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Saturday, December 15, 2018

Knicks Morning News (2018.04.09)

  • [NYTimes] On Pro Basketball: Omri Casspi a Casualty of Golden State’s Numbers Game
    (Monday, April 09, 2018 2:04:01 AM)

    An injury to Stephen Curry meant the team needed a reserve guard more than it needed an extra forward. And with that, a playoff drought will continue.

  • [NYTimes] In the N.B.A., the Court and the Canvas Are Increasingly Intertwined
    (Monday, April 09, 2018 12:44:52 AM)

    N.B.A. players, past and present, have become art collectors, in part out of enthusiasm, in part as an investment, in part to have something to pass on to the next generation.

  • [NY Newsday] LeBron, Cavs help Knicks turn out the lights at Garden
    (Sunday, April 08, 2018 10:03:24 PM)

    Frank Ntilikina has had some drives to the basket in the last few games that have shown his growth as a player. But his best move of the season might not have been a basketball one.

  • [NY Newsday] Jarrett Jack has been the consummate role model for Knicks’ young guards
    (Sunday, April 08, 2018 4:41:10 PM)

    Jarrett Jack walked onto the Madison Square Garden court carrying a black trash bag, went to the far end, and pointed to some young fans. The Knicks’ veteran point guard handed them sneakers.

  • [NYDN] J.R. Smith says he can’t see LeBron James coming to Knicks
    (Sunday, April 08, 2018 1:12:55 PM)

    Dwyane Wade offered a smirking “good luck” when asked Friday night about the recruitment billboard of LeBron James.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks already scouting for 2019 NBA Draft
    (Sunday, April 08, 2018 11:01:40 AM)

    NEW YORK — The Knicks are only about two months away from the 2018 NBA Draft where they figure to have a lottery pick who could impact the franchise’s fortunes for years to come.

  • [NYPost] Knicks rookies reveal thoughts on what it means to face LeBron
    (Sunday, April 08, 2018 8:10:03 PM)

    The standard of greatness. A childhood idol. A runaway freight train. The best player in the world. That is what awaits four Knicks rookies Monday when LeBron James visits for the final Garden game of the season. The rookies — Frank Ntilikina, Damyean Dotson, Luke Kornet and Isaiah Hicks — all have varying degrees of…

  • [NYPost] Knicks found yet another way to test their ‘ultimate professional’
    (Sunday, April 08, 2018 3:57:27 PM)

    Coming off a serious knee injury that took a season and a half off his career, Jarrett Jack was brought in by the Knicks to mentor the likes of Frank Ntilikina. Turns out he became a starter, too, when Plan A on the Knicks’ drawing board went up in flames. But in the franchise record-tying…

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    68 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2018.04.09)

    1. Brian Cronin

      Big shout out to Dwyane Wade for suggesting David Fizdale.

      Anyone but Mark Jackson!

    2. Frank

      RE: yesterday’s thread about Frank vs Mudiay vs Wiggins.

      I don’t know anything about Wiggins and how great he wants to be, but you kind of get the feeling about Mudiay that his heart isn’t really into it — he admitted he was out of shape because he was playing fewer minutes in Denver and had to play himself back into shape here. Then there was that whole business decision he made in not taking a charge against Embiid — I mean I’m sure lots of people make business decisions when a 7′ 250lb guy is bearing down on you, but to straight out admit “that’s a big person” — just feels like he doesn’t take it that seriously. And how he goes around screens makes you think that in spite of his athletic ability, he doesn’t really want to get after it.

      Now by all reports, Frank really DOES work hard and really DOES want to be great. That would theoretically be the difference between Frank and Mudiay. Also, Mudiay, while he has pretty good vision offensively, seems to be a reasonably low basketball-IQ guy on both ends of the floor.

      Re: Frank’s defense – I don’t know that we really appreciate how advanced he is on that side of the ball. There certainly are weaknesses to “play-type” defensive stats, but:

      1) he’s literally the best defender in the league against PNR-ball handlers (for players who have defended 200+ of these possessions) — the guys behind him are Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Bledsoe, FVV, Westbrook, Curry, Dragic, Rubio, and Lowry.

      2) super super small sample size alert but he’s 93rd percentile defending post-ups

      3) also small sample size but he’s 84th percentile in defending iso’s.

      4) he still has the best defensive on/off on the team (of players who have played any minutes at all).

      In the last few weeks, we’ve seen him defend 1 through 4 and look pretty good doing it.

      He’s 19 and possibly has more height coming and certainly has lots more strength coming.

      He will be fine.

    3. Frank

      Just as comparison of defensive play-type stats:

      Frank –> 92nd percentile vs PNR-BH, 84th vs Iso, 93rd vs. post-ups

      Lonzo –> 68th vs PNR-BH, 52nd vs iso, 55th vs post-up
      Fox –> 35th vs PNR-BH, 19th vs iso, 20th vs post-up
      DSJ –> 22nd vs PNR-BH, 69th vs iso, 28th vs post-up
      Mitchell (2 years older than the others) –> 70th vs. PNR-BH, 58th vs iso, 92.6 vs. post-up

      we should remember that Mitchell gets to play with Rudy Gobert all the time too (played 54% of his minutes with Gobert), whereas Frank got only 23.7% of his minutes with KP. Thanks Hornacek!

