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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Knicks Morning News (2017.03.12)

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony takes only nine shots in loss to Pistons
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:33:00 PM)

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — On the surface, Carmelo Anthony is trying to be the perfect soldier.

  • [NY Newsday] Nets feel as if offense is improving since return of Jeremy Lin
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 9:03:00 PM)

    DALLAS — The Nets played eight straight road games in four time zones and spent a total of 17 days on the road counting takeoff and their landing in the wee hours Saturday morning. Their record was a modest 2-6, but those two road wins matched their previous season total, and they were competitive into the fourth quarter in all but two of those games.

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks’ Phil Jackson will hold more master classes on triangle, Derrick Rose says
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 8:14:00 PM)

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — It looks as if Phil Jackson will hold additional triangle tutorials as the season winds down.

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks might find some luck in the draft lottery
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 5:27:00 PM)

    The Knicks may be trying to win games, but they haven’t been successful doing that. They might be better off putting their trust in the Ping-Pong balls.

  • [NYPost] Knicks’ triangle quiets Carmelo until he loudly rebels
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 2:22:28 PM)

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Carmelo Anthony didn’t make the Knicks’ last trip to The Palace a memorable one. In fact, the only thing memorable was Anthony’s growing disengagement as the Knicks move full bore on the triangle. Anthony entered Saturday’s affair just 16 points away from achieving 10,000 points as a Knick, but he couldn’t…

  • [NYPost] Phil Jackson will keep meddling in bad look for Hornacek
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 1:13:14 PM)

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Phil Jackson isn’t done holding triangle seminars. Derrick Rose, part of the six-guard contingent lectured by Jackson during the secret Thursday session, revealed the Zen Master will continue to teach the triangle as the season winds down. According to Rose, Jackson not only added a couple of new options to his…

  • [SNY Knicks] Pistons cruise past Knicks, 112-92
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 7:41:47 PM)

  • [SNY Knicks] Today’s Game: Knicks at Pistons
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 3:01:06 PM)

    The Knicks take on the Pistons in Detroit at 5 p.m.

  • [SNY Knicks] Should Knicks have continued faith in Phil Jackson?
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 11:46:07 AM)

    Phil Jackson’s vision with the Knicks has been questionable from the get-go.

  • [SNY Knicks] TheKnicksBlog Podcast: The Dog Days
    (Thursday, March 16, 2017 2:50:18 PM)

    Anthony Donahue and Moke Hamilton are officially in the dog days of the season as the guys discuss what Knicks fans can look forward to for the rest of the year.

  • [NYTimes] Thunder 112, Jazz 104: Russell Westbrook Passes Wilt Chamberlain With 32nd Triple-Double
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 10:46:15 PM)

    Westbrook took sole possession of second place on the list of players with the most triple-doubles in a season, behind only Oscar Robertson.

  • [NYTimes] Dawn Staley, New Olympic Coach, Will Stick With a Winning Plan
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 6:01:17 PM)

    Staley, the women’s basketball coach at South Carolina, will not bring a new philosophy to a United States team that has won six consecutive gold medals.

  • [NYTimes] Freshmen Keep Kentucky on Track for a Third Straight SEC Title
    (Sunday, March 12, 2017 2:44:21 AM)

    De’Aaron Fox had a career-high 28 points and Malik Monk broke out of a scoring slump for 20 points as the Wildcats beat Alabama.

  • [NYTimes] LaMarcus Aldridge Is Out Indefinitely Because of Irregular Heartbeat
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 5:57:45 PM)

    The Spurs characterized the problem as minor, but San Antonio also is without its other star forward, Kawhi Leonard.

  • [NYDN] ‘Triangle’ Phil Jackson needs to coach the Knicks or back off
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 8:05:45 PM)

    Phil Jackson began his mini triangle clinic on Thursday by explaining the basics of geometry.

  • [NYDN] Carmelo Anthony takes new role in triangle but Knicks still lose
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 8:04:23 PM)

    The Knicks never found the perfect mix on the court of Kristaps Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony.

  • [NYDN] Knicks, Jets stand together as New York’s only two hopeless teams
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 7:37:49 PM)

    If you are a fan of the Jets or the Knicks where is the hope for you these days?

  • [NYDN] Derrick Rose says Phil promises more triangle seminars for Knicks
    (Saturday, March 11, 2017 12:49:53 PM)

    Phil Jackson not only imparted triangle lessons to the Knicks guards, he also attempted to re-teach their passing techniques.

