Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

New Orleans Pelicans 109 – New York Knicks 114 – Game Recap

Hey! Hey you! Yeah, I’m talking to you, Mr. Fizdale. Don’t you know that we’re supposed to lose a lot of games? What are these shenanigans of winning two games in a row against good teams? I have two words for you: Zion Williamson. Get back on track!

Now, seriously. The last two games have been a breath of fresh air, a nutritious sip of broth for a fanbase starving for feel-good moments from this season… except, our feel-good moments aren’t really measured in wins or losses. They’re measured in development. And on a night like this, while we should be happy that we won, I can’t avoid the sting of seeing that, apart from Allonzo (more, a lot more on him later), the quartet of other rookie-scale contracts going into 2019-20 has played just 33 minutes combined. I’ll delve into the possible explanations to this further down the recap, but I had to put it off my chest: I feel uneasy winning and seeing so little out of our projects.

The good:

– Allonzo Trier (25 pts, 8 rebs, 4 ast, +13 +/-) is the clear-cut MVP of this one. Apart from his gaudy numbers – on 12 shots! – due to an extremely salivation-inducing ferociousness in attacking relentlessly the rim, he was the only reason I don’t deem a failure this game. You might think my vision is too bleak, but again I ask of you: what good comes from seeing a game won by guys who probably won’t be here next year ruin your chances at a top 4 pick next June? That said, I don’t blame Fiz for this one: he has to follow through on his meritocracy propaganda, so it’s only fair giving minutes to who’s playing well. Now, gloomy tangent aside, Trier was awesome tonight. He didn’t only score effectively: he was there everytime we needed a timely bucket, and there are nights when he’s just so good at protecting the ball driving to the rim (I was baffled when I went to look at his FG% on drives for the season: it’s just 48.3. For context: the best Knicks at drives FG% is Emmanuel frigging Mudiay, at 58.6, good for seventh in the whole league among players with 3+ drives per game; Allonzo is 61st, nothing to scoff at from an undrafted two-way player anyway). Iso Zo tonight was everything we needed THJ to be, and he carried us to the victory. Again: 25 points on 12 shots, 4 assists, 0 turnovers. On the Merriam-Webster, tonight, his picture was the definition of efficiency.

– Emmanuel Mudiay (27 pts, 7 rebs, 2 ast, +5 +/-) was Trier’s partner in crime and is a pleasant surprise, to be honest. He’s not a good (or even average) NBA player even now, but his improvement from past seasons is palpable. This is the first year where he’s putting up a WS/48 > .050 (at .083 now), a TS% better than league average, and positive BPM and VORP. Don’t get me wrong, the numbers suggest that he’s just an 8th-9th man at best, but at the beginning we all thought he was downright terrible, and had our good reasons to think so. It’s possible that Fiz has fixed him a little bit. For sure, he’s a completely different guy when driving to the rack (see above). Not only that, though: he’s better at defense, and he’s making a better use of his big body in space. Don’t let the 4 steals fool you: there was some hustle there, yeah, but also a lot of gambling. If any of his gambles was just a bit mistimed, you’re looking at easy, easy points for the Pels. The highlight of his night is his wonderful reverse drive with 34 seconds to go: that showed that his new found efficiency at the rim should be sustainable. It looks like he’s in control of his body for the first time in 4 years. It’s just a shame that his cap hold will be too big: to really invest in him for the next five months would be a pedestrian mistake. Also, for such a prolific driver, his 2 assists tally is a bit meager.

– Noah Vonleh (14 pts, 11 rebs, 5 ast, +18 +/-) is making me fall in love with his game night after night after night. Third straight double double for him, 4 for 7 from three point range, team-high plus/minus and assists. Add 2 steals and 2 blocks and he made certainly drool many a fantasy owner tonight. Vonleh is, again, the lone exception to the merry band of expiring contracts winning us useless games. I hope we keep him after this year. He looks so much better than he did in his last NBA stops. I won’t bother you with his advanced numbers again; I’ll just leave here his 3PT%: .412 on 1.7 attempts per night. I think it’s gonna fall down to around .350 (the arc is flat and two of his misses were ugly airballs), but as a surrogate stretch four he brings so many other things to the table, like a strong ability to pull down defensive boards, something that we sorely need. Our other frontcourt players are great at getting offensive rebounds, but on the defensive glass we are a little overwhelmed. We need him to jump under our basket. His defense is nothing to write home about, Davis (until perfectly healthy) dominated him, but then again who can defend well on Davis?

The bad:

– Mario Hezonja (2 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, -3 +/-) might be the worst use of cap space for a year since we signed Derrick Williams. Someday we’ll know why he’s starting instead of Dot or even – gasp – Knox. He was terrible again, apart form a very brief stint where he made a cutting layup and later dished a chocolate assist to Kanter for an easy two. His advanced numbers for the season scream “huge bust”: -0.057 WS/48, .435 TS%, -6.7 BPM. I think we have seen enough of him. It’s not even like he stabilizes the starting five! They need defense and shooting. He doesn’t bring either, which makes even more puzzling the fact that Dotson is not seeing playing time and Mario is averaging 17+ MPG as a starter.

– Kevin Knox (5 pts, 1 reb, 1 blx, -9 +/-) is having a lot of rough nights by himself; tonight foul trouble exacerbated the problem. He wasn’t able to contain anyone on defense and on offense shot 2 for 6, where one of those two connected attempts was one of the ugliest floaters/toss up I’ve ever seen. His advanced numbers are worse than Mario’s; in his defense, he’s a rookie, but that’s the only thing that goes in his favor. Anyway, I’m all for giving him all of Mario’s minutes, if Dotson can’t/won’t play.

Fun-sized bits:

– Not so fun, but Mitchell Robinson shouldn’t get so enamored with his blocking ability, or he’ll become an Hassan Whiteside-type defender, which means great blocks numbers but little impact on the game. I’m sure that won’t be the case with Mitch, and tonight he was defending possibly the best big in the whole league, but he elected to defend only with his hands and never with a jockeying motion. That he was able to put in a mildly productive night (5 points, 2 blocks, 1 rebound, 1 assist) in 9 minutes of play speaks volumes about his ability to impact games, but he has to be very careful about defensive mistakes – and where he steps when he tries to block guys on the perimeter. Twice he went under a Pelican shooting from three and once he was whistled for a flagrant 1. That call was excessive but by the rules. Second time in a row that a Mitch blunder costs us five point in a single possession. And to foul out in 9 minutes is simply… rookie dumb.

– Mitch is posting a league-high 9.8 BLK%. Over the course of a season, only three players in NBA history have posted a higher number: Manute Bol (six times), Alonzo Mourning and pre-huge contract (for the time) Jim McIlvaine.

