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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Knicks 2007 Report Card (A to Z): Jerome James

KnickerBlogger: At the time of Jerome James’ signing, I kept some quotes from RealGM’s Knick message board, because they were quite optimistic. Unfortunately RealGM has decided to scrub their message board of anything over a certain age, so I can’t link to these quotes, nor can I attribute them to the original author. I can’t take credit for the wisdom of the quotes, but I can take credit for the title in bold for each of them.

There’s a Nazr Thomas?

Certainly James is as good as Nazr and Kurt Thomas.

Jerome James has a jump shot from 7 feet away? or Is “size” an SAT word?

James has the sice and strength to hold down the middle for us and he’s shown great ability in the playoffs (when it matters the most). Let’s give his 7 footer a shot before we bash Isiah, please.

Better than Wilt too, although I’m pretty sure the stats don’t back that up either.

James is also better than Hunter, even if the stats don’t back that up.

I guess another roommate could help pay the rent.

Please live with Jerome James- He will get more rebounds he played along side with Evans and Fortson- he will only get more rebounds. He will get more minutes which will produce into more rebounds!

And if he doesn’t?

If James plays to the potential he showed in the playoffs, he’s a good choice.
I restate what I just said: Centers tend to be overpaid. All James has to do is clog the lane, body up on defense, and rebound. The Knicks will be fine.

Paging Red Holzman

I still think, though, that James will play like he did in the playoffs with the right coach for the Knicks.

F this quote!

F the stats, F how much we paid him. How about the fact that IT saw something in James that he thinks is worth bringing him to NY!!

It’s hard to look historically back on the Jerome James signing and see any positives. With one good playoff series, after 5 years of mediocre play, James could have hung a sign on his head that said “someone will overpay me.” And the Knicks did. It’s not the worst move that Isiah Thomas has done, but consider that the James signing had two negative aspects. The first was the loss of Jackie Butler. James’ contract made Butler expendable. And although Butler languished at the end of the Spurs bench, remember that he’s still only 22 years old and is $18M cheaper than James. Butler was recently acquired by Houston, to backup Yao Ming and the undying zombie known as Dikembe Mutombo.

Second is that James’ signing hurt the Knicks on the court this year. James’ worst trait as a ‘defensive specialist’ was his awful foul rate. James committed 11 fouls for 40 minutes – nearly double the next Knick (Malik Rose) and nearly triple that of fourth string center Kelvin Cato (4.2 PF/40). That ratio is so bad, that given the opportunity Jerome James would foul out of a game in 22 minutes. I’m convinced that Cato would have been a better solution for the Knicks (again at a fraction of the cost). While neither Cato nor James could score, Cato was much better on defense. You could judge them by point differential (the Knicks were 10.2 points per 100 possession better with Cato on the court, versus 6.9 for James) or traditional stats (4.2 to 2.2 BLK/40, 1.3 to 0.9 STL/40, 13.1 to 9.7 REB/40). Although the Knicks were desperate for defense, Isiah could have found a better solution than playing Jerome James.

KnickerBlogger’s Grade: F

2008 Outlook: Two things will keep James a Knick for another year. The first being James’ contract, the second being the lack of defense from the rest of the team. Isiah Thomas was so desperate for defensive help that he inserted James into starting lineup for a stretch this year. Just because James started, didn’t mean he’d get a lot of playing time. Frequently he would head to the bench after 2 fouls and never come back into the game. With 17 players under contract, there is a possibility that Jerome James will get cut, but something tells me Isiah likes his moxie, and James will see some court time in 2008.

Dave Crockett

I’ll tell you what bothered me most about the James signing. Basketball defense begins on the perimeter; the objective of good defensive teams is to keep the offense from getting the ball to high percentage areas. Defense in “the paint” is vital but is unlikely to matter much if the offense is getting easy shots. Until he signed Jared Jeffries and drafted Renaldo Balkman it wasn’t clear that Thomas paid much attention to his perimeter defense. Thomas didn’t just overpay for what he thought he was getting in James he was wrong for thinking it in the first place, especially considering his ability to find cheap defensive specialists in the bargain bin (e.g., Kelvin Cato). I actually count “Big Snacks” as Thomas’ worst move. It was not his most expensive or most destructive but it was his most wreckless. It was the equivalent of looking both ways and still walking out in front of traffic.

137 comments on “Knicks 2007 Report Card (A to Z): Jerome James

  1. Caleb

    The only thing I could criticize in this post is the snide comment about Dikembe. He was a long ways better than a zombie this year. Houston actually had a better record with him starting, than Yao. For what it’s worth.

    The Jerome James signing was incomprehensible the day it was announced, so it’s hard to say it’s any worse in retrospect. At the time we had a very small front line so maybe it was worth taking a gamble on this guy – for $8-10 million, which is probably more than any other team would have paid. Does anyone know who his agent is? Maybe IT was paying for future favors.

    If JJ stays on the roster, it reminds me of Tony Perkins’ mom in Psycho, who could probably beat JJ one on one.

    Seriously, he’s in real danger of being cut. What are the other options? A 2-for-1 or 3-for-1 trade, but we might not pull it off. Nichols could get sent to Europe. Dickau would be easy to cut, but if Mardy’s knee is a question mark then DD is our only backup PG (unless you count Crawford or Nate).

    I’m sure that Dolan will choke on his donut to see $18 million being flushed, but a) JJ is not gonna play (not with Morris looking decent); b) if he does play he’ll be terrible; c) his trade value is less than zero – except maybe in two years when it’s expiring and Portland wants to swap him with Darius Miles.

    On the other hand, everyone says he’s a funny guy. Don’t you wish the beat writers actually re-told some of the stuff they hear from the players?

  2. danmajerle19

    As I said previously in an other topic, Jerome James was as mediocre in France as he was the last two years, although you can’t find any decent center above 6’9 in France.
    He used to play in a playoff series with Villeurbanne, a solid championship contender, for a pretty amount of money,
    and he had only 6 pts and 3 rb per game ! Of course he was in foul trouble too, and he broke the team’s alchemy.

  3. Bernard King

    Jerome James is useless and I pray he is bought out. But at the time of the signing we were desperate for a center. It again showed how atrocious the Nazr Mohammed deal was. As was said, James is untradeable and is barely an NBA player at this point.

    I only wish Marv Albert was still broadcasting for the Knicks (another awful Dolan move btw driving Marv away. I hate Dolan for that more than anything). But Marv would have been incredible every time James stepped on the court. “And Jerome James goes BEHIND HIS BACK with the dribble!!”. James is funny. Useless but funny.

  4. retropkid

    amazing what one five game play-off stretch can do for you…that’s all James ever really had.

    Makes you long for Marvin Webster…

  5. Ted Nelson

    I know it was the common explanation at the time, but were the Knicks desperate for a center after drafting Frye #8 overall? Does desperation justify throwing big money long-term at someone who’s not worth it? If desperation was the motivator I think patience would have been a virtue in this situation.
    However, I don’t think Isiah was desperate. In desperation maybe you give a one or two year deal to some scrub hoping to find a long-term replacement within that time (Curry, Frye, Butler). You’d better really like someone’s long-term prospects if you give them a big 6 yr. deal.

    Nazr for Malik Rose wouldn’t have been a good trad, especially given their ages and contracts, but the deal also netted the Knicks 2 picks which resulted in David Lee and Mardy Collins.

  6. Felix

    James needs to be bought out. Or find a way to steve francis trade him to another team. Hes a bad example. Whenever i think of him, i think of Carl Pavano, i have very little to no respect for him showing up out of shape and then gettin injured and mailing it in. Guys like this make me wish NBA contracts werent garunteed like they are in the NFL. He would have been cut ages ago.

  7. Owen

    Jerome James = Awful

    One of the top ten worst players in the NBA. But its frighteningly common for mdiocre, even bad players to get 6 million dollar deals these days. Mikki Moore just got 6 million per for three years at age 32 after a season in which his numbers, adjusted for playing time, were virtually identical to his subpar career numbers. (Hat tip Dave Berri). Not that Mikki Moore isn’t demonstrably a million times better than Big Snacks, but doesn’t everyone know wheen you sign a James or Moore for six million you are going to be disappointed?

    I can’t understand the NBA. If you asked me who the best players available are. I would say Gerald Wallace, Rashard Lewis, and Anderson Varejao. Somehow Mikki Moore has signed for six million, Darko haS signed, and Rashard Lewis has signed in Orlando for a sum which would have been enough to pay for Varejao and G Wallace.

    NBA GM’s, I don’t get it….

  8. MattinDC

    I can’t see how Jerome James helps the Knicks in 2007-08. Unless he gets the munchies and accidentally eats Jared Jeffries, thus freeing up a roster spot for D-Nichols.

  9. Owen

    Btw, Balkman had a great game last night, 19 points, 12 rebounds, 4 steals. He got interviewed after by Walt and Gus. A Free Darko commentator caught something funny he said

    It was his birthday yesterday and he responded to Walt’s question “where’s the party tonight” with “i’ll probably go get lifted right now with Greene.”

    (Hat tip El Miz)

  10. jon abbey

    that was the Saturday night game. he didn’t play as well yesterday after getting kicked in the thigh early in the game, but it was good to see him get back out there when he easily could have just sat the rest of it out.

  11. Knicknack

    Big Snacks was a viable pick at the time. This was before we picked up Curry. Remember Zeke played with a non atheletic center and won some rings. No James couldn’t tie Lambeers shoe laces, but Lambeer couldn’t jump 2 inchs high either.

    Once we got Curry, that was the end of James. He needs his ego stroked to perform. When he thought he was going to be the Knicks starting center you saw him believe that he was a starting center. Knowing Curry would get the start made him give up and eat like a pregnant woman in a bakery.

    Let’s release him since he’s never shown up in shape, never tried to get in shape, or to try to break into the line up. At the size he’ll show up to camp at it should open 2 spots instead of 1.

  12. Caleb

    I guess Laimbeer and James are pretty similar, except Laimbeer could shoot, pass, play defense and occasionally score in the post.

    He’ll make a good NBA coach, too, though probably not here since Isiah will get fired before Dolan lets him go upstairs and drop the coaching gig.

  13. Z

    And a few quotes from our own Knickerblogger (June, 2005):

    “…$6M a year is reasonable for a player of his caliber…”

    “…there are some things about his game that I like…”

  14. Z

    But July 2005 also saw this alarmingly accurate prediction (except for the “love affair” with Jerome James part…):

    “You don?t need a crystal ball to see what?s going to happen. One cold day in New York, Jerome James is going to turn the ball over, and then head to the bench with two quick fouls. The opposing team is going to have a double digit lead by the time the Knicks center checks back in. James is going to turn the ball over twice more, on the last one he?ll loaf back on defense getting there in time only to inbound the ball after another score. And that?s going to be the end of the love affair between Jerome James and the New York fans.”

  15. Z

    And finally, since I have that post in front of me, I’ll note this paragrpah:

    “…[he] has three huge weaknesses that will drive Metropolitans nuts. First is that he?s turnover prone. Since James? never played in high school, his basketball IQ is somewhere around Forrest Gump?s. Second is James? propensity to foul. Again looking over the last 4 years, James has led the league in fouls per minutes. The last thing that will turn the fans against James is his weak work ethic. The laziness tag is something that has followed him since college.”

    …and so Isiah signs Curry the same summer…

  16. brian quinnett's left nipple

    has knickerblogger done a ranking of the worst isiah thomas transactions? or is it too much of a risk for carpal tunnel syndrome?

  17. Bernard King

    I agree that signing James wasnt prudent, but the prudent approach rarely is the course of action at Dolan led MSG, rather the “quick fix” approach seems to be the preferred technique.

    The quick fix is preferred because it gives fans the illusion of progress rather than trying to sell both “patience” and exhorbitantly high ticket prices.

    The Knicks have the highest payroll because they also generate the most revenue by far (due to MSG and its television network and fanbase in the most lucrative market in the NBA). But you have to justify the obscene ticket prices.

    I gave up my season tickets (of 14 years) when I moved to Los Angeles but let me tell you, I was at wits end with the gouging policies that MSG uses. Who pays the price for the Knicks ineptitude? sure, lets just pass it along to the season ticket holders, they will eat any crap we shove down their throats.

    Sure. Well, now they are begging people back for season tickets. Alienating your fans isnt a great marketing approach. And it caught up to them (as far as I am concerned).

    We love the Knicks but we are made as hell and arent going to take it any more.

  18. Caleb

    “has knickerblogger done a ranking of the worst isiah thomas transactions?”

    It’s tough… some of the moves he gets creamed for, like piling up crummy players at big salaries but getting draft picks in return – are actually GOOD moves, in my opinion. But the bad ones come in two categories:

    1) Big strategic gambles that might have sounded ok at the time, but don’t pan out, crippling the salary cap or costing us big-time talent. Marbury, followed by Curry.

    2) Moves that don’t hurt as much, but are blatantly stupid from the start. Jerome James, the runaway winner. Jared Jeffries.

    Jamal Crawford – maybe a hybrid.

    Where will Zach Randolph fit in?

  19. bmj320

    It will be a shame when D. Nichols doesn’t get a roster spot because of bums like Jerome James and Jarred Jeffries. Isiah has to keep this kid in the fold somehow. He is too good of a shooter and plays defense. Fred Jones and Dickau should be an after thought. Trade them both for cash, and try to work a buyout with James. Maybe settle on 15mil and with that 6mil you get back from the Jones/Dickau trade you will be only on the hook for 9mil.

  20. Z

    Jerome James is as bad a free agent signing as one can make. He has been a bust, but wasn’t even good going into the contract, making the 5 year $30 million contract even more dubious.

