Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2014.02.05)

  • [New York Times] Bobcats Blow Out Warriors 91-75 in Walker’s Return (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 07:05:05 GMT)
    The Charlotte Bobcats closed out a critical road trip with a 3-1 record by turning in the best — or perhaps the most fortunate, depending on the perspective — defensive performance any team has had against the Golden State Warriors in nearly a decade.    

  • [New York Times] AP Source: Magic Johnson in Group Buying Sparks (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 06:19:59 GMT)
    Magic Johnson is part of a group buying the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, according to a person familiar with the situation.    

  • [New York Times] Jackson Sets NBDL Scoring Record With 58 Points (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 06:02:20 GMT)
    Pierre Jackson set an NBA Development League record when he scored 58 points in Idaho’s 136-122 victory over the Texas Legends on Tuesday night.    

  • [New York Times] Love, Timberwolves Hand Lakers 7th Straight Loss (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 05:19:54 GMT)
    Kevin Love landed hard on his hip after a foul late in the game. His head snapped back from the impact and hit the floor.    

  • [New York Times] Boozer Powers Bulls to 101-92 Win at Phoenix (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 05:10:49 GMT)
    Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls snapped the Phoenix Suns’ five-game winning streak with a 101-92 victory on Tuesday night.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Noah Fined by N.B.A. (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 04:50:25 GMT)
    Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah was fined $15,000 by the N.B.A. for yelling at the officials after he was ejected from a game at Sacramento.    

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: Pacers Edge Hawks (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 04:20:14 GMT)
    The Indiana Pacers snapped a 12-game regular-season losing streak in Atlanta while improving the league’s best record to 38-10.    

  • [New York Times] Knicks Hope Bucks Loss Was Hiccup (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 04:04:05 GMT)
    Coach Mike Woodson said “a lot of little things” combined to sink his club during games, but there was a bigger one, too: perimeter defense.    

  • [New York Times] West Helps Pacers End Atlanta Skid (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 03:17:07 GMT)
    David West scored 22 points, Paul George added 18 and the NBA-leading Indiana Pacers ended their 12-game regular season losing streak in Atlanta Tuesday night.    

  • [New York Daily News] Felton taking the brunt of the criticism as Knicks hit new low (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 03:11:09 GMT)
    Opposing teams clearly have something in common with disgruntled Knicks fans; they all like to attack Raymond Felton. The Knicks point guard has emerged as the primary target/scapegoat for a season that is spiraling out of control.    

  • [New York Daily News] Lawrence: Felton not worthy of job with Knicks (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 03:06:27 GMT)
    You can’t trade Carmelo Anthony now, not unless you want to send off the only good thing about the Knicks these days, sorry as they are. There are a few Knicks who need to get the next train out of town, though, starting with Raymond Felton.    

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks Insider: Amar’e ready to pitch in (Wed, 05 Feb 2014 02:52:34 GMT)
    Amar’e Stoudemire is ready, willing and able to play more as the Knicks try to salvage their season. “From a doctor’s standpoint, there hasn’t been (minute) limitations since the first week of the season,” Stoudemire said on Tuesday.    

  • 54 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2014.02.05)

    1. Frank O.

      I am so sick of quotes like this. We’re halfway through the season, damnit.
      “There’s a lot of little things that we just didn’t get done that we got to clean up,” said Coach Mike Woodson, whose task will not be any easier Wednesday night when the Knicks (19-29) face the Portland Trail Blazers (34-14) at Madison Square Garden. “If we do that, I know we’ll put ourselves in position to win games. But it’s the little things right now that are beating us.”

    2. Totes McGoats

      Remember when Felton was really good? When a coach trusted him and put the ball in his hands? I dunno…now that Melo’s at the 4 should he handle the ball as much as he does? Sure he can initiate the offense and he is a deft passer, but he’s at his best scoring and rebounding so shouldn’t Woodson put the ball in his PG’s hands a little more? Also, is Fredette still available? If we’re not gonna rebuild, we need a pure shooter who can put the rock on the floor too. We need Woodson to put in better offensive sets. With Melo at the 4 you’ve got a perfect opportunity to spread the floor and attack with Tyson in the middle and Melo being able to post rebound and drive against his man at the 4. I’m no coach but it seems to me that we should be running different sets. I think the entire roster is being misused.

      SN(or question?): What’s next for Felton? Eating Vaseline?

    3. stratomatic

      I would like to continue the conversation about Melo since I didn’t get a chance to post anything on the previous thread when it was more active. I hope everyone doesn’t mind.

