Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Knicks vs. Nuggets Game Thread

Perhaps the healing can begin today.

A rather interesting starting lineup for the Knickerbockers today – Jeffries at center, Thomas at the 3 and Chandler at the 2 (with the stalwarts Lee and Duhon).

How hilarious is it that David Lee is the leading scorer for the Knicks?

37 comments on “Knicks vs. Nuggets Game Thread

  1. italian stallion

    It’s clearly time that D’Antoni tell Chandler up he should not shoot another 3 point shot this season unless the shot clock is about to expire. If he does, he should be benched. The idea was to have a SF that could outshoot QRich from out there, not to substitute one for another. He’s young enough that he could still improve, but for now he should be limited to mid range shots and finishing around the basket. Once Gallinari is back, if turns out he can shoot the 3 consistently, he should take over SF spot and we can use Chandler selectively off the bench and occasionally at the 2 and 4.

  2. italian stallion

    It’s sort of hard to believe how bad this team is now given how tough they played LA, the Suns etc…

  3. italian stallion

    If they pull this out, it will be a terrific victory, but you can smell the thickness of losers everywhere.

  4. italian stallion

    At the start of the season, I was as high on Chandler as anyone. I actually thought he had a shot to eventually be close to an all-star caliber player. I’m not sure why he’s playing so poorly now relative to late last season, summer league, pre season, and the start of this season, but he is. At this point, I’m not even sure he should even be playing very much. He can’t shoot a 3 pointer to save his life. That in itself is not so horrible, except that he insists on shooting them all the time. He should never shoot a 3 pointer unless the shot clock is about to expire. Having one Qrich on the team is bad enough, we don’t need two of them.

    I’ve seen enough of this kid for now. I think he has the athletic ability and motivation to become a much better player, but for now all he can be is versatile defensive player that can get you 10-15 points a night in an efficient manner. He can’t be an important part of the offense.

    It’s about time D’Antoni explained that to him. If he insists on shooting foolish shots and/or shots that are outside his range, he must be benched until he learns that going 5-10 from the field with a couple of free throws is a much better night than 6-19 and 1-9 from the 3 point line etc.. even if you score some extra points with extra shots.

    Granted, the Knicks have very few consistent offensive weapons from the outside. So it’s not like the shots that Chandler doesn’t take are going to go to someone that can actually hit the ocean from the outside consistently (unless Gallinari can when he finally plays), but there are better 3 point options than Chandler at this stage in his development.

  5. Brian Cronin

    Do you think the lack of additions to the roster is an indication that Walsh is pretty okay with them losing?

  6. italian stallion

    I’m not really sure what Walsh is thinking other than trying to get under the cap in 2010. I suspect he’s trying to remain competitive, but given a choice between doing the right thing for the long term and winning more games now, he’d rather lose now and be patient than sign just anyone or make a mediocre deal.

    When I first evaluated the Randolph/Crawford trades, I thought they made us a slightly worse team. However, they were obviously great long term moves. That was before the Mobley fiasco. Without getting Mobley, IMO, we are a much worse team because now we lack depth and another outside scoring option. So this bad period should really not be unexpected.

    I’m sure Walsh realizes that too, but it seems he’s not going to sign anyone or do anything that just gives us an extra body. I think he’s still even trying to figure out a way to trade Marbury in some kind of 2 for 1 deal even though it’s such a low probability outcome. He wants to use every possible asset in it’s most effective long term manor and will wait as long as it takes. I think that means accepting a lot of losing.

    IMO, he’s doing the right thing. I have no problem with a us losing and looking so bad.

    However, I think smacking Chandler in the head and explaining to him that Ray Allen and Jason Kapono shouldn’t be shooting nine 3 pointers on most nights (let alone a bricklayer like you) is not that difficult. I’m also tired of some of the really stupid things that Robinson does on both ends of the court. I love D’Antoni, but I think he needs to be tougher on some of these guy when they are being idiotic. Losing is bad enough, but we should at least be teaching the young players so they stop making the same mistakes every night. (Of course I am assuming they aren’t too stupid to understand it and change a bit)

  7. jon abbey

    Do you think the lack of additions to the roster is an indication that Walsh is pretty okay with them losing?

    yep, I’ve been thinking this for a few weeks now. it has something to do with ten day contracts not starting until early January, but I think Walsh is fine with them losing games now also.

  8. d-mar

    Harrington is starting to remind me of the player I remember from his Indy/GS days – streaky, makes bad decisions, etc. A few weeks ago I thought he was one we should keep for 2010, now I think Duhon and Lee may be it.

