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Monday, July 28, 2014

Melo is Magnificent, but Lack of Depth Shows Through

Carmelo Anthony might want to start describing more games as “must-wins.” The New York Knicks star forward posted a super-star-like stat line of 39 points, 10 reb, and 5 assists to lead the Knicks to a razor-thin 120-116 victory over the New Jersey Nets. Especially impressive was his incredible 20 points in the 3rd quarter which left the Knicks only a point behind entering the fourth quarter after being down ten at the halftime break. After a back and forth fourth quarter, the Knicks finally took the lead for good with 1:07 left in the game on a two-point basket by-who else- Carmelo Anthony.

When confronted with the Knicks recent struggles, any Knicks apologist inevitably turns to a common theme: the trade was not finalized for this year, but for those to come. While the team may not be measurably better in the short run, putting a second star alongside Amar’e Stoudemire was vital for the Knicks hopes of obtaining a third star either by trade or free agency next season.

For the sanity of Knicks fans everywhere, this prognostication better prove correct, as the post-trade Knicks are often causing fans to tear their hair out in frustration. The first half was an exact repetition of the defensive malaise which caused the recent six-game skid. Despite solid performances offensively from both Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, the Knicks were out-hustled, out-rebounded, and out-worked by a Nets team far hungrier in the first-half, as New Jersey took a ten-point lead into halftime.

In particular, the play of Nets post players Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries overwhelmed the Knicks in the first half, as the deficit ballooned to sixteen points at one point in the second half. Humphries, who grabbed 11 rebounds in the first half, consistently beat Stoudemire to the ball, as the technique of boxing-out appeared to elude Amar’e. Lopez, who netted 22 points in the first half, time and again knocked down mid-range jumpers and close jump-hooks. (The reluctance of Knicks fans to include 7’1″ center Timofey Mozgov in the Anthony trade, widely mocked by national pundits, was perhaps shown to be more prescient than some realized, as 7’0″ Brook Lopez had no difficulty shooting over the 6’9″ Shelden Williams, Mozgov’s replacement on this night.) Finally, both players executed the pick-and-roll excellently with star point guard Deron Williams, an indictment of the Knicks first-half defense as much as it was a sign of William’s prowess as a passer.

Luckily for the Knicks, the “Big 3″ of Chauncey Billups, Stoudemire, and Anthony combined for 95 points in the game, leading the team back from the precipice of what would have been one of the worst losses in the Melo era. The hero of the game was undoubtedly Anthony, as he repeatedly showed a rugged determination to drive to the hoop, and was persistent on defense throughout the game.

However, as exciting as the eventual victory was, a four-point win over the Nets does not inspire confidence in the postseason hopes for this team. The lack of team depth was quite apparent in the first half, as the Knicks reserves could not keep pace with the Nets as the stars took to the bench in the second quarter. While several reserves made key plays late (Toney Douglas snagged a crucial offensive rebound in the last minute of the game, then buried two foul shots to stretch the lead to four) the poor first half performance- at one point, the Knicks trailed by 16- displayed a reality of the post-trade Knicks which John Hollinger touched on recently. The Knicks blew up their squad to obtain Anthony, at much too high a cost. While Anthony is certainly better individually than any of the players the Knicks sent out, the combined sum of the players traded is enough to leave Knicks stuck as an average team for the foreseeable future. And so fans are left hoping that, somehow, a third star comes to join Anthony and Stoudemire. That reality is a sobering thought on a night when the Knicks barely clawed past their metropolitan nemesis.

 

178 comments on “Melo is Magnificent, but Lack of Depth Shows Through

  1. BigBlueAL

    Only thing I can say is come playoff time D’Antoni hopefully is going to ride the starters like crazy. Cant imagine the bench aside from TD getting many minutes. I would go 8 deep with the usual 4 starters, Turiaf, Shelden, TD and Shawne. If you go 9 deep I guess AC for spot minutes. No more JJ/Mase/Walker.

  2. Joamiq

    “Knick apologist” is a bit harsh. That’s been my refrain as well, even though I hated the trade when it was made and my soul has felt a bit more empty ever since. I think that’s what any non-self-hating Knick fan is hoping for right now – that the Knicks will be better once they have time to build around these two. There is simply no depth whatsoever right now.

  3. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Mulligan:
    What a crazy guy…  

    That smile has “snake oil proprietor” written all over it. I can’t look at him without thinking he’s going to try to sell me a ’99 Kia that’s been in two floods and a tornado.

  4. tastycakes

    Nah, the idea that we need a “third star” is as much fiction as the idea that we needed a “second star” in the first place!

    I mean, certainly I’d be happy if we found a way to bring a Chris Paul into the fold (watching Deron Williams last night, I wish it was him too).

    But really, the name of the game now is role players, is it not? Our complementary cast sucks. When Shelden “Landlord” Williams is the more reliable of our rotation of bigs, disconnect the appliances, we are downright FUCKED. Turiaf is lovable but limited, Jeffries is despicable and utterly worthless. (Yes, I have an irrational JJ thing, sue me). Moving Shawne Williams and Billy Walker up in the rotation has not improved their overall games. Fields has run smack into the rookie wall for whatever reason. I’ve grown to appreciate Toney D and what he’s done for my fantasy team in recent weeks, but he’s pretty up and down himself. Look: Mike D almost let Anthony Carter finish the game last night! Yeah Mike, he had about 4 brilliant passes, let’s not push our luck, ok?

    We need guys who cover our top scorer’s holes: distributors, defenders, shot-blockers, playmakers, rebounders, three-point bombers. We got good Chauncey (minus some insane shot selection) last night, great Melo, and good Stat and still had to eek out a win against a team of bottom-feeders at home.

    Work in progress, but I at least appreciate seeing some fight in the last 2 games.

  5. Frank

    If anyone’s interested while we’re talking about our lack of size, it looks like Jerome Jordan is doing reasonably well in the Adriatic League, which appears maybe to be one of the top 3 leagues in Europe. Apparently he just finished his regular season with an 18 pt 7 reb 3 stl performance, shooting 8-9 from the field, hitting both his free throws, all in 22 minutes. Per Draftexpress, he’s averaging 20 and 10 per 40 on a TS of 73% in this league.

    These are much better stats than Mozgov was putting up, although as I understand it, Mozgov’s league is of higher quality?

  6. Frank

    Also – not to make too much of a win over the Nets, but Avery Johnson basically said that last night’s game was his team’s “Super Bowl” and that they wanted to show what they could do on national TV. I think it’s reasonably impressive that our NYK took NJ’s best shot in the 1st half, and battled back to win against a team that was leaving it all out of the floor last night.

  7. misterma

    tastycakes: We got good Chauncey (minus some insane shot selection) last night,   

    I secretly love it when Chauncey takes crazy shots.

    Biggest problem is rebounding. Amare doesn’t do it. He’s anti rebounding.

  8. chrisk06811

    I’m hearing a lot about how Amare is exhausted, and it certainly looks that way on TV. Hard to say what the impact is. Had we not made the trade, the impact could have been even worse. Even with chandler/felton/gallo, Amare took every big shot. Our record may not have been better with them. I think we hit a stretch of good teams / lots of games and it caught up to us. Why we lose to shitty teams is beyond me.

    There are 7 games between now and April 13. Two are very tough, boston and chicago back to back, but we always play them well. We MUST beat NJ, CLE and Tor…..I know those teams give us fits. Then, Indiana and Philly round it out, which is great because I get to see Tyler Hansborough play like Moses Malone.

    We have to win the 3 vs shitty teams and split the other 4.

  9. flossy

    Amar’e looked plenty spry on offense last night, in fact he had a very efficient shooting night. If you’re going to play that well on the offensive end I don’t think fatigue/injuries are a legit excuse for defense and rebounding effort so horrendous that he practically had to be benched in order for us to squeak past the Nets. He might as well just start running back on offense once the opposing team starts a pick and roll set, that’s how useless he is. And one rebound in 30 minutes? For all the flack Melo gets for his D, Amar’e made him look like Ron Artest last night.

  10. citizen

    flossy: Amar’e looked plenty spry on offense last night, in fact he had a very efficient shooting night.If you’re going to play that well on the offensive end I don’t think fatigue/injuries are a legit excuse for defense and rebounding effort so horrendous that he practically had to be benched in order for us to squeak past the Nets.He might as well just start running back on offense once the opposing team starts a pick and roll set, that’s how useless he is.And one rebound in 30 minutes?For all the flack Melo gets for his D, Amar’e made him look like Ron Artest last night.  

    He looked “plenty spry,” except for the small problem that he could jump no more than 2 feet off the ground. (a small exaggeration but still…)

  11. citizen

    By the way, even though he looked tired it’s still no excuse for the lack of boxing out, or the silly fouls he committed pushing rebounders for no reason

  12. JK47

    Is it possible that the media firestorm around this team has lit a fire under Melo’s butt? He was looking pretty active on defense, he was crashing the boards hard and his offensive game was unconscious. He has been stuffing boxscores lately. Watching him play last night, I definitely got the feeling that he could be a plus defender if he wanted to. He’s quite nimble and agile for a guy who’s a relatively beefy 6’8″.

    As a Knick he now has a .569 TS% on 30.8 USG%. Pretty solid.

  13. latke

    Yeah, ‘Melo has been looking good of late. But TD looked like an all-star point guard in the making for a few weeks there. Let’s see if melo sustains it, because this IS the hot story now. What happens next year when everyone’s talking about deron williams and chris paul? Is melo still as focused and intense?

  14. d-mar

    That game was way too close for comfort, and a loss would have been another big setback in our attempt to right the ship. BUT, playing a crappy 1st half and having to scramble in the 2nd half to win is not just unique to the Knicks. Some of the top teams like the Celtics and the Heat forget to show up in the 1st half of games, and then find a way to pull it out by playing D and having their stars step forward. Not comparing us to them, but a win is a win. I would like to see the Knicks blow out their next 2 opponents though.

    Also, despite our lack of depth, I’m feeling somewhat positive about the playoffs. I guarantee you will see a different STAT, look what he did last year in the playoffs with the Suns. And I don’t think you’ll see 1st halves like last night come playoff time. Then again, I could be totally wrong (-:

  15. dmull

    Why does every little blip on the radar for teams and players have to be justified as being caused by anything other than randomness. Every team and player in the NBA goes through good stretches and bad stretches. And then sometimes they just play about to their ability.

    I agree with tastycakes about the third star thing…to a degree. The NBA is a “stars” league, not so much in the sense that the guy really needs to be a “media star” or whatever…but the team with more elite level players is almost always going to beat the deeper team. Obviously, there is no need to re-visit the question of how elite Melo is. Or Amare for that matter. But adding another “star” to the fold is much more likely to turn them into a competitor than depth (which is not to say that depth and role players don’t matter). However, what I really agree with is that even bigger than that they need an inside presence. It was obvious before the trade. It was obvious during the trade. And it’s obvious now. They don’t have anyone on the team truly capable of grabbing a big rebound. Or protecting the tin throughout the course of a game.

  16. Frank

    It was encouraging to hear D’Antoni specifically point out the relevant problems in the 1st half last night – horrible defensive rebounding, Amare’s poor effort, and our penchant for fouling everybody all the time. I think he said we are 30th in fouls given since the trade. That is just horrible. As well as Jefferies played last night, he, Melo, and Bill Walker have a tendency to commit weak fouls on layups/dunks that lead to 3 point plays. Needs to stop.

  17. Z

    JK47: Is it possible that the media firestorm around this team has lit a fire under Melo’s butt?  

    So what happens when the media firestorm goes away? Does the fire burn out? For $20 million a year you don’t really want someone that needs to be embarrassed into breaking a sweat.

  18. CRJoe

    dmull: but the team with more elite level players is almost always going to beat the deeper team.

    Yeah, like the Heat have proven time and time again this season, when faced against deeper teams, like, any team above .500…

    I’ll take Bulls-Celtics-Mavs depth over “3 elite players” any day….

  19. Frank

    CRJoe:
    Yeah, like the Heat have proven time and time again this season, when faced against deeper teams, like, any team above .500…I’ll take Bulls-Celtics-Mavs depth over “3 elite players” any day….  

    I think you’ve chosen the wrong examples –
    meaning the Bulls have 3 elite- or close to elite players – Rose, Noah, Boozer. The Celtics have 4 guys + Shaq who could go to the hall of fame. The Mavs have Dirk, who will go to the HOF, as well as Jason Kidd who is a shoe-in. I think he’s saying he’d rather have 3 elite players than, say, the current Knuggets, who have no one who will make the Hall of Fame, or maybe not even make an All-star team anytime soon.

