Knicks Morning News (2018.10.07)

  • [Hoops Rumors] Knicks Notes: Vonleh, Ntilikina, Preseason, Durant
    (Saturday, October 06, 2018 5:59:26 PM)

    Power forward Noah Vonleh may be angling his way onto the Knicks’ opening-night roster, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. V0nleh posted a double-double in a preseason game against the Pelicans on Friday and coach David Fizdale said Vonleh brings a unique skill set. â??You can the see guyâ??s an animal, a lot like […]

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks sign former Columbia F Jeff Coby
    (Saturday, October 06, 2018 6:07:14 PM)

    Former Columbia forward Jeff Coby is signing with the Knicks on Sunday, reports Marc Berman of the New York Post.

  • [SNY Knicks] Chris Paul defends Carmelo Anthony, calls disrespect ‘unbelievable’
    (Saturday, October 06, 2018 1:40:30 PM)

    Chris Paul defended Carmelo Anthony, calling the “disrespect” his new Rockets teammate receives as “unbelievable.”

  • [NYPost] Fizdale latest Knicks coach to see Lance Thomas’ leadership
    (Saturday, October 06, 2018 11:35:20 PM)

    Lance Thomas was named starting power forward for the Knicks’ preseason opener and has done nothing to lose his grip on the job. A co-captain last season, Thomas’ leadership is exemplary in setting a defensive tone and he has grown on the offensive end. But coach David Fizdale most appreciates the take-charge attitude. “Lance is…

  • [NYPost] David Fizdale has been the real star of the Knicks’ preseason
    (Saturday, October 06, 2018 11:35:47 AM)

    Three cheers for David Fizdale. As in the Knicks’ 3-0 record so far in the preseason. If you don’t think the Knicks’ new charismatic coach is excited about his team’s record, think again. Fizdale does things and acts differently than most NBA coaches. So far, he has done everything right since training camp opened and…

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    40 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2018.10.07)”

    1. Berman:

      The point-guard roles still need to be ironed out as no one from among Trey Burke, Frank Ntilikina and Emmanuel Mudiay has stood out. Mudiay may need to be careful as the Knicks likely will turn Trier’s two-way G-League contract into a 15-man spot at some point.

      He’s the beat writer who most often functions as a FO mouthpiece. If he’s putting it out there that Mudiay could get cut for Trier, then it’s something Perry is at least considering. So that’s good.

    2. Why not see if Houston will take Lee and Dotson for Knight? Good for the draft positioning and free agency..

    3. If I had to cut one I’d cut Vonleh. Kornet is mostly an empty suit, he just kinda fades into the background. Vonleh actively fucks up possessions for the team and after 3000+ NBA minutes it doesn’t seem like he’s gonna learn to play within himself. Still. There are worse and more useless players we could cut first.

      This is an interesting take. If Vonleh were 27 I would wholeheartedly agree. But he’s barely 23 and clearly has NBA tools, i.e. there is a realistic theoretical path where he becomes less of a liability than he has shown to be at ages 19-22. You could counter that the same argument could be applied to Mudiay, but Mudiay is not good at a single thing that is associated with his role, while Vonleh is unquestionably an elite defensive rebounder. He also is an elite physical specimen with a 7’4″ wingspan.

      The 2 questions with Vonleh are: 1) can his elite rebounding be maintained while cutting back on fouls, turnovers and bad shots? and 2) Can he improve defensively? I think the answer to both is yes. The statistical trend, particularly in Portland, was moving in that direction. He played less than 300 minutes his rookie year even including 27 minutes with the Mad Ants (my favorite sports name). He then played very poorly his sophomore year, which was really his rookie year to me. Then he put together 1,700+ minutes of “reasonably mediocre” NBA basketball, including a ~.530 TS% and an elite DRB%. In his 875 minutes last year, he dramatically cut his TOV% compared to prior years, and also cut his usage in Portland but inexplicably upped it in Chicago and started taking 3’s (at a .435 rate!) ultimately lowering his TS% but strangely increasing his OBPM.

      To me, he seems like a perfect no-cost low-risk signing for a young team with a coach who specializes in player development. I hope hge gets every chance to win a backup big rotation spot.

    4. One other observation from Friday’s game. Lance Thomas did not seem like the same player I’ve watched the last few years. He looks much stronger and much more fluid both on his shot and on drives. I dunno, maybe I’m seeing things.

    5. I’m seeing the same things, Z-Man. I don’t believe them, but I’m seeing them. He is MUCH more fluid on the court than I’ve ever seen him before.

    6. Fizdale has said 26-year-old center Enes Kanter is his most improved defender.

      “It’s not fair to say any guy can’t get better,’’ Fizdale said.

      Raise your hand if didn’t think Fiz couldn’t have Kanter become a better defender.

