Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Kids on the ‘Bock: Iman Shumpert

I left New York City Saturday morning exhausted and irrationally upset over not being able to watch — thanks to a four hour drive home — the Knicks’ first preseason game against the Nettes.

When I got home, I immediately checked the box score — a 92-83 win in Newark — scoped some of the game’s highlights, and promptly purchased a one-way ticket aboard the Iman Shumpert hype train.

In June, I attended my first NBA Draft. It was a chaotic night, wrought with seat malfunctions, botched celebrity encounters, and shitty jetpack views. One thing that did not deceive or defy me, however, was the sheer decibel intensity of the crowd’s reaction to the Knicks drafting of one Iman Asante Shumpert. That was very real. And very loud. Luckily, Iman wasn’t around to hear it, having decided instead to watch the proceedings with family and friends back in Chicago. However, this also meant that I was the only TrueHoop blogger who wouldn’t have an opportunity to interview his team’s newest addition at the open Q&A session.

To make matters worse, I spent the subsequent 20-minute cab ride back to my hotel playing dart board to my driver’s indignation against passing up on the likes of Chris Singleton, Josh Selby, and some chick named Sasha. By the end of the ride, I was convinced that Iman Shumpert had gone to UNLV, was a terrorist, had never tallied an assist, and kidnapped the Lindberg baby. Furthermore, I was fairly certain that, with a Chris Paul hostage situation looming large over the lockout landscape, Shumpert’s upside had already been packaged and sent to the mail room, to await  the go-ahead that would see the greatest pure point guard in the game arrive in passing through the receiving bay door.

And then the lockout happened.

One of the much-neglected side effects of any professional sports work stoppage is the awkward fervor with which teams and their masses celebrate their newly-drafted or acquired talent. In the age of YouTube and Twitter, withdrawn fans can bide their time and temper their angst with reams of expired college highlights and workout footage, in the process fattening up their pick’s Best of All Possible Players scenario for the potential long winter ahead. When you root for the Knicks — in a city like New York — the process can border on the Messianic. For the player, it can seem suffocating.

Luckily, Iman Shumpert doesn’t require oxygen to live. All he needs is a ball, a gym, a few folding chairs (this video is out there, and I will find it), and — for the crescendo’s final octave — the New Jersey Nets.

In his first game as a Knick, Shumpert tallied 16 on 6-11 shooting  (and a team high +/- of +14). All told, it was an undeniably impressive performance for a rookie who has been compared to everything from pickled herring (you know who you are) to a poor man’s Dwayne Wade in the six months since his drafting. For a team still piecing together some semblance of a coherent back court to pair with its newly Chandlerized front three — arguably the most talented in the league on paper — at the very least the performance helped keep in check rumblings that resurrecting Michael Redd or Gilbert Arenas might make for a worthwhile attempt at alchemy.

A Chicago native who plodded through a three-year mixed bag career at Georgia Tech, prior to the Draft Shumpert had become associated more with why Derrick Favors hadn’t broken Pete Maravich’s single season scoring record than with his own individual skills or success. Specifically, Shumpert was — the story went — one of the selfish gunners who had unjustly deprived Favors of dunk-ready touches; something which supposedly cost the lottery lock Favors the privilege of being drafted over John Wall and Evan Turner.

Upon his drafting, the questions surrounding Shumpert’s “true position” were many. Those who saw the supposed “Favors effect” as something which hindered the growth of both involved might believe that true point guard skills can still be developed. And to the extent that a good number of floor generals don’t reach their potential for years — if at all — they’d be right. Others took from the many off-season training mash-ups the impression that Shumpert was and remains more concerned with honing his shooting and slashing abilities, conscripted as he’s been to star in a system where both are musts.

We do know he’s a very good — and potentially great — defender. Having been the first ACC player in over three decades to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, and assists, we know he’s versatile — the quintessential Swiss Arm knife over whom Mike D’Antoni has been known to covet. We’ve gleaned from interviews a picture of a perceptive, determined individual who says and does all the right things with an enthusiasm and sincerity unbecoming his neophyte status. Perhaps most of all, we know New York’s feeling is more than mutual. We really, really like this guy, and with plenty of good cause.

But as with many before him, we’d be forgiven for becoming too attached too quickly. Not since Charlie Ward gave up gridiron for hardwood in 1994 has a Knick draft pick been kept a-roster longer than five years. In that sense, our enthusiasm for Shumpert — our illogical fawning over his steel-bending potential — speaks to a larger sense of regret at having neglected the notion of “home-grown talent” for so long. We saw it  with Landry Fields, whom last year’s Melodrama somehow spared, while Danillo Gallinari — once something of a franchise savior himself — was shipped out to the disdain of millions. Before that was David Lee. Before that, some dude named Mardy. But as time’s gone on, it seems like the rooks are being welcomed with an increasing pitch and timbre. With Shumpert, it seems like the fervor might finally be loud enough the powers that be to not just hear, but heed.

Yes, it’s only been one game. Against a really bad team. Yes, his college stats yield as many question marks as exclamation points. Yes, he’s earned a reputation as something of a chucker, who used the dearth of talent around him as an excuse for said chucking, rather than a prompt to use his playmaking abilities to lift all boats. Yes, he’ll have to rely on much more than freakish hops and a dastardly handle to get to his spots. And yes, even when he gets to those spots, canning the 18-footer is a far, far different thing when the two lone cameras and dozen or so gymnasium onlookers are suddenly replaced with the haloed cheers and jeers of the World’s Greatest.

Regardless, Shumpert already has many believing that a future franchise cornerstone might for once have been dredged from the rough, and not — as has typically been the case — bought past the luster’s apex. Obviously it’s far too early to tell whether Shumpert’s fate will see him donning the orange and blue long enough — and proudly enough — to make his a rafter-bound career. But whether he’s here for a New York minute, a new era’s crowning, or something wholly in between, it sure seems like it’ll be a hell of a ride.

Iman Shumpert seems to think as much. Here’s his last tweet:

@I_Am_Iman: Another day another dollar… best office in the world!

Indeed.

204 comments on “New Kids on the ‘Bock: Iman Shumpert

  1. alsep73

    It’s funny/thrilling/terrifying to read the various possible player comparisons for Shumpert since the draft, including Westbrook, Sprewell, Wade.

    So to help me properly brace myself for potential disappointment, let me flip it around: if those guys are his possible ceiling, what’s his floor? Assume no injury and no attitude problem (the coaching staff loves him). Given his size, athleticism, defensive skills and what seems like a respectable jumper (if not always great shot selection), what’s the worst he might turn out to be? After the draft, some people were suggesting Mardy Collins as a worst-case scenario, and he’s already shown to have a better offensive game than Mardy on his best day.

  2. flossy

    alsep73:
    It’s funny/thrilling/terrifying to read the various possible player comparisons for Shumpert since the draft, including Westbrook, Sprewell, Wade.

    So to help me properly brace myself for potential disappointment, let me flip it around: if those guys are his possible ceiling, what’s his floor? Assume no injury and no attitude problem (the coaching staff loves him). Given his size, athleticism, defensive skills and what seems like a respectable jumper (if not always great shot selection), what’s the worst he might turn out to be? After the draft, some people were suggesting Mardy Collins as a worst-case scenario, and he’s already shown to have a better offensive game than Mardy on his best day.

    His vertical leap is approximately “one Mardy Collins”

  3. Frank

    Another possible comp – Rodney Stuckey. Big PG/SG-type, crazy athlete, although Iman comes with much better rebounding stats and superior defensive reputation.

    Interesting to think about comparing him to Westbrook. If you read http://www.draftexpress.com/profile/Russell-Westbrook-5062/ and go down to the part where they’re talking about NCAA weekly performers, a lot of his strengths/weaknesses look similar to Iman. The big difference is this:

    “To Westbrook’s credit, these flaws are not always very noticeable, as he is a very smart player who knows his limitations and has no problem fitting in and being just another cog in UCLA’s very efficient offense. He plays within himself, rarely forcing the issue, and thus has done a very good job of not exposing his weaknesses within his team’s system. The fact that he has other highly efficient and extremely unselfish teammates like Kevin Love, Darren Collison and Josh Shipp has also helped him a great deal.”

    You could pretty much say the exact opposite when it comes to how Iman was used at GaTech. Some of this is the player, a lot of this is the coaching. If Shump can play within himself, stop some of the off-the-dribble jumpers that he’s clearly not good at at this point his career (DX says he only made 19.5% of pull-up jumpers), then we could really have something.

  4. gbaked

    I remember after the draft, going over to a GT sports blog and asking about what kind of offense they ran. Curious to see if iMan has had any experience running the p&r.

    I was told that they didnt really have any game plan. That their coach was pretty awful.

    I dont think its fare to look at what he did stat wise at GT. He has the skills, and attitude to make it here. As long as he keeps working hard on D, he should stay in the lineup.

  5. John Kenney (@JohnbKenney)

    I heard coaching was the issue with Georgia Tech as well. So let’s just agree to ignore his college games, alright?!? The Nets Preseason Game 1 is all that matters! Jim, you may be boarding the hype train, but I am the conductor, and you skimped on your fare. One double whiskey, please.

  6. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    John Kenney (@JohnbKenney): I heard coaching was the issue with Georgia Tech as well. So let’s just agree to ignore his college games, alright?!? The Nets Preseason Game 1 is all that matters! Jim, you may be boarding the hype train, but I am the conductor, and you skimped on your fare. One double whiskey, please.

    FACT: Jameson makes you a better train conductor.

  7. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    So many armchair coaches. The hubris is astounding.

    “If Player X could just _____, he could be an all-star.”

    How about GMs draft players who DO put up good numbers in college, and not have to rely on risk for personnel decisions?

    Like Derrick Williams, who had a 65 TS% or something. Or Farried, who, despite the “easiness” of his conference,” collected rebounds at such a ridiculous rate that even if he were 80% as effective in the NBA, he’d be an all-star. Why not? Why is it all about potential?

    Look, I like the kid, but let’s not overlook the 50 TS% just because he can jump high.

  8. art vandelay

    This could be important in our chase for more depth up front:

    Howard Beck: By the way, I’m told Baron signed for the vet’s minimum ($1.4 mil), not the room exception ($2.5 mil). So Knicks still in chase for Posey

  9. d-mar

    Read today that 10,500 showed up for yesterday’s scrimmage and they were extremely vocal as well. I know admission was free, but that’s pretty damn awesome. How starved is this town for NBA relevancy?

  10. JK47

    What does our coach have to say about Shump?

    “He’s going to be a multi-purpose player,” D’Antoni said on Sunday. “He might become a starting point, he might become a starting two. I think it will depend on his teammates more than what he does. He’ll be good at either position, should be. He has a pretty high ceiling.”

    So there’s that.

  11. iserp

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: So many armchair coaches. The hubris is astounding.

    “If Player X could just _____, he could be an all-star.”

    How about GMs draft players who DO put up good numbers in college, and not have to rely on risk for personnel decisions?

    Like Derrick Williams, who had a 65 TS% or something. Or Farried, who, despite the “easiness” of his conference,” collected rebounds at such a ridiculous rate that even if he were 80% as effective in the NBA, he’d be an all-star. Why not? Why is it all about potential?

    Look, I like the kid, but let’s not overlook the 50 TS% just because he can jump high.

    Well, because rookies are all about potential…

  12. ess-dog

    JK47:
    What does our coach have to say about Shump?

