Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

New York Knicks 104 – Philadelphia 76ers 109 – Game Recap

I wanted the Knicks to win this game. Actually, scratch that. I needed the Knicks to win this game. I’m going through a very rough patch in my personal life right now, and I certainly could have used it a little Bockers win balm to apply upon my emotional wounds. I know, sports wins don’t matter at all big picture-wise, but you try and find solace where you can, amirite?

That’s why the third quarter looked a bit like heaven. After going mano-y-mano for two quarters with the Sixers, they came out firing on all cylinders right after the long break. It was like watching a recent vintage Golden State game, where the opponent finds himself irredeemably lost and bludgeoned by a dozen or so well placed buckets. Seriously, the Knicks went on a 15-0 run to open the quarter and looked like they wouldn’t ever look back after going up 17 with 4:15 to go in the third (on a serendipitous right-handed putback slam by Barrett, nonetheless). It was beautiful basketball all around. Players doing their best on offense and on defense. Frank playing like an Andre Miller spin-off, dusting off spin moves, floaters and even a weird-ass up and under from 12 feet. You couldn’t have asked for more.

But then, one of the basketball god looked down and thought it was time to intervene. Ripping off a page from Satan’s book, that particular god probably transmutated into a snake and whispered to Fizdale’s ear “Hey, you know what? Frank’s probably tired. Why don’t you put in some of your reserves?”. Fizdale (understandably so, to be fair. You have to rest your guys from time to time) complied. Everything fell apart in a little more than two minutes, and the copious lead all but evaporated, leaving the Knicks up just 5 and the momentum entirely in the past, like some old furniture you couldn’t care less about that gets left in the back of a storage box in the suburbs.

The fourth quarter was a hard-fought matter until the very few minutes, where the Ben Affleck of Carmelo Anthonys, after a pretty much well-rounded game, suddenly developed a severe case of tunnel vision and in two separate occasions didn’t pass the ball to an open teammate (once it was Mitch right under the basket!), choosing instead to deploy some ill-fated late-era Meloisms that didn’t find the net and condemning the Knicks to the umpteenth loss at the hands of personal Knicks slayer, emoji-tattooed, placeholder name avatar Mike Scott. A three pointer from the insufferable Embiid sealed the deal putting the Sixers up by seven. From there, it was pure formality for the Process nephews to put the game away.

And so I came away from the game with a loss that I didn’t want, but still got because it was the right outcome. This looks a bit too much like regular life, you guys.

The good:

– I’m kinda conflicted here. There are two guys who were clearly better than the others, but neither of them delivered in the clutch and one of them posted such a line that if it came with the words “Tim Hardaway Jr.” before it we would have collectively barfed in resignation.

– Well ok. Let’s start here. With a little less than 3 minutes to go in the third I witness one of the most unlikeliest* sight ever. It said “Leading scorers: Frank Ntilikina (17 pts, 1 reb, 1 blk, +2 +/-) 16; Joel Embiid 11”. It was everything you needed to know about Frank’s night. For once, he decided that focusing on intangibles and corollary-like stuff was so 2017 and focused on scoring. Mind you, it’s not like he shot that much (8 shots in 33 minutes), it’s that he shot well and attacked with a lot of purpose. His pull-up game is not weak sauce anymore these days. Problem is, if you don’t put him in the PnR and/or don’t free shooters around him he’ll never notch another assist in his life. He’s a very unbursty type and he’s not strong like RJ, so defenses will never collapse on him. That’s why he didn’t collect a single assist. I have no answers, though, as to why he grabbed just a single board. It’s like you can’t have the whole package in one game with him (apart from his Dallas breakout). For now it will suffice, seeing as Frank’s posting 0.050 WS/48 (!) and positive VORP. I never thought I’d see the day, honestly.

*shout out to SOAD fans.

– On the other hand, it’s hard to anoint Marcus Morris (22 pts, 13 rebs, 6 ast, +5 +/-) with a “good” moniker, what with the very recent memory of him throwing away the game with bone-headed plays; at the same time it’s undeniable that this was a very, very well rounded game from him. Numbers speak for themselves – even if efficiency does not. A quick aside: how is it that it seems like there’s only one Knicks per game that can connect with Mitch on the pick and roll/lob play? Do they forget that the guy jumps very high? Do they draw straws and only the one who gets the shortest one can throw lobs to Mitchell? Morris was the one tonight, in just two instances, right before he went into hero mode. It shouldn’t necessarily be the coaching staff’s task to say “hey guys! That thing worked! Why don’t you do it again?” when things go downhill; what did we sign vets for, if so?

The bad:

– RJ Barrett (8 pts, 7 rebs, 3 ast, -5 +/-) didn’t have a bad game per se, but he completely vanished when every play mattered. I’m not asking him to be the undisputed alpha on this team (and how could he? He’s just a 19 year old rookie), but just because you mentioned Mamba mentality – throwing up in my mouth right now – it’s not like you should pull a Kobe against Utah in the 1997 playoffs. Also, 8 points on 12 shots? Ouch. I guess he just needs to picks his spots on drives, right now there are times when he just decides he’ll go inside only to get bottled/stuffed/sometimes fouled but uncalled. His advanced stats are terrible, but I’m still not worried. My preseason predictions about him, though, were waaaay off base.

Fun-sized bits:

– I didn’t figure that the Randle’s experience would be such an empty calories affair. A quite invisible 17 and 8 for him. And to say that I liked him before he wore a Knicks uniform. There’s still a lot of time, though.

– Taj Gibson had a goodish game (11 points, 4 boards, a cool spin move and dunk in the third) but only played 13:40 minutes because of foul trouble, having commited two quick ones in the first three minutes of the game. *checks boxscore* Oh well, they were the only ones he committed.

– Bobby Portis fully understood how to play 20+ minutes against Philly: never get into Embiid’s breathing space, defense be damned. 24 minutes of playing time, seven points, a whopping -14 +/-. Within 25 days I’ll start the “Trade Portis” campaign, be warned.

– Mitch also got in super foul trouble, and stayed there (4 fouls in 13 minutes). He still managed to block 3 shots, grab 2 boards and stuff two almost-crunch time dunks. But yeah, let’s pretend he’s just a run of the mill guy and not our best player.

– Kevin Knox is losing playing time, but I’m not complaining. His defense is atrocious at times, and he deserves to be set on a short leash. I don’t know why ne netted a team high +7 +/- in just 10 minutes while letting his guy run circles around him.

–  Damyean Dotson played almost 20 minutes and was terrible (2 points, 1-6 from the field, -12 +/-). I guess he belonged in the bad section after all, but at this point he’s such an afterthought that sometimes I don’t ever remember he exists.

– Dennis Smith Jr had a passable offensive outing (13 points and 2 assists in 15 minutes), but was very lackadaisical on defense while displaying all of his low BBIQ. I want to know what happens when Elfrid comes back.

– The NBA should cut some of the bogus foul calls drawn by whoever is Embiid’s defender. Mitch was whistled for his third foul on a side swipe by the Cameroon-born player. It was really awful officiating, Embiid looked for contact and Mitch is not at the point where he can comfortably teleport away. I said it last year, I’ll say it again: the NBA should do what it can to stop Embiid from being a giant, petty thorn in the ass. Evidently the KAT brawl isn’t still enough.

Until next time!

Just know that I love you all (well, almost). There’s strength in numbers.

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278 comments on “New York Knicks 104 – Philadelphia 76ers 109 – Game Recap

  1. alsep73

    Sorry things are rough, Farfa. Investing any of our emotions into this fakakta is not healthy, but especially so when we’re hoping for them to provide uplift compared to what’s happening elsewhere.

  2. Frank

    interestng tweet from the reasonably connected Alan Hahn — for the record I would welcome this:

    And if Kevin Knox doesn’t figure out how to maintain a high compete level (especially on defense) every game, Iggy is waiting to take his minutes.
    ?

    From what we’ve seen so far, it’s not clear to me what Knox does better than Iggy at this point except be drafted higher. Not that i think Knox is a lost cause, but Iggy maybe deserves some minutes.

  3. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Hope for the future at the moment rests on RJ, Frank, DSJ improving their shooting so any game where 2 out of the 3 show something in this regard is a positive. Not winning is an added bonus because (1) tank (2) makes it more likely (or does it?) that FO will try to sell off vets for picks.

    Frank:
    – TS went from 44 to 49 which shows how volatile the stats are at this stage
    – His net rating (not talking on-off here) is by far the best on the team for players with any kind of minutes. Minus .8 isn’t that bad, better than SGA net rating so far.
    – Lineup of Frank/RJ/Mook/Randle/Taj is a healthy PLUS 14.8 in 103 minutes. Stingy defensive rating of 101.9.
    – To be useful on offense, Frank needs to be in PnR and PnPop. He did that at Strasbourg and FIBA (Gobert). Why has it taken Fiz this long to figure that out?
    – Most unnerving part of Frank to me happened again last night. He swished a 3 from the left arc but later on the game from the exact same spot he missed the rim. Last season, he hit a left elbow jumper and later in the game missed the rim in the exact same way. What is happening? Bizarre and not encouraging.

    What happens when Payton returns? The 2nd unit is the best spot for DSJ at the moment. But team would be better if Payton replaced him. However don’t we want to give minutes to the much younger guys? But Payton isn’t *that* old (turns 26 in 3 months) and he’s on a nice contract – NYK would have early bird rights after next season. Tough situation.

  4. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Not that i think Knox is a lost cause, but Iggy maybe deserves some minutes.

    I kinda think he’s a lost cause because of his defense. Not a starter and a major liability in the playoffs. I’d trade Knox and Trier for a 1st if a team were dumb enough to offer it.

    I very much doubt Braz is the answer but hey he could be our Ingles.

  5. Farfa Post author

    I’d trade Knox and Trier for a 1st if a team were dumb enough to offer it.

    I don’t think you’d find such a gullible FO.

  6. thenoblefacehumper

    Great cap as usual. Sorry things are rough right now. You’re not the only one who uses this shitty team as a refuge of sorts, despite how obviously stupid it is to do so.

    Mitch’s fouls are definitely an issue, but just spit balling here, seems like a good way to teach a guy how to play defense without fouling is to actually play him when he has 4-5 fouls. I don’t get the Fizdale approach at all—it’s bad for development and bad for winning now to limit the minutes of your best player when you don’t have to do that.

  7. thenamestsam

    I really wish we didn’t have the stupid self-inflicted PF logjam because I think we need to take a look at how Knox defends against bigger guys. He’s absolutely hopeless chasing around on the perimeter – gets lost too easily and not quick enough moving his feet. I don’t expect he’d be very good at it – anybody with a decent post game is going to back him down with ease, and I would expect him to fail badly if teams put him into PNR, but given his size it’s at least worth trying before abandoning hope on him.

  8. DRed

    From what we’ve seen so far, it’s not clear to me what Knox does better than Iggy at this point except be drafted higher

    Iggy’s played 14 minutes in the NBA and they were terrible. We should definitely give him a shot-we’re not going anywhere-but Knox (also in limited minutes) has been okay this season. He’s shooting well from 3, taking a lot of 3s, passing a bit more. Knox certainly hasn’t been good, and it’s fair to doubt his ability to hit 40% of his 3s all season, but he’s been better than he was last year and he’s played 2500 NBA minutes and shot 35% from 3, which on a team that has very few guys who can shoot 3s is worthy of some minutes.

  9. DRed

    What happens when Payton returns? The 2nd unit is the best spot for DSJ at the moment. But team would be better if Payton replaced him

    I’d start Payton but not give him huge minutes (say 25-28) and have Dennis and Frank split the backup minutes. Also play Frank at the 2, but you can give DSJ something like 15 minutes a game, with Frank getting 20ish, and obviously play with those numbers based on matchups.

  10. Hubert

    I’m strongly against finding minutes for 3 PGs. The top 4 guards, when everyone is healthy, on current form should be Payton, Barrett, Frank, Dotson. Let them play. Trier and Smith just have to wait.

  11. thenoblefacehumper

    I really wish we didn’t have the stupid self-inflicted PF logjam because I think we need to take a look at how Knox defends against bigger guys. He’s absolutely hopeless chasing around on the perimeter – gets lost too easily and not quick enough moving his feet. I don’t expect he’d be very good at it – anybody with a decent post game is going to back him down with ease, and I would expect him to fail badly if teams put him into PNR, but given his size it’s at least worth trying before abandoning hope on him.

    From the beginning, it’s been glaringly obvious that Knox is a PF (if he’s anything). No two ways about it. He’s slow, doesn’t have a great handle, and isn’t much of a willing/able passer. Yet the front office + Fizdale continue to talk about him, and play him in lineups, like he’s a SF/wing. It’s pretty frustrating. He has absolutely no future as wing on either side of the ball. Try to turn him into Ryan Anderson or call it a day.

  12. DRed

    Dotson is 25 and currently rocking a sub .500TS%, a WS/48 of .020 and a BPM of -4.8. His current form is shit. If you want to say Smith is even worse-well, you’re right. But nobody playing as poorly as Dotson is should be getting minutes on merit, so why not play Dennis who arguably has more of a chance of becoming a useful player. Dotson is just a guy.