    7. I know what you mean about Lance and fluidity. He is doing non-comedic spin moves off the dribble. He dropped a wrap around hook pass for a layup. He doesn’t quite look natural doing these things, but less unnatural and modestly effective. I doubt it amounts to anything tangible, but it’s interesting/weird to see. These are the kinds of things that almost no one improves at any age let alone a veteran. The only conceivable PED that could possibly confer these sorts of skills left town in a saddle bag with Phil. The best explanation is that Lance fell asleep reading about Gregor Samsa this summer and woke up thinking he was Sean Elliott.

    8. He’s also not doing that goofy thing where he thrusts his arm up in the air and yells shit out while running back on D. I always found that weirdly annoying. The haircut is also a better look.

    9. In the Post article on Thomas it says

      Thomas, 30, admits to having bulked up and gotten stronger. He said to ask Kanter, hinting about his low-block wars with the center in scrimmages. Kanter confirmed.

      “He’s one of the few guys who can hold me on the post in the league,’’ Kanter said. “I don’t know why. I think he’s got that old man strength. That’s what it is. Old man strength. Maybe I got weaker. Going at it a lot in summer time and we switch on 5-on-5, he holds me down.”

      PEDs of whatever, being stronger has got to help him injury wise. Last season injuries hampered him and I hope they don’t do the same this year. And it’s no small feat holding Kanter off down in the block.

    10. No way should Vonleh be cut over some of these other guys. He at least has one elite skill in rebounding.

    11. I’m tempted to hope for the upside for Vonleh and not so much for Kornet but looking at the comparative stats on Basketball Reference I can’t make up my mind. On the surface, Kornet has the better looking stats. We need two things, muscle under the boards and 3 point shooting. Vonleh is the beast and Kornet is the sharp-shooter. If Vonleh ups his defensive game, then he could edge out Kornet. KP, Kanter, M-Rob are the known bigs. We have to figure out if Knox is a 3 or a 4. Then there’s Thomas. After that it’s Kornet, Vonleh and Hicks. With KP hurt two of those 3 make the team. I think those two are Kornet and Vonleh.

      More interesting is Thomas. If Thomas is a changed player, maybe he’s the backup 4? I want to see him get 5 points and 5 rebounds per game before I get excited.

    12. I might be missing something but aren’t we right where we need to be roster wise once the Noah situation is dealt with? Then after 45 days we can guarantee Trier’s contract by cutting Mudiay. Why would we entertain cutting anyone else when Emmanuel Mudiay is on the roster?

    13. I tried counting roster spots and I think you are right, if they waive Noah, they are OK with the current roster. But waiving Noah has a cost associated with it, and it seems like they want more back from Noah than he’s willing to give. Thinking Machiavelli-like, maybe they are telling Noah, we can just waive Baker (or Kornet or whoever) and then you won’t play anywhere this year. I picked Baker because Berman says they are willing to waive him. Even if they want to keep Baker and lose Noah, the finances have to make it work. Also, Noah needs a team that will hire him, and I’m not sure that team is out there.

    14. it’s Kornet, Vonleh and Hicks. With KP hurt two of those 3 make the team. I think those two are Kornet and Vonleh.

      Oh, yes, absolutely. Is Hicks’ contract guaranteed? You know what, I do not care. Cut him. Do it yesterday. It’s doesn’t clear up a roster spot but there’s got to be a better option for that two way.

      @12 I think this is true, we’re one over. If Berman is hinting at Mudiay getting cut are we considering holding Noah’s contract? If he won’t cut us a deal we’ll keep him another year to cut down on future costs? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    15. Lance has been battling injuries the last few seasons. You can argue that means he’s on the decline or you can argue he’s still young enough that now that he’s healthy and at 100% he’s capable of doing more on both sides of the ball. Right now it looks like the latter.

    16. Don’t be so sure that Mudiay is getting cut. I think he’s a pet project.

      I agree with this take. Plus I don’t think it’s for no reason. He has a good handle, penetrates well, and can pass. The problem is can’t hit a shot in the ocean and suffered last year defensively because he was out of shape. Improving both your shot and defense seems like a real longshot, but he’s got talent and skills. He’s just missing a couple of biggies. That makes it very unlikely the project will be a success.

    17. @15. Berman suggested the Knicks might cut Baker, not Mudiay, and eat the cost of his guaranteed contract. That’s why I mentioned Baker as a possible cut. It didn’t mean I want to cut Baker.

    18. Cutting Baker would be a mistake, but it wouldn’t shock me.

      He’s a pest defensively and makes good hustle plays that don’t show up in the boxscore. He’ll never be a big threat on offense, but he does make plays. If he can knock down the 3, he’s an NBA player. I’d rather have him over a couple of other players on the team. If he does get cut, someone will pick him up.

    19. I mean, I’m far from Baker’s biggest fan, but cutting him over Mudiay sounds very stupid.

      Baker brings something to the table at least, Mudiay brings nothing.

