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Friday, November 28, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Monday, Aug 12 2013)

  • [New York Times] Pondexter Scores 33 to Lift Liberty (Mon, 12 Aug 2013 03:03:20 GMT)
    Cappie Pondexter had 33 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists, leading the visiting Liberty to an 88-82 victory over the Atlanta Dream.    

  • [New York Times] Kevin Durant Returns to Seattle in Summer League (Mon, 12 Aug 2013 02:39:37 GMT)
    Kevin Durant hoisted 62 shots and scored 63 points, and played all but 15 seconds in 51 minutes of game time.    

  • 34 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Monday, Aug 12 2013)

    1. johnno

      So, ESPN’s panel of experts have, not surprisingly, predicted that the Knicks will finish 5th in the East this year, with 48 wins. I’m not sure why they think that the Knicks have gotten 6 games worse than last year but they apparently do. They also think that three Eastern teams will sneak into the playoffs with sub-.500 records. My opinion is that, depending on health (both the Knicks and all of the other teams’ health), the Knicks will finish with somewhere between 50 and 58 wins.

    2. Hubert

      johnno:
      My opinion is that, depending on health (both the Knicks and all of the other teams’ health), the Knicks will finish with somewhere between 50 and 58 wins.

      Stick your neck out, why don’t you? ;)

      I’m sticking with 55 wins and 3rd in the East behind Chicago & Miami.

    3. iserp

      I think the top 3 spots in the east will be really open, and battled between Miami, Chicago, and the Knicks (Miami favorites but with a question mark on Wade’s health)

      Pacers can be a great team, but i don’t know how do they improve from last season. They were really healthy aside from Granger, maybe if Paul George improves another step. The Nets will need time to gel, and they have a really shallow rotation at the guard position.

      For the last three spots i would pick for sure Detroit and the Wizards. Detroit might have not taken the most intelligent guys out there, but will be good on defense and Drummond will be great. 2nd half Wizards were quite a balanced team, and i don’t see what has changed. The last spot would be between Atlanta and the Cavs. Atlanta has good player, but it is a shallow team, and might let the season go if thing don’t go their way from the beginning. Cavs won’t be good defensively, and i am not sure if Bynum will contribute a lot, at least, in the beginning of the season.

    4. thenamestsam

      I think their numbers are just about right for the other teams in the top 5, they’re just a little low on the Knicks. Miami should be close to 60 as long as Lebron doesn’t decide to take all that NFL talk seriously. 55 seems like a reasonable middle ground for Chicago – If Rose is at 100% from day 1 and Deng is healthy I think they beat that number but I think both are question marks. And I think Indy 54 is right in the correct area also. They weren’t built fo the regular season last year (way too shallow) but they have a legit bench now and are about as good 1-6 as anyone in the league. They probably won’t be as healthy but they’re way more equipped to deal with it. Brooklyn has 60 win talent in my book but I expect them to manage minutes and have their injury issues as well. Plus Kidd may have some growing pains. Low 50s feels like a safe bet.

      I just have a hard time seeing where the Knicks got significantly worse (and admittedly I’m not impartial here so that might be my own blinders). I think a reasonable median expectation is more like 52 or 53 and they have a decent shot to match last year’s win total. All of which adds up to: I think Miami is still clearly the class of the conference but 2-5 are all relatively evenly matched and any of them is capable of being close to Miami if things go their way in terms of health, players having career years, progression of young players etc. I think it may be quite close for seeding down to the end of the year and with the difference between the 3 seed and the 4 seed being a series against a mediocrity like Atlanta or Washington vs. having to play another of the top 5 and a 2nd round date with the 2-time defending champs potentially looming we might be looking at the rare exciting playoff race in the NBA.

    5. johnno

      Hubert: Stick your neck out, why don’t you? ;)

      Because so much depends on injuries. If I have to pick an over/under number, I’ll take 54. I agree with thenamestsam — the Heat are 1 until proven otherwise and 2 through 5 are very evenly matched. Every one of those four teams could finish as high as 2 and as low as 5. I do think that most people are overrating the Bulls a little bit and that the Pacers, after 3 straight extremely healthy seasons, are due to get hit by the injury bug.

