## Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

# Knicks pioneering the NBA’s three-point renaissance

In today’s NBA, basketball is played noticeably differently then how it was decades ago — even ten years ago. When discussing the changes in our beloved game, many factors come into play, not the least of which is the advanced statistics phenomenon.

Recently, thanks to some very brilliant minds, teams and fans alike have begun to dive headlong into APBRmetrics (acronym for Association for Professional Basketball Research Metrics), only to discover that it’s less of a pool than an enormous ocean. To go more in-depth here would be deviating from my point, but one favorite of the advanced statistics community is efficiency, and this has caused a reformation in the NBA among the teams’ use of the three-point shot.

The Knicks in particular have taken it to an entirely new threshold this season.

When siphoning through the statistics, the aforementioned three-point escalation becomes obvious. The league average for total three-point attempts in this 2013 season was 1636. Compare this to previous marks:

• 2003: 1204
• 1993: 734
• 1983: 185

These are severely sharp rises, even when you consider rule changes such as the defensive three seconds call and the allowance of zone defense. With teams becoming more three-point dependent, the question becomes, “to three, or not to three?”

Our question: Are teams that base their offense around the three-pointer likely to win more? This is a pivotal question, particularly when you consider that our 2012-2013 New York Knicks have attempted more treys this season than any one team in league history.

Efficiency-wise, the three-point look from the corner is the second-most efficient field goal attempt in the game, the third being a three outside of the corner. To explore if there would be a correlation between three-point attempts and winning, I charted out the winning percentage and the percentage of field goal attempts that were threes adjusted for pace of each team in the league, per NBA Stats:

Although it’s a bit subtle, you can see the common decline between winning percentage and three-pointers attempted in an offense. Notice, aside from the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls (two outliers, both winning with great defense and mediocre offense), the top teams are in the mid-to-high 20’s in three-pointers attempted percentage. Meanwhile, on the bottom end, nearly every team is in the low 20’s. This goes deeper than threes attempted, however. Indeed, a big part of running a successful three-heavy offense is the type and caliber of the three pointer attempted. Take Milwaukee, for example, where Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis are jacking up any long bomb that looks appealing.

The Knicks, on the other hand, finished the regular season fifth in the league in 3PT% — clearly they’ve done plenty right. This is primarily because the Knicks’ offensive system is designed to get wide open threes, and pivots on great spacing, smart passes and individual shooting ability. With this last factor, you’ll notice that not only does New York utilize a hefty amount of first-rate shooters; a majority of them have shot the deep ball better this year than they have throughout their careers:

Let’s not forget the two Knick rookies either:

• Pablo Prigioni: 39.6%
• Chris Copeland: 42.1%

This Knicks roster has an arsenal of — if not deadly — extremely capable shooters. With the Knicks running a huge chunk of their offense through the three-point shot, it’s hard to imagine most shooters’ percentages not rising. As far as swinging the ball around well, no team does this better than New York. Additionally, the Knicks lead the league in lowest turnover percentage, which has become a staple of their season since opening night. This flawless team passing makes for a much more fluid offense, one that doesn’t easily concede the ball to the opponent.

As for great spacing, the Knicks employ one of the most effective offenses. Key to this has been one of the most lethal stretch four in the game, Carmelo Anthony. Anthony’s comprehensive scoring ability, in particular his knock-down shooting touch when spotting up, makes him the perfect fit for this type of offense — driven as it is by Anthony’s isolations and a plethora of pick-and-rolls.

Per Synergy Sports, the Knicks rank second in the league in spot-up attempts, which also accounts for the highest percentage of New York’s overall offense. The Knicks are shooting 38.1% from downtown (76% of their spot-up attempts were from three) on these shots, which makes for the third-best three-point percentage in the league. These open looks are provided by Carmelo Anthony’s remarkable scoring ability and the difficult to guard Raymond Felton-Tyson Chandler pick-and-rolls collapsing opposing defenses, leaving wide open shooters to let it fly.

Intent on drowning the opposition in a monsoon of threes, this offense is what’s carried the Knicks thus far. How far this crutch can carry them, with the Knicks now one win shy of moving on to the second round of the Playoffs for the first time since 2000, has yet to be seen.

