Knicks Morning News (2015.08.26)

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Pro Basketball: League Fines Clippers (Wed, 26 Aug 2015 03:42:33 GMT)

    An investigation found that the team had violated league rules while trying to re-sign DeAndre Jordan last month.

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    Mike Kurylo

    Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

    63 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2015.08.26)”

    1. An investigation found that the team had violated league rules while trying to re-sign DeAndre Jordan last month.

      Fined for too many emojis.

    2. The algorithm is strug-a-ling. lol

      Today, at least, it doesn’t seem as if there were any stories missed. Just the dog days of summer, and now that everyone’s discussed the latest Phil Files, there’s no real Knick Knews.

      If we’re bored, we could try to predict the starting lineup? Melo and RoLo are locks. Afflalo probably is, though I could see Fisher bringing him off the bench if he feels that unit needs more scoring. If Calderon is healthy through camp, Grant would have to play out of his mind to get the starting PG spot, though both could start together if Afflalo is the sixth man.

      PF remains the biggest question. Lots of different kinds of players to put there: Zinger as stretch 4, O’Quinn as dirty work player who can also pass, Seraphin for a twin towers approach with Lopez, even Melo there, depending on the weight he’s playing at. (Problem with that is while we have a bunch of other bodies at the 3, none of the others seem as worthy of starting as many of the PF contenders.) In the long run, Zinger is our starting PF, but it might be better for him to limit his minutes and his time against starting 4s until he’s bulked up a little and gotten more used to NBA game speed and physicality.

      Thoughts?

    3. Barring injury, I think that Melo, Afflalo and Lopez are all locks for the starting lineup, and that Calderon is close to a lock.

      The most murky decision is at the 4. I wouldn’t be shocked if they start Porzingis, but they could go with either Williams or O’Quinn.

      If I had to bet, I’d probably go with Williams at first in preseason. My guess is that Fisher is going to want to look at Williams on the court with Melo and 3 smart players. They might like the idea of Williams running the baseline and hitting the offensive boards from the weak side.

      That leaves Zinger, Grant, Galloway, Seraphin, O’Quinn and Vujacic as a likely bench squad. Who plays will vary from game to game, depending on matchups and situations, but all of these guys will likely play regularly.

      I could see Cle and Lance battling with Williams for minutes, but right now, Williams is likely the better player. Amundson might see spot minutes, but I doubt he’d be in the rotation with Seraphin on the team. Thanasis will have to outplay the two camp invites for a roster spot. But my guess is that Cle, Lance, Lou and Thanasis (or whoever) will not be in the rotation.

    4. Melo, Calderon, Afflalo and Williams couldn’t stop a nosebleed. I figure Afflalo probably will start, but I think we should look to try Galloway to have someone on the perimeter who can play defense. If not, maybe throw Bazingus out there from the getgo-I think a Zinger/Rolo frontcourt has some potential on defense.

    5. That’s a decent starting unit, even with Williams at the 4. But boy are there a lot of big if’s in that bench group. A good amount of upside from the rookies and maybe O’Quinn (assuming he was just caught in a numbers game in Orlando), but also potential for some really ugly stretches in the early part of the season.

    6. I think it’s quite a decent bench.
      Grant and Zinger are definitely going to make a push to get into the starting lineup. O’Quinn and Seraphin are complimentary players in the front court. The weakness, I think, is the 2-guard. I’m not sold on Vujacic and Galloway. We need scoring from that spot and I’m just not feeling it.

    7. Yeah, we are very weak at guard, in general. It’d be nice if Grant could be not awful right away, Calderon stays healthy and not old, and Galloway improves a lot on offense, but the odds on those aren’t great.

    8. How many minutes is Zinger realistically going to be able to play? His conditioning didn’t look so hot in summer league.

    9. I think Saunders could definitely challenge Vujacic for minutes of the bench and maybe could challenge Galloway.

    10. Didn’t Phil files say they hoped to get 20 minutes or more a game out of Porzingis?
      Maybe I’ve got that wrong…

    11. Frank,
      I saw the same thing. 20-25 minutes is a reasonable expectation. He can only get better and develop stamina by playing.

    12. I guess the benefit of starting Williams is that you can potentially have Melo play the 4 on offense, and then the 3 on D so he doesn’t have to bang down low with more physical 4’s. I don’t think you could do that with any of our options at the 4.

