Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mozgov Makes Pistons Obey

The Knicks trounced the Pistons last night 124-106, and undoubtedly the story of the night was Mozgov’s outburst. Due to Shawne Williams’ suspension and Wilson Chandler’s injury, Mike D’Antoni looked further down his bench for production. Timofev Mozgov ended the night with 23 points on 15 shots and grabbed a team high 14 rebounds. Uncharacteristically, he had only 4 fouls and 2 turnovers in nearly 40 minutes.

However I’m dubious that Mozgov’s line shows marked improvement. The Russian made a handful of mistakes. Here are some of my notes on the game with regards to Mozgov:

  • Looks tentative on the boards.
  • Missed easy layup!
  • On pick & roll, left Gordon wide open for a three.
  • On a fast break, let a pass from Toney Douglas go out of bounds.
  • Failed to get the ball to a wide open Anthony Randolph under the hoop (pass was deflected).
  • Gave away easy in-bound pass for 2 points.
  • Alley-oop went right off his hands. Luckily Amar’e recovers it for an easy stuff.
  • Overall I thought his biggest weaknesses were his hands and inside scoring. In a one and a half minute stretch, Mozgov missed 2 hook shots, a lay-up, and a tip in. I didn’t see the instant replay on the pass from Douglas, but the alley-oop that bounced off his hands was Braylon Edwards-esque.

    Watching the game I concentrated intently on Mozgov and Randolph, given their scarcity of court time. I thought Randolph played inside of his game. He was aggressive on the boards (5 rebs in 8 minutes) and concerned with defending the paint (1 block). Randolph was largely overlooked on offense – there were a numerous times he was open on offense waving his arms, only to be ignored (a few times by Walker who was doing his best Al Harrington impersonation). After grabbing defensive rebounds, he quickly looked to get the ball up court – on one play he took the ball up himself, only to turn around and give it to Toney Douglas. Comparing Mozgov and Randolph, the latter played low key and made much fewer mistakes.

    To be fair to Mozgov he showed lots of positive attributes. He’s quick up the floor for a center, and hit a few outside shots. Mozgov did look good on the offensive glass, and that he kept his fouls down could indicate improvement in that area. He converted 3 put-backs and 1 alley-oop, and those aren’t going to be there every night. Given how good his line was, I’m not sure what of that is sustainable. It should be interesting to see how much time Mozgov gets going forward.

    85 comments on “Mozgov Makes Pistons Obey

    1. Nick C.

      I don’t remember exactly but it seemed much of Mozgov’s fluffing came in his first few minutes. He was by no means perfect, that inbounds was bad but seemed to settle in with time.

      As for AR he seemd to play the game this board has been calling for, rebound and defend while keeping the offense low key. I noticed once he was on the low box weakside with no one within 5 feet of him when Walker drove (and ignored or did not see him).

    2. cgreene

      Geez. That seems like an extremely overly critical write up of Mozgov. I think if we take a keen eye to every player who plays 40 minutes in every single game we can find 5 things they did wrong. I don’t understand it at all. AR didn’t make mistakes because he didn’t have the opportunity to. Thought this was a stats blog. What was his TS% and eFG%? Isn’t that supposed to be our barometer here?

    3. Z

      I think it was actually 3 easy layups he missed. But geez, Mike, no marked improvement?!? He had 14 rebounds which meant he had to literally catch the basketball 14 times. I think on the season he’d been something like 6 for 64 in “catch the ball situations”. That is definitely a marked improvement!

    4. d-mar

      @2 I agree that Mike is being a little harsh, but I think we should all temper our Moz-mania a little until we get a little larger body of work. I still think that any serviceable 7 footer would have put up the same stats as Moz last night, given Detroit’s horrendous interior defense and inability to stop guards from penetrating and dishing for dunks. I want to see Moz succeed as much as anyone, and I’m really glad he did well last night and gained some confidence, but let’s take a reading at the end of the week and see what we have.

    5. Owen

      “I don’t remember exactly but it seemed much of Mozgov’s fluffing came in his first few minutes.”

      I remember that Mozgov was a -11 at one point before righting the ship in spectacular fashion. He did play much better after the first ten minutes.

      A true stat-man knows better but a game like this inevitably changes how we look at a player. It’s impossible not to reevaluate despite the fact that 40 minutes is a ridiculously small sample. While I don’t think you can draw any conclusions from last night, if nothing else, Mozgov’s rootability went through the charts. He was transformed from comic irrelevance to vaguely promising robot teddy bear mascot status. Might be good for him .

    6. cgreene

      @3 @4 – totally agree. No one said he was going to be the next Hakeem Olajuwon but that write up was off base. He rebounded well in traffic a few times. He crashed the offensive glass with good timing. He got to the line and made FTs. And the shakiness was mostly in the first few minutes and actually on one possession. If you heard the post game interview he said he was very nervous at the start.

    7. Caleb

      If you watch the highlights on ESPN.com, it’s pretty funny – they don’t mention Mosgov until the last 20 seconds, then mention his career night and stats — and the one video highlight is Felton dishing to a wide-open Moz under the basket, who sort of hops up and drops in a “dunk.” Nothing wrong with the play, mind-you – but I thought the “highlight” vids were for spectacular jams, behind the back passes, etc.

      The thing about Mosgov – he’s 24 years old. He’s probably not going to improve a whole lot. By the end of the year (or a lot sooner, if he has some 40-minute games) we’ll know pretty well what kind of player he is. Maybe the 300-minute sample at the start of the year was an aberration. It’s fair to cut a guy some slack, when he’s playing overseas for the first time, learning a new system, etc.

      He obviously has great physical tools – he’s huge, and he can run. And shoot a little. It’s going to come down to whether he can catch rebounds, and avoid fouling. Dallas will be a tough (read: impossible) matchup for him, but Philly – talented but smaller players – will be a good measuring stick.

      I am an AR fan and was impressed – he impacted the game without scoring. He’s actually pretty skilled on offense – good handle, good hands, good passer. Based on his FT-shooting, i wouldn’t even be surprised to see him with a nice mid-range shot some day.

      But on this team, with scorers around him, I think he’s smart to try and do less.

      There was a comment on the last thread about the Knicks’ clamping down in 4th quarters. I get the feeling they are one of the better-conditioned teams in the league – they don’t slow down, on offense or defense. They don’t seem to wear down physically, the way a lot of teams do.

    8. NYK Ewing

      Also agree that there’s no reason to be overly critical of Moz. However, as d-mar said, you can’t get too hyped about a performance against a weak Pistons team.

      I am optimistic, though. I’ve been saying since he’s been benched that his issues have been confidence related, and a big game like this can do wonders down the stretch. I also have a feeling that if he continues his solid play, refs might stop being so quick on the whistle on him.

    9. ephus

      Six thoughts on Mozgov:

      1. He was obviously really nervous early. There were a lot of bad misses in the first quarter.

      2. Fouls by Detroit helped to bail him out a number of times on the offensive end. Mozgov went aggressively to the rim with the ball on the screen and roll, but I did not have confidence in his ability to convert in traffic. Scouting will probably tell teams not to bail him out.

      3. Mozgov has a much improved sense of where he is supposed to be on the court. On offense, when he was on the elbow and the play was not going to involve him, he aggressively cut to the rim and cleared out his defender. When Mozgov was in the screen and roll, he went hard to the basket and looked for the ball. This will create open looks – either for the guard coming off the pick or for a wing whose defender rotates to protect the rim. On defense, he was focused on his rotations. I do not think it is fair to blame him (or any 7 footer) for being slow to get out to the 3 point line. He did a good job of preventing free cutters to the rim.

