Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Kids on the ‘Bock: Tyson Chandler

For Zeke, the eye test was enough. More than enough.

In 2006, then President of Basketball Operations Isiah Thomas looked at film and live performances of the Chicago Bulls and decided that Eddy Curry would be the cornerstone of the New York Knicks. Loaded as Curry was with an ever-improving offensive repertoire of crafty pivots, soft hooks, and deceptive agility — all unbecoming the snapshot impression one might have of a player already nearing 300 pounds — who could blame him?

Beside Curry stood Tyson Chandler; all 150 offensively challenged pounds of him — a good inch or two taller, far lither, the same age, and inferior both statistically and, it would appear, skill-wise. To be sure, the 7’2″ center had certainly shown some promise, particularly on D and glass; two facets which would later come to define the Compton native as a legitimate anchor in the paint. Even in his halcyon Chi-Town days, Chandler did the dirty work, touting a comparatively rudimentary offensive quiver centered around ungodly hops and keen timing — alley-oops and put-back and little else.

Which is all well and good, for anyone not drafted second overall. As it was, by 2005, Curry was seen as the one who might actually live up to his lofty draft status. Chandler, on the other hand, appeared doomed to a career of one-dimensionality — a niche player that needed the right situation and the right personnel around him in order to truly thrive.

Taken second and fourth in the 2001 Draft (Chandler’s rights were immediately dealt by the Clippers for Elton Brand), Chandler and Curry were immediately cast as potential saviors for a Bulls franchise then a full two years removed from a completely predictable fall from glory. Like the reign of the Rome-razing Visigoths, the Bulls saw their new era as one of brute force in the trenches, with Curry and Chandler the battering chieftains. Over the next four years, the two’s play — wholly distinct in style — would be borne out in numbers both similar and disparate, depending on the what you were looking at:

Curry:           15.8 PER;      0.09 WS/48;      57% TS%;      18.1 PP36;      7.7 REBP36
Chandler:    14.9 PER;      0.112 WS/48;      54% TS%;      11.3 PP36;     11.0 REBP36

 

This merchandise is not available for sale.

You can see which stat Isiah’s found himself fixated on. Curry was the better scorer, and seemed to boast the higher offensive ceiling than Chandler, content as the later appeared to be with honing a game whose radius seldom exceeded five feet from the basket.

Chandler has admitted that his stint in the Windy City — co-anchoring a Bulls team that included Ben Gordon, Kirk Heinrich and Luol Deng — was more challenging than rewarding. After one year sans his former draft-mate, Chandler would spend the next three seasons catching Chris Paul lob’s in New Orleans, before being dealt (quite injured, it should be noted) to Charlotte for Emeka Okafor in late 2009. A year later, Chandler would be dealt to Mavericks, in what history will–  and should — look back on as one of the great trade steals of the last 20 years.

Now, six years and one Chandler ring  removed from one of the most debilitating and infamous acquisitions in Knick history — six years too late, perhaps — it seems as though, this time, we finally got the right Bull.

 

*          *          *          *          *

 

On the afternoon of December 7th, the NBA Twitterati leaked word that the Knicks were making a last-second push to acquire the now title-owning Chandler. In the hours and days leading up to the sudden coup, the Warriors and Nets were by all accounts the two teams closest to landing the unrestricted free agent. When Chandler found out the Knicks had started making calls, he was as intrigued as he was taken aback. All the while,  the post-lockout conversation in Knickland had been almost exclusively focused on the prospect of somehow adding to the mix the one binding agent capable of turning gruel into championship gold: Chris Paul. But with New Orleans backed into a corner not unlike that which the Denver Nuggets found themselves in the season previous, the league-owned and operated Hornets couldn’t help but start looking elsewhere for potential suitors. Lacking the assets to make a deal for Paul, the Knicks turned their attention to Chandler, who had somehow been rendered the odd man out in Mark Cuban’s resigning equation.

Three days later, the ink had dried on a four-year, $56 million contract that landed the Knicks their best defensive presence since Marcus Camby. More importantly, the reams of pulp dedicated to lampooning the Bockers for their disinterest — some would say out and out hostility — towards defense-first players had at least temporarily been rendered moot. Coming as he was off of a season in which he not only won a title, but put up arguably the most well-rounded stat line of his career — the points (13.1) and rebounds (12.1) per 36 were nothing if not on career par, while his FT% (73%) and TS% (a robust 70%) were high water marks — even the most acrid Knick critics couldn’t help but tip their cap to the infamously impulsive and one-track-minded Dolan-led front office.

The many who quipped that we’d finally exorcised the worst of Isiah’s specters doubtless recognized the Chandler signing for the weird full circle closing that it was. But really it was bigger than that. For many, the signing amounted to a kind of catharsis for the franchise itself, still recovering as it is from a lost decade of endless bullshit, unnecessary drama, and putrid basketball. And while it’s easy to scoff at the long money involved, as far as perceived-versus-actual value goes, the Chandler signing is anathema to everything the Knicks have tried to do lo this past 10 years, at least with respect to free agent signings.

Then, consider this: Lest you think Guitar Jimmy doesn’t remember the LeBron alter ditching with anything less than proper Irish rage, imagine knowing you had a shot at a guy who played an integral role in keeping that same King’s ascendance thwarted. You can just imagine Dolan sitting in his Victorian leather chair during Game 6 of the Finals, eyes fixated on this 7’2″ paint-roaming beast as he time and again neutralizes — often by mere presence alone — the slashing abilities of arguably the two best wings in the game. Ever vindictive, never long for a chance at revenge, it’s possible Dolan’s had this card tucked up his sleeve since summer.

In two preseason games, Chandler’s play has — like many — been limited in both time and predictive statistics. Moreover, he’s no doubt still figuring out the nuances of a system different than any he’s ever played in, in a city something wholly apart from what he’s used to, in front of fans equal parts loyal and cutthroat. Here’s the thing though: Unlike free agent signings of years past, few worry about Chandler “figuring it out.” Not in the same way we fret — and will continue to fret — about Amar’e, Melo, TD, Landry, or even Baron “figuring it out.” Chandler’s had it — solid rebounding and lockdown defense — figured out for a while now. Obviously the concerns over Tyson’s health (he missed a combined 68 games between the ’09 and ’10 seasons) aren’t totally off the reservation; for someone who makes his living protecting the rim at all costs, Chandler has rarely been asked to cover up for defenders as routinely disinterested as Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.

Still, the hope is that the mere presence of Chandler will be enough to ignite within his two superstar wingmen the wherewithal to make playing D — more a matter of effort than ability anyway — necessary, integral, even fun. For a team that finished 22nd in Defensive Rating last year (a whopping 110.1 points per 100 possessions), it’s certainly no small task. But one need look no further than last June to understand how fundamentally a player of Chandler’s unique caliber can alter an entire franchise’s attitude, focus, and defensive dedication.