    6. flossy

      johnno: Because so much depends on injuries.If I have to pick an over/under number, I’ll take 54.I agree with thenamestsam — the Heat are 1 until proven otherwise and 2 through 5 are very evenly matched.Every one of those four teams could finish as high as 2 and as low as 5.I do think that most people are overrating the Bulls a little bit and that the Pacers, after 3 straight extremely healthy seasons, are due to get hit by the injury bug.

      Well, Danny Granger led the Pacers in minutes played and points scored for four straight seasons prior to last year (and hadn’t dipped below 2200 MP or 1100 points scored since his rookie season). He played 74 minutes total and scored a whole 27 points last season. I’d say that’s a pretty significant injury loss.

      Even if he’s their 6th man next year, that’s a lot more firepower than they had last season. Not quite Rose returning to the Bulls, but close. Certainly, you can’t say that the Pacers have been injury free and ignore the total loss of one of their most important players.

    7. Brian Cronin

      Yeah, I really don’t get this whole “The Pacers have been injury-free” stuff, especially when it occasionally goes to “The Pacers have been exceptionally injury-free.”

      Danny Granger is worse than Paul George, but he’s still a very good player.

    8. iserp

      Brian Cronin: Yeah, I really don’t get this whole “The Pacers have been injury-free” stuff, especially when it occasionally goes to “The Pacers have been exceptionally injury-free.”
      Danny Granger is worse than Paul George, but he’s still a very good player.

      Well, because they have a starter at every position. It is not like they were missing some important contribution and filling Granger shoes with some nobody. You can expect some improvement putting Granger in there, but not so much; and i believe Granger is a fantastic player.

      If they flip Granger into an equivalent quality PG, then that is different.

    9. nicos

      I also think Granger has big question marks health wise- when a guy sits out as long as he did, tries to come back and gets shut back down after 5 games it doesn’t bode well for long term health.

    10. BigBlueAL

      The thing with all these predictions that is annoying reading as a Knicks fan is how the Knicks never get the benefit of the doubt or optimistic prediction. All the other teams seemingly get best case scenario predictions except for the Knicks.

      I mean last year 41 ESPN.com “experts” all picked a team other than the Knicks to win the division. So not only do they win the division but they do so winning 54 games being one of only 2 teams in the East to even win 50. But time for predictions for this season and they are the same as they were before last season, win in the high 40’s while 4 other teams in the East win 50 or more.

      Rose will apparently be back at 100% with no problems, so will Granger too I guess and the Nets wont have much problems with health and gelling with a rookie head coach. The Knicks who return basically the same team that won 54 games?? Win 6 less games just because. It gets tiresome.

    11. cgreene

      I like being under rated. Takes a bit of pressure off and dumbs down expectations at the outset. Seems like a good thing for Melo. Idk.

    12. ephus

      I have a bet with THCJ. If the Knicks win 45 or more, I win. If the Knicks win 44 or less, he wins.

      Loser’s only comments during the entire first round of the playoffs in the post-game threads are limited to “+1″ the winner’s comments.

      Yet another reason to root for the Knicks this season.

    13. johnno

      Brian Cronin: Yeah, I really don’t get this whole “The Pacers have been injury-free” stuff, especially when it occasionally goes to “The Pacers have been exceptionally injury-free.”

      What is it that you don’t get? They have had exactly one significant injury in three years. Other than Granger, they haven’t had one other even semi-important player miss 10 games in any of the last three seasons. Last year, the Knicks had Chandler, Felton, Melo, Amare, Shumpert, Sheed, Camby and Thomas all miss 14 or more games. They had only four guys — Kidd, JR, Novak and Prigioni — play 70 games. The only team in the entire league that has had fewer significant injuries than the Pacers is the Thunder. And, the one guy on the Pacers who went down was replaced by a better player. Yet the Knicks managed to win 5 more games than the Pacers.

    14. dtrickey

      cgreene:
      I like being under rated. Takes a bit of pressure off and dumbs down expectations at the outset. Seems like a good thing for Melo. Idk.

      I would tend to agree with that. Seems odd a big market team flying under the radar. This team pretty much exceeded expectations in the regular season, and was probably there abouts with post-season expectations. The Pacers series was seriously a flip of the coin call as disappointing as it was.

