Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Knicks 95, Cavs 90 (Full Version)

It seems beside the point to pick the Knicks apart after the game that just happened.  The offense had some sloppy stretches and the shot selection wasn’t great — though the shot-making mostly was — and consistent rim protection remains an issue (to which we say: more Aldrich).  We’re not dwelling on that stuff.  We’ve got 80 more games to overanalyze and I’m sure we will.  That’s not what this is about.


There is a duality to the nature of each regular season NBA game that can be very easy to overlook during the January “@MIL’s” and March “vs.ORL’s” whose like gives an NBA schedule its critical mass.  One game is a component of a six-month whole, a chapter in a broader narrative, a tally in a column whose final sum determines whether you go onward to glory or just back home.  We never forget this.  But the other piece of the story is the one that makes so many of the very best nights, like this one, worth our while.

Because even as one game is a piece of a puzzle, it’s also a completed puzzle unto itself.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers drew the absolute maximum amount of attention to this latter element of their season opener’s nature.  Downtown Cleveland was a block party and celebrities were on hand and commercials were filmed and inspiring team videos were compiled.  This is all absolutely within the rights of the city and the franchise and the man.  Notwithstanding the parallels between this team’s pre-emptive self-congratulation and the selfsame city’s vilification of James for similar (though gaudier, less sentimental) behavior upon his arrival in South Beach, the approach can be understood, expected, condoned.

But there was, of course, another team in Cleveland tonight, a team that has undertaken a difficult transition and that got absolutely shellacked on the occasion of its own home opener.  Put simply: the Knicks were an easy target.  And LeBron’s Thursday morning claim that this was “one of the biggest sporting events…ever” juxtaposed against the ‘Bockers’ general existential disarray gave the impression — intentionally haughty or not — that tonight’s contest was to be more coronation than competition.

Well, whatever great many things may be said about the 2014-15 New York Knicks, let this one thing be added to them: they were not here to be extras in the climactic scene of LeBron James’ Grand Redemption.

LeBron and the Cavs will have many, many great nights this season.  They will win games that stand on their own as singular paragons of beautiful, lethal offense.  They will rock the Q and energize their city.  They will comprise new and glorious chapters of James’ already remarkable story.  And, collectively, these nights will almost surely carry the Cavaliers into a postseason that could see them ease the expectant, six-decade-long angst of a city’s sports faithful.  And it could be truly beautiful.

The Knicks, just as surely, will not do these things.  They’ll win some games and occasionally impress and there will be nights — hopefully many — like tonight that are a lot of fun.  But their ceiling is fundamentally lower, their ambitions more humble, their potential more limited.  And so it would be easy to look at a night like tonight through cynical eyes and say “well, that was fun, but it’s the second night of the season and there are long months ahead and the Cavs will have the last laugh.”

But that’s only part of the story.  When the Knicks got bucket after bucket every time the Cavs closed within striking distance, when Carmelo Anthony buried a dagger in LeBron’s mug, when the entire crunch-time unit swarmed and scurried and smothered their way to that breathtaking, ultimately backbreaking final defensive possession, the Knicks did more than stretch their record to 1-1.  They prevailed in a clash that mattered on its own merits, that the Cavs and their uberstar had built up to something in between the Miracle on Ice and the Toon Squad’s clash with the Monstars, only way more redundantly sponsored.  They emerged victorious on a night that, no matter how many titles LeBron and his Cavs may win, the Cleveland faithful will never be able to say was the coronation that they had fancied it to be.

The Cavs wake up the Cavs tomorrow.  The Knicks wake up the Knicks.  But on one night of eighty-two, a rebuilding team reminded us that though they might not pile up enough victories to take us where we want to go, they will give us moments of genuine joy and inspiration on an otherwise weary road.  And those moments are to be cherished because, in the final analysis, they’re the reason we stick around.

The 2014-15 Knicks can only be who they are, can only rise to the occasions that fate lays before them.  Tonight, the occasion was LeBron James’ homecoming.

Well, welcome home.

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115 comments on “Knicks 95, Cavs 90 (Full Version)

  1. JK47

    The highlights of Travis Wear repeatedly shutting down LeBron are just a joy to watch. Wear is supposed to be a defensive liability, and now he’s like the lockdown LeBron stopper? What the hell is going on here?

  2. Funkyfedorov

    As a Knicks lifer going to college in Cleveland, it’s hilarious how much this game was being hyped up. The Cavs were supposed to steamroll the Knicks. I was outside Quicken Loans watching on the big screen, wearing my Shump jersey under my shirt (I love the Knicks but I’d rather not get lynched) and they had Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar, and all these other big stars giving performances, then proceeded to get beat by a fringe playoff team. I may be the only happy person in Cleveland right now.