  9. tastycakes

    How can anyone justify Jared Jeffries’ continued presence on a pro basketball team? The dude is the worst. He has zero offensive game. Scratch that, it’s sub-zero. Playing against a team with Jared Jeffries on it is like playing 5 on 4, only better. Dude can’t handle the rock, can’t pass, can’t dribble, can’t shoot, and can’t finish. How many blown layups do we have to watch?

    And can Mike Breen please stop trying to sell us the BS line about the “intangibles” he supposedly brings? Like, sometimes, Jared falls down when an opposing player is running at him, and they call a charge. Or while flailing his long arms after a free throw attempt, he’ll tip the ball accidentally to a teammate.

    Wasn’t he supposed to be a defensive player? Outside of taking a couple of charges, has he had any kind of net impact on the Knicks’ D? They are still masters of the matador style, perfected under Isiah.

    If the Knicks are trying to showcase Jeffries for a trade, they should try showcasing him from the bench.

  10. tastycakes

    Other comments on recent Knicks play:

    David Lee: I’m still waiting for him to turn into a defensive juggernaut.

    Chris Duhon: Guy looked great earlier in the year, now he has a bad habit of disappearing. He needs to stop hesitating on open 3s.

    Wilson Chandler: Not impressed. Once every couple of games he does something nice, which isn’t enough. Package him with a contract.

    Nate Robinson: Seriously bad at crunch time. Unfortunately, nobody else on the Knicks has the balls to handle the rock at crunch time.

    Eddy Curry: Looking pretty fat.

    Al Harrington: Needs to stop his patented ‘spin into the lane wildly and throw up a bank shot’ crap. Not a very good player.

    At least they put up a fight today, but man. It’s getting brutal again. Maybe Ricky Rubio or Stephen Curry can help.

  11. italian stallion

    Duhon and Lee are the only players on this team with any fuctioning grey matter between their ears. That’s one of the problems.

  12. Caleb

    Some perspective….

    Al Harrington’s cap hold in the summer of 2010 is almost $11 million. (Meaning, until he re-signs, or the Knicks renounce him, he takes up $11 million of our cap space).

    Quentin Richardson’s cap hold will be almost $10 million.

    Duhon’s cap hold will be about $8 million.

    On an open market, picking among all the free agents in the league, are we really going to give any of them that kind of money? That we could be giving to Stoudemire, or Bosh, or BronBron, or the studs of ’11.. ?

    We could sign one of those guys to an extension before 2010 (though I’m not sure when Duhon is eligible for an extension) and get a slightly better deal, but even then… don’t expect any of them back.

    Face it – Harrington, Q and probably Duhon are trade bait. Maybe not this year, but definitely by February 2010. Think of them as 3 more potential 1st round picks. Find a way to trade Malik Rose(‘s contract) for another pick. Hell, a high second rounder. That’s 4 extra draft picks we should have the next two years. That’s the reality.

    Now… To contradict myself, I think there’s a chance that Duhon stays. Especially if we whiff on finding a PG in this year’s draft. But if he stays, that means Nate is not getting an extension — we’re not laying down $11 million a year for a PG tandem of Nate and Duhon. And that’s coming from a guy (me) who likes them both.

    re: Chandler, I don’t want to say “told you so,” but Balkman has always been better, right now and as a long-term prospect. But let’s not go overboard. Chandler is only 21 and in 2010-2011 he only makes $2.1 million. So he’s a keeper, unless we need him for a deal that takes Curry off our hands.

    More Chandler… his improvement as a scorer is hidden by all those 3s he’s taking. His eFG and TS% are almost 3 points higher this year, even though he’s more than doubled his rate of shooting 3s (which he can’t make to save his life). I am too lazy to look at 82games, but if he’s doubled his number of 3s, is shooting a lower percentage on them and still has significantly improved his TS% — that means his game inside the 3-point line is much better. But still a long way to go… More disappointing to me is that his rebounding numbers are down, his blocks are flat, his turnovers are up… that’s the stuff he needs to concentrate on. He just doesn’t have the skills to be a an All-Star, a leading man, a big-time scorer. He does have the skills to be a good peripheral player, if he gives it a shot…

  13. jon abbey

    I could easily see Gallinari and Chandler as the only two members of this team on the 2010-2011 roster, and even Chandler is movable, as Caleb said. I’m not nearly as optimistic as him about being able to land first rounders for the others, but I guess stranger things have happened.

