Knicks Morning News (2019.03.27)

  • [Sports Illustrated] Report: Knicks Tried to Send Kristaps Porzingis to Kings for De’Aaron Fox
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:05:41 PM)

    The Knicks reportedly tried to trade Kristaps Porzingis to the Kings in exchange for De’Aaron Fox ahead of the 2018 NBA draft. 

  • [Sports Illustrated] Silver Linings for the Lakers, Knicks and More Non-Playoff Teams
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:38:00 AM)

    Your favorite team might be out of the playoff picture but that does not mean that you should lose hope for your franchises’ future. Sports Illustrated presents silver linings for every eliminated team.

  • [Newsday] Report: Knicks Tried to Send Kristaps Porzingis to Kings for De’Aaron Fox
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 3:05:41 PM)

    The Knicks reportedly tried to trade Kristaps Porzingis to the Kings in exchange for De’Aaron Fox ahead of the 2018 NBA draft. 

  • [Newsday] Silver Linings for the Lakers, Knicks and More Non-Playoff Teams
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 7:38:00 AM)

    Your favorite team might be out of the playoff picture but that does not mean that you should lose hope for your franchises’ future. Sports Illustrated presents silver linings for every eliminated team.

  • [NYDN] Calamity gives Enes Kanter chance he once begged Knicks for
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 8:24:47 PM)

    No more time to smooch the center court logo.

    Former Knicks fan favorite Enes Kanter will likely be thrust into Portland’s starting lineup Wednesday night and beyond, as the playoff-bound Trail Blazers begin their venture without center Jusuf Nurkic.

    Gone for the season is Nurkic, who underwent…

  • [TheRinger] Calamity gives Enes Kanter chance he once begged Knicks for
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 8:24:47 PM)

    No more time to smooch the center court logo.

    Former Knicks fan favorite Enes Kanter will likely be thrust into Portland’s starting lineup Wednesday night and beyond, as the playoff-bound Trail Blazers begin their venture without center Jusuf Nurkic.

    Gone for the season is Nurkic, who underwent…

  • [NYTimes] Cal Ramsey, Knicks Broadcaster and Community Representative, Dies at 81
    (Wednesday, March 27, 2019 3:20:15 AM)

    A standout player at N.Y.U., he had a brief N.B.A. career but made his mark as a color commentator and the team’s link to the youth of New York.

  • [NYPost] What the Knicks’ Damyean Dotson has riding on the NCAAs
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 5:06:50 PM)

    Damyean Dotson’s alma mater is in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 — a sweet capper to his resurgent second season. Nobody is more proud to be from Houston than Dotson, who has remained close to the University of Houston program and runs a children’s charity in his hometown. It was a natural he and rookie…

  • [NYPost] Frank Ntilikina’s Knicks season might officially be a waste
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 10:36:47 AM)

    While there is hope rookie Kevin Knox returns Thursday against Toronto without missing any action, Knicks coach David Fizdale could not commit to Frank Ntilikina coming back this season. Knox, the Knicks’ 2018 lottery pick, was limited in practice Tuesday. That was the only thing that could be good news coming out the team’s workout…

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks won’t officially put Frank Ntilikina’s sophomore season to rest
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 6:56:12 PM)

    Frank Ntilikina was not seen at practice on Thursday, and while his Knicks season — and future — is up in the air, Kevin Knox was limited in his participation after his ankle injury.

  • [SNY Knicks] Knicks dangled Kristaps Porzingis to Kings for De’Aaron Fox before NBA Draft: report
    (Tuesday, March 26, 2019 12:56:14 PM)

    The Knicks reportedly were interested in acquiring De’Aron Fox prior to last year’s NBA Draft and included Kristaps Porzingis in the proposed deal.

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    72 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2019.03.27)”

    1. The SI article makes no sense. If the Kings wanted to build around Doncic, why not draft him and then eventually trade Fox later?

    2. The SI article makes no sense. If the Kings wanted to build around Doncic, why not draft him and then eventually trade Fox later?

      They chose to stick with Fox rather than re-start with Doncic.

    3. I had a hard time choosing between SGA and Mikal, went with SGA. Still pretty good, though Mikal has been better so far.

      But both are leagues beyond Knox. I get the argument about potential upside, but as JK said, why not draft players who are ALREADY GOOD?

    4. I mean, as a stats-based blog, surely we can agree that drafting players who are already good is more likely to get you good players than players who…aren’t good? Is that factorial? The guys most of us wanted last year projected to be good and in fact have been good, much better than Knox, and that’s not even taking into account defense, which isn’t measured very well by any metric. (The one place I align with Strat, making me believe more in KP’s impact than most here, is defense.)

    5. just here to say i would trade knox for mikal in a heartbeat

      Quoting 1000%

      That’s fine. So long as you acknowledge that your choice is based on aesthetics, since Mikal has been a nothing player this year despite PHX giving up an unprotected #1 for him and playing for a 17-win team full of kids.