Maybe it’ll come back to haunt us. Maybe he gets hurt or maybe Amar’e and Melo’s weaknesses are far too vast to cover for or maybe he clashes with Coach or the whole thing just doesn’t work ever, at all. Maybe we come up snake eyes again. But at least it was an earnest roll of the dice; with an eye more towards protecting what’s been earned — which, truth be told, isn’t much yet — than towards the one big signing, the one contract, the one superstar that’ll bring it all together. It was a gamble borne from the recognition that any ship — no matter how fast or sleek or prolific — will only go as far and as deep as its tallest mast will allow.

90 comments on “New Kids on the ‘Bock: Tyson Chandler

  1. Caleb

    For the record, Curry was drafted #4. Kwame went #1. Chandler, 2. Gasol, 3.

    Chandler IMO has been a great player since about 2008. When healthy, he’s been one of the 3 or 4 best defensive players in the league, a top-5 rebounder and extremely efficient on offense, if limited. IMO he’s also one of the most fun players to watch – a huge guy who runs and hits the floor, and directs blocks to his teammates a la Tim Duncan.

    Given the construction of the Knicks roster, I don’t think there are 10 players in the league who could make a bigger impact.

  2. jon abbey

    one more thing about Chandler is that he tips out rebounds to the perimeter more than probably anyone else in the league, and so he and his PG really need to be on the same page to maximize this skill. thankfully Tyson and Baron are long-time LA buddies, thoroughly familiar with each other’s games, another plus for our chemistry in this odd season.

    so I agree with Caleb, the last few sentences above are strange for a few reasons. short of Dwight Howard, Chandler actually is/was “the one signing, the one contract, the one superstar that’ll bring it all together”, probably even more than Chris Paul or D-Will. and that anchor analogy makes no sense when you think about it, although I get what you’re going for.

  3. Spree8nyk8

    Just getting ready for the season watched Semi-Pro :) What a great basketball movie lol. Maybe if we still have the 2.5m exception we should sign Coffee Black!

  4. Mike Kurylo

    Jim Cavan (@JPCavan): I’m THIS close to buying one. I’m sure I’ll cave in the coming days.

    I just told my wife that it’s darn aesthetically pleasing, but that no one will probably by one due to the content. It took me about 5 minutes to explain what Jeffrightened means. I’m expanding on it:

    Jeffrightened: adj – 1. The state of horror resulting in watching a proficient offensive score, only to realize it was Jared Jeffries. 2. The state in which a Knick fan feels when Jared Jeffries is given the ball on the offensive end. 3. The feeling Jared Jeffries gets when he realizes that he must make an offensive play during an NBA game.

  5. danvt

    What a beautiful article.

    I think the Knicks did really well in cashing in their chips on Chandler. With everyone else imposing austerity measures and trying to land the impossibly big fish (Howard, Dwill, Paul) the Knicks did very well in a bearish FA market.

    I don’t expect as much as many seem to from Baron. I think/ hope TD can get it together, be a good defender, and a good enough facilitator, but I am really happy that the Knicks are chasing down legitimate players and not trying to rely on the Jonathan Benders of the world.

  6. d-mar

    I can’t say enough about what I’ve seen of Chandler in training camp footage and the 2 preseason games. He’s got an overwhelmingly positive attitude, really cares about making the team better and I just smile when I see him constantly jump off the bench to cheer on the scrubs. I think someone in an earlier thread made the KG comparison in terms of bringing a defensive mindset to a team (as we recall, Pierce and Allen were never known as great defenders pre-KG) and I think that comparison is valid, although obviously Chandler doesn’t have the offensive skills of KG. But I do think he will impart his mindset of defensive accountability to his teammates, and for that alone, he may be the best possible addition we could have made to this team.

  7. daJudge

    Jim, I loved your article. “Like the reign of the Rome-razing Visigoths, the Bulls saw their new era as being defined by brute force in the trenches, with Curry and Chandler the battering chieftains.” Great sentence. Also, I am extremely excited about the signing and while I really dig CP3, I’m glad we avoided the drama mess. I have major concerns about tomorrow’s game. I know it was just preseason, but the guard play was pretty awful. I’m going to put it all aside and record the game, while I watch the Giants take out the Jets. One last thing. Mike, I read your post and I agree with what you said. I will be more careful with my rhetoric in the future. You are right on the money.

  8. Frank

    danvt:

    I don’t expect as much as many seem to from Baron.I think/ hope TD can get it together, be a good defender, and a good enough facilitator, but I am really happy that the Knicks are chasing down legitimate players and not trying to rely on the Jonathan Benders of the world.

    well – according to Jared Zwerling (ESPN-NY) Shumpert was playing PG and had the blue starter’s jersey on in practice today. I almost would rather see him start if Melo is going to be point forward anyway – that way Shump can concentrate on just burying open looks on offense, and can spend most of his energy on D. TD can go back to his offensive sparkplug role. I think Shump should be guarding Rondo 80% of the time Sunday regardless.

  9. danvt

    Does anyone here see TD (and Landry really as well) as being comparable to John Starks, potentially. I remember being sure that Rolando Blackmon would beat out Starks for the starting job, but it never happened. I’m annoyed at everyone who just assumes Baron gets the job the minute he’s activated.

  10. danvt

    Frank: well – according to Jared Zwerling (ESPN-NY) Shumpert was playing PG and had the blue starter’s jersey on in practice today. I almost would rather see him start if Melo is going to be point forward anyway – that way Shump can concentrate on just burying open looks on offense, and can spend most of his energy on D. TD can go back to his offensive sparkplug role. I think Shump should be guarding Rondo 80% of the time Sunday regardless.

    Wow, thanks for that. I’m rooting for Shumpert as well. I just think there’s a bias, in the mainstream media, toward ex allstars and players with names / deodorant commercials. Now that the Knicks have the elite talent, I’d like to see it surrounded with young, healthy, athletes. As a Knick fan, my bias is that I like kids we drafted and/ or developed.

    But I don’t dislike Baron or Bibby for that matter. We gave up no one for them and they’re gone in a year if they don’t give us any punch. So, I think we actually have some balance on this roster of Vets and newbies. Defensive players and offensive creators.

    Let’s go kill those Celtics!

  11. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Nice article. Chandler and Curry (let’s not forget Kwame Brown) are two of the best arguments for the NBA’s near-unethical age restriction — short of Darius Miles, Kwame Brown, et al.

    I think “robust” is selling Chandler’s historic shooting season a bit short.

    Chandler posted a .6967 TS% last season, which was the third highest all-time. Nene put up the 21st best TS% (all-time, NBA/ABA) last season, too, and Amar’e’s 07-08 season comes in at 22nd. If Amar’e could return to his old ways, the Knicks would likely challenge the record for offensive effiency (but I doubt he could, at least without Steve Nash or Chris Paul).

    Yes, he’s a garbage-bucket kind of player, but so are a lot of the league’s PFs and Cs. No one in the modern era has come close to that mark (Nene being the closest in the M.E. at a whopping five-hundredths of a point lower), so it’ll be interesting to see if this was a statistical aberration, the influence of the league’s best PF, or a huge leap at age 28. Chandler is very clearly the crux of the Knicks’ success this year.

