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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NBA News and Notes for May 16th

The Spurs have forced the first Game 7 of the second round, beating the New Orleans Hornets 99-80. The home team now has won a staggering 20 out of 21 games in the second round. Last year, the home team was 13-10.

* In “judging players based on a single game” news, David West put up the following numbers in Game 6 37:49 minutes, 4-14 from the field (2-2 from the line), 6 boards, 4 turnovers, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 blocks, 10 points scored. To be fair, West missed the last 10 minutes after Robert Horry hit him on a pick, re-aggravating an old injury of West’s. And to be clear, I’m just joking – I think West is an excellent NBA player.

* There was a great article in Newsday about David Lee, as soon as he heard D’Antoni was going to be the new coach, calling up Steve Nash to set up workouts.

“This plays perfectly into what I’m trying to do,” Lee said of the up-tempo system, which is similar to what he played under Billy Donovan at Florida. “My advantage against other bigs is I’m quicker and faster; I’m never going to be stronger than most of the fours or fives at this level, though I am always trying to get stronger and I will always compete physically.

“So I was very excited to see [D'Antoni] took the job here in New York.”

Sounds good.

* The Suns interviewed Terry Porter, and are going to be interviewing Mark Jackson on Friday. It’d be funny to see Jax get the Phoenix job. He could give Nash some point guard pointers – Jackson does have the second-most assists in NBA history (which just sounds so wrong, doesn’t it?).

* Thanks to o_boogie for the tip, Real GM has a link to a story about the Knicks sending Isiah on his first assignment in his new scouting role. He has been sent to Europe to scout Nicolas Batum and Danilo Gallinari.

* While I was at Real GM, I saw that Kiki Vandeweghe is looking to make a big splash as the new Nets GM, as apparently he’s talking to the Nuggets to see what it would take to get Carmelo Anthony and Marcus Camby. The Nets do have a whole ton of good stuff to offer in return.

* Mike Dunlap left the Nuggets assistant coaching staff to take the “Lute Olsen understudy” job at Arizona. I was wondering who’d they be able to sucker into taking that gig.

* Hopefully the Cavaliers play better in Game 6 than they did in the latter stages of Game 5.

TWO Game 6s in one night – we may be in for a treat Friday night!!

99 comments on “NBA News and Notes for May 16th

  1. stingy d

    i’m starting a keep-steph-for-the-year-because-ultimately-it-will-make-sense campaign. who’s with me?

    it coincides with a keep-eddy-curry-if-you-want-to campaign, and a get-rid-of-randolph-at-all-costs campaign.

    this is all relative of course to the higher me as your gm campaign, and the if you don’t- don’t cross me campaign a subdivision of you should always listen to me campaign.

    this all has nothing to do with my don’t-vote campaign.

  2. W.C.

    I like Lee’s enthusiasm, but I’m not entirely sure D’Antoni agrees with his analysis. Just yesterday I read an article that suggested that D’Antoni might be willing to part with Lee as a sweetner in order to move a bad contract because he really likes his big men to have an outside shot too.

  3. Ben R

    Lee has a pretty solid outside shot that is improving. Last year he shot 40.5% from outside, Amare shot 46.1% and Diaw shot 40.5%. He is not a great outside shooter but he is not bad and is a hard worker so I suspect it will get even better.

  4. Thomas B.

    Should Denver really be thinking about moving Anthony this soon? He is not even 25 yet is he? I don’t see how Jersey can pull that off. Besides, that story has the same “New GM seeks old favorites” smell that the D’Antoni wants Barbosa and Diaw story.

    How do youmake that deal without including Carter? If you are Denver, why do you want Carter? Anthony and Carter are near mirror images other than the fact that Anthony will drive and occasionally post. Niether plays much D, they each fall back on the jumper, and they play the same position. And if NJ thinks they can get LBJ in two years, that would give them 3 ball dominating SF’s to work with.

    Is Vince Carter easier to move than Zach Randolph? I say no.

  5. caleb

    A deal for Richard Jefferson, plus draft picks and/or Sean Williams, isn’t farfetched… but who knows if those are serious discussions.

    I don’t know that I’d give up on Anthony quite yet, but since they already have Iverson, Smith & Kleiza to score… I can see why Denver is at least investigating the market.

  6. Thomas B.

    For the record:

    Robert Horry is one of the dirtiest players ever. Last year he hits Nash. This year he tries to take out West. What a jerk.

  7. z-man

    I posted this yesterday at the end of another thread, and if D’Antoni is thinking like W.C. says, I like him more and more (my first choice was Avery):
    David West hardly played as a 23 and 24 year old (less than 20 minutes per) so its hard to say how much he would have developed with DLee-type playing time. Once he got Lee-type minutes, his PER was consistently around 18-19 [plus he was a versatile threat on offense, opening things up more for CP3.] Lee showed little progress this past year compared to 2006-2007 and actually regressed in some areas, notably blocking shots, geting his own shot blocked, and man-defense. His perimeter shooting when left wide open is erratic at best (stats on this aspect of his game are as misleading as Zach’s 20 and 10 stats) and he is often virtually dared to shoot by defenders who lay off of him. His offensive moves are mechanical and predictable, and IMO will always be, keeping him from ever being a top-notch PF in this league. I would consider trading him while he is still coveted before his next contract makes him less of an asset than he is at his current salary.

    This is what smart GM’s would have done with guys like Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell, rather than tie up salary in guys with glaring holes in their game (not that Lee is going to command the salary those guys did. Doesn’t a fair analysis of the stats clearly indicate that despite ample opportuntity, Lee did not improve over last year and might have regressed? At what point do you say “he is now what he always be, let’s get max for him before the rest of the league figures this out?”

    Leave a Reply

  8. caleb

    From Jersey’s perspective it’s an interesting deal — Carter & Anthony they don’t really play the same position — Carter plays the 2 now, with Jefferson, and Anthony might be better suited to the 4, especially as he gets older, bigger and slower.

    But you’re right, they offer mostly the same thing — scoring. Still, Jersey has defensive specialists at the other 3 positions, so they can afford to put 2 ball hogs on the floor at the same time — more than most teams can.

    Plus, even though Jefferson is just a few years older than Anthony, his contract is almost as big, he’s injury-prone and his game has been in decline the last few years.

    p.s. I don’t see how Denver conceivably trades Anthony and Camby at the same time — salary match aside, they’re either going to trade Carmelo for another player to help them win right now, or trade Camby for someone younger — you can’t go both directions at once.

  9. caleb

    I won’t rehash the whole mega-thread, but suffice it to say — Lee played worse in 2007-2008 than the year before, but even this past (worse) season he was well above average for a starting NBA power forward.

