Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Knicks 113, Magic 106

During their recent skid, the outlook of Carmelo Anthony had been like that of the doomed black knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail: a mix of comical nonchalance and frightening denial in the midst of repeated, very bloody setbacks.

“It’s just a flesh wound”, he seemed to say after every disappointing outing or fourth quarter collapse – wounds that time and practice would surely heal.

That all changed prior to Monday’s matchup with the Magic – their second meeting in less than a week – with Anthony reluctantly labeling the game a must-win. Still, against an Orlando squad they had yet to best in three tries, you could forgive the Knick faithful for assuming even Melo’s contrite clarion call wouldn’t be enough to stop the bleeding.

Instead, Knick Knation was treated to a much-needed win as zany and unexpected as any Python skit, as New York topped Orlando 113-106 in overtime. Once again the Knicks squandered a second half lead – this one a 6 point spot late in the fourth – allowing the Magic to extend the game on Jason Richardson’s 25-foot bomb with just over 5 seconds remaining.

Despite sloppy play and bricks abound on both sides – and Dwight Howard’s 17th technical of the season – the Knicks managed to pull away in OT behind the timely scoring of Chauncey Billups (17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and an overtime three that put the Knicks up for good, 106-104), Toney Douglas (16 points, 4 rebounds, an equally clutch overtime triple and a team high +/- of +20), and Anthony himself.

Fittingly, it was Melo who made the most of his palpable pre-game urgency, banking a Knick tenure high 39 points on 26 shots – including a whopping 33 in the second half and 19 in the third quarter alone – to go along with 10 rebounds and one, gigantic sigh of relief that millions would be content to mark an assist.

All in all it was a game that displayed both the best and worst of New York’s prodigal star. At times Anthony was unstoppable, and his teammates were more than willing to oblige Melo’s ISO tendencies for the sake of a much-needed hot hand. Like the team as a whole, on defense Anthony was engaged throughout, deflecting passes and exuding an enthusiasm for the craft seldom seen since his late February arrival.

But he also missed a wide-open Landry Fields while draped with no less than three defenders as time expired in regulation, and hoisted a number of ill-advised shots which – short of taking away from his enormous contribution to the desperately-needed W – couldn’t help but make any Knick fan feel just a little bit nervous.

If Melo made the Garden floor his center stage, Amar’ Stoudemire played the opera’s phantom, netting a quiet-but-efficient 20 points on just 10 shots. Despite barely touching the ball throughout the fourth and much of overtime, by game’s end it was Stoudemire’s $100 million smile that beamed the brightest, as the palpable burden that seemed to weigh on his shoulders more than any other during the team’s brutal stretch seemed for a moment lifted by the raucous Garden cheers.

The Knicks benefited greatly from the absence of Jameer Nelson, who sat out with a minor knee tweak. Nelson had given New York fits of late, averaging 22.5 points on 62% shooting in their last two meetings.  But despite a timely three that helped close the gap in regulation, Gilbert Arenas struggled mightily in Nelson’s stead – his first start since being traded from Washington on December 19th – netting just 9 points on 2-7 shooting and a team high five turnovers.

Like Anthony, Dwight Howard supplanted a quiet first two quarters with a truly beastly second half in which he scored 25 of his 29 points and grabbed 13 of his 18 rebounds.  Seemingly out of answers for a honed-in Howard, Mike D’Antoni decided to throw seldom-used Shelden Williams – acquired from Denver in the Anthony trade – into the fire midway through the fourth. Williams responded with a key stretch in which he stole an entry pass intended for Howard, tied him up for a jump ball, and grabbed an offensive rebound that resulted in a timely Stoudemire lay-in.

With his serviceable play on the defensive end, Williams may have earned himself heavier minutes (if not the outright starting slot) going forward. In the process, he may help fill a void that had plagued the Knicks throughout their recent skid – a 10-game streak in which D’Antoni had started four different centers and six different lineups (resulting in 9 losses) in a desperate attempt to find the right mix for their first playoff appearance in 7 years.

The Knicks will play one more game – Wednesday night against the Nets – before a much needed three days of rest leading up to Sunday’s series finale against the confounding Cavaliers, whom the Knicks have yet to best in 3 tries this year. With their next three games at home against middling opponents, the Knicks couldn’t have picked a better night to get back on track. And while it would still take a collapse on the order of the 2007 Mets to put them in the lottery and out of the playoffs, their new-found sense of urgency – and defensive intensity – should remain ready for the tapping as they head into the final pre-playoff stretch.

Hey, it’s better than trying to win by bleeding on them.

120 comments on “Knicks 113, Magic 106

  1. citizen

    Here is a widely circulated (on the blogosphere) academic paper on fouling with a 3-point lead from a game theoretical perspective, it’s pretty relevant today: http://www.sportsquant.com/AnnisJQAS1030.pdf

    Quoting the abstract: “When faced with protecting a three-point lead in the waning seconds of a basketball game, which is a preferable strategy: playing defense or fouling the offense before they can attempt a game-tying shot?…this paper addresses this question and concludes that, contrary to popular belief, intentionally fouling is preferable to playing tight defense.”

    The paper uses NCAA statistics to empirically show this point. Someone with the time and dedication (Mike Kurylo?) might be able to make a nice blog post out of the framework used in this paper, using NBA statistics instead. The great thing about Knickerblogger is that we might be able to get some intelligent analytical discussion on the issue…

  2. callmened

    i vote that we get rid of chauncey and his 14mil…let TD start…get earl watson as a back up pg, deandre jordan or dalmebert at Center (or both)…no need for a 3rd star if u have solid role players…and a real def coach

  3. hoolahoop

    I hate to rain on everyone’s parade, but I don’t think this was a healthy win.
    The knicks style of the first half is a team that could string a lot of wins together and do some damage in the playoffs. The ball moved well, the players moved without the ball, and there was a lot of defensive effort.
    Apparently, Melo didn’t like the idea of scoring six points in a half (knicks up by four at the half). He came out the second half and went off. He called for the ball, put on the blinders and didn’t see a shot he didn’t like. He got red hot and the knicks won. That’s fine, I’m happy with the win.
    What happens next game when he continues to hoist up everything he could get his hands on and he’s not on fire? They’ll fall flat.
    However, if they played a style that moves the ball and finds the open man, there’s a much greater chance that the offense won’t break down. More cohesiveness, more trust, more wins, better team.

  4. BigBlueAL

    Melo passed to a wide open TD for 3 who missed it with a minute and a half left in the game. Knicks got the offensive rebound, Melo got the ball back then passed it to a wide open Billups who then passed it to Amar’e for a layup. Also Melo got an assist to TD for his goal-tended shot with 10 secs left. He also found a wide open TD for a 3 he missed in OT (actually after his 3 at the beginning of OT he missed 2 wide open 3’s off nice passes from Melo and Billups).

    Melo was on fire and he milked it for all its worth like every player in the NBA does. But to say he didnt pass the ball tonight once he got hot is insane because he passed the ball to TD 3 times in big possessions late in the game which got him WIDE open looks.

    You know its OK to give him credit once in awhile for playing a very good game :-)

  5. jon abbey

    bottom line: 7-4 against teams over .500 since the trade now. I’m not going to try to explain it, or the 1-8 record against sub-.500 teams, but there it is.

  6. taggart4800

    @6 :)
    I actually don’t mind the game plan, it at least means with have the ability to mix it up now. I would also suggest that for a tired team it is not always a bad thing to chuck a guy like Melo the ball and get some lazy buckets. There are definately question marks over the win with the absence of Jameer Nelson, but being able to keep Dwight quiet and to get him to foul out however late is a bonus regardless. Encouraging but not convincing.

  7. Nick C.

    Nice win. But as well as Melo played…it nauseates me to drive in and hear all the praise. Dude gets paid how much and people are gobslobbing him b/c he played defense for once and his shots went in. Give me a break.

    To pull something from the game thread. Jared Jefferies WTF… he has no clue. Is there a study on keeping your arms glued to your sides while your man shoots a three?

  8. d-mar

    Wow, I know this blog was generally anti-trade, but the nit picking about Melo’s game last night is just unbelievable. “Well, he was OK, but did you see him not box out Ryan Anderson on that one play in the 3rd quarter” “Well, he was pretty good, but Fields was wide open on the final play” Do yourself a favor, watch all 48 minutes of a Bulls, Heat or Laker game and do nothing but focus on every single thing Rose, LeBron or Kobe does. I’m sure you’ll find a few things to pick on.