    The last team to win a championship that didn’t have at least 2 elite level players was the Billups-led Pistons, assuming you don’t count Billups and Ben Wallace as elite-level. In fact, that team might be the only team in the last 20-25 years to win without legitimately superstar players.

    I tend to agree with the star theory, and not just because of history. Depth is especially important in the regular season grind, but in the playoffs, your stars will be playing 40 min/game with plenty of rest in between games. Rotations go from 9-10 players to 7-8 players. The real management skill lies in finding the correct role players to go with your superstars. Bill Wennington, BJ Armstrong, Steve Kerr, and John Paxson were generally forgettable players, but were perfect for what the Jordan-Pippen Bulls needed.

    I think if we can pick up someone like Anderson Varejao, or a Tyson Chandler-like player, we will make some serious noise next year and thereafter. Whether that’s through FA, trade, or draft doesn’t matter.

  20. John Kenney Post author

    In regards to my “hoping for a 3rd star” comment: do you think that we could win a title with either Melo or Amar’e as our team’s best player? I’m curious.

  21. Ben R

    I think one thing that has become clear since the trade is that Melo, despite the fact I don’t like him, is our best player. He doesn’t always pass enough or play enough defense but he is at least capable of being a good defender and a good facilitator. Amare is a terrible defender, turnover prone and doesn’t box out, I don’t think this is a choice I think it is just simply a weakness.

    If we are truly moving forward with this roster I think we need to choose one of the two to hitch our team to and Melo seems to be the better choice. At this point I say trade Amare, don’t resign Billups and try to build around Melo.

  22. Nick C.

    I think the star theory is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the team does real well its best players are deemed stars: look at K-Mart getting max money, for that matter Ginobli and Parker are nowhere near any leaderboards yet Spurs win ergo they are stars. Did Pau Gasol’s #s go up when he left Mephis (I donno that’s a real question) but his rep sure did. And the Portland Sheed/Sabonis team had a slightly past his prime Pippen as the biggest star to go with a crazy deep team for a few years. Stacey Augmon, Brian Grant, Bonzi Wells, Schrempf the much despised Greg Anthony and a young Jermaine O’eal were the bench. That team was within one fourth quarter 7th game meltdown of knocking off the LAL and being in the Finals.

  23. Jim Cavan

    Shipping out Amar’e would be a terrible move. Not just from a PR perspective — I mean, the guy wanted to come here when so many other big FAs didn’t; I think that affords him a little in the way of immunity for at least a couple years — but from a personnel standpoint too. I know he’s looked tired, but with Melo on board he won’t be logging nearly as heavy minutes in the coming years. He’ll bounce back fine.

    I agree that not resigning Billups has to be considered an option, but I don’t see that happening either. If they don’t, that’s more than enough to go out and get a body or two. Then you could draft a promising PG and hand the reigns to a steadily-improving TD.

  24. John Kenney Post author

    I don’t think we should trade Amar’e by any means. But if you felt we should trade him, Amar’e and Chauncey for CP3 and Okafor works cap-wise.

  25. Ben R

    I think there are two ways to win in the NBA. The first and easiest way is to get yourself an all-time great (LeBron, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Shaq, etc.). If you have an all-time great you can afford to have redundancy or weakness on your roster. You can overcome BJ Armstrong, Luc Longley, Derek Fisher or Rick Fox as starters, you can have Wade and LeBron replicating skills because ultimately you have the best player on the court by a wide margin giving you some room for error in your team building.

    The other way which is harder but ultimately more accessable is to build yourself a cohesive team in which the sum of it’s parts are greater than the individual pieces. Building a cohesive team usually takes time and all the parts have to fit together and each player has to compliment the others. There is very little room for error, very little room for redundancy or weakness.

    Melo and Amare don’t compliment each other, they don’t make the other better. We are less than the sum of our parts at the moment and I worry that as long as we are counting on Amare and Melo to be the focus we always will be.

    Team will always trump talent unless that talent is named Jordan or Shaq or Magic.

  26. Jim Cavan

    @27

    How about the two Rocket teams? Or the first few Spurs teams? The ’83 Sixers? Do you count Dr. J, Hakeem, Robinson and a young Duncan as “all-time greats”? If so, fine, but I’d argue that Stat and Melo aren’t that far off from any of those guys in terms of talent.

    If you don’t think they qualify as “all-time greats”, then you’d argue that they won by virtue of a ’70 Knicks kind of gestalt? I’m not sure that’s the case. I think all of those teams had two very good to elite players and a solid supporting cast. Which, if we can’t somehow land CP3 or DWill, is what we’ll be aiming for. And I think that’s attainable.

  27. flossy

    Ben R: If we are truly moving forward with this roster I think we need to choose one of the two to hitch our team to and Melo seems to be the better choice. At this point I say trade Amare, don’t resign Billups and try to build around Melo.  

    Hard to call that ‘moving forward with this roster, unless Toney Douglas and Landry Fields are the players we need to keep no matter what…

    I would trade Amar’e or Melo for Dwight Howard, preferrably Amar’e although I like rooting for him more than for Melo. Otherwise I think we’re better off keeping both of them and trying to add a defensive presence in the middle and a longer-term upgrade a PG.

    Assuming trading everyone but Amar’e and Melo for Chris Paul and Okafor is simply far too unlikely to work, what would you all say to flipping Billups to the Cavs for Sessions and Varejao? That’s a lot of salary relief for a Cleveland team that’s going nowhere fast and already has a PG locked in…

  28. jaylamerique

    Ben R: I think there are two ways to win in the NBA. The first and easiest way is to get yourself an all-time great (LeBron, Jordan, Magic, Bird, Shaq, etc.). If you have an all-time great you can afford to have redundancy or weakness on your roster. You can overcome BJ Armstrong, Luc Longley, Derek Fisher or Rick Fox as starters, you can have Wade and LeBron replicating skills because ultimately you have the best player on the court by a wide margin giving you some room for error in your team building.The other way which is harder but ultimately more accessable is to build yourself a cohesive team in which the sum of it’s parts are greater than the individual pieces. Building a cohesive team usually takes time and all the parts have to fit together and each player has to compliment the others. There is very little room for error, very little room for redundancy or weakness.Melo and Amare don’t compliment each other, they don’t make the other better. We are less than the sum of our parts at the moment and I worry that as long as we are counting on Amare and Melo to be the focus we always will be.
    Team will always trump talent unless that talent is named Jordan or Shaq or Magic.  

    are there many examples of teams building with the latter model. I can only think of the pistons of 00s but thats about it

  29. Z

    Jim Cavan: @27How about the two Rocket teams? Or the first few Spurs teams? The ’83 Sixers? Do you count Dr. J, Hakeem, Robinson and a young Duncan as “all-time greats”? If so, fine, but I’d argue that Stat and Melo aren’t that far off from any of those guys in terms of talent.  

    Amar’e is as good as Hakeem? Melo is as good as David Robinson?

    I’m guessing you are too young to have seen these guys play, ’cause if Hakeem isn’t an all-time great, I don’t know who is.

  30. Jim Cavan

    @31.

    I saw them all play. And I would in fact classify Hakeem as an all-time great. I never said Amare or Melo were as good. Just that there’s isn’t that cavernous a difference. Furthermore, I would be tempted to take the Melo-Stat combo over the Hakeem-Drexler combo. Houston had some solid roll players on that team, but you can’t tell me we can’t somehow assemble something resembling that caliber a supporting cast.

    Obviously the elephant in the room is Jordan’s hiatus during these two years, and the equivalent talent suck that happened in the wake of his departure in 98. My only point is that there have been plenty of teams who’ve won championships without top ten all time talent or some other-worldly gestalt. Sometimes — like with the ’04 Pistons — you get a team with ZERO superstars who just have the gestalt. And in other cases you get two or maybe three elite-to-all-time-great guys and a solid cast of roll players. I don’t see why the latter is out of the realm of possibility for us.

  31. Frank

    Theoretically speaking, I definitely think we could win a title with a Melo/Amare core. It all depends on the supporting cast – not exactly a profound statement. If you put Tyson Chandler or someone like him next to Amare, then Amare becomes a much more potent player. You can hide his defense against the other team’s lesser big, allowing him to conserve energy and dominate on the offensive end. Then you add Bruce Bowen / Tony Allen / Shane Battier types to play with Melo at the swing position – guys who can lock down on defense and hit open corner 3′s. Point guard wise even someone like Toney Douglas would probably be adequate, assuming he continues his improvement. I think a lineup like this, which is not really too much to hope for (I mean conceptually, not the actual players), would seriously contend:

    PG: Douglas
    SG: Tony Allen
    SF: Melo
    PF: Amare
    C: Tyson Chandler
    Bench: energy guys, specialists, etc.

    How much do you think Javale McGee will get when he is a RFA after next season?

  32. Z

    @32– Yeah, the landscape was different then. But Hakeem was the best player in the NBA during Jordan’s hiatus. It’s no surprise he won championships during that time. Just as Jordan was the best player in the NBA when he won his rings. Just as Shaq was the best player in the NBA when he won his rings. Just as Duncan was the best player in the NBA when he won his rings.

    The formula is pretty clear: get the best player in the NBA and surround him with enough talent to allow him to win.

    With creativity, and a lot of luck, a core of Amar’e and ‘Melo can be good enough to contend for, but not actually win, a championship. Kind of like the Cavs in the 80s, the Knicks in the 90s, and the Kings in the 00s. Just my feeling. Could be wrong.

  33. BigBlueAL

    It is so much easier and relaxing watching the Yankees protect a lead late in the game than it is the Knicks.

  34. cgreene

    Z: @32– Yeah, the landscape was different then. But Hakeem was the best player in the NBA during Jordan’s hiatus. It’s no surprise he won championships during that time. Just as Jordan was the best player in the NBA when he won his rings. Just as Shaq was the best player in the NBA when he won his rings. Just as Duncan was the best player in the NBA when he won his rings.The formula is pretty clear: get the best player in the NBA and surround him with enough talent to allow him to win.With creativity, and a lot of luck, a core of Amar’e and ‘Melo can be good enough to contend for, but not actually win, a championship. Kind of like the Cavs in the 80s, the Knicks in the 90s, and the Kings in the 00s. Just my feeling. Could be wrong.  

    The ’10 Cavs and the ’11 Heat pretty much defy that rule. I, for one, believe that LeBron had the talent last year and he choked. Not sure how you would summarize the talent around him this year. Can’t really say that he doesn’t have enough talent around him right now and my money is the Heat don’t even get to the Finals. One could argue that Shaq was better than Hakim in 1995 and had a better team. Think there is just a lot more to it than that.

  35. Brian Cronin

    It is so much easier and relaxing watching the Yankees protect a lead late in the game than it is the Knicks.

    Ha! Too true.

  36. Owen

    I wouldn’t say Hakeem was the best player in the NBA those years. An All-time great though certainly. Those Rockets teams were lucky to win titles. They were the sixth and eleventh best teams. The second team was one of the worst to ever win a title. But if they can do it maybe the Knicks can. I doubt it.

  37. Z

    Yeah, but that ’95 team steamrolled through the playoffs. Hakeem was unstoppable. Even Shaq couldn’t slow him down.
    I think that Rockets team underachieved during the regular season.

    @37 like I said, the landscape was different then. But LeBron’s choke job was an exception to the rule. I don’t think it disproved it.

  38. BigBlueAL

    Z: Yeah, but that ’95 team steamrolled through the playoffs. Hakeem was unstoppable. Even Shaq couldn’t slow him down.I think that Rockets team underachieved during the regular season.@37 like I said, the landscape was different then. But LeBron’s choke job was an exception to the rule. I don’t think it disproved it.  

    I wouldnt say they steamrolled through the playoffs. Yeah they swept the Magic in the Finals but they went the distance in the 1st and 2nd rounds then went 6 games in the Conference Finals.

  39. hoolahoop

    John Kenney: In regards to my “hoping for a 3rd star” comment: do you think that we could win a title with either Melo or Amar’e as our team’s best player? I’m curious.  

    I think melo’s first championship will be as a role player, many years from now, on a team that clearly has better players that understand how to play winning basketball.
    Even when the knicks win I just don’t like them anymore. In particular, I don’t like melo, or the new, post injury Billups. I guess I’m a bit of a basketball purist and hate selfish, dumb, lazy players, regardless if they’re talented or not. Watching the iso thing is a turnoff – and ineffective against superior teams. No question, melo is a scoring machine. Unfortunately, the melo machine is throwing a monkey wrench into the bigger machine – the team.
    And why does he grin after every basket he makes, even when they’re down by double digits?