    4. Brian Cronin

      You know I’m absolutely down with Frank’s defense. However, good golly, Miss Molly, his offense has been beyond putrid. I’m still quite optimistic about Frank, overall, but his offense has been just so, so bad that it is so frustrating.

    5. lavor postell

      Idk about the rest of his offense but I feel fairly confident his shooting will improve when he stops growing and also strengthens his lower body and core. His floor to me is Andre Roberson with better ball handling, shooting and passing.

    6. Farfa

      I think his offense is horrible for three reasons:

      Terrible handle (possibly the worst among NBA guards and many wings)
      Bizarre shot results inconsistency (which might stem from overthinking, but his shot is sooooo slow)
      Hornacek weird rotations and inability to click with any player (I think this has impacted a lot Frank confidence; in Europe you’re taught first thing to avoid any possible mistake, and our coach looked like he couldn’t wait to bench Frank as soon he made a mistake)

    7. Zanzibar

      In October we need more mustard on our frank (i.e., self-confidence on offense) but I fear that might not happen because our front office might trade Frank/Dot/2018 pick for Kemba. They were ready to trade for Payton at the deadline so were Z-manned into believing he’ll never be a one guard. And if Frank’s not a 1, he’s more expendable especially when Timmy’s on the team.

      The hope is that events conspire to push the front office in the right direction. Burke’s performance after the deadline might buy us a year. And that standing ovation at MSG the team received after Miami game might linger, haunt, and educate Perry/Mills. Recall no Lance, B, or Enes and only 8 minutes of Mudiay. There was great spacing and ball/player movement leading to open 3’s. We’ve got guys who are able to shoot 3’s, we’ve just had the wrong players on the court. And the defense was solid when 3 of the worst defenders in the league were sitting. I hope the recent Kings experience (who had quality vets) and that Miami game will help dispel Perry’s veteran fetish.

    8. DRed

      Lebron outweighs Frank by something like 50 pounds. I’m sure Frank could bother him, but he’s too small to guard Lebron for long stretches.

    9. Frank

      @8 – didn’t Mills/Perry specifically turn down the Orlando / Payton trade because Orlando wanted Frank?

      I’m pretty sure we’re not trading Frank for kemba also.

      For any of you that didn’t hear it, there was a really interesting and long podcast with Ian Begley and Mike Vorkunov from the Athletic — Begley seems pretty sure that Mills and Perry want to rebuild the right way, and the only reason this year felt a little bit “win-now” is because they are/were truly concerned about the KP relationship and wanting to show him that the culture was right here. Begley even specifically said that while of course no one wanted KP to get hurt, the injury enabled the FO to do what they wanted to do in the first place, which is specfically not to have to do two things at once (ie. the dreaded “rebuild on the fly”) — rather to build through draft etc.

      Re: Frank guarding Lebron – that ain’t happening with any good outcome for the Knicks. Like DRed said, LBJ’s got 50 lbs and several inches on him. Lebron overpowers grown like-sized men with little trouble. Now — Lebron vs. age-25 Frank? That might have been interesting, but we’ll never see that unfortunately.

    10. Frank

      Another interesting topic they touched on in that podcast is whether or not to offer KP the extension now. From a dispassionate robot analytic perspective, you’d prefer not to offer the extension, but from a relationship-building perspective, you might want to even at the cost of significant 2019 cap space.

      I’m sort of mixed on it — I think if you could get KP to take a small-mod discount – like at least a few million/year below the max sort of like what Giannis and Gobert did, that would be a good faith offer to make and a reasonable sacrifice for him especially given the injury. I’m not sure if I’d just vomit out the full max extension (especially without injury protections) right from the start.

    11. Brian Cronin

      I wouldn’t worry about KP leaving. He’ll still be a restricted free agent, so the only time they’ll have to give him the full max is if someone else offers it to him and the only way someone else will offer it to him is if he returns next season looking good. Heck, if someone else offers him a max, it would be better for the Knicks, since other teams can’t offer as much as the Knicks can.

      The only risk is KP taking the qualified offer and I don’t know how smart of a move that would be for a guy coming off of a major injury. If he did that, then whatever, go for it, dude. The Knicks could still re-sign him anyways. They’d have the most to offer still.

    12. Brian Cronin

      Idk about the rest of his offense but I feel fairly confident his shooting will improve when he stops growing and also strengthens his lower body and core. His floor to me is Andre Roberson with better ball handling, shooting and passing.

      I’m cautiously optimistic about it, too, but I would sure have preferred he had done what the other guys like Fox and Isaac did, which is that they showed a little something in the last month of the season to show a clear sign that they are probably going to fix their biggest issues. I don’t like a guy going the entire season without fixing the major issues. That’s worrisome. The guy didn’t improve his offense at all! How is that possible?!

    13. Zanzibar

      Patience on Frank. He’s playing in a rental body at the moment. Look at progress of Dinwiddie and Exum. To maximize his talents, he’s gotta guard opposing 1’s to disrupt PnR offenses. That works better if he’s playing the 1. He’s ripe for quality player development this summer but I have no idea if NYK are ready or able to supply it. Do they know the best ball-handling drills? How about shooting drills which simulate real games? Spurs would turn him into Magic lite or Pippen lite.

