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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Knicks Morning News (2014.07.26)

  • [New York Times] Analysis: Before Signing, Big Stars Seek a Prize Beyond Fortune and Glory (Sat, 26 Jul 2014 02:03:02 GMT)
    Free agents usually make a choice between wages and wins, but this year some of the game’s biggest stars made their decisions about a new team in a more nuanced fashion.

  • [New York Daily News] Carmelo Anthony says Knicks ‘aren’t far away from contending’ (Sat, 26 Jul 2014 02:08:04 GMT)
    Carmelo Anthony reiterated that that he has faith in Phil Jackson to build the Knicks into a championship contender. Anthony told ESPN on Friday that the Knicks “aren’t that far away from contending for an NBA title” despite the fact that the team won just 37 games last season and failed to make the playoffs.

  • 55 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2014.07.26)

    1. Kahnzy

      Might I present, for a counter-argument, Mike Woodson and the idea that you can, in fact, teach suckiness.

    2. ephus

      Practice and repetition creates “muscle memory” which allows an athlete to perform without thinking about what he is doing. It is the same thing with musicians. I have to think about playing the notes on a piano, but a great pianist simply sees the notes (or thinks them) and his fingers know where to go without thought or looking. Typing is similar.

      So, with true respect, I disagree with THCJ about coaching being irrelevant. An athlete plays like he practices. If he practices developing high-efficiency skills, those skills become automatic. If he practices developing “tough” shots, those are his tools when reaction takes over from thought.

      Ray Allen practices thousands of three pointers, off of curls, catch and shoots, pull-ups and retreating to the corner. Then, in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals, he was on auto-pilot for the winning shot. Allen may be genetically gifted, but he honed that gift through practice to be ready for the moment.

      A great coach develops a scheme that gets his players into advantageous situations AND gets his players to practice to the point of automatacy executing in those situations.

    3. The Prescient Cock Jowles

      ephus,

      I agree that practice matters. My point is that a few months of coaching cannot easily undo mechanics that have been instilled in a player for twenty-plus years. A great coach can try to eliminate the poor plays (20-foot fadeaway 2-pointers) through a scheme.

      So great coaches matter (Dave Berri’s research concludes that, as well). But how much coaching continuity is there for the average player? On one end of the spectrum, Tim Duncan has received fifteen years of Popovich’s instruction. He has not played for a different head coach since he was at Wake Forest. I think it’s reasonable to expect Popovich to be able to influence a player from such an early age and throughout his career. But that happens rarely. David Lee, for example, is headed toward his sixth coach in 9 years.

      I think it’s much more important to have players that fit the system than to try to drive the system into players. That’s why D’Antoni was hugely successful with Nash and Amar’e (whose styles of play were totally perfect for the 7SoL) and not nearly as successful with the Knicks and Lakers.

      I don’t deny that coaching can change players. Practice changes players. That’s its purpose. The point I’m trying to make is that these are human beings with habits and conditions that have been reinforced for years. Anecdotally: I competed in judo for years and saw the difficulties people had when trying to fix errors in form. Despite clear instruction, it’s very hard to undo a bad habit once it’s been drilled over and over. You end up having to break the form down into its basic elements and drill them until you forget the old method. It’s an exceedingly difficult task.

      I’ve seen the same thing in strength training. If you learn how to squat poorly, you will face an uphill battle in correcting that form as you continue to add weight to the bar.

    4. The Prescient Cock Jowles

      I think my signals are crossing. I’m pretty sure I sound contradictory (i.e. that conditioning can produce good or bad habits that are irreversible, yet the instruction of those habits is inconsequential).

      Let’s clarify:

      1) Coaching matters, especially during the initial development of a skill.

      2) Coaching will not substantially change a habit that has been reinforced through thousands of hours of repetition.

      3) Coaching especially will not change a habit if there is not sufficient time spent eliminating a bad process and introducing and reinforcing the new.

    5. The Prescient Cock Jowles

      I think you’re problem is that you need to read the post again. Your just being a bit stubborn. It’s okay. I’m not mad at your.