    “He’s going to be a multi-purpose player,” D’Antoni said on Sunday. “He might become a starting point, he might become a starting two. I think it will depend on his teammates more than what he does. He’ll be good at either position, should be. He has a pretty high ceiling.”

    So there’s that.

    Amazing that Coach is going there already. Puts the pressure on his current starters and Baron, all of whom are playing for contracts. D’Antoni really knows how to get the most out of those contract year guys…

  13. bluemax

    Apparently conflicting info about B. Davis signing. H. Beck is now reporting that he signed for the vet. minimum not the $2.5 “room except.” as originally believed.

    http://twitter.com/#!/HowardBeckNYT/status/148810245119029248

    This would make a difference in recruiting a FA for the SF/PF position. Also shows at least that Davis’ heart is in the right place and that he is willing to take less money to play here. Would be very good news if true.

  14. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman:
    So many armchair coaches. The hubris is astounding.

    “If Player X could just _____, he could be an all-star.”

    How about GMs draft players who DO put up good numbers in college, and not have to rely on risk for personnel decisions?

    Like Derrick Williams, who had a 65 TS% or something. Or Farried, who, despite the “easiness” of his conference,” collected rebounds at such a ridiculous rate that even if he were 80% as effective in the NBA, he’d be an all-star. Why not? Why is it all about potential?

    Look, I like the kid, but let’s not overlook the 50 TS% just because he can jump high.

    Dude, get over it. We didn’t draft Kenneth Faried. We didn’t draft Derrick Williams. We drafted Iman Shumpert.

    Part of being an actual fan of a sports team — and part of the fun, I think — is in rooting for guys to meet and exceed their past, expectations, and potential. You can point to reasons why it might never be so, and lord knows Shumpert’s performance in college, regardless of who was at fault, carries with it some inherent risk. But get off your high horse for a second and admit that certain statistics don’t always translate when players are suddenly surrounded by a completely different personnel, a completely different system, and in a completely different league.

    By your logic, we should never root for a title because the stats show we haven’t won one in nearly 40 years. That would make rooting for our team seem a tremendous waste of time and energy. What’s so great about rooting for certainty? Beyond gravity and Kenneth Faried’s destined Hall of Fame career, of course.

  15. art vandelay

    Sam Amick: As @Howard Beck reported, Knicks wound up convincing Baron Davis to take the veteran’s minimum ($1.4 mil) as opposed to $2.5 mil exception now

  16. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I was a bit surprised that they needed to give him the $2.5 million exception when he was making $90 billion dollars a year from the Cavs already, so it is good to know that they convinced him that taking a million less really didn’t mean anything when your old team is paying you $90 billion dollars.

  17. Frank

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): Dude, get over it. We didn’t draft Kenneth Faried. We didn’t draft Derrick Williams. We drafted Iman Shumpert.

    But get off your high horse for a second and admit that certain statistics don’t always translate when players are suddenly surrounded by a completely different personnel, a completely different system, and in a completely different league.

    +100000000

    Though I wouldn’t take his words too seriously – he’s probably just venting after the Lakers signed Troy Murphy because he’s sure that the addition of one of Berri’s top 15 players in the NBA will put the Lake Show over the top.

    BTW THCJ, I’m sure the Knicks would have drafted Derrick Williams if he wasn’t drafted 15 PICKS AHEAD OF THE KNICKS.

  18. ess-dog

    Dan Gilbert might plotz if he ends up paying 90 billion dollars for our finals MVP point guard. I would love to see that come to fruition.

  19. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan):By your logic, we should never root for a title because the stats show we haven’t won one in nearly 40 years. That would make rooting for our team seem a tremendous waste of time and energy. What’s so great about rooting for certainty? Beyond gravity and Kenneth Faried’s destined Hall of Fame career, of course.

    I thought this was a blog that focused on stats over gut feelings and Isiah-like assumptions.

    I’m not saying that ANY college player is a lock for NBA success. Not one. You’re misrepresenting my argument.

    We’re talking about a poker hand, not calling tails on a two-headed coin. I think of the player’s college career as your pocket cards. Sometimes they’re 2-7 off-suit, sometimes pocket aces. Of course it’s possible that you land two pair in the flop with the first hand. But it’s significantly more likely that the pocket aces will come out on top. Fail to recognize this, and you’ll lose a whole lot of money before the two/seven lands you a full house.

    Poker has a lot of variables: game size, long-term bluffing strategies, short-term bluffing strategies, and of course, the “bad beat” of the unlikely winner. But the reality is that poker players are aware of the maths, and play according to probability, not gut feeling.

    There is absolutely no reason that men making decisions — those that could cost ownership hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue — should play poker like your average foolhardy gut-truster, going all-in on the hope that he’ll land that elusive fifth spade on a hand with a low probability of winning. That’s not a winning strategy.

    And we have the means to forecast the likelihood of player success through {i}hundreds of thousands of minutes played and in-game outcomes recorded{/i}. Why wouldn’t we use them to their potential?

  20. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    Frank:
    BTW THCJ, I’m sure the Knicks would have drafted Derrick Williams if he wasn’t drafted 15 PICKS AHEAD OF THE KNICKS.

    What I’m saying is that his stats project to NBA greatness. It was a strong high pick based on the stats. Stop misrepresenting my argument.

  21. jon abbey

    apologies to Kenneth Faried, who I’m sure is a nice guy, but I couldn’t be rooting harder for someone to fall on their face and flop supreme.

  22. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): I was a bit surprised that they needed to give him the $2.5 million exception when he was making $90 billion dollars a year from the Cavs already, so it is good to know that they convinced him that taking a million less really didn’t mean anything when your old team is paying you $90 billion dollars.

    Exactly. Which is part of the reasons why teams — particularly those who are small market-tethered and/or cash-strapped — need to use caution when using the amnesty provision. Because if a player’s going to get all of that salary anyway, really what’s to prevent them from taking a much smaller contract from their new team in order that they can sign more / better players? Transparent greed, obviously, but in any event I’m glad Dolan was able to show Baron the math on this.

  23. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    jon abbey:
    apologies to Kenneth Faried, who I’m sure is a nice guy, but I couldn’t be rooting harder for someone to fall on their face and flop supreme.

    Such a dick!

  24. jon abbey

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): Exactly. Which is part of the reasons why teams — particularly those who are small market-tethered and/or cash-strapped — need to use caution when using the amnesty provision. Because if a player’s going to get all of that salary anyway, really what’s to prevent them from taking a much smaller contract from their new team in order that they can sign more / better players? Transparent greed, obviously, but in any event I’m glad Dolan was able to show Baron the math on this.

    why should the original team care about that? amnestying Baron puts the Cavs in a great cap position, not that anyone will voluntarily go there, but still. Cleveland has bounced back surprisingly strongly from losing LeBron, they are putting together some nice young talent.

  25. BigBlueAL

    I know we arent supposed to cut and paste ESPN Insider stuff, but part of Hollinger’s analysis on Shumpert is interesting and sounds pretty relevant for any discussion on Shumpert’s future:

    “Shumpert may succeed anyway (referring to earlier in the report talking about how oversized athletic college PG’s usually wind up playing SG full-time in the NBA); his college translations were pretty strong and he has some obvious physical skills, plus his one most glaring weakness (a fondness for wayward jumpers) could easily work itself out with age and practice. The best part is that his defense and rebounding should help keep him on the court while he works out the offensive kinks. “

  26. iserp

    THCJ, following the poker analogy, what about the psychology of the game? If your opponent is nervous when he usually isnt, then you can tell something about his hand; and that’s not reflected in stats.

    As a matter of fact, in online poker, there are several strategies to win money. You play with a guide, some stat program to track your opponents, several tables at the same time. You win money by playing the correct hand against weaker opponent. However, you’re predictable, and so, a good opponent can catch your stategy and take advantage of that. Just by “playing the correct way” everytime, you are undermining your chances against good opponents. Stats don’t always hold.

  27. BigBlueAL

    I usually enjoy THCJ’s posts but yeah it just doesnt seem to me like he is an actual basketball/Knicks fan. Looks like all he does is look at box scores after the game and thats it, doesnt seem like he actually watches games and enjoys them.

  28. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    jon abbey: why should the original team care about that? amnestying Baron puts the Cavs in a great cap position, not that anyone will voluntarily go there, but still. Cleveland has bounced back surprisingly strongly from losing LeBron, they are putting together some nice young talent.

    I’m just saying in certain situations it could come back to haunt them. You’re right with re: Cleveland this year. But you can easily envision a scenario where an amnesties player ends up on the roster of a Division rival, and the former team has to pay out 90% of the salary. Not that it would necessarily bankrupt the team, but it certainly would make for amusing out-of-game theater.

  29. BigBlueAL

    Like if Billups wouldve cleared waivers and signed with the Heat then the Knicks faced Billups and the Heat in the playoffs lol

  30. alsep73

    Jim, aren’t the Cavs paying 100% of Baron’s salary? I thought the idea was that the only way the amenstying team gets out of paying any salary is if the player is claimed on waivers. So the Knicks are paying Chauncey’s salary, minus whatever the Clippers are paying him. Whereas I believe the Cavs are paying exactly what they owed Baron, and he’s getting the $1.4 million on top of that.

    Or have I misunderstood?

  31. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    alsep73:
    Jim, aren’t the Cavs paying 100% of Baron’s salary? I thought the idea was that the only way the amenstying team gets out of paying any salary is if the player is claimed on waivers. So the Knicks are paying Chauncey’s salary, minus whatever the Clippers are paying him. Whereas I believe the Cavs are paying exactly what they owed Baron, and he’s getting the $1.4 million on top of that.

    Or have I misunderstood?

    I believe that’s right. So I guess my point relates more to guys cleared off waivers.

  32. jon abbey

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): I’m just saying in certain situations it could come back to haunt them. You’re right with re: Cleveland this year. But you can easily envision a scenario where an amnesties player ends up on the roster of a Division rival, and the former team has to pay out 90% of the salary. Not that it would necessarily bankrupt the team, but it certainly would make for amusing out-of-game theater.

    maybe, but I don’t think this is something you can worry about as a GM. you just need to do whatever you can to improve your team. it’s not like MLB where the Red Sox got Carl Crawford to sign a deal where if they trade him, he can’t then be traded to the Yankees later on.

  33. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    It is still nice to know that Dan Gilbert might have to watch Baron Davis succeed in the playoffs while paying him $90 billion dollars.

  34. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    The psychology of poker is not my contention here. The draft is not a head-to-head, zero-sum game. Nor is it a game where there is significant missing information — allowing all players to choose on an equal playing field (at least according to the remaining players available).

    In my analogy, it’s being allowed to choose which starting hand you have. Choosing a player who shot 50 TS% in college (if we’re isolating one variable) is akin to choosing the 2-7 off-suit. And so on.

  35. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Wow, I didn’t realize that it had been five years since Davis was last in the playoffs.

  36. Frank

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: What I’m saying is that his stats project to NBA greatness. It was a strong high pick based on the stats. Stop misrepresenting my argument.

