Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Monday, April 21, 2014

‘Melo ‘Gel-o?

Last night with the game in the balance and the clock winding down, Carmelo Anthony held the ball for what seemed like an eternity. In reality it was about 5 seconds before he took a quick step and launched up the jumper that would give New York the victory. For Knick fans, that was the moment they’ve been waiting for since rumors surfaced last summer that Anthony would force his way to New York.

The post-trade transition for Carmelo hasn’t been smooth. In his first five games in the Big Apple, he managed only one decent shooting game, the February win against the Miami Heat. In that game, ‘Melo made only 10 of 22 shots, but managed to sink 8 of 9 free throws to give himself a more efficient game. However Anthony has been on fire, and in his last four games he is averaging 27 points on just 18.5 field goal attempts, for a sizzling 63.5% ts%. That streak has risen his Knick average to 55.4%, a respectable rate given his volume.

As I noted on the Daily Dime, Carmelo began his Knick career with 108 points in four games, which is the exact amount he’s had in the last four. The difference between the two sums is the first required 93 fga, while the second only needed 74. Clearly the latter is more efficient, but what isn’t clear is whether this is a sign of Anthony finally being comfortable in his new clothes or if it’s just that good stretch of games that every NBA player seems to have throughout the season. Obviously as the season goes on, we’ll have a clearer picture of how well Anthony is fitting in with his new team.

120 comments on “‘Melo ‘Gel-o?

  1. d-mar

    I may be making something out of nothing, but did it seem to anyone else that STAT wasn’t quite as excited as he should be after Melo’s shot? And in the post game, his comment on the play was that the ball could have gone to either him or Melo, but “that’s just how it works out sometimes” and he said nothing about how clutch Melo’s shot was.

    I really hope Amare is not worried about sharing the spotlight, and right now there’s no issue as far as his performance.

    Just a thought on a dreary Thursday….

  2. flossy

    While I doubt Melo will ever be a paragon of efficiency, it has seemed like over the past several games he and Amar’e are learning better and better how to take advantage of each other’s massive gravitational pull to create scoring opportunities for themselves and each other. Melo in particular has impressed me with a visible effort to adapt to an offense that demands unselfishness and smart, crisp ball movement. He’ll always ISO now and then, but it seems like he is also embracing a role that asks him to find the best shot, not just his shot, and to be more of a playmaker. So far the result is more efficient scoring for himself and for Amar’e as well–and it looks like they are both thrilled about it.

    Last night’s game winner was just one example. Had that play not been set up as a Melo/Stat pick and roll, what are the odds that Melo sees single coverage in the last seconds of a tied game?

    I was a Melo skeptic, but if he continues to relinquish the bad habits that made him kind of annoying as a Nugget, stops being a ball-stopper and stops forcing bad shots… well, this team could be pretty scary (on offense at least).

  3. flossy

    d-mar: I may be making something out of nothing, but did it seem to anyone else that STAT wasn’t quite as excited as he should be after Melo’s shot? And in the post game, his comment on the play was that the ball could have gone to either him or Melo, but “that’s just how it works out sometimes” and he said nothing about how clutch Melo’s shot was. I really hope Amare is not worried about sharing the spotlight, and right now there’s no issue as far as his performance.Just a thought on a dreary Thursday….  

    It didn’t seem that way to me… After all, D’Antoni made a point of not calling a time out to draw up a play–he left it up to his two best players. The play was a pick and roll, but Amar’e slipped the screen pretty quickly in (what looked to me) like an attempt to draw his defender away from Melo. Perhaps he wasn’t ebullient in the postgame because the Knicks should never have been in that position in the first place? In any case, it seems to me like he has been kind of rejuvenated since Melo’s arrival, particularly over the past few games. But maybe I’m not reading between the lines.

  4. Frank

    Blah – I really hope you’re making (a very small) mountain out of a molehill. Dude is still putting up 27 points/game (and more efficiently too!) since the Melo trade and is the only one getting M-V-P! chants at the Garden. Even he has to know (maybe way down deep inside) that 1-on-1 Melo is a better player than he is. And sooner or later, they’ll run two man action like they did last night and he will score off of the D’s reaction to Melo.

    I’m really impressed overall with how well our two stars are moving the ball. In fact- and this took me way too long to do – since Melo came, our Assist Ratio via Hollinger’s formula which is:

    Assist Ratio = (Assists x 100) divided by [(FGA + (FTA x 0.44) + Assists + Turnovers] = 17.2 since Melo’s first game.

    That would put us very comfortably at #2 in the league if that was spread out to a whole season – Boston is currently #1 in the season-long rankings with an Assist Ratio of 17.3. Our Assist ratio for the total season is only 14.9, which is tied for 18th.

    So at least so far – it doesn’t seem that his ball-stopping reputation has had an effect, even on this stretch during which we have played 9 games, 6 against teams with .500+ records.

    O

  5. d-mar

    flossy:
    It didn’t seem that way to me…After all, D’Antoni made a point of not calling a time out to draw up a play–he left it up to his two best players.The play was a pick and roll, but Amar’e slipped the screen pretty quickly in (what looked to me) like an attempt to draw his defender away from Melo.Perhaps he wasn’t ebullient in the postgame because the Knicks should never have been in that position in the first place?In any case, it seems to me like he has been kind of rejuvenated since Melo’s arrival, particularly over the past few games.But maybe I’m not reading between the lines.  

    Yeah, I hear you. But just to add fuel to a probably non-existent fire, STAT was asked if the team prior to Melo would have won this game, he said the Knicks had great players then and would have won also. Probably just standing up for his ex-mates, but I’m just a tad concerned he still hasn’t said “great players make great shots” or “that’s what we got him for” or something like that.

  6. cgreene

    I think he was just acting like that’s what he expected to happen. It was no big deal. He said he was concerned about D also. Pretty sure he’s happy scoring 27 per game.

  7. gbaked

    d-mar:
    STAT was asked if the team prior to Melo would have won this game, he said the Knicks had great players then and would have won also. Probably just standing up for his ex-mates, but I’m just a tad concerned he still hasn’t said “great players make great shots” or “that’s what we got him for” or something like that.  

    If anything, this just shows me that STAT is a stand up human. Also, that team may very well have won that game. there were many great wins on the road for that group. And there is no reason to say that they def would have lost or def would have won. Its such a “gotcha” kinda question anyway.

    The best thing I can say about him since we signed him, is that STAT may be one of the best teammates I have ever seen. He knows he is a star, and he knows he alone cant win it all. When we signed him, he was pushing for LBJ to sign here (and with that, man… what a combo those two would have been… but Melo’s all about NYC attitude is a huge +++ in my book) so its not like bringing in another big name in Melo can be that disparaging to him.

  8. Nick C.

    Hard to say Mike. One thing that is a “fluky” streak that all players randomly have would be the 7-10 from 3 the last two games. You could argue the little plays that he and Amare run would be something that develops after a few games. Otherwise beats me.

  9. Shad0wF0x

    d-mar:
    Yeah, I hear you. But just to add fuel to a probably non-existent fire, STAT was asked if the team prior to Melo would have won this game, he said the Knicks had great players then and would have won also. Probably just standing up for his ex-mates, but I’m just a tad concerned he still hasn’t said “great players make great shots” or “that’s what we got him for” or something like that.  

    “Great players make great shots” sounds like a a Miami Heat-like statement.

  10. marxster

    Side note – Kenny finally called Chuck out on his hatred for the Knicks (link below).

    They argued over whether Chauncey was amongst the top 10 point guards. Kenny said yes, Chuck said no. So, Kenny finally noted that Chuck wasn’t saying anything bad about Chauncey Billups when he was in Denver, but now that he’s in NYC he apparently sucks.

    By the way, Chuck only named 9 candidates that are supposedly better than Chauncey. Of those, Monta Ellis is a 2, and Brandon Jennings is not better than Chauncey. So, in my book, he’s still in the top 10.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/behindthemic/#030411.btm_chuck_kenny_billups

  11. David Crockett

    To me, the real improvement has come in his ball movement. He’s a much better passer than I anticipated.

  12. TDM

    Great all around game by the team. Toney sets career mark for assists, Fields looks like he is back, even Mason is finding his groove. Loved seeing the Knicks take the foul to disallow easy baskets.

    Still think we need a low post presence to really compete. IMO, that is the reason the Knicks allowed the Griz to creep back into this game – too much reliance on the perimeter game. But overall, great win against a solid team.

  13. Michael Cline

    It’s nice to hear some Toney love. Good work TDM. 10 assists to go with only 3 turnovers. I’ll take that Toney any day. And Mason’s three pointers were another nice asset last night. His 10 points were huge when you look at how the rest of the production off the bench.

    I didn’t watch most of the game. Can someone explain to me how one of the best free throw shooting teams in the league in makes and attempts (aren’t we #2 or something like that?) only gets to the free throw line 4 times all game? Meanwhile, Memphis has 35+ attempts? How does that happen?

  14. dmull

    LOL @ Brandon Jennings.