    6. Frank

      I think you are way over-reading the results of that in terms of the conclusion you made. They basically just said that he requires less brain activity to move his foot in a certain way. They said nothing about how he reacts to certain plays, how is brain functions to process a particular arrangement of players or game situations. It’s much more likely that this study is equivalent to how much of the brain a basketball player has to exert when jumping, or shooting a layup, or shooting a free throw — not whether he decides to take a 20 foot long 2 or not. Motor functions are a much lower brain activity than recognition and decision-making.

      That said, the higher functions can and should be practiced, too. It’ll be a while before we look reasonable running the triangle.

      Thanks for posting the article though. My favorite portion:

      Naito told Japan’s Mainichi Shimbun newspaper: “Reduced brain activity means less burden which allows (the player) to perform many complex movements at once. We believe this gives him the ability to execute his various shimmies.”

    7. JK47

      Re: practicing and development: I’m a musician by trade. The two instruments I play best– my bread and butter– are piano and guitar. I started playing piano when I was 5 years old, and started playing guitar when I was 12. I’m in my early 40′s now. Since I picked up guitar at age 12, I’ve probably spent about equal amounts of time playing and practicing on those two instruments.

      Playing piano comes automatically to me; I do not have to think at all when I play piano, and I can go weeks and months without playing (although I rarely do) and pick up right where I left off. But to this day, I need to constantly practice guitar to stay at the top of my game– if I don’t play for a few weeks there is a noticeable dropoff in my “chops.” I can think about the Knicks and Hitchcock movies and what I’m going to make for dinner while I play piano, but I have to concentrate when I’m playing guitar.

      To this day, all these years later, that seven year head start I got playing piano when I was a small child makes a world of difference. If I practiced guitar solely for years on end and never touched a piano I still don’t think I would ever be able to catch up.

    8. Unreason

      In any domain of performance, the acquisition of expertise is a process of gradually chunking more and more of the subtasks involved in performance so that they no longer require conscious attention and working memory resources. As novices become experts the neurological substrates of performance become less cortical and more associated with activity in the basal ganglia. “Deliberate practice” – the process of focusing on the performance of subtasks and then getting feedback from experts – is the qualitative difference in skill acquisition that distinguishes people who “have a lot of experience” from expert performers. At elite levels of performance, to avoid plateaus and gradual decline, the automatization process has to be counteracted to make steps that have become unconscious available again to conscious attention and working memory so that they can be intentionally manipulated.

      This character of skill acquisition, expert performance, and the role of deliberate practice are very well established across many domains of performance. Coaching, in the form of feedback during deliberate practice continues to predict differences in performance from novice to expert and among experts who perform at elite levels.

      I think the effects of NBA coaching go well beyond skill acquisition though. Motivation and strategy are also important to team success and very influenced by coaches. Measures of performance are largely at the individual player level so there might be a tendency to build theories about what matters based on the measures that are available and dismiss the importance of things that aren’t routinely measured. It should be fascinating to see what the new NBA data sources reveal about different strategies and about differences in the execution of the same strategy. Motivation might remain difficult to measure though.

    9. ephus

      Although this may sound counter-intuitive for a complex system like the Triangle, I think its success comes from reducing the need for players to think and instead leading them to simply react. The Triangle gives the ball holder three choices (pass, shoot or dribble-drive) but very simple reads that dictate the choice to be made. Open shots get taken. Overplays on the ball lead to dribble-drive. Over-plays off the ball lead to back door cuts.

      Virtually every NBA player is better when he is reacting automatically than thinking cognitively.

      I also agree that once a flawed technique becomes automatic, it is really hard to correct. It’s not reasonable to expect a coach to be able to fix a skill (like a broken shot) during the course of a season.

      I expect the Knicks to come closer to extracting optimal performance from the roster this year than last year. Phish should take most of the counter-productive options off of the table, so that the players are trying to execute skills that virtually any NBA player would master.

      Coaching also makes a difference in effort level. Last year, the Knicks seemed to jog through the first two-thirds of the season. I would laugh every time Clyde would say the Knicks were displaying “playoff intensity” when they started to actually run hard on defense. The Knicks never hit true layoff intensity except maybe in the last twenty two games.

