Knicks Morning News (2022.05.23)

  • 3 Players Knicks Could Target in Free Agency – The Knicks Wall
    [theknickswall.com] — Monday, May 23, 2022 7:22:13 AM

    3 Players Knicks Could Target in Free Agency  The Knicks Wall

  • Submit questions for Fred Katz’s Knicks mailbag – The Athletic
    [theathletic.com] — Monday, May 23, 2022 6:48:58 AM

    Submit questions for Fred Katz’s Knicks mailbag  The Athletic

  • Detroit Pistons’ pick at No. 5 in NBA draft has Hall of Fame track record – Detroit Free Press
    [www.freep.com] — Monday, May 23, 2022 6:03:58 AM

    Detroit Pistons’ pick at No. 5 in NBA draft has Hall of Fame track record  Detroit Free Press

  • 2 Fresh Trade Ideas To Send Anthony Davis To New York Knicks – NBA Analysis Network
    [www.nbaanalysis.net] — Sunday, May 22, 2022 11:18:30 PM

    2 Fresh Trade Ideas To Send Anthony Davis To New York Knicks  NBA Analysis Network

  • Sharpshooting guard Malaki Branham could be draft option for Knicks – New York Post
    [nypost.com] — Sunday, May 22, 2022 9:56:00 PM

    Sharpshooting guard Malaki Branham could be draft option for Knicks  New York Post

  • Knicks Notes: Miles McBride talks workouts and Summer League, Obi Toppin talks to Dwyane Wade – Posting and Toasting
    [www.postingandtoasting.com] — Sunday, May 22, 2022 6:19:13 PM

    Knicks Notes: Miles McBride talks workouts and Summer League, Obi Toppin talks to Dwyane Wade  Posting and ToastingKnicks forward Obi Toppin welcomes criticism from former players  Daily KnicksKnicks: Obi Toppin doesn’t care about social media chatter but welcomes NBA legends’ criticisms  Empire Sports MediaKnicks’ Obi Toppin: Fashion & Future with Dwyane Wade  Sports IllustratedView Full Coverage on Google News

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    60 thoughts to “Knicks Morning News (2022.05.23)”

    1. First – glad Alan is out of the hospital and on the mend! Happy to help – all I did was play matchmaker between a long-time KBer and a great surgeon.

      Second – hate to praise Pat Riley but you have to give credit to him for that Bam pick. Seems most consensus mocks at that time had him in low 20s-ish or at best high teens. He averaged like 1 assist per 36, had a 1:2 A:TO ratio, shot 65% from the line — fast forward 5 years and he’s one of the best passing big men in the league, dangerous mid-range shooter, and maybe the best defender at the center position in the playoffs. If anyone thinks Jalen Duren can be a switchable defender that can survive in the playoffs, then he’d be worth the #11 pick- but that’s not the sense I get. And certainly Mark Williams could never survive past the first round.

      Third – call me unconvinced that Mitch is worth Robert Williams money ie. max extension. Noel was a bad contract the second it was signed, so it is not useful to compare any potential Mitch contract to that one other than as confirmation of FO incompetence. The major worry is that DET will try and sign him outright (and so we’d likely be stuck just getting a trade exception — only valuable if we stay over the cap, but still something worthwhile) , but overall it is quite possible we will get something acceptable in S&T. I like Mitch but it is notable that other than not jumping out of his skin to block every shot, he’s not really better (at all) than he was 2 or 3 years ago. He absolutely cannot pass the ball. His FT shooting is abysmal even after FOUR seasons in the NBA – actually has gotten worse every season (60->56.8->49.1->48.6%, and yet he spends his free time shooting 3’s). He is injury prone, and while supremely bouncy, is one of the most awkward landers I’ve ever seen. I just do not think he’s the guy to pay starter C $ to. I mean, Javale McGee is honestly better and is available every offseason at 1yr/4-5MM.

    2. I think this last point — lack of improvement – is really important. We are wiling to pay RJ more than his past performance may dictate because we believe in his trajectory (not to mention positional value) – ie. he really is just better than he was in his 1st or 2nd year, even if the efficiency stats don’t necessarily show it. But Mitch is literally the same player as he was his rookie year, just slightly more disciplined. he IS a great offensive rebounder, which is most useful when your offense sucks and you miss a lot of shots. Although he resembles what Gobert does, he doesn’t remotely compare with Gobert in terms of impact. The Knicks were a better team defensively with him off the floor (109.5 DRtg) than on the floor (112). Even if you add Randle into the Mitch on/off as a surrogate of being in a bad starting lineup, the Knicks were much better defensively in the Sims Randle minutes (107.3 DRtg) than the Mitch Randle minutes (113.4).

