Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Knicks 89, Mike Dunleavy 26, Other Bucks 54

Milwaukee Bucks 80 Final
Recap | Box Score
89 New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony, SF 35 MIN | 8-20 FG | 12-12 FT | 12 REB | 1 AST | 28 PTS | +10

If ever there was a time for Melo to “get his,” as the young whippersnappers say, it was tonight. Save for his requisite, inexplicable bunny botches, Melo was pretty effective, particularly at drawing contact and getting to the line. He beasted the boards, looked more than accountable on D, and — if his teammates were anywhere near competent shooting a basketball — might’ve had a few dimes to go along with his double-double.

We’ll hope against hope that his late third quarter groin tweak (teehee!) was just that, which seems reasonable given that he was able to come back out in the fourth and LITERALLY GRAB MIKE DUNLEAVY’S FACE ON D AND NOT GET CALLED FOR IT!

Landry Fields, G 24 MIN | 1-5 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 2 AST | 2 PTS | +1

Landry’s three-point shooting this year has dropped more than fourteen hundred percentage points from last year’s. I’m no Jaime Escalante, but methinks a statistical dropoff of a thousand of anything – in any sport – points to something far more complex than mere mean regressions. Like shot mechanics, for example, which in Landry’s case have come to mimic some kind of primitive Sumerian catapult. Like Melo, Landry managed to contribute mightily on the glass, but the rest of his game is just a hot mess right now.

Tyson Chandler, C 34 MIN | 3-7 FG | 7-9 FT | 9 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | +17

From blocking a late Brandon Jennings drive to his innumerable possession-saving tap-outs, Chandler accounted for just about every crucial Knick play down the stretch. He even busted out a sleeve ace on O, hitting a pretty jump hook late in the second quarter to help stave a Bucks mini-run. In short, if it weren’t for Tyson Chandler, the Knicks would likely be thinking of ways to magnetize a ping pong ball and actively peddling the hashtag #losenowforunibrow.

Baron Davis, PG 34 MIN | 3-12 FG | 6-6 FT | 5 REB | 7 AST | 13 PTS | +16

We’ll forgive for a moment the fact that his first shot attempt – a potential continuation wherein he hit both throws anyway – was a layup he careened off the BOTTOM of the rim. For those who spent their pre-Linsanity days wondering aloud whether Davis could be the savvy savior capable of rocketing our beloved ‘Bockers into contention, Boom-Dizzle’s nine turnovers and bevy of boneheaded plays should give those memories pause. Dude looked like he needed a lung transplant mid way through the fourth and, despite a handful of nice dishes, time and again resorted to awful fade-aways or pull-up threes with plenty of time left on the shot clock. He’s still “capable,” in the same way I’m technically “capable” of hanging up my clothes. He / I just choose not to most of the time.

Iman Shumpert, G 35 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 6 REB | 3 AST | 11 PTS | +13

By now I think we’ve all figured out – and can thoroughly appreciate – that Iman Shumpert is a capital defender. Here’s the problem, though: I’ve lost track of how many times he’s sprinted into a passing lane or to closing out a defender, and ended up 20 feet beyond where he’s supposed to be. That’s the difference between good defender and great defender: The ability to time your movements all savvy like, to be at once controlled and chaos-wreaking, and to not look like a catnip-addled alley cat trying to catch a drifting straw wrapper.

That aside, this was easily Shump’s best game in ages, a night punctuated by his huge three-pointer to extend the Knick lead to seven, followed by a dastardly, game-clinching swipe of Jennings late in the fourth.

Mike Bibby, PG 12 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -9

Bibby somehow managed to shoehorn in a three-pointer, but did little beyond that aside from losing a skull bolt.

Steve Novak, SF 24 MIN | 2-4 FG | 2-4 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 7 PTS | 0

If Novak hadn’t hit that first three — taken in the midst of Mike Dunleavy’s impossible second quarter twine orgy — I probably would’ve lost my shit. But ‘Kaine nailed it, and would later play some decent D on the aforementioned Dunsleazy. Yes, that’s the best I can do.

J.R. Smith, SG 30 MIN | 3-13 FG | 2-2 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 9 PTS | +5

Speaking of losing it, finding out that — prior to his admittedly timely fourth quarter bomb — J.R. Smith was 12 for his last 41 from the field really brought my piss to a boil. Take a gander at his stat line again. One for ten from beyond the arc? You took ten three pointers? Smith is like Javier Bardem’s Anton Chigur in No Country For Old Men: A spellbinding, conscious-less killer with no qualms at all about shooting the first thing he sees. The only difference being that Chigur’s kills are clean. The ten boards and lock-down D were crucial, though, so he gets something of a bump. I mean, you know, beyond the one he snuggled up next to in the hotel afterwards.