  13. Name is Bron - James Bron

    I have no answers, though, as to why he grabbed just a single board.

    I have no answer either but I might as to why Frank’s DRB% is lower this season. Payton’s DRB% is also lower versus his career %. The common denominator: RJ. RJ is such a good rebounder he might be taking those boards.

    Frank’s DRB%:
    Frank and no RJ…….14.1% (177 possessions)
    Frank and RJ…………5.9% (540 possessions)

  14. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Man, that Carmelo line is so rough. 14 shots, 10 points, 4 rebounds, a block, 5 turnovers and a negative 20 +/- in just 24 minutes.

    Can we trade for him? This tank needs an experienced commander.

  15. Bo Nateman

    Farfa
    That under adverse personal circumstances you produced the Ben Affleck of Carmelo Anthonys is astounding. Thank you for always bringing a smile to my face and helping the lurkers cope with our dystopian narrative.

  16. thenoblefacehumper

    Dotson is 25 and currently rocking a sub .500TS%, a WS/48 of .020 and a BPM of -4.8. His current form is shit.

    This was honestly surprising to me. I felt like he had played well a few times and don’t really check up on Damyean Dotson’s BRef page much.

    The eye test, folks, not even once.

  17. Ntilakilla

    I don’t see how you can bench the guard with the best +/- differentials on the entire team, including Mitch, because Elfrid Payton is waiting in the wings off a hamstring injury. Makes less than zero sense to me to determine that course of action right now off the bat. If anything Frank should be getting more responsibility with the starting unit in the meantime, particularly as a PnR ball handler, considering the alternative of having Julius Randle and Marcus Morris 1 on 1 isolate as “point forwards.” I know people are adverse to any prospect of having Frank handle the ball, but its not as if this offense is efficient right now playing “position-less basketball.” And the thing is that we actually have executed well using screens to free up Frank.

  18. Ingmarrrr

    Thanks for the recap, Farfa. I hope things get better very soon.

    As long as Frank shows progress, and he does, he should stay in the starting lineup and get 30 plus minutes. Why change something that finally seems to be working?

  19. thenoblefacehumper

    I don’t see how you can bench the guard with the best +/- differentials on the entire team

    Well, Dallas doesn’t seem to have a hard time benching THJ for Doncic despite THJ’s superior +/-. So, there’s that.

  20. rama picked up his option

    I have anti-selection bias, or whatever it is when you didn’t want someone and got them anyway. I’d prefer not to see DSjr on the court again until 2020. I also find it difficult to believe that, for all his many flaws, Frank isn’t giving us the best chance to win.

  21. Ntilakilla

    Well, Dallas doesn’t seem to have a hard time benching THJ for Doncic despite THJ’s superior +/-. So, there’s that.

    This would actually be a salient point if they played the same position within Dallas’ offense. But Timmy has been predominantly used as a 3 on the Mavs and Luka has been predominantly used as the 1. So the comparison doesn’t pass since one isn’t replacing the other there, they’re actually playing together.

  22. KnickfaninNJ

    – Most unnerving part of Frank to me happened again last night. He swished a 3 from the left arc but later on the game from the exact same spot he missed the rim. Last season, he hit a left elbow jumper and later in the game missed the rim in the exact same way. What is happening? Bizarre and not encouraging.

    I’ve noticed this but think it’s encouraging rather than discouraging. When you have a bimodal distribution like that (some shots very accurate or rim out and some shots way off), there is usually a cause for the way off misses that might be fixable. Compare that to Randle who shots are normally close to the rim but vary how close they are. He just seems intrinsically inaccurate time me. The latter seems To me harder to fix.

  23. thenoblefacehumper

    This would actually be a salient point if they played the same position within Dallas’ offense. But Timmy has been predominantly used as a 3 on the Mavs and Luka has been predominantly used as the 1. So the comparison doesn’t pass since one isn’t replacing the other there, they’re actually playing together.

    So they should bench Doncic for Jalen Brunson (+9.1) instead. Gotcha.

  24. Hubert

    Dotson is 25 and currently rocking a sub .500TS%, a WS/48 of .020 and a BPM of -4.8. His current form is shit.

    Like tnfh, I’m very surprised. Felt like he was playing well but I concede to the evidence.

    If you want to make the case for Smith being the 4th guard instead of Dotson, that’s fine. But the larger issue I was advocating for is that we shouldn’t be jamming extra guards into the lineup. No one is good enough to force us to do expand on a 4 guard rotation.

  25. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Guys, raw +/- doesn’t mean anything, even over multiple seasons. Stop it. Frank is playing well (relative to his usual play), but Payton should get some time if this team is trying to win games. I’d be fine with him warming the bench, because I don’t want this team to win games off the back of journeymen, but Payton should get time if we do care about merit.

  26. d-mar

    Stayed up for that entire Celtics-Clippers game. At around 12:10 AM they started the 4th quarter, at around 1:00 AM they ended the OT. There were numerous replay reviews, coaches challenges, timeouts. The NBA really needs to do something about this, one of the replay reviews took over 5 minutes.

    As far as the game goes, gotta give props to those C’s for their defense and scrappiness (and Smart is the king of scrapping) How they managed to go toe to toe with the Clips with Kemba going 4-17 and Brown 3-14 is pretty impressive.

    However, I still think they’ll live and die with Kemba, and they can’t afford many off nights like vs. the Clips.

  27. thenoblefacehumper

    Guys, raw +/- doesn’t mean anything, even over multiple seasons. Stop it.

    It’s so weird that this has become a thing again. I feel like we collectively came to this determination a whole ass decade ago!

    On the off chance it wasn’t clear, I absolutely do not think the Mavs should bench Doncic. I’m pointing out that raw +/- is extremely noisy even with the largest samples, and downright useless in the context of 15 games.

  28. swiftandabundant

    I was pleased with last night’s effort though any loss sucks.

    I don’t want to tank. The Clippers were an 8th seed last year and now they have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. We have first round picks going forward plus a few extra from Dallas. We also have the flexibility to shed contracts pretty easily over the next season or two if we need to. I believe building a competitive team is more important than tanking but won’t be mad if we miss the playoffs and get a high lottery pick. I just think there is more than one way to build a legit contender.

    Frank was awesome last night. We can argue till we’re blue in the face about if he can be “good” or not. If he puts up offensive numbers even close to what he did last night while providing great defense and unselfish play, he is obviously a great player. People love to say stuff about “look at these numbers. No player who started out this bad has ever become good.”

    But Frank came to the league as the youngest player in the league from another country. He’s had to learn a different style of bball under 2 different coaches, one of whom hasn’t really been that supportive of him until recently. Plus he had injuries that derailed his second season. HE is still so young and he is a smart, unselfish, defense first player. I like him and want him to succeed. I think RJ, Mitch and Frank can be the start of a promising team that has potential on both sides of the ball.

    The next game is a big one (right Jowles?) We barely lost to the Spurs opening game and this is at home. We should win it and then we’ll be 4-4 over our last 8 games with 2 of the losses being very close. How you like them end points?

  29. E

    Elfrid Payton isn’t close to as good a player as Frank Ntilikina and at this point it’s barely worth arguing about, although this is a world open to any opinion anywhere and therefore a world that will always be open to Frank Non-Truthers. Yet again last night, Frank had to get subbed out with a big lead and yet again things on both ends of the floor immediately went to shit. Clyde saw it after like ten seconds as did everybody watching. This is not coincidence.

    As to Knox: The Knicks could have a young, home-grown backcourt of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Frank Ntilikina and that’s a backcourt you could eventually win championships with. Sigh.

  30. geo

    I also find it difficult to believe that, for all his many flaws, Frank isn’t giving us the best chance to win.

    E
    November 20, 2019 at 9:02 pm
    The shit just falls apart when Frank’s not in

    this is pretty insane…if you had asked me just two months ago if these statements would ever have been written here on knickerblogger – i would not have believed it…

    frank’s breaking spreadsheets and destroying statistical analysis everywhere…

  31. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I don’t want to tank. The Clippers were an 8th seed last year and now they have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. […] I just think there is more than one way to build a legit contender.

    The Clippers also got lucky that two LA natives were available during their primes at the same exact time, and also happened to create their own luck by shedding a good, but wildly overpaid player (Harris) for substantial assets used to get a much better player. (They also had to give up a possible max of six [!] first-rounders to make that happen.)

    But keep in mind that the Clippers created their own luck before that too, when they flipped an aging, supermaxed Blake Griffin for Bradley, Harris and a first rounder. They also traded an aging Chris Paul for Pat Bev, Harrell, Lou Williams and a first rounder. The only downside to their moves is that they had to give up SGA, who has been underwhelming this year anyway, and almost certainly not able to be a key contributor to a championship run until a couple years from now, when Kawhi might be opting out of his 2+1 again.

    It’s disingenuous to believe that the Knicks can put themselves on this path. There are no superstars — real or imagined — to trade for substantial assets. There is no pair of superstars looking to come home while adding themselves to a playoff core filled with high-production role players who make less than what their market value would likely be if based solely on PIPM or RAPM.

    There are several ways to build a contender. Signing role players to enormous deals (rather than renting space for draft assets), drafting low-floor project players with lottery picks, and winning meaningless games in March and April to all but pigeonhole yourself into the 9th pick in a draft that featured Doncic and Trae Young? I don’t think any of these are among the effective strategies.

    I don’t think this needs to be re-litigated, but here we are. Marshmallow test, dude.

  32. geo

    kevin is still pretty young, so, not expecting a ton of consistent good play this year, especially considering just how bad he was last year – but, watching him out on the court, he just doesn’t seem right…

    he’s not a high-energy or emotionally demonstrative person normally – but, he appears to be moping around the court more than usual lately…

  33. Ntilakilla

    Elfrid Payton isn’t close to as good a player as Frank Ntilikina and at this point it’s barely worth arguing about, although this is a world open to any opinion anywhere and therefore a world that will always be open to Frank Non-Truthers. Yet again last night, Frank had to get subbed out with a big lead and yet again things on both ends of the floor immediately went to shit. Clyde saw it after like ten seconds as did everybody watching. This is not coincidence.

    Yeah, but according to the Frank Non-Truthers its just as possible that such a difference in play is less the result of Frank’s play and more a result of how poorly his backups like DSJ or Trier perform. This is why the +/- means little to them, because its only one part of the equation and they’re right. What I can’t understand is this insistence that Elfrid Payton start as if the difference between what he brings and what Frank has given us so far in 2019 is that great. Elfrid Payton is 26 year old point guard with subpar career metrics. If he’s so hot let him play his way back to the starting PG position after he rehabs his hammy.

  34. E

    This is why the +/- means little to them, because its only one part of the equation and they’re right.

    They’re right statistically, wrong analytically. I watch all the games and go to a bunch so all the plus-minus is doing for me is confirming what my eyes see. Moreover, other statistics help give color to why the plus-minus numbers are what they are. Frank was the best p/r defending guard statistically in the Association as a 19-year-old. This bears repeating: When Frank Ntilikina was 19 years old, he defended the pick and roll better than any guard in the world.

    What I can’t understand is this insistence that Elfrid Payton start as if the difference between what he brings and what Frank has given us so far in 2019 is that great.

    No one could be watching the games objectively and come to this conclusion. Even if you aren’t watching the games, the team was 0-3 heading to 0-4 when Payton hurt his hamstring. He left, Frank started getting at least some minutes in that Bulls game, things turned around and they won it, and they’re playing nothing like 0-4 basketball since. In the second game against the Nets, Payton was positively godawful. He’s nowhere near as good on defense as Frank, far more prone to turnovers than Frank, nowhere near as good an organizer or facilitator or point-guardish leader as Frank on offense, and isn’t even really as good a shooter as Frank, at least in terms of shooting form. He’s not as good as Frank, full stop. This is a really stupid organization, so who knows what stupid shit they’re going to do when Payton comes back, but that’s irrelevant to who’s better.

  35. JK47

    Payton plays a different position than Ntilikina. Ntilikina is a wing who plays point guard because none of the other point guards are healthy. He can’t do point guard-y things such as drive to the basket and score, beat his defender off the dribble, etc. He’s interesting though as a defensive specialist wing! He’s actually been pretty good in that role. Payton, meanwhile is a point guard. Not a very good one, but he is an actual point guard.

    When all are healthy, Payton and Smith should be the point guards, and Ntilikina should play a lot at the 2. RJ Barrett should swing between the 2 and 3. Frank can play emergency PG like he’s doing now, but his best path to success is as a wing.

  36. JK47

    Wanting Frank to play point guard is wanting Frank to fail. It’s not what he does well. There are things he DOES do well. The team should focus on that. Because he’s not a point guard. Elfrid Payton being mediocre does not make Frank Ntilikina a point guard.

  37. thenamestsam

    The Payton-Frank debate seems like kind of a moot point to me since it doesn’t sound like Payton is particularly close to a return at this point and when he does come back he’ll surely be easing back in after missing 6+ weeks with a muscular injury. Two weeks from now we’ll have a lot more info (particularly for DSJ who has played 115 minutes this year so far) and then you can start by gently easing Payton back in with 10 or 12 minutes off the bench for a couple games before you really have to make a decision.

