Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Knicks 95, Raptors 92: Goodbye-ee

Toronto Raptors 92 Final
Recap | Box Score
95 New York Knicks
Cole Aldrich, C 40 MIN | 5-8 FG | 3-4 FT | 16 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 5 BLK | 1 TO | 13 PTS | +12ONE ALDRING TO RULE THEM ALL

ROBERT
So we’re done. But before this awful, no-good, bleak season wanders depressingly into that good night, we had to get one last bit of pre-game free-form extemporaneous prose poetry from the soon-to-be ex-coach, Mike, Son of Wood.

In case you had better things to do, like running a rusty cheese grater over your inner thighs (or anything, really) and missed ‘em, here they are.

 

 

 

What do you say to that? You could have ripped off all your clothes and began simultaneously chugging grain alcohol and Mr. Pibb, and ran screaming, “WOOOOOOOODSON” as you hurtled into the oncoming traffic on the BQE (assuming you’re a city-dweller like me), or just collapsed in a giddy, delirious heap of uncontrollable laughter; either response would make complete and total sense.

I always wonder how I might respond if I was a real, live, mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper and was presented with said pearls of wisdom. Is there a follow up question that I could reasonably ask, aside from something along the lines of, “What medications are you currently taking to deal with your crippling case of Tertiary Syphilis? Are you continuing to defend Bargs because you actually think he’s a horse you saw flogged in the piazza?”

The thing is, there really is no question that could prompt a reasonable answer, especially if, you know, you want to keep said job on the beat.

But after months of terrible Bargs references, or the way he’d sling logic-free word salad, (I mean, you could practically make one of those refrigerator poetry magnet games from his pet phrases: At the end of the day, Piece of the puzzle, part of what we do here, throw him to the curb, throw him under the bus, I’m not going to point fingers, I’m the coach, referring to himself in the 3rd person [my personal fave], we’ve just got to make shots, didn’t come prepared, didn’t get it done, it’s on me, not going to sit here/stand there/stand here, and on and on.), this felt different.

It felt like a rare moment of honesty from a guy that knows he’s losing his job, possibly as soon as tomorrow. We’ve hammered Woodson pretty hard this year, and rightly so. There’s no question that he deserves to be fired (he deserved to be fired months ago), but the team kept him around because…well…they’re the Knicks and there wasn’t a ready made replacement on hand, and it turns out that Phil was galloping into town on a sage-scented palomino with large leather-bound books in his saddlebags and vials of sacred fluids containing Kobe Bryant’s tears, so there was no way they could’ve or would’ve reached out to a Hollins or even a Carlesimo to serve as a seat-warmer anyway.

So Woody did what he was told, and tried gamely to defend decisions that may or may not have been entirely his. In the end, all of this awful losing, made him a reasonable stand-in for Willy Loman; a slump-shouldered guy, wandering the fluorescent halls of MSG, getting sideways glances from equally paranoid, job-fretting executives, everyone covering their own ass, knowing that this season was a lost cause—a futile endeavor at best—and then having to go out in front of a horde of reporters and trying to say something reasonable, when the truth isn’t ever an option and day after day after day getting publicly mocked every time he does open his piehole (and again, justifiably so). He may have been liked by the players, but he certainly wasn’t well-liked.

So this evening’s quote felt like that guy finally punching back, that he does think he is the guy for the job and wants to return, in spite of all the B-grade TV soap opera shenanigans that have (and probably will continue to) swirled around this misbegotten franchise. And despite an owner that let him twist in the wind while he was toiling around on ATV’s with the next savior (and Glenn Frey, which yeah. So weird. So Knicks). So you can laugh at the folly of the idea that he’s the only guy that can coach this team (he isn’t), or get pissed and either reaction makes complete and total sense.

But I think if you can relate to all the times you’ve hated your job and your boss, but didn’t want to or couldn’t quit because you needed the money, wouldn’t it be great to be given a public forum just to say, “Fuck you. I’m the man.”

That’s kinda cool, right? So before Woody packs up his goatee and finally is standing there, kicked to the kurb, I guess I’m gonna be Linda Loman, and say…

    DEATH OF A SEASON, ACT II

I don’t say he’s a great man. Mike Woodson may have made a lot of money. His name was always in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person. You called him crazy, no, a lot of people think he’s lost his balance. But you don’t have to be very smart to know what his trouble is. The man is exhausted. A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. He works for a company for two years, opens up unheard-of territories to their trademark, and now in his old age they take his salary away. Are they any worse than Knicks fans? When he brought them wins, they were glad to see him. But now his old veterans on the bench, the a that loved him so, like Kidd and Thomas, they’re all retired, or running a team in Brooklyn. He used to be able to make six, seven good play calls a day. Now he takes his whiteboard out of the car and puts them back and takes them out again and he’s exhausted. Instead of walking he talks now. He travels to arenas all over the country, and when he gets there no one knows him anymore, no one welcomes him. And what goes through a man’s mind, coming back to MSG without having earned a single victory? Why shouldn’t he talk to himself? Why? When he has to go to Jim Dolan and borrow fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it’s his pay? How long can that go on? How long? You see what I’m sitting here and waiting for? And you tell me he has no character? The man who never worked a day but for your benefit? When does he get the medal for that?

Take us home, Kevin McElroy…

KEVIN
First off, you’re all the best. Don’t forget that. Not when we complain about the coach or the owner or the contracts or the defense or the effort or the awareness. That all was and is and some still will be. But that’s that and you’re you and you’re all the best.