  3. Z-man

    Very nice writeup, Kevin!

    In all the good, there was a lot that Fisher can have the team work on via film review. some lowlights that need to be cleaned up:
    2 perplexing 24-second violations in crunch time.
    Larkin turnover down the stretch via dribbling into a double-team
    Amare letting Kyrie Irving outrebound him and then touch-fouling him for the 3-pt play
    2 dumb offensive fouls down low when the ball was at midcourt (Acy and Smith)
    Love being allowed to step into an uncontested transition 3 (Smith?)
    Shump going for the power slam rather than making the sure hoop
    Melo picking up foul #4 on an obvious offensive foul

  4. Totes McGoats

    As happy as I am about the win…the victory was probably more about the Cavs bein caught up in the moment and LeBron havin a horrible game. And that in no way is meant to disparage the Knicks effort last night because there were some good signs. Notably, the play of Acy, Melo, Shump, Larkin, and both Smith’s. It was great to see the team play with the fight it seemed they didn’t have the previous night. It was also great to see Fish unafraid to use the roster after watching Woodson overuse a small piece of the roster. Cole and Wear got early burn..Melo and Stat got rest when needed..his player rotations were sharp. Obviously he learned a lot from his playing career after playing with all time greats like Kobe-Shaq-Durant, and playing under the likes of Phil-Sloan-Carlisle. I’m excited about the future of this team. But..while watching the game I got into a debate on facebook about how the triangle works with Melo and how to build around him. At that moment, it hit me. Get Melo up to 245 and let him play PF. He destroys opposition there, but more importantly- it’s easier to find role players that fit well with him at C/SF/SG in today’s NBA. And with the way the league is changing, Melo’s probably a perfect fit as a 4. Say Phil lands Marc Gasol next season. I think a Gasol-Melo pairing with Melo at the 4 is easier to work with than having Melo at the 3. There’s more of athletic wings out there that don’t mind playing D and can hit an open shot or 2 than there are PF’s that fit with what a Melo and Gasol do best. Last season I didn’t want Melo primarily at the 4, and at 1st with his new contract, I certainly didn’t want him at that spot. but the more I think about it- the more sense it makes to have Melo at the 4 moving forward.

  5. Mike Kurylo

    BTW when Jason Smith isn’t hitting 5-6 shots, will his 2 rebounds in 19 minutes be worth having him on the floor? Maybe putting him at PF and Amar’e at center isn’t a great idea.

    Interesting to see the triangle went right out the window yesterday.

    Does anybody know when Tim Hardaway gets back from injury? What he’s not hurt? He’s played in both games. You’re kidding?

  6. Hubert

    I am so ashamed. I wrote this in the 1Q:

    Hubert October 30, 2014 at 8:35 pm
    Man I really wanted to see what the Cavs looked like but I cannot listen to Barkley AND Reggie doing this game. This is so disprespectful to knicks fans. Fuck those guys.

    At this time, the Knicks were down 8, JR was writhing in pain, and Barkley was going on and on and on about how “if you lose a game by 30 points, you’re not a real basketball team” and how “this is why Phil won’t coach these guys” and blah blah blah. All while Reggie was just chuckling and chiming in with his bullshit.

    So while they were checking on JR, I changed the channel to AMC, which was showing the original Halloween. And at this same time, a lady friend I was expecting came over. And we got into Halloween. And I kinda forgot about the Knicks, probably because in the back of my head I expected them to lose by 30 and whatnot.

    So there I am, at around 10:30/11 or whatever it is, and Jamie Lee Curtis has decided to hide in the closet and tie a rope around the handles instead of jumping out of the window, apparently because she thinks the closet shutters are made of steel, and my lady friend (who has never seen this movie) is a little scared, and my scorecenter alert goes off and I yell “HOLY SHIT!” at the exact moment my lady friend is super tense and that makes her scream and I CAN’T BELIEVE I DIDN’T WATCH THIS FUCKING GAME!!!!!!!!!

    I also missed Melo’s 62 (I was at a birthday dinner) and Lin’s 37 vs the Lakers (I was driving to Vermont with my ex-gf). I’ve watched approximately 95% of all Knicks games the last 4 years and I have missed pretty much every good one.

