Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Knicks 2007 Report Card (A to Z): Eddy Curry

KnickerBlogger: I’m sure anyone that only goes by per game stats thinks that Eddy Curry had the best season of his career. Early in the year, the mainstream media was quick to catch on to Curry’s 11 straight game of 20+ points. In 2007, Curry had career per game highs in points, rebounds, free throws, and possibly hugs of Jamal Crawford. (Am I the only one that notices that Curry does this?)

However closer analysis of Curry’s season shows little improvement. Comparing his last 3 seasons by per-minute numbers, Curry’s 2007 isn’t much different from his career averages. Surprisingly Curry showed no big improvement in his per minute scoring, and his per minute rebounding was the second lowest of his career. Statistically, Curry’s big improvement was in his personal fouls. Obviously fouls are important for a budding big man, since foul trouble can limit the amount of time a player can stay on the floor. Curry was able to play in 10 more minutes per game this year, partly due to his ability to stay out of foul trouble. (The other factor was his improved conditioning). Eddy Curry showed minor improvement in one other category, his assists. Although his passing is still below average, Curry seemed to improve as the season wore on.

Per Minute Stats from www.basketball-reference.com
Season Ag Tm G MP FGA FTA ORB DRB TRB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
2001-02 19 CHI 72 1150 13.1 5.6 3.9 5.6 9.5 0.9 0.6 1.8 2.4 6 16.8
2002-03 20 CHI 81 1571 14.6 7.3 3 6 9 0.9 0.5 1.6 3.5 5.8 21.6
2003-04 21 CHI 73 2154 15.6 6.5 2.7 5.7 8.4 1.3 0.4 1.5 3.3 4.8 19.9
2004-05 22 CHI 63 1808 16.2 6.9 2.6 4.9 7.5 0.8 0.5 1.3 3.6 4.5 22.4
2005-06 23 NYK 72 1866 12.8 10.4 3.1 6.2 9.3 0.4 0.6 1.2 3.8 5.1 21
2006-07 24 NYK 81 2849 14.3 9.3 2.7 5.3 8 1 0.5 0.6 4.1 3.7 22.1

Looking at Curry’s 2006 numbers it seems that Larry Brown had 2 positive effects on him. Under the stern Knick coach Curry’s rebounding peaked and he doubled his free throw attempts per minute in 2006. While Curry’s rebounding returned to his pre-Brown numbers last year, he seemed to retain the ability to draw fouls at a higher rate.

Curry’s per-minute stats for 2007 show two disturbing trends. As I mentioned before, he reduced the rate in which he fouls opponents, but that may have come at the expense of his shot blocking. Already a poor defensive presence in the paint, Curry’s shot block rate was nearly half his career rate. Of all centers that played more than 12 min/g, Eddy Curry was the third worst at blocked shots per minute, only ahead of Andrew Bogut and Marc Jackson. Additionally Curry’s turnover rate spiked to the highest of his career as he became the focal point of the Knick offense. Usually players commit fewer turnovers as they age, but it seems Curry has become more turnover prone over the years.

KnickerBlogger’s Grade: C+

2008 Outlook: Unfortunately for Knick fans, Curry is a one trick pony at a premium position. All he provides is scoring, albeit he is a very efficient scorer from the floor. Curry is poor at holding onto the ball, bad at passing, worse at rebounding, and non-existent with his help defense. New York’s management has declared that Curry is their center of the future. If this is true, the Knicks are going to need more than just his scoring to become a successful team during his tenure. At only 24 years old (25 in December) Curry still has time to develop into a more complete player. But what is Curry likely to improve on in 2008?

Seeing at how lackadaisical he is on defense combined with the drop in his rebound and block rate, it seems that Curry’s isn’t likely to get better on the defensive end. However he did show an increase in his assist numbers, and he looked to be a better passer late in the season. So Curry’s best hope to become a better player in 2008 is to work on his passing. Improved passing ability will allow Curry to make opponents pay for double teaming him, which will in turn force opponents to stop doubling him. That in turn should mean Curry’s scoring would increase. Improving his passing should drop his turnover rate as well, as some of those turnovers came from poor passing out of double teams. A change that would effect those areas would make Eddy Curry one of the best offensive players in the league.

