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Thursday, February 21, 2019

New York Knicks 103 – Memphis Grizzlies 98 – Game Recap

Picture this: you’ve been ousted by your former employer because of friction in the workplace, which were probably caused not only by you, by you alone paid the price. You go to work for an upstart, if disjointed, new young company. Fate intervenes and pits you up against your former employer in a nation wide competition for best businesses; you probably know you shouldn’t stand a chance to win and you would benefit more for your company developmente by just letting your youngest team members learn on the way, while getting the most experienced ones to just provide support and a sort of backbone. But no, you have to win. It’s personal.

Well, I completely understand that. Sometimes it’s really personal. So this time I’ll set aside my usual rants about veterans and rotations and whatever. It feels good for Fiz. You could see it in his eyes, and especially in the post-game hug with Mike Conley. His clash with Marc Gasol last season could have been an unwashable stain in his NBA career. Now it looks like it’s just another bump in the rearviewmirror.

Getting to the game: it was great! You see, I’m used to low-scoring games, what with my European upbringing, and rooting for the Knicks makes it so that we’re usually fond of players who give their all on the court to prevent the other team from scoring easily, but I have a soft spot for well-played games that are not shoot-outs. Now, don’t think that I don’t like those crazy scoring nights around the league that tend to happen daily this season, but well, they look like blockbuster cinema. It’s fun and everyone likes it, but sometimes a real fan wants to appreciate something closer to the nature of the game. Or maybe it’s just me longing for the past days where I banged and raised elbows and profusely sweated and fouled hard guys trying to score easy baskets, and I had my freeflowing locks a-la Christian Laettner blocking my view on the court, while nowadays I never play anymore and I’m scratching my bald head at the last 350 words.

Let’s try it again.

Getting to the game: it was great! A hard fought, gritty win on the road against the team with the best record in the Western Conference, with a few heartening performances along the way and a thrilling finale where our guys showed up in the clutch. Let’s delve into details!

The good:

– Enes Kanter (21 pts, 26 rebs, 3 ast, +9 +/-) threw in a performance for the ages, netting 14 points and 11 rebounds in a single quarter, the third. It’s his second 20-20 game for the season, and his 26 rebounds are a career high and a season high for the whole league. He played a Thibs-approved 42 minutes, but didn’t seem gassed at all in the waning minutes (insert joke here about how not playing defense make the feat easier, as you rest on the court for half the time). There were times, especially in the third quarter, where he utterly dominated the mountain-like Marc Gasol under both rims. I am always thankful for Enes, since he got us out from the Melo contract with the added benefit of the MitchRob pick, but I’m routinely harsh with him. Not tonight. I was happy to root for his monster performance. Amazingly, his game score for tonight amounts just to third-best for the season. I wish it was easy to root wholeheartedly for him this season, sadly it’s not recommendable, as it wouldn’t be recommendable to fall in love with a crazy-hot partner who you know won’t be around in a few months and will ruin some of your most promising friendships.

– Emmanuel Mudiay (17 pts, 2 rebs, 4 ast, +5 +/-) was again pretty good on offense, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the line to offset his subpar shooting night (5-for-12) and being the protagonist of the highlight of the game, a late-game breakaway and-one dunk after a Burke steal with less than 100 seconds to go. Mudiay has been legitimately good at attacking the rim this season. He falls to the ground like he did in past seasons, but this year he usually converts the shot. It’s funny that I refer to a 5-for-12 night as “subpar”: if he ended the season shooting 41.7% from the field it would still be his most accurate average by far. For the current season, instead, he’s shooting 49.2% from the field and is on the verge of breaking the .100 WS/48 threshold that basically would posit that he has become an average NBA player. It’s genuinely astonishing and at the same time it functions as a glimmer of hope for the development of a certain other offensively challenged kid with African roots. Mudiay found a way to be a contributor even against the top defense in the League, and that’s really something. If this is the real Mudiay, I’d count it as the highlight of Fiz’s career.

– Noah Vonleh (7 pts, 6 rebs, 2 ast, +17 +/-) took more than a backseat to Kanter’s amazing night, but make no mistake: he’s the glue that keeps everything together. Simply put, when he’s on the court it’s almost impossible for the Knicks to be outmatched in physicality and effort, and as a tertiary ball-handler he shows a lot of confidence, and his teammates rely on him to create from time to time. Memphis would have certainly escaped with the win if he wasn’t there grabbing some hard boards in the fourth (you know, the ones where you have to jump high, something that Enes doesn’t exactly excel in). Great signing from the scrap heap, wish we could have him for a few more years.

The bad (or more on point, the meh):

– Kevin Knox (0 pts, 2 rebs, 1 blk, -4 +/-) is not ready for this type of games. He shot the ball three times and he never did so in rhythm. It’s hard to find your spots against a team as defensively prepared as Memphis, so that’s not entirely his fault, but his contributions nowadays seem to came only by his points scored, and when he doesn’t hit shots he’s worse than useless, he’s actively detrimental. His road to be a competent NBA rotation player will be bumpy and we have to be ready and patient. As of now I’d say there’s a 30% chance that Kevin will be an NBA player in 5 years, but there’s no way to know for sure. I didn’t have a lot of expectations from him this season, I’d say we’re par for the course.

– Mitchell Robinson (0 pts, 2 rebs, 1 stl, -5 +/-) was the primary suspect on everyone’s list of “player less suited to play against Memphis”, and that list was correct. The rail-thin Mitch could do nothing against the Gasol behemoth, nor against the rangy Jaren Jackson Jr. He was completely out of sorts in all of his 13 minutes of play, particularly on defense. Nights like this act like a much needed reminder that Mitch has still a lot to get to NBA-starter level, but well… he’s a 20 year second-round pick rookie who’s exceeding expectations by a lot, so he’s more than forgiven. He’s still leading the league in BLK% even after this empty performance, go figure.

Fun-sized bits:

– Trey Burke was more than instrumental in securing the win, with his great interception for the Mudiay’s dunk and his 8-for-8 from the line, but man… he clunked a lot of shots. He was 3-for-15 from the field, playing a big part in the awful 37.4 FG% posted by the Knicks team. Being a six-foot guard has to be scary on a night where Memphis set its franchise record for blocks in a game.

– Tim Hardaway Jr had his second bad shooting night in a row, but made up for it with some charity stripe forays (22 points on 16 shots, 7-for-7 from the line). All in all a very transparent game from him, but in the end we needed a few of his buckets to take home the W. Sitting comfortably at 23.3 ppg on 55.5 TS%, he’s playing the quintessential high volume-average efficiency scorer role risen to prominence in many Melo years.

– Speaking of Melo: do you realize this would have been the last year of the contract Phil gave to him? And he’s apparently out of the league? How’s it goink?

– For the second straight game, Frank played 13 minutes. They weren’t bad, but Fiz looks to have shifted into “Frank is a wing who will play minutes accordingly to the game flow” mode. I’m not sure if I like this, but Frank’s not complaining. 7 points and 6 boards for him. A little more substance in his game for once.

– Exhibit A about Frank’s shot being irreparably broken: a hideous airball from three (with his feet set) in the first quarter just after a clean make from the corner 90 seconds before. Exhibit A about Frank’s shot needing only some confidence: the kid is shooting 15/16 from the line for the season and his stroke looks pure. I think Frank has to make a mental leap to become a good player; the downside of that is that mental leaps are the hardest to successfully complete.

– Zo with another double figures scoring night, but this time he wasn’t efficient (5-for-12). Credit Memphis for making his efforts at the rim much harder than they were in his first 20 games.

– Mario started again. Didn’t do a lot again. But he was a bit better and didn’t get in the way (and looked a bit more focused). Can we please see more Dotson and less Mario? Thank you.

– For all the people who think that winning useless games is better because it helps building a winning culture: if the byproduct of said “winning culture” is a Knox instead of a JJJ, I don’t want to win anymore. To me, JJJ is going to be the second best player in this rookie class.

– Lastly, for all my rants about winning useless games, we’re at 7-14, which means we won a third of the games we played, which means if we keep this W/L ratio we’ll end up at 27-55, right around where I predicted at the beginning. It’s easy to get carried away by the tanking passion.

Let’s see what our guys are made of on Tuesday against Detroit! For now it’s all. See you!

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151 comments on “New York Knicks 103 – Memphis Grizzlies 98 – Game Recap

  1. Ingmarrrr

    To equate Mudiay and Kanter (22 & 26 YO) to Jack and Beas (both >30 YO now) is, at best, disingenuous.

    It’s the future with the franchise, not the age.

  2. Owen

    Good cap!

    Good win. I am happy that flattening the lottery odds makes it easier to root for wins. But when I saw JJJ play it kind of bummed me out. I wish he were a Knick and he and Mitch Rob we’re battling each other in practice. Very rare 19 year old that can play smart defensive with those physical skills on top.

  3. Z-man

    It’s still disingenuous. There is a possible future with the franchise for Mudiay and Kanter, as well as Burke, Vonleh and Hezonja. It may not be the future that you prefer, but it is nonsense to equate the possibilities with those of Jack and Beasley.

  4. Farfa Post author

    There is a possible future with the franchise for Mudiay and Kanter, as well as Burke, Vonleh and Hezonja.

    Yes, there is such a future. But they’re flawed players not on rookie contracts*, and Mudiay is a totally unknown quantity. Is this .098 WS/48 Mudiay the real one? Or it’s just a glib on the radar? Also: Kanter’s attitude nosedives if you don’t start him, and you can’t be a good team with Kanter and KP as your starters.

    I’d be ok paying Kanter 10 mln/2 yrs, but I don’t see it feasible.

    *in 2019/20, that is, of course Mudiay is still on his rookie contract now.

  5. ProjectKnicks

    There is a possible future with the franchise for Mudiay and Kanter, as well as Burke, Vonleh and Hezonja.

    Sure. There is a future with the franchise for Melo and Kamba Walker, too.
    But why would any rational person want it?

    Winning a couple of games (the Knicks are 7-14, not 14-7) brings out the mini-Dolan condition in lots of posters here: they go into ‘win-now mode’ where Mudiay is Curry, not the Mudiay we know and Kanter is a superstar, not the useless, slow player partially responsible for the Knicks being one of the NBA’s worst teams.

    Delusional. Totally delusional.