      I’m more and more intrigued by Kornet. One thing I’m noticing is how fast he makes decisions. He receives the ball and immediately shoots, drives, or executes hand-off pick. Swift continuous ball and player movement puts more pressure on defenses. And Kornet like KOQ appears to be a more than decent passer (higher IQ and better passer than KP). His 3 ball history is very odd. In college he shot 40%, 28%, 32% (in order by year). In the G League, he shot 44% on 207 attempts. He’s at 33% at the moment in the NBA. If he ends up shooting in the high 30’s, he’s a valuable piece. KP/Kornet/KOQ all provide important outside shooting/spacing. How many teams have two 7 footers who shoot in the neighborhood of 40 3FG%? Also KP/KOQ/Kornet provide 48 minutes of rim protection!

    14. Knick fan not in NJ at this time

      I’m not sure Frank hasn’t improved at all on offense. I know it’s just an eye test conclusion, but he seems to be trying more things on offense than he was at the beginning of the season. I don’t think it improves his stats, because he’s not yet very successful at the new things he’s doing. But if he keeps going at a certain point he may make some of those things successful. Does anyone else have the same impression?

    15. Brian Cronin

      I don’t disagree that he’s been trying out some new things, but him trying out new things poorly while not improving the things that he was already doing poorly doesn’t strike me as any real improvement overall.

      If he had just legitimately improved something about his game, it would be a lot easier to be optimistic about him.

      At the moment, we’re pretty much wishcasting based on the idea that other players have improved as they have gotten older, so presumably Frank will, too.

    16. djphan

      getting buckets in the paint is a tough thing to develop… you need a targeted regimen to sort of develop that… if you can at all…. he’s going to need to focus on that in the offseason and possibly multiple offseasons….

      the outside shooting is also a concern but you can’t develop outside in as a guard… you have to be viable in the paint first… even if it’s low volume…. his ft shooting in france and in his one season here seems to me that he’s much less of a shooter than ppl think he is…. but it’s also something that has an easier time to develop as you age….

      this offseason is very key….. he needs a lot of work to even get to mudiay’s level on offense….

    17. lavor postell

      He’s well beyond Mudiay on offense because he doesn’t do stupid shit every time he touches the ball or lose all coordination or balance and collapse on the floor every time he puts the ball on the floor. Mudiay does more shit and would probably win in a 1-on-1 offensive skills competition but in a team game he’s so much shittier on offense than Frank or basically anybody in the league aside from Lance Thomas it’s not even funny.

      @BC – Fox is shooting 23.2% from 3 over his last 29 games following his freaky 6/6 night from 3. He’s shot nearly 2 percentage points worse than Frank from 3. I liked Fox a ton coming out and still do but the shooting issues have shown little sign of improvement.

    18. djphan

      and i have seen frank try more and different things as the season has progressed…. it just hasn’t really manifested itself in results….. i think the fact that he’s played off the ball more has affected him…. and i think the mudiay trade did more bad than good if the result was frank playing sg….

      frank just needs to tighten everything up…. his handle…. his shooting…. it’s not like mudiay’s sloppiness which is a mental thing but frank is more of a strength thing… in his core and in his forearms…. the ball control is a key thing to get his handle up and that’s stronger forearms… his core also needs to strengthen so he has more explosion and ability to handle contact without it affecting him too much….

      together that should lead to better attacks to the basket because i think he has the creativity in him…. with mudiay he has a basic hesitation move and that’s it… but frank has shown some more dribble moves in him… it’s just the execution is sloppy…. that comes with reps and better ball control and hopefully he focuses on that…..

    19. Brian Cronin

      Fox is shooting 23.2% from 3 over his last 29 games following his freaky 6/6 night from 3. He’s shot nearly 2 percentage points worse than Frank from 3. I liked Fox a ton coming out and still do but the shooting issues have shown little sign of improvement.

      Fox did take a big dip from January (where he was really on the upswing). However, he still shot better (TS%) in February and March than he did in November-December, ya know? That’s something that a Fox fan could be optimistic about (plus Fox at least had one outright decent month – January).

      Frank’s TS% by month (excluding October and April, just like I did for Fox, because of small sample size):

      November – .402
      December – .467
      January – .394
      February – .467
      March – .436

      It’s hard to feel optimistic about that, outside of a general position of “He’ll probably get better as he gets older” (which I do believe, mind you, but it’s pretty much purely on faith at this point).

    20. Brian Cronin

      and i have seen frank try more and different things as the season has progressed…. it just hasn’t really manifested itself in results….. i think the fact that he’s played off the ball more has affected him…. and i think the mudiay trade did more bad than good if the result was frank playing sg….

      I’m a broken record on this, of course, but yeah, choosing to move Frank off ball because they acquired Mudiay and wanted to give Mudiay tons of minutes is….well, it is not a good sign of the intelligence of this organization’s brain trust.

      Giving up on Frank as a 1 during a lost season when Jarrett Jack played the 1 most of the season is…frustrating, to say the least.