## 36 comments on “Knicks pioneering the NBA’s three-point renaissance”

1. max fisher-cohen

Nice article. I’d been thinking about writing something along these lines. The Knicks really are a revolutionary team, their most startling quality being their seeming ability to execute so well that subpar three point shooters have been transformed to good ones WITHOUT the benefit of a true attacking point guard. I mean, Prigioni’s version of attacking is basically to drive until a second defender turns his head towards him, then make the pass, and he’s been possibly the 3rd most important player on the team.

I wish someone kept track of the % of possessions a team gets the ball into the paint because I think in that category, the Knicks would shatter the NBA record. It’s just so crazy to me how they are able to reverse the ball out of the mid post or out of these feints towards drives from slow players like Kidd and Prigioni with such effective results. Felton had great, Lawson-esque games the last two nights, but on most other nights, he’s mostly a SG, playing off Prigioni and Kidd’s action.

To me, this is also a major reason why they’re able to minimize their turnovers. They play a poker style of basketball, bluffing attacks rather than truly making them, allowing them to make passes before the passer has too much defensive pressure on him.

Felton and Anthony shoot a combined TEN threes a game. Had they shot down at their career averages this season, the Knicks would be scoring about 2.5 fewer points a game and probably would have ended up in the 5th or 6th seed, heading towards another first round loss. That’s not even accounting for Shumpert or Kidd who probably projected to be a 33-34% 3pt shooter given his age and the consecutive crappy shooting seasons he’d had.

2. KnickfaninNJ

Honestly, the correlation in the graph between three points shots attempted and winning record looks less than compelling to me. If anything, it suggests that other factors are much more important to winning than percentage of three point attempts.

3. Juany8

Sorry max, but I don’t see how you can argue that Prigs has been the Knicks third most important player, he doesn’t even finish games for this team. During the late season run, he was clearly less important than Melo, JR, Kenyon Martin, and Felton. Earlier in the year he was barely playing for long stretches of time. He’s been a nice player, especially for a freaking 34 year old rookie, but he’s not anything special.

4. max fisher-cohen

Juany8:
Sorry max, but I don’t see how you can argue that Prigs has been the Knicks third most important player, he doesn’t even finish games for this team. During the late season run, he was clearly less important than Melo, JR, Kenyon Martin, and Felton. Earlier in the year he was barely playing for long stretches of time. He’s been a nice player, especially for a freaking 34 year old rookie, but he’s not anything special.

YOu’re right — 4th most important after JR, Anthony, K-Mart or Chandler (whoever is playing better/more). I definitely disagree with you about felton though.

5. DRed

Saying someone isn’t good because he doesn’t finish games is the kind of analysis you get from stephen a smith. JR doesn’t even start-how can anyone say he’s important?

6. Juany8

DRed:
Saying someone isn’t good because he doesn’t finish games is the kind of analysis you get from stephen a smith. JR doesn’t even start-how can anyone say he’s important?

Is there any team where the best 5 players don’t finish games? That’s a serious question, other than a team with too much depth at a single position, I can’t think of anyone who finishes games with anything other than their best lineup. Partly because that would seriously reduce the number of minutes a player was capable of playing.

Besides I didn’t say he sucked, I said he wasn’t that important to the Knicks success. Considering he rarely plays even 30 minutes a game, I don’t see the argument as for why he’s more important than Felton, other than maybe TS%, which is a laughable measure of a point guard’s value on offense.

7. David Vertsberger Post author

KnickfaninNJ:
Honestly, the correlation in the graph between three points shots attempted and winning record looks less than compelling to me. If anything, it suggests that other factors are much more important to winning than percentage of three point attempts.

Yes you’re right it’s not conclusive at all. My mistake. In reality I probably should have went with 3PT shooting and ORTG, but studies have been shown to back up my point.

8. nicos

max fisher-cohen:
Nice article. I’d been thinking about writing something along these lines. The Knicks really are a revolutionary team, their most startling quality being their seeming ability to execute so well that subpar three point shooters have been transformed to good ones WITHOUT the benefit of a true attacking point guard. I mean, Prigioni’s version of attacking is basically to drive until a second defender turns his head towards him, then make the pass, and he’s been possibly the 3rd most important player on the team.