      And let me not forget to say again that paying RJ the max would be total lunacy – the definition of bidding against ourselves before there are even any other suitors. As much as I like RJ personally and respect his work ethic and the way he handles himself, I think there’s at least a 50/50 chance that this is the peak of his value, and that we should trade him before that value drops (whether as a result of plateauing of his game, a bad contract, or both).

    3. I get that Mitch hasn’t improved that much BUT I really do think there should be an asterisk next to that statement.

      He came into the league much less polished than even a one and done freshman because he skipped college and spent that season just working out.

      He then had his first season and a half under Fizdale. Who basically had no game plan for developing the youngsters besides “getting them right.” Miller took over but then the season ended and covid meant he couldn’t work with our assistant coaches or whatever until training camp under Thibs. He immediately started showing improvement on the defensive end under Thibs by not taking as many risks, etc. And he was anchoring a very good defensive squad when he got injured. He then missed the second half of the season and a lot of the summer too rehabbing. So he comes back this season out of shape and it took him a while to get into shape.

      Just saying. He’s still REALLY young and he’s had some major roadblocks in the way of his development (and not just injuries). But Mitch from mid-December on was pretty freaking good and had some games where he completely dominated.

      It’s a gamble but all extensions on young players are gambles. I think it’s one worth taking. If he fixes the free throws (ie, gets up in the 60’s even) and has a competent starting PG to play with, he could really blossom.

    4. Z-man: You’re right, it isn’t controversial at all. One would have to be a total moron to trade their only starting-caliber C for something like a single second rounder at the trade deadline. Like, incomprehensively stupid.

      For those keeping score at home, Mitchell Robinson is both:

      1) So consequential to the Knicks that it would be “incomprehensibly stupid” to trade him with 27 games left in a season in which the *best case scenario* is the 10th seed. Even if the alternative is letting him walk for nothing, we simply could not be without Mitchell Robinson for those 27 games.

      2) Eminently replaceable, such that it’s really NBD if we let him walk for nothing.

      Z-man:
      I was just perusing one of Jalen Duren’s highlight reels again. He’s probably gone by #11, but if he isn’t and we wind up with him, I’d be pretty excited. Even though he’s raw, he’s got a bit of a midrange shot and decent footwork in the post, especially for an 18yo.

      Duren took 84 total shots away from the rim and hit 30 of them. For reference, as a freshman Jericho Sims took 42 total shots away from the rim and hit 17 of them. Duren was assisted on 63% of his non-rim shots, while freshman Sims was assisted on 29% of his non-rim shots.

      Of course it’s totally possible Duren hones this part of his game in a major way, but drafting him relying on that would be a huge mistake. It’s not like he’s got an intriguing FT% to look to, he pretty much profiles as, well, Mitchell Robinson offensively.

    5. I love Bam and would take him all day long over a guy like Donovan Mitchell. I’d just like to draft the next Bam. Duren’s numbers do look pretty good but I agree that this obsession with big men who can shoot has gone way too far.

      Having a big man who can actually defend the whole floor still seems to be about 90% of the equation, even if it’s 10% of what people talk about.

    6. thenoblefacehumper: For those keeping score at home, Mitchell Robinson is both:

      1) So consequential to the Knicks that it would be “incomprehensibly stupid” to trade him with 27 games left in a season in which the *best case scenario* is the 10th seed. Even if the alternative is letting him walk for nothing, we simply could not be without Mitchell Robinson for those 27 games.

      2) Eminently replaceable, such that it’s really NBD if we let him walk for nothing.

      This is so far removed from the reality of what I am posting that it’s pointless to refute. I’ll trust people’s judgment on what I am actually posting versus what you are insinuating in a Fox News-like way above.

    7. thenoblefacehumper: Duren took 84 total shots away from the rim and hit 30 of them. For reference, as a freshman Jericho Sims took 42 total shots away from the rim and hit 17 of them. Duren was assisted on 63% of his non-rim shots, while freshman Sims was assisted on 29% of his non-rim shots.

      Of course it’s totally possible Duren hones this part of his game in a major way, but drafting him relying on that would be a huge mistake. It’s not like he’s got an intriguing FT% to look to, he pretty much profiles as, well, Mitchell Robinson offensively.

      Can you tell me how his numbers compare with Bam’s and Jarrett Allen’s? (I think Allen would be a fine outcome for the #11 pick in this draft, and that seems like his floor to me. Agree or disagree?)

    8. Z-man: Can you tell me how his numbers compare with Bam’s and Jarrett Allen’s? (I think Allen would be a fine outcome for the #11 pick in this draft, and that seems like his floor to me. Agree or disagree?)

      Allen was a completely different story, took 177 shots away from the rim and hit 81 of them (7 were threes, and he missed all of them).