  14. latke

    pretty sure that walsh is leaving the roster spot open because it could help facilitate a trade… lets the knicks take 2 players for 1. We still got some dead weight that we’re trying to ditch.

  15. italian stallion

    Some perspective….
    re: Chandler, I don’t want to say “told you so,” but Balkman has always been better, right now and as a long-term prospect. But let’s not go overboard. Chandler is only 21 and in 2010-2011 he only makes $2.1 million. So he’s a keeper, unless we need him for a deal that takes Curry off our hands.
    More Chandler… his improvement as a scorer is hidden by all those 3s he’s taking. His eFG and TS% are almost 3 points higher this year, even though he’s more than doubled his rate of shooting 3s (which he can’t make to save his life). I am too lazy to look at 82games, but if he’s doubled his number of 3s, is shooting a lower percentage on them and still has significantly improved his TS% — that means his game inside the 3-point line is much better. But still a long way to go… More disappointing to me is that his rebounding numbers are down, his blocks are flat, his turnovers are up… that’s the stuff he needs to concentrate on. He just doesn’t have the skills to be a an All-Star, a leading man, a big-time scorer. He does have the skills to be a good peripheral player, if he gives it a shot…

    I won’t debate the stats with you, but I will debate using them because I am a winning gambler that evalautes things like this all the time.

    IMO, in some cases it is an error in analysis to use annual or longer term stats for comparisons. This is one of those cases.

    If you want to compare the Chandler of last year to the Chandler of this year, IMO you have to look at his stats from the latter part of last year vs. this year because he was making progress last year.

    Using the early part of last season is unjustifiably lowering the base and would almost automatically make him look better in some areas this year.

    I felt strongly about that interpretation early in the season when I was making the case he would be better this year (overall) and I feel just as strongly about it now when I think he’s not much better in this snapshot of time than he was at the end of last year.

    I also think it’s fairly clear from visual observation he’s not as good right now as he was in summer league, pre-season, or early this season in some less tangible ways. He’s not playing with the same level of confidence, energy, or athleticism. He may be worn out, have mild nagging injuries etc… but he’s playing below where he was.

    If his rebounding, blocks, turnovers etc.. per 36 are down from “late last year” (I haven’t checked), that could easily be explained by the above. Those are the kinds of things partly related to “energy and effort”.

    To begin with, it’s not so easy to extend what you can do in those areas over short minutes into longer minutes because of getting tired (We would probably see a similar thing if Balkman was starting and playing 35 minutes a night instead of fewer minutes with some garbage time mixed in).

    If he’s worn out (in general), that would also account for it.

    I’ve never been a rookie trying to get used to playing long minutes, being on the road a lot etc… but since former players often say it is difficult, I think that’s what we could be seeing with Chandler too.

    So I would say Chandler is not much better (if at all) right now than he was last year even if his TS% is higher because he was better late last year than his over stats suggest. However, I think for awhile he was better this year. Explaining why he has dipped is more speculative.

    By the way, it may also be more difficult to get rebounds and blocks shots when you are guarding 2s and 3s on the outside more often.

  16. Caleb

    IMO, in some cases it is an error in analysis to use annual or longer term stats for comparisons. This is one of those cases.

    If you want to compare the Chandler of last year to the Chandler of this year, IMO you have to look at his stats from the latter part of last year vs. this year because he was making progress last year.

    Using the early part of last season is unjustifiably lowering the base and would almost automatically make him look better in some areas this year.

    A lot of people are putting a lot of weight on 6 garbage time games last April. That, and summer league. It’s like saying Jamal Crawford is a superstar because he’s scored 50 points in a game, three times. But yes, Chandler’s December to December improvement is more impressive than his April to December improvement.

    I was making the case he would be better this year.

    I think he is better, but not as much as I’d hoped. The drop in his non-scoring stats is troubling. As I pointed out, if he juststopped taking three-pointers altogether, he would be a much better player… TS would probably be in Al Harrington range.

    it may also be more difficult to get rebounds and blocks shots when you are guarding 2s and 3s on the outside more often

    I agree, but if anything, Chandler has spent more time inside at PF this year… last year with Lee, Randolph and Curry on the court almost ALL of his minutes came at SF.

    it’s not so easy to extend what you can do in those areas over short minutes into longer minutes

    KB can take this one… I think he has it on autodial.

  17. Caleb

    I’m not nearly as optimistic as him about being able to land first rounders for the others, but I guess stranger things have happened.