    21. Zanzibar

      I’m pretty sure we’re not trading Frank for kemba also.

      I’m not so sure. I am pretty sure they’ve given up on Kanter. I even think they’ve told him he’s not getting an extension and they have no plans to sign him in a year. I suspect that’s why he changed agents, to try to find him a 4-year 50m type deal before free agency when he’s gotta decide whether to opt in. Speaking of events conspiring to force front office into right decision, shout out to Dudley for calling out Enes as the worst PnR defender in the league. Provides some cover to the front office re fans.

      Begley is useless, really makes me miss Herring. Never anything original from the guy. Teams are rebuilding until they’re not. Remember Phil looked like he might be rebuilding until the summer of Rose/Noah? It’s a bizarre rebuild where Lance is getting minutes over Dot, it takes forever to call up Burke to replace JJ, and WHG exits for nothing. I could envision a deal where we get Kemba/MKG and Hornets receive Frank/Dot/2018 pick protected 1-3. EXAMPLE TRADE Press and fans would probably like this trade since most have writen frank off as a bust. Starters: Kemba/Timmy/MKG/KP/KOQ and Trey/Courtney/Troy/Noah off bench.

    22. lavor postell

      @BC

      Of course his TS% has been better than Frank’s but that’s not because of his shooting ability, which remains as big a question mark with him as it was pre-draft. It’s because he gets to the rim more and finishes better there and also gets to the line at a better rate.

    23. Frank

      I like Begley – I think he’s got real sources in both the FO and the team itself.
      He called the Derrick Rose thing well before anyone else.
      He also more than hinted a bunch last year that KP’s issue wasn’t just with Phil but with Hornacek also — something everyone basically glossed over until just a couple weeks ago when Berman or whoever wrote a whole article about it.
      Re: playing Lance over Dotson – that’s probably much more blame-able on Hornacek than the FO. For the most part FO’s don’t micromanage minutes, although I guess you never know for sure.

    24. Brian Cronin

      Of course his TS% has been better than Frank’s but that’s not because of his shooting ability, which remains as big a question mark with him as it was pre-draft. It’s because he gets to the rim more and finishes better there and also gets to the line at a better rate.

      I’m not pointing out Frank’s TS% to compare them to Fox’s, but rather to show that they’re not getting better (while Fox’s TS% has been improving later in the season as opposed to early in the season). That‘s what I’m worried about. A 48% TS% would still be bad, but at least it would be a step in the right direction. Frank hasn’t even given us that much to work with!

    25. Zanzibar

      Re: playing Lance over Dotson – that’s probably much more blame-able on Hornacek than the FO. For the most part FO’s don’t micromanage minutes, although I guess you never know for sure.

      And yet the front office told Hornacek to start Mudiay. After the Knicks were eliminated from playoffs, front office should should have directed Hornacek to give the younger players like Dot, Kornet, Hicks more burn. This is routine for front offices and most coaches want guidance from front offices at that stage. What if Dot played really well the last 25 games? Might that affect the draft pick this summer? And if Kornet played well, might that affect how much you’re willing to pay KOQ? At this stage, we really don’t know much about Dot or Kornet.

      Regarding Begley, he recently tweeted – not retweeted – a stat supplied by Knicks PR via their twitter with minor changes in the wording. Why not just retweet it? My sense is he does stuff like that quite a bit, making it look like it’s original from him. I don’t care that he broke the Rose trade a couple of hours earlier. I’d much rather he gave us some insight into the dynamics of the team last year. We were in the dark the whole year and a lot of the stuff he eventually wrote about had already leaked from other sources.

    26. Brian Cronin

      Begley seems pretty sure that Mills and Perry want to rebuild the right way, and the only reason this year felt a little bit “win-now” is because they are/were truly concerned about the KP relationship and wanting to show him that the culture was right here. Begley even specifically said that while of course no one wanted KP to get hurt, the injury enabled the FO to do what they wanted to do in the first place, which is specfically not to have to do two things at once (ie. the dreaded “rebuild on the fly”) — rather to build through draft etc.

      That, though, to me is almost as bad as Phil deciding not to rebuild because of the Melo Mega Max (few things are quite as bad as that, of course). Fucking over your 2017-18 season (and, according to this story, they even acknowledge that it wasn’t what they think they should have been doing) because KP could theoretically leave following the 2019-2020 is not a good idea.

    27. Hubert

      For any of you that didn’t hear it, there was a really interesting and long podcast with Ian Begley and Mike Vorkunov from the Athletic — Begley seems pretty sure that Mills and Perry want to rebuild the right way, and the only reason this year felt a little bit “win-now” is because they are/were truly concerned about the KP relationship and wanting to show him that the culture was right here. Begley even specifically said that while of course no one wanted KP to get hurt, the injury enabled the FO to do what they wanted to do in the first place, which is specfically not to have to do two things at once (ie. the dreaded “rebuild on the fly”) — rather to build through draft etc.

      I would love for this to be true, but the following evidence directly contradicts the idea that Mills and Perry are going to rebuild “the right way” (or, at the very least, casts doubt that their version of the right way is actually the right way):

      1. First and foremost: they are trying very hard to win games down the stretch at a time when every win could cost us two spots in the draft.

