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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Monday, Apr 01 2013)

  • [New York Times] Knicks 108, Celtics 89: Knicks Keep Up Mastery of Celtics and Win Eighth in a Row (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:26:21 GMT)
    Carmelo Anthony shook off foul trouble and frustration with the officiating to score 24 points in 27 minutes, and the Knicks dominated the Celtics.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Stoudemire Happy After Surgery, but Playoffs Are Uncertain (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:20:49 GMT)
    Amar’e Stoudemire of the Knicks spoke about his rehabilitation from the surgery he had on his right knee three weeks ago.

  • [New York Times] Off the Dribble: Knicks’ Wild Thing Settles Into Groove at the Right Time (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 04:17:56 GMT)
    J.R. Smith has rarely shown the consistency that he has exhibited during the Knicks’ six-game winning streak. He’s scoring more and shooting better.

  • [New York Times] Bosh’s Late 3 Lifts Short-Handed Heat Past Spurs (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 03:37:31 GMT)
    Often the forgotten member of Miami’s “Big Three,” Chris Bosh stepped up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sitting out to get the Heat a big win and move closer to securing home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs.

  • [New York Times] N.B.A. Roundup: Heat Escape the Spurs Without LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 03:36:41 GMT)
    Chris Bosh scored 23 points and the Heat escaped the Spurs with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade sitting out with injuries.

  • [New York Times] Knicks Rout Celtics 108-89 for Eighth Straight Win (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 03:31:24 GMT)
    Closing in on one goal of ending Boston’s division title reign, the New York Knicks added another.

  • [New York Times] On Basketball: Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony Can Learn From Paul Pierce’s Career Arc (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 03:28:51 GMT)
    The Celtics’ Paul Pierce, 35, is considered one of the league’s stalwart and sage big-game veterans. His delayed rise might reflect the best-case career trajectory for the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony.

  • [New York Times] Louisville’s Ware Breaks Leg in Gruesome Scene (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 02:40:17 GMT)
    Louisville guard Kevin Ware broke his leg in a horrific injury that left college basketball in a state of shock during the March Madness regional finals on Sunday.

  • [New York Times] Deng’s 28 Help Bulls Win 18th Straight vs. Pistons (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 02:13:22 GMT)
    Luol Deng scored 28 points, Jimmy Butler and Nate Robinson each added 16, and the Chicago Bulls beat Detroit 95-94 to extend their winning streak to 18 straight against the Pistons.

  • [New York Times] Vasquez, Anderson Lead Hornets Past Cavaliers (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 01:01:20 GMT)
    Greivis Vasquez scored 25 points and Ryan Anderson added 23 to lead the New Orleans Hornets to a 112-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.

  • [New York Times] James, Wade, Chalmers Out for Heat Against Spurs (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 00:10:32 GMT)
    LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers all sat out the Miami Heat’s game against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.

  • [New York Daily News] Chandler optimistic to play against Heat (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 05:57:27 GMT)
    Tyson Chandler, who recently went to see a specialist to determine the extent of his neck injury, says he is hoping to practice Monday and possibly return to the lineup on Tuesday night against the Heat in Miami.

  • [New York Daily News] Lawrence: Battle for East getting Heated (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 05:10:40 GMT)
    Miami did exactly what you knew the Heat would do by sitting LeBron James and Dwyane Wade against the Spurs in San Antonio on Sunday night. That was the long-awaited payback for the Spurs going into Miami in the 17th game of the season and sitting all of their top players for what Gregg Popovich called “health and safety reasons.”

  • [New York Daily News] Knicks barely break a sweat in win over Celtics (Mon, 01 Apr 2013 02:30:38 GMT)
    Maybe LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will miraculously “recover” from their respective injuries and return to Miami’s lineup on Tuesday when the Knicks come to town. The NBA’s best player and his famous sidekick may be all that is standing in the way of the Knicks extending their winning streak.

  • 189 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Monday, Apr 01 2013)

    1. Z-man

      For all those pre-season Felton-haters still pining for Jeremy Lin, Felton has shot 50% from the field and 40% from three for the 18 games we played in March. Amazing what taking smart shots and having an untaped pinky will do.

      For those who were quick to buy into the Shump for Dudley trade, Shump has shot 49% from 3 (26-53) in March and 42% for the year. Not to mention that his stroke looks all kinds of pretty.

    2. Frank

      So this is what I wrote on March 20th after the Utah win:

      Frank:
      I’m actually thinking this team will go on a long run in the playoffs. Currently every single news outlet is just killing the Knicks, which is probably the exact time to buy low on this team.

      I quote this not to pat myself on the back 7 wins later, but because I feel like perhaps we’ve gone the other direction now. I’m not sure this team as good as we all think it is right now– we’ve hit what must be a pretty historic streak of teams with zero inside presence to punish us while Tyson’s out (Memphis excluded of course – that was pretty impressive even though we nearly blew that game — although one could certainly make the case that Z-bo clearly was at the clubs until 6 am and Gasol looked totally out of sorts until the 2nd half, likely due to his several game layoff). I’m not taking anything away from these wins because you can only beat who you play, but right now those 3s are falling and everything feels good — and the NYK fan in me just hopes that this isn’t just a mirage.

      I think JR can keep playing like this, and hopefully passing out of the double teams a little more.

      I kinda don’t think Felton can keep up this shooting, but who knows I guess?

      But I do believe that Shump can keep shooting like this. His shot looks picture perfect, and even when he misses, it’s just by a hair. And he’s shooting very judiciously now. Zero hesitation either way – either pull it back/drive/shoot but all very decisive.

      And I love how they are running a few plays for Novak per game -

    3. Z-man

      Agree on all fronts, Frank. Ray-Ray will cool off, but 36-38% from 3 and 43-44% overall will be just fine. Shump looks like a 40% 3-pt shooter, but more importantly, a multi-position defender who can handle the ball and hit open shots. He made several really smart passes in recent games. Last night early on, I remember a play where he could have jacked up a corner 3 but passed to a wide-open Melo who drained his 3. As to JR, the league will adjust to him for sure (we should see more of that tonight.) It’s like a MLB hitter who is just killing anything in the strike zone, can he keep it going when pitchers and defenses adjust? I expect teams to force him to the middle where help defenders will be waiting (happened a couple of times last night resulting in turnovers, tie-ups and awkward misses.)

      You’re right, though, this has been a perfect stretch of opponents for a win streak, Garnett out, Z-bo and Gasol, etc., but let’s not forget that we had many excuses for losses in this stretch and won anyway. And I don’t care what anyone says, Melo still isn’t right.

    4. Z-man

      Anyway, no such advantages going forward, monster defensive teams await. Going 2-2 in our next 4 would be quite an accomplishment. Despite being on the road, would hate to lose to both Miami and OKC at this point. The real measuring stick games coming up are Chicago and Indiana.

    5. Frank

      btw – since it’s been at least a week that I confess my love for Glenn Grunwald, here I go again: how amazing is this guy? I know Copeland has his issues on defense, but check this out:

      Which players over the last 2 seasons have played at least 20 games (ie. not a super small few game sample), averaged 19 points/36, 58+ TS, 40% 3P?

      I’ll give y’all a hint. There are only 5 players on that list. 3 are certain HoFers, one is the best shooter in all of basketball, and 1 is Chris Copeland.

      I’ll give you another hint:
      Lebron James
      Kevin Durant
      Manu Ginobili
      Stephen Curry
      Chris Copeland

      http://bkref.com/tiny/Vmx0X

      What do I also love? Little Cope is a RFA this and next season. As is Prigs.

      Speaking of Prigs, here’s another B-R player season finder special. Guess which players over the past FIVE seasons have met these criteria:

      2+ steals/36
      7+ assists/36
      57+ TS
      20+ games played

      Curious to know? Well there have only been 6 such player seasons over the last 5 years that met that criteria. 5 of them are by Chris Paul. The other one is by Prigioni.

      Copeland and Prigioni are on minimum RESTRICTED contracts. And could have been had by ANYONE. Like Lin, Novak, and Kenyon Martin. This guy Grunwald is absolutely amazing.

    6. Frank

      btw, that Prigs/CP3 stat actually applies for the last TEN seasons. In fact, even if you go all the way back to 1999, the only name that gets added on is John Stockton.

    7. Nick C.

      Copeland’s a nice player for the end of the bench but that reminds me of the x blocks and steals/36 that someone used to run that had Balkman in a group with Gerald Wallace, Hakeem and Ben Wallace.

      If you loosen the parameters to .57 TSP, .39 3pt% and 18 pts/36 Gerald Green shows up which, dunk contest skills aside, might be his class of player.

      http://bkref.com/tiny/3kA6X

    8. lavor postell

      At what point does Melo get any kind of calls from the refs? Never while he is wearing a Knicks jersey? How many times can one drive to the hoop and get hit up side the head causing their headband to clearly be moved without a foul?

      He’s not as good Lebron or Durant, but I forgot who said it yesterday he gets punished for attempting to finish plays rather than adopt the Paul Pierce school of frantically flailing your arms as soon as a defender is within 5 feet of you on your way to the rim.

    9. Frank

      Nick C.:
      Copeland’s a nice player for the end of the bench but that reminds me of the x blocks and steals/36 that someone used to run that had Balkman in a group with Gerald Wallace, Hakeem and Ben Wallace.

      If you loosen the parameters to .57 TSP, .39 3pt% and 18 pts/36 Gerald Green shows up which, dunk contest skills aside, might be his class of player.

      http://bkref.com/tiny/3kA6X

      but still – look at the other names on that list (how about a 36 year old Vince Carter! And Javale with his 1 3 pointer!) Even if he’s just Gerald Green (which, by the way, I don’t think he is — he’s way less athletic but way more polished), that’s still an amazing get for the vet’s minimum. And since he’s technically a rookie, he’s restricted for the next 2 summers.

    10. KnickfaninNJ

      Frank and Z-man,

      Watching the game last night I was struck by the fact that the Knicks seem to be taking advantage of having two point guards on the floor by running plays with Felton as a shooting guard. The plays got him some good looks, and he mostly made the shots. This goes along with a post a few days ago that statistics show Felton scoring better when another point guard is in the line up. So if the Knicks keep doing this, I see no reason why he can’t keep up his better TS%

    11. lavor postell

      Frank: but still – look at the other names on that list (how about a 36 year old Vince Carter! And Javale with his 1 3 pointer!)Even if he’s just Gerald Green (which, by the way, I don’t think he is — he’s way less athletic but way more polished), that’s still an amazing get for the vet’s minimum. And since he’s technically a rookie, he’s restricted for the next 2 summers.

      Copeland would be a lot more effective if he pulls the trigger on quick open threes when a clean looks presents itself like it did on consecutive possessions in the second quarter. Unfortunately most of the time Copeland holds the ball for about 3 seconds before doing anything and allowing the defender to close out comfortably. It’s really frustrating when he passes up and open look to try and bull his way to the hoop. This would be fine if he was Carmelo Anthony, but unfortunately for us he does not have that kind of physical talent.

    12. Nick C.

      Frank: but still – look at the other names on that list (how about a 36 year old Vince Carter! And Javale with his 1 3 pointer!)Even if he’s just Gerald Green (which, by the way, I don’t think he is — he’s way less athletic but way more polished), that’s still an amazing get for the vet’s minimum. And since he’s technically a rookie, he’s restricted for the next 2 summers.

      By those measures he is the Knicks best player. (joke attempt alert). It is definitely good to have an aptitude. I assume Novak must not score enough to make these lists.

      As for the team when was the last game they weren’t ahead by 20 or close to it in the first half? Sort of a reversal of fortune from the dark years.

    13. ruruland

      Hey Frank,
      Those of who remained steadfast in our understanding of how good this team still was even during the slide should get a pat on the back.

      Yes, the hot shooting and not having to play a series of dominant bigs has been a part of this, but Im of the belief that hot shooting is primarily a byproduct of energy, spacing and movement.

      There is a substantial difference in the energy the Knicks played with in the middle of the year compared to the beggining and end.

      I feel that the 18-5 start slowly led to guys taking things for granted, which eventually turned into temporary bad habits.

      In combination with having a lot of veterans with a tendency to coast through the dog days, on top of the injuries, you get an underachieving .500 team for half the season.

      But most importantly when we compare the current iteration to even the 18-5 team, the Knicks defense is sharper in terms of rotations and moving together into and out of doubles, it’s offense has more wrinkles and doesnt bog down if the simple high screen doesnt work, Felton, Shumpert, Smith and Prigs have a better understanding of their roles and the team is much better in transition and semi-transition.

      All five of the Knicks guards take extremely good shots now, and are quite capable of creating them consistently.

      Obviously Felton, Shump and Smith won’t combine to shoot + .60 TS moving forward, but Melo won’t shoot .500 TS either, and I have a tendency to think Amare and Chandler improve the offense, or at the very least, provide it an insurance policy of sorts if shots aren’t falling.

      This is an extremely deep (and I should say entertaining) team that will be able to match up in any style of playoff game.

      They aren’t as athletic as Denver, but they shoot better, can play comparable defense at least in terms of overal efficacy and some style similarities, and more consistently generate quality half court shots.

    14. ruruland

      And frankly, I think it’s the Heat that have to worry about a fully healthy Knicks team.

      Sure, Miami has the best player, but over the course of nearly 150 minutes they have been unable to defend the Knicks continuity offense. Thats without Amare and Melo for much of that.

      The Heat tried to trap the ball handler in game one like they did in last years playoffs. That didn’t work.

      They were forced to over help in the middle. Thats led to great shooting over the three games.

      They’ve given up the lane when they stayed at home.

      Last year it was so obvious and we talked about it ad naseum, the lack of a backcourt penetration threat made the Heat defense appear better than it was. They could overplay everything. The bad shots and turnovers fueled their offense. The Knicks were perfect fodder for the Heats strengths.

      But the penetration threat changes that dynamic completely and opens up everything that seemed impossible last year.

      Add in a huge mismatch with Amare in the post…..

      The Knicks aren’t expected to knock off the Heat. If they can meet them in the ECF with a healthy Amare and playoff momentum, I really think the Knicks can do it.

      This is the exact same scenario the ’08 Nuggets were in heading into ’09 playoffs. No one thought they could beat a much bigger Lakers team. Well, Denver was a couple of bad calls and bad breaks from playing in Finals that year.

    15. Frank

      ruruland: And frankly, I think it’s the Heat that have to worry about a fully healthy Knicks team.

      Sure, Miami has the best player, but over the course of nearly 150 minutes they have been unable to defend the Knicks continuity offense. Thats without Amare and Melo for much of that.

      I sort of agree — although they completely “shut our offense down” in the 2nd half of the last game, that loss was really a function of us missing wide open 3 pointers as opposed to anything amazing on the defensive end by Miami.

      There’s some talk going on Twitter right now (mostly between Kevin McElroy and Herring from WSJ) that we should start Tyson and Kenyon against Miami — I just don’t see it. We’ve led Miami in 11 out of 12 quarters this year with Melo playing the 4. Our offense has basically been unstoppable against them at least in terms of creating high quality shots. And for the most part, we’ve defended them very well —

      I get switching things up for the sake of being unpredictable, but at the end of the day, we’ve dominated this team (in regular season, not playoffs) in 3 games this year – not sure we need to completely change gears.

    16. Nick C.

      One thing that annoys me is reading or hearing on the radio that Knicks aren’t in Miami’s class and nobody brings up the actual head to head results. I’m not saying in the playoffs the Knicks are guaranteed to be up twenty every game but you would think it bears mentioning or taking into account.

    17. lavor postell

      Nick C.:
      One thing that annoys me is reading or hearing on the radio that Knicks aren’t in Miami’s class and nobody brings up the actual head to head results. I’m not saying in the playoffs the Knicks are guaranteed to be up twenty every game but you would think it bears mentioning or taking into account.

      The hate for the Knicks nationally is bizarre considering we just finished sucking complete ass for the better part of a decade followed by a couple of middling playoff season in which we went a combined 1-8 in the first round. Honestly, unless we beat Miami and win the title there’s few positive things we will hear about this team in terms of its play or roster makeup other than its age.

