Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Knicks Improvement Due to Defense

This year the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis has been greeted by his adoring fans with chants of “MVP!” It’s not entirely without merit as Porzingis is second in the league’s most important MVP category — points per game. Realistically there’s little chance he’ll be among the top 5 this year, as LeBron James, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Russell Westbrook will likely surpass the Latvian in votes.

With 5 wins and 4 losses, the Knicks are out-performing all but the most optimistic expectations thus far. The common reason to explain the team’s improvement is the Unicorn’s scoring increase. Porzingis has managed to score 30 or more points in 7 of 9 games, and there’s no doubt that he’s filling the void left by Carmelo Anthony, and then some. And then some more. However, it’s not the offense that is propelling the Knicks, it’s the defense.

Last year New York was 18th on offense and 26th on defense. This year the team ranks 13th and 18th respectively. In other words the Knicks’ offense has seen a minor increase, while the defense has gone from awful to average. This begs the question: in what areas has the New York defense improved? To answer, we look at the four factors.

RAW eFG% TOV% DRB% FT/FGA
2018 0.507 13 77.7 0.228
2017 0.511 11.7 74.1 0.214
RANK eFG% TOV% DRB% FT/FGA
2018 14 24 14 22
2017 14 26 30 18

The Knicks are identical with regards to opposition shooting efficiency, and nearly identical in forcing turnovers and committing fouls. The big change is in defensive rebounding where they’ve gone from the league’s worst team to average. It seems odd that a single category is responsible for the turnaround, but the stats are crystal clear on the matter.

Assigning credit to an individual in a team endeavor is where the science breaks down. One could argue that Enes Kanter is the sole reason for the turnaround. He leads the team with 9.7 dreb/36, which is nearly a rebound more than last year’s leader (Hernangomez 9.0 dreb/36). With Kanter’s strong rebounding and his high minute count (he’s 4th on the team, where Hernangomez was 7th), it’s hard to argue with that logic.


via GIPHY

However Kanter isn’t the only improvement over last year. More than one Knick has improved on their rebounding rate, including Kyle O’Quinn (8.3 to 9.2 dreb/36), Lance Thomas (4.2 to 5.4 dreb/36), and Porzingis himself (6.1 to 6.9 dreb/36). So perhaps the credit belongs to the coaching staff for putting emphasis on preventing the other team from recouping their misses?

In any case while the 38 and 40 point outbursts are exciting, the Knicks wins are just as reliant on the often overlooked defensive rebound.

119 comments on “Knicks Improvement Due to Defense

  1. ptmilo

    I mean, the Knicks’ DRB% with Kanter on the court is 75.2%, which is barely above where it was last year when we were dead last. With him on the bench, it’s 81.4%. Kind of hard to argue that Kanter’s defensive rebounding is the fulcrum from the 26 defense to the 18.

  2. lavor postell

    There are improvements across the board

    Jack is crashing the defensive glass like crazy, way more than Rose. Lee is hitting the defensive glass at a career high rate. KP has increased his DRB% back to rookie season levels, when we were respectable on the glass. Kanter and KOQ are doing huge works. Lance and Beasley are both solid enough defensive rebounders as combo forwards. Dotson in very limited minutes has the 3rd highest DRB% on the team. Even Sessions, who was completely shit at running the offense, hit the defensive glass well.

    It sure seems like this was a point of emphasis from the coaching staff and thank god, because it was very obviously the easiest fix to improve the defense.

  3. Mike Kurylo Post author

    I mean, the Knicks’ DRB% with Kanter on the court is 75.2%, which is barely above where it was last year when we were dead last. With him on the bench, it’s 81.4%. Kind of hard to argue that Kanter’s defensive rebounding is the fulcrum from the 26 defense to the 18.

    Well it’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. Kanter is stealing all the defensive rebounds when on the court, so that when he’s off, the rest of the team is hungry for rebounds to help their stats.

    Kanter’s strong boarding makes him a rebound creator when he’s off the court.

  4. Zanzibar

    Well it’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. Kanter is stealing all the defensive rebounds when on the court

    Kanter is recovering from “Westbrook repression syndrome” where the last 2 years of boxing out but not consummating has now made him into a ravenous beast on the boards.

  5. ess-dog

    Trading Kuz doesn’t help the glut of bigs, though. By all accounts, Noah is in great shape and could deserve minutes. I guess they’ll see what works, but I’m afraid Willy’s going to be the odd man out. Meanwhile, none of these guys save KP can play the role of “stretch big”, so that makes things even worse.

  6. Zanzibar

    Frank + KP = Octopussy
    Kristaps + Kanter = KPenes

    Enes is one of those confounding centers like Monroe and Robin where it’s kinda difficult to gauge their real value. KP and he appear to have a nice chemistry but is that almost entirely due to KP’s leap or is KP’s productivity in part due to Enes’ presence? Willy and KOQ both are excellent rebounders so would the Knicks have achieved the same results if KP/Willy were starters or KP/KOQ? If so, Enes’ 17m contract is the center’s equivalent of Timmy’s 17m deal.