– Frank Ntilikina played only 14 minutes tonight and was his usual good on the defensive end, plus two blocks, and quite meh on offense. There was no reason to play him so little, unless Fiz has seen that Frank can only play with certain guys (see: Burke) and not with others (see: Mudiay). That would be disconcerting, but I find no other reason to bench him so much, and that’s the only remark I have to make about Fizdale tonight. The sequence of the night belonged to Frank, though: block on the defensive end, another block by Mitch, the ball switches to the Knicks and Frank drains a three in semi-transition. This is what we want to see, dammit!

– Timmy was horrible. Too much turkey? Seven points, a lone rebound, four assists and a ghastly 2-for-15 night from the field. Improvement much, huh? It’s not fair to look now, but his WS/48 dipped under .100; how do you spell “17 million dollars” in trade language? We’ll forgive him this time, though.

– Trey came back to normal, but was still useful. 20 minutes of steadying the ship and letting others do their job. I’ll take it.

– Enes Kanter played his first Enes game since becoming a starter again. 17 and 12, plus 3 blocks and some mobility on defense. It’s just a shame that he couldn’t win a jump ball against a chair.

Our record goes to a suboptimal 6-14, good (bad?) for fifth-worst in the league. Let’s see what happens on sunday against the Grizzlies. I expect a terrible game to watch, where THJ will chuck 20 shots from the dribble and we’ll end up losing 92-75… but losing is good, isn’t it?

See you!

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129 comments on “New Orleans Pelicans 109 – New York Knicks 114 – Game Recap

  1. Brian Cronin

    I loved hearing Clyde talk about Mudiay. “I had totally buried this guy! I thought he was finished!”
    Gotta give Fizdale and Mudiay a ton of credit that Mudiay, at the very least, doesn’t look finished any more. When even Clyde is burying you, that’s not a good sign, so these last few games have been amazing in that regard. Good for him. It reminds me of when Bassy Telfair rescued himself from seeming impending failure to build a decade-long career in the NBA.

  2. Brian Cronin

    By the way, the team improving even while THJ is falling down to Earth is also extremely nice to see. It would suck to be carried to wins by THJ hot streaks. Carried to wins by Trier and Mudiay is a lot more edifying.

  3. Farfa Post author

    I’m just sad that Mudiay’s cap hold is that big. Otherwise I’d be really happy with his strides.

  4. Ingmarrrr

    I mean it’s probably his decision now. He’s been good. He’d want to get to free agency as fast as possible.

  5. danvt

    The narrative may be changing now. It is not the time to be worrying about wins. The team needs to show that it has some value now and a two game streak is only good news. Fiz showing he can get guys playing their best is only good news. Will it be a problem when Mario plays a decent game? I can see the posts now. Yes, this summer is important but being better than we thought is a lot of fun.

  6. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    edit: I’m not fighting this fight anymore. If the board consensus is that we reward terrible players with multiyear contracts on the back of a few decent games, fuck it. Another ten years of bottom-feeder status, here we come!

  7. johnno

    Not sure how reliable these stats are but I saw a post on P&T that said that, in the last four games, Frank has guarded Lillard, McCollum, Tatum and Holiday on 53 possessions and they have scored a total of 9 points on 7 for 36 shooting. If we’re going to trash his offense, we should at least acknowledge that he’s been an elite defender recently. Re: his age — there are only 17 players in the league right now who are younger than he is.

  8. johnno

    Jowles — you might not realize it, but there are a lot of people who would find the first dozen or so words of your post to be pretty offensive.

  9. bobneptune

    a total of 9 points on 7 for 36 shooting

    This does not compute….. however, Holiday was 5 for 5 in the first 6 minutes last night and propelled NOP to an early 7 point lead and Frank DID put the clamps right on his ass. He played 10 minutes in the first half of terrific ball (2 blocks with 5 points on 2 shots) and then saw 4 minutes the rest of the game while the Knicks were behind most of the second half?

  10. bobneptune

    edit: I’m not fighting this fight anymore. If the board consensus is that we reward terrible players with multiyear contracts on the back of a few decent games, fuck it. Another ten years of bottom-feeder status, here we come!

    Jowles,

    You are correct that many fans are quite myopic about such things, but one can also go overboard on the other side too. When doing science the professors always drum into your heads to keep and open mind but dutifully follow where the numbers take you. Newton’s theory of Gravity was sufficient until Einstein came along with General Relativity and explained it.

    In Mudiay’s case he 3 ball shooting isn’t better, his FT shooting isn’t better BUT HIS FG% FROM 3-10 FEET IS UP 35% OVER CAREER AVERAGES…. so I’m guessing this is unsustainable… but that’s why in statistics we evaluate sample sizes.

    If he is still percolating like this FEB 1st…. a re-evaluation might be in order….. but certainly not yet. With a gun to my head I sell at the first reasonable offer this morning.

  11. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    I don’t think anyone wants to re-sign Mudiay unless he keeps up this pace throughout a whole NBA season. As far as Trier goes, 3 years/9m should be sufficient, maybe 3 years/12m.

  12. Brian Cronin

    In Mudiay’s case he 3 ball shooting isn’t better, his FT shooting isn’t better BUT HIS FG% FROM 3-10 FEET IS UP 35% OVER CAREER AVERAGES…. so I’m guessing this is unsustainable… but that’s why in statistics we evaluate sample sizes.

    If he is still percolating like this FEB 1st…. a re-evaluation might be in order….. but certainly not yet. With a gun to my head I sell at the first reasonable offer this morning.

    Agreed on all points. It’s probably unsustainable (he had a nice stretch last year in Denver and then was terrible the rest of his time there – he also had a very good stretch in his second season that obviously turned out to be non-indicative of anything) and I’d trade him in an instant but there is a chance that he is actually improving. It is worth noting that last night was his highest game score in his career.

  13. johnno

    @12 I just checked the stats myself. It appears that the 7 for 36 was for all shots defensed, not just shots taken by those four guys.

  14. Owen

    A lot of dennisschroderfraude going around here, but hey, all hail Emmanuel…..

    Good win. I still don’t understand why anyone other than Davis shoots for the Pelicans….

  15. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’m also not sold on Vonleh. Feels like a guy balling out for his first multiyear vet’s contract. He’s been surprisingly good, especially for his contract, but I think he’s internalized some advice that if he gives max effort for the next 1500-2000 minutes, he’ll never have to work another day in his life.

  16. bobneptune

    Good win. I still don’t understand why anyone other than Davis shoots for the Pelicans….

    After he sat out 11 minutes on the clock and he returned after a quad bruise he wasn’t moving well the last 3 plus minutes. He also completely whiffed on two screens the last couple of possessions (probably not wanting to take another whack on the leg).

    Mitch , Kanter and KP should watch an iso of Vonleh setting screens. I realize they don’t have his build, but they could learn a lot from his technique….

  17. ProjectKnicks

    edit: I’m not fighting this fight anymore. If the board consensus is that we reward terrible players with multiyear contracts on the back of a few decent games, fuck it. Another ten years of bottom-feeder status, here we come!