      2. The Willy and Mudiay trades took place after the KP injury, and neither of those moves are “rebuild the right way” kind of moves. Trading a valuable 2nd round pick in this year’s draft for Mudiay and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle is 1000% a “rebuild on the fly” kind of move. And dumping Willy because you prefer to play the center who is about to leave this year and the one who makes $18mm next year also reveals a win-now mentality.

    28. Frank

      That, though, to me is almost as bad as Phil deciding not to rebuild because of the Melo Mega Max (few things are quite as bad as that, of course). Fucking over your 2017-18 season (and, according to this story, they even acknowledge that it wasn’t what they think they should have been doing) because KP could theoretically leave following the 2019-2020 is not a good idea.

      mmm i’m not so sure about that. what were they supposed to do once they started winning?

      it’s not such a bad thing that they wanted to show their disgruntled star player that they were tanking the season from the start. and it’s not as if they really made any win-now moves other than actually just winning games with veteran players.

      I dunno – I think it’s really easy for us fans – who are not in the locker rooms – to just say we should tank the season. Clearly the right thing to do for any teams that are not top 3-4 seeds in each conference is to tank because if you want a championship and you have no chance, you should just maximize your chances of hitting the lottery. But how to do you explain that to the players who are hyper-competitive and not super interested in tanking their career just so some 19 year old can come take their job?

      I actually think the post-Perry FO has done a fine job, with maybe the Willy trade being the only deal I wouldn’t have done. The Melo trade was fine. All the fringe signings were just fine and perhaps landed us two rotation players for next year (Troy Williams + Trey Burke). The Mudiay trade, while probably with relatively little chance of paying off, was at least a reasonable if not high-probability gamble. We were offered dumb win-now trades and declined.

      The Knicks are no longer a laughingstock around the league. we’ve left the Triangle behind. We’ve got some interesting young players with all our draft picks and some cap space coming up. It’s ok just to be semi-normal bad (for now)

    29. Hubert

      Another interesting topic they touched on in that podcast is whether or not to offer KP the extension now. From a dispassionate robot analytic perspective, you’d prefer not to offer the extension, but from a relationship-building perspective, you might want to even at the cost of significant 2019 cap space.

      I’m sort of mixed on it — I think if you could get KP to take a small-mod discount – like at least a few million/year below the max sort of like what Giannis and Gobert did, that would be a good faith offer to make and a reasonable sacrifice for him especially given the injury. I’m not sure if I’d just vomit out the full max extension (especially without injury protections) right from the start.

      Giving KP a 5 year max should be off the table.

      Hurt his feelings. Who cares? He doesn’t deserve it, and giving it to him will hurt the team. Pay him commensurate with his inconsistent production and injury history. Not a dollar more.

      If he goes out and gets a max offer from another team, great. Match it. Like Brian said, that helps us, too.

    30. Ntilakilla

      Lebron, trying to atone for past sins in throwing Frank underneath the bus as a means of attacking Phil, just said this to Begley:

      “I think he [Ntilikina] knows how to play the game. That’s the best thing, first of all. Very cerebral basketball player. I think, defensively, he’s more advanced than offensively. But I think offensively, he’s gotten better as he’s gotten more opportunity and played more games.”

    31. Frank

      1. First and foremost: they are trying very hard to win games down the stretch at a time when every win could cost us two spots in the draft.

      2. The Willy and Mudiay trades took place after the KP injury, and neither of those moves are “rebuild the right way” kind of moves. Trading a valuable 2nd round pick in this year’s draft for Mudiay and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle is 1000% a “rebuild on the fly” kind of move.

      Are they really trying hard to win? Their 2-way players are playing a ton. Frank led the team in minutes last game. Courtney Lee has sat a bunch. I’m not sure exactly how to lose on purpose short of doing what Chicago is doing, which is straight embarrassing.

      Re: the Mudiay trade – we at KB generally disagree, but there are apparently many around the league that stil think Mudiay has a chance at being good. I don’t happen to be one of those people, but I think it’s a defensible move to take a flyer on a young athletic lottery guard that the team has another year of control over. (THCJ don’t even bother blowing up at this, I already agree with you)

    32. Stratomatic "It's tough being us"

      Begley seems pretty sure that Mills and Perry want to rebuild the right way, and the only reason this year felt a little bit “win-now” is because they are/were truly concerned about the KP relationship and wanting to show him that the culture was right here.

      This one of the things I brought up a couple of times in all the “tank” discussions. KP and his brother both talked about wanting to see that the team was heading in the “right direction”. The definition of “right” direction will vary depending on your time frame. If you are a fan willing to wait 6 years like the 76ers “right” is different than if you are a budding superstar that’s pissed off about all the turmoil in management and have choice about an extension coming up in a couple of years.

    33. Hubert

      Frank, I think you can squint and find a defensible reason to take a flier on Mudiay. I would never make the case, but I’m sure it can be made.

      I just think taking a flier on him at the cost of a pretty high 2nd round pick doesn’t support the idea that these guys adopted a long-term, rebuild through the draft mentality when KP went down.

    34. Stratomatic "It's tough being us"

      Frank’s offense is a mystery to me.

