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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, Aug 15 2012)

  • [New York Times] Koufax’s Roundball Once Trumped His Fastball (Wed, 15 Aug 2012 06:20:07 GMT)
    That Sandy Koufax was a talented basketball player in Brooklyn before becoming a baseball Hall of Famer gives the Nets’ arrival in the borough just a little more heft.

  • [New York Times] Sports Briefing | Basketball: Donaghy Denied Early Release (Wed, 15 Aug 2012 05:20:23 GMT)
    A federal judge in New York refused to allow an early end to supervised release for Tim Donaghy, the former N.B.A. referee who took money from a professional gambler.

  • [New York Post] Hakeem tutors Amar’e (Wed, 15 Aug 2012 03:37:45 -0500)
    When Mike Woodson took over as interim coach as the Knicks in March, he suggested the team would run its offense through its star players â?? Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
    After a rocky end to Stoudemire’s season, Woodson suggested the power forward work with Rockets great Hakeem Olajuwon…

  • 46 comments on “Knicks Morning News (Wednesday, Aug 15 2012)

    1. Robtachi

      Not sure why I do this to myself, but on a whim I went into the February archives and skimmed through the game recaps and comments from the middle of that month.

      Sigh.

    2. daJudge

      What a cool article on Koufax. For a lot of us kids growing up, he was not just an awesome pitcher, but a role model who made you feel proud to be a Jew. Still does.

    3. Robtachi

      daJudge:
      What a cool article on Koufax.For a lot of us kids growing up, he was not just an awesome pitcher, but a role model who made you feel proud to be a Jew.Still does.

      +1

      My dad grew up in the shadow of Ebbets Field and even though the team had moved away before Koufax really reached prominence, he was always my dad’s favorite player and someone our whole family venerates as a Jewish athlete who was, for a time, unquestionably the most dominant figure in his sport. We always wonder what his career could have been like had he access to modern sports medicine.

    4. Gideon Zaga

      My 2 cents on yesterday’s theme : The Curious Case of Amare Stoudemire.
      I think Amare’s main problem or his modus operandi is a matter of rhythm. Over the years that I have watched him. The more p&r dives he gets the more confident he is in his jumper. Last year it looked like he lacked some confidence although he had other issues with lift as well. I think Woodson & Melo need to commit to getting Amare going early like we saw in that famous example of game 1 against Boston. In that game Melo got into early foul trouble and Amare was able to feast on the Celtics. By the time Melo returned in the 2nd quarter he was in rhythm and his jumper and other parts of his game were flowing. Woodson needs to run the p&r through Amare early on from the start of the first quarter. That way by crunch time his confidence and rhythm will be at high level. But as always the problem remains that to do this we have to find a way to dispose off Chandler during that time of the game.

    5. Thomas B.

      Juany8: I knew he was a pretty bad defender, but it seems he’s outright terrible. If nothing else, Kidd and Felton should be better defenders than anyone at the point last year (seriously, Baron Davis was the team’s best defensive PG last year, that’s pretty sad)

      Yeah there was a bit of glorification of the good and ignorance of the bad with Lin. Heck, people here were calling him a top 40 player (top 10 point) which is odd considering how he struggles in transition ( a thing a top 10 point should not do) and can’t stay in front of anyone. Felton won’t put up the offensive flash that Lin did, but he won’t struggle as much on defense and in transition.
      Only time will tell.

    6. thenamestsam

      Juany8: I knew he was a pretty bad defender, but it seems he’s outright terrible. If nothing else, Kidd and Felton should be better defenders than anyone at the point last year (seriously, Baron Davis was the team’s best defensive PG last year, that’s pretty sad)

      I don’t think it’s fair to look at synergy isolation numbers as comprising the whole story on defense. Synergy is a very valuable tool and there’s a ton of good stuff being done with it, but something like Lin’s isolation points per possession against ignores any interaction effects every bit as much as everyone’s favorite whipping boy WP/48.

      If I remember correctly Lin’s on-court/off-court defensive numbers were significantly better, which should at least should make us question whether there’s other things happening that aren’t accounted for by synergy.