Dave Crockett: I have to disagree and say Curry earned a solid B. Scott Skiles criticized Curry for being the same player in New York as he was in Chicago on a per-minute basis. [Disclosure: I can't stand Skiles and felt like he was just being an ass on principle.] For the record, I think that criticism misses something pretty fundamental apart from my dislike for Skiles. His reference was clearly to Curry’s offense. Well, the only way for Curry to be a monumentally better offensive player is through higher efficiency or greater usage. Big efficiency gains seem pretty unlikely in a players already as efficient as Curry. Even still, Curry has in fact improved his efficiency in NY. He’s been a 60.4% true shooter in NY, up from 56.7% in Chicago. He might improve his efficiency by shooting in the 70s from the FT line, a point to which I will return, but from the floor he’s pretty darn efficient. The only other way to see a big-time jump in per minute scoring would be through increased usage. As offensive centerpieces go Curry’s 23.1 usage rate isn’t modest but it’s also not Ben Gordon’s ridiculous 27.3. By my count only eight players shot 60%+ TS and were used less than Curry in 07. So while you’re not likely to see big per minute scoring jumps from a player with Curry’s profile that doesn’t mean he hasn’t improved.

Curry has faced two primary challenges since coming into the league: 1) Can he improve his conditioning and cut down his fouls so he can play more minutes to take advantage of his already efficient offense? 2) Can he develop facets of his game other than scoring?

He has managed to address the first challenge, which is no small feat. How many of us Knicks fans thought back in 05 that Mike Sweetney would be better than Curry no matter what Kevin Pelton said? If it were a trivial matter to get in good enough shape to add 10 minutes of playing time when you were already averaging over 20 then Sweetney and Ollie Miller, both far superior rebounders to Curry, might be perennial all-stars.

Obviously, Curry has not been able to address the second challenge anywhere near as well as the first. Yet even though this is undoubtedly true it is not a statement that should be made without caveat. It is not clear that Curry’s increased minutes really did come at the expense of his (admittedly) sub-par defense. As KB has detailed, Curry never provide much shot-blocking but provided virtually none this past season. However, this must be balanced against the fact that his +/- (+5.3) and defensive rating (110 vs. 106 league avg.) remained unchanged from the previous season while his fouls have steadily declined (to a career low 3.7 per 40 in 07). So it’s not clear that he’s hemorrhaging layups despite not blocking shots and fouling less. My observations suggests to me that Curry’s improved conditioning has led to better positioning and footwork (a la Jason Collins) allowing him to stay away from some of his notorious cheap reach-in fouls. I’m not suggesting Curry is a better defender but he’s not necessarily a worse one. Further, it may not be such a bad idea to have Curry forgo blocking shots when he so clearly cannot block them.

If, as KB suggests, Curry is likely to remain a one-trick pony (and 35 minutes of efficient scoring ain’t such a bad trick) then in addition to improving his passing he must become a better free throw shooter. That is one area where Curry could make a noticeable jump in efficiency. He got to the line frequently–40 times for every 100 shots–but shot a career-low 61.5% last season (career 64%). Curry does not have a broken down stroke in need of rehabilitation, like Shaq, Ben Wallace, or Chris Dudley. In fact, Curry has a good looking stroke with no obvious hitches. If Larry Johnson could shoot free throws in the high 70s-low 80s with his hideous mechanics there is no earthly reason Curry shouldn’t shoot consistently in high-70s. He just needs decide to become a decent free throw shooter and park his butt in the gym until he becomes one. That’s one thing I’ll be looking for right away in 08.

Brian Maniscalco: Let’s take a closer look at Curry’s increased floor time and usage.

season  mpg   poss / 40min   poss / game   fouls / 40min   off fouls / 40min   def fouls / 40min 
2005/06 25.9 21.3 13.8 5.1 1.4 3.7
2006/07 35.2 23.1 20.3 3.7 1.3 2.4

Curry?s 06/07 mark of 23.1 possessions used per 40 minutes was only a small uptick from the previous season. Nonetheless, that mark was a career high and the first time he led his team in usage rate (tied with Jamal Crawford). In total, Curry?s possessions used per game increased by almost 50% over the previous season because of all the extra minutes he played. Of course, a critical contributing factor to Curry?s increased court presence was his ability to cut down on personal fouls. However, somewhat contrary to popular perception, Curry?s drop in fouls per minute came entirely came from a decrease in defensive foul rate. (Although an improvement in offensive foul rate is also evident on a per-possession basis.)