    His stats may project a lot of things, but projections are just projections. The ability to rebound in college does not always translate into the ability to rebound in the pros. Michael Beasley led the NCAA in rebounds in 07-08 and yet has only averaged 7.2 rebounds/36. Paul Millsap was arguably the best rebounder in NCAA history after leading it in rebounds 3 straight years- yet his total rebound rate last year was juuuuuuust ahead of Josh McRoberts and Mike Miller (a shooting guard?), and WAAAAY behind such noted rebounders as Zaza Pachulia, Drew Gooden, and Chris Wilcox. Even your previous man-crush, Dejuan Blair, had only the 13th highest rebound rate in the NBA last year, all while allowing a PER-against of 21.3 when playing PF, and a PER-against of 24.3 when playing center.

    Like it or not, a lot of your love for Faried is based on his ability to rebound the ball – which is fine and great. I personally think he’ll have a nice career as an energy guy / board cleaner. But it’s far from a slam dunk that he’s going to be anything more than Reggie Evans (still trying to find a home for more than the vet’s minimum) and only a very distant possibility that he even approaches someone like Rodman’s career.

    But I guess that’s why they play the games, right?

  37. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    BigBlueAL:
    I usually enjoy THCJ’s posts but yeah it just doesnt seem to me like he is an actual basketball/Knicks fan.Looks like all he does is look at box scores after the game and thats it, doesnt seem like he actually watches games and enjoys them.

    There’s no need to get ad hominem. I assure you that my love of basketball is true enough.

    My issues here have to do with decision-making behavior and the distrust of science. People take issue with my reasoning, yet no one talks about how the four factors that this site champions in its post-game assessments are wrong. I’m essentially arguing for the four factors, but demonstrated through an analytical method that reappropriates the weight of each.

    It’s not exciting basketball when math is removed from decision-making. Isiah’s tenure taught us that. If I have any passion about this subject it’s because I’m sick of watching poor-to-average basketball being played by my beloved Knicks. And no amount of insubstantial armchair coaching is going to convince me that high-risk front office moves are the way to a championship, so I’ll argue to my heart’s content.

  38. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    As for Nick Young, what looks like happened was that the market on him was similar to that on David Lee a few years back when everyone knew that the Knicks would match any offer, so no one wanted to waste their time making an offer. So like Lee, Young just took the qualifying offer and figures he’ll try again next year when people can openly bid on his services. As we saw with Lee, teams that weren’t willing to give him $9 million the one year were offering $13 million a year later. So Young will get paid, and likely more than he would get paid just re-signing long term with Washington (as Washington was going to let the market set his price).

    A similar situation is happening with Aaron Afflalo. Denver is letting the market set the price, but since everyone knows that Denver will match pretty much any offer for him, no one wants to even bother, so Afflalo ends up in an awkward position of being the best free agent available but with no one willing to bid on him. He might have to take the qualifying offer, as well.

  39. jon abbey

    the Cavs got the #1 pick in the draft (Kyrie Irving) essentially for the privilege of paying Baron, so I’m guessing if Gilbert thinks about it for a second, he’ll be OK with how it all went down.

  40. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: There is absolutely no reason that men making decisions — those that could cost ownership hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue — should play poker like your average foolhardy gut-truster, going all-in on the hope that he’ll land that elusive fifth spade on a hand with a low probability of winning. That’s not a winning strategy.

    And we have the means to forecast the likelihood of player success through {i}hundreds of thousands of minutes played and in-game outcomes recorded{/i}. Why wouldn’t we use them to their potential?

    NO ONE IS SAYING MANAGEMENT SHOULD MAKE DECISIONS THAT WAY! Look, I’m not arguing that stats are either useless or somehow not getting better or more reliable. If in four years we look at the landscape and see that Shumpert and Faried have basically mimicked their college proficiency and stats, then I think — all things being equal or in a vacuum — it would be foolish to choose the former over the latter.

    Unfortunately, these things don’t happen in a vacuum. Furthermore, I think it’s incredibly disingenuous to simply assume Faried would’ve been “80% as productive” at an ACC or Big East school as he was at Morehead. Talk about a leap of faith! We all know you loved / love Faried. So did / do I, and so did / do a lot of other people. Yes, he had better stats. But “upside” is a real thing, on which many GMs in the past have gambled. Many have won, many have lost. Just as many people who’ve banked on stats uber alles have won, and lost.

    I just don’t see how it helps anyone to dwell on past decisions, when we don’t even know from which lens we’ll one day be judging said past decisions. Give both players at least a year to either corroborate or dispel the statistics.

  41. JK47

    Thing is, advanced metrics actually quite liked Iman Shumpert’s game, even with the low TS%. His PAWS/40 score (a Dave Berri metric) projects him to be an above average player in the NBA. He outscores lots of other first rounders in this metric, including guys like Brandon Knight, Tristan Thompson, Jimmer Fredette, Klay Thompson, Chris Singleton, and JaJuan Johnson and he’s more or less even with players like Kemba Walker, Alec Burks and Nikola Vucevic.

    I wanted Faried on draft day too, but with our current Chandlerized roster I am quite happy with Shumpert.

  42. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    Frank: His stats may project a lot of things, but projections are just projections. The ability to rebound in college does not always translate into the ability to rebound in the pros.

    I have no objection to your argument. What I’m saying is that it IS a stat that does translate WELL to the pros. Very well. So, yes, you can pick all of the outliers you want, but the stats speak for themselves.

    Here’s a graph of the correlation between college rebounding and rookie-year rebounding per 36 minutes for the last five drafts:

    http://cdn.bleacherreport.net/images_root/article/media_slots/photos/000/256/700/ScreenShot2011-11-23at4.36.00PM_original.png?1322084277

    Correlation coefficient of 0.67.

  43. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    jon abbey: and it may not be winning basketball when math is relied upon almost exclusively. Daryl Morey’s tenure thus far has taught us that.

    Selection bias.

  44. Joamiq

    Shumpert shot poorly in college because he had terrible shot selection. Players with terrible shot selection often don’t improve because they refuse to admit that shot selection is a problem for them, which makes it impossible for them to correct the problem. They’ll defiantly state in interviews that they’re shooters, that they take the shots that are there, etc. etc. Shumpert admitted from day 1 that his shot selection in college was poor and that he’s been working to improve it. This is rare. Admitting you have a problem is 90% of the battle. This is not “gut feeling”. This is entirely reasonable grounds to throw his college shooting stats out the window.

    He also happens to have skills besides shooting that will come in handy as he works on that part of his game.

  45. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: In my analogy, it’s being allowed to choose which starting hand you have. Choosing a player who shot 50 TS% in college (if we’re isolating one variable) is akin to choosing the 2-7 off-suit. And so on.

    Yes, this is an analogy. I just don’t think it’s a very good one.

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: My issues here have to do with decision-making behavior and the distrust of science.

    Basketball is not a science. It’s a game whose conduction yields certain statistics which can be useful in determining — though not solely by themselves — future occurrences. Just because there is science behind something — and particularly something with as many complex moving parts as basketball — does not mean that that entity itself is or can ever be boiled down to singular formula or rocksteady group of formulas. There’s simply too much there to chart, and I for one believe that sports as a ritual will be long gone before humanity is capable of finding the singularity in anything. Because at that point we will have moved beyond things which — while fun and engaging and beautiful and dramatic and tragic — are, at the end of the day, meaningless. As such, I think it’s ok to temper statistical analysis with things which are by strict definition not scientific, but can be no less useful. Potential and ceiling are two of these things.

  46. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Damn fine writin, Jimmy.

    But “pickled herring?” What kind of horrid semitic golem would say such a horrible thing to merit he-who-shall-not-be-named status. Pfft!

  47. alsep73

    JK47:
    I wanted Faried on draft day too, but with our current Chandlerized roster I am quite happy with Shumpert.

    That’s the other thing: the way our roster is constructed, a rookie guard has a much better chance to provide value than a rookie power forward would. Even pre-Tyson (when there was a chance Amar’e would still play some center), Donnie and D’Antoni said the reason they chose Shump over Singleton (or Faried) is that Amar’e and Melo were going to soak up so many of the minutes at forward that, all things being equal, they’d rather take a shot at a guard.

  48. Frank

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman:
    My issues here have to do with decision-making behavior and the distrust of science. People take issue with my reasoning, yet no one talks about how the four factors that this site champions in its post-game assessments are wrong. I’m essentially arguing for the four factors, but demonstrated through an analytical method that reappropriates the weight of each.

    If only basketball stats were infallible. Unfortunately, they are CLEARLY not at the point where you could even begin to call them real science.

    I said this before to Ted Nelson when I dared question the infallibility of whatever statistic he was quoting at the time and I’ll say it to you. I guarantee you the stats that are available to the general public (i.e. us) for free are just the tip of the iceberg compared to what the teams actually use for their own decision-making. Cuban and his band of statisticians almost certainly have every last thing down to a statistic ie. what does Lebron shoot off the dribble when forced right above the elbow? From the baseline? On a post-up from the left block? Or maybe more germane to our discussions – what does Landry Fields do when you run him off the 3 point line? When you force him right and don’t allow him to spin left (like he does every single time)?

    Statistics are only useful when you remove as many confounders as is humanly possible. There are WAY too many confounders (system, teammates, scorekeeper, personal improvement/worsening etc. etc) in basketball statistics for you to be as sure of yourself on your high horse as you are.

  49. jon abbey

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: Selection bias.

    you started it with Isiah, but feel free to show me the professional sports organization that has consistently dominated by an almost total reliance on mathematics over scouting/conventional wisdom/whatever you want to call it. the Red Sox won two titles but haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and totally imploded this year, Beane has yet to recover from the loss/decline of Hudson/Mulder/Zito, etc, etc.

    you think this is science, but it isn’t. if it was, it would probably be a lot more boring.

  50. Frank O.

    alsep73: That’s the other thing: the way our roster is constructed, a rookie guard has a much better chance to provide value than a rookie power forward would. Even pre-Tyson (when there was a chance Amar’e would still play some center), Donnie and D’Antoni said the reason they chose Shump over Singleton (or Faried) is that Amar’e and Melo were going to soak up so many of the minutes at forward that, all things being equal, they’d rather take a shot at a guard.

    Not to mention at the time, we were not short forwards. We needed centers and guards…

  51. Mike Kurylo

    BigBlueAL:
    I usually enjoy THCJ’s posts but yeah it just doesnt seem to me like he is an actual basketball/Knicks fan.Looks like all he does is look at box scores after the game and thats it, doesnt seem like he actually watches games and enjoys them.

    I hate to point this out, but so what? So what if someone enjoys following the stats and seeing how dumb coaches/gms ignore stats and play the guy that drops 20 points a night (on 19 shots) but can’t figure out why their team doesn’t have the correct chemistry? Is the only acceptable way to follow basketball is to be the face painted blathering drunk idiot who overrates anyone who happens to wear his team’s jersey every night? Honestly I’d prefer the former over the latter, at least the former is being honest with respect to reality. If you prefer the latter, then try dealing with the hardcore Laker, Bull, or Heat fan in a rational manner.

    The other day on ESPN’s chat I ran with the Shumpert jokes because they were seemingly a parody of the classic overrate the guy with {insert your team’s} uniform. Funny thing is some of them were probably serious. If Shumpert was taken one pick before or after in the draft Knick fans wouldn’t even care who he is. Ironic, no?

  52. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    jon abbey: you started it with Isiah, but feel free to show me the professional sports organization that has consistently dominated by an almost total reliance on mathematics over scouting/conventional wisdom/whatever you want to call it. the Red Sox won two titles but haven’t won a playoff game since 2008 and totally imploded this year, Beane has yet to recover from the loss/decline of Hudson/Mulder/Zito, etc, etc.

    you think this is science, but it isn’t. if it was, it would probably be a lot more boring.