    You must be totally delusional to not know by now that the board is 98% mini-Dolans that will go for whatever is the day’s flavor. Knicks win 2 in a row? Forget the tank! Lose two in a row? Tanking is the only solution!

    I mean, people were in favor of getting Kemba Walker just a few days ago! People think getting Durant (just a pipe dream, I know) is a good idea. Tank? Who cares!

  18. bobneptune

    I’m also not sold on Vonleh. Feels like a guy balling out for his first multiyear vet’s contract. He’s been surprisingly good, especially for his contract, but I think he’s internalized some advice that if he gives max effort for the next 1500-2000 minutes, he’ll never have to work another day in his life.

    I’d hold the pickle and lettuce on this signing too until he proves he is actually going to continue to shoot 10% above his career average from 3……. lol sample size. But after watching Kanter “patrol” the paint he resembles a cross between Dikembe effing Mutombo and Ray Allen!

  19. ClashFan

    I totally agree that the Knicks need to be careful about giving a multi-year deal to a guy playing for a relatively big contract. Buyer beware, esp. on Burke and Mudiay.

    A while back I suggested that the Knicks try to sign Vonleh to a WHG type deal (4 years/6M total) or so, but that ship may now have sailed…

    I missed the game last night, but I’ll try to check it out on LP/Roku. Sounds like an exciting win.

  20. Bruno Almeida

    The thing with Vonleh is that even if some of his production is unsustainable and related to him going for that contract, he probably won’t be expensive next year anyway. Montrezl Harrell, who played really damn well last season signed a 2 for 12 million contract and had no real market last offseason, as undersized PFs who can’t shoot 3s are not on the list for most teams.

    By the way, the Harrell contract looked like a complete steal for me at the time, but boy if he keeps this level of play it might be one of the best small contracts in the entire league. My boy has a .264 ws48 and a 7.4 BPM and is even averaging almost 2 blocks a game despite being only 6’8’’. He’s leading the league in ws48 and is 9th in BPM, 2nd in ts%

  21. Hubert

    The irony is that even the good version of Mudiay is the kind of player I wouldn’t want on my team.

    It’s amazing, though, that at age 22 he looks so much different than he did at 19, innit? I’ve read so much here about how a player always is what he shows you in 2,000 minutes before he’s old enough to drink.

    Vonleh, too. Crazy. It’s almost as if playing NBA basketball when you’re under 21 is really hard and maybe we shouldn’t ignore the mountains of statistical evidence that shows how players begin to improve considerably around age 22.

  22. kevin5318

    I’ve read so much here about how a player always is what he shows you in 2,000 minutes before he’s old enough to drink.

    Its very odd. Players usually cap at 20 years old.

  23. ProjectKnicks

    I’ve read so much here about how a player always is what he shows you in 2,000 minutes before he’s old enough to drink.

    Apparently, “rule” does not apply to Ntilikina, who has been absolutely terrible in 2000+ minutes and is slated for greatness as soon as he drastically improves his shooting, handle, court vision, assist rate, aggression around the basket, rebounding and speed!!!!!

  24. Ingmarrrr

    @20 hoolahoop, is that you? or maybe Captain whatever?

    Definitely a lot of similarities in style there.

  25. chrisk06811

    So 3 guys playing well now on expiring deals (Burke, Mudiay, Noah). Burke is the oldest…2 are PGs. I don’t see how you can keep more than 1 of the 3, unless you trade Lee. I would think Burke is the guy to keep. I would think the other 2 may have more trade value at the deadline, and Mudiay will likely cost more. I don’t see how you can spend more than $5M or $6M here next year in total, so 2 have to go.

  26. Z-man

    I liked Harrell at draft time and continue to like him.

    As to Vonleh, he’s clearly an interesting proposition, let’s see how things go in the next 20 games. He’ll likely continue to be an excellent rebounder, and it looks to me as if he’s picking his spots well on offense. It will be interesting to see how he complements KP if he returns sooner rather than later. In the meantime, if nothing else, he makes the decision to let KOQ walk seem trivial in retrospect.

    As to Mudiay, again, if nothing else, he looks like a 22yo with a future in the NBA. If I never saw him play before, I’d be very impressed with his potential. Like with Vonleh, the question about who he really is should be answered in the next 20 games or so. If his shooting regresses and he starts turning the ball over at a higher rate, then best to let him move on. But if he sustains his current level of play and raises his assist rate a bit, he’s a real prospect worthy of further consideration.

  27. Bruno Almeida

    Wasn’t hoolahoop the uber optimist troll? I sincerely don’t remember anymore, I just skip through every post this guy makes as fast as I can after the obvious racist stuff.

  28. kevin5318

    hoolahoop was a good guy from what I remembered. ProjectKnicks is a racist troll who has been banned like 5 times already. I wish we had a block function on here.

  29. Farfa Post author

    Hoola and Reub = optimists (but was Reub the sexist one?)
    Captain Luke and ProjectKnicks = meh.
    GianaDani =???

  30. ProjectKnicks

    If asking what it is specifically that blacks in the USA want at this point in history (as compensation for being the victims of the worst crime ever committed against mankind) is racist, I don’t know what to say.

    Have you guys ever wondered what would happen if the question is actually coming from a professional, progressive, independent black person?

  31. Hubert

    I just skip through every post this guy makes as fast as I can after the obvious racist stuff.

    Yeah I think that’s pretty much what everyone does. I do sometimes skim his posts just to make sure he disagrees with me. Fortunately he always does. I would imagine opening up a thread and finding ProjectKnicks is in agreement with you to be the kind of thing that would make a person question his own position.

    If nothing else makes you want to lighten up on Frank, Z-man, consider how this guy agrees with you.

  32. Z-man

    I just read back on some Vonleh scouting reports from the pre-draft process. It seems that each one of them indicated that he had great tools for a modern NBA PF but would take several years to develop. It could be that things are finally taking hold with him. He certainly handles the ball very well for a 250lb beast with a 7’4″ wingspan. He sets great screens and makes good handoffs outside the arc. He is shooting the open 3 with confidence for now but not enamored with it beyond his role. He’s making a lot more smart plays than dumb ones. He runs the floor and protects the rim. There isn’t much not to like beyond the occasional moronic play. I see a little Mase in his game, a late-blooming physical menace with ball skills.

  33. mj1

    What are they going to do with Trier? They have to decide in mid December, isn’t it?

    Trier is obviously going nowhere. The real question is what are they going to do with Ron?

  34. Z-man

    Hubert, he doesn’t agree with me at all. He thinks that Frank sucks now and always will. I think he is reasonably good prospect as a 3-and-d wing with some ball skills but that the PG experiment is a waste of time. I also would like to see him spend time in the G-League working on his offensive game, like many other good players have. Your irrational love of all things Frank have made you so sensitive to my well-earned criticism of his game that you don’t really listen to the good stuff I have consistently said about him. You and others consistently give him special treatment by claiming that advanced stats don’t capture how valuable he is on D, I and others say that they do.