    I’d be pretty confident of getting 1st-rounders for Harrington and Duhon, if they go on the market. They’d go to playoff teams, so it wouldn’t be lottery picks coming back. Those guys are easily worth it. Harringon is overpaid, but the contract is only through 2010 and he’s averaging more than 20 a game. And wouldn’t Duhon be a good fit in Houston?

    Q is a tougher sell, but not outlandish unless it’s long-term, because of his health. For example, if Dallas had any picks left after the Jersey fleecing, I’d say the Mavs would trade Stackhouse (and pick) for Q.

    re: Rose, $7 million (plus luxury tax) is a lot of money for some teams. If not worth a 1st, a high 2nd…

  18. italian stallion

    Since I’m sometimes not very good at expressing my views with words, here’s another way to look at it using some “made up” numbers that get the point across better.

    IMO….

    Chandler started last year as an 80, improved to an 85, and finished off as a 90.

    There are two ways of looking at that.

    1. He was an average of 85 for the year and might improve
    2. He was a 90 heading into this season and might improve.

    It has been my view that the latter (#2) was the way more likely scenario because of his age and inexperience. So I was expecting him to play at higher level than 90 starting this year (maybe 95) and possibly improve further to a 100 by year end.

    IMO, that view was vindicated in summer league, pre season, and the early part of this season. He was playing at a 95 level.

    That’s when the monkey wrench got thrown into the game.

    Instead of holding that level or improving further to a 96-97 on his way to 100 later this season, he dropped back to a 90.

    This fall back in performance needs to be interpreted if we are trying to project the most likely scenario going forward.

    Was it….

    1. The 95 early this year was an upside aberration and he’s really only a slowly improving 90 player.

    2. The current 90 is a downside aberration related to being worn down by the extra minutes, travel, faster paced game being played etc… and he’s really an improving 95 player that’s experiencing a temporary down period during his longer term upward cycle.

    I think this is a much trickier interpretation because we don’t know what he’s feeling, whether he has any minor nagging issues, etc…

    I think it’s about a 50-50 proposition, but regardless, since he’s not playing nearly as well now as he was earlier in the season and his shot selection sucks, something has to change.

  19. Caleb

    I kinda thought Gallinari was done for the year but this article claims he’ll be ready (for full-speed practice, at least) in a month.

    It also has a funny story about Balkman and George Karl. Yes, I’m obsessed.

  20. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    IMO, in some cases it is an error in analysis to use annual or longer term stats for comparisons. This is one of those cases.
    If you want to compare the Chandler of last year to the Chandler of this year, IMO you have to look at his stats from the latter part of last year vs. this year because he was making progress last year.

    This is silly. First off offense in the NBA increases as the season goes in. In other words just about every NBA player is a little bit worse in December than they were in March/April. Every year.

    Secondly, how do you know those late games where Chandler performed well wasn’t the aberration? Caleb mentioned Crawford’s 50 point games as a good example – had you been judging Crawford based on one of those weeks you’d probably have a much higher opinion of him.

    A handful of games is meaningless in the context of a player’s career. For instance if you cut any player’s career into 10 games intervals, there are going to be some stints that are great and others that are awful. So if you’re only using a few games to judge a player, how do you know where you are on that spectrum? You don’t. You might be seeing a player’s best/worst outlier week, not the norm.

    I also think it’s fairly clear from visual observation he’s not as good right now as he was in summer league, pre-season, or early this season in some less tangible ways. He’s not playing with the same level of confidence, energy, or athleticism. He may be worn out, have mild nagging injuries etc… but he’s playing below where he was.

    I don’t agree at all that Chandler was visually better in the summer league or the end of last year.

  21. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    it’s not so easy to extend what you can do in those areas over short minutes into longer minutes

    KB can take this one… I think he has it on autodial.

    Here’s my autodial – that’s 100% false. End of story. No discussion.

  22. ess-dog
    I’m not nearly as optimistic as him about being able to land first rounders for the others, but I guess stranger things have happened.

