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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Knicks Morning News (2019.03.20)

  • [NYDN] Frank Ntilikina’s impending return may seal his Knicks fate
    (Tuesday, March 19, 2019 11:14:22 AM)

    Frank Ntilikina could return as early as Wednesday, and these final 11 games – while largely inconsequential for the Knicks – are among the most important of the Frenchman’s young career.

    After missing 23 consecutive games with a groin strain, Ntilikina was cleared to practice Tuesday with the…

  • [Newsday] Frank Ntilikina’s impending return may seal his Knicks fate
    (Tuesday, March 19, 2019 11:14:22 AM)

    Frank Ntilikina could return as early as Wednesday, and these final 11 games – while largely inconsequential for the Knicks – are among the most important of the Frenchman’s young career.

    After missing 23 consecutive games with a groin strain, Ntilikina was cleared to practice Tuesday with the…

  • [NYPost] Final stretch stands between the Knicks and historic futility
    (Tuesday, March 19, 2019 5:22:15 PM)

    The season mercifully will be over soon, but first the Knicks will stage a six-game homestand that will determine whether they go down as the most dreadful team in franchise history. The Knicks (14-57) need to go 4-7 in their final 11 games to avoid the franchise record for futility. Derek Fisher’s 2014-15 club had…

  • [NYPost] Knicks’ brief, telling look at Frank Ntilikina is just about here
    (Tuesday, March 19, 2019 10:50:34 AM)

    Frank Ntilikina is on the verge of a ballyhooed return from his groin injury. The Knicks announced Ntilikina was cleared for practice and would train Tuesday with the G League Westchester Knicks. Their 2017 lottery pick hasn’t been completely ruled out for Wednesday’s game against Utah, when the Knicks kick off a six-game homestand, pending…

  • [SNY Knicks] Frank Ntilikina returns to practice with Knicks future on the line
    (Tuesday, March 19, 2019 3:19:50 PM)

    Knicks PG Frank Ntilikina has finally been cleared to practice, and it couldn’t have came at a better time.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson fires back at Kyle Lowry’s ‘dirty’ play claim
    (Tuesday, March 19, 2019 9:32:16 AM)

    While making a play on the ball in the third quarter Monday night after the Raptors’ Kyle Lowry secured the rebound, Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson wound up falling on Lowry’s ankle. Lowry left the game and didn’t return, and wasn’t happy about it after.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks fans’ guide to March Madness
    (Tuesday, March 19, 2019 9:00:00 AM)

    The NCAA tournament bracket is set and March Madness officially begins Tuesday night. For Knicks fans, this means a chance to watch some of their potential future contributors compete on the biggest stage of college basketball.

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    70 comments on “Knicks Morning News (2019.03.20)

    1. Hubert

      If someone more capable of doing these things than me could set it up, a Knickerblogger bracket challenge would be fun. I believe they have sites that make it easy for us to do it on our own wherever we are.

    2. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

      I have to say that the news reports that Ntilikina’s fate hinges on the next eleven games are both ridiculous and probably true. No player’s fate should be decided by his first few games back from a two month injury. He’s not going to be in game shape, which will hamper his defence and he’s unlikely to be sharp at scoring either. But since the coach and front office have almost given up on him already, it probably is his last chance. But he can’t really fix stuff until he has a chance to work on things during the off season, so he’s certainly gone before next season. It’s a shame, but why ruin the Knicks streak of never keeping draftees?

    3. Hubert

      If we’re landing max free agents this summer I have no problem dumping his salary. I can’t see him contributing at all on a team with finals aspirations.

      If we miss out on free agents, it would be silly to dump him now. I’ve talked about the age curve with him and Knox constantly. Look no further than across the river at D’Angelo Russell to see that what a player shows you at age 19 and 20 is not even remotely conclusive.

    4. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      I suspect several members of the NY media (Berman for sure) have come to realize that Frank is very polarizing among fans (especially on Twitter). So they write articles about Frank being traded and are making a big deal about his return to stir the pot and get clicks. Berman has basically become a troll.