      Let’s check in 3 years from now when Knox is Mikal’s age. The most likely outcome is that they will both still suck.

    6. At least Knox still has some trade value, unlike Frank.

      Man, the Hawks are starting to maybe look a little less dumb. Imagine if they get Zion AND another top-7 pick (Jaxon Hayes?) They could become a serious threat over the years.

    7. They chose to stick with Fox rather than re-start with Doncic.

      Not just stick with Fox, per se, but also to build around Fox and Bagley instead of Doncic and an injured Porzingig who was about to get the max. I’m not even saying that they made the right call there, just noting that that was the thought process and you can understand the logic (providing you had faith that Fox was in the midst of turning things around).

    8. If you check back, I was also dead-set against drafting Knox. But I was also very adamant about not drafting Mikal. To me, the debate is very similar to the KP-WCS debate…low floor-high ceiling vs. high floor-low ceiling. Mikal definitely has a better likelihood of becoming a productive rotation player at this point. Knox has a dramatically higher ceiling. Is that even debatable?

    9. And I agree with Z-Man ( a lot more these days!) that Mikal would’ve been a wasted pick. I still think SGA is going to be a more useful player than Knox, though.

      Knox really needs to hit the weight room and become a stretch 4. He has good rebounding and three-ball potential. I have no idea how he can become a good or even a passable defender, but if he improves and bulks up, maybe he could become a poor man’s Marcus Morris?

    10. At least Knox still has some trade value, unlike Frank.

      Man, the Hawks are starting to maybe look a little less dumb. Imagine if they get Zion AND another top-7 pick (Jaxon Hayes?) They could become a serious threat over the years.

      Their chances at Zion would have been the same with Doncic, but they would have had Doncic. Unless the top 7 pick is surprisingly amazing, Doncic is going to be worth more than Young + guys who are projected to go at around #7 this draft.

    11. Not just stick with Fox, per se, but also to build around Fox and Bagley instead of Doncic and an injured Porzingig who was about to get the max. I’m not even saying that they made the right call there, just noting that that was the thought process and you can understand the logic (providing you had faith that Fox was in the midst of turning things around).

      I think it’s even more. The rumor is that the Knicks wanted to offload salary AND get assets, which aligns with the deal they ended up making with Dallas so I believe it. They probably wanted something like Fox, Giles and WCS in addition to expirings to dump Lee and/or Hardaway.

      I think if that was the deal that the Knicks were willing to take the Kings made the right choice in sticking with building around Fox. I’m even okay with them passing on Luka because they were worried about them stepping on each other’s toes, but I believe they should have taken JJJ over Bagley, although Bagley’s been way better, way faster than I expected.

    12. The fascinating thing to me is the faith both Sacramento and New York had on Fox making the leap this season. The interesting thing about Fox is that he had a major course correction in the second half of last season (I remember being really impressed by that at the time) but then he had an awful final month and a half (I remember being really disappointed by that at the time), so gotta give credit to both teams for still identifying his potential for making the leap this season (or, of course, you could argue that both teams were just shooting blind and happened to get lucky).

    13. I mean, as a stats-based blog, surely we can agree that drafting players who are already good is more likely to get you good players than players who…aren’t good? Is that factorial?

      I wish we could agree, but in the 9-ish years I’ve been here, this has not been the case. This is the flowchart:

      > draft long, tall, athletic player with notable lack of basketball skills and/or poor previous-league statistics
      > player struggles
      > “his ceiling is higher than [older, “less athletic” player who has demonstrated actual skills], just let him develop”
      > player continues to struggle
      > “his stats don’t accurately reflect his value, keep him around and give him another contract to develop, how about 4/$30M? That’s reasonable for a guy with a negative BPM/RAPM/RPM/VORP because those stats are imprecise”
      > player is traded
      > “what do you think about [player remarkably similar to the one that didn’t pan out]?”

    14. I mean, as a stats-based blog

      …we should respond to the stats-based comparison made a poster with stats-based refutation. Statistically, Knox had the second-best 3pt% of any 19yo rookie with as many attempts. (and better than Mikal). He rebounded better than Mikal per 36, even though Mikal was not shooting much and should have had more rebounding opportunities, not to mention being 3 years older and theoretically much stronger and more skilled as a rebounder. Bridges shot .299 from 3 and 4.4 fouls per 40 as a freshman, yet now his role in the league is as a 3-and-D guy. As such, I’m waiting another year before being confident in comparing their career outlook. Based on stats. Really.

    15. Also, add it to your bookmarks:

      Brandon Clarke will, over the course of his rookie contract, be demonstrably better than Little, Barrett, Culver, Langford and Reddish per RPM/BPM, and will be called a “role player” at least until his first 25-point game.

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

      Might be time to change your handle. It hasn’t aged well.