  7. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    The value of rebounding is hard to measure.

    We saw one example of the problem when Lopez was playing C.

    Lopez focused a lot of attention on boxing out. In that role he accrued no statistical value for the rebounds he helped his teammates get by being very good at keeping opposing players off the glass.

    I see possessions this year where both KP and EK are in position to get a defensive rebound. EK is almost always aggressive. KP prefers to defer and not use the extra energy going after the ball.

    On some level, that’s probably by design. We are better off with Kanter expending energy on the glass and banging with other bigs because we need KP on offense. When EK needs a rest, KOQ can do the same job. We have no one else to do KP’s job.

    How do you tell how much of this is by design and how much is knowledge, skill, and effort by an individual?

    Some guys are more or less assigned the task of hitting the boards hard and others are assigned getting back in transition, starting the break, being out on the perimeter on both sides of the ball etc..

  8. Totes McGoats Makes 18mil For 14ppg

    I don’t know what kind of pick we would get for Kuz considering he hasn’t played NBA ball for so long. The article @6 seems to insinuate that teams are somehow still interested in Noah. This makes me torn. On one hand, I love KOQ as big in the rotation. But on the other, I love Noah as a backup and mentor to the young bigs. Noah can still play when healthy. While I would love to see who still is interested in Noah, I’m wary that we’d hafta take back too much crap to move him- like an Evan Turner or Luol Deng. Maybe, if the interest in Kuz is high enough, Perry can package the two together and get a more favorable deal for Noah. I’m loving the rebuild, but I still want wins so this is a little schizophrenic in a sense lol.

  9. Frank

    I think the obvious answer to the improvement in defense is that we’re missing Melo and Rose.

    Our defenders at the point of attack last year were Rose and Jennings, two notoriously awful defenders. Our main defender at the wing position was Melo, who gave negative fucks last year on defense.

    In their place we have Jarrett Jack, who isn’t a good defender by any means, but is probably average to below average (generally averaged #30-35 out of 50-60 PGs in DRPM), and of course Ntilikina is the Octopus. Courtney Lee is overmatched playing the 3 against some guys, but at least he tries a little. McDermott actually has been better on D than I thought he would, mostly because he really tries too.

    But one could really make the argument that Kanter, KOQ, and Courtney Lee are the reason for the improved defense, since the only thing that is really different in terms of defensive stats this year is ORB% given up — but our defensive eFG and FTR-allowed are basically the same, indicating that it might really be just the defensive rebounding that has made all the difference –> we foul at the same rate and teams shoot at the same efficiency against us, but they just have fewer possessions. Looking at Ben Falk’s site, the 16-17 Knicks were the worst defensive rebounding team in the entire league, and the 17-18 Knicks are the 7th best on the defensive glass — nearly 6% better rate this year. If you figure a team might miss 40 shots in a game, that’s about 2.5 fewer high-quality possessions for the offense, which is really significant since putbacks and other action off ORebs are more efficient (prob on order of 1.1 PPP compared to 0.9 in half court).

    (Disclaimer: Something about the defensive stats don’t make total sense, in that the FTR-allowed and eFG are the same as last year, yet the PPP-allowed is dramatically better this year. Some of that is a higher TOV% but is it possible that teams are just not shooting FT well against us?)

  10. Totes McGoats Makes 18mil For 14ppg

    Now that I think of it, Noah is an excellent mentor for Kanter and Willy so we should keep him around even with his salary. He has had a positive effect on Kanter this season, as well as having a positive effect on KP & Willy

  11. Frank

    The value of rebounding is hard to measure.

    On an individual level – that is for sure. But on a whole-team level, it should be easy to quantify. KP is only in the 35th percentile of defensive rebounders at his position, but the team as a whole beasts on the defensive glass.

  12. Frank

    Now that I think of it, Noah is an excellent mentor for Kanter and Willy so we should keep him around even with his salary.

    I don’t think we will have a choice whether or not to keep him around, unless Dolan/Mills feel like eating his salary in a buyout. We’d have to send probably multiple 1st round picks or high-value player assets (or take a similarly awful contract — Deng anyone?) to get rid of him.

  13. djphan

    i would think about taking back turner for noah… it’s a lateral move on the contracts but we fill a position we currently have zero players for…

  14. ess-dog

    Yeah, this team obviously prefers KP out running the break for dunks, threes, etc. They want Kanter grabbing the boards and starting the break. Even on D, they seem to complement each other fairly well, with Kanter playing close to his man and boxing out while KP goes for blocks from the weakside. If Kanter can get swole and become even more of a bruiser, he could end up being worth that contract.

    Also let’s get Trey Burke back up here, damn! I know it’s Gleague, but he couldn’t be worse than what we’ve currently got at point guard…

  15. lavor postell

    Some of that is a higher TOV% but is it possible that teams are just not shooting FT well against us?