Josh Harrellson, F 13 MIN | 1-3 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 3 PTS | -8

Look, I wanted a good reason for Jorts to continue growing the Rube-Man-Chu as bad as anyone. Truth be told, a halfway decent performance — a five and five, even — probably would’ve done the trick. But Harrellson was pretty useless tonight, drawing some silly, lazy fouls, missing a couple of layups, and generally looking like he had a Waffle House hangover.

Five Things We Saw

  1. Mike Dunleavy scored 24 points in less than 13 minutes of first half action. As the peerless Robert Silverman twatted: “Dunleavy and I are neck-and-neck in our points vs. cigarettes smoked contest.” Which, if I hadn’t given up smoking a few years back, likely would’ve been the case in the Cavan household, too. Whoever rounds out the roster of Knick killers from this decade, Dunleavy is clearly team captain.
  2. Final tally aside, the Bucks bludgeoned the ‘Bockers in the Battle of the Benches, 48-22. Dunleavy was responsible for most of the damage, but with three starters either out or partially hobbled, the Knicks went from bench-heavy to bench-Kate Moss in less than 48 hours hours, a frightening development that only accentuates what has been a truly %$#^& up season.
  3. Down five at the half, the Knicks clawed their way back into the game in large part thanks to an 18-0 third quarter free throw disparity. Read that again. And again. Now once more. On the night, the Knicks nearly doubled the Bucks’ attempts from the stripe, 35-18. It’s become something of a fatalistic fad to decry the zebras for being anti-Knicks, anti-MSG, etc. Most of the time, I fall right in line. Not tonight.
  4. Tonight’s “game” was about as aesthetically pleasing as a Soviet brick factory. After watching two professional basketball teams combine for 42 turnovers – each more creative than the last – most who witnessed tonight’s ballet of futility not only want those precious two-and-a-half hours of life back; they want it back with enough interest to cover the Xanax. Luckily, the Bucks backcourt seemed most affected, with Ellis and Jennings combining for a mere 19 points on 8-36 shooting, including 0-9 from Dunleavyland.
  5. With Amar’e possibly out for the year, Lin temporarily hobbled with a sore knee, and now Melo looking like he’ll need a few days to rest his man bits, the Knicks new-found depth might’ve have been erased literally overnight. Obviously the one to worry about most is Amar’e, who was just starting to hit his stride after basically being stuck to the starting block for most of the year. At this point, we can’t even afford to have Lin or Melo resting for more than a game or two — let alone both. Basically, if strings of games can be thought of as storms to weather, the Knicks’ brutal upcoming stretch is that gigantic goddam red spot on Jupiter.

71 comments on “Knicks 89, Mike Dunleavy 26, Other Bucks 54

  1. LMNYKFAN4LIFE

    z Huh? Novak’s brain isn’t holding him back, his skill is. All he can do is shoot 3 pointers. Dunleavy can dribble, drive, and do a lot of things Novak wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) ever try to to do.

    just saying if he knew how to set himself like Dunleavy without the ball he would be dangerous. look at the game everything was off screens not one shot (not counting drives) were spot up shots

  2. johnlocke

    How do dead man walking Bibby and I can’t hit the side of a barn in an open field Fields have better grades than JR? JR played GREAT D and at least wasn’t scared to shoot…deserves at least a C

  3. Richmond County

    I so badly wanted Jorts to tear it up against the Deer just for the treasuretrove of hunting, backwoods recap potential.

  4. Jim Cavan Post author

    johnlocke:
    How do dead man walking Bibby and I can’t hit the side of a barn in an open field Fields have better grades than JR? JR played GREAT D and at least wasn’t scared to shoot…deserves at least a C

    You’re right, Landry gets a D+. Smith was active defensively, yes, but he’s also sometimes a bonehead who takes awful shots and commits awful turnovers. This was one of those nights.

  5. ruruland

    “Bulging disks are less severe, and most do not require surgery, according to Dr. Andrew Hecht, the co-chief of spinal surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Treatment options can include anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and, in some cases, a spinal injection. Recovery can take days, weeks or months, Hecht said. ”

    That seems somewhat positive.

  6. limpidgimp

    Boom-Dizzle’s seven turnovers
    BD had 9 turnovers actually.

    Down five at the half, the Knicks clawed there way backTypo. there/their

  7. ruruland

    Jim Cavan: You’re right, Landry gets a D+. Smith was active defensively, yes, but he’s also sometimes a bonehead who takes awful shots and commits awful turnovers. This was one of those nights.

    Great recap, Jim. You’re a brilliant writer. If you come up with these lines in the short time after the game, I’m even more impressed.