    Donnie Walsh is a pro, he’s not using Lee as a “sweetener” unless it’s a huge deal — like dumping $20 million worth of deals AND bringing back a solid draft pick or legit young prospect.

    p.s. David West isn’t just playing more minutes — although his rebounding and passing have stayed flat, his efficiency and per-minute scoring have improved dramatically. His second year in the league he scored 13 points per 40, on 47.9 TS%… this past year the #s were 21.8 and 53.6. (Lee’s scoring #s the past 2 seasons were 14.4/40 on 65.2 TS%, and 14.9 on 60.6%)

  10. caleb

    p.p.s. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t trade Lee for a mid-lottery pick, good young PG or some combo of prospects and a salary dump — but unlike our fans, other GMs know he won’t come cheap.

  11. Thomas B.

    Caleb,

    Jefferson
    Harris
    S. Williams
    top pick in 2008 (Take best post player available)
    and top 15 protected 2009 might get it done if I was GM in Denver. Now Denver has a true point, a scoring two (AI), a good all-around 3 in Jefferson, if he is healthy, and they get back a young shot blocker. If they can draft a post scorer, or take a chance on trading for Randolph (for Martin and that protected 2009 pick), they could elevate to top 5-6 in the West.

    As for Jersey…
    Jersey is stuck with 2 ball hoggin, no D playing, jumpshot reliant players. What then? They have no post scorers and no realiable point. Between Anthony’s and Carter’s deal they have little cap flexability. They become, in essence, Denver East. I guess in the East that is enough to get to the post season, but is that the goal? That team won’t win a title.

  12. caleb

    A fair trade would be Jefferson plus 1 of the 3 assets you suggest, not all of them.

    PR-wise, I don’t think Denver could get away with it… but then, Carmelo’s popularity is on the wane, too.

  13. caleb

    and, Anthony and Carter both qualify as post scorers in my book — the bigger issue for Jersey would be defense, IMO.

  14. caleb

    In this deal or any other, Jersey also has a lot of picks to spread around — Dallas’ pick this year and again in 2010…

  15. Ben R

    z-man – Lee did not improve statistically last year but year before last he put up other-worldly stats so a small regression is not bad especially considering he had Randolph come in and disrupt any set role he had on this team. Plus some of his early shooting woes were growing pains as he added new things to his game.

    Even if David Lee does not improve any futher but continues to put up 12-14 pts while shooting over 60% ts% and pulling down 11-12 rbs while passing well and playing solid defense that still makes him a very good player. I do not understand why people think he has glaring holes in his game, he is great at some things and average at others but not one aspect of his game is below average. He is at worst a solid starting PF in this league. Is he better than David West I do not know, but West is an all-star and the fact that there is even a discussion just shows Lee’s value.

    I personally think he will continue to improve because he is a hard worker and still young. Also he would benefit greatly playing with a good PG in a well organized offense, which David West has, and which hopefully D’Antoni brings to NY next year.

    As for money, the players that become albatrosses are low effiecency scorers and players signed for their potential rather than their production. David Lee even at his current productivity is worth 8 million or so a year, which is probably about what he will get.

  16. caleb

    considering his extremely high percentage of makes, whether the misses were blocked is irrelavant… players who take a high proportion of shots inside get them blocked more..

    I think Lee’s (relative) struggles this year were partly due to physical issues… because of the leg injury he wasn’t cleared for real workouts until late summer… early in the season he had noticeably less “spring” in his legs, and it never looked like he really caught up.

    At least, I hope that’s the reason, not that he suffered some permanent damage.

  17. Thomas B.

    Caleb,

    “A fair trade would be Jefferson plus 1 of the 3 assets you suggest, not all of them.”

    Yeah, I’m sure NJ would say that. When you want to move one of the top young players in the game, along with (arguably) the best all around denfensive center in the NBA, you have to get more than a talented but fragile 3/2 plus a pick. Besides Jefferson plus asset doesn’t match the salary of Anthony and Camby.

    This isnt a Gasol fire sale here. If you think that RJ plus 1 assest is fair for CA and MC, then can I, as GM of the Knicks, give you, Denver GM, Randolph, James, Rose, Chandler, and a conditional pick for Anthony and Martin? I think thats fair. You get five players and I get two. You get a post player, two young players and a shot blocker.

    This reminds me of playing Monopoly with my younger brother when he was like 7 or something.

    Me: “I’ll trade you Baltic, Mediterranean, and both of the utilities for Park Place. You come out ahead because you get four properties and I only get one.”

    Him: “Okay, deal.”

    He lands on Park Place with a hotel, can’t pay the $1500 and the game is over.
    —-

    “and, Anthony and Carter both qualify as post scorers in my book”

    Now you are starting to worry me. Do you know what happens to teams when their “post player” is a jumpshot happy small forward? They miss the playoffs. Case in point, Denver and NJ.

  18. Thomas B.

    I think shot blocking is a glaring hole for Lee. Not just in terms of shots blocked, but also in terms of shots altered. No player in the NBA says “We cant drive the lane on Lee.” Having said that, I do not mind that Lee does not block shots. I am just fine with the efficient scoring, solid FT%, rebounding, and overall effort and commitment to improving.

  19. caleb

    “Besides Jefferson plus asset doesn’t match the salary of Anthony and Camby.”

    Thought we were talking about Anthony only – like I said above, no way Denver trades them both — they either try to win now, or get younger, not both.

    If Carmelo is so great, worth RJ and 2 or 3 lottery picks, then why is Denver an 8-seed?

  20. caleb

    It’s fair to call Lee’s shot-blocking a weakness — though I think it makes more sense to look at overall defense. That’s harder to judge. A year ago I’d have said he’s average or better. This year, subjectively, he looked worse. His plus-minus #s are still pretty good, but when you consider the other guys playing PF, that means even less than usual… I do expect improvement, as he gets older and stronger.

  21. z-man

    I would be fine with Lee’s production too if there were a solid cast around him, e.g. a vintage Shaq in the middle and Kobe at shooting guard, or even LeBron and Dalembert (fill in the blanks with whoever you want at PG and SF). However, to get to the point where Lee’s deficiencies (such as shot-blocking)can be overlooked due to teammates compensating, you need to be able to get those guys. Lee is the only guy on the team whose current market value exceeds his current production, based on the things Thomas B. alludes to. He is certainly not a guarantee. Caleb, we disagree on whether his 2007 injury is as much of a factor as you suggest. I think that his intelligence and work ethic underscore his limitations. He has had ample opportunity to show improvement in a non-pressure situation (low expectations). Furthermore, shot-blocking is a difficult skill to learn, my sense is that good shot-blockers commit silly fouls and goaltends early on but still block shots. Lee just doesn’t intimidate anyone on the defensive end, either as a post defender (a la Oak) or shot blocker.
    We need an entire new set of offensive AND defensive core players, which may require us to sacrifice Lee.

    By the way, Oak and Lee are a good comparison. Lee has him beat in many (if not most) categories on both O and D, doesn’t he? Would you have started current Lee over vintage Oak? I bring this up to question whether stats are painting an exaggerated picture of Lee’s value.

  22. caleb

    I think Lee is a better offensive player than Oakley ever was, but Oak was the best defensive PF in the league, and a great rebounder to boot… so that’s an easy call.

