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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Knicks 2011 Season Preview: Conclusion

[Scene: Pessimist is banging on the bathroom door]

Pessimist: Hey there Optimist why are you hiding? It’s that time of year again!

Optimist: [From inside the bathroom] I’m not coming out!

Pessimist: Why not? I’m feeling lucky again this year after trouncing you twice in a row! C’mon we can just skip to the prediction part!

Optimist: I don’t have any hope left for this team. I’ve been tricked time and time again. Every year I think this Knick team is going to be different and win a few extra games. Instead they end up doing worse than you can even imagine!

Pessimist: Don’t forget that you thought the Knicks were going to get LeBron too!

Optimist: Oh no that super team in Miami! [sobbing uncontrollably]

Pessimist: Hey, pull yourself together. The Knicks still got Amar’e, who is one of the best in the league at his position.

Optimist: Yeah, but he might not be better than David Lee. Speaking of which, who is going to rebound on this team? Turiaf? Gallo? Amar’e? When there’s a shot up, they all get alligator arms.

Pessimist: Amar’e has been average, so let’s not think of him as a modern day Cliff Robinson. And Mozgov and Randolph appear to be strong in that department. Gallinari could pick up the slack, while Azubuike and Fields could help out a little too. The team wasn’t great at rebounding last year either, unless you’ve forgotten.

Optimist: Admit it the Knicks rebounding is going to suck this year.

Pessimist: Fine. New York is screwed on the boards.

[More sobbing from the bathroom]

Pessimist: Ok forget rebounding for a second. What about shooting guard? The Knicks have a lot more depth this year.

Optimist: You’re right about that. Walker, Mason, Fields, Chandler, Douglas, and Azubuike. That’s not a bad group of guys to trot out at the off-guard. But I heard Azubuike will be out until December.

Pessimist: And at small forward you’ve got some good upside with Gallinari and Randolph. That could be a couple of future All Stars, no?

Optimist: You’re right. Gallo has averaged 7.9 rebounds per 36 minutes this preseason, up from his career rate. Meanwhile Randolph just needs to put it together on offense, and the Knicks staff that concentrates on offense might be able to get him there.

Pessimist: I already mentioned 5 time All Star Amar’e Stoudemire at power forward. So we can move on to center. Mozgov and Turiaf averaged 2.4 and 2.1 blk/36 respectively. Do you know when was the last time a player averaged more than 2.0 blk/36 with more than 1000 minutes for the Knicks?

Optimist: Dikemebe Mutombo in 2004.

Pessimist: Well the team could end that drought this year.

Optimist: I’m not sure if either of those players will play 1000 minutes, but I get your point. New York will have some shot blocking ability this year.

Pessimist: And don’t forget Anthony Randolph swatted 2.4 shots per 36 minutes over his career. Don’t you think the overall defense will be better?

Optimist: Yeah. At every position the team is either the same or better defensively. Wow I feel so much better. Thanks!

Pessimist: Any time. Ready to make that prediction?

Optimist: I sure am. [Opens the door] 44 wins and the 7th seed in the East.

Pessimist: [bursts into laughter] I knew it’d pay off.

Optimist: What would pay off?

Pessimist: To get you in a good mood so you’d make another of those dumb predictions. The Knicks really haven’t gotten better. Amar’e for David Lee is about even. And the same goes with Felton for Duhon. Anthony Randolph isn’t going to see a whole lot of minutes, and the New York crowd that still gets enamored with points per game is going to howl every time Randolph misses a shot. Oh and the starting center is Mozgov/Turiaf, thanks to Amar’e’s unwillingness to play center. Opposing teams don’t have to worry about missing shots, because they’ll just rebound them. [laughing while holding his stomach] Sorry, but you’re looking at a 33 win team.

Optimist: YOU @^#*&$ !!!! [Lunges towards Pessimist as the lights dim]


How many games will the Knicks win in 2011

  • 40-42 (48%, 145 Votes)
  • 43-46 (22%, 66 Votes)
  • 36-39 (21%, 65 Votes)
  • 47 or more (5%, 14 Votes)
  • 32-35 (3%, 9 Votes)
  • 31 or less (1%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 305

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68 comments on “Knicks 2011 Season Preview: Conclusion

  1. bob cook

    I would like to sing an ode to Luck

    We have sucked for a decade (like the nation of Japan during the 90′s) and this has been appropriately blamed on the Abott and Costello act performed by Dolan and Thomas. But many of the nightmares which befell us, were…unlucky. Did we not all think that getting Curry was great so long as his heart problem did not block him from developing into Shaq? Who knew that was the least of his problems. Or did we not all think that bring Marbury home to the apple would launch us to a new, higher level. Who knew he was a bucket of poison? And so on.

    So now we’re in the 3rd year of rebuilding by dumping salaries, yadda, yadda and we get a bunch of new guys led by Amare. And in the middle of this come two guys who are starters and who…came…from…nowhere. When we signed Mosgov, we all thought, Moswho? And now he is starting. He looks pretty good. Can get better. And how about that 39th draft position. Should we even bother to pick someone with our luck? And the kid from Stanford beats out Chandler and a thundering herd of others to start. And he can get better. Maybe Fate is turning towards us finally, with the beginning of a smile playing about her lips.

  2. Nick C.

    For the first time in perhaps ever on this board I went 40-42. Unfortunately there are a lot of ifs that need to play out ie: Fields and Mosgov will they shine or shudder when the games are for real, do we get 09-10 Felton (or even better) or does he revert to his previous 4 years, Randolph and Douglas have the chance to get major minutes will they maintain their production, improve with experience or not???

  3. KnickfaninNJ

    The optimist in me says that if Fields and Mozgov actually beat out Chandler and Turiaf and they are still rookies. So we should be better at those positions than we were last year. Also, team chemistry should be much better, since most of the team isn’t expecting to be traded or dumped for salary cap space. This should be a five to ten win improvement. Stoudemire gets more respect from the league than Lee did, so this should affect defenses in a way that opens things up for others, even if statistically he’s not much better than Lee. Defensively we seem to be better and Gallo and Chandler should have improved over last year, so let’s call this fi ve more wins improvement.