    Oppoents are shooting 79.4% from the line against us, which is the 5th highest mark for opponents in the league. We’re probably getting a bit unlucky there actually.

  16. Frank

    Actually I wonder whether a Deng for Noah swap would be something the teams would think about. Bogut is completely useless there – Noah theoretically has a lot more to give than Bogut. Lakers have a glut at wing, and Knicks have a glut at center. Contracts are basically identical.

  17. hornyKnickfan

    Meanwhile, as was mentioned late last night, Westchester Knicks’ Trey Burke scored 43 points last night and spearheaded a comeback victory. Our very own Kyle Lowry? Should we consider releasing or trading Sessions to make room for him? He’s only 24. Defense meh.

  18. Totes McGoats Makes 18mil For 14ppg

    i would think about taking back turner for noah… it’s a lateral move on the contracts but we fill a position we currently have zero players for…

    That’s a hard pass for me on Turner. He’s a wing who almost hurts the spacing as much as Noah. He touches the ball too much for that. I would be ok with Deng as a stretch 4 off the bench if we didn’t have Beasley, but I feel like we are gonna need Beasley’s scoring punch on that 2nd unit even though Deng & Lance would be an intriguing forward combo on defense.

  19. Frank

    Re: the Cavs — everyone keeps saying that Lebron is on the team and so they’ll be fine, but seriously — the offense hasn’t been the problem. Their defense is God-awful, and will not improve unless their D at the point of attack improves (Rose/Wade/Isaiah? good luck) and they start Tristan Thompson — but if you start Thompson, then their spacing on offense goes to hell again.

    I dunno… I’m sure they’ll make the playoffs of course, but I can see Boston and Washington making life veerryy difficult for them.

  20. ess-dog

    @18 idk I’d rather see if Noah can be any good first. I love Kyle but might as well trade him first if we can get a good return. Maybe the Spurs do an O’Quinn/Anderson swap once Kawhi comes back?

  21. Totes McGoats Makes 18mil For 14ppg

    If Kanter can get swole and become even more of a bruiser, he could end up being worth that contract.

    Good point ess. I do, however, think Kanter is already worth his contract with the way he’s playing. Of course he would have to keep this current level of play up, but he’s an improving defender, young, and a walking double double who commands defensive attention in the paint. That’s worth alot still. Now, if he gets too big a raise in his next contract- he may not be worth it. But I’m ok with him making the same type of money that he’s getting now with his next Knicks contract. Who knows- he already sounds like he loves being a Knick enough not to ask for a ginormous raise

  22. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    On an individual level – that is for sure. But on a whole-team level, it should be easy to quantify. KP is only in the 35th percentile of defensive rebounders at his position, but the team as a whole beasts on the defensive glass.

    If you have a guy like Kanter or O’Quinn on the court with KP, do you tell KP to hit the glass hard, bang bodies, and use up all his energy on rebounding or do you tell him go after the ball when it’s clearly up for grabs but generally let “energy guys” like KOQ and EK do the dirty work like that?

    It’s possible that KP could get 10-12 rebounds per game too, but he’d get banged up and be less effective on offense.

  23. johnno

    “The value of rebounding is hard to measure.
    On an individual level – that is for sure. But on a whole-team level, it should be easy to quantify. ”
    What you said makes a lot of sense intuitively but, if you look at the statistics over the last 5 years, there is some, but not much, correlation between good defensive rebounding and defensive rating and almost zero correlation between good defensive rebounding and winning. For example, last year, the teams with the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th best records in the league finished in the bottom ten in defensive rebounding percentage. Conversely, four of the ten best defensive rebounding teams in the league finished in the bottom ten in wins. The top ten defensive rebounding teams finished 11th, 14th, 10th, 3rd, 29th, 1st, 15th, 6th, 24th and 13th in defensive rating while the best defensive team in the league finished next to last in defensive rebounding.

  24. ess-dog

    Huh, ok. He’ll likely be a good fit with Brogdon and under Kidd. It’s crazy how little help Giannis is getting there so far this year.

  25. Zanzibar

    It’s Monroe’s expiring contract and 1st round pick for Bledsoe. PHX might have taken Kuz’s and KOQ’s expiring contracts plus our Chicago pick and Baker. PHX could have flipped KOQ later for something.

  26. d-mar

    I think defensive rebounding numbers can be misleading, a lot of them are uncontested and it’s just a matter of who’s closest to the ball. Or in the case of the Thunder, letting Russ grab them.

    OTOH, Kanter is averaging 4.4 offensive rebounds per game, which is pretty impressive. He battles his ass off for those and it gives us extra possessions.

  27. lavor postell

    Baker has an NTC. Phoenix probably wanted a high teens/low 20s pick more than a Chicago 31/32 choice.

  28. Zanzibar

    We made Baker a very rich dude for no reason. I think he would have waived NTC to return the favor. PHX could have flipped KOQ for something. So it might have been Baker/31-32 pick/2nd round pick from KOQ versus Buck’s 20ish pick.

