Knicks 125 Nuggets 128

From my perspective I don’t expect for there to be a lot of change in the end of games until the lineup changes. Again Chris Duhon, Hughes, and Harrington were among the top minute getters (along with Chandler). Again Harrington had a lot of points, but failed to get his teammates involved. Again Robinson played well without getting many minutes (36 minutes total). Toney Douglas spent the whole game on the bench, while Jared Jeffries saw 21 minutes of court time.

After tonight’s game, my wife asked “the Knicks seem to be losing a lot of close games, isn’t that a good sign?” I replied “good teams win a lot of blowouts, bad teams lose a lot of close games.” Perhaps this is just an extension of the “Guts and Stomps” theory, but I think it applies to tonight’s game. The Knicks had a last second opportunity to tie the game, but the refs didn’t call a foul on a Larry Hughes three point attempt. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if it was the right call, because there would have been a lot of “ifs” for the Knicks to actually win this game. If the refs make the call, if Hughes hits all three free throws, and if the Knicks win in overtime. In other words, it’s more likely that the Knicks lose than win.

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Mike Kurylo

Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

70 thoughts to “Knicks 125 Nuggets 128”

  1. The thing that frustrates the shit out of me is how short a leash Gallo and Nate have while Duhon can seemingly do no wrong.

  2. “The thing that frustrates the shit out of me is how short a leash Gallo and Nate have while Duhon can seemingly do no wrong.”

    I agree, although tonight was one time I thought Duhon should have been on the court. But when he stops and pops from 28 feet, I want to strangle the guy…

    Jennings had his third straight poor game tonight, we obviously made the right decision with Hill!

  3. I’m sorry – the refs were screwing the Nix all game long. The Hughes non-call at the buzzer was just the last straw. Anthony got calls if you, pardon my french, farted near him, while any Knick who went to the basket could pretty much count on getting clobbered w/nary a whistle to be found.

    I’m pissed.

    That said, a lot of good signs for this team. Duhon played much better. Harrington was dominant. Lee was, well..Lee and Hughes was very solid.

  4. Yeah, as annoying as this team is to watch, they actually played pretty well tonight.

    Oh well, at least things get easier with their upcoming games…wait, they play who twice in the next three games? With who wedged in between?


  5. “the refs were screwing the Nix all game long. The Hughes non-call at the buzzer was just the last straw.”

    I’m not sure what the refs did wrong on the last play. They reviewed the video and decided that Hughes was either not in the act of shooting, was fouled after the horn, or was standing out of bounds before the foul was committed. Did the video replay show otherwise?

  6. They decided Hughes wasn’t in the act of shooting. If his last name was Bryant or Wade, they might have decided otherwise.

  7. Gallo deserved to be benched for once, he looked as bad as I’ve ever seen him. Sometimes he gets the ball and passes it as soon as he touches it, inexplicable and infuriating.

    By far the best game we’ve played all year despite Danilo’s no-show, Denver hasn’t lost at home since March and I thought they played well tonight.

  8. Hughes wasn’t fouled at the end. Frankly, I thought Nate should have just launched the 3, even with guys draped on him…don’t know what he was thinking trying a cross court pass with a second left.

    Gallo didn’t deserve the time. His only 2 baskets were off of designed plays (a baseline cut off of a weakside post screen) to free him under the basket. And he was constantly getting burned on Melo leaking off of any Knicks miss. He missed all five of his jumpers and was stuffed on 3 different inside shots.

    I quickly re-watched a lot of the game and the 2nd quarter was probably as good as any quarter we’ve had in terms of ball movement. I have no problems with vets getting most of the minutes if young players can see an effort this good. And frankly, Jeffries made way more of his minutes than Gallo did with his.

    On the other hand, Hughes had a bad 4th quarter defensively. Billups pretty much destroyed him one on one in the last five minutes. That matchup ultimately tipped the scales more than Melo’s FTs (which you expect to some degree).

    I can live with this kind of game on the road against one of the best teams in the league. The issue is whether they can do this well on a more consistent basis without needing 40 points from Al Harrington every time.

  9. Solid effort, really can’t complain.

    The refereeing in the NBA is generally pretty atrocious, not sure why the league cared whether they had replacement refs or the regular refs.

    Duhon actually had one of his best games of the season (as pathetic as that is), but why are Chandler and Duhon still #1 and #3 in minutes??? I don’t get to see practice, but how much worse could Douglas and Landry really be? If they are a lot worse, could we at least get a chance to find out? I feel like D’Antoni continues to over inflate the defensive value or savvy or something of his veterans in his mind.

    Jared Jeffries 3rd in FTAs on the team? WC and Gallo with zero combined attempts? Really?

    “Sometimes he gets the ball and passes it as soon as he touches it, inexplicable and infuriating.”

    Yeah, that whole ball movement concept is so crazy…

  10. I’m pretty sure that Pat Riley would have this team compete every night. Yes, the current Knicks would not be an elite team with Riley, either, but we would get a much better, much more consistent performance every time.

    Or to put things in perspective, for 2010: the team on the court last night would make it to the second round of the playoffs with the addition of two free agents:

    1. A top player a-la Wade, Lebron or Bosch
    2. A good coach with a good team of assistants

    If they bring 3 free agents, they have a very good chance of going to the finals:

    1. Two top players
    2. A good coach with a good team of assistants

    I think this team is not as bad as it plays. The players lack direction, the teams as a whole lacks direction and it is D’Antoni’s fault, because:

    1. He plays his favorite players instead of playing the best players
    2. He can’t coach defense
    3. He can’t coach offense – the Knicks are a terrible offensive team – so much for D’Antoni’s “strenght”.
    3. He plays a random lineup every time, hoping something will happen. And this is what his “system” is producing so far:

    1.Abysmal performances and shameful record
    2. Young players not getting the time to develop their skills, in spite of the team having nothing to play for, except the future
    3. Regressing players: Chandler and Gallo, the players generally considered part of the team’s future have gone south under D’Antoni’s senseless, absurd coaching.

    The future looks bleak, and last night’s good game – in spite of the loss – proves that the team is not as bad as its record and play would indicate. They just need a coach that will provide them with the right system. D’Antoni will fail miserably in New York, Lebron or no Lebron.