    13. I think at this point melo is better suited to guard most 4s as there aren’t many that can burn you. He also wrecked his knee last year early in the season playing as a three and proceeded to be a terrible close out perimeter defender after that. Since melo and Williams are similar in size, I’d imagine With Williams as a starter the hope could be you make Him guard the tougher challenge night in and night out regardless if the opposing starter is more of a quick 3 or bullying 4. Maybe switch late in the game if melo is up for it..

    14. If I’m the Knicks I’m starting Calderon, Afflalo, Melo, Seraphin, and Lopez. That gives me a good balance of post offense with three point shooting and a lead guard to stress ball movement. I also love Seraphin’s post work potential and think he beats out Derrick Williams for the starting power forward job. We should develop Grant the same way Schröder and Bledsoe were developed, so I think he comes off the bench. I’m just hoping Calderon stays healthy and plays like the great offensive point guard he’s been his whole career.

      We just need health this season. We don’t have enough proven depth to survive an injury or two. Calderon and Lopez alone should be worth 18-20 wins, and I think the rest of the guys can come together and produce another 25 or so. We just need health.

    15. Not sure if anyone else has seen any of Seraphin’s summer workout videos on Twitter, but he has some really nice post moves, so I wouldn’t have much of a problem with him starting. Can’t say I saw a lot of him while he was with the Wizards though.

    16. I would have Afflalo as sixth man and try to start Galloway along Calderon. I would probably start Porzingis, too, even if he only plays 20 min.

      Calderon 28 / Grant 20
      Galloway 15 / Afflalo 15 / Vujacic 16
      Melo 24 / Afflalo 16 / Early 8
      Porzingis 20 / Williams 16 / Melo 12
      Lopez 28 / KOQ 20

      Then Seraphin, Antetokoumpo, Amundson and Thomas taking spot minutes depending on injuries.

    17. Not sure Seraphin/Lopez/Melo is a quick enough front line, they would be vulnerable to both transition teams and small lineups. If Lopez is going to hit the offensive boards, he’s not getting back in transition. I haven’t seen a lot of Seraphin or O’Quinn, but my gut is that Williams is more mobile then either of those two. Transition defense is one argument for having Porzingis in the starting lineup, i.e. on the floor with Lopez…he seems to like to run and would give Lopez and Melo time to get back.

      I suppose that’s what preseason will be all about: which lineups work best in given situations.

    18. One thing I wonder about: What would be the Knicks best small lineup? I mean, is Zinger a small lineup player? How about Porzingis-Melo-Williams-Afflalo-Grant (Gallo)? Porzingis might be an interesting player in this scenario. He’s long and quick enough to play on the perimeter, and he and Melo can rotate inside-outside and be hard to defend in the post. In fact, it could be argued that this team is well suited to play small ball.

    19. I like Seraphin’s game but his value is off the bench where he can score and rebound. He’s not terrific at anything but he has some average or better skills.

      The “small” lineup is our vulnerability unless we get another good, fast 2-guard.

    20. One thing I wonder about: What would be the Knicks best small lineup?

      My guess is Calderon/Gallloway/Afflalo/Melo/Lopez. I’d say that every advantage Porzingis can get being faster than a typical center he gives up in strength (at least, his rookie season). Meanwhile, against a typical PF and farther from the basket (where strenght is less important), he can use his lenght to his advantage. Heck, he is probably faster than the typical PF, so he has that weapon too.

    21. I would not be surprised if Porzingis is as fast as Melo once he gets those long legs going. But more importantly, I think Porzingis can be a good inside-outside player on both ends against smaller lineups. He’s so long that with his vertical, he can contest 3-pt shots from a step further away than most bigs, and seems agile enough to get back into the play without winding up over the sideline like lots of smaller players do.

      Compare him to Bogut or Mozgov (or other traditional bigs like RoLo), for example. Those guys are liabilities in the small ball scenario. Neither are good enough in the post to make teams pay for going small, and neither can defend stretch 4’s on the perimeter or get back quick enough for transition defense against small running teams. Zinger doesn’t have much of a post game either but he has advantages at the 5 in a small-ball lineup. On offense, he can play “above” small-ball bigs (e.g. Draymon Green) both inside and outside. On defense, he can use his length vs. smaller “bigs.” He would also allow our guards to push up on 3-point defense because if guards get into the lane either on iso or on P&R, his length and lateral quickness could give penetrating guards pause long enough for our guards to recover. Not that he’s likely to be as menacing as Anthony Davis in this regard, but AD doesn’t have Carmelo Anthony on his team either.