    18. Frank

      lavor postell: The hate for the Knicks nationally is bizarre considering we just finished sucking complete ass for the better part of a decade followed by a couple of middling playoff season in which we went a combined 1-8 in the first round.Honestly, unless we beat Miami and win the title there’s few positive things we will hear about this team in terms of its play or roster makeup other than its age.

      lavor postell: The hate for the Knicks nationally is bizarre considering we just finished sucking complete ass for the better part of a decade followed by a couple of middling playoff season in which we went a combined 1-8 in the first round.Honestly, unless we beat Miami and win the title there’s few positive things we will hear about this team in terms of its play or roster makeup other than its age.

      my guess is that media companies have figured out that if you trash the Knicks, Knick fans flood the radiowaves, click on more links, buy more papers, etc. Morey and Presti aren’t the only ones using analytics.

    19. thenamestsam

      Frank: I sort of agree — although they completely “shut our offense down” in the 2nd half of the last game, that loss was really a function of us missing wide open 3 pointers as opposed to anything amazing on the defensive end by Miami.

      If we’re going to qualify that the only time they shut down our offense was when we were missing open 3s it’s worth bringing up that in the 2nd game against them we made 7 unassisted 3s (most by any team in the previous 4 years, league average is 1 a game) and somebody posted that by their count only 4 of the 18 3s we hit were “open”. So shooting fluctuations may have hurt us in the 3rd game, but they also carried us through the 2nd game. Lets not forget that.

    20. lavor postell

      Frank:
      my guess is that media companies have figured out that if you trash the Knicks, Knick fans flood the radiowaves, click on more links, buy more papers, etc.Morey and Presti aren’t the only ones using analytics.

      It’s more likely that it’s non-Knick fans that boost those numbers. Wouldn’t they just do this with every major fan base otherwise?

      thenamestsam: If we’re going to qualify that the only time they shut down our offense was when we were missing open 3s it’s worth bringing up that in the 2nd game against them we made 7 unassisted 3s (most by any team in the previous 4 years, league average is 1 a game) and somebody posted that by their count only 4 of the 18 3s we hit were “open”. So shooting fluctuations may have hurt us in the 3rd game, but they also carried us through the 2nd game. Lets not forget that.

      You’ll also not that in that game many of our misses on threes were great looks off of good ball movement. The point though is that in the in the first and third games with Melo we have consistently generated good looks against their vaunted defense. Miami is the favorite for a reason, but if we could generate looks like that over the course of a 7 game series the Knicks odds would be much better than what the Vegas odds will be.

    21. lavor postell

      Hoping the Clippers can find some form again and take care of business at home against the Clippers. Getting the 2 seed is huge. I would much rather play the Celtics than wage an all out war with the Bulls (as much fun as that would be).

    22. Thomas B.

      ruruland:
      Hey Frank,
      Those of who remained steadfast in our understanding of how good this team still was even during the slide should get a pat on the back.

      They have been very lucky. Outside of memphis have they knocked off anyone who has a shot of getting to the second round? They played one good team in the last 8 games. When they lose 4 against good teams, all of the sudden the record of the opponent matters, when they win 8 over 1 team missing two of it’s top three players, 1 playoff team having a horrible night, and 4 teams all jockeying for a lottery spot, the team is “good” again. Nobody cares who you play until who you play is a better team. Newsflash, the Knicks are supposed to win games against the magic, Bobcats, and Raptors. They are supposed to beat a thin Celtics squad as well.
      Take out Miami, Indy, and OKC to close the season and then you might be on to something meaningful.

    23. lavor postell

      Thomas B.: They have been very lucky. Outside of memphis have they knocked off anyone who has a shot of getting to the second round? They played one good team in the last 8 games.When they lose 4 against good teams, all of the sudden the record of the opponent matters, when they win 8 over 1 team missing two of it’s top three players, 1 playoff team having a horrible night, and 4 teams all jockeying for a lottery spot, the team is “good” again.Nobody cares who you play until who you play is a better team.Newsflash, the Knicks are supposed to win games against the magic, Bobcats, and Raptors.They are supposed to beat a thin Celtics squad as well.
      Take out Miami, Indy, and OKC to close the season and then you might be on to something meaningful.

      They got a real shitty dinked up Melo Chandler against two of those good teams. Then played road games at Portland, LAC and Utah without Melo, Tyson and STAT. Since then trotting out lineups with Melo and Cope getting minutes at the 5 the Knicks have won 8 in a row. That speaks to the depth and quality of the team.

      You dismiss the “one good team” they played and won in fairly comfortable fashion, though it was on the second night of a b2b and the Knicks are extremely short handed. That is against a frontcourt lauded for its ability to punish small ball teams.

      There’s a lot more going on here than the Knicks making 3’s. That helps, but HOF-level JR, tightening up our rotations defensively and the rise in PG/SG production from Felton, Shumpert, Kidd and Prigioni are also very good signs for this team. The shot distribution is very well balanced for all of these players right now where they aren’t being asked to score or create at levels outside of their comfort level.

      Prigioni, Kidd, Shumpert and, to a lesser extent, JR are really creating havoc in the passing lanes and on the ball…

    24. Frank

      Thomas B.: They have been very lucky. Outside of memphis have they knocked off anyone who has a shot of getting to the second round? They played one good team in the last 8 games.When they lose 4 against good teams, all of the sudden the record of the opponent matters, when they win 8 over 1 team missing two of it’s top three players, 1 playoff team having a horrible night, and 4 teams all jockeying for a lottery spot, the team is “good” again.Nobody cares who you play until who you play is a better team.Newsflash, the Knicks are supposed to win games against the magic, Bobcats, and Raptors….
      Take out Miami, Indy, and OKC to close the season and then you might be on to something meaningful.

      Sounds like a lot of sour grapes from the guy that predicted 45 wins total for the year just a couple weeks ago. And by the way, I’d feel reasonably good about Boston beating the Nets if they played in a potential first round series — and the reason that’s not happening is because the Knicks just beat Boston twice, putting the Nets way in the rearview mirror and Boston down to the 7 seed. The same Boston team, by the way, that also without Garnett took Miami down to the final shot a week or two ago.

      And like Lavor wrote — we won these games without the reigning DPOY (and who is also our designated “guy we can’t win anything without”), without Amare, and with a 6’9″ retread/castoff that no one but us wanted anchoring the defense. The last team whose 8 game winning streak should be dismissed as “lucky” is this one.

      That being said, you’re right — they have 4 high quality opponents left this season (MIA, IND, CHI, OKC) — if we go 0-4 or 1-3 in those games then obviously this 8 games streak is less meaningful. But 2-2 or better would really legitimize us, especially if 1 or more of those wins is Miami or OKC.

    25. BigBlueAL

      “But 2-2 or better would really legitimize us, especially if 1 or more of those wins is Miami or OKC.”

      Nothing that happens the rest of this regular season really matters. This team will be remembered for what they do in the postseason. I mean they have already beaten Miami twice yet that doesnt seem to matter so what will beating them again tomorrow in a game that means absolutely nothing to the Heat be anymore significant??

      To me the only important regular season game left is vs the Pacers because that could have significant ramifications in the standings and playoff seeding. The Knicks dont have to beat the Heat again or OKC to “legitimize” themselves to me. Im convinced already that they are a very good team with a puncher’s chance of getting to the NBA Finals. Im fine with that.

    26. Frank

      BigBlueAL: The Knicks dont have to beat the Heat again or OKC to “legitimize” themselves to me. Im convinced already that they are a very good team with a puncher’s chance of getting to the NBA Finals. Im fine with that.

      lol I guess you’re right. Maybe it’ll legitimize them to the Thomas B’s of the world.

    27. thenamestsam

      BigBlueAL:

      Nothing that happens the rest of this regular season really matters.This team will be remembered for what they do in the postseason.I mean they have already beaten Miami twice yet that doesnt seem to matter so what will beating them again tomorrow in a game that means absolutely nothing to the Heat be anymore significant??

      Couldn’t agree more with this. If Miami’s streak was still going tomorrow’s game would have some juice, but the second the streak ended Miami had basically nothing left to play for. Adding to their lead over SAS last night only reinforces that. I’d say it’s pretty unlikely we see their whole roster tomorrow night, let alone anything resembling a playoff effort. They’re in rest and avoid injuries mode.

      If the Knicks go 8-2 the rest of the way they’d be at 54. 2-8 and they’d be at 48. One is prettier than the other, but ultimately we’re not going to remember this team for whether they had 48 wins or 54. The Knicks have shown they’re quite capable of very high highs, but also of some pretty low lows. If we make the finals or go down in a tough ECF series to the Heat the season will be a success even if we have 48 regular season wins. If we (god forbid) were to lose to Boston in Round 1, the season would be a massive disappointment even if they win out in the regular season for 56 wins.

    28. patrick

      seems to the eye test that the key to this knicks team is a 2-pg starting line-up. would be interested to see some stats on that.

    29. Frank

      patrick:
      seems to the eye test that the key to this knicks team is a 2-pg starting line-up. would be interested to see some stats on that.

      in the same vein as this comment – check out this breakdown of the MIA-SA game from last night by Zach Lowe’s replacement at SI:
      http://nba.si.com/2013/04/01/tony-parker-san-antonio-spurs-miami-heat/

      And the part most interesting to us:

      Yet as a result of all of the aforementioned defensive pressure, San Antonio can start to grow tentative about setting on-ball screens over the course of a game, which is understandable under the circumstances. The traps can be tricky to deal with at times, but are tougher still because of Parker’s lack of playmaking help among his perimeter-stationed teammates. Even though the Spurs weren’t without as much star power or firepower as the Heat were on Sunday, Manu Ginobili missed the first game of what seems sure to be a lengthy absence. A strained hamstring is now expected to keep Ginobili out of the lineup for 3-4 weeks, stripping the Spurs of the kind of off-ball facilitator who could alleviate the ball-handling burden on Parker.

      If you look at the Spurs, their starting lineup is Parker, Danny Green, Leonard, Splitter, Duncan — zero “shot-creation” at least from the perimeter other than Parker. And without Manu, they really don’t have much at all outside Parker.

      But imagine a Felton/Prigs/Shump/Melo/Chandler lineup — other than maybe Prigioni (who is better than one would expect), all 4 but Chandler can break down the defense off the dribble, and all 4 can hurt you from deep. Substitute JR in for either Prigs or Shump and it gets even better. I know that’s massively oversimplifying things, but there’s a reason we have led 11 out of the 12 quarters this year.

    30. ruruland

      Nice post, Frank. Yeah, the Knicks have had no problems defeating Miami traps this year, which is totally different from last season.

    31. Thomas B.

      Frank: Sounds like a lot of sour grapes from the guy that predicted 45 wins total for the year just a couple weeks ago.And by the way, I’d feel reasonably good about Boston beating the Nets if they played in a potential first round series — and the reason that’s not happening is because the Knicks just beat Boston twice, putting the Nets way in the rearview mirror and Boston down to the 7 seed.The same Boston team, by the way, that also without Garnett took Miami down to the final shot a week or two ago.

      And like Lavor wrote — we won these games without the reigning DPOY (and who is also our designated “guy we can’t win anything without”), without Amare, and with a 6’9? retread/castoff that no one but us wanted anchoring the defense.The last team whose 8 game winning streak should be dismissed as “lucky” is this one.

      That being said, you’re right — they have 4 high quality opponents left this season (MIA, IND, CHI, OKC) — if we go 0-4 or 1-3 in those games then obviously this 8 games streak is less meaningful. But 2-2 or better would really legitimize us, especially if 1 or more of those wins is Miami or OKC.

      Yes it is sour grapes to say that the Cats, Raps, and Magic are not good teams. And it is sour grapes to say that Boston is missing a bunch more than NY and it is sour grapes to say that Memphis (with a hurt Gasol mind you) had a really bad night. Honesty is sour grapes but getting all giddy over beating a bunch of horrid teams isn’t cherry picking? Decent teams should beat the worst teams. They got very lucky to get the injuries when they did and to face teams that have given up. It isn’t sour grapes to tell the truth. They didn’t beat the Clippers, Heat, and OKC. Since 2/1/13 they beat 1 top tier team. 1! Tell me how pointing that out is sour grapes?Save that DPOY crap, his defense hasn’t been close to that level this…

    32. ruruland

      Thomas, didn’t you say you haven’t been watching the last two weeks? Even if you were, wouldn’t you have been too bored to pay any attention?

      IDK, you were really, really wrong. But nice of you to come back and post that you haven’t really paid attention, but the Knicks still suck.

    33. jon abbey

      Kenyon Martin has changed everything IMO. positive predictions, negative predictions, all are rendered fairly moot by Martin showing up out of nowhere and having as big of an impact as he’d had. even people like Ruru and me who were calling for his addition for months couldn’t have expected this kind of consistent impact. before Martin, NY got consistently bullied by teams like Chicago and Indiana and Memphis, but now that is much less likely to happen.

    34. ruruland

      Thomas B.: Yes it is sour grapes to say that the Cats, Raps, and Magic are not good teams. And it is sour grapes to say that Boston is missing a bunch more than NY and it is sour grapes to say that Memphis (with a hurt Gasol mind you) had a really bad night.Honesty is sour grapes but getting all giddy over beating a bunch of horrid teams isn’t cherry picking?Decent teams should beat the worst teams.

      So, why did you predict 45 wins?

    35. nicos

      Frank:
      But imagine a Felton/Prigs/Shump/Melo/Chandler lineup — other than maybe Prigioni (who is better than one would expect), all 4 but Chandler can break down the defense off the dribble, and all 4 can hurt you from deep. Substitute JR in for either Prigs or Shump and it gets even better. I know that’s massively oversimplifying things, but there’s a reason we have led 11 out of the 12 quarters this year.

      I’m actually not at all confident in Prigs against a fully engaged Miami defense- they’re going to trap the heck out of him when he has the ball and completely ignore him off of it. His “I’ll pound the ball for five seconds with the shot clock under ten and hope the defense makes a mistake” works fine against a lot of teams- against Miami, Chicago, or Indiana you can expect a lot of JR/Melo 24 footers at the shot clock buzzer. If he’s as unwilling to turn the corner on pnr’s and take open threes as he has been so far this year he’ll be back to being a ten minute a night guy in the playoffs.

    36. ruruland

      jon abbey:
      Kenyon Martin has changed everything IMO. positive predictions, negative predictions, all are rendered fairly moot by Martin showing up out of nowhere and having as big of an impact as he’d had. even people like Ruru and me who were calling for his addition for months couldn’t have expected this kind of consistent impact. before Martin, NY got consistently bullied by teams like Chicago and Indiana and Memrphis, but now that is much less likely to happen.

      idk, this is kind of what I thought he’d bring because it’s what he’s always brought.

      I still think he can lose effectiveness if continually played 30 + mpg and forced to guard big post players.

      But yeah, we haven’t even seen him with Tyson yet. As Herring and Kevin have pointed out, with Kenyon’s ability to guard five positions rotate and protect the rim, Chandler can go back to roaming and harassing, where he is obviously at his best.

      Not a better 1-2 defensive duo interior heading into the playoffs.
      At the very least comparable to Deng/Noah, Lebron/Battier, Hibbert/George, Ibaka/Westbrook, Leonard/Duncan.

    37. max fisher-cohen

      Basically, if you believed the early season success was sustainable and something other than reversion to the mean was the cause of the 3 months of mediocre play, then you believe this streak is sustainable as well because it’s got more or less the exact same fuel: super efficient 3 point shooting.

      Knicks are now at 41.4% 3 point shooting as a team during this win streak. New York shot 41.6% on 3s in their +8.3 points/48 November. When you shoot 29 threes a game, small increases from distance make a huge difference.

      I would say the smartest move Woodson has made all season is moving Felton off the ball. It’s not that Felton is a better spot up shooter than other Knicks. Instead, Felton just shoots too much off the dribble whereas Prigioni and Kidd are apt to find spot up guys, the Knicks’ bread and butter (they’re 2nd overall in the league in efficiency on spot ups).