  6. Brian Cronin

    Mudiay at least theoretically could be a Knick next season through his qualifying offer (even there, I don’t see them cutting $6 million off of their possible cap room, but it’s at least possible), but I don’t see any half-way realistic scenario where Kanter is still a Knick next season.

  7. Hubert

    Z-Man, in years where we are not a playoff team and it is in our best interest to lose, I find wins produced by players unlikely to be foundational pieces or to have a long term future with the Knicks deeply unsatisfying and counterproductive, regardless of their age.

    You’re welcome to argue that Vonleh and Mudiay are foundational pieces with a long term future. But that doesn’t make anything I said a false equivalence.

    A couple days ago we were lamenting the difference between two years of picking 8th & 9th instead of top 4. A day later we’re celebrating a scrappy win that will get us right back there. The 5th worst team in the NBA has a 55.6% chance of drafting 6-9, and that’s where Enes Kanter, Noah Vonleh, and Emmanuel Mudiay are carrying us.

    I think there is near unanimity on Kanter not being here. Vonleh and Mudiay have inspired some hope, I get that. For some reason, people here seem to think we have Vonleh’s bird rights and act like he has a cap hold related to his minimum salary. But he signed a one-year contract. All we have is his non-bird rights. We need cap space and/or our exceptions to sign Trier, Vonleh, and Mudiay. Maybe you can get one with the room exception. But the more you develop them the less likely that becomes. The only scenario in which these guys all have a future is if we fail on our prime objective to sign a max free agent. And if we fail to sign a max free agent and play ourselves out of a top 5 pick, well we’ve done fucked ourselves for quite some time, all to develop Mudiay and Vonleh into momentarily useful NBA players.

    Sorry, I’m not on board with that. That’s more of the same shit.

  8. Farfa Post author

    I was of the opinion that we wouldn’t be able to retain Vonleh, but to be honest the market is terrible for bigs without a huge reputation. I can see signing him to 10mln/3yrs. I know it would eat at our cap, but I’d be ok.

  9. thenoblefacehumper

    It’s still disingenuous. There is a possible future with the franchise for Mudiay and Kanter, as well as Burke, Vonleh and Hezonja. It may not be the future that you prefer, but it is nonsense to equate the possibilities with those of Jack and Beasley.

    Sure, the two situations are not precisely equal. But I would like to hear you come up with a scenario in which Mudiay and his $12m cap hold + Kanter and his $GDPofASmallCountry cap hold are Knicks next season and beyond (Burke has a tiny cap hold that actually benefit us). This is the same thing everyone said about KOQ before he walked and we got nothing.

    I enjoyed the win even though it was mostly devoid of contributions from the core. If we pass on opportunities to flip guys who won’t be here next year for picks, though, I’m going to be pretty pissed.

  10. RJNaylor

    I think winning is important not just because it is a lot more fun but also because it means progres. And we should not count out players just because they are not the latest crop of draftees. Of course, Mario has not looked good but I imagine at $6.5M ownership want to be sure so playing him is ok and his defense has been ok lately so the first team has not suffered too much. So starting some veterans who may be around next year is fine — and until Mitchell learns not to foul he limits himself with how many minutes he can get. So, one more time, we need to build a team that can win and that will be success–losing would mean that our draft picks are not getting better.

  11. Brian Cronin

    I was of the opinion that we wouldn’t be able to retain Vonleh, but to be honest the market is terrible for bigs without a huge reputation. I can see signing him to 10mln/3yrs. I know it would eat at our cap, but I’d be ok.

    I think they would have to use the room (limited to two year deals, but they could pay him $9 million over two using the room). They could also make the second year a player option and then re-sign him using the mid-level the next season (with his Early Bird Rights).

  12. thenoblefacehumper

    Echoing Hubert’s great post at #8, please remember that 5 wins were the difference between Luka Doncic and Kevin Knox last season if you find yourself about to lecture someone else about lamenting wins.

  13. Hubert

    Vonleh is borderline. We might be able to use the room on him. But it’s all too uncertain for me to consider him a future piece.

    He is most likely another case in the long line of cases where the Knicks gave a player the opportunity to build his value without retaining the possibility of being rewarded if we successfully reclaim him.

    Trey Burke is the only reclamation project we handled right from a contract perspective.

  14. Brian Cronin

    But I would like to hear you come up with a scenario in which Mudiay and his $12m cap hold + Kanter and his $GDPofASmallCountry cap hold are Knicks next season and beyond (Burke has a tiny cap hold that actually benefit us). This is the same thing everyone said about KOQ before he walked and we got nothing.

    In general, I agree, but just noting that with Mudiay, if they were to keep him, it would be by using his $5.8 million QO rather than the $12 million cap hold, right?

  15. Brian Cronin

    Trey Burke is the only reclamation project we handled right from a contract perspective.

    I was impressed by the contract they got Burke to sign.

  16. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Yes, co-signed on Hubert’s post.

    I put it this way: Zion is a sure thing at #1. (There’s no world in which I’d take him after the .480 TS% Barrett right now.) Hard to imagine him being anything less than 5-8 wins against replacement per year, which I think is pretty conservative. Is winning 5 games this year worth missing out on a guy who could put 50-80 WAR up over the next decade?

    Feel-good wins in 2018 are useless, especially when they come on the backs of expiring or old players. It would be great if Mudiay had a decent season, was rewarded with $18M over three and then turned into a star PG. It would also be great if Vonleh got snatched up for cheap for being productive on a losing team and then also started being one of those elusive, underrated, underpaid glue guys like Toronto has in abundance. It would be Knicksy if we missed out on a Zion-level prospect because of some big-picture meaningless wins. We’ve done it before.

    If the Knicks are putting a spotlight on Kanter to flip him for picks or young players, great. But I doubt that’s the case.

  17. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    And I wrote a long post during the offseason about how unlikely it is that they’ll get him, even at #4. It’s still worth the Ls to get a better chance at a top pick.

  18. thenoblefacehumper

    In general, I agree, but just noting that with Mudiay, if they were to keep him, it would be by using his $5.8 million QO rather than the $12 million cap hold, right?

    Maybe, but if Mudiay continues to impress (by his standards) I imagine he’ll see if he can beat the QO on the open market (at least in terms of years). At that point his cap hold becomes $12 million.

  19. Brian Cronin

    Maybe, but if Mudiay continues to impress (by his standards) I imagine he’ll see if he can beat the QO on the open market (at least in terms of years). At that point his cap hold becomes $12 million.

    That’s true. Man, imagine if Mudiay actually plays well enough to be able to turn down a $5.8 million offer. Crazy times.

  20. Ingmarrrr

    At that point his cap hold becomes $12 million.

    Then it’s simple, you let him go. He’s mediocre at best even now when he exceeds expectations.

  21. bobneptune

    This is such a silly discussion:

    Kanter is 26 and has played ~12,000 NBA minutes and he is what his record says it is. He is an efficient low box scorer and rebounder who has no range, no foot speed, cannot jump and could easily be the worst defensive player in the NBA. That is not really arguable. He cannot be a piece of a good team because he is a sieve on defense and isn’t markedly improving on that end to where he can be marginally playable in a real spot. Any aid he gives to winning a single game (like last night) is like sticking a hot poker into our eyes. He is no different than Beasley going off for 22 points and securing a W last year.

    Mudiay has played 5,000 minutes and is 23. His first 4750 minutes he was arguably the worst player in basketball (did nothing average or well). The last 250 minutes the has been a sort of an epiphany … is it live or is it memorex? Personally, I’m betting the under but he is going to have to play at least at this level until the trade deadline to merit even holding for one year. The moment anyone who is even curious in him, I trade him and take my chances.

    Vonleh has been a find, but he, too should be moved for anything because wins by players who we likely can’t sign long term is against what should be the prime directive. Some playoff contender should be interested in a rental who can do what he has shown this season. And, WTF, if we trade him if we like we can sign him as an UFA, no, if he is cheap enough.

    This thing is supposed to be stripped down naked to aid the tank which is the only logical strategy besides playing players signed here long term.Having the 8th least ping pong balls is going to be a travesty of epic proportions…..if M Rob ,Dotson, Trier (assuming they sign him relative cheap for >2 years), Frank, and Knox win a bunch of games and we lose out on a high pick…. terrific!

    Pitch shit overboard, don’t rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic!

  22. Hubert

    Signing Trier is becoming more difficult, too. The best case scenario is we offer him the biannual exception now and he takes it. If I were his agent, I would probably recommend he finish this season up on the minimum and cash in as an UFA this summer. Especially since he plays for a team dedicated to helping players on one-year deals maximize their value at the expense of all that is good for them.

  23. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    Kanter is useless because he’s not going to be back and can’t be traded.

    Virtually everyone else that’s playing well is good for us because they are increasing their trade value and/or will become part of the long term future depending on how well they play and who else wants to come to NY in free agency.

    If we don’t land someone like Durant, Irving, Leonard or some other real game changer, we are probably better off not signing any long term contracts other than to players that WILL be part of the long term plan. That could easily include some of our current young players.

    That’s what this season is all about.

    We are trying to figure out who is a keeper while remaining flexible with cap space in case someone better is available . They won’t be available if we suck.

    Part of rebuilding is hoping that some of your players do better than expected. Then you have assets to keep or trade. But if they do better than expected, you will win games. That’s GOOD. That means you are identifying and developing good young players. The idea is not to keep getting worse and have lousy players so you can keep getting better picks. The idea is to get better.

    I want all these young guys to really start lighting it up and battling for the 8th seed. That means we have a lot of really good young players to keep, develop, trade, and help attract free agents. From that haul, we’ll hopefully make the right decisions on who to keep, who to trade, and who to sign as a free agent.

    The last thing I want to see is all our players playing like crap so we can get another high pick. That means we are still nowhere because we’ll have a team of duds, a new 19 year old that’s 5 years away, and no one that wants to come here.

  24. Farfa Post author

    Especially since he plays for a team dedicated to helping players on one-year deals maximize their value at the expense of all that is good for them.

    This made me laugh and then immediately cry.

  25. kevin5318

    Top 5 isn’t a terrible position to be in at the moment. Tankathon has us rising more and dropping less than when we were 4th in my sims.

    Of course you want to be as high as as possible but I can tolerate some feel good wins every now and then. I think this 3 game winning might be as good as it gets until KP comes back,

  26. Brian Cronin

    This thing is supposed to be stripped down naked to aid the tank which is the only logical strategy besides playing players signed here long term.Having the 8th least ping pong balls is going to be a travesty of epic proportions…..if M Rob ,Dotson, Trier (assuming they sign him relative cheap for >2 years), Frank, and Knox win a bunch of games and we lose out on a high pick…. terrific!

