Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2014.06.16)

  • [New York Post] Dirk: Mavs would love to have ‘Melo (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 02:14:44 -0400)
    At least Dallas can afford Carmelo Anthony. Unlike the Rockets and Bulls, the Mavericks are expected to have enough cap space to sign the Knicks star to a maximum contract,…

  • [New York Times] James, Even at His Best, Can’t Carry the Heat to the Finish (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 08:09:14 GMT)
    LeBron James had a game-high 31 points to go with 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks, and he helped limit Tony Parker. But without help, he could not stop the Spurs.

  • [New York Times] Brilliant Leonard Named Finals Most Valuable Player (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 05:45:24 GMT)
    San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard won his first NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) award after helping the team capture their fifth title with a crushing victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday.

  • [New York Times] The Agony of ’13 Helped Spurs ‘Stay Focused’: Duncan (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 05:39:30 GMT)
    Tim Duncan insists that last year’s agonizing loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals played a big role in this year’s championship victory.

  • [New York Times] San Antonio Spurs Beat Miami Heat to Clinch NBA Title (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 05:30:24 GMT)
    The San Antonio Spurs delivered a decisive end to LeBron James’ two-year reign atop the basketball world by routing the Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday to win the NBA Finals four games to one.

  • [New York Times] The Spurs Were Simply Better: James (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 04:36:24 GMT)
    Minutes after the Miami Heat were beaten in the NBA Finals in a Game Five rout, LeBron James conceded the San Antonio Spurs were simply a better team.

  • [New York Times] Profile of NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 04:24:26 GMT)
    Profile of San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard who won the Bill Russell Award as the most valuable player in the 2014 NBA Finals.

  • [New York Times] Spurs’ Leonard Wins NBA Finals MVP (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 04:18:32 GMT)
    Kawhi Leonard could have been devastated by losing last season’s NBA Finals.

  • [New York Times] San Antonio Spurs Beat Miami Heat to Clinch NBA Title (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:21:25 GMT)
    The San Antonio Spurs delivered a decisive end to LeBron James’ two-year reign atop the basketball world by routing the Miami Heat 104-87 on Sunday to win the NBA Finals four games to one.

  • [New York Times] LeBron’s Big Start for Naught, and Heat Reign Ends (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:12:40 GMT)
    LeBron James went to the bench midway through the fourth quarter, took a seat and covered his eyes with his left hand.

  • [New York Times] Spurs 104, Heat 87: Spurs Win Fifth Title, Cementing Dynasty Across Decades (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:11:40 GMT)
    San Antonio erased an early 16-point deficit to capture its fifth championship in 16 seasons and avenge a finals loss against Miami last year.

  • [New York Times] San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard Named MVP in NBA Finals (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:09:24 GMT)
    San Antonio Spurs small forward Kawhi Leonard was named the Most Valuable Player in the National Basketball Association Finals on Sunday.

  • [New York Times] Duncan’s Legacy Isn’t Something He Thinks About (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:03:36 GMT)
    Annual traditions are everywhere in San Antonio.

  • [New York Times] Profile of NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 03:00:27 GMT)
    Profile of the San Antonio Spurs, who beat the Miami Heat to win the 2014 National Basketball Association championship:

  • [New York Times] Roundup: With Offensive Bonanza, Spurs Force the Heat to Consider Taking Fewer Gambles (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 02:09:06 GMT)
    On the verge of elimination, Miami entered Game 5 on Sunday night with a decision to make on defense: Play with greater activity or back off.

  • [New York Times] San Antonio Spurs Use Language Barriers to Their Advantage (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 01:59:16 GMT)
    With eight players on the current roster born outside the United States, the Spurs have made a complicated game look easy by speaking a common language: top-flight basketball.

  • [New York Times] NBA-Spurs Overcome 16-Point Deficit and Lead the Heat 47-40 (Mon, 16 Jun 2014 01:33:24 GMT)
    The San Antonio Spurs, needing one victory to claim their first championship since 2007, overcame a 16-point deficit to lead the Miami Heat 47-40 at halftime in Game Five of the NBA Finals on Sunday.

  • 169 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2014.06.16)

    1. Farfa

      Guys.

      You’ve seen it. We’ve seen it. The Spurs winning the ring last night. You may not believe it, but they made me, a 30-year-old grown-up, cry a river from pure joy. Not because of the win (I’m still a Knicks fan at heart), but because of their ways. The way they won. The way they played. The way they showed pristine humility. The way Duncan got a little bit emotional with his kids at the end (closest I’ve seen anyone resembling a real superhero). The way everyone on the podium was super happy that Kawhi won Finals MVP. The way everyone, opposite team included, was happy for Pop and Timmy. The way they showed the world that sometimes, sometimes, hard work, sacrifice, trust in your teammates, respect for the game, honesty, humility, and selflessness really make you win. And that win was everything. A good Hollywood script. A great life lesson. I cried at the end like I was at the movies watching Forrest Gump (or your tear jerker movie of choice).

      I want that for our Knicks. Melo, do you think you are able to be like them? If so, please stay. If not (if you’re even wavering about that), then go. I won’t hold it against you, everyone has his priorities. But I really want to see the Bockers play that way, live that way. That’s all, WP48 or not, PPG or not. I want 12 human beings who care for each other (and can play great basketball, yes).

      Jowles, I’m yours for the caustic, sarcastic kill right now. But I don’t care. This is the right way. Long live Pop.

    2. johnno

      A few comments on last night (and the Finals in general) –
      – I think Spoelstra did a real bad job. Wade was obviously not going to give him much, and he couldn’t figure a way to get Bosh more involved? And what’s with Bosh standing 25 feet from the basket most of the time?
      – He raised the white flag (aka took LeBron out) with 6 minutes to go down 18? I realize that it was a long shot but, if the Heat hit 3 straight 3s, suddenly it’s a single digit lead. Game 6 last year with 25 seconds to go was also a long shot, but look what happened.
      – LeBron justifiably gets a lot of credit for being the best player in the world, but someone should mention this — the Heat lost the game in the first 8 minutes of the third quarter, which happened to coincide with LeBron’s getting strangely passive on both offense and defense and pretty much disappearing.
      – Am I the only one who thinks that the Spurs unselfishness, non-iso, non-hero ball style of play is due in part to the fact that 60 percent of their roster was born outside the US and, therefore, they all probably played a ton of soccer as kids? Passing, moving without the ball, unselfishness, etc. are all critical in soccer.
      – Kawhi Leonard is who most of us hoped Shumpert would become. I might be “mis-remembering” but I seem to remember that, in the weeks leading up to the 2011 draft, there were rumblings that the Knicks were hoping that he would drop to them. If only…

    3. Farfa

      Am I the only one who thinks that the Spurs unselfishness, non-iso, non-hero ball style of play is due in part to the fact that 60 percent of their roster was born outside the US and, therefore, they all probably played a ton of soccer as kids? Passing, moving without the ball, unselfishness, etc. are all critical in soccer.

      I don’t know about soccer, but I can tell you that’s how they teach basketball to kids here in Europe. Here we are proud of the screens we set, the extra-passes we do, the hustle we show and the critical charges we draw. We don’t really care how many points we score (that said, I don’t know where Bargnani learned his trade. That said again, Benetton Treviso Bargnani was a completely different player).

    4. DRed

      – LeBron justifiably gets a lot of credit for being the best player in the world, but someone should mention this — the Heat lost the game in the first 8 minutes of the third quarter, which happened to coincide with LeBron’s getting strangely passive on both offense and defense and pretty much disappearing.

      Lebron James : 10-21, 31 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 TO.

      Rest of the Heat Starters:12-36, 32 points, 17 rebounds, 6 assists, 7 TO

      If Lebron was passive in the 3rd quarter it’s because he was exhausted from hauling all that deadweight on his back. After the 1st two games the Heat supporting cast made Lebron’s Cavs team look well balanced.

    5. johnno

      “Lebron James : 10-21, 31 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 TO”
      Perfect example of numbers being misleading. He started the game on fire but, when the game (and the series) was on the line — i.e., in the third quarter — he came up small. I could see if he were being aggressive in the third quarter but was missing shots, which can happen to anyone, but he stopped being aggressive, which is why I am criticizing him. And I don’t mean that he stopped shooting. I mean that he stopped working. Actually, in the third quarter, Bosh was the only guy on the Heat roster who looked like he gave a damn.
      “If Lebron was passive in the 3rd quarter it’s because he was exhausted from hauling all that deadweight on his back.”
      So, LeBron gets a pass because he was so exhausted from carrying his team for the first 24 minutes, but Melo is a bum because, despite being exhausted from hauling his team on his back for much of this season, he tired in the fourth quarter of a number of games. Oh, now I understand. Thanks for clarifying.

    6. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

      Of course, the dude gets criticized for 31 points on 21 shots.

      That’s a heroic effort, even if he cooled off after the first quarter.

      And Melo was the MVP on a team that won all of 37 games. Hardly the same thing.

    7. Farfa

      So, LeBron gets a pass because he was so exhausted from carrying his team for the first 24 minutes, but Melo is a bum because, despite being exhausted from hauling his team on his back for much of this season, he tired in the fourth quarter of a number of games. Oh, now I understand. Thanks for clarifying.

      LeBron gets a pass because he does it in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, where the Heat were playing because he almost singlehandedly brought them there (on the same Eastern Conference where Melo plays). LeBron also gets a pass because it is the fourth year in a row he plays till June. Most importantly, LeBron is not really getting a pass, he’s getting his due respect. He’s a superb player who gave it all and this time wasn’t enough because everyone around him got older and Beasley and Oden didn’t pan out.
      Melo doesn’t get a pass because he doesn’t seem to care, also he has built a kinda bad reputation of me-first basketball and who really cares about the team.

    8. thenamestsam

      If Lebron was passive in the 3rd quarter it’s because he was exhausted from hauling all that deadweight on his back. After the 1st two games the Heat supporting cast made Lebron’s Cavs team look well balanced.

      We saw similar stuff from Durant in the WCF as well. I think it’s a big mistake that a lot of these coaches make when desperate to try to just play their best players more and more. Lebron came out like a man possessed last night, but he didn’t ever look quite the same after skipping his normal 2nd quarter rest.

      I think there’s also a pretty big question about his overall minutes load for the season. I think it was the rare very astute point made by Bill Simmons when he pointed out prior to the playoffs that the Heat spent so much time managing Wade’s minutes and health and never seemed to even consider it with Lebron. I think it’s safe to say that if Pop were the Heat coach there’s no way Lebron gets close to 77 regular season games or 38 minutes a night.

    9. lavor postell

      Lebron was tired because he tried to win the game in the first quarter. I don’t really blame him for that since Miami’s been getting annihalated from the outset in the last 2 games, but after that explosion he was relatively quiet for the rest of the night. Lebron deserves criticism, because that’s part of what goes with his standing as the best player in the world, but Wade and Bosh’s no-shows are the real culprits of Miami’s loss.

      That being said Lebron was strangely not aggressive through much of this series. Not even close to his pathetic 2011 Finals, but people that still think Lebron is better than Jordan right now because of his efficiency only need watch this Finals. Jordan seemingly willed his way and achieved elite performances even when his body betrayed him and made up for his age catching up to him during his second three peat with his guile and understanding of the game.

    10. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

      Oh, give me a fucking break with that “will” of Jordan shit.

      Jordan was on a 72-10 team in ’96. He didn’t need guile. He had literally the best team in history to back him up.

      LeBron plays on that team and he wins 72, too.