Does the dip in defensive foul rate indicate an impoverished defensive effort from an already poor defender? In 07, Curry experienced an anomalous, precipitous drop in both overall fouls (3.7) and blocked shots (0.6) per 40 minutes compared to his prior career averages (5.1 and 1.5, respectively). So the data is suggestive that Curry’s decreased aggression in attempting to block shots is directly tied to his decreased defensive foul rate, sacrificing shot blocking attempts for more court time. As Dave points out, though, existing defensive stats (coarse and imperfect as they may be) portray Curry as an equally bad defender in both his seasons as a Knick, despite blocking half as many shots last season. A moment’s reflection shows that this is not too surprising, given that fouling fewer times on defense means fewer free throws for the opposition. According to 82games.com, the Knicks allowed 21 opponent free throw attempts per 48 minutes with Curry on the court, down from 26 the previous season. Likewise, Curry’s net +/- for opponent free throw attempts per 48 minutes improved from -6 to -14.

Just about every per minute and per possession measure of offensive efficiency will tell you that Curry was about as effective on offense in 07 as in 06. However, this is impressive given that Curry played 1000 more total minutes in 07, used more possessions and attempted more shots per minute, and drew more double and triple teams from defenses primarily geared towards slowing him down. With all those factors working to suppress his efficiency, the mere fact that he was able to maintain prior levels suggests some degree of improvement in an already strong offensive attack.

Unfortunately, there is one straightforward way to substantially slow down Curry?s Goliath act in the paint: double team him, triple team him, and do whatever you can to get the ball out of his hands. Not only does this tactic prevent Curry from getting up a shot, but it also often leads to a turnover.

Passing, ball handling, and turnovers (all stats per 100 possessions used)

season  assists   off. fouls   bad passes   ballhanding TOs   misc TOs   TOs   assists / bad passes 
2005/06 1.9 6.7 2.2 6.2 2.8 18.0 0.9
2006/07 4.3 5.6 2.9 6.9 2.5 17.9 1.5

Curry is a poor passer and a turnover machine. Much of what he giveth in terms of post offense, he taketh away (or rather, giveth away) with his turnovers. His per-possession turnover rate ranked among the 10 worst in the league last season, which is especially damaging considering the number of possessions Curry uses. Among the 10 worst ball handlers, only Dwight Howard offered a comparably poisonous mixture of high usage (20.8 possessions / 40 minutes) and high turnover rate (19.3 turnovers per 100 possessions). It is no coincidence that the Knicks? Achilles? heel on offense during the Curry era has been turnovers (worst in 05/06, second worst in 06/07).

Is there hope for a better ball handling tomorrow? The outlook is hazy.

Curry actually managed to commit 1.1 fewer offensive fouls per 100 possessions used in 07 than in 06. That’s a crucial improvement, given that offensive fouls produce the double whammy of a turnover and, potentially, foul trouble. The dip in offensive fouls is also another piece of evidence that Curry did in fact refine his post offense during last season. Indeed, subjectively it seemed as if he committed far fewer of the egrigiously bulldozing, bull in the china shop kinds of offensive fouls that plagued him in his first season as a Knick.

Unfortunately, Curry?s improvement in terms of offensive fouls and miscellaneous turnovers was almost exactly balanced out by an increase in passing and ball handling turnovers. This is especially troubling because these are exactly the sorts of turnovers you would expect to be generated by an aggressive, double teaming defense looking to get the ball out of Curry?s hands. This is the kind of defensive pressure Curry is going to experience for as long as he remains the main focal point of the offense. It will take significant effort on Curry’s part to improve his court vision, passing, and overall savvy to the point where he cannot be taken out of a game by swarming defenses.

There is at least a bit of a silver lining here. Curry?s assist rate also increased last season. The increase of both assists and bad passes per 100 possessions suggests that Curry may simply have been passing more overall due to double teams forcing his hand. And in fact, we do see that Curry?s assist to bad pass ratio improved as well. So on the whole it seems like Curry?s passing game did improve, in spite of what his increased rate of bad passes might lead one to think. Of course, he still has a long way to go before his passing is passable.