      I’m going to take Fizdale at his word. IMO, he has stifled Frank’s development at times by putting him in the doghouse for no good reason (see how he handled Knox vs. Frank). However, based on recent comments he seems to understand that Frank’s defense, ability to switch, and secondary play making would come in handy on a team with a couple of star scorers. Frank is 20 years old. That gives him a long time to develop a 3 point shot and some other complimentary skills on offense. IMO, all he really needs to do is show progress next year.

      Of course, if you can land Anthony Davis in a trade, you help him pack his bags if that’s what it takes. But I don’t think Frank’s market value in terms of a pick is high enough to make that kind of trade. His potential is probably greater than the trash pick we’d get for him.

      As to his return, I’d expect him to need a few games to get his legs back under him. Maybe he’ll have one good game off the layoff running on adrenaline and then crash after that until he gets back in shape.

    5. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      By the way, everyone that said D’Angelo Russell was a bust and gave up on him at 21, you were probably wrong. He scored 44 points (27 in the 4th quarter) as part of a historic 4th quarter comeback for the Nets as they keep battling for position in the playoffs.

      The Lakers have got to be kicking themselves a little. They were creating a nice core of young players (albeit very slowly and painfully as is almost always the case) and they blew it up to make space for an aging Lebron and a “? player” that still hasn’t shown up. It’s not so much that they blew it up, but arguably they gave up on some of the better young players. Randle is also playing well and Zubac has potential.

    6. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      First impression: This is the worst draft class I have ever seen.

      In terms of peak talent, or the numerous scrubs slated to go in the top 10?

      Numerous scrubs.

      I am looking to get star players at this stage. You typically need 3. We have 0. If you are outside the top 2 (2 may be stretching it), there are no sure fire players in the lottery.

      If we drafted Cam Reddish in the 2nd round I’m not so sure I’d be happy. How is this guy a top 5 pick? Maybe he’s an elite defender or his role is being limited because he’s on a team with better scorers (I don’t watch many games), but no way would I be enthusiastic about that.

    7. Farfa

      By the way, everyone that said D’Angelo Russell was a bust and gave up on him at 21, you were probably wrong. He scored 44 points (27 in the 4th quarter) as part of a historic 4th quarter comeback for the Nets as they keep battling for position in the playoffs.

      I agree that he’s not a bust, but it’s not like a few nights like that transform him into a star. He’s probably an average starter at this point, which is much more than what transpired in his first two seasons, but not a world-beater.

    8. Hubert

      The extreme dichotomy of successes and failures in Magic Johnson’s life is fun to consider.

      On the one hand, I think he deserves to be on the Mt Rushmore of NBA players. He’s also been an outstanding investor.

      On the other hand, so many things! Bad coach, bad executive, terrible NBA announcer, and lest you forgot the summer of 1998, the host of a late night talk show that might have been the worst thing ever put on TV:

      https://variety.com/1998/film/reviews/the-magic-hour-2-1117477612/

      I can’t believe LeBron trusted this guy with he end of his career.

    9. Early Bird

      LeBron doesn’t care who runs the Lakers. Almost everything he’s ever done has worked out for him. He likely thought the Lakers would work simply by him showing up.

    10. The Glass Half Rebuilt

      When the Lakers strike out in free agency Magic Johnson is going to try to give D’Angelo Russell a max contract.

    11. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      I agree that he’s not a bust, but it’s not like a few nights like that transform him into a star. He’s probably an average starter at this point, which is much more than what transpired in his first two seasons, but not a world-beater.

      He’s still only 22. I see no reason he can’t keep getting better for another 3-4 years and become a very good player eventually given his progress. To be honest, I loved him in the draft but had also begun to assume I was wrong. It seems it took him longer to mature emotionally as part of it. If the Nets can use their cap space effectively they can be pretty good next year.

    12. DS

      @5 – Yeah, the fact that he is one of the greatest PG’s ever and being worth $500 million carries a little more weight than having traded D’Angelo Russell for Brooke Lopez and a first rounder.