This can suck sometimes and usually has and even when it hasn’t you’ve still given it more than you’ve gotten back from it. Which is the way it is and the reason the word fan derives from fanatic in the first place. We set ourselves up for it and we usually get let down. But we come together to this little corner of the Internet and we get let down together. We joke and we think and we argue and we share a small piece of our lives and that isn’t in the service of the winning or losing or in response to the winning or losing, it’s its own thing with its own value separate and severable from anything that happens on the court or in the front office or even in the stands or on our televisions. It’s yours, ours, and it has whatever value we assign it.

And, again, what we share is a piece of our lives. And hopefully we leave a lot of that piece — the negative, disappointed part — behind and don’t let it infect whatever else we each have going on. But what I really hope is that we don’t leave all of it here. This is a place to write and read and think and give and take critiques and generally become better writers, smarter consumers of information, better-informed fans, and wiser people who remember to never stop questioning themselves and their own opinions because they can always be sharpened, refined, made more relevant and concise and entertaining. We can all be better, always, just like our Knicks and just like each other.

Thanks for what you’ve given one another and thanks for what you’ve given me: I value it, I need it, and I know that even if the Knicks largely wasted this season, we didn’t. See you tomorrow, and next season, and always.

Go Knicks!

Drawing by Nathan Gelgud

Drawing by Nathan Gelgud

81 comments on “Knicks 95, Raptors 92: Goodbye-ee

  1. thenoblefacehumper

    On Cole: “That’s a tribute to our coaching staff. They do a great job. He’s earned the right to be on somebody’s ball club.”

    To me that’s just an obnoxious comment in more ways than one.

  2. Farfa

    Look, I’ve had a Dolan-ish boss for four years. I can relate about that. I understand that it had to be very difficult for Woody this year. I understand that, for the sake of the club (company, in my case), you have sometimes to make a fool of yourself. Nevertheless it comes a time when dignity wins over everything else, and you have to stand for yourself and your values, in the face of whatever moronic shenanigans suit better your idiot boss, even if you need the money. I learned that the hard way, at the age of 28 (I’m 30 right now and I’m working almost without compensation to try to right the wrongs made by my former boss; nobody commanded me to do that, I chose to do it because fuck if I’m going down by the orders of some shithead. This is my life and I want to tell my grandsons that I lived it by my values, not by the stupid, corrupted values of someone else). If he was baffled by the direction chosen by the ownership, why couldn’t Woody do the same thing and step down? I suppose he never really disagreed with Dolan and his cronies. I suppose he really, really believes Bargnani was a big piece of the puzzle, the East was big, not calling timeout on that Wiz loss was the right thing and so on.

    More Woodson: “If they bring me back, I’m going to make damn sure this kind of season doesn’t happen again.”

    And just how he’s going to do that? Shaving off his goatee?

  3. hoolahoop

    More Woodson: “If they bring me back, I’m going to make damn sure this kind of season doesn’t happen again.”

    Why didn’t he stop from happening this season? Most disappointing knicks season, ever.
    Waiting for two words: WOODSON FIRED

  4. hoolahoop

    Robert, nice job, as always. I can’t imagine how much time you spend writing your columns. It would take me years to get out that many words in a coherent manner.

  5. johnno

    It appears that there might be a chance that DRed was right about this Aldrich guy all along. What can I say — even a broken clock is right twice a day. (Before you get offended, I’d like to point out that I have acknowledged on more than one occasion that, if I were an NBA GM, I would be Elgin Baylor 2.0 — i.e., sitting at the draft lottery every year with a confused look on my face wondering why my team, once again, finished 40 games under .500. )
    I think that the Knicks need to make a coaching change but, unlike a lot of people, I don’t think that Woodson is a bad coach or a bad guy. However, for some reason, this year, he seemed to just completely lose the team. I don’t think that the team was ready to start the season because they were talking as if they were just going to waltz through the regular season to get ready for the playoffs (i.e., all of the talk about resting guys, etc., so that they were healthy and ready for the playoffs). Before they realized what hit them, they were 3-13. Then, during the 15 game stretch right before and after the all-star break, the team seemed not to care (and went 2-13). I have no clue why that happened but it did. Maybe the team was tanking because they wanted him to be fired? Maybe they had given up on the season? Maybe they were sure that he was going to get fired and were just going through the motions while they waited for it to happen? Who knows?
    I am an optimist in general so I look at the season and say, “Wow, if you take out the two brutal stretches when they went 3-13 and 2-13, they went 32-19 in their other games! With a little roster tweaking, better coaching, a better attitude, some good health and a better season from Shumpert and Felton, they can be a 50 win team again!” Of course, I expect many of you to point out the obvious — Before they went on a 16-5 hot streak against teams that were lousy, tanking and/or resting guys for the playoffs, they were 21-40 and going nowhere…

  6. Farfa

    @johnno

    I think the real problem was that Woodson didn’t want/understand the moves made by Mills, and he couldn’t do a lick to adjust his coaching to the new personnel. Crazy hijinks aside, I really don’t understand how Woody wasn’t able to integrate MWP for 15 minutes a night, since he could find 30 minutes for Bargs.