  38. E

    Yes, Frank’s ultimate role is as like a 25 MPG combo guard who can play more minutes in case of injury or situation. But he’s absolutely a guy who can fill a major role on a championship-caliber team and help win playoff games with lockdown defense. And there’s no sense in which his “limitations” should mean that somehow he sits on this team at this age behind Elfrid F Payton and Dennis F Smith, because that’s absurd.

    And where he is absolutely not “limited” and instead really good at PG skills is in bringing the ball up against pressure, which he’s great at, and getting the offense organized, which he’s also great at. These skills are less necessary and more secondary if you bring in an actual star PG, but the Knicks are not in that position at present, needless to say.

  39. Ntilakilla

    Wanting Frank to play point guard is wanting Frank to fail. It’s not what he does well. There are things he DOES do well. The team should focus on that. Because he’s not a point guard. Elfrid Payton being mediocre does not make Frank Ntilikina a point guard.

    But Frank is having his best offensive season so far playing more point guard in Fizdale’s “positionless offense” than he did last season. And the guy has actually done a lot of his best offensive work as a primary ballhandler in a pick and roll offense, but Fiz goes away from it in order to have Julius Randle and Marcus Morris isolate.

  40. Hubert

    The problem, swiftandabundant, is marginal wins aren’t going to fool anyone. It wasn’t just that the Clippers and Nets made the playoffs. It was their infrastructure that projected the ability to sustain success.

    If the Knicks eke out 30 wins on the back of some Marcus Morris hero ball, it’s not going to cover up the lack of organizational identity, philosophy, or structure. The best acquisition we can make is a front office star, so best to hope the tank succeeds.

  41. swiftandabundant

    Here is your problem, Jowles. Whenever someone expresses optimism about a possible path forward for us, you spend lots of time and mental energy logically explaining why it won’t work. You bring up stats and offer reasons for why this idea or that idea won’t work.

    But I watched the Giants beat the undefeated Pats in the Superbowl. I was at the music city miracle.

    Sports, like life, is unpredictable. Success happens when preparedness meets opportunity. You are right. The Clippers were prepared to take advantage of a great opportunity. But I believe without a doubt that Kawhi and Paul George would not have gone to The Clippers if they weren’t a decently good team last year that made the playoffs and played The Warriors tight in the first round.

    Luck, chance, being in the right place at the right time…this shit happens in sports ALL THE TIME.

    Being shitty and hoping for another lotto pick could work out for us. RJ is pretty damn good and so is Mitch. Another high pick could set us up. But also being a good enough team with lots of picks and cap flexibility could also be a path so that when a situation like Kawhi/PG arises that is favorable for us arises, we are able to act on it.

    Your path means being horrible for another year or two. But what if RJ hates losing and wants to leave because we tank again? What if AD wants to leave the Lakers cause Rondo yells at him in a playoff game or Lebron gets hurt? We have no idea which superstar could quickly become disillusioned with his current situation. It happens ALL THE TIME and no one has a crystal ball.

  42. geo

    This bears repeating: When Frank Ntilikina was 19 years old, he defended the pick and roll better than any guard in the world.

    okay, yeah whatever…that may hold true for here on Earth, but, any idea what’s going on around Uranus…

  43. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Here is your problem, Jowles. Whenever someone expresses optimism about a possible path forward for us, you spend lots of time and mental energy logically explaining why it won’t work. You bring up stats and offer reasons for why this idea or that idea won’t work.

    Do you want me to apologize for looking at evidence instead of being a thrall to my own hopes and dreams?

    [Also, don’t bring up football when discussing NBA luck. Wildcard teams make it to the Super Bowl all the time. 8-seeds almost never make it to the Finals.]

    Your path means being horrible for another year or two. But what if RJ hates losing and wants to leave because we tank again?

    As many of us have said, if you tank 3 years in a row, it means that your lottery picks are shitty and you picked the wrong ones.

    The Mavs didn’t really do much to improve their roster year over year, but they have the best 20-year-old player since Magic, and maybe the best offensive sophomore the league has ever seen. They are constitutionally unable to tank, even though it would be in their interest to get Wiseman for the long haul, because they picked the unequivocal best draftee I’ve seen since Anthony Davis.

    You can’t tank 3-4 years in a row without having fucked up your draft (or been subject to horrible luck, a la Oden and Brandon Roy).

  44. Ntilakilla

    This ongoing debate between Swift and Jowles reminds me of the debate between Morpheus and Commander Lock in the Matrix sequels regarding the merits of faith vs. a strictly empirical based approach. But the sad part is that the Knicks FO has to play the part of Neo.

  45. Hubert

    What if AD wants to leave the Lakers cause Rondo yells at him in a playoff game or Lebron gets hurt?

    With LeBron showing no signs of slowing down, I think all signs point to AD signing a 1+1 in LA. Keep in mind this is his 8th year in the league. So if he does one more year in LA (his 9th), he’s eligible for 10 year player max, which is significantly higher. That’s what Durant did at GS, that’s what Kawhi and George are doing now, and I think that’s likely going to be the norm going forward.

    The best thing that can happen to the Knicks is to suck now (when no major free agents are available this summer), get another top pick, wash out the Mills era, and bring in a real PoBO.

    But then I would do exactly what you are currently advocating. I think you’re right, you’re just a year ahead.

  46. ptmilo

    This bears repeating: When Frank Ntilikina was 19 years old, he defended the pick and roll better than any guard in the world.

    i think frank is a great defender but there is no useful evidence of this. my guess is you are relying on the oft repeated synergy stat showing frank gave of .65 PPP in the PNR *when the ball handler ended the play.* this is a very limited take on PNR defense and rookie frank was not near number 2 in PNR efficiency when you consider all outcomes (also flawed for obvious reasons such as who you are defending with). and oh btw frank was only first if you use 200 possessions as a cutoff. you know who was even better in 17-18 with 180 possessions? defensive juggernaut lou williams.

    i know you don’t really believe this stat is good evidence, unless you want to say frank has gotten much worse at pnr defense since then. in 2018-19 the best pnr ball handler defender was none other than kyrie irving at an identical .65 ppp, with frank slipping to .83, tied with zach lavine at the 34th percentile. ytd he is at .98, below average, sandwiched between morant and fultz. but frank almost surely hasn’t gotten worse. and we have no good reason to say he was the best at 19.

  47. E

    This ongoing debate between Swift and Jowles reminds me of the debate between Morpheus and Commander Lock in the Matrix sequels regarding the merits of faith vs. a strictly empirical based approach. But the sad part is that the Knicks FO has to play the part of Neo.

    Shakespeare covered this turf centuries ago when he approvingly put in a character’s mouth the words, “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio // Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

  48. Ben R

    I think at this point the best path forward for Frank is to keep him at PG because why not and then when Payton comes back, play them together a lot. Payton’s best year came when he played beside Holiday in a two PG offense. While Frank will never be a dynamic attack the basket PG that is not the only role for PGs. He just needs to play next to either another PG or a capable wing creator like Doncic, Simmons, Lebron, Harden, etc. Frank cannot be tasked with being the engine that runs the offense but can be a productive cog even at PG.

  49. JK47

    But Frank is having his best offensive season so far playing more point guard in Fizdale’s “positionless offense” than he did last season.

    He’s having his best season relative to his past as “unbelievably bad offensive player.” Yes, he’s playing well compared to that.

    He still ain’t no point guard.

  50. TheClashFan

    So, Payton should start over Frank b/c Doncic starts over Brunson? I didn’t know Payton was that good, but yeah, start him then!

    Always nice to read a Shakespeare ref, esp. from Hamlet, my favorite play of all time!

  51. Hubert

    I don’t understand the obsession with calling Frank a point guard or a wing.

    He’s a guard. He can play with Barrett, Smith, Payton, or Dotson.

    Our 3 best guards should get ~90% of the minutes played, with a 4th getting whatever’s left. When everyone is healthy, I’d say Barrett, Payton, Frank are our 3 best guards. I would have said Dotson is 4th but DRed convinced me Smith is the better choice.

  52. thenamestsam

    I think at this point the best path forward for Frank is to keep him at PG because why not and then when Payton comes back, play them together a lot. Payton’s best year came when he played beside Holiday in a two PG offense. While Frank will never be a dynamic attack the basket PG that is not the only role for PGs. He just needs to play next to either another PG or a capable wing creator like Doncic, Simmons, Lebron, Harden, etc. Frank cannot be tasked with being the engine that runs the offense but can be a productive cog even at PG.

    I totally agree that this could be a good alignment for both of them. Payton has a 6’7″ wingspan as well and is big enough to handle a lot of 2s meaning you can play around with the matchups to typically give Frank the tougher defensive assignment while not forcing him to be the primary ball handler.

    The “problem” with this is that then Barrett needs to play the 3 a lot and Morris needs to play the 4 a lot since both those guys are playing really big minutes. Note that none of this is actually a problem and I think there’s a good chance that could be our best lineup (Payton/Frank/RJ/Morris/Mitch actually lets you spread the floor for Mitch and gets amounts of shooting and ball handling on the floor that don’t make the team look like it’s from 2002), but Fiz has still shown almost no indications to get to these kind of lineups consistently (Morris is down from 97% PF and 3% C last season to 30% PF and 70% SF this year according to Cleaning the Glass).

  53. E

    In terms of lineups, there’s finally a 5-man that’s exceeded 100 minutes together — Frank, Taj, Mook, Rowan, Randle. They’re playing great together: +14.8 net rating with an ORat of 116.7. Not advocating this as the best lineup, because it isn’t, but so far so good.

    It’s third in ORat among lineups (14) that have played more than 100 minutes together, trailing only Booker/Rubio/Oubre/Saric/Baynes at 121.5 (+12.8) and Lowry/Gasol/VV/Siakam/Anunoby at 116.8 (+15.4).

  54. alsep73

    Interesting nugget buried in Berman’s story about the current state of the Knicks, specifically regarding one of the reasons Fiz wasn’t likely to be fired this early in the season:

    Sources indicated the major deterrent to making a change at Thanksgiving was the sketchy alternative of promoting one of the assistants – Jud Buechler, Keith Smart or Kaleb Canales.

    Note the absence of Mike Miller on that list from Berman, who’s as plugged into the front office as any guy on the beat. It’s like I’ve been saying for weeks: if you’re rooting for Fizdale to be fired because that means Miller gets to take over the team, you haven’t been paying attention to how Mills and Perry operate.

  55. wetbandit

    Can someone explain to me the “Ben Affleck of Carmelo Anthonys” thing? It’s been killing me all day

  56. Owen

    Great stuff Farfa as always….

    I was also thrown a little bit by the Affleck/Melo/Morris thing as well. I think I might like Affleck the best of those three….

  57. iserp

    The “problem” with this is that then Barrett needs to play the 3 a lot and Morris needs to play the 4 a lot since both those guys are playing really big minutes. Note that none of this is actually a problem and I think there’s a good chance that could be our best lineup (Payton/Frank/RJ/Morris/Mitch actually lets you spread the floor for Mitch and gets amounts of shooting and ball handling on the floor that don’t make the team look like it’s from 2002), but Fiz has still shown almost no indications to get to these kind of lineups consistently (Morris is down from 97% PF and 3% C last season to 30% PF and 70% SF this year according to Cleaning the Glass).

    I dont see a problem with that lineup, i like it, but our FO wants both Morris and Randle on the floor, so I dont see it happening. And if I have to choose between Randle and Morris, I would try to push for Randle, because he is young and might be a part of the future.

  58. ptmilo

    Can someone explain to me the “Ben Affleck of Carmelo Anthonys” thing? It’s been killing me all day

    ben affleck is the wally of batmen

  59. Ntilakilla

    He’s having his best season relative to his past as “unbelievably bad offensive player.” Yes, he’s playing well compared to that.

    Maybe we should keep him there at PG, then, if he’s doing his best work there.

  60. geo

    all-time batman (movie) rankings:
    1). michael keaton
    2). christian bale
    3). george clooney
    4). val kilmer
    5). ben affleck

    i had no idea there were so many different animated series actors, including that weird lego stuff…and, of course – props to adam west…i loved me some batman as a kid…

  61. Bruno Almeida

    @68

    Well, we should keep him there because the Knicks have nothing better to do, really, so start Frank at the 1 and see how it goes.

    But his improvement from “historically awful offensive player” to “below average backup PG” does not merit the position, it’s just that there’s no real other option and he’s young enough to still inspire some hope that the improvement will be sustained.

  62. JK47

    I don’t understand the obsession with calling Frank a point guard or a wing.

    He’s a guard. He can play with Barrett, Smith, Payton, or Dotson.

    Because he needs to play alongside somebody who has some prayer of breaking down a defender or creating offense. Otherwise you get the stupid shitty Fizdale offense thing where it’s “pass it to Randle or Morris and let him create something.” I don’t see LeBron James or Giannis on the roster so it’s pretty imperative that Frank plays next to an actual point guard. Or a “shot creator,” whatever you want to call it.

    There is no such thing as a good NBA offense that lacks a single player who can create. Some of the lineups we’re running out there are exactly that. It’s a big reason why our offense eats ass.

  63. alsep73

    Because he needs to play alongside somebody who has some prayer of breaking down a defender or creating offense.