  7. hoolahoop

    One take away from the game is that, barring the two horrendous possessions late in the 4th quarter, the knicks remained focused and poised throughout, after Cleveland jumped out to a sizable lead, something rarely seen when Woodson was in charge.
    Pretty much, everyone contributed in a good way. Great to see Shump playing with confidence. He held his dribble and attacked the basket multiple times. And his defense.
    Also, Acey continues to impress. He’s the type of blue collar big that every team needs – strong, athletic, tenacious and unselfish.
    And I loved that Melo let the game come to him, and stepped up when necessary.
    Anyone can have a bad game, especially under the conditions, but Lebron, physically, looked a shell of his former self. Lebron always stood out, even before the opening tip off, by his massive, sculpted, linebacker/tight end physique. They said he’s on a new low carb diet to improve his health and physicality, but he looked weaker and less imposing.
    If Cleveland can figure it out, this team will be scary good. Their athleticism and talent is off the charts.

  8. DRed

    BTW when Jason Smith isn’t hitting 5-6 shots, will his 2 rebounds in 19 minutes be worth having him on the floor?

    Surface level analysis bruh. He’ll make his teammates better with floor spacing, interaction effects and triangle magic.

    As long as the long 2s Smith takes are as open as they were last night then those are good shots. 2 rebounds in 20 is some Bargnani level board work, though.

  9. hoolahoop

    @ 8.
    There’s one thing lady friends and the knicks have in common.
    They both will break your heart.

  10. hoolahoop

    I don’t understand the beating up on Jason Smith. He was a huge part of last night’s win. Without him, they don’t win last night. Give him credit. He played great.

  11. thenamestsam

    Awesome recap Kevin. Captured the spirit of the night perfectly. Ultimately there were obviously a lot more good signs for the Knicks in this one than in the first game, and the Cavs struggled with the strength of the spotlight (and there are clearly going to be some growing pains, but also there’s a good chance Lebron won’t play another game this bad all season), but mostly we should just enjoy this, because it was a hell of a lot of fun. Even if that’s the best moment of the season, that wouldn’t be too, too bad.

    Some promising individual performances all around but what stood out to me was that (like Hoola said) we played with poise AND energy throughout the game. There were multiple times when the tide threatened to turn against us like it did against the Bulls and we did a much better job of fighting those off last night. Hopefully we can keep this up. We’re not the most talented team in the league certainly but if we play smart and hard every night we’ll be in a lot of games.

  12. pistol pete

    There is lots to be happy about, especially with Larkin, Wear, Acy, and Cole/Shumpert’s defense. The biggest positive for me was Fisher though. He emptied out his bench early to find lineups that would work (which is why Hardaway and Dalambert didn’t see the court in the second half) and it seems like we finally have a coach who reacts right away to things everybody can see on the court. Stat didn’t have the legs to get into position for a rebound and allowed Kyrie to get it and have an and-1 opportunity. During the freethrow Fish takes Stat out and puts in Cole for better rebounding/defense. This almost never happened with Woodson.

    Also in general the Knicks seem to have more of a clue on defense. On pick-and-rolls they double-teamed the ballhandler and forced him into the corner multiple times, resulting in us picking off bad cross-court passes or passes going out of bounds or into the backcourt. The Cavs will most likely be a lot sharper moving forward, but the Knicks were not nearly as late on their defensive rotations as they’ve been in the past.

  13. Garson

    I’d like to see Priggy prigs teach his Jedi-esque ability to steal balls off the inbound pass to Larkin… i feel he can add that to his basketball tools

  14. JK47

    It seemed like the perimeter players (especially Shump) were working really hard to fight their way through screens instead of just saying “eff it” and lazily switching. There was not too much of Shane Larkin guarding Kevin Love or Amar’e Stoudemire guarding Kyrie Irving.

    LeBron was 0 for 4 on plays where Travis Wear was the primary defender. And that wasn’t luck either– he moved his feet, stayed in front of LeBron and forced him into low-percentage shots.

  15. domiknick

    LeBron was 0 for 4 on plays where Travis Wear was the primary defender. And that wasn’t luck either– he moved his feet, stayed in front of LeBron and forced him into low-percentage shots.

    There’s this too: @IanBegley: On the six plays Shumpert defended LeBron James’ plays, he kept James to 0-2 shooting & 4 turnovers, per @ESPNStatsInfo

    So between Shump & Wear, that’s 0-6 with 4 turnovers. Our new Lebron stoppers! ShumpWear!

  16. Cole Jowles, #1 WP48 Knicks Superstar

    I recall one possession where there were four Cavs in the paint, one with the ball, and someone camping out by the 3-point line. What a trainwreck on offense.