    Red Sox won two titles. In an era dominated by statistical analysis, I’d say that’s pretty good. And Beane’s competition caught on. He couldn’t exploit market inefficiencies anymore. What’s your point?

    And Morey? Between McGrady’s knees and Yao’s foot, I’d say it’s not too smart to judge statistical analysis based on two inopportune injuries that seemingly came out of nowhere.

    It is science. Just because it doesn’t have 100% accuracy doesn’t mean it should be subordinate to subjective analysis and observation-based assessment.

  53. jon abbey

    Mike Kurylo: Really uncalled for. This isn’t grade school, no need for the first person attacks.

    actually I’d say I deserved that one, but his tone is consistently infuriating, and not just to me as you can see by the last series of posts.

  54. Mike Kurylo

    jon abbey: The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman:

    It’s not exciting basketball when math is removed from decision-making. Isiah’s tenure taught us that.

    and it may not be winning basketball when math is relied upon almost exclusively. Daryl Morey’s tenure thus far has taught us that.

    Just curious how you view Mark Cuban? The guy has had stat guys since his first day & even hired his coach based on the rotation patterns matched Cuban’s stat system. If we’re taking credit away from stats for Morey, shouldn’t we be giving credit to stats for Cuban?

  55. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    Frank: Statistics are only useful when you remove as many confounders as is humanly possible. There are WAY too many confounders (system, teammates, scorekeeper, personal improvement/worsening etc. etc) in basketball statistics for you to be as sure of yourself on your high horse as you are.

    The value of the Caught Stealing has been well-documented, yet plenty of coaches still overuse the base steal attempt. The matrix of Points Expected/Yards to Go on 4th Down has been forcefully argued, yet plenty of coaches will punt on their opponent’s 40-yard-line with 2 yards to go. Andrea Bargnani got a long-term deal that will pay him something like $50M over five years. Just because conclusive (or even persuasive) information is available doesn’t mean that the powers-that-be will adopt new methods.

    What’s your point about access to statistics? The statistics we have access to (four factors) can predict a hell of a lot of game outcomes. Why should we ignore them on the individual level?

    Over enough minutes played, the situations of most centers and point guards become somewhat uniform. And player performance doesn’t vary much when moved among new teammates or coaches. Check out LeBron’s advanced stats between the star-depleted Cavs and the star-studded Heat. Remarkably similar. And even though that’s the kind of cherry-picking I hate, that’s what the numbers say about the consistency of player performance. So whatever.

  56. jon abbey

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: Red Sox won two titles. In an era dominated by statistical analysis, I’d say that’s pretty good. And Beane’s competition caught on. He couldn’t exploit market inefficiencies anymore. What’s your point?

    the Marlins won two titles also, and spent a helluva lot less money in doing so. and Beane’s competition caught on to a few market inefficiencies, but there are always more (catcher defense, for one, look how cheaply NY got Russell Martin last year).

    my point, since you ask, is that if anyone could predict results to the degree that you seem to be able to think you can, some front office would be doing that consistently. it’s hard to really judge since so much of this goes on behind closed doors as someone said above, but the Red Sox falling to pieces in recent years shows (me, anyway) that it’s not as simple as you seem to think.

  57. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    Mike Kurylo: Really uncalled for. This isn’t grade school, no need for the first person attacks.

    He was saying that he hopes Faried fails so that I’m conclusively proven wrong. That’s the grade school move.

  58. jon abbey

    Mike Kurylo: Just curious how you view Mark Cuban? The guy has had stat guys since his first day & even hired his coach based on the rotation patterns matched Cuban’s stat system. If we’re taking credit away from stats for Morey, shouldn’t we be giving credit to stats for Cuban?

    yep, that’s a good point.

  59. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    Frank: Thank you for making my point. Well correlated but with a fair amount of variability.Sucks for the GM who picks the guy who falls into the other 0.33.Unfortunately GMs don’t have the luxury of picking 1000 players every year and trusting the correlation coefficient to save their job.

    But my point is that by choosing that which correlates with NBA success, one puts himself in a position to success. Just like the “poor” analogy of poker. If we can evaluate the 60 TS% shooter as pocket aces and the 40 TS% as 2/7 offsuit, we can make a choice with a higher probability of success. That choice may be the wrong one, but the odds are that it will not be. And that success leads to job security. This is all I’m arguing.

  60. BigBlueAL

    Mike Kurylo: I hate to point this out, but so what? So what if someone enjoys following the stats and seeing how dumb coaches/gms ignore stats and play the guy that drops 20 points a night (on 19 shots) but can’t figure out why their team doesn’t have the correct chemistry? Is the only acceptable way to follow basketball is to be the face painted blathering drunk idiot who overrates anyone who happens to wear his team’s jersey every night? Honestly I’d prefer the former over the latter, at least the former is being honest with respect to reality. If you prefer the latter, then try dealing with the hardcore Laker, Bull, or Heat fan in a rational manner.

    The other day on ESPN’s chat I ran with the Shumpert jokes because they were seemingly a parody of the classic overrate the guy with {insert your team’s} uniform. Funny thing is some of them were probably serious. If Shumpert was taken one pick before or after in the draft Knick fans wouldn’t even care who he is. Ironic, no?

    Dude, this is still sports. Part of being a fan (if not the main part) is having actual fun watching and cheering for your team. I could care less how the team wins and what Melo’s shooting % for the game is, all I care and root for is for them to win. I dont care about winning the “right” way or not, just freaking win.

    Having said that of course I understand how horrible Isiah was and how stupid it is in the current day to not use advanced stats and analysis. I fully embrace them. But in the end Im just a fan not someone paid to look at stats and make analysis like Hollinger. My contention is some of you guys sound like you would rather the Knicks lose to prove your point rather than seeing them win if it doesnt fit your analysis of the players on the team.

    But in the end it makes for great debates like this one which is why I love this site.

  61. Z

    jon abbey:
    apologies to Kenneth Faried, who I’m sure is a nice guy, but I couldn’t be rooting harder for someone to fall on their face and flop supreme.

    All I know for sure is that I haven’t heard the name DeJuan Blair posted here for over a year…

  62. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: Between McGrady’s knees and Yao’s foot, I’d say it’s not too smart to judge statistical analysis based on two inopportune injuries that seemingly came out of nowhere.

    It is science. Just because it doesn’t have 100% accuracy doesn’t mean it should be subordinate to subjective analysis and observation-based assessment.

      

    Ok, that first point illustrates what I and many others have argued, namely that chance and circumstance can play a huge role in determining outcome.

    As to the second point, I think we’re speaking at cross purposes / cross semantics here. To the extent that there is science behind everything — science there for the finding, so to speak — then sure, basketball is a science. But so was gravity 1,000,000 years before Newton. That didn’t stop some people from believing they could fly without wings.

    My point is that we have a long, long way to go before advances in statistics eliminate risk and chance completely from the picture. Secondary to that is my belief that such statistics are so far into the future so as to suggest that, by that point, we might not even have basketball. Should that be reason enough to halt our pursuit of better statistics? No. But nor should we preemptively shoot down drafting a dude who shows great promise, just because certain statistics (stats which, as Frank pointed out, can have a pretty large margin for error) suggest another might be better.

    Here’s where your poker analogy is actually apt: It’s a hell of a lot more thrilling to go into the flop with that 2-7 and somehow win, that it would be to do the same with pocket aces. But I’m in no way convinced that Iman Shumpert is somehow a 2-7 in this scenario. We don’t know what he is. Until we do know, we should be rooting…

  63. Mike Kurylo

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: It is science. Just because it doesn’t have 100% accuracy doesn’t mean it should be subordinate to subjective analysis and observation-based assessment.

    Every statistician should be better than every non-statistician or else all statistics are invalid. Or for a better analogy if you can find one monkey, then all of evolution is false, because why didn’t that monkey evolve into a human?

    I get it Daryl Morey hasn’t won a championship. Neither has Sam Presti. And Mark Cuban has only one ring. Is this is the bar for evaluating methods?

    As for Iman – just because one metric says he’s not likely to succeed in the NBA doesn’t mean that all statistically minded people feel that way. I, for one, feel non-shooting stats are under valued especially when it comes down to defense. If there is one thing an NBA player can improve upon it is his shooting. Doesn’t mean every player will do it, though. So we’re at a point where some stats (Berri’s) translates to success while others point to mediocrity (or worse). So let’s open door #3 & see if it’s a goat or a car.

  64. jon abbey

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: But my point is that by choosing that which correlates with NBA success, one puts himself in a position to success. Just like the “poor” analogy of poker. If we can evaluate the 60 TS% shooter as pocket aces and the 40 TS% as 2/7 offsuit, we can make a choice with a higher probability of success. That choice may be the wrong one, but the odds are that it will not be. And that success leads to job security. This is all I’m arguing.

    you come out ahead in poker by playing hundreds or thousands of hands so that the cumulative odds end up being in your favor if you know what you’re doing. I reject that this is relevant to building a NBA team simply because there are so few personnel decisions to be made (5-10 per year?) and almost every one needs to be right to end up with a title team.

  65. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    Z: All I know for sure is that I haven’t heard the name DeJuan Blair posted here for over a year…

    He had a good season last year by any statistical measure. For a 2nd round pick to produce over league average in any cumulative statistical measure: that’s a success.

  66. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    All I know for sure is that I haven’t heard the name DeJuan Blair posted here for over a year…

    A. The Knicks would gladly take DeJuan Blair right now. He’s a good player who doesn’t fit the Spurs’ current roster particularly well, but he’ll still see 20 minutes a game for a good team this season. Jordan Hill won’t and Blair was taken, what, over 20 picks later than Hill?

    and

    B. Mentioning Blair is pretty weak as a “zinger” when you omit the part about how the player people wanted a lot more than Blair (to the point of wanting him at the #8 pick or trading the #8 pick to trade down to get him) that draft was Ty Lawson.

    DeJuan Blair and Ty Lawson > Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill (by a sizable margin)

    and

    C. DeJuan Blair was discussed a lot during draft time in connection with Faried, which was roughly six months ago.

  67. Mike Kurylo

    Is this a site for only Knick fans? If Hollinger, or Pelton, or Abbott, or Wilbon wanted to come here to comment should I refuse them? What about Kurt Thomas? Could he post here even though he plays for another team? Patrick Ewing?

    Maybe I can add Knick fandom to the sign-up terms? What kind of purity test should I have?

    Would Knick fans have to only root for the Knicks at all times? When they are watching a Laker-Mavs game must they sit motionless the entire time or are they to root for a nuclear explosion so that New York will have a slightly better chance to win a championship?

    Or is it just as simple as you must blindly root for every Knick at all times? Even when the facts point to something else? Should we be for all the failed moves of the past as well, re-documenting history as we go along?

    Not sure where to draw the line here…

  68. Z

    It’s not a zinger. It’s that for his entire rookie year people were posting his daily stat lines. Then his sophomore season saw a drop in his scoring efficiency, rebounding, and win score, and we never heard from him again here.

    Enter Kenneth Faried.

  69. JK47

    I’m a Mets fan, and I basically became persona non grata at a couple of Mets blogs because I thought Omar Minaya was an idiot. I was accused of being a bad fan because I thought Heath Bell for Ben Johnson was the dumbest trade I had ever heard of and because I had the temerity to compare Omar Minaya to Isiah Thomas. So Jowles, I feel your pain.