    JK, you say this every time we have a Frank argument, as if he has never done that and is incapable of doing that. He barely did it in his first few seasons, but he did it on occasion, and he’s done it with more regularity in this last stretch of games. He’s never going to be a brilliant drive-and-kick point guard, but he went right into the teeth of a very good Sixers offense last night and made things happen for himself, while also kicking the ball out to other players who happened to miss relatively open 3-pointers.

    We’re never going to agree on this guy’s merits, obviously, but hyperbole — in this case, insisting that Frank is incapable of doing things that he did multiple times in a game we watched last night — doesn’t help your argument any more than it does ours.

  64. Farfa Post author

    ben affleck is the wally of batmen

    Yep.

    It was meant to say “a decent, if entirely forgettable, version of a mythological character”.

  65. GianaDani

    Payton, Frank, RJ, Morris and Mitch is our best starting lineup. These are the best players on the Knicks. Four young kids and a vet. Both the team and Randle are better off with Dot, Portis, and Smith off the bench. First job as a coach is to be able to figure out who the best payers on the team are and play them. If you don’t play the best players you lose the locker room.

  66. JK47

    We’re never going to agree on this guy’s merits, obviously, but hyperbole — in this case, insisting that Frank is incapable of doing things that he did multiple times in a game we watched last night — doesn’t help your argument any more than it does ours.

    Sure, he might be able to occasionally score off the dribble, but let’s get real. If you’re relying on that for your offense to work you are probably going to suck. This is a league full of point guards who can make something happen, pretty regularly. I don’t really understand why this is controversial. He’d be much better as an off-ball guard. Call him a “second point guard” if you must.

    If you put Pete Alonso at shortstop, he’s probably going to be able to successfully convert some groundballs into outs. He’d still be a shitty shortstop. Play him at first base though, and you really have something!

    Frank has played pretty well, but his 17.2 AST% and 1.0 FT/36 tell me he’s not an NBA point guard. We probably wouldn’t have the #28 offense in the league if we had competent point guard play. Which we do not have.

  67. Nick C.

    Yep.

    It was meant to say “a decent, if entirely forgettable, version of a mythological character”.

    …that looks as if he has had plastic surgery from The Real Housewives team of plastic surgeons.

  68. Knew Your Nicks

    I watched the game a few hours after its end without knowing the final score.
    When we were Up 17
    I challenged
    myself:
    “If we manage to lose this one i stop being a knicks fan and start searching for another team to root for !”

    1 second later i took it back.

    I ‘knew’ we would not gonna win this one despite the big lead….but at least it was a fun run.

  69. Knew Your Nicks

    I have the impression that Ben Affleck always plays Ben Affleck.
    In a flat-havent drink coffee yet-way.

  70. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    ben affleck is the wally of batmen

    I’m actually ashamed of how long it took me to realize that Michael Keaton is a serious and good actor

  71. Name is Bron - James Bron

    We probably wouldn’t have the #28 offense in the league if we had competent point guard play. Which we do not have.

    OK but might it also be that our offense has been so bad because we were near the bottom in frequency of PnRs? The offense has looked much better the last few games since Taj entered the starting lineup and we’ve used way more screening (off ball as well) and fewer ISOs and post-ups. That 5-man starting lineup with a 116 ORtg in 103 minutes might be a mirage but maybe wait and judge after a larger sample if the offense continues to be tailored to the strengths of its players.

    BUT history may repeat itself.
    Fiz on 11/15/18: We weren’t winning, so it’s not like it was winning games for us.
    Fiz on 11/??/19: We weren’t winning, so it’s not like it was winning games for us.

    I don’t think Fiz ever played the lineup of Frank/THJ/Dot/Vonleh/Mitch after 11/15/18. And now the starting lineup Frank/RJ/Morris/Randle/Taj is doing well on net rating against opponent’s starters. It wouldn’t surprise me if it suffers the same fate given how tough the schedule is the next month.

  72. JK47

    OK but might it also be that our offense has been so bad because we were near the bottom in frequency of PnRs?

    This is definitely true, and considering Frank does seem to have pretty good feel for PnR it’s pretty frustrating that we’re not running it more with him, and with RJ as well.

    To be clear I’m not blaming the shitty offensive results on Frank, he has played as well as can be expected. He’s not really getting a super great chance to succeed with this bum ass offense we run. It’s like it highlights his deficiencies as much as humanly possible. More PnR almost certainly would get better results.

  73. rama picked up his option

    I’m actually ashamed of how long it took me to realize that Michael Keaton is a serious and good actor

    For some reason I thought he was fantastic early on, when he was still Michael Douglas – he just impressed me with his obvious intelligence and understated malice. Ray Nicolette remains one of my favorite roles of his, in an underappreciated film. (Jackie Brown, not Out of Sight, which I think is rated highly.)

    Edit: I also rate Out of Sight highly! Great style, and I admit I was no big fan of J Lo until that movie…changed my mind.)

  74. Knew Your Nicks

    my Eye Test Latest:

    The team may has many shit to deal with but one thing’s for sure:
    They play tough D.
    Not Always smart and effective but definitely tough for regular season.

    The Offense is still primitive.

  75. dtrickey

    I’m actually ashamed of how long it took me to realize that Michael Keaton is a serious and good actor

    He was fantastic in Birdman.

  76. geo

    He was fantastic in Birdman.

    + 1,000,000…yeah, he went from likable character actor to wow – this dude just killed it…the supporting cast helped him out a bunch…

  77. dtrickey

    they made a movie about Chris Anderson?

    Admittedly I thought it was a reference to the Hannah Barbera Birdman/Adult Swim Harvey Birdman Attorney at Law series. That being said, a gritty Chris Anderson bio pic could be interesting, especially his post NBA-career life.

  78. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Birdman was fantastic and Spotlight eroded part of my soul, thanks in large part to Mr. Keaton.

  79. Knew Your Nicks

    How can you tell if an actor is bad, mediocre, ok or great ?
    Is it just eye/heart test/personal taste or are there any stats related ?

  80. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    That being said, a gritty Chris Anderson bio pic could be interesting, especially his post NBA-career life.

    Hah, I’m imagining it like Raging Bull, only instead of amping himself up for a stand-up act, he’s staring at himself in the mirror before a Big 3 game: “Some people aren’t that lucky. Like Norris Cole after LeBron took his talents back to Lake Erie. An up-and-comer who’s now a down-and-outer.”

  81. geo

    How can you tell if an actor is bad, mediocre, ok or great ?
    Is it just eye/heart test/personal taste or are there any stats related ?

    ha…missed reading your words :)

    i’m trying to think now what i would consider to be the best acting performance i’ve seen…the first thought i have is mickey rourke in the wrestler…daniel day lewis in either lincoln or gangs of new york would probably be next for me…

  82. Z-man

    Jowles, belated thanks*, the common thread is a penchant for rooting for the underdog. Hoping for better outcomes in both realms someday soon.

    *except for the basketball-related part…for that, gfy ;)

  83. geo

    What’s the technique behind rating acting performances ?

    for myself, it’s all about trust and truth…how difficult is it for me to no longer see an actor portraying a role…a good script, costumes, sets, director and supporting cast definitely help…

  84. Knew Your Nicks

    When you say’trust’ you mean :
    Convinced by the actor that he’s playing the character ?

    And Is that ‘technique’ of truth & trust mostly based on EQ or am i wrong ?

  85. swiftandabundant

    Didn’t Chris Anderson become a meth addict and drop out of the league before coming back with The Nuggets? He was part of that Melo/Billups team that went to the WCF.

    Remember when Melo helped lead a team that was tied 2-2 in the WCF against the eventual champs? Good times…

  86. geo

    that’s an interesting thought – i have even less qualifications for accurately rating an actor’s performance than i do a basketball player’s performance…

    emotional intelligence…sympathizing, empathizing with a character – yeah, those are really important…
    a like what this person wrote:

    While discussing/criticizing/comparing acting performances of actors I’ve seen different people giving preferences to different aspects.. for some, the most significant aspect is that how truly an actor’s face expressions convey the complex human emotions of his role.. for some, dialogue delivery is the more important aspect and they criticize an otherwise good performance on the grounds that actor was mumbling the dialogues.. for some, it is how perfectly an actor changes his accent, body language & mannerisms in accordance to the demand of role etc.. I personally find it really remarkable & commendable when an actor seems that natural on screen as if he’s totally unaware of the presence of camera.. so it seems that even though all these aspects are equally significant in comprising a great acting performance but still their consideration vary from person to person..

    tough metrics to quantify…

  87. Owen

    I actually think that quantifying an actor’s ability and value is a really fascinating subject. Which is no surprise I guess given what we do here. It’s obviously a matter of great interest to people in Hollywood too.

    I thought about it even more after seeing a movie called The Rider which I highly highly recommend and which uses amateur actors. It’s incredibly powerful and the performances are unbelievable.

    I suspect acting talent is far more widely distributed than most people think.

    Of course, I feel the same way about point guard’s, large supply of short people etc, and the Knicks haven’t had a decent one in decades….

  88. Knew Your Nicks

    Sports are not Art but i strongly feel that there are 2 characteristics i admire in basketball but can’t find them clearly on stats.

    That’s where EQ & ‘trust & truth’ come in along with the eye test to help a bit.

    I think they’re the magical ingredients on Frank’s game and the reason why Frankophiles love his game despite its many flaws.

    Unselfishness
    &
    Effort

    (Part of the) Truth is in the heart

  89. geo

    I suspect acting talent is far more widely distributed than most people think.

    i definitely don’t think the academy always gets it right, but, generally – oscar winning performances are usually pretty special…

    Truth is in the heart

    yeah baby – just like the groove is in the heart :)

    it is nice to see fiz warming to mister frank…at least he’s got one friend on the team…

  90. dtrickey

    Hah, I’m imagining it like Raging Bull, only instead of amping himself up for a stand-up act, he’s staring at himself in the mirror before a Big 3 game: “Some people aren’t that lucky. Like Norris Cole after LeBron took his talents back to Lake Erie. An up-and-comer who’s now a down-and-outer.”

    Honestly that reads like something Netflix would green light.

    Didn’t Chris Anderson become a meth addict and drop out of the league before coming back with The Nuggets? He was part of that Melo/Billups team that went to the WCF.

    I recall Denver waived him in about 2012 because of child pornography accusations levelled against him, but IIRC he was never actually charged. Sound pretty grim and I don’t really care too much to dig deeper tbh. I think he was also catfished once, so certainly a lot of source material for a film.

  91. Knew Your Nicks

    As for acting performances I’d say classic Quartet: Brando, Jack ,early DeNiro + Pacino are among my fave ones ever.
    But of course there are plenty of great ones including
    AHopkins,DDLewis,JIrons,Clint,Meryl,Dustin+++++
    Birdman, wrestler and Daniel the butcher were pretty exceptional too from the ‘latest’ ones.
    I liked Portman in black swan too.

  92. alsep73

    What’s the technique behind rating acting performances ?

    I knew that if I hung out on this blog for years on end pretending to know how to compute TS%, eventually the conversation would turn around to my area of professional expertise!

    The funny thing is, for TV (THE BOOK), my co-author and I actually cooked up a mathematical formula to properly rank the shows, rating each show on a scale from 1-10 in six categories: innovation, influence, performance (the matter at hand here), storytelling, consistency, and peak value. It was pretty much eye test bunk from the start — once we collated the scores, we had a bunch of, “Well, that can’t be right!” reactions, and adjusted various scores accordingly — but most of the shows immediately got placed in a vicinity that felt right, and then it was a matter of fine-tuning. But as I joke whenever anybody asks me about the thing, the best way to evaluate art is of course to assign a numerical value to it.

    But I mention that to get to this: at one point, we had a five-way tie for the best show of all time, between The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Simpsons, and Cheers, with Deadwood and Mad Men lurking a couple of points behind. Taking the two comedies out of the equation for a second, those five dramas felt remarkably equal to us, especially where performance was concerned. We started talking about some kind of TV drama Mt. Rushmore that had Gandolfini, Cranston, Hamm, and maybe Ian McShane on it. Then a few years later, we went off to write a Sopranos book, and we rewatched The Sopranos for the first time in years. And what Jim Gandolfini was doing was so astonishingly raw and real, it left us feeling like we needed to give him his own mountain, and find a much smaller one to put everybody else on. What separated him from the rest was just how completely he seemed to be this complicated mess of a guy. I never felt he was acting, even though (knowing him a little), he obviously…

  93. KnickfaninNJ

    One way I rate acting is by the actors capacity to make me “suspend disbelief”. See this reference. If I find I really believe the character the actor portrays and forget it’s an act, that’s a sign of a good acting job.

  94. alsep73

    Oh, and a year or so before he played Batman, Michael Keaton was in a movie called Clean and Sober, where he played an addict trying to scam his way through rehab and AA, only to discover that he wanted to commit to recovery. I only saw it because Siskel and Ebert raved about it, but I walked away thinking, “Man, the guy from Johnny Dangerously can really act!”