      Fact is we over achieved as far as “expert analysis predictions” went last year with the aged care all-stars, no reason this team (with most of the key contributors coming back) can’t be thereabouts again. 54 mark seems like an appropriate figure taking into account a few teams getting “better” and some east teams tanking for Wiggins.

    15. max fisher-cohen

      @BBA

      This is what you get when you have an old team. The Celtics were rightfully doubted last year. At this point, I think people have given up on doubting the Spurs, but for like 4 years we heard about how they were finally falling apart. NY has one rotation player who is likely to improve and eight who are have a good chance of declining.

      I mostly agree with thenamestam here that all the teams after the Heat have question marks and I wouldn’t be flabbergasted with any of 2-5 seed orders.

      Let’s look at the changes the Knicks have made from a cynic’s perspective:

      1) Shumpert gets healthy and makes decent improvements: +3 wins

      2) Bargnani is a worse shooting, less healthy version of Copeland: insignificant

      3) Stoudemire once again can’t stay healthy: NA

      4) The eastern conference gets a good bit tougher: -2 wins

      5) Carmelo reverts to recent career averages in terms of 3 point shooting, dropping his TS% significantly: -2 wins

      6) Kenyon Martin reverts to 11/12 #s and has health problems: -1 win

      7) JR Smith misses first two weeks of season and struggles for a month afterwards: -3 wins

      8) Tyson Chandler’s body continues to deteriorate, and he misses a good chunk of the season and is a disappointment while on the floor: -3 wins

      9) MWP improves the Knick defense a bit more than he hurts the offense: +0.5 wins

      10) Beno Udrih helps the Knick offense a bit more than he hurts the defense when compared to Jason Kidd: +0.5 wins

      Total: -7 wins for a record of 47-35.

      Now, #s 2, 5, 8 IMO are more of reasonable fears than likely outcomes. They COULD happen, but odds are only maybe one of them happens. If Bargnani matches his best seasons and Melo plays again like he did last year, you’re right around 50 wins, which is what I’d predict the knicks to finish with.

      I’d go Miami, Brooklyn, Indiana, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Cleveland, Washington.

    16. ruruland

      ephus:
      I have a bet with THCJ.If the Knicks win 45 or more, I win.If the Knicks win 44 or less, he wins.

      Loser’s only comments during the entire first round of the playoffs in the post-game threads are limited to “+1? the winner’s comments.

      Yet another reason to root for the Knicks this season.

      Owen failed to stand by the bet we made two years ago. I’d like to see Jowles do it, at least he has become a tad more reasonable the last few weeks.

    17. ruruland

      MFC

      1.) A 2-3 point reduction in usage would likely increase Melo’s efficiency well above 2 point reduction in 3pt efficiency.

      However, there is little reason to believe Melo’s 3pt shooting will go down much. I know there’s always variability with any 3-pt shooter year to year. I’d argue that if Melo is able to stay healthy next year, with a minute reduction and more time at the 3, his efficiency numbers will go up.

      I’ve shown this before, but it’s pretty easy to find the association between Melo’s injuries and shooting percentages. It’s obviously not scientific because you never really know when a player is “healthy”, but Melo is somewhat injury prone, plays through injuries and at a low level most of the time.

      Anyone’s who’s paid attention the last three years has seen it themselves.

      Obviously, healthy Melo last year was playing at about a 580-590 TS on 35+ usage, which is obviously incredible.

      There’s no reason to believe Melo won’t do something very similar to that next season if he’s healthy. There’s a greater chance he’ll be healthy if his usage and minutes at the four are reduced.

      The off-season makes the latter two things more likely to occur than had the Knicks kept last season’s roster in-tact.

      Also, I’m not sure were you’re coming up with the win/loss estimates.

      MWP has one of the best +/- profiles in recent history, and has continued to have a substantially positive effect in myriad lineups the last few years.

      KMart played 18 games last season. Certainly, a lesser KMart is going to be about as impactfull as the now-retired vets he replaced later in the season.

    18. ruruland

      Chandler missed 16 games last year. It’s very difficult to reasonably project a player to miss more than 20 games without also predicting some sort of serious injury, which is obviously not possible to predict.