    There is no doubt that this new Knicks team is too reliant on the perimeter…probably more important is how vulnerable they still are to any pounding bigs and relentless rebounders. That said, we lost no players that hurt us there…the problems are the same…and I think we’re starting to see that yes, our offense is much more dynamic now, and as noted our defense is improving because A) Melo is not nearly as bad as his reputation (a shocking assertion anyway, find me a bigtime scorer that plays good ON MAN defense night in and night out) and B) We have more guys capable of creating their own shot (and as it apparently APPEARS thanks to the assist numbers mentioned, possible improvement in creating shots for others – who would’ve imagined?!?!?!) allowing for guys like Carter, Jeffries, etc. to see the court.

    Ideally when Billups comes back I’d like to see Douglas get about 20 minutes a night, Chauncey to play a bit off the ball but ultimately play a touch reduced MPG to keep him fresh…and use Carter as a defensive spark for very short spurts when needed.

    I like/respect how a lot of people who were critical of the deal are starting to come around…nothing wrong with being critical/skeptical but definitely don’t let it get in the way of the most exciting time to be a Knicks fan in some time.

  15. Thomas B.

    David Crockett:

    To me, the real improvement has come in his ball movement. He’s a much better passer than I anticipated.  

    (Quote)

    Yes, I have to admit that I was wrong about Melo’s passing. He has shown to be capable passer and of late he has scored efficiently as well. Having said that, I am not ready to throw in the towel and admit that I was wrong about trading for him.

    His advanced stats are unchanged from Denver and therefore his WS/48 still lower than Gallo’s. I do not yet buy that Melo is the proximate cause of the burst of improved play. For me, the Knicks are playing better but not because they are getting better play out of Carmelo. I think the contribution is coming from elsewhere.

  16. d-mar

    Ok, I’ll back off my “STAT is jealous of Melo” conspiracy theory. And I agree with #7 that Stat is a great teammate and he’s the first guy off the bench to celebrate with the subs after a timeout. I know we all wanted LeBron and would have embraced him in NY, but I really can’t think of a better guy for this town than Amare. Is there any argument today that he deserves max money?

  17. dmull

    Thomas B.:
    Yes, I have to admit that I was wrong about Melo’s passing.He has shown to be capable passer and of late he has scored efficiently as well. Having said that, I am not ready to throw in the towel and admit that I was wrong about trading for him.His advanced stats are unchanged from Denver and therefore his WS/48 still lower than Gallo’s.I do not yet buy that Melo is the proximate cause of the burst of improved play.For me, the Knicks are playing better but not because they are getting better play out of Carmelo.I think the contribution is coming from elsewhere.  

    But how could that be??? We gave up the farm to get him! And even Billups got hurt.

    Ha, it’s a small sample size, no doubt. You really want to argue Anthony Carter, Jared Jeffries, Roger Mason @ co. are the reason for the improved play since though?? Come on. I’m fine with you sticking to your guns awaiting a larger sample but that’s just ridiculous, especially since the main argument outside of contract size was “ILL WILL, FELT DANILL, MOZ, OMGZ”

  18. cgreene

    I think the one thing that seems to be the biggest effect from the trade on the Knicks offense is the improved efficiency of Stat. His TS% is up because his mid range looks and lines to the basket are cleaner because of Melo’s presence. I think that will maintain. Melo might be Melo in terms of his historic efficiency but if he can get his assists up and have a positive effect on Amare’s efficiency that is a very positive net result to me and something our previous players were not providing.

  19. MSA

    Melo is in the league since the 2003-2004 season. It’s funny how since then ALL his teams had a winning record and people still think he has nothing to do with it.

    It’s just coincidence…

  20. Thomas B.

    dmull:

    But how could that be??? We gave up the farm to get him! And even Billups got hurt.

    Ha, it’s a small sample size, no doubt. You really want to argue Anthony Carter, Jared Jeffries, Roger Mason @ co. are the reason for the improved play since though?? Come on. I’m fine with you sticking to your guns awaiting a larger sample but that’s just ridiculous…  

    (Quote)

    No. I am not saying Carter, JJ, or Shellhead Williams is the reason. Look I get that watching Melo put up big numbers and clutch shots makes him an attractive target for praise. Melo is doing what Melo does. His number are nearly identical to what they were in Denver so Melo has not improved his play. He is just as good here as he was there. I do not think Melo is the upgrade per se in this small sample size.

    I do think that the Knick backcourt is much better with Douglas lately than it was when Felton was here. Douglas has played really well in the last 3 games, and he was out of his mind against the Jazz. I don’t think we’d see that sort of production out of Felton. It is addition by subtraction I guess.

    No knock on Melo, it’s just that the real improvement seems to be at the point and I think that has gone largely unnoticed. Last second game winners will do that I guess.

  21. Ben R

    Melo has surprised me in a couple of ways. He really seems willing to play within the offense and has a nice calming stabilizing effect on the team on the offensive end. He also helps Douglas play the point by taking some of the pressure off of Douglas to run the offense. His presence has also allowed us to play poor offensive players without crippling the offense.

    With that said I don’t think all our improvement has been because of Melo’s play. Douglas seems to be finally over his injuries and is shooting the ball like the Douglas we saw last year and to start the season. With him playing well and Billups, once he comes back, we have improved our efficiency at the PG position by leaps and bounds. I also think Stat is doing a better job sharing the ball and letting the offense come to him rather than force it. It is similar to how he was playing during our winning streak. This I think has more to do with Melo’s perceived value rather than his actual skill, Amare is willing to share the ball because he has more confidence in Melo. Finally I think Jeffries is actually having a pretty large effect on this team on the defensive end, that combined with Williams finding his shot again and Mason waking up from the dead means we have found ways to filll some of the lost production.

    I said when the trade happend we might be a better team short term and they have surpassed those expectations. This team is looking good and playing well. I still think we are a servicable big man away from being able to make any real noise but hopefully we are able to find one this summer. We have a very good “big 3 and a half” (fields) and a great sixth man. A good center and we will have a nice looking team.

    I still do not like the trade and I am still worried about this team after Billups leaves. I think the chances of a superstar point are slim to none but maybe Douglas continues to improve and he is our future at the point. Hopefully he is but it’s a pretty big gamble.

  22. Jim Cavan

    Re: Stat’s reaction, I had a fleeting thought to this effect shortly after the game last night. As many have pointed out, part of the reason Stat has thrived here is because he genuinely believes he’s the best player on the court on any given night. And a lot of times he is. Which means he probably genuinely believes he should be the one taking that last shot. Even when he slid by on the screen, he looked to Melo as if he were getting the ball back. Obviously all of us watching knew Melo was taking the shot. And to be honest, I’d want Melo taking the last shot probably 8 or 9 times out of 10 — he’s that good 1 on 1. A small part of me worries that Stat might end up resenting that, but a bigger part of me believes he’ll accept it. He just doesn’t have the repetoir of moves and ability to get off a good shot that Melo has. That being said, however, I wouldn’t be surprised if they ran that P&R as the last play more than a few times, and Stat might get a couple of dishes off the roll from Melo.

    Either way, Stat has to realize that, while he’s the more efficient scorer and just as much — if not more — of a threat throughout the game, most of the time Melo’s going to be the guy you want putting it up at the end. He’s shown it many times in his career, and he showed it again last night.

  23. latke

    MSA: Melo is in the league since the 2003-2004 season. It’s funny how since then ALL his teams had a winning record and people still think he has nothing to do with it.It’s just coincidence…  

    It’s also funny how ‘Melo’s old team is beating teams by more on average now than they were with him. And that’s with the Gallinari only having played 2 games for them. I’m not saying Carmelo-Jello is not good, just that that argument is one people always throw around when defending big scorers, and it’s usually not a good one.

  24. JK47

    Thomas B. beat me to the punch. One of the main reasons we are improved is that Raymond Felton and his .497 career TS% are no longer the #2 scoring option on the team.

    Ray started out on fire, but before long he was playing the same way he had played his whole career, which is to say he was playing like crap. He was taking about 15 shots per game, and after his hot start he was just brutal. Many of these shot attempts made you want to pull your hair out– he’d dribble up the court, hastily pull up at the three point line and throw up a brick, lots of times with nobody even bothering to guard him very much. I know the team was trying to play SSOL, but he was incredibly ill-suited to be a SSOL point guard. He’s a horrific shooter. He was just basically giving the opposing team free possessions.

    He was second on the team in FGA and second on the team in usage. I repeat– the man has a career TS% of .497.

    But the assists, his boosters will say– he had so many assists. The ball moved so much better. We were such a beautiful passing team. That’s nonsense too. We got Chauncey Billups back in that trade. Chauncey’s averaging 6.6 assists per 36 to Ray-Ray’s 8.5 But Chauncey also has a .655 TS% so far. You can have the two extra assists, I’ll take the guy who doesn’t throw up 9 bricks every game. We make up the assists anyway with Carmelo Anthony, who is averaging 3.5 assists per 36, which is roughly the combined total of our dear departed friends Wilson Chandler (1.8) and Danilo Gallinari (1.8).