    11. lavor postell

      Right because the 72 win team was the same as the 97-98 team. Good point. Lebron moved to a team with Wade and Bosh in prime and has never come close to 72 wins despite playing in a much weaker conference than Jordan did. Jordan’s flu game in 97 and the entire 98 Finals are prime examples of Jordan’s will, but I guess since it can’t be quantified in a tidy little box score it’s not a real thing.

      Oh yeah and none of that is to say Jordan is an admirable guy and role. He’s an asshole and sociopath, but damn he was something as a player.

    12. thenamestsam

      Perfect example of numbers being misleading. He started the game on fire but, when the game (and the series) was on the line — i.e., in the third quarter — he came up small.

      You realize how nuts this logic is right? The Heat couldn’t hang with the Spurs except when Lebron was dominating. Therefore, any point during the game where Lebron wasn’t dominating they were going to get run out of the building. By your logic, this retroactively then becomes the part of the game where the game was “on the line” and Lebron’s not domination of that portion becomes somehow more damning. If he hadn’t come out and dominated the 1st quarter then that would have been the part of the game where the game was on the line because they would’ve been down 15 after 1 again.

      The numbers don’t lie at all. They say that Lebron had a great game (which he did) but not an all-time tip to buzzer domination type game (which he didn’t). That was the only kind of game that was going to give them a chance to hang with the Spurs and he didn’t produce it after it looked like he might in the 1st quarter. If that’s the standard you’re holding him to that’s fine, but be honest about it. The numbers aren’t lying and he didn’t come up small in the critical moment – he just didn’t play one of the NBA’s all-time greatest games.

    13. DRed

      Actually, in the third quarter, Bosh was the only guy on the Heat roster who looked like he gave a damn.
      “If Lebron was passive in the 3rd quarter it’s because he was exhausted from hauling all that deadweight on his back.”
      So, LeBron gets a pass because he was so exhausted from carrying his team for the first 24 minutes, but Melo is a bum because, despite being exhausted from hauling his team on his back for much of this season, he tired in the fourth quarter of a number of games. Oh, now I understand. Thanks for clarifying.

      I will take lazy, weak willed, uncaring Lebron “31-10-5″ James over damn-giving Chris Bosh and his 13 points on 14 shots every fucking day of the week.

      Pretty sure basically everyone on this board thought Melo, our best player this year, got too many minutes this season. But nice job on that strawman. You beat the stuffing out of it real good.

    14. Hubert

      Perfect example of numbers being misleading. He started the game on fire but, when the game (and the series) was on the line — i.e., in the third quarter — he came up small.

      But if he had produced his numbers in the second half instead of the first half, the Spurs would have blown them out by halftime and you’d be saying he got all his points after the game was decided, and that in the second quarter, when the game (and the series) was on the line he came up small.

      You see why this is stupid? Basically if he doesn’t dominate every quarter, he loses. And whichever quarter he doesn’t dominate becomes the one where you think it was all on the line.

    15. Farfa

      Level of interest about LeBron vs. Jordan debate today: zzzzzz.

      Level of interest about criticizing LeBron: what the heck? This guy posted a very nice Finals series. The team floundered around him and the Spurs were so superior as a team that everything else was eclipsed. If anything, the discussion should be “why the best player did not beat the best team?”, while never doubting that LeBron is the best and will be for another 3-4 years.

    16. Farfa

      To clarify: the answer to me is “because this year the supporting cast was much worse, via regression or simply via getting older”.

    17. johnno

      I’m not talking about his not putting up numbers in the third quarter. I am talking about him appearing to pack it in after the half. It wasn’t that he didn’t perform well in the third quarter, it’s that he stopped playing hard. If you want to look at the box score and say “31-10-5 of 21 shots. WoW!!” go right ahead. Go back and watch the third quarter and only the third quarter and tell me that LeBron played well. He didn’t.
      “Basically if he doesn’t dominate every quarter, he loses. And whichever quarter he doesn’t dominate becomes the one where you think it was all on the line.”
      You are kind of right — if he came out and played passively in the first quarter like he did in the third, I would be saying that he played passively when the game was on the line.

    18. thenamestsam

      Go back and watch the third quarter and only the third quarter and tell me that LeBron played well. He didn’t.

      That’s fine, but don’t pretend it has shit to do with “when the game was on the line”. You’re saying that he didn’t dominate the game from the start to the finish. Nobody disagreed with that. That’s not the standard for playing a great game, that’s the standard for playing an all-time rerun it once a week on NBA Classics type game.

    19. Hubert

      Jordan seemingly willed his way and achieved elite performances even when his body betrayed him and made up for his age catching up to him during his second three peat with his guile and understanding of the game.

      He also benefited from one of the worst stretches of NBA history, let’s not forget that. That post expansion era from 96-99 was pure gargage.

      I mean, LeBron goes back to back against a 5 time champ. MJ went back to back against Utah. Anyone who watched basketball in the 90′s remembers that Utah was a minor stepping stone for real contenders until the whole league reached low tide which somehow brought them up to NBA Finals level.

      I’m 100% confident that if the 2012-14 Spurs played in back-to-back finals with the 1996-98 Bulls, they’d probably split the series, too. Hell, I’d love to see Jordan’s will with a flu vs this Spurs’ team.

      Spurs are a great fucking team and only in a crazy world is going 1-1 vs them in back-to-back finals seen as a mark AGAINST you.

    20. ephus

      For me, the turning point of Game 5 was from 4:48 -4:26 left in the first quarter.

      Heat were up 22-6. Manu Ginobli already had one foul. Then the Spurs scored 12 consecutive points.

      Manu drove past Rashard Lewis and drew contact on his left arm. He crashed into Shane Battier, whose heel was on the restricted circle. The shot went in.

      One ref initially had an offensive foul on Ginobli. The ref blew the distinctive multiple tweet for offensive foul. Manu used his left arm to create space. If that call had stood up, the basket would have been waived off and Manu probably would have gone to the bench with two first quarter fouls.

      Instead, when the refs huddled, they gave the foul to Rashard Lewis (the ABC crew said that the scorer’s table had messed up and that the foul was really on Battier, but they were wrong). Ginobli hit the free throw and the gap closed to 22 – 9.

      On the next Heat possession, Manu Ginobli and Shane Battier got tangled. It looked like retaliation for the prior play, and the refs called an offensive foul on Battier. Rashard Lewis was pulled from the game, and only returned for an additional 3 minutes the rest of the game.

      Spurs took the ball and Manu hit a 3 to cut the lead to 22 -12. Spurs scored 6 more consecutive points, and had withstood the Heat’s best punch.

    21. lavor postell

      Yeah the thing is I never used it as a mark against Lebron and more as mark for Jordan. Also that was during Jordan’s age 32-34 seasons that he played a 60+ win Jazz and Sonics team in the Finals. The 96-99 stretch of ball sucked and it still wasn’t the steaming pile of shit Eastern Conference the Heat have to “contend” in the last 4 years. I don’t feel so confident that the 2012-14 Spurs are splitting anything against the Bulls from Jordan’s 90-93 Bulls which would be the comparable team in terms of Lebron’s age now.

      In Jordan’s age 29 season he was averaging 41-8.5-6.3 in 45.7 MPG in the Finals against a Phoenix team that was on the same level as this Spurs team and also emerged from a highly competitive Western Conference, similar to this season. Lebron in the last 4 years has played 381 games, while Jordan during the same stretch of his career played 396 games.

    22. JK47

      The real story of the Heat is that the “three stars plus dreck” model is not a great way to build for long-term success. Sure, they won two rings and they made the Finals four straight years, but two rings in four years that coincide with LeBron James’ absolute prime is not really all that spectacular a return. If one of your “big three” declines or gets hurt, all of a sudden you’re relying on an awful lot of Mario Chalmers, 50-year old Ray Allen and Norris Cole.

      The Heat also didn’t defend for shit in this series. The Spurs had an obscenely high eFG% in all of the games they won except last night, when they “only” had a .551 eFG%. Much of the time the Heat were running out a lineup with Wade, Allen, Bosh and some other stiff like Rahard Lewis, Norris Cole or Mario Chalmers… Not enough defense out of that group. The Heat were a mediocre defensive team all year and usually that will get you beat in the playoffs.

    23. JK47

      Jordan’s Bulls teams were WAY better constructed than LeBron’s Heat teams. They had great role players who excelled in their given roles, and they defended their asses off. In their second set of championships, they ranked 1st, 4th and 3rd in D-Rating. They had Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper and Scottie Pippen playing smart, disciplined lockdown defense. The Heat have decrepit old men trying and failing to play wing defense, and Chris Bosh as their rim protector, and they can’t rebound to save their lives.

    24. ephus

      Chris Andersen is opting out of his last year in Miami. I will be interested to see what he commands as an Unrestricted Free Agent. My guess is that he will get around a two year MLE.

    25. Farfa

      Yes, I think so as much. I can’t really predict who’s gonna offer that money to him, though. Washington? Portland (intriguing)? I don’t know who has the MLE or the Room Exception at hand.

    26. lavor postell

      90-91 Bulls: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Craig Hodges, Dennis Hopson, Stacey King, Cliff Levingston, John Paxson, Will Perdue, Scott Williams

      91-92 Bulls: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Bob Hansen, Craig Hodges, Dennis Hopson, Stacey King, Cliff Levingston, Chuck Nevitt, John Paxson, Will Perdue, Mark Randall, Rory Sparrow, Scott Williams

      92-93 Bulls: Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, B.J. Armstrong, Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, Scott Williams, Stacey King, John Paxson, Rodney McCray, Will Perdue, Trent Tucker, Darrell Walker, Corey Williams, Ed Nealy, Joe Courtney, Jo Jo English, Ricky Blanton

      I’d say those three teams are comparable to Lebron’s first 3 Heat teams in terms of top talent and role players.

    27. Hubert

      The 96-99 stretch of ball sucked and it still wasn’t the steaming pile of shit Eastern Conference the Heat have to “contend” in the last 4 years.

      It really was, though.

      Look at this way: this year’s Minnesota Timberwolves team had the same SRS as the 3rd best team in the East the year the Bulls won 72 games.

      The only difference in the league back then was tanking wasn’t as widespread so the ratio of mediocre teams to garage was around 2:1 whereas now it’s around 1:2. But those post expansion years were terrible years for the league.

      And look, there is no world in which those Utah Jazz teams that Jordan “exerted his will against” were on the same level as these Spurs. And that’s not even getting into how superior Pippen, Rodman, et al. were to Wade, Bosh, & co.

    28. Hubert

      In Jordan’s age 29 season he was averaging 41-8.5-6.3 in 45.7 MPG in the Finals against a Phoenix team that was on the same level as this Spurs team

      No.

    29. JK47

      I’d say those three teams are comparable to Lebron’s first 3 Heat teams in terms of top talent and role players.

      It’s the distribution of the talent that is key, though.

      LeBron’s main sidekick, Wade, is a ball-dominant guard who is a so-so defender. His other main sidekick is a stretch four who in my opinion is a poor defender.

      Jordan’s main sidekick, Pippen, was a fine two-way player who was one of the best defensive wings of his generation. Horace Grant is a forgotten player today, but he was a fine rebounder and far from a zero on offense; in ’92 he had a .618 TS% and .237 WS48. When Jordan bailed to play baseball in the 93-94 season, the Bulls still won 55 games and were the #6 defense in the league.

      Jordan’s supporting cast was far superior in my opinion.

