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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2014.05.27)

  • [New York Times] George Cries Foul After Heat Take Game 4, 102-90 (Tue, 27 May 2014 07:16:52 GMT)
    The stat sheet from Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals told quite a story. It said Miami never trailed, that Indiana’s All-Star center failed to contribute a single point, that the night’s two leading scorers were wearing Heat uniforms and that the Pacers committed twice as many turnovers as they forced.

  • [New York Times] Heat 102, Pacers 90: With ‘Turnovers for Touchdowns,’ James and the Heat Take Command (Tue, 27 May 2014 04:12:32 GMT)
    Behind a dominating, 32-point performance by LeBron James in Miami on Monday, the Heat took a 3-1 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals against the Pacers.

  • [New York Times] Heat Take Command of East Finals, 102-90 (Tue, 27 May 2014 03:58:43 GMT)
    Chris Bosh got them started. LeBron James took over in the second half.

  • [New York Times] LeBron on Fire as Heat Go 3-1 Up Over Pacers (Tue, 27 May 2014 03:22:33 GMT)
    LeBron James produced a blistering 14-point third quarter as the Miami Heat took a commanding 3-1 lead over the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference finals with a 102-90 win.

  • [New York Times] Bill Clears Way for Blatche to Play for the Philippines (Tue, 27 May 2014 02:00:58 GMT)
    Andray Blatche, who has no Filipino roots, answered an invitation seeking N.B.A. players willing to represent the country in the FIBA World Cup in August and September.

  • [New York Times] Ibaka Has Overcome More Than Mere Injuries (Tue, 27 May 2014 01:40:34 GMT)
    Serge Ibaka, who returned from what appeared to be a season-ending calf problem to help the Thunder get back into their Western Conference finals matchup against the Spurs, has demonstrated his determination before.

  • 47 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2014.05.27)

    1. Sakei99

      Anytime you get the chance to see Lance Stephenson and his fat mouth eat shit, you take it.

    2. Farfa

      I’m not particularly irked by Stephenson’s shenanigans, I just can’t take him too seriously: as of now he’s the 3rd-maybe 4th best player in Indiana, where there’s no clear cut superstar, so… not much to write home about (yes, yes: he led the league in triple-doubles with five. So what? If LeBron tried to, he probably would have netted twenty).

      I keep on being baffled by how meager is the impact of Paul George on games, wins and losses. He just can’t seem to be a player capable of taking matters in his hands when it counts. And he was a legitimate MVP dark horse for the first two months. Welp. If I’m Indiana, I’m trying to trade him (I’m writing this since late March). The Pacers, if they really want to contend, need a superstar, badly, or at least a very reliable backcourt leader, a la 2004 Pistons. George for Dragic + Marcus Morris + Len? Who says no?

    3. d-mar

      It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Stephenson this off season. How many teams are going to line up and offer him the big bucks? He obviously has some talent, but he can be a nut case and I think the more a team makes him the focal point of their offense, the worse he’ll perform.

      As for George, I always believed he was over rated by the media ready to anoint him the next Scottie Pippen. His shot is erratic and decision making questionable, but he is only 24 so I guess that he has time to improve. No guarantee he will though.

    4. Farfa

      It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Stephenson this off season. How many teams are going to line up and offer him the big bucks?

      It seems that NBA front-offices are becoming smarter by the day, so I don’t see many of them offering “big bucks” (which is 12-14 mln/yr in his case). I think his right value lies around Monta/Afflalo money (7.5 to 8 mln/yr), and at that price he is still a medium-risk/medium-reward player. I don’t really see his ceiling being much higher than what he already is.

    5. lavor postell

      George is overrated, but the guy is still one of the top-5 small forwards in the league. He’s a very good, if a bit overrated, defensive player and his offense has improved year after year since he entered the league. The problem with that team is that they are just so fucking soft mentally. Hibbert complains about not getting enough touches last night after yet another scoreless performance, George absolves himself and his teammates of any responsibility for the loss by pinning it all on the officiating, West echoes those sentiments, Lance didn’t show up after running his mouth about the BPITW, etc. Nothing is ever their fault, they’re disrespected, they don’t get love from the media, it says a lot about them as team in my eyes.