    Oh the other hand, the pessimist in me says that our last year’s record was partially accomplished with better players than we had at the end of the year and notes that the Eastern conference is significantly tougher this year. This will probably cost five wins or so.

    Overall we might come close to 40 wins, but I don’t think we will beat that unless Fields and Mozgov prove to be really brilliant acquisitions (they are already obviously good ones.)

  4. massive

    I don’t think I can take another losing season. I really hope somebody steps it up and helps us get to the playoffs. I don’t care if we get swept, as long as we get there.

  5. jaylamerique

    i predict 45 wins. Amar’e is not just a little bit better than David Lee, i think he is way better. At his best Stat was a 1st team all nba player and he is still that kind of player. David Lee can barely make an all star team. so how can the two possibly equal each other

  6. Brian Cronin

    Making the All-Star Game =/= Being a great player

    Note that Allen Iverson has made the past eleven All-Star Games.

  7. supernova

    I predict 41 wins this year. My reasoning for the improvement:

    1) Improved Defense – they have not only brought in players who actually have a commitment to defense, but also seem to be playing a more team defense oriented kind of basketball as based on the preseason.

    2) Committed Team Effort – with all the expiring contracts last year and “me first” type of players, this team should be a more cohesive group over the course of the year as compared to last year. This year we only have one head case on the roster and thats Curry, who will never see the court this year and maybe not even the locker room.

    3) Amare > Lee – I know, I know at least statisically they were pretty close last year. In reality though at crunch time I want someone like Amare leading my team over a guy like Lee. David Lee was great, but I see Amare as a true leader and a real go to guy.

    4) Depth, Flexibility and Athleticism – based on what traspired in the preseason this simply seems like a deeper squad than last year’s in terms of talent. In terms of athleticism I think most would agree hands down that this team is simply more athletic. Mike D should finally have more flexibility to create match up problems for opposing teams, with this squad.

    The only real negative as compared to last year is rebounding.

  8. TDM

    It has to be a sign of tempered optimism that only 2% of voters think NY will have 35 or less wins for the season. Put me down for 43.

  9. Ted Nelson

    I agree with the consensus: 40-42 wins based on all the uncertainties.

    “Gallo has averaged 6.4 rebounds per 36 minutes this preseason”

    He averaged 7.8 by my calculations (33 boards in 152 minutes). Am I missing something? He also did it really consistently and only had under 7.8/36 on game, so it’s not like one fluke 20 rebound game brings up the average. It’s a small sample of meaningless games, but the consistency across 5 of 6 games is promising.

  10. Ted Nelson

    bob cook: I would like to sing an ode to Luck

    There’s some luck involved, but you also make your own luck.

    If you go back in the archives of this very site, you’ll find that a lot of people (not me… I was fairly optimistic) did know Curry was a bum and Marbury was poison. The general mood was not happy about either acquisition.

    jaylamerique: so how can the two possibly equal each other  

    Amare is clearly a better scorer. Lee is clearly a better rebounder and playmaker, though, and a good scorer himself. Defensively neither is that great, though I’d give it to Amare (especially at the 5). Amare is also eating $6-7 million more in cap space every season. Depends on how you value those things.

    supernova: I predict 41 wins this year. My reasoning for the improvement:

    I agree, but why resort to intangibles (cohesion, chemistry, etc.) when the team is tangibly better? My reason for more wins is just that they have better players, and returning players are all young guys who are a year older.

  11. tastycakes

    TastyPredictions:

    46-36 / #7 seed.
    Win first playoff game in how long vs Orlando.
    Defense much better than advertised.
    A 6+ game winning streak.
    All-NBA First Team for Amar’e (at PF? Dirk is the only real competition here with Bosh on the Golden Girls, and I think Dirk is about ready to see his minutes slide)

    On days like today I can’t help the inner optimist. I just drafted my fantasy team yesterday and they, too, can do no wrong. Until they do. Over the past 10 years I think I usually think the Knicks are going to be somewhere between 10-15 wins better than they are, so who knows?

    Knicks better beat the Raptors tonight or it’s going to be MADNESS up in the Knickerblogger!

    I do believe that Amar’e is significantly better than David Lee, and I was a huge Lee fan. Also, much ado is made over Amar’e not being a great rebounder or shot-blocker for his size, but his career averages are 8.9 RPG and 1.4 BPG. This isn’t Eddy Curry out there.

  12. d-mar

    I’m in the 40-42 win camp. I just hope they get off to a decent start; with this schedule,we could dig a hole for ourselves.

    I just don’t get this Amare-Lee comparison. I know I’ll get thrown a lot of stats that seem to indicate they’re close, but the bottom line is: who puts more fear in a defense when he gets the ball? Amare is basically unstoppable with his more than respectable outside shot and his explosiveness to the rim, and most importantly, his ability to get to the FT line. I loved Lee when he was here and I know his improved outside shot made him a much better scorer, but he just isn’t at the same level as STAT.

  13. David Crockett

    I am going with 42-45 wins for based on essentially two “leaps” of faith.

    1. Walsh’s attempts to re-make the roster.

    He’s remaking the roster in his own image; giving D’Antoni pieces to play with but not enabling his excesses. The overall talent upgrade may only be marginal but (1) I like the way the pieces fit better–at least on paper, and (2) NY is one of few teams with a clear-cut ability to get better short-term and long-term. (For the record, I hope Carmello does NOT come to NY–on aesthetic grounds if nothing else.)

    2. Who is this guy and where did he hide the real D’Antoni?

    Every coach can be stubborn and inflexible, and many of us have certainly called D’Antoni out for being so. But to be fair, it sure looks like Mike D is broadening his worldview. He’s going to give Mozgov the chance he really never gave Jordan Hill. He’s going to start a rookie 2nd round pick on opening night–over Douglas or Chandler when no one would criticize him for starting either. Maybe they’re just showcasing the kids early to make a deal later or maybe the coach is changing his ideas about who can help him.