    Put Lebron on this team today – with D’Antoni at the helm – and they will probably make the first round. So what?

  11. I’m not a Gallo apologist by any means, but it looks like his back is acting up. That night recently when he was laying flat on the sidelines was certainly a clue. I don’t remember whether he had surgery or simply rest last year. If his back is not right, it’s silly to count on him. My guess is that he’ll get an MRI pretty soon.

  12. The best part of the Mike D’Antoni situation – whenever he is done coaching the team, everyone in the NBA will just say that the NY Knicks was a tough situation and people will just give him a pass. No matter what happens, the downside for D’Antoni is very low. Asymmetry of risk never ends well.

  13. idk, zulu. i feel like coaches go through the ringer with this kind of season. in fact, i think bad seasons are more typically placed on the coach than on the players. if you look at lawrence frank, he is one of the most well prepared coaches in this league and his players believe in him. yet, he is probably going to get the axe after they lose to the lakers and bring their record to 0-17. maybe the press will be kind to him, but he will surely be the one to take the fall for a team that was without three starters for most of the season, including d. harris, and also three key reserves. people tend to place too much emphasis on a coach’s win percentage and rarely look at a player’s win percentage when determining a team’s success.

  14. sandy, zulu…
    i disagree…rod thorn knows what he’s doing and is not inept like the knicks regime of the last 20 yrs…. and d’antoni does have a tough situation to coach as does walsh in rebuilding a team..we’ve all been happy with the progress so far!

  15. “I’m pretty sure that Pat Riley would have this team compete every night. Yes, the current Knicks would not be an elite team with Riley, either, but we would get a much better, much more consistent performance every time.”

    Riley has had his moments as well. When he had good teams, they did well, when he didn’t, they didn’t. I watched virtually every Knick game during the Riley era, and I can assure you that they had their share of putrid performances, as did Miami before Riley moved upstairs after his team won 27 games in 2002-2003.

    By and large, the NBA is a player’s league. Coaches and systems make a difference, but you still need the players. Nobody had to fire Ewing and Oak up to play D every night. No NBA coach that ever lived could get consistent performances out of this team.

    Someone described the Knicks to me yesterday as a team of 6th and 7th men. I thought that hit the nail right on the head, and explains the maddening inconsistency of this team, and the difficulty in coming up with a starting lineup.

  16. I agree that the “coach as motivator” thing is way overrated. Take the Jets, after 3 games, everyone thought Rex Ryan’s “rah rah, take no prisoners” approach was working and firing up the team, and where are they now? Another example is when Larry Brown came to the Knicks, he was known as a tough, defensive coach and he basically gave up when he thought he wasn’t getting through to anyone. Now it’s hard to argue with the record of a coach like Skiles, who really does seem to get the maximum result from so-so talent, but of course his record is of burning out his teams with all the screaming and intensity and then moving on.

    My only problem with D’Antoni is with his rotations. I don’t think the Knicks’ chances of winning would be diminished that much if he gave Douglas and Hill 10 minutes of playing time. They can both play some D, so if we’re willing to have the offensively inept Jeffries out there, why not these guys?

  17. Ted, I think you misunderstood me. Gallinari has a hard time getting the ball in general: his teammates sometimes ignore him, he rarely moves to try to get it, and the team ‘philosophy’ is to shoot quickly. so it’s irritating when he does get it and he passes it literally instantly without even seeming to consider the possibility of making a move himself. it looks like he’s playing hot potato, it’s pretty odd.

  18. Continuing the trend of the Knicks making scrubs look like All-Stars, Donte Green was 1-2 with 3 points and 1 rebound for Sac. last night against NJ, after putting up LeBron-like numbers against us.

  19. Berri crunched the data on coaches and found little or no effect from coaching. The largest effect he found was with Phil Jackson which lends some credibility to the results, as does the fact that Tim Floyd had the largest statistically significant negative effect I think. None of the APBR types seem to have a problem with this work, unlike his performance metric. Simply put, it’s very difficult to find the impact of coaches looking at box score data.

    I know Adjusted +/- types think coaches matter more. Carlisle was hired by the Mavericks because apparently they have a method for analyzing coaching and he came out at the top of it. But even there the effect is quite small, 2-3 games in either direction. The preponderance of evidence, including the number of coaches of the year fired of late, suggests that coaches matter very little. What matters, basically, is the quality of players on the floor.

    Captain Obvious, I know, but coaches are a huge part of what we see and talk about, out of all proportion to their actual impact.

  20. yea, the knicks ball movement was pretty good last night. many times denver defenders stood there as we laid the ball in or dunked it off nice ball movement. denver is the in the middle of the pack in defensive efficiency, but last night their help defense was bad. hopefully it was more due to the knicks offense!

  21. Jon,

    I was just kidding around. I know it’s frustrating. It’s a bit of a conundrum that was brought up in a previous thread: should Gallo try to play team basketball on a me-first team in a me-first league, or should he just deal with the reality that he’s one of the Knicks best scorers and no one on the team is going to move the ball so he should just shoot it when he gets it? Hard to say, but on a 2-10 night I guess passing the ball isn’t so bad especially if his back is still not right (he was lying on the ground earlier in the season, too, and Steve Nash is always lying on the ground so I don’t strictly buy that as a reason his back isn’t right, but any sign of tightness or whatever makes me nervous).
    The other issue, assuming he’s healthy, that’s been an issue all season is when D’Antoni gets in his veterans faces about not getting the ball to their best shooter and/or gets his best shooter moving more off the ball. Maybe he doesn’t want to come across as favoring Gallo (both since he’s a friend of Gallo’s dad, which makes D’Antoni look bad, and maybe to let Gallo establish himself without help, to help Gallo mature and develop into a leader). At some point, though, it’s bad coaching not to tell your players (none of whom besides Nate has hit more than 1/3 of their 3s this season) to hit the open 42% 3-pt shooter.


    You have a point since Greene did have his best night of the season against the Knicks (despite 5 TOs), but I wouldn’t call him a scrub. He’s putting up 19.5 pts/36 (2nd to Martin on the Kings) on a TS% of .657 (38.3% from 3) so far this season. His rebounding is laughable for a guy who was 6-9 at the combine and now listed at 6-11 and I’m not sure about his defense, but the guy can score.