  12. daJudge

    CJ–I agree that this will be very interesting to watch. But do you think he also benefited from Kidd as well? I don’t know the numbers relative to Chandler’s conversions off Kidd’s assists. I guess, but don’t know, that Dirk’s stretch on the 4 was probably the biggest factor in his amazing TS%. With Amare and Melo, I think this could replicate itself—my concern is the PG impact.

  13. BigBlueAL

    The play that made Isiah want Curry was probably in that game in Chicago where he got the game winning block against either Marbury or Crawford dont remember which one. It lead to a Gordon fastbreak layup which was followed the next game by Gordon hitting a game-winner at MSG. The end of the Lenny Wilkens era lol.

  14. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    daJudge:
    CJ–I agree that this will be very interesting to watch. But do you think he also benefited from Kidd as well?I don’t know the numbers relative to Chandler’s conversions off Kidd’s assists.I guess,but don’t know, that Dirk’s stretch on the 4 was probably the biggest factor in his amazing TS%.With Amare and Melo, I think this could replicate itself—my concern is the PG impact.

    Sure, of course. The Mavs were really, really good last year. Between a hall of fame PG who can still shoot and maybe a top 15 all-time player, it wouldn’t be hard to put up a career year. But if Carmelo and Amar’e have such a huge impact on their teammates’ shooting efficiency, Chandler should see a repeat in those big numbers. If not, where’s the blame? On Chandler and co.? Or the two max players?

  15. Spree8nyk8

    danvt:
    What a beautiful article.

    I think the Knicks did really well in cashing in their chips on Chandler.With everyone else imposing austerity measures and trying to land the impossibly big fish (Howard, Dwill, Paul) the Knicks did very well in a bearish FA market.

    I don’t expect as much as many seem to from Baron.I think/ hope TD can get it together, be a good defender, and a good enough facilitator, but I am really happy that the Knicks are chasing down legitimate players and not trying to rely on the Jonathan Benders of the world.

    At first my thought was the same, that I hoped TD would grow into the job. But the more I think about it the more I think he can better help the team by holding down the fort till Baron comes and then moving into the sixth man role that we need him to flourish in.

  16. Caleb

    I don’t want to come across as a Shumpert-basher – I’m rooting for him, and he’s a promising young player – but I think expectations are too high. He wasn’t a big-impact college player, and he’s very raw – he can’t shoot, has terrible shot selection and isn’t a pure point. And even with great athletes, not too many rookies come out as instant defensive stoppers.

    Got it off my chest!

    Shumpert might turn out to be a good pick, or a good player, but it will take some patience. I see him playing spot minutes, guarding the bigger wings. I see Landry and Douglas and Walker playing more, unless Landry plays like he did in the playoffs.

  17. daJudge

    CJ—To me, that depends on lots of things, including the overall performance of the team. For example, if the team was kicking ass, but Chandler’s TS% was somewhat less, the issue would be kind of irrelevant and ascribing blame (causation) would also be, if not irrelevant, immaterial. If his TS% was much lower, and Melo was chucking, team not clicking, I think the cause of the reduced TS % would be significant and very possibly the fault of the chuckers.

  18. bobneptune

    danvt:
    Does anyone here see TD (and Landry really as well) as being comparable to John Starks, potentially.I remember being sure that Rolando Blackmon would beat out Starks for the starting job, but it never happened.I’m annoyed at everyone who just assumes Baron gets the job the minute he’s activated.

    it depend if you have an objectivist view of john starks or are a fanboi nuthugger :-) starks is remembered well around here , but statistically he was an average nba player.

    can fields and td mature into average nba players, maybe. but from all indications td will never mature into an average starting point guard as he has no ‘feel’ for running an offense.

    and you can assume baron davis will waltz into the starting point if he is healthy (and that is a big if). a healthy and motivated davis is an excellent nba starting player. for example, while he is not the most efficient shooter in the world (john starks-ish) he sports a lifetime 18.0 per and a ridiculous playoff per of 22.2 over a statistically significant 46 games.

    a reasonably healthy, motivated davis is such an upgrade over td at the point , it really isn’t even discussion worthy. the question is, how healthy he will be.

    and if davis isn’t reasonably healthy, they lost nothing and will have to live with td.

  19. bobneptune

    Caleb:
    I don’t want to come across as a Shumpert-basher – I’m rooting for him, and he’s a promising young player – but I think expectations are too high. He wasn’t a big-impact college player, and he’s very raw – he can’t shoot, has terrible shot selection and isn’t a pure point.And even with great athletes, not too many rookies come out as instant defensive stoppers.

    Got it off my chest!

    Shumpert might turn out to be a good pick, or a good player, but it will take some patience.I see him playing spot minutes, guarding the bigger wings. I see Landry and Douglas and Walker playing more, unless Landry plays like he did in the playoffs.

    shumpert will play 34 minutes plus on average this year……….

  20. Spree8nyk8

    When it comes to Starks I’m willing to throw stats out the window. That guy bled orange and blue blood. Anyone that plays with the heart that Starks played with is a welcome addition in my book.

  21. daJudge

    Spree-I know what you mean about Starks, and that quality you and I loved so much is hard to quantify. Whatever it was, I don’t think TD or Fields has it and, I know how stupid that sounds. That is not to say that they will not grow into decent NBA players, but not the John Stark’s type. Agree big time with #24 above.

  22. JK47

    It’s interesting to look at Kidd and Baron Davis side-by-side.

    Kidd
    TS% .500
    AST% 35.4
    TOV% 22.1

    Davis
    TS% .506
    AST% 41.2
    TOV% 16.3

    So Baron shot about as efficiently as Kidd, had a better assist percentage and protected the ball better. The only problem is that Baron’s usage is almost double Kidd’s. If Baron would just tone down the shooting, he could give us what Kidd gave the Mavs. That’s a big “if” of course.

  23. jon abbey

    The Honorable Cock Jowles:
    Nice article. Chandler and Curry (let’s not forget Kwame Brown) are two of the best arguments for the NBA’s near-unethical age restriction — short of Darius Miles, Kwame Brown, et al.

    totally agreed about this, I wish some stud HS players would band together and sue the NBA.

  24. Z-man

    @ 17, 18, 20 Who are you guys and what have you done with THJC and DaJudge? ;-D

    While the Lakers have gotten away with an average PG this decade of several titles, they have had very versatile bigs and Kobe to make a transcendent passer less of a need. Neither Melo nor Amare has that type of passing history (although Melo may have the skill.)

    Unexpected revelations for TD and Shump aside, I think that Baron Davis can be much better of a passer on this team than he has been in the past. Baron really, really is a great passer when he wants to be and is healthy. With him at 80+% of his peak athleticism level (i.e. last year) we have champoinship talent. It is just a matter of gelling as a team, and I think Tyson Chandler is going to make a huge impact in that regard. He has already shown a willingness to take on Amare, so he will clearly confront Melo and Davis if they start playing selfishly or lazily.

  25. Spree8nyk8

    jon abbey: totally agreed about this, I wish some stud HS players would band together and sue the NBA.