    I’d be pretty confident of getting 1st-rounders for Harrington and Duhon, if they go on the market. They’d go to playoff teams, so it wouldn’t be lottery picks coming back. Those guys are easily worth it. Harringon is overpaid, but the contract is only through 2010 and he’s averaging more than 20 a game. And wouldn’t Duhon be a good fit in Houston?
    Q is a tougher sell, but not outlandish unless it’s long-term, because of his health. For example, if Dallas had any picks left after the Jersey fleecing, I’d say the Mavs would trade Stackhouse (and pick) for Q.
    re: Rose, $7 million (plus luxury tax) is a lot of money for some teams. If not worth a 1st, a high 2nd…

    I don’t think many teams would give up a 1st rounder for Harrington (maybe someone like a San Antonio who would want to use him off the bench for a playoff run, but then you are talking a #25-30 pick.)
    And remember the opposing bidders for Duhon in free agency? Noone except a half-hearted offer by Orlando. Sure he looks better now and he has a good salary, but still, I think you are talking a mid to lower 1st rounder for a guy we probably want to keep. Lee is the only player that would net us a solid 1st rounder and I wish we had essentially traded him for OJ Mayo (hindsight is 20/20.) But if he keeps up his level of play, I think we could get a #4-10 pick for him.

  23. italian stallion
    IMO, in some cases it is an error in analysis to use annual or longer term stats for comparisons. This is one of those cases.If you want to compare the Chandler of last year to the Chandler of this year, IMO you have to look at his stats from the latter part of last year vs. this year because he was making progress last year.

    This is silly. First off offense in the NBA increases as the season goes in. In other words just about every NBA player is a little bit worse in December than they were in March/April. Every year.
    Secondly, how do you know those late games where Chandler performed well wasn’t the aberration? Caleb mentioned Crawford’s 50 point games as a good example – had you been judging Crawford based on one of those weeks you’d probably have a much higher opinion of him.
    A handful of games is meaningless in the context of a player’s career. For instance if you cut any player’s career into 10 games intervals, there are going to be some stints that are great and others that are awful. So if you’re only using a few games to judge a player, how do you know where you are on that spectrum? You don’t. You might be seeing a player’s best/worst outlier week, not the norm.

    I also think it’s fairly clear from visual observation he’s not as good right now as he was in summer league, pre-season, or early this season in some less tangible ways. He’s not playing with the same level of confidence, energy, or athleticism. He may be worn out, have mild nagging injuries etc… but he’s playing below where he was.

    I don’t agree at all that Chandler was visually better in the summer league or the end of last year.

    This is what I have been saying.

    It is ALMOST NEVER CORRECT to ASSUME that an annual average reflects the sustainable level of performance for any player. You SHOULD ALWAYS look at the details to get a more accurate picture.

    Here are some obvious examples:

    If a player is 28, has a very long history of stats to view, performed at a level that is reasonably consistent with his record, etc… the probabilities that his recent annual stats reflect his sustainable ability are quite high, but not certain.

    If a player is 28, has a very long history of stats to view, performed at a level that was below his long term record, but was coming off surgery from which he is expected to make a full recovery, the probabilities that his recent annual stats reflect his sustainable performance level are dependent on the probability the prognosis is correct and other factors. He may return to form or he may not.

    If a player is 35, has a very long history of stats to view, performed at a level a notch below his longer term peak level, etc… the probabilities that his recent annual stats reflect a permanent decline are higher than if he was 25, but not certain.

    If a player is 20, has little or no historical record, but was playing better in the second half of a relatively short period of time than the first, there are several possibilities.

    1. The average of that entire short period reflects his ability fairly well give or take.

    2. The 2nd half of that period reflects expected ongoing improvement relative to the average.

    The problem is we have sample size issue combined with our knowledge that young inexperienced players often improve.

    We have no way of knowing which one is correct.

    However, we know for certain that the probabilities that he has improved are vastly highly than in the case of a 28 or 35 year old with a very long record.

    That makes it a clear cut analytical mistake to START with ASSUMPTION that the average for the year is correct.

    Of course that means ASSUMIMG he was improving is also an ERROR!

    I never said I was certain of that!

    What I and many others have been saying is that he seemed to have the athletic ability and determination to get better. Other players and his coaches verified that. When you combine those individual qualities with the average probability of improvement from such imexperienced players, the chances were quite high that it made more sense to discount some of the very early part of last season when he was a really raw rookie and to weigh his later year level a little more heavily.

    In these situations you can never be certain, but to get to the probabilities properly you HAVE TO LOOK AT THE DETAILS.

    Believe me, I can’t argue the creation of stats etc…, but I make a good portion of my living interpreting the stats of equine athletes and there are an amazing number of similarities in the issues that come up.

    IMHO right now it is clear both statistically and visually that he’s not playing as well as he was in pre-season or the early part of this season. That either reflects a mean reversion from an aberrational high or an abberational downswing from his average.