      Bam is an example of a player who didn’t show off much of a jumper in college but then developed one–took 99 shots away from the rim and hit 32 of them at Kentucky.

      It can happen, it’s just not something you want to bank on in the lottery. I personally would find it pretty discouraging if we drafted Duren and were told we simply need to dream on Bam Adebayo’s very atypical development case.

    9. Mark Williams is huge, put up great numbers, and actually has a three-point shot (based on the combine). I’d prefer to keep Mitch, but Williams looks to have Gobert potential, but maybe with more range. I don’t see how that’s not a lottery pick.

    10. (I think Allen would be a fine outcome for the #11 pick in this draft, and that seems like his floor to me. Agree or disagree?)

      z-man i think we may need to define terms here. i think of floor as “reasonable bad case.” jalen duren’s reasonable bad case is obviously a far worse player than allen. but i’m like 95pct sure you once said bamba’s
      floor was dikembe with better offense, so i feel you really mean something like “floor archetype in a really great outcome” or something like that, yes?

    11. There is literally no one in this draft good enough to say Jarrett Allen is their “floor.”

    12. ptmilo: you once said bamba’s
      floor was dikembe with better offense, so i feel you really mean something like “floor archetype in a really great outcome” or something like that, yes?

      Yeah, seems like I blew that one, although Mutombo came into the league at age 25 and Bamba is only 24 so there’s still hope!

    13. Brian Cronin: I want them to fire Thibs specifically because he pushes them too much for “win now,” so I’m not looking for “success” in year three, as obviously, that’d be foolish, since it almost certainly ain’t gonna happen. I just need to see Rose do something this offseason that makes it clear that he gets that this team is not a contender and is not close to being a contender, so something that looks like he has a plan outside of “run the same disappointing team back, just with a #11 pick and without one of its best players, then hope for something fluky.”

      I agree with you on this, Brian, but i have one question. Do you think it’s a good move to offer big money (22M to 25M AAV) to Brunson? He’d clearly help us win more. Or do you prefer to give Quick the starting PG job and see how he does? If he does well, great, we have our PG of the future. If not, we’ll have a good pick in 2023.

    14. Consensus mock draft from May 19 – https://www.nba.com/news/2022-consensus-mock-draft
      The Top3 is what we all know, on all 11 mock drafts they used to build this list, they have a combination of Chet, Jabari and Banchero. On 10 mocks the next 3 are a combination of Ivey, Sharpe and Murray. The lone mock that didn’t have those 3 had Griffin on the rise (#5) and Murray falling (#8).
      To finish the Top8 the next 2 players are Griffin and Mathurin, and i think this Top8 has all the players that have a high chance to not disappoint. After that comes the players the Knicks usually pick, prospects that “if he improves this and that he’ll be a very good player”. :P
      The Blazers want to use their pick (#7) to get players to win now, i think it’s a no brainer for them to receive a good vet (Fournier, DRose or Burks) and pick #11 for their pick. This way they can still use a first (only 4 spots down) to trade for another vet to win now.
      For the Knicks it’d be gold, because we’d have the opportunity to select the one we like more from Griffin and Mathurin, or even better if one of Ivey, Sharpe or Murray slips from the Top6.
      Please Leon, make a call to Brian’s cousin in Portland and make this deal. :D

    15. Ess-dog – I think Williams will fall and I agree, based on how monstrous his college numbers were, that he probably will end up a very solid pick.

    16. no sorry wasn’t trying to call you out on mo bamba in particular. i once bought out of the money warrants on renaldo balkman. meant to make a point about draft distributions and floors. floors and ranges and very meaningful ideas, especially relative to the best guesses we all gravitate towards.

      but the floor for virtually any big with no established perimeter game or earth shattering production is almost always going to be very low. like, not a useful player low. not “really good starter on a good team” low. for duren it’s simple. he’s not a great decision maker and has an up and down motor. this shows up on offense with him constantly trying to write passing checks his body can’t cash and ending up with an ugly turnover rate. on defense it’s ending up completely out of position in cases where he is way too big and quick to have been out of position. if he doesn’t grow through this, he’s going to be a hell of a lot worse than allen (and he’s not likely to be as a good of a lob finisher either imo). not saying he won’t grow through it, i don’t have a gut feeling on him. he definitely can do some things at 19 that allen could not.

      but we’re talking about floors here, and i don’t think it’s reasonable to be anywhere in that area code for him. i don’t even think of him as a particularly high floor prospect, bc an-uber talented defensive big who can’t shoot (in a floor case) and doesn’t ever get to the elite motor and recognition you need these days just isn’t very useful.