      4. Confidence will improve his ability to catch the ball in traffic. He is strong and long. If he continues to go after the ball with two hands in traffic, he will gather lots of defensive rebounds.

      5. Mozgov has real 15′ range. The last basket he scored on the baseline showed nice form. If STAT grows to trust him, Mozgov could be an effective outlet when the defense collapses in the lane.

      6. The crowd loves Mozgov. After Mozgov got through his rough first quarter, the crowd got amped everytime Mozgov got the ball. It was like watching Greg Butler take over a game.

      My hope for Mozgov is that he can develop into a mixture of Chris Dudley and Brad Lohaus. If he can protect the rim, rebound, score on the pick and roll and shoot the 15′ jumper, he would add a lot to the team.

      If Mozgov emerges, I think that is bad news for Bill Walker’s minutes (Wilson Chandler will get fewer minutes at the 4).

    10. Garson

      I think at the end of the day we can all agree that Amare playing next to a Center helps him in many aspects of his game. If we can get Moz 25 min as a starter with Turriaf getting 20 off the bench, it would be benificial to all.

      Chandler coming off the bench is also a huge boost to our second unit. The Douglass, Feilds, Walker , Williams , Turriaf linup was hard to watch.

      On another note, I think after watching AR camping on the 3 point line during the offensive sets again its begining to look like D’ Antonis Fault. You would think they would work someone with his rebounding and finishing ability to play in the paint but once again we saw him waving his hands for the ball on the 3 point line.

    11. Caleb

      @10 I don’t think it is a matter of “correcting” – I think he is out at the 3-point line on direct orders from the coaching staff.

      In his first two seasons (96 games, 1.878 minutes) Randolph took a total of nine 3-pointers.

    12. Mike Kurylo Post author

      cgreene: …Thought this was a stats blog.What was his TS% and eFG%?Isn’t that supposed to be our barometer here?  

      You want stats? Games aren’t played on a calculator! (Been dying to use that one).

      More seriously this is an objective blog. Stats are more objective than visual – but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t completely ignore what I saw either. And I really didn’t see a great game out there for him. OR rather I saw things that indicated there are still issues with him. Again the scoring inside & hands were on the top of my list. If you go to nba.com and watch the recap – there’s one play where he gets the ball 3 feet from the hoop with T-Mac to beat and he can’t convert. Moz flails his arms wildly as Amar’e takes the miss & dunks it home. Amar’e saves him from the alley-oop being a turnover as well.

      Those are about as fluky points as you’ll see in the NBA. And that concerns me. If you watch the game again – look at Randolph’s rebounds compared to Mozgov. AR was aggressive getting them. Mozgov defers to the others around him on the boards.

      But if you want a statistical opinion, shouldn’t the 260 minutes prior to this game be more indicative than 40 minutes against the Pistons? Again I’d like to see what happens going forward. I’ll admit that if he starts putting up high eFG%/REB games then I’ll clearly change my opinion no matter what my eyes see. But I’d bet against that occurring based on his work thus far.

    13. latke

      I think the main argument for mozgov over AR is that he is a center. Allowing amare to play the 4 seemed to free amare up to spend energy in other ways (i.e. crisp moves on offense). This is all so speculative though. It’s one game against a bad defensive team missing it’s best defender. Regardless, the game was very fun to watch.

    14. Garson

      @11… I agree and think the coaching staff is at error. Using him at the 3 point line is a misuse of his strengths.

    15. Ben R

      Mike – Offensively Mozgov has alot of tools. He has nice touch on his jumper, great timing and instincts on the pnr and amazing size and athleticism. There is no reason to belieive that with some confidence he can’t maintain a rather high efg%/TS%. I think the turnovers are still a problem. That was the only real red flag I saw. The Mcgrady poke away that Amare finished, the Monroe poke away and the boobled alley-oop all worry me. The inbounds turnover was a fluke and the Douglas pass on the break was more of Douglas’s fault. The pass was hard, low and slightly behind Mozgov. Douglas needs to put the ball high for a player like Mozgov not rocket bounce passes while on the move. As Clyde says it’s the pgs responsibility to know who their passing to.

      As for the missed shots I think like everyone said it was mainly nerves and once he settled down he shot 9-11 to finish the game, he also made 5-6 from the line with nice looking form. He did miss the jump shooter twice (one make, one miss) on the pnr but he was better at covering than Amare who I think was solely responsible for about 3-4 of Gordon’s 3 pointers and a couple of Villanuava’s. He should also improve since defensive rotations are always hard for young players.

      His rebounding is solid, not amazing, but solid. He is a positional rebounder. He boxes out his man well and usually gets the rebounds that are on his side of the basket but he will never be confused for Love or Wallace. With that said he does have good timing on putbacks with a couple last game and a number before that. He does seem a little tentative on the boards, I would love to see him get a little more physical.

    16. Mike Kurylo Post author

      latke: I think the main argument for mozgov over AR is that he is a center. Allowing amare to play the 4 seemed to free amare up to spend energy in other ways (i.e. crisp moves on offense). This is all so speculative though. It’s one game against a bad defensive team missing it’s best defender. Regardless, the game was very fun to watch.  

      Agreed. I had a hard time writing this article and should have articulated my points better. My ideas were:

      * Anthony Randolph played well but the stuff he did wasn’t as flashy. Additionally he was ignored on offense.
      * Mozgov had 14 rebounds – but he wasn’t aggressive on the defensive glass (like Randolph was).
      * Some of the things Mozgov did were characteristic of flaws that wouldn’t make him a viable 25-30 min a night center.
      * Mozgov’s game was worse than his stats would indicate.

      I wasn’t trying to say Randolph should be a center. In fact this is another reason why he’s not seeing time. D’Antoni sees him as a 5 who would only play the 4 next to Turiaf/Mozgov. Hence why he’s so buried on the depth chart. Heck D’Antoni is more willing to put Shawne Williams at center than Randolph. That’s a lot of guys to hurdle.

    17. Mike Kurylo Post author

      Ben R: There is no reason to belieive that with some confidence he can’t maintain a rather high efg%/TS%.

      Not being a bad finisher inside. He’s just one of those guys that does better being 12 feet away than 2. I think he could be league average with his jumper; I don’t see him being a high efficiency guy.

    18. John Kenney

      See if you can guess who wrote the following… just guess.

      “Mosgov shines for Knicks, ups value
      The seldom-used rookie had a career game in a possible showcase for a future trade”

    19. KnickfaninNJ

      Mike,

      You wrote:

      “But if you want a statistical opinion, shouldn’t the 260 minutes prior to this game be more indicative than 40 minutes against the Pistons?”

      Honestly I am not sure of that. To agree with that I would have to assume that the two samples (260 minutes) and 40 minutes) are close enough in time to represent the same performance. But Mozgov has only been in the NBA during regular season for three months or so and the first sample is the first month while the second sample is the beginning of the fourth month. Given his overall basketball inexperience, I think it is quite possible he really improved in this time and thus the last 40 minutes is more representative of him now than the first 260. Of course 40 minutes is a very small sample. He probably won’t do as well against the next team. But he doesn’t have to in order to help the Knicks. He just has to do well enough on the offensive end to make other teams feel they need to guard him and well enough on the defensive end to alter a few shots and disrupt the other teams in the paint a little. Then, between him and Turiaf the Knicks can have real center playing all the time.That is reason for optimism by itself.

    20. Nick C.

      “Anthony Randolph played well but the stuff he did wasn’t as flashy. Additionally he was ignored on offense.”

      What sucked was to read on the AP report of the game says this and nothing more about AR: “The Knicks also gave Anthony Randolph(notes) his first minutes since Jan. 7, but he was scoreless.”
      I thought he really cleaned the glass well and was restrained on offense to the extent that he touched the ball.