  22. Well said Owen. I agree that coaching doesn’t have too much to do with team success. A lot of people would probably argue it matters more in the playoffs, so I would be interested to hear if those metrics offer any insight into the playoffs.
    I would also say that coaching may be more important with young players (like 19, 20 young), who generally have more to learn and are forming habits, or just raw players generally. I don’t know if teams do this, but I would probably have one coach devoted to player development. I don’t think you can work miracles, but I do think you can teach most guys the right way to play.

    Phil Jackson has had incredible timing.

  23. Anyone else find the fact that T-Mac says he’s ready to play, and the Rockets are saying they will be “monitoring his progress over the next few weeks”? Sounds to me like they are planning to move him ASAP and don’t want him to play any more games as a Rocket.

  24. I think coaches have a great impact on teams for several obvious reasons:

    1. They determines who plays
    2. They determine how long and how often a player sits or plays
    3. They determine the best team to put on the floor at any given time
    4. They have input on personnel decisions – D’Antoni is 100% responsible for Marbury’s exhile, for example. Regardless your personal opinion on this matter, most people would agree that this decision had a profound impact on the team
    5. Coaches work during practice to – suppossedly – help players correct their flaws, improve their strenghts and make surte everyone is physically and mentally ready for the game
    6. Coaches are incharge of keeping the lockerroom chemistry at a healthy level. Bad coaching can alienate players – who knows what D’Antoni’s love affair with Duhon is doing to players’ minds? What does Gallo think of D’Antoni not demanding that he get the ball more often?
    7. Coaches determine the go-to men. Who’s the Knicks’s leader?
    8. Coaches determine team strategy during play. Check out last night’s game: when Jeffries is in the game and the Knicks have the ball, he often stands quietly beyond the 3-point arc. He is definitely not a 3-point threat. What on earth is he doing standing on a corner like there is a real possibility the Knicks will get some scoring from him? When that happens, the Knicks are effectively playing 4 against 5. The coach is responsible for this nonsense.

    In short: the coach does play a big role – all we have to do is remember that it is D’Antoni who keeps Duhon out there far longer than most people would like. Don’t you think this has a deep impact on the game?

    As always, that’s my opinion from simple observation. I’m not big on stats, because I don’t think many of these factors can be measured by stats. Most of the time I prefer to just watch and go with my feeling based on what I see. I don’t need stats to know that Duhon sucks and that Darko, Douglas, Gallo and Hill should get the same preferential treatment that Duhon – for some unknown reason – gets.

  25. LMAO, check out the latest tweet from Fake Coach D’Antoni:

    “New team rule: Chris Duhon can only shoot a three if he is WIDE open and if every other player on the roster has fouled out.”

  26. I agree more with Owen than Irvin. I think at lower levels of the game, things like correcting flaws, and chemistry might mean more, but at the highest level of competition I think they are overrated. And again I think the only times you truly see it are at the extreme, the greatest and worst coaches in the league.

  27. I think Irvin is right in theory, but in practice, Owen and Berri are probably correct to believe in the numbers.

    All of Irvin’s 8 points are good. However, I think there is probably very little variance in how coaches operate within the confines of the points. For example, NBA coaches, if given a 12 man roster, would probably all agree for the most part on the distribution of minutes, and the rogue “free-thinking” coaches are probably outliers.

    And when it comes to NBA players, like Mike says, there’s not much impact a coach can have on a game once the players are on the floor and the ball is inbounded. Even in set plays the players ultimately have control (and more often than not exercise that control). For example, D’Antoni can draw up a nifty double-screen to free up Gallinari for a three, but if Al Harrington touches the ball, the play ends there.

    But Berri and Owen aside, I do think that there are different coaches for different situations, and the right fit makes a difference in the course of a season and playoff. Maybe not a huge difference, but even if Berri’s conservative “2-3 games in either direction” is accurate, that could be the difference between the playoffs and the lottery, or the championship and an also-ran.

    I think D’Antoni is the wrong fit for this team, and has looked foolish over the first few weeks of the season. I don’t think the Knicks would have a worse record if Herb Williams had been head coach. But in the end, I think respect is the most important trait for a coach to have, and if players respect D’Antoni, then it is pointless to replace him. When he loses the respect of the players (as we’ve seen happen to coaches over the years, most recently with Isiah) that is when I think a coach should be fired.

  28. “In short: the coach does play a big role.”

    I am not saying a coach does nothing. If a coach can attract star players, that is definitely a huge plus. If he plays the wrong players that is a problem. But on average, it’s very hard to measure a coach’s impact on wins. His role in producing wins is tiny compared to the role he plays in our daily dialogue about the team.

    So, basically, what they said…

  29. Well put, Z, although I don’t agree with your take on D’Antoni. There is no coach that is the “right fit” for this current team. I don’t think there is a coach alive that has this team playing significanly better than they are right now. As I said earlier, this is basically a team of 6th men or worse, more due to individual inconsistency than talent (Lee is the exception in that he is very consistent, but if he is the best and most consistent player on the team, what does that really say?) Every player on the team has at least one glaring fundamental flaw (except maybe Lee when he plays PF) that on any given night will cxl out his positives.

    Out of curiosity (not animosity, I like Duhon as a person, I think) I was actually hoping that Duhon’s injury was enough to keep him out for a game or two, just to see how Nate and Toney would respond.

  30. irvin,

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that NBA teams should all fire their head coaches and let the players manage themselves. The question is how much coaching impacts the number of games a team wins and how far they go in the playoffs vs. talent. I just cannot see any argument that coaching is anywhere near as important. A quantitative approach is the only way to determine with any degree of certainty how large an impact coaches have on wins. Otherwise it’s a bunch of people giving their opinion and there’s no way to determine who is right. I don’t know what the answer is, but if you’re just going to say “I won’t even glance at the numbers…” then there can be no discussion.

    I would take a serious look into statistical analysis of basketball players if I were you. I came to this site several years ago with a similar anti-stats attitude. People recommended that I read Basketball on Paper, Hollinger, Berri, etc. and check out sites like and 82… I feel like I’ve learned a whole lot about the game since then.
    Stats are a way to quantify what you see on the court. I don’t think any human, ever, has had a powerful enough brain to remember what 10 guys did on every possession of every game in an NBA season, let alone over 10, 20, 30 NBA seasons. By quantifying what you see on every play you can analyze player performance over a given period of time. Of course, no one keeps stats of what all 10 guys do on every play. You can take as cursory or as in-depth an approach to statistical analysis as you like.