    30. Hubert

      Teams that are on the same level as this Spurs team:

      The Lakers and Celtics of the 80′s, Jordan’s Bulls, the Kobe-Shaq Lakers, the ’70 & ’73 Knicks, etc. etc. etc.

      Not the ’93 Suns. No way, no how.

      I truly believe these Spurs could win a title in any era of modern basketball. Including one with Michael Jordan.

    31. lavor postell

      @Hubert

      I respect your opinions on this and while I disagree I also have no desire to continue this argument and make it seem like I’m shitting on Lebron or the Spurs. They’re a great team, which I don’t think is quite on the level of the teams you listed and Lebron is an all-time great player who I think falls just short of Jordan, which is not even a worthwhile criticism of a player.

    32. lavor postell

      @31

      Wade was a great two-way player when the Big 3 came together. He ceased to be that this season. I agree with the rest of your argument though and makes me re-think that whole debate. I guess I look back at it and just remember the greatness of Jordan sometimes and forget it’s not as if the guy had Pippen and nothing else.

    33. d-mar

      We really need to dump Melo and rebuild our team based on the Spurs or Heat model.

      It’s pretty simple – a) draft the greatest power forward in NBA history or b) clear enough cap space to get the next LeBron James

      See how easy that is?

    34. Frank

      We really need to dump Melo and rebuild our team based on the Spurs or Heat model.

      It’s pretty simple – a) draft the greatest power forward in NBA history or b) clear enough cap space to get the next LeBron James

      See how easy that is?

      lol – exactly. all those that want to dump Melo and build from scratch should realize that we could easily end up like Charlotte, Cleveland, Sacramento, and Milwaukee. It takes an uncommon amount of skill AND luck to end up like OKC or the Spurs. The Spurs would not be the Spurs without Duncan, who was basically the luckiest pick of all time, and hoping to further luck into a coach/GM/owner combo like Pop/Buford/Holt is just not realistic.

      One thing that someone earlier in the thread mentioned that I do agree with — I think the Spurs purposely get international players and very carefully pick their domestic players. My guess is that they want to get as far away from stereotypical AAU-type basketball (and attitude) as they can. Out of their 5 main contributors that won the ring (Parker/Ginobili/Leonard/Diaw/Duncan) only Leonard was born in the US, and he’s obviously as far away from an AAU-type player as you can find.

    35. stratomatic

      If Melo hasn’t figured out how to play basketball the right way after that series he’s brain dead.

    36. flossy

      all those that want to dump Melo and build from scratch should realize that we could easily end up like Charlotte, Cleveland, Sacramento, and Milwaukee.

      Oh, please. That is ridiculous. You know what none of those other franchises have going for them? Phil freakin’ Jackson saying “come play for me, the winning-est basketball person ever, as I build a contender in the most important city in the world.”

    37. BigBlueAL

      Can you imagine a team winning 69 games in a conference where 5 other teams won at least 54 games and the 8th seed won 44 games. Then defeating a team in the NBA Finals that won 64 games. Yeah I can, the 1996-97 Bulls did although apparently they played in a shitty Eastern conference then played a shitty Jazz team. Get the fuck out of here.

    38. GoNyGoNYGo

      You know what none of those other franchises have going for them? Phil freakin’ Jackson saying “come play for me, the winning-est basketball person ever, as I build a contender in the most important city in the world.”

      I don’t buy that. It’s good talk-show radio BS but in the real world of Basketball it means nothing. It’s just as easy to say that Jackson is a 1st time executive and that Fisher’s a first time coach. Also, the flip side for NY is coming to the big Apple also means dealing with the media and unreasonable expectations.

    39. Frank

      Oh, please. That is ridiculous. You know what none of those other franchises have going for them? Phil freakin’ Jackson saying “come play for me, the winning-est basketball person ever, as I build a contender in the most important city in the world.”

      Plenty of very smart basketball players (and even very successful executives) have presided over failures. Jerry West was amazing as Lakers GM but was pretty unremarkable in Memphis.

      And I’m not talking so much about the free agent sell as much as signing and trading everyone away for draft picks. Sometimes you guess wrong on a pick. Sometimes the guy you really wanted gets taken right before. Sometimes you have the #8 pick in the draft and guys you desperately wanted get picked right before you pick, and you end up with Jordan Hill. Sometimes you have the #2 pick and the team before you decides to draft Greg Oden instead of a franchise-changing Kevin Durant. So it can go either way.

      There’s just lots of luck involved. And at the end of the day we don’t really know how Phil will do. I trust him to evaluate talent and to know what sort of things are important in team-building, but we literally have no idea how he will do in terms of financial management of the cap etc.

    40. ephus

      I am confident of two things that point in opposite directions:

      1. If Carmelo Anthony leaves, the Knicks will have a much lower talent level for 2014-15 than they had last year.

      If he leaves in a sign-and-trade, they will not be getting back the talent that is leaving, and they will be well over the Apron ($4 million over the luxury tax level), so they would only have the mini-MLE available. Knicks would not be able to do a sign-and-trade where they did not take back significant salary, because any team that could sign Carmelo without having to dump salary would just directly sign Carmelo. There no longer is any upside for the player in moving in a sign-and-trade.

      If he leaves without a sign-and-trade, the Knicks would still be $5 million over the salary cap (but below the luxury tax), so they could only sign free agents using the MLE, BAE or veteran’s minimum exception.

      2. If Carmelo Anthony leaves and the Knicks wait for the summer of 2015 when the Amar’e, Chandler and Bargnani contracts come off the books, they will be a very attractive landing spot for free agents. Phil Jackson plus New York will hold great allure.

      Of course, the Knicks could try to rebuild on the fly by trading their expiring contracts for players on “bad” contracts that Phil & Fish think they can better utilize.

    41. Frank

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that sometimes a bird in hand is worth holding onto. If Melo wants to stay and is willing to stay for whatever Phil considers to be a reasonable contract, then I think we should keep him.

      Overall I still believe that Woodson was a HUGE part of the problem last year, and that Fisher is right – this exact same team SHOULD come back and win 45-47 games next year if minutes are allotted correctly (ie. very little Felton and Bargnani) and there is a coherent strategy on defense. And then we still have the 2015 draft pick and we would still have tons of cap room next summer.

    42. Frank

      That said – if these leaks are coming from Melo’s camp trying to squeeze $ out of the Knicks, then let him go. S&T to either Houston or Chicago, and let’s start this all over again. Butler/Boozer/Dunleavy + picks or Lin/Asik/Parsons + picks. If Asik comes we could/should either pass him along in a 3 team deal or deal Tyson for whatever we can get.

    43. ephus

      There is no world where the Knicks get Chandler Parsons as part of a Carmelo Anthony S&T. The Knicks simply cannot take a newly signed FA as part of a S&T because they are going to be over the Apron.

      Plus – the Rockets would not do it.

    44. lavor postell

      Question for ephus

      If the Knicks bought out Felton’s contract and say just give $6m for him to go away, since the 15-16 portion of his contract is a player option would it still count against the cap or would it be void?

    45. Frank

      There is no world where the Knicks get Chandler Parsons as part of a Carmelo Anthony S&T. The Knicks simply cannot take a newly signed FA as part of a S&T because they are going to be over the Apron.

      I think the Rockets have a team option at ~$1MM for 2014-15 after which he becomes an unrestricted FA. If they decline the team option then he becomes a restricted FA this July 1 rather than an unrestricted FA July 1 2015. Or at least that’s what this thing says:

      http://www.sbnation.com/2014/2/11/5400700/chandler-parsons-rockets-conundrum-nba-free-agency

      So technically I think the Knicks could get him — they’d just take the risk of him walking after just one year. I do agree with Ziller that at $1MM/year he’s amazing — at 9-10MM/year he’s just another guy. But a multitalented smart player like him probably would be perfect in the triangle.

    46. Hubert

      Can you imagine a team winning 69 games in a conference where 5 other teams won at least 54 games and the 8th seed won 44 games. Then defeating a team in the NBA Finals that won 64 games. Yeah I can, the 1996-97 Bulls did although apparently they played in a shitty Eastern conference then played a shitty Jazz team. Get the fuck out of here.

      I didn’t say they were shitty, I said you can’t compare them to the Spurs. That was the same Jazz team that got rolled over year after year after year after year after year. Only when all the good teams from the early-to-mid 90′s faded and the all the talent from the ’88-’94 drafts failed to produce a single good team other than Shaq’s Magic did that Jazz team “ascend” to title-contention. In my opinion, they were just as good (or not good) as all those Jazz teams that couldn’t get out of the first or second round for years, only the teams that kept beating them went away and younger teams didn’t come up to replace them because talent was being squandered all over the league (leading the ’99 lockout and rookie scales, etc)

      Comparing them to the Spurs is ridiculous.

      The Sonics team that the Bulls beat in the NBA Finals was tremendous. But I stand by my belief that 96-99 was one of the worst eras (talent-wise) in league history. Showing me win totals won’t deter me. Every single year, all the teams in the league win the same amount of games. How those wins are distributed doesn’t say anything about the talent level of the league.

    47. stratomatic

      If Melo leaves NY I think it’s better than even money the Knicks will still have a better record next year than they had this year despite the loss.

      If he winds up in Houston, I think it’s better than even money Houston has a worse record next year than this year if they give up 2 out of 3 of Asik, Lin, and Parsons to get him (the most commonly referred to expendable players)

      If he winds up in Chicago it’s about even money they will be equal to last year, but that one is harder to predict because Rose is such an unknown. A sharp Rose will add plenty of wins on his own.

      My only assumption is that Jackson is smart enough to realize that if NY loses a high usage scorer like Melo, he will have to find a couple of guys that can give you 15-18 efficient points a night consistently because the Knicks will be lacking in scorers unless Amare is healthy all year. Replacing Melo’s scoring will not be that hard, but it will be key. The idea will be to upgrade a couple of positions with lower usage but higher efficiency scorers. The most obvious spot is PG. The key being not losing Melo for nothing and then possibly turning those assets around for what we need if we don’t get what we want.

    48. Farfa

      Out of their 5 main contributors that won the ring (Parker/Ginobili/Leonard/Diaw/Duncan) only Leonard was born in the US, and he’s obviously as far away from an AAU-type player as you can find.

      That’s exactly why it shouldn’t be so hard to follow the Spurs model (key word: follow. Not replicate). Learn something about the guys you’re about to draft, and then draft them based on attitude AND on talent. Talent alone won’t be enough. It’s not that this way you’re sure to win. It’s that this way you’re sure you can build something. Weeks ago I said the Spurs model resemble a happy family. So, the plan is: don’t fall for the smoking-hot, sex-beast crazy chick who surely is going to ruin your life. Fall for the pretty, head-on-shoulders girl who will be a great wife, great mom and great friend. Will you be the next Brad and Angelina? Hardly so. But you’ll make a good family, which is something to be proud as fuck (just as it is to build a multiple 50-win team based on trust and respect, even if you win zippo. Everybody remembers the ’90 Utah Jazz, even though they didn’t win anything. Almost nobody remembers all that well the ’00 Pacers).

      So, you know who needs to get the fuck out of NY? JR, that’s who. Even if Melo stays at a discount (silence from his camp suggests that this won’t be the case), JR needs to be done. He’s an awful, awful influence. Did you see what happened when Beasley got cut from Phoenix? Did you see what happens to the teams that employ Andrew Bynum? Cut JR and use the stretch provision. He’s talented, but unreliable, and he could taint everyone who comes here from day one.