      The Knicks are 10-0 in Felton’s 10 lowest usage games this season. In those games, Felton averages a TS% of around 63%.

      Still, I’m just not quite ready to buy that the Knicks if healthy could be one of the greatest 3 point shooting teams of all time. Not with 3 rotation guards and a SF/PF who, when you look at larger samples, just aren’t great shooters. Shumpert, Kidd, Anthony and Felton are all below average three point shooters across their careers. Yeah, Kidd had some seasons where he was great from deep, but he’s 2.5 years removed from that.

      Shumpert could be the real deal as a perimeter shooter. The other guys are going to have to get their shit together across a longer period than the six weeks that they have so far this season though for me to buy that this is sustainable.

      For now, I see New York as, when healthy, maybe a +4.5 PPG team with very effective 38%-ish perimeter shooting but so so ability to draw fouls or play sustained great defense.

    38. Thomas B.

      ruruland:
      Thomas, didn’t you say you haven’t been watching the last two weeks? Even if you were, wouldn’t you have been too bored to pay any attention?

      IDK, you were really, really wrong. But nice of you to come back and post that you haven’t really paid attention, but the Knicks still suck.

      Here is the thing about technology, you can catch up on a two weeks of ball in a few hours. You’ve heard of a DVR right? Then there are these things called box scores and recaps, and journalism. One can learn so much without watching every game live.

      I was wrong, yes. I thought the team would go 4-4 over that 8. But I underestimated the race for a lottery spot among the bottom-feeders. We beat the bottom feeders! Raise the banners. Start the parade.

      And I never said they “sucked”. Maybe you should pay attention. I said the team was flawed, and they are. They rely too much on things that good defensive teams can beat. This is why they struggle with Chicago, and Indy. Play a team that doesn’t or can’t play defense, and they do ok, really well in fact. All we need is to play those same teams in the playoffs and the title is all but ours. In the East, you can win 50 games and still not be very good. Not a sucky team, but still not very good.

    39. Thomas B.

      jon abbey:
      Kenyon Martin has changed everything IMO. positive predictions, negative predictions, all are rendered fairly moot by Martin showing up out of nowhere and having as big of an impact as he’d had. even people like Ruru and me who were calling for his addition for months couldn’t have expected this kind of consistent impact. before Martin, NY got consistently bullied by teams like Chicago and Indiana and Memphis, but now that is much less likely to happen.

      I hesitated to point that out since it would have been sour grapes.
      His impact has been really important. Better defense than STAT by a mile, and frankly better than Chandler night to night. Not sure how anyone could have known this X factor was going to get thrown in mix three weeks ago but hey you have that faction that will ignore that sort of thing. Thanks for being smarter than those folks.

    40. MeloDrama

      What I find extremely interesting about this team is just how much Woodson/the front office has sold out on avoiding turnovers … this 8 game win streak comes without two of the top three highest paid players on the roster, including easily its top defender, but when you throw three guys who can handle the ball out there like a pg at all times (Felton, Prigs, Kidd, Shumpy) teams are starving for transition buckets.

      Before this season, the team with the lowest turnover rate in league history was last season’s Sixers. On paper, that was a very “meh” team. Yet it was a point differential beast for the first half of the season, faded, then clipped Chicago (a good team that got the East top seed without Rose for much of the year) and took a good Boston team to 7. Most people looked at the playoff results and kinda cast an “LOL” at the Bulls for choking and a “Celtics play when they need to” at the second round, but maybe that Sixers team over performed for areason. Maybe it was onto something.

      Nobody “should” beat Miami. But this Knicks team, to be, is still by far the only true threat to pull the big upset in the East. Chandler will be back and Shumpert is rounding into form rapidly. Martin gives this team even more backbone.

      We’re left with a team of salty vets with tons of playoff experience who don’t even have to run with these younger teams b/c it takes care of the ball so damn well. I’m excited.

    41. nicos

      max fisher-cohen:

      I would say the smartest move Woodson has made all season is moving Felton off the ball. It’s not that Felton is a better spot up shooter than other Knicks. Instead, Felton just shoots too much off the dribble whereas Prigioni and Kidd are apt to find spot up guys, the Knicks’ bread and butter (they’re 2nd overall in the league in efficiency on spot ups).

      The Knicks are 10-0 in Felton’s 10 lowest usage games this season. In those games, Felton averages a TS% of around 63%.

      I agree that the shooting is most likely unsustainable though they’ve certainly shown they’re capable of putting together some long streaks of very efficient shooting- long enough to make it through the playoffs? Who knows. One thing we haven’t seen in this recent stretch is the ultra efficient pnr game the Knicks that went hand in hand with the great three point shooting early in the year. In order to make a serious run they’re going to have to get that back in their arsenal. If you can get the pnr going, add in JR’s newfound aggressiveness, and add Shump who’s far better in the corner/wing role than Brewer (both shooting better and can facilitate off of the dribble when closed out on) that 18-5 level of play might be sustainable with or with Amar’e coming back.

    42. nicos

      I meant to add- Obviously Chandler being out has effected the pnr but they’ve been running it less and less (and less successfully) since Xmas- Felton’s two busted hands certainly had an impact on that. For better or worse I think we’re still going to be pretty reliant on Felton’s playmaking if we’re going the beat Miami/Indiana/Chicago.

    43. lavor postell

      nicos: I agree that the shooting is most likely unsustainable though they’ve certainly shown they’re capable of putting together some long streaks of very efficient shooting- long enough to make it through the playoffs? Who knows.One thing we haven’t seen in this recent stretch is the ultra efficient pnr game the Knicks that went hand in hand with the great three point shooting early in the year.In order to make a serious run they’re going to have to get that back in their arsenal.If you can get the pnr going, add in JR’s newfoundaggressiveness, and add Shump who’s far better in the corner/wing role than Brewer (both shooting better and can facilitate off of the dribble when closed out on) that 18-5 level of play might be sustainable with or with Amar’e coming back.

      Once Chandler gets back I think you’ll see that all come to fruition. If Martin stays healthy and Chandler comes back with his batteries recharged good things can happen. The most impressive thing about this win streak is Melo hasn’t even really had a big game yet. Even for those who don’t care for him much it’s obvious he will shoot better than the putrid percentages he’s been putting up and at his volume that can mean a lot.

    44. cgreene

      I don’t understand the whole meme about how much we struggled vs Indiana. We got blown out one night during our worst stretch of the season and their best. We beat them easily when we were leaking early on as well. I find them eminently beatable and love the Chandler Hibbert matchup in a playoff series. Their real x factor is Lance Stephenson who has had a nice surprise year for them. But good JR is a far superior x factor to good Lance. Chicago beat our ass and they concern me a bit in rd 1. I think we beat Indiana healthy.

    45. Frank

      Thomas B.: Yes it is sour grapes to say that the Cats, Raps, and Magic are not good teams. And it is sour grapes to say that Boston is missing a bunch more than NY and it is sour grapes to say that Memphis (with a hurt Gasol mind you) had a really bad night.

      You mean the same injured Marc Gasol who in the two games afterward has shot 16/24, scored 42 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, and 4 blocks? Or the Celtic team that was waaaaay better without Rondo than with him? Yes, the celtics are banged up but no more so than the Knicks. They’ve been much better without Rondo so I don’t want to hear about his injury. Garnett is out and so was Tyson. And we are missing our next two best bigs in Amare and Rasheed, and Camby didn’t even play.

      Like so many things, it’s in the eye of the beholder. You’re feeling defensive because your prediction felt completely flat, so you’re making excuses for it. We’ve been optimistic so maybe we are reading too much into it. But to not give proper credit to a team that hasn’t just won 8 games in a row– they’ve basically destroyed other teams by a combined 90 points in these 8 games- and the games weren’t even THAT close. And all without the guy most people on this board would consider the most important/irreplaceable guy on the team.

    46. BigBlueAL

      The thing is you cant say before this stretch of 8 games against “weak” opponents that the Knicks arent good enough to win more than 4 in that stretch then when they win all 8 you say its no big deal.

      The Knicks cant win with this line of thinking. Its an easy schedule yet they are only going to win 4 games because they arent very good, yet they win all 8 (mostly by blowouts too) but they still arent very good because they are supposed to win these games??

    47. jon abbey

      what’s funny is that for everything that has happened in terms of personnel, we’re pretty much in the same place as we were coming into the season: we will live and die with JR Smith. if he plays like he has been the last week or two, we have at least a puncher’s chance against anyone. if he turns back to the pumpkin who takes 22 foot contested jumpers, we don’t.

    48. jon abbey

      and also as someone who’s vacillated between very optimistic and very pessimistic on this team over the course of the season, I do think if you’re not excited to some extent about an eight game winning streak (in which they’ve been mostly crushing teams, as was said above) in late March while battling for a number two seed in the East, something is wrong.

      but I will say that Amar’e isn’t going to help this team this season. he might come back, but he’s not going to help (assuming everyone else stays healthy).

    49. Thomas B.

      I love my team, but I am skeptical. Beating Miami would help me along. It means more to me when we beat the teams that we should not beat. Rising is better than staying put. Read the game notes from the Easter game against the Bulls last year. That was NOT a boring game. Huge game from a great player against a great team. I’m sorry, I can’t go nuts over a win over the Cats or a Boston team that looks totally gassed (well it is always nice to wipe the smug smirk off PP’s overbite). There has been too much up and down for me to put my heart out there for this team. At least with the 90’s teams you knew the defense would be there every game. There really isn’t any one thing with this team tha I feel I can count on every night.
      I never know which JR will show, which Felton I’ll see. Novack! or Noooooooo!!! I’m not sure if I’ll get kid Kidd or grandpa Kidd. Will the reserves show? Will Prig’s push shot go in? Will anyone find Chandler on the PNR?

      There have been tooo many stretches–not games–but stretches when everything this team should do goes away. So yes, I am afraid they will break my heart yet again. Yes, I’d rather not put my faith out there again.

      I just don’t trust them, even though I love my team. How can you trust anything run by James Dolan?

    50. Z-man

      Thomas, it’s OK to be a glass-half-empty guy about these Knicks, but for crying out loud, be fair about it. Bottom feeders or not, Garnett-less C’s or not, bad night for Griz or not, the Knicks have been very undermanned and under pressure from the Nets in the Atlantic and vs. the Pacers in the EC. If you read the Boston Herald articles leading up to last night’s game, the “undermanned” Celts really wanted to put one on the Knicks after being stomped on their home court, and got Courtney Lee back. We, on the other hand, pretty much lost the only big man we had left halfway through the game, and still absolutely stomped a motivated team and coach. And Memphis? They had a TON to play for, and we kicked their ass like few teams have in the first half of that game.

      I agree that we need to show something vs. Miami, OKC, Chi and/or Indiana, and even vs. the Hawks and Bucks. But it’s nice to see us playing with some swagger, and playing fluid, cohesive, intelligent basketball on both ends of the court. Like many teams, we will live by the 3 and die by the 3, but it’s not like we don’t have any other way to win.

      And the impack of K-Mart can’t be overstated, looking forward to seeing his impact vs. Chicago and Indiana. He was a big factor in the last OKC game, which we had a chance to win at the buzzer.

    51. Glew

      I think we’re looking much better for very logical reasons. Felton’s hand is finally healthy, which I think had much to do with his less than stellar shooting percentage for the last few months. Shumpert is regaining his athleticism, shots starting to fall, and he is finding his niche in the offense/players are recognizing how to play with him. Kenyon has brought physicality and defensive communication back to this team. JR appears to have really learned how to carry a team on his back and is straight balling probably playing better than Melo right now. I wonder what will happen on a night when he stops getting the calls and the shots stop falling? Going forward I honestly don’t think the heat care that much about the game tomorrow and wouldn’t put much stock into it as long as it is competitive. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lebron and/or Wade don’t even play. I think this streak is incredible because with our backs against the wall we got it done. I don’t care if some of the teams were lottery teams. We looked dominant and can not wait to incorporate a hopefully recharged top 5 center in the league in Chandler.

    52. lavor postell

      There are plenty of things we can gripe about, but the performance of our front office is not necessarily one of those. The Celtics spent major money on Courtney Lee and Jason Terry. They have so far been spectacular duds, while even with his uptick in production, the Green contract is one of the more overpriced in the league.

      The media narrative around the Celtics is really amusing as well. Somehow there is some perception that if they’re healthy this is a team that can really threaten Miami and topple the Knicks with relative ease. Not sure why considering their big men, Garnett aside, are absolutely atrocious defensively. We lose to Miami because we can’t make shots and we are lambasted as pretenders. The Celtics blow a double digit lead at home and all we hear about is how courageous and gritty they are. Give me a break. This team has been average the entire season, with or without Rondo/Garnett.

    53. MeloDrama

      Thomas B.:
      I love my team, but I am skeptical. Beating Miami would help me along.It means more to me when we beat the teams that we should not beat.Rising is better than staying put. Read the game notes from the Easter game against the Bulls last year.That was NOT a boring game. Huge game from a great player against a great team.I’m sorry, I can’t go nuts over a win over the Cats or a Boston team that looks totally gassed (well it is always nice to wipe the smug smirk off PP’s overbite).There has been too much up and down for me to put my heart out there for this team.At least with the 90?s teams you knew the defense would be there every game.There really isn’t any one thing with this team tha I feel I can count on every night.
      I never know which JR will show, which Felton I’ll see.Novack! or Noooooooo!!!I’m not sure if I’ll get kid Kidd or grandpa Kidd.Will the reserves show? Will Prig’s push shot go in?Will anyone find Chandler on the PNR?

      There have been tooo many stretches–not games–but stretches when everything this team should do goes away.So yes, I am afraid they will break my heart yet again.Yes, I’d rather not put my faith out there again.

      I just don’t trust them, even though I love my team.How can you trust anything run by James Dolan?

      I mean, they’re number 2 in the East. They were always going to be underdogs to Miami to win a championship, no matter what moves they made. But regardless of how it finishes, if you can’t be excited for a team like this, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for.

    54. Thomas B.

      When I see it against the top tier teams, then maybe I’ll get on board. I have to see it first. I’m not going to assume I’ll get the same level of play against the best that you will against the worst. A career night against the Bobcats means nothing against the Heat, Spurs, Nuggets, ect. Of course if Martin lays an egg Tuesday, you guys will just blame the strained muscle. You have a built in excuse.

      I’ve seen this team play uneven basketball following the hot start. They had more middle of the road games than great ones since December. They beat one good team in the last two months.

      This so reminds me of the Lin discussions. People said Lin was good based on what he did in the games that he played well. There was always some reason to not consider the bad games. This team needs to shoot a very high percentage from deep in order to win. The most difficult thing to do in basketball is the thing they have to do in order to win. And when they don’t do that…yikes. That gives nobody pause?

      That isn’t a puncher’s chance. Any punch can knock a person out. The Knicks have to pull off a Shoryuken with the other guy is in the air. Sure it works great when you connect, put if you miss you are in huge trouble. I’d just love to have something else to fall back on in order to feel good.

    55. jon abbey

      Thomas B.:
      When I see it against the top tier teams, then maybe I’ll get on board.

      they’re 4-2 against the top three teams in the league, and easily could be 6-0.

    56. MeloDrama

      Thomas B.: Here is the thing about technology, you can catch up on a two weeks of ball in a few hours. You’ve heard of a DVR right?Then there are these things called box scores and recaps, and journalism.One can learn so much without watching every game live.

      I was wrong, yes.I thought the team would go 4-4 over that 8.But I underestimated the race for a lottery spot among the bottom-feeders.We beat the bottom feeders! Raise the banners. Start the parade.

      And I never said they “sucked”. Maybe you should pay attention.I said the team was flawed, and they are.They rely too much on things that good defensive teams can beat.This is why they struggle with Chicago, and Indy.Play a team that doesn’t or can’t play defense, and they do ok, really well in fact. All we need is to play those same teams in the playoffs and the title is all but ours.In the East, you can win 50 games and still not be very good.Not a sucky team, but still not very good.