    Defensive stats are much more limited in what they tell you, than offensive ones. The great Riley teams ranked in the 20s in shot-blocking, yet were the best defensive team in the league. Oakley almost never blocked a shot.

    As far as Lee… I would just put this year in perspective. In 2006-2007, he performed better than all but 3 or 4 power forwards in the league. (This doesn’t mean he was the 4th or 5th best PF in the league, any more than you would say that David West is the best player in the New Orleans/San Antonio series, based on his Game 5).
    Even though Lee was worse this year than last, he was still quite good.

    He’s obviously a smart player, and skilled (great hands, great finisher). In 2006-2007, he looked to be extremely athletic, too, whereas this year he just didn’t seem to have the same lift (though still more “athletic” than Randolph, Curry, Jeffries et al). Maybe it was a physical hangover, maybe he was playing tentative, or maybe I just imagined it.

  23. W.C.

    >well, he does lead the league in getting his shot blocked.<

    I think that’s because defenses basically back off him when he has the ball on the outside. When he comes in they are all there waiting.

    He may hit 40% from the outside, but that’s a lot different than hitting 40% when they are actually forced to cover you and can’t sit back and keep the paint tied up. I’d let my opponent hit 40% all day long if I didn’t have to cover him to accomplish it. I would allow me to focus on preventing higher percentage scorers from getting the ball in the paint etc….

  24. justin

    daily news today said the mike d’antoni would be interested in bringing in knick legend patrick ewing to help work with eddy curry.

  25. Ben R

    I do not think you can call Lee’s shot blocking a weakness. He is fairly average for a PF. Many power forwards are not shot blockers.

    I think the argument that Lee is the only player with value therefore we should trade him is a bad one. He has value because he is good. Whereas most of the rest of the team is not good. We should look to keep the players that are good rather than trade them.

    With Lee on the team we have one good starter, to build around, the only way I say we trade him is if we get two good starters or one great player. Simply using him to get cap relief or a mid to late round draft pick would be a mistake.

  26. Sly Williams

    “He is fairly average for a PF. Many power forwards are not shot blockers.”
    ESPN lists 39 ‘qualified’ PFs for this past season. Lee is 32 out of 39 in blocks/minute. That’s far below average for the position.

  27. Lonster from Kansas via the Boogie Down

    Hey,
    Anybody had any Allan Houston sightings lately??? Allan’s my guy. He wants to make a comeback and now that Isiahs gone…or all but gone…now may be the perfect opportunity. He’s perfect for this system!!! He can actually make the 3ball, great free throw shooter, great leader. Plus, he’s not playing for money aspect anymore. Let’s start the “bring back Allan” campaign! Wadda say???

  28. Thomas B.

    Even if the deal is Anthony alone, Denver can do better than RJ and 1 asset. Depending on who Minny can draft (Beasely), Minny could trade Al Jefferson
    “If Carmelo is so great, worth RJ and 2 or 3 lottery picks, then why is Denver an 8-seed?”

    1. They play in the Western Conference

    2. They play in the Western Conference

    3. The team refuses to play solid team defense

    Look there are a number of great players in the West that did not make the playoffs. Baron Davis, Brandon Roy, Al Jefferson. Teams make the playoffs, not any lone player.

  29. caleb

    Sure, they might do better, but RJ & Sean Williams or RJ & the #10 pick (or maybe an extra, later pick too) isn’t a terrible offer, either.

    1/2. Let me rephrase — if Carmelo is so awesome, why are they only a 50-win team, despite what looks like a pretty damn good supporting cast?

    3. a) Denver was an above average defensive team this year (though they sucked the last two months), b) whose fault is that? Maybe part Carmelo?

  30. o_boogie

    carmelo’s lack of defensive commitment makes him no better than glenn robinson. his off the court issues could be a distraction and set a poor example for young impressionable players; being featured in a gangsters video, dwi, pot posession, slapping mardy collins. when melo came in the league i thought he and lebron were going to be neck-and-neck talentwise. it is clear from the past 2 seasons that melo will never live up to all the hype and be a superstar.

    unless i can get him on the cheap, i do not think i would acquire him.

  31. W.C.

    Denver is known as a high octane offense, but the team FG percentage is really not at an elite level. They score a lot because of the pace of game they play. I think guys like Iverson are super creative (and that’s an important talent to have on any team). However, he takes way too many shots on a team that has other creative players. In addition, Marcus Camby has a very low FG % for a center (I know, I know, he does a million other things) I guess what I am saying is that IMO Denver’s offense is actually overrated. It’s not just a problem of poor defense. I don’t think Anthony is the problem in Denver.

  32. jon abbey

    yeah, Iverson’s the main problem there IMO, no real need for him with Carmelo and JR Smith on the roster. Carmelo isn’t really an elite player, though, I agree with that also.

  33. Ess-dog

    If you were Denver, would you take Crawford and a top 5 pick for Melo and a 2nd rounder? Maybe we expand it to include a Kenyon for Randolph swap? I think Anthony would thrive under DAntoni. Then, we pray that Marion wants out of Miami and trade Stephon, Nate and Balkman for him. Then we’ve got Melo, Marion, Lee and Curry and we find a point in free agency or the draft.

  34. Thomas B.

    “1/2. Let me rephrase — if Carmelo is so awesome, why are they only a 50-win team, despite what looks like a pretty damn good supporting cast?”

    That same team in the East goes conference semis easy. But in the West, what can they do?

    Denver does not have the depth or support the Elite West teams have. And they lack bigs that can score.

    Utah has Okur and Boozer.
    Lakers have Gasol and Odom (and Bynum).
    Spurs have Duncan
    Hornets have West
    I see a pattern. The remaining teams have strong post/bigs. The temas that got bounced lacked consistently strong play from the frontcourt.

    Denver has no reliable scoring big. Denver is all wing in a conference that demands strong play in the front court and backcourt. Golden State is a good team but like Denver they lack inside scoring. GS was only a game back of Denver.

    Denver’s second problem is the lack of team defense. Go back to the remaining four Western teams, they all have strong defensive players and solid team defense.

    Finally, Anthony’s supporting cast is far inferior to Kobe’s, Paul’s, Duncan’s, Williams’, ect. Anthony’s support… AI, a skilled but flawed player. Iverson’s best attribute is his ability to score but he brings little else to the table. He is not an efficient scorer and has not been a high assist guy of late. Camby is a great help defender but he is too light to keep stronger players out of the paint. He is not a reliable post scorer either. Denver’s top reserve is who Linus Klieza? Anthony Carter? Martin? Do those guys compare with the reserves on the elite West teams? Likely not.

  35. Brian Cronin

    I guess what I am saying is that IMO Denver’s offense is actually overrated. It’s not just a problem of poor defense.

    It’s not just your opinion, it’s the fact of the matter.

    Denver’s defense is good but their offense is not as good as it should be, mostly because both Carmelo and AI are best on drives and since they have no one to kick out to, teams can swarm around AI and ‘Melo.