    6. Alecto

      Vogel’s insistence on giving Hibbert and Scola extended minutes is a fireable offense on the order of Woodson condoning J.R’s playoff chucking last year.

    7. DRed

      As for George, I always believed he was over rated by the media ready to anoint him the next Scottie Pippen. His shot is erratic and decision making questionable, but he is only 24 so I guess that he has time to improve. No guarantee he will though.

      Scottie Pippen couldn’t shoot for shit when he came into the league.

    8. thenamestsam

      His shot is erratic and decision making questionable, but he is only 24 so I guess that he has time to improve. No guarantee he will though.

      No guarantee that he will improve, but he has already shown himself to be an extremely hard worker. Don’t forget this is only his 4th year in the league, and he was considered an extremely raw product coming out of Fresno State. Now at 24 years old we’re saying they should deal him because he can’t go toe to toe with Lebron. I’m…not sure that’s reasonable. To put it mildly.

      I’m not entirely sure he’s ever going to be capable of being the primary perimeter creator on a title winning team – his handle is still too sloppy at times and he’s too prone to errant passes, especially when he drives. But could he be the 2nd best player on a title team? Yes, he could, even if he never improves from what he is now. He has all of the secondary skills – good shooter, fantastic defender, solid rebounder. To me, he’s not the part of the team that needs fixing, he’s the guy who you should be looking to pair with a more creative perimeter player.

    9. DRed

      Also, free Chris Copeland! Nobody on your team can hit a shot right now-maybe play the guy on your bench who is good at offense?

    10. thenamestsam

      Vogel’s insistence on giving Hibbert and Scola extended minutes is a fireable offense on the order of Woodson condoning J.R’s playoff chucking last year.

      Lol. And he should be playing who instead? He should bench Hibbert because he can’t score and go with Ian Mahinmi? Or maybe bench Scola because he can’t guard anybody and stick Cope in there? Was it also a fireable offense when Hibbert had 19 points and a +19 in Game 1, or only after this game?

    11. Alecto

      I mean there’s a dearth of alternatives but Hibbert has been irredeemably awful for these playoffs and post-All Star Break–Cope at this point is a better player and scorer than Scola so why not. What what you rather have them do when they’re down 3-1 in a best of 7? Continue to to lose to a team that’s obviously superior without trying to change anything up to throw off their game plan? Hibbert is bad. Scola is bad. Don’t play bad players when you can play better ones. It’s not like putting in Cope will win them the series but seriously those two players are travesties at the moment.

    12. DRed

      It’s sort of just like when we didn’t play Copeland last year. Would it have won us the series? Maybe not, but it might have been better than doing the things that were clearly not working.

    13. johnno

      At this point in his career, isn’t George kind of a younger version of in-his-prime Andre Iguodala — a great defender who does a lot of things really well and who anyone would love to have on their team, but not a guy who can be the number one option on a true contender? He’s only 24 and might become that number one guy, but even if he doesn’t improve at all from what he is now, isn’t he still really valuable? I think that the Pacers would be crazy to trade him.

    14. Farfa

      Now at 24 years old we’re saying they should deal him because he can’t go toe to toe with Lebron. I’m…not sure that’s reasonable. To put it mildly.

      I’m not entirely sure he’s ever going to be capable of being the primary perimeter creator on a title winning team – his handle is still too sloppy at times and he’s too prone to errant passes, especially when he drives. But could he be the 2nd best player on a title team? Yes, he could, even if he never improves from what he is now. He has all of the secondary skills – good shooter, fantastic defender, solid rebounder. To me, he’s not the part of the team that needs fixing, he’s the guy who you should be looking to pair with a more creative perimeter player.

