Knicks Morning News (2021.12.05)

  • RJ Barrett’s shooting woes continue in return to Knicks’ lineup from illness – New York Post
    [nypost.com] — Sunday, December 5, 2021 2:47:00 AM

    RJ Barrett’s shooting woes continue in return to Knicks’ lineup from illness  New York Post

  • What Is The Missing Piece For The New York Knicks? – NBA Analysis Network
    [www.nbaanalysis.net] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 11:36:10 PM

    What Is The Missing Piece For The New York Knicks?  NBA Analysis Network

  • MVP Jokic leads Nuggets in rout of Knicks, Bulls hold on to beat Nets – Yahoo Sports
    [sports.yahoo.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 11:24:00 PM

    MVP Jokic leads Nuggets in rout of Knicks, Bulls hold on to beat Nets  Yahoo Sports

  • “The Knicks are the number one preference for Damian Lillard”: Stephen A Smith drops a bomb, claims… – The Sportsrush
    [thesportsrush.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 11:08:15 PM

    “The Knicks are the number one preference for Damian Lillard”: Stephen A Smith drops a bomb, claims…  The Sportsrush

  • Knicks news: Kemba Walker situation, addressed by Tom Thibodeau – ClutchPoints
    [clutchpoints.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 8:47:07 PM

    Knicks news: Kemba Walker situation, addressed by Tom Thibodeau  ClutchPoints

  • Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks look ‘soft’ amid East tumble – New York Post
    [nypost.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 7:21:00 PM

    Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks look ‘soft’ amid East tumble  New York PostKnicks’ Tom Thibodeau Says ‘There May Be More Changes Coming’ After Loss to Nuggets  Bleacher ReportUninspired Knicks hear the boos at Garden in loss to Nuggets  New York Daily NewsNew York Knicks vs Denver Nuggets: Betting odds and prediction  Daily KnicksKnicks vs. Nuggets: How to watch, schedule, live stream info, game time, TV channel  CBSSports.comView Full Coverage on Google News

  • New York Knicks searching for identity amid 3-game skid – ESPN
    [www.espn.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 5:48:05 PM

    New York Knicks searching for identity amid 3-game skid  ESPNWhat was behind Julius Randle and Evan Fournier’s halftime squabble  New York Post10 observations: Bulls’ Big 3 prevails in MSG thriller  NBC Sports ChicagoBulls vs. Knicks: DeMar DeRozan’s fourth-quarter takeover saves Chicago from collapse  CBSSports.comBulls 119, Knicks 115: ‘Knicks played great for three quarters’  Posting and ToastingView Full Coverage on Google News

  • Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau Says ‘There May Be More Changes Coming’ After Loss to Nuggets – Bleacher Report
    [bleacherreport.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 4:50:42 PM

    Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau Says ‘There May Be More Changes Coming’ After Loss to Nuggets  Bleacher ReportTom Thibodeau’s Knicks look ‘soft’ amid East tumble  New York PostNew York Knicks vs Denver Nuggets: Betting odds and prediction  Daily KnicksKnicks vs. Nuggets: How to watch, schedule, live stream info, game time, TV channel  CBSSports.comDenver Nuggets at New York Knicks odds, picks and predictions  USA TODAY Sportsbook WireView Full Coverage on Google News

  • Knicks Go Records First Workout Since Breeders’ Cup – BloodHorse.com
    [www.bloodhorse.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 4:40:00 PM

    Knicks Go Records First Workout Since Breeders’ Cup  BloodHorse.com

  • “I have 9 spots on each side, you can only defend me in 5 ways!”: Bernard King succintly breaks down the Knicks legend’s own scoring mantra and approach to basketball – The Sportsrush
    [thesportsrush.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 4:00:25 PM

    “I have 9 spots on each side, you can only defend me in 5 ways!”: Bernard King succintly breaks down the Knicks legend’s own scoring mantra and approach to basketball  The Sportsrush

  • OSU loses to Baylor…Villanova wins…Nuggets beat Knicks – WREX-TV
    [www.wrex.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 3:45:47 PM

    OSU loses to Baylor…Villanova wins…Nuggets beat Knicks  WREX-TV

  • Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Tatum, Fournier, Randle – hoopsrumors.com
    [www.hoopsrumors.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 3:45:00 PM

    Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Tatum, Fournier, Randle  hoopsrumors.com

  • Denver Nuggets vs New York Knicks ? Full Game Highlights | December 4, 2021 | 2021-22 NBA Season – Oakland News Now
    [oaklandnewsnow.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 3:29:09 PM

    Denver Nuggets vs New York Knicks ? Full Game Highlights | December 4, 2021 | 2021-22 NBA Season  Oakland News Now

  • Knicks takeaways from Saturday’s 113-99 loss to Nuggets, including poor shooting and defense – Yahoo Sports
    [sports.yahoo.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 3:27:40 PM

    Knicks takeaways from Saturday’s 113-99 loss to Nuggets, including poor shooting and defense  Yahoo Sports

  • Knicks news: New York vet dishes on hilarious side of Tom Thibodeau – ClutchPoints
    [clutchpoints.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 1:55:55 PM

    Knicks news: New York vet dishes on hilarious side of Tom Thibodeau  ClutchPoints

  • ‘Succession’s Nicholas Braun Brings Mom Elizabeth To NY Knicks Game ? Photo – Hollywood Life
    [hollywoodlife.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 1:25:08 PM

    ‘Succession’s Nicholas Braun Brings Mom Elizabeth To NY Knicks Game ? Photo  Hollywood Life

  • The New York Knicks need to give Obi Toppin more minutes – Daily Knicks
    [dailyknicks.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 1:00:00 PM

    The New York Knicks need to give Obi Toppin more minutes  Daily Knicks

  • Evan Fournier talks best part of Knicks, early adversity, Tom Thibodeau’s jokes – New York Post
    [nypost.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 12:43:00 PM

    Evan Fournier talks best part of Knicks, early adversity, Tom Thibodeau’s jokes  New York Post

  • What Kemba Waker, Evan Fournier struggles mean for Julius Randle’s Knicks role – Yahoo Sports
    [sports.yahoo.com] — Saturday, December 4, 2021 10:00:17 AM

    What Kemba Waker, Evan Fournier struggles mean for Julius Randle’s Knicks role  Yahoo Sports

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    188 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2021.12.05)”

    1. So Thibs made some comments post game about RJ needing to get back in the gym was interesting. Maybe hes not exactly the super hardworking guy we were led to believe.

    2. Read the game thread. Excited I missed it.

      I struggle to believe RJ isn’t working hard enough but have no trouble with the idea that no amount of work on his part will make him an All Star

    3. All is not lost. If you look around the league there are a lot of records close to .500. Last year we were worse at this point. That said, it’s clearly disappointing. Especially when you see evidence of them not really trying hard enough. Julius lobbying for a call while the Nugs get a fast break. Wide open three point shooters. It’s gonna be a dog fight to get into the playoffs with a bunch of .500 teams scrapping for position. I wonder if the Knicks have been reading their press and feel entitled. The reports of squabbles among the players are disconcerting. Kemba’s flame out seems to have really hurt morale. The specter of a terrible trade is on the horizon.

      But If 11-12 is the nadir, then we’re living in a better neighborhood than the past. Last year we won 16-20 down the stretch. After GSW and PHO there aren’t huge differences between squads. Thibs will have to keep the team together and focused. It won’t look sexy. There will be grind it out games. We need to understand that there are no teams we “should” beat, but that there are other teams that also have vulnerabilities who technically “should” beat us but who we could beat. (There’s a sentence, lol)

      Knicks have been a disappointment, plain and simple. But if they show some pride, they can still have a magical run.

    4. donnie, i though barry was just ok. without hader (excellent) would have been insufficiently clever for the swing it takes. you may appreciate all the ‘acting as self discovery’ stuff more, but it seemed trite and mostly uninteresting to me. overall came off a bit uneven in exactly how hard it wanted to lean into its absurdity. if i’m getting an edward albee protagonist assassin, give me patriot every time. still better than average tho.

    5. We started 5-1, with the home loss to the Magic the only bad spot (fuming I called it “a botched exam” at the time). After we’re 6-11.

      This is not even close to the team that started the season.
      The ball movement, the extra-passes, the effort on defense (albeit not always successful), the speedier pace, are all gone.

      RJ’s in a month long regression that put him back to 2019-20 (his last “real” good game was november 6th in Milwaukee), his defense has been terrible after a good start.

      Randle’s not ready (or able) to accept an offense that doesn’t revolve around him, has been lazy, bad in the clutch, his defense mostly below average, his attitude negative and scowling.

      Fournier isn’t a good defender to start with, started on fire, had some cathatonic games, now looks totally lost in the “mesh with Randle” experiment, alternating good stretches with lazy efforts.

      Kemba was a big problem on defense, magnified by the other players decline. Demoting him from the starting lineup made sense, erasing him from the rotation was drastic and, after 4 games, looks too harsh and unnecessary.

      Mitch’s bulked up version and the often injured Noel haven’t been close to what they were on defense last year, their offense so limited we’re always playing 4-on-5.

      IQ had a horrible start, regained his touch for a while and now he lost it again (his defense is better than last year tho).

      Burks followed a similar path, slow start, good recovery, but he’s not a PG and is more suited to the microwave/change of pace role (with good defense!).

      Rose had his moments but he can’t be counted on for 30 minutes a game every night.

      Toppin has been mostly good but often misused during the stretch when he was on fire.

      Thibs had some good games, but he sounds like a broken record from the start: defense, intensity, ball movement. Players aren’t listening right now.

      Now please go on a 12-game winning streak and shut me the fuck up.

    6. It feels like we give up 20 wide open 3s per game. According to BB Reference, 43% of our opponent FGs are 3s (6th most in the league), and they make 35% of them (11th highest in the league). Opponents assist on 87% of their 3s, which is the highest mark in the league.

      So basically, if you make the extra pass against us, you WILL find someone open for a 3. We’re lucky that opponents are only shooting 35% against us. It could get worse if we don’t start rotating out to shooters.

    7. Max: Kemba was a big problem on defense, magnified by the other players decline. Demoting him from the starting lineup made sense, erasing him from the rotation was drastic and, after 4 games, looks too harsh and unnecessary.

      There was a report right after he got benched that said Kemba wasn’t benched because of his play, he got benched because he told the team he needed to sit out of the Atlanta game for rest and Thibodeau was pissed.

    8. And God help us if the opponent has a center than can shoot. That guy will be open all day. Guys like Vuc, Jokic, and Turner have absolutely murdered us.

      If the center drifts more than 15 feet from the basket, Mitch has zero chance to recover out to him.

    9. there are so many issues with this team that can’t be fixed with effort and intensity, but it seems like that’s what we’re going with. Rock Paper Scissors, man. Some guys only ever throw rock.

