Knicks 110 – Pacers 103

Good evening Mr. and Mrs. America, from border to border and coast to coast and all the ships at sea!  Recap Robert here. For those who chose to say, take in the theater or perhaps venture out to the local motion picture house or perhaps to play the role of social gadfly and sally forth for a stroll about the boulevards of our fair city, taking in the local color and engaging in witty badinage with the citizenry — shopkeepers, wand’ring minstrels,  and whatnot, I have some surprising, nay shocking news. Our beloved sporting collective, the cagers known far and wide as the Knickerbocker Basketball Club of New York, managed to score MORE points than their esteemed opponents, thereby proving victorious in this evening’s contest.

Honestly, they kinda screwed up the lead/theme I had going for this recap. I was gonna vent about lousy officiating, how the Nix never get the calls, and as a result, we get 4 and 5 point swings at crucial moments/turning points in the game. I was going to follow that by ripping MD’A a new one for sitting Hill, Douglas, and Gallo when the boys were clearly on cruise mode and end it w/a whole, “The Pacers have a plan on offense and defense and the Knicks look like 5 guys who showed up for a pickup game” screed. And they go and eff it up by, well…winning. But I’ll take wins and being forced to re-write my purple prose any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

The thing that’s so frustrating about this team is that when the 3 pointers are falling, every other aspect of their game somehow magically rounds into form. To wit: They were down 19 in the middle of the 3rd while enjoying what must have been a pleasant view of watching Tyler Hansbrough do a great David Lee circa ’05-’07 impression. (Side note — I loathe the “Caucasians can only be compared to Caucasians, Euros to other Euros, Overrated bigs from Arizona, etc. etc.,” thing, but here, the comparison is pretty apt.) Suddenly, Hughes cans a couple of threes and magically, the defense gets stingy,  they’re driving to the basket, getting to the line, and/or finding Curry down low. Over the last 4:07, they outscored the LarryBirds 13-4, forced 4 turnovers, shot 66% from the field and basically made it a game again. Same thing happened in the 4th. The lead vacillated between 9 and 13 and they hadn’t made a trey all quarter until w/5:37 to go, Al Buckets cans a bunch of shots from downtown and once again, the NYers are scrambling for lose balls, rotating like mofos on D, beating lazy defenders down the floor – basically doing all the little things good teams do — and they outscore ‘em 24-6 to win in a flourish.

Not to get too Phil Jackson here, but after the 3’s, the whole energy/dynamic of the team changed. Watching the game, you could sense it. Even if the score was still pretty bleak, I (and they) thought they could make a game of this. (One thing they gotta fix — Jordan Hill is the worst towel-waver I’ve seen in a long time. He needs to either start or get in touch w/Jack Haley, stat.) When this team is hitting from downtown (and everyone on the roster is shooting worse from downtown than last year, save Gallo), they can be pretty decent. It’s something I think we all knew heading into the year, but it’s really remarkable (in this game at least) how much their confidence/collective psyche is dependent on their long-range shooting. Anyway, we can all smile now. The world is a glorious and just place again. Let’s all bask in the glory of said win and hopefully our lovable collection of pituitary cases can try to remember what led to the win at least until Saturday afternoon v. the even more hapless NJ Nyets. Some individual performance assessments:

EDDY CURRY – Eddy! Eddy! Eddy! First things first. That Plaxico Burress-esque goat he’s rockin’ is badass. And, it actually makes his face look thinner by accentuating the downward slope of his mandible. Facial aesthetics aside, I was impressed and genuinely happy for Mr. Curry. It was like a mini bit o’ time-travel back to the ’06-’07 season. He was very good in the low post, drew a ton of fouls on offense and got called for an equal amount on defense, shot horridly from the FT line, and turned the ball/couldn’t kick the ball out whenever he was double and triple teamed. Good times. W/this team, his inability to defend the post is less noticeable b/c, well, no one else can either. If he keeps this up, he’s an asset for short stints (like when the 3’s aren’t dropping) and might…gasp…actually be tradable.

LARRY HUGHES – A comeback season for Larry at this stage of his career would be pretty much unprecedented. Can anyone else think of a volume shooting 12-year vet who shot .410 from the field, .489 TS% and .437 eFG% for his career that suddenly morphed into a smart, solid efficient 2? I can’t. It leads one to think that his #’s will regress to mean over the course of the season, but Larry’s seems to have genuinely altered his game/figured out how to play as he’s gotten less “athletic.”

AL HARRINGTON – Oh Al. I can’t stay mad at you. Even if that two-tone mouthpiece really makes you look as bucktoothed as Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. One thing that confuses me. Why isn’t Harrington a better defender? He’s certainly got the length/athleticism (Sorry about that. I promise not to write “athleticism” any more. I feel like Jay Bilas and that’s not a good thing.) to be effective, and that steal in the 4th was money. Is it just effort? W/Al, I’m tempted to say no. Al certainly tries very, very hard, at times to his detriment. So what gives?