    Yeah, this is at least the closest they’ve come to that stripped down state. So that’s something, but yes, agreed, it’d be nicer if they really did strip all the way down.

  27. Brian Cronin

    Signing Trier is becoming more difficult, too. The best case scenario is we offer him the biannual exception now and he takes it. If I were his agent, I would probably recommend he finish this season up on the minimum and cash in as an UFA this summer. Especially since he plays for a team dedicated to helping players on one-year deals maximize their value at the expense of all that is good for them.

    I believe Trier would still be a RFA in that scenario. I think all players are RFA during their first three seasons in in the league (and yes, even with that being the case, the Knicks still somehow gave Ron Baker a two-year/$9 million deal with a player option for the second year, since they gave up his restricted rights by renouncing him to clear as much cap room as possible to sign THJ).

  28. Brian Cronin

    Top 5 isn’t a terrible position to be in at the moment. Tankathon has us rising more and dropping less than when we were 4th in my sims.

    I don’t disagree, but the issue is whether they will remain bottom five.

  29. swiftandabundant

    Can’t we just enjoy this little win streak for a bit and stop the complaining?

    Seriously, the Knicks will go after Durant, Kawhi, Kyrie…maybe Kemba. But there is a VERY good chance that none of those players will sign here as the teams they’re all ready on are better than us and can offer them the most money and years. So guys like Mudiay, Mario, Vonleh, Trey Burke…absolutely should be developed along with Knox, Frank, Dotson, Trier and Mitch. Even if we snag one of those big free agents we can probably keep one or two of those guys and if we strike out in free agency, resigning all ofthose guys to reasonable deals could be the way to go. Well, not Mario.

    And mario is just getting an extended look. Fiz knows what he has in Dot and Knox is here long term, so he wants to give Mario a longer look since he was there “big free agent signing” this summer. If Mario stinks for another week or so, Dot, Knox and Frank will be taking his minutes soon enough.

    Everyone here is so focused on individual stats, cap holds, etc….you guys miss the forrest for the trees sometimes. After a stretch where this team looked truly horrible, Fiz has gotten them to play better TOGETHER as a team and people are stepping up.

    And what is more important long term? The young guys we have playing well and progressing and KP being healthy and better than ever or a top pick? I would say the former is more important long term.

  30. Farfa Post author

    And what is more important long term? The young guys we have playing well and progressing and KP being healthy and better than ever or a top pick? I would say the former is more important long term.

    Long term is more important to play our first and second year guys. Minutes played by Frank, Dot, Knox, Mitch, Zo tonight: 55.

    Minutes played by Kanter and Mario: 62.

  31. Hubert

    Thanks, Brian. So it’s Jeremy Lin, part 2. This is where it gets fuzzy for me, but I think in that case as long as we make him a QO we can use all our cap space and then go over the cap to re-sign him, even if another team makes him a decent offer. That sound right?

  32. Farfa Post author

    @34

    I think that as soon as an offer is made by another team, that offer becomes his cap hold. So yes, we can go over the cap to resign him but his hold might deter us from signing a max free agent.

  33. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    @31 Thank God someone gets it.

    Tanking used to be a strategy that made sense in some cases. It has become a mental illness.

    Kanter is a waste and only because he won’t come back cheap enough and accept a job on the bench.

    EVERYTHING else is fine because we are trying to figure out who to keep, who to trade, who to put in our cap space, etc… Some of those guys can be over 25.

    It could easily turn out that Durant stays in GS or goes somewhere else. Irving stays in Boston. Butler stays in Philly. Leonard stays in Toronto or goes to LA etc.. Then we have a ton of cap space and no game changer to put into it. It could very well be that the smartest imaginable available use of it will be to sign back some of the players we have now like Burke, Mudiay, Vonleh, Trier, or even Hezonja (hard as that is to fathom now) depending on how much they develop and how well they play going forward.

  34. Brian Cronin

    Thanks, Brian. So it’s Jeremy Lin, part 2. This is where it gets fuzzy for me, but I think in that case as long as we make him a QO we can use all our cap space and then go over the cap to re-sign him, even if another team makes him a decent offer. That sound right?

    Correct. They can make a qualifying offer and then go over the cap to re-sign him (and his cap hold would be essentially meaningless), but if he signs an offer with someone else, it would eat into the Knicks’ cap room. And you could definitely see another team offering him, like, say, the Ron Baker contract, just to see if the Knicks are more interested in max cap room than keeping Trier.

    Sooo…yeah, it could be a problem.

    Honestly, though, even with all of this, I wouldn’t be surprised if Trier still ends up with a two-year minimum deal. Langston Galloway, for instance, seemed to have a lot of leverage back in 2014-15 and he still ended up signing a two-year minimum deal (Galloway, by the way, somehow almost has a 60% TS% with Detroit this season – whoa!).

  35. Z-man

    Perry, Mills and Fizdale have all made it crystal clear that they were not going to embrace an all-out tank, so wishing for one and being disappointed when it doesn’t happen is a fool’s errand. Everything they have done is consistent with the approach they laid out since Perry was hired. Many of us went into the season “hoping” that they would be bad enough anyway that it wouldn’t matter much who played, they would be terrible anyway. That included Burke, Mudiay, Hezonja and Vonleh, all of whom were mediocre to terrible for their previous teams. Once those guys were signed, it’s silly to think that they weren’t going to play if they played well, especially when Frank and Knox have totally sucked and Mitch can’t stay on the floor for more than 12 mpg.

    There was never even a prayer that Kanter would be benched (it was actually a bit surprising when he was taken out of the starting lineup.) Hardaway was signed long term by Mills so the thought of either not playing him or trading him is a non-starter.

    If anything, we’ve seen more of the rookie-scale guys that was expected because Lee and Lance have been injured.

    The bottom line is, we are not going to be one of the 3 worst teams in the league this year, and are likely to be drafting in that 6-10 range that everyone hates. We are almost certainly not attracting a max player that makes sense (KD, Kahwi) and would be stupid to sign a max player that doesn’t make sense (e.g. Kyrie, Kemba, Thompson, Butler). With those as givens, the next best thing would be to build a core around KP with undervalued assets. It’s possible that any of Mudiay, Vonleh, Burke, and even Kanter (highly unlikely but possible) could be a part of that core, or may be part of a trade that will get us a player that is part of that core. It’s possible that instead of signing a max player, we’ll sign a couple of guys with good value relative to their contracts.

  36. Farfa Post author

    The bottom line is, we are not going to be one of the 3 worst teams in the league this year, and are likely to be drafting in that 6-10 range that everyone hates.

    And that’s just stupid management.

  37. Bruno Almeida

    Yeah, the fools errand is basically in place for the last three seasons and we have much less talent than we could have had if they did the right thing.

    But oh well, at least the games are entertaining, that’s my position. I don’t expect the Knicks to actually be good ever, or to get actual superstar talent, so it’s better to draft 8th while watching these dudes than drafting 8th watching those others dudes we’ve had.

  38. JK47

    I hate to keep beating this drum, but this is not your father’s tankathon. It’s hard to tank your way to #1 now. I know we’re used to pulling our hair out over meaningless wins, but it really does matter a lot less now. Tanking your way into the top 3 is best, that gets you a 14% chance at #1 and a 52% chance at a top 4 pick. But if you’re only the fifth worst team in the league, you still get a 10.5% chance at #1 and a 42% chance at a top 4 pick. That is just not a massive difference.

  39. thenoblefacehumper

    Tanking used to be a strategy that made sense in some cases. It has become a mental illness.

    You often speak broadly about how tanking is unnecessary because we can just sign players to deals that represent good value and all that. So what I want you to do is outline an actual plan for the Knicks to become contenders that doesn’t involve a miracle signing like Durant or tanking. Use actual names, contracts, salary cap information, etc. Don’t just say “the plan is to sign players to good contracts and win deals.”

    The bottom line is, we are not going to be one of the 3 worst teams in the league this year, and are likely to be drafting in that 6-10 range that everyone hates.

    You’re probably right, and that’s something people are rightfully upset about. It’s hard to build a contender with an army of Ntilikinas and Knoxes.

  40. Farfa Post author

    @41

    That’s totally true and we can thank our lucky star for that; that said, if doesn’t really hurt to finish with one of the three worst record in the league, right?

  41. Brian Cronin

    I hate to keep beating this drum, but this is not your father’s tankathon. It’s hard to tank your way to #1 now. I know we’re used to pulling our hair out over meaningless wins, but it really does matter a lot less now. Tanking your way into the top 3 is best, that gets you a 14% chance at #1 and a 52% chance at a top 4 pick. But if you’re only the fifth worst team in the league, you still get a 10.5% chance at #1 and a 42% chance at a top 4 pick. That is just not a massive difference.

    But that’s only if they do, in fact, end the season in the bottom five. They’re not that far off from the #8 worst record right now. I would agree that there’s not a huge difference between #5 and #3 (52% shot at top 4 pick vs. 42%), but I think there’s a pretty big difference between #5 and #8. (42% shot at a top 4 pick vs. 26%). Finishing in the bottom five is still a huge advantage.

  42. thenoblefacehumper

    I hate to keep beating this drum, but this is not your father’s tankathon. It’s hard to tank your way to #1 now. I know we’re used to pulling our hair out over meaningless wins, but it really does matter a lot less now. Tanking your way into the top 3 is best, that gets you a 14% chance at #1 and a 52% chance at a top 4 pick. But if you’re only the fifth worst team in the league, you still get a 10.5% chance at #1 and a 42% chance at a top 4 pick. That is just not a massive difference.

    This is a good thing to keep in mind, but the basic incentive system hasn’t changed. Until you’re in the bottom 3, losses are good if you aren’t contending. I’d say the revamped system makes it much easier to stomach wins that stem from core pieces playing well, but Kanter feasting on rookies is still detrimental.

  43. kevin5318

    Tanking your way into the top 3 is best, that gets you a 14% chance at #1 and a 52% chance at a top 4 pick. But if you’re only the fifth worst team in the league, you still get a 10.5% chance at #1 and a 42% chance at a top 4 pick.

    Agreed. The current lottery odds would’ve actually benefited us in years past when we had mediocre lottery positions. The ability for 4 teams to jump up in the lottery instead of 3 could actually be to our benefit.