    10. vincoug: There was a report right after he got benched that said Kemba wasn’t benched because of his play, he got benched because he told the team he needed to sit out of the Atlanta game for rest and Thibodeau was pissed.

      I read the same report but it’s in full contrast with two things:

      1. It was a back-to-back and everyone knows (even before signing him) Kemba hasn’t played in one since 2019-2020.

      2. Previously, when asked about Kemba’s availability, Thibs always answered “Kemba knows himself better than anyone, it’s up to him to decide”.

      If the report is true Thibs doesn’t look good…

    11. I’m not giving up on RJ. He was shooting better before he got sick and then he missed a week. I’m giving him more time than just one game to improve his shot.

    12. IQ scores more and shoots better as the off guard. When he tries to run the offense his own offense suffers. He’s not the answer at the point. Maybe McBride can be.

    13. Max: I read the same report but it’s in full contrast with two things:

      1. It was a back-to-back and everyone knows (even before signing him) Kemba hasn’t played in one since 2019-2020.

      2. Previously, when asked about Kemba’s availability, Thibs always answered “Kemba knows himself better than anyone, it’s up to him to decide”.

      If the report is true Thibs doesn’t look good…

      I just took a quick look at his game log for this season: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/walkeke02/gamelog/2022

      Kemba actually did play both games of a back to back a week earlier. He played 11/20 vs Houston and 11/21 @ Chicago.

      Thibodeau says lots of things publicly that he doesn’t actually follow through on. Like he’s said for the 2 years that he’s been here that he’ll play younger players is they’re playing well. But last year he jerked Quickley’s minutes around constantly and this year it doesn’t matter how well Obi plays he almost never gets even 20 minutes of game time.

    14. Thibs deserves plenty of blame for our cringe worthy offense. He needs to get them to move the damn ball and themselves too, as Clyde would say.
      I won’t blame him as much for the defensive incompetence because we can count the good defensive players in our rotation on probably one finger.

    15. I much prefer Julius staying on the perimeter and hoisting threes to the hero ball Julius that dribbles into traffic and then coughs the ball up. That Julius is not our friend.

    16. I kind of agree with JK’s assessment that by far the biggest problem with this team is the regression of both RJ and Julius. These were by far our top minutes-getters last year and the difference in their shooting stats is crippling. The looks they are missing are pretty much the same as the ones they made last year, in fact, teams are starting to dare them to shoot the 3, where they miss time after time. There isn’t an offensive scheme ever invented that can overcome those two guys missing uncontested 3’s and getting the minutes and usage that they do. We are going to see zone after zone and Julius driving 1-on-5, and the L’s will pile up.

      You add to that mix that IQ has also shot badly, stir it up, and voila, you have a 3-game losing streak.

      The FO made a concerted effort to diversify the offensive game, including generating more open 3’s for better shooters. They drafted two guys who can hit open 3’s and signed Fournier and Walker. The underlying assumption was that RJ and Julius would keep on keepin’ on. Without that, the whole plan falls apart.

      There is no way out of this mess without those two guys shooting better. If they don’t start knocking down 3’s, start analyzing those lottery picks!

    17. If we’re gonna get 100+ posts every time Frank Ntilikina has a 6 point explosion it feels like someone has to post about DSJ’s 21-6-4, 7/14 line. 0 turnovers! Sorry.

      Anyway, I don’t necessarily disagree with people saying we shouldn’t panic. It wouldn’t shock me to see a few things get worked out and for us to win 42-44 games. The problems I’m having are of the bigger picture variety.

      At a minimum, the 75th+ percentile outcomes for this team are out the window. Those required some combination of a Kemba bounce back (lol), RJ/Mitch/Obi/Quick steps forward (mixed bag but doesn’t look like we’re getting a ton in this department), and Randle either not regressing or even improving (yeesh). So that sucks, and makes the proposition that we’d be first on the next disgruntled superstar’s list a lot shakier.

      RJ specifically is a particularly huge bummer, since once we stopped aiming for high draft picks (reasonable, if perhaps wrong, decision) a lot of our upward mobility depended on his development. Maybe he can turn it around, a quick look at his game log shows he mostly sucked through 23 games last year too. However by year 3, even future borderline all-stars should not be having quarter-season slumps. I’m taking the under on 0.5 all-star games for him right now, and that doesn’t bode well for us.

      The anti-doom and gloom case is that we probably don’t have an untradable contract on the books and we still have surplus draft picks. That’s all well and good, but reaping the benefits of the former would require this regime to recognize that this core isn’t going anywhere and front offices typically don’t like admitting they have egg on their face. As for the latter, none of this draft assets are particularly good in terms of getting the talent infusion we need.

      Maybe we’ll have a good stretch soon and I’ll feel differently, but our long-term outlook feels substantially worse than it did a few months ago.

    18. I think the centers shooting so many threes has to be a game plan thing. Both Mitch and Noel seem to intentionally be giving up that three. I think it’s blown coverage by another player, as neither Mitch nor Noel seem to be even really attempting to dissuade the threes. I think the reason we see them both do late runouts is because someone else isn’t covering, so they vainlessly try themselves. When the same play keeps happening whether Mitch or Noel is out there, I think it’s gotta be a game plan thing.

    19. The East is just insanely brutal this year even if we turn it around(relatively) you could see the team miss the playoffs entirely.

      Close to the point where I’m hoping for more lottery balls.

    20. I am firmly on board the Deuce McBride should be our starting PG train. Keep the 2nd unit intact and just replace Kemba with Deuce. I know he’s a rookie and all, but the kid just has that “it” factor. He will give you 94 feet of hard-nosed defense and unselfish, intelligent play on offense. I don’t see anything he’s doing in the G-League that isn’t immediately transferrable to the NBA. The kid can really play.

    21. Z-man:
      I am firmly on board the Deuce McBride should be our starting PG train. Keep the 2nd unit intact and just replace Kemba with Deuce. I know he’s a rookie and all, but the kid just has that “it” factor. He will give you 94 feet of hard-nosed defense and unselfish, intelligent play on offense. I don’t see anything he’s doing in the G-League that isn’t immediately transferrable to the NBA. The kid can really play.

      I’m with you, but a lot of his offense may not be transferable if Randle rarely lets him have the ball…

    22. thenoblefacehumper: Anyway, I don’t necessarily disagree with people saying we shouldn’t panic. It wouldn’t shock me to see a few things get worked out and for us to win 42-44 games. The problems I’m having are of the bigger picture variety.

      To be fair, a lot of the big picture optimism that folks were feeling going into the year was not really warranted. Vegas had us as a play-in team for a reason. The FO is trying to thread the needle between being a competitive (but clearly not contending) team in the short run and having maximum flexibility in the long run. Hence all the 2-year w team options deals.

      The team is still in “let’s see what we really have before pulling the trigger on max players” mode. I don’t see how any of that has changed because we lost 2 nailbiters and got blown out to go one game below .500. We’re pretty much right where Vegas said we should be and just completed one of the toughest stretches of the season. I think the losses to the Bulls and Nets are far more indicative of who we are…a team without a true closer who can beat anyone and lose to anyone depending on who’s hot and who’s not.

    23. thenoblefacehumper:

      It wouldn’t shock me to see a few things get worked out and for us to win 42-44 games.

      Z-man:

      The FO made a concerted effort to diversify the offensive game, including generating more open 3’s for better shooters. They drafted two guys who can hit open 3’s and signed Fournier and Walker. The underlying assumption was that RJ and Julius would keep on keepin’ on. Without that, the whole plan falls apart.

      Agree on both.
      This team still has a lot of potential and depth (as shown by the 5-1 start)
      but basically until now every assumption/bet we took has gone bad,
      the polar opposite of what happened last year.

    24. “The kid can really play.”

      I’ve only watched a little bit of him. Is he able to get to the rim at all? How is he at running the offense and distributing? I believe that his defense is rock solid and that he’ll be a decent enough perimeter shooter, but can he be a point guard for us?

    25. The offense could look better in a hurry if RJ just starts making his open 3s. He’s shooting 31% from 3 this year, including a putrid 29% from the corners. He gets at least two kickouts from Randle every game where he’s unguarded and just bricks it.

      There are systemic problems with the offense too (cough…Randle postups 20 feet from the basket….cough), but there’s nothing Thibs can do about RJ just missing easy looks.

    26. No matter what happens, the odds of landing in the play-in seem very high. Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Miami, Chicago, Philly, and Atlanta are better than us. Orlando and Detroit are clearly worse.

      That leaves us on the 7-13 range with Washington, Cleveland, Boston, Indy, Charlotte, and Toronto. Indy and Toronto could be heading for tank-town. Then we just need to be better than one of Washington, Boston, Cleveland, and Charlotte. Assuming some positive regression from Randle/RJ/Mitch/Fournier, we probably will be.

    27. DudeInKnicksTown:
      “The kid can really play.”

      I’ve only watched a little bit of him. Is he able to get to the rim at all? How is he at running the offense and distributing? I believe that his defense is rock solid and that he’ll be a decent enough perimeter shooter, but can he be a point guard for us?

      It’s not a strength of his game right now, but not a weakness either. If you look at this highlight reel, the very last play is a strong drive to his left with a left handed finish, nothing complex but the kind of straight-line stuff that complements a very crafty pull-up game. The question for me is whether that pull-up shot-creation game is for real. It sure looks real, and he’s doing it game after game down there. More precisely, it’s looking like what we were hoping to get from Kemba, with an elite defensive mentality on the other end. He’s also a much better vertical athlete than his game suggests. that little flat-footed dunk is hard to do.

      Obviously G-League dominance does not a sure-fire NBA player make, but he’s doing it in all kinds of ways and on both ends. Unlike guys like Iggy and Samanic, he’s got a great physical profile for his position.

      I don’t know what he has to do to earn Thibs’ trust, but I sure hope the opportunity comes sooner than later, even if it is out of desperation. Wouldn’t Linsanity 2.0 be nice?

    28. I said I wanted Deuce in the starting lineup last thread so this is no take-down, but viewing those highlights it’s almost more fun watching how shitty the guy with the braids is at defense.

    29. DudeInKnicksTown:
      Thoughts on Samanic, Z man?

      I have to look more carefully at Samanic before passing meaningful judgment (if there’s any such thing coming from Z-man) but at a glance he has what I would call the Iggy problem…a complete inability to defend a position at the NBA level. Maybe a better comp is Willy Hernangomez with a 3-pt shot. But he is only 21 and definitely has transferrable offensive skills.

      And that’s the hope…that plentiful minutes and reps along with good coaching can tease out whether he can improve his defense enough to make the jump, which is a common roadblock for G-League wonders. That’s why I’m so optimistic about McBride and what he’s doing down there…he clearly has the size to be a plus NBA level defender, yet looks to be thinking the game at an elite level instead of just getting by on talent. Granted, he’s playing against guys that are either shorter or not as talented as himself, but he’s dominating those guys with ease. With Samanic, the dominance is much more suspect because of the size-speed-defensive differential between G-League and NBA.