      A lot of the controversy about Melo’s value depends on how you value PPG vs. efficiency/intelligent shot selection, how much you value defense, play making, rebounding, do you make positional adjustments to the stats etc… Since we never agree on that, let’s focus on the actual issue.

      Can you build a true championship contender with Melo making 24m next year (and rising) in a league where there is a strict salary cap and guys like James/Wade, CP3/Griffin, Durant/Westbrook, Love, Curry, Howard/Harden, Dirk, Aldridge/Lillard, all the aging stars on San Antonio, and young upstarts like Anthony Davis, etc… are all making less?

      Even if I was among the people that think Melo is a top 5 player in the league (I don’t even think he’s top 15 when you include defense and efficiency even though he’s having a career year) I would answer “very unlikely” to that question.

      That has always been the bottom line to the debate.

      It’s not whether he’s top 5, top 10, or top 20.

      There are loads of very smart people that think all of those things, but I’m searching for 1 that thinks you can build a serious contender with him making 24m unless you got some extraordinary good values elsewhere.

    4. swiftandabundant

      I don’t post much here but read every day and love the articles and comments. It keeps me sane during what has been a very disappointing Knicks season.

      Not trying to look too far ahead and focusing solely on how can we win some games and get into the playoffs, possibly pull off a first round upset, I had a revelation last night.

      Shump has sucked all season except for a few games when Felton was out. I read that article that talked about why Shump and Felton don’t mesh well since Felton almost always initiates on the other side of the court from where Shump likes to shoot. So, thinking about this and also the fact that maybe Beno and Murry should be getting some burn, I thought about this adjustment to our rotations.

      Starting 5: Felton, Pablo, JR, Melo, Chandler
      Second Unit: Beno (Murry), Hardaway, Shump (MWP), Kmart(Tyler), Amare/Bargs

      This basically allows us to go small ball with the 2 PG lineup and Melo at the 4. Added bonus that JR is happy because he gets to start and tends to play more under control with Melo as the main force on offense.

      You then put less pressure on Shump in the second unit and pair him with Beno, who he seems to work better with. But bonus is you get to keep playing Hardaway Jr at the SG position. You have the low post option with Amare as well but some defense with Shump and Kmart. Use Bargs, MWP, Murry and Tyler for spot minutes or for nights when Kmart, Amare or Bargs are unavailable.

    5. Owen

      “There are loads of very smart people that think all of those things, but I’m searching for 1 that thinks you can build a serious contender with him making 24m unless you got some extraordinary good values elsewhere”

      There is one guy on the board who will make the case.

      Lebron and Durant are really the only guys in the NBA who clearly generate enough surplus above a max contract to make stars and scrubs viable. Chris Paul would be in that conversation if he weren’t always hurt. Dwight Howard used to be in that conversation before he got hurt. Maybe Anthony Davis will be in that conversation in the next couple of years. He has potential.

      But you’re right. If you don’t have Lebron or Durant, you are never going to compete paying a guy like Melo the supermax to be the best player on your team. The Blazers are paying 27.3 next year for Batum, Lopez, Matthews, and Lillard. We would be paying 23.5 for Melo if he opts in.

    6. johnlocke

      We really need to trade for a competent PG, b/c Woodson is refusing to play two other guards who are better on defense (murry) and offense (udrih). If we don’t make any trades before the deadline, I don’t know how they plan to convince Melo that we’ll be fielding a good team. Every time a player comes back form injury we play worse, so the whole strategy of blaming losses on injuries is stupid.

      Great breakdown of Felton’s play against the Bucks – this guy is channeling me but with British accent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0wkbuylj5HA

    7. stratomatic

      Owen,

      My view is that if you are happy making the playoffs and getting knocked out in the second round or conference finals then you build around Melo and hope for the best. There’s always a chance you get a gigantic upside surprise in the draft or James/Durant/George/CP3/Howard etc… get hurt in the playoffs and you have a chance to luck into a championship.

      But if you want to actually win a championship, then either Melo has to be taken at his word (“I want to win a championship”) and give us a discount or I think you have to go in another direction. That could mean rebuilding the team with good draft picks and value creating deals, accumulating assets, and going for a superstar later if one becomes available, or a combination of the above. We may not get there anyway, but I would rather be the Rockets than us.

      As is, I don’t see us on a path towards a championship. That’s why I’ve been mildly grumpy ever since we signed Amare (who was clearly damaged goods) and then gave up so many assets for Melo. It basically put us on a path towards being a champion wannabe instead of a legitimate contender.