    No offense, but sue them for what? It’s their league they can make whatever rules they want. It’s nobody’s right to play in the NBA. If they want to have an age requirement they are no different than any other business that does the same.

  26. jon abbey

    Spree8nyk8: No offense, but sue them for what?It’s their league they can make whatever rules they want.It’s nobody’s right to play in the NBA.If they want to have an age requirement they are no different than any other business that does the same.

    age discrimination.

  27. DRed

    Mike Kurylo:
    @4 – Too funny he asked if anyone makes JJ jerseys. Good timing for my tshirt tho (honestly I may be the only person who buys that model.)

    Why is there no ‘Do What Toney Douglas Do’ t-shirt available? Cause I’d buy one of those in a second.

  28. Z

    Mike Kurylo:

    Jeffrightened: adj – 1. The state of horror resulting in watching a proficient offensive score, only to realize it was Jared Jeffries. 2. The state in which a Knick fan feels when Jared Jeffries is given the ball on the offensive end. 3. The feeling Jared Jeffries gets when he realizes that he must make an offensive play during an NBA game.

    4. The feeling a knick fan used to get when the ball was kicked out to what they thought was Channing Frye for an 18 footer, only to realize, in the act of shooting, that it was in fact Jared Jeffries.

    (didn’t jon originally coin the term during one of these moments?)

  29. jon abbey

    Z: 4. The feeling a knick fan used to get when the ball was kicked out to what they thought was Channing Frye for an 18 footer, only to realize, in the act of shooting, that it was in fact Jared Jeffries.

    (didn’t jon originally coin the term during one of these moments?)

    yep, that was exactly it, but no one offered me a t-shirt. :)

  30. llcoolbp

    John Starks as you can tell by my avatar, is my favorite knick of all time. Stats absolutely do him no justice. 3 inches shorter then MJ, but he never backed down. I know this is a stat heavy blog, but John Starks is someone who needed to be watched everyday to be appreciated. I’ve never seen a player who loved being a knick more then him. I still remember that funk he was in the year after the NBA finals. He finally had a breakout game and was yelling after each bucket. Primal yells. The man cared, maybe too much. What a joy to watch. His YouTube mix with public enemies, he got game in the background, still brings tears to my eyes.

  31. Z

    Spree8nyk8:

    Anyone that plays with the heart that Starks played with is a welcome addition in my book.

    Starks was a product (actually a symptom) of the early 90’s NBA. He came into the league during a perfect storm where “heart” trumped “skill” and “IQ”. A time when you could hold opposing guards on the perimeter, draw charges under the basket, put guys who drive to the basket in the hospital, taunt, cry, punch, etc… all to mask the fact that you can’t shoot, can’t dribble, and can’t really pass all that well.

    I don’t think Starks would have lasted long in today’s NBA.

  32. jon abbey

    llcoolbp:
    John Starks as you can tell by my avatar, is my favorite knick of all time. Stats absolutely do him no justice. 3 inches shorter then MJ, but he never backed down. I know this is a stat heavy blog, but John Starks is someone who needed to be watched everyday to be appreciated. I’ve never seen a player who loved being a knick more then him. I still remember that funk he was in the year after the NBA finals. He finally had a breakout game and was yelling after each bucket. Primal yells. The man cared, maybe too much. What a joy to watch. His YouTube mix with public enemies, he got game in the background, still brings tears to my eyes.

    right, but the thing is that his talent gave him a ceiling. his work ethic was awesome, he turned himself from someone that no one wanted into a guy who I still believe helped push Jordan into going to try baseball, but his raw talent level kept him from being a consistent All-Star. it’s a real tribute to Pat Riley (who I generally don’t like) that we got as close as we did to a title with Starks as our #2 offensive threat.

  33. llcoolbp

    No doubt his high usage and low true shooting percentages left a lot to be desired. But as a product of his era, where he could hand check and play tough d, so could others to him. That’s what makes Jordan so remarkable. That he kept his percentages so high in such a tough era. John Starks could also pass the ball, and definitely had a strong handle. I would say he wasn’t all star caliber (though he did make one all star team), but he definitely was an above average, skilled shooting guard for that era.

  34. Spree8nyk8

    Z: Starks was a product (actually a symptom) of the early 90?s NBA. He came into the league during a perfect storm where “heart” trumped “skill” and “IQ”. A time when you could hold opposing guards on the perimeter, draw charges under the basket, put guys who drive to the basket in the hospital, taunt, cry, punch, etc… all to mask the fact that you can’t shoot, can’t dribble, and can’t really pass all that well.

    I don’t think Starks would have lasted long in today’s NBA.

    The man went from bagging groceries in safeway to playing in the all star game. I wouldn’t bet against that kind of will.

  35. bobneptune

    llcoolbp:
    John Starks as you can tell by my avatar, is my favorite knick of all time. Stats absolutely do him no justice. 3 inches shorter then MJ, but he never backed down. I know this is a stat heavy blog, but John Starks is someone who needed to be watched everyday to be appreciated. I’ve never seen a player who loved being a knick more then him. I still remember that funk he was in the year after the NBA finals. He finally had a breakout game and was yelling after each bucket. Primal yells. The man cared, maybe too much. What a joy to watch. His YouTube mix with public enemies, he got game in the background, still brings tears to my eyes.

    ll,

    with all due respect, you are what your record says you are and having a man crush on a player doesn’t make him better than he was.

    I’ve watched the knicks regularly since willie naulls, richie guerin and jumpin johnny green were at the garden and starks was just a nice nba player. we all empathize with the guy who bagged groceries, but that doesn’t make him a real good player.

    for every dunk he made over mj and horace grant, he’ll be equally remembered for 2-18 and still chucking in the 4th quarter going 0-10.

    and you liked a guy because of “primal screams”? wtf, how about shot selection instead?

  36. Spree8nyk8

    Anyone can have a bad game. Without Starks they never play in that game. So as far as “average” idk. He was an all star. Granted it was only once but he did make it. Average players don’t.

  37. daJudge

    I don’t know if the ban on under 18year olds is unethical, but certainly there are legal arguments against the ban that may have merit. Beside the age discrimination issue, there may be antitrust issues. Notably, the kids that are impacted by the ban are not privy to the CBA. Since the NBA is a legal monopoly, the impact is far reaching and they are forced to opt in. In addition, I believe the ban very clearly disparately impacts minorities and this could be empirically demonstrated. Remember the old hard ship rules which was designed in part to counter this IMO insidious effect. It is also very apparent that those younger than 18 can engage in all sorts of occupations/professions, including protecting our Country and playing many other professional sports. Great issue.

  38. art vandelay

    I agree that Starks was a maddeningly difficult player, at least for me, to root for growing up….I am 30 years old and I grew up a die hard knicks fan in that 90s era….he was quite frankly one of the least intelligent basketball players I have ever seen, but at the same time, his lack of intelligent sometimes benefited him and the knicks, as he was so intrepid that he would jack up shots from all angles and make a large number of big-time, low probability ones that propelled the knicks forward, not to mention his great defense.