    Melo is not the reason the Knicks have sucked so bad lately, it’s mostly been Amare’s slump and Billups poor play and a team-wide malaise. Tip your hat to the guy for an awesome performance and move on.

  9. chrisk06811

    Here’s what I don’t get…..No Nelson, Duhon hurt, Gilbert was horrible until 4Q. So why didn’t we press like crazy when Turkoglu was taking the ball up the court?

  10. Frank

    @10 (agreeing with you – lol at the “generally” anti-trade – how about militantly anti-trade?!??) and @ everyone else ripping Melo — it’s valid to ask why he doesn’t play with that intensity every night, but please, let’s just give credit where it’s due. Dude had 39 points with a TS of 58.2% and a usage of I don’t know probably 35. That’s called high efficiency volume scoring, or exactly what you want from your star player. He played solid defense, led the team in rebounds, and did make some excellent passes at times. Sure he probably stopped the ball a whole lot, but if you actually watched the game, no one was moving on offense at all. Everyone he passed to pretty much gave it back to him and then stood around and watched him go. What is he supposed to do, physically push people around the court to create movement?

    Aside from the Jefferies ridiculousness at the end of regulation, the only major problem I had with the game last night was Amare’s invisibility when Howard had 5 fouls. I don’t care if Howard blocks his shot 3 times in a row – I am going to make Howard show me that he can defend Amare without fouling out. Chances are he would’ve just let Amare go by him for easy scores, just like Amare does for everyone once he picks up a foul or two.

    I just worry that Amare is hurt somehow. He just doesn’t look like the same player -whether it’s because he’s going 80% to give his body some rest or whether he’s sick, or has nagging injuries, I don’t know. Hopefully these 3 days off after wednesday will let him regain some of his form.

  11. TDM

    hoolahoop – “I hate to rain on everyone’s parade, but I don’t think this was a healthy win.”

    Agreed. Depleted Magic squad, questionable calls by the refs down the stretch, Melo exploding for 33 in second half and plays some semblance of D, DHoward and Turk fouling out in the final minutes.

    A win is a win, but just don’t think this one means much.

  12. Jim Cavan Post author

    citizen: Here is a widely circulated (on the blogosphere) academic paper on fouling with a 3-point lead from a game theoretical perspective, it’s pretty relevant today: http://www.sportsquant.com/AnnisJQAS1030.pdf

    Damnit, I wish I had time to read this before work. The problem with this argument, I think, is that NBA players in general — and a few Magic players in particular — are very, very adept at drawing contact on a 3 point shot. We saw it at least three times in this game alone. Which means they’d have a chance to tie and / or win with a tip in off the third FT. If the paper accounts for this, I apologize in advance. I think if Jeffries had managed to get his hand above his waist, we might not be having this conversation.

  13. Frank

    re: fouling up 3–
    It’s a difficult calculation – one that can’t be easily blanket-modeled because teams are all ifferent in terms of FT%, ORR/DREB, 3 point ability etc.

    It’d be interesting to see what calculations D’Antoni and staff have done, if any. You figure a contested 3 has at best a 33% chance of going in, but even if it misses, Orlando has a 26% ORR (which may actually be higher against a bad DREB team like ours). Assuming Orlando takes an early 3 to maximize the chance of an offensive rebound and a kick-out for another 3, and that the knicks would be scrambling around making the 2nd 3 more open and more likely to go in (say, 36%, just arbitrarily), then the probability of a tie would be:

    0.33 make rate + (0.67 miss rate * 0.26 ORR * 0.36 2nd 3 make rate) = roughly 0.39 chance to tie the game. I’m not sure I like those odds. Figure Orlando is better than us and so they have a 60% chance to win OT, so we have a ~25% chance of losing with this strategy.

    If you foul, it looks like this, assuming they foul Richardson, a 76% FT shooter and that ORR and 3P% are as above:

    The worst case scenario is foul, hit first FT, then OREB 2nd FT out for 3 pointer to win:
    0.76 * 0.26 ORR * 0.36 = only 7% chance of losing the game this way.

    The chance of tying based on O-rebounding a 2nd miss if we again arbitrarily say that 2pt FG% = 60% off an OREB is:
    0.76 * 0.26 * 0.6 = 11.8%
    Then ORL’s win rate in OT = 11.8% *0.6 = ~7%
    So 14% chance to lose this way.

    Then add chance of making both FTs, then trying to win in a FT shooting contest:
    JRich making both = 0.76 * 0.76 = 58%
    Billups missing one or both (shoots 91%) = 0.09 + 0.09 +0.081 = ~26%
    then arbitrarily guess ~30% chance to tie/win game on last sec ORL shot – so calc = 0.58 *0.26 * 0.3 = another 3-4%.

    Running out of room -but it looks like we should foul up 3.

  14. Frank

    actually I messed up the Billups calculation –
    it’s 0.09 + 0.09 + 0.0081 so the chance he would miss one or both is a total of ~19%, not 26%. It only proves the point more.

    Mike D – if you are reading this — FOUL!!!!!!

  15. Owen

    Jim – I agree. Hedo is a master at drawing that foul.

    D-Mar – I hate to be a killjoy and maybe when the Knicks creep over 500% after the trade I will cut back. But I have to agree this wasn’t a “healthy” win. We barely beat an Orlando team at home without it’s second best player. And we did it on the back of a performance from Melo that was as exciting as it was lucky.

    I have played enough poker to know that there are some nights where really loose and mediocre players get lucky and have a big payday. That’s what it felt like.

    Also, re that rebound near the end of the third quarter. It’s everything that’s wrong with Melo. He had just hit a spectacular bucket and was smiling and playing to the crowd. He got pump faked out of the gym by Hedo and instead of getting back into the play he decided to hang out on the 3 point line, apparently having done enough for the moment. It looked to me like his thought process was, let’s see if we get the board, outlet to me, and then I can go the length of a court for a layup that will make the crowd go crazy. Instead, Ryan Anderson got a board, two foul shots, and helped get Shelden Williams fouled out.

    That’s not good basketball. It’s the kind of hot dog bullshit that keeps Melo from being an elite player. It’s simple lack of effort and it kept us from winning the game in regulation. Every point and every play counts.

  16. Nick C.

    he does seem to have more leak out moments in a game or two than I can recall seeing from the NYK pre-trade. when it was James worthy it was a valid strategy b/c Magic was there to rebound and be, well, Magic. But other than that I’m not sure it isn’t best left on the playground. That being said he did what he should be doing all the time.

  17. Frank

    @17 – riiiiiight… it was all luck.
    Man – I would hate to be your wife, girlfriend, or kid.

    Son: “Daddy, I scored 39 points on 26 shots with 10 rebounds and played overall really good defense! I’m now only one of 3 players in the NBA to have 4+ games of 35 points and 10 rebounds in a game this season with LBJ and LaMarcus Aldridge!!”

    Owen: “You were lucky. You’re not a good player. It was luck, like when someone sucks out a 2-outer against Phil Ivey. And how come you fell for that pump fake on that one play? I know good basketball players and you’re no David Lee. He’s better than Kobe Bryant even though he’s never been able to lead a team to a .500 record.”

  18. Frank

    @Owen – Look – I think it’s totally valid to ask why we don’t get the defensive effort every night. But to call him lucky is just ridiculous. Or he’s just the luckiest guy in the world, much like all the other great scorers are the luckiest guys in the world. And then to nitpick on a few plays and ignore the entirety of the game — it’s just vindictive.

    He had a great game last night. He won’t play this well every night, but it doesn’t mean it was lucky.

  19. ess-dog

    Very impressed with Shelden’s D on Howard. And it’s clear that playing a big slab of beef next to Amare is just what the doctor ordered. Amare was more efficient than he’s been in weeks. I’m not saying that Shelden is Shaq incarnate, but he’s not bad. He played pretty well for Denver when he started the season and really well for the Celtics off the bench. He’s ideal as a back up, but he’s the best true big we’ve got right now. I say start him.

    I don’t really have a lot of problems with this game. We brought the D. The point guard is still an issue though. Billups played ok, but if Nelson was in there, he would’ve eaten his lunch. Chauncey just can’t keep up with the top pgs defensively. What’s he going to do with Rose and Rondo?