  44. Z-man

    Of the current best teams in the league, only Philly has gone full-out tank. Currently, ATL is playing Bazemore, Lin, Dedmon and Vince Carter significant minutes. Chicago’s leading minutes guy is Justin Holiday. Cleveland is playing Thompson, Hill and Hood and just upset two good teams. PHX is playing Trevor Ariza over Josh Jackson, not to mention Isaiah Canaan and Jamal Crawford. It’s not like the rest of the bottom-feeders are doing anything much differently than we are right now.

  45. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    There’s still incentive to have the worst record in the league: it guarantees a pick no worse than #5. Even though last year was significantly better for the #1 slot, a 100% chance at top-5 is nothing to sneeze at.

    Many of the posts in this thread seem to be fixated on the flattened odds of getting a top pick, but I’m more concerned about the contingency of landing 7th in lottery position (half as likely as the top-3 to pick #1, which is pretty damn flat) and drawing, say, 9th.

  46. Hubert

    I hate to keep beating this drum, but this is not your father’s tankathon. It’s hard to tank your way to #1 now. I know we’re used to pulling our hair out over meaningless wins, but it really does matter a lot less now. Tanking your way into the top 3 is best, that gets you a 14% chance at #1 and a 52% chance at a top 4 pick. But if you’re only the fifth worst team in the league, you still get a 10.5% chance at #1 and a 42% chance at a top 4 pick. That is just not a massive difference.

    I guess it’s a matter of opinion but I consider a ten point increase in probability to be significant.

    At 3, you have as good a chance as anyone to get the top pick and a 52% chance to be in the top 4. At 5, there is a 58% chance you’re drafting 6-9 and hoping all the scouts get the draft wrong.

    I would not prioritize Mudiay, Vonleh, and Kanter over that difference.

  47. ptmilo

    @20/21: I’m not sure what you guys mean by Mudiay “turning down” the QO. If the Knicks make the QO and Mudiay doesn’t accept, but instead looks around for a better deal, they can still reduce his interim cap hold to $5.8m by renouncing only his Bird Rights but not his RFA right if first refusal (technically I don’t think this has ever been done, but I think this is the consensus CBA interpretation). Of course then they can’t go over the cap to match and he can accept the QO at any moment before they rescind.

  48. ptmilo

    Today marks the 100th lecture I’ve attended on Strat’s theory of NBA mental health via “winning trades” and “developing players” not actually under contract. I’ve yet to make sense of it but I am not giving up this early. Plus, it’s way better than the “why Anne Frank chose to be agoraphobic” lecture I attended yesterday.

  49. JK47

    Sure, it’s BETTER to tank and lose. Of course it would be better to have that extra 10% chance of a top 4 pick. I mean, 52 is higher than 42.

    That said, there is also some value in having a coach who seems to be able to develop players, and who seems to be able to get his guys to play hard. You couldn’t ask for a tankier player than Emmanuel Mudiay. What are you supposed to do, yank him when he starts playing good? That’s sort of antithetical to the idea of getting your young guys to compete really hard. And yes, I know, bringing in Mudiay in the first place was not a good idea, and I agree with that, because of this exact reason: if he starts playing well, it’s hard to keep him and then he generates undesirable wins as a side effect.

    I’m just saying I’m not trippin’ over winning some of these games, because the difference in ping pong balls is not massive, and having a coach who can develop young players and get his team to play hard is kind of worth that small difference.

  50. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    I hate to keep beating this drum, but this is not your father’s tankathon.

    It’s hard to tank you way to anything in less than 5-10 years unless you are amazingly lucky in the draft and get 1 or 2 elite stars back to back or because your young stars are injured and you get a double or triple tank out of it like the 76ers. Typically, if you draft well, you will get better and move down the lottery. It takes a long time to get good that way. If you draft poorly, well, then you get multiple shots at a mega star, but you’ll be terrible for along time trying.

    We should be counting our blessings (in a sick sort of way) that we drafted above the talent level of the team last year and will do so again this year (no matter where we wind up) because our best player is missing the majority of two seasons, but the prognosis for him returning to top form is excellent. We are going to get 2 better draft shots out of this than a relatively efficient market was designed to reward us with.

  51. Hubert

    Sure, it’s BETTER to tank and lose. Of course it would be better to have that extra 10% chance of a top 4 pick. I mean, 52 is higher than 42.

    That said, there is also some value in having a coach who seems to be able to develop players, and who seems to be able to get his guys to play hard.

    And that’s where we get to the common ground, which is where we all celebrate beating the Celtics while Frank, Mitch, Knox, and Trier make significant contributions. But beating Memphis because Enes Kanter was unstoppable is annoying.

    There is reasonable debate over which category Mudiay and Vonleh fall into. I put them in the Kanter camp.

  52. Ingmarrrr

    Plus, it’s way better than the “why Anne Frank chose to be agoraphobic” lecture I attended yesterday.

    Lol. I’m sure we can start debating this.

  53. Hubert

    It’s hard to tank you way to anything in less than 5-10 years unless you are amazingly lucky in the draft and get 1 or 2 elite stars back to back or because your young stars are injured and you get a double or triple tank out of it like the 76ers.

    I just want this one year, Strato. Just this one year I want us to prioritize getting a top 4 pick over building up the value of guys on contracts that don’t put us in position to benefit long term from their improvement.

  54. thenoblefacehumper

    It’s hard to tank you way to anything in less than 5-10 years unless you are amazingly lucky in the draft and get 1 or 2 elite stars back to back or because your young stars are injured and you get a double or triple tank out of it like the 76ers.

    It takes exactly one year to draft the kind of player that changes the course of a franchise. Yes, you need some luck to get that kind of player. But you can maximize your odds of doing so in relatively simple, painless ways that the Knicks just refuse to do.

  55. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    Today marks the 100th lecture I’ve attended on Strat’s theory of NBA mental health via “winning trades” and “developing players” not actually under contract.

    Not complicated if you live in the real word.

    Bad teams get better by clearing out veterans for whatever young assets/picks they can get (assuming any have value), managing cap space well, tanking once, & then trying improve each year by doing the best available deals.

    This idea that you should or can continuously tank is ridiculous. It’s not a viable strategy and will rarely be successful in any time frame that’s reasonable. You need various combinations of:

    1. President, GM, and coach that don’t mind getting fired.
    2. Owner willing to lose a lot of money for years
    3. Fan base willing to tolerate being terrible for 6-1o years depending on your luck in the draft and how your 18 years old develop
    4. A media that won’t go bat shit crazy and call for heads because you suck for 5 years in row
    5. Injuries to recent draft picks that allow you get very high picks several years in a row
    6. Ridiculously good luck in back to back years in the draft.

    Most of those scenarios are longer shots than simply managing space, picks, FA signings, and trades well from wherever you are after initially bottoming out and getting a good pick.

    We crapped out to get Porzingis (missed a pick the next year because prior managements sucked), added Frank, added Knox, Trier, and Robinson, took some shots at reclamation projects (some of which may work out for us or be traded with enhanced value) and have lucked into the KP injury (in a twisted way) that is getting us to better picks than we deserve.

    Have we made mistakes?

    Yes. I hated some moves. But we are on the right path. We are DONE tanking and SHOULD be done with it. It’s time to get better. If we get Zion this year, it means we were dismal failures since new management took over.

  56. JK47

    Yes. I hated some moves. But we are on the right path. We are DONE tanking and SHOULD be done with it. It’s time to get better.

    Nahh.

    We’re not done tanking, because we still suck. We shouldn’t be done tanking, because all we’ve gotten out of the tanking so far is a mediocre hodge-podge of prospects.

    I think we’re pretty much at the appropriate level of tanking right now. This team actually looks a little bit like the Sacramento Kings, but a year or two behind their curve. You stockpile enough young players, and some of them start to turn into DeAaron Foxes and Willie Cauley-Steins. When that happens you can live with the Skal Labissieres and Frank Ntilikinas and other misfires.

  57. Hubert

    Plus, it’s way better than the “why Anne Frank chose to be agoraphobic” lecture I attended yesterday.

    Albert Einstein went to the market. Nothing happened to him.

  58. thenoblefacehumper

    Again, vagueness and pablum from Strat with no indication of how we can get a single elite player without tanking (let alone the multiple normally needed to sniff contention). I should probably give up on asking.

  59. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    Of the current best teams in the league, only Philly has gone full-out tank. Currently, ATL is playing Bazemore, Lin, Dedmon and Vince Carter significant minutes. Chicago’s leading minutes guy is Justin Holiday. Cleveland is playing Thompson, Hill and Hood and just upset two good teams. PHX is playing Trevor Ariza over Josh Jackson, not to mention Isaiah Canaan and Jamal Crawford. It’s not like the rest of the bottom-feeders are doing anything much differently than we are right now.

    As I keep saying, the only guy we are playing now that we’d be better off not playing is Kanter because he’s not going to come back cheap enough to accept a backup role and it’s very unlikely there are any trades out there that improve our position.

    However, “in the real world” that dude has to play because he deserves to play, he’s in a contact year and deserves a chance to earn a fair contract next year, Robinson can’t stay on the court yet, and because we have an excellent locker room right now and should want to keep it that way.

    The only other challenge we have is Lee. We don’t have the minutes for him unless we bench Hezonja (probably the best option), but we have to play him some minutes to have any chance at all to move him in a deal that helps us in some way with cap space.

    Other than that (and Lance), pretty much every other player on the team is in play to stay long term depending on how they play and who is available in free agency.

  60. Z-man

    Funny how people are so high on the Kings when their record screams “regression to the mean is coming!” Their current Pythag is 8-12.

  61. bobneptune

    Kanter is a waste and only because he won’t come back cheap enough and accept a job on the bench.

    No… he is a waste because he is unplayable in any important game which he has proved throughout his career because his is a horrible defensive player…. but he scores pointz… yippie.

    It could easily turn out that Durant stays in GS or goes somewhere else. Irving stays in Boston. Butler stays in Philly.

    Without question…. but the solutions aren’t strictly binary. With all these guys and others on the market someone is going to need to park a salary for a Pick of value somewhere. What would be instant death long term would be a couple of THJr signings into Kanter’s slot or whatever.

    Meanwhile the only reasonable course of action is to secure the highest pick possible in this draft where there appears to be one monster player and maybe a half dozen front line starters.