  29. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    I still don’t think Jason Kidd is a good coach, but Bledsoe and Brogdon is a good back court for sure. I guess that front office is taking GA’s “superstars want to be loyal to a team but if a franchise isn’t going in the right direction they have to leave” comments seriously. GA might win an MVP this year.

  30. Cock Jowles, #1 All-Rookie Benchwarmer

    Isiah Thomas will be back in, what, March? The Cavs will be fine if healthy. He was a top-3 scoring guard last year. I’m not a huge Kyrie fan, even before he started talking publicly like a college freshman stoner, but when you remove an above-average PG and replace him with Derrick Rose, you’re going to have some issues.

  31. ptmilo

    Kanter’s strong boarding makes him a rebound creator when he’s off the court.

    Haha, I definitely notice myself pushing the garbage up the driveway faster after watching Lonzo

  32. Mike Kurylo Post author

    What you said makes a lot of sense intuitively but, if you look at the statistics over the last 5 years, there is some, but not much, correlation between good defensive rebounding and defensive rating and almost zero correlation between good defensive rebounding and winning. For example, last year, the teams with the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th best records in the league finished in the bottom ten in defensive rebounding percentage. Conversely, four of the ten best defensive rebounding teams in the league finished in the bottom ten in wins. The top ten defensive rebounding teams finished 11th, 14th, 10th, 3rd, 29th, 1st, 15th, 6th, 24th and 13th in defensive rating while the best defensive team in the league finished next to last in defensive rebounding.

    The four factors are pretty clear on this. Rebounding is about 20% of offense/defense. So if you look at it individually there may seem like little correlation between rebounding and defense. However that’s not actually true, since you have to account for other factors as well.

    Again look at the Knicks’ numbers this year to last. One of those teams was 26th on defense, the other 18th. The only big change is the rebounding.

    For more info:
    https://www.basketball-reference.com/about/factors.html
    https://www.hudl.com/blog/how-the-four-factors-go-deeper-than-traditional-counting-stats
    https://squared2020.com/2017/09/05/introduction-to-olivers-four-factors/

  33. Bruno Almeida

    It really does make sense for Milwaukee to do it. It frees up Henson and Thon Maker to get the majority of minutes in the frontcourt, clears up sort of a logjam they had when Parker returns and he’s quite better than Dellavedova. Giving away a first kind of hurts but Milwaukee is all in anyway, and there’s little opportunities to get better in such a small market.

  34. bobneptune

    Isiah Thomas will be back in, what, March? The Cavs will be fine if healthy. He was a top-3 scoring guard last year.

    IT is/ was a wonderful talent. Whether he returns (a cartilage issue in the hip joint isn’t remotely trivial) and the level to which he returns is certainly very much up in the air. Your hips are fairly important to a 5’9″ guy whose explosion and elusiveness are paramount. I think he’s a FA at the end of the year and isn’t going to rush his rehab for anything.

  35. Zanzibar

    did you guys know that Baker and Sessions have better stats than Lonzo ball this year (PER and WS/48)

    Did you know that Jerian Grant’s got a .130 WS/48 compared to Timmy’s .078?

  36. bobneptune

    @39

    Each league usually has its own rules regarding these clauses; for example in the NBA, no-trade clauses can only be negotiated into contracts when a player has at least four years of service for the team he is signing the contract with and at least eight years total in the NBA.[2]

  37. Frank

    Monroe was quietly very good for them — roughly 19 points 11 rebounds 1.8 steals 3.7 assists per 36 and played in the mid 20s minutes per game. That’s a lot of front court production they will have to make up somehow. Thon Maker is not ready for those minutes, and Henson is a total zero on offense. My guess is that Parker is making good progress — otherwise they’re really going to have trouble scoring when Giannis is out. Bledsoe is not an offense unto himself.

  38. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    Greg Monroe might have been the 2nd best player on that team. I’m not sure he’s so easily replaceable.

  39. ptmilo

    The thing is Kidd was only playing Monroe 15 minutes and that’s without Jabari. So even if that’s a self imposed mistake, Bledsoe will get more time. Giannis has not looked like himself on defense this year, probably bc he is conserving energy for the 1/2 possessions when the play fails and they just chuck it to him and watch.

    He could really use someone to share that burden with him.

  40. DRed

    Yeah people have been surprised the Bucks aren’t doing well, and the obvious answer is that one of their 3 good players hasn’t been playing

  41. Totes McGoats Makes 18mil For 14ppg

    @49.
    I think the problem with Monroe was he, like Kanter in OKC, was good and put up great numbers- but for the wrong team. Talented player but the talent proved to be the wrong fit for the role and the team. Smart trade for Milwaukee though. They flipped a bad fit for a player they needed to a team said bad fit doesn’t necessarily fit on as well- unless they move Chandler and get better guard play.

  42. Brian Cronin

    I am very surprised that Phoenix took back another big. I guess they think that they can still move Chandler?