    I agree with your contingency theory of coaching effectiveness. I have no proof to back me up, but it does seem that some “system” coaches will have more success in certain situations.

  31. coaches mostly matter in terms of putting the right guys on the floor, which they generally seem pretty bad at. ask Renaldo Balkman how much coaches matter.

  32. All good points, guys. But I actually LIKE D’Antoni, more than I have any Knick coach since, well…Holzman. I know Riley/Van Gundy both crafted winning teams, but watching them slug it out night after night was ugly basketball.

    With the right players, D’Antoni is capable of building a team that is beautiful to watch (like the ’04-’07 Suns). And that’s the possibility that I’m holding out for.

  33. Z-Man,

    D’Antoni had this team playing significantly better offensively himself last season. Their pythagorean W-L is 5-11 so far this season. I think it’s fair to say that they’re underachieved. Not to say they’re even a .500 team, but could/should probably be (roughly) more of a 30 win team than 20 win team.

    It’s reasonable to put part of that on bad coaching by D’Antoni. Coaches might have the biggest impact on their teams when they screw up. Continuing to play Duhon, and heavy minutes no less, throughout this horrid stretch of play has proven to be a mistake so far. Duhon’s play may have cost the Knicks a win/wins this season (there’s no way to say how his backups would have handled the minutes… unless you actually played them and benched him that is… you know, maybe one of those 13 loses would have been better used finding out if benching Duhon is addition by subtraction). The system also seems to be a very poor fit for this team. They’re not particularly athletic, they don’t shoot well, they don’t make good decisions with the ball… A nice controlled motion offense would work a lot better for this team than the frantic 7SOL approach, in my opinion.

    I don’t fault D’Antoni much for bad defense, since this is a bad defensive team. A defensive center would obviously be the biggest improvement. Darko has played poorly in limited minutes and Curry is Curry, so my vote is that playing Hill and Lee together might be the Knicks’ best frontcourt overall. (We have to see more of Hill before we know… and Hill has played well in limited minutes, so it would really be nice to see what he can do before the season is over.) D’Antoni refusal to play two bigmen together is getting to be Don Nelson-level crazy: Lee hasn’t played more than 15 minutes with any unit including another bigman all season. It doesn’t fit in “the system” but it might be best for the team… what do you do there? I would scrap the system momentarily rather than stubbornly stink.

    I would also like to see Landry pick up some of Chandler’s minutes at some point. Chandler clearly stinks, Landry might also but it would be nice to find out. He’s not his brother, but Carl was very productive in 17 mpg as a rookie.

  34. D’Antoni has said he has changed the offense to run less and try to be more productive in the half-court. I liked the way the offense ran last night and it would be nice if Gallo would continue to do what he did last night in his 2 baskets rather than just stand in the corner.

    Of course everyone hear knows Im a HUGE advocate of less Duhon…

  35. “Out of curiosity (not animosity,)”

    That’s going into my favorite phrases of the week, right next to…

    “Jr Smith: infinite range, no conscience.

  36. Ted nelson wrote:

    “I would take a serious look into statistical analysis of basketball players if I were you. I came to this site several years ago with a similar anti-stats attitude.”

    Actually, you’re mistaken about me. I don’t have any aversion to stats. I didn’t come here to convince anyone that stats are useless. Like you, I believe stats can be very useful. I only mentioned stats in my post to stress the fact that SOMETIMES it is good to just use your experience, knowledge and simple observation to get an idea of what’s really going on in the basketball court. In the Knicks’ case, there is no need for stats to see the glaring weakness that Duhon is as their starting point guard. There is no need for stats to notice that D’Antoni’s decisions can deeply impact the team’s performance. That was my point. I’m sorry you missed it.

  37. I’m burned out on the coaching topic. So I’ll just say I agree with Owen. :-) But I love Ted’s suggestions and they’re all on point and very reasonable.

    As far as playing the younger players and giving Gallo more looks etc., this team is headed for a 3-17 record, even if they keep playing like they did last night. It’s only a matter of time before the young guys will get more playing time — whether it happens in game 20 or game 25 really isn’t a big issue to me. If by some miracle, another team is tempted to take Harrington or Jeffries of our hands for draft picks or other assets, it’s a bonus.

    But as far as Gallo is concerned, I think it’s up to him at this point to play like he deserves more looks and more time. Earlier in the season, there were lots of instances where guys like Nate or Hughes seemed to be ignoring him or missing him for open looks. But everyone’s scouting report now has Gallo as someone to watch outside the arc, so he’s rarely wide open anymore.

    I would be happy for Gallo to start demanding the ball and getting the kinds of looks off pick and roll ball reversals like Harrington does, and for Gallo to start bulling to the hoop or running his own pick and rolls like a point forward. But right now, he can’t even dribble without turning it over, and his playmaking has been surprisingly limited. He plays to contact inside pretty awkwardly — he’s a long way from even being Al Harrington as far as creating with the dribble goes, let alone Dirk or Hedo or Melo. Part of the problem may be that he doesn’t have other good shooters around him, since everyone’s so bad this year — last year, he was really good playing with Nate and Harrington and Tim Thomas, according to adjusted +/-.

    He doesn’t even seem to catch and shoot as effectively as he did last year — seems to need an extra half-second to second when he gathers himself before you know the shot is going in. (i wish I had the Synergy video for Knicks games so I could run a stopwatch and verify (or refute) this for myself).

    The team could maybe look for him a little more or run more dedicated screen plays (like the weakside screen I mentioned earlier in the thread), but at some point, Gallo’s got to adjust to the pace of the game and what opposing defenses are doing. I do think he’ll get there eventually, assuming his back really is OK and hasn’t regressed.