    21. rama

      Mike –

      Your fundamental point is good: that AR was in a way perhaps more effective than Mozgov in his limited minutes. But you’re working a little too hard to get there, including by dismissing the stats! It’s your party, so you can whine if you want to, but I don’t think many people are looking for the same performance from Timo every game. We all agreed at the beginning of the season that 20mpg, with 10 pts, 5 boards, and 2 blocks would be fantastic for a first-year player from abroad who’s only getting $3 mil per year. I don’t think anyone is expecting him to be Tyson Chandler (which, unfortunately, we’re probably going to find out for sure in just a few days).

      On the flip side, I absolutely agree that what we saw from AR – with our eyes AND statistically – was very good. All we want is a guy who boards and defends, and he did that. The offense can come…though if you want to go by your eyes, you’d also have to concede that part of his success was his teammates not putting him in a position to fail, for instance by passing him the ball when he was camped out for a 3.

    22. NYK Ewing

      @ 19

      I agree

      “But if you want a statistical opinion, shouldn’t the 260 minutes prior to this game be more indicative than 40 minutes against the Pistons?”

      You have to put those 260 minutes into context. In most of those games, he went in, made two or three blunders, and was pulled. In this one, he made the same blunders, but then found his confidence and played better*. Now, I agree that doesn’t prove a trend, but I don’t think the two sets of starts are very comparable because the situations were different.

      *Does anyone recall the stroke of luck it took to make this game possible for Big Timo? It looked like D’Antoni had enough and was putting in AR for Mozgov, but then Mozgov was fouled shooting and stayed in the game. Things just work out sometimes…

    23. ess-dog

      I think it’s true that looking back, Moz’ game wasn’t as good as it appeared. The 2nd half was much better.

      One thing he’s great at is blocking out. He really clears a huge swath of area on the defensive glass. This was missed b/c Detroit made so many of their shots in the first half. This is nice for balance next to Amare who rarely blocks out his man.

      He also had some great flushes near the hoop, which shouldn’t be underrated – high percentage shots. This should be a big part of his game.

      Running the floor – he does this impressively for a 7 footer.

      The jump shot. When it’s on it looks pretty.

      If he can focus on these and grabbing as many boards as he can, he will have a future. Just don’t drop the ball Moz.

    24. Nick C.

      “One thing he’s great at is blocking out. He really clears a huge swath of area on the defensive glass. This was missed b/c Detroit made so many of their shots in the first half. This is nice for balance next to Amare who rarely blocks out his man.”

      Yeah I don’t know if anyone noticed or thought this but late in the game there were one or two misses by TD where Douglas was able to follow. Mozgov had sort of walled off the FT line and TD was able to scoot in and pick up the ball between there and the arc.

    25. KnickfaninNJ

      @22

      You are absolutely right about the stroke of luck for Timo. I thought he might get pulled too. But Randolph went in soon anyway but for someone else. So who knows what was in D’Antoni’s mind.

      And I agree with other comments that Randolph looked better than before. But he didn’t have Detroit bloggers complaing that he killed them the way they did about Mozgov either.

    26. Thomas B.

      Mike,

      Thanks for the even handed look at Mozgov’s play last night. I considered commenting on it last night in the game thread but for fear of being labeled a nattering nabob of negativism–or worse a troll–I kept it quiet. Yes he got a lot of rebounds as well he should have against that front line. Mozgov does not start the break the way AR can. AR secures the ball then immediately looks up court for a chance to push. He will push the ball himself if safe to do so. Yes, Felton and Douglas seemed to look away when Randolph was waving, but to be fair, they almost never pass to anyone other than STAT. I’ve seen Gallinari doing the same thing on the wing play after play. They are getting better at it, but it will take time.

      I know this is the Mozgov thread but I just wanted to note that Douglas didn’t play awful last night. I don’t recall too many bad choices. I wonder what happened?

    27. Robert Silverman

      Thanks to Owen, I think we’ve got Mozgov’s best non pun-based nickname:

      Timofey “Robot Teddy Bear” Mozgov.

      Sorta like this clip from “Akira” (start at the 50 second mark): You’ll notice that the Giant Robot Teddy Bear Brum Brum has really awful hands too.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utQum0i9UhI

    28. Brian Cronin

      A few points…

      1. lakte (at least I think it was latke – apologies if it was not) asked how different the game would have been if it had been AR who had gotten 40 minutes and if Mozgov had gotten the single-digit minutes.” Obviously, AR would not have hit some of the outside shots Mozgov hit, but you could easily argue that AR would have gotten more rebounds that Mozgov did not get, and he surely would have hit all of the dunks Mozgov was given, right? Like when Gallo made the picture perfect pass to Mozgov – is AR not going to nail that dunk? So I think they likely would have lost out a little bit, but I don’t think the difference would have been great.

      2. I agree that it continues to be absurd how AR is used (on the rare occasions when he is used). Why is it that Turiaf can be played in the low post but AR cannot? They have similar limitations on outside shooting, but AR is a much better rebounder (much better), and it’s not like Turiaf is an amazing defender or anything. He’s better than what the Knicks normally have out there (but when you play Extra E at back-up center, that’s not saying much).

      3. One thing reminded me of the time last year when Coach D brought Nate back. Like Nate, AR does not seem to have “learned” anything. He played the same way he did before his benching, he just wasn’t ever given the ball! Otherwise, his rebounding was the same as it was before the benching. And he was playing the same silly “standing by the three-point line” position. And if AR is playing the same way and same position he did before his benching, what was the point of benching him? Mozgov at least did appear to change slightly – but even there, are we seriously supposed to believe that Mozgov could not have contributed anything when Extra E and Walker were getting mauled in the post in the Laker game?

      4. Douglas did have a much more controlled game. If he can get his game under control, that’d be awesome for the Knicks.

      5. Someone mentioned Chandler going to the bench being helpful for the Unit, but actually, Chandler has long been a mainstay of the Unit. In fact, he’s one of the worst parts of the Unit, because compared to the rest of the Unit (Toney, Beardy, Extra E and Walker), he is Lebron James, so he starts taking shots like Lebron James, and I think we all know WC’s skills as a scorer do not lie in isos and stuff like that. I think when Fields gets in there, the Unit actually plays a little bit better (but yeah, still, Gallo or Amar’e really should be on the floor at all times).

    29. latke

      Nick C.:“The Knicks also gave Anthony Randolph(notes) his first minutes since Jan. 7, but he was scoreless.”

      Yeah this made me a little sad for him. He didn’t have very many opportunities to make mistakes, but that said, he also didn’t make any mistakes. He had a beastly block on Gordon (?), he pushed the ball up the floor once (he really has amazing speed with the ball in his hands), and then, recognizing that the Pistons had gotten back, handed it off to Douglas. He had a couple of impressive rebounds where knicks were out of position and he came in and took the ball away from Piston defenders.

      And MDA did show a form of trust in him. AR replaced STAT with 1:30 remaining in the 1st and didn’t bring Amare back until the 6:30 mark. That’s 7 minutes, a lot more time than Amare would normally sit in a close game.

      I also think though that it would be a mistake for MDA to give him too many minutes — not that I think this is likely to happen anyway. It was nice for AR to leave the game simply as a part of the normal rotation for once, rather than because he made some bad turnover or took a ridiculous shot. I think with a guy with clear mental focus issues, it’d be wise to just slowly feed him more minutes as he proves himself.