    8. lavor postell

      @swiftandabundant

      The only problem with that idea is the assumption that Woodson actually uses advanced statistics and data available to him in any competent manner. Dolan sucks, Melo’s overpaid, Felton is the worst point guard in the league, Chandler gets outworked by Zaza fucking Pachulia, STAT is a blackhole and contract albatross, Bargs is the worst player in the league, JR is an idiot, Shump is a bottom-3 starting 2 guard, K-Mart and Pablo are 87 years old, Murry can’t dribble, THJ is a one dimensional chucker, MWP has done nothing and Beno is liable for all of this in some capacity.

      Given all of those flaws individually and what they add up too collectively this is a team that really didn’t have a shot at a title this season, but to be 10 games under .500 with a defense that has no discernible system is a joke. The skeleton of a 54-win, division winning, 2 seed is still on this roster but gets used sparingly in order for Woodson to play his favorite sons heavy minutes regardless of their production or our results. Woodson is the single biggest problem with the current status of this team and franchise because of his inability to manage players, rotations, schemes, but above all to lead.

      It’s easy to throw guys under the bus and throw out platitudes of wanting it more, cleaning up mistakes, getting guys going, kicking people to the curb etc. It’s hard to actually implement changes to make all those things a fucking reality. It’s hard to make EVERYBODY accountable on the roster instead of just a select group of young developing players and older veterans on their last hurrah. Ultimately nothing will change as long as this imbecile of a coach who’s had fate force him into starting a highly successful and productive formula but refuses to see it is still in charge. There are plenty of issues we can debate about in regards to this roster and our future, but if Woodson is still a part of our present and future none of it means a fucking…

    9. d-mar

      @6 that vid is HILARIOUS and also frightening, especially the 2 air ball floaters by fat Ray. Someone should hire that guy to do color commentary, the Brit angle makes it even funnier.

    10. Owen

      “But if you want to actually win a championship, then either Melo has to be taken at his word (“I want to win a championship”) and give us a discount or I think you have to go in another direction. That could mean rebuilding the team with good draft picks and value creating deals, accumulating assets, and going for a superstar later if one becomes available, or a combination of the above. We may not get there anyway, but I would rather be the Rockets than us.”

      Obviously, I agree….

      Going forward, the conversation is about Melo. But right now, the worse contracts on the team by far are Bargnani and Stat. That should be said. They might be the worst contracts in the league. I would rather have Brandon Roy’s contract than Bargnani’s I think, if only because it would remove the temptation to actually play the Italian gif generator.

      It wasn’t impossible to build around Melo during this phase of his career 2012-5. Certainly, if we had passed on Stat, waited for the offseason to acquire Melo, and drafted better, things could be much better. We could have lucked into a guy like Lance Stephenson, Nic Batum, Wes Matthews, or I don’t know Serge Ibaka and got much better bang for our dollars elsewhere.

      But doing so during his decline phase without any draft picks is going to be pretty much impossible. It’s too difficult to acquire the right kind of talent in free agency and the window to acquire and develop young talent is too short, imo….

    11. johnno

      To those of you who are saying Melo at 18-20 is a good idea but Melo at 23-25/year will cripple the team — do you REALLY think that the extra $5 million a year that the team will have to spend if Melo signs for 18-20 is going to make that much of a difference? For that kind of money, they get one MLE guy or 3 vet minimum guys. That’s the difference between a bad team and a contender? I don’t think so.
      To those of you who blamed Bargnani for everything but global warming (and some of you might even blame him for that since he probably drives an Escalade or some other big car that gets lousy mileage) — how have the Knicks looked in the last few games without him? Pretty terrible, no? Bargnani was not and is not why this team stinks. Awful guard play — offensively and defensively — is why they stink.

    12. Darrell H.

      johnno: exactly! If weren’t for several level-headed posters on here (you, Ephus, BigBlueAl, Ruru, the Franks, and others), I don’t think I’d bother coming here at all. Thanks for keeping it even…

    13. mokers

      There are loads of very smart people that think all of those things, but I’m searching for 1 that thinks you can build a serious contender with him making 24m unless you got some extraordinary good values elsewhere

      With the way the salary cap is currently, no team can afford one person making 24m, even if that person is Lebron James. I have always said a Paul George deal would be great, but if it reaches further than that, the team should stand firm. there are not a lot of teams with cap space that will a) sign Melo for more than NY and b) be a place I think Melo would like to play. The problem has always been that Dolan et al are not smart enough to do this.

      There is one guy on the board who will make the case.

      I actually don’t think even ruru would make that case. The argument is whether Melo can be the best player on a championship team. That I believe is a fair debate. Unless I have missed something, I don’t think ruru has said “Pay Melo the max and you can build around that”.