    49. lavor postell

      Except JR has actually been on winning, competitive teams and Bynum helped the Lakers win 2 championships. A bad seed is only as bad as it’s allowed to be. Sure make Bynum your franchise player and give up valuable assets for him after his knees are shot he’s not going to help you do much and you’re going to suck. We shouldn’t stretch JR and extend the financial ramifications of his deal. You hope he gets hot at some point and that a team looking for some added bench scoring is willing to roll the dice for him in return for an expiring contract and a 2nd round pick.

      Btw I think most people really don’t care for or remember the 90′s Jazz.

    50. flossy

      There’s just lots of luck involved. And at the end of the day we don’t really know how Phil will do. I trust him to evaluate talent and to know what sort of things are important in team-building, but we literally have no idea how he will do in terms of financial management of the cap etc.

      I’m not saying Phil = guaranteed championship, but Phil Jackson + New York City + owner who spends like it’s going out of style *does* at least guarantee that we will never become a NBA backwater like Milwaukee or whatever.

    51. stratomatic

      I’ve seen every championship team since the 69 Knicks. This Spurs team does not have the best starting 5 I’ve seen (in part because the big 3 are past their prime), but it’s probably the deepest team ever. IMO there has never been a team that would be a clear cut favorite over this one because this Spurs team would win the bench battle against everyone. They also play as well together as the great Knicks teams, the best Larry Bird Celtics team, the best Magic Lakers team, and the Walton Trailblazers.

    52. stratomatic

      It’s so obvious that JR has to be moved it’s hard to believe that it can still be a debate among sentient human beings. He drove Karls nuts. They practically threw him out of China. He’s been a big pain the butt in NY so far. He’s obviously very talented and can add value when his head is on straight. The problem is you’ll only get “good JR” 50% of the time and he’s almost guaranteed to melt down at some point during the playoffs. There’s no way any team that’s serious about contending for a title can have JR as a key piece. Maybe some day he’ll mature and become stable, but there were no signs of that last year.

    53. Farfa

      “it shouldn’t be so hard to follow the Spurs model”
      You’re kidding right?

      No I’m not. Again: I’m not suggesting that it’s easy to win 5 championships. I’m suggesting that GMs and coaches should learn to value character and attitude almost as talent. That’s what should be easy to a point. Stop being dazzled by an otherworldly talent who is a selfish prick. Go get yourself a guy who’s less talented but dying to win making all the right plays and coach him to death. This is the Spurs model. 1 out of 30 wins every year. So it’s not about guaranteeing rings. It’s about trying to guarantee perennial competition. You won’t have that having bad apples around.

      You hope he gets hot at some point and that a team looking for some added bench scoring is willing to roll the dice for him in return for an expiring contract and a 2nd round pick.

      Also, Phil could connect with Ron Artest. So everything is possibile. But if Phil sees that JR can’t be redeemed, cut him. It would be a message to everyone. Get your neurons in shape or get the fuck out of here. Then again, if Philadelphia wants him for nothing (impossible) or Charlotte wants him for nothing (more likely), better yet. Just try and make it very clear publicly that you’re trading him because of his character. The message, again, should be “no crazy clusterfucks here, understood?”

    54. JK47

      I have a hard time believing JR Smith is going to be a good triangle player. He has the skill set, because he can do just about everything on the basketball court. The problem is, the triangle requires discipline and good decision making, two areas that are JR’s greatest weaknesses.

      Here’s one potential way to deal with JR: sit him on the bench. Never put him in the game, all season. That is a surefire way to get JR to decline his $6.3M player option for 2015-2016. Problem solved.

    55. flossy

      Here’s one potential way to deal with JR: sit him on the bench. Never put him in the game, all season. That is a surefire way to get JR to decline his $6.3M player option for 2015-2016. Problem solved.

      I’d be fine with JR, Felton and Bargnani all getting the Marbury treatment next season.

    56. lavor postell

      Ephus hasn’t answered my question yet (probably since he’s busy writing another article that will be posted by CNBC), but I think if we bought out Felton this season his 15-16 option would then not count against the cap. If that’s true the same would be applicable with JR.

      Cutting him is not an option in my opinion since you’re only going to be able to replace him with somebody on a vet. min. and while JR has a ton of flaws he’s probably more productive than a guy you’re going to get with that kind of money. If Phil did cut him I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over it since I’m not particularly tied to the guy, but he seems like a guy that Phil may try to connect with and try to get the best out of.

    57. Brian Cronin

      If you waive a player, their option is effectively automatically vested for salary cap purposes.

      Here’s the specific clause from Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQ:

      all contracts with player options contain a clause indicating whether the player receives his salary for the option year in the event he is waived before the option is picked-up. This clause states that the benefit is “to the same extent” as if the option had been exercised. The league interprets this to mean that the team salary is charged to all seasons of the contract, including the unexercised option season. For example, when Derek Fisher was waived by the Houston Rockets during the 2011-12 season, his player option for the 2012-13 season was unexercised. His remaining guaranteed salary (he agreed to take less in a buyout arrangement) was charged to the Rockets’ cap in both 2011-12 and 2012-13.

    58. johnno

      Going after “less talented” guys who are dying to win is most definitely NOT the Spurs model. Starting with the Admiral, who was as physically gifted as any big man I’ve ever seen and then add maybe the best PF of all time, a couple HOF-ers in Parker and Ginobili and then Leonard, who is also marvelously gifted. They are all smart high character guys but don’t pretend that they aren’t first and foremost incredible basketball players. If it were easy to find those guys, everyone would do it.

    59. JK47

      Yeah, it’s probably worth giving JR half a season to see if he can get with the program. That’d still give you half a season to make his life miserable enough to get him to decline the option.

    60. ephus

      If you waive a player, their option is effectively automatically vested for salary cap purposes.

      +1. Thanks Brian.

      The Rockets already declined their player option on Parsons, making him a RFA. He cannot be traded unless it is part of a sign-and-trade, and the Knicks cannot receive anyone in a sign-and-trade unless they get under the Apron. In short, Chandler Parsons cannot get to the Knicks this summer.

    61. Donnie Walsh

      He also benefited from one of the worst stretches of NBA history, let’s not forget that. That post expansion era from 96-99 was pure gargage.

      a Phoenix team that was on the same level as this Spurs team

      Well, there is some truly head-scratching stuff being written today. Lavor– I think you’re too young to remember much about that Suns team, but they eeked out of the 1st round, losing the first two games at home to the 8th seed. They were far, far from the team we watched win the chip last night.

      As for the late 90s, I don’t understand the need to revise history. There is no evidence that expansion made the league weak. Sure, the league was bad compared to the Bulls, but that’s because the Bulls were truly great. That Jazz team won 60, 55, 64, 62, and 59* games during the 2nd half of the 90s. They were excellent fundamentally and had two all times greats at their positions (who had played their entire careers together in the same system). Jordan was the sole reason that team didn’t win multiple rings.

    62. MSA

      I don’t know how many of you guys really watched the 90s Jazz, but calling them only “good” is a terrible understatement.

      They “only” had probably a top 5 PF and PG of all time.

      That alone guarantee 10 years with records between .650 and .750

      If that’s ain’t great what the hell was the 90s Knicks?

    63. ephus

      For everyone who has asked why the Knicks could not play Spurs-style this past year, please read this article from Grantland on Boris Diaw. The relevant paragraphs about Diaw’s clash with Woodson when both were with the Hawks encapsulates everything wrong with the 2013-14 Knicks. Diaw – when he was young and in shape – wanted to distribute the ball in a ball-movement offense. Woodson insisted that Diaw score more and run Iso-sets. When Diaw refused, he was shipped out.

      Woodson could not conceivably have been a worse fit for Phil Jackson’s theories about basketball.

    64. BigBlueAL

      ephus, according to Isiah Thomas the best coach Phil couldve hired was Mike Woodson!! He seriously said this on NBATV a while back. Im still laughing my ass off at that one.

    65. stratomatic

      The Rockets already declined their player option on Parsons, making him a RFA. He cannot be traded unless it is part of a sign-and-trade, and the Knicks cannot receive anyone in a sign-and-trade unless they get under the Apron. In short, Chandler Parsons cannot get to the Knicks this summer.

      If what you are saying is true, you are suggesting that the Knicks can’t do any sign and trade for Melo unless they get under the apron. That doesn’t seem consistent with all the talk about a potential sign and trade.

    66. stratomatic

      Woodson could not conceivably have been a worse fit for Phil Jackson’s theories about basketball.

      Let’s be honest. Woodson is a bad fit for anyone that wants to run an efficient offense. His only redeeming qualities on offense were the few ideas he stole from D’Antoni and kept in place.

    67. ephus

      Stratomatic,

      The Knicks can send Carmelo Anthony out in a sign-and-trade. They can take back players who are under contract for up to 125% of the salaries sent out by the Knicks. The one thing the Knicks cannot do – if they stay over the Apron – is take back a newly-signed player in a double sign-and-trade. So players like Lance Stephenson and Chandler Parsons who are currently free agents cannot come to the Knicks as part of a Carmelo S&T.

    68. stratomatic

      Thanks for the clarification Ephus. There goes my plan to get Parsons to replace Gallo. lol

    69. lavor postell

      @Donnie Walsh

      I think you’re correct about me being too young. That being said that Suns team was pretty ridiculous. They led the league with an offensive rating Ortg of 113.4 and were 9th in the league in DRtg of 106.7. They went 62-20 and finished 3rd in the league in SRS. The Spurs were better this year, but that Suns team was pretty damn good, though my hyperbole was unwarranted.

    70. Z-man

      I’m really surprised that LeBron isn’t getting more shit for checking our with 6 minutes left and the team down 18 points. Not to say that they had a chance of winning, but I have never seen an immortal that wasn’t seriously injured do that.

      I guess it could be argued that winning 2 titles on a stacked team in a terrible basketball city entitles him to the privilege of pulling a no mas in the face of almost certain defeat, but I can’t imagine Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan doing that, no matter how many titles they won.

      I know he had 31 points on 21 shots, but he can’t play 3 more minutes and try to hit 3 or 4 3-pointers?

    71. Donnie Walsh

      that Suns team was pretty ridiculous

      They had a very nice season. But it was kind of a honeymoon. They had a new run-and-gun coach, and a new arena, and a new star (It was Barkley’s first year there and he won the MVP). But by playoff time, they were pretty exposed and really struggled. They lost a lot of home games in the playoffs, almost losing their first round series (they had to play OT at home to get by the #8 seeded Sedale Threatt led 39-43 Lakers). Then they had to continue to work very hard to beat the Spurs and Sonics. In the finals they lost the first to games at home and the series wasn’t much of a contest (they won game 3 in triple OT in Chicago, otherwise they probably would have been swept). Ultimately, they were more like this year’s Pacers than they were like this year’s Spurs.

    72. BigBlueAL

      Michael Jordan wouldnt have sat the final 6 mins when down 18 because his team would never have been down that much and wouldnt have been facing elimination in just Game 5 to begin with :-)

    73. johnno

      Did LeBron ask out or did Spoelstra take him out? I assumed that it was Spoelstra’s call.

    74. lavor postell

      @Donnie

      Thanks for that. Always better to hear from somebody that remembers watching all of that than somebody getting by on a combination of YouTube, basketball-reference and Wikipedia. It’s pretty crazy that Phoenix won 2 out of 3 in Chicago and got swept in all 3 games on their own floor.