    30. Raven:
      I said I wanted Deuce in the starting lineup last thread so this is no take-down, but viewing those highlights it’s almost more fun watching how shitty the guy with the braids is at defense.

      Yeah, you beat me to it, and that’s a legit concern. But the shot variety he is showing is pretty freakin’ tantalizing, pull-ups from all levels in both directions, eurosteps in the lane, step-backs, floaters, dunking over people in transition after point-of-attack strips…I might have to go to Bridgeport to see it up close and in person.

      Most importantly, he’s a PG by trade, not a stop-gap combo guard playing PG like IQ or Burks. I say roll him out there with the starters for a couple of games and see what he can do. He won’t embarrass himself is my guess, and once he acclimates to the size-speed and works his way through stupid rookie stuff, he going to be a player.

    31. TheOakmanCometh:
      It feels like we give up 20 wide open 3s per game. According to BB Reference, 43% of our opponent FGs are 3s (6th most in the league), and they make 35% of them (11th highest in the league). Opponents assist on 87% of their 3s, which is the highest mark in the league.

      So basically, if you make the extra pass against us, you WILL find someone open for a 3. We’re lucky that opponents are only shooting 35% against us. It could get worse if we don’t start rotating out to shooters.

      I looked at this yesterday too, and the raw numbers are a bit misleadingeven if the coclusuon is correct.

      Last year opponents took .413 of their attempts from 3 and hit .337 against us assisting on 84%. There’s a difference there, but it’s not gargantuan.

      The real difference is that .337 opponent 3p% led the league last year. This year there’s currently 8 teams holding opponents to a lower number. League 3p% is down from .367 to .346. On the other hand 3PA as a percentage of total shots are up slightly this year.

      So the Knicks are only slightly worse at defending 3s than last year, the problem is the rest of the league got better. (Also our midrange defense is worse across the board)

    32. Yeah, Z-man, I’ve noticed Samanic’s defensive deficiencies too. But that outside shot is very transferable. I’m hoping that he can improve his defense enough at his still young age.

    33. On defense, we’re really waiting on Noel to get healthy and maybe Deuce to get promoted. Mitch just looks off.

      On offense, RJ and Randle have gone from elite shooters to “why the hell are they shooting 3s?” We expected regression but we might be fine if they were at league average rather than the 3p% Mendoza line.

    34. I don’t even necessarily disagree with the calls for some Deuce but they are a pretty damn good indicator things are not going according to plan

    35. DudeInKnicksTown:
      Yeah, Z-man, I’ve noticed Samanic’s defensive deficiencies too. But that outside shot is very transferable. I’m hoping that he can improve his defense enough at his still young age.

      It’s not just that, he has some real deficiencies…shortish wingspan, low motor, kind of robotic on his moves, maybe an IQ problem. I don’t think there’s a chance he gets called up this year barring a catastrophe. But he’s a perfect G-League project big to complement Sims, who has a completely different profile. If one of them develops, you have a hit.

    36. thenoblefacehumper:
      I don’t even necessarily disagree with the calls for some Deuce but they are a pretty damn good indicator things are not going according to plan

      Well we can all stipulate that the Kemba part of the plan has gone down in flames. Calls for Deuce are actually just a remedy for that aspect of the plan, not a referendum on anything else.

      More specifically, the question is “who’s the second-best PG on the roster?” If the answer is either IQ or Burks, then that’s a huge problem. If the answer is McBride, then that’s an unexpected plus, i.e. actually a good thing!

    37. So many thoughts about what is going on right now.

      In the short term, it just feels like this team isn’t playing hard and playing together like they did last season. Even when they were just 500 last year, they played hard every night. We did not really have embarrassing losses like what we witnessed yesterday and even when we were 500, we generally were beating the teams we were supposed to beat. Then we got Rose and went on a nice run to close the season.

      In hindsight maybe we weren’t ready. But I hate the idea of not rewarding players like Randle for what they did last year because they might not be a number one option on a contender. He’s young enough and he had a monster season.

      But the team is close. Honestly, he is right that two weeks of good play put them right back in the playoffs. There are a lot of teams this year who are right at 500.

      Long term, though, I still really like where we are. Of course it would be better if we knew that RJ or Obi was a real star in the making. But as it stands, we still have the largest collection of young talent that this franchise has had in literally decades. Plus we have all our picks, extra first round picks and lots of second round picks. And we don’t really have any bad contracts even if Fournier and Julius aren’t as moveable right now.

      If Leon really wanted to, Rose and Burks could probably be traded for some extra draft capital to contenders looking to upgrade. The ability to keep adding young talent, even if its not top 5 lottery talent, is still there. As is the ability to make a big trade at some point.

      But I think swinging for Lillard or some other big star win now move is NOT the way to go. I would rather the team tries and figures it out and if this season disappoints us, so be it. Long term, things are still in pretty decent shape and I think it’s important for us to remember that.

    38. DudeInKnicksTown:
      I think that we play hard. But we play really, really dumb.

      It’s all eye test (and ear test), but I think we play hard in spurts. Then the players start to do their grocery lists in their heads and the other team goes up by 20. It’s ear test as well because Knicks fans are visceral hard D lovers, and they often seem louder when the team is playing lock-down D than when they’re running fast breaks. And I just haven’t heard much screaming and chanting this year.

      But yeah, we also play really, really dumb. It’s weird that we’re right in the middle of the pack on turnovers, because it sure feels like we should be up near the top. Maybe it’s just that so many of them are so predictable (“Oh no, Julius is dribbling and spinning…!”) and those are more emotionally painful to watch. Like a car crash in slow motion.

    39. We’re one game below 500 and it’s barely December, dawg. It’s a long season. Giving up now seems foolish especially since we have seen stretches where they look pretty good. So much of what is going on seems chemistry and effort based. And RJ just playing so poorly.

    40. I haven’t changed my opinion about almost anything related to the Knicks yet.

      My fears about addition of Kemba & Fournier on the defense turned out to be warranted and maybe the Cavs and Wizards, who I thought would both be better, are even better than I thought. Other than that I think players and teams have ups and downs for various reasons and right now we are in a down period. The problem is that the east is very good. So even if we turn it around and play to the talent level, we could have a fight on our hands to even make the play in.

    41. We’re also sixth slowest in pace, which I think is all due to our starters, or really just slow Julius bringing the ball up, and/or then pounding the ball 20 feet out. It’s not a quantifiable turnover, but we probably give the other team 4-5 extra possessions per game on last-second shot clock heaves that have no chance of going in. The equivalent of just handing the ball to the other team after 23 seconds.

    42. At some point McBride has to be given a chance. The worst case scenario is that he plays defense well but can’t shoot/score efficiently at the NBA level. If he’s not enough of a playmaker either, we’ll run the offense through Randle more (uggh). That kind of makes him Payton with upside. At said right at the start, Burks was not the solution. He’s not a PG.

    43. I’m at a loss of words for what’s happening, so i’m going to wait some more games before i hit the panic button. We have 3 games on the road now, it’s our “home” as we win a lot more on the road than at MSG, and against teams that are also struggling (SAS, IND, TOR). If we don’t go at least 2-1 (i’m hoping to go 3-0), i’ll start following Paolo Banchero and the other high picks.

    44. The “report” about the team being mad at Kemba was a tweet by Berman of the Post, who famously hates load management and takes shots at all the time on social media. I’ve spoken to a few other NBA writers about this, and all agree that it’s nonsense, and that of course the team knew Kemba wouldn’t be playing in that game.

      As for the more important question of what to do, I’m at something of a loss. Maybe unplug RJ and plug him back in again to see if that fixes the problem?

    45. thenoblefacehumper: RJ (…) I’m taking the under on 0.5 all-star games for him right now, and that doesn’t bode well for us.

      I’m taking the over, but only because i think he’ll pull a Oladipo impersonation and will have a strong season at some point, contract year maybe? And then everybody will say “see, he’s a great player, there’s a reason he was picked so high”, for him to just vanish in the following years. Now that i think of it, maybe Oladipo trajectory is the best comp for RJ. Oladipo was also underwhelming in his first few seasons.

    46. If you want to pull back and look at the really wide picture, late last season Dolan somewhat mercurially fired his top two Rangers executives, who were far better at management and personnel than Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau, and now the Rangers are on the cusp of #1 overall.

      Just sayin’

    47. cybersoze: I’m at a loss of words

      Alan: Maybe unplug RJ and plug him back in again to see if that fixes the problem?

      These are tied for the funniest lines of the day.

    48. Z-man: Wouldn’t Linsanity 2.0 be nice?

      I’m 99% sure Thibs won’t do it, because he has strong views toward following the hierarchy and he must go with the next guy (Quick) instead of thinking out of the box. We had 3 PGs to start the season – Kemba, DRose and Deuce – so it’s only logical that if Kemba is out of the rotation and the backup wants to keep that role, to promote the 3rd stringer. We’re in need of something different… Linsanity 2.0 would be amazing! ;)

    49. I don’t get how anyone can compare Thibs to Skiles as a coach, even as a guy who beats up his team and eventually alienates them. Are we really going to use KAT as a measuring stick? I suggest that we wait until he plays in a playoff game that doesn’t involve Thibs before doing so.

    50. Raven: These are tied for the funniest lines of the day.

      LOL, thanks. But i’m going with Alan’s take, mine (unfortunately) wasn’t meant to be funny. :P

    51. Given that what he said finds more than ample support in other independent evidence, yeah I’m fine rocking KAT as a measuring stick.

      The association is a players’ league. Always has been, always will be.

    52. E, all merc’d out:
      If you want to pull back and look at the really wide picture, late last season Dolan somewhat mercurially fired his top two Rangers executives, who were far better at management and personnel than Leon Rose and Tom Thibodeau, and now the Rangers are on the cusp of #1 overall.

      Just sayin’

      Brilliant.

    53. Hubert: Rock Paper Scissors, man. Some guys only ever throw rock.

      DudeInKnicksTown: I think that we play hard. But we play really, really dumb.

      You’re both right because we throw out there, game in game out, a team dumb as a rock.

    54. E, all merc’d out:
      Given that what he said finds more than ample support in other independent evidence, yeah I’m fine rocking KAT as a measuring stick.

      The association is a players’ league.Always has been, always will be

      Yeah, agreed, I’ll throw my lot in with players like Jimmy Butler, Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, you know, guys who have actually played for lots of coaches and who speak highly of Thibs.

      Jimmy Butler in particular clearly was not a KAT fan. Does that count? Here’s some fresh evidence for you:

    55. So you take the word of a number one pick who’s never had any success in the league despite having loads of talent over a second round pick who is one of the best two way players in the league and has lead a team to the finals?

      I mean butler literally saw the writing on the wall in both minny and Philly before anyone else. You claim to be all about the defense but think KAT’s opinion is more valid than Butler’s?