    Look at this rotation:

    Starting five: Udrih – Shumpert – Melo – Amar’e (if healthy, if not, Bargs) – Chandler

    Prigs – Smith – THJ – MWP – Cole and then Tyler (Bargs) and K-Mart (Murry)

    Not a bad team. Starting five got two competent defenders, two competent scorers (yes, even Bargnani, but only if you tell him when and from where to shoot – hint: not every time he touches the ball) and seems somehow balanced. Bench has some scoring fire, some hustle and veteran toughness. I think a 6th seed was a realistic goal. As you can see, there’s no Felton, just a sprinkle of Bargs (when Amar’e is healthy), some consistency in the playing time for the backcourt. That’s all he needed to do. Still, since he can’t seem to coach around the players he has, but is so blunt in following his rigid method, we got this turd of a season. This team finished 21-6 because we found some consistency in the rotation, some hierarchy. That shouldn’t have taken 5 months to figure.

  7. Frank

    Phil didn’t come here for any reason other than to put his own stamp on this organization. Woodson will be gone and Kerr (or someone similar) is going to replace him. Kerr+Jackson will be very analogous to Spoelstra+Riley — young guy with a strong personality and sharp mind but little experience, backed up by a coaching/playing legend. We are going to run the triangle, and 2014-15 is going to be a maintenance year in which the public goal will be to make the playoffs, but the actual goal will be to instill the values / principles of the Triangle so that in year 2 of this project, the culture is in place to make the big push.

    Just based on his commentating, radio interviews I’ve heard, and the fact he played NINE seasons under Phil or Pop, I’m very high on Kerr.

    I don’t think Woodson is a bad guy – he was put in a very difficult position this year because of the injuries and also because of the roster decisions the front office made. The Bargnani trade (presumably engineered by CAA) was awful from pretty much every perspective* other than the fact they did clear Novak’s contract off the 2015-16 books — a contract which in itself was an awful mistake by Grunwald since there was no way Novak was going to get a 4 year deal anywhere else at those dollars. That should have been a 2 or 3 year deal MAX. Same with the Felton deal, which we might get “rescued” from if he’s in jail for the remainder of his contract.

    No – Woody isn’t a bad guy, but he’s not a great coach. He falls into the completely replaceable category. And the stink of this season is so strong that any and all signs of it that can be wiped out need to be wiped out.

    Clear the decks. Sign some low-risk/low $ guys like Odom. Hope Pau finds his inner Kirilenko. Change the culture.

    *full credit to DRed, THCJ, and whoever else that predicted the sheer disaster the Bargs trade was. I was cautiously optimistic about it, and was obviously totally wrong.

  8. DCrockett17

    @6

    As we move away from last season it seems more and more like reasonable speculation to say that Jason Kidd coached last season’s surprise Knicks and Woody was just along for the ride. I’m only partly tongue in cheek with that.

    Most of Woody’s best decisions last year, in retrospect, really were thrust on him. (Last season I was generally in the, “No. A coach can ALWAYS screw it up, so you have to give him credit when he gets it right,” camp.) Whenever a decision was clearly Woody’s, it was clearly and predictably wrong–often disastrously so. (e.g., iso Melo in the 4th quarter, going big vs. Indiana when we were running them out of the gym, the general refusal to hedge or trap PnRs, not playing Copeland earlier/more, et al.) The most significant of his myriad screw ups was the overly-lenient dad routine he had going with JR. Woody actively undermined his own position. Add to that, it’s obvious why he’s never coached a top 10 defense, despite his reputation. His scheme is legitimately terrible. D’Antoni has put less talented mediocre defenses on the floor, almost literally without trying. Not surprisingly, players lost respect.

    A buddy of mine always says, “Effort on defense is a sign of respect for the coach.” When Tyson Chandler loses interest in the incessant switching and ultimately just stops covering for the FARTDOG perimeter D, the team no longer respects the coach.

  9. lavor postell

    Farfa

    I agree to an extent, but firstly I don’t think MWP was in any condition to be a contributor this season. His knees were pretty banged up from the get go and while Woodson then used that as an excuse to not play him rather than simply say he had a rotation he was going to stick with for the time being, it speaks volumes that no other team was even remotely interested in signing him when he was released. Beno also was treated poorly and probably should have got more playing time when he was here, but he’s made 5 total appearances for Memphis since he signed there. He’s not a difference maker and at best is a slight upgrade on Felton.

    Your rotation actually speaks to the problems we had this year as a team. Is there any doubt that if K-Mart had got healthy at any point to close this season that would have been the last we saw of Aldrich or he would have cut into STAT’s minutes? Aldrich should have received all of Bargnani’s minutes and we should have started off the season with Melo at the 4 like we did last season when we happened to win 54 games (albeit we had better shooters). We could have played Bargs at the 4 off the bench until STAT and Tyler got healthy at which point he should have been sitting on the bench permanently.

    Either way we can disagree over all this stuff but ultimately Woodson proved that he is a blowhard spouting off platitudes with little to no conviction to make tough decisions or get on anybody but younger players and rookies like Shump and THJ without actually teaching them anything. He seems like a good enough dude and I think he’d do fine as a college coach since he seems to be very well liked by the players which is a good sign for recruiting, but he has no business coaching at the NBA level.

  10. lavor postell

    A buddy of mine always says, “Effort on defense is a sign of respect for the coach.” When Tyson Chandler loses interest in the incessant switching and ultimately just stops covering for the FARTDOG perimeter D, the team no longer respects the coach.

    This is perfect. They like him as a person, which seems evident, but don’t respect him as a coach.

  11. elikint

    Robert, Kevin, Brian: Just wanted to give a sincere thanks for all your work. You’re creative and hardworking and earnest and as a long suffering diehard Knicks fan you guys add so much to the seasons. To the rest of the writers, and all of you for posting your thoughts and vitriol and glee and trollage, thanks also for making this blog special.