    Re: Smith. Many of his threes were last-option, end-of-the-shot-clock heaves. He is completely fearless, and when he’s on, his streaks can singlehandidly win ballgames, even more impressive than Novak’s streaks because they will come off the dribble and 5 feet behind the line at times (completely unguardable)….when he’s mixing it up with his drive game, his as devastating a per-minute scorer as there is in basketball.

    While I long for Melo to find it, I can’t wait for the folks on this board to see a few of these games from junior down the stretch — they’ll certainly need them.

  8. JLam

    Listen to post game comments

    Woodson’s post game interview
    Reporter: Your guys only scored 81 points. What do you have to say about that?
    Woodson: Hey we wont lose as long as we keep them from scoring under 80

    D’Antoni’s post game interview
    Reporter: Coach the other team scored 110 points on your guys What do have to say about that?
    D’Antoni: Hey we win by as long as we score over 111 points.

  9. Jim Cavan Post author

    ruruland: Great recap, Jim. You’re a brilliant writer. If you come up with these lines in the short time after the game, I’m even more impressed.

    Re: Smith. Many of his threes were last-option, end-of-the-shot-clock heaves. He is completely fearless, and when he’s on, his streaks can singlehandidly win ballgames, even more impressive than Novak’s streaks because they will come off the dribble and 5 feet behind the line at times (completely unguardable)….when he’s mixing it up with his drive game, his as devastating a per-minute scorer as there is in basketball.

    While I long for Melo to find it, I can’t wait for the folks on this board to see a few of these games from junior down the stretch — they’ll certainly need them.

    Thanks, man. That means a hell of a lot.

    As for our boy J.R., I realize I’m probably overly hard on him. But I still think there’s a fine line between “fearlessness” and “brainlessness,” and our boy J.R. toes that sucker like a pro. I think he’s capable of being a starter on more than a few NBA teams, but — like Melo with less talent — he’s not always fully engaged at both ends of the court.

  10. limpidgimp

    If indeed Amare’s recent return to form is because he’s in shape again and his previous lull is due to not playing or practicing during the lockout, then even if he recovers in a few weeks, his conditioning will have regressed. =( It doesn’t bode well for the playoffs.

  11. jon abbey

    yeah, JR is too low, he was the one getting the ball 27 feet from the hoop with 4 seconds left on the shot clock tonight. look past the stat lines, people!

    “Here’s the problem, though: I’ve lost track of how many times he’s sprinted into a passing lane or to closing out a defender, and ended up 20 feet beyond where he’s supposed to be. That’s the difference between good defender and great defender: The ability to time your movements all savvy like, to be at once controlled and chaos-wreaking, and to not look like a catnip-addled alley cat trying to catch a drifting straw wrapper. ”

    this is true, but I swear to god that Shump is the first defender I have ever seen who can somehow bother a shooter while running directly away from him. he is so quick and his movements are so odd and hard to predict that I think shooters are always expecting him to get back into the play. as someone whose professional life is all about collective improvisation (in the world of music), I find his unique approach deeply fascinating.

  12. ruruland

    Last March and April during the Nuggets big run, Smith shot 45% from 3, close to 45 % from the floor, with a TS % of .618 and a near 2-1 TO/Assist ratio, would have been a 20 ppg if he was given the minutes.

    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/2444/year/2011/jr-smith

    It pales in comparison though to his finish in ’09:
    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/2444/year/2009/jr-smith

    Traditionally a really strong finisher:

    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/2444/year/2008/jr-smith

    http://espn.go.com/nba/player/gamelog/_/id/2444/year/2010/jr-smith

  13. Jim Cavan Post author

    jon abbey: this is true, but I swear to god that Shump is the first defender I have ever seen who can somehow bother a shooter while running directly away from him. he is so quick and his movements are so odd and hard to predict that I think shooters are always expecting him to get back into the play. as someone whose professional life is all about collective improvisation (in the world of music), I find his unique approach deeply fascinating.

    Don’t get me wrong, he will learn to harness it, but in the meant time it just makes for the occasional awkward over-gamble. He’s going to be a monster on the wing some day, if he isn’t already.

  14. jon abbey

    ruruland:

    Re: Smith. Many of his threes were last-option, end-of-the-shot-clock heaves. He is completely fearless, and when he’s on, his streaks can singlehandidly win ballgames, even more impressive than Novak’s streaks because they will come off the dribble and 5 feet behind the line at times (completely unguardable)….when he’s mixing it up with his drive game, his as devastating a per-minute scorer as there is in basketball.

    yeah, this, my post overlapped as I got distracted in the middle of it.

  15. ruruland

    limpidgimp:
    If indeed Amare’s recent return to form is because he’s in shape again and his previous lull is due to not playing or practicing during the lockout, then even if he recovers in a few weeks, his conditioning will have regressed. =(It doesn’t bode well for the playoffs.