    56. Free Deuce
      Bring him up and let’s see if he can play. There is literally nothing to lose by trying him out. It’s not like any other option currently on the roster is tearing it up.

      I think there is a decent chance he will rise to the occasion and be a at least an average to above average PG. The Knicks have been searching for that for 20+ years now

    57. I’d take the word of KAT and his stats and his obvious talent every day and twice on Sundays over Jimmy Butler’s rants. It was touched on a bit here last season by others, but if the Knicks could get KAT and his price was no Thibs, it would take me like five seconds to start fitting Thibs for his gold watch and favorite ice cream cake.

      It’s a players’ league.

    58. McBride’s step back game is for real, that was one of his calling cards as a prospect. I wonder how it will go with NBA defenders guarding him though— he can’t beat defenders off the dribble so you can stay up on him and guard him tight on those step backs. He’s not a strong finisher at the rim so there are not lots of easy baskets available for him. It’s a good sign that McBride has been pretty efficient in the G League, but starting at PG in the NBA is a whole other thing.

      I’d try Quickley at PG and let Grimes and Kemba play a bit on the second unit before giving the keys to McBride. I could see that starting lineup with Deuce really struggling to score.

    59. JK47:
      McBride’s step back game is for real, that was one of his calling cards as a prospect. I wonder how it will go with NBA defenders guarding him though— he can’t beat defenders off the dribble so you can stay up on him and guard him tight on those step backs. He’s not a strong finisher at the rim so there are not lots of easy baskets available for him. It’s a good sign that McBride has been pretty efficient in the G League, but starting at PG in the NBA is a whole other thing.

      I’d try Quickley at PG and let Grimes and Kemba play a bit on the second unit before giving the keys to McBride. I could see that starting lineup with Deuce really struggling to score.

      All fair concerns. I’m a buyer on McBride, though. I thnk you are underestimating his finishing at the rim, and that will allow him to create space.

    60. E, all merc’d out:
      I’d take the word of KAT and his stats and his obvious talent every day and twice on Sundays over Jimmy Butler’s rants.It was touched on a bit here last season by others, but if the Knicks could get KAT and his price was no Thibs, it would take me like five seconds to start fitting Thibs for his gold watch and favorite ice cream cake.

      It’s a players’ league.

      Well you can do that all you want and roll the dice with maybe the softest big man in the league. His “talent” has racked up nothing but L’s in his 7 years in the league. With one exception.

    61. Right, we’re back at the point where Thibs gets credit for the 47 win season but doesn’t get criticism for the 36 win season or the 19-21 before he got shitcanned. (*) Kinda like when Randle makes all-NBA, it’s because of Thibs but then when he reverts back, it’s his own fault.

      Doesn’t really work that way, though.

      (*) Or when he’s a higher seed and then gets completely outcoached in the playoffs and loses in 5.

    62. The Kemba Walker thing by Thibs wherein he just has to be either a starter or out of the rotation completely with no in-between and Alec Burks is now my full-time point guard is also weird and stubborn and eccentric. At some point the numerous data points over the years start to speak for themselves for anyone paying attention.

    63. (*) Or when he’s a higher seed and then gets completely outcoached in the playoffs and loses in 5.

      We were completely outclassed talent wise in that series. Be fair.

    64. Insisting on starting Elfrid Payton the first two games didn’t really help whatever talent disadvantage was there.

      Bigger picture, if there was in fact such a massive talent disadvantage to the 5 seed, they should have just hired another coach because they needed to be in one or two more lotteries. The Thibs wins were ultimately pointless. And now they’re 6-11 over their last 17 games …

    65. Really? You can’t blame Thibs because management should have hired someone else.

    66. Thibs’s act has been clear for several years now. It’s management’s fault for hiring him and for giving him personnel voice.

    67. ***Deeefense!! December 5, 2021 at 2:53 pm
      I haven’t changed my opinion about almost anything***

      Almost? Ooh, do tell!

    68. Deeefense!!: I haven’t changed my opinion about almost anything related to the Knicks yet.

      edit: fuck it, why do I even bother

    69. E, all merc’d out: but doesn’t get criticism for the 36 win season or the 19-21 before he got shitcanned.

      And how did that turn out for Minny? How have they done since the moment Thibs was shitcanned? A resounding 70-131! Thanks KAT!

    70. JK47:
      E : Tom Thibodeau :: JK47 : Phil Jackson

      Nah, JK actually had valid reasons behind his Phil hate. E just makes shit up, in fact, he’s more cultish than strat’s worst pro-Jax silliness in being the champion of the anti-Thibs crusade.

    71. Where would you rank the following teams in terms of their current records vs preseason expectations (the disappointments, not the positive surprises)

      Knicks
      Hawks
      Mavs
      Pacers
      Lakers
      Nuggets

      Taking injuries into account, I’d go: 1) Lakers 2) Hawks 3) Pacers 4) Knicks 5) Mavs 6) Nuggets

      Thoughts?

    72. The Lakers were supposed to be a title contender and they’re 25th in the league in SRS. They have been quite bad. Dallas is also underperforming a lot and the Knicks are not far behind.

      Atlanta is underperforming their Pythag and they’re better than their raw W-L record indicates.

    73. The 2.5 seasons Thibs coached KAT were literally the best 2.5 seasons of KAT’s career. You shit on his first season as their coach or the season he got fired, but those 2 seasons would be the 2nd and 3rd best seasons of KAT’s career, the first being the year they made the playoffs with Butler.

      And all of that completely ignores the fact that you take KAT’s word over Butlers because of “stats?” WTF are you even talking about? Butler doesn’t have good stats? He has great stats and he backs it up with defense. He was the leader on a team that went to the fuckin’ NBA Finals. He took the Raptors in 2019 to 7 games in the second round. He’s done nothing but win his entire career with 2 way play. Elite defense and good offense.

      KAT has done NOTHING in the league except lose while scoring points and giving up layups in the paint. He’s not even Melo level good. Melo at least won 50 plus games most of his Nuggets years and went to the playoffs like 8 straight times, WCF trip. KAT ain’t done shit and you want to can our coach because we’re one game under 500 after we were the fourth seed last year? Dude, you’re smoking crack right now.

      We’re literally exactly where we were a year ago record wise. On no! We handed out some reasonable 2 year contracts with team options to decent veterans and have all our draft picks and a bunch of young players but we’re one game under 500! The Knicks are a disaster! Get a grip, dude. This season could be a total flop and I still would want to keep thibs and Leon in place because of waht they’ve done so far. Progress isn’t always linear.

      Miami went to the Finals, sucked last year and is now good again. Did Riley panic and blow it all up because last year was a let down? People need to chill the F out.

    74. Z-Man: And how did that turn out for Minny? How have they done since the moment Thibs was shitcanned? A resounding 70-131! Thanks KAT!

      This isn’t fair. Thibodeau came in and emptied the team of assets to bring in his vets. Who knows where the Wolves would be had they kept guys like Markannen and Lavine and the financial flexibility that comes with those cheaper contracts. Thibs made terrible signings too… Teague and Dieng contracts were atrocious.

      YOu could also argue you might have seen more growth from Wiggins and KAT had they had a coach who could reach them and a roster that could grow with them rather than expecting them to play like playoff vets when they were 22. (I admit this is a shakier point.)

    75. latke: This isn’t fair. Thibodeau came in and emptied the team of assets to bring in his vets. Who knows where the Wolves would be had they kept guys like Markannen and Lavine and the financial flexibility that comes with those cheaper contracts. Thibs made terrible signings too… Teague and Dieng contracts were atrocious.

      YOu could also argue you might have seen more growth from Wiggins and KAT had they had a coach who could reach them and a roster that could grow with them rather than expecting them to play like playoff vets when they were 22. (I admit this is a shakier point.)

      No one is defending Thibs the GM. But blaming Minny’s woes on him is silly, they sucked before he got there and have sucked since he left. Another coach took over after he was dumped and coached the same exact team to a worse record. It only got worse after that.

      How did CHI do after he left? Not that good if I recall correctly. And he wasn’t GM there.

    76. BTW I totally agree that he should have almost no say over player acquisitions, drafting, etc. Give him players and let him coach them as he sees fit, and if he demands more influence over personnel decisions, let him go. I wasn’t in favor of hiring him (or any name coach) until a winning roster was built but not because of his coaching.

    77. d-mar:
      Where would you rank the following teams in terms of their current records vs preseason expectations (the disappointments, not the positive surprises)

      Knicks
      Hawks
      Mavs
      Pacers
      Lakers
      Nuggets

      Taking injuries into account, I’d go:1) Lakers 2) Hawks 3) Pacers 4) Knicks 5) Mavs 6) Nuggets

      Thoughts?

      Personally, I was thinking that Kidd could be very bad for Dallas, but so far he hasn’t been and I don’t think they are way behind expectations. I would put the Lakers and the nuggets at the top of the list. The Knicks position depends on whose expectations you are referring to. The board was very positive, but Vegas was not, and they are roughly in line with Vegas expectations

    78. everyone has their part in this as clyde would say… “inauspicious start”…from front office on down…including Thibbsy…still alot of games to be played…but as Thibs himself said a few weeks ago…when you keep pointing down the road ….soon enough you are 50 games in and the same shit is going down…might just be this is flat out just a 500 club…we didn’t get much better and teams around us did…as frank nikilna used to say “c’est la vie”…one thing it seems about thibs and the little nuggets he throws out in the pressers…he appears to be suggesting that he is open to continuous tinkering until things are the way he wants them or perceives they should be in terms of intensity/effort…that part is going to be interesting in seeing what other levers/maneuvres he has up his sleeve if things go off the rails..

      Lets go Rangers!

    79. Macri’s newsletter has some film clips that point out how atrocious the Knicks were on defense, particularly Randle, RJ and Mitch. In general, it doesn’t look like they are connected at all, they are slow to react and the result is wide open looks for shooters. There is no way what I saw there is a “scheme” thing. They look flat-footed, confused and frustrated.

    80. d-mar:
      Where would you rank the following teams in terms of their current records vs preseason expectations (the disappointments, not the positive surprises)

      Knicks
      Hawks
      Mavs
      Pacers
      Lakers
      Nuggets

      Taking injuries into account, I’d go:1) Lakers 2) Hawks 3) Pacers 4) Knicks 5) Mavs 6) Nuggets

      Thoughts?

      Hawks have Bogdo and Hunter coming back, they’ll be alright.
      Lakers have LeBron and AD. They’ll figure it out.
      Nuggets lost MPJ and are still without Murray so they are not that good
      Mavs? Who knows? New coach, KP plying better when not hurt, I’d give them time.
      Knicks are not that good, playing as expected.
      Pacers are not that good, playing as expected.

      So I would say Lakers, Hawks and Nuggets by records, but Nuggets fans have the most to worry about unless Murray comes back gangbusters. Porter’s back situation is very troubling, but an excuse for having an off season. The Mavs are sort of a wild card.