Silver lining part two: Curry?s turnover rate has been substantially worse in his two seasons as a Knick than it was during his time with Chicago (averaging 14.5 TOs per 100 possessions, with the highest mark being 15.3). So Curry is not doomed to be an 18 TO / 100 possession guy for the rest of his career. It?s unclear exactly why his turnover rate spiked after coming to New York. It?s unlikely that the rise in turnovers has followed from a more prominent role in the offense, since Curry?s usage rate has been remarkably constant across his career. The most likely explanation is that there is something about playing in the context of New York?s offense that makes Curry more turnover prone than he was when playing with the offenses of his Bulls teams. So it is possible that the right kinds of changes in team personnel, and/or the right kind of changes in New York’s offensive system, could be a significant help in easing Curry?s turnover woes.

But ultimately, make no mistake: Curry?s ability to successfully handle the pressure of aggressive double teams without turning the ball over is the next big hurdle in his development as an offensive weapon. It is the looming roadblock on the horizon and how he responds to it will in large part determine the course of his career. If he does not substantially improve his ball handling in the face of defensive pressure, his defining strength will always be mitigated by a great weakness, and his net effectiveness as an offensive force will therefore always be limited.

For dropping his foul rate enough to play significant minutes for the first time in his career, and for maintaining outstanding offensive efficiency in spite of becoming the true focal point of his team’s offense for the first time in his career, I give Curry a B. Curry managed to make some non-trivial first steps towards becoming a legitimate first option on offense. Now let’s see if he can improve the defense and rebounding (not holding my breath) or cut down on the turnover rates (seems plausible, if not particularly likely).

Brian Cronin – Quick question, what exactly is a Win Score? I get that Wages of Wins and all that stuff is generally best done as a rate stat (and as a rate stat, Eddy Curry finishes very low in the league, like 150th or something like that, comparable to players like Mark Blount and Stephen Jackson). Fair enough, but then what is the point of having a “Win Score,” which I presume is a counting stat?

Because, interestingly enough, Eddy Curry had the 75th highest “Win Score” last year.

John Hollinger’s PER had him with the 70th highest PER (17.07).

The similarities amused me, but I presume that “Win Score” is basically meaningless if you’re a Wages of Wins fan, right?

Anyhow, as the other fellows have pointed out so nicely, your evaluation of Eddy Curry’s performance is generally based upon how much of an importance you place upon effective scoring. Curry is one of the more effective scorers in the NBA, and as we see, such effective scoring leads to double teams, which are usually useful, but not so useful when Curry

A. Can’t kick the ball out, because he is a terrible passer who instead will usually turn the ball over if attempting to pass

or

B. Manages to kick the ball out to a player who can’t/won’t take the open outside shot the double team on Curry has provided.

You really would think that the Knicks would have given Curry some outside shooters, no? And apparently, according to the most recent rumors, they’re not even going for an outside shooter in the draft!! Ah well…there’s always trades, I suppose…

So Eddy Curry – tremendous scorer who can’t do anything else – while Wages of Wins thinks that is effectively useless, I think I lean toward Hollinger’s take on Curry, which is that Curry is currently around one of the top 15 centers in the NBA, and I think he deserves the C+ that KB gave him.

Let’s hope he improves this year!!

26 comments on “Knicks 2007 Report Card (A to Z): Eddy Curry

  1. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    Did Owen’s exuberance get to him? He’s been salivating for this report for nearly a month. Can someone send a squad car around his house to see if he had a heart attack from anticipation?

  2. MattinDC

    Fair and balanced assessment of Curry. I wouldn’t want him to be our answer at center for the next 5-8 years though. Talented at one end of the floor with nothing to really offer on defense doesn’t make a championship caliber center. Plus, with the game speeding up Curry might slow the knicks down excessively; half court teams like Utah still have quick bigs who can run.

    Maybe he’ll develop some defense in the next few years? Kinda like Cliff Robinson who went from offensive spark-6th man to defensive vet.

  3. Sunil

    Curry isnt really slow. I’d say he’s on the fast side for a center; especially his size

  4. DS

    Curry definitely developed some new moves by working with Aguirre last summer. Supposedly this summer the two will be focusing on defense. Will that bear any fruit?

  5. Z

    “Curry was able to play in 10 more minutes per game this year, partly due to his ability to stay out of foul trouble.”