    I think they’d be better off trying to add forwards who can shoot than dumping ‘Melo, but they might not be able to dump their forwards (as they have so many bad contracts), they might have to trade ‘Melo.

  36. Thomas B.

    Caleb,

    I realize that i have failed to communicate one important thing to this discussion, that being, I just don’t think RJ is all that great a player.
    That is why I lobbied for additional assets.

    Melo is younger, bigger, and much more durable than RJ. To be honest, I viewed RJ as filler in the trade, not a centerpiece. Lets say the Nets get a top 3 pick, sure you could trade RJ and Lopez, or Mayo for Anthony. But RJ and the 12th pick? No, I dont think so.

  37. Thomas B.

    Great point BC!

    I neglected to mention Denver’s lack of spot up shooters that can stretch the D and open driving lanes for Melo and AI.

  38. Z-man

    Ben,
    I disagree that you builf a team around a “good” player. All of he teams left in the playoffs have either perennial all-stars or future hall of famers, any one of whom can actively take over a game, or even just a quarter, offensively. Isiah got Jamal, Eddy, Craw, and Steph to fill those roles, but they weren’t up to it. Unless you can get someone stupid enough to take them off your hands or can wait until we are under the cap and hope the right guy bites (e.g.LeBron) which is no guarantee, you take the chance that someone will overpay for Lee n a package with one of the aforemantioned dissapointments. Players of Lee’s caliber are second priority. Guys like LeBron, Kobe or CP3 (and Ewing, for that matter, he never really had another perennial all-star on his team) can make any team a playoff contender almost singlehandedly. I get those guys first, then try to land Lee-types in the draft, via mid-level exception, or by smart trades.

  39. Ben R

    Z-man – I agree that getting a top-tier player to build around is by far the best thing and if we could trade Lee for a top-tier player or a top 5 draft pick (to draft a top-tier player) then I would be all for it.

    What I do not think is a good idea is trading him for cap room or a late lottery draft pick. The chance of any player we get through free agency, or that late in the draft, becoming much better than Lee is slim, So why trade a sure thing, above-average NBA starter for the slim chance of hitting the jackpot with a late lottery pick or signing a super-star free agent.

    I say unless we can get a player who is clearly better than Lee we should just keep him. He is young, healthy and has a good attitude. Cap room is over-rated.

    As for the blocks comment, he is below average but .64 blocks per 48 minutes is all that seperates Lee at #32 and Dirk at #18. So while he is technically a below average shot blocker he is not that far from average.

  40. Z-man

    That seems like a small gap, but percentage-wise it is huge. For every block there are usually several intimidations and an increased perception that there is resistance around the rim, causing players to think twice.

    I totally agree with your point otherwise. I would only trade Lee to get a sure=fire stud…not a risk-reward all-star-type (e.g. Zach Randolph).

  41. Z-man

    Any chance D’Antoni will make Zach and/or Eddy look good enough to trade? Jeffries?

    Too bad Zach is such an underachiever. He has so much untapped talent. If he had Lee’s tenacity, intelligence and work ethic, he’d be a hugely valuable player.

  42. Sly Williams

    “As for the blocks comment, he is below average but .64 blocks per 48 minutes is all that seperates Lee at #32 and Dirk at #18.”

    Lee only had 0.59 blks/48min, so if .64 is ‘not that far’, then Lee is not that far from the worst shot blocker in the history of basketball (less than 0)

  43. oboogie

    “Cap room is over-rated.”

    Cap room is overrated for a team like Memphis since nobody wants to go play they. Cap room is not overrated for big markets like NY or Chicago because free agents want to play in the spotlight.

  44. Sly Williams

    “Cap room is not overrated for big markets like…”
    Also, cap room is limiting for those teams that are willing to overspend the cap. If there was no salary cap, the Knicks would have the best team in the NBA and the ability to get more. Go Knicks, get rid of the salary cap!

  45. Ben R

    “Lee only had 0.59 blks/48min, so if .64 is ‘not that far’, then Lee is not that far from the worst shot blocker in the history of basketball (less than 0)”

    I would agree with that. The point I was was trying to make was that a purely average shot blocker like Dirk with his .9 blks per 36 does not alter the game with his shot blocking ability. So the fact that Lee with his .44 blks per 36 does not alter the game either does not really matter. Dirk is twice as good as Lee at blocking shots but neither has much impact with their shot blocking.

    “Cap room is overrated for a team like Memphis since nobody wants to go play there. Cap room is not overrated for big markets like NY or Chicago because free agents want to play in the spotlight.”

    Let’s look at the free agents that attractive free agent destination’s were able to sign over the last couple of years. Chicago used their cap room to sign Ben Wallace and Orlando used their’s to sign Rashard Lewis.

    The chance we will get a big name free agent ever is slim. Also being in a big market is less important then having an attractive destination due to teammates and coaching. We have a coach that might attract free agents but if we have a fire sale to force ourselves under the cap in 2010 and trade Lee, Balkman, and all of our other good players who is going to want to come here, and play with scrubs.

    I would say there is only a 50/50 chance LeBron or any other big name leaves in 2010 and there will be lots of other “big market” teams vying for their services. We need to keep our good young talent and start collecting more, not focus all our resources on the dream of luring LeBron here.

  46. Z-man

    What about the Celtics? The Lakers? They had no qualms about trading away young talent and look where they are now.

  47. Ben R

    Both the Lakers and the Celtic’s already had a franchise player. Plus both teams insisted on keeping their best young talent. (Rondo and Bynum)

    Plus I am not saying we should not trade Lee or anyone else I was just saying if we move Lee, Balkman or Nate it should be for a better player not a mediocre draft pick, aging veteran, or cap relief.

  48. Z-man

    I would not put Paul Pierce in the category of franchise player. I would also not put Rondo (or Lee) ahead of Al Jefferson. It was the willingness to part with their best young talent that landed KG, a true franchise player. But I do agree with your last point, especially regarding Lee and Nate. I have much less regard for Balkman, especially with Chandler here.

  49. Thomas B.

    “The point I was was trying to make was that a purely average shot blocker like Dirk with his .9 blks per 36 does not alter the game with his shot blocking ability. So the fact that Lee with his .44 blks per 36 does not alter the game either does not really matter. Dirk is twice as good as Lee at blocking shots but neither has much impact with their shot blocking.”

    So you are saying that they are both crappy shot bloakers but Dirk is much less crappy than Lee? OK. But even if Dirk is a crappy shot blocker, he brings much more in terms of offense than Lee.

  50. Ray

    Well Caron Butler committed himself to taking 10,000 jumpshots in the offseason and you see how his game developed this year. If Lee could do something like that im sure we would see him hit the open shot much more which would force people to come out and guard him. Ess, i like that trade thought.

  51. jon abbey

    TWO DAYS TO THE LOTTERY!!!!

    all good Knicks fans should be making deals with the devil as we speak. and I mean the real devil, not Isiah…

  52. Ben R

    Thomas B. – Dirk is a much much better player than Lee, that was not my point. What I was simply saying was that Lee’s lack of shot blocking ability is not a huge weakness since most PF’s seem to also lack much shot blocking ability. The reason I picked Dirk was because he was exactly average when it came to shot blocking PF’s. I was just looking at shot-blocking.