    But the worst move Isiah has done was trading for Steve Francis. Even Isiah admitted it was a bad move. Sure, he begat Randolph, and the book is still open on him, but a) Hardaways expiring pact could have been used better, or b) Hardaway’s pact could have simply expired and we’d still have Ariza to either play or trade for a better player.

    The Jalen Rose trade was terrible too, even though it brought in the Balkman pick. I can’t really remember it. Was it A. Davis’ expiring contract? Whatever it was, it was as bad as the James signing, because, like as Dave Crockett said above, it was also “the equivalent of looking both ways and still walking out in front of traffic.”

    Marbury I can forgive because it was his first move and Thomas was in a honeymoon period so he didn’t have all the baggage of bad moves to hold against him. In hind sight, I’d take the trade back, but at the time it felt like the Knicks were finally being proactive, and after watching Layden fart around, it was nice to actually bring in a player with talent.

    Finally, it’s hard to criticize many of the moves that seem to be bad because they did bring in draft picks, which have been excellent. But most of the time it seems those moves were to secure picks that he had already traded away for questionable vets. I’ve lost track of which trades lost/brought in which picks, but if Thomas hadn’t traded for Marbury, Crawford, Curry, Nazr, Rose, Mo Taylor, Tim Thomas, Moochie Norris, Steve Francis, the other Rose, etc…, would we really not have been able to draft Lee and Balkman? Isiah got both those guys low– Balkman wasn’t even on most peoples radar for any round.

    Since James is the topic, and someone suggested the worst moves of the era, these are my two cents…

  21. Caleb

    The Marbury trade is what sent us down the path we’re on – no franchise player and no flexibility or high draft pick to get one. But at the time, it seemed like a reasonable, if risky move – get a 26-year-old point guard with 3 All-Star appearances, and build around him. Like Z says – we were hungry for a star. The results were disastrous, but it’s not like IT was insane for trying it.

    The Jalen Rose trade was a good move. As long as IT had the green light to spend whatever it took, he was going to essentially buy draft picks. That’s all the deal was about. It was expensive, but those trades got us the only assets that anyone is excited about these days.

    One thing Isiah has not done is trade away a bunch of picks – only in the Marbury deal. All the guys you mention either brought back extra picks, terrible contracts or usually both.

    The Francis trade WAS ugly – but we were totally capped out anyway, so it didn’t cost us any flexibility. And while Ariza is a significant loss, I don’t think he’ll be a superstar. So in terms of impact, I rank that trade lower (less horrible) than the others I mentioned.

  22. Frank O.

    Sorry. The Ewing move is why we are what we are.
    If the Knicks had just shown the man some respect at the end and shut up Spree, we wouldn’t have taken back atrocious contracts and started the death spiral we were in.
    I think we have reversed some of that, primarily because Isiah can draft like no one else. It’s Isiah’s trades that have blown.
    I don’t know about you all, but I dread seeing what kind of move he makes before the season starts. Dread it…He subtracts when he adds…

  23. Z

    “One thing Isiah has not done is trade away a bunch of picks – only in the Marbury deal. All the guys you mention either brought back extra picks, terrible contracts or usually both.”

    No picks were traded for Curry?

    I think Mo Taylor came at the expense of a 2nd rounder. I’m not sure who that turned into.

    But, if “buying” draft picks is a reasonable strategy, and your picks are not even lottery picks that can result in franchise players, then you have exactly what the Knicks have– a severly capped out (crippled) franchise with good young role players and not enough roster space to play them.

    If the Rose trade was simply to “buy” Balkman, the cost was $30 million+, two more years of slalry hell, and a lousy personality Isiah needed to pay to go away all for a guy that could easily have gone undrafted!

    I didn’t understand the Nazr Mohammed deal (to S.A.) at the time, and I’m not sure who exactly those picks turned into, but I think one may have been Lee. If so, obviously Lee was a good pick, and the “purchase” of that pick came at a much lower cost than the Balkman pick. Malik’s deal was longer and higher than Nazr’s, but not all that substantially. Plus, Malik is a great personality to have in the locker room– a sane man in an insane world. Still, Malik’s presence on the team may ultimately keep the new picks from playing/making the roster.

    I think buying picks could feasibly work, but let’s face it– the perk of sucking is that you get good picks for free.

  24. Z

    Frank– you’re post went up while I was writing the last one. I agree: The Ewing trade marks more than just the end of the Ewing Era at MSG. It marks what has been the negligent re-building in the post Ewing era.

    I think trading Ewing was Layden’s first move as GM. It set the tone for everything that has followed.

    Isiah may be fixing that now with his draft picks, but he also may not be, as it takes a lot of faith in him to believe this coming year will be any different from the past three.

    Isiah inherited a lot of mess from Layden, but his strategy has been very consistent to what Layden would have done had he stayed. To his credit, Layden acknowleged that the Marbury trade was on the table during his tenure and he rejected it. Maybe he did have a long term plan that he didn’t get to see through.

    Point is, even if the Knicks didn’t “respect” Ewing, at least they could have used him to rebuild much much much more effectively (i.e. rebuild at all).

  25. Caleb

    The Ewing decision was another, earlier turning point. The Allan Houston signing was another. Marbury was just the first of Isiah’s reign – if he had say on his hands and done nothing, we’d have been under the cap this summer.

    Z, you are right about the Mo Taylor trade. Don’t think it mattered one way or another, though, except in the checkbook.

    I just disagree on the value of draft picks – like they about the lottery, you gotta be in it to win it. Every pick is a crapshoot – but the more you have, the better the odds of striking it rich, like with David Lee (yes, through the Malik Rose trade). re: Balkman, essentially we signed our rookie to a $35 million contract. That’s not cheap, but it’s decent value – better than most of the players on our roster.

    Obviously, we did trade a draft pick (plus draft position) for Curry. I should have been more precise – what IT hasn’t done is trade draft picks for vets on their last legs, a la Danny Ainge. We might like a do-over of the Curry trade, but at least we were getting a 22-year-old who many people believed would become a franchise center, in exchange for what most predicted would be perhaps a #10 – 15 draft pick. (leaving the pick unprotected was the real crime – like forgetting to buy home insurance on your new beachfront mansion).

  26. MattinDC

    Caleb, right on. Unprotected lottery picks two years running = gross negligence.

    “I think buying picks could feasibly work, but let?s face it? the perk of sucking is that you get good picks for free.”

    Nice way to sum up what the Knicks should have known from the start. The problem with this process of picking up those albatross veteran contracts in exchange for draft picks is that we have done this for three years running, and when will it stop? What’s the plan? Randolph is the latest example (though he’s relatively young, not like Francis on the downswing). Once it stops, we will see a dip in production and wins, but will soon come out of it, hopefully like the Bulls: young and talented with lots of trading chips.

  27. tastycakes

    “Obviously, we did trade a draft pick (plus draft position) for Curry.”

    No, we traded TWO draft picks for Curry. Picks that turned into Ty Thomas and Joakim Noah. In 10 years will we look back and ask for a gimme? I’m not sure.

    But Caleb, you’re right that the Curry trade wasn’t terrible in the sense that we at least got a young guy with potential. (And a heart problem, and no defensive or ball handling abilities). But it could have been worse — Danny Ainge is actually a much worse general manager than Isiah.

    I wonder what Curry’s trade value is like. I find it weird that we would treat a guy as untouchable who has so many obvious flaws in his game. Would anybody else want him right now? He is coming off his best season as a pro.

    I’m excited, 2007-8 will be interesting.

  28. jon abbey

    “No, we traded TWO draft picks for Curry. Picks that turned into Ty Thomas and Joakim Noah. In 10 years will we look back and ask for a gimme? I?m not sure.”

    no, the original post was correct, we got the pick that became Chandler in the deal.

  29. ken

    He’s literally the worst player in the league. Without signing him, overpaying for Jared Jeffries, and the Francis Trade– all decisions that were blasted immediately– then the Knicks would have real flexibility. I hope Zeke learns from all this.

  30. Bernard King

    The Francis deal is undefensible — at least the James signing — while atrocious — filled a perceived need at the time (albeit out of desperation). Whether rumor or fact, the Francis deal was engineered by Larry Brown and if true, Zeke gets a pass somewhat (although the GM does get to actually say “no” right? Right?). For some reason, Brown wanted Ariza gone (so says the story).

    But that deal really made no sense at all. And if we kept Ariza, we could have drafted either Rondo or Marcus Williams (and possibly still had Balkman there at 28).

    Remembering how awful things were under Layden (just look back at that roster — putrid) at least Zeke put some excitement back into the team. Under Layden the team was bad and unwatchable. Under Thomas they are bad but very watchable. If they are going to stink they may as well be entertaining.

    Cant say they have not been entertaining the past year or so (even the year before they were horrendously entertaining).

  31. retropkid

    Interesting to try to nail down where the Knicks went off the tracks with personnel…imho, it was NOT trading Ewing a fews years earlier than they did…for example, to Utah where he could’ve probably won a title playing with Stockton/Malone, at least had a better shot at it than staying….We could’ve gotten a ton of value for him at that time, re-loaded for the post-Michael era…many Ewing fans would’ve howled, but holding superstars too long can cripple NBA teams the way the caps are structured.

    At that time, common thinking was that NY fans wouldn’t support a team of kids playing hard and losing…I don’t think it was true then, and it isn’t true now, as long as progress is made.

    I’m not a big fan of Zeke as a game coach, but he has done a pretty good job spotting talent overall, with some glaring exceptions — Jeffries, James — That said, most GMs have a few clunkers on their resumes, personnel evaluation isn’t Zeke’s worst trait…

  32. Renaldo Balkman's Agent

    “re: Balkman, essentially we signed our rookie to a $35 million contract.”

    Why aren’t I getting 15% of that money?

  33. Owen

    Jon – You strike again. And we agree again, which is rare….

    Alright, another post by Berri. Whatever you think of his metric, this offseason has provided ever more evidence that his contention that there is an enormous scoring bias in the NBA is broadly correct.

    First, Rashard Lewis’ ridiculous contract. Now, Monta Ellis has won the MIP award, despite showing improvement in only category, points scored.

    There is an interesting chart comparing the top seven candidates in the post. He isn’t sure who should have won the award, but thinks Okafor, D. Williams, David Lee, Al Jefferson, Zach Randolph, and Matt Barnes were all much better options.

    And speaking of Matt Barnes, somehow I feel he might make a better addition to the team than Wilson Chandler and Demetris Nichols ever will.

    http://dberri.wordpress.com/2007/07/16/not-monta-ellis/

  34. Z

    Is it really fair to give Jerome James, the symbol of everything wrong with Knick management; the $30 million man; averages 5 secs. a game over his Knick career; shows up drunk to practice; out of shape; makes a fool of himself on the court; gets hurt the first day of training camp; basically does nothing right and will never do anything right during his 5 years with the team…

    The same grade as Channing Frye, who took a step back from his rookie year but still contributed a decent amount to the team?

    I know Frye is gone, but seeing these two get the same grade makes me think back to all the unfair F’s on my report card and how unjust the world is. Unless there is an F- to be given, I will contend that Frye deserved at least a D.

    Just the fact that Frye is gone and James legacy lingers on for 3 more years is reason enough to serpeate the two.

  35. Bonk

    Jon, your original post was wrong. IT also traded two second round picks to the Bulls for Eddie. Chandler may prove to be the equal of Noah, and Balkman and Thomas may equal out, but the people who rave about IT’s late-in-the-draft gems tend to overlook that we gave up three picks–a first and two seconds–and flip-flopped another first for Eddie.

    Given IT’s roll in the draft, those two second round picks could have been players.

  36. Gmal

    Worst thing about James is that he will rob critical minutes from Morris. As will Rose and
    Jeffries from Chandler and Balkman. It was an over reach signing by Zeke and I don’t think he did his homework on it. But I do think that led him to look more carefully at the Zach aquisition.
    If IT could dump the Francis contract there’s still hope he can do something with Jame’s.

  37. jon abbey

    “Given IT?s roll in the draft, those two second round picks could have been players.”

    how many players do we need? we have too many as it is, we’d have too many even if no one with the initials of JJ had ever been signed.

  38. Brian Cronin

    By the by, I was under the impression we were pushing back the Jerome James entry until Wednesday, hence me not actually participating!

    Granted, it’s just Jerome James, and there’s not much more to say than “he’s terrible,” but darnit, I wanted to say that! ;)

  39. Ted Nelson

    Is watching everyone stand around and dump the ball to Curry or watching Jamal jack up a contested fade away 3 on O and maybe 3 or 4 guys on the team actually trying on D fun??
    To me it would be much, much funner to watch a hustling, rebounding, defending, passing frontcourt of Lee, Ty Thomas, and Noah with Frye providing some scoring. With a host of other guys the Knicks could have had in drafts had they been patient on the wings and in the backcourt.

    If the Knicks really want to buy draft picks they should just start buying Pheonix’s every year: right now they’d have Luol Deng(essentially bought although he was actually exchanged for a 2nd and future first), Sergio Rodriguez, and Rudy Fernandez.

  40. mase

    why can’t we look at the signing as nothing but sheer incompetence on the part of Isiah and Knick managment?

  41. Z

    Caleb, Jon Abbey, and others who justify Isiah?s use of $$ to rebuild with youth–

    Since the James signing seems to ask for a referendum on Isiah?s tenure, and you believe that the purchasing of draft picks is a suitable way to rebuild, I have to ask a question of you: which would you rather have: Lee, Balkman, Collins, Nate, Chandler, Nichols and a roster full of highly paid flawed vets (like the current roster), or a team that was under the cap and had decent, possibly excellent youth without the long-term dinosaur contracts?