      I think Knicks fans should be dissapointed with their play of late, but we just don’t have the stars the other “disappointments” have, nor are we the finished products they are.

    81. One observation I am making is that nearly every competitive team has a deep enough bench that even teams with multiple players out can beat good teams with one or two unsung players going off, and even the scrubby teams can get hot and run their way to a win. It’s happening all over the league. That probably hurts a team like ours, since we aren’t as likely to win by simply out-hustling teams. Everyone is hustling these days, so to get a win, you not only have to bring your A game, you have to execute. Our biggest issue lately is that we are not executing, and our second biggest problem is that we are not bringing our A game for 48 minutes. At least that’s how I see it. How much is on Thibs and how much is on the players is a great question.

    82. Z-man:
      Macri’s newsletter has some film clips that point out how atrocious the Knicks were on defense, particularly Randle, RJ and Mitch. In general, it doesn’t look like they are connected at all, they are slow to react and the result is wide open looks for shooters. There is no way what I saw there is a “scheme” thing. They look flat-footed, confused and frustrated.

      The coach’s job is to make sure they don’t look that way. If the players don’t want to play for the coach, the coach isn’t doing his job. (*) These have been pro sports axioms forever.

      (*) No one was saying these three guys looked this way last year; in fact they were saying the opposite and Thibs was getting the credit for it. If he gets the credit when they look good, he gets the blame when they look bad. Another perennial pro sports axiom.

    83. So Thibs made some comments post game about RJ needing to get back in the gym was interesting. Maybe hes not exactly the super hardworking guy we were led to believe.

      Or maybe Thibs has no idea how to help the offense other than asking players to hit the gym 9 days a week.

    84. From Berman today:

      The Knicks have a “NOAH” shot-tracking device at Tarrytown on all its baskets. According to a source, the coaching staff can tell how many shots each player is taking at the facility.

      The suggestion is Barrett hasn’t been taking enough.

      This can be something anodyne and normal — I want to get some extra work in today, I set 200 shots as my workout, the machine counts them for me so I can focus on the work and my shot. OK, no worries.

      It can also be something smothering and weird and eccentric — coach wants to scapegoat somebody and blame something superfluous, has access to feed even when he’s not around, looks at it, sees fewer practice shots than an earlier time period, concludes young player with obviously good work ethic isn’t “working hard enough.”

    85. Macri’s newsletter has some film clips that point out how atrocious the Knicks were on defense, particularly Randle, RJ and Mitch. In general, it doesn’t look like they are connected at all, they are slow to react and the result is wide open looks for shooters. There is no way what I saw there is a “scheme” thing. They look flat-footed, confused and frustrated.

      It is a scheme that they are not connecting on/being slow to react on.

    86. I wrote this on my Letterboxd account about Moneyball last week, and I think the NBA ain’t far behind:

      It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hagiography of the thing. Beane, played commandingly by Pitt, is the textbook definition of underdog, and as the film makes sure you know, no one is his ally: not the owner, not his scouts, not his players, and certainly not, y’know, the Yankees et al. Despite the injection of optimism in the cloying daughter character (its nadir coming in an inexplicable, age-inappropriate aria in a guitar shop), there’s not much or many that Beane has on his side. So we cheer when he and his Homely Nerd Sidekick win a trade against a rival GM, or beat back the old-hat head coach, or stick a spear into the pinstriped goliath’s side. Jonah Hill is the perfect non-movie star movie star, lighting up every scene with unpretentious mannerisms and perfect line delivery, as usual. He and Pitt have undeniable chemistry and the script is damn good. Fun stuff.

      But the big, quiet problem with Moneyball — including the magnificent piece of long-form journalism from whence the film came — is that it champions itself as an ode to the power of truth (math, economics, free-thinking) against the machine (tradition, old-boys’-club), when another possible reading is that Moneyball is about capitalists squeezing every last bit of water from the stone. Ten years out and baseball has become so homogenized in practice that it’s almost unrecognizable. Three true outcomes, spin rates, a carousel of relievers. Bunting, intentional walks and caught-stealings are dumb, sure, but so is watching a game whose brute-force efficiency has come to come first, second and third, and its artistry and grace dead last.

    87. cont.

      And for what? The enrichment of billionaire franchise owners, all pumping money into analytics to print more money, denying players the right to free agency through the manipulation of service-time rules, constantly undercutting the shrinking lower- and middle-classes of players in service of those elusive quarterly earni– er, marginal wins. (Sound familiar?)

      Moneyball was indeed about the discovery of truth in baseball, but also about the truth of ruthless efficiency-chase in American industry. And what an ugly truth it’s come to be, the Great American Pastime finally having caught up with the rest of its industrial brethren. How uplifting.

    88. It was inevitable that if the owners could use Moneyball as a way to justify making more money for themselves, they would do it — and they have. I do find it very interesting that the contingent of “Homely Nerds,” in a very short span of time, went from insisting that baseball owners didn’t have to spend money to win to insisting that the owners weren’t spending enough money and were screwing the players. (*) Typically, when I see huge swings in core intellectual principle such as those, my first question is whether something deeper, beyond baseball, has been motivating the insistences. I believe there is.

      Obviously, net-net it’s been very bad for baseball to have had the Homely Nerds hack the game and discover its cheat codes.

      (*) I mean, at the end of the day that’s what Billy Beane did, right? “The data tells me you’re worth $5 million, but you and your agent haven’t caught on yet and are willing to play for me for $1.5 million.” Looked at in that vein, Beane essentially misappropriated their value. Why a wide subculture would celebrate that is the ultimate question raised.

    89. We’ve talked about losing Bullock (and Peyton) and that hurting the defense. But I don’t think enough is being made about Mitch being 20 pounds heavier and so much slower. He can’t race out to the 3 point line to contest 3’s, switch on smaller players or come out of nowhere with blocks and swats.

      Of course, Noel took over for Mitch last year after Mitch got hurt but Noel has been hurt and ineffective this year too! And Taj has been hurt too!

      Our whole interior defense has been hurt/slowed down and that’s had a catastrophic effect on the defense. Throw on top of that removing one good wing defender (Bullock) and now RJ has to be the primary wing defender. Or to put it another way RJ + Bullocks is better than Maybe slightly better on defense RJ + Fournier.

      Then you had Kemba who was truly worse on defense than Peyton. Peyton wasn’t a world beater but he was big and definitely better than Kemba on defense.

      So its not just not having Bullocks. Its not having Bullocks, not having Peyton, and not really having last year’s Mitch, not having Noel and also not even having Taj.

      Then you gotta wonder. RJ was supposed to step up on D. But maybe even if he has stepped up, its not enough to compensate for all of those other areas we took a step back and maybe all that extra work on defense plus opposing team’s respecting his 3 point shooting, has exhausted him and he’s just not hitting the shots he was hitting last year?

      I don’t know. It’s all cascading effects.

    90. And what an ugly truth it’s come to be, the Great American Pastime finally having caught up with the rest of its industrial brethren. How uplifting.

      Well said.

      I find the playoff expansion to be even more detestable than the three true outcomes, and it looks like we’re moving up to 14 teams now. This reduces the entire season to a 162 game exhibition season that has no meaning and no need to be watched.

      Some time around 2012 or so, when it became apparent that October was the new March Madness, I gave up on the regular season and only tuned in for October. It just wasn’t worth my time. In 2020 and 2021, I completely tuned out: zero minutes of baseball watched, including October. I don’t see that ever changing.

    91. E, all merc’d out: Why a wide subculture would celebrate that is the ultimate question raised.

      The scene at the end of the film where Beane talks with the owner of the Red Sox sort of gets at it, I think. Henry says, “You’re threatening their jobs, and they will hate you for it.” I think there was an element of inheritance that felt unjust to the Homely Nerd contingent, i.e. being a good player doesn’t make you a good scout or GM or coach, but the prevailing culture says otherwise. And I think there’s a moral problem to cause a persistent itch, there.

      Problem is that the Old Boys Club got replaced by ruthless capitalist consultancy firms, which carry a brand new kind of amorality or immorality. And when I first read Moneyball in 2006, I don’t think I had a good understand of how craven the race to the bottom would become.

      If RJB is being graded based on a shot-tracking quota, I may also be behind the curve re: the NBA. It’s not a good look. It does not bode well for the sport as an art. For the business, maybe. But not the sport.

    92. @IanBegley
      Tom Thibodeau says club may make some lineup changes for San Antonio game. Said he still wants to mull things over.

      Pie-in-the-sky time, relative to this roster in its current state (i.e., banged-up centers, RJ can’t shoot): what changes would you make to the lineup/rotation? Swap Grimes in for RJ on the wing? Quickley for Burks as the starting PG? Taj for Mitch? Let Deuce loose with the starters?

    93. Jowles that’s excellent writing. It perfectly distills the increasing discomfort I personally have with being firmly in the analytics nerd etc. camp. I definitely never intended to serve as a cheerleader for the siphoning off of wealth from labor to capital.

      I do think there are some unforeseen post-Moneyball developments that have made the fact that it would be used this way more obvious (as I’ll outline in my response to E), but I can’t pretend it all comes from the benefit of hindsight.

      I’ll also be fair to myself and point out I read Moneyball in middle school. So there’s that.

      I do find it very interesting that the contingent of “Homely Nerds,” in a very short span of time, went from insisting that baseball owners didn’t have to spend money to win to insisting that the owners weren’t spending enough money and were screwing the players.

      I won’t deny there are some contradictions here, but I will say there’s a relatively new trend of baseball teams not even spending on clearly beneficial signings by WAR/$ etc.

      Just to use one example, I’m fairly certain the Scherzer contract will generate tons of surplus value using any half-decent algorithm that compares production to salary (it’s questionable what meaning we should ascribe to those have in a sport with no salary cap, but whatever). So why was he available at that figure? That’s an inefficient market. Players are signing below-market extensions because they’re aware of this trend.

      Basically during the Moneyball days, it made more sense to root for the Beanes of the world because the Yankees et al. actually would sign the highly paid elite players.

      Again, I’m not saying it wasn’t at all foreseeable that Moneyball would seamlessly integrate itself into the larger American chase for every last dollar. Just pointing out that some things have genuinely changed.

    94. This reduces the entire season to a 162 game exhibition season that has no meaning and no need to be watched.

      Annual seasons in sport are so weirdly arbitrary (aside from weather patterns I guess), and so steeped in tradition that it’s hard to see them changing. It made a lot of sense to have 162 baseball contests when there was, like, almost nothing to do for fun except go to the theater and day-drink. We live in a world where I can watch anything all of the time. The idea of spending perhaps 486 hours (give or take) of my year on a single entertainment source — it does not compute.

