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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Knicks Morning News (2017.12.18)

  • [NYTimes] On Pro Basketball: For Kobe Bryant, a Double Salute, With Two Numbers Headed to the Rafters
    (Monday, December 18, 2017 7:59:25 AM)

    For two decades in the N.B.A., Bryant was almost singular in his intensity. And on Monday night, the numbers he wore — No. 8 and 24 — will be retired.

  • [SNY Knicks] Kanter says he’ll be ‘fine’ after neck injury Saturday night
    (Sunday, December 17, 2017 9:25:54 AM)

    Enes Kanter said he’ll be “fine” despite his latest ailment, a neck injury that caused him to see double after Andre Roberson came down on the back of his head and neck while they battled for a rebound Saturday night.

  • [NY Newsday] Knicks use team approach to surge forward without Kristaps Porzingis
    (Sunday, December 17, 2017 7:35:16 PM)

    The afterglow of the Knicks outplaying the Thunder in Carmelo Anthony’s Madison Square Garden homecoming on Saturday night probably lasted into the wee hours. They feel that good about themselves after their season-high fourth straight victory.

  • [NYPost] Knicks not ruling out a Kristaps Porzingis return versus Hornets
    (Sunday, December 17, 2017 7:55:28 PM)

    On Saturday, there was a notion Kristaps Porzingis — who is recovering from a sore left knee that he tweaked against the Nets — would be available to play against the Thunder. False alarm. Now for Monday’s game in Charlotte, where the Knicks will seek a fifth straight victory, Porzingis has officially been listed as…

  • [NYPost] Doug McDermott is proof the Knicks are becoming one
    (Sunday, December 17, 2017 1:37:32 PM)

    Michael Beasley was on his way to his second 30-point night of the season for the Knicks. Virtually everything he tossed up went in — inside, outside, from deep. Midway through the fourth quarter Saturday, the Thunder were teetering, fatigued from the three overtimes they played the previous night in Philadelphia. Beasley had an open…

  • [NYDN] Michael Beasley stepping up as Knicks deal with injuries to stars
    (Sunday, December 17, 2017 10:50:54 AM)

    Michael Beasley didn’t even get off the bench in six of the Knicks’ first 18 games, biding his time and awaiting an opportunity.

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    39 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2017.12.18)

    1. The Glass Half Rebuilt

      Re: Phil Jackson, we cannot give him credit for not trading 1st round picks. Dolan hired an outside firm, after the Bargs trade and before PJax, to help him make better decisions running the Knicks and they told him he was being exploited around the league by always trading 1st round picks. Imagine how bad his time here would have been if Dolan didn’t blacklist trading picks and Phil could have traded 1sts in the name of trigonometry.

    2. Brian Cronin

      I dunno, while I agree that the whole thing was a bit overblown for the exact reason you mentioned (that Dolan had already decided not to trade first round picks before Phil got there), I think it is still fair to credit Phil for not trading any first rounders while he was here. He was the GM for three years when the Knicks didn’t trade a single first round pick. That’s still a (sadly impressive) accomplishment for a Knick GM. So I give him credit for that.

    3. Frank

      From yesterday’s discussion about Derrick Williams and Afflalo — I don’t remember my position on those signings (starting with the disclaimer for when THCJ calls me out on it later lol), but I think the point is that these guys were by several measures replacement level players, but were paid as average with a player option to boot. It’d be better if we paid replacement level players like replacement level players and did not give them a player option to hold over us — which is why what Perry did this offseason was so…normal and reasonable. Sessions has not really worked out, but hey, he’s on a 1-year minimum contract. Beasley has produced much more than a minimum contract player but will likely regress (and is almost certainly unplayable in a playoff series on the defensive end), and is not part of the future, so the minimum contract is good.

      I just don’t get the impression that Mills is very smart. The THJ contract was an overpay to be sure, but at least one can sort of see that he thought it’s a young player on the rise that at worst will be overpaid by a few million/year. And sure, maybe the player option in year 4 is the cost of doing business for a restricted FA. If you love the player, and he obviously does, you can sort of meander your way into thinking it’s ok. But the Baker contract is just absolutely infuriating. There is zero justification for giving a player option to a guy who a) may not have gotten a contract from anyone at all if the NYK didn’t sign him, and b) was a restricted FA anyway! They could’ve used the room exception on someone else and just matched Baker for Pete’s sake.