  40. latke

    Jim Cavan: How about the two Rocket teams? Or the first few Spurs teams? The ’83 Sixers? Do you count Dr. J, Hakeem, Robinson and a young Duncan as “all-time greats”? If so, fine, but I’d argue that Stat and Melo aren’t that far off from any of those guys in terms of talent.

    I think you have to look at the landscape of the NBA. Right now there are a handful of players who are leagues above anyone else: Lebron, Howard, Dirk, Wade, Paul (when healthy), Deron Williams. Put a handful of competent and complementary players around these guys, and you automatically have 45-50 wins.

    There are a couple of guys on the fringe of this like Nash (when healthy), Durant and Kobe who probably get you 35-40 wins in a similar situation, but largely the talent level falls off a cliff after these top guys. Put Amare Stoudemire on the Nets rather than Deron Williams, that team wins 30 games (I anticipate the Nets winning about 40 next year with a healthy Deron, and that’s with a pretty awful supporting cast). Same goes for Westbrook, Rose, Gasol, Rondo, Manu, Parker, etc.

    I don’t think it is always like this. There are these lulls when there are not such huge drop offs between the best and the rest, and most of the time, that’s when teams without transcendent players get their championships.

    That said, chemistry and wise player development (popovich = the master of this) is also important. There’s a reason KG never got anywhere in Minnesota — it’s not child’s play to build a contender even when you have one of those greats.

  41. hoolahoop

    Ben R: If we are truly moving forward with this roster I think we need to choose one of the two to hitch our team to and Melo seems to be the better choice. At this point I say trade Amare, don’t resign Billups and try to build around Melo.

    I don’t think melo knows how to play well with others. If Amare was teamed teamed up with D.Will and our old squad – look out. They’d tear through this league.

  42. hoolahoop

    Ben R: Team will always trump talent unless that talent is named Jordan or Shaq or Magic. Ben R

    Not even those guys could win by themselves. All were part of fantastic, cohesive, teams.

  43. Z-man

    hoolahoop:
    I think melo’s first championship will be as a role player, many years from now, on a team that clearly has better players that understand how to play winning basketball.
    Even when the knicks win I just don’t like them anymore. In particular, I don’t like melo, or the new, post injury Billups. I guess I’m a bit of a basketball purist and hate selfish, dumb, lazy players, regardless if they’re talented or not. Watching the iso thing is a turnoff – and ineffective against superior teams. No question, melo is a scoring machine. Unfortunately, the melo machine is throwing a monkey wrench into the bigger machine – the team.
    And why does he grin after every basket he makes, even when they’re down by double digits?  

    Lakers have Kobe, who iso’s even more (and less efficiently) than Melo. Pierce does plenty of iso stuff with the Celts. So did Jordan with the Bulls and Shaq with the Lakers. The ’94 Knicks came one game from a championship with Ewing dominating the ball. The big difference between Melo and these other guys is on the defensive end, where Melo has looked erratic and unfocused, but has shown bettersigns lately. I have actually been impressed with Melo’s passing skills. Let’s remember that he is only 26 (Jordan did not have a championship yet by then.)

    Regarding the grinning, I actually like that he doesn’t seem fazed by pressure.

    This team will never be the ’69-’70 Knicks, but I doubt that they will play as ugly as the ’90s Knicks either. Let’s see what Walsh (I hope!) can do during this off-season. He pulled Fields, Shawne, and Moz (and Jerome Jordan?) out of thin air last year, so let’s give him a chance.

  44. Frank

    hoolahoop:

    Even when the knicks win I just don’t like them anymore. In particular, I don’t like melo, or the new, post injury Billups. I guess I’m a bit of a basketball purist and hate selfish, dumb, lazy players, regardless if they’re talented or not. Watching the iso thing is a turnoff – and ineffective against superior teams.
    And why does he grin after every basket he makes, even when they’re down by double digits?  

    So you hated watching Michael Jordan? Kobe Bryant? Lebron James? Dwyane Wade? Iso’s are part of the game, and are effective when run correctly at the right times.

    And basketball purist or not, you don’t know the first thing about any of these players other than what you see on TV broadcasts and what beat writers with their own agendas tell you, so to call any player dumb, lazy, or selfish reveals more about you than it does about them. I don’t think you have any idea how much work it takes to become a professional basketball player of Melo’s quality. Could he pass the ball more? Sure. Does he take some bad shots? Sure. Does that make him dumb, selfish, and lazy? That’s just ridiculous.

    Lazy? It is highly likely that he has worked harder at his game than anything you’ve ever worked at in your life.

    Selfish? Maybe. But we don’t know nearly enough about Melo to make that judgment.

    And the dumb part? Not sure if you’re black, white, or whatever color, but that sounds a little bit like a racial stereotype. But I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on that. I’ll assume you’ve had deep meaningful conversations with Melo and found him to be dumb.

  45. Z-man

    I have faith in Fields for next year. He has both the rookie wall (he has played big minutes and started almost every game) and the dramatic change in the team as excuses for now. How quickly some people forget how well he played for a very long stretch. Give him a summer to work on some things and let’s see what happens.

  46. hoolahoop

    There have been basically four dynasties that have won NBA titles in the modern era: the Celtics, Bulls, Lakers, and to a lesser degree, the Spurs.
    The common thread of these teams is that they all played high IQ, team, basketball. Even, the Bulls, who had Jordan as the premier 1-on-1 player in the league’s history, was surrounded by good role players that were very involved in games. As great as he was, Jordan would time and time again kick it out to Paxton or Kerr for the open three. The current Celtics play great team ball. The examples are endless.
    My point is that you can’t win with selfish players. The whole is stronger than the sum of the parts. Iverson, Marbury, Vince Carter all never understood that. D. Will gets it. Melo doesn’t get it. Paul Pierce does.

  47. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, it is really unfair/wrong to call Melo dumb or lazy, and “selfish” is a huuuuuuuuuge stretch, as well (as I can’t imagine anyone, myself included, risking losing that $65 million contract with the new CBA coming up).

  48. John Kenney Post author

    @35 that’s totally revisionist though- you DECIDED duncan was best when he won his titles BECAUSE he won his titles. kevin garnett was probably better, but because he didn’t win the title, people think of duncan as better.

  49. hoolahoop

    Z-man: Lakers have Kobe, who iso’s even more (and less efficiently) than Melo. Pierce does plenty of iso stuff with the Celts. So did Jordan with the Bulls and Shaq with the Lakers. The ’94 Knicks came one game from a championship with Ewing dominating the ball.

    Kobe plays a more fluid game than melo and involves his teammates much more. He’s constantly dishing off to Gasol, in particular. Pierce plays team ball.
    Sure, those are all “go-to” guys, but they weren’t ball stoppers trying to beat teams on their own. And yes, they were more commited to defense.

  50. Brian Cronin

    By the way, on the topic of the current squad, last night’s game was just another example of what we’ve been seeing. Melo and Billups come from one of the best offenses in the NBA, and it was an isolations-based offense. They are continuing to play at a high level while continuing to run an isolations offense. However, the rest of the team is running the SSOL. It is no coincidence that the players who have worked best with Melo and Billups have been the guys who came from Denver – they know the iso offense, and can play within it. The problem is that the Knicks’ fourth or fifth best player (depending on how the wind blows) is Landry Fields, and the isolation-based offense makes his skills pretty much useless. Similarly, their best/second-best player, Amar’e, is too dominant of a big man to not be able to do at least okay in an iso offense, but his skills, too, are designed for an SSOL offense.

    Melo/Billups doing well in iso is a bit like fool’s gold, because their success might win the Knicks some games, but at the detriment of the other players on the team. Look at the last two and a half minutes of the game after Billups tied the game on one of the few times his “try to get fouled on a three pointer” worked – Melo/Billups took every shot (six in total) and made one of them! Luckily, New Jersey only scored once and even more luckily, Toney got the rebound on one of the misses (leading to two big free throw makes), or else the game would have been tied at the end of regulation. However well Melo/Billups are playing on offense, there is no doubt that they would be even better on offense if they ran the SSOL. How could they not be better? The SSOL is a brilliant offensive system – it works wonders for mediocre players, but these two very good players can’t seem to look past their current level of success to see that they could be that much better if they ran SSOL, and while they would improve they would also be helping their good teammates, as well.

  51. hoolahoop

    Brian Cronin: Yeah, it is really unfair/wrong to call Melo dumb or lazy, and “selfish” is a huuuuuuuuuge stretch, as well (as I can’t imagine anyone, myself included, risking losing that $65 million contract with the new CBA coming up).  

    I wasn’t referring to his contract. He’s selfish in that he always calls for the ball and doesn’t distribute enough – even when he’s guarded. I say dumb meaning he has a low basketball IQ, just like TD. They don’t realize it’s easier to win when you help your teammates score and they help you score . . .instead of doing it alone and taking a lot of stupid shots.

  52. nicos

    Brian Cronin: However well Melo/Billups are playing on offense, there is no doubt that they would be even better on offense if they ran the SSOL.

    I think you have to hope they’ll be able to run both equally effectively- the fact that the Knicks can run a successful iso offense can pay real dividends when the threes aren’t falling or when they get bogged down in the half-court as playoff games often do- even the showtime Lakers had to play in the half-court a ton in the playoffs. And running an Iso offense shouldn’t mean everyone just stands around and watches Melo go one on one- while Melo may have refused to pass the ball in Denver he’s consistently hit cutters or made skip passes to the corner for threes when the opportunity has presented itself so I think the “selfish” remarks been off-base- at least since he’s been here.

  53. ess-dog

    “The problem is that the Knicks’ fourth or fifth best player (depending on how the wind blows) is Landry Fields, and the isolation-based offense makes his skills pretty much useless. Similarly, their best/second-best player, Amar’e, is too dominant of a big man to not be able to do at least okay in an iso offense, but his skills, too, are designed for an SSOL offense.”

    Well said. And it’s easy to notice in those two players.
    Ideally, we’ll get back to the SSOL system probably next training camp.
    But the iso stuff is good for the last 2 minutes of each half when scoring comes hard and you need (sorry) a “go to guy”.
    My worry is that Billups will never be able to properly run SSOL with his skillset, although generally, he can’t be a more mechanical passer than Felton was… I would hope that he could at least do what Ray did. Sure he’s not as fast as Ray, but the p&r should be there at times and I’m sure he can find people with longer outlet passes on the break instead of sprinting like Ray did.
    It’s a big experiment thus far. We’ll see what happens, but be prepared for more iso ball, at least for the rest of this year.

  54. hoolahoop

    Z-man: @51 Paul Pierce and Melo had virtually identical stats at the same age.  

    Even if it’s true, it’s meaningless.
    It’s a complete misuse of statistics.

  55. hoolahoop

    I think if Melo kept the ball moving, or did something with it right away, pass or shoot or made a move to the hoop, I think he’d be much more valuable.

  56. Z

    BigBlueAL:
    I wouldnt say they steamrolled through the playoffs.Yeah they swept the Magic in the Finals but they went the distance in the 1st and 2nd rounds then went 6 games in the Conference Finals.  

    They finished 12-3 over their last three series. Olajuwon was the reason.

    John Kenney: @35 that’s totally revisionist though- you DECIDED duncan was best when he won his titles BECAUSE he won his titles. kevin garnett was probably better, but because he didn’t win the title, people think of duncan as better.  

    Not really. Duncan was two time MVP. All NBA 1st team every year. All defensive team those years.

    The point is, though, the winning formula is not to have “two superstars”. It is to have 1 all-NBA player (top 2 or 3) paired with one other elite performer (top 15 or so). Swap out Duncan for Garnett on those Spurs teams and they probably still win. But swap out Duncan for Amar’e and probably they don’t.

    The “two superstar” road has been tried. Two 10-20 range players on the same team hasn’t resulted in championships. (Lewis and Allen in Seattle, Houston and Sprewell in NY, Miller and Smits in Indiana, Iverson and Mutumbo in Philly, Hardaway and Mourning in Miami, Barkley and KJ in Phoenix to name a few off the top of my head…) These teams were all contenders, but ultimately they lost to the team with the best player on the court.

    Maybe Owen is right. maybe the ’95 Rockets are the blueprint to give us Knick fans hope. They brought in Drexler mid year and proceeded tp fumble their way through the rest of the season and backed into the playoffs. Then they “gelled” and their stars stepped up big time in the playoffs, carrying the mediocre-at-best rest of the roster to glory.

  57. Z-man

    hoolahoop:
    Even if it’s true, it’s meaningless.
    It’s a complete misuse of statistics.  