    And lol at Melo having the “hot hand”. He was 12-26. So I don’t buy that we would’ve lost this game b/c our stars played so great. We only shot 43% from the field. Our guys still have to be more efficient, especially our post guys (ahem, E, Jeffries) because we’ll have to make up for Melo’s relative inefficiency on a nightly basis. We’re kind of like the Lakers now with Melo as Kobe but without the awesome, young 7’2″ guy in the middle.

  20. Jim Cavan Post author

    ess-dog: Very impressed with Shelden’s D on Howard. And it’s clear that playing a big slab of beef next to Amare is just what the doctor ordered. Amare was more efficient than he’s been in weeks. I’m not saying that Shelden is Shaq incarnate, but he’s not bad. He played pretty well for Denver when he started the season and really well for the Celtics off the bench. He’s ideal as a back up, but he’s the best true big we’ve got right now. I say start him.

    Definitely. He went scoreless last night, but he’s shown some decent range in the past, and he can take a beating. He really seemed to bother Howard. Even if he routinely goes scoreless, he’s certainly shown better defense and rebounding than JJ.

  21. Frank

    Another guy who played pretty well last night was Billups. I think someone else mentioned it but that’s two consecutive games with zero turnovers for him despite all his ballhandling responsibilities (or course Melo had the ball in his hands for most of the night). I even saw a couple of nice PnR passes by him. He’s still only shooting 31% from 3 with us — I assume that means eventually a relatively hot streak is coming, hopefully in the playoffs.

  22. Brian Cronin

    I can’t believe that the Knicks won the game without Melo starting the fourth quarter!!

  23. hoolahoop

    Frank: He had a great game last night. He won’t play this well every night

    That’s the point. He won’t play like that every night, but that won’t stop him from taking too many shots. He’ll get his 25 and smile all the way to the locker room. That’s where he’ll find everyone that’s not so happy about losing another one.

  24. hoolahoop

    What is the difference between Melo and Marbury?
    Can you imagine if the knicks lost nine of ten games, and Marbury was grinning ear to ear after hitting two 3’s, even though they were still losing the game?

  25. armannvg

    It’s all about effort people! Of course we can find some moments of weakness from Melo, Amare or just about everyone. During the losing streak we simply were not trying, teams were taking uncontested shots and some scrubs were getting hot (leading to carreer-highs all over the place) against us. The Magic game last night we were running out to shooters and contesting, hacking Howard in the paint and overall playing with heart. That makes all the difference in the world. Remember that the Magic needed 5 Arenas points, a J-Rich 3 and to get lucky when Melo missed a game winning shot just to get an Overtime

  26. Z

    @ 10– I read the game thread in lieu of watching this game, and I think you are calling out one, maybe two, people out of over 300 comments in the thread. To say “this blog is unbelievable” seems like your mind was already made up before you looked for evidence.

    What, exactly, about Jim’s write up was incorrect? That Melo didn’t shoot a lot of the shots he normally misses? That he wasn’t tripple-teamed at the end of regulation (I did hear that part on the radio and Mike Crispino actually said he was quadruple-teamed!)?

    And Frank– I think Owen means it was a “fools gold” performance by Melo. The kind of game that has netted him hundreds of millions of dollars– as much as LeBron for his career– while in reality he has only really earned a small portion of that. (And, ultimately, I think he is right, because until Melo is taking winning personally EVERY GAME, he is unworthy of the $20 million he’s making– $20 million that could be spent elsewhere to make us resemble an actual basketball team.)

  27. Frank

    hoolahoop:
    That’s the point. He won’t play like that every night, but that won’t stop him from taking too many shots. He’ll get his 25 and smile all the way to the locker room. That’s where he’ll find everyone that’s not so happy about losing another one.  

    Find me one instance in his 20 games here where he is smiling all the way to the locker room after scoring 25 but losing the game. Then I’ll take this vindictive crap seriously.

    Some posters here have a deeply seated pre-conceived bias against him, his desire to win, etc. etc. As I’ve said before he clearly doesn’t put all the effort in on the defensive end that he should. But the idea he only cares about his numbers and not about team success??!? Where did that come from? Ric Bucher? Steven A Smith? It’s one thing to say he doesn’t play within a “team” concept all the time, something that ol’ super-classy George Karl is only too happy to tell us. But to say he gets his numbers and who cares about the team is a value judgement that certainly no one has any right or ability to make.

    All the high volume scorers in this league have an arrogance about them that they score on anyone anytime, and the ball is better off in their hands than anyone else’s. It takes an LBJ level of God-given talent to be a willing passer/distributor right from the get-go. They said the same things about Michael Jordan when he first came into the league – great scorer but not a winner. Coaching and maturity are what will determine whether Melo takes that next step. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t — but if he doesn’t, I highly doubt it will be because he cares only about his own numbers and not about team goals.

  28. cgreene

    In addition to what Frank says (and I know that Hoola and THCJ think it’s all because of Nene or Kenyon Martin), CARMELO WINS. Year over year his teams win.

  29. Ben R

    A bad shot is a bad shot and a good shot is a good shot whether or not it goes in. Our team needs to recognize the difference. In the past the biggest strength of SSOL and D’Antoni was a mazimization of good shots and a minimization of bad shots.

    Melo shot and made alot of bad shots last night. He is an extremely gifted player and he makes bad shots as much or more than almost any other player in the league but that does not make them good shots.

    If Melo shot only good shots, or at least alot less bad ones, he might not have the amazing performance he had last night and we might lose that game but we would have won alot more of the previous 10.

    Going to another gambling reference hitting on a 15 in blackjack looks good when you get 5’s and 6’s and will sometimes win you hands you would have lost but in the long run it’s going to cost you alot more won than it’s going to win you.

  30. Frank

    @32 – I encourage you take away your preconceptions of Melo and watch the game last night.

    Some of the “bad” shots he took were up against the shot clock. Those are not a bad shots. Getting any shot off is a good shot when the shot clock is about up.

    The best part of SSOL is all the ball movement and player movement, leading to players getting the ball when they have the advantage on their defender. Trouble is, players actually have to MOVE in order for it to happen. It is hard to blame Melo when NO ONE ELSE IS MOVING. When no one is moving, then possessions turn into isolations by default. And I’ll take Melo in an iso setting before anyone else on this team.

    Meanwhile- we are now 1/4 of a season into Melo being on this team (20 games). His TS is 56.2%. Perhaps we can consider beginning to dispense with the idea that he will be an Al Harrington, Allen Iverson, or Stephon Marbury-like chucker.

    Lastly – I definitely disagree with the idea that Melo’s shot selection has any primary role in how bad our record has been this month. In no particular order, I consider these to be far more important:
    – 19 games in 30 days
    – Amare getting tired/beaten up. Zero defensive effort by him.
    – Zero interior defense for the most part
    – Billups playing just awfully until the last 2 games (this might be the #1 reason)
    – D’Antoni’s strange refusal to play Landry Fields in crunch time
    – we are running a training camp with 3 weeks to go before the playoffs.

  31. Frank

    Funny thing is that I find myself in the position of being the Melo-defender when just like the Melo-bashers, I never thought his greatest strength was what we needed to be true contenders. Pre-trade deadline I was cooking up schemes to get Anderson Varejao (Before he got injured) and the like. I also thought we WAY overpaid for the guy when we were the only serious bidders. What’s more – our weaknesses then are our weaknesses now – interior defense and rebounding. But that doesn’t fall on Melo’s shoulders – that falls on the GM and owner who signed off on this ridiculous trade.

    If you ask me, I think Melo has played as advertised and reasonably well overall, and at times better than I thought he would. It’s not his fault that Dolan/Donnie/D’Antoni couldn’t/wouldn’t say no when Denver kept asking for more more more. It’s not his fault that Denver looks great now post-trade. It’s even justifiable in my mind that he “took the money” rather than wait for an uncertain free agency, as much as we all think we personally would risk losing tens of millions of dollars to play on a team with more talent if we were in his shoes.

    Why are we losing? We’re losing because we have no coherent plan to cover pick and rolls. We only sporadically offer any resistance at all to players at the rim. We’re losing because the Tyler Hansbrough’s of the world achieve new career bests every time they play against us. We’re losing because our defense has sucked to a legendary degree in March. Not because Melo takes bad shots sometimes. Not because he’s a chucker or lucky or fool’s gold or whatever. We’re losing because our defense sucks.

  32. Brian Cronin

    In addition to what Frank says (and I know that Hoola and THCJ think it’s all because of Nene or Kenyon Martin), CARMELO WINS. Year over year his teams win.