CHRIS DUHON – Admit it. We were all secretly hoping that that stinger he suffered in the 3rd was serious. I certainly did. But then again, I’m a bad person. Duhon at least got in synch W/Lee on the pick and roll tonight. (Why Hibbert/Jones/Hansbrough switched to cover Du the whole game is really beyond me). I can actually live w/the atrocious shooting for now. He’s going to start those hitting eventually, right?. It’s the silly passes and 35 foot 3’s that are so galling and seemingly avoidable.

WILSON CHANDLER – He was having his best game of the season before getting in foul trouble (& that charge that fouled him out was a [channeling C. Barkley] turr-a-bull call, just trrbll!). Even so, he still seems inclined to pull up rather than go hard to the hole, possibly (and I’m speculating here) b/c he’s worried he doesn’t have the lift to pull it off.

DAVID LEE – (Use your Seinfeld voice when reading this) Hey, what is the deal with David Lee’s rebounding? I mean come on! You built your entire game on getting after lose balls, tip-ins, and hustle plays but for a solid week or two, you’ve looked more sluggish/lethargic than I did when I was 6 and some friends and I drank a bottle of Robitussin b/c the older kids said you could catch a buzz off of it. I mean, really! (Resume regular thinking voice)

JORDAN HILL, TONEY DOUGLAS, DANILO GALLINARI – As I mentioned about, when the game looked like it was gonna be a rout, I was pounding nails into the floor w/my forehead b/c this trio was riding the pine. Despite the fact that they won, why was Douglas benched for the 2nd half? Why was Gallo yanked so early in the 2nd & 3rd? Yeah, they’d both had uneventful games to that point, but they were certainly no less at fault for the burgeoning deficit than the other fellows. Is this a case of “trusting the vets” or just getting lucky w/the right combo at the right time. As w/all games in which Gallo doesn’t play a lot, I assume Knick fans start collectively praying to some obscure Italian saint that it’s not his back flaring up.

Couple of general thoughts on the Pacers – For all the folks (myself included) who are aghast at passing on Lawson/Blair/Jennings, how good would Danny Granger look at PF in SSOL? I remember bellowing something bellicose about the folly of passing on him for Frye in the ’05 draft. For the first year at least, I was thoroughly mocked on b/c Frye looked like a stud. I think everyone’d take Granger in a heartbeat now. Alls I’m saying is, give the rooks time, yo.

Larry Bird really hasn’t aged well, has he? At this point, he looks like a cross between W.C. Fields and Joe Lieberman.

Hibbert seems so out of place in today’s NBA. If it were 1987, he’d be a nice, slow-footed big w/some decent low-post moves who could contribute on a winning team. Think Kevin Duckworth and his ilk. Now, how many times a year does Hibbert play against someone his size/style? W/Yao out and w/Shaq’s decline I think we’re down to Perkins, Kaman, and Bogut

Anyways, that was fun to watch. Winning. Hmm. A fella could get used to this…

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Robert Silverman

Hey, did you know that in addition to banging the keys here and occasionally for the NY Times and at ESPN, Robert is a playwright, an actor and a wand'ring mendicant/gadfly? He also once wrestled a bear...and lost.

39 thoughts to “Knicks 110 – Pacers 103”

  1. Nice summary Robert. The lineup is a mess right now, with the re-introduction of Curry and the balancing act with our young guys. What do you think the lineup should be? Here’s mine.


    PG – Duhon
    SG- Hughes
    SF- Chandler
    PF- Harrington
    Center – Lee

    Do not give any of these players more than 30 minutes and make sure to have conditions on their playing time (Duhon doesn’t make stupid turnovers, harrington passes the ball, Lee plays defense, chandler takes the ball to the rim or shoots mid range)


    SF – Gallo
    PG – Douglas/Nate (game by game)
    Center – Jeffries/Curry (game by game)

    Do not be afraid to sub starters quickly if they start playing lackadaisical. Hill needs more time to develop. Still raw. Darko and Landry play spot minutes.

  2. Hopefully, by the time of the all-star break, Curry and/or Jeffries will have played themselves onto another roster, at which point we can start to give Hill more consistent minutes and we can dump the expiring contract on the bench (unless of course the player associated with this expiring contract can play)

  3. “The thing that’s so frustrating about this team is that when the 3 pointers are falling, every other aspect of their game somehow magically rounds into form.”