    20. Awful lot of shooting guards on this team, which is maybe why you keep Mudiay over Baker. Baker’s probably a better player– almost anybody is better than Mudiay– but how does Baker get minutes on this team? You have Hardaway, Lee, Dotson, Ntilikina and now Trier who should all be getting shooting guard minutes.

      Mudiay is a very bad player, there is no doubt about that. I’d be looking to cut Mudiay and Baker both, and trying to find another passable point guard who doesn’t stick with another team.

    21. I would be very disappointed to see the Hustlebunny go. Especially with Mudiay on the team.

    22. @22

      I’m pretty sure they do, since it’s still the same rookie contract and he retains the bird rights he had in Denver because he was traded. Either way he’s a RFA for next season. I mean, it’s not a big thing, we’re talking about marginal players who won’t make a big difference. I just think Baker, even as a backup ball handler, is more useful for a team than Mudiay.

    23. In other signing news, it’s a bit bizarre how many players we’ve signed this pre season. Literally every day we signed another player. Is this just us doing favors for agents or what?

    24. It’s Perry gaming the system and giving guys $50,000 bonuses to play in Westchester. P&T has a good breakdown of how this works. But it’s another sign that our FO is getting smarter about working every advantage they can.

    25. Baker is more effective than Mudiay, but to such a small extent that it doesn’t really matter. The important questions to ask are: 1) who has more trade value, and 2) who is more likely to be on the 2019-20 roster?

      The answer to #1 is, sadly, Mudiay. If he can show some flashes, he might fetch a late 2nd rounder on name recognition alone.

      The answer to #2 is probably the Hustlebunny. If he does his high energy thing this year, the front office could bring him back as an end of the bench mascot type. (With no player options, please)

    26. Yeah, they’re pretty much all exhibit 10 contracts. The Raptors laid the groundwork for usage of the G-League recently, as most of their key bench players came from the development there. Glad to see Perry is really intent on using the G-League.

    27. Baker is more effective than Mudiay, but to such a small extent that it doesn’t really matter. The important questions to ask are: 1) who has more trade value, and 2) who is more likely to be on the 2019-20 roster?
      The answer to #1 is, sadly, Mudiay. If he can show some flashes, he might fetch a late 2nd rounder on name recognition alone.
      The answer to #2 is probably the Hustlebunny. If he does his high energy thing this year, the front office could bring him back as an end of the bench mascot type. (With no player options, please)

      Ah, these hugely consequential decisions: who sucks less – Baker or Mudiay? Who has a chance to be not that terrible – Kornet or Vonleh?

      (FWIW, I prefer the nickname Scrappy Doo for Baker over Hustlehunny)

    28. It would be smart to keep Vonleh given his age and potential. Most importantly his one apparent NBA skill, rebounding, might look really good next to KP who is sorely lacking in that department. It would be worth a try to see how those 2 play together.

      Mudiay – just say no

    29. I didn’t realize that the clock on Trier’s 45 days doesn’t start until the start off the G-League season on November 3rd so the Knicks don’t have to make any decision until Dec 18th. By that time Fizdale & Co. should have a pretty solid read on who they want to keep out of those guys at the end of the roster- if indeed they want to keep Trier with the big club at all.

      Tho only real downside is that it might be nice to have that additional 2-way slot open when teams make their final cuts as there might be someone more promising than any of our guys floating around.

    30. From a theoretical perspective, it’s a worthwhile argument. Practically, however: Who gives a floundering fuck?

    31. Kanter has looked better defensively this year. He’s so fit right now he’s getting up and down and around the court a lot better. We may have to keep him. :-)

    32. I don’t think Kanter gets all-star consideration because Embiid and Horford should be locks unless one of them gets injured. Then there’s also Drummond to compete with. I think he has a slight chance considering injuries but it’s quite unlikely.

    33. @26 His reputation around the league is kind of like David Lee’s when he was a boxscore darling. It will take some time to change that, but if he’s legitimately getting better defensively he might break through eventually. Lee did. He’s simultaneously such a beast and likable guy, I’m rooting for him.

    34. I listened to the Dunc’d over under forecasts for the Eastern conference. They both thought the Knicks would be under the Vegas line. Why? Because, without KP, who do they have? (this is their opinion). They don’t think of anyone else on the team as an NBA level player who is good enough to make a team better. Part of this is their overall disinterest in the Knicks, but part of this is their overall skepticism of anyone who doesn’t already have good stats at the NBA level. I think in many cases they are correct in this, but not here. Enes Kanter in particular was a second string player at OKC and the overshadowed by KP in NY. But he’s only 26. This is when he should be getting better. But everyone is just assuming more of the same in their predictions for this season. I’m starting to think the Knicks could really surprise some people.

    35. The “who sucks less” arguments are more meaningful this year because almost no one is guaranteed playing time, so a 14th man like Vonleh or Ron could earn serious minutes with a small hot streak. Baker could start like 10 games this year.

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