    Z-man – I think Pierce while not in the truly elite catagory of Kobe and LeBron is definatly in the very next catagory of all-stars. I think he is a franchise player. As for Rondo I personally would take him over Jefferson. And my point with Lee was not saying that Lee is better than Jefferson just that Lee is our best young player.

    Also if we had Pierce and Allen, two aging all-stars, I would trade any of our young players to then get an aging superstar like Garnett.

    I actually think we are on the same page when it comes to Lee. We both feel he is good and too valuable to give away for cap space or mediocre draft picks. But we both would trade him for an all-star or high lottery pick.

  53. njhoop

    Does anyone think the Cavs have a chance today? I tend to think not, as Boston will wear them (and LeBron) out by the end of the game. If Boston does somehow lose, they’ll be in a similar situation to the Mavs after their 67 win season and playoff flameout – what do we do now?

    BTW, a friend of mine in the Boston area used to give me unending grief about how ugly those Knicks-Heat games were back in the 90’s. I think this Celts-Cavs series has easily surpassed Knicks-Heat on the ugly-meter.

  54. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, I hope to be surprised, but the Celtics will almost certainly crush the Cavs today.

  55. Z-man

    Ben,
    Agreed, and also we agree that Lee is a supremely likeable player who would be great to keep if we can build a contending team without needing to trade him. I personally love watching the guy, he and Nate are my favorite current Knicks. I just think that talent-wise he is generally overrated on this blog (sometimes extremely so). He is a great complimentary player with some glaring weaknesses and is probably never going to be worthy of more than 30 minutes per game on a championshpi calibre team unless he has a “big 3″ Celtic-type cast around him. Unfortunately, bad management has put us in a position where he may need to be sacrificed to pursue better players.

    Lee is one of those players whose strengths are reflected in his stat line more accurately than his weaknesses, and that I don’t think he will develop as much as some others do.

    Celts just seem to do everything better at home on both ends, especially Pierce.

  56. Ben R

    Z-man – I would actually put Lee higher than that. I think he is a very good starter on a championship caliber team.

    I do not think he is a franchise player, as a couple do on this blog, but I do think he is a fantastic complimentary player. (In fact I think he is one of the best complimentary players in the league)

    Also while he has weaknesses I do not think any of them are glaring. On top of that I think that Lee could still develop into that second all-star (West, Gasol, Howard, Aldridge, Pierce, Ginobli) that superstars need to be successful. I don’t think it is likely but I would love to see how Lee does with good coaching, a defined role and better PG play.

    He is our best player, the problem is he should be no better than the third or fourth best player on a good team.

  57. Ess-dog

    This trade was actually proposed on a Nuggets blog. Curious what people think:

    _______________________________________

    Nuggets Trade: J.R. Smith, Linas Kleiza, Steven Hunter, 1st round draft pick

    Knicks Trade: Jamal Crawford, David Lee, 2nd round draft pick

    Pros: Knicks get some fast scorers who will fit into Mike D’Antoni’s fastbreak offense. The Nuggets get better defensive players who won’t want to score as much. David Lee is a good double-double player which is what the Nuggets need. J.R. Smith will like being the main scorer for a team and a starter.

    Cons: David Lee is the future for the Knicks right now.

  58. jon abbey

    do you think there’s any way that Cleveland would go for Z-Bo for the corpse of Ben Wallace? they need to get LeBron help in the next two years or he’s gone, and they’re pretty stuck in terms of their current roster unless they make one of these problem swaps, like they did with their deadline deals this year.

    worth investigating by Walsh at least, they get paid almost the same amount next year, Wallace is pretty awful now but his contract expires one year earlier, and it would free up more minutes for D-Lee. plus, as a bonus, Z-Bo could sabotage Cleveland’s chemistry, making it even more likely that LeBron will opt out…

  59. Brian Cronin

    I love the idea of sending Z-Bo as a double agent places, just to screw with other teams.

  60. Ray

    You could see LeBron trying to put the team on his back . He just has no support. Maybe next year LeBron…maybe we can send you Z-Bo.

  61. jrock

    i didn’t watch the game, but was lebron guarding pierce? seemed from the play-by-play online that the cavs just couldn’t get any defensive stops in the fourth quarter. if lebron was on pierce, he shoulda stepped it up

  62. Z-man

    Ben,
    If Lee is your third best player, you aren’t winning a championship unless the other 2 are all-time greats. That is, unless he improves significantly. That you would project him to become a player of the caliber of those you mention (especially based on his non-improvement this year despite 30 mpg playing time and lots of nn-pressure garbage time to pad his stats) is the problem I have with many on this blog. He will never, ever be as good ad Ginobili, Gasol, Aldridge, Pierce or West at anything but rebounding.

    Once a team has 3 perennial all-stars, one of whom is an all-time great (e.g. KG, Pierce, Allen) or 2 all-time greats (e.g. Shaq in prime, Kobe) you can fill in the blanks with whoever. How many otherwise scrubs became solid complimentary players by playing with Jordan? B.J. Armstrong, John Paxson, Bill Wennington, etc., etc…

    There are several PFs against whom Lee is simply overmatched: Bosh, Duncan, KG, Rasheed, Aldridge, Boozer, to name a few. If he plays 30+ minutes vs. those guys, he better have lots of help on both ends. I don’t see how we get that help and keep him unless we stike gold on Tuesday.

  63. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    Knocking David Lee for getting his shot blocked too much is like knocking Barry Bonds for flying out to right field too often. Lee’s shooting percentages (he led the Knicks in both eFG & TS%) are pretty healthy, so why criticize a subset that’s ultimately meaningless?

    As for the Celtics/Cavs – I thought that Cleveland did a poor job rebounding Celtic misses. Boston had 10 offensive rebounds to Cleveland’s 9, but Boston had 39 defensive rebounds to Cleveland’s 29. So the Celtics captured a higher percentage of their misses.

  64. jon abbey

    “why criticize a subset that’s ultimately meaningless?”

    because I don’t think it is. if nothing else, a blocked shot pumps up the team (and especially the player) that gets it, and at least slightly deflates the other team. it’s not precisely equivalent to a shot that just misses IMO.

  65. Thomas B.

    Mike K., jon abbey, et. al.

    Also the offensive team has less of a chance to score following a block than they do at an following a missed shot (chance offensive rebound and score is greater than chance to score following a block).

    So if Lee could get the shot off without being blocked, the Knicks’ opportunity for 2nd chance points increases by .0078%. Over the course of 82 games, David Lee actually cost us 8/10ths of a point. Over an 8 year career, that costs us 1 point!! If in the next 8 years we lose a championship by one point and Lee is still on the team, clearly it will be his fault. If a title means everything, the how can you call that meaningless?!