    If Eddy took care of the ball, rebounded, and played D he could play five more minutes per game: Crunch Time.

  6. Matthew

    I agree with Dave Crockett’s analysis.

    Also, I dislike that some stat people completely disregard per game stats. I understand how they are deceiving, but at the same time a player who is able to play a lot of minutes is HELPING his team. You can’t have a team full of 10mpg players, it won’t work out. There is a limit of 12 players on the rotation. Any player who plays less than 20mpg (and that is an extreme circumstance where the team actually uses a full 12 man rotation) isn’t pulling their weight.

  7. Owen

    Good posts guys, glad you got it up there. Was waiting all morning for the ball to drop.

    There isn’t much that I haven’t said already or that wasn’t mentioned above, but as the Chairman of the Fire Eddy Curry club, I have to weigh in here with a few points.

    First off, center IS the premium position in the NBA. We love to watch shooting guards and scorers play, but power forwards and centers, with their rebounding, defense, low turnovers, and high percentage offense are by far the most valuable players in the NBA. You don’t have to have a great center to win, but life is going to be difficult if you dont have at least an average production from the center positoin. Eddy Curry doesn’t even give us that.

    Giving Curry a B rating is almost unspeakably ridiculous. ;-) The C+ from Knickerblogger is also I think very generous. Jamal Crawford got a C-, and as much as I dislike him, I can’t really see giving Curry a higher mark than him. My (unsolicited) grade would be a D+.

    I am, as always, a Wages of Wins guy, and if you look at those numbers, Crawford, with a .019 WP48 (where .100 is average) actually comes out looking better than Curry, who rates at only a .002. (Numbers from NBA Babble, which is sometimes off by a little bit, relative to Berri’s real numbers, but is close enough for government work.)

    What that .002 mark says is that Eddy Curry, at least with this one mode of analysis, is very far below average. Why? Well, the basic stats speak for themselves. Curry is a player who does only one thing well, score. And his turnovers, poor foul shooting, and lackluster rebounding completely offset this talent. On the defensive end he is a nightmare. Outside of his paint play, the story is frighteningly, almost historically bad. It’s no coincidence that Yahoo Fantasy invented the Eddy Curry Line, his net of assists, steal, and blocks is fantastically low. And his net of turnovers and rebounds per 40 (8.0 – 4.1 = 3.9) is by far the worst for any center playing reasonable minutes in the NBA. I would be curious in fact to know how many starting centers have ever had a similar mark. Finally, he has showed almost no improvement over his career, which is already six seasons old.

    It’s not a pretty picture. With an essentially unproductive player playing the most valuable position on the court, the next few years are going to be a real slog. If DLee can play like he did this season going forward, and if Balkman and Richardson can continue their play from this year, I think we can be a +.500 team, but not much more.

    I give Isaiah credit for Balkman and Lee, and I agree that he wasn’t dealt a perfect hand, between Layden and Brown, but his signature move, signing Curry, has been an utter disaster.

  8. Brian Cronin

    Okay, so reading that piece by Berri, I don’t get why anyone would even keep a tally of Win Score, as it appears as though it does not really correlate to Berri’s main stat at all.

    That’s weird.

  9. James

    I bleat on about this every now and then.

    Lets say the Knicks had Channing Frye and, I dunno, Jared Jeffries playing the bulk of the minutes at PF and SF. Curry’s rebounding stats would rise, but he wouldn’t be a better rebounder. Last year the Knicks (partly, presumeably, recognising Curry’s less than great rebounding) played a lot of Lee, Richardson, Balkman, who all eat boards. Even guys like Crawford, Marbury and Francis got quite a few rebounds. Ok, their rebounding numbers were probably inflated a little by having Curry in the middle but you see my point.

    Anyway, all I’m saying is that yes, Curry is a bad rebounder, yes that’s a big problem, but no I don’t think his rebounding really got worse last year. Stayed bad, sure, but not worse.

    Also, is it possible to get errors on the stats in the table above? I appreciate that DRB dropping from 6.2 to 5.3 is a drop, but is it significant? It seems at a glance that 5.3 is give or take what Curry’s been getting his whole career, particularly allowing for the different people around him.