    The idea will be to survive the first round against Atlanta and slowly work him back for the Bulls/Heat series.

    It will take some luck to get to the 37-38 wins I think they’ll need for the division, but if they keep playing top 5 defense, you have to believe that Melo and JR can pick up enough of the slack in the interim to go 12-4, 13-3 in these final 16 games.

    Boston has it tough down the stretch, too. Philly isn’t the same team they were early in the year, and Iggy has patella tendinitis that could possibly hinder his effectiveness quite a bit (it’s the kind of injury that has forced guys to sit for long periods) so maybe, just maybe, 36 wins could do it (hopefully they’ll get the tiebreaker game with Boston)

  16. ruruland

    “Andre Iguodala has dealt with patella tendonitis for years, dating back to his college days at Arizona.

    Last year, the condition sidelined him for 15 games. Sunday against San Antonio was the first time this season Iguodala couldn’t go, though he went to the arena with the intent to play before a bell went off inside of his head.

    “I had the same feeling before like two weeks ago, and two weeks ago I played through it and it didn’t quite work out for me,” Iguodala said. “So I tried to tell myself that if it happens again you have to let someone know because we are coming down the stretch and we don’t want this overlapping with late April or early May.”

    http://www.csnphilly.com/blog/sixers-talk/post/Cautious-Iguodala-eyes-healthy-stretch-r?blockID=677458&feedID=694

  17. limpidgimp

    Woodson on Dunleavy in postgame interview:

    “I was livid, man. He had it going big time, and a lot of it was we didn’t communicate the switches on time. Had two guys running…the one guy we didn’t get matched up with him in transition, guys didn’t know who was guarding who and that shouldn’t be. But we corrected it in the third quarter and was able to secure the win.”

    http://knicksnow.com/videos/907/woodson-ny-89-mil-80#bottom_tabs

  18. ruruland

    Jim Cavan: Thanks, man. That means a hell of a lot.

    As for our boy J.R., I realize I’m probably overly hard on him. But I still think there’s a fine line between “fearlessness” and “brainlessness,” and our boy J.R. toes that sucker like a pro. I think he’s capable of being a starter on more than a few NBA teams, but — like Melo with less talent — he’s not always fully engaged at both ends of the court.

    I get this. And he’s earned his reputation (I won’t go into the issues in Denver with his coach)… But his defensive alertness has been outstanding to me since he became a Knick, and his decision-making on offense has actually been pretty passive until the last few games.

    These guys get it, btw: http://www.msg.com/videos/knicks-postgame-win-vs-bucks-326-1.86290

  19. jon abbey

    Ken Berger ? @KBergCBS

    Word could come as early as Tuesday on whether Amar’e Stoudemire needs season-ending back surgery, a source told @CBSSports.

  20. ruruland

    Here’s the story abbey: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/story/18072140/without-stoudemire-melo-back-in-comfort-zone-but-knicks-future-cloudy

    I don’t think that’s any new reporting because it doesn’t seem as though Berger is under the impression that it’s a likely scenario. None of the reporting on this suggests surgery is a likelihood at this point, and the second opinion he’s getting is from the guy who fixed his back last time. So it’s not as though he’s trying to see someone who will tell him he doesn’t need surgery.

  21. limpidgimp

    JR has been awesome on defense, he’s got the energy and will and skills to do it well. I root for him big time, and just hoping his rhythm returns.

    As shown tonight, he’s in great shape and has got frenetic hustle even in 4th quarter. It certainly helped that he was still playing ball during the lockout. But somehow he lost his groove since leaving China heh.

    I actually think he’d be a great starter as the 2 guard, since he can defend and can be a perimeter threat, which the starting unit lacks. Even as cold he’s been, he has it in him to shoot like a monster. Shump came up with that big 3 late in the game tonight, but neither he nor Landry can be counted on as perimeter threats.

  22. limpidgimp

    With Jeffries out, Novak isn’t getting the off-the-ball screens that let him get open.

    I see Novak just standing on the 3 line, hovering uselessly. Maybe he needs to move better without the ball, or maybe they should be setting baseline screens while he runs through the paint, whatever. If they aren’t creating shot opportunities for him, he’s mostly just a defensive liability out there. Especially now that he’s on scouting reports and people are up in his face.

  23. JK47

    JR and Shump played 65 minutes of balls-out, high-energy defense in this one, no question. Those two are just otherworldly athletes.

  24. ruruland

    JK47:
    JR and Shump played 65 minutes of balls-out, high-energy defense in this one, no question.Those two are just otherworldly athletes.