  70. jon abbey

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): DeJuan Blair and Ty Lawson > Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill (by a sizable margin)

    I think I was the one arguing strongest for Lawson here on draft day, but for me it had little to do with his stats and a lot to do with watching him play, same for Blair (who I wasn’t as excited about as some, but who I thought would have been a great complementary pick after the PG that we absolutely had to use that first pick on).

  71. alsep73

    “Not sure where to draw the line here…”

    Civility, maybe? Or at least suggest that people on either side of this argument be less strident about it? Cock Jowles, for instance, may be right about Faried over Shumpert or he may be wrong, but his tone in making that argument (and every other one) is so smug that it makes every thread in which he engages unpleasant to read after a while. And then other people attack him in kind, and things deteriorate from there.

    I’m not saying ban people, censor them or whatever, but since we’re trying to encourage an open-mindedness here, shouldn’t that extend all around?

  72. Grymm

    So with all this “Yay Baron Davis” shenanigans mixed with “OMG Shumpert of the 50% college TS”, I checked out BD’s carreer stats. Maybe I’m misremembering the formula, but I get .502 on his carreer. He’s a career .32 3pt shooter and really not a very good foul shooter for a guard – .71. On top of that, he’s pretty much mailed it in the last couple years and been out of shape. He’s going to get MAYBE 1-2 practices in with the team this season. I just don’t see him making an impact.

  73. BigBlueAL

    Jesus Christ, we are still debating the freaking 2009 draft and passing on future HOFer’s Ty Lawson and DeJuan Blair?? :-)

    I will say this, I think you gotta give Walsh some credit for making some decent picks late in the draft. TD for the 29th pick has been a pretty good player and of course Fields as a 2nd round pick that many draft experts didnt even have listed in their Top 100 was a great pick. Hopefully Shumpert as a surprising pick at #17 turns out to be a nice pick too.

    Gallo at #6 is still debatable but I grew to love Gallo so no complaints from me, plus it was written alot that Walsh was hoping Westbrook was available at #6 cause thats who he really coveted and he has proven to be a great player. The Jordan Hill pick again man if only Steph Curry lasted 1 more freaking pick this wouldnt even be a debate lol. I totally agree that Ty Lawson wouldve been a great pick but again he went what 17/18 and the Knicks were picking 8th so you cant really get on them that much for passing on Lawson when they did. Im not sold on Blair since his defense is atrocious although obviously as a 2nd round pick as THCJ said he has been great but picking TD a few spots before him was a pretty good pick too that should get some praise because most #29 picks dont make it in the NBA.

  74. Mike Kurylo

    JK47:
    I’m a Mets fan, and I basically became persona non grata at a couple of Mets blogs because I thought Omar Minaya was an idiot. I was accused of being a bad fan because I thought Heath Bell for Ben Johnson was the dumbest trade I had ever heard of and because I had the temerity to compare Omar Minaya to Isiah Thomas. So Jowles, I feel your pain.

    +1

    You don’t have to be a “hater” to point out that your team may not have made the best moves. Plenty of fans are critical of their beloved team. In fact I would think that’s more beneficial and healthy to sports discussion than “let’s root for the guy no matter what.”

  75. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I think I was the one arguing strongest for Lawson here on draft day, but for me it had little to do with his stats and a lot to do with watching him play, same for Blair (who I wasn’t as excited about as some, but who I thought would have been a great complementary pick after the PG that we absolutely had to use that first pick on).

    Then you and the stats coincided nicely on Lawson. ;)

  76. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Multiple sources claiming Chuck Hayes’ contract voided b/c he failed his physical. Depending on how bad the heart condition is, I’d love it if they Knicks offered the vet minimum

  77. BigBlueAL

    Mike Kurylo:
    Is this a site for only Knick fans? If Hollinger, or Pelton, or Abbott, or Wilbon wanted to come here to comment should I refuse them? What about Kurt Thomas? Could he post here even though he plays for another team? Patrick Ewing?

    Maybe I can add Knick fandom to the sign-up terms? What kind of purity test should I have?

    Would Knick fans have to only root for the Knicks at all times? When they are watching a Laker-Mavs game must they sit motionless the entire time or are they to root for a nuclear explosion so that New York will have a slightly better chance to win a championship?

    Or is it just as simple as you must blindly root for every Knick at all times? Even when the facts point to something else? Should we be for all the failed moves of the past as well, re-documenting history as we go along?

    Not sure where to draw the line here…

    Seriously, if you dont get my point then whatever. Im not the first to bring this up.

    I frequently cite Hollinger and love his work so you are barking up the wrong tree. Plus when the Knicks arent playing I always watch whatever NBA game is on League Pass and enjoy the hell out of the games because the NBA is fun and entertaining to watch period.

    But Im sorry as a Knicks fan there is no way I can root for them to lose or for certain players to suck which in turn hurts the team. I dont understand that line of thinking. To each his own I guess. But Im a Yankee fan so maybe thats why Im not so bitter when rooting for the Knicks lol

  78. Frank

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: He had a good season last year by any statistical measure. For a 2nd round pick to produce over league average in any cumulative statistical measure: that’s a success.

    LOL, except the stat in which he was such a defensive sieve that Pop couldn’t bear to have him on the floor for more than 21 minutes/game. Or where they were 3.6 points/100 poss worse with him on the floor (even though he was on the floor with Duncan the vast majority of the time and when taken out, Blair was replaced by Anthony Bonner and geriatric McDyess).

    disclaimer – I WOULD love to have both Lawson and Blair on this team – I just don’t think Blair is as good as Berri or his followers do.

    by the way – I love this site. I don’t even mind wading through THCJ’s ranting. It’s great to have relatively high-level discussion about sports, and to finally be talking about actual basketball again rather than the stupid lockout. I actually think we should have a lockout every year so we can have a 2 week free agency period and fewer useless regular season games.

  79. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    It’s not a zinger. It’s that for his entire rookie year people were posting his daily stat lines. Then his sophomore season saw a drop in his scoring efficiency, rebounding, and win score, and we never heard from him again here.

    Enter Kenneth Faried.

    You are mis-remembering. Blair was discussed all through last season, for all the reasons you might imagine. I don’t know if you can search comments, but if you did, you’ll see discussion about Blair going back throughout last season.

  80. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Multiple sources claiming Chuck Hayes’ contract voided b/c he failed his physical. Depending on how bad the heart condition is, I’d love it if they Knicks offered the vet minimum

    While I’d love to have him, you’d have to think that a heart condition bad enough to void a deal would be too much for the Knicks to sign him.

  81. flossy

    Grymm:
    So with all this “Yay Baron Davis” shenanigans mixed with “OMG Shumpert of the 50% college TS”, I checked out BD’s carreer stats.Maybe I’m misremembering the formula, but I get .502 on his carreer.He’s a career .32 3pt shooter and really not a very good foul shooter for a guard – .71.On top of that, he’s pretty much mailed it in the last couple years and been out of shape.He’s going to get MAYBE 1-2 practices in with the team this season.I just don’t see him making an impact.

    Fat, lazy Baron Davis is twice the PG Toney Douglas is just by virtue of rolling out of bed in the morning.

  82. flossy

    Re: Shumpert, there is nothing wrong with rolling the dice on the most athletic player in a given draft class with a mid-first round pick where there are no guaranteed impact players (and Faried is in no way a guaranteed impact player).

    If the Knicks pulled the combo-guard equivalent of Josh Smith (another #17 pick) out of this draft I think we should all thank our lucky stars.

  83. BigBlueAL

    Jim, you have way too much fun and have to great a sense of humor to be a Knickerblogger writer. lol

  84. BigBlueAL

    BTW despite my complaints this is still by far the best Knicks site around and a blast to read. So take my complaints with a grain of salt and remember I still do love this site and have been reading it religiously since I found it in early 2008 and love it just as much now if not more so than when I first found this site.

    Carry on…

  85. Unreason

    I love the mix of stats focus and irrational fan passion here. A couple of points re stats and science.
    Basketball stats, advanced or otherwise, are just measures. For them to contribute to a science they would have to be measures of the variables in a pre-specified mathematical model of reality made under circumstances that allow the model to be falsified. To tally measurements of performance in order to inform decisions about future actions is what managers do in running businesses, military operations, and organizing medical services, for example. This kind of statistically informed decision making is a good idea, that often, but not always, improves decision quality. But it isn’t science. The pace of development of scientific theory is slow to non-existent in sports-, business management etc. because the “horizon of prediction” is extremely short – too many variables interact strongly to permit accurate long-term predictions of the outcomes of interest; i.e., the complexity is too high. So intuition and expertise play important roles in determining decision maker’s success in these areas. Again, I love the stats focus and I’m not picking on THCJ or anyone else. Just hoping to minimize the acrimony by being clearer about the limits of stats and keeping the intellectual level of posts high.

  86. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    BigBlueAL:
    BTW despite my complaints this is still by far the best Knicks site around and a blast to read.So take my complaints with a grain of salt and remember I still do love this site and have been reading it religiously since I found it in early 2008 and love it just as much now if not more so than when I first found this site.

    Carry on…

    Cosign. I can’t get this level of intelligence at work, let alone on another basketball blog. It’s a truly unique (and informed, and hilarious, and intelligent) community we have here. We’ll always bicker, but at the end of the day, like any family, we’ll remember we’re here for the Knicks and break bread accordingly.

  87. Unreason

    A Mark Stein comment on the high bar set by GP and Reignman for the current Lob City sent me to YouTube to jog my memory. When my heartbeat returned to normal, the contrast between those high flying Sonics and the Ewing-era Knicks that I loved so much made me wonder about D’a vs Jackson – who I’d rather have at the helm. I don’t doubt the Knicks would have more wins and go further into the playoffs under Jackson. But I’m not sure that I’d get more enjoyment as a fan than I would watching the modified SSOL with this bunch.

  88. chrisk06811

    Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta): Multiple sources claiming Chuck Hayes’ contract voided b/c he failed his physical. Depending on how bad the heart condition is, I’d love it if they Knicks offered the vet minimum

    Didn’t we just get rid of a big guy with a heart problem?

  89. Frank

    Willie Warren just got cut by the Clips. I know we’re in a frontcourt depth search at this point but is he worth taking a look? per 40 stats in d-league were tremendous last year –

    per-40: 28 points, 8.4 assists, 5.8 rebounds (4.3 TOs), but TS 60% on a usage rate of 18.

  90. Z-man

    Re: Blair, I was one of the folks who thought he’d be a good risk at the 8th pick, but I don’t think anyone here thought he would fall to the 2nd round. So to say he was good value for a 2nd round pick is hardly worth mentioning. The real point is whether the stat you value most (PAWS/40) accurately correlated with his NBA value relative to those drafted before him. If I recall, DeJuan Blair was 1st in terms of PAWS/40. Do you think he should he have been the 1st pick, over Blake Griffin, who happens to play the same position? One is a sure-fire HOFer barring career-ending health issue, and the other is a great rebounder and not much else. Not to mention that Blair does not have any ACLs which might be a red flag to a GM who only gets to play one hand. While I hated the pick of Hill, to be fair, he was viewed as a “project” so the jury is still out on him.