  17. domiknick

    Oh and apparently today is Cole-train’s birthday! How oddly fitting that he was born on Halloween?

  18. Frank

    Also in general the Knicks seem to have more of a clue on defense. On pick-and-rolls they double-teamed the ballhandler and forced him into the corner multiple times, resulting in us picking off bad cross-court passes or passes going out of bounds or into the backcourt.

    Honestly it was shocking to see how competent the Knicks looked in guarding the PNR.

    Not sure who it was (maybe Robert? Or Brian?) who commented during preseason that it seemed like Lebron had lost a step. Obviously our sample size is too small but wtf is up with him being unable to get past Travis Wear on multiple possessions?

  19. JK47

    I am obsessed with Travis Wear right now. Think about this: last year the 15th man on the roster was Chris Fucking Smith. This year it’s Travis Wear. It really is a new day.

    Wear is a really good athlete, quick and agile for a guy who is 6’10”, 230. And in addition to that, he is a high-effort, high-IQ player. There is no reason he should not be able to be a really good defender. It is so refreshing to see that Fisher recognizes this. Woody would never have used this guy.

    Wear was a pretty damn good shooter in college too, so he is definitely not a zero on the offensive end. He had a .558 eFG% his senior year, and it wasn’t like that was compiled in some podunk conference, it was the Pac-12. There is no way this guy should have gone undrafted. Here’s an interesting question: why not sign the twin brother?

  20. lavor postell

    Lebron has definitely lost a step. It was obvious during the playoffs last year during certain games, especially while he was literally carrying Dwyane Wade’s carcass at times.

    So while they were checking on JR, I changed the channel to AMC, which was showing the original Halloween. And at this same time, a lady friend I was expecting came over. And we got into Halloween.

    Sounds like you did alright last night even without the Knicks.

    Interesting to see the triangle went right out the window yesterday.

    This is a joke, right? The Knicks had 30 assists on 37 made baskets. Sounds fairly triangly.

  21. lavor postell

    Wear was a pretty damn good shooter in college too, so he is definitely not a zero on the offensive end. He had a .558 eFG% his senior year, and it wasn’t like that was compiled in some podunk conference, it was the Pac-12. There is no way this guy should have gone undrafted.

    Right?

    How does a guy like that completely drop through the cracks when teams are evaluating talent? Ridiculous.

  22. Nick C.

    “How does a guy like that completely drop through the cracks when teams are evaluating talent? Ridiculous.”

    I’m sure this is inappropriate but Wear is pigmentally challenged.

  23. Mike Kurylo

    How does a guy like that completely drop through the cracks when teams are evaluating talent? Ridiculous.

    It is not for us non-NBA humans to judge the collective wisdom and knowledge of NBA coaches and front offices. There’s an obvious reason for this, but even if it were told to us, we cannot begin to understand.

  24. flossy

    Wear is a really good athlete, quick and agile for a guy who is 6’10”, 230

    If Travis Wear is 6’10” I’ll eat my hat. Hell, if he’s actually taller than Carmelo Anthony I’d be pretty surprised. I know that’s what he’s listed at, but there’s simply no way. I’d put him about around 6’7″.

    That’s my only knock on Travis Wear.

  25. GoNyGoNYGo

    @8 – That’s what the DVR is for. I also used the “mute” button to shut Barkley up. My TV is too expensive to throw things at.

    @12 – Neither do I. I like Jason Smith in this system. He is the epitome of a triangle player – a big that can shoot and space the floor.

    @14 – numerous reports out there say that the Knicks do NOT pick up Larkin’s contract.

    @23 – I like Wear too. What I like is that he’s hungry and that he was on LeBron like white on rice.

    I hope that the team improves for Sunday’s game. Kemba and friends are not easy to beat but are easy to overlook.

  26. prezs2reprsntme

    I think it was a lowe article sometime last year who mentioned that he had actual knowledge about some of the knicks scouting guys and insisted that they were great, and that lin/cope/Pablo (to a lesser extent)/shawne williams were all evidence of that. Stuff like that is only valuable in the margins ultimately, but it is still important. Obviously, those little successes were always moot thanks to the larger big-signing fuck ups.

    Hopefully we can stop with the big fuckups going forth, and hopefully Wear is next in that line of rabbit out of a hat bench players.

  27. hoolahoop

    What seemed to be a schedule hazzard for the knicks, facing the Chicago and Cleveland to start the season, turned out to be good fortune.
    With Lebron in peak form and the Cavs clicking on all cylinders, they can develop into one of the best teams we’ve seen. Their upside is much better than Lebron’s Heat.