      I think they’ve got the drop on Chicago and Indy in the postseason. Defensive teams like that prey on forcing turnovers to create offense and this team simply takes care of the basketball.

      Maybe I’m naive, but I think when you look at the veteran makeup of this team, a lot of the inconsistency is going to go back to guys saving their highest gear for the postseason. Boston’s been at this for a few seasons now and I think Chandler’s Mavs team did the same thing. That this team’s played a couple of stretches of truly dominant basketball is a really good sign, to me.

    57. jon abbey

      Thomas B.:
      This team needs to shoot a very high percentage from deep in order to win.The most difficult thing to do in basketball is the thing they have to do in order to win.

      they shot 8-28 from 3 in the win in Boston, 8-23 from 3 in the win in Utah. that is two recent road wins against playoff teams where they shot poorly from 3 and still won easily.

    58. MeloDrama

      jon abbey: they’re 4-2 against the top three teams in the league, and easily could be 6-0.

      And they’re seventh in the league record-wise, despite Melo, Chandler, Amar’e and Felton all missing significant stretches.

    59. Thomas B.

      jon abbey: they’re 4-2 against the top three teams in the league, and easily could be 6-0.

      How many of those after Jan 1? I see the Spurs game on 1/3, which they followed up by dropping 3 to Boston, Indy, and Chicago. You beat one top team then lose to three conference rivals. Sounds like something I can get behind.

    60. jon abbey

      MeloDrama: And they’re seventh in the league record-wise, despite Melo, Chandler, Amar’e and Felton all missing significant stretches.

      the ‘despite’ part would be better if they were actually better at full strength, but they seem to be worse. 16-13 with Amar’e this year, 30-13 without him.

    61. jon abbey

      Thomas B.: How many of those after Jan 1?

      they can only play the games on their schedule, that is all the games they’ve played against those teams this year.

    62. Thomas B.

      jon abbey: they can only play the games on their schedule, that is all the games they’ve played against those teams this year.

      Jan: 3-4 against playoff teams
      Feb: 2-2
      March:3-5
      8-11 against playoff teams. ( I didn’t count the Jazz since they were floating in and out of the 8 spot, but if you do that ups it to 10-11)
      Almost .500; who wouldn’t be impressed with that record?

    63. lavor postell

      Thomas B.: How many of those after Jan 1?I see the Spurs game on 1/3, which they followed up by dropping 3 to Boston, Indy, and Chicago.You beat one top team then lose to three conference rivals.Sounds like something I can get behind.

      So you don’t think a 1 point loss to OKC sans Melo is a sign of a legitimate contender? What would you be saying if we were at full strength and beat OKC without Durant by a point on the road. I bet you’d devalue the performance because of the opponents’ superstar missing in action. The Knicks however apparently don’t get the benefit of the doubt in this regard.

      They also apparently don’t get credit for pounding teams over an 8 game stretch in which you thought they’d go .500. Or for beating a full strength Memphis team because they are the only elite team we beat. Not sure if I understand that logic.

    64. jon abbey

      yes, NY is only 17-18 against above .500 teams, but do you realize that is a better record than all of the other Eastern playoff teams except Miami? Brooklyn is 12-25, thank god you’re not a fan of theirs.

    65. jon abbey

      Indiana 16-18
      Brooklyn 12-25
      Chicago 17-21
      Atlanta 14-23
      Boston 18-20
      Milwaukee 15-25

    66. Thomas B.

      lavor postell: So you don’t think a 1 point loss to OKC sans Melo is a sign of a legitimate contender?

      IDK, do you think a 2 point loss to the Raptors is reason to be concerned? It’s not any one game. I’m looking at the body of work and the recent body of work. Having Martin changes the equation a bit, just as having Wall changed the Wizards.

    67. Thomas B.

      jon abbey:
      yes, NY is only 17-18 against above .500 teams, but do you realize that is a better record than all of the other Eastern playoff teams except Miami? Brooklyn is 12-25, thank god you’re not a fan of theirs.

      Exactly my point; being slightly not as bad as the other teams does not make the Knicks a contender.

    68. Thomas B.

      They also apparently don’t get credit for pounding teams over an 8 game stretch in which you thought they’d go .500.Or for beating a full strength Memphis team because they are the only elite team we beat.Not sure if I understand that logic.

      Hmmm fair point. Here is how I see it. To make the playoffs, you have to beat enough teams, good and bad, to qualify. To make a run in the palyoffs you don’t have to beat the bad teams anymore, they are out of the picture. You now have to beat good teams. So I would look at how the Knicks played against the best teams as a predictor of how they may do against them in the playoffs. The better they perform, the more confidence I have. So while the 8 game winning streak is great in terms of GETTING to the playoffs, I have to at least consider if this translates into success IN the playoffs. So, no I am not saying the wins don’t count for something. They tell me this is a playoff team, but those don;t tell me if this is a playoff contender, they very well may be, I’m just not sure yet.

      Does that help at all? I’m not trolling, just sharing with you all what i see. I wish i saw what you saw, it would make things easier.

    69. Juany8

      jon abbey: the ‘despite’ part would be better if they were actually better at full strength, but they seem to be worse. 16-13 with Amar’e this year, 30-13 without him.

      To be fair, although Amare’s impact is certainly disputable, injuries to Felton, Chandler, and Melo shouldn’t be ignored. Neither should the injuries to Sheed and Camby, you would hope one of them would have stayed healthy longer. Personally I think the problem was less Amar’e being bad for the team than it was having only 1 healthy big who could actually rebound and defend, as well as the fact that the entire backcourt collapsed on both offense and defense (remember Ronnie Brewer?)

      I’m pretty sure if Martin had to play like this for an entire season he would end up taking as many games off as Chandler has, it’s ridiculous to be the only real interior presence on the team for extended periods. If Martin, Camby, and Chandler are all playing though, I think Amar’e could be a positive factor, the team was actually doing good when Amar’e was out there with another big. Next to Novak? Pretty bad lol.

    70. jon abbey

      but you don’t seem to be putting the other non-Miami teams under the same microscope. if you did, I think you’d come to the conclusion that they have a good chance to win two rounds, and then their record against the top three teams would come into play in the final two rounds.

      no one is calling them favorites, and if they were in the West, we’d all be as devoid of hope as you. as it is, the draw means they will have a puncher’s chance, which is all anyone is saying. if that isn’t enough for you to be excited, then I recommend just rooting for whatever team LeBron is on (seriously).

    71. jon abbey

      Juany8: To be fair, although Amare’s impact is certainly disputable, injuries to Felton, Chandler, and Melo shouldn’t be ignored. Neither should the injuries to Sheed and Camby, you would hope one of them would have stayed healthy longer. Personally I think the problem was less Amar’e being bad for the team than it was having only 1 healthy big who could actually rebound and defend, as well as the fact that the entire backcourt collapsed on both offense and defense (remember Ronnie Brewer?)

      I think in today’s NBA the value of a post threat is minimal, even one as efficient as Amar’e was. the opportunity cost of trying to get him the ball counteracts the efficiency once he does, and his deficiencies on D and the boards are universally known.

      now if Shaq in his prime was playing now, that might be different, but I don’t think there are many exceptions to the rule currently. if you are great on the other end like Gasol or Duncan, that of course is different too.

    72. lavor postell

      Thomas B.: Hmmm fair point. Here is how I see it.To make the playoffs, you have to beat enough teams, good and bad, to qualify.To make a run in the palyoffs you don’t have to beat the bad teams anymore, they are out of the picture.You now have to beat good teams.So I would look at how the Knicks played against the best teams as a predictor of how they may do against them in the playoffs.The better they perform, the more confidence I have.So while the 8 game winning streak is great in terms of GETTING to the playoffs, I have to at least consider if this translates into success IN the playoffs.So, no I am not saying the wins don’t count for something.They tell me this is a playoff team, but those don;t tell me if this is a playoff contender, they very well may be, I’m just not sure yet.

      Does that help at all?I’m not trolling, just sharing with you all what i see.I wish i saw what you saw, it would make things easier.

      That’s fair but as jon abbey pointed out the Knicks have a better record against .500 teams than any team in the Eastern Conference save Miami. So at the worst they are as legit as any other team in the East to get a shot at Miami in the ECF. Furthermore right now they have a 2-1 record against Miami with a chance to get it to 3-1 tomorrow. If that were to happened it’d be pretty hard to not see them as a legitimate contender considering they’d have a winning record, with two road wins, against a team you’d say is the only elite team in the East.

      So I guess we’ll have a lot more to discuss pending tomorrow’s result. I’m sure if the Knicks lose Owen will miraculously manage to find a better internet connection to post about how based on his view of the box score Melo continues to hurt the team more than help it. Dogrufus will also be a presence tomorrow with his predictions of impending doom.

    73. jon abbey

      also…

      “Personally I think the problem was less Amar’e being bad for the team than it was having only 1 healthy big who could actually rebound and defend”

      this is what they have now (Martin), and they’ve won eight in a row.

    74. max fisher-cohen

      @MeloDrama

      The injuries were a big hit for them because it exposed their real lack of depth. If this was the front office’s vision for the team — floor spacing to the extreme — then they should have recognized Brewer was a very poor fit from the start. The same goes for Thomas & Camby, neither of whom have any business participating in an NBA offense. It’s not the injuries themselves that cost the Knicks as much as their lack of true depth. The Knicks really haven’t had THAT many injuries.

      For example, San Antonio’s top four guys — Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Leonard — have missed a combined 58 games this season.

      Even looking at NY’s top FIVE guys (Kidd, Chandler, JR, Felton, Anthony) they’ve only missed 40 games.

      SA is an extreme, so here are some other examples of teams with similar records’ games missed from top 5 players:

      Brooklyn: 28 games missed
      Chicago: 99 games missed
      Boston: 75 games missed
      Indiana: 82 games missed
      Lakers: 79 games missed
      GSW: 58 games missed
      ATL: 51 games missed
      LAC: 24 games missed + another 101 games missed from Billups and Hill

      NY has suffered a slightly above avg # of injuries. Their shit bench play was the primary cause of their slide. With Martin joining the team and playing amazingly and Shumpert’s recent streak of great play, that’s less of an issue.

      It’s almost a repeat of last season, where ppl attributed the late season run to the magic of the goattee, but in reality, JR & Baron Davis came back from injury, Shumpert got hot, Amar’e’s injury allowed Novak a larger role; those were as much a part of New York’s resurgence as Woodson.

      The Knicks are a system team. They don’t have a lebron or paul to carry junk players. They have someone who at best approximates Derrick Rose or late-career Kobe, and as this season has illustrated, even after letting Korver & Asik go, Rose’s teammates are pretty damn good.

    75. Juany8

      jon abbey:
      but you don’t seem to be putting the other non-Miami teams under the same microscope. if you did, I think you’d come to the conclusion that they have a good chance to win two rounds, and then their record against the top three teams would come into play in the final two rounds.

      no one is calling them favorites, and if they were in the West, we’d all be as devoid of hope as you. as it is, the draw means they will have a puncher’s chance, which is all anyone is saying. if that isn’t enough for you to be excited, then I recommend just rooting for whatever team LeBron is on (seriously).

      What’s crazy is that even if the Knicks were in the West, they’d be in play for the 3 seed right now. Sure they’d have no chance of making it to the Finals in that scenario since they’d have 3 tougher series, but like you said, if you want to cheer for a sure contender just go cheer for Lebron’s team. I think the Knicks have around a 10-15% chance of making the Finals, and I really don’t think you could ask for much better once Rose, Noah, and Gibson were drafted by Chicago and Miami got Bosh and Lebron for being Wade’s buddies.

    76. BigBlueAL

      jon abbey:
      but you don’t seem to be putting the other non-Miami teams under the same microscope. if you did, I think you’d come to the conclusion that they have a good chance to win two rounds, and then their record against the top three teams would come into play in the final two rounds.

      no one is calling them favorites, and if they were in the West, we’d all be as devoid of hope as you. as it is, the draw means they will have a puncher’s chance, which is all anyone is saying. if that isn’t enough for you to be excited, then I recommend just rooting for whatever team LeBron is on (seriously).

      Who is this guy that has taken over abbey’s keyboard spewing optimism?? I kinda like this guy lol.

    77. mcliff05

      This argument about how impressive the streak is based on the quality of opponents is meaningless at this point. Unless you’re talking about playoff seeding the only thing I want to see is cohesive play, ball movement and healthy bodies. They could lose each of those games against MIA, OKC, CHI and IND and it wouldn’t matter. Dead Horse Alert: this team will be judged in May.

    78. lavor postell

      Parker is really unbelievable. In my eyes the best point guard in the league over the last 3 years.

    79. jon abbey

      Juany8: What’s crazy is that even if the Knicks were in the West, they’d be in play for the 3 seed right now.

      no, they wouldn’t, they’re 16-13 against West teams this year. they have an almost comparable record because of all the bottom feeders in the East, but they’d likely be in GS/HOU territory in the West, IMO anyway.

    80. jon abbey

      BigBlueAL: Who is this guy that has taken over abbey’s keyboard spewing optimism??I kinda like this guy lol.

      Kenyon Martin gave me hope. I still wouldn’t be surprised if NY loses to CHI or BOS in the first round (not looking for an argument, just saying), but at least I’m not certain we’ll be bullied by the opposition like I was a month or so ago.

    81. max fisher-cohen

      And as far as NY being better than every East team but the Heat, the comparison doesn’t sound so fun when you use it on similarly talented WC teams. Yeah, they’re better than Utah, Portland, and Dallas too, all of whom would be fighting for the 3-6 seeds were they in the East. Who cares?

      You can also look historically here. Let’s take the 01/02 season, wherein there was no dominant team like Miami, but the rest of the conference was pretty similarly bad. Who here remembers the 49 win Boston Celtics, who shimmied into the ECF with Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce as their top guns? Who remembers the 50 win Pistons, who charged into the playoffs on the back of none other than the surefire hall of famer, Jerry Stackhouse?

      The answer is “no one.” No one outside of NJ even thinks much of Nets for that matter, even though they made the finals. Why? Because they weren’t a great team.

      The point is, the same exact things you’re saying about New York being slightly better than other EC teams could also have been said about Detroit or Boston back then. Is that really a comparison that you greet with optimism?

      I’m not saying NY is or isn’t on the level of Boston back then; all I’m saying is that this comparative argument is kinda meaningless unless you’re content with a moderately exciting but ultimately forgettable playoff run.

    82. Juany8

      @77, that injury analysis is clearly biased, how are you going to point out injuries to every team and then just ignore that there is a max contract just sitting on the bench for this team? Shump missed half the season, every backup big has been injured at some point, and your “top 5″ has missed a pretty large number of games regardless.

      By the way, the amazing Chris Paul has had half the injuries on his team, has a much deeper bench to work with, and yet the Clippers have the same record as the Knicks, and Chris Paul has exactly the same number of playoff series wins as Melo. Also keep in mind that every single team that has beaten a Chis Paul led team has lost immediately lost in the next round since 2008, he’s not losing to Champions, or even a single team that has made the Finals. Having Chris Paul hasn’t meant a lot for his teams, the Bulls on the other hand went from having the best record in the league 2 seasons in the row to the 6th seed once they lost Rose. I love Asik, but a guy playing 15 minutes a game and providing nothing on offense is not that hard to replace, and anyone who watched Ronnie Brewer this year knows exactly why Chicago let him go.

    83. jon abbey

      max fisher-cohen:
      all I’m saying is that this comparative argument is kinda meaningless unless you’re content with a moderately exciting but ultimately forgettable playoff run.

      well, this goes back to my argument that nothing has really mattered for NY since LeBron went to Miami. with your perspective (which I fully understand and am not mocking), you should have stopped paying attention for the next five years after that, maybe more. I totally get the “championship or irrelevance” perspective, but there’s really no reason to root for any team besides Miami or OKC then, last year, this year (sorry, I don’t believe in the Spurs), and probably for the next few years also.

      but a division title isn’t meaningless, a 50 win season isn’t meaningless, a playoff series win isn’t meaningless. especially in a year where the Yankees are almost certainly going to suck, hopefully the Knicks can give us at least a month or so extra entertainment before going down.