    They’ve got to find a way to keep those two guys together for a long time. I’m hoping JR’s numbers make him less appealing. Or that Lin sees the bigger picture financially… Maybe Melo and AMar’e can buy his dad a new mansion; he seems to be the only concerned about junior’s contract.

  25. thenoblefacehumper

    This may seem sort of random, but I realized it when thinking of the current Amar’e predicament. Didn’t the Knicks completely waste their amnesty clause? They picked up Billups’ option, then proceeded to amnesty him. Had they not picked it up, they would have had the space to sign Tyson and still had the amnesty. No? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  26. jon abbey

    JK47:
    JR and Shump played 65 minutes of balls-out, high-energy defense in this one, no question.Those two are just otherworldly athletes.

    they also scored 13 of NY’s 19 points in the 4th (not counting the two Novak FTs at the end). two FTs from Chandler, the layup from Jorts off a sweet pass from Baron and the jumper Melo hit when he first came back, those were the only other points for NY in the 4th.

  27. jon abbey

    also, Shump Shump hit as many 3s tonight (3-6) as Landry has hit total in the last 20 games (3-23).

  28. Brian Cronin

    This may seem sort of random, but I realized it when thinking of the current Amar’e predicament. Didn’t the Knicks completely waste their amnesty clause? They picked up Billups’ option, then proceeded to amnesty him. Had they not picked it up, they would have had the space to sign Tyson and still had the amnesty. No? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    Had they released Billups without amnestying him, they would not have had the cap space to sign Tyson. When you release someone, they still count against your cap.

  29. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin: Had they released Billups without amnestying him, they would not have had the cap space to sign Tyson. When you release someone, they still count against your cap.

    but I don’t think that was the question. Billups wasn’t under contract at the end of last season, so if we hadn’t picked up the option, we wouldn’t have been releasing him. I don’t know the answer.

  30. Brian Cronin

    but I don’t think that was the question. Billups wasn’t under contract at the end of last season, so if we hadn’t picked up the option, we wouldn’t have been releasing him. I don’t know the answer.

    Yeah, but they picked up his option before the playoffs even ended.

  31. thenoblefacehumper

    Brian Cronin: Had they released Billups without amnestying him, they would not have had the cap space to sign Tyson. When you release someone, they still count against your cap.

    I know that, but it wouldn’t have been releasing him. Unless my memory is betraying me he had a team option that they picked up, preventing him from being an unrestricted FA. Had they not picked it up, they wouldn’t have needed to amnesty anyone to make room for Tyson.

  32. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, but again, his option had to be picked up within five days of the end of the Knicks season. So roughly seven months before the Knicks could make any moves. When they picked up the option, Tyson Chandler had not even won an NBA title, let alone had the Mavericks say that they weren’t going to re-sign him.

  33. thenoblefacehumper

    Brian Cronin:
    Yeah, but again, his option had to be picked up within five days of the end of the Knicks season. So roughly seven months before the Knicks could make any moves. When they picked up the option, Tyson Chandler had not even won an NBA title, let alone had the Mavericks say that they weren’t going to re-sign him.

    So in hindsight, it was pretty much a waste. Not saying they should’ve seen all this coming. It’s just annoying that we could be in the same situation we are in now, but with the the clause.

  34. Brian Cronin

    Oh true, it is a pain in the ass, but they really felt that they needed to have Billups under contract to make salaries match in an attempt to trade for Paul if Paul were able to force his way to the Knicks. It sounds foolish now, but it seemed to make a little sense at the time!

  35. thenoblefacehumper

    Brian Cronin:
    Oh true, it is a pain in the ass, but they really felt that they needed to have Billups under contract to make salaries match in an attempt to trade for Paul if Paul were able to force his way to the Knicks.

    Didn’t even consider this when I made the initial comment. It all makes a lot more sense now. It’s great that you guys take the time to address the comments section, thanks.

  36. jon abbey

    also, Billups had a $3.7 buyout, so maybe they couldn’t have fit Chandler in if they hadn’t picked up the option?

  37. thenoblefacehumper

    jon abbey:
    also, Billups had a $3.7 buyout, so maybe they couldn’t have fit Chandler in if they hadn’t picked up the option?

    Do buyouts factor into the cap? I’m not sure actually.

  38. Brian Cronin

    Oh, great call, Jon. You’re absolutely right, the $3.7 would have counted against the cap, so they’d basically have been screwed if they tried to get room for Chandler.

  39. Brian Cronin

    Do buyouts factor into the cap? I’m not sure actually.

    They do. It doesn’t matter if they are contractual ones like Billups’ or if they are negotiated ones (like the Pistons tried to do with Rip Hamilton), they count against the cap proportionally to how many years remained on the contract. In Billups’ case, it was just one year, so the full $3.7 would count against the cap.