    17. Duren’s floor is a ho-hum NBA backup. He’s probably too big and athletic to be lower than that. But if he doesn’t develop an offensive repertoire away from the basket and fails to improve his defensive reads, then I don’t see him as a starting caliber player. I’m with ptmilo that your idea of floor, is nowhere near an actual floor.

      If Mitchell Robinson didn’t improve his footwork to become a relatively good defensive player rather than a shot blocker, that’s where Duren’s floor is. That version of Mitch was exciting, but not good. Or look at Hassan Whiteside, he can do some incredible things and put up big numbers, but I don’t particularly want him on my team.

      But if Duren’s floor was Jarrett Allen, he’d be going #1 overall. There’s a reason he may be available at #11.

    18. I just think we’re overthinking Mitch.

      He’s very good at some stuff. He’s good for the defense. He’s young. There’s a good chance he can still get better (I’ve given my reasons why I think his lack of improvement so far doesn’t mean he isn’t about to take a leap). What his new contract will be will probably be market value still.

      Maybe eventually we decide to move on from him and upgrade the C position. If we decide to do that, I feel pretty confident that Mitch in a season or two is going to be a player other teams will want or at least will take without us giving up too much.

      Young players with upside who are good/great at some things. These are the types of players we should be looking to keep. Worrying about a few million or whatever seems short sighted. Build a good team one step at a time. Worrying about not hitting a home run or saving the most you can possibly save at a supposedly replaceable position seems silly.

      Also, why is center replaceable? Have we considered the group think about rim running bigs being easy to replace is…wrong? 7 footers don’t grow on trees. Just cause they don’t hit 3’s and put up massive points doesn’t mean they’re easy to raplace.

      It’s like offensive linemen in the NFL. They don’t get the huge contracts or the highlight plays always but you can’t have a good offense in the NFL with a bad offensive line. You can have the greatest QB and running back of all time and if the line can’t block for them, they won’t do shit. Centers are the new offensive linemen of the NBA. CAuse of the threeball, everyone wants all of their players to do that and if they can’t, people think they’re not worth anything. It’s not true though.

    19. Centers are really just being hit by the #s game on one side and playoff basketball style on the other.

      First, you can only play 1 center at a time, and many teams play zero centers for periods of time. So the supply of centers is >> demand.

      Second, that mismatch becomes worse in the playoffs, where only a handful of centers are skilled enough to survive on the floor defensively when the offenses go small, and offensively when teams can effectively play 5-on-4 and ignore nonshooters/nonplaymakers. If you can’t punish a switch as a center, teams will just switch everything and bog down the offense. O-rebounding is great, but there are really only so many opportunities in a game, and meanwhile the rest of the offense is stuck in mud.

      Gobert doesn’t get “played off the floor”, but he’s not nearly as impactful in the playoffs as during the regular season, and is crazily overpaid all things considered.

      Embiid is good enough but still can’t get out of the 2nd round (not necessarily his fault). Jokic is amazing – hard to know whether his defensive limitations outweigh his offensive brilliance. Ayton was basically a nonfactor in the Dallas series because he couldn’t punish switches enough.

      The guys who are left playing center right now are playmaking centers that can switch. Mitch can do a little switching, but offensively he’s mostly useless in a playoff setting other than offensive rebounding. It’s just not enough.

      I’d offer him MLE money and if he doesn’t want it, S&T to the highest bidder.

    20. by the way, if guys like Dyson Daniels or Ben Mathurin aren’t available at 11, sign me up for Malakhi Branham or Tari Eason. Branham is probably just scratching the surface of his playmaking ability and is already a high level shooter, and Eason just seems so athletic and twitchy. 2.9 steals/36 (!) + 1.9 blocks/36 = 4.5 stocks per 36 — that is just fantastic. Shoots 80% from the line and supposedly has some ball handling skills…

      Overall I feel like it’s possible we trade down a few slots a la the Brock Aller special. Feel pretty much the Knicks put prospects into tiers, then are comfortable with whatever player they get in that tier – ie. willing to move down just far enough to get a guy in the tier + an extra asset.

    21. I dont see Williams slipping past the Hornets at 13 he would be perfect for them.

    22. I think that what Frank did for the TV critic was fine and all, but his best work this week was his 2:19pm post about Mitch. He’s cemented his Poster-of-the-Week Award.

    23. KevinR:
      I dont see Williams slipping past the Hornets at 13 he would be perfect for them.

      Actually think Duren would be perfect. Williams is a bit lumbering – you’d think with Lamelo they’d want more of a nuclear athlete to run with him. Might actually be a good team to target for a trade-down…

    24. Frank: Eason just seems so athletic and twitchy. 2.9 steals/36 (!) 1.9 blocks/36 = 4.5 stocks per 36 — that is just fantastic. Shoots 80% from the line and supposedly has some ball handling skills…

      Also scored 25pts/36 on .615 TS% and just measured with a 7’2″ wingspan!