    Besides the fact that teams win, not players (a la Michael Jordan’s early years when his team was bad), the Knicks have a losing record with Carmelo, so it seems like a weird time to do all-caps about Carmelo winning.

  33. jaylamerique

    hoolahoop:
    That’s the point. He won’t play like that every night, but that won’t stop him from taking too many shots. He’ll get his 25 and smile all the way to the locker room. That’s where he’ll find everyone that’s not so happy about losing another one.  

    he actually played like this in the last game. his ts % was 63% and he scored 32

  34. Brian Cronin

    We’re losing because our defense sucks.

    I said this the other day, and it bears repeating. When the Knicks did the deal, they did do knowing that their defense would suffer, but they thought that their offense would improve a lot, so the trade-off would be a net positive. The former has certainly happened, but the offensive improvement has been slight (to wit, they were 7th before the trade and they’re 7th since the trade). So I do believe offense is an issue.

    And while Melo has been playing just about the same as he did in Denver, he has been doing so by playing his old iso-style, same with Billups. They’re not moving the ball. You say “It is hard to blame Melo when NO ONE ELSE IS MOVING,” but they are not moving because Melo and Billups are doing isos. It is not like they’re doing isos because the ball wasn’t moving, the ball wasn’t moving because of the isos. And the isos make Fields and Amar’e useless, thereby not really improving the offense by much (that and Billups not shooting that well).

  35. Frank

    Brian Cronin:
    I said this the other day, and it bears repeating. When the Knicks did the deal, they did do knowing that their defense would suffer, but they thought that their offense would improve a lot, so the trade-off would be a net positive. The former has certainly happened, but the offensive improvement has been slight (to wit, they were 7th before the trade and they’re 7th since the trade). So I do believe offense is an issue.
    And while Melo has been playing just about the same as he did in Denver, he has been doing so by playing his old iso-style, same with Billups. They’re not moving the ball. You say “It is hard to blame Melo when NO ONE ELSE IS MOVING,” but they are not moving because Melo and Billups are doing isos. It is not like they’re doing isos because the ball wasn’t moving, the ball wasn’t moving because of the isos.  

    well, it’s chicken or egg. There are certainly plays in the system where Amare or other gets the ball at the elbow and it looks like an iso/post-up but there is a lot of action going on. And when there is no movement from the beginning of the possession, that indicates that an iso has been called, presumably by D’Antoni. Again, hard to say it’s Melo’s fault. It’s not like he was grabbing the ball and going 1 on 5 on every play over everyone’s objections.

  36. Ben R

    Frank – You are right that Melo is not solely to blame for our losing lately. But it is not a coincidence that now that he’s here the ball movement and movement off the ball has ceased.

    I don’t buy the 19 games in 30 days argument lots of teams have busy stretches and not many good teams go 1-9 and lose to the Cavs, Pacers and Bucks just because their a little run down.

    As for Amare I agree he is as much or more to blame for this recent skid as Melo. His defensive effort makes Melo look like Battier and he is either diappearing or forcing up much worse shots than Melo.

    D’Antoni has left Fields on the bench at crunch time all season, we were actually complaining about this pretrade too.

    I think Billups poor play is not a slump as much as who he is now. There is a reason Denver forced him into the trade. He is still a good shooter and a good passer but he does not promote ball movement and is a terrible defender even when he is playing well. I think we need to start TD and use Billups as a 1st guard off the bench, taking advantage of his great shooting and minimizing his poor PG play. I agree he is a big part of our struggles as well.

    As for the poor defense argument you are right that is the primary reason we are not a good team, but it was poor pretrade and no one expected it to improve by bringing in Billups and Melo. What people expected was that the addition of Billups and Melo would improve our offense so much that the resulting hit to defense wouldn’t matter. But because of poor ball and player movement our offense hasn’t been as good as expected even with Melo shooting well for the most part since the trade.

    It is not completely Melo’s fault we are a worse team since the trade but he is partly to blame and I’m going to hold my praise until we’re winning alot more than losing.

  37. JK47

    @37

    The offense has been a bit more efficient, not enough to move the needle and get us into the top five, but you’re talking about 20 games weighted against 54. And the offense is more efficient despite sprinkling in 20 minutes per game of Jared Jeffries and his .297 TS%. We’re playing 4-on-5 almost half of the time on offense. Jeffries is quite possibly– hell, quite probably– the single worst offensive player in the league.

    Next year, God willing, we’ll have something resembling a competent 5 and the Jared Jeffries re-experiment will be nothing but a distant memory. Add a decent piece here or there and it’s not hard to see how we’d be one of the very best offensive clubs in the league. D’Antoni’s good Phoenix SSOL teams were #1 or 2 in the league in offensive rating and middle of the pack in defensive rating. The former is going to be a lot easier for us to attain than the latter.

  38. Brian Cronin

    well, it’s chicken or egg. There are certainly plays in the system where Amare or other gets the ball at the elbow and it looks like an iso/post-up but there is a lot of action going on. And when there is no movement from the beginning of the possession, that indicates that an iso has been called, presumably by D’Antoni. Again, hard to say it’s Melo’s fault. It’s not like he was grabbing the ball and going 1 on 5 on every play over everyone’s objections.

    I agree that D’Antoni is obviously calling for the isos, but I believe that he is doing so because Billups and Melo aren’t clicking with SSOL, so he figures it is better to give them something they’re familiar with. If Billups and Melo completely bought into SSOL, the offense would be a lot better, as Amar’e and Fields would have roles with the offense. At the end of the game, it was hilarious – when Toney had the ball, there was ball movement, when Billups had the ball, there was not. There were literally two different offenses being played dependent on which point guard had the ball!!

  39. Jim Cavan Post author

    Brian Cronin: At the end of the game, it was hilarious – when Toney had the ball, there was ball movement, when Billups had the ball, there was not. There were literally two different offenses being played dependent on which point guard had the ball!!

    I definitely noticed this too. But I’m not entirely sure it’s simply Billups and Melo not “buying in” as it is “learning the system” — one that is a lot more intricate and complex than it might appear. It can take a while. People forget that, before Larry Brown tightened the reigns, Ray Felton had spent many of his formative years playing in a very up-tempo system. So I think it was easier for him to adjust, particularly given the benefit of a full training camp and preseason. And even then it didn’t really “click” until a full month into the season.

    This isn’t to say Chauncey and Melo will never learn, but we’re definitely dealing with two pretty old dogs in this sense.

  40. Nick C.

    But Chauncey was a Larry Brown PG, so I’m not sure that flies. With Chauncey I never realized how ugly his wonderful TSP was arrived at, a ton of what appear to be bail out calls and pull up 3s without passing the ball. Bleech.

  41. gbaked

    Frank: The worst case scenario is foul, hit first FT, then OREB 2nd FT out for 3 pointer to win:
    0.76 * 0.26 ORR * 0.36 = only 7% chance of losing the game this way.

    My feeling on why not to foul there is because a smart player may chuck the ball at the hoop, and get a shooting foul call. Which gives the player a chance to tie at the line or, in what I think would be the real worst case, miss the last then get the o-board and win the game.

    By not fouling the WORST thing that can happen is a tie.

  42. hoolahoop

    You know what, I think we’re all a little correct.
    That’s probably why Dantonis so confused and no one really has an answer. It’s a perfect storm of problems.
    The knicks problems should have been addressed in a trade. Instead, they chose the best “talent” they could get, but substantially overpaid, and compounded the problem.
    Where do we go from here? This team probably needs a serious overhaul.

  43. cgreene

    Brian Cronin:
    Besides the fact that teams win, not players (a la Michael Jordan’s early years when his team was bad), the Knicks have a losing record with Carmelo, so it seems like a weird time to do all-caps about Carmelo winning.  

    Isn’t 7 seasons a better sample size than 20 games?

  44. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Yes, and he wasn’t as good as his salary or All-Star appearances or All-NBA appearances or scoring totals might suggest then, either.

  45. Frank

    Back to the whole fool’s gold thing – a poster on P&T said it right–

    Fool’s gold was the early season win against Chicago, or the win against Memphis a few weeks back where we hit 347 3’s or something. Last night Melo shot 12 of 26 and had a TS of 58%, which is not so unbelievably better than his 56.2% TS with the NYK. No one on the Knicks had a particularly impressive shooting game. The game was won with effort on the defensive end, which in my mind, is never fool’s gold or luck.