  28. DRed

    Re: Jason Smith-the mild negativity is because he’s 7’0″ tall and he’s got 3 rebounds in 33 minutes. He’s certainly fine when he’s going 5-6 from the floor, but if he doesn’t rebound he’s going to have to shoot really, really well to be effective.

  29. GoNyGoNYGo

    Last year Jason Smith averaged 9.7 Points and 5.8 Rebounds per game in 26.8 minutes. Looks like he’s close to a double-double guy if given significant minutes.

  30. BigBlueAL

    Yeah, I dont get mocking the lack of a triangle offense last night. They had 30 assists on 37 FGM. Thats an assist on 81% of their baskets compared to their average of 54% assisted baskets last season. Chris Herring also mentioned that in the Bulls game they made 357 passes when last year they averaged 282 passes a game. Call the offense whatever you want but its a far cry from what Woodson ran (even though I give Woodson credit for embracing the 3pter as much as he did).

  31. Brian Cronin

    Woody did two things really well.

    1. Suck up to Melo (I don’t mean that in the negative way it sounds. Getting Melo to buy into doing pretty much the same thing he wouldn’t do for D’Antoni was a major success on Woodson’s part)
    2. Keep D’Antoni’s offense until last year

  32. Kevin Udwary

    How does a guy like that completely drop through the cracks when teams are evaluating talent? Ridiculous.

    In defense of the rest of the league, there are over 350 schools playing D1 basketball, and Travis Wear was 7th on his team in minutes last year. That’s a hell of a lot of players to look at before you get to him.

  33. thedams

    2 thoughts about last night:
    I was very impressed with Quincy Acy’s effort last night. During his time with the Raptors, Acy was all hustle and few points. This guy should bring tough interior defense for the Kinicks. Perhaps the Knick’s front court (Dalemebert, Acy, Stoudemire & Bargnani) may not be a pushover after all. We’ll see.

    And what’s with the bandwagon celebrities now supporting the Cavs? I’m a Raptor fan but I love the way Spike Lee sticks with this Knicks team; through the tumultuous days of Isiah Thomas to the arrival of the Zen master.

  34. Brian Cronin

    If they’re willing to give him the max next season, then this is probably the way to go, as it gives them extra cap room next season. If not, though, then what the fuck, San Antonio?

  35. JK47

    5/90 for Kawhi Leonard’s prime is a no-brainer. I guess they figure they’ll let him become an RFA, try to sign some other free agent while only his cap hold is counting against their cap, then after they sign their free agent target, they would match whatever offer sheet another team makes for Kawhi.

  36. Cole Jowles, #1 WP48 Knicks Superstar

    Why bother extending him now? If he goes down with an Achille’s injury next week, that contract extension would look dumb. His stock has nowhere to go but down, and the Spurs can match anything he gets.

  37. JK47

    Why bother extending him now? If he goes down with an Achille’s injury next week, that contract extension would look dumb. His stock has nowhere to go but down, and the Spurs can match anything he gets.

    Yeah, I guess that makes sense.

  38. Brian Cronin

    5/90 for Kawhi Leonard’s prime is a no-brainer. I guess they figure they’ll let him become an RFA, try to sign some other free agent while only his cap hold is counting against their cap, then after they sign their free agent target, they would match whatever offer sheet another team makes for Kawhi.

    Yeah, I think that’s the plan precisely. I just hope they don’t try to get him to take less than max.

  39. Mike Kurylo

    “Last year Jason Smith averaged 9.7 Points and 5.8 Rebounds per game in 26.8 minutes. Looks like he’s close to a double-double guy if given significant minutes.”

    Sure we just need to play him 46.2 minutes per game. Although that’s just his average. Some nights he might play the whole entire game, and still not manage 10 rebounds, so to be safe, he should play every minute of every game.

  40. Cole Jowles, #1 WP48 Knicks Superstar

    A max deal for a guy with his years of service is still good. You have to be LeBron-level good to be worth a Kobe-sized contract.

  41. Cole Jowles, #1 WP48 Knicks Superstar

    Achilles*

    My old ancient lit professor is rolling over in his tiny, dimly-lit adjunct professor cubicle grave.