    Of course, it must be. Obviously, anything you disagree with is meaningless. Please forgive me for having the temerity to disagree with you.

  58. nicos

    hoolahoop: I think if Melo kept the ball moving, or did something with it right away, pass or shoot or made a move to the hoop, I think he’d be much more valuable.  

    A lot of times Melo holds the ball in order to make the defense commit to the double team. There already have been many, many plays where Melo’s held the ball just until someone on D has cheated over a few steps and then delivered the ball to a cutter. Does he sometimes hold the ball too long? Yes, but he really does need to wait a beat or two after the catch to maximize what he does. You don’t bring Melo in to run the Princeton offense. You also don’t want holding the ball for 6 or 8 seconds before making his move but outside of the first couple of games that really hasn’t happened that often- the key is for the other guys to keep moving once Melo gets the ball- he’s been more than willing to share the ball so far- I bet he has almost as many assists to Amar’e as Billups has.

  59. art vandelay

    Not sure if this has been addressed here in this thread or earlier, but does anyone know if the knicks, under the terms of hte current CBA, can agree to restructure Billups’ contract such that he would be paid something reasonable next year (i.e. not $14 million) and over 2-3 years so as to allow them to go out and sign a big man next summer with the leftover cap space (obviously this would take us out of 2012 paul, howard fantasyland, but just wondering)….or would they basically have to buy him out, agree to pay him $3 millbo and then sign him to a new extension…kind of like what spurs did with jefferson last summer?

  60. Z-man

    How can you possibly compare Houston and Sprewell (6 all-star appearances combined) to Amar’e and Melo, two likely HOFers? Lewis, Smits, and Mutumbo don’t belong in the conversation either.

    Obviously, having the best player in the league is a great start, especially when that player is one of five players and plays 80+% of your posessions. But there have been enough teams that have won outside of that mode to keep an open mind. One thing is for sure, unless you have EXTRAORDINARY chemistry or luck, your chances of winning a championship without at least two HOF-level players are slim to none.

  61. Owen

    “Z-man: @51 Paul Pierce and Melo had virtually identical stats at the same age.
    Hoolahoop:
    Even if it’s true, it’s meaningless.
    It’s a complete misuse of statistic”

    I don’t think that’s a misuse of statistics. It’s very accurate and I ahve said the same thing many times. Melo is in fact a slightly bigger version of Paul Pierce and if we are lucky he will be as productive over the same time period of his career as Pierce was.

  62. Ben R

    nicos: A lot of times Melo holds the ball in order to make the defense commit to the double team.

    Don’t you think that shows alot of hubris – “I’ll hold the ball until something opens up because I am much better than my teammates and the system so the shot I create for myself or my teammates will be much better than the shot the system or my teammates can create”.

    Z-man: How can you possibly compare Houston and Sprewell (6 all-star appearances combined) to Amar’e and Melo, two likely HOFers? Lewis, Smits, and Mutumbo don’t belong in the conversation either.

    I agree that Houston, Spreewell, Lewis and Smits probably don’t belong in the conversation but Mutumbo is one of the best defense players of his generation and was a solid offensive player, at least as valuable overall, if not more valuable than Amare or Melo.

    The point I was trying to make earlier is if you don’t have a top 3 talent your chemestry, effort, size and depth better be fantastic because the chances of you winning are really slim to begin with. I would say that the earliest Spurs team didn’t have a top 3 talent (Duncan wasn’t there yet, Robinson was past it) but it had great depth, size, teamwork and effort. Same with all 3 Pistons teams and the Rockets teams. We don’t have a top 3 talent or great chemestry, effort, depth and size. Our best two players don’t compliment each other, have effort/focus issues and do not help our teams size. With our two best players making so much money getting size and depth will be a challange and who knows if they’ll ever commit fully to defense and the fully to the team concept so effort and chemestry will be a problem.

  63. Owen

    I agree, don’t sleep on Deke. A latter day Mutombo we find somewhere at the end of the first round would be my dream Knick. We could call him Air Congo.

    Oh wait…

  64. nicos

    Ben R:
    Don’t you think that shows alot of hubris – “I’ll hold the ball until something opens up because I am much better than my teammates and the system so the shot I create for myself or my teammates will be much better than the shot the system or my teammates can create”.

    No, I think he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do when he gets the ball in the mid-post. It’s hubris when he jacks up a 22 foot fall away when a teammate is wide open but that hasn’t happened all that often here- at least so far. Teams don’t double Melo because he has a big ego, they double him because if they don’t he can get to the rim against just about anybody. I’d agree that the Knicks have played too much iso since the trade but I’d say that’s been to accommodate Billups every bit as much as to accommodate Melo and I think that when running iso sets Melo has been pretty willing to move the ball when the opportunity has presented itself.

  65. art vandelay

    Only other team I can think of in the last 20-25 years that won a championship without at least 2 elite players was Houston in 94 when they beat our beloved knicks….either way the team that won was going to win with just 1 star…both teams were similar in that they possessed one superior center (although Houston’s was much more superior to ours, unfortunately) and a bunch of hard-nosed role players and a few 3-point bombers…I think it was a down year for the league as a whole after the first MJ retirement.

  66. BigBlueAL

    I dont understand how Fields is struggling. He is the best player ever!! It has nothing to do with the system!! He was snubbed for the All-Star Game!!

    Sorry I just had to :-)

  67. Owen

    Fields hasn’t been as bad since the trade as some seem to think. His numbers have dropped off a bit, but he still rates out twice as good in Wins Produced as Carmelo since the trade. Mostly, he is playing fewer minutes, taking a few less shots, and he may have hit the rookie wall, who knows.

    I don’t think anyone said that adding the third highest usage player in the league wouldn’t impact Fields. But he hasn’t been horrible.

  68. hoolahoop

    Owen: “Z-man: @51 Paul Pierce and Melo had virtually identical stats at the same age.
    Hoolahoop:
    Even if it’s true, it’s meaningless.
    It’s a complete misuse of statistic”I don’t think that’s a misuse of statistics. It’s very accurate and I ahve said the same thing many times. Melo is in fact a slightly bigger version of Paul Pierce and if we are lucky he will be as productive over the same time period of his career as Pierce was.  

    Like someone said here the other day, you guys should watch baseball and try to be the next Theo Epstein. Yeah, stats offer some help getting an overall picture of things, but there’s too much going on on a basketball court that stats don’t explain, like comparing two players. A monster stuff and a lucky put back are both two points, but a world of difference.

  69. cgreene

    Funny about ’94. Think an argument could be made that Pippen was the best player in the league that year and he did not win the title with a similar level supporting cast as Knicks and Rockets. Certainly Pippen was better than Ewing.

  70. BigBlueAL

    Owen: Fields hasn’t been as bad since the trade as some seem to think. His numbers have dropped off a bit, but he still rates out twice as good in Wins Produced as Carmelo since the trade. Mostly, he is playing fewer minutes, taking a few less shots, and he may have hit the rookie wall, who knows.I don’t think anyone said that adding the third highest usage player in the league wouldn’t impact Fields. But he hasn’t been horrible.  

    Since the trade they have almost identical FG %’s with the difference being Melo is making more 3′s per game and actually shooting them at a better % plus is taking 5 more FT’s per game shooting it 8% points better. Actually I think it is a plus for Melo that he has been basically as efficient as Fields has been since the trade because while Fields hasnt been as God-like with his efficiency as he was in the 1st half he still has been pretty efficient since the trade but is playing 3 mins less per game.

  71. cgreene

    …although that call giving Hubert Davis those 3 fts in the ECF pretty much cost Chicago the series. Terrible call.

  72. hoolahoop

    nicos: It’s hubris when he jacks up a 22 foot fall away when a teammate is wide open but that hasn’t happened all that often here- at least so far.

    Are you sure we’re watching the same games? Melo has no hesitation to launch long two’s and three’s with hands in his face. He’s such a great scorer that he makes some of them, which he, and many fans, think entitles him to keep doing it. The more he does it, the less the rest of the team will move when he has the ball.
    It’s a bad system. Dantoni’s system is better.

  73. hoolahoop

    Owen: Fields hasn’t been as bad since the trade as some seem to think. His numbers have dropped off a bit, but he still rates out twice as good in Wins Produced as Carmelo since the trade. Mostly, he is playing fewer minutes, taking a few less shots, and he may have hit the rookie wall, who knows.

    Fields wall is the iso offense. There’s a lot less for him to do. He gets less touches and less passes when he moves without the ball. That’s why he’s moving a lot less.

  74. massive

    The offense really isn’t the problem. We’re still one of the league’s best offenses. Our problem is and has been since October is rebounding and defense. If Tyson Chandler, Nene, Ibaka, or Perkins were playing next to Amar’e, we’d have won more games and probably be locked into a 5th or 6th seed. You can’t say the same about replacing Melo with Chandler and Gallo. Melo isn’t what’s wrong with this team. Its more because Amar’e isn’t KG.

  75. nicos

    hoolahoop:
    Are you sure we’re watching the same games? Melo has no hesitation to launch long two’s and three’s with hands in his face. He’s such a great scorer that he makes some of them, which he, and many fans, think entitles him to keep doing it. The more he does it, the less the rest of the team will move when he has the ball.
    It’s a bad system. Dantoni’s system is better.  

    Sometimes I’m not sure we are watching the same game ;) To me, pre-trade, there was about three weeks where the ball really moved- when Felton had figured out the P & R and was hitting enough shots that Amar’e actually had space to roll. Once Felton started missing and teams sagged into the lane the Knicks offense featured a ton of iso with Amar’e getting the ball at the elbow (and holding the ball for 4 or 5 seconds) so I’m not sure how much has changed. While neither Gallo or Chandler stopped the ball as much as Melo, you have to admit they rarely did anything other than give it to the next closest guy on the perimeter- neither really fed the post and they never threw skip passes so the ball didn’t move in and out or quickly from side to side. We got good looks off of penetration and the push, not from great ball movement in the half court.
    Also- Has Melo had plays where he’s held the ball for 6 seconds and then fired off a fade away? Yes, and that’s never good but he’s moved the ball a lot more than I think you’ve given him credit for. I think Billups has been more of an issue in terms of ball movement than Melo has- I think his commitment to running the P & R has been half-hearted at best and too often he just pulls it back out after Amar’e sets a screen and looks for Melo. That needs to change and I hope it will but it’s hardly like we’ve gone from the 1970 Knicks to the 1994 Knicks since the trade.

  76. rayhed

    haven’t read through all the comments, and may totally be repeating whats already been said, but i think the comparisons to paul pierce are spot on…. luckily for pierce he managed to get surrounded with the exact pieces he needed to win championships – 2 incredidbly unselfish star role players in kg and ray allen.

    its just sad because melo seems like he could also thrive if placed in the right environment- say alongside a player like dwight howard who could just play him defense and clean up the boards for him…. but it seems like with our current roster, and the lack of flexibility we have, he’ll never have the right fit

    too bad- always exciting to see players reach greatness… he has the talent but probably never will

  77. slovene knick

    @6
    Frank,
    a little erratum corrigendum: J.Adolphus.J had a shot-percentage of 73 and not a TS!!!
    I looked at his stats during this season and didn’t get it why he is playing just 14 MPG?!?!?!?…..his 3,5 RPG(O 1,5/D2,5) is very good also……Didn’t see him play tho.
    KB didn’t give no mandate on scouting so…..

  78. Doug

    hoolahoop:
    Like someone said here the other day, you guys should watch baseball and try to be the next Theo Epstein

    I cannot believe anyone took that guy seriously. Theo Epstein has won two championships in the past 7 years “overthinking” baseball. I would kill to have a Theo Epstein equivalent running the Knicks.

  79. hoolahoop

    Doug:
    I cannot believe anyone took that guy seriously. Theo Epstein has won two championships in the past 7 years “overthinking” baseball. I would kill to have a Theo Epstein equivalent running the Knicks.  

    You missed his point.
    Some of you stat guys over-apply statistical measures to quantify past outcomes and create incomplete, erroneous evaluations of players.
    Are you aware that Theo and Billy Beane intentionally don’t watch games so their emotions won’t effect their quantitative decisions?
    Yeah, that’s what the knicks need.

  80. Brian Cronin

    Are you aware that Theo and Billy Beane intentionally don’t watch games so their emotions won’t effect their quantitative decisions?

    If that’s true, then both guys have done pretty well doing so, so it’s an odd thing to point out as a negative.