    I never could really get over what happened in game 7 in 94, so that kind of soured me to him forever, but he definitely was one of the ones we most remember for what was a, at least compared to recent times, glorious era that featured ECF appearances in 93, 94, 99 and 2000, not to mention 2 finals appearances. So yes, you are what your record says you are, and no Knicks player has come close to helping NYK achieve as good a record as Starks’ Knicks teams did in the past 12 years or so!

  39. bobneptune

    Spree8nyk8:
    Anyone can have a bad game.Without Starks they never play in that game.So as far as “average” idk.He was an all star.Granted it was only once but he did make it.Average players don’t.

    let me just list some starting 2 guards in no particular order off the top of my head in the nba in starks’ prime and tell me how many starks was better than:

    jordan
    reggie miller
    mitch richmond
    petrovich
    joe dumars
    clyde drexler
    hersey hawkins
    nick anderson
    dan marjlie
    latrell sprewell
    reggie lewis
    steve smith
    jeff hornacek
    dale ellis

  40. art vandelay

    I have an interesting question: The more I think of the 90s, it is a testament to great coaching (Riley and JVG) that we succeeded as much as we did with inherently flawed and really mediocre talent teams for years….those were truly teams that bought into the defensive philosophy…I think we arguably had some of hte best all-around defensive teams ever in that era….particualrly the 93 Knicks, which I perceive as the best all-around team of the
    Ewing era, even if they didn’t make it to the finals like some other NYK squads….

    what that said, on paper isn’t our current team at least as talented if not moreso than many of those teams that went to
    ECF or further? If our 2nd best player was John
    Starks, does that say more about teh NBA at the time that we could be such a strong team, or about our team’s particular system approach, that we could go as far as we did?

  41. danvt

    bobneptune: it depend if you have an objectivist view of john starks or are a fanboi nuthugger :-) starks is remembered well around here , but statistically he was an average nba player.

    Only saying that no one on the roster could beat him out and no one ever came in who did, until they traded him for Latrell Sprewel, not that he was a hall of famer. He was an imperfect guard who was part of winning teams. Maybe TD and Landry will have that type of Knicks careers. If TD makes a couple of threes in the 4th quarter and they beat the Celtics on Sunday, I think the Baron Davis talk will quiet down, and, as a Knick Fanboi nuthugger, I’d like to see that happen :-)

  42. bobneptune

    art vandelay:
    I agree that Starks was a maddeningly difficult player, at least for me, to root for growing up….I am 30 years old and I grew up a die hard knicks fan in that 90s era….he was quite frankly one of the least intelligent basketball players I have ever seen, but at the same time, his lack of intelligent sometimes benefited him and the knicks, as he was so intrepid that he would jack up shots from all angles and make a large number of big-time, low probability ones that propelled the knicks forward, not to mention his great defense.

    I never could really get over what happened in game 7 in 94, so that kind of soured me to him forever, but he definitely was one of the ones we most remember for what was a, at least compared to recent times, glorious era that featured ECF appearances in 93, 94, 99 and 2000, not to mention 2 finals appearances. So yes, you are what your record says you are, and no Knicks player has come close to helping NYK achieveas good a record as Starks’ Knicks teams did in the past 12 years or so!

    ummmmm…. starks had already been dumped to golden state for the 99 and 2000 teams, so half your argument flies out the window.

    and when you need to compare performance to the knicks recent history to make an argument, you are surely grasping at straws

  43. art vandelay

    I never meant to imply Starks played a part in those 99 and 2000 teams…everyone knows he was traded after 98 for Sprewell, my point was that if you are going to attach a player to a particular team’s record to assign worth (“you are what your record says you are”), then you can’t possibly say any Knicks since 98 then has been more valuable than Starks as a New York Knicks player.

  44. bobneptune

    danvt: Only saying that no one on the roster could beat him out and no one ever came in who did, until they traded him for Latrell Sprewel, not that he was a hall of famer. He was an imperfect guard who was part of winning teams.Maybe TD and Landry will have that type of Knicks careers.If TD makes a couple of threes in the 4th quarter and they beat the Celtics on Sunday, I think the Baron Davis talk will quiet down, and, as a Knick Fanboi nuthugger, I’d like to see that happen :-)

    like i said, i’ve been a big knick fan for 50 years and i really want them to do well. i just can’t see in my mind’s eye td being a point guard on a contending team no matter how many 3’s he cans as a x-mas present. of course, in a stunning turn of events…. i’ve been wrong before.

    there is such a propensity on this board to have a “well….. he may not do this well or he may not do that well…. but we drafted him and he’s our guy, therefore he’s way better than the other guy” i mean wtf is that?

    one can be an absolute diehard fan and have a modicum of intellectual honesty, no?

  45. art vandelay

    TD is a much better player as 6th man….I actually think his ceiling is Jason Terry and that is what he should be for Knicks….he is NOT and, unfortunately, I don’t really think he ever will be, a pass-first distributing point guard with court vision.

  46. daJudge

    If TD ceilings out at Jason Terry’s level, I would take that in a heart beat. The problem is that on our team we still need a 1, as stated at 54, pass first with court vision. That’s why I’m excited to see what BD can do in this particular role. This might even work out better for TD in the long run. Jeez, though, let’s see how he does in the regular season.

  47. danvt

    bobneptune: there is such a propensity on this board to have a “well….. he may not do this well or he may not do that well…. but we drafted him and he’s our guy, therefore he’s way better than the other guy” i mean wtf is that?

    one can be an absolute diehard fan and have a modicum of intellectual honesty, no?

    Maybe TD is not good enough to beat out the mid first rounder. Maybe the aging vet outplays him. That won’t be a big surprise to me, especially given what people who know more than I do are saying here. But I also think that the way the roster is set up, we have invested almost our whole cap number in our front line and, similar to Mason and Starks in the 90’s, we need to plug holes with lower priced pieces. I think, similar to the 90’s, the guys with the big names may not be the most important pieces in rounding out our roster. The fact that I hope it happens does not make me intellectually dishonest. I don’t think TD is more than he is, I just think he may be the best we have right now and may be part of a winning formula.

  48. JK47

    Having great overall talent is of course of primary importance, but having talent that fits together well is also very important. Starks was a great fit for those 90’s NYK teams because he fit in with the team philosophy: play your ass off on defense at all times. At their best that team could run out a lineup of Ewing, Oakley, Mason, Starks and Harper– with the rules being what they were at the time that lineup was damn near impossible to score on. Maybe Drazen Petrovic and Dale Ellis were more efficient than Starks but Starks’ contributions on the defensive side of the ball can’t be overlooked.

