000 Knicks were an excellent 3pt shooting team (37.5% which was 5th best) who just didnt take anywhere near enough of them (20th in attempts). It took Don Chaney of all coaches in the 2002-03 season to wise up and let them fire away (38% which was 2nd best but better yet they were 4th in attempts and 3rd in makes). Of course they forgot how to defend with him as coach although not having Camby anymore was a big factor.

    Not surprisingly Houston’s best season as a Knick was in 2002-03 (although you could argue 1999-00 was just as good) when he set a career high in 3pt makes and attempts while still shooting them at a near 40% clip (also lead the NBA in FT% that season).

  53. BigBlueAL

    You know what else is funny Brian?? Pat Riley obviously embraced the 3pter as a big weapon when the 3pt line was moved in before the 1994-95 season. The Knicks were 6th in the NBA in 3pt makes and attempts that season (were 12th in 3pt%).

  54. Brian Cronin

    It’s also funny that when he went to Houston obviously someone explained to Van Gundy that the three was a valuable weapon, as Van Gundy’s Rocket teams shot a ton of threes.

    But yeah, as you noted, it is insane that they shot 37.5% from three in 99-00 while being 20th in attempts. Insanity. The team was filled with bombers and yet they didn’t use them.

  55. BigBlueAL

    Listening to JVG not only during games but in radio interviews plus knowing how much his brother is into advanced stats Im very curious to see him coach again. I think it will be pretty fascinating to see what kind of an offense his team will run. We know he can coach defense already.

  56. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I think Van Gundy might be the best defensive coach I’ve ever seen. Thibs obviously learned a lot from him and since he’s kept coaching, maybe Thibs is better now, I dunno, but either way, holy shit was Van Gundy great. Dude made Glen Rice a good defender! Dude took over a mediocre defensive team in Houston and made it top five his first year without changing his key personnel at all (in fact, his small forward got a good deal worse defensively from James Posey to Jim Jackson)! That’s nuts!

  57. ruruland

    Owen:
    BigBlue – Ewing was measurably far more productive than Melo. And with Ewing, there was also a lot of defense that was difficult to quantify and value, whereas with Melo, there is just a lack of effort, athleticism and focus. Ewing frustrated me, no question. But his biggest sin was really just not being as good as MJ, Magic and Bird. Which is easy to forgive him for.

    Ruru – Pretty typical. I attack Melo’s play. You can’t really come up with a coherent response, so you attack me.

    But I know how it feels. I really do. I rode DLee all the way down.

    Let’s see what happens. I will give you and Melo (and yes, all of knickerblogger) a break for a week. Let’s see if Melo, without the shadow of my criticism and negativity, can pick up his play a bit. And let’s see if you can improve your tone a bit and stop all the personal attacks….

    So, just pretend that your response had literally nothing to do with what I was talking about?

    No way.

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