    84. max fisher-cohen

      Juany8: What’s crazy is that even if the Knicks were in the West, they’d be in play for the 3 seed right now. Sure they’d have no chance of making it to the Finals in that scenario since they’d have 3 tougher series, but like you said, if you want to cheer for a sure contender just go cheer for Lebron’s team. I think the Knicks have around a 10-15% chance of making the Finals, and I really don’t think you could ask for much better once Rose, Noah, and Gibson were drafted by Chicago and Miami got Bosh and Lebron for being Wade’s buddies.

      This is a bit much, JuaNY. I wouldn’t even give the Clippers a 10% chance at the finals, and they’re definitely better than NY. And NY certainly wouldn’t be fighting for a 3rd seed in the West. They would have had a significantly tougher schedule. NY is 16-13 vs. the West right now. Swap the win %s, and NY would have 43-44 wins right now and would be fighting with GS for the 6/7 seed.

    85. Juany8

      jon abbey: no, they wouldn’t, they’re 16-13 against West teams this year. they have an almost comparable record because of all the bottom feeders in the East, but they’d likely be in GS/HOU territory in the West, IMO anyway.

      While that is true, they have a pretty damn good record against the actual contenders, and the Knicks have one of the better road records in the whole league. I’m not saying that they’d be better than those teams, just that you can lump them together as a group of secondary contenders after Miami, San Antonio, and OKC.

    86. Thomas B.

      Juany8: What’s crazy is that even if the Knicks were in the West, they’d be in play for the 3 seed right now.

      Bwahahahahahaha. No way. No how are the Knicks a 3 seed in the West. The Spurs wins notwithstanding, this team is not better than the Spurs, OKC, Denver, or Memphis and possibly the Clippers. They’d be lucky to take the 6th seed. Of course that is what i said about the Knicks in the East just three weeks ago so what do I know.

    87. nicos

      @Max Ignoring that Amar’e’s missed 40+ games is a bit disingenuous. JR’s been great the last couple of weeks and was very good the week or so- in those 50 games in between his TS% was under .500 with a hefty usage of 25+ so I’d say Amar’e cracks the top five (Kidd also had a horrible stretch after the hot start and is really best suited for about 20 minutes off of the bench so while he’s brought great rebounding and a ton of intangibles I’d say a fully healthy Amar’e not playing center with Novak as the power forward would knock him off of the list as well. Two: It’s not just the injuries- it’s both Melo and Felton playing hurt for long stretches and Amar’e and Shump taking weeks to get going after returning from knee surgeries. I think you could’ve reasonably expected the Thomas/Camby/Sheed trio to miss a bunch of time and the Knicks are probably lucky Kidd hasn’t missed more time as well. But having basically all of your bigs out at the same time? I don’t think you could have planned for that, even with an aging roster. The Knicks 14th and 15th guys have both played a lot of minutes this season- can you really say that about any other teams?

    88. Z-man

      max fisher-cohen: Even looking at NY’s top FIVE guys (Kidd, Chandler, JR, Felton, Anthony) they’ve only missed 40 games.

      So Amar’e and Shump are not “top-5 guys?” Their injuries don’t count? Please cherrypick some more!

      What about Sheed? He was very important to their early season success…

      What about Camby? Former DPOY, led the league in Reb% last year.

      And what about the many games where guys played but were seriously compromised: Melo, Felton, Kidd, Chandler…

      Look, the Knicks’ injury woes are much their own doing: the Amare contract, signing older players like Sheed, Kidd, Camby, etc. But to say that other teams have had to deal with just as much injury or more is a ludicrous reach.

    89. Juany8

      By the way guys, in the Knicks 13 losses against the west, 7 have come without Carmelo Anthony in the lineup. You think that might make a difference over a smaller sample?

    90. Z-man

      With Boston losing and Bucks and Hawks winning, the playoff picture in the EC is more muddled than ever.

    91. max fisher-cohen

      jon —

      Two things:

      1) I root in two ways. I root for a team to be the best it can be given the current situation. It’s fun for me to think about what the team can do to improve regardless of whether a title is conceivable. This team’s bizarre chemistry/lack of chemistry I find pretty fascinating to watch.

      2) I can get excited about a terrible team if it has designs to become a great one. If it has draft picks, it might draft the next lebron. If it has real young players, they could develop into all-stars, and if they do, maybe a couple stars join as free agents rather than via trade, and NY has a shot to win it all.

      I mean, if New York had managed to sign Carmelo as a free agent and had kept Gallinari, signing and trading Wilson Chandler, amnestied Stoudemire, and added Tyson and a $10m/year SG, I think they could beat Miami. Surely they wouldn’t be favorites, but they wouldn’t be living on a prayer as they are now.

      Now that we aren’t flooded with awful contracts, that’s a process that NY can easily repeat. Build a good young core and watch the NYC life recruit a couple stars to complement that youth. It’s a process that I can be excited about even in those 22 win seasons.

    92. llcoolbp

      If chandler comes back healthy (forget about stat, sheed, or Kurt), there is no way this team loses to Indiana, Boston, or atl. We are going to the east finals. I’ll take my chances against Miami, with the refs against us and the NBA rooting against us. I really believe this will happen. The last 2 weeks has shown us that.

    93. Thomas B.

      Z-man:
      What about Sheed? He was very important to their early season success…

      What about Camby? Former DPOY, led the league in Reb% last year.

      Hmm good point. We should sign more players who were once something. Is Bill Russell available? What about Bob Mcadoo for some scoring from the forward spot?

    94. Z-man

      Thomas B.: The Spurs wins notwithstanding, this team is not better than the Spurs, OKC, Denver, or Memphis and possibly the Clippers.

      Knicks swept SA, split with Denver and Memphis, and lost by 1 to OKC, for a combined record of 4-3.

    95. ruruland

      I say poppycock on this idea that the Knicks are better with Amar’e out.

      1: the Knicks offense is slightly better with Amar’e on the floor than off of it, that’s despite Amar’e missing both of the Knicks 3-point shooting streaks.

      Amar’e has been on a lot of great 3-point shooting teams, even when playing power forward, and his ability to finish and attract attention on post-ups should at the very least not hurt the Knicks 3-pt shooting.

      It’s more likely that from a +/- perspective he was simply unfortunate to not have played when team was shooting hot.

      2. The Knicks have often played their least effective defensive lineups around Stoudemire, as Max pointed in his piece on him earlier.

      3. Chandler and Amar’e are a +8.4 points together, which is one of the highest two man combos on the team.

    96. max fisher-cohen

      Wallace was not GOOD! The only way he looks good is with his +/-, which with his tiny sampleis easy to write off. Camby has been terrible when health as well. Who do you want to pick for a top five player?

      Stoudemire PLAYED when we were the worst! Why should he count? He was terrible last year too. Ask yourself, who would you keep if you had five players to pick? You’re the disingenuous one if you say Stoudemire.

      I didn’t count total games missed because it would have taken forever, but other teams’ totals would have been higher as well. Should I also have counted Atlanta’s devastating loss of Zaza Pachulia, or how about the river of tears Chicago fans likely expelled each time Rip Hamilton missed a game?

    97. Juany8

      Z-man: Knicks swept SA, split with Denver and Memphis, and lost by 1 to OKC, for a combined record of 4-3.

      Melo only played 22 minutes in the second Denver game and shouldn’t have played at all (beyond clearly injured) and he didn’t play in the OKC game. He also missed the second Clippers game, so in games where Chandler and Melo have played the Knicks are 4-2 against the top teams in the West.

      Also, the Nuggets have the same issue as the Knicks, their record would go down if you put them in the East. It’s not as simple as just translating a team’s record over to the other conference.

    98. Thomas B.

      Z-man:
      Oh, were swept by clippers, so 4-5.

      .500 against the Kings, Lakers, and Mavs, got swept by Portland. If you are going to put them in the west, then PUT them in the West. Add two more games against Portland. And two more Ls against Golden State.

    99. ruruland

      Thomas B.:
      Max,

      Isn’t it sad that Kidd is one of the top five guys?

      Why would that be sad? He was one of the top 5 guys on a championship team two years ago. Also, he may or may not be a top 5 guy on this team if Amar’e is healthy.

    100. jon abbey

      ruruland:
      I say poppycock on this idea that the Knicks are better with Amar’e out.

      1: the Knicks offense is slightly better with Amar’e on the floor than off of it, that’s despite Amar’e missing both of the Knicks 3-point shooting streaks.

      Amar’e has been on a lot of great 3-point shooting teams, even when playing power forward, and his ability to finish and attract attention on post-ups should at the very least not hurt the Knicks 3-pt shooting.

      It’s more likely that from a +/- perspective he was simply unfortunate to not have played when team was shooting hot.

      2. The Knicks have often played their least effective defensive lineups around Stoudemire, as Max pointed in his piece on him earlier.

      3. Chandler and Amar’e are a +8.4 points together, which is one of the highest two man combos on the team.

      he’s their third best overall option at PF given the rest of the team, after Melo and Martin. how do you divvy up the minutes at PF/C keeping in mind that Woodson has made it quite clear he wants Melo at PF most of the time? this is a genuine question, show me your minute allocations with Chandler/Amare/Martin all available.

    101. Z-man

      Thomas B.: Hmm good point. We should sign more players who were once something.Is Bill Russell available? What about Bob Mcadoo for some scoring from the forward spot?

      Oh, and Kevin Garnett, Rip Hamilton, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, and Chauncey Billups are in their primes?

      And Rondo and Rose count but Shump doesn’t?

    102. Juany8

      max fisher-cohen:
      Wallace was not GOOD! The only way he looks good is with his +/-, which with his tiny sampleis easy to write off. Camby has been terrible when health as well. Who do you want to pick for a top five player?

      Stoudemire PLAYED when we were the worst! Why should he count? He was terrible last year too. Ask yourself, who would you keep if you had five players to pick? You’re the disingenuous one if you say Stoudemire.

      I didn’t count total games missed because it would have taken forever, but other teams’ totals would have been higher as well. Should I also have counted Atlanta’s devastating loss of Zaza Pachulia, or how about the river of tears Chicago fans likely expelled each time Rip Hamilton missed a game?

      It’s not about how good they are, it’s the fact that they’re missing at the same time. Plus if you’re going to ignore Sheed’s +/- because of sample size and then ignore Amare’s production because of +/- in a similarly limited sample, it’s hard to take your arguments seriously. Shump is a starter and you somehow ignored him missing a bunch of games, as well as the fact that no other good team in the league is giving minutes to guys like Copeland and White due to injuries, much less starting them (maybe Boston and the Lakers have a case actually, but not the teams near the Knicks in record)

    103. ruruland

      max fisher-cohen:
      Wallace was not GOOD! The only way he looks good is with his +/-, which with his tiny sampleis easy to write off. Camby has been terrible when health as well. Who do you want to pick for a top five player?

      Stoudemire PLAYED when we were the worst! Why should he count? He was terrible last year too. Ask yourself, who would you keep if you had five players to pick? You’re the disingenuous one if you say Stoudemire.

      I didn’t count total games missed because it would have taken forever, but other teams’ totals would have been higher as well. Should I also have counted Atlanta’s devastating loss of Zaza Pachulia, or how about the river of tears Chicago fans likely expelled each time Rip Hamilton missed a game?

      Well, is there really anything similar between Amar’e of last year and Amar’e of this year?

      I think he was clearly playing like one of the five best players on the team when he was healthy.

    104. BigBlueAL

      jon abbey: well, this goes back to my argument that nothing has really mattered for NY since LeBron went to Miami. with your perspective (which I fully understand and am not mocking), you should have stopped paying attention for the next five years after that, maybe more. I totally get the “championship or irrelevance” perspective, but there’s really no reason to root for any team besides Miami or OKC then, last year, this year (sorry, I don’t believe in the Spurs), and probably for the next few years also.

      but a division title isn’t meaningless, a 50 win season isn’t meaningless, a playoff series win isn’t meaningless. especially in a year where the Yankees are almost certainly going to suck, hopefully the Knicks can give us at least a month or so extra entertainment before going down.

      Especially in the NBA, accomplishments other than championships are things to be celebrated considering how few teams actually win it all. In my lifetime (born in 1980) 9 NBA franchises have won it all. 9 in 32 years!! In MLB it has been 19, NFL 15.

      The Knicks havent won a division title since 1994 and havent won 50 games in a season or a playoff series in 2000. All 3 of those things are going to happen this season so hell yeah Im going to celebrate this season for being a pretty damn successful season.

      One final note, the Knicks historically are a pretty shitty franchise. This will be only the 5th(!!) Atlantic division title since divisions were created for the 1970-71 season. Only the 13th time winning 50 games since the NBA went to an 82-game schedule for the 1967-68 season. Like it or not this current team is one of the better Knick teams in franchise history.

    105. ruruland

      jon abbey: he’s their third best overall option at PF given the rest of the team, after Melo and Martin. how do you divvy up the minutes at PF/C keeping in mind that Woodson has made it quite clear he wants Melo at PF most of the time? this is a genuine question, show me your minute allocations with Chandler/Amare/Martin all available.

      I would take Novak out of the rotation entirely unless the team is down more than 10 points.

      Martin 26, Melo 38, Amar’e 30, Chandler 34

      That gives you 110 minutes to divvy up between Kidd, JR, Felton, Prigs, Shump

      I’d go: Kidd 24, Shump 24, Felton 30, Jr 32.

      Prigs optional 10-15 minutes subtracted from any of the above depending on how they’re playing (JR in step-back mode, for example, should earn Prigs a good 10-15 minutes)

    106. Juany8

      Thomas B.: .500 against the Kings, Lakers, and Mavs, got swept by Portland. If you are going to put them in the west, then PUT them in the West.Add two more games against Portland. And two more Ls against Golden State.

      That’s the point though, citing a small sample of games as proof that they would suck in the West isn’t particularly meaningful either way. When the Knicks have played other top teams, they have generally looked like they belonged against them, especially when their best players are actually playing. So maybe the Knicks don’t actually end up getting the 3rd seed in the West, two of the Clippers, Memphis, and Nuggets aren’t getting it and they’re all about the same quality team.

      My point is that if your only standard is putting yourself in position to win championships, the Clippers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, and Knicks are pretty much all in the same position, with the Knicks having an advantage because of luck of the draw. If what the Knicks getting to the ECF is not good enough, then there are at most 2 or 3 teams in the league worth bothering to root for each year. And those teams are generally going to be the same ones year after year (best predictor of winning a championship is having won a championship previously)

    107. Z-man

      max fisher-cohen:
      Wallace was not GOOD! The only way he looks good is with his +/-, which with his tiny sampleis easy to write off. Camby has been terrible when health as well. Who do you want to pick for a top five player?

      Stoudemire PLAYED when we were the worst! Why should he count? He was terrible last year too. Ask yourself, who would you keep if you had five players to pick? You’re the disingenuous one if you say Stoudemire.

      I didn’t count total games missed because it would have taken forever, but other teams’ totals would have been higher as well. Should I also have counted Atlanta’s devastating loss of Zaza Pachulia, or how about the river of tears Chicago fans likely expelled each time Rip Hamilton missed a game?

      Regardless, top-5 player is a bit arbitrary, any 20+ minute rotation player can be critical to team success, especially if their role is not adequately replaced by those left on the roster. Sheed was a major factor in the 18-5 start, mainly on the defensive end. His impact was not easily discernable in his stats, in the same way that Kidd’s and K-Mart’s impact can transcend their respective stats.

      On the other hand, I disagree with ruru here and feel that Amare’s stats inflated his impact.