    The better argument is: at pick #17, do you take the guy who projects to be great at one thing and mediocre to dreadful at most everything else, or do you roll the dice on a guy who fits your most pressing need, is the best overall athlete in the draft, who is incredibly impressive during workouts, who led his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals in arguably the most competitive conference in NCAA b-ball, whose issues with shot selection (as opposed to mechanics) are seen as being “fixable,” whose size, length, strength, ball-handling and defensive intensity are huge assets at his position? I don’t hope for Faried to fail, if he becomes a HOFer, good for him. I just hope and, based on what I have seen since the draft, have every confidence that Shumpert will be a much better all-around basketball player than Faried.

  91. Z-man

    Mike Kurylo: Every statistician should be better than every non-statistician or else all statistics are invalid. Or for a better analogy if you can find one monkey, then all of evolution is false, because why didn’t that monkey evolve into a human? .

    Mike, this is not necessarily true. Stats are as fallable as their margin of error. Traditional stats were at one time the “state of the art” yet someone had the idea that they did not tell the whole story and improved upon them. Rather than THJC’s poker analogy, I prefer horse racing. There are probably more stats created for the purpose of handicapping horses than any other sport, yet unless it’s a “no-brainer” they can only determine a favorite, not predict a sure winner. The “margin of error” between Shump and Faried, taking position, need, and upside certainly overlaps to the point that ther was no clear right and wrong. What is infuriating is that THJC and others are so smug and adament, especially after he had the entire Knicks franchise written off for first round elimination the moment the Melo deal was made. Be a little bit humble about what the stats can and can’t predict with certainty is all I ask.

  92. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Chad Ford gave the Knicks a B+ for their moves this offseason. Can’t really fault that, however, I can fault this sentence about how Chandler “gives the Knicks their first real defensive presence at center since Patrick Ewing owned MSG.”

    Ewing was an amazing defensive player, and likely deserved at least one Defensive Player of the Year Award during his career (Alvin fucking Robertson? Are you shitting me, NBA voters? At least that was during Ewing’s rookie year – I think Jordan winning it over Ewing was probably worse), but the guy who replaced him in the middle was also an amazing defensive player who did win a Defensive Player of the Year Award.

    Chandler is awesome and it is good to see the Knicks have their first good center in about a decade, but their last good center was Camby, not Ewing.

  93. nicos

    Just a note on stats- not all stats are created equal. Both DWade and Fields averaged 6.4 rpg (and Fields rper36 was 7.4). But I’d argue that Wade’s rebounds are more valuable because they’re much more likely to lead to a high percentage fast break shot on the other end given Wade’s far superior passing and ball-handling skill. If you’re the Heat, you’d rather Wade grab the rebound than anyone else on the team besides LBJ while a fields rebound isn’t any more valuable than one by Stat or Turiaf. Also, if they both crash the offensive boards and don’t come up with the ball, Wade is far quicker to get back into the play defensively than Fields is. So while the numbers look the same, Wade’s boards have an added benefit (more fast breaks) and come at less of a cost (fewer transition hoops given up).
    Too often people use stats which have real value as generalities to argue very specific cases where they may have much less value. Not all rebounds, shots, etc… are equal.

  94. Unreason

    Frank:
    Someone may have mentioned this above, but how about saving the room exception and recreating this picture on the basketball court minus the non-basketball players:

    http://www.brainstormlive.com/nn/Music/lala-vazquez-celebrates-upcoming-wedding/

    K-Mart would fit VERY well on this team.

    If not K-Mart, has anyone picked up K-Hump yet? I’d prefer K-Mart, though I doubt we could get him. Wouldn’t Humphries be a serviceable cheap board-cleaning asset for a few min per on nights when STAT wants to take it easy on his knees?

  95. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Humphries is such a weird deal. Yes, he would obviously fit in well for the $2.5 million, but how could he not get that on the open market? How is there no market for this guy at all?

  96. alsep73

    Two possibilities on Humphries, Brian: 1)He picked a bad time to have a career year, as a lot of teams are trying to conserve cap space and/or do short term deals, and as the Nets are in a holding pattern because of Dwight; 2)Teams have decided that, unlike Lamar Odom, he’s not good enough to be worth the PR headache that comes with being Kardashian-adjacent.

    I’d say it’s much more 1 than 2, but 2 is funnier/sadder.

  97. Unreason

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    Humphries is such a weird deal. Yes, he would obviously fit in well for the $2.5 million, but how could he not get that on the open market? How is there no market for this guy at all?

    If it’s just the PR liability, owners might be over estimating the # of fans who give a rip. I’m not typical, but the little I know about any Kardashians is because of their relationships with basketball players. Player’s wives, divorces, etc. barely make it onto my radar and don’t register much when they do.

  98. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Is Reggie Evans still available? If yes, criminity, go git ‘im, Glen! Dominant rebounder/solid defender/plays w/a mean streak.

    He’s not the stretch 4 MD’A favors, but he’d be a serious upgrade over Jeffries/Balkman.

  99. nicos

    I’d love Humphries at 2.5 but he’s got to worth a lot more than that to somebody- especially on a short contract. Humphries>Reggie Evans but I’d take either.

    On another note- who’s going to be the odd man out/inactive for the first game. Obviously BD won’t dress so it’s got to be one out of Jorts, Jordan, and Walker. The end of the bench could get interesting when BD gets healthy. Also- did the owners desire to be able to send guys down to the D-League at a reduced salary go through? If so, do you think someone like Jordan would look to head back to Europe rather than accept a D-League assignment?

  100. Ben R

    I think Humphries would be a slam dunk and improve this off-season from a B+/A- to a resounding A+. He would completely fill our biggest hole and give us a 4/5 rotation that is as good as anyone in the NBA.

    Do real people over the age of 24 ractually care about the Kardashaians. I can’t imagine that would hurt his NBA value. That’s like not signing someone because they have bad hair. If Kidd can live down wife beating and Kobe can live down rape I can’t imagine that Humphries can’t live down a tabloid divorse on a silly little basic cable reality show.

  101. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Two possibilities on Humphries, Brian: 1)He picked a bad time to have a career year, as a lot of teams are trying to conserve cap space and/or do short term deals, and as the Nets are in a holding pattern because of Dwight; 2)Teams have decided that, unlike Lamar Odom, he’s not good enough to be worth the PR headache that comes with being Kardashian-adjacent.

    I’d say it’s much more 1 than 2, but 2 is funnier/sadder.

    It would be extremely hilarious if teams were seriously thinking, “Man, I can’t have that guy on my team! He called Kim fat!”

    But as to the first point, we’re only six days away from basketball, you’d figure that if he couldn’t get the big-money deal he wanted, he’d just sign a one-year deal, right? It is so odd that it has not yet happened.

  102. daJudge

    Unreason @ 99–Thank you for articulating my own view so much better than me. Brian, you are certainly right about Camby. While I loved Ewing, I believe Camby was, at least in some ways, better on D. BTW, from my daily review of this site, it appears that most posters really work hard to set forth a reasonable position. I’m a bit lazy with stats and have a different point of view sometimes. Not for nuth’in, but a little respect for one’s viewpoint goes a long way in my book.

  103. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    On another note- who’s going to be the odd man out/inactive for the first game. Obviously BD won’t dress so it’s got to be one out of Jorts, Jordan, and Walker. The end of the bench could get interesting when BD gets healthy. Also- did the owners desire to be able to send guys down to the D-League at a reduced salary go through? If so, do you think someone like Jordan would look to head back to Europe rather than accept a D-League assignment?

    No reduced salary. The big change is that players can be sent down without their permission through their third season as opposed to their second. Plus, there is no limit to the amount of times that a player can be sent down in those three years (it used to be three times was the limit).

    As to who is inactive, I would have to guess that Jordan couldn’t be ready to go by the 25th, so I say him. Then Jorts.

  104. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Wait, what am I saying? Renadlo’s middle name is “DNP-CD,” so I guess him.

  105. Unreason

    Ben R: I can’t imagine that Humphries can’t live down a tabloid divorse on a silly little basic cable reality show.

    I’d think so too… just hoping something like that might explain the apparent lack of interest, since that would present an opportunity for us to buy low. But probably just wishful thinking.

  106. alsep73

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): It would be extremely hilarious if teams were seriously thinking, “Man, I can’t have that guy on my team! He called Kim fat!”

    In all seriousness, I think it’s more that having Kris on the team would bring a certain level of tabloid attention. Suddenly, you’d have an entirely new layer of media, who don’t play by the rules the sportswriters do, trying to get credentialed, going into the locker room, asking Amar’e and Melo and Tyson stupid questions about Kim and Kourtney and the divorce and the rest of that ridiculousness. Those people would come, or try to come, and that’s a headache. It’s not about fan reaction – as everyone says, the average NBA fan doesn’t care at all (and/or is glad he’s rid of her) – but just about the irritating logistics that come when you have a player (and a sub, at that) who’s highly visible in another, less desirable realm.

    Again, I think it is almost entirely about the bad timing (he’s worth more than anyone can or wants to offer), but I also wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if the issue was at least discussed by front office guys (the head of press relations, mainly) in discussing fringe free agent signings.

  107. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Nah, I get you, I was just joking around. I do think that you’re right that the PR plays a role in it. Clearly, we have seen players lose out on opportunities because of bad reputations, so it would make sense for that to be a factor here, as well. How much of a factor is what we don’t know.

  108. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    While yes, it is Chuck Hayes that just had his contract voided because of a heart condition, I bet there are a bunch of players with bad tickers that don’t know about it. The advances in medical technology has allowed us to catch problems we never would have gotten before. NBA players are genetically more inclined to have heart problems due to their gigantic size, and I bet there are a lot of players out there who don’t know that their heart has issues (that is not to say that they will ever be at serious risk due to said conditions, as people can live a long life with heart conditions, but they can also, well, not).

  109. Unreason

    alsep73: In all seriousness, I think it’s more that having Kris on the team would bring a certain level of tabloid attention.

    I’m probably way off, but wouldn’t that only last a couple of weeks tops? Or is he such big a celeb that it would have staying power? Really just asking, ’cause I don’t know whether he is or not. In any case it’d have to be a pretty big headache to outweigh the b-ball advantage of getting him for 2.5, no?

  110. nicos

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): No reduced salary. The big change is that players can be sent down without their permission through their third season as opposed to their second. Plus, there is no limit to the amount of times that a player can be sent down in those three years (it used to be three times was the limit).

    As to who is inactive, I would have to guess that Jordan couldn’t be ready to go by the 25th, so I say him. Then Jorts.

    Thanks for the clarification Brian. And yeah, I forgot Balkman too- my guess is he’s the first choice to be inactive, followed by either Jordan or Harrellson when BD gets healthy.

  111. alsep73

    Unreason: I’m probably way off, but wouldn’t that only last a couple of weeks tops? Or is he such big a celeb that it would have staying power?

    He’s not a big celeb. She is. Huge. It makes no sense, but she is. Every week when I go to the grocery store, she (and/or one of her sisters) is either the lead story on all the magazine covers, or a secondary story. They cannot get enough of her, and now he is unfortunately tied to her as the divorce plays out, the PR battle between them goes on, the stupid show airs, etc. Wherever he goes, there will be reporters from Us Weekly, People, In Style, etc. embedded for a while – and even worse if it’s in a major media market. (If he signed in Milwaukee or some place, they’d eventually give up, either because it looks sad or because they don’t have people who live there and the expenses would get annoying after a while.)