    7. Juany8

      thenamestsam: I don’t think it’s fair to look at synergy isolation numbers as comprising the whole story on defense. Synergy is a very valuable tool and there’s a ton of good stuff being done with it, but something like Lin’s isolation points per possession against ignores any interaction effects every bit as much as everyone’s favorite whipping boy WP/48.

      If I remember correctly Lin’s on-court/off-court defensive numbers were significantly better, which should at least should make us question whether there’s other things happening that aren’t accounted for by synergy.

      I’m not taking Synergy at face value though, I thought he was a poor defender last year. Some of that was inexperience, but he was getting blown up at picks ALL the time, and he simply couldn’t keep up with good point guards. On/Off defensive numbers don’t mean anything when Lin barely played last year, you need a large sample to even consider using those kinds of numbers.

      Isolation numbers are also more telling than, say, pnr numbers since in an Isolation it is a one on one interaction, with some help defense if the PG is trying to get to the rim. I don’t have Synergy, but I remember at one point Shump was causing a turnover on like 25% of all isolations against him, isolation defensive numbers do tend to be a bit more reliable than anything else out right now, especially when they are backed by video evidence of the poor defense (Pruiti is not Berri, he doesn’t simply read numbers off Synergy when forming opinions, he watches a lot of video to back it up. He’s probably the best basketball analyst on the Internet)

    8. Bison

      Agree, Sam. In addition, I have to ask how Synergy defines an “isolation” play. Lots of isos evolve into pick and rolls, and defending the latter is more of a team responsibility. As we all know, the ‘Bockers really sucked at pnr defense last season under D’Antoni, especially when Amare was on the court. So how does Synergy define a “isolation” play?

      I wonder how Shumpert’s isolation numbers compare.

    9. Bison

      Juany8: I don’t have Synergy, but I remember at one point Shump was causing a turnover on like 25% of all isolations against him,

      I see you have similar questions in mind re: Shumpert. His Synergy numbers should be very interesting.

    10. thenamestsam

      Juany,

      That’s a fair comment. I love Pruiti as well and I’m mostly with you about Lin’s defense. I thought he was pretty poor overall. I was mostly just questioning the fairness of saying that this confirms that he was a terrible defender. I think it’s more fair to say that his defense is a pretty significant question mark going forward.

      It’s interesting to watch the video in Pruiti’s piece in light of your second paragraph. My counterpoint would be that no defensive action in the NBA is a 1 on 1 interaction unless something is going wrong. The video (in my eyes only of course) conforms with that idea. In the 1st 4 plays a help defender is in good position to make a defensive play. Unfortunately for Lin’s defensive stats that help defender is either Novak or Amare (plus a weak swipe from Baron on one). If it was Lebron (just as an example of a good help defender) instead the numbers might have been more like 1-2 shooting with two of the shots never being taken instead of 4-4. The 5th play is the only one where no help defender is involved at all.

    11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      On/off numbers are near useless. Again, if Chris Paul is backing up Steve Nash, you’re not going to see much a difference. If he’s backing up Josh Selby, he’ll look like the best PG in the league (which he is). If we’re so gung-ho about interaction effects, let’s hypothesize that position depth is easily dismissed.

    12. Frank O.

      It’s so interesting to me that we have such a solid front line and yet so much of this team’s success will hinge upon the guard play.
      Ray Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, JR Smith, Shump (when he returns), then Chris Smith, James White, and Pablo Prigioni.

      Every guard the Knicks have is followed by a question:
      - Will we get Felton of the first half of his season with the knicks, or Ray of last season?
      - Will Kidd finally hit an age wall, where his overall lack of quickness quickly outweighs his passing and floor vision and leadership savvy?
      - Will Ronnie hit…any shots?
      - Can JR be even remotely consistent?
      - Will Shump’s knee enable him to play effectively on defense, and if so, will he develop a decent shot.
      - the other three are virtually unknown, meaning there are far more questions than answers.

      I think we are better off than last year, but there is significant uncertainty.

    13. Z-man

      IMHO, WP48 and Synergy stats should not be viewed as mutually exclusive; rather they should be used together. WP48 has basic stat-sheet components, e.g. defensive rebounds, and comparison to league and positional norms. Synergy stats look at why those stats are what they are by closely examining each stat component in the context of dynamic game situations. At some point, a WP48-type of stat will evolve that will give a better rating of overall player efficiency by figuring out which sub-components of stats are most the most important and deserve greater weight. Berri’s adjustment to defensive rebounds are a step in the right direction.