    These two things may not amount to a hill of beans. Hell, if STAT gets hurt, no trivial possibility, the season basically all is lost. Randolph might never develop. Felton may revert to Duhonian form. Yet, for the first time in forever it seems this team isn’t actively hurting itself before it even takes the floor. In a conference whose basement dwellers are hardly inspiring that’s probably worth 42 wins.

  14. David Crockett

    d-mar: I know I’ll get thrown a lot of stats that seem to indicate they’re close, but the bottom line is: who puts more fear in a defense when he gets the ball?

    d-mar,

    Charles Barkley is rolling over in his grave right now. The bottom line is the bottom line. Performance is what matters, not fear. Teams *fear* Jamal Crawford, because when he’s hot it doesn’t matter what the defense does.

    I’m actually in the Amare is slightly better camp. Everyone knows that Amare is a more skilled scorer than Lee. Lee’s playmaking and rebounding are better than Amare’s and those things are pretty valuable in their own right. They’re just less inclined to incite fear in opponents.

  15. Ted Nelson

    “but the bottom line is: who puts more fear in a defense when he gets the ball?”

    I would take Amare over Lee, too, but scoring is not the only thing that’s important in the game of basketball. No one is arguing that Lee is a better scorer than Amare (and I’m not even arguing he’s as good a player). The argument is that while you’re getting maybe 5 fewer pts/36 from Lee at a bit lower efficiency than Amare, you’re getting an extra 2 reb/36 and 2 ast/36. You’re also getting it all at 66% or so the price (you could conceivably sign a Jermaine O’Neal or someone to make up for Lee’s weaknesses with the $).
    Here come the stats thrown at you: If 2 rebounds = 2 possessions and each possession is worth about 1 pt, there’s 2 points. Each assist necessarily results in a basket of at least 2 points, so there’s 4 points and change. That 6 pts (+ any passes that lead to FTs/a 3 + tipped rebounds credited to another player + Amare’s slightly higher TOs) may end up making up for the 5 pts at a better efficiency and then some. Then again, you can also argue Amare draws defensive attention that opens up teammates. Their own defense is a big part of the equation these stats don’t capture.

    I think most people (including myself… maybe in part because he’s who we got) will take Amare, but the point is just that it’s not as obvious as the average fan and media member might make it out to be. The $ might actually tip the scales in Lee’s direction.

    I never knew that Amare’s pick was actually traded from Phoenix to Orlando and then back from Orlando to Phoenix… interesting… would make a good one of Brian’s unsung moments posts for a Suns or Magic blog…

  16. Brian Cronin

    Exactly. I’d pick Amar’e, too, but

    A. It’s not a slam dunk obvious choice

    and

    B. He’s making a lot more money than Lee

    (this is not even throwing in Amar’e’s injury problems contrasted with Lee’s lack of injury problems and the fact that Amar’e is older than Lee)

    Amar’e’s great. I’m glad the Knicks have him, but if all the Knicks did was swap those two players, they’d barely improve at all this season. Luckily, they did a lot more than that.

  17. Frank

    Ted Nelson: getting it all at 66% or so the price (you could conceivably sign a Jermaine O’Neal or someone to make up for Lee’s weaknesses with the $).
    Here come the stats thrown at you: If 2 rebounds = 2 possessions and each possession is worth about 1 pt, there’s 2 points. Each assist necessarily results in a basket of at least 2 points, so there’s 4 points and change. That 6 pts (+ any passes that lead to FTs/a 3 + tipped rebounds credited to another player + Amare’s slightly higher TOs) may end up making up for the 5 pts at a better efficiency and then some. Then again, you can also argue Amare draws defensive attention that opens up teammates. Their own defense is a big part of the equation these stats don’t capture.

    Trouble is, 2 extra rebounds/36 for Lee does not necessarily equal 2 extra rebounds for the other team. Quite conceivably, if Lee didn’t get those rebounds, one of the other 4 Knicks on the court could have gotten it. In addition, the 2 extra assists Lee gets do not lead to baskets that would otherwise not exist — it’s possible that Duhon would have had the ball in his hands and (somewhat inconceivably since it’s Duhon but still) could have assisted someone else. The fact that Lee initiated so much offense is obviously a good thing in terms of his versatility, but 2 extra rebounds and assists don’t necessarily mean 2 extra possessions and 4 extra points.

    I have no problem at all with Amare not getting more assists. Would I rather have him finishing the play at a career TS of 60.6, or passing off to Wilson Chandler?

    Re: rebounding, it is worth noting that the Knicks were actually a better rebounding team with Lee OFF the court than ON the court.
    http://www.82games.com/0910/09NYK17.HTM#onoff

    Who knows what confounders go into that, but just because Lee got 2 more (possibly totally uncontested) rebounds per 36 than Amare did does not necessarily tell the whole story. Not trying to make Amare out to be a great rebounder, because he is obviously not as good as he should be, but just sayin…

  18. Thomas B.

    Should it not read: “35 wins or FEWER”? You use less when you talk about something that can be split into a smaller unit than the whole. Fewer is used for items that cannot be split into a smaller unit than the whole. No team can win 34.8 games this year, so it should be fewer. Ah but i should talk, I cant spel wurth a danm.

    As always, I am going with 40 wins. What you can say about this team–with the exception of Eddy Curry–you wont find a collection of bums and stiffs on this roster like we had over the last 6-7 years.

    Everyone on this team has a bright side in which you can actually have place hope. No, Eddy not you.

    I feel good about Amare’ as the leader of this team. This team has not had a leader in several years.

    I feel good about the young talent on this team. There is something to root for in Randolph, Fields, Douglas, Walker, Gallinari, Rauti..er Mozgov.

    I feel great about not giving Joe Johnson a 5 year 110 million dollar deal!!

    And I’ll continue to feel good until Ted Nelson shows up and writes a book on why everything I said is wrong. So for the next 35 minutes, I’m going to party like I’m watching the 1999 Knicks make the most spectacular playoff run of my young life.

    Go NY Go NY GO!!