    13. DS

      I thought ppl who post here would be more unanimously unimpressed with D’Angelo Russell. Usually scoring 20 ppg and being selected as an Eastern Conf. All-Star does not impress around KB.

    14. Bruno Almeida

      Russell is improving from such a low level that it’s easy to forget he’s still quite inefficient and inconsistent. He’s at the Devin Booker level of young player who has some promise but has a lot to get better at to become a real superstar.

      His passing has been much better this season, but my opinion is still that you can’t be a superstar scorer in this league averaging 2.5 FTA per game, unless you’re a transcendental shooter, which he’s not. He’s still a mediocre defender who can’t get to the rim and shoots way too many longs 2s (even though he’s been good at converting them this season).

      The big scoring games and the ex-Laker factor will always attract the media and the fan base to call the guy a star when he’s really not there yet. I agree he’s not a bust anymore, and there’s a path of progression where he could eventually be a star, but still not a guy I’d be comfortable signing for a large amount of money.

    15. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      I thought ppl who post here would be more unanimously unimpressed with D’Angelo Russell. Usually scoring 20 ppg and being selected as an Eastern Conf. All-Star does not impress around KB.

      He’s been a much better player than he has in the past. Still not a star until his shooting efficiency gets up, and I wouldn’t want to be the Nets right now (pointzzz gonna get him paid), but I wouldn’t be surprised to see his TS% and AST% continue to climb into his mid-twenties. How far is the question.

    16. d-mar

      Yeah, let’s slow our roll a little on D’Angelo. His TS% currently stands at .531, which is an improvement from prior seasons, but he’s still an average PG who puts up a spectacular game now and then.

      But he probably will get the big $$$ this off season.

    17. DS

      Oh God, is he a RFA? We’re definitely getting him :) If Fiz thinks he can get Mudiay “right,” he probably sees himself mentoring D-Lo to a HOF career.

    18. Hubert

      I thought ppl who post here would be more unanimously unimpressed with D’Angelo Russell. Usually scoring 20 ppg and being selected as an Eastern Conf. All-Star does not impress around KB.

      I’m not particularly impressed with him. I mentioned him bc I think he’s a great example of ages 19 & 20 being poor indicators of an NBA player’s future. I expect him to be terrible value on his next contract.

    19. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Of all guards that have played >1000 in a single season for the Knicks this century, Russell’s OBPM would rank 3rd behind Marbury’s prime and right with Nate Robinson in 2008-09.

      Not an endorsement of signing Russell, but I think he would be the best PG the Knicks have had in a very long time, especially at the end of that contract when he’s 25 or 26. Not willing to pay $100M over four for him though, and that’s what I think he’ll get.

      Will be interesting to see if he signs a sub-max offer sheet or goes to UFA the following year.

      The teams with >$27,250,000 (Russell’s projected max) in practical cap space in 2019-20 are:

      NYK
      LAC
      BRK
      DAL
      ATL
      IND
      LAL
      PHI
      SAC
      PHO ($26.6M but they are desperate for a PG so I could see them trying)

      Knicks need a PG, so they’re on the table if the rest of the FAs sign elsewhere. LAC has Shai. BRK will obviously try to keep him. Dallas has Luka. Atlanta has Trae. Indy has Oladipo and has 7 expiring contracts to backfill this offseason, including several of their core players. LAL needs a PG. PHI has Simmons. SAC has Fox. Phoenix is the dark horse if they don’t draft Morant.

    20. bidiong

      I think we should send Frank to the G League for a rehab assignment. Or is the G-League season over now?

    21. Hubert

      PHO ($26.6M but they are desperate for a PG so I could see them trying)

      Two things on this:

      I think there is a nonzero chance that we could pry Zion from Phoenix if they won the lottery and we were in Ja position. A package of Ja (after he’s selected), our unprotected #1 in 2020, and Dallas’ unprotected #1 in 2021 could be enticing. It’s a high price on paper, but it would be a steal anyway.

      In an alternate scenario, if we acquired Kyrie, I think this a great team to get value for Dennis Smith from.