      At the end of the day, the Knicks can only be super-successful if the players execute the skills at an extraordinary level. A perfectly coached D League team will lose a seven game series against the Rockets (a talented team with middling coaching).

    10. hoolahoop

      Coaching, teaching and practicing are completely isolated, but interrelated activities.

      Practicing is essential. You know who practices the most ? The best. Lebron, MJ, Bird, Kobe. Raw talent is just a great starting point.

      Coaching and teaching are different. Sometimes coaches are teachers, but a lot of people can teach. Coaches hire teachers.
      Coaching is about leadership, strategy, team culture, relationships, motivation, and more. You can hire a shooting coach, or a batting coach to teach. But the head coach designs the offense and defense, and sets the tone for winning.

      Great coaches win games. Doc Rivers.
      Shit coaches lose games. Mike Woodson

    11. Brian Cronin

      Great coaches win games. Doc Rivers.
      Shit coaches lose games. Mike Woodson

      And yet that great coach just hired that shit coach to be his lead assistant coach. The NBA be crazy.

    12. Unreason

      Virtually every NBA player is better when he is reacting automatically than thinking cognitively.

      I suspect the optimal balance of more automatic vs. more deliberative processing varies greatly across situations in basketball. In general, when time pressure is low enough to allow for any degree of strategic choice, I’d guess that players who can optimize and vary their choices have an advantage of over those who are more completely on autopilot.

      Habituation frees up cognitive resources, allowing greater attention to and processing of situational cues. An advantage of that increased situational awareness might be to allow for better informed microdecisions about reads or whatever the situation demands. There’s an interesting piece on James, his memory, and on-court decision making. http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11067098/lebron-james-greatest-weapon-brain

      It seems to suggest that his superior decision making is partly due to a unusual ability to bring patterns observed in prior games to bear on his decisions in a fairly deliberative way. He also seems to believe that he has had a tendency to over-think things at times in a way that has hampered his performance. The article focuses on his memory, but I’d guess that he’s super smart in general and that unusual feats of memory are just the most noticeable aspect of his unusually high overall intelligence.

    13. ephus

      has an amazing memory for on court situations from years back. He uses that memory to process ahead of time what strategies are likely to work in upcoming plays and games. But that is preparing for automatacy.

      LBJ admits in the article that his bad games have come when he is thinking on the court rather than reacting. Most notably, he blames his poor performance in the 2013 Finals on memories of his poor performance in the 2007 Finals.

      It is a mantra in baseball that you need to know what you are going to do with the ball before it is hit to you. Same is true in basketball, but there are many more reads that are required to avoid picking a losing course. A great system can give a player simple reads to allow for non-cognitive action.

    14. Brian Cronin

      This chart doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know, but wow, when you look at it like this, Lebron and Durant look even more amazing than normal. Here’s a chart ranking players by TS% and Usage:

      tsusagechart

      Daaaaaaang.

      EDITED TO ADD: I realized that people might be curious where Melo was on the chart, so I edited it in to the chart.

    15. Z-man

      Really interesting thread.

      I’m guessing that this thread is about the following question: Can a player like Melo change his ways in a new system under a new coach, or is it virtually impossible for him to “unlearn” what has been ingrained in his on-court decision-making over the last 20 years or so?

      As a Knicks fan, I’m hopeful that he can change, for all the reasons stated above…that it’s a strategy issue, not a skill issue.

      On the other hand, the last few comments are about B-Ball IQ and IQ in general. I think sometimes we forget how critical the intellectual part of the game is in comparison to the purely physical part. In that sense, I’m less optimistic about Melo. I’m not sure he is capable of being the intellectual leader of a championship team. He can practice situational decision-making all he wants, but at this point, I’m not sure it will change his thinking in the heat of the big-game moment. To compare it with JK47′s post, I think that playing isolation hero-ball is like playing the piano for JK47, and playing intellectual move-the-ball-to-get-the-best-shot ball is like playing the guitar. He can do it, but he has to think about it, and therefore it is not as fluid or crisp as it is with LeBron.

      That’s why Melo excels on the USA team. The intellectual burden of the game is borne by more heady players, and he is free to do what he does best.