    Denver did us a huge favor taking Ray Felton off our hands. Ted Nelson was right about the guy all along.

  25. Frank O.

    Thomas B.:
    I am not ready to throw in the towel and admit that I was wrong about trading for him..  

    Not singling out Thomas B., but borrowing his quote to make a small point.
    There is no crime in being wrong or saying you are wrong about something. In society, in general, there seems to be a reluctance to admit when one is wrong, as if somehow being so or admitting so would encourage a kind of disease that would permeate everything someone has said – and will say henceforth. Ridiculous really. Thomas has every reason to hold off on his self-assessment given the sample size.
    But it doesn’t take a sample size to realize a couple things that are different about this team v. the earlier squad:
    - They are a much more experienced team now, with two ultra-sure veteran star-caliber players.
    - They are a more balanced team with players who have the luxury of having a purely defensive focus.
    - They have become surprisingly efficient – so far – given they still move the ball well and now star players are getting nearly open shots, or facing fewer double- and triple-teams.
    - They appear to score more and allow fewer points.
    - Also, important, they appear to scare the shit out of every team that plays them. There is not one coach or player I know of that must prepared to play this team that dares to condescend as they have with the younger Knicks team we all loved. Sure, they would say the Knicks were more respectable. Sure, they acknowledged that the Knicks were no longer a walk over. But they didn’t fear that Knicks team.
    This Knicks team is perceived by people who must play against them as a scary team. Those of us who didn’t like or love the trade may have been wrong. No crime in that.

  26. jon abbey

    Melo has allowed D’Antoni to play a whole bunch of offensively challenged players, really not sure how you could not attribute a good chunk of what’s going on to his presence. the much beloved Anthony Randolph would likely be seeing minutes now if he was still on the team, with D’Antoni’s newly revamped philosophy.

    as I said last night, the phrase people are looking for is “MELO CULPA”. too soon for most, but when you’re convinced, there it is for you.

  27. JK47

    @26

    Denver has been playing pretty well without Melo, but they’re only 1-2 on the road, with one of those losses to a shaky Clippers team, and their home wins came against Boston (!), Charlotte and Atlanta. The Boston win seems like kind of an outlier, a monkey-off-our-backs type performance after living through the Melodrama, and Atlanta and Charlotte are teams you’d expect them to beat at home.

    Their schedule is kind of soft the rest of the way, but I’m curious to see how they play in some of their more challenging games– at Miami, at Lakers, at OKC, at Dallas, home against San Antonio, etc.

  28. Frank O.

    Thomas B.:
    No. I am not saying Carter, JJ, or Shellhead Williams is the reason. Look I get that watching Melo put up big numbers and clutch shots makes him an attractive target for praise. Melo is doing what Melo does. His number are nearly identical to what they were in Denver so Melo has not improved his play. He is just as good here as he was there.I do not think Melo is the upgrade per se in this small sample size.
    I do think that the Knick backcourt is much better with Douglas lately than it was when Felton was here. Douglas has played really well in the last 3 games, and he was out of his mind against the Jazz.I don’t think we’d see that sort of production out of Felton.It is addition by subtraction I guess.No knock on Melo, it’s just that the real improvement seems to be at the point and I think that has gone largely unnoticed. Last second game winners will do that I guess.  

    I have been saying from the moment of this trade that Billups was probably the most important piece for me, despite my original thinking that Mosgov was a center to far in that deal. I think felton’s decline correlated with the knicks coming back to earth. with felton gunning, the Knicks were lucky to finish the season at .500.
    I think when you look at the deal as a whole, this is a better balanced team

  29. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Frank O.: I think when you look at the deal as a whole, this is a better balanced team  

    Yeah, but at the expense of several first-round draft picks and ALL long-term cap flexibility.

  30. villainx

    Hope the gelling continues positively.

    Seems like Amare is embracing the Kevin Garnett type role where the main thing he talks about is defense and teamwork. Even though Amare ain’t the defensive and rebounding force that KG is, what he brings in team defense and block shots certainly brings a general appreciation for defense.

    One thing with Melo is – despite the supposed inefficiency – his consistency and reputation (along with his team first attitude) is an upgrade from the inconsistency or game to game fluctuation from Gallinai and Chandler. I still like those two dudes, but since Melo is more of a known quantity on the offense end, D’Antoni is more free to make other adjustments.

  31. Ben R

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Yeah, but at the expense of several first-round draft picks and ALL long-term cap flexibility.  (Quote)

    Ultimately the first round pick we gave up shouldn’t be that meaningful but I agree the loss of cap flexabilty will hurt us. That combined with Billups age and it’s going to take some luck for us to be as good after Billups as we are this year and next.

    I believe Douglas will be the x-factor. If he can replace Billups if he can fill that role we’ll be okay. He has the shooting and the defense to be a nice starting PG if he can develop into even an average facilitator that should be enough. If not I am worried.

  32. gabriel

    Frank O….i always love reading your post!!!!!!!!……….
    john abbey your line “MELO CULPA” IS TRULY GENIUS.
    THOMAS B……SMH…TAKE A LINE FROM JOHN ABBEY “MELO CULPA”

  33. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Every year there’s a steal in the tail end of the first round, and that player(s) typically have great PAWS40 scores in college. Yeah, late first-rounders are meaningless if you’re drafting on hype, potential, and highlight reels.

  34. jaylamerique

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: Every year there’s a steal in the tail end of the first round, and that player(s) typically have great PAWS40 scores in college. Yeah, late first-rounders are meaningless if you’re drafting on hype, potential, and highlight reels.  

    but we can easily buy those picks. teams are always willing to sell late 1st round picks.

  35. Frank

    by the way – classic example of how neither traditional nor the currently available “advanced” stats can quantify the value of a defensive harrasser — check out Jefferies’s stats with the NYK this year:
    http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/jeffrja01.html

    Difficult to quantify, but CLEARLY Jefferies has made a difference for this team (in a positive way). Yet his WS/48 is miniscule. His reb rate is Turiaf-esque. His TO rate is 47. Trouble is – stats the way they are quantified now do not give any indication of how a player makes things easier for others, other than assists. Boxing out so a teammate gets the rebound? no credit. Attacking the ballhandler on p’n'r defense so the play breaks down? No credit. Rotating correctly so shooters aren’t left open? no credit. Etc etc

    So the problem is – if many of the things that clearly matter on defense are NOT measured, then how do we know the things that we DO measure are actually as important as we make them out to be? Individual defensive rebounding, for me, has always been a totally overvalued stat, because as has been mentioned ad nauseum, many of the D-reb someone gets are actually just taken from a teammate – our team would have gotten them anyway.

    Steals seem like a great stat but as we’ve seen with DWTDD, often over-gambling leads to easy buckets for the other team. Blocks seem like a great stat, but it means that too many guys are probably getting to the rim.

    Now re: Melo and his defense, which has been widely panned. What about the fact that he makes his counterpart work SO HARD on defense that their offensive game suffers? This year, SF’s PER against Denver-version of Melo is 11.3. Last year, 15.3. 2008? 13.3.

    I’m not sure if this means anything at all btw. Just saying.

  36. Thomas B.

    A “Melo Culpa” (great phrase BTW jon) may be forthcoming from me, but not today and here is why.
    0:22 Carmelo Anthony misses 8-foot jumper
    0:14 Carmelo Anthony shooting foul (Zach Randolph draws the foul)

    All some of you see was a steal and a swish. But the entire picture of the crunch time also involves a missed shot that involved zero ball movement with a full 24 to work with after the steal. From the moment he stole the ball–great play btw–no one else touched it until the defensive board was secured. 16 seconds of Melo (SSOM).

    Mr. Clutch follows that by doing a poor job of keeping Randolph from catching the ball, then fouling a very good finisher near the basket with his team up by three. Fouling even if the shot missed is the worst possible option in that situation. Why stop the clock? Why allow the lead to evaporate? What is so clutch about those plays.

    Call me a hater or stubborn or whatever, but Melo did just as much to make us groan (check the game thread notes) as he did to make us cheer. When a player is about even in basketball, he is not a star and therefore not yet worthy of my Melo Culpa.
    ’nuff said.

  37. Brian Cronin

    Melo is in the league since the 2003-2004 season. It’s funny how since then ALL his teams had a winning record and people still think he has nothing to do with it.

    It’s just coincidence…

    Who is saying that Carmelo Anthony has nothing to do with his team’s successes? Of course he does, he just isn’t the sole (or perhaps, at times, even the main) reason. Saying otherwise would be like saying “Carmelo Anthony is the reason the Nuggets have only gotten past the first round once.” It ignores the importance of his (often quite good) teammates.

  38. joengai

    Thomas B.: me a hater or stubborn or whatever, but Melo did just as much to make us groan (check the game thread notes) as he did to make us cheer. When a player is about even in basketball, he is not a star and therefore not yet worthy of my Melo Culpa.
    ’nuff said. Thomas B.

    to say that melo isn’t a star is ludicrous. you are the definition of hater. why can’t you just enjoy the team’s success, and let others do the same?