Well before Felton went out with the injury (and even when he was playing injured) he was certainly an attacking point guard- he got into the lane on high pnrs constantly. And he remains the Knicks only consistent drive and kick player. Even if he’s playing off of the ball more now, he’s still the guy running the high screens. Prigs has been a terrific defender but he initiates very little on the offense other than dump-downs to Melo or JR- Felton is far more important to the offense. Right now given how well Martin has played you could make a case that Felton is neck and neck with JR for the most important Knick after Melo.

9. max fisher-cohen

@juany

Kidd and Prigioni are very similar. I think Woodson prefers kidd to play minutes with JR due to Kidd’s inability to create off the dribble. Prigioni plays more with Shumpert bc Prig is more able to cover up Shumpert’s inability to make things happen off the dribble.

I see there being 3 instrumental components to the Knick offense-

1) get the ball to melo, ideally deep in the post.

2) Ball rotation, putting Prigioni/Kidd in the chess master position. One of the two catches Melo’s pass out, at which point he has to decide whether to re post, rotate the ball shoot or at least feint a drive.

3) Weak side attack. This requires a player who can dribble drive and shoot. JR’s performance here is critical. Felton sometimes plays this role well, but he’s inconsistent.

The weak side corner 3 guy – Novak or Shumpert – is replaceable as he’ll only catch the ball after the defense has been pulled around and out of position from the decisions of 3 other players.

The weak side guy at the angle 3 is harder to replace. Not only is that shot harder, but this player will sometimes have to dribble drive. Still, this guy is playing off an advantage that Melo & Prig/Kidd have created. Smith has been dominant in this role. Felton has been inconsistent, especially with his shooting.

THen there’s the Kidd/Prig role. Iso/pace offenses demand intelligence from role guys more than athleticism and scoring ability because htey require more coordination. While here’s a glut of talented speedster PGs, there aren’t many guys who can liquify an iso/post offense like Kidd/Prigioni do. WHich is why most teams are going away from iso offenses. So from a market perspective, Kidd and Prigioni’s skills are more unique, even if they are no more integral. I think we could replace Felton with relative ease. Aaron Brooks, for example, would IMO be just as good as RF in this system. Replacing Prigioni though would be damn hard.

10. max fisher-cohen

nicos: Well before Felton went out with the injury (and even when he was playing injured) he was certainly an attacking point guard- he got into the lane on high pnrs constantly.And he remains the Knicks only consistent drive and kick player.Even if he’s playing off of the ball more now, he’s still the guy running the high screens.Prigs has been a terrific defender but he initiates very little on the offense other than dump-downs to Melo or JR- Felton is far more important to the offense.Right now given how well Martin has played you could make a case that Felton is neck and neck with JR for the most important Knick after Melo.

In this series, FElton probably has been the 3rd best player. But he’s playing way over his head, making shots he rarely makes and somehow moving his penguin-like physique around much faster players. It’s crazy.

As far as early season success goes, NY was struggling well before before Felton got hurt. Felton got hurt on Christmas day, yet December was the Knicks’ 2nd worst month of the season in terms of point differential, only marginally better than January. NY just happened to win a lot of their close games that month, covering up the decline.

The Knick struggles in December – Feb had more to do IMO with JR playing poorly (less than 30% from three in Dec/Jan), Kidd hurting his back (he struggled badly even after coming back), the disappearance of Brewer, and Woodson’s asinine experiments with Kurt Thomas and James White.

11. Juany8

I don’t disagree with what you said max, but only when Melo is posting up. For the most part, the Knicks have alternated between running offense through Melo and through the high pick and roll, and Felton is always the one running the high pick and roll. Felton is the only player on the Knicks that can dribble into the paint and actually find people for passes consistently, Melo and Jr will pass but usually only in the more obvious situations.

Furthermore, while you make a strong case for picking one of Kidd or Prigs, you don’t make the case for prigs particularly well as opposed to Kidd. If Kidd plays better next to JR and JR is better than Shumpert, that means Kidd is more important to the Knicks. prigs might be the better player in a vacuum, but I don’t think that’s the argument either one if us is trying to argue. prigs is a nice player and I’m glad the Knicks have him, I just don’t think the Knicks would suffer more from his loss than that of any major minute player.