    The 6th foul on Howard or the Richardson retaliation foul? Those were luck.

  46. hoolahoop

    Would the knicks un-do this trade if they could? Probably.
    Would the Knuggets? No way.
    One deduction is that we gave up more than we got back. Another possible explanation is that we accumulated pieces that don’t work together.
    If this team can’t find a sustainable solution by the end of the season, the only way to get to the next level is by somehow acquiring a real big and PG, or with a blockbuster trade.

  47. Frank

    @50 – I think that’s something we can ALL agree on. Ujiri deserves very serious consideration for GM of the year for the job he did on our beloved NYK when really playing with one hand tied behind his back. He really played NY, NJ, Dolan, Melo etc. against each other and was able to extract probably 2 more players than thought possible before. And his team is fun to watch, relatively inexpensive, and with lots of future possibilities.

    On the other side of the equation — I really hope that the botched negotiations from our side were because of Dolan and not Donnie Walsh. If Donnie truly signed off on and was the mastermind behind what was a terribly one-sided deal (regardless of how the rest of this season turns out), then perhaps Dolan is right in not extending him yet. Obviously we all think Dolan’s fingers were all over this thing, but it’s all hearsay. As good a job as Donnie did in clearing cap space and accumulating assets, his two big trades were both ridiculously one-sided and not in our favor. The first I can forgive because LBJ was still in play. The second was a pure fleecing when we were in a position of power.

  48. Caleb

    @51 All true, except that we could all win GM of the year if we got to negotiate against Jim Dolan. I’m not sure which would be more discouraging – that Dolan is overruling his GM, or that his GM would make trade on his own.

    A few people have pointed out that Amare looks sluggish – true, and it might be wearing down, or sore knees or just uncertainty about the game plan. But from an analysis standpoint, it looks like the Knicks are taking shots from a very efficient big-time scorer (even in his off-year), and giving them to a less efficient (still good!) big-time scorer. I’d thought that lowering Amare’s usage rate to Phoenix levels might push his efficiency back up, but since the trade his usage rate and efficiency have gone down together.

  49. Jim Cavan Post author

    hoolahoop: If this team can’t find a sustainable solution by the end of the season, the only way to get to the next level is by somehow acquiring a real big and PG, or with a blockbuster trade.

    Not, these are not the only ways. At all. We have no idea what the next CBA will look like. We have no idea who our draft pick will be. We have no idea how Fields, TD, Extra E or even Derrick Brown will continue to develop. If two of these three things go our way, and we end up with CP3 or DWill, won’t these lumps have been worth it?

    Obviously this is pure speculation, but I just have a feeling like CP3 would take a haircut to come play here. He has to know the endorsements and fringe benefits will more than make up for it. We all wish Melo had realized this and somehow structured a favorable deal, but I think it’s much more of a possibility with CP3.

    Then there’s the draft. Yeah it’s a weak one, but I guarantee Donnie doesn’t botch this one ala 2009. He knows our needs and will draft accordingly. In 2009, we had no idea what were or what we needed outside of getting LeBron. We know who we are now, and that should help Donnie bring home a valuable chip.

    There are a lot of things that could go wrong, but there are more than a few things that, if they bounce our way, could still put us into contention.

  50. Caleb

    Jim Cavan:
    Obviously this is pure speculation, but I just have a feeling like CP3 would take a haircut to come play here. He has to know the endorsements and fringe benefits will more than make up for it.  

    I have no idea – he might love New York. But I don’t think he would make up money financially by coming here – that’s a myth, IMO. I do think players can make up some money by playing with a title contender – it helps their long-term rep and future contracts. But I think that’s only true for mid-level and lower players. CP3 is getting a max deal, regardless. I’d be pretty shocked if he leaves any money on the table, especially with those knees of his.

    I do think the Knicks have a major advantage in a sign-n-trade scenario – they can trade Carmelo! (or Stoudemire). You might say their rep will be dinged up if the Knicks are looking to trade one of those guys after a rough year in NY, but that will be made up for by the fact they’re each signed through 2015.

    Personally, this summer I would offer Melo to the Clippers for the #2 pick and a few other good assets – Aminou or next year’s pick, maybe DeAndre Jordan, Kaman or even Gordon – whatever you need to make the salaries match up.

    The #16 pick should be useful but by the odds you shouldn’t expect more than an eventual starter.

  51. KnickInSeattle

    Is there any value to the idea that the sample size for the Knicks post-trade (20 games I believe) is statistically insignificant?

    What about the idea that defense is more about pure-effort than offense is?

    If so, is it possible that both our offense (players unfamiliar with each other and the system) and our defense (spotty effort from all until last night) are not yet at their peak?

    Yes, the Knuggets are already doing extremely well, no doubt about it. That’s also totally irrelevant and has no logically-maintainable implication for the Knicks. Meaning, they’ve already done what they needed to do, but of course that doesn’t mean that we cannot or will not.

    Judging a trade of this magnitude, involving contracts of this length, on a 20 game sample is, I believe, difficult to justify logically.

  52. Frank

    I think it’s highly unlikely that Melo or Amare are going anywhere – so we should concentrate our efforts on draft picks, FAs, and smaller trades.

    Not sure where he will fall in the draft (DX has him going #28 in the 2nd round and NBAdraft.net has him going #29 overall to CHI) but I’d like to see us somehow get Jeremy Tyler. Obviously highly touted coming out of high school, has taken his lumps internationally which should only help his maturity. Via a series of links I found this article about his progress:

    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/sk20110311n1.html

    seems like he’s being coached by Bob Hill, so has already seen NBA-level coaching.

    NBAdraft.net has Jonas Valanciunas dropping to us at 17, whereas DX has him going #2 overall. Go figure.

  53. Jim Cavan Post author

    Caleb: The #16 pick should be useful but by the odds you shouldn’t expect more than an eventual starter.

    Probably. But just out of curiosity, I went and looked at draft picks between 15-20 over the last 30 years. A few names stick out:

    Larry Nance (#20, 1981)
    Rickey Pierce (#18, 1982)
    Leo Rautins (#17, 1983… ok, purely anecdotal)
    John Stockton (#16, 1984)
    Joe Dumars (#18, 1985)
    Mark Jackson (#18, 1987)
    Rod Strickland (#19, 1988)
    Shawn Kemp (#17, 1989)
    Jerrod Mustaf…. never mind
    Aaron McKie (#17, 1994)
    Steve Nash (#15, 1996)
    Jermaine O’Neal (#17, 1996)
    Turkeyglue (#16, 2000)
    Zebo (#19, 2001)
    David West (#18, 2002)
    Al Jefferson (#15, 2004)
    Jameer Nelson (#20, 2004)
    Danny Granger (#17, 2005)

    And those are just the guys I deemed notable. There are plenty of other more-than-serviceable types that fell in that range. Not to mention the bevy of good players that went AFTER #20.

    You’re right, you shouldn’t expect more than just a serviceable starter. But sometimes you get lucky. Why not us?

  54. knickterp

    Amar’e looks bad–no explosiveness, reduced quickness in general, etc. Is it fair to assume that this drop-off would’ve occurred with the old team as well? How would Felton, Gallo, Chandler, and Moz be doing with a greatly reduced Stoudamire?

  55. Owen

    Jim – I am not sure whether that list makes your point or negates it. It kind of looks like 2 hall of famers, a few perennial all stars, a few one time all stars, and some solid role players. Considering we are talking about a 300 player pool that sort of makes our chances of finding an impact player somewhere around 5%.

    That said, I am not as down on the draft as I used to be. There are a lot of teams that have drafted wisely. The Knicks haven’t been terrible but I still think Lawson was a big miss.

  56. Caleb

    The draft is definitely an opportunity – does a lot to separate good teams from bad. #16 should find you a solid player, and you might find a really good one.

    Just pointing out the obvious – it’s all a gamble, and one big hit makes up for a lot of misses. That’s why I would much rather have 3 or 4 young players and a multiple draft picks, than have it all riding on 1 or 2. Unfortunately we’ve traded Gallo & Randolph (both of whom are younger than a lot of players in this draft), our 2012 pick and our 2014 pick (and some second-rounders, I believe). So at this point we need some luck to go with drafting skill.

    If it makes anyone feel better, a quirky draft like this – with evaluations all over the place – is probably the best environment to outsmart your rivals.