    22. Owen

      I don’t have a good gauge of how dumb NBA front offices are right now. Is there a team that would actually trade Zion Williamson? You would have to be incredibly stupid to do it.

      Russell seems like the classic player who will get a max somewhere when he should get 60% of the max. He’s definitely improved and I read what PTMilo wrote about context the other day and it makes sense, but I think Russell will turn out to be a very mediocre allocation of resources for anyone who signs him.

    23. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      The Suns are 27th in the league in attendance (as a percentage of capacity). There is a zero-percent chance they trade the #1. I don’t think they’d trade it for four future first rounders. They have all but a guaranteed preseason sellout with Zion as their starting PF in 2019.

    24. Hubert

      I don’t have a good gauge of how dumb NBA front offices are right now. Is there a team that would actually trade Zion Williamson? You would have to be incredibly stupid to do it.

      There shouldn’t be. But I would have thought the same thing about Luka Doncic, so I think the chances are above zero. Going back further, no one would have thought Chris Webber was attainable, either. We can offer three consecutive unprotected picks. That’s no small thing if you’re a team like Phoenix and they fall in love with Morant.

    25. Hubert

      The Suns are 27th in the league in attendance (as a percentage of capacity). There is a zero-percent chance they trade the #1. I don’t think they’d trade it for four future first rounders. They have all but a guaranteed preseason sellout with Zion as their starting PF in 2019.

      I get what you’re saying. I think you may be projecting common sense on the Phoenix market, though. There’s tremendous apathy there. I’m not sure Zion guarantees them a single sell out next year at all.

    26. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Maybe that’s true, but their home attendance did hit 100% during their peak years with Amar’e and Nash. And maybe it’s not that big of a deal. The Suns are under capacity by 3,221 tickets per game, or $7.2M in gate revenue (3221 * 41 games * $55 average ticket price from 2018 numbers). Plus concessions, etc.

      Still, I think you could hike ticket prices and get much closer to a sellout crowd every night with Zion. Morant will move tickets if and only if the Suns turn into a contender right away.

      I generally believe that winning is the only path to sustained gate revenue, but Zion is an outlier in oh so many ways.

    27. Bruno Almeida

      Phoenix is in a weird spot becUse Sarver isnt selling the team anytime soon and there’s the whole story of him trying to get a new arena while the team has sucked so bad over the last few years. I think it’s a lot more likely that they’ll just pick Zion and then throw offers for guys like Rozier, Rubio etc, if none of the better PGs sign with them.

    28. JK47

      D’Angelo Russell was kind of a combo-guard kind of dude when he came into the league, but he’s playing a lot more like a pure PG this season. AST% is up over 40% without a spike in turnovers. Russell seemed like a talented but very immature kid when he came into the league, so from an “intangibles” perspective it’s not super surprising to see that he was able to put it together a little bit when he got a bit older. He’s always had some talent.

      So he has been exponentially better this season, but when you start off at “sucks elephant balls” it’s a long, long way to go to “excellent player.” He’s a decent player this year, a legit starter as a PG, but even with a major explosion in productivity he’s still not really a star player. He’s probably a pretty bad investment at $25M per.

    29. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      The Nets have a tough decision to make regarding Russell. He’s not worth anywhere near the max now, but he’s clearly improving and is only 22. There’s almost certainly more to come. If he was a plus defender, it would be a no brainer. But given his defense is generally perceived as a liability to neutral, it makes the decision a lot tougher. Still, not so many months ago he was being considered a bust. Now worst case is that he’s a good offensive player with upside. It goes to show you what some patience and a good developmental team can do.

    30. Hubert

      Maybe that’s true, but their home attendance did hit 100% during their peak years with Amar’e and Nash.

      It took a long period of sustained success for them to get their attendance up to 100%, and it dropped very quickly. The SSOL team was 2004-05, and they were not selling out until 5 years later.