  39. JK47

    @39

    Melo played a tremendous game last night, and was pretty clearly the best player on the floor. I don’t think he came out “about even.” Bag on the man all you want when he goes 6-18, but do give him some credit when he plays well.

    He had a .602 TS% with 34.2 USG%. A 33.9 AST% with a 7.2 TOV%. Those are numbers even Dave Berri would like. Sure, he committed a foul and missed a jumper with 22 seconds left. He also did lots of things to help us win.

  40. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, Melo was really good last night. He was also great against Utah. He was also awful against Atlanta. To judge him right after any of these games, with the most recent game being the main evidence of anything is foolish. Soon we’ll have a goodly amount of games to actually judge the guy as a Knick. We’re not there yet. That was the case when he was playing poorly and that’s the case when he is playing well.

  41. Frank

    @39 – you’re a hater/stubborn/whatever because you see ALL the bad in the players you don’t like, and mostly ignore the bad in the players you DO like. Because David Lee had a TS near 60 with us, and stole 4 rebounds a game from his teammates, you were willing to overlook his just horrible defense.

    No question that Melo made a bad play on that Ga-Z-Bo foul as Clyde might say. Re: him dribbling the ball for 16 seconds after the steal – probably not great too – although the WORST thing to happen in that situation is a turnover, which certainly would not have been a surprise given how that 4th quarter was going.

    But the fact is – and I’m not a Melo lover, just a Melo respecter –

    Melo had 31 points on 24 shots, 6 assists, just 2 turnovers, all while being defended by that defensive demon Tony Allen, hit the game-winning buzzer-beating shot for a ROAD win against a team that had just gotten finished beating OKC, Dallas, and San Antonio at home, that is scrapping for their lives for a playoff spot, that had been 24-12 in the Western Conference since Christmas.

    I’d say it’s not quite time for all the Melo-Culpa’s to come out, but perhaps y’all should be warming them up.

  42. fushknicken

    One thing I’ve been noticing about the knicks is that we’re meeting the point guard way out beyond the arc, even picking up the handler at half court. I feel like this is a strange thing to do against guys not known for their range. I know it helps quicken the pace of the game, but we gave a fair number of points in the paint due to penetration mostly, help defender gets out of position and we lose a ton of defensive rebounds. Since both TD and AC do this, it seems like a D’Antoni defensive principle. But I feel like we’re better off giving guys like Conley, Sessions, and Nelson some room and pressuring guys like Heinrich and Chalmers. On O, I also saw a couple of set plays running through Fields last night, and those looked pretty great, he will routinely get the worst wing defender and it’s nice to see D’antoni thinking of taking advantage of that nightly mismatch. Also, I have to say, I hate this Melo post trade talk on here, it’s kind of boring guys.

  43. fushknicken

    Also, by the way, I’ve been watching a lot of Nuggets basketball of late, and the iso seems to be his main offensive strategy, as almost all set plays I’ve identified in Karl’s system are iso’s. So, take that for what it’s worth.

  44. Thomas B.

    Frank O.:

    Thomas has every reason to hold off on his self-assessment given the sample size.
    But it doesn’t take a sample size to realize a couple things that are different about this team v. the earlier squad:
    - They are a much more experienced team now, with two ultra-sure veteran star-caliber players.
    - They are a more balanced team with players who have the luxury of having a purely defensive focus.
    - They have become surprisingly efficient – so far – given they still move the ball well and now star players are getting nearly open shots, or facing fewer double- and triple-teams.
    - They appear to score more and allow fewer points.
    - Also, important, they appear to scare the shit out of every team that plays them.

    Frank, I agree they look much better. I thought it was due to Felton being gone. But maybe there is some sort of “Melo effect” at work here. A supernatural force that makes the players around him all play much better. All the great players are able to do. Jordan did it for Hodges and Paxson. Wade did it for Damon Jones. LBJ did it for Mo Williams. That force cannot be captured in a boxscore, advanced or raw. Maybe, just maybe.

    Or maybe not. I could have sworn Mike debunked that the star effect in a post years ago. I know the hot hand myth is dead. ALong with the bench player would struggle as a starter myth. Why does the star effect still live on?

    I think the improved play is from a healthy Douglas who is shooting well and a traded Felton whose bad shooting no longer darkens our doorstep. Melo has been as advertised, but I’m not sold that the advertised Melo is what this team needs.

  45. Bruno Almeida

    jaylamerique:
    but we can easily buy those picks. teams are always willing to sell late 1st round picks.  

    Yeah, we bought the Toney Douglas pick, for example, and we still have our 1st rounder in 2011, which can be pretty helpful.

  46. fushknicken

    I just realized that I asked you guys to stop debating melo, and then I added fuel, but mostly I wanted to point out that Karl is a terrible coach, and I’m glad we have D’antoni.

  47. Brian Cronin

    Did you know that the Knicks traded their 2011 2nd Rounder in the Douglas deal? It wasn’t solely cash. Now that I think back, I recall it being sort of an issue – that the Lakers were asking the Knicks for more than most people gave up for picks at the time.

  48. Thomas B.

    Frank:

    @39 – you’re a hater/stubborn/whatever because you see ALL the bad in the players you don’t like, and mostly ignore the bad in the players you DO like.

    Um..you are new here right? Anyway lets get this clear. I do not hate Melo. I still might hate the trade. Is it okay to hate the trade and be fond of Melo? Are you able to understand that concept? I look at Melo objectively. I do not just cheer when hits the game winner–and I did cheer btw. But I dont have to ignore the mental miscues that came before the game winner–once again hurray we win–just because we won.
    And for about 4 years here I’ve said I like David Lee but I HATE his defense. I hated watching him get killed by everyone in the post. Loved the hard work, love the rebounding, loved the high TS%. I saw him for what he was not some romanticized version. Melo gets the same.
    I’ve never said Melo was a bad player. I only said I think the trade was too much. I may be wrong about the trade in time, but I dont see it just yet. Relax with the hater talk for me because I havent purchased my finals tickets yet. Its been 9 games with a record of 6-3. 2 bad losses to a team we have no reason to lose to. And I can find a 6-3 mark elsewhere in the season with wins over some good teams before the trade.

    Sheesh lighten up. If I’m wrong you can just slide over and give me room to kiss Melo’s feet too. Until then, you go right ahead and chap your lips.

  49. Bruno Almeida

    JK47: @39Melo played a tremendous game last night, and was pretty clearly the best player on the floor.I don’t think he came out “about even.”Bag on the man all you want when he goes 6-18, but do give him some credit when he plays well.He had a .602 TS% with 34.2 USG%.A 33.9 AST% with a 7.2 TOV%.Those are numbers even Dave Berri would like.Sure, he committed a foul and missed a jumper with 22 seconds left.He also did lots of things to help us win.  

    if he hadn’t scored so well earlier in the game, we wouldn’t even be in position for him to make the game winning shot.

    for me, the biggest impact of the trade is the fact that we can now insert a defensive specialist on the lineup because Carmelo will normally fill the scoring void left by Chandler + Gallinari, which really helps us match up with a lot of teams.

  50. Bruno Almeida

    Brian Cronin: Did you know that the Knicks traded their 2011 2nd Rounder in the Douglas deal? It wasn’t solely cash. Now that I think back, I recall it being sort of an issue – that the Lakers were asking the Knicks for more than most people gave up for picks at the time.   

    yeah, I forgot about that.

    well, there are always teams willing to sell 1st rounders if they have many or are capped out, so we might be able to compensate for that if Donnie feels it’s necessary.

  51. Thomas B.

    joengai:

    to say that melo isn’t a star is ludicrous. you are the definition of hater. why can’t you just enjoy the team’s success, and let others do the same?  

    (Quote)

    Dave Berri says an average player has a WS/48 of .100. A star player will have a WS/48 of .200. Melo is at .125 as a Knick and never cracked .150 in any season. That is not hate, that is just fact. I’m not going to call him something that the numbers do not support.

  52. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Thomas B.: A “Melo Culpa” (great phrase BTW jon) may be forthcoming from me, but not today and here is why.
    0:22 Carmelo Anthony misses 8-foot jumper
    0:14 Carmelo Anthony shooting foul (Zach Randolph draws the foul)
    All some of you see was a steal and a swish.But the entire picture of the crunch time also involves a missed shot that involved zero ball movement with a full 24 to work with after the steal.From the moment he stole the ball–great play btw–no one else touched it until the defensive board was secured.16 seconds of Melo (SSOM).Mr. Clutch follows that by doing a poor job of keeping Randolph from catching the ball, then fouling a very good finisher near the basket with his team up by three.Fouling even if the shot missed is the worst possible option in that situation.Why stop the clock? Why allow the lead to evaporate?What is so clutch about those plays.Call me a hater or stubborn or whatever, but Melo did just as much to make us groan (check the game thread notes) as he did to make us cheer.When a player is about even in basketball, he is not a star and therefore not yet worthy of my Melo Culpa.
    ’nuff said.  