    17. Mikal sucking so far doesn’t really mean anything about Knox, it just means both were probably bad picks.

      Yes, Knox can somewhat shoot threes, but that’s literally all he can do at an acceptable NBA level so far. Bridges can defend, which is also pretty much the only thing he has done well so far. I’d still much rather have Bridges, who could be a legitimate 3 and D guy just by improving a little bit on his decent 3 point shot, than Knox who has to get better at everything in the next 2 years to make this argument worth anything.

    18. They chose to stick with Fox rather than re-start with Doncic.

      Uhm, ok, but why not going BPA anyway? I mean, Bagley is much better than I anticipated, but I don’t see the sense in punting on KP + Doncic and selecting Bagley. Wouldn’t JJJ have made more sense anyway?

    19. Might be time to change your handle. It hasn’t aged well.

      For sure :-)

      I’ve noticed that for a while, but I’m waiting for the ping pong balls to actually fall. Then I will change it. I don’t want to jinx anything to do with the ping pong balls.

    20. Uhm, ok, but why not going BPA anyway? I mean, Bagley is much better than I anticipated, but I don’t see the sense in punting on KP + Doncic and selecting Bagley. Wouldn’t JJJ have made more sense anyway?

      KP had a torn ACL and was a year away from getting megapaid. Additionally they may have backchanneled and found out he was more likely to test the RFA market than just take a max contract, if they were willing to hand that to him to begin with, from them.

      The trade wasn’t just Fox+Bagley for Luka+KP. The Knick wanted cap relief and more assets, so really it’s Fox plus assets (I posited above it may have been Giles and WCS, and maybe even a pick or two) and expirings like Koufous, Shump, etc. for Kristaps plus Hardaway and/or Lee.

      I also agree that if they weren’t taking Luka because they wanted to use the pick to pair a big with Fox that JJJ would have been a better pick, but Bagley has been really good and there’s a non-zero chance he ends up being the better player.

    21. That’s fine. So long as you acknowledge that your choice is based on aesthetics, since Mikal has been a nothing player this year despite PHX giving up an unprotected #1 for him and playing for a 17-win team full of kids.

      if you want to know whether i find mikal attractive just ask snowflake.

      my take is that mikal is already a decent nba player. he’s a good defender, he gets a ton of steals despite being a low risk taker, which is impressive for a rookie. he plays offense like a traffic cone but that is not all bad, because he spaces the floor and doesn’t hurt you, a skill that is not something every player can just turn on. some players are just wired to say yes to their inner antonio blakeney. he is already more of a 3&D player than say, doston, even with his shitty 3p% because his defense is real and 3p% is noisy.

      knox on the other hand is maybe the worst defender i have ever seen — yeah i really do think he is worse than steve novak. have you ever seen a player face the entirely wrong direction on defense as many times as knox has this year? he is the only player i can remember where you question whether he possibly has pulled out a map of the court and is briefly consulting it during play. he is a disastrously inefficient offensive player with a pass to do-something ratio similar to my capitalization to bad joke ratio. there are only a handful of players in nba history who have been worse than knox has been this year, all things considered.

      if you say, wait but knox is a really young 19, i hear you. he does seem like he has a lot more room to grow into himself than someone like mikal, who isn’t very young and looks reasonably mature. but going from horrific to okay over 3 years isn’t worth that much to us, by that time he gets paid for being okay. if you think knox might still be so good that he’s even valuable as RFA rights then okay, but i don’t think that’s reasonable. mikal will likely have trade value to a…

    22. I wanted Doncic as much as the next guy here, but the jury is still out on whether he’ll end up actually being better than Trae Young. At this point, it’s more likely than not, but it’s not a given.

    23. Statistically, Knox had the second-best 3pt% of any 19yo rookie with as many attempts.

      Question: are there more than two 19 year old rookies with as many attempts as Kevin Knox?

    24. So you take his rate and multiply it by five and get an expected winning percentage on a hypothetical team with five players exactly like him. That means a Knicks team of five Robinson’s (.211 WS/48) would never lose a game. Who needs Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving?

      PTSD flashbacks to discussions of whether 5 Carmelos or 5 Chandlers would be a better team

      (the quoted passage is NOT what WS48 says about any player, much less Robinson)

      I understand they’re trying to explain a minutes-adjusted stat to the layman, but come on. It’s this kind of poor logic that makes people turn away from stat-based analysis completely.

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

      I mean, as a stats-based blog, surely we can agree that drafting players who are already good is more likely to get you good players than players who…aren’t good?

      It depends if your goal is to draft the player that will be best in year 1 or year 5.

      I see projecting improvement as a stats based activity. IMO, we should have stats that extrapolate current productivity and current age to the future so we understand the development probabilities better.

      Then we should break it down and look for sub categories to refine it.

      1. How athletic is the player on a scale of 1 to 10?
      2. How intelligent is the player on a scale of 1 to 10?
      3. How strong is the player’s work ethic on a scale of 1 to 10?
      4. How old was when he first started playing basketball?
      5. Does he have any distractions or mental health issues that could hurt his development?
      6. What position does he play?
      7. Is he still growing in height?
      8. Is he especially weak or frail but very likely to fill out and get stronger?