  81. Brian Cronin

    And yeah, Nicos, I agree that Billups’ inability to adapt to SSOL is the bigger issue, because Billups (who is used to isolations) feeds into Melo’s isolations. It was Billups who led to the Billups and Melo taking the Knicks’ last six field goals against the Nets, all of which were isolations (and the pair made only one out of the six field goals). So yeah, I concur that Billups needs to buy into SSOL, and if he does, then Melo will, as well.

    Do you think it will happen this year? Or do you think Billups needs a whole summer to get used to it?

  82. Owen

    Seriously, I thought the whole point of this blog was to pretend we were Billy Beane or Theo Epstein or Andrew Friedman, but running the Knicks. A safe space for Knicks fans who want to fantasize about having Sam Presti as their general manager.

  83. Brian Cronin

    The offense really isn’t the problem. We’re still one of the league’s best offenses. Our problem is and has been since October is rebounding and defense. If Tyson Chandler, Nene, Ibaka, or Perkins were playing next to Amar’e, we’d have won more games and probably be locked into a 5th or 6th seed. You can’t say the same about replacing Melo with Chandler and Gallo. Melo isn’t what’s wrong with this team. Its more because Amar’e isn’t KG

    While I agree that if Amar’e was vintage KG, the Knicks would be a better team, I think that’s sort of a given, right?

    That said, the Knicks knew they were giving up defense in the deal, but they thought that they would be improving their offense by a lot. They haven’t. This is because while Billups and Melo are playing well within their system, doing so has been affecting the rest of the team (who are playing a different system). So in the end, while the offense has slightly improved, if Billups were to buy into the system, I believe the offense would improve to the point where it would fully offset the defensive loss.

  84. Brian Cronin

    And this was brought up during the Nets game, and I think it bears repeating – when Amar’e is not on the court and Melo is, why not let Melo play the 4? Melo at the 4 with Sheldon at the 5 should be a viable option, which would allow the Knicks to play a back court of two of Billups/Douglas/Carter and keep Fields in the game at the 3.

  85. KnickfaninNJ

    Brian,

    in @93 you suggest that the Knicks offense improved a little after the trade but their defense got worse. That’s clearly kind of true, But I seem to remember that there was Knickerblogger article showing points per possession allowed and given up before and after the trade. Amazingly to me, the numbers showed the offense improved more than the defense got worse! That would imply that the defensive decline is not the trouble so much as just not having enough possesions. I.e., the new Knicks are probably doing worse on the rebound/steal/turnover arena than the old ones did, From watching some of the games, this seems like a real possibility to me.

    I know that there have been more games since then; but, if anything the Knicks are showing signs of a better defense lately. So I think the worst problem for the Knicks may be possessions, not defense per se. In particular, I suspect our rebounding differential is worse compared to before (although I don’t have numbers to show this). What do you think?

  86. hoolahoop

    Brian Cronin:
    If that’s true, then both guys have done pretty well doing so, so it’s an odd thing to point out as a negative.  

    That’s baseball!!!
    The guy posted “You guys should follow baseball”.

    Do you want a GM for the knicks that doesn’t watch players and only goes by stats to acquire new players?

  87. hoolahoop

    Owen: Seriously, I thought the whole point of this blog was to pretend we were Billy Beane or Theo Epstein or Andrew Friedman, but running the Knicks. A safe space for Knicks fans who want to fantasize about having Sam Presti as their general manager.  

    Yeah, let’s play GM. But that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to emulate a GM from baseball and justify his success as the best technique to use in the NBA.

  88. Owen

    “Yeah, let’s play GM. But that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to emulate a GM from baseball and justify his success as the best technique to use in the NBA. Do you want a GM for the knicks that doesn’t watch players and only goes by stats to acquire new players? ”

    I want a GM who makes intelligent decisions based on all the information at his disposal. Who values long term benefit over short term benefit. Who values actual basketball production over reputation. Is that so much to ask?

  89. Frank

    hoolahoop:
    Yeah, let’s play GM. But that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to emulate a GM from baseball and justify his success as the best technique to use in the NBA.  

    I generally disagree with Mr. Hoolahoop but I do agree with him on this. This is not a revolutionary statement, but I think it is relatively easy to see that metrics in basketball, especially on the defensive end, are clearly inferior to baseball metrics. Trying to parse out individual excellence in what is very much a team sport using incomplete and inadequate statistics is pretty tough. There are a lot of smart people who disagree with each other about the applicability of whatever metric du jour is being used.

    I love this site — it’s been a godsend to me as for whatever reason I’m in a social circle that doesn’t watch much basketball — but my only issue with some of the posts has been the inappropriate, or maybe more properly, the inaccurate use of statistics to “clinch” whatever point is trying to be made. There are a million confounders in just about any stat that is used (except maybe free throws), and so nothing is so cut and dry that any semi-reasonable viewpoint should be discarded as not evidence or stats-based.

    That being said – I think there are few if any GMs out there nowadays that only use PPG or whatever “conventional” “nonadvanced” stat to judge players. It’s likely that the more stats-enlightened teams have statistical evaluations WAY above what we ordinary fans get to see. In that vein – it should be interesting to the Melo-hating crowd that Daryl Morey, king of the propeller-heads, reportedly tried very hard to get Carmelo.

  90. Doug

    hoolahoop:
    That’s baseball!!!
    The guy posted “You guys should follow baseball”.Do you want a GM for the knicks that doesn’t watch players and only goes by stats to acquire new players?!

    If it works, yes.

  91. CRJoe

    Frank:
    I think you’ve chosen the wrong examples –
    meaning the Bulls have 3 elite- or close to elite players – Rose, Noah, Boozer.The Celtics have 4 guys + Shaq who could go to the hall of fame.The Mavs have Dirk, who will go to the HOF, as well as Jason Kidd who is a shoe-in.

    One thing is an “elite” player, and whole different one is a very good player… Do you think Boozer is as good as Dirk or Melo??? Or the 37 year old version of Jason Kidd is a Hall of Famer??? And Shaq!? Really!? There are a heap of players that are Hall of Famers currently active, but you gotta call it like it is… Tim Duncan is a Hall of Famer, and is playing like one RIGHT NOW… While Shaq is a HOF who puts worse numbers than Kwame Brown….
    Dallas has 1 elite player in Dirk, and a great supporting cast…
    Bulls got Rose and Noah, but don’t put Boozer next to Kobe, Lebron and Durant…
    Celtics have a great team, but not a single guy you would take over Melo in a straight up deal (maybe Rondo)…

  92. Owen

    Frank – That’s a fantastic link. Thanks.

    CRJOE = I’d take Rondo over Melo in a hearbeat. Who wouldn’t who tracks advanced statistics. Especially at half the price. I doubt KG will play past this year but there is no way Melo will ever be as productive on a basketball court as KG is right now. Better statistics and the backbone of one of the best defenses in the league.

  93. BigBlueAL

    Frank: This is a great article from BP – it should be pasted everywhere in the Knicks locker room and on the ceiling above Melo’s bed.
    http://www.basketballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=1619  

    D’Antoni has always been an advocate about this so Thibs is far from being the 1st coach to adapt to this philosophy. In fact D’Antoni has stated that on defense their goal is to force teams to shoot mid-range to longer 2pt jumpers and not give up laypus or 3pters. D’Antoni has stated that corner 3′s have the highest eFG% of any shot in basketball.

  94. CRJoe

    Owen: FCRJOE = I’d take Rondo over Melo in a hearbeat. Who wouldn’t who tracks advanced statistics. Especially at half the price. I doubt KG will play past this year but there is no way Melo will ever be as productive on a basketball court as KG is right now. Better statistics and the backbone of one of the best defenses in the league.  

    Well yeah, I think Rondo = Melo is arguable, he is a fantastic player but his offense is pretty one dimensional and shaky, and I just can’t buy into a player who shoots free throws worse than me and it’s almost the same height, I guess we could discuss pro’s and con’s all season long, of course the price is better but when I said “straight up” I kinda meant just comparing value…

    And KG??? Nah, 14 and 9 with a slightly lower PER than ‘Melo??? Not to count that those 14 are coming from what we both agree IS an elite point guard, KG’s offense would struggle mightily in a system than wouldn’t compliment his attributes so well… Which comes down to my point of depth vs “elite triumvirate”….

  95. Hudson River

    MIKE D’ANTONI FIRED AND REPLACED BY JEFF VAN GUNDY. From Donnie Walsh: “Although Mike has been great for us, we believe that moving forward, his coaching style does not compliment the roster we currently have in place….We in the Knicks organization wish Mike the best of luck and thank him for his years working with the Knicks.”

  96. steveoh

    Frank: Looks like we’re not the only team that thought more offense and less defense was a good idea:http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/miamiheat/post/_/id/5731/by-gaining-mike-bibby-heat-lose-identity  

    What that article implies is that it’s really not about the system you use to defend with, but it’s really about the players who execute it. And if there’s just one weak link, it can shake down the entire foundation.

    I’m not defending D’Antoni, but I’m wondering if this is more of a roster problem as it is strategic. Hell, we have no big man, our point can’t stay in front of anyone and our two star players are indifferent towards defending. How much can D’Antoni do to correct this if the pieces are inherently flawed? Sure, there can be spurts of effectiveness, but the true nature shows over time.

    (insert Corey Brewer comment below)

  97. Brian Cronin

    Stupid Houston getting San Antonio when San Antonio is all banged up. Still, with six games to go, they’re two and a half (I give them the half since they own the tie-breaker) of Memphis. That should not be surmountable, right?

  98. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    CRJoe:
    And KG??? Nah, 14 and 9 with a slightly lower PER than ‘Melo???  

    If a player shoots more shots at an efficiency equal to or better than 33 FG% and 25 3PT%, he raises his PER. Of course Carmelo has a better PER. He takes a ton of shots.

  99. BigBlueAL

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    If a player shoots more shots at an efficiency equal to or better than 33 FG% and 25 3PT%, he raises his PER. Of course Carmelo has a better PER. He takes a ton of shots.  

    Interestingly for their careers KG has only shot slightly more efficiently than Melo (TS% of .549 to .545). As a Knick Melo’s TS% of .569 is exactly the same as KG’s TS% for the season so far.

    Obviously KG has been the far better player over their careers due to his defense as well his excellent passing for a big man as well (he should be a lock for the HOF). Funny though how he wasnt considered to be a winner until he hooked up with a couple of future HOF players.

  100. Z-man

    While I think that D’Antoni is a very good coach, he was not the right guy for the situation when he was hired. He should have taken the Bulls job, that would have been better for him, and for the Knicks.

    Since we had an interim team, we should have gone with an interim coach or coaches, one that would have been more likely to play the players we had to rather than on the basis of whether they fit into a very narrow-minded system. Ironically, we now have a team that will be pretty far removed from the ideal SSoL team for the foreseeable future. I can only imagine whether we would be any different right now had we not hired D’Antoni. Oh well, we’ll never know.

  101. Z-man

    @115, good post, Al. In his Knicks career thus far, Melo is playing at an elite level offensively. Here is a list of player/seasons in the shot clock era that have TS% between .560 and .575, a usage% of over 30, and took at least 18 shots a game:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=1980&year_max=&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=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=ts_pct&c1comp=gt&c1val=.560&c2stat=usg_pct&c2comp=gt&c2val=30&c3stat=fga_per_g&c3comp=gt&c3val=18&c4stat=ts_pct&c4comp=lt&c4val=.575&c5stat=&c5comp=gt&c6mult=1.0&c6stat=&order_by=ws

    Melo’s D and other aspects of his game might separate him from the best player/seasons in this group, but not his offense, at least not yet.

  102. Z-man

    The point I am trying to make is that there are very few players that can do what Anthony does, i.e. shoot at a high volume and a relatively high efficiency. Beyond that, he has the physical tools to be a decent (if not very good) defender, rebounder and passer for his position, and he is only 26. I like what I’ve seen from him so far, both with my eyes and with stats.

  103. latke

    Z-man: The point I am trying to make is that there are very few players who can do what Anthony does, i.e. shoot at a high volume and a relatively high efficiency.

    Z-Man, why would you put a cap on TS% in your search? Sure, there are only 29 player-seasons wherein a player has shot at or near ‘Melo’s volume and efficiency, but if you take players who have shot at or ABOVE his efficiency and volume,you get a list of 65, and when sorting by TS%, Anthony doesn’t show up until #45.

    Z-man: Since we had an interim team, we should have gone with an interim coach or coaches, one that would have been more likely to play the players we had to rather than on the basis of whether they fit into a very narrow-minded system.

    Is this a comment about Anthony Randolph? If not, I’m not sure which players you wanted him to play. Darko Milicic, who despite having some big games this year with Minnesota, is mostly just a foul machine who takes a lot of bad shots. Jordan Hill still could hardly break the rotation this year when Houston had its first 2 centers out.