    Cheers! Eli

  12. ephus

    The Knicks lost a lot of close games this year, and I attribute a lot of that to poor coaching. Specifically:

    1. Late in games, teams with slashing PGs or wings spread the floor and ran the PnR or isolation. Knicks could not stay in front of them and gave up too many layups (Bradley Beal) or open 3pt shots (Brandon Jennings). A strong coach would have a strategy to get the ball out of the hands of the penetrator.

    2. Late in games, the Knicks did not run an offense other than “Get Carmelo the ball in the pinch post” or “Let Carmelo walk the ball up”. Opponents were able to stymie the Knicks by fronting Carmelo in the post, which led to turnovers or Carmelo catching the ball 20′ away with 8 seconds or less on the shot clock. Once Kenyon Martin went down, no one ever tried to set up Carmelo on the backdoor lob. There was no player movement on the perimeter to counter the overplay on Carmelo.

    Thanks to Robert, Kevin, Brian and the rest of the crew for the incredible work.

  13. airchibundo507

    Kidd wasn’t present when the Knicks reeled off an 18-6 record at the end of the 2011-2012 season; his impact on last year is being overstated. Small ball and team chemistry were the main factors that made that Knicks team competitive over that 1.25 season stretch. The biggest indictments on Woodson this year were forcing Bargnani into the starting line-up (disrupting chemistry), giving him starter minutes undeservedly and refusing to play our young big men at all, especially when frontcourt injuries piled up.

  14. EB

    Reasons the Knicks sucked this year.
    1) Coach didn’t play Prigioni
    2) Coach didn’t play Aldrich
    3) Coach played Bargnani

    There’s a pattern in there somewhere…

  15. EB

    Cole Aldrich was basically a better shooting version of Dennis Rodman this season, but hey look at Bargs! He can scorz pointz!

  16. johnno

    “(albeit we had better shooters)”
    Ironically, as a team, the Knicks shot almost exactly the same percentage from three this year as they did last year (although they did take about 3 or 4 more per game than last year).

  17. KnickfaninNJ

    Kidd wasn’t present when the Knicks reeled off an 18-6 record at the end of the 2011-2012 season; his impact on last year is being overstated. Small ball and team chemistry were the main factors that made that Knicks team competitive over that 1.25 season stretch. The biggest indictments on Woodson this year were forcing Bargnani into the starting line-up (disrupting chemistry), giving him starter minutes undeservedly and refusing to play our young big men at all, especially when frontcourt injuries piled up.

    Something clearly went wrong with team chemistry this year and it didn’t get fixed until too late. It wasn’t just Jason Kidd. The sudden firing of Grunwald suggests there was some behind the scenes trouble. Especially since, for all his faults, Dolan is clearly very loyal to his employees. We may never know what it was, but I agree we can’t ascribe it just to the loss of Kidd or the acquisition of Bargnani.

  18. EB

    Ironically, as a team, the Knicks shot almost exactly the same percentage from three this year as they did last year (although they did take about 3 or 4 more per game than last year).

    Do you mean they shot 3 or 4 more per game last year?

  19. Hubert

    So, 37 wins. I wonder if anyone predicted that.

    (HINT: Cock Jowles didn’t, he just pretends he did.)

  20. DRed

    All the talk about Kidd being a second coach and bringing calm veteranship or whatever to the team last year overlooks that he also brought a lot of very good basketball play to the floor. I’m willing to bet that we missed that more than his unruffled demeanor. If you look at Timmy Jr. being a replacement for Kidd (the minutes are close) you gain about 2 points of TS% and lose significant amounts of rebounds, steals and assists, get (much) worse on defense, and lose whatever intangibles Kidd brought to the table (which I do think are real, but just not as important).

  21. lavor postell

    Ironically, as a team, the Knicks shot almost exactly the same percentage from three this year as they did last year (although they did take about 3 or 4 more per game than last year).

    Those 3 or 4 attempts a game is a pretty big deal though no? I also think we shot less threes because we have fewer effective perimeter shooters on the team this season. Melo, JR, Shump, THJ and Prigs vs. Melo, JR, Shump (way better last season), Copeland, Kidd, Novak, Prigs and Felton (36% last season).

  22. johnno

    Those 3 or 4 attempts a game is a pretty big deal though no?
    I agree. I was just pointing out that I was surprised that they shot as well from three as last year.

  23. ephus

    One more small thing that I attribute to poor coaching, the Knicks were awful in clock management, as confirmed by Zach Lowe:

    11. New York’s Clock Management

    I’m not sure I recall a team regularly mismanaging the clock as often as the Knicks did this season — blowing 2-for-1 chances across all quarters, the infamous Andrea Bargnani shot, the slightly less infamous J.R. Smith shot, and, for a grand finale, Carmelo Anthony inexplicably shooting with 10 seconds left in the third quarter and the shot clock turned off against Miami earlier this month. Anthony missed. LeBron rebounded the ball and drove the length of the court for an and-1.

    Here is the rule for next season. If the Knicks get the ball with between 40 and 50 seconds left in a quarter, they have to run the offense to get a shot up with :32 seconds left. On at least twenty occasions this season, the Knicks dribbled out the clock and rushed a shot with 16 – 26 seconds left in the quarter. These things add up.

  24. DRed

    Woodson definitely deserves a lot of blame for our late game stumbling and bumbling, but how long do you have to play organized basetball to know you shouldn’t take a shot with 10 seconds left in the 3rd quarter and the shot clock turned off?

  25. Nick C.

    Woodson definitely deserves a lot of blame for our late game stumbling and bumbling, but how long do you have to play organized basetball to know you shouldn’t take a shot with 10 seconds left in the 3rd quarter and the shot clock turned off?