    If I could talk to him and his coaches I might be able to assess the probabilities of his future a little better because I think the issue could be related to minutes, pace, etc.. and his relative inexperience. I am obviously not certain and noone can be without talking to him. The issue of “some players being worn out” keeps coming up (Walsh, D’Antoni, the media etc..). So he could be among them.

  24. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    If a player is 20, has little or no historical record, but was playing better in the second half of a relatively short period of time than the first, there are several possibilities.

    1. The average of that entire short period reflects his ability fairly well give or take.

    2. The 2nd half of that period reflects expected ongoing improvement relative to the average.

    The problem is we have sample size issue combined with our knowledge that young inexperienced players often improve.

    We have no way of knowing which one is correct.

    However, we know for certain that the probabilities that he has improved are vastly highly than in the case of a 28 or 35 year old with a very long record.

    That makes it a clear cut analytical mistake to START with ASSUMPTION that the average for the year is correct.

    Prove it.

    Here’s an easy counterpoint to your argument. How many young players in every sport show a glimpse of promise at some point in their career but never pan out? How many athletes are overpaid in just about every league because a GM saw of a handful of good games and thought “he’s improved” and decided to sign him to a big contract?

    You don’t have to go far to get examples. Two years ago Mardy Collins had a good few games and some Knick fans were comparing him to Jason Kidd. And Collins was a young player, and from your logic it makes sense to think that a few good games strung together means he improved. But that certainly wasn’t the case.

    That’s the problem with small sample size, it’s not reliable. If you are basing something on a handful of minutes you’re more likely to overreact even (or especially) in the case of a young player. In just about every case the full season’s stats trump any smaller portion of them.

  25. Caleb

    I don’t think many teams would give up a 1st rounder for Harrington (maybe someone like a San Antonio who would want to use him off the bench for a playoff run, but then you are talking a #25-30 pick.)
    And remember the opposing bidders for Duhon in free agency? Noone except a half-hearted offer by Orlando. Sure he looks better now and he has a good salary, but still, I think you are talking a mid to lower 1st rounder for a guy we probably want to keep.

    Keep Duhon? Hmmm… He makes $6.5 million. The cap hold is 120%, so unless he signs an extension this summer, he’s taking up almost $8 million of our 2010 cap space. Are we really going down that road? Even if he extends at $5-6 million per, wouldn’t we rather have that cap space for the shopping spree?
    All that goes double for Harringon. Triple, since Lee, Gallinari and Chandler all play his position. IMO if we don’t trade Harrington and Duhon, we’ll end up either screwing our 2010 cap room or letting them walk for nothing.

    With that in mind, a pair of #20 picks looks good. Teams like San Antonio (and Orlando) are exactly the sort of trading partners I imagine. Maybe a borderline playoff team like Atlanta or Minnesota (next year), since Harrington and Duhon are both young enough to be long-term keepers.

    In general I think quantity is just as important as quality when it comes to draft spots. Of course higher picks have more value but you’re always playing the odds. Much better to have multiple picks, IMO, than to sneak a few spots higher in the draft.

    Lee is the only player that would net us a solid 1st rounder and I wish we had essentially traded him for OJ Mayo (hindsight is 20/20.) But if he keeps up his level of play, I think we could get a #4-10 pick for him.

    No doubt, but I’m not sure why you want to trade Lee for a draft pick who you’re hoping will be as good as David Lee in a couple of years. It would free up cap room but trading the best player on a 30-win team won’t do much to attract free agents, either.

    Not that he should be untouchable, but he’d be my starting point of the roster, for now.

  26. italian stallion
    If a player is 20, has little or no historical record, but was playing better in the second half of a relatively short period of time than the first, there are several possibilities.
    1. The average of that entire short period reflects his ability fairly well give or take.
    2. The 2nd half of that period reflects expected ongoing improvement relative to the average.
    The problem is we have sample size issue combined with our knowledge that young inexperienced players often improve.
    We have no way of knowing which one is correct.
    However, we know for certain that the probabilities that he has improved are vastly highly than in the case of a 28 or 35 year old with a very long record.
    That makes it a clear cut analytical mistake to START with ASSUMPTION that the average for the year is correct.

    Prove it.
    Here’s an easy counterpoint to your argument. How many young players in every sport show a glimpse of promise at some point in their career but never pan out? How many athletes are overpaid in just about every league because a GM saw of a handful of good games and thought “he’s improved” and decided to sign him to a big contract?
    You don’t have to go far to get examples. Two years ago Mardy Collins had a good few games and some Knick fans were comparing him to Jason Kidd. And Collins was a young player, and from your logic it makes sense to think that a few good games strung together means he improved. But that certainly wasn’t the case.
    That’s the problem with small sample size, it’s not reliable. If you are basing something on a handful of minutes you’re more likely to overreact even (or especially) in the case of a young player. In just about every case the full season’s stats trump any smaller portion of them.