  19. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Ted Nelson: I agree with the consensus: 40-42 wins based on all the uncertainties.
    “Gallo has averaged 6.4 rebounds per 36 minutes this preseason”

    He averaged 7.8 by my calculations (33 boards in 152 minutes).

    Thanks. Not sure how I missed by so much. Corrected it.

  20. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Optimistic: I force myself to drink to excess less often than I did during last year’s season. Knicks swept in first round by the #1 seed; drinking resumes.

    Pessimistic: Amar’e gets hit in the unprotected eye during a free throw by a rogue peanut shell wafted from the upper deck and is thereby forced into early retirement; Fields turns out to have used a ghost writer for his (quite eloquent) blog posts and goes on a shooting spree in Midtown West using an unregistered handgun; Eddy Curry is our starting center; Wilson Chandler stops taking 2-point shots to get his scoring volume up for free agency; our 2014 1st rounder is traded for Al Harrington (“We need a shooter with Amar’e hurt,” Walsh says); Toney Douglas do what Chris Duhon do; D’antoni turns down a favorably-lop-sided trade for Kevin Love citing his “poor jump shooting”; Carmelo Anthony sneaks into blue-and-orange just before the trade deadline ends, the Knicks giving up their next three drafts and all available young, rookie-contract talent; Ted Nelson, Cronin, Z., ess-dog, and the other regulars jump ship for the Nets’ blogs and I have to read ESPN-quality comment trolls talking about how Landry Fields “just doesn’t look athletic enough” and how Kobe is the GOAT.

  21. jaylamerique

    Ted Nelson: (you could conceivably sign a Jermaine O’Neal or someone to make up for Lee’s weaknesses with the $).

    there were no good veteran big men that would have come here. Those type of players usually go to contenders, so they can win a ring. A Jermaine O’Neal type is the last person the knicks need. no more players on the down side of their careers. i don’t know how to factor this in but the increased free throw attempts for the team that come as a result of stat attacking the basket make it greater then a simple to 5 or 6 point differences. Btw Amare and Lee have the same Tov % for their careers. For all of Lee’s rebounding excellence we still got out-rebounded most of the time, so did he really make a difference in that area

  22. Ted Nelson

    Frank,

    Those are just back-of-the-napkin calculations.

    You can debate the exact value of a rebound, but it’s pretty widely accepted that more rebounds = more better. Simply saying “maybe his teammates get those but I don’t really know to what extent” doesn’t really convince me.

    Assists, on the other hand, necessarily result in at least 2 pts each. There’s no debate there. If the guy you pass it to doesn’t score, you don’t get an assist. The debate can come in where a pass that Lee made to Duhon or Chandler that resulted in a miss would have resulted in 2 or 3 pts if he had been passing to Nash or J-Rich. A pass he made to player X knowing player X would have an open lane to pass to player Y who scores… where Lee/Amare gets no credit but should (basically, assists are a proxy for passing, not the whole story). The guy you pass it to misses the shot but gets fouled, scoring a point or two or three for which you get no credit. I would speculate that these factors point in Lee’s favor, but who knows.

    As far as your comment on Amare not passing since he’s better than whoever… The passes Lee made that didn’t directly result in baskets are not included in his assist total. Those extra 4+ points on 2 assists are coming at a TS% of 1.000.

    Another consideration is that Lee had a career year in a lot of ways he may or may not repeat/top, while Amare has been fairly consistent.

    So, yeah, the points resulting from these metrics are less certain than the points resulting from points (when you account for efficiency and TOs). However, this just proves uncertainty. It doesn’t prove Amare is better than Lee or Lee is better than Amare. As a fan we can just say I’ll trust the points since I don’t have the resources to look into it, but as a GM I hope someone would look deeper and try to quantify some of these uncertainties. Personally I’ll just say it’s not obvious Amare is *a lot* better than Lee at this time. I’ll take either one on my team any day.

  23. Z

    I’ll go uncharacteristically optimistic and say 45-37, tying Chicago for the 6th best record and winning the tie breaker. They’ll face the Hawks in the 1st round (the Celtics will only show up for the big games in the regular season leading to the #4 seed), and Amar’e and Carmelo Anthony will lead the Knicks to a 4-2 1st round victory. They’ll then lose to the Magic in 5.

    See ya in May!

  24. adrenaline98

    The most marked improvement I expect out of the Knicks this year is to beat the teams that they’re supposed to beat – the ones without a player the caliber of Amar’e. That itself will get them to the playoffs. I expect that they will lose close games to teams like the Magic, or the Celts, or the Heat.

  25. Z

    Perusing the archives, I didn’t see anybody predict a 2010-2011 opening day starting lineup of Amar’e, Gallo, Felton, Mozgov, and Fields.

    Anybody care to predict the Knicks lineup for the game on Friday, December 17th (Our 1st match up against the Heat and, incidentally, the first game after which free agents signed over the summer can be traded)? I’ll say: Amar’e, Felton, Azubuike, Carmelo Anthony, and Al Harrington.

  26. rrude

    Years of suffering have left me fairly pessimistic. When word of a rumored trade for Amare came up in the last couple years, I lobbied pretty hard against it (elsewhere). Essentially the argument being Amare is all glamor (scoring), no dirty work (D and rebounding).

    A couple things heartened me slightly in the preseason. I thought the team looked much more committed to defense and that the players we have actually look capable of playing quality NBA defense, particularly on the perimeter. I also don’t get folks saying Felton is not much of an upgrade over Duhon. I think we may be blacking out just how bad Duhon was. He struggled lobbing the ball into the post! I have seen more creativity in a couple preseason games from Felton than I did all last season from Duhon. Felton looks much better to my eyes at finishing and he looks like a big upgrade on defense, picking up at halfcourt apparently as a personal style. I get that statistically he threatens to barely surpass Duhon but somehow he doesn’t scream 10 mpg back up in quite the same way.