    About as long as it would take to know with under ten seconds less to move the ball upcourt expeditiously, or to know the score or spread at end game … You would be surprised.

    (edit) or as long as it would take to figure out how to quote on a regularly visited website. lol

  26. johnlocke

    +1 ephus,

    the only other type of mismanagement you didn’t mention was at the end of games down 1, with 20 seconds left, running out the clock to take a shot with 3 seconds remaining. HUH?? I mean, any idiot would know to get a decent shot off as quickly as possible so either you at best, make it or get the offensive rebound, or at worst foul the other team and get another opportunity to win or tie the game. Woody has to go largely because of the mistakes he made that high school basketball coaches should not be making, much less someone with a multi-million dollar contract. No idea how Kerr will be as a coach, but he seems like a really intelligent, logical guy — even that will be a step up. We just need to get smarter as an organization across the board. Smarter GM (thanks Phil), smarter coach, smarter players — we can’t get rid of the idiot owner, but hopefully winning should help there.

  27. ephus

    we can’t get rid of the idiot owner, but hopefully winning should help there

    If (and for as long as) Dolan defers to Phil Jackson on personnel decisions, he essentially has gotten rid of himself.

    As much as we (and I include myself in this) loathe Dolan as an owner, he does not make mistakes from being unwilling to spend. Phoenix blew the chance to keep Joe Johnson on the 7SOL Suns because of fear of the luxury tax. OKC did the same thing with James Harden.

  28. GoNyGoNYGo

    It’s fair to say we’re all pissed. I am. Jeeze, we went 16-5 over the last 21 games, a .761 win percent over the last quarter of the season and lots of those wins were against playoff teams. A pathetic 2-win February killed their chances. It make us all angrier because we KNOW they could have been better.

    I’m angry at all the Knicks – coaching staff and players. This was the worst season EVER because of what COULD have been. I should be searching Stubhub today for playoff tix. Instead, I’m looking forward to see who Denver drafts with our pick.

  29. danvt

    “As we move away from last season it seems more and more like reasonable speculation to say that Jason Kidd coached last season’s surprise Knicks and Woody was just along for the ride. I’m only partly tongue in cheek with that.”

    That’s a really interesting comment. I don’t think it needs any disclaimer.

  30. ephus

    It’s more than 97.5% likely that the Magic will be using the Knicks’ pick at 12, 13 or 14.

  31. danvt

    How soon until Phil can leverage Bargs’, STAT, and Chandler’s expiring contracts? Feb 2015? Did Amar’e convince anyone in the last few weeks that he has enough lateral quickness to be a starter next season? Can Melo, Stat, Chandler make the playoffs next season with better guard play?

    Didn’t Jowles predict 48 wins this season? Or did he revise down when we got Bargs?

    Can we sign Melo to the max and expect to be able to feasibly build a team around him that can really compete or does he have to throw some back in the pot?

    I’m happy NYY looks good. Thanks for the writing Robert, et al.

  32. johnno

    “Didn’t Jowles predict 48 wins this season?”
    I can’t remember exactly what he predicted but it’s a pretty sad commentary if one of the biggest naysayers on this site turned out to be wildly optimistic…

  33. ephus

    Didn’t Jowles predict 48 wins this season? Or did he revise down when we got Bargs?

    Jowles set his marker at 45 wins. I had a bet with him that the Knicks would win 46 or more games this season.

    THCJ – you were right.

  34. lavor postell

    Question are you allowed to do decreases and increases within the framework of the contract or does it have to only increase, or only decrease?

  35. Donnie Walsh

    “Jowles set his marker at 45 wins. I had a bet with him that the Knicks would win 46 or more games this season… THCJ – you were right”

    And didn’t the terms of the bet involve you writing +1 on all of his posts during the 1st round of the playoffs? (How are you going to pay him his due??)

  36. ephus

    The Dirty (Baker’s) Dozen losses:

    1 – October 31 @ Chicago
    Bulls 82 – Knicks 81
    Derrick Rose hits game winner with 9 seconds left. Carmelo’s answer at the buzzer clangs.

    2 – November 14 vs. Houston
    Rockets 95 – Knicks 91
    Carmelo Anthony continues Hack-A-Howard in the last 2 minutes of the game, not knowing the rule. Howard hits the foul shot and the Rockets convert on the kept possession.

    3 – November 20 vs. Indiana
    Pacers 103 – Knicks 96 OT
    Knicks were up three with five seconds left. Shumpert fouled Paul George on a long 3. George hit all 3 free throws to send game to OT.

    4 – December 1 vs. New Orleans
    Pelicans 103 – Knicks 99
    Nobody bothered to guard Ryan Anderson (31 pts)

    5 – December 13 @ Boston
    Celtics 90 – Knicks 86
    Knicks blew an 11 pt 4th quarter lead

    6 – December 16 vs. Washington
    Wizards 102 – Knicks 101
    Bradley Beal blew by Beno. No time out called. Carmelo heave at buzzer.

    7 – Jan. 22 vs. Philadelphia
    Sixers 110 – Knicks 106
    Evan Turner scores 34. Fifth straight loss.

    8 – Feb 3 @ Milwaukee
    Bucks 101 – Knicks 98
    Brandon Knight burns Felton for 3 at the buzzer.

    9 – Feb 12 vs. Sacramento
    Kings 106 – Knicks 101 OT
    Jimmer jimmered the Knicks.

