Knicks Morning News (2019.03.23)

  • [SNY Knicks] Potential Knicks draft picks Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett dazzle in tourney debut
    (Saturday, March 23, 2019 12:37:26 AM)

    The No. 1-seeded Duke Blue Devils have high expectations this March Madness, and their freshman phenoms in Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett made a statement in their 85-62 first round win over North Dakota State on Friday night.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks Takeaways from Friday’s 111-93 loss to Nuggets
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 10:32:04 PM)

    The Nuggets continued their win streak, while the Knicks suffered their third straight loss, 111-93, on Friday night at The Garden.

  • [SNY Knicks] Video surfaces of Kevin Durant saying he will ‘never’ play for Knicks
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 8:51:46 PM)

    Knicks fans are hoping for a very productive offseason, and landing Kevin Durant is one of their top priorities. But does Durant even want to play in New York?

  • [SNY Knicks] Frank Ntilikina returns for as Knicks host Nuggets at 7:30 p.m.
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 6:40:01 PM)

    Frank Ntilikina is finally returning for the Knicks tonight, per ESPN’s Ian Begley.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks fans shouldn’t sweat landing No. 1 pick after Ja Morant’s tourney debut
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 5:24:36 PM)

    Knicks fans have had the No. 1 overall pick on their minds from the beginning of the season. But would it be the end of the world if they don’t land it? Players like Ja Morant shouldn’t make that the case.

  • [SNY Knicks] Father of Knicks’ target Ja Morant has message for NBA teams considering Zion Williamson
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 11:59:41 AM)

    Ja Morant’s father believes his son’s triple-double performance on Thursday should let everyone know who the real best player in the country is.

  • [SNY Knicks] Dennis Smith Jr. likes the way Zion Williamson, top free agents look in Knicks uniform
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 9:54:08 AM)

    The Knicks point guard makes his pitch to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to join the Knicks.

  • [NYTimes] The Making of Ja Morant
    (Saturday, March 23, 2019 9:00:06 AM)

    A role player as a freshman, the Murray State star stepped out of the shadows and straight into the N.B.A. draft lottery.

  • [NYTimes] A Kushner Is an N.B.A. Owner
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 7:19:46 PM)

    Joshua Kushner, whose older brother is the son-in-law of President Trump, bought a minority stake in the Memphis Grizzlies earlier this season. Top N.B.A. players have spoken out against Trump.

  • [NYTimes] 5 Places: Five Places to Visit in Minneapolis
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 9:00:15 AM)

    The NCAA Final Four basketball tournament is in town, and the local chef Brenda Langton serves up five new spots in the Downtown East neighborhood just four blocks away.

  • [NYPost] Frank Ntilikina returns, but Knicks thrashed by Nuggets
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 6:26:55 PM)

    Frank Ntilikina warned his return would not be perfect. And he was right — from a scoring standpoint. Ntilikina contributed energetic defense and some playmaking, but it was hardly enough for the listless Knicks to avoid a 111-93 blowout loss to the Nuggets on Friday night at the Garden. Still rusty with his shot after…

  • [NYPost] Easing Knicks fans’ fears and confusion about hiking ticket prices
    (Friday, March 22, 2019 1:14:47 PM)

    Even if the Knicks win May’s lottery for the chance to select Duke superstar Zion Williamson, or if they sign Kevin Durant, The Post has learned owner James Dolan is sticking to his policy of not raising season-ticket prices next season. This will be the sixth straight year Dolan won’t raise season-ticket prices, as his…

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    Mike Kurylo is the founder and editor of KnickerBlogger.net. His book on the 2012 Knicks, "We’ll Always Have Linsanity," is on sale now. Follow him on twitter (@KnickerBlogger).

    56 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2019.03.23)”

    1. Is Ntilikina’s shot broken? He finds ways to tantalize, but it feels like he is 0 for his career from the field sometimes.
      I do wanna point out one disturbing trend for him though. It seems like the more aggressive he is on offense or the more he tries to force offensive flow for himself, the more his defense suffers. He was still fairly active last night, just not effective. If he ends up being a more versatile Shane Battier type, I’m ok with that. But I think the talk about his offense is getting in his head. I just don’t wanna see him force offense at the expense of his versatility on defense.