  57. JK47

    We don’t need to hit a home run in the draft, we just need to find a good role player. There are several players I like who might be available and who might really be able to help us:

    Kenneth Faried, PF
    Faried has been talked about a lot on here. He’s a Chuck Hayes-like defender with DeJuan Blair’s rebounding ability. Small at 6’8″, but plays with incredible effort. His insane rebounding alone would make us a much better defensive team, and although he’s raw offensively he’ll get some points just on dunks and putbacks.

    Tyler Honeycutt, SF
    I’d love to get a wing who is a good two-way player, and Honeycutt could possibly fit the bill. He is seen as a possible lockdown defender on the wing a la Tayshaun Prince and has a decent midrange game. Rebounds well for a wing and has excellent length. I like him.

    Trey Thompkins, PF
    Classic “stretch 4,” could be a really good fit for D’Antoni. Good inside-outside game– finishes well around the rim and has 3-point range. Very skilled player, probably not the monster defender we need in the post but has good size at 6’10” and has been a solid rebounder in college.

    William Buford, SG
    We’re a little thin at SG and Buford could potentially be a good two-way player. Classic 2-guard, has hops/finishing ability and a quality jump shot. 6’5″ with long arms… looks like an NBA rotation player to me.

  58. Caleb

    fwiw Lawson was a miss but if we’re talking 2010 PGs I think I’d rather have Jrue Holliday than anyone who was available to the Knicks at #8.

  59. Jim Cavan Post author

    Caleb: fwiw Lawson was a miss but if we’re talking 2010 PGs I think I’d rather have Jrue Holliday than anyone who was available to the Knicks at #8.  

    I thought about adding him in that list, and probably should have. Love how his game’s progressed. But I feel like Brandon Knight has a much higher ceiling, and he’s been projected around our slot for a while. Obviously this Final Four trip probably puts him squarely in the top 15, but you never know.

  60. Owen

    Holliday because he is so much younger and because the defense is better? Maybe. I don’t know. I love the efficiency has shown so far. I am a believer.

  61. Caleb

    Faried is a great rebounder but not quite DeJuan Blair level – Blair topped out at 18.6 per 40, for UPitt in the Big East, while Faried’s best is 17.4 against Morehead State competition. Still a better number than Blake Griffin or DeMarcus Cousins (not adusted for the competition).

    Those #s translate pretty well to the pros… This year you’ve got Blair slightly ahead of Griffin slightly ahead of Cousins (11th, 14th and 22nd in rebound rate, respectively).
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics/_/sort/reboundRate

    Paul Millsap would be another good comparison, leading the NCAA in rebounding (2006), albeit against week competition. His best NCAA per-40 rate was 15.5. In the NBA his best rate would have put him 30th, just behind Cousins (lately Millsap fallen way off).

    It’s not a perfect translation – Joakim Noah, for example, is a better rebounder in the pros than he was in college.

    Faried – terrific rebounder, good defender – if he’s around at #16 he’ll be worth it.

  62. Caleb

    Owen: Holliday because he is so much younger and because the defense is better? Maybe. I don’t know. I love the efficiency has shown so far. I am a believer.  

    Yes, those are my reasons for Holliday – he’s still just 20, and a great defender. He’s also hitting 37 percent of his 3-point shots so I think his efficiency can get a lot better as he cuts out the bad shots and gets to the line more. He’s not a pure playmaker – Philly is a good place for him now, because Iguodala can basically run the point – kudos to Doug Collins for figuring that out.

    Lawson is a great get at #18 and I’d love to have him but I’m not sure he’s ever going to be an All-Star.

    Random thought of the day – a guy to check out over the summer is Stanley Robinson, formerly of UConn – potentially awesome defender, super-athletic guy who can also hit a 3. Orlando had him in camp last fall (as a second-round pick) but cut him right before the season – then about 3 games into the D-League he was shelved for the season with a massive staph infection. If he ever recovered he’d be the right kind of pickup – dirt cheap with a relatively high ceiling.

  63. Brian Cronin

    The Nuggets also can swap picks with the Knicks in 2016.

    How insane was that trade?!?!?

  64. Brian Cronin

    Isn’t 7 seasons a better sample size than 20 games?

    Like I said, I think the whole point is silly (as there’s no such thing as a player who “knows how to win” – I mean, come on, Michael Jordan’s teams had losing records his first three seasons in the NBA), I just found it particularly peculiar to bring up a “Melo just wins” point while Melo’s current team has had a losing record since he got here.

  65. hoolahoop

    Brian Cronin: The Nuggets also can swap picks with the Knicks in 2016.How insane was that trade?!?!?  

    Bizarre. In other words, if the knicks said we’ll give you everything you want but no trade swap in 2016, the deal wouldn’t have got done?
    Why didn’t Donnie, at least, say no to that?

  66. latke

    hoola, i think not by coincidence that is the first year after amare and carmelo’s contracts expire. It also should be around the time Houston, if its rebuilding process goes well, is at or approaching its peak, so it is much more likely to matter than swapping in the next year or two, when the rockets are likely to be pretty bad, and the knicks at least decent.

  67. latke

    oops, i meant Nuggets! Jared Jeffries trade still reverberating in my brain I guess… Anyway, I suppose they anticipated that the Nuggets would not be great. Maybe they’ll regret not having asked for an earlier swap. Still, Gallo will be 27, chandler, 28, lawson 28, etc. SO a prime year for them to hit their peak.

  68. hoolahoop

    I see, it’s could be to the knicks benefit. . . if they still don’t suck in four years.

  69. jaylamerique

    Caleb: Faried is a great rebounder but not quite DeJuan Blair level – Blair topped out at 18.6 per 40, for UPitt in the Big East, while Faried’s best is 17.4 against Morehead State competition. Still a better number than Blake Griffin or DeMarcus Cousins (not adusted for the competition).
    Those #s translate pretty well to the pros… This year you’ve got Blair slightly ahead of Griffin slightly ahead of Cousins (11th, 14th and 22nd in rebound rate, respectively).
    http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics/_/sort/reboundRatePaul Millsap would be another good comparison, leading the NCAA in rebounding (2006), albeit against week competition. His best NCAA per-40 rate was 15.5. In the NBA his best rate would have put him 30th, just behind Cousins (lately Millsap fallen way off).
    It’s not a perfect translation – Joakim Noah, for example, is a better rebounder in the pros than he was in college.
    Faried – terrific rebounder, good defender – if he’s around at #16 he’ll be worth it.  

    how do you know he is a good defender? What are you getting that information from? I saw this on draftexpress and even they don’t know how good he could be on defense: “Though Faried’s ability to sit by the rim allows him to maximize his presence as a shot blocker and rebounder while helping his team overcome its lack of size, it doesn’t offer much insight to his ability to defend one-on-one in the NBA.” When Faried does find himself in a pseudo-isolation situation in the post defensively, he struggles to hold position as the video above indicates.he’ll get sealed out of the play entirely almost as often, and will make some questionable reads defending off the ball”

  70. jaylamerique

    latke: oops, i meant Nuggets! Jared Jeffries trade still reverberating in my brain I guess… Anyway, I suppose they anticipated that the Nuggets would not be great. Maybe they’ll regret not having asked for an earlier swap. Still, Gallo will be 27, chandler, 28, lawson 28, etc. SO a prime year for them to hit their peak.  

    they are not keeping chandler. People are going to have to be paid on that team.

  71. Z

    hoolahoop:
    Bizarre. In other words, if the knicks said we’ll give you everything you want but no trade swap in 2016, the deal wouldn’t have got done?
    Why didn’t Donnie, at least, say no to that?  

    I think there is an arrogance that goes toward the whole swapping picks mentality. People are so sure that they are getting the better end of the trade that they don’t think it matters. Isiah ended up swapping Noah for Wilson Chandler. And now Houston is going to end up with a netter record than us this year. I shudder to think what 2016 holds…

    (has anybody done the research to see how often teams get burned by offering the right to swap picks? Maybe it’s not as big a risk as it seems. Maybe only the Knicks are the ones who get stung doing it. Seems like there has to come a point where we say “no more”, right?)

  72. jaylamerique

    Z:
    I think there is an arrogance that goes toward the whole swapping picks mentality. People are so sure that they are getting the better end of the trade that they don’t think it matters. Isiah ended up swapping Noah for Wilson Chandler. And now Houston is going to end up with a netter record than us this year. I shudder to think what 2016 holds…(has anybody done the research to see how often teams get burned by offering the right to swap picks? Maybe it’s not as big a risk as it seems. Maybe only the Knicks are the ones who get stung doing it. Seems like there has to come a point where we say “no more”, right?)  

    the houston better record thing doesn’t matter since were in the playoffs.