  43. Bruno Almeida

    I think they honestly just wanted any expiring contract. The Bucks still have Kidd as a coach, who most Bucks fans I ever seen seem to loathe, and they’ll be lacking rebounding now, specially, but they were not playing Monroe much already and if Jabari Parker is done they have bigger issues anyway. My guess is that they’ll go really small with Giannis at the 4 or even 5 lineups and see if it works.

  44. lavor postell

    Phoenix should just ease their center logjam by immediately cutting the human trash can Alex Len

  45. Bruno Almeida

    Unless you have something specifically against Len that I don’t know about, he’s been their best big man so far this year, even ahead of Tyson in some stats.

  46. Cock Jowles, #1 All-Rookie Benchwarmer

    I love how Eric Bledsoe complains and then gets shipped to one of the worst cities in the NBA. Phoenix sucks, but Milwaukee is much worse.

  47. lavor postell

    I’m not a fan of Len’s game and don’t think he has a future on that team. I’d be looking to move him and Tyson to free up time for Bender at the 5. Alan Williams will also be back at some point and plays mostly at the 5.

    I’d rather have Monroe than Len as well.

  48. english_knick

    I think the first rounder is Miami’s – top 7 protected (maybe even the one Phoenix sent Milwaukee for Knight?)

    That’s a pretty good pick – could be back half of the lottery. I think that’s what they traded for, and the expiring, more so than Monroe the player…

  49. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    Right or wrong, the league does not value guys like Monroe very highly right now. The league wants big men that are rims protectors/anchor the defense in the paint or that can stretch the floor (preferably both). Guys like Monroe, Kanter, and Hernangomez are not valued very highly right now.

  50. lavor postell

    Guys like Monroe, Kanter, and Hernangomez are not valued very highly right now.

    My working theory is that this is a market inefficiency to be exploited, especially when you have a unicorn 4 that can spread the floor and protect the rim like KP. Will be interesting to see how things unfold over the course of the year. There simply aren’t enough good wings, combo forwards and guard for small ball to be the ideal system for 30 teams around the league.

  51. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    @64

    Agreed. Pretty much the only way to punish small ball effectively if you yourself don’t have the tools to do small ball as efficiently is to get bigs who are elite ORBs to roast the small team on the boards a la Steven Adams in the OKC GSW series two years ago. They just need to be able to pass or have another elite skill (in Kanter’s case, post play) in order to be a value relative to their contract (though idk if Kanter is a value at 18m—he’s such a weird player, statistically.)

  52. Bruno Almeida

    @62

    I’m not sure, but from what I read Phoenix already owned that Miami pick for years, and the Bucks pick is a new one, lottery protected, meaning they could have 3 first rounders this year, their own, the Heat one if it’s not top 7 and the Bucks one if it’s not a lottery pick.

    Edit: yeah, the Miami pick came from Goran Dragic’s trade. They also own Miami’s 2021 unprotected first rounder.

  53. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    I agree. The only way to punish small ball is to kill the other team on the boards and inside. IMO, that’s why developing KP’s post game was so critical. It’s not so much that you want him posting up all the time. It’s that he has a tough time guarding the really quick stretch PFs. If you can’t punish those guys back inside, every team is going to go small on you, drag him outside, beat him off the dribble, and not worry about the other side. Now that’s he’s kick their asses inside, they have to think twice about who to play against him.

  54. Hubert

    Baker has an NTC.

    I literally laughed out loud.

    But! That (and the Hardaway abomination) was pre-Scott Perry. We’re still looking good in the post-Perry decision-making world.

  55. JK47

    By the way, not for nothing, but the Perry era in Sacramento…not looking so hot so far.

    Sure it is. They stink right now, but they have a million young pieces and they’ll probably end up with one of those top 5 picks in this year’s draft.

    They’re tanking and rebuilding. Losing games is a feature, not a bug.

  56. Ntilakilla

    The Knicks score nearly six more points per 100 possessions when Ntilikina plays.

    The Knicks defensive rating improves by nearly four points when he is on the floor instead of the bench.

    Start him.

    Now.

  57. Ntilakilla

    They’re tanking and rebuilding. Losing games is a feature, not a bug.

    Exactly. I am always surprised at how people will look at records for teams that are clearly just beginning their rebuild.

  58. ClashFan

    @70
    Yeah, wins and losses is not a good measurement for the relative success of the Kings’ season.

  59. Brian Cronin

    They’re tanking and rebuilding. Losing games is a feature, not a bug.

    That was so not the point of Perry’s moves in Sacramento. He did not sign George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter to be worse this year. It just worked out that way because those moves have not worked out so far.

    It’d be like giving Phil Jackson credit for acquiring Rose, Noah and Lee because it worked out so poorly that they got Frank.

  60. Ntilakilla

    He did not sign George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter to be worse this year.

    I thought the goal of signing those guys was to provide veteran leadership and guidance to a rebuilding team full of young players. You know, the one thing Hinkie stupidly refused to do during the Process.

  61. Hubert

    By the way, not for nothing, but the Perry era in Sacramento…not looking so hot so far.