    4. Bruno Almeida

      Well, I do give him credit for not trading first rounders, but like I give credit to my dog when he manages to not shit inside the house, not necessarily a glowing endorsement.

      We’re in a decent position because of the drafts and then Perry did pretty well in the Melo trade (while Phil would probably trade him for nothing or cut him if he had his way). How much of the drafts were on Phil or the scouts we’ll never know, but he did pick those players. However, the ridiculous Noah contract will hurt as it could definitely be the difference between adding that last player the team would need to be better.

      So overall, he was not Isiah, and that’s all I can say about him. It did turn out ok in the end, but that definitely does not make his terrible moves ok all of a sudden.

    5. Frank

      Speaking of Beasley — if he just wasn’t so low-IQ on the defensive end of the court, he could be a pretty ideal complement to KP in the small-ball closing lineup. He’s capable of spacing the floor and definitely is good at attacking either as a primary or secondary action. He’s not a terrible individual defender, but he’s good for 2-3 dumb defensive plays/game (ie. closing out on Josh Huestis on a wing 3 while leaving Pat Patterson undefended for an easy corner 3, dumb fouls on guys already at the rim resulting in an and-1). But — he’s a pretty decent rebounder (career DRB% of ~18 which is in the same general vicinity as guys like Durant, Aldridge etc.) – way better than McDermott or Lance Thomas – and he is semi-switchable onto smaller guys if necessary.

      Frank, some combination of THJ/Lee/McDermott at the wing positions, Beasley, and KP is a pretty potent offensive lineup.

    6. Knick fan not in NJ at this time

      Reading the news today I noticed one difference from last season. Last year when the Knicks had their good start, KP was quoted as saying they weren’t really playing that well. This year, I read how the players are saying they are coming together as a team, and everyone is working hard. That is a big difference. I think it’s part of what makes them fun to watch this year.

    7. danvt

      Melo did a great job in the post game interview. Classy. Nice job. He has always been real in those situations and I can feel something for the guy.

      Yes, OKC was on the second half of the back to back and no Adams. This is what we need to realize when we project stretches of games. For example, LAC was a hot mess when we played them. In August that looked like a sure loss. Just as we were down two starters, other teams are gonna suffer injury woes and go through struggles. You’re going to get some unexpected W’s and L’s along the way. So, I think the win the other night is a legit sign of improvement. Learning to play our game with available players is huge. Another big litmus test tonight. We’ve been struggling on the road but CHA is 10-19. Let’s beat them and put more space between us and .500.

    8. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      I’ll be at the game tonight with another Knicks fan and two Hornets fans. Should be a fun game, and also am eminently loseable one, since Charlotte is to my mind better than their record. We should play carefully.

      Tickets were only fifteen per person! 15!

    9. Frank O.

      It’s a better team, that plays together, stays within sets and there is no detectable standing around.
      Movement away from the ball has improved.
      We’re seeing better defense from our bigs and we are getting better production from the two and three.
      The ball moves.
      Our PG play is still spotty. But Frank is going to become the starter soon. Growing pains are fine, so long as there is a plan and coaching.

    10. Frank

      Need a shout-out for Hornacek — the idea that this team has the 9th best offense with the overall lack of PG play (I mean like zero dribble penetration) and with THJ missing 1/3 of the season and KP missing 1/4 of the season – that is really a testament to the system he’s put together.

      17th ranked defense on a team starting Kanter/THJ/Jack for most of the season is really impressive also.

      Some minimally good news on the defensive front – in October (40.3%- 3rd worst) and November (39.5% – worst) we had the highest % of opponent FG as 3 pointers — not a good place to be. In December we are down to 36.9%, which is only 4th worst! #TrustTheProcess

    11. chrisk06811

      Silky, I’ve been to buzz city…..that place is electric!

      tomorrow night I will be seeing the Kings and sixers in Philly.

    12. ptmilo

      The Hornets are kinda crazy. When was the last time you saw a .340 team which was +6.3/100 while its clear minutes leader (Kemba) was on the court? 6.3/100 would be 4th best in the NBA.