    If I’m on the same page with anyone about Frank, it’s JK47. In fact, I’m probably a bit more optimistic than him.

  35. Jron Abney

    I know the Matrix was written and directed by two trans sisters as a metaphor for the journey a trans person endures in establishing identity in this world, but you gotta think that with Zion about to emerge from his thousand year slumber to lay waste to the NBA, being a basketball fan who roots for the Knicks feels very matrixy.

  36. Hubert

    Your irrational love of all things Frank have made you so sensitive to my well-earned criticism of his game that you don’t really listen to the good stuff I have consistently said about him.

    Z-Man, you really should know my position by now. I’ve stated it and restated it 100 times and it’s not the one you keep arguing against.

    Your well earned criticism is fair. I just believe the kid is only 20 and he needs more time before we can say anything with certainty at the level you seem to have now. The pre-draft reports about Vonleh said the same thing about Frank. He was always a long term project. Looking for dramatic improvement from age 19 to 20 is like looking at water one minute after you turned the heat on to boil it.

    You do have my position on his defense down. Today’s box score is extremely outdated when it comes to measuring defensive impact. I do believe you need to watch. That isn’t a Frank-specific thing at all, though.

  37. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Never mind. I see that you deleted it.

    What was the angle of my transgression? I barely remember what I wrote.

  38. ClashFan

    @33
    It is also helpful to know about some of the blood feuds here between members. I just skim over those flame wars when they erupt from time to time!
    :-)

  39. Donnie Walsh

    It’s amazing, though, that at age 22 he looks so much different than he did at 19, innit? I’ve read so much here about how a player always is what he shows you in 2,000 minutes before he’s old enough to drink.

    Here’s a list of all the teenagers that have played 500+ minutes in the NBA and shot TS% <.490 (from lowest to highest):

    Nikoloz Tskitishvili
    Rashad Vaughn
    Kris Humphries
    Emanuel Mudiay
    Dragan Bender
    Kwame Brown
    Tyus Jones
    Xavier Henry
    Zaza Pachulia
    Eddie Griffin
    Dante Exum
    Stanley Johnson
    Shawn Livingston
    Ricky Davis
    Dejuan Wagner
    Sebastian Telfair
    Brandon Ingram
    Malik Monk
    JR Smith
    Bismack Byombo
    Spencer Hawes
    Justise Winslow
    LeBron James

    The optimists see this list and say “LeBron James!”; the pessimists see this list and say “Nikoloz Tskitishvili!”; the realists look at this list and say that 24 out of the 25 people on it are people they probably wouldn’t want the Knicks to give contracts to at any point in their careers.

  40. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’ll take Shaun Livingston just so I can watch him slice up small wings with an old-man midrange game.

  41. Brian Cronin

    Trier is obviously going nowhere. The real question is what are they going to do with Ron?

    Or Kornet.

  42. ProjectKnicks

    The optimists see this list and say “LeBron James!”; the pessimists see this list and say “Nikoloz Tskitishvili!”;

    The rational ones, though, will look at all other data, not just a cherry-picked stat. And quickly realize there is no amount of lipstick that will lebronize the Ntilikina pig.

  43. JK47

    If I’m on the same page with anyone about Frank, it’s JK47. In fact, I’m probably a bit more optimistic than him.

    Yeah, me and Z-Man are pretty much in agreement about Frank. Z-Man got there first.

    Frank is just not a very exciting or sexy prospect to me. He’s kind of low-ceiling, low-floor. His ceiling, in my opinion, is “good role player.” His floor is “total bust.” That’s not really a great return on a #9 pick. I’m not writing him off totally, because he already does a couple of things well, but both the eye test and the box score paint a damning picture of Frank as an offensive player.

    I’ve said it many times before: I love defense-oriented players. I loved the 90’s Knicks. I’m sick of watching shitty defense. Frank plays good defense. All of those things are true. All of that still makes him a kind of “meh” prospect. The modern NBA is a high-scoring league and it’s tough to make an impact if you’re an abysmal offensive player. You just give too much back by forcing your team to play 4-on-5.

    And there is absolutely ZERO chance that he sticks as a point guard. That is a non-starter, and the Knicks’ brass seems to realize this.

  44. Ben R

    I have faith in Frank because his primary offensive weakness right now is his 3pt shooting which is something that is easy to improve especially considering he shot well in Europe and doesn’t seem to have a broken shot. If it gets fixed then that, combined with an improving 2pt %, means he should have middling efficiency by next year and hopefully good by the year after. I don’t think he is ever going to be the primary ball handler but he could play PG in a lineup with a different primary ball handler, like Reddick in Philly. Remember position is who you defend not your role in the offense.

    I can totally see a scenario where he is the PG, as in smallest player on the court, but just a secondary ball handler with low efficient usage.

  45. Hubert

    @43 anyone on that list other than LeBron play defense like Frank, Donnie?

    If you’re supposed to primarily be a scorer like just about all those guys were and you shoot like Frank, yeah, you’re probably not going to make it in the league.

    Thanks for the noise, though.

  46. JK47

    I’ll say this about Frank: he’s also still growing into his body, and still seems like he doesn’t have a ton of strength. He’ll be that much more effective as a defender when he’s Swole Frank someday.

  47. Donnie Walsh

    @43 anyone on that list other than LeBron play defense like Frank, Donnie?… Thanks for the noise, though.

    “Noise”. Is that a new phrase for “alternative facts”?

    But, since you ask, yes, Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow, both drafted in the slots next to Ntilikina in their draft, have both survived on bad teams thanks to their defense. Do they play D “as well as Frank”? That’s obviously a hard question to answer, even by the guys that play with and against them, but I’m sure there are guys on Pistonsblogger.net that have spent hours upon hours discussing Stanley Johnson and were pretty rosy when he was 19 and are less rosy now that he’s 22 and not likely to be worth resigning when his rookie deal ends this year.

    Stanley Johnson is probably as close of a comp to Ntilikina as there is: drafted in about the same place in the lottery as teenagers due to their size and “physical upside”; good eye defenders; terrible offensive contributors. Ntilikina may be better on defense than Johnson, who knows. But he has to improve quite a bit just to be as shitty statistically as Johnson’s been.

    Michael Kidd-Gilchrist signed a $52mil contract coming off of his rookie contract based solely on his defensive ability.
    https://www.sbnation.com/2015/8/25/9205893/michael-kidd-gilchrist-contract-extension-analysis-hornets His contract isn’t exactly making GMs excited to recreate that model. Why? Cause paying a premium for defense in an offense oriented league is bad business.

    Sorry for all the noise.