    19. Brian Cronin

      What is it that you don’t get? They have had exactly one significant injury in three years. Other than Granger, they haven’t had one other even semi-important player miss 10 games in any of the last three seasons. Last year, the Knicks had Chandler, Felton, Melo, Amare, Shumpert, Sheed, Camby and Thomas all miss 14 or more games. They had only four guys — Kidd, JR, Novak and Prigioni — play 70 games. The only team in the entire league that has had fewer significant injuries than the Pacers is the Thunder. And, the one guy on the Pacers who went down was replaced by a better player. Yet the Knicks managed to win 5 more games than the Pacers.

      Their “one significant injury” was their All-Star leading scorer (for five straight seasons) who also led the team in minutes played for four straight years. He didn’t just miss time, he missed the whole season. Would the Knicks be better if they had Chandler, Felton, STAT, Shump, Sheed Camby and Thomas healthy all year long but Melo missed the whole season?

      Miami, on the other hand, has been exceptionally lucky with injuries. They only significant injury was Bosh during the playoffs two years ago and that injury alone nearly eliminated them.

    20. Jack Bauer

      The calculation left off the following :

      – Significantly less minutes played by players 38 years old or older (Kidd, Sheed, Kurt Thomas, Camby) + 2 wins

      – Less minutes played by useless or near useless players ( White, Novack, & Brewer ) + 1 win

      – Better depth and likely health = less minutes by starters who should be better rested partiularly for the playoffs + 2 wins

      – Better depth and more flexibility for Woody to pull players (i.e. Pipe) who are on a 1 – 12 night before too much damage is done + 1 win

    21. max fisher-cohen

      @ruru I was just making the win loss estimates up from a relatively cynical POV :-0

      Anyway, as you are always ready to point out, there are plenty of good things to focus on, but my post was (or at least started as…) a comment on why the Knicks get dissed by media — that that those were the media depth stories that writers were likely thinking of in ranking the Knicks and those were maybe the amount of wins they were adding or subtracting in their heads.

      Someone who made a career of professionally analyzing the NBA — rather than writing things that fans will enjoy might have a different perspective — may be more negative or more positive.

      I see a huge potential range in reasonably likely scenarios for the Knicks. I think you’ve made good points about the possibility of Bargnani improving and Metta making a contribution and that it’s certainly in that 25% possible likely range that those things come to fruition and the Knicks win 56 games or so, a big improvement given the more challenging conference.

      I also think though that you’re closing your eyes to the major risks that this roster has. No one can predict the future, but between last season’s struggles (16 games missed, but like Anthony, probably another 16 games + the playoffs while hurt), his mileage (more minutes played than K-Mart thanks to coming out after HS), and his history of injuries, you can say that he’s a lot more likely than the average player to struggle to stay healthy and effective.

      The same goes for the rest of the crew. Maybe when I have more time I’ll try to dig in in more detail or write an article where I look more closely at these guys. Maybe we can co-write it, eh?

    22. Jack Bauer

      I would say 55 wins, team will be improved, but so is the Eastern conference. What really matters is how they do in the playoffs

    23. AvonBarksdale

      Melo won’t be fasting this season, eats steak instead +5 wins
      Pablo enjoys the company of Andrea over Camby/Sheed, they eat cured meats together +1 wins
      Chandler stops sleeping with hookers, maintains immunity +5 wins
      Woodson is jealous of coach Jason Kidd gets sick coaching skills +30 wins

    24. BigBlueAL

      Melo as a Knick has made 37% of his 742 3pt attempts. Why is it so likely to that he becomes a bad 3pt shooter again??

      In 2 of his last 3 seasons he has shot 38% from 3pt range. In 3 of his last 5 seasons he has shot at least 37% from 3pt range. His 3pt shooting has improved dramatically in his last 5 seasons compared to his first 5 seasons. Why is he such a strong candidate to regress?? Cause he might get injured?? He gets injured for a period almost every season and it hasnt stopped him from improving his 3pt shooting.

    25. Z-man

      BigBlueAL:
      Melo as a Knick has made 37% of his 742 3pt attempts.Why is it so likely to that he becomes a bad 3pt shooter again??

      In 2 of his last 3 seasons he has shot 38% from 3pt range.In 3 of his last 5 seasons he has shot at least 37% from 3pt range.His 3pt shooting has improved dramatically in his last 5 seasons compared to his first 5 seasons.Why is he such a strong candidate to regress??Cause he might get injured??He gets injured for a period almost every season and it hasnt stopped him from improving his 3pt shooting.