    :-)

  66. justin

    i believe a ben wallace for zach randolph trade would be great for both teams pending matching contracts…both fill a void…cavs get there high scoring pf and knicks get a shorter contract.

  67. Ted Nelson

    re: Lee’s shot blocking

    If the Knicks keep Balkman and Chandler I think that’s a lot less of an issue. If they keep those two and bring in a shot-blocker at center I think it’s a non-issue. But, like someone else said above, I think it would be a lot more useful to look at overall defense than shot-blocking. Certainly Lee has a long way to go defensively, but I think he can be average / above-average with some work, coaching, and a normal NBA environment.

    Jon, a blocked shot can get the other team going for sure, but so does a made 3, a dunk, a defensive rebound that spurs a fast-break… can you really quantify by how much each swings the momentum of a game? Plus, while I agree that momentum exists, these are professional athletes who shouldn’t really throw in the towel because their shot got rejected. They should grab the blocked shot and slam it right in the guy who blocked its face (anyone know how many times the shot blocker’s team recovers the ball vs. how many time the blockee’s team does?).
    While playing for the Wizards, MJ had the ball stolen from him, instead of letting the other team capture momentum, Jordan sprinted down the court. As the other team’s player went in for an uncontested lay-up Jordan came flying in behind him and pinned the lay-up against the backboard. Not saying that Lee or any other current Knick can be 1/10000000 as good as MJ, but if you’re going to be a champion I don’t think you can start crying when someone blocks your shot.

    “Nuggets Trade: J.R. Smith, Linas Kleiza, Steven Hunter, 1st round draft pick
    Knicks Trade: Jamal Crawford, David Lee, 2nd round draft pick”

    This is a joke, right????????????

    “Unfortunately, bad management has put us in a position where he may need to be sacrificed to pursue better players.”

    I’m not sure this is a good way of looking at it, this kind of impatience marked Isiah’s tenure. We need a center/long, athletic players let’s do whatever it takes to get one/them right now sounds a lot like we need caproom/an All-Star let’s do whatever it takes to get it/him right now.

    If you’re patient and take advantage of other teams’ impatience/desperation you can avoid “sacrificing” too much. Walsh was great at this when he rebuilt Indiana in the beginning of the decade: Portland wanted veterans to continue contending and didn’t value their best young player, so Walsh got Jermaine O’Neal for Dale Davis; Chicago wanted an “All-Star” and didn’t value two of its better young players, so Walsh got Brad Miller and Ron Artest for Jalen Rose. The Knicks’ players don’t have as much value as Indiana’s did, but maybe the high draft pick and lure of NYC can offset that.

    “do you think there’s any way that Cleveland would go for Z-Bo for the corpse of Ben Wallace? they need to get LeBron help in the next two years or he’s gone, and they’re pretty stuck in terms of their current roster unless they make one of these problem swaps, like they did with their deadline deals this year.”

    No idea if the Cavs would consider it (especially because LeBron has always seemed to detest teammates whose character issues get in the way of the team’s success), but I’d definitely be for it. It’s probably one of the better chance the Knicks have of moving Randolph and actually improving their team (cap space plus Wallace’s character/leadership, and his maybe his defense).

  68. retropkid

    Celtic fans pin a classic name on Ray Allen, a no-show in post-season: Ray-Rod.

    Speaking of classics, Pierce vs. LeBron was pretty good theatre last night.

    Expect Tim Duncan to come out big tonight.

    I like David Lee, but Knicks need to dump Curry and/or Crawford and/or Zach, and if Lee is the price we pay to get that done, I would support moving him.

    Next year is Balkman’s last here if he doesn’t develop a shot and start making his free throws….no excuses here on out.

  69. Thomas B.

    Ben Wallace and the 19th pick for Randolph. I say take that deal.

    I know we owe Utah a first rounder in the next two years. Does anyone know if that pick can be exchanged for another? For example, lets say we get the Cavs’ pick at 19, can we give that pick to Utah in exchange for the pick of our own that we owe to them? I guess that only works if Utah accepts it.

    If you were GM in Utah, would you take the 19th pick this year, or roll the dice on a better pick in 2010. I say 2010 because the 2009 pick is top 22 protected and the Knicks wont be in the top 8 next year.

    Also, lets say the Knicks make the playoffs and the pick is between 17 and 21. Should the Knicks waive the protection and just give that pick to Utah and keep the unprotected 2010 pick just in case things go very very wrong that year? Does Utah have the right to reject that?

  70. z-man

    Mike K,
    It is not percentages, it’s how and when shots come, and at what cost in the big picture of the offense. If Renaldo Balkman was as selective as Lee, he could possibly have higher % stats, but that doesn’t make him a player with a true offensive skillset that opens up the floor.

    PJ Brown has worse career % numbers than Lee, but he seems to always make the shot in the clutch when left unattended. Going back, so did Horace Grant. Lee is visibly uncomfortable taking that shot, even in meaningless games with no pressure.

    Oakley was a poor shot blocker as well, but a top-notch post and help defender and had an intimidating presence. Lee is an average to below-average defender at his position. This exacerbates his other deficiencies.

  71. z-man

    Pierce was a monster yesterday. That was a hall of fame performance in a pressure-cooker game. My respect for him went up big time based on that game.

  72. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    “… that doesn’t make him a player with a true offensive skillset that opens up the floor.”

    Baloney. Ben Wallace has a quarter of the offensive skill set as David Lee. Yet the 06 Pistons were 4th in offensive efficiency with Wallace averaging 35 minutes a game. The ’94 Spurs were 4th on offense with Dennis Rodman. This year Golden State had the league’s 4th best offense with Biedrins getting a good chunk of time.

    There’s this fallacy that every player needs to be able to do multiple things with the ball for the offense to work. What you really need is to have an offense where the roles are defined and the players fit into their niche.

    And before you take me to task for comparing Lee/Balkman to Wallace/Rodman, that’s not what I’m doing. The point is that you don’t need everyone on your team to be able to “open the floor” and create shots. If you build a team with that mindset you end up with the 2008 Knicks, and how did that offense work out?

    Additionally I think people confuse skill set with production. Ben Wallace has only three useful skills: shot blocking, forcing turnovers, and rebounding. Yet for years he was better than many players who could do many different tasks.

    In other words you can’t compare players by their skills, it’s their production that counts.

  73. Ted Nelson

    Well said, Mike K.

    Z-man,

    “Lee is visibly uncomfortable taking that shot, even in meaningless games with no pressure.”

    Yet you’ve just stated that he makes more of them than Brown or Grant… your logic escapes me. Those two couldn’t hit a jumper in meaningless games as well as Lee does, yet somehow Lee will not be able to step it up like those two if/when he actually gets to play in meaningful games?????? Based on what? Your intuition? I have no idea if Lee will be clutch in the playoffs or not, but I’d rather wait to see how he actually does than assume he’s a wuss (not clutch) because he looks “scared.”