  49. bobneptune

    art vandelay:
    I never meant to imply Starks played a part in those 99 and 2000 teams…everyone knows he was traded after 98 for Sprewell, my point was that if you are going to attach a player to a particular team’s record to assign worth (“you are what your record says you are”), then you can’t possibly say any Knicks since 98 then has been more valuable than Starks as a New York Knicks player.

    first of all, when i said, you are what your record says you are, that doesn’t mean you attach a player’s worth only to the outcome of the team. i mean bill wennington isn’t a great player because he played on a championship team and ewing didn’t.

    it means you assess their record. if you believe in statistics, they say starks was an average nba player. he certainly played on some very good teams that had one top player in his prime (ewing) a good rebounder/post defender (oakley) and a bunch of mediocre/past their prime players like mason and starks and charles smith and doc rivers and harper and blackman and x-man.

    I would also suggest sprewell did more for the knicks than starks. he took them deep in 1999 and 2000 with a declining/injured ewing and led the entire nba in playoff scoring in 1999.

    and, without question, allen houston was a better player for the knicks than starks no matter how many primal screams starks gave.

  50. bobneptune

    JK47:
    Having great overall talent is of course of primary importance, but having talent that fits together well is also very important. Starks was a great fit for those 90?s NYK teams because he fit in with the team philosophy: play your ass off on defense at all times. At their best that team could run out a lineup of Ewing, Oakley, Mason, Starks and Harper– with the rules being what they were at the time that lineup was damn near impossible to score on. Maybe Drazen Petrovic and Dale Ellis were more efficient than Starks but Starks’ contributions on the defensive side of the ball can’t be overlooked.

    if the 1993-4 knicks had petrovic (had he lived) in place of starks they might have gone 82-0 :-)

    can you imagine the 2 man game they could run? ewing would never see a double team with petro shooting 44% from 3. if you think starks was somehow a perfect fit with the knicks, imagine what riley could have done with petro…….

    but i know…. starks was OUR grocery bagger…. it’s blasphemy to imagine an actually better scenario.

  51. JK47

    TS%, playoffs, career
    John Starks .552
    Drazen Petrovic .528
    Allan Houston .550

    Game 7 of the 1994 Finals notwithstanding, Starks played very well in big games. Add in his stout defense and I’d rather have the grocery bagger than Allan Houston in a playoff series.

  52. danvt

    bobneptune: if the 1993-4 knicks had petrovic (had he lived) in place of starks they might have gone 82-0 :-)

    can you imagine the 2 man game they could run? ewing would never see a double team with petro shooting 44% from 3. if you think starks was somehow a perfect fit with the knicks, imagine what riley could have done with petro…….

    but i know…. starks was OUR grocery bagger…. it’s blasphemy to imagine an actually better scenario.

    A young Bob Cousy would have helped those teams as well. The thing that bugs me is when people don’t see the reality that a team is constituted of 15 players, some of which know they’ll play but most of whom have to fight for run. Starks was better than the alternative to Starks, which, unfortunately was not Petrovic. It’s a tribute to him that he continued to play a major role after Allen Houston came on board.

    I think coach D is gonna run those guys up and down, and the best players will play, and we may see an imperfect gritty player with a commitment to defense and a team first mentality make a difference, which would be a joy to fans, but it wouldn’t make us blind homer’s who think TD is better than Chris Paul.

    I will say, in the way of finding common ground with you, Bob, that I will not stay patient for long. This team doesn’t need to win the Championship this year to make me happy, but we need to handle the Milwaukees and Phillys and we need to finish well above .500%. If our young players are not getting the job done I won’t defend them.

    I just thought that our present backcourt options reminded me somewhat of the backcourts of the Ewing / Oakley days.

  53. The Infamous Cdiggy

    bobneptune: let me just list some starting 2 guards in no particular order off the top of my head in the nba in starks’ prime and tell me how many starks was better than:

    jordan
    reggie miller
    mitch richmond
    petrovich
    joe dumars
    clyde drexler
    hersey hawkins
    nick anderson
    dan marjlie
    latrell sprewell
    reggie lewis
    steve smith
    jeff hornacek
    dale ellis

    Well we all can pretty much agree he wasn’t in the class of the first six men on this list (RIP Petrovich – he was really taken too soon). I’d also put Reggie Lewis in front of him too (RIP, also taken too soon).

    I always thought Starks and Marjerle were often mirror images of each other when i watched them play. They both went through periods of relying too much on the 3-ball. But gentlemen, allow me to dip my toe into the advanced-stats waters (wish me luck); sampling the ’92, ’93 and ’94 seasons (from Basketball-Reference.com):
    Starks:
    Age Team MinPlay PER TS% eFG USE WS WS/48
    1991-92 26 NYK 2118 16.4 .550 .501 24.4 6.4 .146
    1992-93 27 NYK 2477 16.3 .519 .473 26.5 7.5 .145
    1993-94 28 NYK 2057 16.0 .516 .477 27.1 5.8 .135

    Thunder Dan:
    Age Team MinPlay PER TS% eFG USG WS WS/48
    1991-92 26 PHO 2853 17.8 .551 .516 20.3 9.8 .165
    1992-93 27 PHO 3199 15.4 .573 .541 17.3 9.8 .147
    1993-94 28 PHO 3207 13.7 .531 .503 18.0 7.3 .109

    Both had really similar career PERs (Starks’ 14.0 to Marjerle’s 13.8), and both played from ages 23 to 36. Marjerle’s total WS/48 was .125 to Starks’ .102; 3p% were fairly close – Marjerle’s .358 over Starks’ .340. Hmmm maybe not mirror images, but pretty close. What do you guys think?

  54. Ben R

    Starks was a very good defensive player. I think when we look at just statisitics it misses most of that. When people talk about the early nineties teams as lacking in talent and overachieving I disagree. Players like Starks, Mason, Oakley, Harper, Anthony these were all very good defensive players and what some of them lacked offensively they made up for on defense.

    We were in the bottom third offensively the year we won 57 games and were a quarter away from winning a championship so of course the statisitcs which primarily cover offensive contributions shows us as a team with a bunch of mediocre players but the reality is what Starks, Mason and Oakley brought on defense was just as real as what players like Mullin, Smith and Ellis brought on offense even if individually it is harder to quantify statistically.

  55. JK47

    Petrovic was one of the greatest pure shooters I’ve ever seen, but he was an average defensive player at best. Defense is important, y’all!

  56. bobneptune

    JK47:
    TS%, playoffs, career
    John Starks .552
    Drazen Petrovic .528
    Allan Houston .550

    Game 7 of the 1994 Finals notwithstanding, Starks played very well in big games.Add in his stout defense and I’d rather have the grocery bagger than Allan Houston in a playoff series.

    pretty funny comparing petro’s “playoff” stats when he averaged 12 mpg in 20 of his 29 playoff games in his rookie year in portland behind drexler. he had a pretty fair career in “big games” for croatia in the ’88 Seoul olympics and the 92 barcelona games vs the real dream team.

    with a gun to my head for my life shooting the basketball i’d take petro>> houston >>>> starks

  57. carlhil2

    “Chandler has rarely been asked to cover up for defenders as routinely disinterested as Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.”…………….good reading, he had to cover for Dirk, last year, who happen to be the worst starting 7 footer, defensively, in the league [Dallas had to be, defensively, up there with the Knicks and Warriors] before Tyler hit town. Dirk is defensively garbage, rebounding is worse than STAT, blocks also. he averages 1.1 point more than STAT career wise, worse in boards and blocks, lets stop acting as if Dirk is an all around beast or something because he is not, he is a 7ft. chucker who, because of his height advantage, towers over the forwards who guard him. he is a great scorer, like a Monta Ellis type, only, Ellis plays more defense, but, all in all, a great read, Peace!