    Those are technically Vlade Divac’s signings, right?.

    The Scott Perry GM era is unblemished.

  62. ClashFan

    @74 and 75
    Yeah, that brings in the questions of to what extent do you need/want “veteran leadership” when rebuilding? And, what does that term mean?

    I don’t think you want ALL super young guys b/c that might actually harm the progress of the players in a chaotic system where no one has experience at this level. But you also do not want too many vets eating up minutes.

    I looked at the King’s stats, and no one on the team is averaging more than 27.6 mpg (George Hill). Fox is right up there at 27.0, followed by WCS. Zach Randolph is getting 24 and Vince Carter is way down at 11.6. It seems like they are trying to balance the minutes.

    That team definitely needs a couple more core young guys.

  63. Bruno Almeida

    I really don’t think Sacramento went into this year expecting to be one of the 3 worst teams in the league.

    What they did is much more indicative of “we have enough young pieces, let’s just develop them while we try to win games with them + veterans” than “we’ll just get veterans for their leadership and hope we suck and get a top 3 pick”.

    It will probably end up working out anyway because Fox looks like a keeper and they will end up with a top pick, but I really think they expected to be less terrible.

  64. Hubert

    BTW, are the Knicks in the Scott Perry Era or the Steve Mills Era?

    I’m going to go with the guy who didn’t hand out the Hardaway and Baker contracts. I want to believe.

  65. ClashFan

    I don’t think we’ll hear any more from Janis.

    I believe that KP and he probably had their, “I know it was you, Fredo…you broke my heart” moment soon after KP had to field questions from the media about Fredo’s….er Janis’s… recent interview.

    Janis may not want to go on a fishing trip with any of KP’s buddies.
    :-)

  66. 2FOR18, understands math

    It’d be like giving Phil Jackson credit for acquiring Rose, Noah and Lee because it worked out so poorly that they got Frank.

    Hey, leave strato alone :)

  67. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    We should have believed those reports of Janis being Cuba club hopping with Johnny Ola.

  68. lavor postell

    The thing with signing Carter, Randolph and Hill is they were low risk signings. Carter’s on a 1 year deal, Z-Bo is on 2 and George Hill is on a 3 yr deal with the final year only paartially guaranteed. They probably didn’t expect to suck as badly as they have but idk how many people predicted that George Hill would be playing like a pumpkin and Joeger would be using Z-Bo like he’s in his prime.

    If Hill turns things around they can probably net a pick in return for him in a deal also.

  69. JK47

    It’d be like giving Phil Jackson credit for acquiring Rose, Noah and Lee because it worked out so poorly that they got Frank.

    Not really. The Knicks were asset-poor before those moves, and remained asset-poor after them. The Rose and Noah moves were terrible because the Knicks should have been asset collecting. The Knicks actually surrendered assets to get Rose. Don’t look now, but Jerian Grant is averaging 8.7 assists versus 1.9 turnovers per 36 minutes for Chicago. We could have used that guy.

    The Kings, on the other hand, have young “asset” type players at almost every position. They have the following players who are on rookie contracts: DeAaron Fox, Harry Giles, Georgios Papagiannis, Skal Labissiere, Malachi Richardson, Justin Jackson, Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein. That’s a really good start in terms of collecting assets. Obviously not every one of those guys is going to pan out. Hield in particular looks like a bum. But that’s why you collect lots of them.

    The Knicks’ list of genuine prospects who are on rookie contracts is much shorter: KP, Ntilikina, Hernangomez, Dotson, with Dotson being a fringe prospect.

  70. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    Hey, leave strato alone :)

    Hey, I don’t want credit for those moves. I just still don’t think any of them hurt us other than the Noah deal. Rose came off the books immediately (not his fault Mills screwed up the cap space by putting Hardaway in it) and Lee is a productive player on a fair contract that’s helping us win. We might even get some playoff experience for KP and Frank.

    I don’t think losing on purpose by turning away good players on fair contracts and piling the team with crap players instead so we lose is a good strategy. Unfortunately, we didn’t have 2 first round picks along the way or we’d have more god young players.

  71. ClashFan

    @88
    Yeah, but maybe the Knicks are lucky in that one of our young assets, KP of course, may be a superstar. I still believe that the Knicks need to add couple more good young players either via drafting or trade.

    @87
    Well, that’s fiction, so we mean as a metaphor. KP may have texted Janis as such: “hey big bro STFU luv KP”

    Now, later on KP may have Janis fired as his agent, not whacked a la the super ruthless Michael Corleone.
    :-)

  72. Ntilakilla

    You better believe KP listens to what Janis tells him to do. It is a different mentality in traditional cultures where seniority obliges great deference on the part of the younger members. Your older sibling, who trained you from adolescence into being an NBA ready player, is the boss. And I don’t have a problem with it at all. This man is a MAJOR part of the reason that KP came into the league as polished as he was. He was the one who had him watching game video of Garnett, Nowitzki, Davis, etc. He was the one who made KP learn English in Europe so he could be fluent in the language once he arrived in the States. He is the one who signed off on every training technique KP has used to improve in the offseason. I have no problem with him speaking on his brother’s behalf and playing the bad cop to KP’s good cop.