      When is DSJ coming back? I need to see him and Ntilikina together as much as possible for the rest of the season

    2. For per game season average, Harden is sitting at #7 all time with this season, 0.61 below Jordan’s best year at #5 (87). All the others above him are Wilt. Harden is having an historically potent year. Durant’s best is down at #26 in 2014. You can’t seriously think that 2020 Durant will be better than 2014 Durant.

      I can and I do. I think Durant has a next level that he’s never gone to bc he’s always played within a team system. Further, I think he is absolutely a better offensive player than Harden (or anyone) and he intends to prove it next year.

    3. Mitchell Robinson, the only player to ever
      go 1000 minutes with over 4.5 blocks and 1 steal per 36. Twenty years old, on the first year of a four year near minimum deal, and already the most deadly lob finisher in the game. It’s like that German guy said, what doesn’t kill you makes you feeble and depressed unless you live long enough to stand in the corner of Mitchell fucking Robinson.

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

      Last night Frank switched effectively and held his ground on both Milsap and Plumlee. That’s 2 very big and strong dudes.

      How many guards in the league can do that?

      IMO, we would be borderline insane to trade him now while his stock is down. At 20 Draymond Green wasn’t even in the league. Then when he finally made it at 22 he totally sucked on offense. This kid has a chance to become a guard version of Green. He won’t rebound as well from the guard position, but he has the vision and passing skills to be a key playmaker and lock down defender like Green.

      How hard is it to wait a couple of years to see if he can straighten out his shot enough to be more effective on the other side?

      I don’t care if we call him a PG, SG, combo G, wing, or whatever. Just straighten out his shot and get him on the court.

    5. Because of my job I am unable to make a recap for the Denver game but:

      – I think not starting Mitch for the last 10 games is borderline crazy, let’s see what happens
      – Frank is a horribly wretched offensive player, but when he and Kadeem were on the floor the ball moved soooo much better
      – Is Knox’s shot for real? If so, is his role in the League that of a 15mpg release valve?

    6. Strat is going down with the ship and I kind of love it.

      It’s impossible to deny Frank is a perfect zero as a scoring threat. But the kid changes the game somehow when he is out there. No one is excited to find out he is d’ing them up, I know that. I remain a reluctant believer. I think Strat is right. In a couple of years, with patience, he might end up being something really interesting. Most likely for the Spurs.

      Mitch not playing 30 minutes per or fouling out of every game is a big missed opportunity. But he’ll survive. One thing I notice lately, he’s pretty chippy – lot of rough play around him. You can see people are aware of him in a new way.

      Also, Tacko was a beautiful thing last night. He impressed me. Much bigger, stronger and more mobile than I would have thought. I’d enjoy watching Zion dunk over him.

      It’s a good question, who is the bigger physical outlier? Zion or Tacko? Both pretty unusual but I would say Zion. That move last night where he tipped an inbound pass, out ran a guard to get the ball, picked it up and went behind the back in one motion, lost his balance, regained it, and then laid it in, was incredibly impressive. He’s 285 pounds!

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

      …and stop passing it to strat

      I was drinking Blanton’s bourbon last night. I like the little horses on top of the bottle. :-)

    8. Missed the game. How much time did Frank spend as the lead guard, as opposed to play off ball next to Mudiay or Allen?

    9. what doesn’t kill you makes you feeble and depressed unless you live long enough to stand in the corner of Mitchell fucking Robinson.

      It sounds even better in the original German… Not that he doesn’t need polish, but he’s already one of a Big 3. We need to others. Could draft one, could sign one. We have a shot at being good next year.

      Frank would be a good complementary player. I remain on the Frank Train.

    10. @2 “The real thing holding a player back is that his teammates are too good” is a novel argument. Combining it with “he’ll be better at 31 than during his prime” is air kiss territory. Bravo, sir!

    11. So with Ntilikina then, is it confidence or is he too selfless? If he can give us a consistent corner 3 at the very least, with DSJ out there- he’s a plus on the floor

    12. @13 it’s neither. the problem with frank is that he can’t shoot, can’t finish and isn’t shifty enough to keep defenders off balance. if the frank train means that’s he’s going to become the guard draymond then i’m way the fuck off it. if the frank train means that “fixing his shot” is no big deal because once in a while bad shooter improve i’m off it. if the frank train means that he has a better chance of becoming a useful player than his putrid number imply then buy me a ticket.