    Lee and Balkman are both fun players to have and to watch develop, but they are not exactly Kareem and Worthy. The price we paid for them (according to the ?buying? of draft picks theory) outweighs the picks that are purchased. I would trade Lee and Balkman to anybody who would also take James, Jeffries, Randolph, Curry, Crawford, Marbury, Rose, and/or Richardson off our hands. Effectively leaving us where we’d be if the picks weren’t “bought”.

    I won?t go as far to call anybody on this post an Isiah apologist (no one justifies paying James what he did, and most don?t accept the Jeffries signing, the Curry and Crawford trades, or many of the lateral moves he has made as well), but if Dolan fired Isiah now or at anytime before now, would you guys really make the case to keep him?

    I want Isiah to succeed in NY, and I’ll love Dolan and him if they create a winner as much as I would have love Checketts and Grunfeld had they won a championship. But so far I find it very difficult to defend what Thomas has done for the team, and buying draft picks as the price that he paid doesn’t quite do it for me.

  42. jon abbey

    Kareem and Worthy were both number one overall picks, so that’s kind of a silly point. Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah aren’t Kareem and Worthy either, not to mention they’re both dealing with injuries now.

  43. Hotdamn

    How badly did Milwaukee screw up on draft night with the Yi pick? Can any one tell me if the Bucks will somehow be compensated if Yi does pull back and stay in China? The whole thing reminds of the Fran Vasquez pick by Orlando 2 years ago. Just curious on that – and would anyone possibly want him in the fold in a trade to cut our roster down to make room for Nichols.

  44. Frank O.

    why would the Bucks be compensated?
    Were the Knicks compensated for Weiss?
    I mean Yi was saying before the draft that he didn’t want to play in certain areas…
    It’s on the Bucks for selecting him…

  45. Billy Chaudhry

    knicks should pick up someone like brevin knight, a true point guard who just passes the ball. if they have him and david lee slashing and husling and curry and randolph doing there thing, i think we might have something. but i’m not too happy about them unless they get a true point guard and role players instead of 5 players who all want the ball.

    and jerome james sucks. i can beat him

  46. jon abbey

    pretty sure Yi still wants to play in the US, Milwaukee will have to trade his rights to someone he wants to play for, I guess. remember when the player formerly known as Steve Francis forced Vancouver to trade him to Houston?

  47. Z

    “honestly, I don?t feel like going through this again…”

    I understand. Isiah’s not going anywhere, so it really doesn’t need to be discussed at all. It’s just that the concept of buying draft picks by taking on high priced vets is new to me (I never really thought about Isiah’s moves in such a way), and although it does move toward justifying a lot of what he’s done, it still comes up short for me and I want to make sure I’m not missing a bigger, more sophisticated strategy than I have given credit for. If it’s been discussed deeply on archived posts I’ll review them.

    “Kareem and Worthy were both number one overall picks, so that?s kind of a silly point.”

    Also– that wasn’t my point at all. My point was that for the $$$ spent, the guys that those bought picks turned into SHOULD be franchise players. That may be a silly point, but I’m not exactly sure why.

  48. jon abbey

    the strategy (or my educated guess at it) was to try to simultaneously build for the future while also putting together a team in the present that was enjoyable to watch, whether or not they won games.

    Isiah got the go-ahead from Dolan to seemingly spend as much as he wanted (until Dolan finally said ‘no more’ after the Francis deal, sadly he still signed off on Jeffries). when you say “My point was that for the $$$ spent, the guys that those bought picks turned into SHOULD be franchise players”, the only person that the amount of money spent should matter to is Dolan.

    anyway, I now think that Isiah’s strategy is to try to build as best a supporting cast as he can until one of the few franchise players becomes available, be it LeBron or Wade or Garnett or whoever. we may not be able to offer massive money, but the chance to lead NY to their first title in 35+ years would be irresistible to some players, you’d think someone who still wears a Yankee hat constantly (LeBron) could be enticed when his contract expires in 2009-2010. that “strategy” may initially sound ludicrous, but it’s more in Isiah’s control than trying to land a true franchise player via the draft would be. if we can keep improving the team until then and he can somehow pull that off, then we’d have a real shot.

  49. Ted Nelson

    Jon,

    Would you really rather have Curry and Wilson Chandler than Tyrus Thomas and Noah or whoever you (well Isiah I guess) would have drafted #2 and #9 the last two years??

    I have to strongly disagree with your take on the strategy.

    1. I think the strategy was always to win now. Not to put an entertaining, losing, $200 million per year team together. Building for the future was definitely part of the plan as well, but I believe that Isiah thought, and still thinks, this team he has assembled will be a title contender very soon.
    When he took the job or maybe just before he said something about all you have to do is acquire one of the great PGs in the league and you’ll win. His list of “great” PGs looked something like Marbury, Kidd, Crawford (really), and maybe Francis. He was able to get 3 of those guys when he thought that one of them would make you a really good team.

    2. Are one-dimensional, high usage scorers really a good supposrting cast for a “franchise player”???

    3. If “buying picks” is part of the strategy, why has Isiah choosen to spend 10s of millions to do so when he could have them for a couple mill from Pheonix??? I have to think that Isiah really though Jalen Rose, and maybe even Malik Rose, could be a rotation player on a good team (they both have been in the past, but they’re obviosuly over the hill and poor fits for this team).
    Also, he hasn’t consistently “bought picks.” He’s also given some away.

    4. I would also disagree with your assessment thatgetting an All-NBA, future Hall-of-Famer in his prime via trade/free agency is easier than drafting well.

  50. Sean

    Excuse me Ted But what has Noah or Tyrus thomas did that would make them better than Curry Chandler. An actually what has anyone with the exception of Brandon Roy from last year draft did that made them better than BALKMAN. Our payroll was no were near 200 million either we aren’t the yankees.

    I think as Knicks fans we should stop nitpicking at every little thing an just wait an see how things play out. Besides I know of a few know it all on this board that was praising the lord when we got Larry Brown hey how well did that turn out

  51. Ted Nelson

    Sean,

    I have been waiting, and things have turned out pretty badly. I was very excited when Isiah came on board due to his track record of spotting and acquiring young talent with the Raptors and developing young talent as a coach of the Pacers. I waited to see how things turned out and it’s been one first round playoff sweep and three lottery seasons. There are probably thousands of people who would be interested in Isiah’s job and have some qualifications, you’d have a hard time convincing me that a number of those people couldn’t have produced more wins at a lower cost.

    When I say 200 million it’s because I believe (could be mistaken on some of these numbers) the luxury tax for last season kicked in somehwere under 70 million. Meaning that for every dollar over that you have to pay a penalty of 1 dollar. I don’t remember exactly, but I think last year’s Knicks’ payroll was around 140 million. Add about 70 million in luxury taxes and that’s about 210 million.

    “Excuse me Ted But what has Noah or Tyrus thomas did that would make them better than Curry Chandler. An actually what has anyone with the exception of Brandon Roy from last year draft did that made them better than BALKMAN.”

    I don’t think I said anything about anyone being better than Balkman. Not 100% sure how I would feel about that, but Balkman wasn’t involved in the Curry trade so he’s probably best left out of the discussion.

    On past accomplishments:
    Noah won two national championships at Florida. Thomas helped lead LSU to the championship game and had a pretty good rookie season for a 20 year old on a playoff team.

    On rather having those two than Curry:
    It has more to do with what they haven’t done. Neither has spent 6 seasons in the NBA as a mostly out of shape extremely efficient scorer who can’t take advantage of his scoring ability because he doesn’t pass, defend, or rebound. After 6 NBA seasons the only thing that Curry does better than either of these young players is score. They were both dominant defenders in college who should be at least above average defenders in the NBA. Noah is a great passer and leader to boot, while Curry complains openly about “not having” any shooters. This is an illusion: the Knicks were a top 10 three point shooting team if you replace Jamal Crawford’s attempts with an average starting SG.
    I’d personally rather have a bigman who can defend, rebound, and pass than a scoring machine with Curry’s limitations.

    On rather having those two than Chandler:
    We’ll have to see. Chandler does have the potential to be a good player. I would argue, however, that athletic bigmen who are strong interior defenders and have a good feel for the game are harder to come by than athletic, versatile wings.

  52. jon abbey

    “Would you really rather have Curry and Wilson Chandler than Tyrus Thomas and Noah or whoever you (well Isiah I guess) would have drafted #2 and #9 the last two years??”

    Curry to me clearly has the most potential of those four. Thomas was diagnosed with tendinitis this week, Noah may need surgery (for his knee? I forget). as of now, that trade is still up in the air in my eyes, it depends what guys do from here on out.

  53. LostmyKnickers

    “This is an illusion: the Knicks were a top 10 three point shooting team if you replace Jamal Crawford?s attempts with an average starting SG.”
    That’s a great trick. Can we win games retroactively? Isiah should play these games under protest because his SG is a chucker.

  54. Frank O.

    Can we send Starbury to Italy now???
    Maybe he’ll have more success with the Italian language than he’s had with English…

    On Curry: I suspect I’ll invite some ridicule here for saying this, but Curry is a classic arrived-in-the-NBA-too-soon kind of player.
    He lacked basketball acumen, training, experience, discipline and maturity, and as a result, his growth was retarded.
    His lack of maturity exacerbated his ability to learn in the years he’s been in the NBA. But the fact that he has improved offensively since coming to New York, in the face of the kind of scrutiny players get there, and the fact that he improved the year after the Brown debacle, reinforces my feelings.
    I think he will be in good shape when he gets to camp. I think he will have been working on improving his passing, and maybe his defense.
    I also think Zach will take some of the heat off Curry, and that should help him, too.
    I suspect he’ll score 18-19 ppg and get 8 or 9 rpg. My hope is he will be quicker to react on defense, which is all about recognizing what his happening. He does that, he’ll be the most productive center in the east, and better than most in the west.
    I’m looking for a solid center, not a great one. If the Knicks are solid in most positions, and very good in a few others, we’ll do well in the east. And with glue players like Lee and Balkman causing havoc, this could be…could be a very good team, baring any stupidity…

  55. dan

    I think Curry’s defense and Jamals offense will improve next year. I think that the Knicks biggest problem over the last two years is that they had no consistency in their rotations due to flux on the roster and injuries. It seemed like no one knew their role. Guards would funnel guys toward help that wasn’t there. Big men would double and lose their man. The communication was not there. On offense, set plays would break down leaving Jamal to heave against the clock. They just weren’t a team. So then you guys on this blog pick apart numbers and rip individual players, particularly unfair in Jamals case, I think. He’s a good player!

    This team will improve with consistent lineups, as long as Isaiah doesn’t assign playing time based on the size of guys pay checks. Jerome James and Jared Jeffries need alot of DNPs. Those are two signings that we all know were bad. Meanwhile, Francis miraculously turned into a Zach, who will make a big difference. So Zeke redeemed himself on that front.

    We’re going to be a better than .500 playoff team next year. So I think folks should let upon Isaiah a little.

  56. Owen

    Vintage Ted Nelson above…

    Curry didn’t improve last year overall. He got worse. Both he and Crawford were better players under Larry Brown.

    Here is Berri to supply the argument.

    “As one can see, relative to 2005-06, (through 63 games) Curry is doing worse with respect to rebounds, steals, blocked shots, and turnovers. He is better with respect to scoring and assists, but the overall picture ? which Win Score per minute captures ? tells us that Curry is actually a worse player this year than he was last year under Brown. And it is important to emphasize, Curry was a below average center last year (a status he has held throughout his career). In sum, Curry has not actually improved. His improved scoring average ? which gives people the illusion that Curry is better ? is primarily a function of Thomas playing Curry more minutes.”

    The basic numbers at the end of the season back this up. The offensive improvement you cite above was actually just a jump of 1.1 points per 40, from 21 to 22.1, or a 5% increase in scoring average. His TS% percentage actually fell (though by the smallest amount it could),, and his scoring average was actually below his career high of 22.4 in his last year in Chicago.

    There is no way Eddy Curry will be the most productive center in the East next year, offensively or in any other way.

    Dan – I agree that the Knicks, barring an injury to David Lee or a braincramp that keeps Isaiah from playing Balkman at least 25 minutes per game, will be over 500% next year. But please don’t ask me to think or say anything good about Zeke.

  57. jon abbey

    “Curry didn?t improve last year overall. He got worse.”

    no. he drew far more doubleteams than he ever had before, and he managed to stay out of foul trouble, two huge jumps in his game. as usual, you and Berri miss the forest for the trees.

  58. dan

    Owen,
    Cutting down on fouls and staying on the court an extra ten minutes per game isn’t an improvement?

  59. Owen

    I am missing the forest for the trees? Because Curry committed 1.5 fouls less per 48? And becausee he now commands more doubleteams. ROTFLMAO.

  60. Owen

    No Dan, that’s not an improvement. What David Lee did last year was an improvement. Curry basically did the same thing he always has done. And while, in the NBA, most player’s get slightly more productive with increased playing time, Curry has bucked that pattern as well.

  61. jon abbey

    Dan, in Owen and Berri’s world, scoring 1 point in 1 minute is the same as 35 in 35 minutes, because, you know, it’s “the same per 48″.

  62. Ben

    Owen – There is a fundamental problem to Berri’s argument about productivity per minute. Players that are very high efficiency, high usage players rarely maintain their usage and efficiency with increased minutes. Usually one or the other decrease because of the increased defensive attention that is paid to them. Low efficiency, high usage players, like Crawford, can usually maintain their previous low efficiency and usage with increased minutes as can high efficiency, low usage players, like Lee, because neither deserve or recieve increased defensive attention.