  73. Hubert

    Don’t look now, but Jerian Grant is averaging 8.7 assists versus 1.9 turnovers per 36 minutes for Chicago.

    I don’t want to wish a man ill, but I’m going to be annoyed if he develops into a decent PG.

  74. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    I hate the Kings strategy.

    1. If you look at their young players they are 2 years away from being 3-5 years away IF they pan out.

    2. Hill is a good player, but they overpaid.

    3. Randolph is pretty much shot and overpaid.

    4. Carter is a waste of time.

    Like I keep saying, the correct move is to accumulate BARGAIN assets of all types that can be traded, developed, or both. They can be picks, young players, players in their mid 20s, and even older players, but all players have to be on fair or expiring contracts so you can continue making positive moves. The Kings have good players on bad contracts, bad players on bad contracts, and kids that are long way away from being any good. They will be a losing franchise for as far as the eye can see and have a tough time making moves. That’s not a good plan.

  75. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    I liked Jerian Grant, but he’s 25 now. I don’t think he’s going to be much better than a very good backup. He’s pretty good at some things, but he’s too limited as a shooter/scorer to be more than a backup unless he suddenly finds a shot.

  76. JK47

    Grant is a completely different player so far this season, he is playing like a pure PG. He has doubled his AST% and has still kept his turnovers low. His FT rate has also spiked. His eFG% is in the toilet right now, all the way down at .369 but that seems likely to bounce back. He was over .500 last year. He’s in a different role this year, doing much more of the playmaking, so it’s not surprising to see a dip in his eFG% but I think he can do a lot better than .369.

  77. Brian Cronin

    I was never much of a Grant fan, but it was still a mistake to trade him and Robin Lopez for a garbage fire. It’s like, “Eh, I am not a huge fan of this bologna sandwich, but I guess I prefer it to getting punched in the face.”

  78. Hubert

    We essentially traded Grant and Lopez for Rose and Noah.

    Grant > Rose (and much cheaper)
    Lopez > Noah (and much cheaper)

    So yeah, that was a dandy, even if Grant never becomes an NBA player.

  79. ClashFan

    @95

    We’re right at the “Rain in Spain.”

    If Zinger reaches the Finals, Charlie Rosen and Phil Jackson will go through a chorus of “You Did It”

    The Broadway revival nears: My Fair Lady, starring Janis Porzingis as Henry Higgins and Kristaps Porzingis as Eliza Doolittle!
    :-)

    RE Grant and the Rose trade. It was a bad trade. Really, who cares at this point? Without that trade, maybe we really don’t have Frank! Now the Noah signing, on the other hand…

  80. TheOakmanCometh

    Perry didn’t have anything to do with collecting Sacramento’s young players, aside from the 2017 draftees. He got to Sacto in April 2017, signed ZBo, Hill, and Vince, drafted Fox, Justin Jackson, and Giles, and then left for the Knicks. That’s it.

    Those veteran signings were obviously intended to make the team better in the short term. Instead, the team is awful. Hill, ZBo, and Vince have all been garbage, all while taking minutes away from young guys who actually have a future with the team.

  81. DS

    RoLo is not as good as he was in his year w/ the Knicks anymore. His greatest value would’ve been preventing Phil from signing the Noah contract (which, granted, would’ve been enormous). If he were actually on the roster, he’d be behind several centers on the depth chart.

    Like ClashFan said, “Without that trade, maybe we really don’t have Frank!”

  82. GoNyGoNyGo

    I can’t believe that the Bucks gave up Monroe and a #1 for Bledsoe. What highway robbery! I don’t care if it’s the 29th pick (which it won’t be).

  83. Hubert

    His greatest value would’ve been preventing Phil from signing the Noah contract (which, granted, would’ve been enormous).

    That’s precisely why I said he was better. That Noah contract is going to kill us.

    He got to Sacto in April 2017, signed ZBo, Hill, and Vince, drafted Fox, Justin Jackson, and Giles, and then left for the Knicks. That’s it.

    He was an executive VP working under Vlade Divac. For all we know, Vlade wanted those guys.

  84. ClashFan

    @100 Let me correct myself. Here is what we’re nearing:

    For immediate press release:

    James Dolan presents: MY FAIR KP
    The Broadway Event of the Year
    Based on Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw

    Produced by JANIS PORZINGIS
    Adapted by JANIS PORZINGIS
    Directed by JANIS PORZINGIS
    Starring JANIS PORZINGIS as Henry Higgins
    Lighting by JANIS PORZINGIS
    Sound Design by JANIS PORZINGIS
    And introducing Kristaps Porzingis as Keliza Poolittle
    Special Appearances by Phil Jackson, Clarence Gaines, and Jeff Hornacek
    :-)

  85. Brian Cronin

    Huh, with some more singing lessons, they could have just kept Hepburn in the movie. It wasn’t like she was awful.