    13. The key to Frank is subbing him out for every offensive possession and then subbing him in for every defensive one. I’m positive that will work.

    14. I was pretty close to the court last night and was focusing on Frank. I think he takes “pass first” point guard to the extreme, he’s always looking around for a teammate to pass to and never puts pressure on his defender (and never draws fouls) There was one possession where he ended up with the ball pretty much unguarded about 4 feet from the basket and his first instinct was to pass to someone outside the 3 point line.

      I don’t know if aggressiveness can be taught, unfortunately. And as far as his shot goes, some of his bricks are pretty cringe worthy, it’s one thing to hit back iron or be a little short, but most of his are just way off the mark.

    15. Next year–when we have Durant, Irving, Zion, and Mitch on the floor together–we can leave Frank on the defensive side of the floor. 10 push-ups every time he crosses the half court line.

    16. Next year–when we have Durant, Irving, Zion, and Mitch on the floor together–we can leave Frank on the defensive side of the floor. 10 push-ups every time he crosses the half court line.

      Gets around the pesky limit on timeouts. I like it.

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

      Missed the game. How much time did Frank spend as the lead guard, as opposed to play off ball next to Mudiay or Allen?

      He played off the ball way more often, which is one reason his 5 assists in 25 minutes was impressive. If you don’t have the ball in your hands, it’s harder to get assists. To get 5 as a secondary playmaker on a team that doesn’t move the ball is pretty good. He made a few nifty passes and just missed a lob to Mitch that would have brought the house down.

      His first instinct is to pass. To me, not only is that better basketball, its especially correct for him because he’s not going to create anything really good on his own too often anyway at this stage. I don’t want him creating shots. Just keep the ball moving, keep in motion, and hope it’s contagious among all the ball stopping iso players we have on the team. To me, the offense looks better when he’s on the court because the ball moves more often – even though he’s not adding many stats.

      He looked a little bigger and stronger yesterday. He must have spent some time doing curls and other weight training exercises on his upper body while injured.

      It’s all about his shot from here. He’s already adding value in several areas and he’s going to get better. He’s got to knock down shots. You can be a zero as a scorer.

    18. If Ntilikina is going to play PG, he needs to leverage his size much like Magic, Payton, Mark Jackson, Andre Miller, and Livingston even. But if he’s gonna be a wing he needs to fix his shot and master off ball movement. He could be deadly as a second playmaker running off screens and such.

      This really pains me because in all my years as a Knicks fan, we haven’t had a single player as capable defensively and with the ceiling he has on that end. Well..other than Mercedes..and I really..REALLY want those 2 on the court.

      *insert dream sequence of Mitch/AD/KD/Ntilikina/DSJ starting 5*

      If yal wake me up from that..YOU DIE! LOL

    19. Here is what I’m rooting for in NCAA.
      1. Zion does not get hurt
      2. Ja continues to lap the pack for the #2 pick so that if we end up there we can’t possibly screw it up and pick someone else.
      3. Barrett becomes the consensus #3…same reasoning
      4. Reddish clearly falls out of the top 5
      5. Culver doesn’t do anything too crazy so he’s there at 4 or 5 for us…

    20. if the frank train means that’s he’s going to become the guard draymond then i’m way the fuck off it.

      That’s more like the Frank Spaceship. I don’t see that in a million years. But fixing his shot? It seems possible. Getting to 0 on offense, though unlikely, seems possible. With his other positive impact effects, it would make him playable.

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

      It’s impossible to deny Frank is a perfect zero as a scoring threat. But the kid changes the game somehow when he is out there. No one is excited to find out he is d’ing them up, I know that.

      I agree with you. The team looks better when he’s on the court even though it’s hard to pin down why. The ball movement, flow on offense, and effectiveness on defense are all better.

      Sometimes I watch the Spurs and I can’t figure out how Popovich gets so much out of role players. But it’s really not that difficult to understand. They play the right way on both sides and it adds value at the team level instead of piling up in someone’s boxscore.