  • 53 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2017.03.12)

    1. KnickfaninNJ

      All the news articles on the Triangle seem way overblown to me. The Knicks were already known to use the triangle some of the time. They just got a new guard (Randle) who doesn’t know it and they have another guard who says he doesn’t understand it (Rose). They have an expert on it in the house so they used him to teach it. It seems logical to me. Philmelo has noted that KP is getting more assists since they renewed emphasis on the triangle and, as someone else noted, their offense to defense differential is improved too. So it doesn’t seem like it’s hurting.

    2. Philmelo

      We lost yesterday because our 1.) defense allowed Tobias Harris, Andre Drummund and Reggie Jackson to go off and because 2.) we were crushed on the boards. The Triangle didn’t have shit to do with that.

    3. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      Isaac looks more attainable with Fox, Markkanen, and Tatum standing out recently. Is he the one?

    4. Philmelo

      @3

      I would take Isaac over any one of those guys. He’s a better fit with what we want to do because he plays elite level defense and doesn’t need to dominate the ball. His versatility and rebounding at the 3 alone would make him a very good guy to pair up with KP. After last night’s lethargic performance that turned Tobias Harris into Kevin Durrant I am so done with Melo not even trying to defend his man.

    5. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      Is Isaac a little underrated because of his team and his lack of weight? Where will he be drafted?
      If we are lucky enough to acquire him who will play point guard? Collison? Teodosic?

    6. Bruno Almeida

      Isaac should be a top 5 pick, but don’t get me wrong, I hope he’s there for us.

      as for the PG thing, a scenario I would be fine with would be grabbing Isaac on the draft, then trading Melo for the Clippers and getting Austin Rivers plus picks out of it.

      yes, I’m fully aware that Rivers sucks, but it’s not like KP, Isaac and Hernangomez are going to be a contender core next year anyway, and it’s better to go with Rivers then overpaying Teague, Holiday or the other PG free agents available.

      maybe a play for Rubio in the trade market, or even taking a chance on Patty Mills if the price is not mega inflated (it most likely will be)… I also love George Hill but he will command big money and he does not fit the timeline of this team, so no.

      (btw would be nice if Jerian Grant was still on the team for this scenario.)

    7. wetbandit

      Jerian would have been a great stopgap if Isaac fell to us.

      Paying big bucks to any PG is counterproductive,trading for Rubio with Lee and Oquinn or something makes a ton of sense. A great pickup would be Galloway if he declines his option.

    8. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      Jerian Grant was 0 for 5 shooting with 0 points in his last game so I think that we can do a little better than that. At least Chasson Randle can shoot.

    9. Z-man

      From last thread:

      1) De’Aaron Fox making Z Man look stupid when he went right.

      My point was that he can’t finish with his right hand, not that he couldn’t go right. It is a huge disadvantage in the NBA when the defense knows that the ball is always going back to your left hand when you drive to the basket. Fox did not finish a single shot yesterday with his right hand. It works in college but not so much in the NBA.

      This is Brandon Jennings’ problem. He simply can’t finish with his off hand so if you force him right he presents the ball to shotblockers.

    10. wetbandit

      One thing I trust with the team is the scouting, so I’ll probably be fine with Fox, Frank, Isaac or whoever since they’ve been doing alright, and I can’t trust any stats, and I hesitate to rely on eyetest too much.

      Jerian Grant is at least serviceable. Not knocking Baker or Randle (who may be better at some point), but Grant would at least be a good stopgap PG for a few minutes a game, at low salary, and average defense.

    11. Z-man

      Most do. It’s less important if you have a great outside shot. But at the NBA level, if defenders can lay 1/2 step off you AND funnel you in one direction without you making them pay, it’s a significant disadvantage, especially in the high P&R offense. The truly great offensive PGs (e.g. Nash, Curry, Paul) could finish equally well with both hands and shoot lights out from the perimeter.

    12. stratomatic

      KP is problem right now. He’s a tweener.

      1. He cannot rebound or defend bigger stronger Cs well enough to be the anchor C (despite his excellent help shot blocking). However, if you put him at PF smaller quicker guys like Tobias Harris embarrass him too. He has to either become stronger, get more aggressive on the boards, and learn to finish inside so he can play C without us sacrificing too much or he has to get a lot quicker on defense and learn to punish those smaller PFs inside so other teams can’t go small.

      2. It’s hard to play HP and WH together a lot of the time because WH is clearly a C (and better at it than KP because he’s very efficient inside and can rebound very well) . So 2 pieces of our supposed core going forward are not compatible a lot of the time.