      Before the draft I was fairly certain he was initially going to have a very difficult time scoring at the NBA level because he didn’t score well against weaker competition in Europe. However, I didn’t think his shot was going to be the problem. I thought the problem would be creating his own shot and shooting off the dribble.

      He shot OK in Europe. As I’ve brought up a couple of times, he was also tested by some trainer that works with shooters and scored REALLY well. The guy compared him to some of the better shooters in the league and said his shot was NBA ready.

      If he was shooting really well on spot up 3s and 2s and struggling with everything else that would make perfect sense to me. But he misses a lot of wide open looks too (I haven’t see all the data). Early in the year I thought it might be nerves and that he would snap out of it with a little experience, but he’s still struggling.

    35. Frank

      If he goes out and gets a max offer from another team, great. Match it. Like Brian said, that helps us, too.

      I think the worry is that he takes the qualifying offer then leaves as an UNrestricted free agent. And then the team is a laughingstock again.

      IMHO it’s reasonable to extend a fair non-max extension offer to him with injury protections – ie. instead of 5 years $157MM make it more like 5 years $125MM, and sell it as “we know you’re injured but we believe in you and want you to be the face of the franchise going forward.”

      I think it’d be hard for him to turn that down given the injury history especially if we couch the “discount” as “we need to put a better team around you”.

      KP has definitely been inconsistent, but here is the list of players age 22 or younger who have posted 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks/36 in 1500 or more minutes played:

      Shaq
      Alonzo Mourning
      Bob McAdoo
      Anthony Davis
      Porzingis

      The ability to score at high volume and be a true rim protector — doesn’t come along that often. The only comparables in the NBA currently are Towns and Embiid, especially when you take into account the ability to spread the floor.

    36. Frank

      I just think taking a flier on him at the cost of a pretty high 2nd round pick doesn’t support the idea that these guys adopted a long-term, rebuild through the draft mentality when KP went down.

      I dunno, right now it’s the 44th pick in the draft. depending on what you think of Mudiay, it’s not ridiculous to think that the expected value of Mudiay might be greater than the 44th pick. Although watching his defense is like gouging my eyes out.

    37. Brian Cronin

      5 years $125MM

      My problem is that I’d want more injury protection than that. I’d be fine with giving him more money in exchange for more injury protection. The Sixers can void any of the last four years of Embiid’s contract if he suffers specific injuries. I’d want something like that from any extension offer to KP.

    38. Cock Jowles, a Real Value Contract at .502 TS% and $26.2M

      I wish there were an easier way to see TS% trends by age, year, etc.

      Here are some 2016-17 rookies in order of MP, year over year. Age in rookie season in parentheses:

      Saric (22) .508 /.581
      Ingram (19) .474/.536
      Murray (19) .518/.580
      Hield (23) .541/.559
      Ferrell (23) .533/.541
      Brown (20) .539/.559
      Sabonis (20) .469/.569
      Prince (22) .513/.550
      Brogdon (24) .555/.579
      Chriss (19) .529/.509
      Levert (22) .556/.527
      Valentine (23) .492/.527
      Dunn (22) .432/.488
      Harrison (22) .477/.534
      Ulis (21) .474/.462

      So most players on that list improved. Chriss’ and Ulis’ USG% went down and with it, TS%. It seems likely to me (even anecdotally, or in this unscientific snapshot of the “sophomore trend”) that Frank improves. No way to tell how much. Not many players do the Durant, going from replacement-player to MVP-candidate in 2 years.

    39. DRed

      Trading a valuable 2nd round pick in this year’s draft for Mudiay and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle is 1000% a “rebuild on the fly” kind of move. And dumping Willy because you prefer to play the center who is about to leave this year and the one who makes $18mm next year also reveals a win-now mentality

      Agree on the Willy trade being dumb for a rebuilding team, but I think trading for young players who have disappointed the team that drafted them is a viable part of a rebuild. I don’t think Mudiay was a good execution of that particular tactic, but I don’t think it was a win now effort

    40. lavor postell

      Sabonis was such a steal for Indiana. That George trade was an absolute heist in retrospect.

    41. Stratomatic "It's tough being us"

      But how to do you explain that to the players who are hyper-competitive and not super interested in tanking their career just so some 19 year old can come take their job?

      This is a big part of it.

      The incentive for players is play as well as they possibly can and be on a winning team because that’s how you get a better reputation and contact (and actually enjoy your job). It’s even more relevant if it’s an option year or you want to play more minutes.

      It’s silly to expect these guys to lay down.

      All the team can do is tinker with minutes a bit and perhaps give certain players a day off here or there when they would otherwise play. But you can’t just flat out sit out all your best players all the time because they are older than 25 and you want to lose. The players, their agents, and the union would go nuts. You can do more of that at the end of the season when your team is already eliminated and the players have already made their point in terms of what they are worth.

      Of course you can also trade present value (good vets) for future value (picks), but a fair deal has to be on the table. If you give away more present value than you are getting in future value, all you are doing is getting worse now and not much better later.

    42. Bruno Almeida

      I’m not too worried about Frank yet as there’s not much room for improvement during a NBA season, specially for a kid who never played this many games with a hectic travelling schedule etc. The next 2 offseasons is when I expect jumps and it’s what’s going to define his career path. We know the defense is there and he has a long road towards becoming a decent offensive player.