    What worries me, surprisingly, is offense. I really think this team goes as far as Gallinari goes this year. Amare is going to get his, but someone else has to be a consistent scoring threat, and among our starters the most likely candidate is Gallo. I want to say something silly like, each point per game over 15 he gets is worth another game in the standings. He scores 20ppg, we could get up to 45 wins, but if he’s at 13ppg we may be looking at 38. Dumb, yes, but sounds about right to me. Let’s just hope we see the Gallo that got excited and dueled with Carmelo last season every game, and not Carmelo in a Knick uniform!

  27. Ted Nelson

    jaylamerique: there were no good veteran big men that would have come here.

    I’m just talking theoretically here. I’m happy with what the Knicks did. Trading Lee allowed them to bring in 3 possible rotation players who potentially address needs on short contracts, 1 with a TON of upside.

    JO was an example. Someone who literally signed for the MLE and brings the interior defense to push Lee to his natural position at the 4. The larger point (I always get in trouble by using examples rather than just articulating the point), is that you can get a valuable player with that money. That the cap space has theoretical value.

    jaylamerique: no good veteran big men that would have come here.

    That one guy did… what was his name? Amir or something? Oh, yeah, Amare.

    jaylamerique: i don’t know how to factor this in but the increased free throw attempts for the team that come as a result of stat attacking the basket make it greater then a simple to 5 or 6 point differences.

    You factor that in by looking at how many FTs Amare makes…

    Putting an opponent on the bench is another uncertainty that we can add to the list, but it’s just not conclusive unless you at least try to quantify it. Amare has about 4 more FTAs/36 than Lee. Who is committing those fouls (may be a hack-a-Amare strategy where fouls are spread around or may be just the guy guarding him), how long they spend on the bench, who replaces them… All have to be considered.

    Again, my point is not to say that Lee is as good as, better than, or worse than Amare… Just that there are factors other than “opponents’ fear level” and raw points to consider.

    jaylamerique: Btw Amare and Lee have the same Tov % for their careers.

    But in my back of the napkin calculation TO% is not important. TO/36 are. Amare has more.

    jaylamerique: For all of Lee’s rebounding excellence we still got out-rebounded most of the time, so did he really make a difference in that area  

    That’s irrelevant. You’re not controlling for teammates. The fact that the Knicks didn’t even have one other half way decent rebounder in the rotation isn’t Lee’s fault.

  28. cgreene

    I am in the 40-42 camp. 2 months ago I would have said 44-46 but after seeing the pre season there are too many question marks.
    *Gallo’s consistency
    *Rebounding
    *Starting 2 rookies
    *Who is Ray Felton

    I definitely definitely believe that the Knicks will be considerably better on D and that is where the additional wins come from. That plus depth plus better chemistry can and should get us to 42 which I believe will be the 7. (I also happen to think Milwaukee is over rated, that Boston will falter during the regular season, the Bulls have also been over-hyped a bit which all helps.)

    On the Amare vs Lee argument. I am a former Lee lover and thought they actually may have been able to play together. That said, Amare is better offensively because defenses key on him for years and still have not been able to effect his efficiency. I believe that Lee is eminently more guardable by an athletic big than Amare and the double teaming that Amare draws is overall dramatically more helpful for the team overall.

  29. Ben R

    Thomas B.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TUDx78lyC0
    Misty eyes every time I watch it. God, I love this team. Thomas B.

    I never get tired of watching that. That run to the finals is what solidified my love of watching basketball. I was always a Knicks fan but prior to that I was more of a football fan. Ever since, even with the last decade of frustration, it’s been all Knicks.

    As for this year I think the Knicks will win 45 games.

    Amare is a pretty big upgrade over Lee because he demands double teams where Lee does not. I think he makes his teammates better and he is more of a leader. I love Lee, but starting at the all-star break last year and continuing through the preseason Amare has been the best PF in basketball. His confidence and aggressiveness is amazing. Amare’s dominance on the offensive end is more important than the 5 extra points he will score a game, more important than the extra 2-3% TS%, it changes the game for everyone on the court. Lee did not do that. His rebounding and passing are better but not better enough to offset Amare’s offensive dominance.

    We have upgraded every position. Some a little: Gallo, Douglas, Chandler, Walker all one year older. Some more than a little: Felton over Duhon, Amare over Lee. Some alot: Fields over McGrady/Hughes, Mozgov over no true center last year.

    We have much better outside shooting, better defense from every position, and young hungry players who are looking towards their future in NY and not their next contract.

  30. Ted Nelson

    rrude: I think we may be blacking out just how bad Duhon was.

    I think the point is more that Duhon was just a laughable starting PG and no one besides Walshtoni and maybe Coach K EVER, EVER, EVER thought he should be a starting NBA PG (at least not since his freshman year at Duke). The bar is really low if you’re comparing your guy to the worst starter in the NBA. Slight improvement to me means, sure he’s not the worst but he’s also probably not much better than the 3rd worst (cause Fisher is about as bad as Duhon, so 3rd)…
    But even then Duhon had a career worst season last year, so it would be unrealistic to expect he’ll be as bad this season. Duhon had a pretty good 08-09 season. It will be harder for Felton to be an improvement over Duhon’s 08-09 than 09-10.

    rrude: someone else has to be a consistent scoring threat, and among our starters the most likely candidate is Gallo.

    I agree that Gallo is the most likely candidate, but you don’t need the same guy every night. I’ve been beating this drum for a while, but the Knicks have a lot of efficient scorers outside of Amare even if none is at a high volume. It is hard to have almost all your guys scoring efficiently and not be an efficient offense… Requires one or two huge drags (Felton/AR/WC???), a lot of TOs, and/or terrible offensive rebounding.

  31. Nick C.

    Trivial point but I notice dit above … Amare’s xtra free throws may result in more for they team above and beyond his own to the extent that they put NYK in the bonus or put them there sooner.

    Ted when you get a new napkin … would the cast of Knicks non-high volume efficient scorers put up enough shots/48 at their more or less career rates?

  32. Frank O.

    45 to 47 wins.
    Defense will be much better.
    I will miss Lee’s boards.
    I think, however, that Lee would not attract talent like Amare eventually will. It’s just a fact. Lee is gaining respect, but as we have seen, players with similar or lesser stats get more respect in this league than DLee.
    I can’t speculate why that is.