  112. Ben R

    I think Balkman is going to surprise people and stick in the rotation. D’Antoni has shown the willingness to play defensive specialists, as evidenced by Jeffries, and Balkman is just as good defensively and much better on the glass and offensively. Him playing over 20 minutes on Saturday gives my hope that Balkman might get a real chance to crack the rotation and if given a chance he should win time over players like Jeffries, Walker and Jorts.

  113. Unreason

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): Renadlo’s middle name is “DNP-CD,”

    What is that about anyhow? Feel free to just refer me to search for prior postings if it’s been amply covered before. It just seems odd that he’s buried so deep. Is he a secret whackjob malcontent or something?

  114. alsep73

    And now I have made multiple comments about the short-lived Humpdashian marriage, and I feel embarrassed.

    Back to Shumpert: again, we need some kind of sample size of real games against better competition than the Nets before we anoint the kid anything at all. BUT… if what he showed in the summer exhibitions, in training camp and in that preseason opener is real, are we better off with him starting at 2-guard and bringing Landry in off the bench to back up the 2 and the 3? Would Landry’s skills be better served not playing with Melo (and on a unit where his rebounding would be more necessary than the one that features Chandler, Melo and Douglas), or would the hypothetical Shumpert be more valuable as a scorer in a second unit with no obvious go-to guy?

  115. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I think Balkman is going to surprise people and stick in the rotation. D’Antoni has shown the willingness to play defensive specialists, as evidenced by Jeffries, and Balkman is just as good defensively and much better on the glass and offensively. Him playing over 20 minutes on Saturday gives my hope that Balkman might get a real chance to crack the rotation and if given a chance he should win time over players like Jeffries, Walker and Jorts.

    You know I hope it comes to be, Ben, but I just find it hard to believe. D’Antoni very rarely changes his mind once it has been set. And preseason minutes for him are not necessarily an indication. Remember when Marbury played the entire preseason as a backup combo guard and then was told opening night, “Oh yeah, by the way, you won’t be playing this year”? But hey, I would love to be wrong. I think Balkman can really help the team.

  116. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    What is that about anyhow? Feel free to just refer me to search for prior postings if it’s been amply covered before. It just seems odd that he’s buried so deep. Is he a secret whackjob malcontent or something?

    The general thinking is that he just is terrible at practicing. You know, unmotivated, lackadaisical, that sort of thing. And when your coaches are George Karl and Mike D’Antoni, that type of behavior is just not going to cut it.

    Now as to what he did to get Isiah Thomas to glue him to the bench…there we get into much odder areas. Isiah souring on Balkman is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a candy shell that none of us likely want to dig too deep into.

  117. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    nicos:
    Just a note on stats- not all stats are created equal.Both DWade and Fields averaged 6.4 rpg (and Fields rper36 was 7.4).But I’d argue that Wade’s rebounds are more valuable because they’re much more likely to lead to a high percentage fast break shot on the other end given Wade’s far superior passing and ball-handling skill.If you’re the Heat, you’d rather Wade grab the rebound than anyone else on the team besides LBJ while a fields rebound isn’t any more valuable than one by Stat or Turiaf.Also, if they both crash the offensive boards and don’t come up with the ball, Wade is far quicker to get back into the play defensively than Fields is.So while the numbers look the same, Wade’s boards have an added benefit (more fast breaks) and come at less of a cost (fewer transition hoops given up).
    Too often people use stats which have real value as generalities to argue very specific cases where they may have much less value.Not all rebounds, shots, etc… are equal.

    If that’s the case, then Wade ends up with an assist or high-efficiency points. The rebounds mean the same thing.

  118. alsep73

    Unreason: What is that about anyhow? Feel free to just refer me to search for prior postings if it’s been amply covered before. It just seems odd that he’s buried so deep. Is he a secret whackjob malcontent or something?

    We were discussing this the other day. Isiah hated him, he had trouble getting off the bench in Denver after a while, and D’Antoni buried him upon his return – and buried him extra-deep after Balkman finally got into a game in garbage time and started screwing around and randomly tossing up 3′s. He has a lot of skill, and a lot of instincts, but the circumstantial evidence suggests a guy who doesn’t practice hard or in some other way rubs all of his coaches the wrong way in short or long order. If he can actually try – and convince the coach that he’s trying – I agree that he can be an asset. But he could also just be a big flake.

  119. Unreason

    alsep73: Wherever he goes, there will be reporters from Us Weekly, People, In Style, etc. embedded for a while – and even worse if it’s in a major media market.

    Yeesh. Well, distractions of the city are bad enough without all that I suppose. Still, I hope Glen is at least putting out feelers and it’s just that they have somehow evaded the twittersphere.

  120. daJudge

    I’ve always liked Balkman. He moves well w/o the ball, is fearless, but Coach doesn’t have a hankering for players who can’t shoot (that certainly doesn’t explain Jeffries). I suspect that there are other issues that might become obvious if you are with the dude every day. Just my guess. If so, I hope he has addressed those problems.

  121. Unreason

    @136 and @139 re Balkman:
    Thanks for catching me up. I’ve only seen him in a couple of games, but he looked really intriguing. If the potential is clearly there, Amare and Chandler both seem to have the interest and capacity to help team mates with discipline issues to mature before it’s too late.

  122. danvt

    Mike Kurylo: I hate to point this out, but so what? So what if someone enjoys following the stats and seeing how dumb coaches/gms ignore stats and play the guy that drops 20 points a night (on 19 shots) but can’t figure out why their team doesn’t have the correct chemistry?

    I think, obviously, advanced stats are helping GM’s, but they rely on a great deal more than that. That is, they run guys up and down a basketball court and watch how they perform, first, against their competition for draft positioning and, second, with potential team mates. I mean, Carmelo didn’t make the Olympic team based on his star quality or sneaker contract nor was he rejected for shooting a relatively low percentage in the NBA. They brought in many players and he played his way on to the team and then, as I recall, into a starring role on a gold medal team. As to Shumpert, Donnie and Mike, I’m sure, poured over any number they could find, but they took the guy that jumped over everyone and scored on everyone in workouts. It doesn’t look like they were wrong so far, but it’s early.

  123. Unreason

    daJudge: He moves well w/o the ball

    That’s what struck me too. It was only a few minutes and only a couple of games, but at the time he seemed like guy on the Knick’s second unit who played team defense or boxed-out well.

  124. nicos

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: If that’s the case, then Wade ends up with an assist or high-efficiency points. The rebounds mean the same thing.

    I’ll grant you that on the defensive glass Wade’s advantage will show up elsewhere in the stats but Fields offensive rebounds came at the cost of leaving the Knicks vulnerable in transition when he didn’t get the board- that may show up in team stats but not in individual ones. Wade is great at getting back into the play, Fields isn’t- the rebounds may be equal but the cost of sending your two guard to the glass is not.

  125. John Kenney (@JohnbKenney)

    I’ve had this thought about Balkman before, but never posted it.

    Given what we know about his practice habits– lackadaisical, not displaying effort, what have you– and what we know about how he does in game–hustles, energy, defense, all over the place–….

    Is Renaldo Balkman one of the best athletes of all time?

    I mean, can you imagine not trying during practice, not honing your skills, barely doing the minimum required to stay in the league….and then when you’re in a game you’re suddenly able to run for forever and compete against the best athletes in the world???

  126. jon abbey

    John Kenney (@JohnbKenney):
    I’ve had this thought about Balkman before, but never posted it.

    Given what we know about his practice habits– lackadaisical, not displaying effort, what have you– and what we know about how he does in game–hustles, energy, defense, all over the place–….

    Is Renaldo Balkman one of the best athletes of all time?

    I mean, can you imagine not trying during practice, not honing your skills, barely doing the minimum required to stay in the league….and then when you’re in a game you’re suddenly able to run for forever and compete against the best athletes in the world???

    I don’t know about all time, but when he came into the league, he could do things athletically that virtually no one else in the league then could. He’s older now and has probably fallen off at least a bit, but it’s not a totally ridiculous question.

  127. Frank

    Woj just tweeted that the Knicks are likely to pick up Steve Novak if he gets through waivers. 6’10″ Kyle Korver? Why not I guess? I guess he’s sort of like Shawne in that he’ll probably just camp in the corner and shoot 3′s all day on offense. Apparently can’t guard anyone though.

  128. The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman

    nicos: I’ll grant you that on the defensive glass Wade’s advantage will show up elsewhere in the stats but Fields offensive rebounds came at the cost of leaving the Knicks vulnerable in transition when he didn’t get the board- that may show up in team stats but not in individual ones.Wade is great at getting back into the play, Fields isn’t- the rebounds may be equal but the cost of sending your two guard to the glass is not.

    I like how I’m arrogant for continually asserting the power of stats to organize information, but this kind of conjecture doesn’t get any criticism. How could you possibly know that Fields’s offensive rebounds were a detriment to the team?

  129. latke

    Balkman is of a group of players that rarely succeeds in the NBA. His skill set is mismatched. He has the handle of a guard, but is a bad passer and shooter. He is also not a good dribble-driver. He is a great rebounder and help defender, but he’s not big enough to guard 4s and 5s and has no post game to speak of, so it’s hard to play him there.

    There are plenty of guys with similar skill-sets and similar failures to truly excel in the NBA: Tyrus Thomas, Amir Johnson, Darius Miles, Anthony Randolph.

    The one guy who has had success in spite of similar shortcomings is Shawn Marion, and I think part of that success had to do with him being pretty aware of his limitations and being in system that didn’t ask him to do things he couldn’t do. He also could shoot a bit better than the rest of the list. Still, when he left Phoenix, he struggled for a while. It wasn’t until this past season that he developed a bit of post game and was able to be effective in a less chaotic system.

  130. Z-man

    BigBlueAL: Jesus Christ, we are still debating the freaking 2009 draft and passing on future HOFer’s Ty Lawson and DeJuan Blair?? :-)

    So much for the separation of Church and Stats… ;-)

  131. jon abbey

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: I like how I’m arrogant for continually asserting the power of stats to organize information, but this kind of conjecture doesn’t get any criticism. How could you possibly know that Fields’s offensive rebounds were a detriment to the team?

    your arrogance has almost nothing to do with content, it’s almost entirely your condescending, smug tone (and this is coming from one of the more arrogant people around, me).

  132. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Frank:
    Woj just tweeted that the Knicks are likely to pick up Steve Novak if he gets through waivers.6’10? Kyle Korver? Why not I guess?I guess he’s sort of like Shawne in that he’ll probably just camp in the corner and shoot 3?s all day on offense.Apparently can’t guard anyone though.

    Saw that. I always like it when the Knicks have someone from the Mike Doleac/Brad Lohaus/Matt Bullard/Scott Padgett school on the roster — a white big who’s only skill is being a good shooter. And yes, I’m clearly a racist

  133. Frank

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: I like how I’m arrogant for continually asserting the power of stats to organize information, but this kind of conjecture doesn’t get any criticism. How could you possibly know that Fields’s offensive rebounds were a detriment to the team?

    That’s the whole point. You DON’T know and for some reason you don’t seem to care. It makes sense that maybe if one of your guards is crashing the glass that perhaps the guy he’s guarding runs out on every shot, doesn’t it? Whether it’s ultimately true or not isn’t really the point – the point is that it is potentially something that is NOT accounted for by the stats you seem to think are infallible.