      I also think that isolation stats are telling. We know, for example, that rebunds are incredibly important, but effective blocking out often leads to rebounds for other players. Is there a position-adjusted stat called “effective block-outs?” Another example is a “possession-ending defensive play” resulting from an altered shot (not a block) or forcing a player into an extremely low percentage shot for that player (someone else gets the rebound) or denying the ball to a high-volume scorer (Battier did this to Melo but someone else got the credit.)

    14. ruruland

      Z-man:
      IMHO, WP48 and Synergy stats should not be viewed as mutually exclusive; rather they should be used together. WP48 has basic stat-sheet components, e.g. defensive rebounds, and comparison to league and positional norms. Synergy stats look at why those stats are what they are by closely examining each stat component in the context of dynamic game situations.At some point, a WP48-type of stat will evolve that will give a better rating of overall player efficiency by figuring out which sub-components of stats are most the most important and deserve greater weight. Berri’s adjustment to defensive rebounds are a step in the right direction.

      I also think that isolation stats are telling. We know, for example, that rebunds

      fantastic and I have very little doubt from personal experience that many if not all teams have these video based metrics and multitudes more league and nbadl wide…. I’m sure some of us would love to believe that nba staffs and front offices have the same access to information thcj does, and spend their days scrolling basketball reference and wow, perhaps when they arent doodling in their notebooks or responding to fan mail, and that they”re simply to busy or stupid to reach the pre-baked, readily-available conclusions the berri community does…,but theres the possibility that isn’t true, and the millions an owner can spend on FO isn’t a yearly malinvestement for 20 teams in the league every year.

    15. Z-man

      Team defense often boils down to man defense. Unless you are playing a true zone (doesn’t work well vs. most NBA-caliber teams), what constitutes team defense is switching, hedging, showing, rotating, trapping/doubling. etc. In most of these situations, man-on-man matchups still come into play. Bad isolation defenders on the perimeter and in the post cause lots of problems that generally fly under the traditional stats radar.

    16. EB

      Even a full year of last year’s Felton would be better than the production we got out of the pg position last year. According to 82 games.com the Knicks’ pgs had an efg% of .428 while felton shot .455. Importantly this doesn’t include ft’s which is where Lin excelled, however I think that the difference is pronounced enough to not make much of a difference.

      Hopefully he does not put up last year’s numbers and instead returns to the form he was in 2 years ago but even at this minimum he is a gigantic upgrade from the non Lin players at pg last year.

    17. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      ruruland: fantastic and I have very little doubt from personal experience that many if not all teams have these video based metrics and multitudes more league and nbadl wide…. I’m sure some of us would love to believe that nba staffs and front offices have the same access to information thcj does, and spend their days scrolling basketball reference and wow, perhaps when they arent doodling in their notebooks or responding to fan mail, and that they”re simply to busy or stupid to reach the pre-baked, readily-available conclusions the berri community does…,but theres the possibility that isn’t true, and the millions an owner can spend on FO isn’t a yearly malinvestement for 20 teams in the league every year.

      You know Brook Lopez got a max contract, right?

    18. knicknyk

      I always knew he wasn’t a great defender but I won’t say he is terrible or a matador on the defensive end. I would say he is around average defensively. And it didn’t mention his ability to get steals, he ranked top 5 per 48 amongst all starters. Steals aren’t the be all and end all in terms of determining how good of a defender you are, but they certainly indicate some ability. But all in all interesting read.

    19. Bison

      Z-man:
      Team defense often boils down to man defense. Unless you are playing a true zone (doesn’t work well vs. most NBA-caliber teams), what constitutes team defense is switching, hedging, showing, rotating, trapping/doubling. etc. In most of these situations, man-on-man matchups still come into play. Bad isolation defenders on the perimeter and in the post cause lots of problems that generally fly under the traditional stats radar.

      Team defense is at least as important as individually staying in front of your man. Because the attacking team has the initiative, anyone — even LeBron — can lose his man frequently, and when that happens, it’s on the defender’s teammates to help out.