    Let’s be real here: MDA was the first guy to start David Lee, who transformed from a rebounder/finisher into a solid all around offensive player in MDA’s “rigid” system. He also had the balls to sit two guys making big money who had started the previous season (harrington, hughes) so that he could start a 21 year old coming off back surgery (gallo) and a 22 y/o who couldn’t shoot (chandler) and stuck with him as he developed a perimeter game. Both of whom emerged this season as probably the first players knick fans have been sad to see go probably since Marcus Camby and Latrell Sprewell.

    MDA didn’t become rigid until stoudemire arrived.

  104. Owen

    Z – Man – There are actually a lot of players that can do what Melo does. What’s the difference offensively between Melo and Nash, Nowitzki, Paul, Durant, Kevin Martin, Bryant, Gasol. The difference is that they have much higher offensive ratings. And it isn’t close. We are paying Melo twice what Houston is paying Kevin Martin, who scores at a higher rate and ts% with a lower turnover rate.

    It’s not like Melo is the second coming. He is a good player and he has played to his capabilities since coming here. He’s been a little better than expected but more or less exactly what we thought he would be. Which is not an elite player or a guy who will ever grade out well on any metric other than PER (which as THCJ points out rewards shot taking.)

    To be honest, while Melo is catching a lot of grief, Amare has pretty much disappeared over the last two months. That’s what worries me.

  105. Z-man

    latke:
    Z-Man, why would you put a cap on TS% in your search? Sure, there are only 29 player-seasons wherein a player has shot at or near ‘Melo’s volume and efficiency, but if you take players who have shot at or ABOVE his efficiency and volume,you get a list of 65, and when sorting by TS%, Anthony doesn’t show up until #45.

    I also did the search w/o a cap and got the same list you did. First of all, if you sort by TS% (the list automatically sorts by WS, which includes many other variables), there are less than 20 players (mostly past or future HOFers) above him (many have multiple seasons on the list, e.g. Jordan, Malone, LeBron.) The reason I put a cap on is to demonstrate that those same HOF-caliber players shot the same way Anthony did in some of their best years, and nobody criticized them for being high-volume/low efficiency offensive players. In fact, if you sort the capped list by FG attempts, Melo is further down than most on the list. Was Jordan a high-volume chucker in 1992-93, when he took 26 shots a game at a TS% of .564? In other words, there are some valid reasons to criticize Melo, but taking too many shots is really not one of them.

  106. Frank

    @Owen – actually for the extra $8M we are paying Melo we get a guy who actually has the ability to play defense when he wants to, and who doesn’t need to be hidden on that end of the floor. Martin and Bibby are maybe the worst defensive players in the league.

    Melo may not be as good as some of the other guys you listed but he’s got age on all of them but Paul and Durant (Gasol is the next youngest at 30), and was actually available. That makes a big difference. I probably would rather have had Deron Williams but it’s not that big a difference IMO. Especially if one considers the possibility that chris Paul coming was maybe prearranged. The fire sale to get this Melo deal done feels a little like mike Beasley getting traded for a 2nd round pick- like it was already a sure thing.

    Of course it also feels like the Jordan hill trade too. Hmmm.

  107. crazchino

    woke up nd saw a rumor talkin bout the jazz had talked d-wil trade w/ knicks. any truth to this? because to be honest i’d much rather have gallo nd d-wil over chauncy nd melo.

  108. massive

    crazchino: woke up nd saw a rumor talkin bout the jazz had talked d-wil trade w/ knicks. any truth to this? because to be honest i’d much rather have gallo nd d-wil over chauncy nd melo.  

    I think if this was true, we would have Melo and D-Will here with Billups, Anthony Randolph, and Mozgov in Utah and Gallo, Ill Will, and Felton in Denver (not sure who gets our 1st round pick though). We might have lost Landry Fields as well.

  109. Z-man

    Owen:
    It’s not like Melo is the second coming. He is a good player and he has played to his capabilities since coming here. He’s been a little better than expected but more or less exactly what we thought he would be.Which is not an elite player or a guy who will ever grade out well on any metric other than PER (which as THCJ points out rewards shot taking.)
    To be honest, while Melo is catching a lot of grief, Amare has pretty much disappeared over the last two months. That’s what worries me.  

    On what basis do you conclude that Melo will not ever grade out well on any metric other than PER? Let’s use your own example: Offensive Rating. Paul Pierce never had an offensive rating above 109 at age 26. Since then, he has never had one below 110. Why can’t this happen with Melo?

    I don’t buy the comparison with Kevin Martin, who is a shooting guard with a history of being injury prone, and is a poor passer and a poor rebounder. He has never had a usage rate of above 30, or averaged as many shots as he is taking this year. That said, if he wasn’t so frail and had a few years like this one under his belt, he’d be making more money than he is now, and may have a big contract waiting for him in the next couple of years.

    We probably don’t disagree that much as to what Melo is right now. The question is, can Melo, at age 26, improve to “max player” status? You say no, I say yes. I think he has WAY more upside than Kevin Martin will ever have, and is much closer to a Pierce-type of player (who I think has been a max-level player since age 26).

  110. massive

    I think Carmelo Anthony has the ability to become an elite producer at this level. He’s proven to be a willing passer, a tenacious defender (when he pleases), and a good rebounder. We all know he can score; his usage and TS% clearly documents that. It’s an effort thing with Melo. While it’s clear he lacks KG’s motor, Tim Duncan’s b-ball IQ, LeBron’s other-worldly athleticism, and Kobe’s “will to win,” he has all of the physical tools to be great. I think he’s going to surprise everybody on this board next year when he’s surrounded by more talented players, playing with a fresh Amar’e and a more comfortable Chauncey. That’s just me being optimistic though.

  111. Kikuchiyo

    Is this a hilarious harbinger of trouble in Miami or is it our worst nightmare:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-wojnarowski_heat_consider_signing_Eddy_Curry_040211

    Let’s say the Knicks play Miami in round one. Will Curry become the ultimate Knick Opponent Hall of Famer, dropping 20 points a night against our hapless interior defense?

    Okay, probably not. Probably he will rot on the bench in his oh-so-familiar who-cares posture. Not exactly an emblem of championship ethos, Miami. If they go on a run, he could become the ultimate F.U. Human Victory Cigar.

  112. latke

    I dunno, Z-Man. I suppose you’re right. Carmelo could be Paul Pierce. He could be Dominique Wilkins. He’s just not Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, or Lebron James. And it’s not fair to blame him for not being in their class. I imagine if you did a draft of all the players who have entered the NBA since Kobe, they would be #s 1-5.

    The problem is that the only way you win with guys who are not in that class is by surrounding them with other 2nd tier stars and 3rd tier stars, and we pretty much eliminated the possibility of that with the trade… Unless, as Brian is always reminding us, we manage somehow to get Chris Paul, Deron Williams or Dwight Howard as a result of this trade. Due to its financial repercussions, it’s just hard for me to believe that the Anthony trade has brought us closer to that.

  113. Z-man

    If Melo could be Pierce or Wilkins, I’d be thrilled. Wilkins gets a bad rap here, but I think he was very underrated and a victim of circumstances as much as Ewing, Malone, and Barkley were. Danny Ainge, a pretty good authority, says it all in the first minutes of this video. ‘Nique was far more than just a highlight reel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxqKLEMTBo4

    I like Deron but don’t think he is any more of an asset than Melo; I don’t trade Melo for Deron straight up at the same $. Paul is better than both, but a huge injury/decline risk. Howard, Durant and James aren’t available at any price. I would also take Wade, Griffin, Rose, and probably Wall, Evans and Westbrook over Melo, but they aren;t available either. You can’t get around needing to work within the window of Amar’e's prime.

  114. Z-man

    Is this a comment about Anthony Randolph? If not, I’m not sure which players you wanted him to play. Darko Milicic, who despite having some big games this year with Minnesota, is mostly just a foul machine who takes a lot of bad shots. Jordan Hill still could hardly break the rotation this year when Houston had its first 2 centers out.Let’s be real here: MDA was the first guy to start David Lee, who transformed from a rebounder/finisher into a solid all around offensive player in MDA’s “rigid” system. He also had the balls to sit two guys making big money who had started the previous season (harrington, hughes) so that he could start a 21 year old coming off back surgery (gallo) and a 22 y/o who couldn’t shoot (chandler) and stuck with him as he developed a perimeter game. Both of whom emerged this season as probably the first players knick fans have been sad to see go probably since Marcus Camby and Latrell Sprewell.MDA didn’t become rigid until stoudemire arrived.  

    I am specifically referring to D’Antoni’s short rotation. Beginning when he benched Steph in favor of a scrub like Duhon, and ending with not playing AR under anything but blowout circumstances, I have never seen a coach as rigid about using the tail end of his bench once he establishes a rotation. I agree that he did a lot of good for the players you mention, but did it really change anything? Lee played well under Isiah and improved his game via hard work during the off-season more than coaching. Chandler and Gallo would have seen plenty of game time with this roster no matter who the coach. Harrington and Hughes were discarded malcontents who were brought in as filler, not as answers; Harrington was hardly “sat” and averaged over 30mpg in his time as a Knick and played almost every game; Hughes shot way worse than Chandler, and the team as going nowhere, so I don’t see the “balls” in any of those decisions.

  115. d-mar

    Any new thoughts on who we’d rather see in the 1st round? It looks like its between Miami and Boston right now, and while we’d be massive underdogs in either case, I’m starting to think I’d like to play the Celtics. They are in a major funk right now, and last night against the Hawks, they were outrebounded 52-35 (including 14 offensive) by a team that ranks 26th in the league in boards. Now of course rebounding is one of our glaring weaknesses, but it just shows that unless Shaq somehow comes back, Boston has no inside presence (just like us!) I know they’re playoff tough and all, I just think we could put a scare into them. Thoughts?

  116. cgreene

    @132 I agree. My gut says Celtics. The Perkins trade, I truly think, cost them the title. Not that we would beat them but I think they are in trouble and Miami is going to have a Texas sized chips on its shoulder.

  117. art vandelay

    I go back and forth on this one….I would probably go with miami in the final judgment, however….one the one hand boston is looking more decrepit by the day and is banged up and no longer a long, tall and deep team post-perkins trade, but they are by far the most accomplished, pedigreed team with experience and mental toughness…rondo will drive us nuts with billups at the point and they haven’t lost a game, in spite of them all being close, to us yet this season….

    miami, on the other hand, could run us out of the building, but is less mentally strong (witness the crying after the bulls game fiasco), and will face a WORLD of pressure against us and won[t have as strong a home court presence with knicks fans invading the building…they also have biddy at point whom billups can actually guard and little depth like us…and they don[t have a late-game closer like boston does in pierce (at least LBJ hasn[t proven to be that guy and wade seems to defer to him down the stretch of games)…..

    in my final analysis: a matchup against boston probably gives us the greater chance to steal a few games (maybe win 2 or 3, for example), but lower likelihood of actually winning the series, while a miami matchup would provide us a better chance of taking the series, but could also result in an all-out drubbing 4-0 sweep if we are not careful.

  118. art vandelay

    We also have shown an ability to beat miami twice this season and will have some degree of confidence going into the playoffs whereas as close as we have gotten to being boston, we haven[t been able to climb that mountain even in games we outplayed them, and that could lurk in the minds of our team late in close playoff games.

  119. nicos

    Z-man: @115, good post, Al. In his Knicks career thus far, Melo is playing at an elite level offensively. Here is a list of player/seasons in the shot clock era that have TS% between .560 and .575, a usage% of over 30, and took at least 18 shots a game:

    Just for fun I decided to take a look at how the teams did in each of the seasons for the players on your list- Average wins- 47. You had five teams that wound up winning titles, one that lost in the finals, 2 that lost in Conference finals, 5 second round losers, 12 first round losers and 3 teams that didn’t make the playoffs at all. So if you have one of these guys you’re probably going to be decent but it’s no guarantee of playoff success. Of course we’d be the only team with two guys on the list for the same season with both Amar’e and Melo making it- hoefully that’ll get us out of the first round! It’d be interesting to see what variables you can tweak to get more successful results- I’m sure Latke’s list would generate a better average win total (you’ve got about 7 very good Utah teams with Malone’s numbers alone). I also wonder if scaling back the usage a bit- say a range of 26-29 would get better results- offenses with a definite go to guy but a bit more balanced. I’m not sure either Melo or Amar’e will crack that 30 mark when playing with each other for a full year.