    There was an article about most improved player that Berri worte that followed the same flawed argument. While I agree that Ellis did not deserve to win, because his efficiency is not great anyway, Martin was a very worthy candidate and would have totally deserved winning it, as were the people he actually said deserved it, because he went from a high efficiency bench player to a high efficiency focal point of the offense without losing usage or TS%.

    Curry’s turnovers actually stayed exactly the same both years in NY with 17.7 turnovers per 100 pos, his steals stayed basically the same 0.4 per 40 as compared to 0.5, and his assits almost tripled from 0.4 to 1.0 assists per 40 geting back to just above his career average of 0.9.

    I will admit his rebounding went down but I think that is more to do with increased minutes next to Lee, Balkman, Francis, Collins and Richardson, all five some of the top rebounders for their respective positions, than an actual decrease in productivity.

    The only statistic that I think took a legitimate decrease was his blocks that that dropped to 0.6 per 40, half of his career average of 1.2 per 40 and a third of his career high. I think this is due to instruction from Isiah to reduce his fouls. So I hope he can increase it without going back to his fouling ways.

    I also think that watching Curry play it is quite obvious he is getting alot more attention from opposing teams which in and of its self increases his offensive worth to the team even without a statistical improvement.

    He is still a long ways from where he needs to be regarding turnovers, assits, and blocks but to say he did not improve just because his per minute stats stayed the same is completely off base.

  63. dan

    Meanwhile, I’m not so sure Jared Jeffries is complete useless. I’m willing to give him a mulligan off of an injury hit and confused first season with NYK. It’s just that, from what little I’ve seen, I already like Chandler and Nichols better. So he’s our fifth best SF, and a candidate to be cut.

  64. Owen

    Ben -

    First, am I correct that we agree that Curry’s numbers actually declined per minute last year from his first year in New York?

    Second, I am curious to hear what source you have to suggest that as you say, “very high efficiency, high usage players rarely maintain their usage and efficiency with increased minutes.” I am sure it’s true, but I would love to see the data, Hollinger?

    Berri’s approach actually suggests the opposite. Here is what he said in a comment on that same Monta Ellis post.

    “About the minutes and production link that Jed also noted? I have found that minutes and production are positively linked. As a player plays more, his per-minute numbers go up. There is a causation issue here. It could be the player gets to play more when he is perceived to be better by the coach. So the direction of the relationship is unclear to me. I would add that the impact is not very large. It is not the case that changing minutes has a huge impact on over-all performance.”

    I understand your previous point that there is a difference between usage stats and per minute stats, and would be interested to hear what your view is….

  65. Frank

    Owen, I’m not sure why you hate Curry so much — maybe it’s all the statistics that you believe so blindly. There is no doubt in my mind that Curry improved tremendously last year. I don’t want to hear about any stats that don’t show it. When you are double-teamed every single time you touch the ball, it becomes obvious that other teams believed he improved tremendously as well. When you score consistently despite being surrounded on all sides far more so than in any other time in your career, you have improved. So he’s not a great passer and he is turnover prone. Maybe in some cases teams threw 3 men at him because they hoped he would give it up. But it’s undeniable that he was much more of a FORCE last year, and it was a welcome sight and good start.

    While we’re talking about stats, you did something in your post that is often what people who twist statistics to make their point do — they use the stats they want and leave out the stats they don’t want. Compared to 05-06, his assists/40 went up 250% (if you use percentages to pad your point, so can I) and his TO stayed the same. his points did go up and his TS% was exactly the same (I don’t want to hear that 60.4% and 60.3% are different #s). And if you take into account that the Knicks were then 2nd best team in the NBA behind Utah in rebounding differential, it might lead someone who actually thinks about what the stats mean rather than just repeating them verbatim to conclude that not only did his drop in rebound rate not make any difference, it may just have been because he had superlative rebounders around him, like your beloved David Lee and Renaldo Balkman.

    And even though I just used them here, it has to be stated that stats can only tell you so much because there is so much that is hidden in the numbers. And as anyone who actually does statistics can tell you, anyone can shape the numbers to prove whatever point they are trying to make. Even when there is a true positive effect, it can be hidden in a mess of other statistics — for instance, many pharmaceutical products are shelved before they ever hit market because there is no statistically significant difference seen between placebo and treatment groups in 10000 patients treated. So the pharm company gives up. But often hidden in the numbers are subgroups of patients who really do quite well with the drug, whose positive benefits are hidden by another subgroup that do poorly with the drug. Does that mean the drug is no good? No, it just means, don’t treat the group that did poorly with the drug. So in Curry’s case, just because the overall #s may not show a dramatic improvement, it doesn’t mean that within the numbers there wasn’t some to be found.

    Now I don’t believe that Curry is the end-all and be-all. He clearly needs to try harder on defense and he has to learn how to pass out of the double team better. But in order to make being good at passing out of the double team useful, you need to actually warrant a double team — which he does more than arguably any center in the eastern conference. give the boy a chance, he’s 24 for pete’s sake, and just coming out of his first season as the go-to-guy.

    Sorry for the long post.

  66. jon abbey

    I’ve done a study and concluded that Berri isn’t worth reading. I’ll take Owen’s last post as an example:

    ?About the minutes and production link that Jed also noted? I have found that minutes and production are positively linked. As a player plays more, his per-minute numbers go up. There is a causation issue here. It could be the player gets to play more when he is perceived to be better by the coach. So the direction of the relationship is unclear to me. I would add that the impact is not very large. It is not the case that changing minutes has a huge impact on over-all performance.?

    this is gibberish. each case is different, lumping them all together is pretty much pointless, especially when a few strongly outlying cases could skew the overall data enough to produce the exact opposite conclusion. seriously, Owen, your guru is a gu-fball.

  67. jon abbey

    “it might lead someone who actually thinks about what the stats mean rather than just repeating them verbatim to conclude that not only did his drop in rebound rate not make any difference, it may just have been because he had superlative rebounders around him, like your beloved David Lee and Renaldo Balkman.”

    it might even lead someone to believe that all the focus Curry draws on the offensive end opens up the boards for his teammates. assuming that someone actually understood the sport, anyway…

  68. Owen

    “There is no doubt in my mind that Curry improved tremendously last year. I don?t want to hear about any stats that don?t show it.”

    Frank – Fair enough.

    Jon – If Curry actually does improve next year, I will be the first to admit it, and will celebrate the loudest. In fact, if Berri concludes that Eddy Curry was an above average center at the end of next year I will boy you a bottle of Cristal.

  69. jon abbey

    but that’s half the point, Berri’s metrics are innately flawed IMO. but, hell, nice offer anyway, a little more reason to root for Eddy… :)

    I’m not an Isiah or Curry (or Crawford, for that matter) apologist, I just think sometimes the criticisms of them here (especially Curry) go too far. I love whoever came up with The Twinkie Towers nickname for Curry/Randolph, though (Ted?).

  70. xduckshoex

    “it might even lead someone to believe that all the focus Curry draws on the offensive end opens up the boards for his teammates. assuming that someone actually understood the sport, anyway?”

    I can see that argument being made if the Knicks weren’t a worse offensive rebounding team with Curry on the court.

    But since they are, I really don’t think that’s the case.

    Curry has a very positive effect on the Knicks scoring efficiency. He has a negative effect on their defense and rebounding. It’s just a matter of deciding whether or not the pros outweight the cons.

    While I don’t think that he is necessarily as bad as some of his detractors here, I do think that he is a player who gives you numbers rather than wins(TJ Ford is another example) I have little faith in him only because I have little faith in Thomas as a coach; under other circumstanes I can see him developing into a pretty good NBA player.

    This is his make or break year in my eyes; if he comes into the season slimmed down a bit and it’s obvious that he’s worked on some of the holes in his game I am more than willing to stop criticizing him and give him the benefit of the doubt for the year. However, if things don’t change this year I’m not sure how any reasonable person could defend him.

  71. Frank

    I agree with MR. Duckshoes– Curry really has to step up this year and at least show that he’s trying to work on his weaknesses, or even I will jump off his teeny little bandwagon.

    Owen– just reread my post– didn’t mean to come off so harsh. I appreciate your points of view, just don’t agree with them all the time.

  72. Z

    Interesting points everyone.

    “Curry really has to step up this year and at least show that he?s trying to work.”

    It would be nice, for many reasons, if this was a contract year for Eddy. I have the feeling the above quote will be saved for the season after this one.

  73. Z

    “But it?s more in Isiah?s control than trying to land a true franchise player via the draft would be.”

    I understand the win-now philosophy that Knick management feels it must have. I’m not sure if that is media driven or fan driven or mythical or what, but it has been the NY way for much of my lifetime.

    That said, I think that much of my lifetime is proof that you can’t win at all with a win-now mentality.

    The top three teams right now are all led by their home grown talent. San Antonio has three guys signed to long term deals and all three were drafted. Four out of Phoenix’s top six money makers are drafted products. Dallas’ top two. Of the three teams, Nash is the only non-role player that came from another team.

    San Antonio definitely lucked into Duncan, but the rest has been great drafting (which ironically happens to be Isiah’s forte!). Dallas got lucky with Dirk. Phoenix simply handled their salary cap extremely well and rebuilt with efficiency and purpose.

    I’m really just thinking out loud here, trying to work out my issues with this whole “buying picks” thing.

  74. Frank O.

    Fascinating discussion on Curry. I dropped my note earlier and then had to move on for a time.
    I think what I’m seeing of what has been written and from watching Curry is the uneven development of a young center.
    The fact that he largely maintained his offensive production in the face of teams focusing on stopping him reflects well on him.
    Could the fact that offensive rebounds declined while he is on the floor have to do with his relatively high shooting percentage combine with the offense being run through him? And double-teaming him probably improved, maybe somewhat, the scoring of other Knicks players on the court? I mean, his presence skewed the other teams’ D. That was pretty obvious.
    Were the Knicks a better percentage shooting team when he was on the floor? That might affect offensive rebounding totals while he was on the court, no?
    I mean, when he was not on the floor, the Knicks became a jump shooting squad – a lousy one at that – where their active guys had to hunt down rebounds, right?
    And any team that has Crawford laying bricks has a shot at a lot of long rebounds….
    And let’s not forget that it was a good thing that he increased his minutes. He stayed largely healthy.
    Another thing that might help his development is if “Starbury” can learn how to get the ball in the big man’s hands. As much as I dislike Crawford’s game, he got the ball to Curry. Starbury just didn’t succeed enough.
    One last point about Curry. He shot almost 58 percent from the floor. Ewings best year was almost 57 percent from the floor. (I’m only comparing offense right now. Defense is a joke in favor of the Big Fella)
    But Curry only shot 61 percent from the line, while Ewing average 74 percent from the line.
    That is a place where Curry’s improvement could have a significant impact, in total scoring and how teams choose to defend…
    I’m sure some of the stat guys on the board could give a sense of what a 10 percent improvement in foul shooting might mean to the Knicks statistically…the impact it would have on defenders, however, might be even greater. It also might mean the Knicks would go to Curry more when the game was on the line, rather than Crawford…

  75. jon abbey

    yeah, and like I said earlier, he also showed signs of being able to make that jump at the foul line. he shot just under 70 percent (69.7) over the 20 game stretch from 12/27 through 2/10, taking almost 10 FTs a game.

  76. xduckshoex

    “Could the fact that offensive rebounds declined while he is on the floor have to do with his relatively high shooting percentage combine with the offense being run through him?”

    No, because it’s not just total offensive rebounds grabbed, it’s the percentage of available offensive rebounds grabbed that went down.

    Also, the Knicks offense did not necessarily perform better with Curry on the floor. They did shoot a higher percentage and had a higher percentage of assisted field goals, but I think that’s because Curry is the lone consistent offensive weapon, not because the rest of the team played better. When you look at their production in its most basic form, points produced, it actually performed worse with Curry out there.

  77. Ted Nelson

    On the Curry trade:

    Obviously time will tell.
    Curry certainly has the most potential of the four as a scorer, but in what other aspect of the game does he have the most potential???
    Even if he’s the “best player” in terms of contribution and the role played on his team, is it better to have one guy who scores 25 points than two rotation players on a championship contender?

    Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean I’d rather have Jacques Vaughn than Crawford, for example, just that scoring 20,30,40 points a game, even at high efficiency, doesn’t make you a franchise player. There have been some comments to the effect of: don’t compare Curry to franchise players/Hall-of-Famers, he just a good player. Last year he was not a good player, interpret +/- as you will, but the Kncicks were less efficient on both sides of the ball with Curry on the court.

    On Curry:

    My last question is, I guess, the reason I don’t like Curry: How, or why maybe, do you build a team around a very efficient scorer at the 5 who is a bad team player on both sides of the ball???
    Not sure why, but for the how I would say you surround him with smart players who excel at defense, ball movement/passing, moving without the ball, perimter shooting and especially defense. The only area in which most Knicks qualify (besides the guys who qualify in other areas like Balkman, Lee, and maybe Crawford) is perimeter shooting. The Knicks have so many high usage guys who tend to prefer a one-on-one style of playground basketball.

    No stat is infallible, and I don’t think it’s fair to say that Owen uses stats, even WOW, in that way. He obviously views WOW as a more useful stat than all of you, but most of his comments, in my opinion, do focus on interpretting stats and what they tell us.

    Stats only tell us what happened, usually not why it happened, and you have to interpret them. True.

    I interpret the fact that Eddy Curry is a miserable passer and defender, and that the Knicks were a less efficient team on both sides of the ball with him on the court, as meaning that he is a one-dimensioanl player.