      You could on and on asking and more importantly answering questions related to the probability of future development for each player relative to his current productivity and draft the one most likely to give you what you want at that time – all based on stats. Obviously sample sizes for some things might be small and intuition would play a part, but the probability and extent of development is not random.

    26. Trae Young is coming on STRONG of late….

      I agree that the Trae v Doncic thing is getting closer….

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

      In the last thread I wasn’t making the case for Mikal over Knox. I was talking about valuing defense over offense.

      I would have taken Mikal at the time because I was dreaming of a Frank, Mikal, KP lineup locking down on defense. I still think Mikal is eventually going to be a very good 3 & D player with at least some potential to expand his offensive game.

      However, I also understood the Knox pick even though I didn’t really like it.

      Management was probably shooting for stars and took the best prospect available to get lucky and hit a homerun. They also already had a couple of young players they hoped could grow into starting roles as SG/SF players.

      At the time I called Dotson a “poor man’s version of Mikal”. By that I meant he could do similar things, but probably not as well long term. I think I was right.

      If they told him to stand outside and shoot spot up 3s when he’s wide open from his best spots his 3p% would be higher.

      Even though he’s not an elite defender, he’s a good defender.

      However, they are trying to make him into a more complete offensive player. He’s creating for himself, shooting shots off the dribble, driving, shooting he’s not comfortable or really good at yet etc.. We’ll see how that all works out. But if all you want from him is 40% from 3 and better spacing, imo that would not be a problem. He could do that right now. I’d still rather have Mikal.

    28. 1. How athletic is the player on a scale of 1 to 10?
      2. How intelligent is the player on a scale of 1 to 10?
      3. How strong is the player’s work ethic on a scale of 1 to 10?
      4. How old was when he first started playing basketball?
      5. Does he have any distractions or mental health issues that could hurt his development?
      6. What position does he play?
      7. Is he still growing in height?
      8. Is he especially weak or frail but very likely to fill out and get stronger?

      Let’s run a quick Knox vs. Mikal test here from what we know.

      1. Tie – Knox looks like he should be more athletic but he only has the means to accomplish an athletic feat once every 5 games. Mario Hezonja is positively more athletic. Mikal, on the other hand, looks just very stiff. You could easily see this as advantage: Mikal.
      2. Advantage: Mikal. We don’t have a non arbitrary idea about this, but their respective styles of play speak very loudly.
      3. Tie, but only because we don’t have evidence. If Knox has a strong work ethic, he’s an even worse player than I thought, because he didn’t improve one iota. I blame this partially on Fizdale.
      4. I guess tie.
      5. Again, I guess tie. Neither of them has any evident sign of mental health issues.
      6. There’s really no way to have an advantage here, but I’d say advantage: Mikal, only because switchable, multipositional defenders are all the rage now. Low-efficiency scorers are a dozen a dime.
      7. Advantage: Knox. But, as we have seen with Frank, does it mean that much?
      8. Probably tie. The problem with Knox is that if he gets beefier he will also get slower, and it’s not like he’s the fastest guy on the court now.

      I think the scale is tipped much more towards Mikal.

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

      I was wrong on Trae Young.

      I saw a kid that was going be a good playmaker, but a huge liability of defense, turnover prone, and an inefficient scorer for at least a couple of years if not long term.

      He’s improving as a scorer so incredibly fast it’s hard to believe.

      IMO, he’s a better play maker than Doncic and is closing the gap or going past him as a scorer. Doncic will rebound more because he’s a bigger player playing a different position and Young is the worse defender, but I don’t see Doncic as a good defender yet either. It’s getting closer.

      It will be interesting to see how they develop and improve defensively (or not).

    30. I am in awe of Trae’s passing ability, and if we pick #2 I might need a new pair of salivary glands, since Ja Morant is a much better passer than him.

    31. Question: are there more than two 19 year old rookies with as many attempts as Kevin Knox?

      That is something that had been annoying me the last couple of years, as there has been a proliferation of younger players playing and so we keep getting stuff on Sportscenter or whatever that says “This is the first time a teenager has done X since Lebron.” Well, yeah, since it used to be that only guys as good as Lebron would play as teenagers!

    32. i’ve only seen morant play a few times, and i probably didn’t see trae as much in college as most of you guys (but i’ve watched a ton of him this year). my question: is this idea that morant is clearly a better passer than trae conventional wisdom?

    33. Question.

      Assume we pick Ja Morant at number 2 and then we don’t sign Kyrie or Kemba in free agency. Would there be anything wrong with keeping DSJ in that scenario? Its not like we have to start Ja from day one and if they were the only legit PG’s on the roster (no resigning of Mudiay), then it seems like there would be plenty of minutes to go around between the 2 of them.

    34. That is something that had been annoying me the last couple of years, as there has been a proliferation of younger players playing and so we keep getting stuff on Sportscenter or whatever that says “This is the first time a teenager has done X since Lebron.” Well, yeah, since it used to be that only guys as good as Lebron would play as teenagers!