    25. If we ended up taking an underclassman who finished in the top 5 in BPM in college basketball I’d be pretty happy.

    26. The more I see of Sochan, the more I want him on the second unit behind Obi. I just don’t want him at 11. Now, if Portland would take Randle and the Dallas pick for Bledsoe and 7, I’d have no problem taking Sochan at 11- provided our pick at 7 isn’t stupid. I wonder what it would take to trade back into the 1st, should Sochan still be available around 17 or so. Maybe I’m super old school, but I would love to add Sochan to Grimes, Deuce, Mitch/Noel, Cam, and RJ’s defensive abilities. He just can’t be our ONLY 1st rounder this year because we need shot creation too. Cam could possibly step up in that area, but I’m not sure he won’t get moved this offseason. Everything seems to be pointing to Donovan Mitchell being a Knick sooner than later, and I’d rather keep RJ if that happens

    27. Third – call me unconvinced that Mitch is worth Robert Williams money ie. max extension. Noel was a bad contract the second it was signed, so it is not useful to compare any potential Mitch contract to that one other than as confirmation of FO incompetence. The major worry is that DET will try and sign him outright (and so we’d likely be stuck just getting a trade exception — only valuable if we stay over the cap, but still something worthwhile) , but overall it is quite possible we will get something acceptable in S&T. I like Mitch but it is notable that other than not jumping out of his skin to block every shot, he’s not really better (at all) than he was 2 or 3 years ago. He absolutely cannot pass the ball. His FT shooting is abysmal even after FOUR seasons in the NBA – actually has gotten worse every season (60->56.8->49.1->48.6%, and yet he spends his free time shooting 3’s). He is injury prone, and while supremely bouncy, is one of the most awkward landers I’ve ever seen. I just do not think he’s the guy to pay starter C $ to. I mean, Javale McGee is honestly better and is available every offseason at 1yr/4-5MM.

      well put frank, this sums up my feelings on mitch better than i could articulate…

      i like mitch a lot, but it’s kind of like falling in love with a running back in the nfl – there’s always plenty more participants at that position that can be had for relatively low roster cost…

    28. 100% sign me up for Eason. Outside of the top 5-6 players in this draft, he is easily my favorite. I also like Daniels, Mathurin, Sochan, and Branham. I feel like we will be in a position to pick a good player no matter how the draft shakes out. I like Duran way more than Williams but I don’t really think center is the way to go for us.

      As for Mitch, I think everyone undervalues him greatly. First, he has improved a lot, he is a much better offensive rebounder, and has managed to get his blocks back up while keeping his fouls at a reasonable rate. Second, he is not an average rim runner/shot-blocker. He is the best, or at least 2nd best to Williams (though I think it is much closer than posters here say), rim runner/shot-blocker in the NBA. Mitch was 2nd in orb% and 2nd in blk% in the entire league, while leading the league, again, in FG%. That is including his slow start to the season while he was getting used to his new bulk and back into game shape after his injury. If you look at just since the new year he would be first in both orb% and blk%.

      Mitch is the best in the NBA at the things he is good at and while he desperately needs to address things like his FT% and his offensive repertoire, he is still very valuable even if he doesn’t. Plus I think there is room and potential for growth. If Mitch can simply get his FT% back to what it was his rookie year or even build on that he will be fine. Add to that, if we can build a better offense that looks to him more on the PNR and in the post he will score a lot more. We have to remember Mitch lost both of the last two summers to Covid and then injury so he hasn’t gotten a ton of time to refine his offensive game.

      Mitch right now is worth every penny he is going to get paid this summer and barring major injuries should continue to get better and will probably bring excess value to whatever contract he signs.

    29. Mitch right now is worth every penny he is going to get paid this summer and barring major injuries should continue to get better and will probably bring excess value to whatever contract he signs.

      so we shall see…i don’t know, i think it’s a mute point anyway regarding him staying in new york…

      unless the player is an embiid, jokic, bam or KAT, it’s hard for me to see much value in the center position beyond 15 million a year…

    30. 1. Mitch can impact a game on either side of the ball from from time to time, but he doesn’t do enough well on either side to impact games consistently.

      2. His development has been stalled in part due to repeated injuries. Without those injuries, he probably would be better now. There’s almost certainly more to come if he can remain healthy. Of course there’s two ways to look at that. It could also mean he’s injury prone.