      2004 – 86%
      2005 – 93%
      2006 – 93%
      2007 – 97%
      2008 – 97%
      2009 – 100%
      2010 – 95%

      And it’s been dreadful since. I don’t think it’s a town that cares enough until the team is really good.

      http://www.espn.com/nba/attendance/_/year/2005

      Again, I agree that no one should trade Zion. No one should have traded Doncic, either. If you’re looking for a team that could do something stupid, Phoenix is the one.

    31. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      In an alternate scenario, if we acquired Kyrie, I think this a great team to get value for Dennis Smith from.

      As you can probably tell, I am not a DSJ fan at this stage. I would sign off on that one.

    32. JK47

      What we have learned in this thread is that you can’t write off guards who are very young, because they might improve.

      Unless they are Dennis Smith Jr, in which case, go ahead and write him off!

    33. Owen

      Doncic was an obvious star but also basically unknown in the US. Trading him was dumb but I don’t think the public blowback was ever really a threat.

      Zion on the other hand is Ruthian, Shaqian, a Paul Bunyan kind of character who comes along every once in a while. Lots and lots of people already care about him in a way that they may never care about Luka.

      No one is trading Zion Williamson.

    34. thenamestsam

      Russell is really interesting to me because I’m really not sure I have a good comp for him at all. A ball dominant guard who’s very scoring focused but can’t get to the rim at all is something I’m not sure even could have existed until the (ongoing) 3-point explosion over the last few years. Anybody have any thoughts on appropriate comparisons?

    35. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      What we have learned in this thread is that you can’t write off guards who are very young, because they might improve.

      Unless they are Dennis Smith Jr, in which case, go ahead and write him off!

      My problem with DSJ is not talent. He’s loaded with talent. He will probably improve over time and become a good or very good player. I just think he’s a low basketball IQ player on both sides of the ball. I expect he’ll torture me relentlessly for years. He’ll make amazing plays on both sides, but what happens in between the highlights will cause a 30 point increase in my systolic blood pressure. He still has value. I’d rather find someone else to run the team if we insist on a traditional PG. It’s a personal preference thing. I like high IQ players over athletes. If you can get both….

    36. Hubert

      No one is trading Zion Williamson.

      If I’m wrong about Phoenix, that means the only team that has a nonzero chance of trading Zion Williamson is – gulp – us (for AD).

    37. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      NOP is the troublesome one. And I think they’ll get Zion AND assets if they ask the right franchise.

    38. DS

      @34 – Don’t forget that AD will be on the block. I think more teams in the lotto would keep Zion than would trade him for AD, but not all.

    39. Hubert

      I was actually going to say “I wouldn’t call it dumb because AD is great, but…”

      And then I realized that yeah, I do think it would be dumb.

    40. Bruno Almeida

      If it’s Zion for AD straight up I won’t complain, or with a lower value asset attached to it. I have the highest of hopes for Zion, but Anthony Davis is already mostly what we’d be expecting Zion to become. However that’s contingent on the FO having a plan to pair AD with at least one more superstar, because just becoming New Orleans east doesn’t seem to be a very good idea. If no other FAs are coming I’d rather just keep Zion.

    41. domiknick

      Phoenix is the dark horse if they don’t draft Morant.

      D-Lo and Booker are bff’s too so I could see the Suns doing this to both placate their current 100million dollar man and fill a position of need.

    42. DS

      As often as NBA Draft “busts” happen, consensus number one picks like Zion seem to have consistently panned out in the past 25-30 years. Only Glenn Robinson (not even that bad) and some injury-plagued players are exceptions.

    43. Owen

      Dolan’s Razor means that we would be the team to trade Zion.

      I think it would be dumb to trade him for AD. But I won’t go crazy about it when it happens unless they include Mitch.

      (edit: Hubert got there first)

    44. ptmilo

      Anybody have any thoughts on appropriate comparisons?

      really nobody. good question. sometimes he sort of reminds me of a taller chris jackson, but that's really not a great comparison for many reasons. i'm curious to see what marks does. i agree that someone probably offers him $100 milllon or so, and i'm not sure what the nets do. they're no longer in a position of unlimited cap room and no picks, so the halcyon days of chucking money at tyler johnson and crabbe are over. i'd let him go for that amount. but if it was 4/80 I'd match; he's young and pointsy so you might well be able to trade him for something even if he flatlines here.