  74. Ted Nelson

    BTW, according to 82games, PJ Brown shot a remerkably similar eFG% on jumpers in his last two seasons in the league as Lee did this past season. (It was just under 50% in 02-03, however, so I have no idea what it was on his career.)

    David West shot an eFG% of only .267 as a rookie (when he only took 26% of his shots as jumpers) and then .381 eFG% on jumpers his second season. So, I think it’s fair to say he improved as a jumper shooter (.413 eFG% on jumpers last season, and .434 this season), not that he wasn’t getting enough minutes.

    Lee shot an eFG% of .441 on jumpers as a rook (playing 17 mpg over 67 games taking only about 69 jumpers all season), and then fell to .289 eFG% on jumpers in his breakout sophmore season.

  75. z-man

    Mike,
    Ben Wallace was the best defensive player in the league (at ANY position) for multiple years. That more than made up for his deficiencies on offense. Virtually the same is true for Rodman. Lee is at best an average defender even at his own position, may actually be below average and got worse defensively rather than better last year. I would argue that whatever Lee has over them in terms of scoring pales in comparison to their overall impact on the game. For example, averaging 2.5 to 3 blocks per game not only destroys posessions for opponents, it changes game plans and in the game shot selection decisions. Same with steals. Wallace averaged between 30% and 50% more steals and 400% to 600% more blocks than Lee. Rodman led the world in rebounding 7 straight years and is considered one of the best defensive players in history.

    I just don’t see the evidence that Lee will ever get much better than he is right now, especially on the defensive end, where he will be continually at a major disadvantage against the best 5 to 10 power forwards in the league, and that’s being generous.

    I will go on record as saying he will never average more than 30 mpg for a serious title contender.

  76. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    z-man did you even read my entire post, or did you miss this part: “And before you take me to task for comparing Lee/Balkman to Wallace/Rodman, that’s not what I’m doing. The point is that you don’t need everyone on your team to be able to “open the floor” and create shots. If you build a team with that mindset you end up with the 2008 Knicks, and how did that offense work out?”

  77. z-man

    Mike,
    I did indeed. My beef is that I don’t see the production that you and many other Lee-lovers seem to. I see Lee as being all-star caliber in one area, which is rebounding. I think his overall impact on offensive production of the team is somewhat positive, but are exaggerated by stats like eFG% and TS. I think that he is a defensive liability at his position, beyond what the stats clearly show, and that has an impact on offense as well.

    I also disagree with the implication of your statement “The point is that you don’t need everyone on your team to be able to “open the floor” and create shots. If you build a team with that mindset you end up with the 2008 Knicks, and how did that offense work out?” Rodman twice fell into teams with brilliant offensive players and chemistry, and Wallace was traded twice before landing on a team with everything in place as well. Teams were not built around them. With the current state of the Knicks, I take issue with treating Lee like an untouchable. In other words, it may not be possible to create a serious contender (where Lee will MAYBE play the prominene role you are envisioning him in)as expendable and replaceable. Again, Wallace and Rodman were acquired AFTER a well-oiled nucleus was in place.

    Respectfully, Mike, I must say that it is not fair for you to compare Lee to Rodman and Wallace and then brazenly tell me not to take you to task for it. Similarly, a few posts ago, people compared him to Nowitski, Ginobili and Pierce. I just don’t see where his perceived “production”, taken as a whole, merits these kinds of comparisons. His glaring lack of defensive production is not compensated for by his efficient, but limited offensive production.

    Ted: I’m not sure what point you are trying to make, it seems like you are actually supporting my criticisms.

  78. Mike K. (KnickerBlogger)

    I’m not arguing whether or not the Knicks should keep Lee and build a team around him, and I don’t think I ever said he was untouchable.

    I’m refuting your statement that a player like Lee (or Balkman) hurts the floor spacing and is a detriment to a team’s offense. There are plenty of examples of players that has similar skillsets to Lee/Balkman that have been in great offenses. It’s just not true that high percentage/low usage (and low turnover) players hurt an offense.

    That’s all I’m saying.

  79. OAK

    From one of the biggest D Lee fans out there. Any time he’s interveiwed he speaks on, What’s best for the team”, “Whatever coach wants” etc. Coach D said his players “Needs to be a good teammate” Lee seems about the team. It will be a shame to see him go. We will not be able to sign him to anything close to what he will get elsewhere. We will have to package him in a deal. Ideas anyone?

  80. Ted Nelson

    My point was that your statement was illogical.

    You first stated that Lee was a better jump shooter than PJ Brown, then said that PJ Brown was a good clutch jump shooter, then said that David Lee could never be a good clutch jump shooter.
    If he’s a better jump shooter, then why couldn’t he be as good a clutch shooter if put in that situation? Because he passes up mid-range jumpers with 17 seconds left on the shot clock in meaningless games? (Which any sane person not in a Mike D’Antoni type quick hitting offense would advise.) That’s not the same situation as having the ball in your hands with 5 seconds left in a playoff game.

    In the NBA, David Lee has never played in a coherent offensive system, let alone a winning team. If put in that situation, I don’t see why he couldn’t hit some open jumpers at crunch time.

    “In other words, it may not be possible to create a serious contender ”

    It’s not that Lee’s untouchable. Just that when people mention casually throwing Lee into a deal that gives the Knicks any small amount of caproom, it scares me a bit. There’s a consensus out there that Lee’s the Knicks’ best asset. I don’t disagree with trading him in a deal that makes sense, I just think that Walsh should demand a great deal to trade him. In my opinion, it’s too early to move Lee and Randolph for nothing more than 2010 caproom and a mid-first (remember that Sebastian Telfair gets you a top 10 pick, an aging Glenn Robinson gets you a top 10 pick, …).

  81. Ted Nelson

    “My beef is that I don’t see the production that you and many other Lee-lovers seem to. I see Lee as being all-star caliber in one area, which is rebounding. I think his overall impact on offensive production of the team is somewhat positive, but are exaggerated by stats like eFG% and TS.”

    Not to put words in your mouth, but it seems like a lot of the people who aren’t so high on Lee see his efficiency as resulting mostly from putbacks and waiting for the perfect shot. I see it as, yes, putbacks, but also moving without the ball and shot selection (a more positive version of waiting for the right shot). While you might see Lee as a liability on a good offensive team, I agree with Mike K.’s posts that a good offensive team doesn’t mean having 5 guys who can create their own shot and feel that a guy who can move without the ball, get himself open in spots he can hit from, and generally be low usage/high efficiency can be extrememly productive in and important to a good/great offense. Not only does moving without the ball help your spacing, it should be more valuable on a team with better spacing.

    I see your point that Wallace and Rodman were great defenders to go with their rebounding prowess, but I don’t think Lee is one dimensional: his ok jumper, ability to move without the ball and convert shot efficiently make him a far better offensive player than Rodman or Wallace. His defense will never be at those guys levels, but I think he can be an average/above average man defender in time and on a solid defensive team.