    Great assessment. I love Clyde, but he frustrated the hell out of me last night when he repeatedly said, “It’s not about how many points you score — it’s about when you score ‘em.” No, that’s not the case at all. Without ‘Melo’s boneheaded foul (nor his missed show the possession before), there is no dramatic moment for him to seize more “clutch” fame.

    A better team would have smashed the Grizzlies, not won on a 50/50 play at the end of the game.

  53. joengai

    @ thomas b:

    are you saying that gallo, chandler, or felton would’ve had the composure to hit that last shot after giving up that and 1 to z-bo? cmon dude. you must’ve felt at least a BIT more confident with the ball in melo’s hands.

  54. DDH

    Thomas B.:
    I look at Melo objectively. I do not just cheer when hits the game winner–and I did cheer btw.But I dont have to ignore the mental miscues that came before the game winner–once again hurray we win–just because we won.

    I’m new too, and not going to call anyone a hater for making legitimate points, but this looking at Melo objectively thing is a little overstated. You discuss statistical analysis on one hand, but then devalue Melo’s contribution based on pure anecdote and subjectivity.

    Are you saying Melo one-on-one with a defender he outweighs by 30 lbs. with a whole side of the floor cleared out is NOT a high percentage scoring opportunity? If so, I need to know that for sure. Otherwise, the fact he missed on that play is not a reason to hate it. He probably should have used 5-10 more seconds, but the miss is not a complaint-worthy fact on its own. Also, I can’t remember anyone else showing for the pass (maybe because Melo waved them off? Idk, can’t remember).

    And the foul was bad, no doubt, but did he really foul Randolph? It didn’t look like it to me, at least not on the shot. Also, was he supposed to be helping/shading where he was and therefore legitimately a step away when the pass went to Randolph? I need to know that before I call it a mental miscue. And re: stopping the clock, that happens on a make too, so that’s a non-issue.

    Anyways, of course you can very reasonably not jump on the bandwagon, but not based on two plays taken out of context and with a shortage of info about those plays.

  55. Frank

    @54 and 51–
    Perhaps I got you mixed up with Owen who as I remember it would not have traded David Lee for Kobe.

    My issue is that on balance, Carmelo has played well while here and we are 5-1 against .500+ teams since he got here with the one loss on the road against a team we had a sizable 4th quarter lead against. Yet you’re happy to give credit to TD (who certainly deserves some) and others rather than the obvious guy– who is scoring nearly 30 ppg with pretty decent TS, and is distributing the ball well also. jut watching the game, he draws a doubleteam or at least shading of the defense every possession, Which may have something to do with all the open shots we’ve had.

    And re Berri and his numbers- it’s a statistical model, not FACT. The two guys that have been pointed out as great Berri type players are Troy Murphy and David Lee, who are also two guys who have never been on a winning team. And amongst all the so-called experts, There is not universal agreement about Berri’s formulas. So it comes down to his model and your opinion about it. Not fact.

  56. JK47

    Jowles, at the risk of going all Ted Nelson on you, MELO HAD A GODDAMNED .602 TS% WITH A 34.2 USG%.

    Without ‘Melo’s boneheaded foul (nor his missed show the possession before), there is no dramatic moment for him to seize more “clutch” fame.

    Yeah, and without his scoring 31 points on 24 shots we probably get our butts kicked. You can’t have it both ways– either every possession is important, or it isn’t. You can hate on Melo all you want, but jeezus at least keep your arguments internally consistent.

  57. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    joengai: @ thomas b:are you saying that gallo, chandler, or felton would’ve had the composure to hit that last shot after giving up that and 1 to z-bo? cmon dude. you must’ve felt at least a BIT more confident with the ball in melo’s hands.  

    They’re professional basketball players. They are not the dude down the block whose hands sweat when it’s close-and-late at a pickup game at the Y. If they were unable to perform under pressure, they would have failed in the ultra-competitive high school tournaments (have you ever seen how intense those things get? They make the NBA look like PGA golf) and, better yet, the pressure of D-1A NCAA basketball (or Euroleague).

    Yes, they would have had the composure. Even if Carmelo does exhibit this thing called “clutch,” he’s only marginally better than the average NBA player. Let’s say his eFG% is .50 instead of .40. So if, over the course of the season, you have 10 shots that determine a game’s outcome at the buzzer, and you allow him to take each of those shots, he may only hit one more than the average player. That’s one win.

  58. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    JK47: Jowles, at the risk of going all Ted Nelson on you, MELO HAD A GODDAMNED .602 TS% WITH A 34.2 USG%.Without ‘Melo’s boneheaded foul (nor his missed show the possession before), there is no dramatic moment for him to seize more “clutch” fame.Yeah, and without his scoring 31 points on 24 shots we probably get our butts kicked.You can’t have it both ways– either every possession is important, or it isn’t.You can hate on Melo all you want, but jeezus at least keep your arguments internally consistent.  

    It’s one game, dude. In the hundreds of games he played before coming to the Knicks, he was not much more than an average NBA SF who was allowed to shoot the ball a lot. That’s all.

  59. Count de Pennies

    Thomas B.: Dave Berri says an average player has a WS/48 of .100. A star player will have a WS/48 of .200. Melo is at .125 as a Knick and never cracked .150 in any season. That is not hate, that is just fact. I’m not going to call him something that the numbers do not support.  

    So Dave Berri does not rate Melo a star based on an algorithm that he constructed and now markets.

    Fair enough.

    On the other side of the ledger, you have ESPN, the NBA’s marketing department, opposing players, coaches, and the occasional ref who largely rate Melo a star and thereby accord him the kind of deference that’s given exclusively to stars in this league.

    Dave Berri may be some kind of genius whose algorithm is the closest approximation to reality yet seen in the world of sports statistics… but I’ll happily accept the opinions of the latter group whose deference can sometimes impact the outcome of games.

  60. Spree8nyk8

    All I can say is that if you think the trade hasn’t made the team better I really don’t know what to say about that. I mean Melo has been playing mostly great but that isn’t even the big factor because he’s replacing a decent amount of scoring as well. Where the difference has been is how much easier he’s making it for those around him. Amar’e is scoring much easier lately and so are many others. And while last night I was concerned about how they were living on the outside shot, I say this….We won a road game against an above .500 team and got ZERO love from the refs. Hell the foul they called on Melo to tie the game to begin with was bullshit. Melo didn’t even touch him. I looked at the replay ten times and can’t see where he hit him. Zbo just took an awkward backwards step and it looked funny so he got the benefit of the call, but Melo didn’t foul him. And hell, sometimes you have to find a way to win those kinds of games. We were 11-20 against .500 teams before the trade and we have been 5-1 since. Doesn’t that alone tell you a lot? Hell the only loss we have to a .500 team was against orlando which required Nelson to go apeshit in the fourth quarter to pull it out at home. We can live with that. Our differential is going up despite our schedule being harder. These are all marks of a really good team. I really don’t know how anyone can look at the things that have transpired and say we aren’t better now. Makes no sense.

  61. joengai

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: They’re professional basketball players. They are not the dude down the block whose hands sweat when it’s close-and-late at a pickup game at the Y. If they were unable to perform under pressure, they would have failed in the ultra-competitive high school tournaments (have you ever seen how intense those things get? They make the NBA look like PGA golf) and, better yet, the pressure of D-1A NCAA basketball (or Euroleague).Yes, they would have had the composure. Even if Carmelo does exhibit this thing called “clutch,” he’s only marginally better than the average NBA player. Let’s say his eFG% is .50 instead of .40. So if, over the course of the season, you have 10 shots that determine a game’s outcome at the buzzer, and you allow him to take each of those shots, he may only hit one more than the average player. That’s one win.  (Quote)

    just because they are professional basketball players doesn’t mean they are impervious to pressure. i hate to bring the heat back into the conversation, but look at them– it’s clear that lebron, wade, and bosh are at least somewhat feeling the pressure. by your logic, it wouldn’t matter who took the last shot…we might as well have given the last shot to andy rautins, right? he’s a professional player now, right? how about shelden williams? please.

    and since when was one win marginal? just because the team is actually winning more now, doesn’t mean that one buzzer beating shot for the win means…

  62. Spree8nyk8

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Even if Carmelo does exhibit this thing called “clutch,” he’s only marginally better than the average NBA player. Let’s say his eFG% is .50 instead of .40. So if, over the course of the season, you have 10 shots that determine a game’s outcome at the buzzer, and you allow him to take each of those shots, he may only hit one more than the average player. That’s one win.  

    Idk according to this which doesn’t factor in last nights shot Melo is the best in the league in that situation.
    http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time

  63. flossy

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    A better team would have smashed the Grizzlies, not won on a 50/50 play at the end of the game.  

    Really? Tell that to the Mavericks, OKC and San Antonio, all of whom have lost to the Grizzlies in the past 10 days.

  64. Spree8nyk8

    I mean I guess it’s just going to kill you to say your wrong about the guy but it’s ok, we can just say it for you.

  65. Shad0wF0x

    Thomas B.: Or maybe not. I could have sworn Mike debunked that the star effect in a post years ago. I know the hot hand myth is dead. ALong with the bench player would struggle as a starter myth. Why does the star effect still live on?