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

      So if Culver is now considered a player we would not be upset to have (even though we have other preferences), not all we need to do is find a 5th player and I think even the worst case scenario would be OK.

    23. So if Culver is now considered a player we would not be upset to have (even though we have other preferences), not all we need to do is find a 5th player and I think even the worst case scenario would be OK.

      Zion, Culver, Morant, Clarke, Garland, and Hunter would be fine with me. Garland’s a big risk since he got hurt like 3 games into his freshman and Hunter may just be playing it too safe, but that solid floor would be nice for a team that’s really swung on project-types the last two years.

    24. Next year–when we have Durant, Irving, Zion, and Mitch on the floor together–we can leave Frank on the defensive side of the floor. 10 push-ups every time he crosses the half court line.

      this position is a dark web favorite, where it is known as the reverse vivek. of course we’ll have to sit him at vivint, since it’s illegal in utah.

    25. @2 better lay off the angel dust

      Kinda surprised by this kind of reaction on a site like this. Durant is superior to Harden right now, playing with one hand tied behind his back. Harden just takes 6 more shots a game and has a USG 11 pts higher. You’re basically making the “pointzzz” argument. What are you going to say next, “if his usage went up his efficiency will go down”?

    26. The real thing holding a player back is that his teammates are too good” is a novel argument. Combining it with “he’ll be better at 31 than during his prime” is air kiss territory. Bravo, sir!

      Yeah, man. It’s hard to take the amount of shots you need to take to score 60 points when you’re surrounded by elite talent that needs their own shots, too. I would have thought that was self evident but apparently you need to wait til someone famous writes a book explaining it to you.

    27. Hubert, I will bet actual money on this. Find an escrow service. This is a silly take.

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

      There’s no question that as you pile up really good scorers, a couple of them are going to get fewer shots and not score as much (see Bosh as the 3rd option behind James/Wade or Love the 3rd option behind James/Kyrie). The hope is that they play intelligently and are more efficient as a group than they would be as individuals somewhere else.

      I have no doubt that Durant could score more “points” without Curry and Thompson, but I’m less sure he could be nearly as efficient with the Knicks guards, weapons, and offense as he is with the Warriors ball movement, player movement, multitude of play makers, and varied weapons. He’d be getting double and triple teamed every night in NY without some help. That hardly ever happens now without leaving a deadly shooter open somewhere. But he could force up the shots and score a ton of points. Even KP was able to do that despite all the doubles. That’s a different story.

    29. Hubert, Harden is piling up points at a historically high rate. That tends to correspond to high scoring games which was exactly what your take was about. He’s doing it on higher usage without a drop in efficiency. He’s a strong candidate to lead the league in scoring next year. There’s no reason to think Durant will score that prolifically.

      Also the other definition of novel. Or was that a deliberate dig? I don’t want to assume.

    30. If Bol Bol’s foot looks like its healing well I’d be fine taking him too. At 5, he’s a reach tho.

      Then again, only 25 three point attempts is a bit worrying. See Williams, Derrick.

    31. @32

      I can’t believe people are still throwing out this garbage argument about Durant’s efficiency being helped by his GSW teammates. In 2013-14 Westbrook missed half of the season for the Thunder and Durant put up a .635 ts% with a 33 usage rate (!!!). He was ridiculously efficient with good teammates or not, with otherworldly usage rates or just high ones, because he’s one of the top scorers in league history and is impossible to guard while pretty much only taking quality shots every time.

      That OKC team had Ibaka, then gave 2200 minutes to Reggie Jackson and a combined 4500 minutes to Thabo Sefolosha, 39 year old Derek Fisher and 21 year old Jeremy Lamb. Then they had Collison, Perkins and rookie Steven Adams as their centers for the entire season. He WAS double and triple teamed for the entire season and was still ridiculously efficient.

      I get when people come with the argument that he’s declining and won’t be able to keep that up for much longer, but there’s simply zero evidence that his perfomance is affected efficiency-wise by his teammates.

    32. Durant has set personal bests in PP/100 with the Warriors in the playoffs, and he hasn’t changed much in the regular season either.

      It is sheer hubris to believe he will set a career high in PPG next year because of whatever one intuits from his play this year.