  95. geo

    my co-author and I actually cooked up a mathematical formula to properly rank the shows, rating each show on a scale from 1-10 in six categories: innovation, influence, performance (the matter at hand here), storytelling, consistency, and peak value. 

    oh my goodness, you are a geek to the bone…and, seemingly have found the perfect spot to indulge those tendencies:)

  96. Hubert

    i’m trying to think now what i would consider to be the best acting performance i’ve seen

    For me it’s Adrien Brody in the The Pianist. I remember when I watched him eat the sandwich Hosenfeld brought him in the attic. Somehow he made me feel like I had been starved, too.

  97. TheOakmanCometh

    Reggie Miller is a legitimately awful announcer. He sounds like a nerd trying too hard to impress the cool kids. It’s so annoying.

  98. The Infamous Cdiggy

    Denzel…

    Somewhat on/off topic: are there certain actors who aren’t headliners that you’re glad is still getting work? For me, it’s Bokeem Woodbine. Had his moments in the 90s but is still grinding.

  99. Ntilakilla

    I’m pretty certain Denzel Washington is the greatest American film actor of all time. I think his work stands above Tracy, Brando, DeNiro, Pacino, Hanks.

    As for non-headliners still getting work? Hmmm….I will throw John Turturro out there even though I think he’s starring in that spinoff about his Big Lebowski character. If anyone hasn’t seen The Night Of I highly recommend it. He was spectacular in it as he is in everything he does.

  100. JK47

    “The Wire” is my favorite TV show of all time, and there are so many great performances in that, but the one that always slays me is Jamie Hector as Marlo Stanfield. It’s such a subtle and low-key menacing performance.

    Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” is one of those once-in-a-generation performances, he is the only guy on the planet who could have played that role.

    I also love DeNiro as Rupert Pupkin in “King Of Comedy.”

  101. Ntilakilla

    I also love DeNiro as Rupert Pupkin in “King Of Comedy.”

    I think this was clearly DeNiro’s most underrated performance of all time. I put it up there with Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver to be honest. The Joker movie pretty much ripped the character and story from that movie off.

    If we’re talking all time performances? In the 1990s I will posit Denzel as Malcolm X, which was just generational and iconic. I also thought Danny Vineyard in American History X was terrific. In the 2000s, I have it between Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview in There Will be Blood and Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback Mountain. This decade I was really impressed with Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom in Nightcrawler.

  102. geo

    it’s funny – most everything we’ve mentioned happened in the 90’s or later…

    there was a time I would have never believed that anyone ever had, or, ever could act better than humphrey bogart…man, when I was young I wanted to be cool like him…fred c dobbs is still one of my favorite characters ever…

  103. JK47

    In the 1990s I will posit Denzel as Malcolm X, which was just generational and iconic.

    I don’t usually like biopics but that is a notable exception. He’s unreal in that.

  104. Ntilakilla

    there was a time I would have never believed that anyone ever had, or, ever could act better than humphrey bogart…man, when I was young I wanted to be cool like him…fred c dobbs is still one of my favorite characters ever…

    I like Humphrey Bogart a lot, but he ended up playing Humphrey Bogart in most of his films.

  105. Ntilakilla

    @118

    In my opinion the Academy robbed Denzel of the Best Actor Award that year in favor of Pacino. It’s just such a great performance, absolutely transformational. People forget how difficult it was to make that movie championing a uncompromising black nationalist figure back in 1992 coming off the Watt Riots, but I assume a lot of racial politics played in the decision to deny him of his full accolades.

  106. alsep73

    I assume a lot of racial politics played in the decision to deny him of his full accolades.

    Nah, it was as more about the Oscars perpetually giving people awards for the wrong movies. They’d failed to honor Pacino for Godfather Part II or Dog Day Afternoon, and here was a big fat meatball over the plate kind of performance. Denzel, meanwhile, had recently won a supporting Oscar for Glory, so he wasn’t “due.” The Oscars are generally very bad on race, but that one was about other institutional Academt problems.

  107. alsep73

    For me, it’s Bokeem Woodbine. Had his moments in the 90s but is still grinding.

    He’s spectacular in the second season of Fargo (now on Hulu) as the kind of chatty, funny gangster a guy like him never gets to play. An example:

    https://youtu.be/Sb814rfwOOE

  108. Bo Nateman

    I love this site
    Alsep on cinema; JK47 on music……

    For your consideration, I would add:
    Gene Hackman ( The Conversation)
    Jack Lemmon ( Save the Tiger, Glengarry Glen Ross)
    Their abilities to convey the human condition of everyman was extraordinary.

  109. johnno

    Most people here probably know this but Denzel Washington is the answer to a basketball trivia question— what Oscar winning actor did PJ Carlisemo coach in college? Denzel was on the JV at Fordham for two years when PJ was the coach.

  110. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    “The Wire” is my favorite TV show of all time, and there are so many great performances in that, but the one that always slays me is Jamie Hector as Marlo Stanfield. It’s such a subtle and low-key menacing performance.

    “You want it one way, but it’s the other way” is one of the show’s best cold opens. What an incredible expression of power, a man fully embracing chaotic evil and making sure other, weaker people know it.

  111. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Also, Gandolfini’s performance as Tony S. is the dramatic lperformance of the century so far, with respect to Cranston, Jamon and the ladies who played the Sand Snakes.

    The sheer scope of emotion (and often layers of it due to Tony’s sociopathy or his need to “perform” as Boss instead being an “authentic” self) that he was responsible for, including the complete immersion into a totally different character in Season 6A… leaves me speechless. Anyway, it’s pretty awesome to get pointed feedback on all this from a person as knowledgeable and connected as alsep. You jabronis have pretty good taste too. Let’s hear it for Toni Collette in Hereditary. Underrated performance probably due to it being an extreme film in an often-shitty genre; if we can praise Jack for his work in The Shining, no reason not to give it to TC too.

  112. Ntilakilla

    Tony Collette was very good in Hereditary, but I personally felt a similar performance was done better by Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.

  113. Owen

    This would be the perfect offseason thread….

    So many great actors noted but shocked there wasn’t a single mention of Megan Fox in Transformers…

  114. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Favorite performance of all time is probably Maria Falconetti in Dreyer’s Passion of Joan of Arc or Peter Lorre in M. Favorite recent performances include Gandolfini and Edie Falco in The Sopranos (of course); Isabelle Huppert in Elle; DDL in Phantom Thread; Nina Hoss in Phoenix; and everyone in Zodiac.

  115. Ntilakilla

    Actually, the greatest performance of all time was Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove. I don’t think an actor ever gave more in a movie than he did. The guy played three different characters and disappeared into each and everyone of them. He was robbed of an Oscar, too.

  116. Ntilakilla

    I was just going through the Sopranos and will sign off what is being said here about Jimmy Gandolfini. He was sublime in that role. There are so many layers to the character and he manages to make him a likable character despite being such a repugnant human being. But you know, watching it again I think Nancy Marchand’s work as Livia Soprano was as good as anyones on that show when she was on. Might be vilest villain in TV history. That final scene when she laughs at her son falling down the steps on her house was so evil.

  117. bobneptune

    Also, Gandolfini’s performance as Tony S. is the dramatic lperformance of the century so far, with respect to Cranston, Jamon and the ladies who played the Sand Snakes.

    The women were the real gangsters in the Sopranos……

  118. alsep73

    Yeah, Edie’s amazing, especially in the episode where she kicks him out of the house and they’re going tooth-and-claw at each other. Those two are also a great example of how equally good performances can come from wildly different techniques and emotional states. Jim would basically work himself into an angry wreck to play Tony at his worst, and felt miserable with the role after a while. Edie was like an acting machine: she’d show up on time, make small talk, and when the director called “Action!,” she’d be Carmela for a few minutes, and as soon as he yelled “Cut!,” she’d go back to asking people about their weekend plans. No fuss, no muss, no angst.

  119. Ntilakilla

    @137

    LOL. Tell me about it. He blocked me from his account after we got into a heated argument on family separations at the border.

  120. alsep73

    That final scene when she laughs at her son falling down the steps on her house was so evil.

    That scene is so amazing, I still can’t believe David Chase felt he needed to create a virtual Livia the following season – pasting Marchand’s head onto another actress’ body — as a farewell to that relationship. Just play that goddamn clip again.

  121. Ntilakilla

    @142

    Yeah, Chase had major plans for Livia that he never saw come to fruition because of Marchand’s death. You could see they had to start from scratch with certain arcs. I personally think it was going to be Livia, not Uncle Junior, who was the one that shot Tony and almost killed him. I also think she was going to suffer from dementia like Uncle Ju, which would’ve been ironic since she always loved to fake senility. Lastly, I suspect that Tony would’ve ended up killing her similar to the way he killed Christopher, with her helpless and injured and him asphyxiating her.

  122. d-mar

    Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln, Gangs of NY and There Will Be Blood.

    Acting doesn’t get any better than that.

  123. Hubert

    After years of letting this slide, I have to ask:

    Why do people see posts in a different order?

    For me, for instance, Ntilikilla is in post 138, replying to DRed in what he sees as post 137 but I see as post 134. Then he’s in post 140 calling out post 142, but my thread is only 141 posts long.

    I tended to presume it had to do with comments awaiting moderation, but why would three comments be approved on Ntilakilla’s thread but not on mine?

    The only possible solution I can think of is that Ntilakilla himself has *three* comments awaiting moderation. So please, Ntilakilla, end years of mystery for me: do you have three comments currently awaiting moderation?

  124. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’ve always thought that the CGI Livia scene could have been handled as a conversation between him at the bottom of the stairs and her upstairs.

    Or, of course, not at all.

  125. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I actually won’t watch The Sopranos with my wife (who hasn’t seen it) because I’m afraid that the season 5 domestic blowouts will trigger her. They’re that convincing. In those scenes Falco disappears into that character so deeply that it makes me hope that it comes from a place of pure empathy and not personal experience.

  126. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Sorry for the Michael Keaton comment that took us away from arguing about Ntilikina for the 80th time

  127. swiftandabundant

    Since we’re talking about actors and tv, I will use this opportunity to recommend the HBO show “My Brilliant Friend.” Just one season for now. No one watched this show and it’s maybe my favorite thing I’ve watched in the last five years. It’s a beautiful story beautifully told. Highly recommend it.

  128. cgreene

    Great conversation. One performer that I think has been left out of the all timers from the last 20 years is Russell Crowe. The Insider is an absolutely phenomenal film and his performance in it is one for the ages IMO. Pacino was great in that too. Crowe was also great in A Beautiful Mind although I did not like that movie quite as much.

    I will also throw in an honorable mention that shocked me when I watched it because I approached the series with tremendous skepticism. Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard in the first season of Big Little Lies absolutely blew my mind in the way that they handled the abuse scenes. It was extremely real and raw and must have been very very difficult to do especially for Skarsgard. He was incredibly believable in that role to a degree it was anxiety provoking and I could imagine anyone who has suffered in that kind of situation might agree. Also Kidman’s scenes with her shrink were also amazing. The final episode of that season was one of the best shows I have ever seen and I am a huge huge fan of Sopranos, Wire etc. Goes to show that I guy doing crap like TrueBlood can be a great performer.

  129. JK47

    Jean-Pierre Leaud as Antoine Doinel in “The 400 Blows” is a stunning performance to me. He was 13 and it was his first acting role, and it’s just this incredible raw, naturalistic performance.

  130. JK47

    Has Christian Bale’s name come up? He’s fucking great in everything he’s in. I almost always forget I’m watching an actor.

  131. JK47

    Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard in the first season of Big Little Lies absolutely blew my mind in the way that they handled the abuse scenes.

    They were both great, she has some serious chops.

  132. bockadoo

    @122 +1
    @141 +1
    @149 +1 Dickie in The Fighter was tremendous
    Big fan of Paul Giamatti and the late great PS Hoffman
    Joaquin Phoenix up there with the best as well

  133. geo

    Has Christian Bale’s name come up?

    that movie the machinist was absolutely insane…I get the whole dedication to your craft, but, to emaciate yourself like that…crazy…

  134. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    It’s incredible that Bale didn’t peak with American Psycho. That would be a crowning achievement for any actor, and then he just kept going.

    The exam scene between Hoffman and Phoenix in The Master is as good a scene as there is in film.

    Will Carmelo get cut before his contract becomes guaranteed?

  135. thenamestsam

    Will Carmelo get cut before his contract becomes guaranteed?

    I didn’t see any of the game last night but just looking at the box score it looks like he played pretty well? 18 points on 15 shots, 7 rebounds, 4 assists is solid. Obviously Melo’s non-box score contributions (i.e. defense) are always going to be dreadful at this point so there’s going to be a pretty hard cap on his value but if he can put up more games like this with minimal drama/fuss he probably can hang in the league I would think.

  136. Silky Johnson, Fleet Admiral of the Tank Armada

    Wow, how could I forget Hoffman? He’s great in everything. My favorite thing about him is his random Academy-quality performances that appear in otherwise mediocre movies like Charlie Wilson’s War.

    Another favorite recent performance (and movie): Robert Pattinson in Good Time. Breaking up was the best thing to ever happen to Patting and Stewart–they both turned into amazing actors post-Twilight.

  137. Ingmarrrr

    I took a few classes at HB studio awhile ago, if you’re in the city and want a taste of what it means to be an actor try one of their classes. They’re inexpensive and the teachers are excellent and professional.