  48. JK47

    Stanley Johnson is an apt and depressing comp for Frank. He has continued to get minutes despite single-digit PER because of his defensive reputation, but he still can’t throw the ball into the basket and doesn’t fill the boxscore in other ways.

    Every player is unique and has a unique growth curve, but if you’re still putting up negative WS48 in your second season it’s kind of like the odds are stacked against you.

  49. geo

    oh my gosh, this is soooooooo much more interesting than talking about politics, pizza, and undoubtably basketball – yes, let’s just talk each other :)

    did anyone else not feel a certain sense of jealousy or wonderment when milo mentioned the other day they have access to some secret stash of statistics…

  50. Z-man

    As I said, I’m a bit more optimistic than JK47 about Frank. Johnson and Winslow are interesting comparisons, but both are terrible shooting tweeners (Jowles’ favorite word) and for me the jury is still out on Frank because he has spent a year being groomed for a position for which he is ill-suited. But I agree with those who say that guards with very good defense but very bad offense are of limited value in today’s NBA. Frank is not even Dejounte Murray (who I think is terribly overrated.)

  51. Bruno Almeida

    So, basically sources from the Sixers are saying that they sent Fultz to many doctors and they all concluded he has no issues in his shoulder and it’s all the yips. Are they stupid? Do they want to tank his value even more, or they think a team will be more encouraged to try to trade for a kid who has no injuries yet can’t shoot because he’s not mentally able to?

    This whole story is absolutely crazy, I still can’t believe how this is happening. They’re basically saying he’s lying when he says he feels pain in the shoulders, which might totally be true, but how is that the proper move for a franchise that is somewhat stuck with the guy for at least next year?

  52. danvt

    I’m not saying I want to sign Mudiay long term. Im not saying Frank will be an NBA player. Im just saying the narrative is changing a bit. I find it intriguing that cast offs Burke, Mudiay, and Vonleh are contributing and have been major parts of wins against good teams. The team has also been very competitive in losses. So, though I appreciate Farfa’s recaps, I’m not sure I’m in the mood for hot takes like this win didn’t mean that much because those responsible won’t be on the team or worse, continuing to bemoan our bad contacts, or even worrying about draft position. The GM it seems has unearthed a bit of value that no one expected. The coach has showed that he can teach. There’s a lot to talk about and some of this stuff seems a bit last week.

    I periodically make the point here (to crickets) that what would be interesting would be talking about statistical anomalies. Career years out of nowhere. Guys who were bad and against all odds got good. Yes, mostly guys who play a certain way continue to but NBA gms need to buy low.

    So the team’s been pretty good. Our Pythagorean record must be better than actual. I can’t find it…

    This season has been pretty interesting. Our best player has been out and we have a young roster that has been showing improvement. If our draft status suffers because we’re better than expected there are silver linings to that. If we have to use cap to sign our own over achieving FA’s, that’s a good problem.

    I don’t know what’s gonna happen but it’s November.

  53. Brian Cronin

    So the team’s been pretty good. Our Pythagorean record must be better than actual. I can’t find it…

    They’re one game worse than their Pythag.

  54. BigBlueAL

    I hate going thru seasons where we’re actually rooting for losses so I enjoy watching wins like these past 2 games but the problem is wins like those are why we are stuck drafting guys like Frank and Knox. The difference between drafting 8th and 9th as opposed to Top 5 is huge. Hell we see it on our team, as flawed as KP is look at the difference between drafting him 4th and Frank/Knox at 8th and 9th.

  55. Bruno Almeida

    @61

    This is what used to piss me off so much when we had endless discussions on this board about how the draft was a crapshoot, how it was super random and winning games to try to build a winning culture with veterans while missing out on better picks would not be a problem.

    I argued a 100 times that it was an issue and this team would hurt by not having top picks, and that’s pretty much just what happened. Yes, there are busts like Fultz or Okafor in the top positions, but just imagine how happy we would be if we had something like Doncic or JJJ plus Fox or Tatum, all guys that could be had for a top 3-5 pick. Instead we’re jumping through hoops trying to convince ourselves that our 8th and 9th picks will actually be NBA players, on another tanking season, with another coach, where the winning culture ultimately (and obviously) wasn’t built.

  56. Brian Cronin

    Building winning culture is nonsense, true, but if your young players are so good that they play you out of the top pick, then that’s okay, too.

    The balance, of course, is whether you think it’s a good thing for guys like Burke and Mudiay to be the ones who make the difference in the wins.

  57. danvt

    Yes, but there are nuances. We will win a couple of games here and there. We will have some pleasant surprises. So I find the “yes but Mudiay still sucks” posts tedious. I mean, why? We haven’t given him 4 years for sixty million, but we did see him kill the Pelicans. Frank too. His best basketball is ahead of him or he’ll flame out. Why keep roasting him? He’s been a part of some effective stretches. The last two games have been awesome. If Michael Beasley had scored 40 last night I’d agree that it’s fools gold but this feels like the makings of some depth and team concept. So, why write about Courtney Lee?

  58. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Even with these two wins we are only 6 and 14, which works out to 30% wins, or a roughly 25 win season if we continue at this pace. The trouble for the tank is that we seem to be getting better, so we may end up at more than 25 wins. Also, if you believe what Fizdale says, he is going to figure out the best lineup and then roughly stick with it. Presumably that will be significantly better than the average of the lineups he has tried so far. On the other hand, with the new lottery system you need luck to get the top pick, and we never get and wont have that. So, I am resigned to the fact that we will have to follow Golden State’s path to greatness, doing well by picking and developing good players that we get in the middle of the draft.

  59. JK47

    The anti-tanking tweaks to the lottery make these little winning streaks more fun. Go to Tankathon and sim the lottery a few times– a lot of different teams end up in the top 4. For once the rules kind of work in our favor– so what if the Knicks are the 5th or 6th worst team instead of the first or second? The worst team in the league gets a 14% chance at the #1 pick, and the #6 team gets a 9% chance. That’s not a massive difference. No matter how bad the Knicks are, even if they’re the worst team in the league, there’s an 86% chance we’re NOT getting Zion Williamson.

    The new rules definitely do de-incentivize tanking.

  60. d-mar

    I mean, let’s be honest, Phil Jackson screwed this team over and set us back for years beyond his tenure.

    – Melo contract w/ no trade clause (should have engineered a trade including getting back draft picks, Melo was at peak value then)
    – Noah contract (probably his biggest blunder)
    – Lee contract
    – Derrick Williams, Aaron Afflalo, Derrick Rose etc. etc

    So yes, we shouldn’t have been drafting #8 and #9 the last 2 years, but the Zen Master thought he could rebuild on the fly while running out overpaid veterans. And we’re still paying the price.