    30. Frank O.

      Wow. What a thread.
      I have immense respect for Mike K., and most everyone else here.
      I have to say, respectfully, I was put off by Mike’s assessment.
      I think what you saw out there was a kid, who hasn’t played any meaningful minutes in more than 70 days, come out a little rusty and a little out of the flow.
      But from the moment Amare went over to him and said keep playing, keep shooting, the big fella played a hell of a solid game.
      I think what we saw from him was the same kind of play we saw from him before the season officially started. He moves well, is very athletic for a 7 footer, blocks out well, and went aggressively to the rim when looking to score. He showed great hands in shooting his mid-range jumper, and was a strong defender of the boards.
      He started out rough, had a few plays around the glass where he was clearly amped and couldn’t find the net…but if you’re young, haven’t played virtually at all for 70 days, and you’re foreign born, you might be a little rusty and amped at the start.

      And I’m, frankly, a little stunned to see you write “tentative on the boards” when he grabbed 14 boards in 39 minutes. With him in the paint that game changed.
      In the first period, Detroit was 7-8 in the paint.
      By the second, Detroit dropped off to 3-8 in the paint.
      In the third, Detroit was 4-8.
      In the fourth, Detroit was 0-2 in the paint.
      To me, that’s all about the big man. I especially liked the look of the team when Mosgov and AR were out there. During that roughly 8 minute overlap in their playing time, my perception was the paint belonged to the Knicks. Of the 11 O boards Detroit got, most came in the first half.
      Mosgov had 2 TOs in 39 minutes.
      As for the type of scores, I’m not sure I care. He let the game come to him. He was energetic, imposing, blocked out well and grabbed a bunch of boards. He also made Amare better. Anyone notice Amare had no PFs?

    31. Thomas B.

      @28
      BC to your first point I agree. And i’d like folks to consider what impact AR’s ability to bring the ball up quickly or throw an outlet has on the speed of the game. The knicks are better when they push becuase some of the player have limited halfcourt games. Mozgov would get the board, stand there, look for a guard, make a slow pass…. Also AR runs the floor better than Mozgov. I dont know if its a cant or a wont, but I dont recall him hustling up court very much. I wonder if that is what kept the pace at 87 for this game.
      Boxscore notes:
      Gallinari didn’t miss that 1 freethrow per game lately that has been driving me nuts (11-11).
      I wonder how many of Mozgov’s 5 offensive boards came from tips of his own missed layups?
      Felton’s shooting went under the radar thanks to Mozgov and AR sightings in the win, but it still isnt good (5-13). He is starting to revert to Rookie Raymond. Be afraid, be very afraid.
      The Pistons’ eFG% 58.2 last night. Damn! usually eFG is most closely related to winning but we over came that with huge gains in ORtg, TOV%, and ORB% (thanks to Mosgov and Randolph). C’mon MDA the rebounding helps even when the defense allows damn near everything from the floor to go down.

    32. Frank O.

      Lost in all this, BTW, was a great game from Gallo at +19. 29 points on 12 shots and 11-11 from the line is sick.
      I don’t know if you all noticed, but there was a point in the game where Gallo was the only starter on the floor, and he took over the game.
      He drove. He shot from long range. He was a beast.
      And in the fourth, where we are finding he can hit dagger shots, he again hit two killer 3s.

      My only issue with him is his complete and utter absence on the boards.
      However, with Mosgov and AR getting 19 boards between them, the Knicks more than offset Gallo’s lack of boards.
      Still, it is a genuine weakness in his game and something I hope he address in the offseason.

    33. Brian Cronin

      Gallinari didn’t miss that 1 freethrow per game lately that has been driving me nuts (11-11).

      Shit, I totally meant to mention that.

      Yeah, that drives me crazy every game, so I, too, was super pumped when I saw that. And then I proceeded to not write about it! D’oh!

    34. Brian Cronin

      Lost in all this, BTW, was a great game from Gallo at +19. 29 points on 12 shots and 11-11 from the line is sick.
      I don’t know if you all noticed, but there was a point in the game where Gallo was the only starter on the floor, and he took over the game.
      He drove. He shot from long range. He was a beast.

      Yeah, I think this was brought up during the game thread, and it was true – the Knicks looked like he was the focus of the offense and it worked really well.

      My only issue with him is his complete and utter absence on the boards.
      However, with Mosgov and AR getting 19 boards between them, the Knicks more than offset Gallo’s lack of boards.
      Still, it is a genuine weakness in his game and something I hope he address in the offseason.

      I think there is something to be said for D’Antoni specifically not wanting him to crash the boards, so Gallo runs back on D rather than even attempting to get boards (especially when Fields is so good at doing just that).

    35. Frank O.

      Brian Cronin:
      Yeah, I think this was brought up during the game thread, and it was true – the Knicks looked like he was the focus of the offense and it worked really well.I think there is something to be said for D’Antoni specifically not wanting him to crash the boards, so Gallo runs back on D rather than even attempting to get boards (especially when Fields is so good at doing just that).  

      He’s also a bit of a spectator. I’ve seen him watch the ball come off the boards and make no move to get it. I think also, if he sends a great deal of time hanging outside the 3pt line, he’s not always in a good position to get a board. His time, from that position, may be better spent getting back on D or waiting for an O board to be kicked back out to him for a bomb.

      You never hear anyone on the Knicks complain about Gallo’s board work, so one wonders if this isn’t part of the design.

    36. Thomas B.

      You never hear anyone on the Knicks complain about Gallo’s board work,

      Well, pots generally avoid calling the kettle black.

    37. KnickInSeattle

      @30, good points all.

      I’m a bit surprised to see the negative aspects of Mozgov’s statistics get more attention than the positive.

      I’m not sure how that’s objective. Surely breaking the small 40 minute sample into good and bad, and then emphasizing the bad is the same mistake as emphasizing the good and ignoring the bad?

    38. Brian Cronin

      You never hear anyone on the Knicks complain about Gallo’s board work, so one wonders if this isn’t part of the design.

      Yeah, I think that likely is it.

      Just like you never hear D’Antoni bitch about Amar’e weak interior defense, because I bet he is being told “do not foul, we need you to stay on the court,” like they did last year with Lee (where the Knicks had noone else who could play interior D – now there is at least Turiaf and Mozgov).

    39. Ben R

      I really liked it when Gallo was the focus of the offense as well. I’d love to see a backup unit of Douglas, Fields/Chandler, Gallo, Randolph, Mozgov. Put that out there for 12-14 minutes a night and let Felton and Amare get nice long rests. This way we would slow down, play good defense and own the boards when our best offensive player was sitting. Then when Amare comes back put the shooters back in and run. By having a very big unit coming off the bench it would give us more room for error on the offensive side of the ball since our defense and rebounding with this unit would be so much better.

    40. Z

      @30 Yeah, Frank, I agree. I actually thought, at first, that this was another one of Mike’s tongue-in-cheek pieces (like the Carmelo rumor trade). But then the punch line never came.

      Not sure what Mozgov did to deserve this kind of treatment. Maybe it’s because it was supposed to be Anthony Randolph’s coming out and Mozgov stole his applause.

    41. Brian Cronin

      That sounds like an interesting unit, Ben.

      Honestly, I’m fine with any second unit that includes one of Gallo and Amar’e being on the floor. When they’re not there, there is no real focus and everything deteriorates into either ugly isos or silly ball movement (like the game against Houston where they kept passing the ball for 22 seconds until whoever had the ball last, wherever he was, had to take the shot).

    42. Frank O.

      Z: @30 Yeah, Frank, I agree. I actually thought, at first, that this was another one of Mike’s tongue-in-cheek pieces (like the Carmelo rumor trade). But then the punch line never came.Not sure what Mozgov did to deserve this kind of treatment. Maybe it’s because it was supposed to be Anthony Randolph’s coming out and Mozgov stole his applause.  