      I’m serious in betting against him re: Harden. That is some easy money.

    33. DeMarcus Cousins has exactly the same TS% he had in 2016-17, and is off from his 2017-18 FG% by one made shot per 200 attempts, only he’s playing alongside two of the three best scorers of the 21st century. I’m wondering how many times we need to see this happen before the scoring-efficiency synergy thing gets put the fuck to bed.

    34. “id be fine with Clarke at 5, because thats where we are picking”

      So sad, so true

      The one year the Knicks finally tank properly and the reward is likely picking 4th or 5th. SMH

    35. @37

      I remember when Iguodala has that ridiculous outlier season on the years Durant arrived, where he shot like a .620 ts% out of nowhere and people were talking about interaction effects and all… then next season he plays the same amount of games and shoots the same amount of shots with the same teammates and drops to .530 ts%, which should be surprising to no one.

    36. Hubert, I will bet actual money on this. Find an escrow service. This is a silly take.

      I’m happy to bet on Harden v Durant next year, or Durant next year v Durant in 2014. I would like to wait to see where Durant signs first, though. Let’s circle back in July. As long as he’s in a situation where it’s reasonable to expect he’ll have a higher USG, I’m open to it.

    37. Teammates not mattering, another WOW insight with some legs, although we will be arguing about it forever I know….

      Watching Clarke now. I can see why the skeptics think his game won’t translate.

    38. To be clear, you’re betting on a player being unable to keep his efficiency at the same rate at a higher USG, which strikes me as the most un-Jowles bet in the world. Durant tops Harden in almost everything, efficiency-wise. He just has a USG of 29 v Harden’s 40, and takes 6 less FGA per 36. This has been the reason I’ve been confident all season he will come here, even when 100% of you told me it was a foolish take. I think Durant is tired of playing within a team structure and wants to show us he can do better than we’re seeing now. If he makes that move, I’ll bet on him over Harden all day.

    39. DeMarcus Cousins has exactly the same TS% he had in 2016-17, and is off from his 2017-18 FG% by one made shot per 200 attempts, only he’s playing alongside two of the three best scorers of the 21st century. I’m wondering how many times we need to see this happen before the scoring-efficiency synergy thing gets put the fuck to bed.

      You’re missing my argument by a mile.

      My point is that Durant’s USG is lower than it should be, and if he goes to a team where it can be higher, his per game stats will multiply. I find it remarkable you’re taking the other side of that.

    40. @44 thank you. I thought I was losing my mind or reading comprehension skills when I assumed you were arguing Durant would be able to put up the points that Harden is (with similar or better efficiency) if he was on a different team. It appears that is exactly your point.

    41. Clarke is pretty unstoppable right now. Doesn’t look like much but the athleticism is impressive.

    42. The Hornets came back from down 18 in the 4th to defeat the Celtics… one of the most random yet super enjoyable moments of the late season.

    43. 100% of you told me it was a foolish take.

      Slow your roll, Hubie. More than a few of us thought it was possible.

    44. Trae Young has really been en fuego since the All Star break. Having a really good game tonight.

      Clarke is having a pretty unbelievable game. He and Mitch would make a formidable duo.

    45. My point is that Durant’s USG is lower than it should be, and if he goes to a team where it can be higher, his per game stats will multiply. I find it remarkable you’re taking the other side of that.

      I take issue with the “Durant will score more than Harden” prediction, however the efficiency. Harden is scoring 48 points per 100 this year. Durant has never topped 41.8, and that was five years ago.

      There’s literally zero chance that Durant scores more points than Harden per possession next year. Not even per-game. Never. It will never happen.

    46. Harden is scoring 48 points per 100 this year. Durant has never topped 41.8, and that was five years ago.

      No one else has ever topped 47 since we’ve been counting possessions. There are only 4 player seasons over 44pts/100possessions: Harden this year, Jordan in 86-87, Kobe in 05-06, and Westbrook two years ago. And Harden is so far out ahead of them this year those are silly comparisons.

    47. Doncic with a triple double in 3 quarters, Trae Young with the game winner against Philly… damn this rookie class is so damn good. Why couldn’t we fucking tank like this last season, literally any of the top 5 picks would be an exciting as hell prospect for us.

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