  120. nicos

    Okay, here I raised the TS% to a range of .575-590- not a giant step up from where Amar’e and Melo are now but definitely a step up: http://www.basketball-reference.com/play-index/psl_finder.cgi?request=1&sum=0&type=totals&per_minute_base=36&lg_id=NBA&is_playoffs=N&year_min=&year_max=&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=&is_hof=&pos=&qual=&c1stat=usg_pct&c1comp=gt&c1val=30&c2stat=g&c2comp=gt&c2val=60&c3stat=ts_pct&c3comp=gt&c3val=.575&c4stat=ts_pct&c4comp=lt&c4val=.590&c5stat=fga_per_g&c5comp=gt&c6mult=18&c6stat=&order_by=ws
    It’s a smaller sample size so the numbers gets skewed a bit but now your average win total is 54.8 and out of 16 teams you have 5 champions, 2 teams that lost in the finals, 2 that lost in the conference finals, 1 in the second round, 5 in the first round, and one that didn’t make the playoffs. So basically your odds of being a very good team increase dramatically when your star player moves up a step in efficiency- not surprising but given the smaller sample size it may also be that I happened upon a sweet spot in the numbers.

  121. jon abbey

    we definitely want to play Miami, no real C to abuse our hole there, no young fast PG to abuse Billups, and somehow Melo has always matched up well with LeBron. not saying we’d beat them, but that’s most certainly the preferable matchup.

  122. Spree8nyk8

    I agree with all arguments for playing Miami in the first round and honestly, I think our chances against both are probably the same. But these are the reasons for myself that I’d rather see them play Boston. Again these are just my personal reasons.

    1) I would always like to see them matchup against the team that is not playing the best. And right now Miami is playing better than Boston, Boston has slid hardcore since the allstar break. That alone is reason enough for me.

    2) While we haven’t beaten Boston yet, we have been in all 3 games and honestly dominated the first 3 quarters of all 3 games. I do not think the games will be officiated the same way that they have been once the playoffs roll around. I felt like at least in 2 of the games the Knicks were mugged by the refs in the fourth quarter (especially Amar’e who was smacked silly in the 4th of the last two contests with them in the fourth quarter). Against Miami we were blown out once and severely outplayed in another. Even though we did beat them twice I think that Miami is the team that is much more capable of blowing us out and getting into their heads.

    3) This one is the least substantial but for me personally it’s pretty big….The damage done to the opponent should we upset them in the first round.

    If we beat Miami, it would be huge, Miami would be a laughing stock but they would retool and be back next year even hungrier than they are now.

    Conversely, if we beat Boston, it would shut their franchise down. Doc Rivers is already considering retiring. A first round loss and he will surely bolt. Also a first round loss would probably propel at least one of the big 3 there (if not more) into retirement. This is a team who knows there window is short, and this is one of the last runs they are going to make. I think not making the finals will start the exodus there, and losing in the first round would surely make this happen. So not only would we advance now, but could…

  123. Spree8nyk8

    idk if anyone else has thought this, but wouldn’t it be pretty sick if Melo worked out with Amar’e in the offseason. I think if Melo bulked up and got really conditioned he could be dynamic. Idk, he seems a little bit pudgy to me and always has whereas Amar’e is always in elite shape.

    Idk just a thought but I’d love to see Amar’e whip Melo into shape. I think that when Melo tries to lock down on defense he is actually a really good defender. But I don’t think he has the gas to be able to go on both ends like that. Maybe getting into better shape would benefit his overall game.

  124. Spree8nyk8

    Z-man:
    I am specifically referring to D’Antoni’s short rotation.Beginning when he benched Steph in favor of a scrub like Duhon, and ending with not playing AR under anything but blowout circumstances, I have never seen a coach as rigid about using the tail end of his bench once he establishes a rotation.  

    I disagree with this statement honestly, it only relates to Randolph recently, and honestly I think that it was all on Randloph. Look at this season. Mozgov started the season, played terribly fell out of the roation, worked hard…made it back in, became a stronger rotation player. Shawne Williams didn’t play at all the first what 2 months? Worked hard, got his shot, making the most of it. Same with Bill Walker, Mason Jr, Turiaf. I mean all of those guys at some point fell out of the rotation and eventually got another shot. All except AR. Are you really saying that this is on MDA? I mean he gave all of those guys second even third chances. But AR never cracked the rotation. I have to think that maybe just maybe it was something that AR was doing or maybe was not doing in practice to where he just never earned the playing time. Sure D’Antoni keeps a short rotation and he does maybe bench people for too long once they end up in the doghouse. But he does come back to them sooner or later. Every nonstarter that we had on this team this year (except Azu for obvious reasons) got their chances this year except for this ONE guy. I think there is definitely some reasons behind it.

  125. Z-man

    It’s not so much about any one player, it’s about the all-or-none philosophy. Other coaches seem to be able to get guys occasional minutes unless they really have nothing to offer. I have bashed AR for his poor play and think it will be at least two or three years before he can be anything close to a starter. That said, there seemed to be many situations where he or Mozgov would have been the best choice for a few minutes. Same is true for Nate last year. I’m not a hater, I just think that his system is not always matched to his players. He admitted as much towards the end of last year, but was very slow to change. I am concerned that the same is true now.

  126. Spree8nyk8

    What I’m saying is that all these other guys got shots and AR really didn’t and there simply has to be a reason for that, most of them got multiple shots. And as far as Nate last year, when he got benched the team started to win. Why would be quick to go back to him? I don’t see the logic in it. If my team is playing horribly and I bench one guy and things start to improve, that guys probably going to be last in line. But even still Nate still got a shot again. And I just have to believe that some of these guys worked hard in practice and AR probably didn’t. I’m not saying I know this, all I’m saying is that for all of these other players to find their way into the rotation and AR to not to have found his way in there has to be a reason. It is not in his best interest to maroon a guy that can help him win, or at the very least help to boost his trade value. So knowing that all the signs that I can see point towards a problem specifically with AR and not with MDA.

  127. massive

    @144,

    I think its on both of them. D’Antoni did give everybody (but Rautins and Azu) a chance and said at the beginning of the season that he could go as deep as an 11 man rotation, which I found to be pretty fair. Guys found their way in and out of the rotation, which shows (to me) that he rewards guys who work hard in practice. Shawne Williams went from the 15th man to a starter and the NBA’s most accurate 3-point shooter at one point this season. Anthony Randolph had as much of a shot as anybody to make the rotation.

    However, the system Mike D is running now would likely have Randolph starting on some nights, and Jared Jeffries wouldn’t be on the team. There is nothing Jeffries can do that AR can’t. So while it’s true that AR should have worked harder while he was here, the system didn’t suit his game, whereas our “new,” even if temporary, system would fit him better.

  128. Frank O.

    I recognized the difference in games, but I have to say, the intensity, the effort, the self-sacrifice and passion exhibited in the NCAA tournament this year made my wife and I miss the early Knicks and wonder why our current Knicks can’t show the effort these college kids do.
    I mean, watching Butler last night, the shot goes up and five Butler guys crashed the boards. Guys were sprawled all over. Same with the UCONN victory. Stifling defense, every shot contested, unprotected balls swiped, deflected, and stolen, UCONN and Kentucky reminded me of how little team effort the Knicks put forth.
    If these millionaires would put in a fraction of the effort, this team would be celebrated. Fans love hard play. Win or lose, fans will always honor effort.

  129. GHenman

    The NBA season is way too long for any team to keep up that level of intensity. You only have to play six games over a three week period to be NCAA champs. There’s no way to compare that to 82 regular season games and then 4 best of seven series. That’s why we see the rookie wall so often.

  130. Frank

    Frank O.: I recognized the difference in games, but I have to say, the intensity, the effort, the self-sacrifice and passion exhibited in the NCAA tournament this year made my wife and I miss the early Knicks and wonder why our current Knicks can’t show the effort these college kids do.
    I mean, watching Butler last night, the shot goes up and five Butler guys crashed the boards. Guys were sprawled all over. Same with the UCONN victory. Stifling defense, every shot contested, unprotected balls swiped, deflected, and stolen, UCONN and Kentucky reminded me of how little team effort the Knicks put forth.
    If these millionaires would put in a fraction of the effort, this team would be celebrated. Fans love hard play. Win or lose, fans will always honor effort.  

    I expect that’s what we’ll see during the playoffs. Difference between players in college and pros is that especially for these small schools, this is it for them. There will be no NBA contract or future. This’ll probably be their last time playing real competitive basketball in arenas with tv coverage and fans. These tournament games are the culmination of all the work they’ve put in during their lives, and then for many of them, it’s over after this. That’s why I have some trouble with extrapolating NBA regular season play and stats what we’ll see in the playoffs, when the effort level of all the players goes up 3 notches.

  131. Doug

    Guys something tells me Kemba Walker won’t fall to the Knicks in the first round. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

    Also anything can become just a job if you do it for long enough. A lot of pro athletes are in the game because it’s what they’re good at or because it’s their way out of poverty – not simply because it’s the fulfillment of their boyhood dreams.

  132. Spree8nyk8

    God damn I hope the Knuggets smash the Lakers today. I’m so fucking sick of the Laker luckbox train that I could vomit. Does this team ever get to know adversity. I mean ffs we have all seen the turmoil of the Knicks in the 90′s, never ever catching that one break that would put them over the top. But the lakers, it’s like nothing ever goes wrong for them.

    Few years ago, Kobe was pissed, wanted to leave. Lakers call Memphis “hey guys kobe’s really sad, can you give us Pau Gasol?” Then in every series where a team looks poised to knock them out they either choke, get screwed by the refs, or have a catastrophic injury. It seemed like it happened in every series last year. I swear to god I thought for sure OKC was going to get them until every call went the lakers way in Game 6. Then Pheonix pushes them to the brink and chokes, then Boston digs into them pushes them to the brink only to lose perkins and not be able to finish them off. Then this year when they should finally have to get the job done on the road, not only does dallas collapse and get passed by them, but the Spurs have an EPIC collapse and these assholes might not have to play on the road AGAIN!!!! Seriously, did Jerry Buss fuck a leprechaun or something? Nobody is that lucky.

  133. John Kenney Post author

    I’d rather have the Lakers win than the Heat. Just saying. Kobe always gives a damn, and you gotta respect that, especially since Carmelo started calling games must-wins (also known as i-will-try-now’s) and you could see he played 10x harder.

  134. Owen

    Yeah, well, I’d rather Kobe lose in the first round of the playoffs. But he does give a damn, I have to admit that…

  135. Spree8nyk8

    Honestly, if you asked me before the season started I would have said Miami was the team I’d least like to see win. At this point all I want is for the Celtics and Lakers to lose. After that I really don’t care honestly.

    I have a bunch of Laker friends and a bunch of celtic friends and they are all morons. The most impossible people on earth to have a logical conversation about basketball with. And you can’t win because every conversation ends with “2 time defending champions” or “17 championships” and I just effing hate it. Then like 10 games ago my idiot laker friend was telling me how the lakers were gonna catch the spurs for the first seed, which at the time was retarted to even think. Now because god likes the lakers, this retard thinks he’s uber smart about basketball.

    FML

  136. latke

    Spree — let them have their joy. The Celtics have maybe one year left of relevance. The Lakers probably two. Then we get to see if they can pull out the miracle moves that they pulled out to assemble their teams. Maybe the hornets will draft kobe 2.0 and trade him to LA immediately. Maybe McHale is just waiting until garnett retires so he can trade Boston Kevin Love.

    I don’t know, but I doubt it. My guess is these teams are in for many years of irrelevance once they go down.

  137. hoolahoop

    Luck is the residue of design.
    -Albert Einstein

    I’m a great believer in luck. And I find that the harder I work the luckier I get.
    - Henry Ford

    Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.
    - Seneca

    As an organization, the knicks are ill-prepared. Love them or hate them, Phil Jackson gets his team ready and Kobe shows up every night.

  138. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I don’t ever want to see Kobe raise six fingers, nor see that self-satisfied smirk when every fellatio-minded sports “reporter” asks, “So, do you now see yourself as an equal to Jordan?”

    The Celts, Lakers, and Spurs all seized their recent success by luck. The Lakers gave up Kwame Brown for a top-5 center. The Celts gave up Al Jefferson for a top-3 center. The Spurs hit a winning lottery ticket in ’97. Sure, all of those franchises made good moves around those players, but I don’t see the Heat as anything worse. If I were given the ability to play next to good players or mediocre players, I know what I’d pick. As a musician, I don’t go out of my way to play with shitty players. Frankly, I avoid it. If it meant a difference of tens of millions in endorsements, I sure as hell know what I’d do.