    10 – Feb 21 @ Orlando
    Magic 129 – Knicks 121 OT
    Blew a 14 pt 3rd quarter lead. Tyson rejected his own dunk with his head.

    11 – Feb 22 @ Atlanta
    Hawks 107 – Knicks 98
    Knicks blew a 14 point lead. Atlanta won without Millsap behind Mike Scott’s 30 points.
    If the Knicks had won this game (and all else was constant), the Knicks would be in the playoffs.

    12 – March 23 vs. Cleveland
    Cavs 106 – Knicks 100
    No Kyrie Irving, so Jarrett Jack torches the Knicks for 30.

    13 – April 4 vs. Washington
    Wizards 90 – Knicks 89
    Bradley Beal torches the Knicks at the buzzer for a second time. Beno’s fault.

  37. ephus

    Question are you allowed to do decreases and increases within the framework of the contract or does it have to only increase, or only decrease?

    Contract can raise or decrease every season in either direction. For Full Bird contracts, the maximum change is 7.5%. For salary cap space signings (or a sign and trade) the maximum change is 4.5%.

  38. ephus

    And didn’t the terms of the bet involve you writing +1 on all of his posts during the 1st round of the playoffs? (How are you going to pay him his due??)

    I imagine that THCJ will have a suggestion.

  39. JK47

    The worst thing I saw all season was the 51 point quarter against the Lakers. That was the most soul-crushingly awful Knicks basketball I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot.

  40. ephus

    The worst thing I saw all season was the 51 point quarter against the Lakers. That was the most soul-crushingly awful Knicks basketball I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot.

    That was an awful loss. The Knicks stopped playing defense in the second and third quarters.

    The difference is that the Knicks should have won each of the 13 games I highlighted above.

  41. lavor postell

    The Knicks should have definitely beat the Lakers they just stopped playing for a 36 minute period of time. I think the Pacers game early in the year really killed us. They really battled that entire game and Shump got called for having the audacity to contest George’s jumper. Never seen a minimal contact foul (which is being generous) given like that at the end of a game.

  42. hoolahoop

    The difference is that the Knicks should have won each of the 13 games I highlighted above.

    Yes – they should have won all of those games. And if they were being coached well, prepared and ready, they would have won other games as well.

    Considering their talent level, the knicks should have been a three seed this season, and with an elite coach, could have conceivably won the conference.

  43. tastycakes

    Never seen a minimal contact foul (which is being generous) given like that at the end of a game.

    See: Hubert Davis, 1994

    Considering their talent level, the knicks should have been a three seed this season, and with an elite coach, could have conceivably won the conference.

    Well I’m certainly not defending Woodson anymore but let’s be real, this team was not all that talented. A 3 seed would have been an achievement, but based on last year and the way the East was this year… I do think a better coach would have had them in the 3-6 seed range.

  44. tastycakes

    For me, the first Wizards loss, the one with the Udrih/Melo/Woodson brainfart at the end, was the one that will stick around forever.

    I was at the JR Smith Houston loss which the Knicks also “should have” won and was insanely infuriating. (Luckily I saw them beat the Spurs in SA the night before, so hey)

    If you only gave them half the “should have” games this year… let’s say that’s a 7 game improvement, 45-37 and a 5 seed sounds pretty good, right?

    They were SO FREAKING BAD in late-game situations!

  45. DRed

    Guys, this team wasn’t that good. Nobody was coaching this squad to 50+ wins. Yeah, we should have made the playoffs, but you’ve got to be realistic.

  46. Robtachi

    Look, I’ve had a Dolan-ish boss for four years. I can relate about that. I understand that it had to be very difficult for Woody this year. I understand that, for the sake of the club (company, in my case), you have sometimes to make a fool of yourself. Nevertheless it comes a time when dignity wins over everything else, and you have to stand for yourself and your values, in the face of whatever moronic shenanigans suit better your idiot boss, even if you need the money. I learned that the hard way, at the age of 28 (I’m 30 right now and I’m working almost without compensation to try to right the wrongs made by my former boss; nobody commanded me to do that, I chose to do it because fuck if I’m going down by the orders of some shithead. This is my life and I want to tell my grandsons that I lived it by my values, not by the stupid, corrupted values of someone else).

    I can’t stop thinking you worked for Madoff.

  47. EB

    I have to disagree DRed. I think if we played Prigioni starters minutes and played Bargs significantly less, then we could have had a much more successful team. Not to mention a coach who would consider Aldrich for non-garbage time minutes or even the Felton Prigs Shump Melo Chandler lineup. I believe you are underestimating how godawful the East is.

  48. lavor postell

    I wonder if we could take advantage of Minnesota’s desperation to keep Love and compete and trade Chandler for Dieng, Barea, Shved and Turiaf. Chandler and Love are apparently good buddies from their time together on the USA team and Shved, Turiaf and Barea all expire in 2015 and don’t really have much value to the Wolves. Barea was a team cancer this season actually.

  49. Totes McGoats

    Watched the 30 for 30 special on Daly’s Pistons…got really nostalgic especially when Doug Collins, Bill Simmons, Jalen Rose, and Zeke brought up Riley’s Knicks. They just don’t make ball players like they used to. Zeke and Doug had some very astute points on how the game has changed and why. I wonder if Collins wants to coach again..

  50. Farfa

    I can’t stop thinking you worked for Madoff.