      In many ways this is a huge unforced error by combining a very win-now starting 5 with a bench that could lose to some G league teams. It’s not just the replacement level guys like Kaminsky . It’s the guys like Bacon and Monk getting serious minutes playing way, way below replacement level. Unless you’re tanking there’s just no reason to give over 800 minutes to players so far below NBA level — remember we’re not talking Frank here or anything near it…we’re not even talking Sasha. I maybe understanding wanting to develop Monk but then what’s the point of having a very veteran starting 5 who are actually pretty competitive (especially if Batum gets all the way back). If he’s this bad on both ends and you have a win now team, it makes a lot more sense to do what Portland is doing with Collins. It’s not that hard to find guys who can play at or modestly better than replacement level.

      The only thing dumber right now is Thibs giving Crawford over 500 minutes. If you’ve watched Crawford play at all this year two things are obvious. 1. The guy looks amazingly similar to his usual nimble self considering he’s 37 2. The guy no longer belongs in the NBA, let along being fist off the bench for a win now team. At least Monk and Bacon are young.

    13. The Glass Half Rebuilt

      The Knicks need to be building to compete with Philly and Boston, because those two teams are going to terrorize the Eastern Conference for the next decade, not to mention the competent management in Toronto and Brooklyn. The Atlantic Division is about to be the best division in basketball, and we need to really get on the ball. Frank Ntilikina is going to be a stud, he just needs time to adjust and grow some chest hair. TH2 is developing nicely and KP needs to stay healthy and get more boards. I like Hornacek a lot and the system he’s implemented, but we need two more high level players. When Frank and KP are truly at a level where they can carry a team, we need somebody that can give us what Courtney Lee and Enes Kanter are giving us in terms of production. Maybe Willy and Dotson are indeed those guys, but Lee was a starter on a team that went to the finals as a rookie. We also need a 3&D combo forward to start games as a 3 and close games as a four, but that might be the hottest commodity in basketball next to a point guard.

      I’m interested in how we build this team going forward. I feel like we have a legit franchise player and a legit coach for the first time in forever.

    14. wetbandit

      Hornacek absolutely deserves a shout-out. He seems like a gregarious lover of the game, especially when he talks about specific plays at the post-game pressers. He also seems to believe in defense, and has had good results by eye-test on that front. Actual plays are being executed, so I think thats a first since the D’Antoni pre-Melo days, which I like.

      Our 3-pter defense won’t get better until we give more minutes to better backcourt defenders, like Baker/Ntili

    15. Bruno Almeida

      @13

      The Hornets are looking like a worse version of what happened to the Grizzlies for the past couple of years. They have a strong core (obviously Memphis was stronger) but they can’t seem to find good role players ever and they never find anything on the draft.

      It’s a worst case scenario of the building by smart trades, value signings and middling draft picks strategy: if you miss a lot of those swings, you end up with a mediocre roster that’s over the cap with no flexibility to operate.

    16. Frank

      @4 Jowles is checking his spreadsheet archives to prove you wrong and let you know about it

      That’s what I was worried about. Inside Jowles’s ability to find old posts is probably the successor to Google’s search engine.

    17. geo

      Talking about GMs…how good does Perry look now?

      scott perry may in fact have the best stank face in all of sports…that look of disdain he constantly wears while sitting up in the stands next to mills watching the games is absolutely priceless…

      i don’t know – maybe mills’ hygiene isn’t quite up to snuff…

    18. GoNyGoNyGo

      A couple of responses….

      Speaking of Beasley — if he just wasn’t so low-IQ on the defensive end of the court

      @6 – Odd you should say that. Did you hear Hornacek after the game? He said: ““Mike’s been fantastic,” Hornacek said. “He’s engaged in practice; he talks with the guys. He’s a smart basketball player — a smart person anyway. You talk to him, you realize it. But he really understands the game, and some of the stuff he does is just effortless.”

      It sounds like Jeff doesn’t agree with your IQ test. I understand that you said it about his defense, but this sounded like a pretty global statement.

      Yes, OKC was on the second half of the back to back and no Adams.

      @7 – I agreed with your statement so it’s not addressed to you, but rather to all the whines coming from OKC. Any time they have Westbrook, Anthony and George on the floor, we need to agree that the Thunder was as close to full strength as imaginable. We were down our #1 and #2 players (yeah, you can argue whether THJr is #2 or #3 or whatever but it’s close anyway). It was a nice team win.