    Was Curry *told* not to block shots – maybe that was a deliberate attempt by Zeke to ensure that he stays on the floor, rather than any ‘changed ability’ thing. The drop in BLK seems very significant, and makes me think there’s something else going on, particularly given the accompanying drop in fouls.

    Just my 2 (or 3) cents…

  10. Owen

    Brian – Win Score is great. It tells you how well a player actually played. So often, you hear on sportscenter that a guy had 27 and 10, and you think, he must have had a great game. Then you look at his Win Score, which isn’t good, and realize he went 11-27 wih seven turnovers.

    You can also convert Win Score into Wins Produced with fairly high accuracy, the details are below.

    http://dberri.wordpress.com/2007/02/25/introducing-pawsmin-%E2%80%93-and-a-defense-of-box-score-statistics/

    Looking at Eddy Curry’s numbers over at jasonchandler.com, you see he posted one great winscore of 28 on April 7, but his next best effort was 16.5. David Lee had nine performances better than that 16.5 mark in his sixty games, and just one negative performance, in a game in which he played only two minutes. Eddy Curry had a negative winscore no less than 12 times.

  11. Gabe

    KB – I think you mean per-40 minutes, not per-minute. Otherwise, I really haven’t been paying attention to how much Curry touches the ball!

  12. dave crockett

    “Unspeakably ridiculous”

    if I had a dime every time I heard *that* after my final exam… :)

  13. Brian Cronin

    Brian – Win Score is great.

    But Curry’s Win Score is, like, 75th best in the NBA, while his Wins Produced is waaaay further back.

    Are there THAT many “great in not many minutes” players out there?

    And if there ARE, then doesn’t Curry get credit for, as others mention, being ABLE to play the extra ten minutes that he did not use to be able to play?

  14. Owen

    Win Score is a counting stat, as you said, while Wins Produced is a rate stat. Once you have raw win score, you still need to know how many minutes a player played, and crucially, what position he played, before you can arrive at a meaningful evaluation. Since centers are by far the most productive players in the NBA, they have a much higher bar to clear. Curry’s win score on a point guard would look pretty good, but for a center it’s terrible.

    The average center has a win score of 10.8 per 48, or .225 per minute. Curry played 2850 minutes and produced a total Win Score of 462. An average center who played the same number of minutes would have produced a total winscore of 641.25.

    Fabricio Oberto for instance was a .119 WP48 this year, or just above average. He had a net win score of 398.5, while playing almost 1100 less minutes less than Curry. Al Jefferson played 500 less minutes than Curry and accumulated 726.5 units of Win Score.

    If you want to give Curry credit for playing those extra minutes, fair enough. but it doesn’t change the basic picture.

  15. Hudson River

    Great point James, even though Eddy Curry is well below average at rebounding and blocking shots, that can be made up for by a very good rebounding PF and SF, as evidenced by last season. Eddy Curry had no reason to work for any rebounds except for offensively because David Lee, Renaldo Balkman etc… generally had the rebounds. Even with Eddy Curry at Center the Knicks were a great rebounding team. That isn’t his biggest drawback.

    His two main faults in my eyes are his turnovers and his god-awful defense. His is the most turnover prone player in the league (ahead of runner-ups Ben Gordon and Dwight Howard), leading the league in offensive fouls by 13 (23% greater than second place), third in bad pass-assist ratio (1.34), 8th in lost ball turnovers, and 1st in 3 second violations by 6 (21% more than second place).

    That and his terrible defense, not even in reference to blocked shots but his man always beats him and gets dunks or easy shots for shooters because we have to rotate to cover his man. Can anybody find a place to find points and assists of the player he is guarding? I’m curious.

  16. Owen

    Say what you all will, but having Lee and Balkman out there doesn’t mean the Knicks wouldn’t still be much better off with a center who can outrebound the point guard for the Nets. Our rebounding margin was good, but it could have been better.

    But you are definitely right about turnovers being the major issue. Curry had 19 games this season in which his turnovers equaled or exceeded his rebound totals. Pretty amazing. And he never cracked the three assist mark this year, or last year actually.

  17. xduckshoex

    “Eddy Curry had no reason to work for any rebounds except for offensively because David Lee, Renaldo Balkman etc? generally had the rebounds.”

    I had to quote it just to make sure I didn’t imagine it.

    The teams starting center had no reason to work for rebounds? I think now I’ve seen it all.