    Any business needs a successful plan and winning 30 games by playing veterans who are marginally better than the other young players today for the sake of winz is just nuts.

  62. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    Again, vagueness and pablum from Strat with no indication of how we can get a single elite player without tanking (let alone the multiple normally needed to sniff contention). I should probably give up on asking.

    From where we are now, we have 2-3 players that could ultimately become all stars (KP, Robinson, and Knox), we have cap space to sign one this year, and if we have enough solid assets, we may even be smart enough to trade for one that’s unhappy where he is now eventually. I’d way rather have Kyrie or Durant now, but we have no idea what KP’s top is yet. He was a project when he came in and then expectations got high quickly because of flashes. But we do not know. Robinson and Knox are babies. Robinson is showing Capela flashes. We are on a good path despite the mistakes.

  63. bobneptune

    Funny how people are so high on the Kings when their record screams “regression to the mean is coming!” Their current Pythag is 8-12.

    Who is “high” on that group? Is it a little surprising from a historical perspective that they are playing better…. sure, but I don’t think anyone expects them to challenge for anything any time soon. It is nice to see that franchise doing a little something, No?

  64. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    No… he is a waste because he is unplayable in any important game which he has proved throughout his career because his is a horrible defensive player…. but he scores pointz… yippie.

    I was a lot less enthusiastic about Kanter than most people here and spent a lot of time arguing why he’s terribly overrated by boxscore metrics (both on defense AND offense). Now the consensus is closer to my position, at least on defense. However, if he’s coming off your bench at O’Quinn money you have nothing to complain about.

  65. Hubert

    I’m really interested in seeing what Kanter’s market is this summer. Sure, I’d take him for O’Quinn money and him accepting a bench role. He’d be shocked if that was his best offer.

  66. Farfa Post author

    Strat, when you talk about Knox as a potential all star do you mean there’s gonna be a 3-on-3 game instead of the skills challenge?

  67. DRed

    As long as we’re playing Mario you can’t complain that we’re not trying to tank. Playing Robinson and Dotson over Mario and Kanter would probably result in the Knicks winning more games, so I’m not sure you can complain about playing some of our shitty players and also complain that we’re not intentionally losing all our games. Frank is 4th on the team in minutes played and he sucks. You can’t have it all.

  68. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    The Kings are finally slowly putting it together after tanking for the last 111 years in a row. Of course that’s not how they intended for it work out. :-)

  69. JK47

    The Kings are finally slowly putting it together after tanking for the last 111 years in a row. Of course that’s not how they intended for it work out. :-)

    Except that the Kings were NOT really tanking until recently. They don’t have their pick next year because they traded it for Rajon fucking Rondo.

  70. Bruno Almeida

    And the Kings have also suffered from not having a very high pick in those drafts. They’ve picked 5th or lower every year except the last one when they got super lucky in the lottery (and still probably made the wrong choice).

    If they had actually committed to tanking instead of signing Rajon Rondo or Aaron Afflalo or the other plethora of stupid moves they did, they would be in an even better position.

  71. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Funny how people are so high on the Kings when their record screams “regression to the mean is coming!” Their current Pythag is 8-12.

    Everyone likes a good underdog, but yes, SRS and Pythag say that they’re due for a 39-43 finish or so. They’ve lost by 20 points or more four times this year already. Hard to be high on a team that’s on pace to go 41-41 with 16 losses by 20+.

  72. ess-dog

    Despite the mini win streak, I think it was always going to be tough to out-tank Chicago, Phoenix, and maybe Cleveland. Atlanta could be better than us, but I’ll be happy with a top-5 pick next year. Top 3 would be extremely difficult without some luck (which we never seem to get).

  73. thenoblefacehumper

    From where we are now, we have 2-3 players that could ultimately become all stars (KP, Robinson, and Knox), we have cap space to sign one this year, and if we have enough solid assets, we may even be smart enough to trade for one that’s unhappy where he is now eventually. I’d way rather have Kyrie or Durant now, but we have no idea what KP’s top is yet. He was a project when he came in and then expectations got high quickly because of flashes. But we do not know. Robinson and Knox are babies. Robinson is showing Capela flashes. We are on a good path despite the mistakes.

    So we should be done tanking because we have a player who has put up mostly average numbers over three seasons and is coming off an ACL tear, a player who has shown plenty of flashes but has played 330 total minutes and is a foul machine, and a player who so far has been very bad in both college and the NBA.

    I don’t know what to tell you dude. That would be an awful way to try and build a contender. It would be like the Sixers going all in because they had already drafted MCW, Richaun Holmes, and Jahlil Okafor.

    You shouldn’t go about team building as if you have three all-star level players when it’s quite possible you have zero. Go about team building as if you have three all-star level players when you…have three all-star level players.

  74. thenoblefacehumper

    The Kings are finally slowly putting it together after tanking for the last 111 years in a row. Of course that’s not how they intended for it work out. :-)

    Ah yes, that classic sign that a team is tanking; trading an unprotected first round pick to sign Rajon Rondo and Marco Belinelli.

  75. JK47

    You have to give it to Strato, he comes up with a lot of different ways of being wrong. You have to admire the versatility.

  76. DRed

    I think the vegas line for the Kings was like 27 wins, so 39 would be pretty exciting if you were a Kings fans.

  77. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    I have a few thoughts:

    1) Noah Vonleh is definitely a foundational piece as far as I’m concerned. He’s developing into a low usage cross between Serge Ibaka and Julius Randle, and his presence on the team forces KP to the center spot. He’s also a few weeks younger than KP, so he fits the timeline, and his brand of basketball is undervalued in today’s league.

    2) Kanter needs to be traded.

    3) The Knicks absolutely would be better served tanking the season. I can’t complain with the results so far because it all seems to be good coaching by Fizdale (in a month’s time all the close 4th quarter losses have turned into some wins), and watching Mudiay convert lay ups and dunk the ball make me smile. We can debate if Mudiay is the guy for the job long term, and he probably isn’t because he’s not a high volume 3PT shooter, but if your choices are giving Rozier the TH2 contract or giving this current iteration of Mudiay (who is 2 years younger) a contract worth a third to half of that, you might be better served keeping Mudiay and hoping to flip him considering his age/contract length. Overall, losses are wins this season and I’d rather go 21-61 and not know who the PG ofnthe future is than go 27-55 and have to sell myself that Mudiay will build on his below average season to break out offensively in 2020.

  78. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    While the Hawks make a case to be relegated to the G-League, Doncic is now posting a .573 TS% on 25.9 USG% in 607 minutes as a 19-year-old rookie. I know his career is still young, but something tells me he’ll in the MVP race before his rookie contract is up. Don’t know about you guys, but I’d take that over Trae Young and next year’s #13 pick.

  79. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    @82 the owner got in the way of that one, and if it weren’t for smart GMing, Doncic would have fallen to Memphis (who would have traded that pick and Chandler Parsons to one of the 5-6 good GMs in basketball).

    Sometimes it only feels like Ujiri, the state of Texas, and Jerry West know how they’re doing at all times. I can’t give Ainge credit for taking advantage of the worst GMs (especially when he has a team that can’t build a top offense around Horford, Irving, and Tatum).

  80. Brian Cronin

    I wonder if the Hawks could get a second rounder for Lin. Dude’s rocking a 65% TS% so far this season.

    But yeah, the Hawks were morons on the Doncic trade and I even like Trae Young!

  81. Bruno Almeida

    For people that care about this type of stats too, Doncic is second in the league in fg% on clutch situations, the score under 5 points of difference in the last 5 minutes of the game or OT with 57.9%, only behind Oladipo.

    When you have a guy like this, then yes, it’s time to surround him with other very good players and go for it. But because the Knicks have followed strato’s magical formula, we don’t have that guy, but we’ll always have those Michael Beasley games to remember.

  82. The Glass Half Rebuilt

    @83 then buy him out of his contract in March. Nothing would be worse than Kanter having a 30-30 in the 82nd game of the season

  83. bobneptune

    As long as we’re playing Mario you can’t complain that we’re not trying to tank. Playing Robinson and Dotson over Mario and Kanter would probably result in the Knicks winning more games, so I’m not sure you can complain about playing some of our shitty players and also complain that we’re not intentionally losing all our games. Frank is 4th on the team in minutes played and he sucks. You can’t have it all.

    Sure we can when we should be playing Frank, Dotson, Trier, Burke , Robinson, Knox, Kornet and Hicks the majority of minutes for the plural purpose of giving them experience and losing. If that grouping outperforms Muiday, Vonleh, Kanter, Mario and THjr so be it.

    A perfect analogy is the Giants. Eli Manning has been one of the most successful athletes in NY history, but he has no future with the club and if they keep playing him after his ugly melt down yesterday, they should be horsewhipped.

    The only way Kyle Lauletta shouldn’t play now is if they know he is a complete bust as in the Christian Hackenberg mold. And that is on them….

  84. Brian Cronin

    @83 then buy him out of his contract in March. Nothing would be worse than Kanter having a 30-30 in the 82nd game of the season

    Absolutely agreed. He could then catch on somewhere decent and maybe even make the NBA Finals!

  85. Hubert

    He’s pretty much untradeable, though, due to his contract.

    I’ve got my fingers crossed that the Lakers might not think so.

    You can build something around Pope for Kanter or Rondo and Stephenson for Kanter (with a pick coming our way) and they can just increase Hart or Ball’s minutes to make up for whoever the lose.

  86. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    You have to give it to Strato, he comes up with a lot of different ways of being wrong. You have to admire the versatility.

    This is the smartest collection of people that are wrong about almost everything I’ve ever seen. It takes real intellectual talent to maneuver yourself into a position where that intellect is causing such extreme overthinking the data you are using and the conclusions you are drawing are almost always wrong. :-)

  87. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    So we should be done tanking because we have a player who has put up mostly average numbers over three seasons and is coming off an ACL tear, a player who has shown plenty of flashes but has played 330 total minutes and is a foul machine, and a player who so far has been very bad in both college and the NBA.

    We should be doing exactly what we’ve been doing and allow the chips to fall where they may in terms of how these draft picks and reclamation projects turn out over time.

    The goal should be to have a better team this year than last year with as many players as possible being developed into long term pieces or tradable assets. That includes those in the mid 20s or even a little older. We should be doing nothing to purposely weaken the team further for some theoretical advantage 5-6 years from now when some future draft pick starts coming into his own. Theory does not always translate into reality in the draft, but getting worse now to do it IS reality.