    45. DS

      I mean, I’d trade (1) worrying about whether playing Lance Thomas too many minutes is taking away from Kevin Knox’s development for (2) worrying about whether we gave up too much for AD, our third superstar.

    46. Sir Robin

      I would not include Zion in any trade for AD. AD has played 6 full seasons and averages 68 games played per. He will cost a bloody fortune in assets to obtain and in salary. Zion is 6 years, 9 months younger on a cost-controlled deal.

      He will also be a force of nature, impossible to stop.

      In short, sign KD and keep Mitch & Zion

    47. swiftandabundant

      I think it would be dumb bc I think Zion is can’t miss. Not just because of his talent, but because he is the consensus number one pick this year by a mile and has a really cool name and the NBA is a superstar league and the league LOVES for their to be a new star in each draft class so I imagine Zion will be good because he’s talented but also the league will want him to succeed, so he’s gonna get a friendly whistle from day one.

    48. nicos

      If the Knicks don’t get 2 quality free agents I’d rather give Mudiay 2/10m than max Russell. Actually I’d rather do neither but if I had to choose… Russell at best pushes this team to exactly the kind of mediocrity that keeps you stuck in purgatory. Mudiay actually has a higher TS% though Russell’s playmaking numbers are far superior. They’re both crappier versions of Marbury- fairly inefficient scoring points who don’t play much defense. We’ve got a third in DSJ already and I’d rather see if he can turn into a not crappy version of Marbury which still isn’t ideal but could be an asset to use in a trade down the road.

    49. Hubert

      Ever since Mitch’s class pass with Kerry Kittles expired and he went back to being a fouling machine, I’ve begun to wonder if it’s realistic to expect him to be able to hold down a starting position on a contending team.

      I kid about Kittles, of course, but I do think bringing Jordan back is important. Mitch may be best suited to the 1999 Marcus Camby super sub role for another year or two.

    50. Farfa

      I might be wrong, but I think the last stretch of Mitch Rob foul trouble stems from frustration. I mean, a couple dumb fouls will probably always be a flaw of his, but it looks like he’s trying too much because he wants to get noticed somehow, and since nobody passes him the ball anymore near the hoop he develops this tendency to overdo things on defense.

    51. Bruno Almeida

      The kid is 20 and has played 1000 minutes in the NBA after a year with zero games coming from high school, then suddenly he’s guarding the best athletes in the world. What did you expect?

      Of course he’s going to foul a lot, he’s still incredibly raw and barely in control of his own explosiveness. With all the talk about his block numbers of course he’s going extra hard to block shots, but I really think it’s nothing to worry about.

    52. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      I still consider Robinson a project. He has enormous two-way upside, but I think it’s going to be awhile before he’s ready to be a major piece on a playoff team even though he’s flashing high productivity now.

      I’m slowly cooling on the idea of signing Durant. I don’t think the window is long enough given where the team is now (historically bad). In my ideal world we’d wind up with Zion and use the cap space to add a few players that are young enough to be around for 7-8 years. Preferably they’d be star caliber players, but if not, so be it. As long as the prices are fair. I’d also be OK with bringing back Jordan to keep working with Robinson and be a leader in the locker room to help the kids as long as it’s not for too long.

      I guess I’d more or less reset us back to when Mills took over, but this time not screw up the much greater cap space and have the benefit of the young players we’ve added since then minus the significant loss of KP. We really kind of screwed the pooch over the last 2 years, but we aren’t in a bad spot long term.

      Zion + Robinson is a long way away from being a contender, but it’s probably 2/3rds and some development years away.

      J Morant or RJ Barrett + Robinson is not as exciting, but there’s at least long term hope.

      Plus you never know how things are going to shake out with Knox, Frank, Trier, DSJ etc.. Someone may make a leap.

    53. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      but also the league will want him to succeed, so he’s gonna get a friendly whistle from day one.