  40. Z

    Brian Cronin:
    Oh, great call, Jon. You’re absolutely right, the $3.7 would have counted against the cap, so they’d basically have been screwed if they tried to get room for Chandler.

    Yeah, and they had to trade Turiaf and Rautins too to clear space, and they would have needed to come up with yet another 3 million to shed (which, in hindsight, could have been Balkman, Douglas, and Fields, without losing too much on-court production, but I’m not sure who would have taken that package, and we’re running out of 2nd round picks to throw in :)

  41. thenoblefacehumper

    Brian Cronin: They do. It doesn’t matter if they are contractual ones like Billups’ or if they are negotiated ones (like the Pistons tried to do with Rip Hamilton), they count against the cap proportionally to how many years remained on the contract. In Billups’ case, it was just one year, so the full $3.7 would count against the cap.

    Well, I thought I was on to something sort of smart :/

  42. Z

    I’ve been tepid on Smith and sour on Anthony since they respectively joined the team, but both of them showed a lot of grit today.

  43. thenoblefacehumper

    I hate to be this guy but it’s really hard for me to be optimistic right now. Not just about this season, but in general. We have STAT’s monster contract with no amnesty, Melo’s to go with it, and now Tyson’s (he’s worth every penny, but that’s besides the point). Basically we have no space to add to a core that just isn’t elite. Can someone convince me that we can win a title before Melo and Amar’e are long retired?

  44. jon abbey

    thenoblefacehumper:
    I hate to be this guy but it’s really hard for me to be optimistic right now. Not just about this season, but in general. We have STAT’s monster contract with no amnesty, Melo’s to go with it, and now Tyson’s (he’s worth every penny, but that’s besides the point). Basically we have no space to add to a core that just isn’t elite. Can someone convince me that we can win a title before Melo and Amar’e are long retired?

    no, we’re not going to win a title as long as Dolan is running things.

  45. Brian Cronin

    Can someone convince me that we can win a title before Melo and Amar’e are long retired?

    I mean, it is not likely, true, but they likely are good enough to compete for the Eastern Conference Finals next season, and once you get to that point, who is to say that they couldn’t get lucky and win the East and then they’d have a punter’s chance in the Finals. Heck, remember when the Sixers took Game 1 against the Lakers in 2001? Hell, the Knicks were in a lot of the games during the 1999 NBA Finals and they were clearly not as good as the Spurs.

    So….well…yeah, they just need a whole lot of luck.

  46. ruruland

    Brian Cronin: I mean, it is not likely, true, but they likely are good enough to compete for the Eastern Conference Finals next season, and once you get to that point, who is to say that they couldn’t get lucky and win the East and then they’d have a punter’s chance in the Finals.

    So….well…yeah, they just need a whole lot of luck.

    The bottom line is no matter what approach you take, it’s incredibly unlikely that you can build a team that’s BETTER than the Heat, and to a lesser extent, the Thunder.

    As you well know, you can spend a good decade in the lose-for-superstar model and not get lucky in the lotto, or get lucky in the lotto and not have one of those guys available, or get lucky in the lotto and pick the wrong guy (happens to smart organizations, too).

    No three man core in the NBA is going to surpass the Durant/Westbrook/Harden or the Lebron/Wade/Bosh at any point in the future, unless Dallas goes out and signs Williams and Howard to similar deals that the Heat trio signed (as unlikely as that is)…..

    The fact that the Knicks lucked into Lin as a possible star player, whose value is on par with the other three, gives them as good of a chance as any other team in basketball to compere with the elite two.

    An Amar’e/Lin/Chandler/Melo quartet, playing to its potential,IMO, can surpass the Bulls, too.

    If,somehow, the Knicks are able to retain Novak (or another sharp shooter) and Smith for the next few years, with Shumpert, possibly Jeffries, and league average or above guys filling out the rest of the roster, I think you can project 55-60 wins within reason.

    Melo, Chandler and Amar’e have all won in that range on less talented teams, neither of which played defense a the level this one can and does.

    The concern with the three scorers is redundancy and diminishing marginal returns……

  47. limpidgimp

    Maybe Dolan will dole out to keep everyone and pay the luxury tax like he’s done before.

  48. Brian Cronin

    Dolan’s willingess to pay isn’t the issue. The problem is the limitations of the salary cap.

    The Knicks have the following options available for their free agent players next year….

    1. The $5 million mid-level
    2. The $2 million bi-annual
    and the ability to increase anyone’s expiring salary by 20%.

    So with those limited funds, they need to re-sign Lin, Smith, Davis, Jeffries and Novak.

    Lin will get the $5 million mid-level. That leaves the $2 million bi-annual for either Davis or Novak.