    Not to sound like an ass but is there anyway I can find these articles on this site without manually searching each section? I’m especially curious about the hot hand argument since sometimes on the court (or in anything for that matter), you just “feel” that you’re on fire.

  66. flossy

    Count de Pennies:

    Dave Berri may be some kind of genius whose algorithm is the closest approximation to reality yet seen in the world of sports statistics… but I’ll happily accept the opinions of the latter group whose deference can sometimes impact the outcome of games.  

    I know this was sarcasm, but it does bare repeating that Dave Berri’s metrics are far from the be-all-end-all determinant of who isn’t and isn’t a “star.” Here’s everyone who has a WS/48 above .200 this year:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&per_minute_base=36&type=advanced&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=2011&year_max=2011&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=Y&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=ws_per_48&c1comp=gt&c1val=.200&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=ws_per_48

    Jeez, too bad the Knicks don’t have any star players. Maybe they should flip Amar’e for Ryan Anderson.

  67. Jim Cavan

    Thomas B.: Dave Berri says an average player has a WS/48 of .100. A star player will have a WS/48 of .200. Melo is at .125 as a Knick and never cracked .150 in any season. That is not hate, that is just fact. I’m not going to call him something that the numbers do not support.

    Really @Cock Jowles and Thomas B. both:

    Look, I think stats are absolutely essential in helping get to the Truth of anything. But it’s the timing of how they’re used that drive me nuts. To borrow a cliche I know has been thrown around here a million times, you’re missing the forest for the trees. Stats help define truth. They do not define it.

    I was a liberal arts major, not a math or science major, so I’m speaking from an admittedly biased place. To me, having to pull out the calculator or stats page or Dave Berri’s analysis in order to “understand” the game just saps the life out of it. Stats can go a long way in reinforcing or challenging assumptions or understanding, but they in no way should determine them. After a hard fought game, the board fills with good vibes and admiration for what was, regardless of how you slice it, a great shot and great moment, and…. cue the mood-killing stats.

    I’m not saying you should never post stats. They’re essential in comparing players, seasons, and other variables across time. But to use them as heat-seeking mood-killing missiles is, to me, being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.

    Count de Pennies:

    Dave Berri may be some kind of genius whose algorithm is the closest approximation to reality yet seen in the world of sports statistics… but I’ll happily accept the opinions of the latter group whose deference can sometimes impact the outcome of games.  

    Exactly.

  68. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Spree8nyk8: I really don’t know how anyone can look at the things that have transpired and say we aren’t better now.Makes no sense.  

    A better team, yes. A better-off franchise? No.

  69. Count de Pennies

    Shad0wF0x: Not to sound like an ass but is there anyway I can find these articles on this site without manually searching each section? I’m especially curious about the hot hand argument since sometimes on the court (or in anything for that matter), you just “feel” that you’re on fire.  

    I think the “hot hand” myth was not debunked here but in this book, in which the author endeavors to apply the Freakonomics concept to sports analysis.

    http://www.amazon.com/Scorecasting-Hidden-Influences-Behind-Sports/dp/0307591794/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

  70. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Jim Cavan:
    Really @Cock Jowles and Thomas B. both:Look, I think stats are absolutely essential in helping get to the Truth of anything. But it’s the timing of how they’re used that drive me nuts. To borrow a cliche I know has been thrown around here a million times, you’re missing the forest for the trees. Stats help define truth. They do not define it.
    I was a liberal arts major, not a math or science major, so I’m speaking from an admittedly biased place. To me, having to pull out the calculator or stats page or Dave Berri’s analysis in order to “understand” the game just saps the life out of it. Stats can go a long way in reinforcing or challenging assumptions or understanding, but they in no way should determine them. After a hard fought game, the board fills with good vibes and admiration for what was, regardless of how you slice it, a great shot and great moment, and…. cue the mood-killing stats.
    I’m not saying you should never post stats. They’re essential in comparing players, seasons, and other variables across time. But to use them as heat-seeking mood-killing missiles is, to me, being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.
    Exactly.  

    So you’re saying that we shouldn’t use stats because that ruins the vibe of a dramatic win over an average opponent? No thanks. I’ll stick with stats. When Carmelo starts putting up numbers akin to Chris Paul or LeBron, I’ll recant. Until then, he’s an overpaid volume shooter who’s made his bones in highlight reels.

  71. latke

    relax, ya’ll. Time will tell. We’re 6-3 with ‘melo. At one point pre-melo, we won 13 out of 14. We also had two 6 game losing streaks. There is certainly no conclusive evidence either way as to whether we are better or worse now or in the long term with this trade.

  72. joengai

    Jim Cavan: Really @Cock Jowles and Thomas B. both:Look, I think stats are absolutely essential in helping get to the Truth of anything. But it’s the timing of how they’re used that drive me nuts. To borrow a cliche I know has been thrown around here a million times, you’re missing the forest for the trees. Stats help define truth. They do not define it. I was a liberal arts major, not a math or science major, so I’m speaking from an admittedly biased place. To me, having to pull out the calculator or stats page or Dave Berri’s analysis in order to “understand” the game just saps the life out of it. Stats can go a long way in reinforcing or challenging assumptions or understanding, but they in no way should determine them. After a hard fought game, the board fills with good vibes and admiration for what was, regardless of how you slice it, a great shot and great moment, and…. cue the mood-killing stats. I’m not saying you should never post stats. They’re essential in comparing players, seasons, and other variables across time. But to use them as heat-seeking mood-killing missiles is, to me, being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian.Exactly.  (Quote)

    thank you for putting into words what I couldn’t.

  73. JK47

    Some people around here ONLY like Dave Berri-approved players and take everything the man says as gospel. It’s that simple. Maybe they’re right, I dunno. Maybe Berri really does have the game of basketball completely figured out and WP/48 is the holy grail, the unified theory of basketball statistics. I personally think it’s a little more complicated than that, and that Berri’s model has its share of noise and other flaws.

    Still, I welcome their comments, even the most relentlessly stubborn Berri-philes. Keeps things spicy around here.

  74. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    latke:There is certainly no conclusive evidence either way as to whether we are better or worse now or in the long term with this trade.  

    Agreed. But selling off all of your assets for a player you, perhaps, could have attained in free agency… yeah. One could make a compelling argument.

  75. nicos

    Frank:
    I’m really impressed overall with how well our two stars are moving the ball.In fact- and this took me way too long to do – since Melo came, our Assist Ratio via Hollinger’s formula which is:Assist Ratio = (Assists x 100) divided by [(FGA + (FTA x 0.44) + Assists + Turnovers] = 17.2 since Melo’s first game.That would put us very comfortably at #2 in the league if that was spread out to a whole season O  

    I think one reason for this is that Melo’s arrival has gotten the Knicks out those Felton/Amar’e P&R and three guys standing motionless out at the three point line sets. Now you’ve got two guys who are constantly getting the ball in the mid-post so the ball is moving in and out more and the wing guys are forced to move more side to side to keep proper spacing- the result is better ball movement and a less stagnant offense and that’s with Billups missing 5 games! Of course, having a second guy who draws so much defensive attention- not only straight double teams but also guys just trying to cheat over a step a two to give help if necessary- is also opening things up a lot as well. If either Jeffries or Turiaf were better finishers this offense would be almost unstoppable as they’re going to be open on cuts to the basket all day long- think about how well someone like Ibaka would fit here (and no I don’t think AR could have been that guy- at least not yet- as I think he had absolutely no conception of how to play off of the ball at all).

  76. Z-man

    THCJ and Thomas B,
    There’s no disputing that Melo missed a shot and committed a foul at the end of the game, and could have lost them the game as a result. However, (1) the shot was a good look from 8-ft, and came after a monster hustle-play steal that came after a dogged fight for an offensive rebound on a shot somebody else missed (he didn’t get it, wound up out of bounds, then stripped the ball-handler for a key posession); (2) the foul came on a very quick pass-catch-push shot where everyone was rotating to help on the penetration, just a great play by the Griz and a questionable foul call, not a dumb play by Melo at all; (3) they would not have been in a position to win if not for him having a monster all-around efficient game.

    One thing that gets lost in all of this is how unflappable Melo is, he is smiling and laughing all the time and doesn’t get down because he got beat or missed a critical shot. That he goes down the other end and calmly buries a shot after, as you suggest, f-ing up so royally, takes an ability to quickly let go of failure.

    It would be dumb to suggest that he should be given a spot in the Knick HOF on the basis of last night, but to suggest that the game was anything less than a sensational one for Melo is ludicrous.

  77. MSA

    I dont get this “doomed future” argument either.

    Carmelo have a big market in the league.

    If everything goes wrong and Carmelo keeps being Carmelo trade him for a bunch of drafts picks and get Paul/Williams/Howard in the future.

  78. Jim Cavan

    The Honorable Cock Jowles: When Carmelo starts putting up numbers akin to Chris Paul or LeBron, I’ll recant. Until then, he’s an overpaid volume shooter who’s made his bones in highlight reels.