      Quite frankly, even though WH is limited offensively, I think he should be the starting C and KP should be coming off the bench as either the backup C or PF depending on who the other team is playing. He can probably start against some teams, but right now WH is the better C.

      I’m past all the hype on KP. I don’t know what we WILL become, but I know what he is right now. He’s a tweener that’s causing more problems than he’s solving as a starter. He’s a rich man’s Bargnani. He’s a better rebounder, but not good at it. He’s better defensively, but not good at it. He’s more efficient, but not excellent.

      I don’t expect a lot of people to agree with me and I certainly don’t expect the team to do what I am suggesting, but WH is the better player right now. He just so obviously IS both statistically and eye test. Let’s hope he breaks out next year, bet he did not get much better this year. If anything, he went backwards a hair.

    13. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      We need to rest some of our players today. Lee and KP come to mind. Melo and Rose should play for obvious reasons.

    14. Z-man

      Strat, I was thinking the same thing. I agree with the KP assessment. He is poor at defending vs. either quick stretch 4’s who get him off balance and either burn him outside or drive by him, or defending strong post 5’s who bully him on the boards. He needs to become an advantage when teams play small ball, but right now he often is actually a disadvantage. If he goes on being easy for guys 6 inches shorter than him to defend, that’s a problem.

      On a positive note, he looked good passing out of the post last night, especially to Billy. I think those 2 can figure it out chemistry-wise on offense. It’s defense that becomes the problem.

      If I were KP or his coaches, I would focus on 3 things this coming off-season: 1. getting stronger, especially his base and core, 2. working on lateral quickness (if he can just stay in front of guys like Tobias Harris, he’s long enough to bother them from the perimeter; the problem is that if he gets to close to them or lunges, they blow right by him, causing the entire defense to break down) and 3. working on a go-to move that he can make effitiently when single-covered by anyone significantly shorter than him. Just one combo-type move in the turn-around jumper/banker family.

    15. Philmelo

      Holy shit. I finally figured out who Frank Ntilikina reminds me of. Its not a bad player, but he wasn’t a great player either. Frank is basically a younger Kerry Kittles. Same height (6’5), weight (170-175 lbs.) and wingspan (84 inches). Their games were the same as well – very smooth, subtle players who shot the ball well and had a knack for forcing turnovers. Kittles was even drafted 8th overall by the Nets in that legendary 1996 NBA draft which produced Iverson, Kobe, Nash, Allen, and Marbury among others – which is right around where Frank is projected to go. Kittles was a solid NBA player who had the potential to be a really good coming out of Villanova if wasn’t for a series of four knee operations in his first five years as a player. He ended up being a solid mainstray for those terrific Jason Kidd-led Nets teams of the early 2000s that made consecutive NBA Finals appearances.

    16. Bruno Almeida

      Im not a big fan of using player interactions as an excuse for poor individual performance but KP’s case is a case where I’d be fine with it.

      Nowitzki was pretty terrible as a rookie, when Nash was not playing full time (and he sucked so much in Dirk’s first season), but as soon as Nash made the leap, Dirk also made his own leap… they’re not the same player and we definitely don’t have a young Nash around, but I’m still pretty hopeful KP will develop much better once all the bullshit around him is gone and he has at least a decent team… as Willy develops KP’s job will get easier, and I do think Rose and Melo’s impact on his underdevelopment are understated by the numbers.

    17. Philmelo

      However, if you put him at PF smaller quicker guys like Tobias Harris embarrass him too.

      He shouldn’t even be guarding Tobias Harris – which is the fucking problem. They should have put him on the slower Morris. Unfortunately, he has to carry the front court defense because Melo would have been toasted even worse guarding Harris. Its the same reason they keep putting KP up against Giannis and Lebron when it should be Melo’s fucking assignment.

      Believe me, I have many of the same criticisms people do regarding KP but his defense for the most part isn’t it. He has been the only starter who was very solid for us this season there.

    18. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      I liked Kittles. Isn’t Frank younger and did Kittles have the ability to dribble equally well with either hand like Frank can?

      I’m feeling fairly certain that the Pel’s will finish with more wins than us as will the Mavs and the Wolves. Sacramento can help us if they go on a little post-Boogie streak.

    19. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      Melo was totally M.I.A. last night. He took only 9 shots, had 1 whole rebound, and played 0 defense. He tweeted something today about the team still harping on learning the triangle. I’ve really had more than enough of this guy. How can you gripe when you refuse to be traded to most of the other teams in the league and you don’t even try to earn your $25 mil/per salary by playing defense or hustling?