      No, no, I’m not saying he is the part of the team that needs fixing. The part of the team that needs fixing is… everything and nothing. I’m saying that he’s the best trade asset they have, and maybe they’re going to pay him a little too much for what he can do (which is a lot, but how are you going to explain to him that he’s going to play second fiddle to someone else when you’ve spent the last two years saying to him that he’s Indiana basketball savior, when he clearly isn’t?). Also, George Hill is a nice guy and a great defender, but he’s a bad shot creator, which leaves only Paul George and Lance to create, and neither has mad handles, so that’s a lot of turnovers for them. That’s why I advocate a trade: not because he’s bad, but because, as of now, the Indiana system is inherently flawed and a PG trade is the fastest way for them to adjust things. Of course, they could also try to trade Hibbert, but where? And for what? Indiana needs elite shooters and shot creators, and I don’t envision a team giving you an elite shooter or an elite shot creator to get Hibbert, bad rebounding and all. The lack of rebounding on Hibbert’s case makes him almost untradeable, if not to get another center, unless they try with DAL.

    15. thenamestsam

      At this point in his career, isn’t George kind of a younger version of in-his-prime Andre Iguodala — a great defender who does a lot of things really well and who anyone would love to have on their team, but not a guy who can be the number one option on a true contender?

      I think Iggy is a decent comp. George isn’t quite as good a playmaker in my eyes – you’re not going to see him running back up point like Iggy does, but he’s a better shooter which is an important attribute for a secondary guy.

      It’s sort of just like when we didn’t play Copeland last year. Would it have won us the series? Maybe not, but it might have been better than doing the things that were clearly not working.

      I think it’s actually pretty different. Last year we knew that going small with Cope worked. We had done it all year to the tune of 54 wins. So when going big was clearly not working we had another viable option – an option that we knew worked. What you and Alecto are suggesting is that they try something they haven’t seriously done at any point this year. Why not suit Larry legend up and have him play the 3? Why not run me out there at point? I mean what they’re doing clearly isn’t working, right? “Don’t play bad players when you can play better ones” is an excellent credo but is there really a reason we think Mahinmi or Cope is better than Hibbert?

    16. lavor postell

      @Farfa

      18m/year over the next 5 is pretty good value on a two-way player as good as George who is still 3 years from entering his prime and has improved every year he’s been in the league. You don’t trade your best player because other guys on your team suck.

      Hibbert is the guy they should to try to move this summer and I still think they could find a team willing to take him on for the next 2 years on his deal. Even if all they get is cap relief and a couple of second rounders that would be worth it.

      Anyways will be interesting to see what they do this summer, but considering Bird was on record saying the Pacers were going all in for a title this year and are now on the verge of an embarassing series defeat to Miami major changes seem likely.

    17. DRed

      What you and Alecto are suggesting is that they try something they haven’t seriously done at any point this year. Why not suit Larry legend up and have him play the 3? Why not run me out there at point?

      The Pacers literally can’t suit up Larry Legend or run you out there. They can play Chris Copeland. Luis Scola actually has sucked all season. Why keep playing him? It hasn’t worked all year. It’s probably not going to work now. When Chris Copeland has played, he’s done what he did last year for us-score very well, play no real defense, and rebound like Tim Hardaway Jr.

    18. Farfa

      Summing it up: Paul George is extremely valuable, but at this point I see it hard that he’ll ever accept to be the 2nd best player in Indiana. And Indiana won’t ever get that superstar without trading George. So, they would be wise to trade George while he’s still on the rise AND locked to an extension so that the receiving team can’t leverage them in giving pennies on the dollar. Plus, if Indiana can’t get a superstar they need at least a consistent floor general.

      Examples: George for Lawson and Wilson Chandler; George for Rondo and Sullinger (I don’t like this one from a spacing perspective for Indy); and my favorite, George and Hill for Holiday, Anderson and a future first. Shooting for the moon: George for Love, and then West and a second rounder for Millsap.

    19. lavor postell

      If Wade can accept being the 2nd best player in Miami I think Paul George will accept playing second fiddle offensively to somebody else. I still think they need a playmaking point guard way more than upgrading on George. None of those trades are enough in terms of value for a player who’s widely viewed around the league as top-10 guy. To me all of them barring the George-Love swap are trading George for pennies on the dollar and wouldn’t even bring Indiana to the table. They have George locked up for 5 more years on a good value contract. It’s going to take more than fair value to bring them to the table.