      I’d say my best case scenario for his development would be what Oladipo is doing now. Elite defender that figured out how to shoot better over the years, maybe less explosive but a more consistent shooter if it all goes well in his development.

    43. JK47

      I’m surprised at how well Brandon Ingram has played for LAL. He looked so hapless as a rookie. He had the Jared Jeffries “baby unicorn” look going on, was completely uncoordinated, had little idea of what to do with the ball, seemed to react to things slowly… This year though, he’s playing some really good defense and he’s not a zero on offense either. His play as a rookie screamed “bust” but he has really stepped it up, and looks like a really good piece for them going forward.

    44. Zanzibar

      Following up on Jowles’ post, here is a list over last 10 years or so of 18-20yo guards who posted a sub .490 TS% in rookie year and their TS% in the 2nd year:

      Bradley (20) .360/.555
      Joseph (20) .374/.528
      Harris (20) .395/.566
      Vaughn (19) .398/.449
      Baldwin (20) .404/.751
      Ennis (20) .411/.503
      M Teague (19) .412/.398
      Rivers (20) .431/.482
      Ntilikina (19) .432/???
      Mudiay…..Never Mind
      Schroder (20) .442/.516
      T Jones (19) .450/.523
      Payton (20) .456/.478
      Exum (19) .457/.521
      Wroten (20) .461/.493
      Rondo (20) .472/.515
      Jennings (20) .475/.493
      Williams (19) .485/.521
      McLemore (20) .485/.552
      Monta Ellis (20) .486/.545
      J Bayless (20) .487/.534

    45. Hubert

      but I think trading for young players who have disappointed the team that drafted them is a viable part of a rebuild. I don’t think Mudiay was a good execution of that particular tactic, but I don’t think it was a win now effort

      I suppose I’m letting the player they chose cloud my judgment of the underlying logic. If they had done the same thing for Hezonja or Stanley Johnson, I would probably support it.

    46. Frank

      Draftexpress has us taking Collin Sexton over Mikal Bridges. I greatly hope they are misreading the Knicks’ intentions. I see Bridges as maybe the surest thing outside of Luka Doncic in the lottery. Even if he never improves, he’s a knockdown shooter and versatile wing defender. I’d take that in a second over a small-ish PG that can’t really shoot – kinda feel like you can find those guys pretty easily without wasting a mid-lottery pick on them.

      (watch Sexton turn into Westbrook now)

    47. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

      Sexton should barely be a first round pick with his combination of mediocre production and lack of predictors of NBA success (eg RBS numbers)

    48. Brian Cronin

      Draftexpress has us taking Collin Sexton over Mikal Bridges. I greatly hope they are misreading the Knicks’ intentions. I see Bridges as maybe the surest thing outside of Luka Doncic in the lottery. Even if he never improves, he’s a knockdown shooter and versatile wing defender. I’d take that in a second over a small-ish PG that can’t really shoot – kinda feel like you can find those guys pretty easily without wasting a mid-lottery pick on them.

      (watch Sexton turn into Westbrook now)

      Up until this season, they didn’t even do mock drafts, they just ranked the players in order of what they thought of them. So I’m hoping that that means that they are not good at mock drafts. ;)

    49. Brian Cronin

      I’m starting to actually have a little hope that the Cavs will crush the Knicks in both games, in which case a three-way tie for #7 is still in play!

    50. Bruno Almeida

      I’m definitely not expecting a PG specially since management seems to really like Burke. I think his strong play in this stretch will probably mean they’re commiting to at least giving him a chance as a starter next year, and I think it’s the right decision unless everyone is gone and only Young is left.

    51. Frank

      I actually think it’s quite possible we’re deciding between Trae Young and Mikal Bridges. That is a tough choice, and one I can definitely see going either way.

    52. djphan

      i don’t think mikal bridges is a sure thing… there are other prospects in the draft who i would classify as surer things than mikal….

      you always have to be dubious of upper classmen doing things that they previously never did…. dominating like mikal has been is not uncommon for juniors… the defensive numbers give some indication that he is for real and that he just didn’t get the shot opportunities or playing time when he was younger but there’s a good chance he struggles for a period like otto porter did….

      also his rebounding rates are less than ideal for a SF… esp for his size… i don’t think it’s a huge concern but most true SF prospects had much higher rebounding #s…. also his 2p shooting volume is very low…. that along with his age make him less of a prospect which means the risk is higher than if he was a freshman…

    53. Frank

      @55 – all I’m saying that his floor is as a sweet-shooting defensively versatile wing. His peripheral #s are all about the same (per-min-wise) – the only thing he really got better at was shooting volume, and he had the expected dropoff in 2P% when taking more than only the very best shots.

      If his career trajectory matches Otto Porter, I can’t imagine we’ll be anything but thrilled.

    54. Bruno Almeida

      I always have a very hard time evaluating prospects like Mikal Bridges. He played well in stretches as a freshman on a terrific team, which meant he has little space to show himself… then he kept improving little bits on his numbers and taking a larger role, but yet again on another amazing team that didn’t ever need him to dominate either offensively or defensively.