    The nicest thing about it is that it’s open for everyone, from all levels. I was a total beginner and I rehearsed a few scenes for class with a guy who earlier in his career was on major Broadway shows. He was so strong on stage that the first time we worked together I completely lost my character’s objective. Later I learned to defend myself, but it took time.

    Anyway since then I look at acting differently. For example I love watching how they move in space. When the actor is good you can see the character’s personality with every step. In Our Boys (an HBO series) there’s a Palestinian father who’s son was killed by settlers. He owns a little construction company, and when the actor walks you can see that the character is used to controlling his immediate surroundings, and he’s used to employees at work doing what he’s telling them to do, and at the same time he’s part of a people under an occupation and he’s used to obeying the soldiers, and settlers, and other officials. Every step is that of a proud master and at the same time a humble slave, an incredible performance.

  138. d-mar

    Nicole Kidman and Alexander Skarsgard in the first season of Big Little Lies absolutely blew my mind in the way that they handled the abuse scenes.

    They were both great, she has some serious chops.

    The courtroom scene in one of the last episodes where she represents herself was astounding.

  139. TheClashFan

    A shout out to Kenneth Branagh in his own directed Henry V from about 1989. An amazing performance bringing depth to a Shakespearean character not named Hamlet, Lear, or Othello. His “band of brothers” speech is so ridiculously good that every other one I’ve seen just pales in comparison (btw, a young Christian Bale is in that scene).

    And you guys know I love my Deadwood (with load of incredible performance). So, in TV, Ian McShane.

    RE Megan Fox, who was mentioned earlier in the thread. I once read a comment about her that said something like she is the best porn actress in real films. Perhaps harsh? Perhaps not?

  140. geo

    very cool ingmarrr…what inspired you to do that?

    and, what prompted you to take action and actually sign up and go?

  141. geo

    it seems mister mitchell robinson is no longer simply a knickerblogger thing – he’s getting more and more national recognition…

    just looking at the team’s stats – his numbers jump out like crazy…

    what I was wondering though – does the state of our team (not so good) make his gaudy numbers more or less impressive?

  142. Hubert

    Another favorite recent performance (and movie): Robert Pattinson

    I’m not going to say The King (on Netflix) is good, but I did enjoy it, if only for how much it subverted my expectations (e.g. a brave and war-weary Falstaff, no St Crispin’s speech). Pattinson played The Dauphin like a Eurotrash lounge lizard buying bottles of 1942 at Bagatelle, and that was fun.

  143. Ingmarrrr

    geo, I was taking screenwriting classes at the time, and wanted to understand the experience from the actors side. HB doesn’t ask you to commit to anything, or go through an interview. You register and start studying. I think it was $10 a class back then, in the late 90’s, so maybe it’s $20 today. Very easy . I enjoyed it a lot.

  144. thenamestsam

    what I was wondering though – does the state of our team (not so good) make his gaudy numbers more or less impressive?

    My take is different for offense and defense:

    On defense the fact that the team is still quite bad (and also was last year) makes his insane defensive numbers less impressive to me. Obviously it’s a team game and he hasn’t played huge minutes (through fault both his own and not his own) but because individual defense is so hard to quantify and because elite defensive Cs can have such a huge impact on that end it’s going to be hard for me to 100% buy into him as the top level defender suggested by his box score numbers until he shows that he can anchor at least a top-10ish defense. It may be the case that he’s already good enough to do that if he can just stay on the floor, but he needs to actually do that part of it while maintaining the rate stats and showing the team impact in my eyes.

    Conversely, I think his offensive production is actually more impressive specifically because of how poor the guard play has been. There’s a tendency with rim runners to see their production as not wholly their own (I think that’s probably correct in part but some people take it too far) and assume that a lot of their efficiency is derived from the guys getting them the ball in position to dunk it and the spacing making that all possible. Mitch has exclusively played in guard-deficient teams running few pick and rolls with bad spacing and yet puts up monster efficiency numbers on reasonable volume (and a nice tick up in usage this year with no efficiency loss at all). I would love to see him in a team with a good PnR partner and good spacing.

  145. cgreene

    Trade the PFs for CP3. Just do it and get some competent guard play, suck it the fuck up on the cap and use him to let the young guys learn. Portis, Morris, Ellington. OKC has tons of picks so they get crazy cap relief, tank and they are on their way to their rebuild. Keep Taj because he actually is good and he has paired up with Mitch.

    CP3/Elfrid/DSJ
    Frank/Doston/Trier
    RJB/Iggy
    Randle/Knox
    MRob/Taj

    That team makes the EC playoffs.

  146. Hubert

    I’ve got a tent in the trade for Paul camp, too, but I also want another top 5 pick and for Mills and Fizdale to get fired. Even now, Paul is probably good enough to carry us to mediocrity.

  147. Donnie Walsh

    Man, the guy from Johnny Dangerously can really act!”

    As a 12 year old, my favorite movie in the universe was Johnny Dangerously. Then, one night I was at MSG with my parents, and the PA announcer stated that Michael Keaton was in the audience and he stood and bowed. A few minutes later he came walking up the aisle (nowhere near where he was seated for some reason), and I stuck my hand out and he high-fived me. And I thought my hand should explode from making contact with God. But it didn’t. Then I started questioning whether it was really He. His hair was all long and unkempt, and he looked totally deranged, not like the notorious gangster Johnny Dangerously at all.

    Then Beetlejuice came out later that year and it all made sense.

  148. Hubert

    Even now, Paul is probably good enough to carry us to mediocrity

    Actually the Thunder are 5-9 with a much better supporting cast, albeit in the west. So maybe not.

  149. KnickfaninNJ

    I am not in favor of trading for Paul. Let the guards we have develop. If I thought he would be a mentor for our young guys, I might reconsider, but I don’t get the impression he is like that.

  150. KnickerBloggerPowerRankings

    robert deniro in mean streets is a fucking revelation. feel like all of his other roles were based on johnny boy’s core.

  151. Owen

    Megan Fox is the Ben Affleck of Bobby Portis’s.

    A friend of mine worked with her somewhere before she hit it big. Said she is the most insanely hot person you could imagine IRL and very very very difficult to deal with. She definitely is the most watchable thiug about Transformers. Although to be honest Shia Labeouf has grown on me. Saw him on Hot Ones and got a totally new perspective on him. His new movie is apparently one of the best of the year and also incredibly personal.

  152. Bruno Almeida

    Trading for Chris Paul would be a legitimate Isiah move, mostly because at this point in his career it is abundantly clear that he won’t stay healthy for a full season, even if he produces at a high level still. He’s still pretty good, he knows how to take good shots and create for others, but after this season he’ll still have two more years of a max deal… that’s not enough unless OKC packs a ton of picks in the deal, which they have not shown any willingness to do so far.

  153. GoNYGoNYGo - Dolan must sell

    There’s one aspect about a trade for CP3 that makes sense now. Since we have ZERO chance of signing any big names, cap space isn’t worth what it was.

    Unfortunately, even past 12/15 it’ll be virtually impossible to make that trade.

  154. Farfa Post author

    Man, this blog. It transforms a silly thought of mine into a full fledged discussion about acting with myriads of great contributions. You really are the best by a long mile!

  155. bobneptune

    There’s one aspect about a trade for CP3 that makes sense now. Since we have ZERO chance of signing any big names, cap space isn’t worth what it was.

    Yeah…. once it was clear no major player wanted our 63M , do the standard MSG thingy…. give it to a washed up Marcel Dionne or whoever the washed up big name du jour might happen to be….

    don’t rent that space for six mid to low first round draft picks the next 3 years….. fight like a M=Fer to win 37 games ….. yea……..

  156. Donnie Walsh

    Trading for Chris Paul would be a legitimate Isiah move

    Isiah was over the luxury tax threshold when he made his “Isiah moves”, which just dug the hole we were in deeper and deeper. But some of the trades themselves weren’t so bad. He bought expensive has-beens but he got the draft picks with them that became players like David Lee and Reinaldo Balkan. He got the renting cap space for future assets right, he just forgot to clear cap space first.

  157. Donnie Walsh

    Isiah was over the luxury tax threshold when he made his “Isiah moves”, which just dug the hole we were in deeper and deeper. But some of the trades themselves weren’t so bad. He bought expensive has-beens but he got the draft picks with them that became players like David Lee and Reinaldo Balkan. He got the renting cap space for future assets right, he just forgot to clear cap space first.

    I should have edited this to say that: giving up assets on the other hand (a la the Steve Francis trade) would be a BAD “Isiah move”. (But that move wasn’t really consistent with the Isiah Doctrine… it was more of a desperation move because the team had completely collapsed around Larry Brown)

  158. geo

    thinking about tony soprano now…i’ve been through the sopranos start to finish at least a couple of times, but, whenever i think of james gandolfini – he’s always virgil to me:
    Now the first guy you kill is
    always the hardest. I don’t care
    if you’re the Boston Strangler or
    Wyatt Earp. You can bet that Texas
    boy, Charles Whitman, the fella
    who shot all them guys from that
    tower, I’ll bet you green money
    that, that first little black dot
    that he took a bead on, was the
    bitch of the bunch. No foolin’,
    the first one’s a tough row to
    hoe. Now, the second one, while
    it ain’t no Mardigra, it ain’t
    half as tough as the first. You
    still feel somethin’ but it’s just
    so diluted this time around. Then
    you completely level off on the
    third one. The third one is easy.
    It’s gotten to the point now
    I’ll do it just to watch their
    expression change.

    sure, you can act great without words, but, oh boy do the right ones take it to another level…

    and yeah, brad pitt – will forever be floyd…

  159. Early Bird

    The fan in me wants CP3, the rational part of me looks at his contract the final few years and wants to puke. I’m sure he’ll still have value, but not for that price.

  160. Donnie Walsh

    The Checkett’s Doctrine: win now.

    The Layden Doctrine: try to win without rebuilding.

    The Isiah Doctrine: use the competitive advantage of Dolan’s wallet to rebuild quickly.

    The Walsh Doctrine: re-gain salary flexibility while winning as many games as possible.

    The Jackson Doctrine: a good system will rebuild itself.

    The Perry Doctrine: ?

  161. Early Bird

    On a tangential note, I just finished Fleabag season 2 and it’s the best show I’ve seen in awhile. Phoebe Waller Bridge as the existentialist hero with a Priest as her foil is something else.

  162. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Paul is still good but he’s put himself into limbo. He is:

    1) too old for his salary
    2) too highly-paid to ask for a buyout to go to a contender
    3) too old to wait for his supermax to expire before joining a contender
    4) too good to waste his final productive years on a rebuilding team

    $95M over the next two years is too much money to walk away from, especially given his injury status. If he blows up his Achilles tomorrow, he’s still owed something like $130M guaranteed.

    If he hits free agency tomorrow, who offers him more than a 1+1 at $15M AAV? He helped create these max-contract rules to help himself, and now it’s got him hamstrung (no pun intended) since the league is trending more and more toward 2-3 supermax stars and a host of role players and short-term contract vets making shit money partly out of market conditions and partly to keep their options open in the event that the free agent market treats them better the following year.

    Hard pass on Paul simply because he’s old and the win curve says absolutely not. I think he’s a top-3 all-time PG (modern era) but he has no place on this team. If OKC and all of their talented young guys are not enough to make a low playoff seed, no way that he’s going to carry Ntilikina, Knox and Barrett to a first-round playoff loss.

    Plus the injuries.

  163. Ntilakilla

    LOL, yes, my comments were in moderation. For some reason they didn’t allow anyone to see my Denzel/Malcolm X post and I had to cut words out to see what the issue was. It seems you can’t write “cri-m-nal” here.

  164. Hubert

    Yeah one of my favorite pastimes is to figure out which word triggered the moderation.

    Today I finally solved the mystery of the misnumbered posts. You kinda threw me there, being a whopping *three* posts off, but that was the only conclusion that made sense.

    I have too much time on my hands. Might need to unretire again.

  165. alsep73

    Early Bird, I don’t usually plug my stuff here, but if you dug Fleabag, you might enjoy this column I wrote about why season 2 was so amazing. Show of the year, and best show I’ve seen in the last few, at least going back to The Leftovers.

  166. bobneptune

    and yeah, brad pitt – will forever be floyd…

    That’s not acting…. he was just playing himself…..

  167. Knew Your Nicks

    A few more Top performances worth mentioning:
    Brando in Apocalypse now
    McDowell in A Clockwork orange
    J Hurt in The elephant man
    Chaplin in Limelight

  168. geo

    Might need to unretire again.

    well done hubert…been reading your posts for a while – and, i would have sworn you hadn’t seen 40 yet – stay young sir…

  169. geo

    things have slowed to a more civilized pace of work for me (thank you jesus) – thinking of tony/james/virgil got me reading the script for true romance

    sometime during our next basketball lull we may need to dive in to favorite scripts…

  170. Editman

    I’m on a train back from another long day editing to discover that my favorite basketball sabermetric blog has finally touched on a subject that I am considered something of an expert in and gives me a chance to participate.