      This is why I am curious about Shumpert’s numbers corresponding to Lin’s 0.971 PPP in isolation situations. Poor team defense must have some effect on Shump.

      If anyone finds the Synergy numbers for Shump, please also cite the league’s best, worst, mean, and standard deviation. Thanks.

    20. Juany8

      knicknyk:
      I didn’t realize there was a part 1. Here it is for those who are interested. Part 1 focusses more on the positives where as part 2 focuses more on the negatives. Part 1 also tells a tale.

      http://www.grantland.com/blog/the-triangle/post/_/id/34654/jeremy-lin-on-the-rockets-part-i-running-the-pick-and-roll

      They’re both objective analysis of what Lin is going to do, the only difference is that Lin was pretty bad at defense while being pretty solid and comparable to Lowry in pick and roll offense (which Houston uses a ton)

      On the defense thing, while team defense is more important, an individual defender that can be regularly exploited will kill any defense. That’s why the Bulls weren’t able to simply shut down Miami and hope to win 80-76, they had Boozer on the court for long minutes and he killed the team defense by repeatedly getting beat. At some point, a smart coach will game plan around exploiting a weakness. That was Miami’s greatest strength last year, they didn’t have any “holes” on defense you could exploit, except maybe against a strong post game, which none of their opponents featured last year (don’t talk to me about Roy Hibbert, Melo’s a bigger low post threat than him…)

      Even the Celtics couldn’t put 5 athletic players out there, only OKC really had a chance to match up with them consistently, but Scott Brooks decided that Fisher and Perkins had too much “veteran” experience to play proper lineups (and Harden couldn’t guard James or Wade worth shit….)

    21. Juany8

      knicknyk:
      I always knew he wasn’t a great defender but I won’t say he is terrible or a matador on the defensive end. I would say he is around average defensively. And it didn’t mention his ability to get steals, he ranked top 5 per 48 amongst all starters. Steals aren’t the be all and end all in terms of determining how good of a defender you are, but they certainly indicate some ability. But all in all interesting read.

      Allen Iverson was a steal master. If anything, having a lot of steals and a poor reputation probably means you’re gambling too much, which is not good defense in any way. Lin was good at reading passing lanes and being in the right spot with help, but Nash is a brilliant team defender if you simply consider that kind of defense. I’d much rather have someone the offense can’t plan to attack every time down the floor, which means they need to be able to fight through picks and stay in front of their man, both serious problems for Lin (and Nash lol)

      Note that this is coming from someone who thought keeping Lin was a no-brainer

    22. Juany8

      The Honorable Cock Jowles: You know Brook Lopez got a max contract, right?

      I know we don’t agree on much, but I laughed at the Nets the entire summer. How does Billy King have a job? I mean, I don’t think Brook Lopez is the worst center in the NBA, but I wouldn’t give him much more than what Darko got, much less a max contract.

    23. knicknyk

      Juany8: They’re both objective analysis of what Lin is going to do, the only difference is that Lin was pretty bad at defense while being pretty solid and comparable to Lowry in pick and roll offense (which Houston uses a ton)

      Not disputing the objectivity of the analysis. In fact thanks to whoever posted it up, it was an interesting read. And you don’t have to mention that you wanted Lin back, I am just having a discussion.

      Re 27: Yes he has problems staying in front of quicker guards. More often than not he is beat of the dribble and goes in for the steal though, or the block, as we saw in the Bulls game multiple times, or the guy gets the bucket. In the Bucks game there were a few possessions in which the Knicks needed to get a stop and he really keyed in on his guy, I believe it was those two possessions against Jennings where he tossed up a air ball. I did notice though that he showed improvement in fighting through picks under Woodson. But then again under Woodson the teams defense was much better overall and people were actually communicating on the defensive end and calling things out as stated by Baron Davis. Who knows if that played a part overall.

    24. Z-man

      Juany8: On the defense thing, while team defense is more important, an individual defender that can be regularly exploited will kill any defense….At some point, a smart coach will game plan around exploiting a weakness. That was Miami’s greatest strength last year, they didn’t have any “holes” on defense you could exploit

      Exactly. Team defense can mask a poor individual iso defender, but at a cost.