    I also think the monkey is off these team’s back. The negativity of past teams was contagious and wearing. This year there is none of that, and they appear to be a more fundamentally skilled team with greater balance.

    True other teams have improved, but there have also been teams that have dropped off.

    Loved watching the Heat lose last night

  33. rrude

    TN:

    I think part of my focus on Gallo comes from the fact that he is going to play a lot of minutes, one would assume over 30 per game anyway. What doesn’t work for the Knicks is passing him the ball and him missing, because, as we all know, we aren’t going to be out-rebounding anybody. Let’s assume he’s playing 36mpg. He’s got to produce most nights with those minutes or we aren’t going to win many games, if no other reason than no one else will be playing those minutes and scoring. But generally, IMO, the O doesn’t flow too well when he is missing or drifting.

  34. Mike Kurylo Post author

    Frank O.:

    Loved watching the Heat lose last night  

    Same here. Was surprised at how they struggled to score. I felt that Chris Bosh would be the forgotten one in Miami, and he was outproduced by Udonis Haslem in less minutes.

  35. DS

    I think Amar’e’s offense is not getting enough credit here. He will not allow the offense to get painfully stagnant like it did at times last year or during the pre-season when he was getting extra rest. I think (hope) we’ve seen the end of these 18 – 3 runs by opponents that are just murder to the Knicks’ chances.

    42 wins.

  36. Brian Cronin

    I think, however, that Lee would not attract talent like Amare eventually will. It’s just a fact. Lee is gaining respect, but as we have seen, players with similar or lesser stats get more respect in this league than DLee.
    I can’t speculate why that is.

    Agreed, for much the same reasons that the Amar’e/Lee gap is being overblown here in the comments, so, too, does the conventional wisdom overrate the gap between the two, and as a result, Amar’e is definitely viewed as the much better player by other players, which certainly is important.

  37. DS

    @41 I am already having fantasies about Bosh being demoted from “Big Three” status to “a huge lift off the bench” a la Odom. Wishful thinking, I know.

  38. jaylamerique

    Nick C.: Trivial point but I notice dit above … Amare’s xtra free throws may result in more for they team above and beyond his own to the extent that they put NYK in the bonus or put them there sooner.

    that’s the point i was trying to make earlier in my original point about free throws and stat.

  39. tastycakes

    It was one bad game against an elite team that has had its core intact for several years. I wouldn’t take it as indicative of future potential. Also, Wade basically had no preseason. They are going to be good .. my “concern” is that after Mike Miller, their team kinda sucks. Joel Anthony starts for them! Need I say more?

    Meanwhile, Boston trots out a Starting 5 that consists entirely of future Hall of Famers. (So what if 3 of the 5 are on the downside of their career slopes??)

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Miami lose in the Conference Finals to Boston, but there’s a long way to go.

  40. Thomas B.

    I don’t really care about the Heat. I think all the vitriol is overblown. People are rooting against them for no good reason. But its sports, you dont need a good reason to hate a team/player.

    I was surprised at how poorly the team played. The ball movement was very bad, the turnovers being the big problem. The team needs a point to get the team into the half court sets. It came primarily from James and Wade trying to dribble around people rather than passing or moving without the ball. The lack of passing really hurt Bosh who could never get the ball in a position to score.

    If they arent in at least 3rd place in the East by late December, I could see Riley making his way back to the bench. Maybe.

    Even with the Celtics being one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, I expected much better play than I saw last night.

  41. Frank O.

    The Heat sure have some structural problems. Wade and Lebron and Bosh need the ball a lot to be productive. And they all tend to be wingmen.
    I think you will see shooting percentages for both Wade and James dip this year. Their ability to penetrate will be affected by the fact that they have no real outside threats and no low post scorers either.
    Teams will pack it in and require the Heat to beat them from the outside as the Celts did last night. At some point, both Wade and Lebron will suffer from this.
    They lack any significant depth.
    And Bosh isn’t going to get many touches with Lebron and Wade controling the ball.
    Also, I’m not sure how long these guys are going stand sharing the court as they must. I’m also not sure how long they will be able to suffer their supporting cast.
    But it is too early to tell.

  42. ess-dog

    Joel Anthony is starting? That is terrible. They should either go big and start LeBron at point with Wade, Miller, Bosh and big Z, or go fast and start Arroyo/Chalmers with Wade, Miller, Lebron, Bosh.
    Really they’re screwed until Miller gets back since he’s they’re only outside threat.
    Riley will be in there by Christmas.

  43. Ted Nelson

    Nick C.: Trivial point but I notice dit above … Amare’s xtra free throws may result in more for they team above and beyond his own to the extent that they put NYK in the bonus or put them there sooner.

    It’s a valid point to consider, but I still think it’s valid to say Lee does enough to make it a discussion. Amare draws something like 0.5+ more fouls per quarter than Lee, depending how many FTAs are And1s v. 2 FTA situation. That helps his case. There are intangible arguments that potentially help his case… I still think Lee has a case, though. We’ll have to see how he does in GS.

    Nick C.: Ted when you get a new napkin … would the cast of Knicks non-high volume efficient scorers put up enough shots/48 at their more or less career rates?  

    I would say yes. Amare’s usage is 26% on his career. Leaving an average of 18.5 per player for the 35-ish MPG he’s on the floor (when healthy). Felton (21 unfortunately…haha), WC (20), and Gallo (19) are all above 18.5% on their careers. Substituting Fields for WC, I also expect him to be score at a medium or so volume even as a rookie. TD was also 20 last season. Timo is probably going to be below 18.5 IMO, but there’s like 5 %points slack. When Amare’s off the court, people will have to step up a little. Anthony Randolph–though much less efficient–was actually at a usage% of 24 last season… and he may sub in for Amare at times.

    I don’t know if this is the right way to look at this issue (since I think usage is probably flexible within a range and then sticky once you really push it… one player can probably find another similar % shot or two, but probably not 5), but I’m not too worried.

    Brian Cronin: Amar’e is definitely viewed as the much better player by other players, which certainly is important.  