      The key to this scenario working is having good defensive guards who can both penetrate and hit 3’s ar a respectable clip (say, 36+%.) A lineup of Grant-Galloway-Melo-Porzingis-Williams (or maybe Lou or Lance instead of Williams, or even Atkins down the road) could work well, not so much as a “go-to” but more as a small-ball deterrent. It would mostly depend on how well Gallo and Grant can shoot the 3 and get to the rim.

    22. Early could but he has a long way to go. I think Thanasis will overtake Cleanthony soon. And Thanasis could be a cog in a small lineup because he is a +defender and has a lot energy. He’s not a good offensive player but you have to love his D.

    23. How do you know Thanasis is a +NBA defender already? I seen highlights and read reports/stats about his NBADL days but to me he is still a question mark on both sides of the ball. I didn’t learn too much from his summer league play either.

      Regarding Porzin6is speed: There was one play in the SL when he beat everyone down the floor and he started behind the crowd on the fast break. Grant ultimately threw an alley to Early, I think, but the Zinger was ahead of everyone I think. That lay really showed his end to end speed and it was impressive.
      I am not sure that he is faster than Melo but he probably will be a more willing runner on each possession. Unless, Melo gets a jolt of energy from the young guys he will probably lag back on most break opportunities looking for a late transition three.

    24. How do you know Thanasis is a +NBA defender already?

      Everything I say is my belief, not knowledge.

    25. Everything I say is my belief, not knowledge.

      Wait, are you saying you don’t have independent, peer-reviewed research to back up your assertion? Paging Ted Nelson…

      Bazingus isn’t exactly quick, but he covers a lot of ground, so his end-to-end speed is real. And he’s probably ideally suited to a small ball lineup, because he’ll be punished inside by powerful centers and the big power forwards.

      That said, I’m sure that Fisher, like Woodson, will refuse to be creative and evolve and will not be interested in small ball. If I’m wrong this could be a much happier year.

    26. I’m sure Zinger gets up the floor faster than Melo. They actually compliment each other perfectly on both ends of the floor.

      Zinger can space bigs, can flash and shoot on Melo post-ups, can pick-and-pop, and he’ll get Melo open looks in transition because of how well he runs the floor.

      Now, if you play Zinger as a center, you’ll obviously need some big help rebounding from 1-3.

      But, those two guys work really well together in every other way.

    27. Doom’s ability to rebound worries me more than anything else. We’ll likely be comparing him to Towns and Okafor for the rest of their careers, and he’s easily the worst rebounder of the bunch. When I watch him play, it just looks like he’s both lacking in core strength to box out and he doesn’t have good enough lift to jump and get a ball over everyone else. At 7’3″, he won’t need to jump over everyone if he can box out. Strength is really the key to his game. If/when he gets stronger, he should be able to get more rebounds as he seems smart enough to learn how to adjust his game to be effective (his summer league second half against Okafor comes to mind). That’s why playing him at the five is such a scary proposition; the rebounds you’re potentially losing against what the center position is supposed to be bringing in means you will need to have elite rebounding at every other position, and that’s unlikely if you’re talking about a small ball line up.

    28. massive, if you are suggesting that our best lineup (especially rebounding-wise) is NOT a small-ball lineup, I tend to agree. My point is that if we HAVE to play small-ball to counter what another team is doing, we might have the personnel to do so, and that Porzingis could be the key to such a lineup. The assumption is that when other teams go small, they aren’t necessarily great rebounding units either.

      For example, if GSW goes Curry-Thompson-Igoudala-Barnes-Green, and we counter with something like Gallo-(one of Vujacic/Grant/Thanasis)-Afflalo-Melo-Zinger, we at least have the ability to not get run off the floor.

    29. Damn, RIP to Chocolate Thunder.

      I stood next to him at a club years ago and the guy was massive. I’m 6’2″ and I felt like a dwarf standing next to him. Seemed like a decent guy also.

      And one of the greatest quotes about a dunk ever: “The Chocolate-Thunder-Flying, Glass-Flying, Robinzine-Crying, Babies-Crying, Glass-Still-Flying, Cats-Crying, Rump-Roasting, Bun-Toasting, Thank You-Wham-Bam-I-Am-Jam”

    30. Very sad about Dawkins. Fucking professional basketball, man, these guys just are not heart healthy. There’s practically not a single retired NBA player that if you told me “Player X had a heart attack and died today” that I would be surprised by it. And I don’t even mean like they’re doing anything wrong in their life, I think it is more a genetic thing. And it’s scary as fuck. If I were a 40-60 year old former NBA player, I’d be having every single cardio test done to me that is known to man. Take care of yourself, Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, John Starks, et al!