  61. Z-man

    I have no problem with minimum/rookie-scale salary guys like Mudiay and Vonleh playing us out of a top pick. This feels a lot different than Jarrett Jack or Michael Beasley going off. I don’t even have a problem with a guy like Hardaway going off, since we have already made the big blunder of overpaying him. The guy that turns my stomach a bit is Kanter. I like him personally, but there is no way he is part of the future and he can only get in the way of developing guys who will. Same with Courtney Lee. Lance is so bad that he actually helps the tank.

    Sure, it’s not the perfect rebuild, but at least we are giving all the young guys a long leash. Mitch is signed long term and is getting as many minutes as his fouling will allow, Knox and Frank are playing even though they are objectively terrible, and Trier is the best undrafted player you could have asked for. So overall, I’m optimistic even though we will likely draft in the 6-8 range at best.

  62. DRed

    Say Mudiay or Vonleh keep playing well-does the front office realize they should try really hard to trade them?

  63. ClashFan

    Burke and Vonleh have like 1.6m cap holds, so they might have a future here. Mudiay’s is like 5.8m, so it’s hard for me to get excited about him doing well, unless the Knicks plan to try to deal him for something or he sustains his recent good play well into 2019…

    Maybe they just want to get a 2nd round pick to save face on the deal to get him here?

  64. Nick C.

    I wonder what we would have been saying about Starks and Mason had this existed back then. Dan this is a follow to your post somewhere up thread. More recently we had Jeremy Lin. It happens. I know “small sample size,” but it’s something to talk about.

  65. Brian Cronin

    Mudiay’s is like 5.8m, so it’s hard for me to get excited about him doing well, unless the Knicks plan to try to deal him for something or he sustains his recent good play well into 2019…

    Mudiay’s qualifying offer is $5.8 million. His cap hold is closer to $10 million. Sooo…yeah.

  66. ClashFan

    IIRC, didn’t the Knicks already have a very good core when Starks and Mason came around? Ewing and Oakley, Mark Jackson, at least, and some other chips?

    Right now, what good core do we have? Maybe KP. Maybe.

    Frank, Trier, and Robinson might all be nice pieces, but it is way too soon to tell. Still lots of evaluating and talent taking to do before jumping and signing guys to long-term deals.

    RE#73. Yikes! Seems like no way that Mudiay will be staying.

  67. Hubert

    I have no problem with minimum/rookie-scale salary guys like Mudiay and Vonleh playing us out of a top pick. This feels a lot different than Jarrett Jack or Michael Beasley going off. I don’t even have a problem with a guy like Hardaway going off, since we have already made the big blunder of overpaying him. The guy that turns my stomach a bit is Kanter. I like him personally, but there is no way he is part of the future and he can only get in the way of developing guys who will

    Agreed. Only difference is I put mudiay in the same category as Kanter, no matter how well he is playing. I hope we’re burning the phones to get something for these guys as rentals. (Maybe that was Mudiay’s pelicans audition?)

    I root for this team depending on who is in the game down the stretch. When I see Kanter & Mudiay (like in the Bulls game or last night), I hope we lose. When it’s Mitchell and Knox and Frank and Trier, like against the Celtics, go Knicks.

  68. Z-man

    For argument’s sake, can’t we wait on Burke, Mudiay and Vonleh until after we see what kind of interest the top UFAs have in signing here? If Durant, Kyrie, etc. have no interest in signing here anyway, could we consider signing them to low-impact deals?

  69. Brian Cronin

    IIRC, didn’t the Knicks already have a very good core when Starks and Mason came around? Ewing and Oakley, Mark Jackson, at least, and some other chips?

    Right now, what good core do we have? Maybe KP. Maybe.

    Frank, Trier, and Robinson might all be nice pieces, but it is way too soon to tell. Still lots of evaluating and talent taking to do before jumping and signing guys to long-term deals.

    Heck, they were just coming off of a 45-win season when Starks joined the team. Mason came in with Pat Riley’s first year after they seriously underperformed in 1990-91.

    Even more importantly, they locked them both up to cheap contracts. We would have been thrilled with those moves had there been a Knickerblogger back then. As recently as 2012-13, we were cool with adding cheap fliers for the back of the roster. That’s what good teams do.

  70. Bruno Almeida

    Brian, my point was about the last two seasons. This season yeah, I agree with you all that it’s not about losing every game, as the young players are driving the wins and the lottery odds have changed, so I’m totally fine with those two wins (and we should still stay around the top 5 in the lottery ideally).

    It’s more that so many people have argued that it didn’t matter that the Knicks drafted 8th and 9th in terrible, lost seasons that achieved nothing for the franchise, when now were complaining exactly because we don’t have the sort of talent a top pick would have brought.

  71. Brian Cronin

    Brian, my point was about the last two seasons. This season yeah, I agree with you all that it’s not about losing every game, as the young players are driving the wins and the lottery odds have changed, so I’m totally fine with those two wins (and we should still stay around the top 5 in the lottery ideally).

    It’s more that so many people have argued that it didn’t matter that the Knicks drafted 8th and 9th in terrible, lost seasons that achieved nothing for the franchise, when now were complaining exactly because we don’t have the sort of talent a top pick would have brought.

    Oh sure, in that regard, you know my position has long been “Omigod, what are these morons doing?” ;)

  72. Grocer

    He’s making a lot more smart plays than dumb ones

    Yeah, the lack of boneheaded plays is really encouraging.

    For argument’s sake, can’t we wait on Burke, Mudiay and Vonleh until after we see what kind of interest the top UFAs have in signing here? If Durant, Kyrie, etc. have no interest in signing here anyway, could we consider signing them to low-impact deals?

    Yes please. I think KD or Kyrie is highly unlikely. Vonleh will merit a second contract if he keeps this up but guys like that don’t get big deals. Burke will likely get a backup PG deal somewhere. Even if he continues this level of play Mudiay will be getting payed less next year than he is this year. There’s no reason to waive any cap holds prematurely.

  73. Grocer

    Which isn’t to say we should resign any of those guys. But if they keep improving, in the absence of a worthwhile Max player we should consider it.

  74. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    I always felt that Mudiay might improve from when we got him because he has actually improved every year in the league. But I expected he would still be bad, just not as bad. If he is actually good, then I don’t know why we would be complaining about having a good player we could retain with a 5M$ qualifying offer. For that salary he would be very tradeable. As Z-man pointed out, if you don’t hit it big in free agency, keeping good players on reasonable contracts on your roster is not the worst thing in the world.

  75. Jack Bauer

    If the Knicks have no intention of re-signing Mudiay or Vonleh and they won’t be here next year, sorry I have a big fucking problem with them playing NY out of a top draft pick. What’s the point of getting all excited about some meaningless wins made possible by players who won’t even be here next year? Whether their young or not this seems like a foolish path, although I did enjoy the win over the Celtics.

    Mudiay at 10 million, no thank you. If Vonleh keeps up anything close to his current production I absolutely think they should try to resign him.