12. ruruland

max fisher-cohen:
I wish someone kept track of the % of possessions a team gets the ball into the paint because I think in that category, the Knicks would shatter the NBA record. It’s just so crazy to me how they are able to reverse the ball out of the mid post or out of these feints towards drives from slow players like Kidd and Prigioni with such effective results. Felton had great, Lawson-esque games the last two nights, but on most other nights, he’s mostly a SG, playing off Prigioni and Kidd’s action.

Felton and Anthony shoot a combined TEN threes a game. Had they shot down at their career averages this season, the Knicks would be scoring about 2.5 fewer points a game and probably would have ended up in the 5th or 6th seed, heading towards another first round loss. That’s not even accounting for Shumpert or Kidd who probably projected to be a 33-34% 3pt shooter given his age and the consecutive crappy shooting seasons he’d had.

Right, but you’re not considering the types of threes Felton and Melo were taking, nor the short term career trends (they and Kidd as well).

A lot of people saw Melo’s up-tick in 3-pt percentage. It’s a shot he’s put serious time into and hit at 40 %+ clips when healthy the last three seasons.

Looking at career percentages is really lazy analysis imo.

Also, I’m not sure how you think Felton is playing off Kidd and Prigs?!?!?!?!?

Almost everything those two comes after something else has been initiated. Kidd and Prigs are great at taking advantage of rotations and manipulating rotations, but they are not initiating them.

Secondly, much of the time the Knicks don’t feign or bluff drives, they have Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin or whomever diving to the basket. That’s almost as effective as a straight line drive with the ball.

13. max fisher-cohen

I would say Prigioni could play just as well if not better with JR as Kidd, but that Kidd would struggle without JR. As far as why Prigioni doesn’t get extended minutes more often, that’s a Woodson thing — maybe it has to do with Kidd being more of a veteran/known quantity. Woodson is old school like that — one of my least favorite of his qualities.

My case for Prigioni is that he has a lot more tools than Kidd. He does all the defensive things Kidd does, but he’s also a more consistent shooter and more willing and able to put the ball on the floor. Prigioni doesn’t get to the rim anything like Felton, but he will drive to draw defenders. If we’re talking about areas where the two can do damage, Prigioni can attack defenses from 12-24′ (even if he passes on 95% of his drives) while kidd hardly ever steps within 20′ of the rim unless it’s for a rebound.

AFA as the high pick and roll, Felton certainly does possess those skills, but it’s hard to make a case based on lineup data that NY has been dependent upon them. It’s hard to find lineups where replacing him with Kidd or Prigioni isn’t beneficial. I can’t judge how much his presence affects NY’s style of play without synergy, which I can’t access from here.

I’m certainly open to the possibility that Felton is a bigger deal since it’s not something i’ve looked too hard at. Maybe I’ll get more into it when I have more time.

14. ruruland

max fisher-cohen: In this series, FElton probably has been the 3rd best player. But he’s playing way over his head, making shots he rarely makes and somehow moving his penguin-like physique around much faster players. It’s crazy.

As far as early season success goes, NY was struggling well before before Felton got hurt. Felton got hurt on Christmas day, yet December was the Knicks’ 2nd worst month of the season in terms of point differential, only marginally better than January. NY just happened to win a lot of their close games that month, covering up the decline.

Uh, you realize that upon returning from injury (40 games) Felton had a .553 TS and 111 Orating?

He has a .527 TS and 111 Orating in the playoffs, so he’s been doing this for awhile now.

If you just studied his Synergy numbers the last few years, you’d know that Felton could be really good in this kind of offense, especially if he didn’t have to be the second offensive threat (he’s been the first or second offensive threat most of his career).

As a third banana in a spread, pnr offense, where the offense doesn’t force Felton to have to create for himself a lot, he can consistently put up the numbers he’s put since returning from injury.

I think early in the year it took Felton some time to figure out that he has Melo and or Smith on the court, both of whom are much better creators outside of continuity than he is.

Felton’s usage decline is almost perfectly proportional with a decline in isolation shots.