    When you are a shit team with no upside, being a little shittier is fine. When you already have quite a few young pieces with upside, cap space, and some tradeable assets, you go forward not backward.

    We are a couple of moves and a little upside from being a REALLY good team with further upside even though we are pretty bad so far this year.

  88. bobneptune

    Jay King: Kyrie Irving said he thinks the Celtics are overthinking at times.

    This quote from Hoops Hype made me giggle. Sure…. the guy who believes the Earth is flat believes everybody is overthinking EVERYTHING!!!

  89. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    I suspect that if we had a healthy KP from the start of the season, we’d be close to a playoff team in the east right now, have a ton of upside, and the cap space to add a real difference maker that would be very interested in joining a team like that.

  90. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    This quote from Hoops Hype made me giggle. Sure…. the guy who believes the Earth is flat believes everybody is overthinking EVERYTHING!!!

    Kyrie’s view hardly generates a lot of confidence, but there is DEFINITELY something to the idea that you can have too much data or make things too complex. One term for it is paralysis by analysis. Intuitively, people think the more data they have, the more complex it is, and the more they analyze it, the better they will do. But it can become crippling because your mind has a tough time sorting through it all, processing how it all interrelates, and then weigh it all properly. The flat earther can outperform the genius if the genius is too smart for his own good.

    Ball + InBasket = Good can be better than advanced math if you are overthinking. :-)

    I’ve experience this in gambling. When I was in my late 20s I knew a successful gambler in NY. I knew a TON more than this guy, had more information, and a better understanding of it, but he was getting way better results than me. He had simplified his approach and it worked. There’s not much else he had to know.

  91. Farfa Post author

    Still not sure how .100 WS/48 and negative BPM for his career Porzingis would help us being a playoff contender. Dude’s not (yet, hopefully) a superstar.

  92. alsep73

    One devils advocate thing about Mudiay, even if we can’t retain him: the fact that Fizdale is getting tangible improvement out of guys who were on the verge of being out of the league is going to help us recruit free agents in the future, especially if we wind up capped out and need cheap role players around KP and Max FA TBD.

  93. Z-man

    I don’t think it’s wrong to hope that the Knicks play only the young pieces that are most likely to be here next year. It’s a totally defensible strategy, and I would have been fine with it if that’s what the braintrust chose to do.

    I just think it’s silly to think that the Knicks will actually do so to the extreme, given that there has never been any indication whatsoever that they would do that. Everything that Mills-Perry-Fiz have said and every action that they have taken is consistent with what they said they would do going into the year. Context matters. The context right now is that their team-building strategy, while quite flawed, is much, much better than it was under Phil and for the dozen inept years before that.

    I personally choose to enjoy watching these young reclamation projects (yes, Kanter is only a year older than WCS!) scratch and claw for wins vs. good teams during this half-track version of a tank rather than root for losses every single night and whine about what could have been after every win. Nothing I say or do is going to change Fiz’s rotations or Perry’s personnel moves, so why waste energy swimming against the tide? It’s like choosing to vacation in Portland every November and whining about the rainy weather. Why not just embrace the climate and roll with it, or vacation somewhere else?

    Any actual tanking will be in large part accidental, i.e. lucky, like it was during the 17-win season. If that happens, great! If not, great!

  94. Hubert

    the fact that Fizdale is getting tangible improvement out of guys who were on the verge of being out of the league is going to help us recruit free agents in the future

    This could be (and probably is) false attribution. But if the perception sticks, then it doesn’t matter in terms of recruiting.

  95. nicos

    They’re 7-14 and 26th out of 30 in SRS- I don’t think it’s time to panic about piling up wins just yet. I think the minute distribution thus far has been fine- if Frank continues to play less than 15 minutes a night (like he has the last two) and Knox even less than that that’s the one issue going forward. I think they want to play Mitch as much as he can handle but he fouled like crazy against N.O. and was overmatched against Memphis. I think its pretty clear that Kanter isn’t in their future plans- it’s just that Mitch isn’t a viable option to soak up minutes just yet.
    Also- Mudiay has a .625 TS% on 24.5 usage since he moved into the starting line-up. He hasn’t dome much in the way of playmaking but if you score like that… And even during this stretch he’s only playing 23 minutes a night. Fiz does seem to really, really like him (I’m sure at least in part due to the fact that it confirms his rep as a development guru) and he’s the one guy who I worry about the front office falling in love with due to his cap hold. Vonleh and Burke both stand a pretty good chance of being on the team next year and are young enough to be part of the future core.

  96. Donnie Walsh

    I actually agree to a rather large extent with stratomatic on this. I always hated when people said “you can’t rebuild in New York”. It was myopic and self-defeating.

    That said, there is a difference between “tanking” and “rebuilding”. The 2001-2015 Knicks traded young assets for established vets to try to squeeze as many wins as possible out of a decaying franchise. If they had simply let their bad contracts expire and retained all of their god-given draft picks, they’d probably have had multiple seasons competing to be eastern conference champions.

    It doesn’t take the Hinkie approach. Or even the tank one year to land Duncan method. Keep your picks, eat your mistakes, try to maintain salary flexibility, play your best players. That’s all it takes to compete in this league. Look at the Raptors, Clippers, Bucks, Blazers, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Jazz, and Pacers. These are all competitive teams. None of them cleared cap space in the hopes of poaching other teams’ free agents. And none of them have built their team around even a top #5 pick.

    You can rebuild in New York.

    But I think stratomatic is right that you can’t tank a whole season away. And that’s not a bad thing.

  97. Stratomatic "In economic terms, the Knicks are in a double dip recession"

    Still not sure how .100 WS/48 and negative BPM for his career Porzingis would help us being a playoff contender. Dude’s not (yet, hopefully) a superstar.

    Primarily because both WS/48 and BPM (while good for the casual fan or quick glance), are outrageously wrong on some players. They can’t measure some things well or mis-measure some skills and profiles.

    KP is way better than those models say, but I do agree he’s a long way from superstar.

  98. MSA

    I’m enjoying this winning streak and I won’t overreact to this.

    Unfortunately, they’re still a top-5 team in lack of talent. Soon we’ll be a 7 game losing streak and everybody gonna be going nuts about how Knox sucks and Frank can’t shoot a ball in the ocean.

    After all this wins we still have the 5th worse record.

  99. swiftandabundant

    Here’s the catch-22. Yes, you want a top pick as those are the most likely to be superstars. But if we suck so bad we get a top pick this year then that means none of our draft picks and none of are reclamation projects are working out. And it also means most likely KP hasn’t come back at all this season and if he did, he wasn’t very good.

    Now being bad enough to not make the playoffs but too good to guarantee a top pick is sort of a no man’s land. But if that happens then it means that are young players, picks and reclamation projects, are playing well. It gives us more options going forward. We can try to retain some of the reclamation projects (Vonleh, Mudiay, Burke and maybe Mario but probably not). Having that option is good cause we may not get one of the big free agents next year. Being in “no man’s land” also means that our draft picks Frank, Mitch, Trier, Knox…are also developing. It also means most likely that KP came back enough to contribute some this year. To me, those things are more important long term cause it means we all ready have most of the foundation in place as opposed to no foundation in place and we’re drafting super high. Plus, while a top pick does mean its more likely you get a superstar, there is incredible value to find throughout the draft if you draft well, which it seems like we’re capable of doing.

    So I say fuck it. Just watch the kids play and develop and have fun. Its nice to win games sometimes.

  100. Brian Cronin

    That’s just not the case. The Thunder drafted one of the all-time great NBA players in Kevin Durant and then proceeded to suck enough to draft in the top five the next season. They then added one of the top players of the past decade in Russell Westbrook and then sucked enough to draft in the top five the next season, where they then added another one of the top players of the past decade in James Harden, at which point they became good.

    The key to them doing this was by not adding superfluous veterans. They just did a full rebuild. They didn’t go, “Hey, maybe we should see if Ray Allen could be paired with Kevin Durant?” They just traded Ray Allen and every other veteran that they could. Obviously, things don’t typically work out as well as drafting three of the best players of the past two decades in successive drafts (plus adding Serge Ibaka with a late pick), but that basic concept is completely replicable. Teams are just too cowardly or too stupid to do so.

    I agree that, in this instance, the Knicks are essentially stuck playing Kanter and THJ, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t note, “Boy, that wasn’t smart of them to build the team this way.” Now, you can take an approach of, “You shouldn’t complain about dumb moves already made,” but, well, what the heck else is a discussion board for, ya know?

  101. Grocer

    We can try to retain some of the reclamation projects (Vonleh, Mudiay, Burke and maybe Mario but probably not). Having that option is good cause we may not get one of the big free agents next year.

    This kinda obviously seems like the game plan. If they just wanted placeholders there’s vet min guys they could have picked up to ‘mentor’ the young guys. They’re hoping to develop some young guys who haven’t made it yet because they might end up being part of the future. I’m not even convinced that we won’t see Kanter back next year on a much cheaper contract.

  102. Hubert

    It doesn’t take the Hinkie approach. Or even the tank one year to land Duncan method. Keep your picks, eat your mistakes, try to maintain salary flexibility, play your best players. That’s all it takes to compete in this league.

    You have to pick one way and stick with it, though. If you stretch Noah, you’re all in on the max free agent. If you’re going to do it Strato’s way, you just buy Noah out the straight way.

    Likewise, if you say this is a development year and winning isn’t important, cut Kanter and have some scrub backing up Mitchell so as to avoid the 3-4 wins you get when Kanter has a monster offensive game and the other team fails to take advantage of his hideous D.

    What I’m tired of is doing half of one and half of the other and ending up in the worst of both worlds.

    And I agree, Strato’s way can work… if you commit to it the whole way. The Clippers are doing that right now and it looks alright. But if you do it that way, you better play hardball with Porzingis, bc giving him a max he hasn’t come close to earning violates all the principles of that particular method. And you know we’re going to give him one.

  103. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Primarily because both WS/48 and BPM (while good for the casual fan or quick glance), are outrageously wrong on players that I, through the always-dependable eyetest, deem significantly better or worse than the stats suggest.

    FTFY

    (Or maybe a volume scorer who shoots .528 TS% is just, y’know… not very productive.)