      +1

    26. johnno

      Brian Cronin: Their “one significant injury” was their All-Star leading scorer (for five straight seasons) who also led the team in minutes played for four straight years. He didn’t just miss time, he missed the whole season. Would the Knicks be better if they had Chandler, Felton, STAT, Shump, Sheed Camby and Thomas healthy all year long but Melo missed the whole season?

      He may have been their leading scorer, but Paul George is their best player, and West and Hibbert are at least as important as Granger. So, a much more appropriate comparison would STAT missing the whole season and Felton, Chandler, Shumpert, Sheed, Camby, Thomas and, most importantly, Melo being healthy all year and not a single one of them missing more than 5 or 6 games. If that had happened last year, the Knicks would probably have won 60 games and almost certainly would have beaten the Pacers and made the conference finals (especially if Melo, Smith and Chandler were healthy in the playoffs). I’m sorry but, when you have a grand total of one rotation guy getting hurt in three years, that is an extraordinarily lucky run of exceptionally good health.

    27. Z-man

      I don’t think Indiana was taken as seriously last year as they will be this year. And I don’t think their good health is as much “luck” as it is a function of youth/ruggedness/athleticism/good coaching/good GMing.

      It will be interesting to see how replacing Hansbrough and Augustin with Scola, Copeland, Watson and adding Granger will play out. My guess is that they will be better. They were already very tough at home, and now they have more ways to score on the road.

      I think a Knicks-Nets matchup in the first round is highly likely, and would be great theater re: The Battle for New York. Whoever survives that bloodbath probably doesn’t get out of the 2nd round.

    28. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      I’ve been more than a tad more reasonable, ruruland. You’ll never see another flame-war from me on this site again, no matter how hard you provoke me. We may disagree, but I don’t really care.

      You fucking guy.

      ; )

    29. Z-man

      The Honorable Cock Jowles:
      I’ve been more than a tad more reasonable, ruruland. You’ll never see another flame-war from me on this site again, no matter how hard you provoke me. We may disagree, but I don’t really care.

      You fucking guy.

      ; )

      Alas, sir jon, your tragic and untimely death was not in vain.

    30. thenamestsam

      Brian Cronin:

      Miami, on the other hand, has been exceptionally lucky with injuries. They only significant injury was Bosh during the playoffs two years ago and that injury alone nearly eliminated them.

      Considering Wade has been somewhere between largely hobbled and completely decimated in the last two postseasons I don’t think this is really accurate. Now obviously he has a poor health skill at this point in his career so him being hurt isn’t as unlucky as somebody else being hurt, but I still don’t think you can say they’ve been exceptionally healthy when Wade hasn’t been close to 100% in the playoffs either year.

      Also choosing a 2-year horizon for them is a bit disingenuous considering in year 1 of the big 3 injuries to Haslem and Miller killed them when they were a much less deep team. In fact Miller’s precipitous demise from a guy who was injury prone but still consistently played 70ish games a year to one who could barely drag his body around for 15 minutes a night in 50 games a year is a huge health blow they had to deal with the last few years. It’s easy to forget now but that’s the guy the big 3 took less so they could sign. He was a critical part of their plans.

    31. flossy

      Brian Cronin: Would the Knicks be better if they had Chandler, Felton, STAT, Shump, Sheed Camby and Thomas healthy all year long but Melo missed the whole season?

      FWIW, I think the Knicks would definitely have been better in this scenario. Melo is a great offensive player and you can build a top offense around his ability to maintain average efficiency while using up a monster share of his team’s usage, while scoring from all areas of the floor.

      But a fully-healthy Amar’e is roughly Melo’s equal on offense (slightly lower usage, much higher efficiency, fewer “hot spots” on the floor) or at the very least can replace much of what he brings. Having Tyson Chandler at 100% health and effectiveness as he was in ’11-’12 would have made an enormous difference to our defense. Felton not missing a month and Shumpert not missing two months (and taking the rest of the season to get back up to speed) would have made a huge difference. And even an old, diminished Rasheed Wallace had a noticeable impact on our team defense for his 15 mpg. If he could have kept that up all season it would have been great.

      So yeah. As good a player as Melo is, I would have absolutely, no question about it, traded his whole season for a clean bill of health for all the other Knicks who were lost to injury last season.

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