  76. Z-man

    Mudiay’s QO is $5.76 million. If he has another 20 games at his current level of production, will people here consider whether he is worth that much for another 1-year flier?

  77. Bruno Almeida

    @86

    I still think it’s pointless simply because a team like the Knicks has no upside in those 1 year deals like the Hezonja one this season.

    Out of the three possible scenarios, either Mudiay is bad and it’s one and done, or he’s pretty good and merits a multi year deal, or he’s about the same and it’s a rough situation, two of the three, I would say the most likely ones, are bad for us. If we get a major star in free agency that’s not a PG, then he’s not the best choice because we would rather have a better veteran in place. If we don’t get one, then it’s either keep rebuilding, which leads to the three possible scenarios again, or try to compete now, another scenario in which the Knicks would most likely try to upgrade the position with a veteran.

    I’m still not a believer in the guy and it will take at least keeping this same level for the entire season for me to consider him as a long term piece, and even then it’s a contract year for him now and there’s a chance we simply overpay and he regresses.

  78. ess-dog

    Even if Mudiay stays exactly where he is statistically, I think he’s worth the QO. A lot depends on if we actually have any chance at a decent free agent. Vonleh’s only 23 and would be good insurance for little prince KP, so I think he’s worth keeping too, but dang, isn’t that Ron Baker/Timmy money biting us in the ass right now… and we are just flat out stuck with those guys, ugh.

    I think we can dump Lee with a sweetener right before the FA period if we have a lead on a big free agent, though, so I’m not extremely worried.

  79. alsep73

    Even if we want to put the cart before the horse with Mudiay and assume this improvement is real, that cap hold that Brian keeps pointing out is a huge stumbling block. If Vonleh keeps balling out, his cap hold is so negligible that he in no way interferes with our attempt to sign a max free agent. Ditto for Burke. But the only realistic way to retain Mudiay, given cap rules, is if we fail to sign a max guy, which the front office seems dead set on doing, or if we can unload Courtney Lee’s contract. (Or Hardaway’s, but I don’t believe they want to trade him.) So the window in which he could provide value for us beyond this season is a pretty narrow one. We are probably better off seeing if some team will give us a second for him, and/or if he can be the sweetener to dump Lee’s deal.

  80. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Basically, the Timberwolves don’t have Butler because they spent their money on Wiggins and then couldn’t pay Butler what he wanted. Butler wanted to get paid so he left. So they have only themselves to blame. Or, to be accurate, they have Thibs to blame. That said, Covington and Saric aren’t nothing and it looks like they contributed to the win.

  81. ptmilo

    I think Mudiay’s Bird Rights cap hold would be around $13 million because he’s a below average salary four-year rookie so the markup is 300pct? This would render them basically worthless assuming we can agree he’ll get way less than that.

    So really all we have with Mudiay is the right to match. Even this comes with a cost because we have to extend the QO on June 29, so even if we renounce his bird rights you still get a cap hold for the QO and technically are at risk that he has the right to quickly accept before you can rescind to sign someone else instead. Personally not a subscriber to the New Mudiay movement, though I agree there have been some green shoots.

  82. alsep73

    Makes our win over Boston seem slightly less impressive, but I don’t care, and you know why?

    Fuck Boston. That’s why.

  83. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    I’m not sure I understand the worries about the cap hold. We don’t have to pay him that much if we re-sign him, do we? If we sign him, presumably it is for a salary he is worth. IF we don’t sign him, we can trade him or waive him and presumably get value in a trade or hire someone better with the freed up cap room. What am I missing?

  84. Z-man

    You can’t trade a player past the trade deadline who’s on an expiring contract. If you offer him the QO, isn’t there a waiting period before you can trade him?

  85. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    I’m not sure what you mean. You can’t trade any player after the trade deadline.

  86. ptmilo

    @97 that link is obviously just pretending Bird Rights don’t exist, just look at KP’s “cap hold” of $7.5 million

  87. Owen

    It’s a strange year in the NBA. As long as Curry and Green are hurt I don’t think there are any really good teams in the NBA other than Toronto.

    Good thread. Makes me even more excited to see how Frankie Smokes turns out. I still think having him bust in New York and then sign in Boston and breakout is the most logical outcome….

  88. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    There is something in the CBA about how if a player was drafted during the previous CBA salary scale, and is still on the rookie salary scale, then his salary will go up to the new CBA values, but his cap hold and cap hit will use the previous CBA numbers. I think Mudiay is in this category. So the cap hold in the web link could be correct. Here is the language from the CBA FAQ that I am referring to.

    Rookie scale contracts that pre-date the current CBA also receive the phased-in increase (15% in 2017-18, 30% in 2018-19, and 45% in 2019-20), called a “conforming increase.” These increases are funded out of a league-wide pool created for this purpose. The player’s official salary value does not include the increase amount, nor is the increase amount included in the team’s team salary. However, these increases count toward the players aggregate salary guarantee (see question number 15).

  89. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    So I think his cap hold would be the salary he was entitled to as a fifth year player under the previous CBA

  90. Donnie Walsh

    Look at Julius Randle’s situation with the Lakers last year. He had a cap hold of $12.5 million. The team extended him the $5.5 million QO by June 29th, making him a restricted free agent. But to make LeBron an offer, they renounced Randle on July 1st making him an unrestricted free agent. Randle signed with the Pelicans for 2 years, $18,000,000 (which is an amazing contract for the pelicans) and there was nothing the Lakers could do about it.

  91. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    That calclatexs out as 5.759M$, which is what is in the SportRac link. I got the number by taking 120% fourth year salary of the 2015 rookie scale for the 7th pick (per Realgm) and multiplying it by the nominal raise for the fifth year (34.1%), which gives what his qualifying offer would be under the 2015-2016 CBA. That doesn’t seem do big to me;

  92. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Why do you think Randle’s cap hold was that high if the Lakers had made him a qualifying offer? I would think the cap hold would be the same as the qualifying offer.

  93. Donnie Walsh

    Why do you think Randle’s cap hold was that high if the Lakers had made him a qualifying offer?

    Because Randle was below the average salary, making his cap hold 250% of the last year of his rookie contract. Same situation as Mudiay, except that in 2019 it bumps up to 300% (making the cap hold $12,883,440).

  94. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    That is not want the CBA FAQ says about Mudiay. And the Sportrac link matches the CBA FAQ.

  95. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Per the CBA FAQ, the cap hold for a restricted free agent is:

    For the team’s restricted free agents, the amount of any outstanding qualifying offer or first refusal exercise notice (both including unlikely bonuses), whichever is greater, are included.

  96. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    I found the clause about the 250%, but I think this doesn’t apply to Mudiay because he was drafted under the previous CBA.

  97. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    Anyway, even if he has big cap hold we could sign him for less and the his cap hold would be his contractual salary.

  98. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    To clarify, Mudiay is being paid the rokokie scale specified in the current CBA, but his cap hold is calculated based on the prior CBA.