    I’m also a big fan of defense, and can’t really support a 5 who can’t defend when that’s the position that should anchor your D.

    As far as why the Knicks were better with him off the court. I don’t know. It could be that Lee replaced him. Overall I would, with nothing to back it up, posit that it was because it’s better to have good team players who excel in other areas even if their scoring ability is limited than a guy who’s a scoring god but stinks it up in every area and can’t take advantage of his scoring ability because he can’t pass and turns it over too much.

    On Crawford:

    I don?t understand the excuses. He?s been in the league 7 seasons and the only year in which he shot a good percentage was his second season, when he played 20 mpg for only 23 games. He?s a career .401 shooter, .342 on 3s, .465 eFG%, and .509 TS%.

    I especially don?t understand the excuse that he shoots late in the shot clock. Having seen a lot of Jamal over the last three seasons I can say that I?ve seen him shoot early, in the middle, and late in the shot clock. I would love to see some statistical evidence, but my observation is that Jamal?s penchant for jacking up bad shots early in the shot clock, often before the offense sets and often ?created? off the dribble with a hand in his face, hurts his percentage more that shots late in the clock.
    But why do Jamal and Eddy feel the need to publicly blame their teammates for their shortcomings?? Jamal is a bad shooter because the Knicks have a bad (it?s average really) offense that often falls apart? Despite the fact that he?s been a bad shooter in every offense he?s player more than 23 games in?
    Curry is a bad passer and turns it over too much because of his teammates? shooting and passing? This despite the fact that last year?s assist rate of 4.1 was a hair higher than his career average of 4.1 and his TO-rate was 17.7 compared to a 15.9 mark on his career.
    First of all, these excuses prevent them from addressing the flaws in their own games. Second, even if they are true wouldn?t it be more productive to work on changing things by helping your teammates and adjusting your own game than by excusing yourself from blame because it?s not your fault?

    On WOW:

    It may not be the end all and be all of statistical analysis, but I think it’s pretty interesting. While everyone criticizes Owen and Berri, no one really justifies their criticism.

  78. Frank

    Well– and why do I always find myself defending Eddy? — from what I remember from the season, the only time Eddy ever complained about the teammates was when Jamal and Q were out, and Marbury was playing on one leg, and he was getting triple teamed in the post and throwing it out to Mardy who would brick at 17 footer.

    That being said, you never hear other so-called franchise players blaming their teammates even when things are so obviously their fault. I mean, Lebron was playing 1 on 5 the whole championship series and never said one bad thing about his team.

    I have a mixed opinion on Jamal. I love the fact that he can take anyone off the dribble (I’ve never seen someone blow by Bowen more often) and that he passes well, especially to Curry. But he sure does take some boneheaded jumpers. He’s so much more talented than Starks but even so, offensively they are roughly the same player, streaky and exciting, but too inconsistent. And he’s nowhere near the hound that Starks was on defense. I honestly could either take or leave Jamal — certainly I think the Knicks are better off with him as a 6th man spark off the bench. I’d love to see Balkman in there as the SF and Q as the SG, then have the energy crew of Lee, Crawford, and I guess Nate come in later.

  79. Z

    “…why do I always find myself defending Eddy?”

    You’re good to do it Frank. This isn’t a good place to be an Eddy fan (like being a Bulls fan at the Garden…)

    I find myself giving Curry a lot of shit in posts, but most of it is out of frustration, not out of dislike for him or his game. I love having an offensive force, and if he was surrounded by ideal players, he could be a great asset.

    My biggest problem with him is that he came at a high expense and is considered the future of the franchise by management. The flaws in his game are also frustrating, but certainly, even if the stats don’t speak for it, Curry does bring an offensive presence that is under appreciated by some of the observers who post here.

    As an asside– did Curry blast his teammates? Did Jamal? I don’t remember reading the quotes. How did Isiah handle it? More info please…

  80. Sean

    I dont think we undervalue Eddy offensive force. What most Knicks fans are completely surprised by is the fact that he cant rebound better than most guards in the league.honestly if he could do that peope wouldn’t be complaining much about his defense. To be honest there not alot of good defensive big men in this league I can name them on one hand. So if Eddy could just rebound more or for god sakes keep his hands up an play defense with his feet,Everyone would be happy, but Mark Aquirre is teaching him so dont count on it

  81. A-Spen

    curry doesnt have the work ethic either, and he tends 2 b out of shape. If he was a hard worker he could b one of the best centers in the league right now, but he’s not…………….

  82. A-Spen

    i like randolph better than curry so if they had 2 trade one of them cuzz of lack of chemistry, i hope it’d b curry

  83. Owen

    Good feed. From the July 8th article on Lee

    “I’m flattered by (the trade talk),” Lee said. “It means you’re wanted. This is the city I want to be in, this is the city I want to be a part of, to bring the honor back to the New York Knicks. I want to be part of it.”

  84. Owen

    Someone at 82games has come up with something called a Defensive Composite Score. In a result that shocked even me, Eddy Curry was rated the fourth worst defender in the entire league, ahead of Adam Morrison, Jarvis Hayes, and Anthony Johnson. Another interesting result for a Knicks fan, Renaldo Balkman is rated the third best defender in the league. And the second best defender was our Eddy Curry subsitute, Tyrus Thomas.

    http://www.82games.com/nichols1.htm

    I don’t really know what to make of the system the guy presents, but it’s another statistical perspective to consider perhaps…

    There are some other interesting results actually. Three members of the Spurs made the top five, and Bruce Bowen was not one of them, for instance…

  85. jon abbey

    those generally look pretty accurate, although Prince and Hamilton on Detroit being so low is odd, maybe they coasted too much last year.

    “In a result that shocked even me, Eddy Curry was rated the fourth worst defender in the entire league, ahead of Adam Morrison, Jarvis Hayes, and Anthony Johnson.”

    not sure where that’s coming from, Marbury is actually lower than Curry. are you looking at his “Bottom 10 Overall” list?

  86. Gmal

    No one disputes that Eddie can’t play defense,
    my question is how much of that is attributed to the non existent perimeter defense where the guards can’t get around picks or defend the pick and roll which eventually leads to an open look 3.
    Now you can say the guards are really playing to prevent the drive to protect the middle because they know their is no interior defender and that puts the blame back on Eddie and I cant argue with that. But I will say this; that neither
    Marbury Nate or Crawford are good at defending the pick and roll.

  87. iyamwutiam

    I agree with Frank. To have a 5 that is a scorer is essential. Whether he is a rebounding madman is secondary – Curry averaged 7 rebounds and most center/forwards of value avergaed around 9-10 (Dalembert/Gasol/Wallace, Bosh) etc. The only legitimate rebounder is D. Howard at close to 15/gm. Also people forget the Bulls (despite Skiles WERE re-signing Curry). He led the team in EVERY statistical category in 2004 (?) and only Michael Jordan did that before him. The dude is 25 years old and is demonstrably getting better every year.

    I can not believe people are complaining about having a center that puts up 24 points, gets 7 rebounds on average – we are not even talking games like when he put up 43 points and got 13 rebounds to AVERAGE those numbers. He is defintitely a force as actual PRO NBA players and coaches that made the decision to double team him constantly after the all star break and NOT statisticians.

    I think you will see a lot of Randolph in the high post and this is EXACTLY what Curry needs – neither Lee nor Frye had a consistent 10 footer in their arsenal and it will do wonders for the Knicks. Also I think the Francis trade is justified especially since it DID turn into Zach Randolph regardless of naysayers.

    Also – I am not sure why people are so hot on Joaquim Noah – if you want to see how he would do in the NBA look no further than Anderson Varejao of Clevland. As for Tyrus Thomas – again – he is not a post player and not an inside force that WILL make a difference in the playoffs (just ask Phoenix, Cleveland, Detroit, Washington etc.). In addition – Curry is GREAT value at around 10M/year definitely better than Dampier, Darko, Adonal Foyle, Pryzbilla, etc ad nauseum. No doubt – the Knicks should have lottery protected the swap but it wasn’t going to happen. Paxson wanted Curry – and in my view – they would have reached exactly the same place WITH Curry instead of Wallace. it was their hot shooting from the outside that got them past Miami – but as we all have seen – you always need to pound the ball into the post.

    As for the Marbury trade- let’s refresh shall we:
    IT traded for Stephan Marbury on January 5, 2004 for Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward, Antonio McDyess, Maciej Lampe, draft rights to Milos Vujanic, a first-round 2004 draft choice, and an additional future first-round draft choice. Only McDyess is playing in the legue. In addition- Marbury’s expirng 20M/year contract will be a HUGE trading chip this year and next. He also averaged close to 18pts/9 assists that year -and Stoudemire was hurt when he did get them to the playoffs.

    As for James and Jeffries- a midlevel exemption, and 5 years @ 30 million for James is not TERRIBLE. I agree so far they haven’t panned out – but James is also going to be an expiring contract next year -which will give the Knicks close to 30 million in expiring contracts (Malik Rose?) – which is fantastic in a sign and trade for a Kobe Bryant scenario.

    Personally I think this team would have been waaay further along if they hadn’t made the mistake of hiring Larry Brown. Players everywhere hated him – even Allan Iverson. He really destroyed a lot of chemistry on the team and set the team back a year (IMO).

    Next year is the turn the corner year for sure. A line up of Curry, Randolph, Q, Crawford and Marbury will score points -and that does get you places in the NBA (ask Golden State, Phoenix and Dallas). Offense/Defense substitutions of Balkman, Lee, Jeffries, (Chandler/James/Morris) can keep you in the game.

    If we count Jan 2004 as the time IT came in (since he was hired before Xmas 2003) – there has been a sea change in the roster and by next year there may be no cap issue. Even if we are over the cap – it will not be by 100 million like when Isiah took over the team. We are now only 20 million over the cap – so definitely this is waay better than 2003/2004.

    IT may have not done everythig right – but copare him with Ainge/Bird/etc who have been on the job for the same amount of time ad tell me if he hasn’t earnestly tried to improve the team as much as possible. I am NOT counting Chris Mullin because – you can’t call the rigged trade between he and Bird anything other than a payoff. No one in their right mind trades Al HArrington and S. Jackson for Troy Murphy and M. Dunleavy (especially when Murphy and Dunleavy are making Austin Croshere money).

  88. Z

    Iyamwutiam– some good points and some I’m not sold on:

    “I think the Francis trade is justified especially since it DID turn into Zach Randolph regardless of naysayers.”

    The Randolph trade as a positive is to be decided over the next 4 years, but I would guess that Portland was not holding out for Francis to be included and several other scenarios were offered but Isiah insisted on ridding himself of Franchise.

    “As for the Marbury trade- let?s refresh shall we:”

    It’s not so much what we gave up but what we took on. To say Marbury’s contract is a huge trading chip next year simply says that we traded a huge salary chip to get him three years ago.

    “but James is also going to be an expiring contract next year -which will give the Knicks close to 30 million in expiring contracts (Malik Rose?)”

    James doesn’t expire for 2 more years (in Q’s graduating class). Marbury and Malik expire after next year (totalling approx. $30 mil.). But abusing the mid-level exception just to have a tradable salary in 4 years doesn’t really seem better than not using it at all.

    “Personally I think this team would have been waaay further along if they hadn?t made the mistake of hiring Larry Brown.”

    Agreed. Completely. Earlier on this thread I posted the Francis trade was Thomas’ worst transaction as a Knick. I should have broadened it to the entire Brown debacle.

    Even if we are over the cap – it will not be by 100 million like when Isiah took over the team. We are now only 20 million over the cap – so definitely this is waay better than 2003/2004.

    “there has been a sea change in the roster and by next year there may be no cap issue. ”

    Do you know something about the Collective Bargaining Agreement being disolved in 2008?

    “Even if we are over the cap – it will not be by 100 million like when Isiah took over the team. We are now only 20 million over the cap – so definitely this is waay better than 2003/2004.”

    If the roster stands as it is, the team will be close to $45 million over the cap next year. Isiah did nothing to reduce payroll except not resign Allan Houston and Jerome Williams to extensions. Time heals all bad salary cap problems if they are left alone.

    In Isiah’s defense, and Jon Abbey has consistently stated it, the only person the luxury tax money should matter to is Dolan, and it doesn’t really matter if you are $1 million or $100 million over the cap if you are going to be over it. That said, it is much easier to get significantly under the cap from $1 million than from $45 million over.

    I haven’t looked closely at Bird, Ainge, Mullin, etc. There seem to be a lot of players from the 80′s and 90′s GMing now. Is Kiki V. a free agent? Not sure of his complete track record in Denver, but he sure got the better of us in the Camby deal. Any way he could be waiting in the wings of MSG?

  89. Owen

    Jon – Yeah, you are right. I don’t know how that works. Sort of confusing that Marbury is listed as worse than Curry on the Knicks, but Curry is fourth worst overall. Perhaps there is a position adjjustment. It’s sort of eye opening also that the Knicks are the only team other than the Grizzlies to have three players with a defensive rating less than five, and that those three players led the team, Marbury, Crawford, and Curry, led the team in minutes.

    But again, I don’t know what the results really mean, people have been lobbing suggestions at the guy at APBR.

    “To have a 5 that is a scorer is essential.”

    Iyam – It’s not important for centers to rebound? I am so glad. I feel much better now about having the worst defending worst rebounding, least athletic starting center in the NBA. Awesome. He is a scorer. Fantastic.

  90. Felix

    The francis trade was bad, but in an odd way, it was good…
    We traded trevor ariza, and then we lacked a young athletic defender… cue: Renaldo Balkman.
    Had ariza still been in NY, we might have gone in a different direction in that draft.