    20. thenamestsam

      The Pacers literally can’t suit up Larry Legend or run you out there. They can play Chris Copeland. Luis Scola actually has sucked all season. Why keep playing him? It hasn’t worked all year. It’s probably not going to work now. When Chris Copeland has played, he’s done what he did last year for us-score very well, play no real defense, and rebound like Tim Hardaway Jr.

      I guess I’m not as much anti-“bench Scola” as I am anti-“bench Hibbert”, but I’m still not sure I’m seeing Cope as the savior here as much as I was last year. The problem for Indy in this series to me is that their D is getting torched. Indy is supposed to be the league’s best D (or close to it) and Miami’s O-Rating in this series is 111.5 (compared to 109.0). So one of the best offensive teams in the league is playing even better than their average against this Indy O. Cope is obviously not the solution to that problem.

      Last year we lost to Indy trying to be something we weren’t, playing Cope would have been reclaiming our identity. For Indy to go to Cope now would be the exact opposite, renouncing their identity as a defensive team, and trying to completely change the nature of what they did all season. I don’t think it’s really the same.

    21. mokers

      Luis Scola has a .491 TS this postseason. If he is in to improve the team’s offense, it hasn’t been working. If Rasual Butler can play meaningful minutes for the Pacers, Chris Copeland surely can right? I think Vogel has been kind of exposed. Indiana is really just an ugly team to watch on offense. If there is not a good post look, they let George or Stephenson dribble for a while and take people one on one.

    22. DRed

      . If there is not a good post look, they let George or Stephenson dribble for a while and take people one on one.

      So they added a post attack to the Mike Woodson late game offensive set?

    23. Frank

      has anyone heard anything about Shane Battier being tapped to be a coach anywhere? he seems to be an ideal candidate IMHO. Maybe not triangle-trained but talk about a smart guy who has played on plenty of winners under very good coaches and knows the value of the little things.

    24. DRed

      “Battier would prefer to “take it in, rush it up and get it to your best attacker going to the hoop,” he says. “I’m surprised at how many times coaches call a timeout to draw up an ISO. It’s like, ‘Really? You took a timeout to draw up an ISO?’ That’s my pet peeve as a player watching the game.”

      I’m down.

    25. DRed

      The Michigan Democratic Party recently called him to see if he might consider running to replace U.S. Senator Carl Levin, Battier said.

      But what about the Knicks, Shane?

    26. johnno

      Check out the article on NYPost.com about why the owner of the Grizzlies wanted to fire the coach (it wasn’t written by Berman, so it might actually be true). And we thought that Dolan was a wack-job as an owner…

    27. Z-man

      Not sure you break up the Pacers because they didn’t get past the 2-time defending champs after 2 consecutive appearances in the ECF’s. Lance is found money on a late 2nd round pick. They definitely shouldn’t overpay him but he and his 59% TS vs. the Heat are not why the Pacers are losing. Love him or hate him, he’s a big reason why they got this far. If he would take a JR-like contract, they should keep him around.

    28. DRed

      If Lance takes a JR type contact he’s an even bigger idiot than I think he is. Lance is much more productive than JR, and teams should be willing to pay him a lot more money.

    29. lavor postell

      I don’t think you break up the Pacers in their entirety, but I definitely think they need a bit of a roster and maybe coaching overhaul. Building around George and Stephenson would be a pretty good start. Hibbert is a cancer on that team with his consistent bitching and whining and his inconsistent effort and performance. Moving him and Hill this summer should be a priority.

    30. Brian Cronin

      I think they can compete for a title next year with the same basic team, just lose Turner and hopefully add someone decent with the mini-MLE (after hopefully re-signing Stephenson for about $9 million a year).

      If Stephenson goes for more than $11 million a year on the open market, then yeah, that’s a problem.

    31. Cock Jowles Has Predicted the Last Three Knicks Seasons

      Rashard Lewis needs to stop being a basketball player.

    32. Cock Jowles Has Predicted the Last Three Knicks Seasons

      See what happens when they play Adams instead of Perkins? Fucking christ, Scott Brooks is an idiot.