  42. thenamestsam

    Obviously the Spurs know what they’re doing better than I do, and they certainly have a much better sense of Kawhi’s demeanor, but it seems to me that this kind of move frequently harms the relationship with the team. We’ve seen many times again that players consistently misunderstand that letting them walk into RFA with every intention to match isn’t intended as some sort of slight – two examples that come to mind: Parsons from this year, who after signing in Dallas had multiple interviews where he said he was pretty upset about his treatment by Houston. Even though they explicitly told him that it was their intention to match any offer and that they were just letting the market set his value, he felt like it showed that they didn’t really want him because they were out trying to sign other guys instead of working on signing him. And then Batum from a couple years ago was in a similar situation which ended with him nearly forcing Portland to sign and trade him.

    With a player as good as Kawhi I’d be hesitant to take the risk of pissing him off, although again they are the Spurs and they do everything right so I’m sure their intentions were communicated clearly, Kawhi understood, and it will all work out perfectly.

  43. yellowboy90

    Well Wesley Matthews also fell threw the cracks so it happens. Still though I didn’t see this player when I watched UF play UCLA or other Tourney games. Also, the guy is 24 so I guess they didn’t see a guy who would mature physically much more to become a NBA PF.

  44. hoolahoop

    Kawhi Leonard, max player? I don’t think so.
    Big difference playing on a championship calibre team that has other players shoulder the weight, than being “the man”. I don’t see Kawhi playing the superstar role game after game after game . . . .

  45. Kahnzy

    Kawhi Leonard, max player? I don’t think so.
    Big difference playing on a championship calibre team that has other players shoulder the weight, than being “the man”. I don’t see Kawhi playing the superstar role game after game after game . . . .

    Oh boy, here we go…

  46. Jack Bauer

    Nice write up. That was really nice to rain on Cleveland’s “coronation” and LBJ’s homecoming. That felt good, special bonus by sticking it to Chuck & Reggie, Knick haters for life.

    Kawhi is ALOT better than Gordon Hayward, so if he is getting paid so should Leonard. That’s what the market rate is for excellent young players. Pay the man.

  47. Brian Cronin

    I guess with the NBA economy about to explode, then $15 million for Thompson might look pretty cheap pretty soon.

  48. DRed

    I assume Kawhi’s agent keeps texting RC Buford articles about Klay Thompson getting a max extension.

  49. er

    @55 lol. I do wonder how Melo would have developed if he were drafted by a great front coach and front office. But hey if game winners over Lebron can’t stop the hate for one day from the great Owen he must suck hahahaha…..where’s my Halloween candy?

  50. DRed

    Bob, 2 questions:

    How many rebounds did Cole have last night? The box score says six in only 14 minutes (I didn’t watch the game, obvs), but I know he only can rebound against scrubs in garbage time, so I was wondering how many were legit NBA rebounds and how many he got while the Cavs were blowing us out.

    Jeff Van Gundy told Zach Lowe that Cole really improves the Knicks defense. Do you know more about basketball than Jeff Van Gundy?

  51. Kahnzy

    Do you know more about basketball than Jeff Van Gundy?

    Nobody knows more about basketball than Jeff Van Gundy.

  52. Kahnzy

    I really hope someone hires Mark Jackson to coach again.

    Someone that isn’t the Knicks anyway, because I can’t stand listening to him. To me he’s worse than Reggie.

  53. hoolahoop

    Jeff Van Gundy told Zach Lowe that Cole really improves the Knicks defense. Do you know more about basketball than Jeff Van Gundy?
    JVG has turned into a baffoon. He says more stupid things during a game that Cole gets rebounds. . . . one of them being “Woodson is a great coach”.

  54. Kahnzy

    JVG has turned into a baffoon. He says more stupid things during a game that Cole gets rebounds. . . . one of them being “Woodson is a great coach”.

    Name me a former coach turned broadcaster that insults (even if it’s true) fellow coaches on national TV.

  55. JK47

    So the answer to DRed’s first question is apparently “no comment” and the answer to question #2 is that yes, bobneptune knows more about basketball than Jeff Van Gundy.

  56. hoolahoop

    and the answer to question #2 is that yes, bobneptune knows more about basketball than Jeff Van Gundy.

    I think they’ve both had the same number of head coaching offers the last three years.

  57. DRed

    The Cavs are absolutely pounding the Bulls on the glass, which is something you don’t seem too often.

  58. BigBlueAL

    Of all the ex-players/coaches who are analysts now JVG is BY FAR the best to listen to either on a game broadcast or especially in a podcast or radio interview.

  59. hoolahoop

    @JK47
    That’s right, JVG can’t ever be wrong.
    So tired of that asinine argument that NBA personnel are infallible.