      Meh, Adam Silver is not having a meeting with the league’s refs telling them to swallow their whistle on any individual player. Not as hot a take as the idiots on Twitter saying that Silver is conspiring with Ernst and Young to frozen-envelope Zion to a big-market team this year, but yeah, no.

      Zion + Robinson is a long way away from being a contender, but it’s probably 2/3rds and some development years away.

      Zion and Robinson, given Zion being a league-average starter on day 1 and Mitch simply replicating his performance over 2x the minutes next year? Not far off from being the core of a playoff team. I think it feels this way because of just how awful the Knicks’ guard and wing performances have been over the last couple seasons.

      I know (I KNOW) you hate stats, so let’s not talk about that, but here’s the team’s backcourt and wing BPM:

      Knox -6.2
      Ntilikina -5.3
      Ellenson -5.2
      Thomas -4.9
      Hezonja -4.6
      Trier -4.0
      Burke -4.0
      Mudiay -2.2
      DSJ -2.1
      Kadeem -1.9
      THJ -1.9
      Dotson -1.6
      Lee -1.1

      It’s pretty clear that if you have players as bad as those guards and wings in the frontcourt, this team wins no more than 10 games, possibly a contender for worst team of all-time. Mitch alone is given 4.5 Win Shares and 5.4 VORP wins. Imagine just how bad the team would be without his exceptional minutes.

    54. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Nope. I thought the EY lottery rig guys were joking too, and then one of them actually said that 9/11 was an inside job and that I was a fool to think the planes brought the towers down, soooooooo………….

    55. swiftandabundant

      And Jowles, I don’t even think its necessarily Silver or Stern before him mandating that so and so gets a friendly whistle. I think there is subconscious bias going on with refs in regards to certain players they perceive as stars and Zion will be perceived as one from day one because of his number one pick status, insane skills/talent and super cool name.

    56. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      I know (I KNOW) you hate stats, so let’s not talk about that, but here’s the team’s backcourt and wing BPM:

      I wish you would stop saying blatantly false things like this.

      I don’t hate stats. I hate the stats you tend to use because they don’t include all the relevant contributions a player can make, overate certain combinations, and can’t cope with some of the coaching, role, and other aspects of a “team” game that can impact an individual’s stats.

      I use stats also, but I try to subjectively analyze and adjust them for the errors I am aware of.

      I’d rather try to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

      “Zion and Robinson, given Zion being a league-average starter on day 1 and Mitch simply replicating his performance over 2x the minutes next year? Not far off from being the core of a playoff team. I think it feels this way because of just how awful the Knicks’ guard and wing performances have been over the last couple seasons.”

      Again. what I meant by that is you need 3 stars to build a contender (or 2 superstars) . Getting the 3 stars is the really TOUGH part of a rebuild. Once you get your big 3, filling out the role players and bench is a much easier task as long as you have reasonably competent management.

      Zion + Robinson could be 2/3rds of the tough part a few developmental years from now. That leaves finding the 3rd star and filling out the role players That’s not such a bad spot to be in, especially when we already have a few players that could be productive role players in the same window a few years from now.

      We are a lot of years away from being really good no matter what we do if we continue down the path of rebuilding via draft, but getting and developing “stars” is the priority from where we are now.

    57. Hubert

      The kid is 20 and has played 1000 minutes in the NBA after a year with zero games coming from high school, then suddenly he’s guarding the best athletes in the world. What did you expect?

      Of course he’s going to foul a lot, he’s still incredibly raw and barely in control of his own explosiveness. With all the talk about his block numbers of course he’s going extra hard to block shots, but I really think it’s nothing to worry about.

      I’m not knocking him in the slightest. I didn’t even expect him to contribute this year. I’m just wondering if it’s more necessary to bring Jordan back than we think.

    58. bidiong

      If you draft Zion you immediately sign Durant and Kyrie. It will be the best Knick team in 30 years and a contender. To say you’re worried about Durant falling apart after 2 years, which is highly unlikely, doesn’t matter. The contracts would line up perfect. Zion for 4 years, Durant and Kyrie for 4 years. You can jettison Durant and Kyrie if you like after the four years and sign other max guys or whatever. There’s no reason to not sign Durant and Kyrie if you draft Zion, unless they both have catastrophic injuries this season.