    That said, I wouldn’t mind if OKC or the Nuggets made it to the Finals.

  139. latke

    Let’s look at the cause of the Celtics’ success:

    1997: team wins 15 games and drafts Billups with the 3rd overall pick. Midway through his rookie season they trade him for Kenny Anderson (6 years his senior), because Kenny was the key to making a 15 win team into a contender.

    1998-99: Anderson trade doesn’t work out as planned, if there was a plan. The Celtics suck for 2 more years, resulting in their drafting Pierce and Antoine Walker.

    2000-2006: They proceed to wallow in averageness, flaming out on nearly all their draft picks — Gerald Green, Delonte West, Tony Allen, Troy Bell, Dante Jones, Joseph Forte, Kedrick Brown, Jerome Moiso, Al Jefferson, Joe Johnson = Celtics first round picks during this period. Guess which one they traded in his rookie year? Yup, Joe Johnson for… wait for it… Rodney Rogers and Tony Delk. That’s some great management.

    So, after 15 years of mediocrity, the Celtics have Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson to show for it. And then magically, in 2007-2008, they are somehow able to move Jefferson, their draft pick, and a few sacks of shit, to bring in Garnett and Allen. I’m sorry, maybe God planned that one, but the Celtics sure as hell didn’t.

  140. dogrufus

    latke

    Great point about the Lakers being huge luckboxes. Does anyone really doubt Dwight Howard ends up there in 2012, and some team gifts them a perimeter star to pair with him for free? The Lakers at least have semi-competent management (and more importantly, the management of other teams appears to be working for them).

    It seems like having your former players managing other teams is the real key, because McHale and West were obviously a lot more loyal to their former teams than the ones paying their salaries. I mean how coud there not have been more outrage about these ridiculously 1-sided deals. When you compare it to the kind of package we gave up for Melo (a worse player), when we’re supposed to have the leverage, it just sickens me.

    Somehow, Dolan has that special kind of incompetence where nothing good ever happens even accidentally.

    And while we’re on luckbox franchises, let’s give an honorable mention to Chicago. Landing Rose in a suspiciously big market with a 1% chance and no one bats an eye, while everyone assumes the ’85 lottery was rigged in our favor because we got Ewing, who wasn’t even a top 3 center of his era. The Magic also deserve mention, having lucked into 3 #1 overall picks despite never really being all that bad a team. That’s 3 times as many #1 overall picks in 1/3 as many seasons.

    I guess the real answer is we’ll never make a Gasol/Garnett type trade because Dolan would take over negotiations, leak to the media that we won’t be able to walk away no matter what, and end up paying $1.50 on the dollar.

    It’s just amazing that Dolan’s so incredibly good at sucking that he never manages not to. Ainge’s moves have been 100% terrible except when he’s being gifted MVPs for nothing by Kevin McHale (and that Perkins trade will cost them their last chance at a championship). It just seems that whatever other teams do, things just turn out better for them regardless.

  141. latke

    dogrufus,

    The one brilliant move LAL made was clearing cap space to pay Shaq. The Gasol trade was BS, and I have a hard time buying that they knew Kobe was going to be Kobe. They were just a bad team looking for young players.

    I disagree about Chicago though. They are IMO is a model of building the right way. They’ve made a number of against the grain moves in order to try to build a contender. They showed remarkable restraint allowing Chandler, Curry, Crawford and Gordon all to walk when teams offered to overpay them. Likewise, they traded Elton Brand, who had just been rookie of the year, for the #2 pick. They understand the importance of assembling a critical mass of up and coming players on rookie contracts before going for the free agency splash. Yeah, they lucked out with the Rose lottery win, but they have had their share of bad luck — Jason Williams’ motorcycle accident (#1 overall pick) and Marcus Fizer’s terribleness (#4 overall pick).

    IMO Chicago deserves more credit even than SAS or OKC because despite playing the lotto so many times, Chicago has yet to draft a player of Duncan’s or Durant’s caliber. Rose is good, but he’s more on the level of Westbrook than KD.

  142. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    In my opinion, they were lucky when Chandler walked. He’s the kind of center who could play on a championship team, and they were lucky that Noah turned into the All-NBA kind of talent that few thought he’d be.

  143. dogrufus

    latke, I agree with you there, CHI hasn’t been quite as luckboxy as the others, but I don’t think their drafting badly for so long should be used as a credit to them. If they don’t get the #1 pick for Rose they’re probably stuck in mediocrity for a long time. Trading Brand for the #2 pick is not something that stands out to me as an amazing move. Pre-Injury, I’d rate Brand (a 20/12/4/2/1 guy) a little better than our Amar’e. For about 10 years they were consistently drafting high, losing whatever good players they drafted (i.e. Brand, Artest) for little return. I do agree they were smart in being selective about locking up their draftees long term, but the Rose lotto completely saved them. Without that they’re the worst offensive team in the league, basically this season’s Milwaukee Bucks, and nobody would be saying how brilliant their front office is.

    As for Jason Williams, he was looking pretty busty to me before his injury (though it was still early) and Marcus Fizer was just a bad pick. For all the top 5 or so draft picks the Bulls had, you have to admit they drafted incredibly badly, and that should be a strike against their management, not a point in favor of it. Has any franchise not named the Clippers gotten less return out of so many high picks over a period of years? The Bulls’ rebuilding phase lasted the better part of 15 years. If you suck for that long while trying to rebuild, and need a 1.7% chance resolved in your favor to become really good, you just might be a bad front office. Hell, you just might be the Knicks.

    Obviously next to our FO (where Walsh is smart but Dolan has the final say and ruins any really important deal) they look like genuises.

    As for Kobe, I think that was more luckboxing, in that he all but forced his way over there and the Nets chickened out on drafting him- as if he was really gonna go play in Italy. When guys force their way to us, we gut the team for them and they end up sucking.

  144. ess-dog

    Shit the kNuggets look ridiculously good.

    Gallo’s got 11 pts, Felton has 6 boards, 5 assists, Mozzy even has 3 boards and with 6 min. left in the 2nd.

    They’re ahead of the Lakers 32-29.

  145. Z-man

    “Rose is good, but he’s more on the level of Westbrook than KD.”

    He is getting serious consideration (may be the favorite at this point) for MVP at age 22, pretty lofty stuff. He might not be Durant (my favorite player!) but might be an all-time great PG when all is said and done. Tough to criticize that one.

  146. latke

    fair enough — they haven’t made the best draft picks, but they understand the best process by which teams win — get lots of picks in a concentrated time span. Yes, Brand was very very good, but therein was the problem. He would have took them out of the lottery and gotten them into that cycle of mediocrity that fringe playoff teams can end up in. Orlando is suffering from this a bit. They got Howard, but their team was horrid with no youth before him, and afterwards they have had poor draft picks and haven’t made much of them. Redick, Nelson, and Courtney Lee are the only guys who the Magic drafted since Howard that have played on their team. The rest were either traded as picks or were just really bad and are now watching the NBA on TV. That’s the problem with not building right.

    Let’s say in 2004 they’d traded every good player they had outside of Nelson and Howard for whatever draft picks and expirings they could get. Maybe now they’d have the talent to have real championship aspirations and Dwight wouldn’t be talking about jumping ship.

  147. latke

    z-man, He’s getting that consideration because his team has outperformed expectations. Every statistical look at his performance this season says that his impact on he Bulls is far less significant than people are making it out to be.

  148. dogrufus

    Z-Man, he’s getting MVP consideration in the same vein as Iverson in ’01. If he wins, he’ll be remembered as one of the more undeserving MVP’s. That team is amazingly good because of their very strong bench and team defense, just as Iverson’s Sixers were. Rose would be the least offensively efficient MVP since… well, Iverson. He’s not an MVP level player, he’s just fortunate that has an MVP level team. Could anyone seriously argue he’s more valuable than Dwight Howard on either end?

    latke, the Magic could have made themselves into a championship team without having to stockpile picks… they’re in a bad position now because they made other horrible signings and trades (see Lewis, Rashard; Arenas, Gilbert). If they made better acquisitions than those they’d be fine.

    I agree with you that stockpiling picks and timing cap space to sign a big FA just before the rookie deals come to an end is the best way. If only our FO was smart enough to buy mass draft picks, roll them over and consolidate them while sucking for a few years, draft a great young core, then sign big FA’s and use our inifinite finances to keep adding talent with the MLE/good sign and trades…. but we can’t do any good strategies because Dolan is dumb and we can’t ever look more than 2 weeks ahead.

  149. Z-man

    Rose is in the top 10 in:

    Usage% (2)
    Minutes played (8)
    Points per game (7)
    Free Throws (9)
    Assists per game (10)
    PER (7)
    Assists% (7)
    Offensive Win Shares (8)
    Defensive Win Shares (9)

    Nobody is saying that he is the only reason why the Bulls are good, but he is the PG, and while determining the impact on his team is messy business, his usage rate indicates that he is having a HUGE impact. He has also improved significantly this year, especially his 3-pt shooting.

  150. dogrufus

    Z-man, playing a ton of minutes and taking a ton of shots will get you a lot of volume stats. It’s efficiency that is rose’s weakness. He struggles to maintain even league average scoring efficiency, is still an iffy shooter, and doesn’t get to the foul line much.

    He’s not on the level of a Chris Paul or a Deron Williams individually. The MVP is just a “best supporting cast” awardthe way it’s voted.

  151. art vandelay

    based on his running commentary there is NO WAY I would want this guy as knicks head coach….say what you will about d’antoni, but if there is no viable replacement, no reason to can him before his contract expires….looking at the coaching landscape, unless phil jackson or doc rivers want to come to NY, I can’t see anyone for whom it would be worth firing d’antoni after this season regardless of what happens in playoffs.

  152. Owen

    Can you imagine how painful our lives as knickerbloggers would be with Mark Jackson as coach?

    Although, it would be wonderful to watch him explain why he couldn’t coach Amare and Melo to more than a 50 win season.

  153. Z-man

    “He struggles to maintain even league average scoring efficiency, is still an iffy shooter, and doesn’t get to the foul line much.”

    Rose is shooting at a TS% of .544 (slightly above league average) efficiency and is 9th in the league in FT attempts, averaging 6.6 per 36 and making over 85% of them. His assist% has improved significantly every year. Allen Iverson’s career TS% of .518, so I do’t get the comparison. If he’s not the MVP, he is still having a great year by any objective measure, especially for a 22 yo, and will only get better.

  154. Spree8nyk8

    hoolahoop: Luck is the residue of design.
    -Albert EinsteinI’m a great believer in luck. And I find that the harder I work the luckier I get.
    - Henry FordLuck is where preparation meets opportunity.
    - SenecaAs an organization, the knicks are ill-prepared. Love them or hate them, Phil Jackson gets his team ready and Kobe shows up every night.  

    Are you honestly suggesting that the lakers preperation makes teams trade stars to them for nothing, and causes teams with monster leads on them to epically choke?

  155. dogrufus

    Citing 6.6 FTA is what I’m talking about. I didn’t look this up or anything but I’m pretty sure the vast majority of MVP candidate types who take as many FGA’s per 36 minutes as Rose are managing a significantly higher mark in FTA/36.

    Comparing him to Iverson is actually pretty apt. Remember those rules changes in 2005? Despite the fact that he was pushing 30 as a speed demon guard, Iverson made huge jumps in volume and efficiency right after these rules changes, bringing him to around league average on higher volume than Rose despite a much worse supporting cast than Rose.

    TS% was signifcantly lower league wide in the early 2000′s. Iverson’s efficiency was not as bad as it looked, and was actually pretty similar to Rose’s relavtive to his peers.

  156. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    You’re right, dogrufus. I wish I could find the exact numbers, but it’d be nice to have league-adjusted figures like ERA+ and OPS+ in baseball.

  157. hoolahoop

    latke: So, after 15 years of mediocrity, the Celtics have Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson to show for it. And then magically, in 2007-2008, they are somehow able to move Jefferson, their draft pick, and a few sacks of shit, to bring in Garnett and Allen. I’m sorry, maybe God planned that one, but the Celtics sure as hell didn’t.

    I figured this would be an educated forum to talk basketball. I’m astounded at the things I read here.
    Yeah, the Lakers are just lucky. . . Nothing to do with the fact that they are one of the best organizations in all of sports. Lucky for several championships. And the knicks, they’re just unlucky. Unlucky for forty years.

  158. hoolahoop

    Spree8nyk8: Are you honestly suggesting that the lakers preperation makes teams trade stars to them for nothing, and causes teams with monster leads on them to epically choke?

    You’re right – All luck.

    Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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