      The Knicks need to be building to compete with Philly and Boston, because those two teams are going to terrorize the Eastern Conference for the next decade, not to mention the competent management in Toronto and Brooklyn. The Atlantic Division is about to be the best division in basketball, and we need to really get on the ball.

      @15 – An inspired statement. All Atlantic teams are improved this season. The Nets are deflated because of key injuries to their point guards. Interesting that the Atlantic is 43-26 against the Western conference (check my math: BOS 10-2, TOR 11-4, NYK 8-4, PHI 8-8, BRK 6-8).

      Hornacek absolutely deserves a shout-out.

      @16 – Absolutely. I’m really happy watching this team come together.

    19. geo

      back to phil…

      personally i felt like he did a very okayish job as a gm – where he really fell flat on his face was the off the court stuff…

      coaching players, imposing his “vision” for play style on to his coach, calling out players on other teams, calling out his own players through charley rosen, messing with kp (which ended up getting him fired, which in fact is what he really wanted), falling asleep during player evaluations…

      ugh, he was terrible off the court…

    20. Bruno Almeida

      Apparently Monk has been taken out of the rotation for good. At least we won’t have him hitting 5 threes against us for his only decent shooting game in a while. Another bullet the Knicks dodged I guess.

    21. Grocer

      we need somebody that can give us what Courtney Lee and Enes Kanter are giving us in terms of production

      The solution for the back half of this is probably Kanter being resigned.

    22. ClashFan

      Monks surprises me. Against the Knicks, he looked quick and athletic. Even if struggling with his shooting, seems like he’d at least show some positive signs with that.

      Things to give Phil credit for: not trading 1st rounders (he absolutely deserves credit for that), drafting KP, drafting Frank, acquiring Willy, Ron, OQ, Lee. He at least left a decent (but incomplete) young core in place.

      Things to rip Phil for: Melo contract and NTC (and trying to build around him), Noah signing, Rose trade (mostly for bringing in a selfish sourpuss on the court rather than the guys traded away, though I did like both guys), general arrogance and smugness. The bad Melo deal has been mitigated a bit by the current regime turning him into Kanter, McD, and a likely early second rounder, but he wasn’t here for that, so he doesn’t get credit.

      Meh Phil stuff: pretty much everything else, esp. his “hold the fort” signings that were just lateral moves.

      Final Grade: D.

    23. Frank

      @6 – Odd you should say that. Did you hear Hornacek after the game? He said: ““Mike’s been fantastic,” Hornacek said. “He’s engaged in practice; he talks with the guys. He’s a smart basketball player — a smart person anyway. You talk to him, you realize it. But he really understands the game, and some of the stuff he does is just effortless.”

      That’s the exact quote that shows what I said — Hornacek basically does a double take on his own statement — “he’s a smart basketball player — a smart person anyway”. That anyway (to me) sounds like “he’s not really a smart basketball player but I have to say something nice”.

    24. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

      I have no strong opinion on Hornacek one way or the other, but I’ll remind everyone that after we went 0-5 in pre season and lost our first 3 games of the regular season some people were ready to give him the boot. People (myself included) tend to over react to recent results. We have a tough stretch in our near future. Let’s see what people think when we lose 5 of 6 and have drooped out of the playoff picture a bit. Actually I already know. Everyone will want to tank again.

    25. d-mar

      One thing I really don’t miss about Phil- The Triangle. I think Hornacek was privately jumping for joy when Phil got shitcanned.

    26. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

      One thing I really don’t miss about Phil- The Triangle. I think Hornacek was privately jumping for joy when Phil got shitcanned.

      I think the “triangle” was made into a bigger issue than it should have been. We’ll never find out, but I think if you could find some throwback players that wanted to play in it, the team would do just fine. But since most players don’t want to play triangle, you are probably putting yourself at a disadvantage when it comes to finding talent.

      The ironic thing is that I recall having those same debates about D’Antoni’s system when he coached NY. One argument against him was that his system absolutely required a high level PG, a PF that could stretch the floor, and other players that could provide spacing. So we were passing up on too many talented players because they didn’t fit his system. Now the whole league is duplicating his system.