      3. I suspect part of the reason management did not move him “if” there was some kind of offer at the trade deadline is that they weren’t sure how good he was is will be yet either. They saw that he was not 100% to start the season and that he was slowly rounding into form. They were still trying to figure out what they had,

      4. My guess is they like him enough to keep him, but they aren’t fully sold on the type of contract he wants because ideally they want a C that can have an impact protecting the rim but also shoot and help with the spacing for RJ (and Randle?).

      5. I think they’d be more apt to trade Mitch if Nerlens was healthy. Nerlens was critical to their good play the prior year and had to be brought back given Mitch was a huge question mark coming into last season, but his knees were already a known risk. They acted up several times the prior year and he was less than 100% in the playoffs too. Now, the situation is probably too risky to depend on him.

      It’s not an easy decision. Some of it depends on who else will be available in a trade to replace Mitch. I don’t think they will be comfortable with Sims, Taj, and Nerlens (and imo shouldn’t be) at this point unless they are sure Nerlens is OK.

    31. I should clarify that the floor I mentioned for Duren isn’t his actual floor but the bottom of the range I am *expecting* him to wind up at. I agree that Allen is probably too optimistic of a floor, but Allen also improved pretty dramatically from his college stats and was an absolute steal at #22. What did scouts miss about him? I mean, Allen shot worse from both the floor ( .596 vs. .597) and from the FT line (.564 vs. .625) on nearly the exact same usage in college. Duren rebounded better, blocked shots better, and passed better than Allen. Sure, Duren fouled more and turned the ball over more, but those things tend to be fixable. Allen also shot terribly from midrange in years 1 and 2 but improved.

      Duren has had 3 months to work on his game after the college season ended. If the sense is that he is not working hard enough to improve on these things that he showed glimmers of but was inconsistent at, Then sure, pass on him. But I really like what the eye-test suggests about his potential for improvement. And that’s where scouts earn their money. When a guy has as many things that you can’t teach that Duren has, you had better do your homework on him and not dismiss him just because of a cursory look at his numbers.

    32. and so we have it – the great Ben R versus Frank debate of May 23, 2022…so it shall ever be recorded…

    33. His development has been stalled in part due to repeated injuries.

      That’s not the only reason though. A year and a half of Fizdale and a long break away from coaches because of the pandemic. Plus he was much more raw coming into the league than others in the draft.

      I also do not buy that he hasn’t improved. There are a whole bunch of games in the second half of this season where Mitch dominated in ways he never did his rookie year. He doesn’t foul as much. He’s a better offensive rebounder. He’s truly elite at several aspects of the game.

      He can most definitely improve and we’re going to be kicking ourselves when he goes to another team on a market value deal and takes it to the next level. He’s 24 years old. He’s going to be entering his prime years and we should be the ones to capitalize on that.

      And yeah, maybe if we make the ECF and the opposing team runs a small ball line up Mitch will be “unplayable.” But I’d like to make the ECF first to find out if that’s true or not! Call me crazy!

    34. Z-man:
      I should clarify that the floor I mentioned for Duren isn’t his actual floor but the bottom of the range I am *expecting* him to wind up at. I agree that Allen is probably too optimistic of a floor, but Allen also improved pretty dramatically from his college stats and was an absolute steal at #22. What did scouts miss about him? I mean, Allen shot worse from both the floor ( .596 vs. .597) and from the FT line (.564 vs. .625) on nearly the exact same usage in college.Duren rebounded better, blocked shots better, and passed better than Allen. Sure, Duren fouled more and turned the ball over more, but those things tend to be fixable.Allen also shot terribly from midrange in years 1 and 2 but improved.

      Duren has had 3 months to work on his game after the college season ended. If the sense is that he is not working hard enough to improve on these things that he showed glimmers of but was inconsistent at, Then sure, pass on him. But I really like what the eye-test suggests about his potential for improvement. And that’s where scouts earn their money. When a guy has as many things that you can’t teach that Duren has, you had better do your homework on him and not dismiss him just because of a cursory look at his numbers.

      The bottom of your expected range is a top-5 center in the league?? What’s the top of your range, Wilt+Kareem+Olajuwon?

      Z-man: But I really like what the eye-test suggests about his potential for improvement.

      You watched 1 highlight video and thought he was a good midrange shooter.

    35. It does seem like a hard draft to mess up that much would not be surprised by a trade down given the FO’s propensity to do so. Given mocks we could trade down comfortably a few spots and take Eason, Williams or Branham.

    36. Frank: Jokic is amazing – hard to know whether his defensive limitations outweigh his offensive brilliance.

      This one is easy, Frank. Of course not, we’re talking about the reigning MVP. What Denver doesn’t have is a team to balance his defensive limitations, they should have great defenders on the wings and what they have is Michael Porter Jr, Aaron Gordon, Jeff Green and JaMychal Green. Denver has a roster that looks built by Mills or some of the previous Knicks regimes, they’re wasting prime years of Jokic by not addressing these matters fast enough.