    33. Cincinnatus

      toning it down on Kawhi Leonard now? not saying he’s the next landry fields but not sure he’s a superstar….

    34. Brian Cronin

      It’d be hilarious if OKC won the title after being more or less completely dismissed after Game 2.

      They’re a tough matchup for Miami. So much energy for such a tired Miami team.

      But, of course, Miami has Lebron James and that, in the end, might make all the difference.

    35. Farfa

      You have to give some credit to Brooks, also. I’m one of the loudest critics of his in-game coaching chops (and I keep on being that), but the man has learned to be just a little less stubborn.

      I still think San Antonio will advance (Ibaka’s calf won’t get better with travel and Jackson seems hurt), but this San Antonio team keeps on falling short when they encounter transcendent talent, and Miami has plenty of it (LeBron James counts as two players right now), so I think a Miami title is inevitable, as much as it hurts me to say that. It could be my european bias, but I’m not a big fan of superstar basketball. I would love to see the much more team-oriented San Antonio win it all (given that I am also a Spurs fan).

    36. Farfa

      @35

      I never understood all the talk of Leonard being the next superstar. He’s going to be a great player for sure, but he won’t ever have the sheer talent to carry a team somewhere. He needs to be the third best player on a contending team. He can occasionally rise to stardom, from game to game (or even series to series. If Ray Allen doesn’t hit that game 6 shot we’re probably talking about a Finals MVP for Kawhi, as strange as it seems), but he can’t be THE superstar. To me, R.C. Buford would be wise to invest all of his energy right now pursuing Kevin Love, not to acquire him now but to get a promise for 2015. Parker, Love and Kawhi, coached by Pop? That’s another 3-4 yrs of guaranteed contender status.

      Another question is: can the Spurs extend him for 40mln/4yrs (at most)? If not, what should they do? He’s not worth 15mln/yr in my mind.

    37. iserp

      Another question is: can the Spurs extend him for 40mln/4yrs (at most)? If not, what should they do? He’s not worth 15mln/yr in my mind.

      He is not playing well in this series, but he’s been better than that. Still 22 years old. Good efficiency, good defense. I am pretty sure he is worth that $15 millions/yr. But since the spurs manage to give smaller contracts to everyone, maybe they get him to sign 40/4.

      If i were him, i wouldn’t sign the extension. Next year he might play more minutes and shoot more. There are quite a few teams with cap space in 2015, and after missing on the top free agents, will throw max offers to the good RFAs out there. Pretty sure the spurs would match.

    38. Farfa

      I am pretty sure he is worth that $15 millions/yr.

      In a general sense, he is. But why should someone give all that money to a player who is not a superstar? It’s those contracts that sends you spiraling down if the player doesn’t live up to his potential. Is there someone in the NBA lining up to offer 15mln/yr to Leonard? Plenty of them. Should they do it? In my mind, not at all. History tells you that you don’t build a contender through free agency, unless you get a top-10 player (and maybe it doesn’t work anyway). I think Dallas should have taught us something about contract value. If you can get a big star, splurge all the money and then some. If you can’t, why pay a glorified role player or a second-third fiddle more than 10 million per years, severely limiting your flexibility going forward?

      So: the Spurs already made a sort of gamble with Splitter (slightly overpaid, if you ask me). If they find themselves offering Leonard 15 millions per year they would put themselves in a 2015 situation where they have 25 millions per year given to Leonard and Splitter, they need to resign Parker, possibly Duncan, find a bunch of role players and voilà! Your cap is almost entirely gone. That is not a recipe for contention from my point of view.

    39. iserp

      I think Dallas should have taught us something about contract value.

      Dallas? Are you sure you were thinking about Dallas?

      Dallas gave insane amounts of money to Jason Terry, Erick Dampier, Josh Howard,Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Monta Ellis, Chris Kaman, José Calderón. They were not superstars.

      If there is something to learn about Dallas is the difference between bad contracts and untradeable contracts. Dallas got well over the salary cap giving questionable contracts, but none of those was 20 million albatross with player options. They gave $9-10 million contracts with team options to players that -even if they were not worth their contract- were useful. In the end, they always managed to trade their players for other players that suit their needs. They lost a few picks in the process, but it was their way to cheat on the salary cap and the free agency system.