  104. swiftandabundant

    But even stretching Noah…you say that means they’re all in but does it? Maybe they thought he had given them nothing while being injured and bitching the whole time and that having him even on the roster would bring unnecessary drama to a young team even if he wasn’t with the team. And so by stretching him, they free up some cap but also get rid of a big headache. You might think that’s stupid and impatient but seriously, no one cares about Noah anymore. He isn’t on the bench complaining about being behind Kanter and Mitch, he isn’t posting cryptic instagram posts that The Daily News writes articles about. He’s gone. Losing that 6 million in cap space to get rid of him, free up a roster spot and move on without having to give up a pick to get rid of him…that might be worth it to Mills and Perry.

  105. Henry George

    Perry has been about conservatively adding players the team thinks has upside without major splurges. But to make it work, he needed a coach like Fiz, whose fatherly and meritocratic approach has made growing into better basket players enjoyable for the entire roster (so long as those players are committed to improving-ergo ditching Troy Williams). IMHO, I believe they view every single guy on their roster as young players with upside, even Mario.

    Here are my thoughts regarding Mario:
    I think he’s a highly skilled, decently athletic 3-4 who has the ability to read the game at a higher level (Mudiay, Hardaway, Trier, Vonleh, and Frank all share variations of this trait) who has yet to learn how to get out of his own way. His recent starts owe more to Fiz’s and Perry’s evaluation of Mario a good player that just needs burn to work himself into the form they envision.

    Regarding Mudiay:
    Right now, he’s at least an average NBA starting 1. I want to see if he’s able to play this well consistently. If he’s at or above a 0.120 WS/48 (Conley-level) by the trade deadline (BTW he’s trending that way or perhaps even better), unless someone else offers me the moon, I’d consider offering him a team-friendly 4-yr version of Lance’s contract.

    This off-season, I do not want them to pursue ANY high-priced. None. I want them to address Kanter’s free agency by either trading him, signing him to a team-friendly contract, or just letting him walk (centers that can rebound and score in the post are cheap anyway). Likewise, decide if Mario is worth additional commitment (pending whether he’s able to turn things around here or not). I also want them to cut ties with Baker and Thomas while signing Trier and Burke to team-friendly contracts. Fill any and all roster spots with more value+upside guys off the street.

  106. swiftandabundant

    The Thunder is literally the only team you can bring up as an example of a team that tanked like that and ended up with 3 players who were all elite players. And I believe Harden was a later pick they picked up through a trade, no?

    My point is just that everyone thinks you have to tank to get the 3 all stars or whatever. That isn’t how it works. Draymond Green was a second round pick and Klay wasn’t a top 3 pick for the Warriors.

    Several of philly’s top picks (Okafor, Fultz) have been total busts.

    Draft well, develop the young players, get a good coach and system, don’t overpay for free agents, don’t sign old free agents, retain your players on good contracts. Do that and you’ll win in the NBA. Win long enough and you’ll have a window to compete for it all.

  107. chrisk06811

    The only way you are trading Kanter is if you get back expirings, and something in return…..a young player or a 2nd round pick. The only teams doing that are playoff teams lacking size….maybe an injury, and they have salary on the bench. Kanter makes $18.6M. There is absolutely no offsetting expiring to trade for. everyone close is either on a non playoff team, or is good (Wes Matthews, Klay, Bledsoe, Rubio). The only things close are Wilson Chandler at $12.8M and Austin Rivers at $12.6M.

    The only thing I can see, if Philly feels they need to get bigger, and if Fultz is still in the doghouse, that would work. but,they would want either a 2nd player from us or a pick. i don’t think that helps us.

    If Washington turns around and wins a few games, I could see Kanter for Rivers and Jason Smith. I mean, they are 2 games out of the playoffs, and Orlando and Brooklyn are playing over their heads.

    I really can’t see any other possibilities. before you say trade him, come up with for what?

  108. Hubert

    @109 you didn’t have to stretch him to accomplish all that, though. You could have cut him the regular way and done with him after 2020 instead of 2022. That’s what you do if you’re doing it strato’s way.

  109. ptmilo

    @109 that’s wrong, those two issues are unrelated. the Knicks could have solved all those putative locker room problems just by buying him out for nothing without stretching him. the “stretch” decision is purely about which years to take the cap hit.

  110. Brian Cronin

    The Thunder is literally the only team you can bring up as an example of a team that tanked like that and ended up with 3 players who were all elite players. And I believe Harden was a later pick they picked up through a trade, no?

    No, he was their pick.

    And obviously the Thunder worked out as well as it possibly could (and they still fucked it up later by their owners being cheap fucks), but the Thunder and the Sixers are pretty much the only teams who have had the guts/smarts to actually do it this way (trade all your veterans and then hope to draft in the top five as much as possible). And they both worked out.

    And yet teams still try this half and half bullshit and it continually fails.

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

    I agree with Strat, we are doing this right. And those of complaining about management’s incompetence in getting Kanter, remember we have him instead of Melo.

  112. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Mark Jackson : Steve Kerr :: Jason Kidd : Mike Budenholzer

    I’m starting to think that the Bucks’ offense is for real and we could very well have a new NBA champion this June. Damn they are scary. Oldest player is 31 and over half their roster is 26 or under.

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

    Swiftandabundant, yes, exactly. We are following the Warriors model, not the Thunder or Sixers.

  114. Hubert

    The thunder may be the only team that’s succeeded doing it three years in a row but literally no one is advocating that today. We’re advocating properly tanking ONE TIME!

    The list of teams who have succeeded from do *that* include:

    6 time champion Chicago Bulls
    5 time champion San Antonio Spurs
    2 time champion Houston Rockets
    The one Heat title Wade won on his own
    The Celtics who tanked one year on purpose and then flipped the pick for Ray Allen.

    Almost every champion since 1990 that isn’t the Lakers or Golden State decided to throw one single season away for the long term benefit of getting a top 3 pick.

  115. MSA

    The key to them doing this was by not adding superfluous veterans.

    I’m sorry Brian but that’s not true at all.

    Before Durant, the Sonics top 5 player in minutes were Wilcox, Collison, Lewis, Allen and Watson. The only one with less than 26 was Wilcox.

    Next season they played Durant, Green (rookies) and Watson, Collison and Wilkins (veterans).

    The third season is the closest to a full rebuilt when Durant, Green and Westbrook played the most, but they still had end of career guys like Desmond Mason and Joe Smith getting minutes.

    During these 3 year spam there were a LOT of veterans on their Roster. Joe Smith, Desmond Mason, Malik Rose, Kurt Thomas, Francesco Elson, Wally Szczerbiak, etc.

    They just sucked really bad those years.

  116. Hubert

    We are following the Warriors model

    Finding a league MVP at 7 and its best defensive player in the second round isn’t a model. It’s a miracle.

  117. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Finding a league MVP at 7

    Not just a league MVP, but the player with arguably the best offensive seasons of the 3-point line era.

    Before Steph Curry, the best OBPM was MJ at 9.82, a record he set in 1987-88 that lasted 27 years. Curry obliterated that mark with 12.36.

  118. ClashFan

    @121
    Wait. Are you guys saying that Knox has no chance of being a league MVP and Robinson a league best defender?? So, we don’t already have a core as good as Golden State had?

  119. Bruno Almeida

    @119

    I tried this argument a million times, it’s pointless. Some people simply have decided tanking cannot possibly work and there’s no possible argument to be made. Then it’s going to be “oh but the Spurs didn’t tank, their best player got injured”, or “Philly can’t win without Ilyasova and Belinelli”, or whatever.

    Also, the Spurs way of getting Duncan is precisely what the Knicks had the opportunity to do this year. Suck majorly while KP is out and draft Zion. But we aren’t going to do it because as always the integrity of the game and the budding winning culture being built are more important than talent, as the Pistons and Hornets have shown so aptly for the past 4 or 5 years.

  120. Bruno Almeida

    I can’t understand understand for the life of me how “drafting a superstar in the top 3 of a draft” can possibly be a crapshoot and a complete uncertainty you can’t rely on, but “follow the Warriors path” or “do what the Celtics have done and just win trades” is somehow considered a valid argument.

  121. ptmilo

    or the incredibly certain probability bump you get toward signing Durant because you didn’t trade Courtney fucking Lee last year

  122. thenoblefacehumper

    Swiftandabundant, yes, exactly. We are following the Warriors model, not the Thunder or Sixers.

    As soon as a generation-defining player falls to us in the mid-lottery and a future DPOY gets passed up by every team and we can take him in the second round we’ll be good to go. Amazing that people can’t see the brilliance happening before their very eyes.

    And I agree, Strato’s way can work… if you commit to it the whole way. The Clippers are doing that right now and it looks alright. But if you do it that way, you better play hardball with Porzingis, bc giving him a max he hasn’t come close to earning violates all the principles of that particular method. And you know we’re going to give him one.

    The problem is there is no “Strato’s way.” He, and everyone else who advocates for this vague path, do not outline specific players they would like to see signed, traded for, or acquired in some other way. The reason for this is because “value” simply does not exist in a vacuum in the NBA, and it’s very difficult to think of any free agents who aren’t obviously superstars who would be valuable to the Knicks. Almost all contracts either increase your chances of winning a championship or decrease them in a binary fashion.

    For example, if Cleveland had somehow signed Courtney Lee in 2016 (they couldn’t have due to cap restrictions but just bear with me) that would’ve been a very valuable contract for them. Hell, they even signed Shumpert, who is a good deal worse, to a similar contract because of this dynamic.

    To the Knicks, he was pretty much an albatross before the ink was dry.

    The Clippers seem like a perfectly good counter example until you remember that they got most of the assets on their current team from trading a top 5-10 player who they made multiple deep playoff runs with, and from another team bailing them out of a shitty Blake Griffin contract.

  123. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I really don’t understand how Brook Lopez has made $117 million and he can’t find anyone to shave the back of his neck

  124. d-mar

    Well Jowles, you surely jinxed the Bucks, they’re playing like garbage tonight.

    Also, speaking of Lopez, in a recent game against Phoenix he was 0-12 from the 3 point line. I was wondering if there was ever a worse individual 3 point performance (obviously no one has shot worse than 0%), tried to google it, but could only come up with season percentages.

  125. swiftandabundant

    I support rebuilding. I just think rebuilding is so much more than tanking to get a top 3 pick. To me, unless its Lebron or whoever, even that top pick can be a bust if he’s drafted to the wrong team that can’t develop him. I think the much harder work of rebuilding with smart drafting, good coaching, development, etc…is so much more important than any one pick, no matter where that pick falls.