    31. Shocking news about Dawkins. He was fearsome. He was also too young. RIP.

      @28

      Wait, are you saying you don’t have independent, peer-reviewed research to back up your assertion? Paging Ted Nelson…

      You said it, not me ;)

      I’ve watched Antetokounmpo play and I love his tenacity. The mistakes he makes are due to over-eagerness but he’s the kind of player that I would insert into the game to create havoc and swing momentum. Due to his liabilities I wouldn’t let him have long stints. If he can improve his mid-range shot and learn to play under control, I think he could surpass Early. I think it’ll be really interesting to see which one of them ends up being the better player.

    32. I agree that it seems hard to believe that Thanasis can’t pass Early on the depth chart, but I think that’s more a knock on Early than anything.

    33. I agree that it seems hard to believe that Thanasis can’t pass Early on the depth chart, but I think that’s more a knock on Early than anything.

      I wonder if the training camp competition might not be between Saunders and Thanasis, but Saunders and Early, who just hasn’t shown much (and certainly not the potential to excel in any one area the way Thanasis could on D) and faces far more competition in the frontcourt than there is among our thin collection of guards.

    34. I wonder if the training camp competition might not be between Saunders and Thanasis, but Saunders and Early, who just hasn’t shown much (and certainly not the potential to excel in any one area the way Thanasis could on D) and faces far more competition in the frontcourt than there is among our thin collection of guards.

      I think it might end up even being Thanasis versus Vujacic, in the sense that, like you mention, they’re quite thin at the 2, so if Thanasis could show some of his brother’s skills there then that would be nice. And right now, Vujacic doesn’t have a lot of competition for back-up 2 and he’s…well…you know…how do I phrase this…ah, yes, “unlikely to be any good.”

    35. I think it might end up even being Thanasis versus Vujacic

      I’m not talking about a competition for playing time, but for a roster spot. At the moment, we’ve got all 15 spots filled, and there was speculation that if someone like Saunders wowed in training camp/preseason, we might be willing to give up on Thanasis. I’m just wondering if they might be willing to cut Early if that happens. They signed Sasha to a contract that, while the vet minimum, is still guaranteed and still worth quite a bit more than either of last year’s second-rounders. So I wouldn’t expect him to be cut.

    36. Oh, I gotcha, sorry about me misunderstanding your point. As for Saunders, I don’t think there’s any chance of Saunders making the team. I think he and Atkins were signed specifically with the intent of them going to the D-League (if you give players training camp contracts, it allows you special privileges with getting them on your D-League team – it doesn’t prevent another team from signing them to an NBA deal, but you automatically get them for your D-League team if you want). If Early is terrible during the season, then then I could perhaps see them being willing to make a move. But not now. The current fifteen men on the team are pretty much locks to start the season.

    37. The current fifteen men on the team are pretty much locks to start the season.

      You’re probably right. But we did keep Travis Wear over Travis Outlaw, who also seemed a lock a year ago.

    38. I think the big difference is that all of the guys on the current team were specifically signed as free agents by Jackson (or drafted by Jackson). So it seems really unlikely that he’d sign a guy as a free agent only to cut him in training camp. Early is the closest, but even there, I imagine he has to at least get a shot in the regular season first. This pretty much is the roster.

    39. I’m sure you’re right. And the odds on someone like Saunders even becoming a marginal NBA contributor aren’t great. I just look at the makeup of the roster, and specifically at the two-guards and small forwards, and don’t see many people besides Melo and Afflalo who are going to be good at putting the ball through the basket. I assume Phil thinks Sasha is going to be another guy like that, but that seems a big reach, considering his long hiatus from the NBA and relative level of play when he was last here.

    40. I think our 15 man roster is set. But the reason I bring up Thanasis vs Early is situational. If I had to play one of them a lot of minutes (10+ mpg), I might pick Early who hasn’t shown us he can be anything more than “almost” average but won’t make really dumb mistakes and be a zero on offense. If I would call Thanasis off the bench to blanket a really hot player and disrupt the opponent.