    95. Okay, this may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever written, so expecting to be chastised, but after reading Jowles’ piece on Moneyball (nicely done, that) after watching it again recently; it’d never happen of course, but what if they awarded a half-run for getting to second base? Not if the ball leaves the park, that’s still just one run. But a double (one of my favorite baseball plays). Or a stolen base (ditto). Inside the park homer is 1.5 runs. People would still hit homers, but suddenly rallies and all kinds of fun plays that were tossed into the scrap heap might come back. And homers would be devalued a bit in comparison.

      Never happen, but what’re the gaps in my logic (since I’ve thought about it for exactly three minutes, I presume there are lots…).

    96. Pie-in-the-sky time, relative to this roster in its current state (i.e., banged-up centers, RJ can’t shoot): what changes would you make to the lineup/rotation? Swap Grimes in for RJ on the wing? Quickley for Burks as the starting PG? Taj for Mitch? Let Deuce loose with the starters?

      I’m more agnostic on the starting PG than most since Quickley tends to play a lot these days anyway, but if I had my druthers we’d start a small-ball lineup. Burks-IQ-Barrett-Obi/Randle-Obi/Randle, probably.

      You could quickly pivot if we were getting killed at the rim and/or on defense more broadly, but my eye-test based impression is the jolt that would give our offense would outweigh the defensive drop off (not like we’re killing it on that end using the traditional centers anyway, and like you said none of them are 100%).

      So yeah, truly pie-in-the-sky. Also as usual great Succession review.

    97. i don’t think your argument is really about capitalism, jowles. people are going to try to get better at things, especially competitive things, under almost any system of property rules. in some cases, like baseball and stockfish, that inexorable forward vector is zero sum and people end up watching the same parade on their tiptoes. in others, alphafold2 is outperforming decades of the smartest protein folding wizards in the universe and the parade gets a fuckton better. people are going to try to win, and knowledge isn’t unitary.

      if anything, the league profit motive can act as an incentive to change the rules if advances in zero sum games generate negative externalities and hurts the game as an entertainment product. you could even argue that it’s a lack of capitalism (monopolistic and centralized features of sports leagues) making that reaction slower and less optimal, as also happens in many olympic sports over time. it really doesn’t matter if the story is told as heroic or opportunistic. it’s useful to focus on the vaulting ambition end or pretending it isn’t about a particular system. people gonna people. and people try.

      did the old boys club like money or winning less? nah.
      they were just worse at it and conveniently employed some cheap aphorisms that helped keep competition and efficiency at bay for a minute. but any beauty you see in that stagnation is inherently ephemeral. and oh by the way also bullshit.

    98. Back to Barrett for a moment, what Thibs just did to him in the press was pretty awful. Now that we’re not winning at a rate far exceeding expectations, it’s becoming harder to overlook some of his tactical blunders both on and off the court.

    99. Here’s what I would do by the way:

      Starters:
      C: Taj
      PF: Randle
      SF: Burks
      SG: Fournier
      PG: Quickley

      Bench:
      C: Whichever of Mitch or Noel is healthy enough, with a sprinkling of Randle
      PF: Toppin
      SF: RJ
      SG: Grimes
      PG: Rose

      If things don’t improve, then I would try Deuce, and/or do the In Case of Emergency thing where Rose starts.

    100. Raven: Okay, this may be the dumbest thing I’ve ever written, so expecting to be chastised, but after reading Jowles’ piece on Moneyball (nicely done, that) after watching it again recently; it’d never happen of course, but what if they awarded a half-run for getting to second base? Not if the ball leaves the park, that’s still just one run. But a double (one of my favorite baseball plays). Or a stolen base (ditto). Inside the park homer is 1.5 runs. People would still hit homers, but suddenly rallies and all kinds of fun plays that were tossed into the scrap heap might come back. And homers would be devalued a bit in comparison.

      If you start from scratch, you could make baseball a fun-as-hell sport. I don’t have the mental energy to dive into the incentives of it, but I can’t imagine making the game worse by turning the big binary of runs into something more flexible. But then it’s no longer baseball, and the MLB would rather keep making billions while claiming poverty.

      It seems pretty obvious that basketball’s current “problem” is that 2s are not worth 3 and 3s are not worth 4. Alas–

    101. if anything, the league profit motive can act as an incentive to change the rules if advances in zero sum games generate negative externalities and hurts the game as an entertainment product. you could even argue that it’s a lack of capitalism (monopolistic and centralized features of sports leagues) making that reaction slower and less optimal, as also happens in many olympic sports over time.

      Absolutely. It’s the cartel collectivism that can insist on money-losing tradition when innovation might be in its best interest. We see it in virtually every sport with a commissioner. Roger Goodell isn’t rocking the boat when he can just stay the course and keep making whatever absurd nine-figure sum he’s awarded by ownership each year.

      Thanks to all for the feedback, especially ptmilo for slapping some nuance into my jeremiad.

    102. Alan: Pie-in-the-sky time, relative to this roster in its current state (i.e., banged-up centers, RJ can’t shoot): what changes would you make to the lineup/rotation? Swap Grimes in for RJ on the wing? Quickley for Burks as the starting PG? Taj for Mitch? Let Deuce loose with the starters?

      I’m worried because we lost our strength against almost all of the league – our 2nd unit. So i’d start Deuce in place of Burks to get back to our most effective 2nd unit (DRose + Quick + Burks + Obi + Noel).
      Oh, and btw, you’re completely right, Swift. When we were at our best at the end of last season, Noel was supreme – 1st in the league in DBPM (3.5). And we thought we’d be getting better because Mitch would be back this season, that wasn’t very smart. LOL

    103. Hubert:
      Back to Barrett for a moment, what Thibs just did to him in the press was pretty awful. Now that we’re not winning at a rate far exceeding expectations, it’s becoming harder to overlook some of his tactical blunders both on and off the court.

      For starters: Who put the NOAH thing on the Tarrytown baskets? When did they do it? Who has access to the data? Is NOAH on call 24/7? How does NOAH know it’s RJ Barrett taking the shots, as opposed to Immanuel Quickley or Obi Toppin? Who told Berman about NOAH?

      Given his well-established track record, one of the primary worries about Thibs was always that if things started going sideways, he would start criticizing or alienating or otherwise mismanaging important young assets. It’s come to pass. It’s inconceivable (unconscionable, really) that he would have said these things to the press mere days after RJ Barrett spent a week trying to play while puking his guts out.

    104. Personally, I would start Rose at PG, Grimes at SG, RJ as SF, Randle at PF, and Mitch at C.

      The second unit would consist of Burks and Quickley at the guard spots, Fournier at SF, Obi at PF, and Noel at C.

      Grimes gives you more D as a starter and both he and Rose can shoot the three pretty well. Burks and Quickley can kind of play both point and off-guard, and you don’t split up the Quick/Obi connection. Plus, Fournier’s putrid D is not as big a deal on the second unit.

      And since all of our starters are suspect this year, you can give any of the five a quick hook if they are tired (Rose), terrible (RJ), selfish/stupid (Randle), stupid/out of shape (Mitch), or just too green (Grimes).

    105. The Honorable Cock Jowles: If you start from scratch, you could make baseball a fun-as-hell sport. I don’t have the mental energy to dive into the incentives of it, but I can’t imagine making the game worse by turning the big binary of runs into something more flexible. But then it’s no longer baseball, and the MLB would rather keep making billions while claiming poverty.

      It seems pretty obvious that basketball’s current “problem” is that 2s are not worth 3 and 3s are not worth 4. Alas–

      In baseball everyone know knows to the decimal point the relative value of the various discrete events and so the only way to fix that is to make the values fluctuate in some way, or have a random component built in.

    106. The time that Deuce is getting in the G league is invaluable. I’d give him a few more games there and, if he continues to do well, hand him the keys to the varsity team. At the very least it appears that we’ll get tenacious defense and a 3 ball threat. His turnovers have always been low, which should keep Thibs happy.

    107. The Honorable Cock Jowles:
      cont.

      Very good piece all the way, sir.

      Hubert:

      I find the playoff expansion to be even more detestable than the three true outcomes, and it looks like we’re moving up to 14 teams now. This reduces the entire season to a 162 game exhibition season that has no meaning and no need to be watched.
      …..

      I completely tuned out: zero minutes of baseball watched, including October. I don’t see that ever changing.

      I did the same and defeating my lazyness last week I unsubscribe my automatic renewal to MLB.TV that was active since 2003.

      thenoblefacehumper: It perfectly distills the increasing discomfort I personally have with being firmly in the analytics nerd etc. camp. I definitely never intended to serve as a cheerleader for the siphoning off of wealth from labor to capital.

      While numbers and statistics are good and fun to understand, analyze and predict, “analytics” is something else, it contains a vein of “A.I.” that distances from the human fallacy and dehumanizes the actors (players, coaches, scouts) of what is sport to the advantage of a cold search for “efficiency” and “cost/ benefit” ratio.

      Any “tool” of this kind quickly becomes a weapon for “siphoning off of wealth from labor to capital”, for the same “people gonna people” (or corporate gonna corporate) reasons Ptmilo explain.

      I think Bill James decades ago never intended to break the game and support labor exploitation, but in baseball here we are and the NBA as Jowles said “isn’t far behind”.

    108. I was about post a response I spent 20 minutes working on and literally thought, “let me see if ptmilo wrote it already but much better?” And yeah, his response just blew mine out of the fucking water.

      There are many ways to be a sports fans and a major source of joy for me is to watch people make the best off field decisions possible using all the tools at their disposal.

      I find it totally thrilling for some reason that the Brentford Bees are competitive in the Premier League with an owner who is worth (just) 20 million pounds. They basically have tried a bunch of things no one else has, it’s worked, and to me that is awesome.

      Is it an underdog story? I don’t really care. I mean, the owner is a guy who sells computer systems to help people fleece the average gambler. That seems easily as morally fraught as the Saudi sovereign wealth fund.

      But winning with brains rather than money is cool and always will be.

      I feel the same way about watching professional poker. It’s pretty stupid at its base. Everyone is just trying to make money. But some people do it better and it’s just fun to watch them display that mastery.

      Anyway, good conversation….

    109. one thing id like to say about bullock, if i may… ahem… I know he seems to be having an awful season… but one thing he did with us last year, was, not waste time… he’d either heave up one of the quick release flat 3s … or it was a dribble and a pass… quickly… if fournier is gonna waste time dribbling, pump faking and the like, we’re gonna need to see some results…

    110. I’m very eager to discover if Thibs will really change something and at the same time curious to watch players’ body language and reaction after the embarrassment that was the Denver game (I know, it’s very un-analytics).

      Give Grimes and Deuce minutes, play IQ and Toppin more, go small, re-insert Kemba in the rotation or whatever, to stay the course is the only thing Thibs can’t afford while the ship is sinking.

      As that old guy Parcells used to say “you are what your record says you are”, but I hope they’ll be able to shake it off and play like they can (and did at the start of the season).

    111. @IanBegley
      Tom Thibodeau says club may make some lineup changes for San Antonio game. Said he still wants to mull things over.