      Bison: Team defense is at least as important as individually staying in front of your man. Because the attacking team has the initiative, anyone — even LeBron — can lose his man frequently, and when that happens, it’s on the defender’s teammates to help out.

      I’m not disputing this. Both are incredibly important. My point is that even in a team defensive scheme, individual defense comes into play. In your example, if LeBron loses his man, the person who picks him up is now responsible for him on a rotation or switch. If LeBron is guarding, say, Paul Pierce and Chalmers has to pick him up, that is a mismatch that can be exploited. So ideally, LeBron stays with his assignment and Chalmers stays with his. If there is switching and mismatches occur, unless the 24 second clock runs out, there is an opportunity for exploitation.

      The same is true with team defense, p&r defense e.g. hedging/showing/switching/rotation depends on quick reads by multiple players (Amare is very slow to read these situations, yet had pretty good iso defense skills before last year). However, when a guard doesn’t have the lateral quickness to stay up close and in front of his man and get over screens, it’s a serious problem.

    25. ephus

      Looking at the clips that Pruti assembled, I am reminded that Lin appeared unable to force his man into the teeth of the defense. Guards who do not have the quickness to stay in front of their man (like Kidd circa 2010) can still be effective on defense if they can ensure that the only path they give leads to help defense. Lin did not appear to have that ability last year. This is an area he must improve in order to make up for his lack of quickness.

      Lin’s defensive strengths were (1) strength, (2) trapping hard on the PnR, (3) quick hands going for steals, (4) getting into the passing lanes and (5) defensive rebounding.

    26. Z-man

      To be fair, very few guards can stay in front of the blow-by guards like Rose and Wesbrook, or the future HOF guys like Nash, Rondo, Paul, Parker and Williams. A better measure is how stays in front of the quick but less “elite” guys like Chalmers, Bayless, Augustin, Lowry, Collison, Jennings. Or stays up on perimeter dead-eye guys like Calderon, Dragic, Ridnour. Or bangs with the big, physical PGs like Stuckey and Holiday (?).

    27. Z-man

      ephus: This is an area he must improve in order to make up for his lack of quickness.

      Doesn’t Lin grade out high in quickness? It might be more of a “reactive” quickness thing, which seems to be Amare’s problem. I agree with your premise, though, in that Lin needs to funnel guys to the help more effectively, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Just like opposing PGs wants to funnel Lin to the left, but he doesn’t always cooperate. :)

    28. knicknyk

      Well I just checked online and the Rockets ranked 15th in defensive efficiency. Omer Asik should definitely help. Under MDA we were a top 10 defenisve team once we acquired Tyson. Not that Omer is Tyson but having a legit defensive center should help. Maybe the Rockets can increase there defensive efficiency to 10th?

    29. knicknyk

      They added Omer though. And Omer was pretty impressive with the Bulls in the minutes he played. I still remember that block he had on Wade where he came out bloody. And also his effort to block Westbrook’s dunk in season. Obviously Russels dunk went in but he still tried to contest it, whereas most guys would step out of the way to prevent the poster. If they move Kevin Martin and start Carlos Delfino that could potentially help. There roster is so influx. They have a ton of forwards man.

    30. The Honorable Cock Jowles

      Juany8: I know we don’t agree on much, but I laughed at the Nets the entire summer. How does Billy King have a job? I mean, I don’t think Brook Lopez is the worst center in the NBA, but I wouldn’t give him much more than what Darko got, much less a max contract.

      I would give Darko $0 to play for my team. I’d rather pick up an undrafted rookie center than waste a roster spot on a player that I know will never be even qualified to be an NBA benchwarmer.

      Lopez’s contract makes sense if it was Dwight Howard bait, but since that’s not happening, he has become the new Rashard Lewis. Wait, except that Lewis was at least good at one point in his career. Lopez is among the worst rebounding 7-footers of all-time. Jason Collins bad.

    31. Juany8

      knicknyk:
      They added Omer though. And Omer was pretty impressive with the Bulls in the minutes he played. I still remember that block he had on Wade where he came out bloody. And also his effort to block Westbrook’s dunk in season. Obviously Russels dunk went in but he still tried to contest it, whereas most guys would step out of the way to prevent the poster. If they move Kevin Martin and start Carlos Delfino that could potentially help. There roster is so influx. They have a ton of forwards man.