    Let me explain further. When I try to evaluate young talent (in professional or equine athletics), I am never talking about “mathematical certainties”. You seem to be suggesting that, but I never did. I am talking about probabilities and odds.

    To begin with, we are not basing this conversation on a handful of minutes. Chandler played 35 games last year and started in 16. If 35 games is enough for you and others to form a mild opinion based on his stats, then looking at the general trend within those 35 games is also at least reasonable.

    Young players improve more often than old players. That much is a certainty. So automatically, if you are trying to evalaute one, you have to handle it differently than you would for a 28 year old, 35 year old or 40 year old. Not doing so is just plain silly.

    Over and above his youth, the trend last year was for the type of improvement that would not be so unusual for such a young player. The “PROBABILITY” that it reflected real improvement rather than an aberrational small sample issue, was higher than for a 40 year old etc…

    Over and above that, the coaching staff and other players all publicly stated that he was working really hard and determined to be better. So the “PROBABILITY” that it reflected real improvement rather than an aberrational small sample issue, was higher than for a young guy that seemed less determined.

    Over and above that, scouts measure athletic ability, use visual skills etc… to evaluate a young player’s potential. We may or may not agree on this, but my subjective judgement was/is that Chandler is above average in those areas and I believe (like most scouts) that makes him more likely to improve.

    As we all know, none of this leads to mathematical certainty. But being informed and looking at all the details DOES change your ability to evaluate the true probabilites. It changes how a player’s limited stats should be interpreted in order to MAXIMIZE THE PROBABILITY that you are correct. You can be (and I may even be in this case) wrong. But the goal should be to interpret stats in the way that maximizes the probability you are correct. I strongly believe I am doing that despite the fact that there are no certainties.

    If you don’t agree, I hope all basketball gamblers think like you, because it might be easier to beat this game than horseracing where concepts like these are well understood by gamblers whose goal is always to weigh odds vs. probabilities while understanding that nothing is certain.

  27. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    I agree that stats need to be evaluated with all other evidence, including observational. In fact just about every decent statistical analyst already knows that observational evidence is helpful to numerical, and most of us understand very well how players do at certain ages. Some of us have even done studies on it. So I’m not sure why you feel the need to go on for 5 paragraphs about how you treat a 40 year old athlete different from a 20 year old. Maybe people in the horse racing industry need that kind of primer, but most basketball statisticians are well past that.

    In fact I don’t think you really addressed anything, but repeating what you said in the last post and throwing in the condescending bit hoping that basketball gamblers think the way I do. So I’ll add something new.

    If you look at Chandler’s stats for his first year (the whole season), you might evaluate him something like this (I’m not firing up the database to evaluate him, just guestimating by eyeing his stats).

    Scoring: Poor overall scorer, inefficient, poor from 3P% (~30%), poor free throws (getting to the line & scoring), ok volume for age/position.
    Rebounder: Good not great, but good for his position.
    AST/TO: mediocre
    STL, BLK, PF: average for age/size

    Now if I were to evaluate him based on his last 5 games of last year:

    Scoring: Good scorer, efficient (56.3 eFG), strong from downtown (~50%), able to get to the foul line & make the shot (75%)
    Rebounder: Good rebounder for his position
    AST/: mediocre
    STL, BLK, PF: average for age/size

    Looking back, it’s obvious the full season is a better representation of Chandler. Maybe in horse racing it’s better to look at the short term trends, but in basketball player analysis it tends to lead people to conclusions that aren’t true.

  28. italian stallion

    Looking back, it’s obvious the full season is a better representation of Chandler. Maybe in horse racing it’s better to look at the short term trends, but in basketball player analysis it tends to lead people to conclusions that aren’t true.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t bring up basic things if the issues I am suggesting should be part of the analysis weren’t ignored.

    IMO, you could be making the similar mistake in your current conclusion because of your bias on this subject.

    You are looking at his overstats from this year and assuming that the December stats (which have been terrible) are a form of downside mean reversion relative to late last year, pre season, and October/November of this year.

    I agree that’s a possibility.

    Perhaps I was wrong about him.