    @ Robtachi

    Not really, I live and work in Italy. It was something more trivial than that and, at the same time, more absurd. I won’t put in the details (since I don’t know everything about it, and there’s a very serious investigation underway), but I think it was a combination of petty ego, weak work ethic and easy earnings for some shitheads, and general youthful well-meaning foolishness, too much faith in other people and a lack of experience for other young gullible guys (myself included). It resulted in 140 people (again, myself included) losing their jobs. Guess who didn’t lose their jobs? The shitheads.

  51. Farfa

    I wonder if we could take advantage of Minnesota’s desperation to keep Love and compete and trade Chandler for Dieng, Barea, Shved and Turiaf. Chandler and Love are apparently good buddies from their time together on the USA team and Shved, Turiaf and Barea all expire in 2015 and don’t really have much value to the Wolves. Barea was a team cancer this season actually.

    I don’t like Barea one bit (for the exact reason you mentioned; after he won that 2011 championship he behaves like an entitled flea. Still better than a hobbled penguin), but if we could somehow acquire Dieng it would be a trade to do immediately.
    Analytics are all well and good, but there’s still one thing that remains underrated: the value of high character guys in the locker room and on the field. There’s a reason why guys like Tony Allen, Anderson Varejao, Matt Dellavedova, are so useful. We should remember that, since we were the ones cheering for Jared Jeffries.

  52. iserp

    You are seriously scapegoating Bargnani when there were so many other problems. Bargnani still has been part of the 2nd best lineup of the Knicks (Felton/Shumpert/Melo/K-Mart/Bargnani). And it is not his fault that Woodson played him at PF in ultra big lineups where nobody knew how to pass. He might not be as good as Cole Aldrich, but Bargnani has not been the reason why the Knicks has lost so many games.

    Aside of the idiot coach, the main culprit has been the lack of ball movement. Our PG rotation sucks, and our bigs, aside of K-Mart, aren’t good passers. Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. are bad passers. How can the team execute anything at the end of games when everybody has tunnel vision? Last year we could mask this fault by playing small and having 2 guards at almost any time. But no Kidd, bad Felton, injuries and the bad managing of the Udrih situation has lead that Anthony has the ball all the time in his hands and dictates the rythm of the team. And that isn’t good.

    Our main priority should be to get a pass-first guard (if we want to do anything with the current group of players, that is)

  53. stratomatic

    I’ve been a fan since the late 60s and I consider Woodson among the worst coaches I have ever seen. I consider anything and everything positive that occurred under his watch to be an accident or inherited from MDA’s style on offense.

    All I want from a coach is to play the most productive players, put together balanced and sensible line ups, discipline players when they need it, manage the clock at the end of quarters, call good plays out of timeouts in critical end game situations, develop young talent, and have a coherent offensive and defensive strategy. He does none of that well and most of it terribly. There’s no way to defend the guy other than to say he’s likable.

  54. Z-man

    Shout out to all the guys who did the game recaps and articles all year, much appreciated!

    Bargnani is truly horrible as an NBA player. He is not the reason we didn’t make the playoffs, though. He’s a side effect of the real reasons…Dolan and Woodson.

    Yes, we were not a good team and 50 wins was a pipe dream. But Woodson’s putrid coaching is the main reason we are not in the playoffs.

  55. cgreene

    Carmelo once again disappoints w his PR. He comes out w some strong backing of Woodson and paints Phil into a corner in regards to making it look like firing Woodson goes against Melo’s wishes. So disappointing how unstrategic he is w language.

  56. EB

    Our main priority should be to get a pass-first guard (if we want to do anything with the current group of players, that is)

    *Cough* PRIGIONI *cough*

  57. iserp

    *Cough* PRIGIONI *cough*

    One who is young and can play 40 minutes a night would be great. The problem is that our PGs have not been available during lot of time in the season.

  58. er

    Carmelo once again disappoints w his PR. He comes out w some strong backing of Woodson and paints Phil into a corner in regards to making it look like firing Woodson goes against Melo’s wishes. So disappointing how unstrategic he is w language.

    Ah i dont take anything ball players say seriously in terms of PR. They are paid to play not to speak. Melo could really like Woody as a man, which most people do. Phil is smart enough to know that and that shouldnt impact his decision. At the end of the day everyone involved know that its a business and they lose people they like and maybe even love all of the time.

  59. ephus

    1. I’m not surprised that Carmelo backed Woodson. Carmelo was blamed for clashing with George Karl and for getting MDA fired. He does not want (or to deepen) the reputation as a “coach killer”. He knows that Woodson is gone. He does not need to have his fingerprints anywhere near it. Phil Jackson certainly has a thick enough skin to fire Woodson of his own accord.

    2. One of the hallmarks of the Triangle offense is that it takes emphasis away from the PG. A good triangle PG needs to (1) move the ball, (2) hit open 3s and (3) play strong defense. Prigioni can handle the first two. He is too frail and too slow to stay in front of opposing quick PGs. He also seems to have a 20 mpg ceiling. If Jameer Nelson is cut loose by Orlando by July 15 (paying him $2 million to save $6 million on next year’s salary cap), he might be a good fit with the mini-MLE, although he is not a strong defender.