      It’s very hard to evaluate, but I’m more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he is a team player that simply adapted to doing whatever his team needed the most. I like those sorts of players and as much as I would rather the Knicks draft a potential superstar like Doncic, we still really need solid 2 way players.

      I do think the Otto Porter comparison is very adequate and I would be thrilled to have Otto Porter on a rookie contract even if similarly it takes 2 years for him to develop.

    55. Zanzibar

      I’m starting to actually have a little hope that the Cavs will crush the Knicks in both games, in which case a three-way tie for #7 is still in play!

      Yes and that terrifies me! We might end up drafting Porter or Bamba or Young. No way we should take Porter given health issues and only thing to go on is his high school performance (remember Mudiay ..Mr McDonald’s All American). Bamba makes sense for some teams but not us – KP/KOQ/Kornet is just fine. And then there’s Trae. I did a deep dive of Trae video a couple of days ago and I’m not at all confident that shot’s gonna fly in the NBA. I wasn’t looking at Nash or CP3. Not enough there to bail on Frank/Burke and Kemba or Rubio might be available in a year.

      No need to swing for the fences. My target rotation (primary positions):
      1: Burke/Frank
      2: Timmy/Dotson/Baker
      3: Mikal/Troy
      4: KP/Various..Troy…Mikal…Dot..Kornet
      5: KOQ/Kornet/KP

      Two Way Players: Frank/Dot/KP/Mikal/KOQ and maybe even Timmy/Kornet/Troy
      Spacing: Burke/Frank/THJ/Dot/Mikal/KP/Luke all >=35% from 3
      Rim Protection: 48 minutes from KOQ/KP/Kornet
      Cutters: Timmy/Dot/Mikal/Troy
      Decent Passers: No Simmons here but many avg+ guys
      Solid Defense: Burke only weak defender but he at least tries
      Decent Rebounding: Just enough to get by
      Transition Buckets:Burke/Frank/Timmy/Mikal/Troy

    56. The Glass Half Rebuilt

      Mikal Bridges reminds me of Michael Redd in a strange way. My biggest beef with him personally is I feel he’s too short to play power forward and not talented enough to play small forward long term. But at shooting guard? That’s a great player to have.

    57. Stratomatic "It's tough being us"

      I actually think it’s quite possible we’re deciding between Trae Young and Mikal Bridges. That is a tough choice, and one I can definitely see going either way.

      We know management thinks the team needs a real quality SF. Hornacek said that publicly. That favors selecting Bridges if they are legitimately torn.

      We also know they are still somewhat skeptical of Frank as the long term starting PG or they wouldn’t have added a PG like Mudiay when they already had Burke.

      The word has been that they like Burke, but they still think of him as more of a backup.

      If they pass on Young, he becomes a quality PG in a couple of years, and Frank is still more of a combo guard, they are going to be kicking themselves for years.

      On the flip side, if they take Young, there’s a logjam at guard and something is going to have to give. If Frank hasn’t convinced them he’s the long term starting PG they may take Young with the intention of making a move later with either Frank or Burke to try to get a SF.

      I’d prefer we stick with Frank and Burke and go for Bridges or Carter (unless they have an even better idea)

    58. djphan

      yea i would kill for an otto porter… but alot of times prospects will come in and fall flat like otto did… but also just never make progress…. just because he can develop like that doesn’t mean that he will…. just look at michael beasley….

      but i happen to think mikal can be pretty good… i think his rebounding might be bad for a SF and he might be more of a SG because of that but i am optimistic about him… but i don’t consider him a sure thing…

    59. d-mar

      I’m starting to actually have a little hope that the Cavs will crush the Knicks in both games, in which case a three-way tie for #7 is still in play!

      So who do we root for tonight, the Nets or the Bulls?

    60. Zanzibar

      If you want us to secure the 7th seed, then root for the Nets. Nets go by us and Silver drops Chicago from 7th to 9th. I mean The Commish warned the Bulls and they spat in his face; dude’s gotta act.

    61. Cock Jowles, a Real Value Contract at .502 TS% and $26.2M

      I would express extreme cynicism about the Knicks ever even having a player like Otto Porter, but they drafted Trevor Ariza once upon a time, who is basically a proto-Porter. Oh, and Ariza has a ring and looks like a strong candidate for #2 this year, which means he was a Knick and then was most definitely not a Knick.

    62. Bruno Almeida

      Trading Ariza for Francis is definitely up there in the scale of Knicksy moves.

    63. Brian Cronin

      So who do we root for tonight, the Nets or the Bulls?

      Definitely the Bulls. The Nets have the better chance of winning their final game than the Bulls.

    64. Stratomatic "It's tough being us"

      Definitely the Bulls. The Nets have the better chance of winning their final game than the Bulls.

      My only under/over bet for the year (which I disclosed here publicly) was the Nets and Over 27.5.

      With all the injuries, OT losses, and late game huge lead collapses, I had written this bet off as a loss. Now they’ve won 6 out of 11 and need 1 more to go over. Since it’s not a huge bet, I almost want to see the Bulls win, but I’m not going to feel bad if the Nets win and get me the money. If they do lose 2 in a row, the Knicks better not win!

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