    And if — if — Melo ends up winning a championship before either of them, I will dedicate the next year of my life to devising a formula by which endorphins released in fans celebrating a championship ups Melo’s win shares over both of theirs.

    JK47: Still, I welcome their comments, even the most relentlessly stubborn Berri-philes. Keeps things spicy around here.

    If they left — and please don’t! — this board would be exponentially worse off, without a doubt. Being a philosophy major, this board is like a basketball version of the classic Analytic vs. Continental debate. It’s part of the reason it’s one of the best out there.

  79. Brian Cronin

    Did you guys catch the bit Hahn reported about how, on Melo’s last shot (which he took near the Memphis bench), the Grizzly players on the bench shouted, “That shit is off!”

    So when it went in, Melo shouted back to them, “I do this!”

    I dunno if that makes sense exactly, but I thought it was pretty neat banter. I love the idea of random dudes on the bench shouting “That shit is off!” loud enough for Melo to hear them and respond.

  80. Spree8nyk8

    latke: relax, ya’ll. Time will tell. We’re 6-3 with ‘melo. At one point pre-melo, we won 13 out of 14. We also had two 6 game losing streaks. There is certainly no conclusive evidence either way as to whether we are better or worse now or in the long term with this trade.  

    How many of those 14 games were against .500 or better teams though? Bc during the 6-3 we went 5-1 against them which I’m fairly sure is our best 6 game stretch against .500 or better teams.

  81. Spree8nyk8

    Z-man: THCJ and Thomas B,
    There’s no disputing that Melo missed a shot and committed a foul at the end of the game.  

    I know you said it was questionable but I’m just overstating….

    Melo did miss a shot but he DID NOT commit a foul, that call was complete bs.

  82. Thomas B.

    Brian Cronin:

    Did you guys catch the bit Hahn reported about how, on Melo’s last shot (which he took near the Memphis bench), the Grizzly players on the bench shouted, “That shit is off!”

    So when it went in, Melo shouted back to them, “I do this!”

    I dunno if that makes sense exactly, but I thought it was pretty neat banter. I love the idea of random dudes on the bench shouting “That shit is off!” loud enough for Melo to hear them and respond.  

    (Quote)

    I bet they were saying that on the earlier possession and that is why he would not pass the ball after the steal. It makes sense he was right in front of the bench on that 16 second backdown after the amazing steal.

  83. David Crockett

    jon abbey: as I said last night, the phrase people are looking for is “MELO CULPA”. too soon for most, but when you’re convinced, there it is for you.  

    MELO CULPA = awesome.

  84. Bruno Almeida

    latke: relax, ya’ll. Time will tell. We’re 6-3 with ‘melo. At one point pre-melo, we won 13 out of 14. We also had two 6 game losing streaks. There is certainly no conclusive evidence either way as to whether we are better or worse now or in the long term with this trade.  

    This here sums pretty much everything.

    Carmelo has had good and bad moments as a Knick so far, but it’s VERY early to conclude anything definitely, even that our future is grim because we have no cap flexibility or draft picks. We had no cap flexibility with all the Isiah contracts and the picks traded, and Donnie Walsh created enough for 2 max stars in 2 years… if this team achieves nothing and needs to be blown up, it will be possible, since like you guys always keep saying, Carmelo is perceived as a star by the “media and stupid people” and would still hold some valuable.

    Acquiring Melo was a gamble, but I think it’s a worthy one, specially because for me a team with Felton / Fields / Gallo / Amare / WC as the top 5 players would never be a championship contender.

  85. Z-man

    In a way, having Billups out makes it easier to focus purely on Melo, since Jeffries is the only significant rotation player added post trade, and he is not a factor on offense (maybe even a detriment.)

  86. Spree8nyk8

    MSA: I dont get this “doomed future” argument either.Carmelo have a big market in the league.
    If everything goes wrong and Carmelo keeps being Carmelo trade him for a bunch of drafts picks and get Paul/Williams/Howard in the future.  

    This is going to depend largely on what the next CBA brings. If it brings a hard cap then another max guy will definitely not be the way to go. Then they’ll really need to consider finding cheaper good fitting role players to fill out the roster. I think if they were to bring in a hardcap there would have to be some sort of grandfathering of old contracts because some teams will be over the cap and unable to make any roster changes. So I’m not sure what they’ll do there. But I do not think we are nearly as bad off as some people think. We are definitely going to have some sort of room after next season, it’s just a matter of how we are going to be able to go about using it.

  87. cgreene

    Well said, Jim, in @70 in providing a voice for the less statistically fluent. That is exactly the point. Stats provide some context and proof but not the story or the answer. THCJ did a great job of disproving himself when he brought up the 2 bad plays Melo made prior to the game winner while leaving out the rest of the game.

    I actually think this conversation is pretty interesting in a vacuum but not as a reaction to what should have been a celebratory moment for Knicks fans. We won a fun hard fought game against a good team and instead of talking about how good we are and where we are headed and what we need to do to improve we are arguing over a trade that happened a month ago. I will say that the antagonism comes from both sides. If it weren’t for the Melo lovers baiting the haters in the post game comments then they woudn’t have to come back with the statistics to prove their anti-Melo points and douse the enthusiasm from the win.

    I, for one, think we are a rugged big man away from being a real true contender.

    ps: Bynum for Melo anyone??? (-: Bynum is peaking right now and making the Lakers look unbeatable.

  88. Spree8nyk8

    Z-man: In a way, having Billups out makes it easier to focus purely on Melo, since Jeffries is the only significant rotation player added post trade, and he is not a factor on offense (maybe even a detriment.)  

    Hey now settle down, Jeffries made a shot last night.

  89. Spree8nyk8

    cgreene: Bynum for Melo anyone???(-:Bynum is peaking right now and making the Lakers look unbeatable.  

    Hell to the motherfuckin no….least not for me….

  90. Z-man

    Spree8nyk8: Hey now settle down, Jeffries made a shot last night.  (Quote)

    Call me when he makes a point blank layup. BTW, did you see Melo talking to him after he got windexed twice right under the basket a la Charles Smith (sorry, shouldn’t have brought that up before dinner!) Melo was demonstrating how to stick out his but to create space/draw a foul…or maybe telling him what pose he expected JJ to be in later in the evening after that weak effort…

  91. Brian Cronin

    I bet they were saying that on the earlier possession and that is why he would not pass the ball after the steal. It makes sense he was right in front of the bench on that 16 second backdown after the amazing steal

    Yeah, that does make a lot more sense.

  92. Jim Cavan

    Spree8nyk8:
    This is going to depend largely on what the next CBA brings.If it brings a hard cap then another max guy will definitely not be the way to go.Then they’ll really need to consider finding cheaper good fitting role players to fill out the roster.  

    To the extent that a lot of people here would rather go the route of patching up the holes in our roster (as opposed to the Big Three route), a sick, twisted part of me almost hopes the CBA includes a hard(er) cap. Say what you will about the merits of a hard cap economically or philosophically, being forced to smooth out the roster with solid role players I think could be a blessing in disguise for this team, especially considering the risk we took vis-a-vis the future with the Melo trade (I never said we didn’t give up a little too much!).

    As much as it would suck if the Wedding Toast didn’t pan out, people act as if obtaining a Big Three renders a title a forgone conclusion. It worked for Boston, and it’s worked at various points in the past, but — if I may tap briefly into the latent stat-head in us all — until there’s a bigger body of evidence (i.e. Cryami rattling off four or five titles), I just don’t see how it’s the program to follow. Further, if it ends up becoming the program, it will likely come at the expense of us anyway. So I’d just assume take the Big-Two-and-great-roll-players route.

  93. Bruno Almeida

    @97

    Very well said Jim.

    Also, if there’s a hard cap, a lot of good role players that are currently paid good money would have to sign for less to play on contenders, and that might really help us.

  94. Brian Cronin

    A hard cap would mean an increase in the salary cap, so it would actually make it easier to sign Paul outright in 2012.

  95. ess-dog

    It’s amazing how much less there is to talk about post-trade. We’re not a “top tier” team (yet) but we’re an upper echelon team (splitting hairs?) already. We’re a few excellent role players away from being the Spurs albeit with a fairly different philosophy. Billups = Parker, Melo = Ginobli, Stat = Duncan, Fields sort of = Blair, TD = Geoge Hill, Bonner = extra e… adding a gary neal, a tiago splitter and a richard jefferson shouldn’t be that hard, even with limited means….
    A little less talent, a lot less experience. And sure the parts aren’t completely the same. But we have high-level talent. We just have to add pieces around it. And then re-add or keep in 2012.
    It’s weird being on this side of the aisle after playing the wishing and hoping game for so long. Will Curry get better? Will Nate improve? Will D. Lee become a starter and bring wins with him? Will Gallo be a star? Will Wilson turn the corner? Can Felton improve? Is Mozgov the real deal?
    It’s a whole other ball game now. Now we just watch our guys do what they do. We’ve got 4 major parts with resumes now: Stat’s beastly inside game. Melo’s astronomical point totals (and mediocre efficiency), Billups’ statistical offensive prowess (and rings) and even Landry’s amazing rookie win shares. Other guys: extra e, Jeffrightened, Mase Jr., Turiaf, Walker are all pretty known quantities.
    There’s a little room for improvement here and there and some pieces will change but this is it folks.
    Frankly, it’s a nice change. We’re living in the now for once.