      Now that is different from saying that Melo is worth the max contract. I certain think that is the case, but only becaue the salaray cap and CBA put an artificial limit on a players value. In a world were Lebron or Durant can make 50 million, Melo is worth 24. But that world doesn’t exist. However, I think it is also more than fair to say that if Melo is making a max contract under this CBA, with this franchise would be almost impossible. There are no young players on cheap contracts, not enough draft assets and no cap space until after next season to acquire anything other than minimum contracts.

    14. thenamestsam

      To those of you who are saying Melo at 18-20 is a good idea but Melo at 23-25/year will cripple the team — do you REALLY think that the extra $5 million a year that the team will have to spend if Melo signs for 18-20 is going to make that much of a difference? For that kind of money, they get one MLE guy or 3 vet minimum guys. That’s the difference between a bad team and a contender? I don’t think so.

      I agree with this. One of the things that tends to get lost in the discussion is that building a contender is really, really hard even if you do everything right, and the odds of our beloved Knickerbockers doing even a few things right is very low. So yes, getting Melo back for 18 instead of 25 obviously helps a good amount. But in order to be a championship team you still have to get a lot of other things right, from good coaching, to getting the right vets on cheap contracts to hitting on some young players, etc. The Knicks haven’t shown that they can do any of that consistently enough to build a real contender even if Melo was playing for the midlevel.

      I’d rather we be the Rockets also, but that would require about five years of mostly savvy draft picks, smart incremental trades, effective player development, and intelligent long-term thinking. Does that really sound like a high probability outcome to anyone?

    15. mokers

      It wasn’t impossible to build around Melo during this phase of his career 2012-5. Certainly, if we had passed on Stat, waited for the offseason to acquire Melo, and drafted better, things could be much better. We could have lucked into a guy like Lance Stephenson, Nic Batum, Wes Matthews, or I don’t know Serge Ibaka and got much better bang for our dollars elsewhere.

      But doing so during his decline phase without any draft picks is going to be pretty much impossible. It’s too difficult to acquire the right kind of talent in free agency and the window to acquire and develop young talent is too short, imo….

      Sorry, I didn’t see this before I posted. This is very accurate and I won’t disagree.

    16. Cock Jowles, #1 Nostradumbass

      $5M a year is a huge difference in a league with a harsh luxury tax.

      $5M would have meant LeBron and Wade, or Wade and Bosh. Not all three. $5M got them all three, and then 3 consecutive conference championships and 2 Finals wins. $5M is the difference between snagging another max player and getting Andrea Bargnani.

      Yes, $5M makes a difference. If you don’t think so, you’re probably one of the guys who thought this team was going to win 53 games and reach the East finals. Oh yeah! You were.

    17. Cock Jowles, #1 Nostradumbass

      And if you think that guard play is the reason that the Knicks are as bad as they are, you might be missing Bargnani’s box score totals.

      http://www.boxscoregeeks.com/players/314-andrea-bargnani

      See how he’s worse than average at everything measurable in the box score? Then factor in his anecdotally terrible defense and tell me that he’s not the worst player in the league by a country mile.

      Totally deluded, even in the face of a facile conclusion. Johnno is the new worst poster. Even ruruland admitted he was wrong, and here’s this guy downplaying the nuclear disaster that is Bargnani’s game.

    18. Brian Cronin

      To those of you who are saying Melo at 18-20 is a good idea but Melo at 23-25/year will cripple the team — do you REALLY think that the extra $5 million a year that the team will have to spend if Melo signs for 18-20 is going to make that much of a difference? For that kind of money, they get one MLE guy or 3 vet minimum guys. That’s the difference between a bad team and a contender? I don’t think so.

      The issue it is about trying to fit as many top level free agents under the salary cap in 2015, where an extra $5-7 million is huge and not about adding one additional player for $5-7 million. The reason guys at $24-25 million per year are cap killers is because they prevent you from adding multiple max players and then filling the rest of your roster with young players or vet minimum guys. STAT and Melo both refusing to give the Knicks discounts was what took the Knicks out of any chance of getting Chris Paul (already greatly reduced by throwing nearly all of their tradeable assets into the Melo deal), as they didn’t even have the leverage to be able to say “Hey, any team that is interested in trading for Chris Paul, be warned that he’s coming to New York next year as a free agent so don’t bother. So New Orleans, you might as well deal him to us for the poo-poo platter of Billups plus random garbage” because they didn’t have MAX cap room the following season due to STAT and Melo’s salaries.

      EDITED TO ADD: Shit, THCJ got to my point while I was writing my post.