  38. Someone talked about Breen calling out Nate on his D but never calling out Lee on his. The only problem with this is that Lee is playing out of position. Curry needs to start, and believe me folks it pains me to say it. With LEE AT THE FOUR, DO YOU HEAR ME YOU LAME EXCUSE FOR A COACH, LEE AT THE FOUR. How many tips have we won? More importantly, HOW MANY DUNKS HAVE WE GIVEN UP? When Curry bruises his shin, we bring in Darko at the five. Seven footers to guard seven footers, YOU MISERABLE MILLIONAIRE FAKER POSER PRETEND COACH. I love how people find positives in a two point loss to Denver and don’t talk about how we gave up ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT POINTS. Somehow the offense was good enough to keep it close this time! AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES ME MAD MR. I WON WITH STEVE NASH. YOU GUYS COULD HOLD THE OPPOSITION UNDER THIRTY IN A QUARTER IF YOU JUST STOPPED CREATING MISMATCHES WITH YOUR IDIOTIC LINEUPS. Any freakin’ college team with big enough guys should be able to do better on defense. It’s like a baseball team with a 10+ era.

    Now, I have no doubt that Eddy and Darko will get toasted too, but it’s the concept. You know, the right size people to guard their counterpart on the basketball court. I’m no expert but it seems simple enough.

  39. Silverman..I think D’Antoni can be a great coach, but regardless of the talent he has-he’s still doin a horrible job at coaching. For starters, look at the little to no minutes that he’s giving the rookies. They are supposed to represent the future and only playing time is gonna help them develop. Secondly, he is not coaching to his players strengths. There is no way Harrington, Hughes, Chandler, and even Rooster should be shooting long jumpers all game long. Third, his defensive schemes are abysmal. On top of of that, he never plays his best interior defender. Darko’s no Mutombo, but he can help make it harder for guys to score in the paint against us. Also Landry’s a good defender, problee better than Jeffries, and a better shooter to boot. But I understand the PT he gives JJ, we wanna showcase him so we can move him. That said, on the other side of D’Antoni’s deficiencies, better players will make him look better. But I want a winning team that competes on both sides of the court, not just an entertaining team. 110ppg is great, we haven’t had that in my entire time as a knick fan…but it’s been proven that a one dimensional team does not win championships in the NBA. I suggest D’Antoni puts a defensive specialist on his staff and that he also teaches the players to play to their strengths and limit the dependency on 20 footers.

  40. In all honesty really this team will suck no matter who coaches them. They won 32 games last year and nobody complained about D’Antoni’s coaching, far from it actually. What all of a sudden he forgot to coach??

    This team will still most likely win around 30 games which is really all you can expect from this roster. If they win only 25 or so really the difference of a few wins is it really worth getting this worked up about D’Antoni over this current team?? Next season assuming the roster is significantly upgraded then fine it can be open season on D’Antoni but for now except for his man-crush on Duhon you cant really give him that much blame.

    Now if in March and April when this team is 100% out of the playoff hunt the rookies dont start getting significant minutes then I’ll be really pissed….

  41. This coaching discussion got me reminiscing about recent past debacles. I wasn’t a visitor to this site back in 2006, so I thought I’d hit the archives and see what my favorite KB writers were saying about Larry Brown back then, and see if any of it applied to the current discussion.

    Here’s Dr. Crockett’s take (June 5th, 2006)

    “Brown was truly wretched this season…Losing Brown may not be any huge tragedy. I am not sure any amount of coaching can mold this roster into a legit title contender. So, this could be as good a time as any for Brown to exit. The important question for me is where would that leave the Knicks?

    Camp Cablevision appeared to have hired Brown for the wrong reason in the first place. They hired Brown to get NY to the Eastern Conference playoffs and then see what happened; probably figuring that where Don Chaney [sic] got swept Brown might have actually won such a series or at least a couple games. They thought, and I believe still think, they are another scorer and a few defensive drills away from being a contender in the East. This remains the central delusion of the Thomas regime, confirmed by the leaks claiming that it’s cheaper to fire Brown than reconstruct the roster.

    There is a right reason and a wrong reason to force Brown out now. The right reason: he has irretrievably lost the team…The wrong reason to fire Brown: he should have gotten more out of this team.

    The current roster has a 35-45 win ceiling, regardless who coaches it. In fact Brown’s public disparaging of the roster, though tacky and unproductive, was pretty much spot on. The guards really don’t defend. Nobody blocks shots. The roster is filled to the brim with one-dimensional, high turnover players, who had been so long before Brown and his unstable rotations showed up.”

    I think it is interesting how similar the 2006 and 2010 Knicks are. Both had a three rookies on the roster surrounded by highly paid vets; both had expectations to improve on past disasters; neither team owned their 1st round pick; and both got off to horrendous starts that had fans tuning out before December (with a lot of losses that were hopelessly uncompetitive).

    I think David’s assesment of the Brown situation is interesting, and consistent with what has been said here recently.

    As it was in 2006, it’s not the coach’s fault the Knick’s roster sucks. But at the same time, Brown’s stubborn insistence on needing players that could play to his style brought a team much further down that it needed to be. Brown’s downfall was his refusal to adapt.

    D’Antoni is younger than Brown was, more energetic, and doesn’t have the resume that Brown had to fall back on. So I think there is hope for the D’Antoni-Knick marriage to work. But something’s gotta give.

    Basically, unlike Brown in 2006, I hope D’Antoni has it in him to adapt. And Adapt in time not only to save this season, but to save the summer of 2010 as well.

  42. BigBlueAl, exactly.

    I mean, it’s worth criticizing D’Antoni for not playing the kids more, but it’s not like there is a savior sitting on the bench. This is an awful team. Phil Jackson could have a love child with Red Holzman and they couldn’t coach this team to more than 25-30 wins.

    I wish they were playing a bit more like last year — with some passion, staying in games, a tough beat even if ultimately they’re not going to win many games. Until the Denver game, they had mostly been rolling over.

    Blaming D’Antoni for the lack of leadership on the floor is just ridiculous.

  43. Here’s my reasoning for playing the kids…
    In order for Walsh to accomplish what he wants to accomplish this offseason, he would have to renounce the rights to all his FA’s. Among those FA’s who would leave under this scenario are David Lee, Nate and even Duhon. All of whom play the same position as our rookies. If they don’t get PT this season, they will be nowhere near ready to replace those guys statistically. We hafta get them out there 2 see what they can do on a consistent basis. Now, if we land a great players in the offseason to replace them, then it doesn’t matter I guess. Bosh is a FA, as is Amare. But who’s gonna play the point next season? That said…there are no saviors on the roster so I don’t expect the rookies to be great..just ready.