    That just speaks to the lack of mental toughness on this team – we don’t have a single guy on this team that has been deep into the playoffs as far as I can tell (was Harrington on that surprise GSW team? can’t remember) and it seems when the ships starts to sink, the sinks very quickly. I wonder if that’s why Donnie wanted to bring in someone like Jason Kidd or Grant Hill — just someone to teach the young kids not to get too high or too low. Or maybe why by all reports, Iverson is likely to get signed by us.

    Anyway, I decided to go out to dinner after halftime last night and missed the whole 2nd half– figures. But as a sign of how sad the Knicks have become – I went to the Firehouse on the Upper West Side, which is ostensibly a sports bar in NYC — On the 15 or so TVs they had college BB on, the Cavs/Wizards game, racing, but NO KNICKS GAME.

    Last thoughts – i was quite encouraged by Eddy last night. Sure he had the same old turnovers, and only shot 50% from the line. BUT — he gave hard fouls, even JUMPED for rebounds, ran the floor reasonably well for a guy playing his first minutes in 2 years, and generally looked like a motivated player out there. And it sure looks like he can get an opposing center into foul trouble very quickly.

    And maybe this was touched upon in the game thread — but one major beef I have with D’Antoni last night is this — why on God’s green earth did we not go right after Granger last night after he picked up his 2nd foul in the 1st quarter? You let Wilson or Gallo drive on him a few times and it’s likely we will either score or pick up a 3rd foul on Granger — then the whole 1st half is completely different. Even if they pick up a charging foul, it’s ok — I’d much rather at least try to get the best player on the floor off the court.

  4. Why Curry Matters and Why the Knicks Could Use AI.

    In just 11 minutes of play, Edy Curry managed to alter the dynamics of the Knicks.
    Every NBA team, except maybe a couple, realize Curry requires a double-team. He’s simply too big and strong to leave a man on an island with him in the paint.
    If he can stay healthy, Curry will force teams to foul, and utlimately force them to be more conservative on defense and offense. Although Curry has difficult passing out of double teams, he is able to move the ball around a bit. A double team throws off team defense, meaning a ball may not immediately find the open guy, but in two passes it could get there mighty quickly. And this team does get a fair number of assists…meaning they can pass.
    So not only could Curry get you 15-20 pts in the paint, he can make other players better by causing mismatches.
    Curry being in the game also leaves Lee to flow and float, a role in which he has shown great ability. To have a 6’9, very athletic David Lee free to crash, to slash, and find open spaces is a huge benefit. Lee is simply a better player feeding off the land. He’s good in pick and role, but he’s more dynamic – and hungry – flowing.
    Curry in the paint, makes Hughes more dangerous. He can be creative, or knock down an open shot. He can dish, and even play a little two man ball with either Curry or Lee.
    Harrington and Gallo also become greater strengths because their size becomes a factor. With Curry on the court, the enemy center will need to stay home. Now you have 6’10 type players overmatching their defenders. Gallo hits three with a defender in his face because he can shoot over most anyone that guards his position. I don’t like Harrington as a go-to guy, he’s not reliable, and he’s a black hole, but he has his uses. He can score, and every team can use a scorer.
    Nate becomes way more dangerous as a penetrator with Curry present. Nate can attack the glass, and if the center or PF moves to help, Nate can find either Curry or Lee, both strong finishers around the glass.
    On the whole, having a bonafide inside threat, that calls a double almost every time he touches, makes everyone better.
    On defense, I think Lee has been such a liability because he simply cannot play against centers effectively. Simply having a big body like Curry will help Lee’s defense, no matter Curry’s weaknesses there. One thing that struck me last night was that even after not playing for so long, Curry moved well for a big guy. He was lighter and quicker. That will help his D. Also, with defenders picking up fouls on Curry on the D end, they will be more cautious attacking on the O end. Big men simply can’t afford to pick up O fouls while they are defending Curry. There was a reason Indiana had foul troubles last night. Have we seen any other team in foul trouble against this Knicks this year. I don’t think so.

    There are more reasons why Curry helps, but these are a few. If he stays healthy, and his new found maturity is lasting (I think it is because he’
    s gone through some hellatious stuff), he could become a very solid scoring center that plays some D.

    Now, AI. When was the last time the Knicks fielded a Hall of Famer? When was the last time they fielded an consistent All Star. I realize Iverson has some drawbacks, but the dude can play. Even at this age, he can play. And greatness does rub off. He probably won’t practice much, but there isn’t a player on the Knicks that has a thing on the guy. Every Knick player knows he’s a role players, except, maybe, a healthy Curry.
    Iverson is a superstar. If he were to step on the floor in MSG for the Knicks, it would create a massive shift in their opponents preparation. And if the game is close, the Knicks have no doubt about who is their best finisher. AI instantly makes them a playoff team, in my view.
    I think the Knicks are crazy not to take the guy at $1.3 mil for a year. It’s a year. He is a massive upgrade to Duhon.
    They would be crazy not to pick him up if he can be had.