    And seriously, if you think this year is the same as the last few years where we had tons of older players to try and win now, I don’t know what to tell you. After winning 3 games we’re 7-14 and the 5th worst team in the league. I’m just not going to lose sleep over picking 5th than picking 1st or 2nd. Of course I’d like that higher pick but if the team is improving and the young players look like keepers and KP comes back healthy…to me that is more important.

  126. thenoblefacehumper

    Also, speaking of Lopez, in a recent game against Phoenix he was 0-12 from the 3 point line. I was wondering if there was ever a worse individual 3 point performance (obviously no one has shot worse than 0%), tried to google it, but could only come up with season percentages.

    Looks like he’s all alone, but it was still dumb of the Lakers to let him walk for nothing.

  127. Bruno Almeida

    Ok, so hear me out. You guys kept saying Philly winning 52 games and getting to the 2nd round in the east didn’t show the tank was successful, and now you’re gonna use the goddamned Clippers as an example?

    Come on, I’d expect better.

  128. Owen

    I feel like the Rockets post Yao are the best cSe scenario . Never lost more than like 38 games and wheeled and dealed their way to Harden and Paul and drafted Capela.

    It’s not impossible of course. But losing five extra games last year was a total free roll.

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

    So I am to conclude the Raptors are a total bust because they never drafted the equivalent of Curry or did a major tank job?

    Of course they did draft Bargnani number one, so that must be why they are good.

  130. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Well Jowles, you surely jinxed the Bucks, they’re playing like garbage tonight.

    They lit it up in the 1st and then forgot how to score or defend in the 2nd. Still, with 4 minutes left I wouldn’t bet against them down 8.

  131. Grocer

    It would have been nice to trade Lee last year but apparently nobody wanted him. And I guess we could have just cut Kanter and THj. Jackson was bad at his job, as was Mills when he was rolling solo. Everybody else on the court this year had no real expectation of being very good. I suppose we could have not called Burke up from the G-league.

    Has there ever been a case of a team straight up cutting reasonable players in order to tank the season? Would the league even allow it? They warned teams last year about the appearance of tanking so I’m guessing they wouldn’t.

    Perry could possibly have cut Kanter right after the Melo trade. Other than that, and trading Lee which reportedly was on the table with no takers, what actions could Perry have taken to increase the tank that he hasn’t? Signed sub-par vets instead of prospects? Ordered Fiz to bench healthy players seems like another suspicious violation of policy.

  132. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    There should be a clause in every rookie contract to cut them if they make a play as terrible as Connaughton just made. That was like Courtney Lee 2009 Finals bad.

  133. thenoblefacehumper

    It’s fair to point out that there’s not a ton more the Knicks could be doing to tank, so here are some concrete steps I’d take:

    1) Politely tell Kanter and his agent that his playing time is going to be phased out for two weeks, during which time we’ll actively seek out a trade. If no trade opportunity presents itself go ahead and buy him out. Give the minutes to Kornet or anyone mildly intriguing currently not signed.

    2) Give Timmy his minutes because we’re almost definitely stuck with him, but for the love of god trade him for literally anything without long-term money attached at the first opportunity. His contract plainly decreases our chances of winning a championship.

    3) The pecking order for point guard minutes should be Frank, Burke, and Mudiay in that order. I just don’t see a scenario where Mudiay is valuable to the Knicks in any capacity, but I realize there’s reasonable disagreement on this so you don’t have to totally doghouse him.

    4) I’m fine with playing Lee 15-20 MPG when he gets back because I don’t think he’s leading us to many wins and we need to showcase him for a trade (again, literally anything if it’s mostly expiring). If we can’t find one, give all of the minutes to Dotson after the deadline.

    5) Give Frank, Burke, Dotson, Knox, Trier, and Mitch Rob all the minutes they can physically handle. There should still be plenty remaining to get a long look at Vonleh and Mudiay. Hezonja, Kornet, and G League standouts to fill any vacant roster spots from trades can soak up the rest.

    If we do these things, we can legitimately say we put ourselves in the best position to succeed

  134. JK47

    For example, if Cleveland had somehow signed Courtney Lee in 2016 (they couldn’t have due to cap restrictions but just bear with me) that would’ve been a very valuable contract for them. Hell, they even signed Shumpert, who is a good deal worse, to a similar contract because of this dynamic.

    To the Knicks, he was pretty much an albatross before the ink was dry.

    This is correct, and seems pretty obvious to me. This is “win curve.” Strato seems to think “win curve” is not a thing, and that you should be always making marginal improvements even if that only takes you from like a 25 to a 30 win team.

  135. ess-dog

    Wow, Harden with the triple-double in what looks like an OT loss to the Wiz: 54 points, 13 assists, and 11 turnovers.

  136. Bruno Almeida

    @135

    The Raptors have reached the ECF once, so I don’t know how much of a success story they really are so far.

    They are a good example of a team that got better by incremental moves, they got Lowry when he was undervalued and he got a lot better, they leveraged DeRozan into Leonard and they also did something completely unprecedented, which is turning their G-League affiliate into an actual machine of producing good players, with guys like Siakam, VanVleet and Wright all going through there. However, they had to win on a TON of moves, the Lowry trade and his development, the 10th pick that became DeRozan and his development, multiple low picks that became Siakam, VanVleet, Anunoby and Wright, the Bargnani trade that became Poeltl, then the Leonard trade and just now they look like kind of a contender, yet to be seen in the playoffs.

    So I guess I’ll happily accept the Knicks taking the Raptors route to relevancy when Masai Ujiri walks through the MSG doors. Do you really trust Perry and Mills to win so many moves in a row throughout years of work?

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

    I don’t know if I trust Perry to be as good as the Raptors brain trust. And it’s true that the Raptors had to make a ton of good and reasonable moves without making any horrible mistakes in order to get where they are. But it is clear that Perry wants to emulate the Raptors way of team building and who knows, maybe he will and maybe he won’t, but it is one route to a good team.

    Reading a lot of the posts here, I get the impression that many posters think we can only get good by luck, so let’s try our hardest to get lucky (and of course suffer terrible play and make our players unhappy at the same time). I disagree. I also get the impression they think the sort of success the Raptors have had and are having is not enough, they want a championship with a Lebron or Curry equivalent or nothing. I just want a good team. If it’s a team like the current raptors or the Detroit Pistons that won a championship without a huge star, I am going to be very happy with that.

  138. Donnie Walsh

    You guys kept saying Philly winning 52 games and getting to the 2nd round in the east didn’t show the tank was successful, and now you’re gonna use the goddamned Clippers as an example?

    I think that what Philly did definitely worked. But as stratomatic says earlier in this thread is that it’s not a realistic model because it takes a patience that Philly didn’t even have. No GM can last long enough to see the fruits of that kind of labor, especially in New York. So in that regard the Knicks are actually rebuilding from behind and that’s just the reality of the New York market, the media, Dolan, agents (CAA), sponsors, and office politics.

    Philly, Toronto, Utah, Milwaukee, Indiana, and the Clippers haven’t traditionally been attractive destinations for free agents, so their models are dictated more by a scarcity of options rather than good business management. Personally, I think the best thing that could possibly happen to rebuilding the Knicks is for them to give up on the free agent track all together. If in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2016 the Knicks had used their cap space to buy picks and prospects rather than overpaying established vets, that alone would have been enough to have drastically changed the course of the franchise for the better.

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

    By the way, I did some quick non-parametric statistics, and they suggest we have really improved as a team over the season so far and that our true winning percentage is 0.400 or better at the 94% probability level, which would give us 31 wins for the year. So I suspect some fans here at Knickerblogger could get very disappointed with our final record.

  140. Brian Cronin

    If in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2016 the Knicks had used their cap space to buy picks and prospects rather than overpaying established vets, that alone would have been enough to have drastically changed the course of the franchise for the better.

    Or in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007…. ;)

    What’s funny is that the Knicks actually had their own first round pick in 2003, but they, of course, tried their best in 2002-03 to eke out 37 wins, thus leading them to drafting #9 in one of the best drafts in NBA history.

  141. Bruno Almeida

    @143

    I’m fine with a team that achieves what the Raptors have achieved so far, just like I was happy during the playoff runs early in this decade. But this is a franchise that has been dogshit for like 18 of the last 20 seasons, how can you expect anyone to trust a team lead by James Dolan to make a Raptors run of 4 of 5 years of good decisions all around? When the only real big decisions this FO has done is the Hardaway contract, bad, and the Knox pick, probably bad?

    I do commend them for finding Trier and Robinson, for example, but that’s like adding Siakam and Delon Wright to the Phoenix Suns.

    It’s very simple, if the idea is to build around smart decisions, well, then show me the smart decisions and I’ll trust then. As of now, I have no reason to believe the front office actually has the ability to do what Masai Ujiri, Jerry West, Danny Ainge or others have done. If you wish to believe they do despite no evidence on the matter and 20 years of sucking in our recent history, well, I commend the optimism but I surely don’t share it.

    I love teams that make smart decisions; the Knicks are not one of them.

  142. Donnie Walsh

    During these 3 year spam there were a LOT of veterans on their Roster. Joe Smith, Desmond Mason, Malik Rose, Kurt Thomas

    Yes, exactly. Kurt Thomas was acquired by renting salary relief to the competitive Phonix Suns in exchange for 2 first round picks — one of which was used to draft Serge Ibaka who was an integral part of turning the franchise into an NBA finals team within just a few years.

  143. Donnie Walsh

    Or in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007…. ;)

    The ridiculous thing is that Isiah actually did try this technique (see the Malik/Jalen Rose trades), he just forgot to, you know, have cap space to rent out before renting it out. (That’s kind of a necessary step of the model.)

  144. Grocer

    it’s not a realistic model because it takes a patience that Philly didn’t even have

    And the league office will come knocking with polite requests that you fire your GM and please consider the recommendation of this fine gentleman who won’t raise the ire of fans and sportswriters worldwide. The Sixers model simply isn’t viable anymore because Hinkie was so open about it.

  145. Grocer

    If you wish to believe they do despite no evidence on the matter and 20 years of sucking in our recent history, well, I commend the optimism but I surely don’t share it.

    One front office is not another front office. I get what you’re saying but sins of the father and all that. Until Perry fucks shit up what previous Knick’s administrations did aren’t applicable to this one, even when we still have to deal with their fuck ups.

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