      I’m guessing that Phil understands this and is hoping that the combination of the system, coaching, and surrounding Melo with players that are intellectually and physically capable of running the system will relieve him of enough of that burden to be successful. It’s probably the only way for Melo to have a shot of winning a chip without playing alongside a transcendent player who is the primary decision-maker, Like LeBron or a truly elite PG. Not sure whether that type of player will be available to the Knicks in time for Melo.

    16. Z-man

      Maybe the right guy to target is Rondo. He can’t shoot the ball very well, but he could maximize Melo’s efficiency, making up for his own erratic shooting. Doubt that Phil would go for him though. Maybe Chris Paul? He’s obviously not happy in LA right now and the Sterling thing could drag on.

    17. Brian Cronin

      Rondo would make a lot of sense in a different system, but not really in the Triangle.

      It’s an interesting point, Z-Man, that Melo really does seem like a guy who would love to just let a point guard take over, as he would be able to do just what you say – relax and just hit open shots. Remember the Melo/Irving two-man game in the All-Star Game? Like that. However, it has to be a point guard that Melo wouldn’t feel as though he is being slighted by giving control over to him. Paul? Sure. Rondo? Sure. Nash? Sure. Less famous guys? I think he’d balk.

      Heck, I think if we go back a few years, I recall making that exact point back in the day, that Paul would be worth so much more than just the fact that he’s an amazing player – because he is one of the very few players that Melo would defer to. That was another reason I was down with trading Shump for Nash, as Nash is also that type of player (of course, as it turned out, that would have been a bad idea because Nash’s body was just about ready to explode into a million body parts but besides his general advanced age no one knew he was that close to exploding).

    18. ephus

      Here are the two simple changes that I think will improve the Knicks offense season: no stationary dribbling and back door cuts against fronting/overplays.

      I think Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith will both be much more efficient without the dribbling while surveying the defense. Quick reads of clear keys will get the offense moving. If Carmelo or JR read that the shot or drive is open, I am content to live with the result.

      Back door passing should take a lot of the pressure off of Carmelo when he posts at the elbow. Last year, only Kenyon Martin seemed to have the ability to lob to Carmelo to defeat fronting in the post. Once K-mart went down, teams fronted Carmelo with impunity. Carmelo ended up catching the ball facing the basket 21′ from the basket (no man’s land).

      Because Carmelo already loves the high post, I think he will rapidly integrate these changes.

    19. Z-man

      Brian, I agree. In a strange way, it could be interpreted as a high IQ kind of thing. He defers, but only to guys he trusts, and the guys he trusts are worth trusting.

      It makes you realize that even though there are lots of gifted athletes and shooters playing the point (Westbrook, Rose, Lowry, Curry, Conley, Teague, etc.), there are very few who fit the Stockton/Nash/CP3 “pass first but ease up on me and I will torch you” model. Durant probably suffers from not playing with one of these guys as well.

      But theoretically, the Triangle reduces the need for a PG on that level, and is all about building trust based on simple (?) reads. Problem is, we have 3 very flawed PGs right now. I wonder whether Nash could be a good backup PG on his expiring deal, and if yes, what it would take to get him?

      How bizarre would it be if Lin has a solid year and the Knicks bring him back as a free agent?!

    20. hoolahoop

      And yet that great coach just hired that shit coach to be his lead assistant coach. The NBA be crazy.

      I didn’t get that move.
      For conspiracy theorists, it may mean that Doc is really leaving and wants to put the worst coach possible in his place. We all know Woodson’s history in that regard.

    21. yellowboy90

      Not only was K-mart the only one had the ability to throw the lob he was the only one that would instinctively recognize what was going on and flash to the high post to be able to throw the lob. I am not sure how many times I saw Melo point to the opposite big to flash high. Now, I would have like to have seen Melo not force the issue when the flash to the high post didn’t come and move on instead of being stubborn.

    22. Z-man

      Surprised Woody would take the job given the ownership situation. It can’t be for that much money, right?

    23. hoolahoop

      when time pressure is low enough to allow for any degree of strategic choice, I’d guess that players who can optimize and vary their choices have an advantage of over those who are more completely on autopilot.