      It’s like when every Tom, Dick, and Harry started passing Mickey Mantle on “postseason home runs” once they expanded to three rounds.

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

      @31

      I think the main thing they saw in Knox is that if you give him the ball and tell him to get a basket, he can put the ball on the floor and create a decent shot in a variety of ways. The problem with Knox is that his efficiency on that shot creation is still WAY too low for him to do that for a good team. They are only allowing him to do it because we suck and they want him to get better at choosing the right shot, the right way to get his shot off and to ultimately to make them more often.

      Mikal is not as talented in that way, however he does a few things really well already and sticks with what he can do. He adds massively more value on both sides now for sure and will probably get better yet.

      We’ll see if Knox can eventually improve his shot creation, selection, and efficiency enough to become star offensive player, but he better because he sucks on defense worse.

    36. Side note:

      I read somewhere that Dallas wants Kemba Walker with their max slot this summer. That’s a really interesting core. Especially if they get a top pick to add.

    37. Where are people getting the idea that Knox has some high ceiling? I don’t see that at all. To the extent he’s athletic, it’s not a very functional athleticism. He’s pretty uncoordinated with the ball. He’s not a particularly intelligent player. He has no NCAA pedigree to dream on. Seriously, where is the idea coming from? I see a player whose best case scenario looks like Ryan Anderson at this point, and even that feels like a true 100th percentile outcome.

      Knox is competing with some of his teammates to be the worst player in the NBA, while Mikal is already more or less average. This is open and shut despite the age difference. Of course it would be different if Knox was worse than Mikal but showed plenty of positive signs, but anyone making the Knox > Mikal argument is basing it purely on age. It’s not very different from making a straight-faced Ntilikina > Fox argument.

    38. I think Knox’s best case scenario is probably Rashard Lewis who barely played at age 19, but probably would have stunk it up like Knox has, before taking a big step up in 2P% his 2nd season and, as we all know now, became a viable 3P threat over the years.

      If Knox can turn some of his forays into layups instead of floaters, keep up the improved, but still has a ton of room for growth passing, and be normal bad on D instead of tire fire he can be a pretty useful player, although never a star. I do think his handle improving would really alter some of his trajectory because it would open up more for him off the bounce and likely see some knock on improvement in his passing since he wouldn’t be looking down at the ball and could keep his head up to survey the floor.

      That’s a lot. Odds are stacked against him, but it’s not totally crazy he could do it. Rashard Lewis doesn’t seem like a pie-in-the-sky outcome, at least not to me.

    39. @35

      I think people are just looking at Morant’s assist% (which is only slightly higher at 50% than Trae’s 48%.) Comparing the two in terms of passing quality, I wouldn’t say that Ja is the better passer than Trae despite having a slightly higher AST% at the same age and a slightly better A:TO, more a different style of passer. Trae really was and is a wizard with the ball–getting passes in ways that you just wouldn’t believe. Ja is more like Westbrook where he racks up assists off the drive and kick due to his superior athleticism rather than, say, Curry or Paul or Rondo who makes passes that nobody else can see (not to say that those players don’t also take the ball downhill with extreme prejudice). They are both very good at passing, but I think Trae Young more often completes higher degree of difficulty passes than Ja does (with a very marginal increase in TOV%). I still like Ja better for other reasons, though, like his not-total-inability to play defense.

    40. Something that makes me especially excited about the prospect of Ja on the Knicks is that he’s a *terrific* lob passer. The Ja/Mitch PnR would be an absolute joy to watch. He’s comfortably my #2 in this draft, then I waffle on Barrett vs. Culver at 3.

    41. I think Ja is much better in the open floor and attacking before a defense is set. He’s good in PnR but not as advanced with his reads and feel in that setting or in the halfcourt in general as Trae. I’m not a believer in his current shot mechanics translating to the NBA. I think he’ll need to re-work that a bit to maximize his ability as a scorer.

    42. the thing is a guy with a plausible but longshot hope of topping out at rashard lewis in a few years is worth very little in today’s league (no more 7 year contracts with 25pct in incentives like lewis signed with the sonics before his magic deal). if it’s obvious he’s that good by the end of year 4, you usually have to pay him. then you get otto porter on a big salary and his trade value is close to nil – you basically get just the bird rights advantage of going over the cap if your team happens to be good. sean marks managed to bottom fish on d’lo but it’s hard to say if he really netted much besides helping fight for the 8th seed this year.

      that’s why draft today is tilted toward guys who can be valuable early or players who might be stars and bargains even at the 25pct level. projects whose unlikely ceilings are below that like knox aren’t very useful.