  86. d-mar

    All I know is I haven’t been this excited for a Knicks game since…forever? We’ve got a budding superstar who is basically unstoppable and an 18 year old PG who plays defense like he has 4 arms.

    Where’s Ephus? It’s a great time to be a Knicks fan!

  87. alsep73

    All I know is I haven’t been this excited for a Knicks game since…forever?

    Which, being the Knick, means we’re being set up for a blowout loss tonight where Kemba keeps slithering out of Frank’s 4 arms, Dwight conjures up vintage Dwight at the site of Kanter playing opposite him, and KP gets tired.

    But even that’ll be fine. Every win is fun. Every loss contributes to the ping-pong total!

  88. d-mar

    Yeah I hear you, we’ve all got a little PTSD from getting our hopes dashed in the past. But this does feel a little different, how often in recent years have we had the best player on the floor?

  89. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    We essentially traded Grant and Lopez for Rose and Noah.

    Grant > Rose (and much cheaper)
    Lopez > Noah (and much cheaper)

    So yeah, that was a dandy, even if Grant never becomes an NBA player.

    We traded Grant and Lopez for 1 year of Rose which then became cap space, Holiday (who we allowed walk on a reasonable contract and got more space, and a 2nd round pick (I lost track of that pick but maybe that ‘s how we got Dotson). There is a 0% chance the Rose trade would have been done if he was on anything other than an expiring contract. It was a 1 year risk. So we basically ended up with Hardaway (put into the Rose cap space), that 2nd round pick, and a little extra cap space from that trade.

    The Noah signing was very related, but it’s a separate move. They needed a center after they traded Lopez, but there was law that said it had to be Noah and they had to sign him for 4 years.

    The Rose move was a non event.

    The Noah move was bad.

  90. alsep73

    how often in recent years have we had the best player on the floor?

    Melo was that at least some of the time in his first few years on the team. Before that… vintage Ewing?

  91. bockadoo

    @111 my PTSD is still so bad I can’t watch live games. As soon as the other team scores a couple in a row I turn it off in anger. When I check the scores on my phone I put my thumb over it and slowly move it left to right to reveal the score. Been this way for a long time. I do tape games so I can watch in peace if they win. Hopefully this will be the last year for this ridiculous behavior.

  92. Ntilakilla

    Huh, with some more singing lessons, they could have just kept Hepburn in the movie. It wasn’t like she was awful.

    I blame the producers. She was a natural soprano not alto. They should have tuned the song to her vocal range.

  93. Zanzibar

    There is a 0% chance the Rose trade would have been done if he was on anything other than an expiring contract.

    How in the world do you know this when Phil signed Noah to a 4-year deal? If anything, the evidence suggests he would have still done the trade if Rose was on a longer deal. It’s laughable because you wouldn’t even concede that Knicks could have gotten at least those 2 mid-range 1sts for Melo in a S&T because there was no proof. And Strat it’s even more bizarre because you’ve lectured us on filtering stuff to fit our own preferred narrative.

    BTW Marnie Nixon was slated to sing the song Moon River for Hepburn in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s but Audrey asked if she could do it. They gave it a try and it worked really well. That said I’m not sure she could have carried all of the songs in My Fair Lady, my second favorite musical after West Side Story.

  94. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

    How in the world do you know this when Phil signed Noah to a 4-year deal? If anything, the evidence suggests he would have still done the trade if Rose was on a longer deal. It’s laughable because you wouldn’t even concede that Knicks could have gotten at least those 2 mid-range 1sts for Melo in a S&T because there was no proof. And Strat it’s even more bizarre because you’ve lectured us on filtering stuff to fit our own preferred narrative.

    I can’t recall if it was Phil in one of his interviews or Charlie Rosen in one of his articles, but the fact that the contract was for only 1 year was mentioned as part of the thinking. It was also reported by EVERYONE that given it was only for 1 year, the downside risk of bringing on Rose was very limited despite his injury record.

    I never defended Phil for signing Melo again. The most positive thing I said regarding Phil bringing him back was that if he didn’t re-sign him, he would have gotten crucified by the press, a good portion of the fan base, and possibly the owner. So I sort of understood it even though I disagreed with it.

    For the record, if you look back in the archives when these moves were made:

    1. I was one of the most aggressive posters against the Rose trade.

    2. I was against signing for Noah for 4 years at that price.

    3. I wanted Melo gone.

    I flipped to Phil defender when the “mainstream” view of Phil’s record had gotten so ridiculously out of balance, I felt compelled to take the other side.

    These were my thoughts on the Rose trade.

    1. I thought Lopez was on an attractive contract.

    2. At the time I thought Grant still had a shot to become a good starting PG.

    3. I thought Rose was shot.

    4. I thought we lost the trade.

    I still think all those things other than Grant not being as good as I hoped back then. But when I say we lost that trade, I think it’s so insignificant, I don’t really care. Cap space is an asset.

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