    75. BigBlueAL

      Spurs are a great team but you guys do remember they went 7 games vs the Mavs in the 1st rd right?? Lets not start knocking past great teams for struggling in the 1st rd when the Spurs went the full 7 games vs a mediocre Mavs team this season.

    76. BigBlueAL

      Also this talk about the NBA being weaker in the late 90′s compared to prior years, in the entire decade of the 80′s a total of 5 freaking franchises made the NBA Finals. The Lakers specifically had a shitload of cakewalk playoff runs thru a horrible Western Conference throughout the 80′s.

    77. ephus

      If you ask Peter Vecsey (then at the height of his powers), the 1992-93 Suns’ championship hopes went down the drain because Charles Barkley (with wingman Dan Majerle).

    78. yellowboy90

      @ 68 what is the difference between the Spurs eking out of the 1st round against the 8th seed in a 7 game series than the Suns?

    79. Donnie Walsh

      The Mavs this year were a very good team. They had a .600 winning% in an extremely competitive conference. (They only won 5 fewer games than the Heat this year!)

      Whereas in 1993 the 8th seeded Lakers were 39-43 and were led in minutes by Sedale Threatt. The Suns lost the first two games (at home) and had to sweat out an OT win at home in game 5 to advance. It’s not like the Lakers had a star to carry them (like the Mavs had), or a championship coach (Randy Pfund?). And they weren’t an up and coming team either. They were 2 years into life without Magic and already in a rebuild.

      Basically the 2014 Spurs were made stronger by a good Mavs team and the 1993 Suns had their weaknesses exposed by a bad Lakers team.

    80. BigBlueAL

      I just think its a slippery slope when you start penalizing teams for struggling to win playoff rds. I mean the Heat needed 7 games to beat a very mediocre Celtics team that barely beat the 76ers the previous rd in 2012. The Heat won 54 games this season in a horrible Eastern Conference.

      The 2000 Lakers went the distance in the 1st rd vs a Kings team that wasnt anywhere as good as what they would become and needed a miracle comeback in Game 7 to beat the Blazers. Yet the next year they lost 1 playoff game total.

      If this is a criteria than it just makes Jordan’s Bulls look even greater. They didnt lose a single game in the 1st rd in their title years and only once went more than 5 games in the 2nd rd (7 vs the Knicks in 1992). They never needed a 7th game in any NBA Finals and only once needed a 7th game in the Conference Finals (their final title in 1998 vs the Pacers). Yet some people here will say its because their competition wasnt that good. Cant have it both ways.

    81. Z-man

      We shouldn’t undervalue the accomplishments of this Spurs team. It was a performance worthy of historic status.

      But my, how the game has changed. For example, I noticed that advanced stats for specific playoff series are now available on B-R. In the 1998 finals vs. the Jazz, Michael Jordan averaged 33.5 points on a TS% of .516 at a usage% of 41.2!!! Only two other players averaged in double figures: Pippin (15.7) and Kukoc (15.2). The Bulls averaged 88 ppg, the Jazz 80. The key to the series: Jordan’s FT attempts. Despite his low TS%, Jordan scored 201 points on 164 shots by averaging over 11 FTs per game.

      Yet all that’s universally remembered from that series is MJ’s iconic steal and shot.

    82. BigBlueAL

      You wanna see some ugly offensive numbers, check out the Knicks stats from the 1994 NBA Finals. Ewing mightve had the worst offensive series in the history of the NBA Finals. The positive for him was his amazing rebounding and shot blocking during that series but it didnt makeup for his atrocious offense. Derek Harper was BY FAR the best Knick that series. Great series on both ends of the court for Harper.

      MJ’s best Finals were easily his first 3, especially the first 2. Amazing though how in such a short period of time the NBA game changed dramatically from 1991-93 to 1996-98. The 3peats came only 2 years apart but the NBA was played totally different during those times. The most surprising thing to me was how long it took the NBA to change the rules in the mid-2000′s and how long it took for a coach to bring a style like D’Antoni did.

    83. danvt

      Until this series I never thought the Spurs were an all time great team. I thought last year the Westbrook injury took out OKC and opened the door for them. I always had a ton of respect and marveled at them being 26 seconds away from #5 in game 6 but I never thought I’d see them in the finals again. My mind is changed and I think it’s great for the sport. I thought MIA was in line for greatest team ever status and the only thing in the way was a truly elite opponent to match up with. Well, conversations of best ever status for MIA or LBJ will need to be put on hold.

      This is a victory for team concept, pure and simple, and I’m glad it happened.

      I still think Tiago Splitter and other players on the Spurs would look pedestrian if they weren’t on the Spurs, but that being said, they were a lot better than players 4-12 on Miami.

      LBJ looked beat at the press conference before game 5 with the “It’s only basketball” comments. I’m not surprised that he took his foot off the gas a bit. I mean, for them to win he would have needed to be more like Carmelo (ironic ain’t it).

      I wish the Knicks were a good team, but, it looks like no matter what our purgatory will continue. I’d just like something to be excited about next year, but it’s looking like 2009 redux if Melo doesn’t come back and, at best, 12-13 redux if he does.

      I hope Phil realizes that NYK loses because of Bargnani, Felton, Smith, and STAT. They are players that SEEM good but make a team worse. I can’t believe how many players like that we have. Like, no defense, dumb ass bad shot takers (Amar’e does take good shots but his defense is as bad as Chris Dudley’s FT shooting). If we simply replace their minutes with players that play smart, we’ll be back to fifty wins, if we get Melo back. Not that I really want that. I want what the Spurs have, not an outside shot at 50 wins if it all breaks right.

      Nice to read everyones posts here. Good perspective on the finals and great previews of…

    84. yellowboy90

      I might be the only one but these finals reminded me of the 03-04 Pistons vs Lakers finals but yet it was totally different.

    85. Donnie Walsh

      I just think its a slippery slope when you start penalizing teams for struggling to win playoff rds.

      I’m not penalizing the Suns in this case. I’m showing that they weren’t a great team, despite the fact that they won 62 games that year. Yes, they struggled in the playoffs, but it wasn’t just the playoffs. They lost 5 of their last 8 regular season games going into the playoffs. And the next year they were 6 games worse. So it’s more than just judging them on one bad playoff series.

      That team was good, but not great. (The next season the Atlanta Hawks won the east with 57 wins, and, like the Suns the year before, struggled mightily in the playoffs. The narrative was different because the Hawks didn’t have the MVP on their team, but the fact stands that neither the 93 Suns or the 94 Hawks were great basketball teams (just like the ’14 Pacers, with their 1st place finish, weren’t true championship contenders. They were merely also-rans in the end))

    86. Farfa

      Going after “less talented” guys who are dying to win is most definitely NOT the Spurs model. Starting with the Admiral, who was as physically gifted as any big man I’ve ever seen and then add maybe the best PF of all time, a couple HOF-ers in Parker and Ginobili and then Leonard, who is also marvelously gifted. They are all smart high character guys but don’t pretend that they aren’t first and foremost incredible basketball players. If it were easy to find those guys, everyone would do it.

      Well, it’s obvious that you have to have lots of talent to win a ring. But again (again!) I say: when I say “Spurs model” I’m not talking about winning rings! I’m talking about building a rock solid foundation, so that if and when you luck onto some great player they can thrive and then help you win it all!

      Two examples to clarify:

      1) More than once people mentioned Boris Diaw as a potential Finals MVP this year. Please, go read that Jonathan Abrams article on Grantland. This is a guy with incredible and thoroughly evident talent, who was and got wasted in Charlotte (the worst team ever, possibly) and became a joy to watch in San Antonio. He didn’t change anything. So did the Spurs have luck with him? Not really (unless you count as luck the 80 lbs in excess who got him cut in first place). They had what it took to make him count on the hardwood.
      2) Didn’t the Wolves luck into Garnett? Didn’t the Magic luck into O’Neal? Didn’t the Cavs (gulp) luck into James? Do you really think that if there was a tremendous system in place they would have left? I don’t think so.

      So the Spurs model is about being a great character team, to draft high character guys, to hire smart people to run business so that when you finally put your hands on a superstar he will help you win.

      PS: if Parker and Ginobili go somewhere else when they’re young, there’s a good chance they’re out of the league in four years.

    87. Farfa

      Also, the Spurs don’t win this title without Danny Green, Patty Mills, Tiago Splitter, Marco Belinelli, Aron Baynes and Cory Joseph. These are the guys that is much easier to find. Switch these six guys with Chris Andersen, Shane Battier, Rashard Lewis, Mario Chalmers, Udonis Haslem and James Jones and I think the Heat win.

    88. danvt

      So the Spurs model is about being a great character team, to draft high character guys, to hire smart people to run business so that when you finally put your hands on a superstar he will help you win.

      This is the best analysis of this series I’ve read. Right on point. It works in terms of your point on superstars and role players. I mean, Patty Mills, Danny Green and Tiago are certainly good rotation players for anyone but for the Spurs they are borderline all stars. And as for real all stars, they certainly have the culture to maximize those guys. The lesson here is that good talent evaluation and a great system can slay Goliath. I mean, it was fairly accepted knowledge that MIA had the talent advantage but we found out otherwise. To be fair, Wade has lost a step, and that might have been the difference but it was just shocking how much better SAS was. I mean, it wasn’t even competitive.

      That being said, this narrative of team first mentality will be tested when the SAS big three ride off into the sunset. I mean, Parker / Ginobli / Duncan might be the best ever. So, we’ll see, but certainly, for the average fan this is a great week. A week where the group with the better priorities came out on top. A week where a fan can hope that if their team was just a little smarter they might actually have a shot at a championship.

    89. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

      I can’t believe that people think Ginobili wouldn’t have been a rotation-level player without Popovich. Do you think that in the couple of months before he played his first game for the Spurs at 25, Popovich whispered some secret voodoo incantations into his ears and turned him into a .141 WS48 player?

      This board is a real circle jerk sometimes. Funny how Kawhi wasn’t one of the new Big 3 a few months ago, but now the “role players” are Splitter, Green and Mills.

    90. Nick C.

      Kawhi, or any supporters, were being ridiculed almost until the Finals began. I still love how people miss out on the fact that neither Ginobli or Parker were top of the lottery picks when pooh poohing any use of words like “Spurs model.” Noone would have foreseen Parker as a HOF player after his rookie season much less Ginobli, but yet here they are.

    91. johnno

      Farfa — you’re missing my point. I never said that it wasn’t a great idea to have a stable organization, a great owner, a great GM, a great coach, a great system, draft/sign high character guys, get them to accept half of the money that they could get elsewhere, luck into all-time greats like Robinson and Duncan, etc., etc. To the contrary, I think that it is a magnificent idea. However, where you and I differ is that you keep saying that it’s a pretty easy thing to emulate. If it were easy, everyone would do it. I think that it is extraordinarily hard to do — so hard that you can count on one hand the number of professional teams in all of American sports combined that have been able to pull it off. I hope that the Knicks get there, but I doubt that they will.
      Danvt — I don’t think that most people thought that the Heat had a talent advantage over the Spurs this year. The Spurs had a much better record than the Heat this year and were favored going into the finals.
      Jowles — I hate it when you are right. Kawhi Leonard is a much better player than I realized. However, you and I agree about Ginobili. He’s been great from day 1, as has Parker.

    92. Frank

      That Abrams article about Diaw is tremendous (as all his articles are). If anyone hasn’t read it yet, here’s the link:

      http://grantland.com/features/boris-diaw-tony-parker-san-antonio-spurs-nba-playoffs-2014/

      My favorite lines:

      On playing for Mike Woodson:

      Diaw and Tony Parker once had it all mapped out. When they were boys, they’d talk about their future in the NBA, the unlikely duo from France, playing against the best, in the style they wanted to play. Rhythmic, unselfish, flowing.