    43. Knox could elevate from worst in the NBA defense to merely bad simply by learning to stick with his man instead of loosing him every damn possession. It’s not clear that he has the capability to do that. He’d need to be able to track two things at once and he hasn’t shown that in any aspect of his game. If he’s driving he can track (sometimes) a single defender, but he struggles badly as soon as there are two between him and the basket, leading to a bad miss or a charge with disturbing regularity. He completely loses track of where his teammates are, to the extent that he never knows where any of them are other than the person who has the ball. On defense he tracks the ball. That’s it. Not his guy, not any other players on either team, just the ball. He follows his guy around the court with as much of a delay as it takes for a teammate to tell him to follow his guy. And for such singular focus on the ball he doesn’t rebound particularly well either as he doesn’t anticipate how other players are going to move. He occasionally boxes out, I will give him that. If he finds himself in a situation where he’s already directly between his guy and the basket, which is entirely dependent on whether his guy moved much or not.

      I’m pretty sure that the occasional zone defense that Fiz has run is almost entirely about minimizing Knox’s failures.

      All of which is to say:

      2. How intelligent is the player on a scale of 1 to 10?

      1. Ever notice that he has to re-tie his shoes more frequently than other players?

    44. Knox has a dramatically higher ceiling. Is that even debatable?

      I see where you’re coming from, but I think yes, it is debatable. Knox has been so pre draft high ceiling is probably unreachable. So how high is his ceiling, really? We’re talking about a all offense, no defense forward who doesn’t have any playmaking ability, so absolute best case you’re talking about Amare Stoudemire? Kevin Knox currently has a TS% below 50. What are the odds he’s going to lead the NBA in TS% someday?

      What’s Bridges ceiling? Otto Porter? Otto Porter and a somewhat worse Amare probably are pretty close in value

    45. Ja is more like Westbrook where he racks up assists off the drive and kick due to his superior athleticism rather than, say, Curry or Paul or Rondo who makes passes that nobody else can see

      I disagree with this. Ja has a great sense of timing on his passes, he doesn’t just make the right pass, he makes it at just the right time, which is very key. He has a great feel for passing the ball.

    46. Knox does a lot of things that actually damage your basketball team. He takes a LOT of low-percentage shots and he’s completely lost on defense. He’s the kind of defender you can repeatedly attack. I just don’t see a ton of competence or a sense that he really knows how to play the game very well. I don’t know why a guy with those attributes is supposed to have a “high ceiling.” What about him says “high ceiling”? He’s an okay, not great athlete, doesn’t have freakish speed or leaping ability, doesn’t fill a boxscore. What is so projectable about him?

    47. @48

      That’s fair. His timing is superb, and that especially helps him in transition, where he’s a terror. But I think the larger point stands: More often than not he’s identifying and making the “easy” pass (not meant to be an insult but it’s far easier to do in college than the NBA) rather than creating the optimal look out of thin air like Curry, Paul, Jokic, etc. And I think Trae is more like the latter, though he of course also gets plenty of assists off driving and kicking.

      What you take to be “better passing” is context-relative, but if we’re talking about the ability to successfully complete high-degree-of-difficulty passes, I think Trae is better on that front. There might be good reasons to say that Ja is the better passer if you value transition passing over halfcourt passing, though.

    48. The fact that Knox can’t get to the rim at all is why I’ve always questioned his “ceiling”. If your calling card is offense and you can’t generate easy buckets…your ceiling is not that high. He’s young of course, but athleticism is one of the things that shows even for rookies, and I agree with those saying his athleticism is mediocre. If you’re 6’9″ and an elite athlete a lot of your drives are going to end in rim rocking dunks; every time Knox tries to go to the basket it ends in a drifting floater.

      I’ve said from the beginning that I thought he looked more like a role player – potentially a very valuable one because big wings who can shoot 3s and are basically functional otherwise (to be clear, Knox is obviously not that now, but I think that’s more like a reasonable ceiling for him) are super important to how most teams want to play these days, i.e. they unlock a lot of lineup flexibility & 4-out style lineups. That’s a role player though nonetheless – Rashard Lewis is a pretty good best case comp I think. That’s not really a particularly high ceiling for a lottery pick.

    49. JK, DRed, thfh,
      I think Knox is a better athlete than you are giving him credit for. He’s probably going to top out at 6’10” 230-240 lbs with a long, wide frame and runs and jumps very well for a guy that size, especially in transition. He gets fouled a lot for a 19yo guy who is tripping over his own feet half the time, which I think is developmental, not a congenital defect of some kind.

      As to his defense, most 19yo’s will get torched on D by savvy vets. I agree that he’s been particularly bad, but it’s too early to conclude that he’s hopeless on that end. He seems to hustle and hit the floor a lot, and hasn’t gotten injured beyond the sprained ankles.

      All I’m saying is that he’s done enough good things to take a wait and see approach. To me, he seems more like a gangly teenager than a finished product.

      This goes for Frank too. I’m less pessimistic than JK47 et. al. and expect that he will develop into a decent 3-and-D backup wing. My point about him (and Knox) is that they were lousy picks in the mid lottery, but could develop into reasonably good players, depending on their ability to master a role. Frank was a terrible choice for a PG prospect. Knox was a more logical pick in that he is physically and skill-wise suited for a combo forward role.