      What better outcome could we have that wouldn’t still destroy our cap space?

    59. Brian Cronin

      I’m even receptive to the idea that Zion’s development might not even be optimized with having to play behind two stars and I’d still do it in a heartbeat.

    60. JK47

      In my ideal world we’d wind up with Zion and use the cap space to add a few players that are young enough to be around for 7-8 years. Preferably they’d be star caliber players, but if not, so be it. As long as the prices are fair.

      This is not a very good idea. This sounds a lot like “In my ideal world I’d lock the Knicks into Pelicans-style mediocrity until Zion gets sick of it and demands to leave.”

      If the Knicks win the lottery, all of a sudden they’re a hugely desirable situation, and you go immediately into win-now mode, you sign Kyrie and Durant and don’t think twice about it. It kind of blows my mind that somebody can think it’s a better idea to sign a bunch of non-star players to “fair” contracts, as if that is the best way to add wins.

      I mean, I… Guhh. Sometimes I don’t know, man.

    61. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      If you draft Zion you immediately sign Durant and Kyrie. It will be the best Knick team in 30 years and a contender.

      Durant and Kyrie would easily be the best Knicks team in a long time, but I don’t think it’s a contender even if we are fortunate enough to land Zion in the draft. There are some very deep and very good teams out there now. We’d still need a few more pieces and the youngsters would need some deep playoff experience. I’m not sure how long that window is because no one can say with certainty how long Durant will stay at an elite level, but I’m 1 guy that thinks the slide has already started. People just haven’t noticed it yet because when you used to be the greatest scorer ever and are now just super great, there’s not much to complain about. lol

    62. bidiong

      We still have draft assets that we can package with other players to upgrade positions we need upgraded.

      There’s no world you don’t sign them if you get Zion. You have to do it.

    63. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      @63

      I specifically said I’d WAY prefer to sign YOUNG stars and get good right away. I am having reservations about Durant specifically right now because imo we’d still not be good enough (even with Zion). I’m less sure about Durant’s window right now than I was a few months ago when I said signing him was a no brainer and other people were arguing about his age. I think the beginnings of his very slow decline have begun. We might only have 2-3 year window with the first year being a give away other than getting playoff experience for the kids and then filling out the rest of the team going into year 2.

      I’m not sure how much I like that scenario.

      If the cap space is managed well with short term contracts and mostly young players, the timeline is longer but so is the window. Now if you could arrange Kyrie and Davis without giving up the ship, I’m all in.

    64. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      @65

      It comes down to what I think of Durant. I’m a huge Durant fan. I think he’s the greatest scorer of all time and still a great player. I also think he’s starting to slip, but no one has noticed it yet. It would not shock me if he didn’t have the energy or desire to play hard on both ends next year and then got worse in year two.

      That’s a big turnaround for me because just a couple of months ago I was screaming we had to sign him.

    65. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

      I think the league has started to adjust to what Robinson can do, so he’s not getting as many opportunities for blocks as he used to. But he is still trying to get them, and maybe taking more fouling risk to do so; thus his recent uptick in fouls.

    66. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      @68

      It also recently dawned on me that the more aggressive Robinson gets trying to block shots the more often he’s out of position to get a defensive rebound. His DREB% would probably rise (and foul trouble decline) if he was more selective about when he tried to block shots or if we did a better job on the perimeter so he didn’t have to help as often.

    67. Stratomatic "I'm tired of the Knicks paying lip service to DEFENSE. Get defenders & two-way players. Then play them!

      It would not shock me if he didn’t have the energy or desire to play hard on both ends next year and then got worse in year two.

      The young Lakers played terrific basketball in the second half of the year last season. They lost a couple of productive young players, but they added Lebron. They should have been better than they have been. One reason they haven’t been as good is that Lebron doesn’t play defense anymore. The last couple of years he started to take possessions off. Now he takes games off.

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