    20. Philmelo

      I liked Kittles. Isn’t Frank younger and did Kittles have the ability to dribble equally well with either hand?

      Yes, Frank will be a 19 year old rookie while Kittles was a 22 year old rook. I was watching some of Kittles Big East highlights and the similarities in style were remarkable. He looked like a more mature version of Frank in his great battles against Allen and Iverson. His handle was meh, but a lot of his work was done moving off the ball off screens, curls, cuts, etc. His shoot was pretty sweet though.

    21. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      Another thing that Frank has going for him over Kittles is the way that the game has changed, favoring the 3 ball. Frank has a true 3 ball shot from what I’ve seen.

    22. ClashFan

      @18
      Exactly. It’s not like KP doesn’t deserve some criticism, because he does. But with the 1 and the 3 spots being so often manned by players who don’t give a crap about defense, everyone else suffers. And that includes decent defenders like Lee and KP.

      On the bright side, Melo’s piss poor D is really good for the tank, but lousy for the development of KP and Willy, who have to try to cover for him.

    23. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      If we draft Isaac (who is underappreciated I hope) and somehow trade for Rubio this team will be so much fun to watch next year. We might actually be too good to tank again:)

    24. TheOakmanCometh

      I really think KP should be playing a majority of his minutes at C. Yes, big bruisers like Drummond will sometimes push him around. But there aren’t many of those left in the league. More often, his ability to stretch the floor will punish opposing centers who are too slow to rotate out to him. Surround him with 4 other guys who can hit jumpers and we’d have a very difficult team to guard.

      He’s shown that he can’t stay in front of PFs that drive or stay with PFs that run around screens. Meanwhile, even when he actually does hang with them, they pull him away from the basket, when his best defensive asset is shot blocking.

      Playing him at C allows him to hang around the rim on D and pull out opposing Cs on offense. It plays to his strengths. Giving up a couple rebounds per game or allowing a couple post baskets by Drummond is a small sacrifice to make.

    25. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      KP and Willy showed great synergy last night. They were born to play together. They’re the solution and not the problem. Randle fit right in and stretches a defense with his shot (he’s sure not shy). Although Randle had trouble getting around picks his length is nice and he has good agility on defense. Plus he’s triangular (sorry Jowles).

    26. TheOakmanCometh

      It’s because of Zing’s better fit at C that I would be open to trading Willy. He’s a nice player on a great contract, so he should fetch a good asset in return, but he doesn’t scream future star.

      Trade KOQ, trade Willy, make Zing the starting C and Noah the backup.

    27. Philmelo

      @23

      Its insane that people see KP get cooked against Harris again and again and don’t wonder why Melo isn’t drawing that assignment. Its like stashing a shitty fielder in LF so you can have his bat in the lineup and blaming the centerfielder for why he can’t cover the ground his teammate can’t get to. The Mets would do this when they put Daniel Murphy in LF. But no one was stupid enough to blame Carlos Beltran for not covering the lost ground. Its little shit like this which is why our team underachieves in ways superstar nut huggers like Melo’s fans can’t fathom. There’s something structurally wrong with your defense when you’re asking the 21 year old 7’3 guy to consistently guard the fastest, quickest and most athletic frontcourt player on the court.

    28. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      @27 No. No. No. You keep your young assets and acquire more of them. Don’t trade them. We’re onto something here. Imagine this team with an Isaac and a Rubio (or Teodosic or Collison) next year. Plus future draft picks.

    29. yellowboy90

      So what happens when Rose and Melo leave and KP still has problems? If KP was matched up on Morris then Morris would have probably exploded. Yes, he has problem with mobile 4s but he also has problems with 4s that just stand still and take open jumpers because he closes out poorly. Then when he tries to close out he lunges and opens up a straight line drive which gets him in foul trouble because he starts reaching. Another thing I am starting to notice is that he is calling out to switch with guards for little reason. Sometimes he barely fights to get over a weak screen. KP has some real issues on defense people regardless of Melo or Rose.

      @15

      Z-Man, I think endurance should be added to the list of things that KP needs to improve.

    30. ClashFan

      Phil needs to start keeping a core and stop taking one step forward and one step back. So, unless someone offers something incredible for Willy, keep him. Build with KP , Willy, and this year’s first rounder. Assets to trade include OQ (good, but only gonna be cheap for one more year), Melo, and Lee.