      Habituation frees up cognitive resources, allowing greater attention to and processing of situational cues. An advantage of that increased situational awareness might be to allow for better informed microdecisions about reads or whatever the situation demands.

      That’s why NBA players who start playing basketball in college, and moreso, foreign players who picked up the game even later in life, have much more limited upside.
      In general, to play any ‘skill’ sport an elite/intuitive level, you must start by about five years old, certainly by nine.

    24. hoolahoop

      It is a mantra in baseball that you need to know what you are going to do with the ball before it is hit to you. Same is true in basketball, but there are many more reads that are required to avoid picking a losing course.

      It should be a mantra in basketball, but I think few think that way. Larry Bird and J. Kidd knew where they were going to pass IF the ball got to them. In other words, before the passer even knew where he was going to pass, Bird and Kidd were taking in the court and making decisions.

    25. hoolahoop

      I think sometimes we forget how critical the intellectual part of the game is in comparison to the purely physical part. In that sense, I’m less optimistic about Melo. I’m not sure he is capable of being the intellectual leader of a championship team. He can practice situational decision-making all he wants, but at this point, I’m not sure it will change his thinking in the heat of the big-game moment. To compare it with JK47?s post, I think that playing isolation hero-ball is like playing the piano for JK47, and playing intellectual move-the-ball-to-get-the-best-shot ball is like playing the guitar. He can do it, but he has to think about it, and therefore it is not as fluid or crisp as it is with LeBron.

      Excellent observation and analogy.

      That’s why Melo excels on the USA team. The intellectual burden of the game is borne by more heady players, and he is free to do what he does best.

      That why when J. Kidd, especially, as well as the other vets, the knicks won 54 games.

      I’m guessing that Phil understands this and is hoping that the combination of the system, coaching, and surrounding Melo with players that are intellectually and physically capable of running the system will relieve him of enough of that burden to be successful. It’s probably the only way for Melo to have a shot of winning a chip without playing alongside a transcendent player who is the primary decision-maker,

      Yes, but the problem is there are not that many heady players that Melo will subordinate to.
      One of Melo’s strongest traits, and weakest, is his confidence to control the ball and shoot.

    26. hoolahoop

      Maybe the right guy to target is Rondo. He can’t shoot the ball very well, but he could maximize Melo’s efficiency, making up for his own erratic shooting. Doubt that Phil would go for him though. Maybe Chris Paul.

      Chris Paul and PJ would be a great fit. I’d stay away from Rhondo.
      One good thing about having PJ on board, I’m hoping, is that the psycho’s will probably have less rope to hang themselves.

    27. hoolahoop

      Yeah, starting at 15 sure killed Hakeem…

      Of course there are exceptions. That’s why I said “In general”!

    28. hoolahoop

      Yeah, starting at 15 sure killed Hakeem…

      Of course there are exceptions. That’s why I said “In general”! and stressed “skill sport”, to which some degree, basketball is.
      You’ll probably never see a pro tennis player or golfer that started at 15. Football player, sure.

      In general, to play any ‘skill’ sport at an elite/intuitive level, you must start by about five years old, certainly by nine.

    29. richmond

      if Sterling stays, Rivers could walk out and Woody becomes interim.. imploding begins..

    30. Z-man

      Just bustin’ on you, ‘hoop.

      Good point about Kidd. When he was shooting well, Melo and the Knicks played some beautiful basketball.

      He probably deserves far more credit for the Mavs winning it all than he gets. He has his character flaws, but they don’t make PGs like him anymore.
      Hate to say it, but the closest right now is probably Rondo. They are very similar in being all-time great rebounders, defenders and passers, and below-average shooters. Rondo’s shooting range is just so putrid, though, and his FT shooting is awful. Still, he was awesome on those monster Celts teams and I bet he would make our team a lot better at the right price. He’s not worth a max deal, but someone will probably give him one.