      But Diaw’s dream was dashed in Atlanta, where Woodson employed heavy isolation sets and the ball stagnated. It’s a great system when you have a transcendent scorer and leader to whom teammates will defer. It’s not so pretty when Al Harrington or Antoine Walker are jacking up jumpers to their hearts’ content. …
      After Atlanta’s season mercifully ended, Woodson asked Diaw during his exit interview to come back the next season with a scorer’s mentality. “I cannot play for you,” Diaw simply responded.

      On the Spurs culture:

      “What works with us is that when Tim, Tony, and Manu play a certain way, they set the standard for anyone who comes to join us,” Buford said. “When your best players are committed to the ideals that you’re [preaching], and the coach holds them as accountable as anyone on the team, then it’s easy for people to recognize: If I want to be successful here, here’s what I need to do.”

      Meanwhile we just had a season in which CAA took over the operations of the Knicks, a guy who elbowed someone in the face on purpose in the playoffs then got suspended for the start of the season gets a 4 year contract and a free fantasy camp NBA roster spot for his little brother, a GM who had constructed a team that won 54 games the year before was jettisoned (presumably) because he had the temerity to argue against trading for Bargnani. SMH.

      C’mon Phil – we need you to turn this around.

    93. DRed

      Patty is a nice player, and the spurs can replace him with Corey Joseph, but he’s pretty small for a Phil Jackson point guard

    94. JK47

      Patty is a nice player, and the spurs can replace him with Corey Joseph, but he’s pretty small for a Phil Jackson point guard

      I thought the same thing, but then I thought about it some more, and realized that Derek Fisher is 6’1″, BJ Armstrong is 6’2″, John Paxson is 6’2″… We all think of the 6’6″ Ron Harper when we think of triangle point guards, but he was kind of the outlier. Patty is smaller than all of those guys at 6’0″, but dude can play. Career .568 TS%, .406 3PT%, and can obviously play the kind of high-efficiency, ball-sharing game we all covet.

    95. Zanzibar

      If Mills on MLE, how would we re-sign Cole? But serious, Mills is part of a larger question. Let’s take stock: Melo will probably go to Chicago. We won’t get LeBron. Durant is a long-shot. None of the 2015 free agents really bowl you over. We, therefore, have to find some luck somehow. While any individual young player/draft pick is not likely to pan out, the odds increase the more young players/draft picks you have.

      Here’s a deal imo which could go through: Melo/Felton for Boozer/Dunleavy/Three 1st-round picks/Snell. So our youngins next season would be: Shump/Mills?/Aldrich/THJ/Toure/Snell/Chicago’s 16th and 19th picks/OKC 21st or 28th pick. That’s 9 players! Park Amare/Boozer/Bargs/JR on the bench and give the minutes to our greenhorns. I don’t care if we go 0-82. What sense would it make to train those vets on the triangle anyway? For one season? Let’s put our faith in the Kurylo Law of Relative Minutes and focus on player development next season. Something positive’s got to emerge from all of that – we may hit a few triples. Entering 2015 summer, we could consider flipping our two 2015 picks into a decent player given our free cap space. Also maybe we sign the Gasol Brothers and Millsap, all excellent triangle players and we’d still have cap left over. Hey, I’m kinda optimistic. Anybody like this scenario?

    96. Farfa

      I can’t believe that people think Ginobili wouldn’t have been a rotation-level player without Popovich. Do you think that in the couple of months before he played his first game for the Spurs at 25, Popovich whispered some secret voodoo incantations into his ears and turned him into a .141 WS48 player?

      Jowles, come on. I saw Ginobili play for my team in Bologna when he was 23. I knew he would be good in the NBA, given the chance. I’m not saying Pop is the reason why Ginobili became great. He was already great.
      Now, if you can look past your prejudice toward my supposedly silly ideas, you’ll see that I was saying that Ginobili could have played for a Skiles-type coach, or worse yet a Woodson-type coach, and would have thought “what the heck am I doing here, playing in this fucked up system, for a dumbass coach?” and so he would have bolt back to Europe never to be seen again or toil in NBA obscurity sitting on, say, the Clippers’ bench. He went 58th because evidently he wasn’t exactly looked upon as a great player from day 1 around the league. Same thing for Parker.
      I don’t know if you remember Sasha Danilovic. He played for the Heat (and Dallas). Once, he made 7/7 threes at Madison. He was a fucking basketball machine. He was Manu’s predecessor here in Bologna. He was out of the league in three years because no one then had the intelligence to sit down with him and understand that he wanted to win, and only to win. Who’s this funny Serbian guy? Haha, he thinks he’s NBA people. How cute!

      Look at this:

      After Atlanta’s season mercifully ended, Woodson asked Diaw during his exit interview to come back the next season with a scorer’s mentality. “I cannot play for you,” Diaw simply responded.

      This was said by the guy who has been arguably the third best player for the 2014 NBA Champions. Environment counts. Having smart people counts. Having been given a chance by a great person (as Pop is) counts.

    97. Farfa

      Johnno – My point is that you have to start somewhere. The Knicks can’t luck into someone next draft, and that’s ok. So why not build at least the basics? Knuckleheads? No please. Guys signing for the max saying they do it to win? No please (unless they are LeBron, Durant or Anthony Davis). Prigioni? Yes please. Felton? JR? Get out of here, that’s the door. Build a team this way for the next year. Lure someone here because there’s Phil. Lure someone else because this is New York. Most importantly, start luring here people who think: yes, that team is where I want to play basketball, because I find joy and pride in playing team-oriented basketball. Easier than it seems, unless you come from a AAU background, in which case, well, I don’t think this concept it’s even explainable.

    98. Farfa

      Look at this:

      After Atlanta’s season mercifully ended, Woodson asked Diaw during his exit interview to come back the next season with a scorer’s mentality. “I cannot play for you,” Diaw simply responded.

      This was said by the guy who has been arguably the third best player for the 2014 NBA Champions.

      I’ll add “the third best player IN THE FINALS”, so that Jowles won’t find an easy (and devious) target in my previous post.

    99. ephus

      If Mills on MLE, how would we re-sign Cole?

      Knicks do not need to use part of the MLE to resign Cole. The could give use Non-Bird Rights to give him 120% of the veteran’s minimum (around 1.2 million), which is probably more than anyone else will bid. If necessary, they could give him a player option on a second year. If Cole outperforms that contract, the Knicks would then hold his Early Bird rights, which would allow them an exception to resign him for up to the MLE without using the MLE in the summer of 2015.

    100. SJK

      I love the idea of trading Melo to Chicago for their nos. 16 and 19 picks, but how is that possible? If Melo opts out, won’t he be a free agent during the draft, thus we wouldn’t be able to trade him? Can someone clarify this? It seems to me we’d have to get him to opt-in with the agreement that he’d be traded to Chicago upon opting in…

    101. ephus

      In order for Chicago’s #16 an #19 picks to be part of a Carmelo sign-and-trade, Chicago would have to make the picks that the Knicks requested, with the deal to be completed after the July Moritorium ends. At that point:
      (1) Carmelo would sign with the Knicks at a salary Chicago agreed to pay;
      (2) Carmelo + ??? would have to be traded to Chicago within 72 hours for (a) Player Picked #16 ($1.46 million cap hold), (b) Player Picked #19 ($1.27 million cap hold) and (c) whoever else would make the salaries match within 25% plus $100k.

      If the Knicks are willing to take back Boozer, there are a lot of permutations that can work.

      As someone

    102. stratomatic

      If there is someone in this year’s draft at #16 and #19 that is a very high probability to be a Gallo caliber player or better I’d sign off on that.

    103. Frank

      Melo could also opt-in for his last year and then sign an extension after being traded?

      ie. Melo opts in as part of a prearranged deal to trade him to Chicago prior to the draft, then signs an extension from there?

    104. Hubert

      Also this talk about the NBA being weaker in the late 90?s compared to prior years, in the entire decade of the 80?s a total of 5 freaking franchises made the NBA Finals. The Lakers specifically had a shitload of cakewalk playoff runs thru a horrible Western Conference throughout the 80?s.

      Well, I kinda started it, but let me rephrase it:

      What environment is harder to dominate NBA title-winning in year after year? One in which there are 2-3 elite teams, a softer middle of the pack, and a huge amount of dredge and tanking teams on the bottom; or one in which there is one elite team and many more very good teams?

      It’s great that there were so many teams that won 50+ games in 1997. But I think it’s harder to win three titles in a row when there are 2 elite teams and everyone else is a pile of garbage than when there is one elite team and everyone else is pretty good. You’re not going to beat a team like the Heat or the Spurs every year. They’re each going to get theirs. The NBA may have had a more even distribution of wins in the 90′s, but it was harder to win a title in the 80′s because you had some real great teams. Not so in the 90′s.

      As for the Jazz, I sure as hell am not “somebody getting by on a combination of YouTube, basketball-reference and Wikipedia.” I watched as much playoff basketball in the 90′s as any person here. The Jazz I knew were respected for being consistently good but were never a team anyone took seriously for the title. I watched every game of the 1994 Western Conference Final praying that they would upset the Rockets because I knew there was no way in hell that team was capable of beating us for a title, and I bet every other Knicks fan who remembers 1994 did the same thing.

      Basically, if you were a real contender and you drew the Jazz between 1991-1998, you knew you were winning before the series began. That’s just the way it was back then. They were a stepping stone team.

    105. JK47

      There are some interesting players that would possibly be around at #16 and #19.

      I watch pretty much every Syracuse game, and I’m bullish on Tyler Ennis and Jermai Grant. Lest you think I’m a homer, I was not all that high on Dion Waiters or Michael Carter-Williams.

      Ennis is a high-IQ pure point guard with great feel for the game; I could see him definitely have a very good career as a more athletic version of Derek Fisher. Since Cuse plays the zone it’s hard to say what kind of a defensive player he’ll be, but he was a good ball-hawking defender in that zone.

      Grant is Harvey Grant’s son and therefore Horace Grant’s nephew, so there’s the Phil Jackson connection, and he’s more raw but he’s a very athletic wing who showed a good shooting touch as well. He’s 6’8″ and has a huge wingspan. High motor player; had some electrifying dunks and blocks. He’s been compared to Thaddeus Young.

      Other guys who might be around for those picks that I like:
      Kyle Anderson (UCLA) – 6’9″ wing who I think could make a great role player; even played some PG and has great floor vision; seems like a no-brainer triangle player

      Jusuf Nurkic – Big, burly tree of a center who is surprisingly nimble; low-ceiling high floor player I think, but should have a solid career as a banger

      Cleanthony Early – another long-armed wing with a versatile game; doesn’t have one standout skill but does a little bit of everything. Could be a good triangle fit since moving without the ball is one of his specialties

      Anybody else out there like anybody in this draft who might be around in that 16-19 range? Dario Saric seems like a Toni Kukoc clone but he’ll probably go top 15. I didn’t love Glenn Robinson III as a college player, and he shows up in the late teens to early 20′s in most mock drafts.

    106. lavor postell

      Yeah GR3 shouldn’t go that high. He should be a late first round pick or early second round guy. The athleticism and potential is tantalizing with him, but he has no real discernible NBA skills yet. I wouldn’t mind grabbing Adreian Payne if he was available at 16 or 19. I’m also a fan of Anderson if he was available at either of those picks.