    My last point, all this D’Antoni offense this and that. Bull. He needs to adjust is methods to his personnel. He will have a scorer who needs the ball and a center who can pound high percentage shots. It’s time to work that. Let Lee feed himself, and the rest can conform around AI and Curry. After all, that is what role players do.

  5. Instead of a lineup that includes Iverson/Curry, let’s just have the Knicks hand the ball to the other team every 5th possession. At least this way I’ll be prepared for it and won’t throw my shoe at the television.

  6. I don’t know whether to be happy or sad about last night’s game. Obviously it was great to see the guys win, but when the players who are supposedly our “future” are sitting on the bench it makes you think the Walsh/D’Antoni rebuilding plan is off track – Gallinari lying on his back was definitely the last thing I wanted to see out there.

    Perhaps the biggest positive was that Eddy Curry was able to get out on the court and play basketball again. Sure, it was sloppy but 10 point is ten points and that helped us win this one. And yes, the goatee is badass. :)

    Let’s see if they can win back-to-back on Saturday at the Izod Center, I’ll be there for sure.

  7. Frank O.,

    I too want AI on the team, but I don’t want him to be the focus of the offense. I’m with Mike K, Iverson & Curry as the focal point of your offense equals a whole lot of turnovers and lots of defensive rebounds for your opponents. These guys are good for certain situations, like:

    1. When none of the 3 points shots are falling and we are starting to get down by double digits, give the ball to AI to create or Curry to bully someone in the middle. Either way, we get the scoring flowing again either via field goals or free throws.

    2. When the transitions game isn’t working or you are facing an opponent with good transition defense. Dump to Curry, try the pick and roll with AI and Lee, or let AI to go one on one.

    3. Leadership and confidence – AI sees himself as a winner and can instill some of that confidence in the guys (notice how Hughes, who has been on winning teams, took over late in the 4th quarter, smelling the victory at hand?). If you doubt that AI can will a team to win, check out game 1 of the NBA Finals with the Lakers vs. Sixers in 2001 (I think). The guy willed that team of role players to beat a Lakers team that was undefeated in the playoffs up until that point.

    If they can help with these kind of situations, then I definitely want them as part of the regular rotation.

  8. What a classic Eddy Curry line in his debut. Honestly, he really delivered the goods, that’s a thing of pure unvarnished beauty….

    10 points in 12 minutes, 4 boards (which will be a per minute high for the season), four personal fouls, 3 turnovers, and his trademark, a big fat goose-egg in the assists, blocks, and steals column…

    They don’t call it the Eddy Curry Line for nothing…

    But I like the +9, welcome back EC, may someone trade for you…

  9. Whether you want it or not, it sounds (to me) like A.I. is going to be a Knick. Imagine this lineup: A.I., Hughes, Jeffries, Harrington, Curry. I think that would be more obscene than any team the Clippers ever fielded.
    Obviously you have to space out the chuckers: A.I, Harrington, Curry, Nate and to a lesser extent, Hughes and Chandler.
    But how do you space out 6 chuckers?
    I kind of liked our “big” lineup – especially on D. A.I., Chandler/Hughes, Gallo, Lee and Curry could be effective.
    Unfortunately, this now means that the kids are going to have to sit until the trade deadline when Curry is moved and Jeffries is moved with a Nate sweetener (he’s expendable with Toney D and AI.)
    If these lugs can just play halfway decent, this could work out for everyone.
    Maybe Curry and Landry to the Jazz for Harpring, Korver and Koufos?
    Nate and Jeffries to the Lakers for Brown, Farmar and Morrison and a 2nd round pick?
    Then we trade 2 of our 2nd rounders and maybe some $$ for a first and we’re golden.

  10. MIke K.
    With all due respect, are we talking about the Knicks?
    This team is already turnover prone, and they’re 2-9.
    This is a bad team. And will be a basically soft team all year.
    So, you’re going to hang your hat on a complaint that two guys, who are better than anything you’ve got, have turnover issues…?
    One guy is an efficient scorer inside the paint, and one on one is virtually unstoppable. Yes, he is deeply flawed, but the man showed some toughness losing so much weight. You can count on one hand the guys that have gone through the kind of physical change this guy did. It says something about his character that he went out and lost a small person in weight over a summer. I know some will focus on how he got fat, but he had leg issues, and didn’t handle it well.
    What I’m concerned about is what he has done to turn that around. His commitment seems pretty real to me.
    And, frankly, there isn’t a big man on the Knicks that can have his kind of impact.