    Then you are in a position where you have to hope that no team will pay JR Smith over the $5 million mid-level, since the Knicks can only pay him $2.5 million next year (their second-year option). If no one offers him more than the MLE, I can see him staying and signing for the MLE after next season from the Knicks (which is the most the Knicks can pay him after next season). That’s a big risk to ask him to take, though. Then you’re in a position where Jeffries and either Davis or Novak will have to settle for just 20% raises. If D’Antoni isn’t coaching anywhere next year, I can see Jeffries taking that deal. But for Davis to come back for just a 20% raise? It is possible, since he’ll still be getting money from Cleveland, but to take a small amount of money to be a back-up? Seems unlikely.

    So I’d say Davis and Smith are the two players most likely to not be Knicks next year. Novak, too, if someone out there can offer him more than $2 million.

    But there is a legitimate scenario where the Knicks can bring back their entire team next season.

  49. Z

    Brian Cronin:

    Novak, too, if someone out there can offer him more than $2 million.

    Jason Kapono got 4 years $24 million after putting up a similar season in 2007. Are the days of over spending for single faceted players finally over? If not, seems like a contender would pay the mid-level to get Novak caliber shooting. He’s been unreal.

  50. Brian Cronin

    Are the days of over spending for single faceted players finally over?

    I think they are. The middle class has been hurt badly by the new CBA. To wit, before the lockout the Knicks would have no shot at JR Smith because there would be a team out there that would be offering him at least $7 million a year. Now? Who knows? Mike Dunleavy is making $3.75 million a year…on just a two-year deal! Kris Humphries had an outstanding season last year and could only get a one-year deal. Same with Carl Landry. So while I don’t know what Novak’s market will be, I do know that the middle class is going to be squeezed like crazy. We shall see if it will be enough to keep Novak at $2 million or less. The scary thing is the $3 mini-MLE that teams like the Lakers and Heat can offer.

  51. limpidgimp

    dumb question: can’t players get bonuses for, eg, getting into the playoffs? if so, that would make it more appealing to stay if the player is confident about that bonus condition being met. is that counted towards the salary cap?

  52. bommmbo

    One thing i don’t get with the american grades. In france in soccer i only saw two times the grade 10/10 in the main sport newspaper.

    The last time was for messi when he scored five goals in champions league. And the time before in 95.

    So my question is : If a guy has 70 points and 30 rebounds for the knicks which grade will you give him, when you already give an A to Chandler and Melo tonight ?

  53. Frank

    Great write-up Jim but I would’ve given JR a B- at least. If we believe that defense is half the game, I thought he deserved an A on the defensive end, and probably a C- or D+ on the offensive end. But he pulled down 10 rebounds which were HUGE in this game. And to my recollection, most of them were not gimme rebounds where the other team is already running down the floor – these were contested above the rim rebounds that he got. And I think pretty much any backcourt player not named Bibby deserved an defensive A- or higher for the job they did on Jennings and Ellis.

    Man does Ellis look lost in this offense. Feels a little like Marbury + Francis just watching them.

    @56 – I think the mini-MLE is going to kill us. Especially for someone like Novak who has been on the fringe of the league up until now, a 3 year $3M per year deal might be the big payday of his career. Jeffries has already made $40M in his career thanks to Isiah, and Baron has already made $130M (not counting his $14M guaranteed salary for 12-13 from the Cavs), so they might be ok with coming back for less.

    I think JR is gone. SOMEONE will offer him at least the mini-MLE.

    The ability to keep this team together will hinge on whether Lin will take less than the full MLE. Someone may OFFER him the full MLE but he doesn’t have to sign the offer sheet. I know it seems ridiculous that he might NOT go for the most guaranteed $, but let’s face it – he’s already set for life financially. He just might surprise us if it’s the difference between keeping or losing Jeffries and/or Novak.

  54. Jim Cavan Post author

    Thanks, guys. You’ve convinced me; J.R. gets a C. I don’t know how I looked past the fact that he had ten rebounds, but that was certainly huge. I went back and looked at a little bit of footage and he was engaged on D. It’s just hard sometimes to see everything when you’re trying to watch and take notes at the same time. That’s why I have you guys!

  55. thenamestsam

    bommmbo:
    One thing i don’t get with the american grades. In france in soccer i only saw two times the grade 10/10 in the main sport newspaper.

    The last time was for messi when he scored five goals in champions league. And the time before in 95.

    So my question is : If a guy has 70 points and 30 rebounds for the knicks which grade will you give him, when you already give an A to Chandler and Melo tonight ?

    Grade inflati0n is everywhere in America. The schools are even worse than this. I think you’re just supposed to understand the grades for each game as relative to each other, not as overall rankings. Basically in a win the best player gets an A, and then the grades go down from there, so you can’t really compare different games to each other.