    I know this will out a longtime lurker, but I have been a feature film editor for over 35 years. It is literally a significant part of my job to evaluate acting performances. I’ve been so very fortunate to work with some of Hollywoods top actors and talented directors. Among the films I’ve cut are “Desperately Seeking Susan”, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, “The Sixth Sense”, “Analyze That”.

    In addition, I was an early (the pamphlets) devotee of the father of advanced stats Bill James. And as a long suffering Knicks, Mets, Giants fan I still live and die with every win and loss.

    This is too long a post, but I feel comfortable posting more later…

  171. Ntilakilla

    @192

    The Leftovers, in my opinion, belongs in the top 5 pantheon (The Wire, Sopranos, Breaking Bad, Mad Men/Deadwood) and is the darkhorse in the great all time TV dramas of this era of prestige television. It is the only show on this list which incorporates magical realist devices (the Soprano dream sequences aside) into its narrative. Its also the only show which is so perfectly measured that the seasons never get weaker, only better over its run. I’ve wrote this before, but I think its the closest in premise to the Twilight Zone I’ve seen in American television today – you thrust normal, everyday characters into a fantastical setting with no explanation and then watch the human condition unfold.

  172. Ntilakilla

    sometime during our next basketball lull we may need to dive in to favorite scripts…

    It’s the Usual Suspects for me.

  173. KnickfaninNJ

    Welcome Editman,

    You are smarter than the rest of us who do often comment on things we are not expert on.

  174. geo

    editman…oh my goodness that’s a good one – plus 1,000 for your moniker :)

    that’s sounds like a pretty neat occupation, although i imagine for every great script you work on – there’s another dozen to work on which, may not be so great…

    oh man, now i’m starting to picture poor willy loman on the train with a briefcase stuffed full of manuscripts…

  175. geo

    you know what – who am i kidding, editing, even the bad stuff sounds pretty interesting…i prepare documentation and process shipments for a living, basically i move widgets from point A to point B…yeah, that’ll suck the soul right out of your chest after x number of years…i passed x + years ago…

    i think i may be both bitter and jealous…nobody better mention playing music for a living for a while…

  176. Knew Your Nicks

    If We all had the chance to do the ‘job’ we truly love to make a living; this thing called world could have been paradise.
    Unfortunately some gotta do the ‘dirty jobs’…like Frank !
    Hang on geo ! You’re not alone
    Welcome aboard Editman !

  177. d-mar

    Sorry to post about basketball, but quick question: who has a better record- the Knicks or the Hawks?

    Both 4-11. Even with all the excitement about Trey’s occasional outbursts, they suck just like we do!

  178. Editman

    Film editing is a great job, no doubt. But it’s not glamorous 98% of the time. Mostly it’s long, long hours alone in a dark room (or with just you and the director) trying to solve, piece by piece, the Rubick’s cube that is most films.
    There is quite a lot of pressure… with tens of millions of dollars at stake. And then when you’ve poured yourself into the film for the better part of a year of your life…the New York Times tells the world that they like or hate your work.

  179. Bruno Almeida

    @201

    They’re giving like 100 minutes combined to De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Jabari Parker and Alex Len, I’m kinda surprised they won 4 games. With Collins suspended, their second best player is… Kevin Huerter? Jabari I guess?

  180. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    Wow, this board continues to shock.

    Film editors are akin to mix engineers, to my mind. You can talk all you want about how good De Niro or Philip Seymour Hoffman or Bruce Willis is. But without the film editor, you could have a choppy, awkward mess, to say nothing of the importance of picking the best takes to include in the final cut.

    Editman, what do you do when you’re handed an acting performance — in virtually all available takes — akin to Frank Ntilikina trying to dribble the ball into the paint? Like, what is the feeling when you get an Attack of the Clones‘ Hayden Christensen or the young trio stars of the early Harry Potter films in the editing room? And what happens when you strongly disagree with a director about the quality of a performance or, say, the cadence of dialogue in a scene, as we here on this board do about said dribble-drive ability?

  181. DRed

    That Kemba injury didn’t look like it would fuck him up that badly but he certainly didn’t look good when he went down and you never want to see anyone getting strapped to a spinal board. Hope he’s just concussed

  182. JK47

    In addition, I was an early (the pamphlets) devotee of the father of advanced stats Bill James. And as a long suffering Knicks, Mets, Giants fan I still live and die with every win and loss.

    We have a lot in common, Editman. I go back to the first Historical Baseball Absract with Bill James, which came out in 1986. My dad gave it to me as a Christmas gift, which shows you how well my dad knows me. I wore that thing out.

    Anyway, LGM!

  183. Editman

    Editman, what do you do when you’re handed an acting performance — in virtually all available takes — akin to Frank Ntilikina trying to dribble the ball into the paint? Like, what is the feeling when you get an Attack of the Clones‘ Hayden Christensen or the young trio stars of the early Harry Potter films in the editing room? And what happens when you strongly disagree with a director about the quality of a performance or, say, the cadence of dialogue in a scene, as we here on this board do about said dribble-drive ability?

    Okay, so here we go… first of all, and some of this may be obvious but not appreciated in its importance, performances are not made in a vacuum. Of course, the dialogue characters speak is the first and possibly the most import element of performance. But everything from the production design, to the art direction to the props helps actors to better inhabit their character. Sean Connery once said of the great costume designer Ann Roth that he doesn’t really know the character until he puts on the clothes she made for him. (She did the costumes of the film I’m currently working on). How the DP lights the shots and the design of the angles is hugely important. The director is the most important voice in so many ways… communicating character elements and the beats of what the scene is about and finding the words that an actor can translate into actual performance. Actors need to trust that the director (and editor) will get the best performance in order for them to be free to give a wide ranging series of takes to choose from. All that does not include the other actors. Actors playing off each other is much like basketball teammates, it is critical.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg, but back to Frank, I am old school and in the group that thinks that Frank’s elite defense is exceptional at his age and that he should be given the time to develop. He is so young and (heresy) he brings more to the game that the stats don’t…

  184. Editman

    JK47

    It sounds like you’ve had quite the musicians road and while my tastes were forged in the sixties and early seventies I do try to stay somewhat relevant. I did some music editing early in my career and have had the chance to work with some great composers (Tom Newman, James Newton Howard, Hans Zimmer). Once spent seven days in Hans Zimmer studio with him and Johnny Marr! I love/admire good musicians… I guess because I wasn’t a good one.

  185. Editman

    alsep73

    I completely agree with you about Fleabag. Excellent article analyzing the second season. It was brilliant with a complexity so rare in the merging world of TV and movies.

  186. Grocer

    I’m an unscripted editor, some doc some reality, and I cosign the complexities of performance. I don’t know that I’m any good at understanding what’s good. I choose what I think tells the story best, but it’s all eye test tbh. It’s so subjective and the audience is only seeing one performance. In my shit, the best stuff can easily get cut out cause it doesn’t forward story.

    Sean Connery once said of the great costume designer Ann Roth that he doesn’t really know the character until he puts on the clothes she made for him.

    Dated a costume designer once, I have so much appreciation for what they do now, i had no idea before. She’d talk about meeting folks and checking what they wore in case she’d need to dress, e. g., some opthamologist off hours. Like, we have a picture in our heads about how all these random folks dress, and her job was mostly dressing the background. The leads were easy, just occasionally time intensive with the changes. It’s a crazy, and crazy important, job.

  187. Ntilakilla

    This is just the tip of the iceberg, but back to Frank, I am old school and in the group that thinks that Frank’s elite defense is exceptional at his age and that he should be given the time to develop. He is so young and (heresy) he brings more to the game that the stats don’t…

    Boom!

  188. Early Bird

    @alsep,

    I really enjoyed the article. I definitely think you hit the nail on the head in what makes the second season so special. I enjoyed the first season, it’s excellent comedy, but I didn’t feel the show was truly special until the second season. Starting with the first episode everything was well executed. And the scene at the end of the third or fourth episode, with Hot Priest and Fleabag sitting on the bench really threw me for one in a way almost nothing in TV or movies does anymore.

    I also didn’t think that Fleabag was talking to Boo for most of the show, but the scene with Hot Priest and Fleabag, when she cuts away she sees Boo for a split second. Even then, I agree with you that it’s not Boo she’s talking to, or at least that’s not an interpretation I prefer.

  189. Ingmarrrr

    Wow, I loved the sixth sense, great job Editman!

    I directed a documentary over 10 years ago (made some noise in the Israeli scene, and is still circulating among activist groups around the world). Grocer, this is for you: I brought over 100 hours to the editing room, mostly by amateur cameramen. My first editor, a very good feature film editor, out of her element with this kind of material, constantly encouraged herself by calling out loud: “courage! courage! have some courage!” then went back the the Avid.

  190. alsep73

    Editman, I know that editing, as with acting, can confuse people into thinking that most = best. So the fact that there are so many cuts in the Fleabag restaurant episode doesn’t by itself make it brilliantly edited. But as a layman, the timing of those cuts was as much a part of the comedy in that episode as the jokes PWB wrote for herself and the others.

  191. Hubert

    This is just the tip of the iceberg, but back to Frank, I am old school and in the group that thinks that Frank’s elite defense is exceptional at his age and that he should be given the time to develop. He is so young and (heresy) he brings more to the game that the stats don’t…

    I was enjoying your posts even before you revealed yourself to be a fellow frankophile.

    Frank is kinda like the Leftovers of basketball players. The ratings were terrible, not a lot of people loved it, but those of us who did were convinced of its quality.

  192. alsep73

    Frank is kinda like the Leftovers of basketball players.

    I knew there was a reason I irrationally loved Frank! Leftovers was the BEST.

  193. Hubert

    Here’s hoping Frank rewards us as much as the Leftovers did when their option was picked up despite a second season that was statistically terrible.

  194. Bo Nateman

    Editman, please forgive me but,
    it seems that Sally Menke was as valuable to Tarantino, as Pippen was to Jordan ( I’m not equating QT to MJ). Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would have been a different a better film with her hand in it.
    ( If a lurking restaurant critic posts, I will prolly the first to be banned for annoying valued posters).

  195. Editman

    Alsep,

    You are so right that the most cuts doesn’t “win”. Timing, rhythm and being on the right shot to tell your story the most effectively is crucial to the process. I thought Fleabag was was brilliantly cut.

    The legendary director Sidney Lumet who gave me my start and I worked on nine films with said you must have a reason to cut not just for the hoped for energy boost that a cut gives. The truth is cuts are like transistors or resistors in an electric current, they either amplify the momentum or slow it down. Having said that, I’ve spent too much time in my life trying to get the exact right frame for cuts.

    Ingmarrr

    I worked on a couple of docs over the years and it is a daughting task indeed. I kind of love the “courage!” chant. By the way, I worked with Natalie Portman on her directing debut, “A Tale of Love and Darkness” adapted from the Amos Oz memoir. It was entirely in Hebrew!

  196. Editman

    Bo,

    I haven’t seen “Once Upon…Hollywood” yet (I spend a lot of time during the holidays catching up) so I can’t comment, but I will say Sally was an amazing editor and her tragic loss is no doubt felt by all those who worked with her and knew her.

  197. ptmilo

    The legendary director Sidney Lumet who gave me my start and I worked on nine films with said you must have a reason to cut not just for the hoped for energy boost that a cut gives. The truth is cuts are like transistors or resistors in an electric current, they either amplify the momentum or slow it down.

    damnit phil even sidney lumet hates the triangle

  198. Editman

    So, I have an endless supply of stories from over the years… here’s a fun one about actors sometimes being closer to their parts then we know.

    On “Analyze That”, Billy Crystal, Robert DeNiro and Harold Ramis came into the cutting during the shoot to look at a restaurant scene I had a first assembly of. We are all huddled around the monitors with Billy sitting on my left, DeNiro sitting on my right and the gentle giant Harold Ramis standing behind us (by the way, Harold was such a sweet and brilliant man, always the smartest man in the room). After playing the scene Billy said “I really like it, I think it works but there was one take where I had taken a sip of water and when one of the other actors said a particular line, I did a spit take all over the table. I think it might get a big laugh”. There was a moment of silence and DeNiro leaned into me and whispered in my ear, with the voice that we have heard in so many mob films, “that will never be in the film”.

  199. Ingmarrrr

    Now that sounds like a hard task, Editman. Or do you have some Hebrew? We had small parts in Arabic and it was incredibly difficult to work on them. I’m not a big fan of Amos Oz but I’ll definitely watch A Tale of Love and Darkness .

    Also, Natalie Portman’s brilliant eyes in Léon are one of the strongest images for me. Wonderful performance.

  200. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Here’s hoping Frank rewards us as much as the Leftovers did when their option was picked up despite a second season that was statistically terrible.

    Reminds me of how MASH was rescued after its first season of poor ratings by Babe Paley, wife of then CBS Prez William Paley. She liked the show and asked (told?) her husband not to cancel it. Could Mills end up being our Babe Paley?

    Great stuff Editman…and yes I would have said the same even if you had posted you were metaphysically certain Frank is gonna be a bust. Whenever I listen to an in-depth interview with a film director, they invariably talk about editing. I vaguely recall one director saying that it’s the most critical part of his job. My question for you: when you watch a movie (not one of yours) do you try to turn off the analytical/critical part of your brain on the first viewing or do you find yourself evaluating every detail as you watch? Also more of any stories you’re able to share.