    19. cgreene

      I think player development gets left out of the conversation far too often as an organizational skill that is more important than drafting and maybe the most important part of coaching. These athletes are so finely tuned and close in skill that the difference between having Shumpert’s type of year versus Jimmy Butler or even Lance Stephenson is really defined by how the players are taught, what influences are around them and taking the appropriate psychological approach to building their confidence. Frazier talks about confidence 10x per broadcast as being the differentiating piece between players. The reason that San Antonio and now Indiana are able to consistently create good young players is not because they are better at drafting it is because they are better at player development. Bill Simmons for all his inanity sometimes wrote a piece a while back I think after the Celts won the 2008 title about how Rondo never would have become a top flight player had he not been surrounded by mature respected veterans and a good coach who understood his psychology. I totally agree. Had the Knicks drafted Rondo I don’t think he’d have had half the career he’s had. He may be a bad example because he has deep flaws in his game but we have had this convo relative to Lance this year as well. People say Lance wasn’t ready for NYC but had the Knicks had a strong organization in place maybe he could have thrived here. Had Woodson and the organization taken the proper approach to Shumpert I think he’d be having a much better year. Last year they had him guarding a lot of 3′s instead of taking advantage of his on ball D, they asked him to come to summer league to work on playing point where I would have had him working on his driving/finishing skills rather than point, they told him he might not start when he had always started thereby taking away a level of confidence etc etc etc… sorry for the meander…

    20. Brian Cronin

      Heck, I think both Rondo and Tony Parker never would have developed into the players they eventually did if they had been drafted by shitty teams originally.

    21. cgreene

      It’s true for tons of guys except for the transcendent guys who can change a whole organizational culture on their own. One of the things that is not discussed enough in relation to Melo is that he’s… well… mellow. He does not have strong leadership skills in terms of demanding his teammates play better. I think he should call them out and get in their faces publicly as a matter of strategy. If that’s not his personality then it’s not but it does have an effect. The great ones do that because they don’t care how well liked they are.

    22. johnno

      CJ1N — Since you have deemed me to be the worst poster (damn! I was feeling pretty good about myself after Darrel H declared me to be level-headed), maybe you can answer a question for me — before you deemed Jordan Hill to be “awesome at basketball” last week, how many times in the last year had you actually watched him play? Once? Twice? Did you watch him play against the Knicks? He is most definitely NOT awesome at basketball. He has two nice skills (rebounding and scoring when he is 2 feet from the rim) but he is pretty lousy at everything else.
      And yes, you are correct, I did think that the Knicks would win 50-56 games this year. But here’s what I assumed that turned out to be totally wrong — Shumpert and Felton would be a competent basketball players, JR would be himself early in the season and not just in the last 10 games, MWP would play major minutes, Chandler would not break his leg and Prigioni would not break his toe. Bargnani has been disappointing to me but not nearly as disappointing as Shumpert, Felton and JR. You think Bargnani has been below average? Check out the stats for those three. If you exclude Shumpert’s two outlier games in Texas, our SHOOTING guard is shooting 35% from the field. Before his recent hot streak, JR was also at about 35%. For the year, Felton is shooting barely 40% from the field and below 30% from 3. But, you’re right. They’ve been terrific. It’s all Bargnani’s fault.
      @19 — if you want to talk yourself into believing that, if only Stat and Melo had each taken $3 million less, the Knicks would have Chris Paul, go ahead. You’re only fooling yourself.

    23. Brian Cronin

      Again, $5-7 million of cap room is extremely valuable when you’re attempting to fit multiple max-level players under a strict salary cap.

    24. lavor postell

      @THCJ

      Bargnani has been a part of the problem. Felton and Shump have been just as much a part of the problem as well. When you suck as much as we do you can’t lay it all on one guy.

      @cgreene

      The Knicks haven’t helped develop him properly, but he really hasn’t helped himself much either and they both share responsibility in his lack of development. While the organization and coaching staff have not been able to clearly define his role he has also failed to demonstrate once skill he is particularly adept at since his return from ACL surgery last year. Before that he was an extremely effective on the ball defender against 1′s and 2′s, that showed signs of a developing three point shot and a decent ability to attack and finish at the rim.

      His handle to my eye looks like it’s gotten worse to the point where I don’t remember the last time he beat his man off the bounce even when he has an obvious mismatch. He actually can’t finish at the rim, his off the ball movement is terrible (Woodson very responsible for this as well) and he’s been awful on the break this season. Other than shooting corner 3′s and being a good defensive rebounder he does nothing on the floor.

      His on the ball defense is simply average now. His rookie season in games against Rose and Wade he was constantly harassing their dribble, not giving space and deflecting the ball away often leading to steals and easy transition buckets. When is the last time you saw Shump, even in his designated area of expertise of on ball defense, create havoc?