  91. Felix

    To those who believe that we gave up too much for curry i dissagree. Or maybe had the Bulls made better picks, then i would see that.
    But Tyrus and Noah have bigger flaws than curry, and are only 2-3 yrs younger.
    Neither one can shoot, have limited post moves, dont have upper body strengh. They are both good rebounders, decent weakside defenders who are good finishers in the open court. Reminds me a lil bit of Lee & Balkman. And i would take Lee & Balkman over Thomas & Noah anyday of the week. The curry trade hasnt made them better, they are still a decent playoff team but wont make headlines becuas they live and die in the perimeter. In fact its ironic that their biggest weakness is curry’s biggest strength.
    Its easy to forget that curry didnt go to college. and is still learning the game, hes only 24 and big men dont peak till 27+.
    And its easy to mask eddie’s defensive defiencies by have good all around defenders with him (Q,balkman, collins, steph (after his slow start).
    We can nit pick at curry’s flaws all day but we still need to keep in mind curry can guard the 3pt line as well, (which we were dead last in the nba).
    I dont buy the notion that eddie NEEDS to become a shot blocker for us to become a better team. The Cavs are in the lower echelon of blocked shots but yet are the 4th/5th best defensive team in the league. They were #1 in rebounds, we were #2. Gooden and Big Z dont exactly strike fear in opposing teams fellas. But they rarely missed an assingment on D or failed to rotate properly.
    Over and over we gave up open shots from poor rotation, guys like Mr. Softee (frye), jeffries, Nate, and sometimes Jamal would just be hypontized by the passing and attempt to stare a guy down to miss a shot hes been sizing up for 5mins.
    If we were a good perimeter team and curry was clearly holding us back then maybe ill understand the heat coming down on him, but others who didnt perform as well as he did last yr on the O end should feel some heat too.

  92. Ted Nelson

    “Or maybe had the Bulls made better picks, then i would see that.”

    First, out of curiosity, who would you have had them pick??
    Brandon Roy would be an obvious choice in hindsight. Time will tell if he would have been a better choice than Thomas, but Thomas had a pretty good rookie year on a second round playoff team.

    Second, John Paxson would compete with Isiah in a competition of the league’s best drafters. He consistently passes up higher “ceiling” guys and better “prospects” for intelligent guys who were great players in college and he consistently makes great picks and puts together the NBA’s best young team. Why not let Noah take the court as an NBA player before blasting him?

    “decent weakside defenders”

    I don’t know what you’re basing this on, I think Thomas and Noah have as much defensive potential as any young bigmen in the league besides Oden.
    Ty Thomas already played strong D in limited minutes as a 20 year old rookie. All we have for Noah is college, but he played pretty damn well at that level.
    Time will tell I guess, but if they put in the work I see no reason to believe these two won’t be great defenders.

    While neither has a jump shot I would hardly call them offensive liabilities with Noah’s passing ability and basketball IQ, and Thomas’ athletism and rookie season in which he shot .475 for 15.5 pts. per 40 minutes with an assist rate above 8 (he did, however, turn it over like Curry).
    Comparing Noah to Varejao isn’t totally baseless, but I think he’ll be a rich man’s Sideshow Bob.

    “To have a 5 that is a scorer is essential”
    Is it? San Antonio’s 5s last year were Oberto and Elson. They were the fourth best offense in the league and took the title.
    Dallas was the 2nd best offense and their 5s were Dampier and Diop. They lost in the first round to a GS team (10th ranked offense) that, against Dallas, usually played a 5 who was about 6-7.
    Washington was the league’s 5th best offense. Is Etan Thomas or Brendan Haywood an offensive force?
    Most teams in the top 10 offensively have 5s who were in there for D or play 4s at the 5.

    I don’t knwo who else in the league you’d call an offensive force at the 5, but Houston finished 14th with Yao, and Orlando finished 22nd with Howard.

    The Bulls’ problem is that they have an inefficient offense overall. They were 20th in the league last year. In contrast Seattle, a perimeter oriented team with no interior scorer to speak of, finished 12th. Chicago’s very young and I would expect that to improve.

    “He led the team in EVERY statistical category in 2004 (?) and only Michael Jordan did that before him. The dude is 25 years old and is demonstrably getting better every year.”
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/CHI/2005.html
    What??? He led the Bulls in several scoring relating categories, and in TOs.
    He definitely took a step forward last year just by staying on the court, we’ll have to see if he can take some much bigger steps this coming season.

    “Its easy to forget that curry didnt go to college. and is still learning the game, hes only 24 and big men dont peak till 27+.”

    What other preps-to-pro player put up similar rate/per 40 minutes numbers as Curry for 6 seasons then broke out?

    “I dont buy the notion that eddie NEEDS to become a shot blocker for us to become a better team.”

    I don’t either, in fact, I’ve never seen that notion agreed upon on this board.
    I don’t think you’ll get much from comparing the Knicks with the Cavs. Z and the other Cavs played with a certain LeBron James. Luc Longley has some rings while we’re on the subject.

  93. Ted Nelson

    Z,

    Jamal didn’t really blast his teammates. He defended his terrible fg% by saying something about how his teammates look to him to be the guy who takes the shot as the clock is winding down. (Is there any data available showing what % a guy shot at what point in the shot clock?)
    If this is in fact the case, you’d think every team has one of those players. Yet few NBA players shoot as poor a % as Jamal, certainly not many of the players their teams would likely look to in this situation.
    If the Knicks are a special case because their offense forces more bad shots, it would follow that it’s his teammates’ fault.
    Either way it seems that it would be more productive for Jamal to fix the problem than just excuse it.
    I don’t have the quote, so I don’t know if or how he explained why his teammates looked to him to take last second shots.

    Curry did basically blast his teammates by defending his career long inability to pass, and season long inability to pass out of double and triple teams, by saying that he needs an elite shooter to pass to. (Someone said it was at a point when the several guys were injured, sounds right, but as I remember the quote it was still something to the effect of the Knicks needing to go out and acquire a shooter in the offseason). Seeing as he hasn’t shown any ability to pass period I don’t see how said shooter would help. The fact is, however, that the Knicks had a bunch of pretty good 3 pt. shooters in Nate (.390), Francis (.378), Q (.376), and Marbury (.357). Maybe you could argue that none of those guys are spot up shooters.

    If Curry’s going to complain, his complaint probably should have been that there’s no movement away from the ball when he has it. Everyone just stands around on the perimeter, making themselves easy to defend and making it much harder on Curry to get them the ball in a good position. Opposing defenses can see where he’s going to pass it from a mile away.

  94. jon abbey

    “What other preps-to-pro player put up similar rate/per 40 minutes numbers as Curry for 6 seasons then broke out?”

    dunno about rate/per 40 minute numbers, but Jermaine O’Neal didn’t really break out until his sixth season in the league.

  95. Caleb

    O’neal was a late bloomer. His per/40 numbers didn’t actually get much better when he came to Indiana… but it was such a huge jump in minutes (from 12mpg in 1999-2000, to 32mpg the next year, and 37 in 2001-2002) that I would argue it was a real and significant improvement.

    But the comparison to Curry ends there. JO was only 22 his first season as a starter, and 23 the next year, when he averaged 10.5 rpg and 19 ppg, not to mention 2+ blocks and general dominating interior defense.

    Our guy turns 25 this season.

  96. Felix

    Ted, John Paxson does draft well, unfortunately he follows krause’s philosophy of trading young big men away. (Brand, Curry, Chandler) its no coincidence that all those players got better away from chi. Chi has never been a haven for big men.
    Also, when i compare the cavs and knicks i only mean in the sense that u dont need to be a good shot blocking team in order to play good team defense.
    Thomas and Noah are offensive liablities in a half court offense becuase neither have a polished set of low post moves, neither are stop up shooters. (ie jeffries)
    Thomas is a decent defender at best but he is a skinny 6’9 PF that in order to block shots has to have a running start. What i saw last yr is that he was out muscled for position all the time. His strenghts, just like noah come on fast break open court.
    That doesnt mean he wont add the muscle, most players do and im sure he’ll improve his other weaknesses. I actaully would have taken Aldridge over thomas beucase LMA is a more well-rounded player that can play D and O.
    Plus, their biggest weakness is their inability to score in the low post half court setting, Noah doesnt do that. So essentially they drafted for the future after wallace, instead of drafting for what they need. And thats fine. but i dont think it makes sense when ur already a playoff contender.

  97. Z

    Thanks Ted Nelson for the info on Curry and Jamal.

    ?To have a 5 that is a scorer is essential?

    For it to be essential, there would have to be more of them. Besides, other than Shaq and Hakeem (and Robinson when he was no longer dominant) no dominant centers have rings in the past 20 years.

    The center was the position of the 90′s, but other than Hakeem they all played on also-rans while the Pistons and Bulls won all the titles with 4th and 5th option centers.

    Still, theoretically it shouldn’t hurt to have a 5 as the 1st option, and if there were more to build around right now, more teams would do it.

    (I don’t really understand why Duncan is a PF and not a C though. How is that distinction made anyway?)

  98. Frank

    Z– I usually agree with you but Chicago and Detroit were exceptions to the rule rather than the other way around. Duncan is obviously a center and not really a PF — he plays like a center and often guards centers so I’m not sure what the PF thing is all about. Then we have Hakeem for the Rockets, Duncan AND DRob for the Spurs, Shaq for the Lakers championships and Miami championship. Then there are Kareem, Moses Malone, and Robert Parish in the 80s. maybe Parish wasn’t dominant but he was pretty damn good player.

    So you have 6 championships with Jordan who was so much better than everyone else the center didn’t matter, 2 bad boys teams, and 1 later detroit team in the last 25+ years, and the rest are won by teams with dominant or at least very good centers.

  99. Owen

    “For it to be essential, there would have to be more of them. Besides, other than Shaq and Hakeem (and Robinson when he was no longer dominant) no dominant centers have rings in the past 20 years.”

    Ummm….

    The Bulls won six championships without a dominant center. But pretty much every other team since 1990 has featured a dominant center. Hakeem won twice, Duncan and Robinson won, then Shaq, then Ben Wallace, then Shaq, the Duncan again, who is a center by any reasonable definition of the term.

    I don’t think a scorer at the five is essential, but a big man who dominates almost always is. The only player who doesnt fit the “scorer at the five” mold is Ben Wallace, who was as effective without being able to score as pretty much any player in NBA history other than perhaps Bill Russell. He was far and away the best player on that 2004 Pistons team, and to say that team didn’t have a great big man does him a grave injustice.

    So that leaves you with exactly 0 teams without a dominant center that have won an NBA championship since1990.

    And going back twenty year, the Bad Boys had Bill Laimbeer, probably one of the most underrated interior players in the modern era. I wouldn’t quite call him dominant, but he was pretty good.

    You don’t win in the NBA without a competent big man manning the middle unless you have a player of the caliber of Magic or Michael, and right now, there is no one in the NBA who comes close, other than David Lee.

    ;-)

    (that was a joke about Lee)

  100. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger) Post author

    “(Is there any data available showing what % a guy shot at what point in the shot clock?)”

    Yeah 82games.com. Crawford takes more than 60% of his shots in the first 15 seconds of the shot clock. He takes only 17% of his shots with less than seconds on the clock. That # is really similar to what Nate (16%), Steph (15%), and Francis (19%). So that theory can be thrown out the window.

    “So you have 6 championships with Jordan who was so much better than everyone else the center didn?t matter, 2 bad boys teams, and 1 later detroit team in the last 25+ years, and the rest are won by teams with dominant or at least very good centers.”

    Frank – The original quote was this:

    “To have a 5 that is a scorer is essential. Whether he is a rebounding madman is secondary ”

    I think your list above certifies that this isn’t true. Not one of those centers was a poor rebounder/defender. This is especially true of the non-scoring centers (Ben Wallace & the Jordan teams).

  101. DS

    And Ewing. Remember NY’s back to back championship runs in 93 (when Charles Smith slammed home a dunk in Game 6 over 2 Bulls defenders and the team went on to beat Phoenix in 7 games) and 94 (when John Starks hit a series winning 3 pointer over Hakeem Olajuwan in Game 6 of the Finals)?

    OH THE PAIN!!!

  102. DS

    On the topic though, is it worth noticing that the most similar player to Crawford at his current age, 26, on basketballreference.com is Rip Hamilton?

  103. Z

    “The original quote was this: ‘To have a 5 that is a scorer is essential. Whether he is a rebounding madman is secondary’. I think your list above certifies that this isn?t true. Not one of those centers was a poor rebounder/defender. This is especially true of the non-scoring centers (Ben Wallace & the Jordan teams).”

    Whoa– to be honest here, I’m getting a little confused as to what the original point was AND the one I was trying to make…

    “You don?t win in the NBA without a competent big man manning the middle”

    I’d say there is a significant distinction between competent and dominant (and Curry borders on both at times). It seems that for every “best center in the league” to wear a ring there is an equal number of “best guard” in the league with one. Shaq won 4, so did Kobe/Wade; Hakeem, Robinson, and Duncan have 7, but Jordan and Isiah have 8.

    I’m not really sure what any of this shows or how it relates to Eddy Curry except to say there really isn’t a true formula for winning a championship except to get the best player in the league on a team with another top 10 player (top 2-5).

    Since Curry is the Isiah-proclaimed best center in the East and Marbury is the self-proclaimed best guard in the league, it appears the Knicks have achieved this formula.