  73. Brian Cronin

    the houston better record thing doesn’t matter since were in the playoffs.

    It is not because the Knicks are in the playoffs, it is because Houston is not in the playoffs. Which might not be true at the end of the season, since they’re two games back of Memphis and three games back of New Orleans and they own the tie-breaker against Memphis (and could win the tie-breaker against New Orleans if they beat them in their match in a few games) and New Orleans and Memphis play each other twice! Hopefully they split those two games.

  74. Brian Cronin

    (has anybody done the research to see how often teams get burned by offering the right to swap picks? Maybe it’s not as big a risk as it seems. Maybe only the Knicks are the ones who get stung doing it. Seems like there has to come a point where we say “no more”, right?)

    I believe swapping picks is a relatively modern innovation.

  75. domiknick

    Caleb: Faried is a great rebounder but not quite DeJuan Blair level – Blair topped out at 18.6 per 40, for UPitt in the Big East, while Faried’s best is 17.4 against Morehead State competition. Still a better number than Blake Griffin or DeMarcus Cousins (not adusted for the competition). Those #s translate pretty well to the pros… This year you’ve got Blair slightly ahead of Griffin slightly ahead of Cousins (11th, 14th and 22nd in rebound rate, respectively).http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/hollinger/statistics/_/sort/reboundRatePaul Millsap would be another good comparison, leading the NCAA in rebounding (2006), albeit against week competition. His best NCAA per-40 rate was 15.5. In the NBA his best rate would have put him 30th, just behind Cousins (lately Millsap fallen way off). It’s not a perfect translation – Joakim Noah, for example, is a better rebounder in the pros than he was in college. Faried – terrific rebounder, good defender – if he’s around at #16 he’ll be worth it.  (Quote)

    I have no statistical info to back this up, but wasn’t Shelden Williams a really good rebounder in college? I’m vaguely remembering some crazy stat like he has the most rebounds in Duke history, but I could very well be making that up. Sorry I’m too lazy to look all this up. Does anyone know how his college numbers compare to his NBA numbers?

  76. ess-dog

    domiknick:
    I have no statistical info to back this up, but wasn’t Shelden Williams a really good rebounder in college?I’m vaguely remembering some crazy stat like he has the most rebounds in Duke history, but I could very well be making that up.Sorry I’m too lazy to look all this up.Does anyone know how his college numbers compare to his NBA numbers?  

    Shelden was second in the nation behind Paul Millsap in win shares his last year at Duke. As was mentioned, it wasn’t a great year in general but he was top 10 in both offensive and defensive win shares. He should’ve been a pretty good pick. Maybe not a star but a starter or decent back up. But hey, apparently Jared Jeffries was an Indiana Mr. Basketball so who really knows anything?

  77. ess-dog

    Oh and he was third in the nation in both his sophmore and junior years and 1st in the nation in defensive win shares his junior year. Not shabby at all.

  78. Z

    jaylamerique:
    the houston better record thing doesn’t matter since were in the playoffs.  

    Yes, but that is dumb luck. Presumably, NY agreed to swap picks because they were sure that their added cap space would make them better than Houston. Or, maybe not. Maybe they don’t care where they pick, figuring they’re so good at drafting they’ll be able to find somebody good either way. But that carries a weight of arrogance as well.

  79. Caleb

    jaylamerique:

    how do you know he is a good defender? What are you getting that information from? I saw this on draftexpress and even they don’t know how good he could be on defense: “Though Faried’s ability to sit by the rim allows him to maximize his presence as a shot blocker and rebounder while helping his team overcome its lack of size, it doesn’t offer much insight to his ability to defend one-on-one in the NBA.” When Faried does find himself in a pseudo-isolation situation in the post defensively, he struggles to hold position as the video above indicates.he’ll get sealed out of the play entirely almost as often, and will make some questionable reads defending off the ball”  

    (Quote)

    It is true I am not basing it on much – just watching parts of 3 games and seeing the scouting report. He’s obviously long and extremely energetic – I can think of very few rookies who are actually good defenders – that seems to come with experience more than any other skill – but Faried certainly has the tools and from what all the scouts say, the desire.

  80. art vandelay

    I, for one, didn’t even really expect much of an improvement, if at all, in the offense post-trade…in such a way that it would overcompenstate for a worsened defensie….I think clearly the only reason this deal was made was with an eye toward the future…with the hope that melo gets us paul (like STAT got us melo), and also plans to tinker with the roster in the subsequent post-season….I wouldn[t even be surprised if Donnie Walsh after pulling the trigger expected this year[s team to be worse for 2010 than the prior team was…I think they just figured this team is highly unlikely to get out of the first round either way, was pretty much assured a playoff spot, so any subsequent movement in the standings this regular season wouldn[t impact the team all that much…and it would be better to add a superstar and fill in the gaps with role players who are much more easily acquired down the road than top 10-15 players.

  81. Caleb

    Swapping picks doesn’t bother me nearly as much as failing to protect picks. That’s the arrogant or just plain idiotic part. This is just a complete re-run of Isiah’s Curry trade. If he had done the deal but just put in some basic insurance – “We’re confident it’s gonna work out, but in case something crazy happens or our star player breaks a leg, our pick is protected Top-3.” – there’s zero chance Paxson would have walked away, and when the Knicks really did turn out to suck, they’d have landed LaMarcus Aldridge. (or Tyrus Thomas, or Rudy Gay, but you get the idea….)

    Protecting against the worst-case scenario is basic due diligence – not doing it is just lazy, in a scenario where you actually have most of the bargaining leverage.

  82. callmened

    is this a viable plan?…no one really responded

    i vote that we get rid of chauncey and his 14mil contract…let TD start…get earl watson (or defensive pg) as a back up pg, deandre jordan or dalmebert at Center (or both)…no need for a 3rd star if u have solid role players…and a real def coach…im not impressed by this years draft…maybe some sleepers like trey thompkins, faried and that wash st kid (thompson)

  83. callmened

    are we able to resign chauncey for less money ($3-4mil)? …assuming he REALLY wants to come back…he would b a great backup at this point in his career…but i dont think he fits the dantoni system…but then again, i dont like the system…

  84. Z

    Caleb: Swapping picks doesn’t bother me nearly as much as failing to protect picks.   

    I’m not so sure about this. What happens when you start “protecting” picks is that you just have to pay them out later. I think the Marbury pick protection was a terrible disservice to fans. We had to pay that pick years after the regime responsible for trading it was deposed. I think it is, ultimately, better to bite the bullet and pay your debts up front than to let them linger on (and on, and on, and on). To me, swapping (at least in NY land) seems to be done much more flippantly. And, one of these days, we are going to have to learn our lesson.

  85. Z

    callmened: are we able to resign chauncey for less money ($3-4mil)? …assuming he REALLY wants to come back…he would b a great backup at this point in his career…but i dont think he fits the dantoni system…but then again, i dont like the system…  

    Do you mean buy him out, then re-sign him? I don’t think he’d go for that. You’d have to give him Richard Jefferson like insentive. (or are you talking post 2012?)

    Re: 89– that leaves a starting lineup of Amar’e, Melo, TD, Fields, and D’Andre as our “all in” team. I don’t think it is better than what Billup’s expiring could potentially bring in next February.

    I think it is a definite that Billups is NOT being bought out this June. His expiring contract is simply worth more than he is in 2012.

  86. BigBlueAL

    How about the Heat losing tonight in Cleveland on purpose because they want the 3 seed and no part of the Knicks in the 1st round!!!! lol

  87. callmened

    whats the window for getting the most out of Amare’s knees though? Can this team afford to wait until 2012. Also, are we gonna wait around for another free agent to come?

    overall, im just tired of waiting. I realize that this yrs team wasnt supposed to be good. Now Im thinking of improving for next yr. We need more defense. I dont think Melo is the problem. Its lack of D. I think the focus should be on bringing in defensive players and a more defensive (or atleast balanced) coach.

    i just dont think we need a 3rd star. I just think we need a better coach and defensive role players to build around Melo and STAT

  88. Frank

    Owen:
    “My friends all asked me if I was crazy,” Gadinsky said. “I told them, no, I am just tired. … I am tired of being loyal to a man who has not returned that loyalty.”  