As pnr driver, spot-up shooter, he’s pretty damned effective, especially when we consider that many of his misses at the basket are Iverson assists that he’s actually trying miss on the weakside of the basket where Chandler or a big is there unguarded because Felton’s attracted the help.

15. max fisher-cohen

ruruland: Right, but you’re not considering the types of threes Felton and Melo were taking, nor the short term career trends (they and Kidd as well).

A lot of people saw Melo’s up-tick in 3-pt percentage. It’s a shot he’s put serious time into and hit at 40 %+ clips when healthy the last three seasons.

I am considering them. I’m saying they are getting higher quality looks thanks to great execution, which I attribute mostly to Kidd/Prigioni being great facilitators. I’m saying it’s amazing how huge an impact that has given how that it’s dependent on, first, the team revolutionizing its offense with almost no financial flexibility (kudos GG), and second, older players dramatically improving their shooting, something that, while not unique, is certainly rare even when guys switch from crap offensive teams to smart ones.

16. max fisher-cohen

yeah ruru, i get what you’re saying. I just don’t think Felton is magical. Basically, you’re saying fElton is a limited player who is now playing in a role that allows him to play to his strenghts. That doesn’t make him good. It just makes him the right fit. That’s true for a lot of NY’s players. This is a team that is FAR better than the sum of its parts, especially if you eliminate Stoudemire from the equation.

The issue I take with valuing Felton so highly is that he is eminently replaceable. So many guys can do what he does. The same way so many guys could do what Novak does, or to a lesser extent, what Shumpert has been doing in the last six weeks. Not many can do what Kidd/Prigioni do.

17. ruruland

AFA as the high pick and roll, Felton certainly does possess those skills, but it’s hard to make a case based on lineup data that NY has been dependent upon them. It’s hard to find lineups where replacing him with Kidd or Prigioni isn’t beneficial. I can’t judge how much his presence affects NY’s style of play without synergy, which I can’t access from here.

I’m certainly open to the possibility that Felton is a bigger deal since it’s not something i’ve looked too hard at. Maybe I’ll get more into it when I have more time.

I think you make a very good point regarding Prigs ability to drive the ball another 10 feet that Kidd won’t. They both only shoot when they’re open, but Kidd is slighlty more willing to let it go against a charging defender.

They both have great hands and instincts on defense, but they actually complement each other quite a bit on that end — Prigs heats up ballhandlers, Kidd can check all the way up to power forwards with his strength and size.

Kidd is probably the Knicks best rotater and he’s still the best defensive rebounding pg in the NBA, so I don’t think it’s a draw, nor is there overlap or redundancy in terms of tools.

Also, what lineup data are you looking at?

Felton has the highest net offensive +/- on the roster at 114. just ahead of Melo’s 113.7.

Kidd has a net offensive rating of 111.2, while Prigs is 111.7.

Perhaps Felton benefits from more time with Chandler and Melo, but idk, Felton has Prigs assist % with far more shots in paint and far fewer turnovers.

The Knicks offensive rebound % goes up 3 % with Felton, it goes down 5 % with Prigs and up 2.4 % with Kidd.

18. Brian Cronin

Max, I was curious, if you had to rank all the NBA teams in terms of odds on winning a title in the next five years, where would you have the Knicks now ranked? Gotta be in the top five, right?

19. jon abbey

yeah, I disagree with all of that. the three point shooting comes from the attention that Melo and JR draw much more than it does from Kidd/Prigioni facilitating anything (both are very good at stealing the ball and not shooting unless absolutely necessary, but neither help you much in a halfcourt offense IMO).

20. Brian Cronin

This is hilarious. Atlanta is kicking Indy’s ass again. Oh man, Indy, if you can’t easily defeat Atlanta, how can you possibly beat the Knicks?

21. Brian Cronin

WOW. The NBA relocation committee voted against moving the Kings to Seattle! That’s a shocker! Good for Sacramento. Although the new owners better be as committed to winning as the Seattle owners clearly seemed to be.

22. ruruland

jon abbey:
yeah, I disagree with all of that. the three point shooting comes from the attention that Melo and JR draw much more than it does from Kidd/Prigioni facilitating anything (both are very good at stealing the ball and not shooting unless absolutely necessary, but neither help you much in a halfcourt offense IMO).