    And as for AI, again, he has flaws, but he will get points, create problems and play his guts out on the court. I can’t tell you how amazing it is to watch that guy fly around, take ridiculous hits from huge men, and get up and go again. Even at his age, he can be a force. There is no one on the Knicks that even approaches his portfolio or his swagger.

    And, again, I know you have noticed that the young guys aren’t exactly putting a lot of effort in out there. They look flat. Their hustle is in question. Hell, their heart is a question.
    Turnovers already are an issue. I see more than a few Knicks’ players turning it over between 2.4 and 3 + times per 36 out there.

    If you’re starving, you can’t complain that the meal in front of you lacks salt. You’re starving. You eat.

    The Knicks get more from having Curry and AI on the floor than they have otherwise.
    Frankly, Chandler has regressed, as has Nate, Lee and Duhon (perhaps we’re seeing the real Duhon and the first half of last year was the anomaly). Hill is a classic project player, and he showed up in terrible condition for a young guy just starting out. Harrington, after all this chatter about being a team player simply doesn’t pass. Gallinari is a statue, and his back has cropped up again by game 11. Douglas shows promise. But the Knicks don’t even have much on the building block front right now, and they simply cannot turn in a season of 20 wins. If they can avoid that, if they can get to 35 or 40 wins, a tall order, it will do wonders. They’re not getting there with the “future.”

  11. Frank O., I really disagree about giving Curry more minutes. With limited playing time his weaknesses are not as exposed and he can help us. But even last night, he showed time and again why he has not been an even adequate role player. He turns the ball over, he is horrendous on pick and roll defense (go back and watch ford walk right by him as he forgot to hedge), he does not understand movement on the offensive end, and he can’t make free throws. What is ok at. Posting down low and sometimes putting the ball in. I’m not going to keep on going, but he is far from a savior, and giving him more than 15 minutes a night right now would be disastrous. Pair him with A.I. and the things blows up. But enough for doomsday.

  12. “So, you’re going to hang your hat on a complaint that two guys, who are better than anything you’ve got, have turnover issues…?”

    Curry is better than anything we have got? Curry is unstoppable in the paint? I may need to dive into the archives for some vintage Eddy Curry threads.

    Frank, Eddy Curry has always been and always will be a below average NBA basketball player. at best. There is no starting center in the history of the league with a worse combination of turnovers and lack of steals, assists, and rebounds. That’s not hyperbole. That’s a a fact. His “breakout” season two years ago was marked by a historic journey below the 2 rebound/per turnover ratio and a combined total of 1.8 blocks, steals, and assists per 36. As I said earlier, they call it the Eddy Curry line for a reason. Not to mention he hurt the Knicks on both offense and defense that year.

    The inability to properly evaluate Eddy Curry is the reason the Knicks are in the position they are in right now, Let’s see him for what he is please…

  13. Ugh. Just saw Iverson’s TS% from 2008-2009. It was 0.502, 281st in the league. Not only that but his usage rate is around 27. Another chucker and bricker, who can’t play D. Someone please tell me why this is a good signing?

  14. As usual, I agree with my namesake co-contributor, Frank O. I think Curry needs at least 20 min/game, if for no other reason then to get the other team’s big men into foul trouble. Yes, he turns the ball over on offense, but that is mitigated at least in part by the fact that when he doesn’t turn the ball over, he scores much more efficiently than any other inside player we have. Yes, his PnR defense is bad, but it’s horrible without him — 80% of zero is still zero.

    What this team NEEDS on offense is higher percentage shots than the crazy covered 3’s from 35 feet that Duhon can provide, the fadeways from 19 feet that Chandler can provide, or the drives into triple teams that Harrington can provide. At the very least, Eddy clearly disrupted the opposing team’s defense last night by making them collapse into the middle. Yes, 3 TOs in 10 minutes is horrible, zero assists, steals, and blocks are horrible, but by the same token, 4 shooting fouls against, 10 points, 4 rebounds, and a +10 in 10 minutes is really quite good.

    And let’s not forget this is really his first game action in 2 years. He’s in MUCH better shape and presumably is much quicker now.

    Ah, there I go, drinking the Eddy Curry kool-aid again. So refreshing!

  15. Interesting fact for Owen, who has been using the 3 games that Iverson played this year for Memphis as a comparison line.

    Eddy Curry is averaging 13.3 rebounds/40 the last 2 NBA seasons, and his rebound rates for 08-09 and 09-10 are 19.1 and 18.2, respectively. Very comparable to David Lee, whose rebound rates were 18.4 and 16. It’s true, check it out:

    It’s a lucky thing that there is no evidence that increased playing time changes a player’s per-minute stats!

  16. “Interesting fact for Owen, who has been using the 3 games that Iverson played this year for Memphis as a comparison line.”