      I hate Woodson too, but if we agree that small ball is the best way to go with this team, than Shump has to be comfortable and able to defend 3′s a decent amount of time. I won’t knock on the coaching staff too much for asking him to do that. Him and Felton also are terrible defensively against the PNR which is a recipe for disaster with the amount of PNR that is prevalent in the NBA currently.

    25. Nick C.

      Lavor, good point. Is it possible that we were all hypnotized or biased by the defense on Wade and the consecutive steals? Philip Humber threw a perfect game, Terrence Ross scored 51 points …

      Johnno, was not Bargnani touted as a floor spacer who by inference would make Melo’s life easier and presumably lead to more open looks for the others leading to in theory better shooting? Now that I think about it perhaps it was Novak who made them good. His mere presence on Toronto has helped them improve. (this is mostly tongue in cheek but I can’t help point out how the selling points on Bargs were totally wrong). You are right the guard play sucks as in bottom feeder of the NBA bad.

    26. DRed

      Holy shit. How bad would Bargnani have to be before people stop defending him? What the fuck? We all can correctly deduce that Ray Felton sucks bigtime.

      Johnno, more substantively, shooting is a very important part of basketball, but it is not the only important part of basketball. Shump, for example, has generally shot like shit, but has rebounded very well. And he doesn’t shoot that often. Bargnani is bad at fucking everything. He can’t shoot, he’s an incredibly terrible rebounder, he fucking sucks on defense AND he’s still 4th on the Knicks in minutes played. I agree that Shump has been more disappointing, but there’s no question which one has been the worse basketball player.

      As for your predictions, no, nobody knew that Chandler would break his leg, Prigs his toe, Metta’s knee would filll up like a water balloon, etc. But it also was totally unreasonable to think an old, injury prone team would not have lots of injuries. J.R. has never been that good and was coming off an injury. Felton has been a lot worse than I expected, but he also has never been particularly good, has had issues staying in shape, and is approaching 30. When you’re carrying that much risk on your roster, the chances are that things are going to go bad.

    27. Frank O.

      I have always been hopeful that Bargs would work out.
      But this year, by far, the Knicks worst elements play the 1 and 2. A few weeks ago, I posted a breakdown from 82games.com on the +/- numbers for us at the guard positiions and our front line positions.
      We are so radically bad in our back court in terms of scoring and points allowed it is insurmountable. Ray Felton has been a debacle. He’s not a poor man’s Lin. He’s not a starter in the NBA, and I have doubts about him as first off the bench. He can’t defense, he can’t penetrate and he can’t shoot. He’s often out of shape and he gets flustered in big moments. He scares no one.
      Shump’s rapid decline since a) he wa stold he needed to battle for a job that should have been his and b)since the knicks started shopping him around has only made things worse.
      Bargs’ numbers while bad, are not as bad as our starting point guard and No. 1 ball handler. Ray has killed the knicks this season.

    28. stratomatic

      An extra 5 million does not always equal some mid level exception quality guy. Sometimes it’s the difference between an above average player and another legitimate max player.

    29. stratomatic

      “Shump’s rapid decline since a) he wa stold he needed to battle for a job that should have been his and b)since the knicks started shopping him around has only made things worse.”

      I would add “c”.

      c) I started reading reports of him hanging out and partying with JR.

    30. DRed

      Ray Felton blows bigtime. Don’t get me wrong. But he has played 200 fewer minutes than Bargnani. And I believe that Bargnani just exacerbates the defensive ineptitude of Felton and THJ. It’s not Bargs fault that they can’t stay in front of a guy even a little bit, but when he was on the court his hilariously clueless help defense made a bad situation even worse.

    31. johnno

      I will acknowledge that, in retrospect, some of my assumptions were a little unreasonable. What can I say, I’m usually a perennial optimist. And, my saying that Shumpert, Felton and early JR have been worse than Bargnani should not be interpreted as lavishing praise on Bargnani. It’s more a damning indictment of the other three guys. DRed, Shumpert has rebounded well for his position (much like the awesome at basketball Jordan Hill) and his on-ball defense has been decent, but he has been positively brutal at every other aspect of the game. Here’s a fun game on a wet and miserable afternoon for those of you who defend the Knicks backcourt — take the top 15 teams in the league right now and list the 8 guys on those teams who have averaged the most minutes per game. You now have a list of 120 rotation players on the upper half of the league teams. I challenge you to find 10 guys on that list who have been worse than Felton and Shumpert. I bet you can’t do it.