      Maybe Maurice Lucas hijacked Mike’s site…? :)
      Hee hee. Only kidding, Mike. :)

    43. Thomas B.

      Z:

      @30 Yeah, Frank, I agree. I actually thought, at first, that this was another one of Mike’s tongue-in-cheek pieces (like the Carmelo rumor trade). But then the punch line never came.

      Not sure what Mozgov did to deserve this kind of treatment. Maybe it’s because it was supposed to be Anthony Randolph’s coming out and Mozgov stole his applause.  

      (Quote)

      No I think the statement’s on what he did was legit. He played well but he did several things that you would not expect to see from a pro ball player. Missed a couple of easy lays ins from close, couldn’t catch a few passes that resulted in blowing at least two more buckets. I think it’s fair not to put on the rose colored glasses.

      My honest thought watching him play was that he “Pulled a Homer” meaning to succeed despite gross incompetence.

    44. Ben R

      I don’t think thats fair at all Thomas. His game isn’t the smoothest thing in the world but he is very good on the pick and roll. There is a reason he was one of the most dominant players in the world championships last year. It’s not always pretty but his combination of size speed and strength with his good timing make him a very good roller. His blown layups all came when he was still flustered and even with those he scored 23 points on 65% TS% with 2 tos.

      I think I maybe saw him blow one catch all night on an alley oop attempt. The Douglas bounce pass was a poor pass and it’s unfair to expect a seven footer to catch a bounce pass on the run that is behind him and low. He then had two more balls poked away and he defintely needs to protect the ball better and not bring it low when turning in the post (his biggest offensive weakness and a mistake Amare makes all the time) but overall I thought he was fairly mistake free.

      This is like opposite homerism. We don’t want to appear like homers so we’ll tear apart a very good performance by a very young player who just had a career night. I don’t understand. No one’s saying he’ll put up 20 and 10 consistantly but I think he’s earned some minutes in the rotation and for the first time since the season started he’s shown real glimpses of the player he was in Europe and the preseason.

    45. Frank O.

      Thomas B.:
      My honest thought watching him play was that he “Pulled a Homer” meaning to succeed despite gross incompetence.  

      Fascinating.
      You know there is a joke in my business: Send four reporters to a car accident and you’ll get four entirely different stories.
      I think this is a similar case.
      You talk about his misses, but here is how his shooting breaks down:
      He started 1-5 from the field and was 2-6 for the 1st period.
      Then he went 3-3 in the second, 1-2 in the 3rd and 3-4 in the 4th.
      So, in the final 3 quarters, he was 7-9.

      And yet, folks seem to want to focus on that first period when he started rusty and jittery.
      One of the passes he lost was on a break and the ball was thrown behind him. He deflected it and it went to Amare for an easy basket.
      At the end of the game, T-Mac blocked Mosgov’s attempt to go to the glass, but Amare finished it with a flush.

      I’m not suggesting he’s perfect, or that he will suddenly become a 20-10 guy. I’m only suggesting that his good play far, far, far exceeded his negatives. His +15 on the night supports that conclusion. And, frankly, if he was getting a lot of “easy dunks,” some of which were hanging-from-the-rim-astoundingly-athletic follows, well, why don’t other Knicks players not named Amare do the same?
      He was getting those plays because a) he’s in the paint ready to make a play, b) he’s huge, c) he’s stronger than most players, and d) because he could.
      I mean, not saying he’s the same guy, but Shaq has made a career of the seemingly open dunk. The fact of the matter is he got those dunks because no one could keep him out of the paint and off the glass. Same could be said for Mosgov last night, or that Detroit didn’t guard him well, were blind-sided and he made them pay for their lack of preparation.
      Mosgov displayed a lot last night. Respectfully, “gross…

    46. Frank O.

      Ben R: I don’t think thats fair at all Thomas. His game isn’t the smoothest thing in the world but he is very good on the pick and roll. There is a reason he was one of the most dominant players in the world championships last year. It’s not always pretty but his combination of size speed and strength with his good timing make him a very good roller. His blown layups all came when he was still flustered and even with those he scored 23 points on 65% TS% with 2 tos.
      I think I maybe saw him blow one catch all night on an alley oop attempt. The Douglas bounce pass was a poor pass and it’s unfair to expect a seven footer to catch a bounce pass on the run that is behind him and low. He then had two more balls poked away and he defintely needs to protect the ball better and not bring it low when turning in the post (his biggest offensive weakness and a mistake Amare makes all the time) but overall I thought he was fairly mistake free.
      This is like opposite homerism. We don’t want to appear like homers so we’ll tear apart a very good performance by a very young player who just had a career night. I don’t understand. No one’s saying he’ll put up 20 and 10 consistantly but I think he’s earned some minutes in the rotation and for the first time since the season started he’s shown real glimpses of the player he was in Europe and the preseason.  

      hear hear

    47. Frank O.

      Frank O.:
      Fascinating.
      You know there is a joke in my business: Send four reporters to a car accident and you’ll get four entirely different stories.
      I think this is a similar case.
      You talk about his misses, but here is how his shooting breaks down:
      He started 1-5 from the field and was 2-6 for the 1st period.
      Then he went 3-3 in the second, 1-2 in the 3rd and 3-4 in the 4th.
      So, in the final 3 quarters, he was 7-9.And yet, folks seem to want to focus on that first period when he started rusty and jittery.
      One of the passes he lost was on a break and the ball was thrown behind him. He deflected it and it went to Amare for an easy basket.
      At the end of the game, T-Mac blocked Mosgov’s attempt to go to the glass, but Amare finished it with a flush.I’m not suggesting he’s perfect, or that he will suddenly become a 20-10 guy. I’m only suggesting that his good play far, far, far exceeded his negatives. His +15 on the night supports that conclusion. And, frankly, if he was getting a lot of “easy dunks,” some of which were hanging-from-the-rim-astoundingly-athletic follows, well, why don’t other Knicks players not named Amare do the same?
      He was getting those plays because a) he’s in the paint ready to make a play, b) he’s huge, c) he’s stronger than most players, and d) because he could.
      I mean, not saying he’s the same guy, but Shaq has made a career of the seemingly open dunk. The fact of the matter is he got those dunks because no one could keep him out of the paint and off the glass. Same could be said for Mosgov last night, or that Detroit didn’t guard him well, were blind-sided and he made them pay for their lack of preparation.
      Mosgov displayed a lot last night. Respectfully, “gross…  

      I got cut off.
      Respectfully, “gross incompetence” isn’t what I saw.

    48. gransoporro

      I wanted to troll a bit and write that we should send Gallinari, Fields, Chandler, Mozgov, Curry and Randolph to Denver for Anthony, but a journalist (!!!??!?!) wrote that already…

      Back to the thread, what kind of player did you think Mozgov was? Chamberlain reborn? If he was any better he would have been drafted or brought in the NBA already.

      If D’Antoni would describe the ideal center for his game, he would say athletic, able to run the floor, play the P&R, with a good 5 meters jumper, decent defender and rebounder (the last 2 are probably pluses…). So they took a chance on Mozgov. Now that the guy clearly shows improvements, I read “not enough” or “it was a fluke”. He had a very good game and it resulted in a win, so thank you Moz. I hope to see him in the rotation this coming week because he showed he belonged there. Then if it was a fluke, he will “ride the pine” as you say here.

      I also noted that in the last seconds D’Antoni replaced Felton and Stoudemire with Douglas and Randolph as if to thank them for the win (after all, he never does anything similar and those two spend all the time those useless seconds on the floor).