      I’d even be okay with keeping Lee as as hold the fort guy unless a 1st round pick can be had for him.

      Get a 1 and a 3. Trade Melo. Maybe stretch Noah, but I’d keep him for a 2nd year. If he’s injury plagued again, see if he can’t be gently persuaded to retire and given a long term “personal services” contract with the Knicks. ;-)

      For the 3, I guess they could target and lose out on Hayward. Maybe overpay for Tucker. For the 1, maybe trade for Rubio, but even then as a hold the fort guy.

      I usually don’t root for guys to draft, but if my dream does not come true, then I’m hoping for Fox or Frank b/c they look to be, at least, elite defenders. Time to get a talented young guard. With Phil again emphasizing triangle, I bet he’s eyeing Frank N.

    31. Philmelo

      I hate to be a contrarian again but Willy’s not even that bad of a defender at center. He’s around middle of the pack (35th out of 69). KP’s the 12th most effective defensive power forward in the league according to DRPM despite the fact that we’re consistently giving him the shit assignments on this team. The problem is that the 3 is arguably the premier offensive position in the league and we have the worst combined trio of defenders at the position in Kuzminskas (64/81), Thomas (72/81), and Melo (77/81) of any team in the NBA. It gives us no flexibility and forces us to put our only competent defensive forward against the players he shouldn’t be guarding.

    32. kevin5318

      5 years down the line KP should be a C. Maybe we could be like the Lakers where Bynum/Gasol starts and KP finishes games with a small ball PF(Isaac please)

    33. Philmelo

      If KP was matched up on Morris then Morris would have probably exploded.

      This is pure conjecture. So I won’t argue against it because I can’t argue against something that didn’t happen. I do recall KP guarding Morris in the game he scored 35 points though.

    34. Reub On Our Way To Greatness

      KP had 6 blocks last night and is rated as among the league’s elite defensively. Please leave his defense alone. He’s not a small forward at 7’3″. Offensively he needs a PG who can deliver the ball to him for higher percentage shots and also develop a game closer to the rim including a sky hook.

      Note to KP: Please watch those dominant Kareem sky hook videos that I sent to you 2 months ago!

    35. rama

      yellowboy, every advanced statistic says that KP is already a good defender, and in some aspects elite. Yeah, he looks terrible sometimes, but that’s the eye test for you – unreliable.

      He is NOT an elite rebounder – below average – which is why a player like Willy makes so much sense next to him. Their games really are complementary.

    36. TheOakmanCometh

      Zing could be an elite defensive center stopping penetrators at the rim, rather than a mediocre to poor defensive PF chasing guys around the 3pt line.

      I like Willy a lot, but playing him keeps Zing at PF where his skills are wasted. Trading him for a guard or wing of equivalent talent will make us better.

      For example, let’s say we draft Isaac at 7 (he’s projected to fall to us) and Ntilikina is sitting there at 12 where the Hornets pick (he’s projected to go 11th). Would you trade Willy for that pick? I would.

    37. TheOakmanCometh

      Given that we’re probably winning tonight, we absolutely need a Philly win over the Lakers if we’re going to have any chance of catching them.

    38. Philmelo

      @38

      I think the plan should be get two good wing defenders who can guard both forward spots and keep Willy. Willy can be used to rotate in and out of the lineup depending on the matchup. Sometimes it will benefit us playing him with KP like when we’re up against bigger lineups and other times it won’t.

    39. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I think Willy might be better than KP in the long run and we ought to think hard about who we want to most put into a position to be the guy

      That feels like blasphemy but Willy seems David Lee esque–and David Lee is really fucking good.

    40. TheOakmanCometh

      Silky, you think Willy is David Lee AND you want to build around him? I loved Lee as much as anybody, but in no way is he someone you build around.

    41. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      @41

      I guess more of what I’m saying is that Willy might be better than KP and instead of talking about trading Willy to make space for KP to operate we should be talking about trading KP to give space for Willy

    42. TheOakmanCometh

      I don’t agree, but it’s not a crazy statement. However, you’d probably admit that KP has a higher ceiling. He still has star potential as a shooter, rim-runner, and shot stuffer at the rim.

      What is Willy’s ceiling, realistically? A guy with some nifty moves around the rim, good rebounder, average defender, average athleticism, and no range. A center who only scores around the basket and isn’t a great help defender is very unlikely to become an All-Star, much less a superstar, in today’s NBA.

      I’d rather roll the dice on Porzingis making the leap than Willy. He just has more tools.