I would argue that Prigs and Kidd help maximize open looks created by Melo, high pnr, Jr attention.

They get a lot of nontraditional assists that really should be largely credited to others. Many of them are simply holding the ball and not shooting the open shot, waiting for the rotating defender to charge, taking a couple steps towards the basket and then passing for the open shot.

I think that’s what Max is getting at. But no, neither guy is initiating anything really.

23. BigBlueAL

Pris this series has been alot more aggressive looking for his 3pt shot especially when the defender goes under the screen. To me Kidd is a much more willing 3pt shooter when spotting up compared to Prigs while Prigs looks for his 3pt shot when dribbling unlike Kidd who never looks to shoot when handling the ball.

24. ruruland

BigBlueAL:
Pris this series has been alot more aggressive looking for his 3pt shot especially when the defender goes under the screen.To me Kidd is a much more willing 3pt shooter when spotting up compared to Prigs while Prigs looks for his 3pt shot when dribbling unlike Kidd who never looks to shoot when handling the ball.

yeah, this.

25. nicos

max fisher-cohen:
yeah ruru, i get what you’re saying. I just don’t think Felton is magical. Basically, you’re saying fElton is a limited player who is now playing in a role that allows him to play to his strenghts. That doesn’t make him good. It just makes him the right fit. That’s true for a lot of NY’s players. This is a team that is FAR better than the sum of its parts, especially if you eliminate Stoudemire from the equation.

The issue I take with valuing Felton so highly is that he is eminently replaceable. So many guys can do what he does. The same way so many guys could do what Novak does, or to a lesser extent, what Shumpert has been doing in the last six weeks. Not many can do what Kidd/Prigioni do.

See, I think Prigs is almost as niche-y as Novak. He’s a point guard who can’t facilitate ball movement very well on his own but is great at picking defenses apart (like Kidd) once they start rotating. He’s lucky that he plays with Melo who attracts more mid-post attention than anyone in the league and Felton, who can actually turn the corner on pick and rolls and get defenses rotating. Felton may be more replaceable league-wide (though not by anyone currently on the roster) but I’d say Prigs would be pretty much useless offensively on a good chunk of teams in the league.

26. mokers

Brian Cronin:
WOW. The NBA relocation committee voted against moving the Kings to Seattle! That’s a shocker! Good for Sacramento. Although the new owners better be as committed to winning as the Seattle owners clearly seemed to be.

I would have lost a lot of money on that bet.

27. ruruland

max fisher-cohen:
yeah ruru, i get what you’re saying. I just don’t think Felton is magical. Basically, you’re saying fElton is a limited player who is now playing in a role that allows him to play to his strenghts. That doesn’t make him good. It just makes him the right fit. That’s true for a lot of NY’s players. This is a team that is FAR better than the sum of its parts, especially if you eliminate Stoudemire from the equation.

The issue I take with valuing Felton so highly is that he is eminently replaceable. So many guys can do what he does. The same way so many guys could do what Novak does, or to a lesser extent, what Shumpert has been doing in the last six weeks. Not many can do what Kidd/Prigioni do.

“Basically, you’re saying fElton is a limited player who is now playing in a role that allows him to play to his strenghts. That doesn’t make him good.”

Dean Oliver would vehemently argue this point.

How do you know that most players who you think are good, are good because they are being utilized in the most optimal way?

Would Chris Paul still be great if he were asked to play outside of pick and roll off the ball?

It would be stupid to do that, but that’s kind of the point here.

28. Brian Cronin

I would have lost a lot of money on that bet.

Right? When do NBA owners ever vote against a move?

29. ruruland

nicos: See, I think Prigs is almost as niche-y as Novak.He’s a point guard who can’t facilitate ball movement very well on his own but is great at picking defenses apart (like Kidd) once they start rotating.He’s lucky that he plays with Melo who attracts more mid-post attention than anyone in the league and Felton, who can actually turn the corner on pick and rolls and get defenses rotating.Felton may be more replaceable league-wide (though not by anyone currently on the roster) but I’d say Prigs would be pretty much useless offensively on a good chunk of teams in the league.