      Oh, and the face Gallinari made after the last 3pt means “impressive” (yesterday’s case) or “I am impressed”: he was not frowning. Yes, we can gesture even with our face in Italy…

    49. Z

      Thomas B.: he “Pulled a Homer” meaning to succeed despite gross incompetence.  

      I think if Nick Fazekas signed onto a team and played the game Mozgov just played we wouldn’t be hearing about a fumbled catch here and a open Ben Gordon 3 pointer there. We’d hear about how the stats predicted he’d dominate in the NBA.

      That Mozgov showed “gross incompetence” last night is the dumbest thing posted on this site since Maurica Lucas’s self-imposed exile :)

    50. Frank

      @49 – seriously – I could hardly believe what I was reading in Mike’s original post. I remember when we were talking about the greatness of David Lee, the Lee-lovers were pointing out how he played within himself on offense with put-backs, alley-oops etc. and how that was so great. Now Mozgov does it and it’s “He converted 3 put-backs and 1 alley-oop, and those aren’t going to be there every night.”

      I was really excited to see how well Mozgov played last night. I know it was against the Pistons who stink, but we were all hoping just to see potential, and I think it’s clear we saw that. No one thinks he’s going to average 23 and 14 every night and become Tim Duncan in his prime. But the night showed us that he can play in a real NBA game against a (not great but) real NBA team. It’s just surprising that a stats-based site would say basically – yes, he had ridiculously awesome and totally unexpected stats, but if you watched the game he actually sucked.

      Re: Randolph – I really liked how he played too – but part of the reason he didn’t make mistakes is because obviously no one trusts him with the ball on offense. I wouldn’t take his “lack of mistakes” as a virtue – it’s really easy to not turn the ball over when you never touch the ball.

    51. Caleb

      Talk about seeing (reading) what you want to see…

      I don’t think there is any mention of “gross incompetence” in that post… I think the cautious tone is fair.

      Luckily, the potential of AR & Mozgov is not a zero-sum game, except maybe in minutes for the next few weeks or months. Both could turn out to be good.. or both bad… etc.

      But here’s a bet – inspired by #49 and similar comments… for all his supposed offensive incompetence, Anthony Randolph will finish the season with a lower turnover rate than the Russian Teddy Bear… Takers? Name your stakes…

    52. Frank

      Caleb:
      But here’s a bet – inspired by #49 and similar comments… for all his supposed offensive incompetence, Anthony Randolph will finish the season with a lower turnover rate than the Russian Teddy Bear… Takers? Name your stakes…  

      Again – I’d say that since no one will pass the ball to AR, it’s hard for him to turn the ball over. Seriously though – turnover rate is a somewhat misleading statistic when the two players score in such different ways. Mozgov is expected to handle the ball in much more traffic (ie. in the post) than Randolph, who in his current role so far looks as if he is supposed to pass the ball around in the perimeter and shoot open jumpers – not dribble etc. Many fewer opportunities to turn the ball over if you’re not in traffic.

    53. cgreene

      BigBlueAL: So Anthony Randolph played great last night and Mozgov was lucky.Gotcha.  

      LOL. And KB is a site that emphasizes the viewing experience over the statistical evidence as a predictive measure of player performance.

    54. Z

      Caleb: Talk about seeing (reading) what you want to see…I don’t think there is any mention of “gross incompetence” in that post…   

      Huh?

      Not sure what happened overnight… First Mike, then Thomas, and now Caleb too is talking the crazy talk!

      This has become too confusing of a thread for me. I may have to check out ’til Dallas…

    55. Thomas B.

      Mozgov misses 4-foot hook shot
      Mozgov misses layup
      Mozgov offensive rebound (padding rebounding stats)
      Mozgov misses 3-foot hook shot (2 misses inside 4 feet, nice)
      Then he picks up 2 fouls
      Mozgov offensive rebound (yes!)
      Mozgov misses tip shot (no!)
      Mozgov makes two point shot (about time)
      Mozgov offensive rebound (without missing a shot first?)
      Make 1/2 Fts
      Mozgov makes slam dunk (good thing it was from less than 1 foot)
      Mozgov makes 12-foot two point shot (say it aint so)
      Mozgov makes 2-foot two point shot (hey a close one)
      Timofey Mozgov lost ball (shades of Curry)
      Mozgov defensive rebound
      Mozgov bad pass (everybody sing! Hey now you’re an All-Star)
      Mozgov offensive rebound
      Mozgov 2 point shot
      Mozgov misses 21-foot jumper (fields saw him on wing and thought he was Gallinari, rookie mistake)
      Two defensive rebounds
      Mozgov makes 12-foot jumper
      a rebound, commits a foul and gets 2 free throws
      2 defensive boards
      Mozgov makes 12 foot jumper
      Mozgov offensive rebound
      Mozgov makes 2 point shot (put back)
      2 free throws and a rebound then a bad foul
      Mozgov slam dunk (easy)
      defensive rebound
      Lay-up blocked by TMac
      defensive rebound
      Mozgov make 19 foot jumper (wow)

      For some strange reason the two times he fumbled the ball arent listed, I think it was because they did not result in turnovers and Fields and Stoudamire cleaned up the mess. So add to dropped balls to the list above.
      I’m not being mean, I give him credit. Defensive stalwards Greg Monroe and Austin Daye had no answer for Mozgov.

    56. Mike Kurylo Post author

      So from what I’ve read from the majority of comments, Mozgov has turned the corner because of his confidence grew (some of it attributed to Amar’e Stoudemire’s words). Moz is currently a better player than he was previously. He’s more likely to shoot closer to 65% than his current 48% ts%, and rebound closer to 12.4 than 7.9 reb/36.

      Also for Frank @50, an apt comparison for Mozgov is David Lee. Perhaps not a direct comparison, but on eventual overall value.

      I sure hope everyone is right. I sold 3 Moz shirts since yesterday’s game, and him turning into a solid rotation player (or better yet a Lee-esque career) would send enough off the shelves to allow me to afford …. ummmm …. a six pack of beer.

    57. erobes

      @56

      I almost feel like I should stay out of this because I’m made my first post last night, but what the hell.

      That post is beyond ridiculous. I’m pretty sure if you put smartass comments after every positive play, you could make Michael Jordan look like a scrub. By my count, after his weak first quarter that nearly everyone watching chalked up to a combination of nerves and confidence problems, in your above post the positive play to negative play ratio was (ballpark) 20-5. It was tough to count because sometimes you counted boards two at a time.

      As someone who has lurked around this board for a while, I have to imagine that some of this anti-Mozgov sentiment is coming from the fact that many posters have a lot emotionally invested in AR’s development, and are a little bitter that it was Mozgov who shined brightest.

      Maybe I’m out of line here, but its a feeling I get.

    58. Mike Kurylo Post author

      cgreene:
      LOL.And KB is a site that emphasizes the viewing experience over the statistical evidence as a predictive measure of player performance.  

      Should I use numbers exclusively? And if I don’t use the most recent game to overrule the previous 26 (9 of them starts), am I abandoning statistical analysis?

    59. jon abbey

      Mozgov has barely played this year, and virtually not at all for the last month. can’t we chalk up the early ineptitude yesterday to rust, call the rest of the game promising, and see what he does going forward?

    60. Thomas B.

      Okay you people don’t know when I’m pulling your leg do you. Okay I only called it pulling a Homer because there were two plays where he fumbled the ball so badly on the way to an easy open basket but neither resulted in a turnover. It reminded me of the episode of the Simpsons (season 2 I think) when Homer saved the power plant with eeny-meany-miney-moe. They called it pulling a homer because his incompetence did not result in loss. That is just like those two Mozgov plays. I figured the joke was so over the top that it was clearly me just exagerating for effect.