    31. Totes McGoats

      Wait..hol up..lol..i’m tryina say/type this with a straight face. I visited NBA Rumor Central on espn.com today and I read..lol..that..lol..that the Lakers..lol…were..were THINKING ABOUT BOOZER AT SF???!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAAHAHAAA!!! Are we sure Woodson didn’t take a job with the Lakers as opposed to the Clips? Did media get the wrong locker room when it was reported that Woodson took a job in LA? Seriously..if ANYONE in that organization REALLY thought of doin that..even for a second..they should ALL get the Kobe stare. They should wake up in the morning with the Kobe stare right in their faces. They should go to bed at night with the Kobe stare in a dark corner of the bedroom. When they are being intimate with their significant other, that person’s face should morph into the Kobe stare like Harrison Ford’s wife’s changed into the mistress’ face in What Lies Beneath. Jeez…talk about ineptitude..

    32. lavor postell

      Yeah there are a lot of things I like about Melo, but he definitely needs to be surrounded by smarter players that can make the game easier for him. It wasn’t just Kidd last season. We also had Rasheed, K-Mart, Uncle Kurt and Novak (who I think is a relatively high IQ player; just keeping it simple is a big part of bball IQ). Also it wasn’t just Melo that this benefited. Felton, Shump and JR are all guys that thrive when playing alongisde high IQ veterans. Calderon is going to help us a lot in this regard IMO. If we could somehow convince Marion (highly unlikely) to take the vet. min. for a year I’d be ecstatic.

    33. lavor postell

      Wait..hol up..lol..i’m tryina say/type this with a straight face. I visited NBA Rumor Central on espn.com today and I read..lol..that..lol..that the Lakers..lol…were..were THINKING ABOUT BOOZER AT SF???!!!!

      I saw this also and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. What’s even better is I downloaded the ESPN Radio app for my phone at the start of free agency just so I could listen to how different places were reacting throughout the process and I tuned in to ESPN LA after they bid for Boozer. The guys spent about 20 minutes talking about how Boozer was going to be a great fit at CENTER!! They also were convinced that this move would push them into a surefire playoff team.

      The best part was they called out a Lakers blog writer who tweeted at them saying Boozer was not a center and was a PF and then called him on air. He spent the next 10 minutes basically walking them through how Boozer fucking sucks, that he just added to their glut of power forwards and that since the Lakers are likely to not be very good next year it’s annoying since he’d rather give Ed Davis, Jordan Hill and Ryan Kelly all the minutes.

    34. Brian Cronin

      But theoretically, the Triangle reduces the need for a PG on that level, and is all about building trust based on simple (?) reads. Problem is, we have 3 very flawed PGs right now. I wonder whether Nash could be a good backup PG on his expiring deal, and if yes, what it would take to get him?

      True. That is sort of the key to the team this year, right? I think we all generally feel that Melo can adapt to the Triangle and the theoretical open looks he’ll get from the team-oriented passing that the Triangle revolves around (and we all know that Calderon can adapt to the Triangle) but can the rest of the team? Do we really trust STAT, JR, THJ, Dalembart and Shump to pass the ball smartly?

    35. d-mar

      Herring reported today that we offered Amare, TH2 and Shumpert to Minnesota for Love, and surprise! they turned it down.

      Not sure why Phil would make that offer, he knows they’ll never accept it, and I don’t think it’s a good thing for those 3 to know they’re being shopped around. Weird.

    36. Brian Cronin

      A Minnesota official claims the offer was never made. It does seem a bit fishy so I lean towards thinking maybe it wasn’t for real.

    37. Totes McGoats

      Do we really trust STAT, JR, THJ, Dalembart and Shump to pass the ball smartly?

      Damn good point BC. Out of the bunch I do have the most hope for Shump, being young enough to still be malleable. I also think that if Ron Harper and Brian Shaw can make the transition to PG in the triangle, then Shump has a great chance to do the same successfully. I’d like him at the 1 or 2 in the triangle. But this season..the starting backcourt needs to be Calderon and Shump. Unless TH2 greatly improves on D.

    38. JD & The Rim Shot

      You’d want to pair Calderon and Shump on the floor as much as possible. Each helps hides the other weakness. Shump allowing Calderon to hide on D, and Calderon providing the backcourt shooting/spacing that Shump will never provide.