    That’s a little harsh I think. Dolan has shown plenty of loyalty. To Isiah. To mediocrity. To meddling at exactly the wrong times.

    One thing about Dolan though – as misguided as he may be, at least he is willing to spend money. I’d still rather have him than someone like Sarver, Sterling, or this McCourt guy.

  89. Caleb

    Z:
    I’m not so sure about this. What happens when you start “protecting” picks is that you just have to pay them out later.   

    I’m not saying a flip should be done lightly – look at the Noah vs. Chandler example. But it can be done strategically.

    I am saying, the draft is top-heavy so your biggest liability is missing out on those top picks. I’d even look at the Marbury pick as a good example – losing the #9 pick hurt, but can you imagine what it would feel like if we’d ping-ponged into the top 3?

    But you are right in that GMs have an incentive to trade future picks, and protecting them just makes it more likely that the back-end of the trade happens when the GM – cough Isiah cough cough – is long gone.

  90. jon abbey

    Frank:
    One thing about Dolan though – as misguided as he may be, at least he is willing to spend money. I’d still rather have him than someone like Sarver, Sterling, or this McCourt guy.  

    yep, like syphilis instead of AIDS.

  91. latke

    If the Knicks can just play like a normal average team, I still think they have a 40/60 shot of passing Philly and moving back up to #6… If they want to. I don’t know — I think I’d rather play the Heat, who will likely end up the 2 seed, than the Celtics.

    5 of NY’s 8 remaining games are against teams well below .500. Of the remaining three, one is against Philly, and the other two are the final two games of the season, vs. Chicago and @ Boston. Boston will almost undoubtedly rest their starters, and Chicago is likely to as well. But perhaps we’ll rest OUR starters too, seeing as Amare looks like he needs a couple weeks in Jamaica. It depends on how MDA looks at matchups. So the game @ Philly may well end up being the most difficult one left on the Knicks’ remaining schedule.

    Philly, on the other hand, plays Houston, Boston, New York, and Orlando. Their only easy ones are vs. Toronto and New Jersey.

    I think both teams are heading right towards 42 wins, so that matchup on April 6th will pretty much decide things.

  92. Caleb

    latke: I think I’d rather play the Heat, who will likely end up the 2 seed, than the Celtics.  

    The Celtics don’t look too scary to me (relatively speaking, of course). Shaq is not looking like much of a factor at this point, I love Rondo but his shooting has been brutal lately, the whole team seems to be wearing down and the roster is pretty thin… I mean, they’ll still probably kill us, but if Miami has their three guys healthy they are even better IMO.

    I also wonder if Philly might be running out of steam just a bit…

  93. Brian Cronin

    I also wonder if Philly might be running out of steam just a bit…

    They just beat Chicago on the road by 12 points.

  94. Caleb

    The night before they lost to the Kings! (although everyone’s doing it these days)

    Philly’s a good team, they just seem to be over their mega hot streak.

    They do finish with 4 home games – us, two cupcakes and Orlando’s subs.

  95. citizen

    Here’s a hypothetical: would you prefer to get swept in the playoffs with a slightly higher pick (as the 7th or even 8th seed), or win just one game and move down a pick? What if it was the difference between going down 4-1 or 4-2? 4-2 or 4-3?

    I would prefer the higher pick in all three cases…

  96. Caleb

    the draft is order is locked in before the playoffs (at least, the coin flip and lottery odds are locked in).

    But if you mean, would I rather our team be slightly better, or slightly worse and get a higher pick? – I vote for the better team. The difference between the #16 and the #18 pick isn’t much. I’d much rather be happily surprised, discovering that the Melozoic Knicks are actually pretty good and just a couple of players away, as opposed to a capped out .500 team.

  97. Frank

    How do people feel about the 2 teams we’re likely to face? I might rather face the celtics at this point. They are only 8-7 in March with losses to Houston, LAC, Indiana, Charlotte, and New Jersey. We’ve been extremely competitive with them just about every game this year.

    Playing Lebron and Wade in the playoffs still scares the hell out of me. I kinda want no part of Miami in the playoffs, as flawed as that team is.

  98. citizen

    Caleb: the draft is order is locked in before the playoffs (at least, the coin flip and lottery odds are locked in).
    But if you mean, would I rather our team be slightly better, or slightly worse and get a higher pick? – I vote for the better team. The difference between the #16 and the #18 pick isn’t much. I’d much rather be happily surprised, discovering that the Melozoic Knicks are actually pretty good and just a couple of players away, as opposed to a capped out .500 team.  

    Yeah sorry if that was confusing. I meant, assuming we have a better chance against the #3 seed than against the #2 or #1 (but a very small chance of winning the series in any case), would you still prefer to be the #7 or #8 seed rather than the #6 seed, since it would give us a slightly higher draft pick. The reason I bring this up is that we have seen instances where that one pick does make a difference. Weren’t there some reports that Walsh drafted Jordan Hill as a panic/fallback since Curry went off the board right before our pick?

  99. hoolahoop

    Caleb: The Celtics don’t look too scary to me (relatively speaking, of course).

    I think the Celtics are the most dangerous team in the east, followed by Miami. If there’s one team in the NBA that’s battle-tested, it’s Boston.

  100. Caleb

    John Hollinger is up with a piece on the Knicks and Melo… don’t think I could say it any better.

    And, Brian and I are up in the 5-on-5 battle of the New York area:

    They mis-edited one of my answers, though. Here’s the original:

    4. Fact or Fiction: D-Will should sign an extension with the Nets?

    If I’m D-Will, I’m saying, “Can Billy King sign anyone else (good)? Will the Brooklyn arena be ready before 2015? Will Brook Lopez ever get 10 rebounds in a game?” If I’m Mikhail Prokhorov, I’m saying, “Yessssssss!”

    …and the edited version:
    Fiction/Fact. Depends on who is answering the question.

    If I’m D-Will, I’m saying: “Can Billy King sign anyone else (good)? Will the Brooklyn arena be ready before 2015? Will Brook Lopez ever average 10 rebounds a game?”

    If I’m Mikhail Prokhorov, I’m saying, “Yes!”

  101. Robert Silverman

    Caleb: John Hollinger is up with a piece on the Knicks and Melo… don’t think I could say it any better.
    And, Brian and I are up in the 5-on-5 battle of the New York area:They mis-edited one of my answers, though. Here’s the original:4. Fact or Fiction: D-Will should sign an extension with the Nets?If I’m D-Will, I’m saying, “Can Billy King sign anyone else (good)? Will the Brooklyn arena be ready before 2015? Will Brook Lopez ever get 10 rebounds in a game?” If I’m Mikhail Prokhorov, I’m saying, “Yessssssss!”
    …and the edited version:
    Fiction/Fact. Depends on who is answering the question.If I’m D-Will, I’m saying: “Can Billy King sign anyone else (good)? Will the Brooklyn arena be ready before 2015? Will Brook Lopez ever average 10 rebounds a game?”If I’m Mikhail Prokhorov, I’m saying, “Yes!”  

    Great job guys! Hopefully you won’t get as much hate mail as I did (seriously)

  102. Jim Cavan Post author

    Robert Silverman: Great job guys! Hopefully you won’t get as much hate mail as I did (seriously)

    Agreed. Great job by the both of yous. Robert: is it not astounding how vitriolic the comments are for the DD and ESPN in general? I keep waiting for bullets to fly through my window.

  103. Robert Silverman

    Jim Cavan:
    Agreed. Great job by the both of yous. Robert: is it not astounding how vitriolic the comments are for the DD and ESPN in general? I keep waiting for bullets to fly through my window.  

    I guess that’s the norm when one of us leaves the comfortable, loving cul-de-sac that is Knickerblogger

  104. Jim Cavan Post author

    KnickerBlogger is an ESPN affiliate in the TrueHoop Network. So when they need content relating specifically to the Knicks, they contact the K-Blogger writers.

  105. Brian Cronin

    Williams may be the best point guard in the NBA not named Derrick Rose, but he cannot take over a game the way the other two can.

    Preeeeeeeetty sure that the “second-best point guard in the NBA” should be able to “take over a game.”

    It is not surprising how everyone voted on that one.

    I think that came out well, editing issues notwithstanding (I was edited slightly, as well, but it was to correct a grammatical error, so that’s cool by me! I wish they caught my typo in “Seven Secords of Less”).

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