  58. carlhil2

    PS, if Dirk was on this Knick team, he would be their worse defender, if you want to be honest, i’m saying!

  59. jon abbey

    Toney Douglas isn’t exactly all potential, he led the entire league in three pointers made after the All-Star break last season, and also had a higher percentage made over that period (40.5%) than Channing Frye, Kevin Martin, Kevin Durant and Jason Terry.

  60. Z

    art vandelay:
    I remember Anthony Bonner for crying out loud got minutes in 94 Finals for us….sheesh!!!

    <——My avatar smiles at the mention of the great Anthony Bonner.

  61. Z

    Spree8nyk8:
    as far as “average” idk.He was an all star.Granted it was only once but he did make it.Average players don’t.

    The 1994 east all stars had 7 one-and-done all stars: Starks, Oak, Mookie Blaylock, B.J. Armstrong, Ho Grant, Derrick Coleman, and Kenny Anderson. 1994 deserves an asterisk, if sports seasons ever did.

    Ben R:
    Starks was a very good defensive player. I think when we look at just statisitics it misses most of that. When people talk about the early nineties teams as lacking in talent and overachieving I disagree. Players like Starks, Mason, Oakley, Harper, Anthony these were all very good defensive players and what some of them lacked offensively they made up for on defense.

    Yeah, this is true; however, that great “defense” that the Knicks played is completely illegal in today’s game. That was my initial point about Starks being a product of his time. That he couldn’t have built a career on “heart” because that kind of heart would see him ejected every game and suspended once a week.

    jon abbey: it’s a real tribute to Pat Riley (who I generally don’t like) that we got as close as we did to a title with Starks as our #2 offensive threat.

    And a bigger tribute to Rudy T. that the Rockets actually did win a title with Vernon Maxwell as their #2 offensive threat.

    Another example of 1994 deserving an asterisk.

  62. jon abbey

    Z: And a bigger tribute to Rudy T. that the Rockets actually did win a title with Vernon Maxwell as their #2 offensive threat.

    Horry and Cassell were both pretty huge in that series and ended up having fantastic careers (31 years in the league between them), so maybe more talented than they looked overall, Otis Thorpe was also a borderline All-Star. also, Hakeem was the best player in the league with no MJ, Ewing had to play the best ball of his life just to almost match him. they were way more talented than NY, I think.

  63. Unreason

    When I hear “Starks”, two images come immediately to mind: 1) a slow motion replay of him massaging Jordan’s face, literally kneeding and exploring the flesh next to his nose as Jordan eyed the basket, right before Jordan rose up to hit a huge j against us in the playoffs – I just lived for the way he played D on Jordan even if it was seldom enough; 2) my wife’s deadly imitation of his prefree-throw ritual – pounding the ball, puckered lips pushed all the way out, breathing hard. I loved and semi-hated him. He had all the self restraint of a bolder dropped from an airplane. But he was just plain heroic at times. So I loved him more.

  64. llcoolbp

    I’m 36 an have been watching basketball for 30 years. I’m glad I’m not so cynical as some of you are, as to not appreciate the “beauty” of John Starks game. The regurgitation of stats will not alter the fondness that I and others that played, lived, and breathed NYC basketball during the 90’s felt. The man was a straight warrior.

  65. jon abbey

    I’d tease you for boasting about your hoops watching resume as a six year old, but odds are you already probably grasped the game better than Dave Berri does now. :)

    anyway, if you’re 36 now, it means you were 15 when Starks was breaking in with NY, so have you considered there might be a bit of a nostalgia factor on your part? Starks did have some skills and mad heart (chest pounding and all), but he was certainly no Bernard King or Melo or Spree.

  66. BigBlueAL

    1994 may deserve an asterisk but the 1993 Knicks won 60 games and had the best record in the East in what many believe was one of the greatest seasons ever in NBA history. The Riley Knicks dont have to take a backseat to anyone, although I agree they wouldve struggled mightily in the current era because of their style of play (although I wouldnt put it past Riley to adjust because he was an amazing coach).

    To me the best team in all the 90’s talent wise was the 1997 Knicks. That team plus the 1999/2000 teams couldve played in today’s era and to be honest mightve benefited from having to play faster on offense. They played defense more with their quickness, length (when Camby and Ewing played together) and their AMAZING ability to double team and rotate rather than the physical teams of earlier in the decade (although they still played physical when necessary). I have never seen a defense rotate the way those teams did, it was like they had 7 guys on defense. Also they were a very good 3pt shooting team and FT shooting team (the 2000 team that lost in the East Finals finished in the Top 5 in both 3pt and FT %, they just didnt take enough of both).

  67. BigBlueAL

    jon abbey:
    I’d tease you for boasting about your hoops watching resume as a six year old, but odds are you already probably grasped the game better than Dave Berri does now. :)

    anyway, if you’re 36 now, it means you were 15 when Starks was breaking in with NY, so have you considered there might be a bit of a nostalgia factor on your part? Starks did have some skills and mad heart (chest pounding and all), but he was certainly no Bernard King or Melo or Spree.

    I LOVED Spree, but to be honest in his seasons with the Knicks he was a borderline awful offensive player. When looking at his shooting stats its amazing how bad a shooter he was (his TS% for his Knick career is roughly 50%). But I still loved him and will always love him :-)

  68. steveoh

    I loved Starks and Oakley too. And everyone here is right; they were both so so limited in what they could do. But it was so inspirational to watch them squeeze every ounce of sweat out of them, each and every game, in an effort to reach every inch of potential they had inside of them. They never stopped trying, no matter the score, no matter the situation. And their motors were infectious to not only their teammates but to those who watched them.

    I miss them.

  69. latke

    OK, Monta Ellis is a far cry from Dirk Nowitzki. Maybe Ellis and Dirk are similar in their defensive shortcomings, but Nowitzki’s TS% was 61% last year. Ellis’ was 53.5%. So let’s just say dirk was just as efficient as Monta last season — He would have averaged about 3 fewer points per game on the same number of shots.

    To clarify how significant a difference that is, that would have meant the Mavs, rather than outscoring opponents by 4.2 ppg, would have outscored opponents by 1.2 ppg. That would make them about a 42 win team. They would probably not have even made the playoffs.

    So to be clear: Dallas with Dirk = Mavs as #3 seed, Dallas with Ellis = Mavs out of the playoffs. They are not the same at all.

    The comparison between Stoudemire and Dirk is definitely more fair. Stoudemire has been the more efficient player for most of his career. However, since coming to the Knicks, STAT’s stats have suffered especially offensively. Post Carmelo trade, STAT’s TS% was 55.3%, better than Ellis, but significantly worse than Dirk. Add to that the fact that Stoudemire turns the ball over nearly one more time per game (basically the equivalent of giving the opponent a 1 point edge), and you have a player that as Knick just can’t be compared to Nowitzki.