    I guess the rings are in the mail…

  104. Felix

    Z, that was pretty funny.
    We can compete by simply being a good defensive team, not just having a “intimidator” in the middle.
    Cleveland, post-wallace Detroit are two teams that compete without defensive dominance by their C. We know curry isnt a shot blocker, but look at the tape from last yr, hes not fouling horrible C’s all over the place like he used to.
    Instead of trying to figure out from right now about how to win a champoinship, why dont we try and get to the dance 1st to see who can cut and who needs to go. Certainly seems like a good idea to keep jamal if we get to the playoffs, even if its as our 6th man, he has shown the ability to make clutch shots at the end of games.

  105. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, Duncan is a center.

    Not saying that you can’t win without a scoring center, just saying that Duncan is a center, so the Spurs don’t count as an example of “teams that win without a scoring center.”

  106. Frank O.

    Did someone actually write about Charles Smith and his inability to dunk on players smaller and weaker then him? It was the second most painful moment I have ever expienced in sport…
    The first being Ewing’s finger tip, french pastry crap layup…
    This is a very dark, dark place.

  107. Ted Nelson

    Duncan is a PF because that’s the position at which he plays the majority of his minutes (and really he’s considered a 4 because that’s where he starts), he also plays quite a bit at the 5. Any way you look at it he’s a dominant bigman, but the Spurs played 5s who are certainly not dominant for about 32.3 mpg in the playoffs and 36.3 mpg in the regular season.

    The original point was that having a bigman who dominates offensively is essential. I would say that having a bigman who dominates DEFENSIVELY, while not essential, is the easiest way to build a very good basketball team.

    Hakeem, Ben Wallace, Patrick Ewing, Bill Laimbeer, David Robinson, Shaq, Duncan. These are some of the best defensive players in the NBA over the last 2 decades. No one doubts that they (besides maybe Laimbeer) dominated. But I would argue that all dominated at least as much on D as O.
    Only Shaq has a career FG% above .520 (Shaq’s is .580), and Curry’s career ast-rate of 4 isn’t even half of any of the above players’.
    Basically, I see no reason based on his career to date that Curry would ever be compared to any of the above players besides his size and Shaq like scoring efficiency.

    We should really be discussing the Knicks compared to next year’s eastern conference playoff hopefulls.

    Felix:

    I agree that we need to get to the playoffs before worrying about winning championships; although, I don’t think you need to get to playoffs before deciding which players to keep and get rid of.

    I would also agree that you can build a good defense with a mediocre/bad defensive center: the Bulls were the league’s #2 defense with Curry himself getting about 30 mpg for 63 games. Unfortunately the Knicks have a really sorry defense with or without Curry.

    My question would really be whether or not you can build a good offense with Curry? No team has ever done it, last year’s #17 offense was the most efficient offense he’s ever played on. I think yes, but he has to improve his passing/TOs at least a bit, and I think you’d need different personnel than what the Knicks have. I do think the Knicks have a much better chance of being a good offense next year than defense. We’ll just have to see if they can share the ball and play together, intelligently, as a team.

    I also see playing at the slow pace that Curry and Randolph’s games demand as a problem when you’re giving up easy baskets: the other team is getting easy baskets while you’re grinding out yours. I thought it was supposed to be the other way around.
    I’m also worried that Randolph may experience a Frye-like dip in productivity if he’s asked to be Curry’s mid-range wingman.

    I disagree about keeping Crawford for his “ability” to hit last second shots. No doubt the guy isn’t shy about putting up his best attempt, but he hasn’t hit them at a particularly high %. I think this is b/c the Knicks most often use a last second play which involves isolating Crawford at the top of the arc and letting him basically go 1 on 5. Almost every time he dribbles around then pulls up for a fade away 3 which never goes in. NOTHING makes me madder than that play.
    Crawford is a SG who leads his team in shot attempts/game and /40 minutes, yet shoots a terribly low %. I think one of the first steps to making the playoffs would be to cut Crawford’s shots in half (which may happen with ZBo replacing Frye).

  108. Brian Cronin

    If the Knicks put out a lineup and called Eddy Curry the point guard, but had everything go as normal, would Curry be considered the point guard?

    The Spurs play Duncan at center, they just refer to him as a power forward for whatever weird reason (I honestly have no idea why they do it – it is so weird).

    It’s a silly, silly minor point though, and it’s just me being anal. It’s so not a big deal.

    I like Crawford’s ability to at least get OFF a shot at the end of the game – the other Knicks have trouble with that.

  109. iyamwutiam

    Well first I hae t say it is a DELITE – to be on a forum where there are so many well spoken and knowledable fans and moderators.

    Context is everything. The formula of relativity has no context in literature but it is different in physics. Which is an obtuse way of saying that the team was a disaster after Scott Layden got done with it. In addition to the list of players traded for Marbury- we also had Charlie Ward, Frank Williams from the disastrous M.Camby trade, and a 20M dollar bench player who the NBA created a ‘rule’ for named Alan Houston, Sweetney, Harrington, Lavar Postell etc.

    We can see from the statements issued by Marbury -that the primary reason he was traded for was the fact that he would fill the seats until the ‘real’ team became almmost ready. There is no way the ‘best pg in the NBA with big O numbers’ would even think about going to Italy -unless IT has clearly told him his time is up and he is out.

    I dispute the salary cap numbers first – here is my source (http://www.hoopshype.com/salaries/new_york.htm) and please tell me what I am doing wrong:

    First- I would like to know-before I get into an argument that may be ill-founded – is whether or not a mid-level exception is exempt from the salary cap. Logically it should be by definition. The recent over paying by Phoenix for the trade exception points to that. In addition- this year the salary cap for LUXURY tax (not the salary cap per se ) was set at close to 66M this year which means this year the knicks are over the cap by 22M and dollar matching (tax) makes it 42M dollars. At best they will be close to 18M or less next year and under the cap after the departure of Marbury and another 15M or so with Q’s and James contract. This is SILL an enormous improvement from being 75-100M in 2004!!

    I agree that Jerome James, Jeffries may not be particularly effective signings to say the least. However- I must point out that for 5M a year – there are plenty of big men – Jake Tsakilidas, Jake Voshkul, Adonal Foyle, Patrick O Bryant, Joel Pryzbilla, Raef La Frentz etc etc ad nauseum- that are paid between the 3-10M dollar range. I am not EXCUSING IT – merely saying it can’t be construed as a grevious error in the grand scheme of things and particularly in the context of the NBA. No doubt – IT took a chance on two contract year players and both so far have proved to be bitter disappointments. I am sure many informed fans will pick apart the list of other big men on the bench -and state some or all are better than James – but thats not the point -in my view -IT took a ‘small’ gamble and lost.

    So back to Curry -: I did make a mistake earlier – -what I meant to say was that Curry was the first Chicago Bull since Jordan to lead the NBA in a category -specifically FG% @ 58.5
    I never equated Curry with any of the centers mentioned – however – what I did say was that an effective post player (which are generally centers/ although it can be a PF or as Jordan proved even a guard) IS a necessity in the playoffs. The discussion regarding the Bulls etc is relevant but I said the playoffs not championships. From what I saw – the Pistons sorely counted on Webber in the post and failed to close out because of that – and the year they lost the championship to San Antonio – same thing – Duncan killed them in the post and as the series lingered on – it was becoming clear that they had no answer for him in the post DESPITE Wallace. Again – since all games are fluid – it must be understood – that a few points in the posts consecutively suddenly causes a collapse of the perimeter and bam- you have wide open 3s for Fischer, Genobli, Horry, Paxson etc. Jordan was one of the most effective guards ever at posting up and scoring.

    Forgive the digression – but Curry is an effective post player – I also think that IT may agree and so traded for and GOT Zach Randolph. Curry has a player option in the 2009/2010 season. I am not sure why people are so down on him- I mean as has been stated he is an extremely efficient scorer -especially in the post – and that is aneed for any team. Phoenix was not particularly a defnesive juggernaut however they have consistently being going to the conference finals or atleast the second round. There was no other player out there – who was available as a legitimate big man, post player. Also why does everyone forget that Paxson (the Bulls) actualy WANTED to resig Curry (they did actually) but it was this weird issue with Cardiomyopathy and soe crazy clause andhaving to take a genetic trade that triggered the cascade that brought Curry to NYC. At 10M/ year I will take 24/7 and no defense especially in 30 minutes a game!

    Anyway- context- it now 3 years since IT took over and he has made a LOT of moves. But through it all – he had to balance using a Portland/Chicago – lets blow up the team -and Chicago only got away with it because of 6 championships – I was in Portland and 2 years ago – they wanted the team to leave – hence the fixing of the draft -so they could stay viable- just like San Antonio/Cleveland. In short – he did not have the luxury of building thru the draft exclusively. In 3 years – he has atleast 3 draft picks that will be contributors in Lee, Balkman and Robinson. Two Post guys – who may not be all stars but are effective scorers and possibly two/three contributors in terms of Q/Marbury and Crawford. Not a great team – in fact a team with out a single all star – even Memphis has Gasol :) In this context – I do think Curry is more important than people give him credit.

    BTW – does anyone know if a single Knick made All NBA second/third team offense or defense? I don’t think so – this roster is not loaded – and as you can see from the free agent signings – its not easy sign talent. Arguably the best guy was Rashard Lewis and he got mad over paid.

    Lastly- Steve Francis – iT was correct in picking up a 3 time ALL PRO PG who can also rebound (20/6/6). He had picked up Francis to be a bargaining chip from the beginning – and as you can see -now that his contract has been bought out – a lot of teams are willing to have him on the team- also he did show when he was finally allowed to play -towards the end – he can still score. I would agree IT was lucky or shrewd- because everyone could see last year that unlike Ty Thomas – LMA in Portland was the real deal- and Zach HAD to go. He specifically refused to buy out Stevie’s contract at the end of the season even though Francis approaced him – because – he is right – Steve Fracis can still play and is value for someone – watch him in Houston next year.

    Anyway – I think I am rambling -sowwy

  110. Z

    iyamwutiam– I like the way you think. It’s outside the box, even if it is because it is late and you’ve been out drinking. I’d comment on all your points, but I’m in a similar state. (so much for: “a forum where there are so many well spoken and knowledable fans”). Peace.

  111. Ted Nelson

    iyamwutiam,

    As far as I know the MLE is not luxury tax exempt. It is only an exception in the sense that capped out teams can still add free agents. Really, it helps veteran free agents to get a decent, often above reasonable market value, contracts in a league where the majority of teams are at or over the cap.
    The Suns traded Kurt Thomas for a trade exception, not a mid-level exception. The trade exception allowed Seattle to take on a contract without following the rule of only taking back 125% of what you give up in a trade: Seattle gave up $0 (I believe) in terms of contracts and took back Thomas’$8 mill, whereas they usually would have had to give the Suns contracts totaling about $6.4 to get KT. The Suns were able to erase KT’s contract by giving up, I think, 2 1sts for a 2nd.

    The only numbers I see listed on Hoopshype are for the upcoming 2007/8 season, unless I’m missing a link to last year’s numbers they’ve already been taken down.

    It’s very hard to say whether the Bulls actually wanted to resign Curry. There are obviously a lot of variables in play, especially his contract being uninsurable.

    You’ll get no argument that Curry is an efficent post player. The problem is that he is such a bad passer/team player on offense, and help defender, that I don’t think it’s worth it to build your team in an attempt to cover up his weaknesses to expoit his one strength.
    He is such an incredibly efficient scorer that maybe you can argue that you should surround him with the passers, defenders, rebounders (which the Knicks clearly have), and shooters (which the Knicks more or less have) to get the most out of Curry. I just don’t think the Knicks have done anything close to this.
    Currently, the Knicks are trying to make Curry the focal point of their offense. This is essentially the equivalent of the Suns posting up Amare every time down the court, standing around and waiting for him to chuck is back out. Instead of doing this the Suns choose to let guys like Steve Nash, Leandrinho, and Boris Diaw (and now Grant Hill) create the offense and Amare gets mostly quick, high efficiency looks at the basket. I’d say that Curry could be a more dangerous half-court player than Amare, but only if the Knicks had something resembling a 21st century offense (rather than a recreation of the mid 90s Knicks offense, which wasn’t much more efficient than the current Knicks’ O just played leaeague leading D).

    So I guess my problem is more with the way the Knciks use Curry than Curry himself.

    If you want to look at context how about the fact that the Knicks won 4 less games last season than Layden’s last year. Zeke has made a lot of moves, and spent probably more money than any GM in history, and the Knicks have gotten worse.

    In contrast, only 3 of 9 teams (Atlanta, LAC, and Mem) that finished the 2002-2003 (Layden’s last full season) season tied with (Washington) or behind the Knicks and didn’t make last year’s playoffs.

  112. iyamwutiam

    Z- actually I wasn’t drunk -just too lazy to spell check everything and well as I said I think I started rambling at some point.

    Ted – I think the point I was trying to make was the context of being saddled with a very large salary cap situation and being a large market team which would not tolerate a Chicago approach (of building thru the draft and trading your best players (Elton Brand) with the goal of primarily staying under the cap while rebuilding) was not an approach that owners like Jim Jones, Dolan, Steinbrenner would be happy with pursuing. Because the revenues of the Ny teams is substantially augmented by the YES and MSG networks -as well as the larger population which brings in more revenue tru ticket sales and particularly merchandising.