    50. @18

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

      Might be time to change your handle. It hasn’t aged well.

      ha, thanks hubert, I needed to laugh…

      @24

      if you want to know whether i find mikal attractive just ask snowflake.

      be honest – whoever suspected milo would turn out to be so feisty and competitive…I had kind of initially pigeon-holed them as just goofy and brilliant…

      I’ve had to adjust my expectations – I like the fire now too…

      considering i have limited fact based opinions – I can mercifully stay out of the line of fire :)

    51. I mean, as a stats-based blog, surely we can agree that drafting players who are already good is more likely to get you good players than players who…aren’t good? Is that factorial?

      Well, that’s true, but as usual with statistics, there are many more variables that have an effect in the final result. So you could possibly try to refine the question:

      Are already good, but older and less athletic (by some objective metric) draftees more likely to be good than bad, but younger and athletic ones?

      Which would be a bit more difficult to answer. Let’s not forget that there were some “can’t miss players” that utterly destroyed their competition in the NCAA (Jahlil Okafor) that completely flopped in the NBA, which might be inherent to the variability of the draft, or might be correlated with some measurables.

    52. Agreed about Knox and the easy buckets thing. He has a very low number of dunks considering how many minutes he has played and how many shots he takes. He needs to eliminate the bad shots from his repertoire, the floater stuff does not work in the NBA, which was the knock on Knox to begin with. The problem is those are really the only shots he gets. That kind of player, the “work real hard to get off a low-percentage shot” type player, is a losing player.

    53. the floater stuff does not work in the NBA, which was the knock on Knox to begin with. The problem is those are really the only shots he gets.

      Honestly with the role he seems destined for he doesn’t really need to be a shot creator and he would be better off exorcising that part of his game right now. Lots of stretch-4s are near the very top of the league in terms of % of assisted buckets, with some up in the 90+% area. Their job is primarily to open the floor for others, and to take catch and shoot 3s. Knox is a capable 3-point shooter, more than capable given his age and size. If you can get him to the point where 8 or 9 out of every 10 shots he takes are assisted and like 75%+ are 3-pointers, you will have pretty much fixed his offensive game. Not made him into anything special, but stopped him from actively hurting you. Then from there maybe he can start to pump and drive and add in other elements. But I really believe the first thing the coaching staff needs to do with him is get him to play something akin to his true natural role as opposed to continuing to delude themselves into the idea that his future is as a high volume scorer.

    54. That was a fascinating discussion from earlier in the season about what was the best thing for Fizdale to do with Knox. Was it to optimize his skills (which would be to make him a spot up shooter) or was it to try to diversify his skills while knowing he was likely going to be terrible at it in year one (and maybe period)?

    55. One thing I do like about Knox is that he has a good feel for changing speeds which makes up for not having an elite first step. You can especially see this in transition where he’s been really good at taking the ball off of the rim and going coast to coast not by flat outrunning people but by taking his time and then accelerating as soon as the defender starts to get his feet set. He’s not nearly as successful at it in half court sets because his handle is so shaky but if he make some progress especially with his left hand it should make a big difference. He already leads the Knicks in fouls drawn (mostly because he’s played the most minutes but it’s still a good sign) and as he gets stronger I think he’ll wind up getting to the line at a pretty good rate. As long as he gets his three point % up into the 37/38% range I think he’ll wind up at least an average TS% scorer with the potential to be solidly better than that. Is that going to be enough to make up for being sub-par to terrible in rebounding, playmaking, and defense? Doubtful, but I don’t think it would take a miracle for him to be a decent starter.

    56. That is something that had been annoying me the last couple of years, as there has been a proliferation of younger players playing and so we keep getting stuff on Sportscenter or whatever that says “This is the first time a teenager has done X since Lebron.” Well, yeah, since it used to be that only guys as good as Lebron would play as teenagers!

      I decided to check this out. I simply set the minutes threshold at >20 MPG (I was looking for players who played a lot when they actually played, not raw minutes totals).

      http://bkref.com/tiny/m32T3

      Out of the 51 players since 1980 who have played >20 MPG and who were 19 as of Feb. 1 of the season, 17 of those player seasons have come since 2015-16.

      30 have come since 2010, and 46 have come since the turn of the century. So yeah, it seems like this “play the youth” thing is relatively new, even though the rules were changed in 2005 to disallow under-19 players from joining the league. What’s crazy to me is that there were a full 20 years of ZERO high-schoolers drafted between 1975 and 1995, a streak broken by Garnett.

    57. Yeah, it’s not necessarily a modern thing to draft teenagers, but teams used to bring them along slowly but now they let them play a lot more right off the bat, which is why you keep seeing stuff like “Player X is the first teenager to get Stat X in a game since Lebron!”