    Ahh, actually, that was Thomas B who posted those.

    I said:

    “Ted – I agree that 3 games is an inappropriate sample size.” and then posted a link to the basketball reference piece on Iverson’s recent stats.

    “(sorry for snarky post. tough day at work so far)”

    No worries…

  17. I’m OK with Eddy as a 15 min second/third unit guy, given the problems we’ve had getting a consistent starting lineup/2nd lineup flow all year. No one has illusions about him as a savior (I sure hope not), so to have him put pressure on the defense with his post play and pick up some fouls isn’t the worst thing, and it gives us a different look. But all the objections about defense, rebounding, screens, etc apply.

    BTW, yesterday is the best D I’ve seen David Lee play, even though Hibbert was quite a bit to handle in the first half. If anyone read Kelly Dwyer’s column today, he talks about Boozer’s issues on D, and you could substitute Lee’s name for every comment about Boozer. But last night, David was actually in the right place most of the time and played decent help for the first time in what seemed like forever.

    Off-topic question to Mike: I was having an exchange with a friend about the league’s worst defensive teams, and I noticed differences at the bottom between Knickerblogger rankings and hoopdata rankings for def efficiency — both have TOR as the worst team, but the order of the bottom five are different. Looks like there are some subtle differences at the top too. Any particular difference in methodology, or are these minor?

  18. “If you’re starving, you can’t complain that the meal in front of you lacks salt. You’re starving. You eat.”

    Depends whats on your plate. Turd sandwich – I’ll pass, with or without the salt.

  19. RS – great post. Many thanks for the insight.

    David Lee’s rebounding is still solid, but has regressed from the past 3 seasons. Anyone think that having Eddy back into the fold will help D Lee improve in that department? I seem to recall discussions about how Lee’s great rebounding #s were partly due to his being paired with lesser rebounders like Curry and ZeBo. For example, in 06-07 (Curry’s best year), D Lee also posted his best rebounding numbers.

    With regard to AI, it looks like the Knicks are going full throttle on bringing him into the fold. I was trying to think who I’d like to see as a starting 5. Hughes has been playing great recently, but he isn’t in the future plans for the Knicks, so does that mean he shouldn’t start? Also, I’d love to see Curry get into game shape so Lee could move over to his natural position.

    Here’s my 5:

    Curry (assuming he gets in game shape)

    Finally, I know Newsday isn’t not free anymore so I’ve cut and pasted a good read from A. Hahn today on Curry’s debut:

    Curry back in favor

    [Post links, not articles.]

  20. On Lee I think its just the offensive rebounding that is dragging down the numbers. Per Basketball reference (as of today):

    off reb.% def reb.%
    05-06 11.6 21.1
    06-07 13.6 27.6
    07-08 11.3 24.1
    08-09 9.6 27.9
    this year 7.4 26.0

    defense seems in line with his other seasons offense is down even from last year which, I guess is partly system related.

  21. Just to give hope all of you hoping Eddy Curry will turn into a superstar, here is a new post on Josh Smith at the Wages of Wins. While the general rule is that players are very consistent year over year, Smith has exploded this year and is playing much better than he ever has before. Going to be interesting to watch what happens with him going forward, small sample size theater or a genuine outlier?

    Nick – That’s good analysis. Lee’s problems are at the offensive end of the court. I buy Ted’s argument that essentially that’s D’Antoni, who has Lee retreat on defense rather than contest. Certainly gets the pace of the game up….

  22. Did you notice the commenter? I heard Smith (and see from his stats) eliminated the 3s. So 1.2 and 1.3 sub 30% shots a game eliminated (well 0.1) might explain, though I am way too lazy to try the math.

  23. I agree with some that we shouldn’t get too excited about Curry, but I also agree with some that he opens things up on offense. On the negative side, the more you play him, the more fouls he’ll accumulate (he has a lot of trouble guarding opposing centers 1 on 1) and the more dumb TO’s you’ll see (including at least one running over the defender offensive foul) Overall, having him is a net plus, but the man has serious limitations that we’ve all seen over the years.

    (I did like seeing him show some fire when he got t’d up with Solomon Grundy)

  24. I say give Eddy a few more games before we start contemplatin his value. I admit he looked good though. He actually challenged a few shots on defense and thas a start. I’m just afraid that since he worked so hard to get in shape that he may start playin well enough for the Knicks to want to keep him. He does bring an added dimension that makes the game easier for our shooters. The only center in the league that can stop him is Yao. He abuses anyone near his size. I’d like 2 see both he and Darko to get more run-I have no idea why Lee continues to start at the 5. He tries hard, but he’s not 249 lbs anymore-he’s actually down to 235-240, so he’s no longer as effective in the middle as he was before. Also, by givin Darko and Curry more run, Lee gets less shots which should make him much more efficient. As far as AI goes, if Walsh does sign him-he needs to find a better shooter to play the 2. But I don’t think anyone wants Larry Hughes although he is playin well.