      After Chandler and Dwight, I honestly think Asik is the best defensive big in the league. Nobody is smarter, and I absolutely means that. The guy just doesn’t make mistakes and is always in the right position. I honestly love just watching him play defense, especially off the ball where you can appreciate his remarkable quickness and anticipation.

      On offense, I’m hoping he can at least be solid, Houston’s staff has at least shown a solid capacity for developing young players, and having McHale doesn’t hurt. I doubt he’ll become a serious low post threat, but as long as he can finish put backs and be some kind of threat on the pick and roll, I love that signing for the Rockets, regardless of the price.

    32. Brian Cronin

      Yeah, Asik is an amazing defender. We’ll see if he can be any sort of offensive player this year. I have faith that he will be, but honestly, who can really tell until we see it?

    33. EB

      Isn’t the lopez situation kind of like Lin? They have nothing to lose by signing him except money. He’s still young and granted he’s been bad, but had a good rookie season and could be an asset.

      I guess there were other teams that were trying to offer him a max deal though huh?

    34. Juany8

      EB:
      Isn’t the lopez situation kind of like Lin? They have nothing to lose by signing him except money. He’s still young and granted he’s been bad, but had a good rookie season and could be an asset.

      I guess there were other teams that were trying to offer him a max deal though huh?

      The Nets basically broke the bank, and somehow ended up with Deron Williams as their only good player. Only Joe Johnson even made the playoffs last year, they might seriously be the worst “star” team ever assembled. I still don’t get why they totally blew their chance at Dwight by going for Wallace and Johnson, then signing Lopez to a max contract. Seriously, how bad can you be and still have a job?

    35. Z-man

      I agree that Lopez is not worth max money or even close, but your critique is a bit over the top. He is 23 years old, and has posted a WS48 of over .100 in each of his first 3 years; In 2010-11 posted a WS48 of .135 as a 21yo soph and a TS% of .570 at a usage% of 23; he shot 6.1fts per 36 at an 82% clip (career 81%) and 1.7 blocks (same for career). He averaged 8.4 rebounds per 36 that year and over 9 in his first 2 years. He regressed in year 3 and was hurt all of last year, but he is only 24 and has played mostly on horrendous teams. With a pretty good cast around him in Humphries, Wallace, Williams and Johnson, his deficiencies as a rebounder might not be as glaring and offensively he might be a very nice fit. Not my kind of player, but far from a stiff when healthy.

      Darko Milicic has been putrid as an all-around player by every conceivable measure.

    36. knicknyk

      Thank you Juany and Brian. I have been arguing with people about this for so long now. The kid is amazing defensively and he is only 26. People were ripping the Asik signing and I was like you don’t even know what you are talking about the kid can play. The issue with him aside from offense is conditioning. He hustles so hard on every possession, and because he was a back up it was okay if he would get gassed. He needs to fix that. Also, foul trouble, but he was a back up then so it wasn’t a problem, now as a starter that will have to be fixed. According to Rose, he was the hardest working guy on the team, and that says something coming from a gym rat like Rose. But his defense, aww man I will never forget that block on wade he set him on his ass. As well as that block on Love, lmao that was even worse. And when he contested Westbrooks shot, no offense to Tyson but he would have stepped out to prevent the poster but Asik was like I don’t even give a fuck and contested it. On the defensive end I have a lot of respect for him. Now his offense is a work in progress. What he is good at though, is grabbing offensive rebounds, setting good screens and he can dunk the ball lol so Lin just needs to throw him lob passes. The rockets will be an interesting team to watch next year, hopefully they throw out an all PF line up for kicks and giggles.

    37. EB

      I don’t disagree that the Net’s moves were in sum not that good, but specifically at the point where they need to decide whether or not to keep Lopez their best decision was to keep Lopez.

    38. daJudge

      Z-Man. Thanks for inquiring. Everything is good, just really, really busy this summer. I’m over the Lin thing and looking forward to this year big time.

      Z-man:
      Judge! Where you been?

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