    37. Early Bird: You watched 1 highlight video and thought he was a good midrange shooter.

      Not sure what the condescending sarcasm is all about. Actually if you read my post carefully you would have seen the word “again.” As always, I’ve watch several full-length scouting videos and read several full-length scouting articles, and am not done. Some folks see the same potential thing I see.

      From NBA Draft Room:
      “He’s got the makings of a mid range game and a shot that will stretch out towards the 3pt line in time but for now he’s mostly a mid range and in player. His shooting form is solid and there’s a lot of promise/upside in this part of his game.”

      In fact, it seems like a consensus opinion that he has some potential in the midrange based on good shooting mechanics. That’s what I look for in videos, especially in 17-18 year olds like Duren.

      I know kids all try to say the right things in interviews, but here’s what he said to Givony in April:
      “I’m looking forward to showing NBA people how much better I’ve gotten with my skill level and what my game really is with my touch around the basket and shooting the ball,” he said. “There are a lot of little things I can bring a NBA team with my effort, energy, mindset and work ethic. I’m big on winning. I’ll do whatever it takes to get the W.”

      Duren says he’s studying many NBA players’ tendencies to help transition to the next level.

      “A guy like Evan Mobley — he had a big impact defensively on the Cavs — bringing size, length, mobility. I want to be that kind of guy early on, have that same type of impact. I also study guys like Bam Adebayo and Nikola Jokic,” he said. “The ball runs through them and they can really pass. My game fits that. I can guard 1-5. Hedge and switch on ball screens and read all the pick and rolls. I’ve developed all those things very well. I love watching Joel Embiid, Giannis, KD too.”

      I think he’s worth a very deep dive, even as a C who has only shown glimpses of a developing shot. Feel free to disagree, but please, cut the snark.

    38. Z-man: Not sure what the condescending sarcasm is all about.

      Z-man: you had better do your homework on him and not dismiss him just because of a cursory look at his numbers.

      I just find it interesting that you think people don’t do their homework when you didn’t seem aware of the fact that Duren barely shot any midrange jumpers and didn’t shoot particularly well on them.

    39. I was just looking at a mock draft… wow, I can’t believe the Hornets have the 13th and 15th picks in the lottery after picking 11th and 19th last year. And all they gave up to get two surplus first round picks was Devonte Green and a bag of magic beans that could be anything from Cam Reddish to a 2nd round pick.

      That’s what Strat would call “winning trades”. How the heck did we not get one of those picks?? Terrible job.

    40. I know very little about Duren, but just looking at the video you can tell he’s different from Mitch even if a lot of his numbers are similar. He uses good footwork to get around defenders at the rim and score. Mitch just jumps over them. It’s very different to watch.

    41. Early Bird: I just find it interesting that you think people don’t do their homework when you didn’t seem aware of the fact that Duren barely shot any midrange jumpers and didn’t shoot particularly well on them.

      The comment about doing one’s homework wasn’t directed at anyone in particular, just a general statement. That said, Duren was 30 for 84 away from the rim, which was more than a third of his shots, so it wasn’t “barely any”. And in one report it was indicated that he increased his volume of midrange shots later in the season. Whatever, the important thing is that we agree that it’s a small sample. So I personally put more stock in shooting form and mechanics than on simple percentages. Same with basic footwork in the post. That’s what I meant by a deep dive. There is certainly enough film to evaluate his shooting mechanics, and most scouting reports seem to agree that its a positive. So the deep dive is about whether his maturity, character, work ethic, basketball IQ, coachability, etc., suggests that he will build on those mechanics or not. This is especially true considering that he will still be 18 when the season starts and is maybe the most physically imposing guy in the draft.

      But sure, if you prefer to dismiss his shooting potential out of hand based on the small sample and bad percentages, that’s certainly fair, and I suspect that some top scouts do that. I just disagree with that approach.

    42. Knick fan not in NJ:
      I know very little about Duren, but just looking at the video you can tell he’s different from Mitch even if a lot of his numbers are similar. He uses good footwork to get around defenders at the rim and score.Mitch just jumps over them.It’s very different to watch.

      How many midrange shots has Mitch attempted in 4 years? 2?

    43. This Heat-Celtics series is so bizarre, it’s like one team comes out stoned or something.

    44. Z-man: How many midrange shots has Mitch attempted in 4 years? 2?

      I’m not sure what your point is. I’m not arguing this. Not only does Mitch not attempt mid-range shots he doesn’t even attempt short range jump shots. Mostly he dunks or taps in. My point was that the statistics quoted in this blog don’t tell the whole story. Duren could end up a very different player than Mitch. He has demonstrated some potential Mitch hasn’t. That doesn’t mean he will end up being more than a close to the basket scorer; it just means he has some potential in that regard.