    108. max fisher-cohen

      Okay, I’ve taken a deep breath. STAT IS a top 5 player on the team in terms of talent but not at all in terms of fit. Ideally, even without the Martin question, if NY has enough guards to keep Melo at PF all game, then Stoudemire is a 15 MPG player as Melo’s backup, which IMO makes him more dispensable than Prigioni AND Martin in addition to the five players I picked as top five.

      W/R/T Shumpert, who knows? Overall this season he certainly hasn’t been top five, and if you focus instead on last year’s #s, he again doesn’t look top five on this team. Who would you realistically replace in my top five players if you added Shumpert? He’s played extremely well for about 3 weeks, but before that he was terrible. How much of this great play is a result of health and how much is simply a hot streak is an open question.

    109. ruruland

      max fisher-cohen:
      jon –

      Two things:

      1) I root in two ways. I root for a team to be the best it can be given the current situation. It’s fun for me to think about what the team can do to improve regardless of whether a title is conceivable. This team’s bizarre chemistry/lack of chemistry I find pretty fascinating to watch.

      2) I can get excited about a terrible team if it has designs to become a great one. If it has draft picks, it might draft the next lebron. If it has real young players, they could develop into all-stars, and if they do, maybe a couple stars join as free agents rather than via trade, and NY has a shot to win it all.

      I mean, if New York had managed to sign Carmelo as a free agent and had kept Gallinari, signing and trading Wilson Chandler, amnestied Stoudemire, and added Tyson and a $10m/year SG, I think they could beat Miami. Surely they wouldn’t be favorites, but they wouldn’t be living on a prayer as they are now.

      They have a pick next year. They have an excellent front office. They will have another two years after this one to win with these really good misfits that seem to love playing with each other.

      In 2015, believe whatever you want, but the Knicks will be adding to a core that features Chandler and Melo on long-term reduced contracts, Shumpert and likely JR Smith, both of whom could be consistent all-star caliber players.

      Chandler and Melo will each have logged fewer minutes than the Celtics big three had going into their championship 2007 season.

      Obviously, around a core of Melo/Chandler/Smith/Shumpert/max contract you can build with a mix of youth and veterans, guys that you can build into the future with at the same time you go for rings.

    110. jon abbey

      ruruland: I would take Novak out of the rotation entirely unless the team is down more than 10 points.

      Martin 26, Melo 38, Amar’e 30, Chandler 34

      That gives you 110 minutes to divvy up between Kidd, JR, Felton, Prigs, Shump

      I’d go: Kidd 24, Shump 24, Felton 30, Jr32.

      Prigs optional 10-15 minutes subtracted from any of the above depending on how they’re playing (JR in step-back mode, for example, should earn Prigs a good 10-15 minutes)

      I’m fully down with this as a 8 man core rotation, but it means either Melo or Martin will be the SF for most of the game, and Woodson hasn’t shown any signs he wants to do that.

      but yeah, I’d go to war with that rotation and take my chances.

    111. Thomas B.

      ruruland: Why would that be sad? He was one of the top 5 guys on a championship team two years ago. Also, he may or may not be a top 5 guy on this team if Amar’e is healthy.

      Two years ago, when he was 38. Young man’s game.

    112. jon abbey

      ruruland: They have a pick next year. They have an excellent front office.

      well, they have a low pick in an awful draft and no second rounder. and it’s hard to disentangle the front office from their CAA supporters, but as long as one of them gets JR back here next year, I’m happy.

    113. Thomas B.

      Juany8: That’s the point though, citing a small sample of games as proof that they would suck in the West isn’t particularly meaningful either way.

      I never said “suck”. I said 6/7 seed. They aren’t as good as the top teams, that is not the same as sucks.

    114. ruruland

      jon abbey: well, they have a low pick in an awful draft and no second rounder. and it’s hard to disentangle the front office from their CAA supporters, but as long as one of them gets JR back here next year, I’m happy.

      I wouldn’t call it an awful draft. I know people have said that. There are plenty of guys who can be really good role players. It’s not a draft for franchise/high impact players.

      But the Knicks can land a great young piece to build around the core.

    115. ruruland

      Z-man: Regardless, top-5 player is a bit arbitrary, any 20+ minute rotation player can be critical to team success, especially if their role is not adequately replaced by those left on the roster. Sheed was a major factor in the 18-5 start, mainly on the defensive end. His impact was not easily discernable in his stats, in the same way that Kidd’s and K-Mart’s impact can transcend their respective stats.

      On the other hand, I disagree with ruru here and feel that Amare’s stats inflated his impact.

      Was he as good as his ws/48? No, his defense wasn’t good enough.

      But if he’s being hidden by an actual help defender at the rim, I think his statistical value comes very close to approaching his real value, which is still extremely high.

    116. Z-man

      The main thing, as this heated debate confirms, is that this team is very hard to place a ceiling on (beyond losing to Miami.) Indiana, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, all have MAJOR question marks. Considering the many questions coming into the season, here we are in the #2 spot. Kidd is still healthy, K-Mart has come out of nowhere, JR has improved his approach, STAT is relegated to non-factor, Chandler and Melo should be OK going onto the playoffs, Shump has recovered in line with optimistic projections, Felton is playing his best ball of the season, Novak has been Novak, Copeland and Prigs are playing like contributors, Camby is lurking, Sheed and Kurt are probably done but gave us some quality minutes. So, all-in-all, we are about where we had any right to expect to be, and that’s OK with me. Let the chips fall where they may, bring on the playoffs!

    117. ruruland

      Z-man:
      The main thing, as this heated debate confirms, is that this team is very hard to place a ceiling on (beyond losing to Miami.) Indiana, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, all have MAJOR question marks. Considering the many questions coming into the season, here we are in the #2 spot. Kidd is still healthy, K-Mart has come out of nowhere, JR has improved his approach, STAT is relegated to non-factor, Chandler and Melo should be OK going onto the playoffs, Shump has recovered in line with optimistic projections, Felton is playing his best ball of the season, Novak has been Novak, Copeland and Prigs are playing like contributors, Camby is lurking, Sheed and Kurt are probably done but gave us some quality minutes. So, all-in-all, we are about where we had any right to expect to be, and that’s OK with me. Let the chips fall where they may, bring on the playoffs!

      That’s the beauty. There’s nothing more exciting in the sports world (at least to me) than a long playoff run in the NBA by an overlooked team.

    118. JK47

      ruruland: I would take Novak out of the rotation entirely unless the team is down more than 10 points.

      Martin 26, Melo 38, Amar’e 30, Chandler 34

      That gives you 110 minutes to divvy up between Kidd, JR, Felton, Prigs, Shump

      I’d go: Kidd 24, Shump 24, Felton 30, Jr32.

      Prigs optional 10-15 minutes subtracted from any of the above depending on how they’re playing (JR in step-back mode, for example, should earn Prigs a good 10-15 minutes)

      30 minutes a game for Amar’e? I don’t know, man. I think it’s a major question mark whether he even gets on the floor again this season, let alone play 30 minutes a night in playoff games. The guy has the durability of a Faberge egg.

    119. prezs2reprsntme

      @ruru

      maybe i missed it, but why would JR come back next year + beyond? surely he can get more from another team…and it wouldnt be a small hometown discount like it was last time, it’d be a huge one (esp considering the way hes playing of late if he can maintain it a bit in the playoffs)

    120. ruruland

      JK47: 30 minutes a game for Amar’e?I don’t know, man.I think it’s a major question mark whether he even gets on the floor again this season, let alone play 30 minutes a night in playoff games.The guy has the durability of a Faberge egg.

      Yeah, I definitely don’t expect him to log 30 minutes right way. This would be for the Heat/Pacers/Bulls second round and ECF.

      If he kept re-injuring something or the injuries were somehow related, I’d agree with you.

      He should be basically ready to go full blast a couple weeks after he returns.

    121. BigBlueAL

      jon abbey:
      maybe Boston can take out Indiana for us, they do look scary right now.

      Yeah the 2 seed is going to be alot harder to get if the Pacers dont lose again this season lol.

    122. ruruland

      prezs2reprsntme:
      @ruru

      maybe i missed it, but why would JR come back next year + beyond? surely he can get more from another team…and it wouldnt be a small hometown discount like it was last time, it’d be a huge one (esp considering the way hes playing of late if he can maintain it a bit in the playoffs)

      1) Chris Smith
      2) Near home
      3) With only coach he’s ever trusted
      4) Teammates
      4) New York City, exposure, potential to get an Iman Shumpert like endorsement deal (seriously, Shumpert doesn’t get that deal in any other market)
      5) $35 million deal would still be really good

      There might only be 10-15 teams under the cap heading into the summer. Out of those, you’ve got Josh Smith, David west, Milsap, Blatche, Ginobli, Kevin Martin, Tony Allen, Reddick, O. J. Mayo, Dunleavy, (possibly Paul Pierce), Chris Paul, Stephen Jackson, Dorell Wright, Corey Brewer, Greg Smith, Jefferson, Bynum, Howard among some other very good ones.

      Just a supply/demand issue.

      Even if there were 15 teams that could sign Smith, how many would give him a contract significantly better than what the Knicks can offer over all of these other quality options?

      How many teams would feel comfortable giving smith 8-10 million a year for multiple seasons when he’s only been happy in one place, under very specific circumstances, and has only demonstrated this upside, for, what will be a maximum of three months?

      The only teams I can think of who would take that kind of risk are the bottom-feeders (maybe), and given all the perks of playing in New York, why would JR want to do that?

    123. ruruland

      jon abbey:
      maybe Boston can take out Indiana for us, they do look scary right now.

      Yeah, they do. Obviously second seed is critical so to avoid Miami until ECF.

    124. lavor postell

      BigBlueAL:
      The Pacers are beginning to both annoy me and scare the crap out of me.

      I expect a New York-Indiana second round matchup to be a really physical series. That will probably be the closest thing you’ll see in today’s NBA to the early 90’s level of physicality. If the Knicks get to the Finals their path will be something like Boston/Chicago-Indiana-Miami. That would pretty much settle the score against all of our biggest historic rivals.

    125. BigBlueAL

      ruruland: Yeah, they do. Obviously second seed is critical so to avoid Miami until ECF.

      3 seed avoids Miami until the ECF too but it might not avoid Chicago in the 1st round and obviously will give Indiana the homecourt in the 2nd round.

      If the Bulls finish ahead of the Hawks then getting the 3 seed wont be so bad since at least the Hawks in the 1st round should be a favorable matchup (not very exciting though compared to a Boston/Chicago matchup). But if the Bulls finish 6th then finishing 3rd means a 1st round series with them which I would definitely dread with or w/o Rose.

    126. Brian Cronin

      How many teams would feel comfortable giving smith 8-10 million a year for multiple seasons when he’s only been happy in one place, under very specific circumstances, and has only demonstrated this upside, for, what will be a maximum of three months?

      The only teams I can think of who would take that kind of risk are the bottom-feeders (maybe), and given all the perks of playing in New York, why would JR want to do that?

      I hope it doesn’t come to him getting an $8-10 million offer, because what NBA player who has never gotten a big payout (like JR hasn’t) has ever turned down significantly larger money from another team? Slightly larger money (like $6-7 million) I can see. But $8-10 million? Hard to turn down. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that.

    127. Brian Cronin

      The Clippers just lost on a play that is very reminiscent of a failed play that the Knicks tried against the Pacers back in Game 2 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals. In that game, the Knicks were down two with roughly two seconds left, no time outs and the ball on the other side of the court. Charlie Ward then threw a full court pass perfectly to Patrick Ewing at the top of the free throw line. Ewing missed the shot AND injured himself on the play (his ankle tendon was barely holding on at the time – on the catch, twist and shoot, his tendon finally gave out).

      Tonight, after the Pacers ridiculously fouled Jamal Crawford before the ball was inbounded up four, the Clippers missed a three (after Crawford hit the free throw) but scored a two. Down one now, they fouled Paul George who made both. With 1.9 seconds left (and no timeouts, so they couldn’t advance the ball to mid-court), the Clippers passed it the full length of the court to Blake Griffin who back-tapped it to Lamar Odom who was wide open…and missed the three. Ugh.

      Big win for the Pacers, big loss for the Clippers (are they actually the #5 seed now?).

    128. ruruland

      Owen:

      http://insider.espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/PerDiem-130401/nba-lebron-james-better-cleveland-days

      “In general, it’s hard to show the tradeoff between usage and efficiency because the best players tend to take the most shots. So their advantage on role players shows up just in usage rate, not in true shooting percentage (TS%). However, that relationship breaks down at the extremes.

      The very best scorers are at the upper right of the graph — above average in both usage and TS%. A close look shows that they form a line that matches our research about usage and efficiency; as elite players take more shots, they do in fact score less efficiently. Researcher Evan Zamir originally found this same trend among high scorers from the past three decades, showing its staying power.”

      http://www.d3coder.com/thecity/2012/03/30/visualization-the-outer-limits-of-the-usage-efficiency-relationship/

    129. BigBlueAL

      Brian Cronin:
      The Clippers just lost on a play that is very reminiscent of a failed play that the Knicks tried against the Pacers back in Game 2 of the 1999 Eastern Conference Finals. In that game, the Knicks were down two with roughly two seconds left, no time outs and the ball on the other side of the court. Charlie Ward then threw a full court pass perfectly to Patrick Ewing at the top of the free throw line. Ewing missed the shot AND injured himself on the play (his ankle tendon was barely holding on at the time – on the catch, twist and shoot, his tendon finally gave out).

      Tonight, after the Pacers ridiculously fouled Jamal Crawford before the ball was inbounded up four, the Clippers missed a three (after Crawford hit the free throw) but scored a two. Down one now, they fouled Paul George who made both. With 1.9 seconds left (and no timeouts, so they couldn’t advance the ball to mid-court), the Clippers passed it the full length of the court to Blake Griffin who back-tapped it to Lamar Odom who was wide open…and missed the three. Ugh.

      Big win for the Pacers, big loss for the Clippers (are they actually the #5 seed now?).

      Ewing had Houston wide open for a 3pter too on that play but with only 2 secs left his entire focus was on catching and shooting.

    130. Brian Cronin

      Ewing had Houston wide open for a 3pter too on that play but with only 2 secs left his entire focus was on catching and shooting.

      Yeah, clearly, as we saw tonight, if you can actually connect on a full court pass to a player, that player should then easily be able to pass it to a third player open from three. It’s getting the ball to the first guy that is the problem. I can’t knock Ewing for taking the shot, though. It was a clean look and he should have made it. What I remember most about the play is that Ward’s pass was so quick and so good that the TV cameras didn’t even catch it right away!

    131. MeloDrama

      max fisher-cohen:
      @MeloDrama

      The injuries were a big hit for them because it exposed their real lack of depth. If this was the front office’s vision for the team — floor spacing to the extreme — then they should have recognized Brewer was a very poor fit from the start. The same goes for Thomas & Camby, neither of whom have any business participating in an NBA offense. It’s not the injuries themselves that cost the Knicks as much as their lack of true depth. The Knicks really haven’t had THAT many injuries.

      For example, San Antonio’s top four guys — Duncan, Parker, Ginobili and Leonard — have missed a combined 58 games this season.

      Even looking at NY’s top FIVE guys (Kidd, Chandler, JR, Felton, Anthony) they’ve only missed 40 games.

      SA is an extreme, so here are some other examples of teams with similar records’ games missed from top 5 players:

      Brooklyn: 28 games missed
      Chicago: 99 games missed
      Boston: 75 games missed
      Indiana: 82 games missed
      Lakers: 79 games missed
      GSW: 58 games missed
      ATL: 51 games missed
      LAC: 24 games missed + another 101 games missed from Billups and Hill

      NY has suffered a slightly above avg # of injuries. Their shit bench play was the primary cause of their slide. With Martin joining the team and playing amazingly and Shumpert’s recent streak of great play, that’s less of an issue.

      You can’t just not count Stoudemire if you’re going to count guys like Granger for Indiana (who hasn’t played all season) and Gasol for LAL(who negates the “we’re better without him argument because he largely played poorly this season). Stoudemire was playing at an extremely high level offensively and I’d argue that the team’s dip in W-L record with him in the lineup had a lot more to do with his return coinciding with Shumpert and Kidd shooting like 29% collectively for a month+.