    However, I have thrown out another possibility. Perhaps late last year, summer league, pre season, and Oct/Nov weren’t the aberration. Perhaps December is a downside aberration relative to the norm for a rookie playing a lot of minutes at a faster pace and being worn out. That’s something that has been brought up by D’Antoni, Walsh, and others that could easily be applicable to Chandler (as well as someone like Duhon).

    It’s still not clear because we are dealing with small samples, but the scenario I am suggesting must be part of the analysis. You cannot conclude anything about Chandler yet. The probabilities are merely shifting in a negative fashion.

    I would also suggest that results often have nothing to do with probabilities. (another primer)

    If it turns out that Chandler is never more than an average player instead of the “close to all star” or “3rd best player on a top team” caliber player I envisioned, that does not mean I estimated the probabilities incorrectly originally.

    As a gambler, I am often wrong about individual outcomes, but estimating the probabilities well enough allows me to win. 5 straight tails doesn’t change the probabilities of coin flip from 50-50. A single result does not prove much about the original probabilities.

    Currently, when I am trying to measure the progress of OJ Mayo and Derrick Rose (and other rookies) I am viewing their stats and what I see visually in a sort of moving average kind of way. While from far perfect, I think it’s superior to not considering their youth and probability of improving at all.

  29. Caleb

    It’s still not clear because we are dealing with small samples

    It’s getting bigger all the time. No one thinks he’s as bad as he looked last week, or as good as he looked last April. That’s the point of looking at the larger sample.

    I am viewing their stats and what I see visually in a sort of moving average kind of way. While from far perfect, I think it’s superior to not considering their youth and probability of improving at all.

    This is a total straw-man… no one said Chandler won’t improve. Speaking for myself:
    1. right now he is a very bad player, one of the worst 5 starting SFs in the league.
    2. I do not think he will always be that bad. He is young and will improve
    3. I don’t think he’ll ever be an above-average starter. A rotation player on a good team, starter on a bad one, looks to be his future.
    4. If he changes his approach, stops shooting 3s and shoots less all in all, his ceiling will be higher.
    5. He has never shown the slightest hint of understanding #4.

    p.s. I caught the 4th quarter and OT of the Minny-Memphis game last night. Both Mayo and Love looked sharp. I saw some great post moves out of Love. Guy plays like a vet.

    If it turns out that Chandler is never more than an average player instead of the “close to all star” or “3rd best player on a top team” caliber player I envisioned, that does not mean I estimated the probabilities incorrectly originally.

    This is quite true, but you might give some credit to people like KB whose predictions (at least for now) look more accurate.

  30. italian stallion

    Caleb,

    I understand what you are saying, but you do understand that those of us that were high on him coming into this year were not simply basing it on 6 games late last year. It was a combination of that, visual observation of his athleticism, a promising summer league and pre season etc… IMO those things suggested that his overall season last year understated his ability and what his year could be like this year.

    If I have anything negative to say about him at this point, I might question his basketball intelligence. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon (although I can get one if we need one – LOL) to tell that he’s not a very good 3 point shooter at this point in his career. Yet he shoots them like he has a Jason Kapono skill level. IMO, that’s a mental flaw because it’s so darn easy to correct. It’s not like improving his handle. That could take a couple of years.

  31. italian stallion

    Caleb

    By the way, I’m not informed enough to know, but it’s certainly possible that switching him from the 4 to the 3 and now to the 2 inside this system having a negative impact on some aspects of his game. He may be a bit confused about his role.

    I can see him defending a 2, but IMO he doesn’t even have the handle to be high quality 3 yet. Playing the 2 is kind of silly. He’s still between a 3 and 4 and must improve his handle, shooting, and shot selection to be a solid 3.

  32. Owen

    “4. If he changes his approach, stops shooting 3s and shoots less all in all, his ceiling will be higher.
    5. He has never shown the slightest hint of understanding #4.”

    Exactly. But let’s face it, the NBA is not the place where people suddenly decide to shoot less. I keep hoping Chandler will come right. And that Balkman will suddenly appear in a Knicks uniform. But I don’t think either will happen.

    IS – Go read the study linked by KB above. You really have a lot to learn about “handicapping” basketball players.

  33. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    As a gambler, I am often wrong about individual outcomes, but estimating the probabilities well enough allows me to win. 5 straight tails doesn’t change the probabilities of coin flip from 50-50. A single result does not prove much about the original probabilities.

    Wow, I’m floored. So you do understand the problems with using a small sample size! Now apply that to a certain young Knick small forward who had a decent week at the end of last year and a few good summer league games…

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