    107. lavor postell

      @Hubert

      I watched all of those games too, but I was also 7 years old during the 94 Finals run so my understanding of what exactly was going on was pretty limited to being really happy when the Knicks won and hating all other teams. I actually remember staying up late and hysterically crying after Game 1 which I believe the Knicks lost 93-77 because I thought that was it. My dad informed me that it was a best of 7 series.

    108. lavor postell

      Oh and my last piece is I’ve watched nearly every Michigan basketball game since 2005. If we can get an early second round pick, Mitch McGary is a player I think that would be a perfect fit for the Triangle.

    109. Hubert

      Big Blue Al may disagree with me on my overall point, but I’m damn sure he was pulling for those Jazz in ’94, too, am I right, BBA?

    110. Hubert

      Basically, if you were a real contender and you drew the Jazz between 1991-1998, you knew you were winning before the series began. That’s just the way it was back then. They were a stepping stone team.

      And by the way, this statement was equally true of San Antonio before Duncan and Pop showed up.

      I know I can’t be the only person who remembers this.

      The best teams of the Jordan Era, IMHO, were the ’93 Knicks, ’93 Suns (just because they were no Spurs doesn’t mean they weren’t really damn good), the ’96 Sonics, and the ’98 Pacers

      I don’t rate those Cavs teams or the Jazz very highly.

    111. BigBlueAL

      Of course, the Rockets started that season what was it, 15 or 16-0 with the final win in that stretch coming in NY. But the Jazz also swept the Knicks that season too and the Knicks went over a decade I believe in between wins in Utah. But the Jazz “only” won 53 games that year so Knicks wouldve had homecourt. The only 2 teams I thought could beat the Knicks that season were the Sonics and Rockets (even though the Knicks split vs Seattle that season with both teams winning on the other’s homecourt). Really though the one team I feared the most was Houston.

      The Jazz though in 1997 and 1998 were excellent teams, they won 64 and 62 games with the #2 and #1 offense in the league (their SRS in 1997 was almost identical to the Spurs this season). They were considered ahead of their time because of their ball movement on offense. They just werent that good on D with their small backcourt and no decent big man besides Malone. They still took the Bulls to 6 games each year with many of the games being decided in the final minutes (except for the massacre in Game 3 in 1998 lol).

    112. BigBlueAL

      The 1990-1992 Blazers and the 1997-1998 Jazz have to be included. Those were very good to excellent teams.

    113. SJK

      “In order for Chicago’s #16 an #19 picks to be part of a Carmelo sign-and-trade, Chicago would have to make the picks that the Knicks requested, with the deal to be completed after the July Moritorium ends. At that point:
      (1) Carmelo would sign with the Knicks at a salary Chicago agreed to pay;
      (2) Carmelo + ??? would have to be traded to Chicago within 72 hours for (a) Player Picked #16 ($1.46 million cap hold), (b) Player Picked #19 ($1.27 million cap hold) and (c) whoever else would make the salaries match within 25% plus $100k”

      @ephus is there any precedent for a deal like this? It seems entirely hypothetical and I’ve personally never heard of something like this happening. Like I said, I would love this idea, but it seems unrealistic.

    114. Hubert

      There were so many f’d up win totals those years, though. I mean, the ’97 Heat won 61 games and I swear to god if you watched that team play basketball you would be amazed by how ordinary they were. Crappy-ass Hawks teams that were startling for their mediocrity were winning 50 games every year (56 in ’97!). And I distinctly remember a Mike Fratello Cavs team finishing 4th in the East on the back of “defense” when in reality all they were doing was playing at a record slow pace. It was a fucked up era and win totals were seriously inflated, IMO. Most of those years (96-98), the Bulls ran unopposed. The ’96 Sonics were awesome and ’98 was tough, because at that point they were fighting their bodies.

      You’re probably right about the Blazers.

      We’ll agree to disagree about the Jazz.

    115. bocker84

      They just werent that good on D with their small backcourt and no decent big man besides Malone.

      How dare you speak of Ostertag in such a fashion…

    116. BigBlueAL

      Not to mention the great Greg Foster and Adam Keefe lol. They were actually 9th on D in 1997 but 17th in 1998.

    117. Donnie Walsh

      if you were a real contender and you drew the Jazz between 1991-1998, you knew you were winning before the series began. That’s just the way it was back then. They were a stepping stone team

      I still just don’t understand where this is coming from. Every team during that span was a stepping stone team to the Bulls (the Knicks more than anyone!). That doesn’t mean they weren’t legit title contenders or even great teams in and of themselves.

      Yes, I remember rooting for the Jazz over the Rockets in 1994. But a) Houston was a worse matchup for the Knicks, and b) that had nothing to do with the ’95-’98 Utah Jazz, who continued to improve and dominate the west during that span.

      Utah had two all-time great players at their position. They had played together for over a decade. They were spectacularly fundamental. They are way more similar to the Duncan era Spurs than the ’93 Suns were. That Jazz team deserved to win rings. More so than the Suns, Knicks, Blazers, and Cavs teams of the decade did.

      (And, btw, the reason the league was weaker in the 90s (or so you claim) is because teams were out of ideas as to how to defeat the Bulls. Teams resorted to sheer violence in an effort to dethrone them (I won’t name which ones!), and the Bulls still prevailed.

    118. ephus

      @ephus is there any precedent for a deal like this?

      Last year’s Celtics/Nets trade was struck before the July Moritorium but could not be completed until after. There also have been instances of a team drafting a player for another team (because of the Stepien rule against trading your first round draft pick when you have already traded away next year’s first round pick). I do not recall any team ever doing exactly this.

    119. Z-man

      ephus, loved the grantland article, thanks!

      Re: LeBron’s line about Spurs having 4 PGs in effect, he didn’t go far enough. They have more multi-talented rotation players than any team in the league, guys who can score in multiple ways, dribble, pass, play individual and team defense, and excel in the cerebral part of the game. The have so many possible looks on offense that it is a nightmare to defend against them. Stop one look and they go to another depending on the situation, almost like 5 Tom Brady’s or Peyton Manning’s reading defenses before carving them up.

      As great as Kawhi was, and he deserves the MVP, Diaw was equally brilliant in a very quiet way. I was keying on him in the 4th q and watching how he would pose a scoring threat until the help defense reacted, then kick it out for the 3 at exactly the right time or making the hockey assist because the guy he passed to found someone with an even better shot. He was super-skilled with the ball. It’s amazing that he actually led the team in minutes!

      They had 7 rotation players with a TS% over .600 and 3 with a TS% over .700. The highest usage% was 25.9 (Parker) but 5 guys had USG% between 20-25.9 (Diaw’s was 12) . Ginobili, Diaw and Parker all had assist% in the 20′s. Seriously, this was as uniquely dominating of an offensive performance as we may ever see.

      Compare these stats to the OKC series. In that one, Diaw had a TS% of .601 on a usage of over 20. He shot even better in the series before that. The guy is really amazing!

    120. Farfa

      Compare these stats to the OKC series. In that one, Diaw had a TS% of .601 on a usage of over 20. He shot even better in the series before that. The guy is really amazing!

      And he was discarded by the Bobcats.

      I hope now it’s clear what I intend with “Spurs model”. Spurs model is where a guy like Diaw can bloom. Spurs model is where a guy like, uhm, don’t know, any selfish, dumb player (JR?) cannot ever play.

    121. Brian Cronin

      I like Diaw, as well, but it seems to me that saying, “Play me in the system that I am best suited for or I will sulk, gain 300 pounds and become unplayable and untradeable while making $9 million a year” is selfish in its own right.

    122. iserp

      I like Diaw, as well, but it seems to me that saying, “Play me in the system that I am best suited for or I will sulk, gain 300 pounds and become unplayable and untradeable while making $9 million a year” is selfish in its own right.

      To be fair, it is really hard for an european player to be in a tanking team in the NBA. In Europe, you always play to win for something: domestic league, domestic cup, different european tiers league. If you lose in your league your team is demoted to a lower division.

      If you come to the NBA seeking “glory” (as the money is usually the same for a star in europe than a midlevel guy in the NBA), and then you find yourself in a losing team, that encourages losing behaviour, who plays rookies top minutes and gives them freedom to do whatever they want… it must be depressing. I always think of Juan Carlos Navarro, who has been a star in the ACB and for Spain (now, at 34, not so much), find himself in a losing Grizzlies team, who just traded Pau Gasol for trash and the rights of Marc Gasol and handed the keys of the franchise to Rudy Gay. Every other player is just looking for their own numbers and not caring about the team. He must have said “What the hell am i doing here?” and he came back to Spain.

      Many european players fail at the NBA because of this reason (and not because of lack of talent). In that sense, the spurs model works. I don’t think the spurs model is about high character guys. I don’t remember the spurs drafting a high character guy over a more talented player. Or trading just for players that are high character. On the other hand, it puts players that are low character in a position to succeed.

    123. lavor postell

      Simply saying teams should operate under the Spurs model isn’t founded in any tangible reality. The Spurs “model” is based on having one of the top-3 coaches in the history of the game and one of the top-10, arguably 5, of all time that has no ego and is a reflection of his coach on the floor. It also involves having an owner with tremendous patience and trust in his staff as well as maybe the greatest executive in the history of American sports in R.C. Buford.

      It’s not just that they intelligently pick Euro guys and bring them in to the team and are patient with them. The Kings drafted a lot of Euros as well and actually in the early 2000′s this became something all teams tried to do culminating with Darko getting picked No. 2 in the 2003 draft and Andrea fucking Bargnani went No. 1 in 2005. It’s really easy to say teams should draft better and find players who’s skills complement their stars and fit into their system, but it’s not at all an easy thing to achieve.

      If you want a decent parallel just look at Manchester United struggling in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson retiring and losing their CEO and main front office guy David Gill in the same summer. You can’t just plan on replacing people that have been nothing short of legendary in their roles because you have a system. The system is successful and works because of the work of those people and replicating what they do is nearly impossible.

    124. naztorious

      I bet the Spurs could turn Bargani into a serviceable player. Look at what they’ve done with other players who have been cut from teams.

    125. Nick C.

      So what should we be doing? Praying that LeBron or Durant decide to take their talents to NYC as free agents? I’m not sure that intelligent management should be so cavalierly dismissed as luck. Other than Duncan, who great as he is is he that much above KG, Dirk, Shaq or Webber among his generation?

    126. Farfa

      If you want a decent parallel just look at Manchester United struggling in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson retiring and losing their CEO and main front office guy David Gill in the same summer. You can’t just plan on replacing people that have been nothing short of legendary in their roles because you have a system. The system is successful and works because of the work of those people and replicating what they do is nearly impossible.

      Well, this is a great parallel. And you’re completely right, but only if you think that replicating that model equates to winning five championships. It’s obvious that if you replace Popovich and Buford with Brooks and Olshey (two good NBA people, you know) it is very possible that the Spurs don’t win anything, but that’s only because it doesn’t really seem that they operate along those lines. At the same time, it’s clear that without Duncan the Spurs don’t win anything.
      But what I’m advocating is to put in place a sane system, managed by smart people, who call the shots based on character (and talent, obviously, but talent shouldn’t trump character), and make the right choices along the way. And if they miss a call, well, they bite the bullet and go on.

      Anyway, it seems like I can’t make myself clear. So I will stop talking about this Spurs model once and for all. Just watch Atlanta (who’s putting together that plan) next year as it goes straight to the Eastern Conference Finals as a #2 seed, blazing past the Pacers, the Bulls and the Wizards.