  18. Z

    “Say what you all will, but having Lee and Balkman out there doesn?t mean the Knicks wouldn?t still be much better off with a center who can outrebound the point guard for the Nets.”

    Forget the point guard of the Nets. Curry let Cliff Robinson tip in a game winner for exactly the points quoted above– he didn’t box out, presumably assuming Lee or Balkman would. As it was, his poor rebounding skills literally cost the Knicks that game.

    And then there were the 48 other losses that he had his hand in, mostly helping the Knicks lose by missing six or seven free throws, or not helping out on defense, or turning the ball over (and over and over and over…).

    Not that I’m blaming all the losses on Curry, or overlooking his offensive production that helped the Knicks win the games they did pull out. But Eddy is the “untouchable franchise player”, and it seems to me that he has his hand in too many of the losses and not enough of the wins.

    There is a lot of talk of his minutes, but lets face it– I’m not sure I’m comfortable seeing his minutes go up because he probably shouldn’t be on the court during the closing minutes. His free throw shooting alone is one reason, but most centers who suck at free throw shooting (i.e. Shaq, Ben Wallace, etc…) make up for it by bringing something vital to crunch time, like say, strong defense and/or rebounding. Curry brings none of that, which is too bad, because the team’s “untouchable franchise player” should be on the court at the end of the game.

    That said, help defense CAN BE LEARNED so Isiah better teach it to him and teach it fast…

    and if Curry can get his free throw shooting up to a reasonable level his offensive game will improve exponentially…

    and if he decides boxing out is a good thing he might be able to keep Cliff Robinson from stealing a victory next year…

    and if he stops nullifying his own offensive contribution by turning the ball over and giving up double digit points-off-his-turnovers…

    and the Bulls don’t land Kobe or Garnett with pieces accrued in the Crawford/Curry deals and Tyrus Thomas is a bust and whoever the Bulls draft #9 sucks too…

    THEN I will feel really good about our “Untouchable Franchise Player”.

  19. Z

    During the Mardy Collins discussion, it was debated whether a solid NBA outside shot could be learned or if there was a natural ability prerequisite. I wonder if the same debate holds for rebounding. It seems to me that rebounding is more instinctual than physical, and that the desire to get the ball trumps height and vertical leap.

    David Lee is a natural rebounder. He’s not the tallest or the quickest or the strongest at his position, yet he is naturally drawn to the ball. Curry simply is not. I personally think that in my lifetime I will see David Lee with a lights out 18 foot set shot before I see Eddy Curry as a top 5 rebounder. It is not in his DNA.

    If there are in fact examples of people who have apparently learned to rebound once established in the NBA, please name some, because I’m really not comfortable having the starting center have “no reason to work” for rebounds just because Lee, Balkman, and Q can bail out.

  20. Kevin

    The previous study indicated two guys (Jayson Williams and Marcus Camby) out of who knows how many who improved and then became top rebounders.

    As some sage pointed out in the original thread, Williams was playing 500/600 minutes at 10 mpg. Camby is a unique player and maybe it took a while to find his niche.

    That being said, Curry was a year younger and rebounding as well (or better) than ever. He regressed last year making the improvement less likely.

    Saying that Curry doesn’t need to rebound because of Q, Lee and Balkman is dumb. It limits Curry’s effectiveness and reduces strategic options. Yes his rebounding maybe negatively effected, but the Net game is a good example that every board counts.

  21. MattinDC

    To me, a true franchise player is someone you can rely on to carry a team in 4 out of the 5 facets of the game (scoring, defense, rebounds, assists, leadership).

    The Knicks have NO ONE deserving of the Franchise label (especially not the walking corpse of Steve Francis). Our two main scorers, Crawford and Curry, have glaring weaknesses on defense and decision making. Marbury is no longer dominant (maybe it was beat out of him by Larry Brown). We have no game changers outside of David Lee (all on hustle, we can’t run offense through him) and Curry (only on offense, no defense).

    Still, if the Pistons could be so good without a franchise player, I’m hoping our guys can learn how to win too. But they’re not getting any younger. We really should have agreed to rebuild once Marbury and Crawforf didn’t put us over the top. Getting Curry was stalling the inevitable bottoming out we need to go through. I want Ariza back too.

Comments are closed.