  25. Loved Frank O’s post and agree in almost all respects. Several points: (1) IMO, players must occupy defined roles. I believe a center should play center, a pf should play pf, etc…One of the reasons Curry helps is that, despite his flaws, he’s a real center. He may not be a great center, or even a good center, but he excels in some center-specific skills. More particularly, he can score in the low post, he draws fouls and defenders and occupies space. That helps big time, because, among other reasons, D. Lee can then play pf. and the other’s can fulfill their own roles.
    (2) Asking players to be eclectic who aren’t doesn’t work so well, unless their named LBJ or Magic something. IMO, from a stat perspective, the player should be weighed, judged and assessed based on the skills that define his position. If you deviate from this approach, your stat analysis is flawed because you may be overvaluing assets that are not particularly relevant to that position.
    (3) I like a line up with:
    A. Curry at Center (1), Darko(2)
    B. D. Lee (PF-1), Hill (PF-2);
    C. Harrington (SF-1), Gallo (sF-2)
    D. Hughes (SG-1), Nate (SG-2)
    E. AI (PG-1), Douglas (PG-2), Duhon (PG-3)
    F. Jeffries (defensive specialist, which is what he is.)
    G. Chandler (sub at the 2, 3 or 4)
    (4) Next year is another world—-none of these are integral parts of that equation. We do not need to focus on their development. Any of them. At least I can maybe enjoy some games.

  26. I’m curious to get some reactions to this:

    I’ve read much criticism on this site about lax defending on the pick-and-roll: the consensus seems to be that ‘going over the pick’ is better than going under.
    However, according to this article, which discusses the current NBA vogue in pick-and-rolls, going under the pick is statistically a better defense. Going over is preferred because it ‘shows aggressiveness’, not because it works better.

  27. Just got a big report off my desk and onto somebody else’s. So I’m hoping to be around a bit more. (Yeah for me!)

    Gotta say, Bro. Silverman, you have seriously raised the bar for all of us man. Damn!

  28. Mike K.
    This entire season is a turd sandwich. We all kind of knew that going in. But for the next 70 or so games, the Knicks really can’t afford to get spanked. If these young guys show this season what they have shown so far, no max level guy is coming to the Knicks.
    Also I think you probably were being a bit glib citing Francis. He was never the player AI was. Never. Iverson will make the Hall, while Francis will be remembered for a good career. Iverson has had trouble not being the guy in his past two teams. There is no doubt what he would be for the Knicks: he likely would be their best player, a flawed player, a starter, and he will need to show he can play, or else no contract next year.
    The point is there is little downside on the whole for the Knicks. He won’t cost much. He won’t affect the cap in 2010. And it’s more likely than not that he will make the Knicks respectable. And if the screaming loonies at MSG take to him like they took to Spree, he could just explode. Who knows?
    What we do know is this current set of players have little personality, not a lot of joy, and haven’t really bonded. I suspect it’s because so many of them are rentals, who don’t expect to be back next year.
    And the two guys the Knicks believed would be the best of their core, Chandler and Gallo, have been terrible so far.
    On another note, Owen:
    You know, we have all waxed poetic about the virtues of Lee’s game. I like the guy. He generally plays hard. I also think the team has stunted his development playing him out of position. He can beat a center, but a big center easily beats him. He’s really not big enough to guard the big guys.
    And he can’t carry a team, or take over a game, or really make other players on his team better. I know this is blasphemy on this site, but this team isn’t that much better because Lee is on the court. Even if the Knicks are plus whatever while he’s on the court, they still are 2-9, and have largely been blown out in almost all their losses. He doesn’t require a double team. Generally teams let him do his thing.

    Add a deeply flawed Curry – and I’m just talking about this year – the dynamic gets a little better. Curry is disruptive enough to force the other guys to react in some way. One problem right now is there is no one on the Knicks that gets anyone scared, that gets anyone out of their game and reacting to the Knicks. If one player is hot, a team knows they can absorb that, and still beat the Knicks. It’s rare that this team of role players can put together a complete game on any given night.
    At least with Curry the opposition needs to react. They can’t put one man on him because almost no one alone is strong enough to keep him off the rim. And he was a plus something in his first game back in two years, and with, what, five practices under his belt?
    And just a note, the Knicks won his first game back a 100 percent improvement…:)
    Outside of Curry, teams aren’t required to do anything special to contain the Knicks. They don’t need to double, foul, take charges, anything. And the Knicks are generally soft on offense, chucking from outside and praying.
    And all this talk about Lee’s rebounds being down because he’s already falling back on D…what has that got us? There just is no fight.