    112. KJG:
      one thing id like to say about bullock, if i may… ahem… I know he seems to be having an awful season… but one thing he did with us last year, was, not waste time… he’d either heave up one of the quick release flat 3s … or it was a dribble and a pass… quickly… if fournier is gonna waste time dribbling, pump faking and the like, we’re gonna need to see some results…

      I agree on the Bullocks angle, but not on Fournier. I think he usually makes quick decisions, he does the quick curl and the 3 or drive to the basket, which can be quite effective. He’s shooting 39.4 from 3 right now (Bullocks 27.5!). I’m frustrated by his disappearing for stretches, although how much is him and how much is others not moving the ball is hard to say. I also feel frustrated that he often hesitates to take the quick 3 and allows the defense to reset. But I don’t think he dawdles or dramatically slows things down. There are others to blame for that one.

    113. Donnie Walsh:
      ***Deeefense!! December 5, 2021 at 2:53 pm
      I haven’t changed my opinion about almost anything***

      Almost? Ooh, do tell!

      What is there to change?

      I knew the addition of Kemba and Fournier was going to cause a decline on defense. I wasn’t sure how much they’d add on offense, but it wasn’t mortal lock it would be a net plus.

      I knew the east was a lot tougher than last year.

      Noel and Mitch have been playing hurt.

      The rest of it is most likely normal short term nonsense. We weren’t as good as we looked when we went 5-1 and we aren’t as bad as we look now. The talent is the talent. Teams go through normal good and bad stretches. We are in a bad stretch now like Atlanta was to start (and I came out and said don’t worry about Atlanta they are good!). I expect us to play better. We are probably around a .500 team if we are mostly healthy. Everything else was a hope for an upside surprise or a hope than Randle was actually a 40% 3 point shooter (which seemed very unlikely).

    114. Raven: I also feel frustrated that he often hesitates to take the quick 3 and allows the defense to reset.

      I’m really just referring to this piece above… when he’s doing that, we’re in trouble… i guess that’s really it…

      as far as disappearing, bullock disappeared because he was kinda supposed to … fournier needs to stay active

    115. I kinda don’t mind the “regular season games don’t mean that much” aspect of MLB… generally I like to have a game on in the background and it’s pretty low stakes if your team loses a game. Get ‘em tomorrow, or whatever.

      They’re pushing it too far though. 14 teams is too many to allow into the playoffs, it REALLY makes the regular season worthless. Basically every .500ish team will make the playoffs. Further compounding the problem is the fact that “the playoffs are a crapshoot” is basically a proven fact in baseball. The best team usually loses somewhere along the way.

      I’m a modernist when it comes to baseball, I believe in closers coming in for the most high leverage situation instead of just pitching the 9th, I abhor “play for one run” strategies like bunting, and I don’t really have a lot of problems with TTO kind of thinking. I get more annoyed when my team gets beat with bad BABIP luck then I do when they get beat because of TTO shit.

      I’d ban some of the more extreme shifts though. That I could get behind. I’m kind of rambling here but MLB seems to be making the wrong kind of tweaks to the game.

    116. Our interior defense is very good, we are 3rd in the league at surrendering points in the paint. Our rim defense is very good. We are okay at giving up 2nd chance points. We are not that good at conceding on the fast break. The only bad parts of our defense that stand out are we concede a lot of 3 point attempts, we are a bad defensive rebounding team and we don’t force turnovers. Also teams are making 80% of their free throws against us.

    117. Our interior defense is very good, we are 3rd in the league at surrendering points in the paint. Our rim defense is very good. We are okay at giving up 2nd chance points. We are not that good at conceding on the fast break. The only bad parts of our defense that stand out are we concede a lot of 3 point attempts,

      I guess I wonder if these things are related such that we sell out on rim attempts at the expense of threes. Last year we got the best of both worlds because we sold out on rim attempts and for whatever reason our “3PT defense” didn’t suffer. We gave up a lot of 3PA last year (9th most in the league) but as everyone knows had the #1 opponent 3PT% (in the good way).

      This year we’re 25th in 3PA and 20th in Opponent 3PT% (in the bad way in both regards). My bad eye-test impression is the scheme hasn’t changed much, the 3s are just going in now. This is why I think the loss of Bullock et al. is being overstated a bit.

      I’m frustrated by his disappearing for stretches, although how much is him and how much is others not moving the ball is hard to say.

      As a lonely Fournier fan, I definitely wish we’d run more actions for him. He’s one of the better scorers on the team.

    118. Yeah, when they called that timeout play for Fournier at the end of the Nets game and he came off the screen, caught the ball and just fired away the 3 pointer, I thought “damn dude why aren’t you doing that all game?”

      I mean, its nice that he can create off the dribble and we want someone who can do more than Bullock could, but also sometimes you just need a dude to catch and snipe and Fournier can do that. That is what made our simplistic offense work last year. Randle beasted inside, he was doubled, then he kicked out and RJ/Bullocks/Burks fired away from 3 with open looks. Then RAndle would shoot some 3’s and take mid range or tough shots when there was nothing else. I know our offense is rated better this year but last year that worked with good defense. Sometimes less is more. Its fine for Fournier to take a dribble if he’s guarded or whatever, but if you’re open, shoot the damn ball.

    119. Fournier’s 2p% and AST% are way down this year. He’s mostly missing midrange shots, especially 3-10ft and 16-3pt line. Not sure why his AST% is so far down, but it’s the lowest of his career and nearly half of what it was last year. He’s getting to the rim as often as last year, so it’s unlikely poor driving.

      I think our defenders need to rotate better when someone helps. Whoever is left on the perimeter needs to hedge toward the helper’s defender and needs to close hard on them if they get the ball.

      My rotation:

      PG: Deuce/Rose
      SG: Grimes/IQ
      SF: Fournier/Burks
      PF: Randle/Obi
      C: Whoever is able to walk

      RJ needs to sit for now, maybe switch off with Fournier. IDK, the starting lineup probably needs some more proven ball handlers.

    120. I know the rookies have new car smell and all of that, but it seems very unlikely that McBride and Grimes are going to outplay the guys who are already in the rotation.

    121. The offense being ranked 15th is a pretty solid improvement over being ranked 23rd last year. It’s particularly impressive considering RJ and Randle have been shooting like the excrement of whatever animal you think has the most offensive excrement.

      Of course, that could have more to do with the bench unit than Kemba or Fournier.

    122. Our interior defense is very good, we are 3rd in the league at surrendering points in the paint. Our rim defense is very good. We are okay at giving up 2nd chance points. We are not that good at conceding on the fast break. The only bad parts of our defense that stand out are we concede a lot of 3 point attempts, we are a bad defensive rebounding team and we don’t force turnovers. Also teams are making 80% of their free throws against us.

      Yeah, exactly. They’re playing the same schemes as last year, they’re just not doing them as well this year. And I think it mostly comes down to the perimeter guys not executing as well as last year (and yes, the invisible sixth man is obviously a factor, as well). When you see Mitch and Noel constantly racing from the middle to cover a center shooting a three, someone is not executing the scheme correctly. There’s no way that Mitch and Noel are playing so far off of the three-point line just because, what, they don’t feel like it? It makes more sense to me that Mitch and Noel are where they’re supposed to be (where they are protecting the rim well) and the other guys aren’t connecting with the scheme, leading to the open looks that Mitch and Noel race out on too late.

    123. I guess the other option is we’re running a scheme that relies on our centers to keep other teams from shooting 3s, and in that case we should get a new scheme

    124. Thibs hinting at changing lineups and the RJ soundbite the other day lead me to believe RJ is going to the bench(for now at least). He doesnt like Quickley out there alone so switch him out for RJ and start Quick, Burks, Fournier, Randle Mitch. Bench Rose, RJ, Grimes, Obi, Noel

    125. RJ and Randle have been shooting like the excrement of whatever animal you think has the most offensive excrement.

      finally, a worthy and meaniful discussion to be had, thank you EB…

      okay, i’m gonna go with dog poop…most other animals that you come across usually in urban areas have more of a plant based diet, like cows and horses and stuff…dogs pretty much have a human appetite, they eat a lot of the same gunk humans do…

      of course it doesn’t happen very often, but, on those rare days when i do venture out the house really really early (like pre-8am early) – the smell of people’s dogs pooping everywhere is really bad…

      i mean, cow manure is no olfactory type picnic (although it does kind of have an earthy smell to it), but dog scat – ewwwwww…

      so, yeah, RJ and julius are shooting like dog crap…

    126. I’d be on board with starting Quick over RJ. Burks at starting PG takes away a bit from his major asset — shooting the ball, and being aggressive offensively. Quick adds more 3P shooting, where we’ve really struggled. And if Burks gets pressured full court (which I think more teams will start doing) we’re giving it to Quick not Randle to dribble up the court. If RJ can’t hit open jumpers he’s not really adding very much offensively and his defense has been average at best.

    127. things will have to get really bad…and even then given thibs’ history…for thibs to throw those rookies into serious rotation minutes and maybe we get there by game 40 or so…but in the interim…and I don’t like IQ as the main PG/facilitator as his value is spot up shooting…and I believe Fournier did most of the bring up the court/start offense at some point in Orlando that we go with (and Thibs comes off the Kemba is only a starter bullshit):

      Starting 5
      IQ
      fournier
      burks
      randle
      mitch/noel

      2nd unit
      kemba – basically serving the IQ purpose of hitting 3’s being fed by rose
      rose –
      rj
      obi
      sims/mithc/noel/taj…i.e., who cares…

      if the above crashes and burns…well, say hello to deuce/grimes/knoxy/luka or whatever…trade everyone else for Zion…

    128. I guess the other option is we’re running a scheme that relies on our centers to keep other teams from shooting 3s, and in that case we should get a new scheme

      One of the main reasons why I think it is the plan is because otherwise, why wouldn’t they just have Noel and Mitch play the outside shooting centers straight up? They obviously could, so the fact that they’re not doing so suggests that this is part of a plan that just isn’t being executed correctly.

    129. JK47:
      I know the rookies have new car smell and all of that, but it seems very unlikely that McBride and Grimes are going to outplay the guys who are already in the rotation.

      You’re probably right, but why not find out? Whatever the guys currently in the rotation are doing it’s not working right now

    130. ptmilo: since we’re going deep today, please take a look at my linkedin essay, tentatively titled “can the knicks every truly trade tim hardaway jr? a post-keynesian inquiry”

      And also the contracts they signed with the Knicks are almost identical: Timmy was a 4/71M and Evan is a 4/78M.

    131. Mitch and Noel both playing hurt and Taj also missing games has unquestionably hurt the energy and mobility on defense. I’m not a defensive coach. It’s hard for me to know exactly who is at fault for all the wide open 3s, but between our 3Cs being less than 100% and missing games and downgrading our perimeter defense at two positions, our defense was bound to be worse. I don’t really see RJ getting lazy on defense, but Randle’s attitude has deteriorated since last year. There’s probably a lot of blame to go around.