    127. Farfa

      I like Diaw, as well, but it seems to me that saying, “Play me in the system that I am best suited for or I will sulk, gain 300 pounds and become unplayable and untradeable while making $9 million a year” is selfish in its own right.

      This is selfish if you consider only the fact the Diaw was earning 9mln/yr. I would say Diaw was pretty immature in that contest, but not selfish. Diaw wanted a system that he was best suited for so he could benefit his teammates; how is that selfish? I get that he should have buckled up and been a professional, and if we’re scolding him for that, I think we are right. But I can’t call him selfish. This is a dude who was saying “let me play for my teammates, oh and I want to win”. I want that guy on my side everyday, and if he doesn’t work well in my system, with that mentality, it’s probably because I am doing something wrong.

    128. Hubert

      Farfa, the Spurs model is great, but we kinda committed to the Phil Jackson model, which has had some success, too, you know?

      I’m just thrilled that we’re committed to something!

    129. johnno

      “Other than Duncan, who great as he is is he that much above KG, Dirk, Shaq or Webber among his generation?”
      Are we ignoring the fact that Duncan played next to one of the best centers in the history of the NBA for the first 6 years of his career (and yes, for at least the first 4 of those years, David Robinson was still an all-NBA caliber player — he led the league in WS/48 in 3 of those 4 years).
      Farfa — you’ve made yourself absolutely clear. Everyone understands what you are saying. Everyone agrees that the Spurs model is the gold standard. Everyone wants the Knicks to achieve that standard. You are just the only one who seems to think that it’s not very very hard to do. And, yes, letting yourself get fat and out of shape to the point at which you are a shadow of the player you used to be (teammates be damned) while making $9 million per is very selfish and unprofessional.

    130. johnno

      “Johnno what does David Robinson have to do with how Duncan compares vis a vis KG etc.?”
      Nothing. I was simply pointing out that part of the success of the Spurs’ “system” is not just that they have an all-time great in Duncan, but that they were able to pair him with an all-time great, who also happened to be one of the highest character guys in the history of the league. It’s much easier to get the rest of the team to buy into the “all for one and one for all do things the right way and be high character guys” system when the foundation of that system is as rock solid as Duncan/Robinson. By the way, I have personally always thought that Duncan is just a little bit over-rated. I do believe that he is maybe a top 25 player of all time but not a top 10 player. (I also think that, while Duncan has had a better career overall than Garnett — but not by much — Garnett at his peak was a little better than Duncan at his peak.) I also think that calling him the best power forward ever is more than a little ridiculous since he has spent the vast majority of his career playing center.

    131. Nick C.

      Got it. You mean when Eddy Curry and Stephon Marbury are the team’s centerpieces things might turn out different? lol

    132. Farfa

      Farfa, the Spurs model is great, but we kinda committed to the Phil Jackson model, which has had some success, too, you know?

      I’m just thrilled that we’re committed to something!

      I totally agree. I’m happy we have Phil! All my Spurs rant was about shaking my head at all the crazy things than happen in many fucked up franchises which, at least as of now, we could be no more. So let’s embrace the Phil way, I think he could put in place a great system here too.

    133. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

      Want the Knicks to have a Spurs model?

      Simple. Build a time machine and select my draft choices for the last four years. Then prevent the Knicks from signing/trading for Amar’e and Carmelo, re-signing J.R. and Felton, letting Lin walk for no discernible reason, and giving up virtually every draft pick they’ve had since Marbury was in blue and orange.

      Then you’d have the Knickspurs. And you could bow to me for saying from day 1 that Kawhi Leonard was the steal of his draft.

    134. JK47

      GM-ing is easy!

      Just fire up the old WP48 website, always choose the guy with the highest WP48, and you’re done!

      Piece of cake.

    135. AbuJaFar

      @johnno

      really curious which 20 players you would rate higher than duncan all time?
      I think he’s top 10 pretty easy

    136. johnno

      Don’t have time to really think about it right now but I’ll start by saying that, in my mind, he’s no better than the sixth best center of all time — behind Kareem, Shaq, Chamberlain, Russell and Olajuwan — and I think that he’s clearly behind Magic, Jordan, Bird, LeBron and Durant so, without even giving it much thought, he’s already getting nudged out of the top 10. If you just want to take peak performance, Bill Walton for about two years was much better than Duncan until his career was unfortunately murdered by injuries.

    137. lavor postell

      He’s definitely not behind Kevin Durant. Give me a break. Also Lebron at this point in his career can’t top Duncan. His peak performance is better than Timmy, but he hasn’t done it long enough. Longevity has to count for something IMO. Also Duncan is still one of the best rim protectors and interior defenders in the league.

    138. Z-man

      Jowles, you have been high on Leonard from the beginning, and lots of teams f’d up by passing him over (not us, thankfully!) However, If I recall correctly, you were even higher on Faried, who is a far inferior player, and who doesn’t fit the current Spurs model (much like another of your faves DeJuan Blair didn’t fit despite his monster WP48.)

      To my knowledge there isn’t a time machine available, so your response doesn’t serve much purpose other than, well….

    139. Z-man

      Wow, I can’t believe that anyone could seriously argue that Duncan is not a top-shelf all-time great. I’ll defer to those who played with and against him. I hate Bill Simmons, but his book did a good job of putting Duncan’s greatness into perspective in rating him #7.

    140. Mr. Jowles, who commands your respect

      We’re talking about Faried as one of my misses!?!?!?!?! Faried!?!?! Ken “0.166 WS/48 on a rookie contract” Faried? He’s a miss!?!?!?!?!?!? Because … he’s not a passer!?!?!?!?!?!?

      Holy shit, this board.

      NO, LET’S SIGN BARGNANI AGAIN

    141. lavor postell

      Denver had a net -3.0 per 100 possessions when Faried was on the floor and jumped up to -1.1 per 100 possessions when he was off it. Denver as a team went from posting a 48.1 eFG% when he was off the floor to 50.9eFG% when he was on the floor. That’s pretty awesome. Unfortunately when he was on the floor they allowed a 52.3 eFG% and when he was off the floor they allowed a 47.0 eFG%. Yeah that guy might actually not be nearly as good as you think he is.

    142. JK47

      Getting all those offensive rebounds is great, but it comes at an expense: Faried goes all out for every offensive rebound, even ones where he is boxed out and not likely to actually corral the rebound. This approach will get your team some extra possessions, but it does not do wonders for your transition defense. On the whole it’s probably a net positive for Denver, but not as big a net positive as it appears to be in the box score, since there’s no way to punish Faried for the transition buckets his ultra-aggressive style allows.

      And on the defensive end of the floor, Faried is not known as a guy who will challenge a shot all that much– when it looks like there’s a shot about to go up, dude is looking to get in position to get that rebound. He is not looking to slide over late and contest that shot, and he doesn’t get a lot of blocks for a guy with his freakish athleticism. He’s not like Rodman, who played tough physical defense AND got a ton of rebounds. Faried is better in a box score than he is in “real life.”

    143. Z-man

      Jowles, I didn’t say he was a miss. I said that if you passed over Leonard and drafted Faried instead, THAT would be a miss. And you would have done that, right?

      Faried is a nice rotation player on a middling team, and my guess is that’s all he ever will be. He’s a 6’6″ Tyson Chandler on offense but can’t defend or block shots. On the right team in the right role, his value can be inflated, but he will never, ever be close to the player that Leonard is. He is not a good fit in the likes of Pop’s system.

      I still wouldn’t have drafted Faried over Shump at this point, and I would not trade Shump for him at this point, but agree that he has played better overall than Shump up to now. Shump has played for the worst possible coach for his development, starting with the stupid Rook thing (to be fair, not sure if Karl helped Faried either!) I am looking forward to seeing whether a coach and a GM with a heightened appreciation for defense and ball movement will make a difference for him. Faried has maxed out his skillset. He can’t dribble, shoot, pass or defend anywhere near well enough to be an asset in a Spurs-like system.

    144. JK47

      I think Faried COULD become a better defender– he would just have to be willing to play a different way. Even though he’s smallish for a PF, he has off-the-charts athleticism and motor. It’s the way he plays, and his priorities, that make him a weak defender, not his size, although being undersized does exacerbate the problem.

    145. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

      Faried is also a high character guy (in the Spurs mold?) fwiw.

      And Duncan is the top PF to ever play (though I truly don’t understand why he’s considered a 4 and not a 5). Duncan was the GOTME 5 years ago when Knickerblogger ranked PFs, and he has done nothing but solidify that placement. http://knickerblogger.net/gotme-part-v-power-forward/

    146. ephus

      It does not sound as if Marc Gasol is eager to leave Memphis. I do not think he is a likely target for the summer of 2015.

      Click on my name to get to my blog.

    147. Z-man

      Duncan is all substance and no style, which hurts him in ratings. He may be the all-time great who cared the least about how he is ranked or remembered.

    148. Z-man

      At the level of Hakeem vs. Tim, it’s hard to definitively choose one over the other. That said, if we’re choosing pick-up teams of all-time greats in their prime, I’m going Hakeem. But if you took Hakeem first, I’d be more than happy with Tim.

    149. Frank

      Then you’d have the Knickspurs. And you could bow to me for saying from day 1 that Kawhi Leonard was the steal of his draft.

      *eye roll*

      Leonard was a consensus top 10 pick in his draft who fell to #15. Chad Ford had him #6, Hollinger had him #5, etc. Everyone and their mother could have told you he was a great pick at 15. But yes, you’re brilliant.

      And literally no one here would have been upset if we picked Faried instead of Shump. And no one here was super excited about blowing our FA money on STAT (excited to get him, sure, but no one was happy we got him instead of Lebron unless he was going to bring Lebron in also). And literally nearly everyone here thought we gave too much in the Melo trade. And should have re-signed Lin. And not brought Felton back in. And not give JR that deal.

      For a guy who always talks about other people slaying straw men, you’re not so bad at it yourself!

    150. Hubert

      *eye roll*

      Leonard was a consensus top 10 pick in his draft who fell to #15. Chad Ford had him #6, Hollinger had him #5, etc. Everyone and their mother could have told you he was a great pick at 15. But yes, you’re brilliant.

      And literally no one here would have been upset if we picked Faried instead of Shump. And no one here was super excited about blowing our FA money on STAT (excited to get him, sure, but no one was happy we got him instead of Lebron unless he was going to bring Lebron in also). And literally nearly everyone here thought we gave too much in the Melo trade. And should have re-signed Lin. And not brought Felton back in. And not give JR that deal.

      For a guy who always talks about other people slaying straw men, you’re not so bad at it yourself!

      Right? How tiresome is this? Every Knicks fan and their brother and mother was watching the 2011 draft going “holy shit, Kawhi Leonard might fall to us!” I actually thought it was almost a sure thing when it got to 15 because I didn’t think Indiana would pair George and Leonard and everyone was saying Philly was set on Vujevic (who they selected). I was seriously bummed when we came so close. But yeah, only Jowles and the Spurs saw it coming.

      The other thing you’re full of shit on, Jowles, is this notion you’re putting forth that you were mocked here for saying Kawhi could be part of a new big three. What you actually said was that Leonard, Green, and Splitter could form their own big three without Duncan, Parker, and Ginobli and replicate the success of the current Spurs team for another decade after those three hall of famers retired. Whether you are right or wrong is debatable, but no one on this site (at least no one not in the vinny/dogrufus category) ever mocked the idea that Kawhi Leonard could be great.

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