    And Curry and AI are not long term fixes. Curry needs to play, and probably starter minutes because the Knicks need him to play himself into a trade. And AI just makes them credible.

    And both those guys provide cover for Gallo, Chandler, Lee and Nate who appear to be suffering from the weight of unrealistic expectations.
    Because at the end of the day, Lee can get 18 and 9, and Nate can have his momentary explosions and Chandler can have his one promising game out of 5 and Gallo can occasionally show life from long range, but this is still a 2-9 team that hasn’t seen .500 ever in their careers.

    Without a Curry, or an AI-type player, for most teams the Knicks are a respite, a break in the schedule where they can goof off, make some outrageous shots, and generally enjoy themselves.
    It would be nice to see a Knicks player put a hurting on someone else for a change.
    Curry and AI are no saviors. They won’t get the Knicks to .500. But it’s a gamble worth taking, in my humble opinion.

  29. Just changed my mind to fully in support of Iverson coming. Was listening to Mike and Mike’s podcast from a day or two ago when they had Tim Legler on, and he was saying that MSG is so quiet nowadays it’s like a graveyard– that cannot be a good selling point to 2010 FAs. We want them to come to MSG during this season, feel the ambience and history of the building — not come and feel like MSG is about the same as the Nets building. If Iverson can bring some buzz back, even if it’s sort of artificial and short-term, maybe it’s worth it.

    In addition — I feel like if we go 26-56 or something like that this year, some of the sheen will come off D’Antoni, and maybe FA’s will think he was mostly the beneficiary of ridiculously good players in PHX who happened to be perfect for his system.

    And Peter87 – I don’t personally put much stock in the figures quoted in that NYT article — just like any stat, it can be confounded by so many things. For instance, it’s likely that playing under the screen is MUCH better when defending our PnR because Duhon can’t hit a jumper to save his life. On the other hand, playing under Steve Nash is likely to cost you 3 points more often than not. So league-wide stats don’t mean much to me.

  30. Signing AI=a concession that everything and every player on the team is a dismal and utter failure so f’ it let’s just sign this castoff and see what happens. As for Curry the Knicks sucked whern he was at his “peak” so I don’t think the effects you ascribe to him really make a difference assuming they occur.

  31. I think at this point after all the speculation and a lot of fans (including myself) convincing themselves that signing AI is a good idea, it would be a big letdown if they didn’t. And I’m not sure why they are supposedly waiting until the end of the weekend – do they want to see if they can get a 3 game winning streak going and then pass on AI? (Yeah, sure, we’re beating Boston.) I actually hope they sign him today, because the Nets are going to be extremely motivated tomorrow and look at a game against us as a big opportunity to get rid of the 0’fer, esp. since they go out West afterwards.

  32. Frank O. Nice last post! I agree with your assessment of the current Knick’s roster. I especially agree with your comment about the weight of unrealistic expectations on some of the young guns. There is no player on the current Knick’s roster who could take the team on his shoulders and carry the team to a victory. AI could still do that, even at his age. I know this is a stat heavy site, but there are aspects of Bball that can’t be determined my numbers. Call it swagger, heart or Bball IQ, whatever, but the current roster of Knicks don’t have it. Not a one. Now I love my Knicks, but at some point I have to be honest about the player’s skills, heart and Bball IQ or lack thereof. I would take AI and all of his issues over anyone currently on the Knick’s roster. This man brings it every night. There is not stat for that.

  33. Frank,

    “For instance, it’s likely that playing under the screen is MUCH better when defending our PnR because Duhon can’t hit a jumper to save his life. On the other hand, playing under Steve Nash is likely to cost you 3 points more often than not. So league-wide stats don’t mean much to me.”

    You may be right; however, in the article, they gave specifics, including the fact that playing under the pick is better AGAINST LEBRON JAMES.

    It seems to me that, even among stat-heads, there is a strong desire to ignore (or “discredit”) the stats that disagree with our intuition.

  34. I MUST TAKE EXCEPTION to Robert’s writeup. He goes player by player, but he misses one important cog. Jarred Jeffries. I feel this is an injustice.

    Mr Jeffries played 28 minutes in this game, more than all but 4 other knicks. just to summarize:
    -He tied the for the team lead in blocks (1)
    -He hit 1 shot, 1 more than Darco, who was a top 3 draft pick
    -He was plus 16 on the night. Today at work, I’m -30
    -He hit 100% of his freethrows, the highest possible mathmatical result in the USA or in international play.
    -He outplayed a guy named Solomon Jones, on IND, whom I have never heard of
    -(this one hurts): He outscored starters Galo and Toney Douglas COMBINED
    -His hair remained loose but curly throughout.

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