    *May be important* If the Knicks young guys develop they might not need to sign any big FAs. If the Knicks would have won 60 games with Lee, people would want to come play with him. It has some theoretical value, but I’m not sure it’s quantifiable. Amare’s value to other FAs is probably going to be well reflected in the Knicks’ win total.

    Thomas B.: If they arent in at least 3rd place in the East by late December, I could see Riley making his way back to the bench. Maybe.

    Good point. Forgot about that.

  44. nicos

    I’m going with 43 wins and a 7 seed. I think they’ll be much improved defensively- especially at home where the Garden crowd should help fuel their intensity. They’ll give up a few more offensive boards but Felton + more minutes from TD will mean much better defense on the ball than last year. Plus Gallo really improved on D as the year went along so having him play the full season at the level he closed last season will help. They should give up much less penetration and when they do, we’ll actually have some shot-blocking to protect the rim. Offensively- as long as Felton is closer to the Duhon of early 08/09 than the Duhon of last year- they should be better as well. I’m guessing they’ll be somewhere around 18 in defensive eff. and maybe 14 in offensive eff. Throw in the fact that they actually have a guy who will get a whistle late in games and they should break .500.

  45. JK47

    DNP CDs last night for our old friends Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries. They were the only two active players who did not get in the game for Houston.

  46. Ted Nelson

    Frank O.: Wade and Lebron and Bosh need the ball a lot to be productive.

    I’m not sure that’s a fact. They have all had the ball a lot and been productive, but it doesn’t follow that they need the ball to be productive.

    Frank O.: Their ability to penetrate will be affected by the fact that they have no real outside threats and no low post scorers either.

    Mike Miller, James Jones, Eddie House… LeBron himself. Maybe Chalmers. Z. Bosh. There’s some outside shooting on this team. And what post scorers have either played with previously besides Wade with Shaq?

    Frank O.: And Bosh isn’t going to get many touches with Lebron and Wade controling the ball.

    Those are two of the best passers in the world with some of the highest ast% seasons in history, but I guess not…

    Frank O.: I’m also not sure how long they will be able to suffer their supporting cast.

    Their top supporting guy is hurt. Chalmers was also hurt.

    ess-dog: Really they’re screwed until Miller gets back since he’s they’re only outside threat.

    I know a lot of people think this, but I don’t know where it comes from… James Jones is a career 40% 3P shooter. Eddie House 39%. LeBron is at a respectable 33%. Chalmers hit 35% as a rookie. Bosh, Z, and Haslem all have nice mid-range shots. They hit 40% from 3 against the Celts and that’s not really the reason they lost… All else equal they would have had to hit 55% of their 3s to beat the Celts.

  47. Owen

    Put me down for 39 wins, just to go against consensus and because my deep rooted pessimism about the Knicks just can’t be shaken yet.

  48. Z-man

    Re: Amar’e vs. Lee
    My opinion is that they are both earning about what they deserve in today’s market (not that all players are, just talking about these two), and it is because Amar’e is better than Lee by a pretty significant margin. I strongly feel that the attention that a player commands i.e. double-teaming, is not as quantifiable as other things like rebounding and scoring, but it is a huge factor in how good a player is and what he means to his team overall. Amar’e was 5th in the league in foul shots and 6th in attempts, and is consistently up there in both categories. Fouls get opposing players (especially bigs) off the court. If a player (esp. a good FT shooter) gets fouled a lot, he is clearly getting lots of defensive attention even when he doesn’t have the ball, which theoretically opens things up for others.

    I think that Amar’e could easily emulate Lee’s game if he wanted/had to (score less, rebound and pass a bit more) while Lee could not possibly add 4 FTs/36 to his game…he’s just not that hard to defend 1 on 1, where as Amar’e is difficult to stop even with double-teams.

    I also think that while neither will ever win DPOY, Amar’e can at least threaten to block a shot on a regular basis. Amar’e averages over a block per game more than Lee on his career, which is a huge difference when you consider that league leaders typically average around 3 blocks per 36.

    Finally, there is the “get you out of your seat” quality to Amar’e’s game that Lee just doesn’t have. I’m as much as a purist as anyone, but when Amar’e is power dunking in people’s face, it does have some inspirational value beyond the 2 points.

    Since the 2009 Knicks w/o Lee and the 2010 Knicks w/o Amar’e are similarly bad (different, but bad) it might be fair to withhold judgment until later in the season.

  49. Z-man

    PS I’ll go with 43 wins and 7th seed.

    Bright spots: TD, Fields, Mozgov, Chandler, Gallo
    Disappointments: Felton, Mason, AR, Turiaf, Azu
    As advertised: Amar’e, Walker
    Who cares?: Rautins, Curry, Williams

    Will Melo be a Knick before trade deadline? No

  50. Frank O.

    Nice Mike!

    Ted:

    I don’t think any of those outside shooters really scare anyone, outside of Miller, but sure, they can shoot from outside. Miller played 54 games last year. He starts the year injured. We’ll see how many games he gets this year.

    On Bosh, I know the guys can pass, but most passes are going to go to Wade or Lebron. Bosh will be an afterthought on this team. He averaged 14 shots per 36 over his career. He took 11 shots last night. One game. Who knows?
    But Wade averages 17.6 shots per 36 and Lebron gets 18.6 per 36. It’ll be interesting to see. BTW, Lebron too 21 shots last night and Wade too 16. Interesting to see if those ratios stay the same…I would bet they don’t much.

    My point is teams will be content letting the Heat chuck from the outside. Let the 40 percent shooters like Jones (who btw shot 36 percent overall last year and 37 percent overall the year before), shoot away. House also shot well below his lifetime average last year from 3 and had a down year in overall percentage last year.
    Chalmers hit only 31 percent of his 3s last year and only 40 percent from the field.

    I think if teams force the Heat outside more often than not, and pack it in, they are vulnerable. And I’ll take Lebron at 33 percent from 3 v. Lebron at maybe 60 percent in the paint any day.
    Wade hits 29 percent from 3 and far, far better inside the paint.