    32. d-mar

      @31 yeah but they just lost to the absolute worst team in the NBA, and Bargs had nothing to do with it.

      Not saying he doesn’t suck, but replacing Felton and Shump with an average backcourt duo would have much more of a positive effect on this team than replacing Bargnani with an average PF.

    33. johnno

      This is rock bottom right?
      I guess when the only defense that you have of a lousy player is that his teammates have been even lousier, there’s not much further down that you can go…

    34. DRed

      I challenge you to find 10 guys on that list who have been worse than Felton and Shumpert. I bet you can’t do it.

      Felton might be tough. Shumpert would be easy. Here’s one right off the top of my head. Andrea Bargnani. Here’s another one. JR Smith. I’m 20% there and I haven’t even left the Knicks yet. Hell, Amare might be worse than Shump too. He fouls a ton, turns the ball over, never passes, plays no defense, is a sub par rebounder these days, no longer scores at an elite rate and somehow lost the ability to shoot free throws.

    35. DRed

      @31 yeah but they just lost to the absolute worst team in the NBA, and Bargs had nothing to do with it.

      So? The 1995 Bulls lost to a terrible Raptors team. Even very good teams (which the Knicks are not, obviously) lose to bad teams on occasion.

    36. thenamestsam

      DRed, The rules of Johno’s game stipulated that you take the top 15 teams in the league which, unfortunately, does not include the Knicks.

    37. johnno

      “Shumpert would be easy. Here’s one right off the top of my head. Andrea Bargnani. Here’s another one. JR Smith. I’m 20% there and I haven’t even left the Knicks yet. Hell, Amare might be worse than Shump too. He fouls a ton, turns the ball over, never passes, plays no defense, is a sub par rebounder these days, no longer scores at an elite rate and somehow lost the ability to shoot free throws.”
      I assume that you realize just how bad it is that it was that easy for you to find 3 guys on the Knicks who have played worse than Shump while playing major minutes (4 if you include Felton)…

    38. ephus

      I do not think the Knicks are even close to rock bottom. It can get so much worse from here. Without going through the entire parade of horribles, here are two words that send a shudder down my spine: Coach Callipari.

    39. DRed

      Alright, let’s take a stab at this:

      From OKC-Kendrick Perkins is worse than Shumpert. Derek Fisher is sadly 9th on the team in minutes. So close!

      From Miami: I would take Shump over “Moochie” Norris Cole and the shambling hulk that used to be Shane Battier.

      Spurs: Unsurprisingly, they have their shit together. Let’s move on.

      Toronto: Shump is better than Vasquez. Technically, he’s 9th in minutes, but Gay is no longer on the team, so I’m taking him. Deal with it.

      Portland: I’d take Shump over Mo Williams and Dorrell Wright.

      Indiana: Shump over Scola

      Houston: Maybe Garcia, but this is another team that seems to be playing the guys who are good more than the guys who suck. That Morey is one radical visionary.

      Phoenix: another well run team.

      Clippers: I’d roll with Shump instead of Dudley or Matt Barnes. (as an aside, what the fuck happened to Matt Barnes this year?)

      Dallas: Stop the Vinsanity. I’m taking Shump over VC.

      Memphis: Shump > Tayshon Prince. I am very tempted to say Marc Gasol here, but you will all freak out, so lets move along.

      Hawks: Jeff Teague and Sweet Lou Williams are not as good as our Shump.

      Well that’s more than 10. I could have added some other players, but I stuck with the ones I think are fairly obvious. So there you go. Shump! Shump! Not as bad as some rotation players on good teams.

    40. DRed

      I assume that you realize just how bad it is that it was that easy for you to find 3 guys on the Knicks who have played worse than Shump while playing major minutes (4 if you include Felton)…

      Have you read anything I’ve written since like, June? We are not a particularly good team, but giving lots of minutes to our worst players is a big part of what we do, and it’s one of the reasons we are so very bad this year.

    41. Hubert

      There are some $35 seats on stubhub.

      Tonight is a great night for lots of us to swarm on the Garden and get that Dolan Sucks thing going.

      I’ll be there. If you’re there, too, and you hear it, join in!

      (And if you hear one, solitary, loud voice in the crowd on the broadcast screaming Dolan Sucks in rhythm, tell your friends you know that guy from the internet.)

    42. Hubert

      Dolan sucks, Melo’s overpaid, Felton is the worst point guard in the league, Chandler gets outworked by Zaza fucking Pachulia, STAT is a blackhole and contract albatross, Bargs is the worst player in the league, JR is an idiot, Shump is a bottom-3 starting 2 guard, K-Mart and Pablo are 87 years old, Murry can’t dribble, THJ is a one dimensional chucker, MWP has done nothing and Beno is liable for all of this in some capacity.