  60. DRed

    So tired of that asinine argument that NBA personnel are infallible.

    Well yeah-that’s what I’m saying.

  61. JK47

    Yet just yesterday you were making the same appeal to authority argument to bolster your case that Cole Aldrich sucks.

  62. DRed

    Yet just yesterday you were making the same appeal to authority argument to bolster your case that Cole Aldrich sucks.

    I think that was bobneptune

  63. Kahnzy

    There’s a big difference between saying someone is a buffoon and then saying sometimes they can be wrong. The former is certainly wrong when applied to JVG, while the latter is certainly true.

  64. JK47

    No, it was hoolahoop, I went and looked it up.

    “I’m wrong, and D. Fisher is wrong, and Phil Jackson is wrong, and all the other GM’s are wrong. (more “low basketball IQ nimrods” ). Only a few people on this blog know the greatness of Cole.”

    So, you know.

  65. hoolahoop

    Yet just yesterday you were making the same appeal to authority argument to bolster your case that Cole Aldrich sucks.

    Generally, it’s a stupid argument. But, that was an exception.
    Cole Aldrich doesn’t suck. He’s just not as good as some people here think he is.

  66. Kahnzy

    Rose has looked pretty good tonight. Man, I’m already looking forward to the ECF. Can we just skip to that?

  67. JK47

    Post #20, yesterday:

    “Spoiler Alert: Sorry guys, Cole Aldrich sucks. Yes, really.”

    Post #82 today:
    “Cole Aldrich doesn’t suck.”

    I’m glad that Cole pulling down 6 boards in 14 minutes against “real NBA players” has helped you see the error of your ways.

  68. Owen

    One of the underrated things that has happened to the Knicks in the last five years is that Mark Jackson never ended up the coach of the Knicks.

  69. DRed

    I’d rather listen to Mark Jackson calling a game with two clones of Mark Jackson than listen to Reggie Miller. But to each their own.

  70. er

    From what I saw tonight Id be a little worried about Lebron. He was in certified chucker mode all night. He still made many stupid turnocers and he played completely under the rim. Dare I say he’s losing his athleticism.

  71. bobneptune

    Bob, 2 questions:

    How many rebounds did Cole have last night? The box score says six in only 14 minutes (I didn’t watch the game, obvs), but I know he only can rebound against scrubs in garbage time, so I was wondering how many were legit NBA rebounds and how many he got while the Cavs were blowing us out.

    Jeff Van Gundy told Zach Lowe that Cole really improves the Knicks defense. Do you know more about basketball than Jeff Van Gundy?

    Well, it appears I have become the boogie man for the Cole nuthuggers, and that’s fine. You guys (and myself, too) are enamored by ‘advanced’ stats as a way of objectively quantifying performance.

    You fellas are waxing rhapsodic over Cole’s first 2 games as “proof” of his status as a fine rotation player. OK. However, you do realize his WS/48 in those 2 games where y’all thought he played great was a sucky 0.76, right.

    Now, before the Greek Chorus screams, “LOL sample size”, that LOL sample size cuts both ways. I’ll be watching Cole’s advanced stats and WS/48 (a reasonable proxy for objective performance) and if he plays extended minutes vs. rotation players and his stats hold up, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong (a sort of novelty on this board).

    He might help improve the defense vs Jason Smith or Stat, but he got clubbed like a baby seal vs bigs that had a versatile offensive game vs Chicago when they made him move his feet. Also, Fischer felt compelled to get him off the floor at crunch time despite his rebounding ‘prowess’

    He also provides virtually nothing on the offensive end (unless you consider shooting one for two as being “efficient” with zero volume, important.) And most of you would admit, extenuating circumstances led to a sub par performance by Cleveland 2 nights ago.

    In conclusion, should Cole’s advanced stats hold up well over the long term vs rotation players, I will be happy to concede. But I’m not worrying about that prospect too much.

  72. Cole Jowles, #1 WP48 Knicks Superstar

    Of course it’s ridiculous. How could a guy who hasn’t rebounded or stolen the ball be anything but awesome, given his totally just-above-average 56% TS?

    There are things that basketball players need to do. Rebound and steal the ball are two of them. Larkin has 6 steals in 54 minutes played. That is significant. Those possessions turn into points.

  73. Brian Cronin

    One of the underrated things that has happened to the Knicks in the last five years is that Mark Jackson never ended up the coach of the Knicks.

    Right?

    I also look forward to Jackson subtly hinting all season that he’d be a better choice for the Cavs job than Blatt.