  44. “They thought, and I believe still think, they are another scorer and a few defensive drills away from being a contender in the East. This remains the central delusion of the Thomas regime, confirmed by the leaks claiming that it’s cheaper to fire Brown than reconstruct the roster.”

    Z – Props for pulling out a classic post there, and props to DC who was so on point, as always….

    It is amazing how little has changed. It kills me…

  45. in ’06, the Nix had the highest payroll in the league. By this summer, they’ll be under the cap. That’s certainly a huge difference.

  46. I think I’ve been pretty consistent with my criticism of D’Antoni. If you don’t see reasons to criticize D’Antoni, then I’m not sure what team you’re watching. It’s not about leadership or forgetting how to coach. It’s about making questionable personnel calls on playing time and usage as well as questionable strategic decisions based on a stubborn adherence to a rigid and unconventional system. If you can’t blame the coach for the team’s offensive scheme and substitution patterns, who do you blame? I guess the people who hired the coach, but it’s firstly the coach’s fault.
    The last week and a half have been a lot better, and it’s great to have Nate back.

    Great post, Z, I absolutely think it’s about whether D’Antoni can adapt. Robert makes a good point about the cap difference, but otherwise I keep having deja vu.

    It’s not just about this season. Is this the guy we want coach what will hopefully be a good roster in a year, two, three… whenever the Knicks are actually talented? The big problem I see with D’Antoni long term is that you have to make all personnel decisions with him in mind. Talent is already scarce, why limit the pool you’re looking at so severally? Especially when the type of players that fit D’Anotni’s system (athletes, good jump shooters, good playmakers) are already so highly, and sometimes over, valued around the league. The big difference between D’Antoni in Phoenix and Nelson in GS? (Besides a bottle of whisky a day…) Talent.

  47. Indeed. It’s guaranteed to turn out better than ’06 b/c we will sign major improvements to the team, LBJ or not. Even still D’Antoni has to show me he can coach. He coached well last season, this season it kinda seems like he’s doin some “burned out” coaching. I like D’Antoni, but if he coaches like he is for the rest of the season-it would mean NY stressed him to the max and he is burned out. And what good is a burned out coach? He needs to prepare the team for the future if our plans are so heavily dependent on the FA class of 2010. On top of that, I don’t want Utah to get a high lottery jus wouldn’t be fair lol. Damn you Zeke!!! And Marbury!!

  48. And let me be clear, being under the cap doesn’t mean only rolling the dice w/Wade & LBJ.

    I think the Knicks are trying to collect assets (expiring deals, young talent [as it were]) to get CHRIS PAUL. He’s going to go before 2012 in a KG-type 60 cents on the dollar deal. I’d give up anyone on the roster (including da roosta), and multiple picks to get him.

  49. Ted Nelson wrote:

    “If you don’t see reasons to criticize D’Antoni, then I’m not sure what team you’re watching. It’s not about leadership or forgetting how to coach. It’s about making questionable personnel calls on playing time and usage as well as questionable strategic decisions based on a stubborn adherence to a rigid and unconventional system. If you can’t blame the coach for the team’s offensive scheme and substitution patterns, who do you blame?”


  50. For example, in the summer of 2011, the Knicks could take on Peja’s or David West’s lousy contract and CP3 for Eddy’s expiring (I’m assuming he’s still on the roster), Gallinari, and Jordan Hill.

    Sounds like a plausible deal, n’est pas?

  51. “For example, in the summer of 2011, the Knicks could take on Peja’s or David West’s lousy contract and CP3 for Eddy’s expiring (I’m assuming he’s still on the roster), Gallinari, and Jordan Hill.

    Sounds like a plausible deal, n’est pas?”

    maybe if the Knicks and New Orleans were the only two teams in the league.

  52. Silverman…that is a very good point/idea. No knock on LBJ, but all year long i’ve been sayin that I’d rather have CP3 b/c he’s a dominant PG. And I believe that the point is the most important player on the floor. OK, maybe i’m a lil biased ‘cuz I played PG lol. But I just think that a great PG is more valuable than a great wing. You can’t go wrong either way. I’ll be jumpin for joy if we land either player. But I don’t know about including Rooster in a possible deal for CP3, though we may have to. Hey, I hear the lakers are looking to move Farmar and Vujacic and are lookin for a vet PG. Any chance they’ll take Duhon for Farmar and say Morrison to make the salaries match?

  53. Ted you have all the right in the world to criticize D’Antoni’s coaching this season, hell Ive done it a bunch of times too. I have a problem with the people who just says he sucks as a coach and act as if this team would win 50 games with a real coach.

    Again I think we were all happy with the way he coached this team last season and the style of play was very enjoyable. Remember if this team didnt make the cap trades they couldve very easily made the playoffs last year with a roster that the previous season won 23 games. Im thrilled they made the trades but again I dont think D’Antoni forgot to coach all of a sudden over the summer.

    Im biased to him because again I enjoy watching his press conferences and interviews because he is a good listen and sounds like a very smart coach which is a far cry from the Isiah Thomas years. He was hired to bring respectability to the franchise and to entice players in the future to come play here. Next year will be the defining year of the D’Antoni era and I think he most certainly deserves the chance to see next season at the least out.

  54. Maybe I’ll just be a Bucks fan. It’s more than just Jennings. Illyasova with a double double. Where did he come from? He’s better than Gallinari. Delfino just blocked Petrius’s shot and ran up the floor with a poker face. Bogut isn’t even playing and they’re up by 13 against the Magic. They have at least 4 players better than anyone on the Knicks. People need to stop making excuses for Walshtoni. They stink. They have been beaten by the other execs and coaches in the league. Yes they’ve made cap space but with what they’ve done so far, how are any of you so sure they’ll make the right decision with the cap room? Also, what if the new guy comes in here and gets injured. Then you’re right back to 3-13 and making excuses. NO! Look at what the Celtics did without KG. You have to be a good team to be a good team. Then the superstar puts you over the top. We have to be better at everything right now. 3-13 demands some accountability. Every single player and coach should be on notice. If I read another “blame Duhon” post or another “no coach could win with this roster” post I’m gonna have a stroke. They scored 125 last night and lost! Yeah, but if Gallo just went to the hole more…

    Oh, Jennings three and the lead is 15. Jason Williams back for the Magic. Two offensive rebounds for the Bucks on the next possession, Charlie Bell and then Illyasova with his twelfth. Oh, Jason Williams two strait threes to cut the Magic deficit. He looks great too. We could have had him for one year probably. Well don’t blame Walsh, he couldn’t have known.