I don’t know about useless. He might be useless in Denver which must have everyone one the floor capable of initiating some kind of action or finishing, because they have no one who can do it well consistently.

I would agree though that on most teams his impact would be minimal. He could work in SA, OKC, LAL, Miami though. Would need to play alongside dominant offensive player that isn;t a point guard.

Wouldn’t work with Harden in Houston because they ask for deep weakside penetration.

30. max fisher-cohen

Regarding prigioni, I agree that he is niche and wouldn’t be nearly as important on a lot of teams given the current makeup/strategy of most teams. I do think though that his skillset is critical to this very unique team, and rare from a market perspective. As far as the o-ratings, it’d take a lot of research to deal with all the noise there. I very well could be wrong about Prigioni being more valuable to this team than Felton. Personally, I find Felton’s “look at how big my testicles are!” style of play/personality very annoying, so that could be skewing my view.

@brian

Not top five, no. Maybe around 10th, mostly because I have zero faith in management to rebuild gracefully when all major decisions have to be approved by Jabba the Dolan and little belief that this team has the future assets to maintain the level of success they’re having this season. I’m sure I’ll be slammed with 8 million responses as far as why I’m wrong or a bad fan or whatever, so I’ll just say right now that I won’t be responding. I don’t have the energy to have that argument, and I don’t feel like accruing more negative karma with NYK still in the playoff mix. Let’s save it for the summer, shall we?

31. BigBlueAL

max fisher-cohen:
Regarding prigioni, I agree that he is niche and wouldn’t be nearly as important on a lot of teams given the current makeup/strategy of most teams. I do think though that his skillset is critical to this very unique team, and rare from a market perspective. As far as the o-ratings, it’d take a lot of research to deal with all the noise there. I very well could be wrong about Prigioni being more valuable to this team than Felton. Personally, I find Felton’s “look at how big my testicles are!” style of play/personality very annoying, so that could be skewing my view.

@brian

Not top five, no. Maybe around 10th, mostly because I have zero faith in management to rebuild gracefully when all major decisions have to be approved by Jabba the Dolan and little belief that this team has the future assets to maintain the level of success they’re having this season. I’m sure I’ll be slammed with 8 million responses as far as why I’m wrong or a bad fan or whatever, so I’ll just say right now that I won’t be responding. I don’t have the energy to have that argument, and I don’t feel like accruing more negative karma with NYK still in the playoff mix. Let’s save it for the summer, shall we?

10th is better than 23rd or whatever number in the 20’s you had the Knicks at earlier this year :-)

32. Brian Cronin

Harden putting on a bit of a show in the third (it helps that Parsons is hitting his shots, as well).

33. nicos

Brian Cronin: Right? When do NBA owners ever vote against a move?

It almost makes you think they might be leaning towards expansion as crazy as that would be- if it’s either/or you’d want a team in the larger market as it would help with TV contracts. As much as you’d like to think they’re doing this to reward a small but dedicated fan base there’s no way that could be the case.

34. jon abbey

Brian Cronin:
Harden putting on a bit of a show in the third (it helps that Parsons is hitting his shots, as well).

was the show called “I’ll let Parsons be the man tonight while I turn it over ten times”? or maybe “now I’m shooting 28 for 77 for the series”?

Harden is now 4 for 25 from 3 point range over the 4 games, he better hope those FTs never stop coming.

35. david

Arguing about which type of useful but not star player (ball movers like Kidd and Prigs or or guys who draw attention like Felton or Smith) strikes me as missing the point: it’s like asking which is more important in theory, a right guard or a flanker. Both are necessary for an offense like this — the question is which guys are excelling at their specific roles. The key over the last few weeks has been that the draw and kick guys — Felton and Smith — have been playing well at getting attention, allowing the ball movers to do their jobs.

This leads me to a question for stat people: Has anyone tried developing a stat on how many guys are guarding a player on each possession? You know, something like an out-and-out double team or a rotation after a blowby would be a 2, a guy hedging over the way Boston did on Melo in game 4 would be a 1.5, Reggie Evans would get a .3 or .4 on most possessions etc. Strikes me as teh kind of stat those tracking cameras could create, would allow us to quantify what Melo does (sucking the defense, forcing rotations).