  60. johnlocke

    @cgreene –

    Yeh if you’ve listened to Melo he really doesn’t want to be labeled a coach-killer esp after the whole D’Antoni fiasco. I’m sure him going out of his way to praise / “back” Woodson publicly is to not have articles put out saying that he wanted Woody gone. Phil needs to make his mark, and if only for that reason Woody is gone — it’s also kinda nice when him firing Woody is good for our ball club…

    On a diff note, anyone see the Bad Boys 30 for 30? Really enjoyed it. Star players rarely changed franchises in their prime which led to some amazingly dramatic playoff series and emotional feeling of having fought to get over the mountaintop – and driving some players including some guy named Jordan to insane levels of preparation and competitiveness: Lakers beating Celtics, Pistons beating Celtics, Pistons beating Lakers, Bulls beating Pistons. There are few of those teams today — most have been manufactured over night, with the exception of the Thunder who are probably the best, hungriest team, with one of the best players who have gone through it together and yet no ring as yet. Durant and Lebron in the Finals could be an awesome passing the torch moment…

  61. KnickfaninNJ

    If Jameer Nelson is cut loose by Orlando by July 15 (paying him $2 million to save $6 million on next year’s salary cap), he might be a good fit with the mini-MLE, although he is not a strong defender.

    Jameer has definitely had his moments and can be good. I think we actually need three reasonable point guards. We had them in 2012-13 and it helped get us through injuries and give a good season. We should have had them in 2013-2014, but in 2013-14 Felton didn’t really cut it as reasonable point guard and Udrih didn’t get enough playing time and didn’t look so good either. So if we could get Jameer and someone else that would be great. It’s one reason I proposed trying to get Rondo, even though I don’t think he’s available for anything reasonable and/or for something we could afford.

  62. cgreene

    I guess you all are right that there are no long term or real strategic implications to Melo’s statements and I def get the CYA part and if Phil recognizes that then all the better. One thing I have a little of faith in is Phil’s ability to read motives and communicate.

  63. KnickfaninNJ

    One thing I have a little of faith in is Phil’s ability to read motives and communicate.

    I am not sure why you say this. Phil’s teams in the past have had disgruntled stars and personality conflicts (like Kobe and Shaq) and somehow Phil got them to play together, be productive and the players didn’t gripe publicly about him either. How could he do that without reading motives and communicating?

  64. ephus

    NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said majority of owners favor raising age limit to 20. Clear momentum on this but won't happen by next year.— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) April 18, 2014

    This could mitigate the downside of having traded away the 2016 first round draft pick. If the age limit goes up to 20 for the 2016 draft, that is going to be a very thin year.

  65. ephus

    The last time the NBA moved up the draft age was 2006. As a result, Durant and Oden spent a year in college. Andrea Bargnani became the #1 pick.

  66. Brian Cronin

    Obviously the owners want a higher age limit. I don’t see how it gets through, though. It is such a minor issue for the owners that it doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Meanwhile, it would be devastating to the players. So I don’t see it going through. I mean, unless you think (and you might be right if you do think this) that the players’ union is so weak that whatever the owners want they will get. In which case, that’d suck.

  67. swiftandabundant

    I would be in favor of upping the draft age bc I think college is where a lot of players learn how to play the game. I think straight out of high school and even with just one year of college, a lot of these players come into the league completely unpolished and it takes them the first 4 or 5 years of their career to really figure it out, by which point they’re all ready in their prime or if they’ve had a big injury, past their prime. I think they game has gotten sloppy as a result and its not as fun or dynamic as it used to be.

    Its now almost considered a knock on a player if they stay past their freshman year. Like they obviously don’t have as much raw talent or athleticism. This is just my own pure conjecture, but it almost feels like in the last 5 years or so, we’re seeing that some players who stay in college end up having more productive and longer careers because they have the skills and knowledge of the game. They may not burst onto the scene with as big of a flash as someone who did one and done, but they know how to find their role better.

    Really the NBA needs to really develop and push the D-League more so that kids can sign right out of high school but spend a few years developing or they need to do an age limit like this so kids will stay in school for at least 2 years. The NCAA has also suffered from one and done I think.

  68. Brian Cronin

    We’re talking millions and millions and millions of dollars in lost wages if there is an age limit (it is not just the time lost from not being in the league a year earlier, but it also means a delay in the second contract. So one less year where the player could make a top level salary. That’s the big loss). I don’t like the idea of these players who are already being contexually underpaid to now also have to take another huge hit to their salaries just because we think that they will learn more playing for “free” than they will playing for millions. Even if it is true, I don’t think the players should have to take that hit if they don’t want to.

  69. Brian Cronin

    Woodson is one of the few people I’ve seen who wants to be fired over the phone instead of in person.

  70. Garson

    from ESPN “New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson is not interested in having a face-to-face meeting with team president Phil Jackson until he gets further clarification on his status, a league source said”

    This guy must be delusional.

    He is an Employee of the Knicks who is going to be paid 3.5 MILLION dollars next season to stay at home. If Phil wants to sit with him for 2 hours and hear his thoughts about the players he just coached before firing him, I think Woody should take the meeting and 3.5 mil with a smile.

  71. mokers

    The NBA definitely needs better development, but I don’t think an age limit is the answer. I would think a couple levels of developmental leagues would work out much better along with some added roster flexibility. I would imagine there will still be plenty of players who can stay academically eligible and would prefer to showcase their talent in the NCAA, but for those who don’t really care about the academics, they can make some money and play a lot of basketball.

    Something like a 20 man roster, with 12 active. Non active wouldn’t count against the cap, but you can be signed to any NBA active squad after a year of service. Would need to think a lot more about how to work it into a salary cap structure though.

  72. DRed

    Didn’t some Knicks executives hide in a hotel in Vegas a few years ago to keep the Rockets from making an offer on Lin?

  73. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, that’s the sad thing. The owners can probably get anything they want right now, which is absurd, as the players should be looking at the Kings and Bucks sale and think, “Huh? Wha? I thought they were all going broke from owning teams and now people are spending over a billion dollars on the Kings and Bucks?”

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