    I could never really be a Bucks fan, but I wish we had a team like them, and I say this as I watch Vince give the Magic the lead.

  55. Brandon Jennings 7 for 22 tonight. The way he has shot the ball the last few games he definitely would be a perfect fit for this team….

  56. BBA,

    I’m sure D’Antoni will get until at least next season. We’ll have to see if he deserves it or not. I don’t think the Knicks could have been a playoff team with Crawford and Randolph, and it’s not really fair to say it was a 23 win roster because a very similar roster won 33 games the season before. In fact, the Knicks were the 17th best offensive team in the NBA in 06-07 and the 25th defense, compared to 17th and 23rd last season. I thought he did a good job last season, but nothing spectacular. I generally think he’s a good coach, especially on the offensive side. Whether or not he’s a good coach for this organization, I don’t know. A big thing that turns me off to him as Knicks coach that I haven’t addressed in this thread is his hands off approach, which I think works better with a team of smart veterans than overpaid underachievers and young talent… the Knicks, of course, have the latter.


    “Illyasova with a double double. Where did he come from? He’s better than Gallinari.”

    Originally, Turkey. He spent two seasons on the Bucks at 18 and 19. His rookie season in the D-League. Showed a good outside shot and solid rebounding. Wasn’t overly impressive overall, but also not terrible especially given his age.
    Signed a two year deal with FC Barcelona, one of the best clubs in Europe. Really improved from 20 to 21. Last season he was 2nd in MPG, 3rd in PPG, 1st in RPG, and 1st in 3P% on his team in Spanish league play. His Euroleague numbers were also very impressive: he was the Euroleague MVP for October last year. In short, he was one of the best young players in Europe last season. He played well his first season with Barca as well, but took a lot more of a backseat: 14 mpg in Spanish league, less active on the glass. More spotting up.

  57. Yeah forgot Isiah’s 1st year they were doing decent until Crawford and Lee went down for the season. Well hell Im a 90’s Knicks disciple so Jeff Van Gundy is my favorite coach of all-time!!!! He is getting up there as my favorite announcer too….

  58. “Ilyasova with a double double. Where did he come from? He’s better than Gallinari.”

    Um, no. He’s playing PF on a Bucks team where his only competition for rebounds is Dan Gadzuric. Hence the double-double.

    Gallo’s going through a rough patch, but he’ll be fine. As they said back in the day, take a chill pill, y’all!

  59. I don’t know who is better, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to say Ersan is though. Danilo is definitely a better shooter and scorer generally, but Ersan is definitely a better rebounder (Gadzuric played only 4 minutes, Ersan has a reb-rate of 17 this season before tonight’s 16 rebound performance, and Danilo has never been a rebounder). Ersan plays primarily the 4 spot, where as Danilo really needs to improve his rebounding to play the 4 for any coach outside of D’Antoni and Don Nelson. I would say Danilo has way more offensive potential, but at this point Ersan has a more refined game (and possibly better health) so he may be a better overall player at the moment.

  60. Ted, there’s no Bogut on Milwaukee. He’s the biggest guy on the floor. Of course he’s going to grab 16 boards. When Danilo got 10 and outrebounded Lee did that make him a better rebounder than David Lee?

  61. Robert,

    My observation has absolutely nothing to do with tonight’s Milwaukee game. There’s no way to argue Danilo Gallinari is a better rebounder than Ersan Ilyasova at this point. Ersan had a reb-rate of 17 (or 11 reb/36) GOING INTO TONIGHT’S GAME (and I don’t know how relevant it is, but Bogut has played 9 games this season). Ersan had a reb-rate of 14.1 as an 18 year old in the D-League and 11.2 as a 19 year old in the NBA. He out rebounded former lottery pick Fran Vazquez in Barcelona last season, among others (current Rocket David Andersen, with a reb-rate of 12.3 so far, was another teammate in Barca and got about half as many rebounds per minute as Ersan there… former NBA C Daniel Santiago was also a backup in Barca but he’s a terrible rebounder). Ersan’s a good rebounder for a forward.

    Danilo is not a good rebounder, even for a SF. His reb-rate this season is 8.3 so far, after 7.3 in the time he saw last season. He averaged 4.76 reb/36 in the Euroleague in 07-08, compared to Ersan’s 12.14 reb/36 in the Euroleague last season. Danilo is not a PF and not a good rebounder.

    You can argue that Danilo is a better overall player because his scoring is so valuable that it overshadows what he gives up in defense, rebounding, and playmaking and he plays a different position naturally, or that Danilo will one day be a better rebounder than Ersan… but to date Ersan is a far superior rebounder.

  62. By the way, some people argue that it can actually be easier to rebound when you’re playing with a big center, rather than harder. I remember someone showing that Shaq positively impacts a team’s rebounding beyond his own rebounding and the difference in FG%, probably because all the space he takes up and people he boxes out create easy rebounding opportunities for teammates. That’s part of why I say I don’t know how relevant Bogut being out is. Along with Bogut not being all that great a rebounder anyway (he’s solid, but hardly stands out… last season being the one outlier).

  63. “Brandon Jennings 7 for 22 tonight. The way he has shot the ball the last few games he definitely would be a perfect fit for this team….”

    Yeah, he definitely forced some shots, but I think the NYK comparison is premature. His assists were probably good. I’ll look it up.

    “Um, no. He’s playing PF on a Bucks team where his only competition for rebounds is Dan Gadzuric. Hence the double-double.
    Gallo’s going through a rough patch, but he’ll be fine. As they said back in the day, take a chill pill, y’all!”