      Kawhi Leonard is still going to be worth a lot then he ends next extension, he is gonna be tradeable all the way. Sure the spurs can wait to RFA to try to sign him to a lesser contract; but is it worth not matching a max offer? Players like Kawhi Leonard are not easy to get. BTW, tell me about a rookie that signed a max extension and was a terrible contract that was not because: a) injuries b) a head case.

    40. Farfa

      By Dallas I meant “Dallas in the last two years”. The only debatable contract right now is Calderon’s.

      No post-rookie max has been a complete disaster if not for injuries, that’s true. But a post-rookie max has been given only to perceived superstars in their own right, which is not something you could say about Kawhi. I think that, when giving a max offer, the question you should be asking yourself is “can this player be the best player on a championship team?”. If you answer yes, then ok! If you answer maybe, then 12-14 mln/yr should be enough. If you answer no, not anything more than 10 mln/yr. When the Pacers extended George, they were right to give him the max. At that time, you could envision him being the best player on a championship team. Maybe he could still be (not in that system, sadly for him). You can’t possibly think that about Kawhi. And i really like him.

    41. johnno

      Re: Kawhi Leonard’s value — If you were a GM and there were two UFAs available, and both were willing to take 4 years $48 million, who would you sign — Kawhi Leonard or Paul George? I think that I would pick George, but I also think that I could easily be talked out of my current position.

    42. Farfa

      @43

      I think it depends on which team you are managing. Let’s play hypotetical with the teams that are likely to be under the cap enough to make that offer. If I were Washington, Phoenix or Cleveland (with no chance of getting LeBron), I would take Leonard over George. If I were Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Lakers, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Utah, I would take George over Leonard.

      Basically: if I have a team with some of the right pieces (most importantly a great offensive point guard), I take Leonard because he helps me everywhere and doesn’t have to create his own shot. If I have a rebuilding/middle-to-bad point guard team, I go with George because I need some more firepower, even at the cost of some more TO and less rebounds and blocks.

    43. lavor postell

      You seriously wouldn’t pay Kawhi a max salary of $15m? That’s less than a 1/4 of the current cap, which is going to continue to go up and will probably explode after 2016-17 when the NBA’s TV rights are up for renegotiation.

      Kawhi has made tremendous strides every season he’s been in the league and at 22 is still far from the finished product. He could be the best player on a championship team, just not the No. 1 option. Right now he has a solid three point stroke and is great at finishing around the rim when he gets there. His mid-range game is still developing and while he’s made huge improvements in creating his own shot off the dribble, he still has a lot of room for growth. He had a pretty big leap in his passing this season, but still definitely needs to improve.

      In addition to that Leonard is one of the best defensive wings in the game. He is also capable of matching up when teams go small to play an extra perimeter player at the 3. He did a great job on Lebron last year in the Finals and has done a pretty good job on Durant in this series until last night when KD was hitting everything. Kawhi on a max salary is still a good value player considering the whole package and with the rising cap his $15m hit isn’t going to cripple your team’s cap. There’s no chance the Spurs are going to trade him for infamous stat padder Kevin Love.

    44. Farfa

      I don’t ever want to trade Leonard for Love. Never-ever-ever. Love is not that effective without the right pieces around him. But Love in San Antonio? With Popovich? Yes please.

      Anyway, for the contract question, it’s just that I don’t see Leonard becoming a superstar. For example, I think that Golden State is currently overpaying Iguodala, and I don’t know if Leonard is better that Iguodala at this point or at any point. It’s not that I don’t value defense. Au contrair. I love the Tony Allen contract. It’s that you can’t risk to cripple yourself giving bloated contracts to players just because they could improve more.

    45. lavor postell

      Iguodala is 30. Leonard is 22 and has improved every single year in the league. He hasn’t stagnated and again at $15m with a rising cap he’s a great value, not a bloated contract that’s crippling your cap. Leonard has helped extend San Antonio’s championship window and has probably been at least their third best player this season. I don’t see any drawback at all in signing him to a potential 4 yrs, $60m contract.

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