  96. Jim Cavan

    Brian Cronin: A hard cap would mean an increase in the salary cap, so it would actually make it easier to sign Paul outright in 2012.  

    You’re right. I don’t know what I’m hoping for then, other than Derek Fisher throwing himself into David Stern to dry and draw concessions.

  97. Bruno Almeida

    Brian Cronin: A hard cap would mean an increase in the salary cap, so it would actually make it easier to sign Paul outright in 2012.  

    It does, but then it would be even harder to surround those 3 guys with decent enough role players.

  98. Brian Cronin

    An interesting exercise would be to look at the Knicks current roster and say, “Who could still play for the Knicks if the cap stays the same and they dumped everyone to sign Chris Paul as a free agent in 2012?”

    Basically, who on this team would play for the veteran minimum in 2012.

    Jeffries certainly.
    Carter (but I don’t think he’d be worth it at that point)
    Mason (same thing)
    Rautins (same thing, probably)
    Sheldon Williams?

    Is that it?

    Walker would have to be making more than the minimum. Same with Extra E, right? Turiaf surely will be making more than the vet minimum. What about Brown? Think he’ll be making more than the vet minimum in 2012?

  99. Brian Cronin

    By the way, the strong play of Toney Douglas is also making a Douglas/Fields/Billups/2011 first round draft pick offer for Chris Paul/cap filler look a lot more enticing that it did when Toney sucked. Heck, if the Knicks threw in some more filler, they could make it Paul/Okafor and let New Orleans completely start over.

  100. Thomas B.

    Spree8nyk8:

    Hell to the motherfuckin no….least not for me….  

    (Quote)

    Agreed on the no for Bynum/Melo. Look we overpaid for Melo (for now). There is no way I would have given the Melo package for Bynum so I really would not turn that around for Bynum. There does that make all you Melo-ites happy? I wont swap him for Bynum.

  101. Brian Cronin

    Heck, the Knicks could take Ariza off of their hands, too. “Give us your tired, your poorly thought out contracts, your huddled massive payroll!”

  102. Brian Cronin

    It does, but then it would be even harder to surround those 3 guys with decent enough role players.

    I thought that if there’s a hard cap, a lot of good role players that are currently paid good money would have to sign for less to play on contenders? ;)

  103. nicos

    flossy:
    I know this was sarcasm, but it does bare repeating that Dave Berri’s metrics are far from the be-all-end-all determinant of who isn’t and isn’t a “star.”Here’s everyone who has a WS/48 above .200 this year:http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&per_minute_base=36&type=advanced&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=2011&year_max=2011&franch_id=&season_start=1&season_end=-1&age_min=0&age_max=99&height_min=0&height_max=99&birth_country_is=Y&birth_country=&is_active=Y&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=ws_per_48&c1comp=gt&c1val=.200&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=ws_per_48Jeez, too bad the Knicks don’t have any star players.Maybe they should flip Amar’e for Ryan Anderson.  

    Ryan Anderson aside that’s actually a pretty good list but Basketball reference’s WP isn’t Berri’s WP- you can find Berri’s numbers and the (astonishingly over-rated value given to Kris Humphries) here: http://nerdnumbers.com/winsproduced2011.php

  104. latke

    Z-man: I posted this article in a past thread, and didn’t see much of a response.Now that we are seeing him up close and personal, can anyone refute the premise of this article (not the title of it, which is obviously tongue-in-cheek):http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/15/why-carmelo-anthony-is-the-ultimate-team-player-and-what-advanced-stats-miss-about-him/  

    The chart at the bottom of this entry essentially refutes Silver’s main point — Even though his teammates are marginally more efficient with ‘Melo on the floor, when you add ‘melo’s mediocre efficiency into the mix, they are worse. In other words, overall, they were a more efficient team with ‘melo on the bench.

    http://arturogalletti.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/a-simple-response-to-mr-silver/

  105. latke

    Spree8nyk8:
    How many of those 14 games were against .500 or better teams though?Bc during the 6-3 we went 5-1 against them which I’m fairly sure is our best 6 game stretch against .500 or better teams.  

    First of all, we have lost to 2 sub-500 teams. I don’t think you can just ignore those losses in your assessment. Second, while we have beaten teams above .500, the only really good win was v. Miami. Utah without williams is not a .500 team. Atlanta has been falling apart lately (3-6 since all-star break), and New Orleans hasn’t looked great since January (7-13 in their last 20). Memphis is a middling team.

    Second, if I’m allowed to cherry pick a nine game stretch, here you go: 12/22-1/11:

    We went 6-3, beating San Antonio, Chicago, OKC, Phoenix, Portland, and Indiana. San Antonio and Chicago wins are better than any wins we’ve had since.

    But I’m not saying that this so far we haven’t looked good. We have. All I’m saying is that we haven’t done enough to make any kind of conclusive claim. I’m really excited about tonight. Hopefully we play all 4 quarters, instead of the 2 1/2 – 3 quarters we’ve played in most of our recent losses.

  106. JK47

    Dave Berri’s system concludes that Raymond Felton produced more wins for this team than Amar’e Stoudemire. Wrap your head around that one for a minute.

  107. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, that’s why I like Win Shares better. They take Berri’s ideas and re-formulate them to make them less…odd.

    And they generally fit right in with what you’d figure. For the Knicks, the top win shares guys were Amar’e then Gallo then Fields. Sounds about right. Also, they have Billups as already contributing more to the Knicks than Walker has all season – which also sounds about right (sorry, Bill!).

  108. flossy

    @110: Whoops, my bad. But your link doesn’t lessen my skepticism about WP. I mean… we’re talking about an algorithm that’s telling us Chuck Hayes is significantly better/more valuable than Amar’e Stoudemire. That to me says “massive defect?” Or at the very least “huge grain of salt.”

  109. Robert Silverman

    The bottom line is that any single number can’t quantify a player’s value in the NBA. Whether it’s PPG or PER or WP/48, basketball, unlike baseball, is far too dependent on intertwined variables. For example, player A grabs a defensive rebound. Now, is the key factor in getting that rebound his ability to box out or the shooter being tightly guarded on defense by player A’s teammate, forcing a tough shot? Player C hits a shot – is it because he beat his man or b/c he was defended poorly or the defense was focused on a higher-scoring teammate?

    In watching Melo in this admittedly small sample, you can’t help but notice that he has a great low-post/mid-range game and a series of deft moves to free himself for said shot. He really reminds me of Paul Pierce and though I HATE PP personally. I LOVE his game. He does force shots galore, though he clearly can be a good passer when he wants to be, and he can get really lazy on defense, though again, when he puts his mind to it, he can be decent.

    I also think he’ll age well as a player. He’s not dependent on otherworldy speed/hops so when he loses a step, he should still be able to perform at 90% of his peak. Amar’e's started making this transition too. He’s starting to look a lot more like Karl Malone — a pick and pop PF v. pick and roll to the basket. I was worried that once Amar’e's knees went, he’d be toast, but this growth in his shooting ability is great news for those of us (like me) who were really worried that in two years, his contract would be awful.

    I still have the same qualms about flexibility and cap space going forward (not to mention what Gallo may or may not become), but there are more positive signs than I anticipated

  110. fushknicken

    latke:
    The chart at the bottom of this entry essentially refutes Silver’s main point — Even though his teammates are marginally more efficient with ‘Melo on the floor, when you add ‘melo’s mediocre efficiency into the mix, they are worse. In other words, overall, they were a more efficient team with ‘melo on the bench.http://arturogalletti.wordpress.com/2011/01/16/a-simple-response-to-mr-silver/  

    I don’t want to get on this horse, but I have some issues with galletti’s analysis, which is based on ppfga, despite pretty glaring gains in wp/48 that are on that chart. It’s unusual to proclaim the evidence as damning when the evidence is clearly contradictory. He then comments on his own work that after adding in melo’s defense and shot selection the ppfga measure looks worse (without substantiating that claim.) IMHO, neither Galletti nor Berri are particularly good statisticians.

  111. nicos

    flossy: @110: Whoops, my bad.But your link doesn’t lessen my skepticism about WP.I mean… we’re talking about an algorithm that’s telling us Chuck Hayes is significantly better/more valuable than Amar’e Stoudemire.That to me says “massive defect?”Or at the very least “huge grain of salt.”  

    Oh I’m with you- really the only outlier on the list you posted was Ryan Anderson (and a couple of guys with very limited minutes) while Berri’s numbers produce a bunch- Humphries, Reggie Evans, Landry Fields (sorry Landry! I love you but you’re not twice as valuable to the team as Amar’e!!), etc… I do think Berri’s numbers are valuable as a corrective to something like PER, I just think the truth lies somewhere between the two.

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