    132. MeloDrama

      max fisher-cohen:
      Wallace was not GOOD! The only way he looks good is with his +/-, which with his tiny sampleis easy to write off. Camby has been terrible when health as well. Who do you want to pick for a top five player?

      Stoudemire PLAYED when we were the worst! Why should he count? He was terrible last year too. Ask yourself, who would you keep if you had five players to pick? You’re the disingenuous one if you say Stoudemire.

      I didn’t count total games missed because it would have taken forever, but other teams’ totals would have been higher as well. Should I also have counted Atlanta’s devastating loss of Zaza Pachulia, or how about the river of tears Chicago fans likely expelled each time Rip Hamilton missed a game?

      We’re just gonna totally disagree with each other on injury impact then. Stoudemire to me was decidedly not terrible this season, he was a big plus offensively. Not the case last season, totally the case this season.

      If we were gonna hold other teams on your list to the same standard, I could shoot down a number of “faux” top five guys that I arbitratily decide is helping the team by being out (Brook Lopez plays horrendous defense and doesn’t rebound! Danny Granger doesn’t fit with Paul George!)

    133. BigBlueAL

      Talking about the Nets teams that went to back-to-back NBA Finals with Kidd and how they werent very good teams they just took advantage of a weak East. This was always my opinion of them as well but when looking them up I have to say they were alot better than I remember.

      They were #1 in defensive rating both seasons. They “only” won 52 and 49 games but had point differentials of teams that shouldve won 53 and 56(!!) games. They were 5th and 4th in the NBA in SRS. The only negative was their relatively poor offense (17th and 18th).

      Who knew lol.

    134. Thomas B.

      Z-man: Oh, and Kevin Garnett, Rip Hamilton, Tim Duncan, Steve Nash, and Chauncey Billups are in their primes?

      And Rondo and Rose count but Shump doesn’t?

      And how are those teams doing? Strong contenders? Nope. The same complaint applies to them as it does to the Knicks, you can’t rely on what a player was, it has to be what the player is.

      Shump counts as what? I was talking about past prime players not young up and comers. Also, how in the hell did Shump become part of any conversation involving two of the top 5 guards in the NBA? No, Shump does not count for as much as Rondo or Rose. Not even close. Seriously, what did that Flavor-Aid have in it guys?

    135. Frank

      Thomas B – you’re really going off the rails here. Tim Duncan isn’t playing for a strong contender? The Spurs have the 2nd best record in the NBA! And Billups is on the Clips, who as recently as a month or two ago were considered a strong possibility for the WCFs, and won 17 in a row or something earlier this year. I get that you’re a nonbeliever, but at least try to make a little bit of sense.

      Thomas B.: you can’t rely on what a player was, it has to be what the player is.

      And re: Rasheed – yes he chucked the ball too much, but his on/off was a net + 4.3 points/100 poss, and when Tyson went out and he came in, the Knicks were basically a net +6 points/100poss with a defensive rating that was the equivalent of a top 3 defense (98.6 points/100 poss). The Knicks D was actually better with Rasheed on the floor than it was with Tyson.

      So what happened to the Knicks D when Chandler went off the floor after Rasheed got hurt (12/13/12 – 3/7/13)? It went from 98.6 per 100 poss with Rasheed as backup C to 111pts/100 poss. So our defense when Chandler was off the floor went from a top 3 defense to what would be the worst defense by far in the entire league (CHA is currently last at 109.6).

      So when he was playing, that is what he was this year/i>. Which is important and valuable. And now injured.

      For a team like ours that plays small so often, the anchor defensive big is HUGE. Rasheed was that anchor when Tyson went to the bench in the early part of the season, and now Martin will be. The Knicks defensive efficiency with Martin on the floor and Tyson off is not amazing at 103.6 but certainly better than last in the league.

      Last thing – our record WITH Rasheed was 17-5. Our record WITHOUT Rasheed and WITHOUT K-Mart 20-16. And our record with KMart and without TC is 9-5. I do not think this is a coincidence.

    136. Zanzibar

      ruruland: 1) Chris Smith
      2) Near home
      3) With only coach he’s ever trusted
      4) Teammates
      4) New York City, exposure, potential to get an Iman Shumpert like endorsement deal (seriously, Shumpert doesn’t get that deal in any other market)
      5) $35 million deal would still be really good

      Very comprehensive list and his brother being first is probably appropriate since he seems to be part of a close knit family. Still I recall the words of that eminent philosopher Kenyon Martin when asked if Woodson played a role in Smith’s transformation: “Aw Swish gonna do what Swish gonna do.” That leads to one angle I don’t think has been mentioned yet: does JR want to be the #2 guy behind Melo? If so could that not create some conflict if Amare’s health returns to its state before the most recent surgery? Maybe JR wouldn’t want to place himself in that position with a popular teammate?

    137. Thomas B.

      And I don’t think it is a coincidence that a player two years out of basketball and well past his prime can’t stay on the floor for 30 games. That’s the point! Most guys that age with that many years of service CAN’T do what they did in the way they once did it. You’d love to imagine a way Sheed could play 60 games but it can’t happen. What the team is with Sheed doesn’t matter because he wont be playing anymore! You can’t but your eggs in that basket. It isnt just Sheed, Camby, and Thomas too. Hell STAT can’t stay on the floor and he is 10 years younger. The body just can’t do at 38 what it did at 24, it just can’t. And nobody should rely on that as an indicator of what the team could be. What about if Martin goes down, then what?

      I’m happy to be off the rails since that train of logic you are on is headed for the unfinished bridge. weeeeeeeee BOOM!!

    138. Thomas B.

      Frank:
      Thomas B – you’re really going off the rails here.Tim Duncan isn’t playing for a strong contender? The Spurs have the 2nd best record in the NBA!And Billups is on the Clips, who as recently as a month or two ago were considered a strong possibility for the WCFs,

      I missed Duncan, guess i just read past that too quickly. The Spurs are the rare team that is just soo good that they can withstand losing Duncan, Manu, or TP for a while.

      As for Billups, it’s hard to say Billups is a huge loss when you have Paul–arguably the 2nd best player in the NBA–and Crawford 2.0 rounding out your back court. Billips is just icing on that team. Hardly a centerpiece like Rondo and Rose. And there you go again with the was rather than the is. At one time WCFs, and now? It is an entire season you have to see, not just any part of it that fits your desires.

      You can’t say the Knicks right now are the same as they were the first 20 games, the parts are very different now. You keep going back to the point where you saw them at the best and get projecting that on what they will be but you ignore the fact that Sheed is likely done, and that Camby IS done. Have you seen the guy that looks like the former DPOY or rebounding champ? I missed a few games so it is possible i didn’t see it, but when I did see Camby play, i did not see that guy. I know there must be an eight minute stretch someplace in the season when Camby did that, and because of that you can speculate that he can turn that on at anytime. So when will that time be.

    139. custer

      Thomas B.: I missed Duncan, guess i just read past that too quickly.The Spurs are the rare team that is just soo good that they can withstand losing Duncan, Manu, or TP for a while.

      As for Billups, it’s hard to say Billups is a huge loss when you have Paul–arguably the 2nd best player in the NBA–and Crawford 2.0 rounding out your back court.Billips is just icing on that team.Hardly a centerpiece like Rondo and Rose.And there you go again with the was rather than the is.At one time WCFs, and now?It is an entire season you have to see, not just any part of it that fits your desires.

      You can’t say the Knicks right now are the same as they were the first 20 games, the parts are very different now.You keep going back to the point where you saw them at the best and get projecting that on what they will be but you ignore the fact that Sheed is likely done, and that Camby IS done.Have you seen the guy that looks like the former DPOY or rebounding champ?I missed a few games so it is possible i didn’t see it, but when I did see Camby play, i did not see that guy.I know there must be an eight minute stretch someplace in the season when Camby did that, and because of that you can speculate that he can turn that on at anytime.So when will that time be.

      I legitimately understand your pessimism, but I’m curious to what alternative you’d prefer? Not trying to start an argument, just wondering how you think things should be different? As I see it, we have a genuine chance to make the ECF with a healthy chandler, and coming off a decade of shit sandwich Knicks basketball that’s pretty good in my book.

    140. Thomas B.

      A formula for runner-up. Sigh sure let’s be happy with that. A puncher’s chance. The 99 team was loads of fun, but they were outmatched in the finals. I want a title. I want to be the favorites. I want all the parts clicking not hope that they might click. I want a solid plan for winning that does not rely of hitting 40% from three, and beating up on bad teams. Furthermore, I don’t think Sheed, Thomas, Camby, Kidd, Prigs, or Martin are going to get better next year. You need to replace every one of those guys. So with this cap, and the draft picks, how do we do that? We cobbled a team with glue and Ben-Gay. That worries me.

      I for one do hope they beat Miami by 20 tonight. I would LOVE to be proven wrong about this team.

    141. jon abbey

      Thomas B.:

      I for one do hope they beat Miami by 20 tonight.I would LOVE to be proven wrong about this team.

      they could beat Miami by 50 tonight and it really wouldn’t matter much. you wouldn’t be ‘proven wrong’ about this team unless they actually win a title.

    142. Z-man

      Thomas, all that’s being said is that this team has not completely revealed who it can be in the playoffs because of all the injuries and because of all the lineup changes. Sure, they can easily flame out in the first round, even vs. Atlanta. However, they can also reach the ECFs and give Miami a tough series, especially if Wade’s knee or LeBron’s hammy act up. Unlikely but possible.

      It is also encouraging that this team seems to have found some answers to dealing with very significant personnel issues.

      Having to work in Shump and Amare, then losing Amare again. Shump has been automatic from 3 since the all-star break.

      Losing Felton, causing overplaying of Kidd, then getting a compromised Felton back; finally the pinky and hand bruises seem healed and Kidd is back in a 20 mpg groove.

      Losing Chandler to a freak neck injury at a critical time, but slotting in K-Mart, who has admirably replaced virtually everything Chandler did. When Chandler comes back (seems imminent, thankfully) we have a bonafide backup.

      Prigioni stepping up as a starter and becoming a key part of a team that has dominated first quarters, unlike the team that seemed to be behind in every first quarter in January and February.

      Novak and Copeland offering some quality offense off the bench, each with a slightly different skillset, so that there are options when Melo is on the bench.

      JR attacking more and launching long 2’s and off-balance 3’s less.

      Better trapping and rotation on D.

      So even without STAT, Camby, Sheed and Thomas (and Brewer, who many of the Berri kool-aid drinkers were giddy about) this team has held it together.

      I do agree that beating Chicago, Indiana, and Atlanta in upcoming games is required for skeptics to jump on board, and strong showings vs. Miami and OKC would help, but this team has put itself in a position where these games matter a lot. We are right there with Indiana, and well ahead of the Bulls, both of whom have had excellent seasons.

    143. Z-man

      Thomas B.:
      A formula for runner-up.Sigh sure let’s be happy with that. A puncher’s chance.The 99 team was loads of fun, but they were outmatched in the finals.I want a title.I want to be the favorites.I want all the parts clicking not hope that they might click.I want a solid plan for winning that does not rely of hitting 40% from three, and beating up on bad teams.Furthermore, I don’t think Sheed, Thomas, Camby, Kidd, Prigs, or Martin are going to get better next year.You need to replace every one of those guys.So with this cap, and the draft picks, how do we do that?We cobbled a team with glue and Ben-Gay.That worries me.

      Sheed and Thomas are non-entities right now, so they have, in effect, been replaced. Kidd, Prigs and Martin don’t need to get better, each of them is effective off the bench as is. Do Allen, Anderson, Joel Anthony and Miller need to get better for Miami to be successful again?

      What you probably should argue is that Melo, Stat, Felton, Shump, JR and Chandler won’t get better. That’s the core of this team, and all of them are reasonably young. If you feel that way, it would be hard to argue with that. Especially since Amare looks like he is in serious decline.

      The guys you mentioned (as well as Novak, Copeland, and White) are bench players that are relatively easy to replace. Every capped-out good team seems to retool the end of their bench every year.

      And as mentioned, we do have draft picks going forward.

    144. MeloDrama

      Thomas B.:
      A formula for runner-up.Sigh sure let’s be happy with that. A puncher’s chance.The 99 team was loads of fun, but they were outmatched in the finals.I want a title.I want to be the favorites.I want all the parts clicking not hope that they might click.I want a solid plan for winning that does not rely of hitting 40% from three, and beating up on bad teams.Furthermore, I don’t think Sheed, Thomas, Camby, Kidd, Prigs, or Martin are going to get better next year.You need to replace every one of those guys.So with this cap, and the draft picks, how do we do that?We cobbled a team with glue and Ben-Gay.That worries me.

      I for one do hope they beat Miami by 20 tonight.I would LOVE to be proven wrong about this team.

      I guess as I’ve gotten older, I appreciate the smaller goals more. I don’t look at it as “title or bust” … yeah, I want the front office, ideally, to gear toward contending and not pulling a Bucks where you sell out to go get the 8th seed and that’s all you ever do. And yeah, there are moves I’m gonna disagree with and will regardless of how much the team wins or loses.

      But I don’t think I’ll ever be at the point where I can’t enjoy a season like this at all. They’ve exceeded expectations, they actually have a puncher’s chance against the top teams, their biggest strength (avoiding turnovers) sucks the life out of one of Miami’s (transition scoring) … does it mean it won’t fall apart over the next two years? The pessimists may be right about everything in the end.

      But the here and now is pretty damn enjoyable IMO.

    145. JK47

      I want a title. I want to be the favorites.

      Honestly, there was exactly one way the Knicks could have been the favorites to win a title, and they bent over backwards trying to make that happen, and it didn’t work out. LeBron went to Miami. Game, set, match. How many other teams in the NBA have a legit chance to knock off the Heat? Maybe the Thunder, but even that team is an underdog.

      Once “The Decision” was made, I suppose the Knicks could have gone into a true rebuild mode, but that would have taken a real long time considering they gave away piles of assets to try and clear space for LeBron. I think I’d rather be watching this bunch than watching the Knicks intentionally tank 3 or 4 seasons to try and rebuild through the draft.

    146. Frank

      Amazing quote that actually came out of an NBA coach’s mouth. This Del Negro guy is really something:

      “It’s up to them,” Del Negro said of his players. “All I can do is take them in and out of the games.”

      This is a team that has tons of veteran leadership — CP3, Billups, Grant Hill just to start with. Is it just a little possible that it’s the coach’s fault? Geez.

    147. Keniman Shumpwalker

      JK47:
      I want a title. I want to be the favorites.

      Honestly, there was exactly one way the Knicks could have been the favorites to win a title, and they bent over backwards trying to make that happen, and it didn’t work out.LeBron went to Miami.Game, set, match.How many other teams in the NBA have a legit chance to knock off the Heat?Maybe the Thunder, but even that team is an underdog.

      Once “The Decision” was made, I suppose the Knicks could have gone into a true rebuild mode, but that would have taken a real long time considering they gave away piles of assets to try and clear space for LeBron.I think I’d rather be watching this bunch than watching the Knicks intentionally tank 3 or 4 seasons to try and rebuild through the draft.

      +1000 and the same goes to anyone who has posted similar sentiments in this thread. Look, Thomas B…I get it. For the most part, I see the same warts you do with this team. Further, I want a title too. After the anguish of the mid-to-late nineties and the years of suckitude that have followed, of course I want to be title favorites every year, as a fan, how could you not? But forgive me for saying that your point of view on this feels very much like a child who got a great Christmas present but it’s not EXACTLY the one they wanted so instead of enjoying what they got, they cry & complain about what they could have had. As many others on this thread have pointed out, there are very few teams in the LeBron-Durant Era that can call themselves legitimate contenders every year and, really, only one who could be called “favorites”. I would rather enjoy what we have now than lament what could have been. Save that for a darker day when it makes sense to indulge the clarity of hindsight. For now, enjoy the best Knicks season in well over a decade and hope for a miracle…

    148. d-mar

      I agree 100% with a bunch of the above posts, enjoy this ride and stop worrying about how we can’t win a title. Winning a championship in the NBA is so damn difficult, the odds against it are much higher than in football or baseball as BBA pointed out in an earlier post, since 1980 only 9 teams have won it all. And with LBJ will likely be in our way for years to come. It sucks, but it’s reality.