      You get excited if you want to but he missed a good number of easy shots and tip ins. He basically hit two long jumpers hit some free throws and made a few dunks off put backs and he rebounded against a small Piston frontline.

      Does Mozgov suck? No. But the Pistons do. 28th in defensive eFG%, 25th in defensive rebounding, 26th in Defensive efficiency.

      Keep it in perspective fellas and take it one game at a time with this guy. He lost that starting job for a reason you know.

    61. KnickInSeattle

      I think the consensus is that some of us want to view last night in a positive light…not as a true representation of how Moz will play, but as an indication of improvement.

      And some of us wish to debunk that idea.

      The competing analyses of the statistical line actually don’t show much more than the nearly-ubiquitous confirmation bias. We believe that which we want to believe, and favor those statistics which confirm that belief.

    62. Mike Kurylo Post author

      erobes: As someone who has lurked around this board for a while, I have to imagine that some of this anti-Mozgov sentiment is coming from the fact that many posters have a lot emotionally invested in AR’s development, and are a little bitter that it was Mozgov who shined brightest.Maybe I’m out of line here, but its a feeling I get.  

      Welcome lurker! I’d like to say the funniest thing about this is I like Mozgov. I really like the guy, and would love it if he became the Knicks starting center for the next decade. He’s fun to watch, a bit goofy, with splashes of strong athleticism. But I have to be a realist, and I just don’t see the evidence to show that he’s all of a sudden a good player. Was I hyper critical? Perhaps, but considering what’s he’s done prior to this I reserve the right to be so.

      I’ll admit it’s possible that’s he improved, and will root for him at every turn. But I think it’s ambitious to think a couple of weeks in practice and a few “ata boys” from Amar’e has completely turned his game around.

    63. Thomas B.

      erobes: @56I almost feel like I should stay out of this because I’m made my first post last night, but what the hell.That post is beyond ridiculous.I’m pretty sure if you put smartass comments after every positive play, you could make Michael Jordan look like a scrub.

      I was just trying to be funny. Sheesh. ess-dog help me out here.

    64. cgreene

      I’m bored and under the weather. Mike, you are twisting people’s words. You wrote an article that criticized a good performance by a rookie that a lot of people thought was at best not thought through and at worst very unfair. Now you are twisting people’s words into some long term prediction about Mozgov that no one here really made. The guy played a good game and has the potential to fill a need that we all agree on. And, according to the people that actually attend practice and speak with the players and the coaches, the guy worked very hard in practice to get his chance and took advantage of it. On top of all that his advanced stats were excellent IN THIS ONE GAME which has generally been the benchmark for this blog. On top of that the anti Moz group on this blog is promoting Randolph who, from all accounts of people who see practices and speak with the coaches and players, has not put in the same work in practice nor demonstrated in 3 years the ability to grasp basic basketball fundamentals on both offense and defense… but ohhhhhh that rebound rate. Geez.

    65. Jimmy C

      Yes, Mozgov started off rusty, had a few vintage stone-hands moments, and more than a few times found himself the benefactor of sheer serendipity.

      A little perspective here. It’s totally unrealistic to say he’s definitively “turned a corner”, but it’s just as ludicrous to dismiss out of hand the idea that, sometimes, you make your own luck. Usually we praise guys for being in the right place at the right time, but Moz does it and suddenly he’s just Peter Sellers in ‘Being There’?

      Let’s put ourselves in this kid’s shoes for just a minute. You spend your pro career in Russia, where by all accounts you’re an upper echelon player. You do well enough to warrant a contract in the single most intense media / fan crucible IN THE WORLD, start for said team for a number of games, do horribly, and find yourself glued to the pine, all within a three month span. Oh, and you barely speak English.

      That’s pretty rough.

      This guy can play. I’ve seen the videos, I saw him at the Worlds and, while it took over half the season, we all saw it last night. I know it’s hyperbolic to think that “Amare’s words” or the Garden’s chants will somehow turn what would otherwise be an anomaly into the single greatest overnight transformation in the history of sport…. but I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to think that this is the kind of game that can change a guy’s season. Will we ever see another 23 and 14 this year? My guess would be no, though I hope I’m wrong. But from what I saw, there’s no reason this can’t be a springboard to a productive second half of the season, even if it’s 7 and 5 in 15 minutes. I’d be thrilled with that.

      It’s been years since we’ve had this much to be excited about. What’s another scoop on the sundae?

    66. gransoporro

      Can we agree that Mozgov played a good game yesterday? That it was a chance to shine for him, not garbage time, and he took it with both hands for once (pun intended)?
      Can we agree that he deserves a spot in the rotation on yesterday’s performance?

      So what is this confusing a game with long term performance? yesterday was his chance: he took it. What kind of player he is, we will see on the court now. Still, he is a rookie that played only few minutes of garbage time since, what, November? I see only positives, no negatives. We need another PF/C in the rotation as well as another PG (especially the PG): if he is already in the roster it’s even better.

      Randolph too did well yesterday, but his sin is that he has Stoudemire, Chandler, Gallinari and even Williams ahead oh him, so he will have only few minutes even if he enters the rotation (and I think he should be in).

    67. daJudge

      Great comments by everyone. However, as a premise and a bottom line–Moz played better than any big 5 has played for the Knicks over the last two years ( I am not counting Amare, because in my world he is a 4). Obviously, I really enjoyed the performance by Moz. Of course he was not perfect, but he was very effective and a joy for me to watch. I think citing AR’s performance and comparing same to Moz is a big red herring and totally misses the the point. The comparison is simply not relevant. AR played a fine game, but he is not a 5. I am old school, I like roles, but very much respect the innovation that flows from the Coach’s system. Nevertheless, and notwithstanding the system, IMO we need a big bad. Thus I see the issue to be framed as, “Can Moz be a bonafide 5 eliminating the Knick’s dire need at that position? Can he rebound, throw the outlet, shoot a bit, play some D and fit? My optimistic answer is yes based on his skills and ability to learn. Whether AR can do so at the 4 or 3 is not the issue since we have players at that spot.

    68. flossy

      Was it a good game for Timo? Be honest… some of you thought he wouldn’t get another 23 points and 14 rebounds *in his NBA career.*

    69. Owen

      “It’s been years since we’ve had this much to be excited about. What’s another scoop on the sundae?”

      Having been a statistically oriented Knicks fan in from 06-10, through the Isiah Era, the Curry Era, the Marbury era, it is totally bizarre to be sitting here on the verge of February with the Knicks over 500% and in contention for a playoff spot. I almost don’t know what to do with myself.

      That said, I can understand where Mike is coming from with the. shall we say. measured skepticism. We had our long winter of discontent (footnote: Brian Cronin). And things seem pretty good right now after a horrible, soul destroying decade.

      But look long enough at the numbers (you don’t have too look too long) and it begs the question. Has spring finally come? Or is this, to gloriously mangle the metaphor, a false dawn?

      I hate to be a killjoy but I feel like it’s going to take some seriously lucky breaks for the Knicks to actually cobble together something even remotely resembling a contender if this Carmelo thing comes to fruition. I am praying that somehow he ends up somewhere else and Chris Paul ends up here and the good times can finally roll….

    70. Brian Cronin

      We had our long winter of discontent (footnote: Brian Cronin).

      Did I say that? I don’t recall.

    71. Doug

      Frank O.:
      Maybe Maurice Lucas hijacked Mike’s site…? :)
      Hee hee. Only kidding, Mike. :)  

      What if… Maurice Lucas was Mike ALL ALONG…!!!!