    But I agree that the inflation is out of control. A grade of A generally means “near perfect”. Chandler had a good game and was crucial in the Knicks recording a W, but if 13 pts and 9 rebounds counts as a “near perfect” basketball game then you have a pretty loose standard indeed.

  56. Jim Cavan Post author

    thenamestsam: Grade inflati0n is everywhere in America. The schools are even worse than this. I think you’re just supposed to understand the grades for each game as relative to each other, not as overall rankings. Basically in a win the best player gets an A, and then the grades go down from there, so you can’t really compare different games to each other.

    But I agree that the inflation is out of control. A grade of A generally means “near perfect”. Chandler had a good game and was crucial in the Knicks recording a W, but if 13 pts and 9 rebounds counts as a “near perfect” basketball game then you have a pretty loose standard indeed.

    I think everyone is taking the grades a little too seriously.

  57. Caleb

    ruruland: unless Dallas goes out and signs Williams and Howard to similar deals that the Heat trio signed (as unlikely as that is)…..

    Curious – why does this seem so unlikely?

  58. johnlocke

    Agreed…other than JR had no issues with the grades. It’s all about relative scale for grades as far as I’m concerned…and I think it was clear that JR contributed more to the win than Bibby, Jorts and Fields

    Jim Cavan: I think everyone is taking the grades a little too seriously.

  59. Z

    Jim Cavan: I think everyone is taking the grades a little too seriously.

    Gotta comment about something!

    Re: Smith, it was a tale of two halves. F- in the first half, B+ in the second.

    Re: Chandler, the official scorer who credited him with only 9 rebounds couldn’t have been awake in 3rd quarter. (it was the most dominant 9 rebound performance I’ve seen).

  60. TelegraphedPass

    Yeah the grades aren’t intended to be scientific evaluations of their performance. If Novak hits 8 threes and does nothing else, he still gets an A++++ for being Steve Novak and making us jump for joy. The words are far more important than the letter grade.

  61. bobneptune

    Brian Cronin: They do. It doesn’t matter if they are contractual ones like Billups’ or if they are negotiated ones (like the Pistons tried to do with Rip Hamilton), they count against the cap proportionally to how many years remained on the contract. In Billups’ case, it was just one year, so the full $3.7 would count against the cap.

    we may need to consult a capologist about this, but according to hoops hype, the knicks were only able to free up 10.7 million by amnestying billups, not the entire 14 odd million. the 3.7 m buyout still counted vs the cap and was the reason turiaf (+/- 4 m)had to be dumped to sign chandler for the 13.7 m or whatever he makes this year

    but i could be wrong about that :-)

  62. Z

    I don’t think hoops hype is right. There was no buyout because the Knicks picked up the option (6 months before amnestying him). Knicks needed to trade Turiaf because they were over the cap before amnestying Billups and needed o come own further, I believe.

  63. Brian Cronin

    Especially for someone like Novak who has been on the fringe of the league up until now, a 3 year $3M per year deal might be the big payday of his career.

    Agreed. That is what the Knicks have to worry about. If that offer doesn’t come, though, they should be fine.

    I think JR is gone. SOMEONE will offer him at least the mini-MLE.

    But why would he leave for a $3 million contract when the Knicks can offer him $2.5 next season and then $5 million after that? Now, if someone offered him $5 million, it gets a lot tougher to turn down.

    The ability to keep this team together will hinge on whether Lin will take less than the full MLE. Someone may OFFER him the full MLE but he doesn’t have to sign the offer sheet. I know it seems ridiculous that he might NOT go for the most guaranteed $, but let’s face it – he’s already set for life financially. He just might surprise us if it’s the difference between keeping or losing Jeffries and/or Novak.

    There is just no way Lin turns down the full MLE, especially since the Knicks’ best pitch is “take less this season and we’ll re-sign you to the MLE next season when it doesn’t affect our cap” and that is a bad idea since the Knicks would not get protection from the Arenas Rule, so teams could outbid the Knicks.

  64. Brian Cronin

    I don’t think hoops hype is right. There was no buyout because the Knicks picked up the option (6 months before amnestying him). Knicks needed to trade Turiaf because they were over the cap before amnestying Billups and needed o come own further, I believe.

    Correct, they were far enough over the cap that even after amnestying Billups, they were only $10-11 million under.

  65. Robtachi

    ruruland:
    “Bulging disks are less severe, and most do not require surgery, according to Dr. Andrew Hecht, the co-chief of spinal surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Treatment options can include anti-inflammatories, physical therapy and, in some cases, a spinal injection. Recovery can take days, weeks or months, Hecht said. ”

    That seems somewhat positive.

    So what’s the story, exactly? Is it a slipped disk, or a bulging disk? It’s my understanding that there’s a significant difference.

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