    39. Z-man

      Shump is not a terrible passer or ball handler if he doesn’t try to do too much. He shot 40% from 3 in 2012-2013 in 45 games (127 attempts) after coming back from ACL tear, and then shot 43% from 3 (18-42) in the playoffs. Last year, he was a mess, as was the rest of the team. Maybe he just regressed, or maybe he was overwhelmed by problems with Woodson, Dolan, the trade rumors and his knee. I hope he gets a shot under Jackson and Fisher, if for no other reason than to boost his trade value.

    40. yellowboy90

      I’m probably the only one that trust JR in the triangle.. It should take the ball out of his hands and get him on the move much more. I actually would like to see him on the block to like Kobe used to do. JR seemed to have some pretty good foot work the few times he ever did post up over the years.

    41. ephus

      Knicks offer to the T-Wolves, if it happened, builds its appeal around sending enough salary to take back Kevin Martin and JJ Barea with Kevin Love.

    42. ephus

      I do not think the word “trust” can be used in conjunction with JR Smith.

      Always remember:

      The good news is that there is nothing that JR Smith can not do on a basketball court.

      The bad news is that there is nothing that JR Smith will not do on a basketball court.

      If JR adheres to the Triangle, he can be one of the fifty best players in the league.

      If he breaks the system, he can be as unplayable as Starbury.

    43. Brian Cronin

      Shump is not a terrible passer or ball handler if he doesn’t try to do too much. He shot 40% from 3 in 2012-2013 in 45 games (127 attempts) after coming back from ACL tear, and then shot 43% from 3 (18-42) in the playoffs. Last year, he was a mess, as was the rest of the team. Maybe he just regressed, or maybe he was overwhelmed by problems with Woodson, Dolan, the trade rumors and his knee. I hope he gets a shot under Jackson and Fisher, if for no other reason than to boost his trade value.

      I think Shump is very important to the team because he’s their only good perimeter defender and he’s the only guy you can pair with either THJ or Calderon to have a passable defensive backcourt. I also think that the Triangle can realistically hide a lot of his problems. All that said, I don’t think he has shown enough during his career to have any real optimism about his offensive abilities for next season (terrible his rookie season, pretty good in half of his second season especially on threes and then terrible his third season). I certainly believe he could turn out all right on offense but at this point I think it’s more likely than not that he is just a bad offensive player. His defense is good enough that he’s a net plus even if he is poor on offense, but boy would it be transformative if he could be as good as he was in the second half of his second season (even there he wasn’t that good, but at least he was a good three-point shooter – dude had a 51.6% TS despite shooting 40% from three! That’s nuts! How a guy this athletic could be such a poor finisher at the rim is beyond me).

    44. johnno

      Re: why make an offer for Love – Knicks can’t openly say that they really want Love because of tampering rules. So, on the slim chance that Love REALLY wants to play in NY, a trade offer is the only way to say, “Hang in there for a year. We really want to sign you as a FA.” And who knows, maybe the T-Wolves are interested in a “We’ll take a crapload of bad contracts off your hands” offer. Wishful thinking I know but…

    45. KnickfaninNJ

      There’s an interesting piece on James, his memory, and on-court decision making. http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11067098/lebron-james-greatest-weapon-brain

      Thanks for the reference. It was a good read. It supports something I’ve thought for while. Lebron might be the very rare superstar who might make a good coach someday. It also suggests Spoelstra’s coaching might look worse than expected next year, just like Mike Brown’s did after Lebron left Cleveland.

    46. JD & the 21-Foot Turnaround Fadeaway Carmelo Shot

      I have a feeling that LeBron will chase rings until he’s 42 or 43. Dude is going to be like Karl Malone, effective until the day he retires.

    47. hoolahoop

      It’s hard to say whether Spoelstra is good coach or a bad coach. This year will be his first real test.

    48. JK47

      On paper, the Knicks’ two guard rotation looks pretty decent– Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., Wayne Ellington. But in reality, it’s not really a good guard rotation, because the main three guys– Shump, Smith and THJ– are all one-way players. Pretty much whichever two guard is out there at any given time is a liability on one end of the floor.

      That’s the thing with this team. Never enough good two-way players.

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