    I hope some unknown documentary filmmaker started filming and following Frank from the day he was drafted. Who new such an innocent-looking, soft-spoken tattoo-less Frenchman would be such a lightning rod? Lot of angles there. Title: Out of the Dungeon and Into Our Hearts

    What are people’s favorite sports movies? I judge not by technical merit but how a film affected me. I have a bad memory for detail (which is great when I wanna rewatch a film years later) but I do remember years later which films had the greatest impact on me. My top 2 by this criteria are Hoop Dreams and Hoosiers.

  201. Editman

    Ingmarrr,

    I do not speak Hebrew, I had an assistant (and of course Natalie) who translated everything. Ironic, as part of the story is the creation of the language. I know it’s starting to sound like hyperbole but Natalie is incredibly smart, intuitive and generous – in addition to her great acting chops.

  202. Editman

    Bron,

    I like nothing more than being lost in a movie the first time I see it. If I’m bored or unhappy with the story being told, I find myself studying it to see why, but if I’m into it… I work hard not to pull back. After all these years I still love good movies.

  203. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Just finished listening to the first two episodes of the new Hollinger & Duncan podcast where they ranked the teams by quality of organization (owner, FO, scouting, etc). Oof Knicks ranked 30th. But it’s worse than that. They both agreed that of all 30 teams the Knicks was the easiest call to make.

  204. TheClashFan

    @219 Hubert

    I am 41.

    Wait, what? You’re 41 and retired? You dog! Er, I mean, Dawg! I recently retired at 55, and everyone tells me I’m too young to do so.

    RE all-time great TV shows. I tried. I really tried. More than once. But I just didn’t like The Sopranos. Sorry. JG’s peformance was terrific, but I really hated his character…I just didn’t care, and I think you kind of have to sympathize with him a bit to soldier on with the show. Sorry. Love The Wire, Deadwood, etc. Twin Peaks: The Return was terrific (if just a bit overlong).

    Someone mentioned MASH. Incredible show for about 5-6 years, but losing Frank Burns really hurt. Winchester was an okay foil for Hawkeye and co., but Burns was the greatest sitcom foil of all time, methinks, and the show focused more on drama over time than comedy.

  205. geo

    What are people’s favorite sports movies? I judge not by technical merit but how a film affected me. 

    good question bron…especially considering how sports are one of the key factors which help bind us all here together…

    a few months ago I watched moneyball for the first time and was really surprised at just how good a movie it was…it made me think about your question…

    1). the natural – I know it’s a little too corndog for many, but, it all absolutely works for me…my very favorite scene is when redford tells mcgavin that he’s close enough in his space to feel mcgavin’s own toes in his shoes…
    2). when we were kings – who doesn’t love ali telling kids to brush their teeth…
    3). the wrestler – we’re all old pieces of meat…
    4). rocky – just works perfectly start to finish…
    5). raging bull – a tough film to watch about some not so wonderful people…absolutely beautiful pic though…

  206. TheClashFan

    @235
    My wife has watched some of Watchmen, and I want to give it a try.

    I don’t watch much TV, but right now I’m revisiting the late 90’s show Milennium, which ran for 3 seasons and is considered one of those “cult” classics. I’m about midway through season 1 and have mixed feelings about it. Very cool premise, but so damn formulaic, like much of network TV.

  207. geo

    I am 41. But us male models get retired young ;)

    whew, thought I was losing it there for a moment…kind of like when I thought jowles had me by about a decade (which would out him in his 60’s)…

    until he started sharing a little more personal stuff it totally surprised me to know he was still in his 30’s (and with a magical singing voice)…

    yeah mister hubert…most definitely enjoy life, but, seems like you have a whole lot more to give…and shoot, might as well get paid for it…

  208. geo

    @editman…very happy that you’ve stepped out of the shadows…

    and, dang but you write really well…

    let this be a lesson to the rest of you lurkers out there – all our welcome…

    it’s important to get in where you fit in…otherwise, it can get a little lonely here sitting on this rock spinning in space…

  209. Totes McGoats as Totes McGoats

    What is the deal with these new player listings? Last season Knox was 6’9″..now he’s listed at 6’7″? Ntilikina at 6’4″? Kadeem Allen at 6’1″? Mook is somehow 6’8″ 218? Wut?

  210. Early Bird

    What is the deal with these new player listings? Last season Knox was 6’9?..now he’s listed at 6’7?? Ntilikina at 6’4?? Kadeem Allen at 6’1?? Mook is somehow 6’8? 218? Wut?

    Supposedly they started taking measurements without shoes for the first time, so now everyone is an inch or two shorter.

  211. geo

    someone convince me on this breaking in-season tournament news. right now i kinda hate it.

    just read about it and I don’t think I’m quite getting it…

    78 regular season games, but, some in-season tournament (around thanksgiving/christmas) to help determine playoff seeding at the end of the year?

    I like the re-seeding of the last 4 playoff teams left to get the best semis and finals competition…

  212. Editman

    and Moneyball. Of course. How could I forget one of the most relevant movies to this blog. The book is insanely good for the sabermetricians here.

    I love Michael Lewis

  213. Z-man

    Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
    Kingsley in The House of Sand and Fog
    DeNiro and Williams in Awakenings
    DeNiro in Cape Fear

  214. Owen

    Welcome Editman – great posts and yes, the Friends of Frank Fanclub is always hiring.

    This blog never ceases to remind me how little the Knicks deserve their fans.

  215. Bo Nateman

    Reading Editman’s wonderful posts about working with the great Sidney Lumet coupled with @ 234’s post about being ranked dead last in quality of organization makes me think that Knick fans need our modern-day Howard Beale moment-perhaps via social media.

  216. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    On “Analyze That”, Billy Crystal, Robert DeNiro and Harold Ramis came into the cutting during the shoot to look at a restaurant scene I had a first assembly of. We are all huddled around the monitors with Billy sitting on my left, DeNiro sitting on my right and the gentle giant Harold Ramis standing behind us (by the way, Harold was such a sweet and brilliant man, always the smartest man in the room). After playing the scene Billy said “I really like it, I think it works but there was one take where I had taken a sip of water and when one of the other actors said a particular line, I did a spit take all over the table. I think it might get a big laugh”. There was a moment of silence and DeNiro leaned into me and whispered in my ear, with the voice that we have heard in so many mob films, “that will never be in the film”.

    I spontaneously cackled, this is A+ KB content

  217. JK47

    Does “Caddyshack” count as a sports movie? Because if so that gets my vote. Directed by Harold Ramis.

  218. Editman

    Harold Ramis told me this story… when he was casting Groundhog Day his first choice was Tom Hanks, who he said loved the script but turned him down. After finishing the film, Ramis invited Hanks to the premiere and as the credits rolled Hanks turned to Harold and said “I was right!” Ramis asked about what? Hanks said he turned down the part because everybody knows he’s a nice guy and if he was in the film the audience would watch it with the certainty that no matter what… things were going to turn out okay. With someone like Bill Murray anything was possible with that character and it made for a better movie.

  219. Ntilakilla

    @233

    Baseball: Field of Dreams

    Hockey: Goon (Slap Shot gets an honorable mention)

    Football: Any Given Sunday

    Basketball: White Men Can’t Jump

    Boxing: Rocky IV (a personal guilty pleasure of mine)

    @235

    I can’t bring myself to watch it because of how much Alan Moore’s work has been messed with over the years.

    @259

    I see you like Manhunter better than Red Dragon.

  220. Grocer

    My first editor, a very good feature film editor, out of her element with this kind of material, constantly encouraged herself by calling out loud: “courage! courage! have some courage!” then went back the the Avid.

    I completely sympathize. I’ve worked on shows that had around 300 hours of footage for an hour long episode. It can get ridiculous.

  221. Early Bird

    Football: Remember the Titans

    Baseball: Difficult decision between Natural and Field of Dreams that I refuse to make

    Basketball: Space Jam (duh); White Men Can’t Jump a runner-up

    Does I, Tonya count as a sports movie? Because I thought that was excellent.

  222. Ntilakilla

    Does I, Tonya count as a sports movie? Because I thought that was excellent.

    Definitely, and I liked the movie as well.

    But I will posit that The Cutting Edge is the greatest ice-skating movie ever made, its another guilty pleasure of mine.

  223. Name is Bron - James Bron

    Not sure if this qualifies as a sports movie but perhaps the most impactful “sports” film ever made is Enter the Dragon. It launched the martial arts genre in the US and made possible the careers of Norris, Seagal, Van Damme, Chan and others.

    Interesting there’s been nary a mention of female actors. That’s understandable though. since it’s all men here except for GianaDani ;). If the subject were dancers we’d be debating Astaire versus Kelly, not Charisse versus Rogers. I went to watch The Big Sick on a big screen yesterday. I enjoyed it though not quite as much as I expected given the reviews. The performance by Holly Hunter was the best part of the film by far.

  224. Ntilakilla

    I want to throw out another great performance by a male lead (we need to do the ladies too) with F Murray Abraham in Amadeus.

  225. JK47

    Interesting there’s been nary a mention of female actors.

    Good point.

    How good is Julianne Moore? She excels at broad comedy, melodrama and everything in between.

  226. rama picked up his option

    Thanks for the insight, Editman! Some of what I do touches on your industry, and it’s given me a bunch of good anecdotes (playing hoop one on one with Clooney is solid, sparring with Wesley Snipes is amusing, Crowe telling me to go fuck myself is appropriately appalling), and one of my realizations the last ten years has been how crucial the editor is. Tarantino is diminished without Sally – it shows in Once Upon a Time for sure, though it’s still enjoyable. Minghella told me that he knew nothing about directing; he just hired a great below-the-line team, identified a strong script, made sure the actors were right for the parts, and then let everyone do their jobs. Hyperbole, and calculating self-deprecation, maybe, but there is something to it. I bow to your craft.

    I also seriously envy you the time with Portman, who would be one of my few actor crushes if she weren’t so tiny. What a beauty! And I have heard that she’s very smart, too. Smart, beautiful, talented – never date an actress: once was enough to know that I couldn’t survive another.

  227. Ntilakilla

    @265
    Gloria Swanson in Hollywood Boulevard, Frances McDormand in Fargo, Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves, Hillary Swank in Million Dollar Baby, Penelope Cruz in Volver, Merryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.

  228. Owen

    Major League is a great sports comedy.

    Friday night lights was pretty good. Not sure if it rises to all time status but I thought Billy Bob was excellent in that. And the tV show was amazing.

    I think He Got Game was pretty good too. And Hoop Dreams blew me away when I saw it. I was a huge college hoops fan and to see how the sausage got made at a relatively young age was eye opening, starting a process that ended with Taylor Branch’s “The Shame of College Sports,” still the best thing I have ever read on the topic.

  229. d-mar

    She was brought up earlier on this thread for Big Little Lies, but Nicole Kidman’s performance in To Die For was incredible.

  230. Hubert

    Boxing: Rocky IV (a personal guilty pleasure of mine)

    Once upon a time I went cycling with two lovely Russian women who grew up on the other side of the iron curtain. I casually mentioned rocky iv and presumed they knew what I was talking about. They didn’t. They had no idea.

    Long story short:

    I hosted a dinner party with one other American and 8 Russians and I showed them rocky iv for the first time in their lives. Turns out the only thing better than watching rocky iv is watching Russians watch rocky iv for the first time. To them it was like watching Airplane.

  231. JK47

    I just want to remind everybody that there’s a running joke in Rocky IV in which Paulie has a robot girlfriend. That is all.

    It’s the second worst Rocky movie. Rocky V is worse.

  232. Knew Your Nicks

    Remember watching Rocky IV as a kid in an overcrowded open cinema in greek countryside during summer vacations.
    When the fight between Rocky and Drago started you could hear an ecstatic crowd chanting loudly “Rocky ! Rocky !” forgetting that you were watching a movie and feeling that you were in a stadium !
    Pretty surreal & absolutely unforgettable experience !

  233. KnickfaninNJ

    It’s not the best sports movie or anything, but blades of glory is an very entertaining sports comedy.

  234. geo

    I want to throw out another great performance by a male lead (we need to do the ladies too) with F Murray Abraham in Amadeus.

    well, there it is

  235. geo

    I’ve worked on shows that had around 300 hours of footage for an hour long episode. It can get ridiculous.

    now that’s a crazy number I wouldn’t have imagined…

    wow, that’s a lot of time…

  236. Knew Your Nicks

    Yeah !
    Will Ferrell’s sports comedies/parodies like
    Blades of glory
    Semi pro &
    Talladega nights
    are great stuff !
    Prefer them over most sports movies.

  237. The Honorable Cock Jowles

    I’ve seen Hoop Dreams probably a half dozen times, including a screening during one of my Comp Lit sections from way back when. The scene where the boy’s mother graduates from nurse assistant school makes me weep.

    I don’t like Remember the Titans. It’s too precious for me, too divorced from the reality of segregation as it was. It’s a feel-good movie about one of the worst times in American history, when, for one, small schoolchildren had to be guarded by the military to enter a grade school.

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