    149. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Frank:
      Amazing quote that actually came out of an NBA coach’s mouth.This Del Negro guy is really something:

      This is a team that has tons of veteran leadership — CP3, Billups, Grant Hill just to start with. Is it just a little possible that it’s the coach’s fault? Geez.

      For how many years have I been saying this? Coaches decide who plays and for how long. Aside from that, it’s up to the players how well they perform.

    150. jon abbey

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: For how many years have I been saying this? Coaches decide who plays and for how long. Aside from that, it’s up to the players how well they perform.

      nice, so we can add Del Negro to the list of idiots you agree with.

    151. jon abbey

      LeBron, Wade and Chalmers all out again tonight, Indiana can’t be too happy about that, but I am.

    152. Frank

      blah, LBJ/Wade/Chalmers all out tonight. we better win this game. makes it way less entertaining either way.

    153. d-mar

      On another topic, has anyone who has been to MSG for a game this season noticed that the noise level seems to be way down? I don’t know if it’s the high ticket prices or whatever, but it just doesn’t seem as crazy as it used to be. I have season tickets in a pretty pricey section, and no exaggeration, during highlight moments of games, you look around and you would think you were at a Broadway play. No one out of their seats, barely any clapping. I’ve talked to people around me, and a lot of the attendees are out of towners who got tickets through their hotels, so that explains some of it.

      Makes me wonder what the playoffs will be like, when MSG jacks up their prices to astronomical levels.

    154. Frank

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: For how many years have I been saying this? Coaches decide who plays and for how long. Aside from that, it’s up to the players how well they perform.

      Right, they don’t, like scheme offensively or defensively. Like Jim Boeheim just throws 5 guys out on the court and they just naturally settle by gravity and centripetal force into a 2-3 zone that just held Marquette to the lowest output in the shotclock era. Or like when all of the sudden players decide to run a horns set that they’ve never been taught or practiced. Or like when Jason Terry decided on his own that when LBJ switched onto him in the 10-11 finals that he should run around 1000 screens to tire LBJ out.

      Maybe 90% of coaches are all the same, but the bottom and top 5% still matter. You’ve even said that yourself about Phil and Pop. If there are great coaches that make a difference, there are almost certainly bad coaches who make the wrong kind of difference too.

    155. jon abbey

      Miami still beat the Spurs without those guys a few days ago, and they’ve won 17 in a row at home. it’ll still be a nice win, one they probably need more now than they did if both teams were at full strength.

    156. Frank

      jon abbey:
      Miami still beat the Spurs without those guys a few days ago, and they’ve won 17 in a row at home. it’ll still be a nice win, one they probably need more now than they did if both teams were at full strength.

      Every win puts us a little closer to locking up the 2-3 bracket. The race for that #2 seed still might keep us charging hard until the end, though– that’s sort of unfortunate. I wish Indy would just lose already. That game against them next week really might determine that seed – if we win then we’ll be 2-2 against them — and we’re currently ahead in the conference record tiebreaker.

    157. lavor postell

      JK47:
      I want a title. I want to be the favorites.

      Honestly, there was exactly one way the Knicks could have been the favorites to win a title, and they bent over backwards trying to make that happen, and it didn’t work out.LeBron went to Miami.Game, set, match.How many other teams in the NBA have a legit chance to knock off the Heat?Maybe the Thunder, but even that team is an underdog.

      Once “The Decision” was made, I suppose the Knicks could have gone into a true rebuild mode, but that would have taken a real long time considering they gave away piles of assets to try and clear space for LeBron.I think I’d rather be watching this bunch than watching the Knicks intentionally tank 3 or 4 seasons to try and rebuild through the draft.

      Not only this but let’s assume we didn’t trade for Melo and so also don’t have Chandler. We have a core of STAT, Felton, Shump, Gallo, Wilson, Mozgov and 2012 first round pick. We are competing with the Bucks and Celtics for the 7-8 seed without a legitimate superstar because Amar’e is even worse physical condition having played 75 mpg under D’Antoni for the entire lockout shortened 2011-12 season.

      Instead we have Melo and Chandler in pocket. They are highly likely to extend with the Knicks before they hit the open market in 2015 and likely at a more cap friendly number than their current salaries. In addition STAT comes off the books and even if we keep JR and Shump we should have room for a max or near max contract.

      http://www.hoopsworld.com/2015-nba-free-agents/

      Our only pick consideration to worry about post 2015 is a possible swap with Denver in 2016 of first rounders. We will be in a far better cap situation as well as having a lot more flexibility to surround Melo and Chandler with the right talent.

      Having a 15% chance of making the Finals over the next 3 playoffs is far more…

    158. jon abbey

      while of course it would be a big advantage to have home court against Indiana in a second round series, you could make a strong argument for angling for the #3 spot and Atlanta and letting Indiana deal with the playoff-tested Celtics. NY still plays Atlanta twice, two wins there could help push them into the #6 spot.

    159. Frank

      by the way, if the seedings fall correctly, we could very easily have a Miami, Chicago, New York, and Indiana 2nd round. Would be like the 90s all over again!

      That would be an amazing 2nd round. I can’t think of a team I’d rather have Miami play before the ECFs than Chicago, especially after the beating they just gave Miami last week.

    160. Hubert Davis

      I wonder if the light bulb will go off in Woodson’s head tonight when he sees LeBron, Wade, Chalmers all on the bench.

      If I were the Knicks I would take my chances with the 3 seed and a healthy, rested side. But I fear an overzealous pursuit of the 2 seed that leaves us worn down for the playoffs.

    161. The Infamous Cdiggy

      Thomas B.:
      A formula for runner-up.Sigh sure let’s be happy with that. A puncher’s chance.The 99 team was loads of fun, but they were outmatched in the finals.I want a title.I want to be the favorites.I want all the parts clicking not hope that they might click.I want a solid plan for winning that does not rely of hitting 40% from three, and beating up on bad teams.Furthermore, I don’t think Sheed, Thomas, Camby, Kidd, Prigs, or Martin are going to get better next year.You need to replace every one of those guys.So with this cap, and the draft picks, how do we do that?We cobbled a team with glue and Ben-Gay.That worries me.

      Hey Tom… on principle, I agree with you 1000%, and i’m sure a lot of us – if not all of us – do too. I’ve seen my Giants bang home 2 Super Bowls in my adult life, and the Yankees bag 5 rings since age 18. I’m waiting, dying, for the Knicks to one day lift that Larry O’Brien trophy. I’ve fantasized about one day crying in sheer joy, shamelessly, that my beloved Knicks have won an NBA Title…

      Sorry I got lost in a moment. Any rate, We all know we have two major things at our detriment to winning a title. Unfortunately, these are things that, feasibly, will not change anytime soon:
      1. James Dolan.
      2. LeBron chose Miami.
      The front office had two choices once LeBron said no: punt the next 3+ seasons via blowing it all up and start over, or make the best of a contender with whatever players are available. Remember, James Dolan runs shyt, so we damn sure wasn’t going to blow it up, even if maybe ridding the decade-long stench in its entirety may have been the best long-term idea.
      Therefore, we have two choices as fans: tuck it in until 2015, or take what positives this current team brings (and there are many) and see how far it goes. I always believed that most fans hope for the best. That’s all most of us are…

    162. max fisher-cohen

      In retrospect, the smartest thing New York could have done leading up to Lebron’s free agency was take advantage of other teams’ mad rush to clear cap space and then afterwards, as they were waiting for Curry and Jeffries to expire. You can get a decent haul by just facilitating a trade between two capped out teams. New York should know — It cost them a first rounder and a rookie lottery pick just to get rid of Jeffries’ not all that outrageous contract.

      The real problem for New York was that they couldn’t rebuild right in the early Walsh/Isiah days because they were saddled with too many mediocre players on bad contracts. This not only made it hard for them to completely bottom out (Gallo being their highest pick at 6th overall) but also to get a critical mass of guys early in their rookie deals.

      To illustrate, if Chandler, Lee and Gallinari had all been drafted within a year of each other, and if New York didn’t have dumb contracts like Jerome James, Q Rich, Jeffries, Crawford, Marbury and Curry rather than 3 years apart, that would have given New York two years of mega mega cap space.

      A lot of teams that should be committed to bottoming out end up in the same situation — Washington with Arenas and Blatche, Philly with Brand and Iguodala, Milwaukee with Salmons, Maggette and Delfino.

      The Magic are doing it right though, trading Redick for Harris, who now immediately looks like a star (and is only 20), and resting most of the other vets with pseudo injuries like Big Baby and Al Harrington.

    163. jon abbey

      max fisher-cohen:
      In retrospect, the smartest thing New York could have done leading up to Lebron’s free agency was take advantage of other teams’ mad rush to clear cap space and then afterwards, as they were waiting for Curry and Jeffries to expire.

      you seem like a smart guy, but somehow every one of your conclusions is wrong (in your ongoing series also). the smartest thing New York could have done would have been to GET LEBRON JAMES, by not botching the 2009 draft and put a real PG in place for him and by not sending an old man in a wheelchair to make the pitch for him to come to NY. the smart move would have been to do whatever it took to land this lifetime Yankee fan in NY, where he immediately would have been the best Knick ever, the first time he put on the uniform. any alternative to getting Lebron didn’t and doesn’t matter in terms of winning titles.

      ‘mega mega cap space’ doesn’t matter if there aren’t genuine franchise players to spend it on, and there almost never are.

    164. jon abbey

      some specifics on my comment above about Max’s series:

      http://knickerblogger.net/a-finicky-old-sports-car/

      no mention of Kenyon Martin whatsoever, and if it wasn’t obvious how silly that was at the time (it was), ten days later it most certainly is.

      http://knickerblogger.net/on-iman-shumperts-current-level-of-production/

      judging Shumpert by season-long numbers when he’s clearly improving all the time, again entirely missing the point in terms of predictive value.

      http://knickerblogger.net/the-new-amare-stoudemire/

      actually this one I agree with.

      http://knickerblogger.net/when-do-we-get-our-title/

      the first sentence: “In short, if you mean when do the Knicks become a top five favorite to win a title, then the answer is probably not for a while. ”

      they’re seventh in Hollinger’s odds RIGHT NOW. they easily could be top five by the end of the season if they pass Indiana for second.

    165. BigBlueAL

      Sucks about Wade and LeBron not playing tonight. Dont get me wrong Im thrilled it makes it alot easier for the Knicks to win in their continued pursuit of the 2 seed but talk about a no-win situation.

      I actually fear now the Knicks having a huge letdown and having to battle like crazy in the 4th quarter to pull this win out.

    166. jon abbey

      Miami hasn’t lost at home in just under 3 months (Jan 4 to Chicago) and they just beat the Spurs without those same three guys, so hopefully NY will be fully primed just as they would if Miami was at full strength.

    167. Frank

      max fisher-cohen: In retrospect, the smartest thing New York could have done leading up to Lebron’s free agency was take advantage of other teams’ mad rush to clear cap space and then afterwards, as they were waiting for Curry and Jeffries to expire.

      Actually in retrospect, the smartest things they could have done were:
      – not hire no-D Mike D’Antoni – that was a colossal miscalculation about what would appeal to Lebron.
      – not sign no-D Amare Stoudemire in a preemptive move that was meant to show Lebron he would have an ideal running mate – that was a colossal miscalculation about what would appeal to Lebron
      – maybe not send Donnie Walsh with a neck brace and a wheelchair- it’s terrible to say but even subconsciously it couldn’t have helped

      And lastly – even though ultimately it has turned out ok for us, the other massive mistake was allowing CAA and Ujiri basically to pwn us in the negotiation during the Melo trade. I remain convinced that Melo would NOT have signed with the Nets, and probably would rather have gone to free agency then sign with NYK than sign with a team playing in Newark that was/is always destined for second-class status in NYC. Curry’s contract, Wilson Chandler OR Gallo + a pick would probably have gotten it done. But Walsh/Dolan (and we’ll never know which) basically got rolled just like Walsh got rolled by Morey during the Jeffries fiasco. I’d love to say it was all Dolan but after watching Walsh in other negotatiations, I can’t say he wasn’t at least partially involved in that.

    168. Count de Pennies

      Frankly, I’m not sure that there was anything the Knicks could have done to convince the LeBron of 2010 to “take his talents to Penn Plaza.”

      That LeBron did not seem especially eager to embrace the challenge of assuming the Alpha Dog role in the pressure cooker of the New York market. Instead, he opted to join a team in a smaller market that already had its own established Alpha Dog – to whom he spent the majority of his first season playing the deferential second banana role.

      Of course the LeBron of today is a totally different animal. Not only would he be more than capable of being Top Dog in NYC, he’d probably relish the opportunity to do so. But to assume that he would have done the same in 2010, presumes a level of maturity that I don’t think he possessed at the time.

    169. thenamestsam

      Count de Pennies:
      Frankly, I’m not sure that there was anything the Knicks could have done to convince the LeBron of 2010 to “take his talents to Penn Plaza.”

      That LeBron did not seem especially eager to embrace the challenge of assuming the Alpha Dog role in the pressure cooker of the New York market. Instead, he opted to join a team in a smaller market that already had its own established Alpha Dog – to whom he spent the majority of his first season playing the deferential second banana role.

      I have to say, the further we get from “The Decision”, the more it looks like Lebron made the absolutely perfect calculation. At the time people critiqued his choice primarily by arguing that even if he did win a title in Miami, he’d never get the credit for it that he would have with “his own team” and that his reputation would be permanently tarnished. That has been proved to be 100% incorrect. Lebron has not only gotten all the credit in the world (deservedly so), if he locks up a second title this year he’s going to basically cement his place in most people’s top 5 of all time. And on top of that it turns out that most people care a lot more about winning than about how you do it. He’s getting MVP chants on the road, and even in Cleveland they’re begging him to come back. Plus he’ll be a Free Agent again after next year if he wants and if it looks like Wade’s age is making Miami an unappealing spot to stay he can move on and form a new super contender to ride out his prime.

      At the time I thought he made a bad decision because he underestimated what it could mean to literally own NYC like very few people of any profession, and even fewer athletes, ever have. I still think that was a big prize he chose not to chase, but it’s hard to criticize his choice when he gained complete control of the NBA landscape like noone since Jordan.

    170. Z-man

      I’m not convinced that Melo would not have gone to the nets, or that the Nets wouldn’t have made a deal WITHOUT a commitment from Melo (they did for Deron, right?)

      Anyway, all of that is water under the bridge. We are “stuck” with Melo for at least 2 more years after this, and he will probably be re-signed.

    171. max fisher-cohen

      Jon, of course getting lebron would have been best. I’m not sure what your point is. We’re not talking about 2009 here, or at least I wasn’t. Which gives you a better chance of getting a Lebron/KD type player? Filling your cap with old players and trading all your picks, or filling it with young players, bottoming out, and going for high picks? Maybe in both cases the odds are very low, but one case certainly has a better chance.

      In regard to my articles, I’m not sure how your opinion of them has any relevance to the topic, but regardless, here I my thoughts on your thoughts. The first three articles were about figuring out why the Knicks HAD struggled. Martin wasn’t on the team/playing then, and Shumpert WAS a huge problem. I know you love Shumpert, and so maybe you’re being overly sensitive?

      The Knicks are 9th right now in Hollinger’s power rankings, 8th according to basketball-reference, but regardless, they were hovering around 11th when I wrote the article about three weeks ago. That’s a ways off from top five or six, so the first line made a lot of sense then and IMO makes a lot of sense now. There’s a marked difference between 9th, where you’re sandwiched between Brooklyn and Houston, and 5th, where the Knicks would be between Denver and Indiana.

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