    Stoudemire is a dependent player. In order to be what he was on Phoenix, he needs a point guard who can keep up with him and shooters to spread the floor. Spreading the floor is helpful to Dirk’s offense, but because his offensive game is far more dynamic, the only other thing you have to do is get him the ball. Like Nowitzki, he also needs the ball a lot in order to justify his defensive shortcomings.

    Without these complementary pieces, Stoudemire is much closer to players like Chris Bosh (except Bosh turns it over less often) or the 2011 versions of David West and Carlos Boozer. He is not Dirk.

  70. Unreason

    “Defensively challenged” is charitable to all three (Amare, Dirk, and Ellis). I’m embracing the foggy notion that STAT’ll turn it around a bit this year. I can’t figure out the shocking lameness of his defensive game by looking, and his numbers confirm but don’t explain. Sometimes it’s clearly just effort. At other times he’s active and looks like he’s trying really hard and is simply lost. But this is how he’s made his living for a long time and he’s not dumb. So it just isn’t plausible to think that no one’s ever pressured him to develop those skills or that he’s never tried to… nevertheless, this fig leaf comforts me, so that’s what I’m going with for now. He and Melo are both near their 400th repetition of the “it’s all about D this year” schpiel. So it’s put up or shut up time for both. To me, Melo’s clearly got it when he wants it and has no excuses for not bringing it every night. Amare…. I just wish I knew.

  71. Mike Kurylo

    llcoolbp: The regurgitation of stats

    Spree8nyk8: When it comes to Starks I’m willing to throw stats out the window. That guy bled orange and blue blood.

    jon abbey: I’d tease you for boasting about your hoops watching resume as a six year old, but odds are you already probably grasped the game better than Dave Berri does now. :)

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m about to regurgitate right about now.

    And I thought we had agreed to stop with this picking needlessly on stats? Do I have to point out the greatest basketball player has just ruined his second franchise as GM every time someone denigrates statistics? Can we agree that statistics have lots of value, and not all statisticians are equivalent like all non-stat people are equivalent? Or is every argument going to boil down to Dave Berri vs. Isiah Thomas?

    Bah Humbug.

  72. jon abbey

    not sure why my comment is in there, but I am going to mock Dave Berri periodically, or is that not allowed here either now? sorry, I find his work laughable, which doesn’t mean I find all attempts at better understanding of hoops via stats laughable.

  73. Z-man

    @83

    With all due respect, Mike, if that sort of debate was eliminated, KB would be a pretty bland place. You can’t have the lofty, enlightened stuff without some chaff. At the end of the day, we are all idiots for spending so much quality time debating whether basketball player A is better than basketball player B. Until the holy grail of stats is found, and so long as the debate doesn’t get either recklessly dismissive or nasty and personal, I personally enjoy when people pour their hearts out in their posts, even when it strikes me as repetitive, illogical, devil’s advocating, or blind homerism.

    As this holiday season unfolds, I am so very thankful that we are looking at a season like I used to in the 60’s-70’s and the 90’s, when the playoffs were a foregone conclusion and the hopes for title contention were not completely unrealistic. The Quest begins tomorrow at noon, and I’m jumping out of my skin in anticipation. Happy Holidays, everyone!

  74. jon abbey

    Mike Kurylo: Do I have to point out the greatest basketball player has just ruined his second franchise as GM every time someone denigrates statistics?

    also curious what this means, is this LeBron? Michael Jordan? I’m confused.

  75. Caleb

    This is a weird discussion of the ’90s Knicks… Oak was far and away the 2nd best player on those teams and he was no slouch – he led the league in rebounding (before the Knicks) and was top-10 night after night. I would say he was also the best defensive PF in the league for many years running. And skilled – remember how good an interior passer he was. ALl the Knicks big men then. And for the all-hail TS%, he was over 58% a couple of times.

    True, he only made the All-Star team once. The media and others like scorers.

    @65 Ben is right that not enough people consider defense a “skill.” If it were easy, NBA players wouldn’t be paid in the millions…

    @73 of course it’s true the style of D the Knicks played in ’92-’96 would be completely illegal now, but that’s irrelevant – the team was built for the league, and the rules, as it existed. You might as well say Chris Paul is bad because if it was 1995 he couldn’t drive past the FT line, or wouldn’t last 30 games without getting hurt.

    (Although I agree – the rules are better now).

  76. Juany8

    Let’s face it, blindly accepting stats is just as ignorant as totally dismissing them. In the case of a player like Starks, little things like leadership, hustle, and intensity generally don’t show up on stats as well for a perimeter player as for a big man. A player like Oakley or Chandler can have a more demonstrable statistical impact just because they’re asked to be near the rim, where every attempt will be high percentage and they will naturally get more boards. Protecting the paint is also more important than guarding someone out to the perimeter, so team defense can be affected a lot more by a big man.

    My point in all this is that with some stats, positional and team context can go a long way towards explaining apparent statistical short comings. Starks was probably asked to take more of an offensive role than he was fully capable of, causing his shooting stats to suffer, and he doesn’t get to make up for it in all in one stats because he wasn’t planted near the rim like the two excellent big men on his team so his defensive play and hustle won’t show up in rebounds and blocks. Starks probably wasn’t an all star caliber player, but he’s certainly a good player who had a significant impact on his team’s success

  77. jon abbey

    Caleb:
    This is a weird discussion of the ’90s Knicks… Oak was far and away the 2nd best player on those teams and he was no slouch – he led the league in rebounding (before the Knicks) and was top-10 night after night. I would say he was also the best defensive PF in the league for many years running. And skilled – remember how good an interior passer he was. ALl the Knicks big men then. And for the all-hail TS%, he was over 58% a couple of times.

    also by the end of his career, he was automatic from 18 feet.

  78. Z-man

    Juany8: My point in all this is that with some stats, positional and team context can go a long way towards explaining apparent statistical short comings. Starks was probably asked to take more of an offensive role than he was fully capable of, causing his shooting stats to suffer, and he doesn’t get to make up for it in all in one stats because he wasn’t planted near the rim like the two excellent big men on his team so his defensive play and hustle won’t show up in rebounds and blocks. Starks probably wasn’t an all star caliber player, but he’s certainly a good player who had a significant impact on his team’s success
    Juany8

    I agree with this and I believe many stat guys would as well. In theory, every player has a “max” statistical value based on raw talent. Achieving that value is dependent on attitude, self-awareness system, coaching, leadership from teammates, team potential, role, and so forth. Starks is a good example of a player who probably came close to maxing out his statistical value, whereas Melo is an example of a player who hasn’t. That is why I don’t think we will ultimately think of Melo as “overpaid,” because I believe that he is potentially a .200+ WS48 guy waiting to happen. His statistical history does not suggest this, but it didn’t for Paul Pierce either at age 26. Starks was never,ever going to be a .200+ TS48 player because his talent was somewhat limited.

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