      [MSG announcer voice]: YOUR….New York….KNNNNICKS!!!!

    43. thenamestsam

      I do not think the Knicks are even close to rock bottom. It can get so much worse from here. Without going through the entire parade of horribles, here are two words that send a shudder down my spine: Coach Callipari.

      Since I’m sure this is going to come up whenever Woodson finally bites the dust I’m very curious why people are so terrified of this. He didn’t break any records with the Nets, but that was 15 years ago and a horrible situation (though maybe not worse than what he would walk into here). I don’t think it disproves the notion that he can coach in the NBA. Yes, his greatest strength seems to be his abilities as a recruiter, but for a team that builds primarily through free agency like the Knicks those skills could be well leveraged. Despite his teams relying hugely on young players the last few years they’ve always played pretty disciplined, decent basketball and he has done a good job of taking the talent he’s gotten it and keeping it on a steady development path as witnessed by the draft stock of his players. I don’t think he’s going to be one of the 5 best coaches in the league and he’ll certainly be paid that way if he ends up here, but there’s no opportunity cost to paying your coach a ton of money and I don’t see any reason to think he won’t be an improvement over Woodson.

    44. JK47

      Rock bottom will be when the Knicks miss the playoffs by one game, then Melo leaves for nothing, then Dolan trades the expiring Bargs and Stat contracts for even worse, longer contracts. You think the Melo/Stat teams were disappointing, wait until you get a load of the Eric Gordon/Josh Smith Knicks years.

    45. max fisher-cohen

      +1000 to the people talking about player development and how critical it is to what a player becomes, especially guys who come in younger and aren’t transcendent. I’d add Westbrook and George to that list and I’m sure I could add another two dozen players if I sat around and thought about it. You help players grow the same way you help anyone grow: start with a strong and consistent voice from on top — in the NBA this would be a unified voice from ownership on down through the coaches and veteran players that if the player does as he’s asked, he’ll be an important part of the team’s future — and then incrementally increase the player’s responsibilities, making sure the player understands exactly what’s expected of him. When he struggles, don’t punish him — be patient.

      Parker and Westbrook made a lot of bad choices on the court in their first few seasons and both likely read the dozens of articles about how they should be traded for veterans so their teams could win right away, but the organization remained behind them and it’s paid huge dividends.

      Also of note, new rumors that the Knicks will say bye to Woodson as a last ditch effort to convince Melo to stay. If that happens, there’s no way this team gets blown up before the deadline IMO. Seems like the shame of giving away another lottery pick is a stronger motivator to the organization than actually improving the team’s prospects. A coaching change would give the organization a whole new dictionary of excuses to make if the team continues to lose. They won’t be halfway through that dictionary by the time the deadline arrives and would most definitely continue to use it through the summer if Melo re-signs.

    46. thenamestsam

      Also of note, new rumors that the Knicks will say bye to Woodson as a last ditch effort to convince Melo to stay.

      Seemed pretty flimsy. He cited a “league source”, not a team source, who said “Woodson could be removed before the Feb. 20 trade deadline”. Not “The Knicks are going to fire Woodson”; not “The Knicks are seriously considering firing Woodson”; not even “The Knicks have discussed firing Mike Woodson”, any of which you can bet would have been the line had his source actually confirmed any of those things. Just “The Knicks could fire Woodson”. Yes, they could. I could have been his source for that bit of hard hitting info and so could you. In a whole article whose premise is that Mike Woodson is in trouble, that’s the only bit of sourced reporting. Everything else is just pointing out the myriad reasons the Knicks should be considering firing Mike Woodson. Makes the quote read like a reporter who went looking for a juicy quote as part of his story and came up essentially empty, not as a credible report that something is about to happen.

    47. johnno

      Coach Callipari.
      And, since most of his players are one and done, he is uniquely qualified to coach a Knicks team that seems to have, on average, 10 new players a year…

    48. johnno

      Re: Woodson — Regardless of what you think of him as a coach, he seems like a good guy. It is painful to watch his interviews lately and I feel really bad for him. He might actually be relieved if they let him go.

    49. max fisher-cohen

      Woodson is a good guy like Wikus was a good guy in District 9. He happily played along with the military private contractor corporate agenda for as long as he could — reaping as many benefits as he could without regard for right and wrong — and wasn’t smart or brave enough to see that his hubris would eventually come back to bite him. Now that he’s on the brink of being turned into a prawn and exiled from Knicks-land, sure, I feel a little bad for him, but overall, I don’t see him as a sympathetic character.

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