  99. geo

    watching the jazz and lakers…couple of weeks ago I made a comment about liking josh hart better than lonzo ball…

    yeah, I’m gonna need to take that back…ball is playing really well right now, on both ends of the court and making the game easier for his teammates…

    reference our roster and evaluating it long term – consistency in performance is hard to get sometimes from the team…

    one game they look legit, the next, not so much…I’m enjoying watching frank, trier, mitchrob, and even knox (who just looks so crazy young)…

    we’ve been so desperate for a point guard for so long…but’s it’s really hard for me to picture that guy to fill the slot can be mudiay…

  100. Grocer

    So really all we have with Mudiay is the right to match.

    Which seems fine? I’m confused about the cap hold but if we have someone big signing we waive him no big deal. I can’t imagine any version of Mudiay getting a contract that’s much above vet minimum. I’m just saying that if he keeps improving this year (probably not but who the fuck knows) it’s not impossible that he’ll keep that up ect and we should consider giving him a multi year second contract on the cheap. Definitely no to another one year deal, and I have no problem with letting him walk if some other team wants to throw cash at him.

  101. rama, king of superfluous poppycock

    Mudiay playing well does nothing for us except make him a slightly better trade target. There is no upside. That’s why that trade was so incredibly dumb. What scenario makes his better play useful?

  102. rama, king of superfluous poppycock

    Also, he’s not playing like much of a point guard – all scoring, few assists. He’s still so far away from being useful!

  103. Farfa Post author

    See, I’d like to just be happy for the win. But I see this season only through the lens of these goals, from most important to least important:

    1) Develop guys on first or second year of their rookie contract
    2) Get a high draft pick
    3) Handle the KP process well (if possible, don’t max him
    4) Trade away guys that have no part in future team iterations or
    4a) Don’t play those guys if they hinder goal #1

    If you watch games through this admittedly non rosy-colored lens, you’ll see that this win checked box 1 only at 20% (Trier – and where the hell has Dotson gone?), box 2 at 0%, box 3 NP, box 4 at 5% (if we can trade Mudiay for two second rounders) and box 4a at 10% (Vonleh has such a small cap hold that it’s ok if we develop him a bit).

    Sorry but I can’t fully enjoy present wins if they mean not being in position to draft the next Doncic or JJJ, even less in a year where Zion is available, and they don’t come on the heels of at least three between Frank, Dot, Knox, Mitch and Zo contributing heavily. The Boston win, I had no issue with (good contributions from Frank, Mitch, a little less but ok from Zo and Knox).

  104. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    It’s always more likely free agents sign with their current team than elsewhere. If he turns out to be worth keeping, we will have the inside track. That is the upside. The downside is that we let him go because we have better options. You might say then we wasted a second round pick, but that is the same as what you get when you actually use a second round pick. The downside is you let him go and the upside is he is worth keeping. The former is much more latter than the latter.

    We gave up McDermott too for him, so maybe the trade wasn’t perfect; but Mcdermott isn’t lighting the world on fire and the overall strategy of getting a lot of point guards 9 house and hoping one improves enough to be a long term keeper is a reasonable one.

  105. Grocer

    What scenario makes his better play useful?

    The one where he turns into a useful player whose second contract is cheap as fuck?

    He’s still so far away from being useful!

    No one is getting assists so I’m thinking that’s as much on Fiz as anyone but yes, that is very true. Maybe less far than before. Maybe.

  106. Henry George

    Fortunately, there’s another couple of months (until the trade deadline) to see if the Fiz effect on Mudiay is real.

    IMHO, Mudiay’s challenge (and Hezonja’s too) has been to play fearlessly.

    If I were Perry, I’d offer the QO and match any reasonable contract he signs. Basically, play it just like with KP’s situation. If someone wants to throw a crazy offer to Mudiay, so be it. The Fiz effect is real and the Knicks can repeat the process with someone else.

    On a different note if I’m Mudiay, having now found a coach who’s finally helped me become my best self, how enthusiastic will I be to leave said coach?

  107. ptmilo

    Knick Fan Not in NJ,

    You’re not reading it correctly. Here are the things you’re getting wrong:

    1. The extra phase-in payments pre 2017 rookies receive on the side from a league pool (the “conforming increase”) are irrelevant. They do not affect the cap hold rule except that that extra money Mudiay gets (that is over and above his listed salary) is ignored in the calculation. The Bird Rights rookie scale cap hold rule is still the rule. The language you quoted here doesn’t at all say what you’re reading into it, and actually doesn’t say a word about cap holds being determined “under the old CBA,” which is definitely not a thing.

    2. The language you quoted in post 113 is specific to calculating the Apron, not the general salary cap.

    3. The rule is 300%, not 250%, if the rookie was making less than the NBA average like Mudiay.

    ***
    What this means is that Mudiay’s Bird Rights are worthless to us; we can’t go over the cap to sign him. This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s still a downside. We can still still keep him after renouncing his Bird Rights, but since he can also accept competing offers we aren’t likely to get a great bargain (ignoring whether that’s even theoretically possible in this particular case). This is a lot different than drafting a second rounder who is all but stuck with you, and you have some chance at lucking into a massive bargain with team options eradicating your downside.

  108. Brian Cronin

    Yeah, the only thing I was unsure about is whether the multiplier was 250% or 300%, which is why I said roughly $10 million. Either way, it’s a big cap hold.

  109. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    I agree about the 300%, but I still think his cap hold is roughly $5M, not $10M. You say there is nothing talking about pre-CBA, but there is, as quoted below, and it is specifically in the section sbout cap holds.

    For rookie scale contracts that pre-date the 2017 CBA, the amount of the “conforming increase” (see question number 47) to bring the rookie scale amounts in line with the 2017 CBA (the amount of the conforming increase is excluded unless the pre-increase amount is less than the current minimum salary, in which case the current minimum salary is applied to team salary).

    I don’t know whether we can use his Bird rights to go over the cap. I didn’t address that. My point was only that his cap hold wasn’t that large and not a problem for the team either.

    I honestly don’t think we have to worry about some other team making a break the bank free agent offer for him. If they do, we probably just say congratulations and good luck. Otherwise, we have a good chance of being his preferred team to re-sign with, assuming we want to do so.

  110. thenoblefacehumper

    KnickFanInNJ, all that says is players who signed their rookie scale contracts prior to the new CBA get salary increases that are essentially off the books. It has no implications for cap holds whatsoever. His cap hold is 300% of his current salary, which is $12,883,440.

    The second we renounce that hold, which we will because it’s huge, Bird Rights go kaboom and we have no more ability to sign him than anyone else.

  111. Knick fan not in NJ who thinks our rookies will lead us to a lousy lottery pick in 2019

    The text I quoted doesn’t mention cap holds, but it is an item in a list of things that affect cap holds.

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