    I hope you’re right, Bobby. I’ve been a big Danillo fan. It’s just that I see a lot of unheralded young players on other teams who seem to be as good as our more heralded ones. Hence, my bile re Walsh. This year was supposed to be about finding our secondary options for our big 2010 FA and we’re stuck in the mud on that, seemingly. I mean, as sick as I am of Hughes and Harrington, if you put a lineup out there of our best prospects… Hill, Chandler, Douglas, and Gallo with Lee, we are going to get totally embarrassed. Jennings may or may not be ROY. In a way I hope I’m wrong on that, though I like the kid. It’s just that the Bucks seem to be a lot smarter than us and that was not supposed to happen with Grunfeld (is it Ernie?) and Skiles vs Walshtoni.

  64. Currently, Danilo is only good in one facet of the game, 3 pt shooting. Then again, he is very young and hasn’t played much in the last year and a half. He has lots of upside, but so far has not lived up to the expectations most had for him this year.

    What is most troubling to me is that he seems to have zero explosiveness (back-related?). He can’t break free when athletic guys stay close to him on the perimeter, especially off the dribble. The way he is currently playing, take away his 3 pt shot and he is not really an NBA player.

    This, and other issues, are making this an impossible situation for D’Antoni. In the last 6 games, they have gone 2-4, have played the defending champs and Denver well on the road, took an elite team to overtime, and stunk up the joint in Sac in a game they might have lost even if they played well. Whether Duhon, Chandler and Jeffries, or Hill, Darko and Douglas, get more or less minutes; whether they play SSOL or a slow-down halfcourt game; this team is just plain overmatched on most nights.

    Duhon exemplifies the dilemma that D’Antoni faces. He is clearly the only playmaker on the team. The probability is higher that in the short run, Duhon will regain some confidence and improve his play than it is that Nate or Douglas will develop into playmakers. Eventually, when the season has slipped away, I expect that he will play the kids more.

  65. Duhon is playing slightly better, but why isn’t Robinson getting more time? While I agree that Nate is better suited off the bench, but he should be playing more. And that is based on both visual and statistical analysis.

    However, it would appear that Nate still isn’t out of the doghouse.

    Toney Douglas sighting anyone?

  66. Yes, Ilyasova’s a better rebounder, but the question was, who is the better player. If you called Milw. and offered them Gallo for Ersan straight up, think they’d do it? Um, I’d hazard to say the answer’d be yes.

  67. danvt,

    Bucks GM is John Hammond, former Joe Dumars assistant. He has done a good job of turning over the roster without too many resources, and of recovering from the Joe Alexander pick and RJ trade (both of which were his mistakes, I’m just saying that like Joe D he recovers quickly from his mistakes).
    There’s no way to say for sure whether the Knicks would get embarrassed playing more of Hill, Landry, etc. unless Mike D’Antoni actually tries it at some point. There’s no clear wingman for a LeBron, but the Knicks young guys have impressed me in the minutes they’ve had (besides Wilson Chandler).


    Right now, today, I would not say that Danilo is a better player than Ersan. At least certainly not clearly better.

    You mocked me specifically for calling Ersan a good rebounder, though, which he is. So I responded specifically to your point.

    Danilo Gallinari is a great shooter, a good scorer, has a lot of potential, and I’ve been as big a fan of the guy as anyone here. What has he showed us at the NBA level besides a great outside shot, though? He’s not making plays for others, he doesn’t rebound, and his defense is questionable. He gets 24% of his “close” shots blocked and can’t rebound, so at this point I think it’s fair to say he’s not a PF.
    Ersan Ilyasova has a more refined game at this point, after taking his knocks in the NBA for two seasons and then developing in Spain for two more. He’s a good scorer and outside shooter, though not as ridiculously efficient as Danilo. He’s a better rebounder. He gets more assists and turns it over less. He seems to be a better defender (based on opponents PER and having a very strong defensive +/- on a good defensive team).
    If they were only thinking about this season, I don’t know that the Bucks would trade Ersan for Danilo; although, Danilo is a terrifically efficient scorer and that does count for a whole lot. Of course, Danilo has more theoretical potential, since he’s an incredibly efficient scorer and hasn’t yet developed other aspects of his game that we think he can or even caught up to the quickness of the NBA game. If they were both drafted in a similar spot, though, would we necessarily assume Danilo’s potential is so much higher than Ersan’s? Danilo is only one year younger than Ersan and has a bad back…

  68. Z-man,

    This is not a good team. No one expects them to win 50 games, or even 40. I really believe that there is a good case for why 7SOL is not the right fit for this team, and apparently even D’Antoni has admitted that and changed his strategy. I am not saying slow the pace to a crawl. Guys like Phil Jackson and Rick Adelman manage to run well disciplined, structured offenses and still play at a fast pace (WIth Adelman I’m referring more to Sacto, but the Rockets are 9th in pace… George Karl has been another example at times, but at other times his offenses have gotten pretty chaotic). The Knicks are not as talented as most opponents, so they have to out-fox them (not a problem Jackson has had much, but something Adelman is dealing with in Houston). They are also not as smart as most opponents, so they need a structured offense where their coach has basically out-foxed the other team for them. Even though they’re the Knicks, when they start moving the ball and themselves (and playing good D) they often go on a run. When they settle the first available long 3 they generally fall flat; although, once in a while Harrington or Robinson or Danilo makes 4 3s in a row and gets them in the game.

    I don’t argue that Robinson, certainly, or even Douglas will turn into a playmaking PG in the Magic, Kidd, Nash, etc. mold. My argument is that they’re playing better than Duhon (and probably just plain ARE better), so you redesign the offense around the talent at hand. With Nate and Toney (or one of them and Hughes) on the court you have two ball handlers, so you’re not going to get trapped. This goes hand-in-hand with my desire for a structured, motion offense. Instead of relying on a mediocre playmaker to make all your plays for the team (and Duhon is mediocre even when he’s playing his best), you spread that responsibility around to Nate, Toney, Hughes, Lee, Gallo, etc. This, of course, already happens to some extent since all these guys have some ability to make plays for others, but I would like to see if happen in a more structured way without Duhon on the court until he gets his stuff together.
    Anyway, I am not one of those clamoring for playing the young guys just because they are young, I am for playing them because I think they might actually be better than Duhon and Chandler.

    Danilo was somewhat explosive in Italy, so it might be the back. Still, though, someone like Hedo or Dirk doesn’t rely on explosiveness so much as savvy. Savvy is something it might take a few years to develop. Even if it never does, I’ve said before that I’m fine with a Peja Stojakovic type.

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