  74. ptmilo

    Wins produced is useless, hawked by a carnival barker hiding behind multiple regression sophistry. Aldrich’s Win Shares/48, somewhat less useless and yet generally admitted to be highly imperfect by its fans, is actually .075. Melo is .074 and Larkin is .103 and budding hero Travis Wear is -0.234. Lebron is 0.05. But yes, sample size.

  75. Brian Cronin

    I think Win Shares are the best of the various imperfect measurements. At least their imperfections are legitimate “This is hard to quantify” problems rather than “The math is just wrong” problems like PER.

  76. Z-man

    Nice to hear debate about the guys at the end of the roster: Cole, Wear, Larkin, and Acy. Maybe the basketball gods are smiling down on us with the injuries to Calderon and Bargnani. If they are healthy, do these guys even get off the bench in the first 2 games?

    I’m not sold on Wear. But Larkin looks like a player, Acy’s midrange shot is a pleasant surprise and Cole looks great on the boards. At the very least, I hope they get a legit chance to play their way into the rotation.

  77. ptmilo

    @105, yes PER is as useless as WP, which is impressive. The metrics that attempt to dampen all the noise and collinearity in basic plus-minus stats, such as ridge regressed plus minus using statistical priors (xRAPM), are all quite likely better than Win Shares, but they are not intuitive for everyone, not always transparent, and not always continuously available. This is also seemingly what ESPN’s “real plus minus” is all about. Basketball reference has started publishing “box score plus minus.” This is a little different. It basically starts by taking a long term ridge regressed plus minus over many years and then uses regression to translate the regularized plus minus results into coefficients for various advanced box score metrics. Then it uses those box score metrics (and not plus minus data) with a couple of adjustments to provide ongoing player value estimates that attempt to mimic the information learned from the longer term regularized plus minus studies. It’s a mouthful, but probably better than Win Shares.

    There is data available for the aforementioned xRAPM slash ESPN real plus-minus approach (again, a bit different from the basketball-reference box score plus-minus approach) here:

    http://stats-for-the-nba.appspot.com/

  78. Z-man

    Thanks pt. One question that I’ve asked about WP several times but never gotten an answer to is: does the team with the highest WP score based on that game’s stat win that game 100% of the time? If there are instances where a team produced a win in spite of having a lower overall WP score for the game, what is the reason for it? Is the reason consistent, or does it vary from game to game?

    There doesn’t seem to be a WP calculator that works for individual games’ box score stats

  79. Mike Kurylo

    @105, yes PER is as useless as WP, which is impressive.

    Each have their flaws but I’d hardly call either useless.

    One may be “better” than the other, but for the most part you’re arguing quantum physics in front of the flat earth society.

  80. DRed

    @105, yes PER is as useless as WP, which is impressive.

    Each have their flaws but I’d hardly call either useless.

    If you don’t count what players do at all because they’re playing in a blowout, or the other team had a concert before the game, or because a coach 3 years ago didn’t give them a lot of playing time, than none of it matters because eye test.

  81. DRed

    for the record, the awful Jason Smith’s WS/48> Cole after 2 games as awful as Smith was in game one.

    For the record, that means sweet fuck all.

  82. bobneptune

    If you don’t count what players do at all because they’re playing in a blowout, or the other team had a concert before the game, or because a coach 3 years ago didn’t give them a lot of playing time, than none of it matters because eye test.

    DRed,

    No one says it doesn’t count, but you have to be intellectually honest and say the majority of the stats he has put up were against AAA to AAAA competition.

    Out of desperation, he’s going to get his chance to produce vs. rotation players. We will see how he does. I just believe the notion he is going to carry NBA average metrics over a reasonable sample isn’t realistic, but we will see.

  83. ptmilo

    One question that I’ve asked about WP several times but never gotten an answer to is: does the team with the highest WP score based on that game’s stat win that game 100% of the time?

    No, but that’s not an important indictment of WP or any other stat. It’s easy to come up with a meaningless stat that correlates perfectly to wins when adding up player stats. For example, individual points scored less (% of your team’s points you scored * total points allowed) would be 100% reliable, at the team-game level, but useless at the player-level. If we could cover every single atomic interaction that made up an NBA game, there would not be a trade off between statistics that estimate player value contributions to wins and their reliability in predicting per game results. But since we can’t, you can expect trade offs irrespective of the statistic used, even one as weak as WP. Similarly, every effort to “improve” plus-minus is obviously going to bring it further from per-game team-level predictability, since raw plus-minus by definition a 100% perfect predictor.

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