    27. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

      That’s the exact quote that shows what I said — Hornacek basically does a double take on his own statement — “he’s a smart basketball player — a smart person anyway”. That anyway (to me) sounds like “he’s not really a smart basketball player but I have to say something nice”.

      This is kind of like some really hot women that feels insecure about her intelligence because she wasn’t the best student and can’t understand what TS% is. lol So when she does something smart, you call attention to her intelligence. That has a much bigger positive impact than telling her she’s beautiful like all the other guys. Everyone already knows Beasley has amazing scoring talent. What he wants to hear is that he’s smarter than people think and learning.

    28. Frank

      RE: hornacek – I was indeed one of the ones who wanted to throw him overboard. Re: recency bias – we’re literally 35% of the way into the season – this is a relatively large sample, with multiple injuries to boot so far this year (which we did not have last year when we started off better than expected). The optimism has to be tempered by our ridiculously home-heavy schedule, but even with that taken into account, we’ve had a pretty average schedule.

      can’t remember who wrote it, but this team appears to be spectacularly average, which is really quite an accomplishment given most people had us in the worst 5 teams in the league going into the season, and that 2 of our best net-rating guys (KP and THJ) have missed significant time.

    29. Stratomatic says "NY basketball is back"

      Re: recency bias – we’re literally 35% of the way into the season – this is a relatively large sample, with multiple injuries to boot so far this year (which we did not have last year when we started off better than expected). The optimism has to be tempered by our ridiculously home-heavy schedule, but even with that taken into account, we’ve had a pretty average schedule.

      I agree. My point is that if we go on a serious downswing when we start playing tough teams on the road, it won’t necessarily change the underlying realities about the team. It will however change the perceptions about how good we are, how well Hornacek is doing with rotations and adjustments, and what our strategy should be going forward…until we get hot again. :-) I feel it within myself.

    30. geo

      love that we’re in the top ten in assists (our turnover rate is still way to high though), and top 15 in defensive rating…hey, what do you know – we’re an okay team…

      a little surprised charlotte is favored plus 6…oh well…

      not sure why they wouldn’t do an mri on kp’s knee…if nothing else just to give him (and myself) a little piece of mind…

      hopefully horny keeps whispering sweet nothings into beasley’s ear: you’re so smart, so very smart, no else realizes just how smart you truly are – now go show them and rebound, defend and pass like the spectacularly smart player you are…

    31. GoNyGoNyGo

      That anyway (to me) sounds like “he’s not really a smart basketball player but I have to say something nice”.

      Yeah. I didn’t hear it that way. I copied the quote but saw the interview. Hornacek was falling over himself with praise for Beasley. Couple that with how he’s been using him, I think he meant it. I have to say that I’ve seen some change in Beasley’s game and I give Jeff credit. He’s passing the ball rather than going ISO 100% of the time. There was one play where I was sure Beasley was going to put it up, but instead he passed to McDermott, who nailed a 3. On defense, he looked like a pest and was giving effort. If Jeff turns Beasley into the player he had the potential to become, that’s a major accomplishment.

      Now starts the nail-biting part of the season. The goal should be to win 50% of the games between now and the first home game in February. That’s a TALL order but I think the schedule worked in the Knicks favor and that being home a lot helped the team develop chemistry. Maybe they’ll surprise us?

    32. Bruno Almeida

      This next part of the Knicks schedule is just so tricky. If Porzingis doesn’t play today this is definitely a losable game, then there’s a home and away back to back with the Celtics and Pistons, and Hardaway might or might not be ready for those. Then Sixers at home and Bulls in Chicago, sneaky hard games, then at Spurs, at Pelicans, vs Spurs and at Wizards, all tough as hell games.
      I would expect the Knicks to win 3 or 4 out of those 9 games realistically (Charlotte, Chicago and Philly or Washington maybe) and then it finally gets a bit easier with the Heat in Miami, Mavs in Dallas and Bulls at home.

      This is the defining stretch of the season for me, as a poor showing would very probably drop the Knicks out of the top 8.

    33. geo

      no kp…man, c’mon – someone needs to take a closer look at his knee…magnets, radio waves, psychic hotline – whatever…

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