    43. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I think Willys ceiling is Marc Gasol with worse defense and better rebounding

      In that regard, I think the risk reward with KP is greater but Willys ceiling is nothing to sniff at either

    44. TheOakmanCometh

      Willy has a pretty traditional center game. If you look at the best teams in the league (GS, Cle, SA, Hou, Bos, Was, Tor), none has a traditional center playing an important role.

    45. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I really do see a lot of Marc in him

      They both showed flashes of a midrange and three point game and for Marc it was pretty underdeveloped until later in his career. I see Willys ideal development as prettty much exactly like Marc Gasol’s

      Of course he likely won’t hit that ceiling, but I think it’s reasonable to project thatas his ceiling

    46. TheOakmanCometh

      I guess you’re higher on Willy than I am. I don’t see the Gasol comparison. Gasol is an elite passer, rotational defender, and a very good shooter. We haven’t seen any of that out of Willy.

      Willy seems consistent and useful. Zingis has shown flashes of brilliance, mixed with plenty of invisibility. If we can get him at C for long stretches, he can play to his strengths more and hopefully blossom.

      I’m guessing you would not make the Willy for Ntilikina trade I proposed?

    47. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      @47

      I’m honestly unsure. If we could get Isaac and a PG in this draft that’s a mighty tempting offer.

      If my scouts were really high on Frank I’d probably pull the trigger. If they were less than that, probably not.

    48. Z-man

      I love Willy, but Marc Gasol is a high bar. The guy was DPOY and a legit 7’1″. Also much more of a midrange game, although Willy can clearly develop there. I think he has similarities to both Lee and Gasol. Unfortunately, he’s more like Lee on D.

    49. TheOakmanCometh

      To further the Gasol shooting comparison:

      Willy — 64% of his shots are at the rim; 82% are within 10 feet
      Gasol (now) — 13% of his shots are at the rim; 39% are within 10 feet
      Gasol (rookie) — 44% at the rim; 81% within 10 feet

      Even as a rookie, Marc never played as close to the basket as Willy does. As he aged, he dramatically transformed his game into being a jump shooter. He’s also a good shooter, which Willy isn’t yet.

      Could Willy gain range and accuracy on his shots the way Marc did? Anything’s possible. But there’s no reason to assume he will. Plenty of players never do.

    50. Philmelo

      Remember, Marc was a 24 year old rookie while Willie is 22. So we should be careful to compare rookie seasons since it would make sense that Gasol had a more developed offensive game as an older, more experienced player coming into the league. Considering that around 82 percent of both their games came within 10 feet of the rim, I don’t think the difference is so great.

    51. TheOakmanCometh

      I do actually think there’s a big difference between layups and 8-footers. Tha latter requires much more touch and skill (runners, hooks, push shots, jumpers).

      But more importantly, there’s no reason to project Willy becoming the shooter that Marc eventually did. Marc’s transformation has been very unusual. Of all the rookie centers that started out playing close to the rim, I’m willing to bet that many more stayed that way their whole career than became Gasol-level shooters. We could just as easily compare Willy to Dwight or DeAndre or any of the other centers who never learned to shoot.

      Beyond being Spanish, I’m not sure I see any Willy-Gasol comparison. Their games are really different on both ends of the floor.

    52. stratomatic

      yellowboy, every advanced statistic says that KP is already a good defender, and in some aspects elite. Yeah, he looks terrible sometimes, but that’s the eye test for you – unreliable.

      He is NOT an elite rebounder – below average – which is why a player like Willy makes so much sense next to him. Their games really are complementary.

      All the defensive stats are demonstrably too noisy and volatile to actually be capturing man defense well. They capture aspects of defense and not the ability to cover a specific man.

      The criticism of KP’s defense is very specific.

      When he’s matched against a very strong C, the other guy dominates him on the boards and often scores more than his average.

      When he’s matched against an especially quick stretch PF (more like a SF that is playing PF), he is forced to give up space and can’t contest the 3s as well or they blow by him and get to the rim.

      When there’s an advanced stat that captures those specific circumstances, you’ll see the numbers that reflect what fans and scouts are seeing on the court.

      He’s fine against some centers and PFs, but team scouts are smart enough to see his weaknesses and try to exploit them. When he and WH are on the court at the same time and the opposition has the players than can exploit KP’s weakness on the perimeter, they are doing it because he cannot punish those smaller guys in the post on the other end. That’s the only way to stop it. If KP is getting burned, but he is also burning the smaller guy even worse inside, we are fine. The problem is that KP has no post game.

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