      It almost certainly has to do with the decreased amount of control teams have over players. The aforementioned Rashard Lewis, for instance, only played 145 minutes total in his first season when he was 19 years old (Knox broke that total in his eighth game, and that’s with him getting hurt in one game and playing just five minutes in it and then two other games when he was returning from the injury and they “slowly” worked him back into things with a five minute game followed by a ten minute game).

    58. Yeah, the only somewhat clear path I see for Knox is to eliminate all of his stupid floaters and focus exclusively on threes, transition baskets, and trying to be less of a turnstile. Needless to say, that’s not something you want to be true of a lottery pick from a year ago and doesn’t scream “high ceiling.”

      Even if he does all of those things it’s far from clear he’ll be one of the better players in that archetype. He might need to become Novakian from three to be worth a significant amount of playing time and money.

      Also, I like De’Aaron Fox, but not being able to swap Porzingis and bad contracts for him doesn’t exactly speak highly of Porzingis’ value around the league. This was also before Porzingis became a $30m+ AAV guy. It’s quite possible Dallas valued him at a completely different level than most.

    59. Guys:
      I don’t like the way the discussion is now focused on Culver, Barret, Ja, everyone but Zion.
      A few assumptions on my part:
      1. The NBA rigs the top draft lottery position
      2. Cavs benefited from it after LeBron left a few times as compensation from above.
      3. NYKs benefited in 1985-Ewing
      4. Silver is fearful of another “frozen envelope” exposing the rigging; accordingly, NYKs will NOT win first pick
      5. We NEVER move up, so we will get pick 2 or 3.
      6. Zion is the closest to a sure thing in this draft; NYKs cannot miss out on him, so I’d offer whatever combination of picks and players except Mitch to move up and get him.

    60. up until this year I had never really considered the salary cost of our draft picks in how they should be dealt with in the future…frank and kevin’s performance though has kind of raised the consideration of that aspect of player “development”…

      frank is scheduled to make 4.85 million and kevin 4.38 million next year…

      how long do you stick with a draft pick (and keep hoping for them to start reaching towards their ceiling) seems to be an increasingly viable discussion for our team…

      9 million or so (depending on the method of removing them from our roster) can probably buy a useful piece for the team…

      makes sense for a team like us (perennial losers) to take chances on high ceiling guys…however, at what point does the front office decide to invest roster salary in players who can contribute to actual winning basketball…

    61. i honestly don’t see how ppl still see upside with knox… he’s been bad… he wasn’t all that great at kentucky either…. and he’s failing for the same reasons…

      where exactly is this outsized athleticism? he’s not exactly blowing by ppl consistently.. he’s not exactly flying down the court… he’s not exactly elevating over ppl to finish… i mean one handed floaters from 5-8 ft out is what pg’s do…. does anyone get the impression that his defender is having trouble when guarding knox? he has the occasional interesting moment but for every one of those there’s like 50 other times where he’s flipping the ball at the hoop from behind his head in a panic if the defender even so much as gives him a stern look … is that what upside looks like?

      and that’s not even getting to his statline…. it is quite disastrous even when omitting his 2p fg%… and when you do it very much looks a lot like steve novaks…. if you account for his 2p fg% he’s in territory where he probably won’t even reach that level of play….

      he handles the ball kind of ok for his size… when he can load off two feet and looks at the rim for a full five seconds he could probably throw it down strong…. he has good range on his shot…

      but seriously… that’s about it… am i really missing anything? if you just scrutinize him beyond the tape measure it’s pretty apparent that he is not capable of being what ppl think he’s capable of…

    62. djphan and I may fight to the death over Clarke’s ceiling, but we are in total agreement about Knox’s. I would love to see Knox play 20 G-League games so we could see if these fatal flaws all over his game aren’t solvable by weaker competition. Of course, if not… give him a big extension to motivate him to play like a lottery pick.

      Also, please tell us more about the Ernst and Young conspiracy to guide NBA prospects onto certain teams.

    63. Wow, Dallas is now within three games of Atlanta’s bottom five slot! The Knicks really need the Mavs to send that pick to Atlanta!

    64. Hawks will stick their claws in the hardwood right about now. The schedule will help them not win but if they keep on with this lunacy they shut one/two down.

    65. The lottery is not rigged (at least not since 1985). And isn’t it just our luck that we had 1985 rigged for us instead of 1984!

      I’m all seriousness, the cavs got the #1 pick as compensation for LeBron leaving because the cavs were terrible without LeBron and they lost a lot of games. If the lottery was rigged for the financial benefit of the league, why do the Knicks never win it? It’s rigged for the Pelicans? And Wizards? And Timberwolves? And Suns? But not Knicks? Hmmm

    66. @71, Donnie, just engaging in a little hyperbole. The point I was trying to make is that if the NYKs don’t get the first pick they should pull out all the stops to trade up and get Zion. The dropoff is that large.
      Of course a strong team in NY benefits the league. I’m sure Stern thought he was straightening out the NYKs when he brokered the hiring of DW years ago.

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