    David Lee (who will always be one of my favorite ex-Knicks) was a case in point. He gets lots of Berri points for being a very good rebounder, but carried a reputation for playing crappy defense for the purpose of padding his rebound stats. Kevin Love has a reputation for the same thing.

    No one is arguing that stats aren’t useful. We’re just arguing what is so obvious to all of us (including Berri I would imagine) – that they don’t capture everything, and interpreted blindly, can lead to some big misses- Troy Murphy, Nick Fazekas etc. etc. – guys who look great on a stats sheet but can’t play. (no need to argue about Fazekas, I already know the arguments you’re going to make).

  134. Z

    John Kenney (@JohnbKenney):
    Is Renaldo Balkman one of the best athletes of all time?

    I mean, can you imagine not trying during practice, not honing your skills, barely doing the minimum required to stay in the league….and then when you’re in a game you’re suddenly able to run for forever and compete against the best athletes in the world???

    And with sooty, smoke filled lungs too!

  135. Z-man

    jon abbey: your arrogance has almost nothing to do with content, it’s almost entirely your condescending, smug tone (and this is coming from one of the more arrogant people around, me).

    Abbey lands a left on Cock’s Jowles, then uppercuts himself to the chin. Let’s agree on both of Jon’s counts and call it a day.

  136. Z

    Unreason: I’d think so too… just hoping something like that might explain the apparent lack of interest, since that would present an opportunity for us to buy low. But probably just wishful thinking.

    I heard Lamar Odom on LA radio saying that he truly believes the Lakers wanted to wash their hands of him because of his wife’s reality show. Sounded kind of inane to me at the time (not only because he was sobbing into the mic), but I don’t know… Does Humphries indicate a trend?

  137. nicos

    The Surprisingly yet Cautiously Optimistic C. J., #1 Gentleman: I like how I’m arrogant for continually asserting the power of stats to organize information, but this kind of conjecture doesn’t get any criticism. How could you possibly know that Fields’s offensive rebounds were a detriment to the team?

    If you don’t think sending your two guard to crash the offensive glass from behind the three point line (as Fields did repeatedly last year) leads to an unbalanced backcourt and a greater likelihood of fast breaks going the other way then I don’t know what to tell you. Those rebounds have a higher risk/cost than the same offensive rebound by a center, no? I think the point I was trying to make (albeit imperfectly) was that while two numbers might look the same in the box score, they’re not always the same.

  138. Unreason

    alsep73: bringing Landry in off the bench to back up the 2 and the 3?

    I like Landry as a back up 3/sixth man. His agility deficit seems likely to be less of a liability there than at 2. The good ship Baron seems destined to weigh anchor as the everyday starting PG as soon as he’s allegedly healthy-ish; whatever that means in the land of perpetually underperforming supertalents. I doubt his athleticism and attitude will prevent Shump, like almost any rook, from having to earn starts. Until he does, I’m guessing that TD will start at 2 along side the HMS Davis.

  139. Mike Kurylo

    Z-man: Mike, this is not necessarily true.Stats are as fallable as their margin of error.Traditional stats were at one time the “state of the art” yet someone had the idea that they did not tell the whole story and improved upon them.Rather than THJC’s poker analogy, I prefer horse racing.There are probably more stats created for the purpose of handicapping horses than any other sport, yet unless it’s a “no-brainer” they can only determine a favorite, not predict a sure winner. The “margin of error” between Shump and Faried, taking position, need, and upside certainly overlaps to the point that ther was no clear right and wrong.What is infuriating is that THJC and others are so smug and adament, especially after he had the entire Knicks franchise written off for first round elimination the moment the Melo deal was made.Be a little bit humble about what the stats can and can’t predict with certainty is all I ask.

    Thank you for a reasoned response. If only this appeared 100 posts ago. I do agree that THCJ did come off smug, but there’s plenty of blame to go on both sides. Putting the whole stat movement on Morey’s shoulders, inferring a hatred for a team due to criticizing a player, or taking a desire to draft Blair/Lawson into claiming them to be HOF caliber players is just as adamantly close minded.

    And tomorrow I’ll have something on Baron Davis, and it won’t be all flowers & sunshine. But if he kicks ass on the court, you’ll know I’ll be thrilled. So don’t think for a second I can’t be objective and a fan at the same time.

  140. Ben R

    Why is everyone so keen on giving up on the Douglas/Landry backcourt after one preseason game, which we won quite easily by the way. They are young and they are flawed but their development will have a big say on when and if we are really ready to compete.

    A washed up Baron Davis, a player who even in his prime I didn’t really like, is not the answer. Why don’t we give these players 20-30 games before we bench them.

  141. ess-dog

    Z-man:
    For the Balkman and WoW lovers out there:

    http://wagesofwins.com/2011/09/11/renaldo-balkman-makes-the-same-mistakes-with-puerto-rico/

    Wow, I didn’t realize Balkman’s 2009 season was that good. I think Balkman’s problem is just not being the right fit most places. Most teams want an outside shooter or excellent slasher as their 3 – a Richard Jefferson type. But if you squeeze Balkman in between a slashing guard and a pf with a good outside shot, he could really excel playing 30 min. a night.

  142. Thomas B.

    Lately these threads remind me of the closing scene from “Soap.”

    Will Iman Shumpert ever cool down?
    Will Landry Fields ever heat up?
    Will Baron Davis be motivated?
    Will Baron Davis be Baron Davis?
    What has THCJ been smoking?
    Did he get it from Balkman?
    Did Balkman get it from Dave Berri?

    These questions and many more will be asked ad-nauseum on the next thread of Knickerblogger.

  143. danvt

    Unreason: Really lights it up does he?

    Actually, I really like Renaldo and really shouldn’t cast aspersions on another for creative uses of hemp products. Meanwhile, I had never even considered that he’d get any run this year. Just seemed like a salary at this point. I’d love to see him contribute.

  144. Thomas B.

    jon abbey: your arrogance has almost nothing to do with content, it’s almost entirely your condescending, smug tone (and this is coming from one of the more arrogant people around, me).

    I agree. :-)

  145. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Steve Novak is interesting. He’s pretty much useless as a rebounder or defender, but you have to love his career 41.7% three point shooting percentage.

  146. Frank

    WTF with #177?

    Anyway sounds like Novak is a done deal – he’s already tweeted it!
    Let’s hold onto the room exception for K-Mart.

  147. BigBlueAL

    John Kenney (@JohnbKenney):
    Chauncey looks good a few min into this Clipper-Lakers game (starting SG). Playing angry

    His first shot though was Paul pushing it up, dropping it off to Billups who held it and waited 10 seconds to finally shoot it lol

  148. BigBlueAL

    John Kenney (@JohnbKenney):
    @184

    Oh i mean he’s definitely still a ball stopper. not the right fit for our team. but dangerous on this clips team i think.

    He is a real good player still offensively regardless of his style. Only problem though will be defensively.

  149. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan) Post author

    I like the Novak signing. Another low-risk, savvy move from the front office.

    Some career numbers:

    TS%: 60% (excellent)
    3P% 41.7% (excellent)
    PER: 13.0 (not terrible)
    WS/48: .107 (not terrible)

    Everything else is basically forgettable, but this at least replaces a third of what Shawne did proficiently — namely three ball, corner pocket. The defense and rebounding are forgettable, but hopefully improved size up front precludes his having to contribute much in these areas.

    Now let’s look at Shawne:

    TS%: 52.8% (decent)
    3P%: 35.4% (decent)
    PER: 11.7 (sort of not terrible)
    WS.48: .072 (not good)

    Anyone else going to miss this guy terribly anymore? Me neither.

  150. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Per Hahn, and per Novak himself, he’s signed here. Woj says 1 year, vet minimum. He can shoot the corner 3, which has value in this system. Can he do anything else? One of the things I liked about Extra E was that, in addition to the 3-ball, he at least attempted to rebound and defend.

    Nope. He is pretty much one of the most one-dimensional players you’ll ever see this side of Kyle Korver.

    But he certainly can hit that corner three, and when you pair him up with, say, Douglas, Shump, Melo and Chandler for five-ten minutes a game, his defense can be hidden. For the vet minimum, it’s an easy gamble. He’ll probably barely play at all, though.

  151. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    Thomas B.:
    Lately these threads remind me of the closing scene from “Soap.”

    Will Iman Shumpert ever cool down?
    Will Landry Fields ever heat up?
    Will Baron Davis be motivated?
    Will Baron Davis be Baron Davis?
    What has THCJ been smoking?
    Did he get it from Balkman?
    Did Balkman get it from Dave Berri?

    These questions and many more will be asked ad-nauseum on the next thread of Knickerblogger.

    As perhaps one of three people on this board old enough to get a “Soap” reference, I say well played, sir.

  152. Caleb

    Extra-E couldn’t rebound at all, unless you consider him a SF.

    Novak I like, except that the signing probably sends Balkman to oblivion. I figured he’d never see the light of day, but was starting to get my hopes up that he’d see the floor out of sheer desperation – without Novak we didn’t have enough bodies (I’m figuring Jorts & Jordan aren’t NBA players yet). I guess Renaldo’s only hope is to play so out of his mind that it is impossible to bench him. Or for Jeffries to be injured, although I can’t root that way!

  153. Z-man

    Hated Soap, but love the post! PS Bob, Soap ain’t that ancient, don’t be playin’ the old man card unless you can reference obscure swit-coms like “My Mother, The Car” and “It’s About Time.”

  154. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    BigBlueAL: Wasnt Billy Crystal on that show??

    Yes. Yes he was – played the first openly gay character in TV history. And I shouldn’t play the old man card. I can’t claim to have watched the famed Jerry Van Dyke vehicle (pun intended), “My Mother the Car.”

    But back to hoops – Novak seems to have deleted the tweet. Does that mean it’s not a done deal?

  155. Ben R

    I’m not high on Novak, I was kinda relieved when we lost out on extra e because the last thing we need is a bad player who D’Antoni will play simply because he can hit a 3 pointer. While Novak is a better shooter than extra e he’s a worse rebounder and defender and extra e was bad at both of those things already. We don’t need a soft stretch 4 we need good defenders and rebounders behind Amare and Chandler, our offense will be fine, we need as many defense first players we can get considering we’ve hitched our wagon to a pair of terrible defensive players.

  156. Robert Silverman (@BobSaietta)

    BigBlueAL:
    Clippers are kicking the Lakers ass tonight.

    Billups looks good too – drawing sneaky-smart fouls, hitting those maddening pull up threes.

  157. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Come on, Hollinger, do a Thumb’s Up/Thumb’s Down on Baron Davis! I want to hear how the Knicks managed to pull out their 0.01 percent chance at getting him!

  158. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    As for Soap, I liked it well enough, but a lot of its appeal was that it was edgy for its time. It does not hold up particularly well, unlike, say, Hill Street Blues, which was ALSO edgy for its time but is still an awesome show to watch. It is a shame that Hill Street is not on DVD and/or Netflix and/or on some cable station. I think Hill Street Blues might be replaying on some random cable channel on Wednesday nights. I set my DVR set to see what’s up with it (which is why Hill Street Blues happened to be on my mind). Hill Street Blues was especially neat when David Milch took over and the show got a whooooole lot darker.

  159. A Voice of Reason

    As a new member of this message board, I must admit that I am impressed with the overall intelligence of the arguments. I love the Knicks and I love the game. This year will be fun.

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