      Aside from that, I think a lot of teams had key injuries or lost key players to Covid for extended stretches last year. The Knicks were pretty healthy other than Mitch, but it wasn’t hugely impactful because they had Noel and Taj behind him.

      I think we have to get used to the idea that this team is not much better than last year on a net basis (if at all). That should come as no big surprise. Practically everyone thought that coming into the season (other than maybe Knicks fans haha). Other teams are healthier and/or have made improvements. So the east is a lot tougher this year (everyone on earth knew that) .

      I think what we can do now is get RJ’s shot selection back on track and possibly try to get him matched up against SG’s more often so he can use his strength to finish better. He’ll be fine.

      I think the ultimate solution to Randle is to upgrade PG and wing so he becomes more of a 2nd or 3rd option and we can keep the ball out of his hands. We don’t want to run the offense through him. I’d be much happier with 15-18 efficient points. 3 assists, and 10 boards than what we have now.

    132. I mean, you could just move Rose into the starting lineup. Play IQ as the lead guard on the second unit and maybe even sneak Kemba in there every now and then if you can find a suitable matchup. If you’d rather try to work McBride into the rotation and abandon Kemba entirely, that’s fine too. Give Grimes 15 minutes or so off the bench and see what he can get cooking.

      I think pulling RJ out of the lineup would be a mistake, regardless of how poorly he has played. You have to get him back on track. If he stinks for another 20 games, well then we’re gonna stink anyway but at least you tried to get your promising young player back on track. Pulling him out of the starting lineup now because we need to chase some low playoff seed is, well, Knicksy.

    133. wait a minute – i just remembered something far far worse than ordinary dog do – pelican poop…

      RJ and julius are playing like pelican poop…if you’ve been fortunate/unfortunate enough to witness this horror, you know, it’s something very alien looking…

      speaking of the pelicans, they’re 5 -5 over their last ten, 6 – 4 for the rockets…

      we’re do for another decent game soon…

    134. E, all merc’d out: (*) I mean, at the end of the day that’s what Billy Beane did, right? “The data tells me you’re worth $5 million, but you and your agent haven’t caught on yet and are willing to play for me for $1.5 million.” Looked at in that vein, Beane essentially misappropriated their value. Why a wide subculture would celebrate that is the ultimate question raised.

      IMO, that’s an easy question to answer.

      We are all sports fans and want to our teams to win. We intuitively know that of we overpay that hurts our chances and vice versa. So we are hoping our management team negotiates a few bargains. Whether some financially better off player is getting a few dollars less than he deserves ranks lower to us than whether it helps us win.

      When was the last time anyone here wanted to pay any of our players more and reduce our cap space out of the goodness of our hearts because the current deal was too attractive?

      The owners profits are separate issue. Teams in the same sport don’t really compete with each other when it comes to profits. They compete with other sports and entertainment. It’s on the owners to ensure their return on invested capital compensates them appropriately and on the players to make sure they get a fair piece of the pie if the teams are earning excess profits.

    135. Forget about Bullock’s 3p%.

      IMO, it’s silly to look at his stats this season and be concerned about his 3p%. He’s a veteran. We know exactly what he’s capable of. He’s not a very young player with a small sample. He’s not too old and on the decline. He’s not hurt. He’s not making a major expansion to his game. He’s not being defended differently. His slow start is very likely irrelevant noise. He actually has a history of starting seasons off slowly and then picking it up. It sucks for Dallas, but if he remains healthy and stay within his role, he’s going to hit at least close to 40% of his 3s playing off Doncic the rest of the way.

    136. @ShamsCharania
      Bulls star DeMar DeRozan has entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols and is listed out vs. Denver. DeRozan could miss several games in protocols.

    137. It’s hard not to see why everyone rates Kemba as a pro when you read his comments on his benching. I know it’s one of those fluffy intangibles, but guys like that in the lockeroom are super valuable. He was mostly pretty meh as a starter, but really hoping he can bounce back a la Rose last year.

    138. Yes the Knicks losing is way better for Berman’s business because then everyone tries to defend their own roles and prerogatives and jobs so as to deflect potential blame, and they leak shit to him. Someone told him about NOAH out of self-interest and/or to accomplish an objective, for example.

    139. There’s a way to get use out of Kemba as a p/r pull up 3 point shooter, and a spot-up 3 point shooter generally. It appears to be beyond the ability and/or inclination of the current Knicks coach to see that and/or to get that use out of him.

    140. E, all merc’d out:
      There’s a way to get use out of Kemba as a p/r pull up 3 point shooter, and a spot-up 3 point shooter generally.It appears to be beyond the ability and/or inclination of the current Knicks coach to see that and/or to get that use out of him.

      Agreed on all counts. Kemba’s not useless. He’s limited, but he can still shoot a little.

    141. Brian Cronin: One of the main reasons why I think it is the plan is because otherwise, why wouldn’t they just have Noel and Mitch play the outside shooting centers straight up? They obviously could, so the fact that they’re not doing so suggests that this is part of a plan that just isn’t being executed correctly.

      I disagree, Brian. In looking at film, it seems like the plan on the high pick and roll is for the big (e.g. Mitch) to hedge on the roller and get back to the screener. Thibs’ defensive play calls for switching only when the player being screened can’t get through. It was clear when Mitch was on the court vs. Vucevic and vs. Jokic that the only player with a shot of defending them at the 3pt line was Mitch, and that he was slow to the party.

      But it’s not just Mitch. It’s the over-hedging on drivers/confusion on switches that has defenders in no man’s land time and time again. Part of it is that players are getting caught on screens and beaten off of the dribble yet stick with their man while someone comes to help, leaving guys open in the corners or for an easy hockey assist up top. Randle is floating all over the place and often not guarding anyone.

      There are certainly defensive play calls that call for guys to funnel players into the shot-blocking lanes, but that only works if the driver has passing lanes shut off as well. When we’re aggressive and connected on D, the passes are not fast enough to lead to uncontested shots. That’s whad we mostly did against the Hawks, Nets, and (for 3 quarters) the Bulls, but some of those critical open looks by Vucevic were clearly on Mitch.

      It just magnifies the issue that we don’t have a C who can stretch the floor at all. I would gladly sacrifice a bit of rim protection for a C who can at least keep defenses honest from the perimeter.

    142. JK47: Agreed on all counts. Kemba’s not useless. He’s limited, but he can still shoot a little.

      If Kemba is going to play, he has to be at least a non-turnstile on D.

    143. and now, your hosts for this evening, the rolling stones…

      watched the first two parts of the beatles’: get back docu pic…probably one of the most interesting and enjoyable things i’ve seen in a long while…absolutely enthralling…

      way better than any of the lord of rings pics, and they were really good…

      the thing that’s amazed me the most was their rehearsal/song development techniques…just listening to them cover like a 1,000 different songs warming up or creating new songs is incredible…

    144. Jowles, very nice post on Moneyball and thanks to all for the following discussion

    145. Big Chiefin’ as Phatt Geo:
      and now, your hosts for this evening, the rolling stones…

      watched the first two parts of the beatles’: get back docu pic…probably one of the most interesting and enjoyable things i’ve seen in a long while…absolutely enthralling…

      way better than any of the lord of rings pics, and they were really good…

      the thing that’s amazed me the most was their rehearsal/song development techniques…just listening to them cover like a 1,000 different songs warming up or creating new songs is incredible…

      thanks for the heads up geo…err….big chief…my wife has been pushing me to watch this with her…but wanted to finish narcos mexico first…did that last night (very good final season)…going to the beatles next..

    146. Is there a way to see the Get Back stuff w/o paying for Disney plus? I also heard great things about Under The Volcano by the same guy…

    147. i’ve watched a few studio: making of whatever albums before, but, this was something different altogether…the group dynamics is fascinating…

      as i mentioned, the biggest surprise was all the different songs they covered and the ways they covered them…just incredible…

      oh and z-man, any time you’d like, you are more than welcome to come on over and we can watch a little tv together :)

    148. Yes, it’s a long and winding road.

      it surprised me so much to see them working on their tunes – they just hum shit til they start filling in words that sound cool…i can hum shit…dang, except for the born wrong time, wrong place, and not having any talents – i could have been a beatle!!!

    149. @EDemirNBA
      One of the offensive woes are the corner three so far.

      The Knicks rank 29th in corner threes with 32.9% on 7.9 attempts; last year 3rd in the NBA with 42.7% on 8.9 attempts.

      Two biggest reasons:
      Bullock leaving (46.8%)
      RJ Barrett missing corners (was 42.4% last year; 29.4% now)

    150. KevinR:
      @EDemirNBA
      One of the offensive woes are the corner three so far.

      The Knicks rank 29th in corner threes with 32.9% on 7.9 attempts; last year 3rd in the NBA with 42.7% on 8.9 attempts.

      Two biggest reasons:
      Bullock leaving (46.8%)
      RJ Barrett missing corners (was 42.4% last year; 29.4% now)

      Hmmm, how does Bullock’s compare to Fournier’s? PS Reggie is one of the worst players in the NBA so far this year, shooting .275 from 3. Fournier is shooting 39.4% on 8.4 attempts per 36.

    151. Oubre has always had a lot of potential and seems to be coming into his own at the ripe old age of 26. He would have been a good gamble for the Knicks. It seems like Bullock misses the Knicks as much as we miss him. There is an argument for things like team chemistry and fit. Maybe this team will come together over time or maybe they screwed things up and will have to take a step back and try again next year. I think that it is still too early to tell.

    152. I’ve only watched the first part of the Beatles doc but it is fascinating. My big takeaways so far.

      1. People made a big deal of the John vs. Paul rivalry that split the group but its pretty apparent that it was really John and Paul leaving out George that split the group. John and Paul had a shorthand and respect for each other when creating together and George was on the outside of that. I mean George brings some great songs for them to work on and Paul is just like “oh, that’s nice. Now back to my song.”

      2. People said Lennon was the biggest dick but IMO, so far he seems pretty chill. Paul has this nice guy persona but he’s very passive aggressive and controlling. He literally never lets George play how he wants to play.

      3. Everyone said Yoko broke up the group or whatever. But honestly you watch this. She’s just there hanging out. Knitting or reading a paper. She and Linda seem to get along. And no one else in the band really seems to mind that she’s there at all.

      4. Ringo seems the most sad/frustrated because he’s just sitting there on the drums waiting for them to work it all out but Paul doesn’t really try to tell him how to drum that much. They’ll be working out a song and then Ringo’s like “ok now its time for me to start drumming” and everyone is cool with it.

      5. Despite them being in turmoil during this period, they’re still basically cordial with each other and seem to all still be friends. I think watching this you realize they didn’t hate each other. They were just all kind of worn out being The Beatles at this point and needed space. But the ease with which they work on these songs is incredible to watch.

    153. Oubre is taking and making more threes than ever before. It’s twenty games. Let’s see what happens.

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