  82. z-man

    Ted,

    I never said that Lee is a better jump shooter than PJ Brown. On the contrary, people keep saying that Lee hits 40% of his jump shots, implying that he is a better shooter than Brown and others. I have seen him be very tentative anytime he has a wide-open 12-18 footer (forget about anything beyond 18 feet), often making an unnecessary pass to someone who has to take a lower percentage contested shot. I also see his defender dropping off of him, daring him to shoot while being in position to defend against post moves and penetration. This puts offensive pressure on everyone else that is again not measured in the stats.

    Again, I could pay less attention to this if Lee were a better defender, or if we had more pieces in place.

  83. DS

    Pete Vescey (who I loathe)speculates that the Sixers may want Randolph to boost their interior scoring.

    Are we going to be able to unload Z-Bo? It’s hard to tell based on what the media says. When he was in Portland, it seemed like there was some interest in him around the league.

    If we can’t get rid of him, Jeffries, or Curry I personally think (at 10 million a year) we should unload Crawford this or next year to clear some room for LeBron

  84. caleb

    “I have seen him be very tentative anytime he has a wide-open 12-18 footer (forget about anything beyond 18 feet), often making an unnecessary pass to someone who has to take a lower percentage contested shot. I also see his defender dropping off of him, daring him to shoot while being in position to defend against post moves and penetration. This puts offensive pressure on everyone else that is again not measured in the stats.”

    This is just pissing in the wind, when the offense is demonstrably better (scoring more and more efficiently) when he is in the game.

    More interesting is this…

    “I could pay less attention to this if Lee were a better defender, or if we had more pieces in place.”

    For whatever reason, when the Cavs lose, people blame LeBron; when the Lakers lose, they blame Kobe. When a team loses, the best player always gets the blame, even when (e.g. Cleveland) LeBron’s worst game is generally better than any of his teammates’ best game.

    Is it fair? Probably not, but that doesn’ matter — it comes with the territory. But if you’re building a team, you need to understand where your strengths and weaknesses are.

    I’m not remotely suggesting that our boy DL is in the LeBron/Garnett class… but why do so many people here seem to think our biggest problem is that David Lee isn’t better than he is? I mean, for better or worse he’s the best player on the team, and only the 13th-highest paid. Suppose he gets an extension for $9 million a year — he’ll still have just the 5th-highest salary, 4th once Marbs is gone. In other words, we have much bigger problems; you don’t solve those by trading or not re-signing the best player.

    Now, if someone offers a big-time prospect, or it’s February 2010 and we face a clear choice between keeping DL and having $15 million of cap room and we know 2 or 3 big-time free agents will be shopping their services, then you can re-assess.

  85. caleb

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Philly had Randolph on the radar. Not that any of these is very likely, but the short list of teams to call would probably include Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee….conceivably Washington or the Clippers, depending what happens with Brand and Arenas…

  86. Nick

    Is Philly out to undo all the good that happened to them this season?
    Seriously, why would anyone want Zach Randolph on their team other than a fantasy team? This guy is a team killer, but he’ll keep shooting and trackign down any uncontested rebounds (of which there are many per game) to make sure he gets his, while giving up that and more on the other end.

  87. caleb

    I wouldn’t do it if I were Philly, but it’s not as bad an idea as it would be for most teams. None of their key players — Dalembert, Miller, Iggy — is a great scorer, so letting Randolph take a boatload of shots wouldn’t hurt too much — and Reggie Evans can’t guard anyone, so the defense wouldn’t really suffer…

    The smart course of action would be to stick with what they have, hope Thaddeus Young stays on track to stardom, listen to offers for Miller, etc.

    But who says GMs always do the right thing?

  88. Nick

    Thaddeus Young and his development was my other thought. It seemed, and it may be coincidence, that they picked it up when he got into the starting line-up on a more or less regular basis in the second half of the season.

  89. caleb

    I will be pretty surprised if Young is not a multiple-All Star, starting in about 2 years.

  90. Ted Nelson

    Yeah, Young is a fine looking young player.

    Z-Man,

    Overall I would like Lee to take a few more Js (say 35-40% of his shots instead of 26%, while improving his J enough to maintain his 40% eFG% on Js or improve it), I just disagree about how much of a problem his jump shooting is.

    “I have seen him be very tentative anytime he has a wide-open 12-18 footer”

    One out of every four shots he took this past season was a jumper and he hit a respectable, if unspectacular 40.5% of them, so I think “anytime” might be a bit of an exaggeration . You also have to consider that his role on the Knicks has not been to take mid-range Js: he’s played next to jump shooters in Frye and Randolph and a low-post scorer in Curry and excelled in his role. It’s hard to say what he’d do if D’Antoni changes his role and the offensive system as a whole.

    Don’t get me wrong, Lee would be a better player (an All-Star) if he could shoot the ball like Dirk, I just still think he’s a pretty good one.

    “often making an unnecessary pass to someone who has to take a lower percentage contested shot.”

    First, let me say that mid-range shots are the least efficient shots possible, and as a team you really only want your good shooters to take relatively open ones. So, depending on the situation passing is not “unnecessary.”

    When Lee passes up those shots early enough in the shot clock, no one is forced into taking a bad shot. If the Knicks had a structured offense (plus enough intelligence to run that offense) and a decent PG Lee could pass up a long 2 and the team could end up with a better look. If he’s passing up open looks as the clock runs down, that’s obviously a problem. If Lee wants to fit into D’Antoni’s system (assuming minimal changes from his Phoenix days), I don’t think he’ll be passing up that many open looks either way.

    Not too many 4s and 5s can hit outside shots at a high enough % to justify taking them often (especially considering the opportunity cost of having your bigmen inside). There are some bigs with good outside shots, but there are probably just as many Zach Randolphs and Antoine Walkers who cost their team by settling for jumpers.
    While I admit that Lee is not All-NBA and has his weaknesses, if you have guards/wings who can hit from outside, slash, and create/pass, a bigman who can move without the ball and get himself open in a good position is extremely valuable (especially if he rebounds like Lee).
    As Caleb points out, Lee is the least of the Knicks problems. Also as Caleb points out, there are two full seasons until the summer of 2010: getting desperate now and moving your best player just to move a contract is pretty impatient.

    As I pointed out with David West, jump shooting by young PFs certainly can improve. Another example could be Carlos Boozer: he’s always been more of a jump shooter than Lee (usually taking around 50% +/- of his shots as jumpers), but had fluctuated between .378 and .411 eFG% on those jumpers until he exploded for .447 eFG% on jumpers this past season. Udonis Haslem is another guys known for knocking down open mid-range Js, only in a more complementary role than Boozer (around 11-12 pts/36 throughout his career). After his first two seasons his jump shooting hasn’t improved with age, but he only hits about 40% of his jumpers (.414 in Miami’s title run). So, again, Lee could be a decent jump shooter with more confidence and enough improvement (from both him and the offense) to maintain his efficiency while taking more Js.

    Man defense is also something that an athletic player like Lee should be able to improve with increased strength and experience/coaching. He’ll never be Ben Wallace in his prime but he could be solid.

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