    41. Yeah, they’re two different kinds of marginal player at the moment. Early doesn’t bring a lot to the table but also doesn’t take a ton off it, where Thanasis has a potentially elite skill but also a higher risk of screwing up while he plays. It’s easier to picture what Thanasis might become if his game matures than it is Early, who at the moment doesn’t even quite qualify as a “jack of all trades, master of none” player.

    42. I think Saunders has a chance of winning a spot; and, if he doesn’t, some other team might sign him before we can send him to D-league. I have commented before how hard it is this year to find free agent NBA level guards. In line with this, the Lakers just signed an undrafted guard, Michael Frazier, who had an unimpressive summer league, to a multi year contract. Saunders seems very much Phil’s type of guard. He’s big, defends very well, is a great passer and shoots ok. If he does even reasonably well in pre-season, I predict he will get a contract from someone.

    43. Early was atrocious last season. He took plenty off the table. I’m willing to give him another look, but he needs to show a lot of improvement

    44. Yeah, I think Early was awful last year, like “We’re not even trying to win and you still can’t find any time for me” bad. Like “you’re playing Jason Smith but you don’t have room for me based on how poorly I am playing” bad. But he was still just a rookie, so I think he deserves some more time to prove that he is actually a bad player.

    45. I think Saunders has a chance of winning a spot; and, if he doesn’t, some other team might sign him before we can send him to D-league. I have commented before how hard it is this year to find free agent NBA level guards. In line with this, the Lakers just signed an undrafted guard, Michael Frazier, who had an unimpressive summer league, to a multi year contract. Saunders seems very much Phil’s type of guard. He’s big, defends very well, is a great passer and shoots ok. If he does even reasonably well in pre-season, I predict he will get a contract from someone.

      I am not saying that that is not a legitimate concern, but…well, let’s just say that I’ve made my peace with my issues with the Knicks’ roster management. ;)

    46. I know what you mean. This off season has been so much better than previous ones that worrying about an undrafted camp invite not being available for D-league is probably overdoing it.

    47. I think that we can all learn a lesson from the death of Mr. Dawkins and go see a competent cardiologist and get ourselves checked. Possibly request a stress test and a CT scan to measure arterial plaque. Also there are simple blood tests now to measure the amount of the deadliest forms of cholesterol in our bloodstream. It can happen to anybody so be proactive.

    48. Yes, reub. That’s true for all of us but especially how do former NBA players not get these tests? They’re so much at risk that it is just nuts.

    49. The bigger you are, the more your heart is at risk as you age. When you add in the general higher risks for heart disease that black men have to deal with, it’s a terrible combination.

    50. Durant or Conley could very well choose NYC over other destinations. Here is why.

      If this season we are competitive and make the playoffs and things are drama free, we go into next offseason with a good core of young players, a good starting center and Melo, who is considered a star. Besides Cleveland the east is pretty weak. Chicago seems to be slipping backwards. Miami, Wizards, raptors and Hawks are all good but not as challenging as the good playoff teams in the west. In the west you gotta go through so many good teams to get to the finals. You can win 60 games and lose I. The first round. You don’t think Durant thinks him and Melo plus our core with Rolo, Affalo, zinger, etc…could take down Lebron and the Lebronettes in a 7 game series? The path to the finals in the east is a lot easier than it is out west. If Phil really has put together a solid team this year, Melo bounces back and our rookies have the potential we hope they do, Durant or Conley or Kobe could very well want to come here.

    51. Yeah Kobe. For the veteran minimum or the mini mid level. To play for Fisher and Phil in the Triangle and win one more ring with his good friend Melo and Durant…why not? He wouldn’t have to play every night or start even. I think he’s itching to compete again and win one more ring. If Durant came here then I could see Kobe signing up for cheap. Him an Melo are tight.

      I’m not saying any of these things are gonna happen or even that they should (though healthy Durant would be amazing) just that they could. It’s not inconceivable.

    52. Count me in the “it’s inconceivable” column re: Kobe. He will 100% no-doubt retire a Laker, and most likely, this will be his last season. I seriously doubt that he will even make it through this season. He will probably show some flashes of the old Kobe before he breaks down for good, just like Sheed, Camby, Kidd and Kurt did before our eyes. He is pretty much toast.

      Durant? Extremely highly unlikely, but not inconceivable. Similar to the prospects of Porzingas becoming a top-10 of all-time great player. Here’s to hoping that both fantasies become reality!

    53. The bigger question is whether Durant will make it through the season. I think paying him a ton of money is extremely risky with his chronically injured feet.

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