      DUN DUN DUNNNNN

    72. rama

      Owen: You wrote a post, “The Fourth Winter of our Discontent” back in 07…http://knickerblogger.net/the-fourth-winter-of-our-discontent/  (Quote)

      Wow, reading that thread really took me back…in a bad way. Just brutal, brutal, brutal decade being a fan of this team. But I saw this typically excellent post from Tastycakes:

      tastycakes says:
      December 25, 2007 at 6:23 pm
      Anybody romanticizing the 2003 Knicks needs to get their head checked. That team was awful, worse than the current incarnation by far. Not only were they bad, but they were boring. Harold Eisley had heart? Give me a break, that guy was a bigger loser than Steph. I’d rather watch Nate, Jamal, and Eddy lose games over Eisley, Van Horn, and Mohammed any day of the week.

      I’ll give Isiah credit — he has made the Knicks more interesting in 4 years. The sideshows provide non-stop hilarity, and though there isn’t a future all-star in the bunch (except for Lee, maybe) the younger guys are eminently watchable players (Balkman, Lee, Robinson). In 2003, there wasn’t an up-and-comer on the roster worth tuning in to see, just a team of utter mediocrity.

      Any honest Knick fan knows that this team is never going to win anything with Isiah running the show, and with Steph and Eddy as the main two guys.

      As for Jimmy Dolan…if he ‘accidentally’ hired a good GM, the Knicks could be good again within the next 5 years.

    73. latke

      RE: emotional investment in AR

      I don’t think anyone on this blog would disagree with the notion that if you look at best case scenarios 2-3 years down the line for both Mozgov and AR, Mozgov could be an above average center — someone who could maybe make an all star game once in his career. AR, however, has the potential — the physical gifts — to be a legit top 10 player. Obviously, the odds are really really long that that will happen, but if you dream of a knick championship, then IMO you absolutely should be more emotionally invested in AR’s progression than in Mozgov’s.

      Owen: I hate to be a killjoy but I feel like it’s going to take some seriously lucky breaks for the Knicks to actually cobble together something even remotely resembling a contender if this Carmelo thing comes to fruition. I am praying that somehow he ends up somewhere else and Chris Paul ends up here and the good times can finally roll….  

      Whether or not we get ‘melo we’ll need many lucky breaks in order to be a contender — however many lucky breaks it takes to get chris paul, deron williams, or dwight howard. I see almost no possibility of a championship for the knicks without one of those 3. But with any one of them, I think we would be very very close.

    74. massive

      If D’Antoni can get Melo to stop taking those ugly, long two point jumpers, Melo would be a top 10 player in this league. There is no reason whatsoever for a player with his skill set to take so many of those shots. That’s the reason why he’s so inefficient. He settles for the worst shot in basketball entirely too much. Will that change if he gets here? I’m not sure, but the nature of this offense says he will.

    75. jon abbey

      Owen:
      I hate to be a killjoy but I feel like it’s going to take some seriously lucky breaks for the Knicks to actually cobble together something even remotely resembling a contender if this Carmelo thing comes to fruition.   

      it’s going to take Dwight Howard, with or without Carmelo. I don’t even like the chances of a Paul/Amare/Melo nucleus too much, that team would need a Noah-like defender/rebounder.

    76. Owen

      “it’s going to take Dwight Howard, with or without Carmelo. I don’t even like the chances of a Paul/Amare/Melo nucleus too much, that team would need a Noah-like defender/rebounder.”

      “Whether or not we get ‘melo we’ll need many lucky breaks in order to be a contender — however many lucky breaks it takes to get chris paul, deron williams, or dwight howard. I see almost no possibility of a championship for the knicks without one of those 3.”

      It’s crazy how long the Knicks have gone without featuring one of the top five players in the game. Hasn’t happened in my lifetime. I hope it happens but unless they can shoehorn Paul next to Melo and Stoudemire it may not happen for a very long time. And I agree, even that trio won’t ever be a favorite to win.

    77. Caleb

      A rough draft of a player comparison finder. I tried to cast a pretty wide net, for a range of predictions

      Mozgov
      - seasons at age 24
      - TS < 50 (he's at 47)
      - rebound rate >12 (he’s at 12.6)
      - blocks >1.2 per 40 (he’s at 2.0)
      - turnover rate >15 (he’s over 21)

      Here’s what popped out:

      The best season was Robert Parish, but it’s not as pretty if you draw a line at guys playing less than 1000 minutes (if Mosgov gets 20 a game from here out, he’d be right at 1000).

      Randolph at age 21:
      - seasons at age 21
      - TS < 45 (he's at 32)
      - rebound rate >15 (he’s at 18.3)
      - blocks >1.8 per 40 (he’s at 2.7)
      - turnover rate >13 (he’s @16)

      It’s hard to find ANY players with a TS% of 32 (BJ Mullens and Pavel Podkolzin)… so it’s a fluky list.

      If you try Randolph at age 20, it’s a better-looking list:
      - seasons at age 20
      - TS < 54 (AR=52)
      - rebound rate >14 (AR=16)
      - blocks >1.6 per 40 (AR=2.4)
      - turnover rate >10 (AR=10.7)

    78. taggart4800

      Without being far to melodramatic it must be said that we didn’t learn an awful lot from the Piston’s game.
      Firstly, a lot of the posters on the site are aware and have promoted the skills of both AR and Mozgov on a regular basis. Nobody is calling Mozgov the next shaq, hell, even DWTDD had 30 near the start of the season and he isn’t suddenly AI.
      All the previous positive comments were along the vein of frustration with D’Antoni for not giving these guys any minutes. I am in noway a D’Antoni hater but the play of these 2 players does rather show up the flaws in his stubborn nature. I understand that his fears were that if he played them for only spot minutes they wouldn’t find rythym but surely after an accrued amount of time they would be less startled by the prospect of being entered into the game.
      The game also confirmed that there is nothing simpler in basketball than size and athleticism. A legitimate 7 footer with the body that Mozgov has changes the way opposition offenses work, even it is only as a visual deterent. I thought the point made in an earlier post about his boxing out was excellent. Mozgov’s technical deficiencies, which can improve, are masked by an exemplory set of physical attributes that are hard to come by all in the same package. But we have known this since the start of training camp just as we have known that if AR was to play within himself he too has a unique set of attributes and is able to rebound well and bring the ball up at pace. A lot of people have rightly said that if he was to play within himself he could be areally useful, developing, big man.

    79. Frank O.

      jon abbey: Mozgov has barely played this year, and virtually not at all for the last month. can’t we chalk up the early ineptitude yesterday to rust, call the rest of the game promising, and see what he does going forward?  

      A-fuckin’-men…

    80. NateRobinson

      Things I saw from the game:

      -Mozgov rebounds well in traffic without the need to win the position battle. He showed strength on a couple of occasions putting his man under the basket.

      -Good natural motion and confidence in his jumper. Horrible touch 5 feet in.

      -Runs the floor very naturally and fast. On once occasion he got the DReb, ran the floor and beat his man for a putback.

      -AR has great hands for the rebounds, snatching it out of the air instead of waiting for it.

      -Good dribbling skills, keeps his head up while dribbling.

      -A Fields like knack for rebounds, seems to read bounces well.

      -The second quarter lineup looked great rebounding and running the floor. Timo, AR, Gallo, Walker, TD.

      -Gallo’s point forward skills can excel in this type of lineup where defenses will key on his shot and trap P&R’s.

      I need to see this lineup more. Give STAT and Felton some rest and give these young guys confidence because the way we defend will guarantee that for more than one game STAT and Turiaf will be in foul trouble in a playoff game.

    Comments are closed.