    45. d-mar:
      This Heat-Celtics series is so bizarre,it’s like one team comes out stoned or something.

      Yeah. How can Miami have less than 60 points part way into the fourth quarter?

    46. Celtics d is legit but it’s still strange.

      Lot of uncompetitive games in the later rounds. Silver can’t be happy.

    47. Knick fan not in NJ: I’m not sure what your point is. I’m not arguing this.Not only does Mitch not attempt mid-range shots he doesn’t even attempt short range jump shots. Mostly he dunks or taps in. My point was that the statistics quoted in this blog don’t tell the whole story.Duren could end up a very different player than Mitch. He has demonstrated some potential Mitch hasn’t.That doesn’t mean he will end up being more than a close to the basket scorer;it just means he has some potential in that regard.

      I was pointing out that Mitch is not capable of even attempting a midrange shot, so it supports your point that Duren is a very different player than Mitch.

    48. I’m loving this Miami Boston series because I can alternate on hating for each team on the game they decide to get blown out. Best case scenario outside of a double forfeit if you ask me.

    49. I won’t spoil anything, but the midseason finale of Better Call Saul, holy crap!

      Also highly recommend the follow up show Talking Saul, fantastic interviews with cast members and producers.

      I’m starting to agree with those who say BCS might be even better than Breaking Bad.

    50. Z-man: I was pointing out that Mitch is not capable of even attempting a midrange shot, so it supports your point that Duren is a very different player than Mitch.

      We definitely agree on this

    51. d-mar:
      I won’t spoil anything, but the midseason finale of Better Call Saul, holy crap!

      Also highly recommend the follow up show Talking Saul, fantastic interviews with cast members and producers.

      I’m starting to agree with those who say BCS might be even better than Breaking Bad.

      I’ve avoided watching any of this season, so far….might be about time to do a binge…

      I’m not prepared to say that BCS is better, but I will say that I “care” about a couple of the characters more than any I did in BB. However, BB had the whole neo-Greek/Shakespearian tragedy thing down so well.

    52. Here’s a couple of tidbits from Hollinger’s and Vicenzie’s recent article in the athletic about the draft combine. Trading up may be more possible than I thought.

      Most people who spoke with The Athletic expect a lot of trade and player movement leading up to the draft and beyond. Even in the lottery, we could see some action. Sacramento has a clear win-now expectation, several front office members on the last year of their contracts and the fourth pick in the draft burning a hole in its pocket. One suspects that pick might be in play in return for some wing help.
      The pick that seems even more certain to be on the move is Portland’s at No. 7, with sources saying the Blazers will push to immediately put a competitive team around Damian Lillard rather than start over. Detroit’s Jerami Grant has been the hot name here, but the Blazers could look at other options.

    53. But there is competition to move up. Another quote?

      Other teams with multiple picks are expected to try to move up in the draft, which could make trading down profitable for those picking in the late lottery and teens. Oklahoma City, for instance, has picks at No. 12 and No. 30 and a surfeit of future picks to sweeten a deal; using those to move up and nab a targeted player seems like a no-brainer. Other multi-first-rounder teams to watch include San Antonio (Nos. 9, 20 and 25), Charlotte (Nos. 13 and 15) and Memphis (Nos. 22 and 29). San Antonio, in particular, had a sea of staff at the combine intently watching the proceedings.

    54. d-mar:
      I won’t spoil anything, but the midseason finale of Better Call Saul, holy crap!

      Also highly recommend the follow up show Talking Saul, fantastic interviews with cast members and producers.

      I’m starting to agree with those who say BCS might be even better than Breaking Bad.

      It was incredible last night and yeah I think it might be better than Breaking Bad.

    55. I may have had a lot of thoughts about last night’s Saul.

      Here is what I will say about the BB vs BCS debate: I think the creative team on Better Call Saul is simply better at what they do than they were on Breaking Bad. Older, wiser, learned lessons from the first show, etc. On a pure storytelling craft level, it’s a richer and better-executed series. At the same time, I would argue that Breaking Bad has the more compelling overall story, and does not have the prequel problem that frequently hamstrings the cartel world half of Saul. On BB, it always felt like anything could happen, short of Walt dying before the end, whereas here we know exactly how long Gus, Mike, the Cousins, etc., will live, and it can really hem in the narrative, regardless of how great those actors are. (Also, I remain amazed by how great a villain Lalo has turned out to be. Tony Dalton was such an amazing find by the casting team, so late in the game.)

    56. Just read why I used to see the late great Roger Angell all the time. He lived two blocks from me.

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