    Like I said, I think a lot of teams will let the Heat try to beat them from the perimeter, and pack it in the middle.

    If Miller plays an entire season and shoots lights out, maybe, maybe that changes the equation, but I still think he doesn’t scare anyone enough to stop from packing it in with the three slashers the Heat show.

    But you could be right. Maybe those three help the others to career years. Either way, the Heat will probably eat weak teams alive. But teams that can defend the paint will not be easy for them.
    No way they get to 72. They probably win 55 to 60 games, which is pretty damn good.

  51. Z

    Ted Nelson:
    *May be important* If the Knicks young guys develop they might not need to sign any big FAs. If the Knicks would have won 60 games with Lee, people would want to come play with him. It has some theoretical value, but I’m not sure it’s quantifiable. Amare’s value to other FAs is probably going to be well reflected in the Knicks’ win total.  

    True, but the Knicks never really made much effort to rebuild through the draft. They targeted free agency as their way to a quick recovery, and though it may not be quantifiable yet, I think it is pretty hard to argue that Lee’s on-court value is equal to Amar’e’s on-court value + his recruiting value. The top college coaches are probably pretty close when it comes to i-game coaching. What gives these coaches real value, and why Jim Calhoun is the highest paid state employee in all of Connecticut, is his ability to deliver top talent to the organization.

    I think Amar’e’s “perceived value” is his real value, and I think it is more that $5 mil/year more than Lee’s. (And I also think it is quantifiable. The Knicks weren’t on Kobe’s destination list in 2007. The Knicks weren’t on Kevin Garnet’s destination list in 2007. The Knicks were on Chris Paul’s destination list in 2010. The Knicks were on Carmelo Anthony’s destination list in 2010. (That makes Lee 0-2 and Amar’e 2-2!)).

  52. Ted Nelson

    Z: They targeted free agency as their way to a quick recovery

    My point, though, is that Chandler, Gallo, AR, Walker… these guys are all hitting free agency in the next couple of years. If those guys turn out to be the core of an emerging contender (best case) then the Knicks probably don’t have much room for a free agent. They could sign on this summer I suppose, but CP3, Deron, and Howard are competing directly with those guys for dollars… Not to say you don’t dump Gallo and AR if Dwight Howard wants to come to your team, but the chances of re-signing those guys have to higher than signing a highly coveted free agent even with Amare.

    Z: The Knicks weren’t on Kobe’s destination list in 2007. The Knicks weren’t on Kevin Garnet’s destination list in 2007. The Knicks were on Chris Paul’s destination list in 2010. The Knicks were on Carmelo Anthony’s destination list in 2010. (That makes Lee 0-2 and Amar’e 2-2!)).  

    All else is not equal, though. The Knicks were worse as a team and had no cap space in 2007. One point I’ve tried to make is that if the Knicks won a bunch of games with David Lee and a good team, David Lee would be perceived to be more valuable.

    Frank O.: I don’t think any of those outside shooters really scare anyone, outside of Miller, but sure, they can shoot from outside.

    What is up with “scaring” people? I know it’s Halloween, but who gives half a crap? Seriously… Miller takes a 3, he’s going to make it 40% of the time. Jones takes a 3, he’s going to make it 40% of the time. Who cares who you’re scared of. And was anyone scared of Miller in Minni or DC? I’ll take Miller over Jones, but in the context of having 3 pt shooters… 3 pt shooting if just NOT what lost Miami the game. They hit 40% on 20 attempts.

    Frank O.: My point is teams will be content letting the Heat chuck from the outside. Let the 40 percent shooters like Jones (who btw shot 36 percent overall last year and 37 percent overall the year before), shoot away.

    And when you let them “shoot away” and they hit a few open 3s while the Big 3 are also killing you… you’re screwed. The reason the Heat lost that game is because Bosh and Wade combined to have a TS% of 34%… Not because James Jones was 2/7 from 3 or Eddie House was 2/4… (3/7 is above 40% by the way and 3 points would not have won Miami that game).

    Frank O.: Like I said, I think a lot of teams will let the Heat try to beat them from the perimeter, and pack it in the middle.

    They very well may, but LeBron and Wade are not that easy to defend even by doing that. If they were teams would have been doing it a long time ago and getting better results. Teams will do that, and the Heat will still win more games than they lose. Vulnerable is pretty relative and I still think the Heat are a strong contender.

    Frank O.: If Miller plays an entire season and shoots lights out, maybe, maybe that changes the equation

    Again, Miller is not a particularly better shooter than James Jones. Teams are simply not scared of Mike Miller. When he’s healthy the Heat will be a better team, but it’s not going to be night and day.

    Frank O.: No way they get to 72. They probably win 55 to 60 games, which is pretty damn good.  

    Exactly… only one team has won 72 games in a season. Who besides ESPN is setting the bar that high in the first season? They can win 55 games and the title.

  53. Z

    Posting a Game Preview for tonight, Thomas B.? (Or were you an off-season casualty of KB’s budget cuts?)

  54. Brian Cronin

    One point I’ve tried to make is that if the Knicks won a bunch of games with David Lee and a good team, David Lee would be perceived to be more valuable.

    Oh, no doubt about it.

    Just look at the myth of “proven winner Derek Fisher.”

  55. rama

    Last year I predicted 38 wins, so I’m still a little tender from that humiliation and not ready to drink the Kool-Aid yet:

    40-42
    8 seed
    out in first round
    do not acquire Melo at the deadline

  56. rama

    @62

    Z – I agree with you; Amare’s perceived value is his real value. In basic terms, you’d have to say that Lee is a better acquisition at $13mil than Amare at $20mil – their stats aren’t different enough to account for 50% more in salary, whether you are working on back of a napkin or not. But in real terms, Lee will not help you sign top FAs, and Amare will.

    Of course, if you have $7mil less to spend on FAs, then is it valuable to have the more expensive player? He’ll make it so FAs want to come, but there won’t be the cash for them….

    Well, we have Amare now, so I’m a big Amare fan. And I will be at the GS game so I can give the General a standing O thanking him for his effort here.

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