    Due to these factors – the purist approach of building via the draft can not be pursued. There is a prioritization mandated by ownership (the boss) which asks the GM to pursue both courses (draft for the future, fill the seats and generate interest now). Therefore the approach to examining this team SHOULD look at the context which includes the undoubtedly largest salary cap ever left behind by any GM (Layden). In additon – signing any player of merit in the NBA involves risk particularly because large salaries are involved – see Indiana in partcular with Marquis Daniels, Troy Murphy and Dunleavy-for a short refresher :)

    I do not dispute that there appears to be an impulsive and rather manc approach by Isiah- whether that is his personality or caused by being placed in a difficult situation is harder to assess. However- it can be established that the Francis pick up was indeed done with the intention of bolstering bargaining position for possible future trades. An all star point guard (even in decline -see Sam Cassell) can be a valuable addition to any team that is already or on the cusp of acheiving the playoffs.

    The fact that like all sports – the playoffs has been expanded to include more teams only increases the probability that someone may be interested in the player. Last year – I do think that of all teams – Phoenix and Houston would have benefitted seriously with the addition of Francis. It was painfully obvious to see that with out Nash causing concern – Phoenix quickly morphed into a hesitant perimeter team -depite years of D’Antoni implementing his system. Houston – was actually up in the series and questionable fouls as well as the inabiity to find a scorer outside of McGrady and Yao ruined a great opportunity to get to the second round. The interest in Francis was legitimate in the off-season and a large salary though constraining in a trade is not an insurmountable obstacle as we saw.

    Regardless I am not going to belabor individual moves. Rather there are certain facts/trends that have occured:
    1. The cap is down to a stable number at 20-18M as clarified by my post.
    2. The addition of Eddie Curry -on the whole is an improvement for the Knicks and with all his flaws – he has proved to be a valuable addition.
    3. There is certainly going to be a transition from the fill the seats team to building a perrenial contender – as the draft picks – particularly Lee and Balkman – have started to be contributors where serious thought has to be given on whether or not they should be starting. In additon – Nichols, Collins,Robinson and Chandler all are capable of developing into solid contributors.
    4. in the next two years – people like James, Marbury, Q will be gone -leaving salary cap room.

    As stated earlier there is still not one legitimiate all star on this team with the exception of Marbury. Next year will be the year that someone will get one of the three or four top flight free agents out there (KG/KOBE/Le BRon). Since Dolan had let Layden run over the cap to close to 100M – I don’t seeing him getting squeamish aout signing a TRUE superstar if it is ‘actually’ possible.

    This off-season shows that getting an all-star is difficult particularly franchise players such as Kobe and KG. Iverson would not have been welcome to NY at the time and I can’t think of any other legitimate superstar talent that has been signed to a team in the last 3-4 years. So its just not that easy to get someone like an A Rod in basketball- regardless of the cap.

    So in short – the context was difficult – particularly with the onerous guaranteed contract burden of close to 100M which IT INHERITED as part of taking the job. Also in my view I think the knicks have better players and better potential than the previous teams.

  113. Z

    iyamwutiam– Sorry to insinuate you were a shit-faced lush. My abstraction was loosly based on this: “Lastly- Steve Francis – iT was correct in picking up a 3 time ALL PRO PG who can also rebound (20/6/6). He had picked up Francis to be a bargaining chip from the beginning…”.

    Seriously, though, I’m not sure that the assumptions you are making are well based. I think we exchanged posts earlier this week, in which I stated where I disagree with you, so I won’t repeat them again except to say that I think we may be interpreting the salary cap and its management differently.

    “signing any player of merit in the NBA involves risk particularly because large salaries are involved.”

    Absolutely true; however, the risk is usually in the form of overpaying a player several years down the road for their productive years early in a contract. This has to be done based on demand, and everybody does it. The CBA allows players a raise every year, despite the fact that those years typically see a downslide in production. The problem with Isiah’s moves is he has brought in the players on the downslide of their escalating contracts. Jalen Rose was once worth $17 million; Francis was too; Malik Rose was worth $8 million. But to the people who signed them to the contracts, not to the Knicks. Isiah didn’t just take a risk by signing players that could be busts. He took on other GM’s risks after the players had already gone bust.

  114. Ted Nelson

    Z- good point

    iyamwutiam- I disagree with your point about not being able to rebuild through the draft in NY. I agreed when Isiah first took over, but three and a half years later I think it’s a silly fallacy. In my opinion, winning is what sells tickets. Maybe ticket sales will drop slightly when people anticipate a rebuilding project (the Knicks used to have like a 7 year waiting list for season tickets, so I don’t know how much of a problem that really was), but as soon as they see the team winning it won’t matter.

    If you want to use the Bulls as an example:

    You shouldn’t rebuild period in the post-championships Baby Bulls style. This rebuilding plan included drafting the highest “ceiling” guy available, building around 2 young bigs who were years and years away (neither of whom has developed into a complete basketball player to date) and an expensive, overrated veteran on the decline in Jalen Rose. As Danny Ainge has found out in Boston, raw young players and aging vets are not an ideal combination. Like Ainge, Jerry Krause tended to trade away his best young players (Brand, Artest, and Brad Miller for the Bulls; the picks that resulted in Roy and Jeff Green for the Celts) while keeping the rawest ones.

    The John Paxson Bulls style of rebuilding, on the other hand, would work fine in NY. He’s primarily drafted smart players who have already proven that they can play on the college level and put together a 47 win team by his second season the first of three straight playoff appearances (the Bulls had missed 5 straight playoffs, I believe, before he arrived). HE’S BUILT A TEAM RATHER THAN ASSEMBLED TALENT.
    The Knicks have spent probably about 4 times as much as the Bulls on players’ salaries over the last three years and won an average of 16 games less per season (regular season only), not even sniffing the playoffs for 3 years.
    So I guess the question then is whether people are more inclined to go to the Garden or turn on MSG or buy a Knicks jersey when the team is filled with overpaid semi-stars or hard working young players who win 54% more games?

    Furthermore, while I have no numbers in front of me, I don’t think that Bulls’ fans were very happy with the post-championship plan/results either. Chicago is a huge market, and, anyway, it’s not like in small markets they love to pay to watch their team lose anyway.

    “4. in the next two years – people like James, Marbury, Q will be gone -leaving salary cap room… Since Dolan had let Layden run over the cap to close to 100M – I don?t seeing him getting squeamish aout signing a TRUE superstar if it is ?actually? possible.”

    Without looking at the numbers, I can all but garauntee that Isiah Thomas had a higher payroll last year than Layden ever had.
    Everytime the Knicks could potentially get close to or under the cap in 2 years or so Isiah pulls a Marbury/Penny, Francis, Malik Rose, Mo Taylor, Jalen Rose, Zach Randolph aquisition. I’m not really sure why I’m wasting my time pointing this out, but to sign a free agent to something over the MLE you either have to be under the cap or pull a sign and trade. SO explain to me again how the Knicks are going to get LeBron James by consistantly trading shorter deals for longer ones??????

    In the “context” Isiah could have let contracts expire, drafted well, made a few smart trades, and I have little doubt that he could have won 33 games last year and been in a much better position, whether in terms of cap room/flexibility or potential.

    I’m going over all these points because I once felt the same way you do, but if you can’t see that Isiah has not done a very good job over the last three plus years–that many, many GMs have gotten better results at a fraction of the price–then I don’t know what to say to you. If the best you can say about Isiah is that he’s done a better job than Layden you’re basically damning with faint praise.

  115. Caleb

    For all the crap (and reasoned skepticism) that we give Dave Berri over the WOW player ratings, he has other research that is much more solid. For example, he showed conclusively that home attendance is completely unaffected by the “star power” of the players. A team’s record is by far the most important factor, though the quality of the arena also matters some.

    Having a star on your team DOES increase road attendance, but that’s pretty much irrelevant to the owner.

    In practice, it’s a fallacy to think you need a big name to draw fans. That’s why the Lakers are idiots for not trading Kobe – they’re barely a .500 team WITH him, and could easily be much better in a couple of years if they took some of the trade offers that were on the table.

    In NYK, we have no superstar player and no hope of getting one. But that’s irrelevant. If the team is successful in wins and losses, fans will be happy and Dolan will make $$$. The insulting thing about the Layden years is that “success” was so watered down. He put together a roster with only one goal – the short-term goal of making it into the first round of the playoffs.

    Isaiah may not be a good negotiator, his approach may be confused at times, but at least he thinks big. He has an eye for talent and has made it a priority to find young players with high potential. He may fall short but at least he’s trying. Layden would have been happy with a 45-win team. He was the worst NBA GM of the last 15 years… worse than McHale, worse than Rob Babcock, worse than anyone.

  116. Caleb

    Z, i generally agree with your salary cap philosophy, but the Rose Bros. are bad examples – they weren’t really trades for overpaid washouts; they were trades for the draft picks that came with them. And they were relatively short contracts. I think it was $$ well spent – Malik came with David Lee.

    You could use the same strategy with Marbury. If his knees don’t collapse, he’ll have a lot of trade trade value NEXT season, when his contract expires. We’re capped out anyway – we might be able to trade him for a big-ticket player whose deal expires in 2010 or 2011, or an overpaid vet packaged with a really good young prospect.

    The bigger risks are the long-term deals, like Zach Randolph. That move pushed us back from having cap flexibility (whether for taking on salary in trades, or outright FA signings) in 2010 – to the summer of 2011. Is he worth it? We’ll see.

    Before that, it was the signings of James & Jeffries, not to mention Curry. Without two of those moves, we would have had flexibility in the summer of 2009.

  117. Z

    “the Rose Bros. are bad examples – they weren?t really trades for overpaid washouts; they were trades for the draft picks that came with them.”

    Caleb– I think we’ve exchanged discussions about these trades in the past, and I understand the theory behind the trades now (picks), while stubbornly rejecting the execution. Malik Rose was not a short contract (when he expires he will have been a Knick for over 4 years (more than half his contract length).

    All that asside, the above example is with regard to Iyamwutiam’s “context” of the Knicks situation. I could use better examples that don’t carry the baggage that Knick followers associate to these trades, but I often resort to Knick examples simply because they are the ones always on my mind.

  118. Caleb

    Z, I guess you could say there are three “downsides” to taking on a big contract.

    1) Spending the cash, in and of itself. As a fan, it’s not my problem. But the others are important, because they affect cap and roster flexibility.

    2) Size of the contract

    3) length of the contract

    For a team that’s substantially over the cap, I’d say that as long as the owner is willing to sign the checks, the size of a contract barely matters. You can almost always trade a big contract for another, longer – contract. Even Steve Francis was tradeable, in the end.

    Malik Rose’s contract wasn’t exactly short, as you point out, but he didn’t affect our cap flexibility at all. With Marbury and the rest, the 2008-2009 payroll was already going to be in the $100 million range.

    There are probably only 2 or 3 teams, at most, for which it’s relevant – everyone else either literally can’t afford those mega payrolls, or are close enough to the cap limit that one or two contracts makes the difference of being over or under.

  119. Z

    Caleb– all true. But the closer a team is to being under the cap the easier it is to get under the cap, and the less seductive it is to take on big contracts (whether Dolan wants to pay for them or not).

    Isiah inherited a bad situation from Layden (iyamwutiam said it and no one disputes it). Had Isiah let it bleed from 2003 until now (essentially not made any moves at all) the team would now be under the cap and able to sign any free agents. (I don’t have the numbers for sure, but I think it would have taken until this year for Houston’s contract to expire, officially ending the Layden era and putting us substantially under).

    So by letting it bleed we would have still missed signing Kobe and Nash in 2004, so they were unattainable. And judging by the current class of free agents, one could argue that had we been under the cap we probably would have signed Rashad Lewis to a max deal (probably not the best move).

    However, had the Knicks made it a point to shed salary and “let it bleed”, I suspect that Lebron may not have signed his extension in Cleveland when he did, instead opting to “test the waters” in 2007. That would be now.

    When he extended with the Cavs, there was no reason to wait because the biggest market team had no chance of bidding for him. He said all the right things at the time (“I love Cleveland”, “I never want to leave”) but let’s face it. The NBA needs LeBron in NY. NY needs LeBron in NY. LeBron’s wallet needs Lebron in NY.

    Not coincidentally, it wasn’t just James that signed extensions in 2006. That whole class could have been free agents (Wade, Bosh, Anthony…). If the spectre of New York having cap room hung over the league, this years free agent class would have looked a lot hotter than just Rashad Lewis and Chauncy Billups (Darko was the only top 5 pick from that year not to resign early). Like 2000 when Duncan, G. Hill, and McGrady were all free agents, this summer could have been rich in star caliber players.

    Had Isiah told Dolan he was doing it his way and “Let it Bleed” this summer would be transpiring a lot differently. Isiah probably wouldn’t have many less wins under his belt as GM that he has now; he’d have his lottery picks from the past few years; and he’d have a great pool of free agents to choose from.

    It could have been the summer of LeBron.

    As it is, it’s the summer of Zach Randolph…

  120. Ted Nelson

    While the free agent strategy or the win the lottery strategy are obviously risky, I think one of Z’s last points is what really matters: “Isiah probably wouldn?t have many less wins under his belt as GM that he has now; he?d have his lottery picks from the past few years; and he?d have a great pool of free agents to choose from.”

    It’s Isiah’s execution. If he had taken on all the contracts in the world and still put together a winning team, a playoff team then who cares. It might not have been the best strategy in the world, but we’d be winning now and probably have a good chance of continuing to win given Isiah’s drafting.

    In reality, the Knicks have averaged 29.7 wins over the past three years. You can’t tell me we couldn’t have won close to 30 games a year with Kurt Thomas, Othella Harrington, KVH, McDyess (or a reasonable contract Isiah could have gotten back for his expiring deal), some Isiah draft picks, and some inexpensive free agents.

    Obviously we can’t say we would have gotten LeBron or Billups or Ben Wallace as a free agent, or we would have won the lottery, or we would have been able to trade for player x, but as Z points out these would have all been realistic possibilities.

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